Pakistan: the epicenter of instability in South Asia?

Strategy Page points out that Pakistan’s own internal instability is destabilizing South Asian nations around it.  It’s not a hopeful picture for US involvement in Afghanistan. Imran Khan, the newly elected prime minister of Pakistan, has proved himself very much a tool of the Pakistani military. Khan openly and enthusiastically supports the Islamic terrorist violence in Indian Kashmir and denies any Pakistani responsibility for it. The Pakistani military can now do whatever they like without any risk of criticism from Pakistani politicians. The new head of the ISI is noted for his enthusiastic support for Islamic radicalism and the use of Islamic

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Smartphones and what they really cost you

When you add up the cost of smartphones over time, they don’t look very appealing. If you think your family’s smartphone addiction is bleeding you all dry, you don’t know the half of it. Based on typical smartphone costs and usage patterns, your kids will end up spending a staggering $75,000 apiece on their phones over the course of their lives, according to valuation company Flipsy. And even they’re only scratching the surface, because they missed out the biggest cost of all: The opportunity cost of all that money. If you factor that in, the true lifetime cost of your kids’ love affair

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Remember – and vote

Stephan Pastis reminds us: Today, use the right to vote that they died to bequeath to us. There are literally billions of people in the world who don’t have it, or whose right is meaningless thanks to official shenanigans. We don’t labor under that curse – so remember, give thanks, and vote. Peter

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The entitlement mentality at work – even among refugees

It seems that thousands of refugees, denied access to the fleshpots of Europe’s most generous welfare states, are prepared to commit violence to get to them.  Austria’s largest newspaper, Kronen Zeitung, reports (original in German, translation courtesy of Google Translate): The most up-to-date information of the liaison officers on the situation in the Bosnian-Croatian border area at Velika-Kladusa, 224 kilometers from Spielfeld, is located on the desk of the head of department at the Ministry of the Interior. Their analysis: A breakthrough attempt by “at least 20,000 migrants” at this border crossing to Central Europe could be imminent. “The Croats are really trying

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The march of the “refugee” army ants

We’re accustomed to hearing illegal aliens, attempting to enter First World nations, described as “refugees” or “victims”, or words to that effect.  Their “plight” is blamed on wars, violence, crime, and other such disruptions.  It’s a constant drumbeat of propaganda in much of the mainstream media.  For example, the Wall Street Journal claimed last week that criminal gang violence is a major reason behind efforts by South Americans to come to the USA. [In El Salvador,] Politicians must ask permission of gangs to hold rallies or canvass in many neighborhoods, law-enforcement officials and prosecutors said. In San Salvador, the nation’s capital, gangs control

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Sunday morning music

Here’s a blast from my family’s musical past. Conductor, arranger and orchestra leader Annunzio Mantovani was born in Italy in 1905, but spent most of his life in Britain.  During World War II his light orchestra was a favorite in that country, and both of my parents (who were born and raised there) enjoyed his music.  (His Italian origin doesn’t seem to have affected his popularity, even though his adopted country was then at war with the land of his birth.)  He didn’t rest on his laurels, but released many post-war albums, in the USA as well as England (in 1959 he

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Drones again – and a nasty terrorism threat

It seems small unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are again in the news – and not in a good way. U.S. Border Patrol agents based in San Diego have spotted 15 drones flying between Tijuana, Mexico, and Southern California over the past 12 months, according to new data provided to the Washington Examiner. Not one of the drone operators involved in those incidents was prosecuted for using an unmanned aerial system, or drone, around the international border, which is protected air space. From Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017, the same border sector reported two known incidents. In fiscal 2016, five

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First you’re the target market, then you’re the problem

I’m cynically amused by an apparent pull-back in the granting of easy credit to consumers. Capital One Financial Corp. and Discover Financial Services said last week they have become more cautious in how they’re handling credit limits. The two lenders said they don’t currently see signs of deterioration in consumers’ ability to pay their debts but do question how much longer the economic recovery will last. “In so many ways, one can’t help but be struck by…just how good the economy [at] this point is,” Capital One Chief Executive Richard Fairbank said on the company’s earnings call. “And in some ways, it

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“The 10 most stolen cars in America”

That’s the title of an article in the Minnesota Post-Bulletin.  It looks at the most frequently stolen vehicles in the USA during 2017.  I’ll leave you to read the details for yourself at the link. What I’m curious about is, why those particular vehicles?  What is it that makes a car or SUV or pickup more or less likely to be stolen?  I can think of several factors, but there must be more: Local popularity – if there are more of a given make or model of car in a given location, it’s more likely to be stolen by sheer weight of

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