Five-year old suspended for “playing Army”

December 19, 2013
"Armed and dangerous"

“Armed and dangerous”

They had to do it; the kid was armed — with a finger gun! (The horror…)

A 5-year-old boy was reportedly suspended from school after making a gun gesture with his hand on the playground.

His father, David Hendrix, was furious when he found out his son was issued a suspension for the gesture.

“He was playing army on the playground,” Hendrix told WBTV. “I just felt like the punishment was way too severe.”

Let’s try, “shouldn’t have happened at all.” I mean, do school administrators not have the same childhoods the rest of us have? Little boys don’t play Army and make finger guns in their world? They don’t yell “bang-bang!” and argue over who’s “dead?” Do children in their universe sit around in their onesies talking about health insurance? What goes through these “educators'” heads, except air?

I mean, my goodness. It’s not like the kid was armed with a Pop-tart, or something.

via Pirate’s Cove

(Photo source: Wikipedia)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Proof that we face a climate catastrophe!

December 19, 2013
"Dressed for snow"

“Dressed for snow”

I mean, it’s snowing in Hawaii:

A winter storm is expected to bring more heavy showers to Maui and the Big Island and snow to Mauna Kea, where flood watches and a winter storm warning are posted. Forecasters say Oahu and Kauai can also expect rainy weather at least through Friday.

The storm system prompted a flash flood watch for Maui, Hawaii island, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe; and a winter storm warning for Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa through 6 a.m. Friday.

(…)

Cold air in the upper atmosphere and the increased moisture may bring as much as 6 inches of snow to Big Island summits.

According to a UH Earth Sciences professor, snow in the upper peaks of Hawaii’s mountains is a yearly occurrence, so it’s not unusual, unlike snow in Egypt. But, if the global warming alarmists (like Big Al Gore) were right and we really were causing dangerous climate warming through all the CO2 we’ve been pumping into the atmosphere, wouldn’t snow in the tropics have ceased altogether, or at least notably declined?

Maybe this is just another example of how odd-seeming weather is really natural, and not a sign of impending doom.

via someone on Twitter. Sorry, lost the link.


A&E so offended by Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson that they’re continuing marathon airings

December 19, 2013

In fact, I watched some episodes last night: good stuff, and I’d swear I could recognize some of my own family in there. As for the controversy over Phil’s comments, A&E thoroughly beclowned themselves over this. Phil did not call for gays to be persecuted in any way: he merely stated his belief in the Biblical view that homosexuality is a sin and paraphrased a verse from Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians to illustrate it. He did not compare homosexuality to bestiality: he was listing a category of sins. I don’t agree with Phil or St. Paul on this, but it’s Phil’s right to hold that opinion and express it, especially when it was in answer to a question. A&E cravenly caved in to a liberal fascist pressure group, GLAAD, and fired someone for the crime of “wrong thinking.” (Mao would approve.) As I said last night on Twitter, “@AETV’s fundamental mistake: assuming the audience was laughing at Phil and his family, rather than identifying with them. #LiberalBigotry.” I think they’ll get a hard lesson in that when the huge audience that follows Duck Dynasty walks away.


#Obamacare: Maryland considers dumping its non-functional exchange

December 18, 2013

satire oops embarrassed button

Hey, remember how the state exchanges were supposed to be the examples of Obamacare exchanges that actually worked well? (1) You might not be hearing that claim much longer, now that Maryland, one of the enthusiastic early recruits, is open to the idea of shutting down its exchange:

That said, the pace of enrollments is still far too low. If the exchange is able to replicate its best weekday and weekend performance during every one of the 104 days between now and the end of the open enrollment period on March 31, Maryland will still only achieve about three-quarters of its goal of signing up 150,000 people with private coverage. The site may be better, but better isn’t good enough.

Under those circumstances, the question raised by Rep. John Delaney, a Montgomery County Democrat, about whether it would be better for Maryland to scrap its effort to build its own exchange and instead join the federal one has merit. Indeed, Gov. Martin O’Malley acknowledged on Monday that the option — and all others — remain on the table.

That’s a hard possibility for Governor O’Malley to acknowledge. Under his leadership, Maryland was one of the most aggressive states in the effort to build out its own exchange — a strategic decision that appears in retrospect to have involved no small amount of hubris and political ambition. Walking away now from all that effort and tens of millions in expenditures would be particularly embarrassing.

It would also have policy implications. Maryland decided to build the kind of exchange it did because officials wanted to create something of a one-stop portal that would integrate shopping for private plans and enrolling in Medicaid. Theoretically, that would make the system much easier to navigate for families in which, for example, the children are eligible for Medicaid and the parents for private plans. The state also had designs on eventually integrating enrollment for other social services — like food stamps and energy assistance — into one system. Scrapping the state exchange altogether would ensure that none of that would be possible, at least not anytime soon.

That would be sure to make Obama and Sebelius sad. It also would do wonders (he wrote sarcastically) for Governor O’Malley’s dark-horse presidential prospects. (2) Well, that and the Baltimore jail scandal.

via David Freddoso, whose newsletter you should subscribe to.

Meanwhile, The New York Times, of all papers, reports “broad skepticism” (3) regarding the Affordable Care Act:

The poll found that just one-third of uninsured Americans expect the law, the Affordable Care Act, to improve the nation’s health care system, while the same proportion think the law will help them personally, according to the poll.

Overall, there is no consensus among uninsured Americans on how the health care system will fare once the law takes effect. While one-third expect improvement, two-thirds anticipate either a worsening or no difference at all.

“It will hurt everybody in the long run,” said Cat Ping, 55, of Indianapolis in a follow-up interview. Ms. Ping, who does not have insurance, added: “I don’t care how they spin it, Obamacare is not affordable. It’s wrecking our total economy.”

Emphasis added. I dunno. I’d call two-thirds approaching a consensus on at minimum the law’s uselessness, wouldn’t you?

Some people have gone beyond skepticism to fighting back. In that newly-born hotbed of resistance against Progressive busybody-ism, Colorado (4), two state legislators have had an interesting idea: they’ve introduced a bill that would grant a state tax credit to anyone fined taxed under Obamacare for not having insurance:

Reps. Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs and Jared Wright of Grand Junction announced that they will introduce a bill to give a tax credit to anyone who gets fined for not buying health insurance — at an amount equal to the federal penalty under the Affordable Care Act for not purchasing insurance.

The pair of conservatives are calling it the “Healthcare Liberty Act.”

“Many Colorado families are relying on us as their elected representatives to try to mitigate the adverse effects of Obamacare,” Wright said. “Our bill is an appropriate response to the tax penalty and will help people in Colorado who simply cannot afford this expensive new government health insurance mandate.”

I like it: rewarding people for defying an unjust law. It won’t get through the Democrat-controlled state senate nor past the Democrat governor, but it’s one heck of an appealing idea. And it will give state Republicans another nice club to beat Democrats with in the upcoming elections, especially with the exchange doing so well that its director wants a bonus.

via Jim Geraghty

RELATED: More bad news for Obamacare fans.

Footnote:
(1) Relatively, compared to the total train wreck that is the federal exchange.
(2) No kidding. The Democratic bench is so thin that this hack is considered to have serious, albeit second-tier prospects.
(3) This is news only to MSNBC viewers and Santa Monica liberals, of which there is probably a considerable overlap.
(4) Where the Blue grip has suddenly become shaky. Must be Michelle Malkin’s influence.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Cult of Personality Watch: US Embassy becomes Obama Embassy

December 17, 2013

(Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Sure, all US embassies and consulates have portraits of the current president hanging in the offices; he is, after all, Head of State. But… Well… This is just a bit much:

Large tapestry portraits of President Barack Obama were unveiled for guests at the U.S. Embassy in London over the weekend.

The recently-installed, large-scale tapestry portraits were created by National Medal of Arts winner and renowned American painter, photographer Chuck Close.

Call me old-fashioned, but if you want a large piece of art decorating the entry to a United States embassy, the first thing visitors see, why not a work that reflects the history of the United States? Christy’s “Signing of the Constitution,” for example, to celebrate one of our seminal events, or Rockwell’s “Abraham Delivering the Gettysburg Address,” in honor of what many feel is the moment of our second Founding? Or, to borrow Rockwell again (1), why not showcase “Freedom of Speech,” that most American of values, which both embodies and guards the right of a free people to rule themselves? Instead we get giant portraits of one man?

All art is communication, after all, especially public art, and art displayed in an embassy should reflect the nation’s values, how it sees itself, what it holds dear, its spiritual center, its… Oh, wait. I get it.

In this case, I guess it reflects the government’s spiritual center.  smiley headbang wall

Footnote:
(1) He was the all-American painter, after all.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: the ongoing crash and burn of the HHS Hindenburg

December 16, 2013
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

I was under the weather over the weekend, so some articles accumulated about the rolling wreckage known as the Affordable Care Act (1), both those problems already known and those forthcoming. Let’s start with the one that’s perhaps the scariest for being the most personal; as Mark Steyn so aptly put it, “If you like your checking account, you can keep your checking account:”

For the second week in a row, the Washington Healthplanfinder website is down, and it’s causing problems for people who are dealing with billing issues. Some of them say the website is mistakenly debiting their accounts.

Shannon Bruner of Indianola logged on to her checking account Monday morning, and found she was almost 800 dollars in the negative.

“The first thing I thought was, ‘I got screwed,’” she said.

The Bruners enrolled for insurance on the Washington Healthplanfinder website, last October. They say they selected the bill pay date to be December 24th. Instead the Washington Healthplanfinder drafted the 835 dollar premium Monday.

Josh Bruner started his own business this year as an engineering recruiter. They said it’s forced them to pay a lot of attention to their bills and their bank accounts.

“Big knot in my gut because we’re trying to keep it together,” said Shannon Bruner. “It’s important to me that this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

They’re not alone.

This is why I never, ever give direct access to my checking account: bureaucracies screw up, and good luck fighting them. While you’re trying to get your money back, you’re suddenly lacking funds to cover the checks you wrote and other immediate needs, as the people in the article are discovering. And, if this is happening in the Washington state exchange, what do you want to bet erroneous debits are taking place on other state exchanges and the federal exchange, with its millions of potential customers? But you can’t just refuse to participate in such an incompetent operation — you’re bound under penalty of law and just have to hope these yahoos don’t foul up your life too badly.

Merry Christmas!

Meanwhile, it turns out Obamacare may kill volunteer fire departments across the country; no one knows whether they’re required to give their firefighters coverage under the ACA, or how the mandate is activated, because the IRS hasn’t yet written the rules, even though the deadline is just days away:

At issue is the Affordable Care Act’s mandate requiring employers with more than 50 full-time workers to provide adequate health insurance coverage for employees working more than 30 hours a week and whether it should be applied to unpaid volunteers.

Fire officials say the Internal Revenue Service treats volunteer firefighters as full-time employees for tax purposes, so they worry that the agency will also require municipal fire departments and fire companies to provide those volunteers with health coverage or pay substantial fines for failing to do so.

Officials say the mandate could create a severe financial hardship for their departments and companies.

“It would be just devastating to our budget,” Burlington Township Fire Director John Stewart said Friday. “Right now, we have three full-time employees and 90 qualified volunteers. I don’t know what we would do.”

Pemberton Township Fire Chief Craig Augustoni said informal estimates were that the mandate might cost the municipality an additional $2 million to insure its volunteers.

“That, or pay a fine of $2,000 per worker,” Augustoni said.

Obamacare: it’s not just a metaphorical “crash and burn” scenario any more.

Sometimes a bit of schadenfreude can help us feel better; who doesn’t like laughing and pointing at the travails of the very people who helped bring this mess about? Via Instapundit, Tom Macguire reports on a New York Times article detailing the suffering of Manhattan’s cultural elites under the ACA:

Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.

They are part of an unusual, informal health insurance system that has developed in New York, in which independent practitioners were able to get lower insurance rates through group plans, typically set up by their professional associations or chambers of commerce. That allowed them to avoid the sky-high rates in New York’s individual insurance market, historically among the most expensive in the country.

But under the Affordable Care Act, they will be treated as individuals, responsible for their own insurance policies. For many of them, that is likely to mean they will no longer have access to a wide network of doctors and a range of plans tailored to their needs. And many of them are finding that if they want to keep their premiums from rising, they will have to accept higher deductible and co-pay costs or inferior coverage.

“I couldn’t sleep because of it,” said Barbara Meinwald, a solo practitioner lawyer in Manhattan.

This quote later in the article is a beaut:

It is not lost on many of the professionals that they are exactly the sort of people — liberal, concerned with social justice — who supported the Obama health plan in the first place. Ms. Meinwald, the lawyer, said she was a lifelong Democrat who still supported better health care for all, but had she known what was in store for her, she would have voted for Mitt Romney.

It is an uncomfortable position for many members of the creative classes to be in.

Yeah, well, forgive me, Barbara, if my well of sympathy has once again run dry. This is what you and your fellow fighters for “social justice” voted for in defiance of all reason and the laws of economics, and now you’ve got it. Congratulations. And from those of us who could see all along what a disaster this would be, thanks a lot.

Finally, the government says they’re getting a handle on the problem of wrong information being sent to insurers, which could lead to people thinking they have coverage, when they don’t. Well, hold on to your hats; the government is lying. The problems are not fixed. Thousands of applications have not been sent to insurers. Healthcare.gov is still rife with errors. But, don’t worry, the Peron Obama administration is “encouraging” insurers grant all sorts of exceptions and break the law to make sure they take the blame for the problems the government created.

Well, they didn’t say it that bluntly, but that’s because they don’t want us to know how panicked they are.

I get this feeling it’s going to hit the fan come January 1st, don’t you?

Footnote:
(1) George Orwell, call your office.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sorry for the light posting this weekend

December 15, 2013
"Blah"

“Blah”

Been fighting a cold or a massive allergy attack. Don’t know which; just wish it would go away. Normal service resumes tomorrow. I hope.


To Deal with the Problem of Incompetent Government, David Brooks Wants to…Make the Executive Branch More Powerful?!?

December 15, 2013

Patient says to his doctor, “Doc, it hurts when I do this!” Doc replies, ” Well, stop doing that!” Brooks obviously didn’t listen to the doctor.

International Liberty

I sometimes get irked when I read columns by David Brooks. He’s sort of the token Republican at the New York Times, so he has a very important perch that could be used to educate an important audience about the harmful impact of excessive government.

And Brooks often does a good job of highlighting important and worrisome social trends, but what rubs me the wrong way is that he frequently thinks the right answer is to give government even more power.

He wrote a column back in 2011, for instance, that nailed the problem of growing dependency and declining workforce participation. But then he proposed more government intervention.

And he correctly worried about the social costs of family instability in 2012, but then bizarrely decided that the right response was subsidies to make men more marriageable.

So it won’t come as much of a surprise that I’m perplexed…

View original post 581 more words


Snow in the desert: is there nothing global warming can’t do?

December 13, 2013
"The rare Egyptian snow-mummies"

“The rare Egyptian snow-mummies”

(Photo credit: AhramOnline)

Can’t wait to see how climate alarmists spin this — the first snowfall in Cairo, Egypt!, in over 100 years:

Snow coated domes and minarets Friday as a record Mideast storm compounded the suffering of Syrian refugees, sent the Israeli army scrambling to dig out stranded motorists and gave Egyptians a rare glimpse of snow in their capital.

Nearly three feet of snow closed roads in and out of Jerusalem, which is set in high hills, and thousands in and around the city were left without power. Israeli soldiers and police rescued hundreds trapped in their cars by snow and ice. In the West Bank, the branches of olive trees groaned under the weight of snow.

In Cairo, where local news reports said the last recorded snowfall was more than 100 years ago, children in outlying districts capered in white-covered streets, and adults marveled at the sight, tweeting pictures of snow-dusted parks and squares. In other parts of the city, rain and hail rocketed down.

I’ll lay 3-2 odds that some climate-change cultist will argue that this is due to “catastrophic man-caused climate change,” because, you know, “global warming” is a damaged brand since there hasn’t been any warming since 1997 or so.

After all, it just couldn’t be the ebb and flow of natural cycles. Nope, it has to be due to Man’s sins against Gaea. Or something. Because Al Gore, Michael Mann, and the IPCC said so.

Meanwhile, I’ll bet kids throughout the region are having a blast today.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Culture of corruption: The Dems’ dangerous DHS pick

December 13, 2013

Ah, a throwback to the days of Bill Clinton and his Blue-Light Sale on pardons. We’re in the best of hands.


Caption this: the Cruz-McCain death glare

December 12, 2013

Via Twitchy. The only question I have is “Is Cruz about to launch into some crazy kung fu moves, or activate his heat-beam death ray eyes on McCain?”

Click on the photo for a larger version. Feel free to add your own caption in the comments.

"Awkward..."

“Awkward…”

Ever get the feeling these two don’t like each other? smiley chicken


(Video) #Obamacare – “Victims of government” UPDATED: Gateway Pundit to lose his insurance

December 12, 2013

From Senator Ron Johnson* (R- WI), the story of Kathi Rose, a minister in Wisconsin who learned she was losing the health insurance she was satisfied with and that replacing it would cost her roughly $4,000 per year more. This is helping people? Making them “more secure?”

As Johnson points out in the video, this is not only a financial hardship for Kathi and her family, but also an invasion of their liberty and a threat to the health of her family. This is just one example of a story being played out again and again across the nation and illustrates once more why this anti-constitutional monstrosity has to be repealed.

*A freshman, elected in the “Tea Party” class of 2010. And one of the very good candidates we found that year. Turned out to be a good senator, too.

via Ben Howe

RELATED: Nearer to home for many of us is the story of Jim Hoft, aka “Gateway Pundit,” who suffered a near-fatal disease earlier, but was saved by the excellent care paid for by his insurance — care he still needs. Guess what? Jim is losing his insurance and may lose the doctors he trusts. To quote Jim, “Why is our government doing this to us?”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Please pass the Pepto: Rep. Alan Grayson seeks ‘friends with benefits’

December 12, 2013

Mentioning the disgusting slimeball Alan Grayson and “friends with benefits” in the same sentence is a sure way to give me nightmares.


I suspect Secretary Sebelius will resign after the midterm elections. UPDATE: Accusations of “criminal obstruction”

December 11, 2013
"A track record of epic failure"

In hot water

Mostly because, if the Republicans take the Senate and she keeps giving contempt-laden answers like these, she’s sure to face impeachment:

[Rep. John] Shimkus (R-IL)moved on to try and get Sebelius to acknowledge that items the Obama administration is claiming are free now because of Obamacare are not actually free: “I had my phone on and when my phone rang on left on because I wanted to talk to a Democrat state senator from my state of Illinois, who was on the insurance commission and he said mandated preventive services are laid directly on premium prices. So you cannot say as you have numerous times that these preventative care services our, quote, free of charge, can you?”

Again, Sebelius stuck to the party line: “They are free to the consumer.”

This sparked a response from Shimkus, “There is no free lunch, Madam Secretary! If the premiums increase because of the mandated coverage based upon state senator from the state of Illinois, a Democrat, who is in oversight of the insurance of the state of Illinois and he said when you mandate coverage it is ruled directly on premiums, premiums increase, that is paying, you cannot say these are free of charge!”

“Consumers will not have a co-pay or deductible,” Sebelius fired back, and refused to acknowledge that anyone’s premiums have risen due to Obamacare mandates, despite the widely reported fact that millions of Americans have seen their health insurance premiums and deductibles rise sharply since Obamacare’s implementation.

I’d recommend that Madame Secretary read Bastiat’s “That Which is Seen” essay, as well as anything by Thomas Sowell, for a reminder that nothing comes without cost. But that would assume she’e even interested in learning such things, which she isn’t.

In fact, the former-governor’s answers at this committee hearing were indicative of utter contempt for those charged with spending the public’s money and, by implication with overseeing how that money is spent. She simply would not give Mr. Shimkus a straight answer, until he gave up and said it was like dealing with North Korea.

This isn’t the first time the HHS secretary has given non-answers to legitimate questions posed by a co-equal branch of the government. Indeed, it’s a pattern with this whole administration; one just has to recall any number of Eric Holder’s appearances before House committees, or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s patent lies to Congress. Granted, this happens to one degree or another in all administrations, especially when the opposition is on an obvious fishing expedition, but that isn’t the case, here. Republicans are posing valid questions in pursuit of their constitutional duties of oversight, and members of the administration are duty-bound to answer.

But, more and more, Obama administration officials are doing the equivalent to answering with “lovely weather, isn’t it?” and acting as if they have no responsibilities to the public at all.

There is an answer for this. I refer the reader to Article 1, sections 2 and 3 of the United States Constitution:

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

…and…

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

I would argue that Kathleen Sebelius’s utter disregard for the constitutional proprieties, such as giving a straight answer to a straight question from a member of the legislature, merits impeachment, as much to send a warning to other government officials as to punish her. Now, it would never get through a trial in the Senate as currently constituted. That’s fine; we have more pressing matters to deal with, such as taking control of said Senate in next year’s elections. We must control the tool before we can wield it.

But, after that, some salutary execu… er… impeachments may well be in order; I’ve come to the conclusion we don’t do it often enough. (1)

Which is why I think we’ll see a few key resignations starting in late November, 2014.

BREAKING UPDATE:

Just as I was finishing this post, the following news broke:

In a letter addressed to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) accuses the Department of criminally threatening the vendor that developed troubled Healthcare.gov website. Issa chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has been investigating the extremely rocky rollout of Healthcare.gov on October 1.

Issa cites a December 6, 2013 letter that HHS sent to Creative Computing Solutions, Inc. In that latter, “the Department claimed that the company is contractually precluded from producing documents to Congress. The letter further stated that the Department will respond to requests from Congress on the company’s behalf.” Issa’s letter states that other Healthcare.gov vendors received similar letters.

But Issa notes that the actual HHS contract precludes vendors from sharing documents with other companies, not Congress, which is charged by the Constitution with overseeing the actions of the executive branch.

“The Department’s attempt to threaten CCSI for the purpose of deterring the company from providing documents to Congress places the officials responsible for drafting and sending the letter on the wrong side of federal statutes that prohibit obstruction of a congressional investigation,” Issa states in the letter to HHS. He cites Section 1505 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code,…

Be sure to read the rest. Sebelius may be leaving sooner than I thought.

Footnote:
(1) While I agree completely with Andrew McCarthy that President Obama himself merits impeachment and removal from office, I don’t think we’d ever have enough votes in the Senate (2) to convict him. However, “bumping off ” one or two cabinet-level appointees might convince him to spend more time on the golf course and less abusing his power for the time he has left.
(2) Of course, it’s always possible Obama will leave Congress no choice, whether they’re sure of the votes or not.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) The anal jihad begins

December 10, 2013

Or, “sodomy in the service of sharia?”

Don’t worry, it’s a clean video… other than the subject matter:

This isn’t really new; a suicide bomber in Saudi Arabia tried to take out the Interior Minister is 2009 with rectal explosives, but failed. But it’s nice to know they now have religious backing for their… training regimen.

BTW, the video is originally from MEMRI, a fabulous source for keeping tabs on the media in the Islamic world, but another user had to post it, since Islamic fascists managed to convince YouTube to ban MEMRI’s account. Nice way to play the dhimmi, YouTube.

via the PJ Tatler


#Obamacare: If we bought coffee the way we now buy health insurance

December 10, 2013

Via David Freddoso, this is a funny little satire of what we’re now experiencing under the Affordable Care Act:

Quote:

“Ha-ha-ha! Of course it’s a free country! Or, we like to tell people that…”

Scary thing is, I worry Starbucks might go for this…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Free speech in Britain not dead; just gut-shot

December 9, 2013

I’m telling you, George Orwell was a prophet:

Neil Phillips said he was fingerprinted, DNA-swabbed and had his computers seized.

The 44-year-old was held after posting: “My PC takes so long to shut down I’ve decided to call it Nelson Mandela.”

Another read: “Free Mandela – switch the power off.”

But police swooped after a councillor complained over the gags about the former South African leader, who passed away on Thursday, aged 95.

Mr Phillips who insisted he meant no harm, said: “It was an awful experience. I was fingerprinted, they took DNA and my computer.

“It was a couple of jokes, Bernard Manning type,” he added. “There was no hatred. What happened to freedom of speech? I think they over-reacted massively.”

Mr Phillips, who runs Crumbs sandwich shop in Rugeley, Staffs, was arrested after complaints by [local councilor] Tim Jones about the one-liners, aired when the anti-apartheid hero was critically ill.

Mr. Phillips “crime,” aside from telling some mildly tasteless jokes, is that he broke the 1986 Public Order Act (1), which, among other things, makes it an offense to say things that others might find insulting and distressing. And because a local pol was “offended,” Phillips was hauled in and treated like an enemy of the state.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we get our traditions of free speech from that very same island, where now an off-color joke means an official knock at the door?

Via Charles Cooke, who has this to say about the state of liberty in his former country:

In other words, Section 5 [of the POA] allows anybody to have anybody else investigated for speaking. And they have. The arrests have run the gamut: from Muslims criticizing atheists to atheists critcizing Muslims; from a young man who told a police officer that his horse was “gay” to protesters criticizing Scientology; from a Christian arguing against homosexuality on the street to a man arrested and charged with offending a chaplain. I’ll give them this: The British are at least thorough with their suppression. 

Cooke points out that, after public outrage, the law has been amended to ban prosecutions for insulting people, but only if no particular victim can be identified. A real blow for liberty, that. It’s also a good example of why we should zealously guard our own 1st Amendment; we all know pols and academics here who’d love to have a similar law in the name of “respecting each other’s feelings.”

Britain’s Glorious Revolution resulted in the English Bill of Rights, forerunner to our own. Maybe it’s time they had another.

Footnote:
(1) Passed under Margaret Thatcher? Really?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Because nothing says “reset” like a statue to a KGB chief

December 9, 2013
"Hero of the new Russia"

“Hero of the new Russia”

Boy, that Smart Power diplomacy of Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton worked wonders, didn’t it bring light and peace to the world? So effective was it, in fact, that the Russians are about to re-erect a statue to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the murderous revolutionary who founded the Soviet secret police:

The statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Bolshevik secret police, may be restored to its “rightful” place in Lubyanskaya Square in downtown Moscow, a senior Moscow lawmaker said.

The Moscow government has announced plans to restore seven famous monuments, including the statue of Dzerzhinsky, better known under his nickname as the Iron Felix. The restoration cost is estimated at over 50 million rubles (some $1.6 mln).

“I think it could be restored and returned to its place,” deputy speaker of the Moscow City Duma, Andrei Metelsky, said in an interview with the Russian News Service radio on Friday.

“If they say they are ready to allocate the money, then the process must be completed,” Metelsky said.

In 1958, a bronze statue of Dzerzhinsky by Soviet sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich was erected in Moscow’s Lubyanskaya Square (renamed in his honor into Dzerzhinsky Square) directly in front of the KGB headquarters.

This is some of what the Wikipedia entry has to say about “Iron Felix:”

Lenin regarded Felix Dzerzhinsky as a revolutionary hero and appointed him to organize a force to combat internal threats. On 20 December 1917, the Council of People’s Commissars officially established the All-Russia Extraordinary Commission to Combat Counter-revolution and Sabotage—usually known as the Cheka (based on the Russian acronym ВЧК). Dzerzhinsky became its director. The Cheka received a large number of resources, and became known for ruthlessly pursuing any perceived counterrevolutionary elements. As the Russian Civil War expanded, Dzerzhinsky also began organizing internal security troops to enforce the Cheka’s authority.

The Cheka undertook drastic measures during the Russian Civil War. Tens of thousands of political opponents were shot without trial in the basements of prisons and in public places. Dzerzhinsky said: “We represent in ourselves organized terror—this must be said very clearly.” and “[The Red Terror involves] the terrorization, arrests and extermination of enemies of the revolution on the basis of their class affiliation or of their pre-revolutionary roles.”

“Cheka” was the original name of the organization that eventually became the KGB we all knew and loved in the Cold War. Honoring a guy with this resume ought to send a clear message to political opponents of the regime, eh? (Come on. Sure, it’s the Moscow city council, but you just know this wouldn’t happen without President Putin’s approval, himself an ex-officer of the organization Dzerzhinsky founded.)

What’s next, the re-institution of Siberian gulags and psychiatric imprisonment?

via John Schindler


Seventy-two years ago today

December 8, 2013
"FDR asks for a declaration of war"

“FDR asks for a declaration of war”

On the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt delivered this speech to a joint session of Congress:

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And, while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense, that always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

You can listen to FDR giving the speech here. (Real media file.)

Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the US. Four years later, Mussolini had been executed by his own people, Hitler had committed suicide, and Germany, Italy, and Japan were under occupation.

Today’s lesson: It’s not a good idea to make us angry.

(Reposting of an old post, somewhat edited.)

Iran can go on enriching, but music teachers must be stopped

December 7, 2013

music teacher violin

And you guys worry about Iran getting nuclear weapons? Fools! Thank God the FTC is there to protect us from the danger of unregulated violin instructors!

The Federal Trade Commission was created in 1914 in the age of oil barons and rail tycoons to bust the big trusts. Today, it’s busting a smaller enterprise – the Music Teachers National Association.

Last March, the FTC sent notice to the MTNA that it was under investigation for “anti-competitive practices.” At issue: a passage in the trade association’s ethics code that says teachers should not actively recruit from other teachers.

“We feel that that provision not only protects the students but ensures that teachers are going to get along well with their colleagues, ” says Gary Ingle, the MTNA’s executive director. 

Ingle says it’s a method of avoiding the rare conflict, where, for example, an accomplished student pianist may be approached after a competition by a rival instructor who promises to help the student win the next competition.

The FTC sees it as a threat to America’s consumers. 

There’s nothing in the rules that prevents a student from seeking out another teacher on their own, of course, and the FTC hasn’t shown how anyone has been harmed by a rule that prevents teachers from poaching each other’s students, but, apparently some bored bureaucrat decided that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE about this clear and present danger.

The MTNA has removed the rule while it figures out how to respond to the FTC’s investigation. So far, it’s amounted to a waste of member’s dues:

MTNA’s Ingle says that’s already happening. His 12-member staff in Cincinnati, Ohio has had to compile 17 years worth of records, including its by-laws, ethics code, journals, finances and membership to satisfy the FTC’s demands.

Sounds like what the IRS did to conservative groups, no? Beat them into submission by hitting them with burdensome documentation demands — and legal fees, should the group decide it needs representation.

Obama’s America: Where nothing is beneath the Federal government’s notice, except Iranian nukes.

via reader Lance

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)