Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Iraqi Christians Face Deportation From The United States

From Fox News:
Nearly two dozen Iraqi Christians who fled ISIS and crossed into the U.S. from Mexico seeking religious asylum have been denied protection and could be booted from American soil within days, a federal official said.
Some 27 Iraqi Christians, known as Chaldeans, were held at the Otay Detention Center in San Diego since entering the U.S. in April and May. Seven have already been extradited, and five more criminally charged with making false statements. In all, 22 have been ordered out of the U.S. and five still have asylum applications pending, according to Lauren Mack, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in San Diego.
My reaction to this news is conflicted.  On one hand, it is easy to "root for the underdog", as the saying goes.  These Christians are part of a sect that has faced brutal treatment from fundamentalist Islamic groups such as ISIS, and thus would appear to deserve asylum.  On the other hand, they did not come directly to the United States, but traveled to Mexico and then crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.  Unless they stopped at an official border crossing and presented valid passports, their crossing was done in an illegal manner.  Those who allegedly made false statements didn't exactly help their cause, either.  (According to the Fox News story, some of them had German passports.)

Monday, September 28, 2015

NASA Finds Evidence Of Salty Water On Mars

Today, NASA announced that they have found evidence of flowing salty water on Mars.  Dark streaks, called "recurring slope lineae", found on steep Martian slopes are reportedly caused by salts precipitating out of the water.  The salts are not the sodium chloride present in Earth's oceans, but instead chlorates and perchlorates.

Read more at Space(dot)com, CBC News, IFL Science!, CBS News and Wired.

Boy Roller Skates Under Cars

Yes, he goes under cars.  In India, eight-year-old roller skater Devisri Prasad performs stunts that most people can only imagine.  In fact, if yours truly attempted had anything like this at age 8, an extended stay in the hospital would have been the best possible outcome.  From the New York Post:
This boy is nimble and quick.
Not only can Devisri Prasad, 8, can roller-skate under 53 cars - he can do it backwards.
Prasad is hoping to clinch four world records for his flexible stunts - devoting hours to perfecting his routine.
Read the full story, and please don't try this (or let your children try this) at home.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Links

As much of the world awaits tonight's lunar eclipse, here are some things going on here on Earth:

From CNN, people travel to see Pope Francis.

From ABC News, the pope meets with victims of sex abuse by priests.

From ESPN, at the Rams-Steelers football game, pyrotechnics sets part of the field on fire.

From Pantagraph, a Kenyan runner wins the Berlin Marathon.

From The Washington Free Beacon, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton admits that much of the story about her use of a personal email server is out of her control.

From WUIS, Iraq will share anti-ISIS intelligence with Iran and Russia.

From Epoch Times, President Obama and other world leaders will address a United Nations summit.

From Newsmax, soon-to-be-former Speaker John Bo(eh)ner (R-Ohio) calls his more conservative opponents "unrealistic".

From Gatestone Institute, the German government has been enacting some coercive measures in order to accommodate incoming migrants.

From the Sunday Express, ISIS crucifies Christians.

From France24, almost 30,000 foreigners have gone to Iraq to join ISIS.

From Yahoo News, French airplanes attack ISIS, but just for show.

From Bloomberg Business, in Catalonia's regional election, parties favoring separation from Spain are close to winning a majority of votes.  (via Zero Hedge)

From The Washington Post, presidential candidate Jeb Bush (R-FL) faces "make or break time".

From The Hill, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson are running a very close first and second among Republicans.

And from Fox News, in Spearfish, South Dakota, someone stole a 100-pound pumpkin.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Speaker Boehner To Resign

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has been so disappointing to conservatives that we sometimes like to mispronounce his name in a way that ignores the "eh", has announced his resignation as both Speaker of the House and as a congressman, effective on October 30.  He was elected Speaker after the Republicans took the House in the 2010 election, and had previously held the post of Minority Leader.  Boehner was first elected to Congress in 1990.

Read more at Fox News, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Politico and The Hill.

UPDATE:  NBC News presents some information on how GOP voters feel about Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Stampede Kills Over 700 Hajj Pilgrims

At the Hajj pilgrimage near Mecca in Saudi Arabia, a stampede took the lives of at least 717 pilgrims and injured at least 805 more, according to various reports.  The disaster occurred a few miles east of Mecca in Mina, where pilgrims traditionally perform a ritual in which they throw rocks at three stone pillars in a symbolic stoning of the devil.  Two large crowds reportedly converged on their way to the site of this ritual.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yogi Berra 1925-2015

Yogi Berra, the baseball Hall of Famer also known for his witticisms, has died of natural causes at the age of 90 at his home in New Jersey.  He had lived at an assisted living center in West Caldwell since 2012, when he moved from Montclair.

Lawrence Peter Berra was born on May 12, 1925 to parents who had immigrated from Malvaglio, Italy, and grew up in an Italian neighborhood in St. Louis known as "The Hill".  One of his childhood friends was future major league catcher Joe Garagiola.  Another friend gave Berra the knickname "Yogi" after they had watched a movie travelogue about India.  After dropping out of school in the eight grade and working odd jobs to help his family, he was signed by the New York Yankees, who unlike the St. Louis Cardinals or St. Louis Browns were willing to give him a $500 bonus.  After some time in the minor leagues, Berra joined the U.S. Navy and took part in D-Day and the Allied assault on Marseilles, where he earned a Purple Heart.

In 1946, Berra returned to baseball and joined the Yankees' farm team the Newark Bears, getting called up to the major league team in September.  He played with the Yankees from then until the end of 1963.  As a player, he because a notorious "bad ball hitter" who rarely struck out despite hitting for power.  He also became an excellent defensive catcher and was regarded as an expert handler of pitchers.  He sometimes played outfield to give himself a break from catching, and during his late 30's was still patrolling then-notoriously large left field in Yankee Stadium.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Adams Falls & The Paden Twin Bridges

After taking a ride on the Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern Railroad, I found two other places in Pennsylvania to stop and look around.  In Ricketts Glen State Park, from a parking area just off State Route 118, I took a short hike to Adams Falls, which are on Kitchen Creek.

Just south and downstream of Adams Falls are these rocks.  It looks like a stream of water at one time might have eroded a channel between the two formations.

Continuing southwestward, I turned onto State Route 487 and eventually found the East and West Paden Twin Bridges, near Forks.  The West Paden bridge is next to a small parking area on a side road that connects to Route 487.  From this angle, the East Paden bridge is in the background on the right.  Both bridges are intended only for pedestrian traffic and house several picnic tables.

On the concrete support between the bridges is this historical marker.

After walking through the bridges (and hopefully not disturbing a bunch of picnickers who were there), I took this shot of the east bridge.

The west bridge spans Huntington Creek.  In order to get all of it into the picture, I had to also include a large tree.

From the west bridge, I took a shot of Huntington Creek, of which the above-mentioned Kitchen Creek turns out to be a tributary.

For more on the Paden Twin Bridges, go here, here and here.

Tuesday Links

Now that I'm back from my latest swing into Pennsylvania, here are some things in the news:

From The Washington Times, the Indiana Supreme Court takes up a case in which police found an alleged murder weapon after eavesdropping on a conversation between a defendant and his lawyer.

From The Washington Free Beacon, on the same day they receive the Service Dog of the Year award, a Marine and his service dog are denied a seat on an American Airlines flight.

From Bloomberg View, the man picked by the president to build the war effort against ISIS will be stepping down.

From The Telegraph, a division of Syrian rebels trained by the United States surrenders to an Al Qaeda affiliate upon re-entering their country.

From Politico, presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) calls for a raise in the minimum wage for federal contract workers.

From Fox News, Israeli archaeologists may have found the Tomb of the Maccabees.

From McClatchyDC, presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and  host Stephen Colbert discuss Ronald Reagan on The Late Show.

From The Local DE, German intelligence warns about the increasing numbers of Salafists in their country.

From Yahoo News, German police raid a mosque and search homes looking for ISIS recruiters.  (via Gateway Pundit)

From Herald Scotland, the "jihadi bride", who left Scotland to marry an Islamic fighter in Syria, has a low opinion of the Syrians migrating in the opposite direction.

From National Review, many of those "Syrian refugees" are neither.

From WTVR, the son of a former Virginia state senator kills himself on Interstate 95, after allegedly killing a man and abducting a woman.

From Frontpage Mag, Pope Francis, who arrives today in the United States, seems to have forgotten the oppressed people of the country from which he departs.

From Bizpac Review, presidential candidate Carly Fiorina (R) disagrees with Ben Carson (R) and Donald Trump (R) about having a Muslim president, and sings about her dog.

From the Daily Mail, noted clock-maker Ahmed Mohamed and his siblings have all been pulled from their schools.

From WUIS, the Department of Interior has decided that the greater sage grouse does not need Endangered Species Act protection.

And from Wired, problems with geothermal energy wells may be solved by injecting SiO2 balls coated with DNA.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern Railroad

Established in 1963, the Wanamaker, Kempton &Southern Railroad is a scenic railroad in eastern Pennsylvania that runs between the two towns after it was named.  Its trains run on a section of track that was originally part of the Berks County Railroad, which ran from Slatington to Reading.  Unfortunately, the BCRR went bankrupt in 1874, the year in which its construction was completed.  Its tracks were then incorporated into the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, which operated the line as far north as Wanamaker until 1962, before selling 4.2 miles of track to WK&S and otherwise scrapping most of the line.  Train rides on the WK&S leave from the station at Kempton, shown here, and travel three miles north to Wanamaker, before returning.

Parked near the Kempton station are the WK&S locomotive no. 65 and a Lehigh & New England diesel.

Just behind the two locomotives shown above is the WK&S no. 2.

Two Reading coaches and a caboose occupy a sidetrack.  The above-mentioned Philadelphia & Reading was eventually renamed the Reading Company.

A remodeled coach, a Chesapeake & Ohio refrigerated boxcar, and a Lehigh & New England caboose occupy another sidetrack.  The coach houses a large display of HO-scale model railroads.

After the ride was over, the WK&S no. 7258 pulled around the train to reconnect to its north end.

A conductor guides no. 7258 as it connects to the north end of the train, which is an old Reading caboose.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Saudi Ambassador To Head UN Human Rights Panel

A representative from Saudi Arabia, a county whose record on human rights can be charitably described as dubious, has been appointed to the United Nations Human Rights Council.  Faisal bin Hassan Trad, the Saudi Ambassador to the U.N. at Geneva, has been chosen to head a five-person advisory panel.  As would be expected, the appointment has generated some controversy.

Read the story at Sputnik International, Arutz Sheva, The Independent and the International Business Times.  Meanwhile, a Saudi court has upheld the sentence of death by crucifixion for a man accused of "illegal protests and firearm offenses", which allegedly took place when he was 17.

Migrants Leave Loads Of Trash

Freedom Outpost has a story about the invasion of migration into Europe by Syrian "refugees" that I would say falls into the "ugly truth" category.  A small excerpt:
It is not what the refugees used on their journey, but what they left behind unused - discarded Red Cross packaged water, crates of peaches, untouched packaged food, unopened baby diapers, brand new strollers, car seats, toys, and other necessities for someone traveling with a baby. Since these items were left behind, it is obvious that there were no babies among them.
It may seem normal to have some sympathy for refugees, but the blatant disrespect for the places they've entered and traveled through renders sympathy just about impossible.  Read the full story, and take a good look at the pictures.

Friday, September 18, 2015

House Votes To Freeze Planned Parenthood Funding

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted 241-187, mostly along party lines, to freeze funding for Planned Parenthood for a year.  The freeze would last for a year, so Congress can investigate accusations against the organization.

Read more at The Hill, LifeNews, the Washington Examiner, The Washington Post and ABC News.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Illegal Alien Crime Wave

The federal government does a pretty job on tracking the race and ethnicity of people who commit crimes, but there's one demographic group in the United States for whom the statistics can be hard to find.  From Fox News:
The federal government can tell you how many "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders" stole a car, the precise number of "American Indian or Alaska Natives" who were arrested for vagrancy or how many whites were busted for counterfeiting in any given year. But the government agencies that crunch crime numbers are utterly unable -- or unwilling -- to pinpoint for the public how many illegal immigrants are arrested within U.S. borders each year.
Every once in a while, we hear the argument about immigrants being generally more law-abiding than native-born citizens.  That might be true for the immigrants who come here legally, but the numbers show a very different story for illegal aliens.  It makes perfect sense that a person willing to commit a crime by wrongly entering this country doesn't have too many qualms about committing other crimes after getting in.  As for those who become illegal aliens by willingly overstaying their visas, their respect for American law doesn't seem to be all that great, either.  If an immigrant wants to come to America to live a better life, the term "better life" should be defined to include obeying American law.  If that seems unfair, I should point out that obeying American law is precisely what we American citizens generally expect of each other.

But enough of my $0.02, read the full story.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tuesday Links

Today on the Ides of September, here's a bit of what's going on:

From Fox News, an instructor at Delta State University in Mississippi, suspected to killing two people, has committed suicide.

From The Jerusalem Post, Iran's nuclear deal is expected to have an effect on the country's elections.

From Reuters, and speaking of nukes, North Korea says that its main nuclear facility is operational.

From The Times Of Israel, Hamas calls recent Israeli actions on the Temple Mount a "declaration of war".

From the Mirror, a 15-year-old British girl killed her mother after viewing online ISIS videos.

From the Express, the Lebanese education minister tells U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron that thousands of ISIS fighters are among the Syrian refugees.

From National Review, Europe rediscovers the concept that good fences make good neighbors.

From The Hill, college students don't need to be "coddled", says.......President Obama?  (via HotAir)

From CBS Chicago, a man is charged with murder for a stabbing that resulting from an argument over a cell phone.

From the Tyler Morning Telegraph, a pastor calms down an armed man who had entered his church.  (via The Blaze)

From CNN, a large object has been found floating in the Indian Ocean near Reunion.

From LifeNews, another video of Planned Parenthood discussing the sale of aborted baby parts.

From Wired, Etsy will start helping artisans to find manufacturers.

From CNET, Wilson unveils the smart basketball.

From the Chicago Tribune, in a development that can only be called "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", Disney is looking to make a new Mary Poppins movie.

And from the New York Post, you can now donate to political candidates and advocacy groups by using Twitter.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Music Break - Some Live Versions

It's certainly about time I made a musical post.  I may have included a few live performances in previous Music Breaks, but this time, I've decided to make live versions the post's theme, so to speak.  Live performances can sometimes have their drawbacks.  Bands might play their songs too fast, the singer can't quite reach the high notes he sang in the studio, or the instruments and sound effects recorded in the studio become difficult to recreate on stage.  Even facing these potential problems, I think I've found a few live performances that do the respective studio versions justice, or at least are enjoyable in their own right.

The Eagles have often incorporated their members' solo songs into their concerts.  Don Henley, officially their drummer, plays guitar in this live version of Dirty Laundry, which appears on his first solo album I Can't Stand Still, released in 1982.  The latter part of the song features consecutive guitar solos by Glenn Frey, Stueart Smith (a sideman hired to replace former member Don Felder) and Joe Walsh.  At this time and at present, the official Eagles are Frey, Henley, Walsh and bassist Timothy B. Schmitt.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Highly Paid CEO Blasts High CEO Pay

Republican presidential candidate and multi-billionaire Donald Trump, on the CBS show Face The Nation, called the salaries paid to corporate CEO's a "complete joke" and a "disgrace".  Considering that, according to Wiki, he is the CEO of The Trump Organization and two other entities and draws a salary of $250 million, Trump appears to be an example of the very problem he complains about.  (As far as I can tell, Wiki does not specify how much of the indicated salary comes from each respective source.)

To paraphrase Mark Twain:  Suppose you are a politician.  Suppose you are a hypocrite.  But I repeat myself.

Read more at Fortune, Reuters, CBS News and Politico.

ISIS Terrorist Reportedly Arrested In Germany

According to The New Observer,
An ISIS terrorist posing as an “asylum seeker” has been arrested by German police in a “refugee” center in Stuttgart, and German customs officers have seized boxes containing Syrian passports being smuggled into Europe.
The alleged terrorist is a 21-year-old man from Morocco.  Meanwhile in Bulgaria, police seized 10,000 fake Syrian passports.

Read the full story.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Collapsing Crane Kills 87 [Update: 107] People In Mecca

In Mecca, a crane being used in a construction project intended to expand the Grand Mosque killed 87 people and injured over 180 others when it collapsed and fell through the mosque's roof.  At the time, the area was undergoing bad weather, including wind, rain and lightning.  The construction is being done in preparation for this year's Hajj pilgrimage, which occurs later this month.  The Grand Mosque surrounds the Kaaba, a shrine around which the pilgrims walk during the Hajj.

Read more at BBC News, The Guardian, Russia Today, Al Jazeera and the Daily Mail.

UPDATE:  Most of the links are now indicating 107 people killed and 238 injured.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thursday Links

As the NFL gets ready to kick off the new season, here are some things out there in the news:

From Reuters, the U.S. will accept 10,000 Syrian refugees next year.

From The Telegraph, an ISIS fighter is reportedly hiding in a migrant camp in Calais, France.

From the Washington Examiner, the House passes a resolution alleging that President Obama "ignored law" on the Iran deal.

From CNS News, a disabled veteran gives his (very negative) opinion of the Iran deal.

From Fox News, the NYPD commissioner offers an apology to wrongly arrested tennis pro James Blake.

From The Blaze, Wisconsin Governor and presidential candidate Scott Walker (R) promises that as president, he will prohibit mandatory union dues for federal employees.

From Tech Crunch, guitar maker Fender hires a new Chief Digital Products Officer.

From The Washington Times, when he starts his U.S. visit, Pope Francis will be welcomed at the White House by a religiously diverse group of people.

From Yahoo News, the head from a giant statue of Vladimir Lenin has been dug up in Berlin.

From Breitbart's Big Government, a video shows Nevada-based campaign workers for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton allegedly ignoring or violating the state's voter registration laws.

From One News Now, the legal standing of a pro-LGBT ordinance passed in Fayetteville, Arkansas has been questioned by the state's attorney general.

From News 4 Jax, a 20-year-old man from Orange Park, Florida has been arrested for distributing information on how to make a pressure cooker bomb.

And from The Hollywood Reporter, it won't belong before a certain news anchor comes back.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Enslaved Woman Kills ISIS Commander

According to a report by the Indian site Z News, an ISIS commander named Abu Anas was fatally shot by an Iraqi woman he was keeping as a sex slave.  The text is somewhat confusing because it includes the phrases "an Iraqi women" and "the women was", thus using the plural form "women" with the singular words "an" and "was".  The taking, keeping and selling of sexual slaves, and even the practice of giving slaves as "gifts" has reportedly been rather common within ISIS.

Read the full story.

Fake Race Change Gets White Poet Published

A library worker and amateur poet in Allen County, Indiana named Michael Derrick Hudson made over 40 unsuccessful attempts to publish a poem he had written, but then found success after he adopted the Chinese-sounding pen name Yi-Fen Chou.  The poem, entitled "The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve", was rejected 40 times under his real name and then 9 more times under his pen name, before being published by Prairie Schooner, and later being included in the anthology The Best American Poetry 2015.

Although Hudson never tried to pass himself off as Asian in any way analogous to Rachel Dolezal's attempt to appear black, he has understandably drawn some angry reaction from Asians.  As poet and Chapman University professor Victoria Chang told The Washington Post:
“And it diminishes categorically all of our accomplishments. He sort of implies that minorities are published because we’re minorities, not because of our work. That’s just insulting because it strips everything we’ve worked so hard for.”
I would beg to differ with Professor Chang.  I would submit that Mr. Hudson did not imply anything, but instead exposed a willingness within the publishing business to publish minorities because they're minorities, or at least a desire to include minorities in their publications out of fear of being accused of racism they don't.

Read more at The Washington Post (mentioned above), The Independent and The Guardian.  In their write-up, Hot Air includes an excerpt of Mr. Chou's, er, I mean, Mr. Hudson's poem.

Mumbai Bans Meat For Four Days

From Reuters:
Mumbai, India's financial capital, has banned the slaughter and sale of meat for four days this month following a demand from the strictly vegetarian Jain community, sparking outrage among meat-eaters already upset by a permanent beef ban imposed this year.
The ban has drawn quite a bit of flak, since it effectively forces non-Jains to follow Jain practice.  Some reaction:

From First Post, why should the Mumbai government "impose one religion's practice on everyone else"?

From Business Standard, the meat ban is the "latest step in state-sponsored intolerance".

From Daily O, vegetarians should not worry, because meat-eaters will not burn down your house of worship.

My opinion?  As I have said before, when lions and tigers and bears, oh my, stop eating meat, so will I.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Buried Stone Monument Found Near Stonehenge

Archaeologists in England using ground-penetrating radar and a mobile magnetometer have discovered a row of 90 buried stones at a site called Durrington Walls, one of the largest henge-style sites in Great Britain, located about two miles northeast of Stonehenge.  The stones are thought to have been put in place over 4,500 years ago.

Read more at The Guardian, BBC News and The Telegraph.

European Migration News

Some stories about the migration into Europe, and some tangential items:

From Channel NewsAsia, the Hungarian prime minister states that quotas on how many immigrants each European country must accept are meaningless as long as the EU's "outer borders" are not secure.

From Vice News, the Hungarian PM also says that since the migrants are not staying in the first EU country they reach, they should be seen as immigrants, not refugees.

From CNN, Germany and Austria say that they "can't keep up".

From The Telegraph, the French president tells the U.K. prime minister if you want reform, take care of some refugees.

From CP24, migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos face tensions and cause them, too.

From Ekathimerini, Cyprus offers to take in 300 preferably Christian refugees.

From The Austrian, an Australian bishop say that Christian refugees "should go to front of queue".

From The Last Refuge, an English translation of an article in Niezależna describing the behavior of migrants at the Italian-Austrian border, as witnessed by a Polish traveler.  Ostrzeżenie: to nie ładne.  (Warning: it ain't pretty.)

From Reuters, the United States has asked Greece to deny their airspace to Russian flights to Syria.  (From what I know about the geography of southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean area, I don't really see why Russia would need to overfly Greece on the way to Syria, unless Turkey has already closed their airspace to them.)

And from DEBKAfile, a Russian submarine armed with an arsenal of nuclear weapons is heading for Syria.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

"In God We Trust" On Police Vehicles Draws Complaints

Like dozens of other police agencies around the United State, the police department of Childress, Texas have recently added the motto "In God We Trust" to their vehicles, but they have drawn complaints from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.  From the Chicago Tribune:
A police department in a rural Texas Bible Belt community has placed large "In God We Trust" decals on its patrol vehicles in response to recent violence against law enforcement officers, but a watchdog group says the decals amount to an illegal government endorsement of religion.
The decision by police this month to unveil the phrase in Childress, an agricultural community of some 6,100 people at the southern edge of the Texas Panhandle, follows a similar move by dozens of other police agencies elsewhere in the country.
Read the full story, and if you have a problem with what the policemen are doing, please also read your coins and dollar bills.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Actor Sentenced For Killing Rabbit

Actor Dimitri Diatchenko, who appeared in Sons of Anarchy and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, has been sentenced to community service, probation and animal cruelty counseling after pleading guilty to animal cruelty.  His crime?  Skinning, cooking and partially eating his ex-girlfriend's pet rabbit.

This makes me think that Elmer Fudd might wish to reconsider his longtime desire to cook up some wabbit stew.

Read more at The Wrap, Sky News and Fox News.

West Point Cadets Injured In......Pillow Fight?

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY has acknowledged that during their annual freshman pillow fight this past August, 30 cadets were injured, 24 of them with concussions.  Some freshmen reportedly packed their pillows with hard objects such as helmets.  The pillow fight is a tradition that goes back at least to 1897.

Read more at The New York Times, Yahoo News and Russia Today.

UPDATE:  From ABC News, the pillow fight has been under investigation.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Links

As the first weekend of the NCAA football season gets underway (which actually started with a few games yesterday), here are some other things going on out there:

From FrontpageMag, what's really going on with the Syrian refugee crisis.

From the New York Post, Kansas University has lifted their lockdown after reports of a possible gunman on campus.

From LifeNews, an abortionist conducted research on the brains of aborted babies who had Down syndrome.  (If a baby has Down syndrome but the mother doesn't, wouldn't that imply that before birth the baby is not part of the mother's body?)

From the New York Daily News, shoe thieves are apprehended after posting pics of themselves with the goods on Facebook.

From Vermont Watchdog, the state of Vermont (or as I call it, the other VT), long known for its lack of billboards, has more recently been experiencing solar sprawl.

From CNN, a report on the Boeing 777-9X, which has folding wingtips.

From Fox News, the Chinese warships sailing near Alaska earlier this week reportedly came within 12 miles of the coast, thus entering U.S. waters.

From the Daily Mail, New York City has 80 encampments for the homeless.  (via End Times Headlines, and H/T Kristy Lonestar for Tweeting this)

From NBC Chicago, this month's upcoming lunar eclipse will be a supermoon.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, an 11-year-old boy fatally shoots a 16-year-old allegedly invading his home.

From the Washington Post, a look at who led on September 4 of the respective year preceding the past few presidential elections.

From Wired, the latest Transporter movie has a different leading actor than the previous three.

From ABC News, the Spanish prime minister calls the migration Europe's "top challenge".

From Deutsch Welle, the UN calls for the EU to accept as many as 200,000 refugees.  Poland says stop the illegal migration.  (via Refugee Settlement Watch).

From FiveThirtyEight, today's Significant Digits.

From CNS News, while the unemployment rate decreases, the participation rate stays at a record low for the third straight month.

From Townhall, a report in President Obama's "Alaska Global Warming Field Trip".

And from Reboot Illinois, cartoonist Scott Stantis takes a swipe at Chicago Mayor (and Obama friend) Rahm Emanuel (D).

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Columcille Megalith Park is located in eastern Pennsylvania a few miles north of Bangor, and is inspired by the Scottish island of Iona, where an Irish monk named Columba established a monastery.  In Irish, his name was Colum Cille, from which the park gets its name.  Columcille is privately owned, but open to the public.  There is no admission charge, but the park has several places where donations may be left.  Walking in from the small roadside parking area, I could see these stones and a circular tower.

A circle of standing stones surrounds a sitting boulder.

Here's a closer shot of the tower.

This trilithon is so big that you can walk through it.

A pathway leads downhill from the trilithon and past another group of stones.

This particular dolmen reminded me of the Poulnabrone Dolmen in Ireland.

This small pedestrian bridge is partially in shadow.

The Chapel of St. Columba may be used for gatherings, with prior permission from the park's owners, or for quiet meditation by individuals.  Be sure to close the door on your way out.

Set on a small mound, this off-white stone has an interesting surface.

At the park's eastern end are these three large stones.  I called them the "three monsters".

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Renaming Mount McKinley Shows Obama's Inconsistency

As President Obama flies off to Alaska, an editorial in the Washington Examiner notes his inconsistency when it comes to honoring local wishes.  In changing the name of Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, back to the native Denali, Obama gave many Alaskans something they have been seeking for several decades.  But as the editorial points out, he and his administration have not always been so respectful toward the locals.
If Obama would go this far to honor local wishes — stripping honor from a war hero and predecessor who was murdered in office — perhaps he could consider honoring those wishes when there are matters of actual substance at stake. For example, Alaskans have unsuccessfully sought for decades to exploit certain oil resources that exist in their state.
Read the full article.