Posts Tagged ‘Drudge Report’

Carless Cities

January 28, 2014

Most people in Europe and America take it for granted that they can drive their cars wherever they want or need to go, but that could change if planners in some cities have their way. I learned about this development from CNBC via The Drudge Report.

Germany, home of the high-speed autobahn, is perhaps one of the few countries that has had as intense a love affair with the automobile as the U.S. But in an effort to go green, the country’s second-largest city is studying ways to eliminate cars by 2034.

The northern city of Hamburg has laid out an initial concept, named the Green Network Plan, that would expand public transportation and add more routes for pedestrians and bicyclists. The most controversial aspect of the plan calls for a steady phase-out of automobiles in the center of the city over the next two decades.

And Hamburg might not be alone. The idea of banning, or at least reducing, the use of automobiles in city centers has become an increasingly hot topic among urban planners, especially in Europe and other industrialized countries dealing with issues as diverse as congestion and smog.

“Other cities, including London, have green rings, but the green network will be unique in covering an area from the outskirts to the city center,” Hamburg city spokeswoman Angelika Fritsch told The Guardian newspaper. “In 15 to 20 years, you’ll be able to explore the city exclusively on bike and foot.”

There are already a handful of car-free communities around the world, but they’re typically small and often focused on tourists seeking a quaint throwback in time. Examples include Michigan’s Mackinac Island or Sark island off the English Channel coast of the U.K.; perhaps the largest is Venice, which simply has no way to open up roads linking its network of small islands.

But a number of major cities, including the likes of Paris, London and even New York, have been exploring ways to reduce the number of vehicles on their streets, if not to ban vehicles outright.

London introduced a much-debated congestion charge for vehicles driving into the center of the city in 2003. The program had a dual purpose—reducing commuter traffic while also raising new funds to support the city’s expansive mass transit system. The charge is 10 British pounds per day.

Several other cities have adopted a similar approach, though former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s bid to put one in place in crowded Manhattan was blocked by state lawmakers. Nonetheless, changes have been made in several parts of Manhattan, including a stretch near the theater district, to create pedestrian zones to absorb the mass of tourists.

Many urban planners accuse automobiles of killing street life, with roadways often dividing once-connected neighborhoods, and creating endemic air and noise pollution. They also cite them as as being a major factor in pedestrian deaths and injuries.

Lord Richard Rogers, a British architect and long-time advisor on urban issues, suggested last year that London should become “a people space rather than the car space it currently is.”

I’m glad Mayor Bloomberg didn’t get his way, for once. I wonder if Lord Richard Rogers or Angelika Fritsch have any intention of asking the people of London or Hamburg whether they would like to do without automobiles. I have a feeling that a great many of the residents of these and other cities consider that the benefits of being able to go where you want,when you want to outweigh the costs of smog and congestion.I also have a feeling that the urban planners and city spokespeople,as well as other members of the elite, will get some sort of special waiver allowing them to drive, or be driven, in otherwise carless regions.

What do planners and progressives have against the automobile anyway? They have been trying to get us out of our cars and into buses and trains almost since Henry Ford introduced the Model T. Is it the freedom that comes with being able to drive that they resent? Do they prefer it if everyone had to stay in one place? Maybe they think only the proper sort of people, the ones who are environmentally or socially enlightened. Those of us backward peasants should walk or ride the bus. Maybe they really are concerned about congestion or pollution. I agree that these are real problems, especially in older cities with narrower streets and if I lived in New York or Hamburg, I probably wouldn’t find owning an automobile as necessary as I do in rural Indiana, but I think I would resent being told I couldn’t have one, just because urban planners want to make the city where I live a “people space”.

 

 

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Snow in Israel and Egypt

December 13, 2013

These are strange times we are living in. Right now, there is a snowstorm in Israel. I didn’t think it ever snowed there. It is even snowing in Egypt. Here is the story at the Israel National News via the Drudge Report.

Snow continues to fall across Israel Friday morning, reaching new regions of the country and causing major power outages and road closures. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat released a statement saying “we are battling a storm of rare ferocity.” The capital has over 37 centimeters (15 inches) of snow, with deeper snowfall in other areas.

A weather forecaster on public radio described the storm as “historic,” as Jerusalem temperatures already dropped to 2 degrees celsius (35.6 Fahrenheit), and are expected to drop below freezing. Snow is anticipated to continue falling through Saturday.

The views in Jerusalem are spectacular, as the hills of the city turn white and the rooftops in older neighborhoods wear a white contrast to the Jerusalem stone.

A power outage has affected more than half of Jerusalem, although some areas are reporting a return of electricity. In Kiryat Moshe, Merkaz Harav Yeshiva opened its dormitory and dining room to stranded families who reached the entrance of the city, where the yeshiva is located, but could not get to their destination.

Many more drivers were stuck on the roads in the city overnight, without food and water, after attempting to reach the city to see the snow.

The Jerusalem municipality is continuing with the rescue operations that began Thursday night and have so far saved over 2,000 people. The IDF and the Border Police are assisting in the operation.

Drivers who have been rescued have been taken to the Binyanei HaUma (International Convention Center), a community center in Mevaseret Zion and the Ofer Camp on Highway 443.

The Israeli police have released a particularly strong warning to drivers in affected areas against going out in blizzard conditions. Police have warned residents across the country to avoid leaving their homes for any reason during the snowfall.

Judea and Central Samaria villages are also receiving more snow – some for the first time in over ten years – including in Ariel, Nofim, Yakir, and Barkan.

In light of the situation, schools are closed in the following places: Yakir, Ariel, Barkan, Revava, Tapuah, Alei Zahav, Peduel, Rehalim, Nofei Nehemia, Bruhin, Kiryat Netafim, Yitzhar, Har Braha, Itamar, Alon Moreh, and Karnei Shomron.

Power outages have been reported across the central Samaria area; all roads are closed. The Shomron Regional Council is working to help Judea and Samaria residents and to provide aid.

I wonder if drivers there even know how to handle snow. Here is the story about the snow in Egypt from the LA Times again via the Drudge Report.

Snow coated domes and minarets Friday as a record Middle East storm compounded the suffering of Syrian refugees, sent the Israeli army scrambling to dig out stranded motorists and gave Egyptians a rare glimpse of snow in their capital.

Nearly three feet of snow closed roads in and out of Jerusalem, which is set in high hills, and thousands in and around the city were left without power. Israeli soldiers and police rescued  hundreds trapped in their cars by snow and ice. In the West Bank, the branches of olive trees groaned under the weight of snow.

In Cairo, where local news reports said the last recorded snowfall was more than 100 years ago, children in outlying districts capered in white-covered streets, and adults marveled at the sight, tweeting pictures of snow-dusted parks and squares. In other parts of the city, rain and hail rocketed down.

I’m surprised the Egyptians even know what snow is. Before, they could only have known snow from watching movies and television. There have also been records in cold and snow set here in the United States, as I have noticed whenever I have gone outside.

Meanwhile, solar activity is the weakest it has been observed for a century. Could this have some effect on the Earth’s climate? Perhaps we are in for a cold winter and a cool summer next year. Maybe even a repeat of the Little Ice Age. It may be that in the not too distant future we will be longing for some global warming.

UC Berkeley Bans Illegal Immigrants

November 8, 2013

Not actual illegal immigrants of course. They are welcome at UC Berkeley. They have banned the term illegal immigrant because, well I had better let them explain it. I found this story at thecollegefix.com via the Drudge Report.

The UC Berkeley student government has banned the term “illegal immigrant” from its discourse, deeming the phrase racist, offensive, unfair and derogatory.

In an unanimous vote, student senators passed a resolution that stated the word “illegal” is “racially charged,” “dehumanizes” people, and contributes to “punitive and discriminatory actions aimed primarily at immigrants and communities of color.”

The “resolution in support of drop the I-word campaign” was approved 18 to 0 with one abstention on Oct. 30, according to a copy of the meeting’s minutes obtained by The College Fix.

Its approval marks at least the second time this semester that a public university’s student government has voted to eradicate the phrase. UCLA passed a nearly identical measure in late August.

There are an estimated 900 students in the country illegally who are currently enrolled in the 10-campus, University of California system, according to UC officials. These students live in “fear” because former Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano is now president of the UC system, according to the resolution, which aims to “create a safe campus environment for all students.”

The term also happens to be accurate inasmuch as it refers to a person who has immigrated to this country illegally, but who cares about that?

“The ‘I’ word is legally inaccurate since being out of status is a civil rather than criminal infraction,” states the resolution, which notes some journalists have stopped using the term.

“No human being is illegal,” the resolution continues. “ ‘Foreign nationals,’ ‘undocumented immigrants,’ ‘immigrants without papers’ and ‘immigrants seeking status’ are examples of terms we can use that do not dehumanize people.”

The resolution also calls for administrators and faculty to attend an “UndocuAlly training workshop.”

Several student senators praised the resolution, the meeting’s minutes state.

Student Sen. Wendy Pacheco said it was not just symbolic, but aimed to shift how people see their “fellow human beings,” that it’s not OK for someone to feel comfortable calling another “illegal,” while student Sen. Sean Tan said discouraging the word will help ease the negative psychological harm undocumented students face by the label.

They are in violation of our immigration laws. A person is not illegal, but his actions can be. An illegal immigrant’s action is illegal, even if this current administration prefers not to actually enforce the law. Changing the term used does not change the facts. It only confuses the issues involved, which is precisely what these people want.

The lone abstention came from student Sen. Solomon Nwoche.

Nwoche said while he sympathized with the situation, he thinks the resolution does not accomplish anything substantial. He added he was disappointed in how a student who spoke against the resolution at an earlier meeting was treated by student senators, who laughed or had their backs turned when the lone protestor addressed the dais.

Once again we see the tolerant liberals in action. There is only one side to every issue and that is the progressive side. People who think otherwise are to be belittled, harassed or ignored.

 

2013

June 7, 2013

With all of the news coming out about how the US government has been spying on its own citizens, maybe George Orwell should have titled his book 2013 and set it in America. We do seem to be steadily getting closer to the sort of country where Big Brother is watching us, for our own protection, of course. Just looking at the headlines at the Drudge Report, we have the NSA tapping into the user information of Apple, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook and others, the Post Office has been photographing mail, the NSA has been intercepting Americans phone calls and e-mail, and who knows what else. It is as if every idiotic conspiracy theory put forward by the tinfoil hat wearers is turning out to be true.

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Our Future?

Of course, it is easy to go overboard over all of this. So far, there has been no indication that the government is actually spying on innocent citizens, at least not yet. The programs that have been uncovered do have a legitimate purpose. By having computers sift through billions of pieces of information, intelligence specialists can uncover terrorist plots, sometimes before they are even planned. We like to think that we have free will and we decide our actions, and we do, but our decisions are predictable if you have enough information. Any one working in sales or marketing already knows this. What the government is doing is simply taking the sort of data collection that advertisers do a further step.

The question is though, do we really trust the government with so much information? Can we rely on the people in our government to work for our protection and not use this information for partisan advantage? As the revelations about the IRS’s selective enforcement of the laws against the TEA Party might suggest, perhaps we should not trust them.

Meanwhile, It wouldn’t hurt to remind everyone that what you do on the Internet is never really private. Take it for granted that anything you post on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, or send in an e-mail can become public knowledge. Oh, and not to be paranoid,  but you may want to cover up that webcam that came with your laptop. They could be watching you.

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Pravda Supports Freedom

January 10, 2013

There is something seriously askew with the world when Pravda, formerly the official newspaper of the Soviet Communist Party runs an editorial urging Americans not to give up our freedoms, especially the right to bear arms.

These days, there are few things to admire about the socialist, bankrupt and culturally degenerating USA, but at least so far, one thing remains: the right to bear arms and use deadly force to defend one’s self and possessions.

This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth. This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well those are bullet holders for rifles.

While President Putin pushes through reforms, the local authorities, especially in our vast hinterland, do not feel they need to act like they work for the people. They do as they please, a tyrannical class who knows they have absolutely nothing to fear from a relatively unarmed population. This in turn breeds not respect but absolute contempt and often enough, criminal abuse.

No it is about power and a total power over the people. There is a lot of desire to bad mouth the Tsar, particularly by the Communists, who claim he was a tyrant, and yet under him we were armed and under the progressives disarmed. Do not be fooled by a belief that progressives, leftists hate guns. Oh, no, they do not. What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question. They hate guns in those whom they have slated for a barrel to the back of the ear.

So, do not fall for the false promises and do not extinguish the light that is left to allow humanity a measure of self respect.

Meanwhile, one of the most prominent newspapers in the United States has run an editorial calling for tyranny.

AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

Consider, for example, the assertion by the Senate minority leader last week that the House could not take up a plan by Senate Democrats to extend tax cuts on households making $250,000 or less because the Constitution requires that revenue measures originate in the lower chamber. Why should anyone care? Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy? Why does a grotesquely malapportioned Senate get to decide the nation’s fate?

Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.

Although, to be fair, the New York Times has been on the side of tyranny for a long time.

And, while I am looking at links at The Drudge Report, Governor Andrew Cuomo knows how many bullets every one needs.

“I say to you forget the extremists. It’s simple — no one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer and too many people have died already,” Cuomo said.

I wouldn’t know how many bullets it takes to kill deer, nor do I care. The second amendment isn’t to protect the rights of deer hunters but to protect all of us against tyrants. It often takes a lot more than ten bullets to kill a tyrant.

 

Romney 49% Obama 45%

October 8, 2012

 

That is the headline at the Drudge Report. The link is to a report from the Pew Research Center showing that Romney has pulled ahead of Barack Obama in the polls.

Mitt Romney no longer trails Barack Obama in the Pew Research Center’s presidential election polling. By about three-to-one, voters say Romney did a better job than Obama in the Oct. 3 debate, and the Republican is now better regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues than he was in September. Romney is seen as the candidate who has new ideas and is viewed as better able than Obama to improve the jobs situation and reduce the budget deficit.

I have been skeptical of the polls throughout this election season and I am not about to start believing them now that they seem to show what I want to see. I suspect that the polls are less accurate this year than they have been in previous elections for a number of reasons, not least because only they only get a response from 9% of the people they contact.

Still, it seems that Romney has made gains on his popular impression on almost every issue and personality trait. Winning the first debate so overwhelmingly has allowed Romney to positively redefine himself.

Romney now ties Obama in being regarded as a strong leader and runs virtually even with the president in willingness to work with leaders of the other party. And by a 47% to 40% margin, voters pick Romney as the candidate who has new ideas.

Conversely, Obama continues hold leads as the candidate who connects well with ordinary people and takes consistent positions on issues. And Obama leads by 10 points (49% to 39%) as the candidate who takes more moderate positions on issues.

Romney has gained ground on several of these measures since earlier in the campaign. Most notably, Obama and Romney now run even (44% each) in terms of which candidate is the stronger leader. Obama held a 13-point advantage on this a month ago. And Obama’s 14-point edge as the more honest and truthful candidate has narrowed to just five points.

In June, Obama held a 17-point lead as the candidate voters thought was more willing to work with leaders from the other party. Today, the candidates run about even on this (45% say Obama, 42% Romney).

I think that the Republicans are far more enthusiastic this year and this could make all the difference.

I like this point.

Nearly two-thirds of voters who watched the debate say it was mostly informative (64%) compared with mostly confusing (26%). Republican voters overwhelmingly found the debate mostly informative (83%); only 11% say the debate was mostly confusing. By contrast, about as many Democratic voters say the debate was confusing (41%) as say it was informative (47%).

I guess facts are confusing to some.

 

Famous Last Words

August 2, 2012

 

In this case, “I need to quit texting…”. A man sent this text right before driving off a cliff. Luckily, he survived. I got this story from wlbt.com off of the Drudge Report.

A college student from Texas believes he is lucky to be alive after a terrible crash. He was texting and driving when his truck flew off of a cliff.

Chance Bothe’s truck plunged off of a bridge and into a ravine. One of the last things he typed indicated what almost happened to him.

He wrote, “I need to quit texting, because I could die in a car accident.”

After the crash, Chance had a broken neck, a crushed face, a fractured skull, and traumatic brain injuries. Doctors had to bring him back to life three times . Now, 6 months later, he’s finally able to talk about what happened.

“They just need to understand, don’t do it. Don’t do it. It’s not worth losing your life,” he said. “I went to my grandmother’s funeral not long ago, and I kept thinking, it kept jumping into my head, I’m surprised that’s not me up in that casket. I came very close to that, to being gone forever.”

Chance’s father said, if he had a child just learning to drive, he would disable texting and Internet on their phone.

As of August 1st, drivers in Alabama will face a $25 fine the first time they are caught texting behind the wheel.

Since he survived, he does not qualify for a coveted Darwin Award, but maybe he can get an honorable mention.

 

Insanity in the News

June 1, 2012

Looking over the headlines in the Drudge Report, I am beginning to wonder if everyone in the world is starting to lose their minds. First, there seems to be an outbreak of cannibalism. There is the face-eating bath salts user in Florida, a cannibal in Maryland who ranted on Facebook, and a creepy Canadian cannibal running around France dressed as a woman.

President Obama thinks he will be able to get more things done after the election when the “Republican fever” breaks.

“I believe that If we’re successful in this election, when we’re successful in this election, that the fever may break, because there’s a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that. My hope, my expectation, is that after the election, now that it turns out that the goal of beating Obama doesn’t make much sense because I’m not running again, that we can start getting some cooperation again.”

“I believe that If we’re successful in this election, when we’re successful in this election, that the fever may break, because there’s a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that. My hope, my expectation, is that after the election, now that it turns out that the goal of beating Obama doesn’t make much sense because I’m not running again, that we can start getting some cooperation again.”

Obama said he expects that after his reelection, Congress will pass a balanced deficit reduction plan, a highway bill, immigration reform.

“My expectation is that if we can break this fever, that we can invest in clean energy and energy efficiency because that’s not a partisan issue.”

In other words, if he is reelected he will still try to pursue his unpopular agenda and squander the taxpayers’ money on crony capitalism. I have a feeling the Republican fever won’t be breaking.

Here, in the Washington Post, are the last minutes of a snake-handling preacher’s life. I wonder if he has been nominated for a Darwin Award yet.

Mayor Bloomberg calls critics of his proposed bad on large sized soft drinks “ridiculous”. I can think of worse things to say about a politician who thinks he ought to micromanage people’s lives. What’s next? Cameras in people’s homes to make sure they exercise?, sensors in toilets to examine people’s excrement to ensure they are eating a healthy diet? These scenarios seem outlandish, but I wouldn’t put anything past the health Nazis.

And DC Comics has decided to make the Green Lantern a homosexual. Why? Comic book superheroes don’t need to have any kind of sexuality at all. Who are these perverts who have to include a gay character in every conceivable form of entertainment? Can’t we have a break from this?

And that is the way it was.

 

Google Space

April 20, 2012

I just saw this on The Drudge Report. This is the most exciting story I have read in quite a while.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and billionaire co-founder Larry Page have teamed up with “Avatar” director James Cameron and other investors to back an ambitious space exploration and natural resources venture, details of which will be unveiled next week.

The fledgling company, called Planetary Resources, will be unveiled at a Tuesday news conference at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, according to a press release issued this week.

Aside from naming some of the company’s high-profile backers, the press release disclosed tantalizingly few details, saying only that the company will combine the sectors of “space exploration and natural resources” in a venture that could add “trillions of dollars to the global GDP.” The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Planetary Resources will explore the feasibility of mining natural resources from asteroids, a decades-old concept.

“This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources,'” according to the press release.

Planetary Resource was co-founded by Eric Anderson, a former NASA Mars mission manager, and Peter Diamandis, the commercial space entrepreneur behind the X-Prize, a competition that offered $10 million to a group that launched a reusable manned spacecraft. Other notable investors include Charles Simonyi, a former top executive at Microsoft, and K. Ram Shriram, a Google director.

The venture will be the latest foray into the far-flung for Cameron, who dived last month in a mini-submarine to the deepest spot in the Mariana Trench. The plot of his 2009 science fiction blockbuster film, “Avatar,” concerned resource mining on alien planets.

It is long past time that the exploration and exploitation of space was opened up to private enterprise. Maybe someday I’ll get to take that vacation on the Moon after all.

Maxine Waters and the Tea Party

August 22, 2011
Maxine Waters (D-CA), Member of the U.S. House...

As far as I am concerned, she can go to Hell

From (where else?) The Drudge Report. I think it would be fair to say that Rep. Maxine Waters is not a supporter of the Tea Party movement.

“I’m not afraid of anybody,” the California congresswoman told constituents in footage that appeared on ABC affiliate KABC in Los Angeles, not backing down from comments made about President Obama earlier in the week. “This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned — the tea party can go straight to hell.”

Here is what she had to say about the L.A. riots back in 1992, according to Wikipedia,

Waters described the riots as a rebellion, saying “If you call it a riot it sounds like it was just a bunch of crazy people who went out and did bad things for no reason. I maintain it was somewhat understandable, if not acceptable.”

So, just to make things clear, in the liberal la-la land that Democrats like her inhabit, people peacefully assembling to petition the government are bad, people burning buildings and looting are good.

Glad we have that straight now.


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