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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mark Steyn: European policy on its Muslim communities in a nutshell

Read the whole thing at NRO:

For the last week, Stockholm has been lit up by what the great Australian wag Tim Blair calls the nightly car-b-q, started by “youths” after the police shooting of (you’ll never guess!) a Muslim man waving a machete.

“Our goal is really to do as little as possible.” Chief Löfving’s media relations officer, Lars Byström, elaborates:

We go to the crime scenes, but when we get there we stand and wait.

That’s not strictly true. They are handing out parking tickets to the burnt-out cars. Seriously.

Meanwhile, in Britain, the constabulary of a nation where men are hacked to death on the street in broad daylight are arresting Tweeters who Tweet insufficiently culturally sensitive Tweets about the unfortunate incident – and sending three coppers to warn an 86-year old lady that the cheese wheel she makes for the annual cheese-rolling competition is a threat to public safety.

This is how it’ll go. As western governments lose their ability to impact anything that matters, they’ll become ever more coercive about all the little stuff. Heaven help the first granny who takes down a machete-wielding jihadist with an oversized cheese wheel.

Memorial Day poppies and the woman who launched a movement

Via FoxNews.

Every Memorial Day, when I run into the grocery store to pick up those last minute items for the three day weekend’s picnic, I’m met with members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) selling their poppies.

We cherish, too, the poppy red/ that grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies/that blood of heroes never dies

-- “We Shall Keep the Faith” by Moina Michael

An educator and humanitarian, Moina Michael was a part of the generation that lived through World War I. The casualties of this war were spectacular. Eight million soldiers died. Twenty-one million were wounded. This was warfare on a scale we had never known before.

Like many of her time, Michael was touched by Colonel John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields” that described the poppies growing between the grave markers of those who had fought valiantly. 

She was inspired to write her own poem “We Shall Keep the Faith” and took to wearing a memorial poppy so that she would never forget those who had made the ultimate sacrifice. 

However, she took her tribute a step farther.

In 1918, at the University of Georgia, she taught a class of disabled veterans and realized how much financial support these men would need in their lives. 

Having worked with the YWCA, she decided to create a fundraiser. Michael and her friends began making paper poppies patterned after the one she wore and selling them for donations. 

The idea of honoring disabled veterans in this manner caught on. By the time of Michael’s death in 1944, over $2 million had been raised for veterans’ programs and the purpose and spirit behind her campaign continues to this day.

The poppies are now made by disabled veterans in VA Hospitals. They are the only people who are paid for their work with this program. 

Members of the VFW and American Legion Auxiliary distribute the paper flowers around Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, both days of remembrance. 

All contributions go to help veterans, their orphans and their widows. The United States is not the only one to support the poppy program. Poppies can be found throughout the United Kingdom as well.

“And now the Torch and Poppy Red -- we wear in honor of our dead. 
Fear not that ye have died for naught; We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought in Flanders Fields.”
-- “We Shall Keep the Faith” by Moina Michael

There Was a ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Reunion on the BBC

I strongly suggest that you start this at 1:15, and miss Jaden Smith rapping.

It's scary how Carleton looks identical all these years later, almost Dick Clark (or Dorian Gray)-esque.

Great headline: Liberal student-activist rape-hoaxer also threatened former boss with handgun

It's impossible to summarize this well - go to Legal Insurrection, read the whole thing and follow the links:
We recently covered the Facebook saga of University of Wyoming student Meghan Lanker-Simons, who she allegedly posted on an anonymous social media page threat to herself in the guise of an outraged conservative.
It seems that Lanker-Simons has failed to read the liberal memo regarding firearms, however. Katherine Timpf of Campus Reform has these details on another court case involving the agitated activist.

Irish potato famine pathogen identified

Scientists have used plant samples collected in the mid-19th Century to identify the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine.

A plant pest that causes potato blight spread to Ireland in 1845 triggering a famine that killed one million people.

DNA extracted from museum specimens shows the strain that changed history is different from modern day epidemics, and is probably now extinct.

Other strains continue to attack potato and tomato crops around the world.

More at BBC News, via Presurfer.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Science Behind Luwak (aka Civet Poop) Coffee

No coffee is perhaps in shorter supply and has a more distinct flavor and history than “Kopi Luwak” from Indonesia. With an annual production of less than 500 pounds and a price tag of 500-600 dollars (Canadian) per pound, it commands the undisputed reputation of being the rarest and most expensive coffee in the world. This is indeed a unique coffee, as it is processed through the digestive system of a palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). This three-to-ten pound arboreal animal uses its keen sense of eyesight during the night to smell and seek out only the ripest reddish coffee cherries to eat. The coffee cherry fruit is completely digested by the civet, whereas the actual coffee beans are excreted in their feces, being deposited in civetries. These are ultimately collected and washed by local coffee collectors. The internal fermentation and action by different digestive enzymes add a unique flavor to the beans. This flavor has been described as earthy, musty, syrupy, smooth, and rich with both jungle and chocolate undertones.

More at Neatorama.

Obama asks Holder to investigate Holder's investigation

President Barack Obama has asked his friend Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Holder’s unprecedented investigation of a Fox News reporter.

Mark Steyn: "Complete waste of time, the revolution.”

Daily Caller: On Michael Graham’s Massachusetts-based radio show on Thursday, National Review columnist Mark Steyn reacted to the treatment of Lois Lerner, the now-suspended head of the Internal Revenue Service’s division on tax-exempt organizations.

Lerner, who had asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during an appearance before the House Oversight Committee in a hearing on Wednesday, was the object of ridicule by Steyn on the show.

“Is this a republic or is it not?” Steyn said. “Because, if it is what a republic is then you guys wasted your whole time with your revolution — because they are basically saying we are the king’s courtiers and we do not have to account to you for what’s going on, but you have to account for us. Complete waste of time, the revolution.”

According to the National Review columnist, Lerner’s decision to not participate in the congressional inquiry represented the federal government’s position.

“Let’s be clear about this — she is the government,” he said. “There’s no reason why anyone — if she is still employed by the IRS, which is a branch of the United States Treasury, which is a branch of the United States government — then she is not speaking as an individual. She is speaking as the government, the government. And she has still got her job. In effect, the United States government has just pleaded the fifth. That’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Video: Indoctrination Included in Common Core Literature for First Graders

via Gateway Pundit.

Now The Gibson Guitar Raids Make Sense

IRS Scandal: The inexplicable raid nearly two years ago on a guitar maker for using allegedly illegal wood that its competitors also used was another targeting by this administration of its political enemies.

UnitedHealth, Aetna and Cigna opt out of California’s ObamaCare exchange

Read more at HotAir
Remember the claim that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” under ObamaCare? That was never actually true, as many who had low-cost catastrophic coverage married with HSAs will have to abandon them for more-costly comprehensive plans under the ACA’s coverage mandates. In California, it’s even less true as three insurers with millions of subscribers opt out of the state-run ObamaCare exchange

Europe Wants “Backsies” on Green Energy Policies

Via Meadia:

Europe’s stratospheric energy prices and economic doldrums are forcing a basic rethink of energy policies. The FT reports:
[There is] a growing fear in Europe that rising energy prices now pose a threat to the industrial competitiveness of a region mired in recession. It has been driven home by a steady stream of announcements from European manufacturers about plans to build new production facilities in the US. [...]
Wind and solar power come at a premium; setting quotas for energy produced from these sources is going to drive prices up. This is what happens when you try and prop up technologies not ready to compete on their own merits. You become less competitive with regions that haven’t handicapped themselves.

The US, you’ll notice, has seen electricity prices drop over the past seven years, largely because of the shale energy revolution.

Why beans give you gas

Beans contain a sugar molecule called ‘Oligosaccharides’. These types of sugars cannot be digested by the stomach or small intestine. They get passed on to the large intestine where numerous types of bacteria begin to break them down. During the process, the bacteria release several different types of gases, mainly hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Don’t be concerned about these particular gases, they are stench-free! Your fetid flatulence affliction is from a different source.

About 1/3 of the microbes end up producing methane as a result of breaking down these sugars. Once the methane builds up to the point that it begins to produce pressure on your anal sphincter…. BAM!!!

Read the whole thing at Today I Found Out.  

Also, Why Poop is Brown.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

9 Reasons Green Lanterns Are the Universe's Worst Protectors

Excellent post at io9 - read the whole thing   I always thought that Aquaman was the worst superhero, but they make a good case - the terrible recruiting and incarceration policies, the weakness related to anything yellow, and the Guardian are terrible.

How does toothpaste make orange juice taste bad?

From 1911, Tips for Keeping your Tenement Tidy

Mabel Hyde Kittredge, activist and founder of the hot lunch program for public schools in New York, was the Martha Stewart of tenement living. She championed the cause of domestic science for the disadvantaged at her "housekeeping centers"—model apartments where young girls from the crowded tenements could, by observing and doing, learn all the particulars of home management.  Her 1911 book, How to Furnish and Keep House in a Tenement Flat, was organized as a series of lessons to be used at the housekeeping centers in New York or in other cities which had started to establish centers of their own. The young girls who took the courses were meant to see the model apartments as "an illustration of the sanitation and beauty which lie within reach of the laborer's income." But in order to achieve that sanitation and beauty, there was an awful lot of work to be done.  Here is what the child had to master in order to complete the first course:
The holder of this card has
Made a fire.
Washed dishes.
Washed dish towels.
Cleaned sink.
Prepared soda and cleansed pipes.
Scrubbed floor.
Scrubbed table or tubs.
Cleaned kitchen.
Washed and aired food tins.
Washed windows.
Made bed.
Fought bedbugs.
Cleaned toilet.
Dusted bedroom.
Cleaned drawers.
Scrubbed woodwork.
Dusted down walls.
Boiled out cleaning cloths.
Then they could move on to the card for the second course.

Looking more and more like a DOJ war on Fox News, not just James Rosen

Read the whole post at Legal Insurrection:
First it was James Rosen’s personal email and phone records.
Then it was Rosen’s parents’ phone records.
Shannon Bream just reported on Hannity that court records appear to reflect phone records were obtained for multiple Fox News lines at multiple locations. The records were partially redacted, but the area codes and exchanges match up.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Here Comes The Asian Naval Arms Race

The President of the Philippines announced today that his country is embarking on an ambitious military upgrade to protect itself from “bullies”—namely, China.

“In thinly veiled comments referring to China, [President Beningo] Aquino yesterday vowed in a speech marking the navy’s 115th anniversary that the armed forces would be given the resources necessary to protect Philippine sovereignty,”reports the South China Morning Post.

The upgrade will be huge for the Philippines—$1.8 billion. “[B]y 2017,” Aquino vowed, “Manila would acquire two new frigates, two helicopters capable of anti-submarine warfare, three fast vessels for coastal patrols and eight amphibious assault vehicles.”

Read the whole thing.

The cicada's love affair with prime numbers

New Yorker:

Since most predators have a two-to-ten-year population cycle, the twelve-year cicadas would be a feast for any predator with a two-, three-, four-, or six-year cycle. By this reasoning, any cicada with a development span that is easily divisible by the smaller numbers of a predator’s population cycle is vulnerable.

Prime numbers, however, can only be divided by themselves and one; they cannot be evenly divided into smaller integers. Cicadas that emerge at prime-numbered year intervals, like the seventeen-year Brood II set to swarm the East Coast, would find themselves relatively immune to predator population cycles, since it is mathematically unlikely for a short-cycled predator to exist on the same cycle.

DOJ official retaliated against ‘Furious’ whistle-blower, lied about it

via Instapundit: “The former U.S. Attorney for Arizona could be disbarred, after an investigation found he lied to the Justice Department about his role in trying to discredit the federal whistle-blower who exposed the botched gun-running scheme known as Fast and Furious. An Office of Inspector General report showed that Dennis Burke — the former chief of staff for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appointed as U.S. Attorney for Arizona by President Obama in September 2009 — lied when asked if he leaked sensitive documents to the press meant to undermine the credibility of ATF whistle-blower John Dodson.”

New Benghazi Whistleblowers with Info Devastating to Clinton and Obama

Read the whole thing at PJM: The former diplomats inform PJM the new revelations concentrate in two areas — what Ambassador Chris Stevens was actually doing in Benghazi and the pressure put on General Carter Ham, then in command of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and therefore responsible for Libya, not to act to protect jeopardized U.S. personnel.

Stevens’ mission in Benghazi, they will say, was to buy back Stinger missiles from al-Qaeda groups issued to them by the State Department, not by the CIA. Such a mission would usually be a CIA effort, but the intelligence agency had opposed the idea because of the high risk involved in arming “insurgents” with powerful weapons that endanger civilian aircraft.


Regarding General Ham, military contacts of the diplomats tell them that AFRICOM had Special Ops “assets in place that could have come to the aid of the Benghazi consulate immediately (not in six hours).”

Ham was told by the White House not to send the aid to the trapped men, but Ham decided to disobey and did so anyway, whereupon the White House “called his deputy and had the deputy threaten to relieve Ham of his command.”

The White House motivation in all this is as yet unclear, but it is known the Ham retired quietly in April 2013 as head of AFRICOM.

PJ Media recognizes this is largely hearsay, but the two diplomats sounded quite credible. One of them was in a position of responsibility in a dangerous area of Iraq in 2004.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Video: roller rink commercial of the day

And here's the transmission commercial of the day:

These are, of course the "rub some bacon on it" guys:

Not Even Large Oil Reserves Can Save Socialist Venezuela

Via Media:
WaPo reports that demand for the US dollar is skyrocketing in the country, whose weak economy is pushing people onto a shady currency black market:
Because the bolivar is artificially overvalued and practically worthless outside of Venezuela, everyone here is desperate for dollars, from auto-part importers to supermarkets to ordinary Venezuelans planning to travel abroad. Even government officials and the politically connected businessmen who have made fortunes off the free-spending state search out and trade in dollars. [...]
“The only way your savings are really savings is by turning them into dollars,” said Fernando, the black-market dealer. “If you have them as bolivars, they will devalue so utterly fast that there’s just no point.”
The result is that the black market is doing a booming business, selling dollars at 28 bolivars per dollar. This price is over four times the official exchange rate at 6.3 bolivars to the dollar. But that’s not all:
Hundreds of state-run companies are moribund and private industry has been paralyzed by state interventions. Rolling blackouts leave much of the provinces in the dark. Crime is so rampant that Venezuela is more violent than many countries at war, crimping investment. Hamstrung by byzantine currency controls and a dearth of dollars, foreign companies — among the few employers to create jobs here — struggle to repatriate profits.
Funny, all these years the Castro brothers blamed Cuba’s grinding poverty and economic failure on two big problems: the US embargo and a lack of energy reserves. Now here comes Venezuela, no embargo and some of the largest oil reserves in the world, and Castro policies are producing Castro results. It’s almost as if socialism tends to produce oppression and poverty in any country it controls— along with bureaucratic thuggishness, cronyism, and corruption.
Meanwhile, the WaPo story reports that, according to central bank data, one out of every five basic products isn’t available. The government is responding to this by attacking the media for causing a toilet paper shortage. But don’t worry, the shortage should go away soon; the last independent TV station in the country has recently been taken over by a group friendlier to the powers that be.