Dog Photo of the Year

This soaking dog may not be smiling while peeking out from behind a shower curtain, but maybe it hasn’t heard it’s just received a special mention in the Dog Portrait Gallery.

The picture, taken by Opal Seabrook, was among the best of the Kennel Club Dog Photographer of the Year competition, which has recently announced its winners.

Held annually, the contest is open to both professionals and amateurs, young and old, from all around the world – and this year attracted 5,000 entries.

Got any sham-pooch? This sopping wet hound was given special mention in the Dog Portrait category. It was taken by by Opal SeabrookGot any sham-pooch? This sopping wet hound was given special mention in the Dog Portrait category. It was taken by by Opal Seabrook
Let sleeping dogs lie... awkwardly: Third place runner-up in the Puppies category. Photo taken by Pam LangrishLet sleeping dogs lie… awkwardly: Third place runner-up in the Puppies category. Photo taken by Pam Langrish
This year's overall winner was Catherine Laurenson, from Glasgow, for her photo of a Border Collie On the scent of victory: This year’s overall winner was Catherine Laurenson, from Glasgow, for her photo of a Border Collie
Intense? Sure I can do intense: Second place runner-up in the Dog Portrait category. Photo taken by Jason BanburyIntense? Sure I can do intense: Second place runner-up in the Dog Portrait category. Photo taken by Jason Banbury
Who let the tots out: Second place runner-up in the Man's Best Friend category. Photo taken by Catherine MacGregorWho let the tots out: Second place runner-up in the Man’s Best Friend category. Photo taken by Catherine MacGregor
Sea looks a bit ruff... Winner in the Dogs at Play category. Photo taken by Doug JewellSea looks a bit ruff… Winner in the Dogs at Play category. Photo taken by Doug Jewell
It's spray time: Second place runner-up in the Dogs at Play category. Photo taken by Ben BurfittIt’s spray time: Second place runner-up in the Dogs at Play category. Photo taken by Ben Burfitt
Lots of cows and bow-wow-wows: Second place runner-up in the Dogs at Work category. Photo taken by Jon OakeyLots of cows and bow-wow-wows: Second place runner-up in the Dogs at Work category. Photo taken by Jon Oakey

The competition has six categories: Portrait, Man’s Best Friend; Dogs At Play; Dogs At Work; and I Love Dogs Because – a category specifically for those aged 16 and under. There was also a new category this year, Puppy.

This year’s overall winner was Catherine Laurenson, from Glasgow, for her photo of a Border Collie set against a clear blue sky.

In addition to the new Dog Photographer of the Year trophy, she was awarded a glamorous Uggie collar and lead from Holly & Lil.

The pair’s image will appear on the front cover of the Kennel Gazette and put on display at Discover Dogs and Crufts.

Meanwhile, Jessica Keating, winner of the Under 16 category, will receive a day at Crufts 2013.

The winning images will be on display at Discover Dogs, which takes place at Earls Court, London, on November 10 and 11.

Let leaping dogs fly: Third place runner-up in the 16 and Under category. Photo taken by Joshua CarterLet leaping dogs fly: Third place runner-up in the 16 and Under category. Photo taken by Joshua Carter
And they call it poppy love: Third place runner-up in the Dog Portrait category. Photo taken by Sarah BrownAnd they call it poppy love: Third place runner-up in the Dog Portrait category. Photo taken by Sarah Brown
Bubble and sleek: Winner in the 16 and Under category. Photo taken by Jessica KeatingBubble and sleek: Winner in the 16 and Under category. Photo taken by Jessica Keating
I've got this competition licked: Winner in the Man's Best Friend category. Photo taken by Emma CarterI’ve got this competition licked: Winner in the Man’s Best Friend category. Photo taken by Emma Carter
Now that's setting the dog among the pigeons: Third place runner-up in the Dogs at Play category. Photo taken by Tracey AdamsNow that’s setting the dog among the pigeons: Third place runner-up in the Dogs at Play category. Photo taken by Tracey Adams

WHO’S IN THE LEAD? FULL LIST OF KENNEL CLUB CONTEST WINNERS

Straw dogs: Third place runner-up in the Dogs at Work category. Photo taken by Leanne Graham
Straw dogs: Third place runner-up in the Dogs at Work category. Photo taken by Leanne Graham

Overall Winner: Catherine Laurenson
Dogs at Work (winner): Catherine Laurenson Runner-up (2nd place): Jon Oakey Runner-up (3rd place): Leanne Graham
Dog Portrait (winner): Shane Wilkinson Runner-up (2nd place): Jason Banbury Runner-up (3rd place): Sarah Brown Special Mention: Opal Seabrook
Dogs at Play (winner): Doug Jewell Runner-up (2nd place): Ben Burfitt Runner-up (3rd place): Tracey Adams
Puppies (winner): Rhian White Runner-up (2nd place): Tracey Jarvis Runner-up (3rd place): Pam Langrish
Man’s Best Friend (winner): Emma Carter Runner-up (2nd place): Catherine MacGregor Runner-Up (3rd place): Sarah Brown
I Love Dogs Because… (winner): Jessica Keating (16 years and under) Runner-up (2nd place): Conor O’ Beolain Runner-up (3rd place): Joshua Carter

How does your garden... growl? Winner in the Puppies category. Photo taken by Rhian WhiteHow does your garden… growl? Winner in the Puppies category. Photo taken by Rhian White
I'm a puppy... get me out of here! Second place runner-up in the Puppies category. Photo taken by Tracey JarvisI’m a puppy… get me out of here! Second place runner-up in the Puppies category. Photo taken by Tracey Jarvis

Best buddies forever: Third place runner-up in the Man's Best Friend category. Photo taken by Sarah BrownBest buddies forever: Third place runner-up in the Man’s Best Friend category. Photo taken by Sarah Brown

Reflections in the forest: Winner in the Dog Portrait category, taken by Shane WilkinsonReflections in the forest: Winner in the Dog Portrait category, taken by Shane Wilkinson
Attribution: Mail Online

Suspect Jobs Report

from: Breitbart

Oct. 5, 2012

Suspicion about the federal government’s September jobs report has fallen on Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, who appeared on CNBC this morning and defended the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), claiming–falsely–that upward revisions of 86,000 jobs were from the private sector. In fact, the new number is entirely accounted for by upwards revisions to state and federal government payrolls.

The BLS reported that while only 114,000 jobs were created in September–which would have translated into a rise in unemployment from 8.1% to 8.2%–the unemployment rate fell dramatically to 7.8%. That unusual drop is the fastest in nearly three decades, and was unexpected even in the rosiest predictions.

One reason for the rise was an upward revision of 86,000 to the July and August jobs numbers–all of which came from a 91,000 increase in the estimate of public sector jobs. Private sector job estimates were actually revised downward by 5,000.

In addition, the BLS reported a large rise in the number of part-time jobs, adding 600,000 jobs to the total–a dramatic increase of 7.5%, not explained by any other economic indicators–and raising questions about whether the government had changed the way it counted part-time workers.

Solis was adamant today in defending both the revisions and the BLS’s methodology for counting part-time workers–relying largely on the upwards revisions for July and August jobs (emphasis added):

CNBC: We’re getting bombarded by people who do not believe the number. They believe this number was fixed and typed to coincide with Election Day. What do you say to them?…I’ll rephrase the question. A lot of people do not believe the 7.8 number. They believe that somehow BLS fixed this to coincide with the election cycle. What is labor’s response?

Solis: You know, I’m insulted when I hear that because we have a very professional, civil service organization where you have top, top economists that work at the BLS. They’ve been doing these calculations. These are — these are our best trained and best-skilled individuals working in the BLS, and it’s really ludicrous to hear that kind of statement, and I say that because just look at the — we have to look at what happens across the board, not just in one month, but look what happened in the last two months. We also saw revisions there upwards of 86,000 additional jobs added and this brings us now to 5.2 million private sector jobs across the board, we saw 104 private sector jobs created….

CNBC: Before I let you go, you say skepticism over the numbers are ludicrous. You say you’re insulted. Is there a danger, you believe, when large sections was country don’t believe the data. Not that it’s ever been considered gospel, but when you have disbelief how much danger is embedded in that?

Solis: I will tell you that we look at each report differently. We just saw revisions for the last two months and this happens. I mean, these are estimates that obviously, the BLS puts out. They do the best calculation, using the best measurements and tools and we’ve been using them for the past 70 years. We haven’t changed anything and the information that I received is given to me by our professional, civil service staff in the BLS.

Note that Solis describes the 86,000 upward revision as if it were an increase in private sector jobs, though in fact the increase came entirely from revisions to public sector payrolls by cash-strapped federal and state governments. Instead of shedding jobs, as previously claimed, governments have been adding jobs.

Ban Football?

by: the Common Constitutionalist

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh’s radio program a month or two ago. He was discussing the NFL, football in general, concussions and other injuries. The crux of his monologue was his claim that, due to injuries, within a decade or two, there will be no more football.

People called in to his program saying he was crazy. The NFL, after all, is not only wildly popular, but a veritable money-making machine for all involved. No one in their right mind would ever try to put the brakes on that gravy train.

As Rush often says, “Don’t doubt me”.

Well, I for one, do not doubt him. His track record is very good. He claims to know liberals better than they know themselves. As he puts it rather ingloriously, “I know liberals as well as I know my own glorious naked body”. Scary thought, I know.  Try not to dwell on that.

Liberals are really quite predictable. They are all Nannies at heart. They don’t think, they feel. They feel somehow better equipped to solve the worlds problems than us conservatives, that “something” always must be done. Liberals are also the kings of the knee-jerk reaction and contradiction.

If they see something they don’t like, unlike a conservative, who can simply avoid it, the liberal must stop it, ban it or shut it down.

Of course the liberal must employ the government to do their bidding. The government is the only entity large enough and with enough authority to demand society cease whatever behavior or product the liberal finds so offensive.

It always happens the same way. It begins small with a “concerned citizen” suggesting to a local politician that something should be regulating. The politician, seeing a golden opportunity, provides a knee-jerk law or regulation. Maybe not enough motorists are wearing seatbelts, or helmets, or car seats. Second hand smoke, salt, sugar, trans fats are all killing us. “Do it for the children”, they exclaim. If it saves just one life, it will be worth it (except for abortion). Herein also lies the contradiction, or paradox. One example is cigarette smoking. The liberal desperately needs the tax revenue from smokers to fund their silly government programs but yet they call for regulations virtually banning the product.

Then “science” or “medicine” is employed, proving the “concerned citizen” right. It could be faux-science (global warming), but that matters not. As long as it advances the agenda and the agenda is always for our own good. Liberals care more than we do, so we couldn’t very well be left to fend for ourselves. What do we think this is, a free society?

Before you know it, there has been a state law passed, regulating this or that and finally an overarching federal law.

It’s always the same tune, just with different lyrics.

That brings us full circle, back to football. Even I was surprised how fast this has progressed.

When Limbaugh predicts something, it usually takes years for society to catch up.

Don’t Doubt Him!

(I live in New Hampshire, so don’t doubt me when I say, Dover is a liberal stronghold. I don’t know what their “Nannies per capita” are, but it’s up there.)

DOVER, N.H. (AP) — A proposal to drop football at one New Hampshire school district has surprised and upset many residents.

The idea was suggested at a Dover School Board meeting Monday night by board member Paul Butler, a retired physician.

Butler said the potential for concussions is too great of a risk. He said concussions on developing brains can have a long-lasting impact, including the possibility of brain damage, depression and dementia.

Butler said he knows stopping the game isn’t popular.

“I suspect it’s going to take a long time. This might be the first volley. It took a long time for people to wear bicycle helmets. It took a long time for people to stop smoking,” he said.

The board later released a statement that Butler’s comments were his reaction to various studies he’s read and is not the opinion of the board itself. It said termination of the high school football program isn’t on the agenda at this time.

Dover Athletic Director Peter Wotton said safer tackling is being coached and players are being supervised by doctors.

“Any sport is a target, because it feel like anytime you put kids in motion — there is an inherent risk to playing sports and taking part in athletics, and for some reason the target is on football. I don’t think it should be on anything,” he said.

Wotton said girls basketball ranked higher in concussions in 2011.

A new law in New Hampshire is aimed at protecting student athletes from concussions and other head injuries. Under the law, coaches and other athletic officials who suspect that an athlete has suffered a concussion will be required to remove him or her from play immediately, and the athlete will have to get written authorization from a health care provider and a parent before returning.

Information about such injuries also will be distributed to all youth athletes each year, and parents will have to sign forms indicating they had read the information before the start of practice or competition.

And so it begins. Don’t Doubt Him!

A Smackdown

From: RedState

There was a surreal moment after the debate last night. On CNN, the polling went overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney among debate watchers. Basically two-thirds of the American public who watched the debate claimed Romney won. A majority claimed Romney was with them on taxes, the economy, healthcare, their views of government, etc. He dominated.

A CBS poll of undecided voters who watched the debate mirrored the CNN poll.

Suddenly the Democrats took to the airwaves and twitter to rail against the polls oversampling Republicans and being too heavily skewed, too instant to be meaningful, and clearly not an accurate statistical sample of anything.

About the same time Barack Obama’s campaign team was melting down on television, the campaign sent out an email that did not even mention the Presidential debate. It just wanted more money.

The debate was so bad for Barack Obama I expect Eric Holder to send Jim Lehrer to GTMO. Barack Obama suddenly agrees with Republicans on defunding PBS. Without his precious TelePrompTer to feed his Gollumesque addiction to its illuminated, precious words, the President fell flat. Instead of John Kerry for a debate partner, the President should have just gone through airport security a few times or embraced BOHICA as a debate preparation strategy.

Put it to you this way, within ten minutes of the debate ending, Jessica Yellin of CNN spoke with Stephanie Cutter of the Obama campaign. Ms. Cutter conceded up front that Mitt Romney won on both debate preparation and debate style. It went downhill from there. She began parroting talking points about the debate she herself released to Obama surrogate at sun up yesterday morning. She had nothing new to add.

Mitt Romney had substance, counterarguments for Barack Obama’s points, rebuttals, and a friendly manner. Barack Obama kept his head down at the podium and refused to make eye contact with Mitt Romney. This too is what Barack Obama did with the economy and Libya.

Barack Obama, at one point, interrupted Jim Lehrer and asked Lehrer to move on to a new topic. It was a brilliant metaphor for what Barack Obama did coming into office. He looked at the economy and decided to move on to Obamacare. His whole career has been one of passing the buck, shifting blame, and failing to take responsibility for tough challenges. He did the same last night.

For four years, Barack Obama has rarely been challenged and he handled it poorly last night. He was ill prepared, flustered easily, and came off as petulant. At some point we should expect the empty chair to ask Barack Obama to take a vacation day and let it debate instead.

I think the explanation for Obama’s performance is pretty simple. Gods in the cult of personality do not like to come off Olympus to be challenged by mere mortals.

There is an important point, however, for Republicans. This was one debate. This was not the election. Mitt Romney showed he can do it. But the campaign needs your help now more than ever. Every penny helps. I guarantee you we are about to see the media resurrect the “Obama is the underdog” theme and, in the meantime, look for most media polls to suddenly have a D+20 sample.

Mitt Romney did fantastic last night.

Trickle Down and Tax Cuts

By Walter E. Williams

Dr. Thomas Sowell’s “‘Trickle Down Theory’ and ‘Tax Cuts for the Rich'” has just been published by the Hoover Institution. Having read this short paper, the conclusion you must reach is that the term “trickle down theory” is simply a tool of charlatans and political hustlers.

Sowell states that “no such theory has been found in even the most voluminous and learned histories of economic theories.” That’s from a scholar who has published extensively in the history of economic thought. Several years ago, Sowell, in his syndicated column, challenged anyone to name an economist from any economic school of thought who had actually advocated a “trickle down” theory. To date, no one has quoted any economist who ever advocated such a theory. Trickle down is a nonexistent theory. Those who use it simply argue against a caricature rather than confront an argument actually made.

President Barack Obama recently criticized Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for trying to sell a tax plan, which he called “trickledown snake oil.” Criticizing tax cuts as trickle down is a way not to confront the argument; however, there’s empirical evidence about the effects of tax cuts. Sowell shows that during the Warren Harding administration, in 1921, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon advocated tax rate cuts, which were enacted into law by Congress. Afterward, there was rising output; unemployment plummeted; and the resulting higher income produced greater federal tax revenues, even though the tax rate had been lowered (see: The Great Depression). There were somewhat similar results in later years after high tax rates were cut during the John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations.

The facts about the 1920s tax rate cuts are unmistakably clear for those who bother to check the facts. In 1921, when the tax rate on people earning more than $100,000 a year was 73 percent, the federal government collected a little more than $700 million in income taxes, of which 30 percent was paid by those earning more than $100,000. By 1929, after the tax rate had been cut to 24 percent on incomes higher than $100,000, the federal government collected more than $1 billion in income taxes, of which 65 percent was collected from those with incomes higher than $100,000.

In 1962, Democratic President John F. Kennedy pointed out that “it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now.” Both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush made similar arguments, and the tax rate cuts had the effect of stimulating economic growth while increasing federal tax revenue and shifting a greater percentage of the tax burden on to wealthier individuals.

One very insightful part of Sowell’s paper is the discussion about what Mellon called the “gesture of taxing the rich” — namely, tax-exempt securities that he tried unsuccessfully to put an end to. Tax-exempt securities and other tax breaks are valuable tools in the politics of class warfare and envy. Politicians have it both ways. They get votes by raising taxes on the wealthy — or threatening to do so — and at the same time provide the wealthy with a way out of high taxes through tax-exempt securities. This explains how President Obama can raise tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions from Hollywood millionaires and Wall Street’s rich and powerful. “Tax cuts for the rich” demagoguery is simply the height of deceit perpetrated on gullible people and useful idiots.

You can bet that the White House has people reading every bit of the news, including this column and Dr. Sowell’s article. You can bet some people in the news media will read it, as well. Despite the facts that Sowell has marshaled, they will continue to use trickle down theory and “tax cuts for the rich” demagoguery, even though they now have hard evidence to the contrary, because they can count on widespread gullibility and inability to do critical thinking.

Power of Kawaii

One thing the internet has  shown us, it is that few  people can resist looking at images of cute animals.

Now new research has  revealed that looking at cute images of baby animals doesn’t just make you feel  warm and fuzzy inside, but can actually improve your work performance and help  you concentrate.

The study comes from  researchers at Hiroshima University. In Japanese, the word ‘kawaii’ means cute,  and so the report is rather appropriately entitled ‘Power of Kawaii’.

The subjects were told the  pictures, which they viewed during a ‘break’ in the tasks, were for a separate  experiment.

In the Operation  experiment, the participants who were shown images of puppies and kittens  performed their tasks better after the break than those who looked at cats and  dogs. Performance scores improved by 44%. They also took their time. The time it  took to complete the task increased by 12%.

‘This finding suggests that  viewing cute images makes participants behave more deliberately and perform  tasks with greater time and care,’ said the researchers, according to the  published paper.

Similar jumps in  performance were seen in the numbers experiment, suggesting that looking at cute  images increases attentiveness even when the task at hand is unlikely to raise  feelings of empathy.

The group that saw kitten  and puppies were more accurate, improving their scores by about 16%. They were  also faster, increasing the number of random numerical sequences they got  through by about 13%. There was no change among groups that saw cats and dogs,  and food images.

‘Kawaii things not only  make us happier, but also affect our behavior,’ wrote the researchers, led by  cognitive psychologist Hiroshi Nittono. ‘This study shows that viewing cute  things improves subsequent performance in tasks that require behavioral  carefulness, possibly by narrowing the breadth of attentional  focus.’

The study’s authors write  that in the future cute objects could be used as a way to trigger emotions ‘to  induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and  office work.’