Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Shoals of Equality

Townhall.com ^ | April 1, 2014 | Paul Greenberg
How might a captain's log of the good ship America read? The pages would surely include accounts of halcyon skies and smooth sailing, however turbulent the times seemed at the moment. As well as episodes of peril, even shipwreck, as the grand old lady was tossed and turned, even torn asunder. See 1861-65. There would be notations in the log by the greatest of her captains and commanders, the Washingtons and Lincolns, whose service to the Republic even now can be summed up by only one word: indispensable. The roster of skippers would include the near-greats, too, however much they might have veered off course from time to dangerous time, like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, who seem to have taken command just when their vision and leadership -- and spirit -- were most needed. Oliver Wendell Holmes once observed of FDR that he may not have had a first-class intellect, but he had a first-class temperament. The same could be said of Ronald Reagan, another Happy Warrior. No wonder both held ship and crew together through many a storm, guiding the old Republic into safe harbor. Yes, there were glory days -- when the Revolution was won and the nation founded, and its liberty confirmed in law, specifically the Constitution of the United States, which yet endures, however undermined by the never-ceasing ambitions and ideologies of men convinced their ideas are superior to its. Others besides the great and near-great have occupied the captain's quarters from time to time, and some almost steered the great ship onto the rocks -- disasters like James Buchanan and just drifters like Jimmy Carter. Our current captain looks increasingly like one of those nondescript Others -- not because his ideology tends to outrun his understanding, though it does, but because, like Jimmy Carter, he doesn't seem to know what he's doing. Which may explain why his Signature Accomplishment is becoming his signature failure. See the continuing misadventures of what is known as Obamacare, which may explain why this captain is constantly issuing course corrections without actually changing course. If there were charts and maps to consult on this voyage, they might include a notation found on old depictions of the seven treacherous seas: Here There Be Monsters. And yet our heedless captain sails on, like a Columbus without an astrolabe, as the inevitable storms arise. Our president's latest obsession and political appeal (with him they are much the same) would seem to be a determination to assure equality in American society "whenever and wherever" he can, no matter what Congress or the Constitution may have to say on the subject. If his goal and compulsion were noted on a sea chart, it might be designated The Shoals of Equality. As attractive as equality sounds in any democratic society, the passion for it can lead that society into deep and dangerous waters. The concept of equality itself has undergone a sea change since it was used to mean equality before the law -- a shining ideal bequeathed to the world by Western civilization. But equality seems to have lost its earlier, pristine meaning and now refers to an only material equality -- an equality of income, of property, of spoils. And when words are degraded, so is society. If only the word still meant an equality of opportunity, not of results. Then the possibility of an aristocracy of merit arising out of an equality of opportunity might be born again. A keen and always prescient observer of "Democracy in America," the indispensable Alexis de Tocqueville, observed that Americans are forever torn between a desire for liberty and an equal but opposite desire for equality. Each has its great benefits and great dangers -- and the objective of a great leader must be to guide us safely between them. But our captain seems to have set his sails only for one. Indeed, he's called inequality of income "the defining challenge of our time." Forgotten is Tocqueville's warning: "Democratic institutions tend to promote the feeling of envy." And where it leads, which is nowhere good. As another foreign observer once said: "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." --Winston Churchill. That is something else to inscribe on the charts. Along with: Beware the Shoals of Equality.

The April Fools

Passing gas 101: What your flatulence patterns mean for your health!

Foxnews.com ^ | April 01, 2014 | By Loren Grush
Passing gas: Everybody does it – and no one wants to admit it. This embarrassing habit may seem foul, but breaking wind is simply an unavoidable byproduct of our daily digestion. In fact, the average individual can pass gas anywhere from 13 to 21 times a day. But your gaseous patterns can actually speak volumes about your health, especially in regards to your eating habits, and they may even serve as an indication of larger digestive health issues. “People who produce excessive amounts of gas and particularly foul smelling gas – if you’re eating a super high fiber diet, that could be part of it,” Dr. Anish Sheth, a gastroenterologist in Princeton, N.J., told FoxNews.com. “But if it’s something that’s persistent, and your significant other is noticing it, it could be a problem.”
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...

Will Americans Buy Toyota Motor Corporation's Hydrogen Car?


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Toyota senior vice president Bob Carter showed off the FCV Concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Toyota says that its FCV Concept is a preview of the hydrogen fuel-cell car it plans to start building next year. Source: Toyota.
Hydrogen-powered cars are coming to U.S. dealerships. But will Americans buy them?
Toyota (NYSE: TM ) is betting that at least a few Americans will be willing to pay for a car that runs on hydrogen. The company is expected to launch a production version of its FCV Concept vehicle in Japan, the U.S., and Europe next year.
The FCV Concept is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Essentially, it's an electric car that extracts its energy from compressed hydrogen, instead of a battery. Advocates of fuel-cell-powered cars say they're just as clean as battery-electrics -- their only "exhaust" is water vapor -- but they can be smaller and lighter in weight, because they don't have heavy battery packs.
Toyota isn't the only company making this bet. Hyundai (NASDAQOTH: HYMTF ) is already selling a fuel cell version of its Tucson SUV in Southern California. And Honda (NYSE: HMC ) is expected to launch a new hydrogen car of its own in 2015.
Honda says its radical-looking FCEV Concept represents a "potential styling direction" for the hydrogen car it plans to start building next year. Source: Honda.
Of course, these vehicles aren't cheap -- at least, not if you want to own one. Hyundai's fuel cell vehicle is only available via a special lease program. Toyota's first hydrogen cars could be priced in the same neighborhood as Tesla Motors' battery-electric Model S -- which could make for a very tough comparison for the Japanese giant.
But as Fool contributor John Rosevear explains in this video, Toyota is betting that fuel-cell prices will come down considerably in just a few years -- if the technology catches on.
A transcript of the video is below.

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John Rosevear: Hey Fools, it's John Rosevear, senior auto analyst for Fool.com. Are you ready for hydrogen-powered cars?
Well, ready or not, they're coming. In fact, one is already here, at least if you live in Southern California, where Hyundai is offering a version of its Tucson SUV powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.
But some even bigger names are expected to wade into this market shortly. Japan's Nikkei newspaper reported this past week that Toyota and Honda are both planning to launch cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells as early as next year.
Both already offer hydrogen-powered vehicles, but they're offered on a lease-only basis and marketed mostly to municipalities and certain types of businesses, and these sell in very tiny numbers -- think dozens rather than hundreds.
But these new vehicles are expected to change that, at least a little bit. These are actually electric cars, but instead of battery packs, which are still heavier and more expensive than automakers would like, they have fuel cells, which are devices that extract energy from hydrogen gas and chemically convert it to electricity. They do this by oxidizing the hydrogen, and you know what you get if you combine hydrogen and oxygen -- the only "exhaust" from these vehicles is water vapor.
So, what will these cars be like? Well, Toyota has been showing off a concept car called the FCV Concept, and it's said to be a preview of what they plan to start building next year. You can see a photo of it above this video if you're on Fool.com. In fact, some people have suggested that this could be the next Prius, maybe offered with a choice of regular hybrid or fuel cell powertrains. We'll see.
According to the Nikkei report, Toyota is hoping to sell about 1,000 of these next year, but they'll be expensive -- the report says they'll be priced "below 10 million yen," but 10 million yen is almost $98,000 dollars. Toyota is planning to launch it in Japan and the U.S. and in Europe, and they're hoping to get the sales volumes up to tens of thousands by 2020, and if they do, the price should come down to something more like $30,000 to $50,000.
Honda has also showed off a fuel cell concept car, they call it the FCEV Concept, for "fuel cell electric vehicle," and as you can see in the photo, it's much more futuristic looking than Toyota's car, and I think it's probably a good bet that the production version will be toned down considerably. Honda describes it as a "potential styling direction," not necessarily an actual preview. But whatever it ends up looking like, Honda says they'll build the production version of the FCEV starting next year, like Toyota, and they'll launch it first in the U.S. and Japan, and then in Europe later on.
So, ready or not, hydrogen cars are on their way. Thanks for watching.

Obama’s deportation rate hits record low, not record high!

washington times ^ | april 1, 2014 | ernest istook
Although the Obama administration claims deportations have hit an all-time high, they’ve actually hit record lows, covered-up by a shell game of phony numbers, said Jessica Vaughan, the Center for Immigration Studies’ director of Policy Studies. Ms. Vaughan’s report went viral Monday morning about how 68,000 convicted criminals were released by immigration officials last year rather than deported. She revealed the bigger bombshell about phony deportation numbers during her interview on my talk radio show Monday afternoon on The Washington Times Radio Network. The true number of deportations in 2013 was 135,000, the lowest since 1973, she told me — only one third of the 400,000 that is often claimed. “These numbers show that the president is hardly the deporter-in-chief as so many of the ethnic advocacy groups have tried to paint him,” she told me. “A better title would be releaser-in-chief … because ICE is now releasing more illegal aliens than they are trying to deport when their agents find them in the interior of the country.”
How do they manipulate the numbers?
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...

A Repeal by Any Other Name

Townhall.com ^ | April 1, 2014 | Debra J. Saunders
Should Congress repeal Obamacare?  If you had asked that before the botched Affordable Care Act rollout, I would have had a hard time answering yes. I didn't see how the scheme could work, but I also believed that Washington owed the millions of Americans who I was told had been waiting desperately for years for guaranteed health care. Now I say, "What's in a name?" There's no need for a repeal when Washington is bound to revamp the law. The reason: Consumers aren't buying it. According to the White House, more than 6 million people have signed onto Obamacare exchanges. Problem: The law kicked close to 5 million Americans off their private health care plans. Also, the administration says it doesn't know how many new plan members actually are paying their premiums, so that 6 million figure could be highly inflated. At best, more than 1 million extra Americans got new private coverage, while 5 million individual policyholders got kicked off their old plans. Some won't have access to the doctors they were promised they could keep. For many, the new plans are less affordable than their old plans. Industry graybeard Robert Laszewski found that many exchange providers "are just re-enrolling their old customers at higher rates." Call it the Less Affordable Care Act. Individuals who qualify for federal subsidies probably will pay lower premiums, but only because taxpayers are subsidizing their plans. How is that more affordable for America? Obamacare also expanded Medicaid coverage for 7 million uninsured Americans. Thing is, President Barack Obama didn't need to upend the private market in order to expand Medicaid coverage. The same goes for the highly popular but utterly nonsensical provision that allows adult children to stay on their parents' health plans until they turn 26. Already the Democrats are gutting Obamacare. The administration has delayed provisions 38 times, by the Wall Street Journal editorial page's count. The White House even asked insurers to continue providing those "substandard" plans it had banned. Six Democratic senators have come up with a plan to offer consumers more choices, spur competition and increase affordability. On "Fox News Sunday," one of the six authors, Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent who caucuses with Democrats, essentially declared the Affordable Care Act dead. "There's no such thing as Obamacare," he said. "You can't sign up for Obamacare. You're signing up for an Anthem policy or an Aetna policy or a WellPoint policy. It's private insurance." The private market has had many drawbacks but one salvation: Until Obamacare, people were free to refuse to pay for a bad deal. Months ago, reader Bob Duste of Glen Ellen, Calif., wrote to tell me that under Obamacare, his premiums had doubled while his deductible went up by 25 percent. His family can take the hit, he wrote, but he was "disillusioned with the efficacy of most government programs that end up being forced upon the unwilling as opposed to a last resort for the downtrodden and truly indigent." Simply put, the Democrats didn't know what they were doing, but that didn't stop them from forcing their magical thinking on people who didn't want it.

As November disaster looms, Dems forming circular firing squad!

American Thinker ^ | 04/01/2014 | Thomas Lifson
The standard MSM rope is that the GOP is riven by conflict, but even they are beginning to notice Democrats turning against one another. There is going to be hell to pay for the Democrats in November. Having rammed through a disastrous transformation of health care, a lot of congressional Democrats and many more down the ticket suspect that voters will vent their anger at the party that foisted the travesty on us.
 
As the old saying goes, “Success has a thousand fathers and failure is an orphan.” So Democrats are scrambling to make sure that their backs are protected when Demageddon happens. Against this dynamic, a variety of issues are being contested. Two analysts today lay out the fault lines. Michael Barone:
 
Now in the sixth year of the Obama presidency, with his job approval stuck below 50 percent, there are signs of strain. And choices made earlier, when Democrats held congressional supermajorities, are starting to prove troublesome.One choice was to not bring forward immigration legislation that would provide a path to legalization for immigrants in the country unlawfully. This was a top priority for the Hispanic Caucus, but Obama and Democratic congressional leaders chose not to advance an issue that would cost them the support of some Democrats and require Republican votes.During the 2012 campaign, this caused Obama few problems, except for some pointed questions in a Univision interview. But the president's job approval among Hispanics plummeted 23 points in 2013, according to Gallup -- more than any other demographic group.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

'White Privilege Conference': Whites Are Never Cured of Racism!

Breitbart ^ | 4/1/2014
More details are emerging about what was presented at the "White Privilege Conference" held in Madison, Wisconsin, where tax money was spent to train teachers how to annihilate "white privilege" and "white supremacy" in American schools. One session insisted that whites can never be cured of their permanent racist attitudes. On March 30, Breitbart reported on the conference, now in its fifteenth year. Over these years, teachers have been told that whites have been pushing "white supremacy" on kids since the country was created, and that whites are so infused with racism that they aren't even cognizant of their crimes. The latest conference pushing this propaganda was held in Madison between March 25 and 29. A Wisconsin reporter tried to gain access to the event, but hosts denied him entrance. However, another reporter was able to gain access without being discovered. Nick Novak of Wisconsin's MacIver Institute attended the event and found in one session that teachers were being told that white people are like "alcoholics" with their racism. They will never be cured of it but will always be racists at heart. Kim Radersma, a former high school English teacher in California and Colorado, was the leader of a breakout session entitled "Stories from the Front Lines of Education: Confessions of a White, High School English Teacher." During the session, she told the teachers and administrators that "being a white person who does anti-racist work is like being an alcoholic." She went on to say, "I will never be recovered by my alcoholism, to use the metaphor. I have to everyday [sic] wake up and acknowledge that I am so deeply imbedded with racist thoughts and notions and actions in my body that I have to choose everyday [sic] to do anti-racist work and think in an anti-racist way."
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

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