It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Isabella Rossellini in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. Since my darling bride (of 37 years, one month and 6 days) and I are in Italy, we’ll go with Italian soldiers again!
Getting ready for dinner in Firenze (Florence). I’ll have a million pictures when we get beck to the States.
Beware of Italian thieves! We rented bikes for the day, and a thief cut the lock chain provided for me by the bicycle rental place. hey want to charge me for he bike, but the rental agreement says that I am responsible for repairs or replacement in the event the bike is damaged or destroyed; it says nothing about being responsible if the bike is stolen.
Thing is, we’d have had no trouble at all if we weren’t honest. The guy working at the rental return didn’t speak English very well, and thought that we’d already paid for the rental. If we hadn’t insisted that we still needed to pay — since we’re honest — we’d have walked out saving the rental fee and him still not realizing that a bike was missing.
It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Claudia Romani in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. Since my darling bride (of 37 years and 30 days) and I are leaving for Italy today, this seems like a good time to note Italian soldiers!
From The New York Times:
Thomas B. Edsall | April 27, 2016
For years now, people have been talking about the insulated world of the top 1 percent of Americans, but the top 20 percent of the income distribution is also steadily separating itself — by geography and by education as well as by income.
This self-segregation of a privileged fifth of the population is changing the American social order and the American political system, creating a self-perpetuating class at the top, which is ever more difficult to break into.
The accompanying chart, taken from “The Continuing Increase in Income Segregation,” a March 2016 paper by Sean F. Reardon, a professor of education at Stanford, and Kendra Bischoff, a professor of sociology at Cornell, demonstrates the accelerating geographic isolation of the well-to-do — the upper middle and upper classes (a pattern of isolation that also applies to the poor, with devastating effect).
In hard numbers, the percentage of families with children living in very affluent neighborhoods more than doubled between 1970 and 2012, from 6.6 percent to 15.7 percent.
At the same time, the percentage of families with children living in traditional middle class neighborhoods with median incomes between 80 and 125 percent of the surrounding metropolitan area fell from 64.7 percent in 1970 to 40.5 percent. . . . .
Geographic segregation dovetails with the growing economic spread between the top 20 percent and the bottom 80 percent: The top quintile is, in effect, disengaging from everyone with lower incomes.
Well, horrors! it seems that the top producers are choosing to spend their money by buying homes in the best neighborhoods; who would ever have guessed that? Then, after telling us that the upper income levels are increasingly difficult to achieve if you weren’t already born into them, Mr Edsall continues:
“Family structure, as a marker and predictor of family stability, makes a difference to the life chances of the next generation,” Reeves writes:
To the extent that upper middle class Americans are able to form planned, stable, committed families, their children will benefit — and be more likely to retain their childhood class status when they become adults.
Using 2013 census data, Reeves finds that 83 percent of affluent heads of household between the ages of 35 and 40 are married, compared with 65 percent in the third and fourth income quintiles and 33 percent in the bottom two.
Translation: marriage is an economic advantage, something we already knew. But marriage is something that virtually anyone can enter; it’s staying married that produces the economic benefit. Mr Edsall seems to want to disparage the “top quintile” for living well, but he has just admitted that it is their economic and social behavior — getting married — which is a strong class characteristic.
But it’s the following two paragraphs which so strongly reek of liberal hypocrisy:
As the top 20 percent becomes more isolated and entrenched, reforms designed to open opportunities for those in the middle and on the bottom “can all run into the solid wall of rational, self-interested upper middle class resistance,” Reeves argues.
At the same time that lifestyle and consumption habits of the affluent diverge from those of the middle and working class, wealthy voters are becoming increasingly Democratic, often motivated by their culturally liberal views. A comparison of exit poll data from 1984 and 1988 to data from the 2008 and 2012 elections reveals the changing partisan makeup of the top quintile.
We’re being told both that the “top quintile” are resistant to “reforms designed to open opportunities for those in the middle and on the bottom,” yet that, at the same time, the top producers are becoming more liberal, “often motivated by their culturally liberal views.” I have to ask: can both of these things be true?Well, maybe. We noted, last December, the hypocrisy of Mr Edsall’s New York Times colleague, Paul Krugman, who told us that climate change will kill us all, and that it’s the wicked ol’ Republicans who will be at fault, yet has not even a single (visible) solar panel on his huge, sprawling house. An arial photo of the esteemed Dr Krugman’s home and neighborhood shows us that his huge, sprawling home is just one of many in a very much upper-class neighborhood. Perhaps Mr Edsall might ask his very liberal colleague about his lifestyle.
All of those well-to-do, getting-more-liberal voters? The most racially segregated cities in America are the Democratic bastions of Milwaukee, New York City and Chicago. New York City leads the nation in having the most racially segregated school system, and the more liberal, more Democratic northeast:
was the only region where, on average, the share of black students in almost completely minority schools has risen since 1968, according to the report titled “Brown at 60: Great Progress, a Long Retreat and an Uncertain Future.” More than half — 51.4 percent — of black students in those states in 2011 were in schools whose student populations were 90 percent to 100 percent minorities. In every other region of the country — the Midwest, West, South and “border” states — black students today are less likely to be in heavily minority schools.
As for those conservative, Republican states?
West Virginia is the most integrated state across the board. The share of black students in majority-white schools is incredibly high — 92.6 percent. No black students attend schools where the minority population is above 90 percent and exposure of black students to white students is the highest in the nation. Iowa and Kentucky battle it out for the number two spot among the three measures. Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska also rank among the most integrated states for blacks.
Segregated schools are the result of one thing: segregated living patterns. One would expect, from what they say, that our friends on the left would be living in less, rather than more, segregated neighborhoods, but somehow, some way, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. One would expect, from what they say, that liberals would be the ones to eschew gated communities and welcome diversity in their neighborhoods, but, once again, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. Remember Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lashing out at Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall at the Mexican border, saying we should be building bridges, not walls? It turns out that Mr Zuckerberg lives behind security gates, and then bought the four homes which have views of his Palo Alto estate, to have them demolished.
Never, ever, trust the left: whatever they say we should do, they, personally, do the opposite.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Surge of new arrivals fuels support for leaving the European Union, as seen in one town that’s been transformed
By Jenny Gross and Jason Douglas | Updated June 16, 2016 1:23 a.m. ET
BOSTON, England—The changing face of this east coast market town helps explain why many want to leave the European Union that Britain has spent the past 43 years helping to shape.
Resident Andrew Fraser said when Britons go to the polls on June 23to vote on the country’s membership, he will be voting for Britain’s exit, or “Brexit,” because he believes a sharp rise in immigrants to Boston, where he has lived for most of his life, has radically transformed the town’s character.
“That’s not English, that’s not English, that’s not English,” the 57-year-old retiree said, gesturing to various shops around the town. “It’s all gone.”
Unease about immigration has been fueling anti-EU sentiment in the U.K., just as similar concerns have fostered frustration with political elites in the U.S. and across Europe.
There’s a lot more at the link, but the argument is essentially two-sided: the forces which support remaining in the European Union are claiming — and the Journal article supports that position — that leaving the European Union would be economically harmful for the United Kingdom. The “Leave” side are not looking at the economic arguments — although they claim that the “Remain” arguments are overblown — but on other things: appeals to British sovereignty, British character and stemming the tide of immigration.
As for me, I have no dog in this show: it doesn’t matter to me whether the British vote to remain or leave the EU. I simply note the similarities from the late 18th century, when some tories noted that the colonies would be stronger economically were we to remain part of the British Empire, while the patriots were arguing not from economics, primarily, but that we had formed a distinctive American character, and should not be ruled by a distant King. We wound up voting, with our blood, to leave.
In the long run, that didn’t turn out too badly for us.
A wimp writes in the New York Daily News:
It feels like a bazooka — and sounds like a cannon.
One day after 49 people were killed in the Orlando shooting, I traveled to Philadelphia to better understand the firepower of military-style assault weapons and, hopefully, explain their appeal to gun lovers.
But mostly, I was just terrified.
Many gun shops turned down our request to fire and discuss the AR-15, a style of tactical machine gun popular with mass killers such as San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook and Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen.
I happen to have two daughters in the United States Army Reserve, and they are just like thousands and thousands of other women who have gone through, and passed, Basic Combat Training. Both of my daughters have scored as sharpshooters with their rifles, M-16s,1 and both have carried, and fired, the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, or SAW, including being the only squad member carrying the SAW during Operation Victory Forge, the culmination of BCT. They have both fired the M19 grenade launcher, and I have yet to hear either of them complain that their weapons are too loud or have hurt their shoulders, or that the “smell of sulfur and destruction made (them) sick”.
He loves the AR-15 for cops, soldiers, hunters and target shooters. “It’s fun to shoot something like that,” he said.
Not in my hands. I’ve shot pistols before, but never something like an AR-15. Squeeze lightly on the trigger and the resulting explosion of firepower is humbling and deafening (even with ear protection).
The recoil bruised my shoulder. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary case of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.
Now, my daughters have never been deployed to a combat zone, but many other women have:
Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester is the first female soldier since World War II to receive the Silver Star medal for valor in combat.
By Ann Scott Tyson | Washington Post Staff Writer | Friday, June 17, 2005Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester fought her way through an enemy ambush south of Baghdad, killing three insurgents with her M-4 rifle to save fellow soldiers’ lives — and yesterday became the first woman since World War II to win the Silver Star medal for valor in combat.
The 23-year-old retail store manager from Bowling Green, Ky., won the award for skillfully leading her team of military police soldiers in a counterattack after about 50 insurgents ambushed a supply convoy they were guarding near Salman Pak on March 20.
The medal, rare for any soldier, underscores the growing role in combat of U.S. female troops in Iraq’s guerrilla war, where tens of thousands of American women have served, 36 have been killed and 285 wounded, according to Pentagon figures.
After insurgents hit the convoy with a barrage of fire from machine guns, AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, Hester “maneuvered her team through the kill zone into a flanking position where she assaulted a trench line with grenades and M203 rounds,” according to the Army citation accompanying the Silver Star.
“She then cleared two trenches with her squad leader where she engaged and eliminated three AIF [anti-Iraqi forces] with her M4 rifle. Her actions saved the lives of numerous convoy members,” the citation stated.
When SGT Hester was looking death in the eye, killing three Iraqi insurgents who were out for her blood, and controlling the squad under her command into winning that engagement, she probably didn’t have time to worry about whether her M-4 might be kind of loud or bruised her shoulder. We have strong and brave American women out in the field, in the blood and the mud, unafraid to carry heavy packs and shoot really loud weapons, in actual combat, but this whiny excuse for a
man male was “just terrified” and even got “a temporary case of PTSD,” just by firing an AR-15 “just a few times,” with hearing protection and in the safety of a licensed firing range.
Mr Kuntzman is a disgrace.
Strieff on RedState noted that Mr Kuntzman is lying about his experience:
The AR-15/M-16 is virtually recoil free because of a long buffer spring running the length of the stock that absorbs the recoil.
And he embedded this video:
If Mr Kuntzman really did have his shoulder bruised by the recoil of the AR-15, he’s weaker than a child.
- The AR-15 is, essentially, the civilian version of the M-16. ↩
From The Wall Street Journal:
Democratic candidate denounces ‘anti-Muslim rhetoric’ in speech in Cleveland
By Janet Hook | June 13, 2016 7:57 p.m. ET
CLEVELAND—Democrat Hillary Clinton, in her first extended response to the massacre in Orlando, denounced “inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric” and pushed for stricter gun laws, including the reinstatement of a ban on the sort of assault weapons used by the Florida gunman.
“If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorists links, you shouldn’t be able to just go buy a gun,” she said here in a reference to two prior anti-terrorism investigations of Omar Mateen, the shooter who was killed Sunday by police. Those probes were eventually closed without action taken.
Translation: unless the lovely Mrs Clinton is saying that if you have ever been investigated by the FBI, you should be barred from buying a weapon, then her proposal would have been meaningless in the case of Omar Mateen, because those investigations had been closed by the FBI, with no action taken.
Apparently, strange notions like due process of law are unfamiliar to Mrs Clinton, who supposedly was graduated from law school and who, purportedly, has a license to practice law.
Her remarks Monday offered a sharp contrast to the reaction of her likely Republican rival, Donald Trump. He countered in Manchester, N.H., by blaming the weekend attack, in part, on lax immigration laws, and appeared to broaden his pledge to ban Muslims from entering the country by including immigrants from any country “with a proven history of terrorism against the U.S., Europe or our allies.”
“The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here,” Mr. Trump said, referring to the American-born shooter whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Afghanistan.
This is inarguably true: if Omar Mateen’s parents had not been allowed to come to the United States, then Mr Mateen wouldn’t have been born here to attack anyone here.
This points out a real and very significant difference: Mr Trump would restrict the ability of people who are not Americans to come to our country, while Mrs Clinton would curtain the rights of American citizens.
I received two e-mails today, one from the Democrats, and one from the Libertarian Party. First, the dummies:
This weekend, as Orlando’s LGBT community celebrated Pride, we were struck by the deadliest mass shooting in our country’s history. We now know that this tragic event was fueled by hate — and made possible by easy access to guns.
From Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut to Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, mass shootings like what took place in Orlando have simply become too much a part of our everyday lives. So together, we all grieve for the lives that were lost or injured, as well as their families, the people of Orlando, and the LGBT and Latino communities. But while we mourn, we must also commit ourselves to decisive action that will make it harder for those who seek to terrorize us to obtain these deadly weapons.
President Obama is committed to doing whatever it takes to pass commonsense gun reforms, and Democrats across the country are with him. If you’re ready to stand with us to get this done, add your name today:
This is very important work, Dana. Thank you for making your voice heard.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
And now from the Libertarians:
I admit it: I’m just not smart enough to see the wisdom of the Democrats, who can somehow see how all of the criminals and terrorists will simply give up their weapons, if we just pass more gun control legislation. How, I wonder, will the Democrats “keep guns out of dangerous hands,” when Omar Mateen had already been investigated by the FBI, twice, for possible terrorist sympathies, and he was still able to buy his weapons, perfectly legally? How is it that Democrat-run Chicago, home to some of the strictest gun control ordinances in the country, has been unable to “keep guns out of dangerous hands,” to the tune of 270 murders so far this year?
All that new laws can do is to restrict the activities of the law-abiding. Criminals, by definition, don’t obey the law!
By Jonathan Landay and Mark Hosenball | 4:30 PM EDT
WASHINGTON, June 12 (Reuters) – Islamic State claimed responsibility on Sunday for the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, but U.S. officials said they had seen no immediate evidence linking the militant group to the massacre in Orlando, Florida.
But, we already know that Mr Mateen had pledged his loyalty to Da’ish:
By Hayley Tsukayama, Adam Goldman, Jerry Markon and Mark Berman | June 12 at 5:11 PM
ORLANDO — The gunman who opened fire inside a crowded nightclub here early Sunday morning, launching a rampage that killed 50 people and injured 53 others in the deadliest shooting spree in the country’s history, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State before the attack, according to U.S. law enforcement officials.
In a rampage that President Obama said the FBI was investigating as an act of terrorism, this gunman fired a barrage of bullets inside Pulse, a popular gay bar and dance club, forcing people to drop to the floor and rush out through a back entrance during the club’s “Latin night.”
After the first round of gunshots, police said the shooter held hostages for about three hours until officers stormed inside to rescue people and killed him in a shootout, though many details remained unclear about the standoff and the final confrontation.
Witnesses and others said the shooting left a gruesome scene behind, with the bloodshed 20 minutes away from Disney evoking the carnage seen in war zones. One doctor at a nearby hospital said that victims came in with their bodies riddled with gunshots, while others “had their calves and forearms blown off.”
While many waited for much of Sunday for information on whether their loved ones were among the dead in Orlando, concerns reverberated outward of broader dangers posed to the LGBT community. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said a heavily-armed man there was arrested while going to a gay pride parade, while police in Washington increased security ahead of a Capital Pride Festival in the nation’s capital.
“We know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate,” Obama said during remarks at the White House. “And as Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.”
The gunman, identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, made a 911 call before the attack identifying himself and declared allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, according to U.S. law enforcement officials who asked not to be identified to discuss the ongoing investigation. Mateen, whose family is from Afghanistan, also cited the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon during that call.
Details about Mateen’s background began to emerge slowly on Sunday. Much like Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two brothers who carried out the Boston attack, Mateen had been the focus of an FBI investigation before launching an attack.
Ron Hopper of the FBI said that Mateen had twice been investigated by the bureau and that in both cases, he was interviewed before the probes were concluded. In 2013, Hopper said agents investigated Mateen after he made “inflammatory comments to coworkers alleging possible ties to terrorists.” Mateen was interviewed twice and, when investigators were unable to verify the details of his comments, the FBI closed the probe, Hopper said.
Mateen was investigated again in 2014 by the FBI. This time, they looked into potential ties connecting Mateen to Moner Mohammad Abusalha, the first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria. Like Mateen, Abusalha lived in Fort Pierce, Fla.
“We determined that contact was minimal and did not constitute a substantive relationship or a threat at that time,” Hopper said.
Mateen’s pledge on the 911 call echoes what happened after the attack in San Bernardino, Calif., last December. Just after a husband and wife killed 14 people last December in an attack there, one of the shooters went on Facebook and pledged her allegiance to the emir of the Islamic State, a militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL. Officials later said the posting was made on behalf of both attackers.
The Islamic State-linked Amaq News Agency said in a message Sunday that the Orlando shooting “was carried out by an Islamic State fighter.” The same news agency had released a message showing the Islamic State claiming some credit for the San Bernardino attack two days after that occurred, while Amaq posted a statement from the group asserting responsibility for the Brussels attacks in March within hours.
The Islamic State has repeatedly executed gay people and then released videos showing these gruesome executions.
Hopper said Sunday that the FBI was still working to determine a motive. He said officials had not found any indications of outside help or another suspect, and added that they were confident there were no additional threats.
Mateen’s ex-wife said in an interview Sunday that he beat her repeatedly during their brief marriage, and said that Mateen, who was Muslim, was not very religious and gave no indications that he was devoted to radical Islam.
Mina said it appeared the gunman was armed with “a handgun and an AR-15-type assault rifle” and had additional rounds on him. “It appears he was organized and well-prepared,” Mina said.
Mateen legally bought the two guns believed to be used in the attack legally within “the last few days,” Trevor Velinor of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Sunday.
So, he had already come under scrutiny by by the FBI, but there was insufficient evidence to do anything about him. He purchased his weapons legally, because he (apparently) had no criminal record which would have barred him from doing so.
Naturally, both President Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called for more restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.
Since the attack took place in a homosexual-oriented nightclub, the left have raised a chorus saying that we must protect homosexual citizens. Why? Are the fifty dead nightclub patrons somehow deader than the 270 people who have been murdered in Chicago so far this year.1
Of course, the Chicago murders are being pretty much ignored by the left because not only are most of the victims poor black men, many of them criminals themselves, the killers are also mostly poor black men, many with prior convictions which prohibit them from having firearms in the first place. To point out that unfortunate fact is to be raaaaacist, so the left pretty much keep their mouths shut about that. I suspect that we’ll continue to see more about Brock Turner, the apprehended and convicted Stanford rapist, and his privileged white background, than we ever will about Mr Mateen’s Afghan and Islamic heritage.
Chicago is, naturally, a city run by the Democrats, and has been so for decades. Chicago has very stringent gun control regulations, but somehow, some way, it seems that the criminals don’t obey the gun control laws. I admit to not being smart enough to see what the left so obviously can, that criminals, if just given a chance, will obey gun control laws!
- Data accessed at 5:56 PM EDT on Sunday, June 12, 2016; the number may well be higher when the reader checks the source. This is the 164th day of the year, which means that roughly 1.65 people are being killed per day in the Windy City. ↩