December 20, 2014

NY Official Bans Fracking to Protect ‘My Child’ and ‘My Family’ He Doesn’t Have

In discussing a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing announced Wednesday according to the New York Daily News carried comments made by Howard Zucker, the state’s Health Commissioner, about fracking’s impact on public health.

Zucker asked two rhetorical questions: “Would I live in a community with (fracking) based on the facts I have now?” and “Would I let my child play in a school field nearby or my family drink the water from the tap or grow their vegetables in the soil?” His answer: “After looking at the plethora of reports … no.” Cuomo reportedly described Zucker’s remarks as “very sobering … because if the state health commissioner doesn’t want his kids living there, I don’t want my kids living there and I don’t want any New Yorkers’ kids living there.” Too bad for the truth that Zucker has no children, and is unmarried. Too bad for New Yorkers unaware of what the Daily News found that the rest of the press will pretend that Zucker’s false pose as a family man is unimportant, and won’t report it.

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AP, Other Reporting on New York’s Fracking Ban Ignores Awful Upstate Economy

The establishment press is virtually giddy over New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s cowardly, self-serving decision to ban fracking in New York. It’s cowardly because Cuomo is publicly pretending that he’s only deferring to his environmental and health commissioners, when everyone with an ounce of sense knows that he’s getting the recommendations he wanted. It’s self-serving because it enhances his political cachet with environmental zealots while disregarding the frightening plight, with the exception of Metro New York City, of the Empire State’s seriously decaying economy.

Examples of pathetic press coverage, plus a depressing look at the state’s non-New York City job market, follow the jump.

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December 19, 2014

Cuban Sanctions and Decades of Communism Seriously Weakened Its Government

Filed under: Activism,National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:08 am

At the Daily Signal:

Contrary to what President Obama has asserted, U.S. sanctions have worked. Communist Cuba is so economically weak it cannot export Marxism-Leninism as in the past, and pro-democracy advocates have become emboldened.

For more than five decades, presidents, Democratic and Republican, politically isolated and economically sanctioned Communist Cuba for the best of reasons. Here are four of them:

1. Cuba has been a communist prison since Fidel Castro came to power. From 1959 through the late 1990s, more than 100,000 Cubans were placed in forced labor camps, prisons, and other places of incarceration. Between 15,000 and 17,000 people were shot. …

2. Communist Cuba exported Marxism-Leninism throughout Latin America, in Colombia, Guatemala, Venezuela, and especially Nicaragua, which was taken over by the Marxist Sandinistas in the late 1970s. Another target was the small island nation of Grenada … As a Venezuelan communist leader explained, the Cuban revolution was like a “detonator.”

3. Communist Cuba often provided the ground troops for the Soviet Union’s strategy of inciting Third World revolution, especially in Africa. …

4. Communist Cuba brought the world to the brink of nuclear war in 1962 when it allowed the Soviet Union to build sites for offensive nuclear missiles aimed at major cities in the United States. … Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev has said that Castro requested a Soviet nuclear attack on the United States.

… President Obama pledged to lift economic sanctions and establish diplomatic relations at the precise moment when Venezuela’s economic miseries seriously threatened its huge billion-dollar subsidies of Cuba and when more and more Cubans were pressuring the Castro regime to allow fundamental human freedoms.

The Castro regime was on the ropes, but in the words of Cuban dissident Yoani Sanchez, “Castroism has won.” Today, Fidel must be smiling and lighting up a large El Rey del Mondo cigar in his Havana palace.

Kowtowing to enemies and mistreating friends has been what the Obama administration has been all about from its beginning. Now the President wants to save an enemy which would have nuked us if it had its way, with no apparent conditions.

December 18, 2014

Cuomo to Upstate New York, Especially Its Blue Collar Workers: Drop Dead

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:56 pm

The news:

New York Gov. Cuomo moves to ban fracking

New York officials on Wednesday moved forward with an effort to ban fracking across the state, citing excessive environmental and health concerns.

… A ban would end the state’s current six-month moratorium on fracking.

The process of fracking involves shooting a mix of pressurized water, sand and chemicals to split rock formations to release natural gas and so-called tight oil.

The widely used, deep-drilling process has resulted in a surge in domestic-energy production and has created millions of new jobs.

However, state and local governments are pushing for bans over the health and environmental concerns, including the potential for earthquakes and the contamination of natural water supplies.

New York sits atop the Marcellus shale formation, which stretches 600 miles along the Appalachian Basin and is rich in natural gas deposits.

Fracking supporters immediately expressed opposition to the state’s plan.

“Today’s action by Governor Cuomo shows that New York families, teachers, roads and good-paying jobs have lost out to political gamesmanship,” said Karen Moreau, of the New York Petroleum Council, an arm of the American Petroleum Institute, which represents some of the world’s biggest energy companies.

American Thinker’s Thomas Lifson:

Despite intense efforts to discover actual negative health effects from fracking, none has been found. Oh, there’s that movie Gasland showing flames being lighted from a water faucet, but that was exposed as a fraud, since the natural gas in the water pipes predated fracking. But Cuomo is demanding proof of absolute safety, an almost impossible standard that is applied to almost nothing.

But it’s a standard which, if universally applied, would prevent all future progress.

Fox’s Shepard Smith Hopes Cuba Relations Thaw Doesn’t ‘Ruin the Place’

Those who rail at Fox News for allegedly being a haven of unbridled, uninterrupted conservatism usually and conveniently fail to remember that Shepard Smith is there.

Smith’s take yesterday on the potential pitfalls of a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations, particularly on the commercial front, was nothing short of astonishing. His primary fear, expressed in an interview with Gerri Willis of the Fox Business Network, is that the new arrangements might “ruin the place.” It would be “the last thing they need” to see “Taco Bell and Lowes” locations there. Smith also posed as a market analyst, wondering if the Dow was up 300 points because of President Obama’s related announcement. Video (HT Mediaite and PJ Media’s Ed Driscoll) and a transcript follow the jump:

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Initial Unemployment Claims (121814): 289K SA; Raw Claims 21% Lower Than Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:45 am

Note: I can’t seem to get to the DOL’s report at the moment. Zero Hedge has reported that seasonally adjusted claims dropped to 289,000 last week.

From the Department of Labor:

Waiting …

Bloomberg only predicted that today’s number would be “litle changed from last week.”

The seasonal adjustment factors for this week (113.3) and the same week a year ago (112.6) were basically the same.

UPDATE: I’ve backed into last week’s raw claims, which were roughly 327,500, or about 21% below the same week last year.

UPDATE 2, 9:10 a.m.: I’m through waiting. On to other things …

December 16, 2014

AP’s Story on Federal Judge’s Immigration Opinion Woefully Incomplete

Earlier tonight, Curtis Houck at NewsBusters observed that the Tuesday evening network news shows failed to report on an opinion issued today by a federal judge in Western Pennsylvania in connection with President Obama’s illegal immigration-related executive actions last month.

Several blogs and center-right outlets noted Judge Arthur Schwab’s 38-page “Memorandum Opinion” this afternoon. Not that this excuses the networks, but a search at the Associated Press’s national site just before 8 p.m. on Schwab’s last name (unfortunately not saved) returned nothing relevant. But shortly after 8 p.m. a story with a time stamp of 5:08 p.m. with Schwab’s name finally showed up in the same search. Only the AP can explain how this could have happened.

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Politico Mag’s Peterson Falsely Contends That Louisville’s Air Quality Has Worsened

In a December 9 article at Politico Magazine went after Louisville’s “urban heat island” problem, where “a city’s center experiences significantly hotter temperatures than its less-developed surroundings.”

In doing so, Peterson rolled out some very questionable statistics. But it’s her contention that “As pollution and stagnant air bake in the sun” in the city’s heat island, “air quality worsens” that was really over the top. If that statement were true, Louisville’s air quality should have deteriorated as its heat island problem has grown. The truth is, as Powerline’s Steven Hayward demonstrated yesterday, that the Derby City’s air quality has significantly improved.

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Vox’s Max Fisher: Asking Muslims to Condemn Jihadist Terror Is ‘Bigoted and Islamophobic’

Today, the world has learned that terrorists with the Taliban, the group of Islamic fundamentalist jihadists who have rained terror on Afghanistan and Pakistan for nearly two decades, “attacked a school in Peshawar, killing 141 people, 132 of them children.” The death toll will almost certainly rise as some of the 114 children the BBC has reported are injured fail to survive.

But don’t ask Muslims to condemn this cowardly attack on innocents. If you do, you’ll upset Max Fisher at Vox, who just yesterday (HT Twitchy), in exquisite timing, insisted that it’s “bigoted and Islamophobic” to expect anything of the sort:

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Can’t Wait to Hear Hillary Clinton Tell Us …

Filed under: National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:10 pm

… why we should “empathize with” the “perspective and point of view” of the monsters who did this:

Pakistan Taliban: Peshawar school attack leaves 141 dead

Positivity: Voucher backers to Colorado high court: don’t exclude religious schools

Filed under: Education,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Denver:

Dec 14, 2014 / 04:54 pm

The Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs has joined several other Christian schools and organizations in a legal brief to support a county voucher program, saying the Colorado Supreme Court should not exclude schools that are “too religious.”

“To exclude otherwise qualifying schools based solely on religious criteria is to engage in unconstitutional religious discrimination,” the brief says. “It may also lead to unconstitutional religious inquiries.”

The case concerns Douglas County’s school voucher program, called the Choice Scholarship Program. It allows parents of students to receive 75 percent of the district’s per-pupil revenue to attend private schools the district has approved to participate in the program, the Denver Post reports.

Legal challenges halted the program in 2011, just before over 300 children were set to enroll in it. Most of the students intended to attend religious schools.

A provision in the Colorado constitution bars aid to private schools and churches for “any sectarian purpose.”

The Diocese of Colorado Springs’ brief argues that the state constitutional provision mandates “religious discrimination” by treating religion as a “disqualifying characteristic.” It may also mandate “excessive religious inquiries” to determine whether a school’s programs and activities have “religious meaning or significance.”

Religious private school partners of the program are fully accredited and their graduates are “fully qualified” for additional education or work opportunities, the brief notes, adding that the scholarship program was “religiously neutral” and the constitutional provision should not be interpreted to prohibit it.

The Denver District Court ruled against the program, while the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld it in February 2013 by a 2-1 vote.

The Colorado Supreme Court is now considering the issue. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 15, 2014

Politico Mag Writer Describes Center-Right Sites With More Traffic As ‘Fringier’

One of the more amusing aspects of observing today left-biased establishment media environment is seeing agenda-driven journalists directly or indirectly convey a clearly inflated sense of their outlets’ self-importance.

A recent example of this came Friday from Jacob Silverman at Politico Magazine. In his writeup on conservative firebrand Charles Johnson, Silverman employed the comparative version of a word – “fringy” – rarely used in the political realm. Silverman described Breitbart and The Blaze as “even fringier” than … well, let’s try to figure that one out.

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NYT Corrects Saturday ‘Justice For All’ Marches Coverage Twice, Ignores NYC ‘We Want Dead Cops’ Chants

It’s a good thing that establishment press publications like the New York Times have those layers of editors and fact-checkers. They’re able to prevent embarrassing things like misstatements of commonly known facts, misidentifications of key parties involved in recent events, and misspellings those sloppy bloggers and new media types routinely publish.

Oh, wait a minute. All three types of errors occurred in just one New York Times item this weekend. After publishing its original story by Jennifer Steinhauer and Elena Schneider on this Saturday’s so-called “Justice For All” March in Washington, which also included coverage of New York’s related event, the Times issued a correction which has to be seen to be believed (HT Twitchy):

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December 14, 2014

AP Reporter Thinks We’re Thrilled to Be ‘Finally Getting One Over’ on Gas Stations

Here’s a small window into a journalist’s mindset.

In a report on how lower gas prices are affecting the companies operating retail gas stations, Associated Press reporter John Fahey revealed his apparent believes that there are millions of us walking around, perhaps including him, obsessed with getting back at gas station owners for charging us so much at fill-up time for years:

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December 13, 2014

Barely News: Congresswoman Lummis’s ‘Most Moving Moment’ at Gruber Hearing

Dictionary.com defines “glib” as “readily fluent, often thoughtlessly, superficially, or insincerely so.”

Jonathan Gruber’s apology at his Tuesday congressional hearing included that word. The word, especially the “superficial” element of its definition, applies to how the establishment press covered the hearing. With only rare exceptions, it excluded any mention of what has accurately been called “the most moving moment of the Gruber hearing”: Wyoming Republican Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis’s emotional recounting of how her husband died while the status of his coverage under Obamacare was in dispute.

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