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“Terror at Passover”

Talk about your standing headlines:

An Israeli man was killed and a woman and child were wounded Monday evening, when Palestinian gunmen opened fire on Israeli cars near the West Bank city of Hebron. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the people were members of the same family, travelling to a Passover Seder.

The 40-year-old man was critically hurt in the attack and received CPR at the scene, but succumbed his wounds. Two other people were wounded – his 28-year-old wife, who was moderately hurt, and a nine-year-old boy who sustained light wounds.

Police said that the gunfire, which came from an automatic weapon, had hit the car as it traveled on Route 35, at the junction leading to the village of Idhna.

The attack is understood to have targeted several vehicles. The IDF launched an massive manhunt in the area in the wake of the attack.

This might be an appropriate time to hear from Israel’s partners in peace:

“We in Hamas welcome the shooting action in the Hebron area, during which shots were fired at several settlers, causing the death of one and wounding of others,” said Hamas spokesman Husam Badran. “We see this action as a natural response to the crimes of the occupation against the rights of our people and the repeated assaults on the al-Aqsa Mosque and our prisoners jailed in Israel.”

Surely, John Kerry must have something to say about this murder:

I am very pleased to be attending Ambassador Dermer’s Seder tomorrow night and joining in the spirit of this festival of spring and renewal. I hope we can all draw inspiration from the spirit of the ancient Hebrews who in the Exodus stood at the precipice of the Red Sea, trembling with terror but nevertheless filled with the hope that they too may enjoy freedom and fulfill their promise as a people. And as families and friends listen tonight as the youngest child asks the table, “Mah nishtanah? — Why is this night different from all other nights?” I pray the answer will be: because this night will lead us into a year of renewed commitment to peace, freedom, and dignity for all of God’s children.

Funny, John. Very funny. Looking at Arab history, this night is different only in that it provides extra incentive for Muslims to kill Jews.

PS: In what sense is Passover a “festival of spring and renewal”? Passover, or Pesach, recalls G-d’s skipping (passing over) the houses of Jews as he rained holy terror on the Egyptians. Kerry is spouting not only nonsense, but insulting, offensive nonsense. This stuff is important, you putz!

PPS: Of course, that’s not the only insulting, offensive nonsense he spouted:

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz on Monday criticized US Secretary of State John Kerry for recently stating that the world might not insist on significantly curbing Iran’s nuclear breakout capability, which he said indicated a “surrender” to Tehran.

“Israel opposes any solution which leaves Iran as a nuclear threshold state,” Steinitz said in an interview with Israel Radio.

“Kerry’s statements before the Senate on the matter of Iran and the current American objective were worrying, surprising, and unacceptable,” the minister said.

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Obama’s War On Women

Or More Good News From The ObamaEconomy

The number of women who were unemployed in the United States climbed 180,000 in March, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In March, there were 4,850,000 unemployed women, 180,000 more than the 4,670,000 American women were unemployed in February, according to BLS.

At the same time, the unemployment rate for women rose from 6.4 percent in February to 6.6 percent in March.

To be counted as unemployed, a person must have actively sought a job in the last four weeks and be part of what BLS calls the civilian noninstitutional population (meaning a person is 16 or older and not on active duty in the military or in an institution such as a prison, mental hospital or nursing home).

The number of American women who had jobs dropped 133,000 from February to March, declining from 68,458,000 to 68,325,000.

From February to March, the number of women in the civilian noninstitutional population increased by 84,000, climbing from 127,779,000 to 127,863,000. Of those 127,863,000 women in the civilian noninstitutional population, 73,175,000 participated in the civilian labor force, meaning they either had a job or actively sought one in the past four weeks. That put the labor force participation rate for women at 57.2 percent in March–the same as it was in February.

ETC. More at the link. But we can truthfully say that Obama has a War on Women (I wonder if we are stacked in binders somewhere?) and that anyone who goes to war against women is attacking The Children. Because a lot of those women are single providers, of course. And a distressed, desperate mom is not the Best She Can Be… Why, oh why, are we doing this to the children? Ask your Progressive friends. Maybe they understand the answer, I sure don’t.

- Aggie

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Hillary Finally Correct About Something

Compares Putin in Ukraine To Hitler in Czechoslovakia

And if she pays real close attention, she’ll notice that the US and Britain are behaving in exactly the same way they did in the 30s.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday compared recent actions by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Ukraine to those implemented by Adolf Hitler in the late 1930s.

Putin’s desire to protect minority Russians in Ukraine is reminiscent of Hitler’s actions to protect ethnic Germans outside Germany, she said.

Putin has been on a campaign to give Russian passports to anyone who has Russian connections, Clinton said.

The Russian leader has recently done so in the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, which, Clinton said, is similar to what happened in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s. Hitler resettled tens of thousands of ethnic Germans who were living in parts of Europe to Nazi Germany.

Clinton made her comments at a private event benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach.

“Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 30s,” she said. “All the Germans that were … the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”

Unfortunately, nervousness is not a plan, it’s a feeling. Which is how the Left usually responds, they “feel” this or that instead of using their heads. Putin did this precisely because we are behaving the way we did in the 30s. If she takes her comments to their logical conclusions, she will see the part that her foreign policy played in this current mess. Takes chutzpah on her part to make those comments without connecting the dots.

You know, I’m fond of saying, “Elections have consequences.” The truth is that our elections have consequences for poor saps all over the planet.

- Aggie

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This is Your Toluca Day!

President Obama was down Mexico way again yesterday, and you know what that meant.

Comedy gold:

I want to congratulate President Peña Nieto on the outstanding efforts that he’s made during the course of this year on a whole range of reforms that promise to make Mexico more competitive and increase opportunity for the people of Mexico. And I’m also very interested in hearing President Peña Nieto’s strategies as he embarks on dealing with some of the reforms in the criminal justice system and around security issues, which I know are very pressing on his mind and where we have some excellent cooperation between the United States and Mexico.

Oh yes, Mr. President. Congratulate away:

The latest gruesome photos from Mexico’s cartel war show headless bodies bagged and wrapped in plastic tape on the side of a road outside Mexico City.

It was believed the men were the latest victims of the bloody turf war that has been waging between Mexico’s sadistic drug cartels.

Last week the severed heads of four people were found near the front door of a church in the neighboring state of Michoacan, while butchered arms and legs were found elsewhere in the small town of Zacan.

Two days before that, two other severed heads were left in front of a bank in Paracuaro, about three hours north of Mexico City.

Heckuva job, Peña Nieto!

Didn’t Obama say he liked watching Breaking Bad?

Make no mistake. The drug War in rural Texas is all about Mexican methamphetamine, a potent stimulant known on the street as Ice. It’s made in Mexico, smuggled across the border as a liquid and reprocessed into shards that resemble ice.

This press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas is typical of what is happening every day. Drug gangs based in the Mexican state of Guerrero send entire families to rural Texas as if they were pharmaceutical company sales reps.

One aspect of the case is particularly troubling. The indictment alleges that Abelardo bribed a local police officer to protect his drug operation. It says he paid the officer a total of $5,000 in $1,000 increments over several months. But the indictment provides no details and does not name the police officer.

The public corruption allegation raises the specter that Mexican drug gangs are importing more than drugs to Texas. Bribing police officers in Mexico has been a way of life for generations. And federal agents report that they are finding more Texas law officers taking money from drug dealers.

Next time Obama takes questions from reporters (or will it be the first time?), I have a tip for the gaggle: Google News. It’s amazing the [bleep] you learn there.

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Iranians Say They Didn’t Agree To Dismantle Anything

What has our brilliant young President done this time?

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted Wednesday that the Obama administration mischaracterizes concessions by his side in the six-month nuclear deal with Iran, telling CNN in an exclusive interview that “we did not agree to dismantle anything.”

Zarif told CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto that terminology used by the White House to describe the agreement differed from the text agreed to by Iran and the other countries in the talks — the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

“The White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitments” under the agreement that took effect Monday, Zarif said in Davos, Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum.

As part of the accord, Iran was required to dilute its stockpile of uranium that had been enriched to 20%, well above the 5% level needed for power generation but still below the level for developing a nuclear weapon.

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In addition, the deal mandated that Iran halt all enrichment above 5% and “dismantle the technical connections required to enrich above 5%,” according to a White House fact sheet issued in November after the initial agreement was reached.

Zarif accused the Obama administration of creating a false impression with such language.
“The White House tries to portray it as basically a dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. That is the word they use time and again,” he said, urging Sciutto to read the actual text of the agreement. “If you find a single, a single word, that even closely resembles dismantling or could be defined as dismantling in the entire text, then I would take back my comment.”

He repeated that “we are not dismantling any centrifuges, we’re not dismantling any equipment, we’re simply not producing, not enriching over 5%.”

On cheery days, I think back to the old Dennis The Menace television show – or cartoon in the Sunday paper – and image Barack as the little devil, tearing the neighborhood to shreds. Iran is long-suffering Mr. Wilson. We are Dennis’s exhausted parents.

- Aggie

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Rape is Not Supposed to Happen

But, sadly, infuriatingly, it does. It’s hardly news. (There were 90,000 rapes in America in 2008. Did you read 90,000 news stories?)

So, what makes this news?

A 15-year-old Chicago girl walking to her high school in pre-dawn darkness was hit on the head, dragged between two houses to a yard and raped, police said, with the assault taking place just a half block away from one of the city’s “Safe Passage” school routes especially for students.

The incident put another spotlight on the city’s problem with violence. Just this fall, local officials pledged that an expanded Safe Passages program — with its big yellow signs above sidewalks patrolled during key times by paid, trained workers — would be a sanctuary for children walking to and from school.

Local authorities noted, however, that the 15-year-old victim was walking to school Tuesday morning a half hour before her nearby Safe Passage route was staffed with patrols.

The girl was in serious condition Thursday in a hospital.

A resident found the girl half-naked and bleeding from the head on a snowy walkway on the side of his home. She lay for about two hours in the cold before she was discovered. She was conscious but barely moving when she was found, authorities said.

“Everybody is scared. It can happen to any of our kids, so everybody is worried,” Ada Cambron, a parent, said Thursday. “In the morning, you never see police walking around and stuff like that.”

When told that police officers were patrolling the Safe Passages on foot on Thursday, Cambron acknowledged the police presence but noted it took the rape of a student to prompt the patrol.

“It shouldn’t be that way,” she said.

No, it shouldn’t. But the bloody, unconscious 15-year-old girl says otherwise.

Another parent, Sharon Rafael, said she liked the program but was skeptical of its monitoring as she stood outside a school with her small daughter and held a pink “Pretty Princess Puzzles” book.

“I think it works, but it just needs a little bit more security on it,” Rafael said. “Like, OK, you can patrol it right now, but later on, like in a few weeks, they’ll forget about it. And they won’t be around anymore.”

Ariel Reboyras, the alderman representing the area where the assault occurred, defended the Safe Passage program. The student rape occurred about 6 a.m. when it was still dark outside.

“We can’t say it was a result of a problem with Safe Passage, but we know that it’s not supposed to happen,” the alderman said.

Again, it’s not—yet it did. So, what are you going to do about it?

Government makes promises to people it is in no position to keep. From “you can keep your health plan” to “your 15-year-old daughter is safe”. The title Patient Protection Affordable Care Act is more riddled with lies than the title Safe Passage, but which outcome is worse?

My point: don’t trust the government to keep your daughters safe in pre-dawn, crime-plagued Chicago. Don’t trust the government to keep you healthy and safe. Walk your daughter to school. Vote Republican.

If you look like Ethan Krupp, you’ll be okay:

But if you’re the lovely (and late) Hadiya Pendleton, not so much:

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Is Obama’s Presidency Toast?

I agree that he has been an atrocious President, but I think the American public is no longer educated enough to think for themselves.

For concision and precision in describing Barack Obama’s suddenly ambivalent relationship with his singular — actually, his single — achievement, the laurels go to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).

After Obama’s semi-demi-apology for millions of canceled insurance policies — an intended and predictable consequence of his crusade to liberate Americans from their childish choices of “substandard” policies sold by “bad apple” insurers — Scalise said Obama is like someone who burns down your house. Then shows up with an empty water bucket. Then lectures you about how defective the house was.

What is now inexplicably called Obama’s “fix” for the chaos he has created is surreal. He gives you permission to reoccupy your house — if you can get someone to rebuild it — but for only another year.

At least he has banished boredom from millions of lives. Although probably not from his.

The place to begin understanding the unraveling of his presidency is page 274 of “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama.” The author, David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, quotes Valerie Jarrett, perhaps Obama’s closest and longest-serving adviser, on her hero’s amazingness:

“He knows exactly how smart he is. .?.?. I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. .?.?. He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do. He would never be satisfied with what ordinary people do.”

We all know people like that. They can be annoying, but if they actually are smart, it helps, right?

Leave aside the question of whether someone so smitten can be in any meaningful sense an adviser. About what can such a paragon as Obama need advice? (Although he did recently say, “What we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.” Just to buy.) It is, however, fair to note that what ordinary people ordinarily do is their jobs, competently. Obama’s inability to be satisfied with anything so banal has plunged him into Jimmy Carter territory.

Carter’s presidency crumbled when people decided they still liked his character but had no confidence in his competence. Obamacare’s misadventures, and Obama’s response to them, have caused people to doubt both his character and his competence.

I admire George Will. He is thoughtful and writes beautifully. What he is saying is true, except I would quibble with the Carter comparison. Early in 2008, we at BTL said that Barack Obama, if elected, would be Jimmy Carter all over again – A horrible economy, a disastrous foreign policy. This is true. But was Carter really as bad as Obama? We were all so much younger then, and so much more hopeful, so perhaps that is distorting memory, but it seems to me that Obama is much, much worse. Luckily for all of us, America is a stronger country and has been able to handle his destructive policies so far. But an entire generation of young adults will have fewer opportunities than they would have had if they had come of age in the Clinton or Bush eras. It is the children of most Baby Boomers who will pay the biggest price for public’s stupidity.

- Aggie

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Consider This.

The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. We entered WWII immediately. I believe victory was declared in Europe on May 8, 1945 and in Japan on August 15, 1945. So we entered WWII and we won. Took about 3 1/2 years.

Hmmm. Three and a half years. Rings a bell. I’ve got it! ObamaCare! Passed on March 21, 2010. The rollout – that is to say the website – was to go public on October 1, 2013. Longer than it took us to fight WWII.

The Yes We Can crowd has morphed into the WE CAN’T EVEN BUILD A WEBSITE crowd.

What a sad sack nation we’ve become.

- Aggie

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If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep Your Health Care Plan. Period.

One more little anecdote, folks. We just found out that our plan is being eliminated. But we have new choices!!!! And a lower deductible!!! However, they don’t know the price….

One story is an anecdote, but millions of stories are data.

- Aggie

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Surprise! NPR Spins The News

Obama approval down to 37%

It is well-known that most people read only the first couple of lines of a “news” story. What do the first few lines of this bedtime story say?

Americans are holding Republicans primarily responsible for the partial government shutdown as public esteem sinks for all players in the impasse, President Barack Obama among them, according to a new poll. It’s a struggle with no heroes.

The Associated Press-GfK survey, out Wednesday, affirms expectations by many in Washington — Republicans among them — that the GOP may end up taking the biggest hit in public opinion from the fiscal paralysis, just as that party did when much of the government closed 17 years ago. But the situation is fluid nine days into the shutdown and there’s plenty of disdain to go around.

Overall, 62 percent mainly blamed Republicans for the shutdown. About half said Obama or the Democrats in Congress bear much responsibility.

I happened to hear Obama bloviate for what seemed like an hour on NPR yesterday afternoon. Republicans, I’ve got news for you. He doesn’t like you. He really doesn’t like you. He thinks you are clinically insane – “out of touch with reality”, the definition of clinical insanity. He thinks you are mean and rotten to the core. And he’s not going to negotiate with you. He doesn’t like you at all. Not at all.

So, half of the United States, give or take, is not too popular with the most powerful man on the planet.

The poll found that the tea party is more than a gang of malcontents in the political landscape, as its supporters in Congress have been portrayed by Democrats. Rather, it’s a sizable — and divisive — force among Republicans. More than 4 in 10 Republicans identified with the tea party and were more apt than other Republicans to insist that their leaders hold firm in the standoff over reopening government and avoiding a default of the nation’s debt in coming weeks.

Most Americans disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job, the poll suggests, with 53 percent unhappy with his performance and 37 percent approving of it. Congress is scraping rock bottom, with a ghastly approval rating of 5 percent.

It is a testimony to how out of touch Democrats are that they do not understand the depth of support for the Tea Party, and they don’t understand why Americans feel this way. It is a testimony to how nutty and poorly educated the nation at large is that 37% of the public still approves of the job Obama is doing. And some of those who disapprove wish that he were more authoritarian, not more of a small ‘d’ democratic.

Oh well. What do you think? Are you angry with any or all of them? Or not? I find that I just can’t work up the anger, but I suppose that is because I’m not trying to vacation in a National Park (or to photograph Mt. Rushmore), I’m not dying of cancer and I don’t need a clinical trial, I’m not furloughed, and I’m not a WWII vet trying to get to my monument in DC who was stopped by goons. On the other hand, I’m not an illegal alien who got to party on the National Mall yesterday with police support and the blessing of the Obama administration. I’m not Obama, who has his golf course open and ready. I’m just a cranky, jet-lagged, middle-aged, middle-class American who is so sad for the loss of cohesiveness in her country.

- Aggie

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It’s Unexpected!™

You know what my hamsters, Barney and Frank, said this morning? “Even hamsters can’t watch the same old rerun for 5 years, Kiddo.” They’re right. This economy is like watching a loop of 2 minutes of slow beach waves. It’s mesmerizing and deeply boring. If you’re interested, jobless claims up, monthly numbers better.

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose slightly last week but was still near its lowest level since before the 2007-09 recession, a hopeful sign for the U.S. economy.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 5,000 last week to 333,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The four-week average of new claims, which often gives a clearer read of the labour market’s underlying health, fell to its lowest since November 2007, just before the United States fell into a calamitous recession.
Now it appears that a long cycle of aggressive layoffs – which had fuelled a surge in unemployment and helped shape two presidential elections – is over.
“The overall economy and the labour market are improving at a moderate pace,” said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Sterne Agee & Leach in Chicago.
The pull-back in layoffs has helped bring about a substantial fall in the jobless rate, and the trend in jobless claims could make the U.S. Federal Reserve more comfortable in unwinding the nation’s last giant economic stimulus program.

Happy Days Are Here Again and The Stimulus Worked!

- Aggie

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Wowza!

Unpublished photos from the National Geographic Archives:

Bazillions more.

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