Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dutch Intelligence/Security Service: Threat from Left Not Right

Cross posted at The Next Right

From the April 23, 2009 NIS News Bulletin:
The AIVD secret service is concerned about far left and Islamic extremism. Conversely, there is scarcely any threat from the extreme right, according to the AIVD annual report on 2008.
. . .
The AIVD is also concerned about extreme left activism. The service sees an increase in intimidation by animal rights activists in 'home visits' to scientists and staff of companies directly or indirectly involved with animal testing. This trend will continue in 2009. AIVD also sees an increase in violent actions against deportations of illegal migrants, increasingly operating in small cells.

Remarkable is the AIVD's assessment of the Anti-Fascist and Capitalist Archive Collective (KAFKA). KAFKA is regularly cited by Dutch 'quality media' as a research institute into rightwing extremism, but its Antifascist Action (AFA) arm is in reality a movement that uses violence to achieve its goals.

"The picture is often evoked of antifascists defending themselves against aggressive rightwing extremists, while the roles are generally reversed." Especially at extreme-right Netherlands People's Union (NVU) demonstrations, AFA organises violent counter-demonstrations. They have these "carried out by third parties, such as local antifascists, riot-loving youths and football hooligans."
. . .
The extreme right remains a pretty powerless movement. "As in previous years, the extreme right environment in the Netherlands remains characterised by fragmentation and splits" and "there is no question of a trend towards extreme right terrorism".

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oregonian Subscription Rate Plummets 11% in One Year

Cross posted at The Next Right

The Oregonian lost over 35,000 daily subscribers in the past year--an 11.76% drop.

Daily subscription rate fell from 304,399 in March 2008 to 268,512 in March 2009.

This year’s loss doubles that of the previous three years. Since March 2005 the Oregonian has lost over 69,000 daily subscribers or 20% of its subscriber base.

Portland newspaper decline began in the late 1950's. A 1959 labor union strike weakened the Oregon Journal, the other Portland daily, such that it was never able to bounce back to pre-strike levels. The locally owned Oregon Journal was then forced to sell to the national Newhouse chain in 1961. Newhouse had previously purchased the Oregonian in 1950. Newhouse stopped publication of the Oregon Journal in 1982.

Editor and Publisher lists the bad news for the top 25 newspapers in the nation. Only the Wall Street Journal posted a gain in subscribers in the past year.

USA TODAY -- 2,113,725 – (-7.46%)
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL -- 2,082,189 -- 0.61%
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- 1,039,031 -- (-3.55%)
LOS ANGELES TIMES -- 723,181 -- (-6.55%)
THE WASHINGTON POST -- 665,383 -- (-1.16%)

DAILY NEWS (NEW YORK) -- 602,857 -- (-14.26%)
NEW YORK POST -- 558,140 -- (-20.55%)
CHICAGO TRIBUNE -- 501,202 -- (-7.47%)
HOUSTON CHRONICLE -- 425,138 -- (-13.96%)
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC -- 389,701 -- (-5.72%)

THE DENVER POST (02/28/2009 to 03/31/2009) -- 371,728 -- N/A
NEWSDAY -- 368,194 -- (-3.01%)
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS -- 331,907 -- (-9.88%)
STAR-TRIBUNE, MINNEAPOLIS -- 320,076 -- (-0.71%)
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES -- 312,141 -- (-0.04%)

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- 312,118 -- (-15.72%)
THE BOSTON GLOBE -- 302,638 -- (-13.68%)
THE PLAIN DEALER, CLEVELAND -- 291,630 -- (-11.70%)
DETROIT FREE PRESS -- 290,730 -- (-5.90%)
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER -- 288,298 -- (-13.72%)

THE STAR-LEDGER, NEWARK, N.J. -- 287,082 -- (-16.82%)
ST. PETERSBURG (FLA.) TIMES -- 283,093 -- (-10.42%)
THE OREGONIAN, PORTLAND -- 268,512 -- (-11.76%)
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE -- 261,253 -- (-9.53%)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Those Who Will Pay Off the Debt Approve of It

The Pew Research Center finds that the majority of Americans age 18 to 49 approve of the way President Obama is handling the budget deficit.

18 to 29 year olds
59% approve
25% disapprove

30 to 49 year olds
51% approve
39% disapprove

This should give comfort to World War II and Baby Boomer generation Americans who may feel a little guilty about saddling the younger generation with debt.

50 to 64 year olds
45% approve
48% disapprove

44% approve
39% disapprove

Generations X and Y (under 50) may not understand the implications of debt on their own future spending. Every citizen’s share of the national debt is now over $36,500 (or $73,000 per couple).

As with credit card debt, interest payments on the national debt--not to mention actually retiring the debt--will squeeze future national spending and personal/household spending either through higher taxes or inflation.

Since Baby Boomers have not had to shoulder the burden of debt run up under their watch, perhaps Generations X and Y figure they can handle four times* the growth in debt without having to pay a personal price either.

Or Generations X and Y may be willing to live a life with significantly less personal prosperity than World War II and Baby Boom generations. (As will be the case with social security.)
*The 1983 national debt figure was about $2.1 trillion in adjusted dollars or $8,900 per person ($17,800 per couple).

Friday, April 24, 2009

McClatchy Newspapers Daily Circulation Down 9%

Cross posted at The Next Right

From McClatchy Watch:
McClatchy says its daily circulation is down 9% from last year
Here are the circulation figures McClatchy announced yesterday:

* daily circulation is down 9.0% compared to 1st quarter 2008
* Sunday is down 6.5% compared to 1st quarter 2008

Overall hits at newspaper websites are up by about 10 percent:
The number of people visiting newspaper Web sites hit a new high in Q1 with an average of 73.3 million unique users, a 10.5% jump compared to the same period a year ago.

--though time spent at the sites is down for most of the top 30:
The average time spent per person at the dropped by six minutes in March 2009 compared to the same period a year ago. The has some company: The Wall Street Journal lost more than five minutes March 2009. So did Politico.

In fact, just over half of the top 30 newspaper Web sites (ranked by uniques) experienced declines in the average time spent per person.
. . .

Newspaper Web site -- March '09 (hour:minute:second) -- March '08 -- 0:31:12 -- 0:37:14 -- 0:17:55 -- 0:11:26 -- 0:15:58 -- 0:16:14
Wall Street Journal Online -- 0:09:34 -- 0:14:49
LA Times -- 0:06:57 -- 0:07:38

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wisdom and Courage from Life’s Trials: Sarah Palin and Jason Atkinson

Cross posted at The Next Right

Alaska Governor and former Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin at the Vandeburgh, Indiana, Right to Life Banquet, April 16, 2009:

It has been an interesting year . . . .

I have learned some things--things now I know for sure--not the least of which is the need to identify who we are. Why we are so confident that American can embrace a culture of life knowing there is purpose and good destiny for every child no matter your party or your background or your race or religion. Protecting and promoting the sanctity of life trumps all of that.

Some things we can all know for sure. America’s forefathers founded this great nation with powerful words in America’s Declaration of Independence. They read in part like a holy text.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Providentially and with so much wisdom our founding fathers wrote that life is valuable because it is ordained and not because it is utilitarian. That life is precious whether in the form of a helpless baby, or a dependent senior citizen, or a special, special needs kid. I know for sure that my son is perfect just as he is, and I do believe that he’s made in the image of God.
. . .

And you know truth has a way of barging through the doors of our lives whether we are prepared for it or not. Let me take you just very quickly over a tiny bit of my recent past because I learned a lot of what I know for sure in this last year.

Our oldest son Track, he’s 19. He was getting ready to deploy with his Army Stryker Brigade over to Iraq. And you mammas know out there, oh, our first born, you know they got our heart. And now a fifth of my heart is in Iraq. So kind of life changing right there at the beginning of the year. And then we had Trig. I’ll talk about him in just a little bit. And then about a month later my teenage daughter, my strong, independent, smart, great student, good athlete, my strong daughter she came to me and she painstakingly and shockingly confided that she was going to be a mom. Talk about change. And since she’s had a beautiful, precious baby boy. But, boy, she’s now 18 years old; she came to me at 17 and gave us the news. All these circumstances in just a matter of a few months seemed so less than ideal. They seemed surreal. But I had to hold on to my faith, my belief that, again, everything has purpose. Oh what a year. And then a couple of months later, yeah, I was chosen to run for Vice-President, that too happened.

The circumstances there really allowed me an understanding of the sensitivities and the complexities of what a woman goes through in maybe some less than ideal circumstances when she finds out that she is pregnant. I learned a lot about kind of the other side of the issue, and it has helped me. It has helped me be even more confident in our position that protecting life is what we need to do here in America.

There has been great purpose in what I went through this past year. I was so anxious to meet Trig because I had learned at 13 weeks along that he would be born with Down Syndrome. And that blew me away. It just rocked my world, and to be honest with you I had a heck of a time being able to put my arms around the idea of . . . first, having a baby at 44. And then knowing that the baby would have some challenges. It was a serious time of testing. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was a time where I had to ask myself was I going to walk the walk or was I just going to talk the talk as Matthew [West] sang about--going through the motions. I had to ask myself that.

I had found out that I was pregnant while out of state first at an oil and gas conference. While out of state there just for a fleeting moment, oh I knew nobody knows me here. Nobody would ever know. I thought, wow, it is easy, can be easy to think maybe of trying to change the circumstances. No one would know. No one would ever know. And then when my amniocentesis results came back showing what they called “abnormalities”. Oh, dear God, I knew, I had instantly an understanding for that fleeting moment why someone would believe it could seem possible to change those circumstances. Just make it all go away and get some normalcy back in life. Just take care of it. Because at the time only my doctor knew the results. Todd didn’t even know. No one would know. But, I would know.

You know at first I thought, “How in the world could we manage a change of this magnitude.” I was a very busy governor with four busy kids and a husband with a job hundreds of miles away up on the North Slope oil fields. And, oh the criticism that I knew was coming.

Plus I was old. And I thought, “Yeah, very funny God. Uh-huh. My name is Sarah, but my husband is not Abraham. He’s Todd. Yeah, and just like Sarah of old, I too, I laughed.

So, yow, the thought, you know starting all over with diapers and midnight feedings, and putting down the Blackberry and picking up the breast pump. Doing all that all over again. Truly, less than ideal circumstances, perhaps. But, I had just enough faith to know that my trying to change the circumstances wasn’t any answer. And, friends here tonight, that faith was built on what I hear from you, Vandeburgh Right to Life. The seeds that you plant in a heart with your kind and your adamant efforts that can grow into a good decision to choose life.

I came to believe that Trig’s pre-natal test was me being asked if I would trust and believe, and more importantly live out, what I had been saying for years about the pro-life movement and the purpose and the sanctity of every life no matter the circumstances. I had always been pro-life I said. So, we went through some things a year ago that now lets me understand a woman’s, a girl’s, temptation to maybe try to make it all go away if she has been influenced by society to believe that she is not strong enough, or smart enough, or equipped enough, or convenienced enough to make the choice to let the child live. I do understand what these women, what these girls, go through in that thought process.

We all have our challenges and our battles. Everyone one of you goes through life’s trials. And maybe you’re going through a battle now. I want to encourage you that in my moments of doubt that I just went through a year ago with these different steps, I clung to a faith that taught me that we could meet the challenges. That we won’t be given anything that we can’t handle. And really, at times, that faith was all that I had.

I was anxious to meet Trig. Because, believe it or not, I didn’t know what to expect. And, believe it or not, I didn’t even know what a baby with an extra chromosome was going to look like or feel like because I had a heck of a time researching Down Syndrome when I was pregnant and getting my arms around this. And it just seemed like that when I tried to open the book like this was something for someone else, someone stronger and maybe more compassionate than I to be able to give this child what he would need to better handle the circumstances. I wasn’t sure if my heart could hold what this baby would need.

So, I prayed that might heart would be filled up. What else did I have. I had to call upon my faith and ask that my heart be filled up. And, I’ll tell you the moment the he was born I knew for sure that my prayer was answered. And my heart overflowed with joy.

And I tell you this for a reason. I felt a love that I had never felt before and compassion that I didn’t even know was there. Trig is a miracle, and he has brought amazing and surprising happiness and great, great perspective. Oh my goodness, when I hold Trig a whole lot of the other things on the periphery--it just goes away.

He has brought amazing, surprising happiness, and he is the best thing that has ever happened to me. And I want other women to give this a chance and experience this. This that can make their lives better--not inconvenienced or burdened--but, if they give it a chance, it can make their life better. And it can make an adoptive family’s life better. See now I can look at my little boy, or any of those who make up our precious special needs community. And I can now look at a scared, maybe embarrassed, unwed teenager carrying a child. And I can look in a desperate, adoptive parent’s eyes, seeing their longing for a child. And I can know for sure, Vandeburgh Right to Life, you are doing the right thing because you are planting those seeds reminding us that children are meant as perfect gifts, not as burdens. They are truly the most precious and promising ingredients in this world. And that is what you are reminding us.

Oregon State Senator Jason Atkinson:

Georgene [Rice]: Tell us what happened on that day in July of 2008.

Atkinson: I was working on a bike and accidentally dropped a bag I was removing from under the seat. It usually carries tubes and tools for the bike. I heard a popping noise and found myself on the ground bleeding to death. My wife quickly put her finger in the bullet hole and used a bike tube as a tourniquet.

Psalms 23 says, “He makes me lie down”. I used to think that was optional. But it’s really not. In a split second our lives changed. I went from being the hard charging person to being made to lie down.The next several hours we didn’t know if I was going to live. In the weeks after, we didn’t know if I’d be able to keep my leg or my foot. Now it’s a matter of whether I’ll be able to stand or walk.

Georgene: You are a man of faith. For some, the expectation is that if we are following Christ these kinds of things aren’t going to happen. What were your initial thoughts?

Atkinson: When you give your life to Christ it doesn’t mean everything is going to be rosy. My wife has beaten cancer and as a micro preemie my son is not supposed to be alive. When I started in politics I understood business, the environment, and higher education and I wanted people to be inspired to be in public service. I never thought I would be interested in pre-natal care, but with my son born at 24 weeks old I now understand those issues. When you’re a 6’4 guy and find yourself in a wheelchair having to ask for help, it changes your life in ways you never considered. God never says it’s going to be easy. It’s all a matter of how you respond and react to bad times. I think some of the people who have touched my life could have only been touched by my going through these things.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Sound of a Bit of Joy in Antwerp

The background: More than 200 dancers were performing there version of "Do Re Mi", in the Central Station of Antwerp. with just 2 rehearsals they created this amazing stunt! Those 4 fantastic minutes started the 23 of march 2009, 08:00 AM. It is a promotion stunt for a Belgian television program, where they are looking for someone to play the leading role, in the musical of "The Sound of Music".

A video of the making of this.

Hat Tip: Jennifer Rubin

Friday, April 17, 2009

USC Annenberg Journalism School Threatens/Handcuffs Journalist

The video is fairly straight forward about the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Journalism standards for journalism: it's a good First Amendment right only if the journalist doesn't ask uncomfortable questions. Imagine their use of intimidation in class for students who don't agree with the prof.

Not to mention that if I or one of my neighbors took to handcuffing and roughing up people peaceably passing through or asking questions of people on our private property, it would be considered an unnecessary and illegal use of force. Someone needs to spank USC.

John Ziegler / Katie Couric at USC from Orange County Films on Vimeo.

Hat Tip: NW Republican

Governor Palin's Right to Life Speech

Unemployment: the Mildly Good and the Ugly

Cross posted at The Next Right

The five worst jobless rates in March:

1. Michigan - 12.6%
2. Oregon - 12.1%
3. South Carolina - 11.4%
4. California - 11.2%
5. North Carolina - 10.8%

Clips from the latest (April 17, 2009) Bureau of Labor Standards report:

[emphasis added]

"The over-the-year percentage increases in employment occurred in the District of Columbia (+0.8 percent), Alaska (+0.7 percent), North Dakota (+0.3 percent), and Louisiana and Wyoming (+0.2 percent each)."
. . .

"The 2 states to show an over-the-month increase in employment were Mississippi (+300 or less than +0.1 percent) and North Dakota (+300 or +0.1 percent)."
. . .

"The largest over-the-year percentage decreases in employment occurred in Arizona (-7.0 percent), Michigan (-6.4 percent), Florida, Nevada, and Oregon (-5.4 percent each), and Idaho and North Carolina (-5.0 percent each)."
. . .

"Oregon reported the largest jobless rate increase from a year earlier (+6.6 percentage points), followed by South Carolina (+5.5 points), North Carolina (+5.4 points), and Michigan (+5.0 points)."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Faith Differences Between Conservatives and Liberals

The Latest Barna survey shows some interesting differences between liberals and conservatives on religion/faith matters.

About half of Americans view themselves as moderates. For the other half Conservatives outnumber liberals by almost 2 to 1.

32% of adults view themselves as “mostly conservative” on social and political matters
17% of adults see themselves as “mostly liberal”on social and political matters
51% of adults see themselves as “in between” on social and political matters

Conservative vs. Liberal views:

94% (Conservative) / 74% (Liberal) - consider themselves to be Christian
2% (C) / 11% (L) - atheist or agnostic
15% (C) / 2% (L) - Christian evangelicals
21% (C) / 30% (L) - associated with the Catholic church
63% (C) / 27% (L) - the Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches
82% (C) / 54% (L) - their religious faith is very important in their life
70% (C) / 38% (L) - their faith is becoming an increasingly important moral guide in their life
62% (C) / 37% (L) - the church they currently attend is very important in helping them find direction and fulfillment in life
76% (C) / 43% (L) - their primary purpose in life is to love God with all their heart, mind, strength and soul
82% (C) / 55% (L) - believe that “God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.”
57% (C) / 33% (L) - read the Bible, other than at church events, during the past week
91% (C) / 75% (L) - pray to God, other than at a religious service, during the past week

The Barna group did not include data regarding the views of moderates on these issues.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Washington State Senate Honors Home-Schoolers

Thursday the Washington State Senate unanimously approved a resolution introduced by State Senator Val Stevens honoring home-schoolers.

With good reason. Some of the stats:

“Studies show that homeschoolers outperform their school-based counterparts by more than 30% on the national achievement tests.”

From a survey of 7,000 adults who were home-schooled:

· 95 percent were familiar with politics and government, compared to 65 percent of public school educated adults;

· 79 percent participate in ongoing community service activities, including politics, compared to 37 percent of other adults;

· 88 percent are members of community groups, church, or professional organizations compared to 50 percent of other U.S. adults;

· 76 percent voted in a national or state election within the past 5 years, compared to 29 percent of other adults.

Hat Tip: NW Republican

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Uh-oh. NASA: Green Laws Increase Global Warming

Cross posted at The Next Right

From NASA:
“The researchers found that the mid and high latitudes are especially responsive to changes in the level of aerosols. Indeed, the model suggests aerosols likely account for 45 percent or more of the warming that has occurred in the Arctic during the last three decades. The results were published in the April issue of Nature Geoscience.

“Though there are several varieties of aerosols, previous research has shown that two types -- sulfates and black carbon -- play an especially critical role in regulating climate change. Both are products of human activity.

Sulfates, which come primarily from the burning of coal and oil, scatter incoming solar radiation and have a net cooling effect on climate. Over the past three decades, the United States and European countries have passed a series of laws that have reduced sulfate emissions by 50 percent. While improving air quality and aiding public health, the result has been less atmospheric cooling from sulfates.” [emphasis added]

Hat Tip: Andrew Bolt

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Oregon Governor Pines for Good Old Days

Cross posted at The Next Right

"In the meantime, [Governor Kulongoski] is gearing up for a discussion about making what could be some of the most difficult changes in state government in decades. It's making him sorely miss the 2007 session, when the state was flush with money and the banking crisis hadn't hit.

"'When you do not have enough revenue,' Kulongoski said, 'a lot of the fun leaves.'"
Harry Esteve, The Oregonian

So what is Governor Kulongoski (D) planning to reverse Oregon's third worst in the nation unemployment rate?

Apparently, nothing.

Instead of working on how to bring Oregon out of its deepening recession, Kulongoski is dreaming of ways to adjust to a worsening Oregon economy.

More revenue from property taxes, less spending on incarceration of criminals, maybe having the state appoint school superintendents and building the first state-owned casino (competing with tribally-owned casinos in the state).

Even Oregon Democrats are critical of Kulongoski's lack of action.
"[Kulongoski's] caution has prompted sharp criticism from his own party as well as Republicans. The gist is that Kulongoski has been holing up when he should be out on the stump. And they're wondering how, exactly, he plans to lead the state through a recession that has forced thousands out of their jobs and left gaping holes in the state budget.

"The answer appears to be: He's working on it. In his most extensive interview yet on the state's hard times, the governor told The Oregonian that he's waiting for the right time to put the spotlight on his proposals, which could include revotes on such game-changing initiatives as Measure 5, the property tax limit, and Measure 11, which set stiff minimum prison terms for violent felons."
. . .

"[Kulongoski] gave one example: What if, he said, Portland built a 2,000-room hotel adjacent to the Oregon Convention Center and on the bottom floor opened the first and only state-owned, full-service casino? 'Dedicate all the profits -- 100 percent -- to schools.'

"It would be a success, he said, but 'my staff hates the idea,' and he guesses Portland would never go for it. But a few more years of flat or feeble growth in the economy and resistance might soften, he said." [emphasis added]

A few more years? Oregon's Democratic governor wants a "reset" of state government in which the realities of a few more years of deepening recession will be accepted by the public and the growing numbers of unemployed.
"'This is not a lack of will on my part to want to take it on,' Kulongoski said. But the public hasn't come to grips yet with the financial havoc still to come if the recession digs even deeper, he said."

Governor Kulongoski's reset of state government is not aimed at promoting growth in Oregon's economy and employment. Instead it's a reset in which Oregon state government scrambles to increase funding sources all the while ignoring the economic hardship and unemployment its citizens are facing. No wonder Oregon has only two more states to pass to have the worst unemployment rate in the nation.

Hat Tip: OregonWatchdog