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Bizarre Racial Intolerance: Whiteface Vandalism of Republican Candidate’s Sign

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For National Review OnlineTim 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 »

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[PHOTO] First Corvette rolls off the line in Flint, Michigan, June 30, 1953

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Retrogasm


Nutty Search Terms Revealed

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Megyn Kelly Takes On Sandra Fluke

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I watched this live a few hours ago, it was memorable. Armed with sharp logic and verbal firepower, Fluke’s paper-thin arguments were reduced to ashes in only a few moments of uninterrupted (Kelly was uninterruptible) guest time. An example of why I have nightmares about being on the wrong end of an argument with Megyn Kelly.

Read the whole thing here, and see the video here as well.

For The Daily CallerKatie Frates writes:

Fox’s Megyn Kelly passionately defended religious liberty on “The O’Reilly Factor” Monday after the Supreme Court sided in favor of Hobby Lobby in a 5-4 decision.

O’Reilly played a clip of Sandra Fluke on Chris Matthews’ MSNBC show Monday night, where Fluke described the decision as an attempt to limit women’s access to health care, saying “What this is really about at its base is trying to figure out as many ways as possible to limit women’s access to reproductive healthcare.”

“…we passed Obamacare. And then Kathleen Sebelius had some of her HHS minions go down in the basement and write a regulation that said as part of Obamacare, you have to cover 20 out of 20 birth-control drugs — 20 out of 20. And then women like Sandra Fluke started saying, ‘I’m entitled. Oh my God, I didn’t realize how victimized I was all those years when I was paying for it on my own…’”

Kelly wasted no time in launching into an explanation of the ridiculousness of Flukes allegation.

“It hurts, it hurts, it doesn’t matter how many times you say something,” she said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s true if she says it over and over, it’s not true, just don’t believe that, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

“The Supreme Court said, ‘You’re right’. This [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] law passed by President [Bill] Clinton, that all those Democrats who are now rejecting signed on to — also voted for — that law protects you, Hobby Lobby, and Kathleen Sebelius’s minions in the basement don’t get to take your rights away from you.”

“So it’s a lot of corporations that could be affected, but only those who feel strongly about their religious beliefs,” Kelly explained. “Those folks aren’t going to have to provide abortion-related drugs: drugs that terminate an already-fertilized egg. Read the rest of this entry »


Finally, Technology That Matters: Molson Beer Fridge Only Opens if ‘O Canada’ is Performed Correctly and in its Entirety

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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 »


Reality Check: Hobby Lobby Actually Lavishes Contraception Coverage on Its Employees

Supreme Court Affirmitive Action

For National Review OnlineDeroy Murdock notes:

The Left is foaming at the mouth over the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision this morning….

[Read the whole thing here]

Imagine that a woman starts work at Hobby Lobby tomorrow morning — July 1. She joins Hobby Lobby’s health care plan. It includes access, copay-free, to the following categories of FDA-approved birth-control:

  1. Male condoms
  2. Female condoms
  3. Diaphragms with spermicide
  4. Sponges with spermicide
  5. Cervical caps with spermicide
  6. Spermicide alone
  7. Birth-control pills with estrogen and progestin (“Combined Pill)
  8. Birth-control pills with progestin alone (“The Mini Pill)
  9. Birth control pills (extended/continuous use)
  10. Contraceptive patches
  11. Contraceptive rings
  12. Progestin injections
  13. Implantable rods
  14. Vasectomies
  15. Female sterilization surgeries
  16. Female sterilization implants (read more)

Extra credit: Hot Air’s Noah Rothman: ‘The Left Loses its Mind Over Hobby Lobby”

“I imagine the horrified shrieks that rose from the streets outside the Supreme Court on Monday as the decision in the Hobby Lobby case began to filter out into the crowd of liberal observers was reminiscent of those poor souls who watched helplessly as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire claimed the lives of 146 young, female garment workers.

In fact, the similarities are eerie. It seems that liberal commentators have convinced themselves that, just as was the case in 1911, the courts and the country have deemed women to be of lesser value than their male counterparts. The distinction between these two eras, of course, is that while that argument could be supported in 1911, it exists only in the heads of progressives in 2014.” (read more)

 National Review Online – Hot Air


Jonathan Turley: Obama Will ‘Start to Lose Democrats’ with Power Grab

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View the clip on Brietbart TV

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


Obama’s Threat To Change Immigration Laws Meets Resistance

obama-biden

Not Everybody’s Favorite President

For The Daily Caller, Neil Munro writes: GOP leaders say President Barack Obama will only make immigration problems worse if he goes ahead with his Monday threat to unilaterally alter the nation’s immigration laws.

“I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress,” Obama said in a Rose Garden speech Monday afternoon.

“Additional executive action from this president isn’t going to stem the tide of illegal crossings, it’s only going to make them worse.”

— House speaker John Boehner

Deputies will identify “actions my administration can take on our own, within my existing legal authorities, to do what Congress refuses to do and fix as much of our immigration system as we can,” he said.

“I expect their recommendations before the end of summer and I intend to adopt those recommendations without further delay,” he said.

“If the Obama administration rewards illegality and fails to enforce the laws or secure the border, we’re going to be back at this same place in 20 years.”

— Senator Chuck Grassley

House Speaker John Boehner was quick to condemn the move. ”The president’s own executive orders have led directly to the humanitarian crisis along the Southern border,” Boehner said in a statement, “giving false hope to children and their families that if they enter the country illegally they will be allowed to stay.” Read the rest of this entry »


Michelle Obama: ‘Theres No Crack in Our Pies’

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Obama Jokes White House Pastry Chef Puts Crack in His Pies

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Obama Jokes White House Pastry Chef Puts Crack In His Pies

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There Is No Crack in White House Pies

 


Exclusive Interview with Radical Group Weather Underground Co-Founder Bill Ayers on Kelly File


BREAKING: After Bodies of Israeli Teens Found, Jets Strike Several Sites in Gaza

israel air strike

Air force targets locations in Khan Younis, Rafah; rocket fired at Eshkol region; no injuries or damage reported

The Times of Israel reports: Israeli jets struck several sites in Khan Younes and Rafah in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday morning, according to Palestinian sources.

ABC-Alert

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)

People gather for a vigil for the three Israeli teens outside of the Israeli Consulate on June 16, 2014 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Vigil for the three Israeli teens outside of the Israeli Consulate in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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.

A broken window from a rocket strike on Sdot Negev Monday

A broken window from a rocket strike on Sdot Negev

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 »


Analysis: A Kinder, Gentler Turn to the Gender Wars?

Men and women need to discuss gender issues. One can’t hear what the other doesn’t say.

For USA Today, Glenn Reynolds writes: Are we coming to a truce in the gender wars? Or just opening a second front? Or, perhaps, actually starting to talk to each other?

The First International Conference on Men’s Issues touched on many topics, including the treatment of men in the media. Dads are often depicted as bumbling losers, such as the one portrayed by Seth Rogen in the movie “Knocked Up” with Katherine Heigl. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

In the media, dads are often depicted as bumbling losers, such as the one portrayed by Seth Rogen in the movie “Knocked Up” with Katherine Heigl.  (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Those are the questions I was asking myself as I attended the First International Conference on Men’s Issues in Detroit last weekend. And, to be honest, I’m still not sure. But it’s certainly true that the discussion is expanding, and I’m enough of a believer in discussion and engagement to think that’s a good thing.men-on-strike

[Check out “Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters” at Amazon.com]

The first thing that struck me about the conference — both the speakers and the attendees — was how diverse the crowd was. (Full disclosure: I was there as a tag-along spouse while my wife spoke about her gender relations book, Men on Strike.) There were plenty of women there, which I suppose should be no surprise, as there are plenty of men at conferences on new-schoolwomen’s issues. There’s even a women’s group called The Honey Badger Brigade that supports men’s rights.

[Glenn Reynolds‘ book The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself is available at Amazon]

There were also a lot of African-Americans — or, in the case of Canadian Sen. Anne Cools, African-Canadians. But it turns out, as we heard from speakers like Fred Jones, the victims of the gender war are disproportionately black, because black men are more likely to be jailed for failure to pay child support, or on charges of domestic violence. Read the rest of this entry »


David French on Hobby Lobby: ‘The Left Is Weeping Hot, Bitter Tears, and It Should’

Indulgent Pulp Fiction Propaganda disguised as prestigious literature: Left-Wing Paranoia Peddling Author Margaret Atwood in a Twist

Margaret Atwood with a Twist: Margaret Atwood is the author of “Handmaiden’s Tale”: Deliciously Fun Third-Rate Trashy Left-Wing Paranoid Pulp Fiction. Hailed by Critics as Prestigious, Important Literature.

“For some time, the Left has been selling the public and the courts on the notion that somehow the act of forming a corporation and opening for business operates as an effective waiver of your most basic liberties…”

For National Review OnlineDavid French nails it:

 [Read the whole thing here]

Andrew’s and Molly’s post reflecting the hysterical reaction on the Left to the Hobby Lobby decision makes for both entertaining and instructive reading. It’s entertaining because — regarding the issue they claim to care most about, access to contraceptives — the decision blocks exactly no one from obtaining the drugs they choose to purchase. There’s just slightly less free stuff on the market. This is hardly Handmaid’s Tale territory.

It’s instructive because it demonstrates the extent to which the Left is emotionally and ideologically committed to the power of the regulatory state. For some time, the Left has been selling the public and the courts on the notion that somehow the act of forming a corporation and opening for business operates as an effective waiver of your most basic liberties, including free speech, free exercise of religion, and virtually the entire panoply of property rights. In effect, your business is not “your” business at all, but instead all aspects of its operations exist at the whim of the state, and if the state wants to draft you into its child-killing abortion crusade — or wants to muzzle you during political campaigns – then you best salute and fall in line. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Trending: Pants With No Hands

For CBS Dallas  Fort WorthAngela Martin reports:

angela-martinWho 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

 CBS Dallas / Fort Worth


FBI Doesn’t Know How Many Americans It Spies On

TIME

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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We Told You So: Religious Liberty Trumps Federally-Mandated Employer Birth Control Requirement

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For The Associated Press, Mark Sherman reports; A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that some companies with religious objections can avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, the first time the high court has declared that businesses can hold religious views under federal law.

coverage-stat

The justices’ 5-4 decision, splitting conservatives and liberals, means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under the health insurance plans of objecting companies.

“Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs.”

— Justice Alito

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion, over a dissent from the four liberal justices, that forcing companies to pay for methods of women’s contraception to which they object violates the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He said the ruling is limited and there are ways for the administration to ensure women get the birth control they want. Read the rest of this entry »


Government Legitimacy in Decline: Confidence in All Branches of U.S. Government Plummets

Confidence hits six-year low for presidency; record lows for Supreme Court, Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For gallup.comJustin 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%.

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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.

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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.

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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 »


Obama: ‘I Don’t Prefer Taking’ Executive Action, But Congress ‘Forces Me To’

So-Alone

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.”

Obama-gives-up

“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 »


Fund: Boehner Lawsuit Starts National Conversation About Limits of Executive Power

For an excerpt from Fund’s and Hans A. von Spakovsky’s new book, Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department, click here.

National Review Online


Honda Jet with Engine Mounted Over the Wing Takes its First Flight.


Analysis: Restoring Balance Among the Branches of Government in Washington

Jefferson-Memorial-998x665

“The framers believed that members of each branch of government would transcend individual political ambitions to vigorously defend the power of their institutions.”

For the The Washington PostRon Johnson and Jonathan Turley write:
The controversy over President Obama’s decision to exchange five high-ranking Taliban leaders for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl last month focused largely on the price paid. There was less focus on Obama ignoring a federal law that required him to notify Congress 30 days in advance of releasing detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Laws such as this have been enacted to allow vital oversight of actions of such consequence. If this were an isolated instance, it could be dismissed. It is not.

Ron_Johnson_CongressRon Johnsonturley_jonathan, a Republican, represents Wisconsin in the Senate. Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University.

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.

WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 15: Ethan Kasnett, an 8th grade student at the Lab School in Washington, DC, views the original constitution. (Brendan Smialowski/GETTY IMAGES)

WASHINGTON – DECEMBER 15: Ethan Kasnett, an 8th grade student at the Lab School in Washington, DC, views the original constitution. (Brendan Smialowski/GETTY IMAGES)

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 »


‘Barack Carter’: Obama is Leaving America Weaker on the World Stage than Carter Did

plastic-camera-carter-obama

For NY Daily News writes: It’s now official: On foreign policy, Barack Obama is worse than Jimmy Carter.

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.

carter-obama-6-panels

“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 »


Immigration: Obama’s Lack of Enforcement Has ‘Come Home to Roost’ Says Key Chairman

immigration-train

For The Weekly StandardFred Barnes writes:

Immigration reform is deader than ever in 2014 and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says President Obama is to blame.

Obama-shh-shhBy refusing to halt the current “surge” of illegal immigration, Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said Thursday, Obama has made it “extremely difficult” to pass any reform of the immigration laws.  Enforcement at the border must be “the leading component” of reform legislation, he said, but it isn’t happening.

Instead, the president has created a broad new exception to immigration law to permit tens of thousands of young immigrants to cross the U.S. border with Mexico and stay in this country.  But he lacks the constitutional authority to make this change in the law unilaterally, Goodlatte said. Read the rest of this entry »


First Test Flight of NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator a Success


Vintage Movie Poster: ‘The Monster Demands a Mate!’ ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’ 1935

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, 1935.

Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein (goaded by an even madder scientist) builds his monster a mate.

Director:

James Whale

Writers:

Mary Shelley (suggested by: the original story written in 1916 by), William Hurlbut (adapted by), 10 more credits »

Stars:

Boris KarloffElsa LanchesterColin Clive |See full cast and crew »


Tokyo: Japanese Man Sets Self on Fire In Protest Over Military Rule Change

man-on-fire-tokyo

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.

abe-speaking

Mr Abe has said Japan must change to adapt to a new security environment

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.”

Reports said the man used a megaphone to shout for over an hour about the change to Japan’s constitution. Read the rest of this entry »


Antarctica sets new record for sea ice area

Watts Up With That?

byHarold Ambler

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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Vintage Official U.S. Government Surplus Astronaut Space Suits

space-suit

space-helmet

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.

Spirit of Apollo


Obama’s Former Ambassador to Iraq: Crisis a ‘National-Security Emergency’ for the U.S.

“The most important thing is this is national-security emergency for the United States.”

For National Review OnlineAndrew 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.”

(read more)

National Review Online


SMIDGEN REPORT: Lois Lerner’s Attorney Claims ‘She’s as Upset as Anybody Else…’

For National Review OnlineAndrew 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.” 

(read more)

National Review Online


SMIDGEN REPORT: The IRS has its 18½ minutes

IRS-moron

Making a Mockery

Via The American Spectator names its EOW – Enemy of the Week:

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…’

President Obama Visits Berlin

“They don’t do anything, except block me and call me names.”

For the New York Post, Michael Goodwin writes: Say this for President Obama: He’s got an uncanny ability to block out distractions and keep his eye on the ball.obama-tiny-head-sidebar

“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.”

allah-obama-whines

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.

Read the rest of this entry »


China stakes its Claims on Mars with Rover Bound for Red Planet in 2020

China-Rover-CORB

For The IndependentJames 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.

mars-6

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”.

mars-2

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 »


Moscow Bling: Gold iPhone with engraving of Vladimir Putin’s head goes on sale for £2,500

For Mail OnlinePaul Donnelley writes: Unlike former communist leaders, Vladimir Putin has tried to avoid a cult of personality.

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.

Golden number:The golden iPhones with the portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the lyrics of the National Anthem on sale at Zhukoffka Plaza shopping centre on Moscow, Russia

Golden number:The golden iPhones with the portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the lyrics of the National Anthem on sale at Zhukoffka Plaza shopping centre on Moscow, Russia

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.article-0-1F30988300000578-253_308x425

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)

Mail Online


What ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Actually Mean

stand-your-ground

For the Washington PostEugene Volokh writes: Seems to me that there’s either a lot of misinformation about what “stand your ground” means, or attempts to sow misinformation.

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 »


THE SMIDGEN REPORT: Lois Lerner’s Attorney Thinks 76% of Americans are ‘Silly’

lerner-lawyer

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.”

[Also see: Majority of Voters believe IRS emails were deliberately destroyed]

court-IRS-Lerner

[Lois Lerner attorney: She has no records of missing emails]

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 »


Kevin D. Williamson: The Eternal Dictator

Generalissimo Francisco Franco

Generalissimo Francisco Franco

The ruthless exercise of power by strongmen and generalissimos is the natural state of human affairs. 

kevin-williamsonFor National Review OnlineKevin D. Williamson writes: I’m 41 years old, which doesn’t feel that old to me (most days), but history is short. With the exception of those trapped behind the Iron Curtain, the world as I have known it has been remarkably free and prosperous, and it is getting more free and more prosperous. But it is also a fact that, within my lifetime, there have been dictatorships in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, India, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Korea, and half of Germany — and lots of other places, too, to be sure, but you sort of expect them in Cameroon and Russia. If I were only a few years older, I could add France to that list. (You know how you can tell that Charles de Gaulle was a pretty good dictator? He’s almost never described as a “dictator.”) There have been three attempted coups d’état in Spain during my life. Take the span of my father’s life and you’ll find dictatorships and coups and generalissimos rampant in practically every country, even the nice ones, like Norway.

“Rexford Tugwell, a key figure in Roosevelt’s so-called brain trust, was particularly keen on the Italian fascist model, which he described as ‘the cleanest, most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I’ve ever seen.'”

[Kevin Williamson’s book “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure” is available at Amazon]

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 »


Want to Be a Millionaire? Move to Hong Kong

A luxury car parks at an old district area in Hong Kong Wednesday Jan. 15, 2014. Associated Press

A luxury car parks at an old district area in Hong Kong Wednesday Jan. 15, 2014. Associated Press

For China Real Time ReportJason 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 »


Crybaby-In-Chief: 5 Things Obama Has Whined About in His Sad, Sad Life as President

obama-crying-reuters

For Breitbart.comBen 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 »


D.C. Federal Court Today: The Indictment Against Benghazi Suspect Abu Khattala