Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.
His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Mr. Nimoy announced that he had the disease last year, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.
His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).
Luckily, our crack secretary of state, the Vietnam-era turncoat John Kerry, has assured us that Americans have never been safer, so this just must be one of those right-wing scare tactics we’re hearing so much about lately:
The Transportation Security Administration said it is unlikely to detect and unable to extinguish what an FBI report called “the greatest potential incendiary threat to aviation,” according to a classified document obtained by The Intercept. Yet despite that warning, sources said TSA is not adequately preparing to respond to the threat.
Thermite — a mixture of rust and aluminum powder — could be used against a commercial aircraft, TSA warned in a Dec. 2014 document, marked secret [PDF here]. “The ignition of a thermite-based incendiary device on an aircraft at altitude could result in catastrophic damage and the death of every person onboard,” the advisory said.
TSA said it is unlikely to spot an easy-to-assemble thermite-based incendiary device during security screening procedures, and the use of currently available extinguishers carried on aircrafts would create a violent reaction. The TSA warning is based on FBI testing done in 2011, and a subsequent report.
A thermite device, though difficult to ignite, would “produce toxic gasses, which can act as nerve poison, as well as a thick black smoke that will significantly inhibit any potential for in-flight safety officers to address the burn.”
No, really, John Kerry just said… oh, wait a minute. What’s that again, Mr. Clapper?
When the final accounting is done. 2014 will be the most lethal year in global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled. About half of all attacks including fatalities in 2014 occurred in just three countries, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Despite the Federal Communications Commission’s historic vote Thursday in favor of net neutrality, the fate of the Internet is far from settled. The FCC’s action triggered jubilation among open Internet enthusiasts, but the powerful telecom industry is poised for a legal challenge to the new rules. And Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation that would supersede the FCC’s approach.
In a 3-2 vote along party lines, the FCC acted to implement net neutrality rules designed to ensure that Internet service providers (ISPs) treat all legal content equally, eliciting howls of protest from the ISPs.
Responding to the outcome with mockery and defiance, Verizon dismissed the new guidelines, which are based on a 1934 law, as a set of rules “written in the era of the steam locomotive and the telegraph.” And in a clever PR gambit that was shared widely on social media, the company issued statements opposing the FCC action written with a typewriter in Morse code.
Remember that the FCC is a creature of Congress and Congress could abolish it tomorrow should it wish to. Of course, it won’t. Because what is more permanent than the legacy of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration? For Democrats, the New Deal is far more important than the Mosaic Law.
AT&T raised the prospect of court challenges that would block the FCC from enforcing the rules. “We once again face the uncertainty of litigation, and the very real potential of having to start over — again — in the future,” said Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president external and legislative affairs, in a statement.The FCC’s previous net neutrality rules were thrown out by a federal court last year.
That won’t stop these devils from trying until they get what they want, however.
Fox News host Greg Gutfeld will be developing a new weekend program for the cable news network with a bit of an edge to it, with a “whimsical nature and political satire.”
Fox announced the new show for Gutfeld, currently in development, in a press release today. Fox News EVP of Programming Bill Shine said, “We are confident that Gutfeld’s distinct perspective and knack for humor will start a valuable dialogue and be a refreshing addition to the weekend line-up.” The show, Fox says, will “focus on his strong libertarian values and social commentary.”
However, this new role for Gutfeld means he will be leaving Red Eye, the late night Fox show he’s hosted since 2007. Fox News says “a variety of rotating guest hosts” will fill in during the transition period. Gutfeld will continue to co-host The Five and regularly appear on The O’Reilly Factor.
Good for Greg. He’s a good guy and deserves the widest possible audience.
The nuns warned us it would eventually come to this. Welcome to the world the satanic Left is building for your children:
Open House is a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderfuck, Polyamourous, Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities. The goals of Open House include generating interest in a celebration of queer life from the social to the political to the academic. Open House works to create a Wesleyan community that appreciates the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality.
And in case sadism and masochism aren’t dangerous enough, the university, located in central Connecticut, offers this warning:
Lead Paint Disclosure: Housing built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Lead from paint, paint chips, and dust can pose health hazards if not taken care of properly. Lead exposure is especially harmful to young children and pregnant women.
Glad we got that, er, straight.
Who doesn’t love a love story like this? But remember, while you’re reading it, that these are the faces of a vanishing America, demonized at every turn by the satanic Left as exemplars of “white privilege.” For this, they fought for their country?
A California couple, married 67 years, died hours apart while holding hands this month, their daughter said on Thursday. Floyd Hartwig, 90, and wife Violet, 89, died on Feb. 11 in their home in Easton, California, outside Fresno, their family said.
The couple had known each other since they were children and married in 1947 while Floyd was on leave from the Navy, going on to settle in a ranch in Easton.”They enjoyed working side by side their entire lives,” said daughter Donna Scharton. “They were very loving. Very hard-working. Not into materialistic things.”
Each had battled illnesses in recent years. Violet had dementia and had suffered strokes. Floyd, who survived bladder and colon cancer, had been diagnosed with kidney failure, family said. Floyd and Violet had been given hospice care in the last weeks of their lives, and with the end near, family members pushed their beds together, Scharton said.
Floyd died first, holding Violet’s hand. She passed away five hours later, she said.
God bless these two. The world of “fundamental transformation” they’ve just departed will be a meaner, poorer, nastier place.
Barry is not about to let a little pissant federal judge in Texas stop him from “fundamental transformation” of the American ethnic makeup, nos
A confident President Obama said Wednesday he won’t be stopped by “one federal judge,” telling a Miami crowd he’ll move ahead with his controversial executive action on immigration and vowing his administration will become even more aggressive in the weeks and months to come.
At a town hall meeting hosted by Telemundo and MSNBC, the president also threatened to veto GOP-backed legislation that would undo his immigration action. That measure is expected to come up for a vote later this week.
Mr. Obama took executive steps last year to halt deportations for millions of illegal immigrants, but a federal judge last week blocked the amnesty program, ruling that the president overstepped his authority. The administration is appealing that decision, and, in the meantime, Mr. Obama gave no indication that he intends to slow his unilateral immigration-reform agenda because of the court ruling.
These last two years of the Obama administration are going to be hell on earth.
Obamacare: the gift that keeps on spreading misery wherever it goes:
Taxpayers are already telling their accountants they plan to stiff the IRS on the Obamacare tax, saying they figure the chances the agency comes after them for a few hundred bucks are pretty slim, and it makes sense to take the risk. Still other taxpayers are recoiling when they find out they owe far more than the $95 minimum penalty for not having insurance in 2014, said Christopher Wittich, an accountant in Minnesota.
“And that’s a big problem for them,” he said. “They don’t have 200 bucks.”
Taxpayers are facing the first round of penalties under Obamacare’s “individual mandate,” which requires most Americans to prove they have health insurance coverage or else pay the tax that the Supreme Court ruled made the law constitutional. But Indiana accountant Scott Frick said one of his clients, told he would have to fork over $850 for going without insurance last year, thought about the IRS and decided not to pay, just to “see what happens.”
The episodes raise questions for the revenue agency, which is trying to figure out just how far it’s prepared to go to collect the Obamacare tax — and if future administrations will enforce it at all.
This kluge is such a monstrous, deliberate evil — fraudulently conceived and fraudulently perpetrated — that every Democrat who had anything to do with it belongs in jail. You can bet millions of Americans will be telling the IRS to take their penalty and shove it come tax time.
The biggest showman in America, Donald Trump, is making his usual quadrennial noises about running for president:
This time, Donald J. Trump says, he really means it. The billionaire real-estate mogul, who has long amounted to a one-man sideshow in GOP presidential politics, said in an interview Wednesday that he is “more serious” than ever about pursuing a run for the White House in 2016.
In recent days, Trump said, he has hired staffers in key primary states, retained an election attorney and delayed signing on for another season as host of NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” because of his political projects. “Everybody feels I’m doing this just to have fun or because it’s good for the brand,” Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post. “Well, it’s not fun. I’m not doing this for enjoyment. I’m doing this because the country is in serious trouble.”
The moves are the most significant steps yet by Trump, 68, toward a bona fide presidential bid, which he considered briefly and flamboyantly in 2011 before deciding against a run. The looming question, however, is whether he can convince Republicans that he is more than a celebrity bomb-thrower and instead is sincere in his consideration of a campaign.
I think we already know the answer to that. Meanwhile, here’s some exclusive kampaign video:
This can’t be true, can it?
Earlier this month, New Yorkers watched an inferno tear through a warehouse full of old government records from the bygone paper era. Many probably felt relief in thinking that such records are now often digitized and therefore not at risk of being accidentally incinerated. Yet as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is showing this week, many records are vulnerable to another form of destruction: deliberate deletion.
In a memo obtained by Capital New York, Cuomo officials announced that mass purging of email records is beginning across several state government agencies. The timing of the announcement, which followed through on a 2013 proposal, is worth noting: The large-scale destruction of state documents will be happening in the middle of a sprawling federal investigation of public corruption in Albany. That investigation has been looking at state legislators and the Cuomo administration.
Cuomo’s move to purge state emails follows a similar move he made as state Attorney General. International Business Times confirmed that in 2007, he put in place a mass deletion policy for emails in the New York Attorney General’s office that were more than 90 days old, making it difficult for the public to know how — or whether — his office investigated bank fraud in the lead-up to the financial crisis of 2008. In the Cuomo administration’s announcement this week, the governor’s chief information officer, Maggie Miller, justified the new email purge as a cost-saving measure aimed at “making government work better.”
But former prosecutors and open-government advocates interviewed by IBTimes say the move seems designed to hide information.
No kidding! But it’s all par for the course for America’s most brazenly thuggish governor. His presidential hopes may be going up in smoke, and the U.S. attorney is hot on his heels, but by God this gangster isn’t going down without a fight. You can practically hear him snarling, “Come and get me, coppers!”
Here’s how Hollywood imaged the last days of the Cuomo administration inside the governor’s mansion in Albany:
Poor Washington Post hack Dana Milbank can’t stop frothing at the mouth over the perceived threat Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker poses to his profession, his party and his president. But give the poor guy a break: the Obama administration will finally be over in less than two years and then what are DNC operatives like Milbank going to do?
Here’s Milbank at a recent television appearance, explaining why he’s so passionate about defending Barry’s honor as a patriot and a Christian:
The latest entry in the Scott Walker Media Deracination Sweepstakes comes from a nasty piece of work named John Cassidy in the New Yorker:
Let’s stipulate up front that Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, is an odious politician whose ascension to the Presidency would be a disaster.
With a lede like that, you know you’re in the presence of a True Believer whose President Precious has just been attacked by… somebody, somewhere, somehow. And he doesn’t like it one bit; in fact, it frightens him.
Set aside, for a moment, his repeated refusal, in the past few days, to say whether he believes that President Obama loves America, or whether he believes that the President is a Christian, and look instead at Walker’s record running what used to be one of America’s more progressive states. Having cut taxes for the wealthy and stripped many of Wisconsin’s public-sector unions of their collective-bargaining rights, he is now preparing to sign a legislative bill that would cripple unions in the private sector. Many wealthy conservatives, such as the Koch brothers, who have funnelled a lot of money to groups supporting Walker, regard him as someone who’s turning his state into a showcase for what they want the rest of America to look like.
But just how threatening is he? If you’ve been following the political news during the past week, you may well have the impression that he’s stumbling in his campaign for the 2016 G.O.P. nomination. Among the political commentariat, the consensus of opinion is that Walker’s repeated refusal to distance himself from Rudy Giuliani’s incendiary comments about Obama, and his subsequent encounter with the Washington Post’s Dan Balz and Robert Costa, during which he appeared to question Obama’s religious faith and took some shots at the media for asking him silly questions, weren’t merely reprehensible: they were serious gaffes that raised questions about Walker’s political abilities…
Rather than deflecting the reporters’ queries about Obama’s beliefs, as other Republicans had done, Walker used them to send a none-too-subtle message to Republican voters. His refusal to say whether Obama was a Christian wasn’t merely a shot at a hostile media. As Dana Milbank, of the Washington Post noted, it allowed Walker to “wink and nod at the far-right fringe where people really believe that Obama is a Muslim from Kenya who hates America.” Milbank also wrote that Walker was “refusing to grant his opponent legitimacy as an American and a Christian.”
In a more just world, Walker’s indecent and craven antics would disqualify him from playing any further role in the Presidential race. But in the current political environment, his tactics, far from hurting him, may well bolster a candidacy that is already thriving.
Surely this man Cassidy is insane. What other explanation can there be? But if Scott Walker can make the Left foam at the mouth by the simple act of not answering a stupid question to which there is no answer anyway, he’s my kind of guy.
Importing Somalis — among the most troubled and troublesome people in the world — to Minnesota, that is:
The State Department has helped to relocate tens of thousands of refugees from the war-torn African nation of Somalia to Minnesota, where they can take advantage of some of America’s most generous welfare and charity programs. But the effort is having the unintended consequence of creating an enclave of immigrants with high unemployment that is both stressing the state’s safety net and creating a rich pool of potential recruiting targets for Islamist terror groups.
In the fiscal year that ended in September, Minnesota welcomed 1,118 Somali refugees arriving directly from Africa, most of them without family ties to the state, according to State Department statistics. Overall, more than 30,000 Somalis live in the midwestern state comprising the nation’s largest concentration of Somali immigrants, according to U.S. Census data.
Many of the refugees settle near the Twin Cities, with Minneapolis being dubbed “Little Mogadishu” after the capital of Somalia. This population is also being targeted by Islamist terror organizations like the Islamic State and al-Shabab, a Somalia-based group with links to al Qaeda, according to U.S. officials.
Among Minnesota-based Somali-Americans, American converts to Islam or Somali refugees, there have been numerous convictions for various levels of collaboration with Islamist terror groups, plus reports of fighting with al-Shabab or other Islamist groups.
Who was it who said “the Constitution is not a suicide pact”? (Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson.) Neither is Christian charity. The Scandinavians of Minnesota will have as much opportunity to regret this as their cousins back home in Sweden and Norway do today.
On Sunday, al-Shabab made a propaganda video warning of an attack on shopping malls around the world, including the Mall of America in Minnesota. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the terror attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya two years ago, which left 67 dead.
“We have definitely seen targeted terror recruitment videos, videos aimed and targeted directly at the youth here in Minnesota primarily within the Somali community,” said Kyle Loven, an FBI spokesman in Minneapolis. “They’re going after disaffected youth — those who are isolated. We can’t get into specifics, but we’ve been involved in major investigations since 2007 and continue to be.”
Wow. Just wow.
… as Col. Kurtz says in Heart of Darkness. Even the most abject apologists for militant Islam — President Precious, take a bow! — must sooner or later face the fact that by defending Islam they are advocating the destruction of Western civilization. This is not a civil-rights issue (the only kind of issue the Left seems to be able to understand) but a war of culture vs. barbarism. Latest case in point:
Isis militants have reportedly ransacked Mosul library, burning over a hundred thousand rare manuscripts and documents spanning centuries of human learning. Initial reports said approximately 8,000 books were destroyed by the extremist group. However, AL RAI’s chief international correspondent Elijah J. Magnier told The Independent that a Mosul library official believes as many as 112, 709 manuscripts and books, some of which were registered on a UNESCO rarities list, are among those lost.
Mosul Public Library’s director Ghanim al-Ta’an said Isis militants then demolished the building using explosive devices. “People tried to prevent the terrorist group elements from burning the library, but failed,” a local source told IraqiNews.com. Other reports indicated that Isis militants later broke into the library and constructed a huge pyre of scientific and cultural texts as university students watched in horror. Among the documents believed lost are a collection of Iraqi newspapers from the beginning of the 20 century, maps, books and collections from the Ottoman period.
Weren’t the Bamiyan Buddhas enough? Away with these satanic savages. Anyone in the West who cares about art, culture, music, learning — and that should include most, if not all, liberals and progressives — needs to make sure these people are destroyed. There is no other way. As we’ll eventually find out anyway, like it or not.
This is lush, green private island is on the market for less than the average UK home price. Inishdooey Island, off the northwest of Northern Ireland, is part of a string of four islands and boasts 94 acres of uninhabited land.
It lies three miles off the mainland of County Donegal and includes a stunning freshwater pond, tunnel caves and, of course, pebble beaches. There are no buildings on the island, which is only accessible by boat or helicopter when weather conditions are suitable.
The island is currently on sale with a guide price of £140,000 – around £50,000 lower than the average home price in the UK. Pedro Arez of Vladi Private Islands, who have listed the island, said, ‘This is a very exciting private island. ’It’s in a very remote area and can only be accessed by boat or helicopter when the weather conditions are right.
‘It contains the ruins of old buildings and a freshwater pond which is perfect for people wanting to keep livestock on the island. Nature lovers will feel right at home on Inishdooey Island. People who travel to the island will have a real adventure.’
Sound romantic? Might want to think again. Irish islands in the Atlantic were generally occupied by hermits and other crazy people. The wind is brutal, the rain nearly incessant and as far as getting back and forth the mainland, forget about it — why do you think hermits lived there in the first place? On the other hand, it is Ireland.
Still, you might want to watch The Wicker Man before you make a down payment, just so you know what you might be getting into with this remote island thing…
Hitler, in the form of Mein Kampf (My Jihad, er, Struggle), which will once again be legally for sale in Germany:
The book that once served as a kind of Nazi bible, banned from domestic reprints since the end of World War II, will soon be returning to German bookstores from the Alps to the Baltic Sea.
The prohibition on reissue for years was upheld by the state of Bavaria, which owns the German copyright and legally blocked attempts to duplicate it. But those rights expire in December, and the first new print run here since Hitler’s death is due out early next year. The new edition is a heavily annotated volume in its original German that is stirring an impassioned debate over history, anti-Semitism and the latent power of the written word.
Following the war, there has been a complete ban on Nazi regalia, mementos, etc., in Germany (not that there aren’t plenty of secret rooms filled with souvenirs of the Thousand-Year-Reich in private homes). Now the most notorious book of the 20th-century will be back on the shelves:
The book’s reissue, to the chagrin of critics, is effectively being financed by German taxpayers, who fund the historical society that is producing and publishing the new edition. Rather than a how-to guidebook for the aspiring fascist, the new reprint, the group said this month, will instead be a vital academic tool, a 2,000-page volume packed with more criticisms and analysis than the original text.
Still, opponents are aghast, in part because the book is coming out at a time of rising anti-Semitism in Europe and as the English and other foreign-language versions of “Mein Kampf” — unhindered by the German copyrights — are in the midst of a global renaissance.
“I am absolutely against the publication of ‘Mein Kampf,’ even with annotations. Can you annotate the Devil? Can you annotate a person like Hitler?” said Levi Salomon, spokesman for the Berlin-based Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism. “This book is outside of human logic.”
I beg to differ. The real horror of the National Socialist state was that it was entirely all too human and, by its own lights, eminently logical. That it seduced the most civilized nation in Europe is to Germany’s eternal shame. But hiding Hitler’s turgid, soporific prose (especially in German; the English translations are actually marginally better, literarily) does nobody any good: sunlight really is the best disinfectant.
My colleague, Bridget Johnson, just beat me to the punch on this one, but still a few things are worth adding. Such as: what the hell is wrong with these people? Are they psychotic? Or simply typical Democrats, i.e. habitual liars?
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald apologized Monday for misstating that he served in the military’s special forces. McDonald made the erroneous claim while speaking to a homeless veteran during a segment that aired last month on “CBS Evening News.”
In a statement released Monday by the VA, McDonald said: “While I was in Los Angeles, engaging a homeless individual to determine his veteran status, I asked the man where he had served in the military. He responded that he had served in special forces. I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.”
The VA website says McDonald is an Army veteran who served with the 82nd Airborne Division. The Huffington Post website, which first reported on McDonald’s mistake, noted Monday that the 82nd is not considered part of special forces.
I’m calling B.S. on this one, big time. How do you “incorrectly state” you were in the special forces? You don’t. You lie. You lie the same way your boss, Obama, does in just about everything he says. You lie because there is no downside to your lying. You get to keep your cushy job. A day or two passes and the storm blows over; it’s just another one of those, “they all do it” stories. You get away with it.
This is how a republic dies. And the rot starts from the top.
Um, that would be the Pentagon:
The Pentagon let slip that one of its training camps to help fight Islamic State terrorists is in Jordan — information the pro-U.S. kingdom had specifically requested be kept private, and the latest gaffe in a series of sensitive leaks coming out of the Department of Defense. In order to hide its flub, which was first announced to reporters during a briefing last week, the Pentagon has scrubbed its public transcripts of any mention of the training camp.
Pentagon officials acknowledged Monday that one of its officers, who was briefing reporters on condition of anonymity last week, likely made the mistake. The Pentagon’s policy is to discuss only the contributions its partner nations are making to its operations against extremists in Iraq and Syria only after those partner nations have publicly spoken about those contributions.
Looks like the new man at DoD, Ashton Carter, has his work cut out for him, right after he ID’s this creepy perv pawing his wife:
One guess… right! Keith Olbermann, everybody’s favorite nasty Lefty. Did you know he was back at ESPN? Me, neither:
Keith Olbermann has been taken off his ESPN show for the rest of the week after making insulting comments about Penn State students on Twitter. On Monday, a Penn State alum tweeted to Olbermann the phrase “We Are!” and a link to an article about students raising more than $13 million to fight pediatric cancer. Olbermann replied “…Pitiful.”
Olbermann, who often spars with commenters on Twitter, then refused to back down, saying he was referring to Penn State students in general and not the fundraising. On Tuesday, ESPN said in a statement that “it was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the views of ESPN. We have discussed it with Keith, who recognizes he was wrong.”
Olbermann also apologized on Twitter, saying, “I was stupid and childish and way less mature than the students there who did such a great fundraising job.”
Talk about a guy who’s long past his sell-by date. He hasn’t been either funny or entertaining since the Dan Patrick days.
That would be the daughter of Barack Hussein Obama’s spiritual mentor and the man who “baptized” him into whichever variation of “Christianity” the president currently claims to adhere:
Jeri L. Wright, the daughter of President Barack Obama’s controversial former pastor, was headed to jail Monday after a judge revoked a deal that allowed her to remain free as she awaits sentencing on a money-laundering conviction.
U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough ruled there was probable cause to believe Wright committed a separate theft while on bail, thereby violating terms of her supervised release, according to Sharon Paul, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Central District of Illinois. The judge ordered Wright, who appeared in court in Springfield, to be taken into custody by U.S. marshals.
Wright, 49, of Hazel Crest, is the daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Chicago minister known nationwide for the controversy his sermons created for Obama in the 2008 presidential election. Last March, Jeri Wright was found guilty of money-laundering, lying to federal investigators and lying to a grand jury over her role in a state grant-fraud scheme orchestrated by one of her childhood friends, former Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans.
Prosecutors now say Wright was taking part in another scheme — this one involving ghost payrolling — even as she was standing trial.
“Money-laundering” and “lying” don’t sound very Christian to me, but what do I know, I’m Catholic. Really, you can’t make this stuff up.
The world’s most useless government bureaucracy (and the competition is stiff) has got to be the Department of Homeland Security. From its creepy name to its kluge of ill-fitting departments, this panicked overreaction to 9/11 is a disgrace to America. Now someone’s finally making the case against it:
Congressional Republicans are once again holding the government hostage against a budget authorization bill, this time threatening to put the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into furlough. Maybe it’s time to call them on their bluff and go one step further: Let’s shut down the DHS. The agency is no longer relevant in an age where cyberterrorism may be the new normal, and it’s doing the United States more harm than good.
As Ashley Parker at the New York Times reports, obstructionist Republicans are so determined to get their way on immigration policy that they’re willing to let the agency’s funding lapse rather than authorize a bill that includes immigration provisions. “Some House Republicans,” she wrote, “have expressed a willingness to let the agency run out of money.”
And maybe we should. Permanently.
In retrospect, the Bush administration did almost everything wrong after 9/11: it attacked the wrong country (Iraq, instead of Saudi Arabia, which might actually have done some good, global-security-wise), it penalized honest Americans via the horrendous TSA instead of immediately closing the country to all Arabs and Muslims until we could sort them out; and it created a bureaucratic monster that, by definition, was ill-suited for the purpose for which it was allegedly established.
I agree with most of the points in the linked piece, including the fact that DHS’s nearly $40 billion budget is an absurd waste of money, especially on an agency that will not defend the country’s borders in any meaningful fashion. I also agree that law enforcement has become far too militarized (once again, punishing Americans for the crimes of foreigners) and that our surveillance culture is out of control. Where I part company with the author, however, comes with Point 5: “It’s time to end the war on immigrants,” when in fact it’s precisely time to start the war on “immigrants” — by which I mean “invaders” — and also with Point 7: “We need to focus on internal problems,” by which the writer means “domestic terrorism.”
Here’s the argument:
The DHS is an active participant in the war on immigrants in the United States—the very same issue that the president and the House are trying to tackle. Undocumented immigrants of all stripes are being treated like base criminals, from housekeepers trying to send money home to their families to hardened criminals with extensive records. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reports 315,943 “removals” for 2014, including those of people without criminal records.
Meanwhile, close to 450,000 immigrants are held annually across the United States, with many living in substandard, terrible conditions in crowded facilities while waiting for their day in immigration court. It can take months or even years to get to court, and because undocumented immigrants are not citizens, they are not entitled to the legal rights that would make such gross delays in justice a civil rights violation under the law. ICE and related agencies have created a logistical nightmare for the government and a terrifying reality for immigrants, not to mention a wildly expensive immigration tangle; the U.S. spent a reported two billion dollars on immigration detention in 2014.
Tough. If they can’t come here legally, the hell with them. And quoting the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is basically a Leftist hate group, does very little to advance one’s argument. Still, five out of seven ain’t bad.
… and perhaps to the nation’s unaccountable love affair with Viennese Voodoo:
The couches have gone cold on the Upper West Side.
Lying down and talking to a psychoanalyst, a practice once as synonymous with New York City as the street-vendor hot dog, has fallen out of favor thanks to shifting fads, pharmaceuticals and the Internet, experts say.
Of the 3,109 members of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the largest group of its kind in the country, the average shrink age is 66 — up four years since 2003. And shrinks’ average number of active patients on the couch has fallen to 2.75, according to a study of US analysts. Many of those surveyed said they meet with no patients.
One of the greatest intellectual frauds of the 20th century — Freudian analysis — seems to be falling upon hard times, and not a moment too soon. A profession that pretty much defines “quackery” has separated millions of Americans from their time and their money… and for what?
It’s a far cry from the height of Freud mania — with its egos and ids, subconscious, Oedipal conflicts, Freudian slips and death wishes — in the 1950s and 1960s, when everyone and their mothers were in therapy. In those decades, therapists would see between eight and 10 patients a day, according to analysts interviewed.
Analysts now struggle with competition from all manners of self-actualization projects, from yoga/meditation retreats to “The Secret” and, of course, everyone’s nanny and distraction: the iPhone…
“We are living in an age of narcissism. We think we’re so unique, so special, we know it all, we take our selfies,” Upper West Side psychiatrist Sebastian Zimmermann says. “This is very different from the world Freud was dealing with.”
Just how badly did Americans — especially, of course, New Yorkers — fall for this load of pseudo-intellectual codswallop?
At one point in the 1960s, according to Jonathan Engel’s “American Therapy,” there were more analysts on 96th Street and Fifth Avenue than there were in Tennessee, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Delaware, Minnesota and Vermont combined.
But shrinks and their constant excuse-making for bad behavior (root causes!) did give us one unforgettable moment in American musical theater:
Courtesy of the Washington Post, which has clearly decided to start its coverage of Campaign ’16 early this season:
In 1999, Columba Bush, the famously private wife of then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was detained and fined by federal customs officials for misrepresenting the amount of clothing and jewelry she had bought while on a solo five-day shopping spree in Paris. The incident left the Florida first lady deeply mortified and her husband politically chagrined. Jeb Bush said the first lady had misled customs officials because she did not want him to know that she had spent about $19,000 on the trip.
“The embarrassment I felt made me ashamed to face my family and friends,” Columba Bush said in a July 1999 speech to the Central Florida Make-a-Wish Foundation, not long after the incident. “It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life.” The ordeal did not stop her from spending freely, however. Less than a year later, she took out a loan to buy $42,311.70 worth of jewelry on a single day, according to records filed with the state of Florida by Mayors Jewelers.
That purchase was part of a pattern by Columba Bush of borrowing to buy tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry at a time from the South Florida store over a 14-year period. Documentation available online, which does not include the details of two transactions made less than six weeks apart in 1995, shows that she spent a total of more than $90,000 at the store.
What’s the big deal, you say? It’s been clear for decades that we have a government of, by and for the oligarchs. Congress is brimming with millionaires, and even po-boy presidents like Bill Clinton and Hussein can amass large fortunes while in office — and look forward to pots more money thereafter in their “retirement.” And in Jeb Bush’s case, why not trade on both your money and your family name in order to go for the Bush Hat Trick? Never mind that family dynasties are antithetical to the American system (the exceptions of the Adamses and, to a lesser extent, the Roosevelts notwithstanding).
There is no compelling need for a Jeb Bush candidacy, but it seems he is determined to force one upon us anyway — as if his father and his brother weren’t bad enough. Two Bushes and one Romney are more than enough.
The United States and Iran are working on a two-phase deal that clamps down on Tehran’s nuclear program for at least a decade before providing it leeway over the remainder of the agreement to slowly ramp up activities that could be used to make weapons.
A breakthrough was not expected before Kerry returns to Washington later Monday. Still, Western officials familiar with the talks cited long-awaited progress on some elements that would have to go into a comprehensive deal. They described the discussions as a moving target, however, meaning changes in any one area would have repercussions for other parts of the negotiation.
The idea would be to reward Iran for good behavior over the last years of any agreement, gradually lifting constraints on its uranium enrichment program and slowly easing economic sanctions.
Iran says it does not want nuclear arms and needs enrichment only for energy, medical and scientific purposes, but the U.S. fears Tehran could re-engineer the program to another potential use — producing the fissile core of a nuclear weapon. The U.S. initially sought restrictions lasting for up to 20 years; Iran had pushed for less than a decade. The prospective deal appears to be somewhere in the middle.
Don’t worry! Congress will have to approve the deal… but –
Several steps would come immediately through executive action by President Barack Obama, the officials said. Other penalties would be suspended, but not lifted, as Iran demonstrates its compliance with its obligations. A lesser amount of restrictions would stay in place until Congress acts to remove them permanently.
Feel better now?
That would be the original mother tongue of most us.
Linguists have recently reconstructed what a 6,000 year-old-language called Proto-Indo-European might have sounded like. This language was the forerunner of many European and Asian languages, and now you can listen to what it may have sounded like.
Over at Archaeology magazine, Kentucky linguist Andrew Byrd does a dramatic reading of a story written using only the vocabulary we are certain existed 6,000 years ago. Eric Powell explains:
Proto-Indo-European (PIE) was spoken by a people who lived from roughly 4500 to 2500 B.C., and left no written texts. The question became, what did PIE sound like? In 1868, German linguist August Schleicher used reconstructed Proto-Indo-European vocabulary to create a fable in order to hear some approximation of PIE. Called “The Sheep and the Horses” . . . As linguists have continued to discover more about PIE, this sonic experiment continues and the fable is periodically updated to reflect the most current understanding of how this extinct language would have sounded when it was spoken some six thousand years ago. Since there is considerable disagreement among scholars about PIE, no one version can be considered definitive.
By the 19th century, linguists knew that all modern Indo-European languages descended from a single tongue. Called Proto-Indo-European, or PIE, it was spoken by a people who lived from roughly 4500 to 2500 B.C., and left no written texts. The question became, what did PIE sound like? In 1868, German linguist August Schleicher used reconstructed Proto-Indo-European vocabulary to create a fable in order to hear some approximation of PIE. Called “The Sheep and the Horses,” and also known today as Schleicher’s Fable, the short parable tells the story of a shorn sheep who encounters a group of unpleasant horses. As linguists have continued to discover more about PIE (and archaeologists have learned more about the Bronze Age cultures that would have spoken it), this sonic experiment continues and the fable is periodically updated to reflect the most current understanding of how this extinct language would have sounded when it was spoken some six thousand years ago. Since there is considerable disagreement among scholars about PIE, no one version can be considered definitive.
The part of the country where the American Experiment of “One Nation, Under God” truly started is now the least religious area of the nation:
A new Gallup poll offers some clues about Americans’ church attendance—and the sizeable difference depending on the state where you live.
Gallup asked 177,030 American adults, “How often do you attend church, synagogue or mosque—at least once a week, almost every week, about once a month, seldom or never?” It ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia according to how many responded that they attend religious services “at least once a week.”
Residents of Utah are most likely to attend a religious service weekly. According to Gallup, Utah owes its No. 1 ranking to Mormons, who “have the highest religious service attendance of any major religious group in the U.S.” Utah is followed by Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas.
Residents of Vermont are least likely to attend church weekly, followed by New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Washington State. Gallup notes that the New England region reports the lowest levels of church attendance in the nation, with Connecticut and Rhode Island not far behind the rest of the region, at Nos. 10 and 17, respectively.
Not surprisingly, the top ten states for religious attendance are red/conservatives states, while the bottom ten are largely blue.
For most segments of U.S. society — blacks being the exception — those who are the most religious are also most likely to be Republican, which helps explain the significant relationship between states with the highest church attendance and those that are traditionally red states. Church attendance also provides ties that bind members to their communities, and research shows that at the individual level, those who are most religious have higher well-being than those who are less religious.
Talk about a long, slow slide… not only does New England now boast the worst weather, the highest taxes, the highest cost of living, the dumbest liberals, the least pleasant people and the homeliest women — surely these things are all related — but it has completely transformed itself from a God-fearing, arms-manufacturing, whaling, hunting and fishing region of self-reliant yeomen farmers and traders into a steaming pile of Leftist atheism. Congratulations.
… as the New York Times stamps its tiny feet in anger:
Republicans hate activist judges — those black-robed elites who are willing to upset the lives of millions of people just to further a political cause. Ditto trial lawyers trolling for clients, the ambulance-chasing, “Better Call Saul” guys. They hate them, until they need them.
And in the raw power play that is behind the attempt to kick millions of people off health care gained through the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are attempting one of the most brazen manipulations of the legal system in modern times. To pull it off, they’re relying on a toxically politicized judiciary to make law, and to make a mockery of everything that conservative legal scholars profess to believe.
What’s the rumpus, you ask? Merely the dreaded King v. Burwell case heading for arguments in the Supreme Court. Because the illegal law was passed via subterfuge and procedural trickeration, it’s only karmic that it was also poorly drafted, which is the hub of the matter:
And so it comes down to this: a legal challenge based on a technicality — specifically, four words. Should subsidies be available only to exchanges “established by the states”? Or were they designed to cover the entire nation, as is obvious in the intent of the law?
The Supreme Court case, to be decided by June, grew out of a gathering in 2010 of far-right attorneys looking for a way to destroy Obamacare.
“This bastard has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene,” said Michael S. Greve, a former chairman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, during a panel discussion. “I don’t care how this is done, whether it’s dismembered, whether we drive a stake through its heart, whether we tar and feather it and drive it out of town, whether we strangle it.”
And your problem with that is…?
Once things escalate to the drawing stage in firearms combat, the first rule is: do not hesitate to shoot first:
Wednesday morning February 18, 2015 an armed masked man entered the “Good Pharmacy” in Pinch, W.Va. and pulled a gun on three employees behind the counter. Pharmacist Don Radcliff responded to the gunman using his concealed carry firearm to engage and neutralize the threat. The masked gunman was identified as 25 year old Terry Gillenwater. The attacker was rushed to the hospital before being pronounced dead due to his injuries.
Democratic officials are second-guessing the party’s obsession with attacking the Koch brothers, saying it bears some of the blame for last year’s devastating election losses as the focus on the conservative billionaires diluted a party message already struggling for clarity. Doubts about the relentless attacks on the Koch brothers surfaced as the Democratic National Committee held its annual meeting Thursday in Washington, where state party officials from across the country mulled what went wrong in 2014.
Ken Martin, chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, said campaign finances issues were “inside baseball.” “Americans are focused on bread and butter issues and could care less about who is funding the campaigns,” he said. Mr. Martin, who leads the campaign finance reform committee for the Association of State Democratic Chairs, said that the effect of money in politics was an important issue but “people don’t care.”
Sharon Stroschein, national committee woman for South Dakota, defended the attacks on the Koch brothers but acknowledged that the party’s message, such as touting the success of Obamacare, was “getting lost in the shuffle.”
Now there’s a great idea — touting the success of Obamacare. Please, Democrats, run on that in 2016. Thank you.
Right on schedule; in the fantasy world inhabited by Democrats, we have met the real enemy and he is us:
They’re carrying out sporadic terror attacks on police, have threatened attacks on government buildings and reject government authority.
A new intelligence assessment, circulated by the Department of Homeland Security earlier this month and reviewed by CNN, focuses on the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists, and comes as the Obama administration holds a White House conference to focus efforts to fight violent extremism.
Never heard of the “sovereign citizens” movement? No problem! That’s because they just invented it! But don’t worry — you’ll be hearing plenty once the Democrat-Media Complex fog machine cranks up.
Some federal and local law enforcement groups view the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to — and in some cases greater than — the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS, that garner more public attention.
The DHS report, produced in coordination with the FBI, counts 24 violent sovereign citizen-related attacks around the U.S. since 2010.
Pretty scary, huh kids? Um… not so much. Upon closer inspection, these deadly terrorists are just your basic idiots who don’t like getting stopped by cops:
The government says these are extremists who believe they can ignore laws and that their individual rights are under attack in routine daily instances such as a traffic stop or being required to obey a court order.
They’ve lashed out against authority in incidents such as one in 2012, in which a father and son allegedly engaged in a shootout with police in Louisiana, in a confrontation that began with an officer pulling them over for a traffic violation. Two officers were killed and several others wounded in the confrontation. The men were sovereign citizen extremists who claimed police had no authority over them.
Among the findings from the DHS intelligence assessment: “[Sovereign citizen] violence during 2015 will occur most frequently during routine law enforcement encounters at a suspect’s home, during enforcement stops and at government offices.”
If this is the best the useless Department of Homeland Security can come up with, we’re in even more trouble than we know. Especially when you read down into the story, looking for, you know, the usual suspects behind this sort of nonsense… and there they are! The Southern Poverty Law Center! (Yes, the same folks who just took Dr. Ben Carson off their “extremist” list.)
Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said by some estimates there are as many as 300,000 people involved in some way with sovereign citizen extremism. Perhaps 100,000 people form a core of the movement, he said. The federal government’s focus on the domestic groups waxes and wanes, Potok said, in part because the threat from foreign groups like al Qaeda and its affiliates.
Potok says sovereign citizen groups have attracted support because of poor economic conditions. Some groups travel the country pitching their ideology as a way to help homeowners escape foreclosure or get out of debt, by simply ignoring the courts and bankruptcy law.
You may now officially disregard the DHS report. That is all.
A MONTH ago, I felt that I was in good health, even robust health. At 81, I still swim a mile a day. But my luck has run out — a few weeks ago I learned that I have multiple metastases in the liver. Nine years ago it was discovered that I had a rare tumor of the eye, an ocular melanoma. Although the radiation and lasering to remove the tumor ultimately left me blind in that eye, only in very rare cases do such tumors metastasize. I am among the unlucky 2 percent.
I feel grateful that I have been granted nine years of good health and productivity since the original diagnosis, but now I am face to face with dying. The cancer occupies a third of my liver, and though its advance may be slowed, this particular sort of cancer cannot be halted.
It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can. In this I am encouraged by the words of one of my favorite philosophers, David Hume, who, upon learning that he was mortally ill at age 65, wrote a short autobiography in a single day in April of 1776. He titled it “My Own Life.”
Few if any of us have lived the kind of productive life Dr. Sacks has. A best-selling author, he’s seen his book, Awakenings, turned into an Oscar-nominated movie with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, and had another book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, turned into an opera by composer Michael Nyman.
I have been lucky enough to live past 80, and the 15 years allotted to me beyond Hume’s three score and five have been equally rich in work and love. In that time, I have published five books and completed an autobiography (rather longer than Hume’s few pages) to be published this spring; I have several other books nearly finished…
I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming. This is not indifference but detachment — I still care deeply about the Middle East, about global warming, about growing inequality, but these are no longer my business; they belong to the future. I rejoice when I meet gifted young people — even the one who biopsied and diagnosed my metastases. I feel the future is in good hands.
Read the whole beautifully written thing and then ask yourself — what would you do?
Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.
No matter how times you try to explain to a liberal ninny why more guns = less crime, and that good guys with guns are just the fellas bad guys with guns never want to encounter, some lefties just won’t learn:
It’s deja vu all over again. In a recent Politico Magazine article, Evan DeFillipis and Devin Hughes resuscitate criticisms of a survey on defensive gun use that I conducted with my colleague Marc Gertz way back in 1993—the National Self-Defense Survey (NSDS). The authors repeat, item for item, speculative criticisms floated by a man named David Hemenway in 1997 and repeated endlessly since. The conclusion these critics drew is that our survey grossly overestimated the frequency of defensive gun use (DGU), a situation in which a crime victim uses a gun to threaten or attack the offender in self-defense. But what DeFillipis and Hughes carefully withheld from readers is the fact that I and my colleague have refuted every one of Hemenway’s dubious claims, and those by other critics of the NSDS, first in 1997, and again, even more extensively, in 1998 and 2001…
So what does research on the flaws in surveys of crime-related behaviors tell us? It consistently indicates that survey respondents underreport (1) crime victimization experiences, (2) gun ownership and (3) their own illegal behavior. While it is true that a few respondents overstate their crime-related experiences, they are greatly outnumbered by those who understate them, i.e. those who falsely deny having the experience when in fact they did. In sum, research tells us that surveys underestimate the frequency of crime victimizations, gun possession and self-reported illegal behavior.
In other words, almost nobody willingly reports they used a firearm to stop the commission of a crime unless it really happened.
Immediately after the [Charlie Hebdo] murders the French press focused almost exclusively on the killers and their milieu: the poor neighborhoods, the radical preachers, imprisoned terrorists, and the international jihadist network that furnished arms, training, and indoctrination. While disturbing, none of this news was surprising (though the French had greatly underestimated the effect of the prisons, where young men who commit petty crimes fall under the spell of radical fundamentalists with terrorist connections). Western countries have had enough experience with Islamist terrorism to know how it breeds.
What genuinely shocked the public, and the political and intellectual classes that claim to speak for it, was the news that a noticeable number of students in what are euphemistically called here les quartiers (meaning poor and heavily Muslim neighborhoods) refused to recognize the moment of silence President Hollande had called for. And not only that. Some told their teachers that the victims got what they deserved because no one should be allowed to mock the Prophet; others celebrated the killers on social media, and circulated rumors that the entire crisis was manufactured by the government and/or Zionist agents.
France, alone among European nations, prides itself on laicity — secularism. That’s one of the reasons the French thought they could absorb millions of aliens who, they thought, would drop their allegiance to their “faith” and get with the multi-culti program. Mais non!
It is the multiculturalist [view] that seems the least in touch with social and political reality today. Not because the French don’t need to learn to accommodate more differences, but because it refuses to recognize the very disturbing developments in the Islamic world today (which are anything but accommodating to differences) and how they have already affected French life. The current mantra, which President Hollande felt obliged to repeat, is that Islamic terrorism has “nothing to do with Islam” and that the most important thing is not to “make an amalgam” of all Muslims. (The Socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, went even further, declaring the terrorists to be “without faith”—in other words, infidels.) But this attitude only reinforces an institutional and intellectual omertà that makes it difficult even to discuss what is really going on in the schools.
When belief in something, no matter how evil, meets belief in nothing, no matter how secular, something always wins. Read the whole thing.
The Justice Department is preparing to bring a lawsuit against the Ferguson, Missouri, police department over a pattern of racially discriminatory tactics used by officers, if the police department does not agree to make changes on its own, sources tell CNN. Attorney General Eric Holder said this week he expects to announce the results of the department’s investigation of the shooting death of Michael Brown and a broader probe of the Ferguson Police Department before he leaves office in the coming weeks.
Brown’s shooting death at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson has thrust Ferguson into the center of a nationwide debate over police tactics and race relations. The Justice Department is expected to announce it won’t charge Wilson for the shooting, but it’s also expected to outline findings that allege a pattern of discriminatory tactics used by the Ferguson police. If they don’t agree to review and revise those tactics, sources say, the Justice Department would sue to force changes in the department.
They can always get you for something. Behold the first post-racial president and his post-racial administration: they never stop, they never sleep, they never quit.
I know. Big shocker, right? Mr. “Fundamental Transformation” himself, not that into America:
Rudy Giuliani went straight for the jugular Wednesday night during a private group dinner here featuring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by openly questioning whether President Barack Obama “loves America.”
The former New York mayor, speaking in front of the 2016 Republican presidential contender and about 60 right-leaning business executives and conservative media types, directly challenged Obama’s patriotism, discussing what he called weak foreign policy decisions and questionable public remarks when confronting terrorists.
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
This being a private, off-the-record event, the former mayor’s remarks immediately found their way into print, which is something Republicans are just going to have to get used to. Nothing that is said, anywhere, at any time, is off the record. Especially when a snarky Politico writer can note in the very next paragraph:
With Walker sitting just a few seats away, Giuliani continued by saying that “with all our flaws we’re the most exceptional country in the world. I’m looking for a presidential candidate who can express that, do that and carry it out.”
And you just know Walker was lovin’ it! Speaking of whom, he sure is sounding more and more like a candidate every day:
“The big thing I thought Mitt Romney’s campaign missed more than anything was we already knew the narrative that the economy was failing, and that there was a compelling case to get rid of the president,” Walker told the crowd of business leaders, academics, GOP honchos and members of the media at the posh 21 Club.
“What we never heard — or at least didn’t hear very clearly — was why Mitt Romney would be a better alternative,” Walker said.
Something tells me Walker won’t be making that mistake should he run.