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Saturday, January 19, 2013

TSA’s Theater of the Absurd: The Bigger Picture

This post at The Corner makes a good point:

The issue at the root of this controversy is so vitally important — and affects so many different aspects of our society — that perhaps it merits another turn of discussion.

What we see at the root of the TSA controversy is the same social pathology we see in such disparate things as the latest gun-control proposals, the disastrously costly new EPA regulations, and the ten-thousand-fold explosion in products liability.

Our society has embraced an absolute — and absolutely insane — form of the precautionary principle. There is no pretense of even a minimally rational cost-benefit analysis. If there is a vanishingly small chance that some onerous precautionary measure might make it difficult to hijack one plane at some point in the next 100 years, then by all means let’s impose that onerous burden on millions of American passengers every year for the rest of time. I laughed when I read Mark Steyn’s vision of a TSA “obergropinfuhrer” poking around in your pumpkin pie, but actually most TSA security measures are just as laughable — and just as depressing.

What has put a stop to virtually all airline hijackings is the reinforcement of cockpit doors. That is a common sense measure that should have been taken decades ago and which would have prevented 9/11 all by itself. Most of the rest of what TSA does is foolishness. As Mark suggests, airport security has foiled not a single terrorist attack. TSA has an unbroken record of false positives. Profiling and robust intelligence operations abroad are what actually protect people — by identifying ahead of time the one-in-ten billion airline passengers who is actually dangerous.

Putting grannies from northern Wisconsin through state-sponsored sexual assaults is justified on the basis of fairness. But in reality, it is nothing more than the shameful theatrics of a fatally insecure people who, having abandoned the bold leadership to which God and the world had called them, now recoils from every shadow, like King Lear on the heath.

Muslims Enforcing Sharia On The Streets Of London

Screen shot of posters:

Friday, January 18, 2013

7th Circuit Upholds Entirety of Scott Walker's Collective-Bargaining Reforms

via Althouse:

"The district court invalidated Act 10's recertification and payroll deduction provisions, but upheld the statute's limitation on collective bargaining. We now uphold Act 10 in its entirety."

Voting to uphold the law in its entirety were Judges Joel M. Flaum and William J. Bauer. Flaum wrote the opinion.

Judge David F. Hamilton dissented in part, saying he believed part of the collective bargaining law violated the First Amendment. Hamilton argued the state could not bar some unions from having their dues deducted from paychecks while it allowed police and fire unions to do so. ADDED: Here's the opinion PDF.

AND: The panel said it's well-settled that "use of the state’s payroll systems to collect union dues is a state subsidy of speech that requires only viewpoint neutrality." The law didn't target any particular viewpoints. It subsidized the speech of public safety unions but not other public employee unions, and the unions had argued that the speech of the groups that were subsidized would be more favorable to the party that supported the legislation and so Act 10 wasn't genuinely viewpoint neutral, but only the dissenting judge agreed.

Police looking for armed robber in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles PJs

The Puyallup (WA) Police Department is looking for the man who allegedly robbed a convenience store while armed with a knife and decked out in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pajama pants.

According to the Tacoma/Pierce County Crime Stoppers, the man entered the 7-Eleven in the 900 block of South Meridian Street shortly before 2 a.m. Jan. 5, jumped onto the counter and demanded cash.

After getting his money, the masked man hightailed it out of there in his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pajama pants, according to the Crime Stoppers.

Non-Union Workers Excluded from Hurricane Sandy Cleanup

In New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie has said that relief measures for Hurricane Sandy should be “above politics,” non-union workers are now excluded from participating in cleanup and rebuilding efforts. That policy took effect when the New Jersey state senate voted on Monday to expand an existing labor-agreement law that has been on the books since 2002. According to the Jersey Journal, highways, bridges, pumping stations, and water and sewage treatment plants were not covered under the existing law, but the new bill includes them.

Please contribute to a 10-year old girl's science experiment.

Watch a 6-second video and answer 3 easy questions.

Oops - New York forgot to exempt cops from its 7 bullet limit

It's now illegal for cops to carry magazines with more than seven bullets in New York State.  Or on school grounds.

And this:

Mental health experts say a new tougher New York state gun control law might interfere with treatment of potentially dangerous people and even discourage them from seeking help.

“If people with suicidal or homicidal impulses avoid treatment for fear of being reported in this way, they may be more likely to act on those impulses.”

Pauline Phillips, AKA Dear Abby (twin sister of Ann Landers) dead at 94

Mrs. Phillips chose her pen name herself, taking Abigail after the prophetess in the Book of Samuel.

New York City Spends $7K a Year on School Buses… Per Student

The situation surrounding this year's strike is similar to a strike in 1979 that lasted three months. Essentially, the city is looking to cut costs by putting its contracts with private bus operators up for bid, a move that many bus drivers fear will jeopardize their job security. But Mayor Bloomberg says that he's also trying to undo many years of bad management. "For decades, the city has embraced anticompetitive measures and carried on business relations with an array of bus companies, including some that have been implicated in bribery, been under the sway of organized crime and, in one case, run by a man who displayed a pistol at a negotiating session," explains The Times's Al Baker. "Both union leaders and city employees have gone to prison for shaking down bus companies, offering in return labor peace, advance notice of inspections or approval of lucrative extra routes."

Jonah Goldberg: Wake Up, Socially Liberal Fiscal Conservatives

You’re the sort of person who says to his conservative friends or co-workers something like, “I would totally vote for Republicans if they could just give up on these crazy social issues.”

Man shot in the butt in Kansas City bar fight that erupted after partying pregnant woman’s water broke

Headline of the day.

Friday links

Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?

20 Best Simpsons Celebrity Cameos.

Is a bullet wound in the shoulder as harmless as the movies make it seem?

Moisturizing Jeans.

George Clooney May Have Had Plastic Surgery On His Testicles

George, who is dating former wrestler Stacy Keibler, said: “I never fixed my eyes, but I spent more money to stretch the skin of my testicles.

"I did not like the wrinkles.

“It’s a new technique, many people in Hollywood have done it. It’s called ball ironing,” he added.

Surgeons say a scrotal lift can boost a man’s self confidence by tightening the skin and muscle around the testes.

But baffled readers weren’t sure whether the star was telling the truth or just pulling their plonkers.

One said: “He has a very good sense of humour but in Hollywood anything can happen.”

UPDATE: Apparently this story is from 2008, or at least he said the same thing back then.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Morsi Is a Scandal Bigger than Benghazi

It’s no news that Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood is an extremist, anti-Semitic monstrosity. The disgusting eruption of Jew-hatred from Morsi in 2010 is nothing new. What is new is the fact that the Obama administration and the New York Times are shocked — shocked — to discover that Morsi is a rabid Jew-hater.

On the strength of a 2010 video tape long known to specialists, the establishment has suddenly discovered that this moderate, secular organization is a nest of Jew-hating vipers.

What just happened?

The Obama administration and the foreign-policy establishment have got their neckties caught in the wringer. The better part of valor is to blame somebody else, and Morsi is handy.

Why Is Germany Removing Its Gold From The NY Fed?

Given the politicization of the Fed in the bailout era and the expansion of its powers, it is not unreasonable that the German people would prefer the Bundesbank’s custodianship to Ben Bernanke’s.

For instance, having very large gold reserves is a handy thing indeed if you should need to construct an entirely new currency from scratch, as Germany may very well be obliged to do should the euro disintegrate.

Previous post: Holy crap: Germany to pull its' gold bullion from the NY Fed

Obama's Cat-Food Future For Retirees

Read the whole thing at IBD:

Americans are drawing down their 401(k)s for nonretirement needs in record numbers, just as Social Security goes bust. This portends poverty for millions as the White House fiddles. Cat food, anyone?

One out of four U.S. workers with 401(k) retirement savings accounts has been forced to cash them out or borrow from them at high costs just to stay solvent.

Why is this happening? It's tempting to blame workers financial incompetence for these early cashouts, as some of the Post's quoted experts do. But harder evidence points to Obama's economic policies.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gallery: Other Tyrants Who Have Used Children As Props

More here.

Texas AG invites New Yorkers to move away from gun control and high taxes

“Is Gov. Cuomo looking to take your guns? Sick of the media outing law abiding gun owners? Are you a lawful NY gun owner seeking lower taxes?” reads one of two pop-up ads.

A second reads: “Wanted: Law abiding New York gun owners looking for lower taxes and greater opportunity.”

Click on either and you are directed to a Facebook second amendment petition page with the greeting: “You’ll fit right in here in Texas!”

It reads: “Here in Texas, you will have the liberty and the opportunity to achieve your dreams. On top of that, we have no income tax, yet still manage to have a multi-billion dollar budget surplus. We have right to work laws and a reasonable regulatory environment. Texas has created more than 275,000 jobs in the last year alone! And we’ll fight like hell to protect your rights.

Maryland School Suspends Two Six-Year-Old Boys for Pretend Shooting Game During Recess

The boys were using their fingers as guns during a game on the playground.

It’s the second such case in Maryland in recent weeks. The school says it legally cannot go into detail about why the suspensions were issued.

Pew: Majority of 18-to-29-year-olds don’t know which issue Roe v. Wade dealt with

At HotAir:

From the people who brought you Barack Obama’s second term:

Woman Drove 900 Miles Instead Of 38 Because Of Bad GPS Directions

Hmm... maybe she should have used a tad of common sense.

A Belgian woman took an astonishing 1,800 mile detour through six countries after her car navigation system went wrong.

Sabine Moreau, 67, had intended to drive to Brussels from her home in Solre-sur-Sambre to pick up a friend from the train station - a journey of just 38 miles.

But she took a catastrophic wrong turn and eventually ended up 900 miles away in Zagreb, Croatia.

World’s Largest Snowball Fight

More here, and here's a behind the scenes video:

A List Of Obama's 23 Gun Control Executive Orders

In case you missed it--Below is the list of all 23 Executive Orders regarding gun control issued by Obama today.   

Office of the Press Secretary
January 16, 2013

Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions

Today, the President is announcing that he and the Administration will:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

Wednesday Links

The 18th amendment (prohibition) went into effect 93 years ago today.

Photos: Special effects before computers.

From what height would you need to drop a steak for it to be cooked when it hit the ground?

April 1933 article: Home Conveniences That Save Time.

Toilet paper was first used by the Chinese.

8 Unique Waterfalls.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

EPA releases first tranche of Lisa Jackson’s "Richard Windsor" alias e-mail correspondence

Horner said the EPA apparently decided it “had to produce a lot of something. Desperate to produce nothing at the same time, it came up with this.”

New York Passes the Strictest Gun Laws in the United States

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Jumping out ahead of Washington, New York state enacted the nation’s toughest gun restrictions Tuesday and the first since the Connecticut school massacre, including an expanded assault-weapon ban and background checks for buying ammunition.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law less than an hour after it won final passage in the Legislature, with supporters hailing it as a model for the nation and gun-rights activists condemning it as a knee-jerk piece of legislation that won’t make anyone safer and is too extreme to win support in the rest of the country.

“Common sense can win,” Cuomo said. “You can overpower the extremists with intelligence and with reason and with common sense.”

Owners of an estimated 1 million previously legal semiautomatic rifles, such as the Bushmaster model used to kill 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., a month ago, will be allowed to keep their weapons but will have a year to register them with police. The sale of any more such weapons is prohibited.

“When there’s a pileup of events, when the federal government does not do it, the state of New York has to lead the way,” said state Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, a Brooklyn Democrat and co-sponsor.

In addition to outlawing a broader array of military-style weapons, the measure restricts ammunition magazines to seven rounds, down from the current 10, creates a more comprehensive database of people barred from owning guns, and makes New York the first state to require background checks to buy bullets. The system will also help flag customers who buy large amounts of ammo.

In another provision, therapists, doctors and other mental health professionals will be required to tell state authorities if a patient threatens to use a gun illegally. The patient’s weapon could then be taken away.

Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, said Cuomo clearly understood gun violence is a complex issue requiring broader solutions than simply banning a particular weapon. “I think that’s an important message for the nation,” he said.

In a statement, the National Rifle Association said: “These gun control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime.”

“While lawmakers could have taken a step toward strengthening mental health reporting and focusing on criminals, they opted for trampling the rights of law-abiding gun owners in New York, and they did it under a veil of secrecy in the dark of night,” the NRA said.

President Barack Obama will unveil his own proposals in response to the Newtown tragedy on Wednesday. He favors sweeping gun legislation, including a ban on assault weapons. But because of powerful opposition from the gun lobby, he is said to be weighing 19 steps he could take through executive action alone.

Those could include ordering stricter action against people who lie on gun-sale background checks, seeking to ensure more complete records in the federal database, and striking limits on federal research into gun use.

New York’s law passed the state Senate, which is run by a Republican-dominated coalition, 43-18 Monday night. The Democrat-controlled Assembly approved it 104-43 Tuesday afternoon.

Republicans complained the measure was rammed through the Legislature and infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

“A lot of people say, `Why do you need these guns?’” said Assemblyman James Tedisco, a Schenectady Republican. “It’s part of the freedoms and liberties we have. … It’s for our public safety. It’s to protect us from our own government.”

He said the bill was dangerous because it would give people a “false sense of well-being.”

“You are using innocent children killed by a madman for your own political agenda,” he said. “You are actually making people less safe.”

Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, questioned whether other states or the federal government would follow New York’s lead and said he expects the law to be challenged in court.

Previously, New York state law on assault weapons banned semiautomatics that have detachable magazines and at least two military-type features, such as a pistol grip, folding stock, muzzle flash suppressor or bayonet mount. The new law outlaws weapons with just one of those features.

It also requires background checks for even private gun sales, except those among immediate family.

In addition, it says handgun owners must renew their licenses every five years, and it increases prison sentences for using guns in various crimes or taking them onto school grounds.

“By making this a priority, the governor has not only saved lives but will hopefully inspire leaders in Washington also to take swift action,” said Dan Gross, president of the national Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

In a concession to the pro-gun side, local authorities will be allowed to withhold the identities of registered gun owners – an issue that erupted recently when a suburban New York City newspaper published the names and addresses of gun owners in its readership area.

The New York legislation sparked spirited discussion among customers at the Buffalo Gun Center in the suburb of Cheektowaga, where business was so brisk that people had to wait in line in freezing temperatures just to get in the door.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely – how to put it nicely – it’s Prince Andrew Cuomo’s bid for the White House,” said Jim Hanley, who was waiting to buy another handgun. “I want to do it before the right is taken away. Andrew Cuomo and Barack Hussein Obama are two best gun salesmen in the history of the world.”

Video: Evil Russian hamster

NSFW language

Obama: “Israel Doesn’t Know What Its Own Best Interests Are”

Gateway Pundit:

Nile Gardiner at The Telegraph reported:

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has an eye-opening piece for Bloomberg that reveals in stark terms what President Obama really thinks of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Israel itself. As The Telegraph’s Middle East correspondent Robert Tait reports:

The damning assessment of the Israeli prime minister, relayed by senior White House officials to an American journalist, Jeffrey Goldberg, is the most graphic sign yet of the toxic relationship between the two men, who have clashed continually over the stalled Middle East peace process.

Writing on the Bloomberg website, Goldberg quoted Mr Obama as repeatedly saying, “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are” in response to a spate of recent announcements for thousands of new Jewish settler homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank on land the Palestinians want for a future state.

“If Israel, a small state in an inhospitable region, becomes more of a pariah – one that alienates even the affections of the US, its last steadfast friend – it won’t survive.”

The White House is not denying a report that President Obama repeatedly said that “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.”

Incredible Laser Cut Stained Glass Paper Windows

See the whole set here, via Laughing Squid.

Video: Slow Motion Destruction of Snowmen

How To Handle Detroit's Inevtiable Bankruptcy

Read the whole thing at Reason - they argue (convincingly) that going through the courts will take much of the politics out of the way.

The main issue that Snyder, a Republican, will ultimately have to confront is whether to put Detroit through a managed bankruptcy, which would be legally less nettlesome but require his maximal involvement, or a conventional Chapter 9 court process that will be legally arduous but would minimize his role.

James O’Keefe goofs on gun-grabbers

Daily Caller: It’s easy to write an op-ed about gun control, or to spout off about it on TV. But how many of these gun-grabbing pundits and “journalists” would be willing to practice what they preach? How many of them would want everybody in the neighborhoods where they live to know that there are no guns on their premises?

How many of them would be willing to publicly designate their own homes as gun-free zones? James O’Keefe found out:

Related, yesterday's post re Mark Steyn's 2000 article on crime in gun-free Britain, which includes this: Villains are expert calculators of risk.  In New Hampshire, a citizen’s right to defend himself deters crime; in Britain, the state-inflicted impotence of the homeowner actively encourages it. Just as becoming a drug baron is a rational career move in Colombia, so too is becoming a violent burglar in the United Kingdom. The chances that the state will seriously impede your progress are insignificant.

Police Car Chase Surprise

via BitsandPieces

Irish flu shots

via Reddit

Monday, January 14, 2013

CBS forced CNET staff to recast vote after Hopper won ‘Best in Show’ at CES.

At The Verge, via Instapundit:

On Friday, news broke that CNET had been forced by its parent company CBS to remove the Dish Network's Hopper set-top box from its "Best of CES" awards due to ongoing litigation between the two companies. CBS has been battling the Dish Network in court over the Hopper's ability to skip past commercials automatically (NBC, ABC, and Fox are also taking action).

The Verge has now learned that the facts of the case are somewhat different than the story CNET and CBS had previously shared with the public. According to sources familiar with the matter, the Hopper was not simply an entrant in the Best of CES awards for the site: it was actually chosen as the winner of the "Best of Show" award (as voted by CNET's editorial staff).

The news raises questions not only about CNET's editorial independence, but concerns over why editors at the site have remained mum on the events surrounding the decision to remove the Hopper as winner of its "Best in Show" award. It suggests a growing influence of CBS' corporate interests in editorial decisions at its digital news subsidiaries. One source says that both Larkin and Turrentine fought for full disclosure, but were rebuffed by CBS.

Excellent Mark Steyn article on gun control from June 2000

Crime in (almost) gun-free Britain is much worse than it is here:

Read the whole thing.  Some excerpts:

Old impressions die hard: Americans still think of Britain as a low-crime country. Conversely, the British think of America as a high-crime country. But neither impression is true. The overall crime rate in England and Wales is 60 percent higher than that in the United States. True, in America you’re more likely to be shot to death. On the other hand, in England you’re more likely to be strangled to death. But in both cases, the statistical likelihood of being murdered at all is remote, especially if you steer clear of the drug trade. When it comes to anything else, though—burglary, auto theft, armed robbery, violent assault, rape—the crime rate reaches deep into British society in ways most Americans would find virtually inconceivable.

These days it’s standard to bemoan the “dependency culture” of state welfare, but Britain’s law-and-order “dependency culture” is even more enfeebling.

Privately owned firearms symbolize the essential difference between your great republic and the countries you left behind. In the U.S., power resides with “we, the people” and is leased ever more sparingly up through town, county, state, and federal government. In Britain and Canada, power resides with the Crown and is graciously devolved down in limited doses.

Mark Steyn: What Is the Future of Conservatism?

We have all the talk-radio shows and cable networks we need, and the rest of the country is happy to leave us walled up in those redoubts. But culture trumps politics, and not just in the movies and pop songs, grade schools and mainline churches, but increasingly in the boardrooms, too. Instead of giving your hard-earned dollars to help drag some finger-in-the-windy squish with an R after his name over the finish line every other November, conservatives need to start fighting on the turf that matters.

Holy crap: Germany to pull its' gold bullion from the NY Fed

Read the whole thing at ZeroHedge:

In brief: this is a momentous development, one which may signify that the regime of mutual assured and very much telegraphed - because if the central banks don't have faith in one another, why should anyone else? - trust in central banks by other central banks is ending.

Obama officials issued $216 billion in regulations last year

The analysis from the American Action Forum, led by former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, found that the administration added $216 billion in rules and more than $20 billion in regulatory proposals in 2012. Complying with those rules will require an additional 87 million hours of paperwork, the report said.

The group put the total price tag from regulations during Obama’s first term at more than $518 billion.

The Environmental Protection Agency racked up the most in regulatory costs last year, according to the report, issuing $172 billion worth of rules.

Sushi: the interpretative dance

The Human Sushi” is a series of videos that features a spandexed dance troupe that “interprets sushi recipes.”  Watch the whole set.
Here's sashimi:

Flowchart: How Gandalf Solves Problems

via LaughingSquid

Castrated chocolate testicles

EvilCakeHead, via BoingBoing:

Cops riddle sleeping junkie with 16 bullets...and he wasn't even the guy they were after.

Of course it was ruled a "good shoot". The guy they were after apparently failed to show up for community service or something. via Ace.

Attn Joss Whedon fans: article on the theology of Angel

I'm not sure what to make of this, maybe because to me the show Angel was pretty much just a less-satisfying Buffy.

"Our firm has always been here in one form or another," the lawyer Holland Manners explains in the second season. "The Inquisition, the Khmer Rouge—we were here the first time a caveman clubbed his neighbor and watched in fascination as his brains oozed out in the dirt. We're in the hearts and minds of every living human being [...] The world doesn't work in spite of evil, Angel. It works with us. It works because of us."

Memphis police tactical unit break into home, shoot and kill 67 year old suspected animal hoarder

So, the Memphis police SWAT unit breaks into an elderly man's home because animal control suspected him of hoarding.  They shoot him and "rescue" 28 well-fed, healthy animals (including chickens and a rooster, who were living outside).

Is it written somewhere how many animals you're allowed to have before the SWAT unit shows up?


Yet another terrible tale of militarized police tactics gone wrong as armed agents do a forced raid on a Memphis man and shoot and kill him -- on a search warrant for being a suspected animal hoarder (and, of course, for according to the police raising a gun when the mini army smashed into his home).

From the Memphis police department’s website, on the Special Ops page:

Tact Unit

This elite unit, specially trained to respond to various emergency situations, is responsible for handling barricade situations, hostage rescues, counter terrorism, and high risk felony apprehensions.

And apparently, serving search warrants to suspected animal hoarders upon request of Memphis Animal Services.

Donald Moore lived in the home with at least 28 pets including cats, dogs, rabbits, hens and a rooster. "They were all well fed. He wasn't neglecting them like that. I think it was a hoarding situation that got out of hand," said Phillips.

Here's Reason's archive on over-militarized police tactics.

44 drinks for 44 Presidents

Go drinking with past presidents, based around what our 44 presidents drank, or might have drunk.

Some of the list is based on conjecture: We don’t really know if Warren Harding ever drank a Seven and Seven, for example, though the mix of Canadian Whiskey and 7-Up was popular in his day. But it’s a fun and delicious trip through the history of drinking in America.

The full, annotated list is available here. A few recent/interesting:

44. Barack Obama: Blue Hawaiian

Combines the president’s penchant for aged Tequila and the cool blue waters of the Pacific. Features aged Tequila, Curacao and fresh lime juice.

43. George W. Bush: Diet cola with a slice of lemon

Light and crisp, able to keep even the busiest Chief Executive, active, alert, and awake.


40. Ronald Reagan: California Sparkling Wine

Introduced to Washingtonians at Reagan’s first Inaugural.

39. Jimmy Carter: Alcohol-Free Sparkling Wine

Served, much to the dismay of the fourth estate, throughout his four years in the White House.


31. Herbert Hoover: Long Island Iced Tea

Prohibition-conscious imbibers relished this enticing tall drink, which contained everything on the bar except “the kitchen sink”.

True facts about the baby echidna, the most adorable creature on Earth with a four-headed penis

via io9,  NSFW (language)

Here now is the latest installment in Ze Frank's always entertaining, occasionally scientifically accurate "facts about _______" nature series. To date, Frank has covered hedgehogs, anglerfish, and now baby echidnas, a.k.a. "puggles," a.k.a. baby Max Rebo.

Warning: contains (censored) four-headed penises. Which you can read more about here (Warning: contains more uncensored four-headed penises).

Monday links

The Science Of Placebos.

Slow Motion Video of Fireworks Exploding Inside Buckets Full of Paint.

35 years in the making, San Francisco sculpture made with 100K toothpicks

It took Scott Weaver 35 years to complete this incredibly detailed toothpick replica of San Francisco.  via Dvice.

Rare ground level photo of Hiroshima bombing found in old Japanese school

TOKYO — A rare photo showing the mushroom cloud from the Hiroshima atomic bombing in two distinct parts, one above the other, has been discovered in the city, a museum curator said Wednesday.

The black-and-white picture is believed to have been taken about half-an-hour after the bombing on August 6, 1945, around 10 kilometres (six miles) east of the hypocentre.

Much more information at The Atlantic.

Brilliant: Les Misérables food allergy parody

When Marius, Cosette, and Epipen are invited to an allergy-friendly party at the house of Jean Valjean, each must create a dish absent of all possible allergens., via @JonahNRO

Americans Bought Enough Guns in Last Two Months to Outfit the Entire Chinese and Indian Armies

via Gateway Pundit:  In the four years since Barack Obama was first elected president in November 2008, an estimated 67 million firearms have been purchased in the United States. In November a record 2 million guns were sold in America. This was followed up by another record in December. 2.7 million guns were sold in America in the last month of 2012.

To put this in perspective...

Chinese and Indian Standing Army Numbers:

China - There are 2.29 million active members in the Chinese Army.

India - There are 1.13 million active members in the Indian Army.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The nonsense math effect

The inclusion of an extra sentence taken from a completely unrelated paper and presenting an equation that makes no sense in the context improved the "quality" assessment of research papers to those with non-math graduate degrees.

Journal News gun permit map used by burglars to target home of elderly man

A White Plains residence pinpointed on a controversial handgun permit database was burglarized Saturday, and the burglars' target was the homeowner's gun safe.

At least two burglars broke into a home on Davis Avenue at 9:30 p.m. Saturday but were unsuccessful in an attempt to open the safe, which contained legally owned weapons, according to a law enforcement source. One suspect was taken into custody, the source said.

The gun owner was not home when the burglary occurred, the source said. The victim, who is in his 70s, told Newsday on Sunday that he did not want to comment while the police investigation continues.

Runaway boy, 13, drives father's Mercedes across Europe

MILAN (Reuters) - A 13-year-old boy who lives in Italy with his adoptive parents took his father's Mercedes and drove more than 800 km (500 miles) through Europe in anapparent attempt to reach his birth family in Poland, Italian police said on Saturday.

He set off on Thursday afternoon from the small town of Pederobba in northern Italywith 200 euros in his pocket and drove the high-powered automatic car for almost 24 hours before being stopped by German police on a motorway near Leipzig.

Cheap energy today: the best friend and salvation of the poor

Dr. Mark Perry at AEI has more:

Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the US price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” ~Stephen Chu, US Secretary of Energy
Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” ~President Barack Hussein Obama
Willis Eschenbach responds (emphasis mine) on Watts Up With That(the world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change):
Here’s my problem with these brilliant plans. Regardless of whatever hypothetical possible future benefit they might or might not bring in fifty years, right here and now in the present they are absolutely devastating to the poor.
The difference between rich and poor, between developed and developing, is the availability of inexpensive energy. We’re rich because we have (or at least had) access to the hardworking servants of inexpensive energy. We have inexpensive electrical and mechanical slaves to do our work for us.
This is particularly important for the poor. The poorer you are, the larger a percentage of your budget goes to energy-intensive things like transportation and heat and electricity. If you double the price of energy, everyone is poorer, but the poor take it the hardest. Causing an increase in energy prices for any reason is the most regressive tax imaginable.

Dr. Helen Smith (Mrs. Instapundit) has a book coming out regarding men boycotting marriage

Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream - and Why It Matters will be released on June 18, 2013.  I pre-ordered.

Young people are screwed… Here’s how to survive

You kids are beyond screwed.

But there’s some good news in all of this. Some of us have already been through this “Hunger Games” melee, and we can serve as your Haymitch Abernathy — you know, the drunk, ranting mentor who teaches Katniss how to survive the great battle that awaits her.

So here are a few pieces of advice for how to navigate this terrifying world.

Some Much-Needed Anti-Gun Control Humor

Several links to follow here.  via HotAir.

Video: The Visual Effects Of The Avengers

160 Greatest Arnold Schwarzenegger Quotes

Behold the extraordinary David Attenborough, in its native habitat.

Source:, via It's OK to be smart.

880 lb cobra sculpted from frozen dung

In Siberia: Cattle-breeding is widespread among Yolba-ites, who number about 500. Though Bopposov works as a building manager at the village school, his 17 cows provide him with an ample supply of dung, or “balbalkh” as it is known in his native Yakut language.

Bopposov first dabbled in the medium in 2008, when, inspired by his military service in a tank division, he created a tank out of dung. 

Study into how porn affects men scrapped because researchers can't find ANY young men who had not seen it

Researchers in Canada wanted to compare the behavior of men who consumed porn with those who had never looked at it all.

Montreal University professor Simon Louis Lajeunesse said: “We started our research by seeking men in their 20s who had never consumed pornography.

But we couldn’t find any at all!

Frank J.: Pretend Gun Control - just pass laws banning a bunch of made-up things that sound scary

Of course, most of us are well aware that this “something” that will be done in the name of gun control will have pretty much no effect on whether criminals or madmen are able to get guns — and might even make these people even deadlier. For instance, the “gun-free” school zone is a victory in disarming people in the same way that getting all countries except North Korea and Iran to destroy their nuclear weapons would be a victory in nuclear disarmament.

The main fallacy of gun control theory is in not realizing that criminals, by definition, don’t follow laws — they’re wily that way. Yet most gun control laws are aimed at this mythical criminal who thinks nothing of murdering people but would never dream of jaywalking. Still, people insist that we have to do something about criminals’ easy access to guns, but in a country where we have over 300 million civilian-owned firearms, that’s a bit like saying the American settlers shouldn’t have taken this land from the Indians — you might have a point, but that ship sailed long ago.

Top Dems urging Obama to raise debt ceiling all voted against increase in ’06.

Laughably, Reid now regrets that vote as a "political maneuver".  Presumably we should believe that his insistence on raising it now, however, is not political.

On March 16, 2006, the Senate held a vote on a measure to raise the debt ceiling by $781 billion — the fourth such vote of George W. Bush’s presidency. Republicans controlled the Senate, and Democrats spent much of the debate railing against Bush’s spending. “When it comes to deficits, this president owns all the records,” said Reid. “The three largest deficits in our nation’s history have all occurred under this administration’s watch.”

Declaring themselves outraged by such spending, Reid, Durbin, Schumer, and Murray all voted against raising the debt limit. So did every other Democrat — including Sen. Barack Obama.