Rule 5 Blogging: The Women of Normandy

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 Betty Grable 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.

With the 70th anniversary of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of France at Normandy, we’ll go back there for some history.

Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway, then her husband, with General Yu Hanmou, Chungking, China, 1941. A correspondent for Colliers, she was denied permission to accompany the troops on the D-Day landings. She stowed away in the lavatory of a hospital ship, disguised as a stretcher bearer, and hit the beaches with the invasion force. Click photo to enlarge.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: The Women of Normandy’ »

From Around the Blogroll


Freed Taliban Commander Tells Relative He’ll Fight Americans Again
By Mushtaq Yusufzai

Peshawar, Pakistan – One of the five Taliban leaders freed from Guantanamo Bay in return for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release has pledged to return to fight Americans in Afghanistan, according to a fellow militant and a relative.

“After arriving in Qatar, Noorullah Noori kept insisting he would go to Afghanistan and fight American forces there,” a Taliban commander told NBC News via telephone from Afghanistan.

Noori pushed to return to Afghanistan after learning that the U.S. had provided written assurances that no country would arrest any of the five freed for a year as long as they lived peacefully, one of his relatives told NBC News by telephone from Afghanistan.

Under the terms of the deal, the former commanders would remain under the control of the government of Qatar for one year and be subject to “restrictions on their movement and activities,” a senior U.S. official has told NBC News –- including a one-year travel ban. A diplomatic source later told NBC News that their movements within the Arab emirate are not restricted.

More at the link. The much better looking Dana, writing on Patterico’s Pontifications, pointed out:

while President Obama and his national security Cabinet may have publicly expressed confidence in the agreement with Qatar and their charge to monitor the five, not everyone is on board. Some U.S. military and intelligence officials are questioning the wisdom of the decision.

U.S. officials have had long-standing concerns that Qatar has often turned a blind eye to terrorist financing inside its borders and failed to keep track of a former Guantanamo inmate who was transferred to the emirate at the end of the Bush administration. “We know that many wealthy individuals in Qatar are raising money for jihadists in Syria every day,” a senior U.S. intelligence official told The Daily Beast. “We also know that we have sent detainees to them before, and their security services have magically lost track of them.”

In other words, Qatar is simply not reliable.

In 2008, when the Bush administration transferred Jaralla al-Marri, a Qatari citizen who spent six years in U.S. captivity, from Guantanamo to Qatar, Doha provided similar assurances to the ones it has provided about the Gitmo 5.

But less than six months after the July 2008 transfer, al-Marri traveled to the United Kingdom ostensibly to go on a speaking tour with other former Guantanamo detainees. In a February 26, 2009, cable from the U.S. Embassy in Doha, the State Department complained that Qatar was not living up to its promises.

“Al-Marri was returned to Qatar from Guantanamo Bay in July 2008, with the explicit understanding (made via exchange of diplomatic notes) that he would be subject to a travel ban, and that the GOQ would notify the USG if al-Marri sought to travel,” said the cable, first disclosed by WikiLeaks. “Reftel gave post’s assessment, now clearly wrong, that the GOQ would honor these assurances.” GOQ refers to Government of Qatar.

Simply put, we fouled up previously on the release of men who ought to have been considered prisoners of war, while the war was still being fought, and, surprise, surprise, some of them went right back to the fight!

ALa of Blonde Sagacity asked what the reaction would be if the released American soldier had been someone other than Bowe Bergdahl, a soldier captured on the battlefield, doing his duty, rather than one who apparently deserted. The White House seems to think that’s an important question as Deanna Fisher of the Victory Girls noted in documenting the Administration’s attempts to suggest that the other soldiers of SGT Bergdahl’s unit were psychopaths, and that he had to leave out of desperation. And Donald Douglas caught the attempt by Think Progress to say that it was the Army’s fault that then-PFC Bergdahl deserted.

But The First Street Journal appreciates the Think Progress article: when even the left are giving us explanations as to why then-PFC Bergdahl deserted, they undermine the Administration’s continuing attempts to paint his service as good and honorable.

Sister Toldjah wrote about Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and the possibility that he will run for both re-election to the Senate and the presidency in 2016. State law prohibits the same person from being on the ballot for two (or more) offices at the same time, but Senator Paul believes tha law could be challenged in court. Well, yes it could, but while the Bluegrass State is pretty reliably Republican in presidential races, the Democrats are very competitive in other races. Right now, the state House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats, and the Governor is a Democrat. Kentucky Democrats aren’t the wild-eyed leftists that people on the coasts picture when thinking of Democrats, but are mostly moderates, and if Senator Paul tries this, there’s a decent possibility that he’d be defeated for re-election to the Senate.

On The Pirate’s Cove, William Teach noted> a story from The Wall Street Journal, which tells us that, shockingly enough, the whistleblowers in the Veterans’ Administration appear to be facing retaliation.

Karen, the Lonely Conservative, pointed out a story that she hopes doesn’t give President Obama any ideas: Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner has created a new post: secretary for strategic co-ordination of national thought:

Ricardo Forster, who was named to the post, said the idea was to “build networks among academics and intellectuals who are thinking about joint projects in Latin America”. He said it had nothing to do with trying to inculcate “uniformity of thought”.

Yeah, uh huh, right.

L D Jackson of Political Realities is getting burned out.

At the Colossus of Rhodey, Hube is (once again) disgusted with our President. Hube noted the President’s words, in defending his decision to trade five top Taliban commanders for SGT Bowe Bergdahl:

You have a couple of partners whose kid volunteered to fight in a distant land… As commander in chief of the United States armed forces, I am responsible for those kids.

Hube points out how the President sure didn’t take that responsibility seriously during the Benghazi attacks, but I look at it a bit differently: in making that trade, the President has just released five very dangerous Islamist terrorists who will almost certainly return to shoot at other American soldiers. Where is his responsibility to those other soldiers?

Robert Stacey Stacy McCain lets us know about Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof , who was recently bamboozled by his own left-wing zeal:

Now Margaret Sullivan, the public editor of The New York Times, is calling on Kristof to “give readers a full explanation” of his reporting on Somaly Mam, the celebrated Cambodian anti-sex-trafficking activist who, according to a recent Newsweek expose, fabricated parts of her story and those of some of the alleged victims she advocated for. The revelations have disillusioned many of Mam’s loyal supporters and left the press looking gullible. Just as importantly, they’ve highlighted the public’s seemingly insatiable desire for heroic narratives — and the willingness of many in the media to provide them.

What, a “reporter” falls in love with a story, and never bothers to verify its accuracy before having it printed in the national newspaper of record? I can’t begin to tell you how shocked I am.

Jeff Goldstein thinks that President Obama’s deal to trade five high-risk terrorists for SGT Bergdahl was really part of his plan to close the Guantanamo prison entirely, saying “Having released the worst terrorists, there’s hardly a reason to keep the lesser terrorists.” Of course, since the President plans to withdraw all of our fighting forces from Afghanistan by the end of the year, and the released Taliban will be staying in Qatar well into next year, dripping with sarcasm they won’t get back to the fighting until we’ve already left, right?

And last, but not least, John Hitchcock writes about the Long Road Home on Truth Before Dishonor.

Well, I have to lawn the mow and other home maintenance type things today, before I get to the weekend Rule 5 post! Se you later!

Perhaps the left’s ideas about addressing income inequality might not be the better ones?

From The Wall Street Journal:

The Blue-State Path to Inequality
States that emphasize redistribution above growth have a wider gap between lower and higher incomes.
By Stephen Moore and Richard Vedder | June 4, 2014 7:16 p.m. ET

For those in Washington obsessed with reducing income inequality, the standard prescription involves raising taxes on the well-to-do, increasing the minimum wage, and generally expanding government benefits—the policies characterizing liberal, blue-state governance. If only America took a more “progressive” approach, the thinking goes, leaving behind conservative, red-state priorities like keeping taxes low and encouraging business, fairness would sprout across the land.

Among the problems with that view, one is particularly surprising: The income gap between rich and poor tends to be wider in blue states than in red states. Our state-by-state analysis finds that the more liberal states whose policies are supposed to promote fairness have a bigger gap between higher and lower incomes than do states that have more conservative, pro-growth policies.

A lot more at the link, but it isn’t very surprising, if you think about it. The “progressive” blue states tend to have higher dollar incomes, but they also tend to have higher costs of living. We’ve noted previously how some firms from California have been moving to places like Texas, for the more friendly business and tax environments, and the lower costs of living. People in the Lone Star State making the same income as Californians are wealthier, in real terms, in purchasing power, due to the lower taxes and lower costs of living than in the Pyrite State.

The real problem is at the bottom. If costs of living are higher in the more progressive states, then the people at the bottom have less real purchasing power than the poor in the red states. From the Journal again:

Do the 19 states with minimum wages above the $7.25 federal minimum have lower income inequality? Sorry, no. States with a super minimum wage like Connecticut ($8.70), California ($8), New York ($8) and Vermont ($8.73) have significantly wider gaps between rich and poor than those states that don’t.

Why, it’s almost as though the economic policies of the left don’t work the way the left think they should. As we pointed out earlier today, if liberals really understood economics, they wouldn’t be liberals anymore.

It is the position of The First Street Journal that the government shouldn’t be in the business of addressing income inequality; in the end, people are paid relative to their production, and the government does not control productivity. But even if you don’t hold to that philosophical point of view, from a practical standpoint, the data show that governments don’t do a good job in that area. Why should governments try to do things that they just can’t do?

Economics 101: Nothing is free

Sister Toldjah tweeted:

Which brings us to this one:


An 8.25% “Living Wage” surcharge? But, but, but I thought that increasing the minimum wage wouldn’t hurt consumers! It would only be those greedy capitalist CEOs who might have to make do with less.

Most amusing, though, is an article on Sis’ site, about a good-hearted liberal from Austin, Texas, who has “voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better” but now “can’t afford to live (t)here anymore.”

Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist, has seen her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year. I prefer to look at it as $708.33 a month, on top of her mortgage payment. Or, put another way, assuming a full-time job, with no overtime, her taxes come out to $4.09 per hour. It’s difficult for me to have much sympathy for her, given that she voted for all of the stuff that requires tax dollars to pay, but I do have some sympathy for the poorer people of Austin, who have also been saddled with higher local tax bills due to Miss Gardner’s votes.

Nor is it just the homeowners: renters pay property taxes just like homeowners do, as their landlords have to pass on their taxes in the rents that they charge. In fact, since landlords have to account for the expenses of vacant properties — the taxes don’t stop accruing just because an apartment is vacant — a smart landlord is going to calculate what his average vacancy rate is, and make sure that his total tax bill is covered by the rents he can expect at his normal occupancy levels. Thus, renters will be paying not only the property taxes on the units they occupy, but a premium to cover the taxes on vacant units!1

As we have noted previously, the end consumer, for anything, pays all of the costs for whatever it is he is buying. Everything for which Miss Gardner voted has to be paid for, and it has to be paid for by the taxpayers of the city .  .  . and that means everybody.

This is why we have said that liberals do not understand economics; if they did, they wouldn’t be liberals anymore!  Miss Gardner is getting, has gotten, a very hard lesson in Economics 101, that nothing is free, that somebody, somewhere, has to pay for everything.  It’s not always someone else; sometimes it’s you!

  1. The same logic applies to cities as well. City officials know that they will not be able to collect 100% of taxes due, so when they set tax rates, they must set the rates high enough that the anticipated percentage of people who actually do pay their taxes pay enough to cover the needed revenues. If the city can increase its collection rate to higher than what was anticipated, well, that’s just gravy.

MoDo gets stoned

Via Wombat-socho:

Maureen Dowd

Don’t Harsh Our Mellow, Dude
By Maureen Dowd, New York Times columnist | June 3, 2014

The caramel-chocolate flavored candy bar looked so innocent, like the Sky Bars I used to love as a child.

Sitting in my hotel room in Denver, I nibbled off the end and then, when nothing happened, nibbled some more. I figured if I was reporting on the social revolution rocking Colorado in January, the giddy culmination of pot Prohibition, I should try a taste of legal, edible pot from a local shop.

What could go wrong with a bite or two?

Everything, as it turned out.

Not at first. For an hour, I felt nothing. I figured I’d order dinner from room service and return to my more mundane drugs of choice, chardonnay and mediocre-movies-on-demand.

But then I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.

I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall. As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.

It took all night before it began to wear off, distressingly slowly. The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn’t been on the label.

More at Miss Dowd’s original.

Colorado’s legalization of marijuana possession and usage has been something of a mixed blessing. The New York Times reported last Sunday that Colorado hospitals “are treating growing numbers of children and adults sickened by potent doses of edible marijuana,” and that neighboring states are seeing more stoned drivers.

But the question that occurred to me, as drug tests are a routine part of my industry, is: does the Times drug test its employees? If it does, then the lovely Miss Dowd has just admitted to using a substance illegal in New York, and for which drug screens normally test. If the Times does test its employees, some of whom operate serious machinery,1 can any of them now be discharged or require to go through rehab to remain employed, now that a high-profile columnist has just admitted to it?

What about the guy who lives around Laramie or Cheyenne, Wyoming, who decides to drive down to Boulder for a weekend party, uses some perfectly legal weed, and then gets drug tested by his employer on Tuesday morning. That marijuana would have been illegal in Wyoming, but if he used it in Colorado, such would have been perfectly legal.2

Count on this to get messy.

  1. If there are any Times employees who have to have commercial driver’s licenses for their jobs, it is mandatory that they be subjected to pee-employment and random drug screenings.

Equality of opportunity apparently isn’t good enough for Karen Heller

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Karen Heller is upset:

In Pennsylvania, female politicians face different rules
Karen Heller, Philadelphia Inquirer Columnist | Posted: Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 1:08 AM

Pennsylvania’s primary was notable for the number of Democratic female candidates for governor and Congress, including Allyson Schwartz, Katie McGinty, Val Arkoosh, Marjorie Margolies, and Shaughnessy Naughton.

Every one of them lost. To argue that all five candidates are the same is to be reductive and wrong.

Pennsylvania has never elected a woman governor, or senator, and, come January, it will be represented by 18 men in the U.S. House. (New Jersey appears primed to elect one woman to Congress.) I don’t vote by gender – how could you in this state? – but that’s appalling and an embarrassment. If the opposite held true, men would be in revolt.

After I wrote about the primary and how poorly women candidates fared, the reaction was immediate, nasty, and personal, especially toward Schwartz.

The congresswoman, I noted, ran a poor campaign and Tom Wolf operated an excellent one, feathered by $10 million of his own funds. But the criticism toward Schwartz and other women candidates was more withering than that.

There’s more at the link.

Every one of the candidates Mrs Heller mentioned, as well as all of the male candidates who ran, did the same thing: they presented their cases to the voters, and the voters cast their ballots as they saw fit. If women’s liberation means that women have an equal opportunity to compete with men, that was certainly an example of it.

Mrs Heller’s argument is a strange one: she complains about the losses suffered by all of the female candidates, that it’s just so difficult for women to win elections in the Keystone State, but two of them, Allyson Schwartz and Marjorie Margolies, have won elections in the past, and Mrs Schwartz would probably have won re-election to Congress again this year, had she decided to do that rather than to run for Governor. It’s also true that state Attorney General Kathleen Kane won a statewide election for her office. Perhaps, just perhaps, the voters are taking their decisions based upon the quality of the candidates.1

More, Mrs Heller conceded that Mrs Schwartz ran “a poor campaign.” Women, however, Mrs Heller tells us, are held “to a higher standard,” something she finds to be unfair. Mrs Heller “(doesn’t) vote by gender,”2 she tells us, but the fact that, in the next Congress, Pennsylvania will have an exclusively male delegation is “appalling and an embarrassment,” in her words tells the reader that yes, she does judge by the sex of the candidates. Hillary Clinton, she claimed, was asked about her “likability,” yet somehow seems to have forgotten the fact that Mrs Clinton won the 2008 Pennsylvania Democratic presidential primary, beating Barack Obama by a wide margin; it seems as though Pennsylvania Democrats were willing to give their votes to a female candidate then. But this was the most amusing paragraph:

Contrary to the Northeast’s image of being progressive and egalitarian, “the good old blue states are worse for women. They have more of an all-male traditional power structure in place,” said Rebecca Traister, author of a book on the 2008 election, Big Girls Don’t Cry. Severely liberal Massachusetts never had a woman senator until Elizabeth Warren in 2012. “Western and pioneer states are the ones where women get elected,” Traister said.

Naturally, your Editor’s thoughts turn to people like Nikki Haley (SC) and Jan Brewer (AZ) and Susana Martinez (NM) and Mary Fallin (OK), all Republicans and all current, elected Governors of their states. Democrat Maggie Hassen is the elected Governor of New Hampshire, and Bev Perdue recently left office as Governor of North Carolina; she did not run for re-election amid disastrous poll numbers.  It sure seems as though the voters in the “red” states are willing to cast their ballots for female candidates, when they are good ones.3

We live in a democratic representative republic and, in the end, the voters choose who will hold our many, many elective offices. Female governors, senators, representatives, state legislators, mayors, city councilwomen, “row officers” and the like are no longer a novelty, but simply part of everyday life. And elections are very egalitarian: the candidates present themselves to the voters, and the voters choose to cast their ballots for whichever candidates they prefer. That’s equality of opportunity; apparently Mrs Heller finds that not really good enough if it does not produce equality of outcome.

  1. I would argue, however, that Mrs Kane has been a terrible Attorney General. Not only has she been wasting time trying to find out if the Republicans went too slowly in the prosecution of Jerry Sandusky, a prosecution they did pursue and a case that they won, but Mrs Kane has also gotten herself mired in a political scandal, which we have documented here, here and here.
  2. Very probably true in at least one regard: in a choice between a male Democrat and a female Republican, Mrs Heller would almost certainly vote for the male Democrat.
  3. Your Editor finds it interesting that female candidates have done better in elections to executive positions; if there have been very few female senators from the northeast, a claim I find to be more the result of cherry-picking than indicative of sexism, there have been more female governors, and governors are responsible for actually getting things done in ways that legislators are not.

New Blog Tagline

Every so often, we change the “tagline,” the quote under the blog title in the header, and Yorkshire suggested this, from George Orwell: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

I agreed, and made the change. But it points out something that ought to be discussed: far too often, people — not just politicians — try to obscure what they mean, so as not to offend anyone. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain uses as his blog blurb, Arthur Koestler’s “One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up.”

I think that’s right. We can use polite language, but must still say exactly what we mean, or what we say gets swamped with meaninglessness.

Isn’t the Commander-in-Chief supposed to protect the troops under his command?

From Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post, via Donald Douglas:

Here’s what happens when Taliban leaders are released
By Marc A. Thiessen, Published: June 2

If anyone doubts that the five senior Taliban leaders President Obama released this weekend will return to the fight and kill more Americans, they need only look at what happened when the George W. Bush administration released a Taliban leader named Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir (a.k.a. Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul) in 2007.

Unlike the terrorists Obama just set free, Zakir was assessed by our military as only “medium risk” of returning to the fight. At Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Zakir pretended to be a low-ranking conscript and told officials he simply wanted to “go back home and join my family” and promised “I [have] never been America’s enemy and I never intend to be.”

Uhhh, he was only a “medium risk” of returning to shoot at American soldiers? What the heck were we doing releasing someone who was any risk at all of fighting against our soldiers and Marines?

But when he returned to Afghanistan, he quickly became one of America’s fiercest enemies, directly responsible for the deaths of U.S., coalition and Afghan forces. In 2009, Zakir was appointed as the Taliban’s “surge commander” in charge of countering Obama’s new strategy to deny the Taliban safe haven in southern Afghanistan. According to the Times of London, Zakir instituted a campaign of “increasingly sophisticated [roadside] explosives attacks” that killed British and U.S. forces as well as many Afghan civilians. He waged relentless war on the United States and presided over unspeakable atrocities before stepping down from military command in April. To this day, he remains a top member of the Taliban leadership council.

The five Taliban leaders Obama released will now take up where Zakir left off. According to our own military, they are all “high risk” to return to the fight. How dangerous are these men? Here is what the U.S. military says about them, according to their leaked assessments from Guantanamo Bay.

More at the link.  But it ought to be obvious: you don’t release dangerous men to come back and shoot at our soldiers and Marines, period.  Any of our soldiers killed, even if it is only one, by any of these five Taliban leaders, can be laid right at the feet of SGT Bowe Bergdahl, President Barack Hussein Obama, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.  The Bush Administration made a huge mistake by releasing “medium risk” Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, and the present President has made an even bigger one now.

Of course, the Administration line is that there are no problems here. From Mediaite:

During a White House press briefing on Monday, Press Sec. Jay Carney was asked if he could assure the American people that the Taliban prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would not pose a threat to Americans. While Carney insisted that the released prisoners did not pose a threat to Americans, he refused to insist that the Taliban fighters would not return to Afghanistan to join their former colleagues.

When asked how the U.S. could guarantee that these five former detainees would not return to “Taliban activities” in two or three years, Carney said that the Defense Dept. concluded that their threat “mitigation” efforts were sufficient to ensure Americans are not at risk because these prisoners have been released.

“These five detainees do not and will not pose a significant threat to the United States,” Carney said.

Uh huh, right. Well, perhaps if something top secret has been done, such as somehow implanting GPS chips in these five thugs which can guide drone or Tomahawk cruise missile strikes onto their heads whenever we decide to do so, then perhaps the outgoing Minister of Information Press Secretary is right, and we’ll (probably) never find out about that.

Your Editor will not criticize the attempts to free SGT Bergdahl, regardless of whether he might have been a deserter; we’ve all seen the stories that he left his post without authorization, which even The New York Times is reporting, and The Washington Times is reporting that commanders knew where SGT Bergdahl was being held, but decided not to risk special forces soldiers lives in order to recover someone they saw as a deserter, but I’ve seen others which claimed he might have grumbled a bit, but was still a loyal soldier. Quite frankly, it seems likely to me that we will never have complete certainty on that part of the story. The Soldier’s Creed includes the promise, “I will never leave a fallen comrade,” and the rescue attempts concerning SGT Bergdahl fall along those lines as far as I am concerned.

But the nobility of attempting to secure the release of SGT Bergdahl cannot include releasing five of the captured terrorists that even the Obama Administration once deemed too dangerous to ever release. Securing the release of a captured American soldier at that price is a price I regard as just too high: SGT Bergdahl’s release will wind up costing many, many more lives, some of which could be American lives.  Further, releasing top Taliban personnel will only help the Taliban, harming our entire effort in Afghanistan; this could be the tipping point at which every American soldier and Marine who died there died for naught.

We have reached the point at which we might as well not wait for President Obama’s planned cut-and-run date from Afghanistan, but just plain leave now.  The Commander-in-Chief is showing no inclination whatsoever to actually win in Afghanistan, and no strategy for doing whatever undefined thing he wants to do there.  We’ve got our last POW out, and might as well leave, now, before anyone else gets captured and before too many more Americans are killed there.  If we have no real goal there, why ought we to stay?

Your tax dollars at work

From The Washington Post:

Female-named hurricanes kill more than male hurricanes because people don’t respect them, study finds
By Jason Samenow | June 2 at 3:05 pm

People don’t take hurricanes as seriously if they have a feminine name and the consequences are deadly, finds a new groundbreaking study.

Female-named storms have historically killed more because people neither consider them as risky nor take the same precautions, the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes.

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University examined six decades of hurricane death rates according to gender, spanning  1950 and 2012.  Of the 47 most damaging hurricanes, the female-named hurricanes produced an average of 45 deaths compared to 23 deaths in male-named storms, or almost double the number of fatalities.  (The study excluded Katrina and Audrey, outlier storms that would skew the model).

The difference in death rates between genders was even more pronounced when comparing strongly masculine names versus strongly feminine ones.

“[Our] model suggests that changing a severe hurricane’s name from Charley … to Eloise … could nearly triple its death toll,” the study says.

Sharon Shavitt, study co-author and professor of marketing at the University of Illinois, says the results imply an “implicit sexism”; that is, we make decisions about storms based on the gender of their name without even knowing it.

More at the link.

I was slightly amused by this story when I saw it, and then it occurred to me: in a time when we are borrowing half a trillion dollars to fund the government, we spent some of that money for a kook study like this.

No surprise at all

From The New York Times:

After 5 Months of Sales, Colorado Sees the Downside of a Legal High
By Jack Healyway, May 31, 2014

DENVER — Five months after Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales, the battle over legalization is still raging.

Law enforcement officers in Colorado and neighboring states, emergency room doctors and legalization opponents increasingly are highlighting a series of recent problems as cautionary lessons for other states flirting with loosening marijuana laws.

There is the Denver man who, hours after buying a package of marijuana-infused Karma Kandy from one of Colorado’s new recreational marijuana shops, began raving about the end of the world and then pulled a handgun from the family safe and killed his wife, the authorities say. Some hospital officials say they are treating growing numbers of children and adults sickened by potent doses of edible marijuana. Sheriffs in neighboring states complain about stoned drivers streaming out of Colorado and through their towns.

“I think, by any measure, the experience of Colorado has not been a good one unless you’re in the marijuana business,” said Kevin A. Sabet, executive director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposes legalization. “We’ve seen lives damaged. We’ve seen deaths directly attributed to marijuana legalization. We’ve seen marijuana slipping through Colorado’s borders. We’ve seen marijuana getting into the hands of kids.”

More at the original.

The story continues to note that hard data are hard to come by, and that research into the effects of legalizing marijuana usage will take years to complete and be published. What is known is a series of anecdotes, all of which are bad.

Marijuana, the advocates tell us, isn’t as bad for you as alcohol, and it’s possible that they are right on that: alcohol abuse is very hard on your body. But the effects of long-term marijuana use are not fully known, and your Editor seriously doubts that anything which is introduced into the body via the inhalation of its smoke through burning can be anything but harmful. Marijuana may turn out to be less unhealthy than alcohol, but that doesn’t make it good for the individual or society.