Wednesday, October 31, 2012
It seems that George Lucas is planning to sell Lucasfilm to Disney. Wow. Disney wasted no time in announcing that a Star Wars 7 is upcoming. Looks like the evil Empire won.
"Walt Disney this afternoon announced a deal to buy Lucasfilm from Star Wars director and film pioneer George Lucas for $4.05 billion in cash and stock.
"Under terms of the deal, Lucas will be paid half in cash and half in the form of about 40 million Disney shares.
"The deal includes not only Star Wars but also other businesses operated by Lucasfilm, including LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. Disney said the current plan is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.
"Kathleen Kennedy, now co-chairman of Lucasfilm, becomes president of the company, reporting to Disney Chairman Alan Horn. She’s also acting as brand manager for Star Wars. The announcement said Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new films in the franchise, with Lucas as creative consultant. The announcement notes that Star Wars Episode 7 is scheduled for release in 2015, with more films expected to follow. No word yet on who will direct Episode 7."
It's hard to say what will happen to Lucasfilm. Disney does have a history of disassembling companies that they purchase. However, Lucasfilm, with ILM, is a huge brand name...
Would Disney dare to disassemble a highly successful brand and replace it with just more Disney? My bet is that they can't help themselves. Sure it might take longer, but eventually Lucasfilm and everything else associated with it, will simply be absorbed and become Disney only brand names.
That's too bad. And I hate to see Star Wars become a Hollywood community property. For all that the second trilogy lacked, they still possessed that personal touch that made the Star Wars franchise different from the knock-offs-- and even different from other successful franchises. With Disney in charge, I can guarantee that uniqueness will be gone. And we'll get a slew of Iron Man/Avengers-like films-- some good, some bad, but all with that disjointed, generic narrative that comes from community produced projects.
And seeing photos of R2-D2 in mouse ears was a bit much.
I've been out of Hollywood for quite a while and have been focusing my attention on DC and more recently the election rather than box offices and such, but this news surprised me a lot. End of an era and all... cliche and another cliche... blah, blah, blah. Still, I can't help feel a bit melancholy about this.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
UnSkewedPolls.com is running this map as their assessment of the presidential race (h/t Hillbuzz). I think it's a pretty accurate prediction. Kevin DuJan at HillBuzz believes they're being too pessimistic, and predicts that New Mexico and an additional EV from Maine will add to the total. He also reminds us that Michigan and Pennsylvania are in play, and could got to Romney. It's certainly possible and I hope DuJan's correct.
In my deepest pessimism, I fear that Obama could take Colorado and even Wisconsin. This drops Romney to 282 and raises Obama to 256. Of course that's my worst case scenario barring something huge (yes, bigger than Sandy) turning Obama's way-- and I see nothing to suggest that. So it really doesn't matter. Obama loses any way I look at it, and that's what matter.
The academic Leftist in charge has spent four years driving this country straight into the ground, while simultaneously prying people apart according to class and race. Nobody-- except the hard Left-- wants to endure another four years of that. Obama has to go.
Of course this comes with the normal reminder that we do not stop running until after the finish line-- probably then some in this case. Obama has a small legion of lawyers ready to contest the vote if it's remotely close. We have to prepare for that. I would not be worrying about this with any other post WWII president, but Obama has proven himself repeatedly to be one who is willing to play the dirtiest of politics, to lie most brazenly, and to indulge in the most partisan of attacks. I don't think the results will be close enough for him to dispute, but...
And by the way, Gallup is reporting that the election is running at GOP +3 regarding party affiliation, and not the Dem +12 that it was at in 2008. Yup, that's right. There's been a 15 point swing in four years. Not exactly a shocker if we recall the 2010 elections. I guess, the "blame the Republicans in Congress for all ills" meme that the Dems and MSM have been pushing for the past two years didn't work. Go figure.
Monday, October 29, 2012
File this under: "Really? Do you think?"
From The Complete Colorado article by Todd Shepherd (h/t Gateway Pundit):
"Recent remarks by President Obama to a Denver-based TV anchor stand in stark contrast to new emails obtained by CompleteColorado.com.
"This past Friday, President Obama told KUSA's Kyle Clark, in response to a question on the federally-backed but failed Colorado company Abound Solar, 'And these are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy (DOE), they have nothing to do with politics.'
"And just one year ago, White House advisor David Plouffe had this exchange with NBC's David Gregory regarding the political questions surrounding many of the DOE-backed projects:
Were campaign contributors involved here in terms of their projects that ultimately forced the government's hand?
Absolutely not. These decisions about the loan program were made by career officials in the Department of Energy on the merits.
"CompleteColorado.com has obtained emails that seem to directly contradict Plouffe's answer, and also challenge the President's notion that the DOE's loan decisions were universally autonomous within the agency. The emails also lend even more credence to the theory that the loan to Abound Solar was political payback to Colorado's wealthy Democratic benefactor and Gang-of-Four member, Pat Stryker."
Is it really surprising that a Chicago politician is engaging in political payoff? I mean sure the numbers of dollars is pretty high, but this is the president who has spent money at astronomical levels for the past 4 years. Obama has taken the concept of both government spending and political payoff to another level.
Be sure to view the e-mails themselves at the link at the top to CompleteColorado.com.
Friday, October 26, 2012
More nonsense from the UN's wildly misnamed Human Rights Council.
From The Washington Free Beacon:
"The Washington Free Beacon has obtained a report soon to be released by the United Nations that calls for an international campaign of legal attacks and economic warfare on a group of American companies that do business in Israel, including Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar Inc., and Motorola Solutions Inc.
"The Human Rights Council (HRC), a body dominated by Islamic countries and known for its hostility to, and heavy focus on, the Jewish State, issued the report. The George W. Bush administration refused to participate in the HRC, but President Barack Obama joined it soon after taking office. Members of the HRC include infamous human rights abusers such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Libya, China, and Cuba.
"The Obama-approved body maintains a 'Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories [sic].' The current rapporteur is American college professor Richard Falk, a 9/11 'truther' who once posted an anti-Semitic cartoon on his personal blog.
"In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman blasted the report and the HRC’s special rapporteur: 'We believe you should have prevented the Secretariat from being a party to Mr. Falk’s anti-Israel agenda. Mr. Falk’s entire tenure as Special Rapporteur has served to undermine the credibility of the institution of the United Nations.'
"The report attempts to instigate a campaign of boycott, divestment, sanctions, and legal action against a litany of international companies doing business in Israel. In addition to American companies, the U.N. targets include major European firms such as Veolia Environnement, Group 4 Security, the Dexia Group, the Volvo Group.
"The report warns American employees of targeted companies that they face legal risks.
"'Employees of companies can face investigation and prosecution for human rights violations committed irrespective of where the violation was committed.'
"In addition to legal action against American employees of targeted companies, the Special Rapporteur 'concludes that all companies that operate in or otherwise have dealings with Israeli settlements should be boycotted.' The companies should 'be prepared to accept any consequences—reputation, financial, or legal—of continuing operations.'
"Should the companies continue doing business in Israel, the Human Rights Council 'calls on civil society to actively pursue legal and political redress against non-complying business' and 'to vigorously pursue initiatives to boycott, divest and sanction the businesses highlighted in this report' and 'calls on the international community to consider requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice' to punish the businesses. [emphasis mine]"
The concept of the UN always seemed a bit suspect to me. Why should petty dictators, killers and human rights offenders be afforded such a grand stage on which to spew their nonsense?
But the HRC has taken this type of idiocy to another level. This is just one more episode of a long history of attacks against Israel. It's another attempt to not merely portray, but to treat Israel as a rogue state. Any legitimacy given by the United States to the current HRC is unconscionable and a betrayal of an ally.
But I guess it's just a bit of Obama's "smart diplomacy" in action and all that.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Obama has such a low opinion of people. He truly believes the average American will merely accept his word over the facts, observable reality, and common sense.
From Tom Blumer at Bizzy Blog:
"Although it should have used harsher language in its headline, FactCheck.org, the Annenberg Foundation-funded outfit, has apparently set its leftist bias aside long enough to take shots at an ad narrated by President Barack Obama which claims 5.2 million jobs created and gives all but the most alert viewers the impression that the number represents those created during his entire administration. Perhaps predictably, the item, which was at the top at Yahoo News just a few hours ago, is not on the home page of Yahoo’s U.S. home page and is on the verge of falling off at its main page."
From the Fact Check piece by Brooks Jackson:
"In a new TV ad, President Obama makes an inflated claim to have added 5.2 million new jobs. The total added during his time in office is actually about 325,000.
"In the ad, the president says 'over 5 million new jobs' while the figure '5.2 million' appears on screen. But that’s a doubly misleading figure.
- Viewers would need to pay close attention to the on-screen graphic to know that the ad refers only to employment gains starting in March 2010, omitting the 4.3 million jobs that were lost in the first year of Obama’s term.
- And there’s no way a viewer would know that the total counts only private-sector jobs, omitting continuing losses in government employment.
"According to the most recent employment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy has eked out a net gain of 325,000 jobs since January 2009, when Obama took office. And that’s giving credit for roughly 386,000 jobs that the BLS has announced, on a preliminary basis, that it will be adding to this year’s employment totals next year, as a result of its routine annual 'benchmarking' analysis.
"Looking only at private-sector jobs, it’s true that the total has risen just under 5.2 million since February 2010 — provided that credit is given for roughly 453,000 private-sector jobs to be added next year through the BLS benchmarking process. But over Obama’s entire term, those private-sector jobs have gone up only 967,000, even counting benchmarking additions."
Obama claims 5.2 million jobs created, and the actual number is 325,000-- a near 5 million difference! Obama's claim is a juvenile fantasy. It's like a grade school kid imagining how things would be if he was president.
Still, why should I be at all surprised about such discrepancies. I mean Obama bluntly lying to the American people to make himself look good or to get off the hook? I've never heard of such a thing-- except Rev. Wright, Benghazi, Fast & Furious, oil reserves, the 5,000,000 green jobs, and so on and so forth...
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
A black woman was seriously burned on Sunday in Winsboro, Louisiana. "KKK" and a racial slur were scrawled across the hood of her car in toothpaste.
When I first heard about the attack, I was immediately alarmed at the incident. A group of presumably (although the woman never said what the race of her attackers were) white men attack and severely maim a young black woman. But, I did find the incident unusual, as I am passably familiar with that area of the country (I have relatives living there-- black relatives actually-- with whom I visit yearly), and never felt that there was an overly large nor dramatically violent white supremacist movement in the area. It certainly is not a place seething with racial hatred.
Well, turns out the woman apparently set herself on fire.
From The Franklin Sun article by Matt Reynolds and Katie Norwood:
"Two days after multiple law enforcement agencies began an investigation into the attack and burning of a Winnsboro woman at Civitan Park, authorities now believe the wounds were self-inflicted.
"According to Winnsboro Police Chief Lester Thomas, evidenced gathered at the scene of the incident shows 20-year-old Sharmeka Moffitt's initial claims that she was attacked and set on fire turned out to be false claims made up by Moffitt.
"'This is a case in which the investigators had to pursue the facts that were presented,' Thomas said. 'It's been a very disturbing case for everyone involved.'
"On Sunday, officers responded to a 911 call around 8 p.m. near the walking trail at Civitan Park to find Moffitt with burns covering her body. It was less than a minute from the time the call from Moffitt came into the 911 center that officers from the Winnsboro Police Department and the Franklin Parish Sheriff's Office were on the scene at the park located on Hwy. 15.
"Moffitt could not identify the race of her attackers, but said three men wearing 'T-shirt hoodies' doused her in a flammable liquid and set her on fire at the park. The responding officers found no suspects or vehicles at the park where the attack allegedly occurred.
"Moffitt was taken to Franklin Medical Center in Winnsboro and then transported to LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, where it was determined she had burns on over 60 percent of her body.
"State Police arrived by helicopter with its crime lab team to gather evidence shortly after Moffitt was taken for medical assistance. Law enforcement officials gathered evidence from the scene all night, finishing its scaling of the crime scene by Monday morning.
"After analyzing the evidence at the State Police Crime Lab, it was discovered Moffitt's fingerprints were on the cigarette lighter and the lighter fluid recovered near the wooded area around the crime scene.
"'There is more physical evidence along those lines that back this up,' Thomas said.
"At a news conference held at LSU Medical Center on Monday evening, Moffitt's mother, Edna Moffitt said her daughter was in critical condition with third-degree burns on her arms and other areas and would undergo surgery Tuesday.
"False rumors regarding the incident were spread on various social media outlets Sunday night just hours after the incident took place. On many of the Twitter and Facebook posts, users speculated the attack was a hate crime and Moffitt was attacked for wearing a President Obama t-shirt when she was 'raped and burned alive'.
"Moffitt's mother and Thomas confirmed Monday that the Obama T-shirt rumor was false and there was no evidence of sexual assault.
"A racial slur and the letters, KKK, that were written in toothpaste on Moffitt's vehicle were linked to female DNA, authorities said.
"'All of the evidence is pointing back to the victim inflicting this upon herself,' Thomas said. 'No evidence has shown any other person was involved.'
"Thomas said that no matter the outcome of these types of tragic events, it's always a heavy burden on law enforcement and the victim's family.
"'My heart truly goes out to the Moffitt family, who are more than just members of our community, they are my friends,' Thomas said. 'I hope we can come together as a community and pray for their wellbeing and a quick recovery of Sharmeka.'"
File this one under "What the Hell?!" right next to that woman in Vancouver Wa who threw acid in her face and claimed a black woman did it.
Absolutely bizarre behavior.
Of course the usual suspects jumped all over the story as proof of the seething South. This example is one of my personal favorites:
"The South appears to be on the rise again. Didn’t some of you think the Ku Klux Klan had decided to call it quits? Well nothing could be further from the truth. It appears that Hate never sleeps, nor dies.
"Sharmeka Moffitt, 20, was in Civitan Park in Winnsboro, Louisiana, when three men approached her in white hoodies and doused her with a flammable liquid then set her on fire, according to CBS. They also took some creamy like substance and wrote 'KKK' on her vehicle.
"Moffitt suffered third degree burns on more than half of her body Sunday night when she was attacked. Civitan Park does not have video surveillance, so the leads on the crime are slim. At the time of the report, no one has been caught and/or arrested for the vicious crime.
"Franklin Sheriff Kevin Cobb said:
“This is a horrific event that will not be taken lightly. Winnsboro Police, Franklin Parish Sheriff, Louisiana State Police, The state fire Marshall’s office and the FBI are investigating.”"This is the type of crime that the South is quite familiar with and this area especially. According to the local NAACP branch President, Otis Chisley, the president of the local branch of the NAACP, Moffitt’s family is 'distraught', but they are awaiting more facts before drawing any conclusion. Chisley was quoted saying
“everyone wants to move with caution.”"He also said, 'racism and KKK activity remain a fact of life in the state [emphasis mine].'"
Apparently the author believes that the South rising again is completely dependent on racial violence.
I just love that "This is the type of crime that South is quite familiar with" et al.
How about offering up a few examples of how this happens all the time there, sir? I guess that it's such a common occurence that when it does happen as a hoax it's national news.
Of course the Left was quick to blame Romney, the Tea Party, and the Right in general. I don't expect any apologies will be forthcoming.
Classy... Way to boo a little girl, people.
VIDEO HERE. (via Drudge)
Well, at least they didn't beat her.
Or threaten to kill her on Twitter. As they did to Stacy Dash.
It's the new age of tolerance in this post-racial world.
VIDEO HERE. (via Drudge)
Well, at least they didn't beat her.
Or threaten to kill her on Twitter. As they did to Stacy Dash.
It's the new age of tolerance in this post-racial world.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Green stimulus in action...
Satcon Technology Corporation filed for Chapter 11-- after pocketing $3 million from taxpayers.
From The Foundry article by Lachlan Markay:
"A solar company that got a multi-million-dollar grant from the Department of Energy earlier this year announced Wednesday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the second taxpayer-backed green energy company to file for bankruptcy this week.
"Satcon Technology Corp. announced the decision in a Wednesday news release. 'This has been a difficult time for Satcon,' president and CEO Steve Rhoades said. 'After careful consideration of available alternatives, the Company’s Board of Directors determined that the Chapter 11 filings were a necessary and prudent step, allowing the Company to continue to operate while giving us the opportunity to reorganize with a stronger balance sheet and capital structure.'
"Satcon received a $3 million DOE grant in January to develop 'a compact, lightweight power conversion device that is capable of taking utility-scale solar power and outputting it directly into the electric utility grid at distribution voltage levels—eliminating the need for large transformers.'
"'If successful,” noted DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) at the time, 'Satcon would simplify the solar power conversion process and significantly reduce the cost of operating, installing, and siting a PV power system—helping to facilitate their widespread use.'
"ARPA-E also stated that the grant 'could create jobs for system installers, technicians, and salespeople.'
"Satcon has also received smaller federal payments for various solar initiatives at DOE. The company manufactures power conversion devices for solar energy, though it does not manufacture the solar panels themselves."
Not exactly the performance of a company ready to provide good jobs for lots and lots of people.
And here's a nice list of faltering and bankrupt green energy companies provided by Ashe Schow:
The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:
- Evergreen Solar ($24 million)*
- SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
- Solyndra ($535 million)*
- Beacon Power ($69 million)*
- AES’s subsidiary Eastern Energy ($17.1 million)
- Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
- SunPower ($1.5 billion)
- First Solar ($1.46 billion)
- Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
- EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
- Amonix ($5.9 million)
- National Renewable Energy Lab ($200 million)
- Fisker Automotive ($528 million)
- Abound Solar ($374 million)*
- A123 Systems ($279 million)*
- Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($6 million)
- Johnson Controls ($299 million)
- Schneider Electric ($86 million)
- Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
- ECOtality ($126.2 million)
- Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
- Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
- Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
- Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
- Range Fuels ($80 million)*
- Thompson River Power ($6.4 million)*
- Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
- LSP Energy ($2.1 billion)*
- UniSolar ($100 million)*
- Azure Dynamics ($120 million)*
- GreenVolts ($500,000)
- Vestas ($50 million)
- LG Chem’s subsidiary Chemical Power ($150 million)
- Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
- Navistar ($10 million)
- Satcon ($3 million)*
What a colossal waste...
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
After receiving nearly $250 million in federal money, A123 Systems is filing for bankruptcy. Is this unexpected news by any chance?
You know, can we finally say that Obama's green stimulus is a failure? Can we do that? Or do we suddenly have the 5,000,000 jobs? Maybe in October's jobs numbers...
From the Bloomberg article by Dawn McCarty and Craig Trudell:
"A123 Systems Inc. (AONE), the electric car battery maker that received a $249.1 million federal grant, filed for bankruptcy protection after failing to make a debt payment that was due yesterday.
"The filing may fuel further political debate over government financing of alternative-energy and transportation businesses. Federal grants and loans to companies including A123, Fisker Automotive Inc. and Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) have drawn scrutiny from congressional Republicans following the September 2011 bankruptcy filing of solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC two years after it received a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Energy Department.
"A123 fell as much as 18 cents, or 76 percent, to 6 cents a share in over-the-counter trading as of 12 p.m.
"A123, which received a $249.1 million federal grant in 2009 to build U.S. factory capacity, needed a financial lifeline after struggling with costs from a recall of batteries supplied to Fisker, the plug-in hybrid luxury carmaker. A123 announced in August that it was working on a deal with Wanxiang Group Corp., China’s largest auto-parts maker, for financing in exchange for a majority ownership stake.
"President Barack Obama called A123’s CEO Vieau and then- Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm during a September 2010 event celebrating the opening of the plant in Livonia that the company received the U.S. grant to help build.
"'This is about the birth of an entire new industry in America -- an industry that’s going to be central to the next generation of cars,' Obama said in the phone call, according to a transcript provided by the White House. 'When folks lift up their hoods on the cars of the future, I want them to see engines and batteries that are stamped: Made in America.'
"Electric-vehicle sales since 2011 totaled fewer than 50,000 through September, just 5 percent of Obama’s target to have 1 million such vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015.
"A123 has posted at least 14 straight quarterly losses. Its shares had fallen 85 percent this year to 24 cents as of yesterday’s close in New York. [emphasis mine]"
Huh. I guess bitter clingers are just too dumb to understand how these kinds of performances are ultimately good for our economy.
Hope & Change...
Monday, October 15, 2012
So how's that stimulus money working out? I mean sure it seemed to have increased unemployment beyond the level that the Obama Administration said doing would-- but what about the nearly $1 trillion? Well, let's take a look...
From The Washington Guardian article by John Solomon:
"The government’s chief spending watchdogs have already secured nearly 600 convictions and judgments against people and companies accused of misusing stimulus funds and have a whopping 1,900 investigations currently open into possible wrongdoing, officials say.
"The wave of scrutiny more than three years after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed by Congress early in the Obama administration means the question of how money was managed early in the program is certain to extend well into the next year as many of the current investigations come to conclusion.
"For instance, the Energy Department inspector general reported last week it discovered the California energy commission collected two duplicate payments under a stimulus program that costs taxpayers $678,000 and and it recommended the money be repaid.
"The Health and Human Services inspector general reported recently that a Louisiana group that received stimulus funds for Head Start programs for children had inappropriately spent nearly $1.2 million in federal funds to construct a new building that wasn’t approved by federal officials. The group is contesting the finding.
"The Energy Department inspector general also warns in its most recent semiannual report that the Western Area Power Administration, which received $3.25 billion in borrowing authority to help build transmission lines under the stimulus law, is at risk of losing significant money on a transmission project for wind power in Montana that it funded.
"'WAPA has significant financial exposure on the project ... encountering significant delays and cost overruns,' the IG warned.
"And a former superintendent of a Montana construction company was charged last month with making false statements regarding the quality of work his firm performed on federal bridge project in Idaho that was funded with $21.6 million in stimulus money. The company used 'nonconforming anchor bolts' for parts of the construction, and tried to conceal it. The bolts had to be fixed, delaying the project.
"The Recovery Board’s blog last month hinted at the scope of some of the alleged fraud currently being investigated by inspectors general at various agencies. "The 29 IGs with Recovery oversight responsibility have more than 1,900 investigations under way; convictions and judgments total 598," it noted.
"Many of the problems were uncovered by a special group of analysts charged specifically to look for irregularities in the massive stimulus program.
"For instance, the analysts discovered that veterans seeking stimulus related benefits had claimed more than 16,000 dependents with Social Security numbers matching those of dead people, the blog noted
"Separately, the same analysts found ore than 150 potential shell companies may have improperly received Recovery funds set aside for the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business program.
"And the analysts had identified more than 400 Recovery Act recipients of funds from 15 federal agencies had previously been terminated for default, most getting the money after falsely certifying they had not been terminated for default."
Misuse of an obscene amount of federal pork money? Who would've thunk it? Certainly not the Obama Administration...
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Oh, come on... This is like that scene in the Schwarzenegger movie The Running Man (not his finest piece of cinema) where the prisoners wore explosive collars that would blow up if you ran past a sensor or something. Geez.
From Infowars.com article by Paul Joseph Watcon (via Drudge):
"The TSA’s security policies are getting more and more bizarre, from testing people’s drinks for explosives to ordering all travelers to freeze on command, but could a frightening policy that was seriously explored by the DHS be resurrected – forcing people to wear taser bracelets that would deliver an electric shock if they got out of line?
"The story sounds like it belongs in a South Park episode or on an urban myths website – but it was actually true.
"In 2008, the Washington Times reported on how DHS official Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science and Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development, wrote to Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. indicating that the Department of Homeland Security was ready to purchase devices from the company that would be used to deliver incapacitating shocks to airline passengers, all of whom would be mandated to wear the taser bracelet once they checked in for their flight.
"The so-called 'safety bracelet,' also known as the Electronic ID Bracelet, was designed to replace a boarding pass and be capable of tracking the passenger through the airport by means of GPS technology. The device would also contain details about the passenger and their flight plans.
"The primary function of the device was to allow airport officials and flight crews to deliver an incapacitating electric shock to travelers by means of Electro-Muscular Disruption (EMD), completely immobilizing the individual for minutes. The bracelet would be worn by all travelers until they disembarked at their location. The patent for the device admits that all passengers could be incapacitated if the devices are activated."
What could go wrong with that this idea?
I wonder if the choice was between these bracelets and those electrocuting dog collars? You know, the ones that torture your dog when it barks too loud?
What could go wrong with that this idea?
I wonder if the choice was between these bracelets and those electrocuting dog collars? You know, the ones that torture your dog when it barks too loud?
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
I'm late on this, but perhaps it's good to remember that academic Leftists, like Obama, hate the suburbs with a passion. You thought the filmmakers behind American Beauty weren't fans? Well, that's just a shadow of the academic Left's loathing.
It must be understood that the suburbs are chock-full of bitter-clingers who aren't contributing enough to the plight of cities. You see, if there's a financial problem in government, one of the easiest strategies is to spread out the problem and thus alleviate it slightly for those most affected. It's much easier to do that than it is to actually address the problem. And most significantly, acting this way leaves certain Leftist theories unchallenged and its adherents insulated from the political effects of their policies. Ina way, it's not unlike socialism in general. A socialist country must have access to outside money (such as possessing a patron or being a tourist spot), or it must expand itself and takeover outside resources and money, or it collapses. That's really the choices that exist.
Anyway, from Stanley Kurtz's article "Burn Down the Suburbs?" at National Review Online:
"President Obama is not a fan of America’s suburbs. Indeed, he intends to abolish them. With suburban voters set to be the swing constituency of the 2012 election, the administration’s plans for this segment of the electorate deserve scrutiny. Obama is a longtime supporter of 'regionalism,' the idea that the suburbs should be folded into the cities, merging schools, housing, transportation, and above all taxation. To this end, the president has already put programs in place designed to push the country toward a sweeping social transformation in a possible second term. The goal: income equalization via a massive redistribution of suburban tax money to the cities.
"Obama’s plans to undercut the political and economic independence of America’s suburbs reach back decades. The community organizers who trained him in the mid-1980s blamed the plight of cities on taxpayer “flight” to suburbia. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Obama’s mentors at the Gamaliel Foundation (a community-organizing network Obama helped found) formally dedicated their efforts to the budding fight against suburban 'sprawl.' From his positions on the boards of a couple of left-leaning Chicago foundations, Obama channeled substantial financial support to these efforts. On entering politics, he served as a dedicated ally of his mentors’ anti-suburban activism.
"One approach is to force suburban residents into densely packed cities by blocking development on the outskirts of metropolitan areas, and by discouraging driving with a blizzard of taxes, fees, and regulations. Step two is to move the poor out of cities by imposing low-income-housing quotas on development in middle-class suburbs. Step three is to export the controversial 'regional tax-base sharing' scheme currently in place in the Minneapolis–St. Paul area to the rest of the country. Under this program, a portion of suburban tax money flows into a common regional pot, which is then effectively redistributed to urban, and a few less well-off 'inner-ring' suburban, municipalities.
"The Obama administration, stocked with 'regionalist' appointees, has been advancing this ambitious plan quietly for the past four years. Efforts to discourage driving and to press development into densely packed cities are justified by reference to fears of global warming. Leaders of the crusade against 'sprawl' very consciously use environmental concerns as a cover for their redistributive schemes.
"The centerpiece of the Obama administration’s anti-suburban plans is a little-known and seemingly modest program called the Sustainable Communities Initiative. The 'regional planning grants' funded under this initiative — many of them in battleground states like Florida, Virginia, and Ohio — are set to recommend redistributive policies, as well as transportation and development plans, designed to undercut America’s suburbs. Few have noticed this because the program’s goals are muffled in the impenetrable jargon of 'sustainability,' while its recommendations are to be unveiled only in a possible second Obama term.
"Obama’s former community-organizing mentors and colleagues want the administration to condition future federal aid on state adherence to the recommendations served up by these anti-suburban planning commissions. That would quickly turn an apparently modest set of regional-planning grants into a lever for sweeping social change.
"Obama’s little-known plans to undermine the political and economic autonomy of America’s suburbs constitute a policy initiative similar in ambition to health-care reform, the stimulus, or 'cap-and-trade.' Obama’s anti-suburban plans also supply the missing link that explains his administration’s overall policy architecture.
"Since the failure of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and the collapse of federal urban policy, leftist theorists of community organizing have advocated a series of moves designed to quietly redistribute tax money to the cities. Health-care reform and federal infrastructure spending (as in the stimulus) are backed by organizers as the best ways to reconstitute an urban policy without directly calling it that. A campaign against suburban 'sprawl' under the guise of environmentalism is the next move. Open calls for suburban tax-base 'sharing' are the final and most controversial link in the chain of a reconstituted and redistributive urban policy. President Obama is following this plan.
"Middle-class suburban supporters of the president take note. It isn’t just the pocketbooks of the '1 percent' he’s after; it’s yours."
Obama is not a mysterious figure. He's a direct product of Leftist academia. What makes him mysterious is his administration's obfuscations, the vague "boots-on-the-ground" strategies that accompany the grand plans of academic Left (they think more often then they do-- and when they do they commonly end up behaving pretty much like Obama: petulant, incompetent, and spouting excuses while assigning blame to others), and their blunders that make the Obama administration's motives so difficult to tease out. And of course the old media's frequent refusal to actually do their job.
When Obama declared that he wanted to "fundamentally transform America," he meant it.
And when he spoke about bitter clingers... he meant that too.
Compact Power manufacturing facility is furloughing its workers. This comes after a $150 million Department of Energy grant. Oh, and it gets better. They haven't produced a single battery.
So how's that green stimulus working out for all of us?
From the Fox News article by Perry Chiaramonte (h/t Doug Powers @ michellemalkin.com) :
"President Obama touted it in 2010 as evidence 'manufacturing jobs are coming back to the United States,' but two years later, a Michigan hybrid battery plant built with $150 million in taxpayer funds is putting workers on furlough before a single battery has been produced.
"The facility, which was opened in July 2010 with a groundbreaking attended by Obama, has yet to produce a single battery for the Chevrolet Volt, the troubled electric car from General Motors. The plant's batteries also were intended to be used in Ford's electric Focus.
"Production of the taxpayer-subsidized Volt has been plagued by work stoppages, and the effect has trickled down to companies and plants that build parts for it -- including the batteries.
"'Considering the lack of demand for electric vehicles, despite billions of dollars from the Obama administration that were supposed to stimulate it, it’s not surprising what has happened with LG Chem. Just because a ton of money is poured into a product does not mean that people will buy it,' Paul Chesser, an associate fellow with the National Legal and Policy Center, told FoxNews.com.
"The 650,000-square-foot, $300 million facility was slated to produce 15,000 batteries per year, while creating hundreds of new jobs. But to date, only 200 workers are employed at the plant by by the South Korean company. Batteries for the Chevy Volts that have been produced have been made by an LG plant in South Korea.
"The factory was partly funded by a $150 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. LG also received sizeable tax breaks from the local government, saving nearly $50 million in property taxes over 15 years and another $2.5 million annually in business taxes. Landing the factory was hailed as a coup when shovels first hit the ground.
"'You are leading the way in showing how manufacturing jobs are coming right back here to the United States of America,' Obama told workers at the ground-breaking ceremony. 'Our goal has never been to create a government program, but rather to unleash private-sector growth. And we're seeing results.'
"The Volt has been plagued by low sales since it first rolled off the line three years ago. Orders have picked up for 2012 but are still well below projections.
"Chesser said no amount of government subsidies can counter the practical problems posed by plug-in cars.
"'Electric car batteries do not perform much better than they did 100 years ago,' he said. 'Research has not conquered the battery storage issue, and therefore the electric transportation "stimulus" did not boost the "technology of the future," but instead a century-old technology as far as performance and capability goes.'
"He added that the LG Chem plant's problems show that the unpopularity of electric cars despite heavy taxpayer subsidies has had more widespread negative effects than most realize.
"'Billions of dollars were put into Volt research, and Ford received $5.9 billion in stimulus loans to retrofit plants to produce [electric vehicles],' Chesser said. 'The battery companies like LG Chem that were supposed to service them have no customers to speak of. Their existence was solely based on access to taxpayer money.
"'Had it been private investors rather than government bureaucrats making the decision, there either would have been a reality check about the industry, or only those who made individual decisions to invest would have lost their money, not taxpayers.'"
No, no, no. The free market is full of avarice and evil. We must throw billions of dollars at green energy programs so that we can stimulate the economy with more empty, non-producing factories. Doesn't Chesser and FoxNews understand economics?
And besides once the government mandates that all Americans must purchase electric vehicles, then there will be plenty of work. Whoa. Better not give them any ideas. Just kidding. I think that idea has already crossed their collective minds once or twice.
Kind of weird that the Chevy Volt isn't selling. It's marked way below cost and is losing around $30,000 per car. I guess markdowns on crappy products, still equals a crappy product. Maybe if they gave it way for free? They could rename it "Americar" or maybe "The People's Car." And hey, we'd all need batteries then.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi is celebrating Egypt's great "victory" against Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War in a rally attended by tens of thousands.
From the ynet news article by Elior Levy and Yonatan Gonen (h/t Instapundit):
"Addressing tens of thousands of Egyptians Saturday evening during a ceremony commemorating the 39th anniversary of Egypt's 'victory' over Israel during the October 1973 war, President Mohamed Morsi said, 'It was a monumental event. We will never forget the heroes and shahids (martyrs).'
"Morsi was elected president of Egypt after Hosni Mubarak, a hero of the Yom Kippur War, was ousted. Earlier this week, on Thursday, he laid a wreath on slain president Anwar Sadat's grave in a rare homage from an Islamist leader.
"During the memorial ceremony, which was held at Cairo's soccer stadium, Morsi said 'today is a day of victory. This has been a happy day for the past 39 years. The commanders and soldiers crossed the Suez Canal, demolished the Bar-Lev line and entered Sinai. It was a decisive campaign, and thanks to Allah Egypt retrieved not only its land, but also its dignity and pride.'
"Morsi linked Egypt's achievements during the war to the January 25 revolution, which led to Mubarak's downfall. 'The 1973 war was a historic victory that restored the dignity of all Egyptians. The second victory came during the January 25 revolution, when the people and the army united. The January 25 Revolution was peaceful before the hand of betrayal turned it violent.'"
Egypt was soundly defeated by Israel in the Yom Kippur War.
"The war began with a massive and successful Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal during the first three days, after which they dug in, settling into a stalemate. The Syrians coordinated their attack on the Golan Heights to coincide with the Egyptian offensive and initially made threatening gains against the greatly outnumbered Israelis. Within a week, Israel recovered and launched a four-day counter-offensive, driving deep into Syria. As Sadat believed that capturing two strategic passes located deeper in the Sinai would make his position stronger during the negotiations, he ordered the Egyptians to go back on the offensive, but they were decisively defeated; the Israelis then counterattacked at the seam between the two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal, and advanced southward and westward in over a week of heavy fighting while suffering severe casualties especially during the battle of the Chinese Farm.
"On October 22 a United Nations-brokered ceasefire quickly unraveled, with each side blaming the other for the breach. By October 24, the Israelis had improved their positions considerably and completed their encirclement of Egypt's Third Army and the city of Suez. This development led to tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a result, a second ceasefire was imposed cooperatively on October 25 to end the war. At the conclusion of hostilities, Israeli forces were 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Damascus and 101 kilometres (63 mi) from Cairo."
Quite the Egyptian victory, huh? No it wasn't quite the Six Day War's thrashing, but to interpret Egypt's outcome as victorious is delusional.
When a country begins celebrating historical defeats as victories, then there is nothing ahead but troubles.
Morsi is whipping up anti-Israel sentiment in his own country, while simultaneously attempting to create a myth about Egypt's performance in their last war. Coupling this drumbeating with Morsi's strengthening of Egypt's ties with Iran, dramatically increases the chances of a renewed open conflict with Israel. We'll have to see if Morsi continues this line in the near future.
Friday, October 5, 2012
Yeah sure, the entire Obama presidency has been a huge bust-- the economy is in the tank, median household income is dropping, gas prices skyrocketing, the cost of food increasing, etc.
Yeah, yeah... there's still the chia head Obama, but they're all just leftovers from 2008. And yeah, yeah... there's a chia head Ron Paul (I bought one as a gift for my brother's shrine to Ron Paul in his house; and yes, I admit I bought a chia head Obama for my in-laws' backyard shrine to our current president), but even the chia people know that Paul's just a quick seller for his devotees.
Nope. Chia Romney is the dead give away.
Chi chi chi chia... and God bless America!
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Death panels?! What death panels? Oh, right... those being advocated by Obama's advisers. Welcome to the world of denying something and then a few years later calling for its implementation. It's all kind of Orwellian, isn't it?
From The New York Times' opinion piece by Steven Rattner, former counselor to the Treasury secretary in the Obama administration:
"WE need death panels.
"Well, maybe not death panels, exactly, but unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently — rationing, by its proper name — the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget.
"But in the pantheon of toxic issues — the famous 'third rails' of American politics — none stands taller than overtly acknowledging that elderly Americans are not entitled to every conceivable medical procedure or pharmaceutical.
"Most notably, President Obama’s estimable Affordable Care Act regrettably includes severe restrictions on any reduction in Medicare services or increase in fees to beneficiaries. In 2009, Sarah Palin’s rant about death panels even forced elimination from the bill of a provision to offer end-of-life consultations.
"Medicare needs to take a cue from Willie Sutton, who reportedly said he robbed banks because that’s where the money was. The big money in Medicare is not to be found in Mr. Ryan’s competition or Mr. Obama’s innovation, but in reducing the cost of treating people in the last year of life, which consumes more than a quarter of the program’s budget.
"No one wants to lose an aging parent. And with price out of the equation, it’s natural for patients and their families to try every treatment, regardless of expense or efficacy. But that imposes an enormous societal cost that few other nations have been willing to bear. Many countries whose health care systems are regularly extolled — including Canada, Australia and New Zealand — have systems for rationing care.
"Take Britain, which provides universal coverage with spending at proportionately almost half of American levels. Its National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence uses a complex quality-adjusted life year system to put an explicit value (up to about $48,000 per year) on a treatment’s ability to extend life.
"At the least, the Independent Payment Advisory Board should be allowed to offer changes in services and costs. We may shrink from such stomach-wrenching choices, but they are inescapable."
Huh. Does anyone remember when Grayson was bellowing about how Republicans wanted you to die quickly? Seems like the Democrats are advocating it in opinion pieces. Hey, it costs too much to keep you alive, so why don't we just cut their treatments. It's for the greater good and all...
I guess Sarah Palin's "lie of the year" might have been a little more truthful than not... Oh well, die quickly little people. The important people in the government and politically connected businesses have important things to do.
The Daily Caller has portions of Obama's immediately infamous "other" race speech. Obama gave the speech to a predominately black audience while in the middle of the 2007 presidential primary. I'll just address some of the issues that The Daily Caller illuminates.
From the Caller's article:
'"The people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much!” Obama shouts in the video, which was shot in June of 2007 at Hampton University in Virginia. By contrast, survivors of Sept. 11 and Hurricane Andrew received generous amounts of aid, Obama explains. The reason? Unlike residents of majority-black New Orleans, the federal government considers those victims “part of the American family.'
"The racially charged and at times angry speech undermines Obama’s carefully-crafted image as a leader eager to build bridges between ethnic groups. For nearly 40 minutes, using an accent he almost never adopts in public, Obama describes a racist, zero-sum society, in which the white majority profits by exploiting black America. The mostly black audience shouts in agreement. The effect is closer to an Al Sharpton rally than a conventional campaign event."
"And with that, Obama pivots to his central point: The Los Angeles riots and Hurricane Katrina have racism in common. 'The federal response after Katrina was similar to the response we saw after the riots in LA,' he thunders from the podium. 'People in Washington, they wake up, they’re surprised: "There’s poverty in our midst! Folks are frustrated! Black people angry!" Then there’s gonna be some panels, and hearings, and there are commissions and there are reports, and then there’s some aid money, although we don’t always know where it’s going — it can’t seem to get to the people who need it — and nothin’ really changes, except the news coverage quiets down and Anderson Cooper is on to something else.'
"It’s at about this point that Obama pauses, apparently agitated, and tells the crowd that he wants to give 'one example because this really steams me up,' an example that he notes does not appear in his prepared remarks:
"'Down in New Orleans, where they still have not rebuilt twenty months later,' he begins, 'there’s a law, federal law — when you get reconstruction money from the federal government — called the Stafford Act. And basically it says, when you get federal money, you gotta give a ten percent match. The local government’s gotta come up with ten percent. Every ten dollars the federal government comes up with, local government’s gotta give a dollar.'
"'Now here’s the thing,' Obama continues, 'when 9-11 happened in New York City, they waived the Stafford Act — said, "This is too serious a problem. We can’t expect New York City to rebuild on its own. Forget that dollar you gotta put in. Well, here’s ten dollars." And that was the right thing to do. When Hurricane Andrew struck in Florida, people said, "Look at this devastation. We don’t expect you to come up with y’own money, here. Here’s the money to rebuild. We’re not gonna wait for you to scratch it together — because you’re part of the American family."'
"That’s not, Obama says, what is happening in majority-black New Orleans.'What’s happening down in New Orleans? Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford Act money?' Obama shouts, angry now. 'Makes no sense! Tells me that somehow, the people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much!'
"It’s a remarkable moment, and not just for its resemblance to Kayne West’s famous claim that 'George Bush doesn’t care about black people,' but also because of its basic dishonesty. By January of 2007, six months before Obama’s Hampton speech, the federal government had sent at least $110 billion to areas damaged by Katrina. Compare this to the mere $20 billion that the Bush administration pledged to New York City after Sept. 11.
"Moreover, the federal government did at times waive the Stafford Act during its reconstruction efforts. On May 25, 2007, just weeks before the speech, the Bush administration sent an additional $6.9 billion to Katrina-affected areas with no strings attached.
"As a sitting United States Senator, Obama must have been aware of this. And yet he spent 36 minutes at the pulpit telling a mostly black audience that the U.S. government doesn’t like them because they’re black.
"As the speech continues, Obama makes repeated and all-but-explicit appeals to racial solidarity, referring to 'our' people and 'our neighborhoods,' as distinct from the white majority. At one point, he suggests that black people were excluded from rebuilding contracts after the storm: 'We should have had our young people trained to rebuild the homes down in the Gulf. We don’t need Halliburton doing it. We can have the people who were displaced doing that work. Our God is big enough to do that.'
"This theme — that black Americans suffer while others profit — is a national problem, Obama continues: 'We need additional federal public transportation dollars flowing to the highest need communities. We don’t need to build more highways out in the suburbs,' where, the implication is, the rich white people live. Instead, Obama says, federal money should flow to 'our neighborhoods': 'We should be investing in minority-owned businesses, in our neighborhoods, so people don’t have to travel from miles away.'"
Ah yes, more racial separatism, anger and misinformation. These are the staples of identity politics, and thus staples of the contemporary Democratic Party.
Aside from the shameful rhetoric of racial separation, what strikes me is that this speech absolutely oozes with Obama's love of big government. The suburbs' prosperity is largely due to government money (highways and such) and the solution, for racial equality I suppose, is to redirect the money to "our neighborhoods." The implication is that with government money we can all buy off racism. It smacks of the reparations argument.
Is this a game changer for Obama? I don't know. The DNC is in damage control mode, of course. MSNBC is attacking people who released the tape saying that they're trying to scare Americans-- as if Obama's speech is just a shopping list or something.
The economy "unexpectedly" stinks and doesn't seem to be in the middle of a recovery, unemployment is at epic levels, the federal government is spending money at numeric levels that only astronomers use, the median household income is dropping, and nobody's all that happy about the feds micromanaging their health care and insurance. I think the majority of people, rightfully, hold Obama accountable for these issues anyway.
I certainly don't think this speech helps Obama at all, but I don't think most Americans were going to vote for him before it was released anyway. It'll probably just drop him another point or two, which will likely be reflected in the media's polls by a one point bounce.
Monday, October 1, 2012
Obama inherited a weak economy. He endlessly reminds us of this. Yet, Obama's response was to push through a near trillion dollar
After four years of Obama, we have median household incomes dropping 8%, rising health insurance premiums, rising unemployment, and skyrocketing gas prices. Of course, this is just for starters. We can go on to talk about Solyndra, the
And Obama wants us to take four more years of this?