Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Seven Arrested In Connection To The Manchester Bombing

In the aftermath of the suicide bombing in Manchester, England, seven people have been arrested.  Five of them, including the attacker's older brother, have been taken into custody in England.  The other two are the attacker's father and younger brother, who were arrested in Libya.

Read more at The Telegraph, Reuters, The Guardian, The New York Times and the Metro.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

More On The Attack In Manchester

As I expected, here are some more items relating to the suicide attack in Manchester, UK:

From the Daily Mail, a woman injured in the bombing is under heavy sedation, and is thus unaware that her daughter was killed; and parents have taken to social media to find their children who have been missing since after the attack.

From the Observer, one freelance writer has a sick mind.

From The Telegraph, Manchester's city manager's wife and daughters were at the concert.  (via Russia Today)

From Breitbart, the British government thinks that another attack may be imminent.

From Breitbart Jerusalem, ISIS supporters promise more attacks.

From FrontpageMag, in one writer's opinion, British Prime Minister Theresa May should apologize and resign.

From National Review, one writer asks three questions after the attack.  (The first, "Who is the attacker?", appears to have already been answered.)

From Townhall, one Democratic candidate has her own idea of what to blame the bombing on.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Explosion Kills Concertgoers In Manchester, England

Toward the end of concert put on by American singer Ariana Grande at the Manchester (UK) Arena, an explosion went off, killing 19 people and injuring at 50 others.  Police are regarding the blast as an act of terrorism, and possibly also suicide bombing, until they learn otherwise.

As with similar incidents, the relevant details will probably take some time to be reported.  I will therefore try to pass on whatever information that I come across in the near future.

Read more at The Telegraph, The Guardian, the Independent, The Sun and BBC News.

UPDATE:  The above links now indicate that the explosion was indeed a suicide bombing, carried out by Salman Abedi, who was a native of Manchester and a university drop-out.  They now report 22 people dead and 59 injured.

Monday Links

As our president continues his trip to the Middle East, here are some things going on, there and elsewhere:

From NBC News, Donald Trump becomes the first sitting American president to visit the Western Wall.

From the Los Angeles Times, at the Western Wall, Trump was not joined by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

From Haaretz, in one writer's opinion, Trump's visit will not be good for the Israeli right.

From FrontpageMag, Trump's speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia was a "marked improvement" over President Obama's speech in Egypt in 2009.

From National Review, Trump's speech was "statesmanlike".

From the Daily Mail, in one writer's opinion, the speech showed that Trump could be a "brilliant president".

From The Washington Free Beacon, reporters fall for a fake list of demands by Trump on his Israeli hosts.  (You'd think that inclusion of bacon, which is very non-kosher, might have been a clue.)

From PoliZette, America's first Slavic FLOTUS impresses the Saudis and Israelis.

From The Hill, America's Ambassador to the United Nations says we "absolutely" need an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

From Twitchy, one of the Notre Dame snowflakes graduates explains why they walked out of Vice President Pence's commencement speech.

From CNN, a report from someone who attended Pence's speech.

From the Tampa Bay Times, is it neo-Nazis or Muslims?  It's both.

From The Sun, one sign that your relationship may be in trouble.  (via Fox News.  Also, note the name of the writer.)

From The Daily Caller, wind turbines are blamed for the deaths of three whales.  (TDC cites The Times, but you'll have to register to access the full article there.)

From the Express, a Swedish airport is evacuated after a "trace of explosive" was found in someone's bag, and Spain faces a possible Catalexit.

From The Old Continent, in Austria, the victim of a migrant gang rape speaks out.

From Baptist Press, four lesbian couples sue the state of Tennessee over legal definitions.

From The Express Tribune, in Pakistan, a professor and his niece are arrested for allegedly having links to ISIS.

From The Times Of India, two boys are stripped and tonsured for stealing food.

From Indonesia Expat, in Indonesia, in preparation for Ramadan, police crack down on illegal alcohol sales.

From Breitbart London, Polish party leader Jarosław Kaczyński says the migrant crisis in Europe is Germany's fault.

And from The Sacramento Bee, LeBron James is human.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Downtown Gettysburg

Since I live in Maryland, I'm pretty close to some places in southern Pennsylvania, such as Gettysburg.  I recently drove up there, not to visit the battlefield, as I have done in the past, but to check out the center of town, including this statue of Abraham Lincoln and a modern citizen.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Music Break

I'd say it's time for full-size Music Break.  Here are a few songs that I'd regard as being not all that known.  I didn't know about this first one until recently.  Tom Fogerty's Joyful Resurrection, from his 1974 album Zephyr National, includes contributions by his old Creedence Clearwater Revival bandmates Stu Cook (on bass and lead guitar) and Doug Clifford (on drums), along with his own rhythm guitar.  Depending on which source you consult, his brother John may have also contributed on guitar.


Friday, May 19, 2017

A Sasquatch's Dozen

Here are twelve stories in the news:

Ladies and gentleman, it's Chelsea Manning and the pronouns.

Meet the merman.  (HotAir listed this one in their "Headlines" section with the link title "Dude".  They like to use this one-word title to indicate stories that are a bit weird.  When things get really weird, they also append a question mark.)

Venezuelan Supreme Court judges don't like being sanctioned.

Poland's refusal to take refugees could lead to a referendum.

General Mattis does not relish a military solution on North Korea.

With ISIS no longer in town, booze is back in Mosul, Iraq.

God might be your co-pilot, but Allah is this guy's lawyer.

Cholera spreads rapidly in Yemen.


A man is subdued after allegedly trying to breach a passenger plane's cockpit.

Clock boy's case is dismissed.

And even Harvard agrees, media coverage of President Trump is as negative as ever.

Weiner Pleads Guilty

Anthony Weiner, the former congressman who couldn't keep his namesake body part private, has plead guilty to the charge of transferring obscene material to a 15-year-old girl, doing so across state lines.  He faces a sentence of 21 to 27 months, and will register as a sex offender.

Read more at The New York Times, NBC News, CNN, the Daily News and Fox News.

UPDATE:  Mrs. Weiner files for divorce, as reported by the New York Post.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Various And Sundry

Some various and sundry and sun-dried things going on out there:

Why Scotland wants a referendum on independence.

One Trumpet calls the former FBI director "weird and vindictive".

The notorious leaker gets released.

Did another leaker pay with his life?

Planned Prevention of Parenthood (their true name, if you ask me) abandons an entire state.

Erdogan's bodyguards attack Kurds - in DC.

To this title, I say "Amen".

Senator Tillis (R-NC) collapses during a race, but is reportedly OK now.  (intermediate source)

An Afghani state-run TV station is attacked.

Putin thinks America has "political schizophrenia".

Migrant boats to be banned from Sicily during the G-7 meeting.

Es gibt keine deutsche Kultur, says the Integration Commissioner.

Austria to hold a "snap election".

In the Netherlands, a would-be terrorist is foiled by his own jammed gun.

The BBC doesn't like English versions of names.

Franklin Graham:  "Churches, get out of the Boy Scouts."

I guess it takes one to know one.

A look at one of the right's favorite tin foil hatters.

Elite opposition to Trump is becoming "dangerous fantasies".

And to finish, some real quackery is going on in DC.

UPDATE:  Here's one more.  Say "hi" to the new Assistant Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Two Flags

Click on this link to see the flag of Indonesia, which is the world's largest Muslim country by population.

Click on this link to see the flag of Poland, where only 0.4% of people are not Christian (although 10.8% are "unspecified").  This would mean that in Poland, Muslims constitute but a fraction of 0.4% of the overall Polish population.  Today, unlike many European countries, Poland is not welcoming migrants from Muslim countries.  Back in 1683, the Polish king Jan Sobieski defeated the (Muslim) Turks at Vienna.

If you've clicked on both links and looked at both flags, you'll see that the flag of the world's largest Muslim country, and the flag of a country that has often defended itself against Muslims, are each upside-down from the other.  Coincidence?  Sądzę że nie.  (I think not.)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Links For Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there.  Here are some things your kids have been up to lately:

From FaithZette, President Trump speaks at Liberty University.

From Breitbart's Big Government, the leftwing media gets their "lighten up, Francis" moment.

From The Daily Caller, this time, there will be nyet reset.

From Twitchy, the White House gets a lot of visitors who are (gasp!) rich GOP guys.

From ABC News, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says that Trump can "fire anyone he wants".

From The Hill, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he has "to earn Trump's confidence every day".

From i24 News, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu reaffirms his country's position that the American embassy should be moved to Jerusalem.

From the Los Angeles Times, "Spicy" returns.

From The Washington Times, Nevada Democrats seek to raise the state's minimum wage.

From Philly(dot)com, Philadelphia's Democrats get ready to vote in their primary for District Attorney.

From Sputnik News, Latvia plans to build a border fence.

From Sky News, a Chinese railroad worker prevents a suicide.  (via Fox News)

From Life News, according to NOW's president, a procedure that takes life saves lives.

From the Sunday Express, European commission President Juncker takes a swipe at Brexit.

From Russia Today, according to UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, his country might be getting money from the EU instead of vice versa.

From Deutsche Welle, Germany and Italy propose an EU mission to keep migrants from entering Libya, before they can cross that country to reach Italy.

From AhlulBayt News Agency, was a terror attack against Iranian border guards aided by Riyadh?

From Breitbart London, some Swedish authorities admit that mass immigration is causing economic problems.

From Leading Britain's Conversation, political correctness allows rape grooming gangs to prosper.

And from CSN Philly, former Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans's time with the Eagles has been very short.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Brief Music Break

A while back, I wanted to include Sometimes by Fleetwood Mac in a Music Break post, but the YouTube video had become unavailable.  Today, I was able to find another video of that song.  The reason for my renewed interest is that today is the 67th birthday of the song's writer and singer Danny Kirwan.  The song, in my opinion, shows some country influences, especially with Kirwan's lead guitar, and the acoustic rhythm, played by Kirwan and/or Bob Welch.  Christine McVie adds a happy-sounding piano part.  Sometimes was included in the band's 1971 album Future Games.



Although he's now 67, Kirwan is still younger than all of Fleetwood Mac's current members, who achieved great success during the late 1970's.  In related stories, Ultimate Classic Rock reviews Bare Trees, their last album with Kirwan, and Observer has a story about his time with and departure from Fleetwood Mac.  Happy Birthday, Danny, wherever you are.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Return To, And From, Antwerp

The last place I visited before returning home was Antwerp, Belgium.  I had also been to Antwerp in 2005, on the same trip when I stayed in Brugge.  Across the street from where our ship was docked, but down a few blocks, was the Entrepot du Congo (Warehouse of the Congo), where goods shipped from the Belgian Congo were stored after arriving in Belgium.  (The story of this colony, the predecessor of today's Democratic Republic of the Congo, is quite ugly.)

Return To Brugge, Belgium - Part 2

After touring De Halve Maan (The Half Moon) brewery, we resumed walking northward toward the central part of Brugge.  On the way, we saw these two columns, which look like they could be the remnants of something the Romans built.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to learn anything about them or what they once might have been part of.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Return To Brugge, Belgium - Part 1

That's right, my visit to Brugge was a repeat.  I stayed there in 2005.  During that trip, Brugge was the base from which that tour group explored other parts of the country.  This time, Brugge was a full day tour, as we went between Veere, Netherlands to Antwerp.  (I visited Antwerp 12 years ago, too, but that will be another post.)  Because both French and Flemish (which is often regarded as a dialect of Dutch) are commonly spoken in Belgium, Brugge is also known by its French name Bruges.

We entered the city from the south and soon came upon Lover's Lake and its environs.

Wednesday Links

It's the middle of another week, and here's a bit of what's going on:

A Dutch politician tells the European Central bank to give the Netherlands back some money if they leave the Eurozone.

Desperately seeking Israeli apartheid.

Desperately seeking the right-wing terrorist.

Desperately seeking the new "Saturday Night Massacre".

One Senator has a possible new job for James Comey.

While other areas cut back, one part of the world wants more coal.

From the "you can't make this up" department, squirrels endure media bias.

Beware the accidental Tweet.

Microsoft present the Presentation Translator.

U.S. Representatives visit the Dalai Lama.

Here's some amazing historical ignorance.

The methane rule survives in the Senate.

What happened to Johnny Depp's millions?

Meet your Muslim neighbors in Northern Ireland.

In Indonesia, a gay couple faces the cane.

Pennsylvania has 12 of the 100 worst puppy mills in the United States.

The Rock for President.

And to finish, what makes a good grilled cheese sandwich?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trump Fires Comey

President Donald Trump has just told FBI director Comey, "You're fired!"  The decision was based on recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein.

Read more at The Hill, Time, USA Today, Politico and Reuters.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Veere

Veere is a small resort town located on a peninsula in southwestern Netherlands.  The peninsula extends between the East Scheldt and West Scheldt estuaries.  The Veerse Meer (Lake of Veere) cuts into the peninsula, and contacts the northeast side of Veere.  On the southeast side is a channel called Buitenhaven (which might translate to "boat haven", if I'm permitted an educated guess), where our ship was docked.  On the northwest side is a marina.  Here is Veere's main commercial area, a street called Markt (which seems to be a common name for central squares in both the Netherlands and Belgium).

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Hague

The Hague is a city in southwestern Netherlands, situated on the North Sea coast.  It is the seat of the Dutch government and the provincial capital of South Holland, and is the location of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.  The city was once called des Graven hage ("the Count's wood" or "the Count's hedge"), which has evolved to s'-Gravenhage.  It is also known as den Haag ("the Hedge").  We arrived via a short bus ride from Delft.  Our first stop was at the Vredespaleis ("peace palace"), where the ICJ convenes.

Sunday Links

It's Sunday morning, and the stories are coming out:

From Politico, it's time for the French to vote.

From Gatestone Institute, candidate Emmanuel Macron is called a "useful infidel".

From Breitbart London, it's the French presidential election livewire.

From the Sunday Express, gamblers favor Le Pen.

From Fox News, 82 freed Nigerian girls will meet with their president.

From the Los Angeles Times, Iranian coal miners besiege their president.

From The New York Times, tempers flare as New Orleans prepares to remove Confederate statues.

From NBC News, it's time to say, "Lighten up, Francis!"

From AhlulBayt News Agency, the invaders refugees keep coming to Italy.

From National Review, there is no "right" to health care.

From Townhall, "a free speech tipping point".

From Turkish Minute, Turkish journalists critical of President Erdogan are harassed by his media supporters - in the United States.

From the New York Post, President Trump says that the media should investigate Democrats' dealings with Russia.

From ABC News, a Packard car plant in Detroit, sold three years ago, is still in ruins.

And from The Washington Post, bring on the kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt.

UPDATE:  From The Guardian, Macron wins.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Delft

Delft is a fairly small city in southwestern Netherlands, known for Delft Blue pottery, for Delft University of Technology, and for being the seat of the first William of Orange.  According to our tour guides, a large fraction of the city's population are students.  We walked from our buses to the Markt square, which includes the city hall.  Workers were taking down various things which had been set up a day earlier for King's Day, but had not yet gotten to the band shell.  (I saw a forklift lift several outhouses onto a truck, making me realize that I didn't want to use any of them.)

Kampen

After visiting Giethoorn, we returned to our ship, which was docked in Kampen.  We then got to walk around some of Kampen's streets, where the King's Day celebration was still going on.  This is one of the city's gates.  I took a picture of this side because it was sunlit.  The other side faces the IJssel river and our ship.  (Again, for reasons of which I am ignorant, both the "I" and "J" are capitalized.)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Giethoorn

After being docked in Amsterdam for several days, our ship sailed on the Ijsselmeer to the smaller city of Kampen.  We then boarded buses to travel most of the way to Giethoorn, a small town in which the main thoroughfares are canals.  The name translates to "goat horn".  When the canals were dug, goat horns were found in the soil.  To actually reach the place, we had to get on canal boats.

A Bit More Of Amsterdam

After returning to Amsterdam, but before our ship sailed to its next port, I took a few pictures of the area where it was docked.  The Mövenpick Hotel and Muziekgebouw aan't IJ were just down the street.  Our ship wasn't too different in structure from the Scenic Jasper docked nearby.  The large ship in the distance was Viking Cruise ship, but I don't know her specific name.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Links For Star Wars Day

Now that I've been back for a few days, let's see if I can find a few stories to pass along.  Today has been called "Star Wars Day", as in "May the Fourth be with you".  With that, here are a few things in today's news:

The House narrowly passes the AHCA, which still faces the Senate.

One high school student took "May the Fourth" a bit too seriously.

I've heard of the dead voting, but now apparently they can also get a college degree.

On the other hand, one student gets her college degree before graduating high school.

"It's not my fault!", she cried.

How wrong were last year's election polls?

Visa overstays are rarely caught.

ISIS is making its own answer to Facebook.

Be careful about what you put on YouTube.

Feeling down?  Try this.

A former Virginia Tech football player gets an award as a coach.

And finally, I hope Mick and Keef let this show use their song with the same name.

Keukenhof, Part 2

As promised in Part 1, I have some more pictures from Keukenhof.  After visiting the park's windmill, I found this water course, with flowers and walkways on either side.

Keukenhof, Part 1

Keukenhof is a privately owned park which includes numerous flower gardens, consisting mostly of tulips, located near the town of Lisse.  Just after entering, we came upon this area, in which various types of tulips grow to different heights, resulting in a multilayered formation called a "lasagna" planting.  You can see the overcast gray sky in the background.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Zaanse Schans And A Bit Of Amsterdam

After arriving in the Netherlands, I was put on a bus, along with my fellow travelers, which took us to  the Zaanse Schans area of Zaanstad, a city on the Zaan River.  ("City on the Zaan" is what the name means.)  Even with the delays at Schiphol Airport, we had arrived before our accommodations were ready.  In Zaanse Schans, we were treated to a demonstration wooden shoe-making, and then given time to walk around some nearby windmills, such as these.

I'm Back

Yesterday I got back from my trip to the Netherlands and Belgium, arriving at chez Grand-Pied just before 7:00 p.m.  After listening to a show on BlogTalkRadio, I hit a jet-lag-induced wall around 9:00 and decided to put off any blogging until this morning.  The upside, of course, is that waking up early in my home time zone becomes rather easy.  So I'll mention a few preliminary items:

The Netherlands is known for windmills, wooden shoes and tulips.  But as pointed out by our guides, none of these actually comes from there.  Windmills originated in southern Europe around the Mediterranean Sea (although the Dutch claim to have improved them by giving them the ability to change direction, in order to point into the wind).  Wooden shoes came from France, in the vicinity of Bordeaux.  Tulips are from western and central Asia, finding their way westward via the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires.  According to one guide's story, if I remember it correctly, the Austro-Hungarian royals had a gardener who just happened to come from the Netherlands.