Friday, May 11, 2012

WORD AROUND THE NET

"We're not fans of broken arms"

Children need some controlled risk so they can learn to deal with real risk when they grow up. So the push to remove all danger or any harm from playgrounds is seeing some pushback in Canada at least. A new playground area with rocks embedded in a hill, uneven stumps to climb on and more has been set up and is resisting calls to remove it because a child could potentially be hurt on it.
Their call is boosted by a growing body of research that is discovering the benefits of a little bit of risk in child development - it helps with problem-solving and conflict management, it develops resiliency and leadership skills, it helps build physical strength. Advocates also say it will make kids healthier and happier and help this generation of parents peel away the bubble wrap a bit, even as plenty of school administrators remain wary of any potential for injury on the playground.
Still, the terror remains, they made sure kids could always be seen between any trees and set up poles for building teepees where they'd be difficult to climb, because otherwise some child might have too much fun.

John McAfee created one of the world's most popular anti-virus programs and has made a lot of money as a result. He lives in Belize because it has low taxes and is very cheap to live in (and has a nice climate) but found out that this comes at a cost. Police raided his house and arrested him on weapons charges.
At the very beginning of the day, one of the GSU soldiers, one of the GSU officers, took all of my firearm licenses and put them in his vest. When he took them out to check the firearms, this one was missing. They charged me for having a firearm without a license; took me to Belize City. Fortunately we had copies. We showed up later at the police station with the copies. Even then it was difficult to get out. I had to get the intervention of the American embassy to get released. By the time I got to Belize, it was sixteen hours.
They shot his dog. They trashed his house. Well, that's the price you have to be willing to pay if you live in a third world hole like that. The problem? He refused to pay bribes to the ruling party, and wouldn't pay the police. How much is losing your liberty worth to you, John?

You've probably seen the video by now: May Day protesters standing around holding signs they can't even read. They're latino, were told to show up, wear this shirt, and hold this sign because its for the cause. What's it say? Who cares, do what you're told and you help your group out. Well why not? Its not like anyone believes the left's protest stunts are spontaneous or remotely grass roots anyway. They're paying people to show up, giving them pre-printed signs, and busing them in by the dozen. Sure its hard to take their outrage and concern seriously, but that's not what its about. Its about getting camera time and feeling good. And when your congressman is a Democrat, chances are he only gets his news from sources that won't look closely at the event or dig into it at all, so you probably can influence him.

Amish are one of the most popular themes in Christian fiction right now, always about a pretty young Amish girl who finds a boy and lives happily ever after (after some carefully safe difficulties). I'm not sure what the fascination is with the Amish, but researchers did find something interesting about the group. They seem to be unusually resistant to allergies. Whether this is due to genetics (Amish are a very close bunch of families) or diet, lifestyle, and habits, or a combination they are not sure, but its worth looking into. I'm not entirely convinced that Gibson's "technology can cause sickness" story in Johnny Mnemonic is entirely false.

Clean cookstoves. Its one of those boutique concerns for third world nations like water purifiers that has sprung up recently. The idea is to get cooking materials to developing countries so they stop burning wood (icky carbon emissions) and don't use fossil fuels (even more icky) to prepare food. Also some concern is that the smoke causes respiratory problems, something activists claim kills more people annually than malaria. Recently the Obama administration with other nations pumped over a hundred million dollars into getting these things out to people and a study shows that they are useless. No pollution reduction has been measured, the people don't like the stoves, and they aren't reducing smoke inhalation over a four year study period. People have been cooking over fire for... ever, and survived, now suddenly its a crisis?

Did you know you can recycle your old glasses? Well don't worry about it, its pointless. You can donate old glasses that don't work well for you any longer but researchers have found that its as expensive to find and match glasses to someone's prescription as it is to grind a whole new pair. Partly this is because the tech to make lenses has gotten so good and cheap, but partly its because peoples' eyes and the shape and type of lenses out there don't match up very well. Like most feel-good things, its a nice gesture, but not practical.

Ah, the Southern Poverty and Law Center (SPLC), promoted as a place for justice and fighting racism, it has become an ever greater cartoon over the years. A carpetbagging operation of northerners who went south to straighten up those dumb hick rednecks, they find so few genuine problems to complain about they're reduced to calling disagreement hate speech these days. And when they run into real bigotry and evil, they're unprepared. Charles Cooke at the National Review Corner tracked down an SPLC drone and asked some questions:
"Do you have any plans to start tracking Occupy Wall Street after a hate group tried to blow up a bridge?”

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “We blogged it right away when it happened.” I asked him why he thought this deserved only a blog post, and he explained that the SPLC only deals with “hatred of people based on class characteristics,” which a little more pushing revealed meant “immutable characteristics such as a person’s eye or skin color.” “So,” I asked, “Occupy doesn’t count because it doesn’t hate people based on their innate characteristics?”
...
he said that, really, the SPLC only tracks those who commit violence or who seek to destroy whole systems in the name of an ideology.

“Isn’t that exactly what happened in Cleveland?” I asked. “These five men, all linked with Occupy Wall Street, attempted to blow up a bridge as an overture to the wholesale destruction of Cleveland, Ohio, and in the name of anarchism. They also looked to blow up the Republican convention.”

“They were anarchists,” he repeated.

“Yes?”

He paused. “We’re not really set up to cover the extreme Left.”
They just don't care if the left does this kind of thing. They aren't about hate or bigotry, they are about attacking political enemies. There's nothing you have to "set up" to do that, its just a deliberate choice.

Juries are tough to figure for lawyers, but I'm pretty sure this is a good way to turn them against you as a defense attorney:
Cheryl Bormann, counsel for defendant Walid bin Attash, attended the arraignment Saturday dressed in a hijab, apparently because her client insisted on it. She further requested that the court order other women to follow that example so that the defendants do not have to avert their eyes "for fear of committing a sin under their faith."
This is why the Holder scheme to hold highly publicized trials in public courtrooms was so opposed by so many. At least in a military tribunal you can control the press and coverage.

This year's polar ice cap on the North Pole was the most ever recorded since they started keeping track in 1979. That includes Greenland and Alaska. Don't expect to read about that in Discover Magazine or hear it from Al Gore.

Like a lot of cities in the late 90s, Seattle began big plans to set up a broadband network for the city run by the city government. How better to control content, restrict what they though wasn't good for people, and make sure everyone got this sudden new human "right" of internet? Even my home town of Salem Oregon (pop just over 100,000) is trying to get this set up, with wireless poles popping up all over as they let the streets crumble. Well Seattle quietly has dropped the plan. Turns out its incredibly expensive and pointless. And even the most leftist twit realizes that cute cat pictures, Facebook arguments, and nekkid women isn't a human right, deep down.

Occupy Portland is at it again in Oregon, like a lot of cities. They just aren't getting much news attention these days because it accomplishes nothing except making the left look stupid and endangers women while spreading diseases people thought were wiped out since the 1700s like Scavies. They have set up again in a Portland park without a permit, without facing any consequences, and without bothering to even ask. Anyone else who tries to use the park though, they have to go through the proper bureaucratic steps:
Alicia Hammock swooped in on the photographer at downtown Portland's Directors Park, pointed an accusing talon and poked him with questions. Who are you? What company are you from? Where's your permit?
The photographer was let off with a warning for not buying the $195 yearly permit, and told that they had his picture now. Can't let just anyone into the parks, you know.

The Obama administration has been killing terrorists instead of capturing them to interrogate for information, but that's not all. They're apparently letting terrorists go in exchange for peace. Given how violence has escalated in Afghanistan, that doesn't seem to be working well. You know what Muslims call people who come to them to make deals and make concessions to stop violence? Weak craven pathetic cowards paying tribute. Its also encouragement to cause more problems, to get more concessions and tribute.

Totally unrelated to the previous bit, bipartisan congressional study of the Taliban by the intelligence committee has concluded that the Taliban has gotten stronger since President Obama took office. How totally unexpected.

Orson Scott Card is a science fiction writer who also has a fairly libertarian column he writes at the Rhino Times in Greensboro. Despite being libertarian he asks an obvious question which nobody in the social left seems to want to:
What right is at stake?

There are no laws left standing that discriminate against gay couples. They can visit each other in the hospital. They can benefit from each other's insurance.

No, legalizing gay marriage is not about making it possible for gay people to become couples.

It's about giving the left the power to force anti-religious values on our children.
Homosexual "marriage" is one of Saul Alinky's greatest triumphs, changing an entire civilization's perspective on an issue without any attempt to persuade, debate, or explain.

While we're on the topic, Vice President Biden recently was on NBC's Meet the Press and he praised NBC for promoting the homosexual agenda:
And by the way, my measure, David, and I take a look at when things really begin to change, is when the social culture changes, I think 'Will & Grace' probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody's ever done so far. And I think people fear that which is different. Now they're beginning to understand. They're beginning to understand.
Yeah, but that's sort of an open secret Biden. You aren't supposed to admit that's been the agenda.

According to a UCLA study, if the legacy media wasn't so biased for Democrats, then most states would vote more like Texas than California. Tim Groseclose has a lot more on the topic at his site.

Meanwhile, Tom Brokaw is complaining that the annual White House Correspondent dinner is bad for the press. Not because its a waste of time and money and an excuse to drink, take drugs, and get laid like most of these parties, but because it makes the press look biased. See, all the jokes are at the excuse or Republicans, they plainly love Democrats, they fawn over the president, and people watching and learning about this thing might understand this is their nature. In the past, Brokaw points out, hardly anyone knew what went on in this party but with the new media....

As for the Obama White House? They don't even bother with using soebpenas or getting data on reporters and what they are doing. Because they claim they already are keeping such close track they already know who the reporters are talking to. That's what a National Security representative told Lucy Dalglish, director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The press isn't squawking about this either because they think its bravado and lies... or they don't care because its President Dreamboat and he's so fine its all okay.

American Airlines had a brilliant publicity plan. They offered unlimited first class flight for the low one time price of $350,000. Well a couple guys who took advantage of that have racked up more than 50 million frequent flier miles because for them, its like having a private jet. That they don't have to pay for, ever. If you had the money, it was a great deal, and American Airlines didn't seem to understand how great at the time. Just buying a private jet costs more than $350,000, plus its at least $1000 a month to maintain the thing, plus gas and insurance, and paying a pilot. AA regrets its decision now.

Bake sales are an American tradition, a useful way to raise money, especially for schools. Except not in Massachusetts, where they've been banned in schools. Why? Because the most popular baked goods are sweets and those kids are so fat, Michelle Obama said so!

Last WATN I wrote about the lost Prius fleet of never-used cars in Florida, and this week we go to Detroit to find out about another car scam. This one is about leases, where 110 vehicles in the state police department fleet are being leased. The Detroit Police Department is paying almost $700 a month for 8 year old Dodge Intrepids plus 15 cents a mile, and if you do the math that's cost more than $4 million dollars than just buying the cars outright. And it gets worse: all the leases are expired. But the cars are still on the road. And the city is still paying for the leases. Can you say "kickback?" I knew you could. Meanwhile the cops haven't gotten a raise since 2008 when they renegotiated their contract and made all sorts of concessions to help the city's financial woes.

One of the most prestigious newspapers in America is the Washington Post, although it has suffered over the years like most from bias and poor reporting. And like most news organizations in the country, its in terrible shape as a business.
The Washington Post Co. reported its first-quarter earnings on Friday, and the news coming out of the newspaper division was mostly grim. The unit lost $22.6 million in the quarter, with revenue down 8% and revenue from print advertising specifically falling 17%.

Meanwhile, the Post just reported one of the biggest circulation drops of any major newspaper with the lucrative Sunday edition selling 5.2% fewer copies and the daily edition skidding almost 10%.
Few expect the New York Times to survive this decade, at least as a print operation. We need news organizations going out and reporting, investigating and recording events. We just don't need them the way they work now.

Part of the problem for the New York Times is that they were doing so well in the late 90s that they gave these wonderful contracts to employees and now that things are going badly can't pay that much any more. The employees are more interested in their goodies now than a job in the future, though.

Right on cue, as President Obama's reelection chances look worse and worse, a leftist pundit chirps up with the old song: he's too smart for America. Nearly every single Democrat politician in the last 40 years has been eulogized in this way, particularly presidents. Carter, Clinton, Obama, even losers like Al Gore, Mike Dukakis, and so on all were said to be too smart for the public, such lofty intellects they left average stupid sister-marrying corn chewers from flyover country behind. Never mind that most of the time these guys showed no real sign of being so very smart, they were presumed such because of their politics. Voters just love to be called retards.

Child pornography is almost universally reviled and considered evil. It is illegal in every single state of the union, except New York now. A judge ruled recently that viewing child porn is not illegal and cannot be punished by law. He said specifically The purposeful viewing of child pornography on the internet is now legal in New York." Not "damn banner ads," not "how the hell did I get here???" No he said the "purposeful viewing." And the way the law is written in New York... he's right. It only bans the downloading, purchase, and distribution. So just looking at it? Legal. For now.

Another electric car subsidized by the US federal government has burned up. This time its the Fisker Karma, which has been plagued with failure and mistakes for its entire existence.
According to Fort Bend County, Texas, chief fire investigator Robert Baker, the Fisker Karma started the fire that spread to the house.

“Yes, the Karma was the origin of the fire, but what exactly caused that we don't know at this time,” he said. The car was a complete loss.

According to Baker, the driver arrived home in the Fisker, pulled into the garage, and less than three minutes later the car was in flames. It reportedly was not plugged in at the time of the fire and the Karma's battery remains intact.
Maybe these things are the future, but for now they look like those old films of guys trying to build a flying machine.

This one is just hilarious. Courtesy American Digest's sidelines we get this bit out of journalism trade magazine Poynter. The actor portraying Sherlock Holmes in BBC's new Sherlock series is named Benedict Cumberbatch, which is an odd name to be certain. But apparently spellcheck thought it was a mess and when the Washington Post printed a story, it came out as "Bandersnatch Cummerbund." And that's just weird because its made up of two obscure words from a century or more ago.

President Obama has official campaign ads out now instead of just unofficial ones involving the press and public service announcements. One of them touts how he helped some fellow get a job but the guy's Facebook page proudly stated that he'd been working at this job since 2006. He since scrubbed that out of the page but the internet is forever, son. President Obama: he isn't just able to make it rain skittles, he can get you a job before he was even president!

Hispanic voter registration has dropped significantly, by 5% across the nation. Rush Limbaugh wonders if this is related to the flood of immigrants back across the border to Mexico (1.5 million), and he's got a point.

Meanwhile, immigrants in the United States are claiming dependents who live in Mexico and getting tax credit for them. The IRS estimates that four billion dollars a year are being lost to fraud in the process.

What's going on in this image?

Studying in ChinaThat's not a hospital, its a high school in China, where students are cramming for the National College Entrance Exam. Those IV lines? They are administering an amino acid drip to help the students focus and stay awake (who knows what else is in the mix in at least some classrooms). There's a point you take dedication, discipline, and hard work to an extreme and Asians seem to find leave that point behind too often.

Great moments in "stimulus" spending come to us almost every day it seems like. The latest is a Michigan set of 14 "green" technology companies who were given $34,500,000 to stay open. The result? 183 jobs kept or hired, at a cost of over $188,000 a job. And unemployment is officially still higher than the Obama administration said it would reach without the spending.

The National Organization of Women is pretty much a has-been, having accomplished all their original goals and then some. They try to hold events and be relevant but it never really seems to work out, and when you've started up an activist organization, closing down is never an option, no matter how successful you've become. They held a "flush Rush" event to try to shut Rush Limbaugh down, and 11 people showed up.

And that's the Word Around the Net for May 11, 2012.

1 comment:

vanderleun said...

"I'm not entirely convinced that Gibson's "technology can cause sickness" story in Johnny Mnemonic is entirely false."

Actually, the more a society indulges little sicknesses the more sickness it gets.