Links for 2-9-2012

Links for 2-8-2012

Links for 2-7-2012

Links for 2-6-2012

  • Christopher Badeaux wrote a must-read article at RedState entitled “Excommunicate the Bishops”:

    … In 2009 and 2010, nominally faithful Catholics who value all of the policy choices you [the Catholic bishops] do — labor unions, forced charity, high rates of taxation, urban ghettoes, and of course, universal “health care” — and who claimed to be ardent defenders of the unborn sold out to a one, sacrificed millions of babies and betrayed the infallible teaching of their faith so they could get one gigantic step closer to the social justice you so crave.

    And for that, for that moment when they put aside their baptismal and confirmation vows, repeated every Easter, and their recitation of whatever version of the Nicene Creed you’ve settled on this week, your response was … applause. Silence. Satisfaction. A professed willingness to work with the Administration.

    You made all of this possible. For almost my entire life, you have given my fellow Catholics every reason to believe they can freely sin, and hey, no problem, so long as they favor higher taxation and government spending…

  • William Jacobson’s Legal Insurrection blog offers an interesting account of what prompted people to become politically active around 2009. The best part is at the end: “In 2010, it was appropriate to ask ‘Do you remember when you decided to become politically active?’ In 2013, the question may be ‘Do you remember when you decided to become politically inactive?’” I think the disheartening effects of the 2012 presidential election on Tea Party supporters will result in many people answering the second question affirmatively. I also think it’s fertile ground for a third party in the 2016 presidential election; in the grand scheme of things this may not be the smartest thing to do, but the frustration associated with trying to steer the GOP in a conservative direction (let alone taking it over) will tempt people to try it anyway.

  • Mitt Romney won the Nevada caucuses by a wide margin, but the turnout was poor, raising more questions about Romney’s ability to inspire enough enthusiasm — and votes — to defeat Obama.

  • Rick Santorum is polling well in Minnesota and Missouri, so naturally the Romney campaign is going on the attack, this time using Tim Pawlenty.

  • William Tucker on Mitt Romney: “I’m hoping Republicans will soon wake up, stop fighting among themselves, and realize that Mitt Romney has the best chance of becoming the nation’s next Ronald Reagan…. Let’s face it, he’s an attractive guy. A natural leader, he’s been very successful and has a lovely and courageous (and only) wife, plus a big photogenic family. All this is bound to start growing on people. The New York Times ran some pictures of him with his wife and young family back at Harvard Business School and there was a definite Kennedyesque feel about them. People are going to start responding to him on a personal basis.” There are a great many flying unicorns in William Tucker’s world.

  • Dick Armey thinks Newt Gingrich is a one state wonder.

  • ZeroHedge takes another cut at explaining January’s unemployment numbers. This one includes an analysis of how sensitive the stock market reaction is to a small variance in the seasonal adjustment, which is itself a statistical fudge factor.

  • Indiana’s Secretary of State, Charlie White (who is a Republican), was convicted of six class D felonies, including three counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury, and one count of theft. The case is based on where White lived when he was running for Secretary of State — his ex-wife’s house or a townhouse across town.

  • An Army Lt. Colonel offers an extremely discouraging report on Afghanistan: “In all of the places I visited, the tactical situation was bad to abysmal. If the events I have described — and many, many more I could mention — had been in the first year of war, or even the third or fourth, one might be willing to believe that Afghanistan was just a hard fight, and we should stick it out. Yet these incidents all happened in the 10th year of war.”

  • A good explanation of how ACORN still exists and receives taxpayer funding.

  • Mark Krikorian wrote an excellent article for National Review describing how federal regulations and incentives distort the market for people with college degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields. Congressional proposals to grant permanent green cards to foreign students who earn STEM degrees won’t improve our economy’s competitiveness by addressing a non-existent unfulfilled demand: “…Steven Camarota has calculated from Census Bureau data that in 2010 there were 1.8 million working-age, native-born Americans with bachelor’s degrees in engineering who were unemployed, no longer in the labor force, or working in fields besides engineering. That’s not all technical fields, mind you, just engineering.”

  • Last week Lance Armstrong escaped a federal investigation into doping allegations, but today Alberto Contador did not escape an investigation into a positive test for clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France. Contador’s Tour win that year was stripped and he was handed a two year ban from competition, backdated to January 25, 2011. Contador will miss this year’s Tour, the Giro d’Italia, and the London Olympics.

  • Honeywell sued Nest, a startup that sells a user-friendly, Internet-connected thermostat, for patent infringement. This is another case where an established company developed some good base technology, but doesn’t have the faintest idea how to target it to or package it for consumers.

  • Robert Shibley on Vanderbilt University’s experiment in religious intolerance, inspired by the Supreme Court’s Christian Legal Society v. Martinez decision: “But that a leader of a major university (in the Bible Belt, no less) could go before a group of students and tell them that a university policy is good because it will force them to leave their religious faith out of their decisionmaking shows a profound disconnect between the attitudes of the Vanderbilt administration and those of its religious students.”

  • A group at the University of Illinois has measured climate changes in the immediate vicinity of wind turbines. Daytime temperatures drop by as much as 4°C and nighttime temperatures increase.

  • Three more Tibetans self-immolated in Serthar.

Links for 2-3-2012

  • The Susan G. Komen Foundation reversed course and stated that Planned Parenthood will be eligible for grants in the future. Mark Steyn explains what happened to change their mind. Bryan Preston has more on Planned Parenthood’s bullying. Komen went from having a bad PR problem to having a potentially serious legal problem — I’m waiting for the class action lawsuits claiming that Komen falsely stated it would no longer support Planned Parenthood, then solicited donations, then spent a portion of the donations on Planned Parenthood, which may have spent the money on abortions. The discovery phase of such a lawsuit would be fascinating.

  • Lance Armstrong escaped from a federal investigation into doping allegations — the investigation closed with no charges filed. Meanwhile Armstrong’s Livestrong group pledged to donate $100K to Planned Parenthood.

  • Marco Rubio delivered an excellent pro-life speech this week. It’s worth watching. You’ll note he’s not using a teleprompter, just notes written on two pages of legal pad-sized paper. Rubio is a powerful, eloquent conservative speaker because he states what he believes. He doesn’t need his speech to be written in full before he delivers it. He doesn’t need a teleprompter. He doesn’t need to memorize it. He knows it. He is it. For a counterexample, see Mitt Romney.

  • The January unemployment figures are difficult to puzzle out because the Bureau of Labor Statistics included so many adjustments in them — some of them were adjustments they make every January, others were spurred by updated census data. Nonetheless ZeroHedge published a couple of useful analyses. First, the BLS is telling us that 1.2 million people fell out of the labor force in January. Second, if you assumed a long-term average labor force participation rate that’s close to historical norms instead of the BLS’s ever-decreasing participation rate, January’s unemployment rate would be 11.5%, not 8.3%.

  • Harry Reid says the Senate will not pass a budget this year. People are forgetting that the debt ceiling deal “deemed” the 2013 budget to be passed.

  • The Air Force is cutting 10,000 personnel: 3,900 active duty, 5,100 Air Guard, and 900 Air Force reserves.

  • Remember that letter Catholic priests read to their congregations last Sunday regarding the Health and Human Services Department’s decision to require all employers to provide health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs? The U.S. Army instructed Catholic chaplains not to read it during services. They were allowed to mention it and distribute paper copies, however.

Links for 2-2-2012

Links for 2-1-2012

  • Good news for Ron Paul: Successful serial entrepreneur and outside-the-box thinker Peter Thiel gave $900K to a super PAC that supports Paul’s presidential campaign. Bad news: Thiel is a member of the Bilderberg Group’s steering committee. Worse news: Threat of recursive conspiracy theories that could lock up Paul’s campaign and his supporters’ minds. Worse still: Thiel and Alex Jones could conceivably meet, resulting in an earth-shattering matter/anti-matter explosion. Better news: If the earth shatters, we won’t have to worry about the 2012 presidential campaign anymore. Even if Thiel and Jones don’t meet, there’s still Sweet Meteor of Death 2012 to save us from this campaign.

  • Mark Steyn on today’s Mitt Romney gaffe: “Romney’s is a benevolent patrician’s view of society: The poor are incorrigible, but let’s add a couple more groats to their food stamps and housing vouchers, and they’ll stay quiet. Aside from the fact that that kind of thinking has led the western world to near terminal insolvency, for a candidate whose platitudinous balderdash of a stump speech purports to believe in the most Americanly American America that any American has ever Americanized over, it’s as dismal a vision of permanent trans-generational poverty as any Marxist community organizer with a cozy sinecure on the Acorn board would come up with.”

  • Mitt Romney supports indexing the minimum wage rate to inflation, which suggests his grasp of economics is weaker than many people assumed (or hoped).

  • Nonetheless the Romney campaign is still in the negative campaign flyers business, this time in Nevada.

  • Peter Ferrara on the deception behind Obama’s State of the Union speech: “But what Obama is proposing would actually double the capital gains tax rate to 30%, leaving America with the third highest capital gains rate in the developed world. That would be on top of the second highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. And it would be on top of all the tax rate increases already scheduled to go into effect next year under current law, with the Obamacare taxes becoming effective, and the Bush tax cuts scheduled to expire.”

  • The family of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry (who was killed by a Mexican drug cartel operative with a weapon from Operation Fast and Furious) sued the ATF for wrongful death. They also filed a claim against the gun store that sold the weapon used to kill Terry.

  • Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board reversed its reversal and is now posting the recall petitions online.

  • Indiana is now a right-to-work state. It’s the first state in a decade to enact a right-to-work law.

  • Komen not only stopped funding Planned Parenthood, but they also stopped funding embryonic stem cell research.

  • Panama is embroiled in a constitutional crisis driven by its president, Ricardo Martinelli, who seeks re-election in spite of term limits that plainly state he can’t. Similar tactics worked in Nicaragua but failed in Honduras.

  • Japan and China are clashing over natural gas extraction in the East China Sea.

  • Sharyl Attkisson and Dana Loesch will receive awards from Accuracy in Media during CPAC. Attkisson is virtually the only mainstream media reporter (she works for CBS) who has investigated Operation Fast and Furious.