Tonight's fruit carving:
Echoes of the 2007-08 financial crisis? - Remember the subprime mortgage bubble in the US in the early years of this century? It led directly to the 2007-08 financial crisis, the echoes of which ...
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President Obama will make history as the first sitting president on a daytime talk show when he visits with the ladies of "The View." But he'll be missing out on another historic occasion -- the Boy Scouts' Jamboree marking the group's 100th anniversary, right in the president's backyard.Because, after all, why would our Marxist-in-Chief want to celebrate an organization that promotes good moral character, trustworthiness, good citizenship, and outdoor skills? An organization that's one of the largest youth organizations in America, and to which over 110 million Americans have been members over the last 100 years?
The Jamboree kicked off this week at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia, where organizers had invited the president to speak to the 45,000 scouts in attendance. All three of Obama's predecessors have made it to one Jamboree while in office.
But the president will instead be traveling Wednesday to New York for a taping of the ABC show, as well as Democratic fundraisers and a stop in New Jersey. The talk show appearance comes as campaign season moves into full swing, but also amid efforts to cap the Gulf oil spill for good, contain the damage from an unprecedented leak of Afghanistan war documents and battle Arizona over its immigration law -- set to go into effect Thursday. Obama also has an out-of-town event planned for Friday in Detroit.
But while the Jamboree lasts until next Tuesday, the president is sending his regards via a videotaped message.
Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith said the organization knew Obama's invitation would hinge on his schedule and found out two months ago that he would not be able to attend. ...
It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times–in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis.Read the rest here.
It is preposterous to think that they are divided by any racial characteristics. Germans may be more susceptible to Nazism than most people, but I doubt it. Jews are barred out, but it is an arbitrary ruling. I know lots of Jews who are born Nazis and many others who would heil Hitler tomorrow morning if given a chance. There are Jews who have repudiated their own ancestors in order to become “Honorary Aryans and Nazis”; there are full-blooded Jews who have enthusiastically entered Hitler’s secret service. Nazism has nothing to do with race and nationality. It appeals to a certain type of mind.
It is also, to an immense extent, the disease of a generation–the
generation which was either young or unborn at the end of the last war. This is as true of Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Americans as of Germans. It is the disease of the so-called “lost generation.”
Sometimes I think there are direct biological factors at work–a type of education, feeding, and physical training which has produced a new kind of human being with an imbalance in his nature. He has been fed vitamins and filled with energies that are beyond the capacity of his intellect to discipline. He has been treated to forms of education which have released him from inhibitions. His body is vigorous. His mind is childish. His soul has been almost completely neglected.
At any rate, let us look round the room.
The gentleman standing beside the fireplace with an almost untouched glass of whiskey beside him on the mantelpiece is Mr. A, a descendant of one of the great American families. There has never been an American Blue Book without several persons of his surname in it. He is poor and earns his living as an editor. He has had a classical education, has a sound and cultivated taste in literature, painting, and music; has not a touch of snobbery in him; is full of humor, courtesy, and wit. He was a lieutenant in the World War, is a Republican in politics, but voted twice for Roosevelt, last time for Willkie. He is modest, not particularly brilliant, a staunch friend, and a man who greatly enjoys the company of pretty and witty women. His wife, whom he adored, is dead, and he will never remarry.
He has never attracted any attention because of outstanding bravery. But I will put my hand in the fire that nothing on earth could ever make him a Nazi. He would greatly dislike fighting them, but they could never convert him…. Why not?
Beside him stands Mr. B, a man of his own class, graduate of the same preparatory school and university, rich, a sportsman, owner of a famous racing stable, vice-president of a bank, married to a well-known society belle. He is a good fellow and extremely popular. But if America were going Nazi he would certainly join up, and early. Why?… Why the one and not the other? ...
This bike is bad-ass, no two ways about it. It has a custom-built 12.5-kilowatt-hour lithium polymer battery that can be swapped in seconds. The custom-built, oil-cooled motor generates 100 horsepower (continuous) and 250 pound-feet of torque. It all hangs from a custom frame. Of course, it’s got the usual top-shelf hardware. Ohlins. Brembo. You know the drill. ...
Though the U.S. is indisputably a first-world nation, this is not the typical human condition. Far more commonplace are the billions of people who, in the words of political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, live lives that are nasty, brutish, and short -- the third world. Here things work sporadically, if at all. Third-worldism might be viewed as a communicable illness, a situation often witnessed when nice neighborhoods almost overnight slide into crime-infested, trash-filled slums. So how can we spot the early warning signs of creeping third-worldism?Read the rest here.
Diligence is required, and while some outcroppings are clear -- e.g., crushing government debt to fund make-work public jobs -- other early manifestations are less visible. Let me therefore play public health official and highlight a situation in Detroit that has all the earmarks of an "outbreak" of plague-like third-worldism. And rest assured: If this calamity-in-the-making thrives in Detroit, it will spread, if it has not done so already.
Instigating Detroit's third-world slide is its schoolchildren's woeful academic performance. A mere 2% of its high school graduates are prepared for college-level math; just 11% are ready for college-level reading. In 2008-2009, its graduation rate was 58% compared to the national average of 89%. In 2009, Detroit public-school students posted the worst math scores in the forty-year history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress test. Students are fleeing at jailbreak speed -- between 1997 enrollment dropped from 175,168 students to 84,000 and continues to fall, and those remaining are probably the worst of the worst. [emphasis added]...
... One requisite to being a cultural elite, unfortunately, is a certain allegiance to untruth, to saying one thing and doing another. Consider the manifestations of falsity from ecology to race. Often exempt from worry over a weekly check, and distanced from the mechanics of how things work, the elite clamors for a green cap-and-trade revolution. It rejects compromise with a fossil fuel near future that would transition us in a half-century or so to renewable energy.Read it here. Prof. Hanson's article title urges us to pity the cultural elite. I would, perhaps, if they weren't so clearly trying to destroy us.
That said, it is hard to find cultural elites who live green lives. Most use their money at times to fly on jets or boat (like the president this weekend). As in the manner of the tastes of a John Edwards or Al Gore, the bigger and more impressive the home, the better to contemplate how lesser others use too much carbon-based power. Usually green sacrifice is to be made by coal miners, oil drillers, and timber men of politically incorrect industries — the distant horny-handed classes whose unmentioned work brings us instant convenience.
On matters racial, it gets complicated since advocacy is one thing, living another. The cultural elite use “pull” to get their kids into college, money to live in a “good” neighborhood, and “networking” to marry and “place” like others from a good background. All that remains unspoken and rarely articulated. Why so? Because otherwise the logical ramifications of such a liberal belief system would be to live in the San Jose or Fresno mixed suburbs, to have their children school with the “other” at Cal State Stanislaus or Indiana State, and to marry their children to Rick Lopez or Tyrone Hiller to encourage “diversity.”
In short, money, privilege, and status create in the cultural elite both a fear of mixing it up with others that might jeopardize position and placement, and yet guilt for that very sense of entitlement and exemption. All that, in turn, only heightens the shrill and sanctimonious rhetorical demands on less blessed others to prove their morality. ...
A Minnesota town is outraged over reports that an illegal immigrant was implanted with a penis pump – paid for by taxpayers.Fifty grand for a penis pump, paid for by the American taxpayer. Your money is apparently now literally hard at work. In some illegal alien's dick. I suppose it's a fitting metaphor for the screwing we've been getting by the ruling class and their media lapdogs as they push their Marxist agenda.
Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate said the expense to taxpayers was more than $50,000.
“It’s shocking,” he told FOX News Radio. “It’s certainly disturbing as well. You know it’s not going to set well with the public at large.”
Scott County Attorney Pat Ciliberto wants to know how an illegal immigrant was able to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in medical assistance.
“There’s no logical argument for why that should have been approved,” Ciliberto told the Shakopee News. “I don’t know how many illegal aliens are getting emergency medical assistance for such a procedure.”
Ciliberto told county commissioners the cost of taking care of illegal immigrants in their community is skyrocketing.
“It should be obvious when Scott County goes from seven bookings in 2006 to 90 bookings in 2009 – that Arizona’s problem is Minnesota’s problem, too,” he told the newspaper. ...
#50) In 2010 the U.S. government is projected to issue almost as much new debt as the rest of the governments of the world combined.Read the rest of the list here.
#49) It is being projected that the U.S. government will have a budget deficit of approximately 1.6 trillion dollars in 2010.
#48) If you went out and spent one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend a trillion dollars.
#47) In fact, if you spent one million dollars every single day since the birth of Christ, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.
#46) Total U.S. government debt is now up to 90 percent of gross domestic product.
#45) Total credit market debt in the United States, including government, corporate and personal debt, has reached 360 percent of GDP.
#44) U.S. corporate income tax receipts were down 55% (to $138 billion) for the year ending September 30th, 2009.
#43) There are now 8 counties in the state of California that have unemployment rates of over 20 percent.
#42) In the area around Sacramento, California there is one closed business for every six that are still open.
#41) In February, there were 5.5 unemployed Americans for every job opening.
#40) According to a Pew Research Center study, approximately 37% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during the recession. ...
Raghavan Mayur, president at TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, follows unemployment data closely. So, when his survey for May revealed that 28% of the 1,000-odd households surveyed reported that at least one member was looking for a full-time job, he was flummoxed.Read it here. The "official" unemployment rate (U-3) is 9.5%, while the government's "broad" unemployment rate (U-6) is around 17%. John Williams' Shadow Stats, which I believe uses the pre-Clinton-era methodology for calculating unemployment, puts the number at around 22%. The TIPP poll cited above is more in line with this number. That is Great Depression-era territory, by the way.
"Our numbers are always very accurate, so I was surprised at the discrepancy with the government's numbers," says Mayur, whose firm owns the TIPP polling unit, a polling partner for Investors' Business Daily and Christian Science Monitor. After all, the headline number shows the U.S. unemployment rate today is 9.5%, with a total of 14.6 million jobless people.
However, Mayur's polls continued to find much worse figures. The June poll turned up 27.8% of households with at least one member who's unemployed and looking for a job, while the latest poll conducted in the second week of July showed 28.6% in that situation. That translates to an unemployment rate of over 22%, says Mayur, who has started questioning the accuracy of the Labor Department's jobless numbers. ...
FREE FALL: World champion freediver Guillaume Nery special dive at Dean's Blue Hole, the deepest blue hole in the world filmed entirely on breath hold by the french champion Julie Gautier. This video is a FICTION and an ARTISTIC PROJECT.
Internecine civil wars are underway almost everywhere within the West, and most virulently in the United States of America. They are not yet kinetic wars, but wars of grinding prepositioning, the kind which lead to foregone conclusions without a shot being fired. They are wars of survival, nonetheless, because the basic architecture for national strength is being altered incrementally or dramatically. And, in many cases, consciously.
We stand, God willing, at the end of the Progressive Era in American politics and political thought. One way or another, the edifice will shortly come crashing down. The only questions that remain are whether a recognizable United States of America will rise from the rubble.Read the rest here. If you aren't preparing yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally for the coming storm, which will likely make our current economic situation look rather pleasant by comparison, you're doing yourself and your family a grave disservice.
Many Americans, however, will not. That's guaranteed.
Our current political order does not resemble our Constitutional basis in any way. Every stricture of the Constitution has been abrogated. Most states treat their own constitutions as palimpsests, from which any clause may be deleted and to which any permission might be added, entirely at the will of the rulers. As for county and municipal charters...do I really need to go on?
The prevailing order compounds Corporatism with Social-Welfare Fascism. Under such a scheme, persons will flow steadily away from the "economic means" and toward the "political means," in obedience to the established incentives. As the current state of affairs has obtained for nearly a century, a terrifying number of Americans and pseudo-Americans have made themselves utterly dependent on the State for their sustenance. They own no means of support -- no skills by which they could create value for others.
The key phrase in the paragraph above is "made themselves." Reflect on it.
When -- not "if" -- the Corporate Social-Fascist State exhales its bloody final breath, the economy that results will not have provisions for those dependents' support. As they will be unable to support themselves, their continued existence will depend wholly upon the kindness of others. But, given the immense damage that's been done to our economic foundations by Progressive policies, the crash is overwhelmingly likely to be massive. Many of us who can support ourselves on our own abilities will be hard pressed. Many others will disdain to succor of persons they deem complicit in their own fates.
There will be suffering. It will be massive. Some will die.
Yet the reckoning is at hand. It cannot be delayed much longer: even if the rising some foresee should fail to materialize, our current profligacy and laissez les bon temps roulez insouciance cannot last more than a year or so from here. No matter how well politically connected you are, you cannot consume what no one has produced.
Americans' charitable impulses and capacities, even if nominally quantitatively adequate to the demands that will be placed upon them, will fail to reach some persons in time. That, too, is guaranteed.
As one who holds notions of collective responsibility in low esteem, I dislike to proceed from here, but intellectual honesty requires it:
We brought this on ourselves. ...
Democracies produced Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, fulfilling the expectation of Socrates and Machiavelli that democracies end in tyranny. Now democracies are fulfilling the complementary expectation of Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman that democracies end in bankruptcy. Put a democracy in charge of the Sahara, Mr. Friedman once said, and sand itself will become scarce. Democracies are indeed profligate trustees – or have been for the past 30 or 40 years. Mr. Friedman’s primary fret, though, was the tendency of democracy to centralize political and economic power in the same hands. Most critiques of democracy reflect this elemental distrust. “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb,” Benjamin Franklin reputedly said, “voting on what to have for lunch.”Read it here.
Democratic self-deprecation isn’t quite as funny as it once was. Mobs have already taken to the venerable, iconic streets of European states, notably among them Greece, birthplace of Athenian democracy. It’s apparently easier to give wealth away than it is to take it back. Democracy assembled the welfare state peaceably enough. Can democracy dismantle it as peaceably? No, it can’t. The mobs are not finished. ...
... Consider Ventura County, Calif., just north of Los Angeles. We run a campground and marina in the county, and when we took it over, the docks were getting a bit old. The county condemned a small building on the docks, so we bought a modular office (about the size of a shipping container) and moved it into the parking lot next to the dock entrance. Thus began a bewildering journey through the Ventura County offices. Before we could even begin to permit the new office, we needed permission from the county to demolish the building the county had condemned--that cost us a couple hundred dollars and several forms. Then we needed a disposal permit for the demolished building--more forms, more time and another check.Read the whole thing here. Our burgeoning regulatory state stifles productivity, which in turn stifles job growth. Is it any wonder that states like California have been facing an exodus of businesses for years? Or that California's broke?
Once the old building was gone, we then needed a variety of permits for the modular office, including--at the height of my frustration--a soil sample from under the concrete of the parking lot where the office sat. Each approval required another payment and a lot of my time figuring out the next step, because nowhere is the whole process documented.
Somewhere along the way an enterprising employee of mine made coffee in our new (not yet legal) office for the early morning fishermen, but we soon found that to continue to provide coffee would require the installation of a triple cleanup sink, which in turn would add marginally to the load on the current septic system, which in turn would trigger a county requirement for us to build a new $2.5 million sewage treatment facility. Uh, never mind on that coffee. ...
Sell a guinea pig, go to jail.Read the rest here. The article says hamsters (aka small rats) are the pet, sorry, "companion animal" most likely to be euthanized in San Fran. So why don't they just ban the sale of those? Although tou would think with all the tree-hugger, PETA lovin' folks out there, that a 100% ban on pet sales wouldn't even be up for discussion. Go figure.
That's the law under consideration by San Francisco's Commission of Animal Control and Welfare. If the commission approves the ordinance at its meeting tonight, San Francisco could soon have what is believed to be the country's first ban on the sale of all pets except fish. [emphasis added]
That includes dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, lizards and nearly every other critter, or, as the commission calls them, companion animals.
Barack Obama is the dumbest president...EVER.Read it here.
That is a reasonable conclusion once you've assessed the first nineteen months of his presidency and compared it to the definition of intelligence put together by researchers in the field. Although the mainstream media have spent the last two years proclaiming Obama "super-smart" or, as Newsweek put it, "sort of God" in stature and brilliance, the 44th president of the United States is poised to surpass our 15th president, James Buchanan. Jr., as the White House occupant who has made the dumbest moves while in office. With two years left, he is on the fast track to last.
How dumb? How-many-Obamas-does-it-take-to-screw-in-a-light-bulb dumb. And in the answer lies the answer, the key to his pole position in the race to last: It takes 242. One to hold the light bulb, four to turn the ladder, eighteen to assess conformity to OSHA workplace requirements, four to assess the environmental impact of the burnt-out bulb disposal, twelve to participate in a task force to evaluate green energy solutions for a replacement bulb, eight to script his actions, four to script instructions and work the teleprompter, 23 to work with the justice department to sue the light bulb manufacturer...you get the picture. And, à la Buchanan, Obama never does get that light bulb changed. ...
Legendary mountain biker brothers Dan and Gee Atherton go for a ride through Dona Marta slum in Brazil. The course was designed and built for the unprecedented Red Bull Desafio no Morro race.