Russia Bombards Syrian Rebels Near Site of Downed Russian Jet

Russian forces launched a heavy bombardment against insurgent-held areas in Syria’s Latakia province on Wednesday, near where a Russian warplane had been shot down by Turkey the day before, rebels and a monitoring group said. At least 12 air strikes hit Latakia’s northern countryside as pro-government forces clashed with fighters from al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and Turkmen insurgents in the Jabal Akrad and Jabal Turkman areas, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. A Turkmen commander said missiles fired from Russian warships in the Mediterranean were also hitting the area, as well as heavy artillery shelling. Hassan Haj Ali, the head of Liwa Suqour al-Jabal, a rebel group operating in western Syria, also said there were fierce battles in the area, with Russian aircraft supporting pro-government forces.

Definitely something to keep an eye on..  This story is developing..

College campus protests: This is the generation that will destroy America

What in the name of John Blutarsky is happening on our university campuses? A new survey from the Pew Research Center reveals that a shocking number of Millennials support curbing free speech. According to their findings, 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 believe the government should be able to ban any speech that is offensive to minority groups. We have apparently raised a generation of snowflakes so fragile that their psyches can’t handle offensive words or photographs or images. It seems the only free speech this perpetually offended generation supports is speech they agree with. And it appears our nation’s public universities have become breeding grounds for such anti-American and un-Constitutional beliefs. Websites like Campus Reform have done a tremendous job documenting the methodical way in which our public institutions have been turned against us. Administrators, faculty and student government leaders who do not agree with the rampaging mob of anti-free speech protesters are threatened – their voices silenced. From the University of Missouri to U.C. Berkley — where they are creating safe spaces to protect persons of color and those who identify as gender queer. The University of Michigan added a three-year diversity requirement to its undergraduate curriculum in the school of business. As Campus Reform reported, they will teach students “how race, gender and sexual orientation connect to larger systems of power, privilege and oppression.” At Dartmouth, Black Lives Matter protestors invaded the library — verbally assaulting white students. “F*** you, you filthy white f***s!” That’s what they screamed at the kids trying to study for exams. And at the Uersity of Vermont white students were carted off to the woods for a three-day retreat on white privilege. Universities are now judging students on the color of their skin, instead of the content of their character. Oh, what have liberal educators unleased on our great nation? We are watching the coming of age for a new generation — a generation of intolerance — a generation that will one day shutdown free speech, a generation that will purge dissenting viewpoints, a generation that will shutter our churches and burn our books. We are watching the generation that will destroy America.

Let’s hope you’re wrong, Todd.  Todd Starnes, the author of that piece, makes some great points.  The political correctness and intolerance of these whiny liberals who don’t want to even be exposed to other viewpoints are being allowed to undermine what college is really all about; to be challenged and to think critically.  Ohh… and for those who didn’t get the whole “John Blutarsky” reference..  That was a reference to John Belushi’s character, “Bluto,” in the movie “Animal House;” a classic.  :-)

Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson says no credible terrorist threat to U.S.

The nation’s top homeland security official said Sunday there are no credible threats of a Paris-style attack on U.S. soil, despite rumors that the Islamic State or other extremists could attack the country. Security officials said they are testing their communications systems and conducting other drills ahead of holiday-season events, including the Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. The ramp-up comes as Belgian officials shut down the subway system in Brussels and asked the public to avoid large crowds, citing the risk of an imminent attack. “We have no specific credible intelligence about a threat of the Paris-type directed at the homeland here,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We are always concerned about potential copycat acts, home-born, homegrown, violent extremism of the types that we’ve seen in recent months and years.” Suicide bombers and gunmen linked to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq killed about 130 people in Paris on Nov. 13, kicking off a round of anxiety in the U.S. and debate over President Obama’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. Mr. Johnson said about 2,100 Syrians already have been resettled through a “very extensive vetting process,” and that the real concern is a visa waiver program that makes it easier for travelers from some countries, mainly in Europe, to get onto American soil. The fear is that Europeans will be recruited by the Islamic State — a dynamic that played out in the Paris attacks — and then take advantage of their countries’ relationship with the U.S. “The visa waiver program is something that we’ve been focused on, frankly, since I’ve been secretary, because there are a number of foreign terrorist fighters who have gone into Iraq and Syria from countries in Europe and elsewhere,” Mr. Johnson said. He said the program shouldn’t be eliminated, however. “It’s a very popular program that people use virtually every day,” Mr. Johnson said. “But there are security enhancements that we have made and we should evaluate whether more is necessary and I’m happy to have that conversation with our friends in Congress.”

Jeh Johnson is just another yes-man fool, and brazen liar, in this Administration… For him to say, with a straight face on national tv, that there is no “credible threat” of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil is mind-boggling. The man should either be fired or impeached for incompetence and lack of integrity. He is cabinet-level Secretary, for crying out loud, and has access to all sorts homeland security reports (including classified reports), and knows better. Of COURSE there are “credible” threats from ISIS/ISIL and other Islamo-fascist wackos to America’s national security…on a daily basis!! Has he NOT turned on the tv recently, and seen all of these middle eastern men caught illegally crossing our borders recently? This is beyond outrageous. Hopefully Congress will call this idiot on the carpet for this. We need to demand better from our civil servants; especially ones like Jeh Johnson who make 6 figure salaries…courtsey of we-the-taxpayers. Unreal..

Squash and pumpkins were saved from extinction by humans, say scientists

Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without bright orange pumpkins and succulent squash. But if it weren’t for mankind –and our propensity to farm– the foods around the holiday table would probably look like a lot different. According to a new study conducted by researchers at Penn State University, appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, cultivation of the wild version of gourds and squash saved the plant from extinction. Before humans roamed the earth, prehistoric animals often ate wild cucurbita –precursors to these winter vegetables, which had a tougher rind and was more bitter than the pumpkins we know today. Over time, climate change and the extinction of many large mammals—which facilitated the seed dispersal with their feces– nearly caused the cucurbita to be whipped out. Without giant grazers, the land quickly filled in with thick vegetation which took away the open spaces that allow ground plants like pumpkins to flourish. But when humans appeared on the scene, about 14,000 years ago, scientists say they began cultivating remaining strains of the cucurbita. “There was probably a long-term retreat of wild populations into ecological refugia, habitat zones that were able to support the wild plants even in changing conditions,” explained Logan Kistler, the study’s lead author, to Popular Science. But eventually, most of the wild types disappeared entirely. Domestication likely began in the area that is now Mexico and continued up toward North America. Due to the plants’ bitterness, Kistler says the early cucurbita offspring probably wasn’t eaten but rather dried out and used for containers and tools. Humans also cleared out large patches of vegetation to establish new communities, thus providing an environment for the squash to flourish once again. As farming technology advanced, scientists believe that the cucurbita was bred to be sweeter—much like farmers use breeding techniques today. Eventually they evolved into the modern version of pumpkin and squash we cook with today. Kistler says that pumpkins have evolved so much due to human cultivation that, “one of the common types of canned pumpkin that a lot of people in the U.S. will be opening up for pies this season has no known wild counterpart [today].” But it still looks like we have our ancient ancestors to thank for the onslaught of pumpkin spice foods every fall.

Somehow I think we’ll survive.  Just think..  Humans saved a specie from extinction.  Ya probably won’t hear any college or university professor say something like that.    :-)

Deer sterilization program stirs ire in New York’s tony Hamptons; wildlife group files lawsuit

A program to curb the deer population in East Hampton has pitted one group that raised $100,000 to support a sterilization effort against another that’s hauling the village of East Hampton into court to stop it. The East Hampton Group for Wildlife is suing in state Supreme Court seeking to halt the program. It claims the village’s contractors performed surgeries in an unsanitary shed, didn’t wear proper protective gear and used veterinarians not licensed in New York. Founder Bill Crain insists the village has yet to establish a need to cull the herds of deer that roam vast areas of eastern Long Island. Village Administrator Becky Molinaro and others insist the deer are causing motor vehicle accidents and their voracious appetites cause them to obliterate vast areas of plant life.

Oh, for crying out loud!  Just issue a few hunting tags, and let hunters help cull the herd.   Problem solved! least in the rest of normal America  But wait..  It’s the Hamptons.. a nauseating bastion of liberal elitism on parade.  And something as “cras” as hunting might offend the tender tea and pastry crowd who turn their noses up at such redneck things.

Stuart Varney: Thankful for one of the best days of my life

Last Thursday, I became an American citizen. With immigration a very contentious subject, I want to tell you my very positive immigration story. Last Thursday was one of the best days of my life. It was certainly one of the most emotional. I arrived at the federal building in Newark, New Jersey at 9 in the morning. I was in a room with about a hundred other applicants. It looked like a United Nations convention. There’s a lot of waiting — and then your name is called and you go for your interview. The immigration officer goes through your paper work, and administers the citizenship test. The last question they asked me was “when is the last day for filing your federal tax return”? Of course I knew that. April 15th. I passed. And then there was more waiting. But nobody seemed to mind. We all wanted to be there. It was the happiest crowd I have ever seen in a government office! Then you’re directed to the “swearing-in” room. In comes the Director of Immigration, and right from the get-go, he is smiling and so are we. This is a celebration. There were 85 people in my group, from a total of 31 different countries all about to become Americans. You stand for the oath. And officials walk up and down the aisles to make sure you’re saying it. You sing “The Star Spangled Banner,” and “America the Beautiful,” and believe me, there’s hardly a dry-eye in the room. Everyone has a flag. Everyone is smiling. It is a joyful occasion. Three times a day, 5 days a week, that room is filled with newly minted Americans. They tell me it’s always the same: Tears, and cheers as a cross-section of the planet joins the club and becomes citizens of the United States of America. Hats off to the Immigration Department. They conducted a ceremony that had great meaning. It was made clear that citizenship is more than voting, serving on juries or getting a passport. It is being part of an idea, a unique idea, that people from all over the world could come together to live freely under the rules and responsibilities of the Constitution. That’s America. There’s no place like it. I feel honored and privileged to be here. Thank you, everyone.

No.  Thank YOU, Stuart.  Thank you for doing it the right way; legally.  What a great story!!  Thanks for sharing it!  And, welcome to America, Stuart!!   :-)

Radical Islam in Mali and Greater Africa: The Threats Facing the West Today

The terrorist attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali (a former French colony) offers another grim reminder to those in the West of the wide and lethal reach of practitioners of radical Islamic extremism, notwithstanding recent claims to the contrary of U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. It occurred a week after deadly Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris, France, which took the lives of at least 129 innocents and injured 352 others. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks. The Malian local Islamic terrorist group Al Mourabitoun (The Sentinels in Arabic, with ties to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, composed mostly of Tuaregs and Arabs from the northern Mali regions, including Algerians, Tunisians, and other nationalities) reportedly claimed responsibility for the hotel attack in Bamako. The hotel is a favorite lodging place of Westerners in a city of 2 million people. The attackers reportedly took over 170 hostages, killing about two dozen innocents, before local Malian forces, with varying degrees of United States and French support, subdued them. The penultimate issue facing Western governments like the United States, and those like Great Britain and France who once had African colonies, is how deeply they can afford to get involved in African affairs and in chasing terrorists like the group responsible for the attack in Mali. Here are some basic facts and problems for them to consider: First, they need to fully grasp the growing influence of Islam, which produces ISIS and al Qaeda movement operatives and sympathizers among its extreme practitioners. Muslims comprise about 42 percent of the population of Africa (464 million of 1.1 billion people). They represent a heavy presence in 38 of 54 countries (10 percent or more of the population). Moreover, 27 African nations, including Mali, are Organization of Islamic Cooperation members — a group promoting Islam, Islamic interests, and Shariah law. Mali’s 15.5 million people are 90 percent Muslim. Second, the allies must be able to distinguish Islamists and jihadists from the overall Muslim population. An Islamist is any Muslim who wants to impose and enforce Shariah — whether by violent or nonviolent means. A jihadist is an Islamist terrorist. The Muslim Brotherhood, which gestates Islamists, uses mostly nonviolent means to create Shariah-compliant constitutions. Islamist terrorists — like al Mourabitoun and al Qaeda affiliates Ansar al Shariah (Partisans of Islamic Law), Katibat Moulathamine (The Masked Brigade) and Ansar Dine (Helpers of the Islamic Religion), which attacked the American mission in Benghazi, assaulted the Algerian gas plant and helped take over northern Mali respectively, and ISIS affiliate Boko Haram (Western education is a sin) in Nigeria which drew international outrage for kidnapping schoolgirls and is considered by the Institute for Economics and Peace (Global Terrorism Index) as the globe’s most deadly terror group, respectively — use violent means to install and enforce Shariah. Third, the allies need to understand Shariah law. Shariah totally subordinates women and mandates many other human rights violations, such as relegating non-Muslim minorities to a much lower legal status than Muslims and dispensing cruel and unusual punishment. It also rejects freedom of speech and conscience and mandates aggressive jihad until the world is brought under Islamic hegemony. Fourth, the allies must learn as much as possible about Mali and its civil war. The war mostly pits northern Muslim Tuareg desert nomads and stateless Ansar Dine jihadists who served as Moammar Gadhafi mercenaries in Libya against southern, poorly equipped and trained Muslim military troops from the savannah. French troops and warplanes entered the war on the side of Malian troops, who had several months earlier overthrown Mali’s duly elected government, once considered a model African democracy. Although the French and Malian troops gained the upper hand, the Bamako terrorist attack illustrates how tenuous the situation remains. The fifth thing for the allies to be aware of is the nation-building trap. The United Nations and other organizations will expect the allies to rebuild Mali’s political, economic, educational, and social institutions once their military mission is complete. This will be an enormous undertaking. The Malian life span averages 53 years, 69 percent of the population can’t read and write, the average annual income is $1,100, and the civil war has already displaced more than a quarter-million residents and worsened a drought-driven food shortage expected to impact 13 million people. Sixth, the allies need to understand that many African countries are prone to civil wars, genocide, anarchy, and political upheavals. Former colonial powers entering Africa for military purposes could trigger more continental violence. Angola, Burundi, Congo, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, and Sudan exemplify the madness that has killed and displaced tens of millions in recent decades, fueled as much by racial, ethnic, or religious animosities as by ideological fervor and hatred of former colonial masters. Seventh, since the 1950s, developed countries have poured more than $1 trillion of aid into African humanitarian projects with little success. The average African life span is 54 years, the average annual income is $2,900, and the literacy rate is 58 percent — compared with the rest of the world’s 71-year average life span, $13,763 per capita gross domestic product, and 89 percent reading and writing proficiency. Additionally, Freedom House’s 2015 annual report reveals that only 124 million of Africa’s 1.1 billion residents enjoy full freedom. Finally, hostile African leaders, like Zimbabwe’s dictator-for-life Robert Mugabe, harbor deep resentment toward the United States and former colonial rulers. They can easily whip up African opposition against Western military interventions and antiterrorism policies. Any Western-led military foray into Africa is fraught with danger and should be limited to humanitarian missions. The allies’ Libyan military misadventure set off a deadly chain of events, causing calamities in Libya as well as Mali and Algeria. Prime responsibility for Mali and Greater Africa peacemaking, peacekeeping, and nation-building should primarily rest with the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, and the United Nations — not France, Great Britain, or the United States.

Agreed!!  Our experience in Somalia taught us the importance of really considering ALL possible outcomes of getting involved in ANY military involvement in ANY African nation.  We simply cannot afford to get involved in these African nations unless there is a VERY clear reason that is in OUR national security interest, AND there is a VERY clear exit strategy.  Getting involved just because we “feel bad” is not sufficient reason to.  For those too young to remember what happened in Somalia, go see “Blackhawk Down.”  But, read what lead up to that..  Bottom line, it was a disaster.  We sent money, “humanitarian aid,” and then later it became a military operation to go after a local war lord in the country’s capital.  It was a waste of BILLIONS of tax-payer money, aid, and many American soldiers’ lives…and for what?  Nothing.  Somalia is still a complete disaster.  We got nothing out of it, and we never were going to.  Most African nations are third-world, are overwhelmingly Muslim, and they HATE America.  So, why on earth would we be so dumb as to get involved?  Because we “feel bad.”  Sorry.  Not good enough.