For National Review Online, Tim Cavanaugh reports: A Florida Republican congressional candidate’s campaign sign was vandalized with whiteface paint last week in a district with overwhelmingly Democratic voter registration. The attack follows a string of bias incidents against black Republicans.
“We expect signs to be tampered with or stolen, but not to this extent…”
Glo Smith, who reports that she has also had a number of signs stolen, tells National Review Online she became aware of the racist defacement of an eight-foot-by-four-foot sign Tuesday. The sign was situated on private property in view of Interstate 10 in Jacksonville. The vandal sprayed white paint over the face of Smith, who is African-American. The paint job appears to be carefully done and leaves the eyes untouched, creating a very creepy effect. Read the rest of this entry »
Finally, Technology That Matters: Molson Beer Fridge Only Opens if ‘O Canada’ is Performed Correctly and in its EntiretyPosted: June 30, 2014
OTTAWA, June 30 (UPI) — After stints in Indonesia and Europe, the Molson beer fridge, which only opens if “O Canada” is performed correctly and in its entirety, will be returning home for Canada Day on July 1.
Sorry USA. Canada Day is coming. #July1st #IAMCANADIAN http://t.co/4nYNzWZnmP pic.twitter.com/CXy5lgwEMo— Molson Canadian (@Molson_Canadian) June 30, 2014
Previous versions of the fridge have only unlocked for people with Canadian passports. Read the rest of this entry »
George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley, who self-identifies as a liberal and has supported President Barack Obama on numerous issues, argued that that the president’s attempts to expand the power of the executive branch will “cause serious problems,” and will “start to lose Democrats.” …(read more) Breitbart.com
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) June 30, 2014
Air force targets locations in Khan Younis, Rafah; rocket fired at Eshkol region; no injuries or damage reported
ABC NEWS reports: Following the discovery of the bodies of three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank earlier this month, reporters said they could hear the sound of airstrikes tonight in Gaza.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the strikes were in retaliation for the kidnappings and murders, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had vowed to avenge. The Israel Defense Forces also tweeted early Tuesday morning that a rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel, but no damage was reported….(read more)
Earlier, a rocket was fired in the direction of the Eshkol Regional Council, landing in open terrain. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The strikes came hours after the bodies of kidnapped Israeli teenagers — Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16 and Naftali Fraenkel, 16 — were found partially buried in a field near the West Bank village of Halhul, north of Hebron.
The teenagers were kidnapped on the night of June 12 at a hitchhiking post outside the settlement of Alon Shvut in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem.
The bodies were found at about 5:30 p.m. Monday, bound and partially buried, in an open field in a hard-to-access area. The site is less than 20 kilometers (12 miles) from where the teens had been abducted. Read the rest of this entry »
Who needs hands to put on a pair of pants? Not this guy, who manages to do it in 45 seconds flat, including a warm up routine. He shakes, stretches and wiggles to work his pants up to his waist, not once touching them with his hands.
The video already has 2 and a half million views on YouTube
New details emerged Monday on how many Americans are spied on by the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency, in a letter that also revealed how few records on domestic surveillance are held by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
A letter to surveillance-reform hawk Sen. Ron Wyden (D—Ore.) from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence made public Monday revealed that the NSA approved searches of the content of communications of 198 “U.S. person identifiers”—a number associated with the phone, computer, etc. of an American citizen or legal immigrant — and 9,500 searches of meta-data for U.S. person identifiers. The Central Intelligence Agency conducted “fewer than 1900″ queries associated with U.S. person identifiers, according to the letter.
But the FBI could present no hard numbers on how many American citizens it spies on, according to the letter. “The FBI does not track how many queries it conducts using…
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Confidence hits six-year low for presidency; record lows for Supreme Court, Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C. — For gallup.com, Justin McCarthy reports: Americans’ confidence in all three branches of the U.S. government has fallen, reaching record lows for the Supreme Court (30%) and Congress (7%), and a six-year low for the presidency (29%). The presidency had the largest drop of the three branches this year, down seven percentage points from its previous rating of 36%.
These data come from a June 5-8 Gallup poll asking Americans about their confidence in 16 U.S. institutions — within government, business, and society — that they either read about or interact with.
While Gallup recently reported a historically low rating of Congress, Americans have always had less confidence in Congress than in the other two branches of government. The Supreme Court and the presidency have alternated being the most trusted branch of government since 1991, the first year Gallup began asking regularly about all three branches.
But on a relative basis, Americans’ confidence in all three is eroding. Since June 2013, confidence has fallen seven points for the presidency, four points for the Supreme Court, and three points for Congress. Confidence in each of the three branches of government had already fallen from 2012 to 2013.
Confidence in the presidency is now the lowest it has been under President Barack Obama, as is confidence in Congress and the Supreme Court, given their historical lows. When Obama first took office in 2009, each of the three branches saw a jump in confidence from their dismally low ratings in George W. Bush’s final two years in the White House.
Confidence in the Presidency, From George H.W. Bush to Obama
The president in office is not mentioned by name when the presidential confidence question is asked, but how positively Americans evaluate the current president has a direct impact on how much confidence Americans place in the presidency as an institution.
Gallup began asking regularly about the presidency in March 1991, when George H.W. Bush was in office. At that time, 72% of Americans had confidence in the presidency — the highest confidence rating the institution has received. This was immediately following his leadership in the successful first Persian Gulf War, and at a time when his job approval rating hit the then all-time high of 89%. But the elder Bush also saw the largest drop in confidence for the institution that same year, when it fell to a still relatively high 50% in October 1991.
The three presidents who would succeed him would go on to be elected to two terms, with varying degrees of confidence in the executive branch of the U.S. government during those terms. Obama garnered the greatest first-year confidence rating, at 51% in 2009, but has held lower ratings than both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in each subsequent year of his presidency so far.
George W. Bush’s presidency commanded the highest first-term confidence ratings due to the post-9/11 surge in support for government leaders and institutions, marked by a record job approval rating of 90% for Bush in September 2001 and continued high ratings for him in the months thereafter. His second-term approval ratings plummeted, however, and so did confidence in the presidency, reaching anall-time low of 25% in 2007. Read the rest of this entry »
Taking executive action to address immigration issues is a step President Obama said he
takes gleefully, because he prefers it to governing responsibly, and lawfully, as presidents have for two centuries reluctantly has to take because Congress was elected by the people, and has the authority to act on their behalf of Congress’s lack of action.
One Is The Loneliest Number – Three Dog Night
Following reports that John Boehner told the president he will not bring immigration reform for a vote this year, the president said he “would love nothing more” than to
take all my marbles and go home, because they’re all so mean to me not have to act unilaterally and be able to sign legislation instead.
“I don’t prefer taking administrative action,” he said in the Rose Garden on Monday.
“I’m lonely, and nobody likes me “I would greatly prefer to rule as an autocrat, or a beloved cult leader, and represent only those who agree with me, and make up laws as I please Congress actually do something.”
“I take executive action only when
I feel like it we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and the Senate refuses do do anything Congress chooses to do nothing,” the president continued. He chastised House Republicans for injuring his self-esteem and making him feel like giving up failing to “pass a darn bill.” Read the rest of this entry »
For an excerpt from Fund’s and Hans A. von Spakovsky’s new book, Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department, click here.
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 30, 2014
“The framers believed that members of each branch of government would transcend individual political ambitions to vigorously defend the power of their institutions.”
After announcing that he intended to act unilaterally in the face of congressional opposition, Obama ordered the non-enforcement of various laws — including numerous changes to the Affordable Care Act — moved hundreds of millions of dollars away from the purposes for which Congress approved the spending and claimed sweeping authority to act without judicial or legislative controls.
A growing crisis in our constitutional system threatens to fundamentally alter the balance of powers — and accountability — within our government. This crisis did not begin with Obama, but it has reached a constitutional tipping point during his presidency. Indeed, it is enough to bring the two of us — a liberal academic and a conservative U.S. senator — together in shared concern over the future of our 225-year-old constitutional system of selfgovernance.
We believe that people of good faith can likewise transcend politics and forge a bipartisan coalition to examine these changes. In our view, the gridlock in Washington is not simply the result of toxic divisions. The dysfunctional politics we are experiencing may in part be the result of a deeper corrosion — a dangerous instability that is growing within our Madisonian system. Read the rest of this entry »
For decades, Carter’s presidency was synonymous with weakness on the world stage. The late 1970’s was the era of double-digit inflation, a worldwide oil crisis, Iranian hostages and Soviet military advances from Latin America to Afghanistan. So pathetic was America’s predicament at the time that the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy mounted a primary challenge to Carter from the left.
“It is barely remembered today, but, for all the derision heaped upon Carter as a weak and feckless President, he eventually responded to foreign aggression in tough and concrete ways.”
Obama’s rise to power mirrored his Democratic predecessor’s in many ways. Both men came to office in the wake of widespread public disenchantment with the political establishment, and promoted themselves as outsiders and breaths of fresh air. Both men spoke of surmounting what they portrayed as Americans’ exaggerated anxieties about the dangers hyped by fear-mongering conservatives.
“The correlations between the world situation in the twilight of the Carter administration and in the second Obama term are hard to ignore.”
For Carter, in a 1977 commencement speech, it was “our inordinate fear of communism” that Americans needed to overcome. For Obama, in his 2009 Cairo address, it was the “fear” and “mistrust” that had grown between the West and Muslim world in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Both men came into office emphasizing the promotion of human rights as a crucial dimension of American foreign policy. And both men gave the impression that their good intentions would be enough to accomplish these Herculean tasks.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, the reality of the world came crashing down. Read the rest of this entry »
— NASA (@NASA) June 29, 2014
Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein (goaded by an even madder scientist) builds his monster a mate.
BBC News reports: A man set himself on fire in central Tokyo in protest at a proposed law which could allow Japan to deploy its military overseas.
“He was sitting cross-legged and was just talking, so I thought it would end without incident. Then all of a sudden his body was enveloped in fire.”
The man was taken to hospital after being hosed down but his condition was not immediately known, officials said.
Japan’s government could make the change to its pacifist constitution as early as next Tuesday.
The US-drafted constitution bans war and “the threat or use of force” to settle international disputes.
Witnesses said the middle-aged man, wearing a suit and tie, climbed onto a pedestrian bridge at Tokyo’s Shinjuku station.
“He was sitting cross-legged and was just talking, so I thought it would end without incident,” one eyewitness told Reuters. “Then all of a sudden his body was enveloped in fire.”
The sea ice surrounding Antarctica, which, as I reported in my book, has been steadily increasing throughout the period of satellite measurement that began in 1979, has hit a new all-time record high for areal coverage.
The new record anomaly for Southern Hemisphere sea ice, the ice encircling the southernmost continent, is 2.074 million square kilometers and was posted for the first time by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s The Cryosphere Today early Sunday morning.
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A good deal from Famous Monsters of Filmland. This is actually true, though they weren’t astronaut helmets or suits, they were designed for wear in the U2 spy plane and the NACA supersonic test flights.
“The most important thing is this is national-security emergency for the United States.”
For National Review Online, Andrew Johnson writes: Former United States ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey warned that the ongoing crisis in the Middle Eastern country poses a serious threat to the U.S. and its allies.
“It’s a huge terrorist threat, it’s our allies and partners under stress, it’s a possible civil war in the middle of the Middle East, and it’s even an impact on our oil and energy security. We need to act and we need to continue acting very quickly.”
For National Review Online, Andrew Johnson writes: Lois Lerner isn’t to blame for the loss of thousands of emails sent during the period of the IRS’s alleged targeting of conservative groups, according to her attorney…
“The truth is this was one of those things that happened — at the time she did everything she could to retrieve it.”
Appearing on State of the Union, William Taylor explained that Lerner’s computer screen “went blue” one day, and ultimately resulted in her losing all of her emails during a two-year span.
“That’s the story — that’s all there is to it.”
Making a Mockery
Call John Koskinen a late bloomer. According to records on our hard drive before we crashed it, he is 74 years old, thirty-three days short of the magical 75. Before he caught Paul Ryan’s attention, we had never heard of him. Now he’s unanimous victor in the EOW sweepstakes. Such insolence, such arrogance, such contempt for all humanity we had not seen in a public official since the last time we paid attention to those who escaped from the losing side of World War II to some friendly dictatorship in the southern parts of South America and got caught. Is it any surprise that the Koskinen soccer stadium at Duke University is named after him? Wonder where he picked up his expertise in soccer?
“So the official line must remain: Computers crash, dogs eat homework, and Republicans have no standing to complain about anything or even be in politics”
What about his lowly competition this week? The maestros at Politico have hailed our president’s becoming “mocker-in-chief on climate change skeptics.” Only problem is we have yet to hear him play mocker-in-chief vis-à-vis, say, V.V. Putin, ISIS, Iran, cholera at the border, and the leader responsible for our nation’s GDP shrinking by 2.9 percent last quarter. No fair, this last charge? It was, after all, a very cold winter. Climate changed in every wrong way. Oh, well, no need, Mr. Prez, to apologize to those you have mocked. We expect the honorable Mr. Koskinen will jump at the chance to do the job for you. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Self-pity is never admirable in a public figure, but it seems to be Obama’s default emotion when the going gets tough…’Posted: June 29, 2014
“They don’t do anything, except block me and call me names.”
“He is a victim of a vast conspiracy that includes everything from global upheaval to a domestic mood going from simmer to boil. If only everybody would just shut up and do what he says, all would be well.”
Facing a horrific expansion of terrorism in the Mideast, a meltdown of public support at home and major rebukes by the Supreme Court, the president remains fixated on No. 1.
“I’m finding lately I just want to say what’s on my mind,” he told a Minneapolis audience Friday, and then ticked off a series of complaints about — surprise — Republicans.
“The actions by the court and Boehner have the potential to remind Obama of the duties of his office, and its limits. Both moves are predicated on the shared belief that America is a nation of laws, not of men.”
“They don’t do anything, except block me and call me names,” he said. “If they were more interested in growing the economy for you and the issues that you are talking about instead of trying to mess with me, we would be doing a lot better.”
He wasn’t finished: “The critics, the cynics in Washington, they’ve written me off more times than I can count. But cynicism doesn’t invent the Internet. Cynicism doesn’t give women the right to vote.”
There you have it: the presidential mind in Year 6. Don’t cry for Argentina — cry for me!
Self-pity is never admirable in a public figure, but it seems to be Obama’s default emotion when the going gets tough. Because everything is about him, the whole world is personal.
For The Independent, James Vincent writes: Sovereignty in outer space is always a tricky subject, but out of all the lifeless rocks in the solar system it’s safe to say that Mars is more American than most. It may not have a US flag crumpled in mid-wave on the surface, but every robot that’s ever crawled successfully on the planet’s surface has been made in the US. Not for much longer.
Last week China announced that it was planning send a rover to Mars by 2020 and bring back samples from the Red Planet just 10 years later. Ouyang Ziyuan, the Chinese scientist who oversaw the country’s successful Moon rover mission in December last year, said that this would be just the first step in the country’s plans to explore the solar system – with further plans involving sending probes to the Sun.
The US aerospace industry may be having something of a minor boom at the moment as private companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX celebrate engineering successes, but America still can’t match China’s budget nor its concentration of political will.
Scott Pace, a former Nasa administrator and director of the Space Policy Insitute at George Washington University, told The Independent that China’s plans were “ambitious but not impossible,” adding that despite their success on the Moon, Mars is “much, much more difficult to reach and operate on than the Moon”.
Of the seven rovers that have been sent to Mars only the four US missions have been successful. A pair of Soviet rovers sent in 1971 failed to stay in touch with Earth for longer than 20 seconds and in 2003 the Beagle 2’s ‘Planetary Undersurface Tool’ (only a ‘rover’ in the most generous of terms) failed to even make it to the surface. Read the rest of this entry »
That may all be about to change as Russians and fellow travellers can now show their devotion to the President of Russia with a gold-plated iPhone hand engraved with a portrait of Mr Putin.
The Italian-Russian-owned company Caviar Perna Penna which normally creates alligator skin and diamond-encrusted handsets has made the phone for sale in Russia for 147,000 roubles (£2,500) – it comes with its own display case and accessories.
The back of the phone is made of 18-carat gold, and below the portrait of President Putin there is a quote from the Russian National Anthem and the double-headed eagle – Russia’s coat of arms.
In a press release, the firm says that the gadget is aimed at ‘patriotic senior government officials and top executives’.
‘It’s time to feel genuine pride and express your position clearly, without further ado.
‘President Vladimir Putin has become a symbol of the new generation, a strong-willed and decisive leader.’
The manufacturers claim that the Caviar Supremo Putin phone is ‘the best way to express patriotism’ for people who move ‘in the highest circles, in which devotion to the homeland will never be an empty shell’…(read more)
Here’s the deal:
1. In all states, shooting someone who is simply impeding you, shouting at you, and moving towards you loudly and aggressively (absent more), is a crime. The crime is called, assuming you shoot and kill the person, “murder.” (It could also be attempted murder if you miss, or aggravated assault if you hit and injure the person.) Yup, same crime as if the person wasn’t impeding you, shouting at you, or moving towards you loudly and aggressively (though in some states, it’s conceivable that if the person is shouting insults at you and that is viewed as “adequate provocation” — unlikely, but conceivable — you’d get lucky and get off with a voluntary manslaughter charge).
This is because “stand your ground” simply means that, if you reasonably believe that you face imminent death, serious bodily injury, rape, kidnapping, or (in most states) robbery, you can use deadly force against the assailant, even if you have a perfectly safe avenue of retreat. In non-stand-your-ground states, when you face such threats outside your home (and, in some states, your business), you can only use deadly force against the assailant if you lack a perfectly safe avenue of retreat. In no states are you allowed to shoot someone who is simply shouting at you or moving towards you loudly and aggressively, unless you reasonably believe that you’re in danger of death, serious bodily injury, or the other harms I listed. (When the person is coming into your home, in many states you can indeed shoot, but that doesn’t apply to confrontations on the public street.) Read the rest of this entry »
For Breitbart.com, Robert Wilde reports: Although former IRS official Lois Lerner refuses to speak, pleading the fifth amendment, her attorney spoke on her behalf regarding the controversy over two years of missing IRS emails.
“It’s a little brazen to think she did this on purpose.”
— Lois Lerner’s attorney, William Taylor III
William Taylor III said that accusations by Republicans that she is hiding something is “silly… she doesn’t know what happened… It’s a little brazen to think she did this on purpose.”
The IRS and Democrats contend that the emails were lost due to a hard drive crash. Yet, as Politico reported, it so happens that the computer glitch was concomitant with the 2009 time period in which Cincinnati IRS agents started delaying the approvals of Tea Party groups vying for 501(c)(4) non-profit status. Notably, the not-for- profit designation would have allowed the conservative groups the capacity to carry out a limited amount of political activity. Read the rest of this entry »
The ruthless exercise of power by strongmen and generalissimos is the natural state of human affairs.
That democratic self-governance is a historical anomaly is easy to forget for those of us in the Anglosphere — we haven’t really endured a dictator since Oliver Cromwell. The United States came close, first under Woodrow Wilson and then during the very long presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. Both men were surrounded by advisers who admired various aspects of authoritarian models then fashionable in Europe. Read the rest of this entry »
For China Real Time Report, Jason Chow writes: Hong Kong mints millionaires faster than any of the world’s other top 25 economic powerhouses, according to a new survey on the rich by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management.
“Hong Kong is a particularly fertile place for millionaires.”
Tis the season of wealth reports – the new 2014 World Wealth Report is the second global survey of the world’s rich in as many weeks (Boston Consulting Group released its wealth tome last week). And again, the latest survey confirmed an obvious outcome of Asia’s economic boom: The region is home to more millionaires than ever.
“The city’s booming real-estate market, along with its ties to China, were cited as reasons for the huge surge in the wealthy ranks.”
But the Capgemini/RBC report says Hong Kong is a particularly fertile place for millionaires. In the past five years, the total number of high-net-worth individuals—those with more than US$1 million in investable assets, not including primary residence, collectibles or consumer goods—grew at an annual rate of 27%.
That growth rate of wealthy individuals is by far the fastest, above the global 10% average and far higher than the growth rates for Singapore and China, which sat around 12% and 16%, respectively. Read the rest of this entry »
For Breitbart.com, Ben Shapiro writes: On Friday, President Obama spent a good chunk of his public speech in Minneapolis complaining about how tough it is to be President Obama. “They don’t do anything except block me!” he complained of the Republican House of Representatives, as though it were the job of Congress to rubber stamp the Great Monarch’s imperial dictates. “And, and, and call me names!”
The most powerful man on earth is a petulant whiner.
But this isn’t the first time he’s had a crying jag over his sad, sad life. Get out your tiny violins.
Whining About The Press. Here’s Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, channeling Richard Sherman:
Sometimes I feel disrespected by you reporters, but that’s okay…Jake Tapper, don’t you ever talk about me like that. I’m the best president in the game!
He was joking. But not about how he feels disrespected. After all, he told Bill O’Reilly in his Super Bowl interview that O’Reilly is “absolutely” unfair for asking basic questions about issues like Benghazi. Poor baby. And in January, he mewled to The New Yorker’s David Remnick that he couldn’t “penetrate the Republican base” because he couldn’t break through the right-wing media firewall to show conservatives he’s “not the caricature that you see on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh.”
Whining About Republicans. In December 2012, Obama stated that Republican opposition to a fiscal cliff deal sprang from personal hatred of him. “I don’t know if that just has to do with, you know, it is very hard for them to say yes to me.” And again in March 2013:
I recognize that it’s very hard for Republicans leaders to be perceived as making concessions to me… Is there something else I could do to make these guys — I’m not talking about the leaders now, but maybe some of the House Republican caucus members — not paint horns on my head?
And just yesterday: “We’ve got a party on the other side whose only rationale, motivation seems to be opposing me.” Read the rest of this entry »
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 28, 2014