Demon-fearing Los Angeles city council blames fracking for earthquake

March 20, 2014
Drill, baby, drill!

Drill, baby, drill!

Remember, kiddies, liberals are the party of science!

Los Angeles City Council members have discovered how to cause earthquakes. Three councilmen think fracking may be the cause of Monday’s earthquake in the Santa Monica Mountains, and they want the city, state, and feds to do an in-depth review.

Councilmen Paul Koretz, Mike Bonin, and Bernard Parks Tuesday introduced a motion calling for the city, the U.S. Geological Survey, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources to report on whether hydraulic fracturing caused the moderate 4.4-magnitude earthquake, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“It is crucial to the health and safety of the City’s residents to understand the seismic impacts of oil and gas extraction activities in the City,” the motion says. “All high-pressure fracking and injection creates ‘seismic events.’ . . .  Active oil extraction activities are reportedly taking place on the Veteran’s Administration grounds in West Los Angeles, nearby the epicenter of the March 17, 2014, 4.4 earthquake.”

Parks, who seconded the motion, tells National Review Online that while fracking is “reportedly” happening near the epicenter, those who signed the motion weren’t completely sure. However, he adds that “earthquakes are happening in areas that are not historically earthquake prone, but they are in places where fracking is going on.”

I’m sorry to say Mike Bonin is my city councilman.

Let’s be honest, here. If Koretz, Parks, and Bonin genuinely think fracking caused an earthquake, they know nothing about earthquakes and are just fearing demons in the night. Earthquakes happen when adjoining tectonic plates, which are constantly in motion against each other, suddenly break and move with a jolt. Sometimes a little bit, as in Monday’s quake, sometimes a lot, as in the 2011 Tohoku quake in Japan. In seismically active areas, such as the western coast of North America, small quakes occur every day and have since long before anyone thought of the words “hydraulic fracturing.”

Here’s the technical information for Monday’s shaker. Note the depth: six miles. This is what a USGS geologist had to say when asked about fracking causing that quake:

However, opponents of the moratorium argue that fracking has not been proven to cause any health risks and that claims that it caused this earthquake are not realistic.

“My first impression is that sounds implausible,” seismologist Lucy Jones said. “The earthquake was so deep. Induced earthquakes are almost always shallower than this.”

In other words, yes you might get hit by a bolt from the blue, but that’s no reason to ban walking outdoors.

This call for a study (borrowing from the neverending studies tactic of NY Governor Cuomo) is just another delaying tactic in furtherance of their earlier motion to ban fracking within city limits.  Hydraulic fracturing opponents are using what’s called the “preventative principle” (1) to stop a promising technology that could do wonders for the economy, because the idea of oil and gas exploration goes against their hardcore environmentalist agenda. And then they find lackwit politicians who know nothing about the subject matter, but who are ever so happy to take activists’ donations and campaign help, and get them to pass laws serving that agenda — to the public’s detriment. Their hope is that through delay after delay and more and more burdensome regulations, they can kill what they oppose altogether.

No matter how discredited their propaganda, no matter how safe fracking is shown to be, no matter that even the Energy Secretary of the most left-leaning administration in US history declares it safe, no matter how much this city, this state, and this nation need the economic boost intelligent exploitation of our vast oil and gas resources would provide, fracking opponents continue to throw anything against the wall in the hopes of finding something that will convince people to support a ban.

And sometimes they find the fools they need.

RELATED: Ten myths about natural gas drilling. The UK government thinks fracking is safe. Nancy Pelosi’s daughter even thinks the evil magic of fracking can cause earthquakes far out at sea.

Footnote:
(1) Watch for words like “may,” “might,” “possible,” “could” and other weak words that don’t require any evidence to back them up, just the doubt and fear they create in the (they hope) credulous listener.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Tweet of the Day, #LAquake edition

March 17, 2014
"Even the monkey is embarrassed"

“Even the monkey is embarrassed”

So, as you probably all heard, we had a light earthquake near Public Secrets Global HQ this morning (1). Not a bad one, though I was near the epicenter and upstairs, so it was still a good ride. But, if you’ve lived in California for your whole life, as I have, it’s also nothing you haven’t been through, before. A momentary “uh-oh” as you wonder if this is the lead in to The Big One, and then back to whatever you were doing as it fades away. And I figured my fellow Angelenos would feel the same way. After all, did we not laugh and point when D.C. had their quake?

Then I saw this (via Twitchy):

Really, people? “Hello? Operator? I’d like to report an earthquake. Would you please send someone out to arrest it?”

Tourists. Yeah, that’s it. It must be tourists.

PS: While we laugh at each other and ourselves, let’s remember that earthquakes are serious business, and it’s our own individual responsibility to be prepared for when a bad one hits; help from the government may take days to arrive, after all. Earthquake Country is a good site with before, during, and after advice.

Footnote:
(1) I deny any and all rumors that I was conducting below-ground atomic testing. Pay no attention to that small radioactive cloud…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: Los Angeles residents turned away at the doctor’s office

February 6, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

This is a story happening all across the country, and it is all due to the chaos caused by Democrats and their precious healthcare “reform:”

After overcoming website glitches (1) and long waits to get Obamacare, some patients are now running into frustrating new roadblocks at the doctor’s office.

A month into the most sweeping changes to healthcare in half a century, people are having trouble finding doctors at all, getting faulty information on which ones are covered and receiving little help from insurers swamped by new business.

Experts have warned for months that the logjam was inevitable. But the extent of the problems is taking by surprise many patients — and even doctors — as frustrations mount.

Aliso Viejo resident Danielle Nelson said Anthem Blue Cross promised half a dozen times that her oncologists would be covered under her new policy. She was diagnosed last year with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and discovered a suspicious lump near her jaw in early January.

But when she went to her oncologist’s office, she promptly encountered a bright orange sign saying that Covered California plans are not accepted.

“I’m a complete fan of the Affordable Care Act, but now I can’t sleep at night,” Nelson said. “I can’t imagine this is how President Obama wanted it to happen.”

That last reminds me of what peasants in Russia used to say about the Tsar: “It can’t be the Tsar’s will our lives are so bad; it must be his evil advisers! If only the Good Father knew, he’d fix everything!” Hopefully the scales of naivete will fall from Ms. Nelson’s eyes, soon.

It’s true there are serious problems with inaccurate information about which providers are in a given network, leading people to think the doctor they want will accept them, only to find out otherwise; that one I’ll lay at the insurers’ doorstep. (Unless someone knows better?)

But the shrinkage of provider networks, something the article and the state insurance people it quotes try to blame on insurance companies trying to save money is, well, less than half the story.

If Obamacare didn’t impose so many needless requirements and instead let insurers design plans to meet individuals’ specific needs, and if it didn’t mandate coverage for anyone regardless of preexisting conditions, expenses wouldn’t have grown to the point where limiting networks to contain costs became necessary.

In the end, the laws of economics win, no matter what Nancy Pelosi demands. When you mandate increased costs, the company has to cut expenses or raise prices, or, as we’re finding under Obamacare, do both.

Of course, when you have a problem caused by government interference, the solution is more government interference:

Looking to head off potential problems, government regulators and patient advocates are pushing for tougher rules to ensure health plans provide timely access to care.

Last week, the California Assembly approved legislation enabling people who lost coverage because of the overhaul to keep seeing their doctors if they’re pregnant or undergoing treatment for cancer or other conditions.

You know, I’m glad pregnant women can continue to see the doctor they like. Everyone should be able to — but they shouldn’t have to go crying for a special fix to take care of a problem caused by the Blind Idiot God “Government” in the first place!

There’s a day of reckoning coming for the Democrats. Bet on it.

via ST in email

RELATED: And speaking of increased costs and the laws of economics — “AOL CEO says ObamaCare adding $7 million to costs.” Gee, what do we think will happen to all those employer-based health plans?

Footnotes:
(1) “Glitches.” The LA Times must’ve gotten the DNC memo on proper spin. “Glitches” sounds so minor and temporary compared to the truth of a huge, honking, crashing failure.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Ding-dong, Waxman’s gone!

January 30, 2014
Henry Waxman, D-Statist

Henry Waxman, D-Statist

Oh, this is a moment I’ve long looked forward to. Henry Waxman (D-CA), one of the most obnoxious progressives in the House and co-author of the economy-killing, state-growing Waxman-Markey climate bill, has decided to retire:

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, whose legislative record has made him one of the country’s most influential liberal lawmakers for four decades, announced Thursday that he will retire from his Westside seat, the latest in a wave of departures that is remaking the state’s long-stable congressional delegation.

Waxman-Markey failed, thank God, but the LAT article reminds us of another of Henry’s gifts to America:

Among his legislative victories was the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which he helped write and push through the House. Passage of the law fulfilled “one of my lifelong dreams” by guaranteeing access to healthcare coverage for Americans, he said.

Translated: “I’ve done all the damage I can do, so, since there is no chance Democrats will retake the House and we’ll likely lose the Senate, I might as well retire to enjoy my pension and become a lobbyist.”

Henry Waxman was Leviathan personified, a statist who tried his hardest to insert the federal government into every aspect of our lives. He is also a vile partisan who, I’m sure, regrets he couldn’t institute one-party rule.

His district here in Los Angeles is solidly Democratic, so there is no hope of a Republican pick up, but almost anyone the Democrats run will at least be no worse.

Goodbye and good riddance, Henry Waxman.

UPDATE: Charles Cooke reminds us that Waxman co-authored the Clean Air Act, which set the stage for the EPA’s aggressive rule-making, and signed off as often as he could on surrendering legislative authority to executive agencies. Bah.

UPDATE 2: Hmm. Per Allahpundit, maybe Henry’s seat isn’t so safe after all.


Media scrubs left-wing manifesto of fugitive cop-killer — Updated

February 7, 2013

You may have heard there’s a manhunt underway in California and Nevada for Christopher Dorner, a former LAPD officer who’s gone on a rampage that’s left at least three dead:

As authorities scoured Southern California for an ex-Los Angeles police officer suspected of shooting three officers, killing one, officials broadened the alert to include the entire state Thursday morning, and authorities in Nevada were warned.

The California Highway Patrol originally issued a “blue alert” for nine Southern California counties, warning that suspect Christoper Jordan Dorner, 33, was considered “armed and extremely dangerous,” early Thursday. Shortly after 9 a.m. that alert was broadened to the include the entire state.

A statewide “high alert” was sent out about 8:30 a.m. across Nevada for Dorner, authorities with the Nevada Highway Patrol said.

Arizona authorities were aware of the situation but had not issued any formal alerts, said Officer Carrick Cook with the state’s Department of Public Safety.

Local, state and federal authorities are involved in the search for Dorner, who threatened “unconventional and asymmetrical warfare” against police in an online manifesto. Dorner is also wanted in connection with a double homicide Sunday in Irvine, where the daughter of a retired LAPD captain and her fiance were killed.

The search intensified early Thursday after three police officers were shot in Riverside County and Dorner was identified as a possible suspect.

This is terrible news, and I hope they catch this mad dog before he kills anyone else. If he should be killed in the process, I’ll not mourn.

What’s scandalous, though, is the media’ scrubbing of a killer’s online “manifesto” leaving out significant portions that announce a left wing, pro-Obama, pro-gun control belief system. Multiple TV, radio, and newpaper outlets have suppressed this information. Ostensibly, it’s to protect other potential targets named in the manifesto, but the information about his agenda could be given out without releasing the names. But that wouldn’t serve The Narrative.

Read Sooper Mexican‘s post for the full story, but here’s an example:

Pro Gun Control:

Who in there right mind needs a [...] silencer!!! who needs a freaking SBR AR15? No one. No more Virginia Tech, Columbine HS, Wisconsin temple, Aurora theatre, Portland malls, Tucson rally, Newtown Sandy Hook. Whether by executive order or thru a bi-partisan congress an assault weapons ban needs to be re-instituted. Period!!!

Mia Farrow said it best. “Gun control is no longer debatable, it’s not a conversation, its a moral mandate.”

Sen. Feinstein, you are doing the right thing in leading the re-institution of a national AWB. Never again should any public official state that their prayers and thoughts are with the family.

Loves Obama:

You disrespect the office of the POTUS/Presidency and Commander in Chief. You call him Kenyan, mongroid, halfrican, muslim, and FBHO when in essence you are to address him as simply, President. The same as you did to President George W. Bush and all those in the highest ranking position of our land before him. Just as I always have. You question his birth certificate, his educational and professional accomplishments, and his judeo-christian beliefs. You make disparaging remarks about his dead parents. You never questioned the fact that his former opponent, the honorable Senator John McCain, was not born in the CONUS or that Bush had a C average in his undergrad. Electoral Candidates children (Romney) state they want to punch the president in the face during debates with no formal repercussions. No one even questioned the fact that the son just made a criminal threat toward the President. You call his wife a Wookie. Off the record, I love your new bangs, Mrs. Obama.

The guy is obviously a lunatic, just as was Jared Loughner, the man who shot Congresswoman Giffords. If we apply the same standards in Dorner’s case that the Left applied to Loughner’s, then it would make as much sense to say all the people he praises are as to blame for Dorner’s rampage as Sarah Palin was for the shooting of Giffords.

Which, of course, would be nuts to do, something we leave to progressives.

But, again, the real scandal here is the MSM’s apparent suppression of genuine news in what can only be described as agenda journalism: in this case, hiding anything that might harm or confuse the effort to a) press for needless new restrictions on the right to bear arms, and b) the narrative about dangerous right-wing extremists.

Thought experiment: If Dorner had been a populist conservative, a second amendment supporter, or an Obama-hater, would any of those ten pages cut from his manifesto been left out, other than the names of his targets?

No, I don’t think so, either.

Good work by Sooper Mexican for bringing this to public attention!

UPDATE: The LA Times is now hosting 18 pages of the 21 page document, including much of the ranting that had earlier been excised.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#GunControl Has LAPD produced fake “rocket launchers” before?

January 8, 2013

Following up on this story. It seems the press conference at which LAPD Chief Charlie Beck produced supposed rocket launchers as evidence of the need for stricter firearms regulations wasn’t the first time. They may even have been the same pieces:

But upon looking into this story further, it appears that Chief Beck has played this game at least once before and with what may have been the exact same device.

Back in May, Beck again paraded before the media with a “rocket launcher” he claimed his department had received during a gun buyback program. That piece, too, was clearly marked “trainer” and was incapable of ever firing any rockets.

All this raises many questions. Did the police really ever receive any such devices in its gun buyback programs? Is this just a repeat tactic that Chief Beck is using to scare the public and make it seem as if his program is working? Do the Chief and his department understand at all the the devices he keeps claiming are “rocket launchers” are really nothing but harmless plastic tubes? Why do these “rocket launchers” keep showing up in L.A. buyback programs but not anywhere else in the country? Finally, why hasn’t the media questioned Chief Beck about his repeated rocket launcher claim?

That last question is easy to answer: the LA Times, which should be the lead source for investigative journalism in the City of the Angels, is a liberal paper heavily invested in, among other leftish dogma, the necessity and wisdom of gun control. It would never occur to them (nor to our pathetic local news stations) to even slightly question Beck’s claims, because it fits their preferred narrative.

As to Huston’s other questions, I’d love to see the answers, but I’m not holding my breath.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


LAPD caught engaging in gun-control propaganda

January 6, 2013

Remember when Los Angeles’ latest gun buyback program made headlines last month because a couple of “rocket launchers” were turned in? Pretty scary right? A dramatic, powerful argument for more “smart” gun regulations, no? A perfect illustration of Senator Feinstein’s attempt to ban weapons with a “military characteristic,” don’t you think?

Only problem is, they weren’t real:

It turns out both were one-use, AT-4 grenade launchers used by the U.S. Army in anti-tank operations. Yes they are grenade launchers (not really “rocket” launchers proper) but these tubes are pre-packaged weapons that can be fired only one time and cannot be reloaded. They are one-shot only weapons. So, yes, that means the tubes the police had were completely and permanently harmless.

But even more absurdly, at least one of the tubes was a training piece and never fired a grenade and never could have. It was a device used only for showing young soldiers what such a weapon looks like. It is a hands-on training tool that is 100% inert, un-fireable, safe as a plastic kid’s toy gun.

As Paul Szoldra explains, “It is, quite literally, a long, green fiberglass tube that does nothing.”

Further, these hunks of plastic can be bought at many military surplus stores and have even turned up on on eBay in the past.

What we really have here is the LAPD making a big story out of nothing and a gaggle of Old Media lapdogs lapping up the fake story because they haven’t a clue about the topic.

And don’t tell me that no one in LAPD, not even its notoriously pro-gun control (1) Chief, Charlie Beck, knew the difference. They just thought the public would be as gullible as a MSM reporter.

Sorry, Charlie.

Footnote:
(1) Check out this CBS article for a good example of Chief Beck mouthing the party line in the face of strong evidence of a correlation between rising gun sales and a decline in gun-related injuries and deaths. And, contra the Chief, gun buybacks don’t work (PDF).

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Los Angeles to #OccupyLA : “Please take this land in tribute and don’t hurt us!”

November 22, 2011

When the Vandals looted Rome in 455 A.D., they at least had to capture the city first before sacking it. Their successors here in Los Angeles, however, don’t have to go to such trouble.

We’ll just pay tribute, instead:

Los Angeles officials have offered Occupy L.A. protesters a package of incentives that includes downtown office space and farmland in an attempt to persuade them to abandon their camp outside of City Hall, according to several demonstrators who have been in negotiations with the city.

The details of the proposal were revealed Monday during the demonstration’s nightly general assembly meeting by Jim Lafferty, an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild who has been advocating on behalf of the protest since it began seven weeks ago.

Lafferty said city officials have offered protesters a $1-a-year lease on a 10,000-square-foot office space near City Hall. He said officials also promised land elsewhere for protesters who wish to farm, as well as additional housing for the contingent of homeless people who joined the camp.

A spokesman for the mayor would not comment on the proposal, saying only: “We are in negotiations with organizers of Occupy L.A.”

Los Angeles has been one of the most accommodating cities in the nation for its Occupy encampment.

No kidding. Even the pusillanimous Mayor Quan of Oakland finally had enough and sent in the cops.

But Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa (he of the many affairs and illegal comped Laker tickets) has a spine made from the purest rubber, so that he can be even more of a wimp than Jean Quan or Michael Bloomberg: he won’t just refuse to enforce the law, he’s willing to give the Occupiers what they want — free stuff! (Okay, a dollar a year. Who’s quibbling?)

Now that’s a leader for you. We have to be tolerant, never mind the brandishing of weapons, public lewdness, and sexual assaults:

Five people at the Occupy L.A. encampment have been charged with separate crimes, including a man who allegedly exposed himself and commited a sex act in front of a child, officials said Tuesday.

Angele Chaidez, 21, faces one count of lewd conduct and one count of indecent exposure for allegedly exposing himself and masturbating in front of several people, including children, Friday on the south steps of City Hall, said prosecutors with the L.A. city attorney’s office.

That same day, Zachary Isaac, 21, allegedly entered a woman’s tent and called her “Satan.” After the woman asked Isaac to leave, he allegedly punched her in the face with a closed fist. Prosecutors charged him with one count of battery resulting in injury.

Robert Holland Jr., 31, allegedly waved a knife at another person on Halloween, then resisted arrest, prosecutors said. He was charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of brandishing a deadly weapon, one count of disturbing the peace and one count of resisting arrest.

And let’s not forget blatant Jew-hatred.

But, no matter. “Free speech” is all that matters, forget the rights of the public to feel safe on public property. Forget the rights of small and micro-businessmen to earn a livelihood and who are seeing their businesses wrecked by Occupy LA. Forget everything else but the right of peaceful Occupiers to impose their will on everyone else.

Or else.

Okay, perhaps I’m being too hard on Mayor Villaraigosa. After all, he really is trying to do something about Occupy LA.

It’s called “appeasement.”

LINKS: More from The Jawa Report, Hot Air, and The Other McCain. From Jack Dunphy, an active-duty LAPD officer writing under a pseudonym: “Chief Beck is abetting the lawlessness.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Voices of the Occupy movement: “Jews get out!”

October 15, 2011

And this woman works for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

God help the children.

via Reason.TV

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


You want to know how dumb unions can be?

September 18, 2011

This dumb. Southern California grocery workers are set to walk out as soon as tomorrow and shut down hundreds of stores over, at most, $23 a week:

Now, as in 2003, one key sticking point is healthcare. What’s at issue is a painfully common refrain in corporate America: medical costs are rising.

Under the latest offer from the employers, grocery workers would pay $9 a week for individual coverage and $23 a week for a family, company and union officials said.

The grocers say these premiums are necessary to help offset rising healthcare costs and augment the amount Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons are agreeing to pay into a trust fund that purchases healthcare for workers. But union officials say that what the employers have proposed to pay during negotiations on the complex deal is far short of what is necessary and would ultimately gut the trust fund. Instead, union officials say, the employers need to pay more in order for the fund to be viable long term.

Consider that California has unemployment of at least 12% and that many, many people are experiencing tight wallets these days. And the union bosses think it’s a good idea to put their own people out of work? Do the unions really expect sympathy from the public when all they’re being asked to pay for healthcare is $36 per month for a single person and $92 for a family? Do they really expect people facing far more onerous financial conditions to say “Oh yeah, man. You’ve got a real grievance here. I’m totally willing to drive 20 miles to find a non-union store while you fight to save 36 bucks a month!”

Really? I expect instead you’ll see a lot of people crossing the lines as the strike goes on, and plenty of “scab” workers — people who need jobs.

I supported the strikers back in 2003, because I felt they had a real grievance. Contrary to the article, the real issue then was management at Safeway trying to forcing workers to pay for management’s poor business decisions.

But this… this is dumb.

via Pirate’s Cove

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Giving public employees raises disguised as bonuses

June 24, 2011

Here’s an interesting (and maddening) video from the California branch of Americans for Prosperity that shows how city governments disguise raises for public employees as “incentive bonuses,” often given for meeting the basic requirements of their job. For example, a licensed veterinary technician can get a $3,132 bonus for… being a licensed veterinary technician, which is prerequisite to even getting the job.

Oh, and it gets better than that:

Now, I usually have nothing against public employees (1), except when they try to treat the public treasury as a piggy bank. However, I reserve the bulk of my ire for public officials who are supposed to be responsible stewards of the public’s money (2) and instead use that money to buy votes, favors, and election help. And I have no respect for the dishonesty required to disguise a pay raise as a bonus because the elected official is too scared to honestly ask his bosses, the voters.

While this video is local to Los Angeles, we can be sure this dishonest graft-by-another-name goes on in other cities. It’s wrong at any time, but it is especially galling in an age when many municipalities are facing bankruptcy. And who would be surprised to find similar shenanigans at the state level?

The age of pigs-at-the-trough is coming to an end, and it’s past time to treat a public trust –the power to spend the people’s money– as a trust. Los Angeles can start by putting a stop to its ridiculous bonus system.

Footnotes:

(1) Being one myself, that is. But I do have to wonder how I missed out on the gravy train. Must’ve picked the wrong agency to work for. Danggit.

(2) Yeah, I rolled my eyes at that one, too.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Things that make me feel oh-so-secure

February 2, 2011

Several items fall under this category, today, but let’s start with the best, first: a previously unknown al Qaeda cell in Los Angeles, just before 9-11.

The FBI has launched a manhunt for a previously unknown team of men suspected to be part of the 9/11 attacks, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Secret documents reveal that the three Qatari men conducted surveillance on the targets, provided “support” to the plotters and had tickets for a flight to Washington on the eve of the atrocities.

The suspected terrorists flew from London to New York on a British Airways flight three weeks before the attacks.

They allegedly carried out surveillance at the World Trade Centre, the White House and in Virginia, the US state where the Pentagon and CIA headquarters are located.

Ten days later they flew to Los Angeles, where they stationed themselves in a hotel near the airport which the FBI has now established was paid for by a “convicted terrorist”, who also paid for their airline tickets.

Hotel staff have told investigators they saw pilot uniforms in their room along with computer print outs detailing pilot names, flight numbers and times and packages addressed to Syria, Afghanistan, Jerusalem and Jordan.

On September 10 they were booked on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Washington, but failed to board. The following day the same Boeing 757 aircraft was hijacked by five terrorists and crashed into the Pentagon.

But, instead of boarding the American flight, the Qatari suspects – named as Meshal Alhajri, Fahad Abdulla and Ali Alfehaid – flew back to London on a British Airways flight before returning to Qatar. Their current location is unknown.

via The Jawa Report.

It’s not known whether these medieval lunatics jihadis were a fifth hijacking crew (remember that my city was the target of a planned second wave — oh, which we learned about thanks only to waterboarding), a backup crew that was pulled out when the cell that attacked the Pentagon confirmed as “ready,”  or “just” an operational support team. What is genuinely disturbing is the article’s implication that, if I understand it right, we didn’t know about these guys except in a very vague way until recently.

Which begs the question: Who else don’t we know about??

Then there’s another revelation from the gift that keeps on giving, Wikileaks. This time, it’s the news that al Qaeda is on the verge of having a dirty bomb, among other fun toys:

Al-Qaida is on the verge of producing radioactive weapons after sourcing nuclear material and recruiting rogue scientists to build “dirty” bombs, according to leaked diplomatic documents.

A leading atomic regulator has privately warned that the world stands on the brink of a “nuclear 9/11″.

Security briefings suggest that jihadi groups are also close to producing “workable and efficient” biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.

Thousands of classified American cables obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph detail the international struggle to stop the spread of weapons-grade nuclear, chemical and biological material around the globe.

At a Nato meeting in January 2009, security chiefs briefed member states that al-Qaida was plotting a program of “dirty radioactive IEDs”, makeshift nuclear roadside bombs that could be used against British troops in Afghanistan.

As well as causing a large explosion, a “dirty bomb” attack would contaminate the area for many years.

Note to the Vancouver Sun headline writer: there is a huge difference between a “nuclear bomb” and a “dirty bomb.” Scale, for one thing. A true H-bomb wreaks much of its destruction through blast and heat; the fallout is just apocalyptic gravy. The explosive force of a dirty bomb is much smaller — it’s meant to scatter radioactive material over an area, rendering it unusable. But that also makes it a perfect terror-weapon. (Wired has a good article on dirty bombs.) Accuracy, please.

Still, isn’t it comforting to know al Qaeda is close to having one?

via Allahpundit, who in his typical fashion reminds us there are plenty of Pakistani jihadist groups that would want a dirty bomb or two, as well as a Pakistani intelligence service that might be willing to supply them. Charming.

Other reassuring items:

Maybe border-security hawks have a point:

U.S. border authorities have arrested a controversial Muslim cleric who was deported from Canada to Tunisia three years ago and was caught earlier this month trying to sneak into California inside the trunk of a BMW, according to court documents.

Said Jaziri, the former Imam of a Muslim congregation in Montreal, was hidden inside a car driven by a San Diego-area man who was pulled over by U.S. Border Patrol agents near an Indian casino east of San Diego. Jaziri allegedly paid a Tijuana-based smuggling group $5,000 to get him across the border near Tecate, saying he wanted to be taken to a “safe place anywhere in the U.S.”

The arrest marks the unexpected resurfacing of the 43-year-old cleric, whose protracted legal battle to avoid deportation drew headlines in Canada. A Tunisian immigrant, Jaziri was deported for failing to disclose a criminal conviction in France while applying for refugee status in the mid-1990s.

But Jaziri’s supporters said he was targeted for his fundamentalist views: Jaziri backed Sharia law for Canadian Muslims and led protests over the publication of the prophet Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper in 2006.

via Fausta. But… But… But I thought anyone demanding better border control was a racist …er, I mean a RAAAAACIST!! This doesn’t fit the narrative… Help me, Luis Gutierrez!!

And if that isn’t enough, through Jihad Watch we learn:

Iranian Book Celebrating Suicide Bombers Found in Arizona Desert

EXCLUSIVE: A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News.

The book, “In Memory of Our Martyrs,” was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.

Published in Iran, it consists of short biographies of Islamic suicide bombers and other Islamic militants who died carrying out attacks.

According to internal U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents, “The book also includes letters from suicide attackers to their families, as well as some of their last wills and testaments.” Each biographical page contains “the terrorist’s name, date of death, and how they died.”

Agents also say that the book appears to have been exposed to weather in the desert “for at least several days or weeks.”

Litterbug. He probably mislaid his dirty bomb, too.

So, you see? We can all relax, safe and content. President Barack “We don’t need no steenkin’ fence”  Obama, Attorney General Eric “Civilian trials for terrorists”  Holder and Homeland Security Director Janet “The system worked” Napolitano are surely on top of things.

If you need me, I’ll be in my bunker.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


California: Brown’s austerity budget?

December 29, 2010

The LA Times has an interesting article today about incoming Governor Brown’s proposed budget – interesting mainly for what it hints at and leaves out, and secondarily for a bit of media bias. First, the proposal:

Gov.-elect Jerry Brown is laying the groundwork for a budget plan that would couple deep cuts to state services, including university systems and welfare programs, with a request that voters extend temporary tax hikes on vehicles, income and sales that are set to expire next year.

The blueprint Brown will unveil when he takes office early next month also is expected to take aim at several tax breaks and subsidies that have been fiercely guarded by the business lobby in Sacramento, according to people involved in budget discussions with the incoming administration.

Among the breaks are multibillion-dollar incentives for redevelopment projects and hundreds of millions of dollars of “enterprise zone” credits meant to encourage investment in blighted neighborhoods. Also targeted is a recent change to state business tax formulas that has saved corporate California roughly $1 billion.

The combination of austere spending and extended tax hikes is designed to confront both parties and their allied interest groups with painful choices that Brown says are necessary to truly resolve the state’s massive budget problems. He intends to take swift action, using the political capital of a new governor to confront a deficit that could easily subsume his governorship.

In a symbolic gesture to garner the trust of a skeptical public, Brown has already pledged to cut his own office budget by 25%.

First promising sign: the Governor-elect recognizes we’re in a deep mess and cannot keep spending the way we have been for the past 25 years :

California state spending has outgrown the state’s tax base by 1.3 percentage points annually for 25 years. Simple arithmetic dictates that in lieu of constant tax increases, this perpetuates a deficit.

From 1985 to 2009 state GDP in California grew by 5.5 percent per year, on average (not adjusted for inflation). Annual growth in state spending was 6.8 percent, on average. Three spending categories have dominated this spending spree: public schools, cash assistance and Medicaid. Making up half of state spending, they are outlets for traditional redistributive welfare state policy.

(h/t Wyoming Liberty Group)

Back to the Times article, Brown plans to ask for cuts to California’s welfare, public school, California State University, and University of California allocations. He also wants to change or eliminate special enterprise zones (areas of lowered taxes to encourage local hiring) and the way a particular tax is calculated for businesses. Finally, he wants voters to approve an extension of onerous tax increases enacted a few years ago, which will expire with this fiscal year.

It’s a mixed bag, with something to tick off everyone. By one theory of politics, that means he must be doing something right. Teacher’s unions and the universities, for example, will hate the cuts to education. But, let’s be blunt here: CSU and UC students, even after recent fee hikes, are still heavily subsidized and charged nowhere near market rate for what they get. And higher education is a public good, not an unalienable right. If the state can’t afford to keep subsidizing it at current levels, then logic dictates cutting back. And it’s not as if public school performance in California has warranted giving the teachers unions more, instead of forcing some competition and choice into the system, as has New Orleans.

The proposals to cut back business enterprise zones will surely anger business communities, but the article mentions (but does not cite directly) studies arguing that those zones have not had the desired effect. Shouldn’t fiscal conservatives be open to the idea of ending programs that don’t work, even if they are ones conservatives sympathize with?

One of the greatest obstacles Brown’s proposals face is the extension of tax rates. California is already one of the mostly highly taxed states in the nation, one of the reasons businesses and people are leaving for other states that don’t punish success nearly as much. Here in the Golden State, if you make more than $47,055, but less than a million, you pay the second-highest rate, 9.55%. Sales tax in Los Angeles county is 9.75%, which is a 1.5% premium over the state rate of 8.25%. And auto registration fees (the dread car tax, which was part of why Gray Davis lost his job in 2003) is 1.15% of the car’s value. Brown is hoping that spending cuts will persuade a skeptical and angry public to extend these tax rates in a special election in return for deep spending cuts. We’ll see.

The devil, of course, is in the details, and Brown’s representative was deliberately vague, probably not wanting to show his hand in advance of what is sure to be a hard fight in the legislature. Here are some questions I have for the once-and-future governor:

  • Are these spending cuts permanent reductions in bloated state spending, or just a temporary cutback until the economy picks up, at which point we’ll go on a binge again?
  • When would the extended tax rates expire? When the economy recovers, will you consider tax cuts to stimulate economic growth?
  • Will you push for an increase in school choice to break the stranglehold of the teachers unions and make sure we’re getting value for the money we put into education?
  • What will you do to reform California’s regulatory environment, which helps make this state the worst in which to do business?
  • What will you do to curb the corrupting influence of other public-employee unions?

I’m sure there are a lot more questions, but these are a start — as is Brown’s plan. We’ll see what comes out in the details in the months ahead.

TANGENT: The article does a pretty good job with the basics, but still reflects the LA Times’ pro-Democrat, pro-progressive bias. When discussing portions of Brown’s proposal that the business community might not like, it mentions only opposition with no word about people who might be hurt by the changes. When talking about cuts to welfare and education, we get pity-words about students and the poor, with no attention given to the effectiveness of those programs — unlike we see in the discussion of enterprise zones.  Not egregious, not outrageous, but sadly typical.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


“The Venezuela of North America”

December 28, 2010

Okay, now that hurts!

Sadly, at least in terms of economics, it’s also not far off the mark. In the following video from Americans For Prosperity California, Business Relocation Coach Joe Vranich gives ten top reasons why California companies are calling the moving company:

via Vox

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


More on the Mystery Missile – and a Poll!

November 11, 2010

So, the mystery of the unidentified contrail see over Los Angeles three nights ago continues. Experts go back and forth over whether it was a missile (and its implications) or a jet mistaken for a missile due to the curvature of the Earth. At least one Southern Californian, however, thinks he’s not only determined it was a jet, but what commercial flight it was – and he’s seen it again:

I wonder if I’m the first to call it, the reported unexplained missile launch off the coast of California, was US Airways 808.

I did a lot of extrapolation of what flights could be at the right position (off the coast) at the right altitude (for contrail formation) and came down to two possibilities: UPS flight 902 (UPS902) or US Airways flight 808 (AWE808).

As I was researching tonight (24 hours later), I realized that today’s AWE808 current position (at around 4:50pm) was almost the same as it was the day of the incident. I quickly pulled up a Newport Beach webcam and found that (apparently) AWE808 was making an identical contrail, 24 hours later!

Read the rest, and be sure to check out the web cam image taken from a corner in Newport Beach the day after “The Event.” He makes a good case. (Update: Also visit the link he provides to the very informative Contrail Science blog)

Meanwhile Ed at Hot Air reports on a poll of Angelenos taken by Survey USA for KABC:

One television station decided to poll Angelenos on whether they thought the government had told the truth about its origin, and the results show that LA doesn’t have a lot of confidence in the answer.  The Survey USA poll shows only 20% of respondents who were “familiar” with the story think the government told the truth about the contrail, while 66% — two-thirds — say the government lied about it.

The crosstabs show a remarkable sense of unity.  Young, middle-aged, old, white, black, Hispanic — the overwhelming majority in every demographic believes the government lied about it.  The best the government does is with those 55 or older, where only 54% say it’s a lie, while 34% believe the explanation.  Only 6% of younger voters buy the official conclusion, while 77% reject it.

Me, I still lean strongly toward “jet plus optical illusion.” I just have this feeling that, had it been, for example, an accidental missile launch, the news of such a boo-boo wouldn’t stay secret for very long. And the idea of a purposeful secret test off the coast with millions of people watching….? No. As for the theory that the “missile” was Chinese and that they were sending us a message, well, that would require China to be run by idiots and that’s one thing they’re not.

So, it’s time for our own poll. What do you think?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Mysterious missile launch off Los Angeles? UPDATED: solution found?

November 9, 2010

Look, I realize the rest of the country is mad at California, but do you have to shoot at us, too?

The launch took place 35 miles west of LA and north of Catalina Island during rush hour last night. The footage above was taken by a CBS News traffic chopper that was in the air at the time. Both the Navy and Vandenberg AFB are denying it was one of theirs, so…Whose was it?

Troubling question: And just where did it come down?

UPDATE: Allahpundit speculates at Hot Air. More from McKittrick at Closing Velocity.

UPDATE II: WUWT may have the solution – a jet’s contrail over the sea combined with an optical illusion caused by the Earth’s spherical shape.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Boxer campaign breaks law, tries to recruit students through teachers – UPDATED

October 27, 2010

Ooops. The campaign of Senator Ma’am Boxer has been caught with both hands in the cookie jar on this one. According to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Boxer’s campaign (let’s not forget she is Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee) sent a letter (PDF) to LA Unified School District teachers, asking them to recruit their students to help out with Boxer’s campaign. One problem: this breaks the California Education Code. As Michael Higby at Mayor Sam’s Sister City explains:

This is a big violation of the California Education Code which states:

California Education Code, section 51520: “During school hours, and within one hour before the time of opening and within one hour after the time of closing of school, pupils of the public school shall not be solicited on school premises by teachers or others to subscribe or contribute to the funds of, to become members of, or to work for, any organization not directly under the control of the school authorities, unless the organization is a nonpartisan, charitable organization organized for charitable purposes by an act of Congress or under the laws of the state, the purpose of the solicitation is nonpartisan and charitable, and the solicitation has been approved by the county board of education or by the governing board of the school district in which the school is located.

You can see the letter the HJTA sent to the Superintendent of Schools for LAUSD here (PDF)

Naughty, naughty, Senator Ethics! And, gee, just what would your allies in the teacher’s unions expect in return for facilitating this illegal campaign donation in kind educational experience for LA’s school kids?

And how desperate is Babs when she has to beg for illegal help? Not enough volunteers? Internal polls looking bad? If Fiorina can split the ring around metro Los Angeles, Boxer loses and will have to go back to that million-dollar house in Cokeland Oakland she failed to declare.

PS. Did you know the Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee was one of the leading figures in the House Banking Scandal?

PPS. Vote Carly.

LINKS: More from Gay Patriot, Big Government, and Flap.

UPDATE: Even while saying they weren’t really doing what the letter shows they were doing, the Boxer campaign has apologized… for not doing anything. Okay…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Stimulating Los Angeles: Porkulus’ cost per job

September 18, 2010

It’s already an old story with the 2009 “stimulus package,” but this report on the number of jobs created here in Los Angeles by Porkulus and what they each cost is just appalling:

More than a year after Congress approved $800 billion in stimulus funds, the Los Angeles city controller has released a 40-page report on how the city spent its share, and the results are not living up to expectations.

“I’m disappointed that we’ve only created or retained 55 jobs after receiving $111 million,” said Wendy Greuel, the city’s controller. “With our local unemployment rate over 12 percent we need to do a better job cutting red tape and putting Angelenos back to work.”

According to the audit, the Los Angeles Department of Public Works spent $70 million in stimulus funds — in return, it created seven private sector jobs and saved seven workers from layoffs. Taxpayer cost per job: $1.5 million.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation created even fewer jobs per dollar, spending $40 million but netting just nine jobs. Taxpayer cost per job: $4.4 million.

They’d have earned a better return on their investment (with our money) by going to Vegas and betting it all at the roulette wheel.

Heckuva job, Mr. President.

(And, hey, wasn’t Sheriff Joe supposed to keep watch to make sure the money wasn’t wasted? I’d swear I remember something about that… )

via The Flash Report


Adventures in government incompetence, L.A. County edition

August 24, 2010

It takes a special kind of genius to burn $50,000,000 in a failed effort to save $13,000,000:

After spending more than $154 million for a system of locking turnstiles and electronic payment cards for the county transit system, officials are discovering that at least a third of the money may have been wasted because they can’t use the new devices as planned.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority placed the locking turnstiles at subway and light-rail stations to stop fare scofflaws and end what had previously been an honor-based system.

Installed under a $46 million contract, the turnstiles were predicted to save $13 a million a year in lost revenue and reduced fare inspector costs.

But the turnstiles can’t be configured to lock until Metro fully converts to a new electronic Transit Access Pass system – and that is proving nearly impossible.

The stalled effort has raised questions from critics about whether the turnstile contract has turned into a costly boondoggle.

“Raised questions?” I should think pitchforks and torches are in order. The subway itself was a grandiose and monstrous waste of money, do we have to keep throwing ever more into its tunnels?

(via Mayor Sam’s Sister City)


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