Links for 5-31-2014

Links for 5-30-2014

Links for 5-29-2014

  • Bethany Mandel wrote a first person account of the consequences of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring: While she worked in Cambodia she witnessed children suffering from dengue fever and malaria. She includes a description of a seven hour bus trip to Phnom Penh with a little girl who was dying from dengue fever.

  • The second estimate of 1Q14 GDP was revised down from +0.1% to -1.0%.

  • The New Orleans Recovery School District, which was formed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, closed its last traditional public school this week — the district now consists entirely of public charter schools.

  • Hillary Clinton had lunch with President Obama at the White House, but didn't stick around for the summit on concussions. Bill Clinton said it took Hillary six months to recover from the concussion she suffered when she fainted at home, so you'd think she knows something about the topic.

  • John Boehner's allies in the House of Representatives are already threatening conservative congressmen who might have the gall to vote for someone other than Boehner for Speaker next year. This is a great strategy — if they're trying to promote the formation of a third party.

  • John Hayward offers some observations on a potential presidential run by Dr. Ben Carson:

    He [Carson] writes, as he tends to speak, with his heart on his sleeve, which can be dicey business for a political candidate – if he runs, he would be wise to hire opposition researchers to scour his columns and spotlight everything likely to come back and haunt him. The American people always say they want plain-spoken candor from candidates, but our political machinery does not reward it.

  • The House and Senate defense authorization bills include $70.7 million for hypersonic missile development, a reaction to China's test of a gliding hypersonic warhead launched from a ballistic missile.

  • Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan formed the Eurasion Economic Union, which does not establish a common currency but otherwise unites the three countries' economies.

  • Pro-Russian separatists shot down a Ukrainian helicopter, killing 14 soldiers, including a general. The linked article quotes some of those pro-Russian separatists saying that their ranks include Russians and Chechens.

  • Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi won Egypt's presidential election with 92% of the vote. Turnout was 46%, which was lower than el-Sissi predicted despite the government declaring the second day of voting a national holiday, then adding a third day of voting when that didn't increase turnout enough. The government also threatened to enforce a law enabling them to fine people who didn't vote.

  • Iranian hackers invested three years of diligent, if clumsy, work on trying to befriend military, government, and diplomatic officials on Facebook for the purpose of intelligence gathering. They created a fake news organization that employed fake journalists who stole stories from news outlets.

Links for 5-28-2014

Links for 5-27-2014

  • David Dewhurst managed to lose two elections to Tea Party candidates in two years — to Ted Cruz in 2012 and Dan Patrick in 2014. Patrick beat him by 30 points.

  • Kevin Williamson noticed that New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority includes a disclaimer on advertisements for an inter-denominational Christian church (“this ad does not constitute an endorsement…”), but other ads do not include a disclaimer:

    Christians and other religious people, and cultural traditionalists of all stripes, very often complain that far from wanting to use political power to impose their religious views on others, they would be happy to be left alone, or at least to have the services of public institutions that do not regard them as something somewhere between an enemy and an infection. The filth and bile that are part of public life everywhere in this country, not least in New York City, are taken as the price we pay for freedom of speech, thought, and conscience, which they are — but if you have a message or an idea that intersects with religion (and, let’s be honest, mostly with Christianity), then you are a political suspect. The very constitutional provisions that we wrote to protect the free exercise of religion have been perverted into excuses for restricting religious expression, and the cultural deck has been, in no small part through the actions of governmental and quasi-governmental agencies, stacked against the very tradition that was and is the cultural foundation of our society.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court refused to her a case that could have forced Fox News reporter Jana Winter to reveal a confidential source that provided her with information about Colorado movie theater shooting suspect James Holmes.

  • Mark Steyn’s commentary on Ukip’s success in the U.K. election includes this:

    But none of the Westminster parties is serious about Home Rule for Britain — which is to say withdrawal from the EU, or at any rate the kind of meaningful clawback that would dramatically reduce Brussels’ jurisdiction over the United Kingdom. Dear old Boris [Johnson] doesn’t seem to get that everything he says about the EU bureaucracy — “its arrogance, its remoteness, its expense, its endless condescension” — is exactly how [Nigel] Farage’s voters feel about the Conservative-Liberal-Labour-Media Permanent Political Class in London. For the most recent examples of arrogance, remoteness and condescension, see the coverage of Ukip throughout this election campaign.

  • Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was implicated in yet another campaign finance scandal.

  • Greenpeace members boarded two drilling rigs, one in the Barents Sea and one in the Dutch port of Ijmuiden on its way to the Pechora Sea.

  • A Turkish court issued arrest warrants for four former Israel Defense Forces commanders associated with the Mavi Marmara incident. The Mavi Marmara is a ship that attempted to run Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, and when IDF commandos boarded it a fight broke out that resulted in the deaths of nine Turks.

  • President Obama is reportedly close to deciding to deploy American military advisers to Syria to train “moderate” rebels. Because America never gets into trouble adopting this well-intentioned tactic.

  • A team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons came under attack in Syria as it investigated alleged chlorine gas attacks. The Syrian government and the rebels offered different accounts of what happened, but the team members are safe.

  • Meriam Yahya Ibrahim gave birth to a baby girl in a Sudanese prison. Her daughter, Maya, joins her 20 month old brother, Martin, as a prison inmate. Ibrahim is scheduled to receive 100 lashes for marrying and having children with a Christian (her naturalized American husband, Daniel Wani) and will eventually be hanged for apostasy.

  • Chinese police arrested five people in southern Xinjiang province, accusing them of plotting a terrorist attack using explosives.

  • Boko Haram attacked a military and police barracks in northeastern Nigeria, killing 24 people.

Links for 5-26-2014

Links for 5-25-2014