Monday, June 30, 2014

The future of the automobile

Question Of The Day: What Does Japan Know About Fuel Cells That We Don’t?

A new report from Reuters highlight’s the Japanese auto industry’s increasing focus on hydrogen fuel cells, a technology that has long been written off as dead by many industry observers and battery electric vehicle advocates.
Reuters reports
Japan’s government and top carmakers, including Toyota Motor Corp, are joining forces to bet big that they can speed up the arrival of the fuel cell era: a still costly and complex technology that uses hydrogen as fuel and could virtually end the problem of automotive pollution…With two of Japan’s three biggest automakers going all in on fuel cells, the country’s long-term future as an automotive powerhouse could now hinge largely on the success of what they hope will be a key technology of the next few decades.
While Nissan is a notable holdout (pursuing battery EVs like their signature Nissan Leaf), Toyota and Honda are pursuing hydrogen as the alternative fuel of the future, and they have the backing of the Japanese government.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth strategy… also included a call for subsidies and tax breaks for buyers of fuel-cell vehicles, relaxed curbs on hydrogen fuel stations and other steps under a road map to promote hydrogen energy.
While Honda has been promoting fuel cell technology since the 1990′s, Toyota recently abandoned their EV program in favor of focusing on hydrogen. Despite all of the criticism of hydrogen fuel cells, their cost and the lack of infrastructure, the technology is still alive in this corner of the automotive world – one that is arguably the leader in hybrid cars and alternative powertrains overall.
Industry scuttlebutt has it that Japanese OEMs are convinced that the cost of developing a hydrogen fuel station network is going to be cheaper than developing a 500 mile EV battery, but I’m still curious: what are we the public – and the hydrogen skeptics – missing out on that’s driving Japan to persist with fuel cell technology?

Anti Semitism in NYC


The knockout punches came without warning, as 79-year-old Orthodox Jew Natfali Lebovits fell to the ground from the blows. 

The Daily News reported that Raven Small, 20, and Tatyana Bone, 18, were arrested as suspects shortly after the incident that occurred on Sunday at 1:10 a.m. in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
An epidemic of these kinds of senseless attacks on unsuspecting victims have surfaced in cities across the nation. Many of the victims of the so called “knockout game” have been seriously injured and in some cases have suffered fatalities.
Police at the scene said that the motive for the attack was unclear and that Lebovits was taken to NYU Langone Medical Center by the Jewish first responder group Hatzolah. According to the Jewish political news website JP-UPDATES, Lebovits is a well-known member of the local Jewish community and was walking on Taylor Street when he was allegedly struck by the two women.
Witnesses to the incident called Shomrim, a local Jewish neighborhood watch group created specifically for orthodox communities, who arrived quickly and followed the alleged perpetrators. The women attempted to flee and entered 541 Whyte Ave., but the NYPD showed up in time to arrest them. Both women were charged with assault.
Fortunately, the elderly Natfali Lebovits was released from the hospital on Sunday morning, and it appears that his injuries were minor. Aside from the head blows, he received injuries to his hands when he fell.

No boots on the ground or mission creep?

Obama Orders 200 Combat Troops to Iraq

By Joel Gehrke

The Language of despotism.

Long before 1984 gave us the adjective “Orwellian” to describe the political corruption of language and thought, Thucydides observed how factional struggles for power make words their first victims. Describing the horrors of civil war on the island of Corcyra during the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides wrote, “Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them.” Orwell explains the reason for such degradation of language in his essay “Politics and the English Language”: “Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.”
Tyrannical power and its abuses comprise the “indefensible” that must be verbally disguised. The gulags, engineered famines, show trials, and mass murder of the Soviet Union required that it be a “regime of lies,” as the disillusioned admirer of Soviet communism Pierre Pascal put it in 1927.
Image credit: 
Barbara Kelley
Our own political and social discourse must torture language in order to disguise the failures and abuses of policies designed to advance the power and interests of the “soft despotism,” as Tocqueville called it, of the modern Leviathan state and its political caretakers. Meanwhile, in foreign policy the transformation of meaning serves misguided policies that endanger our security and interests.
One example from domestic policy recently cropped up in Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s dissent in the Schuette decision, which upheld the Michigan referendum banning racial preferences. In her dissent, Sotomayor called for replacing the term  “affirmative action” with “race-sensitive admissions.” But “affirmative action” was itself a euphemism for the racial quotas in use in college admissions until they were struck down in the 1978 Bakke decision. To salvage racial discrimination, which any process that gives race an advantage necessarily requires, Bakke legitimized yet another euphemism, “diversity,” as a compelling state interest that justified taking race into account in university admissions.
Thus the most important form of “diversity” for the university became the easily quantifiable one of race. Not even socio-economic status can trump it, as the counsel for the University of Texas admitted during oral arguments in Fisher vs. University of Texas last year, when he implied that a minority applicant from a privileged background would add more diversity to the university than a less privileged white applicant. All these verbal evasions are necessary for camouflaging the fact that any process that discriminates on the basis of race violates the Civil Rights Act ban on such discrimination. Promoting an identity politics predicated on historical victimization and the equality of result is more important than the principle of equality before the law, and this illiberal ideology must be hidden behind distortions of language and vague phrases like “race-sensitive” and “diversity.” 
Another example can be found in the recently released report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The report is the basis for the government’s numerous policy and procedural suggestions to universities and colleges in order to help them “live up to their obligation to protect students from sexual violence.” Genuine sexual violence, of course, needs to be investigated, adjudicated, and punished to the full extent of the law by the police and the judicial system. But the “sexual assault” and “sexual violence” the Obama administration is talking about is something different. 
At the heart of the White House report is the oft-repeated 2007 statistic that 20 percent of female college students have been victims of “sexual assault,” which most people will understand to mean rape or sexual battery. Yet as many critics of the study have pointed out, that preposterous number––crime-ridden Detroit’s rape rate is 0.05 percent––was achieved by redefining “sexual assault” to include even consensual sexual contact when the woman was drunk, and behaviors like “forced kissing” and “rubbing up against [the woman] in a sexual way, even if it is over [her] clothes.”
The vagueness and subjectivity of such a definition is an invitation to women to abandon personal responsibility and agency by redefining clumsy or boorish behavior as “sexual assault,” a phrase suggesting physical violence against the unwilling. As one analyst of the flawed study has reported, “three-quarters of the female students who were classified as victims of sexual assault by incapacitation did not believe they had been raped; even when only incidents involving penetration were counted, nearly two-thirds did not call it rape.” As many have pointed out, if genuine sexual assault were happening, colleges would be calling in the police, not trying the accused in campus tribunals made up of legal amateurs and lacking constitutional protections such as the right to confront and cross-examine one’s accuser. 
What matters more than protecting college women against a phantom epidemic of rape, then, is the need to expand government power into the social lives of college students, empowering the federal bureaucrats, university administrators, and ideological programs like women’s studies that all stand to benefit by this sort of coercive intrusion. This enshrining of racial and sexual ideology into law through the abuse of language has had damaging consequences, whether for the minority college students mismatched with the universities to which they are admitted, thus often ensuring their failure and disillusion; or for the young women encouraged to abandon their autonomy and surrender it to government and education bureaucrats who know better than they how to make sense of their experiences and decisions.
In foreign policy, however, the abuse of language is positively dangerous. Since 9/11, our failure to identity the true nature of the Islamist threat and its grounding in traditional Islamic theology has led to misguided aims and tactics. Under both the Bush and Obama administrations, for example, the traditional Islamic doctrine of jihad––which means to fight against the enemies of Islam, which predominantly means infidels––has been redefined to serve the dubious tactic of flattering Islam in order to prevent Muslim terrorism.
Thus in 2008 the National Terrorism Center instructed its employees, “Never use the term jihadist ormujahideen in conversation to describe terrorists,” since “In Arabic, jihad means ‘striving in the path of God’ and is used in many contexts beyond warfare.” Similarly, CIA chief John Brennan has asserted that jihad “is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community,” despite the fourteen centuries of evidence from the Koran, hadiths, and bloody history that jihad is in fact predominantly an obligatory armed struggle against the enemies of Islam. The reluctance to put Muslim violence in its religious context reflects not historical truth, but a public relations tactic serving the delusional strategy of appeasing Muslims into liking us.
That’s why, to this day, the 2009 murders of 13 military personnel at Fort Hood by Muslim Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan are still classified as “workplace violence” rather than an act of terror. This despite the fact that Hasan––whose business cards had the initials “SoA,” “Soldier of Allah,” on them––shouted the traditional Islamic battle cry “Allahu Akbar” during his rampage. Or that in a presentation at Walter Reed Hospital, Hasan had put up a slide with the great commission to practice jihad that Mohammed delivered in his farewell address: “I was ordered to fight all men until they say ‘There is no god but Allah.’” This command to wage jihad was echoed in 1979 by the Ayatollah Khomeini, revered as a “Grand Sign of God” for his theological acumen, and by Osama bin Laden in 2001. Those ignoring this venerable jihadist tradition must use verbal evasions like “workplace violence” and “striving in the path of God” to hide the indefensible––and failed––tactic of appeasement that prevents us from accurately understanding the religious motives of Muslim terrorists, and the extent of the Muslim world’s support for them.
No foreign policy crisis, however, is more illustrative of the “regime of lies” and abuse of language to serve “indefensible” aims than the conflict between Israel and the Arabs. The Arabs’ aim, of course, is to destroy Israel as a nation, a policy they have consistently pursued since 1948. Since military attacks have failed ignominiously, an international public relations campaign coupled to terrorist violence has been employed to weaken Israel’s morale and separate Israel from her Western allies. An Orwellian assault on language has been key to this tactic.
Examples are legion, but one is particularly insidious, here seen in a New York Times headline from 2011: “Obama Sees ’67 Borders as Starting Point for Peace Deal.” The common reference to “borders” in regard to what is in fact the armistice line from the 1948 Arab war against Israel is ubiquitous. Yet there has never been recognized in international law a formal “border” between Israel and what the world, in another Orwellian phrase, calls the “West Bank,” because that territory has never been part of a modern nation. Its only international legal status was as part of the British Mandate for Palestine, which was confirmed by the League of Nations in 1922, and which was intended as the national homeland for the Jewish people. The Arabs’ rejection of the U.N. partition plan and their invasion of Israel in 1948 put the territory’s status in limbo once Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria, which the international community with a few exceptions refused to recognize. In 1967 Israel took it back in another defensive war against Arab aggression. Since then, its final disposition has awaited a peace treaty that will determine the international border.
This may sound like quibbling over careless language, but the dishonest use of “border” reinforces and encodes in peoples’ minds the big lie of the conflict––that a Palestinian “nation” is being deprived of its “homeland” by Israel, a canard that didn’t become current among Arabs and the rest of the world until after the 1967 Six Day War. And this lie in turns validates the common use of “occupation”––which implies an illegal invasion into and control of another nation, as the Germans did to France in 1940––to describe Israel’s defensive possession of territories that have long served as launch pads for aggression against Israel. Until a peace treaty, the territory known as the “West Bank”––more accurately Judea and Samaria, the heartland of historical Israel for centuries––is disputed, not “occupied.”
To paraphrase Thucydides, words like “borders” and “occupation” have had their ordinary meanings changed, and been forced to take meanings that serve tyranny and aggression. And we who accept those new meanings are complicit in the resulting injustice that follows.
Need a current example? In the last day or so, Senator Dick Durbin said and here I'm paraphrasing everything but the tag line. He said because the GOP wouldn't go along with Obama and the Democrat immigration scheme, Obama will have to "borrow" Congress' power. 
Are Democrats doing what they believe is best for the country or best for the "Party"

Palestinians throw rocks at ambulance carrying dead kidnapped teen agers.

Arabs Throw Stones at Ambulance Carrying Bodies of Murdered Boys

According to multiple reports, Arabs stoned the IDF ambulance that was carrying the bodies of the murdered Israeli teenagers. The ambulance was forced to stop, its windshield shattered.According to The Algemeiner:
Palestinian Arabs attacked an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) ambulance humvee on Monday that was transporting the recently discovered bodies of three murdered Israeli boys who were kidnapped on June 12, an Israel source told The Algemeiner.
The Muqata blog posted an image of the damaged vehicle on Facebook writing, “8:44pm IDF Ambulance humvee transporting the bodies of the boys attacked by arabs….windows smashed.”
In the picture, the ambulance’s windshield is smashed and splattered with paint.

Will this outrage the mass of Palestinians? Will they come out in opposition to the kidnapping, the murder?  

Politics Pays

Kevin Williamson:

Chelsea Clinton, from her $10.5 million perch on Gramercy Park, declares that she finds it impossible to care about money. Bill and Hillary Clinton, shuttling between their multimillion-dollar homes — Chappaqua, Washington, the $200,000-a-month rental in the Hamptons — denounce the wicked rich and protest that they are not “truly well off.” A professor of poverty and left-wing activist at the University of North Carolina School of Law is paid $200,000 per annum to teach a single class; anti-inequality crusader Elizabeth Warren was paid $350,000 per annum to teach a single class and thinks deeply about the plight of the little guy in her $1.7 million Cambridge mansion. The city of Bell, Calif., was nearly bankrupted by the very generous salaries its political class secured for themselves: nearly $800,000 per annum for the chief executive of the modest Los Angeles suburb, on his way to collecting a $1 million annual pension. (Several Bell leaders were later charged with misappropriating millions of dollars’ worth of public money for their own benefit.) Philadelphia was paying the feckless chief executive of its violent and defective government schools some $350,000 a year before the mayor got around to firing her, but not before the city wrote her a check for nearly $1 million to make her go away — and then she filed for unemployment benefits. A Philadelphia police lieutenant on an $87,000 annual salary takes home nearly $200,000 after nearly a hundred grand in “overtime” kicks in. The head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal enterprise, was paid nearly $6 million in 2013; the agency’s chief financial officer and chief lawyer were paid $2.1 and $1.9 million, respectively, that same year. The school superintendent in Lubbock, Texas, is paid nearly a quarter-million dollars a year.

Politics pays.

Read the rest here.

Obama once again proves he knows nothing about how business works.

Watch Former Heinz CEO’s Thorough Takedown of Obama Over His Comparison of Government and Business

Former Heinz CEO Bill Johnson called out President Barack Obama on Fox News Friday, calling his comparison of the federal government and business “feckless.”
Attempting to justify why some government programs are a waste of money, Obama recently said big companies also do things that “aren’t all that efficient either.”
Johnson said of the “feckless” comparison, “There’s just absolutely no comparison between business and the government, for a couple of reasons: One, any business that’s not efficient and has a lot of waste can’t compete. The government doesn’t have competition, business does.”
“Secondly, we have owners and shareholders who demand we be efficient and not have a lot of waste and improve our margins and profitability,” he continued. “And third, if you are completely inefficient and continue to be inefficient, you are also out of a job, which they’re not.”

The kidnapped Israeli teens and the mother of one of the suspected kidnapers

The Shocking Comment From the Mother of One of the Prime Suspects in Israeli Teen Abduction Case

The mother of one of the prime suspects in the kidnapping of three Israeli teens two weeks ago says that if her son committed the crime, she would be “proud of him.”
Israeli security officials on Thursday named two Palestinians from Hebron, Amer Abu Aysha, 33, and Marwan Kawasme, 29, as the key suspects in the abduction who disappeared at the same time as the kidnapped teens and have not been seen since. Both are reported to be Hamas members.
Amer Abu Aysha (left) and Marwan Kawasme (right), suspected by Israel of kidnapping three Israeli teens. (Photo: Israeli government handout)The mother of Amer Abu Aysha told Channel 10 she’d be “proud” of her son if he was involved in the abduction. (Image source: Channel 10)
The mother of Amer Abu Aysha told Channel 10 she’d be “proud” of her son if he was involved in the abduction. (Image source: Channel 10)
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 10 on Sunday, Abu Aysha’s mother denied her son was involved, but at the same time voiced pride if it turns out he was behind the abduction.
“They’re throwing the guilt on him by accusing him of kidnapping. If he truly did it – I’ll be proud of him till my final day,” she said.
The mother, whose name wasn’t reported, said that Abu Aysha told his wife on the morning of the kidnapping that he might be late coming home from work.
“If he did the kidnapping I’ll be proud of him,” she said. “I raised my children on the knees of the (Islamic) religion, they are religious guys, honest and clean-handed, and their goal is to bring the victory of Islam,” added Abu Aysha’s mother.
The Israeli government last week named Amer Abu Aysha, left, and Marwan Kawasme as the key suspects in the kidnapping (Photo: Israeli government handout)
The Israeli government last week named Amer Abu Aysha, left, and Marwan Kawasme as the key suspects in the kidnapping (Photo: Israeli government handout)
As the Israel Defense Forces continue the  massive manhunt for the boys, Gilad Shaar, 16, Eyal Yifrach, 19, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, who is a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, several relatives of Abu Aysha have also been arrested, including his father Omar, Channel 10 reported.
Abu Aysha’s mother criticized Palestinian Authority security forces for aiding in the search.
“May Allah take revenge on them,” she said. “They are helping the IDF.”
Abu Aysha’s father Omar told the Times of Israel last week that his son was last seen at a family gathering the night of the kidnapping and had not been seen since.
The father, Omar, has himself served time in Israeli prisons for ties with Hamas, the Times of Israel and Channel 10 reported.

Proof the IRS scandal has roots in the DOJ/WH

Smoking Gun Trail To White House – Possible IRS Bombshell Within Politico Interview Of Lois Lerner Attorney William Taylor III – When Questioned About Lerner Sending DOJ 501(c)(4) Info: “Justice requested the documents”…

In a recent Politico interview  (publish date 6/27/14) with the Lois Lerner’s attorney William Taylor III an interesting aspect is buried midway through page #2.
During part of the interview Politico author Rachel Bade inquires about the 1.1 million pages of documents Lerner sent to the Department of Justice that became an issue when discovered by the House Oversight Committee on June 9th 2014.   BACKSTORY HERE.
The documents were sent from IRS to DOJ on a series of 21 discs (CD ROMS) and, according to the admission from the DOJ, “contained legally protected taxpayer information that should not have ever been sent to the FBI“.
Some of the 501(c)(4) documentation included confidential tax records “Schedule B” of IRS filings.   These Schedule B’s outline parties who contribute to, affiliate with, or people who support the 501 organization.   Those tax filing schedules are illegal to distribute.
Why the DOJ waited to inform congress, and why they only did so after Daryl Issa found out about their existence, was a matter congressional consternation but no-one made a big deal about it.
Indeed all prior details and media reports of the interaction have been framed around the substance of legality, and illegality,  for the IRS to actually send the confidential taxpayer data.  This is indeed a concerning aspect – but we think we’ve uncovered something considerably more alarming about both the timing, and the substance.
Inside the Politico article is an explosively revealing defensively framed answer from attorney Taylor.   He is specifically and directly stating it was NOT Lerner who initiated the inquiry:

…” [...]  Taylor said Lerner didn’t know [about the unlawful confidential aspect] and sent them because Justice requested the documents”…

lois lerner 3eric_holder_ap1
Politico [Page 2] Taylor also responded to Oversight GOP reports that Lerner and Justice officials met in the fall of 2010 when Justice was considering the possibility of prosecuting 501(c)(4)s that may have been breaking rules by overly engaging in political activities — details Republicans found in emails handed over by the Justice Department.
Again, he said she was just doing her job.
“We should hope the two are talking to each other,” he said, because Justice and the IRS both bring tax charges and should be on the same page, he said.
Emails summarizing the meeting also show that Lerner apparently expressed skepticism that the (c)(4) issues were a criminal, rather than a civil, matter.
Oversight GOP has also hit Lerner for giving 1.1 million pages of tax return data about 501(c)(4) organizations to the FBI just before the 2010 midterms — 33 tax returns that included unlawfully disclosed private taxpayer information.
Taylor said Lerner didn’t know and sent them because Justice requested the documents: “She [understood] the donor information on Schedule B had been removed. In some cases, we later learned, it may not have been.”
The IRS has acknowledged that the 33 returns were not scrubbed of taxpayer information as required by law.  (cont.)
In all prior reporting -on the initial revelation of Lerner’s submission of the documents to the DOJ- the assumption included within the articles was that Lerner was the initiator of the inquiry.
Apparently she wasn’t.
This latest interview with her attorney would dispute that assumption, and indicate the DOJ was the group making the inquiry – not the IRS.   The IRS was responding to the request from the DOJ.

{Pause – Repeat}  The IRS (Lerner) was responding to the request for information from the DOJ !

Naturally this means there was a preceding email from DOJ to the IRS.
The IRS (Lerner) emails around this incident were found by the House Oversight Committee and are included in both this article , and the pdf below.
However, if what Lerner’s attorney is saying to Politico is truthful, there’s more.
Where is the originating email from the DOJ?   ….And more importantly WHO SENT IT AND WHY ?
FIRSTLY – This becomes quite possibly the smoking gun trail from DOJ (Eric Holder – underlings) to the White House.
SECONDLY – At the very least this makes the DOJ investigation into the IRS illegality fraught with conflict of interest.   A conflict because the “impetus” of the inquiry itself, from the DOJ to the IRS becomes the more unlawful part.

How can the DOJ conduct an investigation into unlawful aspects of the IRS targeting of specific 501(c)(4) groups, when the DOJ is the initiating body for the illegality they are seeking to investigate ?


When the chips are down Obama is forced to hire a businessman.

Bob McDonald, former P&G chief, to be Obama’s nominee to lead Veterans Affairs

Time to restructure the civil service system to rid it of crony bureaucracy

Ending the federal worker gravy train

This month’s congressional hearing on outlandish bonuses at the Veterans Administration is the latest proof that the nation needs to overhaul how federal workers in every department are paid and promoted.
They’re on the gravy train, and taxpayers are being taken for a ride.
Back in 1883, Congress passed the Pendleton Act to replace patronage with a federal civil service in which workers would be hired and paid based on merit.
There is no MERIT anymore. Scramble the letters. What you have now is a TIMER system. Workers put in time and get hefty salaries and bonuses, regardless of work quality, with virtually no risk of being fired.
Gina Farrissee, assistant secretary for human resources at the VA, told Congress that executive bonuses “are awarded only after a rigorous and diligent review.” Nonsense.
The regional director overseeing the Pittsburgh VA collected a $63,000 award in 2012 shortly after six vets treated there died needlessly from legionella, an infection traced directly to poor maintenance of the facility.
The General Accountability Office investigated VAs nationwide and reported in July 2013 that doctors get bonuses regardless of work quality. A radiologist cited for mistakes reading mammograms got an $8,216 bonus, even though a professional-standards board deemed him unqualified to continue his current duties.
A surgeon suspended for 14 days for abandoning a patient on the operating table and leaving the medical center, with only unsupervised residents to complete the procedure, still got an $11,189 annual bonus.
But it’s not just the VA. Every federal department has this putrid culture.
The Internal Revenue Service doles out bonuses to employees guilty of illegal drug use, unemployment-benefits fraud, even tax evasion. A Treasury inspector general’s report released April 22 states that, “with few exceptions, the IRS does not consider tax compliance or other misconduct when issuing performance awards or most other types of awards.”
Yet IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress this month that a special independent prosecutor to investigate IRS targeting of conservative groups “would be a monumental waste of taxpayer funds.” That’s a novel concern at the IRS or any federal agency.
The Pendleton Act stipulated that federal employees would be hired and promoted based on merit.
But merit no longer matters.
Take the Environmental Protection Agency worker making $125,000 a year who spent hours a day watching porn, including four hours on a website called “Sadism is Beautiful.”
Yet he received performance awards. “How much pornography would it take for an EPA employee to lose their job?” asked Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) during an Oversight Committee hearing in May.
The answer is that firing a federal worker is almost impossible, and making it stick, even less likely.
Data from the Office of Personnel Management indicate that it is five times as hard to get fired from a federal job as from a private-sector one.
Incredibly, most federal departments have even laxer standards than the VA. Jeff Neely, the General Services Administration employee pictured in a hot tub sipping wine on taxpayer money, retired with benefits after the lavish 2010 Las Vegas boondoggle he attended was uncovered in the media. Two co-workers were fired but reinstated with back pay after appealing to the “merit” system’s protection board, which protects everything but merit.
It’s been claimed that federal workers settle for lower pay in exchange for job ­security. Don’t believe it.
A worker with a high-school education earns 21 percent more working for the federal government than for a private employer, and gets 72 percent more in benefits. A worker with a bachelor’s degree also makes out better with Uncle Sam, getting about the same wages as in the private sector but 46 percent more in benefits.
Only professionals such as lawyers, medical doctors and Ph.Ds get paid less in federal jobs than private-sector ones, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
In addition, the federal workplace offers 10 paid holidays, plus 13 to 26 days’ annual vacation (depending on longevity) and up to 13 paid sick days a year.
All in all, up to 49 paid days off.
That’s easy street. Meanwhile, taxpayers are on the road to serfdom, working longer and paying more to support a government that does not serve them.

Palestinians fire rockets from Gaza into Sderot...


An example of how the entitlement mentality has rooted itself in Detroit.

Majority Of Delinquent Detroit Water Customers In Culture Of: ‘You’re Not Making Me Pay,’ Says Deputy Director

DETROIT (WWJ) – Several people protested outside the Detroit Water department building Thursday, saying customers are having service cut off at an alarming rate and the practice is inhumane.
Organizer David Bullock with the Change Agent Consortium says the water department is going after customers that may be as little as $150 delinquent and says the department ignores large corporations who are behind.
“People always want to attack the poor … why are we attacking poor people?” he asked.
But when asked which large companies are behind in their payments – Bullock would only say that WWJ should research the issue.
“I think you all should be standing with us,” Bullock told WWJ’s Marie Osborne. “I think you all should be demanding the same level of accountability for firms and corporations in the city of Detroit – that they are levying on residential customers.”
The water department states that there are about 60,000 delinquent accounts in the city of Detroit – with the average arrearage about $560.
City of Detroit Water & Sewerage Department Deputy Director – Darryl Latimer said every account corporate or private is treated the same, adding that the water department does what they can to work with those that come forward and address their hardship situation.
“The majority of our customers (who) are in delinquency status they just built a culture of ,’you’re not making me pay – I am not going to pay’,” said Latimer.

The story leaves out the fact that the water agency like most other things in Detroit is woefully incompetent at running an efficient and cost effective system. The water rates are significantly higher in Detroit then other similar sized cities.  It's an all-around win-win for government incompetence.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

When does accommodation become something more...collaboration.

How NYU is selling out to Sharia law

Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, has been buzzing with construction activity for the past few years. Two prestigious western institutions, New York University and the Guggenheim Museum, have decided to open branches in the country — and were immediately embroiled in controversy.
Immigrant construction workers at the NYU site were working 11- to 12-hour days, seven days a week, it was revealed. Many of them have not been reimbursed recruitment fees, costing up to a year’s wages, and live in terrible conditions. The ones who were brave enough to protest the abuses were met with beatings and imprisonment.
Similarly, laborers of the Guggenheim Museum were forced to pay for their contracts, live in substandard housing, and had their passports taken so they couldn’t leave the work site. Last year, 40 of them were hospitalized after their employers cracked down on a strike.
Both institutions claimed to be shocked, with NYU issuing a “Statement of Labor Values,” to which all participants in the construction of NYU-Abu Dhabi were contractually obligated to abide.
But the deplorable labor conditions is just one piece of a larger question: Why are these organizations there in the first place?
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Foreign workers at a construction site on Saadiyat Island — a man made island off the coast of Abu Dhabi — where NYU’s campus is located.Photo: Getty Images
While UAE might appear relatively secular to outsiders, the truth is that the nation is still ruled by Sharia law. Don’t be fooled by the word “law.” The law of the US Constitution serves to protect individuals and their freedom, the law of Sharia serves to control individuals and limit their freedoms.
Women are legally treated as property. Rights such as free speech are unheard of. And contracts like the fair labor contract “negotiated” by NYU and agreed by the UAE are not grounded in any real law. Sharia leaders decided on a case-by-case basis, what the rules are, for that moment.
Mesmerized by the glory of having their institutions be the first to break into the Middle East, NYU and Guggenheim did little independent due diligence. They bought into the illusion that the UAE, with its man-made islands and skyscraper hotels, is a free country.
Of course, money is the primary motive for this ignorance.
NYU received $50 million from Abu Dhabi for signing up. And 2008 article by New York Magazine entitled The Emir of NYU reported that “NYU president John Sexton has been promised a blank check to duplicate his university on a desert island in Abu Dhabi, leaving both campuses flush with petrodollars.”
This blank check is being used to expand the NYU campus in New York City by 6 million square feet by 2031. This NYU 2031 plan is hotly protested by 11 community groups with petitions and lawsuits. What these protesters have not done is link the funding of NYU 2031 to the blank check by the UAE government, who denies their women, laborers, and everyone else equal treatment or due process under the law.
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Citizens look at a model of Al Saadiyat Island.Photo: Reuters
The cases are appalling:
In 2013, 24-year-old Marte Deborah Dalelv from Norway was sentenced to 16 months jail after reporting an alleged rape at a business meeting in Dubai. She was charged with sex outside of marriage, consumption of alcohol, and making a false complaint. Meanwhile, that same year, a father who whipped his 12-year-old son to death with electrical cord because his school grades were low was sentenced to only three years in jail.
In 2010, a British couple, Ayman Najafi and Charlotte Adams, was jailed for a month after sharing a kiss in an Abu Dhabi restaurant.
In May 2014, an Asian housemaid was sentenced to stoning to death by an Abu Dhabi Shariah Court for committing adultery.
In 2008, Australian Alicia Gali, was jailed in Fujairah, one of the Arab Emirate countries, for eight months for adultery after she reported being raped by three colleagues at the luxury resort where she worked.
British couple Vince Acors and Michelle Palmer were jailed for three months in 2008 for having sex on a public beach — an allegation they denied.
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Abu Dhabi’s man-made island, Al Saddiyat, seen from space.Photo: Wikipedia
It seems that NYU is hanging its hat on the special “free zone” status that, in theory, exempts its students from many of Abu Dhabi’s strict restrictions on rights including media, political and LGBT freedoms.
However, we are already seeing that Sharia-driven UAE does not honor “fair labor contracts.” And NYU fails to recognize that their “free zone” status can be easily revoked under Sharia Law.
Free zone or not, what is the value of offering an NYU education in an artificial bubble surrounded by human rights abuses, sanctioned by country law? How does this align with NYU’s mission to shape an intellectually rich environment for faculty and students both inside and outside the classroom?

The web of funding Islamist jihad

Pakistan 'charity head' lambasts US sanctions move

Hafiz Saeed (centre) addresses his supporters in Lahore. Photo: 27 June 2014Hafiz Saeed lives openly in the Pakistani city of Lahore

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The head of a Pakistani charity group whom the US and India accuse of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks has dismissed new US sanctions.
Hafiz Saeed told the BBC the US was only targeting Jamaat-ud Dawa to win India's backing in Afghanistan.
The US says the self-declared charity is a front for militant group Lashkar-e Toiba and has offered a $10m (£6m) reward for the arrest of Mr Saeed.
The Mumbai attack by Pakistani gunmen left 166 people dead.
Relations between India and Pakistan suffered badly in the aftermath of the three-day assault in the southern Indian city.
Speaking to the BBC's Andrew North in the Pakistani city of Lahore, Mr Saeed said the US was targeting his organisation simply to please India.
A fire breaks out of the Taj hotel in Mumbai during the attacks in 2008The Mumbai attacks sent shockwaves across India and the world
"America always takes decisions based on Indian dictation. Now it's imposing this new ban because it needs India's help in Afghanistan.
"I had nothing to do with the Mumbai attacks, and Pakistan's courts said all India's evidence against me was just propaganda," he said.
The US last week declared Jamaat-ud Dawa a "foreign terrorist organisation" - a move that freezes any assets it has under US jurisdiction.
Both India and the US say they have extensive evidence that Mr Saeed orchestrated the attacks with the Pakistani government help. India has also repeatedly demanded that he be handed over for trial.
Despite this, Mr Saeed lives openly in Lahore, and it is clear that he has little fear of being arrested in Pakistan, our correspondent says.
But he adds that as long as Mr Saeed remains free, there is little chance of a breakthrough in relations between Pakistan and its longstanding rival India.