Friday, December 30, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Snow Globe in My Pocket



Back at my desk today, transitioning from my Christmas interlude, a time of shutting out the world and taking up the pleasures of showering family and friends with tokens of love and care and receiving same.

A shower of love trapped in a holiday, like a snowstorm trapped in a snow globe.

How difficult it is to open the door to the world again.


  
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Oh Holy Night -- Mahalia Jackson


Merry Christmas, Dear Friends.




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Thursday, December 22, 2011

And a Tax on My Christmas Tree . . .


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Taxpayers pay $257,000 for each Chevy Volt

At more than $250K a pop, it's really the U.S. taxpayer who's being charged.
This article, linked by William Jacobson, caught my attention today:
If you’ve been revolted by the fact that every $40,000 electric Chevy Volt sold by Government Motors enjoys a $7,500 rebate at the expense of taxpayers, then better have some Dramamine before you read any further. James Hohman of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has calculated that the total subsidies—direct and indirect, federal and state—poured into this white elephant could add up to $3 billion or $250,000 for every Volt sold to date. And this is not counting the 26 percent ownership that Uncle Sam still has in the company.
Nor does it count the subsidies that taxpayers like you and I provide to the manufacturers of the batteries used in the Volt. Add on an additional nearly $7,000 for that.

I say, if you want to drive a "green car," you should pay for it yourself.

This government swindle of the rest of us has got to stop.
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Baroque Magnificat -- Ensemble européen William Byrd

This astonishing composition by Polish composer Mikolaj Zielenski was published in Venice in 1611, four-hundred years ago. Here it is performed by the Ensemble européen William Byrd under the direction of Graham O'Reilly.

The Magnificat, also known as the Canticle of Mary, is one of the oldest hymns in Christendom, recording the words used by the Mother of God as she announced her pregnancy to her cousin Elizabeth, who was also pregnant with a son who would grow to become John the Baptist.

Luke 1:46-55

And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name. And His mercy is upon those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in his imagination of their hearts, He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever."
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Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Sure Do Like Those Christmas Cookies -- George Strait

An annual favorite about those annual favorites!
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Money Money Money Money: The Candidates Address Global Warming

Global warming alarmists fail to mention that the up-and-down trends of Earth's climate made the planet much warmer than today when the Ancient Egyptians built their pyramids, the Romans built their empire, and Medieval British Islanders made wine from grapes they grew in their gardens.


Blaming a temporary warming trend (that has since reversed to a cooling trend) on a trace gas that is conveniently impossible to remove from the atmosphere, Europeans developed "emissions trading" schemes that Obama, his Obamatons, and the founders of fledgling "climate science" recognized as extremely lucrative to the "right" people, and I do not mean conservatives.

How has emissions trading been working out for Europe? According to a study by the Swiss bank, UBS:
The EU's emissions trading regime . . . has already cost European consumers $283 billion....
And what did Europe get for that money? "Limited benefits and embarrassing consequences," according to the report. 

Anything Europe can do, the US can do better: 
In a separate study, the U.S. Energy Department said the domestic cost could reach as much as $570 billion a year. And it would kill nearly 5 million jobs here. 
So what kind of climate policy leadership can the American people expect from the various presidential candidates?

The following quotes, I think, pretty fairly sum up the expressed views of the people who hope to be in charge of U.S. policies on climate spending beginning in 2012.

Purveyors of Climate Alarm
  • Barack Hussein Obama: Not only is [climate change] real, it's here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.  
Obama wants to cut carbon emissions by 80% through governmental regulations that sidestep Congress and thus the voters who are required to pay for the "hope and change" through higher taxes; lost jobs and individual freedoms; more expensive energy, goods, and services; more highway fatalities in "greener" (smaller and lighter) cars.
  • Newt Gingrich: Our country must take action to address climate change.
Gingrich has made numerous public statements supporting cap and trade legislation, if it were to include bi-partisan incentives for "development of new technologies . . . to achieve significant reductions in carbon loading." Read: money, money, money, money for "green" energy producers, even if they don't actually produce energy or produce it much more inefficiently at much higher cost.
  • Mitt Romney: I can't prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer . . . ." "[I]t's important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors. 
Under Romney, Massachusetts set strict state limitations on CO2 emissions from power plants, but Romney has opposed cap and trade.
Huntsman is named after his billionaire father, Jon Huntsman, Sr., who made his fortune manufacturing chemicals. Huntsman Corporation holds global leadership positions in, among a number of other chemicals, ethylene and propylene carbonates. which are used in the production of lithium batteries.
Call me crazy, but I can think of certain financial benefits accruing to Huntsman Corporation from massive increases in the use of lithium batteries resulting from government subsidies for "green" automobiles, windmills, and solar devices and government restrictions on conventional energy production.
Climate Realists
  • Rick Perry: [The climate change scare] is all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight.
Last year, Perry sued the Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to prevent their regulation of CO2.
  • Michele Bachmann:  The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It's all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax
Bachmann has called the cap-and-trade bill "tyranny, and the EPA "the job-killing organization of America."
  • Ron Paul: Washington bureaucrats have classified the very air we exhale as a pollutant and have gone unchallenged in this incredible assertion.
Paul sponsored or cosponsored legislation that would allow drilling in U.S. waters and ANWR, increase tax incentives for investing in oil refineries, streamline federal approval for oil refinery construction, and suspend the federal gas tax when retail gasoline prices hit $3 pr gallon.
  • Rick Santorum: [The climate change scare is] just an excuse for more government control of your life, and I've never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science behind the whole narrative.
As a representative of a coal mining state who believes that "coal is not a dirty word," Santorum has vowed to reverse Obama's goal of "shutting down 60 coal fired power plants" and to "open up energy in America."
Although CO2 levels have been gradually rising, global warming stopped 12 years ago. Isn't it time we stopped paying for it?
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sunset & Vine Shooter More "Workplace Violence"?

Uh huh.

According to a recent determination by the Defense Department, the Fort Hood Massacre of 14 people (including one unborn child) and the wounding of 29 others, was "workplace violence," not terrorism.

By that standard, the gunman who stood on the corner of Sunset and Vine in Hollywood, picking out motorists to shoot at, was an irate worker too: both he and Nidal Malik Hasan were reported by eyewitnesses to have shouted out their rationale for the shootings as "Allahu Akbar!"
Not that the mainstream media or the Obama administration want you to know that.

I imagine word will get around Hollywood, though, thus testing the Hollywood crowd's capacity for denial.

In the following video, an on-the-scene reporter makes much of the fact that the shooter was shouting, but shows little curiosity about the content of those shouts. One of the eyewitnesses sets him straight (around 2:40).

The names of the shooter's two victims, one of whom is in critical condition after being shot in the neck, the other of whom suffered a minor gunshot wound in the leg, have been made public.

The name of the gunman, who was killed by police fire, has not yet been released. (UPDATE: The shooter's name has now been released. It is Tyler Brehm, age 26.)

Zilla of the Resistance reminds us that, since September 11, 2001, nearly EIGHTEEN THOUSAND incidences of workplace violence "deadly islamic jihad terrorist attacks have transpired."

The long list of the Obama administration's aggressive support of Islam includes Eric Holder's lawsuits supporting Shariah law, Janet Napolitano's cleansing of mention of Islam and jihad from counterterror materials (via Zilla), and Tim Geitner's use of taxpayer funds to help Muslim religious authorities collect religious taxes.
The 2012 Republican primaries will soon be at hand, and it is of utmost importance that the Republican nominee who will challenge Obama for the Presidency is not only cognizant of, but willing to fearlessly fight against the ever increasing force of islamic supremacist infiltration of the United States and the global threat presented by islamic supremacist conquest to freedom loving people everywhere.
Zilla offers a very convincing argument that Rick Santorum understands the threat of jihad and should be that nominee. Read her endorsement here.

Want more convincing? Start at The Other McCain's Santorum Sunday Express, which I found via Santorum supporter teresamerica.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Global Warming Scare Dying Death of 1,000 Cuts


This December I'm following up on some of the news stories I've covered in this blog in 2011.

One of my pet peeves has been the Progressive War on CO2 as an agent of global warming, a fiction used to bolster countless money-grabbing schemes through the simple method of frightening schoolchildren and their parents with the supposedly evil specter of CO2, which is in fact a rare gas essential to life on Earth.

Here's an interesting climate reality check from Climate Depot via Watts Up With That:
The global warming movement is suffering the scientific death of a thousand cuts. . . .

The Antarctic sea ice extent has been at or near record extent in the past few summers and the ice is expanding, the Arctic has rebounded in recent years since the low point in 2007, polar bears are thriving, sea level is not showing acceleration and is actually dropping, Cholera and Malaria are failing to follow global warming predictions, Mount Kilimanjaro melt fears are being made a mockery by gains in snow cover, global temperatures have been holding steady for a decade or more and many scientists are predicting global cooling is ahead, deaths due to extreme weather are radically declining, global tropical cyclone activity is near historic lows, the frequency of major U.S. hurricanes has declined, the oceans are missing their predicted heat content, big tornados have dramatically declined since the 1970s, droughts are not historically unusual nor caused by mankind, there is no evidence we are currently having unusual weather, scandals continue to rock the climate fear movement, the UN IPCC has been exposed as being a hotbed of environmental activists, former Vice President Al Gore is now under siege by his fellow global warming activists for attempting to link every bad weather event to man-made global warming and scientists from around the world continue to dissent from man-made climate fears at a rapid pace.

Reality Calls: The Antarctic Summer Ice Melt Actually is at the Lowest Levels in the Satellite Era

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On December 7, 2011 and Rewriting American History


A Japanese photo taken during the aerial torpedo attack on "Battleship Row" on the far side of Ford Island. A torpedo has just struck USS West Virginia (center). Also seen are (from left) Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee, Oklahoma (torpedoed and listing) alongside Maryland, and California. (Courtesy: The History Place)

On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy drew the U.S. into World War II by conducting a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, killing 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians and wounding 1,178 others. The U.S. president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, called that day "a date that will live in infamy."

Indeed it was. By the time the Pacific War was over, Japan's killing rampage had taken the lives of about 30 million other people, including more than 100,000 U.S. military personnel.

3.jpg
Chinese man being used for bayonet practice.
Imperialist Japan was a militarist aggressor nation allied with fascist Germany and Italy that had already invaded and enslaved Korea (not yet divided into North and South); invaded China and conducted the Rape of Nanking, in which 50,000 Japanese soldiers murdered half of the Chinese capital city's 600,000 unarmed residents by stabbing, shooting, beheading, disemboweling, burning alive, or burying alive. All of these activities were photographed by Japanese military photographers. Among the dead were an estimated 20,000 - 60,000 females (including small girls and old women) who were first gang raped by Japanese soldiers. Japan had also invaded and taken over Manchuria and unsuccessfully tried to extend Japan's territory into the Soviet Union.

Three of Japan's prisoners of war
World War II, the product of the militarist ambitions of Japan, Germany, and Italy, disrupted the entire world. The war took the lives of somewhere between 62 and 78 million people, most of whom were civilians. In all, WWII killed about 3 of every 100 people alive on the planet at the time.

Today I am thinking about a conversation I had with a young historian who expressed his impatience for the opportunity to rewrite the history of WWII--after all the eyewitnesses and participants, who have written the current history, are dead. His goal is to demonstrate the failures of America and Americans during that war; the trespasses of soldiers in the heat of battle, the failure of American society to fight for our survival as a free nation in a manner that meets today's standards of political correctness.

His chance will come soon enough. The attack on Pearl Harbor was 70 years ago. No more than I can fully understand what it was like to grow up in a Victorian household with a set of Victorian ideals and standards, this young historian, raised in an atmosphere of moral equivalency and schooled ad nauseam in the supposed failures and evils of the American system, cannot understand that many of those who fought that war were men of honor and dignity.

I've known many of them. I have had the privilege of being introduced to the ideals of honor and dignity held by so many who sacrificed for liberty during World War II. I have known many men whose conduct, both during the war and until the end of their days, well reflected George S. Patton's admonition, "Duty is the essence of manhood."

This self-congratulatory young historian has almost no idea of what constituted the ideals of duty, honor, and dignity for Americans during World War II, and he doesn't want to know. But, by the looks of it, in today's educational system where duty, honor, and dignity are such conspicuously old-fashioned anachronisms that they are seldom if ever mentioned, he has in front of him every hope for a successful career furthering the cause of Blame America First.

If the truth were told, many more of those who today hold the U.S. in contempt would realize that they would not even be alive if it were not for the sacrifices made by Americans during WWII. 

Are the lives they are living worthy of the sacrifices made to preserve them?

This is a question, I am convinced, that many Blame America First-ers do not dare to ask themselves.

If the cost is to weaken the U.S. by minimalizing the actual contributions of Americans to human liberties, the true history of World War II, however painful to today's sensibilities, should not be forgotten.

Update: You may toss your cookies when you read this post by Marooned in Marin: Obama Daughters' School Has Japanese Lunch for Pearl Harbor Day; He Uses Dec 7 To Push Class Warfare.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Occupy SF Starts Bank, Will Hire Homeless & Students

 
Of course, the occupiers are not calling their financial institution a bank. They are calling it a credit union: the People's Reserve Credit Union.

The occupiers plan to accumulate capital assets of $7 million or more through "investments" by organizations and individuals.

Each of the credit union's two planned branches will include a cafe and a commercial kitchen "available to rent."

The occupiers plan to employ homeless people and students to handle their members' sensitive information and money and to loan that money to other homeless people and students (the 2010 Obama takeover of the student loan industry notwithstanding).

Occupy SF already has filed the paperwork to make their financial institution a reality, they say.

America knows by now that government agencies have gone out of their way to "bend the law" to accommodate lawless occupiers in cities all over the country and have permitted occupiers to ignore laws and local regulations with impunity.

With that kind of "experience" under their belts, the SF occupiers have reason to believe that banking regulations for anti-capitalists will be just a little (shall we say) less stringent than for other financial institutions.

This should be interesting to watch. From afar.

It surely will be less interesting when the final bill is delivered to taxpayers--in one form or another.

Ht: PJ Tatler via Mad Minerva.
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Friday, December 2, 2011

What Ever Happened to the Wisconsin "Sick Note" Doctors and their "Patients"?

This December, I'll be looking around to see how events have played out, so far, for some of 2011's newsmakers.

I'm starting out with the Wisconsin "sick note" doctors who, last February, cavalierly and shamelessly supplied hundreds of Wisconsin teachers with bogus sick notes so that those teachers could collect sick pay for days during which they were in fact healthy enough to attend a political rally at the state capitol. More than a thousand teachers skipped school to protest Governor Scott Walker's attempt to help balance Wisconsin's budget by requiring them and others paid from the public coffer to chip in a bit more for their own benefits and pensions.

Except for one doctor who works in a clinic, the "sick note" doctors were mostly faculty of the University of Wisconsin--Madison's Department of Family Medicine, where the healing arts curriculum apparently included how to perform the "public health and community outreach" of writing bogus sick notes to enable government employees to accomplish fraud.

Copies of the bogus sick notes and photos and on-the-scene video interviews of the doctors were quick to hit the blogosphere. Under pressure from this highly publicized breach of public trust in the medical profession by their own medical faculty and residents, the University "reviewed" 22 UW doctors said to have been involved in the sick note scam. By early July, most of the reviews (and appeals) had been (secretly) "resolved." Doctors found to be involved in the sick note scam reportedly received written reprimands or suffered some loss of pay and leadership position.

Starting in April, Wisconsin's Department of Safety and Professional Services investigated 11 of the doctors and eventually referred the names of 9 licensed physicians to the state's Medical Examining Board, which is responsible for licensing and disciplining physicians in Wisconsin. The Department suspected the doctors of failure to meet state standards for medical recordkeeping at their "get your free doctor's excuse table" at the Wisconsin Capitol protest.

In a closed session on November 16, the Medical Board decided to place letters of reprimand for the infraction of insufficient recordkeeping in the files of 7 of the doctors, 6 of whom teach at the University. Those seven are: Adam H. Balin, 51; Mark B. Beamsley, 41; Hannah M. Keevil, 50; Bernard F. Micke, 67; Kathleen A. Oriel, 47;  James H. Shropshire, 50; and Louis A. Sanner, 59.

The Board is requiring the doctors to take a few hours of a continuing education course on medical record keeping, at their own expense, and to pay the cost of the Board proceedings against them.

The Board issued administrative warnings to the 2 remaining doctors, Patrick A. McKenna and Ronni L. Hayon, not to try "insufficient record keeping" again.

As the doctors' attorneys were quick to point out, the Medical Examining Board issued "no finding" that the doctors had "issued any fake sick notes or engaged in fraudulent behavior," a distinction that was not entirely lost on the Board's chairwoman, Dr. Sujatha Kailas, who opined:
"There may be other issues but, at this point, we felt disciplining them on the medical records would be enough to prevent such behavior in the future and send a message."
That message was received loud and clear by Republican Senator Glenn Grothman:
"This confirms my suspicion that the Medical Examining Board is a joke. Their goal is not to look after the public at large but to protect their buddies from an undue interruption in their careers," Grothman said.
The doctors, however, are not without numerous supporters among their fellow protestors. As one commenter at the Madison Journal Sentinal observed:
"I don't know why they are being disciplined, I was physically ill when I was there in February. Prove that I wasn't. Being around hardcore Republicans makes me ill."
Apparently, being around "hardcore Republicans" also makes that commenter more financially secure. As RB at The Right Sphere pointed out:
[P]assage of Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill . . . has led to a reduction in school tax levies across the Wisconsin, among other benefits (aka a healthy budget).
What happened to the Madison teachers who wanted to be paid by taxpayers to attend a political protest at the Wisconsin State Capitol?

Despite the brouhaha, 84 Madison teachers reportedly persisted in submitting "fraudulent sick notes that appeared to come from doctors at the protests." Those teachers were given until April 15 to "rescind" their submission of the fraudulent notes. The 38 teachers who clung to the swindle had "letters of suspension" placed in their personnel files. At least 1,000 other Madison teachers handed in sick notes from other doctors. Those sick notes were all deemed "legitimate" by the Madison School District. Nevertheless, two thirds of Madison teachers lost at least one day's pay for participating in the protest.
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kaboom! Iranian Nuclear Facility Explodes

From The Australian via Jihad Watch :
Satellite imagery seen by The Times confirmed that a blast that rocked the city of Isfahan on Monday struck the uranium enrichment facility there, despite denials by Tehran.

The images clearly showed billowing smoke and destruction, negating Iranian claims yesterday that no such explosion had taken place. Israeli intelligence officials told The Times that there was "no doubt" that the blast struck the nuclear facilities at Isfahan and that it was "no accident".
That uranium enrichment facility used to look like this:

Courtesy AP
Now, not so much.

But that's not all:
The explosion at Iran's third-largest city came as satellite images emerged of the damage caused by one at a military base outside Tehran two weeks ago that killed about 30 members of the Revolutionary Guard, including General Hassan Moghaddam, the head of the Iranian missile defence program.

Iran claimed that the Tehran explosion occurred during testing on a new weapons system designed to strike at Israel. But several Israeli officials have confirmed that the blast was intentional and part of an effort to target Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Here's a view of that military base before the November 12 explosion:

 Courtesy ISIS: Institute for Science and International Security
Here it is after the explosion:
Courtesy ISIS: Institute for Science and International Securit
Major-General Giora Eiland, Israel's former director of national security, told Israel's army radio that the Isfahan blast was no accident. "There aren't many coincidences, and when there are so many events there is probably some sort of guiding hand, though perhaps it's the hand of God," he said....
Linked by Chris at Wyblog, who also reports the good news that the solar energy boondoggle is fizzling out and that Mark Steyn reads our dear Pundette (being the smart fellow that he is). Thanks for spreading the word, Chris.
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