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Enemy of our enemy

Written By kom nampuldu on Sabtu, 08 November 2014 | 20.49

Does America's common interest with Iran in defeating ISIS outweigh the considerable risks of signing a nuclear deal with Tehran filled with dangerous concessions? President Obama clearly believes the answer is yes. We have our doubts.

These doubts only grow stronger when we see what seems to be the real purpose of the secret letter President Obama sent to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: an even more dubious nuclear accord Secretary of State John Kerry is desperate to reach by the Nov. 24 deadline.

No doubt that's why Washington reportedly is offering significant sweeteners — like raising the number of centrifuges for enriching uranium Iran will be allowed to operate from 4,000 to 6,000. At the beginning of the year, the administration was demanding a ceiling of just 500 centrifuges.

Never mind that all this comes even as Iran continues to demonstrate its untrustworthiness by defying its international inspections obligations. Point is, looking to Iran for cooperation on ISIS is a dubious proposition. And the one thing that unites Israel with our Sunni Arab partners is this: There is perhaps no graver threat to the Middle East than a nuclear-armed Iran.

If President Obama and Secretary Kerry really want to change history with Iran, maybe they should take their lead from Ronald Reagan at the 1986 Reykjavik Summit: When Mikhail Gorbachev demanded too much, the Gipper walked away.


20.49 | 0 komentar | Read More

Millennial madness — kids without marriage

The other day, something came across my newsfeed about Kourtney Kardashian's pregnancy style.

I'll hand it to her; she's a stylish pregnant lady. And we know this for certain now, because this is her third pregnancy with boyfriend Scott Disick.

But that's just it. Boyfriend.

It's head-scratching to me why a couple would have multiple children — all "planned" — but refuse to tie the knot. It seems to me, if you're building a family together, why not make it official? Yet keeping it unofficial is becoming the new norm.

As Brad Wilcox put it in a piece for The Wall Street Journal about the parallel mysteries of falling teen pregnancy rates but soaring single-motherhood numbers for women in the next age bracket, "If 30 is the new 20, today's unmarried 20-somethings are the new teen moms."

Naomi Riley had an excellent piece on this phenomenon last month in The Post, "Generation Screwed."

Millennials, my generation, have been given this nickname because we are getting slammed with record high tuition rates, a terrible job market, out-of-control entitlements, and so on. She writes:

"So you'd think that if research shows there is something that could be a surefire way of improving their economic lot, they would grab hold of it like a life preserver. Well, you'd be wrong.

"In fact, research has shown marriage to be responsible for the significant creation of wealth — yet millennials don't seem interested. The average age of a first marriage for men is 29 and for women it's 27.

"Many are simply not marrying at all. Almost half of children born to women under 30 are out-of-wedlock births now, according to a recent study by Child Trends, a Washington-based research group."

It is mystifying.

While it's easy enough to see how a generation thoroughly steeped in relativism might shrug off the moral arguments for marriage, it's plain bizarre the way millennials seem to be outright rejecting the evidence that marriage favors them and their progeny economically.

Riley gives a litany of data that shows the way couples who marry start to quickly pass their unmarried peers when it comes to financial stability.

This data only compliments all the data that paints a crystal with a capital "C" clear picture of how important marriage is in determining the outcomes of children.

My favorite stat? Marriage drops a child's odds of falling into poverty by 82 percent. Wind and repeat.

Eighty-two percent. Yet a recent Pew report suggests that a likely one in four millennials will never marry and that millennials are incredibly likely to say, "marriage is becoming obsolete" and rank "being a good parent" as a higher priority than "having a successful marriage."

But what millennials just don't seem to grasp is that being a good parent is having a successful marriage. It is absolutely the most important and determinant factor for children: whether or not their parents are married.

But, according to Pew, "Millennials are less likely than adults ages 30 and older to say that a child needs a home with both a father and mother to grow up happily and that single parenthood and unmarried couple parenthood are bad for society."

Kourtney and Scott don't need to worry about money, and most likely their kids won't either.

But we ordinary millennials can't afford to follow in their tracks. We owe our generation and our children a future. As Riley put it, "Looks like the Screwed Generation is raising the really screwed one."

We may feel powerless against mounting national woes like ballooning student debt. But we are fools to leave our most powerful weapon, a social bazooka, if you will, just lying there in the dust. Marriage is ours to reclaim. What's stopping us?

If it's fear that things won't work out, we can take courage in knowing we have an unprecedented amount of knowledge about what makes marriage work and what makes marriage fail.

We can marry smart. Divorce rates are falling. We don't have to make the mistakes our parents' generation made.

The only mistake we risk making is to write off marriage, or rather to devalue its power in bettering our lives emotionally and financially and to try in vain to untie it from the children we say we want to have.

From Acculturated.com


20.49 | 0 komentar | Read More

Parks and Recreation — NYC-style

City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver has been on the job for six months now, but you'd hardly know it from his schedule. He seems to spend almost as much time away from New York as he does here.

Silver spends Fridays teaching a class on urban planning at Harvard. And he's flown to Singapore, Spain, England and South Africa, as well as North Carolina and Kentucky, to take part in conferences, give speeches and receive an honorary degree.

Meanwhile, capital projects in the city's parks lag years behind schedule, and community groups as well as City Council members complain they can't even get a sit-down with the commissioner, according to DNAInfo New York. What gives?

At a council hearing this week, Silver said both his travel and classroom schedules were set before he came on board and were cleared by the Conflicts of Interest Board. The teaching job ends this month, he said, and he expects less traveling "in the coming years."

That's all well and good, but here's the real problem: Our Parks Department is a laggard in delivering projects quickly and cheaply.

Instead of trying to rob those who make our parks work — e.g., the Central Park Conservancy — maybe the mayor ought to get himself a full-time parks commissioner.


20.49 | 0 komentar | Read More

Mayor YouTube

You know how people say they're tired of bad news — that we should have more outlets dedicated solely to good news?

Turns out New York already has one. It's Mayor de Blasio's YouTube channel. It carries videos produced by NYC TV, a taxpayer-funded public-television channel.

In two exclusives, The Post has reported how Mayor Bill has injected himself into the station's content, ordering up, for example, a feature on an old friend famous for her "spider bite" dance.

The mayor's YouTube channel takes a different angle, focusing on how wonderful New York life is under Mayor Bill.

Now, all politicians promote themselves shamelessly. And they are only too happy to use public dollars when they can — just look at all those ads for Gov. Cuomo's START-UP NY program.

Even so, de Blasio's YouTube channel features more than 250 videos — which works out to nearly one new one each day. Friday, for example, the "City Scoop" video noted how Super Bill was single-handedly propping up . . . er, reforming . . . 94 failing public schools.

Another features a story about how a family hit by Sandy will be back in their home by Christmas — thanks to Mayor Bill. And so on.

Maybe there's a case for what are essentially campaign commercials. But so long as taxpayers are picking up the tab, maybe these videos should carry the proper public warning: "Any resemblance to real persons or real events is purely coincidental."


20.49 | 0 komentar | Read More

Navy SEALs say more than one man killed bin Laden

The ex-Navy SEAL who claimed he alone fatally shot Osama bin Laden is facing heat from colleagues who are challenging his version of events — and threats of legal action from military brass for revealing classified information.

Rob O'Neill said he fired the two-shot "double-tap" to the forehead that took bin Laden down, and then finished him off with a third shot, during the raid on the al Qaeda leader's hideout in ­Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011.

In his account — which he will detail in a two-part Fox News TV special next week — the team's point man fired the first shot at bin Laden but missed.

The point man then hustled two of the terrorist's wives out of the way, allowing O'Neill to burst into bin Laden's bedroom and fire the fatal volley.

"There was bin Laden, standing there. He had his hands on a woman's shoulders pushing her ahead," O'Neill, 38, said in an anonymous interview with ­Esquire magazine in March.

"He looked confused . . . He had a cap on and didn't appear to be hit. In that second, I shot him two times in the forehead. Bap! Bap! He crumbled to the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again."

But another SEAL who took part in the raid, which was code-named Operation Neptune Spear, wrote that the point man wounded bin Laden with his first shot — and that he and another SEAL, believed to be O'Neill, then fired the fatal rounds.

"He was still twitching and convulsing," Matt Bissonnette, 38, said in his book, "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama Bin Laden," which he wrote under the name Mark Owen. "Another assaulter and I trained our lasers on his chest and fired several rounds."

Military bigs — furious over the soldiers' breach of the SEAL Ethos, or code of silence — threatened legal action against both men, according to the special-ops Web site SOFREP, which outed O'Neill after other SEALs, angry at his disclosures, provided his identity.

In a letter written after news of O'Neill's TV appearance was announced, the commander of Naval Special Warfare Command wrote that those who violate the Ethos "are neither teammates in good standing, nor teammates who represent Naval Special Warfare.

"A critical tenet of our Ethos is, 'I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions,' " he added.

The SEAL leader also said revealing classified information was against the law and that the command would seek "judicial consequences" for O'Neill and Bissonnette.

O'Neill on Friday shrugged off the controversy.

"Regardless of the negativity that comes with it, I don't give a f–k. We got him," he told CNN.


20.49 | 0 komentar | Read More

Victory was easy, now the hard part

The GOP victory Election Night was the easy part. Now comes the real work: forging an agenda that will solidify Republican gains over the next two years.

Exit polls make clear that dissatisfaction with President Obama drove this election. As the president famously said in October, "I am not on the ballot this fall. . . But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them."

The president's words came true, but not quite in the way he intended. Come 2016, however, Republicans will have to run on what they've accomplished legislatively and what a different agenda a Republican would bring to the White House.

But the electorate will be significantly broader than the one that went to the polls on Tuesday.

Only about 37 percent of eligible voters turned out this election, according to early analyses — which redounded to the GOP's advantage. Democrats weren't able to energize their base.

Black turnout was down, resulting in a 2 percent decline in their proportion of the overall vote compared to 2012, a presidential year, and 1 percent less than in 2010, another midterm election.

Hispanic turnout was down as well. Despite gains in population, Hispanics made up only 8 percent of voters in 2014 compared to 10 percent in 2012. Single women represented 2 percent fewer voters than in 2012.

As a result, whites, especially white males, who overwhelmingly vote Republican, had greater impact on the final results. Republican candidates received a whopping 64 percent of white male votes in 2014.

Republicans can't count on Democrats' apathy next time out. But the results in this year's returns point to some opportunities for the GOP to expand support among traditionally Democratic groups — provided the party doesn't blow it with a legislative agenda that rekindles disaffection.

The two groups most critical to winning the White House and retaining Congress are women and Hispanics. If the GOP alienates these groups, its path to victory will be virtually nonexistent.

Republicans did better among women overall this time than in 2012, but not quite as well as they did in 2010, when dissatisfaction with ObamaCare drove a GOP takeover of the House.

In 2010, GOP candidates overall won 51 percent of the female vote, which slipped to 47 percent in 2014. Republicans will have to keep women in the fold in 2016, which will depend on looking like leaders, not obstructionists.

Among Hispanics, too, the GOP did much better than in 2012, winning more than a third of Hispanic votes nationwide, compared to only 27 percent in 2012.

The key may well be that, for the most part, Republican candidates didn't shoot themselves in the foot with nasty rhetoric as GOP presidential hopefuls did in 2012.

Mitt Romney's invitation for illegal immigrants to self-deport turned off many Hispanic voters, who viewed the proposal as not only unrealistic, but also cruel, dividing families and devastating immigrant communities.

In Colorado, for example, Sen.-elect Cory Gardner largely stayed away from illegal-immigrant bashing, and it paid off.

Exit poll data analyzed by The Wall Street Journal showed Republicans doing much better than they did in the 2010 midterms in counties where Hispanic voters make up more than 20 percent of the vote. Gardner did better in 20 of the 21 heavily Hispanic counties than the 2010 GOP Senate candidate did.

A critical test for Republicans may come before they assume actual leadership of the Senate in January.

The president has promised executive action before the end of the year to give legal status to as many as half of the 11 million illegal immigrants present in the United States now. Doing so will infuriate many in the GOP and could prove a Pyrrhic victory even for illegal immigrants.

If the president acts unilaterally, he will invite a legal challenge to his authority and virtually guarantee that the new GOP Congress will try to cut off funds for implementation of his executive order when they return in January.

But Republicans would be smart not to overreact. They should, instead, move their own immigration bills forward, expanding the number of legal immigrants admitted and creating a temporary-worker program that could accommodate some of those undocumented workers already doing jobs Americans won't take.

How they handle this tough situation could open an easier path to the White House in 2016 — or derail the stunning victory they achieved this week.


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Millennial madness — kids without marriage

The other day, something came across my newsfeed about Kourtney Kardashian's pregnancy style.

I'll hand it to her; she's a stylish pregnant lady. And we know this for certain now, because this is her third pregnancy with boyfriend Scott Disick.

But that's just it. Boyfriend.

It's head-scratching to me why a couple would have multiple children — all "planned" — but refuse to tie the knot. It seems to me, if you're building a family together, why not make it official? Yet keeping it unofficial is becoming the new norm.

As Brad Wilcox put it in a piece for The Wall Street Journal about the parallel mysteries of falling teen pregnancy rates but soaring single-motherhood numbers for women in the next age bracket, "If 30 is the new 20, today's unmarried 20-somethings are the new teen moms."

Naomi Riley had an excellent piece on this phenomenon last month in The Post, "Generation Screwed."

Millennials, my generation, have been given this nickname because we are getting slammed with record high tuition rates, a terrible job market, out-of-control entitlements, and so on. She writes:

"So you'd think that if research shows there is something that could be a surefire way of improving their economic lot, they would grab hold of it like a life preserver. Well, you'd be wrong.

"In fact, research has shown marriage to be responsible for the significant creation of wealth — yet millennials don't seem interested. The average age of a first marriage for men is 29 and for women it's 27.

"Many are simply not marrying at all. Almost half of children born to women under 30 are out-of-wedlock births now, according to a recent study by Child Trends, a Washington-based research group."

It is mystifying.

While it's easy enough to see how a generation thoroughly steeped in relativism might shrug off the moral arguments for marriage, it's plain bizarre the way millennials seem to be outright rejecting the evidence that marriage favors them and their progeny economically.

Riley gives a litany of data that shows the way couples who marry start to quickly pass their unmarried peers when it comes to financial stability.

This data only compliments all the data that paints a crystal with a capital "C" clear picture of how important marriage is in determining the outcomes of children.

My favorite stat? Marriage drops a child's odds of falling into poverty by 82 percent. Wind and repeat.

Eighty-two percent. Yet a recent Pew report suggests that a likely one in four millennials will never marry and that millennials are incredibly likely to say, "marriage is becoming obsolete" and rank "being a good parent" as a higher priority than "having a successful marriage."

But what millennials just don't seem to grasp is that being a good parent is having a successful marriage. It is absolutely the most important and determinant factor for children: whether or not their parents are married.

But, according to Pew, "Millennials are less likely than adults ages 30 and older to say that a child needs a home with both a father and mother to grow up happily and that single parenthood and unmarried couple parenthood are bad for society."

Kourtney and Scott don't need to worry about money, and most likely their kids won't either.

But we ordinary millennials can't afford to follow in their tracks. We owe our generation and our children a future. As Riley put it, "Looks like the Screwed Generation is raising the really screwed one."

We may feel powerless against mounting national woes like ballooning student debt. But we are fools to leave our most powerful weapon, a social bazooka, if you will, just lying there in the dust. Marriage is ours to reclaim. What's stopping us?

If it's fear that things won't work out, we can take courage in knowing we have an unprecedented amount of knowledge about what makes marriage work and what makes marriage fail.

We can marry smart. Divorce rates are falling. We don't have to make the mistakes our parents' generation made.

The only mistake we risk making is to write off marriage, or rather to devalue its power in bettering our lives emotionally and financially and to try in vain to untie it from the children we say we want to have.

From Acculturated.com


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Parks and Recreation — NYC-style

City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver has been on the job for six months now, but you'd hardly know it from his schedule. He seems to spend almost as much time away from New York as he does here.

Silver spends Fridays teaching a class on urban planning at Harvard. And he's flown to Singapore, Spain, England and South Africa, as well as North Carolina and Kentucky, to take part in conferences, give speeches and receive an honorary degree.

Meanwhile, capital projects in the city's parks lag years behind schedule, and community groups as well as City Council members complain they can't even get a sit-down with the commissioner, according to DNAInfo New York. What gives?

At a council hearing this week, Silver said both his travel and classroom schedules were set before he came on board and were cleared by the Conflicts of Interest Board. The teaching job ends this month, he said, and he expects less traveling "in the coming years."

That's all well and good, but here's the real problem: Our Parks Department is a laggard in delivering projects quickly and cheaply.

Instead of trying to rob those who make our parks work — e.g., the Central Park Conservancy — maybe the mayor ought to get himself a full-time parks commissioner.


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Mayor YouTube

You know how people say they're tired of bad news — that we should have more outlets dedicated solely to good news?

Turns out New York already has one. It's Mayor de Blasio's YouTube channel. It carries videos produced by NYC TV, a taxpayer-funded public-television channel.

In two exclusives, The Post has reported how Mayor Bill has injected himself into the station's content, ordering up, for example, a feature on an old friend famous for her "spider bite" dance.

The mayor's YouTube channel takes a different angle, focusing on how wonderful New York life is under Mayor Bill.

Now, all politicians promote themselves shamelessly. And they are only too happy to use public dollars when they can — just look at all those ads for Gov. Cuomo's START-UP NY program.

Even so, de Blasio's YouTube channel features more than 250 videos — which works out to nearly one new one each day. Friday, for example, the "City Scoop" video noted how Super Bill was single-handedly propping up . . . er, reforming . . . 94 failing public schools.

Another features a story about how a family hit by Sandy will be back in their home by Christmas — thanks to Mayor Bill. And so on.

Maybe there's a case for what are essentially campaign commercials. But so long as taxpayers are picking up the tab, maybe these videos should carry the proper public warning: "Any resemblance to real persons or real events is purely coincidental."


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Enemy of our enemy

Does America's common interest with Iran in defeating ISIS outweigh the considerable risks of signing a nuclear deal with Tehran filled with dangerous concessions? President Obama clearly believes the answer is yes. We have our doubts.

These doubts only grow stronger when we see what seems to be the real purpose of the secret letter President Obama sent to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: an even more dubious nuclear accord Secretary of State John Kerry is desperate to reach by the Nov. 24 deadline.

No doubt that's why Washington reportedly is offering significant sweeteners — like raising the number of centrifuges for enriching uranium Iran will be allowed to operate from 4,000 to 6,000. At the beginning of the year, the administration was demanding a ceiling of just 500 centrifuges.

Never mind that all this comes even as Iran continues to demonstrate its untrustworthiness by defying its international inspections obligations. Point is, looking to Iran for cooperation on ISIS is a dubious proposition. And the one thing that unites Israel with our Sunni Arab partners is this: There is perhaps no graver threat to the Middle East than a nuclear-armed Iran.

If President Obama and Secretary Kerry really want to change history with Iran, maybe they should take their lead from Ronald Reagan at the 1986 Reykjavik Summit: When Mikhail Gorbachev demanded too much, the Gipper walked away.


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More
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