Tuesday, March 18, 2008
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran has banned nine lifestyle and cinema magazines for publishing pictures of "corrupt" foreign film stars and details about their "decadent" private lives, the student ISNA news agency said Sunday...
[proof positive that even a blind squirrel finds the occasional nut]
China Blacks Out YouTube After Tibetan Riot Videos Appear
As Tibetans -- led by Buddhist monks -- rioted in the capital city of Lhasa, burning Chinese-owned businesses and attacking Chinese, Beijing clamped down on YouTube and other media outlets depicting the violence.
Access to YouTube was blocked after about 20 videos of the violence in Tibet were shown on the site.
Who cares? &c.
Reading a report about China’s latest massacre in Tibet, I was struck by one line in particular: “China is gambling that its crackdown will not bring an international outcry over human rights violations that could lead to boycotts of the Olympics.”
That is a very, very good gamble. Nobody gives a rat’s behind what the Chinese do, to Tibetans or anybody else. It is a curious fact of modern times. If only China’s rulers would embrace the Bush administration: Maybe the world would care.
A United Nations panel voted overwhelmingly this month to condemn Israel for a recent armed incursion in the Gaza Strip. Thirty-three member countries of the 47-seat UN Human Rights Council endorsed the resolution, which accused Israel of war crimes.
Those in favour of censuring the Jewish state included China, India and Russia. Thirteen countries abstained, among them seven European governments. [so brave]
But one nation stood alone against the denunciation of Israel, and that country was not the United States – Israel's leading foreign supporter – or even Israel itself, for neither country has a seat on the human rights body.
Instead, the lone dissenter was Canada.
Wherever possible, Tina Casale switches to compact fluorescent light bulbs; she also recycles daily, rides in carpools or walks when she can, and, as a third-grade teacher, has made it a priority to ensure that global warming is a frequent topic in her science discussions. But in the eyes of some activists, Casale could be doing more to save the environment: Namely, tossing out her birth control pills. Birth control pills, like batteries and baby bottles, have become the latest item in American homes to become a focus of environmental concerns...
[screw the pills, we need universal school vouchers]
Liberals are using the concept of Anthropogenic Global Warming to advance their favorite causes, and that the whole War of the Worlds AGW scare is a tool to that end. This piece in LiveScience.com certainly buttresses that opinion. The Left has traditionally hated Americans eating red meat and driving their cars, and now we are told that, in order to ``save the planet`` we should eschew both.
As for fighting obesity and global warming by walking and cycling, don't expect people to do it easily, said Kristie Ebi. She's a Virginia public health consultant and one of the lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
Now, why did the IPCC [International Panel on Climate Change] need a public health consultant, and why was she one of the "leading authors" of the IPCC? Does it not seem obvious that transforming our way of life is the critical point of all this? Can any informed person continue to doubt that this issue is primarily a political power grab?
Since the early 1990s, CAHI has tracked state health-insurance mandate legislation in all 50 states and estimated the impact of those mandated benefits on the cost of a policy. A health-insurance "mandate" is a legislative requirement that an insurance company or health plan cover (or offer coverage for) common -- but sometimes not so common -- health- care providers, benefits and patient populations.
Although there were only a handful of state mandates in the 1960s, CAHI's just released "Health Insurance Mandates in the States, 2008" has identified 1,961 nationwide -- up from 1,901 a year ago. For almost every health-care product or service, there are at least two groups that want insurance to cover it: those who sell the products and services so they can get more business, and those who use the products and services to lower their out-of-pocket costs.
Both of these highly motivated groups push state legislators -- and increasingly members of Congress -- to require insurance to cover the care. As a result, government interference in and control of the health-care system is steadily increasing -- and so is the cost of health insurance...
... Although FDR is often, mistakenly, credited with bringing the Great Depression to an end, as Amity Shlaes made clear in her book, “The Forgotten Man,” his policies, which can best be described as Socialistic and anti-business, in reality prolonged America’s misery. The mere fact that he and his economic advisors thought it made perfect sense to keep raising taxes during the 1930s suggests that their primary motive wasn’t to lift the country out of its economic morass, but to take advantage of the situation to inflate the power of the federal government...
The end result of his 12 years in the White House is a hodge-podge of Washington bureaucracies and an economy that finds the federal government being far and away the single largest employer in the U.S. Couple that with his personal fondness for Joseph Stalin, his filling his administration and the State Department with like-minded idiots, and you have a perfect blueprint for disaster. For as Thomas Jefferson recognized,
“A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.”... It should be no surprise that we now have tens of millions of Americans, not to mention several million illegal aliens, who seem to believe that the feds should guarantee their home loans, turn their schools into liberal indoctrination centers with a bias against religion and traditional values, and, for good measure, pay for their health insurance...
If we want to obtain long-term economic stability and spur economic growth and job creation, we need to cut the corporate capital-gains tax, Consider:
- Some, like Belgium, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore don't tax corporate capital gains.
- Others such as Japan and the United Kingdom have exemptions when capital gains are reinvested; even France and Germany passed a 95 percent exclusion.
- Only the United States, Sweden and the Netherlands still tax corporate income at the corporate level and then again at the individual level when shareholders receive dividends.
- The whopping 35 percent U.S. tax rate creates a "lock-in" effect of investment capital, meaning that corporate taxpayers are less likely to sell appreciated assets because the high-burden tax makes it far from beneficial. Estimates put the total amount of locked-in assets at more than $3 trillion.
Report: Border Patrol Confirms Incursions by Mexican Officials Into U.S.
The U.S. Border Patrol confirmed 29 recorded incursions into the U.S. by Mexican military or other government agents in the last 12 months, according to a report made public Wednesday by Judicial Watch, a U.S.-based public interest group. The group obtained the information through a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
"These documents not only show the dangerous and chaotic situation at the Mexican border, but also the complicity of some Mexican government agents in violating U.S. law."
Between 1996 and 2006, there were 253 confirmed incursions into the U.S by Mexican government officials, according to figures supplied by the Border Patrol.
ACLU's War On U.S. Immigration Law
While President George W. Bush, ICE, and Congress act as if the U.S. had no immigration laws and no borders, some heroic local officials and private organizations have nevertheless sought, against all odds, to enforce and uphold immigration law. And every time they have done so, the ACLU has been there to fight them, on behalf of those who are flouting our laws.
A study of the tactics of local ACLU chapters across the country and the national ACLU reveals a distinct, coordinated strategy of six components...
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, substitute NBC Nightly News anchor Ann Curry and reporter Mike Taibbi failed to identify disgraced outgoing New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat, but on Thursday night Curry finally informed NBC viewers of the party affiliation -- a fact network journalists always consider relevant when a Republican gets caught in scandalous behavior. Curry set up a story on incoming Governor David Paterson by uttering the word she's avoided all week...
The graduation rate at the local high school is 3 percent…Green Dot was ready to go in Watts. It had the money to open the schools. It had the support of the community. It met all of the legal requirements for its charters to be approved. Indeed, the School Board staff advised the members that their only legal option was to approve the charters... But who cares about the rule of law when the teachers’ union is saying no...
Barr makes it clear, in sometimes colorful language, that the purpose of state education spending is to educate children, not to provide job security to underperforming adults. Green Dot Schools in the toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles have an average high school graduation rate of 80 percent. The first two Green Dot schools also had high percentages of graduates attending four-year accredited colleges and universities. The school model focuses on getting resources away from bureaucracy and into the classroom and an unflinching commitment to academic achievement.
Dallas does not need an "ambitious" regional rail network, says Mary Katherine Stout, vice president for policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Less than two months ago, Dallas Area Rapid Transit announced that it would be $1 billion short of what is needed to meet existing building obligations.
Assuming local taxpayers are hip to the notion of paying more on every purchase so they can cruise around -- or subsidize others cruising around [*] -- in trains, it might be wise to consider how well this expanded rail network can be sustained in the future [**].
Combine inflated ridership projections and enormous cost overruns that have plagued rail projects like this across the country with the reality that people have not given up their cars [***] en masse despite the construction of fancy rail lines, and the only promise taxpayers can count on is that this will require their continued and growing financial obligation for decades to come.
Keeping Texas moving is a high priority, and the inescapable fact is that Texas needs more roads, not more rail cars, says Stout.
[* = survey after survey says a majority of voters support 'mass transit' - for the other guy to use - to better clear the roads for their own use, as evidenced by their consistent answer to what it would take for them to use mass transit - the #1 answer to which is 'nothing'.
** = rail systems are many times more expensive to maintain than pavement, and that's before factoring in labor costs - unionized of course - guaranteed to eventually leave riders stranded come the day they chose to 'renegotiate' their monopoly-protected pay scales.
*** = driving clearly best suits the majority of our life styles, where we often can't leave our jobs at a set time and, due to the prevalence of two-earner households, often run our errands after work. Need proof? Look at our freeways; they're packed. Despite the hour-long commute many of us are stuck with it's still our preferred mode of transportation - and who is government to nay say the wishes of its citizens on the matter?
> Conclusion: Want to realistically help the environment? decrease fuel consumption? improve our quality of life? Build more lanes. Anything else is detrimental wishful thinking (at best, and un-American social engineering at worst). ]
he non-profit organization Ad Council has not only decided to take on the most recent liberal bogeyman known as anthropogenic global warming, but do so by using young children.
In its current ads, a young girl is actually about to be hit by a train to disgracefully demonstrate that our inaction today will kill our children tomorrow. In another, kids imitate ticking clocks as they list the predicted climate change horrors of massive heat waves, severe droughts, and devastating hurricanes.
I don't know about you, but irrespective of my position on this issue, I find using children in this fashion to be indefensible and way over the line of decency.
How 'bout you?
[tell 'em (email form): http://www.adcouncil.org/contactus.aspx ]
D.C. Anti-Union Group Offers 'Worst' Teachers $10G to Quit
A group in Washington, D.C., is asking for nominations for "The 10 Worst Teachers" in hopes that offering severance packages to poorly performing instructors will spark debate about how it is virtually impossible to fire bad teachers, MyFOXDC reports. The anti-union group The Center for
Union Facts on Tuesday launched a campaign to identify the nation's worst 10 instructors and offer them $10,000 to quit their careers.