Monthly Archive: November 2015

Amber Rolfzen Wins Third B1G Defensive Award

Nebraska junior middle blocker Amber Rolfzen earned her third Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Award this season on Monday, the conference office announced. Rolfzen helped the Huskers to sweeps of No.

18 Illinois and No.

7 Penn State last week with 15 total blocks (2.50 per set), including eight against Penn State. Rolfzen also totaled 17 kills with no errors for a .567 hitting percentage in the two matches.

The Papillion, Neb., native finished the regular season with a Big Ten-best 1.59 blocks per set in conference play.

For the season, she was first in blocks (1.57 per set) and fourth in hitting percentage (.372).

Rolfzen ranks fifth nationally in blocks per set and holds the highest block average by a Husker since Melissa Elmer in 2005 (2.17).

ボクの事件簿: Beast in the Shadows – Ho-Ling

A mask I wore as I approached, I was what I am not. And though the pattern was unclear, its meaning could be bought… I can’t say that the cover is really attractive…

In Sins of the Fathers 1 , author and bookshop owner Gabriel Knight learned about his heritage as the last in the line of Ritters and his destiny as a Schattenj ger, a shadow hunter who fights supernatural evil. After his first adventure, Gabriel moved to his ancestral home in Germany: Schloss Ritter, a castle overseeing the town of Rittersberg. A year later, a series of brutal murders around Munchen bring him out of the castle.

While the news and police seem to think the murders are the work of a pair of escaped wolves, one witness to the murder of her daughter says it was a werewolf , which means that is work for the new Schattenj ger, even if Gabriel still hasn’t gotten the hang of his new job as supernatural hunter yet. Several clues eventually lead Gabriel to an exclusive men’s club, which seems to hold the key to the case. Meanwhile, Gabriel’s shop owner Grace Nakimura (the Japanologist in me wants to correct the name to Nakamura!) has flown over from the US and is helping Gabriel out with historical research on werewolves, which has a surprising link with Ludwig II of Bavaria 2 .

The connection between the ‘mad king’ and the current murders is the main mystery of Jane Jensen’s The Beast Within (1998). The Gabriel Knight series is a beloved horror-mystery adventure game series that started out on the PC. The first game, Sins of the Fathers , was a wonderful mystery story with a Voodoo background and some supernatural elements.

The novelization, which was released four year later and penned by the designer of the game herself, was a bit too close to the source material, I remarked two weeks ago 3 . While the base story was still based on an excellent mix between fiction and history, the inclusion of pretty much all of the in-game puzzles in the narrative made Sins of the Fathers feel like a glorified walkthrough at times. The sequel to the first game was released in 1995 with the title The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery .

As shown above, it sported a completely different graphic style (real-life actors and full motion video instead of animated sprites) and has been met with varying opinions, mostly regarding the acting and the interactive elements of the game. Personally, I quite enjoyed the game (the first Gabriel Knight game I played actually) and the story in particular I find very memorable. This second game was also novelized by Jane Jensen in 1998, released under the same title.

The Gabriel Knight 4 series has always featured supernatural elements in its universe: the concept of Schattenj ger is not just a title and you can be assured that at the end of the mystery, Gabriel isn’t going to pull a werewolf mask of someone’s face who grumbles he would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for Gabriel’s meddling. Yet the stories are also genuine mysteries and I absolutely love the story of The Beast Within . Gabriel’s werewolf hunting starts with some ‘normal’ sleuthing, like you see in any detective story and there’s nothing supernatural or unfair about that.

But the story starts for great heights when Grace appears on the scene and attempts to find out more about werewolves and their link to Ludwig II. Sins of the Fathers 5 was a good example of mixing good historical research with fiction, but The Beast Within surpasses even that story in that aspect. Gabriel and Grace’s storylines slowly work towards an intersection, as they hunt for the werewolf in both present and past and the conclusion is a great spectacle.

This is a great example of how to use historical research to present an entertaining mystery story. I wrote a bit about literary detection in my review of Helen McCloy’s Two-Thirds of a Ghost 6 . Grace’s storyline in particular is a great example of that.

In the original game, this meant you had to listen for a long time to passages of documents being read by the actress, but reading the many documents on werewolves and Ludwig II yourself as a part of the narrative is much natural in the novel. It made me appreciate more how this was set-up, as many crucial clues are spread across the documents you read over the course of the story and work great a both hints and foreshadowing. Also, it’s more streamlined than in the game, so no more hours of wandering in Schloss Neuschwanstein 7 !

My biggest complaint about the novelization of Sins of the Fathers 8 was that it was too faithful to the original game it was based on. All of the puzzles made its way in the narrative, which was unnatural. This is luckily resolved in the novelization of The Beast Within .

This is partly because the original game featured fewer puzzles anyway. The game was filmed with real life actors and puzzles would just mean more filming. Instead, an emphasis was placed on literary detection , which as I pointed out above, works great for a novelization .

But Jane Jensen was also wise enough to not include all of the few puzzles that do appear in the game. People who have played the original game may for example be relieved to hear that Gabriel doesn’t buy a Cookoo clock to serve as the worst distraction ruse ever in the novel. All in all, the novelization of The Beast Within is a great supernatural mystery with good historical resarch gone into it.

It is also much more enjoyable as a book than Sins of the Fathers 9 and feels much less like a novelization of a videogame (if at all). It is true that the original story was much more suited for novelization than Sins of the Fathers though. Anyway, a great substitute for those who don’t want to play the game for whatever reason (too old, not into games), but still interested in its themes.

References ^ Sins of the Fathers ( ^ Ludwig II of Bavaria ( ^ I remarked two weeks ago ( ^ Gabriel Knight ( ^ Sins of the Fathers ( ^ Two-Thirds of a Ghost ( ^ Schloss Neuschwanstein ( ^ Sins of the Fathers ( ^ Sins of the Fathers (

Blame the Refugee Crisis and Terrorism on Empire and Intervention

| Print | E-mail 1 2 Monday, 30 November 2015 14:33 W henever statist polices produce crises, libertarians are inevitably asked what the libertarian position is to resolve the crises. Two recent examples involve the refugee crisis in Europe and the terrorist crisis in Paris. How would you libertarians deal with these two crises?

People ask us. Libertarianism, however, is not a philosophy that purports to fix the problems that arise from statism. Instead, it is simply a philosophy of individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

In other words, we libertarians tell people: If you want a society of freedom, prosperity, and harmony, here is what you need to achieve it. Oftentimes, that just isn t satisfactory to people. They want answers now to the crises that are staring them in the face.

They want to know what libertarians propose to resolve the refugee crisis in Europe and the terrorist crisis in Paris. Okay, here are some libertarian proposals for resolving these two crises. At the end of the Cold War in 1989, dismantle the national-security establishment and end all U.S.

interventionism around the world. Don t intervene in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, which will end up killing tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens. Don t bomb the water-and-sewage treatment plants in Iraq because that will only end up causing people to get sick and to die from infectious illnesses.

Don t impose sanctions on Iraq, which will end up killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. Don t station U.S. troops near Islamic holy lands.

Don t impose no-fly zones over Iraq. Terminate all foreign aid to Israel, Egypt, and all other Middle East regimes. If the United States had adopted those libertarian positions, there never would have been a 9/11 crisis in the United States, which means that there wouldn t have been invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, which means there wouldn t be an ISIS.

Keep in mind, after all, that when the terrorists struck on 9/11, they were retaliating against the United States for the death and destruction that the U.S. government had been wreaking on the Middle East since the end of the Cold War. That s something that many people just don t want to face.

For them, confronting, questioning, and challenging the legitimacy of federal governmental policies, especially those of the Pentagon and the CIA, is akin to heresy. You hate America, they say whenever we libertarians question U.S. foreign policy, as if the national-security establishment and the country were one and the same thing.

Throughout the time that we libertarians were recommending those policies, the statists cried, Don t listen to those libertarians. They don t know what they re talking about. Empire and interventionism are the keys to America s future.

As the world s sole remaining empire, we can remake the Middle East into a paradise of democracy and freedom. We ll do our job. You just keep thanking the troops.

Once it was clear that the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan had failed miserably in bringing a paradise of freedom, prosperity, and harmony, we libertarians made the following proposal: Bring all the troops home, discharge them. End all foreign interventionism and foreign aid. Dismantle the Cold War-era national-security establishment.

Once again, however, the statists cried, Don t listen to those libertarians. Even though Iraq and Afghanistan have turned out to be disasters and horror stories, let s not give up now. Otherwise, the troops will have died and killed in vain.

And national honor and credibility are at stake. Let s double down with interventions in Libya, Yemen, and Syria. And by all means, let s continue providing armaments both to the Israeli government and to the military dictatorship in Egypt.

The result? Mass chaos and crisis, just like in Iraq and Afghanistan and just as we libertarians said would happen. The most amazing part of all this is how people just will not permit themselves to confront the root cause of all this horror.

Look at any mainstream newspaper in the land. They devote several pages to the refugees who are fleeing the Middle East in a desperate attempt to save their lives and the lives of their families. They talk about the reaction to the refugee crisis, among both Europeans and Americans.

The big question of the day, insofar as Americans are concerned, is whether to admit refugees from Syria, a country that is mired in crisis, in large part because of the U.S. government s interventionist determination to effect regime change there. But hardly anyone focuses on the root cause of these crises: The U.S.

government, as well as the French government, both of which have been bombing Syria to smithereens for months, killing countless people in the process. Many Americans are railing against the idea of admitting any Syrian refugees into the United States owing to the possibility that a terrorist might sneak into the country posing as a refugee. But not a peep of protest against the U.S.

government for putting the refugees and well as the American people into this spot. There are no demands to stop bombing Syria, to stop assassinating people in Yemen, to stop supporting brutal dictators in the region. It s as if such Americans just assume that the U.S.

government has the right to kill people over there and that it s the job of the citizenry to just keep thanking the troops for their service and for keeping us safe and secure by killing ever-increasing numbers of people over there. The reaction among the French citizenry is no different. There is obviously tremendous anger and outrage against the Islamic State for killing innocent people.

But what I find fascinating is that there is no anger or outrage against the French government for producing the conditions that motivated the terrorists to retaliate against the French citizenry. Like many Americans, the French seem to view their national government as a deity, one that can do no wrong. Just support the troops and don t ask any uncomfortable questions regarding French foreign policy.

Don t ask what motivates people to be so filled with rage as to commit suicide in the hopes of killing large numbers of innocent people. Or, even worse, just blame it on their religion or their so-called hatred for America s or France s freedom and values. Let s not forget, after all, that this isn t a chicken and egg problem.

The French government, like the U.S. government, started the killing of people over there, which was followed by the retaliatory terrorist attacks on 9/11 here in the United States and recently in Paris. That point was made by Ron Paul seven years ago, when he quite correctly pointed out in that famous Republican presidential debate: They came over here to kill us because we (i.e., the U.S.

government) went over there and killed them. It is quite possible to be angry and outraged over both matters to be angry and outraged over the terrorist attacks and also the government policies that then motivated people to engage in the terrorist attacks. But that has not been the mindset of most French people, just as it wasn t the mindset of most Americans after 9/11.

Instead, the standard mindset, which is nurtured and encouraged by the mainstream press, is: We now have to retaliate for these terrorist attacks. We need to double the number of bombs we were dropping before the terrorists struck. But that s precisely what the U.S.

government did after the 9/11 attacks. It doubled down by doing more killing much more killing in fact than it was doing before the attacks. Wouldn t you think that the French would at least ask U.S.

officials: How is that working out for you? They would learn that ever since 9/11, the U.S. government has been the greatest terrorist producing machine in history.

Every time they kill one person, five more join the opposing forces, ready to retaliate by killing innocent human beings with a suicide bomb. When does it all stop? It all stops when people finally stop responding to the Siren song of the statists and begin listening to us libertarians.

Jacob G.

Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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European centre-rightists conclude summit in Tunis

| Print | E-mail 1 2 Monday, 30 November 2015 13:28 Conservatives and Reformists Initiative programme launched to improve engagement between European and Arab parties. Centre-rightists in the European Parliament have launched Conservatives and Reformists Initiative (CRI), a programme aimed at deepening engagement between centre-right parties around the world. The CRI initiative was announced in Tunis on Saturday at the end of the two-day summit that mainly focused on advancing the values and capacities of centre-right political parties in the Muslim world.

Syed Kamall, European Conservatives and Reformists chairman, stressed the importance of the initiative in promoting free market in emerging democracies in North Africa and the Middle East. “The common principles that we advance – the rule of law, parliamentary supremacy, open markets, personal autonomy, sound money, lower taxes, civil patriotism, national sovereignty and secure property – work wherever they are applied,” Kamall said while addressing the participants. He urged the centre-right parties worldwide to strengthen their peers in Arab countries, which had been victims of authoritarians “who want to impose religion by force, and others who want to impose socialism by force”. “But conservatives shouldn t want to impose anything,” Kamall added. “We should trust the sound judgment of the people. We understand that the rational pursuit of self-interest under the law will, other things being equal, create a free and prosperous society. “Our task, as legislators, is to ensure that there is a space for this process to unfold.” The initiative launched seeks to find solutions to global security threats, as well as growth and economic prosperity.

It also encourages a free market, arguing that without inclusive growth, it is difficult to maintain rule of law. ‘Justifying dictatorship’ Kamall pointed out that part of Tunisia s success came from its feat that was reconciling its religious identity with its commitment to an open and pluralist society. “You can find examples of success and failure in all religions. But the question has a particular sharpness, it seems to me, in North Africa where several countries’ authoritarian regimes were in the habit of justifying their dictatorship by presenting themselves as the sole alternatives to religious fundamentalism.” Meanwhile, the organisers said that their choice of Tunisia was to show support for the fight against “terrorism” and to applaud its revolution model. Tunisia remains relatively calm following the 2011 uprising that toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The security situation, however, remains fragile with several incidents of violence that have also reflected badly on the country’s economy, which relies mainly on tourism. A gun attack at a tourist hotel in a Sousse resort this June left 37 people dead and hit the economy hard. Two months prior to that, attackers hit the Bardo museum in Tunis, killing a group of foreign tourists.

Kamall pointed out that a secular dictatorship should not be replaced by a a religious dictatorship. “Freedom of worship – or freedom not to worship – should be accepted along with freedom of speech, assembly and contract,” he said. “Tunisia, as I say, seems to me a success story in a region that needs success stories.

Here, political parties treat their opponents as fellow citizens – and not enemies – with whom they disagree.” Subscribe via RSS or Email: References ^ Print ( ^ E-mail (

Quincy: Road Rage Incident Captured on Cell Phone

Matthew Freeman, 21, of Quincy is charged with armed assault with intent to murder in connection with a road rage incident. Photo Courtesy Quincy Police. A 21-year-old Quincy man faces charges for threatening a couple in a road rage incident captured on a cell phone video.

Quincy Police Captain John Dougan said a couple was leaving the McKay s Breakfast and Lunch restaurant on Franklin Street around 2:30 p.m. Saturday (Nov.

28) when the woman commented that it was smoky outside. Matthew Freeman, 21, started yelling, demanding to know if they were talking about him.

The couple got in their car and drove away, but Freeman followed them in his car. Dougan said the woman stopped her car on Common Street because she was too afraid to drive home, when Freeman exited his car and tried to open her door. The man she was with got out and confronted Freeman, who went back to his car and returned with what appeared to be a handgun.

The woman filmed the altercation on her cell phone, which police used to locate Freeman at his home and arrest him later that day. The gun turned out to be a pellet gun. Dougan said it doesn t seem that Freeman knew the couple, and this appears to be a random incident.

Freeman is due to be arraigned in Quincy District Court Monday (Nov.

30) on one count of armed assault with intent to murder.

Photo Courtesy Quincy Police.

Judge Sets $1.5 Million Bond For Chicago Police Officer Charged In …

Bond has been set at $1.5 million for former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. Officer Jason Van Dyke has been locked up since Nov.

24, when prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. On the same day, authorities released the dashcam video that shows McDonald armed with a small knife and walking down a street on the city’s southwest side being shot repeatedly by the 37-year-old Van Dyke.

The bond amount means Van Dyke will need $150,000 to be released.

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Transpontine: Lewisham Support for Junior Doctors

So tomorrow’s planned 24 hour strike by Junior Doctors in the NHS has been called off pending further negotiations after health secretary Jeremy Hunt backed down and agreed that he would not unilaterally impose a new contract on them. Junior Doctors and their supporters have been organising at local hospitals, including at Lewisham where banners were all ready to go… and will no doubt be brought out again unless there is some real progress on pay and conditions.

Junior doctors are the backbone of the NHS The term junior is misleading in fact the majority have many years experience and constitute the main medical workforce in our hospitals. They are the doctors who tend to you if you are admitted to hospital day or night, 24/7. This Government is treating them shabbily.

It wants to impose a new contract on them and refuses to negotiate. The doctors reject the new contract it is both unsafe and unfair. Unsafe because it removes the safeguards against doctors being forced to work excessively long hours, which will increase risk to patients.

Unfair because for many doctors it will mean pay cuts and/or even longer antisocial hours. Junior doctors don t want to strike. They have been given no choice as the Government has refused to listen to them.

They want the Government to negotiate without preconditions and to remove the threat of contract imposition. Strike action is a last resort and has been planned so that patients are not harmed, with consultants providing emergency care. If the junior doctors lose this battle then it will be harder to recruit to specialties like A&E which already suffer a serious shortage of doctors.

Those who remain will be working more antisocial hours and be more tired; many will leave the NHS. If the junior doctors lose this battle then the Government will come for the nurses and other NHS staff next. The junior doctors are now in the front line.

They are defending a high quality NHS one that is run by well-supported staff who are able to give of their best when caring for you.

We urge you to support our junior doctors and to support all NHS staff and the future of our NHS’.

EPA's Final RFS Rule Puts Future of Biofuels & Climate Policy in …

WASHINGTON Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2014, 2015 and 2016 that refiners have to meet in blending biofuels with gasoline. The agency increased the blending requirements across the board, to a total of 18.1 billion gallons, including 14.5 billion gallons of undifferentiated biofuels or corn ethanol and 230 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has been steadfast in calling on EPA to allow the volumes contained in the statute to drive market place change.

RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen released the following statement: EPA s decision today turns our nation s most successful energy policy on its head. When EPA released its proposed RFS rule in May, the agency claimed it was attempting to get the program back on track. Today s decision, however, fails to do that.

It will deepen uncertainty in the marketplace and thus chill investment in second-generation biofuels. Unlike Big Oil, the ethanol industry does not receive billions in tax subsidies and the RFS is our only means of accessing a marketplace that is overwhelmingly and unfairly dominated by the petroleum industry. Today s decision will severely cripple the program s ability to incentivize infrastructure investments that are crucial to break through the so-called blend wall and create a larger market for all biofuels.

There is simply no reason for EPA to adopt API s blend wall narrative. Data shows that EPA, in its initial RFS proposal, understated the likely market for E85 and non-ethanol conventional biofuels in 2016 by at least 440 million gallons. The data suggests there will be at least 14.7 billion gallons of undifferentiated renewable fuel blended next year.

With approximately 2 billion surplus RIN credits already available for refiners to use for compliance in 2016, and with another 900 million RINs potentially becoming available from 2015 over-compliance, the EPA s decision to lower the 2016 RVO below the statutorily imposed level of 15 billion gallons is simply unnecessary. What makes today s decision even more perplexing is that it continues to reflect the administration s conflicting views regarding ethanol. The Department of Agriculture continues to fight for ethanol, working hard to secure necessary infrastructure, promoting exports, correcting food versus fuel myths, investing in new technologies and new feedstocks and advocating for ethanol s positive climate change benefits.

The Department of Energy, too, works hard to complete biofuel research on higher ethanol blends and infrastructure that is moving this industry forward. Why is EPA so out of step? Today s decision by EPA furthers that conflict and, sadly, significantly undercuts President Obama s credibility as he prepares to take the world stage to address climate change at the COP21 talks in Paris.

RFA recently commissioned a study 1 which concluded that biofuels consumed under the RFS have reduced U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 354 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent since 2008. For context, that is the equivalent of avoiding carbon dioxide emissions from 74 million passenger cars.

How can the president speak credibly about the need to address climate change on a global stage when his EPA is failing to fully implement the most potent and proven weapon to combat climate change in his own backyard? This final rule directly contravenes the statute and places the potential growth for biofuels like ethanol in the hands of the oil companies. It will have the unfortunate consequence of increasing Big Oil s ability to thwart consumer choice at the pump without even a scintilla of fear that EPA will enforce the statute.

With no consequences for Big Oil s bad behavior, consumers will be denied greater access to the lowest cost liquid transportation fuel and number one source of octane on the planet.

References ^ study (