Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday Links

Some recent news and opinion:

From ABC News, according to a study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 42% of Americans don't know that Obamacare is the law.

In Townhall, John Hawkins gives us 30 reasons to dislike President Obama.

From Breitbart's Big Government, Tea Party Patriots gets ready to rally against the "Gang of Eight" immigration bill.

From the Washington Free Beacon, extremists with ties to Al Qaeda have been using the Boston area as a base ever since 1993.

From Yahoo News, many in the Muslim world want Sharia as the official law of their lands.

From The Examiner, a study finds that over a quarter million Somalis have died from famine and terrorism.

From The Blaze, the FDA has approved over-the-counter sales the "morning after" pill - to girls as young as 15.

From the Washington Post, some officials say that Obama is "moving toward" sending weapons to Syrian rebels.

The American Thinker asks, is Obama working hard or hardly working?

From CNS News, a Miami archbishop says that establishing gay marriage would spread "moral relativism" and eventually bring about tyranny.

The American Spectator tells the story of the "Pigs of Pigford".

From USA Today, a D.C. councilman has introduced a resolution calling for the Washington Redskins to change their name to the Redtails.

And from CBS Sports, San Diego cartoonist Steve Breen welcomes soon-to-be-Charger Manti Te'o.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tsarnaev Gets New High-Profile Lawyer

The defense team for surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev has added Judy Clark, a high-profile lawyer from San Diego known for handling death penalty cases.  Her previous clients have included Ted Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber; Jared Loughner, who shot congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tuscon; and Eric Rudolph, who bombed the Atlanta Olympics and several abortion clinics.  The appointment of Clark was approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler.

Read more at the Boston Herald, Newsday, Philadelphia Metro and the Brandon Sun.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Man Stabs Four At Albuquerque Church

At around 12:15 this afternoon, a man entered St. Jude Thaddeus Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, yelled "fake preacher!", ran towards the choir, and stabbed four people, injuring two of them critically.  He was subdued by other members of the congregation, and later identified as Lawrence Capener, who is not himself a parishoner.  The victims were all taken to local hospitals.

Read more at KOAT, KOB, the Santa Fe New Mexican, and the Los Angeles Times.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The George W. Bush Library Opens & Other News

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum was dedicated today in a ceremony attended by President Obama and former Presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush and Bush.  The library is on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  Here are some stories from today's events:

From the Washington Post, the other presidents offer tributes to George W. Bush.

From CBS News, a look inside the George W. Bush library.

From the Los Angeles Times, the second President Bush gives his speech, affirming his faith in the U.S.

Fox News has some video highlights of the dedication.

The Christian Science Monitor wonders if Bush is "on the rebound".

Writing in CNN, Donna Brazile says that "Bush came through on Katrina."

From Business Insider, the Bush presidency in pictures.

From Weasel Zippers, Dubya's mom doesn't seem to too comfortable with his successor.

In other news:

From the Times Union, today is indeed World Penguin Day.  A hundred years ago the world saw the first professional photographs of Antarctic penguins.

From the Daily Mail, in Dubai, female U.S. sailor 1 - would-be rapist 0.

From the Miami Herald, a California filmmaker has been detained in Venezuela.

From the New York Daily News, Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter, who has so far missed the entire season due to an ankle injury, promises to return.

From CNS News, one out of every five U.S. households is on food stamps.

From Kurier, about 40 Muslims in Vienna demonstrate for the Boston bomber.  Via Weasel Zippers, who provides a partial translation.

And from SF Gate, a school in the U.K. stops airport noise with domes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Loys Station Covered Bridge

One of only six covered bridges still in use in Maryland, the Loys Station bridge was named for a nearby railroad station.  Originally constructed in 1848, the bridge may have been used by Union General George Meade pursuing Confederate troops retreating from Gettysburg.  In 1991, the bridge was damaged when a pickup truck was parked inside it and set on fire.  After undergoing repairs, the bridge was reopened in 1994.  The bridge's namesake railroad station is long gone, but the tracks are still in place.

Here's a view of the bridge from near its north end, with its east side in sunlight.

Canada Foils Terror Plot

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with some help from the American FBI, have prevented two men from carrying out a plan to derail a VIA passenger train.  The suspects were arrested in Montreal and Toronto.  They are not Canadian citizens, and are said to have been supported by "Al Qaeda elements in Iran".  At first, the RCMP would not indicate the nationalities of the two men, or how long they have been in Canada, but later stated that one was originally from Tunisia and the other from the United Arab Emirates.

Read more at BBC News, Yahoo News, USA Today, CTV News, The Age and Russia Today.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Music Break - Some Old Favorites

For this month's music break, I offer up some old favorites of mine.  Some are rather well known, and others more obscure, but that's just my tastes.

The first number Feel So Good, by Jefferson Airplane from their 1971 album Bark, written and sung by lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen.  At this time, the band had lost founding lead singer Marty Balin and longtime drummer Spencer Dryden.  Kaukonen and new drummer Joey Covington stepped up to contribute some lead vocals, along with holdovers Paul Kantner (also rhythm guitar) and Grace Slick (also piano).  After one more studio album, Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady left the Airplane, which would turn their side project Hot Tuna into their main gig.  Kantner and Slick would later regroup to create Jefferson Starship.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Further Developments In Boston

Now that a Saudi man who was injured in one of the explosions at the Boston Marathon is no longer under suspicion, two brothers of Chechen ethnicity have been identified as the alleged bombers.  The older of the two, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, has been killed in a shootout with police.  The younger man Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, has remained at large.  The two are reported to have killed an MIT police officer, wounded another policeman, and thrown explosives at police during a car chase.

Fox News reports the second suspect to be "down", inside a boat or a shed behind a house, and surrounded by police.

My Way gives a summary of what's happened so far.

BBC News has live coverage from Boston.

According to World Net Daily, the suspects' mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, claims that her sons were set up.

The Daily Mail reports that Mrs. Tsarnaeva was arrested for shoplifting in 2012.  (via Pat Dollard)

ABC News reports that the man still at large could be wearing a suicide vest.

From the Daily Caller, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was "very religious" and an accomplished boxer.

From the Daily Mail, more on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his family, and his in-laws.

From Boston(dot)com, a profile of slain MIT officer Sean Collier.

From the New York Post, the suspects' uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, calls them "losers".

From Reuters, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's website "venerates Islam" and calls for Chechen independence.

UPDATE:  The Fox News link above now reports that the Boston police have the second suspect in custody.

UPDATE 2:  From Viral Read, how Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"Master Suite" Being Phased Out

When staff reporter Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal surveyed ten major homebuilders in the area of Washington, DC, he found that six of them would no longer refer to a house's largest bedroom as the "master".  These builders will no longer indicate a "master bedroom" or a "master suite", but instead will replace "master" with "owner's", because the former term "has connotation problems, in gender (it skews toward male) and race (the slave master)", as Neibauer puts it.

This begs several questions.  Since slaves were considered to be property, why wouldn't the term "owner" likewise have "connotation problems"?  Will Master's degrees have to be re-titled?  Will sound amplifiers no longer have a "master volume" control?  Will automotive braking systems no longer have a "master cylinder"?  In craft guilds, after spending time as an apprentice and then a journeyman, will a full-fledged craftsman no longer be called a "master"?  Will PBS be willing to change the name of Masterpiece Theater?  And what about that major PGA golf tournament held every spring in Augusta, Georgia?

Read Neibauer's article at the topmost link.

The Regulars Are Coming Out!

On April 16, 1775 Bostonian silversmith and express rider Paul Revere was sent by Dr. Joseph Warren to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock of the approach of British soldiers intending to arrest them.  He rode out toward Lexington, stopping at houses along the way.  As he approached the place where Adams and Hancock were staying, he was asked not to make so much noise.  His response was "Noise!  You'll have noise enough before long.  The regulars are coming out!"  It was this statement that over the years has been distorted into "The British are coming!"  Calling the troops "British" would not have made much sense at the time, because in April of 1775, the Massachusetts colonists were all British.  Before the night was over, Revere was joined by two other riders, arrested by British troops, and released without his horse.  Read more about the ride at  The Paul Revere House.

More about Paul Revere can be found at The New American, The History Channel, NNDB and Biography(dot)com.

Revere's ride was re-enacted on Patriot's Day, several hours before the attack at the Boston Marathon.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pat Summerall 1930-2013

Pat Summerall, who spent almost 40 years broadcasting televised NFL games, died yesterday from a heart attack, at the age of 82.  He had been recovering from surgery for a broken hip.  Starting in 1961, he worked for CBS for 31 years, before moving to Fox and retiring after 8 more years.  Before entering the broadcast booth, he had played football at the University of Arkansas and later for nine seasons in the NFL, mostly as a kicker, with the Cardinals (then in Chicago) and Giants.  He was originally with the Lions, but lost his rookie season to a broken arm.  The Cardinals also briefly used him at defensive end.  Besides football, he also covered the Masters and the U.S. Open tennis championship during his time at CBS.

Summerall was born in Lake City, Florida.  In high school, he was all-state in football and basketball.  In college, he earned a bachelor's degree in education and a master's in Russian history.  He later became an alcoholic.  Twelve years after being successfully treated at the Betty Ford Clinic, a liver transplant was necessary to save his life.  He spent the latter part of his life in the Dallas area, and was in a Dallas hospital when he died.

Read more at CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, Dallas News, Arkansas Business and USA Today.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

More On The Boston Marathon Attack

Some follow up on yesterday's events:

From HeraldNet, a 78-year-old man knocked over by one of the explosions got back up and finished the marathon.

In the Boston Globe, columnist Kevin Cullen writes about a "perfect day" becoming evil.

From Atlas Shrugs, the Saudi man held as a suspect (and currently hospitalized) has been described as a "devout Muslim from Medina".

From Reuters, the bombs were carried in "dark heavy bags".

From Real Clear Politics, a former CIA terror analyst tells Chris Matthews that the type of bomb "has been a hallmark of Al Qaeda".

From the Washington Free Beacon, investigators are indeed probing for a link to Al Qaeda.

From CNN International, the Pakistani Taliban have denied responsibility.

From France24, two Saudi men injured in the bombing have been cleared.

From the Daily Caller, former Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) continues to argue that the bombings in Boston justify more government spending.

From the Daily Mail, a former Homeland Security Assistant Secretary claims that the Obama administration has cut its budget for domestic bombing prevention by 45%.  (Hmmm, perhaps Barney's on to something.)

And meanwhile, from the domestic side of CNN, a letter sent to the office of Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) has tested positive for ricin.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bombings In Boston

This afternoon two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing at least two and injuring dozens of others.  A third bomb went off at the Kennedy Presidential Library, but did not result in any injuries. Two other unexploded devices were discovered and dismantled by authorities.  One possible suspect, a 20-year-old Saudi man, is reported to be custody and under guard at a Boston hospital.

Read more at the New York Post (which has the death toll at 12), World Net Daily, CNN, NBC News, TMZ, ABC News, Fox News and NJ(dot)com.

UPDATE:  Couriermail reports that police have video of the bombs being planted.  (via Gateway Pundit)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Afro-Turks

No, that's not a misspelling of "Astroturf".  While reading this post at Winds of Jihad, I learned that Turkey has a black minority, a combination of people descended from slaves brought in during the past and people who immigrated into the country of their own free will.  They are commonly called "Afro-Turks", and like black minorities elsewhere, have faced pervasive discrimination.  Only a dozen days ago did I read and post about the black people of Iraq.

Read more at The Global Dispatches, Qantara and the Hurriyet Daily News, the links coming courtesy of Winds of Jihad.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Riddle Me This #2

This one comes from the Tipsheet at Townhall:

Why, especially with the Sequester going on, does the Department of Homeland Security need, of all things, bagpipes?

Does this mean that we're headed for our version of the Highland Clearances?  (To learn more, you can also go here and here.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Maryland To Tax Rain

When George Harrison wrote his 1966 song Taxman, he did not come up with anything as outlandish as what my state has enacted.  As the saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction.  Here in Maryland, starting this July, we will tax the runoff from rain, to pay for a project intended to decrease the amount of runoff that ends up in the Chesapeake Bay.  (H/T a12iggymom)

Read the story at the Daily Finance (including video below), the Gazette and Intellihub.

UPDATE:  Sorry to say, but the video is no longer available.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Margaret Thatcher 1925-2013

Margaret Thatcher, who served as the United Kingdom's first female Prime Minister, died today at age 87 after a stroke.  Known as the "Iron Lady", a sobriquet bestowed by the Soviet media, Thatcher was the leader of Britain's Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990, and Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, when she was ousted from both positions in favor John Major.  During her time in office, the United Kingdom's government moved rightward, privatizing some of their state-run businesses, and won a war against Argentina over the Falkland Islands in 1982.  She was also a major ally of American President Ronald Reagan during the waning years of the Cold War, and later advised his successor George H. W. Bush "this is no time to go wobbly" as he considered his response to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.  After stepping down, she was named a Baroness and served in the House of Lords.

Margaret Roberts was born in 1925 in Grantham in central England.  Her father was a grocer and a Methodist lay minister.  She received a degree in chemistry at Oxford University and worked as a research chemist before becoming a barrister.  She may have helped to invent what came to be known as "soft-serve" ice cream.  She married local businessman Denis Thatcher in 1951, and gave birth to fraternal twins Carol and Mark two years later.  In 1959, she was elected to the House of Commons for the first time.  She stopped making public appearances in 2002 after suffering a stroke, making an exception to attend Reagan's funeral in 2004, and later had several smaller stokes.  Her husband Denis, 11 years her senior, died in 2003. Funeral services will be held at St. Paul's Cathedral, followed by a private cremation.

Read more at CNN, Fox News, the Guardian, BBC News, the Wall Street Journal and the Independent.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Yom HaShoah

This evening was the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day.  It will end at sunset tomorrow, following the Jewish and Biblical tradition of reckoning a day from one sunset to the next.  Yom HaShoah is observed on the Jewish Calendar date of 27 Nissan, which was chosen because the date fell after the Passover, but within the time of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.  The corresponding date on the Gregorian Calendar can vary quite a bit, due to the Jewish Calendar being based on lunar cycles and sometimes adding a "leap month".

Read more at About(dot)com and Monkey In The Middle, written by Findalis, one of my friends in the blogosphere.

In 2000, I had the somber privilege of visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau, both located near the Polish town of Oświęcim.  (Birkenau and another unit named Monowitz, used to supply German chemical plants with slave labor, started out as sub-camps of Auschwitz.)  One of the barracks at Auschwitz has been converted into a museum, full of exhibits containing artifacts taken from the prisoners, similar to those at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, but much larger.  Auschwitz still includes the wire fences with posts with curved tops, a few ovens used for cremation, and the ominous sign "Arbeit macht frei".  Only a small fraction of the numerous wooden barracks remain at Birkenau, but the camp otherwise has largely been preserved.

NYC Pay Phones Take You Back

In an attempt to promote an art exhibit, the ad agency Droga5 (whose name resembles "droga", the Polish word for "road") has enabled 5,000 pay phones in Manhattan to connect the caller with someone reminiscing about the way things were in 1993, the year which saw the first attack on the World Trade Center and the first election of Mayor Rudy Giuliani.  Among those recounting the past is former NY Yankees pitcher Jim Abbott, who threw a no-hitter that year.

Read the story at SF Gate and CBS New York.

It's notable that there still are pay phones in New York City.  For those of you too young to remember them, read about them here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday Links

Some stories in the news from earlier today:

From Human Events, a crook invades the home of a Colorado prosecutor and meets the Second Amendment.

From Investors Business Daily, as Obamacare crumbles, its namesake goes back to fundraising.

From CNN Money, most individual health insurance plans don't cover everything required by Obamacare.

From the New York Post, basketball player Kobe Bryant praises Magic Johnson's son EJ for coming out.

Also from the New York Post, and from the "you can't make this up" department, five schools in Norway have rescheduled their mid-term exams to allow students to attend a Justin Bieber concert.

From My Fox NY, a school in Ohio has taken down a portrait of Jesus which had been displayed since 1947.

From World Net Daily, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad goes on trial (in absentia) for crimes against humanity.

From the Washington Times, an Islamic cleric has given permission for Syrian rebels to rape non-Sunni women.

From the Jerusalem Post, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu promises a strong response if rockets are fired into Israel from Gaza.

From the Military Times, North Korea has stopped workers from South Korea from entering an industrial complex in the north, but used by both countries.

From Fox News, the U.S. Military will deploy a missile defense system in Guam, in response to threats from North Korea.

From WKRG, the Carnival Triumph has broken away from her dock.

From the Daily Currant, Egypt has issued an arrest warrant for American comedian Jon Stewart.

And from the Canada Free Press and my neck of the woods, at a hearing by the Maryland legislature, a 15-year-old witness testifies in favor of gun rights.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Blacks Of Iraq

Iraq has a black minority population, who are there for essentially the same reason as the black people in the United States, and experience many of the same problems faces by black Americans.  They descend from slaves taken from Africa centuries ago, and number about 2 million.

This 2008 article in the Los Angeles Times recounts how some black Iraqis were rooting for then-Senator Obama to win the American presidency.  According to the New York Times, some of them were courted by Iraqi political candidates in the 2010 elections.  As Frontpage Mag reports, slavery is still practiced in parts of the Islamic world.