Sunday, January 31, 2016


Stephen Messenger writes at Treehugger,
It's no secret that tortoises are among the most resilient animals on Earth, perfectly adapted for life in natural environments that others would find inhospitable. But for one particularly tenacious pet tortoise, that hardy sense of survival allowed it to endure for decades in the most unnatural of places.

Back in 1982, the Almeida Family was saddened to learn that their beloved pet, Manuela, a young red-footed tortoise, had gone missing. Their house was under renovation at the time, so the family just assumed that the slow-moving animal had slipped out through a gate left open by the construction crew -- disappearing into the forest near their home in Realengo, Brazil. But they couldn't have been more wrong.

The true fate of their lost pet remained a mystery for the next 30 years, that is, until recently.

Earlier last month, after their father Leonel passed away, the Almeida children returned to help clean out his cluttered storage room upstairs. As it turns out, Leonel was somewhat of a hoarder, so the room was jam-packed with things that he had found on the street, like broken televisions and furniture. Deciding it was mostly junk, the family set about moving it to the trash out front.

But while son Leandro Almeida was making a trip to the dumpster with a box of broken records, a neighbor asked him if he was intending to throw out the tortoise that was holed up inside.

"At that moment I was white and did not believe," Leandro told Globo TV.

That's when the Almeidas learned that, amazingly, the hardy turtle had managed to survive three decades in storage.

The family suspects she had been able to sustain herself grubbing on termites which, thanks to all that unwanted furniture, were likely in abundance. And although she seemed to be surviving just fine in the dank confines of the storage room, Manuela is no doubt pleased (in her own tortoisey way) to be reunited with the family that had so long thought her gone forever.

But in the end, it's hard not to be impressed with the resiliency of life and the slow-and-steady approach to survival taken by tortoises -- both in living with us, and perhaps sometimes in spite of it.


Equally unsafe to stand pat or move

Walter Russell Mead writes today at The American Interest about the difficulties paralyzing China.
When a company goes public and places its shares on the open market in an IPO, insiders who invested early on can reap large rewards because their pre-IPO investments now turn into shares that can be sold at higher prices on the stock market. In China, politically connected firms appear to receive special treatment: they get approval for IPOs based on misleading and false information, and they escape penalties when any problems appear. What this means in concrete terms is that while the insiders reap huge reward, the ordinary people who buy shares in these companies will watch their shares lose value as the companies fail to live up to expectations — because those expectations were based on false, misleading and incomplete data. The company doesn’t do well and share prices go down, or in a best case scenario go up but not as much as they should have as the original, politically-connected investors cash in and laugh all the way to the bank.

This is not only bad news for individual investors; it points to a central flaw in the Chinese economic model, a flaw that is taking an increasing toll. China’s capital allocation system has been so highly politicized that hundreds of billions of dollars in precious, irreplaceable funds have gone to investments that will not pay for themselves. Sometimes it is state-owned enterprises or local governments getting access to huge amounts of credit for political rather than economic reasons; sometimes it is private sector loans that are driven by policy rather than fundamentals (China regularly tweaks the cost and availability of credit to prop up housing prices by luring more investors to buy real estate); as we see here, it can be through a system that fails to screen IPOs properly.

...Meanwhile, after decades of policy-based lending, China is more of a bubble kingdom than a Middle Kingdom. We’re seeing housing bubbles, manufacturing bubbles, infrastructure projects that can never pay for themselves, malls that will never bring in enough revenue to cover the cost of construction, and whole regions (like the Northeast) where rust belt industries are on life support and state-driven lending for the construction of buildings that have no real commercial or residential use are the only things keeping the economy from tanking. There are so many bubbles, and they are so vital to the prosperity and thus to the political tranquillity of the country, that the government seems to have reached a place where it is equally unsafe to stand pat or to move.

China is at a political and economic impasse. The steps required to overcome the economic impasse worsen the political crisis and so, at the moment, China, despite its competent technocrats, its ambitious and activist president, and the extraordinary wealth it has created over three decades of astounding, world-changing growth, is paralyzed in the face of unfolding events. No wonder investors around the world are so worried.
Read more here.

Is Rubio the most electable Republican?

At Five Thirty Eight David Wasserman makes the case for Marco Rubio being the most electable Republican in the general election. Read the whole thing here.

Not all National Review writers are anti-Trump

President Obama has doubled the national debt accumulated in 233 years of American independence in eight years, not really produced an economic recovery, facilitated nuclear weapons for Iran after a great deal of purposeful braggadocio, and humiliated the United States by drawing and erasing a “red line” in Syria and being chased out of its air space by the Russians. Two-thirds of Americans, in all polls, feel the country is headed in the wrong direction, Obama does not get a positive job-performance rating even in the most leftish polls, and a majority consider Obamacare to have been a retrograde step. It is unlikely that the United States has been less respected in the world than it is now, at least since the time of Hoover, who was blamed for the worldwide Depression, if not since the prelude to and early days of the Civil War.

Those are the words of Conrad Black, writing in National Review. However, unlike most of the other National Review writers, Mr. Black is a fan of Donald Trump. He writes here a long article in support of Trump.

Another plot foiled

Do you know about Anzac Day? It is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served." It is celebrated on April 25 each year.

Just prior to Anzac Day this year a punk named Sevdet Besim
allegedly discussed packing a kangaroo with explosives, painting it with an Islamic State symbol and setting it loose on police officers.

Sevdet Ramadan Besim, 19, of Hallam, is accused of plotting an Anzac Day terror attack in Melbourne that would have included a beheading.

He was committed to trial in the Supreme Court on Thursday after pleading not guilty to four charges.

Mr Besim is accused of planning to run over, then behead, a police officer.

Federal police allege Mr Besim and a person overseas had been in a series of communications in the lead-up to the alleged plot for Anzac Day.

Mr Besim allegedly said he was "ready to fight these dogs on there [sic] doorstep" in online communications with the person overseas, according to court documents.

"I'd love to take out some cops," Mr Besim is alleged to have said.

"I was gonna meet with them then take some heads ahaha."
Read more here.

Is not-working a wonderful thing?

The Barrister writes at Maggie's Farm today about retirement. He is for setting Social Security eligibility to begin at age 75, and means testing it too based on assets and income. What do you think?
Read more here.

Which way are we headed?

Ross Douthat writes in the New York Times that we now have
a society that’s wealthy, powerful, technologically proficient — and yet seemingly unable to advance in the way that its citizens once took for granted. A society where people have fewer children and hold diminished expectations for the future, where institutions don’t work particularly well but can’t seem to be effectively reformed, where growth is slow and technological progress disappoints. A society that fights to a stalemate in its foreign wars, even as domestic debates repeat themselves without any resolution. A society disillusioned with existing religions and ideologies, but lacking new sources of meaning to take their place.

This is how many Americans, many Westerners, experience their civilization in the early years of the 21st century. And both Trump and Bernie Sanders, in their very different ways, are telling us that we don’t have to settle for it anymore.

With Trump, the message is crude, explicit, deliberately over the top. Make America Great Again. “We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with the winning.”

But it resonates because the diagnosis resonates — especially with older Americans, who grew up amid the post-World War II boom, the vaulting optimism of the space age, the years when big government and big business were seen as effective and patriotic rather than sclerotic and corrupt. Trump is offering nostalgia, but it’s not a true reactionary’s lament. He wants to take us back to a time when the future seemed great, amazing, fantastic.

Likewise Sanders, except that in his case the glorious future is more midcentury Scandinavia than space age America. After Obamacare became law it seemed to many people that the welfare state project was basically complete, that the future of American liberalism mostly involved tweaking entitlements around the edges to keep them solvent. But Sanders is telling liberals, younger liberals especially, that the heroic age of liberalism isn’t over yet, that they can have a welfare state that’s far more amazing and fantastic than the one their forefathers constructed.

The fact that both of these messages — Trump’s “Make America great again” and Bernie’s “Why not socialism?” — involve essentially recycled visions of the future is a sign of how hard it is for a decadent society to escape the trap of repetition.

But more important, the fact that both men are promising the implausible or the impossible — and the fact that Trump is openly contemptuous of our ragged republican norms — is a reminder that there are worse things than decadence, grimmer possibilities for the future than drift and repetition.

The disappointment and impatience that people feel in a decadent era is legitimate, even admirable. But the envy of more heroic moments, the desire to just do something to prove your society’s vitality — Invade Iraq to remake the Middle East! Open Germany’s borders! Elect Trump or Sanders president! — can be a very dangerous sensibility.

There are pathways up from decadence. But there are more roads leading down.
Read more here.

"Ground game"

S.V. Date writes in National Journal about retail politics in Iowa. The great mystery there is how Donald Trump will do in tomorrow night's caucuses, give the fact that his "ground game" pales in comparison to the other candidates. Ground game refers to the staffing of call centers by volunteers. Read more here.

Whose side are you on?

Mark Steyn writes,
I don't know how Ted Cruz feels, but I occasionally get the sense that American politics is too much for a simple Canadian lad. It may be time to take up beanbag.
Go here to read Mark explain whose side he is on.

Some reasons Trump is doing so well

Tucker Carlson writes in Politico Magazine,
...Conservative voters are being scolded for supporting a candidate they consider conservative because it would be bad for conservatism? And by the way, the people doing the scolding? They’re the ones who’ve been advocating for open borders, and nation-building in countries whose populations hate us, and trade deals that eliminated jobs while enriching their donors, all while implicitly mocking the base for its worries about abortion and gay marriage and the pace of demographic change.

...On immigration policy, party elders were caught completely by surprise. Even canny operators like Ted Cruz didn’t appreciate the depth of voter anger on the subject. And why would they? If you live in an affluent ZIP code, it’s hard to see a downside to mass low-wage immigration. Your kids don’t go to public school. You don’t take the bus or use the emergency room for health care. No immigrant is competing for your job. (The day Hondurans start getting hired as green energy lobbyists is the day my neighbors become nativists.) Plus, you get cheap servants, and get to feel welcoming and virtuous while paying them less per hour than your kids make at a summer job on Nantucket. It’s all good.

Apart from his line about Mexican rapists early in the campaign, Trump hasn’t said anything especially shocking about immigration. Control the border, deport lawbreakers, try not to admit violent criminals — these are the ravings of a Nazi? This is the “ghost of George Wallace” that a Politico piece described last August? A lot of Republican leaders think so. No wonder their voters are rebelling.

...A temporary ban on Muslim immigration? That sounds a little extreme (meaning nobody else has said it recently in public). But is it? Millions of Muslims have moved to Western Europe over the past 50 years, and a sizable number of them still haven’t assimilated. Instead, they remain hostile and sometimes dangerous to the cultures that welcomed them. By any measure, that experiment has failed. What’s our strategy for not repeating it here, especially after San Bernardino—attacks that seemed to come out of nowhere? Invoke American exceptionalism and hope for the best? Before Trump, that was the plan.
Republican primary voters should be forgiven for wondering who exactly is on the reckless side of this debate. At the very least, Trump seems like he wants to protect the country.

...I doubt there are many Christian voters who think Trump could recite the Nicene Creed, or even identify it. Evangelicals have given up trying to elect one of their own. What they’re looking for is a bodyguard, someone to shield them from mounting (and real) threats to their freedom of speech and worship. Trump fits that role nicely, better in fact than many church-going Republicans. For eight years, there was a born-again in the White House. How’d that work out for Christians, here and in Iraq?

...During a speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Trump said Hillary had been “schlonged” by Obama in the 2008 race. In response, the Clinton campaign called Trump a sexist. It’s a charge Hillary has leveled against virtually every opponent she’s faced, but Trump responded differently. Instead of scrambling to donate to breast cancer research, he pointed out that Hillary spent years attacking the alleged victims of her husband’s sexual assaults. That ended the conversation almost immediately.

It was the most effective possible response, though more obvious than brilliant. Why was Trump the only Republican to use it?

Republican primary voters may be wondering the same thing. Or maybe they already know. They seem to know a lot about Trump, more than the people who run their party. They know that he isn’t a conventional ideological conservative. They seem relieved. They can see that he’s emotionally incontinent. They find it exciting.
Washington Republicans look on at this in horror, their suspicions confirmed. Beneath the thin topsoil of rural conservatism, they see the seeds of proto-fascism beginning to sprout. But that’s not quite right. Republicans in the states aren’t dangerous. They’ve just evaluated the alternatives and decided those are worse.
Read more here.

Cannon fodder for the revolution

James Simpson from the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism is shining light on Black Lives Matter and other radical Left organizations and their funders.
Many members of the black community would be shocked to learn that the intellectual godfathers of this movement are mostly white Communists, “queers” and leftist Democrats, intent on making blacks into cannon fodder for the revolution.
Read much, much more here.

When you don’t like the nation, why bother with its security?

James Longstreet writes at American Thinker,
No, Bernie: The State Department emails are not 'personal'; they are 'national'.

Bernie Sanders, in a effort to be above the fray, to be the shining knight in a mud-slinging contest, has gone so far in an attempt to be “correct” that he completely misses the issue. We see this often from liberals. It is their trademark.

In a video (1:35 mark) and in numerous subsequent instances, Bernie has referred to the State Department emails, and even the Benghazi issues, as being “personal” in nature and thus off limits to his “high road” approach.

Bernie, if you want to attack Hillary for her pantsuits or her husband’s behavior, that might be “personal.” But when email security involving the nation’s State Department, emails that contain classified and top-secret information is slovenly channeled through an unsecured server for that person’s convenience, it becomes a “national” issue. The personal portion is removed.

There is a reason for classifications such as “top secret.” Why can’t the importance of that be recognized by the left?

Wake up, Bernie. Decisions like this disqualify you from any further decision-making involving national security. You just don’t get it. But that seems symptomatic of your ilk. Emotion governs; pragmatism and reality take a seat.

The then secretary of state, for her convenience, established official communication not by the normal channels, but through her personal server. The bad guys – and yes, there are bad guys – could read classified and top-secret communications as easily as a man picking up a magazine in a barbershop.

Bernie, you attempt to distinguish yourself by running a campaign that stays away from personal attacks. But in so doing, you have distinguished yourself as one who can’t tell the difference between a personal issue and one of national security. By attempting to be correct, you have become glaringly incorrect and displayed your low regard for national security. But when you don’t like the nation, why bother with its security? Right.
More here.

This is one of the funniest video compilations I have seen

The struggle

The zman writes,
I’ll note that an integral part of Progressive mythology is the struggle. Despite being in charge for close to a century, Progressives still think of themselves as an insurgent minority at war with their oppressive overlords. Elizabeth Warren is worth millions, yet she spends her time in the Senate ranting about the one percent. Her neighbors in the one percent cheer her on. It’s false consciousness.

To which CDR M adds,
How about Hollywood and the White House lead by example on this pay gap BS. They won't. Just like they don't do things to lower their carbon footprint and have their bodyguards carry no guns. They just want you miserable while they live as they want.

Once the majority of people discover they can vote that other people's money will be transferred to them

At Ace of Spades, Krakatoa offers this opinion about tomorrow's Iowa caucuses:
Here comes the Iowa caucuses. First and consequently most influential for no apparent reason.

Looks like after flirting with sanity, Iowa is poised to deliver Trump his first primary victory because Cruz is a Canadian hatey McHaterson or something.

I wish I could get worked up about elections. That would mean I wasn't full on pessimistic about the trajectory of our nation.

But I just can't shake the conviction that once the majority of people discover they can vote that other people's money will be transferred to them, the die is well and truly cast.

We're about to elect either a reality show barker, an out and proud Socialist, or the person who has without a shadow of a doubt broken federal laws, and goes unindicted because: Girl/Clinton/Democrat.

Good and hard, people.

Good and hard.


Read more here.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


h/t Maggies Farm

Sometimes criminals make it easy for cops

A little paranoia can be a good thing!

"Grown to order" ears

Rob Waugh reports for Metro that
Scientists have grown a LIVING human ear on the back of a rat

Japanese scientists have shown off a rat with a LIVING human ear growing on its back – and claim that ears could be ‘grown to order’ within five years.

The technique could be used to help people born with facial deformities.

Researchers from Tokyo and Kyoto University turned human stem cells into cartilage cells – then placed them in tiny tubes shaped like human ears on a rat’s back.

Over the course of two months, the plastic framework dissolves – leaving an ear-shaped mass of flesh on the animal’s back.

At present, replacement ears are made using cartilage taken from the patient’s ribs – in a painful and time-consuming process.
The new breakthrough offers hope that people could grow their own replacement ears from just a small sample of cells.

A lucrative career

Are you a good photographer? You might consider doing it as a career. One man who has such a career is Kevin Abosch. He was recently paid $1.5 million for this portrait of a potato.

Megan Levy reports for the Sydney Morning Herald,
Abosch, better known for taking portraits of celebrities including Johnny Depp, Bob Geldoff and Steven Spielberg, acknowledges that some might find the price tag for the photograph, entitled Potato #345, a little "absurd".

Abosch's explanation of how the sale came about suggests wine might have had something to do with the transaction.
Abosch, who is based in France and Ireland, was having dinner with an unnamed European businessman at his home when his guest saw the photograph hanging on the wall, The Sunday Times in London reported.

Abosch had photographed the potato in 2010, after it was delivered to his home in a batch of organic vegetables.
"We had two glasses of wine and he [the businessman] said, 'I really like that.' Two more glasses of wine and he said: 'I really want that,' " Abosch said "We set the price two weeks later. It is the most I have been paid for a piece of work that has been bought [rather than commissioned]."

Abosch's trademark portraits on black backgrounds have become collectors' items among the wealthy, with each commission regularly earning him upwards of £200,000.
Read more here.

Defying science

David K. Li reports in the New York Post that this 112-year-old Nepalese woman
has defied science by living to the ripe old age of 112 — despite her 30-cigarette-a-day habit.

Batuli Lamichhane says she’s been puffing butts for the past 95 years, and she has an unusual technique to get her nicotine fix.

Instead of holding a cigarette with her index and middle finger, Lamichhane uses her entire right fist, which she then holds to her mouth to inhale.

“I don’t really care how old I am,” she said. “But I am old nonetheless. I have seen a lot of things change during my lifetime.”

Why do we care about the Iowa caucuses?

Dave Barry explains:
To answer that question, let’s look back exactly four years, to a time when a man named Rick Santorum was a semi-obscure former senator from Pennsylvania who was given little chance to become president. Then, out of the blue, he won the Iowa Republican caucus, and today he. …

OK, to be honest, I don’t know what Rick is doing today. For all I know he’s an Amway representative. Let’s pick another example: Exactly eight years ago, Mike Huckabee was. …

OK, never mind. No need to get all technical about why we care about the Iowa caucuses. We just DO. And that is why the eyeballs of the world will be focused on the voters of Iowa Monday night as they go into their caucus places and, after thoroughly discussing the candidates and the issues with their fellow Iowans, sacrifice a live owl.

No, they don’t do that, probably. We don’t actually know what they do in there. All we know is that eventually, somehow, they will, as a state, give their blessing to a pair of presidential hopefuls who will both, based on past caucus outcomes, have a solid chance of not being elected president.

Some critics say it’s unfair for Iowa to play such a big role in our political process; they charge that Iowa is not demographically representative of the rest of the nation. This charge is based on some unfortunate myths about the state, so let’s clear those up right now:

MYTH: Iowa lacks diversity.

FACT: According to the 2010 Census, only 143 percent of Iowa’s nearly 8,000 residents are white, down from 156 percent in 2000.

MYTH: Iowa is an agricultural state whose economy is based almost entirely on raising pigs and corn.

FACT: The biggest industry in Iowa is actually, believe it or not, manufacturing. Iowans manufacture a wide variety of products, ranging all the way from bacon to sausage to numerous other forms of pork. On the more “high tech” side, they also manufacture ethanol, which is a kind of fuel that is made from corn, then mixed with gasoline to create jobs. Iowans are currently working on an experimental manufacturing process that, if successful, will turn the ethanol back into corn, thus creating even MORE jobs.

MYTH: Iowa is a rural state lacking in sophistication.

FACT: Iowa has a number of cities boasting world-class urban amenities such as Starbucks and fully paved roads. The largest city is Des Moines, which has tall buildings and expressways. It reminds me very much of my city, Miami, except that it’s 50 degrees colder here and the drivers do not deliberately try to kill you.

Des Moines — its name is French for “These Moines” — is rightly proud that it has shed its image as a dull, sleepy, squaresville burg; it is now a “happening” place throbbing with activity and nightlife. Even as I type these words the Iowa Pork Congress is going on here at the Iowa Events Center, with a “Manure Applicator Training Session” scheduled Thursday. If you can’t be there in person, you can follow the action on the official Pork Congress podcast service, which is called, and I am not making this up, SwineCast.

Of course the real action here, speaking of manure, is presidential politics. Right now most of the excitement is on the Republican side, which, after months of name-calling and petty squabbling, is finally focusing on the most important issue facing the nation, if not the world, today: Megyn Kelly. Donald Trump is in a feud with her, as evidenced by this actual tweet he posted on Wednesday: “I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, because that would not be politically correct. Instead I will only call her a lightweight reporter!”

(You have to admit that’s a classy move, refusing to call her a bimbo.)

Because Kelly is a moderator for the next debate, Trump says he’s going to boycott it, which means the viewership will drop from a projected 15 million to nine. I don’t mean nine million; I mean a total of nine people, because let’s be honest, we’re not tuning into these debates to watch John Kasich tell us about his comprehensive plan to balance the budget.

Anyway, I’ll be here for the next few days, reporting to you and following the news wherever it takes me. Unless it tries to take me outdoors.

Fighting for whom?

Thursday night Dave Barry was in Iowa. First he went to a Hillary Clinton event.
Clinton was introduced by a slick video, which listed the many achievements she has accomplished in her lengthy career of holding positions while at the same time being a woman. Then Clinton came out and delivered her speech, which contained a LOT of specific policy information, and statements such as “I’m proposing something called the National Infrastructure Bank.” At one point, talking about wind power — Wind power is important! — she informed us how many parts are in a turbine. It was something like 900, which I think we can all agree is an impressive number of turbine parts, but it’s not the kind of thing that excites people. The crowd, which was very pro-Hillary, applauded at the right times and even emitted some “Whoo!”s, but they didn’t seem really fired up.

I am no political consultant, but I think Clinton’s main image problem is that, while she wants us to believe she’s Fighting For Us, the main vibe she gives off is that she’s Way Smarter Than Us. (To be fair: I think Ted Cruz has the same problem.)

From the Hillary event I drove back to Des Moines to see the Donald Trump Show. He was boycotting the Republican debate because it was run by losers who disrespected Trump because they are stupid and by the way also idiots. So he was holding his own event, which was a tribute to veterans, in the same sense that an Elvis concert was a tribute to Elvis’ backup band. I mean, the event did raise a bunch of money for veterans, which is a fine thing, but the true focus of the evening, as the crowd repeatedly let everybody know by standing up and yelling it, was TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! etc.

The crowd was much more animated than at the Hillary event. Also there was a far larger press corps, including many foreign press people who LOVE the Trump story because it confirms everything they believe about Americans.

In his remarks, Trump made these points:

▪ He’s a winner who knows how to do deals.

▪ The stupid idiots running our government have made terrible deals with China and Iran.

▪ He loves the Chinese, personally, but he would never let them make these terrible deals.

▪ He has made a LOT OF MONEY making deals.

▪ He has a beautiful wife and incredible family.

▪ Wind power is very important.

No, I’m kidding about that last one. Trump made no mention of wind power, although there’s no question that if the nation needs turbine parts, he would definitely get a great deal on them.

Driving back to my hotel, I listened to the official Republican debate, which sounded like the standard festival of nitpicking over who is most opposed to illegal immigration. So I was glad about my decision not to attend.
Read more here.

FBI "super pissed off" at White House

Time for an "electronics fast?"

Victoria Dunckley writes in Psychology Today,
...successfully treating a child with mood dysregulation today requires methodically eliminating all electronics use for several weeks—an “electronics fast” (link is external)—to allow the nervous system to “reset.”

If done correctly, this intervention can produce deeper sleep, a brighter and more even mood, better focus and organization, and an increase in physical activity. The ability to tolerate stress improves, so meltdowns diminish in both frequency and severity. The child begins to enjoy the things they used to, is more drawn to nature, and imaginary or creative play returns. In teens and young adults, an increase in self-directed behavior is observed—the exact opposite of apathy and hopelessness.

At the same time, the electronic fast reduces or eliminates the need for medication while rendering other treatments more effective. Improved sleep, more exercise, and more face-to-face contact with others compound the benefits—an upward spiral! After the fast, once the brain is reset, the parent can carefully determine how much if any electronics use the child can tolerate without symptoms returning.

...Children’s brains are much more sensitive to electronics use than most of us realize. In fact, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take much electronic stimulation to throw a sensitive and still-developing brain off track. Also, many parents mistakenly believe that interactive screen-time—Internet or social media use, texting, emailing, and gaming—isn’t harmful, especially compared to passive screen time like watching TV. In fact, interactive screen time is more likely to cause sleep, mood, and cognitive issues, because it’s more likely to cause hyperarousal and compulsive use.

...1. Screen time disrupts sleep and desynchronizes the body clock (link is external).

Because light from screen devices mimics daytime, it suppresses melatonin, a sleep signal released by darkness. Just minutes of screen stimulation can delay melatonin release by several hours and desynchronize the body clock. Once the body clock is disrupted, all sorts of other unhealthy reactions occur, such as hormone imbalance and brain inflammation. Plus, high arousal doesn’t permit deep sleep, and deep sleep is how we heal.

2. Screen time desensitizes the brain’s reward system.

Many children are “hooked” on electronics, and in fact gaming releases so much dopamine—the “feel-good” chemical—that on a brain scan it looks the same as cocaine use. But when reward pathways are overused, they become less sensitive, and more and more stimulation is needed to experience pleasure. Meanwhile, dopamine is also critical for focus and motivation, so needless to say, even small changes in dopamine sensitivity can wreak havoc on how well a child feels and functions.

3. Screen time produces “light-at-night.”

Light-at-night from electronics has been linked to depression and even suicide risk in numerous studies. In fact, animal studies (link is external) show that exposure to screen-based light before or during sleep causes depression, even when the animal isn’t looking at the screen. Sometimes parents are reluctant to restrict electronics use in a child’s bedroom because they worry the child will enter a state of despair—but in fact removing light-at-night is protective.

4. Screen time induces stress reactions.

Both acute stress (fight-or-flight) and chronic stress produce changes in brain chemistry and hormones that can increase irritability. Indeed, cortisol, the chronic stress hormone, seems to be both a cause and an effect of depression—creating a vicious cycle. Additionally, both hyperarousal and addiction pathways suppress the brain’s frontal lobe, the area where mood regulation actually takes place.

5. Screen time overloads the sensory system (link is external), fractures attention (link is external), and depletes mental reserves.

Experts say that what’s often behind explosive and aggressive behavior is poor focus. (link is external)When attention suffers, so does the ability to process one’s internal and external environment, so little demands become big ones. By depleting mental energy with high visual and cognitive input, screen time contributes to low reserves. One way to temporarily “boost” depleted reserves is to become angry, so meltdowns actually become a coping mechanism.

6. Screen-time reduces physical activity levels and exposure to “green time.”

Research shows that time outdoors, especially interacting with nature, can restore attention, lower stress, and reduce aggression. (link is external) Thus, time spent with electronics reduces exposure to natural mood enhancers.

In today’s world, it may seem crazy to restrict electronics so drastically. But when kids are struggling, we’re not doing them any favors by leaving electronics in place and hoping they can wind down by using electronics in "moderation." It just doesn't work. In contrast, by allowing the nervous system to return to a more natural state with a strict fast, we can take the first step in helping a child become calmer, stronger, and happier.
Read more here.

Why you are often late

Are you late for work every single day? Don't be ashamed. It might be because of your internal clock! Rick Paulas writes in Pacific Standard,
In 2001, Jeff Conte, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, ran a study in which he separated participants into the typical Type A (ambitious, competitive, status-climbers) and Type B (creative, reflective, explorative) categories. He then asked participants in each category to judge, without clocks, how long it took for one minute to elapse. Conte found that Type A subjects felt a minute had gone by when roughly 58 seconds had passed. Type B participants felt that a minute had gone by after 77 seconds.

Another study performed by Conte looked at the role of multitasking—attempted multitasking, at least—in making people late. In short: a whole lot. If you're someone that likes multitasking—or, “polychronicity” in the scientific literature—you're more likely to be late to work. It makes sense, particularly in light of a 2013 study from the University of Utah that concludes those who choose to multitask most frequently are, ironically, the worst at it.

...One problem is a struggle with attention. “Preparing to leave for work is a boring routine,” Helpman says. “It doesn't have a lot of appeal. [Chronically late people] only start to get motivated when they realize they're going to be late.” Distraction also plays a role; if you open up a newspaper, or start a video game, or pour a cup of coffee, it's often hard to leave before that task is completed. “They get sidetracked by things that, in the moment, are more appealing and engaging.”

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. If someone's a people pleaser, they may answer—and then stay—on a phone call long past their ideal departure time. If someone has trouble sleeping, they may be groggy in the morning and snooze themselves into a tardy slip. The chronically late can also suffer from chronic idealism. “They underestimate how long [a drive] is going to take,” Helpman says. “They won't think about the walk to the car, or the time it takes them to park, or the wait for the elevator. They assume they're going to be perfectly efficient.” There's also the sensation that getting somewhere early only means wasted time. “For some people it brings up old feelings of powerlessness or abandonment,” Helpman says.

...“There are a lot of different potential causes,” Helpman says. “If you don't know the cause it's tough to come up with a solution.”
Read more here.

Of eugenics, snowstorms, and apophasis

I look forward to reading Jonah Goldberg's National Review newsletter every weekend. This week he gives a lengthy discussion of progressives and eugenics, the D.C. snowstorm, Hillary Clinton, and, of course, Donald Trump.
Speaking of Sanders, some wag on Twitter noted that the best thing about the run on the grocery stores in blizzard-besieged D.C. is that it gave the Beltway crowd a sense of what it will be like under a Sanders administration. I don’t want to live under a socialist president, but a silver lining would be seeing all those MSNBC hosts waiting in line for toilet paper.

Jonah describes a phenomena we here in Colorado see about every two weeks, including this weekend, in which predictions are for a big snowstorm Monday and Tuesday of next week: they run to the supermarkets like the kids in Red Dawn and grab enough provisions to last them until spring. That leaves sane people with a dilemma: Do you run to the store, too, not out of fear of the snow, but out of concern that the deranged masses will clear the shelves?

Have you heard of the word apophasis? Goldberg explains that it is
...a rhetorical device where you bring up something while denying or condemning it.

...For instance, you might say, “I do not think the fact that Hillary Clinton put our national security at risk just so she could hide her illegal communications from congressional oversight, journalists, and FOIA requests should be held against her.” Or you might say, “I have no doubt that Bill Clinton is telling the truth. Though I cannot for the life of me figure out why he was pantsless at 3:00 in the morning, trying to push that goat over the fence.”

Apophasis came up on Twitter the other day because Donald Trump tweeted: “I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, because that would not be politically correct. Instead I will only call her a lightweight reporter!” I was mildly surprised by the number of people who thought Trump’s tweet was clever. But I was truly stunned by the number of idiots who thought he wasn’t calling Megyn Kelly a bimbo. His whole shtick is that he’s a warrior against political correctness. He wasn’t invoking political correctness as a legitimate thing, he was sarcastically hiding behind it. People not enthralled with Trump recognize this as smarmy cowardice.

Indeed, they would see it plainly if I were to tweet, “I’m not going to call Donald Trump an adulterous cad. That would be politically incorrect. So I’ll just say he’s a moral lightweight!”

The difference of course is that there’s no evidence that Kelly is a bimbo. There’s ample evidence that Trump cheated on his wife and slept with many married women. What’s the evidence? His own, boastful (!) testimony for starters.

My favorite part is that Trump’s “bimbo” tweet came immediately after one in which he condemned Fox’s response to his debate boycott as a “disgrace.” He added, “Who would ever say something so nasty and dumb?”

The almost Caligulan narcissism on display here is now familiar to everyone. The truly creepy part is how many conservatives overlook it or celebrate it. The slightest insult to the Donald arouses outrage and dismay from his digital court sycophants, but when he behaves like a boorish and childish lout, all praise and honor is due!

But, as I hope to say one day with more lasting results, enough about Donald.
Read more here.

"Grow up!"

Thomas Sowell takes on Donald Trump in The American Spectator:
Of all the many things said about Donald Trump, what was said by Roger Ailes, head of the Fox News Channel, said it all in just two words: “Grow up!”

It is amazing how many people have been oblivious to this middle-aged man’s spoiled brat behavior, his childish boastfulness about things he says he is going to do, and his petulant response to every criticism with ad hominem replies.

He has boasted that his followers would stick by him even if he committed murder. But is that something to boast about? Is it not an insult to his followers, if it is true? Moreover, his cockiness is misplaced, because he still does not have a majority among Republican voters, while you need a majority of all the voters to win any state in the general election.
Read more here.

Why do we call them disabled, when they can be so much more able than the rest of us?

h/t Ann Voskamp

He’s convinced that polarization works and persecution complexes sell.

Bret Stephens is one of the best writers in America. He has taken a strong dislike to Senator Ted Cruz. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Stephens opines about Cruz,
He believes in the utility of enemies — the media; Washington; his fellow Republican senators; other squishes—because they’re such easy foils and because he’s convinced that polarization works and persecution complexes sell. Who cares about Republican voters in New York (or California, or Massachusetts, or Illinois) when not one of their votes will count in the Electoral College? Why waste time and energy courting the center-right when doing so will earn you the permanent enmity of the permanently angry?

The answer to that one lies in Cuyahoga and Pinellas and Loudoun counties—those purple lands in Ohio, Florida and Virginia where swing voters still decide elections in this country. Mr. Cruz needs to answer how he plans to win 50.1% in those states, not 70% of the Bible Belt. Such an answer is available to a Republican nominee, but only one who doesn’t demean other people’s values even when he doesn’t share them. Mr. Cruz needs to study old Ronald Reagan clips to understand the difference between having strong beliefs and being an insufferable jerk about them.

Democrats resort to violence

Donald Trump had some protestors this week when he spoke at a rally in Iowa City. At about the ten seconds mark, you can see some tomatoes whizzing by his head. This is the best Democrats can do? "Get em out a here!"

Update: (KCRG-TV9) in Iowa City reports, "Andrew Joseph Alemao, 28, was arrested by University of Iowa Police for Disorderly Conduct after he was observed throwing two tomatoes at Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump during a speech," according to a news release from the University of Iowa.

Alemao was taken into custody by the Secret Service and members of the UI Police Department immediately after throwing the tomatoes at Trump, according to the release.

Trump appeared Tuesday night in front of a crowd of a couple thousand people at the UI Field House. His speech was interrupted numerous times by protesters.

Disorderly Conduct is a simple misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $625 and/or imprisonment up to 30 days.

Helpful tips for those of you who are new to the political process

Are you new to politics? This election cycle is bringing on lots of people who have never participated in the political process before. Many of these people are supporting either Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump. Tom Krannawitter has some helpful suggestions for you:
Want to be a Republican? It's easy. Pretend your Party has some vague respect for the Constitution. Pretend your Party represents limited government and stands for individual freedom, personal property, and the rule of laws that offer equal protection for all citizens. Ignore the many pathetic crony clowns who get elected with an R behind their names.

Want to be a Democrat? It's easy. Make no effort to learn the ugly history of your Party. Or any history for that matter. Or law. Or economics. Heck, you don't even need to learn math. Focus your energy on making fun of Republican crony clowns. And level accusations against everyone who has worked harder and produced more than you -- while demanding those same people you accuse give to you what you've not earned.

Please James, get out of there now!

He considered service his honor

Did you know that there is a website called Here is something I found there:

On April 27, 1994 President Nixon's former Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger, spoke at Nixon’s funeral. Here are the remarks he gave that day:
During the final week of Richard Nixon’s life, I often imagined how he would have reacted to the tide of concern, respect, admiration and affection evoked by his last great battle. His gruff pose of never paying attention to media comment would have been contradicted by a warm glow and the ever-so-subtle hint that another recital of the commentary would not be unwelcome. And without quite saying so, he would have conveyed that it would mean a lot to him if Julie and Tricia, David and Ed were told of his friends’ pride in this culmination to an astonishing life.

When I learned the final news, by then so expected, yet so hard to accept, I felt a profound void. In the words of Shakespeare: “He was a man. Take him. For all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.”
In the conduct of foreign policy, Richard Nixon was one of the seminal presidents. He came into office when the forces of history were moving America from a position of dominance to one of leadership. Dominance reflects strength. Leadership must be earned. And Richard Nixon earned that leadership role for his country with courage, dedication and skill.

When Richard Nixon took his Oath of Office, 550,000 Americans were engaged in combat in a place as far away from the United States as it was possible to be. America had no contact with China, the world’s most populous nation. No negotiations with the Soviet Union, the other nuclear superpower. Most Moslem countries had broken diplomatic relations with the United States, and Middle East diplomacy was stalemated. All of this in the midst of the most anguishing domestic crisis since the Civil War.

When Richard Nixon left office, an agreement to end the war in Vietnam had been concluded, and the main lines of all subsequent policy were established: permanent dialogue with China; readiness without illusion to ease tensions with the Soviet Union; a peace process in the Middle East; the beginning, via the European Security Conference, of establishing human rights as an international issue, weakening Soviet hold on Eastern Europe.
Richard Nixon’s foreign policy goals were long-range. And he pursued them without regard to domestic political consequences. When he considered our nation’s interests at stake, he dared confrontations, despite the imminence of elections and also in the midst of the worst crisis of his life. And he bore, if with some pain, the disapproval of longtime friends and allies over relaxing tensions with China and the Soviet Union. He drew strength from a conviction. He often expressed to me the price for doing things halfway is no less than for doing it completely. So we might as well do them properly. That’s Richard Nixon’s greatest accomplishment. It was as much moral as it was political — to lead from strength at a moment of apparent weakness, to husband the nation’s resilience and, thus, to lay the basis for victory in the Cold War.

Shy and withdrawn, Richard Nixon made himself succeed in the most gregarious of professions, and steeled himself to conspicuous acts of extraordinary courage. In the face of wrenching domestic controversy, he held fast to his basic theme that the greatest free nation in the world had a duty to lead, and no right to abdicate.
Richard Nixon would be so proud that President Clinton and all living former Presidents of the United States are here, symbolizing that his long and sometimes bitter journey had concluded in reconciliation.
I wish that in his final hours I could have told him about Brian McDonald who, during the Cambodian crisis, had been fasting on a bench in Lafayette Park, across from the White House until, as he said, “President Nixon redeemed his pledge to withdraw American forces from their anguished country in two months” — a promise which was, in fact, kept.
Across the chasm of the decades, Brian called me the day Richard Nixon fell ill and left a message: “When you talk to President Nixon, tell him that I’m praying for him.”

So let us now say goodbye to our gallant friend. He stood on pinnacles that dissolved in the precipice. He achieved greatly and he suffered deeply. But he never gave up. In his solitude, he envisaged a new international order that would reduce lingering enmities, strengthen historic friendships, and give new hope to mankind — a vision where dreams and possibilities conjoined.

Richard Nixon ended the war. And he advanced the vision of peace of his Quaker youth. He was devoted to his family. He loved his country. And he considered service his honor. It was a privilege to have been allowed to help him.

Are you a Jacksonian?

Walter Russell Meade writes at The American Interest,
Jacksonian America is many things; well organized isn’t one of them. Jacksonians are found in both political parties; most are habitually indifferent to national politics, seeing all politicians as equally corrupt, equally useless. Other than the NRA, there are not many national organizations organized around the promotion of a Jacksonian agenda. In the world of think tanks and elite media, the Jacksonian voice is seldom heard and never heeded.

What we are seeing in American politics today is a Jacksonian surge. It is not yet a revolution on the scale of Old Hickory’s movement that transformed American politics for a generation. Such a revolution may not be possible in today’s America, and in any case the current wave of Jacksonian activism and consciousness is still in an early and somewhat incoherent phase. In the past, moderate leaders on the center left and center right alike have found ways to capture Jacksonian energy. FDR was able to steal the demagogic energy of Huey Long; Richard Nixon marginalized George Wallace even as he responded to some of Wallace’s concerns about bussing and crime. (He did not, however, give way to Wallace on the core issue of racial equality.)

...Donald Trump, for now, is serving as a kind of blank screen on which Jacksonians project their hopes. Proposing himself as a strong leader who ‘gets’ America but is above party, Trump appeals to Jacksonian ideas about leadership. Trump’s Jacksonian appeal has left the Republican Party in deep disarray, demonstrating the gulf between contemporary conservative ideology and Jacksonian nationalism. Indeed, one of the reasons that Trump hasn’t been hurt by attacks that highlight his lack of long term commitment to the boilerplate conservative agenda (either in the social or economic conservative variant) is that Jacksonian voters are less dogmatic and less conservative than some of their would-be political representatives care to acknowledge. Jacksonians like Social Security and Medicare much more than most Republican intellectuals, and they like immigration and free trade much less.

Whatever happens to the Trump candidacy, it now seems clear that Jacksonian America is rousing itself to fight for its identity, its culture and its primacy in a country that it believes it should own. Its cultural values have been traduced, its economic interests disregarded, and its future as the center of gravity of American political life is under attack. Overseas, it sees traditional rivals like Russia, China, North Korea and Iran making headway against a President that it distrusts; more troubling still, in ISIS and jihadi terror it sees the rapid spread of a movement aiming at the mass murder of Americans. Jacksonian America has lost all confidence in the will or the ability of the political establishment to fight the threats it sees abroad and at home. It wants what it has always wanted: to take its future into its own hands.

The biggest story in American politics today is this: Andrew Jackson is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore.
Read much more here.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Navy's intelligence chief not allowed to see classified information!

Craig Whitlock reports in the Washington Post that
The admiral in charge of Navy intelligence has not been allowed to see military secrets for years.

For more than two years, the Navy’s intelligence chief has been stuck with a major handicap: He’s not allowed to know any secrets.

Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch has been barred from reading, seeing or hearing classified information since November 2013, when the Navy learned from the Justice Department that his name had surfaced in a giant corruption investigation involving a foreign defense contractor and scores of Navy personnel.

Worried that Branch was on the verge of being indicted, Navy leaders suspended his access to classified materials. They did the same to one of his deputies, Rear Adm. Bruce F. Loveless, the Navy’s director of intelligence operations.

More than 800 days later, neither Branch nor Loveless has been charged. But neither has been cleared, either. Their access to classified information remains blocked.

Although the Navy transferred Loveless to a slightly less sensitive post, it kept Branch in charge of its intelligence division. That has resulted in an awkward arrangement, akin to sending a warship into battle with its skipper stuck onshore.

Rear Adm. Bruce F. Loveless, left, and Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch. (U.S. Navy via Associated Press)

Read more here.


Stop the name-calling and vitriol

Is a secure border worth support for single payer healthcare? Is a reinvigorated military worth support for eminent domain and the ability of the government to confiscate private property? Is Trump's ability to destroy political correctness worth the appointment of one or two or three nonconservative Supreme Court Justices?

A nation of laws?

Insulting his way to the White House

Someone at the New York Times has compiled a list of Donald Trump's twitter attacks on other candidates, media, people, groups, places and "other." Read them here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Carly hasn't forgotten Hillary

h/t Stephen Green

Two Megyn Kellys?

Did you watch Kelly File after tonight's debate? Megyn Kelly had Ted Cruz on, and she admitted that he had been consistently against amnesty, and that his amendments were poison pills to defeat the Gang of Eight bill. Too bad she didn't do that in the debate, where she came across as disbelieving Cruz and trying to make it seem that he was inconsistent on the issue.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hillary has an opponent!

Did you know that there is someone named Bernie Sanders who is competing for Hillary's job the Democrat nomination for president? He is a great American, and you can read all about him at Manhattan Infidel. Hollywood is planning a bio-pic about him, too.

Proof that Hollywood isn't racist

Hollywood is in the news today. Apparently, some people think Hollywood is racist. As usual, Manhattan Infidel has the story: Danny Devito is going to produce a movie about the life of Martin Luther King, starring George Clooney as MLK. Read more here.

Is assimilation a viable concept any more?

Can assimilation of immigrants still work anywhere? What are the preconditions that must be satisfied before it can work? Chateau Heartiste addresses the subject here.

"Focus on being presidential!"

Would it be devastating to Hillary Clinton to lose Iowa and New Hampshire? "Not as devastating as being indicted!"

"I don't like guys who let themselves get nailed to a cross"

S. Wood reports at the Free Wood Post,
Most of us already knew that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump was already a narcissistic egomaniac, but what he recently said at a town hall event in Iowa may have officially crossed the line.

While speaking to a crowd in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Trump was again boasting how he is going to magically, without any policy ideas, “make America great again.” In the past he’s said that things under his leadership would be the “best ever” and somehow “save” America from the brink of whatever he thinks is wrong, but while ranting and raving about himself, he seems to have compared himself to Jesus. Not only that, he insinuated that he’s actually better than Jesus.

“You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna make America great again. You know how I’m gonna do it? I’m gonna get the best people, only the greatest. I’m gonna save our country. I’m gonna save this nation like nothings been saved before. I’m gonna save this nation like Jesus saved Christians. Except, I’ll be able to save you without some silly cross. I don’t like guys who let themselves get nailed to a cross. Real saviors don’t need crosses, they need know-how. And know-how is what you’ll get with President Trump.”

When I read this post, I was actually believing Trump said these things. Can't you just hear him? Then I realized it is a satirical blog. One that I will add to my blogroll right now!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


The men of Europe have figured out how to show support for their women, who have been sexually assaulted by the hordes of Middle Eastern and North African men invited into Europe by Frau Merkel.

Yes, they have taken to the streets in mini-skirts! That will surely scare those assaulters and win the hearts of European women! Not!

Who do you hate the most, the guy who was wrong when you were right, or the guy who was right when you were wrong?

David Limbaugh writes at,
...The establishment's allergy to fighting reached its apex with the advent of Barack Obama. Presumably because of his race, his initial popularity or his projected image as a uniter, their fear of resisting Democrats grew into full-blown paranoia. This was most noticeable in the budget battles the GOP had with Obama.

...They told us not to allow the government to shut down, because the people would blame Republicans — the party perceived to favor smaller government — and we'd lose the next election.

...Even after we won the next elections our guys were no more emboldened. They continued to move the goal posts to the next election after that. And so it went. Many of those elected on promises to stop or try harder to stop this nonsense were co-opted by the establishment or pressured into acquiescence.

Ted Cruz, along with a few others, rejected the conventional GOP wisdom and refused to take their orders to stand down. The establishment uniformly pans his "doomed-to-fail" efforts and says he was only showboating in furtherance of his political ambitions. But what if they'd stood united behind him? What if they'd expressed similar confidence in conservative ideas and joined with him both in resisting Obama's lawless despotism and in taking their case directly to the American people, instead of dooming his efforts by telegraphing their surrender in advance?

These same people blister Obama for such feckless negotiating tactics and preemptive surrender with respect to Iran, but when dealing with Obama they fold like the crease in his pants.

The establishment has always justified their position by claiming that we didn't have the votes to override Obama's vetoes or overcome Democratic filibusters, or that we would be blamed for shutting down the government. Conservatives have argued otherwise — that we might have won some of these battles if we'd stood up for our ideas, and if not, we'd certainly have been in a better position to win the next election having tried and stood for something. That's not futility; that's not "Don Quixote."

From one perspective we can't prove who was right, because Congress didn't often stand up to Obama and our idea was never tested. But from another perspective we conservatives are vindicated.

That the establishment didn't sufficiently oppose Obama, reserving most of its angst for conservatives instead of the president, directly led to Donald Trump, who would not have resonated otherwise. The establishment's habitual weakness gave us Trump, which means their arrogant and unyielding calculations about the next election were wrong. This is the big next election they never anticipated because they underestimated the degree to which they were disappointing and infuriating the base and frustrating their will.

I believe if the establishment had backed Ted Cruz we'd have seen different results, though I can't conclusively prove that. But I am pretty sure I don't need to prove the obvious reality that Trump arose because they wouldn't join Cruz and their constituents in the fight.

I appeal to the rest of you to review recent history in this light and to reconsider the wisdom of Ted Cruz's approach, even though it was rejected by the majority of other Republican politicians, whose very party is on the ropes because of their conceit, arrogance and tone-deafness.

Cruz was right, and grassroots conservatives were right. We should have stood up to Obama then and didn't, so Trump was born and is flourishing. With Ted Cruz we know what we're getting and we know it's the reverse of Obama's infernal effort to fundamentally transform America. Say what you want about Ted Cruz, but about this there is little doubt.

The establishment is now taking a second look at Obama, albeit without much humility. I'm not naive enough to think they'll take a second look at Ted Cruz, but how about you?
Read more here.

The gauntlet has been thrown down!

Ben Schreckinger reports at Politico,
Ted Cruz criticized Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Thursday night’s presidential debate and challenged the businessman to debate one-on-one in the coming days.
“Give the Republican primary voters the right to see a fair and policy-focused debate, not simply insults,” Cruz said on the Mark Levin radio show Tuesday night.

He proposed a 90-minute debate to happen before the Iowa caucuses on Monday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump said at a press conference here that he would not participate in Thursday’s Fox News debate because he believes co-moderator Megyn Kelly is biased against him and because he found Fox’s response to his concerns childish.

Cruz said that decision cast doubt on Trump's ability to serve as commander in chief. “If he thinks Megyn Kelly is so scary what exactly does he think he’d do with Vladimir Putin?” asked the senator.

Levin, who initially embraced Trump’s candidacy, has recently turned against the businessman over his questioning of Cruz’s constitutional eligibility for the presidency, and Cruz allowed for the possibility that Trump would object to Levin’s involvement.

“If he’s scared of you, he can name his own moderator,” Cruz told the host.

Levin proposed a free-for-all debate format, with no moderation except to intervene for commercial breaks, which he likened to both the Lincoln-Douglas debates and “a cage match.” Levin called on the Trump campaign to accept Cruz’s challenge.

At the end of the segment, the host also opened the proposed debate to the rest of the field. “Well that’s two presidential candidates,” he said. “Anybody else listening? You can come in too.”
“I would encourage Marco Rubio to call in if he wishes. Or Kasich or Jeb Bush,” added Levin after the break.
Representatives of Trump's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Cruz's challenge.

Sanders, Obama to have a private meeting tomorrow

Reuters is reporting that Obama has invited Bernie Sanders to meet with him in the White House tomorrow. You don't suppose the FBI investigation will be a topic of discussion?

What a wuss!

Ed O'Keefe and Philip Rucker report in the Washington Post that Donald Trump will not appear Thursday night in the GOP debate. He is scared of Megyn Kelly of Fox News. Pitiful!

You are wearing thin, Donald

ColonelCurt Dale asks,
By Curt Dale
I've been standing up for Trump--even though Cruz is my favorite by a long ways. However, I think something has happened to Trump in the last few days. Is he getting in over his head? At first, his off the wall comments and so called gaffs were rather cute, even refreshing: "He's not eligible! "He's stupid!" "Look at that face!" "He's no war hero!" "I dont' like people who weren't captured." "...blood coming out of her whatever..." ad nauseum. All that is wearing very thin on me!

But, we're getting down to the short hairs now, I'm thinkin'. Trump is very bright as a businessman, negotiator, and entrepreneur, but he's not an intellectual on the broad and grand scale of Ted Cruz. Frankly, he's sort of running out of cheap shots.

As the debate questions start to hone the remaining candidates down to bare metal, Trump seemingly has no concept of what really needs to be done to fix this nation, and he's making more and more conflicting pronouncements and cross purpose solutions on how to do it. His mind does not process as quickly in the give and take of true debate on social, security, national and world issues as does Cruz'. Cruz seems to me to be a super intellect combined with a full compliment of common sense and laser sharp debating skills.

So, now, with the heat hitting Trump, and no one he can fire for crossing him, he is about to bail on the next Fox News Debate--and all because Megan Kelly is again on the panel? Lordy, if he can't handle a beautiful blonde lawyer who merely asks questions in a television debate--who incidentally just happens to be tremendously brilliant, far more informed on the issues than he, and willing to go head to head with him using provocative questions--how is he going to stand up against a hardened KGB veteran, namely Vladimir Putin? If Kelly can eat him for lunch and make him whimper that she is treating him unfairly, he wouldn't have a prayer when faced with Putin running over him, roughshod.

Because of Trump's wealth and the influence of his investments and business dealings, he can presumably--at least he claims--navigate well in China, Korea, and Mexico, etc. But if he becomes President of the US, he will be totally walled off from all of that power emanating from his vast business organization and billions of dollars with which he now wheels and deals. He'll be functioning as a president, not as a mogul.
If all he has to offer at that point is pooched lips, evil eye glowering, bluster, promises, finger pointing, simpering, and pandering--while his command of the Constitution, the proper workings of the US Government, and what it means to be a Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces--for real--I don't think he's panning out to be the real deal. It seems he would be armed with only his imaginary arsenal of a continuum of Boobama-like Executive Orders and shoving things down our throats for another 4 to 8 years. We sure as the Devil don't need any more of that kind of "leadership."

I think this latest juvenile reaction to Kelly being on the Fox panel exhibits tremendous weakness on his part. If he were truly as tough as he pretends, he'd charge out there and turn her into mincemeat. Frankly, I think he's probably afraid he'll run into a whirlwind if he tries to stand up to her. Also, she has better hair. He gave us caveats that the GOP had to treat him fairly or he'd go third party. Now he's wailing about one mere slip of a girl who has whipsawed him by the tail, jerking him up short, and he doesn't want any more of that.
I might as well say that if he survives Kelly--or if he ducks her--there is another much older, not so attractive junk yard dog blonde, not so brilliant a lawyer, who, if she survives the email server fiasco without indictment, will not be fair to him in any way. If he can't stand up to Megan, can he or will he stand up to HIL-LIAR-Y? It's worth my consideration.Whadda'ya think? Is it time to thump and dump chump Trump!

All y'all tell me if I'm wrong on this and show me why. Otherwise, I'm throwin' in with Cruz!
Colonel Curtis D. Dale, PhD, USAF (Ret)
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He's afraid of a girl

Nobody had heard of her, except for the fact she had the highest-rated cable news show in the nation at that time, and still does.

h/t Jammie


Will the FBI refer Hillary Clinton to the Justice Department for prosecution? It is looking more and more likely. The FBI Director must decide if a crime happened. He has a history of integrity. It will be up to the president to decide how much leniency to give her. Obama is pretending to warmly support her, but is he readying us for a Pontius Pilate hand-washing?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Could be the year to pull a Cliff Young.

Ann Voskamp writes today,
Sometimes the best training for the really big things is just the everyday things.

That’s what Cliff said: “Whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go run and round up the sheep.” 2,000 head of sheep. 2,000 acres of land.

“Sometimes I’d have to run those sheep for two or three days. I can run this race; it’s only two more days. Five days. I’ve run sheep for three.”

...The accepted way professional runners approached the race was to run 18 hours, sleep 6, for7 days straight. But Cliff Young didn’t know that. He didn’t know the accepted way. He only knew what he did regularly back home, the way he had always done it: You run through the dark.

Turns out when Cliff Young said he gathered sheep around his farm for three days, he meant he’d run across 2,000 acres of farmland for three days straight without stopping or sleeping, without the dark ever stopping him. You gathered sheep by running through the dark.

So along the endless stretches of highway, a tiny shadow of an old man shuffled along, one foot after another, right through the heat, right through the night. Cliff gained ground.

Cliff gained ground because he didn’t lose ground to the dark. Cliff gained ground because he ran through the dark.

And somewhere at the outset of the night, Cliff Young in his overalls, he shuffled passed the toned runners half his age. And by the morning light, teethless Cliff Young who wasn’t young at all, he was a tiny shadow — far, far ahead of the professional athletes.

For five days and fifteen hours, and four minutes straight, Cliff Young ran, never once stopping for the dark – never stopping until the old sheep farmer crossed the finish line – First. He crossed the finish line first.

Beating a world record. By two. whole. days.

The second place runner crossed the finish line 9 hours after old Cliff.

And when they handed old Cliff Young his $10,000 prize , he said he hadn’t known there was a prize. Said he’d run for the wonder of it. Said that all the other runners had worked hard too. So Cliff Young waited at the finish line and handed each of the runners an equal share of the 10K.

And then the old cahoot in boots walked a way without a penny for the race but with all the hearts of whole world.

While others run fast, you can just shuffle with perseverance.
While others impress, you can simply press on.
While others stop for the dark, you can run through the dark.

The race is won by those who keep running through the dark.

Could be the year to pull a Cliff Young.

When those reporters asked Old Cliff that afterward, what had kept him running through the nights, Cliff had said, “I imagined I was outrunning a storm to gather up my sheep.”

And I sit there in the thickening dark.

With the One who mastered the dark and overcame the storm to gather His sheep and now there is a Light Who shines in the darkness and the darkness can never overcome it.

The accepted way professional runners approached the race was to run 18 hours, sleep 6, for7 days straight. But Cliff Young didn’t know that. He didn’t know the accepted way. He only knew what he did regularly back home, the way he had always done it: You run through the dark.

Turns out when Cliff Young said he gathered sheep around his farm for three days, he meant he’d run across 2,000 acres of farmland for three days straight without stopping or sleeping, without the dark ever stopping him. You gathered sheep by running through the dark.

So along the endless stretches of highway, a tiny shadow of an old man shuffled along, one foot after another, right through the heat, right through the night. Cliff gained ground.

Cliff gained ground because he didn’t lose ground to the dark. Cliff gained ground because he ran through the dark.

And somewhere at the outset of the night, Cliff Young in his overalls, he shuffled passed the toned runners half his age. And by the morning light, teethless Cliff Young who wasn’t young at all, he was a tiny shadow — far, far ahead of the professional athletes.

For five days and fifteen hours, and four minutes straight, Cliff Young ran, never once stopping for the dark – never stopping until the old sheep farmer crossed the finish line – First. He crossed the finish line first.

Beating a world record. By two. whole. days.

The second place runner crossed the finish line 9 hours after old Cliff.

And when they handed old Cliff Young his $10,000 prize , he said he hadn’t known there was a prize. Said he’d run for the wonder of it. Said that all the other runners had worked hard too. So Cliff Young waited at the finish line and handed each of the runners an equal share of the 10K.

And then the old cahoot in boots walked a way without a penny for the race but with all the hearts of whole world.

While others run fast, you can just shuffle with perseverance.
While others impress, you can simply press on.
While others stop for the dark, you can run through the dark.

The race is won by those who keep running through the dark.

Could be the year to pull a Cliff Young.

When those reporters asked Old Cliff that afterward, what had kept him running through the nights, Cliff had said, “I imagined I was outrunning a storm to gather up my sheep.”

And I sit there in the thickening dark.

With the One who mastered the dark and overcame the storm to gather His sheep and now there is a Light Who shines in the darkness and the darkness can never overcome it.

And you can see them out the front window, far away to the west, out on there the highway —

the lights all going on through the dark.Read more here.

Muslim refugees attack Frenchman, not realizing he is a plainclothes policeman who is armed

h/t Maetenloch


Allah Pundit writes at Hot Air,
Something to think about: Why should Trump’s polling be considered so impressive given the phenomenal advantage he’s had over the rest of the field in his access to media, not just on Fox but among outlets across the spectrum? Jeb Bush’s critics have been goofing on him for nearly a year because he hasn’t been able to translate the staggering amount of money his Super PAC started with into any poll momentum. His dad’s rich friends gave him $100 million to buy the nomination and he’s still in single digits. Trump, however, has been given the equivalent of untold millions in free advertising over the past six months from media outlets willing, for the sake of ratings, to grant him as much airtime as he likes, and his polling isn’t wildly different today from where it was when he first surged into the lead last summer. On any given morning, Trump could call in to CNN and get 10-20 minutes to talk about whatever he wants; someone like Cruz or Rubio is lucky to get one four-minute carefully structured interview segment by comparison. Trump was at 25.8 percent in Iowa on September 2 in RCP’s poll average and, until just this past week when he started to inch up, he was still at 26-27 percent there in mid-January. If Jeb deserves heat for not using his fundraising windfall to build up his numbers, why doesn’t Trump deserve heat for not using his media windfall to do the same? Where would Ted Cruz be today if the media gave him as much airtime as it gives Trump?
Read more here.

No bottom to their lawlessness

Ace of Spades writes.
Now I get the Weiner-Huma marriage. They both like putting forbidden things on to the internet.

Top aide Huma Abedin sent emails containing classified materials to Hillary, according to intelligence agency reviewers.Photo: Reuters
Paul Sperry reports in the New York Post, The FBI is investigating whether members of Hillary Clinton’s inner circle “cut and pasted” material from the government’s classified network so that it could be sent to her private email address, former State Department security officials say.

Ace continues,
Read the whole article. This has to be done deliberately; there's no possible "accident" here. One has to first copy the secret document, whether by cut and paste, or manual retyping, or screenshot, then put it on to the NIPRnet (which is also illegal), then send it to Hillary's email system, which is beyond illegal.

And you know all that retyping or screenshotting to break national security laws...?

Remember, Hillary did all of this for the sake of "convenience."

Even archliberal hack commentator Clarence Page now expects the FBI to refer Hillary to the DoJ for criminal prosecution.

Andy McCarthy writes on this, and confesses an error -- initially, he figured Hillary Clinton didn't have anything to do with any secret emails being on her system; he figured she wouldn't stoop that low.

Now he realizes that in all likelihood she ordered the transfer of secret emails to the unsecured homebrew server, and that he erred in thinking there was any bottom at all to the Clintons' lawlessness.

Glenn Beck's endorsement of Ted Cruz

Tonight Glenn Beck explained why for the first time in a primary season he decided to endorse a candidate this year. It is all about credibility. Glenn says that for the first part of his life he had no credibility, as he depended on drugs and alcohol. When he gave up that dependence, he realized that personal credibility was the most important thing he could achieve.

It would be easy for him not to stick his neck out. That's what others are doing. You can tell by listening to Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh that they stand for the same principles as Glenn Beck and Ted Cruz, but they stop short of endorsing Cruz, because of fear of losing audience share to listeners who agree with them on the issues, but are backing other candidates.

Read Glenn's endorsement speech he gave yesterday in Iowa here.

Because of Amnesty, he wants Cruz or Trump, not Rubio

Ace of Spades writes,
The GOP is nakedly now a "clientist" party the same as the Democrat Party. They just have different clients.

...So for me, it has to be Cruz, or Trump. I'd prefer Cruz, as I keep saying. I'll take Trump, though, because, while he's kind of stupid and temperamentally unsuited for the job, he would nevertheless also serve as a repudiation of the Establishment's Corporate Client "Conservatism."

...On the other hand -- if this is all just squawking and we all just want to be Managed by the Ruling Class into doing what they've decided is Best for us -- then by all means, vote for Marco Rubio.

Just let them know that at the end of the day, all you want to do is bark a little. Then, having barked your little stupid puppy heart out, you'll roll over and show them your belly, yet again.

Shall we permit them to manage and wrangle us, or will we finally take over the farm and start managing and wrangling them?

Choose wisely. Nothing at all depends on it, except everything.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Donald vs. Megyn Thursday night

DC Whispers writes,
On Thursday, Fox News will be hosting the final GOP presidential debate just days removed from the Iowa Caucus. A growing din of whispers surrounding the impending debate has at least one member of the moderating panel specifically targeting Donald Trump’s demise.

It appears the Trump campaign has already initiated counter measures as Mr. Trump himself called for Fox personality and upcoming debate moderator, Megyn Kelly to be removed from the moderator panel. Trump and Kelly have engaged in an ongoing war of words since Kelly’s first stint at moderating during a GOP debate last fall that had her issuing what many Trump supporters felt to be an unusually aggressive, anti-Trump series of questions at the Republican front-runner.

This past week, Megyn Kelly focused considerable time on her Fox News program to the National Review’s most recent and highly controversial issue that was devoted entirely to trying to convince voters not to support Donald Trump. That focus on her show led Mr. Trump to issue the following statement via Twitter: "Based on Megyn Kelly’s conflict of interest and bias she should not be allowed to be a moderator of the next debate."

Fox News was quick to respond that Kelly would remain as part of the GOP debate panel.

Update: Gabriel Sherman writes at New York Magazine,
Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, told me Trump could stage his own televised town hall on Thursday night and let Fox’s rivals air it. “That would be a great idea," he said.

Of pranks, natural born citizens, roofies, and American politics

Trump, Cruz, Rubio: how each may win the nomination.

Most observers now believe the GOP race now comes down to three: Trump, Cruz, and Rubio. Robert Tracinski believes that, too, and at The Federalist he sketches out the paths by which each one might capture the nomination.

Happy times in Denver

Denver has the best defense. Will it be enough to help them beat Carolina in two weeks?

No, Bill, that's not what she means!

h/t Jon Agard

The self-extinction of the races who, for good or ill, shaped the modern world.

Mark Steyn writes,
When it comes to forecasting the future, the birthrate is the nearest thing to hard numbers. If only a million babies are born in 2006, it's hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2026 (or 2033, or 2037, or whenever they get around to finishing their Anger Management and Queer Studies degrees). And the hard data on babies around the Western world is that they're running out a lot faster than the oil is. "Replacement" fertility rate--i.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smaller--is 2.1 babies per woman. Some countries are well above that: the global fertility leader, Somalia, is 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. Notice what those nations have in common?

Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you'll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada's fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That's to say, Spain's population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy's population will have fallen by 22%. its reliance on immigration to ensure its future, the European Union has adopted a 21st-century variation on the strategy of the Shakers, who were forbidden from reproducing and thus could increase their numbers only by conversion.

...The old definition of a nanosecond was the gap between the traffic light changing in New York and the first honk from a car behind. The new definition is the gap between a terrorist bombing and the press release from an Islamic lobby group warning of a backlash against Muslims.

...Then September 11 happened. And bizarrely the reaction of just about every prominent Western leader was to visit a mosque: President Bush did, the prince of Wales did, the prime minister of the United Kingdom did, the prime minister of Canada did . . . The premier of Ontario didn't, and so 20 Muslim community leaders had a big summit to denounce him for failing to visit a mosque... But for whatever reason he couldn't fit it into his hectic schedule. Ontario's citizenship minister did show up at a mosque, but the imams took that as a great insult, like the Queen sending Fergie to open the Commonwealth Games.

Nobody makes that mistake these days. Six Canadians working for a Quebec Catholic humanitarian organization repairing schoolrooms in Burkina Faso get slaughtered by Muslim terrorists, and the Prince Minister skedaddles to a mosque run by a woman-hating loon to hold the moment of silence.

Like I said, I did all the jokes way back when, and it's not so funny after ten years. My thesis was straightforward: a semi-Muslim France will not be France; it will be something other, and - if you happen to value things like freedom of speech and women's rights - it will be something worse:

...Permanence is the illusion of every age. In 1913, no one thought the Russian, Austrian, German and Turkish empires would be gone within half a decade. Seventy years on, all those fellows who dismissed Reagan as an "amiable dunce" (in Clark Clifford's phrase) assured us the Soviet Union was likewise here to stay. The CIA analysts' position was that East Germany was the ninth biggest economic power in the world. In 1987 there was no rash of experts predicting the imminent fall of the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Pact and the USSR itself.

...Somewhere, deep down, the European political class understands that the Great Migrations have accelerated the future I outlined way back when:

Can these trends continue for another 30 years without having consequences? Europe by the end of this century will be a continent after the neutron bomb: The grand buildings will still be standing, but the people who built them will be gone. We are living through a remarkable period: the self-extinction of the races who, for good or ill, shaped the modern world.

It's the biggest story of our time, and, ten years on, Europe's leaders still can't talk about it, not to their own peoples, not honestly. For all the "human rights" complaints, and death threats from halfwits, and subtler rejections from old friends who feel I'm no longer quite respectable, I'm glad I brought it up. And it's well past time for others to speak out.