Saturday, April 30, 2011

Gaia will kill you!

By Donald Sensing

ThinkProgress: Storm victims kind of had it coming, didn’t they? « Hot Air

If you reject the notion of human-caused global warming, the earth will kill you. And what happened to Tuscaloosa proves it.

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A secular case against same-sex marriage

By Donald Sensing

MIT student offers a secular case against same-sex marriage « Wintery Knight

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Is Obama out to ruin America?

By Donald Sensing

A frequent criticism one reads of the president and his administration is that he and his officers are inept. Their manifold and multiple failures result from the fact that they just don't know what they're doing.

This criticism has the virtue, one supposes, of crediting the White House with good intentions, though pursued with bad execution.

Nonsense, responds another set. Obama and company in fact know exactly what they are doing. The ruination of America's economy, energy infrastructure and standing in the world are exactly what this administration wants to do. Far from being stricken with ineptitude, they are carrying it out expertly.

Barry Rubin weighs in on this, presumably on the former side rather than the latter: "Yes, Virginia, Obama Foreign Policy Is Ignorant and Stupid Rather Than a Conspiracy." It begins:

The most common question — or remark — that I get from readers is to say that I’m wrong to talk about how Western policymakers (and especially the Obama administration) are ignorant, ideologically deluded, and unable to learn from experience. They claim that these problems arise from a deliberate malevolent effort to destroy America.

It tells something about how bad a lot of the administration’s policies are that such a conclusion is possible. Nevertheless, it’s not correct
Yet by the end of his essay, Rubin has not persuaded even himself of his own position.
... the mess does result from arrogance, stupidity, ignorance, inexperience, and ideology of those who are making the final decisions.

Of course, it is also true that the ideology guiding these decisions — which is supposedly so wonderful — is objectively quite destructive of U.S. interests. A reader wisely suggests the maxim that there are those who know what they are doing and those who don’t. For those who really understand the ideology they are promoting, it is intended to weaken the U.S. role in the world because they think it has been bad, to end U.S. leadership because they think it has been bullying, and to empower various people in the Third World because they think that they’ve been oppressed and exploited by the United States.

They are thus doing a huge amount of damage and dismantling — hopefully only temporary — much that American diplomats and soldiers have spent decades in building.

Yes, they are doing the best they can. And that’s precisely the problem.
So which is it, Barry? I'm going with the latter.

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Gas Coupon! Print and Use!

By Donald Sensing

Found at Extreme Couponing In the Near Future @ AMERICAN DIGEST

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Two words: In. Sane.

By Donald Sensing

The guys behind the camera are lucky to have survived. I'm just saying

YouTube - 4/27/11 - Tuscaloosa Tornado: ""

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Barack Obama: “Not Spending Money Is Mortgaging America’s Future” | The Gateway Pundit

By Donald Sensing

Barack Obama: “Not Spending Money Is Mortgaging America’s Future” | The Gateway Pundit

"Wait a minute, I thought a mortgage was borrowing. Now not borrowing is mortgaging? And they wonder why we want to see his college transcripts."

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Tsunami stones" in Japan saved lives

By Donald Sensing

BLDGBLOG: Earthquake Sounds, Tsunami Rocks, Future Trenches

"The stone tablet has stood on this forested hillside since before they were born, but the villagers have faithfully obeyed the stark warning carved on its weathered face: 'Do not build your homes below this point!' Residents say this injunction from their ancestors kept their tiny village of 11 households safely out of reach of the deadly tsunami last month that wiped out hundreds of miles of Japanese coast and rose to record heights near here. The waves stopped just 300 feet below the stone... Hundreds of so-called tsunami stones, some more than six centuries old, dot the coast of Japan, silent testimony to the past destruction that these lethal waves have frequented upon this earthquake-prone nation.

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Fun with headlines

By Donald Sensing

When Oil Prices Double, Look Out For Another Recession

EPA again blocks Shell from drilling on leases it bought from the federal government for billions, which should do wonders for gas prices

Mission accomplished!

Update: a Drudge-ku:

Update: Obama can run, but he can't hide. Will Collier tracks the price of crude oil isnrelation to presidential actions regarding drilling and extraction, "Thanks to Obama, Gas Jumps in a Flash."
The day corresponding to that [2008] peak, an all-time high of $145.16/barrel, was July 14, 2008. By some strange coincidence, that was the very same day then-President George W. Bush lifted, by executive order, a federal ban on offshore oil drilling. ...

By Friday, July 18, the price of a barrel of crude had dropped to $128.94, a 12% decrease. A month later, on August 14, the price had fallen to $115.05. ...

By election day, November 4, the price of a barrel of crude had plummeted to $70.84 — a 51% decrease in less than five months. ...

Obama had been president-elect for all of five days when he announced his intention to rescind Bush’s order. Oil prices started going up again in January of 2009 and steadily increasing ever since. Obama Energy Secretary Ken Salazar announced a highly restrictive offshore leasing policy last December, and the Bush executive order was officially reversed on February 8, 2011.

The price of crude that day was $85.85. By April 19, it had risen to $107.18, with no end in sight.
Now the sky is the limit:

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Information Dissemination: Zero Tolerence During Peace and War

By Donald Sensing

Information Dissemination: Zero Tolerence During Peace and War

Of the ships operating in the Mediterranean Seas off the shores of Egypt and Libya during recent events, 50% of US Navy destroyer COs and 50% US Navy amphibious ship COs have been relieved of command.

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Federal Reserve studies find that speculators are not causing gas prices to rise « Wintery Knight

By Donald Sensing

Federal Reserve studies find that speculators are not causing gas prices to rise « Wintery Knight

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Cheap commodities are so last millennium

By Donald Sensing

Click through to see the charts.

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Cellphones are god and we will bow

By Donald Sensing

Not only do Apple's iPhones track your movements, so do Android phones.

Androids collect location data every few seconds and transmit to Google every hour or so. Google says the data are anonymous, but they are keyed to a unique phone identifier. So it doesn't sound truly anonymous to me.

There are already calls from Congressman for hearings, but, honestly, my concern isn’t so much with the data collection as it is with the possibility that the government itself may start accessing that data. Because, face it, corporations want personal data mostly so they can sell us stuff, governments want it so they can control and track us. I don’t mind the first, I do mind the second. So the primary concern with regard to Apple and Google should be whether they’re keeping the data they collect private, both from potential identity thieves, and from the state.

What is disturbing, though, is that this automatic data collection from dozens of millions of smartphones is taking us straight to a real-life "Minority Report."

The WSJ reports, 'Researchers are harvesting a wealth of intimate detail from our cellphone data, uncovering the hidden patterns of our social lives, travels, risk of disease—even our political views."

'Phones can know,' says an MIT researcher. 'People can get this god's-eye view of human behavior.'
For almost two years, Alex Pentland at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has tracked 60 families living in campus quarters via sensors and software on their smartphones—recording their movements, relationships, moods, health, calling habits and spending. In this wealth of intimate detail, he is finding patterns of human behavior that could reveal how millions of people interact at home, work and play....

The data can reveal subtle symptoms of mental illness, foretell movements in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and chart the spread of political ideas as they move through a community much like a contagious virus, research shows. In Belgium, researchers say, cellphone data exposed a cultural split that is driving a historic political crisis there.

And back at MIT, scientists who tracked student cellphones during the latest presidential election were able to deduce that two people were talking about politics, even though the researchers didn't know the content of the conversation. By analyzing changes in movement and communication patterns, researchers could also detect flu symptoms before the students themselves realized they were getting sick.

"Phones can know," said Dr. Pentland, director of MIT's Human Dynamics Laboratory, who helped pioneer the research. "People can get this god's-eye view of human behavior."
Anyone acquainted with history knows with certainty that governments are not going to ignore these sources of information. They will first try to hack into foreign databases for intelligence purposes. After all, "Today, almost three-quarters of the world's people carry a wireless phone." Being able to assess the movements of millions of foreign nationals inside their own borders will yield incredible and accurate insights into what is happening or about to happen in that country militarily, economically, socially, politically. And the kicker is that enough data from one smartphone enables database miners to predict with accuracy of 90-percent-plus where the phone's user will go next and what s/he will do.

Researchers have already discovered that by analyzing the frequency of emotionally-laden words in Twitter messages, they can predict "changes in the Dow Jones index up to six days in advance with 87.6% accuracy."

It simply is not possible to believe that this information will remain only in the hands of private business. And remember that in many (maybe most) other countries, phone systems are run by the government to begin with.

I wrote in 2003,
When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.
I frankly never imagined that the day would come so quickly. But it is upon us now.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Why you must crush the resurrection

By Donald Sensing

The Telegraph: China seizes Christians in Easter raid.

Dozens of Chinese Christians were arrested on Sunday when police prevented an evangelical Protestant church from holding its Easter Sunday service, as the state continued its attack on protests against one-party rule. ...

Worshippers from the Shouwang, or "watch tower", church were taken away in buses, some defiantly singing hymns. Church leaders had issued a "fire and brimstone" cry for the congregation to worship outside the building even if it meant arrest and prosecution.
"The devil Satan has taken advantage of the authority God has granted to the national government and is seeking to destroy God's church," Pastor Jin Tianming wrote. "His devil's claws have finally been revealed. Satan get thee behind me!"
Up to 500 members of the Protestant house church movement, unregistered assemblies of worshippers that the government bans to prevent the rise of opposition, have been detained in recent weeks.
Mark Tooley on The American Spectator, "Celebrating the resurrection."
In his book The Resurrection of the Son of God, Wright wrote: "No wonder the Herods, the Caesars and the Sadducees of this world, ancient and modern, were and are eager to rule out all possibility of actual resurrection. They are, after all, staking a counter-claim on the real world. It is the real world that the tyrants and bullies (including the intellectual tyrants and bullies) try to rule by force, only to discover that in order to do so they have to quash all rumours of resurrection, rumours that would imply that their greatest weapons, death and deconstruction, are not after all omnipotent."

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Bad news for Obama

By Donald Sensing

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

What's wrong with this picture?

By Donald Sensing

Actually, nothing is wrong with the photograph itself, as a photo. But examine what the photo shows:

1. Contractors who have installed steel pillars in a sidewalk to stop vehicles from parking on the sidewalk.

2. Note the location of all seven pillars and the light pole at the top.

3. Note the location of truck.

Now roll on the floor laughing. (BTW, this took place in Philadelphia.)

HT: Gerard.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Your iPhone tracks your movements

By Donald Sensing

Without your permission or even your knowledge, your iPhone tracks every step you take and downloads the data to your computer every time you sync the phone: iPhone keeps record of everywhere you go | Technology |

Security researchers have discovered that Apple's iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner's computer when the two are synchronised.

The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone's recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner's movements using a simple program.

For some phones, there could be almost a year's worth of data stored, as the recording of data seems to have started with Apple's iOS 4 update to the phone's operating system, released in June 2010.

"Apple has made it possible for almost anybody – a jealous spouse, a private detective – with access to your phone or computer to get detailed information about where you've been," said Pete Warden, one of the researchers.

Only the iPhone records the user's location in this way, say Warden and Alasdair Allan, the data scientists who discovered the file... .

Glad I do not use an iPhone.

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Ah, the joys of a gold medal

By Donald Sensing

OTB Caption Contest Winners

Nuff said

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Addicted to the dole

By Donald Sensing

Victor Davis Hanson, "Patient Obama:"

The electorate is not as it was when it finally sickened of Jimmy Carter in August 1980. Far more are on public assistance, unemployment, Social Security, food stamps, etc., or work for thousands of new state and federal bureaus. There are millions more illegal aliens that have become citizens since the late 1970s. And the voting rolls have expanded exponentially among “nontraditional” voters. Thus, the political calculus about which pundits and talking-heads debate is not always what half the electorate worries about. The national debt, the annual deficit, the problems with ObamaCare, the tax code — all that matters very little. The key question for millions of voters in 2012 will be simply who ensures that my check arrives unchanged or augmented, and who either stops or reduces it.
And so my question again: do the American people actually have the spine to support making the cuts that have to be made to save the country from collapse?
There is no shortage of voters who say they want the federal budget cut and the size of government reduced. What they (okay, we) really mean is, "I want the federal programs and agencies that benefit me to stay intact and the ones that benefit someone else to be slashed like it's Halloween night in a horror movie."

The reason is, I think, that we voters ideologically approve cutting the budget but operationally don't want it done on our own backs. My parents are in their 80s. Do I really want Medicare to be cut? Baby boomers, of whom I am one, are just starting to retire in large numbers. Guess what's going to happen to Social Security spending? Do we really want those payouts slashed just as we're starting to draw them?

Including government employees, more than 88 million Americans are personally dependent to some degree on government payouts. That's 29 percent of us. Do you really think it is politically possible for even a veto-proof Republican Congress to slash those programs, jobs or benefits enough to make a meaningful dent in the trillion-dollar-plus deficit?
The answer is no. Just.Plain.No.
WSJ and NBC found in a survey that nobody wants to touch Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.

Hysterically, even Tea Partiers oppose cutting Social Security by a 2-1 margin.

There is some support for increasing the retirement age to 69... by the year 2075.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are what is breaking the federal bank, all by themselves. And they are exactly what Americans won't support cutting as substantially as necessary, once individualk Americans find out what it means to them, personally.

Update: "Americans Oppose Entitlement Cuts, Support Raising Taxes On 'The Rich'"
WASHINGTON — Alarmed by rising national debt and increasingly downbeat about their country’s course, Americans are clear about how they want to attack the government’s runway budget deficits: raise taxes on the wealthy and keep hands off of Medicare and Medicaid.

At the same time, they say that the government should not raise the legal debt ceiling, which the government must do soon to borrow more money, despite warnings that failing to do so would force the government into default, credit markets into turmoil and the economy into a tailspin.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Libyan quagmire

By Donald Sensing

Some quick Libya links, hopefully some assessments later.

With U.S. in support role, NATO's Libya mission 'going in circles' - Kadafi's forces have been able to intensify their counteroffensive while NATO members don't appear willing to escalate their intervention.

West Exacerbates Libyans' Suffering

The Libyan intervention is not wholly legal

False pretense for war in Libya? (Boston Globe)

And the capper: "LIBYAN REBEL WAR CRIMES: The Videos America Doesn't Want You To See"

I first wrote about this on March 28: "Libyan rebel atrocities"

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Concise fisking of the president's budget proposal

By Donald Sensing

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Saudis cut oil output

By Donald Sensing

Saudis Slash Oil Output, Say Market Oversupplied:

Saudi Arabia's oil minister said on Sunday the kingdom had slashed output by 800,000 barrels per day in March due to oversupply, sending the strongest signal yet that OPEC will not act to quell soaring prices.

Consumers have urged the exporters' group to pump more crude to put a cap on oil, which surged to more than $127 a barrel this month, its highest level in 2 1/2 years amid unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.

Oil Ministers from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates echoed Saudi Arabia's Ali al-Naimi's concerns about oversupply and said rocketing crude prices were out of the hands of OPEC, which next meets in June.

"The market is overbalanced ... Our production in February was 9.125 million barrels per day (bpd), in March it was 8.292 million bpd. In April we don't know yet, probably a little higher than March. The reason I gave you these numbers is to show you that the market is oversupplied," Naimi told reporters.
This is probably true. Surely no one in the world better analyzes the world oil market better than the Saudis. Oil prices have skyrocketed in the past several months. Most of us probably attribute the rise to unrest in the Middle East, but that is the minority cause. But early this month I covered that:
... the unrest does not account for nearly as much of the price increase as you might think. After all, supplies from the Middle East have remained almost entirely uninterrupted. Egypt's hardly burbled and Libya's disruption accounted for such a tiny proportion of world supply that its effect was marginal. IMO, the oil futures market, which is an aggregated risk assessor, has already discounted the possibility of future unrest regarding supply.

No, it seems the real reason oil prices have risen so much is because we, the American people, gave hundreds of billions of dollars to banks that then turned around and put our billions into investments in oil and other commodities funds rather than making loans to businesses. It all started with Ben Bernanke (no surprise)... .
The price of oil and of oil funds tanked today. US Oil (USO) dropped from Friday's close of 43.71 to a low today of 42.55 to close at 42.88, a one-day loss of 1.90 percent. Proshares Ultra DJ-UBS Crude Oil (UCO), plunged 3.70 percent from Friday's close of 59.66 to close today at 57.45 after reaching the day's low of 56.54.

USO, April 18:

UCO, April 18

One day does not a market make, but oil funds generally ended the day on the uptick.

My guess as to why oil dropped is that the market reacted to the Saudi announcement, but mainly because of this: U.S. credit rating outlook lowered by S&P.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook for the nation's long-term debt Monday, saying the political grousing over the deficit could put more pressure on the still shaky economic recovery.

"The outlook reflects our view of the increased risk that the political negotiations over when and how to address both the medium- and long-term fiscal challenges will persist until at least after national elections in 2012," said S&P credit analyst Nikola Swann.

S&P maintained its top-tier 'AAA/A-1+' credit rating on U.S. sovereign debt, saying the nation's "highly diversified" economy and "effective monetary policies" have helped support growth. But the ratings agency lowered its outlook for America's long-term credit rating to "negative" from "stable."
Since oil is (for now) traded in US dollars, the S&P move blasted uncertainty into the market right at the time that the Saudis said they were cutting back. And if there is anything that futures markets hate, it's uncertainty. The initial impulse of investors is to sell, which as trhe graphs show, they did early. But then some sanity returned and prices crept back upward.

This is not to say that prices will rise again tomorrow. It's the long-term trend that matters most unless you're deliberately a short-term trader (and how do you like them ulcers, eh?). For people with oil funds (not commodity options) in their IRAs, for example, a price drop might be a good buy opportunity since the price outlook for crude oil remains rising over the longer term.

Yes, oil, will continue to rise in price - unless it doesn't: "Potential Black Swan: $10 Oil."
Mike Maloney of Gold and Silver Inc. ... said oil would go down to perhaps as low as $10 per barrel (which closely resembles our contention that deflation will cause prices of assets, commodities etc. to fall by 80-90%).
But back to the broader markets. Today, after tanking 250 points following S&P's announcement, the Dow recovered to close at -141 from Friday. So apparently the market does not believe that S&P is correct (they didn't shine in their evaluations of Japan, for example).

So what will the morrow bring? Sorry, my crystal ball is completely cloudy.

Okay, here's what I think: Gold and silver will fall some (they shot up like a rocket today as investors fled the dollar and oil) and oil and the overall market will rise, but not by a lot.

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Why I have never trusted Glenn Beck

By Donald Sensing

Glenn Beck | Content Without Credit | The Daily Caller

A number of conservative activists and bloggers say they’re furious at media magnate Glenn Beck for what they call content theft. Over the past several years, Beck has relied on video, audio and written content from others to fill his radio and television shows, as well as his websites. Often he has credited his fellow conservatives for their work. Yet in many other instances say dozens of conservative journalists who spoke to The Daily Caller, he has not, often taking elaborate steps to cloak the origins of the material.

Read the whole thing. The number of time I have even turned on Beck's show I can count before I run out of fingers. I have never been able to make it all the way through even one of his shows, which I first pointed out a year ago.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

It's good to win something

By Donald Sensing

It's not the lottery, and third place is better than nothing!

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Those heartless Israelis

By Donald Sensing

A pregnant Palestinian woman with a valid medical certificate for treatment at an Israeli hospital, where she had already been treated and was known to the Israeli hospital staff, is halted by Israeli soldiers at a military crossing point.

The Israeli soldiers isolate her in an outdoor, enclosed security area and with camera rolling actually make her remove her clothing.

This is just unbelievable. You have to watch the video all the way to the end.

Update with video spoiler: Based on email I have received, I think I should point out that what is unbelievable here is that this woman actually is carrying a bomb and tries to detonate it inside the security area. Let those who say Israel faces no real threat be educated.

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Chivalry is dead and you killed it, ladies

By Donald Sensing

Chivalry is dead and you killed it, ladies
I think that if the writer of this piece was living in the South she'd have a different view.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love

By Donald Sensing

Man ‘Engulfed In Flames’ At San Francisco Porn Shop « CBS San Francisco

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Obama's tax policy

By Donald Sensing

Obama's Speech Was a Waste of Breath - Clive Crook - Politics - The Atlantic

The rich can pay for it all. That is Obama's tax policy.
In fact, that is all of Obama's tax policy, and not only his tax policy. It's also his entire economic-recovery program. But it's all fog.
According to Internal Revenue Service data, the entire taxable income of everyone earning over $100,000 in 2008 was about $1.582 trillion. Even if all these Americans—most of whom are far from wealthy—were taxed at 100%, it wouldn't cover Mr. Obama's deficit for this year.

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Obama lied, people died?

By Donald Sensing

False pretense for war in Libya? - The Boston Globe

EVIDENCE IS now in that President Barack Obama grossly exaggerated the humanitarian threat to justify military action in Libya. The president claimed that intervention was necessary to prevent a “bloodbath’’ in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city and last rebel stronghold.

But Human Rights Watch has released data on Misurata, the next-biggest city in Libya and scene of protracted fighting, revealing that Moammar Khadafy is not deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government.

Misurata’s population is roughly 400,000. In nearly two months of war, only 257 people — including combatants — have died there. Of the 949 wounded, only 22 — less than 3 percent — are women. If Khadafy were indiscriminately targeting civilians, women would comprise about half the casualties. ...

But intervention did not prevent genocide, because no such bloodbath was in the offing. To the contrary, by emboldening rebellion, US interference has prolonged Libya’s civil war and the resultant suffering of innocents.
As I wrote on March 29,
President Obama said that there would have been a massacre in Benghazi if Qaddafi's army had not been turned back. This is a reasonable assumption - but it is no more reasonable (or necessarily more accurate) than President Bush's assertion that Saddam Hussein possessed stocks of WMDs that would be turned against Iraq's neighbors or even the United States.
But was protection of civilian lives really Obama's objective, or was this?

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The authentic Rebel Yell?

By Donald Sensing

With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War under way, here are a couple of recordings that I found that are historically interesting, at least to Southerners. The subject is the fabled "rebel yell," the legendary war cry of Confederate soldiers as they began battle. Wikipedia's piece is very good.

One of the earliest accounts of use of the yell comes from the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) during then Brig. General Thomas Jonathan Stonewall Jackson's assault at Henry House Hill. An order was given during a bayonet charge to "yell like furies", which was instrumental in routing the Federal forces under General Irvin McDowell back to Washington D.C.

“Then arose that do-or-die expression, that maniacal maelstrom of sound; that penetrating, rasping, shrieking, blood-curdling noise that could be heard for miles and whose volume reached the heavens–such an expression as never yet came from the throats of sane men, but from men whom the seething blast of an imaginary hell would not check while the sound lasted.” -Colonel Keller Anderson of Kentucky's Orphan Brigade

"It paragons description, that yell! How it starts deep and ends high, how it rises into three increasing crescendos and breaks with a command of battle."-a New Orleans Times-Picayune reporter
The origin of the yell remains unknown. Some historians think it took after Indian war cries while others say it was of Celtic or Scottish highland heritage.

But what did it actually sound like? Wikipedia recounts,
“In an instant every voice with one accord vigorously shouted the ‘Rebel yell,’ which was so often heard on the field of battle. ‘Woh-who-ey! who-ey! who-ey! Woh-who-ey! who-ey!’ etc. (The best illustration of this "true yell" which can be given the reader is by spelling it as above, with directions to sound the first syllable ‘who’ short and low, and the second "who" with a very high and prolonged note deflecting upon the third syllable "ey.")”- Colonel Harvey Dew of the 9th Virginia Cavalry, in Century Illustrated Magazine (1892)
However, there are two credible audio recordings of the Rebel Yell made decades after the war. One was made in 1938 at the 75th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg. In newsreel footage taken of former Confederate and Union veterans of the battle shaking hands across a rock wall at a battle site known as The Angle, someone let out a whoop or two. The veteran standing nearest the camera turns and says, "That's the rebel yell."

Segtours comments,
Although weakly belted out here by a man near the age of 100, one can still imagine the fear that it must have struck into the northern army when they were being charged by hundreds of young men yelling it at once.
Or thousands! Speaking of a whole formation of Johnny Rebs yelling all at once, is it possible to recapture what that might have sounded like? There is another recording, purportedly of an elderly Confederate veteran giving the rebel yell. His name was Thomas Alexander of the 35th North Carolina Regiment, who made the recording in 1935 for a radio station at a regimental reunion. Here is the recording, followed by a contemporary digital special-effects simulation of Alexander's yell emulating that of a whole infantry company.

The largest Civil War veterans reunion ever held was at Gettysburg on the battle's 50th anniversary in 1913. More than 50,000 Civil War veterans of both armies attended, though not all had fought at Gettysburg, of course.

One story of the 1913 reunion I read said that when thousands of the Southern veterans lined up before Cemetery Ridge and together wailed out the rebel yell, a loud moan of despair arose from the Union veterans on the ridge. PTSD?

The elderly Confederate line advanced at a walk while the Union veterans crouched behind the stone wall of The Angle and other places along the old defensive line. No one else made a sound. When the two formations were only a dozen feet apart, suddenly all semblance of old military discipline was broken and the former enemies embraced and shook hands and slapped each others' backs.

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Progressivism watch

By Donald Sensing

Democratic senator wants Internet sales taxes

But why stop there?

Nancy Pelosi: 'Elections Shouldn't Matter as Much as They Do'

I think that Nancy Pelosi shouldn't matter as much as she does.

Harry Reid Omits "Under God" While Citing Pledge Of Allegiance

Note: "omits," not "forgets."

Big banks are government-backed: Fed's Hoenig

Big banks like Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc should be reclassified as government-sponsored entities and have their activities restricted, a senior Fed official said on Tuesday.
Speaking of Citibank, how 'bout starting to restrict by doing this?

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Syrian soldiers shot for refusing to fire on protesters

By Donald Sensing

Syrian soldiers shot for refusing to fire on protesters | World news | The Guardian

This is terrible for the soldiers and their families, of course, but if the soldiers' refusal to fire on the people is an indication of swelling mutiny in the ranks of the army, it could be a good harbinger.

However, as much as any decent person would love to see Assad & Co. overthrown, the real question is who, and therefore what, would replace him. And as Philip Jenkins of Penn State University explains,

The evils of the Syrian regime are obvious enough: this is a classic police state with a penchant for assassination whenever it sees fit, and no compunction about supporting terrorist attacks at home or abroad. But just imagine that the Ba'ath regime fell. Whatever happened in the first few months of revolution, by far the most likely successor regime in the long term would be Islamist, led by activists anxious to avenge Hama. Alawites, Druze and Christians could all expect persecution at best, massacre at worst, a fate that could potentially befall five million residents.
As the French Revolution should show us, what comes after the overthrow is not always an unconditional good.

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The Ministry of Mother Earth

By Donald Sensing

Bolivia wants the United nations to establish a Ministry of Mother Earth and give the planet the same rights as human beings.

The wording may yet evolve, but the general structure is meant to mirror Bolivia's Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, which Bolivian President Evo Morales enacted in January.

That document speaks of the country's natural resources as "blessings," and grants the Earth a series of specific rights that include rights to life, water and clean air; the right to repair livelihoods affected by human activities; and the right to be free from pollution.

It also establishes a Ministry of Mother Earth, and provides the planet with an ombudsman whose job is to hear nature's complaints as voiced by activist and other groups, including the state
And so environmentalism continues its descent into dementia. It is, after all, the perfect po-mo religion.

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France And Britain Call For Expanded NATO Role In Libya

By Donald Sensing

France And Britain Call For Expanded NATO Role In Libya.

Meaning that Britain and France want the United States to take charge again and go Roman on Qaddafi. Well, otherwise, this war could spell the end of NATO. And I say good riddance.

Belmont Club offers insights.

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150 years ago today

By Donald Sensing

The single event in American history that most affected the country's character was the Civil War. It was today that the war began when Confederate artillery began firing on Fort Sumter in the harbor approaches of Charleston, S.C.

Thousands of cannon rounds were fired to and from the fort, although the Union guns fell silent before the Confederate guns did. Finally, Fort Sumter's commander, Maj. Robert Anderson, ordered the white flag of surrender be raised. On April 14, the US flag was lowered and the fort was taken under Confederate control. The Confederate commander, Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, did not take the Union troops into captivity. Maj. Anderson and his troops were simply evacuated from the blasted fort and returned to the North. It must have been a bitter pill for Anderson to swallow to have been defeated by one of his former military students, Beauregard.

This was the least bloody battle of the rest of war, bloodless in fact, since neither side suffered a fatality during the battle. However, two Union soldiers were killed by accident during the surrender ceremony. Anderson's one condition for evacuating the fort was that his men be allowed to fire a 100-round salute to the Union. This Beauregard permitted. Union Pvt. Daniel Hough died instantly in an accidental explosion that also mortally wounded Pvt. Edward Gallway, who died in a Charleston hospital. Hough and Gallway were the first men to die in the Civil War.

The CSA occupied the fort until February 1865, then abandoned it because US Gen. William T. Sherman had seized Charleston and other US forces had taken supporting fortifications around Sumter, making its further occupation untenable. For most of the war, the US Navy had conducted extensive gunnery practice upon Fort Sumter, rendering it into rubble far more than the Confederates' bombardment had done.

The United States flag was raised again over Fort Sumter on April 14, 1865, exactly four years after it had been lowered. The officer raising the flag was Robert Anderson, then a medically-retired major general.

Fort Sumter today as seen from The Battery in Charleston.

A gun encasement inside the fort. The Union gunners tried to give as good as they got, but they were literally outgunned.  Click images for larger view. Photos by myself.
A pretty good video by the National Park Service, which owns the Sumter property today, is here.

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The end of NATO?

By Donald Sensing

The only air arms operating in a combat role over Libya are the Brits and the French. The other air forces are merely voting "present." But they are not doing anything, you know, military. So, the question:
Will the Libya intervention bring the end of NATO?

In truth, the Libyan expedition is an Anglo-French project and has been from the beginning. Yet neither Britain nor France wants responsibility for the operation — and neither feels comfortable relying on the other. ...

And NATO — an organization that, I repeat, did not plan for, prepare for or even vote for the Libyan operation — will shoulder most of the blame. The use of NATO’s name, in Libya, is a fiction. But the weakening of NATO’s reputation in Libya’s wake might become horribly real.

Well, that might be, but NATO has been pointless for more than 20 years now.

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"In Nashville, God is everywhere"

By Donald Sensing

Yes, and we are better off for it here.

When Maggie Flynn, a native Michigander, moved to Nashville, she was surprised and dismayed that her lack of religious faith made dating difficult. "In Nashville," she wrote on Salon last week, "God is everywhere." Which is why Flynn's romantic life went nowhere until she relocated to Los Angeles.
RealClearReligion - The Loneliest Years of My Life

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