Friday, May 25, 2012

WORD AROUND THE NET

"I like the words we learn. I thought they sounded funny at first, now I think they sound cool”

Idiot Board
For me, the biggest story of the week is the docking of a private SpaceX craft with the International Space Station. Since the Obama administration has ended all manned space flight, humans cannot get from America to the station through NASA. So its good to see someone else pick up the ball from the incompetents at the US Government.

Mayor Bloomberg of New York City was already busted oversalting his junk food while ordering New Yorkers to eat healthier and use less salt. Now he's been caught flying his helicopter around on days when law bans the use of helicopters. Michael Grynbaum at the New York Times writes:
An amateur video, filmed by an annoyed Manhattanite and broadcast Tuesday on WABC-TV, showed the mayor landing and taking off several times over the weekend from the East 34th Street helipad, where trips on Saturday and Sunday have been expressly banned for more than a decade.
Bloomberg's office says he won't be doing it any longer. As annoying as he can be, I like the mayor on Blue Bloods a lot better.

Democrats have been trying their "war on women" angle for months now and it doesn't seem to be helping them at all. Maybe because of stories like this from the PJ Tattler:
Of the five senators who participated in Wednesday’s press conference—Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.), Patty Murray (D., Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.)—three pay their female staff members significantly less than male staffers.
As usual this kind of thing doesn't tell the whole story (the female staffers tend to be in lower positions and work fewer hours, for example) but it does damage to the left's narrative.

Detroit continues to decay. Decades of corruption, leftist politics, nepotism, and graft have gutted what was once called the Paris of America, a shining beacon of industry and art. In an effort to save money, city planners are looking at shutting off half the city's street lights, road care, and so on. There are large sections of Detroit that are all but abandoned and the city can't afford to keep them up. Since almost half the streetlights are broken anyway (mostly robbed of copper and other materials by thieves), that won't be much of a change.

Meanwhile, gun deaths have overtaken automotive collisions for deaths in Detroit. You're more likely to get shot than die in a car crash. However, the Detroit Free Press story that reported this has a bit of a problem: they portray this as accidental deaths requiring government regulation to reduce. As Eugene Volokh writes:
The number of accidental gun deaths in Michigan in 2009 (the most recent year reported in WISQARS) was … 12, compared to 962 accidental motor-vehicle-related deaths. 99% of the gun deaths in Michigan that year consisted of suicides (575) and homicides (495).
People are getting shot a lot in Detroit, that's true. But not accidentally.

Almost 40% of homeowners in the Puget Sound area have mortgages costing more than the home is worth today. In fact, that's not unusual nationwide, I'm living in a house in that situation right now. Having an "underwater" home now is the result of a housing market that went berserk in the naughties, valued far above their reasonable cost. For this, I blame housing speculators and investors. Government regulations might have made it possible, but people playing games with real estate to get rich are what made it happen.

You may not have heard of the "Law of the Sea" treaty but it essentially surrenders national sovereignty over waters near a country to an international tribunal. They would settle disputes and decide how the water is to be used - the same sort of folks in charge of the EU, the kind that believe every hysterical leftist story of doom and rule based on that. The Senate is moving forward on ratifying it for the United States.

Remember Michael J Fox who looked amazingly more wretched at congressional hearings over Embryonic Stem cell Research (ESR) than he did in other settings? Rush Limbaugh speculated Fox skipped meds to be miserable, but I figure it was just acting to gain sympathy. Well he's changed his mind on ESR, according to his foundation's website. Now they're focusing on other research, deciding a cure for Parkinson's Disease is unlikely to come from ESR.

Boy, JP Morgan sure is bad, they lost two billion dollars, that sure shows us that corporations are bad and to blame for the economy, huh? Except... didn't congress just pass this Dodd-Frank bill (named after two of the biggest scumbags in congress) that was supposed to stop that kind of thing? I seriously doubt anyone outside Berkeley California thinks that companies cannot lose any money unless they're evil and corrupt, but just in case you might be inclined, consider this:
Medicare and Medicaid lose at least 35 times as much per year to fraud and other improper payments, and Medicare wastes even more on medical care that does nothing to make patients healthier or happier. This happens year after year after year.
Or this:
But over at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), such losses are business as usual. USPS reported a typical (for it) $3.2 billion loss for the most recent quarter. Try that comparison on for size.
Yes, two billion is a lot and JP Morgan should have been more careful. But they're pikers compared to the US federal government. They'd be glad to lose only two billion a year.

Justice, what does that mean? Apparently the Department of Justice under Eric Holder and President Obama isn't exactly clear on the concept. Consider this latest story from the ATF (courtesy Conservatory):
The U.S. government has accepted 10 percent of the profits of the upcoming “Passion of the Christ” prequel in a plea deal with a Mexican drug smuggler, despite apparently knowing the royalties had been obtained illegally.

According to AP reports, Jorge Vázquez Sánchez, 34, pleaded guilty to money laundering and extortion last week but managed to get his prison sentence decreased from 40 years to seven after he gave the government his cut of the profits related to the screenplay “Mary, Mother of Christ”, a prequel to Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie about the crucification of Jesus Christ.
Said script apparently was written by someone who isn't being paid by the drug dealer). If you're rich enough, apparently the Holder Justice Department will take money in lieu of jail time.

Fears of genetically modified food aren't completely groundless, some testing is needed to see if there are any odd side effects or problems. But modifying plants to produce desired characteristics is how we got things like broccoli and ears of sweet corn long as your forearm. And a refusal to allow GM products to be used is killing people, as Matt Ridley writes in the Wall Street Journal:
“Golden rice”—with two extra genes to make beta-carotene, the raw material for vitamin A—was a technical triumph, identical to ordinary rice except in color. Painstaking negotiations led to companies waiving their patent rights so the plant could be grown and regrown free by anybody.

Yet today, 14 years later, it still has not been licensed to growers anywhere in the world. The reason is regulatory red tape deliberately imposed to appease the opponents of genetic modification, which Adrian Dubock, head of the golden rice project, describes as “a witch-hunt for suspected theoretical environmental problems…[because] many activist NGOs thought that genetically engineered crops should be opposed as part of their anti-globalization agenda.”
Hysteria over genetically modified foods is largely driven by farmers concerned about losing sales and profits, I suspect. Sort of how the French wine growers managed to demonize Absinthe so much it was banned all over Europe. Its not poison, it won't make you go blind or hallucinate. It just tastes crappy.

Colorado's state Court of Appeals has ruled that the Governor's prayer proclamation on the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. Why? Because they argue that the proclamation treats people who pray as "favored members of Colorado's political community" and that's just not fair. Other disparate treatment such as affirmative action? Totally constitutional though.

Yet another fake "hate crime" has been staged. This time it was two lesbians who painted their own garage door then called reporters. The police noticed that the spray-painted "Kill the Gay" scrawl matched handwriting by one of the women and found other evidence they did it to their own house.

Although its not big enough for people to live on its back, a really huge turtle's remains were found in a coal mine in Colombia. The turtle is about the size of a smart car and was found in an area where the largest snake skeleton in the world was found as well, both prehistoric creatures. How such mammoth creatures managed to find enough food to survive is something scientists can only speculate on.

United States savings bonds are no longer documents. You can't buy bonds and hold them for your kids, its all electronic now, just waiting for a big enough solar storm or EMP to eliminate them. Hat tip to American Digest for this story. Somewhat related: China is now allowed to buy Federal Treasuries directly from the US Treasury rather than going through a broker like everyone else. Most favored tyranny. This helps keep the debt load and transactions secret from other investors and analysts.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Andrew Bolt likes to compare past hysteria with present fact, such as this recent story about Greenland's ice sheet:
The big global warming scare in 2006:
Scientists have found that many of the huge glaciers of Greenland are moving at an accelerating rate - dumping twice as much ice into the sea than five years ago - indicating that the ice sheet is undergoing a potentially catastrophic breakup.
The humble truth in 2012, according to Science:
Our wide sampling of actual 2000 to 2010 changes shows that glacier acceleration across the ice sheet remains far below these estimates, suggesting that sea level rise associated with Greenland glacier dynamics remains well below the low-end scenario (9.3 cm by 2100) at present
Well, the idea of glacial melt and doom is a deeper, mythical truth than the facts tell us.

Unwilling to roll the dice on the Supreme Court, Missori's legislature has passed a bill protecting state companies from the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act's contraceptive mandate. In essence, it allows companies to refuse to pay for contraceptives in their health insurance plans if they have religious or moral objection to it. Think Progress interpreted the bill this way: "Missouri Legislature Approves Bill Allowing Employers To Deny Access To Birth Control." They'll kick your door down and take your condoms away! They'll prevent you from having access!

This is what is known as the Chicago Way of politics, from Patrick Howley at the Washington Beacon:
New disclosures show that one of President Obama’s bundlers is the wife of an executive at an energy company that received a more-than-$1.2 billion Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee for a solar power plant.

Arvia Few is a bundler for the Obama re-election campaign who has promised to raise between $50,000 and $100,000. She began bundling for Obama in the first quarter of 2012. Her husband, Jason Few, is an executive at a company that has benefited handsomely from the Obama administration’s clean energy spending, records show.

You scratch my back and I'll have the taxpayers scratch yours. But its ethical because: renewable energy!

China is trying to throw its weight around more. They think they're a burgeoning world superpower, say they can handle things, that they are smart and want to be treated with respect. Now they're trying to strong arm Australia:
One of the more startling pronouncements in this vein occurred last week when Song Xiaojun, a former senior officer of the People’s Liberation Army, warned that Australia cannot juggle its relationships with the United States and China indefinitely and “Australia has to find a godfather sooner or later. Australia always has to depend on somebody else, whether it is to be the ‘son’ of the US or ‘son’ of China. (It) depends on who is more powerful, and based on the strategic environment.” Noting the rising importance of China as an export market Song added that Australia depended on exporting iron ore to China “to feed itself,” but “Frankly, it has not done well politically.”
China needs Australia's coal a lot more than Australia needs China. They aren't anyone's son, they don't need a godfather. Americans are proud to have fought side by side with Australians for decades and consider the nation a strong partner, not a pet.

Remember those sex abuse priests, the ones that molested teenagers, mostly boys, and got shuffled around instead of defrocked most of the time? Sure, teachers outnumber them up to 200 times as many molesting cases, but it still was horrible and wrong. Well at least one of them has been hired by the TSA to grope search boys for explosives and weapons at the airport. I can't imagine what about that job would have attracted such a man.

Wisconsin's recall battle has had problems from the very start, from people bragging they signed the petitions over and over to this recent story courtesy Gateway Pundit:
Put Wisconsin First recently matched Wisconsin recaller’s names and addresses to Wisconsin Court Cases. There were over 400,000 matches of cases and charges from just over 900,000 signatures.
...
The website found everything from election fraud to a guy who is guilty of homicide with a modifier of not guilty by reason of insanity. The man is currently residing in a mental health facility. He signed and self-witnessed the form from the address of the mental hospital!
Yes well, this isn't about virtue or truth for the left, its about stopping any other state from doing what Walker did and using him as a warning. They have to win this and you know what they say: the ends justify the means. Over 50 of the petition signers weren't guilty of a crime though. They were found not guilty due to mental illness. Meanwhile, Walker looks sure to win and the state is doing very well as a result of his efforts.

White House spokesman Jay Carney has a terrible job. Because reporters rarely ask about good decisions, he has to face reporters every day and try to spin stupidity, corruption, incompetence, and poor decision making into smart, right, and good. In a recent press breifing, Carney was reduced to stuttering, confused incoherence by a simple question:
Wendell Goler: The President has voiced support for the Occupy folks in the past, or at least their goals, did their actions in Chicago sour his support?

Jay Carney: Well I think you’re making broad comparisons between uh uh different groups, what the President has said in the past is uh he has understood uh the frustrations Americans have about ((pause)) the ((pause)) failure in particular of Wall Street in some cases to uh uh, (pause) well obviously Wall Street’s role in the financial crisis that precipitated the worst recession since the Great Depression.
Yeah, rape, terrorism, murder, vandalism, disease, sexual assault, defacating on cop cars, that all adds up to something the president and the Democratic Party want to be identified with. They sure wanted to be back last fall, but today? Not so much. But they need those votes, so when confronted its not easy to find an answer.

Facebook's initial public offering (IPO) of stocks didn't go exactly as planned. Investors realized that the business doesn't produce anything, doesn't do anything, and is essentially just a toy. So by the end of the first day, Facebook stock was worth less than it was to start with. Part of the reason for reluctance is that Facebook revealed key elements of its profits and numbers only to a small group of big investors (probably violating finance laws in the process). Yet Facebook's stocks are a disaster, why isn't the same true of General Motors, as Mickey Kaus notes in the Daily Caller:
GM’s post-bailout IPO launched at $33 a share, and the stock is now trading at $22, after being repeatedly touted by the highest officials of the U.S. government. Yet the suckersinvestors who bought it aren’t having a cow. …
At least GM actually produces something and is a business. Sure, its run poorly, controlled by the unions and Obama administration, and is putting out mostly junk, but its a business.

When I was young, I used to walk to my little country school every day since around the 3rd grade to the 6th. I'd have walked to my middle school but it was too far away. I rode my bike or walked to high school every day. Today, my parents might be arrested for it:
Teresa Tryon said, "On August 25th my 10 year daughter arrived home via police officer, requested to speak to me on the front porch of my home. The officer informed me that in his 'judgement' it was unsafe for my daughter to ride her bike to school."
...
Major Verran of the police department returned Ms Tryon's call. She said he told me, "He had spoke with the District Attorney's office who advised that until the officer can speak with Child Protective Services that if I allow my daughter to ride/walk to school I will be breaking the law and treated accordingly.
Land of the free. Home of the brave.

According to the New York Post, an Upper Manhattan elementary school is requiring all students to learn Arabic. No, this isn't a Madrassas, it isn't a private school. It is a public school, part of the school district. Sabrina Ford writes:
Beginning next semester, all 200 second- through fifth-graders at PS 368 in Hamilton Heights will be taught the language twice a week for 45 minutes — putting it on equal footing with science and music courses.

One reason Principal Nicky Kram Rosen selected Arabic — as opposed to more common offerings, such as Spanish or French — is because it will help the school obtain a prestigious International Baccalaureate standing.
I have no problem with kids learning to speak another language, and Arabic is pretty cool as languages go. I do have a problem with in today's culture demanding that kids learn the language of Islam, however, and in America learning Spanish makes a lot more sense. However, the way Europe is going, maybe Arabic would be smart for little kids to know...

Another report I can only find in one source is out of India. Doctors there perform a lot of abortions, particularly sex-specific ones to help parents have a boy instead of a girl. However, since sex-selection abortions are not legal in India, India Today reports that these doctors are feeding the aborted babies to dogs to hide the evidence. Shocked? Horrified? You should be, but what's shocking you - that baby girls are being killed for convenience, or that they're being fed to dogs? Which is worse?

Canadian Human Rights tribunals are alive and well, and doing the same insane, tyrannical crap they've done for years. In British Columbia, a gym was ordered to pay $1900 in a fine to a man who was told he had to wear athletic shoes in the gym. He claims his doctor told him to wear hiking boots, and said his "dignity" was damaged by the gymnasium. Because feeling dignified is a human right, and he could only possibly do those exercises at that specific gym. Hey, guess what: athletic shoes don't damage flooring. Hiking boots can.

Hacking cell phones, some would have you believe only Rupert Murdoch knows how to do it and he personally teaches his newspapers to do it in private sinister meetings under candle light while sitting in a pentagram drawn in the blood of orphans. Totally unrelated is this story in which a TV presenter says that CNN anchor Piers Morgan taught him how to do it. Guess what: all sorts of news organizations have been doing this for decades, as far back as the early 90s.

Satire is dead, and for good reason: its almost impossible to find a way to satirize people these days in a way they aren't already acting. Case in point, this story in Right Wing News out of San Francisco, who wants the US Navy to name a warship class after deceased scumbag Harvey Milk. Milk was involved in murder and was a big fan of Jim Jones, but he was homosexual and was killed so suddenly he became a leftist saint. Well, the city of San Francisco held a seance and consulted a Ouija board to find out what Harvey Milk thinks of this effort. I am not joking. Maybe the psychological torture of wanting to name something after Milk yet hating war vessels made them even more crazy than normal.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has a question: Why is the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando Florida? Harry Potter is entirely British, why on earth isn't the theme park somewhere in England, a place you get to by taking a train from Kings Crossing? What's wrong with England that they let this go to America of all places? America doesn't even exist in Harry Potter's world.

And that's the Word Around the Net for May 25, 2012.

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