Is This Our Destiny?

Is Demography Destiny?

by: Thomas Sowell

Some media pundits see in the growing proportion of non-white groups in the population, a growing opposition to the Republican Party that will sooner or later make it virtually impossible for Republicans to win presidential elections or even to control either house of Congress.  But is demography destiny?

Conventional wisdom in the Republican establishment is that what the GOP needs to do, in order to win black votes or Hispanic votes, is to craft policies specifically targeting these groups. In other words, Republicans need to become more like Democrats.

Whether in a racial context or in other contexts, the supposed need for Republicans to become more like Democrats has long been a recurring theme of the moderate Republican establishment, going back more than half a century.

Yet the most successful Republican presidential candidate during that long period was a man who went completely counter to that conventional wisdom– namely, Ronald Reagan, who won back to back landslide election victories.

Meanwhile, moderate Republican presidential candidate after moderate Republican presidential candidate has gone down to defeat, even against Democratic presidential candidates who were unpopular (Harry Truman), previously unknown (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton) or who had a terrible economic track record (Barack Obama).

None of this seems to have caused any second thoughts in the Republican establishment.  So long as that remains the case, demography may indeed be destiny– and that destiny could be Democratic administrations as far out as the eye can see.

If non-white voters can only be gotten by pandering to them with goodies earmarked for them, then Republicans are doomed, even if they choose to go that route.  Why should anyone who wants racially earmarked goodies vote for Republicans, when the Democrats already have a track record of delivering such goodies?

An alternative way to make inroads into the overwhelming majority of minority votes for Democrats would be for the Republicans to articulate a coherent case for their principles and the benefits that those principles offer to all Americans.

But the Republicans’ greatest failure has been precisely their chronic failure to spell out their principles– and the track record of those principles– to either white or non-white voters.

Very few people know, for example, that the gap between black and white incomes narrowed during the Reagan administration and widened during the Obama administration.  This was not because of Republican policies designed specifically for blacks, but because free market policies create an economy in which all people can improve their economic situation.

Conversely, few policies have had such a devastating effect on the job opportunities of minority youths as minimum wage laws, which are usually pushed by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.  But these facts do not “speak for themselves.”  Somebody has to cite the facts and take the trouble to show why unemployment among minority youths skyrocketed when minimum wage increases priced them out of jobs.

The loss of income from an entry-level job is only part of the loss sustained by minority young people.  Work experience at even an entry-level job is a valuable asset, as a stepping stone to progressively higher level jobs.  Moreover, nobody gains from having a huge number of idle youths hanging out on the streets, least of all minority communities.

Labor unions push minimum wage laws to insulate their members from the competition of younger workers, and Democratic politicians are heavily dependent on union support.  For the same reason, Democrats have to go along with teachers’ unions that treat schools as places to guarantee their members jobs, rather than to provide the quality education so much needed to rise out of poverty.

What Democrats cannot say under these conditions is what Republicans are free to say– even if Republicans have seldom taken advantage of that freedom to make inroads into minority voting blocs.  Inroads are all they need.  If the black vote for Democrats falls to 70 percent, the Democrats are in deep trouble.

But if Republicans continue inarticulate, then it is they who are in big trouble. More important, so is the country.

Survivor Tribute

A Holocaust survivor returned an American flag to the family of a soldier who had given him the gift, the sole memento from his war-torn childhood that he kept for 67 years.

Stephan Ross, now 81, was ten years old when U.S. serviceman Steve Sattler came across him, emaciated and terrified at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany.

After handing over his rations to the boy during the 1945 liberation, Sattler then gave the ten-year-old his handkerchief decorated with the Stars and Stripes.

Never forgotten: Stephan Ross (pictured in striped jacket) hugs family of soldier Steven Sattler who liberated him from Dachau concentration camp, 67 years ago. Left, a picture of the late Mr SattlerStephan Ross (pictured in striped jacket) hugs family of soldier Steven Sattler who liberated him from Dachau  concentration camp, 67 years ago. Left, a picture of the late Mr Sattler
Poignant memento: Stephan Ross, dressed in a uniform like one he was forced to wear in the Nazi camps, kisses the handkerchief-flag that was given to him by an American soldier in 1945Stephan Ross, dressed in a uniform like one he was forced to wear in the Nazi camps, kisses the handkerchief-flag that was given to him by an American soldier in 1945

On Veteran’s Day this Sunday, Mr Ross had the opportunity for the first time to thank the family of the man who rescued him.

He hugged the children and grandchildren of Mr Sattler during the emotional meeting at the State House in Boston. Mr Ross wore a striped jacket and hat, like the camp uniform, along with his identification number.

The 81-year-old gave Mr Sattler’s family a boxed flag, saying: ‘God Bless, America’.

After the War, Steve Sattler had returned to live quietly on his farm in Unionville, Michigan, according to the Boston  Globe. The father-of-six and Purple Heart recipient passed away in 1986 at the age of 70.

Mr Ross, who now lives in Newton, Massachusetts, had spent the War in ten different concentration camps.

Loving tribute: The children of soldier Steve Sattler (l-r) Gwen Allanson, Stephanie Sattler and James Sattler meet Stephan Ross to show him a picture of their late father after he gave them an American flagThe children of soldier Steve Sattler  (l-r) Gwen Allanson, Stephanie Sattler and James Sattler meet Stephan Ross to  show him a picture of their late father after he gave them an American flag
Symbolic gesture: Mr Ross's son and Boston City Councillor Michael Ross holds up the flag his father received from an American soldier at Dachau concentration camp in Germany almost seven decades ago Mr Ross’s son and Boston City Councilor Michael Ross holds up the flag his father received from an American  soldier at Dachau concentration camp in Germany almost seven decades ago

Ever since being liberated by the Allies on  April 29, 1945, Mr Ross had always  wondered what had happened to the soldier  who had shown him kindness.

GATEWAY TO EVIL: THE ATROCITY OF  DACHAU CONCENTRATION CAMP

The concentration camp at Dachau, near Munich  in Germany, was founded in 1933 by Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler.

The first prisoners were mainly political opponents of the Nazi regime along with Gypsies and homosexuals.

The camp was expanded under horrific working conditions by prisoners – and operated until the fall of the fascist regime in 1945. Thousands of prisoners were worked to death.

With the increased persecution of the Jews,  the number of prisoners at the camp increased in the late Thirties.

It was the original model for all concentration camps – divided into barracks, workshops and areas where medical experiments took place and the crematorium. However it is believed that rather than gas chambers, the Nazis used this area as a firing range and gallows for most prisoners.

Those who were deemed too sick or old to work were sent to Hartheim in Austria where they faced the gas chambers. Thousands of prisoners from Dachau died in this way.

Hundreds of prisoners died or were left disabled during horrific medical experiments at Dachau which included malaria, hypothermia and tuberculosis trials, new medications and methods to stop excessive bleeding.

More than 188,000 prisoners passed through the heavy gates of Dachau in its 12-year history. Although 28,000 were known to have died, there were many, many more victims who have never been accounted for.

The octogenarian, who came to the U.S. as an orphan in 1948, even went on TV show Unsolved Mysteries in the hope of finding the man.

In August this year, he received a phone call  from a woman named Brenda Clark – Mr Sattler’s grand-daughter – who said Mr  Ross’s story resembled one she had been told.

Mr Sattler had spoken little about his time during the liberation of Dachau.

However he did once tell his daughter Gwen Allanson that he had given food and ‘something else’ to a young boy at the German concentration camp.

Mr Sattler did not say what he had given the boy, only that he ‘hoped it helped him’.

After the families compared details of Mr Sattler’s service with Mr Ross’s memories, the personal histories matched up.

Mr Ross, a retired psychologist, told the Globe: ‘I recalled thinking: ”If this is true, there is some God in this world.”’

He shared his stories of being held in a Nazi prison camp which left him starved and beaten within an inch of his life.

Mr Ross lost his entire family in the Holocaust apart from one brother.

Sattler was a member of the 191st Tank Battalion who were part of the troops who liberated Dachau, about ten miles northwest of Munich in southern Germany.

The U.S. forces who breached the gates of Dachau in April, 1945 were faced with thousands of starving prisoners, many near death. The soldiers also came across the gruesome discovery of 30 railroad cars piled high with bodies.

Attribution: Daily Mail

Joke of the Day

After spending 3-1/2 hours enduring the long lines, surly clerks and insane regulations at the department of motor vehicles, a lady stopped at a toy store to pick up a gift for her son.

She brought her selection – a baseball bat to the cash register.

“Cash or charge,” the clerk asked.

“Cash,” she snapped. Then apologizing for her rudeness, she explained, “I’ve spent the afternoon at the motor-vehicle bureau. I am not too sane right now!!”

“Shall I gift wrap the bat?” the clerk asked sweetly, “Or or you going back?”

Idols Must be Destroyed

The Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza are now the  target of a radical Salafist jihadist leader.

Murgan Salem al-Gohary, 50, an Islamist  leader twice-sentenced under former President Hosni Mubarak for advocating violence, told Egyptian media that the  historical landmarks are ‘idolatrous’ and must be destroyed.

The threats are being taken seriously as ten years ago Gohary helped smash a pair of giant Buddha statues in Afghanistan.

Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm said Gohary is a jihadist leader with  links to the Taliban, reported the Jerusalem Post.

‘The idols and statutes that fill Egypt must  be destroyed. Muslims are  tasked with applying the teachings of Islam and  removing these idols,  just like we did in Afghanistan when we smashed the  Buddha statues,’  Gohary said in a Saturday night television interview,  according to  al-Masry al-Youm.

His comments came a day after thousands of Islamists gathered in Tahrir Square to call for the strict application of Sharia law in the new constitution.

He is issuing the same call as supreme Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar did in 2001 when he issued an edict against un-Islamic graven images, which means all idolatrous images of  humans and animals.

Marked: The Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza are now the target of a radical Salafist jihadist leader. The Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza are now the target of a radical Salafist jihadist leader

As a result, the Taliban destroyed all ancient sculptures, using explosives, tanks, and anti-aircraft weapons blew apart a pair of giant Buddhas in Bamiyan Province, 230 kilometers (150 miles) from the capital of Kabul.

‘He was sentenced twice, one of the two sentences being life imprisonment. He subsequently fled Egypt to Afghanistan, where he was badly injured in the American  invasion.

‘In 2007, he traveled from Pakistan to  Syria, which then handed him over to Egypt. After Mubarak’s fall in early 2011, he was released from prison by a judicial ruling,’ the  newspaper added.

Destruction: His threats are being taken seriously as ten years ago Gohary helped smash a pair of giant Buddha statues in AfghanistanDestruction: His threats are being taken seriously as  ten years ago Gohary helped smash a pair of giant Buddha statues in  Afghanistan
Missing: A general view of the alcoves where giant Buddha statues once stood in Bamiyan in 2001Missing: A general view of the alcoves where giant  Buddha statues once stood in Bamiyan in 2001
Sue: The tourism board Ihab el-Badry told Egyptian daily al-Ahram that the group planned to sue President Mohamed Morsi for ¿lack of response¿ to Gohary¿s threats 
The tourism board Ihab el-Badry told Egyptian daily  al-Ahram that the group planned to sue President Mohamed Morsi for ‘lack of  response’ to Gohary’s threats

The Great Sphinx outside Cairo, which has the  head of a pharaoh and the body of a lion, was built soon after the first pyramid – around 4,500 years ago.

Close to the Sphinx are the three  pyramids of Giza, the largest of which is known as the Great Pyramid and is one of the  Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The pyramids are a source of national income and they bring tourists to Egypt so the Egyptian Interior Ministry source said officials are taking the threats seriously.

According to al-Masry al-Youm, authorities have taken the ‘taken the necessary  precautions to prevent violations of the law or any abuses of  anything in the public domain or archaeological treasures including the  pyramids.’

Egypt’s Coalition to Support Tourism are now worried that his threats will deter tourists from visiting the landmarks.

CST leader Ihab el-Badry told Egyptian  daily  al-Ahram that the group planned to sue President Mohamed Morsi and other government leaders for their ‘lack of response’ to Gohary’s threats.

The country has already suffered a decrease in tourism – last year sombre pictures  showed rows of empty seats at the Light and Sound Show, below the  historic pyramids in Cairo.

Only a year earlier the show had been fully-booked every night.

Dozens of tourists cooed as they watched the landmarks change to shades of purple, green, red and blue among others. Vast beams of light were shot into the air by high-tech  lasers.

Egypt had been on the verge of its own economic revolution, with booming tourism and impressive developments of apartments, offices and flats around the country.

But this revolution went no further. In its place were the scenes of violence and mass protest in Tahrir Square in February which became known as the  ‘Arab Spring’.

Affect: Egypt¿s Coalition to Support Tourism are now worried that his threats will deter tourists from visiting the landmarks - since the Arab Spring tourism has fallen Affect: Egypts Coalition to Support Tourism are now  worried that his threats will deter tourists from visiting the landmarks – since  the Arab Spring tourism has fallen

In Saudi Arabia the ancient Islamic holy landmarks of Mecca and Medina are under threat.

According to media reports, £690million worth of construction work is beginning on the Masjid an-Nabawi in Madinah, where the Prophet Mohammed is buried.

Under the proposed plans the site will be developed to include a mosque with a capacity for 1.6 million worshippers.

The house of one of Mohammed’s wives has already been destroyed to make space for public toilets.

The city of Medina, Islam’s second holiest place is under threat as there is now a plan to pull down three 7th-century mosques.

The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates  that 95 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades alone.

Attribution: Jill Reilly

Heal Thy Self

Human skin is a special material: It needs to be flexible, so that it doesn’t crack every time a user clenches his fist. It needs to be sensitive to stimuli like touch and pressure—which are measured as electrical signals, so it needs to conduct electricity. Crucially, if it’s to survive the wear and tear it’s put through every day, it needs to be able to repair itself. Now, researchers in California may have designed a synthetic version—a flexible, electrically conductive, self-healing polymer.

The result is part of a decadelong miniboom in “epidermal electronics”—the production of circuits thin and flexible enough to be attached to skin (for use as wearable heart rate monitors, for example) or to provide skinlike touch sensitivity to prosthetic limbs. The problem is that silicon, the base material of the electronics industry, is brittle. So various research groups have investigated different ways to produce flexible electronic sensors.

Chemists, meanwhile, have become increasingly interested in “self-healing” polymers. This sounds like science fiction, but several research groups have produced plastics that can join their cut edges together when scientists heat them, shine a light on them, or even just hold the cut edges together. In 2008, researchers at ESPCI ParisTech showed that a specially designed rubber compound could recover its mechanical properties after being broken and healed repeatedly.

Chemical engineer Zhenan Bao of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and her team combined these two concepts and explored the potential of  self-healing polymers in epidermal electronics. However, all the self-healing polymers demonstrated to date had had very low bulk electrical conductivities and would have been little use in electrical sensors. Writing in Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers detail how they increased the conductivity of a self-healing polymer by incorporating nickel atoms, allowing electrons to “jump” between the metal atoms. The polymer is sensitive to applied forces like pressure and torsion (twisting) because such forces alter the distance between the nickel atoms, affecting the difficulty the electrons have jumping from one to the other and changing the electrical resistance of the polymer.

To demonstrate that both the mechanical and the electrical properties of the material could be repeatedly restored to their original values after the material had been damaged and healed, the researchers cut the polymer completely through with a scalpel. After pressing the cut edges together gently for 15 seconds, the researchers found the sample went on to regain 98% of its original conductivity. And crucially, just like the ESPCI group’s rubber compound, the Stanford team’s polymer could be cut and healed over and over again.

“I think it’s kind of a breakthrough,” says John J. Boland, a chemist at the CRANN nanoscience institute at Trinity College Dublin. “It’s the first time that we’ve seen this combination of both mechanical and electrical self-healing.” He is, however, skeptical about one point: “With a scalpel you can very precisely cut the material without inducing significant local mechanical deformation around the wound.” Failure due to mechanical tension, however, could stretch the material, producing significant scarring and preventing complete self-healing, he suspects.

Now, Bao and her fellow researchers are working to make the polymer more like human skin. “I think it will be very interesting if we can make the self-healing skin elastic,” she says, “because, while it’s currently flexible, it’s still not stretchable. That’s definitely something we’re moving towards for our next-generation self-healing skin.”

Attribution: Real Clear Science

Citizenship for All

by: the Common Constitutionalist

So have we officially moved into a new American era; the era of gloves off, minority pandering?

According to our Speaker of the House, the Honorable John Boehner, one of the reasons the Republicans lost, Mitt Romney lost, is due to not speaking to all Americans.

Boehner was recently interviewed by the Queen of recycling, Diane Sawyer. In the interview she quoted Al Cárdenas saying the Republican Party has gotten, “two old, too white and to male”.

Boehner’s response was predictably milquetoast. “Well, I think what Republicans need to learn is how do we speak to all Americans. You know, not just the people who look like us and act like us, but how do we speak to all Americans.”

Yep, you read that correctly. Good old John Boehner, acting as the, go along to get along, moderate he is.

I guess that’s us. I’m two out of three anyway; too white and too male. Maybe I just need a tan a sex change.

As I see it, we as conservative outcasts, have two problems. They are illegal immigration and giveaways. (Racism is a given, so I’m not including it).

By now, we who haven’t tuned out yet, have started to hear the growing cacophony of cries from Republican “know-it-alls”, to be more inclusive.

Of course, by more inclusive they mean we must agree to a “Comprehensive Immigration Policy”.

Now, what exactly is “Comprehensive Immigration Policy”? Simply said, it is, let them all in and grant them instant citizenship, which gives them the right to vote (Democrat of course).

That’s fairly comprehensive, I’d say.

You might ask yourself why the Democrats are so hot to legalize all the illegals. Is it as they claim? Are they the true party of inclusion and the big tent? Are they actually just looking out for the poor and disenfranchised illegals?

I say we put it to the test and Rush Limbaugh has devised a perfect one. It’s genius, if I do say.

His idea is to have the Republicans compromise with the dems. This is what the moderates in our party want, is it not? Do they not want us to be Democrat light?

Yes, let us compromise, with one proviso. The Republicans, the party of no, will become the new party of yes.

This is Limbaugh’s proposal. The Republicans will allow all illegal aliens to become citizens of the United States immediately. That’s the yes part of the new Republican.

The proviso is that said “new citizens” will relinquish the right to vote for 25 years.

Why would we conservatives ever agree to such thing? Just think about it for a moment.

Think of why the dishonest, devious Democrats really want to legalize the criminal aliens. Is it their big hearts? Hell no! It’s the vote. That’s all it is and that’s all it’s ever been.

Hispanics increasingly vote Democrat, not for their solidarity regarding immigration, but for the freebies they know the Democrats will provide. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it’s a fact.

Republicans think that Hispanics might come over from the Democrat side because of Latinos purported similarly strong family and religious values. They’d be wrong. It’s the welfare they are after, the free stuff.

For example, in California, US-born Hispanics use welfare programs at twice the rate of non-Hispanics. Nearly 7 out of 10 poor children are Hispanic.

With that statistic, do we really think they care about immigration? Of course not. They’re voting for a continuation an escalation of the welfare state.

And that is the reason why the Democrats provide the giveaways. It’s for votes, that’s it!

I learned a long time ago that when selling a product or an idea, one has to be unique, set yourself apart from the rest. You must also educate your customer, so he fully understands just what he’s buying and why he should jump ship and purchase from you.

None of these “voters” will leave the Democrats for the Republicans just because we go along. We are, in effect, just offering them a “me too” product.

So let’s develop some backbone and call them out for what they really are – vote pimps.

It’s time we went on the attack.

Put the Limbaugh immigration offer on the table and watch the Dems squirm and make any excuse possible not to agree with it. Let them, for once, have to show their hand.

Talk About Something Old, Something New

For the mobile gadget enthusiast who nonetheless loves to have that period look at home, one U.S. designer has come up with the ultimate iPhone dock.

The iPhone Gramophone borrows the iconic analogue horn speaker from the earliest sound playback devices and uses it to amplify the sound from Apple gadgets’ speakers.

Simply place your iPad or iPhone in the solid walnut base and the metal horn will boost the volume of the gadget’s speakers by three or four times – with no need for electricity.

The retro device is the brainchild of Matt Richmond, a San Francisco-based furniture designer who built the original prototype from a Twenties horn speaker bought from an East Bay antiques shop.

‘I found this old Victrola horn that had a shape I really loved, and I thought, “How cool would it be if I could use this with my phone?”,’ he said.

‘I held up my phone to the opening on the speaker, and I could immediately tell it was something that would work.’

Taking a heavy piece of hardwood, Mr Richmond carved a hole for the horn, a slot for his phone, and a channel to connect the two.

The result was a elegant but functional iPhone speaker dock, with no battery or plug required.

The nascent product needed little in the way of marketing: everyone who saw Mr Richmond’s original device wanted one of their own and soon, after word reached the internet, he had more orders than he could hope to fill.

So Mr Richmond refined his designs and teamed up with luxury brand Restoration Hardware to bring his product to a wider audience.

Compatibility: The solid walnut base of the retail version of the Gramophone accepts all iPhone models - the new connector on the iPhone 5 poses no technical problems for its iron and brass hornWith a base hand-crafted from solid  walnut, the Gramophone accepts all iPhone models – the new connector on the  iPhone 5 poses no technical problems for its iron and brass horn
Inspired: The retro device is the brainchild of Matt Richmond, a San Francisco-based furniture designer who built the original prototype from a Twenties horn speaker bought from an East Bay antiques shopThe retro device is the brainchild of Matt  Richmond, a San Francisco-based furniture designer who built the original  prototype from a Twenties horn speaker bought from an East Bay antiques shop

With a base hand-crafted from solid walnut, the retail version of the iPhone Gramophone accepts all iPhone models – the new connector on the iPhone 5 poses no technical problems for its iron and brass horn.

Like Mr Richmond’s original prototype it needs no electricity or batteries, and so can be used wherever its owner bothers to heft it.

However, its old-school amplification technology means its not for head bangers.

‘It’s not overpowering, so it’s great in the background,’ Mr Richmond said. ‘And it’s directional – you can point the horn  where you want the sound. If you put it in a corner it’ll really fill a room.’

The iPhone Gramophone is available online from Restoration Hardware for $249.

Attribution: Damien Gayle