Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday Links

The weekend is here, but the things that go on still go on.

From DNA Info, the year's biggest snowstorm is heading for Chicago.

From Quartz, a large library in Moscow, containing 14 million books, is on fire.  (via, ironically enough, The Blaze)

From WebProNews, the father of model Heidi Montag has been charged with child sexual abuse.

From The Daily Caller, the appearance of former Olympian Bruce Jenner is becoming more female.

From The Right Scoop, the five worst crony-capitalist teams in the NFL.

From The New York Times, Airman Edward J. Saylor of the Doolittle raiders has died, thus leaving only three men alive from the original 80-man crew.

From The Roanoke Times, offensive lineman Laurence Gibson of Virginia Tech will play in the College Gridiron Showcase, despite the game's organizers having difficulty contacting him.

From Fox News, according to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), 1000 of the "criminal aliens" released by the federal government have been convicted of committing new crimes.

From National Review, why the president "needs to pretend" that the Taliban are not terrorists.

From Bloomberg Business, Russia, Ukraine and rebel leaders start peace talks, while fighting continues near the town of Debaltseve.

From CNN, Texas will observe Chris Kyle Day this coming Monday, to honor the late Navy Seal sniper.

From Russia Today, the premier of an Iranian film depicting the life of Mohammed has been cancelled.

From Reuters, according to U.S. regulators, 2.1 million vehicles have been recalled to fix a computer chip that could wrongly deploy their airbags.

From My Fox Chicago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel does not believe that there will be another debt cut for Greece.

From the Associated Press, the Spanish radical left party Podemos holds a huge rally in Madrid.

And from U.S. News & World Report, balloonists Troy Bradley and Leonid Tiukhtyaev have landed safely off the coast of Mexico after crossing the Pacific Ocean.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Army Deletes Non-PC Tweet

Apparently, someone couldn't tell the difference between the racial slur "Chink" and use of the ordinary word "chink" in the expression "chink in the armor", and accused the Army of using the racial slur in a Tweet, even when the "in the armor" context was also present.  In response, the Tweet was deleted.

No, this is not satire.  Read the story at National Review.

Romney Bows Out

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who lost his bid to unseat President Obama in 2012 after being nominated by the GOP, has decided against running for the presidency in 2016. He had also run unsuccessfully for his party's nomination in 2008, losing to John McCain.

Read more at CNN, USA Today, Yahoo News and the Daily Mail.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Senate Passes Keystone Pipeline Bill

The Senate has passed a bill to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, by a vote of 62-38.  They had debated 41 amendments to the bill during the previous three weeks.  The bill must now be reconciled with the version passed by the House, before being sent to the president, who has already threatened to veto it.

Read more at USA Today, The New York Times, Reuters and CNN.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Raul Castro Makes His Demands

Cuban President Raul Castro appears ready to drive the proverbial hard bargain when dealing with President Obama's effort to improve diplomatic relations between their two countries.  From the Marine Corps Times via Gateway Pundit:
Cuban President Raul Castro demanded on Wednesday that the United States return the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, lift the half-century trade embargo on Cuba and compensate his country for damages before the two nations re-establish normal relations.
Castro told a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States that Cuba and the U.S. are working toward full diplomatic relations but "if these problems aren't resolved, this diplomatic rapprochement wouldn't make any sense."
Read the full story.  Some background information:

According to Wiki, the Guantanamo naval base has been leased by the U.S. under a treaty with Cuba signed in 1903.  Just after the revolution which brought Fidel Castro to power, the Cuban government cashed one rent check, but has cashed none since.  The embargo, as pointed out in Frontpage Mag by Humberto Fontova in 2010, does not prevent Cuba from buying American products, but merely requires the Castro government to "pay cash up front" for its purchases.

UPDATE:  In a more recent Frontpage Mag article, Fontova again weighs in.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Yeti Shows Up In Boston Suburb

As most crypto-zoologists know, we Sasquatches have a relative over in Asia known as Yeti or the Abominable Snowman.  During last night's snowstorm, one of them made an appearance in Somerville, Massachusetts.  Because Somerville is a suburb of Boston, the creature is called the Boston Yeti.

Read more at The Boston Globe, ABC News, Fox 8 Cleveland and USA Today.  You can also follow the Boston Yeti on Twitter.

A Historic Anniversary, And Today's News

On January 27, 1945 Soviet troops advancing westward liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp from the occupying Germans.  Today marks the 70th anniversary of that event.

Today, many have gathered at the former camp, which has been a museum since 1947.  Reports of today's remembrance, and other related stories, may be found at BBC News, Yahoo News, The Independent, The Guardian, Deutsche Welle, CBC News and The Jerusalem Post.

In today's news:

From The Daily Caller, in the New York State Assembly, some Democrats have turned against Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), who is now facing corruption charges. UPDATE:  From the New York Post, Silver has agreed to step down as Speaker.

From Reuters, President Obama seeks close ties with the new king of Saudi Arabia.

From ABC News, a gunman shoots two police officers just outside a city council meeting in Minnesota.

From The Washington Free Beacon, gunmen in Tripoli, Libya have stormed a hotel and killed at least eight people.

From AZCentral, a suspect charged in a shooting in Mesa, Arizona had been released on bond from federal custody while facing deportation proceedings.

In Right Wing News, Thomas Sowell presents his latest Random Thoughts.

From Catholic Online, a company in San Francisco presents their new electric scooter.

From The Washington Post, vaccine denial in California quadrupled from 2000 to 2013.

From Red Alert Politics, last night's snowstorm was not nearly as bad in New York City as had been predicted.

And from The Verge, an ultra high-speed camera captures the flightpath of a laser beam.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Drone Lands On White House Grounds

Around 3:00 a.m. this morning, a quad copter drone crashed into a tree on the White House grounds, resulting in the area being locked down.  The drone was recovered and examined by the Secret Service, who are investigating the device's origin.

I can't help but paraphrase Bob Dylan.  "But I would not feel so all alone, 'cause everybody must get droned."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Music Break - Beatles Covers

Many different artists have covered songs first written and recorded by the Beatles.  The most successful Beatles cover might be Elton John's version of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, which he recorded in 1974 with some help from John Lennon, who went by the pseudonym Dr. Winston O'Boogie.

Ernie Banks, 1931-2015

Ernie Banks, who played for 19 seasons with the Chicago Cubs, passed away yesterday at the age of 83.  After playing with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, and a stint in the Army, Banks played a few games with the Cubs in 1953.  The next year, he became their regular shortstop and finished second in the voting for National League Rookie of the Year.  He won the league's Most Valuable Player award in 1958 and 1959, and a Gold Glove in 1960. In 1962, Banks moved to first base, where he played until his retirement after the 1971 season.  During his career, he hit 512 home runs, drove in 1,636 runs, and played in 14 All-Star games.  Banks was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, and received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.  He was affectionately known as "Mr. Cub" by fans of his team.

Read more at NBC Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times, WGN TV, CBS Sports and ESPN.