Friday, August 31, 2012

Before I vote Republican

Yes, The GOP Is A Fascist Authoritarian Party

This reminds me of the famous scenes from the Communist Party Congresses back in the 30's when everybody applauded on cue. That is clearly what they want their conventions in the future to look like. Romney is a fascist control freak who fits in very well with the modern Neo-Con GOP.

Well comrades, the message has been received loud and clear. They want us to fall in line, vote as we are told and otherwise shut up. To which I respond SCREW THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!

HT: MolonLabe70

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Camden NJ Plans To Fire Its Police Force

One of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. is getting rid of its police department.

Amid what they call a “public safety crisis,” officials in Camden, N.J., plan to disband the city's 141-year-old police department and replace it with a non-union division of the Camden County Police.

Camden city officials have touted the move as necessary to combat the city’s growing financial and safety problems. The entire 267-member police department will be laid off and replaced with a newly reformatted metro division, which is projected to have some 400 members. It will serve only the city of Camden starting in early 2013.
Read the rest here.

Federal court rejects Texas voter ID law

A federal court in Washington on Thursday blocked a Texas law that would require voters to present photo IDs to election officials before being allowed to cast ballots in November, saying it would place an unfair burden on minorities and the poor.

A three-judge U.S. District Court panel ruled that that SB 14, described as the most stringent voter ID law in the country, imposes "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor" and noted that racial minorities in Texas are more likely to live in poverty.

“Texas, seeking to implement its voter ID law, bears the burden of proof and must therefore show that SB 14 lacks retrogressive effect. But as we have found, everything Texas has submitted as affirmative evidence is unpersuasive, invalid, or both,” the opinion said.
Read the rest here.

Pentagon threatens ex-Navy SEAL over book on bin Laden raid

The former Navy SEAL who just wrote a book about the Osama bin Laden raid is in violation of the non-disclosure agreements he signed, the Department of Defense General Counsel said Thursday.

General Counsel Jeh Johnson wrote in a letter to "Mark Owen," the author’s pen name, that by selling his book he aggravates the violation.

"We've got to get serious about leaks of classified information," a senior Defense official told NBC News. "As unpalatable as it may seem to go after this Navy SEAL, if we do nothing there is no deterrence, nothing to prevent others from doing the same."
Read the rest here.

Romney Accepts GOP Nomination

TAMPA, Fla. – Accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney vowed to move America past what he called the “disappointments” of President Barack Obama’s four years in office if elected to the White House in November.

In a speech that hearkened back to an America typified by Romney’s upbringing “in the middle of the century in the middle of the country,” the nominee argued he was the candidate best suited to rejuvenate a flagging economy.
Read the rest here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Eternal Memory

The grandmother of well known Roman Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo has reposed. He has posted a very moving tribute here. Please keep Rocco, his family and of course his grandmother in your prayers.

Newly Appointed Archbishop Of San Francisco Is Arrested For Drunk Driving

Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, San Francisco's Roman Catholic archbishop-elect who was arrested early Monday for driving under the influence in San Diego, apologized, saying he felt "shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the church and myself."

Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, who last month was named the next archbishop of San Francisco, was arrested early Saturday morning, according to police. Authorities stopped him at a checkpoint near the San Diego State University campus, the AP reported.

Cordileone, a San Diego native, was released on $2,500 bail about 11 hours after his release, a San Diego detective told Reuters. He had been booked on a misdemeanor DUI charge after he was stopped at a police checkpoint and failed a field sobriety test.
Read the rest here.
HT: Blog reader M.M.

Four Soldiers Charged With Murder And Plotting To Overthrow the Government

LUDOWICI, Ga. — Four Army soldiers based in southeast Georgia killed a former comrade and his girlfriend to protect an anarchist militia group they formed that stockpiled assault weapons and plotted a range of anti-government attacks, prosecutors told a judge Monday.

Prosecutors in rural Long County, near the sprawling Army post Fort Stewart, said the militia group of active and former U.S. military members spent at least $87,000 buying guns and bomb components. They allege the group was serious enough to kill two people — former soldier Michael Roark and his 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York — by shooting them in the woods last December in order to keep its plans secret...

...The prosecutor said the militia group had big plans. It plotted to take over Fort Stewart by seizing its ammunition control point and talked of bombing the Forsyth Park fountain in nearby Savannah, she said. In Washington state, she added, the group plotted to bomb a dam and poison the state’s apple crop. Ultimately, prosecutors said, the militia’s goal was to overthrow the government and assassinate the president.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Argentina: A socialist disaster on wheels

I am fond of using Argentina as the poster-child for incompetent and corrupt government management of an economy. They have destroyed their own economy so many times from inflation and collectivist policies that I’ve lost count.
Read the rest here.

Craig makes a very good point. If you are an investor stay FAR AWAY from US Government inflation indexed bonds (TIPS). It's like buying fire insurance from a known arsonist.

Neo-Con Intrigue And The Plot To Start A War With Iran

There is a bizarre article about the crazy and very shady plotting in the Bush Administration and how one woman probably averted a war with Iran. It's too long to excerpt, but it is well worth the read.

Read it here.

Where Nationalism Still Matters

Too often, we see East Asia only from an economic perspective, marveling at the undeniable success of China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and South Korea. Yet these nations have another story to tell, one that owes less to current economic performance than to much older instincts: nationalism and ethnic resentment, the forces that kindled World War I in Sarajevo. Today, those forces underlie disputes in places that we ignore or know nothing about, such as the Senkaku Islands, the Dokdo Islands, and the Spratly archipelago. And those disputes may spark military conflicts between rival Asian countries.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Empire State Shooting: Cops get their man + 9 bystanders

All nine people wounded in the shooting outside the Empire State Building on Friday morning were hit by police gunfire, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Saturday.

“We recovered whole bullets from two of the victims,” Mr. Kelly said at an event in Harlem. “Actually, we think a total of the three out of the nine bystanders were struck with bullets, the rest were struck with fragments of some sort.”

Mr. Kelly’s comments reinforce the picture that began to emerge on Friday: that in acting quickly and with deadly force, the police prevented the gunman, Jeffrey T. Johnson, 58, from inflicting more harm but in so doing also were responsible for many of the injuries.
Read the rest here.


A Smith & Wesson .38 special police revolver

This incident bolsters a longstanding concern of mine about the militarization of civilian police. More and more street cops are being given high capacity and very high powered weapons with manifestly inadequate training and little need for them. When you have 15+ rounds in your service pistol it creates a powerful temptation, which may become near irresistible in a sudden life threatening emergency, to resort to the "spray and pray" method of shooting. This sort of thing was extremely rare, for obvious reasons, when cops were not issued high capacity semi-autos. Nor is there any compelling evidence in statistics about police shootings that suggests a need for them on the part of regular police.

Yes, some law enforcement (think SWAT, DEA or Secret Service) have a legitimate need for heavier weapons. But they also receive very intensive training in their use. To my mind the solution is obvious. Uniformed police and detectives should be issued revolvers with a limited capacity. It discourages wasteful and indiscriminate firing of rounds and they have the added advantage of being much more user friendly and lower on maintenance.

The arguments against revolvers generally don't hold up under scrutiny. Cops say they need the extra firepower because the bad guys are more heavily armed. But this is bogus. If you can hit your target you don't need 15 rounds to stop someone no matter how heavily armed they are. And stats repeatedly demonstrate that the sort of protracted shootouts popular in Hollywood films are rare to the point of almost unknown in real life. And bluntly, if you need more than 6 rounds to hit your target you should not be carrying a gun. They also complain, with some justification, that the old .38 special which was standard police issue for most of the 20th century was anemic and inadequate in stopping power.

Time's have changed however. In the old days those weapons were usually loaded with a 158 grain round nosed bullet which was indeed a poor cartridge for defense. In recent decades a much wider and more effective variety of ammunition chambered for .38 spl and many other calibers has become available including +P hollow points. These vastly increase the stopping power. Judiciously loaded a .38 revolver today has about the same stopping power as a 9mm. Nor does one have to be limited to .38 spl for a caliber. For cops in a non urban environment .357 magnum is much more powerful than the 9mm. And in your city type environments where you need to be careful about over-powerful rounds you could opt for .44 special. The rounds are slow enough that you don't have to worry about them passing through several apartments and wounding innocent bystanders but big enough that they would deliver a very potent knock down punch to anyone they hit.

The bottom line is that there is little justification for beat cops carrying high power - high capacity weapons and a long history of incidents that call into question the wisdom of militarizing our civilian police. Go back to revolvers. They are easier to train with and much less likely to fail you in an emergency situation (jam etc.). Cops who know they are limited to six rounds are also much less likely to just start popping off rounds with the hope that one will hit the bad guy.

Reflections on a playboy prince

I have been deliberately avoiding the topic of Prince Harry's recent getaway in Sin City. But the Mad Monarchist pretty much nails it and I will just add a ditto to what he writes here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lance Armstrong Ends Fight Over Drug Use

In what is certain to be seen as a de-facto admission of guilt he announced he will no longer fight long standing accusations of doping. The USADA has announced it will strip him of all the  honors, titles and awards he has received since 1998 including his seven Tour de France victories. He will also be banned for life from all sporting events that adhere to the World Anti-Doping Code.

This is incredibly sad.

GOP promises to maybe talk about returning to a gold standard

The gold standard has returned to mainstream U.S. politics for the first time in 30 years, with a “gold commission” set to become part of official Republican party policy.

Drafts of the party platform, which it will adopt at a convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, next week, call for an audit of Federal Reserve monetary policy and a commission to look at restoring the link between the dollar and gold.
Read the rest here.

Ron Paul's presence to be felt in Tampa

Despite the delegates he won during the Republican presidential primary season, Ron Paul won't be speaking at next week's Republican convention in Tampa, Fla.

But his presence will be felt there -- whether it's his supporters who will be flocking to the city or his son Rand, who will be speaking at the convention.

And there's also the possibility of a video tribute to the Texas congressman.

"We're told there's something special in the works on Tuesday paying tribute to Ron Paul," said Jesse Benton, Paul's national campaign manager.
Read the rest here.

For Sale: A house with a record

It was 1928, the year before the stock market crash, when the 29 year old businessman bought the 30,000 sq ft waterfront residence on Miami's Palm Island from Clarence Busch of the Anheuser-Busch family for $40,000. He quickly made some additions; a wall, a new pool that was one of the largest in the state and a cabana for his guests. The house rapidly gained a reputation as the site of wild parties. There are no records of the neighbors complaining about the noise though. Nor were the parties diminished by the depression that soon seized the country. The owner was in a depression proof business. He loved the house and spent a great deal of time there as a getaway from the stresses of his work and is reputed to have also plotted the hostile takeover of some of his business rivals while vacationing there.

His name was Al Capone and his Miami getaway house is for sale.

In Drought-Stricken Midwest, Wells Are Running Dry

WILDWOOD, Mo. — The wells supplying people’s homes are running dry here at the heart of the nation’s drought, which the government announced on Thursday has spread to 63.2 percent of the country and sees its epicenter in the parched earth of the southern Midwest.

For some residents who live outside municipal water districts, it has become a struggle to wash dishes, or fill a coffee urn, even to flush the toilet. Mike Kraus, a cattle farmer in Garden City, Kan., twisted the tap on the shower the other day after work and heard nothing but hissing.

“And that was it,” he said.
Read the rest here.

As China slows unsold goods pile up

GUANGZHOU, China — After three decades of torrid growth, China is encountering an unfamiliar problem with its newly struggling economy: a huge buildup of unsold goods that is cluttering shop floors, clogging car dealerships and filling factory warehouses.

The glut of everything from steel and household appliances to cars and apartments is hampering China’s efforts to emerge from a sharp economic slowdown. It has also produced a series of price wars and has led manufacturers to redouble efforts to export what they cannot sell at home.

The severity of China’s inventory overhang has been carefully masked by the blocking or adjusting of economic data by the Chinese government — all part of an effort to prop up confidence in the economy among business managers and investors.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Egypt: Islamic fundamentalists urge killing of Christians

According to today's issue of El Fegr, "Elements of terrorist, jihadi organizations distributed leaflets today inciting for the killing of Copts in Suez, Ismailia, and Upper Egypt, promising them [Copts] a tragic end if they do not return to the truth."

An image of a copy of the letter appears on El Fegr's website. Titled "An Urgent and Important Notice," it begins by calling on "all brothers and sisters" to "kill or physically attack the enemies of the religion of Allah—the Christians in all of Egypt's provinces, the slaves of the Cross, Allah's curse upon them…" It proceeds to promise a monetary reward for whoever helps "achieve Allah's rights against his enemies."

As a testimony to how safe the jihadi organizations of today's Egypt feel under the new president, the Muslim Brotherhood's Muhammad Morsi, the usual cryptic language is dropped, as the letter names contact points and even a mosque, Sheikh Ahmed Mosque in Kasfrit, where those interested should rally "after Friday prayers where new members to the organization will be welcomed."
Read the rest here.
See also this related story.

HT: T-19

Ron Paul gains convention delegates in deal with Romney

GOP officials and the Mitt Romney campaign have cut a deal with Texas Rep. Ron Paul's campaign to allow some — though not all — of Paul's delegates from Louisiana and Massachusetts to be seated at the Republican National Convention. The status of Maine's delegates remains unsettled.

The compromise would appear to avert a potential public clash with Paul supporters during the convention's opening day Monday.
Read the rest here.

As death toll hits 2000 for US troops Americans yawn

KABUL, Afghanistan -- It was once President Barack Obama's "war of necessity." Now, it's America's forgotten war.

The Afghan conflict generates barely a whisper on the U.S. presidential campaign trail. It's not a hot topic at the office water cooler or in the halls of Congress — even though more than 80,000 American troops are still fighting here and dying at a rate of one a day.

Americans show more interest in the economy and taxes than the latest suicide bombings in a different, distant land. They're more tuned in to the political ad war playing out on television than the deadly fight still raging against the Taliban. Earlier this month, protesters at the Iowa State Fair chanted "Stop the war!" They were referring to one purportedly being waged against the middle class.
Read the rest here.

Assange: Bad manners but not rape?

LONDON -- As U.S. Congressman Todd Akin fights for his political life over his "legitimate rape" comments, a high-profile British politician has ignited a storm on the other side of the Atlantic over the definition of rape.

George Galloway, a member of the U.K. parliament and former leader of the left-wing Respect Party, waded into the debate around the allegations faced by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Israel is in uproar over lynching of Palestinian teen

TEL AVIV – On Thursday nights in the summer, Jerusalem’s Zion Square is full of people strolling in the pedestrian precinct, listening to music, eating ice cream, and drinking.

But alcohol does not explain what happened there in the early hours of last Friday morning.

The near-fatal beating of a 17-year-old Palestinian Arab by a mob of dozens of Israeli Jews was explained in purely racial terms by a 15-year-old suspect in the attack.

“For my part he can die, he’s an Arab,” the suspect told reporters as he left court Monday. “If it was up to me I’d have murdered him. He cursed my mother.”
Read the rest here.

Akin says he is staying in the race

Read the story here.

This guy is toast. As in stick a fork in him, he's done. There are some things in this world that you can't say and be forgiven for (at least in politics) and he crossed that line. Right now Akin couldn't get elected as dog catcher in a county with a rabies infestation. But he has no real motive to kowtow to the GOP big shots since they did absolutely nothing to help him win the nomination. Long story reduced to short form is that the Missouri Senate seat which should have been a GOP gain is now almost certainly a Democratic hold. And this clown could give the Dems a lot of ammo in other races with tea party very hard right nominees. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

US Army battling racists within its ranks

They call it "rahowa" — short for racial holy war — and they are preparing for it by joining the ranks of the world's fiercest fighting machine, the U.S. military.

White supremacists, neo-Nazis and skinhead groups encourage followers to enlist in the Army and Marine Corps to acquire the skills to overthrow what some call the ZOG — the Zionist Occupation Government. Get in, get trained and get out to brace for the coming race war.

If this scenario seems like fantasy or bluster, civil rights organizations take it as deadly serious, especially given recent events. Former U.S. Army soldier Wade Page opened fire with a 9 mm handgun at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5, murdering six people and critically wounding three before killing himself during a shootout with police.
Read the rest here.

2 Priests Who Attacked Adventists in Ukraine Are Disciplined

A while back I posted a report about a couple of priests who went off on some Seventh Day Adventists. As a belated follow up they have been censured by a church court and have apologized.  The story is here.

HT: Blog reader David B.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Downton Abbey producer says Americans can't do period drama

Read the idiotic story here.

My response (just off the top of my head)...

John Adams
Deadwood
Mad Men
Boardwalk Empire
The Age of Innocence (my vote for the best period drama of the last 30 years)
Gettysburg

That list is the product of about 60 seconds of thought. Feel free to add your own contributions.

Germany says no more bailouts for Greece

After a short, late-summer break, German officials are set to tighten the screws again on Greece, boosting the prospects that Athens would exit the eurozone and cause a painful shock to the global economy.

In the latest round of talks this week in Berlin, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to lobby for a two-year extension of deeper spending cuts and tax increases when he meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the eurozone's finance ministers meetings.

German officials, though, made clear over the weekend that time has run out for the Greek government. Ruling out another Greek bailout, German Finance Minister Schaeuble said Sunday that Athens will just have to deal with the economic pain.
Read the rest here.

Police: Shooting death of handcuffed man was suicide

A man's death from a gunshot wound to the head while his hands were handcuffed behind him in an Arkansas police patrol car has been ruled a suicide, The Associated Press reported on Monday.

The AP said the state crime lab report said 21-year-old Chavis Carter shot himself in the right temple of his head with a gun he had hidden. The report was based on autopsy findings and an investigation by the Jonesboro, Ark., Police Department.
Read the rest here.

In other news they are reportedly selling beach front property in Oklahoma.

Missouri Senate Race Is In Turmoil Following Rape Comments

Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Akin apologized Monday for comments he made about "legitimate rape" over the weekend, but rejected growing clamor even from fellow Republicans for him to abandon his Senate bid.

Akin, who's been embroiled in an uproar since suggesting that "legitimate rape" rarely results in victims' pregnancy, acknowledged he made "serious mistakes" in responding to a question about his stance on abortion rights in cases on rape.
Read the rest here.

RIP: Comedy Legend Phyllis Diller



Her famous long cigarette holder was actually a stage prop. She never smoked. Memory eternal.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Republicans Hope, but Don't Change

For much of the past few generations, the debate over balancing the federal budget has been a central feature of every presidential campaign. But over time, the goalposts have moved. As the amount of red ink has grown steadily larger, the suggested time frames to restore balance have gotten increasingly longer, while the suggested cuts in government spending have gotten increasingly shallower. In recent years, talk of balancing the budget gave way to vague promises such as "cutting the deficit in half in five years." In the current campaign, however, it appears as if the goalposts have been moved so far that they are no longer in the field of play. I would argue that they are completely out of the stadium

It says a great deal about where we are that the symbolic budget plan proposed last year by Congressman Paul Ryan, the newly minted vice presidential nominee, has created such outrage among democrats and caution among republicans. The Obama campaign warns that the Ryan budget is a recipe for national disaster that will pad the coffers of the wealthy while damning the majority of Americans to perpetual poverty. The plan is apparently so radical that even the Romney campaign, while embracing the messenger, is distancing itself from the message (it appears that Romney wants to bathe himself in the aura of fresh thinking without actually offering any fresh thoughts). In interview after interview, both Romney and Ryan refuse to discuss the details of Ryan's budget while slamming Obama for his callous "cuts" in Medicare spending.

(It is extremely disheartening that the top point of contention in the campaign this week is each candidate's assertion that their presidency could be the most trusted not to cut Medicare. Mindful of vulnerabilities among swing state retirees, Republicans have also taken Social Security cuts off the table as well. What hope do we have of reigning in government spending when even supposedly conservative Republicans refuse to consider cuts in the largest and fastest growing federal programs?)

So what was the Ryan Budget's radical departure from the status quo that has caused such uproar? If enacted today, the Ryan budget would so drastically upend the fiscal picture that the U.S. federal budget would come into balance in just... wait for it.... 27 years! This is because the Ryan budget doesn't actually cut anything. At no point in Ryan's decades long budget timeline does he ever suggest that the government spend less than it had the year before. He doesn't touch a penny in current Social Security or Medicare outlays, nor in the bloated defense budget. His apocalypse inducing departure comes from trying to limit the rate of increase in federal spending to "just" 3.1% annually. This is below the 4.3% rate of increase that is currently baked into the budget, and farther below what we would likely see if Obama's priorities were adopted.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Russian Orthodox Church Calls For Mercy For P**** Riot

Russian Orthodox Church clerics have asked the country’s authorities to "show mercy" on the three members of the punk band Pussy Riot, who were sentenced to two years in jail each on Friday in a trial seen as a test of President Vladimir Putin's tolerance of dissent.

"Casting no doubt on the legitimacy of the court’s decision, we appeal to the public authorities to show mercy, within the law, on the convicted in the hope they will never repeat such blasphemous actions,” the Russian Orthodox Church's High Council said in a statement, according to RT.com.
Read the rest here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Atheists Demand Removal Of Famous 9-11 Cross From Memorial

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum's planned presentation of the World Trade Center cross-shaped steel beam, which became a famous Ground Zero symbol right after the September 11 attacks, is being legally challenged by an atheist group.

Last year, American Atheists sued the museum for the cross' removal, arguing that the steel beam promoted religion. Its legal director, Edwin Kagin, argued that the display represents "a violation of both federal and New York law in that public funds will be used to establish the Christian religion on public land."
Read the rest here.

What a bunch of doo-doo heads! Some people are just not happy unless they are pissing off everyone who has the misfortune of being aware of their existence.

Quote of the day

"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt!"
- Senator Marcus Tullius Cicero, 63 B.C.

Russian and Polish church leaders make historic appeal for mutual forgiveness

WARSAW, Poland — The leaders of Russia’s Orthodox church and Poland’s Catholic church signed a document Friday that urges their nations to forgive each other for past wrongs.

The signing in Warsaw during the first visit to Poland by a Russia patriarch has been described by the churches as a historic act of reconciliation and the establishment of a bridge between the denominations. The two nations have feuded for centuries and their ties are still marked by distrust.
Read the rest here.

Russian Punk Band Gets 2 Years In Prison

A Russian judge on Friday found three members of a feminist punk band guilty of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" and sentenced them each to two years in prison after they staged an anti-Kremlin protest in a church.

Supporters of the members of the band Pussy Riot, who stormed the altar of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in February wearing bright ski masks, tights and short skirts to hold a "punk prayer" for Russia to get rid of President Vladimir Putin, have portrayed the case as a test of the tolerance of dissent in today’s Russia.
Read the rest here.

Two years seems a bit stiff to my mind. But I think it is important to recall that what they did was deliberate sacrilege in a church. In any jurisdiction that I know of they would have been arrested and thrown in the clink. This blog has been, and remains a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin's increasingly authoritarian regime. But these women are not the angelic martyrs that the left is making them out to be.

Should the Russian Orthodox Church have forgiven them? Yes, and shame on them for failing to do so. But a court of law is not a church. Their job is to maintain some element of order in society. My approach would have been to sentence them to time served and some particularly unpleasant form of community service coupled with a reminder that it gets very cold in Siberia in case they were ever tempted to re-offend. But Russia has always been a bit more of a law and order country. My understanding of things suggests that this sentence, while a tad harsh by our reckoning, is not exceptional for the offense by Russian standards.

It is also worth recalling that Russians are very sensitive to attacks on the church. Millions of Russians were sent to slave labor camps or just murdered outright for their religious beliefs under the Communist regime. This is something that we have no concept of in our enlightened liberal world. There are mass graves all over Russia filled with people whose only crime was their faith. Incitement to religious hatred has a very different meaning for these people.

Ecuador Is Wrong

Ecuador's government has a great record of challenging the disastrous record of Western neo-liberalism, but its Foreign Secretary is wrong to describe the charges as "laughable" and "hilarious". Though its UK Embassy must be protected from any British Government attempt to attack its sovereignty, it is wrong to offer Assange political asylum. Assange should go to Sweden to face the allegations. That doesn't mean abandoning the struggle to hold Western governments to account, and to force them to be open about how they act in our name. But this is a struggle that has become tragically compromised by Assange.
Read the rest here.
HT: Dr. Tighe

Romney Gets A Boost

A new Gallup poll shows Mitt Romney has narrowed the race after picking Paul Ryan for VP. The poll indicates a statistical tie between the two candidates. Several other polls taken just before the VP pick was announced had shown Obama with a wide lead. It will be interesting to see polling data from other sources and if the bounce has any staying power. More significantly is that there has been a large uptick in enthusiasm from the party base. Romney reported raising almost $10 million last week.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Finnish Foreign Minister Warns Of Euro Breakup

Finland is preparing for the break-up of the eurozone, the country’s foreign minister warned today.

The Nordic state is battening down the hatches for a full-blown currency crisis as tensions in the eurozone mount and has said it will not tolerate further bail-out creep or fiscal union by stealth.

“We have to face openly the possibility of a euro-break up,” said Erkki Tuomioja, the country’s veteran foreign minister and a member of the Social Democratic Party, one of six that make up the country’s coalition government.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No Criminal Case Likely For MF Global

A criminal investigation into the collapse of the brokerage firm MF Global and the disappearance of about $1 billion in customer money is now heading into its final stage without charges expected against any top executives.

After 10 months of stitching together evidence on the firm’s demise, criminal investigators are concluding that chaos and porous risk controls at the firm, rather than fraud, allowed the money to disappear, according to people involved in the case.

The hurdles to building a criminal case were always high with MF Global, which filed for bankruptcy in October after a huge bet on European debt unnerved the market. But a lack of charges in the largest Wall Street blowup since 2008 is likely to fuel frustration with the government’s struggle to charge financial executives. Just a few individuals — none of them top Wall Street players — have been prosecuted for the risky acts that led to recent failures and billions of dollars in losses.
Read the rest here.

Banks are the enemy.

Prince Philip is hospitalized again

LONDON -- Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has been taken to a Scottish hospital as "a precautionary measure," Buckingham Palace said Wednesday...

...When he turned 90, he told the British Broadcasting Corp. he was "winding down" his involvement with charities, and he has cut back on official duties. But he still carries out some engagements, both with his wife and on his own.

"I reckon I've done my bit so I want to enjoy myself a bit now, with less responsibility, less frantic rushing about, less preparation, less trying to think of something to say. On top of that your memory's going, I can't remember names and things," he told the BBC.

"It's better to get out before you reach the sell-by date," he added.
Read the rest here.

Ecuador's relations with Britain are strained by Wikileaks case

QUITO - Ecuador said on Wednesday that the British government had threatened to raid its embassy in London if Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was not handed over, and that Quito would make its decision on his asylum request on Thursday.

We are not a British colony," Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said in an angry statement.

Former computer hacker Assange, who enraged Washington in 2010 when his WikiLeaks website published secret U.S. diplomatic cables, is wanted in Sweden to face trial for rape.

Assange has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since June 19. The Australian anti-secrecy campaigner says he fears he could be bundled to the United States where his life would be at risk.
Read the rest here.

This is bogus as a three dollar bill. Assange is just trying to duck a criminal investigation into charges of rape. Ecuador should be politely informed that they either hand the fugitive over or their diplomats should pack their bags and be out of the country within 72hrs. Either way the matter is resolved satisfactorily.

Civil Asset Forfeiture - The Government's License to Steal

 
 On November 18, 2009, Shukree Simmons, who is African-American, was driving with his business partner on the highway from Macon, Georgia, back to Atlanta after selling his cherished Chevy Silverado truck to a restaurant owner in Macon for $3,700 of sorely needed funds. As Mr. Simmons passed through Lamar County, he was pulled over by two patrol officers who stated no reason for the stop, but instead asked Mr. Simmons numerous questions about where he was going and where he had been, and even separated him from his business partner for extended questioning. The officers searched both people and the car, finding no evidence of any illegal activity. A drug dog sniffed the car and did not indicate the presence of any trace of drugs. Notwithstanding the total lack of evidence of criminal activity and Mr. Simmons’s explanation that he was carrying money from selling his truck, the officers confiscated the $3,700 on the suspicion that the funds were derived from illegal activity, pursuant to their authority under Georgia’s civil asset forfeiture law . Despite the fact that Mr. Simmons mailed his bill of sale and title for the truck to the officer, he was told over the phone that he would need to file a legal claim to get his money back.

For most people in Mr. Simmons’s position, the story would end there. To challenge this activity and get their money back, victims of seizures bear the burden of initiating a claim for the money. If no claim is filed, the police can keep the money. It is unlikely that regular folks whose money is taken will be equipped to seek out the appropriate statute and comply with the requirements for making a claim. While lawyers are available to do this work, the price is high — in Georgia, a standard retainer fee is $5,000. Many people lack the resources to pay that price, and even if they had them, it would not make sense to pay more than the value of the seized funds.
Read the rest here.

The Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos

A blessed feast (actually fast) day to all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Quote of the day...

“The Ryan plan isn’t a budget. It’s the last will and testament of the Republican Party.”

-David Stockman (Budget Director for President Reagan) during a television interview last night.

Reagan's Budget Director Annihilates Paul Ryan's Budget Plan (Must Read)

Greenwich, Conn. PAUL D. RYAN is the most articulate and intellectually imposing Republican of the moment, but that doesn’t alter the fact that this earnest congressman from Wisconsin is preaching the same empty conservative sermon.

Thirty years of Republican apostasy — a once grand party’s embrace of the welfare state, the warfare state and the Wall Street-coddling bailout state — have crippled the engines of capitalism and buried us in debt. Mr. Ryan’s sonorous campaign rhetoric about shrinking Big Government and giving tax cuts to “job creators” (read: the top 2 percent) will do nothing to reverse the nation’s economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse.

Mr. Ryan professes to be a defense hawk, though the true conservatives of modern times — Calvin Coolidge, Herbert C. Hoover, Robert A. Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, even Gerald R. Ford — would have had no use for the neoconconservative imperialism that the G.O.P. cobbled from policy salons run by Irving Kristol’s ex-Trotskyites three decades ago. These doctrines now saddle our bankrupt nation with a roughly $775 billion “defense” budget in a world where we have no advanced industrial state enemies and have been fired (appropriately) as the global policeman.
Read the rest here.

It gets even better. I don't know what his positions are on all of the various issues of the day. But Stockman is speaking my language in this op-ed piece. If he ever ran for public office I'd have to give serious thought to voting for him.

Romney And Obama Are Ideological Twins

100 Ways Mitt Romney Is Just Like Barack Obama.
HT: The Orthodox Caveman

Egypt's New President Consolidates Power

CAIRO — A month ago, as President Mohamed Morsi was sworn in, Egyptians who loved and loathed him could agree on one fact: The Islamist would be a relatively powerless leader.

But just weeks into his tenure, the man who was until recently widely regarded as a charmless, accidental president has cast aside rivals and consolidated power with stunning speed and shrewdness.

On Sunday, Morsi forced out the country’s two top defense chiefs and other senior military officials in a sudden and dramatic move that analysts saw as an early victory in a power struggle many Egyptians thought would remain stalemated for years. Perhaps most surprising was how little pushback the dismissals drew in a country that has been led by military men for six decades.
Read the rest here.

Banks Rip Off Seniors

Senior citizens are used to getting good deals. Tell the truth: if you're aren't of AARP age, there have been times you wish you were -- when buying mass transit tickets, for example, or visiting America's national parks (one $10 fee gets you into any park, all year).  Plenty of restaurants and other retailers offer "senior days" and other deals.

But take checking accounts off the senior discount list. A new report by the Pew Center on the States warns(.pdf) that so-called senior checking accounts may not be a good deal at all. In fact, in some cases, senior accounts cost much more than a basic checking account.

At Bank of America, for instance, a senior account is far more expensive than a basic account. Here are the facts, from Bank of America's website.  The bank's “Advantage for Seniors” account costs $25 per month vs. a basic checking account fee of $14 per month. In both cases, consumers can earn a fee waiver, but here again, the senior account comes up short. Direct deposit of paychecks is one way, but that's often not available to seniors, Pew points out in its report. Basic checking users can also avoid fees by maintaining a $1,500 balance in their account; but seniors have to keep at least $5,000 in their account. Fall below $5,000 for even one day, and that's a $25 fee.
Read the rest here.

Banks are the enemy.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Slow Posting

Been a bit busy of late and the news has been kinda thin. Posting may continue to be slow for the next few days.

In severe drought Obama clings to ethanol mandates

President Barack Obama announced emergency measures Monday to ease the impact of the worst drought in half a century, but stopped short of waiving the government’s requirement that a large portion of the now-shriveled corn crop be diverted to make ethanol.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Romney Names Paul Ryan For VP

NORFOLK — Mitt Romney has selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate, introducing the seven-term congressman and architect of Republicans’ budget-cutting plans at a spirited rally on the deck of a battleship here Saturday morning.

In shirt sleeves and tie, Romney promised that he and Ryan would restore the American economy by cutting deficits and growing jobs. He called Ryan a man of integrity and character rooted in his middle-class Midwestern upbringing and said he had chosen a candidate with a vision for addressing the nation’s fiscal problems.
Read the rest here.

An interesting move. This will be very popular with the Tea Party and right wing Republicans. It remains to be seen how it will play with moderates and independents with whom Romney and the GOP have been having a lot of trouble garnering support.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Romney to announce VP pick tomorrow.

Breaking news on NBC. My money is on Paul Ryan.

St. Paul Cops Raid Wrong House; Brutalize Family

A St. Paul, Minnesota family claims in a lawsuit that police officers who conducted a wrong-door raid on their home shot their dog, and then forced their three handcuffed children to sit near the dead pet while officers ransacked the home. The lawsuit, which names Ramsey County, the Dakota County Drug Task Force, and the DEA, and asks for $30 million in civil rights violations and punitive damages after a wrong-door raid, also claims that the officers kicked the children and deprived one of them of her diabetes medication.
Read the rest here.

Assuming the allegations are true, I think the damages should be awarded from the Police Pension Fund.

Taxes

I just received my tax return for 2011 back from the IRS. It puzzles me!!! They are questioning how many dependents I claimed. I guess it was because of my response to the question: “List all dependents?”I replied: 12 million illegal immigrants; 3 million crack heads; 42 million unemployed people on food stamps, 2 million people in over 243 prisons; Half of Mexico; and 535 persons in the U.S. House and Senate.” Evidently, this was NOT an acceptable answer. I KEEP ASKING MYSELF, WHOM DID I MISS?
-Daniel Duval (from here)

New Polls: Obama's lead is widening

The Olympics are wrapping up and, at the end of July, when the Olympics began, we wrote that we were basically at halftime of the general election -- and Obama had a narrow lead. Well, it’s a little bigger than that now. (People may want to quibble, but you can’t dismiss every poll on sampling.) There’s clearly movement toward the president and clearly problems for Romney personally. We had found it in our polling for the last month and it hadn’t shown up everywhere yet. Now it has. The latest evidence: three new polls out today – from CNN, Fox, and Reuters/Ipsos – all showing President Obama leading Romney by seven points or more and at or near 50%. (CNN 52-45%, Fox 49-40%, Reuters/Ipsos 49-42%). What’s more, Romney continues to have an image problem. In CNN, Obama’s fav/unfav is +14, Romney’s -1. And in Fox, Obama’s +12, Romney’s +1. (Ipsos didn’t ask fav/unfav.)
Read the rest here.

There is going to be some variation in poll numbers and usually one candidate will have a lead. But these numbers coming from several different sources suggest Romney is in trouble. It's not Spring anymore. It's August now and this is a wide gap to overcome in not quite three months.

There are still the giant infomercials we used to call conventions coming up and Romney has yet to announce his VP choice. But time and opportunities to reverse the pro-Obama trends are starting to run thin. Money is not a major issue. Romney and the GOP have been out-raising Obama and the Democrats by a wide margin. But their huge financial advantages don't seem to be translating into a pro-Romney shift in the polling numbers. On the contrary, the trend for months has been for Obama and it seems to be picking up steam. If this gap is not narrowed significantly then we could see Obama reelected in a landslide.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Florida bar: Illegal immigrant meets moral fitness test

An illegal immigrant seeking admission to the Florida bar has met its requirements to become a lawyer, the bar said in a filing this week to the Florida Supreme Court in a case being watched closely by both sides of the immigration debate.

Jose Godinez-Samperio is one of a few illegal immigrants in different states trying to get law licenses after passing the local bar’s two-pronged test: an exam and a moral character review.

Godinez-Samperio passed the exam portion of the test last year, and he was notified recently that nothing in his background would be considered “disqualifying” for the character portion. That notice was cited Monday in legal correspondence posted on the Florida court’s website.
Read the rest here.

Consumers making progress paring down debt

Five years after the bursting of the borrowing bubble, American households are getting a better handle on their debt.

The latest sign came in reports this week showing that homeowners are doing a better job keeping up with their mortgage payments. So far this year, the number of mortgage holders who are behind by two monthly payments or more has fallen 9 percent, according to TransUnion, a consumer credit rating agency. A separate survey By the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that, despite an uptick, in the second quarter, mortgage delinquencies are tracking lower than this time a year ago. 

The improved mortgage numbers come as American households generally whittle away at debt.
Read the rest here.

A Golden State train wreck

State Sen. Joe Simitian’s district office near Stanford’s campus is nestled among shops sporting excruciatingly cute names (A Street Bike Named Desire,Mom’s the Word maternity wear) intended to make the progressive gentry comfortable with upscale consumption by presenting it as whimsical. This community surely has its share of advanced thinkers who think trains are wonderful because they are not cars (rampant individualism; people going wherever and whenever they want, unsupervised).

Nevertheless, Simitian was one of just four Democratic state senators who recently voted — in vain — to derail plans that eventually may involve spending more than $100 billion on a 500-mile bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Simitian makes the obligatory genuflection: He favors high-speed rail “done right.” But having passed sixth-grade arithmetic, he has doubts. At one point, an estimate of 44 million riders a year — subsequently revised downward, substantially — assumed gasoline costing $40 a gallon.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Disabled Spectator Arrested for Not Visibly Enjoying Olympic Event

Mark Worsfold, 54, a former soldier and martial arts instructor, was arrested on 28 July for a breach of the peace shortly before the cyclists arrived in Redhouse Park, Leatherhead, where he had sat down on a wall to watch the race. Officers from Surrey police restrained and handcuffed him and took him to Reigate police station, saying his behaviour had "caused concern."

    * * *

Worsfold … claims police questioned him about his demeanour and why he had not been seen to be visibly enjoying the event. Worsfold, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2010, suffers from muscle rigidity that affects his face. He was released after two hours without charge or caution.
Read the rest here.

Words fail me.

The ultra-Orthodox tighten their grip in Israel

BEIT SHEMESH, Israel

The rock hit Nili Philipp on the side of her helmet as she biked last year along the main road in this Jerusalem suburb. A few years earlier, the spitting had begun, as Philipp jogged on a road bordering an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. Men called her names: Shikseh, the derogatory term for a Gentile woman. Prutzah, whore.

But Philipp’s story is not one of conflict between the defiantly secular Israeli majority and an increasingly assertive ultra-Orthodox minority. She is an observant, modern Orthodox Jew, dressed, on the day we speak, as she is for her runs — a kerchief covering her red hair, a skirt that falls modestly below the knee. It speaks volumes about intolerance among the ultra-Orthodox that Philipp has become enraged, even radicalized, by the behavior of her neighbors.

“Whenever people tell me, respect their society — their society doesn’t respect me,” Philipp says, voice quivering as she describes a recent incident in which a woman with an infant was pelted with stones while shopping here. “We all see ourselves as vulnerable, and we’re all scared.” The latest skirmish involves signs instructing women here to stay off certain sidewalks so as not to brush up against men.
Read the rest here.

In France "Les Riches" prepare to vote with their feet

 PARIS — The call to Vincent Grandil’s Paris law firm began like many others that have rolled in recently. On the line was the well-paid chief executive of one of France’s most profitable companies, and he was feeling nervous.

President François Hollande is vowing to impose a 75 percent tax on the portion of anyone’s income above a million euros ($1.24 million) a year. “Should I be preparing to leave the country?” the executive asked Mr. Grandil.

The lawyer’s counsel: Wait and see. For now, at least.

“We’re getting a lot of calls from high earners who are asking whether they should get out of France,” said Mr. Grandil, a partner at Altexis, which specializes in tax matters for corporations and the wealthy. “Even young, dynamic people pulling in 200,000 euros are wondering whether to remain in a country where making money is not considered a good thing.”
Read the rest here.

The Fight Between Rome and Peru's Leftist (anti) Catholic University

LIMA, Peru — To its critics in the church, the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru is not deserving of its name. It has spurned the pontiff, they say. It is far from Roman Catholic orthodoxy, they argue. In their minds, the school ought to be called something else entirely.

“It’s false advertising,” said Fernán Altuve, a conservative legal expert who supports a recent order by the Vatican that the school change its name by eliminating references to the pope and the church. “It’s as if I sell you a bottle that says Coca-Cola but what’s inside is Pepsi.”
Read the rest here.
HT: T-19

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Loughner pleads guilty to murder

TUCSON, Ariz. — Jared Lee Loughner agreed Tuesday to spend the rest of his life in prison, accepting that he went on a deadly shooting rampage at an Arizona political gathering and sparing the victims a lengthy, possibly traumatic death-penalty trial.

His plea came soon after a federal judge found that months of psychiatric treatment for schizophrenia made Loughner able to understand charges that he killed six people and wounded 13 others, including his intended target, then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Read the rest here.

Frankly I am disturbed by this. If he needed to be heavily medicated just so he could understand what was happening in court, how could he possibly be responsible for killing six people?

Obama Administration tightens detainees' access to lawyers

The Obama Administrati0n conceded to a federal judge on Monday that it is cutting back on the legal rights of Guantanamo detainees who have had one chance to challenge their imprisonment, but said it would consider relaxing the limits on a case-by-case basis — at the government’s discretion, not by court order.  The 52-page filing spells out in full for the first time the changes that military and civilian officials have worked out to govern access to detainees by their volunteer lawyers.  A federal District judge is weighing whether to allow the changes.

Since the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in Boumediene v. Bush,  guaranteeing Guantanamo prisoners a right to go to court to test their detention, the issue of lawyers’ access has been within the control of federal District judges in Washington.  Under the new regime that began to be unveiled this summer, the Administration intends to shift that process entirely to the military and government intelligence agencies. The commander of the Naval base at Guantanamo is to gain full veto power, beyond review, over the access question, and the intelligence agencies would have the final veto power over access to classified information — even if that information comes from the detainees themselves.
Read the rest here.

Emails suggest Obama Administration was behind loss of pensions by non-union workers

Emails obtained by The Daily Caller show that the U.S. Treasury Department, led by Timothy Geithner, was the driving force behind terminating the pensions of 20,000 salaried retirees at the Delphi auto parts manufacturing company.

The move, made in 2009 while the Obama administration implemented its auto bailout plan, appears to have been made solely because those retirees were not members of labor unions.

The internal government emails contradict sworn testimony, in federal court and before Congress, given by several Obama administration figures. They also indicate that the administration misled lawmakers and the courts about the sequence of events surrounding the termination of those non-union pensions, and that administration figures violated federal law.
Read the rest here

Note: The Daily Caller is an independent news source that claims ideological neutrality. This however is not universally accepted. In any case they seem to have the emails to back their story up.

Monday, August 06, 2012

A Year in the Hermitage of The Holy Cross (WV)

A great video on Orthodox Monasticism.

US to drop silver manipulation case

(Reuters) - U.S. regulators are set to drop a four-year investigation into the possible manipulation of the silver market after failing to find enough evidence to support a legal case, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing three people familiar with the situation.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission first announced that it was investigating "complaints of misconduct in the silver market" in September 2008 after a group of precious metals investors alleged manipulation, the FT reported.

It said that while the CFTC has not yet formally determined the outcome of the investigation, leaving the possibility that staff could be instructed to dig deeper, the agency does not currently have sufficient evidence to bring a case.
Read the rest here.

Harry Reid's Gutter Politics

In “The Godfather Part II,” a senator from Nevada is portrayed as corrupt. His name is Pat Geary. In real life, a senator from Nevada is a jerk. His name is Harry Reid.

Reid is where he loves to be: the center of controversy. He has accused Mitt Romney of paying no taxes for 10 years. Romney denies the accusation and challenged Reid to put up or shut up. In an apparent response, Reid repeated the charges on the Senate floor. Countless aides have echoed their boss. They and he attribute their information to a source they will not name.

Whether such a source exists, really, is beside the point. It could be that someone did indeed tell Reid that Romney paid no taxes for 10 years. Journalists get that sort of tip all the time, and their responsibility is (1) to check it out and (2) identify the source. Reid has not done the latter and apparently has not done the former, either. The truth is that Reid doesn’t really care if the charge is true or not. He would prefer the former, but he’ll settle for the latter.

 For Reid, this is yet another brazen and tasteless partisan attack. As majority leader, he has managed to sink the public image of the Senate even lower than it would otherwise be. He contributes to bad feelings, gridlock and the sense — nay, the reality — that everything is done for political advantage. Reid is a crass man, the very personification of the gaudy and kitschy Las Vegas Strip.
Read the rest here.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

At Olympics, British pride surges with medal count

LONDON — In a nation known for cool reserve and a tendency to expect the worst, the opening days of the London Games brought a period of national self-flagellation as early gaffes plagued organizers and not a single British athlete struck gold. But in a story of perseverance, redemption and surging pride, Britain is starting to believe.

After an initial drought in Olympic medals, the last couple of days may just be the greatest in the history of British sports. This host nation of 62 million had claimed 16 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze medals after a wildly gilded weekend, including a victory by runner Mo Farah, the first British man to win the 10,000-meter race, that sent a panel of normally calm BBC commentators into fits of raucous screams.
Read the rest here.

U.S. Officials Brace for Huge Task of Operating Health Exchanges

WASHINGTON — Obama administration officials are getting ready to set up and operate new health insurance markets in about half the states, where local officials appear unwilling or unable to do so.

 The markets, known as exchanges, are a centerpiece of President Obama’s health care law, and running them will be a herculean task that federal officials never expected to perform.

When Congress passed legislation to expand coverage two years ago, Mr. Obama and lawmakers assumed that every state would set up its own exchange, a place where people could shop for insurance and get subsidies to help defray the cost.

But with Republicans in many states resisting the creation of exchanges or deterred by the complexity of the task, federal officials are preparing to do the job, with or without assistance from state officials.
Read the rest here.

Israel Bars Foreign Envoys From Traveling to West Bank Meeting

JERUSALEM — Israel on Sunday barred the delegations of five countries from attending a diplomatic conference in Ramallah, in the West Bank, upending plans by the Palestinian president to announce his intention to renew the Palestinians’ bid this September for enhanced status in the United Nations.
Read the rest here.

Another mass shooting

 A gunman opened fire Sunday morning at a Sikh temple outside of Milwaukee, killing six people and wounding at least three others, including a police officer, before being shot to death, police said.
Read the rest here.

A lonely job

JOEL K. GOLDSTEIN, a law professor at St. Louis University, is a leading authority on the United States vice presidency. People seem to respect him anyway.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Fr. Z On The Great Nun Controversy

Friends, no matter what the nuns claim, this whole mess with the CDF and American bishops is not about bishops having power over nuns, or men being over women.

The problem is that the LCWR types are “moving beyond Jesus”.  They are drifting out Christianity.

That looks like hyperbole when I state it this starkly, but this is really where they are going.

I don’t think these nuns even realize where they are going.

When you come right down to it, their problem is – ironically – with the documents of Vatican II!  They really have a problem with Lumen gentium on the constitution of the Church.  They don’t know who the Church is and who they are in the Church.  They no longer understand what consecrated life is (they think they are “prophetic” and therefore are allowed to “question” any teaching and are free from the “institutional” Church and hierarchy) and they have forgotten who their Lord is (they are moving beyond Jesus).

And their real enemy is Vatican II.  They have more problems with Vatican II than the Lefevbrists have.  We will probably reach an accord with the SSPX before the LCWR is squared away.

I know where they are going.  The LCWR gals are on a train, zooming down the track straight toward a canyon, and the bridge is out.
From here.

I think that is a pretty insightful summary of things.

Friday, August 03, 2012

OK so I'm a bum

Sorry about the non-posting today. I had the day off and did not stir from my bed until almost 9AM. I did not even bother to shower until almost noon. The only productive thing I have done all day was spend 20 minutes cleaning the bathroom. Other than that, I have read, played chess online and I watched the 1950's version of Sabrina on Netflix (Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and Bill Holden). A much better film than the 90's remake. As of this moment I am trying to keep tabs on the Mets-Padres game (tied at zero in the bottom of the 3rd). The Mets have been in a brutal slump since the All Star Break. Sigh...

A House For The Big Guy

$13.5 million will buy you the house built for Jesus Christ in 1928.

HT: Archer in the Forest

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Crime Report

Somethings you just can't make up.  Floating while drunk...

Is an attack on Israel an attack on individual Jewish identity?

...Free speech is also facing a crucial test on American campuses. Last month, a University of California advisory council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion published a report on “Jewish student campus climate.” Requested by UC President Mark Yudof, the report calls for the dietary needs of Jews on campus to be adequately met. It also recognizes the need to accommodate students who wish to observe Jewish holidays.

Just as important are the distinctions that the report draws between Jewish identity and support of Israel’s current policies. The authors rightly point out that “the Jewish communities on the [UC] campuses are very diverse, making generalizations difficult.”  They state that “this is especially true when it comes to the issue of Israel.” They therefore describe “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” as “anti-semitism.”

However, the authors also emphasize that “for many Jewish students, their Jewish cultural and religious identity cannot be separated from their identity with Israel,” and that “pro-Zionist students see an attack on the State of Israel as an attack on the individual and personal identity.” The report makes no effort to discuss the validity of these “attacks.” Instead, it calls for “policies that give campus administrators authority to prohibit such activities on campus,” as well as “education” to address “the root causes of harassment.”

Since one of the authors of the report is a member of the Anti-Defamation League, an organization which opposes even criticism of Netanyahu, these recommendations could lead to unprecedented restrictions on students’ free speech.
Read the rest here.

Gary Johnson; could a Libertarian swing the election?

Our story in Aug. 1 paper, “Obama advisers see hope in 3rd parties,” highlighted Gary Johnson, the nominee of the Libertarian Party. By coincidence, Johnson was in Seattle that day, and I spent 45 minutes with him.

The point of the story was that Johnson and another third-party candidate could draw away Romney votes in key states and hand the election to Obama. That is possible. It is what Ralph Nader did to Al Gore in Florida in 2000.

I asked Johnson if the prospect of being the Nader of 2012 bothers him.

“It doesn’t bother me a bit,” he said.
Read the rest here.

Russians are deeply divided over Pussy Riot trial

Russians have indeed split into two camps. The apologies the three young women made to all the believers whose feelings were insulted by their punk prayer that took place in the country's main cathedral did not cool down the wild passions around the case. In his interview to The Guardian, Father Vsevolod Chaplin said that the apologies did not change anything and blamed the West for attempting to divide Russian society.

There are few people left who feel indifferent towards Pussy Riot. A poll taken by the sociology research group Levada Center right before the beginning of the trial showed that over the last month the number of those who have not heard about the case has dropped by half. Currently, only about 21% of those polled have no knowledge of the case. The decision to broadcast the court hearings, which was unprecedented in Russian court history, was related primarily to the high profile of the trial.

Now the young women are charged with hooliganism. Such criminal charges can carry punishment of two to seven years in prison. Few people in either camp believe that they are being tried as hooligans. Of the Levada respondents, 32% believe that the women are being prosecuted for blasphemy and for insulting churchgoers' feelings, almost 13% believe that they are on trial for the calls to throw Putin away, and 6% think it is for both counts.
Read the rest here.

I would love to say that this was just the iron fisted hand of Putin at work. But it is more than that. Putin is crushing critics in the name of, and on behalf of, the Orthodox Church. And that is extremely disturbing.

US War Plans Irk China

When President Obama called on the U.S. military to shift its focus to Asia earlier this year, Andrew Marshall, a 91-year-old futurist, had a vision of what to do.

Marshall’s small office in the Pentagon has spent the past two decades planning for a war against an angry, aggressive and heavily armed China.

No one had any idea how the war would start. But the American response, laid out in a concept that one of Marshall’s longtime proteges dubbed “Air-Sea Battle,” was clear.

Stealthy American bombers and submarines would knock out China’s long-range surveillance radar and precision missile systems located deep inside the country. The initial “blinding campaign” would be followed by a larger air and naval assault.

The concept, the details of which are classified, has angered the Chinese military and has been pilloried by some Army and Marine Corps officers as excessively expensive. Some Asia analysts worry that conventional strikes aimed at China could spark a nuclear war.
Read the rest here.

I honestly don't have a problem with military contingency plans. China can whine all they want but they have people planning the exact same war for their military. It's pretty much SOP for any national defense force. You have to be prepared and that means thinking unpleasant things and planning for them.

In line with the previous post... 1916


I never thought I would post a tissue box warning for a song by Motorhead, but here you have it. Forewarned.

98 Years Ago: The world blows up (II)

On August 2 1914 following German declarations of war on Russia and France and and the issuance of its ultimatum demanding free passage through neutral Belgium the first major combat operations of the war begin.

German troops invade Luxemburg very early.

France is entered at four points.

A patrol kills French soldiers 10 km over frontier near Belfort.

Poland is invaded by Germans, who occupy Kalish, Chenstokhov and Bendzin.

East Prussia is entered by Russian raiders near Schwidden.

Libau is bombarded by the German light cruiser "Augsburg".

Additional German Note is handed to Belgium at 7 p.m. alleging that Germany must violate her soil in order to "anticipate" a French attack in Belgium; demands that latter should remain passive; answer required in 12 hours.

England assures France that British fleet will stop German fleet if latter attacks French shipping in Channel.

Obama orders 'secret' aid for Syrian rebels

Once again, this country simply cannot mind its own business.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Bishop: "It might be time to leave"

- Coptic Christian Bishop Paul of Tanta will tell Copts to leave Egypt if the Church is not guaranteed religious jurisdiction. Bishop Paul, a representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the Constituent Assembly, is also threatening to leave the Assembly if Article II is not modified to his liking.
Read the rest at ByzantineTexas.

Economy may be stuck in slow-growth mode for a long time

Central bankers are considering more steps, including possibly buying more long-term bonds to keep interest rates low. But those measures are not expected to be announced when the Fed issues a policy statement Wednesday. So for now, it's wait and hope.

The latest data on gross domestic product highlight the Fed’s long-term quandary. Though growth has slowed sharply from a burst late last year, the expansion continues to chug along at an anemic 1.5 percent annual pace.

That growth avoids the technical definition of recession. But the sluggish pace of hiring makes it feel like a downturn for the 12.7 million American workers still sidelined.

And some experts believe the economy may be permanently stuck in slow-growth mode.
Read the rest here.

Supporters call for 'Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day'

Supporters of restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, which has come under fire for its president's anti-same-sex marriage stance, are planning a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" on Wednesday.

According to news reports, Christian conservatives have promised to buy the Atlanta-based chain's waffle fries and chicken sandwiches to show their support of  President Dan Cathy, who recently told a Baptist publication that he was "guilty as charged" in his support of the "biblical definition" of the family as being between a man and a woman.

The statement sparked a firestorm of criticism from gay marriage supporters and politicians, turning Chick-fil-A into a lightening rod for the debate over same-sex unions.
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Of course they would pick a Wednesday...

It's a tough time to be a moderate

These days, this isn’t a great time to be a moderate in Congress. And as we found out in Texas last night, it isn’t a great time to be perceived as a moderate, either. In announcing yesterday that he won’t seek re-election in November, Ohio GOP Rep. Steve LaTourette -- one of the most pro-labor Republicans in Congress -- bemoaned the partisanship on Capitol Hill. “I have reached the conclusion that the atmosphere today, and the reality that exists in the House of Representatives, no longer encourages the finding of common ground,” he said, per NBC’s Frank Thorp. A day earlier, fellow GOP Rep. Richard Hanna of New York told the Syracuse Post-Standard’s editorial board that his party is too willing to cater to the ideological extreme. “I have to say that I’m frustrated by how much we — I mean the Republican Party — are willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes in this moment in history,” referring to Michele Bachmann’s political witch hunt against a top State Department aide.
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Fed says US economy has slowed, takes no new steps

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the economy is losing strength and repeated a pledge to take further steps to stimulate growth if the job market doesn't show sustained improvement.

The Fed took no new action after its two-day policy meeting. But it acknowledged in a statement released after the meeting that economic activity had slowed over the first half of the year, unemployment remains elevated and consumer spending has weakened.
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Colleges freeze, reduce tuition as public balks at further price hikes

After three decades of tuition hikes that have outpaced inflation and increases in family income, students, families, legislators and governing boards are demanding a halt.

“Enough is enough,” says Anne Mariucci, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents, which for the first time in 20 years has frozen in-state tuition at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University after increases over the last five years of 84 and 96 percent, respectively.

Some private universities, too, have agreed to stop raising their tuition, or even cut it, after being alarmed to discover their enrollments starting to slip.
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