Sunday, May 24, 2015

Oklahoma Firefighter Killed as Flooding Wreaks Havoc in Central and Southern Plains States

Terrible news.

At ABC News 7 Los Angeles:

Americans Move Left Ideologically, and So Does Flip-Flopping Hillary Clinton

Whatever it takes to get elected. Not a bone of conviction in this woman's body.

At LAT, "Hillary Clinton has shifted left, but so have Americans":
Amid discussion of Hillary Rodham Clinton's move to the left in her presidential campaign, a new Gallup poll provides an important piece of context: The nation has shifted left, as well.

In recent weeks, Clinton has called for reforming the nation's criminal justice system to reduce the number of people in prison. The policies she backed tacitly repudiated some of the tough-on-crime moves of her husband's administration which helped boost incarceration rates.

She has advocated an immigration policy that would go further than President Obama to shield some illegal immigrants from deportation. Earlier, like many other Democratic political figures, she embraced same-sex marriage rights that she had not previously supported.

Politically, those moves -- and others on economic policy that are likely to come this summer -- have the benefit of fending off challenges in the Democratic primaries from politicians to Clinton's left, including Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who announced his candidacy earlier this month, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is expected to join the fray in a couple of weeks.

But as Clinton advisors say -- and as Gallup's figures show -- something else is happening as well. Compared with 2008, when Clinton last sought the presidency, the country, and the Democratic Party, in particular, have become more liberal on social issues. On economic matters, the country is less conservative and more moderate.

In 2008, slightly more than 1 in 3 Americans described their views on social issues as conservative or very conservative in Gallup's surveys, while just over 1 in 4 called their views liberal or very liberal.

Since then, the number of self-described liberals on social policy has gone up, and the number of conservatives has declined. For the first time since Gallup began asking the question, in 1999, the two groups are at parity, with 31% on either side.

The move is particularly striking among Democrats. In 2008, about 4 in 10 Democrats called themselves liberal on social issues, now 53% do, compared with 31% who say they are social moderates and 14% who say they are conservative.

As the number of Democrats calling themselves liberals has risen, the number of Republicans who call themselves social conservatives has dropped, Gallup found. From a high of 67% in 2009, the share has now dropped to 53%, the lowest since 1999. About 1 in 3 Republicans now call themselves moderate on social issues, up from 1 in 4 in 2009.

A similar, but gentler, shift has taken place on economic issues.

And see Gallup, "On Social Ideology, the Left Catches Up to the Right."

Legends of Skateboarding Finals 2015

From last weekend at the Vans Skatepark in Orange.

At Thrasher, "Vans Pool Party 2015: Blog."

I skated with the "legends" bros back in the day.

More video, "VANS Pool Party 2015 Legends of Skateboarding + Pedro Barros Hip Transfer," and "Bowl Skateboarding Legends Final - Vans Pool Party California 2015."

Sunday Cartoons

At Flopping Aces, "Sunday Funnies."

Branco Cartoon photo Iraq-Legacy-600-LI_zpstryqeoyf.jpg

Also at Reaganite Republican, "Reaganite's SUNDAY FUNNIES," and Theo Spark's, "Cartoon Roundup..."

Sill more at Randy's Roundtable, "Friday Nite Funnies."

Cartoon Credit: Legal Insurrection, "Branco Cartoon – With All We Know Now."

Jaime Edmondson Rule 5

Wombat-socho, at the Other McCain, has the Rule 5 roundup, "Rule 5 Sunday: The Road to Sin City."

Also at Playboy, "Jaime Faith Edmondson Playboy Playmate of the Month January 2010."

Video: "Jaime Edmondson Sexy NFL Jersey Photo Shoot."

More here.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Clinton Campaigning in a Bubble, Largely Isolated from Real People

At McClatchy:

CEDAR FALLS, IOWA — Here’s how Hillary Clinton campaigned for president this week: She took a private 15-minute tour of a bike shop that had closed for her visit. She spoke to four small business owners chosen by her staff in front of an audience of 20, also chosen by her staff. She answered a few questions from the media following weeks of silence.

And after a little more than an hour, Clinton was off, whisked away by aides and Secret Service agents, into a minivan and on to the next event.

Members of the public who wanted to go inside the building to support her, oppose her or merely ask a question of her were left outside on an unseasonably cool Iowa day. Most didn’t bother showing up.

“I am troubled that so far in this caucus cycle she hasn’t had any public town halls,” said Chris Schwartz, a liberal activist from Waterloo, as he stood outside the bike store hoping to talk to Clinton about trade. “If she had a public town hall then we wouldn’t be out here. We would much rather be in there engaging with her.”

Welcome to Hillary Clinton 2.0. Mindful of her defeat by Barack Obama in 2008, Clinton has embraced a new strategy – one that so far does not include town-hall meetings and campaign rallies, media interviews, even public events.

Instead, she holds small controlled events with a handful of potential voters in homes, businesses and schools. She repeats many of the same lines (“I want to be your champion” is a favorite), participants are handpicked by her staff or the event host, and topics are dictated by her campaign.

Brent Johnson, 35, the owner of Bike Tech, said Clinton campaign staffers walked into the shop a week earlier and asked him if he’d be interested in hosting an event. He and the three roundtable participants were on a conference call with the campaign the day before to hear Clinton’s “basic talking points” about helping small businesses. A campaign aide says they found guests through the small business community.

Clinton’s approach – made possible by her lack of strong competition for the Democratic nomination – comes as she works to relate to working American families after years of being criticized as an out-of-touch Washington insider garnering hefty paychecks for her speeches and books.

But the campaign to show the world that she’s never forgotten her middle-class, Middle America sensibilities can be a tough sell from inside a bubble of armored cars, Secret Service agents and wary aides.

“It’s going to come back and haunt her,” said Eric Herzik, chairman of the political science department at the University of Nevada, Reno. “I think it will backfire.”
She can't talk about her record. She's a walking radioactive meltdown of scandal baggage and political corruption.


Hillary's Failed War of Choice in Libya

Cut through all the partisan crap and what's now happening with the Benghazi attack is the ultimate clusterfuck which proves conservatives right all along back in 2012.

At Instapundit, "HILLARY’S FAILED WAR OF CHOICE IN LIBYA: Email calls Clinton ‘public face of US effort in Libya’":
This is a modified limited hangout. Everything you get is sanitized, and none of the worst stuff is being released. And given that this stuff is actually fairly bad, that may provide a sense of what they’re holding back.
Click through to read the whole thing.

Dani Mathers — Playboy's 2015 Playmate of the Year


Watch: "2015 Playmate of the Year Dani Mathers Turns it Way Up."

Angels Hammer Red Sox 12-5, Scoring 9 Runs in Fifth Inning

Finally, my Angels turn on the offense.

Mike Trout was called out at third base after a wild "Matrix-like" slide, but had the call reversed after the manager's challenge. The Angels ended up scoring 9 runs in 39 minutes during the fifth inning. It was incredible.

At the Boston Herald, "Rick Porcello implodes as Red Sox routed by Angels":

For the first time in a while, the Red Sox moribund offense wasn’t the main concern last night at Fenway Park.

Instead the starting pitching took the top spot on the list of worries, as righty Rick Porcello couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning in a 12-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Sox’ third straight loss and fourth in their past five games.

The Angels offense entered the game ranked 14th in the American League, worse than the 12th-ranked Sox. But Los Angeles scored nine runs in the fifth inning after Porcello walked the first two batters and the Angels ran away from there.

“I just walked those two guys in the fifth. That hurt. … Those two walks and then not being able to get out of that was the difference,” Porcello said. “So I take full responsibility for the loss today. That was completely on me and I’ve got to be better.”
Also at Halo Heaven, "BOSTON BLITZED: Angels and Mike Trout crush Red Sox 12-5":
Albert Pujols got the Angels on the board in the fourth with a laser beam solo homerun, and Marc Krauss was able to drive in a run a few batters later with a fielder’s choice. Those are both amazing things, but we don’t need to talk about that right now. We need to talk about that fifth. That 37 minute long, NINE runs scored fifth inning...just to put a point on it. We’ve seen their pitiful run differential numbers this past week, and this game will hopefully serve as a harbinger of a 180 degree turn about to happen; an antidote to the one run nailbiter disease they’ve been infected with in the month of May. There was everything you could possibly want out of an Angels baseball game. You got the rare Chris Iannetta moonshot homer. You got to point and laugh as recent Cuban call-up Rusney Castillo dropped a routine fly ball, allowing a run. You got to see Erick Aybar hit a dinger of his own, and then you watched as he circled the bases, smiling ear to ear as Albert Pujols went crazy in the dugout. You saw Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun and David Freese all drive in runs. You even saw Matt Joyce have a good game! It was heaven on Earth. But above all that, you saw something that you still don’t believe happened. Mike Trout, attempting to steal third base, was basically gunned down; 100% dead to rights. Mike Trout, seeing the tag coming from Brock Holt, entered into Matrix bullet-time mode, did a swim move OVER the tag, twisted his torso a bit, completely and inexplicably avoiding the tag all while keeping his foot on the bag. Unreal. All told, the fifth inning saw the Angels put up nine runs, six hits, two walks and a dumptruck full of Schadenfreude.

That was easily the best inning of baseball we’ve watched all year, and it came against a dream punching bag opponent. The Angels did let the Red Sox into the game a tad, as Richards ended up allowing 5 runs over six innings and had to be pulled for Jose Alvarez. So perhaps this game wont help the run differntial bottom line all that much in the end, but that’s not enough to sour the sweet taste of those Red Sox Nation tears. I don’t know if this game is a sign of things to come, but right now, I don’t care. The Angels came into Fenway, laid a monster beating on Boston, and Mike Trout bent space and time to the deliver the thrills that pay the bills. That’s all that matters right now.

Santa Barbara Refugio Oil Spill is Bleak Reminder of 1969 Environmental Disaster

I'll never forget, back in 1992, when my wife and I moved to Santa Barbara, after a day at the beach your feet would be covered in black tar. It was never like that in Orange County growing up as a kid, spending summers at the beach. Santa Barbara had the catastrophic oil spill in 1969 and the oil was still stuck deep into the sand. You had to scrape the tar off.

So this week's oil spill at Refugio State Beach is bringing back bitter reminders of the dangers of oil extraction along the coast. As the Los Angeles Times reports, "Santa Barbara oil pipeline leak rekindles memories of 1969 disaster":

It was a scene that generations of people on the Santa Barbara coast have dreaded: Cleanup workers in white protective suits combing tar-splattered beaches, hoping to contain the damage from a crude oil spill.

Nearly 50 years ago, a blowout on an offshore oil platform spewed more than 3 million gallons of oil into the Santa Barbara Channel and devastated the coastline, killing thousands of seabirds and galvanizing the U.S. environmental movement.

The spill that occurred Tuesday when a pipeline ruptured near U.S. 101 was far smaller — up to 105,000 gallons. But the incident gave rise to similar anger and frustration on the part of residents and environmentalists who have long feared a repeat of the 1969 disaster along the same sensitive coastline.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal, standing above a pile of blackened, oil-covered rocks at Refugio State Beach, said that the spill "reminds us of the perils this industry has."

On Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard deployed half a dozen vessels to skim oil from the water and contain it with booms as crews of cleanup workers removed tar and oil from sand and rocks on the shoreline and shoveled mud into clear plastic bags.

Federal authorities said the 24-inch pipeline leaked for several hours after it ruptured near Refugio State Beach. Crews stopped the leak by 3 p.m., Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrea Anderson said.

The oil flowed down a culvert and into the ocean, and by Wednesday morning had formed two slicks totaling a combined nine miles in length.

Authorities estimated that it could take at least three days to clean up the spill.

The rupture occurred on an 11-mile pipe owned by Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline that carries crude from a storage tank in Las Flores to a facility in Gaviota. The pipeline is part of a larger oil transport network that is centered in Kern County and carries oil to refineries throughout California.

The pipeline was designed to carry about 150,000 barrels of oil per day, according to company officials.

The company said its estimate of 105,000 gallons spilled is a worst-case scenario based on the line's elevation and flow rate, which averages about 50,400 gallons an hour. Of that, about 21,000 gallons reached the ocean, but both figures are under investigation, according to a statement from the company and state and federal officials. Investigators won't find a cause for the rupture until they excavate the line, which was installed in 1987. An employee noticed problems and shut the line down about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, the statement said.

That pipeline had not ruptured before, the company said. An inspection of the line using an internal tool was completed a few weeks ago but results hadn't come back before Tuesday's incident, the company said.

Michelle Rogow, a site manager with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the pipeline had been regulated by the State Fire Marshal until two years ago, when jurisdiction was transferred to the Department of Transportation.

Below the spill site, just west of Refugio State Beach, a wide, black path stained the landscape of eucalyptus trees and shrubs. The oil apparently flowed through a storm drain that runs under U.S. 101 and train tracks, and into the ocean.

Officials were investigating reports of dead and live birds covered in oil, but the state Department of Fish and Wildlife did not have an official count of the animals affected. The agency deployed teams on shore — and one in a boat — to look for birds, marine mammals and other wildlife harmed by the spill.

But some of the victims of the spill were becoming apparent...

Lots more at the "oil spill" search link.

We Were Right to Fight in Iraq

From William Kristol, at USA Today:
We were right to invade Iraq in 2003 to remove Saddam Hussein, and to complete the job we should have finished in 1991.

Even with the absence of caches of weapons of mass destruction, and the mistakes we made in failing to send enough troops at first and to provide security from the beginning for the Iraqi people, we were right to persevere through several difficult years. We were able to bring the war to a reasonably successful conclusion in 2008.

When President Obama took office, Iraq was calm, al-Qaeda was weakened and ISIS did not exist. Iran, meanwhile, was under pressure from abroad (due to sanctions) and at home (due to popular discontent, manifested by the Green uprising in the summer of 2009).

The Obama administration threw it all away...
Keep reading.

Roger Daltrey Threatened to Walk Off Stage If Fan Smoking Marijuana Didn't Put It Out

We live in interesting times.

You can't even smoke a fat one at a Who concert nowadays, man.