Sunday, May 25, 2014

Here's Everything We Know About the Santa Barbara Mass Slaying and the 22-Year-Old Alleged Shooter

He was nuts, of course.

By Epictetus

Detroit Motorists Under Siege in 'Carjack City'

DETROIT (AP) - When they pull up to a gas station these days, Detroitdrivers are looking beyond the price per gallon at a far more threateningconcern: carjackers.The armed auto thieves have become so common here that parts of the bankruptmetropolis are referred to as "Carjack City," and many motorists feargetting out of their vehicles even for a few moments to fill a tank.So gas stations are taking steps to protect customers, and the city hasformed a special police team to go after suspects. Convicted carjackers willeven get their faces and prison sentences plastered onto billboards."You need to catch these people and make a good example of them," said MousaBazzi, who owns a Mobil station in a semi-desolate neighborhood borderingDetroit's east riverfront. He keeps his business well-lit and continuallyhas two to four employees inside to ensure "there's always an extra hand ortwo" in case of trouble.Authorities blame many of the carjackings, ironically, on improvements invehicle security. Anti-theft equipment, GPS systems and advanced locks nowprevent many vehicles from being driven without a key in the ignition.That makes it difficult or impossible for thieves to steal parked cars,leading them to target vehicles that are occupied, said Jonathan Parnell, ofDetroit's auto-theft squad.Also contributing to the thefts is a strong demand for stolen wheels andtires, police said.Bazzi's station displays pale-green decals depicting a lighthouse - a signthat his business has joined the city's anti-carjacking effort. To be partof the program, stations must have security cameras, good lighting, be open24 hours and have clerks willing to help motorists and provide a phone foremergency calls."There is a waiting list," Sgt. Michael Woody said. "We have so many gasstations that want to become a lighthouse. You get better protection withthat big sticker in the window that tells criminals there is properequipment that will help police investigate these crimes."Detroit police reported 720 carjackings last year in the city of fewer than700,000 people. That's down from nearly 850 in 2011 and 1,231 in 2008.The decline may partly be due to Detroit's freefalling population, but thethefts still exceed the carjackings in some comparably sized U.S. cities.Sharlonda Buckman, executive director of a Detroit nonprofit, was at a gasstation on an October morning when she ran inside for aspirin. Back insideher SUV, she was just closing the door when she saw a carjacker shove hisgun inside.She screamed and jumped out of the vehicle. The carjacker jumped in anddrove off. Three other customers gave chase in their vehicles. One caught upto the SUV and got shot in the leg by the carjacker, who was later arrested.Now, Buckman said, she tries not to pump gas at all."If the night catches me, I won't pump gas in the city," she said. "Or I'llcall somebody to meet me."It's difficult to know how Detroit's carjackings rank nationally becausemany police agencies lump carjackings with all armed robberies in annualreports to the FBI.Newark, New Jersey, with a population of 280,000, had 382 carjackings lastyear, giving it a per capita rate that is actually higher than Detroit's.Memphis, Tennessee, with a population of 655,000, had slightly more than 400carjackings over three years from 2011 through 2013. El Paso, a rapidlygrowing western Texas city of 670,000, reported only 15 carjackings lastyear and 18 in 2012.Through May 19, Detroit has recorded 191 carjackings in 2014, including theFeb. 24 shooting death of CVS security guard Courtney Meeks, who rushedtoward a car being taken by three men, and the Feb. 4 slaying of DonaldBradshaw, a 68-year-old man who was beaten to death with a tire iron afterhe was carjacked at an intersection.Prosecutors, the FBI and Detroit police recently announced a campaign tospread the word about stiffer federal penalties for carjacking, which caninclude the death penalty if someone is killed. A similar campaign thatincludes billboards with photos of convicted carjackers started last summerin Newark.Detroit police have also announced a partnership with General Motors' OnStarroadside assistance service to track down stolen vehicles and promoterewards tied to an anonymous tip line.To avoid becoming a victim, security guard Greg Champion wears a handgun onhis hip whenever he's pumping gas."I don't want to surprise you," Champion said. "I want you to know I'marmed, and I want you to know I can defend myself, and I want you to gosomewhere else."Christine Reed takes the opposite approach. The 27-year-old mother of twowon't stop for gas in Detroit. She lives north of the city in Warren andworks four days a week cleaning offices downtown.If she's in a bad section of town, Reed said, she passes through red lightsbecause it's tougher to carjack a moving target."It's not a safe place anymore," Reed said. "It's dangerous."The state-appointed emergency manager tasked with restructuring Detroit's$18 billion in debt has said crime needs to be reduced to make the cityattractive to new residents and businesses.That's going to take more and better resources, said Wayne County ProsecutorKym Worthy, who complains that she has only a few assistants to trycarjackings."When nobody has any resources . all we can be is reactive," she said.

By Epictetus

Army selects new camo pattern

More on the new U.S. Army Camouflage Pattern.

The Army has decided on a new camo to replace the unpopular Universal Camouflage Pattern on your ACUs— and the selection is very similar to MultiCam.
Sources, on condition of anonymity, confirmed Friday that the service has selected Scorpion W2 as its next Army combat uniform camo, a pattern born out of Army Natick labs.
Numerous Army sources refused to comment on this story, expressing reluctance to get ahead of the service’s announcement on an issue that remains under intense Congressional scrutiny. broke the news, reporting that Sgt. Major of the Army Raymond Chandler III has been briefing senior sergeants major throughout the Army about the new pattern for the Army Combat Uniform.
Known internally as Scorpion W2, a source said the pattern is likely to be announced under a different name.
Its color palette of muted greens, light beige and dark brown resembles MultiCam, the pattern used by soldiers deploying to Afghanistan. However, Scorpion W2 uses fewer beige and brown patches and none of the vertical twig and branch elements later added for MultiCam.
The new pattern will serve as the service’s primary camo pattern, but Army uniform leaders have said they envision a “family” of patterns with a dark jungle-woodland variant and a lighter pattern for desert environs. The main camouflage pattern would be worn in garrison, and the others would go to deploying troops.
.Natick derived Scorpion W2 from the original Scorpion pattern developed by Crye Precision, of Brooklyn, N.Y., MultiCam’s manufacturer. Crye officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Crye developed Scorpion under a government contract in 2002, and it was later used for Objective Force Warrior, a soldier systems development program, according to Guy Cramer, CEO of a competing camouflage developer, HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp., of British Columbia.
Cramer said while MultiCam and Scorpion may look similar, he believes MultiCam is better-performing.
The Scorpion W2, according to a source, was among the 22 patterns considered in 2010 when the Army began shopping for new combat uniforms. The Army narrowed that down to four finalists (Scorpion was not among them) and late last year it looked like leaders were nearing a deal with Crye to adopt MultiCam.
But then talks broke down over cost, according to Crye.
The Army’s options are somewhat limited. Congress, in the 2014 Defense Authorization Act, directed the Defense Department to rein in uniform spending and adopt a camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms across all services. It has forced the Army to take a closer look at existing camouflage patterns — particularly those of its sister services, mainly the woodland and desert versions of the Navy and Marine Corps combat uniforms.
In March, an Army official confirmed the service could experiment with MultiCam colors if desired, noting a company can copyright a pattern but not a color palette.
Col. Robert Mortlock, the program manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, told Army Times at the time that the service examined camo beyond 50 meters and found that, while colors are important, the actual pattern is “not that relevant.”

By Epictetus

Don Levine, Hasbro exec who helped create GI Joe, dies

He died of cancer early Thursday at Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, said his wife, Nan. They were just about to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
Levine shepherded the toy through design and development as Hasbro's head of research and development. He and his team came up with an 11½-inch articulated figure with 21 moving parts, and since the company's employees included many military veterans, it was decided to outfit the toy in the uniforms of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, with such accessories as guns, helmets and vehicles.
Levine, who served in the Army in Korea, said he got the idea for the moveable figure as a way to honor veterans.

“All in that gigantic fighting machine agree in the selection of that one truly heroic figure in the war. He is G.I. Joe...He and his platoon leaders have given us an example of loyalty, devotion to duty, and indomitable courage that will live in our hearts as long as we admire those qualities in men.”

                               Dwight D. Eisenhower
                               General of the Army
                               (Speaking at the end of WWII).

By Epictetus

Poland's Walesa says the US no longer world leader 6.html;_ylt=AwrBEiQBoX9T7hIAzCvQtDMD

WARSAW, Poland (AP) - Poland's former president and Nobel Peace laureate,
Lech Walesa, said Friday he plans to urge President Barack Obama to take a
more active world leadership role when he visits Poland in June.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Walesa said "the world is disorganized and
the superpower is not taking the lead. I am displeased."

The former Solidarity leader said that when he meets Obama in Warsaw, he
wants to tell him that the U.S. should inspire and encourage the world into
positive action.

"The point is not in having the States fix problems for us or fight
somewhere, no," Walesa said. "The States should organize us, encourage us
and offer programs, while we, the world, should do the rest. This kind of
leadership is needed."

"I will say: Either you want to be a superpower and guide us, or you should
give the superpower to Poland and we will know what to do with it. Amen,"
said Walesa, who is known for sometimes abrasive comments."

Looks like our President is going to get a metaphorical kick in the dupa.

By Epictetus

Friday, May 23, 2014

Army most important, but Marines most prestigious, poll shows

Americans say the U.S. Army is the most important service branch to national
defense, but the Marine Corps is still considered the most prestigious, said
a Gallup poll released Friday.

The annual poll, timed to mark the start of the long Memorial Day weekend,
showed that 26 percent of Americans say the Army is the most important
military branch, followed closely by the Air Force at 23 percent. The Marine
Corp was called the most important by 19 percent, the Navy by 17 percent and
the Coast Guard by 3 percent, the poll found.

The Army has edged out other military branches in Gallup surveys conducted
throughout the last decade.

Gallup started asking Americans about the importance of U.S. military
branches in the 1940s, using a variety of questions over the years.

Americans until the mid-2000s always viewed the Air Force as the most
important branch of the military. While it still ranks high today, it no
longer dominates, the pollsters said.

Importance does not necessarily equal prestige.

The Marine Corps has consistently been considered the nation's most
prestigious military branch, even if not the most important, with nearly
half of Americans - 47 percent - saying they respect Marines the most.

The Air Force was a distant second, with 17 percent saying is was the most
prestigious branch, said the poll.

"Despite successful Navy SEALs raids that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin
Laden in 2011 and helped rescue the captain of the merchant marine vessel
Maersk Alabama from pirates in an incident that was the basis of the movie
'Captain Phillips,' the Navy's image has not benefited," Gallup noted.

The poll found that 12 percent of Americans say the Navy is the most
prestigious military branch.

"They clearly see the Marine Corps as the most prestigious," the pollsters
said. "The Marines have benefited from being viewed as an expeditionary
force central to U.S. wars over the last century, along with an omnipresent
advertising campaign touting 'the few, the proud.' "

By Epictetus

What White Democrats Really Think About Black Americans_Americanthinker

Whoa! Interesting anecdotes. The mask of compassion slips giving us look at the hate, bigotry and condescension beneath.            

By Epictetus

Putin Jabs Obama: 'Who Is He to Judge, Seriously?'

Russian President Vladimir Putin trained his pugnacious rhetoric on
President Barack Obama on Friday, answering an allegation that he has lied
about Ukraine with the jab: "Who is he to judge?"

By Epictetus

Army Taps Scorpion to Replace UCP camo for ACU

"The U.S. Army is going to dust off its old Scorpion pattern as a
replacement for its much criticized Universal Camouflage Pattern."

"I ran a story about the selection this morning on I have been
told that Sgt. Major of the Army Raymond Chandler III is quietly telling all
of the senior sergeant majors around the Army that the service's new
camouflage will be Scorpion - a pattern similar to MuliCam that was
developed for the Objective Force Warrior program in 2002."

The Army has been considering replacing UCP with Crye Precision's MultiCam -
a pattern that has demonstrated consistent performance in multiple tests and
was selected in 2010 for soldiers to wear in Afghanistan.

But Army officials balked at MultiCam's price tag. They didn't want to pay
for "printing fees" the company receives on MultiCam - a small figure that
amounts to about one percent of the 20-percent price hike uniform companies
want to charge the Army for MultiCam, according to Caleb Crye, the owner of

Army officials even tried to buy the rights to MultiCam. Crye told the Army
it would cost $25 million if the service wanted to buy the rights to the
pattern, which would essentially put Crye Precision out of business, he

So with that option off the table, the Army is now going to use Scorpion
since the service has owned it for the past 12 years. The pattern is very
similar to MultiCam because Crye developed for the OFW program.

"MuliCam's appearance is slightly different for trademark purposes."

See the article for a comparison of what the Multicam and Scorpion
camouflage patterns look like. They actually look a lot alike, as the employ
the same colors.
The muted pastel colors in Multicam seem to blend in better with the
background more different environments than any other pattern. This is
because there are really few bright colors in nature; most background
colors, in soil and vegetation, are subdued . Multicam actually works better
in forest and jungle than the "woodland" pattern , particularly when you are
lying the forest floor, where there more browns and tans colors and fewer
bright greens. The Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) for the Army Combat
Uniform (ACU) was touted to work better than any other pattern when it was
first fielded, on the grounds that the pixelated "digital" pattern  was
supposed to "fool the brain" and cause the pattern to blend into the
background. In reality the color scheme of the UCP clashed with nearly every
background and thus caused the ACU wearer to stand out like a blob to the
observer. The Lesson Learned here is that for camouflaged combat uniforms,
the colors used in the scheme matter much more than the geometry of the
pattern when it comes to blending in with the terrain. As I suspected, the
Army Brass went with the UCP over Multicam for the ACU originally because
uniforms printed with UCP, designed by the Army's Natick Laboratory, would
have a  cheaper per unit price than ones printed with the copyrighted
Multicam scheme. Another case of the services being penny wise and dollar

However, in the big scheme of things this is not the egregious waste of
money that some in Congress and the media are touting. Many times in the
past the Army invested considerable money on special purpose  uniforms only
to promptly discard them when the time passed for their use. For example, so
far the Army has actually used the ACU with the UCP for at least a year
longer than it used the Vietnam olive drab colored Jungle fatigues, the
Vietnam Jungle "cammies" and the Vietnam Jungle boot as well. During the
invasion of Normandy in World War II the Army deployed several Divisions
wearing the "spot" camouflage fatigue uniform, like the one developed for
use in the Pacific theater. The Army promptly replaced the "cammies" when
our British Allies complained that they looked too much like the camouflage
uniform worn by German Waffen SS soldiers. Anyway if you ever wondered where
"SGT Saunders" on the old "Combat" TV series got his camouflage helmet cover
from, well now you know.

 Members of Congress have expressed the opinion that it doesn't make sense
for the armed services to each have a different camouflage combat uniform.
Actually in the 21st Century it makes perfect sense for each service to each
its own unique combat uniform since each service operates in different
environments and performs vastly different functions. What does not makes
sense in the 21st century is for the services to spend millions of dollars
on elaborate and archaic dress uniforms, for any troops save the handful
performing ceremonial functions. After all the function of the military is
first and foremost is to fight and win wars. Elaborate and brightly colored
dress and service uniforms with neck ties and shiny shoes no longer serve a
purpose in war fighting. For example, did the Viet Cong lose their war
because they lacked fancy dress uniforms? In any event, I know that any
proposal to do away with dress uniforms would be opposed by the service
chiefs AND Congress and quickly dismissed on the grounds of "morale" and
"tradition". But it no longer matters what our troops wear, as Columnist
Mark Steyn accurately observed, America has lost the political and strategic
will to win wars.

By Epictetus

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Is an Obamacare bailout worth BILLIONS on the horizon?

The Affordable Care Act included a way for insurance companies to recoup
their losses from covering everyone regardless of their health
If insurers lose money, the government's funds - taxpayer dollars - cover
between 50 and 80 percent of the losses for three years
Premiums for 2015 are expected to skyrocket before the November elections,
and Democrats hope the payments will keep prices down

When the Obamacare law passed in 2010, it omitted the authority for the
government to make these 'risk corridors' payments
But in a bit of regulatory sleight-of-hand last week, the Health and Human
Services Department quietly issued a regulation authorizing them

Health insurance companies are poised to have access to billions of taxpayer
dollars in what Republicans are calling an Obamacare 'bailout.'

In a little-noticed regulation issued late last week, the Department of
Health and Human Services authorized massive payments to insurers that lose
money because of the Affordable Care Act's requirement that they cover even
the oldest and sickest Americans.

A provision of the Obamacare law known as 'risk corridors' provides the
safety valve for insurance companies if they keep rate hikes modest but
still wind up in the red.

According to that system, insurers whose claims in 2014 are 3 per cent
higher than what was projected will recover half of the different from the

If claims are 8 per cent or more above projections, taxpayers cover 80 per
cent of the company's losses.

An aide to a member of the House Republican leadership told MailOnline that
the risk corridor system was calculated to cushion the blow of rate hikes
until President Barack Obama is out of office.

'They set the risk corridors to expire in three years,' the staffer said.
'Guess who will be long gone from the White House by then?'

'This is just another taxpayer-funded subsidy for big businesses. If the
Obamacare system were fair, it would force insurers to price their policies
according to reality. Of course, if that happened, rates would double and
you'd see well-deserved panic in the streets.'

'The American people are sick of Washington picking winners and losers,
especially since the chosen losers often end up being taxpayers who foot the
bills for Washington's mistakes,' Rubio said then.

Democrats have long feared that if rates jump too much and too quickly,
consumers could abandon their insurance entirely and opt to pay modest fines
instead. That could collapse the entire system.

The Los Angeles Times first reported on the new HHS regulations, and noted
that the 2015 rates will be published just weeks before November's
congressional midterm elections.

An HHS spokesman told The Wall Street Journal in January that the point of
the risk corridors was to help smooth out some of the uncertainties
associated with an entirely new pricing structure, and that the program was
expected to be 'budget neutral.'
That's because insurers that make more profit this year than they estimated
will be forced to surrender a portion of their excess to the federal
government - providing finds to reimburse their less fortunate competitors.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated in February that the government
would actually reap a windfall, since insurers were more likely to aim high
when pricing their policies under the new Obamacare requirements.

The CBO estimated that while the government would pay out $8 billion to
underperforming insurers between 2015 and 2017, it would collect $16 billion
from more successful companies.

But if CBO is wrong and a the gap remains, HHS intends to spend whatever it

'We are confident this three-year program will not create a shortfall,'
Health and Human Services spokeswoman Erin Shields Britt said Wednesday in a
statement. 'However, we want to be clear that in the highly unlikely event
of a shortfall, HHS will use appropriations as available to fill it.'

Those funds could come from anywhere in the HHS budget, pilfering money from
research programs, social services or public health programs.

When the law was passed in 2010, its framers omitted the authority for HHS
to spend money on risk corridor payments.

Last week's regulation erases that mistake, authorizing HHS to write checks
to insurers.

By Epictetus

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Academy nightclub owner questions police tactics in hunt for king-hit attacker in OZ


FYI: A "king-hit" is what we in America would call a "sucker punch", that is
to say a surprise attack. Lately Australia has been plagued by its own
version of the "knock-out game", leaving some victims dead or brain damaged.
Although in Australia these king-hit attacks typically occur in and around
night clubs and pubs.

A young man who recently visited Perth Australia told me that the bouncers
in the night clubs in that city would record your name and address from your
I.D. and even photograph you. Apparently this practice is intended to deter
brawlers; nevertheless the young man reported that brawls were still
frequent , including women fighting other women.

If this practice of taking names and pictures of pub and night club patrons
(not to mention the use CCTV surveillance)  is common throughout Australia,
then it is puzzling that the Canberra police have been unable to make an
apprehension in this particular assault. Could it be a case of
"de-policing", that is to say ignoring offenses that do not violate
political correctness?

"Police are yet to arrest the man, and CCTV vision appears to show the man
was allowed to leave the scene. Mr Hinchey said that was a real concern."

But Mr Condi defended the actions of the nightclub's security guards, who
were interviewed by police, saying one of the staff immediately rushed over
to help the victim when he hit the ground.

"If there's ever an altercation we try and get in there and help," Mr Condi
said. "Though we're very limited in what we can do. We have a no-violence
policy and anything we see we try to dissolve right away."

Staff would review the venue's security procedures to prevent a similar
incident from happening in future, Mr Condi said.

"Since it's been public we've posted a link to the police story on our
Facebook page and we've been discussing with investigators whether we put
signs up of the wanted man inside the club," he said.

"We're just trying to get as much information as we can."

"Mr Condi said it was difficult to say whether alcohol-related violence had
spiked in the city's centre in recent years, as he hadn't noticed a rise in
incidents. He said responsibility for alcohol-related violence rested on
both licensed venues and individuals."

"Obviously as a venue we have to make sure people don't get too intoxicated,
because we don't want that kind of violence in the venue," he said.

By Epictetus