Second Take: Schumer's Merely Attempting a Trial Balloon Tactic of Distancing Democrats From Obamacare, While Continuing to Support and Defend It [Ace of Spades HQ]

I thought the Schumer statement -- in which he criticized Obama for pushing Obamacare in 2010, instead of addressing the needs of the And The Middle Class -- was important. But now I think it's just so much positioning. With...

The Left's Unending Fascination With Scripts to Browbeat Relatives on Thanksgiving Strongly Resemble... Scripts for Religious Conversion [Ace of Spades HQ]

Religious fervor on Thanksgiving?! How appropriate! Think Progress has a guide on "how to argue with your Evangelical uncle" about marriage equality. Vox is advising you on Bill Cosby, Ferguson, and immigration (you're for it as much as possible, of...

Open Thread [Ace of Spades HQ]

Pissarro, "Sunset" (1872)...

Wednesday Morning News Dump [Ace of Spades HQ]

Brand Unawareness Obama The Troll #SmartTakes It's Never Enough For The Left Voters Overwhelmingly Oppose Obama's Amnesty Dear Media, How Not To Screw Up The Next Ferguson Illegal Immigrants Could Receive Social Security, Medicare Under Obama Action House Report...

Morning Thread (11-26-2014) [Ace of Spades HQ]

Nice work by @GerryDales on sourcing these "spontaneous" protests. Front page: http://t.co/nKAwfO806U Call to action: http://t.co/SN8kt2CGui Link to locations. http://t.co/7Q9FLxmzF8 (linked from above page)— Gerry Daly (@GerryDales) November 26, 2014 As you'd expect, it's the same old group of anarchists, Marxists, etc....

Overnight Open Thread (11-25-2014) [Ace of Spades HQ]

Because I'm tired and lazy tonight. A Look Back at the 1992 LA Riots Someone on AR15.com collected these videos of the riots in progress. A couple observations/notes: Fashion-wise it was still the 80s in 1992. Newscasters were even more...

Media's New Theory: White Officials Deliberately Stoked Riots In Order to Distract from Wilson Verdict [Ace of Spades HQ]

Erin Burnett just trotted this insane theory out on CNN, claiming that there was arguably something to it. So now even the rioting is also due to White Devil Police Men. There's just a blame-shifting excuse for everything, huh? Somehow,...

Feds Paid $5 Million For Monthly Government-Sponsored Hipster Raves, Featuring Lots of Anti-Conservative Political Agitprop [Ace of Spades HQ]

Ostensibly these Hipster Raves were for the purposes of discouraging an at-risk group (white hipsters) from smoking, because you know how much insecure young people who want to be seen as "cool" respond to government-sponsored anti-drug messaging. But to get...

Your Leftist Media, Cheerleaders for Rioting [Ace of Spades HQ]

Lisa Bloom: I find the word "charging" to be "racially-tinged" and "offensive." Oh, by the way, you know what the real cause of the Ferguson Riots is? "White rage." A good recap of the media's lunatic gibberings through all last...

Reading the Darren Wilson Transcript (Part 1): Setting the Stage [Allergic to Bull]

This is a series of posts where I plan to go through all 4799 pages of transcripts before the Grand Jury in the Darren Wilson case, in order to figure out 1) should he have been indicted, and 2) is he guilty.  Some background.  This is the post introducing the series and giving you many images that have been released.  This earlier pieceon Zimmerman also gives you a good primer on the law of self-defense in general, at least in Florida, while this piecediscusses how Missouri law deals with self-defense and the unique right of a cop to use force to stop a fleeing suspect (in some cases), and this piecediscusses (albeit briefly) the standard for indictment.  I am not going to explain these points of  law twice, so if you are confused, go back and read those.

This post will be updated to link to other posts in the series without notation that it has been changed.

So we are starting at the beginning.  Since I am working off the version of the transcript I created, I might as well embed it for you in this post, below the fold.

If you happen to want to follow along, or just check my work, I will give you the citation by the internal citation of the transcripts (because in fact it is not one transcript but many), and also by giving you the page number in the pdf.

It starts off with Bob McCulloch from the prosecuting attorney’s office giving a pretty standard introduction to the Grand Jury.  You can sense he is reciting, but it seems to come from the fact he has done this many times, not because he had a script he wrote for this particular case.  It is worth noting that he alludes to the fact that the Grand Jury had already heard several other cases.  He predicts they won’t see much of him—he says it will probably be the last time they will see him.  Instead two of his subordinates are handing this: Kathi Alizadeh and Shelia Whirley.  Alizadeh is the on-call prosecutor for all homicides and apparently got the call about the Wilson case within minutes of the police department finding out.  Meanwhile Ms. Whirley was the lawyer herding the Grand Jury that term.  They knew there was a federal investigation, and they would be sharing information with the feds.  I read that as meaning that the Grand Jury will participate in that sharing.  But they are still independent investigations, looking into whether different laws were violated.  And he predicts that this sharing will slow down the process.

He informs them that they can ask witnesses their own questions, and indeed presents it as something they already know.  In other words, he is saying it for the record, not because he needs to impart any information.  He also talks about the ability to recall witnesses.  This is consistent with my understanding that the jurors can summon their own witnesses.  And he went through much of the mechanics, as did Ms. Alizadeh.

Anonymous “Medical Legal Investigator:”Finally on page 24 of the pdf, (Vol. 1, p. 24), we get to the first witness.  The first is a medical examiner, whose name has evidently been redacted.  But you know his job and he says he has been at it for 25 years.  He didn’t impress me with his training, but his role is limited:

We are the eyes and ears of our pathologist. The person who is conducting the autopsy. They don't go to the scenes, we go to the scenes for them.

(Vol 1, p. 28; pdf p. 28).  He is not the one who makes the call on what the cause of death is, but he looks for inconsistencies between the responding officer’s version of events and the body.  This next part gets to one of the parts that is increasingly controversial:

Q Okay. And let's talk specifically about the case involving the shooting of Michael Brown. Did you take photographs?

A No, ma'am.

Q Why not?

A My battery in my camera died.

Q Were photographs being taken?

A Yes, ma'am.

Q By whom?

A St. Louis County Police Department.

Q Like their identification unit?

A Their identification unit, correct.

Q You saw them taking photographs?

A Yes, ma'am.

Q Do you have access to those photographs?

A If we need them, we can get them.

(Vol 1, pp. 31-32; pdf pp. 31-32).  So it sounds like his lack of photographs were no big deal.  It is worth noting that the photos released that I have seen so far have not been of Brown’s dead body, probably because it is grisly.  But the hue and cry that this is some kind of serious mistake (from Mother Jones, for instance) seems misplaced.

It is interesting to note that he says he saw no stippling—which is the burning of gun powder—at that time.  Brown was by then covered in sheets (he arrived at about 2:30 with the incident being around noonish), and face down.

Reinforcing my impression that him not having a battery is not a big deal, we get this testimony:

I went over there with the police officers, the ID officers, we removed the sheets, took photographs of his back, lifted up the shirt, took more photographs. Then we rolled him over, I placed white clean sheets down on the ground and rolled him over onto those. Took more photographs, documented the injuries, looked through his pockets, looked through his pants for any weapons or anything of that nature.

(Vol 1, p. 38; pdf p. 38).  So it’s not like his failure to bring a camera with sufficient battery power stopped him from getting photographs.  He just had to get someone else to do it.  He also described the injuries he saw:

Q Can you describe the injuries as you saw them?

A I saw one in the top of the head, several on his right eye, a bunch of blood, dried up blood. I guess road material, there was one here, there was an injury here, an injury on his side right here, two in the arm and one in here and a wound on his hand.

Q Did you see any wounds to his back?

A No, ma'am.

(Vol 1, p. 41; pdf p. 41).  This doesn’t seem like a complete catalogue of his injuries, but whether there were injuries to the back was important in McColloch’s announcement Monday night.  So note that: any person who says he was shot in the back is wrong.  Not necessarily lying—we will have to judge that at the time—but wrong.

He next notes that Brown had no weapons, which is what we understood all along, but it is good to verify.  Also earlier he mentioned that he typically spoke with the first responder.  I wasn’t clear if that would be Wilson in this case, or the first responder after Wilson shot him.  In any case, he indicated he didn’t meet with Wilson that day.

And we get what an unnamed detective claimed had happened:

That there was a, that Officer Wilson was driving down the roadway, he encountered the two individuals in the street, asked them to exit the street and an altercation started from there. And the decedent ran away from the vehicle, the officer gave chase. They met up again in the middle of the roadway and shots were fired.

(Vol 1, p. 43; pdf p. 43).  It is important to note that this is not direct testimony.  This is what lawyers call double hearsay, that is hearsay of what someone’s hearsay is, and there is a reason why as a rule that is not normally considered evidence.  But it is there for what it is worth.

He goes on about the gunshot wounds:

A I think nine altogether, nine.

Q Where were they located, you can tell us? Refer to your report.

A One on top of the head, one to the right forehead, one around the eye, and then one in the neck, close to the neck/chest area, one on the right side and the rest in the arm and one in the hand.

(Vol 1, p. 50; pdf p. 50).  He also says that he found a bit of what looked like pot in his pockets, for what that is worth.  He noted that he saw no evidence of any paramedic trying to save Brown.  He also says he is not a ballistics expert.

It appears that several times the jurors are asking questions and apparently they had to have their names redacted.  At one point, one juror asks to verify that all the photos he needed was taken by someone else and he said they were.

And that is it for the first testimony and the first volume.  But that is not it for the file, so let’s keep going, shall we?

The next volume begins a new day.  There is a lot of frontage as the two attorneys go over some business.  Then we get to the first witness of that day, also anonymous.  (Hopefully this will not get too confusing.)  I am going to call him:

Crime Scene Detective: that is how he describes his job.  This is a man.  He has been in this position for five years and he describes his job as follows:

Primarily our number one job is evidence at various crime scenes that we are requested to, photographing evidence, collecting evidence, diagramming scenes, videotaping various scenes.

(Vol 2, p. 21; pdf p. 103).  He mentions that he typically video tapes the crime scene.  He spends a great deal of time describing how he does his job, and then finally on around page 120 in the pdf (Vol. 2, page 38) he gets to the Brown case.  He also notes that there were several instances of shots being fired near the crime scene.  This often delayed the investigation, giving some insight into why Brown’s body laid out there for four hours.  On page 153 of the pdf (Vol. 2, page 71) he says a four hour period where the body is laying in the street is actually “fairly common.”  A few details leap out.  Wilson had used a .40 caliber pistol.  And he makes the important point that the numbering of evidence is not meant to do anything more than identify it.  A shell casing marked #1 is not necessarily from the first shot fired.  It is just so they can all be talking about the same shell casing in the future.  They mention that the side mirror on the police SUV was pushed flat against the door but not broken (as modern side mirrors can be), and that the driver’s side window was broken inward, although it is not clear what caused it to be broken.  (Vol 2, p. 112-113; pdf p. 194-195).

On page 199 of the pdf (Vol 2, p. 117), he mentions handprints you can see on the glass at the back of the SUV.  He said it was not a bloody or muddy handprint.  His impression is that it was as if someone put their hand on the car when it was wet and then the dust got at it.  And then we get this bit of hearsay:

After I photographed it, somebody came up to me from the department and goes hey, just so you know, Darren was told during roll car to get his car washed because the sergeant saw the handprints on the back window.

(Vol 2, p. 118; pdf p. 200).  All of which means it is unlikely to be relevant to the case (and he says as much a moment later), but at least answers a question I had looking at the photos: what the heck was with that handprint?

On page 206 of the pdf (Vol. 2, p. 124), we see a discussion of how they would know if there was any attempt at interventions to save Brown’s life, where he says that typically if paramedics try to help him they leave things like EKG devices at the scene.  That suggests to him, but doesn’t prove that there was no attempt to save Brown’s life, most likely because at that point there was no chance of saving him.  And he shows that there are no injuries on Brown’s back (in photos I have not seen and I suspect were not released to the public).  (Vol 2, p. 126; pdf p. 208).  And he revealed that as of that day he hadn’t spoken to Darren Wilson.  (Vol 2, p. 127; pdf p. 209). 

Here’s an interesting exchange.  I will mark questions from the juror as [unidentified juror] and you will see an interesting point:

Q [Unidentified juror] Were there any droppings between the officer's car and the body?

A What type of dropping?

Q Blood droppings?

A No.

Q (By Ms. Alizadeh) There wasn't?

A No. I walked from my crime scene van to where the body was that day no less than 50 times. Along with the other three detectives, my detective sergeant and countless other crimes against person homicide detectives, and no one saw any, no one noticed any, we looked, nothing was ever found between the officer's car and where Michael Brown was.

Q [Unidentified juror] What's the distance between the police car, the officer's car and the body, do you know?

A 153 feet 9 inches.

(Vol 2, pp. 144-145; pdf pp. 226-227).  You see from various reports there were first shots fired at the car, and then shots fired moments later closer to 150 feet from the car after an alleged pursuit.  The initial shots at the car, as I understand it so far, resulted in a wound to Brown’s hand.  But for whatever reason, he didn’t seem to bleed.

The race hustler Shaun King about a week ago claimed to have a big scoop when showing that Brown was killed 148 feet from the scene, here, at Daily Kos.  Without attribution he claimed that the police lied and said that Brown was killed about thirty five feet away from the SUV.  As you can see the Grand Jury knew the body fell was about 150 feet, from the beginning.  I will probably pester him on twitter and ask him who claimed it was 35 feet.  I suspect the answer is no one said that, he just pulled the claim out of his keisters to make the appearance of a coverup based on something that doesn’t look like it was even a falsehood.

It is also worth noting that the detective was told that Wilson’s gun carried thirteen rounds: 12 rounds in the magazine, and one in the chamber.  And yes, all cops everywhere keep one round in the chamber, as civilian gun owners are told to do when we carry.  He also says (and this part is hearsay) that Wilson had one round left in the gun.  So that is 12 shots fired, albeit by hearsay.  On page 231 of the pdf (Vol. 2, p. 149) he notes that at that point in the investigation they had only found 10 casings, meaning that two were unaccounted for.  Normally they don’t process the car at the scene, they save it for the lab, but he wanted to make sure the casings were accounted for, so they examined the car for that purpose only, but didn’t find them, but it also sounded like they were being limited in their search because it was not normally something they did.  He did find blood in the car, but he wasn’t qualified to analyze it.

Eventually they find shell casings 11 and 12, which is marked as items 21 and 22 with the placards.  So if I am understanding correctly, no shell casings were found in the car?  It seems like the case, looking over the photos again, and that is not impossible.  For instance, if one shot is fired in the car, the casing could have easily landed on Wilson’s body, and then when he got out the casing fell out of the car.  As I noted in the footnote, the locations of casings only give you a general area where the shot is likely to have been fired; it doesn’t pinpoint anything.  I do see a few casings around the car in his diagram, so that might be the explanation.  We shall see.

And that takes us to the end of the first file, so let’s embed the next one:

Continuing with the same testimony:

He talks in some detail about the difficulty in tracking down projectiles, assuming that the bullets are not in someone’s body.  Whereas shell casings tend to fall by where it was fired, projectiles could end up quite some distance away.  It is unclear if he found any.

Going back to issues in the car, on page 14 of the new pdf (Vol. 2, p. 182), there is hearsay offered that another detective found a projectile in the car.  That is hearsay, but that seems likely to be significant down the road.  And that came from a juror question.

(By the way, regular jurors cannot ask questions, but grand jurors typically can.  I may be slightly incorrect to call these people “jurors” but I figure you will understand what I am talking about.)

And that brings us to the end of this witnesses testimony and the end of that volume of the original transcript (although we are still only about thirty pages into the pdf.  And that seems as good a place as any to stop.

Like I said in the introduction of the series, these posts will be almost like live-blogging.  These posts are not meticulously planned, and I don’t have a pre-determined conclusion I am headed toward, except I do tend to trust juries, and I am cognizant that I am not seeing these witnesses—indeed, so far I don’t know their actual names.  As such it impairs my ability to judge credibility, and therefore I really defer to the grand jury on that point—if they don’t believe them, or they do, I am reluctant to contradict them.

So far theses witnesses can be best described as “stage setting” witnesses.  They gather evidence but they don’t analyze it.  That appears to be the province of others.

I will try to get another one of these out today.  Fortunately I am not even attempting to travel today, between the protesters blocking traffic and the SnowTrafficMaggedden we are expecting today, but the Walker family is still preparing for Thankgiving.  My wife makes a mean ham, which is reason #423 why I cannot be Jewish and I will probably need to take out some time.  Which is a roundabout way of saying blogging may be light.  But we will see what I can do.


* This might be obvious to people who have used semi-automatic handguns, but in case it is not for you, where a shell casing falls is evidenceof where it was shot, but not perfect evidence.  What happens when you pull the trigger on a semi-automatic handgun is that the hammer strikes the bullet, and the bullet fires.  The energy of the recoil, or “kick” is used to push back the slide, eject the spent casing and then load the next shot.  This is different from a revolver where the casing stays in the gun, and it is your muscle that sets up the next shot—in a semi-automatic the power of the shot does that work for you.  But the ejection itself can go for some distance away from your gun.  I don’t believe I have ever fired Wilson’s make and model of gun, but with my own handguns, I have seen a casing bounce around eight feet away on a smooth concrete floor (in an indoor range).  So it is not a method to exactly pinpoint where a person was shooting, but it gives you some idea where it happened (assuming no one tampered with the scene).

I will note that the casings often go in weird directions.  I have had casings fall into a shirt pocket.  I had one land inside the collar of a polo shirt worn on top of an undershirt, making it necessary for me to untuck my shirt to let the casing fall out.  And I am not exactly the biggest gun afficiano.  So that can change where a casing lands, too.

So finding a casing in a car is strong evidence that the shot was fired in the car.  But maybe you happened to be holding the gun near a car window and it ejected into the car?  That doesn’t seem likely to be even an asserted scenario here, but we are going to be logical at every step of the way, here.  Likewise, a casing found outside of a car might have been fired in a car, because in ejecting it just made it past the door, or it caught in a person’s clothing.  In other words, it is some evidence of where the shots were fired, but it is not perfect evidence on this point.


My wife and I have lost our jobs due to the harassment of convicted terrorist (and adjudicated pedophile) Brett Kimberlin, including an attempt to get us killed and to frame me for a crime carrying a sentence of up to ten years.  I know that claim sounds fantastic, but if you read starting here, you will see absolute proof of these claims using documentary and video evidence.  If you would like to help in the fight to hold Mr. Kimberlin accountable, please hit the donation link on the right.  And thank you.

Follow me at Twitter @aaronworthing, mostly for snark and site updates.  And you can purchase my book (or borrow it for free if you have Amazon Prime), Archangel: A Novel of Alternate, Recent History here.  And you can read a little more about my novel, here.



I have accused some people, particularly Brett Kimberlin, of reprehensible conduct.  In some cases, the conduct is even criminal.  In all cases, the only justice I want is through the appropriate legal process—such as the criminal justice system.  I do not want to see vigilante violence against any person or any threat of such violence.  This kind of conduct is not only morally wrong, but it is counter-productive.

In the particular case of Brett Kimberlin, I do not want you to even contact him.  Do not call him.  Do not write him a letter.  Do not write him an email.  Do not text-message him.  Do not engage in any kind of directed communication.  I say this in part because under Maryland law, that can quickly become harassment and I don’t want that to happen to him.

And for that matter, don’t go on his property.  Don’t sneak around and try to photograph him.  Frankly try not to even be within his field of vision.  Your behavior could quickly cross the line into harassment in that way too (not to mention trespass and other concerns).

And do not contact his organizations, either.  And most of all, leave his family alone.

The only exception to all that is that if you are reporting on this, there is of course nothing wrong with contacting him for things like his official response to any stories you might report.  And even then if he tells you to stop contacting him, obey that request.  That this is a key element in making out a harassment claim under Maryland law—that a person asks you to stop and you refuse.

And let me say something else.  In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe that any person supporting me has done any of the above.  But if any of you have, stop it, and if you haven’t don’t start.

Remembering Brandenburg v. Ohio in Ferguson: Actual and Near-Incitement as a City Burns [Allergic to Bull]

Let us start with the actual incitement.  Via The Blaze we have the reaction of Mike Browns’ parents, including his step father, Louis Head, shouting “burn this b-tch down!”  Which we all know is what they proceeded to do.

Watch for yourself, below the fold:

Regular readers know that Brett Kimberlin unconstitutionally silenced me in 2012 on the legal theory that peaceful criticism of a person was incitement to violence.  I wrote about that experience in a series of posts, here, but suffice to say that if that was actually the law, it would be the end of Freedom of Expression.  For instance, by his theory, Richard Nixon could have enjoined Woodward and Bernstein from investigating and writing about him, lest it “incite” violence against him.

Of course, this is not the law.  In Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court set up a test for what can be constitutionally prohibited as incitement:

the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

I hadn’t even reached the first step in that test: I have never advocated violence against him.  But Mr. Head?  I think there could be no more pure example of incitement.

So...  arrest Mr. Head.  Well, not so fast.  Brandenburg doesn’t make true incitement illegal.  It merely says that a statecan make true incitement illegal.  And I can’t find any law that fits the description.  For instance, if you go through the different statutes in their chapter on “Offenses Against Public Order” none of the statutes seem to fit.  For instance, this is what their statute says on Rioting:

574.050. 1. A person commits the crime of rioting if he knowingly assembles with six or more other persons and agrees with such persons to violate any of the criminal laws of this state or of the United States with force or violence, and thereafter, while still so assembled, does violate any of said laws with force or violence.

Agreement, every lawyer will tell you is a meeting of the minds (“Hey, caps, let’s go have a riot!”  “Capital idea!”).  Mr. Head isn’t agreeing with anyone to Riot.  He is telling them to riot.

The statute punishing “Promoting Civil Disorder” seems like a more logical fit, but it also fails to hit the mark.  It says in relevant part:

Whoever teaches or demonstrates to any other person the use, application, or construction of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device capable of causing injury or death to any person, knowing or intending that such firearm, explosive, or incendiary device be used in furtherance of a civil disorder, is guilty of the crime of promoting civil disorder in the first degree.

In other words, it is about planners, which doesn’t apply.  Likewise, the closest thing covered by “Peace Disturbance” is “fighting.”  But inciting is not fighting.

I am reluctant to say that it is legal, but at the moment I can’t find how it is illegal under Missouri Law.  Feel free to let me know if you find a statute that does cover this kind of incitement.

Meanwhile, we have what I referred to as “near incitement.”  There is conduct that is not legally incitement, that is still irresponsible.  We are granted freedom of speech not because the founders didn’t think speech was often irresponsible, but because they didn’t trust government to patrol the line.  A good example of this is doxxing: it is often legal, but utterly immoral.  And that is what the NY Times and Slate did to Darren Wilson (via IBTimes, which has annoying auto-starting video ads):

Wilson received death threats after he was identified as the officer who shot Brown, and as community members and activists plan to protest if he is not indicted, the location of his home could potentially endanger him, his new wife, and his property if the protests result in violence, some of his defenders say. Wilson’s home address is a matter of public record, and it has been published in numerous media reports beginning in August.

But printing his street name in the nation’s most influential newspaper on the day the grand jury is expected to hand up a decision on the indictment could reignite interest in -- and awareness of -- the location, and some critics worry that it could result in protesters descending on his home. Slate even went a step further than the Times, publishing an article featuring a photo of the modest, red-brick house on Monday.

Probably realistic, Wilson has figured out he can never go back to that house again.  But if anyone dies in that neighborhood, that isn’t a crime, but that is still on the heads of the NY Times, Slate, and anyone else who published his address.

Meanwhile the rioting turned uniquely tragic for one store owner.  This whole thing started with Brown robbing a liquor store.  And guess which store was looted?  Read the whole thing.


My wife and I have lost our jobs due to the harassment of convicted terrorist (and adjudicated pedophile) Brett Kimberlin, including an attempt to get us killed and to frame me for a crime carrying a sentence of up to ten years.  I know that claim sounds fantastic, but if you read starting here, you will see absolute proof of these claims using documentary and video evidence.  If you would like to help in the fight to hold Mr. Kimberlin accountable, please hit the donation link on the right.  And thank you.

Follow me at Twitter @aaronworthing, mostly for snark and site updates.  And you can purchase my book (or borrow it for free if you have Amazon Prime), Archangel: A Novel of Alternate, Recent History here.  And you can read a little more about my novel, here.



I have accused some people, particularly Brett Kimberlin, of reprehensible conduct.  In some cases, the conduct is even criminal.  In all cases, the only justice I want is through the appropriate legal process—such as the criminal justice system.  I do not want to see vigilante violence against any person or any threat of such violence.  This kind of conduct is not only morally wrong, but it is counter-productive.

In the particular case of Brett Kimberlin, I do not want you to even contact him.  Do not call him.  Do not write him a letter.  Do not write him an email.  Do not text-message him.  Do not engage in any kind of directed communication.  I say this in part because under Maryland law, that can quickly become harassment and I don’t want that to happen to him.

And for that matter, don’t go on his property.  Don’t sneak around and try to photograph him.  Frankly try not to even be within his field of vision.  Your behavior could quickly cross the line into harassment in that way too (not to mention trespass and other concerns).

And do not contact his organizations, either.  And most of all, leave his family alone.

The only exception to all that is that if you are reporting on this, there is of course nothing wrong with contacting him for things like his official response to any stories you might report.  And even then if he tells you to stop contacting him, obey that request.  That this is a key element in making out a harassment claim under Maryland law—that a person asks you to stop and you refuse.

And let me say something else.  In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe that any person supporting me has done any of the above.  But if any of you have, stop it, and if you haven’t don’t start.

1933 Nashville radio listings [American Bandscan]

"Broadcast News", Nashville, 4 March 1933.

Here's a link to a weekly "TV Guide" for radio, in Nashville, in 1933. (courtesy of David Eduardo's "American Radio History" site)

A few things I found interesting, besides the old ads:

  • Daily program listings for two stations: WSM-650, NBC and WLAC-1470, CBS. WSIX-1210, Springfield wasn't listed. WSM & WLAC were the only stations in Nashville at the time.
  • Prime-time program listings for the week for two additional stations: KDKA-980, Pittsburgh and KMOX, St. Louis. (KMOX's frequency wasn't given, but it was 1090 at the time)
  • There was a photo of the stars of a program airing over the "NBC-WJZ network". This network had no affiliate in Nashville. Nashville listeners would hear this program over KDKA.
  • A "Listeners' Guide" highlights some of the better programs airing during this week. Most air on WSM or WLAC. One airs on *both* stations. (one airs on both stations *at the same time*!)

    However, programs are also listed as airing on eight out-of-town stations including:
  • WJZ, New York
  • WBAL, Baltimore
  • WHAM, Rochester, NY
  • WMAQ, Chicago
  • WREN, Lawrence, Kansas
  • WLW, Cincinnati
  • KSD, St. Louis
  • WFLA, Clearwater, Florida
  • (I'm surprised the latter station was considered usable in Nashville. It's the first station to use a directional antenna, and it was to protect WTMJ, Milwaukee on the same frequency. So I would expect WFLA to have little or no signal in Nashville -- and to suffer interference from WTMJ.)

    Facts ... Damn Facts [Celestial Junk]

    Cockroach Riot: Brought to You by None Other Than [Celestial Junk]

    ... the usual suspects:

    Now the media, humiliated yet again, riot. Ezra Klein of Vox.com asked, with the legal insight of a mentally malfunctioning goldfish, whether Michael Brown had an advocate in the grand jury hearing (the answer: that’s not how grand juries work). Fellow non-lawyer Chris Hayes of MSNBC lamented that the grand jury procedure was “so far removed from normal criminal procedure it’s unrecognizable.” The New York Daily News considered this obscene first mock-up headline: “Killer Cop Goes Free.”

    With the media breathlessly covering the riots they helped to stoke in Ferguson, rioters set the city aflame. Shots were fired; protesters threw batteries, rocks and bottles; stores were looted. The media feigned head-shaking rue. Meanwhile, President Obama explained that Americans who ignored all the evidence to convict Wilson were reacting in “understandable” fashion – because, as always, evidence means nothing the left when in conflict with feelings and perception of victimhood.

    [Sponsor] The New Doxie Go Wi-Fi — Scan Anywhere, $50 Off for DF Readers [Daring Fireball]

    Just released: Doxie Go Wi-Fi is the tiny, rechargeable document and receipt scanner that scans anywhere — no computer required — then syncs wirelessly to your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

    Doxie’s elegant Mac and iOS apps make it easy to go paperless. Doxie handles any workflow — save scans to your desktop, share with your favorite apps, or send to cloud services like Evernote and Dropbox. A new open developer API lets you build Doxie support into your service, software, or personal paperless workflow.

    Check it out — and, just for Daring Fireball readers, get $50 off now until Tuesday with this special order link.

    Paul Ford on HTML5 and the World of Web Standards [Daring Fireball]

    Paul Ford, writing for The New Yorker:

    You might have read that, on October 28th, W3C officially recommended HTML5. And you might know that this has something to do with apps and the Web. The question is: Does this concern you?

    The answer, at least for citizens of the Internet, is yes: it is worth understanding both what HTML5 is and who controls the W3C. And it is worth knowing a little bit about the mysterious, conflict-driven cultural process whereby HTML5 became a “recommendation.” Billions of humans will use the Web over the next decade, yet not many of those people are in a position to define what is “the Web” and what isn’t. The W3C is in that position. So who is in this cabal? What is it up to? Who writes the checks?

    Ford achieves something extraordinary with this piece — it works well as an introduction to the world of web standards for the uninitiated, but works also as a cogent overview for those of us who are intimately familiar with the W3C (idealistic) / WHATWG (practical) political saga.

    Ford is on a roll. It’s amazing how many of my favorite pieces of the last few months have his byline.

    iPhone 6 Pixels [Daring Fireball]

    Bryan Jones put the iPhone 6 (regular) display under a microscope:

    When the iPhone 5 came out, Apple bonded the display to the glass in an effort to get the pixels closer to the surface and Apple has appeared to make the pixels in the 6 even closer still. Some of what we are seeing with the iPhone 6 may be a polarizing filter underneath the glass, but even so, the glass appears thinner and required less focus distance adjustment to get from the surface of the glass to the pixel on another microscope. I don’t know what that precise distance is in microns between the surface of the glass and the pixels, but it was a shorter distance as judged by rotation of the focus knob in the iPhone 6 vs. the iPhone 5. What this accomplishes is making the display appear to be higher resolution. The blacks are blacker, contrast is higher and colors are more vibrant, even with the same OS.

    PSA: Steam joins the Black/Cyber discount blitz with “Exploration” sale [Ars Technica]

    On Wednesday, online computer gaming store Steam unveiled an expected holiday-themed sale, complete with deep discounts on recent hits and indie standouts alike. In typical Steam fashion, this year's "Exploration" sale ties into a recent change on the storefront, but instead of highlighting collectible badges or community features, the sale focuses on customized sale offers based on September's "discovery" update.

    As of press time, the exact link to a user's customized sale page is hotlinked incorrectly if loaded within the Steam app, so fans will want to click here to see what games Steam thinks you want the most. That link includes some very random guesses in the top roll of links, along with a convenient gathering of unpurchased games from your wishlist, discounted DLC for games you own, and "tag" links for sales in your favorite genres.

    More harrowing for your wallet is the store's new endless scroll feature, which continues to generate sale after sale after sale if you move downward on its main page. As Steam store veterans will tell you, you may want to tag a beloved game on your wishlist if its sale price on an early day is kind of low. Chances are, it will receive an even bigger discount before the sale officially ends on December 2. The sale's most interesting launch specials include massive cuts on 2014 games like The Evil Within, Watch Dogs, Civilization: Beyond Earth, and Goat Simulator, but Steam claims to have cut prices on 1,860 games already. Get to scrolling.

    Read on Ars Technica | Comments

    AT&T told to stop calling U-verse the “Fastest Internet for the price” [Ars Technica]

    An advertising review board has told AT&T that it should either stop advertising U-verse as the "Fastest Internet for the price" or make it clear to consumers that the claim refers to a 3Mbps service, one of the slowest speeds AT&T offers.

    AT&T offers Internet downloads of up to 3Mbps for $29.95 a month for the first 12 months with higher prices thereafter. U-verse customers can pay more to get up to 45Mbps:

    After a complaint from Comcast, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus agreed that the "Fastest Internet for the price" claim is misleading. "NAD recommended that AT&T either discontinue its 'Fastest Internet for the price' claim or modify the claim by ensuring that consumers understand that the claim is based on a comparison of pricing for 3.0 Mbps service," the organization said in an announcement Monday.

    Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    Better than shade: Rooftop material sheds heat into space [Ars Technica]

    Transforming our electricity generation to renewable sources is rightly the focus of most discussions about the future of energy, but the greenest kilowatt-hour is the one not used in the first place. Yes, there are all kinds of ways to reduce energy consumption, and smarter building designs that do more with less are among those. But buildings use a tremendous amount of electricity to shield us from the summer heat via energy-hogging air conditioning systems. What if we could get some of that cooling for free?

    “Passive” heating and cooling is a common approach in green buildings; approaches include things like shading windows from summer sun and floors that absorb and store solar heat in the winter. One new, clever idea is a little more ambitious: just dump some of the summer warmth back out into space.

    Using rockets for this is probably out, practically speaking, so the main problem with this approach is that the atmosphere is in the way, and it will absorb many convenient wavelengths. But if you radiate the heat, there’s a small window between the infrared wavelengths of 8 to 13 microns where the atmosphere is transparent. Prototype devices have been built capable of shedding a building’s heat by emitting it in that window. But they can only work at night; during the day, they heat up in the sun, eliminating their ability to reduce the temperature of the building below the outside air temperature. Of course, it’s during the middle of the day that cooling is needed most, so that’s a deal-breaker.

    Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    Senator tells Visa and MasterCard to stop serving “cyberlockers” [Ars Technica]

    The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee has sent letters to the two leading credit card companies, asking them to stop serving 30 Web storage services, including Kim Dotcom's Mega, that were called out in an earlier report attacking Internet "cyberlockers."

    "The cyberlockers listed in the NetNames report (PDF) bear clear red flags of having no legitimate purpose or activity," wrote Sen. Patrick Leahy in letters addressed to the CEOs of MasterCard and Visa. 29 of the 30 sites accept Visa and MasterCard, and some of them bear the credit companies' logos, which "lends the sites a harmful imprimatur of legitimacy," stated Leahy.

    "I ask MasterCard to swiftly review complaints against those cyberlockers and to ensure that payment processing services offered by MasterCard to those sites, or any others dedicated to infringing activity, cease," the senator wrote in the letter (PDF) to MasterCard. The wording in the letter to Visa is nearly identical.

    Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    Former HP CEO responsible for Compaq merger explores 2016 presidential bid [Ars Technica]

    Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard who brought about the industry-changing merger with Compaq, is laying the groundwork for an attempt to snag the Republican nomination in the 2016 US presidential race. According to a piece in The Washington Post, Fiorina intends to pursue nomination by playing heavily on her status as both the only female and the only CEO among the current field of potential Republican candidates.

    It’s not Fiorina’s first time throwing her hat into the political ring, of course—Fiorina ran against (and lost to) incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer in California’s 2010 US Senate race. In fact, as the Washington Post and SF Gate both point out, Fiorina still owes almost $500,000 to the organizations and people who helped with that failed Senate bid.

    Other than the attempt to become a senator, Fiorina has never held public office and has no obvious political qualifications, though she has been active in Republican fundraising circles, and in the summer of 2014 even started her own super PAC targeted at encouraging female voters. The Washington Post notes that Fiorina’s status as a political outsider is drawing the ire of Republicans in positions of power, whom the Post indirectly quote as saying that Fiorina has "an elevated assessment of her political talents."

    Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    US lawmakers ask Europe not to break up Google [Ars Technica]

    A European proposal to unbundle search engines from other commercial businesses—which could result in the breakup of Google—has brought a response from US lawmakers.

    "Capitol Hill hit back at EU lawmakers on Tuesday for politicizing an antitrust investigation into Google, as tensions rose ahead of a European parliamentary vote calling for the possible break-up of the technology group," the Financial Times reported last night.

    Lawmakers sent letters to European counterparts expressing alarm at the proposal. The letters don't specifically mention Google, the world's largest search company, but neither does the European draft resolution. That says the European Commission should "consider proposals with the aim of unbundling search engines from other commercial services." The resolution in the European parliament is likely to pass on Thursday, but it would be nonbinding, because any final action would have to be taken by the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union.

    Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    Fire Phone’s price drops to $199 unlocked, and you still don’t need one [Ars Technica]

    Amazon's Fire Phone is only four months old, and yesterday Amazon cut its price all the way down to $199 unlocked (it launched at $649). If the company's $170 million writedown last quarter wasn't enough evidence that the phone was doing poorly, this should be all the evidence you need.

    The phone is now at a price where you could buy one to play around with if you had $200 you couldn't conceivably find a better way to spend (here's a long list of better ideas). Even at $199, you shouldn't buy a Fire Phone to use as your regular phone. This is both because of the problems we had with the Fire Phone in our review—its heavily customized version of Android leaves a lot to be desired, its app ecosystem is mediocre-to-poor, and its gimmicky 3D cameras make it larger and heavier than it really ought to be—and because this "fire sale" doesn't bode well for future software support. The company apparently remains committed to the smartphone market, but it can't keep losing money on hardware forever.

    The Fire Phone does have redeeming qualities. We found its camera to be a good performer, and Firefly was a pretty interesting feature that we'd still like Amazon to port to some other ecosystems. Even at $199, it comes with a free year of Amazon Prime (a $99 value). But a couple of compelling features and decent internal hardware don't necessarily add up to a phone that's worth your time or money. Whether the Fire Phone costs $649 or $199, we'd recommend against it.

    Read on Ars Technica | Comments

    Spooky quasar alignment at a distance [Ars Technica]

    At very large scales, the Universe looks a bit like a three-dimensional spider web; crisscrossing filaments intersect with each other at brightly shining nodes, as you can see above. The filaments are composed of galaxies, and the brighter points are places where there are large galaxy clusters. Between the filaments are vast, mostly empty spaces. (All considered, maybe the inside of a sponge would be a better analogy).

    At the centers of each of those galaxies are supermassive black holes, often millions of times the mass of the Sun. Some of the brightest of these are known as quasars, so brilliant that they can often shine brighter than the rest of their galaxy’s stars put together. Quasars have a disk of infalling matter, called an accretion disk, which produces much of the quasar’s light. The rest is produced by jets of material blasting from the black hole's poles at speeds approaching that of light.

    Impressive as they may seem to us, compared to the behemoth filaments in which they reside, quasars are microscopic. Nonetheless, a new study has found a connection between them and their filaments: the quasars seem to be spinning on axes parallel to the filaments that host them.

    Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    Murder-for-hire suspect gets new ACLU ally in battle against phone spying [Ars Technica]

    In a new court filing, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has jumped into the criminal case of a man who federal prosecutors allege orchestrated a murder-for-hire earlier this year in Baltimore, Maryland.

    Specifically, in its 29-page amicus (friend of the court) brief filed on Tuesday, the ACLU supports the defendant’s earlier motion that the government be required to disclose information about how it used a stingray, or cell-site simulator, without a warrant, and therefore the court should suppress evidence gathered as a result of its use.

    "It is not rare for police to use stingrays in investigations, but it is rare for them to disclose that to defense attorneys, and even more rare for [those attorneys] to understand the implications and even more rare for us to know about it and weigh in," Nate Wessler, an ACLU attorney who authored the amicus brief, told Ars.

    Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    Evolving bacteria to produce more of all sorts of useful chemicals [Ars Technica]

    In many cases, cells are capable of feats of chemistry that leave human-designed systems in the dust. The problem is that evolution only drives cells that produce the chemicals they need, only in the quantities they need. We design systems to make the chemicals we want and generally take as much as we can produce. Typically, these two things aren't compatible. But some Harvard researchers have figured out a way of getting them into alignment.

    It's easy to transplant biochemical pathways into bacteria, at least once you identify the genes involved. At that point, you can have the bacteria produce drugs or other useful chemicals, such as precursors to plastics. The problem is usually that the bacteria aren't happy about it. Producing chemicals generally requires energy, and it siphons off chemical precursors that the bacteria need for their own purposes.

    There are two neat tricks that the authors use to induce the bacteria to be happier about being converted into miniature chemical factories. The first is that they figure out how to make the chemical product we want essential to the cell's survival. The second is that they let evolution integrate the new biochemical pathway into the cell.

    Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    Canada Revenue Agency leaks its own data, hands journalist private tax details [Updated] [Ars Technica]

    On Tuesday the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that it had “inadvertently” received 18 pages of “detailed tax information” pertaining to hundreds of primarily rich and famous Canadians.

    The records were from a Canada Revenue Agency spreadsheet spanning from 2008 to 2013, and they included home addresses and information about tax credits granted for charitable donations.

    According to the CBC, which says it is withholding some information for privacy purposes, tax details were found for prominent Canadians such as “author Margaret Atwood, former prime minister Jean Chrétien, grocery magnate Frank Sobey, cartoonist Lynn Johnston, pollster Allan Gregg, financier Stephen Bronfman, former CBC executive Richard Stursberg, Olympics chief Richard Pound, and many others.”

    Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    Latest Windows 10 update shows how rapid releases work in practice [Ars Technica]

    Windows 10's updates and maintenance are following a different, better path to all prior Windows releases: one with more regular updates and quicker access to new features for those who want it, while still offering enterprises a slower pace of delivery. With the first update to the Windows 10 Technical Preview a month ago, Microsoft also enabled a two-speed update track for the million or so members of the Windows Insider program.

    By default, preview users are put on the slow track. However, about 10 percent of users have put themselves on the fast track. The first (contentious) fast track release was made almost two weeks ago, and fast track users have been using it since then.

    Those fast track users also revealed a variety of problem scenarios. The two big ones were the screen going black (and staying black) every time a PC was unlocked, and a blue screen of death. A pair of patches have been released to fast track users to address these issues, the second coming yesterday, and both of them seem now to be fixed.

    Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    Twitter’s plan to acquire a Bieber startup leaked by accidental tweet [Ars Technica]

    In terms of accidentally sent e-mails and Internet postings—the kinds that people wish they'd never clicked "send" on—we think this week's goof by Twitter CFO Anthony Noto takes the cake. On Monday, the 46-year-old finance veteran, who joined Twitter in July after years as CFO of the NFL and a managing director at Goldman Sachs, posted the following private-sounding message to his public Twitter account: "I still think we should buy them. He is on your schedule for Dec 15 or 16 -- we will need to sell him. I have a plan."

    Before the social media company could roll out an internal education campaign teaching its executives the difference between a normal tweet and a direct message, however, the Internet at large began wondering which company Noto wanted to buy and who the all-powerful "he" in question might be. A report from CNBC claims that the answers to those questions are Shots, an app with an exclusive focus on capturing and sharing front-facing smartphone photos, and Justin Bieber, the company's top investor, respectively.

    CNBC reporter Kristin Cwalinski attributed her finding to "a source close to Shots" and asserted that Shots' value to Twitter resides largely in its massive userbase of women under the age of 24. We certainly think that's of more commercial value than the app's attachment to the Bieb, but interest in the selfie-obsessed app may also be a sign that Twitter is waving a white flag in regards to Vine. Twitter acquired the makers of that six-second video app in 2012, but its popularity has waned ever since Instagram (owned by Facebook) added its own micro-video features in June 2013; as of press time, a cursory Twitter-phrase search at topsy.com reveals Vine lagging far behind Instagram in current use.

    Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    Western Union doesn’t like Bitcoin spoof ad, files DMCA takedown claim [Ars Technica]

    Facebook has taken down a parody of a Western Union ad posted on a Bitcoin news Facebook page, which was immediately re-published on reddit.

    On Monday, the money transfer company filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claim with Facebook, alleging trademark infringement of its image. The claim was filed by Erin Schol, who is listed on LinkedIn as an assistant legal analyst for Western Union. However, the DMCA, as the name implies, only covers copyrighted material and not trademarks.

    Kristin Kelly, a Western Union spokeswoman, told Ars in an e-mailed statement: "Western Union takes all brand matters seriously, and we take steps that we believe are necessary to protect our intellectual property interests." She declined to respond to specific questions.

    Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    It’s the Dealmaster’s dazzling double-Dell display delight! [Ars Technica]

    Greetings, Arsians! As you bustle around eagerly denuding store shelves of stuffing ingredients in preparation for Turkey Day, please spare a thought to this carefully curated boatload of bargains, courtesy of our tireless partners at TechBargains! Those industrious folks have dug deep into the pre-Black Friday Internet deal scene and have produced a fine list of fun toys to stuff into your Thanksgiving stockings! Assuming you do Thanksgiving stockings. It's not my place to judge one way or the other.

    The two top deals, as noted in the headline, are each for a pair of Dell P-series monitors. The first is for two 22" P2213 displays, and the second is for a pair of 21" P2214H displays. Both sets of displays come with a $125 eGift card (which I am told will be emailed separately 10 to 20 days after purchase). The bigger set will run you $399, and the smaller $369!

    And, hey, if you've got enough monitors in your life already—something the Dealmaster can't conceive of, but horses for courses and all that—then check down at the end of the listing for a link to buy an unlocked BlackBerry Passport for $499! I mean, if you happen to want a BlackBerry Passport. Which you might, especially if you love square screens!

    Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    Report: Microsoft and Yahoo vie to become Safari’s default search option [Ars Technica]

    Google Maps and YouTube are no longer bundled as default apps on iPhones and iPads, but there's one big place on Apple's devices where Google is still the default option: the Safari search bar. Microsoft's Bing, Yahoo (also Bing-powered), and the privacy-minded DuckDuckGo are all included as options, but Google has been the default for as long as iPhones have existed.

    That may change next year according to a report from The Information (paywall). Apple and Google's search agreement is reportedly set to expire soon, and both Microsoft and Yahoo are already said to be talking with Apple Internet Software and Services SVP Eddy Cue about becoming Safari's default search option. This isn't the first time we've heard about Yahoo's desire to replace Google in iOS, and it's no surprise that Microsoft wants a piece of that pie too.

    The Information's report also speculates that Apple could switch to other non-Google search engines in countries outside the US, as Mozilla did for Firefox when its agreement with Google ended earlier this month.

    Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    T-Mobile accuses AT&T of lying about data roaming rates [Ars Technica]

    T-Mobile US and AT&T have been trading shots over the prices AT&T charges for data roaming as part of the government’s investigation into a complaint filed by T-Mobile.

    As we’ve previously reported, T-Mobile accused AT&T and Verizon Wireless of charging unreasonably high data roaming rates, making it difficult for smaller carriers to offer better deals to consumers. AT&T argued in a filing on November 14 that it “buys more data roaming than it sells both on a megabyte basis and on a dollar basis,” mostly through agreements with rural carriers, and that it pays more than T-Mobile does.

    “For 2013 and 2014 AT&T’s roaming expense on a per megabyte basis exceeded that incurred by T- Mobile,” AT&T wrote to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). “The average data roaming rate paid by AT&T in 2013 (42¢/MB) was more than the average data roaming rate paid by T-Mobile in 2013 (30¢/MB). For 2014, the average rate paid by AT&T through August (27¢/MB) is higher than T-Mobile’s projected average expense (18¢/MB). This is clear evidence that T-Mobile is paying commercially reasonable rates and that the relief requested by T-Mobile in its Petition should be rejected.”

    Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    Craigslist DNS hijacked, redirected at infamous “prank” site for hours [Updated] [Ars Technica]

    Around 5:00pm PST on November 23, the Domain Name Service records for at least some of the sites hosted by the online classified ad and discussion service Craigslist were hijacked. At least some Craigslist visitors found their Web requests redirected toward an underground Web forum previously associated with selling stolen celebrity photos and other malicious activities.

    In a blog post, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster said that the DNS records for Craigslist sites were altered to direct incoming traffic to what he characterized as “various non-craigslist sites.” The account was restored, and while the DNS records have been corrected at the registrar, some DNS servers were still redirecting traffic to other servers as late as this afternoon.

    Craigslist's domain registrar is Network Solutions, which is owned by Web.com. [Update, 5:32 PM EST November 24: John Herbkersman, a spokesperson for Web.com, told Ars,“The issue has been resolved. At this time we are continuing to investigate the incident.”]

    Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    New Book: ADV: DJ, Doura, and Arab Jabour [BLACKFIVE]

    A Different View: DJ, Doura, and Arab Jabour is now published, and can be purcased at CreateSpace (an Amazon company). You can also get it on Amazon proper and Kindle . I will note that the Kindle version has a bunch of blank pages added in odd spots, but it's a small price to pay to have the photos actually show up as I wanted. I want to thank former Playboy staff photographer (and amazing mentor) David Mecey (warning: link may or may not be work safe) for the foreword, and author Sarah A. Hoyt for her incredible introduction. Below are some cover/promo blurbs you may enjoy: “Blake Powers is an experienced combat photographer, and this is not his first trip to Iraq. He has an observer’s eye and can bring great meaning to what at first looks like an ordinary snapshot. If you want to understand our soldiers’ day-to-day existence in a foreign war, these photos do it in a way impossible for any other medium.” Larry Bond, bestselling author of Shattered Trident , Red Phoenix, and co-author of Red Storm Rising “What Powers has done in his most recent work is impossible to convey into words. Now more than ever, this book is a must read. The photos timelessly convey the struggle of valor and the American nobility of service at war. From the soiled faces of war weary civilians, to the bone tired appearance of the Warrior Class; these photos present every aspect of a deployment. The mission. The sector. Duty. Sacrifice. Fidelity. Holidays away from home. And the unsung service of those often times forgotten. If it is true that pictures are worth a thousand words, consider Blake Powers to have completed the complete annals of the true sacrifice of the Iraq War.” David Bellavia, U. S. Army veteran and author of House to House: An Epic Memoir of War “Blake Powers captures tender moments between troops and local Iraqi citizens in a dazzling array of clothing, uniforms, foods and the ever-present smiling, grubby faces of Iraqi children. In these photos and the accompanying descriptions, Powers deftly delineates the difference between citizens of Iraq who desire peace, against the face of insurgents who only want terror and violence. This is a brilliant effort to take us to a distant world, the land of Iraq and the people, citizen and soldier, who dwell there.” S.D Kent, author of Firework, The Training of an American Firefighter

    Free Fire Zone- China hacks our Power Grid [BLACKFIVE]

    NSA Director ADM Mike Rogers said China could take out the US electrical grid. At a hearing of the House intelligence committee, Rogers said U.S. adversaries are performing electronic "reconnaissance" on a regular basis so that they can be in a position to disrupt the industrial control systems that run everything from chemical facilities to water treatment plants. "All of that leads me to believe it is only a matter of when, not if, we are going to see something dramatic," he said. If this doesn't give you a chill, you are not paying enough attention. Our country would start to deteriorate quickly if we lost power, and it's certainly not because we couldn't test each other. Water, transportation, sewage, food, etc. All of our major systems are networked and if you think they are better secured than any other online system, you are sadly mistaken. We need to do something about this, and sooner is better than doing it later in the dark.

    Self-Published Winners @ the Library [Annoyed Librarian]

    Whenever I write about self-published authors, the comment section seems to erupt into a melee between self-published authors talking about how great self-published works are and librarians talking about how awful they are. One solution to the problem would be for the ALA to create an award for self-published books to go along with popular [...]

    Carol Todd on Bill C-13: “What Happened to Democracy?” [Michael Geist]

    The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights continues its study later today on Bill C-13, the cyber-bullying/lawful access bill that has already passed the House of Commons and seems certain to clear the Senate shortly. I appeared before the committee last week, but one person who will not appear is Carol Todd, the mother of cyber-bullying victim Amanda Todd. Ms. Todd wrote to me yesterday to express her dismay at the committee process with Conservative Senators mischaracterizing her views and the committee declining to offer her an invitation to appear, likely due to her criticisms of the privacy-related provisions in the bill.

    Ms. Todd did appear before the House of Commons committee studying Bill C-13, telling Members of Parliament:

    “While I applaud the efforts of all of you in crafting the extortion, revenge, porn, and cyberbullying sections of Bill C-13, I am concerned about some of the other unrelated provisions that have been added to the bill in the name of Amanda, Rehtaeh, and all of the children lost to cyberbullying attacks.

    I don’t want to see our children victimized again by losing privacy rights. I am troubled by some of these provisions condoning the sharing of the privacy information of Canadians without proper legal process. We are Canadians with strong civil rights and values. A warrant should be required before any Canadian’s personal information is turned over to anyone, including government authorities. We should also be holding our telecommunication companies and Internet providers responsible for mishandling our private and personal information. We should not have to choose between our privacy and our safety.

    We should not have to sacrifice our children’s privacy rights to make them safe from cyberbullying, sextortion and revenge pornography.”

    The comments generated considerable media attention as it pointed to the divide even among cyberbullying victims about legislation that the lumps together provisions designed to address cyberbullying with lawful access rules with serious implications for the privacy of Canadians.

    Since her testimony, the government has tried to downplay her concerns. Justice Minister Peter MacKay told the committee that he met with Ms. Todd and that “she came away with a much better sense of comfort and confidence in what the government was attempting to do.” When I raised Ms. Todd’s views during my Senate appearance, Senator Denise Batters responded that she had since “clarified her views on the bill.”

    Yet the reality is that Ms. Todd is more troubled than ever with the government’s approach. In October, she wrote to me hours after the bill passed the House of Commons:

    “I was stunned at how the government is going to push it forward considering the discussion and what was said at the hearings last spring.” 

    As the Senate hearings continue, she has now expressed surprise and disappointment that she has been excluded from the process, noting that the government does not want her voice to be included and asking “what happened to democracy?”

    What happened is that the government no longer wants to hear from one of the country’s most prominent voices on cyberbullying given her concerns that “we should not have to choose between our privacy and our safety.”

    The post Carol Todd on Bill C-13: “What Happened to Democracy?” appeared first on Michael Geist.

    Weekend Reading [The Other McCain]

    – by Wombat-socho I am heading off into the Shenandoah Valley this weekend to spend Thanksgiving Day weekend with the family of an old friend, but before I grab my bags and head out into the rain, I need to stuff a few books into my range bag since I’ll be avoiding the Internet this […]

    LIVE AT FIVE: 11.26.14 [The Other McCain]

    – compiled by Wombat-socho TOP NEWS More National Guardsmen Deployed In Ferguson To Head Off Fresh Riots Ferguson mayor blasts Gov. Nixon for delayed deployment Police car set ablaze, arrests made in Ferguson protests Protests continue across the nation VP Biden Reportedly Ticked Off By Obama’s Handling Of Hagel Resignation Flournoy Bows Out Of SecDef […]

    Tech Talk: Using the Arduino to Develop Coding Literacy in Libraries [The Travelin' Librarian]

    In this talk, John LeMasney will discuss the trials, tribulations, and successes of creating and teaching classes on Arduino as programming at several New Jersey libraries across the state. Arduino is an open source hardware platform for learning about and making electronics prototypes to scratch your own itch.

    It is a well-supported, low-threshold-of-entry approach of inviting those new to electronics to create their own working circuits at a low monetary cost and little existing knowledge. I’ll demonstrate what Arduino is in the larger sense, and why it’s fun and easy to get started with Arduino.

    Presenter: John LeMasney, Owner, LeMasney Consulting, is a technologist, consultant, and open source advocate working in New Jersey and beyond. He often works with schools, businesses and libraries to develop technology-oriented training, programming and solutions for all kinds of people.

    In this monthly feature of NCompass Live, the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Michael Sauers, will discuss the tech news of the month and share new and exciting tech for your library.

    For more information, to register for upcoming NCompass Live events, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live Webpage.

    The post Tech Talk: Using the Arduino to Develop Coding Literacy in Libraries appeared first on The Travelin' Librarian.

    Should government compensate the taxi cartels because of Uber? [AEI » Pethokoukis]

    What about the losers from creative destruction? I got that question yesterday on Twitter, in the context of how the rise of Uber and other ride-sharing services affects the existing owners of taxicab medallions. As is seen in the above chart, these supply-limited medallions have been an excellent investment. Over the past 80 years,  Stewart Dompe and Adam  Smith note in a must-read new Mercatus report, “taxi medallions have generated annualized 15.5 percent rate of return. Put another way, the value of a medallion doubled, on average, every four and a half years.”

    And now this rent-seeking racket of artificial scarcity is under threat. Sure, all pretty good news for low-paid drivers and service-starved consumers, but what about the medallion owners who paid such big bucks? Don’t they have a valid property right that is being made worthless by government regulators? Not long ago on the EconTalk podcast, host Russ Roberts and Duke University economist Mike Munger explored this very issue: 

    Munger: … But I think the cost advantage is really a problem, because it actually raises a lot of questions about the nature of due process. Suppose that we don’t take any action and the value of these medallions falls to zero. Are we obliged to offer compensation, because we in effect made a regulatory decision that is a taking? This property right, this medallion, had significant value. We made a choice, without due process, that said we are going to reduce the value of this medallion to zero. Are we obliged to compensate?

    Roberts: Who is ‘we’?

    Munger: The state. Just like we would if we were taking your land under eminent domain to build a road.

    Roberts: Yeah, I’m just giving you a heard time. Um, I don’t think that would win. But I’ll be interested.

    Munger: It would not. And one of the reasons I wanted to bring it up was my good friend Peter Van Doren had an article at Cato this past week that’s a really terrific discussion of that, and in fact gives good reasons why “we”–in quotes–would not be obliged. Because it’s something different.

    This is a sort of political property right that we all recognize is contingent on policy. It changes all the time. And it’s a restriction on competition. Now, the thing that kind of bothers me is you could say all property is. So I have 35 acres of pine forest south of Pittsboro, North Carolina. And suppose I were down there one day, and I heard some chain saws, and I walked back 300 or 400 yards into the woods, and I saw some guys with chain saws cutting down my trees? I’d say, What are you guys doing? They said, We’ve had a tremendous cost to manage; because we can just take these trees and sell them, we can really undercut you! And I’d say, It’s my land! He said: ‘You need to read Rousseau: The fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one. So, we can just take this. And that piece of paper that you say has property–well, the state’s going to change that. As soon as they realize that you took this land from the Indians; it’s unjust. It’s not a real property right.’ This is the same argument that people make about taxing medallions: It was unjust, it was a restriction on competition; it’s not a real property right. Once we start saying property rights aren’t real, I’m not sure I have my pine forest any more, either.

    Roberts: Well, it is certainly true that if you paid a million dollars six months ago and now you find that asset isn’t paying out–first of all you can’t resell it for a million, and secondly, it’s not the cash flow that you anticipated from it. Using the medallion isn’t coming through. That’s a real unpleasant surprise. You definitely lost money.

    Mumger: Isn’t it a violation of due process? Because did we make a promise? The reason that you need this medallion is we are going to force anyone who provides transportation services to have a medallion. No one else can provide this. And so when you pay for it, you can in good faith think we’re going to protect your property right. And that’s why you pay for it.

    Roberts: Yeah, it’s an interesting question. It’s a dangerous slope. Because what it does, of course, is set in stone all rent-seeking victories. It’s very depressing.

    Munger: I think the answer is [that] there is a difference between private property and kind of reifying rent-seeking victories. … But if it’s clearly just a restriction on competition and entry into an industry where there would be big benefits, then we shouldn’t compensate. … But in the pine forest it makes sense. We don’t want it to be a commons. We don’t want everyone coming in and overfishing, overharvesting; and so it’s a solution to an externalities problem. Whereas the medallion–maybe it’s a solution to an externalities problem. That’s the argument we make–is we don’t want too much congestion. But if you look, there probably are not enough taxis in New York, particularly at peak times. And so I think the congestion story doesn’t hold up as well.


    The post Should government compensate the taxi cartels because of Uber? appeared first on AEI.

    Here’s what we think we know about economic opportunity in America today [AEI » Pethokoukis]

    A great summary from Scott Winship on how tough or easy it is these days to climb the opportunity ladder:

    A just-released paper examined, better than any previous study, mobility across multiple countries using administrative data for each and the same methods and income concepts. That paper reported — for the U.S., Sweden, and Canada — the probability that a man raised by a father in the bottom fifth of earnings has earnings that exceed the bottom fifth of grown sons. The figures were 68 percent in the U.S. and Sweden and 69 percent in Canada. The essentially identical rates of upward mobility — also reflected in other measures in the paper — contradict the prior consensus that the U.S. features lower upward mobility than other nations, a conclusion that now appears compromised by data inconsistencies or driven by family structure differences that affect household income.

    Upward mobility rates in the U.S. differ notably by race. Among whites, 74 percent of sons raised in the bottom make it out, compared with just 49 percent of African American sons. Even among whites, however, upward mobility is arguably insufficient. Just 37 percent of sons raised in the bottom fifth end up in the top three fifths, while equality of outcomes would put that figure at 60 percent. Among black sons, the figure is just 29 percent.

    And while upward mobility probably has not declined in recent decades, neither has it increased. My own estimates, for example, indicate that 63 percent of sons born in the late 1940s and raised in the bottom quarter of family income made it out of the bottom quarter of earnings in early adulthood. For sons born in the early 1980s, the figure was 60 percent.

    Of course, it is impossible to directly observe barriers to opportunity since we can neither observe the potential outcomes of children under different circumstances nor identify how their preferences form and evolve. Relative mobility rates cannot even be taken as prima facie evidence of unequal opportunity. However, we do know that there are large test score gaps when children enter school, which do not diminish much, if at all, over the course of primary and secondary schooling. We also know that college graduation rates are six times higher for children born in upper-income families than for those in lower-income families. Even children with test scores in the top quartile in eighth grade have dramatically different probabilities of getting a bachelor’s degree depending on whether they come from advantaged or disadvantaged families. 

    And let me add that even if mobility is stable — to me, another discouraging sign of American economic stasis — higher inequality increases the economic penalty for an inability to move up the ladder. Anyway, rather than  a neat 10-point agenda for increasing mobility, Winship recommends lots of policy experiments in key areas such as education, marriage, and safety-net programs. Terribly reasonable stuff. But my key takeaway is that faster GDP growth is necessary but not sufficient in helping enhance opportunity to create the meaningful lives we wish to live.

    The post Here’s what we think we know about economic opportunity in America today appeared first on AEI.

    Some smart thoughts on housing, jobs, and economic growth [AEI » Pethokoukis]

    Here is a needed addendum to my post earlier on how policymakers must focus on key middle-class, cost-of-living issues such as healthcare and higher education. I should have also mentioned housing, however. And has it happens, my pal Ryan Avent has an essay on this topic over at Cato Institute’s new online forum on economic growth.

    It’s pretty logical: People should go where the jobs are if they are living where the jobs are not. In particular, they should move to places where high levels of productivity and innovation result in strong wage growth. But that is not happening. A lot more Americans are moving to lower-productivity Dallas or Houston than higher-productivity San Francisco. Of course, housing is five times more expensive in the Bay Area as Houston has built five times as much housing since 2000.

    Here is Avent:

    If one had a magic wand to wave and wanted to boost growth, magically neutralizing opposition to new development in the most productive cities would be one’s best bet. In the absence of a magic wand, solving the problem probably requires a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, it must be made easier for big cities to invest in big infrastructure projects, like the ones that allowed them to get so large in the first place. That means simplifying the regulations that constrain such investments and raise their costs. It means designing project bidding in ways that encourage competition and create the incentives for efficient, on-time construction. It means reforming the federal government rules that channel infrastructure money toward places that don’t need it, and, yes, it means using the federal government’s ability to borrow at remarkably low interest rates to make an economically justified investment in America’s future.

    But infrastructure alone will not solve the problem. Instead, metropolitan areas may need institutional reforms that better balance the economic interests of the metropolitan area (and the country as a whole) with the interests and preferences of those living in neighborhoods that are likely to be affected by new development. When land-use decisions are made at a hyper-local level — giving local councilmembers or commissions extensive influence over which projects are approved, or focusing negotiation between residents and developers at the street level rather than the metropolitan level — the result will typically be far too little development. Those living immediately around a project enjoy some of its benefits but bear nearly all of its costs, in terms of disruption and congestion; they are therefore highly motivated to block projects and can succeed when local institutions enable them.

    At a macro level, the payoff could be pretty big. Housing mismatch may be costing Americans a trillion dollars a year. It also makes sense to make it easier for the jobless to move to economically stronger cities through relocation vouchers, not mention better public transit — whether buses or congestion-priced highways — to connect workers to jobs within urban areas.


    The post Some smart thoughts on housing, jobs, and economic growth appeared first on AEI.

    "Do you think you’re taking a big risk by making this show without knowing for sure..." [Althouse]

    "... whether Adnan Syed, the man convicted of killing his former high-school girlfriend in 1999, is guilty?"

    "I’m not being fake-naïve or something, but I really don’t — the end was never the thing of it for me. It does not keep me up at night."

    Sarah Koenig takes questions about her ultra-popular podcast "Serial" (which I've started listening to).

    AND: Rereading the question, I assume it's no risk at all but that the energy comes from actually not knowing. This is hours and hours of peeling the layers away. Why expect us to watch you peel if we know where you are going?

    At the Snowbound Café... [Althouse]


    ... if you can't dig out, dig in.

    "I regularly see cases that feel just as important to me as any case I see in the news." [Althouse]

    "I work on a lot of felony cases; many are murder cases.... They feel anything but routine."

    They contain so much vivid detail and emotion and meaning, that it can be jarring to stop and think that this was an everyday occurrence. Only a few people paid any attention to it, and everyone else went about their business. I don't understand why the 1-in-a-million case becomes a cause célèbre, when other cases of horrible crimes don't. The fact that the alleged perpetrator was white and the alleged victim was black in the cases we care about, and there was a different racial configuration in most of the cases we don't care about, would seem to be a very poor criterion. It's certainly not a reason to reach a national consensus that a man is guilty before we've afforded him due process.

    How to draw and paint like Paul Klee. [Althouse]

    As I said the other day, I found the notebook I wrote as I studied an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Paul Klee. (It was "Paul Klee: The Nature of Creation" at the Hayward Gallery in March 2002, intelligently reviewed here in The Guardian.)

    Here's the first page of notes — Lessons 1 and 2 — extracting how-to instructions from a painting and a drawing:

    How to paint like Paul Klee, Lesson 1

    Text, with links to the artworks from which I extracted the instructions:

    • draw ink lines almost with a straight edge horizontally all over bristol board. Vertically: some straight lines perpendicular & some angled. Not evenly spaced. Indications of steepled buildings & a few skeletal trees. Oil paint w/o blue. Some zebra columns. Landscape With Yellow Steeple

    • draw a funny man in the center of the page in ink, then draw horizontal straight but not evenly spaced lines all across bending at the contours of the man — Rider Unhorsed & Bewitched
    From the above-linked Guardian article:
    In his last years Klee was afflicted by scleroderma, a horrifying disease that slowly mummifies its victims. All his lithe mobility impeded, he relied more and more on pure abstraction to articulate his visions. The brush becomes broader, the colours more dazzling. The language is liberated into a grand and commanding song. 
    Scleroderma is the disease that killed my maternal grandmother.

    ADDED: I've given you the links to the images I used to make my instructions, but the point of the instructions is to give you an idea of something to do to produce your own artwork, which isn't supposed to copy the original. Check out the original, but then forget the original and just follow the instructions. I chose to write the instructions in this very concrete and mechanical way so you — so I — could make a completely different artwork. And I consider the instructions themselves to be an independent artwork.

    A 26-year sentence for a TV show with a song and dance about the wedding of Muhammad's daughter. [Althouse]

    The sentence of Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, owner of Geo News, the largest media group in Pakistan, will be appealed.

    From the end of the linked article:

    Pakistan's blasphemy law allows anyone to file a complaint alleging their religious feelings have been hurt for any reason. The punishment for blasphemy is death. Rights groups say the law is increasingly being used to settle personal scores. This year has seen a record number of blasphemy cases and increasing violence against the accused.

    When you're tired of all that political fakery... [Althouse]


    ... dogs are reliably spontaneous and ingenuous. Photographed by Meade at The Puparazzo, the cure for your political malaise.

    "Though I understand why you might have yelled at me a month ago... it doesn't make much sense to yell at me now..." [Althouse]

    Says Obama, appeasing a heckling crowd that was supposed to be good scenery for his immigration action.

    Or was the heckling from the left a planned part of the show? Were these people meant to be scenery or were they meant to step up into bit parts?

    I don't know anymore. Anything political might be theater — scripted drama — even the heckling from the right, in places like The Weekly Standard, which features that clip for the line "I just took an action to change the law" and pedantically informs us of the supposed rigidity of the separation of powers: "The United States Constitution says the legislative power is held by Congress, not by the president."

    I'm just going to guess that President Obama decided to triangulate on immigration, and he anticipated and sought this drama from the left and the right as he strutted back and forth a few times on the political stage.

    "Building a jail is building hate." [Althouse]

    Closeup from a photograph of the Ferguson-related demonstration that took place in Madison, Wisconsin yesterday. See the whole photograph here, at the Wisconsin State Journal. The caption says that speakers at the demonstration talked not only about Ferguson but also about a proposed new jail here. From the article:

    “It’s about Mike Brown, but it’s also about, more broadly, state violence against black communities,” said M Adams, a member of the Young Gifted and Black Coalition. “As a city with a progressive characteristic, it is often easy for us to look to other places and say, ‘Ferguson is terrible’ ... and ignore the ways in which we act out state violence here in our own communities,” Adams said.

    The coalition, which organized Tuesday’s protest, opposes the construction of a new jail, saying money for that project should instead be spent on programs in black communities. After the march, protesters packed a meeting of the Dane County Public Protection and Judiciary Committee to discuss the proposal.

    The coalition has also called for the release of people incarcerated for what members call “crimes of poverty”....
    This message — incarceration as racial oppression — has been cultivated by some who are dedicated to issues of racial justice. Those who are reacting to Ferguson by engaging in criminal violence are stepping on that message.

    "All you’ve got is a girl with high cheekbones." [Althouse]

    Said Joni Mitchell, scoffing at the idea of a biopic about her with the impersonation done by Taylor Swift.  Joni doesn't like the story of her life as a material either:  "It’s just a lot of gossip, you don’t have the great scenes. There’s a lot of nonsense about me in books, assumptions, assumptions, assum­p­tions."

    So, do it like "The Rose." Make it a fictional character and use the best of the nonsense and assumptions and punch it up even more. Taylor with her cheekbones will provide some allusion to Joni for those who care.

    Personally, I loathe all these musical biopics. They should have stopped at "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980), as far as I'm concerned. But actors seem to get extra credit for impersonating someone recognizable, especially where they do the singing themselves. But movies aren't made for people like me, who rarely if ever go to the movies.

    "In some ways, Hagel was the President’s Republican doppelgänger: skeptical of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan..." [Althouse]

    "... eager to bring home U.S. troops, and reluctant to get the United States embroiled militarily elsewhere in the Middle East," writes John Cassidy in The New Yorker.

    If the primary goal was to complete Obama’s agenda of disengaging from Iraq and Afghanistan, then having Hagel at the Pentagon seemed to make sense. In the past year or so, though, the policy of disengagement has been superseded.... There is no suggestion that Hagel opposed either of these policy changes. Indeed, he was one of the first senior U.S. officials to warn that ISIS represented a serious danger to American interests, which was said to have irked Obama’s aides at the time...

    ... President Obama appears to have decided that, with the U.S. stepping up its military involvement in various parts of the world, he needed a more hands-on, and on-message, figure at the Pentagon. That’s understandable. But so is the widespread skepticism about the official version of Hagel’s departure, including Republicans’ eagerness to make hay of it. “Secretary Hagel did not believe that the foreign policy is working or is going to work,” Republican congressman Peter King, of New York, told CNN.

    That statement reeks of overstatement, which is typical of King. But it underscores that Obama, having just enjoyed his best few weeks as President in a long time, has just refocussed attention on an area, foreign policy, where his enemies sense vulnerability.
    "His enemies"? That confused me. I'm pretty sure what Cassidy means by "his enemies" is Republicans. But he was just talking about ISIS, an actual military enemy. That shift in focus was abrupt and telling, especially following the acknowledgment that Hagel had been useful because he was a Republican.

    By the way, the picture at the link is just perfect.

    "In our song, the stereotype image of a serious political leader has been changed into someone who can connect with ordinary people." [Althouse]

    "This will make people have an emotional connection to the couple."

    Soon, you too will be singing "Uncle Xi [Chinese President Xi Jinping] loves Mother Peng [his wife, Peng Liyuan]":

    Meade just said: "It also reminds me a lot of Bruce Springsteen. All that growling, grunting singing." That insight makes it 5 times as funny to me.

    Late afternoon. [Althouse]


    Lake Mendota.

    "Academics who don’t retire are greedy, selfish, and bad for students." [Althouse]

    Writes a professor who retired at 66 after accepting a bonus to retire early. Wasn't that greedy and selfish? Seems to me her argument would be stronger if she retired simply because she reached what used to be called "retirement age."

    Don’t Shoot Crappy Guns Or Ammunition [The Captain's Journal]

    Opposing Views:

    An unidentified woman pulled the trigger on her rifle and witnessed the gun explode in her hands in video footage uploaded to LiveLeak over the weekend.

    Although the woman appeared to be unharmed, her exact condition is not known. The location of the incident is also unknown.

    ConcealedNation.org, a website focused on firearms, suggested a reason for the explosion, since the woman in the video seemed entirely surprised by the accident.

    “It seems that she experienced a squib load on the 2nd to last shot. While she cleared the casing from the rifle, she did not check for barrel obstruction,” the website explained. “Once she pulled the trigger again, the newly-fired round ran right into the back of the previous round that didn’t have enough energy to make it out of the barrel.”

    The website added that squib is usually attributed to an underpowered cartridge, a missing powder charge or a light powder charge. If an obstruction is created, then a fired round comes into contact with it and causes “dangerous situations”.

    As if you needed any more reasons not to shoot crappy guns or ammunition, this should be enough.

    BSD Release: DragonFly BSD 4.0.1 [DistroWatch.com: News]

    Justin Sherrill has announced the release of DragonFly BSD 4.0.1, the first stable 4.0 build of the project's UNIX-like operating system created in 2003 by Matthew Dillon as a fork of FreeBSD 4.8: "Version 4.0.1 released 25 November 2014. Version 4 of DragonFly brings Haswell graphics support, 3D....

    Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering? [hogewash]

    I think so, Brain … but a guy like him almost disproves both evolution and intelligent design simultaneously.

    In Re a Settlement Agreement [hogewash]

    As part of his end of the bargain in the settlement agreement for the Hoge v. Schmalfeldt copyright lawsuit, Bill Schmalfeldt agreed to take down all of the material that I alleged infringed my copyrights. Further, he agreed not to use any of my material without permission.

    As of 10 am ET today, the following could be found at schmalfeldt dot org.schmalfeldtdotorg20141126This pdf of Schmalfeldt’s My Slow, Journalistic Death was originally posted on the now-defunct patriot-ombudsman dot com site. The Cabin Boy™ apparently moved it to his newer site. The Gentle Readers who have followed the saga of the Cabin Boy’s™ copyright infringements may remember that it was this was one of the books that triggered my lawsuit.

    I am not amused.

    UPDATE—The Cabin Boy™ can’t seem to get his story straight. In one tweet he tries to show that the pdf referenced above is not on his website. In another tweet he complains that the image above is from his website.


    They Seem to Have This in Common [hogewash]

    Before I get started, let me say that I have no knowledge of whether or not Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown. I’ll defer to the grand jurors who sifted through the evidence.

    I’ve heard and read a lot from talking heads and pundits about how Officer Wilson’s story is incredible, how it doesn’t hold up, how it’s unbelievable. All of these “experts” seem to have one characteristic in common. All of them appear to be sheltered individuals who have never been in a life-or-death confrontation that required them to use violence or die.

    I was about to hit the post button when another common characteristic hit me. Nearly all of them believe that cops should be the only people in civil society allowed to have guns.

    UPDATE—Stacy McCain has some related thoughts on these talking heads and pundits. You can read them here.

    A Decade of Swift [hogewash]

    The Swift satellite has been on orbit for ten years. It was the first  project I worked on at Goddard Space Flight Center. I designed and tested the ultra-low-noise power regulator assemblies that run the detector assemblies in the Burst Alert Telescope. I did the circuit design for the variable output high-voltage regulators that provide bias power to the sensors in the BAT detector assemblies. The BAT sensor array is held at a constant temperature (298 K, ± 0.5 K). I designed the pulse-width modulation regulators used in the thermal control system. The same type of PWM is used in the thermal controls for the star trackers which are a part of the satellite’s navigation system. Given that the mission design life was two years, it’s nice to see that my first bits of work are holding up.

    Video Credit: NASA

    A Decade of Swift

    Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering? [hogewash]

    I think so, Brain … but how can a man that fat jump to a conclusion?

    Team Kimberlin Post of the Day [hogewash]

    Now that The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin has asked for a new trial in the Kimberlin v. Walker, et al. nuisance lawsuit, he’s asking the Court of Special Appeals to put his appeal of his loss on hold.

    timer-blackI wonder: does this mean that TDPK figured out that his first round of appeal paperwork was due the same day as his omnibus opposition to the motions to dismiss his Kimberlin v. The Universe, et al. RICO Madness?

    Whatever. The timer is ticking down.

    The Contest is still ongoing. No one has yet come up with the fatal error that Aaron Walker found in the Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin’s motion for a new trial.

    Quote of the Day [hogewash]

    I believe the only way to protect my own rights is to protect the rights of others.

    —Dwight D. Eisenhower

    The referenda that are Swiss [Marginal REVOLUTION]

    The most contentious may be one put forward by a group called Ecopop, which would limit immigration to 0.2 per cent of the resident population. That has alarmed businesses, who worry it would make it harder to hire skilled staff and sour relations with the EU, which is Switzerland’s largest export market.

    Another initiative would force the central bank to hold 20 per cent of its assets in gold, as well as ban it from selling any of its holdings of the metal. Gold bug supporters say it would strengthen Switzerland’s independence but the central bank has warned it will make harder its job of ensuring economic stability.

    And the third would scrap the system of tax privileges for wealthy foreigners that prompted such people as Michael Schumacher, German Formula 1 racing driver, and Ingvar Kamprad, Swedish Ikea founder, to call Switzerland home.

    The full FT story is here.  I am hoping they all fail, although the social scientist in me is curious about #2.

    When did Korea clean up its air? (Korea fact of the day) [Marginal REVOLUTION]

    If you are going to ask “when will China clean up its air?”, you might wish to look at South Korea, a country with a broadly similar industrial profile, although of course Korea is much further along in terms of economic development.

    As of 2002, South Korea was ranked 120th of 122 countries for air quality by the World Economic Forum.  And at that time South Korea was pretty much a fully developed nation, economically speaking that is.  South Korea was also already a democracy, and we know from Casey Mulligan (with Gil and Sala-i-Martin) that democracies tend to have cleaner air than autocracies, ceteris paribus.

    Might we consider the possibility that China won’t clean up its air anytime soon?  The good news, however, is that once Korea started its environmental clean-up, improvements came pretty rapidly.  More recently, they come in at #43 on a more general index of environmental quality.

    That fact is from Dong-Young Kim, The Challenges of Consensus Building in a Consolidating Democracy.

    Economist cereal boxes [Marginal REVOLUTION]

    We are running a contest for MRU, and the goal is to figure out how economists ought to be put on cereal boxes.  Imagine that a famous economist would in fact be represented by a cereal and a cereal box.  For example there would be:

    Thomas Piketty, Special K

    Another possibility would be tweaking the cereal name slightly, so you would get:

    Hyman Minsky, Captain Liquidity Crunch


    John Bates Clark, Marginal Product 19

    You could try:

    Eugene Fama, Lucky Charms, though perhaps that is too subtle for some.

    The winner of the contest gets…his or her suggestion actually realized.  Please enter your suggestions, and vote on the suggestions of others, here.  Or if you don’t want to enter the contest per se, there is always the MR comments section…

    Making Sense of the Orchestrated Ferguson Riots [The PJ Tatler]

    It was obvious for weeks that there would be riots in Ferguson as soon as the grand jury decision — whatever it turned out to be — was made public. Indictment or no, there would be riots. Residents armed up for weeks, as outsiders poured in and the likes of Al Sharpton egged on the rage and the media played its part all along. They had time and they got their “good TV,” as President Obama said.

    Yet the decision was made public at night, which was tactically stupid if you want to keep the peace, and after that, Gov. Jay Nixon (D) decided not to send in the national guard that he had brought under his unified command.

    Result: Dozens of businesses burned. Glenn Reynolds has a theory that might explain what’s going on.

    [I]t’s not about swing voters. It’s about the base. And it’s not about the Democratic Party’s base, but about certain leaders’ base within the Democratic Party. This may be best understood as an intra-party struggle. Obama is the champion of the urban-black wing of the party, and because of him that wing has been on top. But his star is fading, black voters are beginning to realize that they haven’t benefited economically, and the next Dem nominee — whether it’s Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, or Elizabeth Warren — will be from the white gentry-liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The riots, the marches, the traffic-blocking are a way of telling them that the Sharpton wing is still a force to be reckoned with, and to improve its bargaining power between now and 2016.

    That would help explain why MSNBC can talk about practically nothing else. Well, that and the fact that at MSNBC every story is about race. Except the stories that are about the “war on women.”

    Brewer Leaving Office Without Obama Accepting Border Invitation [The PJ Tatler]

    Outgoing Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said she’s asked President Obama to come visit the border for the past six years, to no avail.

    “I believe that what he has done is just absolutely wrong and unjust. And certainly unconstitutional,” Brewer told Fox of his immigration executive actions.

    She added that she’s been communicating with incoming Texas governor Greg Abbott to “see just exactly … how we can join with him to see if something can be accomplished.”

    Texas is planning on taking the immigration action to court.

    “Financially, it’s a killer. You know, we’re still in economic concerns that we’ve been facing for the last few years. And to be a — forced upon us to take care of these people, educate them, provide healthcare for them, social security for them. The bottom line is that we simply just cannot afford it,” Brewer said.

    “United States is the largest country in the world that allows immigrants to come in. But we are a nation of laws.”

    Today, she would tell Obama: “Mr. President, I’ve invited you to my border for six years. You have never come. We have a issue. We have a problem. And nothing will be resolved, Mr. President, until you see with your own eyes the issues that we’re all facing. And it’s up to you to lead this country and do it constitutionally.”

    In January 2012, Brewer had a testy exchange with Obama on the tarmac after he landed in Phoenix.

    “Bottom line is that he generally wants to talk about amnesty and I want to talk about securing our border,” she told reporters afterward. ”…I must say, I was not hostile. I was trying to be very, very gracious. I respect the office of the president, and I would never be disrespectful in that manner.”

    MSNBC: It’s ‘Embarassing’ that Obama Can’t Talk Anyone Into Taking the SecDef Job [The PJ Tatler]

    According to MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell’s sources, President Obama personally called Michele Flournoy to ask her to succeed departing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. But Flournoy turned him down flat. She cited “family reasons,” but that’s Washington-speak for “Thanks but no thanks.”

    Mitchell said “I was told that Flournoy was actually called by the president the day before yesterday to both offer her the job, cajole her, talk her into it. And the fact that gets out there that I learned about it and others then learned about it is so embarrassing to a White House that they’ve got a job, a cabinet job like this, the top-tier cabinet job that they can’t talk anyone into taking.”

    Mitchell also said that Flournoy would make a “great choice” mainly because she is a woman.

    “She was passed over last time and is such a great choice. Would be the first woman defense secretary,” Mitchell said, ignoring the fact that Flournoy involved herself in Obama’s last presidential campaign and made comments about Iraq that would come up in confirmation hearings in the new Senate.

    It’s not difficult to understand why no one wants Hagel’s job. Serving as Barack Obama’s defense secretary during the final two years of his presidency is likely to end up being a career killer. Obama’s next defense secretary will preside over the continued decline of American military strength, and may have to lead one if now two new wars — one against ISIS and one versus Russia. Obama wants to slow roll our way into war against ISIS, to the extent that he wants to fight at all. That’s a sure strategy for bleeding the American military and treasury and ultimately losing the war — and leaving ISIS and its caliphate more or less intact for the next president to deal with.

    In addition to that, Hagel is being let go because he told the truth about the above. The next secdef will be expected not to do that, or they will be fired too. And unless they are already an Obama insider, they stand little chance of getting past his inner circle to get the president’s ear.

    Who would want that job?

    Outrage in San Diego as Michael Brown’s Name Replaces Slain Officer on Memorial Bench [The PJ Tatler]

    The name of slain office Jeremy Henwood was covered up and replaced with Michael Brown’s name on a City Heights park bench dedicated to Henwood in San Diego.


    NBC San Diego reporter Steven Luke tweeted a picture of the bench last night from the Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park. The park was “named in February to memorialize a beloved beat cop and Marine veteran killed in the line of duty three years ago.”

    Henwood was ambushed in his cop car three years ago, shortly after a moment of his kindness was caught on a security video showing the officer buying an extra cookie for an African American child in McDonald’s.

    Here’s the video of Henwood in McDonald’s. Shortly after, he would be shot and killed, his McDonald’s bag by his side.

    Click here to view the embedded video.

    Outrage ensued after a San Diego CityBeat reporter tweeted:

    Whereupon a Twitter “discussion” occurred.

    It seems to me we need more police officers on the ground like Jeremy Haywood.  What a shame his good name had to be dragged into the Ferguson situation.

    Pakistan Sentences Actress Veena Malik to 26 Years in Prison for ‘Blasphemy’ [The PJ Tatler]

    26 years. That’s a heavy sentence, which Malik has called “ridiculous.”

    In America, you’ll only get a year in prison for blaspheming Islam. Perhaps we’ll catch up to Pakistan before too long.

    A Pakistani anti-terrorism court presented the sentence, accusing the media organisation of airing “blasphemous content” on one of its programmes.

    DNA reported that the charges, subsequent arrest, and sentencing occurred as Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was accused of allowing the telecast of a staged mock marriage between Malik and her husband Asad Bashir, while a religious song was played in the background.

    As reported by CNN-IBN, along with Malik, Bashir, and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, TV host Shaista Wahidi was also convicted of the crime and given a 26-year prison sentence.

    In addition to the prison sentence, the court has ordered fines and that all the convicteds’ property be sold off to pay that fine.

    While the trial was going on, “extremists” who weren’t judges on the court threatened to kill those on trial. Those threats continue.

    The Bollywood actress was recently married and has a baby boy.

    In 2013, she admitted an ambition to seek political office in her native Pakistan. That made her a threat to the Islamists who hate freedom, humanity and all beautiful things. Now she cannot live in Pakistan at all.

    First Post-Ferguson Federal Legislation Aimed at Requiring Police Body Cameras [The PJ Tatler]

    The former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus stressed that “all you have to do is be stupid” to react with arson and violence to the grand jury’s verdict on Michael Brown’s death.

    Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), former mayor of Kansas City and a Methodist pastor, called the situation in Ferguson “a monumental blunder.”

    “Things were done in a the way that does not make sense. I mean, we — we had a buildup to the first night,” Cleaver told MSNBC this morning. “You know, we’re gonna release a statement at 8:00, and so forth. Look, I don’t — I’m not an attorney, but I would imagine that the grand jury completed its work earlier in the day or the day before, and so the press conference to announce what the grand jury’s decision was could have been done at eight — 8:00 a.m. in the morning or at 10 a.m. So it was almost like, we’re gonna build this crescendo and then watch the explosion.”

    The congressman visited Ferguson last week. “You could see that while in the middle of all of this chaos, there were business people who were there holding as tightly as possible to hope that things would not be as they were in August,” he said.

    “And the one thing that I think, and I hope people would understand and that to — to blow up a building, to fire bomb a building, to detonate a community, there’s no intelligence required, no charisma. All you have to do is be stupid.”

    Cleaver said of the people who committed the looting and arson, “Probably 50 people out of that crowd were out doing stupid things.”

    “And — and then people are saying, let’s boycott. Look, what we ought to do is get every decent person in the state of Missouri going into Ferguson to buy,” he said. “Because that town had as its principle municipal income revenue from traffic tickets. So we’ve got to, you know, think this thing through. I know a lot of the people saying, ‘Well, let’s just boycott,’ mean well….. but they will further damage small-business people who are the backbone of Ferguson, Missouri.”

    He added that we have to draw lessons from the protests.

    “If we get nothing out of it as we have done in the past with the situation with Trayvon Martin and others, I think that we ought to be nationally ashamed of ourselves to go through something as chaotic as this without getting something out of it,” Cleaver said.

    “First of all, unfortunately, Congress can’t offer too much in the way of help because what are we going to say to the demonstrators? Look at us, and why don’t you conduct yourself like members of Congress when you’re in a tough situation?”

    He did predict that “some national legislation” will come out of this, introduced next week with Ferguson Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.).

    “And I would think on this pre-Thanksgiving day that it’s not a Republican or a Democratic issue,” Cleaver continued. “We ought to pass national legislation that will create, I think, a positive atmosphere after this thing is over. And that is that police officers, law enforcement officers, must wear cameras and that as we did years ago with the COPS program, we would make federal grants available to small communities that couldn’t afford to have these cameras. And I think it will probably prevent some hoodlums from acting crazy and probably some police officers who might not be psychologically equipped to be police officers.”

    “It’s a protective for all,” he added.

    Obamacare Wants to Make Your Holiday Shopping Experience Worse [The PJ Tatler]

    ‘Tis the open enrollment season

    HHS is hitting the malls this weekend to make sure that Obamacare is on the minds of consumers during the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

    The department on Wednesday will announce new partnerships it has made with retail stores, pharmacies and popular websites to spread the word about the current open enrollment season, which began on Nov. 15 and ends Feb. 15. On three key days after Thanksgiving — Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday — as well as dates beyond, Westfield Shopping Centers, the National Community Pharmacists Association and the XO Group will provide consumers with information about how they can sign up for coverage through the exchanges.

    Pretty sure that Obamacare is on the minds of the people who don’t have as much money to spend this Christmas because they’ve been paying double for health insurance this past year. Do they really want to rub it in?

    These people aren’t there to help, they are there to snare. We were told for years that most Americans were in favor of the law, which was never true. Some were in favor of a story they were being told but they couldn’t have sold this law to twenty people if they’d been honest.

    The administration needs to goad people into participating in the exchanges because there just hasn’t been any real incentive to do so thus far. Next year, they’ll probably outlaw Salvation Army Santas, steal their bells, and begin harassing people at grocery stores.

    Oopsies! Schumer Admits that Passing Obamacare Was a Mistake [The PJ Tatler]

    Get a load of this. The majority of the country opposed Obamacare when Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his cohort passed that bill, and President Obama signed it into law. The Democrats smeared Tea Party activists who peacefully assembled to voice their opposition as “racists.”

    Only now, years later and after the law has wreaked havoc on millions of Americans’ health care, Sen. Schumer recognizes that the law was a big mistake. He said so in a speech in Washington on Tuesday.

    Schumer says Democrats “blew the opportunity the American people gave them” in the 2008 elections, a Democratic landslide, by focusing on healthcare reform instead of legislation to boost the middle class.

    “After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus,” he said in a speech at the National Press Club.

    He said the plight of uninsured Americans caused by “unfair insurance company practices” needed to be addressed, but it wasn’t the change that people wanted when they elected Barack Obama as president.

    “Americans were crying out for an end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs; not for changes in their healthcare,” he said.

    Schumer even noted that with just 5% of Americans lacking health care prior to the law, there was no crisis. Which begs the question, then why did he and every other Democrat claim, for decades on end, say that there was a crisis? Democrat policy amounted to systematically lying to the American people, claiming there was a crisis when there was not one, across several decades.

    While it would be nice to be able to take Schumer at face value here and assume that he is being honest, he and his fellow Democrats have repeatedly surrendered any right to be taken at their word.

    Schumer himself has touted Obamacare and joined smears of those of us who oppose it. So what’s up with his mea culpa now?

    Schumer is posturing, giving Democrats space to criticize and abandon Obama over the next two years. It’s all about the Democrats’ hopes of re-taking Congress in two years. His comments may spark serious public infighting between the congressional Democrats and the Obama White House and its bitter enders — which is just what both the congressional Democrats and the White House want. For the preening and posturing.


    But, dude, that was like four years ago…

    Holder: Federal Ferguson Probes Moving Ahead ‘Rigorously and in Timely Manner’ [The PJ Tatler]

    Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal investigations into the shooting of Michael Brown and the Ferguson police will be conducted “rigorously and in a timely manner so we can move forward as expeditiously as we can to restore trust, to rebuild understanding and to foster cooperation between law enforcement and community members.”

    Holder said Tuesday that he’s been continuously briefed on “events in and around Ferguson.”

    “I was disappointed that some members of the community resorted to violence rather than respecting what I thought were the really heartfelt words of Michael Brown Sr. and the wishes he expressed about how he wanted his son’s memory to be honored with nonviolence,” he said. “It is clear that acts of violence threaten to drown out those that have legitimate voices, legitimate demonstrators and those acts of violence cannot and will not be condoned.”

    Michael Brown Sr.’s church was burned Monday night. The pastor, Carlton Lee, suspects white supremacists targeted the church: it was three miles away from the main protests, no surrounding buildings were harmed, and he’d received dozens of death threats after speaking out for the Brown family.

    Holder said he was “very encouraged that some of the more peaceful demonstrations … have been in keeping with Mr. Brown’s request.”

    “I would remind demonstrators of our history that those, the way in which we have made progress in this country is when we have seen peaceful, nonviolent demonstrations that has led to the change that has been the most long lasting and the most pervasive,” he said, adding that he’d ordered Department of Justice officials ”to continue to make contact with leaders of the peaceful protesters and to seek their assistance in isolating those individuals who are inclined towards violence.”

    “We’ve had a good ongoing dialogue with peaceful demonstrators in Ferguson.… Those people who took it upon themselves to try to stop those kinds of things (looting and rioting) are in fact heroes in my mind.”

    Holder said Brown’s death “revealed a deep distrust between some in the Ferguson community and its police force.”

    “It also developed a need to develop and widely disseminate law enforcement best practices for responding to public demonstrations. The Department of Justice has begun this work and will continue to work with communities around the country in this regard. The reality is that what we see in Ferguson is not restricted to Ferguson. There are other communities around this country that have these same issues that have to be dealt with and we at the Justice Department are determined to do all that we can to bridge those divides,” he said.

    He briefed President Obama in the Oval Office on Tuesday and said they “talked about programmatic issues that we want to announce relatively soon and also about the need to bring our people together.”

    “This is a difficult time for people in Ferguson. It’s a difficult time for people in our country. It’s an opportunity for us to find those things that bind us as a nation, to be honest with one another about those things that continue to divide us and come up with ways in which we make this union even more perfect,” Holder said. “So that’s what I talked about with the president.”

    Thanksgiving PSA: Speaker Boehner Teaches You How to Brine a Turkey [The PJ Tatler]

    We know him as the speaker of the House, but John Boehner has some secrets to share about how to brine a turkey.

    He’s not just responsible for keeping those uppity tea partiers in line, he’s responsible for his family’s Thanksgiving turkey.

    Here is the recipe and, below, a video of Boehner of discussing his special brine.

    The Boehner Brine


    • 8 quarts water
    • 6 bay leaves
    • 2 cups Kosher salt
    • 3 tbsp peppercorns
    • 1 head of garlic
    • 16 oz pure maple syrup

    Bring the brine close to a boil, then let it cool.  Put a bag in a five-gallon bucket.  Wash the turkey and remove the insides.  Put the turkey in the bucket.  Pour the brine over to cover the turkey.  Keep the turkey submerged.  Let it stand overnight in the refrigerator or outside if it is cool enough.  After 24 hours, take it out and rinse it off.  At that point, it’s ready to be cooked.

    Click here to view the embedded video.

    Obama Heckled on Immigration [The PJ Tatler]

    President Obama was heckled yesterday as he spoke to a crowd in Chicago about his executive immigration action. In the middle of his remarks some hecklers stood up to give him some grief.  He told them to “get the facts.”

    “You have been deporting families,” a heckler yelled. The president urged the demonstrator to stop shouting before he fired back.

    “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law, so that’s point No. 1,” Obama said, his words echoing to 1,000 attendees. “Point No. 2, the way the change in the law works is that we’re reprioritizing how we enforce our immigration laws generally.”

    The president continued, “The point is that though I understand why you might have yelled at me a month ago, although I disagree with some of your characterizations, it doesn’t make much sense to yell at me right now when we’re making changes.”

    Majority of Americans Oppose Obama’s Immigration Executive Order [The PJ Tatler]

    Most Americans are not fooled by media and Democrat trolling that President Obama’s immigration executive order is along the same lines as actions taken by previous presidents including Reagan.

    It’s not even close, according to Rasmussen:

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose the president granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without the approval of Congress. Just 26% are in favor of Obama’s plan, while 12% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

    Only 24% think the president has the legal authority to grant amnesty to these illegal immigrants without Congress’ approval. Fifty-seven percent (57%) believe the president does not have the legal right to do so. Eighteen percent (18%) are undecided.

    Additionally, 55% want Congress to challenge Obama’s actions in court. And 67% think border security should come before any amnesty.

    But like Obamacare, which Barack Obama signed into law against the wishes of the majority of Americans, he is going ahead with his unilateral amnesty anyway.

    A court challenge is definitely coming, the only question is whether Congress will also file one or not. Texas Attorney General and Gov.-elect Greg Abbott has announced plans to file suit within the next couple of weeks, and other states are likely to join that suit or file their own.

    Nanny Bloomberg Gives Gun-Grabbing Talking Points for the Thanksgiving Table [The PJ Tatler]

    If you are one of those lucky people who will spending Thanksgiving with family members of the liberal persuasion, be on guard. America’s favorite gun nanny, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has provided some talking points for your gun grabbing Thanksgiving companions to serve up along with the turkey and stuffing.

    The propaganda reads: “This Thanksgiving when talk around the table turns to politics and current events, you can help set the record straight on some of the most common myths about guns.”

    Bloomberg wants your anti-Second Amendment friends and family members to tell you that:

    1. The NRA wants anyone, everywhere to have a gun. Without a background check.

    2. Women are five times more likely to be killed when an intimate partner has a firearm.

    3.  Guns don’t stop crime, otherwise America would be the safest country in the nation.

    4. Hiding your guns will not keep them safe from kids.

    5. Congress hasn’t passed a background check because they are beholden to the gun lobby. The proof: 82% of gun owners support background checks, and yet Congress hasn’t acted.

    Gun expert John Lott told guns.com that the Everytown for Gun Safety Thanksgiving propaganda is full of disinformation. “Horrible errors in these claims,” he pointed out. For instance, the classification of “intimate partners” included in the figures about violence towards women also encompasses prostitutes and their customers.

    You can read the entire interview, complete with links to information that refutes the ridiculous infographic. Tell the gun-control turkeys at your Thanksgiving table to take a hike.





    ISIS Promises to Send Ferguson ‘Soldiers That Don’t Sleep’ If They Pledge Allegiance to Caliph [The PJ Tatler]

    The Islamic State is offering to send fighters to “help” Ferguson protesters if they convert to Islam and accept the caliph — and musing that Daesh supporters might show up anyway:






    Legitimate Racial Issues Drowned Out by Ferguson Violence [The PJ Tatler]

    My circle of libertarian friends seems split regarding the goings on in Ferguson, Missouri. For some, the focus belongs on racial disparities in law enforcement activity, the militarization of police departments, and a futile rights-violating drug war. For others, the focus belongs on individual actions which clearly violate rights, like looting, rioting, and destroying property.

    I tend to fall in the latter camp, not because the former concerns prove illegitimate, but because active violence presents a clearer threat to rights than a comparatively academic notion of systematic injustice. It may be right to question the rate at which blacks are arrested for similar crimes. But it’s definitely wrong to burn down your neighbor’s store in “protest.”

    Writing last month for Rare, an online libertarian publication, editor Jack Hunter urged white Americans to “listen to the protestors in Missouri.” He wrote:

    Black Americans have complained for some time about racial disparities in police shootings, abuse at the hands of law enforcement, and in how the law is applied. Last week, a study of the use of deadly force used by police published by the Pulitzer Prize winning independent news site ProPublica revealed…, “Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population.”

    A common response by many whites to this kind of information is that the crime rate is higher in black communities and therefore the incidents of police shooting blacks will inevitably be higher.

    But even if this is your position, to leave it there would only be looking at one side.

    Might it also be true that the high frequency of police shooting young black men could potentially create an environment where police sometimes shoot African Americans even when it is not justified? Might this happen with a relative frequency in which the offending officers do not suffer any repercussions?

    If reasonable people can concede that this might be happeninghow often does it happen? And is this not a valid and important concern of black communities?

    Is it not something worth marching in the streets over?

    Marching? Maybe. But the response to the shooting of Michael Brown, both when it happened and now that a grand jury has opted not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, has been a bit more conspicuous than marching. Perhaps the question ought to be: are these concerns worth burning a city down over?

    If we can’t all agree that the answer to that question is a resounding “no,” then we’re in a lot more trouble than if even the worst charges of systematic racial injustice prove true. If we can’t all agree that looting, arson, and similar acts of violence are unacceptable responses to grievance, then on what moral basis does any grievance rest?

    (Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here.)

    Happy Holidays: Consumer Confidence Drops in November [The PJ Tatler]

    Wait for it…(emphasis mine)

    One month after hitting its highest level in seven years, consumer confidence unexpectedly retreated in November, a sign that consumers are less optimistic about the U.S. economy as the holiday shopping season begins, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.

    An overall gauge of consumer confidence fell to 88.7 in November from 94.1 in October, the New York-based research group said.

    The drop erased all of October’s gain and left the index at its lowest level since June.

    Do the members of the media, especially financial reporters, not realize how pathetic they appear now when using the words “unexpected” or “unexpectedly” in their knee-jerk covering for the president? Leftists can growl all they want about the wonders Obama has done for the economy but, other than the stock market, it’s been a “two steps forward, one and a half back” affair for the last six years. It’s just sad to see them pretending otherwise.

    Quick aside: if a lib gets in your face about how awesome “Obama’s stock market” is just ask them if this means they’re on board with allowing citizens to make private Social Security investments in it.

    Shuts ‘em up every time.

    Common Core Sparks Rise in Home Schooling [The PJ Tatler]


    The home-schooling boom is getting a new push due to opposition to Common Core, the controversial national education standard that some parents claim is using their children’s public school lessons to push a political agenda, according to critics of the Washington-backed curriculum.

    North Carolina, already a home-schooling hotbed, saw a 14 percent rise last year in the number of students being educated at home, according to a report from Heartlander Magazine. Similar increases have been seen in Virginia, California and New York, according to education activists.

    “If you look at national, and even state polls, you can see that the more familiar people become with Common Core, the more they dislike it,” Bob Lubke, a senior policy analyst for the North Carolina-based Civitas Institute, told FoxNews.com. “They feel like they are losing control of what their kids are learning.”

    The exact number, as calculated using Common Core standard math, is: 7 oranges divided by feelings times Oprah, carry the ferret.

    Enjoy the option to home school while you can, people. You can safely bet that the Nanny State Über Alles progressives will be coming for your children soon, which is one of about a thousand reasons they need to be stopped.

    Where’s Ben Affleck When You Need Him? [The PJ Tatler]

    You may recall actor Ben Affleck’s reflexive defense of Islam when comedian Bill Maher and author Sam Harris referred to the religion as a “motherlode of bad ideas”:

    “Gone Girl” star Affleck took umbrage at the pair’s contention that Islam is, in Harris’ words, a “mother lode of bad ideas” and that liberals are squeamish about criticizing Islam for stances on women and LGBT issues because people “have been sold this meme of Islamophobia, where every criticism gets confused with bigotry toward Muslims as people.”

    Affleck said Harris — a neuroscientist known for works criticizing religion — and Maher were guilty of using a broad brush themselves.

    “It’s gross. It’s racist,” Affleck said. “It’s like saying ‘shifty Jew.’ “

    You have to wonder how Affleck will respond to the contention by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey that it’s “against nature” to think men and women are equal.

    “You cannot put women and men on an equal footing,” he told a meeting in Istanbul. “It is against nature.”

    He also said feminists did not grasp the importance of motherhood in Islam.

    His comments often seek to appeal to his pious core supporters, says the BBC’s Mark Lowen in Istanbul, but they anger more liberal voters.

    Turks who have more secular views argue that the government’s social policies are taking the country in a dangerous direction, our correspondent says.

    Mr Erdogan has previously urged women to have three children, and has lashed out against abortion and birth by Caesarean section.
    ‘Delicate nature’

    His latest remarks were delivered at a women’s conference in Istanbul.

    “In the workplace, you cannot treat a man and a pregnant woman in the same way,” Mr Erdogan said, according to the Anatolia news agency.

    Women cannot do all the work done by men, he added, because it was against their “delicate nature”.

    “Our religion regards motherhood very highly,” he said. “Feminists don’t understand that, they reject motherhood.”

    He said women needed equal respect rather than equality.

    Mr Erdogan also told the Istanbul meeting that justice was the solution to most of the world’s issues – including racism, anti-Semitism, and “women’s problems”.

    The Turkish leader often courts controversy with his statements.

    Earlier this month, he claimed that Muslims had discovered the Americas more than 300 years before Christopher Colombus.

    In his 11 years as prime minister, Mr Erdogan became a crucial player in regional politics

    You can easily see Affleck’s dilemma. Does he trash Erdogan, who is only repeating the Islamic view of women, or does he defend Muslims for their misogyny?

    Actually, if Erdogan wants to leave 50% of the population of his country on the sidelines, it’s his problem not ours. It’s what gives western countries a huge advantage over Islamic countries that oppress women and keep them from fully contributing to society.

    Turkey was, at one time, a modern secular country. But over the decade that Erdogan and his Islamist Justice and Development party have been in power, the slow, inevitable decline of democratic institutions, as well as the Islamization of the army, has made Turkey the backwater of NATO.

    Erdogan is far less circumspect lately about revealing his Islamic views. It should raise the question about Turkey’s continued participation in the alliance, given his coziness with the Muslim Brotherhood. He has refused to recognize Egypt’s new government, calling President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi “illegitimate.” Tellingly, he has adopted the Muslim Brotherhood supporters’ four-fingered “Rabia” salute as a part of his party’s rallying cry.

    As the mask continues to fall, revealing Erdogan for the Islamist tyrant he is, dupes like Ben Affleck are going to have to decide which side of history they wish to be on.

    Death Throes of Print: New York Times Says More Newsroom Layoffs on the Way [The PJ Tatler]

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    The New York Times indicated today that it’s getting close to a round of forced layoffs of its journalists.

    The newsroom-wide email sent Thursday morning, obtained by Mother Jones, details responses to employee questions about a scheduled buyout program from Janet Elder, a deputy executive editor at the company. The email states that, “the most frequently asked question is about scale and whether or not there will be enough buyouts to avoid layoffs. Given that the buyout window is still open, it’s hard to have an absolute answer to that question just yet. Early efforts to handicap the outcome regrettably point to having to do some layoffs.”

    The real question here is this: if the New York Times can’t sustain its print ad revenue, what hope is there for smaller newspapers? Will local connections and news be enough to slow that inevitable demise?

    Rather than forge a new direction with digital media, newspapers clung to an identity rooted firmly in the 1940s for far too long. By the time they did begin to embrace and develop online versions, they were already being lapped by many blogs. Many papers (including the Times) created online offerings that looked like the print version. These were generally ridiculous to look at and cumbersome to navigate, but they were determined to keep a foot cemented somewhere in the past.

    In the Obama era, print journalism began digging its own grave at a faster pace by abandoning what few principles were left and becoming the PR arm of Team Lightbringer.

    It is difficult to visualize the near future for newspapers. Will the people who have a fetish for feeling what they’re reading pay a premium to keep print in business? For the first time in years and in the midst of a moment of nostalgia, I purchased the Sunday Los Angeles Times last week. The entire paper was about as big as the classified section alone when I last subscribed to it about a dozen years ago. I ended up going online for more details about the two articles that interested me the most. Reading the sports section and seeing news that had been in front of me in real time the day before felt like taking a trip in a time machine.

    Even though I am very much thrilled with the digital media era (I’m on my fourth Kindle), I will admit that I miss the Sunday paper reading ritual from days gone by.

    At least I did until I got NFL Redzone.

    Flournoy Withdraws from SecDef Consideration [The PJ Tatler]

    The Cable reports that Michèle Flournoy has withdrawn her name from consideration to become the next defense secretary. Flournoy was among a handful believed to be on President Obama’s short list to succeed Chuck Hagel, who was fired Monday.

    Flournoy, the co-founder and CEO of the Center for a New American Security, a think tank that has served as a farm league for future Obama administration officials, would have been the first female secretary of defense had she risen to the position.

    But in a letter Tuesday to members of the CNAS board of directors, Flournoy said she would remain in her post at the think tank and asked Obama to take her out of consideration to be the next secretary of defense. Flournoy told the board members that family considerations helped drive her decision.

    The move means that only one of the three names rumored for the post remains under consideration: Ashton Carter, the former deputy secretary of defense. When Hagel was ousted Monday, speculation had immediately turned to Flournoy, Carter, and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a former Army Ranger. But Reed took himself out of the running almost immediately after Hagel announced his resignation.

    Flournoy cites family reasons for her withdrawal but her public support for Obama’s unilateral withdrawal of troops from Iraq would have come up on confirmation hearings. Republicans like Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, among many others, would surely have seen to that.

    Pentagon: It’s Not That Hagel Didn’t Want to Stay, Just a ‘Mutual Decision’ That He Go [The PJ Tatler]

    The Pentagon refused today to say that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was fired, with press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby insisting it was a mutual decision even though Hagel didn’t want to leave his job.

    “This was a mutual decision arrived at between the president and the secretary of defense after a series of discussions that they had about the next two years. And, that’s — and that is exactly what happened, that’s exactly how it — how it transpired,” Kirby told reporters.

    “It would be inaccurate to characterize this as anything other than that, quite frankly.”

    He further insisted “there’s no connection between the secretary’s resignation announced yesterday and the strategy that we’re pursuing against ISIL on Iraq and Syria, no connection whatsoever.”

    Lawmakers were among those linking Hagel’s resignation to differences with Obama on policy, including whether boots might be needed on the ground against the Islamic State.

    “And so, I wouldn’t draw from one any kind of conclusions or changes to the other. The strategy, as the secretary has said, as Chairman Dempsey has said, as I have said, against ISIL is working. It’s making — we’re making progress. Iraqi security forces on the ground are pushing out, out beyond Baghdad, into Anbar. Peshmerga continue to gain ground in the north,” Kirby continued.

    “It’s not over, it’s not gonna be easy. Nobody is saying that. But our support from the air and now our support to them in an advise-and-assist capacity and soon a training capacity will continue. So I see no major muscle movements or changes to that.”

    Hagel will stay until his successor is confirmed. Kirby said he’ll be focused on “implementing the recommendations and changes that he has accepted from the reforms that we put in place — Navy Yard shooting, nuclear enterprise review, medical health system review.”

    Since Hagel’s ouster was announced Monday, senior administration officials have told media outlets that he was indeed fired and took potshots at the secretary. “The president felt he had to fire someone. He fired the only Republican in his cabinet,” one told Fox. “Who is that going to piss off that he cares about?”

    Kirby brushed off a question about how Hagel’s going to work in this “poisonous” environment until a successor is confirmed.

    “Let me challenge the implication in the question that there’s clearly bad blood between the building and the — and the White House or between Secretary Hagel and the — and the team,” the press secretary replied. “…And his focus is not on the atmospherics and on the sniping by some anonymous officials in these various news accounts. His focus is on the men and women who wear the uniform and their families and on this very critical time period that we find ourselves in.”

    Hagel met with other leaders at the Pentagon yesterday after returning from the White House. “It was a very short meeting. One, he thanked them for their support for the last almost two years in office and for the — for the support he knew that he was gonna be able to continue to gather from them going forward,” Kirby said. “But, number two, it’s time to get — you know, I got to keep working, you know.”

    He wouldn’t detail the discussions between Hagel and Obama that led to the Defense secretary handing in his resignation.

    “It was a general understanding between the two of them that now was about the right time for new leadership at the Pentagon to implement and to carry to conclusion some of those changes and to — and to lead the Pentagon in the last two years of the Obama administration… policy disagreements or debates and discussions were not driving factors in the decision that the secretary made to submit his resignation.”

    Kirby also dismissed an assertion that National Security Adviser Susan Rice has been micromanaging the Pentagon. “They meet and discuss — they meet more than once a week — I know that — and, of course, in — in other large setting meetings more than two or three times a week,” he said. “…There’s not an issue of micromanagement from any other place outside the building, you know. It’s not about micromanaging.”

    “It’s not uncommon for — at least under this commander-in-chief, for defense secretaries to — to stay about two years in length,” Kirby said.

    “It’s not that he didn’t want to stay on the job, and it’s not that the secretary doesn’t believe he isn’t, you know — that he’s not capable of — of — of still contributing or serving for the next two years…. It’s that they both decided that he had accomplished a lot, he had done what he had set out to do in this job and that now, with two years left to go, it was an appropriate time for new leadership.”

    MSNBC Analyst: ‘Charging’ Is Now a ‘Racially Tinged Word’ [The PJ Tatler]

    MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom embarrassed herself on MSNBC today. Host Joy Ann Reid asked Bloom to comment on some of Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson’s testimony.

    Bloom objected to the characterization of Michael Brown’s actions as “charging” Officer Wilson, because it’s racist.

    “This issue about charging,” Bloom said, “which I find to be a racially tinged offensive word in and of itself, but I would have asked him, what exactly does that mean?”

    To most people, it means “running directly at someone.” Charging is an offense in both hockey and basketball. Referees who find that one player has charged another must be racists, according to Lisa Bloom.

    Taking Lisa Bloom’s lead, here are other instances of racist behavior and imagery.

    Charging your phone — now racist.



    The 2015 Dodge Charger RT — racist.

    2015 Dodge Charger R/T

    San Diego Chargers fans — racists.



    Video: When Michael Brown’s Stepdad Screamed ‘Burn This B**** Down!’ [The PJ Tatler]

    CNN found and aired this footage of Louis Head, stepfather of Michael Brown, calling on those assembled in Ferguson, MO, last night to burn the town down.

    The mother’s grief and rage are deep and understandable. But it’s difficult to see how Mr. Head’s comments constitute anything but a credible threat showing intention to perpetrate violence.

    Nearly three dozen businesses in Ferguson would burn Monday night, many of them owned and operated by minorities who live in the community.

    The Commune-ish Manifesto [Judge John Hodgman]

    Two families live together in a communal household, but they have trouble explaining it outsiders. Should they pretend to be related, or be honest and embrace the weirdness?

    Pressure mounts in Europe for strict net neutrality [PCWorld]

    Members of the European Parliament, along with civil society groups, have urged European member states to stick with strict net neutrality rules.

    They did so the day before a meeting of telecommunications ministers in the EU Council, who will discuss an Italian proposal that would water down net neutrality.

    Italy, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council, has proposed removing the very definition of net neutrality and allowing differential charging for services, according to preparatory documents for the meeting.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Windows tablets available for under $100 [PCWorld]

    For those who want Windows on the cheap, tablets with the OS are now selling for under $100. These lightweight tablets aren’t exactly laptop replacements, but can serve as complementary devices for those who use Windows PCs.

    Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and E-FUN sell tablets under $100 that run a full version of Windows 8.1 and can run basic PC applications. These devices can be used to open Word documents, browse the Web, watch movies and play Xbox games. The devices also have Skype for videoconferencing and Internet Explorer 11.

    For Microsoft, these tablets are a way to compete with Android in the low-cost tablet market. Running on an Intel mobile processor, the tablets can deliver graphics to play casual games and watch 720p movies on Netflix. It is also possible to mirror tablet screens on larger displays through Miracast technology.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Use Uber? Snapchat? Google Maps? Now Twitter knows [PCWorld]

    Twitter, hungry for new data to fuel its targeted advertising, will start looking at what other apps its users have downloaded.

    Starting Wednesday, the company will begin collecting data on which other apps its users have on their iOS and Android smartphones. The data, Twitter says, will help it deliver better “tailored content” to its users. That’s sure to include ads, but maybe also better recommendations about whom to follow when users sign up, or more relevant first tweets in the feed, which could help Twitter hook people early.

    It’s strictly a list of the apps users have installed, Twitter says, not data pertaining to what people do inside those apps. So Twitter would know if you have a ride-hailing app, but it wouldn’t see your rides taken with the app.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Google Play Store cyber sale offers discounted apps, movies, music, and books [PCWorld]

    The Google Play Store is joining in on the cyber week sale madness, offering some tempting deals on a variety of digital content.

    Click over to the Play Store to scroll through everything that is up for grabs. Some of the best deals are on entertainment, with Academy Award winner Her available for $7 and zombie thriller World War Z for $6. When you buy them they’re added to your Google account, and can be watched through the Play Movies Android or web apps, or watched with an Android TV device. With a Chromecast you can beam them to your TV.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Opera pitches all-you-can-eat app stores to mobile operators [PCWorld]

    Opera Software thinks users are ready to subscribe to mobile apps just like music and is pitching curated versions of the company’s Mobile Store to operators.

    With the Opera Subscription Mobile Store, operators can create their own stores and users pay a weekly fee to download as many apps as they want. The shorter subscription length was chosen to let users dip in and out and to keep the cost down, said Jay Hinman, vice president for Operator Solutions at Opera.

    Taking inspiration from the success of the likes of Netflix and Spotify is a good way to try to differentiate a service. But competing with Apple and Google continues to be very difficult, and the all-you-can-eat model doesn’t take into account the popularity of in-app payments, according to Paolo Pescatore, director of multiplay and media at market research company CCS Insight.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Ubisoft apologizes for Assassin's Creed: Unity's borked launch with free DLC [PCWorld]

    Upset about the less-than-stellar technical quality of the bug-filled Assassin's Creed: Unity? Ubisoft's going to try and make it better by giving you more Assassin's Creed: Unity. Anyone who purchased the game will get the upcoming Dead Kings DLC add-on for free, while people who already purchased the game's season pass will get one of the following games for free: Far Cry 4, The Crew, Rayman Legends, Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, or Just Dance 2015.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Apple-IBM products in November? Not quite [PCWorld]

    IBM appears likely to launch the first products of its mobile partnership with Apple in December, a bit later than Apple CEO Tim Cook had predicted last month.

    The two companies joined forces in July to help enterprises mobilize their employees and applications. In the exclusive partnership, IBM plans to develop applications for specific industries that will run on Apple phones and tablets, which IBM will resell with its software pre-installed. IBM activation, management and security software are also involved in the deal. The partnership could give Apple the credibility it’s never quite achieved in IT departments and link IBM to a popular mobile ecosystem.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    PoS malware also targeting ticket vending machines and electronic kiosks [PCWorld]

    Cybercriminals are using malware designed to steal payment card information from point-of-sale systems to also infect ticket vending machines and electronic kiosks.

    Security researchers from cybercrime intelligence firm IntelCrawler found a new malware program called d4re|dev1|—hacker spelling for daredevil—that is capable of stealing information from multiple PoS systems including QuickBooks Point of Sale Multi-Store, OSIPOS Retail Management System, Harmony WinPOS and Figure Gemini POS.

    “This new strain of malware, which is hitting Mass Transit Systems, acts as an advanced backdoor with remote administration, having RAM scrapping and keylogging features,” the IntelCrawler researchers said Wednesday in a blog post.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Steam Exploration Sale means Black Friday's come early for PC gamers [PCWorld]

    Who needs Black Friday? Not PC gamers, that's for sure. As expected, Steam launched its Thanksgiving sale today, termed the "Steam Exploration Sale." The sale will run November 26 through December 2.

    Steam's Thanksgiving sale, like the Halloween sale last month, is typically just a stopgap between the larger Christmas and Summer sales. That doesn't mean it's devoid of good deals though, with brand new games like Civilization: Beyond Earth and The Evil Within selling for 30 and 66 percent off, respectively. Company of Heroes 2 is also 75 percent off, in case you're looking to snag the base game cheap in wake of the new Ardennes Assault expansion.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Oracle, Oregon tussle over whether federal court should hear Cover Oregon case [PCWorld]

    Oracle and the state of Oregon tussled in a U.S. district court last week over which legal venue will hear their dueling lawsuits related to the vendor’s work on the state’s failed health insurance exchange website, Cover Oregon.

    Oregon filed suit against Oracle in state court and then Oracle filed suit against Oregon in federal court. In the hearing last Friday, U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Judge Anna Brown rejected Oracle’s motion to consolidate the cases into one lawsuit to be tried in federal court, citing procedural issues, according to court documents.

    The state case didn’t include allegations of copyright infringement, she said. Oracle has since brought up the issue of copyright in the state case, but raised this issue after it requested that the legal proceedings be moved to federal court. The company will refile its motion to consolidate the cases in federal court, according to a report by the The Oregonian newspaper.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Europe wants Google to expand 'right to be forgotten' censorship to global search [PCWorld]

    Google should start applying the European Union’s “right to be forgotten” to its global, .com domain, European privacy regulators say.

    European data protection authorities in the so-called Article 29 Working Party (WP29) have compiled a set of guidelines detailing how search engines should apply a court ruling that gave Europeans the right to be forgotten by search engines. As of the May decision, EU citizens have the right to compel search engines to remove search results in Europe for queries that include their names if the results are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive.”

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    US lawmakers to Europe: Don't break up Google [PCWorld]

    U.S. lawmakers want their counterparts in the European Parliament to back away from a resolution that would split up Google by separating search engines from other online services.

    Thirteen U.S. lawmakers raised concerns about the resolution, which calls for search engines to be unbundled from online services, in two letters sent to Parliament leaders on Tuesday. The European Parliament may vote Thursday on the resolution calling on the European Commission to separate search engines from other commercial services as one way to solve competition complaints about Google.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Skype finally adds picture-in-picture video chat for Android phones [PCWorld]

    Next time you take a Skype call on your Android phone, you can banish the video chat window to the corner of your screen and move on to something way more interesting. It's perfect for chats with annoying relatives!

    This picture-in-picture feature already exists on Android tablets, but Microsoft is now bringing it to phones in its latest update to the Skype app. Via the update, you can also format text in your instant messages, and finally receive photos sent from iPhone Skype users. The update also includes the obligatory bug fixes that typically accompany a version bump. There are a few other small details, which you can discover in the full changelog at the Google Play Store.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Sony's next smartwatch may have a wrap-around e-paper screen [PCWorld]

    Sony is reportedly planning a smartwatch with a wrap-around e-paper screen next year, as part of an experimental program to create more innovative products.

    According to Bloomberg, the entire surface of the watch will be covered in electronic paper, using a patented material. This could allow users to change the appearance of both the band and the watch face, and display information on different parts of the band. While there's no word on what features the watch will include, the emphasis will reportedly be on form over function.

    The watch may be part of a larger effort by Sony to find sparks of creativity within its walls. As Bloomberg points out, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai created a new “business creation” division earlier this year, aimed at funding and fast-tracking fresh ideas from Sony engineers. The program has several components, including one in which Sony employees can pitch their ideas to the company or to an outside expert panel in hopes of getting venture financing.

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    New tool catches surveillance malware masquerading as legitimate bookmark manager [PCWorld]

    A variant of the Remote Control System (RCS) malware developed by an Italian company called Hacking Team is masquerading as a bookmark management application called Linkman, according to the main developer of a new malware scanning tool.

    The Detekt tool, launched last week to help users scan their computers for commercial spyware used by governments, has already led to the discovery of previously unknown malware variants, according to security researcher Claudio Guarnieri, who led development for the security app.

    RCS is sold to law enforcement and other government agencies around the world as a tool for legitimate computer surveillance. Hacking Team claims that it screens its customers, but independent reports suggest that the tool has been used in countries where human rights are poorly protected.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Mozilla spruces up the Firefox search experience as Yahoo moves in [PCWorld]

    Not only does Mozilla have a new default search partner for Firefox, the open source browser is getting a snazzy new search experience to boot. Mozilla calls the new experience a “one-click search” that allows you to type in a search term and then quickly specify which site you’d like to search using that term.

    Earlier in November, Mozilla tipped that a “new, enhanced” search experience was coming when the Firefox maker announced its new partnership with Yahoo. Yahoo is set to become the new default search provider in December. Mozilla did not say when the new search experience would roll out, but presumably it will happen next month.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Audio snobs rejoice: Windows 10 will have system-wide FLAC support [PCWorld]

    Windows 10 will make it easier for audiophiles to enjoy lossless music, with support for the popular FLAC format across all modern and desktop programs.

    Microsoft’s Gabriel Aul revealed the plans for FLAC support on Twitter, with a screenshot of FLAC files loaded in Windows Media Player. He then clarified that this is platform-level support, so any modern or Win32 application will be able to handle the format.


    Aul’s screenshot of FLAC files in Windows Media Player.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    How to skip the Black Friday crowds and still find great deals online [PCWorld]

    Sometimes the biggest pain with a new PC is simply buying it, especially if you’re eyeing one of those Black Friday deals set to go live next week. Thanksgiving weekend can be a great time for deals, but it’s also notorious for massive crowds and long waits.

    This year, try something new. Instead of leaving your Thanksgiving dinner and the warmth of family and friends behind, fire up your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and shop for deals online.

    Sure, you might miss out on some jaw-dropping doorbuster deals that are in-store only. But here’s the truth about doorbusters: Most stores stock precious few of those amazing doorbuster deals, making your chances of grabbing that $200 laptop slim anyway. 

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Amazon Fire Phone price plunges to $199 unsubsidized after smoldering start [PCWorld]

    Amazon is dropping the price of the Fire Phone again, at least for a limited time. The online retailer is now selling its debut smartphone for just $199, unlocked and contract free. As before, Amazon also includes a free, one-year Prime membership with every purchase. The latest sale follows a price drop in September when Amazon sold the device for $0.99 on a two-year contract, or $449 unlocked.

    The story behind the story: Amazon has struggled to convince people to give the Fire Phone a shot—so much so that the company was forced to take a $170 million writedown in October due to poor sales. The hope is that a deep price cut in time for the holidays will entice more people to pick-up the ultra-cheap phone. Amazon's devices chief, David Limp, told Fortune that the company's September price cut had boosted Fire Phone sales. Perhaps an even deeper cut, coupled with the attraction of a contract-free phone, will do the trick.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Microsoft's giving 100 insanely good music albums away for free, selling box sets for $2 [PCWorld]

    It’s not quite Christmas yet, but Microsoft’s kicking off the season of giving with an insanely generous offer from Xbox Music and its Music Deals companion app. Make that offers: The company’s giving away 100 full-length albums for free and 50 additional multi-album box sets for just $2 through the weekend. (Update: Folks on Twitter and Facebook tell me this is a U.S.-only deal.)

    These aren’t garbage throwaway albums nobody’s hear of before, either—they’re music that people actually want. Here’s a small selection of the free albums:

    • Night Visions by Imagine Dragons
    • The Joshua Tree by U2
    • Let it Bleed by The Rolling Stones
    • 808s and Heartbreak by Kanye West
    • Catch a Fire by Bob Marley
    • Born to Die – The Paradise Edition by Lana Del Ray
    • Quadrophenia by The Who
    • Unplugged by Eric Clapton
    • Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne
    • Sublime by Sublime

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are no duds here, nor any strings—the albums are free as in beer free aside from the need for a Microsoft account. Once you’ve claimed them, they’re permanently added to your Xbox Music cloud account for anywhere, everywhere streaming. Even better, you can download MP3s of the music anytime you’d like.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    EU sees harmonizing telecoms and online content rules key to €315B economic growth plan [PCWorld]

    Removing regulatory barriers in the European Union’s telecommunications, e-commerce and digital media markets is one of the European Commission’s top priorities in a €315 billion investment plan that aims to boost jobs and growth in Europe.

    Regulatory areas under review include data protection, telecommunications, copyright and online consumer protection.

    The plan must help boost the European economy and stimulate investments, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday.

    “While investment is taking off in the U.S., Europe is lagging behind. Why? Because investors lack confidence, credibility and trust,” he said.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    UK network BT mulls mobile return to fuel quad-play competition [PCWorld]

    U.K. consumers are likely to benefit from cheaper communications bundles as British Telecom plots its return to the mobile market and Vodafone plans to add TV and fixed broadband services

    The U.K. market is one of the worlds competitive markets for mobile services, which has been very good for consumers. But when it comes to aggressively priced quadruple-play bundles of mobile, fixed broadband, telephony and TV it trails many other European countries, according to Kester Mann, principal analyst at CCS Insight.

    “Countries like France and Spain are certainly much more developed,” he said.

    But that looks like it will change next year, and consumers will once again be the winners.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Microsoft fingered as company forced to pay $136M in back taxes in China [PCWorld]

    Microsoft may be have been targeted in a Chinese government crackdown on tax evasion, at a time when the company is already facing an anti-monopoly probe related to Windows and Microsoft Office sales in the country.

    China’s state-controlled Xinhua News Agency said on Sunday that an unnamed international company was forced to pay 840 million yuan (US$136 million) in back taxes, as part of the crackdown.

    The Xinhua article simply referred to it as the “M company,” describing it as a top 500 global firm headquartered in the U.S. that in 1995 set up a wholly owned foreign subsidiary in Beijing. The details match Microsoft’s own background, and no other company obviously fits the bill.

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    Breaking up is hard to do, but HP won't look back [PCWorld]

    Breaking up Hewlett-Packard is “totally the right thing to do for this company,” CEO Meg Whitman said Tuesday, after HP reported declines in revenue and profit for the last quarter.

    “We’re going to make more progress as separate companies than as two companies together,” Whitman told financial analysts on a conference call.

    But it’s a monumental task—“the biggest separation that’s ever been done,” according to Whitman.

    And it’s not a typical break-up, where a company spins off a small part of its business. Each of the new HPs will be a behemoth in its own right, with about $57 billion in revenue.

    HP announced last month that it will divide itself in two by around this time next year. One company, HP Inc., will sell its printers and PCs, while the other, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, will sell its data center products and services.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Adobe tries fixing Flash again after malware exploits already patched vulnerability [PCWorld]

    Adobe released an emergency patch on Tuesday to fix a Flash Player vulnerability that was fixed last month but was quickly exploited again.

    The company had issued a patch for the flaw, called CVE-2104-8439, but attackers soon found a way around that fix.

    The latest update to Flash adds a “mitigation” for CVE-2104-8439, a vulnerability that could lead to the installation of malware.

    The latest version for Windows and Apple’s Mac OS is, and the latest for Linux is Flash Player for Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browsers should automatically update, but the update also can be installed manually from Adobe.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Verizon offers free Wi-Fi, mobile data, and more to weary Thanksgiving travelers [PCWorld]

    Verizon appears to be taking a page out of Google’s playbook by handing out free digital treats that can make your holiday trip on the busiest travel day of the year less painful. The mobile carrier has paired with numerous partners to declare the day before Thanksgiving (Wednesday, November 26) “Connection Day” in the U.S. 

    Verizon’s first big giveaway is free Wi-Fi in partnership with Boingo, Gogo, and Jet Blue. If you’re on a Jet Blue flight you can get a free Wi-Fi session between November 24 and December 24, while Boingo and Gogo are each offering one-time 30 minute free Wi-Fi sessions on the 26th—in airports and in-flight, respectively.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    YouTube Music Key is a solid start, but needs more polish to win subscribers [PCWorld]

    It's a good add-on if you're a Google Play Music subscriber, nixing those annoying ads and enabling offline video playing.

    Kraken to help probe missing bitcoins in MtGox liquidation [PCWorld]

    Bitcoin exchange Kraken will help probe missing bitcoins as part of the liquidation of MtGox, once the world’s largest trading place for the digital currency.

    San Francisco-based Payward, which operates Kraken, will also assist in processing, investigating and paying out the claims of MtGox customers who lost bitcoins in the company’s Feb. 28 collapse, bankruptcy trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi told a meeting of creditors in Tokyo on Wednesday.

    The move was approved by the Tokyo District Court, which is overseeing the liquidation of MtGox. It comes amid Kobayashi’s attempts to unravel the complex mess of what went wrong at the company and what happened to its assets.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Samsung Gear S review: Bigger and badder, but not in a good way [PCWorld]

    As soon as I strapped the Samsung Gear S smartwatch to my wrist, I knew we had a problem.

    The Gear S is by far the largest smartwatch I’ve ever worn, and it looks ridiculous. Granted, I’m a scrawny dude, but I’ve never been this anxious about sporting a smartwatch in public—not even when wearing the bulbous Moto 360, which at least paired well with business attire. The Gear S doesn’t look good with anything, except for maybe an elaborate space-age costume.

    I mention this right off the bat because every smartwatch needs to pass a basic fashion litmus test. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing it in front of people, it’s a non-starter no matter how useful it is. The Samsung Gear S failed my litmus test, and it’s not even that useful.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Sound Blaster X7 review: Audiophile performance without the audiophile price [PCWorld]

    The sound card is pretty much dead, but the high-end PC audio market is thriving. Most of the action is in USB DACs coupled with headphone amps, and Creative’s new Sound Blaster X7 can fill that role. But this device can do much more, and its application isn’t limited to personal computers. This Sound Blaster can also be used with gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets, DVD players… just about anything with an audio input or output.

    The Sound Blaster X7 an affordable audio powerhouse with just two intertwined shortcomings: There’s no HDMI in or out, so there’s no support for high-resolution movie soundtracks on Blu-ray discs.

    The SB X7 has an integrated Texas Instruments TPA3116D2 Class D digital amplifier that can drive a pair of either 4- or 8-ohm speakers. Flip a switch on the back panel to correspond to the speakers you’re connecting to it. Gold-plated binding posts support bare-wire, spade, or banana-plug connections.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

    Dr. Schumer’s weak, retrospective prescription [Power Line]

    (Paul Mirengoff)

    Chuck Schumer has caused a bit of a stir by stating that the Democrats erred in pushing through Obamacare. “Unfortunately,” said Schumer “Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them [in the 2008 election]. We took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem — health care reform.”

    According to Schumer, Democrats should have focused on aiding the middle class in order to build confidence among voters before turning to revamping the health-care system. He also claims that he opposed the timing of the health-care vote and was overruled by other party members.

    From a purely political standpoint, Schumer is correct. The Democrats would be better off today if they had eschewed comprehensive health insurance reform and had, in Clintonesque fashion, “focused like a laser on the economy.”

    Schumer’s take is superficial, though. First, from a policy standpoint, it is foolish to suppose that the big government policies the Democrats might have pursued in the absence of the Obamacare fight would, in fact, have improved the economy or otherwise aided the middle class.

    Second, there is no reason to believe that the Democrats could have “turned to revamping the health-care system” after addressing so-called middle class issues. The window on enacting Obamacare-style reform was rapidly closing. Had the Democrats not barely squeezed through it in early 2010, the opportunity would have been lost.

    Finally, neither President Obama nor the Democratic base wanted a repeat of the Clinton presidency. Obama has stated as much.

    The Democrats wanted to do big, transformatiive things. Obamacare is a big, transformative thing.

    In Schumer’s alternative universe, the Democrats likely would have suffered big losses in 2010, as they did under Clinton in 1994. No magic “middle class” economic reform could have boosted the economy to a level that would have satisfied voters. Electoral defeat in 2010 would have meant, as it did in the real universe, an end to liberal legislative reform even if Democratic losses in 2014 had been minimal or non-existent.

    Eight years with no major legislative accomplishments to point to would have left the Democrats in bad shape for 2016 — quite possibly in worse shape than they will be in having enacted Obamacare. The displeasure of the party’s base would have exceeded that which existed in 2000, when Al Gore’s candidacy was undermined by apathy and the challenge of Ralph Nader from the left.

    It may be, however, that in Schumer’s scenario the Dems would have held the Senate in 2014. Schumer is all about power, not principle. So it’s natural that he would have been happier with a Clinton-lite presidency.

    #Shirtgate explained [Power Line]

    (Scott Johnson)

    The feminist establishment has gone completely around the bend. I’m not sure when it happened.; I doubt it is a recent development. In her prescient 1972 book The New Chastity and Other Arguments Against Liberation, Midge Decter examined the first-generation literature of feminism and found it rotten at the core, if not rotten to the core. I haven’t kept up with the literature. My impression, however, is that the movement has descended into totalitarian madness. As in the whole “rape culture” brouhaha, it’s just another branch of liberal fascism.

    Christina Hoff Sommers has long sought to make feminism safe for the sane. She now does so online at YouTube in her series The Factual Feminist. In the latest installment, she sheds light on the dark corners of “#Shirtgate” (subtitle: “Feminist heckles heard from outer space”) and the disputed question of sexism in the sciences (video below).

    Via Claudia Anderson/Weekly Standard.

    The Telos of the Liberal Mind? [Power Line]

    (Steven Hayward)

    Remember the old joke from the 1960s about the liberal cleric who told his congregation that he had been mugged, but that he sympathized with his mugger, because injustice, etc. . . Whereupon an elderly lady in the back of the pews mutters loudly, “Mug him again.”

    The joke has come to life in Georgetown, where a student who was recently mugged at gunpoint has written an article justifying the muggers because of his privilege. I’d suspect this of being a grand punk job, but I think the student, Oliver Friedfeld, actually means it:

    Last weekend, my housemate and I were mugged at gunpoint while walking home from Dupont Circle. The entire incident lasted under a minute, as I was forced to the floor, handed over my phone and was patted down.

    And yet, when a reporter asked whether I was surprised that this happened in Georgetown, I immediately answered: “Not at all.” It was so clear to me that we live in the most privileged neighborhood within a city that has historically been, and continues to be, harshly unequal. While we aren’t often confronted by this stark reality west of Rock Creek Park, the economic inequality is very real. . .

    What has been most startling to me, even more so than the incident itself, have been the reactions I’ve gotten. I kept hearing “thugs,” “criminals” and “bad people.” While I understand why one might jump to that conclusion, I don’t think this is fair.

    Not once did I consider our attackers to be “bad people.” I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me. In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay. They wanted my stuff, not me. While I don’t know what exactly they needed the money for, I do know that I’ve never once had to think about going out on a Saturday night to mug people. I had never before seen a gun, let alone known where to get one. The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine. . .

    Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as “thugs?” It’s precisely this kind of “otherization” that fuels the problem. . .

    The millennial generation is taking over the reins of the world, and thus we are presented with a wonderful opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past. As young people, we need to devote real energy to solving what are collective challenges. Until we do so, we should get comfortable with sporadic muggings and break-ins.

    I wonder where Mr. Friedfeld would draw the line? Murder, perhaps? His own, I wonder? What if the muggings and break-ins became less “sporadic,” like New York city in the 1970s. Way back in the late 1960s Daniel Patrick Moynihan wondered whether the nihilism becoming more apparent on the left day by way was “the telos of modern liberalism.” I think we see the answer in this story.

    Postscript: The article says Friedfeld is a student in Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. He seems a perfect fit for the State Department. (The comments, by the way, are overwhelmingly savage. Hope, after all.)

    Those damn Minnesotans [Power Line]

    (Scott Johnson)

    When you read that men from Minnesota have been indicted for aiding the Islamic State — as in the Hill headline “Two Minnesota men charged with aiding ISIS,” or in the Star Tribune headline “2 Minneapolis men charged with attempting to aid terrorists,” or in the local FOX News affiliate headline “2 Minnesota men charged with ISIS support” — you can be pretty sure that we’re talking about first or second generation Somali immigrants to Minnesota who have yet to adjust their loyalties to the United States.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say it has something to do with the (imperfectly understood, of course) Islamic faith of our fellow “Minnesotans.” It’s almost enough to make you rethink the continuing flow of immigration supported by our insane 1965 immigration law and the reigning cliches about the beauties of “diversity.” Almost.

    President Obama welded the case for continuing (and increasing) the immigration flow to anti-American fatuity in Chicago yesterday. Neil Munro reports on Obama’s Chicago speech here.

    According to Obama, Americans don’t have the right to exclude anyone in particular (“those folks,” as he put it) from the United States. In connection with Obama’s speech, we might want to meditate on the phenomenon of the stream of “Minnesota men” making the headlines.

    The IRS Scandal Rears Its Head [Power Line]

    (John Hinderaker)

    The Obama Administration’s IRS scandal is multi-faceted. In addition to the persecution of conservative non-profits by Lois Lerner et al., the question has been percolating for some years whether Obama’s IRS has transferred confidential taxpayer information to Obama’s White House in violation of federal criminal laws. The issue first arose when Austin Goolsbee of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers told reporters that he had information about Koch Industries that could only have come, illegally, from confidential IRS files. When questions were asked, the administration immediately clammed up.

    Years later, the judicial system may be poised to expose another layer of Obama corruption. A group called Cause of Action began a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of the Treasury, and for several years, your taxpayer dollars have funded the administration’s cover-up.

    But nothing lasts forever, and a federal court in Washington, D.C. has finally overruled the Treasury Department’s frivolous objections, and ordered Treasury to respond to Cause of Action’s request for documents. That request relates to the Department’s Inspector General’s investigation–which began a long time ago, and probably has long been concluded–and asks for “[a]ll documents pertaining to any investigation by [TIGTA] into the unauthorized disclosure of [26 U.S.C.] §6103 ‘return information’ to anyone in the Executive Office of the President.”

    That is an extraordinarily narrow request for documents which, one would think, could have been responded to in a few hours. But the administration’s evasion has gone on for years. Now that the court has ordered the administration to respond, its lawyers have asked for more time. The Treasury Department’s lawyers wrote Cause of Action’s counsel an email that reads in part:

    My client wants to know if you would consent to a motion pushing back (in part) TIGTA’s response date by two weeks to December 15, 2014. The agency has located 2,500 potentially responsive documents and anticipates being able to finish processing 2,000 of these pages by the December 1 date. It needs the additional two weeks to deal with the last 500 pages to determine if they are responsive and make any necessary withholdings. We would therefore like to ask the court to permit the agency to issue a response (including production) on December 1 as to any documents it has completed processing by that date, and do the same as to the remaining documents by December 15.

    So the Obama administration has identified 2,500 documents relating to its investigation of illegal transfers of information from the IRS to the White House. That is a news flash, obviously. But what follows is laughable. The government, with all its resources, needs two weeks to deal with a lousy 500 documents? The numbers here are risibly small. In litigation, we typically count documents to be produced in the millions, not the hundreds. A competent lawyer or paralegal can get through 500 documents in a few hours at most.

    What does this tell us? 1) Based on Mr. Goolsbee’s comments several years ago, there is every reason to believe that Barack Obama’s White House has illegally received confidential taxpayer information from the IRS. 2) Confronted by a lawsuit, the Obama administration, instead of responding forthrightly, has danced around the issue for years and erected every possible procedural barrier. 3) When finally brought to heel by a court, the administration asks for a ridiculously long period of time to produce a tiny number of documents on its own investigation of criminal behavior by the IRS and the White House. If Barack Obama wanted the results of the investigation to become public, he could order it, and we would have the relevant data in 15 minutes. But secrecy is the watchword of the Obama administration.

    Koch Industries asked for the results of the Treasury Department’s investigation long ago, but was told that it would be illegal for the Obama administration to provide such information. Why? Because by doing so, they might reveal confidential taxpayer information about…Koch Industries!

    This particular story is farce, not tragedy. It will wend its absurd way through the court system for years to come, probably arriving at no conclusion until the scofflaw Obama administration is safely out of office. In the meantime, federal criminal laws governing the privacy of IRS data, like the criminal laws generally, are a source of hilarity among Democrats. Democrat cronies sip Scotch and light cigars–I hope not with $100 bills–laughing at the rest of us who work to pay the taxes that support them in the luxury to which they have happily become accustomed. I have always thought that the term “ruling class” was ridiculous as applied to the United States, but the Obama administration is causing me to re-think that view.

    How many members of the Nixon administration ultimately went to jail? I think no more than five or ten. The Obama administration has violated criminal statutes with an abandon that Nixon and his minions never dreamed of. An accounting remains; I think there are a considerable number of Obama minions and cronies who should be behind bars.

    Leadership? What Leadership? [Wizbang]

    “It will be an image that may endure beyond Barack Obama’s tenure,” writes James Oliphant about the above image. Meanwhile, Juan Williams asks, “Where is the black leadership now that a grand jury has decided not to indict the police officer that killed Michael Brown?” President Obama’s leadership didn’t do much (if any) good. Here is more from James Oliphant’s commentary about Obama’s response to Ferguson: As to whether Obama himself will travel to Ferguson to make another appeal for restraint, he was noncommittal. “Let’s take a look and see how things are going,” he said in response to a

    You Built This, Mr. President, Ferguson is all That is Wrong With Democrats [Wizbang]

    The pointless and illicit rioting in Ferguson, Missouri is a perfect example of all that is wrong with the Democrat Party, the unavoidable end game of that party’s actions, and proof of the illegitimacy of everything Democrats do to win elections. Democrats win elections by lying to blacks and telling them that they are still living in the 1930s where it concerns race relations in America. The Democrat Party lies to blacks telling them Jim Crow is still in force, that blacks have made no progress, that they are oppressed every day and all their personal failures are the fault

    New York Times Publishes Darren Wilson’s Address [Ed Driscoll]


    All the doxing that’s fit to print.

    “The Times “had no qualms whatsoever about publishing almost all the information needed for Officer Darren Wilson’s enemies to track him and his wife down at home,” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism, noting that “This malicious move by the New York Times has not gone unnoticed by Ferguson’s protesters,” as the International Business Times reports:

    But printing his street name in the nation’s most influential newspaper on the day the grand jury is expected to hand up a decision on the indictment could reignite interest in — and awareness of — the location, and some critics worry that it could result in protesters descending on his home. Slate even went a step further than the Times, publishing an article featuring a photo of the modest, red-brick house on Monday.

    A number of Twitter users — some of whom have identified themselves as planning to protest the grand jury decision — have tweeted the location of Wilson’s home as they gear up for rallies. The house number was not printed in the Times, but the street in the St. Louis suburb of Crestwood where it sits is only about two blocks long, and the house number can be easily located via online sources using only the street name and Wilson’s name.

    As John adds, “The media is evil,” but Spike Lee certainly approves their methods. As does CNN, which aired George Zimmerman’s address, social security and phone numbers last year.

    Nolte’s just getting started though. Read his whole post for a round-up on some of the MSM’s worst moments so far.

    Yes, old media’s hit bottom, but they’ll keep digging — and it will get worse. And of course, as always, the MSM will accept no blame for its actions:

    Update via Twitchy, which rounds up reaction to the Times publishing Wilson’s address:

    Update: Again, no link, but Slate, formerly owned by the Washington Post, has published a photo of Wilson’s house to help make things as easy as possible for rioters and vandals.

    More: Great observation by Iowahawk. Remember, this was the media — starting with the Times’ own Paul Krugman — that wet themselves in January of 2011 trying to make Sarah Palin’s clip art magically lead directly to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords. But they think nothing of running Darren Wilson’s address.

    All of which is why Roger L. Simon includes the Times on his list of the Ferguson Hall of Shame. It looks like you’re going to need a bigger blog, Roger, at the rate the MSM is going. (I won’t hold my breath waiting for Krugman to condemn his own paper’s eliminationist rhetoric tomorrow.)

    Student Mugged, Says He Deserved It Because of His ‘Privilege’ [Ed Driscoll]

    Not the Onion, apparently. Actually, it’s from the Campus Reform education blog:

    Senior Oliver Friedfeld and his roommate were held at gunpoint and mugged recently. However, the GU student isn’t upset. In fact he says he “can hardly blame [his muggers].”

    “Not once did I consider our attackers to be ‘bad people.’ I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me. In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay,” wrote Friedfeld in an editorial featured in The Hoya, the university’s newspaper. “The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine.”

    Friedfeld claims it is the pronounced inequality gap in Washington, D.C. that has fueled these types of crimes. He also says that as a middle-class man, he does not have the right to judge his muggers.

    “Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as ‘thugs?’” asks Friedfeld. “It’s precisely this kind of ‘otherization’ that fuels the problem.”

    Who are you? Well, you’re an inadvertent clone of Robert Fisk, the leftwing British journalist and namesake of the popular Blogosphere technique of fisking, who famously wrote after being attacked while covering the war in Afghanistan in late 2001, “My Beating is a Symbol of this Filthy War.” Fisk added, “In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.” Or shorter Fisk: “I totally had it coming.”

    Not mention the second coming of a zillion effete doctrinaire Manhattan liberals from the bad old days of the 1970s. Or as Jonah Goldberg noted in his August G-File on “Ferguson Agonistes”:

    I grew up in New York City in the 1970s, when race riots were a thing — though not as much of a thing as they were in the 1960s. And that’s part of the problem. In the 1960s, you could see the point of race riots (though less so in the North where they were quite common). But by the 1970s, liberals had incorporated race riots into their mythology as noble “happenings” even though the romance of rebellion had lost its plausibility. And by the 1980s, tragedy had been fully swamped by farce. It is an axiomatic truth going back to Socrates: Nothing can be wholly noble if Al Sharpton is involved. Nonetheless, it was amazing to watch New York liberals act like battered spouses as they tried to explain why blacks are right to loot while at the same time they shouldn’t do it.

    To mash-up George Santayana and Irving Kristol, a leftist is someone who refuses to learn from history, and is thus doomed to get mugged by it, but refuses to press charges afterwards.


    Related: MSNBC analyst finds the word “charging” to be — wait for it! — “‘racially-tinged’ and ‘offensive.’”

    Tin Foil Trickett Strikes AgainLoony Ed Adviser’s Latest Conspiracy Wheeze [Guy Fawkes' blog]

    Ed Miliband’s new political adviser is in Norman Baker territory with this latest conspiracy theory. Jon Trickett reckons he can explain the lack of press coverage for the  prosaic #CameronMustGo campaign, which was started by an internet loony who claims the Tories are Nazis, and shared by dozens of simpleton Labour MPs. “The official media suppressed any comment,” tin foil Trickett claims, “you won’t have seen anything about it in the mainstream media”. (It’s been covered by the BBC.)

    Could it be that Labour supporters tweeting that they don’t like David Cameron is not really that interesting? No, says Trickett, “the press barons and their hired hands fear that their power to control the flow of opinion and information is, daily, slipping away from their hands”. Tell that to the barons at the top of the Daily Mail Group and Telegraph Media Group. Papers owned by both have covered the ‘story’.

    Tagged: Labour, Loony Left, Media Guido, Spin, Twitter, Twittery

    Labour Marginals Lead 8% [Guy Fawkes' blog]

    marginals comres

    Labour appear to be holding on to their lead in 40 key marginals…

    UPDATE: Full tables.

    Tagged: Polls

    Thornberry Silences Father-in-Law [Guy Fawkes' blog]

    Emily Thornberry has silenced her eminent father-in-law from speaking out to the press about Ed Miliband and the White Van Dan row. After Edward Nugee was contacted by a diarist from the Daily Mail, Thornberry called the paper back threatening to report them to IPSO and claiming that her husband’s old man was non compos mentis.

    For some context ‘Ted’ Nugee remains a practising QC and recently wrote at length to the Times about the legal intricacies concerning sanctions on Russia. But according to a raging Thornberry, the octogenarian was confused because he’s sick and ailing.

    When the journalist then phoned Sir Ted to apologise, the QC denied anything of the sort and said he was jolly cross at the suggestion. In fact Nugee Sr. later apologised to the journalist in question for causing them any trouble.

    Guido has, to coin a phrase, “never seen anything like it before“.

    Tagged: Daily Mail, IPSO, Labour, M'Learned Friend, Media Guido

    Who Is Tony Blair Trying to Kid? [Guy Fawkes' blog]

    Tony Blair, November 2014:

    “And it was perfectly clear when it was taking shape in the late 1990s that countries were being pulled into it altogether on the basis of political will and that was always going to be risky.”

    Tony Blair, June 1998:

    “The decision to launch the single currency is the first step and marks the turning point for Europe, marks stability and growth and is crucial to high levels of growth and employment.”

    Why bother?

    Tagged: EU, Euro, Labour, Spin, Tony Blair

    PMQs SKETCH: E.D. Phone Home! [Guy Fawkes' blog]

    gallery_guido (2)

    Good old Brooks Newmark, he hath done the sketch some service.

    On a question about the inner workings of the penile system and afflictions of the testicles there he was, lounging behind the questioner in his paisley-coloured dreamland. He’s certainly in touch. He definitely gets it.

    Unlike – oh how very unlike – our friend who speaks for the Labour Party on these occasions.

    Ed Miliband brought his finger to the fore. Long and odd, as you’d expect in an alien. It’s an open secret, isn’t it? The Labour leader is not of this world. He belongs in the basket of a little boy’s bicycle. We’re all waiting – I mean literally everyone is waiting – for the Miliband  fingertip to light up and for him to croak, “Home!” Oh, the relief in his party on that joyful day.

    For his weekly turn, Ed let out six fluent streams of static, six bursts of passionate telemetry. It’s a language Geiger counters understand well.

    Decoded, it appears he wants us to believe that the NHS in crisis. Which it may very well be.  Cameron’s complete answer consists of: 1) Labour wanted to cut its funding. And 2) The country needs to make the money before it can be spent on health.

    That is the only answer necessary and one he gives every week. For all his other-worldly intelligence, Miliband hasn’t found a way round or through it.

    Labour claims to be listening to the electorate. The one thing we know – polls, phone-ins and doorsteps all agree – is that Britain doesn’t want Ed Miliband as prime minister.

    If Labour were actually listening they’d send him home before the election.

    And they still might.

    The Emily Affair won’t be the last incident of its kind, now that the narrative is established. Nadhim Zahawi, a magnificently Othello-looking MP representing Shakespeare on Avon gave a patriotic tribute to the man in the white van. Where would we be without his sceptre’d excellence. He brings me my caviar! He brings hay for my horses!

    The cheering and shouting, the baying and lowing went unchallenged by the Speaker. Labour’s front bench remained above the hurly-burly in aristocratic aloofness. They were thinking: “Bought his own furniture.”

    Jamie Reed from Labour popped up to say when he saw a white van his only thought was – was it his father or brother driving it. Much good humoured laughter.

    If only we could see the face behind Harriet’s outer face.

    This is NOT what is meant by diversity.

    Mark Reckless got a late question. A sly-looking fellow sitting at the end of Labour’s front bench next to Speaker’s pet Thomas Docherty and the Welsh wet patch that is Huw Davis. He looked alone and out of place, as defectors do. I wonder if anyone actually wants to join him?

    The noise was important. Sources inside the chamber say it was constant, relentless. Conversational groups chattered, outbreaks of laughter, heckling, cheering, jeering.

    The Speaker has discerned the antipathy underlying the disrespect and bides his time.

    Speaker Watch floats this theory and makes a prediction. Bercow will survive his current difficulties, and be reinstalled after the election. He will seek to stay on through the next parliament and half way through the following one, to supervise the five-year absence from the Commons (the building works absence). He will use the transitional confusion to try to impose a new seating system for the temporary parliament – a continental-style arrangement with everyone at their desk. Much easier for a Speaker to control.

    “To reform and improve and modernise the Commons we had to destroy it.”

    Ah well, MPs have only themselves to blame.

    Tagged: Gallery Guido, PMQs, Speaker Watch

    Sun Victory in Court [Guy Fawkes' blog]

    Andrew Mitchell libel verdict expected tomorrow…

    UPDATE: Hartley’s husband speaks:

    Tagged: Crime, Media Guido, Sun

    Nadhim Zahawi PMQs Musical Special: “This Blessed Plot, This Earth, This Realm, This England!” [Guy Fawkes' blog]

    Guido felt it was only right to put Nadhim Zahawi’s PMQ to music:

    “When I see a white van, Mr Speaker, I think of the small business owner who works long hours to put food on the family table. 

    When I see the cross of St. George, I think of the words of my constituent William Shakespeare: This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England!

    Will my Rt. Hon friend agree with me that we shouldn’t sneer at people who work hard, who are patriotic, and who love their country?”

    A stirring speech to rival Dave’s “Love Actually” moment

    Tagged: GuyNews.TV, Tories

    Green Surge Potential [Guy Fawkes' blog]


    Sadiq Khan has been tasked with running Labour’s new anti-Green attack unit, because Labour’s strategists increasingly fear that the Greens could become the UKIP of the left. The Greens are now regularly out-polling the LibDems and beat them in the Rochester and Strood by-election. The party itself is now predicting a “Green Spring” next year, this YouGov poll shows the potential for the Greens, their vote would soar if only voters thought they could win. YouGov asked “If candidates from the following parties were standing in your constituency and had a chance of winning, how likely would you be to vote for them?” In those circumstances the Greens would surge to 26% ahead of UKIP on 24%, the LibDems would rise to only 16%.

    So how could that happen? Perhaps if the likes of Russell Brand and Owen Jones – who is openly despondent about Miliband – were to shift allegiances to the only party which is idealistically left-wing and polling well, it could happen. Millions of idealistic impressionable younger voters are entirely uninspired by Ed Miliband. Owen might just get that “UKIP of the left” he wants…

    Tagged: Evidence Based Blogging, Green Party, UKIP

    New Daily Politics Mug: Thornberry Edition [Guy Fawkes' blog]

    Guido has never seen anything like it.

    Tagged: Daily Politics, Labour, Media Guido

    Quote of the Day [Guy Fawkes' blog]

    Tony Blair threatens Ed:

    “If you had a strong political lead that was combining the politics of aspiration with the politics of compassion, I still think that’s where you could get a substantial majority…  If I ever do an interview on [the state of the Labour Party], it will have to be at length…”

    Tagged: Blair, Quote of the Day

    PMQs LIVE: Who Is Asking the Questions Today [Guy Fawkes' blog]


    Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

    Q1 Albert Owen (Ynys Môn)

    Q2 Ian Murray (Edinburgh South) 

    Q3 Sir Oliver Heald (North East Hertfordshire)

    Q4 Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham) 

    Q5 Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) 

    Q6 Annette Brooke (Mid Dorset and North Poole) 

    Q7 Norman Baker (Lewes) 

    Q8 Nadhim Zahawi (Stratford-on-Avon) 

    Q9 Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) 

    Q10 Andrew Rosindell (Romford) 

    Q11 Karl Turner (Kingston upon Hull East)

    Q12 Mark Menzies (Fylde) 

    Q13 Mr Jamie Reed (Copeland)

    Q14 Mr Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) 

    Comments in the comments please…

    Tagged: PMQs

    UN Special Envoy Slams Miliband’s Mansion Tax [Guy Fawkes' blog]

    United Nations Special Envoy and High Commissioner of the UNHCR, Angelina Jolie, has voiced her concerns about Ed Miliband’s mansion tax:

    “I’m quite responsible about money. That could put me off [moving to London].”

    Wonder who could have put her up to that…

    Clip via Channel 4 News.

    Tagged: Cash, Labour, Miliband, Tax, Totty Watch

    Thornberry Having “Big Effect” on Labour Doorstep [Guy Fawkes' blog]

    Labour are spinning hard that this week’s polls showing the party up to five points ahead prove the Thornberry saga has not cut through to the public. That’s not what one slightly more honest Labour MP told Guido last night:

    “It’s had a big effect. I was knocking on doors this weekend and people were telling me, “I’m not going to vote for you. Ed Miliband doesn’t care about the working classes and the Labour Party don’t care about the working classes.” That’s Thornberry.”

    No wonder her colleagues in marginal seats are queueing up to twist the knife…

    Tagged: Labour, Spin

    Obama Warned Us – Something Is Coming [IMAO]

    Funke’s health coverage isn’t in jeopardy, and she can afford it, too: http://ofa.bo/a1Zo


    “Why? Because millions of others can’t afford theirs now.”

    Send to Kindle

    Straight Line of the Day: Obama’s Next Executive Order… [IMAO]

    Works like this: I feed you Moon Nukers a straight line, and you hit me with a punch line in the comments.

    Obama’s next Executive Order..

    Send to Kindle

    Puzzle [IMAO]

    I was talking recently to a young man who had never had coffee, and he asked me what it tastes like.

    I pondered a moment and told him it tastes like suffering.

    But this led me to wonder… how *would* you describe the taste of coffee to someone who’s never had it?

    I’m thinking “a mixture of grapefruit juice, leather, and dirt”.

    Anyone else wanna take a whack at it, please do so in the comments.

    UPDATE: Tangentially related, Sheldon Comics is tackling the topic of coffee right now:



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    Back to New Normal [IMAO]

    I’m finally getting settled in Austin in my new job, so starting next week, I’m going to try to get to regular blog posts again… and not just ones urging you to buy my book (or my next one).

    That said, have some of you not bought my book yet? If so, how can you look at your friends and family with the intense shame you have inside? You need to repent by buying lots of copies of my book (it’s the perfect stocking stuffer!).

    And here’s me talking to Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller. And next week (December 2nd), I’ll be on Dennis Miller’s radio show (thanks, Harvey). You may know him from playing a radio show host in Joe Dirt. He did such a good job at it, he went on to host a real radio show. Quite a story. Anyway, lucky it’s radio I talk to him on so you can’t see me constantly furrowing my brow at the references he throws at me. That interview is not to be missed.

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    Some Things Are Still Secure [IMAO]

    A new program lets law enforcement officials nationwide now have the ability to search multiple sensitive databases – including spy agency intranets and homeland security suspicious activity reporting – with a single login.

    However, they’re still not allowed to ask illegals about their immigration status.

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    Usually It’s a Moon on the Door [IMAO]

    [High Praise! to TONY_SPYRA]

    I think this rather aptly summarizes Obama’s immigration speech:

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    Big Savings [IMAO]

    Attorneys for the IRS told a federal court that they have not searched various “other sources” for the missing emails of Lois Lerner.

    Can’t blame ‘em for that. They’re just trying to save the expense of having to replace more crashed hard drives.

    Send to Kindle

    Obama’s Upgraded Wardrobe [IMAO]

    [High Praise! to Springeraz of Nuking Politcs]

    Send to Kindle

    Link of the Day: Coffee-stained Mess-terpiece [IMAO]

    [High Praise! to 4of7 of Little Worlds]

    2011 Kind’a Fresh – April

    [Think you have a link that’s IMAO-worthy? Send it to harvolson@gmail.com. If I use your link, you will receive High Praise! (assuming you remember to put your name in the email)]

    Send to Kindle

    Yes, Dear, I’m Listening [IMAO]

    President Obama declared to every American who voted in the elections “I hear you”.

    And it means just as much as when you say it to your wife while reading the paper.

    Send to Kindle

    Return to Bailout Nation [VodkaPundit]


    Are you ready and willing to bail out the unions?



    According to the recently released 2014 annual report from the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, the deficit in PBGC’s multiemployer program increased from $8.6 billion in 2013 to $42.4 billion in 2014.

    This massive deficit is problematic for the millions of workers who stand to receive mere pennies on the dollar in promised pension benefits.

    It’s also a problem for taxpayers, who could be charged with bailing out private-sector pensions that were never intended to be public liabilities.

    Both policymakers and the public have paid relatively little attention to the dire financial status of PBGC’s multiemployer program. This year’s report of a five-fold deficit increase may help expose an overlooked problem.

    Private rewards, socialized risk. See, we’re all in this together, but some are more together than others.

    Lies, Damned Lies, and ♡bamaCare!!! [VodkaPundit]

    Jon Gruber was telling the state of Wisconsin that premiums would spike under his pet law, at the exact same time his boss, whose signature adorns the unloved legislation, was promising the average American family would save $2,500 a year. Kelly Riddell has the story:

    Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist currently under fire for suggesting the Obama administration tried to deceive the public about the Affordable Care Act, was hired by former Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle in 2010 to conduct an analysis on how the federal health-care reform would impact the state.

    Mr. Gruber’s study predicted about 90 percent of individuals without employer-sponsored or public insurance would see their premiums spike by an average of 41 percent. Once tax subsidies were factored in, about 60 percent of those in the individual market were projected to see their premiums go up 31 percent, according to his analysis.

    The difference between Obama and Gruber is that you will occasionally get the truth out of Gruber.

    Sign “O” the Times [VodkaPundit]

    Meet Al Hunt, broken record:

    Democrats, to be sure, will keep stressing pay equity — appealing to female voters — and raising the minimum wage, which will be higher in Germany and the U.K. They will also press to expand the valuable earned income tax credit for the working poor. However, these measures only marginally affect wage stagnation and the lagging middle class.

    There are smart Democratic policy researchers who think about this a lot, including Alan Blinder and Alan Krueger, both Princeton University economists and former top Democratic officials.

    In general, their message for Democrats is to shift from a defensive posture as deficit reducers to become proactive advocates of stimulus measures, especially a major infrastructure initiative. A robust economy won’t end wage stagnation or income inequality, but it’s a step.

    Spending our way to prosperity is totally gonna work this time.

    I’m (Not) Batman [VodkaPundit]


    Christian Bale on learning that Ben Affleck would play Batman in the next Superman movie:

    “I’ve got to admit initially, even though I felt that it was the right time to stop, there was always a bit of me going, ‘Oh go on … Let’s do another,’” he told Empire magazine, according to Comic Book Movie.

    “So when I heard there was someone else doing it, there was a moment where I just stopped and stared into nothing for half an hour,” Bale added.

    “I’m 40,” he said. “The fact that I’m jealous of someone else playing Batman … I think I should have gotten over it by now.”

    I’m 45 and I’m jealous of them both.

    Hell, I’m jealous of Adam West.

    Who’s Next? [VodkaPundit]

    It’s a big week for turning against Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom. Here’s Dick Morris hopping on the bandwagon:

    President Obama’s amnesty for illegal immigrants will produce a disaster of unparalleled magnitude when the ObamaCare employer mandate kicks in.

    Those granted amnesty will not be eligible for ObamaCare. The amnesty will merely keep them safe from deportation; it won’t make them legal. And ObamaCare can only go to citizens and legal noncitizens living in the U.S.

    But the employer mandate in ObamaCare requires large companies to offer insurance to each of their full-time workers or pay a hefty fine to the government for failing to do so.

    Combine these two programs and you have a huge incentive for employers to dismiss any blue-collar workers on their payroll and replace them with illegal immigrants covered by amnesty. These folks are allowed to work but not to get ObamaCare. An employer can’t be fined for failing to offer ObamaCare to employees who are ineligible to receive it. It’s an employer’s dream!

    Morris has never really been on anyone’s side other than his own, but it’s also not like him to turn so forcefully against someone so powerful.

    So I guess the lesson here is that the President is no longer so powerful.

    Schumer: ♡bamaCare!!! Was a Mistake [VodkaPundit]

    Chuck Schumer is a consummate politician, in every slick and oily sense of the word “politician.” With that in mind, read this:

    While Schumer emphasized during a speech at the National Press Club that he supports the law and that its policies “are and will continue to be positive changes,” he argued that the Democrats acted wrongly in using their new mandate after the 2008 election to focus on the issue rather than the economy at the height of a terrible recession.

    “After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle-class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus, but unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them,” Schumer said. “We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem—health care reform.”

    The third-ranking Senate Democrat noted that just about 5 percent of registered voters in the United States lacked health insurance before the implementation of the law, arguing that to focus on a problem affecting such “a small percentage of the electoral made no political sense.”

    Ignore for the moment Schumer’s rehash-of-rashed policy prescriptions, and his lame attempt to pivot to more of the same, and consider something else instead.

    Schumer, about to join the Senate minority caucus for the first time in eight years, telegraphed that the anti-♡bamaCare!!! backlash has only just begun.

    Would you like some popcorn with your Thanksgiving dinner?

    How the Media See the Midterms [VodkaPundit]


    Another indecent act of explanatory journalism by Andrew Klavan.

    “What’s Holding Back iCloud” [VodkaPundit]


    Who’s in charge of Apple’s cloud services? No one, apparently:

    While Apple is known for providing a top-notch integrated software and hardware experience, its ability to provide services, particularly those that run remotely, has been scrutinized in recent years. Apple Maps was a fiasco on its own, leading to a shakeup of the company’s executive team, and the company hasn’t fared particularly well since.

    According to the report, iCloud Photo Library has been in flux because of the lack of a “centralized team working on core cloud infrastructure” at Apple. iCloud Photo Library also lacks a project manager to lead the initiative at One Infinite Loop, leaving developers responsible for working on “nearly everything on their own.”

    “One person close to the company says Apple is taking some steps to build some common cloud technology but has moved slowly in part because it’s used to projects residing in isolated teams,” the report claims.

    iCloud usually works just fine at what it does; the problem is it doesn’t do enough. That’s why millions of otherwise happy Apple customers still use third-party solutions like Dropbox and Google’s services. One of the smartest things Tim Cook has done so far as CEO was to eliminate Scott Forstall’s iOS silo, and force development across hardware and software lines.

    It’s past time to do something similar for iCloud.

    Unfit to Fight [VodkaPundit]



    Automatic budget sequestration cut deeply into the U.S. Air Force’s training in 2012. Air Combat Command got just $3.1 billion—three-quarters of what it needed to fully train the thousands of pilots flying the command’s 1,600 F-15, F-16 and F-22 fighters, A-10 attack jets and B-1 bombers.

    So the command did something radical—and with far-reaching consequences as American air power retools for fighting high-tech foes following more than decade bombing insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Air Combat Command stripped certain airplanes of many of their missions, thus cutting back on the number of flight hours a particular pilot needed to be officially war-ready. Air-to-air dogfighting and low-altitude maneuvering suddenly became much rarer skills.

    Perhaps most interestingly, the command essentially barred F-16s—at a thousand strong, America’s most numerous fighter—from engaging any enemy jet newer than a 1970s-vintage MiG-23.

    Air-to-air combat has become a rarity in today’s battlespace, but scrimping on training is exactly the kind of thing which gets people killed — and loses wars.

    FUNcube-1’s Birthday [Welcome to the FUNcube Web Site]

    Hi Folks,


    It seems amazing to us that FUNcube-1 – AO73, was launched nearly one year ago, in fact at 07:10 UTC on 21 Nov 2013. The very first signals were received by ZS1LS in South Africa at 07:37 UTC and he was even able to upload the resulting data to the Warehouse so the results could be seen immediately.


    We are extremely  happy to say that, since then, the satellite has been performing very satisfactorily, the battery voltage doesn’t drop below 8 volts, and becomes fully charged within about 7 – 10 minutes after re-entering sunlight from eclipse.


    Thus, on 21 Nov 2014, we will be celebrating the satellite’s first birthday. To mark the occasion, we will be activating the transponder earlier than normal – late on Thursday 20 Nov 2014, so that it will be available for use during the whole of Friday. So please make as many contacts as possible through the transponder during Friday, FUNcube’s actual birthday. You are invited to make a note of any stations worked on this day, or any other comments on the FUNcube Forum. Please use the existing “FUNcube-1’s Birthday” topic, under the Welcome heading. The URL of the Forum is http://forum.funcube.org.uk/index.php.


    Please also remember the ’73 on 73′ competition which is kindly being organised by Paul Stoetzer N8HM. See http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/18/73-on-73-award-announcement/ for more details.


    We would like to take this opportunity of thanking all of our ‘users’, both those who download  telemetry and forwarding it to the warehouse, and of course, all users of the transponder. This telemetry data is invaluable, both as an educational resource and to enable us to see how the spacecraft systems are performing and surviving. So far we have collected almost 400MB of unique data via stations from all around the world.


    Of course we are hoping that the satellite continues to function nominally for several  more  years to come even though we may never reach AO7’s record!


    73s AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL

    FUNcube-3 Payload successfully launched [Welcome to the FUNcube Web Site]

    At 19.11 UTC  19th June 2014, the DNEPR launch vehicle left the pad at Yasny and successfully delivered more than 30 objects into the expected orbit about 600km above the surface of the earth.

    Amongst those objects were the two QB50 precursor spacecraft and good signals were heard from both in less than ten minutes from their deployment by ZS2BK, ZS5SB and ZS1HD in South Africa.

    Both of these spacecraft carry amateur radio payloads:

    QB50p1 has a 145.815 MHz BPSK telemetry downlink and carries the FUNcube-3 400 mW inverting linear 435/145 MHz transponder provided by AMSAT-NL with support from AMSAT-UK.
    – 435.035-435.065 MHz Uplink LSB
    – 145.935-145.965 MHz Downlink USB

    QB50p2 has a 145.880 MHz BPSK telemetry downlink and carries a 435/145 MHz FM transponder and FX25 data transmitter from AMSAT-F.
    • 145.840 MHz 9600 bps FSK FX25

    It is expected that the AMSAT payloads will be activated after a few months of operation of the science payloads.

    Our thanks go to the stations in South Africa who received the first signals and also to the ISIS teams both at the launch site and at their HQ in Delft. A job very well done!

    FUN IN BALLOONLAND.  There are no words to describe this thing.... [kevin w murphy]

    FUN IN BALLOONLAND.  There are no words to describe this thing. You simply need to let it unravel in your mind.  It’s perhaps our favorite Rifftrax movie of all time. 

    Happy Thanksgiving.


    The Library is Not for Studying [LISNews:]

    Annoyed Librarian --

    Over the years there have been lots of calls to make libraries into something other than libraries. That’s especially true of public libraries, but even librarians in academic libraries sometimes want to change things up, to turn libraries from a silent haven for research into community centers or places to play video games.
    In some ways it’s understandable. The most likely people to be bored with libraries are the librarians who have to work in them every day. They show up, day after day, and perform the same tedious functions.
    After a while, they get jaded. The library is a boring place for them, and they want to make it hip or relevant or something like that. Most of all, they want action.
    And what they’re most trying to fight against is the stereotype of the shushing librarian. We don’t shush!
    It turns out that in some libraries there is a group that yearns for a shushing librarian: the patrons of the library.

    Check out this story from Cerritos College, a community college in California: ‘Shhhhh’: Noise an issue in library, Student Center.


    Ferguson library sees donations roll in [LISNews:]

    Ferguson is in turmoil, but one community safe haven is getting a lot of attention.


    Retired school librarian catalogues Ontario's historical plaques [LISNews:]

    The federal and provincial governments install lots of plaques; plaques about inventors, plaques about canoe routes, even historical plaques about historians. You’ve surely seen a plaque or a hundred in your day, but what you may not know is you can look up and locate many of Ontario’s plaques at ontarioplaques.com.

    The website is one-man project by Alan Brown, a retired librarian from Toronto who says he’s had an interest in plaques since he was a kid. Brown started his website in 2004 with the goal of photographing and making a page for each of our province’s Ontario Heritage Trust plaques. In 2009, he started on the Federal government’s Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaques.


    These first early voting numbers for LA-SEN are maybe *too* good for us. [Moe Lane]

    Courtesy of the indispensable AOSHQDD comes the first early voting numbers for Louisiana’s Senate runoff numbers, and if the trends hold they’re gruesome for Mary Landrieu. The summary: about 136,000 people did early/absentee voting as of 11/25/2014.  72% of those voters were white, 25% black, the rest ‘other.’ If the numbers found here are accurate, Landrieu got 94% of the black vote in the primary… and 18% of the white vote.  Some back of the envelope calculations later… if the same electorate that voted in the general election also votes in the runoff, Bill Cassidy is ahead of Mary Landrieu, 62-38 (if you spot all of the Other votes to Landrieu the win goes ‘down’ to 61/39).

    Those are a lot of assumptions, mind you.  The racial breakdown of the vote is largely based on the CNN exit polls; and, of course, local Democrats are going to go do their level best to increase black turnout.  But even if the Democrats manage to get a runoff electorate that’s 30% black Mary Landrieu still loses.  Badly (59/41)*.  This is so much of a looming disaster for the Landrieu campaign that I’m actively slightly suspicious of it.  No way is she losing this badly, right?

    Moe Lane (crosspost)

    PS: Seriously, though, DOOM.

    *I didn’t even bother to factor in the ‘Other’ votes, that time.  The only difference would be in in how far the rubble bounced.

    Got enough Amazon credit for an album. [Moe Lane]

    What should I get? – I’d prefer something either available in MP3, or with Autorip.  I’m honestly leaning towards Run-D.M.C. – Greatest Hits, because childhood nostalgia, but I’m willing to entertain alternate suggestions.

    Tweet of the Day, …Oh, It’s So Obviously Barack Obama edition. [Moe Lane]

    Good pullquote here.

    If only the President would actually have that thought…

    ‘Hurt.’ [Moe Lane]

    Hurt, Johnny Cash

    I meant to do a post on covers of songs that made the original singers just throw up their hands and go Fine. Just take the damn song, then.  This one would be at the top of most of the lists.

    Random Presidential observation of the day. [Moe Lane]

    Dana Milbank is incorrect: Barack Obama is not turning into George W Bush. Obama’s been Bizarro Bush all along.

    …And that’s all I think that I need to say on that particular subject, really. Although I think that I’ve mentioned this before.

    Chuck Schumer quietly starts distancing Democrats from Obama for 2016. [Moe Lane]

    I’m just going to summarize it: Senator Chuck Schumer today ever-so-casually indicated that working first on Obamacare was a mistake; that, in fact, Congress should have instead worked on pretty much anything else besides Obamacare; and that Sen. Schumer himself opposed starting first on Obamacare, but all those Obama supporters in the Obama administration were so adamant that Obamacare be put in place right away.  Also: how about that absent-from-the-Obamacare-debate Hillary Clinton, huh?  You know what her middle name isn’t?  That’s right: Obamacare.

    I’m being mean, I know*.  But if Chuck Schumer is useful for any one thing it’s in determining just how toxic a politician and/or government program can be.  Based on this article, Barack Obama and his signature** political accomplishment are quite toxic indeed.  And it’s not even 2015 yet!  If Barack Obama’s a lame duck now, imagine how useless he’s going to be a year from now***.

    Moe Lane (crosspost)

    PS: (As this post was being put in the queue) Apparently this was not received well.

    Get used to it, ye administration officials. Get used to it.

    *Not that I care, because it’s Chuck Schumer and he deserves it.

    **There’s a certain irony there, given that Barack Obama’s initial contribution to Obamacare was literally just his signature.  But Obama certainly owns it now, hey? Every jot and tittle.

    ***I am admittedly being a bit too gleeful in my anticipation in seeing how Barack Obama reacts to the sight of the eventual Democratic candidate supplanting him in the media’s eyes. And before anybody says The media won’t permit any Democrat to outshine Barack Obama: oh, would that that was correct.  2016 would be a cakewalk for us if that happens.

    The inevitable internal conflict of all left-protests in one tweet. [Moe Lane]

    Mostly one picture.

    There we have it: a white progressive dude* puts on an ideologically-fraught, hyper-romanticized disguise and attempts to infiltrate a protest – and then use it as cover for said white progressive dude’s rather puerile and sad attempt to get back at Daddy for leaving him and Mommy by going out, and trying to break a piece of the world. The remarkable thing here is that the actual protesters made said pathetic man-child vandal stop. That automatically puts the Ferguson people one up on the antiwar movement, Greenies, animal rights groups, gun control activists, infosocialists, Occupiers, anti-GMO Luddites (sorry, but that’s what they are), and pretty much every other Left-group out there that’s ever been battened upon by the Professional Activist Left.

    Won’t last, though. Once the blackshirts find your cause, it’s probably going to end up dying a withered, shriveled-up husk. Which isn’t really my problem, mind you.

    Moe Lane

    *Well, he’s not a conservative. We clean up after our protests. And he’s not a liberal: they typically …well, that would have been a mean thing to write, so I won’t.

    Father-Son Team Claim ARRL Triple Play Award [The Btown Monitoring Post]

    It probably doesn't happen often, but a father-son pair of amateur radio operators were both awarded the ARRL Triple Play Award within a 24 hour period of each other.

    The Triple Play WAS (Worked All States) Award is available to all amateurs worldwide who must use Logbook of the World (LoTW) to confirm QSOs (contacts) with each of the 50 states on voice, CW, and digital modes.

    My son Loyd Van Horn (W4LVH) and me - Larry Van Horn (N5FPW) were awarded our ARRL Triple Play awards on Monday and Tuesday of this week within 24 hours of each other. I'm sure those that logged into the LOTW website on Tuesday did a double take to see the father-son team at the top and bottom of the Triple Play Awardee list.

    Both father and son agree it was a lot of fun to work toward the Triple Play Award. I would like to personally thank each and every one of the hams listed below for helping me achieve this amateur radio milestone. Without their patience on-the-air and diligence to upload to LOTW, I would probably still be scratching around the bands for contacts. Bravo Zulu to one and all and thank you.
    US StateCWPhoneDigital
    Alabama (AL) W4SHLND4QKE4UNA
    Alaska (AK) KL7RAKL7RAAL9A
    Arizona (AZ) KB7QN6KZK6LL
    Arkansas (AR) K5PXPWB0RURAE5PW
    California (CA) AK7VW6UX/PAD6WL
    Colorado (CO) K0RVW0EEANA0CW
    Connecticut (CT) NN1NK2DW1AN
    Delaware (DE) W3PPK2EWA3QHJ
    Florida (FL) K4LMK4SNAI4FR
    Georgia (GA) AA4CFW6IZTN4PHT
    Hawaii (HI) KH6LCKH7XKH6MB
    Idaho (ID) W1AW/7W7MEMN7UVH
    Illinois (IL) N2BJN2BJN2BJ
    Indiana (IN) AJ9CW9IMSK9WX
    Iowa (IA) W0AKKC0CFAI1P
    Kansas (KS) AB0SK0UASW0BH
    Kentucky (KY) KY4KYK4FTK4UOL
    Louisiana (LA) KZ5DW5EAWB5TEQ
    Maine (ME) K1ESEK1DGW1SSF
    Maryland (MD) N3QEN3COBW3LL
    Massachusetts (MA) K1BGK5ZDN1BAA
    Michigan (MI) NE8JN8OCW8JWN
    Minnesota (MN) W0EFK0SIXK0IR
    Mississippi (MS) K5GDXW1AW/5W8DM
    Missouri (MO) W1AW/0N0AZZWB8EJN
    Montana (MT) W1AW/7N9RVKE1HA
    Nebraska (NE) W0KTN0AIEK0IDT
    Nevada (NV) W1AW/7K7XCK7SFN
    New Hampshire (NH) K1ROAE1PKA2KON
    New Jersey (NJ) KE2DNJ2BBK2BB
    New Mexico (NM) W5MPZW1AW/5K5AM
    New York (NY) NW2KKA2LIMKC2QFR
    North Carolina (NC) W4DXAW4NHWJ2D
    North Dakota (ND) N7IVKD4POJNT0V
    Ohio (OH) N8BCW8WBBN8MNI
    Oklahoma (OK) K5CMAF5QKF5S
    Oregon (OR) W7OTVKK7PRW7YES
    Pennsylvania (PA) K3MJWK3YTLAA3B
    Rhode Island (RI) W1OPK2CW1GSH
    South Carolina (SC) W4LVHW4LVHK4TGK
    South Dakota (SD) W0OJYKD0SK7RE
    Tennessee (TN) N4NAK3JAEAC4M
    Texas (TX) K5MXGK5TDAK5PBR
    Utah (UT) NY6CK7ULSAC7JW
    Vermont (VT) AB1NJW1NVTW1/E74OF
    Virginia (VA) K4CQK4KDJW4KRN
    Washington (WA) W6AEAKW7YW7MRC
    West Virginia (WV) W8WVAW8WVAKU1T
    Wisconsin (WI) W9AVK9MUK9OM
    Wyoming (WY) KO7XKB7CSWKO7X

    You can get more info on this award on the ARRL website at http://www.arrl.org/triple-play

    Sandcrawler PSA: Shut Up Kid! [The Jawa Report]

    Well its that time of year once again, that time when we are all reminded how little class and originality today's protesters actually have....

    I'm thankful this year to still be alive! And for Rusty and Vinnie and all the other Jawas.

    So the Jawas are all going to have a Thanksgiving dinner that can't be beat and we're not going to blog until the next morning. Kid.

    Dear Facebook [The Jawa Report]

    If you had to suspend the same terrorist's account seven times, we at Jawa Report call that a clue.

    The ISC's report identified a "substantial" online exchange during December 2012 between Adebowale and a foreign-based extremist - referred to as Foxtrot - who had links to the Yemen-based terror group AQAP, but was not known to UK agencies at the time.

    After the murder of Fusilier Rigby an unidentified third party provided a transcript of the conversation to GCHQ.

    The information was also said to have revealed that Facebook had disabled seven of Adebowale's accounts ahead of the killing, five of which had been flagged for links with terrorism.

    This had been the result of an automated process, according to GCHQ, and no person at the company ever manually reviewed the contents of the accounts or passed on the material for the authorities to check.

    GCHQ noted that the account which used the phrase "Let's kill a soldier" was not one of those closed by Facebook's software.

    I mean I'm just saying, but I'm sure you're the smart people.

    Feel Good Video of the Day: iPHONE6 Edition [The Jawa Report]

    The action starts at around 2:40. LOL!

    Hat Tip: Pat.

    Protesters Attack Car Get Run Over [The Jawa Report]

    Um, uh.....

    Anyway is it just me or is yelling, "Burn it down!", incitement of some sort?

    I dunno, just asking please don't burn down my village.

    Caption This: Double Agent Dr. Rusty Shackleford Edition (Fatwas Issued!) [The Jawa Report]

    Caption this image of a gravity challenged Jihadi.

    Fatwas will be issued.

    Fatwas Issued!

    The I Will Cur Ur Neck Fatwa issued against Bubbe for

    Hey!! That is Rosie MacDonnell.
    The Devil Will Do Meetballs From Your Body Fatwa issued against Kafiroon for
    If you do not put meatballs in my McGriddle, I will separate your dirty head from your dirty heart!
    The Why U Insult Holly Koran? Fatwa issued against Really? for
    Allahu Aklard!

    Thankfulness: God And Government [Patterico's Pontifications]

    [guest post by Dana]

    I don’t know about you, but while I am making pear pies and pumpkin pies today, I will be thanking God for all that is good and great in my life. And I will also be thanking Him for all that isn’t so good and great in my life because I have learned that in faith, it is through walking the arduous and painful path of tribulation with Him that begets another layer of unfathomable richness in my being. And hope grows. How seemingly paradoxical. God is a mystery that can be known. A mystery to be revealed over a lifetime. And just when one thinks they have reached His deepest depths, they come to find that He is endless. Further, aside from being wholly thankful for love of family, I am also thankful to God to be able to live where I do. This is particularly significant to me because I recognize I could be living in some oppressive third-world instead. I am also thankful for the privilege and immense freedom we have to participate in and be critical of our government. Whether it is to work for change at the local level all the way up to the federal level, or to speak our mind with our vote, it is all a great privilege that many others are not accorded. I know we could all write a book about what we are grateful for, so abundant are our blessings.

    With that, Juan Williams is also giving thanks. He would like all of us to thank God government for its provision to us (think Cash for Clunkers, Obamacare, Stimulus, Solyndra, etc.):

    The endless assault on government has driven down trust in federal management and deflated confidence in political leaders.

    So, this Thanksgiving, let us join hands as I offer my list of reasons to give thanks for the good work being done by our government to bring us prosperity, health and peace.

    At Thanksgiving 2008, the American economy was on the brink of collapse.

    This Thanksgiving unemployment is 5.8 percent, the lowest it has been since the Great Recession. The recovery is slow but it keeps going and going. Federal investment in the stimulus, the auto industry bailout, the “Cash-for Clunkers” program and the Wall Street bailout all worked.

    Not only that, but income tax rates for most families are lower today than “at any time since the 1950s,” according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

    Thanksgiving 2014 arrives with Wall Street investors collecting record levels of profit. Since February of 2010, nearly a million blue-collar, manufacturing jobs have come to America. The consumer confidence index, a critical indicator, is at its highest level since July 2007. The current national average price for a gallon of gasoline is the lowest it has been in four years.

    “During the bleakest days of the financial crisis, it seemed the economy would never bounce back…” Business Insider magazine recently wrote in a report on the latest forecast from the financial consultants at JP Morgan. “But six years later…the economy has actually flourished…Five out of six indicators [corporate profits, stock prices, household net worth, GDP, and business investment] have not only reached their pre-crisis highs, but they have actually surpassed them.”

    Even the much-maligned government program to boost America’s alternative energy industry, including the loan to solar panel company Solyndra, has been a success. Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize-winning economist and columnist for The New York Times, recently wrote that the energy program has returned $5 billion in profit for loans from the American people.

    One last note on the new American prosperity: When President Obama took office in 2009 the deficit was $1.2 trillion. Today it is projected to be $483 billion. It has gone from 9.8 percent of the GDP to 2.8 percent, an incredible 71 percent reduction.

    Here’s another reason to be thankful: The success of the Affordable Care Act.

    Despite incessant political attacks and a horrendous start for the website, the program has cut the number of Americans without health insurance by 25 percent. That means about 3 million more of our fellow Americans have health insurance than did so before Democrats in Congress acted. And a Gallup poll recently reported 70 percent of people with “ObamaCare” rate the plan as excellent or good.

    P.S. This also makes me thank God that we live in a country where we still have the freedom to publicly write, “What a moron!” without fear of retribution.


    Ferguson: Darren Wilson Interview And National Guard Delay [Patterico's Pontifications]

    [guest post by Dana]

    Darren Wilson was interviewed today at a secret location by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos:

    Wilson said that Brown reached into his police car and grabbed for his gun, causing Wilson to fear for his life.

    “All I wanted to do was live,” said Wilson, who the grand jury declined to indict in connection with the fatal shooting in August.

    About his struggle with Brown:

    “I didn’t know if I’d be able to withstand another hit like that,” Wilson said.

    “I had reached out my window with my right hand to grab onto his forearm ’cause I was gonna try and move him back and get out of the car to where I’m no longer trapped,” Wilson said.

    “I just felt the immense power that he had. And then the way I’ve described it is it was like a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan. That’s just how big this man was,” Wilson said.


    When asked if he would be haunted by the incident, Wilson said, “I don’t think it’s a haunting; it’s always going to be something that happened.”

    “The reason I have a clean conscience is I know I did my job right,” he said.

    Wilson said he asked himself if he could legally shoot Brown. “I thought, ‘I have to. If I don’t, he will kill me if he gets to me.’ “

    Today hundreds more National Guard troops have been deployed to Ferguson. Although 700 National Guard troops were deployed Monday, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles is questioning the delay last night, stating the National Guard “was not deployed in enough time to save all of our businesses.” (The damage count after last night’s rioting: a dozen Ferguson buildings burned and 61 people were arrested on charges including burglary, illegal weapons possession and unlawful assembly.)

    “The decision to delay the deployment of the National Guard is deeply concerning,” Knowles told a news conference. “We are asking that the governor make available and deploy all necessary resources to prevent the further destruction of property and the preservation of life in the city of Ferguson.”

    The mayor is not the only one questioning the delay:

    “Here’s my question that the governor must answer,” Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said today. “Is the reason that the national guard was not in there is because the Obama administration and the Holder Justice Department leaned on you to keep them out?”

    Kinder noted that the Guard had been sent to other locations in the region. “I cannot imagine any other reason why the governor who mobilized the National Guard would not have them in (to Ferguson) to stop this, before it started,” he said.

    It is no secret that the president was caught off guard and less than happy when Gov. Nixon deployed Guard troops in August at the time of Brown’s death, and last week, Eric Holder voiced his criticism of Gov. Nixon’s decision to call up the National Guard. Perhaps after seeing the night of violence, Holder, who was “disappointed” by the actions of some, might see the increased and immediate need for Guard troops:

    “It is clear, I think, that acts of violence threaten to drown out those who have legitimate voices, legitimate demonstrators,” Holder told reporters. “Those acts of violence cannot and will not be condoned.”

    Gov. Nixon said that more 2,200 National Guardsmen will be in the Ferguson area tonight.


    Added: From commenter seeRpea comes this letter from Ronald T. Hasko, President of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and Former Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to President Obama entreating him to reengage with the law enforcement community in light of the chasm between the administration and the men and women who serve and protect, including in Ferguson. In part:

    …The growing divide between the police and the people – perhaps best characterized by protesters in Ferguson, Mo., who angrily chanted, “It’s not black or white. It’s blue!” – only benefits of members of a political class seeking to vilify law enforcement for other societal failures. This puts our communities at greater risk, especially the most vulnerable among us.

    Your attorney general, Eric Holder, is chief among the antagonists. During his tenure as the head of the Department of Justice, Mr. Holder claims to have investigated twice as many police and police departments as any of his predecessors. Of course, this includes his ill-timed decision to launch a full investigation into the Ferguson Police Department at the height of racial tensions in that community, throwing gasoline on a fire that was already burning. Many officers were disgusted by such a transparent political maneuver at a time when presidential and attorney general leadership could have calmed a truly chaotic situation.

    It won’t be long before the American people turn their attention to other matters. Long after Ferguson is forgotten, police officers across America will still remember the way their senior federal executives turned their back on them with oft-repeated suggestions that race-based policing drives a biased, broken law enforcement agenda.

    Gruber And Our So-Called “Betters” [Patterico's Pontifications]

    [guest post by Dana]

    That Jonathan Gruber is so smart! Just like he knows the American people are stupid, he also knows that abortion is worth its weight in economic benefit and societal gain. Life? What life?

    We find evidence of sizeable positive selection: the average living circumstances of cohorts of children born immediately after abortion became legalized improved substantially relative to preceding cohorts, and relative to places where the legal status of abortion was not changing. Our results suggest that the marginal children who were not born as a result of abortion legalization would have systematically been born into worse circumstances had the pregnancies not been terminated: they would have been 70% more likely to live in a single parent household, 40% more likely to live in poverty, 35% more likely to die during the first year of life, and 50% more likely to be in a household collecting welfare. The last of these finding implies that the selection effects operating through the legalization of abortion saved the government over $14 billion in welfare payments through the year 1994.

    No wonder this infamous architect had the president’s ear and no wonder Obamacare is laden with abortion subsidies.

    In a smart column today, Thomas Sowell questions the whole lot of our “betters”. You know who they are: the Grubers of the world, the complicit media and “professional” journalists, and the Democrats and legal experts who spew their mumbo-jumbo legalese in an attempt to defend president’s outrageous disregard for the Constitution. In other words, those who know better than us. And sadly, if Americans weren’t so stupid, everyone would understand that we are talking about something that, in the long run, negatively impacts both sides of the aisle. It’s not what we’ve gained, but rather it’s what we’ve lost.

    No one can know for sure what motivated Professor Gruber to do what he did, or what motivated the media to stonewall as if he had never spilled the beans, or the liberal law professors to give Obama cover while he violated the Constitution.

    But running through all of their actions seems to be a vision of the world, and a vision of themselves, that is a continuing danger to the fundamental basis of this country, whatever the specific issue might be.

    Probably few people on the political left are opposed to the Constitution of the United States, much less actively plotting to undermine it. But, on issue after issue, what they want to do requires them to circumvent the three words with which the Constitution begins: “We, the people…”

    Many on the left may want to help “the people.” But once you start from the premise that you know what is best for the people, better than they know themselves, you have to figure ways around a Constitution based on the idea that the people not only have a right to choose their government and control government policy with their votes, but also that there are vast areas of the people’s lives that are none of the government’s business.

    Jonathan Gruber’s notion that the people are “stupid” is not fundamentally different from what Barack Obama said to his fellow elite leftists in San Francisco, when he derided ordinary Americans as petty people who want to cling to their guns and their religion. We need to see through such arrogant elitists if we want to cling to our freedom.

    In the meantime, responding to a letter from Rep. Darrell Issa requesting Gruber to answer questions about the lack of transparency and deception regarding the Affordable Care Act, Gruber agreed to testify next month.

    “From the outset, the health law has been the poster child for this administration’s broken transparency promises,” Issa said in a written statement.

    “Jonathan Gruber, one of ObamaCare’s chief architects, publicly lauded the ‘lack of transparency’ that was necessary to pass the law and credited ‘the stupidity of the American voter’ that allowed the administration to mislead the public,” Issa said.


    Gunnar Wolf: Guests in the classroom: @Rolman talks about persistent storage and filesystems [Planet Debian]

    On November 14, as a great way to say goodbye to a semester, a good friend came to my class again to present a topic to the group; a good way to sum up the contents of this talk is "everything you ever wondered about persistent storage".

    As people who follow my blog know, I like inviting my friends to present selected topics in my Operating Systems class. Many subjects will stick better if presented by more than a single viewpoint, and different experiences will surely enrich the group's learning.

    So, here is Rolando Cedillo — A full gigabyte of him, spawning two hours (including two hiccups where my camera hit a per-file limit...).

    Rolando is currently a RedHat Engineer, and in his long career, he has worked from so many trenches, it would be a crime not to have him! Of course, one day we should do a low-level hardware session with him, as his passion (and deep knowledge) for 8-bit arcades is beyond any other person I have met.

    So, here is the full video on my server. Alternatively, you can get it from The Internet Archive.

    Enrico Zini: calypso-davdroid [Planet Debian]

    Calypso and DAVDroid

    calypso and DAVdroid appeal to me. Let's try to make the whole thing work.

    Update: radicale seems to also support git as a backend, and I plan to give it a try, too.

    A self-signed SSL certificate

    Generating the certificate:

    $ openssl req -nodes -x509 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout cal-key.pem -out cal-cert.pem -days 3650
    Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:IT
    State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:Bologna
    Locality Name (eg, city) []:
    Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:enricozini.org
    Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
    Common Name (e.g. server FQDN or YOUR name) []:cal.enricozini.org
    Email Address []:postmaster@enricozini.org

    Installing it on my phone:

    $ openssl x509 -in cal-cert.pem -outform DER -out cal-cert.crt
    $ adb push cal-cert.crt /mnt/sdcard/
    $ enrico --follow-instructions http://davdroid.bitfire.at/faq/entry/importing-a-certificate

    Installing calypso in my VPS

    An updated calypso package:

    $ git clone git://keithp.com/git/calypso
    $ git checkout debian -b enrico
    $ git remote add chrysn  git://prometheus.amsuess.com/calypso-patches
    $ git fetch chrysn
    $ git merge chrysn/chrysn/integration
    $ dch -v 1.4+enrico  "Merged with chrysn integration branch"
    $ debuild -us -uc -rfakeroot

    Install the package:

    # dpkg -i calypso_1.4+enrico_all.deb

    Create a system user to run it:

    # adduser --system --disabled-password calypso
    # chsh calypso  # /bin/dash

    Make it run at boot time (based on calypso-init from the git repo):

    # cat /etc/default/calypso
    # diff -Nau calypso-init calypso-init.enrico
    --- calypso-init        2014-11-26 11:50:35.301001194 +0100
    +++ calypso-init.enrico 2014-11-26 12:18:16.564138554 +0100
    @@ -62,8 +62,8 @@
            || return 1
        mkdir -p $(dirname $PIDFILE)
    -       chown calypso:calypso $(dirname $PIDFILE)
    -       start-stop-daemon --start -c $NAME --quiet --pidfile $PIDFILE --exec $DAEMON -- \
    +       chown calypso:nogroup $(dirname $PIDFILE)
    +       start-stop-daemon --start -c $NAME:nogroup --quiet --pidfile $PIDFILE --exec $DAEMON -- \
            $CALYPSO_OPTS \
            || return 2
        # Add code here, if necessary, that waits for the process to be ready
    # cp calypso-init.enrico /etc/init.d/calypso
    # update-rc.d calypso defaults

    Setting up the database

    # su - calypso

    Certificates and server setup:

    $ mkdir .config/calypso/certs
    $ mv cal-key.pem .config/calypso/certs/cal.key
    $ mv cal-cert.pem .config/calypso/certs/cal.pem
    $ chmod 0600 .config/calypso/certs/*
    $ cat > .config/calypso/config << EOF

    User passwords:

        $ htpasswd -s .config/calypso/htpasswd enrico

    Database initialization:

    $ mkdir -p .config/calypso/calendars
    $ cd .config/calypso/calendars
    $ git init
        $ cat > .calypso-collection << EOF
    is-calendar = True
    is-addressbook = False
    displayname = Test
    description = Test calendar
        $ git add .calypso-collection
    $ git commit --allow-empty -m'initialize new calendar'

    Start the server

    # /etc/init.d/calypso start

    DAVdroid configuration

    1. Add a new DAVdroid sync account
    2. Use server/username configuration
    3. For server, use https://:5233
    4. Add username and password

    It should work.

    Related links

    Charles Plessy: Browsing debian-private via SSH [Planet Debian]

    I recently realised that one can browse the archives of debian-private via SSH. I find this a good compromise between subscription and ignorance. Here is for instance the command for November.

    ssh -t master.debian.org mutt -f /home/debian/archive/debian-private/debian-private.201411

    Francois Marier: Hiding network disconnections using an IRC bouncer [Planet Debian]

    A bouncer can be a useful tool if you rely on IRC for team communication and instant messaging. The most common use of such a server is to be permanently connected to IRC and to buffer messages while your client is disconnected.

    However, that's not what got me interested in this tool. I'm not looking for another place where messages accumulate and wait to be processed later. I'm much happier if people email me when I'm not around.

    Instead, I wanted to do to irssi what mosh did to ssh clients: transparently handle and hide temporary disconnections. Here's how I set everything up.

    Server setup

    The first step is to install znc:

    apt-get install znc

    Make sure you get the 1.0 series (in jessie or trusty, not wheezy or precise) since it has much better multi-network support.

    Then, as a non-root user, generate a self-signed TLS certificate for it:

    openssl req -x509 -sha256 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout znc.pem -nodes -out znc.crt -days 365

    and make sure you use something like irc.example.com as the subject name, that is the URL you will be connecting to from your IRC client.

    Then install the certificate in the right place:

    mkdir ~/.znc
    mv znc.pem ~/.znc/
    cat znc.crt >> ~/.znc/znc.pem

    Once that's done, you're ready to create a config file for znc using the znc --makeconf command, again as the same non-root user:

    • create separate znc users if you have separate nicks on different networks
    • use your nickserv password as the server password for each network
    • enable ssl
    • say no to the chansaver and nickserv plugins

    Finally, open the IRC port (tcp port 6697 by default) in your firewall:

    iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 6697 -j ACCEPT

    Client setup (irssi)

    On the client side, the official documentation covers a number of IRC clients, but the irssi page was quite sparse.

    Here's what I used for the two networks I connect to (irc.oftc.net and irc.mozilla.org):

    servers = (
        address = "irc.example.com";
        chatnet = "OFTC";
        password = "fmarier/oftc:Passw0rd1!";
        port = "6697";
        use_ssl = "yes";
        ssl_verify = "yes";
        ssl_cafile = "~/.irssi/certs/znc.crt";
        address = "irc.example.com";
        chatnet = "Mozilla";
        password = "francois/mozilla:Passw0rd1!";
        port = "6697";
        use_ssl = "yes";
        ssl_verify = "yes";
        ssl_cafile = "~/.irssi/certs/znc.crt";

    Of course, you'll need to copy your znc.crt file from the server into ~/.irssi/certs/znc.crt.

    Make sure that you're no longer authenticating with the nickserv from within irssi. That's znc's job now.

    Wrapper scripts

    So far, this is a pretty standard znc+irssi setup. What makes it work with my workflow is the wrapper script I wrote to enable znc before starting irssi and then prompt to turn it off after exiting:

    ssh irc.example.com "pgrep znc || znc"
    read -p "Terminate the bouncer? [y/N] " -n 1 -r
    if [[ $REPLY =~ ^[Yy]$ ]]
      ssh irc.example.com killall -sSIGINT znc

    Now, instead of typing irssi to start my IRC client, I use irc.

    If I'm exiting irssi before commuting or because I need to reboot for a kernel update, I keep the bouncer running. At the end of the day, I say yes to killing the bouncer. That way, I don't have a backlog to go through when I wake up the next day.

    Sune Vuorela: QImage and QPixmap in a Qt Quick item [Planet Debian]

    For reasons I don’t know, apparantly a Qt Quick Item that can show a QImage or a QPixmap is kind of missing. The current Image QML item only works with data that can be represented by a URL.

    So I wrote one that kind of works. Comments most welcome.

    It is found on git.kde.org: http://quickgit.kde.org/?p=scratch/sune/imageitem.git

    Oh, and the KDE End of Year fundraiser is still running. https://www.kde.org/fundraisers/yearend2014/. Go support it if you haven’t already.

    Holger Levsen: 20141125-change [Planet Debian]


    Not many people adapt to fundamental changes easily, but at least people can change at all. I'm sure what looks funny now has also been a painful experience, but... - that's life. Sometimes it sucks. And suddenly...

    John Goerzen: My boys love 1986 computing [Planet Debian]

    Yesterday, Jacob (age 8) asked to help me put together a 30-year-old computer from parts in my basement. Meanwhile, Oliver (age 5) asked Laura to help him learn cursive. Somehow, this doesn’t seem odd for a Saturday at our place.

    2014-11-22 18.58.36

    Let me tell you how this came about.

    I’ve had a project going on for a while now to load data from old floppies. It’s been fun, and had a surprise twist the other day: my parents gave me an old TRS-80 Color Computer II (aka “CoCo 2″). It was, in fact, my first computer, one they got for me when I was in Kindergarten. It is nearly 30 years old.

    I have been musing lately about the great disservice Apple did the world by making computers easy to learn — namely the fact that few people ever bother to learn about them. Who bothers to learn about them when, on the iPhone for instance, the case is sealed shut, the lifespan is 1 or 2 years for many purchasers, and the platform is closed in lots of ways?

    I had forgotten how finicky computers used to be. But after some days struggling with IDE incompatibilities, booting issues, etc., when I actually managed to get data off a machine that had last booted in 1999, I had quite the sense of accomplishment, which I rarely have lately. I did something that was hard to do in a world where most of the interfaces don’t work with equipment that old (even if nominally they are supposed to.)

    The CoCo is one of those computers normally used with a floppy drive or cassette recorder to store programs. You type DIR, and you feel the clack of the drive heads through the desk. You type CLOAD and you hear the relay click closed to turn on the tape motor. You wiggle cables around until they make contact just right. You power-cycle for the times when the reset button doesn’t quite do the job. The details of how it works aren’t abstracted away by innumerable layers of controllers, interfaces, operating system modules, etc. It’s all right there, literally vibrating your desk.

    So I thought this could be a great opportunity for Jacob to learn a few more computing concepts, such as the difference between mass storage and RAM, plus a great way to encourage him to practice critical thinking. So we trekked down to the basement and came up with handfulls of parts. We brought up the computer, some joysticks, all sorts of tangled cables. We needed adapters, an old TV. Jacob helped me hook everything up, and then the moment of truth: success! A green BASIC screen!

    I added more parts, but struck out when I tried to connect the floppy drive. The thing just wouldn’t start up right whenever the floppy controller cartridge was installed. I cleaned the cartridge. I took it apart, scrubbed the contacts, even did a re-seat of the chips. No dice.

    So I fired up my CoCo emulator (xroar), and virtually “saved” some programs to cassette (a .wav file). I then burned those .wav files to an audio CD, brought up an old CD player from the basement, connected the “cassette in” plug to the CD player’s headphone jack, and presto — instant programs. (Well, almost. It takes a couple of minutes to load a program from audio codes.)

    The picture above is Oliver cackling at one of the very simplest BASIC programs there is: “number find.” The computer picks a random number between 1 and 2000, and asks the user to guess it, giving a “too low” or “too high” clue with each incorrect guess. Oliver delighted in giving invalid input (way too high numbers, or things that weren’t numbers at all) and cackled at the sarcastic error messages built into the program. During Jacob’s turn, he got very serious about it, and is probably going to be learning about how to calculate halfway points before too long.

    But imagine my pride when this morning, Jacob found the new CD I had made last night (correcting a couple recordings), found my one-line instruction on just part of how to load a program, and correctly figured out by himself all the steps to do in order (type CLOAD on the CoCo, advance the CD to the proper track, press play on the player, wait for it to load on the CoCo, then type RUN).

    I ordered a replacement floppy controller off eBay tonight, and paid $5 for a coax adapter that should fix some video quality issues. I rescued some 5.25″ floppies from my trash can from another project, so they should have plenty of tools for exploration.

    It is so much easier for them to learn how a disk drive works, and even what the heck a track is, when you can look at a floppy drive with the cover off and see the heads move. There are other things we can do with more modern equipment — Jacob has shown a lot of interest in Arduino projects — but I have so far drawn a blank on ways to really let kids discover how a modern PC (let alone a modern phone or tablet) works.

    Update Nov. 24: Every so often, the world surprises me by deciding to, well, read one of my random blog posts. For the benefit of those of you that don’t already know my boys, you might want to know that among their common play activites are turning trees into pretend trains, typing at a manual typewriter, reading, writing their own books, using a cassette recorder, building a PC and learning to use bash or xmonad, making long paper tapes with an adding machine, playing records on a record player, building electric gizmos, and even making mud balls.

    I am often asked about the role of the computer in the lives, given that my hobby and profession involves computers. The answer: less than that of most of their peers. I look for opportunities for them to learn by doing, discovering, playing, or imagining. I make no presumption that they will develop the passion for computers that I did. What I want is for them to have the curiosity and drive to learn everything there is to know about whatever they do develop a passion for, so they will be great at it.

    Peter Cannon: Virgin Media [Planet openSUSE]

    Dekks Herton: “Virgin Linux would be broken on delivery.”

    flattr this!

    Aurélien Gâteau: Colorpick [Planet Ubuntu]

    Recently I wrote about my so-called "lightweight project management policy". I am going to start slowly and present a small side-project: Colorpick.

    Colorpick is a color picker and contrast checker. I originally wrote it to help me check and fix the background and foreground colors of the Oxygen palette to ensure text was readable. Since then I have been using it to steal colors from various places and as a magnifier to inspect tiny details.

    The main window looks like this:

    Main Window

    Admittedly, it's a bit ugly, especially the RGB gradients (KGradientSelector and the Oxygen style do not play well together). Nevertheless, it does the job, which is what side-projects are all about.

    Here is an annotated image of the window:

    Annotated Window

    1. The current color: clicking it brings the standard KDE color dialog. The main reason it's here is because it can be dragged: drag the color and drop on any application which supports color.

    2. The color in hexadecimal.

    3. Luminance buttons: click them to adjust the luminance of the color.

    4. Color picker: brings the magnifier to pick a color from the screen. One nice thing about this magnifier is that it can be controlled from the keyboard: roughly move the mouse to the area where you want to pick a color then position the picker precisely using the arrow keys. When the position is OK: press Enter to pick the color. Pressing Escape or right-clicking closes the magnifier.


      Picking the color of the 1-pixel door knob from the home icon. The little inverted-color square in the center shows which pixel is being picked.

    5. Copy button: clicking this button brings a menu with the color expressed in different formats. Selecting one entry copies the color to the clipboard, ready to be pasted.

      Copy menu

    6. RGB sliders: not much to say here. Drag the cursors or enter values, your choice.

    7. Contrast test text: shows some demo text using the selected background and foreground colors, together with the current contrast value. It lets you know if your contrast is good enough according to http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#visual-audio-contrast.

    Interested? The project is on GitHub at https://github.com/agateau/colorpick. Get it with git clone https://github.com/agateau/colorpick then follow the instructions from the INSTALL.md file.

    Flattr this

    Ubuntu App Developer Blog: You have a working scope? Here is what to do before pushing it to the store… [Planet Ubuntu]

    Now that your scope is in a working state, it’s time to get it ready for publication. In this tutorial you will learn how to make your scope look good when the user is browsing the store or the list of scopes installed on the phone.

    In the next steps, we are going to prepare a few graphics, edit the <scope>.ini file located in the data directory of your project and package the scope for the store.



    Randall Ross: POWER Up! [Planet Ubuntu]

    A while back, as part of my new role, I began looking for opportunities to:

    1. Challenge the status quo, and,
    2. Connect people together that want to solve big problems.

    (Luckily, the two are closely related.)

    Recently, I was introduced to some fine folks at SiteOx in Franklin, TN (that's just outside of Memphis) that happen to have some really fast POWER8 systems that provide infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).

    I mentioned that previously unknown tidbit to some of my colleagues (who are are awesome Juju Charmers) to see if/how the service could be used to speed Juju Charm development.

    As it turns out, it can! In case you missed it, Matt Bruzek of Juju Charmer fame, figured it all out and then wrote a concise guide to do just that. Check it out here, and then...

    Click the button to feel the POWER!Click the button to feel the POWER!

    Thanks Matt, and thanks SiteOx.

    Stephen Michael Kellat: Pondering Contingencies [Planet Ubuntu]

    Preparedness is an odd topic. As people in the United States might have recalled from last week, snow abounded in certain parts of the country. Although not located in the New York State community of Buffalo, I am located down the Lake Erie shoreline in Ashtabula. I too am seasonally afflicted with Lake Effect Snow Storms.

    Heck, I have even seen Thunder Snow!

    Following the major snow, I got to see "High Wind Warning". That was not fun as it did lead to a blackout. The various UPS units around the house started screaming. Once that happened I had multiple systems to shut down. The Xubuntu meeting log this week even shows me shutting down things while departing mid-way. As you might imagine, overhead electrical lines do not play nicely with 50 mile per hour wind gusts.

    When using a computer, you never truly have an ideal environment for the bare metal to operate in. Although contemporary life leaves the impression that electricity and broadband service should be constant let alone stable, bad things do happen. I already have multiple UPS units scattered around as it is.

    Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Secretary of Defense, had a saying that fits:

    As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.

    I live in what is termed by our census officials a "Micropolitan Statistical Area" compared to a "Metropolitan Statistical Area" so I know it is small. I know our infrastructure is not the greatest. Planning ahead means being ready to be without electricity for an extended period of time here.

    While the Buffalo Bills football team had to move their home game to Detroit due to their stadium filling with snow, imagine the flooding aftermath that may happen when that snow melts. Extreme cases like that are hard to plan for but at least the game is going to happen somewhere. What contingencies have you at least thought about working around?

    Eric Hammond: AWS Lambda Walkthrough Command Line Companion [Planet Ubuntu]

    The AWS Lambda Walkthrough 2 uses AWS Lambda to automatically resize images added to one bucket, placing the resulting thumbnails in another bucket. The walkthrough documentation has a mix of aws-cli commands, instructions for hand editing files, and steps requiring the AWS console.

    For my personal testing, I converted all of these to command line instructions that can simply be copied and pasted, making them more suitable for adapting into scripts and for eventual automation. I share the results here in case others might find this a faster way to get started with Lambda.

    These instructions assume that you have already set up and are using an IAM user / aws-cli profile with admin credentials.

    The following is intended as a companion to the Amazon walkthrough documentation, simplifying the execution steps for command line lovers. Read the AWS documentation itself for more details explaining the walkthrough.

    Set up

    Set up environment variables describing the associated resources:

    # Change to your own unique S3 bucket name:
    # Do not change this. Walkthrough code assumes this name

    Install some required software:

    sudo apt-get install nodejs nodejs-legacy npm

    Step 1.1: Create Buckets and Upload a Sample Object (walkthrough)

    Create the buckets:

    aws s3 mb s3://$source_bucket
    aws s3 mb s3://$target_bucket

    Upload a sample photo:

    # by Hatalmas: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hatalmas/6094281702
    wget -q -OHappyFace.jpg \
    aws s3 cp HappyFace.jpg s3://$source_bucket/

    Step 2.1: Create a Lambda Function Deployment Package (walkthrough)

    Create the Lambda function nodejs code:

    # JavaScript code as listed in walkthrough
    wget -q -O $function.js \

    Install packages needed by the Lambda function code. Note that this is done under the local directory:

    npm install async gm # aws-sdk is not needed

    Put all of the required code into a ZIP file, ready for uploading:

    zip -r $function.zip $function.js node_modules

    Step 2.2: Create an IAM Role for AWS Lambda (walkthrough)

    IAM role that will be used by the Lambda function when it runs.

    lambda_execution_role_arn=$(aws iam create-role \
      --role-name "$lambda_execution_role_name" \
      --assume-role-policy-document '{
          "Version": "2012-10-17",
          "Statement": [
              "Sid": "",
              "Effect": "Allow",
              "Principal": {
                "Service": "lambda.amazonaws.com"
              "Action": "sts:AssumeRole"
        }' \
      --output text \
      --query 'Role.Arn'
    echo lambda_execution_role_arn=$lambda_execution_role_arn

    What the Lambda function is allowed to do/access. This is slightly tighter than the generic role policy created with the IAM console:

    aws iam put-role-policy \
      --role-name "$lambda_execution_role_name" \
      --policy-name "$lambda_execution_access_policy_name" \
      --policy-document '{
        "Version": "2012-10-17",
        "Statement": [
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "arn:aws:logs:*:*:*"
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::'$source_bucket'/*"
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::'$target_bucket'/*"

    Step 2.3: Upload the Deployment Package and Invoke it Manually (walkthrough)

    Upload the Lambda function, specifying the IAM role it should use and other attributes:

    # Timeout increased from walkthrough based on experience
    aws lambda upload-function \
      --function-name "$function" \
      --function-zip "$function.zip" \
      --role "$lambda_execution_role_arn" \
      --mode event \
      --handler "$function.handler" \
      --timeout 30 \
      --runtime nodejs

    Create fake S3 event data to pass to the Lambda function. The key here is the source S3 bucket and key:

    cat > $function-data.json <<EOM

    Invoke the Lambda function, passing in the fake S3 event data:

    aws lambda invoke-async \
      --function-name "$function" \
      --invoke-args "$function-data.json"

    Look in the target bucket for the converted image. It could take a while to show up since the Lambda function is running asynchronously:

    aws s3 ls s3://$target_bucket

    Look at the Lambda function log output in CloudWatch:

    aws logs describe-log-groups \
      --output text \
      --query 'logGroups[*].[logGroupName]'
    log_stream_names=$(aws logs describe-log-streams \
      --log-group-name "$log_group_name" \
      --output text \
      --query 'logStreams[*].logStreamName')
    echo log_stream_names="'$log_stream_names'"
    for log_stream_name in $log_stream_names; do
      aws logs get-log-events \
        --log-group-name "$log_group_name" \
        --log-stream-name "$log_stream_name" \
        --output text \
        --query 'events[*].message'
    done | less

    Step 3.1: Create an IAM Role for Amazon S3 (walkthrough)

    This role may be assumed by S3.

    lambda_invocation_role_arn=$(aws iam create-role \
      --role-name "$lambda_invocation_role_name" \
      --assume-role-policy-document '{
          "Version": "2012-10-17",
          "Statement": [
              "Sid": "",
              "Effect": "Allow",
              "Principal": {
                "Service": "s3.amazonaws.com"
              "Action": "sts:AssumeRole",
              "Condition": {
                "StringLike": {
                  "sts:ExternalId": "arn:aws:s3:::*"
        }' \
      --output text \
      --query 'Role.Arn'
    echo lambda_invocation_role_arn=$lambda_invocation_role_arn

    S3 may invoke the Lambda function.

    aws iam put-role-policy \
      --role-name "$lambda_invocation_role_name" \
      --policy-name "$lambda_invocation_access_policy_name" \
      --policy-document '{
         "Version": "2012-10-17",
         "Statement": [
             "Effect": "Allow",
             "Action": [
             "Resource": [

    Step 3.2: Configure a Notification on the Bucket (walkthrough)

    Get the Lambda function ARN:

    lambda_function_arn=$(aws lambda get-function-configuration \
      --function-name "$function" \
      --output text \
      --query 'FunctionARN'
    echo lambda_function_arn=$lambda_function_arn

    Tell the S3 bucket to invoke the Lambda function when new objects are created (or overwritten):

    aws s3api put-bucket-notification \
      --bucket "$source_bucket" \
      --notification-configuration '{
        "CloudFunctionConfiguration": {
          "CloudFunction": "'$lambda_function_arn'",
          "InvocationRole": "'$lambda_invocation_role_arn'",
          "Event": "s3:ObjectCreated:*"

    Step 3.3: Test the Setup (walkthrough)

    Copy your own jpg and png files into the source bucket:

    aws s3 cp $myimages s3://$source_bucket/

    Look for the resized images in the target bucket:

    aws s3 ls s3://$target_bucket

    Check out the environment

    These handy commands let you review the related resources in your acccount:

    aws lambda list-functions \
      --output text \
      --query 'Functions[*].[FunctionName]'
    aws lambda get-function \
      --function-name "$function"
    aws iam list-roles \
      --output text \
      --query 'Roles[*].[RoleName]'
    aws iam get-role \
      --role-name "$lambda_execution_role_name" \
      --output json \
      --query 'Role.AssumeRolePolicyDocument.Statement'
    aws iam list-role-policies  \
      --role-name "$lambda_execution_role_name" \
      --output text \
      --query 'PolicyNames[*]'
    aws iam get-role-policy \
      --role-name "$lambda_execution_role_name" \
      --policy-name "$lambda_execution_access_policy_name" \
      --output json \
      --query 'PolicyDocument'
    aws iam get-role \
      --role-name "$lambda_invocation_role_name" \
      --output json \
      --query 'Role.AssumeRolePolicyDocument.Statement'
    aws iam list-role-policies  \
      --role-name "$lambda_invocation_role_name" \
      --output text \
      --query 'PolicyNames[*]'
    aws iam get-role-policy \
      --role-name "$lambda_invocation_role_name" \
      --policy-name "$lambda_invocation_access_policy_name" \
      --output json \
      --query 'PolicyDocument'
    aws s3api get-bucket-notification \
      --bucket "$source_bucket"

    Clean up

    If you are done with the walkthrough, you can delete the created resources:

    aws s3 rm s3://$target_bucket/resized-HappyFace.jpg
    aws s3 rm s3://$source_bucket/HappyFace.jpg
    aws s3 rb s3://$target_bucket/
    aws s3 rb s3://$source_bucket/
    aws lambda delete-function \
      --function-name "$function"
    aws iam delete-role-policy \
      --role-name "$lambda_execution_role_name" \
      --policy-name "$lambda_execution_access_policy_name"
    aws iam delete-role \
      --role-name "$lambda_execution_role_name"
    aws iam delete-role-policy \
      --role-name "$lambda_invocation_role_name" \
      --policy-name "$lambda_invocation_access_policy_name"
    aws iam delete-role \
      --role-name "$lambda_invocation_role_name"
    log_stream_names=$(aws logs describe-log-streams \
      --log-group-name "$log_group_name" \
      --output text \
      --query 'logStreams[*].logStreamName') &&
    for log_stream_name in $log_stream_names; do
      echo "deleting log-stream $log_stream_name"
      aws logs delete-log-stream \
        --log-group-name "$log_group_name" \
        --log-stream-name "$log_stream_name"
    aws logs delete-log-group \
      --log-group-name "$log_group_name"

    If you try these instructions, please let me know in the comments where you had trouble or experienced errors.

    Original article: http://alestic.com/2014/11/aws-lambda-cli

    #Ferguson – NYTimes publishes address of Darren Wilson & wife [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

    This moves from irresponsibility to complicity in putting Wilson, his family and his neighbors at risk.

    “The Times “had no qualms whatsoever about publishing almost all the information needed for Officer Darren Wilson’s enemies to track him and his wife down at home,” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism, noting that “This malicious move by the New York Times has not gone unnoticed by Ferguson’s protesters,” as the International Business Times reports:
    But printing his street name in the nation’s most influential newspaper on the day the grand jury is expected to hand up a decision on the indictment could reignite interest in — and awareness of — the location, and some critics worry that it could result in protesters descending on his home. Slate even went a step further than the Times, publishing an article featuring a photo of the modest, red-brick house on Monday.

    A number of Twitter users — some of whom have identified themselves as planning to protest the grand jury decision — have tweeted the location of Wilson’s home as they gear up for rallies. The house number was not printed in the Times, but the street in the St. Louis suburb of Crestwood where it sits is only about two blocks long, and the house number can be easily located via online sources using only the street name and Wilson’s name.

    Home sweet home [updated] [protein wisdom]

    I’m back in town and after some food shopping will likely collapse and ride the next day or two out on life’s bench.

    I’m not sure if it’s the stress of all that’s happening or if something more specific is leaving feeling perpetually under the weather, but as I noted earlier my own health has been in the subpar range over the past few weeks. And as I now have to begin probate duties, I don’t see an end in sight — at least for the next couple weeks.

    That said, I’d like to thank each of you who has contributed to my call for aid. Your generosity has certainly helped lift what was an additional and unforeseen burden. It was only 29 days between my Mom’s being admitted to the hospital for leg pain until her death. What was originally a 2-6 month prognosis turned on a dime: it was 20 days from the discovery of the cancer to my flying in and putting together the funeral arrangements the day before the burial.

    And then to find out my brother was calling the funeral home on the day of the service to try to have a death certificate released to him so he could collect on a life insurance policy he purchased on her after having cashed out her prior policy and naming himself sole beneficiary on the new policy — well, that was the rotten cherry on top of the shit sundae.

    So again, thanks to all of you for your kind words and prayers. My mother didn’t suffer. That’s a blessing.

    Special thanks to the following folks for their financial generosity:

    Joel W
    Joseph D
    Arnie L
    Robert F
    Barbara B
    Patsy P
    Bill S
    Steck S
    Scott M
    Frank P
    Janes M III
    Arthur B
    Blake W
    Keith M
    Kim C
    Jay M
    Barbara L
    Steven G
    Tanjia M
    Jonathan D
    Kevin K
    William D
    Matthew B
    Christopher J
    Linda M
    Bobby U
    Patrick C
    Samuel M
    Aaron E
    Evan C
    Bridget S
    Chris S
    Kevin B
    Darleen C
    Thomas D
    Malcolm A
    Dennis D
    Geoff B
    Jennifer W
    Romain B
    Daniel S
    Pietra B
    Roger H
    Patricia F
    Fred W
    RI Red
    Lowell J
    Jacqueline K
    Robert P
    Michele R
    John R
    Timothy K
    Jessica M
    Daniel K
    Jer O
    Robert E
    Roy M
    David H
    Robin S
    Scott V
    Amy B
    John H
    Stephen B
    Dale P
    Rick H
    …and extra special thanks to William P
    Nancy M
    and Brian C

    I’m humbled.

    update: I’m working over the next few days to close out any remaining open accounts in my Mom’s name that I can find as well as to find out information about pension payments left her by my father — whether they continue to the estate or cease upon my Mother’s death.

    As executor I have to deal with all aspects of probate, which is grueling.

    On the positive front, I reached out to the Baltimore detective today and she’s going to use some of her leave time to contact all the people who are lining up to tell their stories about the abuse my mother suffered at the hands of my brother — all of which reaches full relief as the different experiences of the different friends and neighbors and health care workers are cobbled together.

    Evidently, my brother had the gall to troll for sympathy on facebook and deleted comments from people who excoriated him. Personally, I can’t even see the posts because he’s had me blocked; but I’ve received notice from others who were appalled by his phony mourning — especially given the fact that he spent the morning of the funeral trying to pressure the funeral home to release to him a death certificate so he could cash out “his” money. He’s listed under Steven Michael Goldstein, I believe. Feel free to leave him a message!

    Also, I want to take this opportunity to send out thanks for additional support received from readers, who deserve to be recognized:

    Brenda L
    Jon E
    Fitzhugh W
    Marilyn U
    Helen F
    Brian P
    Mark C
    Robin S

    I feel like I’m a friend to the grass roots, as nearly all of the names here have come from those who have no big time blogs, have no advertising deals with the GOP or other GOP friendly institutions, and are merely just people looking to get their country back. Which tells me that my marginalization didn’t have the desired affect some of my detractors hoped it would.

    Again, thank you all so much, and I’ll keep you updated as I go forward. I will be, once the probate is in order, the plaintiff against my brother. Which, that’s always fun!

    REAL fans refer to the new Hunger Games film by its actual... [Join me, won't we?]

    REAL fans refer to the new Hunger Games film by its actual title: Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1: Amendment 405(a) Title 7 (Draft Copy).

    Woolly mammoth autopsy provides flesh and blood samples [CBC | Technology News]

    A frozen woolly mammoth found with a pool of liquid blood last year in Siberia has been given an autopsy, providing blood and tissue samples that may be used to clone the extinct ancient animal.

    3D printer aboard ISS makes first object in 'historical moment' [CBC | Technology News]

    NASA 3D printer

    A 3D printer aboard the International Space Station manufactured the first 3D-printed object in space this week, NASA announced. The machine printed a replacement part for itself, in a 'historical' step that can change the way exploration missions receive needed hardware.

    Bird's-eye view: Bald eagle soars through stadium wearing camera [CBC | Technology News]

    American Eagle Foundation

    A free-flying bald eagle soared through a football stadium on Sunday in Texas, wearing a camera to show the bird's-eye view of the majestic bird's flight.

    Fight against Asian carp includes Ontario anglers, hunters [CBC | Technology News]

    Invasive Species Attorneys General

    The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters says Asian carp would jeopardize the Great Lakes' $5-billion fishery and decimate native fish populations.

    Underwater robot measuring Antarctic sea ice a 'huge step' [CBC | Technology News]


    Measuring the thickness of Antarctic sea ice, an important gauge of environmental conditions in this remote polar region in a time of global climate change, has proven to be a tricky task. But an underwater robot is providing a nice solution.

    How vultures stomach rotting flesh and avoid food poisoning [CBC | Technology News]

    They snack on danger and dine on death, merrily munching on rotting flesh that would certainly sicken or kill any person and most other animals. But how do vultures do it?

    I used the font ‘Georgia’ on purpose [My Happy Space Family]

    I used the font ‘Georgia’ on purpose

    doomsdaypicnic: Rifftrax: Fun in Balloon... [RiffTrax]


    Rifftrax: Fun in Balloon Land (1965/2014)

    From Rifftrax:

    We would say that Fun In Balloonlandis our favorite RiffTrax movie that we’ve ever done, but there’s just one problem: it’s hard to really describe it as a movie. It is an event. To attempt to describe its plot to you would be like attempting to divide by zero. There are balloons, there are kids, there is a parade, and there were mercifully cameras rolling to capture the madness. It’s a spectacle so cracked and baffling that you’ll have to double check to make sure it wasn’t recorded at Pirates World, home ofSanta and the Ice Cream Bunny.

    In fact, the Ice Cream Bunny would have taken one look at this flick and begged off saying “Too weird for me man! Even I have my limits! Oh whoops, lost another kid off the back of the fire engine. Well, you’re gonna get that.”Fun In Balloon Landthrows a whole casserole of crazy at the screen: kindergartners in gold lamé diapers, giant Indian stereotypes, a maniac of a parade host, blow fish who halfheartedly tell jokes, a lengthy guessing game, The Farmer In The Dell, two headed cats, and something called The Marrying Turkey. Then Santa shows up. Trust us, it will all make sense when you sit down and watch it.*

    We’ve been holding this one back for the holiday season ever since we discovered it at the beginning of the year and we’re delighted to finally present—no, unleash would be the better word—we’re delighted tounleashit to all of you. Please join Mike, Kevin, Bill, and the Marrying Turkey for:Fun In Balloonland.

    Nobody can be told what Balloon Land is. You have to experience it for yourself. 


    Fun In Balloonland is available now! [RiffTrax]

    Fun In Balloonland is available now!

    Michael Brown Mom: It’s The Governor’s Fault My Husband Incited Protesters To “Burn This Bitch Down”… [Weasel Zippers]

    Naturally. Via Grabien: GUTHRIE: “I know you were there in the crowd and this was just after the news came out. What do you have to say about that?” MCSPADDEN: “That he was just emotional. I don’t feel that he stirred the crowd. The crowd was already stirred. It’s been stirring since August 9th. I […]

    Ferguson Protesters Attempt To Storm St. Louis City Hall, 3 Arrested… [Weasel Zippers]

    Does storming city hall classify as “mostly peaceful?” ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – Three people were arrested when protesters attempted to gain entry to City Hall in downtown St. Louis Wednesday. Jeff Rainford, Chief of Staff for the St. Louis Mayor’s Office, told News 4 a small number of protesters attempted to charge into City Hall […]

    Lib Cesspool Gawker Praises Ferguson Riots… [Weasel Zippers]

    Don’t ever change, Gawker. Via Gawker: [T]he media reaction to the rioting has thus far been uniformly ridiculous. As much as we all love AutoZone and Doritos, hysterically sobbing at the sight of the former being burned and the latter being looted is a tad over the top. A clip of bullets was unloaded into […]

    Mother Jones: Global Warming Is Shrinking Our Kids… [Weasel Zippers]

    Is there anything global warming can’t do? Another Side Effect of Climate Change and El Niño Events? Shorter Kids – MoJo The weather pattern known as El Niño could be stunting kids’ growth—even years after the extreme storms abate, a new study finds. Researchers at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, led by assistant […]

    Pentagon Changes Term For Captured Jihadists To “Unprivileged Enemy Belligerents”… [Weasel Zippers]

    Mind-numbing nuance. Via FAS: When it comes to Department of Defense doctrine on military treatment of detained persons, “unlawful enemy combatants” are a thing of the past. That term has been retired and replaced by “unprivileged enemy belligerents” in a new revision of Joint Publication 3-13 on Detainee Operations, dated November 13, 2014. Among other […]

    BREAKING: “Protesters” Halt Traffic On LA 101 Over Mike Brown [Weasel Zippers]

    Via CBS LA: Protesters Wednesday have halted traffic on the southbound 101 Freeway near downtown Los Angeles. The group of about 15-20 people stopped vehicles around 9:20 a.m. near Alvarado Street, according to the California Highway Patrol. Keep reading… UPDATE – arrests happening now

    Four Freelance Reporters Robbed At Gunpoint In Ferguson… [Weasel Zippers]

    Update to this story. Via Riverfront Times: The site of Michael Brown’s killing has become particularly dangerous for media members in the last 24 hours. A crew of four freelance journalists was robbed at gunpoint this evening around 8 p.m. as they tried to film a segment at the Canfield Drive memorial. Emily Molli, a […]

    Obama: Americans Have No Right To Favor Americans… [Weasel Zippers]

    We don’t? Via Daily Caller: The only Americans who can legitimately object to immigration are native Indian-Americans, President Barack Obama told his Chicago audience Nov. 24, as he made an impassioned ideological plea for endless immigration, cultural diversity and a big government to manage the resulting multicultural society. “There have been periods where the folks […]

    Islamic State Offers To Send Its Fighters To Ferguson If Protestors Convert To Islam And Swear Allegiance to Al-Baghdadi… [Weasel Zippers]

    As always, the Islamic State and libs are on the same side. Via SITE: Islamic State (IS) fighters and supporters began spreading a picture addressed to Ferguson protestors, stating that they will “shed blood” and send “soldiers that don’t sleep” to those who accept Islam and pledge allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    Ferguson Protester Calls Cop A “Faggot”… [Weasel Zippers]

    The libs supporting the protesters unavailable for comment. HT: LaughingAtLiberals

    Dem Rep. Bennie Thompson: People Opposed To Obama’s Executive Action Because He’s Black… [Weasel Zippers]

    Self-parody from race-baiter Bennie Thompson. Via BuzzFeed: A Democratic congressman says opposition to President Obama’s extending temporary legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants is a result of the president’s race. “The president, by executive order, which everybody agrees — who has a real brain — that presidents since George Washington have had executive authority […]

    Michael Brown’s Mom: My Saint-Like Gentle Giant Son “Would Never Provoke Anyone”… [Weasel Zippers]

    He’ so gentle that he committed a strong-arm robbery just before he was killed. GAYLE KING, CBS: You know, the officer has spoken now for the first time and he’s giving his version, and I’d like to know your reaction. He said your son threw the first punch, your son did not have his arms […]

    TIME Defends Blacks Looting In Ferguson… [Weasel Zippers]

    Alternate headline: Rich liberal elitist defends poor blacks looting and burning down their neighborhood. Ferguson: In Defense of Rioting – TIME When a police officer shoots a young, unarmed black man in the streets, then does not face indictment, anger in the community is inevitable. It’s what we do with that anger that counts. In […]

    Portland Ferguson Protest: “Without Racism, You Can’t Have Terrorist Cops”… [Weasel Zippers]

    No surprise this is coming from moonbat-infested Portland. Via LaughingAtLiberals

    Islamic State Stones Two Men To Death For Being Gay… [Weasel Zippers]

    In America the slightest criticism of gays is met with a flood of condemnation yet they say nothing went ISIS kill two men for being gay. Via Al Arabiya: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group stoned two men to death in Syria Tuesday after claiming they were gay, a monitor said, in […]

    zdarsky: 100% wholehearted agreement brianmichaelbendis: So... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


    100% wholehearted agreement


    So let’s talk about kellysue and Bitch Planet for a second.

    I had a chance to read a full color PDF of the first issue this weekend and it is by far my favorite thing Kelly Sue has embarked on. I know that a lot of us comic creators hop online and promote each other’s books… and some of you know that we’re friends and you think to yourself ‘oh, that’s cute. they’re friends.’  past that you probably don’t give it much credence because you think that we are as biased as anyone could be and probably feel that we owe that person a dozen favors and the least we could do is help promote each other’s book.

     and, sure, sometimes that is true but this is not the case with me and this book.

     things like this book make me excited to jump online and scream as loudly as I can.  you know that feeling when an author you really like just knocks one out of the park. this is what this book is.

     this is just a really great comic book. the first chapter of what could be a tremendous work of genre fiction from an author who has a lot to get off her chest.

    she may have found the perfect vehicle to express my favorite part of Kelly which is angry Kelly. I love angry Kelly in real life and in her work.  and now you get to buy a piece of angry Kelly every month. 

     so,  like, preorder bitch planet.

    misandry-mermaid: mysharona1987: So basically Open Carry laws... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]



    So basically Open Carry laws are only for white citizens?

    Weird how all those gun-obsessed conservatives only care when certain people’s 2nd amendment rights are being violated.

    Fuck the NRA.

    boingboing: EXCLUSIVE: Photo gallery of Ferguson demonstrators... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


    EXCLUSIVE: Photo gallery of Ferguson demonstrators in NYC

    Photographer Daniel Schaefer captures the grief, anger, and resolve of demonstrators who took to the streets of Manhattan after the announcement that the police officer who killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown would not be indicted.

    vividvivka: #flashback to my Death Cosplay…. I grew up in the... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


    #flashback to my Death Cosplay…. I grew up in the pages of Sandman and the Endless.
    I’m working on another member of the family…. Can you guess who? Big hint: 🐠
    #death #endless #sandman #cosplay #costume #blackandwhite #comic #ankh #girlswithink #girlswhocosplay #girlswithtattoos #suicidegirls

    edwardspoonhands: neil-gaiman: One of the proudest, happiest... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]



    One of the proudest, happiest moments of my life. Giving the National Book Award medal to Ursula K Le Guin.

    Le Guin is one of my favorite authors of all time. So much fantastic work…if you’ve never read any of her stuff, I’d start with ‘The Left Hand of Darkness.’

    This speech is amazing. You should watch it. She’s hilarious and brave and insightful in ways that I find extremely inspiring. Her speech starts at around 6:40 and contains the phrase “We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings.” That’s not a typical thing to say while receiving an award for writing…but she’s not a typical person.

    And, yes, I’m aware that I just told you to skip over Neil Gaiman and that is crazy…but if you’ve only got five minutes, you should watch Ursula’s bit.

    Another Way To Breathe - The Yearbook Office [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]

    Another Way To Breathe - The Yearbook Office:



    Corey and I come home from a hot date and, in a series of jump cuts, the keys are hastily thrown on the table, our shoes fly off, jeans get unzipped, pajama bottoms take their place, and then we’re on the couch, settling in to binge-watch Netflix. We have sex, sure, but cuddling is an event in and of itself, not an afterthought to share over a post-coital cigarette.

    - Another Way To Breathe by Samantha Allen

    Samantha Allen is one of my favorite writers, it is a complete honor to be able to publish her at The Yearbook Office.

    lovelydomination: wocinsolidarity: kateyfeltfree: nezua: hard... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]






    Slave gravesite in New York City


    The heart of NYC’s Financial District is built on a huge 18th century African Burial Ground. Some 419 Africans were discovered in 1991, a large portion women and children.

    The burial ground extends from Broadway Southward under City Hall, and almost to the site of the former World Trade Center. It is believed that there are as many as 20,000 slavery-era Africans in graves under the buildings in Lower Manhattan. 

    Abolish historical amnesia and ponder for a moment the fact that this financial epicenter of the world is built on slavery, oppression, and death.”

    Literally, and daily.

    yo. that last sentence hits you in the face like a brick. 



    Houston AMSAT Net #1077 - 25 Nov 2014 [Houston AMSAT Net Podcast]

    In this edition:

    01. ARISS Program
    02. More ARISS Info
    03. How To Conduct An ARISS QSO
    04. Shin'en 2 XPNDR
    05. Shin'en 2 Synopsis
    06. Shin'en 2 Data Format
    07. Shin'en 2 on Facebook
    08. Shin'en 2 Deployment Diagram
    09. Artsat-Despatch Tracker
    10. Artsat Info
    11. More Artsat
    12. $50 Sat Info
    13. and more.

    Video: FRANCE 24 investigates new Mexico kidnapping case [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

    The southern Mexican city of Cocula grabbed global headlines after being named by officials as the place where 43 students who went missing in September were likely murdered. Now FRANCE 24 has uncovered a new kidnapping case in the same town.

    More US troops deployed in Ferguson amid ongoing unrest [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

    More than 2,000 National Guard troops spread out across the St. Louis area on Tuesday to prevent another night of rioting and looting after a grand jury declined to indict a white policeman in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

    Hong Kong activist leaders arrested, protest site cleared [Asia/Pacific – France 24 - International News 24/7]

    Hong Kong police cleared activists from a major protest site and arrested two student leaders at the heart of weeks of pro-democracy demonstrations. Scuffles were reported but there was no serious violence during the three-hour police operation.

    Video: FRANCE 24 investigates new Mexico kidnapping case [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

    The southern Mexican city of Cocula grabbed global headlines after being named by officials as the place where 43 students who went missing in September were likely murdered. Now FRANCE 24 has uncovered a new kidnapping case in the same town.

    Hollande urges 'democractic transition' in Egypt during Sisi Paris visit [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

    France on Wednesday urged Egypt to continue its path towards democracy, as visiting president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sought to restore his country's reputation with his first European tour after a deadly crackdown on opponents.

    EU 'calls for 5,000 doctors' to fight Ebola [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

    The European Commission called Wednesday for 5,000 doctors to be sent from EU states to combat West Africa's Ebola epidemic, a European source with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

    Obama’s America: Elderly Man On Oxygen Is Attacked, Carjacked and Run Over By Ferguson Protesters [Jammie Wearing Fools]

    The Obama Riots, ladies and gentlemen. He owns this lunacy.

    Some crowds turned to violence after Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced the grand jury had decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown Monday.

    While covering the protests news crew came upon a chaotic scene.

    An elderly man dependent on oxygen was reportedly attacked and run over during a car jacking in the parking lot of Faraci Pizza on Florissant in Ferguson Monday evening.

    In the video you can hear witnesses tell the news reporter the elderly male was attacked with his oxygen tank, car jacked and then run over with his own car.

    One witnesses says the unidentified victim went to his car to get his new oxygen tank when the thugs attacked him.

    The television crew who captured the entire event on camera made a plea to their news station to call 911.

    Goddamn animals. Maybe it indeed is time for that national conversation. Let’s start with this subhuman behavior.

    Out: ‘Unlawful Enemy Combatants'; In: ‘Unprivileged Enemy Belligerents’ [Jammie Wearing Fools]

    Just when you thought we couldn’t become any more ridiculous. Figured this was a gag, but it’s not.

    When it comes to Department of Defense doctrine on military treatment of detained persons, “unlawful enemy combatants” are a thing of the past. That term has been retired and replaced by “unprivileged enemy belligerents” in a new revision of Joint Publication 3-13 on Detainee Operations, dated November 13, 2014.

    Somehow this escaped public notice, not to mention the appropriate ridicule, but it actually pre-dates November 13.


    Prohibition on transfer of unprivileged enemy belligerents to the United States



    No unprivileged enemy belligerent who is in the custody or under the effective control of theDepartment of Defense or any other Federal entity may be transferred to or released in the United States.


    Criminal penalties

    A person who transfers or releases, or assists in the transfer or release, of an unprivileged enemy belligerent to or within the United States shall be fined in accordance with title 18, United States Code, imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.


    Unprivileged enemy belligerent

    For purposes of this Act, the term unprivileged enemy belligerent has the meaning given such term in section 948a(7) of title 10, United States Code, and includes any individual (other than a member of the Armed Forces) under detention at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as of the date of the enactment of this Act.

    And it goes back even further. Can’t we just go back to calling them terrorists?

    Watch this video on YouTube.

    Time: ‘Riots are a necessary part of the evolution of society’ [Jammie Wearing Fools]

    More like going back to the Stone Age.

    When a police officer shoots a young, unarmed black man in the streets, then does not face indictment, anger in the community is inevitable. It’s what we do with that anger that counts. In such a case, is rioting so wrong?

    Riots are a necessary part of the evolution of society. Unfortunately, we do not live in a universal utopia where people have the basic human rights they deserve simply for existing, and until we get there, the legitimate frustration, sorrow and pain of the marginalized voices will boil over, spilling out into our streets. As “normal” citizens watch the events of Ferguson unfurl on their television screens and Twitter feeds, there is a lot of head shaking, finger pointing, and privileged explanation going on.

    Wait, what? What on earth is privileged explanation? But hey, she’s on a roll.

    We wish to seclude the incident and the people involved. To separate it from our history as a nation, to dehumanize the change agents because of their bad and sometimes violent decisions—because if we can separate the underlying racial tensions that clearly exist in our country from the looting and rioting of select individuals, we can continue to ignore the problem.

    Obama’s America, where sometimes violent agents of change are just misunderstood by the privileged few. Get with the program, people!

    Read the rest if you have the stomach. It devolves into a misinformed screed about the Tea Party, of course.

    ISIS Monsters Stone Two Syrian Men to Death for Being Gay [Jammie Wearing Fools]

    Guess they’re not celebrating diversity.

    Two Syrian men were stoned to death for being gay by ISIS, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, according to AFP.

    The first man, 20, was killed in Mayadeen, in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, AFP reported. A second man, 18, was stoned to death in Deir Al-Zor.

    ISIS, also known as the Islamic State or ISIL, claimed it had found videos on the first man’s cellphone, in which he was “practicing indecent acts with males,” according to the report. ISIS also accused the second man of being gay without specifying the basis for its allegations.

    The men were both opponents of ISIS, according to activists on social media, who charged the terrorist group used the gay allegation as a pretext to murder them.

    Can we just get on with eliminating these animals from the face of the earth?

    Wait, There’s an ‘Oral History Project’ About the Clinton White House? [Jammie Wearing Fools]

    How’d we miss this?

    A new batch of interviews with top Clinton administration officials released Friday provides new insights into the personalities and decision-making styles of Bill and Hillary Clinton. It also offers potential fodder for their critics and allies as the former first lady mulls a likely 2016 presidential campaign.

    The interviews, conducted after the Clintons left the White House, are part of an oral history project by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. Their release coincides with the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center, which is being marked by a multi-day celebration in Arkansas, where Bill Clinton served as governor.

    The irony meter just exploded. Meanwhile, a Clinton friend claims she’d have walked in Bill kept banging anyone with a pulse.

    No one said anything about after the campaign.

    A top aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton said she warned Bill Clinton during the 1992 presidential race that she would walk out and take the whole staff with her if there were any new bimbo eruptions during the campaign.

    “I told him if I found him having sex on the campaign, he was dead, that I was leaving and taking everybody with me,” said Clinton adviser Susan Thomases. “I said, ‘You’re stupid enough to blow this whole presidential thing over your d–k. And if that turns out to be true, buddy, I’m going home, and I’m taking people with me. If you don’t have enough self-control to keep yourself straight, then it’s just dumb.’ ”

    Thomases revealed her straight-talking pre-emptive strike as part of an oral history project on the Clinton White House being released this month by the University of Virginia.

    She claims the threat worked. Um, really?

    Bloomberg’s Anti-Gun Nuts Provide Handy Guide of Discredited Talking Points to Help Ruin Your Thanksgiving [Jammie Wearing Fools]

    Why can’t these angry liberals just let America enjoy the holiday without injecting politics into everything?

    Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety group is providing its members a gun control flashcard of sorts, packed with figures and facts, to use around the dinner table this holiday.

    The collection of data, presented in a bullet-point format, is designed to provide advocates quick information to draw from in conversation with seldom seen friends and relatives over the upcoming Thanksgiving feast. Termed “Talking Turkey About Guns, 2014” the resource presents itself as a myth buster of sorts, for instance, taking on claims from the National Rifle Association that more guns in more places make us all safer.

    “Even though good manners says we’re not supposed to talk religion or politics, we all know that sometimes the conversation at the Thanksgiving table gets taken over by a family member or friend with strong opinions and shaky facts,” Erika Soto Lamb, communications director for Everytown told Guns.com Monday.

    It’s not good manners, but we all know blah blah blah. They’re just not happy unless everyone is as miserable as they are.

    The figures at the heart of the current infographic, however, have been discredited by Dr. John R. Lott, Jr., an economist specializing on guns and crime. Lott, through his Crime Prevention Research Center, has long taken on the Bloomberg group’s statistics calling them “typical misinformation.”

    Lott told Guns.com that the latest Everytown effort has some, “Horrible errors in these claims,” pointing out, for instance, that the classification of “intimate partners” included in the figures about violence towards women also encompasses prostitutes and their customers.

    “If you want to ask about the real risk factor women should be careful of men with violent criminal records, not ownership of guns,” Lott said.

    Crazy talk!

    Justice! Stompy-Foot Protesters Block Ambulances in Boston [Jammie Wearing Fools]

    That’s sticking it to the man, alright.

    We’re sure MSNBC is all over it.

    That’s how they roll. Besides, it was probably white people in there.

    Meanwhile, let’s stand out on a highway and speak truth to power or something:

    Awesome. That’s show them.
    Elsewhere in Boston:

    In Boston, protesters marched up Harrison Avenue from Dudley Square to Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue, forcing the police who moved with them to shut intersections along the way. Prisoners at the South Bay House of Correction were at their windows holding up signs that said “Michael Brown” as the crowd locked arms at the police line in front of the I-93 ramp.

    The crush there continued for 35 minutes as a protester with a bullhorn shouted, “Take one step forward! Take three steps forward!”

    Police pushed back, and protesters eventually moved back to Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass.

    “We aren’t going to get through these pigs and I am tired of looking at their faces,” shouted a woman with a bullhorn.

    The feeling is mutual.

    Voters Overwhelmingly Oppose Imperial President’s Lawless Amnesty [Jammie Wearing Fools]

    Ever since Obama decided to throw a post-election temper tantrum by legalizing millions of lawbreakers there’s been a dearth of polls. We finally found one and the people definitely aren’t on his side.

    Most voters oppose President Obama’s reported plan to unilaterally grant amnesty to several million illegal immigrants and think Congress should challenge him in court if he goes ahead with it.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose the president granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without the approval of Congress. Just 26% are in favor of Obama’s plan, while 12% are undecided.

    Only 24% think the president has the legal authority to grant amnesty to these illegal immigrants without Congress’ approval. Fifty-seven percent (57%) believe the president does not have the legal right to do so. Eighteen percent (18%) are undecided.

    If the president does grant amnesty to several million illegals, 55% of voters think Congress should challenge that action in court. Thirty percent (30%) disagree, while 14% are undecided.

    Memo to the GOP: The public has your back, so stiffen up, ignore the media and do the job you were sent to do, namely, stop this maniac.

    Meanwhile, remember when Obama said he wasn’t making laws on his own? Yeah, about that:

    Funny, that.

    Oh, and they’re not exactly going to the back of the line.

    Under President Obama’s new program to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, many of those affected will be eligible to receive Social Security, Medicare and a wide array of other federal benefits, a White House official said Tuesday.

    A wide array of federal benefits. Wonderful. Thanks, Obama!

    Civilizing barbarians [Chaos Manor - Jerry Pournelle]


    View 852 Tuesday, November 25, 2014

    “Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

    President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009

    If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

    Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983


    At least one black leader, a State Senator, has declared that we are now in a race war, blacks and their sympathizers vs. everyone else. She has no authority to declare any such thing, and she certainly does not speak for anything like a majority of African Americans, nor, I suspect, for anything like a majority of liberal intellectuals, but it is an astonishing to say.

    We are not in a race war, but there are similarities to a barbarian invasion. We have a barbarian culture within the United States. The most common cause of death of black males is to be killed by another black male. There are other sub cultures in which homicide is common. Generally the barbarian culture does not interact with the majority of the middle class, but in so-called ghetto areas American citizens cannot avoid interactions with the barbarian culture. They live there, and they can’t avoid it.

    More than forty years ago when I was a city official in the Mayor’s office, I was asked to sit in on a meeting with the precinct captain of a district that included both black middle class and some “Inner city” “ghetto” areas. The meeting consisted of the police officers and several black women who were tired of the lack of law and order in their neighborhood. The captain explained that he had not more resources: he had patrols on overtime as it was. There was nothing to be done. I offered to send some of the Metro units in. These were elite police patrols who strictly enforced the law.  I warned the ladies that if we sent them in, they would come down hard on all criminal activity they saw.  All of it.  The ladies said that was very much what they wanted.

    We sent some of the elite Metro units into the neighborhood. They began enforcing the law as they had been trained: not as community police, but as strict enforcement officers looking for good arrests. This was before Wilson’s “Broken Windows” theory became widely known, but I knew Wilson, and this was in that spirit: you don’t ignore minor infractions because that leads people to think you will ignore major ones.

    The experiment lasted about a month, and the ladies reported they were really surprised at how much better conditions were; but there were black leaders who claimed that the district was being overpoliced. The LA Times talked about the invasion of the police. The mayor told me to get the Metro units out of there. Things went back to where they were before I attempted to intervene.

    This was forty years ago, after the Watts riots but before the later Los Angeles riots.

    The cure for barbarians within the gates is to educate the barbarian children. Humans are not born civilized. They acquire civility by living in civilization, and they learn it as they grow up in it. In the United States we have had waves of immigrants from areas with entirely different cultures, some from more civilized cultures than ours, but many from less, and few in which civilization was based on freedom: American citizens act civilized because they are civilized, not from fear of apprehension and punishment. The Metro Unit wasn’t really the answer to those ladies’ complaints; it was just all I had to offer.

    But the way to civilize barbarians is to do it in the schools, from the earliest grades on: enforcement of discipline, being polite, respectful deference to authority – not cringing fear, but respectful deference. But those values have to be instilled, and enforced.

    I remember a song I learned as a child.

    School days, school days
    Dear old Golden Rule days
    ‘Reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic
    Taught to the tune of the hick’ry stick

    I think everyone I knew learned it. It’s a catchy tune, and it sort of described what we were doing in school. The hickory stick wasn’t much used, but it was legal for the teachers to use it. The Sisters in my first three grades had rulers which they were said to use freely (although I think I actually witnessed Sister Elizabeth Ann use hers no more than twice in the two years I was in her First/Second grade classroom). And the Three R’s were certainly what we were expected to learn. Reading and Writing and Arithmetic.

    And when we moved to the country I was in a public school, again two grades to the room and about 20-25 pupils to the grade. This was out in the county in farming country, but we had the same textbooks that they had in Memphis, and we pretty well learned the same things: ostensibly reading, writing, and arithmetic. Of course reading included some real literature: no Dick and Jane, and alas no Cat in the Hat. I wish I had my Third Grade Reader. I have found the California Sixth Grade Reader, which I have edited and published as an eBook; our Tennessee Sixth Grade Reader wasn’t much different. Most of the same poems and stories.

    But we were also learning to be civilized. To say “Ma’am” to the teachers, or call them Miss Dean or Mrs. Cooper and be courteous, and yes, obedient. We learned self discipline. You don’t run in the halls. You don’t hit girls (boys got away with a bit more roughhousing with each other, but you don’t hit girls). This is how civilized people live.

    We were also learning that “dear old Golden Rule” as we were growing up. Explicitly, but that was just a lesson; but as a way of thinking. It was built into the stories and lessons, and the way we were expected to live.

    When I was growing up the purposes of the schools was clear, and civilizing young barbarians was one of those purposes. Now this was the legally segregates South: the young barbarians I refer to were us, farm and country kids growing up in war time when adult supervision outside school was pretty rare.

    It seems to have worked.

    But as I understand it, that is no longer considered a purpose of the public schools, even though citizens with no children in those schools are taxed to pay for them. The teachers seem to believe – indeed many insist – that their task is not “indoctrination”, and it is not to “impose” a culture on their charges.

    Of course it’s pretty hard to see what the system is supposed to do now: from observation a great deal of the system has become a ship which exists for the benefit of its crew, and its funding is not at all dependent on what it actually accomplishes. It’s surely not “the good old golden rule”, and from the results it’s hardly reading and ‘riting and ‘rithemetic either. It’s mostly to pay teachers, avoid any being fired for incompetence and few for anything else, and to pay for good benefits and pensions. The students are irrelevant. Yes, of course, there are dedicated teachers who hate all that, but they don’t run the system, and they aren’t paid in “released time” to be union officials. A ship which exists for the benefit of its crew.

    And if the purpose of the schools is no longer to civilize young barbarians, that job is left to the parents and the churches; and we see the results of decades in which the schools are not

    Dear old Golden Rule days
    ‘Reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic
    Taught to the tune of the hick’ry stick

    Young humans are not born civilized, and civilizations that leave the task of civilizing them to chance sow the wind.

    We sow the wind. We are reaping the whirlwind.


    I am told that more than 27 small businesses were destroyed by fire in Ferguson last night. I am also told that more than half of them were owned by minority owners (and I assume that minority includes Hispanic and Asian). The National Guard was present but not inserted to defend those businesses, but I do not know why they were ordered to stand down as the looting began. First there was pillage, then burning. When the barbarians come through the gates those are standard. If the Missouri State Senator is correct in pronouncing this their race war, we may see more.



    Renewable energy ‘simply WON’T WORK': Top Google engineers

    Windmills, solar, tidal – all a ‘false hope’, say Stanford PhDs

    By Lewis Page

    Comment Two highly qualified Google engineers who have spent years studying and trying to improve renewable energy technology have stated quite bluntly that renewables will never permit the human race to cut CO2 emissions to the levels demanded by climate activists. Whatever the future holds, it is not a renewables-powered civilisation: such a thing is impossible.

    Both men are Stanford PhDs, Ross Koningstein having trained in aerospace engineering and David Fork in applied physics. These aren’t guys who fiddle about with websites or data analytics or "technology" of that sort: they are real engineers who understand difficult maths and physics, and top-bracket even among that distinguished company. The duo were employed at Google on the RE<C project, which sought to enhance renewable technology to the point where it could produce energy more cheaply than coal.

    RE<C was a failure, and Google closed it down after four years. Now, Koningstein and Fork have explained the conclusions they came to after a lengthy period of applying their considerable technological expertise to renewables, in an article posted at IEEE Spectrum.

    The two men write:

    At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope …

    Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.

    One should note that RE<C didn’t restrict itself to conventional renewable ideas like solar PV, windfarms, tidal, hydro etc. It also looked extensively into more radical notions such as solar-thermal, geothermal, "self-assembling" wind towers and so on and so forth. There’s no get-out clause for renewables believers here.

    Koningstein and Fork aren’t alone. Whenever somebody with a decent grasp of maths and physics looks into the idea of a fully renewables-powered civilised future for the human race with a reasonably open mind, they normally come to the conclusion that it simply isn’t feasible. Merely generating the relatively small proportion of our energy that we consume today in the form of electricity is already an insuperably difficult task for renewables: generating huge amounts more on top to carry out the tasks we do today using fossil-fuelled heat isn’t even vaguely plausible.


    I do not know if they considered solar power satellites, which may be able to achieve the goal; I recall studies that indicate that it’s possible, although it would take a lot of SSPS systems. We will certainly have to move to some form of nuclear power in order to sustain the present population at anything like this standard of living.



    Will Finland suffer the fate of Crimea and Ukraine?


    James Crawford=

    Fortunately, probably not. I doubt the Russians want to rule a number of intelligent and hostile people and the Finns most certainly would be hostile. Ukraine is historically part of Russia, not merely an imperial acquisition.


    Rosetta and Philae 

    Dear Dr Pournelle,

    I’m very surprised that you have not yet celebrated the soft(ish) landing of Philae from the Rosetta probe on Comet 67P (avg. 2.6 km dia.), after a 10 year flight and over 6.4 bn km travelled. Philae has performed better than 90% of its primary mission on its main batteries, but having come to rest in the shadow of a cliff, the solar-powered secondary batteries are not adequately charging, so additional, unscheduled tests cannot be performed (this may improve as 67P moves closer to the Sun and the intensity of the light falling on Philae’s photocells increases; at present it is about 330 m km away — beyond the orbit of Mars). ESA researchers are currently analysing the data collected from Philae, and we already know that organic molecules have been detected. You can watch videos and read reports on ESA’s web site, <http://www.esa.int>.

    OK, I’m a European, and I’m really, *really* proud of what this consortium of nations has achieved with this mission. I’ve never felt so excited since my parents allowed me to stay up to watch the broadcast of the US Apollo 11 Moon landing.

    And now I read that ESA/Airbus will be making the primary stage of NASA’s Orion rocket. :-)

    Best regards,


    You ought to be proud. It was a magnificent achievement. I probably should have commented but I have been swamped lately, and there was little I could say other than Congratulations!The final location of the probe was unfortunate, but getting onto the comet at all was wonderful.  I’m still absorbing the information.


    Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




    Immigration and other matters [Chaos Manor - Jerry Pournelle]


    View 851 Friday, November 21, 2014

    “Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

    President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009

    If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

    Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983


    The furor over President Obama’s executive actions – which are certainly at the edge of the President’s constitutional powers – continues, but there is precious little debate on the immigration question itself. Fortunately some of that can be done here.

    Illegal Immigration

    My problem with your assertions (and that of about 98% of the Republican pundocracy) that illegals crossing the border is the only illegal act committed by illegal aliens is so spectacularly wrong. Illegals spend their lives saturated in illegal acts.

    1. Working (at all) is illegal.

    2. Getting medical services using a false ID to avoid payment is illegal (or do illegals never see a doctor?)

    3. Creating false documentation to use for employment is illegal (The 9-11 hijackers got their docs from a service created to serve illegals).

    4. Filing federal forms using false ID is illegal.

    5. Making false claims of income to receive EITC is illegal.

    6. Filing false forms to gain access to welfare is illegal.

    I could go on — and most of these violations have severe penalties — but apparently only for citizens. Simpson-Mazzoli taught the world how the system works — Get across the border, lie, cheat and steal while you are here – and be rewarded with citizenship. The push for "amnesty" will just reinforce this understanding by an order of magnitude ( or roughly the number of illegals we have to deal with now compared to Simpson-Mazzoli.) Do what you’ve done; Get what you got. In spades.

    Thanks for your time.

    Stephen Coyne

    Presume agreement with what you have said. There remain problems. First and most obvious, most of those continuous crimes stem from their status. When Mrs. Pournelle taught in the Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice System, there were many young people in temporary detention because they were “status offenders”: they had committed no intentional criminal act, but were living in situations that sent them to detention. Most of them could not read, and had no sense of discipline: it did them no harm to learn some social skills and a bit of deference to authority and self discipline, but it was a damned expensive way for them to learn it. And of course it did them a great deal of good to learn to read, which the schools had spectacularly failed to teach them. Some counted themselves lucky to be in a place where it was relatively quiet and safe and the teachers actually tried to teach them something. But it’s hardly a plan for school reform.

    Of course there were many others who were actual criminals, including a girl who had borrowed her boyfriend’s gun to kill her mother’s boyfriend as he was abusing her little sister. Others were shop lifters, prostitutes, and burglars. They shared the facilities with the status offenders because there was no money to build and staff more facilities for better segregation of the juvenile detention population.

    I say all this not in answer to your summary, but as something to keep in mind.

    You point out that working here as an illegal alien is itself a crime. Indeed: but it is a fact, and while finding some way to prevent their employment – no easy task – would partially prevent that crime, it would also create tens of thousands of paupers who would still be here, only now they have no income. Some might go back to their country of origin, but many would not; what happens next? If the answer is ‘deport them all,’ we will address that later.

    The question of welfare abuse is important. The average person in the US living on welfare is considered in poverty here, but much of the world would consider them wealthy, and that includes the countries of origin of many of the illegal aliens here. The proportion of those coming here to get on welfare, as opposed to those coming here to work and send money back to their families is debatable, but there are at least some, and of course once here economics determines whether they try to get in on the welfare system.

    Welfare reform is important, but also difficult. The simplest, require some proof of legal status before you can receive welfare or other benefits, has been tried and rejected by the courts. A federal law to this effect may well be passed by the next Congress, although it is unlikely that the President will sign it. But assuming it were passed and signed, it is certain to be challenged in the courts. California’s attempt didn’t survive. But assume that Congress directs the President to enforce the laws, and the civil service actually begins to deny welfare benefits to those who cannot prove legal status in the US.

    This would be worth pursuing if for no other reason than it might well stop newcomers from receiving welfare and Medicaid and other such benefits, and that would discourage new illegal immigrants.

    It would leave open the question of what happens to those formerly receiving it. They will still be here, and will still be guilty of having received welfare illegally. What shall be done with them? President Obama’s solution is to have them register and acquire a sort of pale green card that givens them legal status of a sort, and allows them to get on the welfare rolls again. What would be a better solution? Immediate deportation? We’ll address that later.

    Creating and using false documents is a separate issue. It is already a crime for citizens and illegal residents alike, and is best enforced that way, as presumably it would be under the Obama plan. The same is true for many other fraudulent acts in your specification.


    Total deportations in 2011, the latest year for which complete numbers are available, numbered 715,495 – the lowest level since 1973. The highest number of deportations on record was in 2000, under the Clinton administration, when 1,864,343 aliens were deported.


    Under Clinton, about 2 million aliens were deported in one year. There are about ten million illegal aliens present in the United States. One assumes that the level of difficulty grows with each million deported. If we continued at the 2 million a year level it would take five years.

    Whether we could sustain that rate is subject to debate, but it is less time and surely would cost less than our overseas operations in Iraq have cost. If that is what is intended, then it needs to be said; the question becomes then one of the will of the people. If it be that being illegal and here is sufficient grounds for deportation and the law ought to be enforced, we will have to be prepared for the resulting legal congestion in our courts as each case is contested. At present those deported are, usually rather obvious cases (many having previously been deported: there needs to be revision in the law about repeat offenses); that will be decreasingly so over time. We will need to be prepared for the endless newspaper stories with front and inside pictures of children clinging to their mothers as they are taken into custody, and American children crying because the feds took their nanny away.

    One wonders if we are up to that.

    If not, then what should we do? Mr. Obama has proposed a course of action. Unlike the Simpson- Mazzoli Act of 1986 signed by Reagan, it doesn’t seem to impose penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal workers, and has no citizenship path for those covered by the amnesty. The Reagan amnesty was intended to deal with about 4 million illegal aliens then resident in the US. There are some ten million now some 28 years later. Of course some put that number as high as 40 million, and most agree that ten million is an underestimate. Whatever one’s opinion of Mr. Obama’s decree, it does not solve the problem addressed by Simpson-Mazzoli, just as that amnesty did not solve the problem it faced.

    It truly is time and past time for a rational discussion of immigration policy, and of the measures it will require to regain control of the US borders. This is an opportunity for the Republicans to propose sensible measures to cope with a large and growing problem; even if they are rejected by the President (the lame duck Democratic majority in the Senate vanished in January) it is an opportunity for the Republicans to show they can govern.




    I agree with nearly all of your comments about not panicking, especially as I see this as doing long-term damage mainly to the President.

    But I think you have the pardon power wrong. Sure, Obama could pardon each and every illegal for having been in the country illegally, but the next day they are still here illegally. He can no more pardon them prospectively as he could pardon someone from ongoing perjury or being a felon in continued possession of a gun.

    Kevin Murphy

    Yes, I expect so. But he is a former lecturer on Constitutional Law…

    Constitutional Crisis

    Hi Jerry,

    I wonder how many people who applaud Obama on the immigration executive action, will likewise applaud a pro-life president who orders the FDA to stop certifying medical devices and drugs used in abortions, or to stop reimbursing hospitals and doctors who perform them.

    Executive overreach always sounds good when it’s one doing something you like, but precedents are dangerous. Eventually the other side has their turn at the plate.

    I don’t disagree that we need to do something, and that that something doesn’t include deportation. But the constitutional principle is a separate, and frankly more important, long term concern for the future of the country.

    He doesn’t give a darn about immigration. This was a purely political snipe to put the Republican’s into a dither and have them expend limited political capital in ways that won’t put legislation on his desk.



    I’m hardly applauding him, but his encroachment in the illegal aliens case is still in the debatable range. It is not allowable in my view, but I am merely a former professor who taught constitutional law to undergraduates. I will agree that the long term implications are important and ought to be addressed, but it is not time to panic. On the other hand, the time to panic over the condition of our grade and high schools is long past, yet we seem to muddle along.


    Illegals Serving In US Military For Green Card

    There’s two broad classes of illegals: those who wish to be US citizens, and those who do not, and simply wish to make money here and then return to country of origin. The military scheme might work for the former, although history shows what happens when foreign mercenaries take the place of native citizens.

    Probably a better solution would be to, in addition to military service being a path to a green card, allow civilian service as well, in organizations similar to FDR’s CCC and WPA, designed to repair and replace infrastructure. President Obama might think that illegals are only good for being hotel maids, but I’ll tell you from personal experience that most construction workers and skilled tradesmen these days are Hispanics. Employing them in Americorps or some similar infrastructure program with a green card incentive would only make sense.

    Robert Evans

    I would certainly keep a close watch on numbers, but serving in the armed forces as a path to citizenship is a pretty good indication of loyalty. I am well aware of the dangers of a Republic entrusting its safety to hirelings – as was Machiavelli, for that matter.  The Venetian Republic took Machiavelli seriously…  Adding various civilian service paths might make sense; I hadn’t thought about that before.




    Apple Stores


    My experiences in Apple Stores have ranged from very good to excellent; however, at this point I would hesitate to go for the resolution of a problem without a Genius Bar Appointment.

    Apple Stores are currently suffering from success. It appears to me that every Apple Store I have been in in the last year has had about twice the number of customers that the store was designed to handle smoothly. Staff has been added to try and handle the customer load, but the stores are so crowded that everyone is literally tripping over each other.

    I am sure that Apple is well aware of the problem and is actively working on locating and opening new stores. This will take some time. For the time being I will take my own advice and schedule a Genius Bar Appointment if I have a problem to be solved.

    Bob Holmes

    That squares with my observations. And I am making an appointment to take in my MacBook Air with the swollen battery before I go look at the new iPhone six. Discussion in the November column, which I am of course late in getting done.


    Donald Cook systems disabled by Russians, NOT


    As an engineer and former navy aviator and consultant, I don’t believe for a second the report that a Russian plane disabled systems on the Donald Cook. It may have blinded the radar when it was really close – that’s easy. It might have jammed all the radios – that’s easy too. There is no way it disabled other systems. This is pure Russian fantasy, being re-transmitted by gullible westerners. Modern weapons systems and platforms are designed to tolerate nuclear EMP and HEMP, which are far more powerful than any electronic weapon. Popular entertainment media greatly exaggerates the capabilities of these weapons and of hackers.

    In a combat situation, the aircraft would not have gotten close enough to blind the systems. And, if it tried, it would have been taken out by a home-on-jam missile – that’s what they are for.

    John Moore

    I knew a Wizzo (Electronics Warfare Officer) in a RF4B who shut down 3/4 of Los Angeles for 15 minutes in the early 80s by accident. It ain’t unheard of, particularly in the military. In fact, we have routinely fielded aircraft to do exactly this. It’s how anti-aircraft defenses are disabled. The tragedy is that we continue to build electronics without EMP protection.

    David Couvillon

    Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; Chef de Hot Dog Excellance; Avoider of Yard Work




    Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




    Cruzing for Jewish support [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]


    Sen. Ted Cruz and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson at annual ZOA dinner. (Credit: ZOA)

    It’s been a big Jewish week for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

    The headliner was the annual dinner of the Zionist Organization of America, a can’t-miss night on the calendar, especially for those who unabashedly support Israeli settlements, believe Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are bent on destroying Israel, and think the Obama administration isn’t much better. The ZOA gig included an enthusiastic introduction from Alan Dershowitz (Cruz’s former professor at Harvard Law School). And there was a subsequent powwow with Elie Wiesel.

    The Tea Party favorite and likely GOP presidential hopeful also held private meetings with various machers, including some with less pronounced views on Middle East issues.

    Jewish votes — especially during Republican primary season and especially in New York — aren’t likely to be of much help to Cruz (or any GOP candidate for that matter). Jewish donors, however, can make a big difference — starting with casino magnate and mega-philanthropist Sheldon Adelson, widely reported to be the largest donor to Republican causes in 2012.

    Cruz reportedly met privately with Adelson on Sunday morning and they sat together at the ZOA dinner. The New York Observer initially quoted a “source close to Adelson” as saying the casino owner liked Cruz, but found him “too right wing” and unlikely to win. Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., responded with a call to the Observer, insisting that he was “the only person in the room with Mr. Cruz and thus the only one in a position to know how he felt about the Senator.”

    The senator was also the guest at private events hosted respectively by Mort Zuckerman and Michael Steinhardt, two businessmen-philanthropists seen as more centrist and less partisan than Adelson.

    According to the Observer, Cruz faced skepticism about his viability at the Steinhardt meeting (co-hosted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach).

    There seemed to be no such concerns at the ZOA dinner, where Cruz was the star of the show — no small accomplishment with the likes of Adelson, Boteach, Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus and Pastor John Hagee on the program (plus a touching acceptance speech from another award winner, the retiring Las Vegas Sands president Michael Leven, about his late grandfather’s immigrant struggles and devotion to Israel).

    “The threats to Israel right now have never been greater,” Cruz said to nearly 1,200 guests in attendance. “We need leaders who will stand and act. Now more than ever is a time to strengthen the unshakable friendship and alliance that America has with Israel.”

    Cruz, of course, was counting himself among those who are standing and acting. And whether you like his politics or not, it’s a fair claim. There are 535 members of Congress willing to sign on to a Mom-and-Apple Pie pro-Israel resolution, but few have taken the lead or rattled cages as often as Cruz in the past year.

    Back in July, when the FAA banned U.S. flights to Israel after a Hamas rocket landed about a mile from Ben Gurion International Airport, plenty of people criticized the move. But Cruz ensured that the issue remained front and center by suggesting that Obama administration was essentially blackmailing Israel.  [UPDATE - FACT CHECK: At the ZOA dinner, Cruz reasserted his claim that the FAA hadn't suspended flights over other hot spots, including Afghanistan, Yemen and eastern Ukraine. In fact, as we noted over the summer, the FAA has banned flights over eastern Ukraine and imposed restrictions on air travel to Afghanistan and Yemen.]

    Then in September, Cruz generated headlines when he walked out of a conference dedicated to protecting Christianity in the Middle East, after he was heckled regarding his support for Israel.

    Such steps, Cruz told the ZOA crowd of nearly 1,200 were part of his three-step program for having Israel’s back.

    First, the senator said, he has focused on “rifle-shot accomplishments” aimed at securing strong bipartisan support for pro-Israel measures: For example, earlier this year, he introduced legislation barring Iran’s new ambassador to the United Nations, Hamid Aboutalebi, who participated in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, from entering the United States. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and the House, and was signed by President Obama.

    The second prong of his pro-Israel strategy, Cruz said, is to “lay out the direction we should be going.” So, while Cruz was an original sponsor of the stalled bipartisan legislation to tighten Iran sanctions, he also has introduced his own, tougher bill. Under Cruz’s bill, if Iran wants an end to sanctions, it needs to “disassemble every one of the 19,000 centrifuges, must hand over every pound of enriched uranium, it must shut down its ICBM program — which exists for one purpose and one purpose only, to carry a nuclear weapon to the United States or the nation of Israel — and it must stop being the world’s leading state sponsor of terror.”

    The third component, Cruz said, is “telling the story,” such as when he took to the Senate floor last summer with posters of the three kidnapped Israeli teens.

    The crowd ate it up, cheering and chanting for the Texas Republican, with some calling for a run in 2106. By most measures, Cruz is a long shot. But, judging from the enthusiastic response, if he does make it to the White House, it’s a sure bet he’ll be back at a ZOA dinner at some point during his first term.

    Why did Israel’s president just oppose a government-backed bill? [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    Likud Knesset Member Reuven Rivlin meeting with children at a Jerusalem school, May 30, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

    Likud Knesset Member Reuven Rivlin meeting with children at a Jerusalem school, May 30, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

    Reuven Rivlin just did the one thing Israel’s president — a largely ceremonial post — doesn’t usually do: He publicly, and vehemently, opposed a specific bill endorsed by the government and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Addressing a conference in Eilat, Rivlin lambasted the controversial Nation-State Law, advanced this week by Israel’s Cabinet and which seeks to enshrine Israel’s Jewish character in law.

    Supporters of the law say it merely places the two sides of Israel’s “Jewish and democratic” character on equal footing and reinforces the state’s Jewishness against its enemies. But the law’s opponents say it gives primacy to Israel’s Jewish side. They point to the absence of the word “equality” in the bill and note that the bill fails to guarantee collective rights to Israel’s minorities.

    Rivlin made clear which side of the debate he’s on.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, such a hierarchical approach, which places Jewishness before democracy, misses the great significance of the [Israeli] Declaration of Independence, which combined the two elements together without separating them,” he said. “This is the beating heart of the State of Israel, a state established on two solid foundations: nationhood on the one hand and democracy on the other. The removal of one will bring the whole building down.”

    It’s not surprising that Rivlin opposes the bill; he’s long been a crusader for democratic and minority rights. But it is surprising that he came out against the government so publicly. The president’s job is to welcome dignitaries, represent the state at such functions as funerals, and guide the formation of a new government following elections.

    The president is not a political position, per se, and he’s not supposed to get involved in legislative battles. Rivlin himself stressed that point in an interview with the Times of Israel’s David Horovitz before he was elected in June. He was responding to a question about his opposition to a Palestinian state.

    “I won’t intervene in Knesset decisions,” he told Horovitz.”The president is a bridge to enable debate, to reduce tensions, to alleviate frictions.”

    So why did he intervene here? A source in the president’s office, who wished to remain anonymous, said Rivlin sees this bill as not just any piece of proposed legislation but fears it will affect the core nature of Israel’s democracy.

    “The President is committed serving the people of Israel, and as such will of course stand up on any issue that impacts upon their well-being and future,” the source wrote in an email.

    The question of a Palestinian state, of course, also impacts Israel’s well-being and future — and it was the prime concern of Rivlin’s predecessor, Shimon Peres. As president, Peres constantly stressed the need for a two-state solution and broader regional reconciliation. The difference with Peres was that those were also the stated goals of the Netanyahu government, so there was no explicit disagreement.

    The closest Peres came to explicitly opposing Netanyahu was on the question of whether to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. Peres told Israel’s Channel 2 in August 2012, as fears of a strike were heating up, that Israel would have to attack Iran only alongside the United States.

    “We can delay the Iranian nuclear plan, but it is clear to us that we need to go with the United States,” Peres said. “President Barack Obama is determined to stop Iran and Israel cannot do it.”

    The comments elicited a public debate, and members of Netanyahu’s Likud Party shot back at Peres.

    Peres’ statements were “an unabashed and explicit attack on the official policy of the government of the State of Israel, which was elected by the people. The people did not elect the president,” Likud lawmaker Gilrad Erdan, then minister for environmental protection, told Army Radio the next day.

    Rivlin’s statement has yet to draw such ire. Perhaps it’s because he’s also a member of the Likud party — whereas Peres once ran against Netanyahu for prime minister. Either way, it’s clear that even being Israel’s head of state doesn’t mean the president is always above the fray.

    Sarkozy calls for no vote on Palestine motion [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    (JTA) — Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on his party to vote against a motion in the French Parliament to recognize a Palestinian state.

    “I will fight for the Palestinians to have their state. But unilateral recognition a few days after a deadly attack and when there is no peace process? No!” Sarkozy said Tuesday at a UMP party rally.

    He was referring to the attack last week at a Jerusalem synagogue by two Palestinian cousins from eastern Jerusalem that left four Jewish worshippers and one policeman dead.

    Sarkozy called ensuring the security of Israel “the fight of my life.”

    Members of the Socialist group of the National Assembly filed the draft motion in the French Parliament earlier this month. The Parliament is scheduled to debate the nonbinding motion on Nov. 28, and to vote on the motion on Dec. 2.

    Rabbis condemn N.J. rabbi Steven Pruzansky’s anti-Arab rhetoric [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    NEW YORK (JTA) – A growing chorus of Orthodox leaders are speaking out against the anti-Arab rhetoric of a prominent New Jersey rabbi, Steven Pruzansky of Teaneck.

    Following last week’s terrorist attack at a Jerusalem synagogue, Pruzansky, the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, wrote a blog post titled “Dealing with Savages” that said Arabs in the Land of Israel are the enemy and advocated their emigration or deportation. He also suggested moving the mosque atop the Temple Mount to Saudi Arabia.

    “There is a war for the land of Israel that is being waged, and the Arabs who dwell in the land of Israel are the enemy in that war and must be vanquished,” Pruzansky wrote. The Nov. 21 post, which was subsequently deleted, was first reported by JTA.

    “We cannot countenance a response to terror that resorts to wholesale demonization, advocates for the collective punishment of Israeli Arabs, or calls for the destruction or dismantling of Muslim holy places,” the Orthodox Union said in a statement Tuesday that did not mention Pruzansky by name. “Such rhetoric is anathema to the Jewish religious tradition and has no place in civil society. Such rhetoric is wrong and must be repudiated, whether it is voiced by lay leaders, community leaders or rabbis.”

    The Orthodox Union had invited Pruzansky to speak at the group’s annual convention next month and placed advertisements in Jewish newspapers heralding his appearance, but Pruzansky recently told organizers he’d be unable to make it.

    Pruzansky, whose synagogue has 800 member families and is the largest in Teaneck, also has held prominent positions at the Rabbinical Council of America, where is an executive committee member and a former vice president. Until last month, he also led the RCA’s conversion beit din (rabbinical court) in Bergen County, N.J.

    The RCA’s executive vice president, Mark Dratch, told JTA that the RCA supports the OU’s statement on Pruzansky.

    Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, the RCA’s most recent past president and the leader of Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood, N.J., was one of several rabbis in the Teaneck area who distanced themselves from Pruzansky’s remarks, NorthJersey.com reported.

    “Rabbi Pruzansky’s statements reflect the frustration that he feels and that many of us feel as we view the unfolding events in the Middle East,” Goldin was quoted as saying. “However, his conclusions and recommendations certainly do not represent my view nor the view of many others in the Orthodox Jewish community.”

    Mohamed El Filali, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was also cited in the report calling on mainstream Jewish leaders to speak out strongly against Jewish extremists.

    And T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights group, launched a petition for rabbis and cantors to sign to pledge “using our religious voices to build the world with more love, not to destroy it with more hate.”

    Pruzansky long has used his blog and synagogue pulpit not just to criticize Arab violence, but to denounce Israeli leaders he perceives as too timid or misdirected. In 1995, weeks before the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, Pruzansky called Rabin a Judenrat — the term used to describe the Jewish councils that did the Nazis’ bidding during the Holocaust.

    Earlier this month, he likened the New York Jewish Week to the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer, prompting a rebuke from the RCA and a condemnatory editorial in the Jewish Week.

    In a clarification on his blog after the Nov. 21 post, Pruzansky defended his remarks, saying his views were not outside the mainstream and noting that he had written that Arabs who are nonviolent and accept Israel as a Jewish state are welcome to stay in Israel (so long as they are not related to a terrorist or live in a village from which two or more terrorists have emanated, according to his Nov. 21 post).

    In an interview Tuesday with the Voice of Israel, Pruzansky said the Temple Mount should be closed to Arabs so they can feel the consequences of “someone in their midst [who] dared to raise a hand against a Jew.”

    Swedish lawmakers nix bill requiring parents to pay for circumcision [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    (JTA) — Swedish lawmakers voted down a bill that would require parents to pay for non-medical circumcision of boys.

    The right-wing Sweden Democrats party brought the bill to a vote Tuesday at the regional council of Blekinge County in the country’s south, Sveriges Radio reported. The party claimed that the practice should not be covered by the healthcare system because it is barbaric and compared it to female genital mutilation, according to Swedish media.

    But the argument encountered passionate objections during the debate that preceded the voting, including by Anna Ekstrom of the Liberal People’s Party. She rejected the comparison and argued that circumcision was akin to Christian baptism, the Sydostran local newspaper reported.

    Dismissing claims that circumcision dulled sexual pleasure, Inga-Lill Siggelsten Blum of Sweden’s Christian Democrats said, “I cannot imagine that there would be billions of men getting circumcised if it did.”

    The debate is part of a wider discussion across northern Europe on the Jewish and Muslim practice. Interest in the topic renewed in 2012, with left-leaning liberals and secularists calling for a ban for humanitarian reasons, and nationalist anti-immigration parties supporting a prohibition because they feel the custom is foreign and barbaric.

    Currently, non-medical circumcision of boys is legal in all of Scandinavia, despite calls to ban it.

    Israel revokes residency permit of Jerusalem synagogue attacker’s wife [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Interior Ministry revoked the residency permit of the widow of one of the terrorists who attacked a Jerusalem synagogue last week.

    Interior Minister Gilad Erdan announced Wednesday that Nadia Abu Jamal will be required to leave Israeli territory and will be stripped of any financial benefits she receives from the state.

    “All those weighing whether to engage in terror, all those thinking about harming innocent citizens, all those involved in terror, need to take into account that there will likely be repercussions, not only personally, but for his family as well,” Erdan wrote in an announcement on his Facebook page.

    Nadia Abu Jamal’s husband, Ghassan Abu Jamal, and his cousin Uday last week attacked worshippers at the Bnei Torah Kehillat Yaakov synagogue and rabbinical seminary in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem, killing four Jewish worshippers and a police officer. The two Arab assailants were killed by police responding at the scene.

    Ghassan was a resident of eastern Jerusalem and a permanent resident of Israel. His wife, a Palestinian, was allowed to live in Israel under the Family Reunification Law.

    Demolition orders for the terrorists’ homes were delivered to the family last week, and the government continues to withhold the terrorists’ bodies for burial.

    Polish town reconsidering plan to turn Jewish cemetery into apartment complex [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — A town in central Poland is reconsidering a development plan that would turn a Jewish cemetery into a residential complex with underground parking.

    The Jewish community of Warsaw and local activist Robert Augustyniak, who is not Jewish, had protested the plan.

    The City Council in Grodzisk Mazowiecki held a public discussion of the plan on Monday. Following the meeting, Mayor Grzegorz Benedykcinski suspended action on the plan pending clarification of the cemetery’s boundaries.

    The Jewish cemetery in Grodzisk was divided after World War II with a small section maintained as a cemetery and the remaining area acquired by Samopomoc Cooperative. Today, a private company that buys and sells scrap metal manages the site.

    A historic cemetery gate with Hebrew inscriptions from the 19th century remains on the site.

    Augustyniak offered his objections to the plan during the town hall discussion.

    “I showed the map of the area from 1927 and 1934,” he told JTA. “It clearly shows that the area of the cemetery was much larger than it is today. It seems that the council did not know about it. I hope that now they will change their plans.”

    The Jewish community of Warsaw also has raised objections to the development plan. It will ask the city office in charge of historic sites to register the cemetery in its prewar borders as a protected area.

    “Taking into account the new facts disclosed during public discussion on Nov. 24, I made the decision to suspend the procedure, pending clarification of all doubts,” Benedykcinski told JTA. “Thank you for your attention and I declare that I will make every effort to ensure that the new plan, which is a local law, pays attention to the history of the Jewish people residing in Grodzisk Mazowiecki.”

    The mayor also asked the Jewish community in Warsaw for help in identifying historical and actual boundaries of the cemetery.

    “The Jewish community in Poland is so small that we are not able to monitor all matters relating to cemeteries, synagogues and other places important from the point of view of the prewar communities,” Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland, told JTA. “That is why we appreciate the initiative of people like Robert Augustyniak, who care about local history and the fact that it was not forgotten. I also thank the mayor of Grodzisk for his quick response and willingness to cooperate in this regard.”

    Police: Terrorism behind deadly fall of Israeli construction worker [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Jewish construction worker who fell to his death in Petach Tikvah in September was the victim of a terrorist attack, police say.

    Nathaniel Arami, 26, fell 11 stories from the side of a high-rise building where he was doing exterior work when both of his rappelling cables snapped in an incident on Sept. 16. His co-workers had finished work and walked away from the site before he fell.

    Three Arab co-workers had been taken in for questioning by the Shin Bet security service and Israel Police following the death but later were released, according to reports. Most of the workers on the construction site were Arab-Israelis and Palestinians, according to reports.

    Police initially said the fall was an accident. The family called for the lifting of a gag order on the investigation imposed by the Petach Tikvah Magistrate’s Court, calling the order a cover-up. The court lifted the gag order on Wednesday.

    Also on Wednesday, Arami’s family was recognized as victims of terrorism, entitling them to compensation. Arami is survived by a pregnant wife and two young children.

    Police chief: Keep right-wing lawmakers off Temple Mount [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    JERUSALEM (JTA) — Right-wing lawmakers who want to change the status quo on the Temple Mount should not be allowed to visit the site, the Israel Police commissioner said.

    Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino on Tuesday called Israel Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein’s decision to allow lawmaker Moshe Feiglin and other lawmakers to visit the Temple Mount earlier this month a “mistake.” Danino said Feiglin was “a symbol of changing the status quo.”

    Danino’s remarks came Tuesday at the Sderot Conference for Society at Sapir College.

    “We want quiet and we want to restore security,” Danino said. “We’re always saying, ‘Let’s do everything we can to keep the situation from deteriorating.’ We keep coming back to the Temple Mount. This place is holy to many religions, and we are supposed to maintain the status quo in order to maintain quiet there.”

    He said to the right-wing lawmakers: “We say leave the Temple Mount alone.”

    In a response posted on his Facebook page, Feiglin said: “Danino failed to protect Jerusalem and to safeguard the personal security of the city’s residents, and now he is trying to find a scapegoat and excuses for his failure.”

    The post continued: “I have been going to pray at the Temple Mount, legally, every month for the past 15 years. This is the legal, national, religious and moral duty of every Jew. I suggest that Danino concentrate on ensuring the safety of Jerusalem residents and Israeli citizens, and spend less time taking part in panels and conferences and trying to evade responsibility.”

    Danino said police are working extra-long shifts and have canceled vacations in order to avoid the escalation of violence in Jerusalem.

    With Iran talks extended, some in Congress are rushing to step in [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) arrives for a Senate Armed Services Committee closed briefing, July 30, 2014 in Washington. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, shown in Washington on July 30, 2014, is backing an initiative that would require congressional approval of any nuclear deal signed with Iran. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    WASHINGTON (JTA) – Two factors make congressional intervention on Iran almost inevitable: The inability of nuclear negotiators to reach a deal by the deadline and the Republican sweep of midterm elections on Nov. 4.

    The talks, centered on the status of Iran’s nuclear program, were extended from Monday’s deadline to June 30.

    Meanwhile, the pro-Israel community, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is seeking support for proposed legislation that would insert Congress into the process.

    “It is now essential that Congress take up new bipartisan sanctions legislation to let Tehran know that it will face much more severe pressure if it does not clearly abandon its nuclear weapons program,” AIPAC said in a statement after it was announced Monday that the major powers and Iran had extended the deadline.

    Without substantive Democratic support, no bill is likely to reach a veto-busting majority of 67 in the Senate. Republicans, who have taken a harder line on Iran’s nuclear program, will control no more than 54 seats in the next Congress.

    Lawmakers in Congress and mainstream pro-Israel groups blamed Iran for dragging out the process.

    “Seven months of more talks tells me that the negotiators aren’t close to agreement,” said Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. “Unfortunately, time is on Tehran’s side as it continues its research and development of centrifuges.”

    Republicans in the incoming Senate majority have already laid out two legislative initiatives: One, backed by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), would require congressional approval for any deal. Another would carry over this year’s failed attempt by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) to enhance existing sanctions on Iran.

    U.S. sanctions currently in place target Iran’s energy and banking sectors, as well as any trade that might benefit its nuclear enterprise. Some sanctions have been rolled back, allowing Iran to retrieve about $5 billion of the $100 billion per year that the penalties cost its economy, according to U.S. estimates. The sanctions in a bill proposed earlier this year would have expanded targets to include anything in Iran’s “strategic sector,” a term that would have allowed much broader punishment and tightened congressional oversight.

    Graham, announcing his initiative earlier this month at a conference of the Israeli American Council, was unable to name a Democrat supporting the proposed bill.

    The other bill is a likelier magnet for Democratic support in part because Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, was a lead sponsor of the version that failed to advance this session. The measure was held up at the behest of the Obama administration and through parliamentary maneuvers by the outgoing majority leader, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The White House argued that any new sanctions bill would drive away the Iranians from the talks.

    Kirk said he plans to reintroduce a sanctions bill.

    “Now more than ever, it’s critical that Congress enacts sanctions that give Iran’s mullahs no choice but to dismantle their illicit nuclear program and allow the International Atomic Energy Agency full and unfettered access to assure the international community’s security,” he said.

    Menendez, however, was more cautious in his statement, not directly mentioning sanctions as a weapon going forward.

    “I intend to work with my Senate colleagues in a bipartisan manner in the coming weeks to ensure that Iran comprehends that we will not ever permit it to become a threshold nuclear state,” he said.

    Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was even more restrained.

    “It’s premature to comment on an extension of the negotiations with Iran, as the details have not yet been announced,” Engel, one of the most ardent supporters of Iran sanctions in the past, said in a brief statement.

    Congressional insiders said one key to garnering Democratic support for a renewed and enhanced sanctions bill is whether it includes the triggers that the Menendez-Kirk bill had in its last iteration: Sanctions would not kick in until Iran erred, either by violating the terms of the agreement governing the talks with major powers or by walking away.

    Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) has already said triggers should be included, but Republicans may feel that they have the upper hand and press for immediate enhanced sanctions.

    Alireza Nader, an Iran analyst at the Rand Corp., a think tank that consults frequently with the Pentagon, said that any new sanctions could kill talks, as they would give Iran a way out while blaming U.S. intransigence.

    “It undermines U.S. diplomacy to have sanctions before the deadline,” Nader said Tuesday in an interview.

    He said new sanctions could lose the United States the backing of the international community, which President Obama was careful to garner before pushing broad sanctions through the United Nations in 2010.

    “If Iran wins the battle of perception, that would make it harder for the U.S. to win concessions from Iran,” Nader said.

    Ed Levine, a former top Senate foreign affairs staffer and now a member of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation’s advisory board, suggested that it was unlikely that Congress would pass new sanctions, if only because of its historical reluctance – even in an adversarial posture toward the White House – to pass legislation that “kills” diplomatic initiatives as opposed to offering an alternative.

    “Most of the proposals [Congress has] made over the last year or so have died in subcommittee,” Levine said at an event Tuesday organized by the Brookings Institution. “You want a piece of legislation that will help the negotiations rather than antagonizing our allies,” although he said that also was unlikely given the “maximalist” conditions some in Congress have embraced.

    Dennis Ross, a former top Iran adviser to Obama, said the mere threat of additional sanctions may be useful as leverage as the talks go forward.

    “The administration could go to the Congress and suggest, ‘Give us a chance to negotiate this; imposing new sanctions would make it problematic,’ ” Ross, now a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said in a conference call convened Tuesday by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. ” ‘How about making it clear new sanctions will be forthcoming if there isn’t an agreement?’ ”

    It’s Thanksgiving. Be Thankful. And Happy. [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]


    It’s Thanksgiving. Be Thankful. And Happy.

    Moe Lane offers short, succinct advice on “How to talk politics with liberal family members at Thanksgiving this year.

    You’ll recall that last year Organizing for Action urged its members to talk up Obamacare at the dinner table. My assessment still stands:

    Here’s a crazy idea: Treat your family members as people you love and appreciate — or at least tolerate — instead of targets for political conversion. You only get one or two families in this life — the one you’re born into, and the one you marry into. Maybe if you’re lucky, you become “like a son” or “like a sister” to another. There’s a lot to talk about in this world beyond politics, and chances are you’re not going to persuade disagreeing relatives, anyway.

    From one of my favorite, and most personal essays, from 2008:

    By midday, the first round of relatives will start showing up at your door. From California to Maine, families will begin the complicated logistics of who parks where, and who will box in whom in the driveway. Does this need to be put in the oven? Is there room for this in the fridge? Have you basted recently? Has anyone seen the gravy boat?

    Down the hall from the kitchen, Americans across the country will check in to Detroit to see if its NFL team has gotten any better. The early afternoon game of the Lions against the Team That Isn’t the Lions has had little meaning or playoff implications — at least since Barry Sanders retired. But that means football fans are able to watch objectively, just to appreciate the game as it is played — and there’s a good chance that a player you’ve never heard of will have an unexpectedly good day, claiming a Turkey-related award from a network color commentator. A few hours later — having established that, no, Detroit has not gotten any better — football fans will bid farewell to the Motor City for another year.

    Later in the day, Dallas plays Not Dallas in a game that often matters — but by that time, America’s Team is competing with America’s Feast. Those who care about the game’s outcome will drop utensils conspicuously in order to dart into the den and check the score before returning to the table with their third or fourth clean fork.

    By early evening at my house, my father-in-law will offer to continue our bizarre tradition of a shot of Thanksgiving tequila. There will be toasts, laughter, prayers.

    You can probably guess the topics of conversation and points of contention around your table already, as every family has its hardy perennials. If you’re reading this site, you might be discussing the election. In my case, I’ll rejoin my efforts to trigger a reenactment of the Titanic brawl of a few years’ back over whether Philadelphia is a dead city.

    Nobody’s arguing politics at this table. Don’t they look happy?

    What Is America's Worst Airport? [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

    Safe travels, everyone. Today’s Jolt also discussed the airports you don’t want to get stuck in this weekend:

    May Your Thanksgiving Travel Not Pass Through America’s Worst Airport

    In preparation for the busiest travel day of the year, Gizmodo polled its readers on their choice for the country’s worst airport, and their top eight include:

    8) Kansas City International Airport
    7) Dulles International Airport
    6) Philadelphia International Airport
    5) Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport
    4) Newark Liberty International Airport
    3) O’Hare International Airport
    2) Los Angeles International Airport
    1) LaGuardia Airport

    The first observation: Are bookstores dying in airports? Do people on planes not read anymore? If so, this strikes me as a strikingly depressing development for our society. It’s one of the few places where you can get relative peace and quiet, you’re out of cell-phone range, and you probably don’t have Internet access (and if you do, it’s pretty slow). Heck, reading is one of the few things you can do comfortably in an airline seat. Yes, perhaps everything has shifted to e-readers and Nooks, but there’s something so inviting about seeing an actual bookstore, as opposed to a newsstand, near your gate with time to kill.

    The second observation: I realize dining in an airport is rarely going to be good. The frequent traveler’s best hope is that it be not bad. A variety of options is nice. I seem to recall perfectly acceptable burger-and-a-beer dining experiences in Raleigh, Charlotte, Miami, and Savannah.

    In my experience, Dulles is very hit-and-miss. For some trips the TSA line moves pretty smoothly (particularly on mornings and weekdays), other times it’s an interminably slow-moving ordeal. Some corners of Dulles have a decent selection of eateries and at least one small bookstore, but other far-off gates leave you with a Dunkin’ Donuts and that’s it. My new home in Authenticity Woods is roughly equidistant from Dulles and Reagan National Airport, and Reagan always seems to offer a much smoother departure.

    Fort Lauderdale is strikingly bad for departures, considering how busy it is (at least when a cruise ship arrives). Somebody needed to turn up the air conditioning, every gate seemed crowded, the dining options were pretty limited, and each gate area just seemed too small for the amount of passengers waiting for their flight.

    Leaving from Orlando is a mess every time — lots of families with a ton of carry-on luggage taking forever to get through the TSA scanners. There are a lot of shopping and dining options before the security lines, but I figure most travelers — particularly if they’ve experienced Orlando’s tedious lines — just want to get through security and then grab a bite or browse the stores. Of course, on the other side, the pickings are a lot slimmer.

    Houston seemed to work fine on my recent business trips, although I recall one family trip there a couple years ago when we decided, “we’ll eat after we get our luggage.” Surprise! No food options after the luggage carousels. That led to a long drive through Houston’s labyrinthine highway system, at night, with two very cranky boys.

    Denver seems to have a pretty decent selection of eateries and stores. Dallas seems laid out oddly, in that giant ring form, but it has worked okay, and it still has a decent bookstore. Both Portland and Seattle had smaller airports than I expected, but I got in and out pretty easily both times.

    If you see this man waiting at your gate, your flight is probably going to be delayed.

    The Democrats' Convention City Is... [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

    The fact that Democrats are no longer considering red-state cities like Phoenix, Arizona and Birmingham, Alabama is not a surprise. The remaining cities — Columbus, Ohio; New York and Philadelphia – are a bit surprising.

    Columbus, Ohio is a potentially problematic choice. It’s not as small a city as you may think, and it has its charms. But hosting a convention is a massive financial, logistical, and security challenge. The city has no mass transit beyond buses. (Perfectly appropriate for the party of money-losing high-speed rail projects, no?) There are some corporate headquarters there, but one has to wonder if it has enough Democrats with deep pockets willing to donate the money to run all of the events. Keep in mind, Republicans just swept the 2014 midterms in Ohio, and the Ohio Democratic Party is in rough shape. 

    Admit it, you couldn’t pick this skyline out of a lineup.

    Philadelphia hosted the Republicans in 2000, and handled most of the logistics well. It’s probably the “safest” choice, although not a particularly bold or glamorous one.

    New York City is obviously used to handling large events and conventions. (Minor complication: The convention would be held in Brooklyn, and the biggest and fanciest hotels are in Manhattan. Do you picture all of those big party donors, fixers, hangers-on, and other crowds taking the subway?) 

    If you think Hillary Clinton will be the nominee, there’s a historical symmetry there. The last time Democrats held their convention in New York City was 1992… when they nominated Bill Clinton. One can’t help but wonder if Mayor Bill de Blasio, crusader against horse-drawn carriages and charter schools, could create some embarrassing headlines in the run-up to the convention. 

    Chuck Schumer: Obamacare Was a Mistake, But Only In the Timing! [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

    From the Wednesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

    Chuck Schumer: Obamacare Was a Mistake, But Only In the Timing!

    Let’s take a story like this and figure out what the real angle is:

    Sen. Chuck Schumer upbraided his own party Tuesday for pushing the Affordable Care Act through Congress in 2010.

    While Schumer emphasized during a speech at the National Press Club that he supports the law and that its policies “are and will continue to be positive changes,” he argued that the Democrats acted wrongly in using their new mandate after the 2008 election to focus on the issue rather than the economy at the height of a terrible recession.

    There’s some truth to Schumer’s theory, of course. Obamacare never polled well.  Deep-rooted national economic anxiety exploded in late 2008 and never dissipated completely.

    Remember that thing called “the stimulus”? Schumer’s theory of “How It All Went Wrong” requires us to think the stimulus was a success, and Obamacare was a success, and that the problem for the Democrats was just the order of things:

    “After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle-class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus, but unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them,” Schumer said. “We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem—health care reform.”

    If Americans continue to feel such widespread, deep-rooted economic anxiety, just how much of a success was that “partial success” of the stimulus?

    Most Democrats – following the lead of their president – passed the stimulus and believed they had fixed the economy. Do not forget this anecdote from New York magazine, November 29, 2009:

    But the most damaging consequence of all may have been inside the White House, where bullishness about how rapidly the stimulus would kick in led to foolish projections that unemployment would peak at 8 percent—and where the bill’s passage bred a certain cockiness and complacency about the need to drive a sustained economic message in the months thereafter. “I recently talked to a very senior friend of mine in the White House, and I said, ‘How did we not spend a year talking about the economy?’ ” a Democratic think-tank maven recalls. “And he said, ‘Look, I think Barack did the stimulus and he thought he checked the box and he moved on.’ I said, ‘That’s not governing, dude. That’s some other thing.’ ”

    The ailments of the American economy are too big, interconnected, and complicated for any one giant Keynesian spending spree to fix –  particularly one that that ends up as the usual crony-capitalist, special-interest giveaway. Do enough of our workers really have the skills to compete against foreign competition? How can we expect wages to increase when we’re importing workers – particularly low-skilled and unskilled workers – from other countries? Are great ideas being born in some big dreamer’s garage? Haven’t underwater mortgages made it harder for workers to move to areas of the country with job growth? Are our universities churning out too many sociology majors and not enough engineers? Aren’t too many schools at every level failing to prepare students for the workforce?

    Schumer needs an explanation for two consecutive blowout losses in the midterms that indicate Democrats have a difficult time winning without Obama’s personality on the ballot. He’s in the right neighborhood, by recognizing that economic fears are still strong, but he can’t quite bring himself to acknowledge that neither the stimulus nor Obamacare lived up to the hype for the average American.

    Report: Hagel Stepping Down; 'He Wasn't Up to the Job' [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

    From the November 17 Morning Jolt:

    Bing West thinks that someone in the Obama administration’s national-security inner circle will leave in the not-too-distant future, perhaps Chuck Hagel or Susan Rice.

    To be honest, I thought that was unlikely. Why now? Obama’s foreign policy, defense policies, and national-security team performed badly throughout all of 2014. What changed? Then this morning we see . . . 

    Always listen to Bing West!

    UPDATE: Jim, back in February:

    [With all the national security crises going on], maybe this isn’t the right time for a quiet, disregarded cipher to be running the Pentagon?

    Politico’s Morning Defense newsletter, shortly thereafter:

    FOUND — AN ANTHEM FOR HAGEL . . . AND IT’S NOT ‘NOWHERE MAN’: Your Morning D correspondent finally caught up on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon over the weekend. Particularly awesome was U2’s concert on the roof of Rockefeller Center, where they sang their new song, “Invisible.” Well, having just read the fourth op-ed/article about how Hagel is “invisible” as defense secretary, your correspondent thought this song (and this performance) could become Hagel’s anthem of sorts. “You don’t see me but you will. I am not invisible,” Bono sings. http://goo.gl/nyyqtB

    — SOMEONE CALL JIM GERAGHTY: The fourth Hagel-is-invisible installment comes from The National Review’s Jim Geraghty http://goo.gl/8xMXT8. He ends his piece with a photo of Hagel and the line, “Have you seen this man? If so, call (202) 456-1111.” No, that’s not Geraghty’s cell phone number, but the White House comment line (thank you, Defense News’ John Bennet (@BennettJohnT) for calling). Anyway, after today’s press briefing, can someone give Geraghty a ring . . . let him know we’ve found Hagel. He’s at the Pentagon. Fancy that.

    An unnamed administration official, today:

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down amid criticism of the president’s national security team on a series of global issues, including the threat posed by the militant group known as ISIS.

    Senior defense officials confirmed to NBC News Monday that Hagel was forced to resign.

    The officials say the White House has lost confidence in Hagel to carry out his role at the Pentagon. According to one senior official, “He wasn’t up to the job.”

    Remember which news sources are telling you the administration’s line that everything is hunky-dory!

    Early Voting Begins in Louisiana's Runoff Election for Senate [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

    In Louisiana, early voting for runoff elections — including the U.S. Senate runoff between Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican Bill Cassidy — began Saturday. (There is no early voting on Thanksgiving or Friday.)

    Every runoff poll so far has put Cassidy ahead, with his lead ranging from 11 to 21 points. Senator Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, campaigned for Landrieu this weekend.

    Landrieu’s campaign is airing an ad aimed at young voters, hitting Cassidy for opposing a minimum-wage increase and enforcing equal pay for women; Cassidy is pledging to fight Obama’s “amnesty plan”:

    If the election doesn’t turn out well for Landrieu, perhaps she can get a job with her brother Mitch Landrieu, the mayor of New Orleans.

    R.I.P. Marion Barry, Beloved D.C. Figure and Very, Very, Very Bad Mayor [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

    From the first Morning Jolt of Thanksgiving Week:

    R.I.P. Marion Barry, Beloved D.C. Figure and Very, Very, Very Bad Mayor

    The vast majority of the coverage of the death of former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry offered variations of “he shouldn’t be remembered or judged just by his arrest for smoking crack cocaine in 1990.”


    But let’s not forget it, huh? Yes, we are more than the consequences of our worst act at our worst moment. But this was a pretty spectacular failure of judgment, in a life that had plenty of those moments:

    Marion Barry Jr., the Mississippi sharecropper’s son and civil rights activist who served three terms as mayor of the District of Columbia, survived a drug arrest and jail sentence, and then came back to win a fourth term as the city’s chief executive, died early on Nov. 23 at United Medical Center in Washington. He was 78.

    Mr. Barry, who also served on the D.C. Council for 15 years and had been president of the city’s old Board of Education, was the most influential and savvy local politician of his generation. He dominated the city’s political landscape in the final quarter of the 20th century. There was a time when his critics, in sarcasm but not entirely in jest, called him “Mayor for Life.” Into the first dozen years of the new millennium, he remained a highly visible player on the city’s political stage, but by then on the periphery, no longer at the center.

    His personal and public life was fraught with high drama and irony. He struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, relapse and recovery. He was married four times, divorced three times and separated from his fourth wife. His extramarital liaisons and legal trouble over unpaid taxes made news.

    Yes they “made news” because they reflected a lifelong assurance that the laws and the rules didn’t apply to him.

    I lived in Washington, D.C., during the Barry comeback in the early 1990s. On both of his mayoral watches, life in the city got worse. Here’s how Washingtonian magazine delicately puts it:

    “As an elected official, Marion often misconstrued the mission of his government as one to provide reparations to black Americans,” says Jarvis. “Somehow he came to believe the government was the employer of first resort. He hired without much criteria. His greatest failure was in not training city workers for their jobs. It would have helped the government and in their own lives.”

    Barry made sure that African-American companies got their share of city contracts, though he did a poor job of holding them accountable. In the process, he enriched many political allies.

    But wait, there’s more!

    Along the way, his management of the government suffered even more. In the halls of the District Building, aides had to deal with a chief executive who was losing control. In 1986, former city administrator Tom Downs stopped into the office of Herb Reid, then Barry’s political adviser.

    “How’s Marion?” Downs asked.

    “If it walks, he f***s it,” Reid responded. “If it doesn’t, he ingests it.”

    Up in Toronto, Rob Ford’s a mess, but a lot of folks think he’s actually been a good mayor. You have to look far and wide to find any indicators moving in the right direction during the Barry terms.

    Reflecting an attitude quite common among those who sing the virtues of government, Marion Barry seemed to think he was exempt from paying for it:

    After leaving the mayor’s office, he had quit paying taxes. Federal prosecutors went to court to force him to pay back taxes, and in 2005 he pleaded guilty to not filing federal or DC returns after 1999. A judge gave Barry three years’ probation. When he continued to ignore his tax bills, federal prosecutors asked a judge to give him jail time, but she declined. Prosectors brought Barry back to court in 2009 for failing to file his 2007 return. The federal government garnished his council paychecks to collect nearly $200,000 in taxes, penalties, and interest. The District put him on a voluntary payment plan to pay back about $50,000 in back taxes.

    Meanwhile, Barry got caught twice crossing ethical lines as a council member.

    In February 2010, he admitted to awarding a $15,000 contract to a girlfriend. “I apologize for my actions and lack of sound judgment and for causing great embarrassment to the city and the city council,” he said. His girlfriend had paid him “several thousand dollars,” he said, which he claimed was repayment of a loan. His council colleagues saw it as a kickback, censured Barry, and stripped him of his chairmanship.

    In September 2013, the council censured Barry again, this time for accepting $6,800 in cash from two city contractors.

    He was not a nice man:

    As his health began to fail, Barry’s prejudices went on display. In April 2012, he lashed out at Chinese merchants in his ward: “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops.” His comments were caught on camera the night he won another Ward 8 council primary. He suggested African-American “businesspeople” take their places.

    RIP, Marion Barry – may his family and friends find some peace as they cope with their loss. But let’s not let the sadness of his death alter our perception of the historical record. 

    Don’t speak ill of the dead… but don’t lie, either.

    Cory Booker Is Basically Jesus [National Review Online - The Corner]

    That is the message of Vlad Chituc’s hagiographic piece currently up at the Daily Beast, which chronicles the moral valor of New Jersey’s senator-elect, a vegetarian for two decades, in his decision to go full-on vegan until the end of the calendar year (announced via Twitter last weekend). I have no opinion about the former Newark mayor’s diet (though my opinion of veganism tends toward the Ron Swanson-esque), but in reaction to the choice tidbits interspersed throughout Chituc’s piece one would need a titanium constitution not to retch. An amuse-bouche:

    There’s a storybook trajectory to Booker’s mythos, and it practically embodies Americana: from Stanford college football to a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford; from Yale Law School to the city council in Newark; from Newark’s mayor’s office to the U.S. Senate. Each step of the way, Booker has thrived on the philosophy that your actions matter more than what you preach. . . .

    Booker is trying to do a better job of living out the principles he already has. There’s an almost Christ-like quality at play: living in a mobile home on one of Newark’s worst drug corners and tweeting with a stripper are only a few steps removed from washing the feet of the poor and accepting perfume from a prostitute.

    “A few steps removed”? If by that you mean enormous, bestriding-the-world steps. Because the Gospel According to Cory would likely feature some non-canonical stories — such as that time Jesus took a selfie with each of his disciples. Or when the Son of Man snuck out in the middle of the night to get a mani-pedi.

    Given all of this, Booker isn’t interested in preaching. “There’s too much judgment out there. Really what we need to be doing is just all of us finding our own paths towards living the best lives we can live as clearly and boldly in accordance with our own personal values. And that’s what I’m trying to do,” he told me.

    Shout, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of T-Bone!

    Seeking Love, Obama Admits to Having Rewritten Immigration Laws [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Last night, Barack Obama admitted that he has rewritten the immigration laws of the United States:

    As I noted last week, Obama and his team have been playing a rather clever game with this order. When they have been challenged, his apologists have insisted that the action was routine, limited, and legal – merely an exercise of discretion as warranted by the statute itself. Article II, Schmarticle II. When the same people have been selling the measure, by contrast, they have characterized it as a sweeping and heroic change — representing, in the words of Jorge Ramos, “the most important immigration move in almost 50 years.” Being adults, we should not be surprised to see this game being played. Nevertheless, we should perhaps be alarmed to see the president admitting so quickly in public that he has just done what he claims officially that he can not do. Frankly, if I had spent the last two weeks covering for the White House, I’d be more than a little vexed this morning.

    Why did he do it? Well, my suspicion is that he couldn’t help himself. From what I can gather, Obama really is as thin-skinned as he seems to be, and he really cannot bear to see those whom he believes he is helping confirming in public that they think ill of him. In consequence, he seems to say whatever he needs to say in the moment to recast himself as the good guy — whatever it does to his broader goals and his messaging. Back in the day, Obama tried to shut down immigration hecklers by casting his opponents as the bad eggs and by making it abundantly clear that he did not have the power to do what he would like to do. “If I were an emperor,” Obama would say, “I’d help you.” Translation: Please love me. Having decided to play emperor after all, he is now shutting down hecklers by reminding them that he just took a constitutionally infamous step on their behalf. “I helped you at great cost to the nation’s system of government,” he seems to be saying, “and you’re still angry.” Translation, again: Please love me.

    Much of this is, of course, of Obama’s own making. Having run as a savior who would heal the country and spread hope and change for all mankind, Obama has discovered that politics ain’t beanbag and that free people are diverse and divided for good and long-standing and deep-seated reasons. I daresay that this realization has been deeply upsetting for him and his most devoted followers, and that it is only human to rationalize away your failures and to try to bring back the glory days. Still, it’s no way to run a country.

    Actually, Riots Are Not Good [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Bear with me here. Matt Bruenig has a post on Gawker earnestly making the case that looting and rioting raises the costs of illegal, violent behavior by police and therefore is the economically efficient way to reduce that behavior. He notes that economist Gary Becker’s seminal paper on economics and crime suggests we discourage crime by raising its costs:

    However, relying on a colloquy with Cooke (2014), I’ve come to conclude that Bruenig is almost definitely wrong about what rioting does to the costs of aggressive policing.

    Here’s Bruenig’s logic:

    According to Becker, punishing bad behavior increases the costs of engaging in such behavior and thereby reduces the amount of it. This is the underlying theory of most criminal justice schemes. Rioting that occurs in response to gross police misconduct and criminal system abuses imposes costs on doing those things. It signals to police authorities that they risk this sort of destructive mayhem if they continue on like this. All else equal, this should reduce the amount of police misconduct as criminal justice authorities take precautions to prevent the next Ferguson.

    To be sure, burning down AutoZones is not an optimal way to impose costs on state authorities. It would be, as some interviewed Ferguson residents noted, far more effective to target police equipment or other property nearer to criminal justice authorities. But these targets are often difficult and risky to reach, unlike local business interests. Since state authorities are always and everywhere most concerned about capital and business interests, threatening to impose costs on them via rioting should have a similar impact on police incentives.

    But a big problem with his case is that ceteris is not paribus: It’s a fairly widely accepted view that “law and order” became a key priority in American politics in the 1960s through the 1990s because of high levels of crime and some specific dramatic instances of urban rioting. Over the long term, citizens get to decide what the government does in response to violence, rather than having to resort to violence themselves, because we live in a democracy. And citizens have chosen more aggressive policing, not less, in response to riots and high crime. 

    Matt’s theory might have some validity in authoritarian or exceptionally corrupt states. But the most powerful determinant, in the long run, of the costs of police violence in America is the employers and funders of the police — voting citizens, who choose more policing, not less, when they get rioting.

    There are actually lots of other reasons rioting is a terrible deal even if you think police are racist killers (see Collins and Margo 2004a, Collins and Margo 2004b, e.g.), but for now, QED. 

    Two Minnesota Men Charged with Aiding ISIS [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

    Two Twin Cities men accused of trying to join a terrorist organization in Syria were charged with conspiracy Tuesday by federal prosecutors, part of a continuing investigation into a pipeline used to recruit Somali-Americans to fight overseas.

    Abdi Nur, 20, of Minneapolis, and Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, of Inver Grove Heights, are charged with conspiring to provide support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

    Yusuf, who was stopped by FBI agents last May while trying to board a flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, appeared before a U.S. magistrate in Minneapolis Tuesday afternoon and was ordered held in custody pending a detention-bail hearing on Wednesday. Nur, who was able to board a flight bound for Turkey last spring, is believed to be in Syria.

    The exodus of Somali-Americans to overseas terrorist organizations is an ongoing problem. Before the rise of the Islamic State, Minnesota’s Somali community (the largest in the country) proffered not-inconsiderable support to al-Shabaab, a terrorist outfit based in Somalia. The Islamic State has mimicked al-Shabaab’s recruiting techniques and utilized the same local resources — primarily mosques — to reach out to susceptible young people.

    As I reported in National Review’s dead-tree edition (November 3, 2014), it is having an alarming degree of success. 

    Does the UKIP Victory Mean the Tories Are Finished? [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Three opinion polls that are regarded in the trade as scrupulous and fair have been published since UKIP won handily over the Cameron Tories in last week’s Rochester and Strood by-election. Though they show small differences in the levels of support for particular parties, they all show rises for UKIP and Labour, a fall for the Tories, the Greens up slightly, and the Liberal Democrats becalmed in very low water. Lord Ashcroft, introducing his own Ashcroft poll results on the ConservativeHome website Monday, may be taken to speak for all three pollsters:

    Labour’s share is up two points since last week at 32 per cent, with the Conservatives down two at 27 per cent, the Liberal Democrats down two at seven per cent, UKIP up two at 18 per cent, the Greens unchanged on seven per cent and the SNP up one point at five per cent.

    The only unexpected finding here is that Labour does not seem to have suffered from the mini-scandal in which a Labour front-bencher tweeted a photograph of a house in Strood draped in several flags of St. George and with a white van parked outside it. Since white vans and English flags are symbols of working-class life and attitudes respectively, the tweet was taken to be a snobbish one. The entire political class was convulsed by this episode for three days, and the front-bencher resigned to avoid tarnishing Labour. Plainly, however, the tweet   has not damaged Labour at all. The party is recovering from a slump in the polls that has lasted several months. Otherwise, the three polls suggest that UKIP, given a boost by its victory in Rochester, is continuing its slow but steady rise, mainly at the expense of the Conservatives.

    Some commentators hostile to UKIP — notably my good friend Martin Hutchinson in the comments section — argue that this rise is a blip (albeit a dangerous one) likely to fall back sharply when voters make realistic choices on who will govern them in next May’s general election. That may be true, but it is unlikely to shrink to the 3.1 percent UKIP received in 2010. If UKIP’s share of the vote were to fall to half of its current 17–18 percent, it would inflict serious damage on the Tories, as Martin fears. And there is growing evidence that UKIP voters are likely to prove much more “sticky” than previous insurgencies. Polls show more than half of UKIP voters saying they will “definitely” vote for the party in a general election. Its share of the vote in parliamentary by-elections has been rising in a steady progression — coming from nowhere to respectable second places until its two recent outright gains. And a study of local by-election results by Daniel Regan of Cicero Elections shows that it is gaining ground in all parts of England and Wales. Its share of the vote in such elections over the last month has averaged 27.8 percent — much higher than its standing in opinion polls. As Daniel Regan argues, those willing to vote for UKIP apparently outnumber those who say they will do so. None of this is good for the Conservative party.

    If we add UKIP’s threat to the fact that the U.K. electoral system is heavily biased against them, the Tories would seem to be finished. Labour should win an absolute majority in Parliament. Not so fast, however. Like the U.S. Fifth Cavalry, two other parties are racing to save them (contrary to their best intentions, of course).

    The Scottish National Party has been given a vast boost, paradoxically, by its loss in the referendum on Scottish independence. The SNP won six seats in the 2010 election. But it is now scoring between 43 and 52 percent in Scottish opinion polls which predict that it would win the great majority of Scotland’s 59. Those seats would come mainly out of Labour’s hide since the Lib-Dems have eleven seats and the Tories have only one north of the border. Even in a not-very-close contest, Labour can ill afford to lose those seats.

    Meanwhile, unnoticed in the background until recently, the Greens have been quietly creeping up the charts. They already have one MP, and they now score a steady 5–7 percent in the polls. That level of support, as well as sucking the life out of the collapsing Lib-Dems, also drains potential voters from the Labour party. So both major parties are reeling from electoral competition on their extremes. Together they get the promised support of only 60 percent of the electorate. The other 40 percent is distributed among political parties that have been born or (as with the SNP) raised from the dead since 1979.

    As a result no fewer than seven political parties will contest the 2015 election with serious prospects of winning one or more seats: Labour, the Tories, the Lib-Dems, UKIP, the SNP, the Greens, and Plaid Cymru, the standard-bearer of Welsh nationalism. My back-of-the-envelope calculation is that there are 63 different possible permutations of vote-switching between the 2010 and 2015 elections (including a first-time vote or no vote at all in 2015 owing to such factors as death, emigration, or imprisonment.) If I am wrong, Martin (who is a human computer) can correct me. At any rate it is fearsomely difficult to forecast the outcome of a race with such a crowded field and new favorites.

    But three British academics — Chris Hanretty, Benjamin Lauderdale, and Nick Vivyan — have constructed a model that attempts to do so here.

    A cursory non-expert reading of it suggests to me that it has a slight and understandable historical bias in favor of the Lib-Dems and against UKIP. Thus, its main forecast of the popular vote share both parties are likely to get is 14.3 and 10.9 percent respectively. It looks to me as if those vote shares should be more or less reversed. And when the vote shares of all parties are translated into seats won, corrected for local factors (which party now holds the seat, the personal popularity of the MP, regional political traditions), the model suggests the following parliamentary scorecard: namely, Tories 286, Labour 283, Lib-Dems 24, SNP 33, Plaid Cymru 1, Greens 1, and UKIP 3. (The magic majority number, incidentally, is 326.) In other words, a hung parliament. Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator, reached the same rough score and concluded that Britain would be governed for the next five years by “a coalition of losers.”

    Both Fraser and the Hanretty-Lauderdale-Vivyan model may well turn out to be right. But I have a suspicion that two factors will make the result more dramatic and more unpredictable.

    The first is that the prolonged Lib-Dem slump and UKIP steady rise make the model’s predictions unsafe and, in particular, more stable than reality. Both parties in their rise and fall will have a more dynamic impact on the overall result than in the above forecast. For instance UKIP is not simply a threat to the Tories; it is eating heavily into Labour’s vote in the North; while the Lib-Dems are losing votes heavily to the Greens and Labour in the South and to the SNP in Scotland. That undermines the conventional electoral wisdom: namely, ignore 600 of the 652 seats and concentrate on the 50 “marginals” where the election will be won. That won’t apply in May. It is even possible, if unlikely, that no marginal seat will change hands but that gains and losses elsewhere will bring about a change of government.

    The second is that there will be nothing like a broadly similar national “swing” between parties as in the past. Each constituency will be holding a different election; overall the country will be holding 652 elections. Seats will be won and lost against the trend; next-door constituencies will swing wildly in different directions. Cabinet Ministers and Labour front-benchers will lose their seats; unknowns who ran for office in a hopeless cause to help their party will win and, as Bill Buckley promised, demand a recount.

    To be sure, it is also possible that these sweeping changes will cancel each other out and that the old familiar rascals will limp back into office and front-bench splendor. But all the signs are that this will be a kaleidoscopic election. Kaleidoscopes don’t generally return exactly the same pattern two shakes in a row. And I suspect that this shake will produce more purple and less yellow in the pattern.

    What that will mean for future British politics will be the next piece.

    Dem. Rep: Opponents of Executive Amnesty Really Opposed to 'Person of Color in White House' [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Opponents of the president’s executive order halting deportations and providing select documentation to some 5 million illegal immigrants only care because the president is black, says one Democratic congressman.

    Appearing on The Joe Madison Show last Friday, Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi declared, “The president, by executive order, which everybody agrees — who has a real brain — that presidents since George Washington have had executive authority privilege to do certain things.”

    “He’s not doing anything that the Bushes, the Reagans, the Clintons, and other presidents all the way back to Eisenhower, as it addressed immigration,” Thompson continued. “So but again, this is just a reaction in Bennie Thompson’s words to a person of color being in the White House.”

    The reference is to Thompson’s own comments earlier this year, when he said on a New Nation of Islam radio show, “I’ve been in Washington. I saw three presidents now. I never saw George Bush treated like this. I never saw Bill Clinton treated like this with such disrespect.”

    “That Mitch McConnell would have the audacity to tell the president of the United States — not the chief executive, but the commander-in-chief — that ‘I don’t care what you come up with, we’re going to be against it.’ Now if that’s not a racist statement I don’t know what is.”

    Thompson has represented Mississippi’s second congressional district since 1993.

    Via BuzzFeed.

    Is Officer Wilson Unbelievable? [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Ezra Klein thinks Officer Wilson’s story is unbelievable.

    He makes a couple of big points. Generally, he asks:

    Why did Michael Brown, an 18-year-old kid headed to college, refuse to move from the middle of the street to the sidewalk? Why would he curse out a police officer? Why would he attack a police officer? Why would he dare a police officer to shoot him? Why would he charge a police officer holding a gun? Why would he put his hand in his waistband while charging, even though he was unarmed?

    Good questions, but you could, in the same spirit, ask why an 18-year-old kid headed to college would shove and then menace a convenience store clerk in the act of robbing his store of cigarillos?

    Klein also wonders about this cigarillo hand-off described by Wilson:

    I was doing the, just scrambling, trying to get his arms out of my face and him from grabbing me and everything else. He turned to his…if he’s at my vehicle, he turned to his left and handed the first subject. He said, “here, take these.” He was holding a pack of — several packs of cigarillos which was just, what was stolen from the Market Store was several packs of cigarillos. He said, “here, hold these” and when he did that I grabbed his right arm trying just to control something at that point. Um, as I was holding it, and he came around, he came around with his arm extended, fist made, and went like that straight at my face with his…a full swing from his left hand.

    This strikes me as very strange as well, but there is no advantage to Wilson that I can see in including this detail, so it’s unclear why he would make it up.

    Then, there’s this detail about Brown’s hand in his waistband, which also struck me as odd:

    When he stopped, he turned, looked at me, made like a grunting noise and had the most intense, aggressive face I’ve ever seen on a person. When he looked at me, he then did like the hop…you know, like people do to start running. And, he started running at me. During his first stride, he took his right hand put it under his shirt into his waistband. And I ordered him to stop and get on the ground again. He didn’t. I fired multiple shots. After I fired the multiple shots, I paused a second, yelled at him to get on the ground again, he was still in the same state. Still charging, hand still in his waistband, hadn’t slowed down.

    Klein’s gloss is that is a detail designed to show that Wilson thought Brown perhaps had a gun:

    The stuff about Brown putting his hand in his waistband is meant to suggest that Wilson had reason to believe Brown might pull a gun. But it’s strange. We know Brown didn’t have a gun. And that’s an odd fact to obscure while charging a police officer.

    But there is another explanation, which is simply that Brown may have needed to pull up his pants. It’s difficult to tell from the video of the convenience store, but it certainly looks as though his pants are falling down slightly just as he walks around. Also, a witness comes close to describing the same thing as Officer Wilson, albeit tentatively:

    I never seen him put his hands up or anything. I can’t recall the movement he did. I’m not sure if he pulled his pants up or whatever he did but I seen some type of movement and he started charging towards the police officer.

    None of this, in other words, makes Officer Wilson unbelievable.


    It has been pointed out to me that the cigarillo hand-off is corroborated by Dorian Johnson, and also that Ezra Klein has acknowledged this: 

    The idea that Brown stopped punching Wilson just long enough to hand his contraband to his friend struck me, on first read, as beyond belief. But Johnson backs at least part of that account:

    “While the officer is grabbing ahold of Big Mike, he kind loses grip around his neck, that’s how I knew he had a good grip. He never fully let Big Mike go, now he has a good grasp on his shirt. So now Big Mike’s able to turn different angles while he is trying to pull away. And at a point he turned, now we are face-to-face, and he put his hands like, grab these, Bro. And in shock, I’m so not unconsciously, my hands open to where he could put the rillos in my hand.”

    So Johnson and Wilson agree: there is a moment when Brown turns to Johnson and hands over the stolen cigarillos. But Wilson tells it as Brown freeing his hands to more effectively pummel Wilson, and Johnson tells it as Brown freeing his hands to better escape Wilson.

    Battleground Ohio and the Convention-Site Effect [National Review Online - The Corner]

    If I were the DNC, I would choose Columbus, Ohio, for the 2016 convention, if only to neutralize any statewide advantage that the Republicans stand to gain from holding their convention in Cleveland. Not that it would be a home run for the Democrats. More like a throw to first, to keep the runner honest — and maybe pick him off, which could change the outcome if the score is close. Most wins do not involve walk-off grand slams. It’s a game of inches.

    “Election scholars do not find parties more likely to win the states in which they host their nominating confabs, and may in fact do slightly worse than usual in them,” Kevin Williamson writes, but I wonder. He pointed me to this piece by Harry Enten, at FiveThirtyEight, who found on average a 0.4 percent boost going back to 1964.

    It’s too small to be significant, according to Enten, but states have swung by smaller margins, and in any case what’s at stake in battleground states, including Ohio, are typically slivers of one or two or three percentage points. In 2012, Obama won Ohio by a hair less than one point, and 0.4 percent would be a sizable chunk of that. The approximately full-point boost that Fred Schwarz found when he crunched the numbers the same way Enten did (Fred looked at conventions going back only to 1988) would be just about enough to flip Ohio to the Republicans in 2016. Enten is correct, though, that his method — which is also Fred’s — isn’t nearly granulated enough to ensure that the tiny figure he arrives at is more than statistical noise.

    For an illustration of how resistant the data are to easy interpretation, consider 1980, when the Republicans convened in Detroit and then carried Michigan. The Mitten State went more Republican than the nation did but by a much smaller margin than in 1976. But the Republican candidate in 1976 was a native son, Gerald Ford. This would suggest that the native-son effect is stronger than the convention-site effect, not that the convention-site effect is zero or negative.

    By Enten’s reckoning, when a party meets two conditions in a presidential election — it had a good year nationally, improving its performance since the previous election by a wide margin, and it held its convention in a stronghold, a state that last time voted for the party’s presidential nominee by an overwhelming margin — that almost guarantees a score that will indicate, wrongly, that the party’s performance fell off in the convention-site state.

    For instance: If party R gains ten points nationally one year, going from from 45–55 to 55–45, it picks up 18 percent of the vote that went to its rival in the previous election — quite a feat. But that same year, in a state where party R already got 65 percent of the vote last time, if party R wins over a full 20 percent of those who supported the other party last time, that would register as a gain of only seven percentage points. According to Enten’s method, we shoud subtract 7 from 10 and conclude that party R performed three percentage points worse in that state than it did nationally, but we would come closer to the truth by subtracting 18 from 20 and concluding that the party performed better in the state by two points.

    The size of the state and the city’s size relative to it matter, too. A GOP convention in Pittsburgh, for example, could succeed in turning some independents in Wexford from the D to the R side of the fence, while their counterparts in Yardley were untouched by the convention, which from their point of view might as well have been held in Honolulu. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh share a state in the same sense that Brooklyn and Buffalo do — but voters in Springfield, Mass., might well be moved by a convention across the state in Boston. In a Pennsylvania-like state, a better way to examine the convention’s effect may be to look at how voting changed in the convention city’s metropolitan area, or media market, and then examine how much that affected the state’s vote overall.

    And overall, a small market should be more susceptible than a big market to a convention-site effect. New York? Fuggedaboutit. Don’t think that with a mere convention you could win it over even a little. You wouldn’t even register on its radar. You would on Cleveland’s, though. Cleveland proper, where some precincts went 100 percent for Obama in 2008, will probably not budge from its place at the deepest blue end of the spectrum, but the outer suburbs and the exurbs may be capable of turning a redder shade of purple or darker shade of red.

    Schumer and Obamacare [National Review Online - The Corner]

    If you think that Obamacare is a great improvement in public policy — that it is making America a better place — and that there was no more politically attractive way of achieving its objectives, then of course it was worth doing at some political cost. I’ll give that to Senator Schumer’s critics in the Democratic party.

    But I think that there were several other courses of action open to the Democrats in 2009–10 that would have served both their political and policy objectives better than what they did. The standard liberal response to the critique that Democrats should have done more on the economy is that the only worthwhile initiative, more fiscal stimulus, would be DOA in Congress. But that just seems to me evidence of a failure of imagination. They could have worked on raising the long-term growth rate: making a deal on business taxation, reforming patents, and so forth. They could also have nominated and confirmed doves (or situational doves) to the Federal Reserve, and urged the Fed to commit to bringing spending, or the price level, back to its pre-crisis trendline. None of that would have yielded the direct benefits to the middle class that Schumer has in mind, but they would have shown that Democrats had their eyes on the ball.

    Democrats had multiple paths open on health care too. They could, for example, have just pushed a straight expansion of Medicaid, medical-malpractice reform, and some Medicare cost savings. I would have opposed that package, but they would have probably gotten a lot more bipartisan support than, and roughly as much coverage expansion as, they ended up getting.

    The Democratic World Has Moved Beyond Obama [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Halifax — At an annual gathering of government, business, academic, and civil-society leaders from democratic nations here, one theme emerged clearly: The world has moved beyond Barack Obama. Whereas debate over Obama and his policies figured heavily in previous gatherings of the Halifax International Security Forum (full disclosure: I am on the Forum’s agenda committee), this year’s sessions were notable for the absence of any real discussion or passion about the American president.

    Indeed, a plenary session featuring Senators John McCain and Tim Kaine debating whether America remained the “indispensable superpower” opened with a stark video collage of clips of Obama’s statements implying an American withdrawal from the world, along with his flip-flopping on the reintroduction of U.S. combat troops to Iraq. The president came across as irresolute, overtaken by events, and unrealistically academic about the role that America should play on the world stage.

    Yet it was in session after session, on cyber issues, jihadism, Africa, propaganda, energy, and the like, where the dismissal of Obama was stark. There was no hope entertained that Obama had solutions to any of the myriad problems facing the world, no presumption of any new initiatives coming from the Obama White House, nor much interest in supposedly on-going priorities, such as the pivot to Asia or trade pacts such as TTIP or TPP. No one, it seemed, had much interest in the U.S. president, nor much anticipation that he would do anything of note over the next two years.

    The only area where Obama-administration policies played any real role was in discussion on the Islamic State. Retired Marine General John Allen, now Obama’s special envoy for a global coalition against the Islamic State, spoke off-the-record on Sunday morning. And, during much of the conference, there was continued discussion about what Obama would do next in the Middle East. Other than that, this participant felt an uncharacteristic vacuum where in past years, the White House would have figured prominently.

    Underlying this absence was a palpable sense of resignation on the part of many who once had high hopes for Obama, and a regretful sense of vindication for those who never expected much in the first place. The collective feeling of the 300 participants seemed to be that he had his shot, messed it up, and will be lucky to get out of office without a major catastrophe occurring. Other actors, from Vladimir Putin to Turkey’s Erdogan, emerged as the key global shapers to watch. Given that Halifax was a gathering of representatives from the world’s democracies (or democratic groups within non-free states), that was a sobering realization. Only India’s Narendra Modi was held up as a democratic leader who might make his mark on the global scene. Obama, on the other hand, was now a global lame-duck. In the court of democratic world opinion, it seems, Barack Obama’s time on the world stage is over.

    Don't Get It In Writing [National Review Online - The Corner]

    The New York Times reports today on possible Republican responses to the president’s immigration order:

    Mr. Lowry suggested one way Congress could react. “If I were John Boehner,” he said, referring to the House speaker, “I’d say to the president: ‘Send us your State of the Union in writing. You’re not welcome in our chamber.’ ”

    I think this would be a bad idea. It wouldn’t raise the political cost to Obama or the Democrats for having rewritten immigration law. It would make Republicans look petty and unreasonable, unwilling even to listen to the president. (Make that “to the black president.” You can write the Maureen Dowd column in your head: “Boehner said his kind wasn’t welcome here. . .”) It would be great to return to the old tradition of written State of the Union reports, but this isn’t the way to do it.

    'The Ferguson Fraud' [National Review Online - The Corner]

    My Politico column today:

    The bitter irony of the Michael Brown case is that if he had actually put his hands up and said don’t shoot, he would almost certainly be alive today.

    His family would have been spared an unspeakable loss, and Ferguson, Missouri wouldn’t have experienced multiple bouts of rioting, including the torching of at least a dozen businesses the night it was announced that Officer Darren Wilson wouldn’t be charged with a crime.

    Instead, the credible evidence (i.e., the testimony that doesn’t contradict itself or the physical evidence) suggests that Michael Brown had no interest in surrendering. After committing an act of petty robbery at a local business, he attacked Officer Wilson when he stopped him on the street. Brown punched Wilson when the officer was still in his patrol car and attempted to take his gun from him.

    The first shots were fired within the car in the struggle over the gun. Then, Michael Brown ran. Even if he hadn’t put his hands up, but merely kept running away, he would also almost certainly be alive today. Again, according to the credible evidence, he turned back and rushed Wilson. The officer shot several times, but Brown kept on coming until Wilson killed him.

    This is a terrible tragedy. It isn’t a metaphor for police brutality or race repression or anything else, and never was. Aided and abetted by a compliant national media, the Ferguson protesters spun a dishonest or misinformed version of what happened—Michael Brown murdered in cold blood while trying to give up—into a chant (“hands up, don’t shoot”) and then a mini-movement.

    Obama to the American Worker: Happy Thanksgiving, Sucker [National Review Online - The Corner]

    You’ve been working hard to support your family, paying taxes — including Social Security and Medicare taxes — for nearly 20 years.

    Now you find out that the 5 million illegal aliens the president legalized with a stroke of a pen will be eligible for Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits – you know, the programs you’ve been supporting with your tax dollars your entire working life.

    The plant you’ve been working at most of your career is considering lay-offs and benefit cuts due to the cost of new regulations imposed by bureaucrats who’ve never run so much as a pop stand, and who know absolutely nothing about your business. So your employer is forced to hire cheaper labor and is interviewing (formerly) illegal aliens to replace some of your co-workers (and maybe you) because the company won’t have to pay the $3,000 Obamacare penalty on such illegal aliens for not providing health-care coverage.

    So, to keep your job, you try to make yourself more valuable to the company by getting additional training and skills at the nearby college. But the school, supported by your tax dollars, rejects your application in favor of an illegal alien under the  admissions office’s affirmative-action program that makes it 170 times more likely a preferred minority will be admitted over you. He’ll even get in-state tuition rates, as well as a grant funded, in part, by your tax dollars. And so what if that may be unconstitutional? Indeed, you feel a bit chastened when one of the school’s professors suggests you might be racist for thinking this all somewhat unfair.

    You thought that, if push came to shove, you could always get a job at your brother-in-law’s tool-and-die shop over on West Plymouth. But it got burned down when the  elected officials — to whom you’ve remitted  tens of thousands in tax dollars to protect property (as well as dictate your toilet’s water flow), failed to deploy sufficient law-enforcement personnel to control the rioters the very same elected officials helped to inflame.

    Well, no worries. You’re pretty sure that, much like your preternaturally serene neighbor Julia (who never seems to have worked a job in her entire life), you’ll be able to access a variety of social benefits to keep your family afloat. At least for awhile. Admittedly, you became a little nervous upon learning that the newly “legal” immigrants could drain the treasury of nearly $2 trillion dollars. But hey, all the smart people in academia, Hollywood, and Washington say this is all good for America. The Fundamentally Transformed States of America.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Last Call for Applications for NRI’s 2015 Regional Fellows Programs in D.C. and NYC [National Review Online - The Corner]

    The National Review Institute is now accepting applications for its 2015 Regional Fellows programs in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Twenty applicants in each city will be selected to participate in a series of eight dinner seminars on the foundations of conservative thought and the principles of a free society. Fellows will consider and discuss select texts from Burke to Buckley. Each dinner seminar is led by one of today’s top conservative thinkers, including some of National Review’s own.

    An ideal candidate has at least ten years of full-time work experience and does not currently work in politics or policy, but all are welcome to apply. For more information about the program and applying, go here. The deadline to submit application materials is Monday, December 1, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. EST.​

    Will No-one Think of the Children (1981 Edition)? [National Review Online - The Corner]

    May 20 1981: Labour MP George Foulkes:

    I beg to move, ‘That leave be given to bring in a Bill to empower local authorities to control by licensing and through the grant of planning permission space invaders and other electronic games in all premises to which the public have access with or without payment; and for connected purposes.’ The Bill seeks to control “space invaders”—of the terrestial kind—and other electronic games. The motivation is not any whim of mine, but the fact that some months ago the head teacher of Cumnock academy, in my constituency, drew to my attention the increasingly harmful effects on young people of addiction to “space invader” machines. Since then, I have seen reports from all over the country of young people becoming so addicted to these machines that they resort to theft, blackmail and vice to obtain money to satisfy their addiction. I use the word “addiction” not in its increasingly common misuse, as being generally fond of something, but in its strictly correct sense of being so attracted to an activity that all normal activity is suspended to carry it out.

    That is what is happening to our young people. They play truant, miss meals, and give up other normal activity to play “space invaders”. They become crazed, with eyes glazed, oblivious to everything around them, as they play the machines. It is difficult to appreciate unless one has seen it for oneself. I suggest that right hon. and hon. Members who have not seen it should go incognito to an arcade or café in their own areas and see the effect that it is having on young people.

    The machines that have a target of the highest previous score obtained particularly attract a youngster to play them again and again in an effort to beat the previous record. There is little hope of the craze fading…

    h/t: Alex Massie


    From Wikipedia:

    As an MP, Foulkes introduced the first-ever proposal… for a smoking ban in public places…

    (and, yes, it’s true).

    Connect the dots.

    Why Obama Is Finding It Hard to Get a New Defense Secretary [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s dismissal was so sudden that President Obama didn’t have a replacement ready when the two men went before the cameras on Monday. Yesterday, the search for that replacement became more complicated when Michèle Flournoy, a former Pentagon official viewed as the front-runner, took herself out of contention for the Cabinet post. Flournoy had previously served as undersecretary of Defense for policy from 2009 to 2012, and had been seen as a candidate to become the first female defense secretary.

    Another often-touted possibility for defense secretary is Rhode Island senator Jack Reed, but he’s staying put too. Why the unwillingness to take the top Pentagon job? Too many people view it as a job not worth having in an atmosphere where the White House micromanages everything.

    It’s well known after Secretary Hagel’s clashes with White House staff that anyone who takes the Pentagon job will be butting heads with Susan Rice, the National Security Council adviser who exercises an iron grip on key aspects of foreign policy. Not to mention Valerie Jarrett, the influential presidential counselor who seems to have both hands in every pie at the White House. “Why should anyone put up with those headaches and not even have full command of your department?” asks one leading Democratic defense analyst I spoke with. He said the White House’s need to micromanage the national-security apparatus is notorious in Washington.

    Larry Korb, a former Pentagon official and senior member of Obama’s 2008 campaign team, told Defense News that “there’s no doubt” Obama and the White House have a trust deficit with the Pentagon and other security agencies. 

    “I think that hurts policymaking,” Korb said. “I really do. I think Obama probably was dumbfounded when he came into office . . . that everyone in the government didn’t do what he wanted right away. . . . So the reaction is to look for Obama loyalists.”

    Defense News also interviewed Aaron David Miller, an adviser to six secretaries of state and now vice president of the Wilson Center. He said Obama “dominates [and] doesn’t delegate. . . . [Obama] is probably the most controlling foreign-policy president since Richard Nixon.”

    The problem is that Obama shows no signs of having Nixon’s skill in foreign policy. As his policies fail to produce the results he seeks, Obama’s instinct is to listen to loyal White House aides and push away dissenting voices. Hagel is the third defense secretary to suffer that fate.  

    Robert Gates and Leon Panetta “didn’t toe the party line, so the White House people weren’t happy,” Korb tells Defense News. “So pushed out is what they got. Now, this is what Hagel got, too.”

    Thanksgiving links [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Thanksgiving miscellany: Mark Twain, science, WKRP, Cicero and the best turkey fryer PSA ever.

    10 Thanksgiving Words With Bizarre Origins.

    For the kids, a virtual field trip to the first Thanksgiving.​

    Buffy Thanksgiving episode: “Ritual sacrifice, with pie.”

    Christopher Walken and John Madden: The First Thanksgiving.

    In 1939, the U.S. celebrated Democrat Thanksgiving and Republican Thanksgiving.

    A bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a pig: the TurBacon Epic.

    What’s a Wishbone, and Why Do We Crack It? Related, Tyrannosaurus Rex Had a Wishbone.

    This Man Made the First Canned Cranberry Sauce.

    Benjamin Franklin’s account of the First Thanksgiving.

    How Much Stuffing Would It Take to Stuff Your House Like A Turkey?

    8 Thanksgiving Flowcharts.

    How Turkey Got Its Name.

    Why Do The Lions & Cowboys Always Play On Thanksgiving?

    For those of us born between the 22nd and 28th and have always wondered, here’s how it works: Thanksgiving Birthday Pattern.

    Thanksgiving in 1810, 1910, and 2010.

    Dave Barry Thanksgiving columns from 199619982004… feel free to add more in the comments.

    Hostile Protests Continue in Ferguson [National Review Online - The Corner]

    The second day of protests over the grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson grew violent in Ferguson, Mo., when night fell on Tuesday. For the second evening in a row, protesters set a police car on fire and threw various objects at cops. Protesters swarmed the street in front of the Ferguson Police Department and made it difficult for traffic to pass through.

    The protesters continued to prevent cars from passing and began harassing law enforcement stationed at the police department. Soon, the protesters turned on media gathered on South Florissant Road too. Several angry protesters surrounded CNN’s Chris Cuomo and repeatedly shouted ”F*** CNN” in order to make it difficult for him to do his job. Warning: This video contains foul language.

    Law enforcement officials wasted little time pushing back against the mob, which had also hurled flaming objects at cops. Police moved in and cuffed some of the offending protesters.

    But law enforcement’s efforts still proved incapable of preventing violence in Ferguson overnight. The protesters smashed windows and set a police car on fire again late on Tuesday. The vandalism in Missouri coincided with protests taking place across the country in 37 states. Whether other protests are characterized by the violence on display in Ferguson remains to be seen, but the protesters who gathered outside the police station last night did not appear prepared to demonstrate peacefully.  

    Overturning Conventional Wisdom [National Review Online - The Corner]

    From my most recent NRO article, on recent major changes in the world picture: “The environmentalists are fighting hard for every inch but they are a bedraggled and battle-weary force compared with their former status as occupants of the commanding heights of public opinion, warning of inundations, species extinctions, and richly deserved Old Testament plagues to punish ecological abuse. ”

    Whether you agree or disagree, your comments are, as always, most welcome.


    Join the National Review Wine Club and Save $100 — And Get Two Free Bottles of Pinot Noir! [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Why not get amazing wines delivered right to your door by joining the National Review Wine Club!  Join today and you’ll save $100 on 12 world-class wines. Plus, you’ll get two bottles of elegant Gracenote Pinot Noir worth $50 at no additional cost. For more information, click here.

    Of Maturity, Prudence, and Open-Mindedness [National Review Online - The Corner]

    I’m sure there are conservatives who are upset that the House Republicans have exonerated the Obama administration on Benghazi. Indeed, even Lindsey Graham — not exactly an extremist conservative — has expressed outrage about the House Republicans’ conclusion. But conservatives, even of the most fire-breathing sort, generally realize that burning down the nearest beauty shop will not persuade the American people that Obama and his team are culpable for what happened at Benghazi.

    And the angry people need to consider that perhaps, just perhaps, the legal and political system came to the right conclusions. The recognition that racism is bad does not entail the conclusion that a particular police officer who acted in a tough situation deserves to go to prison. There is a price to be paid when one becomes a captive of one’s own side’s narrative, and one refuses to take a fresh look at the facts.


    Senator Paul's Orwellian Proposal [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Senator Rand Paul is introducing a bill to authorize the war against the Islamic State for one year, but at the same time terminate the authorization to use military force passed after the 9/11 attacks. Senator Paul has been reading 1984 again, because labeling this bill a declaration of war is akin to naming the Defense Department the Department of Peace. It doesn’t really add to the president’s authorities, which already exist under his commander-in-chief power under the Constitution and the 2001 and 2002 authorizations to use force after the 9/11 attacks and in Iraq. Its real purpose is to end U.S. involvement in the Middle East, but without being honest about it.

    If not, then Senator Paul’s proposal shows his naive understanding of war, one shared by President Obama. War does not begin and end solely on our time. War also ends when the enemy agrees it ends. Does anyone seriously think that the Islamic State will be defeated in a year? If so, maybe he will be President Obama’s choice to replace Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. Paul’s belief that the conflict with the Islamic State will end in one year shares the same flawed worldview that underlies President Obama’s decision to withdraw our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan on an artificial timeline that — as we have learned now with the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq — has little to do with conditions on the ground and the state of our enemies.

    Senator Paul’s deeper problem, symbolized by his proposal, is that the American people already embraced his foreign policy — six years ago, when it elected President Obama. Obama has followed the same isolationist instincts: He withdrew the U.S. from Iraq, has set a timetable for withdrawing from Afghanistan, put up little resistance to the rise of China and a revanchist Russia, and has overseen an incredible reduction in spending on the armed forces. The midterm elections concretely demonstrate that the American people realize that Obama’s foreign policy has been a mistake and that our national security is under worse threat now than it was six years ago.

    Paul can only distinguish himself by seeking the small amount of daylight to the antiwar left of President Obama. Hence, Paul has embraced unrealistic views on the Islamic State, surveillance, and drones. But as our security declines, our allies fall under pressure, and interests abroad suffer, further downsizing of American influence and forces from the world is the worst possible step at this time that no responsible American chief executive could adopt. Paul is only ensuring that his views remain on the margins and that he will continue to complain from the Senate, rather than decide from the White House come 2016.

    Reframing Pope Francis as the Gospel Radical He Is [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Today is the day that my friend Austen Ivereigh’s book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope is released in the United States. It’s a good read, providing a better understanding of this man from Argentina, Jose Mario Bergoglio, the first pope from the Americas, who would take the name Francis (which while welcome was really quite radical in itself).

    Austen is clearly fond of Bergoglio and sees him as a great gift and opportunity. But not because he is a radical rupture with the past. The Great Reformer overflows with a love for the Church and the pope emeritus (reflecting Pope Francis’s own attitude of gratitude toward him and his spiritual and intellectual gifts and humble leadership), a knowledge of humanity and power and politics, as well as a trust in the Holy Spirit.

    I’ll have longer reflection on the book and a Q&A with the author to come, but I wanted to mark this day at least quasi-properly — though living in London, its author may be sensibly turned in for the day by now. The book reflects tremendous research and knowledge of Argentina (where he long ago reported on), of the Jesuits – and Austen’s a great writer. At times the book reads like a novel, but not in a reckless or over-the-top way. The drama of life is dynamic enough! The Great Reformer is a rooted, lively, insightful read.

    As Austen explains his “curiosity” about Francis, who he almost immediately found fascinating – as so many did and have – in the intro to his book:

    What I really wanted to know was who he was, how he thought, how being a Jesuit shaped him, where he stood among all those controversies I had studied so long ago. In those first hundred days of the electrifying Francis pontificate, he had taken the Vatican, and the world, by storm – flipping the omelet, as he liked to say. People were trying to fit him into straitjackets that just didn’t apply in Latin America, and even less in Argentina, where Peronism exploded the categories of left and right. The misreading had given rise to contradictory claims: A slum bishop who was cozy with the military dictatorship? A retrograde Jesuit who became a progressive bishop? Some tried to claim he was both, and “converted” during his Cordoba exile in the early 1990s. Those in Argentina who knew him well said this just wasn’t true. …

    There have been many good book about Francis and, especially, translating his own words from his time as cardinal (one of my favorites is On Heaven and Earth). This is a first real comprehensive look, in depth and with some time as pontiff under his belt. 

    As Austen describes it, The Great Reformer is

    chronological but not rigorously so: it zooms in on stories that bring our subject into focus and then pans back to take in the land and history that shaped him. In the early chapters, where I have called him “Jorge” until he was ordained, there are excursions into the divisions and tensions and in Argentine political and church history that are essential to understanding his vision. The Jesuit story, worldwide, and in Argentina, past and present, figures strongly: both Saint Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, which have so deeply formed Bergoglio’s thinking, spirituality, and leadership, and the struggles within the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) over its renewal after the Second Vatican Council, play a major role in the first half of the book. Throughout, The Great Reformer takes seriously Bergogolio’s Jesuit spirituality of discernment as the key to his decision-making. He made judgments not just on the basis of information and interests, but where he saw God’s will, and its opponent: the temptation of the “bad spirit.”

    This would certainly explain why, while it typically doesn’t make world headlines, Pope Francis repeatedly talks about the Devil (#DamnedDevil to you on Twitter) as he models how Christians can sort our way back to the life of the Gospel in Christ.

    The Great Reformer is a great portrait of a free man. And by a man who I have known to want to follow the Spirit in opening hearts to the loving mercy of God at a time of great challenge, after decades of hurt, confusion, and conflict. In this way, too, he knows his subject well.

    (Austen is a founder of Catholic Voices, an effort I am involved with here in the U.S. We talked a bit about that and his previous book, for Our Sunday Visitor, How to Defend the Faith without Raising Your Voice — which might come in handy for a Thanksgiving table or Christmas party! — in 2012 here. )

    Guess Which Western Diplomat Looks Happiest To See the Iranian Foreign Minister? [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Hard to imagine John Kerry’s been that animatedly happy to see anyone since the last time a Hinckley repair came in under budget.

    Rand Paul's Opportunistic Ferguson Op-Ed from August . . . [National Review Online - The Corner]

    . . . doesn’t hold up very well. Here was his comment on the confrontation between Michael Brown and Officer Wilson:
     If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot.
    If Michael Brown had only “smarted off,” surely he wouldn’t have been shot, either.

    Pelosi's Shutdown Theater [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Roll Call reports that Republicans are considering passing two budget bills, one that funds most of the government for the next year and one that that provides short-term funding for the immigration bureaucracy. I still think it’s a mistake to pass a funding covering most of the government for most of next year in the lame-duck session, because it cedes too much power to Senate Democrats and opens the door to more executive-branch unilateralism. But the argument against the strategy discussed in the article is not compelling.

    Appropriators have warned that trying to defund the USCIS through a spending bill, as some conservatives have called for, is not a viable solution. Because the agency is funded through fees, changing its funding would require authorization language, and such language isn’t likely to survive a near-certain veto threat.

    It’s true that a bill that restricts the bureaucracy’s ability to spend money to implement Obama’s new policy is unlikely to get signed by the president, and the bureaucracy can implement the policy if no bill passes. But the point of the bill is to register opposition to Obama’s policy early, and to avoid congressional complicity in that policy.

    There may also be less than meets the eye to Nancy Pelosi’s announced opposition to the strategy. Most Democrats will surely vote against the second, smaller bill that includes restrictions on the president’s policy. I think they would have a hard time maintaining opposition to a bill that funds most of the government on the ground that it doesn’t include funding for an agency that is being treated in a separate bill, and doesn’t need the money anyway. Even the party’s friends in the press might not be able to spin that successfully.

    Immigration Debate Update [National Review Online - The Corner]

    In the last few days, defenders of President Obama’s unilateral move on illegal immigration have drawn a few new parallels to bolster their case. They have likened his move to John Boehner’s failure to hold a House vote on the Senate-passed immigration bill, to congressional Republicans’ (temporary) unwillingness to pass legislation raising the debt ceiling without certain conditions, and to Mitt Romney’s promise to implement various policies such as relief from Obamacare via executive order. The president’s action on immigration is, if these parallels hold, no more problematic than these Republican ones; and conservatives who criticize that action as a violation of constitutional norms are being inconsistent, if not insincere.

    The first two parallels aren’t very close. There is no constitutional requirement, or even sub-constitutional norm, that requires a legislative chamber to vote on bills that have majority support. Harry Reid’s Senate has come under criticism for a lot of reasons, but no reasonable person has complained that he violated a constitutional duty by failing to hold a vote on a bill to kill the medical-device tax. Nor is there a requirement that people vote for debt-ceiling legislation of a particular specification (whether or not that is the responsible thing to do in certain circumstances). There is, on the other hand, a constitutional requirement that the president execute the laws and that Congress do any legislating.

    Romney’s promises are a better parallel. I am not at all sure that a President Romney would have followed through with them upon sober reflection. If he had suspended parts of Obamacare by fiat, conservatives might well have refrained from providing warranted criticism because they liked the results or because they felt it would be unilateral disarmament to let Obama suspend parts of it without following suit. In that case, conservatives would have been wrong.

    It seems to me that the best available constitutional defense of Obama’s immigration initiative has to begin by throwing out almost everything Obama and his allies have said about it and treating it as trivial. If the illegal immigrants allegedly covered by the new policy really are still subject to deportation at any time, then Obama has just continued current policy while putting an anti-constitutional gloss on it (in which he acts where Congress won’t, lets illegal immigrants “get right with the law,” etc.). And that doesn’t seem like much of a defense at all.

    McCulloch’s Decision Not to Recuse Himself Was Appropriate [National Review Online - The Corner]

    The claim that St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch should have recused himself from the investigation of the shooting death of Michael Brown is legally meritless, even if it fits the race-charged narrative urged by many who wanted Officer Darren Wilson to be indicted for murder.

    McCulloch’s detractors call his motives and thus his professionalism into question by citing the fact that, when he was 12, his father, a police officer, was shot and killed by an African American kidnapper. By this logic, the county prosecutor should recuse himself from just about every county prosecution: (a) the police, to whom he is said to be too close, are involved in virtually every criminal case, and to do their jobs objectively, prosecutors must be able to pressure them to get the truth and ensure that defendants get due process; and (b) black people, against whom he is (baselessly) said to harbor a ill will, are involved in many criminal cases in St. Louis.

    The actual recusal rules are not built on ancient history and implied racism. They encourage the prosecutor to do his job unless there are specific, concrete reasons to question his professionalism in a particular case. McCulloch had no particular connection to either Mr. Brown or Officer Wilson. The fact that he did not see a racialist narrative of the case as dictating his participation in the case is a sign of mental health, not a basis for his removal.

    More specifically, McCulloch, a Democrat, has been overwhelmingly elected county prosecutor seven times since 1991 – in St. Louis County, the population of which is nearly one-fourth African-American. It is standard operating procedure for county prosecutors to investigate allegations of police misconduct or public corruption in their own counties. That is a not-insignificant part of what they are elected to do. 

    Besides, as Missouri’s attorney general, Chris Koster, pointed out, Governor Jay Nixon, another Democrat, had the power to remove McCulloch. He chose not to because there was no compelling legal basis for it. McCulloch, furthermore, did not handle the case directly; it was assigned to at least two of his subordinates (one of whom, AG Koster explained, is African American). Obviously, this does not mean McCulloch recused himself — he was still the boss, and how the case was handled was ultimately his call.

    The way the case was handled should provide fair-minded people with confidence. The investigation was done in consultation with the Justice Department and FBI agents – not just the local police. It was not formally a “joint” state-federal investigation, but the fact that McCulloch chose to share evidence with federal agents who could check his work cuts sharply against the notion of unprofessional bias.

    More importantly, as I have previously contended, he could have unilaterally dismissed this case as too weak to proceed. Instead, he ordered it to be presented comprehensively to the grand jury. He did not need to do that, and by doing it he created the possibility that the grand jury could decide to indict regardless of whether he believed the evidence supported that conclusion.

    Finally, the irony is worth noting here. In the main, the people contending that McCulloch should have recused himself due to purported bias are themselves so blinded by bias that nothing short of a murder conviction would satisfy them – they wanted Wilson indicted irrespective of whether the proof satisfied the reasonable-doubt standard that controls grand jury proceedings; and they would then have wanted him found guilty no matter how weak the trial proof was. Given that they want a particular outcome and care not a bit about procedural integrity, it is a bit much to hear them complain about the process.

    Darren Wilson to ABC: I Wouldn't Have Done Anything Differently [National Review Online - The Corner]

    In his first interview since the grand jury decided not to indict him, Officer Darren Wilson told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he has a “clean conscience” about the August 9 altercation that left Michael Brown dead in Ferguson, Mo. Stephanopoulos​ broke in to local ABC stations to provide details of his conversation shortly after wrapping up his hour-long interview with the police officer.

    Wilson said he was doing what he was trained to do, he said, and feared for his life after Brown reached into his car and tried to grab for Wilson’s gun.

    Stephanpoulous asked Wilson whether he might have reacted differently if Brown were white; the officer said race had nothing to do with the events and that he was “simply doing his job.” Wilson said he was sorry for the loss of life in the incident and sympathized with the Brown family.

    More of the interview will air on ABC in broadcasts later today and tomorrow.

    No Indictment and a Riot: It was a Foregone Conclusion [National Review Online - The Corner]

    Nothing that happened on Monday night – neither the grand jury’s decision nor the riot that followed — should have come as a surprise to anyone following the events in Ferguson closely.  Indeed, I was on the record in predicting both outcomes here on NRO last month. 

    For all the media hand-wringing on display in the months since Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9, the case was essentially a simple one, and though the grand jury’s deliberative process will remain secret in accordance with the law, my sense is that they had little difficulty in reaching the conclusion they did. 

    From the outset we were presented with mutually exclusive versions of the fatal encounter. One was that Officer Wilson fired in self-defense so as to prevent Michael Brown from taking his gun and using it against him. The other was that Wilson shot a harmless and compliant Michael Brown – the gentle giant – in cold blood, an act motivated by racial animus.

    First to promote the latter version on the day of the shooting was Michael Brown’s companion, Dorian Johnson, who, in his desire to portray his friend to the world as the victim of an unprovoked attack, omitted the fact that Brown – and it could be argued that Johnson himself – had just committed a robbery at a local convenience store. Johnson lacked credibility when he first told the tale, and he continued to reveal himself as a liar by changing his story every time an inconsistency was exposed. And when the tape of the robbery was made public, only the most ideologically blinkered could have failed to deduce which of the two competing scenarios would most likely be borne out by the investigation.

    And as for the riot, that too was a foregone conclusion. Why? Because the rioters, many of whom came from far beyond the St. Louis area, were looking forward to it as a child does to Christmas. They don’t care about Michael Brown, and they don’t care what the grand jury decided.  They just like to steal and break things. Indeed, for the rioters, from the common street thugs to the Occupy types in their ridiculous Guy Fawkes masks, last night in Ferguson was like Christmas, Mardi Gras, and New Year’s Eve rolled into one: a big party, after which you went home with stuff you didn’t pay for.

    They’ll be at it again tonight unless they’re stopped.

    — Jack Dunphy is the nom de cyber of a police officer in Southern California.

    University Bureaucrat Won't Let Ferguson Crisis Go to Waste in Trying to Look Busy [National Review Online - Phi Beta Cons]

    Below is a message sent to the George Mason University community, pertaining to the events in Ferguson, MO. It pushes the usual leftist buttons, including the current favorite, “safe place.

    To all:
    By now you have likely heard the result of the grand jury’s deliberations in the case of the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Many in the Mason community have been following this case closely and are likely experiencing a range of reactions to the case and the most recent news. Some students, faculty, and staff may want to talk with one another about these events. In fact, several staff and faculty members have been working together with students to provide a venue for such open conversation.

    It is vitally important that we provide a safe space for conversation during times like this. As a result, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education will be hosting a facilitated community discussion, an “Open Space for Dialogue,” today from 1pm-3pm in the ODIME Multipurpose room (SUB I – Room 2400). This is an opportunity for those interested to gather together to connect with other members of the Mason community to discuss their reactions and support one another. I hope you will consider joining in this community event.

    Each of us in the Mason community deals differently with events such as this. Dialogue may occur in classrooms student centers, and residence halls. Those looking for counseling and/or referrals, please note the appropriate resource. Students can call Counseling and Psychological Services at 993-2380 and speak to a counselor.  Faculty or staff members can contact employee relations for assistance at 993-3878. (If you have health insurance through Mason, the Employee Assistance Program is part of your health care plan. For the 24/7 phone number to call, please visit http://hr.gmu.edu/emp_relations/resources.php )

    Rose Pascarell
    Vice President for University Life

    More about UCLA's diversity mandate [National Review Online - Phi Beta Cons]

    Many universities across the nation require students take some sort of “diversity” class as a graduation requirement. Those requirements are often based on “studies” which purport to show such courses help foster tolerance. But it turns out, those “studies” are often based on bad science, and the demand for diversity classes based in part on emotion and rhetoric.

    That is certainly the case at UCLA.

    An analysis of the studies used to push a new diversity mandate through the academic senate shows the studies are highly questionable, weak, and inherently subjective, explains Josh Hedtke, a UCLA student and reporter for The College FixHedtke picked apart three studies cited in the diversity mandate proposal to illustrate how each one lacked scientific rigor. 

    He also interviewed one of the requirement’s most vocal proponents, who didn’t ”feel comfortable” answering tough questions about it, and refused to say if UCLA should also mandate a U.S. history course (currently it does not).

    Hedtke notes

    Ultimately, the diversity proponents have to rely on emotion because their intellectual and moral cases for a diversity requirement are severely lacking. The proposal is so muddled and full of assertions and evidence that are not rigorous that it is impossible to take seriously.

    But we have to take seriously the intentions of the diversity proponents, because there is no telling how far they will take their diversity fetish if they are allowed to proceed unabated.

    The UCLA diversity proposal cited a study by Scott Page, who the proposal says “has made a compellingcase [sic] for the power of diversity to spur innovation; in some respects, even outweighing the contribution of ‘ability’ in problem solving.”

    If the drafters of the diversity requirement are willing to include this idea as evidence in their proposal, that means that, at minimum, they don’t think it is a completely ludicrous idea. What a scary world it would it be if such an idea became commonplace.


    NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN - English News at 21:01 (JST), November 26 [English News - NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN]

    Opening the world [Public Libraries News]


    So I grew up in Newport in South Wales.  Let’s be honest, it’s not a beautiful town and it’s not got any better since the philistine council ripped down the Chartist mural a short time ago. But I remember the one thing that made me go to that town centre regularly was the library.  My first trips were for the Asterix books and gazing wide-eyed at the lady’s hands as they moved in blurs over the Browne Issue cards set out in rows over a long line of tables.  Then, when I’d grown up a little more, I took the bus from Magor on my own and the central library provided me with thousands of friends and a chance to go into space, fight post-apocalypse monsters and command armies.  Girls were also involved, although sadly almost all in Heinlein novels. That last got me quite excited for a while but, anyway, the point here is that there was a big central library in Newport that was important to me.  So I read with sorrow and, frankly, anger that it may be under threat of closure.  It was never a beautiful building – a bit too brutalist 60s/70s for my taste and it smelt of concrete and cleaning fluid – but, damn it, the place held wonders. And now, due to what sounds like chronic underinvestment, they’re thinking of closing the place.  And one questions comes to my mind.  Since when did we decide that civilization was too expensive?

    Anyway, the Guardian is finding lots of people who think that there should not be a price put on such things.  It looks like I have something in common with AL Kennedy, for instance … so I’ll leave her the last lines.

    “Thank you for being the first place I realised how beautiful books were, how many books there were and for teaching me that they should all be available to me, that I could learn whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted to in my mind. Thank you for opening the world to me.” AL Kennedy




    • A love of telling tales and tightrope walking - Herald Scotland. Joanne Harris interviewed. “She vehemently opposes the closure of libraries across the UK, railing against “the idiots who are behind this who are not going to be there to see the consequences”. Then she stops, laughs and looks around: “You can see I probably don’t need a library in terms of the amount of books I’ve got here but I do need it as a public resource. “I need it as a hub of the community. I go out to libraries, do events in libraries, it’s not just about a place where you have books, that’s a very naive interpretation.”
    • Advocacy pages - CILIPS. “This page contains links to resources and information concerned with advocacy and can be used or shared as required. We’re urging everyone to get active over the period between now and February 2015 when Councils will make final budget decisions. We will continue to update our website with details of further local authority proposals relating to libraries. However, if you are aware of any we have missed please let us know via e mail” see also Current local authority proposals and consultations - CILIPS.
    • An Incomplete Report on a Flawed Pilot Program Suggests that Library eBook Loans Don’t Drive Sales – Digital Reader. “There are some interesting conclusions here, but did you catch what was missing from the publicly available information? For one thing, a list of titles included in the pilot, and a list of the stores which were available via the libraries’ websites. There was also no mention on the possible effect that the library ebook loans may have had on sales in ebookstores elsewhere.”

    “Another problem this report is that it says that there was no evidence of ebook lending leading to buying via a co-located buy button, but what the report doesn’t mention is that the pilot neglected to offer buying solutions that a library patron might actually want to use. I checked a few dozen titles, and the only retail option offered was Kobo (about half of the titles had no buying option at all).”

    • Love letters to libraries: AL Kennedy – Guardian. “During the week, we will be publishing letters that top authors have written. If you also want to share your appreciation for a library, you can do it here. AL Kennedy could not choose one library to which to dedicate the words below: “Oh, it’s a load of libraries – it would have to be …”
    • Love letters to libraries: Alexander McCall Smith – Guardian. “You have no computers – or none that I have seen. So many libraries today have become sheds for computers, with books being edged out, put away. You have none of that. Let books who are exiled by computers seek refuge here in your little reading room. You are there to receive them, to comfort them in a world that is turning against the book.”
      Public Library e-Lending Pilot Six Month Update – Publisher’s Association. “The year-long pilot project, being run in partnership by the Society of Chief Librarians and The Publishers Association, into remote lending of ebooks by public libraries has reached its half way mark and some trends have begun to emerge.” 893 ebook titles were submitted to be used in the pilot scheme. An interim analysis of the first six months appears to indicate:”

     “An overall growth in e-lending.  All four authorities have seen a significant increase in e-lending, with the pilot titles constituting a significant proportion of the overall e-book downloads.

     A longer loan period leads to more titles being borrowed. Longer lending periods (i.e. 21 days) appears to have led to a higher number of different titles being borrowed and more patrons joining the waiting lists.

    No evidence of e-book lending leading to buying. There has been extremely low take up of the opportunity to buy the borrowed e-book through use of the “click to purchase” facility.

    The increase in e-lending is not leading to a decrease in physical lending.  The participating libraries do not appear to have seen a decline in footfall or in the lending of physical books.”

    • Remote e-lending pilot project reveals half-year trends – BookSeller. “PA c.e.o Richard Mollet urged caution on reading too much into the early findings, saying  “there is still six months of the pilot to run.””
    • Scottish Book Trust calls for library card for every child - BBC News Scotland. “Every child in Scotland should be automatically enrolled in their local library, according to the director of the Scottish Book Trust. Marc Lambert made the call at the start of Book Week Scotland.” … “”Survival for libraries is not just a matter of meeting the technological changes of the digital age. Like any business, it’s about the relationship one has and the services one delivers to one’s customers.”

    International news

    • An Interview with Scott Bonner, Ferguson Librarian – Magpie Librarian (USA). “I am not a smart enough person, or eloquent enough, to talk about the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. I’m not even going to try. I will say that, as I’ve watched events unfold, I’ve been struck at how the community, and in some ways, the country, has come together to support the citizens of Ferguson. When I saw how the Ferguson Library became not only a safe space, but a source of real positivity and support, it made me want to be a better librarian. Not only did Ferguson library workers step up their game, but so did teachers and volunteers of all sorts. I wanted to know how, despite so much strife and conflict, the library seamlessly became a hub of strength and solace. I contacted Scott Bonner, a librarian at the Ferguson Library. He was nice enough to answer some questions.”

    “Libraries, by default, usually are a safe space.  Much of what we did was just continue to operate normally, staying open and offering services while letting the community know we were there for them.  I did make a sign describing the library as a quiet oasis, partly because I believe it and partly as a gentle reminder to not bring any conflict inside.” Scott Bonner, Ferguson Librarian [and now my personal hero - Ed.]

    • The digital open source library of tomorrow – Open Sources (USA). “If we don’t expect more of libraries, we’re not going to see libraries change. We have to change the frame of mind that libraries belong the directors—they actually belong to the people and they should be serving the people.” … “Maybe instead of just books our funds should go to empower the community more in the technology arena. Maybe we should have co-working space in our library—this can be fee based even—and could be something as low as $30.00/month. That would be a way for libraries to help the unemployed and the community as a whole.”
    • Introducing library pipeline - In the Library with the Lead Pipe (USA). “We’re creating a nonprofit, Library Pipeline, that will operate independently from In the Library with the Lead Pipe, but will have similar and complementary aims: increasing and diversifying professional development; improving strategies and collaboration; fostering more innovation and start-ups, and encouraging LIS-related publishing and publications. In the Library with the Lead Pipe is a platform for ideas; Library Pipeline is a platform for projects.”

    UK local news by authority

    • Barnet – Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt visits free school – Barnet Today. “Mr Hunt also launched an attack on Barnet Council’s proposed cuts to libraries and early years funding. He said: “I think that any local authority in difficult financial circumstances every borough should invest in education. I am particularly concerned about the proposed cuts to early years. If you want to tackle inequality you need to focus on early years.”
    • Bristol – Get inspired: ideas and research from other libraries - Bristol Council. “We’ve got lots of ideas and research for you to look at before you get involved. Links to recent reports around community libraries, user needs, and changes in public libraries. Inspirational views of other city libraries, and at the other end of the spectrum, micro libraries.”
    • Cardiff – Time to show some backbone over cuts – Wales Online. “As far as Rumney residents are concerned, the council budget cut proposal to close Rumney village library is definitely a case of serious council madness. The council has informed Rumney residents of all ages that when the library closes they will have to travel by any means available or walk to either Llanrumney library or St Mellons library. Cardiff council says the library building is in poor condition. A recent private survey of Rumney library found the building is well constructed and in sound condition, the poor superficial condition is due to lack of upgrading and maintenance by the council. They are using their own lack of maintenance and upgrading as a reason for closure of the library.”
    • Cornwall – 8 Questions from the public - Cornwall Council.  Various questions from the public relating to cuts to libraries, with the reply being that budget cuts mean cuts have to be made, that parish councils will be asked to fund them first, with volunteered asked last. 10 year old Leon Remphry then read out the libraries petition that he established to the full council. Council decided to consult only with library staff and not with the public. After the speech, Council decided to go through with all cuts anyway due to procedural rules. However, the lack of consultation is accepted by some councillors.

    “I know my mum would not allow me to got a pub in a hub” 10 year old Leon Remphry to full council

    • Coventry – Worst council budget cuts to jobs and services unveiled - Coventry Observer. “Gone would be nearly all youth clubs, children’s centres, libraries, community centres, play centres and adult education centres unless community volunteers step in to run them – to save just £5million a year.” see also Council cuts: how will they affect you? - Coventry Telegraph. “That means the potential loss of 17 libraries…”
    • Croydon – Tories’ botched library sale has left building open to vandals – Inside Croydon. “Croydon Conservatives’ attempt to flog off a £500,000 public building to their mates for a knock-down £85,000 on the eve of the local elections have seen the old Ashburton Library left vulnerable to the worst of the winter weather and to vandals, Inside Croydon has learned.”
    • Devon – Library hopes to lead the way for a better future - Mid Devon Gazette. “Bampton Library volunteers hope it will be one of only 10 chosen to take part in Devon Libraries’ Community Pilot Project. After a county-wide consultation this summer on their future, Devon Libraries is looking to make community libraries “modern, vibrant and sustainable”. They recognise that each community has different needs and interests, so the pilot projects are encouraged to come up with individual answers to the requirements of their neighbourhood.”
    • Harrow – Proposed closure of libraries in Harrow ‘would be devastating’ – Harrow Times. “Yesterday Harrow Borough Council announced proposals to possibly close four of the borough’s ten libraries to save money in next year’s budget. The four which could close include Bob Lawrence Library, in Edgware, Hatch End Library, in the Harrow Arts Centre, North Harrow Library, in Pinner Road, and Rayners Lane Library, in Imperial Drive.”
    • Kirklees – Volunteers are not the answer for libraries – Dewsbury Reporter / Letters. “This is a far cry from being coerced into staffing the libraries. At least 30 per cent of the library staff are being redeployed or made redundant. Redeployment, natural wastage and voluntary severance will not be sufficient to effect this sort of cut. The council will be using compulsory redundancies.”
    • Leicestershire – Library staffing axe plans given go-ahead - Loughborough Echo. “cabinet has accepted plans to see 36 village libraries run entirely by volunteers. At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, November 19, the council’s cabinet rubber stamped plans that will see rural libraries such as Barrow, Mountsorrel, Quorn, Rothley, Sileby, Hathern, Castle Donington and Kegworth, lose paid staff for a volunteer-led structure. The council says 22 full-time places will be lost as a result of the changes.”
    • Monmouthshire – Rethink on council libraries jobs axe – South Wales Argus. “A report which recommends the axing of staff from Monmouthshire council’s libraries and one stop shops will go back to its cabinet after councillors recommended looking again at the measures. “
    • Newport – Newport central library could close in council cuts – South Wales Argus. “Newport’s Central Library could close and 13 full time jobs lost under a library services review being considered by the city council. The closure of the Central Library, which needs an estimated £2.5 million of repairs, has been highlighted as the way to maximise savings and help Newport City Council meet the library services budget cuts needed for 2016/17. A number of options have been put forward to make the £268,000 savings, with the worst case scenario seeing Newport left with just four out of its current nine libraries.”

    “A policy review group, set up by the learning, caring and leisure scrutiny committee, said that the council does not need to provide a central library under its statutory obligations”


    • Portsmouth – Portsmouth’s counselling services to be affected by £13million city cuts – Galleon News. “In Southsea the library will see a cut in opening times on Saturdays to move it in line with other Portsmouth libraries in a move that is forecasted to save £2,300. The libraries will also be affected by a reduction in the book fund which will hamper library stock and their ability to respond to requests at a saving of £29,800.”
    • Portsmouth – Self-service hits the streets of Portsmouth – Designing Libraries. “Self-service is the norm these days – it can be seen in shops and in our libraries, so why not take it to the streets? By installing self-service facilities in our new mobile library, our staff can better support the public with their need for knowledge and library services. This means that our community members will be able to visit the van even though the main library may be closed”
    • Reading – Library Survey 2014 - Reading borough Council. “We are running a survey of library users between 24th November and 6th December at all Reading libraries and on-line.”
    • Rhondda Cynon Taff – Ynyshir Library building re-opened as an art gallery and exhibition space  – Wales Online. “The transformation of a Rhondda library building closed in recent public service cuts is now complete – with an art gallery and exhibition space open in its place. On Friday, The Workers’ Gallery was opened by artist Gayle Rogers, in the building of the former Ynyshir Library”
    • Shropshire – Author Michael Morpurgo has hard words over Shropshire libraries – Shropshire Star. “The War Horse author believes councillors should rethink proposals to cut library services for the good of the next generation. Speaking after a performance at the Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury, he said the closure of libraries would be especially detrimental for children. “There is a growing difficulty in getting children to read which needs to be tackled,” he said. “Parents have to read to their children to help them make their own ways in life and to develop into an all rounded adult. “Books are a great way to teach children but sadly some parents do not have time anymore. Some children arrive at school without having seen a book.”

    Westminster Hall debate on public libraries [Public Libraries News]


    The first Westminster Hall debate for a few years (the last one being in January 2011) has taken place, with Labour and Conservatives attacking each other’s record on the subject.  There was some interesting debate about the poor record of the Conservatives from the Labour Party and some accusations of Labour closing more libraries from the Conservatives.  In reality, both parties are cutting spending on libraries: who it is doing it depends simply on who is in power and how much their budgets have been cut by the Coalition Government.  It’s always amusing to see Ed Vaizey claiming that the situation with libraries is rosy and this time he excelled himself by even managing to claim responsibility for the new Liverpool and Birmingham libraries, both of which owe their revamps to decisions made before 2010.  Ed asking “what can one do from the centre?” in one breath and then claiming to be a “pro-active campaigner”for libraries almost in the next was pushing it a tad though.



    • Literacy hub - including all organisations interested in literacy in an area including libraries.


    • 2010-2014: From Community Library to Community-run library: a look at the impact of volunteers – Public Libraries News. A review of the impact of volunteer libraries on the UK public library sector, written for the Seventh National Public Libraries Conference in Spain [by me - Ed.]
    • Audit Office slams Government for failing to properly assess effects of further council cuts - Northern Echo. “Further council cuts are being rammed through with no assessment of whether libraries and youth services will be culled, a watchdog warns today (Wednesday, November 18). The Government comes under fire for failing to properly examine the impact of slashing town hall funding by an extra ten per cent, ahead of next year’s general election.”
    • Watch Scroobius Pip’s ‘Library’ Poem – BBC.
    • Create: A journal of perspectives on the value of art and culture - Arts Council England.  Includes article by Neil Gaiman (previously reported in Guardian) on public libraries and a brief mention by John Major.
    • Local libraries face cutbacks – Parentdish. “Libraries are facing closure or a reduction in opening hours – and the only solution seems to be to bring in more volunteers.  And who exactly is supposed to volunteer for all this? Mums? No, we’re all supposed to go back to work, remember? Grandparents? No, they’re too busy doing all the childcare for their grandchildren…  Libraries are so crucial for children. I don’t know how my three brothers and I would have survived without our weekly trips to the library. We’d devour as many books as we could while we were there, and take home as many as we could get on our cards.”
    • Public Libraries (England) - Westminster Hall Debates / They Work For You. A highly partisan debate with the Labour shadow minister blaming the Conservatives and the Conservative minister blaming Labour councils and the previous Labour Government.

    “What astounds me about the Minister’s contribution is that he does not seem to think that he has any responsibility in this debate. He wants to offload the responsibility on to councils, but he has offered very little leadership to enable those councils to take decisions collectively to make the best of their resources. I do not understand how the Minister has the brass neck.” Lyn Brown MP, Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government); West Ham, Labour.

    “Although both speeches were excellent, another element that added to my frustration is that the only library authorities to be criticised were Conservative-controlled. If someone made it back in Philae from the comet that is spinning hundreds of millions of miles away from us and landed in this debate, they would think that everything was perfect both under Labour authorities and under the previous Labour Government. It may surprise people to learn that libraries did close under the last Government, and that many Labour local authorities have closed libraries over the past four years.” Ed Vaizey

    “We intend to publish the Sieghart report and our response to it in the next few weeks. As the hon. Lady will know, getting a slot in the Government grid is sometimes difficult” Ed Vaizey

    “What can one do from the centre? I cannot and do not want to run 151 library authorities, not only because it is physically impossible for me to do so, but because I believe local authorities should run their library services. I can encourage them and work with them … while I may understand the frustration and sometimes even the anger of some library campaigners, I feel that I can hold my head up high, in terms of being a proactive campaigner for the library sector.” Ed Vaizey

    • Salisbury boy wins UK-wide Finish The Story competition – Reading Agency. “The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge each year keeps hundreds of thousands of children reading over the summer holidays, via their local libraries. But once again, some of them have also enjoyed writing endings to short stories started by six top authors, as part of the UK-wide Finish The Story competition. Now The Reading Agency is delighted to announce that the overall winner of their third annual Finish The Story competition is eleven year old Nathan Burn from Salisbury in Wiltshire.  Of stories specially begun for the competition by Cathy Cassidy, Sarah McIntyre,McKenzie Crook, Eoin Colfer and Rick Riordan, each author recently chose their favourite ending to their story, with details of the six young finalists announced on The Reading Agency’s website. A judging panel then met to read all six story endings and decide on the overall winner.
    • Vaizey accused of ‘offloading responsibility’ on libraries – BookSeller. “A parliamentary debate on libraries descended into “personal attacks” between libraries minister Ed Vaizey and shadow communities and local government minister Lyn Brown. Speaking at a Westminster Hall debate on public libraries yesterday (19th December), Brown, a Labour MP for West Ham, questioned Vaizey’s lack of intervention into local councils’ plans to close multiple libraries across the UK.” … “Vaizey then said that Labour had never called for him to intervene in any local authority decision, and that the power had only ever been used once by any previous libraries minister.” … “Brown said the thrust of her argument was that “the government has failed to take leadership on the crisis in our libraries and our communities.” Vaizey responded: “I reject that accusation”, and listed developments such as new libraries in Birmingham and Liverpool as examples of positive steps.” [both Birmingham and Liverpool were built due to decisions made under the previous Labour Government - Ed].


    • A Field Trip to America’s Public Libraries - The Atlantic (USA). “Here are three things among many I have noticed about libraries. They are telling for the way libraries speak to needs in our communities across America. It’s not just my impression; the numbers collected behind the phenomena are strong, and the human stories behind them resonate as true.” (1) Libraries are for job seekers (2) are hubs of activity (3) are “anchor places”
    • Dialogue on Public Libraries – NAPLE (Global). “The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries is a forum that gathers “thought leaders from business, technology, education, government, the nonprofit sector and libraries” seeking to “shape and advance a renewed national vision for public libraries in the 21st century”.” Links to some very useful resources.
    • The digital open source library of tomorrow – Open Source (USA). “The library fulfills its promise when people of different ages, races, and cultures come together to pool their talents in creating new creative content.” One thing to think about is whether this change from analog to digital can happen in libraries without changing the name of the library.”
    • Homeless find hope, refuge and community at public libraries – CBC (Canada). “It’s a funny story between us,” Mulholland recalls, “because for the first few months that I was bumping into him there I didn’t even realize that there was an outreach worker relationship going on between me and him.”
    • Libraries Offer Prepaid Visa Debit Cards to Patrons - NerdWallet (USA). “Institutions in three states offer library cards that double as prepaid Visa debit cards, under a program started last summer by SirsiDynix, a Lehi, Utah-based software company. Participating libraries get a portion of the fees paid for the service, while patrons get a less expensive alternative to opening a checking account, if they don’t have one. As a library service, the cards may be a boon to people who don’t know that prepaid debit cards are even an option for storing money and paying for merchandise without a bank account” … “So far, Staley’s institution has issued 216 cards, but only 15 have been activated by their holders.”
    • Library Ireland Week 2014 – Open for Business - Library Association of Ireland (Eire). “The theme of this year’s Library Ireland Week is “Open for Business” focusing on the role of libraries in serving the business community and in supporting entrepreneurship, job skills and creation, innovation, and much more.”
    • Seriously though, how did the Most Beautiful Library in America get Demolished? - Messy Nessy (USA). Some beautiful (if not downright amazing) pictures of the old Cincinnati Library, demolished “without a whimper” in 1955.

    UK local news by authority

    “The challenge libraries faced, Mr Jones told the select committee, was to provide a statutory service that had a strong community attachment in a climate of declining use. The vision was for libraries, with around 1.7m visits a year, to be a network of hubs forming the face of the council in the heart of the community. “

    • Cardiff – Cardiff libraries in Whitchurch and Rhiwbina face possible funding cuts under new budget proposals - Wales Online. “Popular libraries in two of the capital’s suburbs could be under threat from new budget proposals being put forward by Cardiff Council. Removing funding from the libraries in Whitchurch and Rhiwbina and building a community hub at the library in Llandaff North is feared to be one of the options being considered by the local authority.”. Rumney: “More than 2,100 people have signed a petition calling for the library to remain open”
    • Cornwall – “Loop the Loop, St Ives was a series of events at St Ives library in Cornwall, inspired by books. Artist/filmmaker Joanna Mayes was in residence at St Ives library for two weeks and invited visitors to talk about books, film and how to process it with coffee! Jo then invited other artists to come down during the second week, providing drop-in activities, workshops and general mayhem and a great deal of fun ensued! See the Loop the Loop St Ives events for details of activities which took place there. Watch this space for links to film taken and processed by Jo and videos of work made by workshop participants.” … The second Loop the Loop library event will be in St Austell next week, including “ambient ukuleles”
      Cornwall – Leon Remphry, 10, hosting Falmouth debate over library opening hours being cut - West Briton. “A ten-year-old Falmouth lad is hosting his own debate with local politicians and authors as part of his campaign to save Cornwall’s libraries from reduced opening hours. Leon Remphry, who launched his Write to Read campaign in July, plans to debate with councillors at an event tomorrow. According to Leon, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet member for partnerships, Adam Paynter, and Conservative group leader Fiona Ferguson have confirmed they will attend, along with former librarian Derek Toyne and author Michael Morpurgo. Leon said: “These library cuts have to be stopped.”

    “In October Axminster Library launched a Seed Library.   Seed Libraries are popular in the US and among horticultural societies in the UK but it is believed this is the first Seed Library in a public library in the UK.   Axminster has a population of 18,000. The library already has a community moth garden and the Seed Library seemed the next step.  The launch was also part of the Active Life, Active Mind initiative which takes place in all Devon Libraries in October and aims to promote well-being.

    In the months prior to the launch borrowers were asked to donate seeds in a special Seed Library envelope, on which they wrote why they liked the plant and offered planting tips.  The seeds have then been ‘borrowed’ by other library users. We say ‘borrowed’ because we hope the seeds will be planted and once established, borrowers will be able to bring seeds back to the library.  There is a Seed Library catalogued that has to be regularly updated.  The Seed Library was launched by Will Livingstone, head gardener at River Cottage HQ, who are  enthusiastic and generous supporters of the Seed Library.

    The launch had considerable national interest on Twitter.   In Devon so far three other libraries have expressed an interest in starting Seed Libraries, as has one library in Dorset.  As we develop the Seed Library we will need to work out whether libraries should have their own library or whether we have one central library that we all pool into. ” Devon - Axminster Seed Library (via email)

    • Lincolnshire – Greenwich Leisure Services back in the running to take over Lincolnshire’s libraries – Louth Leader. “Officers have recommended that the Executive Member for Libraries, Coun Nick Worth, formally accepts GLL’s expression as having met the criteria. Tony McGinty from the Community Right to Challenge Panel said: “If the panel’s recommendation is approved and GLL’s expression of interest is accepted as valid, the council will need to carry out a procurement exercise, which will probably lead to library services being put out to tender.” see also Lincolnshire libraries may be put out to tender after firm’s bid - Lincolnite. ““Because of the work involved in a tender process, it is likely to be at least a year before a final decision is reached.”
    • Monmouthshire – Techie award for Monmouthshire libraries – Alyson’s Welsh Libraries Blog. “The Carnegie UK Trust have just announced their first round of Library Lab funding recipients, and Claire Lewis from Monmouthshire Libraries has won one of the places for her ‘ideas garage’ proposed project. Claire is planning to create a community-led coding space in Chepstow Library (I think! This was refurbished with Welsh Government and Monmouthshire funding) which will be for people who want to gain and share skills and experience of coding, help them create and develop websites and games, and to increase their employability.”
    • North East Lincolnshire – Residents vote to put up precept to keep Laceby’s library open – Grimsby Telegraph. “Less than 100 villagers attended a public meeting, organised by Laceby Parish Council, at the Cooper Lane venue which houses the library and rooms used by community groups.” … “Chair of the parish council Martin Greenbeck told the meeting: “The closure of this building would be disastrous. “The fact that you people have taken the trouble to come along shows you are interested in keeping the building open. But we need to know how much you are willing to pay and who will volunteer to help run things if it is going to work.”
    • North Yorkshire – Fears over Skipton Library’s opening hours - Craven Herald and Pioneer. “With a planned ratio of 60 per cent paid staff and 40 per cent volunteers, the library could face a 40 per cent reduction in its opening hours without community help” … “roles would change to become more supervisory, overseeing the community libraries and assisting volunteers, who would be trained to carry out duties including meeting and greeting, shelving books and carrying out story telling. “

    “Ms Blaisdale likened the future running of the library to the Citizens Advice Bureau, where a paid member of staff was in charge of a number of volunteers.”

    • Peterborough – Storytelling and book giveaway tour will launch new campaign to raise Peterborough’s literacy levels – Peterborough Council. “The National Literacy Trust has joined forces with Peterborough City Council with funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to launch a new scheme to boost literacy levels in Peterborough and improve the life chances and employability of the city’s residents.” … “The National Literacy Trust is addressing low literacy levels by setting up a ‘literacy hub’ in the city. Bringing together a range of exciting local partners including Stagecoach buses, Peterborough United Foundation, Axiom Housing, Cross Keys Housing, Peterborough Phantoms, Vivacity, Family Nursing Partnership and SureStore self storage,  the initiative will put  literacy on the agenda in Peterborough, extend the reach of literacy support and distribute books into the community. To celebrate the launch of the Peterborough Literacy Campaign, local storytellers, sports stars and campaign ambassadors will tour the city on a dedicated Stagecoach bus, delivering fun storytelling sessions and free books to children from 3 local schools and 3 local children’s centres across Peterborough.”
    • Southampton – Rose, 9, pleads with council to save Cobbett Road library in Bitterne Park – Daily Echo. “Rose Hickman called for Cobbett Road Library in Bitterne Park to stay open as she spoke at a full meeting of Southampton City Council yesterday. Speaking afterwards Rose said: “I would like them to not reduce hours or take away librarians and to keep it open.”
    • Sunderland – Council hails Sunderland library closure programme ‘a success’ - Sunderland Echo. “Readers in Sunderland are borrowing more books than before nine libraries were closed in a controversial move last year – council bosses said. A year on from the move, which was intended to save £850,000 a year and left Wearside with just 11 libraries, the closure scheme has been hailed a success by those in power.

    “figures contained in a report to Sunderland City Council’s scrutiny committee, show the number of books being issued has risen from 673,568 last year, to 689,683 this year. It also says the number of community activities, including reading groups, rhyme times and knit and natter groups, have more than doubled.”

    • Swindon – Librarians insulted – Swindon Advertiser. “Many redundant librarians have several degrees and decades of experience, but now it seems anyone who fancies having a go just has to volunteer. Low-paid library staff too have lost their jobs. The Big Society in action! The plain truth is that over time volunteers will dwindle and the solution is unsustainable in the long term” see Volunteers insulted – Swindon Advertiser. “Just maybe the time has come for the Library Service to be put on the same level as Leisure Services that is to be put out to private contractors. Only then will the true value of what our volunteers have achieved be appreciated.”

    Tonga heads to the polls as a record number of women stand for election [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

    Tongans head to the polls today for their national election, with a record of 16 female candidates hoping to win a seat in parliament.

    PNG budget reply pits sacked treasurer against PM [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

    Papua New Guinea has passed its 2015 budget and a supplementary 2014 budget, despite claims from the Opposition that the budgets are a deceitful cover for corruption.

    Baby in drain case shows need for compassion [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

    The case of a Samoan mother who allegedly put her newborn baby in a storm drain in Sydney shows the need for compassion and understanding in Pacific Island communities.

    Nobles and voters to decide next Tongan leader [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

    Tonga's national election gets underway at 9am tomorrow when 169 polling stations open across the country.

    Vanuatu government's reasoning behind suspending 16 MPs [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

    Vanuatu's parliament has passed a motion to suspend 16 opposition MPs over alleged bribery.

    Vanuatu opposition MPs suspended over bribery allegations [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

    The Vanuatu parliament passes a motion to suspend 16 opposition MPs over alleged bribery.

    Visiting Lyons Township High School Radio Station WLTL-FM [Radio Survivor]

    I love high school radio and always look forward to visiting more stations. I’d had an open invitation for awhile from Lyons Township High School station WLTL-FM near Chicago and was glad to finally get the chance to check out the station earlier this year. Serendipitously, the station is located in the town of La […]

    The post Visiting Lyons Township High School Radio Station WLTL-FM appeared first on Radio Survivor.

    Podcasting News and Shows for your Turkey Day Travels [Radio Survivor]

    It certainly seems like for the rest of the year I’ll be mentioning at least one or two press articles covering podcasting’s newfound popularity. However, I’ll focus on pieces that are notable, cover new ground, or suggest a novel angle. First, the New York Times’ inimitable media reporter and critic David Carr finally submits his […]

    The post Podcasting News and Shows for your Turkey Day Travels appeared first on Radio Survivor.

    Rick Santorum Vindicated [RedState]


    “I’ve just flown in from California, where they’ve made homosexuality legal. I thought I’d get out before they make it compulsory.”

    –Bob Hope

    Shortly after the odious Lawrence v. Texas decision in which the US Supreme Court, in a grim foreshadowing of the short shrift it has given the desecration of the concept of marriage, decided to toss a couple of millenia of Western Civilization so no one’s libido would be restrained by law, Rick Santorum gave an interview with Associated Press:

    And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold — Griswold was the contraceptive case — and abortion. And now we’re just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you — this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it’s my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that’s antithetical to strong healthy families. Whether it’s polygamy, whether it’s adultery, where it’s sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.

    As expected the Lavender Gestapo went after him. Buggery crusader and cheap bully of high school students, Dan Savage, organized a google-bomb of Santorum’s name. Fun was had by all. All the fun, however, has disguised the fact that Santorum was even more right than he could have imagined. An essay titled What It’s Like to Date a Horse in New York Magazine is either the most epic bit of trolling in the history of the world or a sure sign we are in the End Times.

    How did you find a sex partner?
    One of my friends had access to a nice female pony, and he let me have sex with her. She was a Shetland-cross, and she had dorsal stripes — the black line across the spine — and that’s something that’s turned me on ever since.

    What was it like?
    My friend was there at the time, and he was holding her head. He didn’t have to do that — it’s not like we were doing things that she wasn’t enjoying — but he was there to protect me. He had his back to me, and he was holding the lead rope to make sure that she was okay and also to prove that I’d actually done it. The sexual experience itself was incredible. To this day it was the best sex I’ve ever had. But in some ways I regret that first time.

    In Colonial times, buggering your mare was dangerous business. In the Bay Colony it was a capital offense as 17 year old Benjamin Gourd discovered on April 2, 1674.

    Rod Dreher, writing in Galloping Toward Gomorrah, gets the implication exactly right:

    One extremely tasteless and morally revolting interview in a leading magazine is not the end of the world. But it is a signpost. It’s not going to make everyone run out and get an animal boyfriend or girlfriend. But it does attempt to weaken an important taboo by giving a sympathetic forum to a deranged man whose behavior deserves the strongest condemnation, and who personally needs help. It’s important to pay attention to this for exactly the reason Robby George says. Ideas have consequences. If your idea is that all consensual sex is good, or at least beyond judgment, and that sexual desire is its own justification, then you have met your consequence in New York‘s anonymous zoophile. If you can stomach reading the thing, it’s rather remarkable how the perv defends himself and his desire using the language and reasoning we have all become familiar with in other contexts.

    He quotes Robert George who has addressed the subject on Facebook:

    The descent into Gomorrah continues. I believe it can be reversed, but not simply stopped. “This far and no farther,” is not an option. “He who says A, says B.” Once a set of premises is adopted or endorsed, logic carries one to certain conclusions. One may have a subjective wish (rooted in an aversion, or preference, or lack of interest, or whatever) to where the logic of a position takes one, but a wish (or an aversion, or a preference) is not a principle.

    Legally, I think it is hard to object to bestiality when the nation’s highest court has ruled that consenting adults are free from state regulation in matters of the crotch. As a man (or woman) already has the authority to, at a whim, send the horse off to be processed into dog food, it is hard to see why they can’t decide to take the horse for a “ride” if the mood strikes.

    The duplicitous lefty Damon Linker at The Week (why has he suddenly become a HotAir fav? Anyone have a clue on this?) thinks that Dreher and Robert George have it wrong:

    I share some of their concerns. But there are at least two problems with their analysis of the experiment.

    First, the trads are wrong to blame the purging of publicly affirmed notions of human flourishing on the spread of relativism. Viewed from inside traditionalist notions of virtue and vice, a culture that seeks to redefine “normal” to include zoophilia might seem like a culture defined by relativism. But it isn’t. Rather, it’s a culture fervently devoted to the moral principle of equal recognition and affirmation — in a word, to an absolute ethic of niceness. Moral condemnation can be mean, and therefore it’s morally wrong — that’s the way growing numbers of Americans think about these issues.

    And that brings us to the second way in which the trads go wrong — in speaking confidently about how we’re “galloping toward Gomorrah.” This implies that they know exactly where the experiment is going to end up. The truth is that they — and we — have no idea at all. Because there has never been a human society built exclusively on a morality of rights (individual consent) and an ethic of niceness, with no overarching vision of a higher human good to override or compete with it.

    This is, quite honestly, the kind of figuring out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin that got us into this mess. I don’t intend to argue “relativism” here, other to point out that to the average reader of English this looks a helluva lot like it and I suspect Linker rejects tying relativism to bestiality because of his own philosophical and political biases. The way we have fetishized “tolerance” and “affirmation” and linked it to sexual perversion guarantees very few are going to like where this trip ends. And if we aren’t headed for Gomorrah, you will certainly be able to see it from where we are bound.

    Back to Rick Santorum. When the Supreme Court ruled that a state had no right to regulate sexual behavior, presumably because the same “penumbras” and “emanations” of the Constitution that decided Griswold now protected butt-sex it didn’t take a genius to see where this was going to end but the left and libertarians had to make fun of Santorum because he gave away their game. Now we are here and there is no way to arrest the momentum.

    Illustration: Leda and the Swan by Jules Roulleau.



    The post Rick Santorum Vindicated appeared first on RedState.

    These first early voting numbers for LA-SEN are maybe *too* good for us. [RedState]

    Courtesy of the indispensable AOSHQDD comes the first early voting numbers for Louisiana’s Senate runoff numbers, and if the trends hold they’re gruesome for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Mary Landrieu4%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard4%. The summary: about 136,000 people did early/absentee voting as of 11/25/2014.  72% of those voters were white, 25% black, the rest ‘other.’ If the numbers found here are accurate, Landrieu got 94% of the black vote in the primary… and 18% of the white vote.  Some back of the envelope calculations later… if the same electorate that voted in the general election also votes in the runoff, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Bill Cassidy59%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard59% is ahead of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Mary Landrieu4%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard4%, 62-38 (if you spot all of the Other votes to Landrieu the win goes ‘down’ to 61/39).

    Those are a lot of assumptions, mind you.  The racial breakdown of the vote is largely based on the CNN exit polls; and, of course, local Democrats are going to go do their level best to increase black turnout.  But even if the Democrats manage to get a runoff electorate that’s 30% black Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Mary Landrieu4%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard4% still loses.  Badly (59/41)*.  This is so much of a looming disaster for the Landrieu campaign that I’m actively slightly suspicious of it.  No way is she losing this badly, right?

    Moe Lane (crosspost)

    PS: Seriously, though, DOOM.

    *I didn’t even bother to factor in the ‘Other’ votes, that time.  The only difference would be in in how far the rubble bounced.

    The post These first early voting numbers for LA-SEN are maybe *too* good for us. appeared first on RedState.

    This Thanksgiving, Let’s Help Those Affected by the #Ferguson Riots [RedState]

    The ongoing events in Ferguson have altered the Thanksgiving and Christmas plans for quite a few of the city’s residents for the worse. The business owners who have seen their stores and restaurants looted or destroyed are probably the most visible of those who have been negatively affected by the unrest, but someone’s going to have to clean up the mess left in the streets and on city and private property. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let’s lend a hand to those hurt by the Ferguson riots. Here are some places you can donate*:

    • Natalie Dubose and her bakery and patisserie Natalie’s Cakes and More have been perhaps the most visible victim of the riots. Protesters destroyed her store. She has set up a GoFundMe drive here.
    • The Hero Network has a page set up for donations for victims of the looting.
    • In response to the initial protests in August, a group of business owners and residents in Ferguson set up the I Love Ferguson Committee to help establishments damaged in the wake of first wave of rioting. They’ll be needing some help after the events going on in the city now. You can check out the charity at their website and donate there. You can read about their efforts here.
    • The United Way of Greater St. Louis has set up a donation page to help Ferguson here.
    • The Catholic Charities of St. Louis has a page set up especially for addressing needs in Ferguson.
    • Many children in Ferguson qualify for a free or reduced price school lunch. With schools closed because of the unrest, many of them might not be getting the food they need. You can donate to the St. Louis Area Food Bank to help fix that.
    • You can also give to the food pantry at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.
    • With schools closed, the Ferguson Municipal Public Library has been staying open with programs for children. You can donate at the library’s homepage.
    • If you live in the area, give some of your time to help clean up the city. You can find more information here.

    These are just the major ones I’ve found to be involved in helping the people of Ferguson. If any of you have ones to suggest, mention them in the comments. While all of these are worthy ideas, I’d favor the ones helping the businesses destroyed and the efforts to clean up the city.

    *Special thanks to, of all places, People magazine for many of these charitable groups.

    The post This Thanksgiving, Let’s Help Those Affected by the #Ferguson Riots appeared first on RedState.

    Schumer: Stimulus “Was a Mistake,” ObamaCare Addressed “Wrong Problem”; But Still Doesn’t Get It [RedState]

    Yesterday, liberal Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer lambasted Democrats for the political failure of both ObamaCare and the stimulus.

    While he certainly has not changed his core belief that government can solve all the people’s ills (and said as much), he slammed his party for its political failures.

    He complained that Democrats (ironically, of which he was one of the chief culprits) focused on the “wrong problem” by using all their political capital from 2008-2009 on ObamaCare.

    Even as he defended the law in principle, he gave this mind-blowing statistical failure.  ObamaCare only helped “5% of the electorate,” a statistic even he admits is probably inflated.

    In addition, he also said that how the stimulus played out (a slush fund that helped almost no one) “was a mistake” politically.

    While his condemnation of ObamaCare and to a lesser extent the stimulus itself is grabbing headlines, what his comments really represent is lipstick on a pig.  It’s a recognition that the Left is losing the battle for hearts and minds over ObamaCare and in broader terms big government itself, but all it really amounts to is new spin.

    Here’s the crux of his reassessment of ObamaCare:

    That’s right; the only thing wrong with ObamaCare was the timing.

    Nice try, but that still misses the point.  The American people had it right from the beginning.  ObamaCare was bad policy.  It was bad for the economy.  It was bad for healthcare. It was bad for our national debt.  And yes it was bad politically.

    Mr. Schumer can focus on the last one all he wants, but it’s the first four (policy, economy, healthcare, and debt) that the American people will continue to suffer under.

    The Left doesn’t get it; their basic liberal assumptions won’t allow them to get it.

    Here’s why.  After critiquing the politics of ObamaCare and the stimulus, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Charles Schumer0%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard0% made this stunning statement about why “Democrats will be the majority party for a generation.”

    The “root cause reason,” the foundation of his and other leftists political philosophy, is this: “The private sector, unleashing the private sector, won’t solve middle class needs and middle class morass, a strong government on your side will.”

    That sums up the Left better than I’ve ever seen.  And it will fail every time.

    Matthew Clark is Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and three boys in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.

    The post Schumer: Stimulus “Was a Mistake,” ObamaCare Addressed “Wrong Problem”; But Still Doesn’t Get It appeared first on RedState.

    White People, Ferguson, and Empathy [RedState]

    _76994258_76994257This is not a post about whether or not Darren Wilson should have been indicted. This is not a post defending the rioting and looting that has come after. This is a post about examining our reactions to phenomena that we can’t properly understand.

    Obviously, an ordered society cannot long survive when looting and destruction of property – especially the private property of innocent bystanders – are accepted as legitimate forms of airing grievances with the system. And so I have no fault with anyone who rightly points out that the excesses of the protesters must stop and I have no objection to the police arresting anyone who is involved in these activities and throwing the book at them.

    What I do object to is the dismissive, contempt-laden tone taken by many commentators and armchair experts (particularly on twitter) about what is happening here. I don’t want to call out individual folks in this post but I saw numerous tweets to the effect of “White people didn’t riot when the OJ verdict was announced” (which is, boiled down, a not-very-veiled way of suggesting that white people are better than black people), or “I stand with cops. Period. The end.” (which is, boiled down, an invitation to totalitarianism), or other expressions bordering on glee that people were incensed that the system had exonerated Darren Wilson. Equally troubling, I find people expressing sentiment to the effect that they are either glad Michael Brown is dead, or are indifferent to his death.

    All of this rhetoric is fine and well from people for whom, with relatively rare exceptions, the system has by and large over the years worked to protect their legal interests. Most of the people making these comments have probably been taught from a very young age, “If you are in trouble, call the cops. They will help you.” They have likewise been taught, “Never take the law into your own hands. If someone violates your rights, take them to court and the justice system will protect you.” They have been taught this because of the justified expectation that things would work out exactly this way. And they (apparently) have complete ignorance of the existence of a class of people for whom – for decades or even centuries – things did not work out exactly this way.

    I think it’s difficult for many of us to acknowledge the shadow our parents cast on the way we view the world in this (and many other) respects. Even if you feel that the justice system is completely fair today (an extraordinarily doubtful proposition but one we will assume for the purposes of this discussion), you must acknowledge that people are being raised today by parents who lived in a time when the justice system was patently and openly unfair – when calling for the aid of the police would only bring trouble to your door and when taking someone to court was likely to produce either no result at all or a negative result. So it’s easy enough to sit in an armchair and “tsk tsk” at people who disregard the law when they feel the system has wronged them, even though we cannot imagine what it would be like to have been raised by parents who taught us, with good reason based on their own experiences, that trusting the cops or the courts is a game for fools.

    I’m dismayed by how quickly – especially in the Internet age – we all dig trenches and throw ourselves in them and start throwing grenades at the other side. We are all expected to take a side and have opinions on it so quickly, and the longer the process drags out, the more we assume the “other side” is acting in bad faith and the more glee we have when the “other side” loses, which is terrible in a tragic situation like this one. What sort of sentiment is it to say that Michael Brown deserved to die or that the world is better off without him? Even if you think Darren Wilson was legally justified in killing him in this circumstance can we not acknowledge that this is an 18-year-old “man” who was killed? Can we not say that many people who were antisocial idiots at 18 grew up to be productive members of society and that the loss of virtually anyone that young ought to be mourned? Can we not acknowledge that if a white unarmed kid from the burbs got high on weed and put himself in a situation where he got shot by some cops we’d at least all be sad? I mean, we all have the decency to be pissed off when cops shoot people’s dogs, surely we can manage this? And can we not acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, if this exact scenario had played out with a black guy shooting an unarmed white guy, he’d at the very least be indicted for it no matter what the circumstances were?

    I guess my own perception of the story is colored perhaps to an unfair degree by the fact that as I look back at my own self at age 18, I find it miraculous that I made it out alive and largely unharmed by my terrible life choices and it saddens me when everyone doesn’t get that same chance. I acknowledge and own that, but I call upon everyone else who is popping off at the mouth about this story, and the subsequent civil disorder, to root out the way their own experiences color the way they see this story, and how a completely different set of experiences might lead people to view it differently. I am not saying anyone has to excuse or condone looting or violence, just that we ought to be able to talk about it in ways that don’t indicate perpetual unwillingness to even try to view the world through the eyes of our neighbors. Because if we can’t accomplish that, we have a long road ahead indeed.

    The post White People, Ferguson, and Empathy appeared first on RedState.

    Brave Sir Robin And The Riots In Ferguson, MO [RedState]

    Equivocating While Ferguson Burned

    Equivocating While Ferguson Burned

    The heavily-burdened Grand Jury has handed down a decision stating that they will not indict Officer Darren Wilson for any criminal wrongdoing in the shooting death of Michael Brown. That has regrettably caused a lot of very frustrated, angry and frightened people to take to the streets and riot. This has given cover to a number of professional radicals who look for any grievance, legitimate or contrived, as an opportunity to destroy property and ruin lives in the name of bringing down “The System.” The activities undertaken by our leaders, both elected and self-selected have been at least as criminal in their negligence as anything that either Darren Wilson or Michael Brown may have participated in on the fateful and tragic day of Mr. Brown’s death.

    I blog here not to praise Caesar but to decry his lamentable absence. Our President, so sudden to grab for executive power when he thinks that he can gain from it, is completely, utterly and lamentably absent from situations where he could have a positive and ameliorative impact. He spent the days leading up to the riots telling the protesters to “stay on course.*” This implied that it could lead any place other than fiery ruin if they didn’t get their way. His speech after the verdict was released did nothing to quell the rioting or calm down aggrieved feelings. It was cowardly double-talk designed to say nothing while “saying something grand” in front of the cameras. When he could have helped prevent the riots; he once more voted “Present” instead of leading when leadership was hard.

    Our Attorney General derides us as a nation of cowards, but then obsequiously kowtows to radicals who seek any pretense to damage our society for the sake of watching it burn. As 25 structural fires were being set in the city of Ferguson, Eric Holder informed us that Federal prosecutors were still looking into the shooting of Michael Brown. That will be of great comfort and succor to the old man who was carjacked and run over at a local pizza joint during the riots.

    Only Governor Jay Nixon took any steps at all to protect the personal property and public safety of Ferguson, MO civilians and he was rewarded by the possible sabotage and very real contempt of his own party. Missouri State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal had the following to say while fire-fighters were being shot at by rioters engaged in burning local businesses.

    “And I have to tell you, this is St. Louis’s race war,” she continued calmly, holding back tears. “We didn’t have a race war like other cities throughout the country. This is our race war. And people have to be open, and they have to be honest. And they have to earnest. And they have not been earnest for decades. I know people in my own party, in my own government structure who disregard things that we say, and how we feel. And we are not going to allow it anymore.”

    Ferguson burns for a lot of reasons. Several of those reasons reside in the Federal Government or the media. So many national leaders pursued cowardly or disingenuous agendas with respect to the shooting of Michael Brown that the tragedy continuing to strike Ferguson like a locust plague became inevitable. Any time the leadership of our country chose to, they could have stood down the growing unrest and told people that street justice was unacceptable and would not be tolerated. Any time they could have supported Governor Nixon’s efforts to maintain order and allow for public safety while allowing non-violent dissent over the Grand Jury proceedings and the shooting that occurred.

    Instead, our President did nothing but encourage the demonstrations and then gave a weaseling, blame-evading speech at the key moment of crisis leverage. Instead, our Attorney General criticized Governor Nixon for attempting to quell anarchy before it started. Instead, members of Jay Nixon’s own party openly declared the events of Ferguson, MO as St. Louis’ race war. Governor Nixon was the only person in this entire situation to take any action at all on behalf of the thousands of predominantly African-American citizens who wanted nothing more than to live productive lives, unencumbered by the ongoing feke-storm that was the shooting of Michael Brown. Literally every other leader involved in Ferguson, MO ran from the necessity of preserving public order the way Brave Sir Robin ran from the enemy in a certain, famous Monty Python skit. Eric Holder and all the rest of them showed us leadership befitting the nation of cowards he accuses us of being.

    *-Does that mean anything? Would having them stay on course unshoot Michael Brown or unburn anyone’s small business?

    The post Brave Sir Robin And The Riots In Ferguson, MO appeared first on RedState.

    Sola Civitas: The Left Favors the State Over the People in Ferguson [RedState]

    Michael Brown was a thief. He had used drugs, robbed a store, punched a cop, then the cop fatally shot him. Those are the facts.

    To the left, that Officer Wilson was not found guilty of killing Michael Brown was an outrage. It was an outrage too when George Zimmerman was found not guilty of killing Trayvon Martin.

    Essentially, the left is opposed to the people and instead prefers left-wing Democrats to the citizenry in our democratic form of government. When a jury of peers, whether a petit jury or grand jury, does not see things the way the left sees things, the system has failed, the people are stupid, and the result is an injustice.

    The Grand Jury that decided not to charge Officer Wilson with a crime was made up of individuals who were chosen and empaneled while Michael Brown was still alive. They could not have foreseen the events. They are not elected officials, but private citizens who are called upon by the government to serve in a capacity on behalf of their fellow citizens.

    Their role is to exam the facts of crimes in a system heavily weighted toward prosecution of crimes. They weigh those facts and balance them with laws enacted by legislators outlining the parameters by which crimes are defined. If the facts do not measure up, there is no indictment.

    The private citizens who gave up their time to become intimately familiar with the facts of the case and who interviewed all the witnesses and reviewed all the physical evidence are now being second guessed by armchair liberal pundits who want Officer Wilson charged. The left is now pushing a new line that Darren Wilson’s testimony just does not make sense. They ignore that the Grand Jury treated Darren Wilson’s testimony as that of a man trying to avoid an indictment. They weighed it less than other eyewitnesses and physical testimony.

    But the left does not trust the private citizenry of the United States. They want to control what we eat, how we live, our doctor-patient relationships, and every other aspect of our lives. They favor massive bureaucracies of technocrats to the people.

    From Obamacare to school lunches to big gulps to Ferguson, MO, the left thinks it must control the processes of our lives and, when the citizens deviate from what they want, the citizenry must be overridden. Democrats only support democracy when their finger is on the scale to their advantage.

    As they have embraced their collectivist selves, they have rejected justice in favor of social justice. Officer Darren Wilson must be sacrificed to right an accumulation of wrongs he did not commit. He must be the scapegoat for the priests of the collective.

    Leftism is more and more a secular religion. And in this secular religion, the people are not allowed to read and interpret the scriptures for themselves. They need intermediaries in the form of leftwing academics and Democratic Party leaders.

    Christians have solus Christus, or Christ alone, and the left has now sola civitas, the state alone. The rest of us will be made to worship accordingly.

    Nonetheless, Michael Brown was a thief who met his match in a bullet fired by a police officer just trying to do his job. The evidence shows this. But the left will not be placated until there is a sacrifice to the gods of social justice, what ever that is this week.

    The post Sola Civitas: The Left Favors the State Over the People in Ferguson appeared first on RedState.

    Ezra Klein’s House of White Privilege Explains the News [RedState]

    I finally understand white privilege. It is a detachment that lets certain people be detached from the real world while pretending to cover it accurately and emote with it. I get it. It is the only thing that can explain this post by Ezra Klein.

    Klein just cannot fathom that an eighteen year old who’d just robbed a story would tell a cop to f*ck off and try to fight the cop. He writes of Darren Wilson’s testimony before the Grand Jury:

    [I]t is unbelievable.

    I mean that in the literal sense of the term: “difficult or impossible to believe.” But I want to be clear here. I’m not saying Wilson is lying. I’m not saying his testimony is false. I am saying that the events, as he describes them, are simply bizarre. His story is difficult to believe.

    Putting it more bluntly, it is not that Ezra Klein has never walked in Michael Brown’s shoes. It’s that he has never walked in Darren Wilson’s shoes.

    He’s judging the veracity of Wilson’s statements based on Klein’s own life of privilege and detachment from the streets. Klein lives in a world where he can play dress up as a juggaloo and then cruise over to MSNBC to expound on how no one pays attention to documents more than a hundred years old like that silly constitution thing. His world of white privilege does not relate to the blue collar of existence of a beat cop and what that cop sees.

    Klein spends his days trying to talk investors out of eight figure sums and Darren Wilson spends his day trying to stop thieves from stealing a few dollars of swisher sweets.

    I think liberals like Klein who find Darren Wilson’s statement as simply too incredible to be true need to call their local police force and see if they can tag along in a squad car a few times. I have done it. It is quite an education.

    Before Ezra Klein or other liberals choose to doubt Officer Wilson because he describes something they cannot fathom, they should recognize in their lily white world of privilege they are sheltered from much of the world by men like Darren Wilson who encounter the bad and stop it before it gets to Ezra Klein’s house of privilege.

    The post Ezra Klein’s House of White Privilege Explains the News appeared first on RedState.

    Chuck Schumer quietly starts distancing Democrats from Obama for 2016. [RedState]

    I’m just going to summarize it: Senator Chuck Schumer today ever-so-casually indicated that working first on Obamacare was a mistake; that, in fact, Congress should have instead worked on pretty much anything else besides Obamacare; and that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Charles Schumer0%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard0% himself opposed starting first on Obamacare, but all those Obama supporters in the Obama administration were so adamant that Obamacare be put in place right away.  Also: how about that absent-from-the-Obamacare-debate Hillary Clinton, huh?  You know what her middle name isn’t?  That’s right: Obamacare.

    I’m being mean, I know*.  But if Chuck Schumer is useful for any one thing it’s in determining just how toxic a politician and/or government program can be.  Based on this article, Barack Obama and his signature** political accomplishment are quite toxic indeed.  And it’s not even 2015 yet!  If Barack Obama’s a lame duck now, imagine how useless he’s going to be a year from now***.

    Moe Lane (crosspost)

    PS: (As this post was being put in the queue) Apparently this was not received well.

    Get used to it, ye administration officials. Get used to it.

    *Not that I care, because it’s Chuck Schumer and he deserves it.

    **There’s a certain irony there, given that Barack Obama’s initial contribution to Obamacare was literally just his signature.  But Obama certainly owns it now, hey? Every jot and tittle.

    ***I am admittedly being a bit too gleeful in my anticipation in seeing how Barack Obama reacts to the sight of the eventual Democratic candidate supplanting him in the media’s eyes. And before anybody says The media won’t permit any Democrat to outshine Barack Obama: oh, would that that was correct.  2016 would be a cakewalk for us if that happens.

    The post Chuck Schumer quietly starts distancing Democrats from Obama for 2016. appeared first on RedState.

    The farce of the UCFW’s anti-Walmart Black Friday protest [RedState]


    On Friday, the United Food and Commercial Workers union will be engaging is street theater trying to embarrass Walmart. Their schtick is that Walmart is not paying a “living wage.”

    This is really a hoot coming from this particular bunch of goons and mouthbreathers. In an ecosystem of corrupt unions, UCFW is one of the worst. But let’s look at the  look at the record. The federal minimum wages is $7.25 and the average full time hourly wage in Walmart is $12.94. If this number was not accurate, Walmart would have been sued by now. The UCFW and its hirelings claim that wage is under $9 but the arrive at that number by blending full-time and part-time workers together. In short, it is the kind of dishonesty Americans have come to expect from the labor movement.

    So what is life like in a UCFW organized store? Like Kroger, for instance:

    Even senior workers do not earn $15 an hour. Consider meat or bakery clerks at Kroger’s union shop in Dayton, Ohio. They earn a maximum rate of $14.25, even after over half a decade on the job. Those working in the salad bar, drug counter, or floral shop can earn a maximum of $10.95 after gaining years of experience. This amount is 27 percent below the $15.00 an hour “living wage” that the UFCW claims Walmart employees should be paid. UFCW-negotiated hourly rates for cashiers, grocery baggers, or in-store food demonstrators start at $7.70 and are capped at $8.25-45 percent below the $15.00 advocated by the UFCW. These wages are no secret.

    But wait, there’s more.

    The two highest paid union officials in Ohio are UCFW bosses:

    Topping the statewide list were the bosses of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 75 in Dayton. UFCW 75 paid secretary treasurer Steve Culter $355,400, and president Lennie Wyatt $328,116.

    UFCW’s motto is “A voice for working America.”

    The top four UFCW bosses in Ohio make over $1 million in salary and heaven knows how much extra on the side.

    But they try to help the working guy, right?

    Managers at the Giant Eagle grocery in Edinboro, Pa., wanted to reward hard work. So they boosted the wages of two dozen high-performing employees above their union rates. But United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23 was not pleased. The union argued the pay increases violated their contract, took Giant Eagle to court and forced it to rescind the raises.

    Let’s review the bidding. UCFW workers often make less than Walmart. Their hard earned money is taken in dues to pay outrageous salaries to Jimmy Hoffa wannabes and when an employer tries to reward employees they protest.

    Hilariously, our own LaborUnionReporter noted last year that the UCFW, itself, was embroiled in a fight with two other unions over who was going to unionize UCFW workers:

    Presumably, as evidenced by the filing of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild (affiliated with The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America) with the NLRB, and although the union already represents about 80 UFCW employees, UFCW bosses did not agree to card check to unionize 28 additional workers.

    However, if the UFCW’s problems weren’t complicated enough, shortly after the TNG-CWA filed its petition with the labor board, a union that primarily represents union representatives with their union employers (the Federation of Agents & International Representatives) filed to intervene in the campaign to unionize the UFCW employees.

    I can see why most of the protesters are not Walmart employees and the Walmart employees who are participating are being paid by the UCFW to do so.







    The post The farce of the UCFW’s anti-Walmart Black Friday protest appeared first on RedState.

    Liberals Want Toy Gun Control Now [RedState]

    Forget about restrictive laws that curtail and limit the purchase, ownership and use of real firearms. Liberals have their eyes set on a new set of guns in need of regulation: toy guns.

    In the wake of a tragic shooting in Cleveland, Ohio last weekend where a police officer shot and killed a young boy playing with a toy gun, a Democratic state lawmaker is calling for more regulation of toy guns. The 12 year-old reportedly pulled the toy gun from his waste when officers told him to raise his hands. The incident occurred at a playground.

    According to news reports, the toy gun was missing the orange cap on the barrel that distinguishes toys from working firearms. The bright marking device is mandatory on toy guns sold in stores.

    The incident has inspired state Rep. Alicia Reece, a Cincinnati Democrat, to propose legislation requiring, “BB guns, air rifles and airsoft guns sold in Ohio to be brightly colored or have prominent florescent strips.”

    Reece’s plan is based on a similar proposal in California, and comes after two shootings in Ohio and one in California in the past 13 months involving toy guns carried by victims in fatal police shootings.

    In pushing for her legislation, Reece never notes that both the 12 year-old boy and the 22 year-old man involved in the Ohio shootings refused to put down their toy guns when ordered to by police according to news stories. Further, Reece doesn’t explain what would prevent a toy gun owner from purchasing a can of black or brown spray paint and promptly ridding their toy of its bright or florescent colors.

    This isn’t the first time Reece has proposed curtailing gun owner rights. When Ohio debated and passed its stand your ground law, Reece was quoted calling the bill the “Kill at Will” law. She also worked with fellow Democratic lawmakers to torpedo the legislation.

    When the lawmaker doesn’t get her way, she’s not above throwing a few political or rhetorical punches. In 2002 as the vice mayor of Cincinnati, Reece boasted, according to one political columnist, that “I have 150 firefighters who will do anything I ask them to do” when she was upset at a critical comments made about her. “If you won’t convince Kathy Wilson [the critical commenter], then I’ll send firefighters to convince her,” Reese reportedly said.

    In 2010 at a rally for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Lee Fisher, Reece boasted that in her legislative district “we as Democrats rose up” and ran a Tea Party leader “out of there.”

    It appears unlikely that Reece’s plan will go through the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature, but it is yet another example of a public official seizing on a gun-related death to propose further gun regulation.

    The post Liberals Want Toy Gun Control Now appeared first on RedState.

    Obama doubles down on Iranian failure [RedState]

    <span class='mc-bubble-wrap mc-K000148' data-mcid='K000148' data-name='Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)' data-score='0'>Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)<span class=Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. John Kerry0%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard0% Secretary of State Nomination Hearing" width="622" height="414" />

    Yesterday the P5+1 group (5 permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) negotiating with Iran over its nuclear weapons program announced in would make another deadline extension, this one of seven months:

    A yearlong effort to reach an enduring accord with Iran to dismantle large parts of its nuclear infrastructure fell short on Monday, forcing the United States and its allies to declare a seven-month extension, but with no clear indication of why they think they can ultimately overcome the political obstacles that have so far blocked a deal.

    The failure to agree even on the framework for a comprehensive deal, after extended high-level diplomacy over an issue that was arguably President Obama’s top foreign policy priority, had to be a disappointment for the administration.

    This is a fools errand and makes the US look foolish. China and Russia are actively helping Iran avoid economic sanctions. France would sell its mother to an Armenian whoremonger if it resulted in new business for French oligopolies. In his statement, John Kerry said:

    And I would say to those who are skeptical, those who wonder whether we should rush ahead down a different course, I believe the United States and our partners have earned the benefit of the doubt at this point. Many were quick to say that the Joint Plan of Action would be violated; it wouldn’t hold up, it would be shredded. Many said that Iran would not hold up its end of the bargain. Many said that the sanctions regime would collapse. But guess what? The interim agreement wasn’t violated. Iran has held up its end of the bargain, and the sanctions regime has remained intact.

    In its best light, this statement is so delusional that Kerry should be on medication. At its worst, Kerry is lying about an issue of immense national security importance and knows he is doing so.

    Kerry’s statement relies upon two interconnected idea. First, that the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) actually freezes Iran’s nuclear program if Iran is complaint with agreement and, secondly, that Iran is actually complying with its obligations. For instance:

    • Under the JPOA, Iran had pledged to freeze its centrifuge activity at its Natanz research facility. The IAEA noted that Iran was feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into it’s centrifuges at Natanz. The Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, Reza Najafi, said  admits that is happening but says those are DIFFERENT centrifuges.
    • Iran is not allowed to stockpile enriched uranium above a certain level, but the IAEA reports they have ignored that ceiling.
    • Iran has agreed to limit oil exports to 1 million barrels per day as a condition for negotiations. In fact, they are exporting nearly twice that amount.

    As Foreign Policy points out, the Iranian negotiations are built on four myths, primary among them is that Iran actually wants a deal and that the negotiators can actually make a deal. Indeed, in order to keep even the facade of a deal the administration has buckled to the Iranians on two critical issues: the proliferation of ballistic missile technology and a full disclosure of past nuclear weapons research.

    The only bright point is that the new Congress will probably not be as compliant and lap-doggish as the current one.

    House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Ed Royce68%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard68% said Obama should support new sanctions as a way to increase leverage on Iran.

    “This seven-month extension should be used to tighten the economic vice on Tehran — already suffering from falling energy prices — to force the concessions that Iran has been resisting,” Royce said in a statement.

    Royce was backed by panel Democrat Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Brad Sherman6%House Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard6%, who said new sanctions are the “best hope for a good agreement.”

    House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. John BoehnerN/AHouse Republican AverageSee Full ScorecardN/A was more vague in urging pressure on Tehran.

    “Instead of giving Iran more flexibility, we should be holding this regime accountable for the threat it poses to the region,” Boehner said.

    Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Bob Corker49%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard49%, tipped to replace Menendez as the powerful Foreign Relations chairman when Republicans take full control of Congress in January, supported a threat of new sanctions should the Iran deal ultimately fall apart.

    “Congress must have the opportunity to weigh in before implementation of any final agreement and begin preparing alternatives, including tougher sanctions, should negotiations fail,” Corker.

    It is really difficult to see what will possibly change in the next seven months given the utterly dishonesty of Iran and the stupidity of allowing Iran’s allies to be a party to the negotiations. It seems equally obvious that Iran’s nuclear program will be an issue in the 2016 election and we’ll get a chance to hear how Hillary would have fixed this if only she’d been Secretary of State or something.

    The post Obama doubles down on Iranian failure appeared first on RedState.

    Clockwise 64: Disposable Electric Car [Clockwise]

    Our backup strategies, subscription services for apps, the death of the tablet, and electric cars.

    This episode of Clockwise is sponsored by:

    • William Shatner - Join the Captain's Kickstarter to create a book to empower a million people, and get cool bonuses like signed books or dinner with the Captain himself.
    • Dash - Web dashboards to let you peer into the current status of your business and even your life! Try it out free today and get one private dashboard forever.

    Links and Show Notes

    The Rebound podcast
    James Thomson's TLA Systems

    What Would We Do Without Peer Review? [Small Dead Animals]

    The always entertaining Retraction Watch;

    Yesterday, we reported on the discovery by BioMed Central that there were about 50 papers in their editorial system whose authors had recommended fake peer reviewers. Those "reviewers" had submitted reviews of a number of manuscripts, and five of the papers had been published. (BMC posted a blog examining the case this morning.)

    For some Retraction Watch readers, the elements of the story may have seemed familiar. Fake reviews -- often involving self-peer review -- have been the basis for a growing number of retractions.

    This Season On The Celebrity Corpse Network [Small Dead Animals]

    I amuse myself.

    The Decline And Fall Of The American Empire [Small Dead Animals]


    When it comes to Department of Defense doctrine on military treatment of detained persons, "unlawful enemy combatants" are a thing of the past. That term has been retired and replaced by "unprivileged enemy belligerents" in a new revision of Joint Publication 3-13 on Detainee Operations, dated November 13, 2014.

    Y2Kyoto: State Of Anorexia Envirosa [Small Dead Animals]


    These stories reveal the snow job that has been perpetuated on the general public regarding renewable energy. They don't understand the need for power or how it works. They seem to believe that when a rule passes a magic wand waves replacing older, but still fully functional, power plants with wind or solar--that doesn't produce electricity 24/7/365 as do the decommissioned coal or nuclear plants and which requires far more land to produce the same amount of, albeit intermittent, electricity.

    An iced up wind turbine or a solar panel covered in seven feet of snow--even if some of it slides off--doesn't generate electricity. And the cold days of a Northeast winter create one of the times when energy demand peaks.

    Your Moral And Intellectual Superiors [Small Dead Animals]

    "Organic" Is The Latin Word For "Grown In Pig Shit" [Small Dead Animals]

    I'm Done with fearing food and done with A&W

    Yes, there are hormones in your food, but are they something to fear? A&W certainly thinks so, with a new campaign promoting their beef burgers produced with "no added hormones or steroids". It is good to know a company that says, "Being a leader isn't always easy - but doing the right thing rarely is," is clearly only interested in selling a few more hamburgers because of fear, rather than educating a skeptical customer.

    First point: You have hormones in you right now, and whether you eat a Teen Burger or not isn't going to change that. In fact, you may even be taking additional hormones to help keep you from getting pregnant, lessen the effects of menopause, or an incredible host of other concerns and issues. Hormones also are natural in every other living thing from a soybean plant to a duck. It is why A&W has to promote there are not 'added' hormones, and can't get away with saying hormone-free.

    A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Lawyer [Small Dead Animals]

    Not your grandma's humane society;

    Animal Justice's non-profit wing launched their charter campaign last week, saying it would "ensure animals are treated as sentient beings instead of mere property, would guarantee the rights and freedoms that make life worth living, and give all animals a chance to have their interests represented in court."

    The group says there's a gap between how Canadians care about animal welfare and how the legal system views it, and are hoping a petition draws the attention of policymakers.

    "Animals don't have legal standing to go to court and have a judge say yeah, that animal's rights are being violated, that to me that is very sad," said Camille Labchuk, a lawyer with Animal Justice.

    Pollspotting! Does Canada need a charter of rights for animals? (To nullify the vote-splitting design of this poll, I suggest the nays be direct at the "No" option.)

    10:50am update: SDA gets results! "No" has pulled into the lead.

    h/t Harold

    Reader Tips [Small Dead Animals]

    Tonight, as a special treat for all you long-neglected yodelling fans, we deliver the yodelliest song of them all: the Dirndl aus Bayern Jodel, mit vielen bunten fotos.

    The comments are open, as always, for your Reader Tips.

    Review: 1 Voice Bluetooth Ear Warmers [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

    You know how sometimes that thing you wanted without even realizing you wanted it comes along? That was my reaction when I received the email from 1 Voice about their new Bluetooth ear warmers. They sent me a sample, and I was eager to try them out, especially since temperatures have been dropping, and I […]

    The post Review: 1 Voice Bluetooth Ear Warmers appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

    The Real Story pushes the boat out for non-fiction in Manchester [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

    UK literary site The Real Story, “a celebration of creative non-fiction” supported by you by Openstories, “a Manchester-based arts organisation that runs digital literature projects,” is looking for local non-fiction writers and prose poets for a series of nights or reading events devoted to the non-fiction writer’s craft. “Essayists, creative non-fictioneers, prose poets… we want to […]

    The post The Real Story pushes the boat out for non-fiction in Manchester appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

    Are indie authors headed for doom and gloom? [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

    I recently posted a portion of Mark Coker’s keynote speech from the Self-Publishing Book Expo. The first half of the speech was about 10 trends in self-publishing, which sparked some interesting conversations. In the second half of the speech, Coker discussed ways authors can succeed, but he started with the idea that self-publishing is getting more […]

    The post Are indie authors headed for doom and gloom? appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

    Why Customer Service is Even More Important in the Digital Age [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

    I had a bad customer service experience this past week, and it soured me on a vendor I have sunk a lot of money into over the years. And it also highlighted for me the reason why customer service is even more important than ever in the digital age—because the rise of social media has […]

    The post Why Customer Service is Even More Important in the Digital Age appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

    Research showcases prominence of women in self-publishing [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

    The Guardian recently showcased research demonstrating that women are leading the self-publishing wave, at least in the UK. And while The Guardian linked this to E.L. James and the Fifty Shades of Grey effect, the underlying data shows that female prominence in self-publishing is a broad and sustained trend. Dr. Alison Baverstock, , an associate professor in […]

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    Morning Links: Amazon bundling KU with Kindles. Global tablet market slowing [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

    Amazon Now Bundling Kindle Unlimited with New Kindles, Fire Tablets (The Digital Reader) If you’ve been waiting to pick up a Kindle on Black Friday then I have some good news for you: a better deal has come along. *** The Global Tablet Market is Slowing Down, Says IDC (GigaOM) It’s been clear for a […]

    The post Morning Links: Amazon bundling KU with Kindles. Global tablet market slowing appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

    Key Beat Generation letter stars in literary memorabilia auction [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

    An Associated Press report has highlighted the auctioning of an unique literary document that allegedly jumpstarted the development of the U.S. Beat Generation and altered the course of American literature forever – “Neal Cassady’s infamous ‘Joan Anderson Letter,’ written to American literary revolutionary Jack Kerouac on December 17, 1950,” as the press release from auction house […]

    The post Key Beat Generation letter stars in literary memorabilia auction appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

    Copyright Office posts DMCA exemption petitions [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

    A few weeks ago I discussed the need for a DMCA exemption for e-books, in light of the US Copyright Office requesting petitions for such exemptions. The Copyright Office has now posted all 44 petitions it received as PDFs. There are a number of interesting petitions there—not least of them my own. Now that I […]

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    Clive Barker’s Imajica to be televised [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

    According to a podcast from movie industry commentary series Hollywood Babble-On, as relayed by the JoBlo Movie Network, Clive Barker’s Imajica is to be adapted for television by Josh Boone, director of The Fault in Our Stars, who is also working on the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand. Interviewed by fellow director Kevin […]

    The post Clive Barker’s Imajica to be televised appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

    NASA 'nauts have a go on Star Trek replicator IN SPAAAACE (sort of) [The Register]

    Butch plasticky and the sun power plant kit

    Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have successfully tested their new 3D printer – proving the team can manufacture small parts while in orbit, somewhat.…

    Net neutrality: EU's three-headed beast now at war with itself [The Register]

    Political bodies nowhere near a final decision

    Europe’s telecoms ministers are miles from an agreement with the European Parliament on net neutrality, as differences between the EU's governmental bodies become more apparent.…

    Wasn't it all supposed to be so different by now, Meg? [The Register]

    HP says fiscal '15 will be flat. Fiscal '16? Not prepared to say

    Showering partners with love, making changes to the exec line-up, upping R&D and other tweaks made by CEO Meg Whitman were supposed to get HP's business firing on all cylinders, but after year three of the turnaround plan, they've yet to do so.…

    Samsung makes investors happy with $1bn share buyback [The Register]

    Aiming to secure stock price stability after recent falls

    Samsung has announced a plan to buy back $2bn worth of its shares, after investors pressured the firm for higher returns.…

    UK boffins: We'll have an EMBIGGENED QUANTUM COMPUTER working in 5 YEARS [The Register]

    Oxford boffins toil away on Q20:20 machine

    Oxford boffins have vowed to have the largest quantum computer ever made up and running within five years and help Blighty regain its place at the top of the tech world.…

    Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix [The Register]

    Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?

    Musicians and composers have launched a High Court legal challenge to a change the government has made to UK copyright law. British bureaucrats insisted on introducing a long-overdue private copying exception without compensation - the only European state to do so.…

    De-linked a website, Google? Don't bother telling webmaster – EU [The Register]

    ...but do ensure you remove it from Google.com as well

    Europe’s data protection watchdogs say there’s no need for Google to notify webmasters when it de-lists a page under the so-called "right to be forgotten" ruling.…

    Apple’s $700 BEEELLION market cap makes it more valuable than Switzerland [The Register]

    Cuckoo clocks and cheese no match for iThings

    Apple has achieved a record-breaking market capitalisation of $700bn - making it more valuable than Switzerland.…

    Fat upstart Nimble embiggens revenues by 77% in ONE quarter [The Register]

    Even their losses are levelling off. You listening, NetApp?

    Nimble Storage is providing an object lesson in how to grow a startup after IPO, posting a 77 per cent jump in quarterly revenues – with revenue growth outstripping the loss increase rate.…

    ASA raps 'F*CK YOU GOOGLE' vlogger + chums over VIDEO LICKFEST [The Register]

    Paid tongue action nipped by adland watchdog

    The Advertising Standards Authority has rapped the knuckles of video bloggers for making it unclear when they’re actually recommending something and when they’ve been paid to hawk it to unsuspecting YouTubers.…

    Look out: That data protection watchdog can bite [The Register]

    Regulation set to get tougher

    Despite all the furores, calamities and Snowden-related shenanigans of recent years, the UK’s privacy watchdog remains something of a pussycat, and a lean one at that.…

    Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME! [The Register]

    Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE

    Vid  Megaupload founder, wannabe politician and wanted man Kim Dotcom has spent all of his money trying to avoid extradition to the US to face online piracy charges.…