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Thank you to all the soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors, and many other who have given their lives for our country. My family wouldn't be here without you.
As a St. Louis area resident this was a surprise to me: Dice.com has ranked St. Louis as the nation's fastest-growing tech hub!
St. Louis - The Golden Arch - The number of St. Louis-based technology jobs posted on Dice jumped 25 percent year/year. And those new tech jobs are coming at a higher price tag too: average tech salaries are up 13 percent year/year to $81,245. Popular jobs? Developers, programmers and consultants. St. Louis is becoming a start-up town, with support from the St. Louis Information Technology Entrepreneur Network.
Great news, since I plan to stay here for a while.
It's outrageous that the Marathon Bombers received over $100,000 in taxpayer-funded benefits, but doesn't it amaze you that anyone can get that much "help" over a 10-year span? It's no wonder that our country is practically bankrupt.
The Tsarnaev family, including the suspected terrorists and their parents, benefited from more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded assistance -- a bonanza ranging from cash and food stamps to Section 8 housing from 2002 to 2012, the Herald has learned.
"The breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning," said a person with knowledge of documents handed over to a legislative committee today.
Here are some pictures taken by a nearby resident of the shootout between Boston police and the marathon bomber suspects.
Here's a collection of environmental predictions from 1970, the year of the first Earth Day.
"...civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind," biologist George Wald, Harvard University, April 19, 1970.
By 1995, "...somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct." Sen. Gaylord Nelson, quoting Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, Look magazine, April 1970.
Because of increased dust, cloud cover and water vapor "...the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born," Newsweek magazine, January 26, 1970.
The world will be "...eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age," Kenneth Watt, speaking at Swarthmore University, April 19, 1970.
"We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation," biologist Barry Commoner, University of Washington, writing in the journalEnvironment, April 1970.
"Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from the intolerable deteriorations and possible extinction," The New York Times editorial, April 20, 1970.
"By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half..." Life magazine, January 1970.
"Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make," Paul Ehrlich, interview in Mademoiselle magazine, April 1970.
"...air pollution...is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone," Paul Ehrlich, interview in Mademoiselle magazine, April 1970.
Ehrlich also predicted that in 1973, 200,000 Americans would die from air pollution, and that by 1980 the life expectancy of Americans would be 42 years.
"It is already too late to avoid mass starvation," Earth Day organizer Denis Hayes, The Living Wilderness, Spring 1970.
"By the year 2000...the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America and Australia, will be in famine," Peter Gunter, North Texas State University, The Living Wilderness, Spring 1970.
Walter Russell Mead is surprised the earth is still around! I hope we can hang on for a few more years.
I get excited whenever I see Vladimir Putin in the news. Check out his expression when he's confronted by this topless protester.
Speaking at a press conference afterwards, Mr Putin said: "As for the protest, I liked it. In principle, we knew that such a protest was being prepared."
He said the organisers of the Hanover event should "say thank you to the Ukrainian girls, they helped you promote the trade fair."
Mr Putin appeared to show a flash of his well-known salty humour, adding: "I didn't make out whether they were blondes, chestnut-haired or brunettes."
So the Republicans got rolled by Obama (again) and America is sliding down an unrecoverable slope to poverty and despotism? Well maybe! But here are a few more optimistic views:
- Republicans actually won the fiscal cliff stand-off!
Remember, Obama's first offer was for a $1.6 trillion tax hike and an infinite debt limit hike. Boehner countered with $800 billion. The final deal was for only $600 billion.
How is that not a "win" for Republicans?
- Household formation is poised for a jump, leading to a medium-to-strong recovery.
- If the Democrats can't raise taxes on anyone but the rich and near-rich, then the welfare state is doomed.
- Social networks for machines will add trillions to the world economy.
- The great North American energy boom continues!
Missourians re-elected Democrat Jay Nixon as governor by a decent majority, but we also just gave Republicans in the state legislature veto-proof supermajorities in both houses. Nixon has vowed to continue opposing a right-to-work law for Missouri, but with a supermajority in the legislature Republicans can enact right-to-work without the governor's consent. Will they?
I'm sure the unions will howl if right-to-work gets enacted in Missouri, but they shouldn't fret: Democrats now have supermajorities in the California legislature.
If the Republicans can't win Presidential or Senate elections against such a damaged incumbent then it's time for some soul-searching. The Republican brand is trashed. There's enough inertia to carry the organization forward, but it needs to be significantly transformed.
Obama: What can I say? I don't think you're a very good president. I don't like your policies. I think you're weakening and endangering America. I think you're sapping our strength, innovation and spirit. You probably wouldn't think much of me either. Now I'm stuck with you, and you probably couldn't care less about me.
Romney: You had plenty of money and plenty of enthusiasm. You couldn't close the deal. Maybe you should have hammered Libya harder? Built a better ground game? Who knows. Northeasterners don't fare well on the national stage. I think you were the best of the bunch that Republicans put forward, and you did a reasonable job.
Virginia, Ohio and Florida: Seriously? Sigh.
House Republicans: You're less popular than just about anyone else in the country, but at least you can win elections. Please teach this trick to the rest of the conservatives. Do what you can to mitigate the bleeding over the next few years.
Tea Party: Despite it's enthusiasm, despite the fact that a strong majority of Americans believes that the government is too large, expensive and intrusive... the Tea Party has been a net loser for conservatism. Republicans would probably control the Senate right now if not for the Tea Party. Tea Partiers will argue that RINOs are no better than Democrats, but the next four years might change their minds.
Nate Silver and the pollsters: Good work. You should be proud. I always knew your methodology was sound, but I doubted that your input data (state polls) was accurate. It was.
Political pundits: Ugh. I couldn't even find time to read all the "Romney landslide" predictions over the past week. Are you people daft? Pundit malpractice.
The Economy: You're almost certainly going to improve over the next few years, and Obama will take credit.
Artificial intelligence: I guess we're going to need more socialism as artificial intelligence progressively displaces human workers.
Superstorm Sandy: Good job stealing news cycles and giving Obama the opportunity to look "presidential".
Terrorists: Guantanamo Bay prison is still open, and we've got plenty of Hellfires. Please don't stand too close to innocent civilians.
Rest of the world: Yeah, you love Obama. Let's see how that works out.
Well, looks like that's it. I'm surprised and very disappointed. It's hard to imagine that Obama could win a second term after such a disastrous four years.
Romney's fault. And guess what? Bush's fault.
So now what?
- Republican feeding frenzy.
- Obamacare is set in concrete.
- The Supreme Court's 5-4 conservative-ish majority will be broken.
- Democrats gloat.
- We learn the truth about Libya? Fast and Furious?
- Huge layoffs in the defense industry.
- I go to sleep.
James O'Keefe's latest sting operation against Democrats has hit the voter fraud jackpot as he catches a congressman's son coaching the stinger on how to forge utility bills and vote illegally.
In the video, O'Keefe's plant tells Moran that he has a pile of names of inactive voters. The plant wants to drive a van around and vote for them. Because Virginia's voter ID law is a joke, and a utility bill will suffice, the plant intends to use phony utility bills. Moran suggests ways to advance the scheme, including forgery using Microsoft Word.
Enter the "election protection" efforts of the civil rights groups. In case these phony utility bills create a stir inside the polls, Moran has the solution - the army of left-wing lawyers who will be embedded inside the polls from groups like the ACLU, the NAACP, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.
Every person should be required to show a photo identification card to cast a vote. This is common sense stuff.
Also note: if there are any Republicans out there doing this kind of thing you'd better stop it right now. Voter fraud is a serious crime and I hope that we catch and prosecute as many fraudsters as possible.
Is a "mega-storm" bigger than a hurricane? Perhaps... Sandy is shaping up to be "historic", so us political geeks should pay attention to what the weather nerds are saying.
There is a consensus forming in weather forecast models that hurricane Sandy is unlikely to go out to sea. Instead, it more likely will merge with a strong fall cold front and transition into a powerhouse, possibly historic mid-latitude storm along the mid-Atlantic and/or Northeast coast Sunday through Wednesday. ...
As a hurricane transitions into a mid-latitude weather system, the storm's core tends to unwind. This means the most extreme winds around the storm's center diminish some, but very strong winds spread out over a larger distance, affecting a much broader region. In other words, sustained winds above tropical storm force (39 mph) will be possible for locations well-displaced from the storm's center, meaning a high power outage risk.
Severe inland flooding is another possibility. But again, it's impossible to pinpoint if/where this will occur. Recall that the inland flooding - as opposed to wind or storm surge - was the greatest cause of death and economic damage during hurricane Irene in 2011 bringing torrents to upstate New York and Vermont.
Finally, snow may be an issue at high elevation in the interior mid-Atlantic and Northeast as cold air pours down on the storm's west and southwest flank. Some models suggest over a foot of heavy, wet snow could fall in places like western Maryland and central and western Pennsylvania. This amount of snow on top of existing foliage could result in tremendous tree damage and power outages.
Significant infrastructure damage and other storm-related inconvenience could reduce voter turnout in the North-East.
- If more enthusiastic Republican voters turn out even more heavily than projected this will help Romney in New Hampshire and at least one of Maine's non-winner-takes-all districts.
- Depressed turnout in the North-East will increase the likelihood that Obama wins the electoral vote but not the popular vote.
- Storm damage will give Obama the opportunity to look "Presidential" right before the election.
- If the storm reaches natural disaster proportions the campaigns will need to re-calibrate their attacks on each other.
And of course if you live in the affected area you should be making preparations!
Paul Ryan did reasonably well in last night's vice presidential debate. He was evasive a couple of times, but the biggest obstacle to his communication was Joe Biden, who was channeling The Joker with all the psycho mania he could summon.
Ryan maintained his calm and spewed facts, but the most effective parts of his performance were two personal stories, one about how his family benefited from social programs and one about Mitt Romney's generosity. Ryan successfully defused any accusations that he wants to shred Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid by describing how he, his mom, and his grandmother benefited from the programs and how he wants to protect them and ensure they're around for future generations. Ryan was also demonstrated a solid understanding of foreign policy and a quick wit.
Why did Ryan need to be fast on his feet?
Joe Biden was a clown -- a mean, condescending clown. His performance created a pervasive atmosphere of discomfort and anxiety that emanated from the television screen. He was an egotistical, smirking, interrupting jackhole. He was a total drama queen who could barely contain his faux-rage that Ryan was allowed to speak even one sentence. I don't even remember anything Joe Biden said, because it was completely overshadowed by his bizarre and off-putting behavior. I've read in numerous places that Biden was well-liked by Democrats and Republicans and one of the most popular members of Congress, so I think he knows how to behave in public. His performance tonight was an act that went way beyond what was necessary to counter President Obama's weak performance last week.
The substance of the debate won't change many minds, but it was still a win for Romney and Ryan because it was yet another unfiltered look at the Republican pair. Ryan was solid, patient, and calm in the face of Biden's angry theatrics. He didn't get sucked into the whirlpool of emotion created by our Vice President. I expect that the reaction by women will be strongly in favor of Ryan over Biden. Heck, there's no one who would voluntarily spend a single second in the same room with the Joe Biden we saw tonight.
Proverbs 29:9 "If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet."
The Obama campaign raised a record $181 million in September and is trumpeting the claim that most of the money is from small donors. However, it seems likely that many of the the "small donors" are actually robo-donors operated for foreigners. There are two key facts in this report.
The unusual Obama.com website redirects traffic directly to a donation page on the Obama campaign's official website, my.barackobama.com, which does not require donors tob enter their credit card security code (known as the CVV code), thereby increasing the likelihood of foreign or fraudulent donations. The website is managed by a small web development firm, Wicked Global, in Maine. One of Wicked Global's employees, Greg Dorr, lists on his LinkedIn page his additional employment with Peace Action Maine and Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights. According to the GAI report, 68 percent of all Internet traffic to Obama.com comes from foreign visitors.
What are the implications?
Because of the lack of a CVV code requirement, the door is opened for OFA to accept robo-donations, or in other words, large numbers of small and automatic donations made online to evade FEC reporting requirements. Although it isn't illegal to decline the use of a secure CVV credit card code for campaign donations, it is illegal to accept campaign donations from foreign sources. Campaigns are required under criminal code not to solicit, accept or receive foreign donations in any amount. The Federal Elections Commission doesn't require campaigns to disclose the names of donors making contributions of less than $200 unless audited. In addition, FEC rules don't require campaigns to keep records of those giving less than $50. These rules combined with the lack of a CVV numbers make it easy for campaigns to get away with taking foreign donations.
So maybe the Obama campaign just made an oversight?
Not to mention, the campaign obviously sees the benefits in using a CVV code to prevent fraud. After all, OFA uses a CVV security code for merchandise purchases. To purchase a sweatshirt or other item in the OFA store, a CVV code must be entered at check out, but the donation page does not require a credit card security code to be used. In addition, the chief technology officer of the Obama campaign, Harper Reed, is a former chief technology officer of the T-shirt company Threadless. Threadless requires a CVV code for online purchases. They clearly know how CVV codes work.
This controversy would have been easy to avoid if the Obama campaign had simply flipped the switch to require CVV numbers for donations like the vast majority of retailers and charities do. The Obama campaign instead left this door open as an invitation to fraudulent donors. The questions are: is there any proof of actual fraudulent donations (rather than just the likelihood), and did President Obama know about it?
Setting forest fires is one of several terrorism tactics that many people have hesitated to mention because no one wants to give al-Qaeda any ideas.
"One should note that setting fires to forests in the countries of the European Union is a new tendency in al-Qaeda's strategy of a 'thousand cuts'," Alexander Bortnikov said, according to state news agency RIA Novosti, at a meeting of heads of security agencies.
"This method allows (al-Qaeda) to inflict significant economic and moral damage without serious preliminary preparations, technical equipment or significant expenses."
It's hard to prove arson, and it's hard to catch the arsonists when the fires themselves aren't discovered for a long time after they're started. There's no reason this tactic wouldn't work in America, if it hasn't already and we just don't know it.
We returned from our honeymoon just in time to see the first presidential debate! My quick reaction: Romney won by a mile.
Romney was clear, fairly detailed, and didn't get flustered. He should learn to control his motions while he's not talking however... it looked like he was bursting to speak rather than listening to Obama.
Obama rambled. He used the boom of the 1990s to try to justify his bid for re-election. When Romney was speaking directly to him, Obama stared down at the floor. A poor showing.
I can't wait to read the analysis tomorrow morning!
It's been eleven years since America was attacked on 9-11 and the world is a very different place. For Americans, I'd say it's a much safer place thanks to our amazing armed forces as well as to Presidents Bush and Obama. Let's not grow complacent.
More than anything, let's not forget to make the the most of each day that God gives us.
James 4:14: "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."
Apparently there's some ancient etiquette for traveling men and prostitutes that the Secret Service neglected, to their doom.
When I worked on ships, seamen were a superstitious lot. When there was a bad storm, while the ship pitched and rolled, the crew, unable to eat or sleep, would gather in the messroom and grumble. Anyone who remembers Coleridge's ancient mariner knows that seamen don't blame the wind and tides for bad weather and rough seas. Rather, they blame a fellow member of the crew -- someone who has, say, killed an albatross. During storms, they'd mumble darkly that a crew member had "Jonah'd" the ship -- done something wicked, while ashore, that caused the seas to rise up and take revenge.
Inevitably, someone would point out that the likely cause of the foul weather was that one of our crew had committed the worst sin of all: not paying a whore. All would nod gravely. In my day, seamen were convinced that this was such a serious infraction it could threaten a ship's survival. More than once I saw fellow crew members, who'd come back to the ship so drunk they couldn't remember where they'd been, make superhuman efforts to send money to a woman ashore in a desperate attempt to avoid the curse of the unpaid prostitute.
I thought about this while reading about the scandal in Cartagena. It appears that getting drunk and going back to the hotel with the women wasn't, in itself, what got the Secret Service personnel into trouble. What got them busted was that someone in their group refused to pay an escort the pre-arranged price. One of the escorts wanted $800. She said that a Secret Service agent offered her $30. (To put that figure in perspective, it's more or less what seamen used to pay in Cartagena 45 years ago for all-night companionship.)
Seems pretty obvious: if you don't pay for services rendered it's going to eventually catch up to you.
The driver plowed into a pole and chopped his Audi neatly in half. And the driver lived.