Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Specials in Toys & Games

At Amazon, Shop - Travel Friendly Toys & Games Event.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. I'll have more blogging tonight.

The Saluting Boy on Omaha Beach

This is absolutely amazing.

Watch at FrontPage Magazine, "An 11-year-old old boy says thank you to the soldiers who fought and died on Omaha beach on D-Day morning 70 years earlier..."

U.S. Military Proposes Challenge to China Sea Claims

At WSJ, "Moves would send Navy planes, ships near artificial islands built by China in contested waters":
The U.S. military is considering using aircraft and Navy ships to directly contest Chinese territorial claims to a chain of rapidly expanding artificial islands, U.S. officials said, in a move that would raise the stakes in a regional showdown over who controls disputed waters in the South China Sea.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has asked his staff to look at options that include flying Navy surveillance aircraft over the islands and sending U.S. naval ships to within 12 nautical miles of reefs that have been built up and claimed by the Chinese in an area known as the Spratly Islands.

Such moves, if approved by the White House, would be designed to send a message to Beijing that the U.S. won’t accede to Chinese territorial claims to the man-made islands in what the U.S. considers to be international waters and airspace.

The Pentagon’s calculation may be that the military planning, and any possible deployments, would increase pressure on the Chinese to make concessions over the artificial islands. But Beijing also could double down, expanding construction in defiance of the U.S. and potentially taking steps to further Chinese claims in the area.

The U.S. has said it doesn’t recognize the man-made islands as sovereign Chinese territory. Nonetheless, military officials said, the Navy has so far not sent military aircraft or ships within 12 nautical miles of the reclaimed reefs to avoid escalating tensions.

If the U.S. challenges China’s claims using ships or naval vessels and Beijing stands its ground, the result could escalate tensions in the region, with increasing pressure on both sides to flex military muscle in the disputed waters.

According to U.S. estimates, China has expanded the artificial islands in the Spratly chain to as much as 2,000 acres of land, up from 500 acres last year. Last month, satellite imagery from defense intelligence provider IHS Jane’s showed China has begun building an airstrip on one of the islands, which appears to be large enough to accommodate fighter jets and surveillance aircraft.

The U.S. has used its military to challenge other Chinese claims Washington considers unfounded. In November 2013, the U.S. flew a pair of B-52 bombers over disputed islands in the East China Sea to contest an air identification zone that Beijing had declared in the area.

Officials said there was now growing momentum within the Pentagon and the White House for taking concrete steps in order to send Beijing a signal that the recent buildup in the Spratlys went too far and needed to stop.

Chinese officials dismiss complaints about the island-building, saying Beijing is entitled to undertake construction projects within its own sovereign territory. They say the facilities will be used for military and civilian purposes.

“China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters,” said embassy spokesman Zhu Haiquan, using the Chinese name for the Spratlys. “The relevant construction, which is reasonable, justified and lawful, is well within China’s sovereignty. It does not impact or target any country, and is thus beyond reproach.”

Plus, "China Lashes Out Over U.S. Plan on South China Sea."

VIDEO: Jennifer Lopez Cutout Bathing Suit for Us Weekly

Following-up from earlier, "Smokin' Jennifer Lopez Cutout Bathing Suit for Us Weekly Cover Photo."

BONUS: At Egotastic!, "Jennifer Lopez Wicked Swimsuit Behind the Scenes (VIDEO)."

Jeffrey Spector Kills Himself at Swiss Dignitas Clinic Despite Not Being Terminally Ill

He was going to be terminally ill, with a tumor lodged next to his spine.

But his disease hadn't advanced that far yet. He just said fuck it anyway. Might as well go for it before the going got too rough.

At the Telegraph UK, "Dignitas death sparks renewed controversy over assisted suicide law."

And at the Guardian, "Man who killed himself at Dignitas explains decision in film."

I don't like it. Assisted suicide is rife with abuse. Frankly, it's unholy and evil, but then, all that progressives touch is unholy and evil.

Monday, May 25, 2015

'Are you barbecuing this weekend?' Democrats Keep Demonstrating What Memorial Day Is Not About

At Twitchy, "Democrats acknowledge that Memorial Day is about more than President Obama eating ice cream."

More Memorial Day Lily Aldridge

Following-up from earlier, "Yeah, Lily Aldridge, Freakin' Patriot Babe."

At Maxim:

Charles C. Johnson Threatens Lawsuit After Twitter Suspends Accounts for Alleged TOS Violations

Everybody hates Chuck Johnson because he plays no favorites and goes after anyone and everyone. He doesn't bother me, although I don't RT him that much anymore. I don't need the aggravation from all the PC conservatives out there.

In any case, he's been banned over nothing more than a metaphor. See Pat Dollard, "Conservative Journalist Charles C. Johnson Suspended From Twitter Over 'Taking Out' Metaphor."

Johnson's account is still down.

More at Pando, "Here’s the remarkable letter Chuck Johnson’s attorney sent to Twitter threatening legal action."

Also at Re/Code, "Twitter Suspends Troll Chuck Johnson — Are Its New Guidelines Actually Working?" At Memeorandum.

Leftists Disgrace Memorial Day

From Kurt Schlichter, at Town Hall:

As ISIS continues its orgy of rape and beheadings in Ramadi, perhaps our president could show a rare flash of dignity by simply slipping out the back door of the White House and down the road to the links instead of putting on his annual farce of “honoring” the sacred dead at Arlington. If he gave one half a damn about those who gave their lives for this country, the black flag wouldn’t be flying over the cities and towns purchased with the blood of so many valiant warriors.

But Barack Obama, like the rest of the liberal elite, cares nothing for our soldiers or our veterans, or the fact that hundreds of thousands of them died for the rights he treats like a rash – the right to speak freely, the right to worship as we please, the right to have our voices heard through our elected representatives instead of having our voices suppressed by neo-fascist bureaucrats and our representatives bypassed by a would-be strongman who wishes he could rule by decree.

Like everything about the Community Organizer-In-Chief and his cronies, everything about the carefully choreographed charade we’ll see this Memorial Day is a lie.

It is a lie when Obama and his liberal pals claim the dead inspire them.

It is a lie when Obama and his liberal pals claim the dead have their respect.

It is a lie when Obama and his liberal pals claim the dead are anything more to them than a photo op designed to fool low-information voters into thinking those who temporarily lead this country actually love this country and its citizens.

It’s a pose, an act, a scam. You can see it in the faces of the liberal politicians as they are forced to stand there onstage each last Monday of May, pretending they wouldn’t rather be anywhere else in the world than in the sun listening to people talk about what, at best, liberals consider suckers, and more often consider outright babykillers.

Look at Obama’s face as he walks behind the floral tribute in front of the cameras at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Tell me he’s thinking about the men who stormed ashore at Normandy and not about getting out of there and teeing up.

He’ll talk a good game – they all will, but it’s all a lie. If he cared, he wouldn’t have squandered the victory in Iraq to satisfy his America-hating pals on the left. ISIS, the JV team? Obama lied, and tens of thousands died – and those were the lucky ones...

The Dutch Have Never Forgotten American Sacrifices in World War II

A great piece.

This makes me happy. And proud.

At the Washington Post, "Americans gave their lives to defeat the Nazis. The Dutch have never forgotten."

Yeah, Lily Aldridge, Freakin' Patriot Babe

My kind of woman.

#KnowTheDifference Between Memorial Day and Veterans Day

At Twitchy, "#KnowTheDifference: Citizens emphasize the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day (Obama flashback)."

Flashback: "The Obama gaffe machine rolls on."

Civilians Increasingly Separated from U.S. Military

This isn't a new story.

Thomas Ricks had a piece on the civil/military divide in the Atlantic back in 1997, and Newsweek had one on the military as a "family business" in 2005. And here's Time from 2011, "An Army Apart: The Widening Military-Civilian Gap."

But the problem isn't just that we have an all-volunteer military (and no draft), as some bloggers are pointing out. We've had wholesale generational changes going on for decades such that a literal microscopic proportion of the American people have any connection to the military and war. In World War Two something like 16 million Americans served in uniform, but beyond that the entire country was a war. It was shared sacrifice for the war effort. From massive wartime rationing to war bonds and victory gardens, the American people went to war. It was a cultural phenomenon that's a distant memory.

In any case, there's a great piece at the Los Angeles Times, "U.S. MILITARY AND CIVILIANS ARE INCREASINGLY DIVIDED" (via Memeorandum):
Multi-generational military families like the Graveses form the heart of the all-volunteer Army, which increasingly is drawing its ranks from the relatively small pool of Americans with historic family, cultural or geographic connections to military service.

While the U.S. waged a war in Vietnam 50 years ago with 2.7 million men conscripted from every segment of society, less than one-half of 1% of the U.S. population is in the armed services today — the lowest rate since World War II. America's recent wars are authorized by a U.S. Congress whose members have the lowest rate of military service in history, led by three successive commanders in chief who never served on active duty.

Surveys suggest that as many as 80% of those who serve come from a family in which a parent or sibling is also in the military. They often live in relative isolation — behind the gates of military installations such as Ft. Bragg or in the deeply military communities like Fayetteville, N.C., that surround them.

The segregation is so pronounced that it can be traced on a map: Some 49% of the 1.3 million active-duty service members in the U.S. are concentrated in just five states — California, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.

The U.S. military today is gradually becoming a separate warrior class, many analysts say, that is becoming increasingly distinct from the public it is charged with protecting.

As the size of the military shrinks, the connections between military personnel and the broad civilian population appear to be growing more distant, the Pew Research Center concluded after a broad 2012 study of both service members and civilians.

Most of the country has experienced little, if any, personal impact from the longest era of war in U.S. history. But those in uniform have seen their lives upended by repeated deployments to war zones, felt the pain of seeing family members and comrades killed and maimed, and endured psychological trauma that many will carry forever, often invisible to their civilian neighbors....

Jerstin Crosby, a former graduate student at the University of North Carolina who now works as a computer artist, said the only direct encounter with the military he can remember was when he taught a Middle Eastern art course to airmen at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C.

He respected the airmen's knowledge of Iraq — some seemed to know it better than he did, for all his education — but was also sometimes baffled by them. Why, he wondered, did everyone on base stop their cars at 5 p.m. and stand at attention? Only later did he learn it was a daily show of respect as the nation's flag was lowered.

"I thought it was some kind of prank they were playing on me," he said.

George Baroff, enjoying an outdoor lunch at an organic food co-op in Carrboro one recent afternoon, said he understood the military quite well: He served three years as a draftee during World War II before eventually becoming a psychology professor in nearby Chapel Hill.

Baroff, 90, finds himself startled when people learn of his war record and say, as Americans often do to soldiers these days, "Thank you for your service."

"You never, ever heard that in World War II. And the reason is, everybody served," he said.

In Baroff's view, today's all-volunteer military has been robbed of the sense of shared sacrifice and national purpose that his generation enjoyed six decades ago. Today's soldiers carry a heavier burden, he said, because the public has been disconnected from the universal responsibility and personal commitment required to fight and win wars.

"For us, the war was over in a few years. The enemy surrendered and were no longer a threat," he said. "For soldiers today, the war is never over; the enemy is never defeated." The result, he added, is "a state of perpetual anxiety that the rest of the country doesn't experience." ...

For decades, young cadets in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or ROTC, were able to rub shoulders with civilians on America's college campuses. During the height of the defense buildup under President Reagan, there were 420 Army ROTC units. Today, there are only 275 ROTC programs.

At Stanford University, Kaitlyn Benitez-Strine, a 21-year-old senior, was scribbling notes in the back row of her modern Japanese history class recently, listening as her professor cataloged the misdeeds of the American military in occupied postwar Japan.

"People became increasingly resentful of the U.S. military presence," the professor said. "There were crimes by U.S. Army personnel — rapes and murders."

For Benitez-Strine, due to be commissioned as a U.S. Army lieutenant this summer, it was an uncomfortable moment. Her sister, a Marine, is stationed in Okinawa. Her parents were Army officers, as were many other relatives. She grew up in a military community near West Point. But she rarely discusses her background with other students.

Stanford, one of the nation's elite universities, has more than 6,000 undergraduates. Benitez-Strine is one of only 11 in ROTC.

She sometimes feels uncomfortable wearing her uniform on campus, as ROTC requires two days a week. Students "might think I'm a cop or something," she said. "Or they see me as a badass who can kill them at any time."

A 2013 survey by three West Point professors found that the estrangement between the military and civilian worlds is especially pronounced among young people. Many civilians born between 1980 and 2000 "want no part of military life and want it separate from civilian life," according to sociologist Morten G. Ender, one of the study's authors.

On the other side, military recruits in that age range had become "anti-civilian in some ways," the survey found.

"I am irritated by the apathy, lack of patriotic fervor, and generally anti-military and anti-American sentiment" of other students, an unidentified 20-year-old ROTC cadet told the authors. "I often wonder if my forefathers were as filled with disgust and anger when they thought of the people they were fighting to protect as I am."

Benitez-Strine is not as critical of her fellow students. Indeed, the more time she spends in ROTC, the less certain she is about a career in the military.

John F. Nash, Jr. — 1928-2015

He's famous for a number of reasons, not least of which being the subject for the movie "A Beautiful Mind."

An obituary, at the New York Times, "John F. Nash Jr., Mathematician Whose Life Story Inspired ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ Dies at 86."

Salon Wasn't Going to Let the Memorial Day Weekend Pass Without a Disgraceful and Disrespectful Hit Piece

Stay classy progs.

At Twitchy, "‘Died so they could write their drivel': Salon ‘idiots’ slam the military on eve of Memorial Day."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Oklahoma Firefighter Killed as Flooding Wreaks Havoc in Central and Southern Plains States

Terrible news.

At ABC News 7 Los Angeles:

Americans Move Left Ideologically, and So Does Flip-Flopping Hillary Clinton

Whatever it takes to get elected. Not a bone of conviction in this woman's body.

At LAT, "Hillary Clinton has shifted left, but so have Americans":
Amid discussion of Hillary Rodham Clinton's move to the left in her presidential campaign, a new Gallup poll provides an important piece of context: The nation has shifted left, as well.

In recent weeks, Clinton has called for reforming the nation's criminal justice system to reduce the number of people in prison. The policies she backed tacitly repudiated some of the tough-on-crime moves of her husband's administration which helped boost incarceration rates.

She has advocated an immigration policy that would go further than President Obama to shield some illegal immigrants from deportation. Earlier, like many other Democratic political figures, she embraced same-sex marriage rights that she had not previously supported.

Politically, those moves -- and others on economic policy that are likely to come this summer -- have the benefit of fending off challenges in the Democratic primaries from politicians to Clinton's left, including Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who announced his candidacy earlier this month, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is expected to join the fray in a couple of weeks.

But as Clinton advisors say -- and as Gallup's figures show -- something else is happening as well. Compared with 2008, when Clinton last sought the presidency, the country, and the Democratic Party, in particular, have become more liberal on social issues. On economic matters, the country is less conservative and more moderate.

In 2008, slightly more than 1 in 3 Americans described their views on social issues as conservative or very conservative in Gallup's surveys, while just over 1 in 4 called their views liberal or very liberal.

Since then, the number of self-described liberals on social policy has gone up, and the number of conservatives has declined. For the first time since Gallup began asking the question, in 1999, the two groups are at parity, with 31% on either side.

The move is particularly striking among Democrats. In 2008, about 4 in 10 Democrats called themselves liberal on social issues, now 53% do, compared with 31% who say they are social moderates and 14% who say they are conservative.

As the number of Democrats calling themselves liberals has risen, the number of Republicans who call themselves social conservatives has dropped, Gallup found. From a high of 67% in 2009, the share has now dropped to 53%, the lowest since 1999. About 1 in 3 Republicans now call themselves moderate on social issues, up from 1 in 4 in 2009.

A similar, but gentler, shift has taken place on economic issues.

And see Gallup, "On Social Ideology, the Left Catches Up to the Right."

Legends of Skateboarding Finals 2015

From last weekend at the Vans Skatepark in Orange.

At Thrasher, "Vans Pool Party 2015: Blog."

I skated with the "legends" bros back in the day.

More video, "VANS Pool Party 2015 Legends of Skateboarding + Pedro Barros Hip Transfer," and "Bowl Skateboarding Legends Final - Vans Pool Party California 2015."

Sunday Cartoons

At Flopping Aces, "Sunday Funnies."

Branco Cartoon photo Iraq-Legacy-600-LI_zpstryqeoyf.jpg

Also at Reaganite Republican, "Reaganite's SUNDAY FUNNIES," and Theo Spark's, "Cartoon Roundup..."

Sill more at Randy's Roundtable, "Friday Nite Funnies."

Cartoon Credit: Legal Insurrection, "Branco Cartoon – With All We Know Now."

Jaime Edmondson Rule 5

Wombat-socho, at the Other McCain, has the Rule 5 roundup, "Rule 5 Sunday: The Road to Sin City."

Also at Playboy, "Jaime Faith Edmondson Playboy Playmate of the Month January 2010."

Video: "Jaime Edmondson Sexy NFL Jersey Photo Shoot."

More here.