Sunday, August 28, 2016

Laura Ingraham, Roger Ailes, and Rudy Giuliani to help Trump prepare for debates

Katie McHugh reports at Breitbart,
Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham is now part of Donald Trump’s debate prep team, joining Roger Ailes and Rudy Giuliani.

The Washington Post reported Saturday:

Donald Trump is taking a different approach. He summons his informal band of counselors — including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, talk-radio host Laura Ingraham and ousted Fox News Channel chairman Roger Ailes — to his New Jersey golf course for Sunday chats. Over bacon cheeseburgers, hot dogs and glasses of Coca-Cola, they test out zingers and chew over ways to refine the Republican nominee’s pitch.

Ingraham may play Hillary Clinton in a mock debate if Trump chooses to hold debate rehearsals, the report added.

Trump and Clinton will face off in three scheduled presidential debates: September 26, October 9, and October 19.

Coming out party

Sure enough, by the end of the day, the chickens decided to check out the sunshine, water, grass, and weeds.

Pictures from the farm

These chickens have been living in an area that had a roof. Now they have been moved to this tent-like structure. Soon they will realize how yummy the grass and weeds are. About 200 of them are being fattened up to be eaten. Most are still inside, because they aren't used to roaming around in sunshine.

There are about one thousand egg-laying chickens here. These are the eggs I have cleaned today.

These are patty pan squash. Have you ever eaten them?

Like me, the three horses are new here. Aren't they pretty?

American to the core

At Politico George J. Borjas writes,
...regardless of what you think about the Trump candidacy, the next time you hear that Trump’s proposal for immigrant vetting is un-American, the correct response is that it is American to its core. And the next time you hear that Trump’s proposal is crazier than crazy, the correct response is that—given the mess the world is in—it is the notion that we should not vet immigrants more carefully that is certifiably insane.
Read more here.

13 identical money transfers of $99,999,999.99 each

Andrew McCarthy asks at National Review why is Obama stonewalling
the American people regarding the president’s illegal and increasingly suspicious Iransom payoff. The administration refuses to divulge any further information about the $1.7 billion the president acknowledges paying the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner decreed that the administration would continue “withholding this information” in order “to protect confidentiality.” Whose confidentiality? The mullahs’? That of the intermediaries the president used? Whose privacy takes precedence over our right to know how Obama funneled our money to our enemies?

Recall that we have been asking about the $1.3 billion payment since the first revelations about this sordid affair. After all, if, as Obama and his toadies maintain, the payment is totally on the up and up — just a routine legal settlement involving Iran’s own money — then why won’t they answer basic questions about it?

...The closest thing to an answer we have to the latest round of questions comes courtesy of the perseverance of the investigative journalist Claudia Rosett. ...With the administration taking the Fifth, it was left to Claudia to crawl through Leviathan’s catacombs. In her New York Sun report on Monday, we learned that she hit pay dirt: stumbling upon a bizarre string of 13 identical money transfers of $99,999,999.99 each — yes, all of them one cent less than $100 million — paid out of an obscure Treasury Department stash known as the “Judgment Fund.” The transfers were made — to whom, it is not said — on January 19, just two days after the administration announced it had reached the $1.7 billion settlement with Iran.

...Obama has not just orchestrated a king’s ransom — better, an ayatollah’s ransom — for the benefit of the Death to America regime in the absence of congressional authorization. He refuses to tell us how he transferred it to them.

...Why not a single transfer? Why structure it with 13 payments just under $100 million? And what is the other $10 million about? Is that related to this deal? Did the administration have to pay people off, in addition to keeping their identities “confidential” in order to get this done? Were they worried that the next administration might prosecute them for providing material support to terrorists, as Obama is doing? What is going on here? Where is the supporting documentation on this tribunal judgment, legal settlement, and money transfer?
Read more here.

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Do you support giving up control of the internet?

Most believe it's likely that China, Russia, and Iran will seek to bring global Internet policy more in line with the sort of restrictive speech regimes that exist in their countries. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Rudy Takala reports in the Washington Examiner,
A Rasmussen survey released on Monday found that most people oppose a move by the United States to globalize control over core functions of the Internet, and expect a handful of governments will try to impose restrictions on speech on the Internet to bring it more in line with censorship policies in their own countries.

Only 17 percent of likely voters support giving up control of the Internet, according to the survey, compared to 66 percent who stood in opposition. That opposition stretched across partisan lines, as 77 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents, and 59 percent of Democrats rejected the idea.

Nonetheless, the Obama administration has announced plans to transfer ownership of the Internet Assigned Number Authority, the organization responsible for ensuring people are able to connect to websites and other users on the Internet, to an international agency effective Oct. 1.

The move has sparked fear from congressional critics who point out that the prospective governing board includes more than 100 countries, including Iran, China and Russia. Asked if they believe it's likely those governments will seek to bring global Internet policy more in line with the sort of restrictive speech regimes that exist in their countries, 69 percent of respondents said they view it as "likely" or "very likely," more than double 33 percent who said the same in 2014.
Read more here.

Giuliani is a man with a good record. We should listen to him.

Terrorists cutting deals with Mexican drug cartels

Breitbart reports,
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), tells Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM that countries that are known to support radical Islamic terrorism are “cutting deals” with Mexican cartels for access to human smuggling routes into the United States.
Citing photos from the U.S. Border Patrol component of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency on Friday, Gen. Flynn also told Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle, host of Breitbart News Daily, that there are signs in Arabic posted along human smuggling routes at the section of the border that lies in Texas providing directions for how to sneak into the United States.

Moreover, the former DIA chief said that the Shiite Lebanese narco-terrorist group Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, is illegally trafficking humans, drugs, and other contraband into the United States.

His comments echo recent warnings from the U.S. military, suggesting that criminal groups in Latin America may be collaborating with Islamic extremist organizations.
Read more here.

h/t David Adams

"Not even God could read them!"

The makers of the app responsible for clearing Hillary Clinton’s private server of potentially damaging emails has bragged that it managed to stop the FBI from accessing them.
BleachBit, a publicly available application designed to “free disk space and tirelessly guard your privacy,” boasted on its website that it had stifled the investigation with the headline: “BleachBit Stifles Investigation of Hillary Clinton.”

The company published the headline after a Fox News interview with Rep. Trey Gowdy who said that the email wipe had been so effective that “not even God could read them.”

h/t David Adams

Running out the clock?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven months after a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing monthly batches of the detailed daily schedules showing meetings by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, the government told The Associated Press it won’t finish the job before Election Day.

The AP’s lawyers late Friday formally asked the State Department to hasten that effort so that the department could provide all Clinton’s minute-by-minute schedules by Oct. 15. The agency did not immediately respond.

The schedules drew new attention this week after the AP analyzed the ones released so far. The news agency found that more than half the people outside the government who met or spoke by telephone with Clinton while she was secretary of state had given money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. The AP’s analysis focused on people with private interests and excluded her meetings or calls with U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives.

The AP’s reporting was based on official calendars covering Clinton’s entire term plus the more-detailed daily schedules covering roughly half her time as secretary of state. The AP first asked for Clinton’s calendars in 2010 and again in 2013. It then sued the State Department in federal court to obtain the detailed schedules, and the department so far has provided about half of them under court order.

...It was unclear whether the judge will reconsider his earlier decision and order faster results. In the AP’s lawsuit over other Clinton-related files, Leon has said it would be “ridiculous” to allow the State Department to delay until even weeks before the election. He also cited “mounting frustration that this is a project where the State Department may be running out the clock.”
Read more here.

h/t David Adams

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Unctuous ignorance

Ed Driscoll said it best:
I really miss the days when football served as an escape from politics instead of just another front line for the reactionary left.

Of course, he is referring to Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand during the national anthem.

Never entered my mind

The man operating this boat is Ben Husser. On Facebook he posted a letter to President Obama: Ben Husser
August 21 ·

Dear Mr President,
I want to thank you for reminding us in South Louisiana not to discriminate against anyone based on race or religion. Had you not reminded us of this I don't know what we would have done. See we rode around in a boat saving people and well race or religion never entered my mind. Not once. It didn't enter my buddies mind or my wife's. Just saving people.

I understand you may be miss informed because of all the race baiting that the media did a couple months ago here is South Louisiana. But I assure you that's not what we stand for in South Louisiana. We love each other when the times get hard. We look out for our own. Now I know this doesn't fit your agenda. But facts are facts.

O and by the way stay up in DC play a little golf and enjoy your last couple months in office. Make sure you clean out your desk. Clean out the house you've occupied for 8 years cause your time is up. Let ya buddy Ms Clinton know we don't need her either. She needs her rest. Lord knows she needs rest more then the residents of South Louisiana do. She may could put some of that Clinton foundation blood money to good use down here helping others. But why would she do that. She already knows Louisiana doesn't belong to her come November. If this was a state she needed she would have been on the boat with me. But that's OK we got this we are strong here in Louisiana. Something you will never understand.

The true citizens of Louisiana


Chris Perez and Joe Tacopino report in the New York Post,
The woman who caused a massive panic on a crowded subway train by releasing a swarm of crickets admitted to The Post on Friday that she orchestrated the disgusting stunt in an attempt to go viral on social media.

“I have been doing these pranks for four years now,” self-promoting actress Zaida Pugh said.

... But things got even worse when an innocent passenger pulled the emergency brake as the D train was crossing the Manhattan Bridge. Riders were stuck in the cricket-filled car — with no air conditioning — for 30 minutes.

“The emergency brake was pulled,” Pugh said. “We were not expecting that to happen at all.”

Another unplanned aspect was Pugh urinating on the floor of the subway car.

“I did [urinate] but didn’t purposely mean to,” Pugh said. “It was very hot and I was holding my bladder. When I realized we weren’t going anywhere, I said, ‘I’m gonna just let it out.’ ”

She stayed in character as a homeless person trying to sell crickets, thinking that would help her avoid arrest.

But a police source told The Post that Pugh could be charged in connection with the chaos.

She stayed in character as a homeless person trying to sell crickets, thinking that would help her avoid arrest.

But a police source told The Post that Pugh could be charged in connection with the chaos.

Zaida PughPhoto: Facebook
Straphangers were appalled to learn it was the work of a publicity hound.

“My father works for transit and he’s gonna have to be the person who cleans that car covered in urine and crickets and worms,” said Brooklyn resident Eddie ­Going.

“And you know what’s worse, the emergency brake was pulled. So essentially, one little gag caused thousands upon thousands of people their time, when they were trying to get home.”

Pugh defended the videos as way to draw attention to the plight of the homeless.

“Not everybody is gonna like my pranks,” she said. “This was to show what homeless people go through and how people treat them. People get mad, of course, but I will continue to do it until they wake up.”

She has posted several ­attention-grabbing online videos in the past — some more disturbing than others.

In 2015, she posted a bloody video that purported to show a woman stabbing her baby to death in an insane revenge plot on her boyfriend.

Pugh defended the videos as way to draw attention to the plight of the homeless.

“Not everybody is gonna like my pranks,” she said. “This was to show what homeless people go through and how people treat them. People get mad, of course, but I will continue to do it until they wake up.”
Read more here.


The foreign staff of The Telegraph report that a man in Indonesia may be the oldest living human.

Mbah Gotho, from Sragen in central Java, was born on December 31, 1870, according to the date of birth on his identity card.

Now officials at the local record office say they have finally been able to confirm that remarkable date as genuine.

...Members of the family said Mr Gotho now spends most of his time sitting and listening to the radio because his eyesight is too poor to watch television.

He has had to be spoon-fed and bathed for the past three months as he has become increasingly frail.

When asked what his secret to longevity is, Mr Gotho replied: “The recipe is just patience.”

While record office staff say they have confirmed the birth date on his identity card, he will not make it into the record books until the findings are independently verified.

The current record holder, French woman Jeanne Calment, died in 1997 at the age of 122.

What now?

Fred Reed writes,
Continuity is comforting. The sun rises, the value of pi remains unchanged, businesses burn, cars are smashed, and rioters with the minds of children and the hormones of adults throw bricks at the police. All in good fun.

These incidents seem to come at shorter intervals. In characteristic confusion, in Milwaukee the mob believed that the dead man was shot in the back when the body-cam video show that he was raising a pistol toward the policeman (Milwaukee, Wisconsin ). Either they can’t read, don’t read, don’t have access to the internet, or don’t care. As usual, sixty years after Brown vs. the School Board they shout in illiterate semi-English.

It isn’t working. The racial thing, I mean. The hunting of whites, beatings of whites, calls for attacks on whites. In the age of cell phones, the media can hide only so much.

To avoid admitting that we are seeing a racial insurgency, the media insist that the police are the problem. They are not. Blacks are unmistakably gripped by a powerful racial hatred of white people. If the police were perfect, nothing would change.

...Further, those in the ghettos show little disposition either to study or to work. This also is an obvious truth that one must not utter. A Mexican woman will work as a maid until she figures out something better; a black woman will not. A young Salvadoran man will make his way up Central America, through Mexican police likely to beat him, ride the Train of Death to the US border, and sneak into a country whose language he does not understand to work construction and send money back to his family. A black in Chicago won’t buy a Greyhound ticket to the same job. Yes, there are reasons. A condition does not go way merely because there is a reason for it.

...The cultural divide appears unbridgeable. Blacks are a self-aware, aggrieved, and angry people widely apart from the civilization of whites. They have little desire for assimilation and indeed actively reject it. In Mexico, blacks speak normal Spanish and, in France, normal French. In America, Dat be actin’ white. They give their children strange names, Latoyota and Keeshawn, to maintain distance from whites. Their music is both frequently obscene and frequently hostile to whites. “Acting white,” as for example by studying, is punitively disdained. This is not headed for comfortable multicultural commensalism.

The core of blackness seems to consist of, first, a belief that all of their travails spring from the malignity of whites and, second, that whites owe it to them to solve their problems.

The core of blackness seems to consist of, first, a belief that all of their travails spring from the malignity of whites and, second, that whites owe it to them to solve their problems.

In politics, the focus is entirely on cosmetics. For example, Obama has ordered the Justice Department to use “justice-involved youth” instead of “juvenile delinquent,” and to cease using the word “Negro.” How this will improve literacy in the ghetto is not clear. He wants schools to suspend black and white students proportionately, being unhappy that blacks are suspended at higher rates. His is the quintessential black point of view: Everything springs from racism, of which blacks don’t have any, and the solution is a federal regulation.

Obama never says that black kids ought to study more or that black women ought to behave responsibly in childbearing. He clearly believes them incapable of it, a position is indistinguishable from that of the KKK.

The racial experiment has failed. We must not say so, but I suspect that most of us know it. To admit it would be to concede the unspeakable. The horrible question arises again: What now?

It is apparent that nothing of any use in going to be done and probably that nothing can be done. The police? Pulling all police out of black neighborhoods would end complaints of racism by cops. It would also leave the ghettos utterly controlled by criminals. Take your choice.

The calls for the burning of white neighborhoods do not bode well. Whites often are well armed. Gun sales are way up. Men I know have no desire to shoot anyone but will do so if their homes are threatened.

What now? The Fergusons, Baltimores, and Milwaukees may calm down, but if they do, the underlying situation will not change. Nobody seems to have any more idea than I do what to do about it, which is no idea at all.
Read more here.

Maybe, maybe not

Now that Trump has softened his position on immigration, the media is delirious about the timing of Ann Coulter's book. Ann Althouse notes,
But I'm not sure Coulter is a big loser here. Her book is getting a lot of attention because people who love to hate her see a hilariously colossal clash between her book — "In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!" — and Trump's supposed "softening." There's so much more reason now to bring her on the shows — where she can continue to promote herself — than there might have been if this was just another book by Ann Coulter. There are so many! Don't all the liberal (and conservative) show hosts want to needle her about her dramatic experience in publishing timing. And suddenly she's leveraged as the expert on how Trumpsters feel when he flips on their favorite issue.
Read more here.

From the road to the kitchen

Driving back home from Santa Fe, there they were again, those beautiful sunflowers.
Next thing you know, they mysteriously appear in the car in my McDonalds water cup! I swear I don't know how that happened!

Now they are in our kitchen, where they truly belong!

New Mexico's first Republican election judge?

Today my sons and I went grocery shopping. As we walked in the door there was a woman registering voters. She was talking anti-Trump stuff with another woman. I said, "I want to make America great again." She snapped, "Oh, you mean like in the 50s? I said, "Come to think of it, that's a great idea. I liked Ike!"

I filled out the form, and at the end it asked me if I wanted to serve as an election judge. I said I would. She noted, "We don't have any republican election judges." I said, "You do now."

Friday, August 26, 2016

Overly optimistic?

Well here is one guy who remains optimistic about the future. S. Vollie Osborn writes,
...productivity, or output per hour of work, has quadrupled since 1947 in the United States while employment has not risen at nearly the same rate.

What this means is that many companies are producing more goods and services without having to employ more people.

Other research suggests in the next 15 to 20 years, 47 percent of all existing employment is at risk of automation. Even more startling, there’s little to suggest new jobs will be created at the pace necessary to compensate for this loss.

...As technology has replaced jobs requiring repetitive labor, we’ve seen an explosion in the diversity of creative output in the world.

...The developments and innovations produced by passion, and aided by technology, have stretched the imagination. From the realization of many concepts formerly considered science fiction, to the creation of new forms of art, we already stand in awe of what passion and innovation can achieve.

Just imagine a world where that output is expanded exponentially.
Read more here.

Temperament matters

I agree with Seth Godin when he writes,
Temperament is a skill.
Throwing tantrums, calling names, not doing the reading, making things up, demonizing the other, impulsivity, egomaniacal narcissism, breaking big promises...

Waiting your turn, asking hard questions, thinking about others, slowing down in key moments...

Telling the truth, taking responsibility...

Giving others a chance to share their ideas, attracting and trusting talented people, trusting the right things and being skeptical of the others...

These are all skills (or the lack thereof).

Somewhere along the way, we accepted the baked-in, unchanging, what-you-see-is-what-you-get view of the world. It lets us off the hook, of course, because if this is the way we are, it's certainly not our fault.

The bravest and most optimistic thing we can do, though, is see that each of us has the opportunity to do precisely the opposite. We have far more choices, far more control and far more responsibility than we give ourselves (and others) credit for.

Temperament matters. A lot.

Both Trump and Clinton have chosen fear as their persuasion instrument

Although Scott Adams still predicts Trump will win in a landside, he believes that Hillary has had the upper hand on persuasion recently.
As regular readers of this blog know, both Trump and Clinton have chosen fear as their persuasion tool. Trump wants you to fear terrorists and criminals because he thinks he can make a persuasive case that he’s the solution to those fears. Clinton asks us to fear Trump himself, offering herself as the solution to that fear.
Read more here.

How long will the media ignore the Clinton role in allowing Russia to gain control of one-fifth of America's uranium production?

William Jasper wonders if anyone in the media will confront Hillary Clinton about her role in allowing Russians to have one-fifth of America's uranium production. Read more here.

Does reality have a factual basis?

Sara has completed her first week of 7th grade at a Santa Fe middle school. Three of her former friends who were girls are now "guys." All have cut their hair short. One gets mad if anyone refers to her with a female pronoun. Most of the girls and teachers are fine with the gender changes. Sara and most of her guy friends have an "I don't care" attitude, which has earned Sara the "bitch" epithet from some of her female acquaintences who are being supportive of those who have "switched genders." One of her guy friends changed genders, too, but he also changed schools, so there has been no interaction with him.

Does reality have a factual basis?

How to Avoid the Garbage Catastrophe of Aging

P.D. Mangum writes about The Garbage Catastrophe of Aging and How to Avoid It.
The main mechanism for damage repair is autophagy, from the Greek for “self-eating”. Autophagy is the cellular self-cleansing process in which cellular organelles such as mitochondria and proteins within the cell are broken down and their components recycled for making new organelles and proteins.

Autophagy is a daily occurrence — or should be — with peaks and troughs of activity. The absence of food strongly increases the rate of autophagy, so that in young organisms at least, its rate rises dramatically overnight. Fasting even longer than overnight further increases the rate of autophagy.

Other interventions besides fasting also increase autophagy, for instance, exercise and certain drugs and supplements.

But in older organisms, the capacity for increasing autophagy in response to fasting or other stimuli decreases. This leads to a rising level of damage that interferes with cell function and is characteristic of aging.

Autophagy is crucial for the organism. Treatments that prolong lifespan, for example calorie restriction, fasting, or even genetic manipulation of insulin signaling, require the organism to possess an intact autophagy mechanism to work.
No autophagy, no lifespan extension.

How to prevent and/or slow aging
I’ve argued that iron is the primary driver of aging, and looking at aging from the standpoint of the garbage catastrophe lends new support to this idea. Why?

Because iron is required for the formation of lipofuscin, the cell’s toxic waste.

Therefore, to slow the formation of lipofuscin, keep iron levels in the low normal range. Ferritin is the body’s main iron-storage molecule, and the more you have of it, the more will be turned over on lysosomes and the more iron will be left there, creating lipofuscin and catalyzing chemical reactions that damage cell structures.

Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting (and calorie restriction, which few people are willing to do over the long term) activates autophagy potently. Therefore fasting increases the clearance of damage. In older people, whose cells are clogged with garbage that inhibits autophagy, fasting may bring the rate of autophagy back to youthful levels.

Autophagy boosters
Certain substances/drugs can boost autophagy. These include resveratrol, hydroxycitrate, curcumin.

Exercise increases autophagy and thus the clearance of cellular damage.

Normal blood sugar
Keeping blood sugar in the low normal range will help to prevent the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGE), one of the constituents of non-degradable cellular garbage.

Experimental treatments
There have been a few reports of substances that can clear lipofuscin from cells. If these were to pan out, they could turn out to be potent anti-aging interventions.

One such substance is a form of cyclodextrin, which is a cheap safe molecule that is already used as an excipient in medicines.10

This form of cyclodextrin upregulates autophagy and clears cellular junk.
Read more here.

What's happening?

Joel D. Hirst writes,
The world has become claustrophobic, stifling; limited by our paranoia and our enemies’ great evil. I travel without a phone, without internet, without whatever the hell ‘Pokemon Go’ is – zombies wandering aimlessly through the dunes, almost stepping on a roadrunner as they look for – well I have no idea really, and I have no energy to try and find out. I drive without that little voice that has replaced our conscience, ‘turn left at the next crossing, continue on interstate eight for one-hundred-miles’. Fear. Fear at being lost, fear at missing something. More probably fear of finding something. Fear of being alone with our thoughts and our families.
Read more here.

They just wanted to see their betters bleed.

Fred Reed writes,
It is easy to underestimate the peasantry, the little people. They appear well under control. All seems calm, unless one looks carefully. The means of control work smoothly: the legions, the church, the media, the secret police, the enforcers of political correctness. The serfs are cowed. Why worry about a distant peonage? Do we not have our castles? Let us dance and drink champagne.

And comes the guillotine.

...The guillotine was devised as a humanitarian measure to cut off a criminal’s head cleanly, the ax-wielding headsmen of the time being notorious for missed strokes and subsequent horror. When the meek and mild peasantry rose in 1789, proving to be less meek and mild than believed, the humanitarian aspects of the instrument were forgotten. The populace just wanted to see their betters bleed. They saw.

In the United States of today, clouds gather as the royalty toast each other with expensive wines. In numbers that a half century ago would have seemed impossible, the American young live with their parents, being unable to find jobs to support themselves. Waitressing in a good bar pays better in tips than a woman with a college degree can otherwise earn, assuming that she can earn anything at all. Employers having learned to hire them as individual contractors, they move into their thirties with no hope of a pension for their old age.

Unrest breeds surprises. Maybe Louis XVI thought, “It can never happen here.” Today the African population of America is openly insurgent, the middle class sinks, jobs continue leaving under the stewardship of the rich, the government either will not or cannot enforce its laws, the borders are open, half of the country seethes in fury at the other half, and the sale of guns is at record heights.

...Mussolini ended as an ornament in the Italian street, hanging upside down from a meat hook. He should have paid more attention.

A short walk from the Capitol in Washington, whole housing developments lie empty, their windows sometimes bricked up to keep the derelicts out. In abandoned houses turned shooting galleries, of which there are many, empty cans of Vienna sausages and old bottles of fortified wine lie among used needles and rags stained with things better not reflected upon. You can live for a surprising time on Vienna sausages, Night Train, and Ritz crackers. Many do. Their organs eventually fail.

...Fly-over land doesn’t really matter anyway.

Unless of course it does. In which case Uber should stock up on tumbrils.
Read more here.

Drifting toward the falls

Patrick Buchanan writes in Taki Magazine,
On Sept. 30, the end of fiscal year 2016, the national debt is projected to reach $19.3 trillion.

With spending on the four biggest budget items—Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense—rising, and GDP growing at 1 percent, future deficits will exceed this year’s projected $600 billion.

National bankruptcy, then, is among the existential threats to the republic, the prospect that we will find ourselves in the not-too-distant future in the same boat with Greece, Puerto Rico and Illinois.

Yet, we drift toward the falls, with the issue not debated.

...And, in America, is diversity leading to greater unity, or to greater rancor, separatism and disintegration? Did anyone imagine that, 50 years after the civil rights laws, we would still be having long hot summers in Ferguson, Baltimore and Milwaukee?

...In 2013, the top 1 percent of Americans in income paid 38 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent of income-earners, half the nation, paid only 3 percent of all income taxes.

A question logically follows: If one belongs to that third of the nation that pays no income taxes but receives copious benefits, why would you vote for a party that will cut taxes you don’t pay, but take away benefits you do receive?

Traditional Republican platforms ask half the country to vote against its economic interests. As a long-term political strategy, that is not too promising.

During the New Deal, FDR’s aide Harold Ickes, declared in what became party dogma, “We shall tax and tax, spend and spend, and elect and elect.”

And so they did, and so they do. But this is a game that cannot go on forever.
Read more here.

A multi-frontal assault

One finds oneself asking impossible questions: Why would feminists remain silent while the promotion and importation of anti-feminists known for the most severe forms of oppression goes on at an accelerated pace? Why would homosexuals support the administration's full-throated support of regimes that routinely imprison, burn and toss homosexuals off of buildings? Why would a president encourage the division of the races, inflaming old hatreds and new resentments with the potential to cause massive civil slaughter otherwise only known to places like Rwanda? Why would the media assail and seek the punishment of a lying Olympic swimmer, yet defend with screaming silence the multitude of lies told by a presidential candidate, knowing all the while that her lies are exponentially more dangerous to individuals and society?

Why, why, why?

The only answer possible is that it is a multi-frontal assault on peace. It is an attempt to do exactly what it is doing, keeping the public off balance with daily insults to rational thought. The people start to understand the connection of the president to the jihadists and Black Lives Matter encourages the burning of the suburbs. The people start to understand the Democratic strategy of importing illegal voters and the president demands that transsexuals use any restroom they want.

...Yes, they are evil and devious enough to foment a race war to destabilize American society. Yes, they are evil and devious enough to expose our children to pedophiles lurking in bathrooms, pretending to be sexually indeterminate. Yes, they are evil and devious enough to import terrorists under the guise of humanitarianism to randomly commit acts of terror to frighten and disrupt society. Yes, they are evil and devious enough to encourage racial animosity on the southern border for all of the reasons above.
Read more here.

h/t American Digest

We are with her!

h/t American Digest

Trump listens!

Steve House, Chairman of the Republican party in Colorado, writes,
Spent the evening with friends and Donald Trump. Every interaction I have with Mr Trump i learn more about him. Today there were a couple key things.
The first was that when we were in a one on one conversation he showed me outstanding listening skills. He never interrupts and he is intently listening which makes you feel good and the conversation very valuable. He made it very clear in that one on one and later in the group setting that he is willing to do whatever I need him to to win Colorado. He knows the electoral map very well and this state is as critical as we have been saying.

The second observation was just how deep his business acumen and friendships in the business community are. A typical presidential candidate will surround themselves with experts in foreign policy, fiscal policy, and other cabinet level positions. Mr Trump will too. What is different is that he knows people, and cited great examples tonight, who are very successful in different industries. If he needs to know how to solve a problem in energy, agriculture, real estate, or healthcare he will call friends with expert knowledge in each field to get real inside information. This should allow him to boost our economy and always know what legislation would do to an industry at the point of application. It was very impressive to watch.

Hey, it was populist agitation that went into making this wreckage!

Mark A. Signorelli writes at The Federalist,
As the accumulating crises confronting the Western world stuff our newsfeeds more and more each day, a certain broad narrative about what is happening seems to have gained near-universal acceptance. It says the populations of Western nations are presently ruled by an incompetent and out-of-touch “elite,” who evince no regard for, or even knowledge of, the people’s will on a variety of issues, ranging from immigration to free trade to education.

In response, the citizens of these nations have demonstrated their contempt for these elites in fairly dramatic ways, from the Brexit to the rise of the Front National to the Donald Trump campaign. It is a contest between populism and elitism, we are told, that defines our political moment.

...Populism is a spirit, an attitude, informed by varying degrees of pride, self-sufficiency, frustration, resentment, and wrath.

...This attitude of permanent disaffection has been the primary psychological note of modern progressivism ever since the uprisings of the 1960s. Over the last half-century, even as the Left has conquered one institution after another—the university, the media, the federal bureaucracy—this disposition to revolt has remained the chief feature of the progressive mind.

It is why the people running our civilization have never developed the virtues necessary to carry out their duties adequately. Determined to always think of themselves as persons out of power, they never learned to regard themselves as persons with power, and all the responsibilities power entails. They never learned to imagine the kinds of moral formation that would fit a person for rule, rather than for protest.

This is why we can listen to a close advisor to the president—a woman with access to the most effective levers of power in the world—declare her intention to “speak truth to power.” But as for speaking truth as power, as for directing their policies with the wisdom and prudence requisite to their offices, the populist elite in control of the Western world have never learned how to do this, because their own modes of juvenile self-fashioning have precluded them from ever admitting that they do indeed occupy such offices.

This is the dimension missing from most analyses of our present political circumstances—the historical dimension. We find ourselves saddled with a teetering institutional structure without considering the decades of populist agitation that went into making this wreckage. Coates’ own biography is uncannily symbolic in this regard. The son of a Black Panther, he continues to spout his father’s revolutionary creed, even as his society grants him an unrivaled authority to speak and to write. It is why a man heaped with accolades and honors can still think himself the victim of a “cosmic injustice;” why a writer privileged with a platform in one of his country’s most prominent organs can think of no other use for this platform than to cultivate deeply uncharitable sentiments in his own child. He is incapable of recognizing himself as the establishment figure he has unquestionably become.
Read more here.

More about our sun

At According to Hoyt Stephanie Osborn continues her discussion of Solar, Space, and Geomagnetic Weather.
At the end of every 11-year cycle, the magnetic orientation of the spots…flips. Yeah, you heard right — this is one of the few times when the old trope about “reversing the polarity” is actually the correct answer. The end that was North becomes South, and the end that was South becomes North. MORE, the ENTIRE solar magnetic field ALSO flips! (This got very complex this last time; it wasn’t as fast and simple. It took nearly six months, and for a time our Sun had something like FOUR South poles, and NO North poles. Yeah, stellar magnetics gets crazy.) It takes a whole ‘nother cycle to get back to the way it started out. So that’s a second solar cycle, the 22-year cycle.

Now, sunspots look dark not because they’re cold, but because they’re just a bit cooler than the surrounding plasma of the photosphere (which is the visible “surface” of the Sun). If the photosphere is about 5,800°K (~10,500°F), then the sunspots are about 3,000-4,500°K (4,900-7,600°F). Still plenty hot enough to fry your bacon, but still several thousand degrees cooler than their surroundings. They can be teeny-tiny (relatively speaking, of course) or they can be huge things (80,000km/50,000mi — not too shabby when you consider the Earth is about 13,000km/8,000mi diameter), big enough to be seen by the naked eye. (But don’t do that — we like having eyesight. If you really want to observe the Sun, the best way is to get a telescope, aim it at the Sun, and hold a sheet of white cardboard behind the eyepiece. Adjust the distance until you get an image of the Sun projected on the cardboard. This is a cool way to watch solar eclipses, too. If you don’t have a telescope, grab a shoebox, punch a small hole in one end, turn it upside down and point the hole at the Sun, then tilt the thing around until you get a small image inside the opposite end of the box.) Sunspots aren’t really dark at all; they just APPEAR dark because of the contrast with the surrounding hotter, brighter photosphere.

Read more here.

Standing up to ISIS

ABC News reorts about a courageous young woman from Arizona who stood up to ISIS while in captivity.
American hostage Kayla Mueller was tortured, verbally abused, forced into slave labor for ISIS commanders in Syria and raped by the group's top leader, but her fellow hostages say she never surrendered hope, she selflessly put the welfare of fellow captives above her own and she even stood up to executioner "Jihadi John" to defend her Christian faith.

Four former hostages who shared cells with Mueller, speaking publicly for the first time about their shared ordeal for ABC News' "20/20" broadcast, "The Girl Left Behind," airing Friday, say the Prescott, Arizona, humanitarian aid worker was a courageous 25-year-old who inspired them.
Read more here.

Update: Kayla's father has something to say to President Obama:
As President Barack Obama tried to console the parents of Kayla Mueller after she was killed in ISIS captivity last year, they say he offered to make a contribution to a foundation they had established in her name.

But he has yet to do so, the parents say, 17 months after he made his promise to them on March 13, 2015.

“I’m still waiting for that donation, Mr. President,” Carl Mueller said in an ABC News interview broadcast this morning on Good Morning America, as part of an hour long investigation to be aired tonight on 20/20.
See more here.

Mending a broken heart

Ann Voskamp writes today about the heart and lung surgeries undergone by the Voskamps' newly adopted daughter.
Your skeletal armour will have to break if anyone is ever to get to your heart.

This is a hard thing:

You must surrender to a breaking that must happen if you want any of your brokenness to heal.

The greatest strength can grow straight out of the greatest weakness. The universe is a beautiful place, made in the strangest ways. I AM knows who we are and what we need.

Listen to the beat of your own heart. Listen to what it’s telling you, to the rhythm it wants you to keep. Listen to the bravery of your beats — believe that your heart is pounding together something new. This is how He made a heart to work. Listen to this and rest.The way to recover is to cover everything with grace.

Take all the time you need to find out for yourself how this is the most proven kind of true: The best kind of intensive care for a broken heart is to let the words of Christ intensively care for you.

This can be hard to swallow—- when we want easy serum for our veins, cheap comfort bought with plastic, quick fixes that cost little and let us be fine without refining anything. But if you let His Word wash your wounds, let His grace caress your pain, let His Truth touch your bruises, let His hope heal your ache, you can feel a kind of resurrection on earth. His promises are more than true — they are your resuscitation.

It’s okay to let the tears come, to weep over all this pain, all this love, all this beauty, all this brokenness and the hard roads that we somehow find ourselves walking, forcing one step in front of the other.

It’s okay to let someone trace the scar down the middle of you and to touch your holy brave and bear witness that your fight is hard and sacred.

It’s okay for you to feel along your wounds wired closed and wonder why you have had to warrior through all of this.

And it can happen that they find out in recovery, that when they broke open your chest walls to get to you, when they broke your broken heart in different ways so healing could happen in new ways, that somehow your lung’s collapsed —- and that’s why each breath hurts.

Even though you’re in recovery, you’re still in pain. This can happen. And somehow you still have to keep breathing through the ache.

Sometimes you can’t experience full recovery until you let your pain be fully uncovered.

Turn and look up into someone eye’s and let yourself be seen and touched and known.

Let yourself hear it, and let it reverberate through the hurting chambers of you and let yourself never forget:

Pieces of your broken heart mend when you make peace with what He gives.

The healing has begun.
Read more here, and see the photos.

Going after new Trump CEO

Today the media organs of the Left are in full scale attack on Steve Bannon, Trump's newest pick to head his campaign. Can't say Ben Shapiro didn't warn us. The Guardian says Bannon is a registered voter in Florida in a house in which he does not live. They also include this scruffy photo of Bannon:

Politico, The New York Times, and The New York Post all have stories alleging that Bannon may have engaged in domestic violence during his marriage.

Shapiro had this to say nine days ago.
...Back in March, I quit Breitbart News when it became clear to me that they had decided that loyalty to Donald Trump outweighed loyalty to their own employees, helping Trump smear one of their own reporters, Michelle Fields, by essentially calling her a liar for saying that she had been grabbed by then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

Andrew built his life and his career on one mission: fight the bullies. But Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed. Indeed, Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew’s legacy. In my opinion, Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew’s mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda…the facts are undeniable: Breitbart News has become precisely the reverse of what Andrew would have wanted.

...Breitbart publicly burned bridges with everyone to maintain its Trump loyalty. That was Bannon, a scorched-earth personal opportunist.

...Under Bannon’s Leadership, Breitbart Openly Embraced The White Supremacist Alt-Right. Andrew Breitbart despised racism. Truly despised it. He used to brag regularly about helping to integrate his fraternity at Tulane University. He insisted that racial stories be treated with special care to avoid even the whiff of racism. With Bannon embracing Trump, all that changed. Now Breitbart has become the alt-right go-to website, with Yiannopoulos pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers.

This Is Precisely The Sort of Corrupt Media Relationship Breitbart Used To Abhor. Andrew Breitbart used his memoir, Righteous Indignation, to target one thing above all else: what he called the Democrat-Media Complex. He hated the merger of the Democrats and the media, and particularly despised their lie of objectivity. Breitbart News never claimed to be objective. But until Trump won the nomination, leadership at Breitbart News maintained that they had not become a loudspeaker for Trumpism. That was obviously a lie, and one Breitbart would hate. HATE!

Trump’s Campaign Strategy Could Be The Launch Of A New Media Outlet. Because Bannon’s ambitions extend to Steve Bannon, he’ll tell Trump he’s doing a fantastic job even if he isn’t. That’s how Bannon Svengalis political figures and investors – by investing them in his personal genius, then hollowing them out from the inside. There’s a reason Sarah Palin went from legitimate political figure to parody artist to Trump endorser, with Steve Bannon standing alongside her every step of the way. There’s a reason Breitbart News went from hard-charging news outlet to drooling Trump mouthpiece. Bannon emerges from all of this unscathed. So what’s next on his agenda? If Trump wins, he’s in a position of high power; if Trump loses, Bannon could head up a new media empire with Trump’s support and the involvement of new Trump supporter and ousted former Fox News head Roger Ailes. Look for Sean Hannity to be a part of any such endeavor.
Read more here.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dr. Drew crosses the wrong woman.

Michelle Jesse reports that Dr. Drew Pinsky's show on CNN is ending next month. He did an interview last week in which he expressed grave concerns about Hillary Clinton's health. That interview is no longer available on the internet. You crossed the wrong woman, Dr. Drew.

Eggs and baskets

The best news of the day here was we finally got the basketball hoop up, after days of putting it together.

First things first, though. Let's see if those very much free range chickens laid any eggs.

Greg and Sarah gathered lots of eggs while the roosters and hens came outside to see who this new guy in town was.

Then Greg and Jon christened the new hoop.

Now it really is watermelon season!

In Prevention Magazine there is an article by the editors of Rodale Organic about watermelon.
There may be no other fruit that's as closely tied to summer as the beloved watermelon. Sweet and juicy as it is, it's also a nutritional powerhouse, full of lycopene that boosts the health of the eyes, skin, heart, and prostate gland. Now that watermelons are in season, it's time to enjoy all they have to offer.

The writers go on to explain here seven things you ought to know about buying and eating watermelon


At Power Line, Steven Hayward points out that the
Clintons are already planning the next stage of corruption.

Geez—Hillary Clinton hasn’t even won the election yet, and the Clintons are already planning to cheat on their promise to “scale back” the Clinton Foundation. From the Wall Street Journal this morning:

The Clinton Foundation is considering exceptions to its plan to stop accepting corporate and foreign donations and reduce family involvement as a way to insulate Hillary Clinton from potential conflicts of interest if elected president. . .

While the parent Clinton Foundation will stop accepting money from foreign governments and corporations, the foundation’s largest project, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, might continue to accept foreign government and corporate funding, Clinton health initiative officials said Wednesday.

And what’s one big thing Madam President Hillary will have to do if she wins? Clean up the mess that is Obamacare. And one way for health care companies to court favor with the House of Clinton will be to contribute to the “Clinton Health Access Initiative,” which is coincidentally the foundation’s largest program. “Access” indeed.
More here.

In a bind

Ann Coulter is in a tough position. She is out pushing her new book, "In Trump We Trust," and, at the same time, Trump is softening his stand on deporting immigrants who come here illegally. She is not happy, as her tweets show.
Debra Heine writes about it at PJ Media.

Hitler just found out about it:

This article seems to indicate Ann is not really worried.

Faith is the bright side of doubt

At One Cosmos Bob writes today,
...isn't faith just the bright side of doubt? In other words, a functional faith opens the space between man and God, allowing for genuine adventure, discovery, and exchange of energies. Likewise, in order to make any progress, a scientist must doubt the present state of knowledge, while at the same time having faith that a deeper understanding is just over the horizon.

Even -- or especially -- the catechism of the Catholic church is hardly meant to be some kind of intellectual prison, but rather, the road map for a liberating journey.

...progressives have been attempting to undo and override the constitution for over a century. Achieve that, and our whole beautiful tradition crumbles.

Which is why this election is so cosmically important. America began with the promise of a new birth of freedom, even a relaunch of mankind -- of mankind 2.0 (not coincidentally rooted in a tradition that sees Jesus as 2.0 to Adam's bug-ridden 1.0). In America one would be free to be good, which is the only way to be good. A slave has no choice in the matter.

The healthy restraints that bind us to truth "were absent in the Continent," where the movement "was antireligious from the start." As such, it "imposed no restraint on skeptical speculations," such that unhinged reason prevailed over truth. When this type of moral inversion occurs, the guillotine -- or gulag or concentration camp -- isn't far behind.

...Call our line of thought obscure if you like, but it points directly to why Europe is right on schedule to auto-destruct due to a pathological liberalism that has opened itself to barbarian hordes happy to exploit its rejection of the universal truths upon which a functioning liberalism must be founded.

If you do manage to free your society of the obligation to truth, don't be surprised if you find yourself displaced by people who have no such qualms about their own possession of absolute truth. Note that neither side -- leftists nor Islamists -- has the functional faith described above, only a myopic certainty of uncertainty at one end, and a blind certainty of certainty at the other.
Read more here.

Hope for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Schizophrenia sufferers

In a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, Salk Institute researchers show that raising levels of neuregulin-1 (right) lowers a marker of disease pathology in a part of the brain that controls memory compared with controls (left). Credit: Salk Institute

Medical Express reports
Boosting levels of a specific protein in the brain alleviates hallmark features of Alzheimer's disease in a mouse model of the disorder, according to new research published online August 25, 2016 in Scientific Reports.
The protein, called neuregulin-1, has many forms and functions across the brain and is already a potential target for brain disorders such as Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and schizophrenia.
Read more here.

When to ignore your phone

h/t Ann Althouse

A novel technology could aid in the development of more effective cancer treatments or early diagnosis of disease.

Amanda Siegfried reports at Phys.Org,
A UT Dallas physicist has developed a novel technology that not only sheds light on basic cell biology, but also could aid in the development of more effective cancer treatments or early diagnosis of disease.

Dr. Jason Slinker, associate professor of physics, and his colleagues developed an electronic device that uses DNA molecules—the genetic material found in every human cell—and other biochemicals to simulate certain cell activity.
They started with an electronic "chip," studded with strands of DNA, that Slinker designed, and combined it with other proteins and enzymes to mimic features of a cellular environment.

"We can't replicate the entire cell, but our DNA chip-based platform simulates a nucleus, which contains a cell's DNA, along with the nuclear membrane and the cytoplasm with a few cell components added," Slinker said. "We combine these in a way that lets us study complex biochemical processes, including how cells repair DNA that has been damaged."

It's well-known that the biochemistry of cancer cells or other diseased cells differs from that of healthy cells, and that those differences can affect the way cells respond to drugs. For example, the concentrations of various proteins and enzymes can vary widely between cancer and normal cells. Some anti-cancer drugs take advantage of these differences, targeting and killing cancer cells while leaving most normal cells alone. Such drugs often have fewer side effects in patients.

"With our DNA chip technology, we have control over which biological factors we include in our simulated cell," Slinker said. "We can change the composition to compare the differences in key biochemical reactions in a healthy cell and a cancer cell, for example. We also can test the effects of various drugs on these biochemical pathways, with multiple tests on the same chip. We think this could be an important tool to develop more effective treatments for patients."

Read more at:

Learn how to be compassionate, and empathetic, and human, no matter who you're dealing with.

Kristina Cook writes,
If we wish to persuade, we have to talk to people in a way that they can hear. If they shut us down from the start, we can't get anywhere.

I believe - I STRONGLY believe - that the left and the right, the regular folks who identify with one or the other (not the elected folks - that's another conversation) want the same things. We want to protect our most vulnerable populations. We want to thrive. We want everyone else to thrive, too. We want to protect our freedoms, and protect everyone else's freedoms. We want to be empowered to live our lives according to our own decisions.
We want the same things.

We may have different tactics on how to get there. We may have slightly different ideas about how all those things look. But in the end, those are minor differences.

If you want to be an agent of change, learn how to speak so others can hear you. Learn what they want, and how your principles serve those ends. Learn how to be compassionate, and empathetic, and human, no matter who you're dealing with. You will do much to advance the cause of the human race if you'll invest the effort to do these things.

How do you get your news?

Tali Arbel writes at Phys.Org,
TV remains the dominant news source, but smartphone-addicted younger people are spending less time with it. Some 84 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds get news from social media like Facebook, and increasingly on their phones, according to Pew Research Center. Research firm eMarketer has predicted that digital ad spending will surpass TV ad spending in the U.S. next year for the first time.

And even if they were watching TV, the young people advertisers identify more as Democrats than Republicans by a 54-30 margin, according to a GenForward poll.

While Fox has been the top-rated U.S. cable-news channel for 14 years, overall cable news audiences have been shrinking outside of presidential elections. More than half of Fox's viewers are over 65, says data tracker Nielsen, compared to just 15 percent of Americans as a whole.

"Fox News has been far more of a TV-centric business than a web or mobile business, if you compare it even to CNN," said BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield. He pointed out as one example CNN's spot on Snapchat's Discover page, which spools up video and quick-read articles from media companies. Snapchat, a messaging app, is a blockbuster hit with young adults and teenagers.

Fox has done some digital experiments, including a live Q&A on Facebook during the GOP debate it aired last August, which drew a startling 24 million viewers (just less than the Grammys). It's also streaming video on Facebook from this week's Republican National Convention.

While those may not be as ambitious as rival efforts, analysts like McCall suggest that may not matter much to Fox right now, given its older audience. Those viewers aren't "the kind of people who are going to be getting news off Twitter in same way as someone in their 30s or 40s," he said.
Read more here.

Food for fuel?

(Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images)

William Teach
brings to our attention a report in the Detroit Free Press:
The multi-billion-dollar U.S. biofuels industry — promoted and expanded for over a decade by the federal government — may be built on a false assumption, according to a new University of Michigan study published today that is sure to stir all sides in the contentious debate over the industry.

Despite their purported advantages, biofuels created from crops such as corn or soybeans cause the emission of more climate change-causing carbon dioxide than gasoline, according to the study from U-M Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco.

The study is the latest salvo in the expanding battle over whether biofuels, and the farmland increasingly devoted to them, are actually providing the environmental and climate benefits many expected.

Teach also provides a graphic to show us:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Evidence of a new planet

PHYS.ORG announces
An international team of astronomers including Carnegie's Paul Butler has found clear evidence of a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System. The new world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface, if it were present. This rocky world is a little more massive than the Earth and is the closest exoplanet to us; it may even be the closest possible abode for life beyond our own Sun. A paper describing this milestone finding is published by Nature.

This artist's impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The double star Alpha Centauri AB also appears in the image to the upper-right

Read more here.

Name the flowers and trees

I know I should know the name of these flowers, does it start with an o?

Okay, I am going to guess juniper?

We are at the top of a canyon. Sara is looking at her tablet. (She makes me only show hard-to-see pictures of her).I am trying to guess what kind of tree this is. I think it might be a ponderosa pine.

What is the tall one?

As the day came to a close

This is Sara's guinea pig eating out of the dogs' dish.

As Jon was working on putting up a new basketball hoop, I kept an eye on the sun changing from yellow to pink to purple.

What truckers are experiencing in France

Pamela Geller reports,
Muslim migrants armed with BASEBALL BATS attack truck drivers in France

I have been reporting on these vicious attacks against truck drivers and motorists. And the authorities do nothing. It’s war and the elites shrugs. Europe is going to burn.

These hard working truckers have been left to fend for themselves. They cannot carry sidearms — or indeed so much as a pepper spray if they are en route to the UK.

Calais truckers fear for their lives as migrants armed with BASEBALL BATS attack them,” By Alix Culbertson, The Express, August 24, 2016:

A THRONG of violent armed migrants have been filmed holding up a UK-bound lorry as they battled to scramble onboard vehicles in Calais.

Mountains of branches can be seen on the main road into the northern French port, blocking off the essential thoroughfare into Britain.

The dashcam footage shows a group of men standing in between the branches and the lorry, armed with baseball bats and large sticks which they wave at the Flemish trucker.

As the driver puts his foot down on the accelerator, one of the men hits the lorry’s cab.

Driver Marc Lombaerts, told Belgian media: “If I dared put my foot down, they immediately made it clear that they would strike the windshield.”

The terrifying incident emerged on the same day as a 37-year-old Ethiopian migrant was murdered and 15 others seriously injured during a “hugely violent” fight between rival UK-bound gangs from Sudan and Afghanistan.
See more here.

Is he the most evil man in the world?

Hillary Clinton's biggest donor

Caroline Glick writes in the Jerusalem Post,
Major media outlets in the US have ignored the leak of thousands of emails from billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundation by the activist hacker group DCLeaks. The OSF is the vehicle through which Soros has funneled billions of dollars over the past two decades to non-profit organizations in the US and throughout the world.

According to the documents, Soros has given more than $30 million to groups working for Hillary Clinton’s election in November, making him her largest single donor. So it is likely the case that the media’s support for Clinton has played some role in the mainstream media’s bid to bury the story.

On the surface, the vast number of groups and people he supports seem unrelated. After all, what does climate change have to do with illegal African immigration to Israel? What does Occupy Wall Street have to do with Greek immigration policies? But the fact is that Soros-backed projects share basic common attributes.

They all work to weaken the ability of national and local authorities in Western democracies to uphold the laws and values of their nations and communities.

They all work to hinder free markets, whether those markets are financial, ideological, political or scientific. They do so in the name of democracy, human rights, economic, racial and sexual justice and other lofty terms.

In other words, their goal is to subvert Western democracies and make it impossible for governments to maintain order or for societies to retain their unique identities and values.

Black Lives Matter, which has received $650,000 from Soros-controlled groups over the past year, is a classic example of these efforts. Until recently, the police were universally admired in the US as the domestic equivalent of the military. BLM emerged as a social force bent on politicizing support for police.

Its central contention is that in the US, police are not a force for good, enabling society to function by maintaining law and order. Rather, police are a tool of white repression of blacks.

Law enforcement in predominantly African American communities is under assault as inherently racist.

BLM agitation, which has been accused of inspiring the murders of police in several US cities, has brought about two responses from rank and file police. First, they have been demoralized, as they find themselves criminalized for trying to keep their cities safe from criminals.

Second, their willingness to use force in situations that demand the use of force has diminished. Fear of criminal charges on the one hand, and public condemnation as “racists” on the other causes police to prefer inaction even when situations require that they act.

The demoralization and intimidation of police is very likely to cause a steep increase in violent crimes.

Then there are Soros’s actions on behalf of illegal immigration.
Read much more here.

Leave Italy on your vacation list

Michael Ledeen writes about Italian and Vatican intelligence, and concludes,
So it’s not so easy for al Qaeda and ISIS to devastate Italy. You can leave Italy on your vacation list. Especially the south.
Read more here.

Disgust: an infallible guide?

PA writes,
Parents who buy into the neoliberal value of uncritical tolerance and push it on their children’s developing judgment — in spite of the child’s natural discomfort — are crippling the child’s moral auto-immune system.

Disgust is the pre-rational seed for a human being’s development of his sense of right and wrong. It is literally visceral; “from the gut” or “gut feeling” are not metaphors. Taboos, for example, come from our pre-rational aversion to things we consider unclean or disturbing: human waste matter, incest and homosexuality, female promiscuity (and male promiscuity to a lesser extent), miscegenation, extreme obesity, snakes and bugs, along with a host of Uncanny Valley aversions such as wariness of foreigners.

As we grow up, that visceral prejudice becomes a foundation for our morality and judgment. And on a higher cognitive level, disgust transforms into an aversion to more abstract evils such as lies and disloyalty.

When a child becomes a teenager, he will not resist siren-songs by reasoning things out to first-causes because a thirteen-year-old is not a philosopher. He also isn’t an automaton, so he won’t turn his back on evil just because his parents told him to. Rather, when he comes to a fork in the road and something feels off, all he’s got is his gut feeling.

He will be more sure to make the right choice in a dilemma if he trusts his instincts. And years later, even if that boy does grow up to be a philosopher, disgust will still serve him as an infallible guide.
Read more here.

"I don't do drugs" starter pack

h/t my son Greg

"Combining fanatic passion...with hardheaded, biting cynicism."

Bob asks at One Cosmos,
Is it any wonder that Obama is our most educated indoctrinated president ever? Or that the more Americans attend college, the more strangled we are by political correctness and other obnoxious forms of thought- and social control?

One problem is that Reality is not an exact science. Therefore, the attempt to render it fully rational is the height of irrationality. It reminds me of a friend who is having a little trouble with her teenage daughter. It became clear to me that she is becoming frustrated, hurt, and angry because her rational approach is completely impotent against the vast power of female hormones.

Polanyi saw the irrationality of wishing for a planned economy -- indeed, "planned economy" should be understood as an oxymoron. Because the plan is impossible, it eventually redounds to totalitarianism, since nothing short of this can make the plan work. Since there is only one Plan, it must necessarily override millions of other plans, AKA individual freedom.

Thus, Obamacare, for example, is literally (lower case t) totalitarian, in the sense that it forbids you to make your own plans and decisions regarding your healthcare. If you do that, then it interferes with Obama's Plan to control you: "No individual has any justification to act independently under a State which alone knows the whole plans for the future welfare of the community."

It is not that leftists lack faith; rather, they place all their faith in the Plan: "Such faith is narrowed down to the point of idolatry and intensified to the pitch of fanaticism." And here is a key principle: "It produces a curious type of fanaticism, deriving its strength from the destruction of all ideals; combining fanatic passion -- in an entirely novel way -- with hardheaded, biting cynicism."

Here again, this describes Obama right down to the ground: in him resides the combination of irrational dreamer and hardbitten cynic. Dreams From My Father. Implementation from Saul Alinsky. He combines a cynical absence of empathy with a deep passion to Help Us, thereby assuring that he will give us an abundance of what we don't need, good and hard.

This also characterizes the Social Justice Warrior more generally. As Hayek wrote, the idea of "social justice" isn't even wrong; rather, it's just nonsense. But warriors they are, nevertheless. What do you call someone who is a warrior for an impossibility? Yes, insane and dangerous. No one minds much if they are just yelling in parks or on street corners. But who would be foolish enough to grant them the power to pursue and enforce their war on reality?

Every genocidal movement of the 20th century was characterized by this insane combination of the impossible dream and the implacable warrior. Polanyi noticed that "if you scratched... a purely scientific and objective Marxist, he bled moral passion profusely." On the surface he has complete contempt for the realm of transcendent values, but underneath is seething with a passion that turns him "into a fanatical, dedicated, and self-sacrificing proponent of the changes" he regards as "immanent in the world."

For Obama, the moral arc of the universe bends toward Social Justice. Or else.

Polanyi refers to this as moral inversion: "the presence of moral passions so strong as to move those who hold them toward an immoralism in the means they adopt to satisfy these passions." They are armed bohemians, or weaponized hippies, or power-mad student body presidents.

But a genuine liberal (not leftist) society "entrusts its fate largely to forces beyond its control." This sort of trust is much closer to faith than it is reason per se; or, it is a higher from of rationality to understand the limits of reason to plan or even understand a complex system.

Leftists have no faith in the free market to solve problems, despite the fact that nothing invented by man has ever come close to its effectiveness in raising living standards for everyone. At the same time workers in England were doubling and tripling their wealth, Marx was coming up with a system that would freeze progress in place.

It is useful to imagine the counterfactual of what would have happened if socialist policies had been implemented at a given point in history. For example, if we had socialized medicine in 1900, today everyone would have access to the best medical knowledge and technology of 1900. Like a public school education, it may be worthless, but at least it's free.
Read more here.

What would Lenin do?

Is the new chief executive of the Trump campaign a Leninist? That is how he allegedly described himself to Ronald Radosh at a book party held in his Capitol Hill townhouse in early 2014. Radosh reports in The Daily Beast,
Shocked, I asked him what he meant.

“Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.

Read more here.

Amazing Grace

h/t NoisyRoom

The rise of inequality

Third Way reports,
San Francisco is now home to 80,000 more dogs than children. In Manhattan, singles make up half of all households. And “super-global Chicago may be better understood in thirds—one-third San Francisco and two-thirds Detroit.”

A new paper for Third Way’s NEXT series, by Joel Kotkin of Chapman University in California, argues that the price of housing “represents a central, if not dominant, factor in the rise of inequality” and that there is tremendous variation in housing costs by region. In parts of the country affected by high-priced housing, it has become so expensive that it acts, according to Kotkin, “as a cap on upward mobility … driving many—particularly young families—to leave high-priced coastal regions for less expensive, usually less regulated markets in the country’s interior.”

In the ongoing national debate over economic opportunity and rising inequality, one important factor is consistently overlooked—the price of housing in elite urban cores. The result is the making “of two divergent Americas, one that is largely childless and has a small middle class and another that, more like pre-1990 America, still has a large middle class and children.” Big cities, as Kotkin points out, have been losing the middle class— with the result that they are becoming areas of great wealth and entrenched poverty—while the suburbs tend to have less inequality. These trends fly in the face of what Kotkin calls “the Density Delusion” as the solution to housing affordability. But, as Kotkin points out, not only is dense housing more expensive than the much derided “sprawl,” the importance of housing has led to job growth in smaller cities and in the suburbs.
Kotkin's article is full of interesting graphs. Read it here.

North Korea test-fires sub-launched missile close to Japan.

Park Chan-Kyong reports at Yahoo News that
North Korea test-fires sub-launched missile close to Japan.
Read more here.


While campaigning with Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, Hillary needed a rest.

Ignoring Islam, hating Christianity

Why do Leftists hate Christianity, but ignore Islam? Bookworm addressed that topic recently.
Christians as a whole, whether they belong to big churches or small ones, do not embrace or practice terrorism to achieve their political or religious goals.

Muslims, by contrast, routinely practice terrorism to achieve goals that are simultaneously religious and political, owing to Islam’s fusion of God and state. Even though it’s remarkably simple to tie Islam to terrorism (9/11, the underwear bomber, the Fort Hood shooter, the attempted Portland Christmas tree massacre, the Boston Marathon bombing), Leftists scurry around like cockroaches exposed to the light in their desperate attempt to avoid acknowledging Islam’s violent heart.

...modern Christianity and genuine Judaism (as opposed to the hard Leftism that masquerades as “reform Judaism”) are the most humane, civilizing forces the world has ever seen. With their focus on justice and grace, they rid the world of slavery, ended child labor, advanced women’s status and, in Israel’s case, fought a 60-year war without sinking to the level of her enemies. But the Left truly hates them and seeks to undermine them at every turn.
Read more here.