Ordinary people who step up in times of crisis -- those are heroes.
We all regret the cold blooded murder of the two NYPD police officers in Brooklyn yesterday. It was tragic and senseless. Much has and will be written about the incident. So let's focus on a smaller aspect of that incident.
Two Con Ed workers saw the murder and followed the killer in their truck. They tried to stop him, but he threatened them with his gun. They were unarmed, this being New York City where only police and outlaws carry guns. So they backed away but followed the killer, helping police locate him. The story is at NYPost.com. See Con Ed workers confronted gunman after he shot cops.
They remain anonymous, because, let's face it, the killer could become some sort of folk hero to people like the misguided miscreants who cheered when the cops got killed.
Kudos to those two unsung heroes.
Welcome to Fox Friday, the weekly collection of the best urban fox photos of the week from the Bone Yard, a feeding station at an undisclosed location in the heart of Midland, Texas.
Last week I wrote about Fat Cat, the domestic cat that has developed a sense of entitlement to the food put out for the foxes. Feral cats have been a problem since Fox Friday began, and I doubled the food so there would be some left for the foxes. That worked to some degree, but those cats are voracious eaters. However, Fat Cat wears a collar and probably has her own source of food without having to steal the foxes' food. But no. She's a remorseless feline out to take what's not hers.
The cat simply sits on the spot where I put the food. One night when she just sat there waiting for the handout I practiced a little tough love and didn't put out any food at all. Unfortunately, punishing the cats means punishing the foxes, too.
Anyway, sorry for the anti-cat rant, but I just had to get that out of my system. Let's see some foxes.
These photos were of Old Crooked Tail taken on three different nights.
Last but not least, here's Dragon Tail, the youngster who had been following Old Crooked Tail around. Maybe she's struck out on her own. In any event, I hope she becomes a regular here. If only those darn cats would go practice their thievery somewhere else.
That's it for this Fox Friday. See ya next week!
This title, President Obama Didn’t Tell The Whole Story About Cuba, by Mike Gonzalez, invites all sorts of speculation. I was half expecting to see a theory about how the Castro brothers were threatening to import missiles from Russia if the U.S. didn't relax the embargo. It's a shame that the dishonesty of the Obama presidency encourages that sort of thinking. On the other hand, Obama would probably be OK with the missiles.
But no. Mr. Gonzalez explains that Obama is merely delivering on his long list of major transformations he promised in his campaign. And he does a great job of fact checking Obama's stated reasons. Check it out.
But there's another reason. Obama knows that the best way to win favor for Democrats is to make popular Republicans look like a bunch of angry lunatics. If he does something outlandish enough he's bound to push the buttons on some Republicans. Here's Dana Milbank making the case for that theory in Marco Rubio’s fury over the Cuba shift shows why Obama made the right move.
Democrats will vote against America's interests in order to punish people who aren't cool.
The lesson for conservatives, I guess, is if you can't be cool, at least stick to your principles.
It's rather remarkable when the first African American twice elected as President of the United States claims racism.
Thomas Lifson tells us in Barack and Michelle playing the race card in People Magazine that Obama believes he was a victim of racism in an incident in which he claimed someone handed him a set of car keys while he was standing outside a restaurant. He assumed that person thought he was a valet. Sounds more like a case of mistaken identity than racism, but it has become a part of the Obama story.
While this might sound like an example of black privilege -- being able to claim racism for something that could happen to anyone -- we should probably assume he's got an ulterior motive. As someone noted a few weeks ago, Obama is positioning himself within the Democrat party as the person through whom the white wing of the party has to go to get the black voting bloc. He was and is a community organizer.
Meanwhile, Dailycaller.com provides us with a flashback to the time when Valerie Jarrett, Obama's left hand man, mistook a four star general for a waiter. The general certainly didn't suffer any trauma.
Hey, I don't make this stuff up. Men who like spicier food are 'alpha males' with higher levels of testosterone, French report claims. Excerpt:
Scientists at the highly-respected University of Grenoble have published a report suggesting that regular consumption of chili peppers may raise levels of the hormone, which is believed to make men more adventurous, enterprising and sexually active. ...
Professor Begue said 114 men aged from 18 to 44, living in Grenoble, in south-eastern France, had taken part in the study.
Their testosterone levels were measured from saliva samples and they were presented with a plate of mashed potatoes and invited to add chili sauce to taste. Those who added the most hot sauce had the highest testosterone.
Mmmm, hot sauce.
Our morning paper, The Midland Reporter-Telegram (mrt.com) likes to provide its readers with editorials from other newspapers, and one of their favorite sources is the Houston Chronicle. Last week they gave us editorials from there two days in a row.
The first one was titled "The threat posed by drug cartels along border could be hype." (It was titled Border Splurge at Chron.com.) And it decried the Texas government allocating $86.1 million for border security to protect Texans from drug cartels. Fear of drug cartels is misguided, because "there is no evidence there is a spill-over of violent crimes," an expert says. But they let this slip out:
To date, Texas taxpayers have spent more than $800 million on beefed-up security even though it is supposed to be a federal role, as reported by Chronicle reporter Mike Ward.
So expenditures for security are up, and crime is down. Let's play cause and effect. Spending more for security is supposed to get the crime down.
But all is not perfect along the border. For example, see Cartel Bosses Run Mexican Empires from Safe Houses in Texas.
Back to the editorial under examination. One of their complaints is that the phrase "drug cartel" is outdated and is no longer used by experts. That brings us to the morning paper's editorial the very next day. See it on the right.
The title of that one was "US has opportunities to help our neighbor to the south, as well as ourselves." That was the subhead at Chron.com where the top line title was Editorial: Mexico's dark days, and it was about the case of the 43 students who went missing recently in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, and who are presumed dead.
The word "cartel" appeared four times. Since experts don't use that term then Chron.com editors are obviously not experts.
Editors note: Why do you keep picking on the local newspaper? Robo-ed. -- I just spent $208 for another year's worth of that stuff. I've earned the privilege. But in all sincerity, while newspapers are in decline, I really do hope the best for them. Sleepless.
It's starting to look like most Americans are OK with the CIA's interrogation techniques under certain circumstances. But that red line of when to do it hasn't yet been adequately defined. And maybe it shouldn't. We know it when we see it.
Jonah Goldberg has an excellent piece at Nationalreview.com titled The Torture Taboo. Excerpt:
One of the great problems with the word “torture” is that it tolerates no ambiguity. It is a taboo word, like racism or incest. Once you call something torture, the conversation is supposed to end. It’s a line no one may cross. As a result, if you think the enhanced interrogation techniques are necessary, or simply justified, you have to call them something else. Similarly, many sincere opponents of these techniques think that if they can simply call them “torture,” their work is done.
But our vocabulary is limited to "torture" or "not torture." Not so with killing. More from Goldberg:
It’s odd: Even though killing is a graver moral act, there’s more flexibility to it. ... [W]e have the moral vocabulary to talk about kinds of killing — from euthanasia and abortion to capital punishment, involuntary manslaughter and, of course, murder — but we don’t have a similar lexicon when it comes to kinds of torture.
He's not just saying we need more words. He's saying we need to acknowledge that different levels of treatment might be appropriate, depending on the circumstance. All in all, it's a good article. Check it out.
I've mentioned the feral cats before, and while the most vicious one went on vacation, there's still one that frequents the Bone Yard. And now there's a domestic cat that keeps coming around. The domestic cat is so brazen that she parks herself right where I put the fox food -- two raw chicken drumsticks -- waiting for the handout.
It's like a microcosm of our federal government. I'm Uncle Sugar handing out free stuff, and she's like some fat cat corporate welfare queen waiting for the subsidy. Well, one night I threw a drumstick at her. Surprised the heck out of her, and she backed off, but not out of sight. The next night I splashed some water on her, and she took off. The best I can hope for is that at least she waits out of my sight. Anyway, sorry about the rant. This series is supposed to honor the wild urban foxes. So let's get on with it.
The three shots above are the same photo. The one on the left is the original while the next two have been cropped. The gamma was adjusted on the one on the far right to bring out the fox a little better. It's the pose that got my attention. She's standing straight with her head up in the air. The youngster is trailing her -- see the eyes on our left. I believing she could be calling out to some other fox. The youngster's daddy? We can only guess.
Well, that's it for this Fox Friday. See ya next time.
By now everyone is aware of the torture report Democrats released the other day. Apparently, there's the claim in there that the water boarding didn't produce any useful information. But that's hard to believe. Many people have previously said that the name of Osama bin Laden's chauffeur was obtained after a water boarding session. And that ultimately led to the Seal Team 6 raid on bin Laden's compound. It's hard to believe otherwise.
But that phrase, "It's not who we are," is a phony attempt by Dems to claim some higher moral ground. It's propaganda. When the release of the report itself is expected to put Americans at risk then the prudent thing would have been not to release it.
It was an attempt to make Republicans, and the Bush Administration in particular, look bad. It was pure partisan politics. Shameful.
I hate to single out a single store, because they all do it. But my most recent experience with this was at the local Walgreen's pharmacy. I use their pharmacy because they sell a specific manufacturer's generic drug that works better for me than the generics sold by another pharmacy.
But my problem with Walgreen's is their constant nagging for a phone number so they can put a person's identity with the purchase. Sure, it's important to the pharmacy that the right person gets the right prescription. But they've taken it farther. Walgreen's is not just a pharmacy, it's also a big retailer. The two should be separate, but Walgreen's wants everything in its data base.
A few months ago one of the clerks in the pharmacy required that I provide her all the necessary information for a Walgreen's Rewards Card before I could fill a prescription. So whatever wall there was before has a pretty big crack in it. To their credit, the pharmacy requires a separate submission of the phone number for the store data base, so there's a possibility that they are trying to keep it separate, unless the customer simply goes along with it.
It's not enough that a modern computerized inventory system can tell them exactly what and when something is sold. They want to know who was the buyer. Many customers are fine with this. But is it really prudent to provide so much detail about the products we use to a company who is building a huge data base on us? What will ultimately become of that information?
And how much is it worth? Here's what nocards.org threw into an article about Albertson's recent asset sale:
If you were wondering just what the data compiled by their "preferred" card might be worth this information from the sale of prescription data from Winn-Dixie's bankruptcy filing might be of interest. As Winn-Dixie closed some of their stores they sold of the pharmacy records. CVS paid $6.4 million for the records from 62 stores, Eckerd bought the records from 20 stores for $2.7 million, Kroger paid $1.47 million for 12 stores records, Target Corp. purchased nine store records for $1.15 million and Publix bought 11 store records for $1.9 million. The press release stated, almost as an afterthought, that the purchaser also got the remaining inventory. Interesting world we live in when the data is considered more valuable than the remaining products are.
Then there are the hackers. Seems like every few months we hear about some major retailer suffering a cyber breach with thousands of customers' information stolen by a hacker. FBI Director Comer warns us that, "The U.S. government, its infrastructure and private businesses are vulnerable to potentially major disruptive cybersecurity attacks ...". We've been warned.
By the way, when the hackers do obtain all that personal information, what do they do with it? Delete it out of respect for us, no doubt.
Sunday was an anniversary of the day that will live in infamy, December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. What followed was an outpouring of nationality as Army recruiting offices were flooded with volunteers, some of whom were so anxious to defend the country that they lied about their ages to get in.
Contrast that with the news that students were so traumatized by the grand jury decisions not to indict Michael Brown and Eric Garner that the dean of Columbia Law School declared that students who were impaired by those events could postpone their exams.
It inspired Thomas Lifson to remark:
What kind of lawyers does Columbia University plan to foist on the courts and public of the United States? Apparently people so emotionally vulnerable that an action of a grand jury could traumatize and in effect disable them are worthy of a law degree from one of the nation’s most prestigious law schools. Clients beware that your Columbia-certified future lawyer might fall apart if a ruling goes against him or her and become unable to represent your interests!
In the students' defense, it was the Columbia Law School administrators who did this. We really don't know how traumatized the students actually were. For these future lawyers it was probably less about being traumatized and more about gaming the system.
Nancy Pelosi, who famously said they had to pass the Obamacare bill to see what was in it, reacted to Chuck Schumer's recent comment about the law. When Chuck remarked that Democrats made a strategic mistake by passing Obamacare, he obviously knew which direction the wind was blowing.
But Pelosi issued another Pelosi-ism when she said Schumer's remark was "beyond comprehension." Nancy, you're the only one who didn't understand it. Everyone else understands it perfectly. And while they may not be interesting in helping Democrats recover, they certainly know how much of a man-made disaster the Obamacare passage was.
The Austin, Texas, Chief of Police, Art Acevedo, is overreacting to a recent shooting. He wants citizens to report anyone who owns guns and doesn't conform to conventional thought. Here's the quote, from Opposingviews.com:
“If you know somebody that is acting with a lot of hatred towards any particular group, especially if it’s somebody you know is a gun enthusiast or is armed with these type of firearms and they’re showing any kind of propensity for hatred, it doesn’t mean we’re going to take them to jail, but we might want to vet these people.”
It being far left leaning Austin, he's focused on conservatives with guns. But if he is genuinely more worried armed people harboring hatred than about political correctness then maybe he should vet the New Black Panther Party members.
So Hillary feels their pain. That sounds like something the team came up with to make her sound more like Bill Clinton. But whatever it was, it certainly misses the mark, especially as we learn of an American hostage killed yesterday in Yemen.
Daniel Halper quotes from her speech:
"This is what we call smart power," Clinton said to a small audience at Georgetown. "Using every possible tool and partner to advance peace and security. Leaving no one on the sidelines. Showing respect even for one's enemies. Trying to understand, in so far as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view. Helping to define the problems, determine the solutions. That is what we believe in the 21st century will change -- change the prospects for peace."
Speaking of enemies, what about the Clintons' own famous enemies list? And what about all the Republicans she would like to bury? Do they qualify for any of that empathy?
Hillary is sounding more and more like Barack Obama.
Welcome to Fox Friday, a weekly collection of the best fox photos from the previous seven nights. Let's get started.
Old Crooked Tail got a drumstick. A younger one has been following, and here Old Crooked Tail seems to be growling at the small one, perhaps to claim the food for herself. There were two drumsticks out there, and they both got one. The young one shows up later, so let's give her a name. Notice how the youngster doesn't mind if the tail drags the ground. Let's call this one "Dragon Tail."
That's it for this Fox Friday. See ya next time.
Cause of Action is the non-profit government accountability group behind the year old FOIA request for documents about disclosures of taxpayer information to the President. A year later the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the IRS must comply with the request.
Less than a week after ’fessing up that it found some 2,500 documents potentially showing that the IRS shared taxpayer returns with the White House, the Obama administration has reversed course and won’t release the trove to a group suing for access.
In an abrupt decision, the Treasury inspector general’s office said that the documents are covered by privacy and disclosure laws and can’t be provided to Cause of Action, despite a promise last week to hand over some 2,500.
Get that? Now they say the documents can't be disclosed because of privacy laws. That's probably a good thing. But it's too bad they didn't factor that in when they shared them with the President and his team.
The IRS refused to go along with Richard Nixon when he tried to use the IRS as a weapon against his political enemies. But like a dog wanting his belly rubbed, they just rolled over for Obama. Their heads should roll.
Time magazine ponders whether to tag the Ferguson protesters with their "Person of the year" honor, but there is no doubt that they deserve another honor: "Gun sales persons of the year." See Ferguson protests influence Black Friday gun sales and 2 gun stores near Ferguson say sales are soaring.
President Obama has held that distinction for several years, so there's one more area in which he's been pushed aside.
Meanwhile, it's a real stretch to say the problems in Ferguson are racial discrimination. Walter Williams targets a more likely reason: Lack of a good education. The problem and the solution:
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the nation's report card, the average black 12th-grader has the academic achievement level of the average white seventh- or eighth-grader. ... In some school districts, 700 teachers are annually assaulted and threatened. At one time, Philadelphia employed 500 school police officers. Similar stories of school violence can be told in other cities with large black populations, such as Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, Oakland, California, and Newark, New Jersey. How useful is it to spend resources on discrimination while allowing unsafe and chaotic educational environments to exist?
Whether a student is black, white, orange or polka-dot and whether he's poor or rich, there are some minimum requirements that must be met in order for him to do well in school. Someone must make the student do his homework. Someone must see to it that he gets eight to nine hours of sleep. Someone has to fix him a wholesome breakfast and ensure that he gets to school on time and respects and obeys teachers.
While most of us are fundamentally opposed to a nanny state, maybe there are some who really do need a nanny.
In regions where HIV has been around for a long time the disease seems to have mutated into a less lethal form.
The virus gets into a person who has an especially efficient immune system, and either the virus gets wiped out or it adapts. The adaptation changes it into a milder form. Then if the person spreads it to someone else, the recipient gets the milder version. That's the theory explained in HIV evolving 'into milder form'. Excerpt:
The team showed this process happening in Africa by comparing Botswana, which has had an HIV problem for a long time, and South Africa where HIV arrived a decade later.
Prof Goulder told the BBC News website: "It is quite striking. You can see the ability to replicate is 10% lower in Botswana than South Africa and that's quite exciting.
"We are observing evolution happening in front of us and it is surprising how quickly the process is happening.
"The virus is slowing down in its ability to cause disease and that will help contribute to elimination."
Fascinating, if true.
If no efforts had been made to slow the disease then presumably those humans with built in immunity would survive, their offspring would also carry that immunity, and in the evolutionary process the world would eventually be inhabited with people with that immunity. But here we are told that the virus itself is adapting and evolving. It's a constant war between humans and the things that want to kill them.