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Vain search for meaning
in massacre

Orange County Register [CA], by Mark Steyn

Original Article

Posted By:supersid, 12/21/2012 4:51:57 PM

"Lullay, Thou little tiny Child By by, lully, lullay..." The 16th-century Coventry Carol, a mother´s lament for her lost son, is the only song of the season about the other children of Christmas – the first-born of Bethlehem, slaughtered on Herod´s orders after the Magi brought him the not-so-glad tidings that an infant of that city would grow up to be King of the Jews. As Matthew tells it, even in a story of miraculous birth, in the midst of life is death. The Massacre of the Innocents loomed large over the Christian imagination: in Rubens´ two renderings,


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Reply 1 - Posted by: earlybird, 12/21/2012 5:01:17 PM     (No. 9078406)

Excellent. The essay, not Mr. Steyn´s subject.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: pearlyjo, 12/21/2012 5:08:27 PM     (No. 9078415)

Thank you for posting.
It seems we are searching for meaning in many events these days. Why did this happen, why did that? What could we have done better? If only we had one this, if only they had done that.
We need some peaceful reflection.
Be still America, the answers are there.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: Susannah, 12/21/2012 5:16:12 PM     (No. 9078424)

This should be a Must Read. Nobody goes to the heart of the matter like Steyn.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: thelmalou, 12/21/2012 5:27:46 PM     (No. 9078440)

Mr. Steyn is a treasure. Thank you, sir, and Merry Christmas.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: butch, 12/21/2012 5:32:22 PM     (No. 9078446)

Outstanding - even for a consistent standout such as Mr. Steyn.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: leopardtwo, 12/21/2012 5:32:44 PM     (No. 9078447)

Read every word! America is in big trouble.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: razorx22, 12/21/2012 5:48:31 PM     (No. 9078465)

Thank you Mr. Steyn.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: Grant Hodges, 12/21/2012 7:22:12 PM     (No. 9078563)

Makes you proud that Steyn chooses to live here with us in America. There is hope as long as there is truth.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: secondtimelucky, 12/21/2012 7:29:28 PM     (No. 9078578)

what can I say. Even when bleak, Steyn is excellent...

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Reply 10 - Posted by: Canesplitter, 12/21/2012 7:37:10 PM     (No. 9078586)

Steyn usually gives a good wry account of things. Not this time. Why do I think all that is good is in retreat? O come Emmanuel.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: ramona, 12/21/2012 8:12:09 PM     (No. 9078618)

If Mark Steyn is reading this, or if a friend of his is here, I want to say thank you for this beautiful Christmas gift. Thank you for putting this most awful tragedy into historical - and biblical - perspective. I hope staff will allow this to be reposted tomorrow so more of our friends can read it. Blessings to you and your family, Mark.
Ramona (the Pest)

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Reply 12 - Posted by: Raristotle, 12/21/2012 10:16:53 PM     (No. 9078720)

Excellent essay, as usual.

However, because the search for meaning will be in vain, that doesn´t mean that meaning in this tragedy doesn´t exist. On the contrary--it exists, but it´s beyond our current comprehension.

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Reply 13 - Posted by: LAW428, 12/22/2012 8:12:45 AM     (No. 9079057)

Professing ourselves to be wise we´ve become fools by leaving God out of our paralytic analyses. We don´t want to be confused by the facts because our minds are made up in advance.

Our political leaders think of themselves as the summum bonum of existence; that they can manufacture a Utopia where all is right with the world because they are, in their minds, a sort of finite, self-proclaimed, oxymoronic, deity.

God stands outside all of our pathetic musings and says, "Where were you when I laid the earth´s foundation?...Where were you when I hung the stars in space and gave them their names?"

Evil exists in the world and we ignore it at our peril. There is a God and we are not Him! We also ignore Him at our peril. Our Founders knew the truth and acknowledged God in everything they did. We make a mess of things because we don´t.

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Reply 14 - Posted by: Bad Dog, 12/22/2012 9:02:49 AM     (No. 9079139)

We actively chase God out of our daily and public lives, and pressure mounts for more dismissal of Him, then when something happens, in a school, a theater, a shopping mall.... we wonder, Why did God let this happen?

Darkness pervades, and is in fact invited in. And we are idiotic enough to blame God?

The meaning in this tragic massacre in Newtown, or anywhere else, is that there is no meaning - in anything, without the protection and embracing of the Father who loves us and desires to keep us.

The more ´educated´ we become, the stupider we get.

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Reply 15 - Posted by: Rusino, 12/22/2012 9:12:38 AM     (No. 9079163)

C.SLewis would have been proud to have written this article. mark Styen is exceptional!

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Reply 16 - Posted by: FLCracker, 12/22/2012 9:16:07 AM     (No. 9079169)

I´ve been waiting for one of the major commentators to see the parallel between the two Massacres of the Innocents.

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Reply 17 - Posted by: FLCracker, 12/22/2012 9:21:59 AM     (No. 9079179)

Oh, I just found this:


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Reply 18 - Posted by: Flyball dogs, 12/22/2012 9:39:50 AM     (No. 9079210)

Mark formulates my thoughts better than anyone else. Merry Christmas Ldotters and staff, and Come. O come, Emmanuel.

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Reply 19 - Posted by: M2, 12/22/2012 10:01:37 AM     (No. 9079240)

Steyn is nothing short of, well, the best of his kind, which is a class of its own. He´s it.

....the media´s stampede for meaning in massacre this past week overlooks the obvious: that the central meaning of these acts is that they are without meaning... the infanticidal maniac of Sandy Hook was merely conscripting grade-school extras for a hollow act of public suicide. Like most mass shootings, his was an exercise in hyper-narcissism – 19th century technology in the service of a very contemporary sensibility.

Awesome writing, just stellar.

Re: the article itself, there is this perhaps little-noticed comment:

As it is, in American schools, mental-health referral for "oppositional defiance disorder" and the like is a bureaucratic coding racket designed to access federal gravy.

When did bad behavior become "oppositional defiance disorder"? It´s not a disorder, it´s plain old rotten behavior. There is a commercial on the radio that turns my stomach: a "behavioral therapist" is selling a sure cure for defiant, disrespectful, rotten behavior and says something like "I´ll never forget the day my son told me he hated me and slammed the door in my face." (What kid doesn´t do that at some point?)

She goes on to say that it takes more than the parents to discipline the child -- it requires her program, the name of which escapes me for the moment.

My only thoughts listening to this junk were "when did the responsibility of parents to discipline their kids fall to outside sources? And why is she such a wuss about her own kid?"

Steyn´s comment, above, reminds us that we have lost control of our children because we have lost our "moorings", our guard rails, that only come through strong family values, most often found in religious thought.

Steyn hits it dead solid perfect.

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Reply 20 - Posted by: cgood, 12/22/2012 10:24:33 AM     (No. 9079280)

Mark Steyn is consistently top notch. He also touches on something that has really bothered me. It is ghoulish and more than a little scary to watch how people have personalized this tragedy. Yes, it is unthinkable that these babies were killed, deliberately and violently. Only a monster could avoid feeling great empathy for the parents of the murdered children. But responding with empathy and prayer is one thing. Driving miles and miles to a shattered community where you know no one to light candles, place flowers and teddy bears, and attend funerals, joining the family and friends in their mourning, is quite another. More disturbing proof that common sense and common courtesy are disappearing in our society.

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Reply 21 - Posted by: Susieq1, 12/22/2012 10:36:25 AM     (No. 9079307)

I love Mark Steyn!

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Reply 22 - Posted by: HisHandmaiden, 12/22/2012 10:40:25 AM     (No. 9079315)

We are so blessed to have Mark Steyn as an LDot "regular" here ... Thank you, Mark, OP, and what a thoughtful thread too...

The breakdown of the family has broken God´s heart too... He will woo us to Him through His Spirit... but we must first recognize our need for Him with broken, tender hearts... He will never force us to love Him ... but He does tell us that He is "not willing that any should perish!"

America has broken hearts because of this tragedy ... may we look to the Savior for our Blessed Hope... as we remember .... His Son purposely came to die for us.

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Reply 23 - Posted by: Butch59, 12/22/2012 10:50:42 AM     (No. 9079341)

In today´s modern world, it is nearly impossible for a parent to discipline a child. Nowadays, children are taught that they have "rights" and to be spanked by a parent is cause to file criminal charges against said parent. And that is just the beginning. So much of the educational system is trying to separate children from their parents in order to indoctrinate them into some sort of socialist world. We have removed God and his Commandments from our country, we have decided that "can tell me what to do", is it any wonder that things like Newton happen?

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Reply 24 - Posted by: RancherJack, 12/22/2012 10:51:38 AM     (No. 9079346)

Vanity, says the devil. My favorite sin ....

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Reply 25 - Posted by: trapper, 12/22/2012 10:53:14 AM     (No. 9079354)

"Fear not then," said the Angel,
"Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan´s power and might."

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Reply 26 - Posted by: mombogogo, 12/22/2012 11:00:54 AM     (No. 9079370)

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Reply 27 - Posted by: mombogogo, 12/22/2012 11:01:49 AM     (No. 9079373)

Steyn speaketh the truth.

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Reply 28 - Posted by: planetgeo, 12/22/2012 11:15:58 AM     (No. 9079402)

In point of fact, Steyn has found meaning in this massacre..."conscripting grade-school extras for a hollow act of public suicide." That succinctly identifies the causative factor of such massacres, namely, the desire of mentally unbalanced people to commit suicide in a flamboyant and violent manner that attracts (at last) attention to their otherwise hidden and pathetic former lives.

Such people are walking time bombs, ready to be detonated for an infinite variety of reasons (none of which can be predicted at a particular moment in time). And they do not depend on any particular weapon to effect their detonation...guns, knives, poison gases, explosives, fire bombs...it doesn´t mean anything to them what instrument they choose, but only that it allows them to kill many others in the same final act.

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Reply 29 - Posted by: Di Guy, 12/22/2012 12:23:32 PM     (No. 9079504)

Steyn is absolutely brilliant.

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Reply 30 - Posted by: little guy, 12/22/2012 12:41:31 PM     (No. 9079528)

How I wish I could write like that and turn a phase as well as Mark does! It´s hard to catch some of it on the first bounce but between the lines Mr. Steyn is stating that we are all to blame for letting society deteriorate in front of our very eyes.

Has it escaped everyone that these types of shootings & mass murders have taken place only within the last 40 years .. and not before? Guns were just as readily available in pre-1970 then they are now, more so in fact, yet no one went into a school and shot it up. When I was a kid in the 1950´s it was perfectly legal to buy almost any gun, anytime. Just the old Al Capone Tommy gun was banned. And no doubt there were just as many crazy people.

Obviously, "gun control" is not the answer. It must be something else.

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Reply 31 - Posted by: jj1319, 12/22/2012 1:25:40 PM     (No. 9079592)

FTA: " But, in a society with ever fewer behavioral norms, who´s to say what´s odd?"

Looking out the airplane window noticing the 2 engines are engulfed in flames, turning to your neighbor and saying "That´s odd."

It is, but it´s a whole lot more than odd. Wonderful understatement.

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Reply 32 - Posted by: DoktorFranken, 12/22/2012 1:44:32 PM     (No. 9079617)

Odd that a man, born Canadian, becomes (without a doubt) the most compelling word smith in all of America. There are many others - Bill Whittle, Victor Davis Hanson, Clarice Feldman, Thomas Sowell, et al - that move the spirit and enlighten the mind. But, none so much as Mark.

Thank you, Mark & Lucianne (and OP), for making this available to a large audience just in time to give us hope. As a parent, I am deeply moved.

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Reply 33 - Posted by: suncitypro, 12/22/2012 1:45:20 PM     (No. 9079618)

Mark Steyn has to be in the top 5 of BHO´s hate list.
His analysis of situations just show the absurdity of practically everything that comes from ´the won.´
He did it again in this "To the heart of the matter" piece.
Thanks, Mark.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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Reply 34 - Posted by: AutumnJoy, 12/22/2012 2:35:01 PM     (No. 9079669)

I love Mark Steyn. Currently reading "After America".

The Christmas song that I find most interesting is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (If that is the proper name). It was written during WWII, when obviously many families would not be fully together at Christmas.

Originally, part of it went:

"Someday soon we all will be together, if the fates allow...

Until then we´ll have to muddle through somehow..."

That, I guess, became a too depressing thought after the War ended. Now if you hear the song, there is no "muddling through somehow." It was replaced with "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough."

I prefer the original. (Including the part about having a Merry "LITTLE" Christmas).

Merry Little Christmas to all of you!

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Reply 35 - Posted by: ebuilder, 12/22/2012 2:36:45 PM     (No. 9079671)

Deep. Seaching. Truthful. Respectful of the wounded parents. He concludes the act is meaningless, lacking explanation, insane. But society is also "transforming" and becoming more aberrant. Consider John Roberts´ decision re Obamacare. It is infamous for being wrongheaded. Perhaps it is so obviously flawed it might be said to be a "goof" on society. A prank. A middle finger. Yet this respectable upper class man set himself to be the single cause of great suffering as Obamacare loads us all with unwanted debt, and steals freedom away from generations of people not yet born. is it OK to even consider whether Roberts did a meaningless work of evil? Did he act against his knowledge of precedence and truth and the constitution? Ponder if you can the great loss of innocence as millions, coursened by bankruptcy, make their compromises to get along. Consider also if "someday" we had a national leader who is a living suicide, like one of these mass murderers who always ends by taking his own life. Ponder if you can the great act of evil that motivates someone who would destroy civilization in the name of transformation and fairness.

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Reply 36 - Posted by: jlw509, 12/22/2012 3:02:21 PM     (No. 9079685)

"Lullay thou little tiny child..."

Think also about the gold, frankincense, and myrrh given by the Magi to Christ: gold because He was a King; frankincense because He was the Son of God; Myrrh (an embalming spice) because He was born to die.

The Bible is called the Good Book: but if it were the Nothing-But-Good Book it would be the size of a pamphlet. It´s accurate. It´s truthful. Much of it is hell-bent.
It´s The Way We Really Are.

That´s why Jesus, the Eternally Blessed Son of God, is the only one who could conquer sin and death. And He does. That´s why the Good News is so good.

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Reply 37 - Posted by: JoElla Bee, 12/22/2012 3:12:23 PM     (No. 9079701)

Mark Steyn never disappoints. He is the whole package - the real deal.
When I listen to him, or read his work, I´m always glad that I did.

He has a wonderful talent that is made all the better by the genuine thoughtfulness, intelligence, integrity, decency, common sense, good-humor, character, and just the plain old likeableness of the personality of the man.

Merry Christmas to Mark Steyn and his family, and to Miss Lucianne, L.com staff, and all Ldotters.

God bless each of you, and yours.

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Reply 38 - Posted by: jorgecito, 12/22/2012 4:36:46 PM     (No. 9079783)

"Once upon a time, [strangers] from distant states descending on a Connecticut town to attend multiple funerals of children they don´t know might have struck some of us as, at best, unseemly and, at worst, deeply creepy...

I´m glad Steyn commented on this phenomenon. It is creepy, indeed.

A phrase was coined to describe persons exhibiting this behavior: "Trauma tourists."

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Reply 39 - Posted by: MissBlue, 12/22/2012 9:16:44 PM     (No. 9079977)

#29, you turn a good phrase yourself, writing from a cool intellect that understands. Thank you.

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Reply 40 - Posted by: lana720, 12/22/2012 10:59:03 PM     (No. 9080058)

Powerful, searing and sad. But, that is the human condition.
Thank you, Mark for a beautiful article that I wish never had to be written.
God bless you and have a thoughtful and meaningful Christmas. Just remember why we celebrate it.

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New York Magazine, by Jonathan Chait    Original Article
Posted By: Desert Fox- 3/8/2014 10:11:22 AM     Post Reply
One of the most seismic changes in American politics over the last decade has been the emergence of a sharp generational split among the electorate. The Democratic Party owes its success in the last two presidential elections almost entirely to overwhelming support among the very young, which has overcome continued conservatism among older voters. The Pew Research Institute has dominated the field of exploring the ideological cleavages among different generations. And its latest survey shows again how the liberalism of the youngest voting cohort, millennials, remains firm, and likely to continue to recast the electorate. A few charts from the survey

You betcha? Sarah Palin says she´ll run
for president if Republicans don´t find a
candidate ´who can so respect our*

31 replie(s)
Daily Mail [UK], by David Martosko    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 3/8/2014 1:43:18 PM     Post Reply
Sarah Palin, the tea-party-darling former Alaska governor who ran for vice president in 2008, is leaving the door open for a president run in 2016. ´It depends on what it is that Americans really, really want in a candidate,´ Palin said Friday night. ´If they want a fighter, if they want someone who can so respect our exceptionalism, everything that makes America great, the promise of America. And if we don´t find that, then I would run.´ [Snip] Asked who her favorite presidential hopefuls are so far, she singled out Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul while

The Marriage of Obama´s Parents:
´In Name Only´?

30 replie(s)
American Thinker, by Shawn Glasco    Original Article
Posted By: magnante- 3/8/2014 9:08:19 AM     Post Reply
Barack Obama´s parents were "married in name only," according to David Maraniss´s 2012 Barack Obama: The Story. But since definitions of an "in name only" marriage vary, such as "a marriage of convenience" or "a sexless marriage," and Maraniss failed to explain his claim, it is unclear what he was implying. Therefore, Obama´s oft-told nativity story must be searched for the full implications of Obama´s parents´ "in name only" marriage. (snip) So when did Ann´s and Obama Sr.´s "whatever happened happened fast" wedding happen? For no apparent reason, confusion abounds among Obama´s biographers over the wedding date:

Obama urges Putin to
withdraw troops from Crimea

28 replie(s)
Telegraph [UK], by Raf Sanchez, David Millward    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 3/7/2014 6:54:25 AM     Post Reply
The White House said the US president told his Russian counterpart that Russia’s actions were a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. During the hour-long phone call, President Obama urged Russian forces to return to their bases. The White House said it hoped the crisis could be settled diplomatically and urged the Russian and Ukrainian governments to hold direct talks in an effort to find a settlement. The President called for an agreement which would protect the interests of both Ukrainians and ethnic Russians living in Ukraine. This was the second phone call between the two leaders in a

EXCLUSIVE: ´Spoiled´ cheerleader suing
her parents got so drunk on vodka at home
of millionaire attorney paying her fees that
she ´threw up in a sidewalk garbage can´

28 replie(s)
Daily Mail [UK], by Will Payne    Original Article
Posted By: earlybird- 3/7/2014 11:04:36 AM     Post Reply
The millionaire attorney funding a ‘spoiled’ cheerleader’s lawsuit against her own parents let the teenager drink in his house, threw ‘alcoholic parties’ and apparently allowed her to have her first drop of booze, according to court documents. When Rachel Canning was a 15-year-old freshman she got so drunk on vodka at Jon Inglesino’s home that she was sick all over the sidewalk and into a garbage can after her dad Sean picked her up for a basketball game. And according to the Canning family, Inglesino’s wife Amy gave Rachel and her friends wine coolers in the back of a limo

´What´s the chance of two ex-Navy SEALs
turning up dead in the same room?´
Family and friends demand U.S. investigation
into mystery ´hookers and heroin´ deaths
on ship made famous by Captain Philips

28 replie(s)
Daily Mail [UK], by Paul Thompson    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 3/7/2014 9:41:30 PM     Post Reply
Disbelieving family and friends of an ex-Navy SEAL who died of an apparent drugs overdose on the ship made famous in the movie Captain Phillips are convinced of a ´cover-up´ and have called for a US investigation into his death, MailOnline can reveal today. The body of Mark Kennedy, a super fit, highly-decorated member of the elite fighting force, was found inside a cabin on the cargo ship Maersk Alabama - the vessel involved in a 2009 hijacking that ended with Somali pirates shot dead by SEALs. Another former SEAL, Jeffrey Reynolds, was found alongside him, also dead from a suspected drug

Iranian student burns himself to death
with Molotov cocktails he had stockpiled
inside his room at Georgia Tech University

27 replie(s)
Daily Mail [UK], by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 3/7/2014 5:36:35 AM     Post Reply
A Georgia Tech graduate student who set himself on fire while apparently experimenting with bomb-making elements in his apartment last month has died, officials confirmed Thursday. Saamer Akhshabi, an Iranian national, had burns on more than 90 percent of his body following the February 4 explosion in his apartment near the university, where Akhshabi was studying in the College of Computing. [Snip] ´The FBI has relayed that, to date, they have not developed any information or evidence indicating criminal intent in this investigation.´ Law enforcement officials determined that Akhshabi wasn´t a threat to the Georgia Tech community, but it remains

Bill de Blasio suffering
Hollande-like slide in approval

27 replie(s)
American Interest, by Walter Russell Mead & Staff    Original Article
Posted By: Hazymac- 3/8/2014 2:12:58 PM     Post Reply
New York City lefty Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected in a landslide with more than 73 percent of the vote last November. Yet after only two months on the job, his approval rating has been cut nearly in half, with only 39 percent of city voters expressing approval of the job he has done so far. (Snip) But this is a brutal start. For a worst-case scenario, consider the rapid slide of President François Hollande—another far-left candidate who swept into office in a landslide. He saw his approval rating crater within months of taking office; it now sits at

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