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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mark Steyn re State Dept refusal to discuss Benghazi

Lying in State

This is a security fiasco and a strategic debacle for the foreign policy of the United States, not a liquor store hold-up. What is wrong even with the bland, compliant, desiccated, over-credentialed, pansified, groupthink poodles of the press corps that they don’t hoot and jeer at Victoria Nuland? I know why she’s doing it; I know why Hillary Clinton is desperately trying to suggest that some movie trailer on YouTube is the reason that a mob in Benghazi knows the location of the U.S. ambassador’s safe house. But why would anybody else even pretend to take this stuff seriously? Elderly Soviet propagandists must be wondering why they wasted their time jamming radio transmitters and smashing printing presses when they could just have sent everyone to Columbia Journalism School.

Propaganda Update: TV Networks Will Be Asked to Boost ObamaCare In Plots of Their Top Shows

Using your tax dollars, of course:

"Realizing that much of the battle will be in the public relations realm, the exchange has poured significant resources into a detailed marketing plan — developed not by state health bureaucrats but by the global marketing powerhouse Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, which has an initial $900,000 contract with the exchange," she wrote. Ogilvy's plan is to tap major network TV shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Modern Family" to sell Americans on the health care law."

Complete idiot’s guide to throwing a 155th birthday party for William Howard Taft

Looking for a way to liven up your Saturday night?

School sign: Become a Partner in Pubic Education

The Barbary Pirates revisited: Thomas Jefferson versus the Muslim pirates

Powerline: Confronting the murder of four Americans in Benghazi and the assault on American embassies around the Muslim Middle East, the Obama administration has marshaled the resources of the United States government. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have denounced the video served up as a pretext for the assaults. Memo to the Obama administration: It wasn’t the video. One more time: It wasn’t the video.

Nevertheless, Attorney General Eric Holder was assigned to track down and id. the filmmaker. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey placed a call to Terry Jones. The administration asked YouTube to remove the video. You got a problem with that?

The Obama administration is doing its best to pay tribute to the contemporary equivalent of the Barbary Pirates. As Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren recounts in Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present, the story of America’s encounter with the Barbary Pirates goes back to the first days of the republic. Christopher Hitchens traced Thomas Jefferson’s essential contribution to the story in “Jefferson versus the Muslim pirates.”

Oren and Hitchens report on the March 1786 meeting of Jefferson and Adams with the pirate warlord of Tripoli in London. The Tripoli warlord “voiced a credo that would someday sound familiar to Americans, but left these founding fathers aghast.” Oren quotes the report of Jefferson and Adams to John Jay:
It was…written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their [the Musims'] authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.
America’s response to the Barbary pirates unfolded over several years and four administrations, ultimately leading to the termination of the practice of tribute. The response included the framing and adoption of the Constitution, the founding of the United States Navy and a naval war on the pirates. It was not a venture in multicultural understanding or international appeasement.

Oren writes that George Washington’s request for the funds necessary to build a navy prevailed over substantial opposition in Congress because Congress “could no longer bear the disgrace of kowtowing to Barbary.” In the administration of James Madison, Commodore Stephen Decatur conducted an extraordinary exercise in gunboat diplomacy that brought the Barbary Wars to a successful conclusion. Henceforth, the United States would pay no tribute to pirates.

State Department to press: Stop asking us about the sacking of Benghazi consulate

Ed Morrissey has comments and links at HotAir: They won’t answer any questions at all while the investigation continues?  That seems awfully convenient, especially since State had the responsibility for securing that mission in Benghazi in the first place — and on the anniversary of 9/11, a time when one might expect some kind of attack attempt.

One of the links is to an interview with Fox News military analyst Col. David Hunt, including this: "What’s happened in Libya is the final straw of political correctness. We allowed a contractor to hire local nationals as security guards, but said they can’t have bullets. This was all part of the point of not having a high profile in Libya.”

Woman Finds Ex-Boyfriend Living In Her Attic 12 Years After They Broke Up

Weird shit at HuffPo.

Feds Put Target on Filmmaker's Back

It is hard to know who should frighten Americans more: radical Islamists or our own government.

Excerpts below, but read the whole thing:

In any case, that family, whether it's the right one or not, now has police protection, which might not have been necessary had a U.S. government agent not made a target of them, and of everyone in the Los Angeles area who shares that last name.

If anything happens to Mr. Nakoula (and despite the ridiculousness of his film and his prior bad acts, I certainly hope nothing does) and even more so if anything happens to a member of his family or an unrelated person who happens to share his last name, the federal agent who gave him up to the press should be charged with depraved indifference and recklessness, and serve the same sentence as if he committed the violent act himself. And even that would be too good for him.

Jonah Goldberg: Misplaced Blame for the Embassy Attacks

Within 24 hours, however, it became increasingly clear that the video wasn’t even the motive for the murders; it was a convenient cover for them.

To argue that Americans shouldn’t resort to mayhem while suggesting it’s understandable when Muslims do is to create a double standard that either renders Muslims unaccountable savages (they can’t help themselves!) or casts Americans as somehow less passionate about what we hold dear, be it our flag, our diplomats, or our religions.

Must read: The Pakistani Doctor We Left Behind

Commentary has comments and links:  Lost in the headlines out of the Middle East was this amazing interview Fox News conducted with Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani medical doctor who helped the United States confirm Osama bin Laden’s compound.

Read the whole thing.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mark Steyn: An act of war, not a movie protest

When it comes to a flailing, blundering superpower, I am generally wary of ascribing to malevolence what is more often sheer stupidity and incompetence.

The 400-strong assault force in Benghazi showed up with RPGs and mortars: that's not a spontaneous movie protest; that's an act of war, and better planned and executed than the dying superpower's response to it.

The men who organized this attack knew the ambassador would be at the consulate in Benghazi rather than at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. How did that happen? They knew when he had been moved from the consulate to a "safe house," and switched their attentions accordingly. How did that happen? The United States government lost track of its ambassador for 10 hours. How did that happen? Perhaps, when they've investigated Mitt Romney's press release for another three or four weeks, the court eunuchs of the American media might like to look into some of these fascinating questions, instead of leaving the only interesting reporting on an American story to the foreign press.

Tunisia Embassy: Two Dead, 29 Injured

Video at Breitbart.

Al Qaeda Flag Flies Over U.S. Embassy In Tunisia

Someone had better roust Barack Obama from whatever fundraiser he is attending at the moment and let him know there is a crisis going on.

US Credit Rating Downgraded Again Due To QE3

Egan-Jones Welcomes QE3 By Cutting US Credit Rating

U.S. Credit Rating Downgraded Again, QE3 Cited as Cause

Violent foreign mob: "death to American who made movie!" US Justice Dept: "we'll go find him for you."


The Scorpion and the Frog and the Jihadist

Steven Den Beste at Hot Air's Green Room:

The Scorpion and the Frog:
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the   scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”
The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,  the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,  but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”
Replies the scorpion: “It’s my nature…”
A report this morning, “Libyans Remember Ambassador Stevens“. It describes how Ambassador Stevens was involved in helping those who fought against Gadhafi.

And now that Gadhafi is gone, in their gratitude, they murdered him.

Because it is their nature.

Chinese ships sail into Japanese waters near disputed islands

Nutshell version: Japan says the islands, which it calls the Senkaku, belong to it. (In fact, the Japanese government formally purchased them from their private owners just two days ago, partly to prevent them from being bought by Japanese nationalists and developed to spite China.) China says that the islands, which it calls the Diaoyu, actually belong to it per post-WWII agreements. The U.S. is obliged by treaty to defend Japan if it’s attacked; on the other hand, the agreements China’s citing to stake its own claim to the islands were authored by the U.S. Time for the Foreign-Policy President and Hillary to huddle. Quickly.

Good Foreign Policy precis here.

Buckyballs vs The Consumer Products Safety Commission

via Reason- watch the video:

"We are the first compay in 11 years who has said no to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission," says Craig Zucker, co-founder and CEO of Maxfeild and Oberton, creators of the popular magnetic desktoy Buckyballs. Citing roughly two dozen instances in which these magnets were swallowed by children and teenagers, the Consumer Products Safety Commission recently filled a lawsuit to recall and stop their sale. Zucker, however, is not backing down. "We are not going to recall the product....We'll fight it and we'll fight vigorously."

"Our packaging has five warnings on it, we don't sell to stores that sell only children's products, and we don't sell to toy stores," Zucker explained. "There is a level of personal responsibility that comes into play when it comes to consumer product safety."

Zucker sat down with Reason TV's Kennedy to discuss the recall, the bullying tactics employed by the CPSC, and how they are pushing back with their "Save Our Balls" campaign.

As the Mideast Goes Up in Flames, Obama Tweets About Beyoncé and Jay-Z

More at JWF.  And here's thug rapper Jay-Z sitting in The Situation Room:

Bloody hand prints, stolen documents and security failings: pictures inside crumbling U.S. consulate in Benghazi

Gallery, with lots of information, comments and links.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New species of monkey looks exactly like botched artwork of Jesus

The creature known as the lesula is the spitting image of a failed restoration Elias Garcia Martinez’s Ecce Homo.

Reuters Africa has more details on Libya attack: Libya rescue squad ran into fierce, accurate ambush

Accounts of the mayhem at the U.S. consulate, where the ambassador and a fourth American died after a chaotic protest over a film insulting to Islam, remain patchy. But two Libyan officials, including the commander of a security force which escorted the U.S. rescuers, said a later assault on a supposedly safe refuge for the diplomats appeared professionally executed.

Miscommunication which understated the number of American survivors awaiting rescue - there were 37, nearly four times as many as the Libyan commander expected - also meant survivors and rescuers found themselves short of transport to escape this second battle, delaying an eventual dawn break for the airport.

via Captain's Journal, where there are additional comments and links.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Maryland to Install New Monitor Its Traffic Cameras

Apparently, some people do not like Maryland's speeding cameras, at least judging by the fact that they have vandalized those cameras on multiple occasions, setting one on fire and shooting another with a gun. A man in Howard County apparently shot marbles at one this summer. There are a handful of other incidents as well. The state's can't-make-this-up response to problems with camera vandalism? More cameras. To monitor the cameras. Really.

One also has to wonder about the logical end point of this approach. If someone shoots marbles or bullets at one of the new camera-monitoring cameras, will the state follow up by installing a third layer of cameras, to watch the cameras that were supposed to be watching the speed cameras? And what if someone destroys those? How many layers of expensive camera watching cameras will it take for the plan to be cost effective? This does not seem like a money saving plan.

Federal Reserve Announces Open Ended QE III

Zerohedge: The One Big Problem With QE To Infinity

There is one big problem with the Fed's announcement of Open-Ended QE moments ago: it effectively removes all future suspense from FOMC announcements. Why? Because the Fed has as of this moment exposed its cards for all to see from here until the moment it has to start tightening the money supply (which may or may not happen; frankly we don't think the Fed tightens until hyperinflation sets in at which point what the Fed does is meaningless). It means easing is now effectively priced into infinity

And this: Fed Folds: Will Do Open-Ended MBS Buying, Extends Operation Twist

WTF!: Marines defending US embassy in Egypt not permitted live ammo

U.S. Marines defending the American embassy in Egypt were not permitted by the State Department to carry live ammunition, limiting their ability to respond to attacks like those this week on the U.S. consulate in Cairo.

Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson “did not permit US Marine guards to carry live ammunition,” according to multiple reports on U.S. Marine Corps blog spotted by Nightwatch. “She neutralized any US military capability that was dedicated to preserve her life and protect the US Embassy.”

After IED Attack On Benghazi Consulte In June, No Additional Security Steps Were Taken

Ace has this from the media briefing at the time, plus more comments and links:

As Matt mentioned, we deplore the attack on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Fortunately, no one was injured in the attack. And we’ve also requested the Libyan Ministry of Interior to increase its security around U.S. facilities.

The 5 Other U.S. Ambassadors Killed by Terrorists

They were all back in the 70's...

Liz Cheney writing at WSJ re Obama's foreign policy record doesn't pull any punches

Apologizing for America, appeasing our enemies, abandoning our allies and slashing our military are the hallmarks of Mr. Obama's foreign policy. The Obama economy, with its high unemployment, massive debt and out-of-control spending, has rightly demanded our attention. As we head to the polls in November, we cannot ignore what is an even more dismal national-security record. An America already weakened by four years of an Obama presidency will be unrecognizable after eight.

Via Erika Johnsen at Hot Air, who adds: There are real and growing existential threats in this world, but the president has targeted military cuts before entitlement reform, appeased hostile foreign bodies, and willfully diminished America’s authority — and while we (rightfully) tend to be more preoccupied with more insular concerns, it’s important not to forget that this president’s policies abroad haven’t been any better for America than his domestic ones.

Chicago Teachers’ Strike: Last Straw for Voters?

HotAir's Ed Morrisey writing at The Fiscal Times: the push to reform public unions will gather even more strength.

The public-sector unions took a beating in Wisconsin, pouring millions of dollars into the state to punish Republicans for limiting their collective-bargaining privileges and imposing control over benefits costs in order to balance the state budget.  Instead, the scene has merely shifted south – to Chicago – and the issue of public union reform is back in the national spotlight.

Excellent Chicago teachers' strike cartoon

At Legal Insurrection.

US Embassy in Yemen has been stormed

Protesters managed to set fire to a building inside the compound but were forced by security forces to pull back.

Parents save son by each giving him a lung

A boy with cystic fibrosis is starting a new life after German doctors performed the country’s first double living lung transplant.

Thursday links

15 Star-Shaped Forts From Around the World

The history of advertising jingles.

Town hunts werewolves after sheep attacks.

10 Bizarre Medical Treatments Involving Animals.

The Dirty Etymology of 9 Everyday Words.

Man gets 4 months in jail for assaulting his mother in an argument over bacon.

Here's the toothbrush that fixed the space station.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Daily Caller barred from CAIR press conference on Islamist attacks in Egypt, Libya

“The Daily Caller is not a news outlet, it is a hate group. You cannot come in.”

As a reminder, CAIR was listed by the U.S. government as an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme that provided funding to the terror group Hamas.

Man makes 'explosive vibrator' for ex-girlfriend

He retrofitted the sex toy with gunpowder, BB shot and buck shot, as well as an explosive trigger.

Bad Little Children's Books

Some great titles here.  NSFW.

via Metafilter.

Of course: The Pentagon is buying Chevy Volts

HotAir: So, let me get this straight: The defense budget is looking at billions of dollars in budget cuts to create a “leaner military” over the next decade, and Secretary Panetta has said that the upcoming half-a-trillion sequester would be a “disaster” as-is, but now we’re using our limited defense funds to buy cars that the free market is rejecting in order to prop up the Obama administration’s green agenda? …Is this real life?

Dem convention tribute to vets used Russian warships

On the last night of the Democratic National Convention, a retired Navy four-star took the stage to pay tribute to veterans. Behind him, on a giant screen, the image of four hulking warships reinforced his patriotic message.

But there was a big mistake in the stirring backdrop: those are Russian warships.

U.S. ambassador to Libya, 3 others killed in attack

Gunmen had attacked and burned the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, a center of last year's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, late on Tuesday evening, killing one U.S. consular official. The building was evacuated.

The Libyan official said the ambassador, Christopher Stevens, was being driven from the consulate building to a safer location when gunmen opened fire.

"The American ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them," the official in Benghazi told Reuters.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Arab World Celebrates 9/11 by Blaming Attacks on Israel and Jews, NYT Blames Bush

Links and comments at JWF.

'Today Show' Skips 9/11 Moment of Silence, Reports on Reality Star's Cleavage

The cable networks all carried it, with ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “CBS This Morning” carrying it as well. The only national general news program to not carry the moment of silence was NBC.

Islamists Storm US Egyptian Embassy, US Apologizes

After an angry mob stormed the U.S. embassy in Cairo and tore down the American flag, the embassy apologized for provoking the mob and condemned the free speech back across the Atlantic which hurt the mob's feelings.

Romney and ObamaCare: The state of repeal

Doc Zero: But it’s absurd to pretend Romney’s proposal bears any resemblance to ObamaCare’s effort to socialize those costs in the least efficient manner imaginable, using heavy-handed mandates to plug leaks in the system.

The 9/11 Generation

Several links at Weekly Standard.

Must read: Mark Steyn on the post-American Middle East

The abhorrent vacuum: The modern Middle East was created by the British and French in the power vacuum left by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Now another great power is waning — America — and in its own vacuum competing successors are jostling for regional advantage.

You don't have to be an uncovered woman or a Coptic Christian to recognize that King Farouk to Mubarak to the Muslim Brothers is a pretty perverse notion of progress.

September 11th and the Hospitable People of Gander, Newfoundland

This town of 10,000 hosted 6,500 plus Americans when all US flights were grounded.  When flyers stepped off of their planes, Gander’s citizens met them with homemade bagged lunches. The town converted its schools and large buildings into temporary shelters, and when those lodgings filled up, citizens took strangers into their homes. Medical personnel saw patients and filled prescriptions free of charge.

Monday links

Four Geeky Laws That Rule Our World

Holy crap gallery of sand sculptures part 1 and part 2.  There are some "under construction" photos here.

Anatomical posters of Gremlins, Predators, and Martian Invaders. Also, Anatomically correct, full-sized chocolate skulls.

Treating migraines with Houseleeks and Garden Worms.

Electric shock treatment is not a suitable remedy for a snakebite.

Cambodia deports The Pirate Bay co-founder to Sweden

The Swedish developer, along with three others, was convicted by a Swedish court in 2009 on the charge of “assisting in making copyrighted content available.”

Legal Insurrection: 9/11 + 11

From the 10th anniversary.

Malkin: 9/11: Remembrance, resolve, action

Read the whole thing: This is a day to honor the 2,753 innocent men, women, and children slaughtered by evil Islamic jihadists — and to vow that “Never again” remains America’s operational stance, not an empty slogan.

Eleven years later, the memories return


Hey Andrew Sullivan, Stop Calling My Penis “Mutilated.”

Jesse Bering at Scientific American, via Instapundit.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Researcher invents weapons of waste destruction

Soldiers inside an armored tank, under battle conditions, can dispose of their biological waste products in an unwasteful way: encasing those materials, together with explosives, in artillery shells that they then fire at the enemy.

Buffy comic is getting a gay male vampire slayer?

OK, so apparently he isn't a capital "S" Slayer, he's just a guy who slays vampires.  I'm OK with that, as long as they aren't violating the slayer lineage - that would really be taking the politically correct BS too far.

Police Bust Ends ‘Free Sex After Nine Car Washes’ Promotion

A massage parlour and a car wash outlet in Sunway Mentari have given new meaning to the phrase “customer loyalty”. They have come up with a creative way to entice more customers to engage their services by offering free sex after nine car washes.

However, their three-month old “win-win” partnership went bust after police stormed the massage parlour on Monday night.

79% of Chicago 8th Graders Not Proficient in Reading

and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.

Time to Ask Obama about His Social Security Number

President Barack Obama has apparently been using a fraudulent Social Security number for the last 25 years.

Why Cronyism Is Always Bad

WSJ: If America re-establishes the proper role of business in society, all kinds of benefits will accrue. Our economy will rebound. Our liberties will be restored. And when President Obama tells an entrepreneur "You didn't build that," everyone will know better.

Via Powerline, where they comment: In some ways, Solyndra represents a best-case scenario. It is even worse when government subsidies allow a favored business to survive, and it is the other guy, the one without political influence, who goes out of business. Government largesse inherently distorts the market and hurts consumers as well as non-favored businesses and their employees and investors. And, of course, taxpayers.

Private school vaccine opt-outs rise

While the overall rate of full immunization among kindergarteners hovers around 91 percent, places where the opt-out rate is greater could pose a risk for outbreak.

Boston schools’ breakfast now free for all students

The fairness of socialism.

Chicago Bled Dry by Striking Teachers’ Unions

John Fund at The Corner: Chicago teachers have the highest average salary of any city at $76,000 a year before benefits. The average family in the city only earns $47,000 a year. Yet the teachers rejected a 16 percent salary increase over four years at a time when most families are not getting any raises or are looking for work.

The city is being bled dry by the exorbitant benefits packages negotiated by previous elected officials. Teachers pay only 3 percent of their health-care costs and out of every new dollar set aside for public education in Illinois in the last five years, a full 71 cents has gone to teacher retirement costs.

Just 15 percent of fourth graders are proficient in reading and only 56 percent of students who enter their freshman year of high school wind up graduating.
And this, at Instapundit: Plus, the blog comment of the day: “The teachers are upset because they must be (gasp!) evaluated on their work. The parents are upset, not because their kids’ educations are impacted, but because they don’t have a place to drop off their kid. The only people cited as having any concerns whatsoever about education were 16 and 17 year old students.”

Man who refused to put own children in Chicago public schools has no comment on CTU strike

White House spokesman Jay Carney says President Barack Obama has no comment on the teacher strike in Chicago.

Higher Education bubble - the cartoon edition

Thousands of people sick from living near wind farms

Noise generated by wind farms represents a major threat to public health, and wind energy is unreliable and intermittent, with no real market value because it requires near 100 per cent back-up by conventional fossil-fuel power.