Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jay Leno: a real mensch.

Jay Leno gifts army vet Challenger Hellcat on Today Show
Jay Leno, besides being a grade-A car guy, is also a pretty standup American. The late-night host has been a fixture on USO tours, visiting troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan. His latest move, though, is a step beyond even a trip to a war zone.

After teaming with Al Roker's Shine A Light campaign, which raises money for the USO, Leno sought out a worthy serviceman or woman to receive a special gift. After choosing from a pool, Cpl. Ethan Laberge was selected, at random, to meet with Leno and go for a spin in the world's most powerful muscle car, the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

Cpl. Laberge was seriously wounded after shrapnel from an Afghani suicide bomber sliced through his left leg and arm. On top of that, the blast left the US Army corporal with a traumatic brain injury, and he's since gone through more surgeries than anyone should be forced to endure. Yet, he still suffers from lingering pain.

Leno met with the young soldier, and the two had lunch and went for a spin. Not a bad deal, but it was only going to get better for Cpl. Laberge. Take a look at the video, straight from a segment on NBC's The Today Show

The Chinese entitlement mentality


LandWind X7
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Posted Nov 22nd 2014 2:59PM


Despite its position as a communist state, the People's Republic of China has taken a decidedly laissez-faire attitude towards copyright infringement. It's why, as evidenced in an old episode of Top Gear, you can buy a fake Omega, wear fake Ray-Bans, talk on a fake iPhone and drink at a fake Starbucks. It's also why Chinese automakers so shamelessly rip off the designs of western automobiles (exhibits ABCD and E). Land Rover is the latest automaker to take exception to this practice.

The Indian-owned, British-made off-road brand is calling out the Chinese over the LandWind X7 which, like all good fakes, is a remarkably close approximation of the real thing, that goes for a lot less money. In this case, the Range Rover Evoque, which the X7 apes, sells for 40,000 pounds ($62,000 at today's rates) Autocar reports, while the Chinese version will retail for a meager 14,000 quid ($22,000).

With the X7 making its debut at the Guangzhou Motor Show, Land Rover Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ralf Speth opted to take a strong stance, issuing a resolute statement against LandWind's new SUV to Autocar:
"The fact that this kind of copying is ongoing in China is very disappointing. The simple principal is that it is not something that should happen; the intellectual property is owned by Jaguar Land Rover and if you break that IP then you are in breach of international regulations that apply around the world.

As a company we have invested heavily in China with our joint venture partner Chery. That commitment is based on a clear business plan, that allows us to hit our sales targets at clear prices. Anything that damages the potential profitability of our plant damages the integrity of those plans.

I will talk to our officials and I will talk to our partners at Chery to find a way around this situation. I cannot imagine Chinese officials will be happy at any actions that undermine the credibility of the country. What we have seen today is not correct."
According to Autocar, LandWind is a joint venture between two of China's larger automakers – Changan Auto and Jiangling Motors – which count Peugeot-Citroen and Ford as their JV partners, respectively. It's unclear how, or even if, any action by Land Rover could impact the two Chinese companies' partners.
News Source: AutocarImage Credit: Indian Autos Blog, Copyright 2014

It's bad when the Europeans are more concerned with privacy rights the America

US driver data privacy laws aren't strict enough for EU

Liars, cheats and scientific papers.

Retraction Watch

Hitler painting bought by someone in the middle east...anyone surprised?

This Painting Just Sold for 130,000 Euros to a Middle Eastern Buyer. The Artist: Adolf Hitler.


BERLIN (AP) — A watercolor of Munich’s old city hall painted by Adolf Hitler a century ago has been sold for 130,000 euros ($162,000) at an auction in Germany.
In this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, a picture titled “The Old City Hall” that - as the auction house said - was painted by Adolf Hitler is displayed in an auction house in Nuremberg, Germany. The 100-year-old watercolor of Munich’s city hall is expected to fetch at least 50,000 euros (US$ 60,000) at auction this weekend, not so much for its artistic value as for the signature in the bottom left corner: A. Hitler. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, a picture titled “The Old City Hall” that – as the auction house said – was painted by Adolf Hitler is displayed in an auction house in Nuremberg, Germany. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Kathrin Weidler, director of the Weider auction house in Nuremberg, said the work attracted bidders from four continents and went to a buyer from the Middle East. She declined to elaborate.
The painting, which had been expected to fetch at least 50,000 euros, was sold by a pair of elderly sisters whose grandfather purchased it in 1916.
The Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 photo shows the signature "A. Hitler" on a picture titled “The Old City Hall” that - as the auction house said - was painted by Adolf Hitler in Nuremberg, Germany. The 100-year-old watercolor of Munich’s city hall is expected to fetch at least 50,000 euros (US$ 60,000) at auction this weekend, not so much for its artistic value as for the signature in the bottom left corner. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
The Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 photo shows the signature “A. Hitler” on a picture titled “The Old City Hall” that – as the auction house said – was painted by Adolf Hitler in Nuremberg, Germany.  (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Hitler’s paintings surface regularly, but the auction house said the 28 by 22 centimeter (11 by 8.5 inch) scene auctioned Saturday also includes the original bill of sale and a signed letter from the Hitler’s adjutant, Albert Bormann, brother of the Nazi dictator’s private secretary Martin Bormann.
The Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 photo shows a picture titled “The Old City Hall”, right, that - as the auction house said - was painted by Adolf Hitler and the original bill of sale and a signed letter, left, from Hitler’s adjutant Albert Bormann, brother of the better-known Martin Bormann in Nuremberg, Germany. The 100-year-old watercolor of Munich’s city hall is expected to fetch at least 50,000 euros (US$ 60,000) at auction this weekend, not so much for its artistic value as for the signature in the bottom left corner. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
The Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 photo shows a picture titled “The Old City Hall”, right, that – as the auction house said – was painted by Adolf Hitler and the original bill of sale and a signed letter, left, from Hitler’s adjutant Albert Bormann, brother of the better-known Martin Bormann in Nuremberg, Germany. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Jew hatred on the University campus.

‘F*** You Zionist Scums’: Watch What Happens When Pro-Palestinian Activists Are Challenged on College Campus


When Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine organized a mock Israeli checkpoint on campus Wednesday, a group of pro-Israel students reportedly counter-protested by holding Israeli flags and signs and calling for peace.
That didn’t sit too well with the pro-Palestinian activists, according to Legal Insurrection, as one remarked on camera, “F*** you Zionist scums.”
Then kat yang-stevens (who apparently doesn’t use capital letters in her name), a non-student activist, appeared to get right in the face of a pro-Israel activist, claimed he was touching her, and then challenged him to hit her.
“Get your f***in’ camera out of my face!” yang-stevens yelled, later telling him, “Go ahead, slap me bitch! Do it, do it, do it.”
Image source: YouTube/Legal Insurrection
Image source: YouTube/Legal Insurrection
At another point someone arguing with pro-Israel activists said “the Constitution of the United States is bulls**t.”
The activist who said he was harassed by yang-stevens didn’t want his name revealed, but he told Legal Insurrection she came “within a centimeter” of his face and was “breathing deliberately and forcefully” on him.
kat yang-steves (Image source: YouTube/Legal Insurrection)
kat yang-steves (Image source: YouTube/Legal Insurrection)
“I never initiated with her or her fellow protesters,” the activist told Legal Insurrection. “I was attacked, and effectively spit on, for being Jewish and taking a video.”
Here’s a compilation of clips from the incident. (Content warning: Multiple profanities and rough language):

Why the gun grabbers are evil. They would deny you the right of self defense.

Trio of Armed Thugs Tied Up Man and His Wife, Then Momentarily Left Them Unattended. When They Returned, There Was a Surprise Waiting.

A man and his wife were reportedly attacked and tied up by a trio of home intruders who forced their way into the couple’s Lakewood, Washington, home on Tuesday. The horrifying incident left one of the intruders dead and the others running for their lives, according to police.
(Source: Shutterstock)
(Source: Shutterstock)
The 66-year-old wife was reportedly in the bath when three men knocked on the door. When the husband, 62, answered the door, he quickly realized he didn’t know them and tried to close the door. Unfortunately, the men — armed with a gun and knife — overpowered him and entered the home.
The thugs beat the man severely, leaving him needing stitches, and cut his wife’s hand, according to court documents obtained by the News Tribune. The men then allegedly tied up the couple and searched the house for valuable items to steal. At one point, they momentarily left the house — and it turned out to be a huge mistake.
During the brief time that the men were outside, the husband was apparently able to free himself, untie his wife and relocate to their bedroom. They locked the door and the man retrieved his firearm from a lock box and aimed it at the door.
When the suspects returned and busted through the door, the husband opened fire. Police believe the man fatally hit one of the robbers. Police later identified the deceased suspect as 19-year-old Taijon Voorhees. All three of the men ran out of the house in fear.
Police later arrested Duprea Wilson, 19, in connection to the robbery, which he reportedly told others had “gone wrong.” The suspects may have broke into the wrong house looking for drugs and money, according to investigators.
Wilson was later charged with 12 felonies, including first-degree manslaughter, robbery, kidnapping and assault.

The corrupt Democrat - union alliance on display here. Did the union members approve?

Failed Md. Democratic gov nominee Brown borrowed $500G from union, missed payment deadline

Published November 23, 2014
Anthony Brown, the Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nominee who lost in an upset in November, took out a $500,000 loan from a labor union late in his campaign and has so far failed to repay the money as agreed, according to a financial report filed earlier this week.
The loan and Brown’s failure to meet the Nov. 7 deadline were reported first by The Baltimore Sun.
Taking out such a loan is Maryland in legal. And the move by Brown, the state’s lieutenant governor, who was expected to win in Democratic-leaning Maryland, is not without precedent in the state.
Larry Hogan, the Republican nominee who won the race, lent himself $500,000. And Maryland Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley borrowed that amount from Washington lawyer John P. Coale late in his 2006 campaign.
However, such loans are illegal in federal-level races, and Brown’s eventual failure to repay this one would put him in violation of campaign-finance regulations.
Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of Common Cause Maryland, told The Sun such loans also raise concerns because they become “a way to run around our individual donation limits.”
Brown, who under law had to personally guarantee the loan, borrowed the money in early October from Laborers International, at an interest rate of 4.25 percent, to keep his campaign afloat.
His campaign manager had vowed to fully repay the amount by Election Day. But the report released Tuesday showed no payments had been made.
Attempts to reach Brown on Saturday were not successful.
However, Brown released a statement earlier this week defending the decision, according to The Sun.
"I believed in what we were fighting for and who we were fighting for," he said. "In the campaign's closing days, we decided to expend all resources that were legally available. I intend to honor my obligations under the law."
The union has the right to sue Brown for the unpaid balance, under the terms of the loan.

The agreement shows that the union could increase the rate to 10 percent after the loan goes into default and can assess a 5 percent late fee if its not repaid by Saturday.

Obamacare and the hand of big brother

Like your Obamacare plan? HHS may re-enroll you in a different one


When President Obama’s healthcare law went into effect and millions of Americans had their plans canceled despite promises to the contrary, the administration argued that the new law would provide those who were displaced with better options. But under changes being contemplated by the Department of Health and Human Services, people who like their Obamacare plans might not get to keep their plans.
Or at least, not by default.
In a Friday night news dump, HHS released proposed new regulations for the 2016 benefit year (with open enrollment proposed for next Oct. 1 through Dec. 15), including one rule that outlines a new policy for dealing with re-enrollment.
"Under current rules, consumers who do not take action during the open enrollment window are re-enrolled in the same plan they were in the previous year, even if that plan experienced significant premium increases," HHS wrote. "We are considering alternative options for re-enrollment, under which consumers who take no action might be defaulted into a lower cost plan rather than their current plan. We are considering allowing states to pursue these sorts of re-enrollment alternatives for coverage in 2016. The [federal exchange] is exploring such an approach for coverage in 2017."
This could be seen as a way for HHS to make sure people save money and the government spends less on subsidies. But it’s also a demonstration of how the sprawling nature of Obamacare creates new problems that require more bad solutions.
To have a functioning market under Obamacare, HHS must enroll a critical mass of people, particularly younger and healthier people, to offset the cost of covering older and sicker beneficiaries. The law mandates that everybody gets covered.
Given how difficult it was to enroll people in Obamacare last year, particularly after the wave of technical problems, HHS wants to make sure it doesn’t have to redo all the hard work it takes to renew individual policies every year. So that explains the desire to automatically renew everybody who already has a plan — unless they want to change their policies.
The problem is there was a backlash against this, as people realized that in many cases their plans were getting more expensive, due to a combination of normal inflation and the mountain of regulations Obamacare places on insurance.
So now HHS is proposing to fix this with another rule that would bump people off their Obamacare plans into plans that, while cheaper, may not meet their needs in terms of deductibles, choice of doctors, or a litany of other factors that drive health insurance choices — unless they navigate the Obamacare exchange each year to pick a new plan.
UPDATE: Margot Sanger-Katz of the New York Times Upshot blog pointed out that the more detailed guidance (on pages 120-22), spells out that individuals, at the time they first sign up for Obamacare, would be given the option of whether they'd want to be auto renewed in the same plan or a cheaper one. However, a year in advance, it would be difficult to evaluate the pluses and minuses of those options, because the details of the plans wouldn't exist yet. A better approach would be to make the default position that coverage has to be renewed by individuals every year, and auto renewal would be an option for those who request it. Of course, such an approach would mean more heavily lifting from HHS and insurers each year to retain customers.

SAS snipers on quads hunt ISIS

SAS quad bike squads kill up to 8 jihadis each day... as allies prepare to wipe IS off the map: Daring raids by UK Special Forces leave 200 enemy dead in just four weeks 


  • Targets are identified by drones operated by SAS soldiers
  • Who are then dropped into IS territory by helicopter to stage attacks

  • The surprise ambushes are said to be 'putting the fear of God into IS'
  • The raids are attacking IS's main supply routes 
SAS troops with sniper rifles and heavy machine guns have killed hundreds of Islamic State extremists in a series of deadly quad-bike ambushes inside Iraq, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Defence sources indicated last night that soldiers from the elite fighting unit have eliminated ‘up to eight terrorists per day’ in the daring raids, carried out during the past four weeks.
Until now, it had been acknowledged only that the SAS was operating in a reconnaissance role in Iraq and was not involved in combat. But The Mail on Sunday has learned that small groups of soldiers are being dropped into IS territory in RAF Chinook helicopters – to take on the enemy.
Scroll down for video 
DRONES PATROL IRAQ TO SEEK OUT TARGETS: Drone operators study footage of the terrorists’ positions which are then relayed to SAS commanders at their secret base so they can plan missions
DRONES PATROL IRAQ TO SEEK OUT TARGETS: Drone operators study footage of the terrorists’ positions which are then relayed to SAS commanders at their secret base so they can plan missions
Targets are identified by drones operated either from an SAS base or by the soldiers themselves on the ground, who use smaller devices.
The troops are also equipped with quad bikes – four-wheeled all-terrain vehicles that can have machine guns bolted on to a frame. They then seek out IS units and attack the terrorists using the element of surprise and under the cover of darkness.

The missions have taken place on a near daily basis in the past four weeks and the SAS soldiers have expended so much ammunition that regimental quartermasters have been forced to order a full replenishment of stocks of machine-gun rounds and sniper bullets.
An SAS source said: ‘Our tactics are putting the fear of God into IS as they don’t know where we’re going to strike next and there’s frankly nothing they can do to stop us.
SAS SNIPER UNITS SCRAMBLED IN CHINOOKS: The heavily equipped troops are flown deep into IS territory aboard RAF transport helicopters, their quad bikes stowed on board, before touching down 50 miles from their target
SAS SNIPER UNITS SCRAMBLED IN CHINOOKS: The heavily equipped troops are flown deep into IS territory aboard RAF transport helicopters, their quad bikes stowed on board, before touching down 50 miles from their target
‘We’re degrading their morale. They can run and hide if they see planes in the sky but they can’t see or hear us. Using so many snipers takes the fear factor to another level too; the terrorists don’t know what’s happening. They just see their colleagues lying dead in the sand.’
The SAS’s guerrilla-style raids are targeting IS’s main supply routes across western Iraq and vehicle checkpoints set up by the terrorists to conduct kidnappings and extort money from local drivers.
The operations start with SAS commanders studying hours of footage of potential target sites recorded by drones – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – and listening to enemy communication intercepts in a bid to identify IS leaders.
Once the regiment’s senior officers have identified a target, the soldiers gather to receive their operational orders. They then leave their secret base and climb aboard a fleet of helicopters – with the quad bikes already safely secured in the cargo hold.
As the SAS soldiers strap themselves into their seats, the pilots tap in the co-ordinates for the area of desert where the Chinook will land.
As the helicopters’ engines are so loud, the Chinooks take the SAS soldiers to a laying-up point as far as 50 miles from the target. The troops disembark aboard the quad bikes and prepare their general- purpose machine guns (GPMGs) and Barrett sniper rifles.
IS PICKED OFF IN GUERILLA-STYLE RAIDS: Using precision sniper rifles, machine guns and surprise tactics, the SAS take out their IS targets before disappearing back into the desert
IS PICKED OFF IN GUERILLA-STYLE RAIDS: Using precision sniper rifles, machine guns and surprise tactics, the SAS take out their IS targets before disappearing back into the desert
The SAS’s raids are intended to degrade Islamic State’s fighting capability ahead of a spring offensive by 20,000 Iraqi and Kurdish troops next year, with the UK providing additional training for these soldiers.
In the next fortnight, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon is expected to receive a report from British military planners setting out what needs to be done.
The plans could see up to 300 UK trainers leading a programme of intensive training for the Kurds and Iraqis, with an emphasis on infantry drills and techniques to defuse enemy explosive devices.
When the spring offensive starts, British trainers may remain with the Iraqi and Kurdish units but are not expected to get directly involved in the fighting.
Earlier this month, Mr Fallon held meetings with political leaders in the region, assuring them that the UK was committed to defeating IS and improving the training of their soldiers.
The Defence Secretary also visited Kuwait, where it is expected that US and British commanders will set up a spring offensive planning centre.
The mission to defeat the 200,000-strong IS forces will be led by a senior US officer, Lieutenant General James Terry. It is likely that his second in command will be a senior British officer, Lieutenant General Tom Beckett.
Next month Lieut Gen Beckett will take over as Defence Senior Adviser for the Middle East (DSAME), a post vacated by Lieutenant General Simon Mayall, who is retiring after four years in the role.
Defence sources indicated last night that soldiers from the elite fighting unit have eliminated ‘up to eight terrorists per day’ in the daring raids, carried out during the past four weeks
Defence sources indicated last night that soldiers from the elite fighting unit have eliminated ‘up to eight terrorists per day’ in the daring raids, carried out during the past four weeks
But Middle East experts are questioning whether the UK’s strategy to defeat IS stands any chance of success. Professor Gareth Stansfield from Exeter University told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Not only is the Islamic State stronger than previous organisations, it has also learned lessons from them.
‘For example, IS has few fixed operational centres and its chain of command remains mobile. British policy options at this stage are burdened with problems and complications and also bring with them a range of unintended consequences that could draw Western powers into further engagements in the region.
‘With regard to the spring offensive, the Kurds would not be able to push further south into Iraq without upsetting the Sunni tribesmen in these areas and the Iraqi army is regarded as a Shia militia. So we are a long way off a practical solution to the problem of IS.’
The Mail on Sunday has learned that since IS began its campaign in Syria and Iraq, more than 35 British jihadists have lost their lives. It is believed the most recent UK citizens to die fighting for the extremists – known as Abu Abdullah al-Habashi, 21, and Abu Dharda, 20 – were from London. They are understood to have been killed in US air strikes on the Syrian border town of Kobane.
Our tactics are putting the fear of God into IS 
Al-Habashi grew up in North London in a British-Eritrean family and converted to Islam when he was 16. In August, al-Habashi told the BBC he had gone to Syria nine months earlier and had been fighting both there and in Iraq. Al-Habashi is thought to have appeared in at least two IS videos posted online.
Dharda comes from a British-Somali background and grew up in West London. He travelled to Syria in December 2013, entering via Turkey. It is believed that Dharda was questioned by counter-terrorism police at a British airport as he left but was allowed on his journey because they were satisfied with the explanation he gave for the purpose of his trip.
Intelligence sources have indicated that more than 500 Britons are currently fighting for IS, with the vast majority active in Syria.
Yesterday, the widow of murdered British aid worker Alan Henning told a memorial service he was killed ‘for being what we should be, selfless and caring’.
A video showing the beheading of the 47-year-old taxi driver was released by IS last month.
A private memorial service at Eccles parish church in Greater Manchester was held yesterday, with audio relayed outside.
His widow Barbara and daughter Lucy walked in with Bethany and Michael Haines, the daughter and brother of David Haines from Scone, Scotland, also murdered by IS.
Mrs Henning told the memorial: ‘We must never forget the reason why he went to Syria and the reason he was taken from us – for being what we all should be, selfless and caring.’
Meanwhile, IS militants have killed at least 25 members of a Sunni Muslim tribe in a village on the eastern edge of Ramadi in Iraq, in apparent revenge for tribal opposition to the radical Islamists.
Local officials said the bodies of the men from the Albu Fahd tribe were discovered by the Iraqi army when it launched a counter-offensive on Saturday against IS near Ramadi, capital of Anbar province.
 
'Red Cap tragedy' General set to lead offensive 
NEW MAN: Lieut General Tom Beckett
NEW MAN: Lieut General Tom Beckett
A former Parachute Regiment officer who was in charge of six Red Caps brutally killed by a mob of extremists in Iraq is in line to become the second in command of coalition operations against IS.
Lieutenant General Tom Beckett has been appointed Defence Senior Adviser for the Middle East (DSAME) and will take up his position as the UK steps up its efforts to train Iraqi and Kurdish forces to defeat Islamic State.
Softly spoken Lieut Gen Beckett first deployed to Iraq in 2003, when the tragedy of the Red Caps marked the beginning of an insurgency against the British presence in the country’s southern provinces. At the time, the Red Caps, or Royal Military Policemen, were attached to the Parachute Regiment’s 1st Battalion led by Beckett. Eleven years on, families of the Red Caps still blame senior officers for their deaths.
Lieut Gen Beckett is taking over as DSAME following the retirement of Lieutenant General Simon Mayall – an officer who was considered the British Army’s leading expert on Arab affairs. Lieut Gen Mayall served as DSAME for four years but his retirement comes only three months after the Prime Minister also appointed him to serve as his special envoy to Kurdistan – a key role during the IS crisis. Last night, Middle East expert Professor Gareth Stansfield described Lieut Gen Mayall’s retirement as a ‘blow’ because of his understanding of regional politics and jihad philosophy.