Bad news, everyone: the panda cam at Washington zoo has fallen victim to the US government shutdown. (H/T Jacob Rees-Mogg in the blindingly good speech he gave in Manchester yesterday at an Adam Smith Institute discussion on the Nanny State; H/T also Eric Worrall) [Snip] Sad, isn´t it? But I don´t mean sad as in "Oh no you can´t see the pandas." I mean sad that Western civilisation has reached such a pitch of decadence that we consider it normal, acceptable even, for the government to confiscate our earnings through the tax system and squander it on fripperies like panda-viewing
Comments: You just have to read the rest of the piece. Jimmy D is on another roll. (Remove all beverages and valuable tchotchkes from the area.)
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It turns out that former President George W Bush´s heart procedure last August was much more serious than originally thought. Sources familiar with the president´s situation told the National Journal that if the blocked artery hadn´t been caught during a routine checkup on August 5, Mr Bush could have died. After discovering the blockage, the president was admitted the next morning to Texas Health Presbyterian where doctors inserted a stent which opened the artery. He was held overnight for observation and was soon after released. ´He was more than 95 per cent occluded,´ a source told the Journal. ´With a blockage like
Tommy Robinson, who dramatically quit the English Defence League this week, has vowed to help police tackle racism within the organsation and has apologised for causing fear among British Muslims. Mr Robinson, 30, said he would work with police to help them investigate racism in the organisation - known for its thuggish street protests and extremist followers. Mr Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also said he was sorry for creating a ´us and them´ culture and for causing fear among British Muslims. When asked about his claim that ´every single Muslim´ was to blame for ´getting away´ with
Robust employment levels throughout the recession were partly caused by people with undeclared jobs coming clean due to the Coalition’s sanctions-based welfare schemes, Cabinet sources have suggested. Unemployment peaked at around 2.7?million in the autumn of 2011. Official figures next month are expected to show that more than 100,000 people who were told to carry out “mandatory work activity” or lose their benefits chose to stop claiming welfare. Some of those who fell out of the system have gone on to get new jobs. But ministers suspect that others were already working while claiming, and chose to continue working while giving up
More than 400,000 people in India have been evacuated as a massive cyclone sweeps through the Bay of Bengal towards the east coast. Cyclone Phailin, categorised as "very severe" by weather forecasters, is expected to hit Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states on Saturday evening. The Meteorological Department has predicted the storm will bring winds up to 220 km/h (136mph). A deadly super-cyclone in 1999 killed more than 10,000 people in Orissa. But officials say this time they are better prepared, the BBC´s Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi reports. However, the US Navy´s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii is forecasting even stronger winds, predicting sustained speeds
Facebook is facing another backlash from users and privacy campaigners after announcing it is once again changing its privacy settings. Up until now Facebook let people hide their profiles in search results using the ´Who can look up your timeline by name?´ setting, but the social networking site is retiring this feature with almost immediate effect. The option was removed from the accounts of people who hadn´t enabled it last year, and Facebook has announced it is removing the feature from everyone else´s accounts starting from now. Sean Walsh, head of social media and content for Blue Claw told MailOnline: ´In a
I missed a trick on Thursday morning, the day the Government announced its new Immigration Bill. I was at the GP’s surgery for a check-up, and forgot to ask the doctor how he felt: one of the Bill’s proposals is a requirement for “overseas nationals” to demonstrate legal residency before they can access NHS services, such as a GP consultation. This measure--as well as similar ones to require landlords to carry out checks on the residency status of putative tenants--has met with opposition. Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty (and more or less a force for good in this world)
President Obama and senior Republicans were hoping to thrash out a deal to end the deadlock over the government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling time bomb today in a series of crunch talks. Obama was meeting with GOP Senators this morning, who have come up with their own plan to end the stand off, after talks with House Speaker John Boehner broke up with no agreement last night. In addition to ending the shutdown and increasing the debt limit, the proposal includes an easing of the across-the-board spending cuts that began taking effect a year ago, and replacing them with curbs
Opponents of the Syrian dictator said the award of the prize to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons supported the deal by which the Syrian regime avoided US military intervention by agreeing to surrender its chemical stockpile. The Nobel Prize committee said Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had won the award for its past work, not just because of its recently embarked project to remove and destroy Syria´s chemical weapons programme. However, its chairman, Thorbjørn Jagland, added: "Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts
The turning of Tommy Robinson, co-founder of the English Defence League, is an astonishing success for the Quilliam Foundation. I say “astonishing” because I’ve come, over the years, not to expect much from worthy state-funded think tanks. However high-minded their inspiration, they often--and, in a sense, quite understandably--become chiefly concerned with justifying their budgets. What can look like a busy programme often turns out, on closer inspection, to be a series of agreeable lunches and seminars attended by people who already share the foundation’s views. I’ve had no dealings with Quilliam, but this latest coup, in my book, justifies a
An Army veteran has received a grovelling apology from a theatre after he was banned from standing up during a military performance of the national anthem for health and safety reasons. Retired Royal Artilleryman Doug Speller, 74, had been looking forward to watching his regiment´s official march performed live at the Apex theatre in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. But after buying his £18 ticket for the balconies, the proud serviceman was told he would have to remain seated throughout the Path to Peace concert. Mr Speller, of Thetford, Norfolk, said he could not believe the theatre had banned him from
The partial shutdown of the federal government has been felt in far-flung corners of the economy and in local communities, and North Charleston is praying it will end soon. Mayor Keith Summey typically leads City Council in prayer at public meetings, usually asking for guidance and blessings for the city. On Thursday night, he called upon God to do something about the mess in Washington. Summey prayed for divine intervention to “stop the bickering in Washington” so that the United States would not be “the laughingstock of the world.” Then, after an “amen” from the crowd and the Pledge of Allegiance,
Rebel forces in Syria killed as many as 190 civilians and seized more than 200 hostages during a military offensive in August, Human Rights Watch says. A report by the New York-based group says the deaths occurred in villages inhabited predominantly by members of President Bashar al-Assad´s minority Alawite sect near the city of Latakia. It said the findings "strongly suggest" crimes against humanity were committed. Rebels and Syrian government forces have both been accused of abuses. Syrian opposition forces comprise many groups, some of which are allied to al-Qaeda. Human Rights Watch (HRW) says it conducted an on-site investigation and
Megyn Kelly blew out Rachel Maddow in the key demo on Tuesday after losing to her the night before. "I have never seen it in all my years of cable," says Phil Griffin.Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, says there's something fishy about Tuesday's ratings for the Fox News Channel, which were up significantly from a day earlier when Fox News debuted its new schedule. And he wants an investigation."Monday we had a really good day in the key demographic. On the night that Fox News debuted their three shows, we either tied or beat them in those hours," Griffin said at a briefing, according to TVNewser
The federal government has spent $634million on the Obamacare website--more than it cost to build Facebook or Twitter, it was revealed today. Despite the massive bill to taxpayers, the Healthcare.gov still doesn´t work properly ten days after it was launched - allowing only a handful of Americans to sign up for plans on the insurance exchange market. And experts warn that the site is likely to continue to experience significant glitches for months to come as engineers work out the bugs they failed to to spot before the site went live on October 1. The price tag for the broken
On Friday, after blaming conservatives like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for the Obama administration´s mishandling of military death benefits, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Cruz simply did not represent the GOP. Fox News host Martha MacCallum mentioned that Cruz would be visiting President Barack Obama along with other Republican senators like Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) at the White House on Friday. She asked McCain, "How do you feel about him representing you there?" In response, McCain smirked before saying, "First of of all, Martha, please, he´s not representing us there." Also in the interview,
Jen Senko is a filmmaker who watched in horror as her father slowly came to believe the extreme right-wing lies of Rush Limbaugh and other conservative media mavens. Now she’s making a documentary about it calledThe Brainwashing of My Dad. Senko’s first documentary, Road Map Warrior Women, won recognition with several festival awards. Her most recent film, The Vanishing City, co-directed with Fiore DeRosa, exposes the economic policies that have made New York a city for the rich. The Vanishing City won Best Feature Documentary in the Williamsburg International Film Festival, Best Short Documentary in the Harlem International Film Festival, and
President Obama’s meeting with certain House Republicans, Carney said, would not be a negotiation: “he’s not going to pay ransom to the Tea Party so that the government opens or the government doesn’t default.” Carney blamed divisions among Republicans for the government shutdown, particularly blaming the Tea Party: “The President invited all members of Congress because he believes all of them shoulder the responsibilities…When it comes specifically to the House of Representatives and the House Republican conference, I think the president extended the invitation to all members because we have seen that it is a very diverse and fractious conference…a subsection
Throw the bums out. That’s the message 60 percent of Americans are sending to Washington in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, saying if they had the chance to vote to defeat and replace every single member of Congress, including their own representative, they would. Just 35 percent say they would not.(snip) The 60 percent figure is the highest-ever in that question recorded in the poll, registered in the wake of the government shutdown and threat of the U.S. defaulting on its debt for the first time in history.
I pointed out the other day that President Obama has unquestionably been hurt by the government shutdown, but Republicans have been hurt more. How bad is it for the GOP? The most recent Gallup poll shows the GOP is viewed favorably by 28 percent of Americans–down 10 points since September and the lowest number for either party since Gallup began asking the question in 1992. “The Republican Party is clearly taking a bigger political hit from Americans thus far in the unfolding saga,” according to the Gallup analysis. Then there’s a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which (as Rod Dreher helpfully summarizes)
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has destroyed an entire press run of a stamp series over safety concerns about the images on three out of the 15 stamps in the series. The stamps, which were aimed at getting children to be more active, featured kids cannonballing into a pool, skateboarding without kneepads, and performing a headstand without a helmet. Postalnews, a blog run by Brian Sheehan, a retired postal employee from Massachusetts, reports that USPS Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Nagisa Manabe asked First Lady Michelle Obama to take part in a first day ceremony for the stamps. Upon
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- From county chairmen to national party luminaries, veteran Republicans across the country are accusing tea party lawmakers of staining the GOP with their refusal to bend in the budget impasse in Washington. The Republican establishment also is signaling a willingness to strike back at the tea party in next fall´s elections. "It´s time for someone to act like a grown-up in this process," former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu argues, faulting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and tea party Republicans in the House as much as President Barack Obama for taking an uncompromising stance. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour
On health care, the president´s pile of broken promises keeps getting higher. Consider this gem from Aug. 20, 2009: “Let´s be clear about the fact that nobody has proposed anything close to a government takeover of health care.” Well, yes, somebody did. President Obama is now well on his way to orchestrating the federal government´s takeover of Americans´ health care. Commandeering the resources of major federal departments, particularly the Department of Health and Human Services and the IRS, the administration and its allies in Congress have created numerous federal bureaus, commissions and programs and have issued thousands of pages of rules, regulations,
Best-selling conservative author Ann Coulter, who has used her nine books to launch vicious attacks on Democrats, is turning her guns on Republicans in a new book out Monday, calling Florida Sen. Marco Rubio a hypocrite, urging donors freeze contributions to the GOP, and demanding that only governors or senators run for the party’s presidential nomination. Her point in “Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 -- Especially a Republican” is to shake the party out of its doldrums in time for the 2014 and 2016 elections. “Elections matter. We’re trying to make the country a better place. But if our candidates don’t
The Republican Party has been badly damaged in the ongoing government shutdown and debt limit standoff, with a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finding that a majority of Americans blame the GOP for the shutdown, and with the party’s popularity declining to its lowest level. By a 22-point margin (53 percent to 31 percent), the public blames the Republican Party more for the shutdown than President Barack Obama – a wider margin of blame for the GOP than the party received during the poll during the last shutdown in 1995-96.Just 24 percent of respondents have a favorable opinion about