Monday, February 21, 2011
"The first lady ate at Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail Village on Saturday night, dining on a pickled pumpkin salad with arugula and a braised ancho-chile short rib with hominy wild mushrooms and sauteed kale, according to the Vail Daily."
Still on the Lam, Pathetic Democrats Retreat From Democracy…
They shuttle from place to place in Illinois, contact constituents, read e-mails and try to keep up to date on the political chaos that has engulfed Madison since they fled the state Thursday.
And the 14 Democratic state senators say they stand united in trying to block passage of Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill.
They claim they're not coming home anytime soon.
"The ball is in Gov. Walker's court," said Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point). "Public employees have given him what he says he needs to balance the budget. All they want is a voice in their workplace and to keep their rights."
The sound of silence.
That characteristic eagerness to grandstand on extraneous issues, while ignoring federal crises, is characteristic of this administration. It will not make meaningful progress in addressing its own massive trillion-dollar debts, reexamine the looming disaster of ObamaCare, gear up to produce more gas and oil in the face of skyrocketing energy costs, or seriously explore ways to get unemployment down below 9%.
Yet in the last twenty-four months, we have learned that the president will indeed declare that: the governor of Wisconsin is using his state budget disaster largely to punish public servants; the police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, act “stupidly” and racially stereotype minorities (“typically”) as do most police departments; the state of Arizona harasses Hispanic children when they go out to eat ice cream, and thus Mexico’s efforts to sue the state should be joined by the U.S. government; much of our ills are due to “fat cat” bankers who junket to Las Vegas and the Super Bowl and cannot seem to grasp that at some point they have made enough money; the pro-democracy protestors in the streets of Tehran are not to be encouraged by our “meddling” (because of our past sins of involvement in Iran), but their counterparts in Cairo are to be encouraged by our meddling (despite our past sins of involvement in Egypt).
In addition, why would the president call for “sacrifice” in lean times, advising Americans to cut out going to dinner and to “put off” a vacation — while favoring Martha’s Vineyard for vacation, as the first lady (of erstwhile “downright mean country” repute) seems especially fond of Vail ski escapes in winter and Costa del Sol Mediterranean jaunts in summer? Is not symbolism important in these hard times?
Why, why, why all this? In a word, because that is what community organizers are supposed to do
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 21, 2011, 4:55 PM (GMT+02:00)
USS Enterprise parked opposite Iranian flotilla at Suez Canal entrance
The repeated delays and contradictory statements about the two Iranian warships' transit of the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean is accounted for by a standoff between the Iranian flotilla and five US warships deployed in recent days at the waterway's southern entrance and along its course, debkafile's sources disclose.
Thursday night, Feb. 17, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, escorted by missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf and the fast supply ship USNS Arctic, headed south through the canal. By Friday morning, they were through and taking up position opposite the Kharg cruiser and Alvand missile destroyer of the Iranian Navy's 12th Flotilla, which were waiting to enter the Suez Canal at the southern Red Sea entrance.
Furthermore, since the first week of February, the USS Kearsarge, another aircraft carrier, was posted in the Great Bitter Lake opposite Ismailia and the canal's main routes with a large contingent of marines aboard.
The USS George Washington carrier and the USS Carl Vinson were additionally deployed in the Gulf of Aden, the latter having been moved from the Pacific.
Today after work, I went grocery shopping and ran a few other errands near a busy intersection in Shorewood WI. Shorewood is a well-to-do, lily white and generally very liberal suburb of Milwaukee.
There was a small band of high school students, in obviously high spirits because of their extra long weekend, jumping around and waving signs saying "Support Worker Rights." They were accompanied by a few older people, teachers I assume, holding similar signs.
This is what struck me: it was rush hour, plenty of cars were going past and during the course of 15 or 20 minutes or so, I didn't hear one single honk of support from any passing cars. This is a 'burb where there is no shortage of Volvos with Obama/Biden and "Co-Exist" bumper stickers. I remember the anti-war rallies during the Bush years. The honks and cheers of support and encouragement the "Bush = Hitler" protesters got were constant. "Walker = Hitler" doesn't seem to be going over nearly as well.The silence of the rush hour crowd was very noticable.
I don't blame the kids for being clueless because they are kids, but their elders are another matter. Did any of those bozos pause to consider that even a wussy Volvo-driving Obama voter, driving home after a long, hard work week, might have glanced at those signs and thought "Worker rights? Hey, I'm a worker too — been busting my butt all week. Had to scramble to find sitters for the kids today and it made me late for work. Nobody will stand on the corner waving signs if I get laid off, or take a pay cut. Screw these people."
Some otherwise pretty apolitical friends were furious at having to take two days off to watch their kids. They've become big Scott Walker fans. Keep making friends and influencing people, lefties, it's working so well!
A basic rule of American politics is proven out again: the better we get to know leftists, the less we like them.
A message from normal Americans to public sector union
A frame from a video of the 327-pound alligator gar recently caught in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Looking for all the world like the cross between an alligator, a fish and dinosaur, the alligator gar is the largest freshwater fish in America. And with two rows of teeth, the predatory fish is also terrifying.
So you can imagine his surprise when Kenny Williams, from Vicksburgh, Miss., stumbled across what is being called the largest one ever caught on February 14. The tremendous fish measured 8 feet, 5 inches long, weighed 327 pounds, and was 48 inches around, reported WAPT.com.
Over the past several weeks, the world watched enraptured as crowds led by young Egyptians thronged the streets of Cairo to protest President Hosni Mubarak’s rule and to force him from office. No two countries are exactly alike. But many of the same demographic and economic forces that produced the Egyptian earthquake are present throughout the region—which could mean more tremors ahead.
Like Egypt, most countries in the Middle East are experiencing an unprecedented youth bulge. In countries from Morocco to Iran, people ages 15 to 29 make up the largest share of the population. Ominously for the region’s rulers, neither Tunisia nor Egypt, the epicenters of the uprising, is particularly unique in its demographic tilt. Young people represent 29 percent of the population in both Egypt and Tunisia, compared with 28 percent in Bahrain, 30 percent in Jordan, 31 percent in Algeria, and 34 percent in Iran, all of which have faced their own protests. The comparable number in most Western countries is around 20 percent.
Embarrassed Republicans Admit They've Been Thinking Of Eisenhower Whole Time They've Been Praising Reagan
Hadrian's Wall, completed in AD 136, and spanning Britain from the River Tyne to Solway Firth / Image from Share the Inheritance
It now appears that Hadrian's Wall may have been built partly in response to the disastrous loss of the entire 9th Legion to men of the north.
Why Obama and the Dems Blundered in Wisconsin
Another stunning political miscalculation. (Also read: "White House now disavowing involvement in Wisconsin protests.")
It is becoming clear that the Wisconsin battle was a strategic political blunder for President Obama and the Democratic Party. The decision by the Democratic Party and its allies to draw a line in the sand in Wisconsin was the wrong strategy, in the wrong state, at the wrong time, on the wrong issue, and executed in the wrong way.
The White House, which for the last two years seemed so tone deaf over health care, jobs, and the economy, may again be displaying a stunning political miscalculation. Unless the Democrats pull the plug on their ill-conceived Wisconsin campaign, the statewide and national backlash now beginning to emerge may continue to resonate all the way to the 2012 presidential elections.
It will take time to unearth exactly who designed and sold the Wisconsin strategy to the president. But what is emerging is that the White House may have developed two strategies for 2011, not one. The first track, clear to us all, was for the president to tack to the right on the national stage, seek the statesmanlike high road, and negotiate deals with national Republicans.
The second strategy, now emerging, was to pick a target outside the beltway that could serve as a broad political narrative, attack it, nationalize it, and use it to rally Obama’s demoralized political base. It was a bold strategy. They chose Madison, Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-tightening initiative, and his effort to rein in public employee unions. They further decided to let loose angry union members serve as shock troops. Wisconsin would be the first test case, which would be replicated in other Midwest states, including Ohio, Indiana, and Idaho.
The plan seems to have been born both within the war room of the Democratic National Committee and within the Oval Office. The overall coordination for the operation was the remnants of the president’s 2008 political campaign organization, Organizing for America (OFA). The strategy would be launched by the DNC and by the president, who, during the height of the Egyptian crisis, incongruously granted an exclusive interview to a Milwaukee TV reporter over union policy.
Thomas Jefferson: Jefferson's belief in the power of technology extended far beyond Presidential policy. He invented an improved plow himself and was the architect of a navy with leaner gunships. He ran the nation's first patent office as Secretary of State and his home at Monticello was packed with experimental furniture and unique gizmos. There were few aspects of his life that weren't informed by his idealistic belief in the power of ideas.
Dwight Eisenhower: In addition to making nuclear dominance a national priority, Eisenhower oversaw the creation of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, a vast network of state-to-state roadways that have shaped the country economically and culturally. The freeways helped accomodate an increasingly automobile-dependent society but were also posited as an essential infrastructure for matters
John F. Kennedy: "We choose to go to the Moon," he told the nation, and that's just what we did. With a helpful push from Cold War paranoia, Kennedy kickstarted our fledgling space program and in 1962 announced the ambitious goal of putting a man on the moon before the decade's end. After seven years of frenzied innovation and tireless engineering, the dream became a reality.
Ronald Reagan: Though Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, a system of space-based weapons designed to protect the United States from nuclear attack, was criticized as being unrealistic—an early proposal called for nuke-powered x-ray laser satellites—it did set the stage for researching and funding defense technologies that are essential today. And how can you not secretly geek out on a Presidential project known to most of the country as "Star Wars."
Cartoonist Phil Hands of the Wisconsin State Journal is a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, yet he is onto the Wisconsin public sector unions and the Democratic Senators who don't want to show up for work. Here, he skewers the absentee Senators. Click to enlarge:
More on Wisconsin’s reactionary liberals
This is a watershed moment. I think it is George Will who supplies the appropriate term for what we are seeing: "reactionary liberalism."
The petulant public employee unions and their associated goons swarming the Wisconsin capitol remind me of nothing so much as George Wallace blocking the schoolhouse door against integration, or the scenes, played out on national television in the early 1960s, of Democratic politicians whipping up mobs and setting dogs on civil rights marchers in the South. It was a clear sign the old order, also dedicated to preserving illegitimate privilege, was collapsing.
Europe's leaders have realized, and are acknowledging one after another, that that continent's multiculturalist policy--the idea that geographic areas could be ceded to immigrants from Islamic countries who would treat them as Islamic enclaves, rather than being encouraged to assimilate--has been a disastrous failure. CBN has a good report on the current status of multiculturalism in Europe. It begins:
France has some 751 "No Go" zones. The French government has labeled these areas "sensitive urban zones" that are dangerous for whites and non-Muslims to enter.
This map shows how these "no go zones" are distributed around France:
CBN's video begins with the story of a French shopkeeper who has refused to leave her home inside a no go zone:
In a northern district of Paris, a brave shopkeeper named Marie-Neige Sardin guards her newsstand like a military fort. As a white woman, she is a minority in the mostly Arab-speaking Muslim area.
Sardin has been the victim of dozens of crimes -- raped, robbed, and having acid thrown at her, as other residents try to get her to leave.
Still, Sardin -- the daughter of a French soldier -- calls her little shop "a piece of French soil inside occupied territory," and says she will not leave.
Computer scientists have developed a system making it possible to steer a car with your thoughts.
ScienceDaily (Feb. 21, 2011) — You need to keep your thoughts from wandering, if you drive using the new technology from the AutoNOMOS innovation labs of Freie Universität Berlin. The computer scientists have developed a system making it possible to steer a car with your thoughts. Using new commercially available sensors to measure brain waves -- sensors for recording electroencephalograms (EEG) -- the scientists were able to distinguish the bioelectrical wave patterns for control commands such as "left," "right," "accelerate" or "brake" in a test subject.
Report: Libya air force bombs protesters heading for army base
Protesters take over office of two state-run satellite news channels, set central government building ablaze, as violence escalates on 7th day of protests.
Al-Jazeera reported Monday that the Libyan air force has bombed protesters who were on their way to an army base, according to eyewitness testimony.
Porsche's range has expanded enormously over the years, but the rear-engined 911 line remains at its heart. Enthusiasts remain blind to the claims that the mid-engined Boxster and Cayman have better balance - for hard-core Porsche fans the demanding 911 is the only choice.
How much £64,256
Land Rover Freelander
The looks, commanding driving position and much of the cross-country ability of the big Land Rover models in a smaller, more affordable package; a fuel-saving 'stop-start' system helps to keep the bills low. Great fun to drive on or off the road.
How much from £19,495 ~ (White Special Edition)
… so far.
Gore brings his climate fight to Aspen...
Obama Quicker Denouncing Gov. Walker than Mubarak
Stripped, Punched and Whipped With Flag Poles: Full Horror of Lara Logan's Attack Emerges
More details have emerged of Lara Logan's terrifying ordeal at the hands of a frenzied mob.
According to one source, reported in The Sunday Times newspaper, sensitive parts of her body were covered in red marks that were originally thought to have been bite marks. After further examination they were revealed to be from aggressive pinching.
It has also been revealed that she was stripped, punched and slapped by the crowd, which was labelling her a spy and chanting 'Israeli' and 'Jew' as they beat her.
“We have to take the issue of space weather seriously,” said Sir John Beddington, UK chief scientist. “The Sun is coming out of a quiet period, and our vulnerability has increased since the last solar maximum [around 2000].” According to a report by the Financial Times, UK and US scientists warn that a solar 'Katrina' could be in the offing.
You'll be interested to learn that scientists are noticing that the Sun affects weather and climate. Gosh.
Washington: the 'blackest name' in America
George Washington's name is inseparable from America, and not only from the nation's history. It identifies countless streets, buildings, mountains, bridges, monuments, cities — and people.
In a puzzling twist, most of these people are black. The 2000 U.S. Census counted 163,036 people with the surname Washington. Ninety percent of them were African-American, a far higher black percentage than for any other common name.
Witnesses say protesters and security forces are battling for control of central Tripoli, with snipers opening fire on crowds and Qaddafi supporters speeding through in cars, shooting and running over protesters.
Iran's Forces Battle Protests Nationwide
BEIRUT—For a second time in a week, Iran's opposition drew tens of thousands of supporters to the streets across the nation on Sunday calling for the end to the Islamic Republic's rule.
In response, the government unleashed what witnesses said was an extraordinary number of security forces to violently battle the crowds. Witnesses said mobs of anti-riot police and plainclothes Basij militia lined the streets and on several occasions fired directly into the crowd and beat protesters with steel batons. In one neighborhood, the Basij took over a commercial building and dropped tear gas canisters from the roof onto the protesters, witnesses said.
Let me defend the President. Please take all the time off you need to. It has been weeks and weeks since your last vacation and it does the country and you good for you to get away. (The President did not go on this trip.)
Go on Ski Trip Days After President Tells Americans to 'Put Off a Vacation'
New Technology for Cheaper, More Efficient Solar Cells
ScienceDaily (Feb. 20, 2011) — The sun provides more than enough energy for all our needs, if only we could harness it cheaply and efficiently. Solar energy could provide a clean alternative to fossil fuels, but the high cost of solar cells has been a major barrier to their widespread use.
Stanford researchers have found that adding a single layer of organic molecules to a solar cell can increase its efficiency three-fold and could lead to cheaper, more efficient solar panels. Their results were published online in ACS Nano on Feb. 7.
How Absent Reoviruses Kill Cancer
ScienceDaily (Feb. 20, 2011) — Reoviruses are successfully being used in clinical trials to treat patients with cancer. Not only does the virus cause cancer cells to die, it also forces them to release pro-inflammatory chemokines and cytokines, which in turn causes the patient's immune system to attack the disease. New research published by BioMed Central's open access journal Molecular Cancer shows that reovirus infected cancer cells secrete proteins which, even when isolated, result in the death of cancer cells.
Can WISE Find the Hypothetical 'Tyche' Planet at Edge of Our Solar System?
ScienceDaily (Feb. 20, 2011) — In November 2010, the scientific journal Icarus published a paper by astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, who proposed the existence of a binary companion to our sun, larger than Jupiter, in the long-hypothesized "Oort cloud" -- a faraway repository of small icy bodies at the edge of our solar system. The researchers use the name "Tyche" for the hypothetical planet. Their paper argues that evidence for the planet would have been recorded by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).
In what passes for major spending news in Washington, a coalition of House Democrats and Republicans this week banded to kill a backup engine for one Air Force jet project.
Total savings: just under a half-billion dollars, chump change in the federal budget.
Meanwhile in the states, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other members of a new class of combative Republican governors are fighting pitched battles over painful budget cuts that affect issues that once were thought to be untouchable such as teacher tenure and collective-bargaining rights.
These showdowns in the states — expressed most spectacularly this week in Wisconsin’s capital — have brought to life a long-standing cliché of government: The most consequential political action and the most serious policy debates are not taking place in Washington, which appears unlikely to tackle any big-ticket items but, rather, beyond the Beltway, in the state capitols, which Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously labeled the “laboratories of democracy.”