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SpaceX Launch of NASA Cargo to Space Station Set for Friday, Spacewalk Wednesday

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NASA and SpaceX are targeting a 3:25 p.m. EDT launch on Friday, April 18, of SpaceX’s third cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage will begin at 2:15 p.m.

The company’s April 14 launch to the orbiting laboratory was scrubbed due to a helium leak in the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the Dragon spacecraft to the space station.

Dragon is carrying to the space station almost 5,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies, vehicle hardware and spacewalk tools — all to support the crew and more than 150 scientific investigations planned for Expeditions 39 and 40. If needed, another launch attempt will take place at 3:02 p.m. Saturday, April 19.

NASA Television coverage of Dragon’s arrival at the space station will begin at 5:45 a.m. Sunday, April 20. Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture the spacecraft at approximately 7 a.m. NASA’s Rick Mastracchio will support Wakata during the rendezvous. Read the rest of this entry »

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If Pizza and Cake Had a Baby


Reality Check: The ‘War on Women’ Failed in 2012

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And there’s no reason to believe it will work in 2014. The exit polls tell the real story.

For the Wall Street JournalMichael Medved writes:  President Obama is suddenly upset about the alleged wage gap between men and women, but he’s not responding to a national economic crisis. Instead, he is attempting to revive the “war on women” theme that, according to Washington wisdom, helped carry Democrats to victory in 2012 and might do again in 2014. If this narrative were true, the White House could spend the year demonizing Republicans as women-hating creeps, driving women to the polls in November and helping the party hold the Senate.

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But the conventional analysis isn’t accurate. National exit polls from 2012 show scant success for the war-on-women ploy, and there’s no reason to think trotting it out again will help Democrats in the midterms.

True enough, Mr. Obama won the overall female vote by 11 points in 2012—55% to 44%—but that’s hardly remarkable for a Democratic presidential candidate. Al Gore fared the same in 2000, prevailing among women by an identical 11-point advantage. Mr. Obama did better with women in 2008, beating John McCain by 56% to 43%. He enjoyed that advantage even though his first campaign never emphasized “women’s issues” and despite the presence of a woman— Sarah Palin—on the Republican ticket.

A closer look at the numbers reveals that Mr. Obama’s success with the ladies actually stemmed from his well-known appeal to minority voters. In 2012, 72% of all women voters identified themselves as “white.”

[Order Michael Medved's book The 5 Big Lies About American Business: Combating Smears Against the Free-Market Economy from Amazon]

This subset preferred Mitt Romney by a crushing 14-point advantage, 56% to 42%. Though Democrats ratcheted up the women’s rhetoric in the run-up to Election Day, the party did poorly among the white women it sought to influence: The Republican advantage in this crucial segment of the electorate doubled to 14 points in 2012 from seven points in 2008. In the race against Mr. Romney, Obama carried the overall female vote—and with it the election—based solely on his success with the 28% of women voters who identified as nonwhite. He carried 76% of Latina women and a startling 96% of black women.

"Equal Pay Day" Protesters Demand Equal Pay For Women

The same discrepancy exists when considering marital status. In 2012, nearly 60% of female voters were married, and they preferred Mr. Romney by six points, 53% to 46%. Black and Latina women, on the other hand, are disproportionately represented among unmarried female voters, and they favored Mr. Obama by more than 2-to-1, 67% to 31%.

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Poll: Hillary Clinton’s numbers worst since 2008, as GOP brand surges

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Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Lima, Peru. (Karel Navarro/Associated Press)

Aaron Blake writes: A new poll shows former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s (D) numbers hitting their lowest point in six years.

Meanwhile, it finds that the Republican Party is experiencing something of a renaissance.

The Fox News poll, from Democratic pollster Anderson Robbins Research and GOP pollster Shaw & Company, shows Clinton’s favorable rating dropping to 49 percent, compared to 45 percent unfavorable.

The last time her numbers were in that ballpark was during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary race. After she ended her campaign, her favorable/unfavorable split was 47/46.

Other polls have shown Clinton’s numbers — which were stellar during her time as secretary of state — steadily dropping since she left her post last year. Read the rest of this entry »


How Technology Revolutionized Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement

Facebook and Google, the favored tools of dissidents, are now shaping Taiwan’s relationship with China.

taiwanFor The DiplomatVincent Y. Chao writes: Underneath the piercing gaze of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China, a group of students sat, unshaved, unkempt and basking in the glow of their laptops. Amongst stacks of coffee cups, crudely drawn artwork, and piles of unevenly stacked office chairs, they were hard at work, plotting the next phase of their revolt against the government in Taiwan.

Three weeks earlier, the group had broken past police barriers and forcefully occupied the main Legislative assembly hall, defeating multiple attempts to evict them by the police. They sit engrossed: sending out press releases, updating the group’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and sparking discussion on PTT (an online bulletin board favored by many of the country’s youth). Others are dozing off, or hold a blank stare in their eyes, a product of weeks of tension, uncertainty and sleep deprivation.

Initially there were only a hundred of them – students from Taiwan’s top universities energized by a series of controversial land seizures and, in this case, upset at the government’s attempt to ram through a wide-ranging services trade deal with China. Their numbers subsequently swelled, buoyed by 24 hour news coverage, Facebook shares, and, of course, volunteers from the hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic supporters that have flooded the capital Taipei’s streets in recent weeks.

Oliver Chen, 26, is a student from Taiwan’s prestigious National Taiwan University Law School. His hallmark, he says, is the colorful dress shirts he changes into every day. “Nothing else is changed. Shirts are all that I brought.” During the protests, he was responsible for the bank of computers to the left of Sun’s portrait. His team of English speakers worked with the foreign press to arrange interviews with the two protest leaders, Chen Wei-ting, 23, and Lin Fei-fan, 25.

Oliver and the rest of the students were organized. Very organized. Even the opposition, rumored to have ties to some of the student organizers, admits to such. “They could probably run a better campaign than the DPP,” said opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen during a media interview. The students have a medical center, distribution tables for snacks and goods, and even rooms for yoga or singing.
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Author Gabriel García Márquez Dies at 87

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Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

Gabriel García Márquez, Novelist and Exponent of Magical Realism

For the NYTimes, Jonathan Kandell writes:  Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian novelist whose “One Hundred Years of Solitude” established him as a giant of 20th-century literature, died on Thursday at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” would sell tens of millions of copies. The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda called it “the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since ‘Don Quixote.’

Cristóbal Pera, his former editor at Random House, confirmed the death. Mr. García Márquez learned he had lymphatic cancer in 1999, and a brother said in 2012 that he had developed senile dementia.

Mr. García Márquez, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, wrote fiction rooted in a mythical Latin American landscape of his own creation, but his appeal was universal. His books were translated into dozens of languages. He was among a select roster of canonical writers — Dickens, Tolstoy and Hemingway among them — who were embraced both by critics and by a mass audience.

“Each new work of his is received by expectant critics and readers as an event of world importance,” the Swedish Academy of Letters said in awarding him the Nobel.

Mr. García Márquez was a master of the literary genre known as magical realism, in which the miraculous and the real converge. In his novels and stories, storms rage for years, flowers drift from the skies, tyrants survive for centuries, priests levitate and corpses fail to decompose. And, more plausibly, lovers rekindle their passion after a half-century apart. Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage Pop: Astro Boy Manga, Japan 1965

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Astro Boy Manga 
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Fortune Cookie


Children’s Hospice Easter Appeal Gets Unexpected Flock of 6,300 Knitted Chicks


[VIDEO] REWIND: Classic 1970s Revlon “Charlie” Ad with Shelley Hack & Bobby Short

Certain commercial jingles get stuck in your head for years. Some even for decades. 

That’s the case for me with this Revlon “Charlie” ad. I was a kid when I first heard it, during a summer in  Southern California, and I never forgot the melody or lyrics. Or the brand of perfume.

From the YouTube description:

Still as classy as when it first aired. Featuring Shelley Hack and music by Bobby Short. Every shot is composed and lit like a Hurrrell photograph… this was Madison Avenue at its finest.

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The finger-popping jazzy tune is a cross between a nightclub or Vegas lounge number, and elevator music. The “Kinda hip kinda now” and “wow” hipster jive talk was funny to me, even then, I knew it was cornball, but not without charm. It recalls the Smothers Brothers, Carol Burnett, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In era. When Dean Martin and Doris Day records were in the Columbia Record Club magazine ads right next to The Lovin’ Spoonful, Donovan, Cat Stevens, The Carpenters, and Led Zepplin.

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If getting into your head is the objective in advertising, then the ad worked. This Revlon commercial conveyed sophistication. The name of the perfume, “Charlie” seemed fresh, inventive.

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Will: Progressives are Wrong About the Essence of the Constitution

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 writes: In a 2006 interviewSupreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said the Constitutionis “basically about” one word — “democracy” — that appears in neither that document nor the Declaration of Independence. Democracy is America’s way of allocating political power. The Constitution, however, was adopted to confine that power in order to “secure the blessings of” that which simultaneously justifies and limits democratic government — natural liberty.

The fundamental division in U.S. politics is between those who take their bearings from the individual’s right to a capacious, indeed indefinite, realm of freedom, and those whose fundamental value is the right of the majority to have its way in making rules about which specified liberties shall be respected.

Now the nation no longer lacks what it has long needed, a slender book that lucidly explains the intensity of conservatism’s disagreements with progressivism. For the many Americans who are puzzled and dismayed by the heatedness of political argument today, the message of Timothy Sandefur’s “The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty” is this: The temperature of today’s politics is commensurate to the stakes of today’s argument.

The argument is between conservatives who say U.S. politics is basically about a condition, liberty, and progressives who say it is about a process, democracy. Progressives, who consider democracy the source of liberty, reverse the Founders’ premise, which was: Liberty preexists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when “instituted” to “secure” natural rights.

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What It’s Like to Spend 20 Years Listening to Psychopaths for Science

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For WIRED, Greg Miller writes: Ted Bundy, shown here in 1978, unwittingly had a role in sparking Kent Kiehl’s interest in psychopaths. Photo: Donn Dughi/Bettmann/CORBIS

Kent Kiehl was walking briskly towards the airport exit, eager to get home, when a security guard grabbed his arm. “Would you please come with me, sir?” he said. Kiehl complied, and he did his best to stay calm while security officers searched his belongings. Then, they asked him if there was anything he wanted to confess.

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Kiehl is a neuroscientist at the Mind Research Network and the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and he’s devoted his career to studying what’s different about the brains of psychopaths — people whose lack of compassion, empathy, and remorse has a tendency to get them into trouble with the law. On the plane, Kiehl had been typing up notes from an interview he’d done with a psychopath in Illinois who’d been convicted of murdering two women and raping and killing a 10-year old girl. The woman sitting next to him thought he was typing out a confession.

[Order The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience from Amazon]

Kiehl recounts the story in a new book about his research, The Psychopath Whisperer. He has been interviewing psychopaths for more than 20 years, and the book is filled with stories of these colorful (and occasionally off-color) encounters. (Actually, The Psychopath Listener would have been a more accurate, if less grabby title.) More recently he’s acquired a mobile MRI scanner and permission to scan the brains of New Mexico state prison inmates. So far he’s scanned about 3,000 violent offenders, including 500 psychopaths.

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Obama: Democrats Should ‘Forcefully Defend’ Obamacare (and Watch in Helpless Horror as Voters “Forcefully Reject” it)

Except during the 2008 Presidential campaign, when Obama projected a seductive, false image of a pragmatic, hopeful, rational candidate, promising to unite a divided nation, Obama has governed on one principle: destroy the Republican party. Anyone who disagrees can go screw themselves. Even if it means sacrificing fellow Democrats along the way, fully at ease Abusing executive power in order to achieve a partisan political agenda, and masquerading as an egalitarian, while governing as an elitist. So it’s no surprise that as President, he makes no effort to hide his deep, unwavering contempt for his opposition. And contempt for half of the population of the country he was elected to lead.

“Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud of the fact that millions of people . . . we’re helping, because of something we did.”

He also said that Republicans are going through “stages of grief” over Obamacare.

 “Anger, denial, and all that stuff — we’re not at acceptance yet.”

After five years, the president’s health care agenda is as unwelcome and unpopular that it was the day it was signed. No matter how many speeches, no matter how many Democrat seats must be sacrificed. Clearly, the president is suffering from anger, denial, and all that stuff.

source: The Corner 

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[VIDEO] Putin and Snowden Bromance, Live on Russian TV

Snowden:

“Does Russia intercept, store, or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?”

Snowden also asked if increasing “the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations” is justification for placing societies under surveillance.

Putin:

“Our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law. We don’t have mass system of such interception.And according to our law it cannot exist.”

“Our special services, thank God, are strictly controlled by the society and the law, and are regulated by the law.”

(read more) National Review Online


FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States

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WASHINGTON—Putting the nation on alert against what it has described as a “highly credible terrorist threat,” the FBI announced today that it has uncovered a plot by members of al-Qaeda to sit back and enjoy themselves while the United States collapses of its own accord.

“We vow that we will not cease sitting around and laughing it up until America is reduced to rubble.”

Multiple intelligence agencies confirmed that the militant Islamist organization and its numerous affiliates intend to carry out a massive, coordinated plan to stand aside and watch America’s increasingly rapid decline, with terrorist operatives across the globe reportedly mobilizing to take it easy, relax, and savor the spectacle as it unfolds.

“We have intercepted electronic communication indicating that al-Qaeda members are actively plotting to stay out of the way while America as we know it gradually crumbles under the weight of its own self-inflicted debt and disrepair,” FBI Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano told the assembled press corps. “If this plan succeeds, it will leave behind a nation with a completely dysfunctional economy, collapsing infrastructure, and a catastrophic health crisis afflicting millions across the nation. We want to emphasize that this danger is very real.”

“We have intercepted electronic communication indicating that al-Qaeda members are actively plotting to stay out of the way while America as we know it gradually crumbles under the weight of its own self-inflicted debt and disrepair.”

– FBI Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano

“And unfortunately, based on information we have from intelligence assets on the ground, this plot is already well under way,” he added.

A recently declassified CIA report confirmed that all known al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations—from Pakistan to Yemen, and from Somalia to Algeria—have been instructed to kick back and enjoy the show as the United States’ federal government, energy grid, and industrial sector are rendered impotent by internal dissent, decay, and mismanagement. According to statements made by top-level informants and corroborated by leading Western terrorism experts, if seen through to its conclusion, al-Qaeda’s current plot could wreak far more damage than the events of 9/11.

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The Rise of The Soviet Empire: Putin’s Zombie Propaganda Reanimates Russian Nationalism

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Putin’s use of Soviet-era symbolism has alarmed those already fearful for the country’s democratic institutions

Kathrin Hille writes: Igor Dolutsky finds nothing unusual in disagreeing with everyone around him. In the 35 years he has been teaching history in Moscow schools, his habit of questioning official narratives and challenging political taboos has cost him his job more than once.

“I would argue that for years we have been seeing what you could call the Nazification of the elite.”

– Igor Yakovenko, former head of the Russian Journalists’ Association

But when the mild-mannered 60-year-old tried to discuss Russia’s annexation of Crimea in class, things almost got out of hand. “My students swore at me and said I wasn’t telling the truth,” he says. “Then they said I didn’t love Russia or the Russian people, and told me to leave the country.”

Mr Dolutsky has long been a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin’s government. Ten years ago the government pulled his history textbook from the curriculum for its critical description of President Putin and its inclusion of unpalatable facts about Soviet history. Today he teaches in a private school, headed by a friend from his university days, which allows Mr Dolutsky to continue to talk about the Soviet Union’s occupation of the Baltic states, discuss whether Russia committed genocide in Chechnya and label Mr Putin’s changes to the political system a coup d’état.

But Moscow’s annexation of Crimea has set off rapid and drastic changes that threaten to submerge such outposts of dissent. In a speech marking the consummation of Russia’s union with the Black Sea peninsula on March 18, Mr Putin lashed out against a “fifth column” of “national traitors” enlisted by the west to subvert Russia. He vowed to respond forcefully. Read the rest of this entry »


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