Giuseppe Macri writes: Advanced Ballistics Concepts has invented a new high-tech bullet engineered to greatly increase accuracy, which is set to debut at the Las Vegas SHOT show next week.
The Mi-Bullet, or multiple impact bullet, expands into four interconnected parts as it exits the barrel, improving accuracy thanks to an accelerated barrel speed and the increased diameter of the shot.
WATCH: Digital simulation of Mi-Bullet firing
According to Concepts’ officials, the bullet is designed to increase first and second shot accuracy for shooters in “high pressure situations,” and the company has designed ammunition compatible with the most popular weapons on the market.
William Bigelow writes: Now that Barack Obama has been reelected, the MSM feels free to criticize him, including the giant investment his administration made during its first term to green tech companies that failed then or are failing now.
In a report on 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl finally woke up to that fact, pinning down Vinod Khosla, a billionaire from his Silicon Valley investments, “known as the father of the Cleantech revolution.” Khosla was the recipient of federal largess to help him in his bid for gasoline made from wood chips.
Stahl also spoke with former undersecretary to the Energy Department Steven Koonin, who signed off on dozens of government aids to emerging start-ups in the clean energy field; and Pin Ni, a Chinese man who owns the autoparts company Wanxiang and has bought numerous failed clean-tech companies that were subsidized by American tax dollars.
Albert Merrick reports: Back from his $4 million Hawaii vacation, President Barack Obama seems poised to sound the populist trumpet in an effort to turn the page on 2013’s disastrous Obamacare rollout.
Many pundits are speculating that Obama, seeing the popularity of liberal populists like New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, will use the current debate over unemployment insurance to engage in more divisive rhetoric:
The Obama administration has set the stage for a push that could rekindle cries of class warfare — calling for renewed long-term unemployment benefits, a minimum wage increase and a campaign against what Democrats call “income inequality.”
Ahead of his multi-week, holiday vacation in Hawaii, President Obama pushed Congress to move forward on extending federal unemployment benefits that weren’t included in the budget deal Senate Democrats and House Republicans struck to fund the federal government for the next two years. The White House has scheduled an East Room event on Tuesday in which the president will appear with people who lost that insurance.
On Tuesday, that’s precisely what Obama did, trotting out unemployed people to push for another boost to unemployment benefits, and citing income inequality as the rationale.
Jacob Aron writes: India’s most powerful space rocket blasted off on Sunday in the vehicle’s first successful launch for a decade. Previously feared unreliable, the rocket could one day allow the fledgling space power to send a robot, and even people, to the moon.
Known as the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), the rocket was first launched in 2001, when it failed to place the satellite it was carrying into the correct orbit. Two successful launches in 2003 and 2004 followed, but then a string of failures left the GSLV as one of the most unreliable rockets in use today. “Some used to call the GSLV the naughty boy of ISRO,” said K. Sivan, the rocket’s project director. “The naughty boy has become obedient.”
(AP) LOS ANGELES U.S. home video spending rose nearly 1 percent to $18.2 billion in 2013, the second straight year of growth as higher spending on video streaming subscriptions and digital purchases offset the decline in DVDs.
The figures were released by the consortium of Hollywood studios and electronics makers, The Digital Entertainment Group, on Tuesday.
Digital sales of movies and TV shows rose 47 percent to $1.2 billion, while subscription streaming spending rose 32 percent to $3.2 billion.
Thomas Sowell writes: New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, in his inaugural speech, denounced people “on the far right” who “continue to preach the virtue of trickle-down economics.” According to Mayor de Blasio, “They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate, and that somehow the benefits will work their way down to everyone else.”
If there is ever a contest for the biggest lie in politics, this one should be a top contender.
While there have been all too many lies told in politics, most have some little tiny fraction of truth in them, to make them seem plausible. But the “trickle-down” lie is 100 percent lie.
It should win the contest both because of its purity — no contaminating speck of truth — and because of how many people have repeated it over the years, without any evidence being asked for or given.
Geoffrey Macnab writes: The British Army Film Unit cameramen who shot the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945 used to joke about the reaction of Alfred Hithcock to the horrific footage they filmed. When Hitchcock first saw the footage, the legendary British director was reportedly so traumatised that he stayed away from Pinewood Studios for a week. Hitchcock may have been the king of horror movies but he was utterly appalled by “the real thing”.
In 1945, Hithcock had been enlisted by his friend and patron Sidney Bernstein to help with a documentary on German wartime atrocities, based on the footage of the camps shot by British and Soviet film units. In the event, that documentary was never seen.
“It was suppressed because of the changing political situation, particularly for the British,” suggests Dr Toby Haggith, Senior Curator at the Department of Research, Imperial War Museum. “Once they discovered the camps, the Americans and British were keen to release a film very quickly that would show the camps and get the German people to accept their responsibility for the atrocities that were there.”
The film took far longer to make than had originally been envisaged. By late 1945, the need for it began to wane. The Allied military government decided that rubbing the Germans’ noses in their own guilt wouldn’t help with postwar reconstruction.
Five of the film’s six reels were eventually deposited in the Imperial War Museum and the project was quietly forgotten.
Mark J. Perry writes: Everybody’s featuring their “graphs and charts of the year,” like The Atlantic and the Washington Post (be sure to see Vice-President Joe Biden’s “Graph of the Year” on Amtrak ridership). Well, the chart above could perhaps qualify as the “chart of the century” because it illustrates one of the most remarkable achievements in human history: the 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years, from 26.8% of the world’s population living on $1 or less (in 1987 dollars) in 1970 to only 5.4% in 2006. (Source: The 2009 NBER working paper “Parametric Estimations of the World Distribution of Income,” by economists Maxim Pinkovskiy (MIT) and Xavier Sala-i-Martin (Columbia University).
What accounts for this great achievement that you never hear about? AEI president Arthur Brooks explains in the video above, summarized here:
According to the analysis by Katie Yoder the liberal host said “race,” “racism,” or “racist” 215 times in 2013 during his MSNBC show PoliticsNation.
“From opposition to the Obama agenda to guns and even into fashion and food, Sharpton’s finely tuned nose for racism rarely took a day off last year,” Yoder wrote.
Many Iraqis are alive today because of the Americans who died in Fallujah
At Business Insider, Paul Szoldra, a Marine, has written a powerful piece about the friend he lost during Operation Phantom Fury, the 2004 operation to clear insurgents from Fallujah. Szoldra argues that the current strife proves that his friends died only for one another, not for some greater cause. ‘‘I’ll never know why they died,” he writes. “It sure wasn’t for freedom, democracy, apple pie, or mom and dad back home.’’
I would never claim to know Szoldra’s pain. As much as I’ve informed myself about the human toll that Iraq has taken on thousands of American families (David Finkel is a must-read), I haven’t lost friends in the fighting there.
Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and the other tech titans have had to fight for their lives against their own government. An exclusive look inside their year from hell—and why the Internet will never be the same.
Christoph Niemann writes: On June 6, 2013, Washington Post reporters called the communications departments of Apple, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and other Internet companies. The day before, a report in the British newspaper The Guardian had shocked Americans with evidence that the telecommunications giant Verizon had voluntarily handed a database of every call made on its network to the National Security Agency. The piece was by reporter Glenn Greenwald, and the information came from Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old IT consultant who had left the US with hundreds of thousands of documents detailing the NSA’s secret procedures.
Greenwald was the first but not the only journalist that Snowden reached out to. The Post’s Barton Gellman had also connected with him. Now, collaborating with documentary filmmaker and Snowden confidante Laura Poitras, he was going to extend the story to Silicon Valley. Gellman wanted to be the first to expose a top-secret NSA program called Prism. Snowden’s files indicated that some of the biggest companies on the web had granted the NSA and FBI direct access to their servers, giving the agencies the ability to grab a person’s audio, video, photos, emails, and documents. The government urged Gellman not to identify the firms involved, but Gellman thought it was important. “Naming those companies is what would make it real to Americans,” he says. Now a team of Post reporters was reaching out to those companies for comment.
This item, from Cartoonsnap, is our featured comic book cover of the day. The Pit of Nympthons? What’s not to like?
Sacré Bleu! De Blasio’s Doomed Imitation of French President François Hollande a Potential Nightmare for New YorkersPosted: January 7, 2014
Gotham’s new mayor sounds like François Hollande, and he risks similar results
Nicole Gelinas writes: In his inaugural address last Wednesday, New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, promised to “commit” the city he now leads “to a new progressive direction.” As Gotham embarks on a “dramatic new approach,” he promised, “the world will watch as we succeed.” De Blasio should be watching the world instead—particularly France. The policy prescription that brought de Blasio to office—higher income taxes on New York’s wealthy—is exactly what French president François Hollande proposed to win his own post nearly two years ago. Since then, Hollande’s approval rating has plummeted to record lows for a French leader. French citizens have grown tired of symbolic anti-rich gestures; they want real solutions to real problems.
Hollande, who won office in May 2012, was one of the first leftist Western politicians to benefit from two global trends after 2008: disillusionment with incumbent politicians and dismay at income inequality. Hollande’s opponent and predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, was well settled in office during the economic collapse of 2008—a toxic place to be for any Western leader. But Sarkozy, like former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, was also practically a cartoon embodiment of the second target of anger. Sarkozy was the “bling-bling” president who outfitted the presidential jet with a top-of-the-line oven so that he could eat gourmet food in the air, the president who traded in his (second) wife for a model-turned-singer-turned-movie-star, the president who loved hanging out with the world’s 1 percent on yachts and private beaches. In expelling a sitting head of state for the first time in three decades, the French made it clear that they wanted change.
But victory came almost too easily. Hollande didn’t have to put forward any serious policy proposals to win. France’s problems were straightforward and remain so: persistent deficits, caused not by the economic crisis but by ever-growing retirement costs; plus high unemployment, caused by high taxes and heavy social mandates on employers—including the near-impossibility of firing a permanent worker. Hollande had little to say about these issues. Instead, his plan was simple:tax the rich. He increased top-bracket income taxes from 41 percent to 45 percentand imposed a temporary two-year levy of 75 percent on income above 1 million euros. In his inauguration speech, he said that “to put France back on her feet, in a fair way,” he would “discourage exorbitant income and remuneration.” Though he acknowledged France’s intractable problems, the closest he got to a solution was to say that “Europe needs projects.”
On the heels of a federal court striking down Chicago’s ban on gun sales, those seeking gun permits in Illinois flooded the State Police website over the weekend to begin the permitting process.
In fact, the amount of Illinois residents seeking a conceal carry permit already surpasses those who enrolled in Obamacare after the first two months of the launch of healthcare.gov. The Chicago Sun-Times reported 4,525 individuals signed up on Sunday alone for their firearms permits, when the State Police first opened the process to all concealed carry applicants.
Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said that number is included in Sunday’s total of more than 11,000 people who have signed up because of an early application process that began December 18 and was open to only firearm instructors. Officials told the Sun-Times they expect 350,000 to 400,000people (about 1,000 per day) will sign up for conceal carry firearm permits this year.
January 7, 1891: Writer Zora Neale Hurston is Born. From PBS:
Zora Neale Hurston was an African American writer known for her novels and collections of folklore. She was born on this day in 1891, in Eatonville, Florida, a town founded by African Americans. Hurston’s best-known novel is Their Eyes Were Watching God(1937). The story sensitively portrays a young African American woman’s realization of her identity and independence.
Editor’s Note: Less known, is the story that Hurston was a conservative thinker and writer (she wrote political op-ed columns late in life) and outspoken Republican. Zora was ahead of her time in challenging the grievance culture and ‘victim’ mentality of her socialist-leaning literary peers, valuing liberty, promoting self-reliance, advocating color-blind equality under the law, discouraging dependence, and swimming against the tide, during a time when black thinkers and writers were openly advocating the virtues of the emerging welfare state. Zora would have felt at home with modern anti race-baiting conservative critics.
On closer examination, however, Zora’s political affiliation, and alleged conservative ideology, is not a settled question. Was Zora Neale Hurston a conservative? It’s not as clear as my above comments would suggest. (I’ve read conflicting reports) In a review of a biography of Hurston, “Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston” NRO‘s Roger Clegg, in 2004, touches on this subject:
I will not argue that Hurston was a conservative — as Boyd says, “we don’t know” how she would have taken to Clarence Thomas — but there was much about her that conservatives should find endearing. She was anti-Communist (in 1951, she wrote an article for American Legion Magazine titled “Why the Negro Won’t Buy Communism”), patriotic (“My country, right or wrong,” she wrote in 1928), “a registered Republican” (not so unusual for African Americans not so very long ago) — who supported Robert Taft in his 1952 presidential bid and, in other elections, opposed Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Claude Pepper — and a proud Southerner.
But what is most refreshing is not so much her overt politics as her attitude toward race, and race relations — and the very fact that she was obsessed with neither. She was criticized by black activist authors like Richard Wright because she did not believe that African-American artists had a duty to advance some political agenda. W. E. B. DuBois had declared in 1926, “I do not care a damn for any art that is not used for propaganda.” So Hurston knew that “Negroes were supposed to write about the Race Problem,” but maintained nonetheless, “I was and am thoroughly sick of the subject. My interest lies in what makes a man or woman do such-and-so, regardless of his color.”