Priceless series of pictures on President Obama's Selfie at Mandel's funeral

Michelle Obama steps in to separate Barack Obama and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. And there is a question about why Obama has been "restricting access to the sort of events formerly covered by press photographers"?

Click on photos to make them larger (complete set available here).

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And people wonder why professional athletes want to own guns for protection?

While the NFL is fairly anti-gun, football players appear to own guns at a higher rate than the general population.  Well, they not only are victims of violent crime, they are also the recipients of a lot of threats.  From CBS Detroit:
Ever get death threats over a bad day at the office? Thanks to Twitter, it happens to NFL players on a regular basis.
But it’s not just their play on the field that makes fans fly over the edge — overwhelmingly, the nastiest comments come from how that play affects fans’ fantasy football leagues.
Some tweets go beyond wishing harm on players to actually threatening violence. The following tweet targeted superstar Calvin Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford. . . .
A list of examples are provided in the story. 



Another multiple victim public shooter who supports gun control

Karl Pierson, the 18-year-old Arapahoe High School student who engaged in an attack last Friday, apparently was a strong gun control proponent.  On his Facebook account he wrote: 

“The Republican Party: Health Care: Let ’em Die, Climate Change: Let ’em Die, Gun Violence: Let ’em Die, Women’s Rights: Let ’em Die, More War: Let ’em Die. Is this really the side you want to be on?”

Dylan Klebold's opposition to the concealed handgun law is available in the June 29, 1999 New York Times:

The other father prided himself on being his son's soul mate. They had just spent five days visiting the Arizona campus where the teen-ager planned to enroll in the fall, and recently discussed their shared opposition to a bill in the state legislature that would have made it easier to carry concealed weapons. . . .  
At a parents' meeting on March 27, Sue Klebold bubbled about Dylan's seemingly bright future, Judy Brown said. Mrs. Klebold told her friend that she had tried to talk her son into attending college closer to home than the University of Arizona, ''but he said he was ready.'' . . . .
Former Los Angeles police officer Chris Dorner’s 11,000-word Facebook manifesto called for much stricter gun control measures.  Here is just part of his rant on gun control.  From KTLA.com:
Why does any sportsman need a 30 round magazine for hunting? Why does anyone need a suppressor? Why does anyone need a AR15 rifle? This is the same small arms weapons system utilized in eradicating Al Qaeda, Taliban, and every enemy combatant since the Vietnam war. Don’t give me that crap that its not a select fire or full auto rifle like the DoD uses. That’s (expletive) because troops who carry the M-4/M-16 weapon system for combat ops outside the wire rarely utilize the select fire function when in contact with enemy combatants. The use of select fire probably isn’t even 1% in combat. So in essence, the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle is the same as the M-4/M-16. These do not need to be purchased as easily as walking to your local Walmart or striking the enter key on your keyboard to “add to cart”. All the firearms utilized in my activities are registered to me and were legally purchased at gun stores and private party transfers. All concealable weapons (pistols) were also legally register in my name at police stations or FFL’s. Unfortunately, are you aware that I obtained class III weapons (suppressors) without a background check thru NICS or DROS completely LEGALLY several times? I was able to use a trust account that I created on quicken will maker and a $10 notary charge at a mailbox etc. to obtain them legally. Granted, I am not a felon, nor have a DV misdemeanor conviction or active TRO against me on a NCIC file. I can buy any firearm I want, but should I be able to purchase these class III weapons (SBR’s, and suppressors) without a background check and just a $10 notary signature on a quicken will maker program? The answer is NO. I’m not even a resident of the state i purchased them in. Lock n Load just wanted money so they allow you to purchase class III weapons with just a notarized trust, military ID. Shame on you, Lock n Load. NFA and ATF need new laws and policies that do not allow loopholes such as this. In the end, I hope that you will realize that the small arms I utilize should not be accessed with the ease that I obtained them. Who in there right mind needs a (expletive) silencer!!! who needs a freaking SBR AR15? No one. No more Virginia Tech, Columbine HS, Wisconsin temple, Aurora theatre, Portland malls, Tucson rally, Newtown Sandy Hook. Whether by executive order or thru a bi-partisan congress an assault weapons ban needs to be re-instituted. Period!!! 
Mia Farrow said it best. “Gun control is no longer debatable, it’s not a conversation, its a moral mandate.” . . .
I have seen multiple other similar cases and I will have to put together a complete list.  Anyone want to help save me some time putting the list together?  Please make sure that you have cites to original reputable news sources. At this stage I am making no claims about the percentage of attacks that are done by gun control proponents, and it might not be possible to discern.

Thanks to Gus Cotey for the last link.


"if you like your Senator, you can keep . . . "

Since every Democratic Senator who is up for election this year voted for Obamacare and they basically all read from the same talking points, this is the type of ad that they should be afraid of:

From the Washington Post:
The Ending Spending ad can be replicated in virtually every single state where an endangered Democratic Senator (or House member) is running.  Find footage of said member praising Obamacare, followed by noting the “lie of the year” award and then follow it up with how many people in the state/district had their policies canceled because of the ACA. 
The potential ubiquity of the ad is matched by its potential power. Remember that more than six in ten registered voters in the latest Washington Post-ABC News polldisapprove of President Obama’s handling of health care — including an eye-popping 50 percent who disapprove strongly. (Eighty-eight percent of Republicans and 70 percent of independents disapprove of Obama handling of the health care law.) And,nearly half (47 percent) of voters said that Obamacare is making the health care system worse while just 19 percent said the ACA had made things better. . . .

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Recent radio shows for the Crime Prevention Research Center discussing everything from plastic gun bans, 3D printers, and the Newtown Anniversary

Audio is available for some of these shows.
Friday 12/6: Riley & Scot 10:09 a.m. ET. WROK-AM Rockford, Illinois
Friday 12/6 Dana Show at 1:35 p.m. ET. KFTK 97.1 FM Talk St Louis, MOFriday 12/6: Andy Caldwell Show 6:30 – 7 p.m. ET. Ventura to San Luis Obispo, California
Tuesday 12/10: Steve Deace at 2-2:20 PM Eastern. National
Tuesday 12/10: Chuck Wilder 3:40 – 3:59 p.m. ET. National
Wednesday 12/11: Lars Larson 8:35 – 8:55 p.m. ET. NationalFriday 12/13: Glenn Beck TV Show 5:50-6:00 PM ET National
Sunday 12/15 Tom Gresham's Gun Talk Radio Show at 4:30-4:50 p.m. ET. NationalSunday 12/15 The Source with Paul Anderson at 9:00 p.m. ET. National
Monday 12/16 Jim Bohannon Show 10:05-11:00 PM ET NationalTuesday 12/17 Chuck and Colleen Show at 7:47-7:59 a.m. ET., AM 1600 in Jacksonville, Florida and AM1240& FM102.3 St Johns and Putnam County
Tuesday 12/17 Debate with Alan Dershowitz on the Geraldo Rivera Radio Show Network at 10:06-10:15 ET AM NationalWednesday 12/18 Coast-to-Coast AM at 1:05-1:07 AM ET National
Thursday 12/19 Coastal Daybreak with Ben Ball at 8:45 a.m. ET. WTKF, Morehead City, NC
Thursday 12/19 Greg Garrison Show 9:05 to 10:00 AM ET WIBC-FM Indianapolis, Indiana

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So who made a more hate filled statement?: 'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson or Obama senior advisor John Podesta?

Do I think that a guy sleeping around with multiple women as being on the same level as bestiality?  Hardly.  'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson probably says something that could upset a lot of different people.  To me the strange thing is that those who believe in a consenting adult being able to do whatever he wants seem to be the most offended.  So here are the statements that Robertson made to GQ when he was asked about what he thought was a sin.
Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” . . .
“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” . . . 
By the way, how is what Robertson point any different than Pope Francis would say?  Yet, Pope Francis is Time magazine's Man of the Year.  But compare that to John Podesta's statement about Republicans.  This is from Politico:
Podesta, whose official mandate includes enforcement of numerous executive orders on emissions and the environment, suggested as much when he spoke with me earlier this fall about Obama’s team. “They need to focus on executive action given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress,” he told me. . . .
Which statement is most offensive?  It at least seems to me that calling some akin to a mass murder is worse than concerns about who someone is having sex with.  Remember Democrats constant refrain during the Clinton administration that it was just about sex?

Secondly, Robertson was asked about what he thought was a sin.  It may bother some people that the Bible views a man sleeping around with many women or homosexuality as sins, but there is a lot discussion about "hate" that seems inaccurate here, especially since Robertson has gone out of his way to say the standard hate the sin but love the sinner line.

Larry Taunton has a very useful discussion about all this at The Atlantic:
Robertson spoke in explicit terms of the homosexual and heterosexual options available to men and concluded: “She’s [i.e., women in general] got more to offer.” But he didn’t end there. Robertson suggested homosexuality is a sin that could lead to sexual anarchy, the nadir of which is bestiality: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there.”  (He did not actuallyequate homosexual behavior with bestiality, as many have been saying, and tellingly, his catalog of sinful sexual behavior also included heterosexual promiscuity.) . . .  
Robertson wasn’t expressing “his personal views,” but principles that are intrinsic to his religion.  You see, Robertson didn’t simply attack and disparage the sexual preferences of a minority, as Alec Baldwin recently did in a hateful rant. No, Robertson’s opinion—couched as it was in scriptural references that suggest he not only owns a Bible, but also reads it—reflects the teaching and practice of historic Christianity and, by extension, the opinion of a sizable portion of the American public. Indeed, according to a June 2013 Pew Research Center survey, roughly half (45 percent) of Americans polled said they believe homosexual actions are a “sin.”  
In an apparent effort to convince this demographic that homosexual actions are not sinful, GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz said Robertson’s views are not Christian. The strategy here seems to be “divide and conquer”—separate Robertson from his religion and let public opinion do the rest. . . .
There seems to me a third point.  Podesta is a senior advisor to the president of the United States.  Robertson is someone who is on a TV show.  In addition, Robertson's TV show focuses heavily on his Christian values.  Yet, the calls for Robertson being fired were overwhelming.  Where are the similar calls for Podesta to resign.  For Robertson, the calls for his removal were almost instantaneous and covered extensively by everyone from Time magazine, Fox News, Mediate, the Hollywood Reporter, and numerous local TV and newspapers.  Searches conducted between 1 and 2 AM on Thursday, December 19th.

Take this statement from GLAD: "Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans – and Americans – who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples."  I guess that I am not sure what the "lies" are in Robertson's statements.  Can one disagree with them?  Sure, but where are the lies?

A Google news search over the last 24 hours came up with nothing for Podesta.  A Bing search came up with one hit that is relevant, something from the obscure Patriot Post.

Now Robertson was fired (or put on indefinite suspension, which implies he will only be allowed back if he disavows his Christian views) so that might have generated more coverage.  But groups such as GLAD and others called openly for his firing.  Where are the similar calls for Podesta?  If one is concerned about the coarseness of the political debate, won't Obama be setting an example if he removed Podesta?

Finally, both Robertson and Podesta have issued follow up statements.  Podesta wrote: “In an old interview, my snark got in front of my judgment. I apologize to Speaker Boehner, whom I have always respected."  An "old" interview from just months ago?  "My snark got in front of my judgment"?

Yet, in the same interview with GQ Robertson made this statement: "We never, ever judge someone on who's going to heaven, hell. That's the Almighty's job," Robertson says. " We just love 'em, give 'em the good news about Jesus – whether they're homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort 'em out later, you see what I'm saying?"   Again, I am sure that probably just makes it worse for those from the organized lobbying groups such as GLAD.  

UPDATE: This is pretty amusing, but it gives some insight into the type of person Robertson is.

UPDATE: So what does Jesus and the Bible say about homosexuality?

The entire segment is available here.

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Will Bitcoin prices plummet?: China bans new Bitcoin deposits, what countries are next?

With about 1/3rd of Bitcoin worldwide transactions taking place in China, a Chinese ban could dramatically reduce the demand for the coins.  However, this action just underscores how risky these coins are since other countries could move forward to banning them.  From the Financial Times:
China has blocked the country’s Bitcoin exchanges from accepting new inflows of cash, a move that imperils the much-hyped virtual currency in its biggest market. 
The head of BTCChina, the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange by trading volume, said he had received word at midday on Wednesday that his platform would no longer be able to accept renminbi from would-be Bitcoin buyers. 
“As of right now, we have received notice from our third-party payment company that they will disallow customers from making deposits into our exchange,” Bobby Lee, a former Yahoo developer who co-founded BTCChina this year, told the Financial Times. 
As of early afternoon the Bitcoin price in China had fallen more than 25 per cent on the day to Rmb2,800 ($461) per unit. It has been a rollercoaster ride for the virtual currency, which soared as high as Rmb7395 per unit in early December, up some 50-fold since the start of the year. . . .


What is the Washington National Cathedral doing involved in such obviously political causes?: Pushing for Gun Control

Why is the National Cathedral taking political stands?
The Very Rev. Gary Hall is dean of the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. . . . 
In partnership with the Newtown Foundation, the National Cathedral is holding a national vigil on December 12 to honor the lives lost at Newtown and the more than 30,000 Americans who have died from gun violence this year. . . .
The National Cathedral has gotten some money from the federal government, but obtains other benefits simply by being labeled as the "National Cathedral."  I have no problem with churches getting involved in whatever political issues that they want.  The question is whether the National Cathedral is something different.  

From the Washington Post:
The annual "Save America's Treasures" grants were announced Tuesday at a ceremony at the historic President Lincoln's Cottage in Washington, D.C. A coalition of organizations, led by the National Park Service, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the private National Trust for Historic Preservation presented $14.3 million to the groups. 
The Washington National Cathedral, the towering center for worship and important national services, received $700,000 for repairs that any large building constantly needs. "The building is over 100 years old in some places and one of the principal needs is repointing. The mortar deteriorates over time in each of the limestone blocks," said Andrew Hullinger, the cathedral's senior director for finance and administration. And even sacred places have the same to-do list as ordinary homes, said Hullinger, citing foundation leaks and repairs to underground and interior drain lines. "The need ranges from nuts and bolts to art preservation." . . . .



Harvard student making bomb threats was peace essay winner

From the Harvard Crimson:
Eldo Kim, the Quincy House sophomore who was charged Tuesday in connection with Monday’s unfounded bomb threat, lived as a freshman in Thayer Hall, one of the four buildings in which he allegedly threatened to place explosives, according to former Thayer residents.
Kim’s entry in the freshman register for the Class of 2016 says he hails from Seoul, South Korea, and attended Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, Wash.
On the website of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, a profile of Kim from last academic year described him as a prospective psychology concentrator, while a cached version of Kim’s taken-down LinkedIn profile identifies him as a psychology and sociology concentrator. The Crimson could not immediately confirm Kim’s concentration. . . .
In 2009, Kim's essay, "Cultural Genocide: A Look into the Unknown," was the 1st place winner for the state of Washington in the U.S. Institute of Peace essay contest.
Edward Cho ’16, an Adams House resident who lived in Thayer with Kim last academic year, said it is “pretty surprising to hear that [Kim] went to such great lengths to avoid a final that he probably would have done well on anyway.” . . .
There are two ironies here: 1) That Kim was the peace essay winner and 2) that in a lot of classes most people get an A.  A humorous take on grade inflation at Harvard is available from the New York Times:
A longtime government professor at Harvard lashed out Tuesday at what he deemed a system of rampant grade inflation after learning that students are receiving mainly A’s.— The Boston Globe, Dec. 4From: The Dean of Harvard CollegeTo: The FacultyIn light of the controversy regarding so-called grade inflation, please take a moment to review the grading guidelines rubric, reproduced below:¶ The A+ grade is used only in very rare instances for the recognition of truly exceptional achievement.For example: A term paper receiving the A+ is virtually indistinguishable from the work of a professional, both in its choice of paper stock and its font. The student’s command of the topic is expert, or at the very least intermediate, or beginner. Nearly every single word in the paper is spelled correctly; those that are not can be reasoned out phonetically within minutes. Content from Wikipedia is integrated with precision. The paper contains few, if any, death threats.A few things can disqualify an otherwise worthy paper from this exceptional honor: 1) Plagiarism, unless committed with extraordinary reluctance. 2) The paper has been doused in blood or another liquid, unless dousing was requested by the instructor. 3) The paper was submitted late (with reasonable leeway — but certainly by no more than one or two years).An overall course grade of A+ is reserved for those students who have not only demonstrated outstanding achievement in coursework but have also asked very nicely.Finally, the A+ grade is awarded to all collages, dioramas and other art projects. . . . 

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Google misleads on why it is preventing Android users from stopping Apps from taking private information

This is an amazing story.  Finally, Google gave Android users a chance to determine whether they want their Apps to share all sorts of users' private information.  But less than a week later they drop this and according to this report their explanations don't make much sense.  From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
Yesterday, we published a blog post lauding an extremely important app privacy feature that was added in Android 4.3. That feature allows users to install apps while preventing the app from collecting sensitive data like the user's location or address book. 
After we published the post, several people contacted us to say that the feature had actually been removed in Android 4.4.2, which was released earlier this week. Today, we installed that update to our test device, and can confirm that the App Ops privacy feature that we were excited about yesterday is in fact now gone. 
When asked for comment, Google told us that the feature had only ever been released by accident — that it was experimental, and that it could break some of the apps policed by it. We are suspicious of this explanation, and do not think that it in any way justifies removing the feature rather than improving it.Many instances of apps "breaking" when they are denied the ability to collect data like a location or an address book or an IMEI number can easily be fixed by, for instance, giving them back a fake location, an empty address book, or an IMEI number of all zeroes. Alternatively, Google could document for developers that these API calls may fail for privacy reasons. A good hybrid would be to use fake data for old versions of the Android API and cleanly defined Java exceptions in the next API level. As with many other changes that occur across Android devices and Android versions, some app developers might have to do minor updates to keep up. . . . .



US softening its position on Japan's Senkaku Islands with respect to China's air defense zone

Michael Bloomberg spent $12 million on gun control advertising this year, Gun control groups outspend gun owner groups by 7.4 to 1

Gun control groups out spent gun owner groups by 7.4-to-1.  The vast majority of spending has come from Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  From Ad Age:
In the year after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., gun-control groups spent $14.1 million on TV advertising. According to Kantar Media's CMAG, that gave such groups a seven to one advantage over gun-rights organizations, which only spent $1.9 million. . . . 
Michael Bloomberg, the outgoing New York City mayor and a billionaire, was responsible for most of the spending on the gun-control side. Founder of Mayors Against Gun Violence, Mr. Bloomberg budgeted $12 million for an ad campaign this year. The effort was kicked off with celebrity-heavy ads demanding a plan but became more targeted as the year went on, even reaching out to "responsible gun owners." . . .
See my related piece at Fox News. As an additional point, note that Ad Age only manages to have links to gun control ads.  Not one ad on the other side is shown.

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Anti-bullying programs may increase the number of bullying

From CBS Local in Dallas:
A lot of schools spend countless hours trying to stop bullying. But some question if they are sending the right message. 
It started as a simple look at bullying. University of Texas at Arlington criminologist Seokjin Jeong analyzed data collected from 7,000 students from all 50 states. 
He thought the results would be predictable and would show that anti-bullying programs curb bullying. Instead — he found the opposite. 
Jeong said it was, “A very disappointing and a very surprising thing. Our anti-bullying programs, either intervention or prevention does not work.” 
The study concluded that students at schools with anti-bullying programs might actually be more likely to become a victim of bullying. It also found that students at schools with no bullying programs were less likely to become victims. . . . . 
According to Jeong, some programs even teach students how to bully without leaving evidence behind. “This study raises an alarm,” he said. “There is a possibility of negative impact from anti-bullying programs.” 
Jeong and others like him believe that until the message delivered by anti-bullying programs improves — some programs may be doing more harm than good. . . .


Some notes on the Arapahoe High School Shooting

The shooter was "very proud of being a socialist."

Attacker planned on killing multiple people and had many different types of weapons.  From Fox News:
The 18-year-old gunman who opened fire inside a Colorado high school Friday, injuring a fellow student and then fatally shooting himself, had entered the building with a shotgun, a machete and three incendiary devices in his backpack, and planned to hurt multiple people, authorities said Saturday. 
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said Karl Pierson likely was motived by retaliation against a faculty member -- probably a librarian at the school -- when he opened fire Friday at Arapahoe High School. Robinson said it appears the librarian was the initial target but that Pierson planned to hurt multiple people. 
Robinson said at a news conference that the teen bought the pump-action shotgun legally Dec. 6 at a local store. . . .
As often happens in these attacks, when someone confronts the attacker they simply give up.  From NBC News:
The 18-year-old Colorado man who shot a fellow student before killing himself Friday intended to shoot numerous people, but his rampage was interrupted by a school resource officer who responded to the shooting, officials said Saturday. . . . 
Confronted by the officer, the teen committed suicide less than a minute and a half after he entered the building, armed with a shotgun and multiple rounds of ammunition that he purchased legally, the sheriff said. . . .
More details from CNN: 
The rampage might have resulted in many more casualties had it not been for the quick response of a deputy sheriff who was working as a school resource officer at the school, Robinson said. 
Once he learned of the threat, he ran — accompanied by an unarmed school security officer and two administrators — from the cafeteria to the library, Robinson said. “It’s a fairly long hallway, but the deputy sheriff got there very quickly.” 
The deputy was yelling for people to get down and identified himself as a county deputy sheriff, Robinson said. “We know for a fact that the shooter knew that the deputy was in the immediate area and, while the deputy was containing the shooter, the shooter took his own life.” . . . 
They were just very lucky that there was an armed deputy sheriff available.