Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday Links

In the middle of the last full shopping week before Christmas, here are some items in the news:

From Fox 411, the New York premiere of The Interview has been cancelled.

From Reuters, workers at Amazon warehouses in Germany extend their strike.

From VermontWatchdog, an energy efficiency group has started issuing reports comparing customers to their neighbors.

From MississippiWatchdog, corruption in the Harrison County Utility Authority has led to a former county supervisor pleading guilty to a federal bribery charge.

From The Galveston County Daily News, a plumber in Texas City finds out that pickup truck formerly used by his company has turned up in Syria.

From Fox News, Cuba has released American Alan Gross, who had been in a Cuban prison for five years, in exchange for the release of three Cubans imprisoned in the United States.  This development reportedly could lead to negotiations intended to improve relations between the two countries.  In a reaction, Fausta of Fausta's Blog expects the president to "declare an end to the embargo before year’s end."  She promises updates "throughout the day".

In a commentary carried by GOPUSA, Michele Malkin calls Jeb Bush "the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's waterboy".

From FrontpageMag, Congressman (and former Navy pilot) Jim Bridenstine's keynote speech at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 20th Anniversary Restoration Weekend.

Newbusters gives us their top 10 attacks on business by the left and the media in 2014.

From Zerohedge, Russian stocks have moved upward by 17% today, with the Ruble now at less than 62 per U.S. Dollar.

From The Telegraph, the bookmaker Coral has suspended betting on whether Queen Elizabeth will announce her abdication during her Christmas address.  (via Breitbart London)

The Daily Caller, in response to the People interview in which Barack and Michelle Obama recall their encounters with racial prejudice, points out how the president's adviser Valerie Jarrett once asked a four-star general to bring her more wine - which he did.

From UPI, the British military has sold its defense support group to Babcock International.

And from The Daily Caller, a caption-the-pic featuring Mr. Bill.  (Oh, noooooo!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Taliban Attack School In Peshawar, Pakistan

Earlier today, Taliban terrorists attacked a school run by Pakistan's military in the city of Peshawar.  As many as 145 people have been reported killed, most of them students.  According to various reports, there were nine attackers, all of whom were killed by security forces.  Peshawar is about 75 miles from the Pakistani capitol of Islamabad, and about 20 miles from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Read more at Reuters, The New York Times, ABC News, BBC News and CNN.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Police End Siege In Ghent, Belgium

Police in Ghent, Belgium have successfully concluded a hostage situation after four men armed with kalashnikovs had been reported storming into an apartment.  Three men were detained, but no weapons were found.  Only one person was taken hostage, and is reportedly unharmed.  There is no indication that the incident was related to terrorism, but neighbors have stated that drug dealers had used the apartment.

Read more at Reuters and BBC News.

Muslim Gunman Takes Hostages In Australian Chocolate Shop

Early Tuesday morning Australian time, police in Sydney stormed into a Lindt Chocolate Cafe in an area known as Martin Place, ending a 16-hour siege by a lone gunman who had been holding people hostage inside.  Various reports have indicated that five hostages had fled from the cafe, and an Islamic flag had been placed in one of its windows.  The gunman has been identified as Man Haron Monis, a refugee from Iran and self-proclaimed Islamic cleric who previously had been convicted of sending threatening letters to the families of Australian military personnel killed in Afghanistan.  (As I write this, it's still Monday morning in the United States.)

Read more at BBC News, Yahoo News, USA Today, Time and The Washington Post.

UPDATE:  Some of the reports now indicate that the gunman and two hostages have died.  (Added just after 3:00 p.m., U.S. east coast time)

UPDATE 2:  From 9News, Monis was out on bail and had "a long rap sheet", including being charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.  (H/T catstrangler)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Auburn Football Player Fatally Shot

Jakell Mitchell, an 18-year-old freshman on the Auburn University football team, was shot early this morning at an apartment near the school, and died after being taken by ambulance to East Alabama Medical Center.  Police have arrested Markale Deandra Hart and charged him with murder.  Whether Hart had any alleged accomplices, and any motive he may have had, have not been reported.  Mitchell was from Opelika, Alabama and had played football at Opelika High School.

Read more at NBC News, Fox News, USA Today, AL(dot)com and AOL.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Senate Passes "CRomnibus" Spending Bill

From Fox News:
The Senate passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill late Saturday that funds the government through next September, averting a partial government shutdown and sending the measure to President Obama's desk
The Senate voted 56-40 for the long-term funding bill, the main item left on Congress' year-end agenda. The measure provides money for nearly the entire government through the Sept. 30 end of the current budget year.
The sole exception is the Department of Homeland Security, which is funded only until Feb. 27.
The Senate spent most of today debating and voting on this bill, which now goes to the president for his signature (or his veto, but I don't think one is likely).  Earlier today, they had passed a bill that would have funded the federal government only until this coming Wednesday, and shot down a constitutional point of order raised by Ted Cruz (R-TX) objecting to the president's recent immigration measure.

The Hill also reports on the bill, which report comes via The Right Scoop, who also note some reactions on Twitter.  Legal Insurrection has more details and reactions, including their own "The #CRomnibus has landed" Tweet.

Music Break: Singing Drummers

Here are a few more selections that I've enjoyed listening to over the years, which all include lead or backing vocals by a drummer.  Let's start out with the man who is arguably the most famous singing drummer in all of rock and roll.

In late 1974, Ringo Starr released the Goodnight Vienna album, which included All By Myself, written by Starr and Vini Poncia.  This track features John Lennon on guitar and (if I'm not mistaken) Dr. John (real name Malcolm John Rebennack) on piano.  The bass vocal is by Richard Perry, who produced the album.  I assure everyone that this song is very different from the Eric Carmen song of the same title.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Links For 12/12

Here are some things in the news on this year's 12/12, which is the second anniversary of 12/12/12:

From Israel Hayom, during a pre-dawn drive-by attack, terrorists fired shots on the Israeli embassy in Athens, Greece.  (via The Washington Free Beacon)

From Radio Free Europe, the Russian Ruble has fallen below 57 to the dollar and 71 to the Euro.

From The Daily Beast, VP Joe Biden recalls threatening to kill a local bully who had pushed his sister off her bicycle.

From UPI, two people have been reported dead as winter storms continue to pound the west coast.

From Reuters, American consumer sentiment is reported to be at an 8-year high.

From Fox News, one of their own correspondents, Dominic Di-Natale, has been found dead, apparently by suicide.

Also from Fox News, a time capsule from 1795 has been found in the cornerstone of the Massachusetts state house.

From The Clarion Ledger, Rose Clayton Cochran, the wife of Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss), has died "after a lengthy illness".

From The Daily Caller, at the U.N. climate conference in Lima, Peru, Secretary of State Kerry gives an unofficial speech, in which he "tries to out-Gore Al Gore".

From The Harvard Crimson, in Harvard Yard, a die-in protest clashes with a bunch of naked runners.  (via The Washington Free Beacon)

From the Associated Press, Indian tribes in the United States will be permitted by the DOJ to grow and sell marijuana, as long as they follow the same rules imposed on states that have legalized it.  (via Before It's News)

From The Hill and late last night, the House has approved the "Cromnibus" spending bill.

From the New York Post, the Korean Air Lines executive who delayed a flight over being served macadamia nuts has offered an apology, as has her father.

From The Verge, airspace around London has been restricted because of a computer failure at an air traffic control center.

And from ABC News, a type of mushroom with hallucinogenic properties has been found growing in Queen Elizabeth's garden at Buckingham palace.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Media Reluctant To Credit Fracking For Lower Oil Prices

In recent months, the price of crude oil has dropped, which has in turn led to a drop in gasoline prices.  American oil production has increased during the last few years, and could soon exceed that of Saudi Arabia, which would make the United States the world's largest oil-producing country.  But as NewsBusters found out, the reason for the increase in American output is rarely being acknowledged by major broadcast media.
Fracking and other advanced technologies helped the U.S. nearly double its average daily output of oil, from 5 million barrels in 2008 to an expected 9.42 million barrels in 2015. The huge supply increase was one factor sending crude oil prices down. Crude fell by more than 32 percent, from $93 to $63 just since Sept. 29. This already drove gas prices down to a national average of $2.66 for regular on Dec. 9, according to AAA.
This is great news for consumers and businesses which could save as much as $1.3 trillion worldwide because of lower oil prices, according to Julian Jessop, chief global economist at Capital Economics in London. Here in the U.S., Americans could save $230 billion if prices remain low for the next year, The Washington Post said on Dec. 1.
Despite the networks' acknowledgement of falling oil and gas prices, the evening news shows almost completely avoided giving any credit to fracking for the dramatic drop. More than 93 percent (29 of 31) of ABC, CBS and NBC evening show stories and news briefs about oil and gas ignored fracking. More than 77 percent (24 of 31) of those stories between Sept. 29, and Dec. 8, even failed to mention domestic oil production increases.
There is one possible drawback.  Since fracking is a relatively expensive process, prices for crude oil could become so low that fracking would not be profitable.  However, the oil industry does not seem to have encountered this problem - yet.  Read the full story.

UPDATE:  While the American media are reluctant to attribute lower oil prices to fracking, the president of Venezuela has no doubts whatsoever, as reported by Fox News Latino.  (also via NewsBusters)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Survey Finds America To Be Among Least Racist Countries

Via Weasel Zippers, from The Daily Caller:
With all the recent race clanging on MSNBC and other cable news networks, now’s probably a good time to remind everyone that America is among the least racist countries in the world.
I know this statement will be shocking news to regular viewers of “PoliticsNation,” but it also has the quality of being true.
From 2010 to 2014, the World Values Survey asked residents in over 50 countries who they would not want as neighbors. Just over five percent of respondents in the United States said “people of a difference race.” That’s far more tolerant a response than citizens of most European, African and Asian countries gave. As a comparison, 15 percent of Germans, 41 percent of Indians and 22 percent of Japanese said they wouldn’t want to live next to “people of a different race.” The Washington Post depicted the results in a useful chart.
While these results would tend to show the United States to be being less racist than other countries, they are essentially based on one question about whom someone would want to live near, and thus most likely don't give a complete picture.  There are also many countries without any reported results.  But I think this survey would show that the people of United States are neither exceptionally nor uniquely racist.  Instead, as I've long believed, like other human vices, racism comes in all colors.  Read more at any of the above links.