Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Post

Various things...

In what can be described as nothing short of tragic, a gunman killed twenty-seven people, twenty of whom were children between the ages of five and ten years old:

A heavily-armed gunman opened fire inside a U.S. elementary school, killing as many as 26 people, including 20 students during a Friday-morning spree that left the country again shaken by gun violence. 

State police confirmed the shooter was found dead inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, following the morning attack. The school hosts about 600 students between five and 10 years of age.

The shooter was identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, the son of a teacher at the school. It appears, the shooter killed his mother at her home before driving to the school to begin his shooting spree there.

"According to sources, Lanza shot his mother in the face, then left his house armed with at least two semi automatic handguns...wearing a bullet proof vest," ABC News reported.
Lieut. Paul Vance confirmed that 18 children were killed inside the school and two more died at a hospital. Six adults and the shooter were also found dead. 

Reports suggest two handguns were recovered inside the school and a .233 Bushmaster was found at the scene. According to the Associated Press, Lanza's older brother Ryan, 24, is being held by police for questioning.

That the gunman killed his mother first (and in such a horrific way, too) should raise red flags to the knee-jerk reactions for yet more gun control but whatever. Why let perspective get in the way of panic?

Obama fakes emotion- again. He didn't quite pull it off during the ongoing Benghazi cover-up but he'll be damned if he can't make it believable now. Thank God the press is focussing on him for a change!

Speaking of Benghazi....

The Obama Administration is trying to muddy the waters of the Benghazi incident once again. White House officials are acknowledging that there was a live video feed from a drone flying over the U.S consulate building, but the administration is claiming they didn’t get the feed, with the live footage only going to the Defense Department.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R - UT) claims that the State Department is not telling Congress where the Americans who survived the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi are.

Nearly three months to the day since her Sunday morning talk-show comments sealed her political doom, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice has yet to recant for blaming the Benghazi attacks on a YouTube video at a time when we already knew it was terrorism.

The House and Senate foreign relations committees have already announced that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify on Benghazi next week, but the State Department said today that's not a done deal.

Moreover, the State Department may not even share the report of its own internal review on Benghazi with Congress, a top State Department official said today. 


It doesn't matter if North Korea launches another rocket; there's always time for a party!

The Obama administration's Asia team was caught so off guard by North Korea's Dec. 11 rocket launch, several of them actually had to put down their drinks and suddenly leave a holiday party being held in honor of the Japanese emperor's birthday. 

Several top U.S. officials dealing with Asia and North Korea from the State Department, the Pentagon, and the National Security Council were relaxing Tuesday night at the Japanese ambassador's Nebraska Avenue residence in Washington when the news came over their blackberries that North Korea had launched another Unha-3 rocket with a "satellite" attached, this time with much more success than a previous attempt in April. 

Just minutes before the launch news became known, several officials were overheard remarking how nice it was that North Korea was apparently delaying the launch, giving U.S. North Korea watchers hope that their holiday festivities would not be interrupted. 

"Nobody in the U.S. government thought this would happen when it did," said one top Asia expert who attended the party. "A lot of the guys who do the Korea stuff both on the policy and intelligence side were at this thing. They were saying ‘We bought ourselves some time.' People were hoping it didn't happen before Christmas because they wanted to take time off."

A federal court judge rules that unions cannot block Chinese workers from doing vastly under-paid work:

An attempt by two unions to stop more temporary Chinese workers from coming to Canada has been tossed out by a Federal Court judge.

Judge James Russell said Friday in his ruling denying the an injunction that any alleged loss claimed by the unions to the Canadian labour market remains nebulous.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115 and Local 1611 of the Construction and Specialized Workers Union wanted the injunction in place until their broader legal challenge against the mining company's foreign worker permits can be heard at a judicial review.

HD Mining International Ltd. is expecting about 60 Chinese workers to come to Canada — some as early as this weekend — to join 15 foreign miners already working at the proposed coal mine near Tumbler Ridge, B.C.

The unions alleged HD Mining's plan to hire 201 workers and pay them considerably lower wages than what Canadian miners earn for comparable work will depress the labour market, causing irreparable harm.

"Without specifics and evidence from qualified witnesses, this is conjecture," Russell said in his written ruling, adding it's not clear whether the unions' position is that they or individual members would suffer harm.

The unions have argued there are qualified Canadians who can do the work at the Murray River project in northern B.C.

"The court is provided with no direct evidence from anyone who might be interested in these jobs," Russell said. "The people who everyone is concerned about, including it seems the government of Canada, do not give evidence and there is no explanation for this."

Federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finlay has responded to the controversy by saying Canadians must always have first crack at job opportunities in Canada and that the process that led to temporary work permits being granted to the Chinese workers is under review.

There is nothing "nebulous" about this other than the judge's reasoning. Canadians are being short-changed for slave labour that is now on our soil.

In China, a man stabs twenty-two children:

A man stabbed 22 primary school students in a knife attack in China on Friday, officials said, the latest in a series of assaults.
The attacker "has been detained", said a spokesman for the Guangshan county government in the central province of Henan, where the stabbing happened.

"Twenty-two elementary school students were stabbed, so was an adult villager" but none of the victims died, the official, who declined to give his name, told AFP.

The state-run China News Service said a man attacked the students with a knife outside an elementary school, resulting in injuries which were "not life threatening". It did not give the children's exact ages.

China has seen several violent attacks against children over the past two years, including a spate of five incidents in 2010 which killed 15 children and two adults and wounded more than 80.

The assaults have forced authorities to increase security around schools and led to calls for more research into their root causes.

This wouldn't have happened if there was knife-control.

Obama signs a bill that angers Russia:

President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill that brings U.S. trade relations with Russia into the 21st century but also ushers in a testy era in which the United States could publicly "name and shame" Russian human rights violators.

The measure, which Congress passed by an overwhelming margin, allows Obama to establish "permanent normal trade relations" - or PNTR - with Russia by lifting a Cold War-era restriction on trade.

It also directs Obama to bar Russian human rights violators from entering the United States and freeze any assets they have in U.S. banks. The provision is named in honor of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian anti-corruption lawyer many U.S. lawmakers believe was beaten to death in a Russian jail in 2009.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday called the congressional approval of the bill "a purely political and unfriendly act."

"I don't get why they would sacrifice U.S.-Russia relations in order to get some political dividends at home," Putin said.

Moscow kept up the fiery rhetoric on Friday in a Foreign Ministry statement after Obama's signing. It called the law "shortsighted and dangerous" and an "overt interference into our internal affairs."

Russia does not want to be reminded of its human rights violations but it does welcome trade.

Well, this is something:

Christmas traditions aren't changing much over the years, a new poll released Thursday suggests.

Most Canadians still plan to decorate their houses and eat a roast turkey for dinner, according to a survey of 1,505 Canadians, conducted by Abacas Data this week for QMI Agency.

"Most Canadians are still very traditional when it comes to Christmas, although the majority aren't celebrating it as a religious holiday," Abacus Data CEO David Coletto said.

Of the 1,346 people surveyed who said they planned to celebrate Christmas, 41% said they celebrate it as a religious holiday, with 50% celebrating it as a secular holiday and 9% unsure.

More than three-quarters of those celebrating Christmas (83%) plan to decorate their houses, and 75% said they will most likely roast a Christmas turkey to mark the occasion.

Another thing that hasn't budged much over the years, even as the country's ethnic makeup continues to change, is the way we greet each other over the holidays.

"Merry Christmas" is still the preferred expression, with 72% of Canadians saying it's the one they use to greet people over the course of the season.


Anonymous said...

This school shooting strikes me as being not only the largest (in scale) that I can recall, but possibly the SICKEST. Klebold & Harris of Columbine would, at least, have had "bullying victims" status in the eyes of some, but this Lanza guy going after the people he hunted ...I don't want to look inside his head, even hypothetically or speculatively. It's too ugly a place. The recurring them of taking their own lives so they can't face punishment? Really stinking cowardly. I don't sympathize with ANY claims of state-of-mind stresses or "conditions", a "tortured soul" depression/insecurity having driven them to it. Every one of us needs to carry his own baggage, not a gun. Particularly if you feel compulsions to do something like Lanza did, you should seek help, not ammunition. I'd spit on his body and his grave if given the chance.


Osumashi Kinyobe said...

What a sad incident this is. What compounds it is that- as is often the case- someone knew something like this would happen and did nothing.

Anonymous said...

What is REALLY sad is that you didn't change "them" to "theme" for me, but ...the song remains the same.


Osumashi Kinyobe said...

It happens. :(