Islamic State militants are reportedly demanding $6.6 million and the release of a U.S. prisoner before they will free a third American hostage held by the group, an unidentified 26-year-old woman.
We ought to make two piles of ammunition and publish pictures of them. One would be a photo of $6.6 million worth of the kinds of ammo they would use to commit further atrocities if they were paid. The other would be a photo of $6.6 million worth of the bombs we could drop on them. I vote for the second pile.
Thomas Sowell echoes my sentiments that riots get out of hand when police act like bystanders, not when they dress like soldiers:
According to the prevailing vision, ghetto riots are due to racial injustices -- and the way to deal with them is to make concessions in words and deeds, while severely restricting the use of force by the police.
Factual evidence cannot make a dent in that vision.
But, for those who are still so old-fashioned as to rely on facts, here are a few: Back in the 1960s when ghetto riots broke out in cities across the country, the region with the fewest riots was the South, where racial discrimination was greatest and police forces least likely to show restraint.
In Detroit, with a liberal mayor in the city and a liberal governor in the state, where the police were warned against shooting during the 1967 riots, there was the largest death toll of any city during any riot during that whole decade -- 43 people dead, 33 of them black.
Both the New York Times and the Washington Post expressed astonishment that such a riot could occur in a city with such liberal policies. But neither of them changed its vision in response to facts which contradicted that vision.
In Chicago, there were three nights of rioting on the westside in 1966. These riots were brought to a halt with what a Chicago correspondent for the Los Angeles Times called an almost “miraculous” low death rate of two. Yet that same reporter called the use of both troops and police a “serious over-reaction.”
Any force sufficient to prevent riots from getting out of hand is almost certain to be characterized as “excessive force” or “over-reaction” by people with zero experience trying to stop riots.
During a later and larger riot in Chicago, Mayor Richard J. Daley went on television to inform all and sundry that he had given orders to his police to “shoot to kill” arsonists -- provoking outraged denunciations across the country.
The number of people actually killed during that riot was less than a third of the number killed in kinder and gentler Detroit the following year, even though Chicago had a larger population.
Do you prefer that fewer people get killed or that kinder and gentler rhetoric and tactics be used?
From Canada, some fodder for the Common Core debate:
In a finding sure to inflame the math wars, a team of neuroscientists has revealed the crucial role played by rote memorization in the growing brains of young math students.
Memorizing the answers to simple math problems, such as basic addition or the multiplication tables, marks a key shift in a child’s cognitive development, because it helps bridge the gap from counting on fingers to complex calculation, according to the new brain scanning research.
The progression from counting on fingers to simply remembering that, for example, six plus three equals nine, parallels physical changes in a child’s brain, in which the hippocampus, a key brain structure for memory, gradually takes over from the pre-frontal parietal cortex, an area of higher order reasoning.
One critic of the government’s adoption of “discovery-based learning,” Ken Porteous, a retired engineering professor, put it bluntly: “There is nothing to discover. The tried and true methods of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division work just fine as they have for centuries. There is no benefit and in fact a huge downside to students being asked to discover other methods of performing these operations and picking the one which they like. This just leads to confusion which ultimately translates into frustration, a strong dislike for mathematics and a desire to drop out of any form of mathematics course at the earliest opportunity.”
Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.
There are now more than twice as many British Muslims fighting for Islamic State than there are serving in the British armed forces, according to a British Member of Parliament (MP). Khalid Mahmood, the MP for Perry Barr in Birmingham, estimates that at least 1,500 young British Muslims have been recruited by extremists fighting in Iraq and Syria in the last three years.
Mahmood told Newsweek that this figure had been building since the start of the Syrian conflict: “If you look across the whole of the country, and the various communities involved, 500 going over each year would be a conservative estimate.”
According to the Ministry of Defence, there are only around 600 British Muslims currently serving in the Armed Forces, making up approximately around 0.4% of total personnel. 4.3% of the British population are Muslim.
The number of British Muslims on the dole was not reported, but is estimated to be over 4 million.
Our barbaric jihadist enemies – the ones President Obama repeatedly assured us he had “decimated” and put on “the path to defeat” – are now stronger than ever. Not stronger than they have been in years, or decades – stronger than ever. They have seized a country-size swath of territory (and growing). They have just beheaded an American journalist – which is the sort of thing they do as a matter of routine but has obviously, and finally, gotten our attention.
Not to worry, though: The Obama Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation. I’m sure ISIS is quaking.
The Obama administration has spent six years miniaturizing the global jihad as a series of non-ideological, unconnected groups of “violent extremists,” pursuing parochial political objectives through acts of “workplace violence.” The enemy kills our ambassador to Libya, a palpable act of war, and the administration pretends it’s about a video. The enemy decapitates an American because he’s an American, and the administration announces the opening of a criminal investigation. The enemy bombs and beheads, we subpoena and indict.