Archive for May, 2012

Princeton news: The bear UPDATED

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

This morning at 8AM the phone rang (yes, I was already up), and it was the Township Emergency Alert system calling with a recorded message telling residents that a bear had been sighted.

Turns out, the bear was up a tree at the cemetery yesterday, and apparently

traveled from the vicinity of the Princeton Shopping Center to the cemetery at the corner of Witherspoon and Wiggins streets in Princeton Borough around 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

The bear was spotted about 50 feet up the tree, but then came down and headed through the cemetery back towards Princeton Township.

At which time I was at a party at someone’s back yard somewhere along his route.

A Patch reader has nicknamed Princeton’s newest furry friend “Tu-Tu Bear,” both because he was spotted near Paul Tulane’s grave and because he’s a small little bear. Small, as far as bears go, but “it is probably a 100 to 150 pound juvenile male “looking for its own turf,” said animal control officer Mark Johnson, so keep away.

At least it’s not an alligator.

UPDATE,
Princeton’s Black Bear Has Relocated to the Township
The bear made it to Herrontown Woods on Thursday afternoon, Princeton officials confirmed.

There’s a bear in the woods!

——————————-

More Jersey stuff, and a few news from friends:
El Tea Party‘s up!
Roger Kimball‘s celebrating 30 years of The New Criterion.


#NannyBloomberg: “No Big Gulp for you?” UPDATED

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Just in time for summer heat, New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks

New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.

Obviously Mike thinks it’s up to him to do something, no matter how meaningless, to bring in more government regulation,

The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.

So, after all, to answer my question in the post title, it looks like you’ll still be able to get a Big Gulp, if they sell them in Manhattan?

What will happen is that businesses will offer free refills, people will spend more money, and producers will find a way around it, as it happened with candy bars,

The company has replaced the King Size Snickers with the so-called “2toGo,” which is two bars in one package. Each of the bars is 220 calories. The company said the package can be resealed “to save one for later.”

By the way,
I have had chronic hypoglycemia for well over a decade, and do not tolerate anything with any sugar added, so I simply do not have anything with added sugar. The thing is, it’s up to you, not to Mike Bloomberg, to decide what you eat. Upcoming sugar taxes are even more of an insult than these “bans on sugary drinks”, since the government spends huge amounts of money in sugar subsidies, including corn syrup.

What it all adds up to is, we live in a much less free society than we did 100 years ago. 50 years ago. in fact, 20 years ago, thanks to Mike Bloomberg, among others.

Michael Bloomberg: turning the Empire State into the Nanny State, one diet item at a time.

UPDATE:
Mike wants to save you from yourself but endorses Charlie Rangel. Culture of corruption indeed.

We’re forcing you to understand“?

And,
NYC Council: Ban Of Large Sugared Sodas ‘Seems Punitive,’ ‘Won’t Yield A Positive Result’

Smart diplomacy: “Polish death camps”

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

President Obama Causes Outrage with Reference to ‘Polish Death Camp’

The president had been trying to honor a famous Pole, awarding a Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a resistance fighter who sneaked behind enemy lines to bear witness to the atrocities being committed against Jews. President Obama referred to him being smuggled “into the Warsaw ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself.”

The White House statement also used the term “Polish death camps,”

For years, Jan Karski’s students at Georgetown University knew he was a great professor; what they didn’t realize was he was also a hero. Fluent in four languages, possessed of a photographic memory, Jan served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself.

Video:


Doug Mataconis,

This is something that someone probably should have noticed beforehand and realized that it was not only historically inaccurate but that it would cause our Polish friends to be upset about something that, even 67 years later is still an open wound for them.

For good reason: According to this paper, in addition to three million Polish Jews,

Documentation remains fragmentary, but today scholars of independent Poland believe that 1.8 to 1.9 million Polish civilians (non-Jews) were victims of German occupation policies and the war. This approximate total includes Poles killed in executions or who died in prisons, forced labor, and concentration camps. It also includes an estimated 225,000 civilian victims of the 1944 Warsaw uprising, more than 50,000 civilians who died during the 1939 invasion and siege of Warsaw, and a relatively small but unknown number of civilians killed during the Allies’ military campaign of 1944-45 to liberate Poland.

The prime minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, demanded an apology.

Nile Gardiner points out that

President Obama has a long track record of insulting the Poles. In 2010 he chose to play golf on the day of the funeral of the Polish President Lech Kaczynski, the Polish First Lady, and 94 senior officials who perished in the Smolensk air disaster. Eight months earlier he humiliated Warsaw by pulling out of the agreement over Third Site missile defence installations in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The White House said President Barack Obama misspoke on Tuesday when he referred to a “Polish death camp” while honoring a Polish war hero.

Or, as Smitty calls it, “a clown nose-off.”

AND, the media’s too busy paying attention to The (other) Donald,

Oh wait, sorry, the MSM is of course completely ignoring this because Trump talking to Blitzer about Birther crap is obviously of much greater importance to our country than our relationship with our strongest ally on the European continent.

Maybe Obama will send Donald Tusk an iPod; that would make the news.

UPDATE:
Joel Pollak explains WHY ‘POLISH DEATH CAMP’ GAFFE MATTERS: ALL OBAMA FOREIGN POLICY IS DOMESTIC

Obama is more than a leftist; he is also a Chicago politician. And big-city politicians of both parties discover that a cheap and easy way to rally voters from particular communities and interest groups–or at least to prevent a stronger vote for the opposite side–is to express public sympathy with whatever cause those constituencies hold dearest, even if those sympathies tend to contradict each other. Those politicians who care about being caught in the middle will be candid in expressing their own views, while remaining open to the views of others; those who believe they can get away with being all things to all people, or who see the whole exercise as just another way of feeding the voting machines, will fall into the trap that Obama has just sprung on himself.
For Obama, all foreign policy is domestic policy. That is true, to some extent, of all presidents, but especially of this one, whose fundamental ambition is the transformation of American society, and who is running a desperate divide-and-conquer strategy he hopes will enable him to carry that transformative agenda into a second term.

It Wasn’t a “Gaffe”, it was a slap in the face.


Federalism and Canada

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Chris Edwards, writing on We Can Cut Government: Canada Did, brings up a very important point,

THE FEDERALISM ADVANTAGE

One of Canada’s strengths is that it is a decentralized federation. The provinces compete with each other over fiscal and economic matters, and they have wide latitude to pursue different policies. Federalism has allowed for healthy policy diversity in Canada, and it has promoted government restraint.

Government spending has become much more centralized in the United States than it has in Canada. In the United States, 71 percent of total government spending is federal and 29 percent is state-local. In Canada it’s the reverse — 38 percent is federal and 62 percent is provincial-local.

The federalism difference between the countries is striking with regards to K-12 education. While federal control over U.S. schools has increased in recent decades, Canada has no federal department of education. School funding is left to the provinces, which seems to work: Canadian school kids routinely score higher on international comparison tests than do U.S. kids.

The countries also differ with regards to the amount of top-down control exerted on subnational governments through federal aid programs. The United States has a complex array of more than 1,000 aid-to-state programs for such things as highways and education. Each of these aid programs comes with a pile of regulations that micromanage state and local affairs.

By contrast, Canada mainly has just three large aid programs for provincial governments, and they are structured as fixed block grants. It is true, however, that one of these grants helps to fund the universal health care system, which is a big exception to the country’s generally decentralized policy approach. Nonetheless, having just a few large block grants is superior to the U.S. system of a vast number of grants, each with separate rules and regulations.

A final federalism advantage in Canada is that provincial and local taxes are not deductible on federal individual tax returns. That structure promotes vigorous tax competition between the provinces. In the United States, state and local income and property taxes are deductible on federal income tax returns, which has the effect of blunting competition by essentially subsidizing hightax states and cities.

Go read the whole article.

Robert Mugabe, UN tourism ambassador UPDATED

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

The UN continues to prove itself as a bottomless cesspool of corruption, depravity, and criminality:


Robert Mugabe asked to be UN ‘leader for tourism’
The Zimbabwe president, accused of ethnic cleansing and bankrupting his country, asked to champion tourism

With a line-up that includes Drew Barrymore, David Beckham, Orlando Bloom, and Ricky Martin, the UN’s choice of ambassadors has been known to cause raised eyebrows or the odd smirk.

Seldom, however, has there been such anger, or questioning of the organisation’s credibility, as that greeting the appointment of a new international envoy for tourism: Robert Mugabe.

Improbable as it seems, the Zimbabwean president, who is widely accused of ethnic cleansing, rigging elections, terrorising opposition, controlling media and presiding over a collapsed economy, has been endorsed as a champion of efforts to boost global holidaymaking.

Despite that fact Mugabe, 88, is under a travel ban, he has been honoured as a “leader for tourism” by the UN’s World Tourism Organisation, along with his political ally, Zambian president Michael Sata, 75. The pair signed an agreement with UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai at their shared border at Victoria Falls on Tuesday.

The UN ought to take a closer look at what Zimbabwe is like

Some 3,500 people die per week in Zimbabwe due to HIV/AIDS alone. Tag on the random muggings, violence, and property crime in a country with an unemployment rate hovering at around 80 per cent, and what remains of Zimbabwe’s populace is very beleaguered. One of the best measurements for determining that a country has in fact hit rock bottom is the appearance of cholera. When a state can no longer separate its potable water from raw sewage, then any sense of concern for the general welfare of the citizenry by the government is non-existent. Over several visits I made to Zimbabwe some years ago, I watched the economy and quality of life deteriorate before my very eyes. The country once touted as the bread-basket of Africa and a showcase of interracial harmony and prosperity has become a living hell on earth.

Millions of dead people clamor from their graves, and the UN names Mugabe “tourism ambassador.”

UPDATE:
Joshua Keating says that “Dozens of other heads of state, from countries…have signed on to the UNWTO’s “golden book of tourism” already. In other words, not a particularly exclusive list.”

I want to know why would anyone ask Mugabe in the first place.

Ros-Lehtinen: ‘Enough is Enough,’ UN Must Stop Aiding Dictators

Linked by At Water’s Edge. Thanks!

Brazil power: Spain out, China in

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

China State Grid to Buy Brazilian Assets

State Grid Corp. of China said Tuesday it agreed to buy seven high-voltage electricity transmission assets in Brazil from Spanish construction firm Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA ACS.MC -2.06% and its subsidiaries for 2.04 billion real ($1 billion), including debt.

The acquisition marks State Grid’s second investment in Brazil and its fourth major investment overseas, and is the most recent in a string of deals in which a European company has looked to exit an investment amid the debt troubles facing the continent.

State Grid’s latest deal involves seven electricity-transmission assets spanning eight states in Brazil, with a total length of about 2,792 kilometers. A majority of the assets to be acquired are currently in operation, with the remainder expected to begin commercial operation by the end of this year, the company said in a statement.

This continues the trend where China expands its reach in our hemisphere; this time, however, China is not acquiring a raw materials company.


Poppy Day

Monday, May 28th, 2012

With gratitude to all of those who have sacrificed for our freedoms,

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

What Monday Means
A Memorial Day tradition renewed.

Written by Canadian army officer and physician John McCrae after he had witnessed the horrific carnage at Ypres, the poem begins with the words, “In Flanders fields the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row.”

It concludes with a message from the honored dead: “To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.”

Nearly a bloody century later, Americans have infinitely more reasons to remember and to be thankful for all who have since died in the defense of liberty.

A beautiful tradition, revived.

The Memorial Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 28th, 2012

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina Banks Lost $518M In Foreign Currency Deposits Last Week

EU takes action against Argentina at WTO over import restrictions.

Argentina’s resource-rich province tries to develop gas fields

BRAZIL
Eike Batista
The salesman of Brazil
Brazil’s richest man is betting on resources and infrastructure. Can he deliver?

GE Bets on Brazilian Tycoon Batista

CHILE
Gay rights in Chile
An atrocity prompts change
A sad milestone in the battle for tolerance

COLOMBIA
Giving peace a chance
Or letting justice rule untrammeled

CUBA
The internet cable that only works for the Castro dictatorship

Vatican Launches New Program: Medals for Tyrants and Their Lackeys

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
After Leonel
The new president risks governing in his predecessor’s shadow

ECUADOR
Minsk to deepen co-operation with Cuba, Ecuador

MEXICO
Why Lorenzo Pagina and Sergio Brino had to found Google in Mexico, via American Digest.

Drug Probe Targets Mexican Army

Mexico finds cartels making fake military uniforms

Women on the rise in Mexican drug cartels

PARAGUAY
Deliberately late pizza deliveries raise awareness of world hunger and money for charity
A risky advertising campaign cooked up by agency ONIRIA/TBWA has seen two pizzerias in Paraguay provide a deliberately slow service to help customers begin to understand those affected by hunger
, via Best of the Web, which says,

So the pizzeria failed to deliver what it promised and was more interested in making its customers feel guilty about their success. Is this a true story or a parable about the Obama administration?

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico bail referendum sparks rights debate

VENEZUELA
Iran invites Venezuelan President Chavez to NAM summit; $5 says he ain’t gonna make it.

New Tensions as Colombian Soldiers Killed Near Venezuela

Ties between Bogota and Caracas are starting to fray again after 12 Colombian soldiers were killed near the Venezuela border, allegedly by Colombian rebels who are said to be using the neighboring country as a comfortable refuge.

The week’s posts:
Venezuela: The posters

Cuba: Hookers rob chef

Gay Cuban-Americans protest Raul Castro’s daughter’s visit

Venezuela: Chavez back on TV

In Silvio Canto’s podcast.


Dear NYT, why ride a horse, when you can eat it?

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

@AnnDRomney took up dressage at age 50 as a therapy for multiple sclerosis, says the Gray Lady while pointing out that Romney’s rich.

At age 50, Barack Obama Legalized Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption.

He’s rich, too.

The Times: Pathetic.

Tweet it!

UPDATE,
Smitty gets the joke!

Linked by BitsBlog. Thanks!


Venezuela: The posters

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

While the country speculates on the state of Hugo Chavez’s health and the upcoming presidential election, posters for “Diosdado Presidente” turned up in Caracas’s Avenida Libertador,

Diosdado Cabello (whose name translates as “god-given hair”) is a dyed-in-the-wool Chavista,

president of the National Assembly. Mr. Cabello, a former vice president with close ties to the military and an on-again off-again relationship with Mr. Chávez’s inner circle

Cabello didn’t waste any time in disavowing the posters, claiming that they were put up by the opposition in an attempt to discredit him.

Twitter was aflutter with the topic, including this one from Nelson Bocaranda, saying that the posters originated, not from the opposition, but from vice-president Nicolas Maduro:

My favorite, though, is this one,

The poster says, “Diosdado President,” but it clearly reads, “Chávez Season Finale coming soon this fall”

Trial balloon? Internal infighting?

And the question remains, Who Ordered The “Diosdado For President” Posters?