Race to the Bottom [According To Hoyt]

So I was going to write a post about what I started calling Science Fiction’s Great Divorce a complicated and therefore long-delayed post, but, so, this happened on twitter.

 “Mary Robinette Kowal @MaryRobinette · 12h12 hours ago Thank you to Sarah Hoyt, for introducing me to “Chicom,” which was an ethnic slur I didn’t know.”

And here is the screenshot, as apparently the tweet has gone down the memory hole, or at least some can’t find it (I don’t respond for the tech competency of my minions.)


Now, a word of explanation for those of us who don’t speak a foreign language, learned as an adult fluently.  Those of us who do have special “head boxes” for things like swear words or ethnic slurs.  This is because those words have a strong charge that we don’t FEEL because it was not “forbidden” as a kid, so we need to wall them off extra strongly.  (For instance, the words d*mn and h*ll are not swear words in Portuguese and I have to watch myself not to use them in casual conversation.)

So when I read the above I went to box marked slurs and the only thing I could figure was that I MIGHT on FB have said something intemperate about the Chicago con com.  I have no idea why I would, since they’ve never done me any harm, but in the heated post sad display at the Hugos someone might have said something and I might have blasted.  (Am Latin.  Have temper.)

So I posted this:

Dear Ms. Mary Three Names, what in HELL are you talking about? How could I introduce you to a word whose meaning I don’t KNOW, slur or not? Perhaps you should take a powder and swoon already. Mary Three Names: “Mary Robinette Kowal @MaryRobinette · 12h12 hours ago Thank you to Sarah Hoyt, for introducing me to “Chicom,” which was an ethnic slur I didn’t know.”

Which in village terms is the equivalent of jumping to the middle of the street hitting my left hand with the back of the right.  (A gesture for which mom would spank heck out of me, so I presume it’s simulated copulation?  No one ever told me.)

Then people in comments mentioned I’d used it on my post on burning down the hugos, and I realized that dumb bunny (Sorry, but all presumption of intelligent but misinformed just went out the window) thought that Chicom — as in Chinese communist, a common term to distinguish them from the RUSSIAN COMMUNISTS in Europe (often referred to as the Sovs when I was young) was suddenly a “racist slur.”

I added this to my post, so it was clear the multiply Hugo-nominated and I think three time Hugo Winner Mary wasn’t a liar, merely addled:
UPDATE: My attention has been called to the fact that I used the word in a post. I used it exactly as “Chinese Communist” — when I read it was an ethnic slur, mind went blank as I don’t know the word as an “ethnic slur.” (Yes I have compartments for words in my head. Probably the result of being ESL. Never mind.)

And yep, when I’m hit with something like this, I’ll come up blank, just like I’ll blank out if I’m talking to mom on the phone in Portuguese and Marshall speaks to me in English, which happened just yesterday.  I have to ask mom to hold, cover the phone and ask Marsh to repeat, because until I change “the tape in my head” (yep, dating myself) I don’t understand English.  My husband got used to what he calls “changing tapes” lag when I’m in Portugal and surrounded by family gabbing in Portuguese.  He addresses me, or just calls my name, then waits till I “change tapes.”  Then repeats.

BUT anyway, it highly amuses me that I’m now racist for referring to Chinese communists.

I guess it’s the narrative now.  I MUST be racist, because otherwise they would have no reason to hate my attempt at disrupting their just-so club.  To put this in perspective, this is akin to an all-white club rejecting a Latin member and accusing them of being racist against Chinese.  VERY good.   Slow clap.  One doesn’t know whether to admire them for their inventiveness or their shamelessness.

One does know that one stands ready to expose every one of their attempts to take things out of context and be insane.  Because one is JUST that helpful.  Also because I learned my art of argument in the village, watching the fishwives.  (Smacks left hand with back of right.)  So, (puts hands on hips) be aware.  One thing my grandma taught me is that the more one bows, the more one exposes one’s *ss, so I’m not bowing and not submitting to your idiotic slurs.  One advises you to stop now, if you know what’s good for you.  Or do carry on.  It will be good for a laugh.

AND if they’re as funny as this, they’ll be pure comedy gold.

Yes, guys, I’m racist because I oppose communism.  Sing it with me “I am racist against an ideology that’s not an inborn characteristic, but the characteristic of those choosing to throw their lot in with a movement that, to date, has killed 100 million people and stands ready to continue its work.”

Yes, Mary Three Names.  I’m totes racist against communists.  The miasma of the yawning graves filled by communism makes me gag too hard to tolerate them.  I’m racist against fascists too.  And any others who would keep humanity in chains.

It’s just the sort of b*tch I am.  You got me.

Something to Tide You Over [According To Hoyt]

Yes, I’m fine, just slept too late and am taking time to collect my thoughts, but meanwhile, this:


Jeb Bush: Please Don't Vote For Me [Ace of Spades HQ]

So, yeah. Jeb Bush says that Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, who was escorted out of a press conference held by Donald Trump on Tuesday night, should have been "treated with a little more respect." "I think people with the press...

In Gravis/OANN Poll, Trump Hits... 40% Among Republicans [Ace of Spades HQ]

Before getting to that, this AllahPundit piece examines a claimed NYMag report that Roger Ailes now wants to take Trump out of the race; the claim is that Ailes says Trump is flatly unelectable, and Ailes views it as his...

Backlash: Black Killer of White Reporters Sent Manifesto Declaring that Murders were a Response to Charleston [Ace of Spades HQ]

Now, see if you can follow my logic. The media very softly plays Muslim terrorism stories. Why? Well, they always say they want to avoid "backlash" -- something which has been aggressively warned against 100,000 times for all three times...

Hulu Web Comedy Series Features Character Who Writes Edgy Joke on Twitter and Gets Social Media Blowback; Show Actually Getting Real Social Media Blowback for Entirely Fictitious Joke, Which Was Presented as Being Over-the-Line [Ace of Spades HQ]

Okay, sorry about that last post, which is such a huge screw up that I can do nothing more than apologize abjectly on behalf of @comradearthur and pray you forgive him his exclusive responsibility for the mess he's gotten us...

Flashback: Actual Thought-Policing, with "Deprogramming" Sessions to Break People's Aversion to Social Justice Warrior Beliefs, at the University of Delaware Corrected: Program Was Terminated Years Ago [Ace of Spades HQ]

via @comradearthur, a must read. Why Ya Gotta Bust My Nuts All the Time? Okay, this article, rude commenters rudely inform me, is from October 31, 2008. It's still absolutely dynamite. I take full responsibility on behalf of @comradearthur, with...

Oh My God: The Virginia Journalist Assassin is... Live Tweeting [Ace of Spades HQ]

via @biasedgirl, this is either the killer's twitter stream, or a sick impostor. Apparently it's real -- because it just got suspended as I was reading it. In addition, he posted a Vine of him pulling a gun on Adam...

Reporter And Camera Man Killed On Live TV In Roanoke, Virginia [Ace of Spades HQ]

Update: The suspect is a "disgruntled" former employee of the station. Virginia State Police are currently chasing him. (link fixed) Update: Not being chased and never was. And now I remember why I stopped doing breaking story posts. Original Post:...

Open Thread [Ace of Spades HQ]

George Inness, "The Pond at Sunset, Milton" (1886)...

Wednesday Morning News Dump [Ace of Spades HQ]

I'm calling in sick to the blog, sorry....

Morning Thread (8-26-2015) [Ace of Spades HQ]

May your day be extra humpy....

Overnight Open Thread (8-25-2015) [Ace of Spades HQ]

Quote of the Day I I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day...

Trump Throws Univsion's Jorge Ramos Out of Press Conference For Filibustering Out of Turn [Ace of Spades HQ]

So, this is why Trump is popular. Incidentally, he had another filibustering Univision reporter later, one who he did call upon, but who kept filibustering and arguing. He handled him differently, generally answering or contradicting him, but not getting angry...

Convert Object Pascal to C++ [Barry's news]

I worked through this example app that uses a SQLite database:

Some of the code is obscure, however, I do hope to eventually grasp what is going on.

I have made some mods to the example, one of which is to have a 'blob' datatype in one column of the database.
But then, I did not know how to convert text into blob format for storing in the database. Then found this:

FMX is an ancronym for Firemonkey, the UI framework used by Appmethod. http://www.fmxexpress.com is a very interesting site, lots of examples, but it shows the Delphi heritage and most code is in Object Pascal.

The blob-read-write code is also in Object Pascal, however I found a converter:

...downloading it now. It's a Windows executable.

SQLite and Android NDK [Barry's news]

I would like to learn how to do stuff with the Android Native Development Kit (NDK). This is what Appmethod makes use of to bypass using Java.

This looks like a nice way to start learning:

Some convenient build scripts have been posted:

There is a special version of SQLIte, named SEE, that supports encryption of the database:

...SEE is not free though. Can't find a price anywhere.

What is to be done? [Chicago Boyz]

Just got done listening to the talking heads arguing whether gun control or more mental health treatment is a better way to prevent the next wacko shooter. I’ve got another idea.

Accept that there are evil people in the world who will find a way to do bad things to others no matter how many laws we write. Even in China. Then figure out how to minimize the number of them who become cult figures to inspire other evil people.

How about denying these nuts their 24 hours of fame. Don’t broadcast their picture or name their name on air. Let them die in the anonymity they so richly deserve without the opportunity to inspire the next nut. By all means name the victims and describe the beginning of the destruction and greif brought to their families and communities. But don’t give these shooters any publicity at all.

It also seems like time to mandate that all live broadcasts are on 7 second delay.

Risk: An Allegory [Chicago Boyz]

Here’s an interesting article on CNBC’s website: Katrina anniversary: Will New Orleans levees hold next time?

The 100-year threshold is also a statistical guess based on data on past storms and assessments of whether they’ll occur in the future. That means the models change every time a new hurricane strikes. The numbers being used as guidelines for construction are changing as time passes.
The standard also does not mean—can’t possibly mean—that a 100-year storm will occur only once per century. It means that such a storm has a 1 percent chance of happening in any given year. So for example, it’s technically possible for several 100-year floods to occur in just a few years, although it’s highly unlikely.

One way to look at it is that the engineers need to estimate how high a wall New Orleans needs to protect itself against a reasonably unlikely flood — say, a 1-in-1000-year event. This is the line of discussion pursued in the CNBC article.

Another way to look at it is to observe that the odds of another Katrina, or worse, within a specified period are highly uncertain. In this case a radical course of action might be called for. You do something like: take the best estimate for the wall height needed to protect against a 1000-year flood and then double it. Building such a levee would probably be extremely expensive but at least the costs would be out in the open. Or you might decide that it’s not the best idea to have a coastal city that’s below sea level, and so you would discourage people from moving back to New Orleans, rather than encourage them by subsidizing a new and stronger system of walls.

In this kind of situation the political incentives are usually going to encourage public decisionmakers to ignore radical solutions with high obvious costs, in favor of the minimum acceptable incremental solution with hidden costs: probably subsidies to rebuild the levees to, or perhaps a bit beyond, the standard needed to protect the city in the event of another Katrina. And it’s unlikely that any local pol is going to advise residents to move out and depopulate his constituency. Thus, eventually, a worst case will probably happen again.

Beating Trump on Immigration, the Easy Way [Chicago Boyz]

From a common sense perspective, Donald Trump is weak on immigration. He is weak because he’s more focused on rabble rousing and being a blowhard rather than actually creating a humane solution consistent with American principles. A competing GOP candidate could easily get to the right of Trump while getting more of the Latino vote. All it takes is being an ordinary human being that looks at these people as equal to everybody else.

A candidate can say the ugly truth that unaccompanied minors from Latin America are victims of child abuse by US standards. Cooperating with originating-country governments to open and manage a child abuse case would be a primarily federal responsibility due to the international nature of the case, though there would be room for a strong state role. Just think about it. If a mother from Miami, FL put her 12 year old on a freight train, destination, San Francisco, CA there is no question that child endangerment and abuse would be on the prosecutor’s menu when the kid’s caught. It would be unthinkable to have different treatment if the point of origin were Boston, MA. This is America and we believe in equal treatment under the law. So why is the legal treatment different when the kid’s from Guatamala, Mexico, or Panama? Their children are not inferior to ours and their treatment should be held to the same standards when they are within our borders. Trump’s plan doesn’t do this. That is weakness. For the general election, this line has the additional advantage of setting up Hillary Clinton as soft on child abuse.

On the larger issue of immigration, the US civil war provides lessons. The destruction of slavery and the plantation system left an enormous pool of labor at loose ends and in desperate need and we mobilized to meet that emergency during the war. Today, the mitigation and end of several types of economic slavery has put the whole world in the same boat. The Deng reforms mitigated the Maoist economic slave system and unleashed hundreds of millions of people in search of jobs. The end of the Permit Raj in India released hundreds of millions more. The end of the Soviet system unleashed yet more within both Eastern Europe and all over the third world. As Republicans we rejoice in the mitigation and the ending of human bondage whether it’s outright slavery, serfdom, or goes under some modern label like communism. But the problems of how such recently liberated people are integrated into the world economy are just as daunting today as they were during our own civil war.

While much of the adjustment to that tidal wave has already taken place, the global political class is failing to create enough work to occupy all those idle hands which will put pressure on wages so long as the failure continues. In desperation many seek to enter the US illegally and our system for welcoming and integrating newcomers is swamped, something that is as dangerous as swamping a boat, or overfilling a house to the point of collapse.

We should not forget that for the vast majority of these economic migrants, plan A is getting a good job in their own society. Migration, especially illegal immigration is pretty far down on the list of preferred life plans for the vast majority of illegal immigrants.

So long as large pools of unemployed and underemployed exist anywhere that connects with the global economy, wages will continue to have downward pressure and Americans will feel the economic pain. A wall on the border is a single layer of defense. It is not enough.

The best defense is a defense in depth. While we build the wall, we need to significantly increase the number of jobs we create so that we drive unemployment down to its frictional rate of 3% and keep pressing on with job creation even after that so that jobs on the other side of the border increase and migrants stop there instead of here. The ideal is for people to have jobs in their own countries, in their own hometowns.

This can only be accomplished by getting government out of the way in terms of job creation and encouraging people to become part time or full time capitalists where they can.

Trump’s plan is weak because it is reactive and offers nothing in terms of reducing immigration pressure beyond our border where the first level of defense should be.

How Many Women Actually Used Ashley Madison? [Daring Fireball]

Interesting analysis of the Ashley Madison data dump by Annalee Newitz, writing for Gizmodo:

What I discovered was that the world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized. This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.

Those millions of Ashley Madison men were paying to hook up with women who appeared to have created profiles and then simply disappeared. Were they cobbled together by bots and bored admins, or just user debris? Whatever the answer, the more I examined those 5.5 million female profiles, the more obvious it became that none of them had ever talked to men on the site, or even used the site at all after creating a profile. Actually, scratch that. As I’ll explain below, there’s a good chance that about 12,000 of the profiles out of millions belonged to actual, real women who were active users of Ashley Madison.

Sounds about right.

Acorn 5.0 [Daring Fireball]

We’re blessed these days with a plethora of outstanding image editing Mac apps from indie developers. The one I depend on most, and have for years, is Flying Meat’s Acorn. (Flying Meat is a two-person company: Gus and Kirstin Mueller.) Version 5 is a great upgrade with all sorts of new features, but my favorite thing from the release notes is this:

We fixed hundreds of minor bugs and annoyances. Little things that built up over the years that very few people ever encountered, like “the shortcut key for zooming in doesn’t work when the keyboard layout is set to Dvorak - Qwerty ⌘”. So we fixed pretty much all of those. It took months and months of work, it was super boring and mind numbing and it was really hard to justify, and it made Acorn 5 super late. But we did it anyway, because something in us felt that software quality has been going downhill in general, and we sure as heck weren’t going to let that happen to Acorn. So we took a long break from adding features and just fixed stuff.

That sense of craftsmanship truly shows in the app. For a limited time, Acorn 5 is available for just $25, an absolute steal. Just buy it.

AT&T Says Injecting Ads Into Airport Wi-Fi Was a Now-Ended Test [Daring Fireball]

Ina Fried, reporting for Recode:

AT&T said on Wednesday it has ended an experiment that had the company serving ads to those using its free Wi-Fi at two Washington, D.C.-area airports.

“We trialed an advertising program for a limited time in two airports (Dulles and Reagan National) and the trial has ended,” AT&T told Re/code in a statement. “The trial was part of an ongoing effort to explore alternate ways to deliver a free Wi-Fi service that is safe, secure and fast.”

AT&T came under fire this week after computer scientist Jonathan Mayer blogged about his experience encountering the ads while browsing the Web at Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C.

JavaScript injection in all HTTP traffic is unsafe, insecure, by definition slows down page loading. The only thing they were testing is whether they could get away with it without a public outcry.

Google Identifies Hiring Prospects Via Search Queries [Daring Fireball]

Max Rosett:

I was in the midst of a career transition. I had spent three years working as a management consultant and then at a startup, but I wanted to become a computer engineer. I was earning a Master’s in computer science through Georgia Tech’s online program. I knew that I was slowly developing the skills that I would need in an engineering role, but I still lacked the confidence to apply for a full-time software role.

One morning, while working on a project, I Googled “python lambda function list comprehension.” The familiar blue links appeared, and I started to look for the most relevant one.

But then something unusual happened.

The search results split and folded back to reveal a box that said “You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?”

Like much of what Google does, this is both incredibly clever and incredibly creepy.

It makes me wonder how much Google knows and tracks about queries from programmers at competing companies. Do companies like Apple have policies or recommended practices regarding what employees do with Google services?

AT&T Hotspots: Now With Advertising Injection [Daring Fireball]

Jonathan Mayer, investigating how AT&T’s “free” Wi-Fi at Dulles International Airport injects ads into all non-HTTPS web pages:

AT&T has an (understandable) incentive to seek consumer-side income from its free wifi service, but this model of advertising injection is particularly unsavory. Among other drawbacks: It exposes much of the user’s browsing activity to an undisclosed and untrusted business. It clutters the user’s web browsing experience. It tarnishes carefully crafted online brands and content, especially because the ads are not clearly marked as part of the hotspot service. And it introduces security and breakage risks, since website developers generally don’t plan for extra scripts and layout elements.

It’s dishonest and dangerous.

Felix Salmon on How Well UberX Pays [Daring Fireball]

Spoiler: nowhere near as well as Uber would have you believe.

In Conversation With Quentin Tarantino [Daring Fireball]

Great Lane Brown interview with Quentin Tarantino for New York Magazine:

Q: Who do you see as your competition right now? Are you competitive with someone like Paul Thomas Anderson?

A: No. It’s a friendly thing. This might come across as egotistical, but I don’t really feel in competition with anybody anymore. I’m in competition with myself. David O. Russell can have the biggest hit of the year, and that doesn’t take anything away from me. I couldn’t have been happier that Rick Linklater was at the Oscars this year.

The last time that I felt competitive was when I was doing Kill Bill and my competition was The Matrix Reloaded. That was the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. I saw Matrix Reloaded at the Chinese Theatre the day it opened, and I walked out of the cinema singing that Jay Z song: “S-dot-Carter / Y’all must try harder / Competition is nada.” I was like, Bring it the fuck on. I was worried about that? Ho-ly shit.

‘All Websites Look the Same’ [Daring Fireball]

Have you noticed a certain sameness to website design in recent years? Dave Ellis captures it brilliantly.

How Lobbying Works [Daring Fireball]

Dylan Matthews, writing for Vox on a Senate bill passed at the behest of H&R Block lobbyists, that significantly increases the complexity of the tax forms for lower income Americans:

Think about what tax breaks are being targeted here. These are all refundable credits, which, with the exception of the college credit, overwhelmingly help low-income and working-class people. H&R Block is not pushing to make the mortgage interest deduction more complicated, or to make the charitable deduction more confusing. Tax breaks that mostly help rich people go untouched. H&R Block knows that rich people already use TurboTax or hire accountants; because it wants new business, it has decided to prey upon the poor.

In a better world, companies like H&R Block wouldn’t exist, because the IRS would fill out returns itself. But if H&R Block must exist, the least it can do is not try to actively harm poor people. Sadly, even that appears to be asking too much.

On Comparing Samsung’s S-Pen Design Flaw to the iPhone 4 Antenna [Daring Fireball]

Vlad Savov, writing for The Verge on the growing controversy over the new Galaxy Note S-Pen slot:

It’s a big problem that can result from a very small mistake. Samsung has now issued a response, and well, the answer is that you should read and adhere to the manual.

“We highly recommend our Galaxy Note 5 users follow the instructions in the user guide to ensure they do not experience such an unexpected scenario caused by reinserting the S pen in the other way around.”

With the iPhone 4, the joke was “You’re holding it wrong.” With the Note 5, it’s apparently “You’re sliding it in wrong.” Either way, it’s not very funny.

I’ve seen a lot of people make this comparison, but it’s specious. If you held your GSM iPhone 4 “wrong”, it didn’t break your phone. If you put the stylus in the Note 5 wrong, it breaks the phone.

Banksy’s Dismaland [Daring Fireball]

Banksy goes big: an actual theme park built on the grounds of an abandoned public swimming pool. Brilliant. See the “commercial” here.

Janice Min Interviews Donald Trump [Daring Fireball]

Telling that the most interesting interview with any 2016 presidential candidate I’ve seen this year is this interview with Trump for The Hollywood Reporter. Say what you want about his policies (off the top of my head: asinine, buffoonish, racist, misogynous), he is remarkably media-savvy.

iOS 9 and Content Blockers: Safari Can Reload Any Page With Blockers Disabled [Daring Fireball]

Good tip from David Chartier:

One of the nice perks of Safari in iOS 9 is that, even if you have blockers installed, you can long-press the reload button to reload the site with nothing blocked.

This just in: Solyndra lied [Don Surber]

Solyndra, a project of a billionaire who raised millions for President Obama, lied on is loan application, the Associated Press reported four years after the company defaulted on its $535 million loan and left federal taxpayers on the hook -- for a project President Obama trumpeted as the future of the U.S. economy.

Sadly, Obama appears to be right.

From the Associated Press:

A four-year investigation has concluded that officials of the solar company Solyndra misrepresented facts and omitted key information in their efforts to get a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government.
The company's collapse soon after getting federal backing provided ammunition to lawmakers and other critics who portrayed President Barack Obama's economic stimulus program as wasteful government spending. The company's failure likely will cost taxpayers more than $500 million.
The report by the Energy Department's inspector general was released Wednesday. It's designed to provide federal officials with lessons learned as it proceeds to grant billions of dollars in additional loan guarantees. The inspector general found fault with the Energy Department, describing its due diligence work as "less than fully effective." The report also said department employees felt tremendous pressure to process loan guarantee applications.
In the end, however, the inspector general said the actions of the Solyndra officials "were at the heart of this matter."
"In our view, the investigative record suggests that the actions of certain Solyndra officials were, at best, reckless and irresponsible or, at worst, an orchestrated effort to knowingly and intentionally deceive and mislead the department," the IG's report said.
The AP report made no mention of the man behind the con that cheated taxpayers out of $535 million: Billionaire George P. Kaiser, who is a huge supporter of Obama and who has not been prosecuted for his role in this scam.

This is what President Obama said when he visited Solyndra on May 26, 2009:
the truth of the matter is, is that when you’re in Washington a lot of times all you’re thinking about or all that’s being talked about is politics -- who’s up, who’s down, the contest between the parties, instead of people remembering why it is that they aspired to go into politics in the first place.  We end up getting caught up in the moment instead of what is important for the future.
So I try to visit places like this about once a week, hear from folks as often as possible who are actually doing the extraordinary work of building up America.  And I appreciated the chance to tour your plant and to see the incredible, cutting-edge solar panels that you’re manufacturing, but also the process that goes into the manufacturing of these solar panels.  And it is just a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world.  And you guys all represent that.  So thank you very much for that.
Yes, a wonderful future of cronies like Kaiser getting rich while the middle class retreats into the food stamp class.

Elvis and Almira Gulch, who the candidates really are [Don Surber]

Liz Smith, who as a gossip columnist chronicled the lives of the rich and tacky, penned from retirement a missive in which she said she may have invented The Donald when she began covering him and Ivana 40 years ago. If so she did a fine job because I do not have to explain who they are. She wrote: "Donald became bigger and bigger. He was the king of hyperbole and he had just the requisite touch of Elvis vulgarity to endear him to the common man."

She wrote that in 2000.

Elvis. That's it. How did Alannah Myles put it? "Black velvet and that little boy's smile." Liz Smith is from Texas. She would know these things.

A former boss -- female -- said Clinton had that Elvis thing going for him. Kinda mischievous. Very sensual. She also graded candidates by their hair. Policy mattered to her, but a president has to have command presence, and hair. Ike got away with having none only because he won World War II (and ran against the high-domed Adlai Stevenson.

I do not know how to grade Trump's hair, but I doubt anyone else would get away with saying Megyn Kelly's questions came due to her time of month. Elvis vulgarity.

Ted Cruz has pretty eyes with Liz Taylor's double eyelashes, which the attending doctor at her birth pronounced as freakish, and Garry Trudeau later declared "violet eyes to die for."

Pretty eyes are for women. Next!

Oh I think we all know who Almira Gulch is. There is an unnecessary meanness in her that goes with a petty mind. Also, she's socially awkward.

Chris Christie reminds me of Lumpy Rutherford in "Leave It To Beaver." He's big and oafish and a bully.

Bernie Sanders is Howard Beale. He expects us to open our windows and scream, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Actually, his crowd is bored as hell, as they are people of privilege denouncing White Privilege.

Joe Biden? Bob Ueker -- except Ueker's stupidity is all an act.

Carroll Shelby, America's Enzo Ferrari. [Don Surber]

On June 21, 1959, in Le Mans, France, the winning driver of the 27th Grand Prix of Endurance emerged from his Aston Martin DBR1/300 after 24 hours of racing (with British driver Roy Salvadori spelling him). The winner was a talk, dark, handsome Texan. He wore bibbed overalls with blue and white stripes. It was Carroll Shelby's way showing he was his own man, doing things his way, and winning.

Born on January 11, 1923, in Leesburg, Texas, to Warren Hall Shelby, a farmer and rural mail carrier, and his wife, Eloise, Shelby had heart problems from the time he was 7 until he was 14. but nevertheless he worked hard. He had a newspaper route and worked at odd jobs, a pattern of having more than one iron in the fires of business at any one time. His family moved to Dallas when he was 10.

“I used to ride my bicycle to the old bullrings around Dallas when I was a kid, 12 or 14 years old. So I've always had my interest in cars, that's always been my No. 1 interest,” Shelby said.

His first car was a 1934 Dodge whose lack of speed disappointed him. As did his next car.

“It was a '38 Willys, old four-cylinder Willys. Wouldn't outrun anybody, but I used to try to,” he said.

He did well in school and was all set to attend Georgia Tech. But America entered World War II and instead of studying aeronautical engineering in college, he was instructing aviators. He married Jeanne Fields on December 18, 1943. Nine months later, the first of their children was born. When the war ended so did his dreams of college. He became an oil roughneck and then a chicken farmer. Teenage dreams of fast cars and women were for the birds.

Or so it seemed.

He accompanied Ed Wilkins, a high school buddy, who took his MG-TC sports car to a show in Norman, Oklahoma.

“He wasn't going to race it himself; he was just up there to spectate. After we got up there we decided that I'd drive it. So it was really just kind of a lucky accident that I drove my first race. I raced against the other MGs and the Jowett Jupiters and so forth and won that race. Then they had the Jaguar race and I raced the MG in that and I won again. I wore the tires out on it. It was fun,” Shelby said.

At 29, he was racing, and winning, and getting notice because he was as good a self-promoter as he was a driver -- and he won four out of four races in 1952, and nine out of nine in 1953 before turning pro in 1954. One hot day, late for a race, he did not bother to change work clothes. He got in the cockpit wearing his overalls, birthing a trademark. But his biggest boost was he drove hard and got every inch out of his car. He usually walked off the track with a trophy and a babe on each arm. That cost him his marriage, which ended in 1960. He married actress Jan Harrison in 1962, but they annulled that marriage by year's end. he said he had four or five other brides after that.

People describe him as a failed chicken farmer, but he did well with them for a while until 20,000 chickens died on him. he had a car dealership as a backup.

The title "Carroll Shelby, America's Enzo Ferrari" should piss both of them off. They had a feud that stemmed from a meeting in 1958.

“Old Man Ferrari offered me a job and I said, ‘Well, Mr. Ferrari, I have a family, three children, what kinda money?' He says, ‘Oh, it's an honor to drive for Ferrari.' And I said, ‘Well, I'm sorry, I can't afford the honor.' And I had a deal with John Wyer, anyway, and I had another deal with Maserati. I had a choice of four or five different offers. So I turned Ferrari down,” Shelby told Autoweek years later.

But there was more too it than money. Ferrari had built the preeminent Italian car company despite growing up with modest means. Perhaps the two were too alike. But Shelby also talked to Dan Gurney, a Ferrari driver.

"I saw the way Ferrari operated," Shelby told Automobile magazine. "And I could always sense there was tension. I listened to Phil Hill, I listened to Gurney, and I watched enough of the drivers to know no one ever stayed with him for a long time. Juan Manuel Fangio was one of the kindest, gentlest people you'd ever meet in your life, and he told me [Ferrari] was a very difficult man. 'You will never satisfy him, and he will never have a kind word for you or your future ambitions'."

Shelby had his own ambitions. They called for him to build, not race cars. The one lesson he took from Ferrari was to treat employees well. He was extremely loyal to his mechanics (he really wasn't a mechanic) and his drivers -- and everyone else.

“He can be cantankerous, gruff, direct and outspoken, but to get to know him is to love him. He creates tremendous loyalty in people around him. He's really a very caring individual, which may be completely opposite to what he appears to be,” said Don Landy, who handled Shelby's holding company.

At age 37, heart problems forced Shelby to carry nitro-glycerin pills, which ended his racing career after a mere eight years.

“You ever try nitro?” Shelby asked in a 1990 interview with Autoweek. “It knocks the top of your head off. It dilates your arteries and veins and gives you a headache for 30 seconds. You don't want to do it in a race car. That's why it was not hard to give up drivin'; nitro gives you an incentive to quit. I wanted to build my car anyway, and make a go of my Goodyear distributorship.”

Hiss idea was simple: Take a light European racing chassis and drop an American V-8 in it.

"Lance Reventlow beat me to the punch back in 1958 when he launched his American-built Scarab sport carwhile the Cobra was still just an idea in my head," Shelby said.

Reventlow was wealthy.

"Lance’s Scarab was the result of development money being in the right hands at the right time. He was born in London to wealthy American socialite Barbara Hutton and Curt Reventlow, a Danish count. She married Cary Grant next. By the time Lance was 12 he had another stepfather – Prince Igor Troubetzkoy, who’d won the Targa Florio driving a Ferrari. Porfirio Rubirosa was another stepdad. Lance was still a teenager when he started racing his own alloy-body Mercedes 300SL," Shelby said.

If there was envy or resentment, he plowed it into business. His car building took off. The Cobra was his first. It was street legal and went from zero to 60 in four seconds. In 1964, Lee Ioccoca of Ford introduced the Mustang. The next year, Shelby introduced the Shelby Mustang. It was a tremendous partnership.

“In my opinion, Shelby invented the muscle car in this country,” Iacocca said,

Congress and OPEC ended the muscle car in the 1970s. Shelby and Ford had a bitter divorce. He tried real estate, African safaris, and sundry other enterprises. In 1982, Iacocca -- now CEO of Chrysler -- teamed up with Shelby for a second run at custom cars, this time using Dodges.

But health problems and a changing market plagued him. In 1990, he had a heart transplant, and in 1996 a kidney transplant, thanks to a donation from his son, Michael.

In 2004, the 40th anniversary of the Mustang, Shelby and Ford patched things up. The Shelby Mustang was back.

"I never dreamed I would be back with Ford to the extent that we are today, but I'm very pleased we are. I'm a lucky man that, at 81, I have such a wonderful partnership with Ford," Shelby said.

The Mustang was not the only pony in his heart. He also raised miniature horses, outfitting the ones he liked with tennis shoes so they could enter his house.

Every Christmas, he set up a train set in his bedroom, a tradition that stretched back to his boyhood in the Depression.

On May 10, 2012, he died of pneumonia at 89 and the tributes from the automotive industry were many. None were more endearing than the one from Edsel Ford II: "I worked for Carroll Shelby, I think it was the summer of '68. I went to his house in California and I knocked on his door, and -- I remember this as if it was yesterday -- this very beautiful Swedish woman answered the door. I knew it was going to be a really good summer."

My first collection of "Exceptional Americans" is available here. And the Kindle version is here.

Volume 2's publication will be on September 1, my 62nd birthday. It will be available here, and on Amazon and Kindle.

Salk, Sabin, Henrietta Lacks, and the end of polio [Don Surber]

On the 109th anniversary of Albert Sabin's birth, a look at the scientists and one woman who made the eradication of polio possible. This is a repeat of an earlier one, first published on Jonas Salk's last birthday, greatly rewritten. All of these vignettes are before I put them in book form. I am seldom completely satisfied.

In 1894, the first epidemic of poliomyelitis broke out in Rutland, Vermont. While paralysis from polio was rare, it occurred often enough to warrant fear among parents. After former vice presidential candidate Franklin Delano Roosevelt was paralyzed by polio in 1921, the profile of polio rose, particularly 17 years later when he was president and founded, in 1938, the private National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, best known for its March of Dimes fund-raising and awareness-raising campaigns. This is why FDR is on the dime.

In 1952, the foundation's search for a vaccine was rewarded, when Dr. Jonas Salk developed his famous vaccine, which led to a massive double-blind test in 1954, in which the parents of more than 1.8 million children in America, Canada and Finland volunteered their children to participate. This alone was an amazing development, which showed the depth of parental concern.

Jonas Salk was born in New York City on October 28, 1914, to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants, who had no formal education themselves. By 13 he was in high school -- Townsend Harris High School, a public school for intellectually gifted students -- and went on to City College of New York. His mother wanted him to be a lawyer. He became a doctor. She may be the only Jewish woman in New York who didn't want her son to be a doctor.

He chose New York University for medical school, in part because unlike Yale and other Ivy League schools it had no quota for Jewish students. Salk would face discrimination later as research facilities, too, had quotas that limited the number of Jewish people on their staffs. It is incredible that prestigious institutions chose people by their skin color or religion, and not their brilliance. This continues today. We call it affirmative action. Its real name is discrimination.

Just as another NYU alumnus, Walter Reed, conquered yellow fever, Jonas Salk set out to conquer disease, rather that treat it.

"My intention was to go to medical school, and then become a medical scientist. I did not intend to practice medicine, although in medical school, and in my internship, I did all the things that were necessary to qualify me in that regard. I had opportunities along the way to drop the idea of medicine and go into science. At one point at the end of my first year of medical school, I received an opportunity to spend a year in research and teaching in biochemistry, which I did. And at the end of that year, I was told that I could, if I wished, switch and get a Ph.D. in biochemistry, but my preference was to stay with medicine. And, I believe that this is all linked to my original ambition, or desire, which was to be of some help to humankind, so to speak, in a larger sense than just on a one-to-one basis," Salk said.

Salk's first success came with influenza, working with his mentor, Thomas Francis, who was the first American to isolate a flu virus. He taught at New York University, and when he moved on to the University of Michigan, Salk followed.. Their first flu vaccine was used to protect American soldiers in World War II. Disease often kills more men than bullets. This was a feat that in some ways was as important as his polio vaccine. Between 1900 and 1909, infectious deaths averaged 797 per 100,000 people annually. By 1980, this had fallen to 36 deaths per 100,000 in 1980. Pneumonia and influenza were responsible for the largest number of infectious disease deaths throughout the century, although tuberculosis was a major killer in teh first half of the century.

After the war, Salk set out to fight another battle, polio. But Salk did not work in isolation. John Franklin Enders, Thomas Huckle Weller, and Frederick Chapman Robbins succeeded in developing a culture of a animal virus — poliovirus -- in vitro. The importance of this discovery applied to other viruses, and Enders earned the title of Father of the Modern Vaccine. Enders, Weller and Robbins shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1954. Again, enabling a vast array of vaccines was more important than developing a vaccine for one disease, no matter how heart-wrenchingly it disables and kills children.

Salk joined the University of Pittsburgh, where he determined there were three distinct types of polio viruses. He set out to develop a "killed virus" vaccine for the disease.

Getting a live virus to was problematic in that it had to come from a human. Enter, wittingly, Henrietta Lacks, a black woman who was the mother of five. She developed cancer of the cervix and died 4 1/2 months after the birth of her last baby. Missus Lacks had been treated at Johns Hopkins, where despite blood transfusions and other efforts to keep her alive, she died of uremic poisoning on October 4, 1951, at age 31.

Part of her would prove to be immortal, and while she would not live to raise her own babies, she would save the lives of countless other babies. Researcher George Gey discovered her cells could be kept alive, and grow. Before, such cells survived only a few days and scientists spent more time trying to keep the cells alive than on research with the cells. Gey named the cells from Lacks, HeLa, in her honor. Scientists considered her cells immortal as they did not die after a few divisions. This boosted research enormously.

George Otto Gey was born on July 6, 1899, in Pennsylvania to German immigrants. He and his wife Margaret started the Tissue Culture Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University. Not only did he retrieve Henrietta Lacks's immortal polio virus, but he developed the roller drum, which is used to nurture cell cultures.

The development of the Salk vaccine required mass production. The cells from Henrietta Lacks were the first to be put in mass production, and in 1955 the first cells to be successfully cloned.

Salk's work would gain him world recognition. He chose not to patent the vaccine.

But research on polio vaccines continued, and in 1962, a rival, Albert Bruce Sabin, introduced the first oral polio vaccine, which quickly supplanted the Salk vaccine. It was cheaper and did not require using a needle on children. If you don't have polio, you likely should thank him. I remember taking that sugar cube in 1962 at Audubon Junior High in Cleveland when I was 8.

Sabin was born on August 26, 1906, in Białystok, Poland, which was then part of Czarist Russia. he was Jewish. When he was 16, the family emigrated to New York City, where he too enrolled in New York University.

Salk and Sabin were unfriendly rivals, but their vaccines nearly eradicated polio. Only 416 cases were reported to the World Health Organization in 2013.

The near eradication of polio could have been done by Europe. After all, France gave us the smallpox vaccine. But Lady Liberty lured the oppressed to the United States. Harvard or Yale could have had the prestige of educating the eradicators. But their bigotry left the job to New York University. The work of Thomas, Enders, Wellers, Robbins, and Reed, which led to these marvelous vaccines, also

And then there is Henrietta Lacks. In her lifetime, her children could not attend school with white children in most of the United States. And yet, her death meant thousands of white children were spared the pain of polio.

You wonder if given the same opportunities others in America had, what Henrietta Lacks and her husband David "Day" Lacks may have come up with.

My first collection of "Exceptional Americans" is available here. And the Kindle version is here.

Volume 2's publication will be on September 1, my 62nd birthday. It will be available here, and on Amazon and Kindle.

The Great Beast has met its match [Armed and Dangerous]

When I built the Great Beast of Malvern, it was intended for surgery on large repositories. The specific aim in view was to support converting the NetBSD CVS to git, but that project is stalled because the political process around NetBSD’s decision about when to move seems to have seized up. I’ve got the hardware and software ready when they’re ready to move.

Now I have another repo-conversion job in the offing – and it does something I thought I’d never see. The working set exceeds 32GB! For comparison, the working set of the entire NetBSD conversion tops out at about 18GB.

What, you might well ask, can possibly have a history that huge? And the answer is…GCC. Yes, they’re looking to move from Subversion to git. And this is clearly a job for the Great Beast, once the additional 32GB I just ordered from Newegg arrives.

Concerns new Tor weakness is being exploited prompt dark market shutdown [Ars Technica]

A dark market website that relies on the Tor privacy network to keep its operators anonymous is temporarily shutting down amid concerns attackers are exploiting a newly reported weakness that can identify server locations.

As Ars reported last month, the technique requires the adversary to control the Tor entry point for the server hosting the hidden service. It also requires the attacker to have previously collected unique network characteristics that can serve as a fingerprint for that particular service. Still, once that bar is met, the attack has an 88-percent accuracy rate. Hidden services are sites that are accessible only from within the Tor, which conceals IP addresses of servers and users.

"We have recently been discovering suspicious activity around our servers which led us to believe that some of the attacks described in the research could be going on and we decided to move servers once again," operators of Agora, a hidden service that markets everything from illicit drugs to unlicensed firearms, wrote in various online forums, including this post on Pastebin. "However, this is only a temporary solution."

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Largest TV blackout in US history hits Dish because of money dispute [Ars Technica]

Dish Network today said its customers are experiencing "the largest blackout in US television history," all because of a money dispute between Dish and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

129 stations in 36 states and Washington, DC, went dark yesterday afternoon, affecting about 5 million Dish customers. Overall, Sinclair owns or operates 153 stations, with 87 of them being "affiliates of the four major broadcast networks—CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox—meaning customers lost access to local and national news programming as well as sports carried by those stations," The Wall Street Journal reported.

Sinclair is the nation's largest broadcast group, according to the FCC. With almost 14 million subscribers, Dish is the second largest satellite TV provider after the AT&T-owned DirecTV.

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Amazon’s new games and apps store: Free for users, 12¢ an hour for devs [Ars Technica]

In announcing its latest app initiative Wednesday, Amazon put an italicized emphasis on the fact that apps and games in the new "Amazon Underground" section are "actually free" for Android devices. That means users can go on an in-app purchase shopping spree for all of the chapters, items, options, and "energy" they want, while developers get pennies on the hour in exchange for giving up their beloved monetization plan.

Amazon Underground promises that its offerings are really, truly, and wholly free. Formerly paid apps cost nothing, while former freemium apps no longer ring users up for however many in-app purchases they make. Want fifty gazillion "coins" that would normally cost $100 of real cash, or free versions of productivity software, solid games like Goat Simulator, or kids' fare from the Sesame Workshop? They're yours for the taking. Amazon reminds you at every checkout opportunity how much you're not paying.

While you might expect that this new system would have developers launching social media campaigns about getting ripped off, Amazon made very clear that game and app creators whose livelihoods depended on IAPs would still get paid: "We're paying developers a certain amount on a per-minute-played basis in exchange for them waiving their normal in-app fees," the company's announcement stated. "We're the one picking up those per-minute charges."

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Should police have the capability to take control of driverless cars? [Ars Technica]

Driverless cars might be the norm some day—sooner than we think. So it's never too early to consider futuristic scenarios of a driverless car world.

There have already been plenty of ethical questions asked, like whether a driverless car should decide who lives or who dies during an accident scenario. One question often posed is whether a driverless vehicle could choose to ram a school bus full of kids or sacrifice the driverless vehicle's occupants during a mishap.

Now the Rand Corp. is thinking about how law enforcement officials should deal with driverless cars. A recent study (PDF) by the group ponders whether a cop should have the ability to remotely control a vehicle to pull it over.

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Rovio, maker of Angry Birds, axes over one-third of its employees [Ars Technica]

Following lackluster 2014 earnings, the Finnish company behind Angry Birds has now decided to cut 260 jobs—or over a third of its workforce of 700—not a good sign for the gaming studio. "This is personally a difficult decision," CEO Pekka Rantala said in a Wednesday statement. "However, it is certain that a leaner and more agile Rovio is absolutely necessary to move forward and take the company to new successes in the future. We will work with and support all our employees through this period of change."

In October 2014, Rovio cut 130 jobs and in March of this year released some 2014 financial data showing that its annual revenue of €158.3 million ($180.3 million) was down year-over-year by 9 percent. Privately held Rovio did not disclose its 2014 profits. By contrast, in April 2014, Rovio announced 2013 annual profits of €26.9 million ($34 million), a notable drop from €55.5 million ($70.2 million) from the year before.

It also seems that people are less and less interested in plush dolls: "The year on year decline of consumer product licensing revenues impacted revenue and profit."

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LG brings OLED tech and HDR to non-curved 4K TVs [Ars Technica]

Right now, if you want to buy a 4K OLED TV, your options are limited to curved panels from LG. And that's fine if you're into the whole curved TV thing, but for the most people the curve is unnecessary. Sometimes, the curve even makes the picture worse. Fortunately, LG is finally offering flat versions of its 4K OLED TVs, starting with the 55-inch 55EF9500 and the 65-inch 65EF9500, both of which are being released in September.

Unfortunately, they won't be any cheaper than their curved counterparts. The 55-inch model will cost $5500 (~£3500), while the 65-inch version will cost $7000 (~£4500). That's still better value than LG's first OLED TV, a 55-inch model that sold for an eye-watering $15,000 (£10,000) when it launched back in 2013.

With LG being the only TV manufacturer making large-screen OLED TVs—thanks in part to Sony and Samsung choosing to focus on existing LCD technology for the consumer market—prices are likely to remain high for the foreseeable future. Whether that price is worth it depends on how much you value picture quality.

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Massachusetts parents cite shaky science in lawsuit over Wi-Fi network [Ars Technica]

Despite years of study, there is no clear evidence that exposure to the photons emitted by devices like cell phones and wireless networks pose any health risk whatsoever. That hasn't stopped people from concluding they are sensitive to these electromagnetic emissions and taking various actions to avoid them. While some of these people have moved to areas with low levels of this radiation, others have tried to force the rest of society to accommodate them.

In the latest instance of this, a Massachusetts couple has sued their child's school, claiming that its "industrial-capacity" Wi-Fi system was causing health problems. The suit hopes to have "Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome" defined as falling under the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The suit targets the Fay School, a pricey Massachusetts boarding school (families of younger students can pay $25,000 a year and up for them to attend during the day, while full boarding is offered for older students at $60,000). Fay has students use Chromebooks and tablets during classes and provides the devices with Internet access through a Wi-Fi network. In 2013, Fay upgraded its network to what the suit describes as "a high-density, industrial-capacity wireless system."

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Meet the Humvee’s replacement: Oshkosh’s L-ATV [Ars Technica]

There may soon be a whole lot of used Humvees on the market—or in the scrapyard. The US Army has picked its replacement for the aging vehicle originally designed as a Cold War replacement for the Jeep—and it comes from Wisconsin. Eventually, the Army and Marine Corps could buy nearly 55,000 of the vehicles over the next 25 years, spending over $30 billion.

In a move that will undoubtedly spur a spate of protests and political backlash from a heavily lobbied Congress, the US Army has awarded the Defense Department's multibillion dollar Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program contract to the contender from Oshkosh Defense, beating out the other finalists in the program, which started in November of 2006—Lockheed Martin and the Humvee's manufacturer, American General. The initial "low rate" order for 16,901 vehicles for both the Army and Marine Corps is worth $6.7 billion.

Oshkosh's winning design is called the L-ATV (for "Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle"). It includes innovations that were added to the Humvee during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including remote-operated weapons turrets (with heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, and anti-tank missiles), and electronic warfare gear to jam remote controls for improvised explosive devices (IEDs). It will also be a rolling network unto itself, equipped to generate up to 10 kilowatts of "exportable" power for Army and Marine Corps communication and computer gear, with HF, VHF, UHF, and SATCOM onboard as well as a vehicle intercom system. There's also a centralized onboard computer system powering "smart displays" for the soldiers or Marines it carries. The L-ATV will also be equipped with a variety of surveillance and threat sensors—including a shot locator system, long-range surveillance cameras, and low-light and infrared camera systems.

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Lessons learned from cracking 4,000 Ashley Madison passwords [Ars Technica]

When hackers released password data for more than 36 million Ashley Madison accounts last week, big-league cracking expert Jeremi Gosney didn't bother running them through one of his massive computer clusters built for the sole purpose of password cracking. The reason: the passwords were protected by bcrypt, a cryptographic hashing algorithm so strong Gosney estimated it would take years using a highly specialized computer cluster just to check the dump for the top 10,000 most commonly used passwords.

So fellow security expert Dean Pierce stepped in to fill the vacuum, and his experience confirms Gosney's assessment. The long-and-short of his project is that after five days of nonstop automated guessing using a moderately fast server specifically designed to carry out compute-intensive cryptographic operations, he deciphered just 4,000 of the underlying plaintext passwords. Not surprisingly, the passwords Pierce extracted from just the first 6 million entries in the Ashley Madison table look as weak as those from just about any data breach. Here are the top 20 passwords cracked in the highly limited experiment and number of users who chose each one:

password Number of users
123456 202
password 105
12345 99
qwerty 32
12345678 31
ashley 28
baseball 27
abc123 27
696969 23
111111 21
football 20
fuckyou 20
madison 20
asshole 19
superman 19
fuckme 19
hockey 19
123456789 19
hunter 19
harley 18

Most of the lessons gleaned from Pierce's exercise involve the secure storage of passwords at rest. We'll get to that in a moment. But first, a few observations about the top 20 passwords uncovered. First, they come from the beginning six million hashes stored in the Ashley Madison database. Depending on how the list was organized, that may mean they belong to the earliest six million accounts created during the site's 14 years in operation. Passwords from the last million entries—which might have been created in the last few years—could be stronger.

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Twitter yanks murder video posted by killer of VA journalists [Ars Technica]

As news broke regarding the murder of two journalists at Virginia TV station WDBJ7, the story took a dark turn on social media when accounts in the name of another WDBJ7 staffer posted what appeared to be first-hand video of the fatal shooting.

Twitter and Facebook responded quickly with suspensions of the offending accounts under the name Bryce Williams—the on-air name of the alleged shooter—but not before the accounts, which each appeared to have been created on August 18 with nothing more than innocuous cat videos at the time, had their video posts shared widely. In Twitter's case, the gruesome video of the murder of reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward would auto-play in silence for anybody who scrolled through it without changing Twitter's default "auto-play video" setting.

While the Facebook account in question contained little more than the horrific video—captured in the above gallery the moment Facebook acted to suspend it—the Twitter account contained more confessional posts, some of which can be seen in the above gallery. Washington Post staffer Brian Fung later reported that Google was aware of attempts to repost the yanked videos at YouTube.

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Researcher catches AT&T injecting ads on free airport Wi-Fi hotspot [Updated] [Ars Technica]

Update at 1:29 p.m. ET: AT&T's ad injection program has ended, at least for now. "We trialed an advertising program for a limited time in two airports (Dulles and Reagan National) and the trial has ended," an AT&T spokesperson told Ars. "The trial was part of an ongoing effort to explore alternate ways to deliver a free Wi-Fi service that is safe, secure and fast."

Original story follows:

When computer scientist Jonathan Mayer was in Washington Dulles International Airport last week, he logged onto an AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot and soon noticed that websites were showing a lot more ads than usual. The website of Stanford University, where Mayer conducts security and privacy research, was showing ads for a jewelry store and AT&T.

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Windows 10 installed on 75 million devices after just a month of availability [Ars Technica]

The free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 10 is doing wonders: In just under a month of general availability, Windows 10 is now running on 75 million devices.

Unsurprisingly, Windows 10 appears to be doing better than Windows 8: Back in 2012, only 40 million Windows 8 licences had been sold in the first month. After six months, Windows 8 had risen to 100 million licences sold—and "sold" is likely to be a very different figure from how many devices were actually running Windows 8. So, 75 million devices running Windows 10 after a month is pretty darn good.

The 75 million figure comes directly from Yusuf Mehdi, a marketing chief at Microsoft. Mehdi also shared a few other semi-interesting Windows 10 tidbits: 90,000 different PC and tablet models have upgraded to Windows 10; Windows 10 has a presence in 192 countries (I wonder which one of the 193 UN member states is missing?); the Windows 10 Store has seen six times more downloads per device than Windows 8; and, most importantly, Cortana has told over half a million jokes.

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PSA: Classic Bethesda titles available DRM-free on GOG [Ars Technica]

Bethesda Softworks is mining its library of good, old games and offering many of them up without any digital protections on GOG starting today.

Eleven titles from the venerable Doom, Quake, Fallout, and Elder Scrolls series are now available on the service and are being offered at discounts if you buy them in bundles before September 2. Here are the details.

The Elder Scrolls Bundle: 33% off if purchased together

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Norwegian hypermiler drives Tesla 452 miles on a single charge [Ars Technica]

The fear your car will run out of battery before you get where you're going—also known as range anxiety—is still the electric vehicle's biggest PR problem. It's a little odd when you think about it, since most of us travel under 30 miles a day. Still, people worry about not being able to just grab their keys and drive from coast to coast without lengthy visits to a plug socket along the way. Bjørn Nyland suffers no such fear. Nyland is a Norwegian-based computer programmer and Tesla evangelist, and he just hypermiled a Tesla Model S more than 400 miles to prove it.

Nyland is already well-known in the Teslaverse, having won a Tesla Model X SUV for referring another 10 buyers to the EV manufacturer, quite some feat, even in EV-mad Norway:

Nyland's journey took him from Oslo, Norway, to Rødekro, Denmark, a distance of 452.8 miles (728.7km). That's more than double the commonly assumed Model S range (200 miles/321km) and also nearly 30 miles (47km) better than the previous record for long distance Tesla driving, held by David Metcalfe of Florida. Whether everyone is capable of getting that kind of range is another question. According to Teslarati, Nyland's trip took 18 hours—10 hours longer than Google Maps suggests—and he drove at an average of 25mph (40km/h). Now that's some committed hypermiling.

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Even longer versions of The Hobbit movies returning to theaters this fall [Ars Technica]

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy ended last December with Battle of the Five Armies, closing the metaphorical book on movies that aped, but couldn't recapture, the spirit of The Lord of the Rings movies from a decade earlier. According to Variety, though, the movies will be back in theaters for a brief stint in October. The special extended versions of An Unexpected JourneyThe Desolation of Smaug, and Five Armies will play in 500 theaters on October 5, 7, and 13, respectively.

These movies aren't without their highlights—Martin Freeman is excellent as Bilbo, and Benedict Cumberbatch is a legitimately terrifying Smaug—but they're sandwiched in between hours of overwrought, slow-motion battle sequences, gratuitous cameos, and extraneous material pulled from elsewhere in J.R.R. Tolkien's writings. They were also tonally inconsistent, something that comes from adapting a relatively short, light story for older children into a three-film epic. If there was one thing these movies didn't need to be, it was longer.

As Variety notes, the October 13 showing of Five Armies will be viewers' first opportunity to see the extended edition of the film; the extended versions of the other two are already available as digital downloads as well as on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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Verizon enters the connected car space with Hum [Ars Technica]

Verizon has just announced that its telematics device, now called Hum, is ready for the road. Hum was originally called Verizon Vehicle and was announced back in January. It consists of two devices: an OBD2 reader and a speaker that you clip onto your sun visor.

The OBD2 reader pulls diagnostic information from the vehicle's Controller Area Network, and the speaker contains a wireless modem to send that data to the cloud, as well as enabling OnStar-like functions where you can talk to concierge mechanics and emergency services.

In some ways this feels like a brave move by Verizon. Awareness of what Internet-connected OBD2 devices can do has probably never been higher, but for all the wrong reasons. What's more, the aftermarket connected car market is starting to look crowded. There's an entire alphabet out there, from Automatic to Zubie, all building connected OBD2 devices and APIs for third-party app developers.

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Don’t blame the beer goggles—they might be a myth [Ars Technica]

The existence of "beer goggles"—the tendency to find fellow drinkers growing more attractive as you drink more—is in dispute. A study conducted in a naturalistic setting (that is, a pub), found that increased alcohol consumption did not boost attractiveness ratings.

The existence of beer goggles has been studied in both lab and naturalistic settings before, but always with some limitations. In lab settings, well, people are in a lab. You can’t be sure that people’s behaviour when they’re being observed by people in white coats will match up with what they’d do in the real world.

That said, lab studies have the advantage of being able to control more factors. They can do a reasonable job of hiding the point of the experiment from the subjects, and they can control how much alcohol everyone drinks, measured out by body weight. A few of these studies have found a beer goggle effect for heterosexual participants rating opposite-sex faces, but they also rated same-sex faces and landscapes more highly, suggesting that they were just generally more pleased with the world after some scientifically sanctioned drinking.

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GitHub attacked again as Chinese developers forced by police to pull code [Ars Technica]

GitHub, the software project and collaboration site, suffered another distributed denial of service attack on Tuesday morning, making the site unavailable to many users for several hours. But unlike the relentless DDoS attack the site suffered in March—an attack directed by code linked to China's "Great Firewall"—GitHub's team was able to fight back and shrug off the attack in a matter of hours instead of days.

The site was likely targeted, as in March, because of software projects hosted on the site that have allowed Chinese Internet users to bypass the Great Firewall's packet filtering and inspection tools, keeping their traffic hidden from surveillance. This round of DDoS attacks comes as a number of Chinese software developers who used the site to share software capable of bypassing their country's national Internet filters apparently were forced to pull their projects from GitHub. In one case the move was reportedly mandated by law enforcement in China.

That project was Shadowsocks, a secure SOCKS5 proxy plug-in protocol for Internet users and one of the most popular Great Firewall circumvention tools in China. The developer, who posted under the username clowwindy, reported on GitHub on August 22, "Two days ago the police came to me and wanted me to stop working on this. Today they asked me to delete all the code from GitHub. I have no choice but to obey. I hope one day I'll live in a country where I have freedom to write any code I like without fearing." He later deleted that comment, leaving only a statement, "I believe you guys will make great stuff with Network Extensions." However, the code for Shadowsocks has been mirrored elsewhere on GitHub.

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Quantum dots may be key to turning windows into photovoltaics [Ars Technica]

While wind may be one of the most economical power sources out there, photovoltaic solar energy has a big advantage: it can go small. While wind gets cheaper as turbines grow larger, the PV hardware scales down to fit wherever we have infrastructure. In fact, simply throwing solar on our existing building stock could generate a very large amount of carbon-free electricity.

But that also highlights solar's weakness: we have to install it after the infrastructure is in place, and that installation adds considerably to its cost. Now, some researchers have come up with some hardware that could allow photovoltaics to be incorporated into a basic building component: windows. The solar windows would filter out a small chunk of the solar spectrum and convert roughly a third of it to electricity.

As you're probably aware, photovoltaic hardware has to absorb light in order to work, and a typical silicon panel appears black. So, to put any of that hardware (and its supporting wiring) into a window that doesn't block the view is rather challenging. One option is to use materials that only capture a part of the solar spectrum, but these tend to leave the light that enters the building with a distinctive tint.

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Cops decide to collect less license plate data after 80GB drive got full [Ars Technica]

OAKLAND, Calif.—Weeks after Ars published a feature on the scope of license plate reader use, the Oakland Police Department unilaterally and quietly decided to impose a data retention limit of six months.

Prior to April 2015, there had been no formal limit, which meant that the police were keeping data going as far back as December 2010.

That puts the OPD in line with other jurisdictions, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, which decided in 2012 that it would reduce its license plate reader (LPR, or ALPR) retention period from two years to six months. The Silicon Valley city of Menlo Park only retains for 30 days, by comparison.

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How security flaws work: The buffer overflow [Ars Technica]

The buffer overflow has long been a feature of the computer security landscape. In fact the first self-propagating Internet worm—1988's Morris Worm—used a buffer overflow in the Unix finger daemon to spread from machine to machine. Twenty-seven years later, buffer overflows remain a source of problems. Windows infamously revamped its security focus after two buffer overflow-driven exploits in the early 2000s. And just this May, a buffer overflow found in a Linux driver left (potentially) millions of home and small office routers vulnerable to attack.

At its core, the buffer overflow is an astonishingly simple bug that results from a common practice. Computer programs frequently operate on chunks of data that are read from a file, from the network, or even from the keyboard. Programs allocate finite-sized blocks of memory—buffers—to store this data as they work on it. A buffer overflow happens when more data is written to or read from a buffer than the buffer can hold.

On the face of it, this sounds like a pretty foolish error. After all, the program knows how big the buffer is, so it should be simple to make sure that the program never tries to cram more into the buffer than it knows will fit. You'd be right to think that. Yet buffer overflows continue to happen, and the results are frequently a security catastrophe.

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Gunman Blames Racism After He Kills Two Young Journalists on Live TV UPDATE: Charleston Church Shooting ‘Sent Me Over the Top,’ Killer Claims [The Other McCain]

Vester Flanagan, a/k/a Bryce Williams Alison Parker and Adam Ward of WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia, were doing a live broadcast this morning when a disgruntled former employee of the station approached and shot them both dead with a semi-automatic pistol. Vester Flanagan, who had worked for WDBJ-TV using the on-air name “Bryce Williams,” posted a […]

Feds Raid ‘Rentboy’ Site [The Other McCain]

While the hack of the adultery site AshleyMadison-dot-com was making headlines, the FBI was investigating a male escort site: A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging the CEO of Rentboy.com, Jeffrey Hurant, and six Rentboy.com employees with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution. . . . As […]

Immolation for the Hugos [The Other McCain]

— by Wombat-socho Took me a while to get around to this post, what with all the balls in the air I have going at the moment; hell, I haven’t even been able to get an In The Mailbox post out consistently during the weekdays for Lord knows how long now. Well, one thing at […]

In defense of wage subsidies for low-income workers [AEI » Pethokoukis]



AEI’s Mike Strain has written favorably about expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, as well as the idea of new wage subsidy for the long-term unemployed to make them more employable and provide them with a decent paycheck. The latter might be paired with a lower minimum wage for that group. For example: a $4 an hour minimum wage and a $4 wage subsidy. He suggests paying for it by taking some of the dough the federal government spends on the highest-earning households — like through the mortgage interest deduction — and diverting it to this program. Strain: “Society must have as a goal that no one who works full time and heads a household lives in poverty.” Agreed.

Now over at the Manhattan Institute, Oren Cass outlines his idea for an even larger wage subsidy. As he summarizes:

A wage subsidy adds dollars-per-hour to the worker’s wage, on a sliding scale that pays the highest subsidy for the lowest wage and phases out to no subsidy as the wage increases. A worker earning $8 per hour might, for instance, receive an additional $2 per hour in his paycheck. And he would receive that for every hour worked, no matter how many hours he worked or how much he eventually earned. For him, the policy appears like the minimum wage has been raised to $10 per hour. But for his employer and co-workers and customers the cost is still $8 per hour. Other workers unwilling to take a job at $8 per hour but willing to at $10 per hour would join the labor force as well.

But wait a second? Why is this an issue for government? Cass:

Consider the median income of working men over age 25, with only a high school diploma, in relation to the poverty line for a family of four. In 1973, that median income would bring a family to more than 200 percent of the poverty line; but in 2013, to only 131 percent. For high school drop-outs, the figures are 171 percent in 1973 and 90 percent in 2013 (Figure 2). In other words, a working high school graduate in 2013 was in worse position to support his family than was a high school drop-out in the 1970s. And a working high school drop-out in 2013 was likely mired in poverty despite his employment. …

One response to these challenges is simply to accept them: Living standards have improved across the income distribution. Efforts to distort the market wage are inherently inefficient. Social programs exist precisely to help those unable to earn a sufficient income. And investment in education will improve skill levels and productivity over time. Such acceptance is a mistake because it leaves unused the most effective weapon in the antipoverty arsenal. Low wages do not only—or even primarily—produce poverty through the obvious and static mechanism that earning less money leads one to have less money. Of greater concern are the dynamic ways in which low wages grease the flywheel of long-term and intergenerational poverty. Low wages leave individuals who work with insufficient resources to invest in their future and that of their children. Low wages discourage entry into the workforce and the formation of stable families

In theory, wage supports thus offer a unique opportunity to break America’s negative cycle of poverty, family and community breakdown, and low human-capital development. Transferring resources directly to the working poor, thereby encouraging more poor people to work, is an intervention that better leverages what government can do effectively. Social programs ask government to build strong families and communities in destitute neighborhoods.

The post In defense of wage subsidies for low-income workers appeared first on AEI.

Why China’s economic woes and Trump’s protectionism are a bad combo [AEI » Pethokoukis]

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters during his "Make America Great Again Rally" at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, Tuesday, August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Ben Brewer.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters during his “Make America Great Again Rally” at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, Tuesday, August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Ben Brewer.

My pals Larry Kudlow and Steve Moore rightly take Donald Trump to task for his plan to slap a new tariff on Chinese imports. To them it sounds like a Hooveresque replay of Smoot Hawley and the Great Depression. As it happens, Derek Scissors recently had this to say on trade as a mechanism for spreading Chinese economic weakness abroad, via a Q&A with Foreign Policy magazine:

Foreign Policy: If and when a China-led recession happens, how might it differ in its particulars from previous global recessions — that is, what might a “recession with Chinese characteristics” look like?

Derek Scissors: Weaker Chinese growth has already pounded commodities producers and unnerved asset markets but not triggered a global recession, since the ensuing lower prices simultaneously help commodities buyers. Financial contagion is unlikely since China is largely cut off from the rest of the world financially, due to its closed capital account.

The way China triggers a global GDP recession is to try to export [particular] problems. This is happening in steel, for example. If trade intervention occurred, it would expand China’s trade surplus further, cutting into rest-of-world GDP. It would also intensify the deflationary pressure China has exported for the past 15 years, which has been beneficial at some points but is harmful now.

A recession with Chinese characteristics thus looks like one we’ve feared off and on since the 1930s: deflation triggered by beggar-thy-neighbor behavior. It wouldn’t be as sharp as the Depression but would have multiple similarities: a major producer (United States then, China now) reacts to a bubble popping by trying to squeeze gains out of its trade partners. Seeing as they are already running large deficits with this large and suddenly irresponsible actor, the trade partners show no hesitation in retaliating. And off we go — though again, not in the same devastating fashion as the 1930’s.

Now toss a protectionist President Trump into the mix …

The post Why China’s economic woes and Trump’s protectionism are a bad combo appeared first on AEI.

Sláinte, Sylvester Flanagan... [halls of macadamia]

When the Guinness starts to flow, those micks get homicid... wait a minute...fester flanagan

"You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE ...(deleted)!!!" ABC quoted from the manifesto.

RELATED: Do we really need Poets?

I mean, we already have all these pencils.

"You can't hide..." [halls of macadamia]

"My oh my, you sure know how to arrange things. You set it up so well, so carefully"...

What actually happens when all that blood rushes from the BIG HEAD to the little one.

The top two passwords in the sample were unsurprisingly “123456” and “password”.
Cheating is easy.

Responsible & ethical are hard.

At the Goldenrod Café... [Althouse]


... you can go down whatever path you want...


The Bob Dylan mural in Minneapolis "will include Dylan lyrics from his infamous tune, 'The Times, They Are A-Changin.'" [Althouse]

As the Minneapolis Sun Times puts it.

I'm one Dylan fan who's beyond tired of seeing that song — of all Dylan songs — dragged to the forefront again and again, but still... infamous?

The only reason for singling that song out for a mural is that a mural a painted wall and it's one of the Bob Dylan songs that refers to a wall. "There’s a battle outside" that will "soon shake your windows and rattle your walls," but I wouldn't want that on a wall in my city. Not post-9/11.

"Infamous" means — according to the unlinkable OED — "Of ill fame or repute; famed or notorious for badness of any kind; notoriously evil, wicked, or vile; held in infamy or public disgrace," and "Deserving of infamy; of shameful badness, vileness, or abominableness; of a character or quality deserving utter reprobation. (One of the strongest adjectives of detestation.)"

One of the strongest adjectives of detestation!

Are there any songs that deserve this adjective? I'm thinking "The Horst Wessel Song." "For the last time, the call to arms is sounded!/For the fight, we all stand prepared!" It's a fight song, like "The Times, They Are A-Changin," and like "The Times, They Are A-Changin," it's the younger generation singing triumphantly about how it is about to win.

But still... infamous?!

Dylan did say "please": "Please get out of the new [road] if you can’t lend your hand...."

"I hate that Jordy got hurt, but in my beliefs and the way that I believe, it was God had meant for Jordy to get hurt." [Althouse]

Said the Detroit Lion Glover Quin about the Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson. Not everyone appreciated Quin's religious musing. The actor Brian Baumgartner (AKA Kevin on "The Office") tweeted "Players who have the audacity to believe God decides who gets injured/ wins games completely minimize God. God had it out for Jordy? Absurd" and Aaron Rodgers retweeted.

Quin is defending himself.

"Some guy from somewhere called me a moron, called me an idiot.... A lot of people said that, which I don’t understand what gives somebody else the right to call me a moron or an idiot because I said what I believe. But if he feels like I’m a moron or an idiot, that’s fine. I love Aaron Rodgers. He’s a great player. I have nothing bad to say about Aaron Rodgers. What is meant to be will be, that’s what I believe, that’s the way I live my life.... Things happen to me, good or bad, and I say, OK, you know what, what does God want me to learn from this? What does he want me to learn from this? I’ve been in bad situations, I’ve had serious injuries, I’ve had all types of stuff happen to me. And I believe, ‘Hey, what is meant to be will be. God is in control.’ That’s what I believe. That doesn’t have to be your belief, that doesn’t have to be nobody else’s belief. I’m not saying that, so I don’t understand why everybody just jump on everybody for what they believe.... I don’t mean that God particularly said, ‘Hey, I want to take Jordy Nelson out'... I’m not saying all that. I just believe what is meant to be, will be, regardless, and that’s just how I feel about it."
Take the strongest defensible position on Glover Quin's statements about God and Jordy Nelson.
pollcode.com free polls

"The perfectly sensible reason why panda mothers and other creatures selectively abandon babies." [Althouse]

A piece in The Washington Post by Sarah Kaplan. The occasion seems to be the birth of twin pandas at the Washington D.C. zoo and the mother's rejection of the tinier baby, but is anything worthwhile said about human behavior?

Among bears, cats, dogs, primates and rodents, it’s common for mothers to eat a deformed or dying infant. Most of these animals are unable to hunt or forage while caring for their newborns, and like panda moms, are close to starving while their offspring nurse. A baby that is likely to die is an important source of protein and nutrients, one that can help her produce milk to feed her other young.

“They become a resource, one she can’t afford to waste,” said Tony Barthel, a mammal curator at the National Zoo’s Asia Trail....
We humans don't eat our unwanted babies, but we do sometimes regard them as "a resource" (as documented in the recent Planned Parenthood videos).

But Ms. Kaplan never says anything at all about human mothers, though clearly we are among the "other creatures" who "selectively abandon babies."

"I'm known all over as The Dust Lady." [Althouse]

Marcy Borders, a woman we know from a photograph taken September 11, 2001...

... has died, perhaps from the dust.

This blog has a theme today... but I don't think I can take the challenge. [Althouse]

Sometimes it happens that the first posts of the day have a common element, I notice, and I deliberately add posts with that element and use the tag "the blog has a theme today." Today, I noticed that the first post is about the Beatles song "The End," which has the lyric "And in the end," and the second post ends "Anyway, in the end, the conversation orbited around Harvey Keitel's balls..."

Caught up in the weird world of blogging — blogging as I know it, 11+ years into the practice — at 7 in the morning here in Madison, Wisconsin, I tried to make a go of it. I found a wonderful little design problem, a flaw in the Galaxy Note 5. Great photograph of what happens it you stick the S Pen in backwards.

Please don’t do this. It’s not a fun experiment and you will likely ruin your $800+ smartphone to a point where it’s not fixable. Seriously. Just don’t do it....

I won’t even mention Sylusgate, SPengate, Pengate, or any other ridiculous term the media has dubbed this issue. It’s an unfortunate design flaw, but in the end it comes down to being a user problem.....
I don't have a Galaxy Note 5, but I like this metaphor. Here you have something that utterly fails if you do one simple thing that you don't have to do, but just the idea that you could do it, so easily, makes you... what? 1. Want to do it, 2. Just feel bad about the device anyway, even though you know perfectly well not to do it, 3. Worry that some devious person will see that you have a Galaxy Note 5 and stick the pen in backwards and now you have to grip and guard that thing even more than you had to already, 4. Boldly go forth in life knowing that in the end it's a user problem, and as the user, you are firmly in control.

And in the end, the blog you make is equal to the... ability not to stick the pen in backwards.

The NYT description of NYC in August quotes "The Great Gatsby." [Althouse]

From "New York Today: Empty City":

But in the winding-down of summer, the city moves at a slower pace, and the lazy days of August can be quite pleasant.

Or, as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in "The Great Gatsby":

"I love New York on summer afternoons when every one’s away. There’s something very sensuous about it — overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands."
Did we ever do that sentence in the old Gatsby project? Oh, it's 2 sentences, and we only read one sentence at a time, but it's the second sentence, the one with the fruits, that's asking for it. If we did, I'm sure we didn't take it to mean simply that summer in the city is lazy and pleasant.

So, yes, we did read that sentence, back on March 2, 2013, and I see that I did throw the first sentence in for context:
You should know that ["There’s something very sensuous about it"] refers to "New York on summer afternoons when every one’s away." That's New York City, of course, not the whole state. People in New York mean New York City when they say "New York." They call the state "New York State" if it's ever worth talking about....

What kind of sensuous, overripe, funny fruits are falling into your hands... wherever you are when "every one's away"?
In the comments, Sydney said, "New York City must have been a hell hole in the summer before air conditioning," and I said, enlarging the context:
Yeah, the sentence is from a passage in which the problem is no a/c. Some characters want to go to the movies and others want to just drive around, which seems to be a way of being out and catching some breeze.

Also, this sentence is very close to one of the favorite "Gatsby" project sentences, the one known for short as "hot whips of panic."...
There's less overripe, falling, funny fruit when air-conditioning is everywhere every where.

Anyway, in the end, the conversation orbited around Harvey Keitel's balls (after kentuckyliz brought up the old famous-for-male-nudity movie "The Piano").

Guitar World's "Beatles' 10 Greatest Guitar Moments" slights George Harrison. [Althouse]

#1 — something you may forget is even a song — is a back-and-forth among 3 Beatles. #2 isn't a Beatle at all. And #3 is Paul (on a song written by George):

According to Geoff Emerick, Harrison struggled for two hours to craft a solo before producer George Martin suggested he let McCartney give it a try. McCartney’s solo, Emerick says, “was so good that George Martin had me fly it in again during the song’s fadeout.” Portions of it, played backward, were also applied to the Revolver track “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

Apparently, Harrison didn’t feel slighted. At the time of making Revolver, he was ambivalent about his musical ambitions and pondering Indian mysticism, to which he would eventually convert.

“In those days,” he said, “for me to be allowed to do my one song on the album, it was like, ‘Great. I don’t care who plays what. This is my big chance.’ I was pleased to have him play that bit on ‘Taxman.’ If you notice, he did like a little Indian bit on it for me.”

A Duke freshman refuses to read an Alison Bechdel's graphic novel "Fun Home" on the ground that to look at it is immoral. [Althouse]

A WaPo op-ed by Brian Grasso. The book, which "includes cartoon drawings of a woman masturbating and multiple women engaging in oral sex," was assigned to all freshmen. Grasso doesn't resist the requirement of reading material he disagrees with or reading about sex. Pictures are different, in his view.

He cites the words of Jesus: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” and “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.”

Jesus seems (to me) to be disapproving of the feeling that results from looking at women (whom one frequently encounters in real life and not merely in pictures). I don't see that as saying don't look at pictures, just don't look at them with lust, and don't look at real, live women with lust. But: 1. You could decide that you need to avoid looking at certain things because you predict that they will inspire lust, and 2. Grasso is entitled to his own interpretation of the religion, including reading "looking at a woman lustfully" to mean looking at a drawing of a woman engaged in sex.

Grasso anticipates that some people will say that he doesn't have to go to Duke, and if he chooses to attend, he needs to do the assignments, and if he can't, he ought to go somewhere else. But he argues: 1. That graphic depictions of sex are rarely part of a class assignment and unlikely to be that important, and 2. People like him contribute to diversity.

There are over 1,000 comments. The first one I saw (the most recent) was:

You should be treated like any one who chooses not to complete an assignment, whether the reason is they were drunk, the dog ate the book, or you flushed it down the toilet.   Your religious self-righteous rambling is rather irrelevant. If you get a zero on this part of the class and can still go one, great. If not, then drop the class like all others.  What makes you and your beliefs any different than that of a person who thinks certain books are boring or too difficult or "not culturally compatible" with what they believe in?
IN THE COMMENTS: Meade said: "Everybody Draw Jesus Looking Lustfully At Cartoon Drawings Of Women Masturbating And Engaging In Oral Sex Day."

Dark web marketplace shuts down [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

The Agora online black market has been taken down while its administrators attempt to protect it against a reported Tor vulnerability

Dolphin and Mercury Android browsers have major vulnerabilities [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

Dolphin and Mercury Android browsers have major vulnerabilities, allowing for remote code execution and arbitrary reading and writing of files.

The post Dolphin and Mercury Android browsers have major vulnerabilities appeared first on We Live Security.

Ashley Madison delete tool detailed [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

New details have emerged about actions taken by hacked infidelity dating site Ashley Madison after users paid to delete their data.

Ad watchdog rebukes games companies [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

The ASA rule that both Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils broke its advertising code by pressuring children into making in-game purchases.

Amazon trials alcohol delivery in app [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

The online retailer is to begin delivering alcohol as part of its Prime Now service in America.

YouTube Gaming gets quiet launch [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

YouTube launches its spin-off platform for video gamers, YouTube Gaming.

‘Spam King’ pleads guilty in US [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

A Las Vegas man known as the ‘Spam King’ has pleaded guilty after he sent over 27m spam messages through Facebook.

Intel Inside… literally? [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

Is your body the next frontier for the chip giant?

VIDEO: Jugglers get chip-equipped balls [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

An Intel engineer creates “smart” juggling balls by embedding the firm’s chips in his kit.

VIDEO: The Braille smartwatch [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

A Braille smartwatch has been developed to allow blind users to receive and read text messages

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

I think so, Brain … but if this is the Internet, where is the Outernet?

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness [hogewash]

triggerTrigger Warning! This may will offend Social Justice Warriors.

A Duke freshman explains why he hasn’t read an assigned book.

It’s not about being uncomfortable. It’s about being asked to do something that I think is immoral.

Read the whole thing.

A Mountain on Ceres [hogewash]

MountainThe Dawn spacecraft has returned images of this tall, conical mountain on Ceres. The mountain is located in the southern hemisphere and is about 6 km high. Its perimeter is sharply defined, and there almost no accumulated debris at the base of the brightly streaked slope.

This image was taken from an altitude of 1470 km. Dawn will spend the next couple of months mapping the planet from that height. Next, it will move to within 375 km of the surface.

BTW, there’s still no word on those bright spots.

Image Credit: NASA

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

I think so, Brain … today’s secret message for psychics is

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day [hogewash]

Anyone who goes down to a Maryland courthouse can look at the contents of any case docket and examine anything that hasn’t been sealed. Any pages in the record can be copied for 50 cents per page, and if a certified copy is desired, that will be provided for five dollars per docket item.

Here’s a motion for sanctions against Aaron Walker that The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin file in the Walker v. Kimberlin, et al. lawsuit. Pay attention to paragraph 4.

popcorn4bkOf course, there is no way that TDPK can know what transpired when Aaron Walker reviewed the case docket and found that ex parte motion for a TRO, etc. However, Aaron did not have to use any special bar privileges to view the docket. Anyone can. The court had unsealed TDPK’s motion, and it did so automatically because of he failed to [don’t educate the midget].

I don’t have a copy of the exhibits, but any of the Gentle Readers can get them from the Clerk’s Office of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County for 50 cents per page.

Quote of the Day [hogewash]

Maximum ornamentum amicitiæ tollit, qui ex ea tollit verecundiam. He takes the greatest ornament from friendship, who takes modesty from it.

—Marcus Tullius Cicero

Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign [hogewash]

Johnny Atsign Logo 2ANNOUNCER: From Westminster, it’s time for—

SOUND: Skype rings once.

JOHNNY: Johnny Atsign.

PRO BONO: (Telephone Filter) Hi, Johnny. I’ve got a job for you.

JOHNNY: OK. What’s up?

PRO BONO: (Telephone Filter) The Bomber has served one of my clients with a summons, and he almost did it right this time.

JOHNNY: Almost?

PRO BONO: (Telephone Filter) Yeah. He paid for Restricted Delivery, and the USPS tracking shows Restricted Delivery was paid for, but the Post Office actually delivered it to someone else.

JOHNNY: He can’t seem to ever get this right.

PRO BONO: (Telephone Filter) We’re accepting service, but I want you to look at what’s going on. We believe he’s messed up service on some others.

MUSIC: Theme up and under.

ANNOUNCER: The Lickspittle Broadcasting System presents W. J. J. Hoge in the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed Twitter account, America’s fabulous free-lance Internet investigator …

JOHNNY: Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!

MUSIC: Theme up to music out.

JOHNNY: The following is partial extract of the tweets sent and received during my investigation of the Going Postal Matter.

JOHNNY TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @TheBomber Having trouble playing post office?

JOHNNY: I knew that The Bomber had been having all sorts of trouble effecting service of process on several of the defendants in almost all of his lawsuits. He had been caught altering a Certified Mail green card that had been a part of exhibits in the first state case he filed against Pro Bono’s clients. In that instance, he was forced to admit in open court that he had altered the card. He had filed an unaltered copy with one motion and an altered copy with another motion, and one of Pro Bono’s clients noticed the discrepancy.

I was able to work with one of my tech guys to provided support for the alteration. I had this conversation back in April of last year.

GEEK: (Telephone Filter) Well, the obvious thing is that those copies of that green card mailed in January show different markings on what’s supposed to be the same card. That’s clearly bogus.

JOHNNY: Everyone’s picking up on that. What else have you got?

GEEK: (Telephone Filter) Oh, there’s more. I sent you an email a few minutes ago. Have you got it?

JOHNNY: Let me check.

SOUND: Typing on keyboard.

JOHNNY: Yeah. Here it is.

GEEK: (Telephone Filter) Scroll down to the blow up of the check marks on that green card.

JOHNNY: OK. I’ve got it.

GEEK: (Telephone Filter) That’s from the green card he mailed back in September. Look at the two check marks. The one in the Certified Mail check box is the same weight as all the other writing and marks on the card. Now, look at the mark in the Restricted Delivery box.

JOHNNY: It’s a finer line.

GEEK: (Telephone Filter) Bingo. Not only that, but the RGB values of the pixels in the two lines are enough different to convince me that they’re different colors of ink.

JOHNNY: Which means …

GEEK: (Telephone Filter) A different pen made that mark.

ANNOUNCER: Here in real world of Westminster, we’re having one of those pleasant summer evenings when it’s nice to sit on the porch and sip a cold drink while listening to crickets and watching the lightning bugs. I’ve been sipping mine from a Murum Aries Attigit travel mug. It’s just one of the goodies exclusively available for you to spend your hard-earned cash on at The Hogewash Store. Stop by today, and spend some cash to support Team Lickspittle. You can also show your support by hitting the Tip Jar or buy doing your Amazon shopping via the link on the Home page.

JOHNNY: The Bomber tried the same scam about three months later, and, again, my tech guy was able to provide additional evidence of the tomfoolery.

GEEK: Well, first of all, the court exhibit you gave me from PACER is unusable. The resolution is too poor.

JOHNNY: I guessed that it would be.

GEEK: I downloaded the pictures that were posted on GoodGuysUnmasked. They were interesting.


GEEK: Yeah. Take a look at this picture of this card and compare it with the version the same card in his original exhibit.

JOHNNY: I see … They’re not the same. Both have the Restricted Delivery box checked, but the “before mailing” photo doesn’t have the Certified Mail box checked. The returned card does.

GEEK: What that tends to show is that he mailed the stuff with improperly marked cards. It doesn’t matter who put that “X” on the returned card. Also, The Bomber still has the problems of explaining why the USPS records show that he didn’t pay for Restricted Delivery and why there is insufficient postage on the one envelope that shows the amount paid.

JOHNNY: So you’re telling me …

GEEK: Atsign, I’m still convinced these green cards are bogus.

JOHNNY: But had The bomber been stupid enough or arrogant enough to do it again. This time I took the evidence to the local post office, and they referred me to the Postal Inspectors.

INSPECTOR: Yeah, none of these should have been handled for Restricted Delivery, especially the ones with insufficient postage.

JOHNNY: All of them? What about the one with sufficient postage.

INSPECTOR: Nope. Not even that one. Postal regulations are clear, and it’s not not properly marked. Sometimes letter carriers will still go for Restricted Delivery if they notice a check mark on the green card, but none of these envelopes are properly marked.

JOHNNY TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @TheBomber Rules, including Postal Regulations, are for the little people.

ANNOUNCER: Now, here’s our star to tell you about next week’s intriguing episode of our story.

JOHNNY: Next time? Adventures in stamp collecting. Join us, won’t you?

Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!

MUSIC: Swell theme and under

ANNOUNCER: Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign, starring W. J. J. Hoge, is transcribed in Westminster. Be sure to join us next Monday, same time and URL, for the next exciting episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign.

MUSIC: Theme up to music out.

ANNOUNCER: Johnny Atsign is a work of fiction. If anyone thinks it’s about him, he should read Proverbs 28:1.

Be sure to tune in every Friday at 6 pm Eastern Time for an episode of Blognet or Blogsmoke on alternating weeks. This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System.

Jeb: Hey let’s do “free tuition” and pay back students who don’t graduate in four years [Hot Air » Top Picks]


Jeb Bush has a fantastically awful idea when it comes to college education. He thinks community college students should get “free” tuition for two years. If that’s sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the exact same thing President Barack Obama proposed in January. Which shows how completely hypocritical Bush is because he came out against Obama’s […]

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Are you ready for some violence!? Er… I mean, football? [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Apparently not as crazy as the media would have you believe

Football players are violent, right? It’s just one of those things that we all know. You see headlines all too often about the ones who either kill somebody, beat up their girlfriends, get involved in dog fighting or shoot themselves in the leg in a bar. And every time it happens you can generally rest […]

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Rubio: Trump won’t be our nominee because we’re not an angry nation [Hot Air » Top Picks]


Is Marco Rubio sure about that? The 2016 cycle appears ready to boil down to the question of whether the US electorate is an angry one. Rubio’s betting on no — and strategizing on it as well: In his stump speech to fewer than 100 people in the northern part of the second presidential nominating […]

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Grassley to Kerry: Hillary committed “serious” violation by giving attorneys e-mail files [Hot Air » Top Picks]

HRC SCIF'n'stuff.

Did Hillary Clinton commit an egregious security violation by giving her attorneys the files from her private e-mail server? The files contained classified material, including Top Secret/compartmented information from the NSA, DIA, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which produces some of the most sensitive intelligence of all from US spy satellites. The files got transmitted […]

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Oh, by the way: Pentagon investigating Centcom officials for distorting intel assessments about progress against ISIS [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Cooking the books.

Something from the lighter side of the news while we await updates on more serious matters, like the feud between Donald Trump and Fox. There are many ominous things about this story but none more than this: Everyone understands that we haven’t made much progress against ISIS. It’s no secret. If Centcom’s cooking the books […]

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ABC: Gunman who murdered journalists apparently sent fax blaming Charleston shooting, mistreatment as black gay man [Hot Air » Top Picks]

“What sent me over the top was the church shooting."

Someone claiming to be “Bryce Williams” called ABC News over the past few weeks, before the shooting, asking if he could pitch a story and fax them some information but never did. The shooting in Virginia happened at 6:46 a.m. this morning. A little later, a 23-page fax timestamped 8:26 a.m. ET arrived at ABC […]

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Power plants in NY closing after “help” from government [Hot Air » Top Picks]

We're from the government and we're here to help

Out in the western portion of New York there is a coal fired power plant located in Dunkirk which is operated by NRG Energy. It’s an aging plant and they recently made the decision to convert over to natural gas. The reasons are varied, but there’s obviously been a lot of pressure from the government […]

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New York mag source on Trump/Fox feud: “Roger [Ailes] says Trump is unelectable. His goal here is to save the country.” [Hot Air » Top Picks]


Some new Fox juiciness from Gabriel Sherman. If you don’t trust him to report fairly on Fox, discount the following accordingly. But since virtually all Trump fans are already convinced that Fox is part of a RINO establishment plot to take down Trump, with Megyn Kelly leading the effort at the debate, I think you’ll […]

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How Ashley Madison became a much bigger deal than it actually is [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Are you really blaming the web site?

As this whole Ashley Madison adultery web site story has played out I honestly haven’t had much to say about it. It’s salacious to be sure and it may wind up pulling in all sorts of interesting figures, including political ones, but there just hasn’t seemed to be much meat to the story in terms […]

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New Project Veritas Action vid: Team Hillary says “move on” to non-Hillary supporters on voter registration? [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Where have we heard "Move On" before?

Just last week, Hillary Clinton and her campaign crowed that they had busted James O’Keefe and Project Veritas Action investigators who tried to infiltrate their campaign. Time’s Zeke Miller reported that Team Hillary had bragged that they thwarted an attempted exposé on voter registration efforts, which require campaigns to register any voter regardless of candidate […]

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Jorge Ramos: My “right” to talk over other reporters and ask Trump grandstanding questions was trampled [Hot Air » Top Picks]

"After two or three questions I thought it was my turn and my right to ask a question."

Is that headline not a fair characterization of what he’s saying here? In what sense was his “right” to question Trump at that moment any greater than any other reporter’s? He says at one point in passing in the clip below, “I thought it was my turn,” but that’s obviously not true. Go watch the […]

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More on Virginia, Trump and the “loyalty pledge” [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Pledge this

Yesterday Allahpundit covered the breaking news out of South Carolina, where “presidential candidates” are required to sign off on a party loyalty pledge in order to appear on the ballot there. It’s worth putting the term presidential candidates in scare quotes as this story moves to other states because there’s really only one candidate they […]

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Video: Cruz rebukes Megyn Kelly for asking “liberal journalist” questions [Hot Air » Top Picks]


Open season on Fox News and Megyn Kelly? After spending the previous day finding herself back under fire from Donald Trump over her debate questions, Kelly interviewed Ted Cruz last night about immigration — and got rebuked by Cruz over her “mainstream media liberal journalist” questioning. Kelly repeatedly asked Cruz to answer a hypothetical involving […]

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Huma Abedin lashing out at Chuck Grassley for “damaging her reputation” [Hot Air » Top Picks]

This should be interesting

Hillary Clinton’s long time confidant, Huma Abedin, is sick and tired of you nasty Republicans dragging her good name through the mud and she’s not going to take it anymore. In response to the mean spirited nature of a Senate Committee asking the State Department to produce certain documents related to her time working for […]

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Breaking: Reporter, photographer shot to death on live TV in VA; Update: McAuliffe says “disgruntled former employee”? Update: Suspect shoots self, in critical condition; Update: Suspect pronounced dead [Hot Air » Top Picks]


Two journalists from WDBJ have been killed in a shooting that was captured on live television this morning. Alison Parker was in the middle of an interview airing live when a gunman shot her to death, and photographer Adam Ward was then shot and killed as well. No one has been arrested as of yet: […]

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Lauer to Trump: Do these feuds work for you? [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Are you kidding?

After the past three weeks, one would think that the answer to Matt Lauer’s question would be apparent. Donald Trump went to war with Fox News after the first debate, and his polling went nowhere but up in the Republican primary. He went to war with them again last night, and threw in Univision for […]

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North Dakota’s governor is retiring and why you should care [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Safe travels, Governor

North Dakota’s Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple has announced that he will not be seeking reelection next year when his current term expires. He’s leaving office, not under some cloud of scandal or suspicion, but as one of the most popular governors in the country, with approval ratings consistently in the 60% or above range. Even […]

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Quotes of the day [Hot Air » Top Picks]


Chaos is Donald Trump’s best friend in his 2016 presidential bid. The more of it, the better… At its most basic, Trump’s 2016 message is this: Everything is broken.  None of the people in charge know how to fix it.  And no one will tell you that truth except for me. What better way to […]

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Outrage of the day: People might dress up as Caitlyn Jenner for Halloween [Hot Air » Top Picks]

It’s true. In a country of 350 million people, some of them might dare dress up as one of the most talked-about cultural figures of the entire year with the easiest-to-execute signature outfit, and some of them might not do it with the intention of being assiduously sensitive to the varied journeys and struggles of […]

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Birth tourism from China to the U.S. actually is a problem [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Jeb was...right?

Jeb Bush is getting some heat for a comment he made in South Texas where he said his use of the term “anchor babies” didn’t involve Central Americans, but Asians. He’s actually right (and this is one of the few times I’ll write this). Here’s his comment: As I said in Spanish. My background, my […]

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Bad news: A Hillary-Biden primary fight will get ugly fast [Hot Air » Top Picks]

No kidding.

Stop snickering. The prospects of an internecine fight between Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden should have progressives worried, especially with Bernie Sanders still rising in the polls. Michael Tomasky rightly frets that a Biden entry while Hillary still remains in the race will have both sides “going for the jugular” — and in both cases, the jugulars are […]

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Oof: Chairman of Rick Perry’s Iowa campaign quits — and joins Team Trump [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Abandon ship?

At this rate, it’s hard to believe he won’t be the first mid-major candidate out of the race. His fundraising has been so poor, thanks in part to Ted Cruz soaking up lots of Texas money, that Perry had to temporarily stop paying his staff two weeks ago. The money’s since started flowing again as […]

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“Go back to Univision”: Trump kicks Jorge Ramos out of presser for asking questions without being called on [Hot Air » Top Picks]


Alternate headline: “Trump rises another 10 points in Republican polls.” When reporters first started huffing about this on Twitter, it sounded as though Trump had booted this guy out of the room for doing nothing more than asking him a question he didn’t care for, an ominous sign from a would-be president who’s building a […]

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Lindsey Graham to Trump: I’ll beat your brains out in South Carolina [Hot Air » Top Picks]


I get that he needs to show a little bravado about a state that’s elected him to the Senate three times but this is a weird boast to make when you realize that South Carolina is Trump’s strongest state so far among the early big three. He leads by single digits in Iowa and appears […]

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*Divergent Paths* [Marginal REVOLUTION]

That is the new forthcoming Richard Posner book and the subtitle is The Academy and the Judiciary.  Virtually everything by Posner is worth reading, and this comparison of the worlds of the professor and the judge is no exception.

Is the FDA Too Conservative or Too Aggressive? [Marginal REVOLUTION]

I have long argued that the FDA has an incentive to delay the introduction of new drugs because approving a bad drug (Type I error) has more severe consequences for the FDA than does failing to approve a good drug (Type II error). In the former case at least some victims are identifiable and the New York Times writes stories about them and how they died because the FDA failed. In the latter case, when the FDA fails to approve a good drug, people die but the bodies are buried in an invisible graveyard.

In an excellent new paper (SSRN also here) Vahid Montazerhodjat and Andrew Lo use a Bayesian analysis to model the optimal tradeoff in clinical trials between sample size, Type I and Type II error. Failing to approve a good drug is more costly, for example, the more severe the disease. Thus, for a very serious disease, we might be willing to accept a greater Type I error in return for a lower Type II error. The number of people with the disease also matters. Holding severity constant, for example, the more people with the disease the more you want to increase sample size to reduce Type I error. All of these variables interact.

In an innovation the authors use the U.S. Burden of Disease Study to find the number of deaths and the disability severity caused by each major disease. Using this data they estimate the costs of failing to approve a good drug. Similarly, using data on the costs of adverse medical treatment they estimate the cost of approving a bad drug.

Putting all this together the authors find that the FDA is often dramatically too conservative:

…we show that the current standards of drug-approval are weighted more on avoiding a Type I error (approving ineffective therapies) rather than a Type II error (rejecting effective therapies). For example, the standard Type I error of 2.5% is too conservative for clinical trials of therapies for pancreatic cancer—a disease with a 5-year survival rate of 1% for stage IV patients (American Cancer Society estimate, last updated 3 February 2013). The BDA-optimal size for these clinical trials is 27.9%, reflecting the fact that, for these desperate patients, the cost of trying an ineffective drug is considerably less than the cost of not trying an effective one.

(The authors also find that the FDA is occasionally a little too aggressive but these errors are much smaller, for example, the authors find that for prostate cancer therapies the optimal significance level is 1.2% compared to a standard rule of 2.5%.)

The result is important especially because in a number of respects, Montazerhodjat and Lo underestimate the costs of FDA conservatism. Most importantly, the authors are optimizing at the clinical trial stage assuming that the supply of drugs available to be tested is fixed. Larger trials, however, are more expensive and the greater the expense of FDA trials the fewer new drugs will be developed. Thus, a conservative FDA reduces the flow of new drugs to be tested. In a sense, failing to approve a good drug has two costs, the opportunity cost of lives that could have been saved and the cost of reducing the incentive to invest in R&D. In contrast, approving a bad drug while still an error at least has the advantage of helping to incentivize R&D (similarly, a subsidy to R&D incentivizes R&D in a sense mostly by covering the costs of failed ventures).

The Montazerhodjat and Lo framework is also static, there is one test and then the story ends. In reality, drug approval has an interesting asymmetric dynamic. When a drug is approved for sale, testing doesn’t stop but moves into another stage, a combination of observational testing and sometimes more RCTs–this, after all, is how adverse events are discovered. Thus, Type I errors are corrected. On the other hand, for a drug that isn’t approved the story does end. With rare exceptions, Type II errors are never corrected. The Montazerhodjat and Lo framework could be interpreted as the reduced form of this dynamic process but it’s better to think about the dynamism explicitly because it suggests that approval can come in a range–for example, approval with a black label warning, approval with evidence grading and so forth. As these procedures tend to reduce the costs of Type I error they tend to increase the costs of FDA conservatism.

Montazerhodjat and Lo also don’t examine the implications of heterogeneity of preferences or of disease morbidity and mortality. Some people, for example, are severely disabled by diseases that on average aren’t very severe–the optimal tradeoff for these patients will be different than for the average patient. One size doesn’t fit all. In the standard framework it’s tough luck for these patients. But if the non-FDA reviewing apparatus (patients/physicians/hospitals/HMOs/USP/Consumer Reports and so forth) works relatively well, and this is debatable but my work on off-label prescribing suggests that it does, this weighs heavily in favor of relatively large samples but low thresholds for approval. What the FDA is really providing is information and we don’t need product bans to convey information. Thus, heterogeneity plus a reasonable effective post-testing choice process, mediates in favor of a Consumer Reports model for the FDA.

The bottom line, however, is that even without taking into account these further points, Montazerhodjat and Lo find that the FDA is far too conservative especially for severe diseases. FDA regulations may appear to be creating safe and effective drugs but they are also creating a deadly caution.

Hat tip: David Balan.

The Great Trade Contraction has been continuing [Marginal REVOLUTION]

World trade recorded its largest contraction since the financial crisis in the first half of this year, according to figures that will feed concerns over the global economy and add fuel to a debate over whether globalisation has peaked.

The volume of global trade fell 0.5 per cent in the three months to June compared to the first quarter, the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, keepers of the World Trade Monitor, said on Tuesday. Economists there also revised down their result for the first quarter to a 1.5 per cent contraction, making the first half of 2015 the worst recorded since the 2009 collapse in global trade that followed the crisis.

That is from Shawn Donnan at the FT.  Here is a previous post on the world trade slowdown, now a contraction apparently.

Immigration sentences to ponder [Marginal REVOLUTION]

“I would never have been able to arrive at my destination without my smartphone,” he added. “I get stressed out when the battery even starts to get low.”

That is from Osama Aljasem, a 32-year-old music teacher from Deir al-Zour in Syria, who took a boat to Greece, walked to Belgrade, and hopes to continue to parts further north and west:

In this modern migration, smartphone maps, global positioning apps, social media and WhatsApp have become essential tools.

Recommended.  And yes, disintermediation is kicking in:

“Right now the traffickers are losing business because people are going alone, thanks to Facebook,” said Mohamed Haj Ali, 38, who works with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital — a major stopover for migrants.

Facebook groups are used to pass along GPS coordinates and the prices charged by the traffickers have fallen in half.

Democrats Who Didn’t Let the #WDBJ Crisis Go to Waste [The PJ Tatler]

The nation was shocked this morning when a crazed, disgruntled former WDBJ employee, spurred by racial animus, shot and killed a young reporter and her cameraman during a live broadcast in Moneta, Virginia.

Predictably, what most Americans saw as a horrific tragedy, Alinskyite Dems saw as an opportunity to score political points on gun control.

Here are a few Dems who jumped at the chance to politicize the tragedy today:

Hillary Clinton called for “action on gun control” before all the facts were known.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called for “common sense gun control” whatever that is:

Gov. Terry McAuliffe stressed more gun control while admitting he has no idea how the gunman acquired the gun:

Said McAuliffe:

Twice I have brought legislation before the general assembly. Twice I have asked that we have background checks. Twice now they have rejected background checks.” He said there are “individuals in this country who should not be allowed to own a firearm and it’s just tragic that this kind of legislation cannot be passed and signed into law.

An unnamed reporter then asked, “Do you know that [the gunman] is not a permit holder? Do you know that he has a criminal background?”

McAuliffe responded by saying, “I don’t. At this stage I don’t.”

Rob Delaney. Don’t know who this is? Don’t feel bad — neither do I — but Twitchy thinks he’s somebody and found his attempt to play the blame-game disgusting:

Bart Hubbuch, the New York Post sports columnist, tells us who is really to blame:

Hubbach obviously doesn’t read the New York Daily News:

The NYPD is in an all-out battle with illegal guns — and all of us are losing.

More people are getting shot. More people are being killed. And fewer people are being stopped and frisked.

“We’re struggling with homicides and shootings,” NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill said Monday. “As we expect when warm weather comes, we see an increase in certain crimes.”

O’Neill laid out the grim numbers during a press conference at 1 Police Plaza, revealing a 19.5% spike in homicides during the first five months of the year. There were 135 murders through Sunday compared to 113 at the same time last year.

Maybe if the left would stop never letting crises go to waste, we’d have fewer crises.

White House, Clinton Make Gun-Control Push Hours After Virginia Journalist Murders [The PJ Tatler]

The Obama administration and Hillary Clinton sounded off on gun control hours after two journalists were killed by a disgruntled former colleague near Roanoke, Va.

At the daily briefing, press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters he “did not have the opportunity to speak to the president about the tragic shooting that occurred earlier today in Virginia.”

“Obviously, the thoughts and prayers of everybody here at the White House are with the families of those who were injured or killed in that terrible incident,” Earnest said. “The precise details of that incident continue to be under investigation. But as you’ve heard me say in the past, this is another example of gun violence that is becoming all too common in communities large and small all across the United States.”

“And while there is no piece of legislation that will end all violence in this country, there are some common-sense things that only Congress can do that we know would have a tangible impact in reducing gun violence in this country, and Congress could take those steps in a way that would not infringe on the constitutional rights of law- abiding Americans. And the president’s long advocated Congress taking those steps, and the president continues to believe that they should do so.”

On a campaign stop in Iowa, Clinton told reporters, “We have got to do something about gun violence in America, and I will take it on.”

“I believe we are smart enough, compassionate enough to balance Second Amendment rights” with gun control, she said, adding there are too many “needless, senseless deaths.”

“I feel this great heartache at what happened,” Clinton continued, saying the country can “not let yet another terrible instance go by” without addressing the “terrible killing that is stalking our country.”

“There is so much evidence that if guns were not so readily available… maybe we could prevent this kind of carnage.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who chaired Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, said in a statement that “as we reflect with heavy hearts on this tragedy, it is appropriate to begin to ask questions about how we can prevent these senseless events in the future.”

“Keeping guns out of the hands of people who would use them to harm our family, friends and loved ones is not a political issue; it is a matter of ensuring that more people can come home safely at the end of the day,” McAuliffe said. “We cannot rest until we have done whatever it takes to rid our society of preventable gun violence that results in tragedies like the one we are enduring today.”

Earnest said the lack of passing more gun control remains President Obama’s “greatest frustration” in office.

“We could do that in a way that wouldn’t undermine the basic constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. I think, you know, there’s little argument about that, I think,” the press secretary said.

“There continues to, however, be, a very vocal portion of the U.S. population — I think it’s a minority and I think the polls bear that out — however, that has a lot of sway in Congress when it comes to issues related to guns. And the president has found that disappointing and frustrating, principally because he believes it’s bad public policy. And for us to not take common-sense steps to address what I think we all acknowledge what I think we all acknowledge is a pretty significant problem,” Earnest continued.

“But I think the president has also been disappointed that our political system hasn’t responded in the way that he would like. There’s clear — there are clear majorities in both the Democratic and Republican parties, according to many polls, for these policies. There are even some polls that indicate that there are clear majorities of gun owners that support some of these common-sense steps. But yet, we haven’t seen Congress take this action.”

Democrats Who Didn’t Let the #WDBJ Crisis Go to Waste

Virginia Shooter Wanted to Ignite a ‘Race War’ [The PJ Tatler]

The man who killed two journalists on live television in Virginia sent a suicide note to ABC News claiming the killings were in response to the shootings at a Charleston, SC, church that killed 9 people in June.

Bryce Williams, AKA Vester Lee Flanagan, contacted ABC News several times over the last several weeks saying he wanted to pitch a story to them.  He never gave them an idea what the story was. Then today, Williams faxed what he called a “suicide note” in which he claimed the shooting of the reporters was a response to the Charleston killings and that he desired a race war.

ABC News:

This morning, a fax was in the machine (time stamped 8:26 a.m.) almost two hours after the shooting. A little after 10 a.m., he called again, and introduced himself as Bryce, but also said his legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan, and that he shot two people this morning. While on the phone, he said authorities are “after me,” and “all over the place.” He hung up. ABC News contacted the authorities immediately and provided them with the fax.

In the 23-page document faxed to ABC News, the writer says “MY NAME IS BRYCE WILLIAMS” and his legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II.” He writes what triggered today’s carnage was his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting:

“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15…”

“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”

It is unclear whose initials he is referring to. He continues, “As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.

Later in the manifesto, the writer quotes the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, calls him “his boy,” and expresses admiration for the Columbine High School killers. “Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harrisand Dylann Klebold got…just sayin.’”

In an often rambling letter to the authorities, and family and friends, he writes of a long list of grievances. In one part of the document, Williams calls it a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family.”

  • He says has suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work
  • He says he has been attacked by black men and white females
  • He talks about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man

“Yes, it will sound like I am angry…I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace….”

Perhaps someone should point out the vicious, hateful rhetoric coming from some “activists” following the Charleston tragedy as a motivating factor for Williams’ act. But I won’t.

This man is obviously mentally ill, but is he responsible for his actions? Like the Aurora, Colorado, shooter James Holmes who was found fit to stand trial despite mental illness, Williams demonstrated no outward signs of an illness that would disqualify him from facing justice.

By taking his own life, Williams closed off any official investigation of his actions and will remain something of a mystery.

Shock: Media Matters Accuses Breitbart of ‘Race Baiting’ #WDBJ [The PJ Tatler]

Here’s a shocker: Media Matters has accused Breitbart of “race baiting” coverage of the shooting of Alison Parker and two others by Vester Lee Flanagan.   A Media Matters press release:

Breitbart News reacted to reports that two Virginia journalists were shot to death on-air by a disgruntled former co-worker by publishing an article with the headline, “RACE MURDER IN VIRGINIA: BLACK REPORTER SUSPECTED OF EXECUTING WHITE COLLEAGUES - ON LIVE TELEVISION!

On August 26, two employees of Roanoke, Virginia CBS affiliate WDBJ were shot to death while reporting from Smith Mountain Lake, a public recreation area popular for boating and fishing. The gunman, who later shot himself but apparently survived, is reportedly a former employee of the affiliate.

Breitbart News reacted to the shooting with a race-baiting article authored by editor-at-large John Nolte. The piece was widely condemned by other members of the media, many of whom pointed out Breitbart News’ lengthy history of racially charged reporting and commentary.

Well that settles it, doesn’t it?  If other members of the media condemned it, then it must be valid.

Here’s what we know so far.  The killer tweeted out that the victim made “racist” comments.  So the killer himself, like other killers before him, made his killing about something touching on race.  Let’s see how this story unfolds, and the degree, if any, of racial hostility and racial grievance articulated by the killer.  Early reports are he may have faxed a 26-page manifesto to an ABC station.  Let’s see how it is covered, if indeed it is his.

Here’s another theory.  If the story plays out that Vester Flanagan has all the character and color-blindness of Dylann Roof, then the mainstream media will have a very uncomfortable story on their hands (yet again).  Media Matters is more comfortable covering stories about evil white supremacists shooting up a church in Charleston than they are the mirror image.

In fact, Media Matters runs interference to disrupt that mirror-image narrative, over and over again. Voter intimidation by white thugs: bad.  Voter intimidation by black thugs: no big deal.  Racially motivated murder by whites: above the fold in bold.  Racially motivated murder by blacks: no evidence, didn’t happen, and if Breitbart says it, it must be race-baiting.

If the mirror-image murder had happened, with a white shooter killing a black reporter and tweeting about his racial motivation, the Obama Justice Department would have flooded the zone, and topped it off with a press conference.  We’ve seen this pattern repeatedly.  We’re used to it by now.

No race is free from evil bad actors, despite the dishonest attacks by the Soros drones at Media Matters.

Afterthought: Flanagan went by the name Bryce Williams.  Any Gamecocks fan will recognize this as Williams Bryce flipped.  I wonder if his time at WSPA was when he used this on-air name.




Colorado’s Social Order Intact 18 Months After Legal Marijuana [The PJ Tatler]

A year and a half after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, society continues to function. That’s the observation presented by Reason TV in the above report. Christian Sederberg, an attorney who actively promoted the change in policy, reflects on the fallout — or lack thereof. “[Critics] set a very specific expectation in a lot of people’s minds that this was going to be this terrible thing, and it just hasn’t played out at all,” he told Reason’s Alexis Garcia.

Regarding complaints of a flourishing black market under the new legal arrangement, Sederberg argues that change occurs over time. “Here’s the deal. $700 million of sales last year did not go through the black market. They went through regulated stores, taxed and regulated. This year, we’re talking about close to a billion [in anticipated legal sales]. So anyone that’s saying the black market is flourishing… [it's] ‘flourishing’ having lost a billion dollars.”

It seems odd to point to a lingering black market as an argument for effectively expanding that same market. Black markets are creatures of the state. If you don’t want a black market, legalize commerce. Otherwise, so long as there are people willing to buy and others willing to sell, they will connect with each other one way or the other.

Clinton Campaign Going After Sanders on Gun Rights [The PJ Tatler]

Campaigning for Hillary Clinton this week in New Hampshire, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy went into inevitable territory as Bernie Sanders leads polls in the first-in-the-nation state: he attacked the Vermont senator’s gun-rights stance.

“It’s an anathema to my own,” Malloy said of Sanders’ platform during a meeting with Clinton organizers in Manchester, according to the Stamford Advocate. “I don’t understand it.”

“Her position among the Democrats is a lot more popular than his position,” Malloy said later. “There’s a difference.”

Sanders leads Clinton 42 percent to 35 percent in a new Public Policy Polling survey. And he’s leading in every category of Dems in New Hampshire: “somewhat liberal,” “very liberal” and moderate.

The senator leads Clinton among men and women, but seniors like 67-year-old Clinton over 73-year-old Sanders. With voters under age 65, Bernie leads 45 percent to 29 percent for Hillary.

Sanders voted against the Brady Bill when he was in the House, and his votes as senator have included joining with Republicans on the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which would have guaranteed veterans due process rights in being deemed “mentally defective” by the VA and having their ability to own a gun stripped away.

He’s been questioned about his position on guns on the campaign trail, and hasn’t swayed. “If somebody has a gun and somebody steals that gun and shoots somebody, do you really think it makes sense to blame the manufacturer of that weapon?” he said at a July forum when asked about his vote to protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits. “If somebody assaults you with a baseball bat, you hit somebody over the head, you’re not going to sue the baseball bat manufacturer.”

Sanders told MSNBC that month that common ground should be sought on gun legislation, like “nobody should have a gun who has a criminal background, who’s involved in domestic abuse situations.”

“We have a huge loophole now with gun shows that should be eliminated. There may be other things that we have to do,” he said.

“But coming from a rural state, I think I can communicate with folks coming from urban states where guns mean different things than they do in Vermont where it’s used for hunting. That’s where we’ve got to go. We don’t have to argue with each other and yell at each other. We need a common sense solution.”

Walmart to Stop Selling ‘Assault Rifles’ [The PJ Tatler]

Walmart has announced it will stop selling AR-15s and other “assault rifles” because there is lower consumer demand for them “rather than for political reasons.”

AR-15s aren’t really assault rifles, as a matter of fact. “Intermediate-caliber rifle, chambered for cartridges such as 7.62x39mm, with a selector switch that determines full or semi-automatic fire, such as the M16, and that is the standard infantry weapon of modern armies. The term is purposely and wrongly applied by anti-gun forces to AR-style rifles, which function as semi-automatics only.”

“The world’s largest retailer will replace rifles, which are sold at about one third of its U.S. stores, with shotguns and other hunting weapons. Quartz reported the news earlier.”

I hope they increase their ammunition stock, as it’s still hard to find certain rounds.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of demand for those products so we replaced them with products we have seen customers coming into purchase it,” Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg told Fortune.

Walmart, the single largest seller of guns and ammunition, has been targeted by the gun grabbers and pressured to stop selling firearms.

The move by Walmart comes as firearms makers struggle with declining sales: Remington Outdoor Group last week reported that its sale of firearms fell 13.3% in the first half of the year, while Smith & Wesson’s overall sales saw a 12% drop. Sales often spike when gun enthusiasts believe there will be tighter gun laws put in place, then often slip when those concerns pass.

Lundberg said the retailer has been phasing out modern sporting rifles “for a while and within the next week or two, MSRs shouldn’t be in any more stores.”

Obama’s ‘Final Assault’ on Guns


U.S. Post Office Performance Continues to Decline [The PJ Tatler]

The Washington Post is reporting that the quality of service we’re seeing from the U.S. Postal Service is in decline. The number of letters arriving late “has jumped by almost 50 percent since the start of the year.”

And that’s “measured against the agency’s own newly relaxed standards.”

The Postal Service blames “down-sizing” for it’s crappy service.

Mail that’s supposed to take two days to arrive took longer — anywhere from 6 to 15 percent of the time during the first six months of 2015, investigators found, a decline in service of almost 7 percent from the same period last year. Letters that should take three to five days took longer anywhere from 18 to 44 percent of the time, a 38 percent decline in performance over the same time last year.

Of course, it’s the weather.

But postal officials have struggled this year to meet even these lower standards.  The delays have been compounded by two factors, the inspector general found: Severe storms last winter and changes to plant operations that started when the new standards took effect. Thousands of postal workers were reassigned and shifts were changed, resulting in a disorganized, inefficient workplace.

A government operation is “disorganized and inefficient”? Imagine that.  It seems like a good time to re-evaluate whether snail mail is a good taxpayer investment. But not everyone wants to have that discussion.

“Members of Congress are now hearing from angry constituents whose mail is taking longer to arrive. The House took a drastic step this spring, passing a measure that requires the Postal Service to return mail delivery standards to 2012 levels. It raised the possibility that some shuttered plants would have to reopen.”

But the Congressional Budget Office said the price to “turn back the clock” was “so high” that it would be unrealistic. Legislation to fix the service has been unsuccessful so far.

After foundering in three Congresses, legislation to stabilize postal finances is still a possibility, congressional aides say. One of the key issues a bill is likely to address is how to make sure that as the post office cuts costs, it doesn’t shortchange its customers, particularly those in rural areas.

Yes, cutting costs while continuing to provide quality customer service is  how the private sector works. If they can’t manage, then they close down.

Democrat Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced a bill after her constituents complained about their late deliveries and problems with the Postal Service.  The senator is joined by three others, all of whom have rural constituencies, to deal with the problem.  It would require that mail reach it destination faster.

Cruz Becomes the Second GOP Candidate to Attack Megyn Kelly [The PJ Tatler]

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz criticized Fox News’ Megyn Kelly for asking a question about deporting illegal immigrants that “every mainstream media liberal journalist wants to ask.”

The Hill:

“If you have a husband and wife who are illegal immigrants, and they have two children here who are American citizens — would you deport all of them? Would you deport the American citizen children?” Kelly asked.

“Megyn, I get that that’s the question you want to ask,” Cruz said after repeatedly listing the steps Congress should take for addressing the issue. “That’s also the question every mainstream media liberal journalist wants to ask. They focus exclusively on 12 million people.”

Kelly then took issue with Cruz’s response, insisting that her question was fair.

“Is it an unfair question?” she asked the Texas lawmaker.

“It is a distraction from how we actually solve the problem,” Cruz responded. “You know, it’s also the question that [President] Barack Obama wants to focus on.”

“But why is it so hard? Why don’t you just say yes or no?” Kelly countered.

Cruz argued that the U.S. must secure its borders and overturn Obama’s executive order on immigration before addressing the issue of birthright citizenship and related deportations.

Cruz’s remarks come as Kelly is also feuding with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination next year.

Trump has repeatedly challenged Kelly’s credibility as a journalist following her questioning of him during the first GOP presidential debate earlier this month.

Cruz and Trump have repeatedly struck a friendly tone toward one another while campaigning for next year’s election.

Cruz has vowed he is avoiding Republican-on-Republican attacks because it is counterproductive to the conservative cause.

Kelly asked a question that many people want an answer to; i.e., specific policy proposals regarding how deportation is going to work. Sure it’s a hard question, but Cruz was obviously unprepared to answer it. So instead of making a fumbling and mumbling response, he attacked the messenger. No doubt good politics but it hardly recommends him as a candidate who can stand the gaff of a long campaign.

The idea that it’s a “liberal journalist” question to wonder how deportation is going to work in the real world is laughable. Are reporters not allowed to ask for any specifics regarding policy? Are they supposed to be fawning sycophants like news personalities at MSNBC and CNN?

Kelly is not going to put on a short skirt and wave pom-poms for the GOP base. She is doing her job, and judging by her ratings, she is doing it well enough for millions of people to tune in every night. She asked a perfectly fair question of someone who wants to be elected to the highest office in the land. Perhaps it’s time for Cruz and Trump to abandon the cheap applause lines attacking journalists and speak intelligently to the issues.

What a change that would be.

Trump Leads in N.H. While Kasich, Fiorina Make Gains; Sanders Trumping Clinton [The PJ Tatler]

A new poll out of New Hampshire shows a commanding lead for Donald Trump and two candidates making big surges.

The Public Policy Polling survey shows Trump at 35 percent in the first-in-the-nation primary state, while Ohio Gov. John Kasich is second with 11 percent and Carly Fiorina has 10 percent.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have seen big slips since their post-announcement peaks: from 14 percent to 4 percent for Cruz, and 12 percent to 4 percent for Paul. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has dropped from 7 percent to less than 1 percent.

Holding the middle at 7 percent in the new polls are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Ben Carson has 6 percent.

Some more notes from PPP:

“-Bush is really struggling. Only 38% of primary voters have a favorable opinion of him to 41% with a negative one. This is largely a function of his unpopularity with conservatives- among voters who identify themselves as ‘very conservative’ just 34% have a positive opinion of him to 48% who have a negative one. Only 3% say he’s their first choice for the nomination, putting him in a tie for 8th place with that group.

-Kasich is on the move because of his strength with moderate voters. He gets 20% with them, putting him second to Trump, and making up for his own trouble on the right- he gets just 1% with ‘very conservative’ voters. Moderates are 29% of the GOP electorate on this poll, a lot more than in most places.

-New Hampshire makes another state where Ben Carson is the most well liked Republican, with 62% rating him favorably to 17% who have a negative opinion. Carly Fiorina is not far behind him at 58/19. Besides those two and Trump, the only other Republican seen positively by a majority of primary voters is Marco Rubio at 50/27.

-Besides Bush, Huckabee, and Paul other Republican hopefuls with negative favorabilities even among the GOP electorate in New Hampshire are Lindsey Graham at 20/43 (-23), Chris Christie at 35/46 (-11), Jim Gilmore at 4/13 (-9) George Pataki at 27/32 (-5), and Rick Perry at 34/37 (-3).”

On the Dem side, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is holding off Hillary Clinton, 42 percent to 35 percent. And he’s leading in every category of Dems in New Hampshire: “somewhat liberal,” “very liberal” and moderate.

Sanders leads Clinton among men and women, but seniors like 67-year-old Clinton over 73-year-old Sanders. With voters under age 65, Bernie leads 45 percent to 29 percent for Hillary.

Fiorina told MSNBC this morning that debate rules which average national polls should instead use polling from the early states to determine who gets primetime.

“I think Donald Trump is perhaps, as much as anything, a big wakeup call to the professional-political class, as well as the media, honestly. People are tired of both. And they don’t trust either one anymore. I think what Donald Trump taps into is a disgust with professional-political class, a belief that the game is rigged and that in part whether this is fair or not, the media helped rig it. I think people want truth telling in politics,” Fiorina said.

“…Having said all that, I think what presidential campaigns do is reveal character over time and under pressure. And I think character will be revealed of all the candidates over time and under pressure.”

Iraq Begins Documenting Christian Persecution [The PJ Tatler]

The Iraqi government has for the first time begun collecting and documenting statistics on Christian persecution in the country. Some of the figures include 7,000 violations against property belonging to Christians since 2003 and a decrease in the Christian population of Iraq of over a million during the same timeframe. One report in June claimed that in Baghdad alone, Islamists have seized 70% of Christians’ homes illegally.

Iraqi authorities have set up a committee to investigate claims of abuse and violence against Christians.

The committee was set up on the orders of Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi, and aims to counter in particular the escalation of kidnappings and illegal expropriation of homes and land which in recent months Iraqi Christians have suffered. The heads of the Committee have already visited the headquarters of the Chaldean Patriarchate in Baghdad and spoke with Patriarch Louis Raphael I in order to start collecting data and information about the abuses suffered by Christians. In particular, the first step is to carry out a census of the real estate abusively taken from Christian families, collecting the title deeds and indicating the individual, groups and corporate bodies that now benefit of illegally expropriated properties. The parishes and Christian communities will be able to also provide information to the security committee regarding the cases of kidnapped Christians including clues to identify the perpetrators of kidnappings.

Government officials and church leaders have expressed their concerns that the country has not done enough to protect Christians.

A Christian member of Iraq’s parliament, Imad Youkhana, issued a statement on July 9 calling for greater protections for the country’s Christian population. He branded the kidnappings parts of an intimidation campaign bent on forcing Iraqi Christians out of the country, and warned that it was threatening Iraq’s unity.

The Iraqi Chaldean Church recently issued a statement of their own:

It is unfortunate that the security situation continues to deteriorate, and that some individuals and groups exploit it to carry out the kidnapping of innocent people in order to gain sums of money and to terrorize civilians. In less than two weeks, they kidnapped four Christians…

This is not the first time that Christians have been kidnapped since the fall of the regime.

There are also incidents where evil people are falsifying the documents of Christian homes and seizing them and their household goods.  They also send them threatening messages through their mobile phones ordering them to leave their jobs.  This outrageous behavior causes anguish and destroys the national mosaic of Iraqi society, weakening the prestige and authority of the state.

Christians are indigenous citizens, and everyone praises their morality, their patriotism, and their roots in this country.  For hundreds and hundreds of years they have contributed to its civilization and culture.

The government committee will also focus on the number of Christians who have been kidnapped in recent months. In June and July alone, terrorists have kidnapped four Christians, two of whom they killed.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / MyImages – Micha

Mark Levin: Entitlement Programs Are Theft From Your Children [The PJ Tatler]

In a recent interview discussing his book Plunder and Deceit: Big Government’s Exploitation of Young People and the Future, Mark Levin described the ills of egregious government entitlement spending:

Future generations don’t vote, they don’t exist yet, so they keep stealing from them. They keep robbing from them which means they are going to have limited liberty, they’re going to have limited opportunity, limited wealth creation, and we’re spending it all today … we are stealing from unborn babies.

Levin’s book focuses on America’s youth and the massive impact entitlements will have on them. The money won’t be there for this financially endangered generation; it will exist as IOUs never to be settled, the money already spent.

Are the citizens aware of what’s happening? Says Levin:

I don’t even think people who receive these benefits know what’s going on. Many of them don’t know that the money doesn’t exist. All that money that they paid into the system, there is no system. That money was taken and it was spent the second it was taken on other government projects and other government programs.

For decades, all the government has done to address the problem is occasionally admit it needs to be addressed. Useless chatter from politicians, including establishment leadership, regarding the need for “reform” of entitlement programs. Levin says these elected leaders will be responsible for the “collapse”:

Gunman Kills Reporter, Cameraman During Morning Live Shot Near Roanoke (UPDATE: Suspect Is Former Anchor) [The PJ Tatler]

Two Roanoke, Va., journalists were shot and killed during a live shot while doing an innocuous story on local development at the Bridgewater Plaza marina and retail center near Smith Mountain Lake.

WDBJ7’s reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photojournalist Adam Ward, 27, died in the 6:45 a.m. incident.

Police were searching for the shooter, dressed all in black and captured on the cameraman’s final footage.

The woman Parker was interviewing, Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was reportedly shot in the back and taken to surgery.

In the video, Parker and Gardner are speaking against a railing overlooking the complex. The shooter walks up and starts firing without a word. Ward swings his camera over to the gunman before collapsing, and the station cut back to the studio.

Local schools were put on lockdown as cops hunted in the area for the killer. The FBI’s Richmond field office was reportedly on scene.



UPDATE 11:30 EST: The suspect has been identified as Vester Flanagan, who uploaded a video of the shooting on Twitter under his on-air name, Bryce Williams. Twitter has removed the account.

Flanagan, 41, is a former news anchor fired from the Roanoke station in February 2013. He’s in a 2009 gray Ford Mustang, plate WZE 8846. More:

In the tweets, Flanagan hinted at possible motives for the shooting. He tweeted about filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint and alleged that the reporter had made racist comments. “They hired her after that???” he Tweeted. The slain producer, he claimed, complained to HR about him after working together one time. His final text tweet boasted about filming the attack.



UPDATE 11:50 a.m. EST: Flanagan has reportedly shot himself.

Black Lives Matter Finally Publishes a Policy Agenda [The PJ Tatler]

To my black libertarian mind, the greatest tragedy of the Black Lives Matter movement has been a missed opportunity to foster constructive change in public policy. The year since the shooting death of Michael Brown has seen plenty of rabble-rousing about alleged problems and little to no meaningful discussion of proposed solutions. For many observers, it seems that Black Lives Matter exists more to agitate than to affect real progress.

That may be changing, however. An organization called We the Protesters has put out an actual policy agenda, calling for changes in law enforcement practices and policies. The overall goal of “reducing all police violence in the U.S. to zero” may prove absurd (a police force that doesn’t use force isn’t a police force). However, many of the specific ideas should appeal to limited-government conservatives and libertarians.

For instance, the group calls for a reduction in laws which create minor offenses providing law enforcement with the pretext to initiate stops. Recall that Eric Garner was essentially killed for evading sales tax.

Another point calls for nerfing police union contracts to make discipline easier. Imagine that, a radical leftist group calling for reining in public employee unions.

Bottom line: there’s plenty here upon which to build bipartisan coalition and affect real change. The question becomes whether the overall Black Lives Matter movement will mature enough to abandon divisive rhetoric and start cultivating relationships which can lead to actual achievement.

Did a Local News Station Just Come Out Against Donald Trump? UPDATE: A Station Employee ‘Mistakenly Posted’ [The PJ Tatler]

By now, you may have watched the explosive clip in which GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump shuts down a disruptive Univision reporter.

Almost as soon as the incident at Trump’s press conference had ended, national news networks — from ABC News to CNN — pushed the currently hot clip to their social media feeds as a report.

But one local news network here in Los Angeles appears to have had a slightly different take on the moment, appearing to express initial disapproval of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate and taking the side of Univision’s Jorge Ramos.

Here’s a very interesting screen cap of a post now removed from the ABC7 Los Angeles Facebook page. Their original question accompanying the video of Trump and Ramos: “How long will the GOP allow this?”


  (click to enlarge)

Was this an accidental digital slip of the pen? Let us know what you think in the comments section.


Update: ABC7 has responded to a Facebook inquiry about the post. Here’s their full statement:

“Thank you for asking about this. The station has taken no editorial position on Donald Trump or any other candidate. The post was removed within minutes. An employee who has access to our main Facebook page only for emergencies mistakenly posted to our main page thinking it was going to a private personal page. The employee regrets the error.”

North Carolinians Spot Cloaked Figure Roaming Their Town [The PJ Tatler]

It’s not unusual to see odd things happening in a small town, but what residents of one North Carolina town saw on Sunday has set them on edge. Several Bessemer City residents spotted a mysterious cloaked figure reportedly dropping raw meat onto a playground.

A picture of a cloaked person posted online sparked a Facebook frenzy Monday.

And the speculation followed.

Was she a witch performing a ritual, or was he a guy playing a prank?

Some joked that the person was a character from“Star Wars” or the TV show “Pretty Little Liars,” and at least one parody showed a white-cloaked person wielding a corn dog, reportedly in Bessemer City.

No one had the answer. Even police and property managers were scratching their heads.

“We don’t know if it’s one of our residents with an interesting way of presenting themselves, or if it’s a trespasser,” said Lance Calhoun, director of operations for Southwood Realty.

Two pictures popped up on the Facebook group One Man’s Junk Sunday night and Monday morning.

The photos are taken through a window with blinds in the foreground and a cloaked, pale person outside near some woods.

The social media chatter says the man or woman is in the Hudson Woods apartment complex off of Hudson Boulevard, but police say it hasn’t been confirmed.

“There’s no validation that it was Hudson Woods. It could have come from anywhere. We don’t know if this is some bogus prank somebody is playing,” said Donna Lahser, spokeswoman with the Gastonia Police Department.

Who exactly took the photos is unclear.

Another resident reported that someone left a bag of raw meat on his doorstep a couple of weeks prior to the sighting. Whether the two incidents are related is unclear, and authorities are reluctant to draw conclusions.

Townspeople have expressed obvious concern over the strange sighting.

Brooke Conard’s yard backs up to the woods that border the apartment complex.

If some shady character is lurking in the woods,Conard fears for her and her daughter’s safety.

“I see why it could be easy to make a joke out of it, but this is serious. We live in a world today where you don’t know what’s going on and you don’t know people,” she said.

Even if a person wore a cloak as a hoax, a child could be scarred by the encounter, she said.

The spokesperson for a local pagan group dismissed the stunt, stating that adherents to their beliefs do not practice their rituals in public places.

If it is a hoax, [Heather] Darnell said she finds the photos offensive.

“It looks like someone is deliberately trying to create havoc,” she said. “I think it’s pretty ugly and irresponsible if someone is just trying to get attention.”

Featured image courtesy of Gaston Gazette

(VIDEO) Trump Tosses Jorge Ramos Out of Press Conference [The PJ Tatler]

“Go back to Univision.”

Love or hate Trump, Jorge Ramos is a Class A jerk and was basically behaving like a toned-down Code Pink protester.

Guy Who Jumped White House Fence in March Shot Dead in PA Court [The PJ Tatler]

Via ABC News:

A man who once jumped the fence at the White House was shot and killed at the Chester County Justice Center by a sheriff’s deputy on Tuesday after attacking another deputy with a knife.

The suspect is identified as 34-year-old Curtis Smith of Coatesville, Pa.

Investigators say Smith entered the Justice Center at approximately 11:50 a.m. with a knife, ran past security and started attacking a sheriff’s deputy, slashing him.

Reiley Aikman witnessed the attack, and tells us, “He said, ‘I’m gonna get ya, I’m gonna get ya.’ He ran right through the door, right through security, and I hear ‘POP, POP.’ And it was the sheriff shooting him.”

It’s creepy to think someone this unstable was able to outwit the Secret Service earlier this year. Yes, making it over the fence of a property as secure as the White House is outwitting security.

This also serves as a reminder of the everyday perils our law enforcement officers face, which has gotten lost in a lot of the conversations about them this past year or two, especially in the media.

Presenting [KCRW's Martini Shot]

What primates do when they present themselves to each other.  It's what we do around here, when we pitch.

Facebook's M blends AI assists with human help [PCWorld]

When it comes to questions asked online, which ones are best handled by a machine, and which ones require human intervention? Facebook thinks it can perform the triage with M, its new personal digital assistant.

M is unique in the hotly competitive field of AI. It's meant to provide information, like the best nearby hiking spots, or the best burger joint. But it's also designed to complete tasks, like help someone order flowers for a parent's birthday, recommend which baby shoes to buy, or book travel arrangements.

"It's powered by artificial intelligence that's trained and supervised by people," said David Marcus, heading of messaging at Facebook, in announcing the initial test launch of the service on Wednesday.

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

Yahoo woos mobile developers with help on ads, reporting, more [PCWorld]

Yahoo pitched mobile developers on new tools at a New York conference on Wednesday, aiming to inspire them to go out and build disruptive apps.

"There hasn't been a single industry that hasn't been disrupted by mobile applications, starting with music, gaming, travel, retail, and now media," said Simon Khalaf, Yahoo senior vice president of publishing products, at the company's second event this year for mobile app developers.

Among the new tools in the Yahoo Mobile Developer Suite is one that links apps to the Yahoo-owned Tumblr blogging platform. A third-party content-creation app can include the option to post a user's work on a Tumblr account.

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

Spam King pleads guilty to Facebook hack, email scheme [PCWorld]

A notorious spammer is facing up to three years in prison after pleading guilty to charges related to sending millions of unwanted email messages after breaching Facebook's computer network.

Sanford Wallace, who called himself the Spam King starting in the late '90s, pleaded guilty this week to one count of fraud and related activity in connection with email and one count of criminal contempt.

Between November 2008 and March 2009, Wallace fraudulently obtained Facebook users' login credentials in order to send spam email, the U.S. Department of Justice said, citing his plea agreement. Wallace pled guilty on Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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

How to stop Windows 10's annoying Microsoft Office ads [PCWorld]

Windows 10 is awesome. Its Action Center notifications are awesome, too. But shortly after you upgrade to Microsoft’s new operating system, you’ll find it doing something that’s not very awesome at all: spitting out notifications—ads, really—cajoling you to buy or upgrade Office. That’s one of them above.


Fortunately, disabling the ads is incredibly simple. The only tricky part is identifying where they’re coming from, but we’ve got you covered. The culprit is the new Get Office app that comes preinstalled on Windows 10.

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

Facebook 'M' deploys army of virtual assistants to help fix your life [PCWorld]

In February, a startup introduced Magic, a service that promised that you could order up virtually anything via text message, than have it delivered to your door. It launched, went viral, then...faded. Now Facebook wants to do Magic one better.

As of today, Facebook is launching a trial of M, a service that lives on top of its Messenger application in iOS and Android. Dial M for Messenger, as it were, and a hybrid team of algorithms and real-life assistants promises to help you with your mundane tasks. To try the new service, users can tap a small button at the bottom of the Messenger app to send a note to M. (If you use Messenger, you may already be signed up for the trial.)

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

AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot caught injecting ads into web pages [PCWorld]

Yet another major public hotspot provider has been caught injecting ads into user’s browser.

AT&T, which offers public Wi-Fi hotspots across the U.S., was caught putting ads on websites in unusual places by Jonathan Mayer, a lawyer and Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Stanford University.

Mayer was at Dulles Airport last week when he noticed Stanford’s site suddenly showing ads for jewelry and AT&T services—ads that he’d never seen on the university site before. Other sites were also showing ads in odd spots, Mayer said.

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

PC sales plummet, thanks to free Windows 10 and a dearth of must-have hardware [PCWorld]

Free Windows 10 upgrades are great for users but bad for PC makers, IDC said Monday. The research firm expect PC sales to struggle through next year, until the free Windows 10 licenses end—which should spur commercial customers to buy PCs once again in 2017.

Until then, however, the news is expected to be grim: IDC said worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by 8.7 percent this year and 1.1 percent in 2016, leading to a mild recovery in 2017. The fate of consumer PCs is expected to be even worse: IDC said it can’t see a recovery even by 2019, the furthest extent of its forecast.

IDC refused to pin the blame on any one factor, though the firm said several have contributed to the decline. One major factor appears to be the lack of interest in buying PCs specifically to run Windows 10. Though features like Windows Hello and the upcoming “wire-free” future that Intel envisions for its Skylake PCs require new hardware, consumers aren’t making the investment—in part, most likely, because that hardware largely isn’t available.

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How to find out if your PC is compatible with Linux [PCWorld]

Linux’s hardware support is better than ever, but you still can’t take it for granted. Not every laptop and desktop you see at your local computer store (or, more realistically, on Amazon) will work perfectly with Linux. Whether you’re buying a PC for Linux or just want to ensure you can dual-boot at some point in the future, thinking about this ahead of time will pay off.

Give Linux a spin if you already have the hardware

If you already have the PC available to you, you probably shouldn’t spend much time researching how compatible it is with Linux. Instead, just give Linux a test run on that PC and see for yourself.

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Amazon Underground fights back against freemium with app and game giveaways [PCWorld]

A new program from Amazon promises thousands of dollars’ worth of free and apps and games, apparently with no strings attached.

Dubbed Amazon Underground, it’s essentially an alternative to Amazon’s existing shopping app for Android phones and tablets, but with a focus on free stuff. You can install it by visiting the Underground website from your Android device, or you can visit the Underground section of the Amazon Appstore for Android if you have it installed already. (You’ll first need to enable installing apps from “unknown sources” in the Android settings menu.)

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How to stop auto-play videos on Facebook and Twitter [PCWorld]

Your social media feed is under assault by moving pictures.

In recent months, both Facebook and Twitter have enabled auto-play videos; whenever a video enters your feed or timeline, it automatically starts playing. At best, it’s an annoyance that chews through your data cap. At worst, the “feature” forces you to see videos of things you’d normally shy away from—a nastiness highlighted this morning after somebody murdered a pair of journalists on-camera in Virginia, then posted videos of the action to his social feeds, which were then re-shared widely.

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Google's container management service exits beta, gets uptime guarantee [PCWorld]

Google is the latest cloud service provider to rally behind containers, an emerging type of virtualization technology that adherents claim can streamline the process of running workloads in the cloud.

Google is now offering a container management service, called the Google Container Engine, for production workloads. This sets the stage for businesses to run their most important applications within containers on the Google Cloud Platform.

A growing number of organizations use containers as a way to build applications that can be easily scaled, duplicated and upgraded. The new service provides a way to manage large numbers of containers, eliminating a lot of the low-level work of orchestrating operations involving many containers.

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New app solves Windows 10's failure to hide the taskbar in Tablet Mode [PCWorld]

Lots of people love Windows 10, and users are adopting the new operating system in record numbers. But one small problem that has been irritating users of Windows 10’s Tablet Mode: the taskbar. 

While you can easily auto-hide the taskbar on the desktop, that setting doesn't carry over to Tablet Mode. Windows 10 tablet users used to Windows 8's full-screen apps have been complaining about the taskbar marring the Tablet Mode experience. Though many Windows Store apps offer the ability to expand to the full-screen, that's handled on an app-by-app basis rather than being a universal setting.

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Four weeks after launch, Windows 10 is already on 75 million PCs and tablets [PCWorld]

Microsoft is well on the way to achieving its goals with Windows 10, as the company boasts of more than 75 million installs in four weeks.

The statistic was revealed by Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of marketing for Windows on Devices. Mehdi noted that more than 90,000 unique PC and tablet models have seen the upgrade, including some PCs manufactured eight years ago.

The adoption rate is nearly twice that of Windows 8, which sold 40 million licenses after about a month. Microsoft has previously claimed that early Windows 8 adoption was roughly in line with Windows 7, suggesting that Windows 10 is rising much faster than either of those two versions. Windows 10 adoption has also blown past Windows Vista (20 million licenses in a month) and Windows XP (17 million licenses after one month).

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Google Apps customers finally get Gmail's slick Calendar integration [PCWorld]

Gmail’s rather slick ability to automatically add events to Google Calendar is finally available for Google Apps customers. 

Nearly nine months after it launched for the consumer version, Gmail will now mine your messages for flight, hotel, travel, or other ticketed information and automatically create an event in your Google Calendar.

The feature is rolling out for the Google Apps version of Google Calendar on web, Android, and iOS. In a blog post, Google says you’ll get a notification in Calendar the first time there’s a new event that’s been pulled from your email.

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Tor security concerns prompt largest dark market to suspend operations [PCWorld]

Agora, the Tor network's largest black marketplace, has been temporarily shut down because its administrators worry the website is vulnerable to recent methods of exposing Tor Hidden Services.

Hidden services are websites that can only be accessed from within the Tor network, which is specifically designed to hide the IP address of both servers and users. The built-in anonymity safeguards have made Tor Hidden Services the preferred method for running online marketplaces that allow buying and selling illegal goods like drugs, guns, stolen credit card details and more.

The largest of these so-called dark markets was Silk Road, which was eventually shut down by the FBI in 2013. Many similar websites have appeared since then and some were targeted in subsequent international law enforcement raids, but Agora survived and surpassed even Silk Road in size and popularity.

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Cablevision aims at cord cutters by selling CBS All Access, Showtime [PCWorld]

Cablevision is taking an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach to cord-cutting, becoming the first Internet provider to offer CBS All Access and Showtime streaming to Optimum Online subscribers.

CBS All Access is a $6 per month service that offers a live stream of the CBS Network (with some exceptions, such as NFL football) and on-demand access to many prime time shows. It’s available across more than 60 percent of the United States, and growing as CBS makes deals with more of its local affiliates.

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YouTube Gaming launching today to challenge Twitch's livestreaming dominance [PCWorld]

YouTube’s hoping to reverse its livestream woes today with the official launch of YouTube Gaming, its video games-focused sub-brand. Both the site and app will go live later today with YouTube boasting “over 25,000 game pages and even more gaming channels.”

In other words, it’s a more focused way to access the gaming content you already watch on YouTube-At-Large. Any gaming videos uploaded to YouTube will be automatically ingested to YouTube Gaming and sorted by game, as well as by content creator.

YouTube Gaming

As YouTube told us during the reveal back in June, “When you want something specific, you can search with confidence, knowing that typing ‘call’ will show you ‘Call of Duty and not ‘Call Me Maybe.’”

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This bizarre Sony TV speaker adjusts its volume to compensate for ambient noise [PCWorld]

Sony is introducing a wireless compact TV speaker that can automatically adjust the volume according to ambient noise levels. 

The SRS-LSR100 is a portable unit housing dual 2-watt speakers. It can be used to project a TV’s sound to a kitchen or other areas at a distance from the screen, or simply bring the sound closer to a viewer watching in a noisy room. 

It also serves as a TV remote control that works with set-top boxes. On its top panel are an oversized number pad and volume dial, as well as other controls, for ease of use by seniors. It also has a carrying handle. 

In automatic volume mode, a microphone by the speaker can monitor ambient sound. Algorithms developed by Sony analyze the sound so the unit automatically adjusts sound volume and quality. The company said the SRS-LSR100 is the first wireless TV speaker of its kind with this function. 

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Why the world's top computing experts are worrying about your data [PCWorld]

It would be difficult to come up with a better illustration of the profound effect data can have on people's lives than the Ashley Madison hack, which has not only sparked numerous lawsuits but also been associated with several suicides.

On Tuesday, many of the world's experts in computer science and mathematics spent an afternoon at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany trying to figure out how the widespread collection of data about consumers can be prevented from causing more harm in the future.

"In the U.S., there are now states where jail sentencing guidelines are being set by data," said Jeremy Gillula, a staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Data has a huge impact on people's lives, and that's only going to increase."

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Divinity: Original Sin II preview: An ambitious sequel to one of the biggest, best RPGs of 2014 [PCWorld]

When talking about last year’s excellent Divinity: Original Sin, I’m fond of saying, “Imagine the game you’d get if, instead of dying off in the early 2000s, the isometric CRPG genre had kept evolving through 2014.” Now imagine that the same company came back afterward and pitched a sequel twice the scope.

That’s Divinity: Original Sin II.

And Larian’s founder Swen Vincke has a very specific vision for the game: “What they did at BioWare back in the day is they had Baldur’s Gate, they had this framework, and then for the sequel they expanded in every single direction. This is what we’re doing with Original Sin II.”

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IBM extends Spectrum storage line into the cloud [PCWorld]

IBM is beefing up its offerings in software-defined storage, which promises to let IT departments better deal with large amounts of storage by uncoupling the management software from its underlying hardware.

The company has expanded two products in its Spectrum line, Spectrum Protect and Spectrum Accelerate, to allow customers to build hybrid storage systems by combining in-house Spectrum deployments with IBM Cloud storage services.

"We have clients using Spectrum today who are looking for a way to leverage the cloud to hold long-term retention items, or because they are running low on capacity," said Sam Werner, IBM director of storage and software defined environments. "We can extend the capabilities they have today, and allow them to have a new cloud storage tier."

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TSMC wins case in trade secret battle with Samsung [PCWorld]

Chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has won a court ruling that will prohibit a former employee from leaking trade secrets to rivals, including Samsung.

On Monday, Taiwan's Supreme Court ruled in favor of TSMC in its lawsuit against Liang Mong-song, an executive who left the company back in 2009, and allegedly gave trade secrets to Samsung. 

Liang cannot offer his services to Samsung before the end of the year, and must refrain from leaking any trade secrets related to TSMC's chip technology, a court spokesman said on Wednesday. 

Both Samsung and TSMC declined to comment on the case, but the two companies are major rivals in the mobile chip making industry. TSMC and Samsung, for instance, are both chip suppliers for Apple's iPhone, and often compete for orders from their various customers. 

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AMIDuOS lets you run Android apps on your Windows PC, now [PCWorld]

While Microsoft readies its ”Project Astoria” technology to port Android apps to Windows, you don’t have to wait—American Megatrends has a solution to run the latest version of Android on Windows, now.

AMI has traditionally been known for its BIOS software, the basic software interface that controls the deep down, nitty-gritty functions of your PC. And that’s the way AMI’s $15 AMIDuOS Pro 2.0 software runs Android apps: It creates a virtual tablet on your desktop or laptop, then runs Android apps on top of it. And it does it very well, too.

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NTT helps integrate private and public clouds with dedicated connectivity [PCWorld]

NTT Communications will provide its enterprise customers with direct private connectivity to Microsoft’s and Amazon Web Services' public clouds through a new service, Multi-Cloud Connect.

The more dependent enterprises become on public clouds, the more dependent they become on a network connection that doesn't falter. Inconsistent Internet performance has become an impediment to widespread cloud adoption, according to NTT.

NTT hopes to offer a better performing alternative with its Multi-Cloud Connect, which lets enterprises access public cloud services via its MPLS (Multi-protocol Label Switching) network.

The purported advantages include better reliability, faster speeds, lower latency and higher security. Enterprises can take advantage of that when building hybrid clouds where some applications or parts of applications run on-site and others in a public cloud. That could include a tiered storage architecture or a cloud-based disaster recovery solution.

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How to cure Windows 10's worst headaches [PCWorld]

After the Windows 8 disaster, upgrading to Windows 10 is almost palpably refreshing. Microsoft’s new operating system brings back PC-focused features it should never have lost and adds some helpful new integrations with Microsoft services.

It’s not perfect, though.

Despite the many highlights of Windows 10—Cortana, virtual desktops, windowed Windows Store apps, the revamped Start menu, DirectX 12, among others—there are still some annoyances with the new operating system.

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D-Link DWA-192 review: This 802.11ac USB Wi-Fi adapter was a ball to test [PCWorld]

The relationship between high-end 802.11ac routers and most 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapters is akin to the relationship between hot dogs and hot dog buns: There’s a mismatch. Hot dogs come 10 to a package, but the buns come in eight packs. High-end 802.11ac routers send and receive three spatial streams, but most 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapters are 2x2 models—and the ones in smartphones are often 1x1 devices (the MacBook Air, to Apple’s credit, is an exception in that it has an integrated 3x3 adapter).

D-Link’s odd-looking DWA-192 sports three internal antennas and delivers honest-to-goodness 3x3 streaming support in a not-too-ungainly package. Actually, its spherical form factor should make it a better road partner than the more typical USB stick design. I’ve been using Asus’s USB-AC56 adapter almost as long as I’ve been testing 802.11ac routers, and I’ve discovered its pivoting antenna to be just a little fragile. I’ve also long wondered how much router performance I wasn’t measuring because of its 2x2 design.

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Stir Kinetic Desk M1 review: The smartest desk $2,990 can buy [PCWorld]

They say sitting is the new smoking, but “they” also can’t seem to agree whether or not bacon is truly good for you, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Still, getting my Apple Watch has made me more conscious of the fact that I tend to spend long stretches sitting down when I’m working. The problem is, the Apple Watch doesn’t track sitting and standing quite in the way I thought it would.

Stir’s Kinetic Desk M1 is a well-built, comfortable workstation with an electric motor that can quickly, smoothly adjust between sitting and standing positions. But it also has an embedded screen where you can set goals for how often you’d like to stand, and then the desk can actually remind you when it’s time to get up and even learn your preferences over time.

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California bill one of many state bills that aim to regulate drones [PCWorld]

A California bill that restricts flying of drones to above 350 feet (107 meters) over private property is just one of several state bills in the U.S. that aim to regulate various aspects of flying the unmanned aircraft.

Florida, for example, has passed a law that prohibits the use of a drone to capture images of private property or of its owner, tenant or occupant with the intent to conduct surveillance without written consent if a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.

Arkansas has, meanwhile, passed a law that prohibits the use of drones to secretly take images for voyeurism.

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AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot reportedly stuffs extra ads into Web pages [PCWorld]

Stanford University computer scientist Jonathan Mayer was recently Web browsing at a U.S. airport when he noticed there were too many online advertisements.

The website for Stanford, for example, displayed a pop-up ad for a 60 percent discount on jewelry. The Federal Communications Commission website appeared to be advertising ladies' boots.

hotspot 1 Screenshot

An example of an ad said to be injected over the FCC's website while on an AT&T free airport Wi-Fi hotspot.

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Server growth remains healthy in Q2, despite fall in midrange systems [PCWorld]

Server sales continued to remain steady in the second quarter, in spite of weakening demand for midrange systems, according to research firm IDC. 

During the period, vendors collectively saw their server revenue grow by 6.1 percent year over year to US$13.5 billion. Meanwhile, server shipments increased by 3.2 percent from a year ago. 

Revenue in the market was up on sales of higher-end servers, and lower-end systems used for hyperscale computing. However, demand for midrange systems fell by 5.4 percent year over year, due to the recent ending of the x86 server refresh cycle, IDC said Tuesday.

In the second quarter, HP remained the market leader, with a 25.4 percent share. The company's density-optimized servers were in high demand, with sales of the products jumping by 119 percent from a year ago. 

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The Facts Don’t Matter, the Answer Is Always Gun Control [Power Line]

(John Hinderaker)

The White House didn’t wait an hour before using the murders committed by Vester Flanagan in Virginia as an excuse to push for gun control. Josh Earnest began his press conference with this soliloquy:

The precise details of that incident continue to be under investigation.

At the time Earnest was speaking, little was known about the murderer, and nothing about how he acquired the firearm used to commit the murders. But the facts make no difference, so why wait for them?

But as you’ve heard me say in the past: This is another example of gun violence that has becoming all-too-common in communities large and small.

Violent crime, and homicide in particular, has been cut by approximately half since the mid-1990s, a time that coincides with liberalized gun laws in many states and more widespread ownership of handguns. Why do gun control advocates never acknowledge these basic facts?

And while there is no piece of legislation that can end all violence in this country, there are some common sense things that only Congress can do that we know will have a tangible impact on reducing gun violence in this country.

Liberals are always calling for “common sense” gun control measures. But what are they? Josh Earnest isn’t telling us. And since we don’t know what these laws are, how do we “know [they] will have a tangible impact on reducing gun violence”?

And Congress could take those steps…

What steps?

…in a way that will not infringe on the Constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. And the president has long advocated Congress taking those steps, and the president continues to feel they should do so.

The president has long advocated that Congress ban cosmetically scary semiautomatic rifles, which are almost never used to commit crimes and were not used in this instance. What else do Barack Obama and Josh Earnest have in mind? Don’t hold your breath waiting for any constructive ideas. This is all just political opportunism.

Here is the video:

One thing we have learned is that some murders are important and others aren’t. White policeman kills black person: important! Black person kills white policeman: unimportant. White lunatic kills black people in South Carolina: important! Gay black lunatic kills white people in Virginia: something tells me this one is going in the “unimportant” column. It doesn’t advance the narrative. Except, of course, the gun control narrative.

California crime wave follows criminal justice reform [Power Line]

(Paul Mirengoff)

In November 2014, California voters approved Proposition 47, which downgraded drug possession and many property crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor. As Debra Saunders reminds us, proponents argued that lesser punishment for low-level offenders would enhance public safety.

Unfortunately, this utterly counterintuitive notion has not panned out. In San Francisco, according to a police spokesman, theft from cars is up 47 percent this year over the same period in 2014. Auto theft is up by 17 percent. Robberies are up 23 percent. And aggravated assaults are up 2 percent. (To be fair, burglaries are down 5 percent).

How about Los Angeles? It has seen a 12.7 percent increase in the overall crime this year, according to the Los Angeles Times. Violent offenses are up 20.6 percent; property crimes by 11 percent.

Is there are a connection between Prop 47 and the California crime wave? Of course. A district attorney explains:

It used to be that if you were caught in the possession of methamphetamine, you would be arrested; you’d end up in drug court or in some other program, probably in custody receiving some type of treatment. Well, now the officers on the street just give them a ticket. . . .

The case actually gets forwarded to my office. We charge them with a crime, but they never show up to court. They get arrested again and are given another ticket for methamphetamine.

LA substance treatment rolls are down by 60 percent, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell. The reason is Prop 47. As Sheriff Geoff Dean told the Ventura County Reporter, Prop 47 got drug offenders out of jail “but it also got them out of treatment.”

Dean believes the measure will increase violent crime, as substance abusers commit more robberies and assaults. Based on the figures Saunders cites, it probably already has done.

Although Prop 47 doesn’t formally decriminalize low level offenses, it does so in practice. Why bother enforcing statutes and ordinances if they carry no prison sentence? What’s the point of writing a ticket if the recipient isn’t going to show up in court?

According to Saunders, Prop 47 prompted California to release 3,700 prison inmates. Overall, the state’s prison population is down by more than 50,000 state inmates in the three-and-half years since Gov. Jerry Brown began his policy of “realignment,” of which Prop 47 is an extension.

I agree with Saunders. “A change that big cannot come without consequences,” not even if you call it “smart sentencing.”

In California, the consequences include more crime and less drug treatment. Conservatives are deluding themselves if they believe the consequences elsewhere will be less toxic.

Washington Post distorts Trump-Ramos encounter [Power Line]

(Paul Mirengoff)

If Donald Trump believes that Fox News is treating him unfairly (and he does), I wonder how he feels about the Washington Post.

The print edition headline of a story on Trump’s Iowa new conference reads: “Trump kicks Latino reporter out of news conference.” (The online editors apparently thought better of it. They wrote: “Trump tangles with Latino newsman, launches fresh attacks on GOP rivals”).

The print edition sub-headline reads: “Univision’s Ramos later returns, spars with mogul on immigration.” Ramos “returned” because Team Trump permitted him to. He “sparred” with the “mogul” because Trump let him debate, something that few candidates (only Ted Cruz comes to mind) would have permitted.

The Post’s story, written by the tag team of Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, is manifestly biased against Trump. They describe Ramos’ ejection this way:

Ramos stood up in the front row of journalists to ask Trump about his plan to combat illegal immigration. But Trump did not want to answer.

“Excuse me,” Trump said. “Sit down. You weren’t called. Sit down.”

Ramos, holding a piece of paper, calmly said, “I’m a reporter, an immigrant, a senior citizen. I have the right to ask a question.”

Trump interrupted him. “Go back to Univision,” he said. Then Trump motioned to one of his bodyguards, who walked across the room and physically removed Ramos from the room.

The format of a press conference, as Rucker and Costa well know, is that reporters ask questions when they are called on, not when they feel like it. Ramos had no “right” to move ahead of other reporters with questions by seizing the floor.

(Ramos’ sense of entitlement is a perfect reflection of the illegal immigrant movement. Like Ramos, illegal immigrants jump to the head of the line. And their advocates hold that by virtue of their line-jumping, illegal immigrants should gain all the rights and privileges enjoyed not only by legal entrants but by American citizens.)

Rucker and Costa also fail to note that Ramos was ejected only because he refused to stop talking. If Trump wanted to conduct an orderly press conference in which each reporter waits his or her turn, he had no alternative to booting the obnoxious man from Univision.

Rucker and Costa are equally biased in their coverage of the lengthy exchange between Trump and Ramos. For example, they state: “at one point, Trump said ‘I can’t deal with this.'” True. But this was because Ramos repeatedly interrupted Trump’s answers. The Post-men would prefer that readers conclude Trump couldn’t deal with the substance of Ramos’ questioning.

Actually, Trump dealt with each of Ramos’ scattergun questions, but Rucker-Costa try to obscure this fact. They claim that Trump responded to questions about polls showing him to be unpopular among Hispanics by asking “How much am I suing Univision for right now?”

Actually, Trump responded by citing a Nevada poll that shows him leading among Hispanic Republicans. Because the Nevada poll was of Republicans, it doesn’t defeat Ramos’ claim that Trump is unpopular among Hispanics generally.

But Rucker and Costa want readers to believe that Trump ducked the polling question and resorted to bluster about his lawsuit. That wasn’t the case.

We can’t expect the Post to cover Trump, or any other serious GOP candidate, fairly. But we might have hoped for better than the Rucker-Costa report on yesterday’s news conference.

The Socialist Dream, Venezuela Version [Power Line]

(John Hinderaker)

We have chronicled the long, painful decline of Venezuela’s socialist economy. It was kept afloat for a while by Venezuela’s extraordinary oil reserves, but nothing, not even vast natural resources, can keep a socialist economy going for long. Toilet paper is a thing of the past, and many Venezuelans are now confronting the possibility of starvation, due to government-imposed price controls. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Hours after they looted and set fire to a National Guard command post in this sun-baked corner of Venezuela earlier this month, a mob infuriated by worsening food shortages rammed trucks into the smoldering edifice, reducing it mostly to rubble.

The incident was just one of numerous violent clashes that have flared in pockets around the country in recent weeks as Venezuelans wait for hours in long supermarket lines for basics like milk and rice.

The queue is a consistent feature of life under socialism. I wonder how many of the people standing in Venezuela’s food lines have any idea why that is.


“What’s certain is that we are going very hungry here and the children are suffering a lot,” said María Palma, a 55-year-old grandmother who on a recent blistering hot day had been standing in line at the grocery store since 3 a.m. before walking away empty-handed at midday. …

“It’s a national crisis,” said Marco Ponce, head of the Venezuela Observatory of Social Conflict, noting that unlike the political protests of last year, residents are now taking to the streets demanding social rights.

The nonprofit group recorded 500 protests over food shortages during the first half of 2015, 56 looting incidents and dozens of attempted lootings at grocery stores, pharmacies and warehouses.

Everything the Maduro government does makes things worse:

Armed soldiers monitor supermarkets as part of an effort the president calls “Operation People’s Liberation.”

Black humor.

More than 6,000 alleged smugglers have been arrested this year, according to the attorney general’s office. Images of soldiers posing with handcuffed suspects and stacks of decommissioned goods are splashed on state media.

“We’re going to get to the root of the problem,” Mr. Maduro said in a national address last week after a shootout with smugglers in the frontier state of Táchira left three National Guard troops injured and pushed Venezuela to shut key border crossings.

There is, of course, no chance of Venezuela’s socialist regime getting to the root of the problem. What is the issue with smugglers? They buy price-controlled food in Venezuela and sell it in Colombia at market prices. The problem isn’t the smugglers, it’s the price controls.

While the government blames the shortages on bachaqueros, economists say they are the consequence of price controls and a broken economic model that has left average Venezuelans with diminishing employment options.

Well, yeah. How many times does this lesson need to be learned?

“The people that used to give us work—the private companies, the rich—have all gone,” said Ms. Palma in La Sibucara….

Hey, that’s the way the government wanted it. Now Venezuelans are experiencing “bad luck,” as Robert Heinlein put it.

Remember when Hugo Chavez sent heating oil to the United States to keep our poor victims of free enterprise warm during the winter? Idiot leftists like former Congressman Joseph Kennedy Jr. praised Chavez’s publicity stunt, which was intended to embarrass the Bush administration. This was Kennedy’s statement on the death of Chavez:

Former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II offered his prayers Tuesday to the family of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying he cared deeply about the poor and helped nearly two million Americans through the former lawmaker’s heating assistance charity.

Joe Kennedy distributes Venezuelan oil in Massachusetts

Joe Kennedy distributes Venezuelan oil in Massachusetts

I don’t think Kennedy has commented lately on the state of Venezuela’s poor, now that they are suffering the consequences of 15 years of Chavismo.

For cluelessness, Kennedy is rivaled by the United Nations, which in June honored Venezuela for its “notable and exceptional” efforts to combat hunger.

As we noted here, one Venezuelan who isn’t going hungry is Chavez’s daughter Maria Gabriela, who through sheer corruption has a reported net worth of more than $4 billion. She is even richer than Joe Kennedy, as opportunities for graft in a socialist country are far greater than those available in a free market economy, even one as compromised as our own.

Maria Gabriela Chavez

Maria Gabriela Chavez

The Socialist Dream Will Never Die [Power Line]

(Steven Hayward)

Not long ago I was listening to one of Russ Roberts’s archived “EconTalk” podcasts with the great Thomas Sowell (and if you don’t listen to EconTalk you’re missing one of the top podcast artists of our time—subscribe for free here), and was completely stunned by something Sowell said. When he was assigned Friedrich Hayek’s seminal essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society” as a graduate student, he didn’t get it. Sowell found it too abstract and dense. Russ Roberts, another fine Chicago-school economist, said he had the same reaction to it the first time he read it, and, moreover, that Vernon Smith (a Nobel Prize winner) also found the essay opaque at first reading.

Hayek essay copyI was staggered by this, as I’ve always found that essay to be lucid and intuitively compelling. I typically find a way to have students read it in every class I teach if I can possibly find an excuse. A special panel of eminent economists included Hayek’s essay in a list of the 20 most significant and influential articles published in the 100-year history of the American Economic Review, the premier journal in the field. But if really smart and sound people like Sowell, Roberts, and Smith find the essay initially dense, then perhaps I need to rethink how to convey the logic of markets, because it may be more difficult than I thought.

Fresh evidence of the broader problem comes from the latest edition of The New Republic, which carries an article entitled—I kid you not—“What If Stalin Had Computers?” The nub of the article is that if only Stalin had had today’s computing power, he could have made the Soviet command economy work. Just what the world needs: ways to make Stalinism more effective. But apparently The New Republic is back to its old pro-Stalinism of the late 1940s. Good to know.

The article is mostly a longish review essay of a new book, Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, which appears to be trying to capitalize (heh) on the wave of enthusiasm for Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, this Mason fellow is a reporter for Britain’s Channel 4.) And here comes the central idea:

The book really comes into its own when Mason addresses the possibilities of contemporary planning. He does not go as far as to endorse “cyber Stalinism” but at the very least poses its thesis: What if the problem with the Soviet Union was that it was too early? What if our computer processing power and behavioral data are developed enough now that central planning could outperform the market when it comes to the distribution of goods and services?

So we’re back to the old line that “The Soviets just need more time to make Communism work!” Hayek developed the phrase “the fatal conceit” to describe the view that government planners, sufficiently armed with enough data and power, could outperform the marketplace and deliver superior economic performance. Hillary Clinton clearly believes she knows better than investors how long capital should be invested with her recent proposal to tax capital gains at different rates depending on the time horizon. (But hey—she turned $1,000 into $100,000 through trading cattle futures, so she’s obviously an economic genius.)

I recall reading one of the last interviews Hayek ever gave shortly before his death in 1992 in Forbes (sadly I can’t seem to find it now), where he was asked whether the information revolution and supercomputing didn’t change things, and make possible more effective centralized economic planning. Hayek said no—no matter how big and fast computers get, and how complete the data gathering, no centralized process can ever hope to match the uncoordinated actions of the constantly changing marketplace. Go re-read “The Use of Knowledge in Society” slowly and repeatedly until you get it.

At the end of the day, of course, the socialist impulse is not really rooted in reason or epistemology, but in envy and the desire for authoritarian control. That’s why we’ll never be rid of these people, no matter how many Venezeulas and Cubas you pile up.

And just in case you need a reminder on Hayek:

Salma Hayek copy

Foo Fighters Rickroll Westboro Baptist Church [Wizbang]

The Foo Fighters have come up with a fun way to counter the antics of the Westboro protesters by using music. Billboard.com reports, “Westboro Baptist Church targeted a Foo Fighters concert at Kansas City’s Sprint Center on Friday, Aug. 21, and the band fired back — with a Rickroll. The band arrived on the scene via a pickup truck, blasting Rick Astley’s 1987 single Never Gonna Give You Up and holding up signs that read You Got Rick Roll’d Again and Keep It Clean.” Here is a video of the incident. This is a case of the Foo Fighters becoming

Ted Cruz Needs Waaahmbulance [Wizbang]

Ted Cruz doesn’t want to answer a question asked him by Megyn Kelly. He would rather whine about being asked it. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Trump Bullies Fox. Fox Bites Back. [Wizbang]

Donald Trump continued his bullying behavior this past Monday when he used Twitter to again attack Megyn Kelly. This time around, the journalists and contributors at Fox News didn’t hesitate to fight back. As Fox News CEO Roger Ailes says in his written response to Trump, “We have never been deterred by politicians or anyone else attacking us for doing our job, much less allowed ourselves to be bullied by anyone and we’re certainly not going to start now.” From Twitter: One might wonder if Trump’s supporters are aware of Trump’s bullying behavior when it comes to using eminent domain

Obama Admin. Again Warning That White ‘Militias’ are as Big a Threat as Islamists [Wizbang]

Since the day his regime took over in Washington, Barack Obama’s blinkered “intelligence” agencies have been warning that it is white people, conservative groups, tea partiers, military veterans, and “militias” that are the real danger lurking in America and recently Obama’s FBI did it again claiming that “militias” (read white male gun enthusiasts) are looking to attack Muslims inside the USA. In a report issued in May only to police departments and other law enforcement agencies, the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division insisted that “militia extremists” are looking to kill Muslims. The report goes on to cite two–yes only two–instances of “militia”

Sign Up For Guido’s New Breaking News Alerts [Guido Fawkes]

For those who have signed up to Guido’s new Whatsapp breaking news alert service, do not fear if you have yet to receive anything, we will start the service later this week. For those who haven’t yet signed up…

Guido is trialling a new breaking news alert service, where subscribers can have the biggest stories sent straight to their phone as soon as they break, via Whatsapp. This won’t be like some “breaking news” apps, which send you half hour-old news, news will come to your phone as soon as it happens. We won’t spam you either, subscribers will only be sent alerts for the major stories they need to know immediately. What’s more, it is completely free…

The sign up process is simple, Whatsapp users put their name and number in the box below:

You will then receive a text message. Simply add Guido as a contact, open Whatsapp and send us the word ‘JOIN’ to confirm your subscription. We won’t share your number and you can unsubscribe at any time by messaging ‘STOP’.

If enough people find the service useful, Guido will continue it beyond the summer. Sign up to stay in the hyperloop…

Tagged: Whatsapp

Voice of an Oil Drill [Guido Fawkes]


Former celebrity Charlotte Church took a break from “lowering and deferring” her tax today to sing a song titled “Requiem for Arctic Ice” in front of Shell’s London offices. She was taking part in a Greenpeace-organised musical protest against Shell’s Arctic drilling operations. It seems she was quite choked up after watching some ice melt:

I can’t see how anyone could see footage of the Arctic melting and not feel moved. It’s terrifying to think of what we’re doing to this planet. This song just felt so appropriate to why I came here today. I wanted to capture the sorrow and regret that feels tied up with the melting ice, and the bitter irony of Arctic oil drilling.

Arctic sea ice increased by around a third last year…

Tagged: climate change, Gaia Fawkes, Greenpeace

“Trickle-Down Economics” is a Zombie Left-Wing Fantasy [Guido Fawkes]

Dan Hannan debunks a tiresome leftie internet myth, with graphs and everything…

Tagged: GuyNews.TV, Loony Left

MPs Swamped By BBC Lobbying Effort [Guido Fawkes]

Surely the BBC would not be so silly as to orchestrate an attempted mass lobbying effort of MPs ahead of the coming battle for its future? This identical email has been sent to a number of MPs from a number of constituents today:


I think it’s vital we have a strong and independent BBC. I don’t want to see its funding cut or independence compromised.

I’ve taken some time to fill in the government’s BBC Charter Review public consultation. I’ve included my responses below for you to see.

Please do everything in your power to protect our BBC.


Beeb-sceptic Tories suspect a put up job. Whoever is responsible, any campaigner worth his salt knows no MP pays attention to annoying mass emails…

Tagged: BBC, Media Guido

NHS Hacked by ISIS [Guido Fawkes]


An NHS website called “Telling Stories” that details patients experiences of illness and treatment has been hacked. The individual or organistation behind the attack calls themselves “Moroccanwolf” and defaced the site with a screed blaming the USA and Israel for the crisis in Syria. Elsewhere on the internet Moroccanwolf claims to be an IS supporter.

Moroccanwolf” appears to be making a habit of hacking into NHS websites, defacing the Moorfields Eye Hospital website earlier this year; begging the question as to how equipped the NHS is to keep sensitive patient data safe. We should ISISt on better security…

Tagged: Hacking, NHS, Techno Guido

Traingate: The Internet Responds [Guido Fawkes]

“When I see a women-only train carriage, I feel respect…”

Tagged: Labour Leadership, Labour Party

Control the Camera on this 360° Crossrail Video [Guido Fawkes]

Crossrail have just released this video shot over part of the new tunnel near Farringdon. You can control which direction the camera faces using the arrows in the top left corner. It’s the future…

At least the construction locomotive doesn’t look segregated…

Tagged: Techno Guido, Transport for London

All Change? Corbyn Lifted Women-Only Trains Policy From Tories [Guido Fawkes]

claire perry train

Jeremy Corbyn’s idea to introduce women-only train carriages is making a splash this morning. While some might assume the inspiration for this this overtly authoritarian policy came from some of Jezza’s less feminist-inclined “friends”, could Corbyn have been influenced by someone closer to home? Here is Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport Claire Perry addressing a fringe event at the Tory conference in 2014:

How terrifying to be travelling home in a place where I should reasonably expect to be safe and to be the victim of a sexual crime… It’s frightening to think you are going home, taking public transport because you don’t want to drive, you’ve had a drink, and you’re not safe… They have introduced women-only seating in Japan because there is a particular problem with groping and low-level violence. It is a very interesting question and I will look at all ideas.

But how will men get to the buffet car?

Tagged: Labour Leadership

Read: Harvey Proctor’s Extraordinary Statement in Full [Guido Fawkes]

The full extraordinary statement [WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT]:

I am a private citizen. I have not held public office and I have not sought public office since May 1987. As such, I am entitled to be regarded as a private citizen. Since the General Election of 1987 I have sought a private life. I have been enjoying a full life, gainfully employed and personally happy.

This all came to an abrupt end on 4th March 2015. What now follows is a statement on my present predicament created by an unidentified person making totally untrue claims against my name. Before going any further I wish to make it clear that the genuine victims of child sexual abuse have my fullest sympathy and support and I would expect the full weight of the law to be used against anyone, be he ‘ever so high, or ever so low’, committing such odious offences. Nobody and I repeat, nobody is above the law.

2. However, I attach equal weight to justice for innocent people wrongly accused of child sexual abuse, especially when it is done anonymously. This is what is happening to me and many high profile figures, many of whom are dead and cannot answer back. This statement is necessarily lengthy and detailed and at times complicated. Please bear with me and at the end I will be prepared to answer your questions.

3. On 18th June, 2015, at my request, I was interviewed by the Metropolitan Police Murder Squad “Operation Midland”. This interview lasted over 6 hours. At the very outset I had to help the Police with my full name which they appeared not to know. It may surprise you that it was over 3 and an half months after my home was searched for 15 hours and more than 7 months after the most serious allegations were made against me that I was interviewed. I went on to cooperate fully with the Police with their investigation.

4. The allegations have been made by a person who the Police have dubbed with a pseudonym – “NICK”. He appears on television with a blacked out face and an actor’s voice. All of this is connected with alleged historical child sexual abuse in the 1970ies and 1980ies. “NICK” was interviewed by the Police in the presence of a reporter from Exaro – an odd internet news agency.

5. As a Member of Parliament I always spoke in favour of the police. I believe in law and order and I believe in equipping the police to do their job and , with my track record, it will come as a surprise that I have grave and growing concerns about the Police generally and more specifically “Operation Midland”. I have decided to share these concerns with you. I believe I am not speaking just for myself today. I hope I am not being presumptuous when I say I feel I am speaking for those who have no voice whatsoever including the dead to whom I referred moments ago.

6. Two days before my interview with the Police, my Solicitors – Sakhi Solicitors of Leicester – were sent a “disclosure” document. It set out the matters the Police wished to discuss with me. It was the first time I had known of what I had been accused. On the day of my interview I was not arrested, nor placed on Police bail, I was told I could leave the Police Station at any time and that it was a voluntary interview. I and my Solicitors had previously been told I was not a suspect.

7. At the end of the interview I was given no information as to how much longer the Police investigation would take to bring the matter to a conclusion. I think you will understand I cannot allow this matter to rest.

8. So you can gauge how angry I am and in an attempt to stop the “drip, drip, drip” of allegations by the police into the media , I now wish to share with you in detail the uncorroborated and untrue allegations that have been made against me by “NICK”. Anyone of a delicate or a nervous disposition should leave the room now.

9. The following is taken from the Police disclosure document given to my Solicitors two days before my first interview with the Police under the headings “Circumstances”, “Homicides” and “Sexual abuse”.


“ Circumstances

The victim in this investigation is identified under the pseudonym “Nick”. He made allegations to the Metropolitan Police Service in late 2014. Due to the nature of the offences alleged, “Nick” is entitled to have his identity withheld.

“Nick” stated he was the victim of systematic and serious sexual abuse by a group of adult males over a period between 1975 and 1984. The abuse was often carried out whilst in company with other boys whom were also abused by the group.

“Nick” provided names of several individuals involved in these acts including Mr HARVEY PROCTOR. He states MR PROCTOR abused him on a number of occasions which included sexual assault, buggery and torturous assault. He also states MR PROCTOR was present when he was assaulted by other adult males. Furthermore, “Nick” states he witnessed the murder of three young boys on separate occasions. He states MR PROCTOR was directly responsible for two of the allegations and implicated in the third.

The dates and locations relevant to MR PROCTOR are as follows:-


1980 – at a residential house in central London. “Nick” was driven by car to an address in the Pimlico/Belgravia area where a second boy (the victim) was also collected in the same vehicle. Both boys, aged approximately 12-years-old, were driven to another similar central London address. MR PROCTOR was present with another male. Both boys were led to the back of the house. MR PROCTOR then stripped the victim, and tied him to a table. He then produced a large kitchen knife and stabbed the child through the arm and other parts of the body over a period of 40 minutes. A short time later MR PROCTOR untied the victim and anally raped him on the table. The other male stripped “Nick” and anally raped him over the table. MR PROCTOR then strangled the victim with his hands until the boy’s body went limp. Both males then left the room. Later, MR PROCTOR returned and led “Nick” out of the house and into a waiting car.

1981-82 – at a residential address in central London. “Nick” was collected from Kingston train station and taken to a “party” at a residential address. The witness was among four young boys. Several men were present including MR PROCTOR. One of the men told the boys one of them would die that night and they had to choose who. When the boys wouldn’t decide, the men selected one of the boys (the victim). Each of the four boys including “Nick” were taken to separate rooms for “private time”. When they all returned to the same room, Nick was anally raped by MR PROCTOR and another male as “punishment”. The other males also anally raped the remaining boys. MR PROCTOR and two other males then began beating the chosen victim by punching and kicking. The attack continued until the boy collapsed on the floor and stopped moving. All of the men left the room. The remaining boys attempted to revive the victim but he was not breathing. They were left for some time before being taken out of the house and returned to their homes.

Between May and July 1979 – in a street in Coombe Hill, Kingston. Nick was walking in this area with another boy (the victim) when he heard the sound of a car engine revving. A dark-coloured car drove into the victim knocking him down. “Nick” could see the boy covered in blood and his leg bent backwards. A car pulled up and “Nick” was grabbed and placed in the car. He felt a sharp pain in his arm and next remembered being dropped off at home. He was warned not to have friends in future. “Nick” never saw the other boy again. “Nick” does not identify MR PROCTOR as being directly involved in this allegation. However, he states MR PROCTOR was part of the group responsible for the systematic sexual abuse he suffered. Furthermore, he believes the group were responsible for the homicide.

Sexual Abuse

1978-1984 – Dolphin Square, Pimlico. “Nick” was at the venue and with at least one other young boy. MR PROCTOR was present with other males.MR PROCTOR told “Nick” to pick up a wooden baton and hit the other boy. When “Nick” refused he was punished by MR PROCTOR and the other males. He was held down and felt pain in his feet. He fell unconscious. When he awoke he was raped by several males including MR PROCTOR.

1978-1981 – Carlton Club, central London, “Nick” was driven to the Carlton Club and dropped off outside. MR PROCTOR opened the door. Inside the premises were several other males. “Nick” was sexually assaulted by another male (not by MR PROCTOR on this occasion ).

1978-1981 – swimming pool in central London. “Nick” was taken to numerous ‘pool parties’ where he and other boys were made to undress, and perform sexual acts on one another. He and other boys were then anally raped and sexually abused by several men including MR PROCTOR.

1981-1982 – Large town house in London. “Nick” was taken to the venue on numerous occasions where MR PROCTOR and one other male were present. He was forced to perform oral sex on MR PROCTOR who also put his hands around “Nick’’’s throat to prevent him breathing. On another occasion at the same location, MR PROCTOR sexually assaulted “Nick” before producing a pen-knife and threatening to cut “Nick’’’s genitals.MR PROCTOR was prevented from doing so by the other male present.

1979-1984 – residential address in central London.”Nick” was taken to the venue. MR PROCTOR was present with one other male. MR PROCTOR forced “Nick” to perform oral sex on him before beating him with punches.

1978-1984 – numerous locations including Carlton Club,Dolphin Square and a central London townhouse. “Nick” described attending several ‘Christmas parties’ where other boys were present together with numerous males including MR PROCTOR. “Nick” was given whiskey to drink before being forced to perform oral sex on several men including MR PROCTOR.

MR PROCTOR will be interviewed about the matters described above and given the opportunity to provide an account.”

10. I denied all and each of the allegations in turn and in detail and categorised them as false and untrue and, in whole, an heinous calumny. They amount to just about the worst allegations anyone can make against another person including, as they do, multiple murder of children, their torture, grievous bodily harm, rape and sexual child abuse.

11. I am completely innocent of all these allegations.

12. I am an homosexual. I am not a murderer. I am not a paedophile or pederast. Let me be frank, I pleaded guilty to four charges of gross indecency in 1987 relating to the then age of consent for homosexual activity. Those offences are no longer offences as the age of consent has dropped from 21 to 18 to 16. What I am being accused of now is a million miles away from that consensual activity.

13. At the start of the interview, I was told that although the interview would be recorded by the Police both for vision and sound, I would not receive a copy of the tapes. I asked to record the interview for sound myself but my request was refused. During the interview, to ensure that “Nick” had not identified the wrong person, I asked if I could see photographs purporting to be me which had been shown to him. My request was refused. At the end of the interview I was asked if I knew my 8 alleged co conspirators whose homes it was alleged I had visited. I believe I have a good recollection and the list comprised a number of people I knew, some who I had heard of but not met and some I did not know. None of the allegations were alleged to have taken place at my home and I have not visited the homes of any of the “gang”.

14. The list included the names of the late Leon Brittan and the late Edward Heath.

15. If it was not so serious, it would be laughable.

16. Edward Heath sacked me from the Conservative Party’s parliamentary candidates’ list in 1974. Mrs Thatcher restored me to the list 18 months later. Edward Heath despised me and he disliked my views particularly on limiting immigration from the New Commonwealth and Pakistan and my opposition to our entry into and continued membership of what is now know as the E.U. ; I opposed his corporate statist views on the Economy. I despised him too… He had sacked the late Enoch Powell, my political “hero” from the Shadow Cabinet when I was Chairman of the University of York Conservative Association. I regarded Enoch as an intellectual giant in comparison with Heath.

17. The same Edward Heath, not surprisingly, would never speak to me in the House of Commons but would snort at me as he passed me by in a Commons corridor. The feeling was entirely mutual.

18. Now I am accused of doing some of these dreadful things in his London house as well; a house to which I was never invited and to which Heath would never have invited me and to which I would have declined his invitation.

19. The same Edward Heath’s home with CCTV, housekeeper, private secretary, chauffeur, police and private detectives – all the trappings of a former Prime Minister – in the security conscious days of the IRA’s assault on London.

20. It is so farfetched as to be unbelievable. It is unbelievable because it is not true. My situation has transformed from Kafka- esque bewilderment to black farce incredulity.

21. I have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. I appeal to any witness who truthfully can place me at any of the former homes of Edward Heath or Leon Brittan at any time to come forward now. I appeal to any witness who can truthfully say I committed any of these horrible crimes to come forward now.

22. The “gang” is also alleged to have included Lord Janner ( a former Labour M.P.), Lord Bramall (Former Chief of the General Staff) , the late Maurice Oldfield (Former Head of Secret Intelligence Service – MI6), the late Sir Michael Hanley ( Director General of the Internal Security Service – MI5), General Sir Hugh Beach (Master-General of the Ordnance) and a man named – Ray Beech. I did not move in such circles. As an ex Secondary Modern School boy from Yorkshire, I was not a part of the Establishment. I had no interest being part of it. I cannot believe that these other 8 people conspired to do these monstrous things. I certainly did not.

23. Yesterday I was interviewed again by the Metropolitan Police Murder Squad for 1 hour 40 minutes. It was a voluntary interview. I was free to go at any time. I was not arrested. I am not on bail. Unhelpfully, the second disclosure document was given to me some 20 minutes after yesterday’s interview was supposed to have started rather than last Friday as had been promised. My Solicitors were told by the Police it was ready but had to be signed off by superior officers on Friday. The Metropolitan Police are either inefficient or doing it by design. Whatever else, it is inept and an unjust way to treat anyone. During yesterday’s interview, I was shown a photograph of “Nick” aged about 12. I did not recognise him. I was shown computer generated e fit images of 2 of the alleged murder victims created by “Nick”. They looked remarkably similar to each other but one with blonde hair and one dark brown. I did not recognise either image. I was asked if I knew Jimmy Saville. I told them I did not. “Nick” alleges – surprise surprise – that Saville attended the sex “parties”. I was asked if I knew a number of people including Leslie Goddard and Peter Heyman. I did not these two. I was asked if I knew well, a doctor – unnamed. Apparently “Nick” alleges the doctor was a friend of mine and allegedly he turned up to repair the damage done to the boys when they were abused at these “parties”. I could not help there . I was asked if I could recognise images of the pen knife mentioned earlier. It was suggested it was Edward Heath who persuaded me not to castrate “Nick” with it. I was obviously so persuaded by Mr Heath’s intervention that I placed the pen knife in “Nick’s” pocket ready for him to present it to the Metropolitan police over 30 years later as “evidence”. I could not identify the knife. I have never had a pen knife. I was asked if I visited Elm Guest House in Rocks Lane, Barnes. I wondered when that elephant in the room would be mentioned by the Metropolitan police. I am sorry to have to disappoint the fantasists on the internet but I did not visit Elm Guest House. I was unaware of its existence. The so called “guest list” which makes its appearance on the net must be a fake.

24. During my first interview I was told that the Police were investigating to seek out the truth. I reminded them on a number of occasions that their Head of “Operation Midland”, Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald had said on television some months ago “ I believe what “NICK” is saying as credible and true “. This statement is constantly used and manipulated by Exaro and other Media to justify their position.

25. This remark is very prejudicial to the police inquiry and its outcome. It is not justice and breaches my United Kingdom and Human Rights. This whole catalogue of events has wrecked my life, lost me my job and demolished 28 years of my rehabilitation since 1987.

26. The Police involved in “Operation Midland” are in a cleft stick of their own making. They are in a quandary. Support the “victim” however ludicrous his allegations or own up that they got it disastrously wrong but risk the charge of a cover up. What do I think should happen now?


I should be arrested, charged and prosecuted for murder and these awful crimes immediately so I can start the process of ridiculing these preposterous allegations in open court


“NICK” should be stripped of his anonymity and prosecuted for wasting police time and money, making the most foul of false allegations and seeking to pervert the course of justice. Those who have aided and abetted him should also be prosecuted. “NICK” should be medically examined to ensure he is of sound mind.

27. Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald should resign from his position as Head of “Operation Midland”. He should resign or be sacked. But as the Metropolitan Police is a bureaucratic “organisation” I suggest, to save face, he is slid sideways to be placed in control of Metropolitan London parking, traffic, jay walking or crime prevention. He too should be medically examined to ensure he is of sound mind.

28. An investigation should be launched into “Operation Midland” and its costs. Detectives’ expense claims should be analysed and a full audit carried out by independent auditors.

29. Those Labour Members of Parliament who have misused parliamentary privilege and their special position on these matters should apologise. They have behaved disgracefully, especially attacking dead parliamentarians who cannot defend themselves and others and they should make amends. They are welcome to sue me for libel. In particular, Mr Tom Watson, M.P. should state, outside the protection of the House of Commons, the names of ex Ministers and ex M.P.s who he feels are part of the so called alleged Westminster rent boy ring.

30. Lady Goddard’s Inquiry should examine “Operation Midland’s” methods so as to sift genuine historical child sexual abuse from the spurious.

31. “Operation Midland” should be wound up by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who should also apologise at the earliest opportunity. On the 6th August 2015, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe shed crocodile tears criticising the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Wiltshire Police for naming Edward Heath as a suspect. He said it was not “fair” and his own force would not do such a thing. This is very disingenuous. When his Police officers were searching my Home and before they had left, the Press were ringing me asking for comment. I was identified. They had told “Nick” of the search who passed on the information to his press friends. The Metropolitan police have also told the press that they were investigating Heath and Brittan and others. Sir Bernard should resign for the sin of hypocrisy. If he does not, it will not be long before he establishes “Operation Plantagenet” to determine Richard III’s involvement in the murder of the Princes in the Tower of London.

32. Superintendent Sean Memory of Wiltshire Police should explain why he made a statement about Edward Heath in front of his former home in Salisbury and who advised him to select that venue. He should also resign.

33. Leon Brittan was driven to his death by police action. They already knew for 6 months before his death, on the advice of the DPP, that he would not face prosecution for the alleged rape of a young woman. But they did not tell him. They just hoped he would die without having to tell him. The Superintendent in charge of his investigation should resign.

34. The Police should stop referring automatically to people who make statements of alleged Historic child sexual abuse as “victims”. They should refer to them as “complainants” from the French “to lament” which would be more appropriate. Parliament should pass laws to better balance the right to anonymity of “victims” and the “accused”. Parliament should reinstate in law the English tradition of “innocence before being found guilty” which has been trashed in recent months by certain sections of the Police, the DPP, MPs, Magistrates and the Courts themselves.

35. I have not just come here with a complaint. I have come with the intention of showing my face in public as an innocent man. I have come to raise my voice as an aggrieved subject now deeply concerned about the administration of Justice. What has become increasingly clear about Police investigations into historical child sexual abuse is that it has been bungled in years gone by and is being bungled again NOW. The moment has come to ask ourselves if the Police are up to the task of investigating the apparent complexities of such an enquiry ? These allegations merit the most detailed and intellectually rigorous application.

36. What is clear from the last few years of police activity driven by the media, fearful of the power of the internet and the odd M.P. here and there is that the overhaul of the Police service up and down the country is now urgently required. We need “Super cops” who have been University educated and drawn from the professions. Such people could be of semi retirement status with a background in the supervision of complex, criminal investigations. These people could be drawn from the law, accountancy and insolvency practices. Former Justices of the Peace could chair some of these investigations. Adequate incentives should be provided to recruit them.

37. I speak for myself and, as a former Tory M.P. with an impeccable record in defending the Police, I have now come to believe that that blind trust in them was totally misplaced. What has happened to me could happen to anyone. It could happen to you.

38. In summary, the paranoid Police have pursued an homosexual witch hunt on this issue egged on by a motley crew of certain sections of the media and press and a number of Labour Members of Parliament and a ragbag of internet fantasists. There are questions to ask about what kind of Police Force do we have in Britain today. How can it be right for the Police to act in consort with the press with routine tip offs of House raids, impending arrests and the like. Anonymity is given to anyone prepared to make untruthful accusations of child sexual abuse whilst the alleged accused are routinely fingered publicly without any credible evidence first being found. This is not justice. It is an abuse of power and authority.

39. In conclusion, I wish to thank my Solicitors Mr Raza Sakhi and Mr Nabeel Gatrad and my family and friends for their support without which I would not have been able to survive this onslaught on my character and on my life.

Via the Needle

Tagged: Crime

Thought for the Day [VodkaPundit]

Perry’s Slow Fade Continues [VodkaPundit]

Allahpundit details the defection of Rick Perry’s Iowa man, Sam Clovis, to the Trump campaign:

Perry’s campaign only raised $1 million in June. By comparison, notes CNN, Ted Cruz raised $1 million on his first day in the race. So why’d Clovis leave? Was it a money thing or a going-nowhere-in-the-polls thing? He told the Austin American-Statesman that it was more of a communication thing: “I had not heard from the campaign in quite some time and I assessed that they were making adjustments based on their situation and I was not part of that conversation. I had said I would hang in there with him early on but I never heard from them.” Hmmm. Clovis was their Iowa chairman; it seems … unlikely that they’d cut him out of their early-state planning for a few weeks. Meanwhile, he sure has sounded excited about Trumpmania lately in interviews with WaPo.

Allah adds that “At this rate, it’s hard to believe he won’t be the first mid-major candidate out of the race.”

Followed in short order, I imagine, by Jindal and Christie. Christie is just a bad fit for the national GOP, and Jindal is much like Perry in that he’s an articulate and successful governor who has somehow failed to connect with primary voters. Trump sucking the oxygen out of every room hasn’t helped.

Rand Paul should be on this list, but he has a hard core of supporters who, like his father, will be enough for him to keep the money machine and the organization growing for future efforts.

But as of right now, there’s Trump, the never-rans just described, and the remaining not-quite-rans who had better up their own games and quit playing Trump’s.

The Truth About China [VodkaPundit]

StrategyPage details the frustration Chinese feel with their nominally Communist government — and it isn’t just the financial troubles in Shanghai. The rot goes deep, from Beijing’s corrupt bosses to the recent explosion in Tiajin:

This explosion was not supposed to happen. There were laws about storing so much explosive chemicals (and poisonous) in one place and so close to residential areas. The government ordered the arrest of the owners of the warehouse complex and local officials can expect to be prosecuted, and possibly executed, as well. This sort of thing has happened before. It has happened too many times before and is still happening with increasing frequency despite government assurances that it is aware of the problem and is dealing with it. The problem that is not discussed much is that China has never had a strong centralized government. In the past Chinese empires thrived because the imperial government was able to promptly deal with provinces that became too corrupt and unruly. Chinese see their government as unable to identify, arrest and replace corrupt local officials quickly enough. This failure is seen as a danger to every Chinese. It isn’t just the massive explosions in major cities but the growing air pollution, even in the capital, and less obvious but just as harmful water and food pollution. What good is all this new wealth if the government cannot keep people healthy enough to enjoy it?

China has grown rich. Shockingly so, given how poor the country was just three decades ago. But on a per capita basis China still has a long way to go to catch up to the West, and per capita is the basis Beijing must look at.

The reason is that every individual has basic needs — food, shelter, etc — which must be met before taxes can be collected. When taxes eat into the basics, revolution is going to eventually result, and that’s anathema to Beijing (or any government).

So in order for an ambitious government to finance little things like blue water navies or even clean air, there must be a middle and an upper class big and wealthy enough to pay for it all.

But China might be stuck in the middle income trap:

Chinese productivity growth has gone into reverse for the first time since the Cultural Revolution tore the country apart in the 1970s, according to a new study, highlighting the failure of recent reforms to set China on a sustainable development path.

That means that despite dramatic rises in the cost of labor, energy, credit and property, the average Chinese company has actually been getting less bang for its buck since the global financial crisis – a classic sign of the “middle income trap” that many other emerging economies such as Brazil or Malaysia have found themselves stuck in after promising starts.

“The findings strongly suggest that the over-building, the over-capacity and the ‘advance’ of the less efficient state into private sector markets have increasingly dragged on China’s growth,” wrote the report’s author, Harry Wu, senior advisor at the Conference Board China Center for Economics and Business.

China’s political troubles may be just beginning as the country tests the upper limits of “Market Leninism.”

What I Learned Today from Reading Twitter [VodkaPundit]

Florida Man Breaks Into High School, Calls Grandma [VodkaPundit]

Florida Man, phone home:

A Florida man broke into a high school in hopes of finding a phone to call his grandma, according to police in Port St. Lucie.

Aaron D. Richardson, 19, was charged Monday night after officials at Treasure Coast High School reported that someone had broken into a concession stand and busted a computer, WPTV reports.

Officers noticed a damaged fence near the school perimeter as well as the computer, which looked as it had been smashed with a fist or foot.

School surveillance videos also showed a man climbing the fence and driving a school-owned golf cart around campus, according to WPBF.com.

Maybe she was his flakka source.

Shot Down [VodkaPundit]

I’ve watched the WDBJ shooting video, and it is as horrific as you can imagine even without any actual on-screen gore.

The senselessness of the murders of Alison Parker and Adam Ward is what strikes you. They were doing a morning news remote, a light piece at Bridgewater Plaza when a gunman appeared, fired what sounded like eight shots. Parker screamed and dropped to the ground. Ward didn’t scream, but dropped almost as quickly, catching a few frames of the shooter as he fell.

Why anyone would shoot these two…

The reasons for murdering people doing the morning news, it’s unimaginable. That’s what makes it so horrible.

More later, but right now I have to get the boys to school, and hope they don’t ask any difficult questions about why Dad is giving them such big hugs this morning.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day [VodkaPundit]

The Cadillac Tax prepares to claim another scalp:

Obamacare’s looming “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health plans threatens to hit one in four U.S. employers when it takes effect in 2018 — and will impact 42 percent of all employers by a decade later, according to a new analysis.

And many of those employers will be subject to the heavy Obamacare tax because they offer popular health-care flexible spending accounts to workers, which, ironically, are designed to reduce the income tax burden to those employees.

As a result, the co-author of the analysis expects the health FSAs to start being phased out and “largely disappearing” over time by companies looking for reduce their exposure to the Cadillac tax.

FSAs allow consumers to make their own decisions about how best to spend their own money, with Washington providing a tax incentive to make smart decisions. Ideally, Washington would stay out of these matters entirely, but you and I both know that’s just not possible in the current (1933-???) political climate.

The problem then in today’s climate is that FSAs empower the consumer rather than the bureaucrat (of the government or semi-private variety), so it’s no surprise that ♡bamaCare!!! contains enough hidden landlines to ensure their eventual elimination.

That Means It’s Working™

Oh, Those Classified Emails [VodkaPundit]

WAT? (AP photo)

(AP photo)

So exactly what was in those emails which Hillary Clinton swore were not classified, but then swore were not classified at the time they were sent or received, but then swore that at least they weren’t marked Classified when they were received? Let’s take a look:

Hillary Clinton’s classified emails contain discussions of conversations with foreign diplomats, issues with embassy security and relations with countries from Russia to China.

The broad range of information that was deemed classified by the State Department — just within the emails published by the agency to date —underscores concerns that sensitive material was routinely mishandled on Clinton’s private email server.

For example, Huma Abedin, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff, forwarded a summary of a high-level Sept. 2009 meeting to Clinton in which she detailed the “embassy security issues” that were discussed.

Nope, nothing to see here.

Move along.

Hak5 1902 – Your Passwords are Predictable [Technolust since 2005]

This week on Hak5 Darren discusses the issue with keyless entry in out enterprise locations with Terry Gold, and Shannon find out more about how Predictable our passcodes are with Marte Løge.

Download HD  |   Download MP4


Marte Løge –  https://marteloge.no/#
IDanalyst – http://idanalyst.com/

The post Hak5 1902 – Your Passwords are Predictable appeared first on Technolust since 2005.

$500K Bounty & Suicides for AshleyMadison, Android Browser Flaws, Amazon Cuts Flash [Technolust since 2005]

Suicides, extortion, and a $500,000 bounty for Impact Team… it’s gotten ugly at Ashley Madison.com. Amazon’s dropping Flash ads in September. China’s arrested 15,000 that “jeopardized Internet security” tho that does not mean what you think it means. Patch WordPress, there’s some nasty exploits. Some Android browsers have Zero Day flaws, and will Microsoft ever explain what Windows 10 is patching???


Josh Duggar  Had A Paid AshleyMadison Account:



Extortionists Target AshleyMadison Users:



Two Suicides May Be Linked To AshleyMadison Hack



AshleyMadison: $500K Bounty for Hackers:



Amazon Ends Flash Ads In September:



China Arrests 15,000



WordPress Compromises Behind Spike in Neutrino EK Traffic:



Drupal Security Updates Patch Five Vulnerabilities:



Popular Android browsers open to hackers:



Microsoft will explain only ‘significant’ Windows 10 updates:



Thumbnail credit:


Photo, Many Dollar Banknotes, by Jericho

The post $500K Bounty & Suicides for AshleyMadison, Android Browser Flaws, Amazon Cuts Flash appeared first on Technolust since 2005.

TekThing 33: LIVA X2 Mini PC, SMANOS W020i WiFi Alarm, Privacy Badger, Free WiFi Heat Map, Chromecast In Hotels! [Technolust since 2005]

We’ve got reviews of the LIVA X2 Mini PC, and the Smanos W020i WiFi Alarm and Wireless Camera Kit, more Skylake info from IDF, three awesome free windows apps, how to block phone numbers in Android, and what happens when you use your favorite video streaming gear on vacation!

Download the video.
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THANKS to Hak5! & The HakShop!!!
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Email ask@tekthing.com!!!
Today’s topics:
Update Windows IE NOW: MS just dropped a patch for a nasty security flaw in IE. Go forth and update Windows. (On a cheerful note, the Edge browser in Win 10 is unaffected.)
Google OnHub Router: Yup, Google just announced it’s selling a home router, called OnHub. A verticle tube with 13 antennas inside, a bunch of intelligence (It promises to monitors your Wi-Fi and tells you how to make it better.) and a web app. We’ve pre-ordered one and will post our review after it ships Sept 1st.
Skylake Update: We’ve finally got more details on Intel’s Skylake CPU, including the architecture, which promises to “Scale from Tablets to Servers.” The Core i5-6600 version is on sale, no sign of the Core i7-6700 model yet!
Sync LastPass for Free! Our friend Alan Henry at LifeHacker pretty much summed it up, “LastPass Now Lets You Sync Passwords on Any One Platform for Free.”
ECS LIVA X2 MiniPC Review: Patrick got hands on with ECS’ new LIVA X2… it’s an tiny Intel powered full Windows PC that sells for $179. Watch the video to find out what Patrick thought of it… and here’s the links to TechSpot’s Celeron N3050 benchmarks!
3 Awesome Free Windows Apps: Find out why we love Ekahau Heatmapper, WinDirStat (or, better yet, SpaceSniffer, and Smart Defrag 4 in the video!
Smanos W020i Smart Alarm and WiFi Camera: Just how good is the Smanos W020i home alarm system you set up yourself? Shannon’s been hands on with it, so you can find out in the video!
Google Project Sunroof: Ever wonder how much electrical energy you can generate by putting solar panels on your roof?Project Sunroof aims to tell you!
Chromecast vs. Hotel WiFi: Sara writes, “Is it possible to use my Chromecast with a Hotspot on vacation, using another separate mobile device to cast with? Free hotel WiFi is usually available, but I would never trust it LOLZ :)” Find out the good, the bad, and the ugly in the video!
Block Numbers On Android? Tom asks, “I’ve got Android Lollipop 5.1.1 yet there still is no feature to block a specific phone number. Can you recommend a work-around or a specific app to do the same thing?” We’ve got a free way to block numbers in Android, and info on a pretty good paid app in the video!
EFF Privacy Badger? Alan writes, “What do you think of EFF’s Privacy Badger?  How do you think it compares to other plugins out there, like Ghostery?  I’m interested in hearing your thoughts, since your show always provides interesting insights.” Here’s the link for the Gigaom article, “Why Privacy Badger Is Different” that Shannon mentioned!
Do Something Analog! Go out and try a new cuisine or restaurant!!!

The post TekThing 33: LIVA X2 Mini PC, SMANOS W020i WiFi Alarm, Privacy Badger, Free WiFi Heat Map, Chromecast In Hotels! appeared first on Technolust since 2005.

The Heart of the University: MU Libraries celebrate the centennial of Ellis Library [LISNews:]

"More than a century ago, the University of Missouri’s first professionally trained librarian, James Thayer Gerould, campaigned for a building to house the library’s books. The collection was relatively small; all of the books, except the few on loan, had been destroyed in the Academic Hall fire of 1892...Today, the structure houses nearly 2 million print volumes."
“It’s hard for me to think of another profession that has been more fundamentally changed than librarianship,” says Director of MU Libraries Jim Cogswell. “Librarians have always said they are trying to do the impossible, which is to try to take all of the world’s recorded knowledge and information and make it available to anybody at any time. That’s crazy. How could anybody ever do that? But with every iteration of technology, we get closer.”
Read more of Ellis Library'shistory at MIZZOU Magazine

Accelerators for publishing? Ingram's "1440" [LISNews:]

On Sept. 13, 2015, Ingram Content Group will unveil the results of 1440, a new incubator for publishing entrepreneurs. The project’s website connects a past publishing revolution with the type of disruption Ingram hopes to help start in the future: “In [the year] 1440, Johannes Gutenberg developed the printing press and changed the world. We’re looking for the companies that are changing today’s publishing world by changing the way that people interact with content.” Today, Ingram is busy reviewing the 33 applications it received on or before Aug. 7 and will be ready to announce the participating companies on Sept. 13.
Source: http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/NewsBreaks/Ingrams-1440-Accelerator-Kick...


Who Was Afraid of Ray Bradbury & Science Fiction? The FBI [LISNews:]


When you think of the most astute minds of our time, you might well think of Ray Bradbury’s — but you probably don’t think of him as one of the most astute terrorist minds of our time. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, saw things differently. Collaborative news site MuckRock found that out through files “released to former MuckRocker Inkoo Kang [which] document the decade the Bureau spent trying to determine if Bradbury was, if not a card-carrying Communist, at least a sympathetic ‘fellow traveler.'” See snippets of documents here from 1959.

From Who Was Afraid of Ray Bradbury & Science Fiction? The FBI, It Turns Out (1959) | Open Culture

Author Joe Hill experiments with free ebook bundling via Shelfie app [LISNews:]


(Updated to add: but don’t go to the library and use the library book to claim your Shelfie, because that’s weird, and would also require you to write your name in a library book, but mostly it’s weird.)

From Joe Hill's Thrills

Nevada Obamacare nonprofit (read: ‘subsidized’) insurer goes bankrupt. [Moe Lane]

Note that this is not the state Obamacare exchange itself: Nevada Health Co-Op was set up to be a competitor to actual, honest-to-God insurance companies.  Sixty-six million dollars of your tax money later, it’s blown up in the Obama administration’s face: “Nevada Health CO-OP, which launched in 2012 with two federal loans totaling $65.9 million, will shutter its operation and will not offer coverage for 2016.” Which means that anybody who signed up for a program with Nevada Health is going to get a special Christmas gift from the administration: several weeks of desperately trying to arrange new coverage during the holiday season!  Yay!

Mind you, the taxpayers can’t just write Nevada Health off right away.  The organization is apparently rather significantly in debt, and paying that off will probably cost the taxpayer more… what? Why would the taxpayers have to make good the co-op’s bad loans? Well

Nevada Health CO-OP started in 2012 as Hospitality Health CO-OP. It was sponsored by the Culinary Union’s Culinary Health Fund, its national parent UNITE HERE Health and the Health Services Coalition, a local consumer advocacy group that negotiates costs and tracks care for more than 300,000 members employed by cities, unions and big companies.

Unions still play a key role in the co-op: Culinary head D. Taylor and Nevada AFL-CIO executive Danny Thompson are both listed on the nonprofit’s board of directors in its June 30 financial statement.

Let me put it this way.  In this corner, we have Joe and Jane Average Taxpayer. And over in this corner, we have the AFL-CIO. Which corner contains the people that this administration doesn’t want to annoy? …That’s right: Big Labor. Even in its currently bruised state the labor movement still commands strong respect from the other members of our current Imperial Court; and why should loyal clients be forced to spend their own* money when the treasury is right there, just waiting to be tapped?

And as always, remember: this is not a flaw in the system. This is the system. Although I should note that the Obama administration is so bad at this that it can’t even provide largess for its friends…

Via @baseballcrank.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Well, their members’ money, in the form of membership dues.


Tweet of the Day, This Is An Excellent Campaign Strategy edition. [Moe Lane]

This is what you gotta do.

Here’s the actual verse (New International Version, of course): “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I find it difficult that any Republican candidate for President doesn’t already know that one, but one mustn’t assume. The important thing is, have this ready and loaded to go.

Moe Lane

PS: If you’re talking to Jews, go with Ecclesiastes 3:1. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” Admittedly, that one’s the King James version, but it also admittedly sounds a bit more like the song.

So, the guy who murdered those two news people killed himself. [Moe Lane]

He… was not sane.

The man suspected of killing two television journalists in Virginia filmed the shootings and posted video of the incident on Twitter.

The account was suspended shortly after the videos and tweets were posted.

Trust me: I could very easily blame this one on certain attitudes and memes that my ideological opponents are happy to throw out into the aether, with nary a thought about who might be listening to their nastytalk. And God knows that the Media is, as is its wont, simply making things worse right now:

But the man was not sane.

Moe Lane

PS: Judging from the aftermath on Twitter, there are various people on the Left who should be ashamed of themselves right now. They’re not, but they should be. Well, it’s not like this is a surprise.

Ah, the dark joys of the first week of school! [Moe Lane]

…Which is to say, cleaning all the places in the house that you’ve been unable to clean up to now because of the kids.  Nothing says ‘bohemian lifestyle’ like ‘vacuuming the basement,’ let me tell you. …Well, it’s true. As somebody once said: many things could say it better, but nothing else says it like.

‘Missing You.’ [Moe Lane]

Never heard this cover before.

Missing YouTina Turner

Book of the Week: ‘Snow Crash.’ [Moe Lane]

Why Snow Crash? Because…

Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.

When I write something that’s that good, believe me: I’ll let you know.

And so, adieu to Ringworld.

Team Clinton is getting a little weird right now. [Moe Lane]

Is it just me, or is the Clinton campaign going a little haywire over this?

I mean, yeah, sure, if a bunch of Lefties tried to do a sting operation of Republicans Acting Badly and got caught at it I’d almost certainly go ballistic. But that’s my job. That’s my colleagues’ job, too. We yell at Democrats so that Republican candidates don’t have to. All that Team Clinton is doing here is elevating O’Keefe’s shop by treating them as worthy of Team Clinton’s freak-out. It seems… like the sort of thing that you’d get a proxy for, honestly.

It must be a really fun life experience, working for Hillary Clinton right now.

If you hear somebody crying, do something. Something non-electronic. [Moe Lane]

I read this story by Bethany Mandel about that entire sad (in many senses of the term) episode where somebody live-tweeted somebody else’s long distance breakup, and I think that we should take away from it is… a question.  You see somebody in obvious and intense emotional distress. You can either: help that person ease that distress; or record that person’s distress for other people’s perusal. Which is more important to you?

I swear to God, I think that I’ve written about this before. Not this specific story, but something close to it.  …I think.

Ann and Trump [The Jawa Report]

OK so I'm not a big fan really of either. Personally but what I am a fan of is America.

If any candidate can do better, make my day.

If they cannot do better. Well i want to hire the best man or woman for the job.

At first I thought Trump a spoiler for Hillary or not really serious. But at appears he is serious. Therefore we need to be serious in our considerations.

Christian Slater and Rami Malek [The Nerdist]

Christian Slater and Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) talk with Chris about getting their roles in Mr. Robot, what Chris loves about the show and where they think it’s going. They also talk about growing up in Los Angeles, how Rami went on a date with Christian’s step- sister once and what they do outside of acting!

“Human Action” and Robert Murphy’s “Choice,” Part 5: The Division of Labor [Patterico's Pontifications]

This is Part 5 of my ongoing series of posts summarizing Bob Murphy’s indispensable book Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action. Murphy’s book is itself is a summary of Ludwig von Mises’s classic treatise “Human Action” — so you’re reading a summary of a summary. Hey, it’s a blog. Short and concise is what we do.

The idea of this series of posts is to popularize and spread the word about Austrian economics and educate the public. Rather than list all the previous parts, I have created a category for all these posts, called “Human Action and Choice,” so that all these posts can be read (in reverse order) with a single click. Note well: any errors in these summaries are mine and not Murphy’s.

Chapter 5 is a meaty chapter, but an important one. It revolves around the critical concept of the division of labor, which Mises saw as the foundation of all human society, and the reason that we have achieved whatever prosperity we have achieved. The importance of the division of labor, then, cannot be overstated. Understanding the division of labor allows one to spot economic fallacies all over — whether the fallacy is the so-called benefits of buying “local,” or the notion that a nation benefits its citizens by imposing trade barriers, or by preventing jobs from being exported overseas.

If every household tried to be completely and utterly self-sufficient, civilization would collapse. One of the key reasons we have the standard of living we have is because people specialize in particular tasks. The advantages of doing so are numerous. People don’t waste time switching between tasks. Automation is promoted because it makes sense to invest in machines. This is turn gives rise to economies of scale, which leads to tremendous savings. Many tasks require a minimum threshold of workers to accomplish them. And of course the division of labor allows people to use their natural aptitude to its greatest extent, or to acquire a special aptitude through experience.

But the benefits of the division of labor apply regardless of differing aptitude, as economist David Ricardo showed in the early 1800s with his explication of the principle of comparative advantage. This is critical to understand, and destroys the argument for tariffs and other protectionist measures. The notion is this: even if you are better than me at both tasks A and B, together we are more productive if you specialize in one task, and I specialize in the other. Namely, one should specialize in the task in which their advantage is most pronounced.

Murphy gives an example to illustrate the point. Say a store owner (Marcia) is better than the hired help (John) at everything. Store owner Marcia can convince someone to buy an item in 15 minutes, while it takes hired help John two hours to accomplish the same result. Marcia can tidy up the store at closing time in half an hour, while the hapless John takes an hour to do the same. The store owner Marcia is better than the hired help John at both tasks, but Marcia has the greatest comparative advantage in selling, since she can sell eight times as fast as John, and can tidy up only twice as fast. So at closing time, Marcia should concentrate on selling and let John do all the tidying up. She will make far more money this way than she would if she and John did not specialize. You can run any similar experiment with actual numbers and you will see that the math always works out in favor of specialization.

The division of labor is (of course) of no use without the ability to trade and cooperate. This, to Mises, was central. Again: Mises goes so far as to describe as the very foundation of human civilization the fact that humans are more productive when they act in concert with each other — as long as they are able to recognize that fact. Thus Mises rejects the naively sunny view that altruism is the fundamental underpinning of society — but he also rejects social Darwinism, in which stronger people dominate weaker ones for the good of humanity.

Finally, Mises posits that the highest productivity can occur only in a free market. While a command economy can enjoy the benefits of the division of the labor, those benefits will pale in comparison to the fruits of a truly free market. Future chapters (and posts) will illustrate this further.

This, From An “Impartial” Media? [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

The image has now been removed from the ABC7 website.


Reporting with complete independence, just like Jorge Ramos reassured us he would do upon disclosing that his daughter works for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.


Trump: Zero Class [Patterico's Pontifications]

This really does deserve its own thread.

Fox has demanded an apology (which itself is silly). During the press conference from the post below, Trump said he will not apologize, and that Megyn Kelly should really apologize to him. For asking tough questions, apparently.

What a simpering, small, weak, obsessive little baby he is.

P.S. During the press conference he also justified his obsessive tweets about Kelly, saying: “When people treat me unfairly, I don’t let them forget it.”

Put that guy in charge of the IRS!!!

UPDATE: This is pretty good.

Donald Trump To Jorge Ramos: You’re Fired! [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

Jorge Ramos, Univision news anchor, found himself unceremoniously escorted out of Donald Trump’s press conference today because he would not stop badgering Trump, even though Trump hadn’t called on him:

As Trump took the podium, Ramos stood up and asked Trump a question about immigration, and Trump’s immigration plan. Trump, ignoring Ramos, called on someone else. Ramos continued trying to asking the question, to which Trump responded, “Excuse me, sit down. You weren’t called.” Ramos continued, and Trump repeatedly told him, “Sit down.”

Ramos then protested, “I have the right to ask a question.” Trump answered, “No you don’t. You haven’t been called.” Ramos again said that he has the right to ask a question, to which Trump retorted, “Go back to Univision.”

Ramos continued to press on, at one point stating “You cannot deport 11 million people” as Trump tried to take other questions.

Eventually, a man came over and escorted Ramos out of the event as Ramos continued to try to ask his question and Trump told him to sit down because he hadn’t been called on. As Ramos was being removed from the question he said, “Don’t touch me, sir. You cannot touch me.”

Apparently, Ramos returned to the conference later and was able to ask Trump questions.

I heard a couple of pundits on the news aghast at the lack of presidential decorum shown by Trump at the presser. Clueless that they are, this I-don’t-care-who-you-are attitude and refusal to subordinate himself to the GOP elites and media is precisely why he is ahead in the polls. They are totally unprepared to handle a problem like Trump. And that’s a fun thing to see.


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: OK, this is good:

SCANDAL! Heckler Ejected from Trump Press Conference [Patterico's Pontifications]

The headlines are all over the Internets. Trump ejects trusted Univision anchor from press conference! Here is a representative headline from the newsplainers at Vox:

Jorge Ramos is the most trusted name in Latino news. Donald Trump bounced him from a press conference.

Vox explains:

Donald Trump doesn’t like people who criticize him, as a general rule. Donald Trump also does not like Univision — he’s suing the Spanish-language news network for $500 million after it dropped coverage of his Miss Universe pageant.

So when Univision journalist Jorge Ramos — the most trusted name in Latino news — asked a question at a Trump press conference without getting called on, Trump had his security detail bounce Ramos from the press conference, shouting “Go back to Univision!”

Yeah, that’s not what happened.

This I know, because I watched the actual video.

What happened was that Ramos, a partisan hack pseudo-journalist, got up without being called on — and then, when Trump explained to him he hadn’t been called on, proceeded to disrupt the entire press conference. He would not stop running his mouth and having him ejected was the only reasonable choice. Trump did it in classic Trump style, with a little snide remark . . . but he didn’t shout.

And he ultimately let the guy back in, apparently, and let him ask his questions — once the guy decided that he wasn’t going to unilaterally take over the entire event and ignore all rules of professional courtesy and basic good manners.

You know, after Trump’s petty, thin-skinned, weak tweets last night obsessing over Megyn Kelly, I was disgusted by Trump, and ready to blast Trump again after reading these headlines about Ramos. Now I am blasting the people who lied about it.

P.S. Anyone know where I can find any video of the entire press conference? I’d like to see it, but when I try to Google for it I am drowned in dishonest headlines about Ramos.

UPDATE: Embeddable video of the whole press conference:

Thanks to nk.

UPDATE x2: I’m closing comments on this thread. Comment on Dana’s post, which has a better headline.

Those Severed Baby Heads Are Sure Funny [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

Stem Express CEO Cate Dyer is seen discussing different aspects of providing fetal baby parts in the latest Planned Parenthood video released today by the Center for Medical Progress:

StemExpress: I know we get requests for neural [tissue]. It’s the hardest thing in the world to ship.

Buyer: You do it as the whole calvarium.

StemExpress: That’s it, yeah, that’s the easiest way. And I mean we’ve actually had good success with that in the past.

Buyer: Yeah, Make sure the eyes are closed!

StemExpress: [Loud Laughter] Tell the lab it’s coming. So they don’t open the box and go, “Oh God!” [Laughter] So yeah, whereas so many of the academic labs cannot fly like that. They’re just not capable.

Buyer: Why is that? I don’t understand that.

StemExpress: It’s almost like they don’t want to know where it comes from. I can see that. Where they’re like, “We need limbs, but no hands and feet need to be attached.” […] They want you to take it all off, like, “Make it so that we don’t know what it is.”

Buyer: Yeah. Bone the chicken for me and then I’ll eat it.

StemExpress: That’s it. But we know what it is [Laughter]. […] Their lab techs freak out, and have meltdowns, and so it’s just like, yeah.

If their collective conscience was clear and they had no qualms about what they were doing, there wouldn’t be any meltdowns happening or any need to remove the brutal reality of the baby’s original form. After all, it wasn’t ever human, right? But they know. Clearly, on some level, they know.

There is also a discussion about getting intact babies:

SE: Oh, yeah, I mean if you had intact cases [abortions] which we’ve done alot. We sometimes ship those back to our labs in their entirety.

And then there’s the issue of quantity:

Buyer: What would make your lab happy?

SE: Another 50 livers a week.


Dispatch Tables [Perlsphere]

At a previous job, I saw some code that asked the user which function they wanted to run and then executed a subroutine with that name. This code demonstrates why such a practice is bad: use strict; use warnings; sub greet { print "Hello!\n" } sub inquire { print "How are you?\n" } sub bye { print "Farewell!\n" } sub delete_all_files { print "*

Carl Chenet: Retweet 0.2 : bump to Python 3 [Planet Debian]

Follow me on Identi.ca  or Twitter  or Diaspora*diaspora-banner

Don’t know Retweet? My last post about it introduced this small Twitter bot whichs just retweets (for now) every tweets from a Twitter account to another one.


Retweet was created in order to improve the Journal du hacker Twitter account. The Journal du hacker is a Hacker News-like French-speaking website.


Especially useful to broadcast news through a network of Twitter accounts, Retweet was improved to bump Python version to 3.4 and to improve pep8 compliance (work in progress).

The project is also well documented and should be quite simple to install, configure and use.

After my first blog post about Retweet, new users gave me feedback about it and I now have great ideas for future features for the next release.


What about you? If you try it, please tell me what you think about it, opening a bug request or ask for new features. Or just write your comment here ;)

Holger Levsen: 20150826-jenkins-fourth-state [Planet Debian]

jenkins has a fourth state

So, at the jenkins.debian.org BOF (very short summary: j.d.o will be coming soonish, long summary thanks to the awesome video team) I shared a trick I discovered almost a year ago, but had never really announced anywhere yet, which enables one to programatically use a fourth state to the existing three jenkins job states ("success", "unstable" and "failed"), which is "aborted".

Common knowledge is that it's only possible to abort jobs manually, but it's also possible to do that like this:

curl https://jenkins.debian.net/jnlpJars/jenkins-cli.jar -o $TMPFILE
java -jar $TMPFILE -s http://localhost:8080/ set-build-result aborted

The nice thing about aborted job runs is that these don't cause any notifications (neither mail nor IRC), so I intend to use this for several cases:

  • to abort jobs which encounter network problems
  • to abort jobs where a known bug will prevent the job from succeeding. This will require a small database to map bugs to jobs and some way to edit that database, so I will probably go with a .yaml file in some git repo.

I've no idea when I'll get along to actually implement that, so help doing this is very much welcome and I'd also be glad to help hooking this into the existing jenkins.debian.net.git codebase.

In related news, I'm back home since Monday and am thankful for having shared a very nice and productive DebConf15 with many old and new friends in Heidelberg. Many thanks to everyone involved in making this happen!

NOKUBI Takatsugu: 1Gbps FTTH [Planet Debian]

This month, I changed FTTH Internet from 100Mbps to 1Gbps. The costs is almost same as the past line.

To change the line, I had need to be witness in the construction, so I  couldn’t get time to attend DebConf 2015.

According to Speedtest.net, I can get about 300 Mbps upstream bandwidth.

Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, July 2015 [Planet Debian]

A Debian LTS logoLike each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

Individual reports

In July, 79.50 work hours have been dispatched among 7 paid contributors. Their reports are available:

Evolution of the situation

August has seen a small decrease in terms of sponsored hours (71.50 hours per month) because two sponsors did not pay their renewal invoice on time. That said they reconfirmed their willingness to support us and things should be fixed after the summer. And we should be able to reach our first milestone of funding the equivalent of a half-time position, in particular since a new platinum sponsor might join the project.

DebConf 15 happened this month and Debian LTS was featured in a talk and in a work session. Have a look at the video recordings:

In terms of security updates waiting to be handled, the situation is better than last month: the dla-needed.txt file lists 20 packages awaiting an update (4 less than last month), the list of open vulnerabilities in Squeeze shows about 22 affected packages in total (11 less than last month). The new LTS frontdesk ensures regular triage of CVE reports and the difference between both counts dropped significantly. That’s good!

Thanks to our sponsors

Thanks to Sig-I/O, a new bronze sponsor, which joins our 35 other sponsors.

No comment | Liked this article? Click here. | My blog is Flattr-enabled.

Dirk Eddelbuettel: RProtoBuf 0.4.3 [Planet Debian]

A new maintenance release 0.4.3 of RProtoBuf is now on CRAN. RProtoBuf provides R bindings for the Google Protocol Buffers ("Protobuf") data encoding library used and released by Google, and deployed as a language and operating-system agnostic protocol by numerous projects.

This release comes upon the request of CRAN and adds additional import statements to the NAMESPACE file. While we were at it, a few more things got cleaned up and edited---but no new code was added. Full details are below.

Changes in RProtoBuf version 0.4.3 (2015-08-25)

  • Declare additional imports from methods in NAMESPACE.

  • Travis CI tests now run faster as all CRAN dependencies are installed as binaries.

  • The tools/winlibs.R script now tests for R (< 3.3.0) before calling the (soon-to-be phased out) setInternet2() function.

  • Several small edits were made to DESCRIPTION to clarify library dependencies, provide additonal references and conform to now-current R packaging standards.

CRANberries also provides a diff to the previous release. The RProtoBuf page has a package vignette, a a 'quick' overview vignette, and a unit test summary vignette. Questions, comments etc should go to the GitHub issue tracker off the GitHub repo.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

Norbert Preining: Plex Home Theater 1.4.1 updated for Debian/sid [Planet Debian]

Debian/sid is going through a big restructuring with the switch to a new gcc and libstc++. Furthermore, libcec3 is now the default. So I have updated my PHT builds for Debian/sid to build and install on the current status, both for amd64 and i386.


Add the following lines to your sources.list:

deb http://www.preining.info/debian/ sid pht
deb-src http://www.preining.info/debian/ sid pht

You can also grab the binary for amd64 directly here for amd64 and i386, you can get the source package with

dget http://www.preining.info/debian/pool/pht/p/plexhometheater/plexhometheater_1.4.1-2.dsc

The release file and changes file are signed with my official Debian key 0x860CDC13.

For Debian/testing I am waiting until the transition has settled. Please wait a bit more.

Now be ready for enjoying the next movie!

Richard Hartmann: Tor-enabled Debian mirror [Planet Debian]

During Jacob Applebaum's talk at DebConf15, he noted that Debian should TLS-enable all services, especially the mirrors.

His reasoning was that when a high-value target downloads a security update for package foo, an adversary knows that they are still using a vulnerable version of foo and try to attack before the security update has been installed.

In this specific case, TLS is not of much use though. If the target downloads 4.7 MiB right after a security update with 4.7 MiB has been released, or downloads from security.debian.org, it's still obvious what's happening. Even padding won't help much as the 5 MiB download will also be suspicious. The mere act of downloading anything from the mirrors after an update has been released is reason enough to try an attack.

The solution, is, of course, Tor.

weasel was nice enough to set up a hidden service on Debian's infrastructure; initally we agreed that he would just give me a VM and I would do the actual work, but he went the full way on his own. Thanks :) This service is not redundant, it uses a key which is stored on the local drive, the .onion will change, and things are expected to break.

But at least this service exists now and can be used, tested, and put under some load:


I couldn't get apt-get to be content with a .onion in /etc/apt/sources.list and Acquire::socks::proxy "socks://"; in /etc/apt/apt.conf, but the torify wrapper worked like a charm. What follows is, to the best of my knowledge, the first ever download from Debian's "official" Tor-enabled mirror:

~ # apt-get install torsocks
~ # mv /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list.backup
~ # echo 'deb http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian/ unstable main non-free contrib' > /etc/apt/sources.list
~ # torify apt-get update
Get:1 http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion unstable InRelease [215 kB]
Get:2 http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion unstable/main amd64 Packages [7548 kB]
Get:3 http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion unstable/non-free amd64 Packages [91.9 kB]
Get:4 http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion unstable/contrib amd64 Packages [58.5 kB]
Get:5 http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion unstable/main i386 Packages [7541 kB]
Get:6 http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion unstable/non-free i386 Packages [85.4 kB]
Get:7 http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion unstable/contrib i386 Packages [58.1 kB]
Get:8 http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion unstable/contrib Translation-en [45.7 kB]
Get:9 http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion unstable/main Translation-en [5060 kB]
Get:10 http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion unstable/non-free Translation-en [80.8 kB]
Fetched 20.8 MB in 2min 0s (172 kB/s)
Reading package lists... Done
~ # torify apt-get install vim
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  vim-common vim-nox vim-runtime vim-tiny
Suggested packages:
  ctags vim-doc vim-scripts cscope indent
The following packages will be upgraded:
  vim vim-common vim-nox vim-runtime vim-tiny
5 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 661 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/7719 kB of archives.
After this operation, 2048 B disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] 
Retrieving bug reports... Done
Parsing Found/Fixed information... Done
Reading changelogs... Done
(Reading database ... 316427 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../vim-nox_2%3a7.4.826-1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking vim-nox (2:7.4.826-1) over (2:7.4.712-3) ...
Preparing to unpack .../vim_2%3a7.4.826-1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking vim (2:7.4.826-1) over (2:7.4.712-3) ...
Preparing to unpack .../vim-tiny_2%3a7.4.826-1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking vim-tiny (2:7.4.826-1) over (2:7.4.712-3) ...
Preparing to unpack .../vim-runtime_2%3a7.4.826-1_all.deb ...
Unpacking vim-runtime (2:7.4.826-1) over (2:7.4.712-3) ...
Preparing to unpack .../vim-common_2%3a7.4.826-1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking vim-common (2:7.4.826-1) over (2:7.4.712-3) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ( ...
Processing triggers for mime-support (3.58) ...
Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils (0.22-1) ...
Processing triggers for hicolor-icon-theme (0.13-1) ...
Setting up vim-common (2:7.4.826-1) ...
Setting up vim-runtime (2:7.4.826-1) ...
Processing /usr/share/vim/addons/doc
Setting up vim-nox (2:7.4.826-1) ...
Setting up vim (2:7.4.826-1) ...
Setting up vim-tiny (2:7.4.826-1) ...
~ # 

More services will follow. noodles, weasel, and me agreed that the project as a whole should aim to Tor-enable the complete package lifecycle, package information, and the website.

Maybe a more secure install option on the official images which, amongst others, sets up apt, apt-listbugs, dput, reportbug, et al up to use Tor without further configuration could even be a realistic stretch goal.

Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppDE 0.1.3 [Planet Debian]

A pure maintenance release 0.1.3 of the RcppDE package arrived on CRAN yesterday. RcppDE is a "port" of DEoptim, a popular package for derivative-free optimisation using differential optimization, to C++. By using RcppArmadillo, the code becomes a lot shorter and more legible.

This version simply fixes a typo in the vignette metadata noticed by Kurt, and updates the package in a few other spots to update it to current CRAN Repository Policy standards.

Courtesy of CRANberries, there is also a diffstat report for the most recent release.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

Rohan Garg: An alternative to Linaro’s HWPacks [Planet Ubuntu]

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been playing with a variety of boards, and a single problem kept raising its head over and over again, I needed to build test images quickly in order to be able to checkout whether or not these boards had the features that I wanted.

This lead me to investigating tools around building images for these boards. And the tools I came across for each of these boards were absymal to say the least. All of them were either very board specific or were not versatile enough for my needs. Linaro’s HWPack’s came very very close to what I needed, but still had some of the following limitations :

  • HWPack’s are inflexible in terms of partitioning layout, the entire partitioning layout is internal to the tool, and you could only specify one of three variations of the partition layout, and not control anything else, such as start sectors of the partitions.
  • HWPack’s are inflexible in terms of bootloader flashing, as far as I can tell, there was no way to specify the start sector, the byte size and other options that some of these boards were passing dd to flash the bootloader to the image.
  • HWPacks, as far as I could tell, could not generate config files that would be used by u-boot at boot.
  • HWPack’s only support Apt.

So with those 4 problems to solve, I set out writing my own replacement for Linaro’s HWPack’s , and lo and behold, you can find it here. ( I’m quite terrible at coming up with awesome names for my projects, so I chose the most simple and descriptive name I could think of ;)

Here’s a sample config for the ODROID C1, a neat little board from HardKernel.

The rootfs section

You can specify a rootfs for your board in this section, it will take a url to the rootfs tar and optionally a md5sum for the tar.

The firmware section

We currently have 2 firmware backends for installing the firmware ( things like the kernel, and other board specific packages ). One is the tar backend which, like the rootfs section, takes a url to the firmware tar and optionally a md5sum and the Apt backend. I only have time to maintain these 2 backends, so I’d absolutely love it if someone could write more backends such as yum or pacman and send me a pull request.

The tar backend will copy everything from the boot/* folder inside the tar onto the first partition, and anything inside the firmware/* and modules/* folder into the rootfs’s /lib folder. This is a bit implicit and I’m trying to figure out a way to make this better.

The apt backend can take multiple apt repos to be added to the rootfs and a list of packages to install afterwards.

The bootloader section

The bootloader has a :config section which will take a ERB file to be rendered and installed into both the rootfs and the bootfs ( if you have one ).

Here’s a quote of the sample ERB file for the ODROID C1:

This allows me to dynamically render boot files depending on what kernel was installed on the image and what the UUID of the rootfs is. You can in fact access more variables as described here.

Moving on to the :uboot section of the bootloader, you can specify as many stages as you want to flash onto the image. Each stage will take a :file to flash and optionally :dd_opts, which are options that you might want to pass to dd when writing the bootloader. The stages are flashed in the sequence that is declared in config.yml and the files are searched for in the rootfs first, failing which they’re searched for in the bootfs partition, if you have one.

The login section

The login section is quite self-explanatory and takes a user, a password for the user and a list of groups the user should be added to on the target image.

The login section is optional and can be skipped if your rootfs already has a pre-configured user.

At the moment I have configs for the ODROID C1, Cubox-I ( thanks to Solid Run for sending me a free-extra board! :) and the Raspberry Pi 2.

If you have questions send me an email or leave them in the comments below, and I’ll try to answer them ASAP :).

If you end up writing a config for your board, please send me a PR with the config, that’d be most awesome.

PS: Some of the most awesome people I know are meeting up at Randa next month to work on bringing Touch to KDE. It’d be supremely generous of you if you could donate towards the effort.

Pasi Lallinaho: A series of minor improvements for Ubuntu websites [Planet Ubuntu]

In addition to using developer documentation (see A compact style for jQuery API documentation), people who work with communities need to use community and communication related websites. The bigger the community, the more tools it needs.

In a large community like Ubuntu, the amount of maintenance is big and the variety of platforms is huge. On top of these, many of the website aren’t directly maintained for the community (which has both good and bad sides). For these reasons, it’s sometimes hard and/or slow to get updates landed for the CSS files for the websites.

While workarounds aren’t ideal, at least we can fight the problematic styles with modern technology. That said, I’ve created a gist for a Stylish style that provides some minor improvements for some ubuntu.com websites.

Currently, the style brings the following improvements:

  • The last line of the chat is completely shown in Ubuntu Etherpad pads
  • Images and code blocks aren’t overlapping the content section in Planet Ubuntu, avoiding horizontal scrollbars
  • In the Ubuntu wiki, list items do not have a large bottom padding, making the lists more readable
  • Also in the wiki, tables are always full width but not too wide, keeping them aligned nicely

If you are constantly hitting other annoying styling issues on the Ubuntu websites, leave me a comment and I’ll see whether I can update the gist with a workaround. However, please report the bugs and issues for concerned maintaining parties as well, so we can stop using these workarounds as soon as possible. Thank you!

Lubuntu Blog: Happy 24th birthday, Linux! [Planet Ubuntu]

Can you believe Linux is celebrating 24 years already? It was on this day, August 25, back in 1991 when a young Linus Torvalds made his now-legendary announcement on the comp.os.minix newsgroup:

Hello everybody out there using minix -

I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I'd like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things).

I've currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work. This implies that I'll get something practical within a few months, and I'd like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won't promise I'll implement them :-)


PS. Yes – it's free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs. It is NOT portable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that's all I have :-(.

Quite an understated beginning if I ever heard one!

There's some debate in the Linux community as to whether we should be celebrating Linux's birthday today or on October 5 when the first public release was made, but Linus says he is O.K. with you celebrating either one, or both! So as we say happy birthday, let's take a quick look back at the years that have passed and how far we have come.

Via OpenSource.

Thomas Ward: Landscape and Gitlab on the same server: Headaches, and thoughts. [Planet Ubuntu]

This is a mini case study, or rather a report from me, on how difficult it can be to run multiple services from the same server. Especially when they listen on similar ports for different aspects. In this post, I examine the headaches of making two things work on the same server: GitLab (via their Omnibus .deb packages), and Landscape (Canonical’s systems management tool).

I am not an expert on either of the software I listed, but what I do know I will state here.

The Software


Many of you have probably heard of Landscape, Canonical’s systems management tool for the Ubuntu operating system. Some of you probably know about how we can deploy Landscape standalone for our own personal use with 10 Virtual and 10 Physical machines managed by Landscape, via Juju, or manually.

Most of my systems/servers are Ubuntu, and I have enough that makes management by one individual a headache. In the workplace, we have an entire infrastructure set up for a specific set of applications, all on an Ubuntu base, and a similar headache in managing them all one at a time. For me, discovering Landscape Dedicated Server, the setup yourself, makes management FAR easier. Landscape has a dependency on Apache


GitLab is almost like GitHub in a sense. It provides a web interface for working with code, via the Git Version Control System. Github and GitLab are both very useful, but for those of us wanting the same interface in only one organization, or for personal use, and not trusting the Cloud hosts like GitHub or GitLab’s cloud, we can run it via their Omnibus package, which is Gitlab pre-packaged for different distributions (Ubuntu included!)

It includes its own copy of nginx for serving content, and uses Unicorn for the Ruby components. It listens on both port 80 and 8080, initially, per the gitlab configuration file which rewrites and modifies all the other configurations for Gitlab, which includes both of those servers.

The tricky parts

But then, I ran into a dilemma on my own personal setup of it: What happens if you need Landscape and multiple other sites run from the same server, some parts with SSL, some without? Throw into the mix that I am not an Apache person, and part of the dilemma appears.

1: Port 8080.

There’s a conflict between these two softwares. Part of Landscape (I believe the appserver part) and part of GitLab (it’s Unicorn server, which handles the Ruby-to-nginx interface both try and bind to port 8080.

2: Conflicting Web Servers on Same Web Ports

Landscape relies on Apache. GitLab relies on its own-shipped nginx. Both are set by default to listen on port 80. Landscape’s Apache config also listens on HTTPS.

These configurations, out of the box by default, have a very evil problem: both try to bind to port 80, so they don’t work together on the same server.

My solution

Firstly, some information. The nginx bundled as part of GitLab is not easily configured for additional sites. It’s not very friendly to be a ‘reverse proxy’ handler. Secondly, I am not an Apache person. Sure, you may be able to get Apache to work as the ‘reverse proxy’, but it is unwieldy for me to do that, as I’m an nginx guy.

These steps also needed to be done with Landscape turned off. (That’s as easy as running sudo lsctl stop)

1: Solve the Port 8080 conflict

Given that Landscape is something by Canonical, I chose to not mess with it. Instead, we can mess with GitLab to make it bind Unicorn to a different port.

What we have to do with GitLab is tell its Unicorn to listen on a different IP/Port combination. These two lines in the default configuration file control it (the file is located at /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb in the Omnibus packages):

# unicorn['listen'] = ''
# unicorn['port'] = 8080

These are commented out by default. The default binding is to bind to We can easily change GitLab’s configurations though, by editing the file, and uncommenting both lines. We have to uncomment both because otherwise it tries to bind to the specified port, but also *:8080 (which breaks Landscape’s services). After making those changes, we now run sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure and it redoes its configurations and makes everything adapt to those changes we just made.

2: Solve the web server problem

As I said above, I’m an nginx guy. I also discovered revising the GitLab nginx server to do this is a painful thing, so I did an ingenious thing.

First up: Apache.

I set the Apache bindports to be something else. In this case, I revised /etc/apache2/ports.conf to be the following:

# If you just change the port or add more ports here, you will likely also
# have to change the VirtualHost statement in
# /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf

Listen 10080

Listen 10443

Listen 10443

# vim: syntax=apache ts=4 sw=4 sts=4 sr noet

Now, I went into the sites-enabled configuration for Landscape, and also changed the bindports accordingly – the HTTP listener on Port 80 now listens on 10080, and the SSL listener on Port 443 now listens on 10443 instead.

Second: GitLab.

This one’s easier, since we simply edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb, and modify the following lines:

#nginx['listen_addresses'] = ['']
#nginx['listen_port'] = 80

First, we uncomment the lines. And then, we change the 'listen_port' item to be whatever we want. I chose 20080. Then sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure will apply those changes.

Finally, a reverse proxy server to handle everything.

Behold, we introduce a third web server: nginx, 1.8.0, from the NGINX Stable PPA.

This works by default because we already changed all the important bindhosts for services. Now the headache: we have to configure this nginx to do what we want.

Here’s a caveat: I prefer to run things behind HTTPS, with SSL. To do this, and to achieve it with multiple domains, I have a few wildcard certs. You’ll have to modify the configurations that I specify to set them up to use YOUR SSL certs. Otherwise, though, the configurations will be identical.

I prefer to use different site configuration files for each site, so we’ll do that. Also note that you will need to put in real values where I say DOMAIN.TLD and such, same for SSL certs and keys.

First, the catch-all for catching other domains NOT hosted on the server, placed in /etc/nginx/sites-available/catchall:

server {
listen 80 default_server;

server_name _;

return 406; # HTTP 406 is "Not Acceptable". 404 is "Not Found", 410 is "Gone", I chose 406.

Second, a snippet file with the configuration to be imported in all the later configs, with reverse proxy configurations and proxy-related settings and headers, put into /etc/nginx/snippets/proxy.settings.snippet:

proxy_redirect off;
proxy_set_header Host $host;
proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
proxy_max_temp_file_size 0;

proxy_connect_timeout 90;
proxy_send_timeout 90;
proxy_read_timeout 90;

proxy_buffer_size 4k;
proxy_buffers 4 32k;
proxy_busy_buffers_size 64k;
proxy_temp_file_write_size 64k;

Third, the reverse-proxy configuration for Landscape, which is fairly annoying and took me multiple tries to get working right, placed in /etc/nginx/sites-available/landscape_reverseproxy. Don’t forget that Landscape needs SSL for parts of it, so you can’t skip SSL here:

server {
listen 443 ssl;

server_name landscape.DOMAIN.TLD;


# These are courtesy of https://cipherli.st, minus a few things.
ssl_protocols TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;
ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;
ssl_session_cache shared:SSL:10m;
ssl_session_tickets off;

include /etc/nginx/snippets/proxy.settings.snippet;

location / {

location /message-system {

server {
listen 80;
server_name landscape.DOMAIN.TLD;

include /etc/nginx/snippets/proxy.settings.snippet;

location / {
return 301 https://landscape.DOMAIN.TLD$request_uri;

location /ping {

Forth, the reverse-proxy configuration for GitLab, which was not as hard to make working. Remember, I put this behind SSL, so I have SSL configurations here. I’m including comments for what to put if you want to NOT have SSL:

# If you don't want to have the SSL listener, you don't need this first server block
server {
listen 80;
server_name gitlab.DOMAIN.TLD

# We just send all HTTP traffic over to HTTPS here.
return 302 https://gitlab.DOMAIN.TLD$request_uri;

server {
listen 443 ssl;
# If you want to have this listen on HTTP instead of HTTPS,
# uncomment the below line, and comment out the other listen line.
#listen 80;
server_name gitlab.DOMAIN.TLD;

# If you're not using HTTPS, remove from here to the line saying
# "Stop SSL Remove" below
ssl_certificate /etc/ssl/hellnet.io/hellnet.io.chained.pem;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/ssl/hellnet.io/hellnet.io.key;

ssl_protocols TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;
ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;
ssl_session_cache shared:SSL:10m;
ssl_session_tickets off; # Requires nginx >= 1.5.9
# Stop SSL Remove

include /etc/nginx/snippets/proxy.settings.snippet;

location / {

System specifications considerations

Landscape is not light on resources. It takes about a gig of RAM to run safely, from what I’ve observed, but 2GB is more recommended.

GitLab recommends AT LEAST 2GB of RAM. It uses at least that, so you should have 3GB for this at the minimum.

Running both demands just over 3GB of RAM. You can run it on a 4GB box, but it’s better to have double that space just in case, especially if Landscape and Gitlab both get heavy use. I run it on an 8GB converted desktop, which is now a Linux server but used to be a Desktop.

Mattia Migliorini: You Might Need a Pro for These Tech Upgrades [Planet Ubuntu]

By now, you are probably more than a little tired of hearing people tell you how easy it is to do things like build a website or add ecommerce to an existing site. But when do you need a professional?

Does It Effect the Customer Experience?

If the thing you want to do will have an adverse effect on the client experience if it goes horribly wrong, then you will want to bring in a licensed professional. The last thing you want to do is inadvertently do something that will increase customer confusion.

Avoid changing major design elements of your site just because you are bored. If you are not a designer, you may be changing something that is crucial to navigation or discoverability. It is like knocking out a wall without determining if it is a load-bearing wall. If your site enjoys high levels of customer experience, leave changes to a pro.

Does It Effect Security?

The only thing more sacrosanct than customer experience is customer security. At this point in time, it is safe to say that no company ought to be left as the sole proprietor of consumer security. At the very least, there needs to be third-party security auditing to be sure things are as secure as you think they are.

That is the type of thing that is outsourced to IT services from Firewall Technical, and other such companies. Not every company is big enough to justify having its own IT department. But if you handle customer data, you are required to perform due diligence. In some instances, that means outsourcing security matters to a professional.

Is It Going to Void Your Warranty?

There are plenty of changes you can make to your tech and web presence that are inward facing. If you have the time and skills to take o those projects, knock yourself out. But even those projects should be shifted to a professional if there is the danger of voiding your warranty if something goes awry. Even if nothing goes wrong, some upgrades will void your warranty just because you did them.

You don’t know how, watch a couple of YouTube videos, and have at it. But when it is time to upgrade those slow, unreliable, spinning hard drives to SSDs, check your nerve, and your warranty. While one may be sufficient, the other may not be.

Some people feel ashamed to call for help when it is something they should be able to do themselves. But the real shame is letting pride be the cause of your downfall when help was only a phone call away.

The post You Might Need a Pro for These Tech Upgrades appeared first on deshack.

Joel Leclerc: Idea: Non-windowing display server [Planet Ubuntu]

For the TL;DR folk who are concerned with the title: It’s not an alternative to wayland or X11. It’s layer that wayland compositors (or other) can use.

As a quick foreward: I’m still a newbie at this field. While I try my best to avoid inaccuracies, there might be a few things I state here that are wrong, feel free to correct me!

Wayland is mainly a windowing protocol. It allows clients to draw windows (or, as the wayland documentation puts it, “surfaces”), and receive input from those surfaces. A wayland server (or “compositor”) has the task of drawing these surfaces, and providing the input to the clients. That is the specification.

However, where does a compositor draw these surfaces to? How does the compositor receive input? It has to provide many backends for various methods of drawing the composited surface. For example, the weston compositor has support for drawing the composited surface using 7 different backends (DRM, Linux Framebuffer, Headless [a fake rendering device], RDP, Raspberry Pi, Wayland, and X11). The amount of work put into making these backends work must be incredible, which is exactly where the problem relies in: it’s arguably too much work for a developer to put in if they want to make a new compositor.

That’s not the only issue though. Another big problem is that there is then no standard way to configure the display. Say you wanted a wayland compositor to change the video resolution to 800×600. The only way to do that is to use a compositor-specific extension to the protocol, since the protocol, AFAIK, has no method for changing the video resolution — and rightfully so. Wayland is a windowing protocol, not a display protocol.

My idea is to create a display server that doesn’t handle windowing. It handles display-related things, such as drawing pixels on the screen, changing video mode, etc… Wayland compositors and other programs that require direct access to the screen could then use this server and trust that the server will take care of everything display-related for them.

I believe that this would enable for much simpler code, and add a good deal more power and flexibility.

To give a more graphic description (forgive my horrible diagraming skills):

Current Stack:


Proposed Stack:



I didn’t talk about the input server, but it’s the same idea as the display server: Have a server dedicated to providing input. Of course, if the display server uses something like SDL as the backend, it may have to also provide the input server, due to the SDL library, AFAIK, doesn’t allow a program to access the input of another program.

This is an idea I have toyed around with for some time now (ever since I tried writing my own wayland compositor, in fact! XD), so I’m curious as to what people think of it. I would be more than happy to work with others to implement this.

Aaron Honeycutt: My contributions to KDE and Kubuntu since Akademy [Planet Ubuntu]


During Akademy I had the great advantage of being in the same room of our (Kubuntu) top packagers (Riddell and Scarlett). Who have helped me learn to package and make patches for errors in the CI/QA machine. Since then I’ve also had the help of Philip (yofel) and Clive (clivejo) in the #kubuntu-devel IRC room as well. I’ve packaged digikam and recently kdenlive ( both need testing in my ppa :) ) as well as getting a new Kubuntu Setting package out there too (ppa) which overlays the slideshow in Muon Discover to highlight some top KDE applications.


I also worked with Andrew from the VDG on a Breeze High Contrast color scheme which made it in for Plasma 5.4 before the freeze!

  • commit: https://quickgit.kde.org/?p=breeze.git&a=commit&h=3ebb6ed33fb6522b0f5ca855a9fbd2b79c165e65


I can’t thank the Ubuntu Community enough for funding my trip to Akademy this year! THANK YOU!

WDBJ-TV journalists, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, murdered on-air by an evil — and now dead — man [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

It wasn’t “guns” or “NRA” or any other Leftist meme being trotted out in order to make political points while Parker and Ward‘s bodies are still warm; no, this was a possibly mentally ill person who supped long at the well of victimhood, sustained by the Race-baiting Industrial Complex

In the 23-page document faxed to ABC News, the writer says “MY NAME IS BRYCE WILLIAMS” and his legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II.” He writes what triggered today’s carnage was his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting:

“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15…”

“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”

It is unclear whose initials he is referring to. He continues, “As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.

Later in the manifesto, the writer quotes the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, calls him “his boy,” and expresses admiration for the Columbine High School killers. “Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold got…just sayin.'”

In an often rambling letter to the authorities, and family and friends, he writes of a long list of grievances. In one part of the document, Williams calls it a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family.”

He says has suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work
He says he has been attacked by black men and white females
He talks about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man

“Yes, it will sound like I am angry…I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace….”

“The church shooting was the tipping point…but my anger has been building steadily…I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”

So a hearty FUCK YOU to all the assholes who immediately started shouting “GUN VIOLENCE!!” (looking at you, Gov. Terry McAuliffe). This has little to do with guns and everything to do with the sickness, racism and unbounded self-pity in the shriveled soul of Flanagan/Williams.

I’m glad he’s dead. I hope his body is cremated and his ashes disposed of in a septic tank.

CA Gov Jerry Brown’s war on cars and suburbs [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

Not only Moonbeam, mind you, but most of the socialist Democrats in the California state legislature who use the fanatical Green religion as an excuse to strip people of their means of independent transportation and single family homes.

Senate Bill 350, now pending in the Assembly, sets 2020 goals of a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use, having 50 percent of electric power coming from renewable sources, and increasing energy efficiency of buildings by 50 percent.

Senate Bill 32 sets even more ambitious California carbon reduction goals for 2050.

This is serious business.

While Brown and his co-religionists declare that it’s a moral imperative to become a global leader in battling climate change via carbon reduction, the goals they set forth will obviously require massive lifestyle changes and have immense economic effects.

The problem is that we don’t know what those changes and those effects will be.

The oil industry and other opponents of the legislation, mostly in the business community, have issued dire warnings about what could happen, one of which is that California would have to impose rationing on gasoline to meet the 50 percent reduction goal.

[Nancy McFadden, a top aide to Gov. Jerry Brown,] says that’s “ridiculous,” and it may be. But her response implies that she knows something the rest of us don’t know about what steps will be taken to reach the two measures’ goals — what adjustments Californians would have to make in their lives.

They are not in the measures themselves, nor are they in the various documents being distributed to support the proposed policies.

The materials being published by the California Air Resources Board, including a “Climate Change Scoping Plan,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, author of SB 350, and billionaire Tom Steyer’s supportive organization are full of lofty hopes but bereft of real-life detail.

Who will pay for the millions of electric vehicles they envision replacing conventional cars and energy-efficiency measures?

How will reducing oil-based fuel affect California families, who are already paying some of the nation’s highest gas prices? Will our electric power rates, already among the nation’s highest, increase even more? How will carbon-reduction costs affect the nearly 25 percent of Californians who are poverty-stricken? Most importantly, would being a carbon-reduction leader hurt or help the California economy and its 18 million workers?

While Bernie Sanders is out demonizing the Koch brothers, no one ever seems to hear about people like Tom Steyer — a person who is using his billions to help make the hoi polloi fully dependent on Big Nanny Government.

For our own good, of course.

Sea level has climbed 8 centimetres since 1992 [CBC | Technology News]


Sea levels worldwide rose an average of nearly 8 centimetres (3 inches) - about a finger-length - since 1992, the result of warming waters and melting ice, NASA scientists say.

Neon jackfish leaves Yellowknife fisherman stumped [CBC | Technology News]

A brightly coloured jackfish pulled out of, and then released back into, Yellowknife's Great Slave Lake has left biologists stumped — and a local fisherman with quite the tale to tell.

1 of world's largest quakes linked to fracking confirmed in northern B.C. [CBC | Technology News]

Fracking hydraulic fracturing CP

Fracking triggered a 4.4-magnitude earthquake in northeastern B.C. last year, CBC News has learned, making it one of world's largest earthquakes ever triggered by the controversial process.

Windows 10 now running on 75 million devices [CBC | Technology News]


Microsoft said Wednesday that its new Windows 10 software is running on more than 75 million computers, tablets and other devices — in just under a month since the operating system was released.

Ashley Madison hackers could face long list of charges [CBC | Technology News]

Ashley Madison tablet

The perpetrators of the Ashley Madison data breach could face a shopping cart of charges, including theft, extortion and mischief. But first the police must identify and arrest them.

Astronauts' next trip to ISS is 8 times longer, thanks to space junk [CBC | Technology News]


The Russian Federal Space Agency says the next manned trip to the International Space Station will be extended from the usual six hours to two days.

Last Sumatran rhino in U.S. heads to Indonesia on mating mission [CBC | Technology News]


A zoo that has the last Sumatran rhino in the Western Hemisphere has announced plans to send him to Southeast Asia on a mission to mate and help preserve his critically endangered species.

You can now get your ashes sent to the moon after you die [CBC | Technology News]

You can now have your cremated remains shot to the surface of Earth's moon for less than $10K US — but only if you're one of the first 50 people to register.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 searchers to get new sonar equipment [CBC | Technology News]

Malaysia Missing Plane

The deep-sea hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner will likely include cutting-edge sonar equipment when it ramps up again in October after the stormy southern hemisphere winter has passed, the Australian search leader says.

Young killer whale may have been injured by boat propeller [CBC | Technology News]

Researchers are closely monitoring a young killer whale with an injury that may have been caused by a boat strike off the coast of Vancouver Island.

Thailand destroys almost 2 tonnes of seized ivory [CBC | Technology News]

Thai authorities have destroyed almost two tonnes of seized and smuggled ivory in the latest move by the government to avoid possible economic sanctions over a perceived failure to tackle the illicit trade.

Universal Radio: Used Tecsun PL-680 for $69.95 [The SWLing Post]


I just noticed that Universal Radio is featuring the following used Tecsun PL-680 in their used receiver collection. Here’s the description:

The Tecsun PL-680 receives longwave, AM, FM and SW bands plus VHF Airband. It features a backlit digital display, stereo FM (to ear jack), SSB, clock timer, 2000 Memories, Sync. Detection, ATS and keypad entry. The left side features earphone, external antenna and input voltage jacks. The right side features a variable BFO and tuning knob. The rear panel has a battery compartment for 4 AA cells (not supplied). This PL-680 system includes: box, nice carry case, printed manual and earphone.

The price is $69.95 plus shipping–very reasonable, in my opinion. The best part is Universal Radio offers a reputable 60 day warranty with all of their used items.

I regularly check Universal’s used and demo list. Occasionally, great bargains pop up and I feel I can always buy from them with confidence as they check over each item before posting.

Click here to read our review of the PL-680.

Bob’s review of the C.Crane CC Skywave [The SWLing Post]


SWLing Post reader, Bob C., recently shared his review of the C.Crane CC Skywave portable radio:

Well, I just received my new CC Skywave radio and it’s terrific! I own a lot of portable radios (including several Tecsun DSP sets), and the Skywave is a new favorite and will likely become my standard radio for travel.

Good fit and finish, great ergonomics, and easy to use. I was pleased to find that, despite what’s written in the ads and on the back of the radio, you can set the radio to receive FM down to 76 MHz by selecting the a 9 kHz MW spacing.

Great for international travel. The following is my brief review (by band):


The Skywave is far better than any of the Tecsuns and is almost as good as the C Crane 2E (my best MW receiver). At my location (40 miles N of Chicago), the distant groundwave fringe includes WLW, WJR, and KTRS (St. Louis) – in descending order of reception potential. Most radios can get a whisper of WLW (though not discernible), while the other two are rare. The C Crane 2E gets WLW and WJR well enough that you can listen; KTRS is detectable. The Skywave gets WLW and WJR and you can tell that KTRS is there. That indicates that the Skywave is among the best. And there are no birdies nor whistles on the band. Nice.


Just as sensitive and about 99% as selective as any of the Tecsun DSPs. The shorter antenna doesn’t seem to hamper reception at all. And, with no soft muting and a more logical tuning setup, it’s a pleasure to work with. Lastly, the stereo reception threshold on the C Crane DSP chip is significantly lower than that on any of the Tecsun rigs, so most signals decode stereo and simply sound better. Where I live, I have tons of signals that are 0.2 MHz apart (i.e. 101.9 Chicago, 102.1 Milwaukee, 102.3 Waukegan – and local) – the Skywave has no trouble separating these and providing a usable signal for all three.


Seems to do just fine. I have not had any overload issues with my unit and can pull in all as many SW signals and most of my other small portables. The lack of SSB is an inconvenience, I suppose, but I guess you can’t have it all!

NOAA/Weather radio

This band is great to have and is perfectly functional. I will say that this isn’t my most sensitive WB radio, but it’s not deaf by any definition. It’s just a little less sensitive to distant fringe WB stations than some of my other sets. But it does dependably pull in anything within 60 miles, so we’re only talking about ability to pull in distant fringe signals (which can be fun).


I’ve played around with this a little and it definitely works better than expected. O’Hare tower is about 25 miles away and I get it clearly, along with aircraft that are (from what I can tell) basically anywhere within about 60 miles. The ability to scan is very helpful; however, catching a signal when someone is broadcasting is tricky. A little online research into local ATC frequencies goes a long way toward having fun on this band. The Skywave seems to work the Air Band better than the G6 and G3, my only other radios with this band.

So, overall, this radio has been a very pleasant surprise. No disappointments whatsoever. Kudos to C Crane Company for doing such a fine job with yet another radio.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the CC Skywave, Bob! Like you, I really love this little radio for travel and gave it a favorable review several months ago.

That’s an excellent tip about widening the FM frequency range down to 76 MHz by selecting 9 kHz steps on mediumwave. Brilliant!

Readers should be aware that some Skywave owners have noted a vulnerability to overloading and imaging in urban markets or where blowtorch stations are nearby. If your listening post fits this description, you may want to hold off until C.Crane has addressed the issue.

The CC Skywave can be purchased directly from C. Crane. It is also available at Universal Radio and Amazon.com.

Jeff finds a solution for sticky preset buttons on the CC-Radio 2E [The SWLing Post]

CCradio 2e

Jeff, over at the Herculodge blog, recently posted that the preset #2 button on his C.Crane CC-Radio 2E had become so sticky, it was almost to the point of not being functional.

One of his readers suggested that he use Deoxit spray to remedy the sticky button and it worked!

Deoxit is amazing stuff and something I suggest any radio enthusiast keep handy. Years ago, I had an Icom IC-735 I thought needed a new power button;I had to press and hold the button for the power to turn on. I searched for a replacement botton for weeks. When I reached out to a friend who is an electronics technician, he suggested that I open the chassis and try spraying the button with Deoxit.

I did, and it worked beautifully.

Deoxit is not the cheapest contact cleaner around, but it is the brand I trust the most. It comes in both a spray and liquid form.

Hot deal: Tecsun PL-380 $24.99 and free shipping [The SWLing Post]

Fullscreen capture 8262015 21204 PMWhile browsing Amazon, I discovered a hot deal: a new Tecsun PL-380 for $24.99 including shipping.  I was very tempted to snatch this one up, but since I already have both a PL-380 and PL-310ET, I’d rather give the opportunity to someone else.

This is not being sold by Amazon directly, rather through one of their sellers. Simply follow this link, then search for for the “1 new from $24.99” to grab the bargain.

There may only be one of these available, so if you’re interested…go, go, go!

Can I have a link to the Yeoman Rand wig tutorial? (I love your cosplays btw. They look amazing!) [My Happy Space Family]

Most definitely!  Here it is (x)

And thanks so much!  It’s our new favorite hobby :)


It’s go time. [The Flash]

It’s go time.

Celebrate The Babies Who Live [The Federalist]

You know you’re the mother of a newborn when you can look into the night sky and tell how many more hours it is until daybreak. I’ve been relearning the night sky the past two weeks with our fourth child, with whom the last months of pregnancy were among my most frightful. That’s because they’ve included my life’s only trip to the hospital and the necessity of having to read far too many details about the mass murder of unborn children as I edited stacks of articles discussing the Planned Parenthood video sting.

I consider myself a pretty grounded person who accepts that every human is capable of monstrosities, but reading about people pulling apart tiny hearts when a very dear one is beating inside you at that very minute heightens the horror. That tiny, inchoate feeling of terror only heightens yet more when you find yourself rushing to the hospital on a day you might have given birth to instead get hooked up to an IV and pray that the doctors will be able to flip your baby out of breech so he doesn’t have to get cut out of your body.

I did a great job keeping myself calm until after the doctors had, lickety split, rolled baby around to the position he was supposed to be in for a normal delivery, and the fetal monitor showed his strong little heart tappety tapping away, just like it ought to, displaying no sign of fetal distress. It may have been the muscle relaxant they’d given me, which makes you physically and emotionally shaky, or it might not, but after they’d all left the room and turned off the lights to let me sleep while they continued monitoring us for a few more hours, I held my husband’s hand and cried, not in fear, but in joy that our child, unlike so many millions more, was safe inside me.

When our son finally decided to begin breathing air like the rest of us, after a suspense of nearly three weeks in which I fretted constantly about whether he’d flip back around, I cried again, because now he was safe outside me.

Of course, we all know that no baby, no human, is truly “safe” this side of eternity. Anyone can get hit by a car or shot by an angry gunman. No matter how many gun bans we enact and children we haul into police stations so they can’t walk to the park alone, this world will never be completely safe. People used to understand that better back when natural infant mortality was so high that more died than lived, even without legalized infanticide. Nowadays, when things are so physically good, we are perhaps more tempted to ignore the condition of our souls.

But our spirits still need tending all the same. We can either choose to dwell on our fears, or cherish our joys. We can cower in basements or step boldly into the sunshine. One is an act of fear; the other, of faith. For now, my smallest son and I are breathing, and healthy, and I can hold his hand any time I want. For this, I am grateful.

Should Tom Brady Make A Deflategate Plea Deal Or Keep Fighting the NFL? [The Federalist]

As New England Patriot’s Quarterback Tom Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell square off in court, Ben hosts an all-star cast to discuss the Deflategate controversy.

AEI economist, Stan Veuger deflates the erroneous and infamous Wells Report fueling the prosecution. After examining all evidence, he has concluded that there’s “no direct evidence that the Patriot’s balls were deflated.”

Later, Houston Chronicle writer and lawyer, Stephanie Stradley sorts through the legalese of the Tom Brady suspension. Yahoo Sports Reporter, Andy Behrens, gauges how the case could impact Fantasy Football rosters this season. And the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins weighs the potential legacy fall out from the case.

Click here to subscribe or use the link below to listen.

Don’t Blame Tinder For Unsatisfying ‘Selfie Sex’ [The Federalist]

Vanity Fair buried the lede in its article this month about the Tinder Generation: “Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse.'” What’s surprising isn’t that the kids are using Tinder for instant gratification—it’s that the kids aren’t getting it:

“A lot of guys are lacking in that department,” says Courtney with a sigh. “What’s a real orgasm like? I wouldn’t know.” They all laugh knowingly.

They talk about how it’s not uncommon for their hookups to lose their erections. It’s a curious medical phenomenon, the increased erectile dysfunction in young males, which has been attributed to everything from chemicals in processed foods to the lack of intimacy in hookup sex.

“At four in the morning this guy was so upset, and I was like, Dude, I’ll just go to fucking sleep—it’s O.K.,” says Sarah, 21, the one with the long curly dark hair. “I get really tired of faking.”

So why are they doing it? Tinder with orgasms makes sense. Tinder without orgasms doesn’t. For a generation that aspires to women having it all, it’s surprising to learn that we’re not even daring to expect orgasms out of sex.

The Shift In Dating And Mating

What we’re experiencing is a revolution, according to Justin Garcia, a research scientist at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, as quoted in the Vanity Fair piece:

“’There have been two major transitions [in heterosexual mating] in the last four million years[.] The first was around 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, in the agricultural revolution, when we became less migratory and more settled,’ leading to the establishment of marriage as a cultural contract. ‘And the second major transition is with the rise of the Internet.’”

It’s women who suffer when sex is easier to come by. So it’s women who hold the key to a change.

The category difference this time is in whether there’s any baseline for having sex. I’m not talking love or babies or marriage here, or even dinner and a movie. I’m talking orgasms, the thing that makes sex, well—sex.

It’s hard to tell whether this is a gender issue or a generation issue. Both young men and women are experiencing decreased sexual satisfaction, between increased erectile dysfunction and unsatisfying quickie romps.

Yet it’s feminists who have been driving the baseline down for this generation, and it’s women who suffer when sex is easier to come by. So it’s women who hold the key to a change.

Why Women Shouldn’t Date Like Men

There’s an old joke about the difference between the sexes: Put a man in a room with ten women, and he’ll play. Put a woman in a room with ten men, and she’ll choose. We can ignore biology all we want, but when women act like men, women lose.

Subtracting from the sexual baseline has long been a central theme of feminism: Play like the boys, don’t choose like a girl. It’s created an artificial equality-driven race to the bottom, and the result is joyless sex for everyone. Who can even remember the days when one right-swipe was all you ever got.

Feminists call this race to the bottom “owning our sexuality.”

Feminists call this race to the bottom “owning our sexuality.” #GenerationTinder can’t be what it looks like for millennials to own our sexuality. There’s no way young women chose dick pics and young men chose erectile dysfunction.

It’s not that millennials don’t want anything out of sex; we’ve just failed the marshmallow test to hold out for something better. We’re so fixated on validation that we’ve forgotten there IS anything better—that we don’t have to fake it.

Tinder’s toll on women has been well explored by Tinder users—there’s the famously bro-y founder; his partner-cum-ex and HER “feminist” dating app, Bumble (only women can initiate text conversations); and the Tinder sex discrimination lawsuit. If you missed the apocalyptic articles about Normcore fashion, just google “Tinder Nightmares” or “Tinder in Brooklyn” for quickie access to the sense that you’re staring into the abyss.

Vanity Fair hit a deeper nerve this time—with Tinder itself. The app responded via Twitter, citing users in Pakistan, China, and North Korea, where certain types of social media or relationships are illegal and Tinder offers unique access to compatible partners, and pointing to its layered social media authentication as evidence that it’s more than text-linked HotOrNot.com.

Don’t Blame Tinder

It’s tough to fault Tinder for becoming defensive, when the app so frequently takes the hit for causing the dating “apocalypse.” Tinder isn’t to blame here—sex has simply become part of the sharing economy, as available and low-commitment as catching a Lyft (“’It’s like ordering Seamless,’ says Dan, the investment banker [ . . . ] ‘But you’re ordering a person.’”). Millennials aren’t in it for the long haul—we’re just in it for the selfie, a single validating snapshot to communicate that we belong.

Revolution or no, the dating apocalypse is an opportunity to put down your phone—and swipe right on something better than this.

Selfie sex is about validation, and nothing more. On Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs, it falls in some social media back door, peripheral to anything durable or meaningful in life. Equating love with sex may seem pearl-clutch-y and old-fashioned—but divorcing even orgasms from sex seems like a stretch. Yet here we are, sliding ever further down a slippery slope.

Like any apocalypse, the Tinder dating apocalypse isn’t the end; it’s a revelation and an opportunity. Our dating revelation is that we’ve gone very, very far, to a pretty depressing place. The opportunity then is to stop commodifying something precious, that we can’t easily get back.

If kids these days want to have it all, we have to start by not settling for less. We are all in the same boat, on the same spectrum, and there is more to life than faking it. Revolution or no, the dating apocalypse is an opportunity to put down your phone—and swipe right on something better than this.

Denver: Hey, Let’s Shut Down Businesses That Oppose Gay Marriage [The Federalist]

Stop bellyaching about Washington. All the country’s best fascists are on your local city council.

Not long ago, Colorado became a leader in the fight against religious freedom, when its Civil Rights Commission, self-appointed ministers of justice and theology, decided that a shopkeeper who refuses to participate in a gay wedding ceremony must be smeared and fined out of business. A Colorado appeals court says this is kosher, finding that the brittle sensitivities of a cakeless couple outweighed the constitutional rights of Christian business owners.

Now, in an effort to save everyone some time, the cultural imperialists at the Denver City Council—which, to be fair, have long exhibited authoritarian impulses*—have decided to skip the pretense of some trumped-up injustice and jumped right to discriminating against a businesses solely because of the beliefs of its CEO.

The Denver Council’s Business Development Committee has stalled a seven-year deal with Chick-fil-A because CEO Dan Cathy spoke out against gay marriage back in 2012. Cathy, after being flogged for this misconduct, backed off , saying he regretted getting involved. But that won’t do. There are no prisoners in this culture war. So the council will meet in couple of weeks to take up the topic again. Not so the members can take time to chew over the significance of a city punishing its citizens for their thoughts and beliefs, or even to weigh the importance of tolerance in a vibrant city like Denver. They’re waiting to have a closed-door committee hearing with city attorneys, who will brief them on the legal implications and practicality of shutting down apostates.

The only thing that might stop Denver from pulling this concession from an apologetic Christian, then, is a few risk-averse bureaucrats. This, even though Chick-fil-A has not been accused of any infraction or crime; no one has even suggested it’s guilty of make-believe acts of discrimination. Chick-fil-A has given assurances, in fact, as all other concessionaires at Denver International Airport (DEN) restaurants have, it will follow nondiscrimination policies laid out by law, which include protections for sexual orientation.

So what’s the point? Well, Robin Kniech, council person, asked a concessionaire this question: “If the national corporation with which you are affiliated once again puts themselves at the center of a national debate about depriving people and their families of rights, would you as a concessionaire have any ability to influence that?”

“I don’t believe so,” he answered.

“I don’t think you would, either,” Kniech says. “And that’s my concern.”

So that’s her concern? Setting aside her absurd oversimplification of the debate surrounding marriage, since when is it the interest of a council person to monitor the political activities of citizens and wonder how she deals with vendors who displease her sensibilities? Do Americans with minority opinions function under some different set of laws? The only person with the power to deprive anyone or their families of rights, in this case, is the council. So please tell me how Kniech isn’t a petty tyrant?

Of course, Denver is not alone. A few years back, Rahm Emanuel supported a Chicago alderman’s efforts to block Chick-Fil-A from opening in his city, because, as the media likes to say, the “anti-gay views” of the CEO—which, only a couple of years beforehand, was the anti-gay view of the president and Rahm Emanuel. The council didn’t go through with it, after “assurances” from the company that the virtue of Chicago would be protected.

This reminded me that, among all that vacuous whining of Denver council members, I read this bit in The Denver Post and had to chuckle: Council members “said DIA’s reputation was at stake, although airport officials view the concession as a big potential money-maker.”

DIA’s reputation? For the historical record, the airport was a massive boondoogle built on a mile-high heap of cronyism, corruption, and government abuse. The idea the city council wants to defend the sanctity of the airport from the corruption of delicious chicken sandwiches—rather than just politicizing every morel of American life in an effort to institute ideological purity—is risible.

Denver Councilman Paul Lopez, who is leading the intellectual charge for the ban—a task that meshes poorly with his skill set—says that, in the end, opposition to the chain at DIA is “really, truly a moral issue.” Now, when the Founders told us that government can make no law respecting an establishment of religion, I took it to mean that the belief system of a union-installed sock puppet on a city council would be completely irrelevant in matters of expression and faith. Really, truly.

And if personal morality is the guiding role of city councils, as Katrina Trinko points out in The Daily Signal, there is plenty else to go on:

If the Denver City Council is concerned about the morality of the businesses at the airport, they should take a closer look at two current occupants: Ben and Jerry’s and Starbucks.

According to 2nd Vote, Starbucks Foundation has donated to Planned Parenthood, while Starbucks has been ‘listed as a company that matches employees’ gifts to Planned Parenthood.’ Ben and Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, has donated to Planned Parenthood. Neither Starbucks nor Ben and Jerry’s responded to The Daily Signal’s request for comment in July when asked about their support for Planned Parenthood.

Now, everyone is free to boycott and protest whomever they please. Citizens and elected officials have every right to work to cut off taxpayer funding to businesses and institutions they find morally distasteful. But if the city council of Anytown, USA were to concoct reasons to deny permits to gay business owners who supported same-sex marriage, many Americans would find that rightfully appalling. If you’re okay with the idea of a city council denying orthodox Christians who believe in traditional marriage the same freedom, you’re a massive hypocrite—and probably worse.

*Confession: I covered the Denver City Council as a metro columnist, and its endless nannyistic intrusions made me, as Ann Coulter might say, despise it with the hot, hot hate of a 1,000 suns.

Who Are Donald Trump’s Supporters? [The Federalist]

The big, existential question for Republicans right now is: who are Donald Trump’s supporters?

It matters because this will determine the future, and the future prospects, of the party. I heartily agree with Ben Domenech, whose article on this just made it harder for me to fulfill my obligations to his publication, by pre-empting most of what I was planning to write about Trump for The Federalist. Ben argues that Trumpism would turn the Republicans from a “classically liberal right” to a European-style nationalist party that is “xenophobic, anti-capitalist, vaguely militarist, pro-state, and consistently anti-Semitic. If you criticize Donald Trump, it is exactly the sort of hate mail you should expect to receive.” If that happens, he writes, we would be “losing a rare and precious inheritance that is our only real living link to the Revolutionary era and its truly revolutionary ideas about self-government.”

I don’t think this is actually going to happen, because the “classically liberal” wing of the right is too big and too strong. The Republican Party just spent the last six years, during the rise of the Tea Party movement, absorbing a fair portion of the “libertarian” wing of the right, the Rand Paul wing, which I suspect has little overlap with the Trump phenomenon. More widely, the right has benefited from a long intellectual renaissance focused on the universal ideas on which America was founded, which has no need for what Ben calls “identity politics for white people.”

But it would help to have some more exact information on the size and composition of Trump’s supporters. That Trump will not be the party’s nominee is something we can (pretty much) take for granted. Too much of the party hates him, and not just the “establishment”—which critics like myself are somewhat comically assumed to be part of—but the rank and file and a fair portion of the punditry. Thus, we find that about a third of Republicans say they would never support him, far more than any other candidate.

Will Trump be this cycle’s Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, or Ron Paul?

So that leaves us to contemplate what will happen if Trump doesn’t get the nomination. Will he be this cycle’s Ross Perot, who runs a third-party campaign and scoops up such a large portion of disaffected Republicans and independents that he tips the election to a Democratic candidate who only gets 35% of the vote? Will he be this cycle’s Ralph Nader, who persists long enough to peel off a few percentage points of the vote, enough to tip the results of a close election? Or will he be this cycle’s Ron Paul (or Pat Buchanan), who has a loud and fanatical core of supporters and perhaps makes a splash in the early primaries, but is ultimately irrelevant to the outcome?

We can break the question down more exactly, looking at six categories of Trump voters:

1) “Low-information voters” who don’t really know much about Trump or his policies, but hey, he’s a celebrity, so they tell pollsters they’re voting for him.

2) Actual conservatives who like Trump because he’s a tough-talking “fighter” and a businessman who “gets things done.”

3) Disgruntled non-ideological independents who normally don’t vote because “it never makes any difference.”

4) Single-issue anti-immigration fanatics.

5) Archie Bunker types who normally vote Republican because they see it as the party of “identity politics for white people,” the ones who want the country to be run by and for “people like me.” These are the folks on Twitter and in the comments fields of my articles who extol the virtue of “European” immigrants, without realizing that “Hispanic” derives from the word for Spain, and that Spain is in Europe.

6) Outright racists who don’t normally vote because neither party has the guts to embrace White Power.

Obviously, if it’s mostly 1) and 6), we can expect the Trump phenomenon to flame out quickly. Group 1 is large, but their political interest is fleeting and they don’t tend to turn out for actual elections. Group 6 is, thankfully, quite small. And the more Group 1 actually hears about the people in Group 6—say, the guys who were inspired by Trump’s rhetoric to beat up a Hispanic man in Boston, or the guys shouting “White Power” at the Trump rally in Alabama—the more they are going to decide they don’t want to be on this particular bandwagon.

I think the same also goes for Group 2, the conservatives who want an uncompromising champion. The more his opponents hammer Trump about his ideological flip-flops and history of political cronyism, the more he mouths ill-informed and ungrammatical opinions, the more he becomes a cultural laughingstock, the more they are likely to decide that their ideological cause would be best served by a different standard-bearer. And it’s not as if this presidential contest provides no other options. Maybe not Scott Walker, who flubbed the Trump test by offering three different opinions on birthright citizenship in the space of a week. But Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are not exactly establishment sellouts.

At the very least, when it eventually becomes clear he’s not going to get the nomination, these voters are likely to be persuaded to back another candidate.

History suggests third party candidates steal independents roughly equally from both parties

Group 3, the disgruntled independents, could cause trouble by encouraging Trump to mount an independent presidential campaign, but they’re not really “lost” votes for Republicans, because they don’t normally vote Republican. In fact, history suggests that third party candidates tend to steal away independent voters in roughly equal numbers from both parties.

So we’re down to two groups who are the most dangerous to Republicans in 2016: the anti-immigration fanatics and the genteel quasi-racists. There is obviously some overlap here, though it’s hard to say how much. You don’t need to dislike brown-skinned people in order to think Latin American illegal immigrants are the biggest crisis this country is facing, way more important than anything and everything else. But it helps.

The worst possibility is that these two groups turn out to be large and emboldened and unwilling to compromise now that they’ve found someone willing to pander to them openly. (I won’t give Trump the credit of assuming he sincerely believes his rhetoric on this issue.)

So how many of these people are there, how committed are they, and how bitter will they be if their newfound champion doesn’t win?

How bitter will Trump’s hard-core supporters be?

There don’t seem to be many good numbers on this, which is part of the reason the Trump story is so big. There are a lot of candidates who loom large during the primary pre-season precisely because no votes have been cast yet and there is little in the way of detailed and reliable poll data. So a candidate who is the favorite of the media (whether they love him or love to hate him) can be magnified in importance.

The only real hint at good data I’ve seen so far is quoted in a New York Times story:

Unlike most public polls, Civis’s relied on a list of registered voters that included their voting histories, allowing it to measure Mr. Trump’s support among those who regularly cast ballots in primary elections. The survey, which was conducted on landlines Aug. 10 through Wednesday and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points, showed Mr. Trump’s support at 16 percent among registered voters who identified as Republicans.

The polls that don’t control for voting history show Trump with more like 25% of the vote. His 16% in the Civis data is still more than any other single candidate, but that’s not really relevant. The non-Trump vote is currently split among more than a dozen people, but it won’t always be. As minor candidates drop out and Trump faces the top two or three alternatives, he could easily find himself in the shadow of candidates who command 20 or 30 percent of the vote.

If people don’t already like Trump, it’s unlikely he will grow on them.

I am assuming that Trump’s current numbers are more of a ceiling than a floor. Unlike most other candidates, he is already a thoroughly known quantity. Whereas another candidate could use 16% in the polls as a springboard to introduce himself to voters who don’t know him yet, everybody already knows Trump. If they don’t like him now, it’s unlikely he will grow on them.

Here’s another interesting item from that poll data: “Mr. Trump performed best among less-frequent voters. He had the support of 22 percent of Republican-leaning adults who did not vote in the 2012 general election.” This confirms that a fair bit of Trump’s support is from those who are swayed by his celebrity, or from the disgruntled independents—voters that Republicans won’t “lose” if the party dumps Trump, because they didn’t have them in the first place.

The final interesting item:

[Trump’s] support is not tethered to a single issue or sentiment: immigration, economic anxiety, or an anti-establishment mood. Tellingly, when asked to explain support for Mr. Trump in their own words, voters of varying backgrounds used much the same language, calling him “ballsy” and saying they admired that he “tells it like it is” and relished how he “isn’t politically correct.” Trumpism, the data and interviews suggest, is an attitude, not an ideology.

This is encouraging in one respect: it implies that a fair bit of Trump’s support is from my Group 2 above, the conservatives who want a tough-talking “fighter,” rather than the single-issue anti-immigration voters or the Archie Bunker contingent. Those other groups are more likely to be Trump dead-enders who will follow him through an independent challenge. While Trump’s appeal is based more on personality than on the issues, his cult of personality is disturbingly strong. The New York Times report observes that many Trump voters “don’t have a second choice.” And a Frank Luntz focus group of Trump supporters found that “nothing disqualifies Trump” in the eyes of his supporters. They are in it for the Trumpiness and don’t really care about anything else.

Conservatives looking for a tough guy are likely to accept a second choice.

By contrast, the conservatives looking for a tough guy are going to be more likely to accept a second choice. So by the time we whittle off a little more of Trump’s 16 percent, he starts to look less like a new Ross Perot and more like a new Ralph Nader: someone who commands a few percentage points of the vote and can only make a difference if the race is really, really close, as it was when Nader peeled off a few thousand Florida votes from Al Gore in 2000 (though even then, it’s still not certain whether the Nader Effect tipped the balance).

In short, Trump is likely to be relevant only if the non-Trump Republican nominee ends up being particularly weak and uninspiring.

You don’t suppose there are any chances of that happening, do you?

Which is to say that perhaps the wise thing to do is to spend less time focusing on Trump and more time figuring which is the strongest, most principled, and most inspiring of the other nominees.

Follow Robert on Twitter.

Norm MacDonald Is Making Last Comic Standing Surprisingly Good [The Federalist]

I didn’t even realize “Last Comic Standing” was on air again until my brother told me to check it out. The competition show aired from 2003 to 2010 before picking up again last year. Last year, Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans, and Russell Peters were the judges. This year they switched Norm MacDonald in for Peters and brought in as host the hilarious Anthony Jeselnik.

And the combination is great. Perhaps the weirdest thing is how non-critical Roseanne Barr is. I always thought of her as kind of mean but she is routinely downright effusive in her support of each of the contestants and finds kind things to say about each of them. Any criticism she offers is couched in tons of praise. Wayans is also tremendously supportive. And while that’s nice, sometimes what you want is a bit more feedback or pushback. Particularly during the weaker sets.

Mostly that’s provided by MacDonald. And there was one moment in particular worth highlighting. You can watch the relevant portion here:

OK, so Harrison Greenbaum’s set gets better when it moves on to making fat jokes, but it begins with a set of tropes attempting to make fun of Christians. It’s not the target that’s so bad (we can handle it) but the lame construction of the jokes.

He says he’s a New Yorker and he got into an argument on the subway with a guy and that the guy quoted the Bible at him. Greenbaum says “That is not fair. Like you get to quote from your favorite book, I should be able to quote from my favorite book. He was like ‘Men do not live on [sic] bread alone, Matthews [sic] 4:4′ and I was like ‘Everybody’s a little bit magic, Harry Potter Chapter 7.’ Not a fair fight. One of those books is a classic about a man who has sacrificed himself for the good of the world and the other … is the Bible, do you know what I’m saying people?”

Yeah, um, yeah. Like I said, not even the content so much as the tired construction. Bring your C-game at least, Greenbaum, you know?

Anywho, he ends his set and Roseanne Barr just loses it and is cheering and hooting. She says, “What the hell? Well I just love you Harrison. You’re fantastic. And you’re real brave. I mean the stuff you were talking about. Bible jokes. That’s some real brave shit.”

At which point Norm MacDonald just eviscerated the dude.

I disagree. I don’t think the Bible joke was brave at all. I think if you’re going to take on an entire religion, you should maybe know what you’re talking about. JK Rowling is a Christian and JK Rowling famously said that if you’re familiar with the Scriptures, you can easily guess the ending of her book. I don’t like it.

To which Barr responded, “Hunh?”

I haven’t read the Potter novels but of course I remember Rowling saying she was worried that Christians would be able to guess the ending on account of how obvious the book’s parallels to Scripture were. And later on after the episode aired, Barr tweeted out that she was reading a discussion of those parallels.

MacDonald also tweeted after the episode ran, pointing out that you’ll know when you’ve made a brave joke because you won’t be getting cheered on by the audience.

I actually get a kick out of people who think they’re revolutionary and brave and courageous by doing things that more or less all the elites and every single member of their peer group cheer them on about. But in a “laughing at” more than “laughing with” kind of way.

The next episode Greenbaum made a joke that I actually thought was funny. He said something about how the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People isn’t too advanced itself, given that it’s got the phrase “colored people” in the title. But if they changed it to National Association for the Advancement of African-Americans, it’d just be NAAAA (“naaaaaah”).

MacDonald pointed out that there are actual historical reasons for the name and that they’ve deliberately chosen to keep the name rather than change it, that doing some research would help him improve the joke and be funny. That set didn’t do as well with the other judges either and Greenbaum was eliminated.

Lest you get the idea that MacDonald is this sour with everyone, you should check out this little preview which shows a few other highlights:

One of the contestants is Ms. Pat, a woman who got into comedy when her welfare case worker told her she was funny. She told a series of jokes about how she loves famous white people’s racism — because she can buy the merchandise they sell for cheaper after their racism is publicly revealed — and it really worked and was great. MacDonald said he normally hated political comedy and found it boring, but that her jokes were so personal and well told that he loved it. He’s also supportive of various other comics on the show.

One other treat about the show has been Wanda Sykes, who gave advice to comedians before their last set. She was biting in her criticism and it was fascinating to see how the comedians took her advice. She told some not to rely too much on funny voices, physical gags or things that aren’t actually jokes. Some were clearly ruffled, others appreciated. And still others basically told her that they couldn’t heed her advice because it would mean they weren’t keeping true to themselves. The look of disdain she gave these ungrateful comics was just perfect. And she spent her time with those comics who were more receptive to her advice.

So I’ll definitely be watching tonight at 10 PM Eastern when the next episode airs. My only request is that MacDonald be given much more time; that Jeselnik be liberated a bit, however dangerous that might be; and that Wayans and Barr go ahead and bust out some more constructive criticism for the comics.

Don’t Like ‘Anchor Babies’? Try ‘Products of Deception’ [The Federalist]

The overlords of political correctness have struck again. Evidently, it’s now a “hateful slur” to call the children of illegal immigrants “anchor babies,” a long-held designation to describe how automatic citizenship bestowed on the children of illegal immigrants becomes a powerful magnet for people entering and staying in the United States illegally.

Last week, Hillary Clinton attacked Jeb Bush for using the term, saying it’s offensive and that anchor babies are simply “babies.” Donald Trump scoffed at that and refused to give in to the easily offended speech police. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal had the best response, tying Clinton’s comment to the abortion industry’s harvesting of organs from aborted babies.

“You know what I find offensive is Hillary Clinton, the Left, when you look at those Planned Parenthood videos—they refuse to call them babies, they call it fetal tissue, they call them specimens,” Jindal said. “That’s what’s offensive.”

After the Center of Medical Progress released the videos, defenders of abortion came out swinging, saying they aren’t “babies” but “products of conception“—a nice, clean, politically correct term that dehumanizes unborn children so the consciences of abortionists can be dulled as they chop up and crush the arms, legs, bodies, and heads of human babies.

Let’s Call Them Products of Deception

So, here’s a suggestion—for the sake of consistency among those on the Left. Let’s start calling anchor babies “products of deception,” because that’s exactly what they are—they’re children used by their parents to deceive American citizens in order to abuse and take advantage of our generosity.

It’s not meant to judge the character or value of the children themselves, but only to describe their role in illegal immigration practices.

Illegal immigrants, and even tourists who come to the United States for the fraudulent purpose of delivering their children on American soil, use their babies as tools to remain in our country and often to get freebies from our welfare system and to bring in more family members through chain migration. They do this despite the Fourteenth Amendment offering no legal support for this practice and no court in American history ever holding that the children of illegal immigrants have the right to automatic citizenship. Yet, somehow, this practice has administratively slipped into our system. Now, illegal aliens are taking advantage of it in droves.

Note that the emphasis here is on illegal aliens—a point often lost in the debate over birthright citizenship. When advocates for immigration reform say the United States must end “birthright citizenship,” they are talking about citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants and those committing fraud on the American system, not for children of legal immigrants, and certainly not for people who have already been granted citizenship (see the grandfather clause in the Birthright Citizenship bill HR 140). They are talking about the practice of giving automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants who are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States but are citizens of another country.

“Anchor babies” is a descriptor of how people who are subject to the authority of another country are using their children as tools to stay in the United States despite having no legal status to do so. This is not a term we use in everyday conversation when we personally interact with people, any more than we use other designations that could be offensive out of context. We don’t walk up to a parent with an obese child, for instance, and say, “What a wonderful little obese child you have.” Yet we use the term “obese children” in dialogue about healthcare and nutrition all the time; it’s part of public, not personal, discourse. Context matters.

The same is true of “anchor.” It is a descriptor—and an accurate one. Parents who come here illegally, or parents who visit for the sole purpose of having their child on U.S. soil (totaling nearly 36,000 per year), are using their children as anchors to set up house in the United States. The term describes an ugly reality. It’s not meant to judge the character or value of the children themselves, but only to describe their role in illegal immigration practices.

An Anchor-Baby Agenda Is Harmful

The number of anchor babies in America is larger than many realize. According to Jon Feere, legal policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies, “as many as one out of 10 births in the United States is now to an illegal immigrant mother.”

Yet, despite the illegal status of the parent, the executive branch automatically recognizes these children as U.S. citizens, giving them Social Security numbers and U.S. passports, Feere told the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security in a hearing on birthright citizenship legislation.

‘As many as one out of 10 births in the United States is now to an illegal immigrant mother.’

It is unlikely that Congress, which has complete power in this matter, intended such a broad application of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Citizenship Clause, and the Supreme Court has never held that illegal citizens must be considered U.S. citizens at birth. The Court has only made such a decision for children born to citizens or permanently domiciled immigrants (see United States v. Wong Kim Ark, which was about legal immigrants but has been repeatedly and wrongfully applied to include illegal aliens).

It is unclear how long the U.S. government has been following the practice of universal, automatic birthright citizenship without regard to the duration or legality of the mother being present in the United States, Feere told the subcommittee, but it’s an important issue that needs to be addressed because mass illegal immigration is on the rise.

“The population of U.S.-born children with illegal alien parents has expanded rapidly in recent years from 2.7 million in 2003 to 4.5 million by 2010,” Feere says. “Under the immigration enforcement priorities of the Obama administration, illegal immigrants who give birth to U.S. citizens have become low priorities for deportation; furthermore, under the president’s DAPA program (the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program)—a program currently held up in court—would provide benefits to illegal immigrants who gave birth here and allow them to ‘stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.’ The broad interpretation of the Citizenship Clause forms the basis for these policies.”

The Problem of Chain Migration and Welfare

Birthright citizenship of children to illegal aliens sets off chain migration. When a child born to illegal immigrants turns 18, he can sponsor an overseas spouse and unmarried children of his own. At the age of 21, he can also sponsor his parents and any siblings.

“Family-sponsored immigration accounts for most of the nation’s growth in immigration levels,” Feere says. Approximately two-thirds of our immigration flow comes from chain migration and is increasing because of the growing migration chains that operate independent of our nation’s labor needs.

Illegal immigrants from Mexico benefit greatly from our policy of birthright citizenship, yet their own country shuns any such practice.

Other countries that recognize birthright citizenship curb this problem by not allowing the child to initiate chain migration and thereby avoid some of the problems associated with birthright citizenship that the United States experiences.

One of those problems is access to taxpayer-subsidized benefits. Most welfare benefits are not accessible to illegal immigrants, Feere explains, but they can obtain benefits, such as Medicaid and food stamps, on behalf of their children, who are U.S. citizens.

“Many of the welfare costs associated with illegal immigration are due to the executive branch’s current interpretation of the Citizenship Clause,” Feere told the subcommittee. “Currently, 71 percent of illegal-alien headed households with children make use of at least one major welfare program.” That number jumps to 79 percent in illegal households from Mexico. By comparison, only 38.7 percent of households headed by U.S. citizens use at least one major welfare program.

Illegal immigrants from Mexico benefit greatly from our policy of birthright citizenship, yet their own country shuns any such practice. While Mexico grants automatic nationality to anyone born in Mexico, they do not give automatic citizenship. “This is true even of children born to Mexican citizens,” Feere says. “When a Mexican reaches the age of 18, they then acquire citizenship.”

When it comes to granting nationality or citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants, it’s not even much of an issue because of Mexico’s strict immigration laws. According to the Mexican Constitution, the government can expel any immigrant for any reason without due process. Their property rights are severely limited, and immigrants have to get permission from the government to own land. “Even if permission is granted, the immigrant can never own land within 100 kilometers of land borders nor land within 50 kilometers of the coasts.” Clearly, in Mexico, immigrants are treated as second-class citizens, yet we hear no outcry over their immigration policy.

The Lack of Assimilation

The anchor-baby agenda in the United States is fraught with deception and fraud. This is particularly evident when it comes to assimilation, which is important because people need to think of themselves as Americans to maintain America’s social fabric. This broad interpretation of our nation’s birthright citizenship clause, however, threatens our social cohesion.

The anchor-baby agenda in the United States is fraught with deception and fraud.

Feere expanded on this point when describing the additional problem of “birth tourists” and their use of the anchor-baby agenda to game the system through fraud. In his testimony before the subcommittee, he told the following story to that clearly reflects how this disturbing trend negatively affects our society:

Meet Jennifer Shih, a UC Davis college student born in New York who tells the Sacramento Bee, ‘I’m Taiwanese more than American.’ Back in 1989, Shih’s mother boarded a jet bound for New York, tourist visa in hand. She didn’t arrange her travel in order to take a Broadway show, however; she was eight months pregnant and the goal was to add a U.S.-passport holder to her family. In other words, she was engaging in fraud as admitted by Mr. Shih, who cited the quality of American schools as the impetus. Two months after giving birth Mrs. Shih ‘returned to Taiwan with her U.S. passport–bearing daughter in tow.’

In 2004, when Jennifer reached the age of 15, she returned to the United States to take advantage of U.S.-taxpayer subsidized high schools in Idaho, Utah, and college in California. Understandably, Jennifer—who didn’t speak English when she arrived—describes the United States as a ‘foreign country.’ The reporter who interviewed her notes that ‘even after eight years,’ Jennifer says she still ‘thinks about Taiwan every day’ and visits nearly every year. Jennifer’s honesty highlights the absurdity of a lax birthright citizenship policy and raises significant questions of allegiance and assimilation.

Jennifer’s father has since moved to the United States, presumably as a result of chain migration, which allows individuals to sponsor parents and siblings upon turning 21 years of age. Jennifer says she is interested in having kids of her own who will go to college in America. This is a perfect example of how one instance of fraud from a temporary alien can result in a permanency that was never welcomed by the American public. Birth tourism effectively puts U.S. citizenship policy into the hands of foreigners.

“Despite the fact that no one in Jennifer’s family has been paying taxes to support the University of California systems,” Feere continues, “she will be treated like every other California student whose parents have been subsidizing the system for decades.” Because of her mother’s fraud and deception, Jennifer won’t have to pay the higher tuition rate she would have paid as a foreign student. In addition, every social welfare program available to Americans will be available to Jennifer and her father.

The practice of birthright citizenship for illegal aliens and anyone perpetrating fraud on the United States needs to end.

Another issue to consider in light of this story is the safety of the American public. When we apply Jennifer’s story to radical Islamists, we see how easily it would be for our enemies to walk among us, not only gaining access but benefiting from our educational system and social welfare programs. What right-minded nation acts in such a self-destructive manner?

The practice of birthright citizenship for illegal aliens and anyone perpetrating fraud on the United States needs to end, not because we’re a bunch of racists who are afraid of strangers, but because we care about the safety and stability of our home and expect those who want to become a part of our society to respect the laws that make our nation great. The anchor-baby agenda does not add to the greatness of America. It unravels it. It’s based, not on fairness or justice, but on deception and sometimes outright fraud.

When criticized for using the term “anchor baby,” both Trump and Bush asked reporters what we call should children of illegal immigrants, if not anchor babies. Given the deception surrounding the practice of birthright citizenship for these children—starting with the sham that it’s part of the Constitution itself and it’ll take a constitutional amendment to change it—the term “products of deception” seems like the perfect designation.

Elizabeth Warren Is Totally Wrong About Planned Parenthood [The Federalist]

To understand why Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the unabashed Progressive icon of our day, look to her response to the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood. Following the series of incriminating videos of Planned Parenthood officials negotiating terms for fetal body parts, few Democrats were eager to come to the organization’s defense. They preferred to ignore the issue, attack the investigators, or speak in terms of government shutdowns and ideological budgeting. Not Warren.

She not only defends Planned Parenthood, but goes on the offensive against Republicans with all but the words “war on women.” Her speech on the subject has over 360,000 combined views from two YouTube videos, making it the third-most-popular video on the topic after  Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richard’s official response (450,000 views), and the original Center for Medical Progress videos (15 videos on their channel have a combined 8.4 million views). The speech is rhetorically powerful and warrants a thoughtful response. Warren’s remarks are italicized throughout, my fisking follows.

I come to the Senate floor today to ask my Republican colleagues a question: Do you have any idea what year it is? Did you fall down, hit your head, and think you woke up in the 1950s or 1890s? Should we call for a doctor?

Unfortunately for Warren, the three MD’s in the Senate—John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)—are all pro-life Republicans. Of course, Warren is not afraid to speak well of the past when it suits her argument, as when she spoke of the 1960s as a high point for the minimum wage. Her chronological snobbery apparently comes and goes with the issue.

Because I simply cannot believe that in the year 2015, the United States Senate would be spending its time trying to defund women’s healthcare centers.

This is deliberately misleading, suggesting that all women’s health care faces defunding. The proposed bill explicitly states: “All funds no longer available to Planned Parenthood will continue to be made available to other eligible entities to provide women’s health care services.”

Not only is Planned Parenthood the only organization facing defunding, but the defunding bill redirects all the money that was going to Planned Parenthood to other health-care centers. That means no diminution in overall funding for women’s health care.

You know, on second thought, maybe I shouldn’t have been that surprised. The Republicans have had a plan for years to strip away women’s rights to make choices over their own bodies.

Republicans promote all kinds of choice, including: school choice, health-care choice, and retirement planning choice. Even their opposition to Planned Parenthood is grounded, at least in part, in the fact that unborn children have no choice in whether they will have their organs harvested.

Surely Warren isn’t suggesting that the unborn child is merely an extension of the woman’s body?

Surely Warren isn’t suggesting that the unborn child is merely an extension of the woman’s body? In the aforementioned 1890s, there was greater scientific uncertainty about the nature of the unborn child, as Ernst Haeckel was popularizing his drawings of human embryos that looked more like birds and fish than human beings. Now we can look into the womb with 3D ultrasound—or a Planned Parenthood lab dish—and see a unique human life. To imply that the fetus is part of the woman’s body is to say that a woman has two sets of DNA, four arms, four eyes, and, if carrying a male child, well, you know.

Just look at the recent facts. In 2013, Republicans threatened to shut down the government unless they could change the law to let employers deny women access to birth control.

First of all, employers can’t deny women access to birth control. It can be found, often without prescription, at any CVS, Walgreens, or even a cheap gas station vending machine, for a couple bucks.

But it’s true, Republicans did seek delayed implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate back in September of 2013, just as they sought to delay implementation of all parts of the ACA that hadn’t kicked in yet. The contraceptives mandate—which included drugs that some consider abortifacients—received special attention as a matter of conscience, as Republicans weren’t sure which way the Supreme Court was going to go with the Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor cases. Apparently the Supreme Court thought the Republican concerns were not only reasonable, but constitutionally required.

In March of this year, Republicans held up a non-controversial bipartisan bill to stop human trafficking. Why? Because they demanded new anti-abortion restrictions to cover private funding meant to help the victims of human trafficking.

Here Warren completely misrepresents what happened. It was the Democrats who held up Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)’s Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, until they eventually traded it for a vote on attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch. They had no problem with the anti-abortion language in committee, but started an uproar when they “discovered” the language—on pages 4 and 5 of the bill—as it was coming up for a floor vote. The “new anti-abortion restrictions” were standard operating procedures in line with the Hyde Amendment when it first passed back in 1976.

And human trafficking? In addition to current concerns that Planned Parenthood is trafficking human body parts, Live Action released a series of videos of Planned Parenthood workers in seven clinics across the country offering to help a pimp procure abortions for his underage sex workers.

It’s good to know it’s not just Republicans who struggle to avoid micro-aggressions.

In June, House Republicans passed a budget eliminating funding for the Title X Family Planning Program, the only federal grant program that provides birth control, HIV tests, STD screenings, and other preventive services for poor and uninsured people.

About a quarter of Title X funding goes to Planned Parenthood. According to the House Appropriations Health and Human Services subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), the proposal included: “eliminating funding for HHS Title X Family Planning grants, maintaining full support for community health centers and boosting funding for lifesaving biomedical research.” Was it designed to limit funding to abortion providers? Yes. Was it designed to harm community health centers? No. What does family planning have to do with HIV and STDs?

Over the past few years, the Republicans have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act more than 50 times, including the portions that require insurers to cover contraception.

 Any honest assessment of Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare admits the primary concern has been government overreach and incompetence. Contraceptives were comparatively low on the list of grievances.

And let’s be clear, it’s not just Congress. Over the past five years, Republican state legislators have passed nearly 300 new restrictions on abortion access. This year alone Republican state legislators have passed more than 50 new restrictions on women’s access to legal healthcare.

She probably got her statistics from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, and the numbers are fairly accurate. What she doesn’t mention, probably because it goes against her narrative of inevitable, Progressive enlightenment, is that most of these measures are widely supported by the American people, who’ve always opposed the broad elective-abortions-at-any-stage-of-pregnancy policy imposed by Roe and Doe.

So Mr. President—Madame President—let’s be really clear about something.

It’s good to know it’s not just Republicans who struggle to avoid micro-aggressions. Apparently a female senator, probably Shelley Moore-Capito (R-West Virginia), was sitting in as president at the time.

The Republican scheme to defund Planned Parenthood is not some sort of surprised response to some highly edited video.

Why should it be surprising that an industry whose natural byproduct is fetal remains should have no qualms about trying to profit from those remains? While it’s true the popular Center for Medical Progress videos are highly edited, the unedited videos are also available for viewing and aren’t any more exculpating.

As for the American people, abortion support peaked in the early 1990s.

Nope, the Republican vote to defund Planned Parenthood is just one more piece of a deliberate, methodical, orchestrated, right-wing attack on women’s rights. And I’m sick and tired of it. Women everywhere are sick and tired of it. The American people are sick and tired of it.

We’ll have to take her word on whether she is sick and tired of it. I’m sure some women everywhere are tired of it. But the 40 percent of American women who call themselves pro-life might not be, nor almost a third of the women in the Senate, including the bill’s sponsor, Joni Earnst (R-Iowa).

As for the American people, abortion support peaked in the early 1990s, and now millennials are more pro-life than any generation but for those over 65 years old.

Scheduling this vote during the week of a big Fox News presidential primary debate, days before candidates take trips to Iowa or New Hampshire, isn’t just some clever gimmick. 

It’s true the issue got a lot of play in the GOP debates, but liberal commentators have welcomed a resurfacing of the “war on women” and have used many of Warren’s arguments in chastising the candidates as being as sexist as Donald Trump.

The truly pro-life Republicans were upset with the timing of the bill, having wanted the measure to be attached as an amendment to a “must pass” transportation bill. Proposed as a standalone measure, the bill stood little chance of garnering the 60 required votes to overcome a filibuster. 

This is an all-out effort to build support to take away a women’s right to control her own body and access to medical care she may need.

“Need” is a strong word. If you distinguish abortion—“the purposeful destruction of the unborn child”—from “necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child,” then more than 1,000 experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynecology affirm that direct abortion is “not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.”

You know this affects all of us. Whatever your age, wherever you live, I guarantee that you know someone who has used Planned Parenthood health centers. No one may mention it at Thanksgiving dinner, or post it on Facebook for the whole world to know, but just look at the facts. One in five women in America is a Planned Parenthood patient at least once in her life. Every single year almost 2.7 million women, and men, show up for help at Planned Parenthood.

These people apparently have incredibly low requirements for their healthcare provider.

These numbers sound like they come from Planned Parenthood at a Glance, which can often be misleading. For one thing, the site says that one in five women has “visited” Planned Parenthood and does not go so far as to say that one in five become “patients.” It’s also unclear whether the 2.7 million showing up for help include repeat visits from the same person.

Why do so many people use Planned Parenthood? Because they’re nonprofit and they’re open.

These people apparently have incredibly low requirements for their healthcare provider.

More than half of Planned Parenthood centers are located in areas without ready access to healthcare. You know, women who can’t get appointments anywhere else go to Planned Parenthood for pap tests and cancer screening. Couples go to Planned Parenthood for STD treatments and pregnancy tests. Young people go to young people for birth control…

There are over 4,000 Medicare Certified Rural Health Clinics around the country. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide free or low-cost breast-and cervical-cancer screenings, state health departments provide free cancer screenings, and many community health clinics do, too. There are over 2,500 crisis pregnancy centers, compared to 700 Planned Parenthood affiliates. If areas are truly under-serviced, the $528 million freed up from defunding Planned Parenthood could go to opening new clinics in needy areas. And, as Ross Douthat points out in his New York Times op-ed, there’s no reason all these other services Warren wants to talk about need to be lumped together with an abortion provider.

…and yes, 3 percent of patients visit Planned Parenthood for a safe and legal abortion with a doctor who will show compassion and care for a woman who is making one of the most difficult decisions of her entire life.

Rich Lowry, writing at National Review, shows how the 3 percent figure comes through counting each service separately. “By Planned Parenthood’s math, a woman who gets an abortion but also a pregnancy test, an STD test, and some contraceptives has received four services, and only 25 percent of them are abortion.” In reality, compared with other services like cancer screenings and Pap tests, abortion comprises almost 30 percent of Planned Parenthood’s activity. Narrowing that to pregnancy services, abortions make up 92 percent compared to prenatal care and adoption services.

As for “compassion,” even Richards had to apologize for a staff member who wasn’t being compassionate. Confessions of former employees also don’t bear well on this claim, either, as they describe rushed procedures by stressed-out physicians.

Narrowing that to pregnancy services, abortions make up 92 percent compared to prenatal care and adoption services.

But just to be clear, even though the abortions performed at Planned Parenthood are safe and legal, the federal government is not paying for any of them. Not one dime. For almost 40 years the federal government has prohibited federal funding for abortions accept for the case of rape, incest, and life endangerment. Most of the money Planned Parenthood receives from the government comes from Medicaid patients for medical care provided to low-income patients, the same payments that any other doctor or clinic receives for providing cancer screenings or other medical exams. The rest of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding comes from Title X, provides [sic] birth control to low-income and uninsured people, the same program House Republicans voted to cut in June. The government doesn’t fund abortions, period. A vote today to defund Planned Parenthood is not a vote to defund abortions, it’s a vote to defund cancer screenings and birth control and basic health care for millions of women.

Where to begin? First of all, money is fungible, like when states claim that lottery funds subsidize the education budget then cut the original funding for education, Planned Parenthood can take funds received for non-abortion services and administration and cross-fund its abortion activities. The government gave Planned Parenthood $528 million dollars per year, more than 40 percent of its budget. This would explain why Planned Parenthood has been willing to spend almost $7 million in lobbying efforts in the past five years.

But even if, by some miracle of accounting, no federal monies were going to directly pay for Planned Parenthood’s abortion activities, the federal government ought not be obliged to fund a company suspected of illegal activity. It’s as if Warren were suggesting that the government would have to keep funding a medical center known to be a front for the mafia or a drug cartel, simply because some of the services they provided were actually legal. If there is legal difficulty about this, adjusting the laws to remove the difficulties would be warranted.

I want to say to my Republican colleagues, the year is 2015, not 1955, and not 1895. Women have lived through a world where backward-looking ideologues tried to interfere with the basic health decisions made by a woman and her doctor, and we are not going back, not now, not ever. The Republican plan to defund Planned Parenthood is a Republican plan to defund women’s health care for my daughter, for my granddaughters, for people all across Massachusetts and all across this country. I stand with Planned Parenthood and I hope my colleagues will do the same. Thank you, Madame President, I yield.

Warren is desperate to link America’s leading abortion provider to uncontroversial medical services to defend them against a contrived war on women, but the logic and facts simply don’t support her argument.

Down Hillary Clinton’s Email Rabbit Hole [The Federalist]

A picture is emerging from multiple concurrent investigations into Hillary Clinton’s handling of sensitive national security information during her tenure as secretary of State. The picture is of a culture, fostered by the secretary, of lax security and inappropriate handling of classified information.

The intelligence community has now flagged 305 of Clinton’s emails for further review to determine if they contain classified information. Reuters, in its own review of emails already released to the public, claims that “dozens” of Clinton’s emails contained information that should have been classified.

And the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on Thursday that Clinton’s use of a personal email server to handle her unclassified correspondence violated government policy. The judge allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to expand its investigation to search for deleted emails on her server and thumb drives, and he ordered the State Department to review any deleted emails that are recovered.

Thus far, the investigations have focused on whether Clinton or her advisors violated U.S. law by mishandling classified information. It is increasingly clear that the answer is yes. However, it is likely that, in the end, only a very small number of emails will be found to have technically violated U.S. law.

It can be difficult to prove that information should have been classified, because you can often find an unclassified source to back up the classified fact you may have inadvertently disclosed, allowing you to claim that you were merely conveying someone else’s unclassified claim, not confirming a classified fact. “I’m not confirming that the U.S. runs a secret drone campaign; just commenting on what our policy should be if such a program hypothetically existed.” If so, Clinton and her aides are likely to get off with a slap on the wrist.

Hillary Clinton’s Culture of Lax Security

Legalities aside, however, it is clear that the Clinton State Department was extremely lax in its treatment of sensitive and classified information. I read a small selection of Clinton’s emails, which are gradually being made public by the State Department after review. They are available on the State Department’s website, but more easily searchable through the Wall Street Journal.

The very fact that the emails need redacting is proof that the information should have been handled more carefully.

The State Department has redacted material from many of these emails. The very fact that the emails need redacting is proof that the information should have been handled more carefully, and probably should have been classified. For example, in March 2011 Huma Abedin, one of Clinton’s aides and, so far, the worst offender in the unfolding drama, sent a “status report on Chris Stevens mission to Benghazi.” The next sentence is redacted. The sentence may have contained specific details of the ambassador’s location and itinerary.

Such information about the planned movements of high-ranking U.S. officials is valuable for terrorists who could use it to plan an attack, and this sort of information is routinely classified. This is the sort of information that should not have been sent over an unclassified system, as evidenced by the State Department’s redaction of it (or of something similar).

Other examples of information I found in a cursory review of the emails that probably should have been classified include the following.

Hillary Clinton forwarded a message from Sidney Blumenthal in December 2012 on “Benghazi intel” sourced in part to “the highest levels of European Governments, and Western Intelligence and security services.” Others have raised questions about the ethics of Blumenthal’s consulting for Clinton. But equally worrisome is that Blumenthal felt comfortable relaying information from high-level intelligence officials over an unclassified system, and that Clinton felt comfortable forwarding it on.

Sandy Berger gave advice in 2009 about diplomatic negotiations with Pakistan on how to pressure them to crack down on militants. If Pakistani officials had access to this email, they would be better prepared to negotiate with Clinton and bargain for more U.S. aid while concealing their support for militants. Preserving the confidentiality of internal discussions helps strengthen U.S. officials’ hands in international diplomacy.

If Pakistani officials had access to this email, they would be better prepared to negotiate with Clinton and bargain for more U.S. aid while concealing their support for militants.

Abedin sent a “Behghazi Update” in 2011 with details about the internal machinations of the Libyan Transitional National Council and an assessment of the repercussions of the capture of Qadhafi’s family members. These are straightforward intelligence reports from the field.

It is troubling that Clinton and her advisors regularly sent such information over a private, non-governmental unclassified system. But it is equally worrying that the State Department continues to claim this information was unclassified. These emails contain information that could have damaged U.S. national security if disclosed at the time they were written—but the State Department persists in claiming they did not contain classified information.

While most commentators have complained about a culture of over-classification in the government, it appears that the State Department under Secretary Clinton had a pervasive culture of under-classification. That would explain why the intelligence community’s review of Clinton’s emails has found far more classified information than the State Department’s review did.

Classification Reforms Are Overdue

Today, a couple years after the emails were written, there is little danger in publicizing them—which suggests one possible reform to the classification system. While most commentators have called for reforms to mitigate over-classification, a better reform is for the U.S. government to shorten the time frame for automatic declassification review to a maximum of ten years.

They are still publishing documents from the Nixon and Ford administrations, 40 later.

Under current law (Executive Order 13526), classified information is supposed to be classified for ten years, after which it is automatically queued for review and, if disclosure is deemed non-harmful, public release. However, the author may choose to extend the classification to 25 years instead of ten. In my experience in government, we always did. Virtually all classified information is classified for 25 years, and then only selectively released with ample redactions and withholdings. The long waiting period slows down the work of historians, scholars, and journalists for no discernable gain.

Worse, the queue is getting longer and longer. The Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, which publishes the internal deliberations of past administrations and is an invaluable source for historians, has been lagging behind its publication schedule. In theory, they are supposed to be able to publish documents from 25 years ago; in practice, they are still publishing documents from the Nixon and Ford administrations, 40 later.

If Clinton’s email scandal leads to reform of the declassification process, it will accomplish some good. We do not need to classify less information or classify it less stringently. Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks have made it nearly impossible to keep anything classified. If anything, we need stronger safeguards for classified information—and a better, faster process for declassification.

Shifting the Pro-Life Paradigm [The Federalist]

Nine atrocious Planned Parenthood videos released by the Center for Medical Progress are revitalizing the pro-life movement. While the long-standing goal of completely defunding Planned Parenthood, which currently receives $528 million of taxpayer funds, has achieved some success in recent years, CMP’s shocking videos might finally tip the scale for good. Furthermore, the videos have also shined a glaring light on the darkest sides of the abortion industry. The latest video, which was released Tuesday, filmed a conversation with StemExpress CEO, Cate Dyer, who suggested that Planned Parenthood clinics suffer from “rampant” disease and bacteria contamination.

Previously, the best way to see the result of a “terminated pregnancy” was to view a slideshow of horrendous photos of decapitated fetuses (which, if you’ve seen them, are not for the faint of heart). But the video revelations have provided another kind of shock value: unfiltered, real time looks at abortion. Photos allow us to rationalize the unthinkable because we are removed from the greater context and setting. We store photos in our own mental shoe boxes. But videos offer no such escape. It is no stretch to say that the Planned Parenthood and StemExpress executives behind the scandals — who more often than not discuss their business over a glass of wine and dinner — are akin to Hannibal Lector, the intellectual, highbrow serial killer from the film The Silence of the Lambs.

But despite what the pro-life movement has going for it at the moment, it still has a problem. More specifically, the philosophical underpinning of the pro-life movement has a problem. It’s not about marketing, or how the videos were recorded, or the righteousness of the cause. The issue is this: pro-lifers argue that every fetus has a right to life.

The Philosophical Cracks in the Pro-Life Campaign

That notion is simple and ostensibly true; only hardcore pro-choice advocates will argue that a child does not have a right to life at all. But even so, this premise, on which most of the pro-life movement is built, is susceptible to a convincing counter-argument. “Even though a child has the right to life,” pro-choicers can argue, “the mother’s right to control her body supersedes it.”

Numerically speaking, that means the pro-life movement has not resonated with upwards of 133 million Americans.

This is the argument that the slogan “my body, my choice” uses, and as far as thoughtless logic goes, it is surprisingly convincing. Consider, too, that the “my body, my choice” slogan is completely one-sided. Indeed, you control your body — but that means controlling sexual activity, not just the consequences of it. Feminists may argue that women can choose to get an abortion, but they deflect the point that bodily control means abstaining from sex if a woman (and man) are not ready to be the parents their child deserves. Sex, it seems, should be devoid of its natural consequences if one so chooses.

Of course, the “mother’s right to control her body” line of argumentation will not convince many pro-lifers. But it could convince “moderates” — the people who believe that abortion should be permitted in some cases, but certainly not all cases. According to a recent Gallup poll, 78 percent of Americans fall into that category, while only 19 percent believe abortion should be illegal under all circumstances. But if the goal of the pro-life movement is to end abortion completely, which it largely is, that 78 percent is a large deficit to overcome. Even out of the 78 percent who believe in abortion generally speaking, 42 percent believe abortion should be legal “under any circumstances” or “in most circumstances.” Numerically speaking, that means the pro-life movement has not resonated with upwards of 133 million Americans.

The “my body, my choice” argument is also the foundation of the well known, and damaging, violinist analogy: if you wake up one day with the world’s best violinist attached to you for a lifesaving treatment only you can provide, do you have the right to unplug him, and thereby kill him? Pro-choicers say yes, and pro-lifers are caught in a seemingly indefensible position. After all, even we grant that the violinist has the right to life, which he would, how can we deny that we would have the right to unplug him if we don’t consent to treating him? We control our body, and the decisions we make regarding it should be free for us to make. If we don’t want to save the violinist, we shouldn’t have to. Should we? Who’s making us? Who can make us?

Hence the weakness of the right to life argument. It is a powerful argument for a lot of people, but it isn’t powerful enough for enough people. In our society, where “choice” and “consent” are worshipped on the altar of individualism, arguing that another being can deny someone their own choices (especially those “between them and their doctor”) is verboten and countercultural. The issue with the “right to life argument” is that true though it may be, it swims against the current and can be rejected with ease. Beyond that, though, there is a basic philosophical issue with that proposition that can be exploited by pro-choice advocates. Even though a fetus has the right to life, that right does not entail the right to the means to life. Thus, though a fetus has the “right to life,” that right does not automatically preclude abortion. It may preclude the way in which most abortions are performed, but as a concept abortion cannot be ruled out using the right to life argument.

The Solution: Promote a Positive Argument

To put the nail in the abortion coffin, a positive argument against it has to be constructed. The right to life argument is negative in the sense that it prohibits an action (“abortions should not be performed”) and negates it. A positive argument, by contrast, compels an action by establishing an obligation.

Is there something about carrying a fetus that presents an obligation incumbent upon the mother to carry her child to term?

It is exactly this kind of argument that was constructed by Mathew Lu, a professor of philosophy at the University of St. Thomas, in perhaps the greatest contribution to the pro-life cause in years: the brilliant paper, “Defusing the Violinist Analogy.“ The paper confronts the violinist analogy head on and offers compelling counter arguments to every one of its planks. But Lu is at his strongest when he presents the positive argument against abortion. In other words, is there something about carrying a fetus that presents an obligation incumbent upon the mother to carry her child to term?

There is such an obligation, according to Lu. Using the analogy of discovering a child in the wilderness he writes:

Suppose you live in a cabin far out in the wilderness, cut off from civilization by extreme distance and weather for much of the year, say, nine months. You have provisions for yourself, but no large excess of stores. One day you return to the cabin to discover that an infant has been left at the door without explanation. You have done nothing to invite its presence, and certainly you have not given somebody permission to abandon it on your doorstep. Do you have an obligation to care for the infant, who will surely die if you do not take it in?

It is difficult — almost impossible — to answer that question in the negative. Indeed, the obligation to provide for the child comes directly from your position of strength relative to the infant’s. As Lu writes, “The mere fact that I am in a position to rescue the vulnerable generates an obligation that I do so.” Not only does this counterargument completely defuse the violinist analogy (as the paper’s title suggests), it constructs a separate and powerful argument based on obligation, not negation.

The argument derived from obligation is obvious once it’s spelled out. But the pro-life movement has somehow managed to pass over it and has emphasized the negative right to life argument instead. Ultimately, however, if the pro-life movement wants to corner the pro-choice movement it will have to adopt this argument. It is easy enough to understand, yet extremely difficult to counter. Conveying it in a manner that is digestible and appealing to the moderate masses, however, is another matter altogether. While pro-lifers have reached that point with the right to life argument, they still have more work to do promoting the positive idea of a moral obligation. These two philosophical planks together will make considerable inroads for the pro-life cause—strides that have been previously unachievable. It would be very interesting, for example, to hear a pro-choice politician defend abortion on demand when confronted with the argument of moral obligation.

The argument from obligation won’t end abortion. But by incorporating the argument into its platform, the pro-life movement can begin to gain ground where it matters. By combating abortion with two well-founded philosophical arguments, the gains the pro-life movement can make are almost unlimited. What that means for the future is certainly a positive thing — and a negative thing for the abortion industry.

Ten Reasons It Makes Zero Sense To Support Abortion [The Federalist]

The ninth video about Planned Parenthood has just been released, and this one doesn’t only talk about aborted baby livers and other body parts, it shows a woman laughing about the infections mothers contract at Planned Parenthood, including staph. So many of the arguments from the Left about Planned Parenthood and legal abortion are that they protect women from infection and dangerous procedures. But, really, abortion doesn’t protect women, and it doesn’t protect babies.

Instead of supporting abortion, here are my top ten reasons to support life.

1. Women Are Capable

This Salon piece says, “Think of any professional woman you know. She wouldn’t be in that role if she hadn’t been able to time and limit her childbearing.” This is a gross generalization. I know plenty of professional women—many of them fellow writers here at The Federalist—who have children and still manage to engage the world. It demeans the capability of women to say that we can’t be mothers and professionals. Having a baby doesn’t squash your ability to think or reason, and women are adept multi-taskers.

2. Babies Are Wonderful

A new addition to your family is a time for joy, even if it’s initially frightening. A baby is the future. It’s the extension of our families forward—the next generation.

3. People Aren’t Disposable

Seeing children as disposable is wrong. The moment we decide that some human lives aren’t valuable is the moment we have lost something important. We are all important. Every single one of us.

4. Humans Aren’t For Sale

Babies shouldn’t be bought or sold, piecemeal. That’s exactly what has happened when people decided that terminating pregnancy was an acceptable option. Using the bodies of dead babies for experimentation so at least they’d be of “some use” is a direct consequence of embracing abortion.

5. Humanity Begins at Conception

There isn’t a certain age or stage that makes us really human, because we were human from the start. As full humans, babies don’t deserve to have their brains removed while their hearts still beat. This is monstrous. This is murder. If there were an individual, on a serial basis, cutting through the faces of adults to harvest their brains, we would have law enforcement hunt them down to stop them. We wouldn’t fund and protect them.

6. Abortion Hurts Women

Abortion hurts women. It hurts girls. Abortion is used to cover up the abuse and rape of vulnerable girls and women. The correct response to the victimization of women is not to compound the issue by murdering their children and keeping them in the same situation, it’s to protect and help them.

7. Abortion Hurts More than the Children

Abortion creates multiple victims. The dead child isn’t the only hurt one here. You have a mother, a father, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, the abortion workers—all of the people involved can carry pain from the abortion. This decision can haunt all involved for a lifetime.

8. Morality Isn’t Relative

As unpopular as it is to say this, we are accountable to God. We don’t get to make up our own moral code, in which some murder is okay.

9. Children Are Good For Everyone

Kids make us better people. We learn as we parent. Kids give us reasons to improve ourselves. Kids grow up and contribute to society, to culture, and our economy.

10. Abortion Is Dangerous

Clinics and activists actively fight against making abortion facilities conform to the safety and cleanliness guidelines established for outpatient surgical centers. Unsafe providers have killed women. If we’re claiming that abortion protects women, we probably should make sure they don’t die on the table or from preventable complications or infections. And a “successful” abortion always ends with a dead baby.

I’m pro-life. I’m pro the mother’s life. I’m pro the baby’s life. I’m pro-family. Life is a wonderful blessing, not something to avoid.

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Houston AMSAT Net #1116 - 25 Aug 2015 [Houston AMSAT Net Podcast]

In this edition:

01. Hams and HOAs Letter
02. Cubesat Workshop Presentations
03. Danish Science
04. ESA Cubesat Launch Info
05. AAUSAT-5 Article
06. IARU Hamsat Band Plan
07. WIA Hamsat Band Plan
08. Other IARU Conference Papers
09. 16th IARU R3 Conference
10. IARU Hamsat Frequency Coordination
11. Mars Aboard InSight
12. More InSight Mission
13. Insight on Facebook
14. Insight on Twitter
15. Waterproofing Diplexers
16. Mast Mount Duplexers
17. Clint Bradford K6LCS
18. Space Grown Lettuce
19. DCC Registration
20. The DCC Hotel Special
21. DCC Paper Info Request
22. BLT-42
23. and more.

Amateur Radio Newsline Report 1973 August 21, 2015 [Amateur Radio Newsline Podcast]





Outcome for 5 MHz at WRC-15 Remains in Limbo [American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources]

With the deadline to submit proposals to World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) now less than 2 months away, it’s still unclear how at least one agenda item of importance to the Amateur Radio community will fare. That is agenda item 1.4, which calls on the delegates to consider a secondary Amateur Radio allocation at 5 MHz (60 meters). In the US and in most other countries that have ...

Ex-MI5 agent who spied on Abu Hamza wins fight to stay in home [Blazing Cat Fur]

Réda Hassaïne

A former MI5 undercover agent who risked his life spying on radical Islamist preacher Abu Hamza has won his eviction battle against council officials.

Islington’s housing department claimed Réda Hassaïne broke the terms of his tenancy by disappearing for long periods.

But Mr Hassaïne, an author who has lived in Islington since 1997, denied abusing his tenancy and insisted he had to keep a “completely low profile” because of a fatwa threatening his life.

Turkey’s top religious body slams ‘Jedi religion’ [Blazing Cat Fur]


After recently slamming the warped theology of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Turkey’s top religious body may have another formidable enemy: The Jedi.

In an article for the latest edition of the Directorate of Religious Affairs’ (Diyanet) monthly magazine, Marmara University Assistant Professor Bilal Yorulmaz has warned of the spreading new “religion” of Jediism – the religion of the Jedi warriors in the Star Wars series.

“Jediism … is spreading today in Christian societies. Around 70,000 people in Australia and 390,000 people in England currently define themselves as Jedis,” Yorulmaz wrote, before engaging in an Islamic-based critique of a number of Hollywood blockbusters.

He also slammed Turkish theatre and cinema producers over what he described as the “ill-minded” presentation of religious people as “bad characters” and also giving Islamic-themed names to unintelligent characters.

h/t xx

Did Bryce Williams/Vester Flanagan want a “race war”? [Blazing Cat Fur]


“As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.”

UPDATE: and, of course: White House says Virginia shooting points to need for gun control.

In Syria, Potential Ally’s Islamist Ties Challenge U.S. [Blazing Cat Fur]

syrian islamists

ANTAKYA, Turkey — A rebel group with thousands of fighters, political clout and close ties to key regional powers has emerged as one of the most powerful opposition forces in Syria in recent months. It has vowed to fight the Islamic State and called for engagement with the West.

But despite a long struggle by the United States to find a viable opposition in Syria to counter President Bashar al-Assad and fight the Islamic State, the Obama administration has shown no interest in working with the group, Ahrar al-Sham, or the Free Men of Syria.

The problem for the United States is Ahrar al-Sham’s grounding in militant Islam — a concern that has also dogged previous efforts to find partners in Syria

Have ISIS found a sadistic new way to kill? [Blazing Cat Fur]

isis on horses

Warnings have emerged of an impending Islamic State video that will reveal a ‘new killing style’ featuring jihadis on horseback.

A poster for the forthcoming video shows prisoners wearing orange jumpsuits surrounded by a framework of poles and militants gathered on horses.

It was posted with a warning the bloodthirsty group are planning to reveal a ‘new killing style’ – in addition to the varying types of executions it already carries out across Iraq and Syria.

Legitimacy for ISIS? [Blazing Cat Fur]


A Toronto Star editorial on Monday slammed Prime Minister Stephen Harper for not doing enough to alleviate the refugee crisis in Syria, and called upon the future elected government to “open the gates to more refugees” and to accept the existence of the Islamic State (ISIS) as a fait accompli. …

Supporting a “political settlement to Syria’s destabilizing civil war” means that all parties involved in the conflict should be regarded as legitimate entities for brokering a new political order. After four and a half years, the Syrian regime has lost control over large swaths of the country to ISIS, which established its own Islamic State with Raqqa as its unofficial capital, and other radical Islamic groups such as Jabhat a-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

The position made by The Star implicitly suggests that the Canadian government should abandon the international military coalition against ISIS, and alternatively use its “moral leverage” to support international effort to bring ISIS to the table of negotiations with the Assad regime in order to hammer out a political deal that may provide legitimacy to its Islamic rule.

BC Does Not Like Mulcair’s DayCare Plans [Blazing Cat Fur]

Socialism is fine with other people’s money:

British Columbia has joined Ontario in signalling that Thomas Mulcair can’t count on it to kick in 40% of the budget for his signature daycare plan. The B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development on Tuesday issued a statement declaring: “B.C. would welcome federal support for programs like day care, but not new federal programs that would push new, unaffordable costs onto B.C. taxpayers. The B.C. government has already committed $323.5 million for child care in 2015-16. This is a more than 50% increase since 2000-01 that, through our B.C. Early Years Strategy, is supporting the creation of approximately 13,000 new licensed child care spaces by 2020.

That’s Ontario and B.C. out, Saskatchewan iffy, Alberta broke. And Quebec already has a daycare plan.

Ploughshares: The Money Behind the Iran Deal [Blazing Cat Fur]

follow the money

President Barack Obama has complained multiple times about nefarious lobbies lined up against the Iran deal. Alongside the president, many proponents of the Iran deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry argue that there can be no honest reason for the unease and outright opposition to the deal among some politicians other than nefarious money from lobbyists who want war or, at the very least, want to maintain the tense status quo between Tehran and Washington.

Unpopular Opinions Are Unpopular [Blazing Cat Fur]

As Ontario girds for another school year of teacher discontent, the usual litany of union complaints is already piling up — $3.2 billion worth, according to media reports. Amid the well-worn gripes over salary, benefits and class sizes in particular, the elephant in the classroom remains unaddressed: the shockingly high salaries paid to teachers in the province. For all the complaints over class size, funding for equipment and a lack of education assistants, teachers seem blithely content to ignore the role their generous salaries play in those problems.

The numbers speak for themselves. In Hamilton, the public school board operates on an annual budget of $504 million. Of that amount, $373 million, or 73 per cent, goes to teachers’ salaries. If benefits are included, that number jumps to 87 per cent. Just four per cent, by comparison, goes to supplies and textbooks. Toronto tells a similar tale, with secondary school teacher salaries averaging $87,000, followed closely by their elementary counterparts at $82,000. Add in benefits and the numbers clock in at a hair under $100,000 annually. For comparison, the median family income in Ontario is $75,000.

These numbers hold up largely across the province: the overwhelming majority of budgets going towards teacher salaries with table scraps left over for students and supplies.  This point is driven home when one looks at Ontario’s Sunshine List of public-sector employees making over $100,000 each year. Thousands of elementary and secondary school teachers, admin and staff make the list; with some teachers reaching as high as $133,000 annually.

Egypt and the Hamas “Cockroaches” [Blazing Cat Fur]


Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah Sisi has once again proven that he and his country will not tolerate any threats from Hamas or other Palestinians.

The crisis that erupted between Sisi’s regime and Hamas after the removal from power of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi two years ago, reached it peak in the past few days with the kidnapping of four Hamas operatives in Sinai.

The four men were snatched from a bus shortly after crossing from the Gaza Strip into Egyptian territory on August 19. Reports said that unidentified gunmen stopped the bus and kidnapped the four Hamas men, who are wanted by Egypt for their involvement in terrorism.

US experts fear spread of deadly new drug ‘flakka’ [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

A new synthetic drug known as “flakka” has already caused dozens of deaths in the southern US state of Florida, with experts worried the hallucination-inducing substance is primed to spread across borders and age groups.

Colorado cinema gunman gets life sentence for 2012 massacre [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Colorado cinema shooter James Holmes was formally sentenced to life in prison without parole on Wednesday, more than three years after he killed 12 moviegoers at a midnight Batman premiere in Denver.

Two journalists shot dead during live broadcast in Virginia [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Two television journalists were shot dead on live television Wednesday in Virginia by a gunman authorities described as a disgruntled employee. The suspect later died of injuries sustained after reportedly shooting himself while fleeing the scene.

Colombians flee Venezuela after mass deportations [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Hundreds of Colombians fled Venezuela Tuesday, opting to leave the country with their belongings rather than be deported empty-handed like more than 1,000 people sent home in an escalating border crisis.

US experts fear spread of deadly new drug ‘flakka’ [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

A new synthetic drug known as “flakka” has already caused dozens of deaths in the southern US state of Florida, with experts worried the hallucination-inducing substance is primed to spread across borders and age groups.

Two journalists shot dead during live broadcast in Virginia [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Two television journalists were shot dead on live television Wednesday in Virginia by a gunman authorities described as a disgruntled employee. The suspect later died of injuries sustained after reportedly shooting himself while fleeing the scene.

France to refund Russia €1 billion for Mistral warships [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

France says the cost of the cancellation of the sale of two Mistral-class warships to Russia is below 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion).

‘I thought he was going to kill me’, says French-American hero of train attack [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

French-American professor Mark Moogalian, who was shot as he tried to disarm a Kalashnikov-wielding gunman on a Paris-bound train last week, gave his first interview on Wednesday.

Video: Europe needs to show more ‘solidarity’ with refugees, says UN [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called on European countries to do more for desperate migrants fleeing war-torn Syria and other countries, telling FRANCE 24 there is not enough coordination between European states.

Colorado cinema gunman gets life sentence for 2012 massacre [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Colorado cinema shooter James Holmes was formally sentenced to life in prison without parole on Wednesday, more than three years after he killed 12 moviegoers at a midnight Batman premiere in Denver.

South Sudan president signs peace deal with rebels [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

South Sudan’s president signed a peace deal on Wednesday to end a 20-month conflict with rebels, but he told regional African leaders at the ceremony that he had “serious reservations”.

Merkel booed by German protesters at refugee centre [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed Wednesday there would be no tolerance for "shameful and vile" anti-migrant violence, facing down a noisy far-right protest during a visit to a refugee centre.

Video: Chinese market turmoil rattles small investors [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

China’s recent market turmoil has taken a toll on the portfolios of small investors in Beijing’s Central Business District (CBD), many of whom want to divest amid fears that the worst has yet to come.

Luc Besson threatens to film ‘Valerian’ abroad over French tax credits [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

"Valerian", an upcoming big-budget French sci-fi movie, may have to be filmed outside of France because it will star American and British actors, its director, Luc Besson, said this week.

Vaccine shortage in France leads to expensive alternative [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

France has been particularly affected by a world-wide shortage of vaccines, notably DTP (diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus), a compulsory vaccination in young children.

Colombians flee Venezuela after mass deportations [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Hundreds of Colombians fled Venezuela Tuesday, opting to leave the country with their belongings rather than be deported empty-handed like more than 1,000 people sent home in an escalating border crisis.

“The final point about Obama is that he doesn’t look African black” [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Such a hot, progressive take on Obama from something called Morrissey.

Rock singer Morrissey on Wednesday said President Obama has not ultimately accomplished anything for blacks in America.

“I can’t see him doing anything at all for the black community except warning them that they must respect the security forces,” the former Smiths frontman said of Obama, according to The Daily Beast.

“This is ludicrous, because the so-called security forces are the Ku Klux Klan to most black Americans,” he said.

It seems evident to me that black males are being deliberately murdered throughout America as a closing message to Obama, telling him that his presidency has meant nothing and that the division of color is now bigger than ever,” Morrissey added.

Thanks, Obama!

“Obama doesn’t see this, but if a white cop shot one of his daughters I don’t imagine he’d be willing to accept the exoneration of that white cop.”

Morrissey also argued that Obama’s status as America’s first black president is suspect given his physical appearance.

“The final point about Obama is that he doesn’t look African black,” he said. “He’s as close to soft whiteness as someone who isn’t white can get, and I often wonder if he would have been elected if he had a stronger, more African-black face? It’s a point.

That’s what he spends his time wondering about? Oof. If this guy still had a career it would be over shortly. He also apparently suffers delusions.

“I think she shows an earnest composure, whereas all of the Republican candidates are dangerously reactionary and occasionally insane,” said Morrissey. “I don’t think Clinton has even begun to dig into the race yet, and when she does she will gain massive support. The world does not want to look at Donald Trump’s face for the years to come.”

But is the world ready to embrace Hillary? “Just to be able to say or hear the words ‘the president, she’ will be a new age of enlightenment for America... even if Margaret Thatcher was so abysmal that she became the first and last female prime minister. British politics will never again trust a woman because of Thatcher. And, in actual fact, it hasn’t.”

Suspect in Televised Murder is Former Reporter Bryce Williams, aka Vester Lee Williams [Jammie Wearing Fools]

A disgruntled former employee, we’re told.

The suspect in the deadly shooting of a WDBJ7 reporter and photographer on live television on Wednesday morning is a disgruntled former reporter at the station, according to sources.

Vester Lee Flanagan, who reported under the name Bryce Williams at the station, is currently on the loose. Virginia State Police say there is no pursuit underway, despite multiple media reports.

Investigators released a photo of a suspect in the shooting deaths of a reporter and photographer during a live report on Wednesday morning.The photo is a still frame from the video of the live report and provides a grainy image of the alleged gunman who killed the Roanoke TV reporter and photojournalist during a live television interview on Wednesday morning.

The crew was reporting live for WDBJ7, the CBS affiliate in Roanoke, around 6:45 a.m. at Bridgewater Plaza near Smith Mountain Lake. They were working on a feature story about the 50th anniversary of the lake when the shooting occurred. On the video you can hear seven shots fired and the photographer, Adam Ward, appeared to fall to the ground while the reporter, Alison Parker, screams.

WDBJ confirmed the victims’ identities during a live update around 8:45 a.m. A third, unidentified victim was also shot. Vicki Gardner from the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce was being interviewed at the time of the shooting, and was shot in the back, reports CNN.

The shooter’s identity has not yet been released and he is still at large. Police ask anyone with information about the shooting to call 911 or the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at 540-483-3000.

Meanwhile, the anti-gun nuts have totally embarrassed themselves again today, to no surprise.

Update: This sick piece of shit actually filmed and uploaded the murders.

Update: Fortunately he’s dead.

Virginia TV reporter, photographer killed in shooting during live interview [Jammie Wearing Fools]

WDBJ reporter Alison Parker was interviewing a woman about a local story out of Franklin County, Virginia, at approximately 6:45 a.m. Wednesday when the shots rang out and both women screamed.

As the camera fell to the ground, the audience got the briefest glimpse of a man who appeared to pointing a gun toward the downed cameraman.

The station cut away to a shocked anchor, Kimberly McBroom, back in the studio.

The reporter, Alison Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27, were both killed in the shpoting at Bridgewater Plaza near Moneta, the station reported later.

The gunman is believed to have fired six or seven times, WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks said.

“We do not know the motive. We do not know who the killer is,” Marks said. “We do know the Franklin County sheriff … they are working very diligently to track down both the motive and the person responsible for this terrible crime against two fine journalists,” he said during the station’s coverage of the shooting.

The station does not believe that the interview subject was injured, Marks said.

“Our hearts are broken,” Marks said on air, explaining that Parker’s and Ward’s colleagues are “holding back tears.”

McBroom described Parker as a “rock star” and said, “You throw anything at that girl and she could do it.”

Full story.

“What bothers me about this debate is its incivility, excoriating people as traitors or dual loyalists” [Jammie Wearing Fools]

This is hilarious coming from one of the biggest loudmouths in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler said he has faced hurtful personal attacks from Orthodox precincts since he announced his support of the Iran nuclear deal.

Nadler, D-N.Y., told the Israeli daily Haaretz this week that the attacks have come from the religiously and politically conservative precincts in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn.

He noted also that he has received emails and calls of support since he announced his backing for what he called the “flawed” deal on Friday in a more than 5,000-word statement, citing as a major reason his support for Israel. He is the sole Jewish lawmaker from his state to support the deal.

Of the attacks, Nadler told Haaretz, “Of course it hurts. It’s emotional.”

“Most hurtful is people asserting, shouting, that somehow I am anti-Israel,” he said. “I’ve been a supporter of Israel my whole life.”

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who is Orthodox, has threatened to raise millions of dollars to mount a primary challenge to Nadler, according to the report.

“The political consequences are concerning, but I had to” support the deal,” Nadler told Haaretz. “How could I live with myself if I voted against it knowing that would increase the chances of a bomb in Iranian hands? How could I do that?

“What bothers me about this debate is its incivility, excoriating people as traitors or dual loyalists.”

He says this as Obama call his political opponents the crazies. And just last year, this bloated windbag said Republicans “just want people to starve.”

Mr. Nadler, pressed on Republican concerns of fraud with the program, continued firing away at those on the other side of the aisle. “There’s no evidence. Look, [with] any program human beings will find a way to have some fraud,” he replied. “There will be plenty of protections to minimize the fraud.

If the Republicans wanted to say, ‘Let’s put in this action for protection or put in that action for protection,’ that would be something else. But they’re just using that as an excuse. They just want people to starve and it’s disgusting.”

Reached for comment, Mr. Nadler’s office pointed Politicker to the congressman’s past statement on the bill, which also notes the legislation’s positive aspects while calling the cuts “cruel and unnecessary.” 

But hey, let’s be more civil, like the left has been toward Chuck Schumer for opposing the Iran deal.

The left is always so civil. Just ask #WarmongerChuck.

Why America is done with Hillary Clinton [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Dear Hillary,

It’s too bad you didn’t have time to talk last night, or the night before. I was miffed when Huma first texted to say you were unavailable, whatever that means. When she did it again last night, I was furious.

Can’t you call me yourself and explain what’s going on? And if you can’t, what kind of relationship is this?

I hardly slept but realized it’s probably better we didn’t get together or talk. We would have just shouted at each other.

Anyway, the last couple of days crystallized some things in my mind that need to be said.

Let me start with the obvious: Things between us aren’t good. They’ve always been a little rocky, but now they’re so bad that I don’t see how we can fix it, so I’ve made my decision.

It’s over between us. We have no future together and we need to admit it so we can get on with our lives and find somebody else.

This isn’t easy, and the idea of breaking up with you is scary and makes me miserable. I had big hopes for us and fantasized about the great things we would do together.

The world would be our oyster! We’d make history!

Be honest — that all seems like a stupid pipe dream now. We’ve known each other for almost 25 years and we’ve changed so much that it’s impossible to recapture the magic.

Remember that dopey Fleetwood Mac song we liked, “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow?” That was a long time ago, and tomorrow is here. It’s not what I thought it would be and probably not what you expected, either.

Whatever the reason, it’s obvious we’re not a good fit anymore.

Full story.

Pentagon Inspector General Investigating if ISIS Assessments Have Been Too Optimistic [Jammie Wearing Fools]

C’mon, we couldn’t possibly resort to lying about how we’re faring against ISIS, could we? This is, after all, the most historically transparent administration ever and they would never lie to the American public, would they?

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry.

The investigation began after at least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told the authorities that he had evidence that officials at United States Central Command — the military headquarters overseeing the American bombing campaign and other efforts against the Islamic State — were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama, the government officials said.

Fuller details of the claims were not available, including when the assessments were said to have been altered and who at Central Command, or Centcom, the analyst said was responsible. The officials, speaking only on the condition of anonymity about classified matters, said that the recently opened investigation focused on whether military officials had changed the conclusions of draft intelligence assessments during a review process and then passed them on.

The prospect of skewed intelligence raises new questions about the direction of the government’s war with the Islamic State, and could help explain why pronouncements about the progress of the campaign have varied widely.

Legitimate differences of opinion are common and encouraged among national security officials, so the inspector general’s investigation is an unusual move and suggests that the allegations go beyond typical intelligence disputes. Government rules state that intelligence assessments “must not be distorted” by agency agendas or policy views. Analysts are required to cite the sources that back up their conclusions and to acknowledge differing viewpoints.

Under federal law, intelligence officials can bring claims of wrongdoing to the intelligence community’s inspector general, a position created in 2011. If officials find the claims credible, they are required to advise the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. That occurred in the past several weeks, the officials said, and the Pentagon’s inspector general decided to open an investigation into the matter.

Well, we know we can’t let those crazies in the Senate have the proper information, otherwise they might want to hold Dear Leader accountable.

The top 13 Jewish newsmakers of 5775 [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — With the Jewish year winding down, here’s a look back at 13 Jews who repeatedly made the news in 5775. Whether you love them or hate them — or your feelings are purely pareve — it’s hard to deny they had an impact.

David Blatt 

American-Israeli coach David Blatt, in his first season as the Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, guided the club to the NBA Finals and put the Midwestern city on the radar of Israelis — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu among them. Blatt, 56, had come to Cleveland after coaching Maccabi Tel Aviv to an unlikely Euroleague title. The Boston-area native had played professionally in Israel, making aliyah in 1979, and in college at Princeton.

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four

Israeli-American coach David Blatt of the Cleveland Cavaliers speaking with star player LeBron James during the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals in Atlanta, May 26, 2015. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Abraham Foxman

Few Jewish names are as well known worldwide as Abraham Foxman, who retired from the Anti-Defamation League after nearly three decades at its helm (and five decades on its staff).  In addition to being the world’s most outspoken critic of all things anti-Semitic, the 75-year-old Foxman has a personal story worthy of a film: Born in Poland one year after Germany’s invasion, Foxman was left in the care of his Catholic nanny during the Holocaust and did not discover he was Jewish — or reunite with his parents — until after the war.

Abraham Foxman holds a replica of his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star as he is honored by the ADL's 2014 Annual Meeting at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, on November 7, 2014. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Abraham Foxman holding a replica of his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star as he is honored in Beverly Hills, Calif., at the Anti-Defamation League’s annual meeting, Nov. 7, 2014. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Rabbi Barry Freundel

Long one of America’s most prominent modern Orthodox rabbis, Barry Freundel, 63, shocked the Jewish community when he was arrested on charges of voyeurism. He was sentenced in May to 6 1/2 years in prison for secretly videotaping dozens of women in the mikvah affiliated with his Washington, D.C., congregation, Kesher Israel. Freundel had encouraged women studying for conversion to take “practice dunks” in the mikvah, and as the case against him unfolded, numerous leaders called for checks on rabbinic power and a more transparent system for Orthodox conversion to Judaism.

Rabbi Barry Freundel exiting the courthouse after entering his guilty plea, Feb. 19, 2015. (Dmitriy Shapiro)

Rabbi Barry Freundel exiting the courthouse in Washington, D.C., after entering his guilty plea, Feb. 19, 2015. (Dmitriy Shapiro)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

How many 82-year-olds not only continue to work full time but also have a hipster fan blog on Tumblr, T-shirts and tattoos celebrating them, and get to be played by Natalie Portman in a movie about their life? In recent years, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the U.S. Supreme Court’s most reliably liberal votes, has morphed from merely being a prominent public figure to “the Notorious RBG” and the subject of a forthcoming book and the aforementioned film. Though some critics think it’s high time Ginsburg retired, the Brooklyn-born justice and feminist icon is still going strong.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at an annual Women's History Month reception hosted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 18, 2015. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaking at an annual Women’s History Month reception hosted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 18, 2015. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

Alan Gross

In December, 65-year-old American Jewish contractor Alan Gross got the best Hanukkah present ever: release from a Cuban prison, where he had been languishing for five years. Gross’ freedom was negotiated as part of a historic thaw in relations between the United States and Cuba. Since returning home, Gross has credited the Jewish community for helping to secure his freedom and has lobbied for easing U.S. travel and trade restrictions with Cuba.

Alan Gross, freed from a Cuban prison earlier in the day, waves after concluding his remarks with his wife, Judy, at a news conference in Washington shortly after arriving in the United States, Dec. 17, 2014. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Alan Gross, freed from a Cuban prison earlier in the day, waves after concluding his remarks with his wife, Judy, at a news conference in Washington, D.C., shortly after arriving in the United States, Dec. 17, 2014. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Michael Oren

American-born Michael Oren, 60, is the former Israeli ambassador to the United States — but his new book, “Ally,” has been anything but diplomatic, inflaming many with his harsh (and some say unfair) criticism of the Obama administration. Although Oren is a Knesset member for Kulanu, the center-right party’s leadership recently distanced itself from his contention that President Barack Obama betrayed Israel. Oren, who was raised in New Jersey and has a doctorate in Near Eastern studies from Princeton, made aliyah in 1979.

Michael Oren, shown speaking at the Holocaust Day of Remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in 2010, caused a stir with accusations against President Obama in an Op-Ed. (Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)

Michael Oren, shown speaking at the Holocaust Day of Remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in 2010, caused a stir with accusations in his book against President Obama. (Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)

Natalie Portman

The Israel-born Natalie Portman, 34, was among the most talked-about stars at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which premiered her directorial debut, an adaptation (in Hebrew) of a memoir by the Israeli writer Amos Oz. A Harvard grad and Oscar winner who will star in upcoming films about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Portman sounded off in a recent Hollywood Reporter interview on various Jewish topics, including her dislike of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and what it’s like to be a Jew living in Paris.

Natalie Portman at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2015 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Natalie Portman at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival, where her debut film as a director premiered, May 17, 2015. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders

Since announcing in April that he would challenge frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, the Vermont senator and self-described socialist (he’s officially an independent) Bernie Sanders has been a left-wing darling, appealing to those who see Clinton as too establishment. The only Jewish candidate in the race, the 73-year-old, Brooklyn-raised Sanders bristled recently when radio host Diane Rehm incorrectly said he had dual Israeli citizenship. That’s not to say he isn’t proud of his Jewish background, which he says sparked his interest in politics. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to the crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center, July 18, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Charlie Leight/Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaking at the Phoenix Convention Center, July 18, 2015. (Charlie Leight/Getty Images)

Lacey Schwartz

Lacey Schwartz, 38, grew up believing she was a white Ashkenazi Jew, only to discover that her biological father was an African-American man with whom her mother had an affair. In “Little White Lie,” a documentary that screened in major U.S. cities and aired on PBS in March, Schwartz explored her shifting racial identity and what it means to be black — and Jewish — in America. Designated a New York Times Critics’ Pick, the film received favorable reviews overall. Plus, in a year in which high-profile police brutality cases involving black youth and a massacre at a black church have captured the public’s attention, “Little White Lie” has contributed to the larger discussion about race in America.

Lacey Schwartz at the 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on May 6, 2006. (Mat Szwajkos/Getty Images)

Lacey Schwartz at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, May 6, 2006. (Mat Szwajkos/Getty Images)

Ayelet Shaked

Israel’s justice minister, 39-year-old Ayelet Shaked, came into the public eye this spring as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggled to cement his right-wing coalition following the March 17 elections. Although she is secular and lives in Tel Aviv, Shaked is a member of Jewish Home, a pro-settler party. Her calls to deport African migrants, limit the powers of Israel’s High Court and enact the controversial “Jewish state” law have alarmed many on the left.

Jewish Home's Ayelet Shaked discussing budgets for Israeli settlements at a meeting of the State Control Committee at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Nov. 10, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Jewish Home’s Ayelet Shaked making a point about budgets for Israeli settlements at a Knesset committee meeting in Jerusalem, Nov. 10, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Wendy Sherman

Wendy Sherman, who is in her mid-60s, was the chief U.S. negotiator in the nuclear deal with Iran and one of the few women participating in the negotiations. In May, Sherman announced that once the Iran deal concluded she would step down from the Obama administration, where she has served as under secretary of state for policy — the No. 3 position in the department — since 2011. In a statement published in The New York Times, President Obama praised Sherman’s “unique combination of intellect, toughness and persistence, which have made her one of the most effective diplomats of her generation.”

Wendy Sherman was the top U.S. negotiator in the world powers' nuclear talks with Iran. (Eric Bridiers/U.S. Mission Geneva)

Wendy Sherman was the top U.S. negotiator in the world powers’ nuclear talks with Iran. (Eric Bridiers/U.S. Mission Geneva)

Jill Soloway

Inspired by her own father coming out as transgender in 2011, TV producer-writer Jill Soloway, 49, created “Transparent,” one of the most acclaimed shows of the past year. Described by the Forward as “the Jewiest show ever,” the Golden Globe Award-winning comedy follows the very Jewish Pfefferman family in the wake of its patriarch announcing that he is becoming a woman. The series — which features a female rabbi character — has been at the forefront of a larger transgender awareness zeitgeist this year (thanks, in large part, to one Caitlyn Jenner).

Jill Soloway attending the 67th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Century City, California on February 7, 2015. (David Buchan/Getty Images)

Jill Soloway attending the Directors Guild of America Awards in Century City, Calif., Feb. 7, 2015. (David Buchan/Getty Images)

Jon Stewart

The announcement this year that “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, 52, was stepping down devastated his fans – particularly when news surfaced that his South African replacement, Trevor Noah, has made anti-Israel remarks on Twitter. Nominated in July for an Emmy, the unabashedly liberal Stewart (nee Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz) presided over Comedy Central’s fake news program for 16 years, during which time there have been countless Jewy moments.

Jon Stewart on stage at Comedy Central's Night Of Too Many Stars at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on February 28, 2015.  (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

Jon Stewart on stage at Comedy Central’s “Night Of Too Many Stars” at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, Feb. 28, 2015. (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

Biden will meet Jewish leaders in Miami to promote Iran deal [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Vice President Joe Biden speaking during a roundtable discussion in Denver on July 21, 2015. (Brennan Linsley/AP)

Vice President Joe Biden speaking during a roundtable discussion in Denver on July 21, 2015. (Brennan Linsley/AP)

(JTA) — Vice President Joe Biden will meet with American Jewish leaders in Florida to make the case for the Iran nuclear deal.

Biden, who is pondering a campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election, will appear at a small roundtable event in Miami on Sept. 3, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, helped convene the meeting, according to the Journal. Wasserman Schultz, who is Jewish and represents a district with a large Jewish population, has not yet announced whether or not she will support the deal, which lifts sanctions in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program.

The Israeli government and many American Jewish organizations oppose the deal, as do most congressional Republicans. Congress will vote in September on whether to approve the deal reached between six world powers, including the United States, and Iran. President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any legislation aimed at blocking the deal.

Numerous Jewish Democratic fundraisers are expected to attend next week’s meeting with Biden.

Biden also plans to host a Rosh Hashanah event in Washington, D.C., after Labor Day.


Palestinian stabs border police officer outside Jerusalem’s Old City [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — A Palestinian man stabbed and lightly injured an Israeli Border Police officer at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.

The attacker, a resident of the West Bank town of Bethlehem, shouted at a group of border police officers on Wednesday night before stabbing one of them in the leg. The officer was treated at the scene and taken to the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.

Later in the evening, Haaretz reported that a firebomb was thrown at a Border Police vehicle in the A-Tur Jerusalem neighborhood. No injuries were reported.

A similar incident at the Damascus Gate, one of the main entrances to the Arab Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, occurred on June 18, when an 18-year-old Palestinian stabbed a border policeman in the neck, seriously injuring him.

“We witnessed another terror attack in almost the same place a little more than two months ago. The readiness and alertness of our fighters is the main reason these incidents are ended before the attackers succeed in harming innocents,” Border Police Chief Superintendent Nisso Guetta told the Times of Israel.


Westhampton Beach eruv will likely expand to include two more towns [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — A local town board will allow the expansion of an eruv to encompass the towns of Quiogue and Westhampton on Long Island, New York.

On Tuesday night, the Southampton town board announced that it will not appeal a June 30 decision by State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Farneti, who ruled that the ritual boundary — which allows observant Jews to perform certain activities in the public domain during Shabbat — would not violate the town’s signage rules.

An eruv was erected in nearby Westhampton Beach Village in August 2014. A group of local residents in 2007 sued the East End Eruv Association — which had teamed up with the Verizon telecommunications company and the Long Island Lighting Company to put up “lechis,” or plastic strips to designate the eruv. The lawsuit alleged that the boundary violated the separation of church and state. The group, which was called Jewish People for the Betterment of Westhampton Beach, lost the case in January.

The Southampton board’s decision will likely pave the way for an extension of the Westhampton Beach Village eruv, which could now surround Quiogue and Westhampton.

“Well, we felt that we had made our point, which was solely based on the interpretation by our Building Department that it represented a violation to our sign code, and that is really the only reason we opposed it,” Southampton town board member Anna Throne-Holst told 27east.com. “But the court struck that down, so we made the decision not to appeal and to bring to an end what has been a very long and costly piece of litigation that was, again, solely geared toward the interpretation of our sign laws.”

Southampton will also drop a case it had filed in the U.S. district court. 27east.com reported that Quoigue is still involved in litigation with the EEEA over the constitutionality of the lechis.

Curt Shilling compares Muslims to Nazis and gets suspended from ESPN [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Curt Schilling at his induction into the Phillies "Wall of Fame" at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on August 2, 2013. (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Curt Schilling at his induction into the Phillies “Wall of Fame” at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on August 2, 2013. (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

As one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball for nearly 20 years, Curt Schilling didn’t make many errors. On Tuesday, however, he admitted that he made a costly one.

The three-time World Series champion on Tuesday morning tweeted an image of Hitler against a dark blood-red background that compared modern Muslims to the German population under Hitler. Schilling deleted the tweet shortly after posting it.

“It’s said that only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists,” the graphic read. “In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?”

Schilling added in his own accompanying text: “The math is staggering when you get to true #’s.”

Schilling, who has been a live game analyst for ESPN since 2010, was immediately suspended from his current assignment broadcasting games at the Little League World Series.

“Curt’s tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company’s perspective,” ESPN said in a written statement. “We made that point very strongly to Curt and have removed him from his current Little League assignment pending further consideration.”

The former All-Star has not issued an official apology but responded apologetically to several tweets and tweeted: “I understand and accept my suspension. 100% my fault. Bad choices have bad consequences and this was a bad decision in every way on my part.”

Schilling, a self-described conservative and born-again Christian, claimed back in January that he did not get voted into the Hall of Fame in his third year of eligibility because he’s a Republican.

“I know that as a Republican that there’s some people that really don’t like that,” he told Boston radio WEEI. “When human beings do something, anything, there’s bias and prejudice.”

Schilling has also engaged in controversial Twitter dialogue before, most notably questioning the theory of evolution in November of last year.

Schilling played 19 seasons for five different teams and won World Series championships with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 and the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007. He was a six-time All-Star and has the best postseason record of all-time for a pitcher with at least 10 playoff decisions.

Matisyahu performs outside Auschwitz following Spain appearance [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) – Three days after a performing at a reggae festival in Spain that had previously disinvited him, Matisyahu brought his music to a synagogue near the gates of Auschwitz.

The Jewish-American singer gave an intimate acoustic concert Tuesday night in the tiny Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot synagogue in Oswiecim, the town in southern Poland where Auschwitz was built.

“Played in the last remaining Synagogue outside of Auschwitz in the city Oświęcim. Peace and blessings,” Matisyahu wrote on his Facebook page. He also quoted a line from his song, “Jerusalem:” “The gas tried to choke but it couldn’t choke me.”

On Saturday night, he sang “Jerusalem” in front of thousands at the Rototom Sunsplash festival in Spain. Its organizers had initially cancelled his appearance due to pressure from the local branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement, which aims to put economic and political pressure on Israel. The festival reinvited him following widespread condemnation, including from the Spanish government.

The only one of Oswiecim’s synagogues to survive today, the Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot synagogue forms part of the Auschwitz Jewish Center, a prayer and study center and museum founded in 2000. The concert marked the center’s 15th anniversary.

Matisyahu has performed a number of times in Poland and has appeared before in Oswiecim. In 2011, he was a headliner at the Oswiecim Life Festival, a summer festival aimed at using art and music to promote tolerance. Matisyahu is performing several concerts in Poland during his current tour, including in Gdansk, Wroclaw and Warsaw, where he is appearing in a free outdoor concert on August 30 as part of the Singer’s Warsaw Jewish Culture Festival.


Jewish tombstone fragments found in Polish river [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — Fragments of Jewish tombstones were discovered as the level of the Vistula River in Warsaw dropped during a drought.

The tombstones are thought to be from the city’s Bródno Jewish cemetery. Only 300 of the cemetery’s original 3,000 graves remain, as the rest were used for construction and reinforcing the riverbanks during World War II.

“The Vistula River is hiding no end of secrets. They are everywhere,” said Jonny Daniels, head of Holocaust commemoration organization From the Depths, who visited the river Tuesday, according to the Guardian. “Jewish history is buried in the Vistula.”

A Soviet plane was also discovered in the river. The plane crashed in 1945 during a battle between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, as the Nazis were retreating from captured territory.

Italy’s only female rabbi is on a mission to expand the tribe [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Rabbi Barbara Aiello, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on August 13, 2015. (Menachem Wecker)

Rabbi Barbara Aiello speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Aug. 13, 2015. (Menachem Wecker)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — As Italy’s only female rabbi — as well as the country’s only non-Orthodox rabbi — Barbara Aiello has grown accustomed to a level of global renown. But in her home country, it can be hard to get respect.

The Pittsburgh native has been asked to leave synagogues in Florence and Rome for wearing a kippah, she told JTA. She was ejected from a kosher shop in Milan for the same reason, she believes. A guide at Rome’s Great Synagogue said on a tour she was on that progressive rabbis don’t exist in Italy.

“I think that’s unconscionable for one Jew to do to another,” Aiello said of the evictions.

Aiello, who lives in a house in Serrastretta, Calabria — in the “toe” of Italy — that’s been in her family for 430 years. She was the first in her family to be born in the United States. She started traveling to Italy annually with her father in the 1970s and decided to move for good in 2004.

After hearing Aiello conduct a memorial service in Italy for her brother-in-law, several people encouraged her to apply for an open rabbinic post at a Milanese synagogue. She held the position for two years.

“It was always my goal to get to the south of Italy,” she said.

There she searches for southern Italian “anusim” — those with “hidden” Jewish roots that date back to forced conversions during the  Inquisition — and helps them better understand and connect to their roots.

On her website, Aiello writes that her efforts to help Italian families discover their Jewish heritage relates to the concept of “L’dor v’dor,” or “that special Jewish experience of ‘from generation to generation.’” The research is her passion, she told JTA, because half of Calabria and Sicily was Jewish prior to the Inquisition, and she sees a hunger in those communities to know more about Judaism.

“The light in the soul has never died,” she said while visiting Washington, D.C., this month. “From the discovery of their Jewish roots, many want to embrace Judaism.”

Aiello supplements that research, and her broader efforts to create a more inclusive Italian Jewish community, by officiating at destination weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, baby namings, conversions and other ceremonies.

READ: In southern Italy, long-lost Jews returning to the fold

That Aiello, whose website notes that she “welcomes the opportunity to officiate and co-officiate for interfaith and non-traditional couples,” has ruffled Italian feathers isn’t hard to imagine. Italy’s Orthodox rabbinate holds a monopoly, according to Aiello, who as a non-Orthodox rabbi is not permitted to legally marry couples in Italy. (She performs a symbolic service after the couples obtain their civil marriages.)

This summer, Aiello performed eight bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies and trained the students, who hailed from Maryland, New Jersey, Boston and Vancouver, to read their Torah portions from her synagogue’s 18th-century scroll. She also officiated at a bar mitzvah at a historic synagogue in Croatia — its first bar mitzvah in 75 years — and named a baby from Singapore.

“That’s really how we stay alive financially,” she said of the Italian Jewish Cultural Center of Calabria, which she founded and directs, and the 82-member Sinagoga Ner Tamid del Sud, which she leads.

Riccardo Shemuel Di Segni, the chief rabbi of Rome, has heard directly from Aiello on several occasions about being kicked out of the synagogues and store.

“Probably in Milan — not the yarmulke, but her being recognized as a Reform rabbi, arose that reaction,” he said. “Our behavior here in Rome is obviously different. There are several women with yarmulkes who show up in our synagogue when they visit Rome. I never forbid them to join the ‘ezrat nashim,'” Hebrew for the women’s section.

The rabbi acknowledged, however, that he doesn’t control the security officers or “their sometimes strange decisions.”

“The more common popular reaction here is of curiosity, not of rejection,” Di Segni said.

According to the rabbi, Aiello sparked “great interest and sympathy” when she arrived in Italy because she represented a “double new” as both a female rabbi and a progressive Jew. In Calabria, Di Segni said, there are very few “official” Jews and “an uncertain number of families who claim to be of marrano origin, as Barbara herself says about hers.” (Aiello told JTA that her family fled persecution in Toledo, Spain, for Portugal, and then fled the Inquisition to Sicily and Morocco, and then to Italy.)

The “actual impact of Aiello’s activities is now limited to this kind of niche, with a very small influence on the general Jewish population and maybe even among the Reform groups,” he added.

Philip Balma, an associate professor of Italian literary and cultural studies at the University of Connecticut, said that Jewish Italians who are aware of Aiello’s work tend to see her as an “anomaly.”

“Although I have a lot of respect and admiration for the work she does, to my knowledge any sense of legitimacy she enjoys in Italy comes, at least originally, from her formation and contacts in the United States,” Balma said.

Aiello’s efforts to search for southern Italian anusim and to identify “hidden” members of the Jewish community is fascinating to academics, according to Balma. That research leads Aiello and two full-time colleagues through troves of 15th- and 16th-century documents, searching for Jewish names that may match the hidden Jews with their ancestors.

READ: Vatican opens exhibit on ties between Pope John Paul II and the Jews

Aiello said that about 65,000 Jews lived in Italy prior to World War II, and the number now inscribed in the Jewish community ledgers is about 38,000. The official count, she said, only includes those who can document four Jewish grandparents.

“That number is decidedly low,” she said. “There would be many, many more people who would be Jewish if the Orthodox community allowed them to be.”

Asked how large the count would be if the hidden Jews were included, she said, “I think it would double, at least.”

Aiello said she wanted to be a rabbi from a young age, even in the absence of female rabbis at that time. She thinks the idea first occurred to her as a child seated in the women’s balcony.

“As I looked down I was struck by the beauty of the Torah service, especially at the Hakafah, Torah procession,” she said. “Looking down from above it looked as though the Torah was dancing. I thought it was a Torah ballet. Even as a small child I thought, ‘I want to do that. I want to be the leader of the Torah ballet.’”

Aiello became a teacher and a professional puppeteer before beginning rabbinic certification from Rabbinical Seminary International, at age 47, which she completed five years later.

After assuming her current rabbinical post, Aiello now finds herself clashing with the power of the Orthodox rabbinate, which the Italian government recognizes and which she thinks the Catholic Church doesn’t want to question.

“Italy is a bureaucratic nightmare on a good day,” she said.

Religious and bureaucratic potholes aside, Aiello is optimistic that progressive Judaism can help strengthen Jewish communities.

“I really believe that it’s an exciting time to be Jewish,” she said. “When we think that our numbers are dropping — actually, if we were to open the door and extend the hand of Jewish welcome to ‘bnai anusim’ and to Jews of diverse backgrounds, we would see our numbers grow.”

Vatican won’t join Palestinians on U.N. flag-raising request [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) – The Vatican has backed out of a plan to raise its flag along with the Palestinian flag at United Nations headquarters.

Both the Vatican and the State of Palestine are non-member observer states at the U.N. They had prepared to submit a draft resolution to the body’s General Assembly that would have allowed their flags to fly alongside those of the U.N.’s full member states, according to Reuters. The flags were to have been raised in time for Pope Francis’ visit to New York next month.

But the Vatican pulled out of the initiative Tuesday and asked that the draft resolution not include its name. The Vatican recognized the State of Palestine earlier this year.

“The Holy See does not intend to co-sponsor a draft resolution that the State of Palestine may eventually present on the matter,” the Vatican’s note to the Palestinian delegation said, according to Reuters. “The Holy See asks the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations kindly to remove in its draft resolution any reference to the ‘Holy See’ and any generic reference ‘on behalf of the Observer States.'”


IDF arrests 31 Palestinian suspects in nighttime raid [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

TEL AVIV (JTA) — The Israel Defense Forces detained 31 Palestinians suspected of involvement in terror operations or violent protests.

The arrest raids also uncovered illegally held weapons, including six rifles, a pistol, gun sights and ammunition magazines, according to the Times of Israel. The number of suspects detained was significantly higher than average in the IDF’s nightly West Bank raids.

Fourteen of the suspects were captured near Nablus in the northern West Bank. The IDF will interrogate all of the detainees.

During the search, the IDF also uncovered four captured deer. Two will be released into the wild and two will be transferred t0 animal care.

NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN - English News at 21:01 (JST), August 26 [English News - NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN]

Candidate Loyalty Oaths Are Unenforceable And Unconstitutional [Outside the Beltway]


As I noted yesterday, Virginia and a handful of other states are considering requiring candidate who want to appear on their Presidential primary ballot to agree to support the nominee of the Republican Party in the 2016 General Election regardless of who it might be. Obviously, this is a measure primarily directed at Donald Trump, who has refused in the past to emphatically say that he would not run as a third-party candidate, and famously made news in that regard during the August 6th Presidential debate. Primarily because of the fact that it would reinforce Trump’s claims to his supporters that he was being targeted by the “establishment,” such laws seem entirely counter-productive since they seem likely to play into Trump’s message and the beliefs of those supporting him. In addition to that defect, though, Norm Leahy and Paul Goldman, a conservative Virginia political pundit and former Democratic Party official respectively, argue that such oaths are most likely illegal:

Its 1996 ruling in Morse v. Republican Party of Virginia held that the Virginia GOP had no inherent right to conduct a primary. That being the case, how could it have the arbitrary right to decide who can be a candidate in the state-run primary on March 1?  The state party’s powers are derived only from the statutory delegation of authority by the General Assembly pursuant to Article II, Section 4 of the Virginia Constitution.

In an earlier case, Democratic Party v. Wisconsin, the Supreme Court said national party rules controlled how delegates selected under state law could vote once at the national convention.

Following state law, the Republican Party of Virginia chose to elect national delegates in the state-run March 1 primary. The Code of Virginia allows the GOP to require anyone wanting to vote in the primary to first sign “a pledge by the voter of his intention to support the party’s candidate when offering to vote in the primary.”

But nowhere is the party given the right to require a candidate to support whomever the national convention nominates as a condition to being allowed to run in Virginia’s primary. State law sets out specific requirements for ballot access, including the submission of a signed, notarized document in which Trump, for example, agrees to forfeit his right to later run in Virginia as an independent or minor-party candidate should he lose the Republican presidential nomination.

Yet even if state law did give the party the right to limit ballot access through a “loyalty oath,” the “dump Trump” rule would violate the Constitution. Morse and other cases make clear any such rule would have to pass muster under the First Amendment as applied to state actors through the 14thAmendment. It can’t. The proposed pledge goes much farther than mere “intention.” It also takes away the political rights of those who want to join together to get Trump on the ballot and then cast their ballots for him

Virginia Republicans tried to do something quite similar to this in the past. Back in 2008, the party considered implementing a rule that would require everyone who voted in the Republican Primary that year to pledge to support the party nominee in the General Election. Not surprisingly, there was a swift uproar in response to this move that raised several of the same arguments that Leahy and Goldman do with regard to a candidate loyalty oath, especially the First Amendment argument. Additionally, of course, a loyalty oath like this is entirely unenforceable since there would be now way for the Republican Party of Virginia to determine that someone had violated it unless they actually admitted it publicly, and even then there was no real punishment for the violation since the party could not prevent that person from voting in a future primary. Despite the uproar that its efforts in 2008 had caused, the Republican Party of Virginia considered adopting a similar rule for the 2012 election only to lead to the same uproar which caused them to once again back down. Now, instead of putting the voters under an oath to support the nominee, they want to make the candidates make an oath to support the eventual party nominee, but no matter how they phrase it the idea suffers from the same flaws as the one considered in 2008 and 2012.

From a legal point of view, Leahy and Goldman seem to me to be entirely correct. Virginia law sets forth the requirements that someone must meet in order to be the primary ballot, and Virginia law does not have any provision allowing the party to require candidates to support the eventual party nominee. Absent that, and absent any controlling rules from the Republican National Committee, which similarly do not exist, it seems fairly clear that at least in Virginia the state party does not have the authority to require a candidate loyalty oath. The situation may be slightly different in other states depending on the authority that state law grants to political parties, but even if the oath is permissible under state law in those cases, it would seem to clearly be unconstitutional under the First Amendment. There is a long history of Supreme Court case law that makes clear that no individual can be compelled by the state to engage in political speech, and there are few things that are less political than the question of endorsing a candidate for office in an election. Whether the person being asked to make the oath is a candidate or a voter is immaterial as far as the First Amendment is concerned, in both cases it is compelled speech and therefore unconstitutional.

Leaving aside the legal issues, it is clear that, as with the voter’s loyalty oath, this candidate oath is entirely impossible to enforce. Let’s say for the sake of argument that all of the candidates who want to be on the Virginia ballot agree to the proposed oath, but that when the General Election comes along one or more of them either decides to endorse a third-party candidate or refuses to support the eventual nominee. There’s absolutely nothing that the Republican Party of Virginia can do at this point other than issue a strongly worded press release. Even if the candidate(s) in question tried to run on the ballot in Virginia again in the future, there wouldn’t be anything that the party could do to prevent that if they otherwise met the legal qualifications for ballot access. The situation might be different if the party had chosen a convention to pick its nominee, but the State Central Committee wisely did not choose that route and now they must abide by the requirements of the law and recognize the fact that their oath would be entirely unenforceable in addition to being unconstitutional. If these candidate oaths are adopted in Virginia or elsewhere during this election, I expect that they will be challenged in Court and I think there’s a fairly good chance that they will be thrown out.


Bernie Sanders Is Giving Hillary Clinton A Contest In New Hampshire, But Nowhere Else [Outside the Beltway]

Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders

A new poll out of New Hampshire seems to confirm that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is giving Hillary Clinton a real fight in the Granite State, but there’s little sign that he’s having much impact outside of there:

A poll released Tuesday was the second in recent weeks to show Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leading former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire.

The Democratic-leaning Public Polling Polling found Sanders receiving 42 percent support among Democrats in the state while Clinton received 35 percent.

None of the other four declared Democratic candidates reached double digits.

It was the second poll of New Hampshire to show Sanders with the momentum. An Aug. 12 poll from Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald also showed the self-described socialist senator leading Clinton by 7 points.

In the latest survey, Sanders was viewed by 78 percent of voters as favorable and 12 percent unfavorable.

You can read about the PPP poll of New Hampshire, which also shows Donald Trump up big on the Republican side, but as noted it is consistent with previous polling that we’ve seen out of the state. Sanders began surging in the polls in New Hampshire not very long after he entered the race, but even then it seemed clear that it was prudent not to jump to too many conclusions based on that fact. The political media being what it is, of course, that didn’t happen. So, when a later poll showing Sanders within only a few points of Clinton in the state was released was followed by another that showed him in the lead, many observers began wondering what this meant for Clinton’s campaign as a whole. This is likely to become even more of a topic of conversation now that the RealClearPolitics average shows Sanders leading Clinton by 3.4 points. All of this is happening at the same time that Clinton’s favorability numbers were dropping and the email scandal was continuing to bubble thanks in no small part to Clinton’s own hamfisted response to the scandal led, of course, to all the inevitable speculation about a potential Biden candidacy notwithstanding the Vice-President’s own obvious weaknesses.

When you look beyond New Hampshire, though, there still doesn’t seem to be any indication that Sanders is anything other than a regional threat to Clinton whose standing in Granite State is enhanced by his long political history in neighboring Vermont. In Iowa, for example, Clinton continues to hold an impressive lead and a new poll shows little sign that Sanders is threatening her there:

Hillary Rodham Clinton holds a strong lead against her Democratic rivals in Iowa despite lingering concerns about her honesty, according to a new poll.

A survey from Suffolk University found that Mrs. Clinton has the support of 54 percent of likely Iowa caucus participants, with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in second place at 20 percent. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has not said if he is running, comes in third place with 11 percent.

The poll questioned 500 likely Democratic caucusgoers, and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. It reveals strong loyalty to Mrs. Clinton among Democrats amid concerns about the controversy surrounding her use of a private email server as secretary of state. While most people said that the email problem did not bother them personally, 52 percent said they thought it would damage Mrs. Clinton in a general election.

“There is huge loyalty to her and they are sticking with her,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.

With this poll, Clinton continues to maintain a seemingly prohibitive lead in Iowa, which is noteworthy largely because of the fact that this was the state where President Obama beat her back in 2008. Yesterday, in fact, Clinton received the endorsement of former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and has already been endorsed by former Senator Tom Harkin. The fact that Sanders has not had nearly the impact in the Hawkeye State that he has in New Hampshire, despite the fact that Iowa’s Democratic electorate is arguably one that would be more suited to his message, suggests that what we’re seeing in New Hampshire has a lot to do with his regional connections to the state. Clinton is also maintain strong leads in South Carolina and Florida, as well as in the national polling, although it’s worth noting that she has fallen below 50% in those national polls at least for the moment. For the most part, though, while Sanders has drawn large crowds in other parts of the country, so far he only seems to be having an impact in New Hampshire.

None of this precludes the possibility that Sanders could start having an impact elsewhere, of course, but it seems unlikely, As I’ve said before, it seems highly unlikely that Democrats are going to nominate a 73 year old socialist from Vermont as their Presidential candidate. This isn’t 1972, and they’re not going to nominate an elderly version of George McGovern. Additionally, it seems quite apparent that Sanders simply doesn’t have the resources for a national campaign against someone like Clinton. His fundraising numbers, while impressive and indeed better than many of the Republican candidates have done, are nowhere near what Clinton has been able to raise or will be able to raise. Unless that starts changing, and unless we see real signs that Sanders is having the same impact outside New Hampshire that he has had in the Granite then, it’s far too early to be calling him a serious threat to Clinton. Indeed, if the Democratic race ever gets to the point where there is a serious threat to Clinton’s candidacy, that’s the point when you’ll see credible candidates like Joe Biden get in the race. They’d be the ones to benefit from a collapse on Clinton’s part, not Bernie Sanders.

Reporter And Cameraman Shot To Death Live On The Air In Virginia [Outside the Beltway]

Roanoke Shooting

What was supposed to have a short piece on local news regarding tourism in the Roanoke, Virginia area as a reporter and cameraman for CBS affilibe WDBJ were shot and killed live on the air this morning:

BEDFORD, Va. — A man described as a disgruntled former employee of a Virginia television station shot and killed two of the station’s journalists Wednesday morning, recording the act on video himself as the journalists were broadcasting live and then posting the video online.

The filmed shooting marked a horrific turn in the national intersection of video and violence. What appeared to be the gunman’s own 56-second video, briefly posted online, showed him deliberately waiting until the journalists were on air before raising a handgun and firing at point-blank range. He appeared to take particular aim at the reporter, Alison Parker.

The video was posted on social media accounts, since suspended, identified as belonging to Bryce Williams. Both the police and the station, WDBJ identified the gunman as Bryce Williams, who had been a reporter at the station, and whose real name is Vester Lee Flanagan.

The Virginia State Police said Mr. Williams had shot himself after a chase.

Mr. Williams’ Twitter account, which has been shut down, said, “I filmed the shooting see Facebook,” and mentioned grievances against the two journalists.

WDBJ confirmed that Ms. Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, a 27-year-old cameraman, had been killed.

The Twitter account of Mr. Williams, who is black, referred to a complaint he had filed against the station with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming to have been subjected to racist comments in the workplace.

Jeffrey A. Marks, president and general manager of the station, confirmed that the complaint had been filed, but said it was dismissed as baseless. Of the racist comments, “none of them could be corroborated by anyone,” he said. “We think they were fabricated.”

He described Mr. Williams as someone prone to angry outbursts without much provocation.

“Eventually, after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him,” he said. “He did not take that well, and we had to call the police to escort him from the building.”

Discussing Ms. Parker and Mr. Ward on the air, Mr. Marks said, “I cannot tell you how much they were loved.”

Both victims were romantically involved with other members of the station’s staff, he said. “We have other members of the team here today, holding back tears, frankly,” he said.

Ms. Parker and Mr. Ward were covering a story for WDBJ at Bridgewater Plaza, a shopping and recreational sports plaza on the shore of Smith Mountain Lake, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They were interviewing a local Chamber of Commerce official, Vicki Gardner, at 6:46 a.m. when the shooting began.

The station’s own disturbing video of the shooting shows Ms. Parker and Ms. Gardner talking. As shots ring out, Ms. Parker screams and jumps backward, and amid jumbled images, the camera falls to the floor. Eight shots can be heard before the camera cuts back to the stunned anchor at the station, Kimberly McBroom.

The video of the shooting – which you can watch at YouTube, although you may not want to — has been making the rounds on social all day, and while the audio of the event is quite jarring the video doesn’t really show very much because everything went out of frame shortly after the first shots rang out. Where the whole event took a bizarre turn, though, was later in the morning after the suspect had been publicly identified when Twitter and Facebook accounts apparently set up by this person started sending out a series of bizarre messages followed by two videos, both apparently shot with a GoPro camera or something similar that showed the shooting from the shooters point of view. In the first video, you can see the shooter approaching the area where interview was taking place without anyone noticing him largely because the cameraman had his back to him and the reporter was engrossed in a discussion with the person she was interviewing. The second video showed the beginning of the shots being fired, which you can also see on the station’s video. There was no doubt whatsoever that these were videos of the shootings themselves and that they had to have been posted by the shooter, or someone who knew him.

While all of this was going, there were all of the usual reports about the search for the suspect, most of which ended up being wrong. What does seem to have been true, though, is that the suspect left the Roanoke area heading north shortly after the shooting because by the time the police caught up with him he was roughly three hours north of Roanoke and within an hours drive of the District of Columbia. The fact that he was apparently able to post things to Twitter and Facebook during this time would seem to suggest that the police really didn’t know where he was until the end of pursuit when his car had been identified. In any case, it appears that this individual was disgruntled former employee who had previously made claims of racial discrimination against the station in general, and possibly these two individuals specifically. After those complaints were dismissed for lack of merit, he apparently became abusive enough to his co-workers that he was fired. An important question, of course, will be whether or not there were any advance warnings that this person could be violent, whether he was under any kind of treatment for mental illness, and whether or not he had made any threats prior to this.

The manner in which this crime unfolded seems to be unique in American history. Unless I’ve missed it, there have been very few examples of reporters being shot live on the air in this manner outside of a war zone, and there certainly haven’t been any examples of killers posting first-person videos of their murders on social media. Watching those particular videos was kind of like watching a first-person shooter video game, except of course it wasn’t a game. The one fortunate thing is that Twitter and Facebook seem to have acted quickly in taking the videos down so hopefully they won’t spread too far. On the other hand, this could end up being the start of a sick new crime trend. What a horrible mess.

Update: The Virginia State Police have informed the press that the shooter, Vester Lee Flanagan a/k/a Bryce Williams, has died from his injuries.

Trump Continues To Lead The GOP Field, But Is His Support Overstated? [Outside the Beltway]


Several new polls show that Donald Trump’s strength in the polls continues to rise, but there is at least some suggestion that the numbers we’re seeing are overstated.which is something that Steven Taylor pointed out last week, and which I’ve argued myself, Even taking into account those arguments, though, it is still clear that Trump is in the lead for the Republican nomination and that his momentum appears unstoppable at least for the moment.

First up, a new Public Policy Polling survey out of New Hampshire has Trump with a lead three times larger than his nearest competitor:

The latest poll from New Hampshire showed real estate mogul Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential field with more than three times the support of his closest competitor

The Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found Trump in his strongest position thus far with 35 percent support among usual Republican primary voters.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich polled second at 11 percent and former technology executive Carly Fiorina polled at 10 percent. No other candidates reached double digits.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s support dropped dramatically. Walker lead the PPP poll in April at 24 percent. In the latest survey, Walker was tied with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 7 percent.

In addition to the lead in the first-in-the-nation primary, Trump also seems to be holding a lead in South Carolina, which holds it’s primary eleven days later:

Donald Trump holds a commanding lead among likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina, according to a new Monmouth University poll released Tuesday.

Three in 10 voters (30 percent) said Trump is their first choice, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 15 percent. Neither candidate has held elected office, and 61 percent of voters said they would prefer someone from outside of Washington to bring a new approach.

Trump received a solid favorability rating of 58 percent to just 28 percent unfavorable, though Carson drew the highest at 72 percent to 9 percent. Al,so drawing net positive favorability marks are: Rubio (43 points), Fiorina (40 points), Huckabee (30 points) and Walker (33 points).

Five candidates have net negative approval ratings, including South Carolina’s own Sen. Lindsey Graham (15 points), Christie (8 points), Paul (13 points), former New York Gov. George Pataki (24 points) and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (17 points).

Finally, there’s a new national poll out from Gravis Marketing that shows Trump with an astonishing 40%, with Ben Carson way back in second place at 13%, Jeb Bush at 10%, and everyone else in single digits. It’s worth noting, though, that Gravis’s polling has always been something of an outlier compared to other national polling. This would seem to be something to especially keep in mind in this case when every other recent national poll is showing Trump’s lead somewhere in the 25% range. At the same time, of course, this number from Gravis isn’t all that different from the numbers we’re seeing out of New Hampshire and South Carolina in the two polls noted above. Whether that actually translates into something close to 40% support nationally is something that would have to wait until we see additional polling that confirms this, it seems fairly clear that Trump’s strength in the race is not diminishing, and may actually be increasing.

Pushing back against this latest tide of seeming Trump victory in the polls, Nate Cohn suggests that current polls may be overstating Trump’s level of support among Republicans:

Ever since Donald Trump has risen to the top of the polls, Republican strategists have questioned whether those polls might be overestimating his support.

There is evidence to support that theory.

We wrote about Mr. Trump’s support on Sunday, using polling data provided by Civis Analytics, a Democratic data firm founded by the 2012 Obama campaign’s analytics director, Dan Wagner. It showed Mr. Trump faring worse than in many recent public polls, but it was not enough to call his lead into question.

An analysis of the data revealed that he fares best among voters who don’t regularly participate in primary elections. Nevertheless, he still leads the other G.O.P. candidates, even among the most frequent voters.

The analysis also suggests that although Mr. Trump fares better among irregular voters, it’s not by an unusual amount. And some other candidates also do better with infrequent voters.


If Mr. Trump had a big advantage among unlikely voters, a poll using a listed sample — like the Civis data — would be the way to find out. The Civis poll was conducted Aug. 10 to 19 and had a sample of 757 respondents. That sample was as much as three times larger than that of some public polls.

The results showed Mr. Trump with 16 percent of the vote, below any of his poll results in a month. But much of the difference was because 22 percent of voters in the Civis poll were undecided — much more than in many recent public surveys.


Parsing the results by vote history helps illustrate that Mr. Trump’s support was lowest among the most frequent voters. Mr. Trump had 15 percent support among voters who had participated in a primary since 2008, but he had 22 percent of the vote among Republicans who did not vote in the 2012 general election.

Mr. Trump’s seven-point gap was rivaled by Mr. Bush at five, and Chris Christie at four. Mr. Christie had virtually no support — at 1 percent of the vote — among voters who had voted in a primary since 2008.

On the other hand, Mr. Kasich fared four points better among voters who had participated in a primary than those who had not. Mr. Walker, Mr. Cruz, Mrs. Fiorina and Mr. Huckabee all fared three points better.

Over all, the data is consistent with the view that Mr. Trump’s support might be overstated by public polls. But he leads among voters who have participated in one or 12 elections. His challenge among likely voters isn’t necessarily unique. His lead might be modestly overstated, but it’s not a mirage.

You can read Cohn’s analysis for yourself, but the basic point of his argument seems to be that the polls we’re seeing right now are capturing voters who may not be very likely to vote in the primaries that start less than six months from now. Of course, this is always a problem with polls this far out from an election because it’s often difficult for pollsters to parse exactly who is going to show up to vote. This is especially true in a caucus state like Iowa where a voter must be willing to go out in the evening in February and spend several hours in a room for their candidate as opposed to simply showing up at a polling place and casting a ballot. That’s one of the reasons why a candidate’s “get out the vote” efforts are so important, because all the great poll numbers in the world don’t matter if the people who say that they would vote for you don’t show up to their caucus location or polling place when it actually counts. This is why pollsters try to refine their likely voter models as we get closer to election, but as we have seen many times in the past, sometimes it isn’t very easy to predict who is going to show up on Election Day. That’s why, for example, Virginia Senator Mark Warner barely won re-election even though pre-election polling was showing him leading by a comfortable margin.

None of this should suggest that Trump’s dominance in the Republican race is somehow phony. As Cohn himself notes, even if this analysis is largely correct it still shows Trump with a fairly decent lead among the Republican voters who are most likely to show up and vote in primaries and caucuses. Additionally, the fact that there is a large portion of his supporters who are unlikely voters doesn’t necessarily mean very much. One of the ways a candidate can succeed in an election is by appealing to voters who don’t typically turn out to the polls and making sure that they get out and vote. If Trump maintains is current lead in the polls and his able to do that, he could very well be quite successful once the time to vote comes around.

As Far As Europe Is Concerned, The Debate Over The Iran Nuclear Deal Is Over [Outside the Beltway]

Iran Nuclear Deal Congress

Among America’s European allies, there is no real debate over the Iran nuclear deal:

PARIS — Given the sound, fury and millions of dollars swirling around the debate in Washington over the Iranian nuclear deal, the silence in Europe is striking. It’s particularly noticeable in Britain, France and Germany, which were among the seven countries that signed the deal on July 14.

Here in France, which took the toughest stance during the last years of negotiation, the matter is settled, according to Camille Grand, director of the Strategic Research Foundation in Paris and an expert on nuclear nonproliferation.

“In Europe, you don’t have a constituency against the deal,” he said. “In France, I can’t think of a single politician or member of the expert community who has spoken against it, including some of us who were critical during the negotiations.”

Mr. Grand said the final agreement was better than he had expected. “I was surprised by the depth and the quality of the deal,” he said. “The hawks are satisfied, and the doves don’t have an argument.”

There are many reasons the nuclear deal hasn’t stirred up political passions in Europe. The Continent has not experienced the enmity that has characterized American-Iranian relations since the hostage crisis in 1979, which led to a break in diplomatic relations.

In the U.S., the Iran issue is much more polemical because it is part of a domestic debate,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

European countries have maintained diplomatic relations with Tehran, with the exception of Britain, which reopened its embassy on Sunday, nearly four years after it was stormed by protesters.

Nor, in the European view, were there other choices besides negotiations, backed by sanctions. “No Europeans were seriously advocating the military option, which has been in the U.S. debate for years,” Mr. Grand said.

Also missing here is Israel’s active role in fueling opposition to this or, arguably, any agreement with Iran. In the United States, pro-Israel groups have spent heavily on a campaign to block the deal in the Congress, organizing meetings with Israeli diplomats and a videoconference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who has called the deal a “stunning historic mistake” that threatens Israel’s existence.

Although France’s main Jewish organization has expressed “very serious doubts” about the Iran deal, Mr. Grand said, its objections have not spilled into the political sphere.

“Netanyahu’s opposition was so extreme that it made it difficult for it to exist in any French debate,” he said. “Even critics couldn’t sign up to the Netanyahu narrative because it doesn’t offer a constructive solution.”

And then there is the money — huge sums being spent mainly by the pro-Israel groups, less by supporters of the deal — which shock Europeans unused to this kind of profligate lobbying. Some here are also baffled by the hyperbole coming out of Washington, with talk of a choice between war and peace, and oblique references to the Holocaust.

As seen from this side of the Atlantic, the shrill tone of the debate has worrying consequences, particularly when Republican presidential candidates talk about “undoing” the deal or when Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, suggests keeping sanctions in place to prevent American and foreign companies from doing business in Iran.

Europeans regard sanctions as a diplomatic tool, the means to an end. Their concern here is that the Americans will use them as a form of open-ended punishment. “How this debate develops on Iran could potentially be a test case on sanctions,” said Ms. Geranmayeh, of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “The U.S. Congress may underestimate how much their debate is going to have repercussions on sanctions unity.”

The view from Europe is important in several respects to the upcoming debate on the Iran deal that we will once Congress returns from its recess after Labor Day. Primarily, of course, it emphasizes the extent to which opponents of the deal here in the United States are essentially alone in the world at this point. Outside of Israel, the broad consensus among the international community is supportive of the agreement that was reached in Vienna in July and there clearly seems to be strong momentum in favor of implementing it once all the legal technicalities have been taken of in Washington and elsewhere. This is important because it would seem to drive a large hole through the logic of most of the American opponents of the deal. According to these people, including both Republican Senators like Tom Cotton and Democratic Senators like Chuck Schumer, instead of approving this deal what we need to be doing is increasing the sanctions on Iran in order to get a better deal out of them. Based on these reports, though, it seems very clear that as far as the Europeans are concerned, the Iran nuclear deal is a done deal. If the United States Congress were to end up rejecting it, there’s absolutely no guarantee that we would able to simply return to the sanctions status quo that existed prior to the announcement of the deal in Vienna. It was already a virtual certainty, for example, that it would be next to impossible to convince the Russians and the Chinese to get back on board sanctions of the deal. Reports such as these seem to indicate it may be difficult to get our allies back on board with sanctions as well. If that’s the case, then the entire logic of the opponents of the deal would seem to fall apart and the arguments that proponents make about the dangers of killing the deal would have a lot more merit.

Beyond the Iran deal itself, though, this split between Europe and a significant portion of the United States according to a new poll also threatens to undermine international support in other areas. The quote I highlighted above is probably the best example of that, because it suggests what might happen in the event that Congress ends up killing the Iran nuclear deal. At that point, we would be dealing with European allies who clearly seem to think that what came out of Vienna, while far from perfect, is the best deal that could have been gotten under the circumstances. The United States, meanwhile, would be asking for renewed international cooperation in reimposing sanctions on Iran not because they have violated the deal, but because the Republican Congress thinks that tougher sanctions and more punishment would lead to a better deal. If our European allies aren’t going to cooperate there, then how likely is it that  they’ll be willing to go along with us in future requests for international cooperation on sanctions? This would seem to be especially true is one of the Republicans who has promised to “rip up” the Iran deal on their first day in office somehow manages to win the Presidency. In that case, reneging on a deal that the rest of the world considers a done deal would only seem to damage the international credibility of the United States.

As for the debate on the Iran deal here in the United States, it seems as though the result is fair foreordained. As I’ve said before, while it seems likely that the Republican Congress will vote against the deal, the odds that both the House and the Senate will have enough votes to override the President’s veto are fairly slim. This has become more apparent over the past two weeks as several Democratic Senators who were previously on the fence have come out in favor of the deal. The most recent Senator to do that is Washington Senator Patty Murrary, who announced her support for the deal yesterday. With her announcement, The Washington Post now projects that there are 33 Senators who would in favor of the deal and against a veto override. The Hill’s whip count is at 29 Senators on the President’s side, but that’s largely because they aren’t counting Senators who have said they are leaning that way but haven’t formally announced their position. Whichever number you go by, though,  the fact that most of the Senators still listed as “Undecided” are people who would seem to be more likely to support the President than the Republicans means that the odds in favor of a veto override as very, very low.

In the end then, the United States is likely to go along with the rest of the world and implement the nuclear deal. Before we there, though, there will be opponents of the deal who will try to stop it and convince Americans that we can return to the sanctions regime that brought Iran to the table to begin with. The reports out of Europe would seem to strongly suggest that this isn’t the case and that if the Iran deal did fail in Congress it would accomplish little more than tarnishing America’s diplomatic image around the world.

The Dangers of Relying on Airpower Alone [Outside the Beltway]


My latest for War on The Rocks, “The Inter-Service Wars Are Looking Like Calvinball,” has posted. It’s a response to an earlier WOTR essay, ”Airpower May Not Win Wars, But It Sure Doesn’t Lose Them,” and rather defies excerpting. The core argument:

The United States should stop fighting unwinnable wars, whether by land, sea, or air. Alas, given that its political leadership has repeatedly ignored that advice, it would be foolish to make force planning decisions based on a fantasy alternate reality. As a wise man once noted, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”


Given limited resources, a rising China, a resurgent Russia, and a weariness around counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, [radically cutting the Army and Marine Corps and investing in the Air Force and Navy] is arguably a sound policy. If, as Pietrucha and Renken suggest, we can simply rely on being “isolated by two great oceans,” accept “limited objectives,” and stop expecting ”decisive conclusion[s]” to our disputes with other countries, it’s certainly the right call.

Yet history shows that this can never remain American policy for long. We are, as the historian Geoffrey Perret dubbed us more than a quarter century ago, “A Country Made by War.” Indeed, we’ve fought an awful lot of them since. While even sequestration-sized Army and Marine Corps would be more than adequate for any deterrent mission plus various special operations, humanitarian relief missions, and other small deployments, they’d be woefully inadequate for a re-run of the last decade.

While the obvious solution is the one stated at the outset — avoid such a re-run — a global superpower never runs out of challenges to its perceived interests. Recall that the man who led us into Iraq campaigned on a “humble foreign policy” that eschewed “nation-building.”

Much more at the link.


College Radio Station WVBU Penalized for Missing Public File Documents and For Moving File Away from Main Studio [Radio Survivor]

Last week the FCC released details about a consent decree (PDF) with Bucknell University that resulted from public file violations at its student radio station WVBU-FM in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The school agreed to pay a penalty of $2,200. In the station’s license renewal application, it admitted that it had neglected to place quarterly issues and […]

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Visiting College Radio Station KWVA at University of Oregon [Radio Survivor]

For a family vacation to the Pacific Northwest earlier this month, I proposed a road trip, in part because I hoped to see some radio stations along the way. As we set out on our second day of travel on Saturday, August 1st, our first radio destination was University of Oregon’s college radio station KWVA-FM […]

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Nevada Obamacare nonprofit (read: ‘subsidized’) insurer goes bankrupt. [RedState]

Note that this is not the state Obamacare exchange itself: Nevada Health Co-Op was set up to be a competitor to actual, honest-to-God insurance companies.  Sixty-six million dollars of your tax money later, it’s blown up in the Obama administration’s face: “Nevada Health CO-OP, which launched in 2012 with two federal loans totaling $65.9 million, will shutter its operation and will not offer coverage for 2016.” Which means that anybody who signed up for a program with Nevada Health is going to get a special Christmas gift from the administration: several weeks of desperately trying to arrange new coverage during the holiday season!  Yay!

Mind you, the taxpayers can’t just write Nevada Health off right away.  The organization is apparently rather significantly in debt, and paying that off will probably cost the taxpayer more… what? Why would the taxpayers have to make good the co-op’s bad loans? Well

Nevada Health CO-OP started in 2012 as Hospitality Health CO-OP. It was sponsored by the Culinary Union’s Culinary Health Fund, its national parent UNITE HERE Health and the Health Services Coalition, a local consumer advocacy group that negotiates costs and tracks care for more than 300,000 members employed by cities, unions and big companies.

Unions still play a key role in the co-op: Culinary head D. Taylor and Nevada AFL-CIO executive Danny Thompson are both listed on the nonprofit’s board of directors in its June 30 financial statement.

Let me put it this way.  In this corner, we have Joe and Jane Average Taxpayer. And over in this corner, we have the AFL-CIO. Which corner contains the people that this administration doesn’t want to annoy? …That’s right: Big Labor. Even in its currently bruised state the labor movement still commands strong respect from the other members of our current Imperial Court; and why should loyal clients be forced to spend their own* money when the treasury is right there, just waiting to be tapped?

And as always, remember: this is not a flaw in the system. This is the system. Although I should note that the Obama administration is so bad at this that it can’t even provide largess for its friends…

Via @baseballcrank.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Well, their members’ money, in the form of membership dues.

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Barack Obama, Joe Biden And The 2016 Update of The Benny Hill Show [RedState]


So let’s say you were Barack Obama.* Let’s say you really wanted that 3rd Term, but for some previously undiscovered reason, you actually walked around caring what was forbidden in the US Constitution. Who would be more committed than a guy who is actually addled enough to believe he really *was* serving Barack Obama’s 3rd term? The only guy that dumb still in President Obama’s Rolodex is none other than Joseph Biden. On most days Joe’s even clean and articulate. It could storybook, man. A big effing deal.

Now President Obama has a close and trusting relationship with his trusted sidekick Tonto.** Josh Earnest gives us the Officially Official View. An old skit from the Benny Hill Show gives a more accurate portrayal of the relationship. President Obama, naturally, is the one smoking.

So when Joe Biden went to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 17% and held a pow-wow with the Far, Far Left, he did it with Barack Obama’s blessing. A Biden-Warren Ticket would also have the Daily Kos blessing.

Then, of course, there is the old Obama-Clinton feud. I distinctly remember His Billyness remarking about the ineptitude of Barack Obama at fetching the former Lech-In-Chief his coffee. But that was all OK. Whitewater under the bridge you see. Barack found Hillary “likable enough.” Just how sharp a poniard would this be to the ribs of Hillary? Vox says a Biden run would help her out. At that point, you know you’ve just been kissed by Judas Iscariot.

So there you have it. The Joker gets his last joke in on America. And he gets to saddle us with Joe Biden and bury The Clinton Dynasty. It’s the Funny Or Die version of The Red Wedding from A Game of Thrones. Of course, it’s anyone who wants the USA to be governed in a sane or rational fashion who get to be The Starks. Some people just want to see the world burn. It’s a shame one of them is a two-term US President.

*-No, my Constant Reader. This doesn’t mean I hate you.

**-Biden wonders how Lone Ranger found Tonto without here being any 7-11’s around.

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John Boehner’s pro-abort adviser and #PPSellsBabyParts [RedState]

gene wilder

People are policy. The corollary to that is O’Sullivan’s Law which states “All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.”

If you what an quick explanation for why pro-life legislation has had such tough time the US House of Representatives, it could be because some of Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) N/A%‘s most trusted advisers are radical pro-aborts.

Over the past month and a half we’ve been horrified by the videos coming out of Planned Parenthood and the tissue brokers who trade in parts of dead babies. Yesterday another one landed in which Cate Dyer, who runs StemExpress, the major baby-harvesting company, is yucking it up about having to make sure you close the eyes on the baby heads her company ships to labs because it freaks the lab techs out to look at the open eyes of dead babies.

SE: As you probably know, one of the issues with neural tissue, it’s so fragile. It’s insanely fragile. And I don’t even know—I was gonna say, I know we get requests for neural, it’s the hardest thing in the world to ship.
Buyer: You do it as the whole calvarium.
SE: Yeah, that’s the easiest way. And we’ve actually had good success with that.
Buyer: Make sure the eyes are closed!
SE: Yeah! [laughter] Tell the lab it’s coming!
Buyer: Yeah.
SE: They’ll open the box, go, ”Oh God!” [laughter] So yeah, so many of the academic labs cannot fly like that, they’re not capable.
Buyer: Why is that? I don’t understand that.
SE: It’s almost like they don’t want to know where it comes from. I can see that. Where they’re like, “We need limbs, but no hands and feet need to be attached.” And you’re like, ? Or they want long bones, and they want you to take it all off, like, make it so that we don’t know what it is.
Buyer: Bone the chicken for me and then we’ll—
SE: That’s it.
Buyer: And then I’ll eat it, but.
SE: But we know what it is. I mean, [laughter], but their lab.
Buyer: But then it goes to that whole stigma.
SE: Oh yeah. And their lab techs freak out, and have meltdowns, and so it’s just like, yeah. I think, quite frankly, that’s why a lot of researchers ultimately, some of them  want to get into other things. They want to look at bone marrow, they want to look at adipose- sort of adult human, kind of adult based sampling. They want to avoid publishing a paper that says it was derived from fetal tissue.

What slipped by was this nugget that was picked up by Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist:

During the meeting, Dyer brags about her sister Charlotte Spears Ivancic, longtime health care adviser to Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) N/A%. Her relationship to Dyer has been previously reported on and Boehner has vehemently defended Ivancic through his spokesman Emily Schillinger[.]

In the videotaped meeting, according to a transcript being sent around to reporters by StemExpress affiliates themselves, Dyer explains that she’s “a huge Hillary fan” and that “she’s getting elected this time. It’s a done deal as far as I’m concerned.” She talks about how she had her sister get an autographed picture of Hillary Clinton and that she features this photo on her desk.

In all fairness, Ivancic (who left Boehner’s office just about the time the first CMP videos hit to join a lobbying firm) is a health policy adviser. She has worked for other Republicans:

Ivancic worked as a laboratory administrator in the tissue-engineering department at Children’s Hospital Boston after college, and studied health law at Boston University. Her first Hill job was in the office of then-Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

“They were looking for a health care person and sort of willing to take a risk on someone who’d never been on the Hill,” she says. “My only real political experience was I had been the president of College Republicans at my very liberal arts school.”

She worked for DeMint for a year and then moved to Sen. Bill Frist’s office in his last year as majority leader. From there, someone recommended her to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) 59%, who had just become ranking member of the House Budget Committee, and she joined his team for six years.

Two and a half years ago, Ivancic joined Boehnerland, where she’s the only health care adviser and also works on veterans’ issues.

“I knew going in she was probably one of the best health care minds on Capitol Hill,” says Mike Sommers, Boehner’s chief of staff. “What I didn’t fully appreciate was her political skill. She also has the capacity to evaluate the political scenarios around the deal. I think that’s what makes her invaluable to the speaker.”

Most offices, however, run on collegiality. Would a Chief of Staff who thinks an adviser is “invaluable” to the Speaker push through pro-life measures when he knows the adviser is, in the words of her sister, “very socially liberal”? How would the Speaker’s office react when these videos hit and the featured villain is none other than the sister of the invaluable adviser? Would this health policy adviser, who is “very socially liberal”, consider abortion to be a legitimate function of a health care program? How hard would the House leadership push to hold harmless people of faith who object to funding abortion when their primary adviser is a pro-abort? Can anyone argue, with a straight face, that is was possible for Speaker Boehner to pursue a pro-life agenda when his closest health care policy adviser is a pro-abort?

This is why we have Failure Theater. This is why we elect conservatives and see them co-opted by the system. Unless a conservative member of Congress is willing to purge non-conservatives from their staff they will ultimately stop being conservative themselves in any way but their rhetoric.

The post John Boehner’s pro-abort adviser and #PPSellsBabyParts appeared first on RedState.

The Creation of an Illegal Indicant [RedState]


One of the most effective ways liberals win debates in the public square is to declare that certain words and phrases that resonate with the general public are illegal or off limits in polite discussion. They are attempting this with no small measure of success in the abortion arena by essentially wiping with word “abortion” out of the public debate in favor of “reproductive health services,” or, if they are feeling especially Orwellian, “women’s health.”

They are also attempting to perform the same trick in the immigration debate. They have already largely succeeded in convincing the media to completely remove the terms “illegal immigration” or “illegal immigrant” from the public discourse even though those terms are completely accurate indicators of what is occurring and are not in any way imbued with racial overtones, to any objective person.

Instead, the ridiculously empty phrase “undocumented American” has been substituted in its place, as though the people under discussion are American citizens who have lost their social security cards or who were never issued birth certificates or something – as opposed to, you know, immigrants who entered this country illegally.

Liberals are now attempting to perform the same Jedi mind trick with the term “anchor baby.” The tactic they are using, in this instance, is to assert (without a shred of proof or logic, and contrary to ordinary English understanding of the words themselves) that the term is racially offensive and therefore must be stricken from the discussion. Behold Democrat congresswoman Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) 16%, writing in the Washington Post:

As someone who was born in the United States to immigrant parents, I find the phrase “anchor babies” — used by Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and other Republican candidates to describe American-born children of immigrants — incredibly offensive. And the word that keeps coming to mind is the Spanish term, sinvergüenza, which refers to someone utterly without embarrassment or shame. And right now, to many Latinos, the term is synonymous with another word: Republican.

* * *

The “anchor baby” narrative is politics at its worst — serving mostly as a Republican dog-whistle, tapping into an implicit racial sentiment that suggests children of color are less than fully American or they’re just a vehicle for gaming the system.

Pardon me for saying so, but who the hell is Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) 16% to declare, on behalf of an entire ethnic group, that a given phrase is racially offensive?

More to the point, what evidence does she offer that it is intended by its audience to be racially demeaning? What evidence does she offer that the people who hear it have a reason, based in their own history, to understand it as a racially offensive term? None whatsoever. Rather, she just asserts that it is and expects that everyone will accept it as truth – because she happens to be Latina and elected to Congress, she is entitled to act as the Immigration Debate Word Police, apparently.

Look, I’m probably to the left of almost everyone who reads this website on immigration and I’ve taken immigration hardliners to task on their immigration rhetoric before but this gaming of the debate is absurd, insulting, and insidious. It’s also incredibly transparent – if a given term is shown via focus groups to change the way people feel about a given issue, march out a member of the allegedly affected class to declare that all members of that class feel that the term is racist and shouldn’t be used anymore.

I’m for a healthy and reasonable debate about immigration policy in this country, but we can’t even have that debate while liberals are out there determined to declare all the words and terms and positions they don’t like to be racist and therefore off limits. We should be less concerned about the allegedly illegal words people are using than we are about the illegal immigration problem itself.

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Hillary Clinton’s lawyer is in the FBI crosshairs [RedState]


Hillary Clinton, by virtue of some deus ex machina, might skate on charges that she mishandled classified information. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that her inner circle — primarily but not exclusively Huma Abedin Wiener, Cheryl Mills, Philippe Reines, and Jake Sullivan — are in grave legal jeopardy. While Clinton can claim with some plausibility that she didn’t send or receive classified information (because her aides had stripped security classification from the material thereby giving her this out) her aides cannot make such a claim.

The latest person to enter the bulls-eye of the FBI investigation is long time Clinton attorney and consigliere, the Tom Hagen of the Clinton Crime Family, David Kendall.

Hillary Clinton’s personal attorney David Kendall says he had a “top secret” security clearance granted by the State Department in order to review information related to the House Benghazi investigation, but a senior Republican senator insists that clearance didn’t give the lawyer authority to hold Clinton’s most sensitive emails.

For weeks, Republican lawmakers such as Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley have raised questions and demanded information about Kendall’s authority to access portions of Hillary Clinton’s emails that the State Department has determined are classified. State officials previously confirmed that Clinton’s attorneys had a clearance but did not name the lawyers.

In a new letter to Grassley, Kendall says he got a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance from the Justice Department in November 2013 and a Top Secret clearance from the State Department about a year later. Kendall says his Williams & Connolly law partner, Katherine Turner, also got a Top Secret clearance from State in December 2014.

“These State Department security clearances remain active. We obtained them in order to be able to review documents at the Department of State, to assist former Secretary Clinton in preparing to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi,” Kendall wrote on Monday.

The article goes on to give Kendalls’ defense for having held onto a trove of classified information for going on three years:

Responding to a query from Grassley earlier this month, Kendall said his law firm “followed the guidance provided by the Department of State” about how to handle a thumb drive containing backup copies of Clinton’s messages. Kendall said in a letter to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) 47% (R-Wis.) earlier this month that he received a safe from the State Department on July 8 to secure the thumb drive.

Before we go any further, let’s revisit the bidding.

clinton ig snip

This is the letter from the Intelligence Community IG. This says that there was material found on Clinton’s “thumb drive” that had one of the highest security classifications in the United States.

The TK identifies that the material originated with a Keyhole-series reconnaissance satellite. The Keyhole satellite produces imagery. Period. It doesn’t produce voice or data intercepts. You can’t “quote” or “paraphrase” Keyhole product in an email. Someone in Clinton’s inner circle is going to have to explain how this information migrated from a Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) to an unsecured email transmission and found a home on Clinton’s private server stuffed in the unsecured bathroom of a politically connected ISP in Colorado.

Why does this put Kendall in jeopardy. First and foremost a Top Secret clearance doesn’t give you access to Top Secret information. Along with clearance comes need to know. That involves a process of being “read into” a SCI program, like TK. If you have a TS clearance and are SCI-eligible (note that Kendall claimd that his TS clearance from Department of Justice was SCI-eligible but not that he was read into any SCI program) you only have access because your job requires it. There is no circumstance under which a non-federal attorney for a private citizen would hold a TS//SI type clearance.

In its most basic version, David Kendall has had in his possession for three years a lot of classified information that he is not authorized to see. Via John Schindler of 20 Committee:

The devil lurks in the lawyerly details here, so allow me to unpack the argument. We can infer from Kendall’s statement that his TS/SCI clearances received from DoJ do not remain active, and that’s critically important here, since the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General has determined that, from only the forty (of some 30,000) of Hillary’s emails they investigated, two actually had TS/SCI information in them (specifically also TALENT KEYHOLE and NOFORN, making it even worse to have put this on an unclassified and unencrypted server). If Kendall’s SCI was not active when he received and held Hillary’s emails classified at that level, he too was in violation of Federal law.

Even assuming, arguendo, that Kendall had a valid clearance. there becomes the question of storage. From at least January 2013 until July 2015, this secret material was stored either on Hillary’s server, in a building with no alarm system. In July, State delivered a safe to Kendall. Back to John Schindler:

Additionally, per Federal law, TS/SCI information must always be placed in a Secure Compartmented Information Facility, a special, purpose-built room designed to protect against physical and electronic intrusion. A full-blown SCIF surely Kendall did not possess. It has been reported that the State Departmentbelatedly supplied Kendall with a safe to store his client’s thumb-drives and emails, which was nowhere near adequate to protect TS/SCI information. Not to mention that he apparently kept Hillary’s materials unsecured for months before he received the DoS safe in July. While a hardened safe in an unclassified office can store classified information up to the Secret level, TS/SCI requires a complete SCIF. Anything less is a clear violation of Federal law. Hillary has placed herself and her attorney in a precarious position here.

Hillary’s laissez faire attitude towards classified information has not only put national security in jeopardy by exposing very sensitive documents to civilian hackers and foreign intelligence services, she has made everyone around her complicit in her mishandling of information. Unlike Hillary, though, they are not high profile and they are not running for president. The FBI has a criminal investigation underway. It is possible that political pressure will keep the FBI from taking the investigation as far as Hillary but the FBI is highly unlikely to walk away from this with no indictment and with the knowledge that there is a good chance of a Congressional investigation and of a Republican president and attorney general. It is difficult to see how Kendall evades culpability.


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Reminder: Democrats Care More about Grabbing Guns Than About Victims of Violence [RedState]


About fifteen minutes after the news broke of the tragic on-air shooting of two local CBS reporters in Roanoke, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President took to Twitter and started campaigning off the tragedy:


Not to be outdone, Virginia governor and Clinton lapdog Terry McAuliffe immediately followed suit:  

Here’s the thing. We don’t, at this point, know anything about how the shooter got the gun, or what measures at all would have prevented him from getting a gun, if any. So it seems kind of ludicrous to suggest laws to fix a problem when you don’t even know what the problem is.

But what we do know is that there are two families who are dealing with the tragedy of losing two loved ones who have been cut down in the prime of their lives. Compounding their grief and misery, this particular tableau is being played out in the harsh glare of the public eye, and they are sure to be descended upon by heartless members of a ratings-starved media eager for a juicy quote. Nancy Grace might well literally explode from ecstasy tonight. Maybe, as a nod to decency, we could at least let the dust settle from this tragedy before we start the fundraising pitches, whaddya say?

After all, while we don’t know the particulars of how the shooter got the gun he used in this incident, the one thing we definitely know about the shooter is that the chain of events that led to his termination and subsequent violent rampage began with the fact that he started coming into work with the mindset of constantly looking for racially motivated grievance material, and acting upon those perceived grievances in a violent manner. Where, do you suppose, that he learned this behavior?

The post Reminder: Democrats Care More about Grabbing Guns Than About Victims of Violence appeared first on RedState.

#BustRacism: Remove the Bust of Racist Margaret Sanger from the National Portrait Gallery [RedState]


The National Portrait Gallery is a publicly funded Smithsonian Museum. Recently, they erected a bust of Margaret Sanger as part of their “struggle for justice” exhibit. I am not sure what justice Margaret Sanger is alleged to have struggled for, but I do know that she was a virulent racist who believed that black people should be prevented from breeding at pretty much all costs. This is an actual quote from Margaret Sanger in which she discusses the best way to encourage black people to get sterilized:

It seems to me from my experience…that while the colored Negroes have great respect for white doctors they can get closer to their own members and more or less lay their cards on the table which means their ignorance, superstitions and doubts.

We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal.

We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.

This, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Sanger’s odious beliefs, which earned her regular speaking invitations (which she accepted) from the KKK and other white supremacist groups. It is especially ironic that Sanger’s bust will be placed alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, who would never have been born if Sanger had her way.

The other delicious irony here is that we are in the midst of a push by liberals to essentially scrub Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson from the history books because of their racism. Personally, I have always been of the opinion that it’s important to evaluate historical figures relative to the prevailing attitudes of their time. If Abraham Lincoln were transported forward in time to today, his statements with respect to black people would render him unelectable in all 50 states. Ditto even someone like Alexander Hamilton, who was well ahead of his time in opposing slavery.

Likewise, if you took someone from today and transported them back to the time of Jefferson and Jackson and encouraged them to preach the prevailing attitudes of today regarding racial equality, they would probably get shot (or worse) inside of a week.

But this sort of analysis is apparently not what we’re doing now, and instead we are burning at the stake historical figures for failing to meet the racial enlightenment standards of today.

Except, of course, if the historical figure in question founded an organization that is the largest provider of abortions in America. Then, somehow, that figure is magically transformed into someone who “struggle[d] for justice.”

I’m happy to join the Media Research Center in encouraging people to tweet @NPG and @smithsonian directly asking them to #BustRacism and remove the bust of Margaret Sanger. Don’t forget to also call the Smithsonian at 888-317-2837 and demand that they remove the bust of a known racist from the “struggle for justice” exhibit.

The post #BustRacism: Remove the Bust of Racist Margaret Sanger from the National Portrait Gallery appeared first on RedState.

It’s time to ban Bitcoin. [RedState]

I’ve been writing for a long time about how Bitcoin, if adopted widely, would be a grave threat to property rights. You see, while property rights are an inalienable human right, Bitcoin is an anarchic currency that resists any attempts to enforce such property rights. Criminal transactions cannot be reversed, and unlawfully obtained Bitcoins cannot be sent back to their rightful owners.

The criminals have caught on, and it’s now time we considered banning Bitcoin.


Bitcoin is commonly known as a “cryptocurrency.” This is because Bitcoin’s workings are based on math similar to that used by cryptographic codes. And in fact, the security of one’s Bitcoin ‘wallet’ is protected by cryptography. Good cryptography is difficult to break, even by governments with large amounts of computing resources.

While it’s been long known that Bitcoin’s value is based on the sex trafficking, weapons, and drug trades, other criminals have been slow to take advantage of Bitcoin’s properties. That slowness gave us time to think, but we’re out of time. They’ve caught on.

This month we’ve already seen two major blackmail attempts using Bitcoin as the demand, one Ashley Madison related attacker and a bomber in the Netherlands.

Bitcoin is the perfect blackmail payment method. It’s pseudonymous, has ample money laundering options available known as “tumblers” or “mixers,” and the Bitcoin transactions cannot be reversed by the government.

So at this point we know Bitcoin is an ideologically anarchic project that doesn’t protect property rights, facilitates crime, and is going to encourage blackmail, as now blackmailers have a means of keeping and using the money they receive. It’s time we banned Bitcoin.

Those who wish to avoid using federal reserve notes can use gold, silver, or other commodities. Heck, we can even address the Capital Gains tax as it relates to inflation, to ensure that those holding commodities in place of cash aren’t burned by that. I’m not a goldbug but I’m fine with working with them, if we can abolish a legitimate threat to safety and order. That’s what Bitcoin is.

Ban it now before the next bomber strikes.

Image by Antana on Flickr

The post It’s time to ban Bitcoin. appeared first on RedState.

Joe Biden: The Democrats’ Great White Dope [RedState]


Hillary Clinton’s anticipated 2016 coronation ceremony has so far gone as disastrously as a Black Eyed Peas Super Bowl halftime show performed aboard the Hindenburg. As Hillary finds herself modeling prison orange pantsuits during the middle of a possible criminal investigation of her email practices, the façade of her invulnerability has crumbled to dust. Her prospects have faded so thoroughly that she now finds herself in a competitive race with the charismatically challenged Bernie Sanders, who is the pastiest and crustiest Presidential candidate either party has flirted with in recent memory. Moreover, adding insult to injury, Sanders – as an Independent Socialist – is threatening to win the Presidential primary of a party he does not even belong to, over the party’s anointed candidate.

Only this series of events could cause a nation’s Democratic Party to turn its wistful eyes towards Joe Biden. As someone who has endured the heartbreak of the great Republican false hopes of the last two elections (Rick Perry and Fred Thompson, respectively), allow me to save the Democratic primary voters of 2016 some heartbreak: Joe Biden isn’t the savior you are looking for.

In the first place, Joe Biden is fantastically terrible at running for President. It has become received wisdom that Joe Biden’s 1988 Presidential campaign was derailed because he plagiarized speeches. However, that narrative ignores that Biden – who was virtually anointed at the beginning of the campaign – had already flagged in the polls and fallen behind both Dukakis and Gephardt when the infamous plagiarism scandal broke. In fact, Biden’s precipitous pre-Iowa drop in the polls was the reason Biden felt compelled to plagiarize Neil Kinnock’s speech – and to completely fabricate details of his personal life to match the speech copy he was plagiarizing.

The reason was very simple: although people tend to like the affable and always-smiling Biden as a person, the thought of him with his hands on the controls of the United States military is a positively terrifying prospect.

Practice did not make Joe Biden any better at running for President, as his 2008 campaign was even more disastrous and completely insignificant than his 1988 campaign turned out to be. Although Biden now had the alleged gravitas associated with spending over 30 years in the United States Senate, he raised about ten dollars throughout the course of the campaign and suffered the indignity of finishing fifth in Iowa, behind even historical footnote Bill Richardson.

The great political truth of Joe Biden is that any time he faces the voters outside his deep blue home state of Delaware, he gets roundly and ignominiously trounced, and for good reason.

See, the primary resume item for Joe Biden as a Presidential candidate is that he is “experienced,” and is in particular said to be an expert in areas of foreign policy. Truly, the extraordinary length of time that Biden has been in Washington has allowed him to accumulate an impressive record in the foreign policy arena.

Problematically, Joe Biden’s record is mainly impressive for the fact that he has been on the wrong side of literally every major foreign policy decision he has voted on over the years. Biden’s foreign policy voting record reads like that of an idiot savant who has miraculously pointed the wrong way on everything of interest to the United States, like a gimmicky weathervane that somehow points into the wind instead of away from it.

In the 1980s, for instance, Biden was in favor of the nuclear freeze movement, which was exposed by declassified cables as a movement largely funded by the KGB and which attempted to derail the program which ultimately caused the fall of the Soviet Union. He was in favor of sustaining the communist dictatorship in Nicaragua and against supporting a nascent democracy in El Salvador. He was against the development and deployment of MX and Trident ICBMs. He was against the first gulf war in 1990, but for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

After voting for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Biden consistently voted for the wrong path out of Iraq. He was a vocal proponent of balkanizing Iraq and leaving prematurely, and a vocal opponent of the troop surge that temporarily stabilized Iraq before Obama administration took over and the situation really went sideways. Biden came by his opinions on the balkanization of Iraq honestly, though, as he was one of the leading boosters of our national Clinton-led misadventures in Bosnia in the 90s.

Of course, coming into the 2016 elections, Biden will also own all of the Obama administration’s manifold foreign policy blunders, including the not-wars the administration has waged in Libya and Egypt which have severely contributed to the destabilization of the region, their incoherent Syria/Iraq policy which has led directly to the rise of ISIS, and their open and flagrant disrespect for our only ally in the Middle East, Israel.

And we haven’t even touched upon the most obvious and glaring fact about Joe Biden – which is that, when he is left free to speak for himself, he is the most gaffe-prone politician of the entire modern age. Some of his gaffes are merely embarrassing, but others hint at ugly underlying racial biases, such as his 2007 braggadocio that he would do well in the South because he came from a “slave state,” or his praise for the people of India for their expertise at running Dunkin’ Donuts franchises, or of course his backhanded praise for Obama as someone who was “clean” and “articulate.”

For a Democratic Party that relies increasingly on the enthusiasm of minority voters to offset the probably permanent erosion of their white blue collar rust belt voting base, a Joe Biden candidacy threatens to alienate large portions of their constituency and to turn 2016 into a historic rout for the GOP.

It’s understandable, given Hillary’s problems, that the Democrats are hoping that someone can ride in on the proverbial white horse and save the Party from imminent disaster. That person may yet arrive for the Democrats, but their name will not be Joe Biden.

The post Joe Biden: The Democrats’ Great White Dope appeared first on RedState.

Dreadful Noise and Loathsome Silence [RedState]


“And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence.”

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, of the eponymous folk music group, released “The Sound of Silence” in October 1964—the blessed year and month of my own birth—as part of the album “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.” and it promptly tanked. It took nearly another year and a remix by Bob Dylan producer Tom Wilson (done without the duo’s knowledge) before the song became a hit, eventually becoming one of the most iconic songs of the 1960’s flower-power era.

What’s fitting about that song today is how it applies to the press covering two stories. The first relates to computer hackers stealing the database of a website devoted to marital infidelity called Ashley Madison (it’s a dating service for married people to meet other adulterers, arguably the most awful idea since King David’s nightly peeping Tom sessions with Bathsheba on the palace roof).

Thousands of subscribers had their secret commitment to infidelity bared to public scrutiny, with websites set up overnight to search the data for email addresses or other details. This led writer Emily Dreyfuss at Wired Magazine to preface her article on “how to check if you or a loved one” is in the database with this supplication: “Wait. Stop. Don’t do this.”

But the tabloid press couldn’t help themselves, and the first “hit” they got was none other than scandal-plagued Josh Duggar, formerly of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.” Of course, there could be thousands of husbands and wives who have checked on their spouses and found the scarlet letter staring back from their computer displays, but those don’t matter because they’re not “news.”

Duggar, an outspoken Christian, and now, by his own words, “the biggest hypocrite ever,” is important enough to share headline space with Jared Fogle, the former Subway spokesman facing jail time for child pornography. These stories have dominated the mainstream media for days.

People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening.

The story you haven’t seen on ABC, NBC, CBS, or CNN is the continuing release of heartbreaking and shocking videos chronicling Planned Parenthood and its “partners” in fetal tissue sales and distribution casually discussing everything from the price of an aborted baby’s liver to how a baby’s brain is best harvested when the heart is still beating (meaning—it’s alive).

The utter disgust and visceral revulsion that most people feel seeing these videos is enough to force heads to look away from the screen. It’s enough to spur liberal, pro-choice syndicated columnist, Harvard graduate, and frequent NPR commentator Ruben Navarrette, Jr. to write “As I’ve only realized lately, to be a man, and to declare yourself pro-choice, is to proclaim your neutrality. And, as I’ve only recently been willing to admit, even to myself, that’s another name for ‘wimping out.’”

The mainstream media is doing more than “wimping out” on the Planned Parenthood holocaust. It’s actively participating in keeping the story squashed, replacing it with salacious details of the fall of House Duggar and Jared Fogle’s squalid pedophilia.

Since the release of the first video by the Center for Medical Progress (you can find these videos on YouTube, both the edited and completely raw footage), the three major networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) have devoted a total of 1 minute and 13 seconds to showing these videos with audio (0.008 percent of total airtime spent on news) as of August 18, according to the Media Research Center.

Meanwhile, the songs of a million and a quarter babies a year will never be shared, and the sounds of silence of more than 50 million cribs will continue to burn a hole in our national conscience (with a half billion taxpayer dollars provided to the nation’s largest abortion provider each year), while the press dares not disturb the sound of silence.

Published in the Houston Home Journal 8/26/15.

The post Dreadful Noise and Loathsome Silence appeared first on RedState.

Further Thoughts on the Trump/Ramos Flap [RedState]


Last night I wrote a post on the bizarre Donald Trump presser last night that has gotten quite a bit of traction on social media. I wrote it immediately after watching the press conference and without the benefit of the full audio which has been made available today of Ramos’ comments. All I could hear at the time was Trump’s comments, which made it appear as though he was essentially yelling at Ramos out of nowhere.

Having now seen video clips of the press conference in question, I have to revise my remarks somewhat. Although I said last night that I would have had zero problem with Trump throwing leftwing activist Jorge Ramos out of a press conference on the merits, I am now even more convinced that what Trump did was the right thing, now that I have heard the “questions” Ramos was attempting to ask.

In the first place, Ramos was acting like an entitled punk and there’s no two ways about it. He did not wait to see if Trump would call upon him, but instead essentially demanded the right to ask the first question even though he had not been called on. He kept loudly insisting “I have the right to ask a question,” which, I guess is sort of true, but he doesn’t have the right to ask the first question, and he doesn’t have the right to speak over another reporter who has been recognized by the speaker.

Second, the “questions” Ramos was attempting to ask were not questions, but lectures. Under no circumstances was anything Ramos was saying even a question. He attempted to lecture Trump on birthright citizenship, basically claim that Trump’s immigration plan wasn’t doable, and so on. It’s fine for a reporter to ask tough and pointed questions, especially when the candidate has said ludicrous things like Trump has.

But no candidate, including Trump, has to stand there and get lectured by a reporter about why he is wrong. And given that Ramos was allowed back in, and given leave to ask a basically neverending series of “questions,” I am at a loss as to why any alleged reporter would possibly be taking Ramos’ side in this fracas. Ramos was given more of a leash than any reporter I have ever seen in a major press conference. Sure, he was escorted out of the room to start with, but the reason for that was that he was showing complete disrespect not only to the candidate but also to the other reporters present in the room.

Now Jorge Ramos is going on TV everywhere telling his tale of being a martyr at the hands of Trump, which is patently ridiculous. His description of events is flatly contradicted by events that were caught on camera, and depends entirely on the impression that was created (on live TV, because Trump was the only one whose mic was “hot) that Trump started yelling at him out of nowhere and had him chucked out of the conference without provocation.

On the whole, I stand by the point I made yesterday about Trump’s press conference and Trump in general – that it was a bizarre, beautiful train wreck, and that Trump is impossible for normal politicians to engage because politicians are trained to look for small, subtle gaffes and pounce on them, whereas Trump generates hundreds of huge ones every minute he talks.

But with respect to Jorge Ramos, Trump clearly got the better of the exchange and was justified in what he did. But even in this, he bizarrely claimed that he hadn’t had Ramos thrown out and that he didn’t even know who Ramos was, two demonstrably false statements. Just part of what makes the Trump show impossible to turn off, I guess.

The post Further Thoughts on the Trump/Ramos Flap appeared first on RedState.

Donald Trump Got the Better of Jorge Ramos and the Media Knows It [RedState]

Donald Trump threw Univision’s Jorge Ramos out of a press conference in Iowa yesterday.

Ramos is a self-absorbed, self-righteous leftwing activist the media allows to act as a journalist. He is more agenda driven than the entire cast of MSNBC.

The media is outraged!!! outraged!!! that Donald Trump threw the guy out — never mind that he let Ramos back in to ask questions. Trump then had the audacity to get the better of Ramos in the exchange.

All the media headlines had to go back to Ramos getting ejected from the press conference once Donald Trump mopped the floor with the guy. Even reporters were privately emailing that Trump got the better of Ramos in the exchange.

What is really amazing is that the media is more outraged with Trump throwing Ramos out of the press conference than they are at Barack Obama sending the Department of Justice after reporters.

Is it any wonder the American people hate the America Circle of Jerks who allegedly report the news.

The post Donald Trump Got the Better of Jorge Ramos and the Media Knows It appeared first on RedState.

Jeb Is Here To Save Us From The Yellow Peril [RedState]

Jeb Has Nothing To Offer America

Jeb has nothing to offer America. He has no original ideas, and he will appropriate anything that gets a popular buzz off of others regardless of how toxic the idea is and regardless of how nauseating the source. He leeches off the same elitist pig donor class as Hillary Rodham Clinton*. He copies his condescending Braham Socialism off of Green Mountain Nut-Job Bernie Sanders. Now, given the recent polling bubble in support of Mr. Drumpf, Jeb has glibly appropriated the low-brow racism of the 1930’s German Beer Keller. Jeb wants to be hip as well, so he’s here to save us from the Yellow Peril.

Jeb’s latest effort to prove he can govern like a severe conservative reminds me of an old, politically incorrect episode of The Little Rascals. You see, one of the kid’s mothers was pregnant. Then another kid found a newspaper and discovered that 1/4th of the world’s children were Chinese. The Rascals then managed the awesome logical fallacy of assuming that the new baby had a 25% chance of being Chinese and this scared them. They were little kids. They at least had that excuse. I sincerely doubt that Jeb has poor enough home training to actually believe anything similar. But he sure doesn’t mind pandering to people who are just about that stupid.

And pandering is exactly what Jeb is engaged in. I question the presence of any soul or an inner core in the man. It reminds me of how Paul Tsongas felt as he ran against Bill Clinton for the Democratic Nomination. We are seeing the GOP version of The Pander Bear. Perks for billionaires? Sure, just stroke me a check. Free edumacayshun? You got it! Step right up folks! Nativism?** We’ve got that for a dollar! If you’re a friend of Sarah Silverman and worried about how Jeb would approach Planned Parenthood, just cut him a check. He’ll be fine with the organ-trafficantes.

Jeb has nothing to offer America. He has no original ideas, and he will appropriate anything that gets a popular buzz off of others regardless of how toxic the idea is and regardless of how nauseating the source. Given a choice between Vladimir Trump and Jeb, I may just stay home on Primary Day. That’s how little I now respect Mr. Bush.

*-Which implies his policy direction if elected would not be substantially different.

**-Just aimed at groups of people who do subversive things like work hard, go to church and earn PhDs.

The post Jeb Is Here To Save Us From The Yellow Peril appeared first on RedState.

Tech at Night: Taking down the newest copyright infringement ring [RedState]

BitTorrent is a technology that distributes data faster by enlisting the bandwidth of downloaders in order to serve more downloads. That’s well and good for legitimate users, however the technology has been used heavily by copyright infringement rings.

The latest scheme, “Popcorn Time”, is under heavy attack as copyright holders and the law strike back.

I’m all for this. Movie studios have a right to do this, and I think it’s the most legitimate exercise of copyright there is, civil action. And the civil actions are growing. Though I’m not exactly crying about arrests in Denmark.

Shot: FTC suing corporations for getting hacked. Chaser: 22 million impacted in OPM hack. Bonus: Government can’t even run computers competently.

In Rhodesia, the newspapers would protest censorship by leaving white spaces where the government had ordered them to remove stories. It became such a humiliation of the government that they then passed a law prohibiting that. The UK is now learning from Rhodesia and wanting to order the censorship of Google’s reports about ordered censorship in the UK.

Comprehensive patent reform is a bad idea, and conservatives should get that instinctively at this point.

A rare bit of FCC doing good, fining firms who commit denial of service attacks on personal Wifi hotspots.

Victory for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 100%: Obama has given up for this year on handing the Internet over to Russia and China.

The post Tech at Night: Taking down the newest copyright infringement ring appeared first on RedState.

What is the point of you, John Kasich? [RedState]

In listening to an interview John Kasich had with Sean Hannity, I was struck by what he clearly wants the Hannity audience to think is his message: I knew Ronald Reagan.

I can’t recall a many sentences in which he didn’t use Reagan’s name (possibly in vain) to justify his candidacy, and only in passing (and upon Hannity’s insistence) did he even mention the Ohio budget. Instead, he spoke of the past, of his days as a congressman, and about what they accomplished. One of those Reagan sentences was the tired line about how Reagan was willing to negotiate with Tip O’Neill.

Kasich is, of course, missing the key point here: Reagan negotiated from a position of strength. He didn’t capitulate or compromise his party’s views before negotiation even started. He also wasn’t afraid to shut down the government, either. Reagan and O’Neill negotiated their way to the middle, giving both sides victories (Reagan picking up a lot more than the Democrats really like to give him credit for).

John Kasich, however, isn’t going to do that as president. He said in the interview that we need politicians willing to set aside party and ideology in order to get things done. That is an actual quote said by a man running for president in a party that is tired of its leadership doing that (hence Donald Trump being a thing). The man has absolutely no chance, no matter what his New Hampshire polling is saying, of getting the nomination because at the end of the day he is everything the base utterly despises in its politicians – capitulating fools who want to be liked more than they want to govern.

The governor of Ohio is wrong in everything he promotes and stands for. He will likely not get the nomination, but we should fight extra hard to make sure he doesn’t.

The post What is the point of you, John Kasich? appeared first on RedState.

The Awesome, Terrible Majesty of a Donald Trump Press Conference [RedState]


Donald Trump just held a press conference prior to a speech in Iowa which was – and I say this without exaggeration – the most bizarre thing I have seen in a lifetime of following politics. It was at once an illustration of why the media fixates on him, and also why the other candidates in the race cannot deal with him.

He opened the conference by yelling at Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, who he claimed asked a question without being called on. He continued to yell at Ramos at some length about being out of turn, then turned to one of his campaign staffers, nodded, and pointed at Ramos, whereupon the staffer removed Ramos from the conference. (Note: I would have zero problem on principle with throwing Ramos out of a press conference on the merits).

The next reporter’s question, naturally, was, “Why did you have him thrown out?” Amazingly, Trump responded to this question, I’m not kidding, by answering, “I didn’t have him thrown out, you’ll have to ask security, whoever they are.” When reporters pressed him with the obvious fact that the person who had him removed was on his staff (he appeared to be wearing a Trump button even, but I can’t swear to that), he immediately changed his tune to say that it was because the reporter was a “highly emotional person,” with no mention of the fact that 30 seconds earlier he had been denying that he had Ramos thrown out at all.

Things only got more bizarre from there. A reporter asked him whether he would self-fund his campaign. Showing a complete inability to grasp campaign finance law (or interest in the details), he said, in effect, “Well, you know, I could, I make $500 million a month, and then at some point the GOP has to come in and run things.”

Trump seemed particularly fixated on Jeb Bush, belittling his standings in the polls and calling him a “low energy person.” He also said, “You know, Jeb Bush has raised $114 million and no one knows who any of his donors are, you can’t find it out!” – apparently unaware that the FEC and numerous other sites contain easily searchable online databases of campaign donors.

Trump continued to field questions about the Ramos ejection. Bizarrely, Trump finally capitulated and seemed eager to field questions from Ramos. “Sure, bring him back in here, I’d love to have him, get him in here in two seconds.” During the middle of Ramos’ question, Trump essentially began bragging that he had sued Univision for $500 million dollars, stating that “I bet your company’s very worried about that.”

Trump’s answer, with regards to literally every other candidate in the race, was that he was leading them in the polls. When asked about Scott Walker, he responded, “When I got in the race, Walker was at 22% and I was at 10%, now I’m at 24% and he’s at about 6% and I think it’s because people got to looking at what is going on in Wisconsin.” That’s a paraphrase but I guarantee contained the absolute substance of the answer.

About FoxNews, Trump complained that he felt they treated him “very poorly.” He said “According to literally every poll I won that debate. I won on Drudge, I won Time,” whereupon he scrunched his face and paused in his uniquely Trumpian way, and was unable to dredge up the name of another poll, but soldiered on nonetheless: “Everyone said I won that debate, but I got the worst questions.” He claimed that Megyn Kelly should apologize to him, not the other way around.

When I think of the gaffes that have sunk other candidates – whether it was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 92% drinking water, or Rick Perry saying “oops,” George Allen saying “macaca,” or Scott Walker refusing to answer questions that didn’t interest him, it’s amazing to me that Donald Trump is left standing at all.

But then, in another sense, it makes sense. When a homing missile locks in on a target, one of the best way to defeat it is to release a bunch of chaff so the missile gets confused and doesn’t know what to lock on to.

When a politician goofs once, it’s easy for that to get stuck in the feedback loop of the media and other candidates.

Watching Donald Trump speak and answer questions, though, is like watching a billion targets appear in the sky all at once, for a political opponent. Each thing he says is so bizarre, or ill informed, or demonstrably false, or un presidential in tone or character, that it becomes impossible to know which target to lock on to or focus on. And to the extent that he makes a policy statement, it is so hopelessly vague and ludicrous that it’s impossible to know where to begin, at least within the context of the 30-second soundbite that the modern political consumer requires (and chances are, he will say something diametrically opposed to it before the press conference is over anyway).

Donald Trump is the political equivalent of chaff, a billion shiny objects all floating through the sky at once, ephemeral, practically without substance, serving almost exclusively to distract from more important things – yet nonetheless completely impossible to ignore.

The post The Awesome, Terrible Majesty of a Donald Trump Press Conference appeared first on RedState.

Clockwise 101: Maybe We Should Call AppleCare [Clockwise]

Choosing a single device, calling for help, traveling with technology, and mourning Apple's One to One training.

This episode of Clockwise is sponsored by:

  • Slackline: Collaborate across Slack groups. Get 25% off for a month by using code clockwise.
  • Mailroute - Live a spam- and virus-free life with protection from MailRoute. No hardware or software required.

Guest Starring:

Allison Sheridan, Casey Liss, and Serenity Caldwell

Links and Show Notes

AppleTV Problem FIXED « NosillaCast
Technology, meet vacation: The 21st century road trip | iMore
Go Pack, Revisited — Liss is More
| TripMode | Your Mac's mobile data savior.
Take Me There — Liss is More
Go Pack, Revisited — Liss is More
iExit Interstate Exit Guide on the App Store on iTunes
Mountie - connecting your mobile device to your laptop.

Oh, Shiny Pony! [Small Dead Animals]

Operation Empty Chair [Small Dead Animals]

Via Allahpundit;

The Pentagon's inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry.

The investigation began after at least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told the authorities that he had evidence that officials at United States Central Command -- the military headquarters overseeing the American bombing campaign and other efforts against the Islamic State -- were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama, the government officials said.

Fuller details of the claims were not available, including when the assessments were said to have been altered and who at Central Command, or Centcom, the analyst said was responsible. The officials, speaking only on the condition of anonymity about classified matters, said that the recently opened investigation focused on whether military officials had changed the conclusions of draft intelligence assessments during a review process and then passed them on...

Legitimate differences of opinion are common and encouraged among national security officials, so the inspector general's investigation is an unusual move and suggests that the allegations go beyond typical intelligence disputes.

Bill's Wife [Small Dead Animals]

Mark Steyn summarizes;

So America's allies knew Hillary's system was insecure and tried to work around it. We can assume America's enemies also knew, and tried to burrow within it. So emails about Ambassador Stevens' travel and security plans wind up on a mom'n'pop server in a Colorado toilet - and Ambassador Stevens ends up dead.

h/t Don

Why Is There Always A Big Screen TV? [Small Dead Animals]

Drivers charged $20 'toll' after deadly crash forces detour through First Nation. (h/t Jamie)

More Muslim Outreach [Small Dead Animals]

NASA test-crashes a plane.

Updated with replay.

Reader Tips [Small Dead Animals]

Tonight's selection is inspired by the Four Horsemen who are throwing a keg party in my lungs and throat. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Requiem [Confutatis/Lacrimosa] . Conductor, Leonard Bernstein.

Your tips in the comments.

Jellybooks measures user engagement with ARC e-books [TeleRead]

jellybooks-social-reading2How well do readers engage with books? That kind of information can be useful for publishers to know in advance, especially if they might be planning to craft a marketing campaign around that book. At Publishing Perspectives, guest contributor Andrew Rhomberg discusses technology that his company, Jellybooks, uses to help gather that information from e-book Advanced Reader Copies they send to readers as part of an engagement survey.

How are reader interactions with books captured? The answer to this question is that Jellybooks developed a smart piece of software called candy.js that is embedded inside ebooks – specifically those in ePub 3 format – and records the reader interactions across a range of 3rd party apps such as iBooks and Adobe Digital Editions (ADE). The data is captured and stored locally, no internet connection is required. This is how the tool differs from Google Analytics: it works entirely offline until the moment when the user goes online and establishes a connection. Once the reader is online, the data is uploaded with a single click by the user.

This kind of information can be invaluable from a marketing standpoint—if advance readers just can’t get engaged with a particular book, it might not be a good idea to throw their money at it to market it. Perhaps the author might even need to make some changes.

It could seem a little disturbing just how much information they’re able to gather about how well readers engage with a given book. Rhomberg does make it clear that this information gathering is done with the advance consent of the people who receive the ARCs, instead of writing a review or report on the book, so it’s not the privacy issue it might be—at least, not in this case. It does raise the question of just how much information Amazon is getting out of their Kindle user tracking, and to what extent Kindle owners consent to that kind of information gathering.

Regardless, it’s an interesting reminder of things e-books can do that paper books simply can’t.

We previously mentioned Jellybooks in 2012, when it was focusing primarily on finding new methods of book discovery.

Galaxy Note 5 users, be careful with that S-Pen [TeleRead]

Samsung-Galaxy-note-5-1Over the last few days, Android Police discovered a potential design flaw in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 phone. I’m a little ambivalent about the impact of this error, but at the least it sounds like something Galaxy Note 5 owners should know about.

According to Android Police, the phone is designed in such a way that it is not only possible but easy to slide the stylus in the wrong way—it’s not designed with any kind of a shaped head or nub that keeps it from sliding in; it happily goes right back in all the way up to the nib. Then it may not come out, and it probably breaks the stylus detection mechanism if it does.

When Android Police and other news sources reached out to Samsung about the matter, the response they got back was simply:

We highly recommend our Galaxy Note 5 users follow the instructions in the user guide to ensure they do not experience such an unexpected scenario caused by reinserting the S-Pen in the other way around.

The manual (which isn’t actually packed with the phone, but must be downloaded) simply tells people not to put the stylus in backward or they might break their phone. (Duh.) It reminds me of the old joke, “Doctor, Doctor, it hurts when I do this!” “So, don’t do that!” Or the one about the man in a balloon who got advice from an engineer that, while technically correct, was nonetheless not helpful. It certainly won’t help people who’re distracted enough to slide the pen back in in the wrong way, or even whose kids get ahold of it and decide to jam it in backward just to see what happens.

Android Police notes that the fact that the warning was added since the very similar page in the Galaxy Note 4 manual appeared suggests Samsung was fully aware of the design flaw. Nonetheless, it doesn’t sound as if Samsung plans to do anything about the matter—though you never know. Maybe if they get enough complaints, they’ll end up pulling an “Antennagate”-style fix. Sheesh, even my old Palm Pilots had styluses that would only slide in one specific way.

My first Kindle Touch update attempt ends in failure [TeleRead]

IMG_20150826_060107On BoingBoing, Jason Weisberger writes about his experiences updating his Kindle Voyage to the latest firmware version. He had trouble getting USB cables to work to connect his Voyage to his Mac Book Pro to upload the update. He eventually had to reset the Kindle and try it from his Mac Book Air instead, whereupon he got it to work.

The more interesting thing, though, is that his explanation of the update process, and his mention of how fantastic the new Bookerly font was, got me to wondering if my own Kindle Touch was on the latest update itself. A bit of poking through Google brought me to Amazon’s guide to updating software manually for any of its devices.

Sure enough, my Kindle turned out to be running version 5.1.2—not one but two updates behind. I suppose I had assumed that my Kindle would just update itself automatically, like when you buy a new e-book—but whether that was supposed to happen or not, it didn’t.

So, according to the manual update process, I had to download the two .bin files that contained the updates, and then one at a time, copy them over to my Kindle, then go through the menus and tell it to update itself. Well, actually it wasn’t quite that simple. First I had to delete a couple of fairly large books from my Kindle to clear space. (Happily, I was able to do this in Calibre simply by sorting the books by size, finding the biggest ones that showed a check mark in the “Device” column, then right-clicking and picking “Remove books –> Remove matching books from device.”)

Then, the first time I tried installing the update, it didn’t take. I didn’t notice this until I’d tried copying the second updating over and having it simply disappear on me a few times. I tried deleting a few more big books (and honestly, I can’t see why I even tried putting graphic novels on my Kindle in the first place) and copying it and running it again now that it had more space. Again, it seemed to install and update itself properly, but when I checked the device info, it said I was still on version 5.1.2.

Finally, I chose the nuclear option: I reset the Kindle, erasing everything on it and de-registering it, rebooted it, and copied the file over. I didn’t even bother signing it back in to Amazon, just copied and ran the update as soon as it came back up. This time it gave me an “Update Error 006” partway through and rebooted. Poking about with Google suggested the update was corrupted, so I re-downloaded the file, directly onto the Kindle as a plugged-in hard drive this time.

Yep. Still “Error 006.” A quick Google on the answer brought up a web site that recommended making a bootable USB stick and booting your computer into a “kubrick” “Kindle un-bricking” image. That seems like a bit of an extreme measure to go to; I’ll probably try contacting Amazon tech support first, after I sleep again. For now, I feel like I’ve spent too much time on this issue, and I’ll put it aside for later.

Any TeleRead readers have advice to offer?

Fun reading vs. research: The Kindle Unlimited angle [TeleRead]

Amazon.com Kindle Unlimited Kindle Store (2)I love Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. I can just press a button on my Kindle, type in a subject and download a book without paying tons of tiny fees.

Until recently, however, I hadn’t noticed how little Kindle Unlimited time I was actually spending on novels.

So many ‘short, quick guide’ types of books are out there. I have been treating KU like a research service. Every time I find myself bitten by curiosity over some new topic, I go on KU and download half a dozen titles. My information junkie side is loving it.

But I am finally realizing that something is missing. I reached a point last night where I turned on my Kindle and could not find a single thing I wanted to read. I sorted all content (purchases, KU and side-loaded ‘personal content’) by date, and was stunned to find that all of it was information. I had to go about 80 results in before I got to an actual novel.

No wonder I was in a reading slump! Clearly, my reading life will not survive on research alone. I went back to my Calibre library and sorted by genre; then I found ten novels I hadn’t yet read and hit the ‘send to Kindle’ button. I am three chapters into a vintage Stephen King and loving it. He is really under-rated as a contemporary fiction writer. I am enjoying myself immensely.

So, the KU stays. But I think I need to make more time in my reading life for the fiction, too. I hadn’t realized how much I missed it until I binged on everything but! There is a place for the research trove of information that Kindle Unlimited, Wikipedia and so on offer. But sometimes, you just need to kick back with a good book.

Was Frankenstein’s real father a volcano? [TeleRead]

Frankenstein_1831The scientist Victor Frankenstein created the eponymous monster in the Mary Shelley classic, but in a sense, the real father may have been a volcano.

Here’s part of the “why,” as explained in Tambora: The Eruption That Changed the World, a recent book from Gillen D’Arcy Wood, a professor of English at the University of Illinois. Tambora, a towering peak on a Pacific Island, lost a mile of height after the volcano erupted. Perhaps 100,000 people died in April 1815 when fiery lava streamed down the mountain. But as described in the Wood book and a New York Times article, that was just the start.

Twelve cubic miles from the mountain rose 25 miles above the earth in some cases. Huge masses of tiny particles traveled the planet, at least partly blocking the sunlight for months and months, even in places halfway around the world from the island. “Eighteen hundred and froze to death” was how New Englanders nicknamed the year 1816.

So, amid all the weird weather, how does Frankenstein enter the picture? Well, Mary Shelley and friends such as Lord Byron had gone to Switzerland expecting to climb mountains and otherwise do the usual tourist drill there. Instead the cold drove them inside, where they read ghost stories and decided to write their own. Here’s more from an old NPR story, based on a Frankenstein-related interview with Bill Phillips, a lit professor at the University of Barcelona:

Weather seems to show up on almost every page.

In one passage, Victor Frankenstein describes how he walked through a storm at night: "Vivid flashes of lightning dazzled my eyes, illuminating the lake, making it appear like a vast sheet of fire; then for an instant everything seemed of a pitchy darkness, until the eye recovered itself from the preceding flash."

Scenes like this one seem to have come from letters Shelley wrote about the weather she was experiencing at the time.

Here’s a letter to her sister: "One night we enjoyed a finer storm than I had ever before beheld. The lake was lit up — the pines on Jura made visible and all the scene illuminated for an instant, when a pitchy blackness succeeded, and the thunder came in frightful bursts over our heads amid the darkness."

But thunder wasn’t all. Frankenstein “invariably meets his creator at the topics of mounts, in icy caves,” Phillips said. “Then at the end of the novel, they go into the Artic Ocean and we’re led to believe they die as they drift off on an ice floe.”

I dropped by Project Gutenberg, copied the HTML version of the 1818 novel of around 77,000 words (full name: Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus) and pasted it into Word to see how often I could find discrete occurrences of “cold” (31 results), cool (2), “winter” (13), “frozen” (4), “freeze” (no matches), “freezing” (1), “frigid” (none),  “glacial” (none), “ice” (43), “icy” (3) , “snow” (16), “snowy” (7), frost (5), frosty (1) and “gelid” (no matches). As you can see, the winner was “ice.” To me, it’s far more brutal than mere “snow,” and I wonder if this is deliberate on Mary Shelley’s part or reflects the Swiss weather when she was dreaming up Frankenstein.

Frankenstein wasn’t the only literary masterpiece to come from the vacationing Brits in Switzerland. All those shivers from the cold—not just from horror fantasies—may have inspired Lord Byron to write an outline for The Vampyre, as well as to pen a poem called Darkness. On top of that, the strange skies from the eruption just might have literally colored the works of landscape artists such as the great J.M.W. Turner. Might. Keep reading for one academic’s thoughts on this.

Now, of course, we have global warming. Just how might it shape the fiction of the future? Could today’s clifi SF be a precursor to mainstream fiction later on?

Another book of interest: The Year without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano that Darkened the World and Changed History.

Plus, some perspective from an online friend, Dr. Frances Chiu, an Oxford-educated specialist in gothic literature who teaches at the New School: “The Gothic as a new literary genre had been around for around 2 decades before the publication of Frankenstein while the vampire was just beginning to be resurrected in the late 1790s (e.g., Coleridge’s Christabel). So it would be hard to determine if either—as a tale of the supernatural—was directly inspired by the effects of Tambora. However, the element of coldness is striking in both: especially Frankenstein, with its partly arctic setting. Come to think of it, there is a wild storm scene in ‘The Vampyre’ while the vampire himself is described as having a cold eye." Meanwhile another lit prof friend, Dr. Roark Mulligan at Christopher Newport University, tells me: "Scholars make amazing connections, sometimes with the help of a little hyperbole. My favorite Turner painting is Rockets and Blue Lights (1840), completed long after the volcano. But even his earliest work Fisherman at Sea (1796), long before the volcano, has unique atmospheric qualities." OK, so there you go. Enjoy the fun theories—yes, I suspect at least something is there—but understand their limits.

Note: Links to the two books about the weather are Amazon affiliate links.

Correction: Double-checking, I discovered that Word’s searcher was not in a separate word mode. I’ve fixed the word occurrence statistics for Frankenstein. “Ice,” however, is still the winner among wintry words I searched for.

TuneIn offers ad-free radio, sports, and audiobooks for $8 per month [TeleRead]

tuneinAnyone disappointed by Scribd’s recent decision to pare down its audiobook offerings might have a new solution. CNET reports that streaming radio site TuneIn is adding an $8-per-month subscription option that removes ads from 600 radio stations, adds Major League Baseball and Premier League soccer play-by-plays, and grants access to a library of 40,000 audiobooks.

The radio stations will be “commercial free” by the expedient of playing a song the same length as the pre-programmed commercial breaks—which seems to me to point out that there are simply too many ads on terrestrial radio if you can play a song the same length as a commercial break. But I guess I’ve been listening to Pandora where you get like a 30 second ad every fifteen minutes or so—not to mention Google Play Music with its none at all—and gotten used to it.

The audiobooks on offer will include titles from major publishers like Penguin Random House, HarperCollins and Scholastic, and will include the Hunger Games and Harry Potter series. It’s worth noting that 40,000 is 10,000 more titles than Scribd started with, and considerably more than the 4,500 Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program has now. Will TuneIn be able to afford people listening to audiobooks that much, or are they gambling that their patrons prefer listening to the radio most of the time?

I suppose we’ll have to see how it goes.

What is Not Being Said About the European Train Incident [The DiploMad 2.0]

As have most other sentient beings in the Western world, I have followed with fascination the story of the foiled jihadi attack on a  European train. As we know, a Moroccan practitioner of the Religion of Peace boarded an Amsterdam-Paris high speed train armed with an AK, a pistol, and a knife, and with the intent of killing infidels and, presumably, earning his prescribed quota of dark-eyed virgins.

He picked the wrong train. A gang of infidels, four Americans and a Briton, frustrated the Maghrebi's plan for eternal bliss by disarming him, pummeling him into unconsciousness, and trussing him up like a Christmas (oops!) turkey.

This story says a lot about many things--not all being prominently discussed. We begin by noting the nationalities of those who bravely launched and executed the uprising against the Islamist wannabe killer: big, strong, young American men assisted by an elderly, wise-cracking, man of the world Brit. Central casting had to have a hand in this. Following in the footsteps of the heroic passengers on Flight 93, this Anglo-American squad refused to let the jihadi have his way. He would not kill those passengers on that train that day. That immediately raises a question. Why is it that Anglo-Americans are much more willing to take matters into their own hands? I'll leave that for the sociologists, but I am sure readers will have opinions. By the way, I am certain had there been Australians, Israelis, or Canadians on that train they would have joined the Maghrebi bash. I think that says a lot about where one might yet find the remnants of Western civilization.

I see the press is now full of stories re the need to review security measures on trains and buses, etc. As the Beatles would say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." While you're at it, let's look at security in casinos, shoe outlets, bingo parlors, linen stores, supermarkets, restaurants, gas stations, etc. Lots of stories, too, about how the Spanish security services had flagged Mr. Morocco, noting he had gone off to Syria to do a spell with ISIS, and passed his name to the French, Dutch, Germans, etc. Cue the Beatles,"Yeah, yeah, yeah." OK, he was flagged. So? He had no trouble moving around Europe, and, ahem, despite Europe's draconian gun laws, obtaining an AK, a pistol, lots of ammo, and a knife, oh yes, and boarding a crowded international train with all this gear. I note, by the way, that he was apparently the only person armed on the train--some, such as me, might argue that a 99.9% "gun-free" zone is considerably more dangerous than a 50% "gun-free" zone.

Lots of issues here. The biggest one, of course, is being totally avoided. Shall we dare mention the elephant rampaging in the living room? Yes, by all means, let's. Why was Mr. Morocco in Europe? Why is Europe allowing itself to be flooded by a invasion of persons who adhere to a violent, totalitarian ideology, i.e. Islam? These persons detest everything about the West, ridicule its kindness and generosity as contemptible softness, and see us all as candidates for forcible conversion, enslavement, and death. Believing in the values of Western civilization does not mean signing a suicide note.

All the flagging, monitoring, metal detectors, peace marches, Coexist stickers, and "guns banned" signs will do nothing, or worse, as long as the adherents of the Religion of Peace are allowed almost unfettered entry into our countries and homes, and as long as we continue to accept the fiction that Islam is a religion just like any other. Short of our dealing with that, you better hope and pray that wherever you are there are brave Anglo-American men around who will fight and die for you.

The Republican Debates [The DiploMad 2.0]

Ok, I am not very good at the instant punditry, therefore, feel free to demand your money back. That said, I provide my quick and rough take on the debates.

Too many candidates for it to be a real debate. Time constraints made it mostly just a quick sound-bite competition. Not always, but most of the time.

The first round of debate, where the low-poll number people were concentrated, was actually the better one. I have to agree with the media consensus (Horrors!) that former HP exec Carly Fiorina "won". She was focussed, had a good command of facts, quick on her feet, articulate, witty, and tough. It was an impressive performance. I think she did herself a lot of good and if she sticks with it will get promoted to the Major League. As noted before, in the campaign against the Dems, she might be handicapped by her controversial tenure at Hewlett-Packard, and would find herself having to defend that record from all sorts of real and crazy accusations. I think, however, that whomever gets picked as the GOP candidate could do worse than have her as VP. Also in the Minor League debate, I thought that Gov. Jindal did well. I was disappointed in Governor Perry's performance: he needed a home-run and got nothing close to it. He still comes across as awkward and almost tongue-tied in these debate settings. That is unfortunate because he is actually a very good politician and a thoughtful person.

Turning to the Major League debate, Trump didn't disappoint those who wanted a bit of a show. Right off the mark he was the one who refused to take the pledge to support whomever is nominated. He would not swear off the possibility of a third party run, a run that would, in all probability, ensure another Democrat in the White House in 2017. He obviously had done little to no homework in preparation for the debate and relied on his abrasive style and cutting one-liners to keep him going. I continue to believe that he believes in nothing except Trump. He is way too thin-skinned for my taste and would prove a personally vindictive sort of SOB were he in the White House. Do we need another one of those?

None of the other candidates made major gaffes although I thought that Senator Rand Paul came off a bit weak and even hysterical in his exchange with Governor Christie. If anybody got hurt last night, I think it was Paul. Dr. Ben Carson proved a delightful change of pace and had some funny comments. He seems a genuinely smart and nice man, one who would get eaten alive in the piranha infested waters of Washington DC. Jeb Bush, blah beyond belief. He seemed uncomfortable and awkward and did not get the breakout that some think he needs. Bush continues to stumble on the Iraq question. I thought Governor Walker was good, took some tough questions and turned them around nicely. Senator Rubio seemed to me to be the most articulate and passionate and he might have done himself some good. I found Senator Cruz a bit off and not as lively and engaged as he is at other times. Governor Huckabee seemed the most comfortable as befits his long experience with these formats. His closing statement was clever as he managed to take swipes at both Trump and Clinton. Governor Kasich? I know some are impressed by him, but he strikes me as a Democrat-light when it comes to spending and government activities.

That's enough of that. We are going to hear so much more about all this, that we all will want to tune out and go find that perfect classic car . . .

You're hosting Uncle Sam's files in the cloud. You get hacked. This is what happens next [The Register]

New rules for IT providers

The US government has posted a new set of rules outlining how cloud providers should report IT security cockups that involve Uncle Sam's data.…

Deja vMware: 'Virty biz to buy its parent EMC' rumor just won't die [The Register]

Could be on; could be off

Rumors that VMware will buy EMC – which owns 80 per cent of VMware – are back from the dead. And just in time for VMworld 2015, held next week in San Francisco.…

Krebs: I know who hacked Ashley Madison [The Register]

Plus: '123456' and 'password' are popular, er, passwords on the affairs-R-us website

It appears someone closely linked to the hacking gang that ransacked adultery website Ashley Madison has accidentally outed him or herself.…

Angry Birds maker Rovio takes aim at staff, axes a third of them [The Register]

O Rovio, Rovio, wherefore art thou, Rovio?

Angry Birds maker Rovio has announced plans to lay off 260 employees.…

Glaring flaw in Apple car hype-gasm: The iGiant likes to make money [The Register]

Cupertino's idiot tax doesn't carry over to autos – in-dash system more likely

Despite rumblings of secret research projects and hiring sprees, Apple is not going to be building its own cars anytime soon, says one analyst.…

Windows 10 now on 75 million devices, says Microsoft [The Register]

A popular giveaway, but no word on the number of failed installs

Microsoft's corporate veep Yusuf Mehdi reports that Windows 10 is now on 75 million devices, following its general availability four weeks ago.…

Velostrata gets you on yer bike to the compute cloud [The Register]

Decouples from storage with an on-premises element

Interview/Analysis  Velostrata sounds like a bicycle brand. In fact, it's a compute cloud-bursting startup marrying on-premises storage with public cloud compute and has burst onto the scene from its Israeli base, apparently out of nowhere with $14m in A-round funding.…

Google Images: EU Commish opens new front against Chocolate Factory [The Register]

Latest RFIs ask awkward questions about copyright

In its latest round of questions sent to rivals regarding the activities and workings of Google, the European Commission has turned the spotlight on the search giant’s image grabbing facilities.…

Back on track! #VMworld, #TFDx and #TECHunplugged [The Register]

Let us tell you about all the interaction with influencers and vendors

Comment  Here we go again! Summer holidays are over (for me, at least) and I’m gearing up for a very hot September! There are a lot of interesting things usually happening in this month, and this is the time when everyone starts to look at the last quarter of the year.…

'Edward Snowden' discovered hiding in Indonesian river by boffins [The Register]

Spends time scuttling around. As does the crayfish

‪A German biologist has decided to name a new species of crayfish he helped describe in honour of international whistleblower Edward Snowden.‬…

C For Hell – Day Two: Outage misery continues for furious C4L customers [The Register]

Firm clueless on when services will stagger back to life

C4L has zero clue about when its network will return to normal service, nearly two days since the outage first struck the cloud provider.…

Oh no Wikiwon't: Russians plan own version of 'distorted' Wikiland [The Register]

If you can’t ban it, copy it

Following the country's short-lived ban on Wikipedia, Russian politicians have come up with another wheeze to divert traffic from the encyclopedia site.…

Gone in 60 seconds – SimpliVity's new promise to the admins [The Register]

ROBO backups propel Omnistack the third

Converged infrastructure "visionary" SimpliVity today released the third version of its modestly-named OmniStack Data Virtualisation Platform, the code that turns its collections of servers and disks into combined storage and compute rigs.…

Ashley Madison hacked potential competitor, leaked emails suggest [The Register]

Dating website WLTM vulnerable younger site for flirtation, contents of database

Ashley Madison ran a hack attack against a potential competitor three years ago, according to leaked emails.…

Aviva phone hacker jailed for 18 months over revenge attack [The Register]

Esselar co-founder pwned insurance biz after spat with former colleagues

A senior techie has been jailed for 18 month after he was convicted of hacking into hundreds of phones at insurance firm Aviva, an act of sabotage designed to extract revenge against a firm that supplied security services to the insurance giant.…

Nimble Storage revenues soar as mainstream rivals experience droop [The Register]

Losses still increasing, however

Nimble Storage had another successful quarter in terms of revenue, beating its own estimates: the figure of $80.1m in its second fiscal 2016 quarter was 49 per cent higher than a year ago, and 12 per cent more than the previous quarter.…

Ads watchdog slams Mind Candy for upselling subscriptions to kids [The Register]

It seems someone has now thought of the children

UK entertainment company Mind Candy has been slammed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for targeting membership ads at kiddies in an attempt to up-sell its paid-for content.…

Booked that expensive holiday yet Mr Server Maker? Maybe just a day trip for now [The Register]

EMEA sales slump as currency crisis and biz uncertainty grips

The EMEA server market is on fire, but not in a good way – both shipments and factory revenues declined in Q2 amid the currency issue and uncertain business climate.…

Britain’s device-theft capital is now … lovely Leicestershire [The Register]

Come on London’s ne'er-do-wells, up your game

Leicestershire – slap-bang in the middle of rural England – has leapfrogged London as the UK’s electronic device-theft capital, according to a comparison of police force stats.…

Speaking in Tech: Big Blue's big libido tops the Ashley Madison league [The Register]

Intel invests $100m in FUTURE COMPLIANCE with Mirantis buy-in

Ebuyer MD Carlisle exits following board level bust up [The Register]

Retail stores? 'Not for us' say top brass at web tech emporium

Online tech bazaar Ebuyer has waved goodbye to UK MD Stuart Carlisle following a disagreement over strategic direction – he wanted to open bricks and mortar retail stores, and the powers that be, well, didn’t.…

It's all go for Softcat's £500m IPO, Credit Suisse, Jefferies hired [The Register]

Flotation for ‘dream ticket’ revenue generator in November, maybe

Tech reselling steamroller Softcat is edging ever closer to flotation on the London Stock Exchange after appointing brokers to manage the process, insiders have told El Chan.…

Perhaps the AIpocalypse ISN'T imminent – if Google Translate is anything to go by, that is [The Register]

Moravian tourist website fail

Worstall on Wednesday  There's been quite the little chortle in this part of Central Europe this week regarding the actions of a tourist board in Moravia.…

Can't get a woop, woop! Twitter gives politicians nice Gaffe-Delete button [The Register]

Without this, the gobsite would be ‘terrifying’

Twitter has decided to suspend API access to Diplotwoops and Politwoops, websites that tracked politicians’ deleted tweets.…

Android in user-chosen lockscreen patterns are grimly predictable SHOCKER [The Register]

Encryption won’t save you if it's an 'L', as in ‘loser’

People choose predictable Android lock screen patterns just like they pick predictable passwords.…

Relax, System Center users, Microsoft won't herd you to Azure Stack [The Register]

There's a line in the cloud between the two and not many will cross it

Hybrid clouds are the new black. So much so that Microsoft has three ways to manage them.…

Boffins promise file system that will NEVER lose data [The Register]

Borked box? Silly software? Researchers say they'll cover every eventuality come October

Six MIT research boffins have demonstrated a system capable of recovering all data in the event of a crash that was previously constrained to high-end theory.…

NHS site defaced with screed protesting Syrian conflict [The Register]

Site devoted to patients' stories hijacked

A UK National Health Service (NHS) site on which the organisation posts patients' stories describing their experience with illness has been defaced by an entity calling itself “Moroccanwolf” who claims the attack is an act of protest regarding western governments' lack of humanitarian actions in Syria.…

The Onion Router is being cut up and making security pros cry [The Register]

IBM tells business to pull the plug, Agora pulls shutters on interesting goods mart

IBM is warning corporates to start blocking TOR services from their networks, citing rising use of the encrypted network to deliver payloads like ransomware.…

Why Nobody Should Ever Search The Ashley Madison Data [The Register]

Genuine advice from one who has researched this purely for work reasons

Analysis  Some readers of the Register – or perhaps their spouses or significant others, or their bosses or colleagues or other people who may think they want to know if someone is "trustworthy" – may have heard that it is now possible to search online for evidence that a person may have been using the website Ashley Madison. Some users of that site may have been hypothetically considering possibly having an extramarital or otherwise illicit affair, though the mere fact of a person being registered with the site does not, of course, indicate any such thing.…

Motorola monsters Apple's swipe-to-unlock patent in German court [The Register]

Top civil court says Cupertino's fingering just isn't innovative or interesting

Apple has suffered yet another setback in its Bleak House lawsuits, with another German court deciding to throw out its swipe-to-unlock patent.…

Devs are SHEEP. Which is good when the leader writes secure code [The Register]

Boffins study developers and find good examples will be followed by the herd

Programmers with security chops are seen as more productive and influential workers whom other coders strive to emulate, according to security researchers from North Carolina State University and Microsoft Research.…

Intel adds big data functions to math libraries [The Register]

More HPC goodness from Chipzilla

Intel is eyeing off the world of Big Data with the latest round of updates to its Parallel Studio Suite.…

GitHub wobbles under DDOS attack [The Register]

What's that big spike on site performance graph?

GitHub is under a distributed-denial-of-service attack being perpetrated by unknown actors.…

VMware refreshes its Fusion and Workstation desktop hypervisors [The Register]

In colossal surprise, Windows 10 and better graphics come to the virtualised desktop

As predicted by El Reg, VMware will have new desktop hypervisors to show off at VMworld next week (although we did get our guess about new names wrong).…

Xen urges another upgrade to get OpenStack humming [The Register]

It's merely a maintenance release but your cloud is probably worth maintaining

Xen 4.4.3 is upon us and the Xen Project recommends “that all users of the 4.4 stable series update to this latest maintenance release.”…

Your smartphone can be a 3D scanner, say boffins [The Register]

Oxford U and Microsoft researchers cram 25 fps scanner on a smartphone

Video  Microsoft Research and Oxford University are showing off a chunk of software that turns smartphones into 3D scanners – running fast enough that if it's released, it'll be handy for 3D printing enthusiasts.…

'Web brothel' CEO, staff cuffed on prostitution rap – clue: the website is called Rentboy.com [The Register]

What next? CrackForSale.net? MethRus.org?

The New York City offices of Rentboy.com were raided by US federal agents on Tuesday – and several staff arrested including the chief exec. The website claims to be the world's largest online directory of male escorts.…

AT&T accused of Wi-Fi interception, ad injection [The Register]

Security? They've heard of it but don't seem in a rush to do it very well

AT&T has been accused of grabbing user traffic from its Wi-Fi hotspots for ad injection.…

Spanking Spam King: Sanford Wallace faces jail for Facebook flood [The Register]

Junk mail tycoon now looking at hard time

The Las Vegas man known as the "Spam King" is now facing a stretch behind bars after pleading guilty to spamming tens of millions of people on Facebook –despite being legally barred from doing so.…

Prof Hawking cracks riddle of black holes – which may be portals to other universes [The Register]

Top boffin reckons he's made a Quantum Leap of science

Professor Stephen Hawking thinks he has solved the 40-year-old information paradox – a conundrum of what happens to matter in black holes.…

A close look at NASA’s Orion spacecraft after its parachute test [The Verge - All Posts]

On Wednesday, NASA dropped a test version of its Orion spacecraft out of a military transport aircraft flying over the Arizona desert. During the fall, two of the capsule's parachutes were intentionally made to fail. It was a test to see if the Orion could still land gently when its systems malfunction — and it seems the vehicle passed.

NASA invited The Verge along to the Yuma Proving Ground, where this "drop test" took place. On Tuesday, we toured the C-17 aircraft that carried the Orion up to 35,000 feet. The next day we witnessed the spacecraft fall through the sky, before touching down on the desert surface.

Check out the experience in the pictures below.

Continue reading…

Samsung's latest tablet, the Galaxy Tab S2, is all about speed [The Verge - All Posts]

Today Samsung announced availability and pricing for the Tab S2, the company's next top-of-the-line tablet. Announced last month, the Tab S2 is the first "premium" Android tablet we've seen in some time. And with a 4:3 screen ratio, this is Samsung's closest direct match for the iPad yet — at least in terms of design. The front in particular resembles Apple's tablet, mostly thanks to the chamfered edges. Around back the Tab S2 isn't near