Sunday, March 30, 2014

After 400 Years, British Witches Acquitted

In 1612, in the English city of Lancaster, 12 women were convicted of witchcraft, with 10 of them being punished by hanging.  In a retrial held in a shopping center, they have much more recently received "not guilty" verdicts.

There have been no reports about whether any of the defendants were accused of turning anyone into a newt.  Read the story at the Lancashire Evening Post.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

What Is Social Justice?

Via I'm 41, who got it from Moonbattery:

Every once in a while, I hear someone on the left use the term "social justice".  What does this term mean?  Jonah Goldberg gives us his take.

Friday, March 28, 2014

MD To TV Show: We'll Seize Your Property If You Leave

The production team of the Netflix show House Of Cards, unsatisfied with the state's tax exemptions, said that they might move to another state.  In response, the Maryland House of Delegates has approved a budget bill that includes a provision which requires the state to use eminent domain to take the film company's property.

Since the Maryland government and the entertainment industry are both for the most part on the left, I'm not sure whom to root against.  In any event, read the story at Fox News and The Washington Post.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bin Laden Son-In-Law Convicted In Terrorism Trial

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who is a Kuwaiti imam and a son-in-law of the late Osama bin Laden, has been convicted in New York of conspiring to kill Americans, conspiring to provide support to al-Qaida and providing support to al-Qaida.  He is said to have acted as the terrorist group's "propaganda minister", using his position to incite others to join the group's cause.

Read the story at Military Times.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Polar Vortex, Round 6

It's officially spring, but winter still refuses to leave.  Today's snowfall has been relatively light, as the snow hitting the roads has been melting on contact.  Just one picture this time, of some empty trash cans and recycle containers next to a neighborhood street.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dead Babies Burned To Heat Buildings

According to a documentary released in the U.K., British hospitals disposed of dead babies, both aborted and miscarried, by incinerating them.  In some cases, the bodies were used to generate heat for the hospital.

Read the story at The Telegraph and International Business Times.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Links

Today, on the fourth anniversary of the law known as Obamacare, here are some stories in the news:

From Fox News, according to Ukraine's interim president, a commander at a Ukrainian base in Crimea has been abducted.

From Reuters, stocks in the United States may rise if worry about Ukraine subsides.

From Yahoo News, two statues of the Egyptian Pharoah Amenhotep III have been unveiled.

From The Seattle Times, at least 18 people are still unaccounted for after a mudslide near Oso, Washington.

From Military Times, a company in Easton, Pennsylvania is building an archive of Vietnam War films.

From the Mail Online, Al-Qaeda in Syria tells terrorists to target Queen Elizabeth II at sporting events.  (via Weasel Zippers)

From Debka File, Iran is building a replica of a US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.

From Natural News, scientists trying to measure the fallout from the Fukushima disaster face censorship.

From ABC News, the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks in two exhibition baseball games played in Australia.

From BBC News, an outbreak of ebola has reached the capitol of Guinea.

From Breitbart's Big Peace, polls in France suggest that Fran├žois Hollarde's Socialist Party could be headed for some losses in today's local elections.

From FiveThirtyEightPolitics, the GOP is a "slight" favorite to take control of the Senate in the elections this coming November.  (via The Blaze)

From the New York Post, the biggest employer in New York City is (drum roll, please) New York City.

And from The Federalist Papers, former Obama supporter Carey Wedler, recently seen burning a pro-Obama T-shirt, applies liberal logic on the 2nd Amendment to other parts of the Constitution.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

British Lawyers To Write Islamic Wills

Under a set of guidelines from The Law Society, solicitors (a type of British lawyer) will be able to write wills that comply with Islamic Sharia law.  From The Telegraph:
Under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, High Street solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether.
The documents, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock - and even those who have been adopted - from being counted as legitimate heirs.
Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Sharia principles, which recognise only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes.
Read the full story.  (H/T to the BlogTalkRadio listener Dodgy Dave)

Music Break - Some Instrumentals

Most rock and roll songs involve singing, but every once in a while, a rocker will put out an instrumental.  One of the earliest is Duane Eddy's version of Peter Gunn, written by Henry Mancini for the TV show of the same name.  Eddy plays guitar, but the real star of this version would have to be sax player Steve Armstrong.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fred Phelps 1929-2014

Fred Phelps, the founder and leader of the controversial (to say the least) Westboro Baptist Church, whose members have become notorious for protesting at funerals, and for carrying signs saying "God hates fags", died earlier today from natural causes.  Whether anyone plans to protest his funeral is not yet known.

Read the story at CNN, The Kansas City Star, Fox4KC, ABC News and the Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What Is Flying Fighter Jets Really Like?

According to an article in Cracked co-written by a naval aviator, flying a fighter jet is "way crazier" than what you see in the movie Top Gun.
Top Gun came out in 1986, and (for reasons that I should probably question them about) my parents thought it was a perfectly acceptable movie to show a 4-year-old. While I failed to grasp much of the plot and the homoerotic overtones, I did know that flying a thundering war bird powered by fire was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Before I was even able to tie my shoes, I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up.
That's how I wound up spending most of the last decade training and flying the F/A-18 Super Hornet 
And while I never expected things to be exactly like Top Gun (hostile MiGs are decidedly scarce these days), there are quite a few things that Tom Cruise never told me, like ...
To learn what these things are, you'll have to read the full article.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Liberty GB: The Truth Has Become Illegal

In Great Britain, Tim Burton of the organization Liberty GB has been arrested and charged with racially aggravated harassment for a post on Twitter describing Fiyaz Mughal, founder of the organization Tell Mama, as a "mendacious grievance-mongering taqiyya-artist".  Mr. Burton is also one of the hosts I listen to at Blog Talk Radio.

More information on Mr. Mughal, Tell Mama and Mr. Burton's case may be found at Before It's News, The Telegraph, Fahrenheit 211 and Restore Australia.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Report: Scientists Find Evidence Of Cosmic Inflation

According to cosmologists, the type of scientists who study the origin of the universe, one early stage of the Big Bang was a brief period of cosmic inflation, during which universe expanded faster than the speed of light.  While Einstein's theory of relativity posits that no material object can move through space at speeds greater than that of light, the inflation was the growth of space itself, and thus not subject to this speed limit.  As reported in Space(dot)com, direct evidence of cosmic inflation has not been found, until a recent set of observations taken from Antarctica detected polarizations called "B-modes" in the cosmic microwave background radiation.  The "B-modes" are said to be the result of gravitational waves that were in turn caused by inflation.  To learn more, read the full story and watch the video, both from Space(dot)com.

See also these articles at BBC News and Harvard-Smithsonian CFA.

Senator Feinstein: Regulate Drones

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal), in an interview with 60 Minutes, said that during a protest outside her house, she looked out her window to see a drone "facing" her.  Apparently as a result of this incident, she is in favor of regulating these devices.  In the interview, she asked:
“When is a drone picture a benefit to society? When does it become stalking? When does it invade privacy? How close to a home can a drone go?” Feinstein said, listing questions she would like to see answered in the complex regulation process.
I would say that these concerns are valid, both for privately owned drones and for those used by the government.  Since the Senator desires some regulations, I think I can offer one.  If a drone enters private property with neither the permission of the owner nor a warrant, then subject to local laws, it should be made available for target practice.  No matter what you think, read the full story at Politico.

Polar Vortex, Round 5

I thought that Mother Nature and/or Old Man Winter might be done with us residents of Maryland, but I was wrong.  Instead, for the first time that I can remember since my childhood in western New York, I'm having a white St. Patrick's Day.  Top o' the snowpile to you!

Here's some snow on branches of a tree in my front yard, and here's a partial view out the back, with snow sitting on the railing of my deck.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

In Referendum, Crimeans Vote To Join Russia

In a referendum held earlier today in the Ukrainian region of Crimea, over 90% of the voters indicated that they wanted the region to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.  Crimea has an ethic Russian majority and was part of Russia until 1954, when Russia and Ukraine were each part of the Soviet Union.

The referendum was supported by the Russian government, but the United States has asserted that it violates international law and was done under duress from a Russian invasion.  There are also reports of ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea boycotting the vote.

Read more at CNN, USA Today, BBC News, The Guardian, Yahoo News and Fox News.

Dyeing To Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

The city of Chicago has literally dyed (not died, but dyed) to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, as in dyed the Chicago river green.  It's one thing to drink green beer, quite another to have a green river.

Read the story at The Week.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

"...A Mystery Of A Different Kind"

Diane Sori, whose writings are carried by several conservative sites, has written an op-ed about the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
As the search area now encompasses the Gulf of Thailand, the South China Sea, the Strait of Malacca, the Andaman Sea, and the Indian Ocean...the game of who knows what...who's hiding what...and why was it done (if indeed the plane was hijacked) continues on. But in play are 239 human lives...lives I believe are still with us and will be used as bargaining chips at some later time....minus the three NOT quite 'kosher' passengers two of whom were Iranians with stolen passports and one-way tickets, and a Chinese Uighur muslim man with flight simulation training.
Read the full article at Conservative Firing Line or The Patriot Factor.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Links

As the weekend closes in, here's a bit of what's going on out there:

From the New York Post, one woman, a Japanese citizen, is the only person still missing as a result of Wednesday's gas explosion in Harlem.

From the Military Times, the U.S. Navy is shifting its search area for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 to the west.

From CNN, the 25 "most compelling" questions about Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

From The Washington Free Beacon, House Republican fight "ambush elections".

From The Corner at National Review, NASA official James Hansen testifies that liberals will use carbon taxes "to make the government bigger".

From Communities Digital News, support grows for religious freedom for U.S. Air Force Academy cadets after one was told to remove a Bible verse from his personal whiteboard.

The D.C. Clothesline, contrasts feminists' attempt to ban the word "bossy" with their non-reaction to Iraq's proposed marriage laws.

I'm 41 reminds us that then-speaker Nancy Pelosi said Obamacare would be a winning issue for Democrats in 2010.

From Minutemen News, Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) uses President (or then-Senator) Obama's own words against him.  Independent Journal Review has more on this.

From The Daily Beast, the Obama administration "braces for Russian retaliation" if sanctions are imposed.

From The Blaze, a gun parts store owner refuses to give federal officials his customer list.

From Israel National News, the IDF shells a Hezbollah position after an explosive device went off near an IDF patrol.

And from the Infidel Bloggers Alliance, to help find the missing Flight 370, Malaysia hires a witch doctor.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Archaeology With A Drone

Unmanned aircraft known as drones have become notorious for such things as launching missiles at enemy combatants in Afghanistan, but a former soldier has found a very different use for them.  As reported in Mail Online:
Ex-soldier Bill Clary who owns drone business ‘Got Aerials’ piloted the unmanned aircraft over the Utah desert to discover the rock carvings on an inaccessible ledge on a high canyon wall.
The rock carvings, known as petroglyphs, are believed to have been made about 2,500 years ago by people of the basketmaker culture, an early phase of the Anasazi or Ancestral Pueblo culture.  The drone was used because of the difficulty of getting to the petroglyphs on foot.

Read the full story.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Buildings In Harlem Destroyed By Gas Explosion

Just after 9:30 this morning, a gas leak caused an explosion in the Harlem area of New York City, which led to a fire and the eventual collapse of two buildings.  Two people have been reported killed and at least 22 others hurt.

Read the story at CBS New York, The New York Times, the New York Daily News, USA Today and ABC News.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Missing Plane Detected Off Course?

Via Gateway Pundit:

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was reportedly detected by military radar several hundred miles west of where it was supposed to be flying.  The flight left Kuala Lumpur airport and was traveling in a northeasterly direction over the western part of the South China Sea toward the south end of Vietnam, when it disappeared from civilian radar.  According to a Malaysian Air Force general, the plane was detected over the Malacca Strait, which separates the west coast of mainland Malaysia from the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Read the story at Fox News.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Andrew Wilkow's Virtual CPAC Speech

This was the subject of a BlogTalkRadio show by Holger Awakens, during which Red Fox Blogger provided the YouTube link.  Andrew Wilkow presents what would have been his speech at CPAC, had he been invited to speak.

Washington's Birthplace, Part 2

In Part 1, I showed you some of the buildings in Washington's Birthplace National Monument, along with the obelisk at its entrance.  Now in Part 2, I introduce you to some of the inhabitants, starting with this ox.  In the background to the right, partially obscured by fence posts, are two sheep.

Unlike the oxen, the sheep are allowed to wander around in the same space as human visitors.  Here are a few of them near some trees.

Here's the ox again, with another one in the background.

In a mesh enclosure with some chickens was another group of birds.  I don't know what type they are.  UPDATE:  Smokie has suggested that these birds might be guinea fowl.

And finally, a horse is a horse, of course, of course, and so are these two.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Washington's Birthplace, Part 1

George Washington, the first president (under the Constitution) of the United States, was born at Pope's Creek Plantation, also known as Wakefield, in Colonial Beach, Virginia.  The plantation is now a National Monument, and is adjacent to its namesake body of water, which connects to the south side of the Potomac.  These are some pictures from my recent visit.  The entrance features a smaller version of the Washington Monument.

Here is the obelisk from a different angle.  The apparent tilt is from the angle of my camera.  One of the edges looks serrated, but I think that it might be an illusion produced by the camera.

In this next photo, the white building to the left is a kitchen.  The house on the right does not date from Washington's time, but was built later in the style of houses of that era.

The white gravel outlines show the location of the house in which Washington was born, with the same house as above in the background.

In another part of the site is the log house, the sides of which have been painted white.

The plantation includes a few reconstructed farm buildings.  I would say that this one might have been a storage shed.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

DHS To Border Guards: Run From Illegal Alien Rock Throwers

If this isn't insane and idiotic, I don't know what is.  From The Daily Caller, here are some new rules of engagement for our border patrol:
Top administration officials have directed 21,000 border patrol officers to retreat whenever illegal immigrants throw rocks at them, and to avoid getting in front of foreign drug-smugglers’ vehicles as they head north with their drug cargoes.
“Agents shall not discharge firearms in response to thrown or hurled projectiles… agents should obtain a tactical advantage in these situations, such as seeking cover or distancing themselves,” said the instructions, issued Mar. 7, under the signature of Michael Fisher, chief of U.S. Border Patrol.
In other words, the people charged with protecting our borders have been instructed to use run-and-hide tactics when dealing with criminal invaders who physically assault them, and to just let drug smugglers go on their merry way.  Our agents are not even allowed to draw their guns while being passed by the smugglers' vehicles.  Read the full story.

Malaysian Airliner Goes Missing

Malaysian Airlines Flight HM370, carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, went missing over the South China Sea about two hours after taking off.  No signs of the plane's location or possible crash site have been found, other than two oil slicks spotted by Vietnamese air force pilots.  The passengers included over 150 Chinese and 4 Americans.

Read more at CNN, BBC News, Reuters, The Washington Post, Fox News and Mirror News.

UPDATE:  According to Fox News, two people on board the plane have been reported to possess stolen passports.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Maryland Considering Linking Gun Owner And Criminal Registries

Via Bearing Arms:

The Maryland House of Delegates is considering a bill that would "link" the state's gun registry and criminal registry, giving police the ability to determine which firearms owners are convicted felons and confiscate their guns.  According to one estimation, about 10% of Maryland gun owners, amounting to about 110,000 people, would be affected.  This begs the question:  How did the background checks on all these people, presumably done to see if they have nothing disqualifying them from gun ownership, fail to uncover their felony convictions in the first place?

Read the story at Russia Today.  That's right, a Russian website is the source for this story about Maryland, albeit one mentioning Associated Press as their source.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fifth Grader With No Arms Plays Trumpet

Ten-year-old Jamir Wallace was born without arms, that hasn't stopped him from becoming a musician.  The fifth grader from Phillipsburg, New Jersey, inspired by his sister playing piano, took up the trumpet and now plays in his school's musical ensemble.  Read the story at Life News and watch the video.

Ash Wednesday Links

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent as observed by the Catholic Church.  Some other Christian denominations, such as the Orthodox Churches, also observe Lent, but for some the season starts at a different time due to the use of the Julian Calendar instead of the Gregorian one.

From OSV Newsweekly, if you're Catholic and wish to improve your confessions or try a new way of praying the Rosary during this Lent, there's an app for that.

From the Official Vatican Network, Pope Francis celebrates Ash Wednesday Mass.

From Catholic News Agency, the Pope's interview with Corriere della Sera.  (Via Lisa Graas, who shows how the media have misreported the Pope's statements on civil unions.)

From The Daily Caller, the Senate has stopped the confirmation of Debo Adegbile, a defender of convicted cop-killer Abu Mumia Jamal, who had been nominated for Assistant Attorney General.

From the New York Post, meanwhile over in the House of Representatives, during a hearing about the IRS scandal, a shouting match broke out.

From the Mail Online, speaking of the IRS, former official Lois Lerner pleads the Fifth for the second time, thus risking arrest for contempt of Congress.

From PC World, after already having some touch-enabled and speech-recognition programs, envisions a "touch-based Office".

From Life News, a Democrat State legislator in Alabama claims that 99% of whites would abort their baby if the father is black.

From Fox News, Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

From The Washington Free Beacon, the "Reset" has failed.

From Judicial Watch, the mayor of Scottsdale, Arizona denies a moment of silence for a fallen policeman.

From Twitchy, a Common Core math problem that "makes no sense whatsoever".

From CNN, the results of yesterday's primary election in Texas.

And from the Los Angeles Times, Chipotle claims that reports of their suspending guacamole from its menu have been greatly exaggerated.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Polar Vortex, Round 4

Well, I think it's Round 4 of the Polar Vortex, but I concede that the number of rounds could be higher.  Here are some pictures of the latest snowfall, which occurred from late this past Sunday night to Monday afternoon.  The first shows a slim wooden deck jutting out into the neighborhood lake, still covered by yesterday's snow.

In this view across the lake, the grate toward the right is above the lake's outlet.  The closer horizontal embankment is a street, while the farther one supports a railroad.  The lake drains through tunnels in both.

My homeowner's association dues at work.  These men are plowing and salting the paved walkway that runs roughly parallel to road, between it and the lake.

Another section of the walkway, away from the road, remains unplowed.  However, the two parallel grooves in the snow indicate that someone has pulled a two-wheeled vehicle down the walkway.  I was thinking that the grooves could have been made by bicycle tires, but their paths extend at a constant distance from each other, indicating that they would have to be made by two wheels connected by an axle.  Has one of my neighbors been riding a chariot?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Somali Illegal Aliens Caught In Mexico

Tweeted to my attention by Luchadora:

Six people from Somalia were captured in the Mexican state of Chiapas, claiming that they had been abandoned by human traffickers whom they had paid to help sneak them into the United States.  Chiapas is located at the southern end of Mexico, borders the neighboring country of Guatemala, and is home to a small community of several hundred Muslims.

Read the story at The Examiner.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Happy Birthday, Texas

Today is Texas Independence Day.  On March 2, 1836 Texas declared independence from Mexico, after which it existed as a country unto itself before joining the United States.  Here are a few related items:

From The Courier Of Montgomery County, Texans celebrate their Independence Day at their original capitol, Washington on the Brazos.

From Inquisitr, another article on the celebration at Washington on the Brazos.

From KETK, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) celebrates Texas Independence Day by reading a letter written by Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis just before the Battle at the Alamo.

Some historical information can be found at Texian Legacy, Texas Independence and UT History Central.

And last but not least, Smokie at Somewhere in Texas presents the Texas Declaration of Independence.

More On The Situation In Ukraine

Yesterday, I wondered if Russians were invading Crimea. Today, it appears that some people have seen such an invasion.

Yesterday, the Global Post asked, "Will Russia invade Ukraine or is it already happening?"

Time reports that "many Ukrainians want Russia to invade".

According to The Independent, there is a "shadow war" in Ukraine that "has become more concrete" because the Russian parliament has authorized the use of military force in Ukraine.

CNN reports that Ukraine has mobilized its own forces, as Ukrainian ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev says that Russian troops are already in his country.

The Guardian likewise reports that another Ukrainian official claims that 2,000 Russian troops have entered Crimea.

The ABC News states that their own journalists "have seen a convoy of hundreds of Russian troops heading toward the regional capital, Simferopol".

The Kyiv Post has a live blog reporting further developments.

According to The Telegraph, NATO Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said, "Europe's peace is at risk."

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Russian Troops Said To Enter Ukraine

In Ukraine, with the president being ousted and new elections being scheduled, the latest development appears to be a Russian invasion of Crimea, a peninsula that is part of Ukraine but has a majority of ethnic Russians.  During the time when Nikita Khrushchev was the leader of the Soviet Union, Crimea was transferred from the Russian S.F.S.R. to the Ukrainian S.S.R.  During the 1850's, a war was fought over Crimea.  Here are a few reports about the alleged Russian presence in Ukraine:

From The Boston Globe, the new Ukrainian government accuses Russia of invading.

From The Washington Post, the Russian activity draws a warning from the American president.

From Haaretz, the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.N. says that Russian helicopters and planes have entered his country.

From BBC News, "Russians" allegedly have occupied two airports in Crimea.

From The Telegraph, more on the warning from President Obama.

From The Globe And Mail, Ukraine pleads for help.