Friday, July 25, 2014

Bellevue ignores cost of having light rail

Again, Bellevue thinks it would be cool to have trains to Seattle. But they don't want an ugly rail yard in their city. Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci voted against Sound Transit's choice of a Bellevue site near 120 Ave NE. And she had reasons to oppose that site.

Question Madam Mayor: What site do you prefer? Seattle's site can't handle the growth. Where on the east side would you put it?

Seattle Times

Why do we fund Planned Parenthood?

Why are your tax dollars paying for this? In Portland, Oregon a Planned Parenthood worker was filmed telling a 15-year-old girl that she might like Sado-masichistic sex. She even tells her where to buy the handcuffs used in s-m sex.

ObamaCare is paying PP for teen sex education.

Watch the video, since this is unbelievable. At PowerLine Blog

Daily Caller transcribes the dialogue.

Planned Parenthood (PDF) says they get $540 million per year government funding.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Envionmentalists want to kill capitalism

Environmentalists want to kill capitalism, no, they say they HAVE to kill capitalism. They met in socialist oil power Venezuela.

But the United Nations people convening the meeting were surprised to have many UN efforts condemned: cap-and-trade and forest conservation programs. And it is against the “green economy” efforts of richer nations like the US. The poorer nations want cash! Ithought this was about the environment, but it seems to be enriching governments. Many of those governments are one strong person. Give him the cash: Marduro in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia and Castro brothers in power for 50 years; give the cash to them? How will that aid the environment?

Their report is Margarita Declaration. (PDF in Spanish)

Daily Caller

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Washington wildfires

ArcGis Washington wildfires 7 23 14

Great interactive map of wildfires in Washington.

Acrgis powered by ESRI.

Graphic is a screen capture, so it is static. Wenatchee is at bottom; Lake Chelan in the middle.

Xs are current fires. Dark orange are perimeters of current fires. Yellow dots - burning w/i 24 hours. Purple - perimeters of historic fires; the older the dimmer.

Extended benefits and longer unemployment

When extended unemployment benefits are in place people stay unemployed longer. Does the benefit cause people not to work? To delay accepting a job? Federal Reserve Bank researchers say “yes."

Federal Reserve of St. Louis - the report

In summary, we find that the extension of unemployment benefits affected the labor market status of long-term unemployed workers in late 2013. Without extended UI benefits, these unemployed workers would have been more likely to be employed, more likely to exit the labor force, and on average 1.9 percent less likely to remain unemployed in the following period. In short, our simulated early termination of the EUC program lowered the unemployment rate by 3 to 5 basis points, suggesting that the December 2013 expiration of the EUC program might have slightly lowered the unemployment rate in early 2014.'

Via Townhall

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Argentina's train to the clouds

Argentina has a remarkable train known as “Tren a las Nubes,” the train to the clouds. It climbs from picturesque Salta to 4,200 meters, which is 13,800 feet. It was built to serve a mine that is closed, so it has no destination. But it ends at a spectacular curved trestle 70 meters (230 feet) high.

Amusing Planets

During the 16-hour trip, the train travels 217 km and climbs a staggering 3,000 meters. It crosses 29 bridges, 12 viaducts, 21 tunnels, swoops round two gigantic loops and two switchbacks. Train to The Clouds got its name from the numerous clouds that are often seen under bridges and around slopes.

Tren a las nubes 6 2

The photo - Viaducto La Polvorilla: credit to Guillermo Tomoyose at flickr.com.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gaza focus - Egypt involved and a cease fire

Elliott Abrams has some wise ideas on how the bring an end to the firing between Israel and Gaza.

First, trust Egypt to be key in the negotiations. Egypt shares interests with Israel. Hamas is a threat to Egypt also. If Qatar or Turkey intervene they have no such interest and might give the store to Hamas.

Cease fire - now. Don’t reward Hamas for firing on civilians. No fancy agreement, just a cease fire.

Eliot Abrams at CFR blog:

The best thing Secretary Kerry can do this weekend is tell Qatar and Turkey that the United States supports Israel and Egypt, and we want a quick, plain, and simple cease-fire–with no gains for Hamas. The terrorist group cannot be permitted to improve its situation by putting millions of Palestinians and Israelis at risk, hiding behind mosques and hospitals and schools, shooting thousands of rockets at civilians, and causing day after day of death and destruction.

Putin drove Russia off the cliff

Malaysian flight MH17 was definitely shot down by a Russian missile. PM Putin will blame everyone except his Russian military and the Russians he is supporting in Ukraine.

Tom Nichols is Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College says Putin messed up big time and a stench will be on Russia as long as Putin is a leader, which means as long as he lives. At The Federalist

… The moment Flight 17 exploded was the moment that Putin’s foreign policy officially went over the ledge, and with it his dreams of restored Russian greatness.

Until now, Moscow claimed it was protecting the interests of Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine. That was nonsense right from the start, but it was nonsense the Americans and Europeans decided they could live with, as galling as it was. (Who, after all, protects the rights of Russians in Russia? Certainly not Putin.) The West looked away as Putin seized Crimea, as we conveniently convinced ourselves that this was some odd ethnic quarrel in which we had no say. Now that a civilian airliner has been blown out of the sky by a Russian missile, however, there can be no further denial that Russia is actively pursuing a major proxy war against its neighbor in the center of Europe, and with a brutality that would make the now-departed marshals of the old Soviet high command smile with approval. This is no longer a war on Ukraine, but a war on the entire post-Cold War international order.

Putin, for his part, has already blamed Ukraine for the loss of the airliner in a careful, weird statement that makes no sense. His complaint, essentially, is that the authorities in Kyiv had the temerity to defend their country against Russia’s invasion and the daily, piecemeal dismantling of the Ukrainian state. With the exception of the usual Kremlin apologists (Professor Stephen Cohen dutifully carried this argument forward the night of the shootdown on Al Jazeera), no one is going to take that position seriously with 300 innocent people strewn all over the fields of eastern Ukraine.

And

… Either way, the stink of this act will now irrevocably cling to the Russian Federation for as long as Putin is in charge, no matter what his rationalizations.

The Soviet Union – Putin’s first love – likewise never escaped the stain of the downing of a Korean passenger jet in 1983. Just as the Russian separatists are doing now, the Soviets tried to prevent access to the crash area, lied about their own actions, and then blamed others. Although the West imposed some nominal sanctions, the real price was paid in public diplomacy, because the Soviets never recovered an ability to push any further propaganda about their commitment to peace after an act of such savagery.

Read the whole thing.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Obamacare - Death-panel App

Some saw it sooner, like 2009. Central control of costs leads to rationing of care. Rationing of care leads to limiting life-saving procedures.

And who decides? Obamacare’s death panels. Now there is an app for it; just for cancer for now.

New York Post

The latest innovation in cancer care isn’t a medical breakthrough but an app to ration new drugs. It’ll measure care in terms of what it costs health plans, instead of what it means for patients’ lives.

That it’s being developed under the auspices of the American Society for Clinical Oncology, or ASCO, the world’s leading oncology association, is a grim warning about the state of organized medicine.

The app will use an algorithm like those many health plans apply to limit access to innovative treatments. Wellpoint Inc., for one, measures cost-effectiveness by comparing the benefits, side effects and costs of various treatments for specific types of cancer. The ASCO app uses the same benchmarks.

That’s no coincidence. At ASCO’s national conference, Dr. Lee Newcomer, United Healthcare’s medical director, said the “motives [of insurers] are viewed with suspicion when it comes to deciding whether a treatment is cost-effective. So having ASCO play a key role in establishing such guidelines would be crucial to their implementation.”

Translation: Patients are more likely to accept rationing if it comes with a “medical seal of approval.”

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Democrat candidate shoots stuffed elephant in his own ad

Democrat Estakio Beltran shoots a stuffed elephant in his video ad. He makes it clear that he is symbolically shooting Republicans. He is running for the seat in Congress being vacated by Doc. Hastings - central Washington.

Breitbart 

According to the Seattle Times the shooting only bothers conservatives. Candidate Beltran was not available to defend his actions in the ad and his judgement in running it. 

The video opens with the blue-jeans wearing Beltran posing with hands on hips alongside an arid landscape by a country road. “They call me a long shot. They say I can’t win in this district,” Beltran says. “But what happens to an elephant when it stands around, doing nothing, for too long?”

The camera pans to an elephant pinata, and then back to Beltran, who shoulders a pump-action shotgun and blasts the Republican Party symbol in the rear. “My name is Estakio Beltran,” the candidate says, racking the shotgun. “And I approved this message.”

Beltran then rides off on a burro toward a sign pointing toward the U.S. Capitol.

The ad may have been intended as humorous, but some conservative websites are questioning the message, arguing Democrats would flip out if a GOP candidate blasted away at a symbol of the Democratic Party.

Beltran must not know the record of the Republican-led US House of Representatives. They have passed lots of bills through the normal process of committee hearings. But when they go to Harry Reid’s Senate Harry stuffs them.

But Beltran is very sensitive about handguns and rifles:

Last month, Beltran criticized Republican candidate Clint Didier for giving away two pistols and a rifle to publicize his campaign and his support of the Second Amendment.

Beltran questioned the sensitivity of Didier’s gun giveaway coming after the June 5 shooting at Seattle Pacific University that left one person dead and two wounded. He told the Tri-City Herald he was a supporter of gun rights but “sensitive to the grief” surrounding recent shootings.

Didier didn’t take a shot at his opponent. Beltran did. The ad is currently on YouTube.

TSA is allowing illegals to fly without verifiable ID

President Obama’s TSA is allowing illegals to fly without verifiable identification. You ca’t fly without it. I can’t. But we are not illegal; they are favored.

How to we know? TSA employees tell us. The source is the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC). “The aliens who are getting released on their own recognizance are being allowed to board and travel commercial airliners by simply showing their Notice to Appear forms,” NBPC’s Local 2455 Spokesman, Hector Garza, told Breitbart Texas.

This is not on special flights, but on the flights you and I go on!!

Breitbart Texas

I expect Obama has several highly paid camera talkers who will deny it. But the front-line workers are telling us.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Senator Schumer says people of faith cannot own businesses and keep their faith

Senator Schumer says people of faith cannot own businesses and keep their faith. He says your faith might be a right, but being able to support yourself is not.

He is on the war path due to the Hobby Lobby ruling by the US Supreme Court. The Supremes said that people of faith do have some rights when they own a business. Honorable Senator Chucky wants to change that.

This is more interesting because the Hobby Lobby decision was based on a bill Honorable Senator Schumer introduced in 1993 - Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  Last month the Supreme Court found that that law passed by Congress takes precedence over Obama’s administrative rules. Because acts of Congress are always above administrative “law.” So business owners can act according to their consciences.

But Senator Schumer says: So take your freedom and sit in mediocrity. Don’t be creative and start and business that employs people.

CNS News

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Texas has added one million jobs. California 24,900

Since the start of the Great Recession Texas has added far more jobs than California which is larger. One million versus 24,900. By Percentage 9.5 versus 0.16. !

One state has succeeded being prosperous. The other has failed.

What is the difference? Texas is pro-energy. Right-to-work. Is friendly to business. Has much, much cheaper electricity. California is becoming like 3rd world - the very well off along the coast while the interior is much poorer and losing people.

AE Ideas

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Costco pulls D'Souza book from shelves

Costco pulled Dinesh D’Souza’s new book from its shelves - America: Imagine a world without her. Why? It just came out!

Washington Times

From the publisher:


Is America a source of pride, as Americans have long held, or shame, as Progressives allege? Beneath an innocent exterior, are our lives complicit in a national project of theft, expropriation, oppression, and murder, or is America still the hope of the world?


New York Times bestselling author Dinesh D'Souza says these questions are no mere academic exercise. It is the Progressive view that is taught in our schools, that is preached by Hollywood, and that shapes the policies of the Obama administration. If America is a force for inequality and injustice in the world, its power deserves to be diminished; if traditional America is based on oppression and theft, then traditional America must be reformed—and the federal government can do the reforming.


In America: Imagine a World without Her D'Souza offers a passionate and sharply reasoned defense of America, knocking down every important accusation made by Progressives against our country.




Update: It is the #1 seller at Amazon. That is evidence that Costco pulled it for politics.

Newt Gingrich was right about Medicare

The New York Times admits that Ex-Speaker Newt Gingrich was right about private options of Medicare. Specifically Medicare Advantage.

NYT

On Oct. 24, 1995, Newt Gingrich made an assertion about what would happen to Medicare if its beneficiaries could choose between it and private plans. Medicare is “going to wither on the vine because we think people are voluntarily going to leave it — voluntarily.” Though he later walked this statement back, many observers viewed it as an attack on the program.

In fact, over the nearly two decades since, Mr. Gingrich’s claim has undergone something of a test — and it

In that time, Medicare beneficiaries have enjoyed various levels of access to private alternatives to traditional Medicare through the Medicare Advantage program and its predecessors. These private Medicare plans must provide at least the same level of benefits as traditional Medicare, though may offer more generous benefits voluntarily. They are subsidized by the federal government, often to the degree that many beneficiaries pay no premium even when receiving more benefits than they would from the traditional program

Who wants to watch players fake injuries?

I doubt I will ever be a fan of soccer. Watch a game and you see a player who is injured put on a great show of pain. Then after some penalty is or is not levied, he jumps up and returns to the action.

Forbes has the count: Brazil has the most fake injuries.

Forbes

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Michelle victory - 1,000,000 fewer kids eat school lunch

Michelle Obama's healthy standards for school lunches are driving kids away. They say the Michelle lunches taste bad. Athletes are too weak to practice after school.

Victory for Michelle Obama. 1,000,000 kids are no longer dependent on the government for their lunch.

AP

"The last thing that we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids' health, especially when we're finally starting to see some progress on this issue," Mrs. Obama said at the White House, where she met with a group of school nutrition experts, all of whom were friendly toward the standards.

But that is just what Her Royal Highness is doing. Pressuring Congress. And she really counts the current program as a success. She says she does. 1,000,000 fewer kids getting school lunches. It looks like failure to me.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Independence Day 2014

Stars stripes Wheel 05 28 06

Today, July 4, we celebrate the bold move when a few colonists claimed independence from Great Britain. They did so, not on the basis of power or racial group, but citing universal principles that apply to everyone - rights that belong to everyone. That the rights don’t come from government, but from God. Indeed, it is government’s job to protect these rights! The text - first paragraphs:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. [I added two paragraph breaks to emphasize two key sentences.]

And it continues with a long list of King George’s violations. Complete text at Archiving Early America.

Independence Day celebrations in Washington State About.com

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Less plastic in world's oceans

Maybe plastic bags do decompose. Researchers surveying the oceans for plastic found less than expected. They studied 3,700 samples around the world, looking not just for pieces of plastic, but also at microscopic products of decomposure. They found the levels are not higher than in the 1980s.

Do we still have a crisis that requires Home Depot in Shoreline WA to charge for bags on $500 purchases?

Seattle Times

Friday, June 27, 2014

Teachers protest money in education

Kids in class

Teachers marched Thursday to protest Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s involvement in K-12 education. They marched from Westlake Park to the Gates Foundation across from the Space Needle. I don’t know if they blocked any traffic, but the city was warning of traffic disruptions.

Gates Foundation is putting a lot of money into K-12. Do they want less money?  But if the Gateses were NOT putting money into education they would be begging  for them to.

And they are shocked that strings are attached to private money. Yes, strings are attached to most money. When the federal government funds K-12 education they are very clear about what must be done; those are strings.

Gates spent a lot of money on writing and implementing the Common Core standards which have been adopted by Washington and 44 other states.  The NEA says 75% of teachers support it/them - NEA. But here they are concerned that Gates supports teacher evaluations being tied to student test scores, though Gates has recently called for a delay of two years while implementation of Common Core progresses.

Seattle Times - This was written before the event.

KING 5 today. The link to the story says “More than 100 teachers, parents and advocates marched…” But the story itself does not include information about the number of protesters.

The photo: Found at Users.sch.gr.