Wednesday, February 1, 2012

England's New Leisure Class

The welfare groupies.

Verbatim Post


Please see this article published by the BBC here in the UK: Family life on benefits.

In this article Raymond (not his real name) makes a number of statements that clearly define why the benefits system here in the UK is flawed. I'll include my comments:

"Raymond, a former educational software writer, has been jobless since 2001.... The market for my skills dried up 10 years ago - there's a total lack of work in my area of expertise." So why has someone with apparent I.T. skills not retrained to something he can do to earn an income?

"We get the Sky Movies package because we're stuck in the house all week - otherwise we wouldn't have any entertainment." This is the most expensive satellite television package available in the UK at £58 ($90 USD) per month, Many hard working families can not afford this, and over 100 channels are free to air over terrestrial television or via free sat packages where their existing receiver could do this for no monthly cost.

"My wife and I have mobile phones, and so do all of the teenage children. You try telling teenagers they're going to have to do without their mobiles and there'll be hell to pay." Well, someone is paying, and it's h*ll for the tax payers having to do so. What lesson does this teach his children about personal responsibility?

"I go out once a week, on a Friday night. I meet up with my mates in the pub and have three or four pints". A nice life if someone else is paying for it. Most working people are too tired to go out after a hard days work. (He could also stay in and watch his satellite television?)

"I see eight people here having to choose between eating or heating", yet aside from the discretional spending outlined above, the families weekly shopping bill includes; 24 cans of lager, 200 cigarettes and a large pouch of tobacco.

At the end of this article Raymond complains that the proposed cap's to limit benefits here in the UK to around £26,000 ($40,500 USD) per household would reduce his income by just over £82 ($130 USD) per week. Adding up the entertainment costs above, he could easily save 1.5 times this amount by eliminating these expenses.

Please also remember that here in the UK there is no time limit on this type of benefit being paid.

People wonder why we have an increasing Government spending deficit here in the UK.

-- Ian in Nanny State Britannia

Sicily Pitchfork Movement in Revolt

We're overdue, methinks and I'll vote for their demands.

The arrest of all corrupt politicians

Reduction in the number of Parliamentarians

Removal of the provincial bureaucracy (local crooks), as most of these politicians have been there for over forty years

Drastic cuts in the salaries and privileges of Parliamentarians and Senators

Restricting politicians to only two terms in office

Via The Dorkfish Express

Could Sicily Provide the World with a Mass Revolt Template?

On January 16th, middle class Sicilians began a popular uprising appropriately called the ‘Pitchfork Movement’…’Movimento Dei Forconi’.

There are shades of the Occupy movement within it, but the core is not dissatisfied unemployed youth with no property or businesses to lose.

They are middle aged and older. They know that what they have left has been targeted by their own elites to bear the economic pain.

The other difference is size. Sicily’s five million people, their grass roots people, have occupied themselves.
So of course the story caught my eye and I then checked the mainstream media sites to look at what I was sure to be some great video. Wrong! So far, there is almost nothing.

I went back to check my date…and yes it started on the 16th and took two days to shut the island down, nothing going in or out. That was almost two weeks ago and I just learned today, and I can assure you I am not a hermit.

Can you image the Occupy Wall street people having shut Manhattan down of two weeks with no European coverage? Sure, it’s Sicily and not Manhattan…but it’s big, 25,000 sq km. That is what I used the space station feature photo.

What could corporate media possibly be afraid of? Well grab your seats, and here it is:

“Our vote is not for sale.”

Amen, Ron Paul man.

Godfather Politics
Verbatim Post

Florida’s Republican primary was one wasted primary.

Romney won it in something hailed as a “huge win.” But is it?

Of the 4 million registered Republican voters in the state, only 1.5 million voted in the primary. The 775,000 voters for Romney gave him a very small “huge victory”; among the total of registered Republicans they amount to less than 20%. All we know that among those interested in the primary, almost half voted for Romney. But they are not a majority even among all the Republicans, let alone among the population.

Is it worth it?

A grim reality is slowly but surely dawning on Romney, and on the Republican establishment that is promoting him: Romney can not win the general elections against Obama. He can only win among the small number of die-hard Republican voters whose philosophy can be summarized as “our party right or wrong.” That’s in the primaries. But what about the general election?

Well, there are the evangelical voters. As South Carolina demonstrated, Romney won’t probably find a way to convince those to vote for him. His religion is one thing. And then, of course, is his total lack of charisma; that thing is very important for evangelicals, even if the candidate is a serial adulterer who converted to Roman Catholicism.

Then there are the Tea Partiers. The godfather of Obamacare has not much to say to them. Neither does the candidate with Goldman Sachs as his best sponsor. Neither does the East Coast establishment liberal who became a governor of Massachusetts by promising all kinds of liberal policies – and later acting on this promise. A few Tea Partiers may swing to voting for him. That’s it.

And of course, the worst part of it, the nightmare of the Republican establishment, the Ron Paul’s supporters. More and more it is becoming obvious that no Republican can win without them. They are the only ones that can create a counterbalance to the enthusiasm of what’s left of Obama’s supporters. Even FOX News pundits admit it. And high level GOP functionaries admit it; and suggest that the Republican Party allows Ron Paul a prime speaking spot at the national convention. In fact, as The Hill reported, there is a plan devised to get the Ron Paul’s supporters toe the party line (good luck with that). Long-time Republican sponsors like Jack Welch admit it. Romney himself knows it very well; he carefully avoided throwing darts at Ron Paul all the debates, hoping to win the hearts of his supporters.

But those Ron Paul’s supporters remain obstinate in their support for the man. More and more, they talk about writing him in rather than voting for whoever the establishment wants to sell to them. A young Ron Paul organizer from California said it the other day: “Our vote is not for sale.”

The Republican establishment wants to keep the momentum it gained from the Tea Party in 2010. But Romney is not the man for that. In fact, if anything, he would energize the Obama voters more than the Republican voters. He just can’t become a President, period.

So the vote of these 775,000 Republicans in Florida was completely wasted. They voted to continue the agony of the Republican Party; and probably to re-elect Obama in November, if Romney gets the Republican nomination. Romney is unelectable, and he realizes it. And so does everyone who knows what actually is going on in reality. It’s just the Republican voters who don’t get it yet.

Harry Reid owes America $10 billion

That’s the amount taxpayers have been forced to throw away in the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility, which sits unused because of the Nevada Democrat’s opposition. Because that’s a refund check we’re never going to see, lawmakers should act promptly on a set of recommendations released Thursday to limit the damage, ensuring further billions set aside for nuclear waste are not misspent.

Sherman & The Battle Hymn

The Moneychanger

On 1 February 1865 the war-criminal & genocide William T. Sherman & his invading army marched on South Carolina. Before the rape ended, he would burn out, rape, & kill civilians and the open city of Columbia. He probably just had an eye to his future, where undoubtedly lay a lot of fire for a long time.

On 1 February 1862 Julia Ward Howe first published the bloodthirsty war propaganda song, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Pardon me if I share not the enthusiasm of ignorant Christians who still sing this abomination that calls for washing your feet in the blood of Southerners. Not my idea of a hymn, or patriotism. But maybe Bill Sherman still likes it.

Should Southern Christians Sing This?

Battle Hymn Of The Republic — Mark Twain Version

Celebrating Might Makes Right, BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

The Battle Hymn Of The Republic Unmasked

The Battle Hymn Of The Republic. What Does It Really Mean?

Right To Work States: The Solid South

Via Old Virginia Blog

Big Labor backed Indiana Senate Democrats shrilly-repeated inaccurate talking points as they made last efforts to let union bosses know that they tried their best to stop worker freedom from coming to Indiana. But, they failed. Indiana passed Right To Work – union bosses will no longer be able to force most private sector employees to pay them without their willful consent.

From the National Right To Work Committee release:

Today, Mark Mix, President of the 2.6 million-member National Right to Work Committee, praised the Indiana House and Senate for passage of the Indiana Right to Work Law.

Mr. Mix said, “This is a great day for Indiana’s workers and taxpayers.

“After a ten-year struggle involving hundreds of thousands of mobilized Hoosiers, Indiana will finally be able to enjoy all the benefits of a Right to Work law,” said Mr. Mix.

“Today, the Indiana Senate passed the Right to Work Bill by a vote of 28 to 22. The bill has already passed the House, so it now goes straight to Governor Daniels, who has vowed to sign it, making Indiana America’s 23rd Right to Work state,” continued Mix.

Mr. Mix continued, “The Right to Work Law will free nearly 200,000 Hoosiers who have been forced to pay tribute to a union boss for the privilege of getting up everyday and going to work so they can provide for their families.”

Proponents of the bill expect that passage of the Right to Work law will provide significant economic benefits for Indiana and Indiana workers.

For the past decade, non-agricultural employment in Right to Work states grew twice as fast compared to that in non-Right to Work states like Indiana, according to data from the Department of Labor.

“On the job front,” said Mr. Mix, “virtually every site selection consultant on record has testified that as many as half of their clients will not even consider expanding or relocating to non-Right to Work states.”

Governor Daniels experienced this problem firsthand, reporting recently that when Volkswagen was looking to build a production facility in America, he was unable to get the company to even return his phone calls.

Volkswagen ended up choosing to open its new facility in the Right to Work state of Tennessee.


Speak No Bush

Jaded Haven
Verbaim Post

Rod Dreher speaks a harsh truth.

Can you find a single significant point on which Romney, Gingrich, or Santorum differ substantially from George W. Bush? It’s amazing. If Bush were considered a successful president, they would be bringing him up all the time. That they do not, even as they have an incumbent Democrat they deride as a failure, tells you that they know Bush and his legacy are poison. And yet, they may not believe in Bush, but they sure believe in what he stood for. And so does the GOP base, evidently.

Here’s the precise point where I take flight from the base and my lifelong political party. I’m no longer willing to support non-conservative, unconstitutional, financially unsustainable domestic or foreign policy agendas simply because of their Republican origins.

I don’t want a disastrous repeat of the Bush years and can’t imagine why anyone of sound, conservative mind ever would.

The GOP has pushed me into the contrarian Ron Paul camp this season, I wish more would follow because the grand old party needs a serious overhaul.

GOP to Jobless: Send Obama Your Resume

Republicans are mocking President Barack Obama for telling an unemployed semi conductor engineer’s wife to send him a resume so he could try to discover why the man has been out of work for three years.

Obama made his offer to Jennifer Wedel, a 29-year-old mother-of-two from Fort Worth, Texas, after she questioned him during an experimental Google+ question and answer session from the White House.

Now the Republican National Committee has launched a website,, in which it offers to drop off any resume to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

"We’re pretty sure the 12 million jobless Americans would all love to send their resumes to the White House for some help," RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said.

Second suspect in McKees Rocks home invasion turns himself in

Via Tom

The second suspect in a violent McKees Rocks home invasion surrendered to police today, but the assault rifle and grenades stolen in the incident haven't been recovered, police said.

Rodney Grant Jr., 22, was arraigned today on charges of theft, burglary, robbery, conspiracy, terroristic threats and other crimes in connection with the Monday home invasion and was released from the Allegheny County Jail after posting $10,000 bond, court records show.

McKees Rocks police on Tuesday obtained an arrest warrant for Cameron Russell, 22, and Franklin Park police took him into custody after a traffic stop yesterday afternoon. Russell, of the Bellevue/West View area, is charged with theft, burglary, robbery, conspiracy and other crimes.

Russell remained in the Allegheny County Jail today in lieu of $10,000 bond.

Parker Gresh, 25, said his 25-year-old girlfriend, whom he declined to identify, was in their Gardner Street home alone about 7 p.m. Monday when she heard someone insert a key into the lock and open the front door.


Historic Lotz House - Battle of Franklin

Penguins and their young

Via Cousin Colby

Bismarck recordings found in Edison's lab

The only known recordings of Germany’s legendary Chancellor Otto von Bismarck have surfaced in the former laboratory of US inventor Thomas Edison.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the content of the wax cylinder records, which had been stored in a cabinet for decades, was only uncovered after the curator of the Edison museum in New Jersey played them on special phonograph.

Made by Edison’s assistant Theodor Wangemann in 1889 and 1890, the recordings include the only known sample of Bismarck’s voice, as well as recitations by German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke and several musical pieces.

“This is sensational,” said Ulrich Lappenk├╝per, director of the Otto von Bismarck Foundation in Friedrichsruh, Germany told the paper.

Known as the Iron Chancellor, Bismarck united Germany in 1871. At the time of the recording he was 74, and still the political leader of the German Empire.

The New York Times reported he recited poetry in English, Latin, French and German to Wangemann at his residence in Friedrichruh. The researchers were also surprised to hear he had also spoken parts of the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, considering the statesman had played a key role in Prussia’s defeat of France just prior to German unification.

This & That

Via Leo Spark


Via Theo Spark

What´s it like flying down a mountain at 250 km/h? Espen Fadnes - The World's Fastest Flying Human Being 2010 - and Project Managers Goovinn teamed up to communicate the experience of flying. "SENSE OF FLYING" came out of the collaboration.

Turn up the volume, experience it, share it.

Via Don, L&P

Gallup state numbers predict huge Obama loss

Via III Percent Patriots

Gallup released their annual state-by-state presidential approval numbers yesterday, and the results should have 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue very worried. If President Obama carries only those states where he had a net positive approval rating in 2011 (e.g. Michigan where he is up 48 percent to 44 percent), Obama would lose the 2012 election to the Republican nominee 323 electoral votes to 215.

Gallup adds:


FBI Uses Chainsaw In Raid On Wrong Fitchburg Apartment

Via On to Liberty

It’s going to be a while before things get back to normal for Judy Sanchez and her three-year-old daughter.

Last Thursday, a team of FBI agents swarmed her apartment building as part of a massive citywide drug and weapons gang raid.

Trouble is, Sanchez lives in apartment 2R.

The suspect they were after is in 2F.

At 6:04 last Thursday morning, just before Sanchez’ alarm was set to go off, she heard a pounding outside her second floor apartment.

Occupy Wall Street protesters throw condoms, drown out speakers at Rhode Island pro-life rally

Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street movement threw condoms on Catholic schoolgirls, refused to allow a Catholic priest to give a closing prayer, and shouted down a pro-life speaker at a Rhode Island right to life rally on Thursday, according to its organizer. The event marked the third time protesters associated with the movement have disrupted a pro-life meeting in a week.

About two-dozen members of Occupy Providence hiked from Burnside Park to the 39th Annual Pro-Life State House Rally organized by the Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee on Thursday.

The pro-life organization’s executive director, Barth E. Bracy, told that, near the end of the rally, the Occupiers “strategically fanned out with military precision.”

That’s when they “started showering condoms down on some of the girls from a Catholic high school.”

They gathered around speakers at the podium, shouting them down or otherwise jostling them and members of the audience.


Sheriff Mack for Congress

CONGRATULATIONS Sheriff Mack for being selected as one of the top 10 challenger candidates. The formal announcement will be made at a reception to be held Febuary 3rd and 4th at the historic Johnson Homested on the banks of the Colorado. Following the announcement the weekend will feature empowering speakers, exhibits, workshops and entertainment

Drowned in the swamps of Florida

Vox Popoli
Verbatim Post

The charade of the Newt Gingrich comes to its inevitable end:
Last week, New York magazine’s John Heilemann pointed out a deep truth about Newt Gingrich’s peculiar presidential campaign: The very media elite that Gingrich delights in hammering has actually been in his corner all along. The press likes a horse race; the press likes outsize personalities; the press favors an underdog; and the press even takes a strange sort of delight in being ruthlessly attacked.

Of course most political reporters don’t want Gingrich in the White House. But they’ve had every incentive to keep him in the headlines and overrate his odds of defeating Mitt Romney for the nomination.

Tuesday night’s Floridian drubbing won’t change those incentives, so we can expect a last burst of media chatter about how Gingrich could still recover, ride a wilderness campaign to a Super Tuesday comeback and fight Romney tooth and nail all the way to the convention. But chatter is all it will be. For Gingrich and his media enablers alike, the dream died in Florida....
The sooner Gingrich is out, the better. The only substantive choice is between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Even if Romney ultimately turns out to be the clear and unabashed choice of Republicans, as I expect him to be, at least people will have been presented a clear choice between debt-laden doom and the only way out of the banking abyss.

Burglar gets beaten, thrown off balcony


Recognizing the importance of always striving to reduce the mobility-destroying load-bearing requirements of the guerrilla fighter, it is critical to first dispel some long-cherished myths regarding the historical American woodsman-scout. When most Americans consider the archetype of the woodsman-scout, their visualization typically involves a frontiersman (eastern long-hunter or western “mountain man”) slipping silently and effortlessly through the timber, carrying everything he owns in a shoulder-slung “possibles” pouch or a small knapsack slung across his back. This, like the cowboy-plainsman with his bedroll strapped behind the cantle of his saddle, is for the most part, nothing more than Thoreauan mythology.

Prior to the World War Two introduction of realistically practical off-road motorized transport, long-term travel in the backcountry almost always involved the use of livestock for transportation of personnel and logistics. Guerrilla and irregular forces have historically made wide-spread use of the local indigenous beast of burden as well, whenever possible, even as recently as the GWOT (SF made rather extensive use of animal transport in the early days of OEF, thanks to the Northern Alliance's reliance on horseback transportation. Both SOF and conventional forces have continued to make use of pack animals, in various degrees, according to my sources, especially in the more remote, extremely alpine regions of Afghanistan.--J.M.). Nevertheless, for the light-infantry force, the paradigm in large part remains the focused on man-portable sustainment load-bearing equipment, in the form of rucksacks.

Homemade gun

Juan Williams Finds Racism in Use of 'Constitution' and 'Founding Fathers'

So a guy whose contract was terminated by NPR on a phony pretext for not toeing the liberal line enough, including writing a book ("Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It") which indicted the modern civil-rights movement for, well, undermining Black America, now appears to want eliminate "Constitution" and "Founding Fathers" from the lexicon of Republican candidates -- and possibly, it would appear, from political discussion in general -- because, well, they're racial code words. How ironic.

That is what Juan Williams outrageously claims in his latest column at the Hill today (bold is mine):

Obama's Plan to FORCE You to Pay More for Electricity

Smart Bullets

Townhall monthly presidential poll

The media may be viewing the race for the GOP presidential nomination as Mitt Romney versus everyone else, but the voters in the Townhall and HotAir Republican Straw Poll are painting a very different picture. For the third month in a row the battle for the Straw Poll has been Newt Gingrich versus everyone else, with Mitt Romney continuing to languish near the bottom.

With exit polls in the Florida primary showing the most conservative voters casting their ballots for Newt Gingrich combined with another impressive win in the Straw Poll this may be a sign of a groundswell of support in the upcoming nominating contests.

After Gingrich there is a logjam of support for the other candidates. Ron Paul was the only candidate who seemingly did not benefit from the campaign exits of Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman. Rick Santorum gained the most from those exits in addition to his belated Iowa victory. Every candidate has vowed to keep their campaigns going until the last possible moment so this race is just heating up!

Poll: Do you consider the NAACP a racist organization? +3

Via Billy

Costa Concordia Grounding data

Via Cousin Colby

Click on the link below to watch a fascinating and accurate picture of the actual track of Costa Concordia as it approached Point di Castellari about 20:35. You can see that they were steering directly toward Giglio Island at 15.5 knots. As they neared the point, the ship began to execute a nearly 60 degree turn to the north. Although the Rate of Turn (ROT) data did not seem to be working, it is interesting to watch the turn develop, at the last minute, apparently with hard over helm that caused a significant "advance" toward the rocks on the Point. (Advance is the track a ship continues to maintain sideways when a hard turn is executed. ((A skid)) It is exacerbated by full rudder and a high rate of speed).

After striking the rocks, the ship continued to lose speed until it seemed to be almost dead in the water just north of its final resting place. It appears that there was some power available to make an almost 180 degree turn and slowly thrust the vessel sideways toward the beach, possibly aided by wind or current. . Note the differences between the compass heading (HDG) and the Course Over Ground (COG).

This data was obtained from the Concordia's AIS transmitter, a device required to be carried on all large ships, that transmits the vessel's position, as determined by GPS, to other vessels and shore monitors by means of VHF radio. The abbreviated data shown in the square box is just a small part of all the information that is available. The position data can be plotted on a navigation chart showing time intervals as seen here in the picture.

A sad story indeed. You may draw you own conclusions about what happened.

Coolest Small Town Results 2012: Beaufort, NC 36.2% = Hammondsport, NY 36.0%

In this season of elections and campaigns in politics, Hollywood, American Idol–land, and beyond, the closest contest of all may well have been Budget Travel magazine’s 7th "Coolest Small Towns." It was so close, in fact, that we have declared a tie between Beaufort, N.C, and Hammondsport, N.Y.

Hammondsport and Beaufort had been locked in fierce battle for much of the month-long vote, seesawing back and forth for the top spot. In the final hours of online voting, toward midnight of Jan. 31, the traffic was so intense that it crashed the Budget Travel website. The site had been programmed to cut off voting at the stroke of midnight and declare a winner, and at precisely 12 a.m. it did—picking Beaufort, which was technically ahead by a few votes at that time. However, since voters in several parts of the country had been locked out due to the site crash, Budget Travel editors decided it was impossible to determine which town would have won had all things been equal for all voters. "We have to declare a tie," said Lisa Schneider, the general manager for digital products. "It’s the only thing that’s fair under these circumstances."

In the end, more than 360,000 votes were cast, with Beaufort and Hammondsport receiving 36.2 and 36.0 percent of the vote respectively. Third place went to Weaverville, Calif., with 13.0 percent. The contest is open to towns with populations under 10,000. Last year’s winner was Lewisburg, W.Va. 45th Reunion, Greenbrier Military School

Red Alert: Credit Default Swaps Explained

News out of Brussels last night was that a package is being put together that would haircut Greek bonds by 70%, thus only paying back 30 cents on the dollar to anyone holding Greek paper. This will set a precedent that will eventually be played out all over Europe.

Full AP story HERE.

This is extremely bad, and will spell the end of the big U.S. banks and the financial system in total. But EVERYONE needs to understand credit default swaps (CDS) first. CDS are insurance policies that investors have traded – very similar to OPTIONS for my old clients and cattle people out there. Buying a CDS is essentially like buying a put. The buyer pays a premium, or fee, to the writer, or seller of the CDS that says that the seller will guarantee and make whole the buyer’s position in a specific bond IF the entity behind the bond (such as Greece) defaults. In exchange for paying the premium and being made whole after a default, the buyer of the CDS surrenders the bond position to the seller of the CDS, and the seller gets to keep both the premium paid plus gets to keep any salvage value of the defaulted bond.

So the CDS buyer pays a premium or fee, and the seller guarantees against a default but gets to take ownership of the bonds and keep any salvage value if a default does happen.

Here is what I STRONGLY suspect is going to happen with this 70% haircut plan. The bondholders are going to take the full brunt of the 70% haircut, BUT the body that actually dictates whether or not a default has happened – the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) – will declare that this credit event is NOT a default, and thus all of the banks and entities that THOUGHT that their European debt positions were hedged with CDS will find out that they have no protection at all. And then the excrement hits the fan. Big time.


Mongolian Nomads Build a Yurt in an Hour, You Can Watch It in Two Minutes

Via Survival

Being a Mongolian nomad, it may not surprise you that Shagdarsuren Herelchuluun and family can build a ger (or more commonly known by the Russian “yurt”) in just over an hour. But thanks to the impressive time-lapse filming of Dan Grossman, you can watch the entire process in just over two minutes. Watching them put the home together, and the seeing the natural beauty of the surrounding Lake Hovsgol area, makes me feel like a rube for paying rent.

The nomadic people of Mongolia don't stay in one place for long. That's why they live in gers (which American's know by the Russian name, yurt), a home that is fast and easy to assemble and disassemble. Putting up a ger (pronounced gair) is fast and easy, but its best done by an entire family. This ger was moved by the family of Shagdarsuren Herelchuluun, on the east side of Lake Hovsgol, in northern Mongolia, not far from the Russian border.

The sound track of this video is music recorded at the Choijin Lama Temple Museum in Ulaanbator, the Mongolian capital.