The Penn State scandal

I’ve refrained from saying much about the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, largely because I was absolutely sickened by it.  Considering the difficulties I found within the Catholic Church, and that organization’s dilatory and wholly inadequate response to a much more widespread scandal until it was far too late to mitigate the damage, you’ll understand, I’m sure.  (See the sidebar for my articles on that subject, if you’re interested.) I found the ‘punishment’ meted out to Penn State by the NCAA to be pathetically inadequate.  All the tens of millions of dollars in ‘fines’ they imposed won’t undo the

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Criminal gangs spread to smaller cities

Last year, in an article titled ‘The changing urban self-defense environment‘, I pointed out (amongst many other points) that: One is now more likely to be confronted with crime, whether at home, in the shopping mall, in parking areas, or at large gatherings; One is more likely to have to defend oneself and/or one’s loved ones against danger from multiple directions and multiple attackers; The crime is more likely to be violent, with little or no verbal or other warning before escalating to blows or the use of weapons. There’s much more at the link.  If you haven’t read that

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A parade float that says it all!

I received these photographs via e-mail.  They apparently show a float from a recent parade in Bessemer, Michigan.  The e-mail notes: Bessemer, Michigan is a small community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, located near Ironwood and Wakefield, Michigan and Hurley, Wisconsin.  For those who don’t recognize it, the trailer behind the tractor is a manure spreader. I guess at least some people in Bessemer don’t like what the current POTUS has done for their economy – and I’m willing to bet that float will prove prophetic if President Obama wins a second term!  The phrase ‘economically illiterate’ seems tailor-made for this

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The most risky airports for the spread of disease

The ‘house journal’ of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT News, has published a very interesting study on which US airports would be the principal nodes from which an outbreak of infectious disease would spread via travelers.  Here are a few excerpts from their report. … a new study by researchers in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) shifts the focus to the first few days of an epidemic, determining how likely the 40 largest U.S. airports are to influence the spread of a contagious disease originating in their home cities. This new approach could help determine appropriate

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The old is new again . . .

Aviation-minded readers will recall that prior to World War II, most aircraft were constructed from wood or metal frames and ribs, covered with fabric.  Even some of the better-known combat aircraft of World War II, such as the Hawker Hurricane fighter and the Vickers Wellington bomber, used this construction technique. Damaged tail of Vickers Wellington bomber, showing burned fabric over the aircraft’s geodesic airframe (image courtesy of Wikipedia) Indeed, it sometimes gave such aircraft an unexpected advantage in combat – German cannon shells, designed to explode on impact with the metal skin of an aircraft, would sometimes pass right through

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Security clearances – the madness intensifies

Last year I asked ‘Security clearances – has Washington gone mad???‘  Judging by this news, it’s at least unbalanced . . .  security clearances are sprouting like weeds and multiplying like mosquitoes in stagnant water! The number of people who held security clearances for access to classified information increased last year to a new reported high of more than 4.8 million persons as of October 1, 2011, a new intelligence community report to Congress said. Last year’s annual report, the first official count of security cleared personnel, had indicated that there were over 4.2 million clearances in 2010.  That number

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Talk about red tape!

Yesterday, talking about the reality of today’s economy, we mentioned in passing regulatory overhead costs for businesses to hire more employees. Today, over at Theo Spark’s place, I came across this diagram labeled  ‘Red Tape vs. Small Business’.  I had no idea the situation was this bad, but I’ve no reason to disbelieve the diagram – in fact, judging by what small businessmen such as Warren Meyer frequently have to say, it may be over-simplified! Open the image in a new browser tab or window to see it full-size. Scary! Peter

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More world rally car action

I’ve posted video clips before of rallying cars in action.  I recently came across this short video of highlights from international races.  I can’t get over the sheer skill of the drivers.  To cover such shockingly bad roads at such high speeds is truly death-defying! Wow! Peter

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Doofus Of The Day #622

Today’s award goes (yet again) to the British legal system, in particular the idiots who inflicted this on British taxpayers. Lifelong criminal Mark Hook, who caused a political furore when he was sent on safari in his teens to steer him away from a life of crime has been jailed for committing his 112th offence. Two decades on, it has clearly not worked. . . . Before Thursday he had made 32 court appearances over the last 20 years comprising 111 offences, 43 of which were thefts. His latest brush with the law involved him mugging a woman shopper last

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Of taxes, tax avoidance, and socialist greed

The BBC reported yesterday that the Tax Justice Network is at it again. A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study. The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined. The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for the Tax Justice Network. . . . Mr Henry said his $21tn is actually a conservative figure and the true scale could be $32tn. A trillion is 1,000 billion. Mr

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