The date for Armageddon has been set, and it’s not going to happen in 2012
Monday, February 14, 2011
Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something--Thomas A. Edison
When I die, I hope to go to Heaven, whatever the Hell that is--Ayn Rand
He who is the author of a war lets loose the whole contagion of hell and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death--Thomas Paine
Listen; there's a hell of a good universe next door: let's go--e. e. cummings
Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell--Emily Dickinson
Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head Jan. 8, told her brother-in-law on Sunday that she’s doing “good,” reports the New York Times.
Giffords’ husband, astronaut Mark E. Kelly, put the Democratic congresswoman on the phone to talk to his brother.
“She said, ‘Hi, I’m good,’” Pia Carusone, Giffords’ chief of staff, said.
A month after an attempted assassination attempt, Giffords has made what doctors describe as miraculous progress, having scrolled through an iPad, given Kelly a back rub, opened her eyes, stepped outside, and regained her speaking ability, among other achievements.
Undergoing major speech therapy, Giffords has also started mouthing song lyrics and lip-syncing. The Times reports Giffords has been mouthing the words to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby.” With assistance and training from a friend, Giffords was videotaped mouthing the words to “Happy Birthday to You” for spouse Kelly’s upcoming birthday.Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/02/14/giffords-hi-im-good/#ixzz1DzGDC9mW
Did Vikings navigate the seas using crystals?
Using a wood chipper to save cheetahs, Africa's most endangered big cats
So how does the administration's actual 2012 budget compare to the 2012 budget that it forecasted when it first took office?
In its 2010 budget, the Obama administration projected that in FY 2012, total federal outlays would add up to $3,662,000,000. In its actual FY 2012 budget, the administration is asking for total outlays of $3,729,000,000. That's right: the Obama administration has responded to skyrocketing deficits and heightened concern about federal debt by increasing the amount it is requesting for next year, compared to its projections of just two years ago, by $67 billion. Only in Washington is this a "cut."
The newest airliner in Boeing's fleet is red, it's orange and it's big. Really big.
Boeing unveiled the 747-8 Intercontinental, it's biggest airliner ever, yesterday, and with the glamor of the event behind it, the company faces the ongoing — and difficult — job of certifying two new aircraft and delivering the long-delayed 747-8 and 787 Dreamliner to anxious customers. The two airlines with orders for the 747-8, Lufthansa and Korean Air, were in Seattle for the unveiling along with private customers for the of the business jet version.
Central Tehran is rocked by clashes between protesters, chanting 'Death to the dictator,' and security forces
“It has now become quite common to hear U.S. officials confidently assert that 90 percent of the weapons used by the Mexican drug cartels come from the United States. However, a close examination of the dynamics of the cartel wars in Mexico — and of how the oft-echoed 90 percent number was reached — clearly demonstrates that the number is more political rhetoric than empirical fact.”
According to the GAO report, some 30,000 firearms were seized from criminals by Mexican authorities in 2008. Of these 30,000 firearms, information pertaining to 7,200 of them (24 percent) was submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for tracing. Of these 7,200 guns, only about 4,000 could be traced by the ATF, and of these 4,000, some 3,480 (87 percent) were shown to have come from the United States.
This means that almost 90 percent of the guns seized in Mexico in 2008 were not traced back to the United States.
As the remnants of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now regroup in order to bring chaos to the 2012 election cycle, ACORN's renamed New York chapter is teeming with activity.
The successor organization, called New York Communities for Change (NYCC), operates out of the same office on Nevins Street in Brooklyn that is home to ACORN and its partisan arm, the Socialist Working Families Party of New York.
Longtime ACORN leader Jon Kest is executive director of NYCC. Kest is the brother of Steve Kest, former executive director of ACORN, who has joined fellow radical community organizer Van Jones as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank that functions as a public relations firm for the Obama administration.
Other local ACORN chapters have been renaming themselves and will soon refederate. ACORN’s its voter operations weren't even interrupted by the nefarious organization's supposed demise:
ACORN's fraud-plagued Project Vote affiliate, which used to employ President Obama, continues to operate. It ran a nationwide voter registration and get-out-the-vote drive during the 2010 election cycle. The 2010 effort was run by Amy Adele Busefink, a senior ACORN executive who was convicted in a voter-fraud conspiracy in Nevada in early January. Busefink received a two-year suspended prison sentence. ACORN itself is scheduled to go on trial in Las Vegas on April 25 for its involvement in the same conspiracy.
Behind The Drones: Lots of Bureaucracy
You can expect to see at least two people inside the secret bunkers in Virginia where the CIA pilots its lethal drones over Pakistan. One controls the distant drone, his hand on a joystick, ready to fire off a missile at a target below. Another is a CIA lawyer, watching to ensure that the operator is within his rights to attack his target. Call it a “punctilious” method to avoid civilian casualties and legal hot water, as one of those lawyers recently did — or call it the bureaucratization of a shadow war.
Tara Mckelvey gets a very rare peek inside the processes that go into the drone strikes, an undeclared air war that peaked last year at 118 missile firings, up from 33 in 2008. Her conclusion, published today in Newsweek, is that the operations ordering them are “multilayered and methodical, run by a corps of civil servants who carry out their duties in a professional manner.” But even the CIA’s former top lawyer, John Rizzo, is blunt about his involvement in what he calls “murder.”
Rizzo told Mckelvey that the process works roughly like this: the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center maintains a team of ten lawyers, who compile evidence that a prospective target constitutes a threat to the U.S. If Rizzo outlined the threshold that the lawyers have to meet, Mckelvey doesn’t report what it is, nor does she explain who asks the lawyers to compile a case on a particular target. But the CIA’s general counsel vets the case before issuing what Rizzo, who held the job during the Bush and early Obama administrations, calls a “death warrant.” The president doesn’t review the targeting list.
Jane Anderson finds the affordable and enchanting side of this Caribbean playground for the rich and famous.
The tiny capital Gustavia is lined with designer shops from Louis Vuitton to Longchamp
I'm just back from a week in St Barts. I feel as if I should keep quiet about it. It's far too flashy an island to be talking about at the school gate isn't it?
After all, this is the place where Roman Abramovich threw a €50-million New Year's Eve party at his lavish Gouverneur Beach. Where the tiny capital Gustavia is lined with designer shops from Louis Vuitton to Longchamp.
Yet on closer inspection, it appears that the 9,000 or so permanent residents of this diminutive island of just 10 sq miles in the Lesser Antilles, have a firm grip on reality and a steadfast belief that St Barts is not just about the bling.
The native population is primarily of European origin, notably humble fisherfolk from Brittany and Normandy. The patois on the leeward side of the island is close to the French spoken in and around Normandy in the 17th century.
Evans-Pritchard is almost never optimistic, so when he is, pay attention. (Personal note: very impressed with the Basque.)
Vibrant exports will save Spain, and perhaps the euro
Nestled in the lush hills of the Basque Country – literally amid birdsong and Pyrennean lambs – a very young company called Industria de Turbo Propulsores (ITP) makes low-pressure turbine engines for half the world’s big passenger jets.
ITP makes the rear third of the engine for both the Airbus A380 superjumbo and Boeing's 787 Dreamliner
You would never know the plant was there, just as you might never know that the 2m people of the Basque Country are the world’s seventh biggest producers of machine tools, or that their astonishing restaurants (mostly fish) boast as many Michelin stars as London.
ITP is one of those Iberian surprises, the sort of company that explains why Spain has seen its global export share (1.8pc) hold steady over the last decade in the face of China’s onslaught and the strong euro, while France, Italy, the UK, the US, and Japan have slipped down the league. Spain has almost kept pace with Germany, and not by selling oranges and olives.
"We are pure exports: we have no Spanish customers," said Carlos Alzola, ITP’s executive director.
The group, part-owned by Rolls-Royce, makes the rear third of the engine for both the Airbus A380 superjumbo, and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. The nickel cobalt blades must withstand 1000 degrees heat for 15 hours-a-day for 20 years.
Riot police have fired tear gas and shot paintballs at thousands of protesters who turned what they said was a Tehran rally in support of Arab uprisings into an anti-government demonstration.
There's a giant planet right here, hiding in our Solar System. One that nobody has ever seen, even while it is four times larger than Jupiter and has rings and moons orbiting it. At least, that's what two astrophysicists say.
The name of the planet is Tyche. The scientists are John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. According to them, this colossus is hiding in the Oort Cloud—the asteroid beehive that forms the outer shell of our home system, one light-year in radius. They claim that data already captured by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer proves its existence. It only needs to be analyzed... over the next two years.
Matese and Whitmire are convinced that Tyche is very real now, however. 15,000 times farther from the Sun than Earth, Tyche would be made mostly of hydrogen and helium. The titanic planet would orbit the Sun with moons and rings around it, bubbling with clouds and storm systems similar to Jupiter. It would even have a mild temperature (-73ºC/-99.4ºF) compared to the asteroids around it, which are almost near absolute zero. Whitmire says that the temperature difference is because a titan of this size takes a long time to cool off after its formation.
Robert Samuelson's column this week on the folly of high-speed rail is not to be missed.
There's something wildly irresponsible about the national government's undermining states' already poor long-term budget prospects by plying them with grants that provide short-term jobs. Worse, the high-speed rail proposal casts doubt on the administration's commitment to reducing huge budget deficits (its 2012 budget is due Monday). How can it subdue deficits if it keeps proposing big new spending programs?
Samuelson runs through some of the numbers, not merely on the extravagant cost, but also how few people use rail transit currently. Amtrak carried 29.1 million passengers last year. Sounds impressive? That's only one quarter the amount of automobile commutes in a single day. The proposed expansion would have little effect, as Samuelson explains: "It's a triumph of fancy over fact. Even if ridership increased fifteenfold over Amtrak levels, the effects on congestion, national fuel consumption and emissions would still be trivial. Land use patterns would change modestly, if at all; cutting 20 minutes off travel times between New York and Philadelphia wouldn't much alter real estate development in either."
The liberal fixation on rail transit, a 19th century technology ill-suited to 21st century mobility needs, prompts a lot of questions.
For the former Massachusetts governor, the expected front-runner in the 2012 nomination fight, his goal with his CPAC speech was to do no harm. He did far better than that with a very well-received address and a strong second-place finish in the straw poll. If any of the top-tier candidates strengthened their hand at CPAC, it was Romney.
The Indiana governor's sobering speech about the danger of the country's growing debt was a sharp contrast to the red-meat heavy addresses of his potential rivals for the 2012 nod. Although the speech was received politely in the hall, it was met with effusive praise by the party's smart set, the national media and, interestingly, the Drudge Report.
No candidate benefited more from the absence of social conservative rock stars Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee than the Minnesota congresswoman. Bachmann's speech kicking off CPAC had the crowd on its feet and she was regularly surrounded by a cadre of admirers everywhere she went at the convention.
l Rick Perry:
The Texas governor may have had the toughest speaking slot of the three-day conference, as his address came directly after Paul delivered his remarks. As hundreds of Paul-ites were shuffling out of the room, Perry took the stage to tout his now-familiar message about states' rights and anti-Washington rhetoric. By the end of the address, he had the crowd in the palm of his hand - proving again that if he reconsiders his past pledge not to run for president, he will be a formidable force.
The New Jersey governor - and national conservative sensation - didn't address the CPAC crowd but still managed to tie for third place in the straw poll, beating out a number of 2012 wannabes who did deliver speeches.
On February 14 around the year 278 A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.
Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.
To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.
Birther Debate Alive Across U.S.
By Andy Barr, Politico
The opening of 2011 state legislative sessions has been accompanied by a spate of birther-related bills, the clearest indication yet that the controversy surrounding President Barack Obama’s place of birth will continue to simmer throughout his reelection campaign.
Lawmakers in at least 10 states have introduced bills requiring presidential candidates to provide some form of proof that they are natural-born citizens, a ballot qualification rule designed to address widespread rumors on the right that Obama was not born in the United States.
NBC's Norah O'Donnell Insists Obama's 'the Same Centrist He's Always Been'
President Barack Obama is “a pragmatic centrist,” Norah O’Donnell, NBC News reporter/MSNBC chief Washington correspondent, insisted Friday night on HBO’s "Real Time with Bill Maher," though not even Maher bought the claim Obama is a centrist.
February 14, 2011: India no longer sees Pakistan as a major threat, and is now measuring itself against China, and finding itself wanting.
China spends more than three times as much (over $100 billion a year) on defense, and has twice as many troops (two million). Indian defense officials are calling for more money. But China has nearly three times the GDP of India, as well as higher literacy rates, a better educated workforce and higher GDP growth. Worse, China is making a more vigorous effort to deal with corruption. Both nations have long suffered from the debilitating effects of corruption. While China is 78th on the list of least corrupt nations, archrival India is at 87. China has been prosecuting far more corrupt officials, and convict many more, than India. Moreover, corruption is one of the reasons literacy in India is 72 percent, versus 98 percent in China.
Some of the more conservative members of the new GOP-controlled Congress are pushing for $100 billion in budget cuts. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Except that this year's deficit is now estimated by the White House to be a staggering $1.65 trillion.
Let's hope Mike Pence et al. stand firm. That way we'll only sink $1.55 trillion deeper into debt over the next year. Who knows, we might last another four or five years before the economy completely collapses under the weight of our obese government.
As bankruptcy looms, Big Government continues to gorge.