Boston Herald – Finally, we get the note in the boat — a month late.
Do you how much media effort has been devoted to unearthing what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apparently thought was his last will and testament? But somehow, the cops held it tight until yesterday.
Unconfirmed stories have circulated that in Dave Henneberry’s backyard in Watertown that Friday evening, the feds went so far as to check out the cellphones of the local cops, to make sure no one had snapped a photo of the note in the boat.
No big surprises in the note in the boat. The Joker said his brother Speedbump was a “martyr in paradise,” and that the victims in Boston were “collateral damage” for Muslim civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. He praised Allah and said, “When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims.” Tell that to the Syrians, EBT boy.
The big question is, Why the monthlong blackout on the note in the boat? Why didn’t the feds release it immediately?
And the answer is obvious. It didn’t fit the Politically Correct narrative, that the reasons for this shocking atrocity remained a mystery, a riddle, an enigma, wink wink nudge nudge.
The Beautiful People were all toeing the PC line, that the bomber couldn’t have possibly been anybody except a cracker redneck Tea Party member. That was the unanimous verdict on MSNBC. Hey, it happened on Tax Day. That was David Axelrod’s theory. A blogger said he was praying that it was a “white” terrorist, because if the bombers were who they turned out to be, it would hurt Dear Leader’s agenda.
This Benghazi-like agitprop went right to the top.
Barack Obama, April 15: “We still do not know who did this, or why, and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts.”
Technically, we didn’t know, but …
Deval Patrick, April 16: “There are times when all kinds of forces conspire to make people think of categories of people sometimes in uncharitable ways.”
Even after he was arrested, the Joker was portrayed by the rumpswab media as a scrawny, floppy-haired “All-American boy.” Some stories are just too good to check out, especially if the facts will demolish Dear Leader’s talking points.
The note in the boat turned up Friday night. Seems likely that Deval Patrick knew what was in it soon thereafter. But that Sunday, he goes on “Face the Nation” and Bob Schieffer asks him if he has “any clearer idea” why the “two young men” did it.
“Not yet, Bob. Uh, and it’s hard, it’s hard for me and for many to imagine what could motivate uh, people to, uh, harm, uh, innocent men, women and children, uh, in the way that, uh, these two fellows did.”
Was it really that hard to imagine? And how could you not know, if you had read the note in the boat?
All together now, repeat after me: Nothing to see here folks, move along!
Outdoor Life – It’s a phone call I’m sure he’ll never forget.
At 2:00 PM on Monday, May 13 James R. Bramlett received official word that his goliath striped bass is the new International Game Fish Association world record for a landlocked stripers.
James caught the 69-pound, 9-ounce fish on the Black Warrior River, near the Gorgas Steam Plant in Alabama on February 28, 2013. IGFA World Records Coordinator Jack Vitek told James that his fish entered the record books at 69 pounds 9 ounces, 44.1 inches long with a 37.75-inch girth.
To put these statistics into perspective, consider that an average 10-year-old American boy weighs 70 pounds and measures 51 inches tall.
That’s a big fish!
James’ fish tops the previous Alabama state record set in 1959 by 15 pounds and the former IGFA record by about two pounds.
A mount of James’s monster fish should be ready to display in his home in the next week or two.
Washington Times – Julian Bond, with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said during a Tuesday interview on MSNBC that it’s only right and just that the federal government and the IRS target tea party groups.
Tea party groups are, after all, “overtly racist” and the “Taliban wing of American politics,” Mr. Bond said, Mediaite reported. The IRS ought to look over these groups’ shoulders, he said — at the same time condemning former President Bush, for what he alleged was that administration’s biased push for the IRS to investigate the NAACP.
The NAACP was investigated for improper political activities in 2004 after Mr. Bond made a speech that was highly critical of Mr. Bush, Mediaite reported. The group was later cleared of any wrongdoing. But Mr. Bond hasn’t forgotten, and said his group was “unfairly targeted,” Mediaite said.
He denied holding a double standard with today’s IRS targeting of tea party groups and yesteryear’s IRS investigation of the NAACP.
“I don’t think there’s a double standard at all,” he said, in the MSNBC report. “I think it’s entirely legitimate to look at the tea party. I mean, here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who tried as best they can to harm President Obama … They are the Taliban wing of American politics and we all ought to be a little worried about them.”
New York Times – A day after two game-changing politicians signed up at the last minute as candidates for Iran’s presidential elections in June, the country’s governing establishment reacted angrily, predicting that they would not be allowed to participate or that they would definitely lose.
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a protégé of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani signed up at the end of a five-day registration period on Saturday, shocking opponents who had bet on their preferred candidates’ being the only ones running in the June 14 election.
The governing establishment, a loose alliance of conservative Shiite Muslim clerics and Revolutionary Guards commanders who hold sway over the judiciary, security forces, Parliament and state news media, came out in full force on Sunday, attacking the candidates.
“Hashemi knows he is unpopular, a loser and is too old,” Mehdi Taeb, a hard-line cleric affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying of Mr. Rafsanjani by the semiofficial Fars news agency on Sunday. He added that Mr. Mashaei “only registered because he wants to sabotage the vote, or make sure there is a low turnout and possibly cause riots on the streets.”
Iran’s Guardian Council, a conservative vetting body that will decide by May 23 who will be allowed to run, said it planned to report Mr. Ahmadinejad to the judiciary for what it said was his “illegal” support of a candidate, Mr. Mashaei.
Laissez Faire Today – The gas gauge broke. There was no smartphone app to tell me how much was left, so I ran out. I had to call the local gas station to give me enough to get on my way. The gruff but lovable attendant arrived in his truck and started to pour gas in my car’s tank. And pour. And pour.
“Hmmm, I just hate how slow these gas cans are these days,” he grumbled. “There’s no vent on them.”
That sound of frustration in this guy’s voice was strangely familiar, the grumble that comes when something that used to work but doesn’t work anymore, for some odd reason we can’t identify.
I’m pretty alert to such problems these days. Soap doesn’t work. Toilets don’t flush. Clothes washers don’t clean. Light bulbs don’t illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It’s all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice.
It’s like the barbarian invasions that wrecked Rome, taking away the gains we’ve made in bettering our lives. It’s the bureaucrats’ way of reminding market producers and consumers who is in charge.
Surely, the gas can is protected. It’s just a can, for goodness sake. Yet he was right. This one doesn’t have a vent. Who would make a can without a vent unless it was done under duress? After all, everyone knows to vent anything that pours. Otherwise, it doesn’t pour right and is likely to spill.
It took one quick search. The whole trend began in (wait for it) California. Regulations began in 2000, with the idea of preventing spillage. The notion spread and was picked up by the EPA, which is always looking for new and innovative ways to spread as much human misery as possible.
An ominous regulatory announcement from the EPA came in 2007: “Starting with containers manufactured in 2009… it is expected that the new cans will be built with a simple and inexpensive permeation barrier and new spouts that close automatically.”
The government never said “no vents.” It abolished them de facto with new standards that every state had to adopt by 2009. So for the last three years, you have not been able to buy gas cans that work properly. They are not permitted to have a separate vent. The top has to close automatically. There are other silly things now, too, but the biggest problem is that they do not do well what cans are supposed to do.
And don’t tell me about spillage. It is far more likely to spill when the gas is gurgling out in various uneven ways, when one spout has to both pour and suck in air. That’s when the lawn mower tank becomes suddenly full without warning, when you are shifting the can this way and that just to get the stuff out.
There’s also the problem of the exploding can. On hot days, the plastic models to which this regulation applies can blow up like balloons. When you release the top, gas flies everywhere, including possibly on a hot engine. Then the trouble really begins.
Never heard of this rule? You will know about it if you go to the local store. Most people buy one or two of these items in the course of a lifetime, so you might otherwise have not encountered this outrage.
Yet let enough time go by. A whole generation will come to expect these things to work badly. Then some wise young entrepreneur will have the bright idea, “Hey, let’s put a hole on the other side so this can work properly.” But he will never be able to bring it into production. The government won’t allow it because it is protecting us!
It’s striking to me that the websites and institutions that complain about government involvement in our lives never mentioned this, at least not so far as I can tell. The only sites that seem to have discussed this are the boating forums and the lawn forums. These are the people who use these cans more than most. The level of anger and vitriol is amazing to read, and every bit of it is justified.
There is no possible rationale for these kinds of regulations. It can’t be about emissions really, since the new cans are more likely to result in spills. It’s as if some bureaucrat were sitting around thinking of ways to make life worse for everyone, and hit upon this new, cockamamie rule.
These days, government is always open to a misery-making suggestion. The notion that public policy would somehow make life better is a relic of days gone by. It’s as if government has decided to specialize in what it is best at and adopt a new principle: “Let’s leave social progress to the private sector; we in the government will concentrate on causing suffering and regress.”
You are already thinking of hacks. Why not just stab the thing with a knife and be done with it? If you have to transport the can in the car, that’s a problem. You need a way to plug the vent with something.
Some boating forums have suggested drilling a hole and putting a tire stem in there and using the screw top as the way to close the hole. Great idea. Just what I wanted to do with my Saturday afternoon, hacking the gas can to make it work exactly as well as it did three years ago, before government wrecked it.
You can also buy an old-time metal can. It turns out that special regulations pertain here, too, and it’s all about the spout, which is not easy to fill. They are also unusually expensive. I’m not sure that either of these options is ideal.
It fascinates me to see how these regulations give rise to market-based workarounds. I’ve elsewhere called this the speak-easy economy. The government bans something. No one likes the ban. People are determined to get on with their lives, regardless. They step outside the narrow bounds of the law.
It wouldn’t surprise me to find, for example, a sudden proliferation of heavy-duty “water cans” in 1- and 5-gallon sizes, complete with nice spouts and vents, looking almost exactly like the gas cans you could get anywhere just a few years ago. How very interesting to discover this.
Of course, this law-abiding writer would never advocate buying one of these and using it for some purpose other than what is written on the package. Doing something like that would show profound disrespect for our betters in the bureaucracies. And if I did suggest something like that, there’s no telling the trouble that it would bring down on my head.
Ask yourself this: If they can wreck such a normal and traditional item like this, and do it largely under the radar screen, what else have they mandatorily malfunctioned? How many other things in our daily lives have been distorted, deformed and destroyed by government regulations?
If some product annoys you in surprising ways, there’s a good chance that it is not the invisible hand at work, but rather the regulatory grip that is squeezing the life out of civilization itself.
Associated Press – The head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency says that the Obama administration has discussed declassifying key data on U.S. missile defense in order to provide it to Russia.
The administration has been exploring how to ease Russian concerns that the U.S. missile defense shield is aimed at countering Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
Arms control advocates have suggested that revealing missile interceptor capabilities could provide a breakthrough on an issue that Russia says stands in the way of nuclear arms reductions. But doing so would provoke charges by Republicans that the administration is compromising national security to appease Moscow.
Under questioning at a hearing on Wednesday, Missile Defense Agency director Vice Adm. James Syring said that he has discussed declassifying data, including the speed of interceptors, with senior Defense Department officials.
Missile defense has long been a contentious issue between the United States and Russia. The U.S. has said that its capabilities are aimed at countering threats from Iran and North Korea. It says that its interceptors would not pose a threat to Russia’s huge nuclear arsenal.
Obama has twice altered U.S. missile defense plans in Europe that Russia had stridently opposed. He has said the decisions were about better addressing threats. But Republicans have charged that they were aimed at soothing Russian objections.
Maybe we can transmit the data to them via Chinese satellite.
USA Today – An 83-year-old nun and two fellow protesters were convicted Wednesday of interfering with national security when they broke into the primary storehouse for bomb-grade uranium in the U.S.
It took the jury about 2 ½ hours to find the three protesters guilty of a charge of interfering with national security and a second charge of damaging federal property.
The trio spent two hours inside the complex, which has had a hand in making, maintaining or dismantling parts of every nuclear weapon in the country’s arsenal. They cut through security fences, hung banners, strung crime-scene tape and hammered off a small chunk of the fortress-like Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, or HEUMF, inside the most secure part of complex.
Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, who testified on their own behalf during their federal trial, said they have no remorse for their actions and were pleased to reach one of the most secure parts of the facility.
Defense attorneys said in closing arguments Wednesday that federal prosecutors had overreached in the charges against the trio because of the embarrassment caused by the break-in.
“The shortcomings in security at one of the most dangerous places on the planet have embarrassed a lot of people,” defense lawyer Francis Lloyd said. “You’re looking at three scapegoats behind me.”
Prosecutor Jeff Theodore was dismissive of claims that the protesters’ actions were beneficial to security.
The head of an agency charged with safeguarding the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile said the breach is “completely unacceptable” and an “important wake-up call.” Neile Miller, acting administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, told a Senate subcommittee Wednesday that officials have taken “decisive action” since the incident, including a new management team and a new defense security chief to oversee all NNSA sites.
Rice said during cross examination that she wished she hadn’t waited so long to stage a protest inside the plant.
“My regret was I waited 70 years,” she said. “It is manufacturing that which can only cause death.”
Rice said she didn’t feel obligated to ask the Catholic bishop in the area for permission to act at Y-12. Challenged by a prosecutor about whether it would have been a courtesy to inform superiors of her plans, Rice responded: “I’ve been guilty of many discourtesies in my life.”
Boertje-Obed explained why they sprayed baby bottles full of human blood on the exterior of the facility.
“The reason for the baby bottles was to represent that the blood of children is spilled by these weapons,” he said.
All three defendants said they felt guided by divine forces in finding their way through the darkness from the perimeter of the plant to the enriched uranium plant without being detected.
Guardian – Almost 80,000 people have applied to take part in a one-way mission to Mars, each of them completing a rigorous application that stresses the need for a “Can Do!” attitude, asks individuals about their sense of humour and requires the submission of an application fee that can be as much as $75.
Mars One, the Dutch company behind the proposed mission, says it has received applications from more than 120 countries. It also says that the role of Mars explorer/guinea pig is “the most desired job in history”. More than 17,000 of the applicants are from the US – the most of any country so far.
“These numbers put us right on track for our goal of half a million applicants,” said the founder of Mars One, Bas Lansdorp. “Mars One is a mission representing all humanity and its true spirit will be justified only if people from the entire world are represented. I’m proud that this is exactly what we see happening.”
According to the company’s chief medical officer, Norbert Kraft, Mars One is eschewing the usual astronaut candidates – scientists and pilots – in favour of YouTube fanatics and internet people, “because what we are looking for is not restricted to a particular background.”
All applicants have to do is pay the application fee, which ranges from $5 to $75 – in the US, it is $38 – and then submit a video in which they answer three questions. The specific queries chosen by Mars One to select four people to represent the expansion of the human race are:
1. Why would you like to go to Mars?
2. How would you describe your sense of humor?
3. What makes you the perfect candidate for this mission to Mars?
After completing the gruelling application, Mars hopefuls will have to sit tight for a while. Mars One is hoping that 500,000 will have applied by the end of August. That number will be whittled down to 50 to 100 for each of 300 geographic regions identified by the company. By 2015, that number will be reduced to between 28 and 40 overall.
Those people will train for seven years; Mars One plans to run a reality TV show with an “audience vote” deciding who will ultimately get the nod. The $6bn cost has to come from somewhere.
Happily, Mars One is publishing people’s video applications to their website, allowing peers to rank the videos on a scale of one to five. One of the best-rated applications is by Ilona, a Finnish, 23-year-old “critically discerning cosmopolitan” who says she is a “bookish diplomat by nature”. At the time of writing, one of the least popular applications had been submitted by Michael, 26, from the US, who lists his interests as “Star Trek: “minus the deep [s]pace nine”.