Monday, December 11, 2017

For a Monday

A lot going on ....

A pipe-bomb that prematurely went off in a New York subway station has been called "ISIS-inspired":

A man inspired by Islamic State extremists strapped on a crude pipe bomb, slipped unnoticed into the nation's busiest subway system and set the device off at rush hour Monday in a scenario that New York has dreaded for years, authorities said.

In the end, the only serious wounds were to the suspect, Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant and former cab driver, authorities said. But the attack sent terrified commuters fleeing through a smoky passageway, and three people suffered headaches and ringing ears from the first bomb blast in the subway in more than two decades.

"This was an attempted terrorist attack," Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals."

In Washington, President Donald Trump said the explosion highlighted the need to change immigration policies, including the type of family-based visa Ullah obtained to come to the U.S. in 2011. Such visas are "incompatible with national security," the Republican president said in a statement.

"America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country," said Trump, who campaigned on cracking down on immigration.

The attack near Times Square came less than two months after eight people died near the World Trade Center in a truck attack authorities said was carried out by an Uzbek immigrant who admired the Islamic State group.

Yes, about that:

The English language publication, called “Rumiyah,” is targeted at the Western World and was first published in 2016. The eighth edition was released in April of this year and features several articles specifically about how to attack people with knives and cars.

The magazine has a full page detailing the perfect kind of truck for attacks, a box truck, and the best ways to acquire one. The magazine lists among the ideal targets as large outdoor festivals, conventions, parades, outdoor markets and congested streets.


In total, more than 1,200 people outside of Iraq and Syria have been killed in attacks inspired or coordinated by the Islamic State ...


An Isis-linked media agency has called on would-be extremists to carry out even more Ramadan attacks on members of the public in “low tech” knife, gun and vehicle assaults.
One should not expect Kaiser Bill to take this sort of thing seriously. I mean - no one really targets New York, do they?

The EU, filled with panty-waist indignation, tells Israel that it rejects what another country thinks:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his case to Europe to ask allies to join the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but met a firm rebuff from EU foreign ministers who saw the move as a blow against the peace process. ...

But even Israel’s closest European allies have rejected that logic and say recognizing Israel’s capital unilaterally risks inflaming violence and further wrecking the chance for peace. 

After a breakfast meeting between Netanyahu and EU foreign ministers, Sweden’s top diplomat said no European at the closed-door meeting had voiced support for Trump’s decision, and no country was likely to follow the United States in announcing plans to move its embassy. 

“I have a hard time seeing that any other country would do that and I don’t think any other EU country will do it,” Margot Wallstrom told reporters. 

Yes, about that:

The Czech Republic and Hungary have broken ranks with the European Union on President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the EuObserver reported this week. Czech president Milos Zeman on Thursday announced: “[Trump’s decision] makes me truly happy […] We may, sooner or later, follow the United States.”

Eastern Europe may act independently but western Europe does what its Islamist thugs dictate.


Members of Calgary’s pro-Palestinian and human rights activism community called on Ottawa to denounce last week’s move by U.S. President Donald Trump to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, a move that counters 70 years of U.S. foreign policy and one organizers say retard progress on securing peace in the embattled area.

Yes, Justin - do as you're told.

I simply can't think of a headline for this:

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau next week for talks on how to address the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, an Ottawa source said on Monday. 

How badly do people want to kick the North Korean can down the road that they include the Right Honourable F--- Up in this?


President Moon Jae-in and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will hold a bilateral summit meeting in Beijing on Thursday, Cheong Wa Dae said Monday.

Moon, who will begin the four-day state visit to China on Wednesday, will be meeting with Xi for the third time, and discussions will focus on security issues and ways to improve bilateral ties, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Seoul and Beijing, however, will not issue a joint statement in light of differences in the two sides’ positions on issues surrounding the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system. 

If Moon had any sort of moral fortitude, he would tell Xi to go to hell.

If he had the moral fortitude ...

One-sided sectarian violence in Bangladesh:

If you want to punish a non-Muslim, especially a poor Christian in Pakistan, point your index finger at him and utter the word "blasphemy." You will soon find thousands of Islamic hardliners beside you chanting, "Death to blasphemers!" Similarly, if you want to root out a Hindu family from its ancestral home in Bangladesh, just accuse one of its members of insulting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. You will soon find thousands of Muslims rushing to burn the Hindu family's whole neighborhood down, without hesitation or evidence.

Such behavior towards minorities -- Christians in Pakistan and Hindus in Bangladesh -- has become commonplace among fundamentalist Muslims in both countries, whose governments have surrendered to Islamists.

I can't see how changing established names to something else will bring about the end of the reconciliation gravy train:

Alberta regulations mean an Indigenous group cannot ask to rename Calgary and Canmore, provincial officials say, but an Indigenous advocate says these kinds of requests are part of “hard conversations” connected to reconciliation that Canada must have.

Really, what did anyone expect of the Liberal government? Dignity and efficiency?

It was a solemn occasion on April 9, the culmination of years of planning to make the event go smoothly. The ceremony was in the style of a Remembrance Day event, but bigger, with speeches, thousands of empty boots to symbolize the men killed, some interpretive dancing and a live TV broadcast in Canada.

Concerts and sports events handle similar crowds all the time. They bus people in, open lots of gates, supply portable toilets and water, give clear directions and let everyone go home when the event is over.

However, documents obtained through an access-to-information request showed how visitors who travelled all the way from Canada were stranded, injured and left sweltering in the sun with no water. 

They were forced to urinate on the grass for lack of toilets and finally penned in enclosures for two hours or more after dignitaries — including princes Charles, Harry and William and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — drove away past them.

It's just money:

Ontario’s fiscal watchdog says the Liberal government will run a deficit this fiscal year, despite claims it has balanced the budget.

In a new report Monday, the Financial Accountability Office said the Liberals will run a $4 billion deficit in 2017-2018, and will continue to be in the red over the next few years.


Mark J. Perry, professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan points out: “It’s an ironclad law of economics that to stimulate one group with public policies like the minimum wage, protective tariffs, or farm subsidies, another group in the economy has to be equally ‘unstimulated’.”
The “unstimulated” employer can only survive by making economic choices. 
One is to lay some people off. Those “unstimulated” and unemployed people will not be spending more at anyone’s businesses.
Another is to raise prices. 
Not only could that negatively impact sales, customers who buy the now more expensive product or service will have less money to spend on other things. 
When the employer has less money, he or she spends less at other businesses.

One could argue that it is the stamina of both teachers and students that could win over where their school board is located. After all, simple addition equations don't change because of where one lives:

Peter Cowley, director of school performance studies at Fraser Institute, said all students should have an equal chance at success regardless of their personal geography, but there appears to be acceptance that some regions, and some school boards, can produce lower results year after year with little consequence.

“It seems to me there’s a lot of complacency around the public school system, a lot of societal forgiveness for not really good results,” Cowley said, on the release of his annual Ontario elementary school report card. “We’re not talking about advanced physics or anything; we’re not talking about different forms of societal organization or anything like that.


Sadly but predictably, all too many Ontario educators — starting with the teachers’ unions — have been consistent about one thing over the past 20 years: They hate standardized testing and despise school rankings even more.

Peter Cowley, director of school performance studies and the man behind the Fraser Institute’s school rankings, said for two decades he’s been doing the report cards, the “fly in the ointment” in every province has been the teachers’ unions.

“They are dead set against them (the report cards) and they can’t abide comparing one school to another,” he told me recently from Vancouver. “It implies one set of teachers are better than another.”

He said the teachers unions have done anything possible to campaign against standardized testing — on which the Fraser report cards are based.  In Ontario, the yearly elementary school rankings reflect Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) Gr. 3 and Gr. 6 student test scores in reading, writing and math.

To add insult to injury, he says, is the recently approved motion by the Peel District School Board that all EQAO tests in math, reading and writing be suspended until the education ministry completes a promised review of the curriculum and the standardized testing regime.

At the start of this school year, the province announced an “education refresh” that will see new report cards that measure creativity and critical thinking, curriculum updates (particularly in math) and changes to standardized testing.

Would these "new" report cards be filled in by the same people who don't apply tested teaching methods to their students?

God forbid that students indulge in some of that critical thinking and figure out that their unionised teachers are ripping them off.

But ... but ... global warming!

Here’s polar bear expert Susan Crockford giving chapter and verse on the subject.
In August, [when it was filmed] this bear would have been only recently off the sea ice: since most bears are at their fattest at this time of year, something unusual had to have affected his ability to hunt or feed on the kills he made when other bears around him did not starve and die. It could have been something as simple as being out-competed for food in the spring by older animals.
But if sea ice loss due to man-made global warming had been the culprit, this bear would not have been the only one starving: the landscape would have been littered with carcasses. This was one bear dying a gruesome death as happens in the wild all the time (there is no suggestion that a necropsy was done to determine cause of death, just like Stirling’s bear that supposedly died of climate change.)

Some posit that the unfortunate creature may have suffered from a disease, something that is quite plausible.

But, you know, the Narrative and such.

And now, a couple of seasonal entries:

No, we’re not talking crispy snacks here. These are a series of three cardboard tubes connected by a wrapping of colored foil. They are a British Christmas institution and you’ll see them on dinner tables right next to the cutlery. What are they for? Well, they’re somewhere between pulling the wishbone on a turkey and a fortune cookie. The idea is that you and the person next to you each grab an end and pull.
 (Sidebar: Christmas crackers are fun. Very fun. Awesomely fun. What's the big deal?)


If the thought of planning Christmas dinner makes you nervous, be glad you weren’t born in the Renaissance. The earliest known published Christmas menu included pork, beef, goose, lark, pheasant, venison, oysters, swan, woodcock, and "a kid with a pudding in his belly," to name just a few dishes.

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