I’ll be out of town for the holidays. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I’ll be reading from afar, so I hope you’ll comment.
I’ll be out of town for the holidays. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I’ll be reading from afar, so I hope you’ll comment.
The Obama administration overturned a ban preventing a wealthy, politically connected Ecuadorean woman from entering the United States after her family gave tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns, according to finance records and government officials.
The woman, Estefanía Isaías, had been barred from coming to the United States after being caught fraudulently obtaining visas for her maids. But the ban was lifted at the request of the State Department under former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton so that Ms. Isaías could work for an Obama fund-raiser with close ties to the administration.
It was one of several favorable decisions the Obama administration made in recent years involving the Isaías family, which the government of Ecuador accuses of buying protection from Washington and living comfortably in Miami off the profits of a looted bank in Ecuador.
More at the link. They really care about poor people, don’t they?
The European Union is expected to remove Hamas from its list of terrorist groups, Western officials confirmed to The Jerusalem Post late Tuesday.
The officials said that the EU courts will accept the Islamist organization’s appeal to remove its designation as a terrorist entity.
I hope this isn’t true, but nothing coming out of Europe would surprise me.
The adults keep killing them. Aside from the slaughter in Pakistan, an additional 20 children were blown up in Yemen.
Two car bombs killed at least 31 people, including 20 children, in central Yemen’s Radaa city when suspected al Qaeda fighters targeted Houthi militants Tuesday, senior security officials and locals told CNN.
One car bomb struck a Houthi gathering point, but the other did not make it to the target and instead blew up next to a bus that was carrying children home from school, officials said.
All the killed children were under the age of 12, said Osama Sari, a prominent pro-Houthi activist.
Eleven Houthi fighters were killed, an Interior Ministry official said.
Eyewitnesses told CNN that the death toll within Houthi lines exceeded 18. At least a dozen others were injured, among them six in critical condition, medical sources in Radaa told CNN.
I’m not going to make any wisecracks about whether little kids even want 72 virgins or whether they would have been just as happy with Legos or My First Disney Princess Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Singing Doll.
What in the heck is wrong with these people?
The Sony hackers have threatened a 9/11-like attack on movie theaters that screen Seth Rogen and James Franco’s North Korean comedy “The Interview,” substantially escalating the stakes surrounding the release of the movie.
“The world will be full of fear,” the message reads. “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment
The note also threatens people who attend the premiere of “The Interview.” A New York premiere of the film is scheduled to take place Thursday at Sunshine Cinema and has already been scaled down, according to a report in the New York Post. A special screening of the film took place in Los Angeles last week without incident.
A spokesman for the studio, an FBI spokesman and a spokesman for the National Association of Theatre Owners were not immediately available for comment.
Read the full message:
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
More to come…
Who was it that allowed North Korea to get the atom bomb? George W. Bush screwed that one up.
I was gobsmacked this morning during drive time when I heard the NPR news report on the Islamist hostage situation in Sydney. The NPR reporter said, approximately, that there was a hostage situation in Sydney and that the Australian PM says it is probably political in motive. That’s all. Every other news source that I checked correctly noted that there was something resembling an ISIS flag in the window, being held up by the hostages. NPR tried to shield its listeners from the unpleasant fact that the Religion of Peace (or a minority thereof) was carrying out a terror attack in Sydney. What in the world does NPR have to gain by covering this up? And no matter what the answer is, why do I have to pay for it?
And here’s the latest, which you can share with your NPR-disabled friends:
Sydney siege live: Loud explosions heard as police storm Lindt cafe
Updated 14 minutes agoMon 15 Dec 2014, 10:38am
Police have stormed the Lindt cafe in Sydney after an intense period of loud explosions or gunshots and flashes of lights.
Several ambulances are on the scene.
Earlier, police identified the man behind the siege as Iranian cleric Man Haron Monis.
Monis has been holding an unknown number of people hostage at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place since Monday morning.
Three people emerged from the building about 4:00pm (AEDT) and they were followed by another two an hour later.
Hostages were earlier seen pressing a black flag with Arabic text against the cafe’s windows.
Monis is on bail for a string of violent offences and has a conviction for sending offensive letters to the families of deceased soldiers.
And this is from CNN
Chilling images from Australian media on Monday showed people, believed to be hostages, with their hands pressed against the cafe’s windows. They were holding up a black flag with Arabic writing on it reading, “There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God.”
Sounds like angry Congregationalists to me. Again, why are we spending tax money on NPR? They couldn’t find the news if it was handed to them in a brown paper bag.
Update: Two or three dead.
A group of about 30 students attempted to hold a silent demonstration in the first minutes of Primal Scream, a biannual naked run around Harvard Yard, early Thursday morning, inadvertently leading to a chaotic exchange of words and gestures that reversed the usual direction of the run and left many questioning the significance of the heated interaction.
The run is a College tradition in which students, at times inebriated, run naked around the Yard on the eve of the first day of exams. It usually attracts more than a hundred participants.
Protesters said that their goal was not to protest Primal Scream itself, but to hold a four-and-a-half minute period of silence before the run for Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo. and Eric Garner of New York—two unarmed black men who were killed by white police officers this summer—and to join in solidarity for people around the nation who have experienced racism. The organizers of the demonstration had posted a Facebook event describing their plans for the protest ahead of the event.
While protesters said they felt ignored and angered by the actions of Primal Scream participants, several students in the run said they could not see nor hear the protesters because of the noise and nature of the gathering, with some saying they would have participated in the protest if they had known about it in advance.
About ten minutes before the intended start of the run at midnight, the group of protesters convened near Harvard Hall on the path encircling the Yard and held signs, one of them reading “Black Lives Matter.”
About 25 College administrators, including Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana and Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67, were present in the surrounding area before the run began, and a few stood near the protesters to ensure that both the moment of silence and the run could take place safely, according to Dingman. Dingman said he had met with the Harvard Band in advance and asked that they not play during the moment of silence.
Hoping you all have a good laugh.
In Nazi Germany, it was all the rage to make one’s town Judenfrei. Now a new fashion is sweeping Europe: to make one’s town or city what we might call “Zionistfrei”—free of the products and culture of the Jewish state. Across the Continent, cities and towns are declaring themselves “Israel-free zones,” insulating their citizens from Israeli produce and culture. It has ugly echoes of what happened 70 years ago.
Leicester City Council in England last month voted to boycott goods made in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. All services run by the council will be free of any product or technology made in any of the settlements. The motion “condemns the Government of Israel for its continuing illegal occupation of Palestine’s East Jerusalem and the West Bank” and resolves “to boycott any produce originating from illegal Israeli settlements.”
Leicester Mayor Peter Soulsby insists that there’s nothing anti-Semitic about this erection of an Israel-deflecting force field around the city, telling the local Leicester Mercury newspaper that it’s simply about expressing dismay with “the behavior of the Israeli state.”
But Jeffrey Kaufman, former president of Leicester’s Progressive Jewish Congregation, isn’t convinced. He wants to know why, “of all the horrible things going on in the world,” the council singled out Israel for punitive treatment. “It’s blatant anti-Semitism,” he said.
Other communities in Europe have gone further than Leicester. During this summer’s Gaza conflict, the town of Kinvara in western Ireland went completely Zionistfrei. Pro-Palestinian campaigners lobbied the town’s retailers, restaurants and cafes to expunge from their premises anything produced in Israel. All the businesses agreed, meaning Kinvara is now, in the eyes of anti-Israel agitators, morally pure. It is held up as a model town by numerous European backers of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement.
Also during the Gaza conflict, the mayor of Newry in Northern Ireland wrote to all the retailers of his district asking them to provide a list of the Israeli products they stock. He then asked them to remove these products from sale—he was backed by 21 votes to three on the Newry Council.
Numerous Spanish provinces have this year been bombarded with requests to reject the “products, culture and sport” of the state of Israel. When BDS activists can’t get official backing for their desire to live Zionistfrei lives, they take things into their own hands. Three years ago in Montpellier, France, BDS activists spent an hour and a half rampaging through a shopping mall and “de-shelving” all the fruit produced in Israel.
Under pressure from campaigners to break off all links with Israel, the French city of Lille in October ripped up its twinning accord with the Israeli city of Safed. Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, was quoted in the French press saying Lille’s officials had shown a “heinous attitude toward the Israeli people.”
In 2011, the council of West Dunbartonshire in Scotland voted to boycott all Israeli products and instructed all local libraries to stop stocking books printed in the state of Israel. Why not just burn them?
More at the link. My answer is to travel to Israel frequently, to spend money on Israeli goods, and to absolutely avoid European goods. Israel makes decent wine, folks. And there are lots of opportunities to purchase Israeli fruits and vegetables. We really should openly and loudly condemn Europe and boycott Europe.
Ben Edelman is an associate professor at Harvard Business School, where he teaches in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets unit.
Edelman soon came to the horrifying realization that he had been overcharged. By a total of $4.
If you’ve ever wondered what happens when a Harvard Business School professor thinks a family-run Chinese restaurant screwed him out of $4, you’re about to find out.
(Hint: It involves invocation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Statute and multiple threats of legal action.)
Do go to the link to read the communications between Professor Edelman and the restaurant owner, because I can’t copy them. It is worth the trip, absolutely mind-blowing. It makes Jonathan Gruber look like a nice, sensible guy.
On Dec. 24, 2009, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed President Obama’s healthcare law with a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority, triggering a massive backlash that propelled Republicans to control of the House the following year. On the Senate side, going into this year’s midterm elections, 25 senators who voted for Obamacare were already out or not going be part of the new Senate being sworn in next month. After Democratic losses on Nov. 4 and Saturday’s defeat of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., the number has risen to 30. In other words, half of the Senators who voted for Obamacare will not be part of the new Senate.
The following is an updated breakdown of senators who voted for Obamacare and will not be part of the next Senate.
Lost and replaced by a Republican:
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.
Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.
Russ Feingold, D-Wis.
Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.
Arlen Specter, D-Penn.
Left Senate and replaced by a Republican:
Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V.
Max Baucus, D-Mont.
Tim Johnson, D-S.D.
Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
Ben Nelson, D-Neb.
See ‘Ya, wouldn’t wanna be ‘Ya!
Longtime readers know that we made this very point, again and again. Most physicians are not willing to work for free, or for peanuts. They spent too much time in college for that. And what most democrats apparently don’t understand is that it is very expensive to buy the equipment, pay the rent, staff the practice, and keep up with all the paperwork demanded by the government. So when the government sends patients on a cut rate plan, the numbers simply don’t work.
When Olivia Papa signed up for a new health plan last year, her insurance company assigned her to a primary care doctor. The relatively healthy 61-year-old didn’t try to see the doctor until last month, when she and her husband both needed authorization to see separate specialists.
She called the doctor’s office several times without luck.
“They told me that they were not on the plan, they were never on the plan and they’d been trying to get their name off the plan all year,” said Papa, who recently bought a plan from a different insurance company.
It was no better with the next doctor she was assigned. The Naples, Florida, resident said she left a message to make an appointment, “and they never called back.”
The Papas were among the 6.7 million people who gained insurance through the Affordable Care Act last year, flooding a primary care system that is struggling to keep up with demand.
A survey this year by The Physicians Foundation found that 81 percent of doctors describe themselves as either over-extended or at full capacity, and 44 percent said they planned to cut back on the number of patients they see, retire, work part-time or close their practice to new patients.
At the same time, insurance companies have routinely limited the number of doctors and providers on their plans as a way to cut costs. The result has further restricted some patients’ ability to get appointments quickly.
One purpose of the new health law was connecting patients, many of whom never had insurance before, with primary care doctors to prevent them from landing in the emergency room when they are sicker and their care is more expensive. Yet nearly 1 in 5 Americans lives in a region designated as having a shortage of primary care physicians, and the number of doctors entering the field isn’t expected to keep pace with demand.
Reality remains reality, despite whatever fantasies the Party In Power propagates. Reality never goes away.
Syrian state television said on Sunday that Israeli jets had bombed targets near Damascus International Airport and in the town of Dimas, near the border with Lebanon.
A Lebanese TV correspondent reported that Israel struck 10 crucial intelligence-linked locations in Syria that belong to Iran. The outlet reported that explosions were heard near the Israeli-Lebanese border, allegedly the result of IDF maneuvers.
The IAF has struck Syria several times since the start of the three-year conflict, mostly destroying weaponry such as missiles that Israeli officials said were destined for their longtime foe Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.
Last week, the Lebanese Daily Star reported the army said it had fired anti-aircraft guns at an IDF drone flying low over the eastern part of the country.
“The Israeli enemy committed aggression against Syria by targeting two safe areas in Damascus province, in all of Dimas and near the Damascus International Airport,” state television said, adding that there were no casualties.
An IDF spokesman said he would not comment on “foreign reports.”
Huh. Is this why Obama has heartburn?