Happy Leap Day. Do federal workers get the day off? I can’t recall. ~Bob.
The Gathering Darkness
There I was, minding my own business, when my muse struck. ~Bob
For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.
Excerpt: The toll fell particularly heavily on the educated classes that supplied the young lieutenants and captains who led their troops out of the trenches and into murderous machine-gun fire. To give but a single stunning example, of the men who graduated from Oxford in 1913, 31 percent were killed.
Excerpt: A U.S. federal judge has ruled that Twitter users who threaten presidential candidates with violence can’t expect to stay anonymous.
Media Matters’ Brock paid former partner $850k in ‘blackmail’ settlementhttp://dailycaller.com/2012/02/27/media-matters-brock-paid-former-partner-850k-in-blackmail-settlement/#ixzz1ndLg8YOw
Excerpt: David Brock, fearful that damaging information about Media Matters For America would be released, reportedly paid his former domestic partner $850,000 to stay quiet, according to a Fox News report Monday. Brock later characterized the arrangement as “blackmail.” (I would like to assume my fans that no one will ever blackmail me for $850k. Not even close to having $850k. ~Bob.)
Fiat to build Jeeps in Russian factories
Excerpt: Fiat SpA has reached an agreement to with Sberbank Rossii to build Jeeps in Russia, according to reports in the Italian media Sunday. Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera said Sberbank, which is controlled by the Russian government, has inked a letter of intent with Fiat to open two factories to assemble vehicles under the Jeep name. (It's halftime in America. Scratch that, I mean Russia --IowaHawk.)
Pettiness and Mud by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: The only good news for the Republicans coming out of the seemingly endless presidential candidate "debates" is that some Republican leaders are now belatedly thinking about how they can avoid a repetition of this debacle in future elections. What could they possibly have been thinking about, in the first place, when they agreed to a format based on short sound bites for dealing with major complex issues, and with media journalists -- 90 percent of them Democrats -- picking the topics?
Idolizing an American Traitor by Rick Moran
Excerpt: Lionized as a hero by the worldwide left, Manning is the latest in a long line of outrageous nominations considered by the peace prize committee, including past winners Yasser Arafat, Mikhail Gorbachev and Kofi Annan. Although it certainly comes as no surprise that a soldier alleged to have committed traitorous acts and severely damaged the interests of the United States would be included in the nominations for the award, the controversy over Manning’s case obscures the truly lamentable figure the young man makes as a liberal icon.
Learning to Love Big Brotherhood by Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: The Muslim Brotherhood is not a supporter of foreign funded regime change, unless it’s a foreign funded regime change that brings them to power. When the Brotherhood is wielding absolute power, then IRI activists won’t merely be prevented from leaving the country, they’ll be put on trial and face the death penalty, like Amir Mirzaei Hekmati in Iran or they’ll be attacked in public like Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh, a splinter Brotherhood candidate.
The Vicious Cycle of Western Apologies and Muslim Violence by Bruce Bawer
Excerpt: And the next thing you know, large numbers of people have been killed, Western embassies have been vandalized, mischief and mayhem of every imaginable kind has taken place. And meanwhile, the air is thick with apologies. Not, of course, apologies by Muslim leaders for the primitive, brutal, and murderous conduct of their coreligionists, but apologies by Western leaders because somebody, somewhere, drew a picture or destroyed a book.
Pamphlet By Maldivian Islamist Party That Triggered Coup Against Reformist President Nasheed: 'No Law Contrary to Islam Can Be Enacted in the Maldives'; Government Taught 'Good Things About the Jews'
Excerpt: The document accused the Nasheed government of supporting Western governments in international forums, and claimed that it was teaching "good things about the Jews." Mohamed Nasheed headed the first elected democratic government of the Maldives, a group of islands situated about 400 km southwest of India. (Well, you can laugh, but if some third world backwater gets away with teaching good things about the Jews, Obama might try it. Where would we be then? ~Bob.)
Father tries to set 23-year-old daughter alight
Excerpt: Le Parisien newspaper reported that the man sprayed teargas in the young woman's face and then covered her in petrol on Saturday evening. The father was apparently annoyed that the woman planned to go out with a group of friends that evening and considered her "too emancipated". The newspaper quoted a source describing him as a "Muslim fundamentalist." (Accidentally burning Qur'ans that have been defaced by Muslim terrorists using them to further murder? Outrage, riots and murder. Burning your own daughter? Not so much. ~Bob.)
With Panetta facing Senate panel, new questions on Afghan future
Excerpt: The murder of two U.S. officers inside the Interior Ministry in Kabul by an Afghan soldier over the weekend is raising new questions about the Obama administration’s ability to implement its strategy in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is sure to face tough questions on the U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan when he testifies Tuesday morning before the Senate Budget Committee.
Syrian activists: 64 bodies found near Homs in one of the worst mass killings
Excerpt: The bodies of dozens of men were found dumped on wasteland on the outskirts of the stricken city of Homs on Monday in what appeared to be one of the worst instances of mass killing since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began last March. (Assad seems to have learned the lesson from Egypt and Libya that you hold on at any cost or you die. ~Bob.)
Democrats target likely veep pick Sen. Rubio
Excerpt: Democrats have started to wage a political assault against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and the intensity of their attacks will intensify in the coming weeks. Senior officials in the Democratic Party anticipate that Mitt Romney will win the Republican presidential nomination and then tap Rubio to be his running mate.
Worth Reading: Shariah's threat to civil rights By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
Excerpt: What is going on in country after country, in international forums such as the United Nations Human Rights Council and even in some American courts, is a calculated effort, backed by terrifying violence or its threat, to make us "feel subdued," as the Koran puts it. The idea is to use Western sensibilities and civil liberties - notably, respect for the free practice of religion - to deny the rest of us our fundamental freedoms. These include the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and, yes, freedom of religion.
French election: Hollande wants 75% tax on top earners
Excerpt: The Socialist favourite in France's presidential election, Francois Hollande, has said top earners should pay 75% of their income in tax. "Above 1m euros [£847,000; $1.3m], the tax rate should be 75% because it's not possible to have that level of income," he said. (Good news for us. If it passes, the French economy will decline and we can attract wealthy, high-productivity Frenchmen to the US to contribute to our economy. Bono talks about helping the poor, but does he pay high Irish taxes? ~Bob.)
Sudan rebels say border battle killed 150 troops
Excerpt: Sudanese rebels said Tuesday they killed 150 government soldiers along the disputed border with South Sudan in a battle that prompted Khartoum to threaten retaliation against the newly independent state. Sudan's military denied the casualty toll and said it had killed a "huge number" of rebels, but gave no figure.
Excerpt: It's no secret that most Democratic strategists consider Mitt Romney the GOP contender who poses the biggest threat to President Obama. It's also no secret that Michigan, the state where Romney grew up, is a must win for him. Combine those two dynamics, add in the fact that any registered voter is allowed to vote in Michigan's open primary, and you get a recipe for Democrats to make mischief.
How Chrysler Can Actually Help Detroit
Excerpt: Did you know that there are no Volkswagen manufacturing plants in the Detroit area? Or Mercedes-Benz? Or Kia? Or Hyundai? Or BMW, for that matter? The Motor City has a well-earned reputation for having the greatest auto workers in the nation, yet honorable Michiganders largely build cars for only three companies. Apart from having their cars assembled in Michigan, it turns out that those three companies have something else in common: the United Auto Workers union (UAW). It also turns out that every other car manufacturer has something in common, too: not wanting the UAW to do to them what it did to the Big Three.
Why I am so rude to Warmists
Excerpt: The reason this cant phrase makes me want to throw up every time I hear it is that it's such a grotesque inversion of reality. It's not people on my side of the debate who want to ravage the countryside with wind farms (with no provision for decommissioning them), rein in economic growth, introduce wartime-style rationing, raise taxes, destroy farmland and rainforests to create biofuels, and base heinously expensive public policy on hysteria and junk science. It's not people on my side of the debate who are condemning those "future generations" to a lower standard of living and an uglier environment in order to deal with a problem that doesn't exist. So how dare they have the gall to try to take the moral high ground?
State and Local Pension Plans: Funding Status, Asset Management, and a Look Ahead by Jagadeesh Gokhale
Excerpt: State and local employee pension plans, which are primarily defined benefit plans, have come under increased scrutiny of late. Plan funding conditions have worsened during the early years of the 21st century, especially during the aftermath of the post-2007 recession. But the patterns of financial changes vary considerably across the U.S. states and under alternative ways of measuring plan funded status. Much of the worsening in plan funding conditions between 2001and 2009 occurred in states with initially well-funded pension plans. Much of the blame for this must be placed on the illogical accounting standards set by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), which allow plan managers to discount accrued pension liabilities at rates of return expected on plan asset portfolios.
Israel Won't Warn U.S. Before Strike On Iran: AP Source
Excerpt: Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike is necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel's potential attack. The U.S. has been working with the Israelis for months to persuade them that an attack would be only a temporary setback to Iran's nuclear program. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivered the message to a series of top-level U.S. visitors to the country, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House national security adviser and the director of national intelligence, and top U.S. lawmakers, all trying to close the trust gap between Israel and the U.S. over how to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions. (BS! If I was the Israelis, I wouldn’t tell us anything, either. They don’t DARE tell us ahead of time or it’ll be all over the news. Notice the source for THIS very story is anonymous “to discuss sensitive strategic negotiations.” In other words, it is probably illegal for him/her to talk about it. In the old days, we called that “espionage,” and hung those doing it. Now, we give them Pulitzer Prizes and/or political promotions. Perhaps they can use those prizes to decorate the graves of the poor beggars they’ve killed by exposing operational intel. Ron P.)
Five Things Children Know That Liberals Have Forgotten
Excerpt: This is not a lesson liberals seem to have ever learned because their thinking is, "If it's a 'good idea,' then it should be funded, regardless of what it costs, regardless of whether it's worth the money." It's like liberals start with the assumption that we have infinite money and if anyone opposes spending for any reason, it must be because he’s "mean." Did you know we actually have a higher debt load per person than Greece ($44,215 vs. $39,000), a nation that's only being saved from default because richer countries are paying its bills? (I live in a state with a large liberal majority. I don’t think they’ve “forgotten” these things, I think they’ve refused to “know them” to begin with. Ron P.)
Afghanistan; Understandable rage or Unacceptable Travesty?
Excerpt: There have been many in the media, in politics and in the upper echelons of our military structure who have been “grappling” with this question; at least they would like you to believe that. The fact is those who seem to be trying to make sense of the events which unfolded in the wake of the revelation that certain “holy books” were treated disrespectfully, by American Service members, arrived at their “understanding” long before these events occurred.
Gas prices up, Obama wrongly attacks critics again: Americans are simply not getting fact-based leadership and good judgment from President Barack Obama.
Excerpt: When Barack Obama assumed the U.S. presidency, gas prices were less than $2 a gallon. He proceeded to shut down deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, tightened federal restrictions on petroleum development and vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline. Now, even with Americans driving not a lot more than three years ago and global growth slowing, gas is nearing $4 a gallon.
Excerpt: And more drilling plans are rejected than ever. The five-year average had been 73.4 percent approval; now it’s down to only 34 percent of drilling plans approved. (Remember at the pump—and in November. ~Bob.)
Excerpt: Today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its annual report addressing duplication and areas for costs savings throughout the federal government.
Durable Goods Orders in U.S. Slump 4%, Most in Three Years
Excerpt: Orders for U.S. durable goods fell in January by the most in three years, led by a slowdown in demand for commercial aircraft and business equipment.
Police dismantle Occupy London camp
Excerpt: Hundreds of police in riot gear staged an early morning raid Tuesday to clear Occupy protesters from a campsite outside London's St Paul's Cathedral, activists said.
Just after midnight local time (GMT) officers accompanied by bailiffs converged on the camp, which was home to around 70 activists, Occupy London organizers told CNN.
Worth Reading: President Obama: “America is back!” Guess again: More than 40% of Americans aren’t working.
Excerpt: The employment/population ratio compiled by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (see http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000) may provide a better indicator of our economic health and its political impact. This number is the percent of Americans 16 and older who are employed. Right now, that number is 58.5%. That’s right, fewer than six-in-ten Americans who are eligible to work are actually working. More than four-in-ten are not. (scary chart. ~Bob.)
Tim Hawkins - The Government Can
Too funny. But too true. ~Bob.
Fairness: Huge Majority of Voters Want Lower Taxes for the Rich by Guy Benson
Excerpt: An exquisitely delicious data set, courtesy of The Hill's polling team. … Here's how it will go: President Obama will roll up his sleeves (this is how we know he's connecting with the common man, you see) during taxpayer-funded campaign stops and invoke his "fair share" talking points. … The big majority opted for a lower tax bill when asked to choose specific rates; precisely 75 percent said the right level for top earners was 30 percent or below.
Excerpt: My son Blake made this para cord Cross while deployed and it was found in his pocket when his body arrived at Dover AFB
Everything you need to know about the power of economic freedom in 3 charts By James Pethokoukis
Excerpt: The West was quite poor heading into the 1700s and then it got richer. A lot richer. Real fast. Its embrace of economic freedom and creative destruction and both legally and culturally — what economist Deirdre McCloskey calls the idea of bourgeois dignity and liberty — led to a rise in real income per head in 2010 prices from about $2-3 a day in 1800 worldwide to over $100 today.
The Work Ethic and U.S. Unemployment
Excerpt: Consider, for instance, developing an official policy banning "foul language." The words and expressions must be specified (including non-English ones), permissible level would be listed (perhaps so many obscenities per day or a point system depending on offensiveness), and then records must be kept of all cursing, swearing, and vulgarities for all employees so as to justify a termination for "too much" bad language. Similar rules must then be formulated for each required work ethic trait and perhaps adjusted for specific tasks (for example, sales jobs may require higher grooming and language standards). (Not to make light of a serious problem, it isn’t often we find an article that says the unsay-able with a sense of humor. In my experience in the convenience retail field, even when hiring only the best to apply, the greatest challenge was simply finding employees who would show up for the hours they had agreed and expected to work; competence was an unexpected bonus. 90+% of new hires were eligible for a tax credit to the company, IF they survived six months; few lasted that long. They viewed us as offering “throw-away jobs;” is it any wonder we sometimes viewed them as “throw-away employees?” Sadly, we figured (conservatively) that it cost the company, on average, about $400 to train ONE part-time employee, and it took (again, conservatively) about three months of employment to recoup that expense (don’t even ask about management candidates). Does this help explain why the C-store employee you saw the other day was born somewhere else—or else wasn’t paying attention to you? Ron P.)
Fighting drugs and border violence at Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument: What about the ranger’s M14 rifle, Yogi?
Excerpt: Since 2009, the park has offered van tours to the springs, as long as rangers armed with assault rifles go along to protect the visitors. Now, ten years after Eggle's murder, the park's leadership has decided to open up a portion of the closed areas to the public in March, citing improved safety conditions and a big increase in Border Patrol agents in the area. (See, if you’re an American and think you should be able to enjoy an American national monument, you’re racist. ~Bob.)
‘Your Call Is Very Important To Us’ — Why Else Would We Place You on Hold for 30 Minutes?: Five invaluable tips to prevent call center derangement syndrome
Excerpt: Few statements are more ludicrous, or more insulting to our individual and collective intelligence, than the cloyingly ubiquitous, “Your call is very important to us.”
No, actually, it’s not. If our calls were even remotely important to you, you’d hire more people to answer our very important calls. They aren’t and you don’t. (One of my pet peeves. When you call the non-profit I manage during work hours, a real person usually answers. Yes, with only six people, we can have too many out or tied up, but we try for live answer. ~Bob.)
WikiLeaks: Chavez could die within a year
Excerpt: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may have less than a year to live and his condition is "very serious," reports the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting citing a memo released by WikiLeaks. (I wonder if his Jihadist pals will cut him in on the virgins? ~Bob.)
Mark Levin’s EPIC Apology to the Troops for President Obama
Feds allege largest-ever Medicare scam by single doctor
Excerpt: A Texas doctor and five owners of home health agencies were arrested today on charges that they are part of a nearly $375 million fraudulent home health-care ring that authorities say is the largest such case ever against a single doctor. The doctor, Jacques Roy, 54, of Rockwall, Tex., was charged in an indictment with masterminding a Medicare fraud conspiracy over the past five years. (In addition to prison and other penalties, anyone convicted of Medicare fraud should never be able to draw a dollar from any government program, including Social Security, ever again. ~Bob.)
Equality or Inequality by Walter Williams
Excerpt: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Asian men and women earn more than white men and women. Female cafeteria attendants earn more than their male counterparts. Females who are younger than 30 and have never been married earn salaries 8 percent higher than males of the same description. (What? Hold people responsible for their lifestyle choices? Why, that’s, that’s, uh, simply barbaric! Mean, even! Or at least that’s what they want us to think. Ron P.)
Regulators to require rearview cameras in all new cars by 2014
Excerpt: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to send its final version of the proposed regulation to Congress on Wednesday, after first proposing the rule change in 2010. (…) In a draft paper, regulators said it would cost automakers between $160 and $200 to install the cameras and viewing screens in each new vehicle -- as much as $2.7 billion per year overall. (Although presented as if those rich auto companies are going to be stuck for the $2.7B, who do you suppose will actually have to bear the cost of this every time we buy a new car? If it’s such a good idea, the market would’ve gotten there by itself by simple competition. And, we’d have been glad to pay for it. Instead, the nanny-state will order it for us—at our expense. Be sure to eat all of your broccoli; it’s good for you. No doubt, this is also interstate commerce, just like healthcare. Ron P.)
Robert A. Hall