Mystery ‘Dumb Starbucks’ Shop Appears from out of Nowhere in L.A.’s Los Feliz


Erik Hayden and Brandon Kirby report:  The Los Feliz coffee scene has a new attention-getting entrant, though all bets are off on how long it sticks around.

Dumb Starbucks Coffee, which parodies the design of a coffee giant chain store, appeared out of seemingly nowhere over the weekend as a pop-up store in a nondescript Hillhurst Ave. location.

All of the coffee, brewed by two baristas, is free (tips appreciated). They also have pastries (apparently purchased from Vons) that are also free for the taking for now.  Alongside a non-functioning cash register, CD’s like “Dumb Nora Jones Duets” [sic] and “Dumb Jazz Standards” are stocked.

And there is a reasonably long line — dozens of people — waiting for a novelty brew on Sunday.

Read the rest of this entry »


ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter module consisting of the spacecraft structure, thermal control and propulsion systems was handed over by OHB System to Thales Alenia Space France at a ceremony held 3 February 2014 in Bremen, Germany.

Comprising two missions that will be launched to Mars in 2016 and 2018, respectively, ExoMars will address the outstanding scientific question of whether life has ever existed on Mars by drilling the surface of the planet and analysing in situ the samples.

Read the rest of this entry »

Libido Update: Boy-Crazy Teacher Meredith Powell Raped Tacoma Teenagers, Police Say


[See update: Meredith Powell in Custody of Her Mother: Boy-Crazy High School Teacher Accused of Rape Resigns, Surrenders Teaching Certificate]

[See also [VIDEO] Libido Update: Boy-Crazy Teacher Meredith Powell Arrested]

Robert Stacy McCain writes:  A 24-year-old Lincoln High School math teacher was charged Thursday with “two counts of third-degree child rape and communication with a minor for immoral purposes via electronic communication,” and on Friday she pleaded not guilty:

Meredith Powell performed oral sex on a 15-year-old student in her Tacoma classroom last month and sent him nude photos of herself taking a bath using the application Snapchat.
Documents said she also admitted to exchanging inappropriate texts with and having sexual contact with a second student, 16, during a Jan. 17 assembly in which they stayed behind and met in her classroom.  A third student, age 17, who was in her class during a prior year said he and Powell exchanged sexual text messages but did not have sexual contact.

According to an arrest affidavit, however, Meredith Powell admitted her crimes to Tacoma Police detectives:

On February 6, 2014, detective interviewed the victims. [He] disclosed the following: The day of the MLK assembly [Jan. 17, the boy] went to the defendant’s classroom. They kissed, he touched her breasts, and she touched his chest under his shirt. [The boy] then digitally penetrated her vagina. On the day of the assembly, [the boy] sent her a text asking if she wanted to stay behind and she agreed to.

Read the rest of this entry »

Combat Ready: Michelle Malkin Gears Up for 2014 GOP Warfare

Malkin is focusing on backing politicians challenging establishment Republicans. | AP Photo

Malkin is focusing on backing politicians challenging establishment Republicans. | AP Photo

Mackenzie Weinger  writes:  Michelle Malkin doesn’t run away from fights, she runs toward them. And she’s running faster than ever headlong into the 2014 Republican primary battles on behalf of upstart conservative candidates who are mounting insurgent challenges to the GOP old guard.

[Malkin’s Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild at Amazon]

Twitter is Malkin’s weapon of choice. Battles with her almost always devolve into wars, and those who follow the conservative social media scene know she has a proven formula online: Taunting quips from foes bring out the full force of her Twitter arsenal, with snappy replies, catchy hashtags and the mobilization of a legion of energized followers.

[Malkin’s Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies]

Malkin, 43, says she’s using her influence — and her confrontational approach — on behalf of candidates she deems worthy of it in this year’s midterm.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sacré Bleu! François Hollande Halts Same-Sex Parenting Law After Huge Pro-Traditional Family March


Dr. Susan Berry writes:  In the wake of tens of thousands of people participating in pro-traditional family protests in France and throughout Europe, French President François Hollande backed down from submitting a new family-law bill to parliament that would make legal “assisted procreation for lesbian couples” and “surrogate motherhood for gay men” who want children.

According to France24, a source in Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s office said Monday that France’s socialist government would no longer present a bill to modernize family law to reflect “diversity” of families.

Over 100,000 protesters in Paris and Lyon, many Catholic and some Muslim, and thousands more in Brussels, Bucharest, Madrid, Warsaw, and Rome, demonstrated in favor of marriage and the traditional family last Sunday.

The demonstrations were led by La Manif Pour Tous (Protest for Everyone), a fast-growing coalition of groups that has organized massive rallies against same-sex marriage legislation throughout Europe.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ben Shapiro OUT at Breitbart News


Ben Shapiro, the editor-at-large of Breitbart News, is parting ways with the company. He continues to be editor of the media watchdog group, TruthRevolt, the right-wing answer to the liberal Media Matters. TruthRevolt has no financial tie to Breitbart News and is a non-profit owned by David Horowitz. Shapiro began working for Breitbart News in February, 2012, just two weeks before Andrew Breitbart died. Shapiro was a longtime friend to Breitbart.

The Los Angeles-based Shapiro, who also hosts a radio show on KTTH out of Seattle and is an attorney, declined to comment on the matter. In fact, when I wrote him, he formally declined and cc’d his lawyer. So far, his Twitter bio has not changed and still contains his position at Breitbart News.

View original post

Cockfighting Crackdown: Six Arrested, Thousands Of Birds Seized


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Six people have been arrested in a massive crackdown on cockfighting.

The New York Attorney General’s Office and the ASPCA raided a fight on Saturday night, in a Woodhaven basement.

Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Ashland, Oregon: Straight-faced Man Makes Epic Mockery of City Council Over Gun Ban

Video Reblogged from BeeshaSIM, comments mine. Who is this citizen, I wonder? His droll presentation has a thespian flair (note the ascot, the elocution, the faux-European affectation) an almost Monty-Python-eque quality that’s quietly subversive. Ashland’s Shakespeare Festival is famous, perhaps this gentleman is a local stage actor. If not, he surely could be. Beneath the comic delivery is a deeply sarcastic, mocking message that is as cold as ice. More City Council meetings should have interludes like this.


The Right Can’t Stop Talking About Wendy Davis


Wendy Davis Open Carry: Alienating Her Base?

Perhaps it’s a testament to Wendy Davis’ controversial image and growing national profile, or to the size and importance of Texas on the national stage, but seriously…why is the Texas Governor’s race getting so much national media attention?  Particularly from conservatives?

I’m inclined to think the right-leaning media’s obsessive focus on Davis says more about her strengths as a candidate than her critics would like to admit. Otherwise, why can’t  24 hours pass without new op-eds and analysis about her campaign?

If her campaign is so doomed, and she’s not a threat, why not shut up about it, and cover something else? (note: I realize I’m contributing to the exact thing I’m complaining about, giving attention to the topic. But it’s an honest question. I’m curious why Davis and the Texas race continues to attract media attention)

At , in an essay proclaiming that Wendy Davis’ position on open carry will cost her any chance of winning  writes:

Start from the premise that Wendy Davis probably was going to lose the election against Greg Abbott no matter what.

But probably wasn’t a sure thing. Abbott never was in Edwin Edwards territory: “The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.”

It didn’t help that Davis’s narrative of being a struggling teenage single mom who brought herself up by her bootstraps all the way to Harvard Law School fell apart.

Read the rest of this entry »

Americans Renouncing Citizenship Up 221%


Robert W. Wood  reports:  America is a great land and lures immigrants worldwide, yet record numbers of U.S. citizens and permanent residents are giving up their citizenship or residency. For all the immigrant arrivals the trickle the other direction is increasing. The number is still small, with the “published” expatriates for the quarter was 630 for the last quarter or 2013.

That brings the total number to 2,999 for all of 2013. The previous record high for a year was 1,781 set in 2011. It’s a 221% increase over the 932 who left in 2012. You can call it a shaming or a public record, but the Treasury Department is required to publish a quarterly list of Americans who renounced their U.S. Citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency. The public outing puts Americans on notice who relinquished their rights.

Those seem like tiny numbers, yet the total thus far for 2013 is 2,369. See Number of Taxpayers Who Renounced U.S. Citizenship Skyrockets to All-Time Record High, quoting Andrew Mitchel. Under U.S. tax law, it is not relevant why someone expatriates. Whether the expatriation was motivated by tax avoidance or something else used to matter, but the law was changed in 2004.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Kelly Ayotte: We Can’t Trust Obama, But Let’s Do Amnesty Anyway


Matthew Boyle reports:   Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) says she agrees that Republicans can’t trust President Obama to enforce the law, but they should immediately move forward on comprehensive immigration reform, anyway.

“Here’s the deal: The status quo is totally unacceptable,” Ayotte said on CBS NewsFace The Nation with Bob Schieffer on Sunday.

Ayotte, who rode the Tea Party wave in 2010 to her election to the Senate but has emerged as one of the upper chamber’s more liberal Republicans, conceded there is a “trust deficit” with Obama.

“There’s a trust deficit that the Speaker is facing right now and it’s related to ObamaCare and the disastrous rollout,” she said. “Because, let’s think about it, immigration means doing a lot of complex things well. And in addition to that, the administration keeps issuing executive orders to change the law, very frequently.”

However, Ayotte insisted the GOP should move forward anyway.

“I think we should solve this,” she continued. “I think [Boehner] can find a way forward. Certainly, the bill that came out of the Senate was not perfect, but it was a good solution to a hard problem. I think it’s an important issue to solve – not only for the country, but for the Republican Party.”

Read the rest of this entry »

East China Sea: What Do China and Japan Really Want?

China Daily Mail

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.

The diplomatic standoff between China and Japan is drifting in the direction of military conflict.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2014, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made an explicit analogy between the current Sino-Japanese rivalry and what had happened between Great Britain and Germany before World War I.

A coming conflict between China and Japan in the East China Sea would seem to be a matter of not if but when, should this kind of vicious provocation continue.

Knowing what China and Japan really want from the East China Sea dispute is the prerequisite for any meaningful efforts in maintaining peace in the region. The U.S. should help China save face, in order to restore the status quo in the East China Sea, and put a stop…

View original post 1,149 more words

Will: Big Government has Big Consequences

“The point of progressivism is to put in front of the American people an increasingly rich menu of temptations to dependency on government in order to change social norms and, eventually, national character…”

Will said.

Kathleen Sebelius at the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Oct. 30. Associated Press

 ”…The president said ‘I want to fundamentally change America,’ and these disincentives to work are part of that.”

National Review Online

Apathy Toward Tyranny

photo credit: Shutterstock

photo credit: Shutterstock

Gavin McInnes  writes:  Conspiracy theories used to involve a handful of loonies obsessing over isolated alleged events. Today, what used to be seen as freak occurrences are now an endless barrage of really serious events that only a handful of people are sane enough to recognize. Big Brother is no longer a myth, and the truly scary part is that nobody seems to care. If a tyrant is cool and he plays basketball with Jay-Z, well, then, tyranny is cool. In Barack’s America, the Gadsden Flag says, “Tread on Me.”

On Hannity last week we discussed Dinesh D’Souza’s curious indictment on charges of campaign fraud. The allegations are that he paid other people to make contributions to a political candidate he was endorsing as a way of getting around his own donation limit, and he’s facing up to two years in prison for it.

[Dinesh D’Souza’s DVD: 2016 Obama’s America at Amazon]

Dinesh is the man behind 2016: Obama’s America, which not only criticizes Obama’s presidency, it gets deep into the president’s psyche and says Obama’s entire philosophy is flawed. On the show D’Souza explained he cannot comment on the case but admitted, “2016 was a film that does seem to have gotten under President Obama’s skin…whether this is a kind of payback remains to be seen.”

I understand liberals not caring what happens to this thorn in Obama’s side, but where’s the Republican outrage? Someone made Obama look bad and is now facing jail time. I’m not willing to call that a coincidence.

“Big Brother is no longer a myth, and the truly scary part is that nobody seems to care.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Corporate Backing is Helping Obamacare Infect National Economy like a Virus


Obamacare virus is infecting mainstream American life as business conglomerates, sports teams and crony capitalists voluntarily inject it into the corporate bloodstream

Fans of the Jet City Rollergirls are hearing public announcements about Obamacare when they go to the roller derby track north of Seattle.

Univision, the nation’s largest Spanish-language television network, is airing half-hour specials about healthy living and educating viewers about how to sign up for coverage under President Obama’s health law.

“…we knew that if we wanted to reach young people, this couldn’t look like a traditional government program…”

— Michael Marchand

And tax preparers at thousands of Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block offices are talking to their customers about how to enroll in the new insurance plans sold through the law’s online marketplaces.


Although many companies are wary of associating with the health law while it remains a political lightning rod, the Affordable Care Act is increasingly entering the mainstream as major corporations, sports teams and others integrate it into their businesses.

Read the rest of this entry »

45,000 more rich Chinese waiting to move to Vancouver, Canada

China Daily Mail

Over 60pc seeking Canadian wealthy investor visa are from China and want to live in British Columbia’s main city, data shows

A South China Morning Post investigation into Canada’s immigration programme for millionaire investors has revealed the extraordinary extent to which it has become devoted to a single outcome: Helping rich mainland Chinese settle in Vancouver.

Immigration Department data obtained by the Post suggests there was a backlog of more than 45,000 rich Chinese waiting for approval of their applications to move to British Columbia as of January last year. They are estimated to have a minimum combined wealth of C$12.9 billion (HK$90 billion).

The Chinese queue for British Columbia under the scheme – which halted new applications to deal with the backlog in 2012 – is about six times the combined annual applications from all nationalities to the investor migrant programmes run by the US, Britain and Australia…

View original post 843 more words

[VIDEO] Biometric Gun Box Lets Nobody Get Your Weapon But You


We reported on this last October, in an item from This Is Probably the Best-Looking, Most High-Tech Gun Safe You’ll See, but it’s so cool, it’s worth another look…

The Daily Caller‘s Giuseppe Macri reports:

The Gun Box is quit possibly the safest way to store your gun while also being the fastest way to get it when the need arises. 

At $279, the Gun Box is pretty moderately priced for what you get — a 4-millimeter thick aircraft-strength aluminum alloy casing that opens the lid on hydraulics after scanning a fingerprint, or radio frequency identification bracelet or ring…

Read the rest of this entry »

Mystery Assault on Power Grid Raises Alarms

A sniper attack in April that knocked out an electrical substation near San Jose, Calif., has raised fears that the country’s power grid is vulnerable to terrorism. WSJ’s Rebecca Smith has the details.

 WSJ – YouTube

Gillespie: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Heroin Problem Does Not Constitute a Crisis

A copy of a New York Times Magazine with a photo of movie actor Philip Seymour Hoffman on the cover in a memorial in front of his apartment building in New York City, on Feb. 3, 2014. Carlo Allegri / Reuters

 Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Nick Gillespie  writes:  The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has given rise to a massive outpouring of grief and sadness by his fans and admirers. It has also given rise to an equally massive outpouring of patently false and exaggerated stories about the increase in heroin use and the need to do something — anything! — about it. This is not just misguided but dangerous: High-profile drug deaths in the past have lead to major public policy mistakes — think mandatory-minimum sentencing guidelines — that can take decades to correct.

[See also Alan Dershowitz: No, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Dealer Isn’t a Murderer]

Even before the inconclusive results of Hoffman’s autopsy were made public, news outlets such as MSNBC were already running stories about “America’s Heroin Problem,” “the rapidly growing crisis of heroin,” and quoting “law enforcementofficials [who] believe the spike in heroin use is driven by addicts becoming priced out of more expensive prescription opiate-based pain killers.”


[See also VIDEO: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s (Extended) Drug Scene from Sidney Lumet’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”]

hoffman-streetsYet as my colleague at Reason, Jacob Sullum, was quick to document, the government statistics that track heroin use show absolutely no increase in regular use of the drug. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (the latest available), 0.1 percent of Americans ages 12 and older reported using the drug in the past month. That’s exactly the same percentage that used in 2002 and there has been no significant fluctuation in the intervening decade. The Monitoring the Future Study, which tracks behavior of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, shows annual use of heroin declining across the board from a decade ago.

[Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Deadly Brand of Heroin: ‘Ace of Spades’]

Much of the confusion stems from journalists and their sources using raw numbers without controlling for population growth or mistaking lifetime use for anything approaching a habit (both errors are on display in this “Journalist’s Resource” put out by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy).

Read the rest of this entry »

President Obama’s Magic Words and Numbers

George Will writes:  Barack Obama, the first president shaped by the celebratory culture in which every child who plays soccer gets a trophy and the first whose campaign speeches were his qualification for the office, perhaps should not be blamed for george-f-will-114x80thinking that saying things is tantamount to accomplishing things, and that good intentions aregood deeds. So, his presidency is useful after all, because it illustrates the perils of government run by believers in magic words and numbers.The last progressive president promised Model Cities, with every child enjoying a Head Start en route to enjoying an Upward obama-magician-150x150Bound into a Great Society. Today’s progressive president also uses words — and numbers — magically emancipated from reality.

Thirty months have passed since Obama said: “The time has come for President Assad to step aside.” Today, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, says Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power has “strengthened.” In last month’s State of the Union address, Obama defined success down by changing the subject: “American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated.” If saying so makes it so, all is well.

 “…Obama’s critics should reconsider their assumption that he is cynical. It is his sincerity that is scary.”

Assad, however, seems tardy regarding this elimination, perhaps because the threat of force was never actually made. The Democratic-controlled Senate nullified the threat by its emphatic reluctance to authorize force. Reuters recently reported that Assad had surrendered “4.1 percent of the roughly 1,300 tonnes of toxic agents” he supposedly has. The “.1” is an especially magical number, given the modifier “roughly” attached to 1,300 tons.

Read the rest of this entry »