Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tsunami 'ghost ship' spotted off Canadian coast

A Japanese fishing vessel swept away by the March 2011 tsunami has been spotted adrift off the west coast of Canada.

Japanese fishing vessel washed away by tsunami and spotted off Canada (23 March)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17500008

'Dry' counties

The prohibition map of America: Graphic shows the counties where you STILL can't buy alcohol

Archaic: This map from the BBC shows the parts of the U.S. where alcohol is totally or partially banned

200 U.S. communities have voted for bans on alcohol, eighty years after the end of the prohibition. Most of them are along the Bible Belt.

What next, little brown uniforms?

A Virginia middle school teacher recently forced his students to support President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign by conducting opposition research in class against the Republican presidential candidates.

The 8th grade students, who attend Liberty Middle School in Fairfax County, were required to seek out the vulnerabilities of Republican presidential hopefuls and forward them to the Obama campaign.

“This assignment was just creepy beyond belief — like something out of East Germany during the Cold War,” one frustrated father, who asked for his family to remain anonymous, told The Daily Caller.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/22/va-middle-schoolers-assigned-to-do-oppo-research-on-gop-candidates/

Obama campaign site selling 'BFD' T-shirts.

Obama Campaign Selling BFD Health Care T Shirts

What do you think of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul?

According to his re-election campaign, it’s a “BFD.”

That’s the message on a new T-shirt for sale on Obama’s campaign site: “Health Reform — STILL a BFD.”

It refers to Vice President Joe Biden’s famous reference to the Affordable Care Act as a “big f–king deal” after Obama signed it into law two years ago.

“Stand with President Obama by reminding your friends and family that health care reform is still a BFD,” a description of the shirt says.

It’s selling for $30.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/obama-campaign-selling-bfd-health-care-t-shirts/

New York City may impose toll on bicyclists crossing bridges

The city’s former traffic commissioner has a new plan to put tolls on East River bridges. But this proposal has some novel “selling points,” including a first-ever toll for cyclists.

Plan to toll the bridges have come and gone over the past few years, but the latest one by Sam Schwartz is starting to pick up steam, maybe because it goes after everyone.

“I’m trying to be equal opportunity pain throughout the region,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz, known as “Gridlock Sam” to many, wasn’t kidding Friday when he told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer that his new plan to raise $1.2 billion a year tolling the East River bridges will hit a lot of people. He wants to make everyone pay, even some who think they should be exempt.

“I’m asking the bike riders to pay 50 cents each way to use the bridges coming into our Central Business District,” Schwartz said.


http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/03/23/renewed-calls-to-add-tolls-to-east-river-bridges/

Mysterious cloud spotted on Mars

Alan Boyle:
Amateur astronomers are puzzling over a seemingly anomalous cloud that has shown up on images of Mars taken over the past few days. Is it really a cloud, or a trick of the eye? Does it really extend 150 miles up from the surface, as some of the observers suggest? And what churned up all that stuff, anyway? The amateurs and the pros will be trying to resolve those questions before the phenomenon fades away.

"It's not completely unexpected," Jonathon Hill, a member of the team at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, told me today. "But it's bigger than we would expect, and it's definitely something that our atmosphere guys want to take a look at."

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http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/23/10831821-mysterious-cloud-spotted-on-mars

Countries living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones at Greece

Mark Steyn on America's headlong flight towards the financial abyss:


At this point, it’s traditional for pundits to warn that if we don’t change course we’re going to wind up like Greece. Presumably they mean that, right now, our national debt, which crossed the Rubicon of 100 percent of GDP just before Christmas, is not as bad as that of Athens, although it’s worse than Britain, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, and every other European nation except Portugal, Ireland, and Italy. Or perhaps they mean that America’s current deficit-to-GDP ratio is not quite as bad as Greece’s, although it’s worse than that of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and every other European nation except Ireland.


...these comparisons tend to understate the insolvency of America, failing as they do to take into account state and municipal debts and public pension liabilities. When Morgan Stanley ran those numbers in 2009, the debt-to-revenue ratio in Greece was 312 percent; in the United States it was 358 percent. If Greece has been knocking back the ouzo, we’re face down in the vat. Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute calculates that, if you take into account unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare versus their European equivalents, Greece owes 875 percent of GDP; the United States owes 911 percent — or getting on for twice as much as the second-most-insolvent Continental: France at 549 percent.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/294304/sun-also-sets-mark-steyn?pg=1


Ramirez: On Bill Maher's donation to the Obama campaign

Memo contradicts Corzine's testimony.

Jon S. Corzine, MF Global Holding Ltd. (MFGLQ)’s chief executive officer, gave “direct instructions” to transfer $200 million from a customer fund account to meet an overdraft in a brokerage account with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), according to a memo written by congressional investigators.

Edith O’Brien, a treasurer for the firm, said in an e-mail quoted in the memo that the transfer was “Per JC’s direct instructions,” according to a copy of the memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The e-mail, dated Oct. 28, was sent three days before the company collapsed, the memo says.




http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-23/mf-global-s-corzine-ordered-funds-moved-to-jpmorgan-memo-says.html

A law "from which there is no escape".

George Will writing about an amicus brief offered to the Supreme Court prior to Monday's opening arguments:


Hitherto, most attention has been given to whether Congress, under its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce, may coerce individuals into engaging in commerce by buying health insurance. Now the Institute for Justice (IJ), a libertarian public interest law firm, has focused on this fact: The individual mandate is incompatible with centuries of contract law. This is so because a compulsory contract is an oxymoron.

The brief, the primary authors of which are the IJ’s Elizabeth Price Foley and Steve Simpson, says that Obamacare is the first time Congress has used its power to regulate commerce to produce a law “from which there is no escape.” And “coercing commercial transactions” — compelling individuals to sign contracts with insurance companies — “is antithetical to the foundational principle of mutual assent that permeated the common law of contracts at the time of the founding and continues to do so today
.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamacares-rewriting-of-contract-law/2012/03/23/gIQAVuFmWS_story.html?hpid=z5