Football Sunday in America 08/28/16 - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse] [Ace of Spades HQ]

Good afternoon and welcome to Sunday Football in America. Unfortunately, Goodell and his NFL are leaving such a bad taste in my mouth it's going to be a challenge to enjoy the sport I love knowing I'm contributing in any...

Colin Kaepernick: The NFL's Newest Blithering Idiot [CBD] [Ace of Spades HQ]

CDR M touched on this last night, but there is nothing like pouring it on when the target is this easy to hit! I don't know who Clay Travis is, because I don't follow football much, and don't much like...

Sunday Morning Book Thread 08-28-2016: Stepping On Your Own [OregonMuse] [Ace of Spades HQ]

University of Washington's Suzzallo Library Graduate Reading Room (Look at that pic. Go on, click on it. It doesn't seem likely to me that that building started out as a library, much less a "graduate reading room". I wonder...

EMT 08/28/16 [krakatoa] [Ace of Spades HQ]

This is your last weekend before college football EMT....

Overnight Open Thread (27 Aug 2016) [Ace of Spades HQ]

Donald Trump reveals radical plan for a more powerful Air Force. Yes, it is satire but it had me rollin'....

What is “alt-Right” in this year’s election ? [Chicago Boyz]

There is a new theme for the Democrats in this year’s election. Hillary calls it the “Alt-Right.”

The New York Times is alarmed.

As Hillary Clinton assailed Donald J. Trump on Thursday for fanning the flames of racism embraced by the “alt-right,” the community of activists that tends to lurk anonymously in the internet’s dark corners could hardly contain its glee.

Mrs. Clinton’s speech was intended to link Mr. Trump to a fringe ideology of conspiracies and hate, but for the leaders of the alt-right, the attention from the Democratic presidential nominee was a moment in the political spotlight that offered a new level of credibility. It also provided a valuable opportunity for fund-raising and recruiting.

Jared Taylor, editor of the white nationalist publication American Renaissance, live-tweeted Mrs. Clinton’s remarks, questioning her praise of establishment Republicans and eagerly anticipating her discussion of his community.

According to Hillary and the Times, Donald Trump is defined by those who say they support him more than by what he says himself.

If Hillary and Bernie Sanders are supported by communists, does that make them communists ? This is an odd year and will get worse.

A better explanation of “alt-Right” is provided by two spokesmen for another view.

A specter is haunting the dinner parties, fundraisers and think-tanks of the Establishment: the specter of the “alternative right.” Young, creative and eager to commit secular heresies, they have become public enemy number one to beltway conservatives — more hated, even, than Democrats or loopy progressives.
The alternative right, more commonly known as the alt-right, is an amorphous movement. Some — mostly Establishment types — insist it’s little more than a vehicle for the worst dregs of human society: anti-Semites, white supremacists, and other members of the Stormfront set. They’re wrong.

I wasn’t even aware of this controversy until put up a post on the subject after Hillary raised it.

She quotes a man who was ejected from the Hillary speech.

“I call myself alt right because the conservative establishment right in this country does not represent my views, they are just as much to blame for the disaster taking place in America as the left, the alt right to me is fiscal responsibility, secure borders, enforcement of immigration laws, ending the PC culture, and promoting AMERICA FIRST (Not Sharia First)… If you come to this country legally, follow the laws, learn our language, and love the country, you are equal, no matter your color, or religion. Basically alt-right is to separate ourselves from the failing establishment right.

That post led to over 300 comments on her blog. She then posted a survey. The results were interesting.

alt-right poll

I voted for the choice “I’m most of all of what it stands for but I don’t use that term, myself.”

What is going on here? A comment on that post is about where I am.

As a longtime reader of John Derbyshire, I’m familiar with the term. I am in reluctant agreement with the alt-right contention that there is a genetic component to intelligence and other desirable human qualities, and that uncontrolled immigration and welfare handouts induce selective evolutionary pressure against these desirable traits, to the nation’s disadvantage.

This is, of course, shockingly racist by today’s standards. I am tranquil about that. The power-crazed Left is going to accuse white people of racism no matter what they say and do, and their outraged demands for more and more anti-white discrimination will only increase as the last vestiges of white supremacy dwindle. When everyone is “racist”, no one is really racist.

Derbyshire stirred up a hornet’s nest with his article on his advice to his children about race. Derbyshire’s children are Eurasian as his wife is Chinese. As a result of his article, he was fired by National Review, which has also been a hysterical opponent of Donald Trump. I have quit my subscription to NR as a result of that action plus their weak support of Mark Steyn whose writing has disappeared from their pages.

National Review attacked them as bitter members of the white working-class who worship “father-Führer” Donald Trump. Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast attacked Rush Limbaugh for sympathising with the “white supremacist alt-right.” BuzzFeed begrudgingly acknowledged that the movement has a “great feel for how the internet works,” while simultaneously accusing them of targeting “blacks, Jews, women, Latinos and Muslims.”

The amount of column inches generated by the alt-right is a testament to their cultural punch. But so far, no one has really been able to explain the movement’s appeal and reach without desperate caveats and virtue-signalling to readers.

I agree completely.

There are many things that separate the alternative right from old-school racist skinheads (to whom they are often idiotically compared), but one thing stands out above all else: intelligence. Skinheads, by and large, are low-information, low-IQ thugs driven by the thrill of violence and tribal hatred. The alternative right are a much smarter group of people — which perhaps suggests why the Left hates them so much. They’re dangerously bright.

I don’t disagree but there is an element of self congratulation in that and it approaches virtue signaling so common on the left.

What about the racial aspect ? Well those of us who read The Bell Curve 20 years ago know what reality is about race and intelligence.


This is reality. There is a similar distribution with Asians and Hispanics.


Asians have higher mean IQ than whites, who have higher mean IQ than blacks and Hispanics. That does not mean that all blacks are less intelligent or that all Asians are more intelligent. Genetics rules.

There is also the “Warrior Gene,” which is slightly more common in blacks.

In humans, there is a 30-base repeat sequence repeated in one of several different numbers of times in the promoter region of the gene coding for MAO-A. There are 2R (two repeats), 3R, 3.5R, 4R, and 5R variants of the repeat sequence, with the 3R and 4R variants most common in Caucasians. The 3.5R and 4R variants have been found to be more highly active than 3R or 5R, in a study which did not examine the 2R variant.[20] An association between the 2R allele of the VNTR region of the gene and an increase in the likelihood of committing serious crime or violence has been found.

What’s racial about that ?

Studies have found differences in the frequency distribution of variants of the MAOA gene between ethnic groups: of the participants, 59% of Black men, 54% of Chinese men, 56% of Maori men, and 34% of Caucasian men carried the 3R allele, while 5.5% of Black men, 0.1% of Caucasian men, and 0.00067% of Asian men carried the 2R allele.

The absence of fathers in the lives of black boys is probably a stronger determinant of adult behavior but there is a small genetic role.

What else is significant about alt-right people besides supporting Donald Trump?

Jonathan Haidt, a Professor of Psychology, has a theory.

In The Political Brain, Drew Westen points out that the Republicans have become the party of the sacred, appropriating not just the issues of God, faith, and religion, but also the sacred symbols of the nation such as the Flag and the military. The Democrats, in the process, have become the party of the profane—of secular life and material interests. Democrats often seem to think of voters as consumers; they rely on polls to choose a set of policy positions that will convince 51% of the electorate to buy. Most Democrats don’t understand that politics is more like religion than it is like shopping.

This is an interesting insight and goes along well with recent work by Thomas Frank, who got a lot of attention with his earlier book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas,” which alleged that poor voters were supporting causes that were not their own. His new book takes another look at the question.

Drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, they have scarcely dented the free-market consensus at all. This is not for lack of opportunity: Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming.

With his trademark sardonic wit and lacerating logic, Frank’s Listen, Liberal lays bare the essence of the Democratic Party’s philosophy and how it has changed over the years. A form of corporate and cultural elitism has largely eclipsed the party’s old working-class commitment, he finds.

Haidt has similar theories.

The conservative instinct, as described by Haidt, includes a preference for homogeneity over diversity, for stability over change, and for hierarchy and order over radical egalitarianism. Their instinctive wariness of the foreign and the unfamiliar is an instinct that we all share – an evolutionary safeguard against excessive, potentially perilous curiosity – but natural conservatives feel it with more intensity. They instinctively prefer familiar societies, familiar norms, and familiar institutions.

He has also studied the field of Social Psychology itself, and found a monolithic leftist orthodoxy.

But one key type of viewpoint diversity is lacking in academic psychology in general and social psychology in particular: political diversity. This article reviews the available evidence and finds support for four claims: (1) Academic psychology once had considerable political diversity, but has lost nearly all of it in the last 50 years. (2) This lack of political diversity can undermine the validity of social psychological science via mechanisms such as the embedding of liberal values into research questions and methods, steering researchers away from important but politically unpalatable research topics, and producing conclusions that mischaracterize liberals and conservatives alike. (3) Increased political diversity would improve social psychological science by reducing the impact of bias mechanisms such as confirmation bias, and by empowering dissenting minorities to improve the quality of the majority’s thinking. (4) The underrepresentation of non-liberals in social psychology is most likely due to a combination of self-selection, hostile climate, and discrimination. We close with recommendations for increasing political diversity in social psychology.

What has this to do with alt-right ?

For natural conservatives, culture, not economic efficiency, is the paramount value. More specifically, they value the greatest cultural expressions of their tribe. Their perfect society does not necessarily produce a soaring GDP, but it does produce symphonies, basilicas and Old Masters. The natural conservative tendency within the alt-right points to these apotheoses of western European culture and declares them valuable and worth preserving and protecting.

Needless to say, natural conservatives’ concern with the flourishing of their own culture comes up against an intractable nemesis in the regressive left, which is currently intent on tearing down statues of Cecil Rhodes and Queen Victoria in the UK, and erasing the name of Woodrow Wilson from Princeton in the U.S. These attempts to scrub western history of its great figures are particularly galling to the alt-right, who in addition to the preservation of western culture, care deeply about heroes and heroic virtues.

This follows decades in which left-wingers on campus sought to remove the study of “dead white males” from the focus of western history and literature curricula.

Immigration is a major concern of this group. Why ?

Certainly, the rise of Donald Trump, perhaps the first truly cultural candidate for President since Buchanan, suggests grassroots appetite for more robust protection of the western European and American way of life.

Alt-righters describe establishment conservatives who care more about the free market than preserving western culture, and who are happy to endanger the latter with mass immigration where it serves the purposes of big business, as “cuckservatives.”

Halting, or drastically slowing, immigration is a major priority for the alt-right. While eschewing bigotry on a personal level, the movement is frightened by the prospect of demographic displacement represented by immigration.

Trump is the candidate chiefly because of immigration, both illegal Hispanic and Muslim. The success of BREXIT is probably another example of the power of immigration as an issue to “Natural Conservatives” which are not the same as American “Cultural Conservatives,” which are mostly about religion, not culture.

Natural liberals, who instinctively enjoy diversity and are happy with radical social change – so long as it’s in an egalitarian direction – are now represented by both sides of the political establishment. Natural conservatives, meanwhile, have been slowly abandoned by Republicans — and other conservative parties in other countries. Having lost faith in their former representatives, they now turn to new ones — Donald Trump and the alternative right.

I am certainly not a member of the youth group that the authors say they represent but I am right with them in my sympathy.

Meet the Feebles [[Citation Needed]]

Like Henson’s Muppets, the Feebles are animal-figured puppets (plus some people in suits) who are members of a stage troupe. However, whereas Henson’s Muppets characterize positivity, naïve folly, and innocence, the Feebles present negativity, vice, and other misanthropic characteristics, apart, it could be argued, from Robert the hedgehog, who is portrayed as positive, innocent and naive.


The Talk Show: ‘I Do Feel the Pea’ [Daring Fireball]

New episode of my podcast, The Talk Show, with special guest Guy English. Topics include Tim Cook’s five year anniversary as Apple CEO, Steven Levy’s behind-the-scenes look at Apple’s AI and machine learning efforts, Apple’s decision to change the pistol emoji from a realistic revolver to a toy squirt gun, and the demise of Vesper. Also: our favorite Looney Tunes characters.

Sponsored by:

  • Casper: An obsessively engineered mattress at a shockingly fair price. Use code thetalkshow for $50 toward your mattress.
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  • Fracture: Your pictures, printed directly on glass.

Selfies in voting booths: Depending on where you live, they may be illegal [Ars Technica]

(credit: NicoleKlauss)

"Dude, check out who I voted for!"

We soon could be seeing a lot more selfies with that caption. That's because legislation legalizing ballot selfies in voting booths landed on California Gov. Jerry Brown's desk on Friday.

Assembly Bill 1494 amends California law that, for now, says "a voter shall not show" a ballot "to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents." The new law awaiting the governor's signature says "a voter may voluntarily disclose how he or she voted if that voluntary act does not violate any other law." The measure passed the state Senate earlier this year and the state Assembly last week on a 63-15 vote.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Enhanced DMV facial recognition technology helps NY nab 100 ID thieves [Ars Technica]

Enlarge (credit: New York State Department of Motor Vehicles)

In January, the New York State DMV enhanced its facial recognition technology by doubling the number of measurement points on a driver's photograph, a move the state's governor says has led to the arrest of 100 suspected identity thieves and opened 900 unsolved cases. In all, since New York implemented facial recognition technology in 2010, more than 14,000 people have been hampered trying to get multiple licenses.

The newly upgraded system increases the measurement points of a driver's license picture from 64 to 128. The DMV said this vastly improves its chances of matching new photographs with one already in a database of 16 million photos. As many as 8,000 new pictures are added each day.

"Facial recognition plays a critical role in keeping our communities safer by cracking down on individuals who break the law," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. "New York is leading the nation with this technology, and the results from our use of this enhanced technology are proof positive that its use is vital in making our roads safer and holding fraudsters accountable.”

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The saga of DC’s never-ending universe [Ars Technica]

(credit: DC Comics)

Any comics fan will tell you: DC has a reputation for rebooting its line often. With its headline-grabbing "New 52" initiative as recent example, the company seems to enjoy starting their stories from the beginning and discarding previously established continuity. Critics point to the company’s massive, universe-shattering crossover epics as prime examples: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis, and most recently Flashpoint, which ushered in that controversial New 52 era. This happens so much, many readers now treat the next reboot as inevitable.

It may come as a surprise, then, to hear the DC Universe (DCU) has never been rebooted. While the company has absolutely tweaked its continuity, there's never been a full reboot on the entire universe. Not once. Geoff Johns, DC’s Chief Creative Officer, recently remarked that the DCU has “an umbilical cord that goes all the way back to "Action Comics" #1, that connects the whole DC Universe." And that wasn’t just a catchy marketing phrase: it’s a fact.

This summer as DC rolled out its latest “Rebirth” line, which purports to restore lost connections to the past, it’s a good time to dive into the history of DC’s continuity and see how accurate Johns' remarks are. Has it really been one big story all along?

Read 47 remaining paragraphs | Comments


The following review/Q and A is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Way Of The Reaper by Nicholas Irving is presented in a similar fashion to the old TV Combat series. Readers can experience the dangers of the mission that snipers must face, seeing the war through a sniper’s scope. They are also being placed in the heart of the battle. The book confirms the US military values of honor, courage, loyalty, and commitment. Nicholas Irving spent six years in the Army's Special Operations 3rd Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, serving from demolitions assaulter to Master Sniper. He was the first African American to serve as a sniper in his battalion. He set a record for enemy kills on a single mission, killing 33 over a four-month period. This book is the sequel to the New York Times bestseller, The Reaper, where he recounts his ten greatest sniper kill missions. Readers will get an insight into the art of being a sniper: the necessity of support from the intelligence reports to his own reconnaissance, and the skills needed of determining trajectory, wind, and distance. He noted to blackfive.net, “We use the same skills as an athlete, observing closely and making educated guesses. A baseball hitter must guess the pitch location and type. A chess player must be three moves ahead to anticipate their opponent’s moves. We block out the senses and focus like athletes block out the crowd.” As with American Sniper’s Chris Kyle, Irving makes no apologies for taking the life of someone who is threatening his fellow soldiers, and agrees with Kyle that he sees himself as a guardian angel sent to protect his teammates. He told blackfive.net, “I actually refer to myself as ‘the mother hen.’ I was given the nickname of the Reaper because I batted 1000 in hitting my targets. My peers saw me as ‘the Angel of Death.’ The motto that snipers live by is ‘without warning; without remorse.’ We are hidden and there is no warning when we will fire and I do not feel bad about it. For me, I never worried if the bad guys are wearing a protective vest because of the high caliber rounds. If they have a vest my attitude was, ‘there is no such thing as a bulletproof facemask.’” He also explains in the book how those fighting are disgusted with political correctness. Speaking about someone in his unit who was wounded, Irving observed “how we treated their wounded (The Taliban) and how they would most likely let us suffer and then die a horribly painful death.” It should make Americans wonder if the rules of engagement are one-sided, putting the enemy ahead of our own military personnel. This book has interesting and gritty stories about his time as a direct action sniper. Readers get to feel they are part of the battles as if they were Irving’s spotter.


The following review/Q and A is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Sorrow Road by Julia Keller is an excellent title for this story. Most of the characters have some dysfunctional issue going on in their lives, whether overcoming PTSD, having to handle a parent with Alzheimer’s, or abuse within a family. Keller brilliantly explores these issues within a riveting mystery, tying up loose ends as the story concludes. This series started when Bell Elkins abandoned her husband and high stress job in Washington DC to become the prosecutor of a made up town in Ackers Gap, Raythune County, West Virginia. In this installment, one of her high school classmates, Darlene, returns to her home town, to ask Bell to look into her father’s suspicious death at an old age home. After a worker at Thornapple Terrace Senior Citizen Home is murdered along with her best friend, Bell suspects another connection. Her investigation unravels a relationship and secrets kept between Darlene’s father and his two childhood friends. Readers will enjoy this story about ‘three boys’ who fought in World War II to the present day where their children are facing parents with Alzheimer’s. Keller believes “the three boys” are a reflection “of the boys and girls from small towns in our heartland that fought and won America’s wars. They sacrificed the rich part of their lives for our country. The photo I used in the book was from my mother’s husband who fought in World War II. He told the story of how he and his friends were on a battleship in Normandy, but the day after the battle. I found it fascinating they were there, but the day following the big event.” Having been born and bred in West Virginia, Keller is able to write potent scenes about this state that are intertwined within the plot. West Virginia looms larger than life as the author describes the economic hardships of the residents, the roads, weather, and history, balancing the physical beauty with the many problems. As with everyday life the characters in this story have their past affecting how they deal with the present. Bell, abused as a child, has these past memories haunting her, sometimes putting her relationship with a younger man into disarray. Carla realizes she can no longer suppress the hideous memories of her good friend being killed as well as her being kidnapped. The retired Sherriff, Nick Fogelsony, is attempting to recover from a gunshot wound and his wife’s emotional handicap. Darlene has become an alcoholic to withdraw from who she has become. Finally, a daughter is trying to come to grips with the ravages of Alzheimer’s that have left her father’s memory clear of the abuses he inflicted on his children. The Alzheimer’s theme is important to her because “I have been obsessed with memory. Someone once told me this quote, ‘Memories are the bones of thought.’ There are just so many variables about it we do not understand. I am one of those people who believe the past lives within us and we never leave it behind. I wanted to explore what happens when a person has lost their memory; can they be blamed for whatever grievance was inflicted by them? We have older people in the world to teach us patience. Making sure they are cared for takes the spotlight away from us. Anyone with an older parent understands how it is a whole different way of looking at the world. Alzheimer’s is such a national part of our landscape and is a national issue on how we will take care of people inflicted with it.” There are two powerful quotes that reflect on the parent-child relationship. “Just as she had done when Carla was an infant…She was able to keep her daughter safe, even for just a few hushed hours, deep in a winter’s night.” AND “The guilt that burned and surged and twisted inside you because you so futilely wished you’d done more for your loved one…wished you stopped in more often and paid better attention when you did, wished you hugged him just once more during that last visit, and told him just one more time that you loved him.” The first quote was based on how “my sister and her daughter react toward one another. The mother never goes out of you. They never lose that feeling of keeping a child safe even when they are grown and out of your control. This is one of my favorite scenes. Beth was holding her daughter Carla and at that moment she is safe in her mom’s arms.” While the second quote came from “my anticipatory guilt of my mom dying. I can’t leave my mom’s visits early because I don’t want to look back and regret something. Although, I do think most people will look back with some kind of regret or guilt.” Sorrow Road has the themes of good versus evil, revenge verses forgiveness, and love versus murder. In this tale of memory and family the story is relatable and believable, and the West Virginia setting fits perfectly into this mystery.

Star and Co-Writer of Slave Revolt Movie Were Accused of Raping Girl in College [The Other McCain]

Nate Parker (left) and Jean Celestin (right) were Penn State wrestling teammates. A much-praised new movie about an 1831 slave revolt, which had been considered a possible Oscar contender, is in trouble because of revelations that the film’s star and director was accused of raping an 18-year-old college student in 1999. Birth of a Nation […]

Behavior Matters: Why ‘Rape Culture’ Rhetoric Is Dangerous Hate Propaganda [The Other McCain]

  Feminist “rape culture” discourse “brands half the human race — males, and especially white males — as rapists or rape facilitators,” Wendy McElroy says in her new book, Rape Culture Hysteria: Fixing the Damage Done to Men and Women. By falsely claiming that there is a “campus rape epidemic” at U.S. colleges and universities, feminists […]

Let's talk Alt-Wrong [halls of macadamia]

I made sure I was personally on hand in Reno to hear Hillary Clinton’s lies, wearing my Breitbart shirt.

Here are the 20 worst lies in her speech, in chronological order.

RELATED: Wait a minute...
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has received more than $20,000 in donations contributed by members of the Ku Klux Klan, a prominent member of the hate group said Monday. “For the KKK, Clinton is our choice,” said Will Quigg, California Grand Dragon for the Loyal White Knights.

"We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe.... Our zoo family is still healing..." [Althouse]

"... and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us," said Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo.

For example, replying to a Twitter post about zebras and their unique stripes, one user wrote: “U had a unique way of killing Harambe.”

On a post celebrating Elephant Day, another wrote: “Harambe loved elephants.”
Maynard's request for sympathy for the humans only encouraged the memesters, and Thane and the Zoo ended up deleting their Twitter accounts. 
Depending on how the meme is used, #JusticeforHarambe can either be associated with a petition with nearly 500,000 signatures that seeks to hold the boy’s parents responsible for his wandering into the exhibit, or serve as a launching pad for jokes that lampoon activism, according to Ryan Milner, an assistant professor of communications at the College of Charleston and the author of the coming book “The World Made Meme.”
Ironically, "The World Made Meme" is only available in hardcover. It is "invaluable to internet scholars" — did you know such creatures roam the earth? — according to the author of "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things/Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture."

A study of how young adults make the decision to go childless child-free. [Althouse]

"Blackstone and Stewart went with a qualitative approach, asking evocative, open-ended questions to 21 women and 10 men who have chosen not to have kids...."

A couple chords were struck again and again in people’s reasoning. Many saw their siblings or close friends have kids and decided that it was not something they wanted to arrange their lives around. The men tended toward individualized decision-making, noting that they wouldn’t be able to travel or pursue other meaningful projects.... Women were more outwardly focused in their decision-making, referencing how having kids would alter their adult relationships or contribute to overpopulation and other environmental impacts, or that the world as it is isn’t hospitable to new children. The authors reason that the outward-facing decision-making for women may be a result of the greater cultural pressure on them to reproduce.
We don't really learn what people think from what they say, only how they choose to talk about it. Why can't women, like men, just admit they want to keep more of their time and money for themselves? Or why don't men feel more of a need to couch their selfishness in terms of doing good for others and for the world?
It should be noted that a study at this scale is limited: It’s homogeneous in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation, and it would be super-useful to have more research done around how people of different identities decide whether to have kids, especially since birthrates, at a macro level, are so strongly correlated with education: The better educated people are, the fewer kids they have. 
That's a hell of a sentence. New York Magazine. What do you think of 2 colons in the same sentence? I don't think this author really thought about it. It looks more like he just kept this one sentence going so long that he forgot about the first one. And it's kind of sad to see a science writer trying to spice up the boring demand for more research with the childish "super-useful" and the righteous plea for more diversity. And by the way, this locution is silly: "The better educated people are, the fewer kids they have." You can't have any fewer than zero children. Get all the PhDs you want, you can't have negative numbers of kids.

"'Babies"' made from flour sacks or eggshells have been used for to teach children about the responsibilities of parenthood..." [Althouse]

"... but a new study using lifelike simulated babies in Western Australian schools had a surprising result: girls enrolled in the Virtual Infant Parenting Program (VIP) were twice as likely to give birth in their teens."

A Metafilter discussion that includes this comment:

This American Life had a segment about robot babies where (spoiler alert!) one of the teenagers turned out to have a better opinion of pregnancy and childrearing after her experience. Turns out the producer of that segment [Hillary Frank] wrote about the Lancet study two days ago.
From that last link (to the Hillary Frank piece):
17% of the intervention (robot babies) group had teen pregnancies; while 11% of the control group had teen pregnancies....
Was there evidence that the simulators made teens interested in becoming moms? Or less afraid of accidental pregnancy? [Dr. Sally] Brinkman said there was no way to know the answer to this question. The study was designed to track pregnancy, not whether the pregnancies were intended or unintended. But, she added, they did study the pregnancy termination rate in both groups. And the group that got the infant simulators had a 6% lower proportion of abortions, compared with the control group. But, of course, there’s no way to really know if that lower rate means the girls who experienced the infant simulators felt more comfortable with the idea of becoming moms....
The robot baby program was designed to push teenage girls to avoid pregnancy. They're supposed to see how much trouble it is to be woken up and to hear the crying and have to feed a baby. The study is especially bad news for the company that makes the robots... unless there are schools somewhere that think it would be a good idea to convince young people to accept the responsibilities of parenthood. We might be need that one day... as more and more young people resist the lure of babies and devote themselves to education and career launching and get used to the convenience and unshared wealth of life without children.

Poll results... [Althouse]

I assume some of the 2% in that last category are pranksters screwing up the poll. And yet maybe some of the people in the second-to-last category are racists trying to hide it.

Picnic Point, a little while ago. [Althouse]


You can talk about whatever you want in the comments.

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

I think so, Brain … nobody said this was easy, and nobody is right.

JunoCam [hogewash]

Junocam 21060827The Juno spacecraft’s JunoCam took this picture of Jupiter yesterday from a range of about 700,000 km as the spacecraft was moving in for its first close flyby of the planet.

Image Credit: NASA

Login [hogewash]

2016 AUG 28 00:42:51 UTC Home Page

UPDATE—2016 AUG 28 04:44:13 UTC Home Page

UPDATE 2—2016 AUG 28 13:59:33 UTC Home Page
2016 AUG 28 14:43:49 UTC Home Page

UPDATE 3—2016 AUG 28 20:12:41 UTC Home Page

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

I think so, Brain … but will the crocodiles drink Gatorade?

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day [hogewash]

When the Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin and The Dreadful Pro-Se Freeloader Schmalfeldt have been plaintiffs in their various LOLsuits, they have been the sole party on their side of those cases. Now, they are joint defendants along with other individuals.

popcorn4bkBefore, they didn’t have to consider anyone else’s interests. Now, they have co-defendants whose interests may conflict with theirs. Indeed, the interests TDPK and TDFS are in conflict on some issues. It will be interesting to see how they undercut each other as things go forward.

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

Quote of the Day [hogewash]

They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.

—Francis Bacon

Blogsmoke [hogewash]



ANNOUNCER: (VOICE OVER MUSIC) Around Twitter Town and in the territory of the net—there’s just one way to handle the harassers and the stalkers—and that’s with an Internet Sheriff and the smell of “BLOGSMOKE”!


ANNOUNCER: “BLOGSMOKE” starring W. J. J. Hoge. The story of the trolling that moved into the young Internet—and the story of a man who moved against it. (MUSIC: OUT)

JOHN: I’m that man, John Hoge, Internet Sheriff—the first man they look for and the last they want to meet. It’s a chancy job—and it makes a man watchful … and a little lonely.


JOHN: I was sipping a cup of coffee in the break area and enjoying the peace and quiet when a few other characters began coming in.

SOUND: Coins in vending machine slot. Button pushed. Rattling delivery of a drink.

PINKY: Howdy, Sheriff.

SOUND: Pop top can opens.

PINKY: Mind if I join you?

JOHN: No. Have a seat. How’s it going?

SOUND: Coffee pot picked up and set down.

BRAIN: Am I the only one who makes coffee around here!?!

JOHN: Sorry, Brain. I was going to make a fresh pot just before I left.

BRAIN: Never mind. I’ll do it.

PINKY: Everything’s just about normal for me. This isn’t a bad gig, just two bits of brilliant commentary a day. How about you?

SOUND: Cupboard doors opened and closed.

JOHN: This BLOGSMOKE schtick was a bit of a surprise. The whole thing spun out of a lame attempt by Bunny Boy to insult this blog. I suppose it’s going OK, but I think Johnny Atsign has is more popular with the readers.

BRAIN: Looks like we don’t have anything in the cupboard except Kona coffee.

JOHN: So who’s complaining?

PINKY: I’m not, but I miss having Blue Mountain as well.

ANNOUNCER: Hey, is there any coffee left?

BRAIN: I’m just making a fresh pot.

ANNOUNCER: Well, in that case I’ll do my thing while it’s brewing.


ANNOUNCER: Yep. We take coffee breaks here at Hogewash!, and when we do, we use the Team Lickspittle Stackable Mugs that are kept in our break area. You can get a set for yourself, but only from The Hogewash Store. Stop by today and spend some of your hard-earned cash in support of the Team. You can also support the Team by hitting the Tip Jar or by doing you Amazon shopping via the link on the Home page.


SMITH: Hi, guys!

JOHN: Hey, Liz, what are you doing here? This is BLOGNET’s week off.

SMITH: Joe and I just got back from running down some leads out of town, and I came by the office to pick up some stuff I left in my desk.

JOHN: Uh, huh. Do you think that part of your case will break in time for next week’s episode?

LIZ: I think so, but Joe doesn’t. We’ve bet lunch on it.

PINKY: What about that hearing you covered last week, Sheriff?

JOHN: There’s a second shoe to drop on that one, but I don’t have a read on the timing yet. That depends on when the judge decides to decide.

SOUND: Soft beep

BRAIN: OK. The coffee’s ready. Who wants some?


ANNOUNCER: (VOICE OVER MUSIC) Even with a good imagination, we can’t come up with stories as strange as The Bomber and his buddies provide for episodes of “BLOGSMOKE”!


ANNOUNCER: The Legal Department wishes the following declaimer read: “‘BLOGSMOKE’ is a work of fiction. Anyone who feels it might be about him should read Proverbs 28:1.” Be sure to tune in on Monday at 6 pm Eastern Time for the next intriguing episode of “Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign,” and join us again every Friday at 6 for alternating episodes “BLOGSMOKE” and “Blognet.” This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System.

Logins [hogewash]

2016 AUG 26 02:00:58 UTC Home Page
2016 AUG 26 02:01:08 UTC Home Page
2016 AUG 26 02:08:49 UTC Home Page

UPDATE—2016 AUG 26 04:14:13 UTC Home Page

UPDATE 2—2016 AUG 26 11:21:45 UTC Home Page
2016 AUG 26 11:24:08 UTC Home Page

UPDATE 3—2016 AUG 26 15:00:09 UTC Home Page
2016 AUG 26 18:13:14 UTC Home Page

UPDATE 4—2016 AUG 26 19:33:06 UTC Home Page
2016 AUG 26 20:09:08 UTC Home Page

UPDATE 5—2016 AUG 26 22:15:22 UTC Home Page

CNN attacks Associated Press report on Hillary’s Clinton Foundation meetings [Top Picks – Hot Air]

Last week the Associated Press published a story based on Hillary Clinton’s meetings while Secretary of State. What the AP found was that more than half of the individuals Clinton met with from private interests were Clinton Foundation donors:

At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.

Friday, CNN’s Dylan Byers wrote a story titled, “Associated Press botches Hillary Clinton report and response.” Given that headline you’d expect the story to offer a pretty thorough argument that the AP botched the report. But that’s not the case. Byers focuses most of his attention on a tweet put out by the AP about the story:

This tweet is misleading because it doesn’t tell readers that we’re only talking about a subset of Clinton’s meetings while Secretary, those from outside interests. That might have been okay if the tweet had included a link to the full story but it didn’t. Byers quotes a journalism professor saying the tweet was in error:

“The AP’s social-media take on the story was seriously flawed,” David Boardman, the Dean of the School of Media and Communication at Temple University and former editor of the Seattle Times, told CNNMoney. “It’s sloppy, click-grabbing shorthand that is a disservice to the reporting to which it refers.”

Fair enough. The tweet was a problem. So what about the story itself? Well, here again, Byers suggests the AP really blew it:

Meanwhile, other news organizations pilloried the AP’s report.

The Washington Post Fact-Checker wrote that there were “many more nuanced and important details in the story that are being misrepresented — by the AP’s own promotional tweet, and by Trump.”

The way this is written most readers would assume the Post’s Fact-Checker is exhibit A of news organizations who “pilloried the AP’s report.” But that’s not the case at all. If you follow the link and actually read the Post’s story you’ll see it’s a fact check of Donald Trump, not of the AP’s story. Even the line Byers quotes is critical of the AP’s tweet but not of the story it was based on. But most people won’t follow the link or read the story they’ll probably just assume the Post pilloried the AP.

Keep in mind, Byers is blasting the AP for putting out a misleading tweet which didn’t give readers a clear understanding of what the story actually said. And yet here he is not giving his own readers a clear understanding of what the the Post’s Fact-Checker said. It’s the same mistake. Byers continues:

Vox’s Matthew Yglesias was more direct: “The AP’s big exposé on Hillary meeting with Clinton Foundation donors is a mess,” his headline read.

And that’s all the evidence Byers offers that the AP botched its report, one link to a progressive news site. Even the expert Byers quoted earlier in the piece says Yglesias is overplaying his hand:

Boardman argued that the story itself “was not nearly so flawed as Yglesias and others have charged.”

Byers deserves credit for including the quote undercutting Vox in his piece but, looking at the material he assembled for this story, the entire piece could just as easily have been framed as ‘the AP botched a tweet but not the underlying report.’ It’s what the journalism dean told him. It’s what the Post’s Fact-Checker seemed to say. I understand reporters often don’t write their own headlines but then they probably don’t write their own tweets either. The headline of Byers’ piece is every bit as bad as the AP tweet he is blasting for inaccuracy.

The post CNN attacks Associated Press report on Hillary’s Clinton Foundation meetings appeared first on Hot Air.

Colin Kaepernick is well within his rights to not stand for National Anthem [Top Picks – Hot Air]

There’s plenty of negative reaction to Colin Kaepernick’s decision to no longer stand for the National Anthem. One 49ers fan posted a video of him burning a Kaepernick jersey while listening to the National Anthem (a very clever protest, if you ask me). Others have criticized him for complaining about oppression even though he makes $128M. James Woods accused the NFL of having a double standard because of their decision to not punish Kaepernick, whilst telling the Dallas Cowboys their “arm in arm” helmet decal was a “no go.” These are all valid criticisms, but there’s more to the Kaepernick protest.

AP speculated Kaepernick hadn’t been paying attention to racial issues before 2013, and he’s probably right. But the issue may have to do more with San Francisco Police’s poor relationship with minority communities, than policing as a whole. There have been several high-profile police-involved killings in the last six months, including the December 2015 shooting of Mario Woods. Woods was a slashing suspect who police shot shot 20 times (video is NSFW) while he was standing against a wall. Police Chief Greg Suhr ended up resigning in May after an officer shot a woman to death because she was in a stolen car. There’s no evidence officers were ever in danger, and all the police said was she wasn’t listening to orders. The woman shouldn’t have lost her life, and police probably should have been able to take Woods into custody without the confrontation ending in gunfire.

It wasn’t just these two situations which caused strains between police and the community. SFPD had a racist text scandal, which came to light after a cop’s rape arrest. Here’s what San Francisco Chronicle reported back in April:

The messages are loaded with slurs and ugly stereotypes, and include one from an officer responding to a photo of a blackened Thanksgiving turkey. “Is that a Ferguson turkey?” the officer asks, referring to the city in Missouri that saw widespread protests after police fatally shot an unarmed African American man in 2014. ..

Some of the messages, which include derogatory and at times threatening statements toward black, Latino, Indian, transgender and gay people, were released by Public Defender Jeff Adachi on Tuesday, when he announced that his office was reviewing more than 200 cases that the officers’ bias may have tainted and may need to be dismissed…

The bigoted text messages were the second set to emerge from the police force. Last year, texts allegedly exchanged among 14 officers in 2012 were made public through federal court filings. The earlier batch was discovered by authorities looking into allegations that plainclothes San Francisco officers divided up money found during searches of drug dealers.

It’s completely possible these incidents tainted Kaepernick’s views of police and the nation. It’s possible he became disillusioned by everything he’s seen and decided it’s time to start protesting. It doesn’t mean his decision to not stand for the National Anthem is the right form of protest. New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz has some rather thoughtful criticism of Kaepernick’s decision (via USA Today):

“I think, personally, the flag is the flag. Regardless of how you feel about the things that are going on in America today and the things that are going on across the world with gun violence and things like that. You’ve got to respect the flag and stand up with your teammates. It’s bigger than just you, in my opinion. I think you go up there. You’re with your team, and you pledge your allegiance to the flag and the national anthem as a team, and then you go about your business, whatever your beliefs are. Colin is his own man. He decided to sit down and sit out and that’s his prerogative. But from a personal standpoint, I think you have to stand out there with your team and understand that this is a game and understand that what’s going on in the country.”

Cruz has a point, as do all the others calling Kaepernick’s decision, “disrespectful.” At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with Kaepernick saying he won’t stand for the National Anthem. He’s covered by the First Amendment, meaning no government entity should try to force him to stand up. The 49ers can choose to fine or suspend him, because they are a private entity, but I don’t think they should because it only makes the situation an even bigger deal. This reminds me a lot of Tim Thomas’ decision to not attend the White House in 2012 because of his criticism over the federal government. It’s within Thomas’ right to do it, but I don’t think it’s the right way to go about it. Thomas wasn’t punished by either the NHL or the Bruins, and Kaepernick shouldn’t be either. He probably should have considered a different form of protest, but he didn’t do anything “legally wrong.” The court of public opinion will be (already is) weighing in, which will ultimately be the judge.

The post Colin Kaepernick is well within his rights to not stand for National Anthem appeared first on Hot Air.

Kellyanne Conway on immigration: Hey, Trump hasn’t talked about a deportation force since November [Top Picks – Hot Air]

Jim Geraghty’s been needling Obama for the past eight years by noting how all of his promises seem to come with expiration dates. Fast-forward to 2016 and we’ve got another candidate promising a new age of Hope and dramatic political Change, who’s planning to go to Washington and smash the Obama way of doing things. And here’s his campaign manager warning Chris Wallace … not to get hung up on campaign promises he made nine months ago. We’re off to a bad start on the era of bold action and accountability.

The immigration bit runs from 1:45 to 6:10 of the clip below. The amnesty follies of the past week have been alternately amusing and exasperating, with Trump seemingly moving off of his original position of mass deportation towards amnesty for nonviolent illegals, then shifting back to demanding that they leave the country in order to qualify for touchback amnesty but insisting it’ll be done fairly and “humanely” and likely won’t involve any special “deportation force.” Why does Trump’s position seem to be in flux? If you believe WaPo, it’s because he’s easily influenced: “Trump tends to echo the words of the last person with whom he spoke, making direct access to him even more valuable,” according to sources who have been part of the campaign’s internal discussions on immigration. Reportedly it’s a tug of war between Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, and Roger Ailes in the “softening” camp and Jeff Sessions and Steve Bannon, among others, on the border hawk side. Sounds like the first group was whispering in Trump’s ear earlier this week, then the second group started whispering later on.

Between watching the clip below, Conway’s other interview this morning with “Face the Nation,” and Chris Christie’s comments about Trump’s immigration plan on “This Week,” a few things seem increasingly clear:

1. For understandable reasons, they really don’t want to talk about legalization any more than they have to. As you’ll see, Wallace had to follow up with Conway several times before he got a straight answer out of her. Left to their druthers, I’m sure Trump and his team would prefer to simply say “we’ll see” when it comes to nonviolent illegals. And that’s the de facto policy, I think — we’ll see. (Or, as Trump put it, “There is a very good chance the answer could be yes.”) Let’s worry first about better enforcement and deporting criminal illegals, which are big enough tasks. (Trump and his surrogates have smartly emphasized at every turn this week that their main concern is violent offenders.) As for the non-criminals? They’ll get back to you.

2. There’s no more “deportation force.” Trump and Conway have been in sync over the past few days in stressing that any deportations that happen will be done through normal means, including ICE and local law enforcement. “Enforce the laws we have” is the new rallying cry. Is self-deportation part of that strategy too, John Dickerson asked Conway on “Face the Nation”? She dodged and essentially said Trump will work with the relevant government agencies to make sure they’re doing their jobs in removing people. But if he is true to his word on better internal enforcement, especially with E-Verify, then some self-deportation will naturally follow.

3. Conway seems pretty clear at 4:30 below that illegals will have to leave the country in order to qualify for legalization. Does that mean a touchback amnesty, in which they leave briefly and then return? Or does it mean they leave, get comfortable in Mexico, and wait year after year for their application to be approved like legal immigrants to the U.S. typically do? “He has said if you want to be here legally, you have to apply to be here legally,” she told Dickerson. “We all learned in kindergarten to stand in line and wait our turn and he is not talking about a deportation force.” I’m going to translate that too as “We’ll see.” The time an illegal would need to wait beyond America’s borders before being readmitted would obviously be a bargaining chip in negotiating an immigration deal with Congress.

4. Both Conway and Christie made a point of noting that, whatever Trump ends up doing on immigration, it’ll certainly be superior to Hillary Clinton’s amnesty plans. Hard to argue with that. Hillary’s promising executive amnesty to any illegal who brings a child with them. There’s no reason to believe she’ll do anything meaningful on border security or internal enforcement. The argument for Trump on immigration is the same as the argument for Trump on appointing Supreme Court justices: No matter how bad he ends up being, it’s a cinch that he’ll be better than the alternative. Fair enough, but I’d make two points in reply. One: Arguably the odds of a durable legislative amnesty happening are higher with Trump as president than with Hillary in the White House. If President Clinton asks Paul Ryan for a deal that would amnestize millions of illegals, the pressure on him from grassroots Republicans to hold the line will be tremendous. If President Trump asks for him a similar deal, the base will be conflicted and neutered. Two: As my pal Karl says, the argument that “Hillary is worse” can be used to justify any prospective Trump sellout on any issue, no matter how dear to the base. Any Trump cave, on guns, abortion, immigration, refugees, you name it, can plausibly be spun as better than what we’d have gotten with Clinton as president. I thought the whole point of nominating Trump, though, was that he doesn’t cave. He has balls of steel; he’ll stare down Schumer and get those candy-ass Democrats to do what he wants. If the case for Trump now boils down to “well, he’ll be a bit better than Hillary Clinton would,” that’s a pitiful deterioration in the Trump mystique. And it leaves you with the question of why, say, Ted Cruz or John Kasich were less acceptable to Trump voters than Trump was. If all you want is a Republican who’ll deliver a bit more than Hillary will, literally any Republican candidate was as good as another.

The post Kellyanne Conway on immigration: Hey, Trump hasn’t talked about a deportation force since November appeared first on Hot Air.

Yes, Clinton foundation donors had direct access to the State Department [Top Picks – Hot Air]

Jonathan Karl at ABC News has an exclusive report this weekend which should prove to be information fully as shocking and groundbreaking as a revelation that water is wet. A number of new emails from the State Department show without a doubt that generous donors to the Clinton Foundation were able to have their requests for access to the Secretary of State or high power affairs organized through that department channeled directly to the folks in charge while Hillary Clinton was in office. I know… I know… you’ll need a moment to recover from the shock. (ABC News)

A series of newly released State Department emails obtained by ABC News offers fresh insight on direct contact between the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s inner circle while she was Secretary of State.

The emails -– released as part of a public records lawsuit by conservative group Citizens United and shared exclusively with ABC — reveal what the group claims is new evidence Foundation allies received special treatment. [Read the emails here.]

In one December 2010 email chain with Clinton’s closest aide Huma Abedin, then-top Clinton Foundation official Doug Band offers names for a State Department lunch with Chinese President Hu Jintao scheduled for January 2011.

On the list were three executives from organizations that have donated millions to the Clinton Foundation: Bob McCann, the then-president of wealth management at UBS; Dr. Judith Rodin, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation; and Hikmet Ersek, the CEO of Western Union.

In the end, whether these people received any direct favors may prove nearly impossible to establish, but that’s not really the question. It would be a foolish politician indeed who would ever draw up a document saying that if you give millions to their family’s foundation they’ll do you this or that favor using the power of their office. The Clintons may be many things, but they’re not that stupid or they’d never have risen as high as they have. There’s also a standing defense available to them by simply saying that the favorable action was one which they were already considering anyway and they’d have done it with or without some particular meeting or donation.

But when it comes to earning the trust of the American voters, such verbal gymnastics aren’t really where we draw the line. Don’t come around peeing on our legs and then tell us it’s raining. Influence peddling is much like the old Supreme Court definition of pornography when it comes to this discussion. We know it when we see it.

By way of defense, Team Clinton is rolling out the same few lines they have available to them. One is the argument that the number of private donors who received such preferential treatment is only a tiny portion of the total number of people who had business with the State Department. That’s very true, but the vast bulk of the rest of them were all ambassadors and diplomats at various levels from around the world. Nobody is asking questions about those meetings because when you’re in charge of the State Department that’s your job. It would be more alarming if officials from France, China, South Africa or wherever couldn’t get a meeting.

This investigation deals with the far smaller number of people who come from the private sector, both in the United States and abroad, who sought face time with influencers via the State Department. And a significant portion of those just happened to be Clinton Foundation donors. This leads to the second line of defense offered up by Clinton’s people.

When asked about the apparent involvement of a top Clinton Foundation official in requesting invitations for guests for State Department functions, spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told ABC News: “The State Department does not believe it is inappropriate for the administration to consider individuals suggested by outside organizations when deciding who to invite to an official function.”

Well, it’s certainly not illegal. I suppose “inappropriate” will remain in the eye of the beholder, or at least the ones who vote. But it’s worth noting that nobody is asking about “individuals suggest by outside organizations” unless the the outside organization in question just happens to be run by the Secretary of State and her husband.

I continue to find it amazing that we’re even having this conversation. These people really have no sense of shame.


The post Yes, Clinton foundation donors had direct access to the State Department appeared first on Hot Air.

Chris Christie blames self-serve gas law on women not wanting to pump gas [Top Picks – Hot Air]

For someone who ran what I personally thought was a fairly good presidential campaign, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie still manages to put his sizable foot in his mouth on a regular basis for no apparent reason. As one of the few remaining native Republicans in the Garden State, Christie has attempted to do his part to curb government regulations where they run amuck, but there are limits to how much can be done in a state equally divided between liberal Democrats and really liberal Democrats. The latest subject in this particular discussion focuses on one of the more superfluous arguments in modern politics, but one which still rankles many visitors to the state. New Jersey is the last state in the nation where it’s illegal to pump your own gas when you go to fill up your car.

Why? That’s a great question and I’m sure there’s an answer out there somewhere, but it’s probably not the one that the Governor decided to highlight during a press availability this week. It’s illegal, according to Christie, because the ladies don’t want to get of the car and operate the pumps. (Philly Voice)

Ah, self-serve gas. New Jersey is the last state in the entire nation to make it illegal for residents to pump their own fuel into their own vehicles after Oregon lifted its ban on a 64-year-old tradition last year.

Christie said the only reason the state keeps the rule is because New Jerseyans want it to stick around, NJ.com reported.

And, it’s mostly women who prefer for someone else to do the work for them, he said.

“This is an incredible gender issue,” Christie said at the meeting and NJ.com reported. “We polled this over and over. The last poll we did on this question, 78 percent of New Jersey women said they were opposed to self-serve gas. 78 percent! You can’t find 78 percent of people in New Jersey who agree on anything!”

As government regulations go, this is one of the more idiotic ones on record. I’m sure there was a time when a gas pump was considered a potentially dangerous piece of newfangled technology which should only be entrusted to expert hands lest the hoi polloi set the town ablaze. But for a long time now they’ve been about as safe as any device intended to move a flammable substance could be. I suppose if you took a poll of who does or doesn’t want to pump their own gas, women might come out more strongly against it to some degree based on baked in cultural norms or their tendency to dress better (and more expensively) than men, but why on Earth would a politician bring that up? It’s a pointless, self-inflicted wound. Of course, Christie may very soon be out of politics permanently so it probably doesn’t matter.

But why can’t New Jersey’s legislature just get rid of the law? The free market can readily address any remaining issues. Nobody is asking for a law prohibiting a service attendant from pumping your gas… they just want options. In most states you can readily find a full service pump if you wish, but the self-service ones tend to be a bit cheaper. That’s just economics 101. Wouldn’t the legislature want to give people the chance to save a few bucks?

The New Jersey State Animal is the horse. Perhaps they should just go back to an equine based transportation system.


The post Chris Christie blames self-serve gas law on women not wanting to pump gas appeared first on Hot Air.

Sunday reflection: Luke 14:1, 7–14 [Top Picks – Hot Air]

This morning’s Gospel reading is Luke 14:1, 7–14:

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

My wife and I have shared a joke for many years about bragging and humility. I’ll kid her about being the greatest at something, and she’ll kid back about my humbleness. I then tell her, “Humility runs in our family … if it didn’t, we’d hunt it down and kill it.” That’s not true at all in either of our families, of course, which is why we find these exchanges so funny. We both come from families where unassuming natures predominate, and we live in an area of the country now where that’s far more the norm than the exception.

All of our readings today touch on the concept of humility. In Sirach 3, the reading reminds us to “conduct your affairs with humility,” and to “humble yourself the more the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.” Paul writes to the Hebrews somewhat more obliquely on humility by reminding them that the new covenant brings them to “the heavenly Jerusalem,” depicting the kingdom of God in glorious and daunting terms.

What, then, is humility? It’s easy to downplay and deprecate one’s self, but it’s also easy to fall into the trap of false humility — which is a prideful exercise in its own right. Insisting that one is the lowest of the low when it’s clear that this is patently false acts more as a means to get people to protest and extol one’s virtues. It’s as dishonest as believing one to be the greatest, and that one’s virtues and talents come entirely from oneself.

Rather, humility is about truth. C.S. Lewis explained this with humor in chapter 14 of The Screwtape Letters. “Fix in his mind,” Lewis has the demon Screwtape advising his nephew Wormwood for tempting humans into sin, “the idea that humility consists in trying to believe those talents to be less valuable than he believes them to be. No doubt they are in fact less valuable than he believes them to be,” Screwtape continues, “but that is not the point. The great thing is to make him value an opinion for some quality other than truth, thus introducing an element of dishonesty and make-believe into the heart of what otherwise threatens to become a virtue.”

Humility is more than just self-deprecation — in fact, those are two different things, although perhaps overlapping. Humility is about understanding our right relationship with the Lord, and therefore with each other. Dishonesty in any form clouds our ability to perceive that right relationship, and turns humility into a secret form of pride, although it eventually becomes a lot less secret than we think. We are not called to denigrate or hide our gifts and talents, but to use them while giving glory to the Lord. True humility, Lewis writes, is the “state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another.”

We find favor with the Lord, as Sirach notes, as we become more humble, in that sense in which we understand that our talents and gifts come from the Lord. Humility is not deprecating those gifts, but in understanding that they do not originate with us and are meant in some way to serve our brothers and sisters — as theirs are meant to serve us, and so on. The stark contrast in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews also hints at this right relationship between the Lord and us, a contrast that makes rank and pretense among us almost comical.

In that context, imagine Jesus’ reaction to the scene unfolding before him at the dinner. No doubt this was considered an important occasion, as a leading Pharisee had invited what appeared to be an itinerant and popular teacher to converse with the religious leadership of the community on Sabbath. Because of its importance, the others felt the need to ensure that they protected their rank and authority without understanding that rank and authority in contrast to Jesus meant nothing.

Rather than rebuke them directly, though, Jesus offers a parable, or perhaps more of an analogy, to explain why humility matters in the eyes of God. It is not for us to set ranks and privilege on the basis of gifts, and then to assume we will have those places at the wedding banquet of the Lamb. The Lord of Hosts will make those assignments, and we do better to prepare ourselves by recognizing that we do not have the authority or insight to usurp that judgment. Jesus’ advice is good socially in this world as well — better to have a host raise you up than demote you in public — but this is about recognizing that right relationship between the Lord, our neighbors, and ourselves.

Jesus’ choice to offer a kindly analogy rather than a direct rebuke reminds us of His promise to us in Matthew 11:29, today’s Gospel acclamation: Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. “Meek” does not mean powerless or afraid in this sense; it refers to a power purposefully left unused in order to assist others. The Lord wants us to have that same sense of humility and meekness, understanding our place and the purpose of our gifts and directing them in service to God’s children, just as the Lord has done with us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. To put it more plainly, humility is our path to salvation because it brings us closer to the caritas of God and forms us to His will.

Both pride and false humility are self-deceptions which blind us to this path. Only by casting aside our delusions can we see ourselves honestly, and understand the glory and wisdom of humility, as well as the love of God.

The front page image is “Christ in the house of the Pharisee,” Jacopo Tintoretto, 16th century.

“Sunday Reflection” is a regular feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection represents only my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussion. Previous Sunday Reflections from the main page can be found here.  For previous Green Room entries, click here.

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A new GOP proposal to tackle the online sales tax question [Top Picks – Hot Air]

It’s been a while since we talked about the Marketplace Fairness Act and the general debate over online sales tax proposals. That’s understandable given the rather, er… volatile nature of the general election season, but it’s a question which is still waiting on the back burner when the new Congress convenes. Given the questions which remain about any proposed implementation of MFA, particularly among conservatives who are rightly suspicious when the federal government brings up The T Word, a new approach may be called for if any action is to be taken.

Enter Congressman Bob Goodlatte of of Virginia. Compromises never make anyone entirely happy (which is by design) but he’s come up with a middle ground approach to the question which is at least worth a look. (Wall Street Journal)

A top House Republican will release a new proposal in coming days that attempts to resolve the long-running dispute among retailers, state governments and online retailers over how to tax purchases made across state lines.

The discussion draft from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) would introduce a new legal framework for cross-border sales, largely replacing the current system that relies on whether a seller has a physical presence in a state.

Instead, sales would be taxed according to the tax base of the retailer and a single tax rate chosen by the consumer’s state, a Judiciary Committee aide said.

So, for example, an Ohio company shipping a pair of pants to Maryland would use Ohio’s rules for taxing clothing and Maryland’s tax rate.

Currently, that seller only collects taxes on the sale if it has a presence in Maryland.

While imperfect and certain to tick off many shoppers, this approach at least addresses one of the primary points of contention in the MFA debate. If you’re coming from a position of insisting that nobody should be collecting any sales tax on any product sold over the internet regardless of the wishes of the elected representatives in 45 of the 50 states then none of this will be of interest to you. But the original idea of a moratorium on e-commerce was only intended to help the nascent technology get on its feet and ride out a period of consumer distrust in web based shopping. Those goals have been accomplished and we’re at the point where all online retailers should be able to stand on their own two feet in the competitive market of capitalism just like any brick and mortar establishment.

But who collects a state-based tax on transactions which zoom around the country (and the world) via the internet? That’s been gumming up the discussion from the beginning. Goodlatte is proposing a system where a “physical presence” in a state isn’t required. That was an unpopular and not terribly fair standard to begin with because the nature of internet commerce is specifically intended to minimize physical assets and their associated costs. But who collects? In traditional stores it really didn’t matter because the store and the vast majority of its customers were probably from the same state. But it’s the customer who actually pays the tax, not the seller. Under this plan, the seller’s home state rules would determine if a sales tax is charged on a given transaction, but the tax rate (if any) of the state where the customer was purchasing it would be collected in that state.

I’m still not sure I’m on board with this because it removes some of the benefit of shopping online. But the consumer still has a lot more options than just what they can find within convenient driving distance, so there’s still some advantage for the online retailer. As to the taxes themselves, hey… nobody likes them. But if the sale is taking place in a state where the voters have allowed a sales tax then I suppose the state government needs to be able to collect it.


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Morning Consult: Trump closes gap to near margin of error [Top Picks – Hot Air]

We’ve been tracking the polls from Morning Consult since the general election officially got underway as something of a trends benchmark, if not a hard snapshot from week to week. Their sample size is solid, and while the demos might seem a bit curious they remain consistent. This week’s results were just released and there are some eye opening numbers which seem to fly in the face of the constant drumbeat of headlines about how terrible things are going for Donald Trump and the Republicans. Last week we discussed how MC was showing some improvements for Trump, but their analysts were still wondering if it was too little, too late. They may be rethinking that cautious stance today because The Donald continues to close the gap, pulling within three of Hillary Clinton and tying his best performance in this poll since the bump he received after the RNC.

Donald Trump trails Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by only 3 percentage points in a new national poll from Morning Consult, shrinking a deficit that has alarmed GOP operatives who fear their unconventional nominee may harm the prospects of other Republican candidates on the ballot this fall.

In a survey taken Aug. 24 through Aug. 26, Trump halved the 6-point distance between himself and Clinton from the previous week’s poll. In the most recent head-to-head matchup, 43 percent of registered voters say they will vote for Clinton, and 40 percent say they will vote for Trump; 17 percent don’t know or have no opinion.

The matchup hasn’t been this close since late July, when Morning Consult’s poll showed a 3-point Clinton lead over Trump, 43 percent to 40 percent.

Here’s the four week tracker.


When you add in Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, things don’t get any better for Clinton. In fact, they get worse. The two third party hopefuls are both sagging a bit and Trump seems to benefit from that, with the final numbers actually falling inside the poll’s margin of error at a two point spread.


With a quick nod to the cross tabs (see page 120), nothing in the Morning Consult’s sample breakdown has changed from the last time we dug into it. It’s still registered voters instead of likely, which is all we’ll get from many of the larger outlets until labor day. The male/female split remains at 47/53 which doesn’t favor Trump, and the Democrat / Independent / Republican split stands pat at 35/33/32, which definitely looks odd, but at least it’s consistent, allowing us to use this survey as a good trend tracking benchmark.

There’s more bad news for Hillary Clinton buried in the toplines. Both of the candidates remain unpopular, but in recent weeks the Democrats could take solace in Trump at least being seen even less favorably. This week they’re back to what’s essentially a tie, with Trump and Clinton being seen unfavorably by 58 and 57 percent respectively. In terms of minority outreach, Trump still isn’t winning over the black vote in droves the way he predicted, but he’s back at 5% support with Clinton taking 79% and 16% undecided. (In 2012, Mitt Romney took 6% to Obama’s 93.)

The Right Track/Wrong Track numbers for the nation are stuck at 29/71, a decidedly poor figure if you’re essentially running on a promise of delivering a third term for Barack Obama. Also, the issues most on the minds of voters seem to be playing into Trump’s hands no matter how oddly he runs his campaign. The economy and jobs remain on top at 36%, but security issues are number two at 21%. Nothing else even comes close.

What explains this shift in Trump’s favor and the race beginning to look like a dead heat again? Hey… insert your own guess here. This campaign has been nuts in a way I haven’t seen in decades of observing these contests. The media beats on Trump relentlessly, but Hillary Clinton continues to draw headlines for all the wrong reasons, supporting the public perception that she’s dishonest and willing to sell influence for her own benefit. The only conclusion I’ll take from the Morning Consult survey at this point is the trend. One month ago Hillary Clinton came out of the convention in Philly with a nearly ten point lead. Since then it has decreased steadily every week in the same survey to the point where it’s basically a statistical tie. Cable news anchors and New York Times headline writers can keep telling you every day that the race is essentially over, but that’s a foolish, biased position. Not only has Hillary Clinton not sealed the deal, but she still may very well lose this thing.


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Sunday morning talking heads [Top Picks – Hot Air]

Back when the Paul Manafort/Corey Lewandowski duo were still running the show for Trump, they’d typically divide up Sunday morning between them and each hit one or two different programs. If you expected that to continue with new campaign CEO Steve Bannon and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, adjust your expectations. Conway did three shows last week while Bannon was nowhere to be found, seemingly replaced as top surrogate by RNC chief Reince Priebus. This week it’s more of the same: Conway, the soft-spoken campaign pro, is back for two shows, “Face the Nation” and “Fox News Sunday,” while Priebus is set for “Meet the Press.” No Trump and still no Bannon, which isn’t surprising after the tabloid revelations of the past few days about his divorce, including allegations by his ex-wife that he didn’t want their children attending school with Jews. It’ll probably be Conway and Priebus on Sunday-show duty for most of the rest of the campaign. At least, that is, until Trump inevitably hires Lewandowski back.

There are several other Trump surrogates booked this morning, one of whom we haven’t seen much of since he was spurned for VP. Chris Christie will be on “This Week,” presumably to defend (or hopefully at least explain) Trump’s immigration shift and his own alleged role in it. Christie did lots of outreach to minority voters during his gubernatorial reelection campaign, a credential he hoped would boost his case for the GOP nomination last year. Presumably he’s planning to use that this morning to defend Trump from Hillary’s alt-right attack. Similarly, Ben Carson will appear after Conway on “Face the Nation” to make the case that Trump will be better for minorities than Clinton would and to tout their upcoming trip together to Detroit to ask for black votes.

Oh yeah: Mike Pence, the guy who’ll be one heartbeat from leading the free world if Trump pulls this off, will also turn up this morning. He’ll be on “State of the Union” talking about various things, likely including touchback amnesty, an idea he championed a decade ago when he was in the House. The full line-up is at the AP.

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Philly’s new mayor made it 8 whole months before the FBI began looking at him [Top Picks – Hot Air]

Philadelphia elected a new mayor last November and I’m sure hopes were high for a prosperous and vital future in the City of Brotherly Love. But as usual, reality has to rear its ugly head in the form of a union official going by the endearing name of John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty. What’s that you say? How could there possibly be any sort of problems arising around a Philly union boss? My, my… you don’t get out much, do you? It’s some fairly standard stuff. (Philly.com)

The focus of a federal investigation into the powerful Electricians union and its leader, John Dougherty, became clearer this week with the seizure of a computer belonging to an agent of the state Attorney General’s Office.

According to the search warrant used in the seizure, federal agents are seeking evidence that union funds were embezzled and that contractors were intimidated by “use of economic fear.” The warrant also cites possible extortion by an unnamed public official.

This is looking like a messy one already. The feds weren’t just going after the union folks, but seizing the computer of an agent from the state AG’s office. There were also whispers going around of connections to other politicians, campaign finance questions, bribery and various nasty bits of business. So you’re wondering what this could possibly have to do with the mayor? Oh my… you really are new around here, aren’t you? This just in. (Philly Magazine)

This afternoon, Philadelphia magazine’s Jared Brey wrote that Mayor Jim Kenney’s alliance with electricians union leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty is looking worse and worse in light of the FBI investigation of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98.

In a matter of hours, things managed to go further south for Kenney.

NewsWorks’ Dave Davies broke the news that federal agents have requested documents from Kenney’s campaign committee.

To be clear, the Mayor hasn’t been charged with anything nor is there a firm source suggesting that such charges might be in the offing. This is all in the investigative stages at the moment. But you’ve got the unions and some Philadelphia Democrats in the mix with federal investigators asking for campaign finance documents. After having lived and worked in both Philly and South Jersey for a number of years when I was younger and following the news from that turf after that, let’s just say that I won’t be knocked over with a feather if this blows up entirely.

And why should any of us be surprised, really? Keep in mind that this is the same stretch of turf that elected Chaka Fattah, currently appealing his lengthy vacation in jail for dozens of counts of corruption. And it’s not as if Fattah was some sort of exception to the rule. See this list of 39 prominent Philadelphia politicians (a list composed of, I’m sure just by coincidence, almost entirely Democrats) who were investigated for corruption over just the past fifteen years.

Eventually we must return to asking the same old question which always seems to arise. It’s the same thing that Donald Trump seemed to be trying to get across in his ham handed way when he asked why people in inner cities wouldn’t give him a chance instead of doing the same things over and over. Why do the voters in Philadelphia and these other large, urban centers keep electing the same Democrats from the same pool of power brokers and expecting different results? Sometimes it’s not just cities, but entire states. Four out of the last seven governors of Illinois wound up going to jail. (Though to be fair here, one of them was a Republican.)

Don’t you just get tired of it after a while? Or at least a tiny bit embarrassed?


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The end of Dylann Roof: Because some people just need to die [Top Picks – Hot Air]

The wheels of justice grind slowly, and the case of mass murderer Dylann Roof is no exception. (I’ve given up on bothering to say “alleged” in reference to Roof so feel free to cast stones at me over that if you wish. He did it.) It’s still a couple of months before jury selection begins in the case, but when it does, a group of Roof’s peers from the community will not only decide on his guilt, but whether or not he will be put to death for his crimes. The death penalty will remain a bone of contention in our society for as long as it exists, but there’s a new twist on the argument against it this week from Wade Henderson, the longtime president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Rather than arguing that Roof deserves compassion or that all life is precious, one of several complaints coming from Mr. Henderson seems to be that putting a white murderer to death would obscure the debate over how many black convicts face the same fate. (Washington Post)

At first glance, the notion of a white man facing the death penalty for murdering black people in the South — in a killing inspired by the murderer’s racist views — may seem like a marker of racial progress.

It isn’t — and those who champion civil rights should not celebrate this moment. Roof’s crime was surely heinous, and his racism was repugnant. But supporters of racial equality and equal treatment under the law should support Roof’s offer to plead guilty and serve a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

How can it be that a lifelong civil rights lawyer such as myself would take this position? Because the death penalty cannot be separated from the issue of racial discrimination, especially in the South.

Henderson is tackling a thorny subject, and in rebutting him I immediately run into a similar set of conundra. (Yes, I know… but I just like conundra.) Attempting to separate race from the question of Roof’s guilt is particularly difficult from either side of the equation given the nature of his horrific crimes. And for the record, Henderson is arguing against a capital offense case on more grounds than simply racial inequity. It may surprise the reader to learn that I agree with virtually each and every one of the author’s complaints, but we still arrive at a different conclusion.

His first argument is that the death penalty is applied with greater proportional frequency to black men (almost exclusively males, anyway) convicted of killing white victims than to white murderers. This is true and criminal justice records support that fact. It’s similar to how crack users (more frequently black suspects) receive longer sentences than snorters of powdered cocaine (more typically whites). Neither of these situations represents equal application of justice and Henderson has a valid complaint on that score.

He goes on to point out something which is hardly unique to race related murders such as the ones Roof committed. It will tear the community apart. Friends and family members of the deceased will be forced to relive something horrible beyond the imaginations of those of us fortunate enough not to live through such a monstrous event. The defense will spin tales and perhaps even seek to shift blame to make Roof look less despicable than he is. This, as Henderson correctly notes, is the way our criminal justice system is designed. The defense will do what they must to offer the most robust defense of their client possible, no matter how painful it is to the community.

So with Wade Henderson and I agreeing on so much, how is it that we arrive at such different conclusions? Because the reality of the world is sometimes much harsher than the more gentle souls among us would wish to admit. In real life, just as in sword and sorcery films, you occasionally come across monster and those monsters need to be slain. Not all murder cases merit the death penalty, of course. There are sudden, horrible crimes of passion which take place. Sometimes a non-violent criminal with no intention of killing gets caught up in a high tension moment of conflict and takes a life. While exceedingly rare and often falsely claimed by other defendants, some individuals are so badly mentally impaired that they honestly can’t grasp the consequences of their actions. Other examples abound and many cases which result in a killing don’t automatically demand an eye for an eye from civilized society. Intent and circumstances need to be taken into account.

None of these scenarios apply to Dylann Roof. He is no crazier than any other individual who would willingly murder another and he concocted a plan, equipped himself to the task and set out to complete it with more than adequate time to reflect on his choice and turn back. Dylann Roof isn’t the boy next door caught up in unfortunate events. He’s a beast, and sometimes society has to be ready to just put the beast down and be done with it. As I’ve written here before, I understand that many will argue that the death penalty isn’t a deterrent. My response is that this is a question which can never be definitively answered. We’ll never know how many people may have considered murder but turned back for fear of the specter of their own mortality if they were to be caught and sent to the gallows. So is the death penalty a deterrent? Perhaps in many cases it’s not, but there is one thing I know for a certainty. If the defendant in this case receives that sentence and it’s carried out it will most assuredly be a 100% effective deterrent for Dylann Roof.

We don’t need to turn this into an argument over racial inequity in the justice system. There is needed work to be done in determining if and when black defendants are sentenced to death when a white man in the same circumstances would not be and everyone should support ending that pattern. But today we’re talking about Dylann Roof. There is no room for him in civil society and dragging this argument off into the weeds of social justice debates does no service to his victims and their families, nor does it protect the rest of society from him should he ever escape from jail in the future.

I take no joy in this, but it’s time to put the beast down and be done with it.


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*American Heiress* [Marginal REVOLUTION]

What an excellent title, the subtitle is The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst, and the author is Jeffrey Toobin.  Our age is actually not that crazy by historical standards.  Yet here are the last four sentences:

In the end, notwithstanding a surreal detour in the 1970s, Patricia led the life for which she was destined back in Hillsborough.  The story of Patty Hearst, as extraordinary as it once was, had a familiar, even predictable ending.  She did not turn into a revolutionary.  She turned into her mother.


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Sunday assorted links [Marginal REVOLUTION]

1. The culture that is Bethesda, Maryland.

2. Chile’s pension scheme under fire.

3. Child abuse in China: a neglected issue.  The statute of limitations should be longer than two years.  That’s two from The Economist, the current issue is their best of the year to my mind.  Of course you should subscribe.

4. The Mayan-language Ixcanul is perhaps the best movie of the year so far, trailer here, the full movie is here but without subtitles, so brush up on your Mayan or see it on the big screen.

5. This piece illustrates Cowen’s Second Law, yes I know that is a refereed journal and the paper is based on real data but still it is best forgotten or better yet never viewed in the first place.  They needed eleven (!) authors for that one, three of them women it would seem, and four on the team chanted that correlation is not causation.  I wonder how the IRB discussion went.  Less sexually charged is the game of “Diving chess.

6. “Most of the world’s mathematicians fall into just 24 scientific ‘families’, one of which dates back to the fifteenth century. The insight comes from an analysis of the Mathematics Genealogy Project (MGP), which aims to connect all mathematicians, living and dead, into family trees on the basis of teacher–pupil lineages, in particular who an individual’s doctoral adviser was.”  Link here.

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Two “The Rest of the Story” Stories [Marginal REVOLUTION]

The rest of the story” stories have a punch line that twists everything that came before into an entirely new and deeper perspective. My favorite such story is about John Nestor.

Nestor became a minor if hated celebrity in the mid-1980s in Washington, DC for his policy of driving on the beltway in the left hand lane at 55 mph, not a mile faster, the rest of the traffic be damned. Nestor believed that the 55 mph speed limit saved lives and he was going to help other people by slowing them down regardless of the exasperation, raised fingers, or honking. He knew better than other people.

The truth, of course, is that it’s actually variance in speed that kills so by driving more slowly than everyone else Nestor was increasing risk not lowering it. But that’s not the punch line. The punch line? John Nestor was an FDA bureaucrat so obstinate that even the overly cautious FDA thought he was a menace and they pulled him from his job in the renal section for not approving a single new drug in more than four years. On the roads or at the FDA, John Nestor illustrated why I say caution can be deadly.

My second favorite story like this comes from a recent article on land use policy by Mark Gimein at the New Yorker:

In 1948, a federal housing bureaucrat named Paul Oppermann, trying to come to terms with the perils of the nuclear age, proposed a solution to the problem of protecting America’s cities from the bomb: empty them out preëmptively by encouraging the population to move to suburbs and small towns of fifty thousand or fewer. “No power in the world could afford to drop an atomic bomb on a city of 50,000 or less” is how the San Francisco Chronicle summarized the talk that Oppermann gave to a local planning organization. Plus, Oppermann explained, you get slum clearance into the bargain.

The punch line? “The next year, Oppermann assumed office as San Francisco’s planning director.” As Gimein notes Oppermann wasn’t able to move people out of San Francisco but he was able to “[cripple] growth with arcane lot-size rules and off-street-parking-space minimums.”

So now you know the rest of the stories.

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Interview with Erik Hurst [Marginal REVOLUTION]

From the Richmond Fed, it is excellent and interesting throughout, here is one good bit of many:

EF: Given the wage premium associated with a four-year degree and the availability of education financing, it seems like a real puzzle why more people are not obtaining degrees.

Hurst: I have been thinking a lot about that. What is it that’s causing so many young people, particularly young males, to not obtain skills required to be successful in today’s workforce? I have been working with Mark Aguiar and Kerwin Charles and Mark Bils to try to understand what these people’s lives look like. There’s a budget constraint that still has to hold. They have to eat. What you’re finding is that a lot of them are living in their parents’ basements or their cousin’s basement. So many are relying on family support. And a lot of them just aren’t even working at all. So when you go and take a look at the fraction of people in their 20s who haven’t worked in the prior 12 months in 2015, it’s 20 percent for men with less than a four-year college degree. In 1990, that number was 4 percent. So the first thing we are doing is documenting these facts and trying to find out what their lives look like: how they’re eating, what their living situations are like, what attachment they have to the labor force.

The second part we’re trying to think about is why. What we are considering is whether it’s possible that a leisure lifestyle is easier now in your 20s than it was in the past. In 1980, if you were in your 20s and you weren’t working, you were pretty isolated. You were sitting by yourself. You could watch a few channels on TV but no one else was out there. Now if you’re not working, you could be online on social media or you could be playing videogames in an interactive way, things that make not working more attractive than before. And those videogames and leisure goods generally are relatively cheap compared to what they were in 1980. So when you’re making your choice of working relative to your reservation wage, your reservation wage has gone up some because the outside option of not working is a lot more attractive. So that’s what we’re thinking but I don’t know how we’re going to test it.

Also, eventually these people will get older, of course, and many will have a spouse or kids. When that happens, their income requirements go up and they need jobs, but they probably haven’t been building the type of skills required to get a job. So that’s hard to understand. I have never written a paper before where people were myopic, but the behavior of a lot of people in their 20s now seems myopic.

I wish to suggest a related observation.  If one argues that some percentage of unemployment is “voluntary” in this manner, one is often met with scorn, and with a not entirely accurate redescription of the view, based on a rebuttal that a sudden outbreak of laziness is unlikely.  However if the return to higher education goes up, and the elasticity response is mediocre, sociological explanations are somehow entirely acceptable and perhaps even mandatory.  You might call this Quantity Stickiness for Me But Not For Thee.  It’s a bit like how wage stickiness is an acceptable behavioral postulate but employers’ “firing aversion” is not.

Hat tip goes to Justin Wolfers.

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Seagate Barracuda Pro 10TB hard drive review: Vast and amazingly fast (for a hard drive) [PCWorld]

I’ve used “Vast and fast” to describe previous hard drives I’ve reviewed, but I’m not sure that it’s ever been this spectacularly well-deserved. Seagate’s 3.5-inch, 7,200rpm, SATA 6Gbps Barracuda Pro not only delivers a stunning 10TB of storage, it laid down some rather astounding transfer rates: 240MBps in both directions of our 20GB copy tests. At first, we didn’t quite believe what we were seeing, but several repeats and throwing even larger data sets at the drive convinced us.

The Barracuda Pro is still a hard drive, so seek times aren’t close to SSD-like, but if we had to build a system around a hard drive, this would be it.

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

Media Alert [Power LinePower Line]

(John Hinderaker)

I will guest host the Laura Ingraham radio show tomorrow from 9 to 12 Eastern time. I think Laura may be off prepping Donald Trump for the debates, but I am not sure about that.

We will have some excellent guests, including Larry Kudlow, Michael Barone, Kelli Ward and Niger Innis. And I am still hoping to book one of radio’s premier guests, Steve Hayward.

You can go here to find a radio station in your area. If you miss the show live, you can get highlights via podcast on iTunes, and it also airs later in the day on various stations. Please listen in, and give me a call! I would love to hear from some Power Line readers.

Of EpiPens and Weasels [Power LinePower Line]

(John Hinderaker)

Mylan NV has been taking a lot of abuse for sharply raising the price of its popular EpiPen. The Wall Street Journal explains the background on the price increase. It isn’t, as I would have assumed, a case of patent protection. The patent on epinephrine ran out years ago.

Rather, it turns out that keeping the anti-allergy dose sterile is difficult and expensive. Mylan’s competitors have had a hard time equaling the EpiPen’s quality, and its main rival, Auvi-Q, has been forced to recall its product because of “dosing problems.” Given the current price of the EpiPen, more competition will no doubt flow into the market, but Mylan evidently is taking advantage of its temporarily unchallenged position to make a little extra money.

Some have asserted that America’s health care system is responsible for the “extortionate” price of the EpiPen, but that can’t explain Mylan’s worldwide dominance. Actually, though, the U.S. system probably does play a role in this regard: patients are generally not spending their own money. Therefore, doctors reflexively prescribe an “EpiPen” rather than looking for cheaper alternatives. As you would expect, outrage over the EpiPen’s price increase has mostly come from patients with high-deductible policies.

So much for the EpiPen; now for the weasel.

Josh Earnest is perhaps the lamest of all recent White House press secretaries. He would be a punching bag if the White House press corps were in the mood to punch the Obama administration. On Wednesday, he was asked about the EpiPen during his regular press briefing. His responses were classic Earnest:

Q: [T]here’s a lot of discussion about the increase of prices for EpiPen. I don’t know if the President has been following this debate, but some in Congress are calling for a hearing, and Hillary Clinton has called the price spike “a troubling example of a company taking advantage of consumers.” I’m just wondering if the President shares that view and thinks that there’s anything the government can do to intervene there.

MR. EARNEST: Well, this certainly is an issue that’s gotten a lot of attention in the media over the last couple of weeks. I’ll start by saying that one of the goals of the Obama administration has been to limit the growth in health care costs, including trying to reduce costs of prescription drugs.

But then, why did the pharmaceutical industry support Obamacare?

And the Affordable Care Act has made an impact on putting downward pressure on health care inflation, but there certainly are some other steps that we believe the federal government should take. Unfortunately, all too often it’s Republicans in Congress who are standing up for pharmaceutical companies and not looking out for taxpayers and patients here in the United States.

So, what are those “other steps” that should be taken, but are being blocked by Republicans? It turns out there aren’t any; not that are relevant, anyway. That was just a little gratuitous partisanship. The weaseling continues:

So there certainly is more that we believe can and should be done in general to address the question of rising prescription drug prices. As it relates to this specific issue, obviously I’m not going to make a specific comment or specifically second-guess the pricing strategy or the business practices of one private enterprise. I will observe, however, that pharmaceutical companies that often try to portray themselves as the inventors of lifesaving medication often do real damage to their reputation by being greedy and jacking up prices in a way that victimizes vulnerable Americans. And I think it raises significant questions, even moral questions, in the minds of a lot of people.

So we certainly have seen other high-profile incidents of pharmaceutical companies that have taken a hit both to their reputation and their stock price for engaging in unscrupulous practices. And I think other companies, including other pharmaceutical companies, would be wise to learn those lessons.

Well, that’s some tough talk anyway. Mylan has been greedy by jacking up prices!

Q: Is this an example of a company being greedy and jacking up prices?

MR. EARNEST: Well, again, I’m not going to second-guess the specific business practices of a private company.

Q: Why not?

MR. EARNEST: There’s a role for private companies and private entities to make their own decisions, and we’re a government enterprise and we’re focused on some other things. So I’m not going to second-guess that.

It’s nice to know the Obama administration thinks there is a role for private companies to make their own decisions. For Josh Earnest, though, it’s another Emily Litella moment.

Annals of Government Medicine [Power LinePower Line]

(John Hinderaker)

At the Telegraph, Simon Heffer reviews the condition of Britain’s National Health Service after 68 years and finds: “The NHS will simply collapse unless politicians have the courage to reform it.”

According to Government figures, the £437 million spent in the first year of the NHS’s existence in 1948-49 is equivalent to £15 billion today. Yet the UK total spent on the NHS is now £116.4 billion, £101.3 billion of which is spent in England.

I believe this is similar to our experience with Medicare, which currently costs something like ten times as much as was projected when the law was passed.

The population is nearly a third larger than in 1948-49; we are 64 million people against the 50 million at the 1951 census, thanks not least to the last Labour government’s mass immigration policies and the EU’s refusal to let us control our borders.

Yet this population growth cannot account for such an enormous real increase in spending. The problem is that the NHS is doing things its founders never envisaged.

It also suffers from grotesque overmanning in non-medical staff, a lack of strategic planning to cope with demographic change, and many of the failures associated with the absence of an effective price mechanism.

A fundamental problem of socialized medicine, and socialism in all contexts.

Without rethinking its whole purpose and method of operation, it will, within a decade or two, simply collapse.

Whether that would be bad or good is in the eye of the beholder. The NHS has become a behemoth institution on Britain’s Left:

Labour wouldn’t touch it because of the mythology it has sedulously created: that the NHS, free at point of use and controlled on the shop floor by comrades in the trades unions, for whom it represents a considerable employment opportunity, is “safe” only in Labour’s hands.

“Safe” in this context equates to eating up a sixth of public spending without worrying too much about how and where that money is spent. The NHS now employs 1.5 million people. As its website proudly proclaims, only McDonalds, Walmart, the US Defence Department and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army have larger payrolls. It may not have occurred to the NHS that this is not necessarily something to be proud of.

Mr. Heffer points out some of the bloated salaries earned by NHS bureaucrats. The largest belongs to Steve Leivers, Turnaround Director–whatever that means–of the Kings College Hospital Foundation Trust, at £59,500, around $90,000. Well, that doesn’t seem so bad. No, wait–that is £59,500 per month!

Hefner offers a number of suggestions for what the NHS can do to remain solvent, including, most significantly, transferring a substantial part of the health care industry to the private sector:

The Government needs to encourage private medicine and especially private GP services, if necessary through tax breaks: our European neighbours spend far more in the private sector than we do, which is one reason why their health services are not collapsing.

He argues that the current collapse of the Labour Party offers an opportunity for the Conservative government to make bold efforts to reform the NHS. Will that happen? Maybe, but I doubt it. As long as people believe someone else is paying their bills, reform is difficult, short of the point of complete collapse.

Secrets of the Iran ransom [Power LinePower Line]

(Scott Johnson)

At the New York Sun last week, Claudia Rosett tentatively reported the mechanics of the Obama administration’s payment of the $1.3 billion tranche of the ransom to Iran. She discovered what Andy McCarthy calls “a bizarre string” of 13 identical money transfers of $99,999,999.99 each — all of them one cent less than $100 million — paid out of an obscure Treasury Department stash known as the “Judgment Fund.”

In the aggregate, Andy notes, the transfers amount to 13 cents shy of the $1.3 billion the State Department claims Iran was owed in “interest” from the $400 million that our government had been holding since the shah deposited it in a failed arms deal just prior to the Khomeini revolution. The administration added a fourteenth payment of $10 million — not necessarily for good measure. We don’t know why and the administration isn’t saying.

The administration’s payments to Iran bear the earmarks of a structured transaction intended to avoid detection by the authorities. Structuring deposits or withdrawals in this fashion to avoid bank reporting is a federal crime (the one that ensnared Dennis Hastert). Federally regulated financial institutions are required to look for such structured transactions and to report them. That’s undoubtedly how Dennis Hastert was caught.

What is going on in the matter of the payments to our enemies in Iran? Andy notes:

The administration refuses to divulge any further information about the $1.7 billion the president acknowledges paying the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Grilled on Wednesday about how Obama managed to pay the final $1.3 billion installment — particularly given the president’s claim that it is not possible to send Tehran a check or wire-transfer — State Department spokesman Mark Toner decreed that the administration would continue “withholding this information” in order “to protect confidentiality.”

Whose confidentiality? The mullahs’? That of the intermediaries the president used? Whose privacy takes precedence over our right to know how Obama funneled our money to our enemies?

Good question. I can’t believe that Andy is the only man asking it, as he does in “Why is Obama stonewalling on details of the $1.7 billion in Iransom payoff.”

Sunday morning coming down [Power LinePower Line]

(Scott Johnson)

When Don McLean came to Dartmouth in the spring of 1972 or so, he might have been the last man on the circuit I wanted to see. I was done with folk music, so I thought. I had moved on to the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane and Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. So when a classmate gave me his ticket to see McLean in Spaulding Auditorium on a Saturday night, I had a bad, bad attitude.

In performance the man just blew me away. He had arrived with his huge hit “American Pie,” but he was no one-hit wonder. He had a great catalog of songs to play on guitar and banjo and he would not quit until he had won everyone in the (large) audience over. He wore down my resistance. What Sammy Davis was to the nightclub scene (I had seen him with my parents and loved him too), McLean was to the college crowd. I left in awe.

When McLean released an album of his favorite songs a year or two later, I was interested. I bought it on vinyl and couldn’t wait to pick it up on compact disc years later, which I did, though it has long since gone out of print. He included one song on Playin’ Favorites that I have never heard performed by anyone else. The song is “Mountains O’Mourne” (video below), a sly gem that seems to have been awaiting McLean’s heartfelt performance.

Who the heck is Percy French and where did that song come from? I had no idea. Now you can check it out with a click or two.

Listening to WDCR (the college radio station) around the same time, I heard a song that knocked me out. It saved some part of a day I had rued. What was that song? I called over to the station to ask. It turned out to be the Youngbloods’ “Sunlight,” by Jesse Colin Young, off their album Elephant Mountain.

Jesse came out of the New York folk scene. I’d seen Jesse with the Youngbloods performing at Dartmouth in May 1970, but just didn’t appreciate them. Having come to love them subsequently, I caught up with Jesse when he played in Minneapolis a few years ago. I wrote about his show in “Elephant Mountain revisited” (a post that has disappeared from our archives) and posted my interview with him in “Aloha, Jesse.” I hope you like this one.

The Indigo Girls (Emily Saliers and Amy Ray) emerged out of the folk scene around Atlanta in the late 1980’s. I loved the singing and writing on their first album. I could hear that, as a folk duo, they had done their homework. They had studied up on Simon & Garfunkel, but they had added Lennon and McCartney to the mix as well.

I must have raved about them to my friend Linda Svitak at Faegre & Benson. A good listener, Linda gave me their album Nomads, Indians, Saints as a gift when I turned 40. I would have missed this song — “Watershed,” by Emily Saliers — if it weren’t for Linda.

As you might infer from the title, the song is about turning points. Looking back, however, the song conveys the need not only to be grateful for the good things we have found along the way, but also for the tragedies we have been spared. The first verse opens with an image: “Twisted guardrails on the highway, broken glass on the cement…” Something we’ve all seen, but perhaps passed without reflection. The song made me reflect.

Le Show with Harry Shearer - August 28, 2016 [Harry Shearer: Le Show]

00:00 Open/(accountability/NO flooding in 2005) 06:16 (song) 'She Just Wants to Dance' by Keb Mo 11:05 News of the Olympic Movement: police violence in Rio, Olympics beaten by bake-off 14:48 Reading the Trades: Olympics ratings 'nightmare' for NBC 21:03 News of the New Iraq: have some guns 26:07 The story of Lou Pearlman ends 27:44 Larry King Live: Dewey Gordon tribute to Lou Pearlman 34:44 News of the Warm: higher ocean temperature means more radiation damage to mussels 37:49 News of AfPak: Taliban aiming at Kunduz—again, friction between Pres. Ghani & Abdullah Abdullah 41:51 Karzai Talk: Kundus and Abdullah 49:49 (song) 'So Danco Samba' by Joao Gilberto 53:04 The Apologies of the Week 56:46 (song) 'Delicado' by Dr. John /close

Johnson the Presidential Candidate [Wizbang]

Former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson wants your vote this coming November. Voters opposed to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump might feel tempted to vote for Johnson. Such voters ought to think twice before doing so. Although Johnson explains why he is running for President, he doesn’t explain why he would be better than Clinton or Trump. In his Time commentary, Johnson doesn’t mention any of the the top issues that voters are most concerned with. Instead, he mentions marijuana as if it were a pressing issue. That is not surprising considering the fact that

Burkini Unbanned! [Guido Fawkes]


Guido was concerned that burkini wearing fair-skinned Irish girls would no longer be able to protect themselves from harmful UV rays on the beaches in the South of France as a result of the ban. Good news for freedom lovers, as France’s top administrative court strikes down the Villeneuve-Loubet burkini ban. Women on the Riviera who have already faced fines even have the chance to appeal. The suspension means Muslim beauties like Miss Pakistan World, Shanzay Hayat, above, can wear what they like to the beach again. Ooh la akbar!

The post Burkini Unbanned! appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

Maru OS is now open source (Turns Android phones into Linux desktops) [Full Circle Magazine]

Maru OS is a software project that lets you plug an Android phone into an external display to run desktop Linux software. First unveiled earlier this year, the software is very much a work-in-progress. Initially it only supported one phone: the Google Nexus 5.
But things could get a lot more interesting soon, because the developer behind Maru OS has finished open sourcing the project and a group of developers are planning to start porting the software to run on additional devices.
Maru OS is essentially a custom version of Google Android which also includes Debian Linux running in an LXC Linux Container. When you connect a display with a USB/MHL cable, you can run Linux desktop apps without rebooting your mobile device, allowing you to take phone calls and receive notifications even while you’re using Firefox, LibreOffice, GIMP, or other desktop software.

Source: http://liliputing.com/2016/08/maru-os-now-open-source-turns-android-phones-linux-desktops.html
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Ubuntu GNOME 16.10 Beta 1 Download Now Available in ISO And Torrent Files [Full Circle Magazine]

The Ubuntu GNOME 16.10 operating system has been in development for quite some time. And now, the links to Beta 1 ISO files for the same has gone live.
Ubuntu GNOME 16.10 Beta 1 has been released as part of the Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak launch. The Ubuntu flavors taking part in the Beta 1 milestone include Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu MATE, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, and Ubuntu Kylin. Xubuntu has decided to skip the Beta 1 release.
Ubuntu GNOME 16.10 Beta 1 comes with loads of changes and improvements. It comes with newer versions of Calculator, File Roller, Cheese, and other software. The release also comes with the GNOME 3.22 Beta 1. It uses the GTK3 version of LibreOffice 5.2. GNOME’s Initial Setup utility is also included and enabled to make the configuring process simpler. This release also includes an experimental Wayland session.

Source: http://www.mobipicker.com/ubuntu-gnome-16-10-beta-1-download-now-available-iso-torrent-files/
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

My Patreon short-short-short ‘Unstoppable.’ [Moe Lane]

‘Unstoppable’ can be found here – and, administrative note: I earlier had an objection to direct-linking PDFs , because they apparently auto-load on mobile devices – but I’m not happy about this particular workaround.  I want the Google hits to hit the actual PDFs and I don’t want to clutter up my Twitter account with PDF warnings. Thoughts?

As always, my Patreon is here.

My PJ Lifestyle piece on the Nature of Evil in rPGs. [Moe Lane]

Found here.  Short version… the article is less pretentious than the title, I swear.  It’s just a bit on how hard it is to actually program for truly evil computer RPG gameplay.

Creature seed: Tillinghast’s Remora. [Moe Lane]

Blame this.

Tillinghast’s Remora

This delightful creature was first discovered in the 1920s by Dr. Tillinghast, a researcher of some notoriety who did not, alas, survive the moment of discovery. Ironically, this had nothing to do with the Remoras: in fact, a Tillinghast Remora might have been able to save the life of its erstwhile discoverer.  Certainly they’ve been a boon to metaphysical surveyors ever since.

Tillinghast’s Remoras do not exactly exist in our plane of existence; or, at least, they cannot normally interact with this plane of existence (due to a peculiarity in quantum mechanics that nobody reading this would be able to understand anyway).  However, if a particular device known as a Tillinghast Resonator is operating in the vicinity, the Remoras can then see us, and we them.  And then they can latch onto our bodies and start to parasite them.

This is actually not a bad thing; once the Resonator is switched back off, the Remoras become imperceptible to human senses again and they’re just eating waste energy anyway (Remora-ridden humans typically have slightly cool skin and their breath does not steam in cold weather, but there are no other obvious physiological effects). On the other hand: Tillinghast’s Remoras appear to… well, stink.  Or whatever the equivalent is, in their home plane of existence.  Nothing from their reality will willingly go near one, which means that a Remora-ridden human can much more safely use a Tillinghast Resonator to go exploring the Remoras’ home dimension.  Given that gleaning valuable ‘biological’ and ‘chemical’ samples from that place has become increasingly big business over the last ninety years, you can understand that there’s always a demand for competent Remora hosts.

Just… make sure that you’re getting infected with the right parasite, though.  There are a couple of creatures that ‘look’ just like a Tillinghast’s Remora; and one of them will make your brain implode, and turn all of the blood in your body to sand.  The other one is worse.

‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps.’ [Moe Lane]

I think that this is the version from the video.

‘Life on the Infinite Farm.’ [DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU ARE QUEASY.] [Moe Lane]

Seriously, I don’t know if it’s the pictures or the Paint job, but ‘Life on the Infinite Farm‘ is just a little greasily disturbing.  It doesn’t go down the mental gullet quite right, and once it ends up in the stomach it doesn’t want to stay there properly.  I’m sincerely finding it just a bit alarming, in fact.



Quote of the Day, I Lean Towards “Loki Is A Spider” Myself edition. [Moe Lane]

I came across this passage while idly discussing Norse myth with my wife.

Loki’s origins and role in Norse mythology have been much debated by scholars. In 1835, Jacob Grimm was first to produce a major theory about Loki, in which he advanced the notion of Loki as a “god of fire”. In 1889, Sophus Bugge theorized Loki to be variant of Lucifer of Christianity, an element of Bugge’s larger effort to find a basis of Christianity in Norse mythology. After World War II, four scholarly theories dominated. The first of the four theories is that of Folke Ström, who in 1956 concluded that Loki is a hypostasis of the god Odin. In 1959, Jan de Vries theorized that Loki is a typical example of a trickster figure. In 1961, by way of excluding all non-Scandinavian mythological parallels in her analysis, Anna Birgitta Rooth concluded that Loki was originally a spider. Anne Holtsmark, writing in 1962, concluded that no conclusion could be made about Loki.[60]

…I personally feel that Anne Holtsmark was cheating a little, there.

Last hours of the Widdershins: Find The Lady Kickstarter. [Moe Lane]

It’s over tomorrow. I love the Widdershins webcomic and I would not mind in the slightest being in a position someday where I could be able to help adapt it for a RPG sourcebook. In the meantime, this is a cool project and Kate Ashwin gets these things out on time.

Item Seed: Mt. Shasta Diet Enlightenment (Orange). [Moe Lane]

Mt. Shasta Diet Enlightenment (Orange)

The ‘brand’ of this can of soda should not be confused with any real-life companies out there, of course.  Although the company in question might sue for trademark infringement, if they A) knew of the existence of the ‘Mt.’ brand and B) could find the offenders using non-esoteric means.  Emphasis on ‘might,’ though: after all, we’re talking about a company that can make literally magic drinks.  Why cause undue aggravation?

The basic concept behind MSDE is simple: start a magic spell, open the can, chug the can, have the cost to cast the spell divided by 5.  That’s it, as far as it goes… with one major, absolutely important, and never-mentioned-beforehand caveat: voluntarily drinking a can of MSDE obliges the drinker to do a favor for the makers of MSDE at a later date.  The more you drink, the sooner the MSDE people sends over a team of old, wizened, vaguely smiling guys in simple robes and no shoes to collect you.  And you will go.  Because, well: old, wizened, vaguely smiling guys in simple robes and no shoes.  That’s the esoteric equivalent of, say, the USS John F Kennedy.

The good news?  The MSDE folks are apparently enlightened, peaceful types who wish to pursue Illumination and leave people alone.  The bad news? They apparently have a bunch of enemies, which means that if you ever drink their product then you now have a bunch of enemies, too. MSDE missions are typically survivable, but not often what one might call ‘fun.’  Except when they are; there are esoteric adventurers who happily keep chugging the stuff in order to keep getting called up to fight bizarrely powerful enemies…

Had a good 7th Sea Intro session today. (@JWPresents) [Moe Lane]

All-new players when it comes to this edition and only two of us have played 7th Sea before. But I still think that it worked out well. I went with the standard ‘you all meet in a bar’ and then we used the standard ‘let’s have a bar fight’ to experiment with how the combat rules worked and how to roll. Next session we’ll ramp up the complexity a bit and add Villains, maybe bring in sorcery. Should be fun.

Moe Lane

Blog Sabbath Caption Contest: He Slipped Edition [The Jawa Report]

Caption this image of an Indonesian Splodydope that The Body of Christ BTF out of.


I'm pretty sure he slipped and hit his face there, anyway Fatwas will be issued.

Martín Ferrari: On speaking at community conferences [Planet Debian]

Many people reading this have already suffered me talking to them about Prometheus. In personal conversation, or in the talks I gave at DebConf15 in Heidelberg, the Debian SunCamp in Lloret de Mar, BRMlab in Prague, and even at a talk on a different topic at the RABS in Cluj-Napoca.

Since their public announcement, I have been trying to support the project in the ways I could: by packaging it for Debian, and by spreading the word.

Last week the first ever Prometheus conference took place, so this time I did the opposite thing and I spoke about Debian to Prometheus people: I gave a 5 minutes lightning talk on Debian support for Prometheus.

What blew me away was the response I've got: from this tiny non-talk I prepared in 30 minutes, many people stopped me later to thank me for packaging Prometheus, and for Debian in general. They told me they were using my packages, gave me feedback, and even some RFPs!

At the post-conference beers, I had quite a few interesting discussions about Debian, release processes, library versioning, and culture clashes with upstream. I was expecting some Debian-bashing (we are old-fashioned, slow, etc.), instead I had intelligent and enriching conversations.

To me, this enforces once again my support and commitment to community conferences, where nobody is a VIP and everybody has something to share. It also taught me the value of intersecting different groups, even when there seems to be little in common.


Dirk Eddelbuettel: rfoaas 1.1.0 [Planet Debian]

rfoaas greed example

FOAAS upstream came out with release 1.1.0 earlier last week. Tyler Hunt was kind enough to provide an almost immediate pull request adding support for the extended capabilties. Following yesterday's upload we now have version 1.1.0 of rfoaas on CRAN.

It brings six more accessors: maybe(), blackadder(), horse(), deraadt(), problem(), cocksplat() and too().

As usual, CRANberries provides a diff to the previous CRAN release. Questions, comments etc should go to the GitHub issue tracker. More background information is on the project page as well as on 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.

Craig Sanders: fakecloud [Planet Debian]

I wrote my first Mojolicious web app yesterday, a cloud-init meta-data server to enable running pre-built VM images (e.g. as provided by debian, ubuntu, etc) without having to install and manage a complete, full-featured cloud environment like openstack.

I hacked up something similar several years ago when I was regularly building VM images at home for openstack at work, with just plain-text files served by apache, but that had pretty-much everything hard-coded. fakecloud does a lot more and allows per-VM customisation of user-data (using the IP address of the requesting host). Not bad for a day’s hacking with a new web framework.


fakecloud is a post from: Errata

Sebastian Kügler: facelift [Planet openSUSE]

I’ve done a facelift to my website. The new version is more mobile-friendly, modern-looking and quite a departure visually from its original look. I’ve chosen for a newpaper-like, typography-based responsive layout. My site finally also supports SSL, thanks to let’s encrypt.

Going to Akademy
Next week, I’ll be going to Akademy, which is co-hosted with QtCon. As usual, my focus will be around Plasma-related topics. I’ll also hold a presentation about a KDE software store.

Sebastian Kügler: Multiscreen in Plasma: Improved tools and debugging [Planet openSUSE]

Plasma 5.8 will be our first long-term supported release in the Plasma 5 series. We want to make this a release as polished and stable as possible. One area we weren’t quite happy with was our multi-screen user experience. While it works quite well for most of our users, there were a number of problems which made our multi-screen support sub-par.
Let’s take a step back to define what we’re talking about.

Multi-screen support means that connecting more than one screen to your computer. The following use cases give good examples of the scope:

  • Static workstation A desktop computer with more than one display connected, the desktop typically spans both screens to give more screen real estate.
  • Docking station A laptop computer that is hooked up to a docking station with additional displays connected. This is a more interesting case, since different configurations may be picked depending on whether the laptop’s lid is closed or not, and how the user switches between displays.
  • Projector The computer is connected to a projector or TV.

The idea is that the user plugs in or starts up with that configuration, if the user has already configured this hardware combination, this setup is restored. Otherwise, a reasonable guess is done to put the user to a good starting point to fine-tune the setup.

This is the job of KScreen. At a technical level, kscreen consists of three parts:

  • system settings module This can be reached through system settings
  • kscreen daemon Run in a background process, this component saves, restores and creates initial screen configurations.
  • libkscreen This is the library providing the screen setup reading and writing API. It has backends for X11, Wayland, and others that allow to talk to the exact same programming interface, independent of the display server in use.

At an architectural level, this is a sound design: the roles are clearly separated, the low-level bits are suitably abstracted to allow re-use of code, the API presents what matters to the user, implementation details are hidden. Most importantly, aside from a few bugs, it works as expected, and in principle, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t.

So much for the theory. In reality, we’re dealing with a huge amount of complexity. There are hardware events such as suspending, waking up with different configurations, the laptop’s lid may be closed or opened (and when that’s done, we don’t even get an event that it closed, displays come and go, depending on their connection, the same piece of hardware might support completely different resolutions, hardware comes with broken EDID information, display connectors come and go, so do display controllers (crtcs); and on top of all that: the only way we get to know what actually works in reality for the user is the “throw stuff against the wall and observe what sticks” tactic.

This is the fabric of nightmares. Since I prefer to not sleep, but hack at night, I seemed to be the right person to send into this battle. (Coincidentally, I was also “crowned” kscreen maintainer a few months ago, but let’s stick to drama here.)

So, anyway, as I already mentioned in an earlier blog entry, we had some problems restoring configurations. In certain situations, displays weren’t enabled or positioned unreliably, or kscreen failed to restore configurations altogether, making it “forget” settings.

Better tools

Debugging these issues is not entirely trivial. We need to figure out at which level they happen (for example in our xrandr implementation, in other parts of the library, or in the daemon. We also need to figure out what happens exactly, and when it does. A complex architecture like this brings a number of synchronization problems with it, and these are hard to debug when you have to figure out what exactly goes on across log files. In Plasma 5.8, kscreen will log its activity into one consolidated, categorized and time-stamped log. This rather simple change has already been a huge help in getting to know what’s really going on, and it has helped us identify a number of problems.

A tool which I’ve been working on is kscreen-doctor. On the one hand, I needed a debugging helper tool that can give system information useful for debugging. Perhaps more importantly I know I’d be missing a command-line tool to futz around with screen configurations from the command-line or from scripts as Wayland arrives. kscreen-doctor allows to change the screen configuration at runtime, like this:

Disable the hdmi output, enable the laptop panel and set it to a specific mode
$ kscreen-doctor output.HDMI-2.disable output.eDP-1.mode.1 output.eDP-1.enable

Position the hdmi monitor on the right of the laptop panel
$ kscreen-doctor output.HDMI-2.position.0,1280 output.eDP-1.position.0,0

Please note that kscreen-doctor is quite experimental. It’s a tool that allows to shoot yourself in the foot, so user discretion is advised. If you break things, you get to keep the pieces. I’d like to develop this into a more stable tool in kscreen, but for now: don’t complain if it doesn’t work or eat your hamster.

Another neat testing tool is Wayland. The video wall configuration you see in the screenshot is unfortunately not real hardware I have around here. What I’ve done instead is run a Wayland server with these “virtual displays” connected, which in turn allowed me to reproduce a configuration issue. I’ll spare you the details of what exactly went wrong, but this kind of tricks allows us to reproduce problems with much more hardware than I ever want or need in my office. It doesn’t stop there, I’ve added this hardware configuration to our unit-testing suite, so we can make sure that this case is covered and working in the future.

Colin King: Fixing an overheating Lenovo X230 laptop [Planet Ubuntu]

Over the past month I've been hitting excessive thermal heating on my laptop and kidle_inject has been kicking in to try and stop the CPU from overheating (melting!).  A quick double-check with older kernels showed me that this issue was not thermal/performance regression caused by software - instead it was time to clean my laptop and renew the thermal paste.

After some quick research, I found that Artic MX-4 Thermal Compound provided an excellent thermal conductivity rating of 8.5W/mK so I ordered a 4g sample as well as a can of pressurized gas cleaner to clean out dust.

The X230 has an excellent hardware maintenance manual, and following the instructions I stripped the laptop right down so I could pop the heat pipe contacts off the CPU and GPU.  I carefully cleaned off the old dry and cracked thermal paste and applied about 0.2g of MX-4 thermal compound to the CPU and GPU and re-seated the heat pipe.  With the pressurized gas I cleaned out the fan and airways to maximize airflow over the heatpipe.   The entire procedure took about an hour to complete and for once I didn't have any screws left over after re-assembly!

I normally take photos of the position of components during the strip down of a laptop for reference in case I cannot figure out exactly how parts are meant to fix on the re-assembly phase.  In this case, the X230 maintenance manual is sufficiently detailed so I didn't take any photos this time.

I'm glad to report that my X230 is now no-longer overheating. Heat is being effectively pumped away from the CPU and GPU and one can feel the additional heat being pushed out of the laptop.  Once again I can fully max out the CPU and GPU without passive thermal cooling mechanisms being kicked into action, so I've now got 100% of my CPU performance back again; as good as new!

Now and again I see laptop overheating bugs being filed in LaunchPad.  While some are legitimate issues with broken software, I do wonder if the majority of issues with the older laptops is simply due to accumulation of dust and/or old and damaged thermal paste.

Sebastian Kügler: facelift [Planet Ubuntu]

I’ve done a facelift to my website. The new version is more mobile-friendly, modern-looking and quite a departure visually from its original look. I’ve chosen for a newpaper-like, typography-based responsive layout. My site finally also supports SSL, thanks to let’s encrypt.

Going to Akademy
Next week, I’ll be going to Akademy, which is co-hosted with QtCon. As usual, my focus will be around Plasma-related topics. I’ll also hold a presentation about a KDE software store.

Diego Turcios: Using the calculator in the terminal [Planet Ubuntu]

Hi to all, this is a small issue I had the last days. Use a calculator in the terminal. I have been working and sometimes need to do an arithmetic operation so I decided to open  calc (Ubuntu Calculator Default). But I was wondering, there has to be a way to use a calculator in the CLI. So after some search in the engine I found this question in Ask Ubuntu and tried several options.

I will only write about the  best solution I found for my needs. In the question, you can find several solutions and probably you will find a different solution that will be best for you.

CALC (Arbitrary precision calculator)

Calc is an arbitrary precision arithmetic system that uses a C-like language. Calc is useful as a calculator, an algorithm prototyper and as a mathematical research tool. More importantly, calc provides one with a machine independent means of computation. Calc comes with a rich set of builtin mathematical and programmatic functions.

If you want to install calc you can use the following command:

sudo apt-get install apcalc

How a $64M hack changed the fate of Ethereum, Bitcoin's closest competitor [CBC | Technology News]


Picture this: A thief steals millions of dollars by hacking into an investment fund, and the whole theft is undone with a simple software update. That is, in effect, what happened recently at Ethereum, an upstart digital currency platform second only to Bitcoin in dollar value.

No tailings ponds, but in situ oilsands still release toxic contaminants: study [CBC | Technology News]


The first study of pollution from unconventional oilsands mines has concluded that so-called in-situ techniques also introduce contaminants into the environment.

6 Things Crazy Family Vacations Teach Us About Real Life [The Federalist]

I recently returned from a family camping trip to Big Bend National Park in Texas. To say things didn’t go quite as planned would be an understatement. Nonetheless, it was absolutely worth it and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Here are six ways summer vacation is a microcosm of real life.

1. Sometimes You Need to Back Up and Change Course

Six people went on our camping trip. The plan was to sleep three of us in a tent and three of us in a small trailer. The first night went perfectly. We set up camp, grilled steaks outside in the dark, and drank wine while looking at the stars. Then we settled down to sleep. The next morning we set off on our first excursion, a canoe trip down the Rio Grande.

As we were finishing our canoe trip, one of the guides pointed out the gathering clouds. “Looks like rain,” she said. And rain there was. Torrential, gully-washing, road-obliterating rain. We returned mid-afternoon to a soaked and demolished tent and bedding, with no sign of the rain letting up.


Did we move to a cabin? We did. Does that make us failures? Some might say so. But when it rained again the next day, we were very glad we had!

2. Things Won’t Always Make Sense

Like when your desert vacation gets rained out and you wake up at your RV site to find there’s no water and no electricity, so you walk to the community bathrooms only to find there’s no water there either and both toilets are marked “out of order” because the supply to the whole area has been compromised, at which point you look out the window just in time to see a wild boar taking his morning constitutional down the campground’s main gravel road.

When that happens, don’t try to make sense of it. Just get your clothes on and head for town.


3. Technology Can Be a Blessing and a Curse

Sometimes the experience of being constantly connected can get you into trouble, such as when you are planning to rendezvous with your husband, who is coming from elsewhere, but you become confused about exactly where, only to discover you can’t call to ask how to find it because your cell phone is out of range. Then you realize you don’t even know the name of where you’re staying, because all you wrote down was the address.

On the other hand, when you finally do make it to your campground (praise the Lord!) and it has Wi-Fi, you can use it to identify the stars and planets that are beyond breathtaking in a sky that is bigger than any you have ever seen before.

Terlingua Ranch Lodge at sunset

4. It’s the Little Things that Make It All Worthwhile

When it seems like hardly anything is going as planned, there is still wonder in the details:

  • Listening to James Taylor’s “October Road” CD as your car winds its way toward the mountains;
  • Climbing out of canoes on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande to sing the Kyrie with your family in four-part a cappella harmony;
  • Seeing the look on your youngest child’s face his first time to ride a horse;
  • Finding your heights-phobic self on a trail ride atop your own horse on a terrifyingly narrow ridge with the ground dropping away on either side and getting through it with the encouragement of your 23-year-old son;
  • Cooking with your family by flashlight on a single propane burner when the electricity in your cabin has gone out yet again;
  • Playing the “I’m going on a trip” game with your 12-, 20-, and 23-year-old kids and wondering with a lump in your throat if this will be the last time you take a car trip with all three of them at the same time.


5. You Can’t Put a Price on Friendship

Shortly before we left on our vacation, both our cars had major issues, deeming them un-roadworthy for such a long drive. Renting a car was not financially feasible. Then an angel in the form of a friend from church came to the rescue, offering us his almost-new Ford Explorer to drive.

Other friends and family cared for our dog while we were gone, gave us a place to overnight on the way to and from Texas, and watched our house and watered our plants while we were away. Without all of these people, we could not have taken this trip. In life as well as on vacation, we get by with not just a little help from our friends.


6. The Secret of Happiness Is Taking Joy in the Journey

On vacation as in life, reality often doesn’t meet with expectations. Sometimes that turns out to be a good thing, sometimes not. Either way, life isn’t about the destinations as much as it is about the journey. Where you are doesn’t matter as much as whom you’re with.

In our family vacation, Big Bend was awe-inspiring. My home state of Texas was as beautiful as ever. But we could have gone anywhere, and the most important element would have been unchanged: time with family. On a trip where an awful lot went wrong, that aspect went unaffected. In the end, that’s all that mattered.

Terlingua Ranch Lodge Sunrise

It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Whether everything is going wrong or everything is going right, our experience is in no small way shaped by our attitude. What helps me in my own life is keeping my eyes fixed on the ultimate destination of life in Christ.

But I also find it worthwhile to pull another page out of James Taylor’s songbook: “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. Any fool can do it. There ain’t nothing to it. Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill. But since we’re on our way down, we might as well enjoy the ride.”

Enjoy the ride, friends. On vacation, and in life.

The Facts About Poverty 20 Years After Welfare Reform [The Federalist]

Scott Winship, Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, joined Federalist Radio to talk about his latest report, “Poverty After Welfare Reform,” that looks at poverty in America 20 years after the landmark antipoverty reform act passed.

With so many types of government programs and benefits going in different directions, it can be difficult to tell what’s actually working. “In 2014 there were fewer kids who were poor, even if you don’t count any cash or non-cash benefits from the government. Few poor children than there were in 1996 when you count all cash benefits including welfare,” Winship said. “So that says to me it was earnings and work.”

Winship said there are elements to poverty that we still aren’t sure how to address such as single parenthood and out-of-wedlock births. “Why not just provide a very clear financial incentive for people to delay their childbearing until after their married and so I’ve proposed a fairly big increase in child tax credit for married couples,” he said.

Listen here:

An appeal for 2 minutes of your time… [Blazing Cat Fur]

“I’ve been writing a book for a while. I have been to countless publishers. Those who replied told me how good it was, but…

Not one will print it. I know why. I’ll explain.

Beyond Terror is simply a no-holds-barred account of the enormous damage that Islam and Muslim immigration has done, and will continue to do, to Western society. I have given countless examples of how and why this is a simple statement of fact. I will show how Islam is bringing horrors to the West that are unprecedented in modern history. It has injected our civilization with poison – this poison is particularly potent for girls and women and anyone who demands the right to freely express an opinion. Islam is dragging the free West in to a nightmare and I will prove it.”


Christians as “Target Practice” [Blazing Cat Fur]

minarettMuslim Persecution of Christians: May 2016

A new study claims that as many as 40,000 Christians — including Muslims who wish to convert to Christianity — are being attacked and harassed by Muslims in migrant homes. According to the report, “Now in European asylum homes they are finding more and more that they are in as much danger from radical Muslims in Europe as they were in their home countries.”


Mosaic of diversity alert… But He’s a big Justin Trudeau fan [Blazing Cat Fur]

Real Big, and displays those shared values with Islam that Justin constantly lectures us about.

Canada Pakistan anti-ahmadi twitter canadian pakistani

Note – Qadiani, Qaadyani, Qadiyaniyyah,  are pejoratives used to describe the Ahmadiyya sect. Islam’s sectarian violence is being imported to Canada.












More on Sunni Islam’s hatred of the Ahmadiyya in Canada: Muslims Of Calgary Publish Anti-Ahmadiyya Hate Screed, Claim Sect To Be Apostates Allied With Jews To Spread Filth!


Whiny Muslim Decries RCMP Misogyny Ignores Islam’s Brutal Treatment Of Women [Blazing Cat Fur]

Acid attacks on Muslim women - Not as bad as RCMP sexism

Acid attacks on Muslim women.  Not worth writing about compared to the horror of RCMP sexism.

If you’re wearing a hijab, be wary of RCMP recruitment drive

“…The RCMP has a long history of discrimination against women (including verbal, sexual and physical abuse) and has barely recovered. More than 400 women are involved in a lawsuit against the RCMP for allegedly ignoring rampant sexual harassment. The misogynistic culture of the organization was so blatant that Human Rights Watch did an independent investigation into alleged sexualized violence and harassment of indigenous women in northern British Columbia by RCMP officers. The harrowing accounts from former officers include details of enduring post-traumatic stress disorder and battling mental health issues.”

Go live in a ‘Stan.

Comments are worth a look, they are encouraging.

h/t JEH


Muslim terrorists bust comrades out of Filipino jail [Blazing Cat Fur]

Dozens of militants have stormed a jail in the southern Philippines, freeing eight members of the Maute terror group alongside other detainees. The attackers used a prison vehicle to escape after overpowering guards.


Germany needs 500,000 migrants a year until 2050 [Blazing Cat Fur]

german workers

Within the next 15 years, half of all German workers will become pensioners, the Bertelsmann Institute warns in a study published Friday. Without immigrants, Germany’s labor pool is likely to shrink from current its 45 million to 29 million people (or 36 percent) by 2050.


Germany expects up to 300,000 migrants to arrive this year

Frank-Juergen Weise told newspaper Bild An Sonntag: “We’re preparing for 250,000 to 300,000 refugees this year.”

He added that if more people were to come, his office would come under pressure but suggested he was not worried about such a scenario, saying it was instead likely that fewer than 300,000 would come this year.

Do not worry, Mutti Merkel will invite more.


The only way to make a ‘safe space’ for conservatives at universities [Blazing Cat Fur]

“…I know of only one solution to leftist takeovers, and that is to start again. The decent parliamentarians in the Labour party should take note of this. When we set up the underground university in Prague, we composed a curriculum entirely of classics on a budget of £50,000 a year. We the teachers, and they the students, were volunteers; our shared concern was knowledge, not ideology; conversation, not conscription. Once the state takes over, however, and its vast resources are made available to people otherwise incapable of earning a penny, the fakes and the frauds muscle in.”


A 2nd Rotherham? Horrific abuse scandal in town dubbed ‘child sex capital of Britain’ [Blazing Cat Fur]

Police are under fire over a “ Rotherham style ” abuse scandal in a town dubbed the child sex capital of Britain.

Officers are accused of taking too long to probe allegations contained in files stretching to 150 pages.

…Allegations go back at least 20 years of child sex abuse at the hands of gangs in Telford, predominantly from the town’s Pakistani community.

Operation Chalice bore chilling echoes of what happened in Rotherham, South Yorks


Oh No! Can It Be? Not Another Racist Message Left For Server On A Restaurant Receipt Hoax! [Blazing Cat Fur]

The media has raced to declare a waitress the victim of a vile, unprovoked racist attack because she produced a receipt with the message “We only tip citizens.” In its haste to make the waitress a martyr for all things social justice, members of the media may have overstepped and libeled innocent people.


‘You should never play in the NFL again. Move to Canada’ – and he just converted to Islam [Blazing Cat Fur]


Furious San Francisco 49ers fans have started burning Colin Kaepernick jerseys after he refused to stand for the national anthem as part of a racial protest.

One fan even played The Star-Spangled Banner as he set light to the Number 7 shirt, watching with his hand on his chest as it burned.

Another, who uploaded a video to Instagram under the handle Nate3914, called the $19million-per-year athlete an ‘ignorant son of a b****.’


During the off-season Colin Kaepernick converted to Islam. Colin Kaepernick is also engaged to Black Lives Matter activist and hip-hop radio personality DJ Nessa Diab. Black Lives Matter as an activist group is synonymous with promotion of authentic Islam.


Clinton Foundation Megadonor Denied Entry Into U.S. on Terror-Related Grounds [Jammie Wearing Fools]

It’s almost as if everyone associated with the Clintons is shady, including the Clintons themselves. Well, no big deal, Grandma will surely let this character in once she successfully buys the White House.

A Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire who donated millions to Clinton-family nonprofits was denied a visa to enter the United States last year for terrorism-related grounds, according to a new report.

Gilbert Chagoury, who donated millions to the Clinton Foundation and in 2009 pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative, was denied entry amid a review of his ties in Lebanon to Hezbollah, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

And the Trump campaign renewed its call for a shutdown of the Clinton Foundation after learning of the denial.

Is it any wonder why Grandma refuses to speak to the media?

“The fact a major Clinton Foundation donor was denied entry into the U.S. over ties to the terrorist group Hezbollah is deeply troubling, especially when this individual had access to top aides at Hillary Clinton’s State Department,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said Sunday, calling for the public release of Clinton’s schedules and the shutdown of the Clinton’s charity.

The Trump team also released a new web ad Sunday accusing the Clinton Foundation of being a “slush fund” that “sold access to the State Department.”

“Hillary Clinton’s corruption has been exposed again,” the ad says. Chagoury, who owns Africa’s largest construction company, had unique access to Hillary Clinton’s State Department, Clinton emails reveled.

The billionaire was on the Department of Homeland Security’s no-fly list in 2010 and pulled off a plane. He’s now on the “selectee” list that allow him to fly with extra scrutiny. Chagoury has denied any support for the terrorist group.

Hillary Clinton maintains she never took action as secretary of state because of donations to the foundation. The Clintons have announced they will stop accepting foundation donations from foreign interests if Clinton wins the White House.

Sure they will. We wouldn’t ever have reason to think they’d lie to us, right?

Actual CNN Headline: ‘Clinton’s health is fine, but what about Trump?’ [Jammie Wearing Fools]

For all we know Trump could drop dead tomorrow, that’s not the point. The idea that someone is going to tell us Grandma’s health is just fine is preposterous.

As Donald Trump and his allies attempt to raise dubious questions over Hillary Clinton’s health, the Republican nominee has invited new scrutiny into his own medical history.

Er, dubious questions? Yeah, let’s go to the video:

Watch this video on YouTube.

Like Clinton, Trump has released minimal information, most notably in the form of a December 2015 letter of a few paragraphs from his personal physician, a gastroenterologist, that described his blood pressure and lab results as “astonishingly excellent” while suggesting a President Trump would be the “healthiest individual ever elected.”

Wait, so she’s released minimal information, but they declared she’s fine. How would they possibly know?

As we said, we have no knowledge of Trump’s physical fitness, but there’s ample evidence Mrs. Clinton has suffered from various maladies over the years. And does this look like the picture of health?




It’s just another pathetic attempt by the media to drag her carcass across the finish line, and they still have 10 weeks of heavy lifting to do.

A one-man tribute to Leonard Bernstein comes to the stage [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Hershey Felder Maestro

Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in “Maestro” (Courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) – There is a remarkable moment in “Maestro,” Hershey Felder’s one-man show about Leonard Bernstein, when the late famed conductor-composer is shown in an old film clip on a giant screen and the two perform a seamless piano duet from Richard Wagner’s “Tristan and Isolde.”

The tour de force characterizes the fusion between Bernstein, who died in 1990 at 72, and Felder, very much alive and lively at 48.

“Maestro” opens off-Broadway (59E59 Theaters) on Sept. 1 for a six-week run and will tour cities throughout the United States and abroad in the future.

The multitalented Felder, who sings, acts and plays the piano in a combination of biographical narrative and concert, seems confident he will remember his lines. After all, he tells an interviewer, “I’ve impersonated Lenny Bernstein on stage some 600 times.”

However, even those who have seen Felder tributes to Bernstein will find different nuances and characterizations in the upcoming New York presentation.

“The tone of each performance depends on the reaction of the audience, so my job never gets easier, only harder,” Felder said, but he hopes the result is “a more realized piece.”

There are some actual parallels in the lives of the two men. Both grew up in Yiddish-speaking homes, the sons of Eastern European immigrants and in tightly knit Jewish communities — Bernstein in the Boston area, Felder in his native Montreal.

A recurrent shtick in the show is Bernstein’s Ukraine-born father agonizing how his son is ever going to make a living as a musician.

The show follows Bernstein from his admission to Harvard (squeezing in under the 10 percent Jewish quota), to his first steady job as assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, to his triumphs as a composer both of classical music and classic Broadway musicals.

There is the historical date of Nov. 14, 1943, when in a pure Hollywood fantasy, a hung-over Bernstein is awakened by a phone call telling him that the evening’s scheduled conductor, Bruno Walter, has suddenly fallen ill and that he, the 25-year old Lenny, must wield the baton at 3 p.m. that very day.

Bernstein, of course, triumphed and the rest is history.

“Maestro” introduces the great conductors who influenced Bernstein, each infused by Felder with a distinct personality and different European accent.

We meet the likes of Walter Damrosch, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Fritz Reiner (“with the permanent expression of a man who had sex once and didn’t like it,” says Felder), Walter and, above all, the beloved music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky.

On another level, there is Bernstein the composer, whose works, such as “Jeremiah,” “Dybbuk Suites” and “Kaddish,” reflected his deep Jewish roots.

Hershey Felder sings, acts and plays the piano in the play. (Courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents)

Hershey Felder sings, acts and plays the piano in “Maestro.” (Courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents)

From a world-renowned classical conductor, Bernstein turned to the musical stage with works ranging from “On the Town” to “Candide” and the triumphant “West Side Story,” a modern-day version of “Romeo and Juliet.” (Bernstein originally cast the warring clans as Jews vs. Catholics, but cooler heads prevailed, “so we threw out the Jews and brought in the Puerto Ricans,” Bernstein is quoted as saying.)

On a third level is Bernstein, the complex and conflicted human being. He was happily married to the Chilean-born Felicia Montealegre, the mother of his three children, but made little effort to hide his liaisons with men.

“Maestro” opens with Bernstein on his deathbed. Felder believes that for all the worldly acclaim, the celebrated musician pronounced a harsh judgment on himself. Perhaps his greatest sorrow was that he never composed the one classical masterpiece that would immortalize his name, Felder said.

In his later years, “Bernstein also suffered from strong feelings of guilt,” Felder believes. “He shoved [his affairs with men] down Felicia’s throat and he didn’t care how devastated she was.”

“Maestro” runs nearly two hours, without an intermission, and the sheer physical stamina required for the one-man play is astonishing. Even more so as Felder throws himself into the role with unreserved physical and emotional passion that stops just short of going over the top.

In addition, Felder transmits a real feeling for the creative processes underlying the arts of conducting and composition.

Over a span of 19 years and some 4,500 stage performances, Felder has also interpreted the lives and works of Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt, as well as Irving Berlin and George Gershwin (Felder introduces the latter by his birth name, Yankele [Jacob] Gershowitz.) In addition, Felder presents his own works, including the concerto “Aliyah,” the opera “Noah’s Ark” and “Love Songs of the Yiddish Theatre.”

Next on Felder’s intense schedule is his musical and biographical homage to “Our Great Tchaikovsky,” which will premiere next year.

When not touring, Felder lives in Paris and New York with his wife, Kim Campbell, the former Canadian prime minister, whom he met while she was serving as her country’s consul general in Los Angeles.

“Maestro,” directed by Joel Zwick, will run through Oct. 16, with Felder’s signature “The Great American Songbook Sing-Along” added as an occasional bonus.


Leonard Bernstein sculpture unveiled at Tanglewood

They’ll never stop saying ‘Bernstein’: School probes composer’s influences

This Israeli and Palestinian duo owns Berlin’s hippest hummus joint [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]


Kanaan is run by Oz Ben David, who grew up Jewish in Beersheba, and Jalil Dabit, an Arab Christian from Ramallah. (Facebook)

BERLIN (JTA) – In a corner of former East Berlin, where shabby, red brick buildings meet cobblestone streets, lies a new Promised Land.

Kanaan — a casual, vegetarian Middle Eastern restaurant named for the biblical lands before they were conquered by the Israelites — is something of a dream come true. And that’s not just because its hummus is “oh yes,” as one German blogger recently described it.

Rather it’s the result of a unique partnership between its 30-something owners, Oz Ben David, who grew up Jewish in Beersheba, and Jalil Dabit, an Arab Christian from Ramallah.

The duo met in the German capital, where they are trying to turn a culinary dream into reality. Before the men ever met, they had separately nursed the same idea: to draw upon their heritage to create a delicious, modern cuisine. And, of course, to earn their living by it.

Kanaan, which opened a year ago, is a unique hybrid, where the Arab cuisine of Dabit’s grandfather meets the recipes of Ben David’s Moroccan and Romanian grandmothers. In some ways it’s an “only in Berlin” phenomenon, thanks in part to the city’s relatively open attitude toward foreigners. Berlin boasts a small but lively Israeli population (estimated at some 10,000) and a significant number of Arabs of Palestinian origin, which some estimate at about 35,000.

These facts, along with Berlin’s famously low cost of living, made it an ideal spot for two non-Germans to test the waters of an unusual restaurant concept.

On a typically cloudy August evening in Prenzlauer Berg — a hip district that’s akin to Brooklyn’s Williamsburg both in terms of its uber-hip character, as well as its more recent evolution into a family-friendly spot —  children are playing in Kanaan’s outdoor garden while adults sit under large café umbrellas dipping soft, fresh pita into silky smooth hummus and munching on roasted cauliflower glazed with a date honey sauce. The restaurant, tucked in a corner overlooking the commuter railway tracks, is a bit of an oasis: lush vines have grown around the outdoor dining area, and small flowers trail from a makeshift arbor.

In other words, it was a perfect, peaceful spot for an Israeli and a Palestinian to set up shop.

“It’s so crazy how we met,” said Dabit, 34, who shuttles back and forth from Ramallah to run Samir, the famed restaurant of his late grandfather and father. Two years ago Dabit’s Israeli girlfriend, who was studying at the University of Potsdam, urged him to settle down in Berlin.

He agreed but told her, “I need to do something.” For a year he absorbed the scene, “to understand people and see how it works. And food, food, food was always the thing.”

Separately, Ben David, 36, a marketing expert, was itching to try gastronomy. It seemed ordained that the two should meet.

“It was like a road we almost couldn’t resist,” Ben David said.

Before meeting Dabit, Ben David watched Oren Rosenfeld’s 2015 film “Hummus! The Movie,” which featured Dabit and his family’s Ramallah restaurant. In the film, Dabit muses about opening a place of his own in Berlin.

But when mutual friends suggested they meet, Ben David hesitated — he said his father was worried about him working with an Arab from the West Bank. And, as it happens, Dabit’s father had his own doubts about his son setting up shop in Germany, as he didn’t want to lose him as a business partner.

Oz Ben David and Jalil Tabit

Jalil Dabit, left, and Oz Ben David met through mutual friends in Berlin. (Facebook)

But Dabit finally appeared in Ben David’s office and said, “‘Listen, I need to bring a good excuse to my father to leave the business in Israel,’” Ben David recalled.

“I told him about my story and what I wanted to do,” Dabit said about his plan to open an eatery featuring his family’s best recipes from the Ramallah restaurant. “And he liked the idea.”

“From the moment we decided to work together, I can’t say it was easy,” Ben David said. “We did not have money, we had no place, no EU passports, and there was a lot of competition for space.”

Last summer, after stalking various short-order joints around town, they approached the owner of a restaurant, a German of Lebanese background, who also owned the shack across the street. At the time, the underutilized space operated as a pizzeria in the evenings.

“I came to this German man with my Israeli temperament,” recalls Ben David, whose dark hair is pulled into a bun. He proposed to work lunchtime only; a test to see if people liked their food. They scheduled a trial run and organized an event, the “Hummus, Fashion and Peace Connection,” a tasting-slash-dance party, to show off their talents.

The event drew many hundreds of guests over two days, Dabit and Ben David said, and Kanaan eventually opened as a full-fledged restaurant — and both fathers came around.

Back in Ramallah, Dabit told his father, “Baba, we opened a restaurant.” He promised to bring him to Berlin to see the place, but Dabit’s father died before the plan came to fruition. Still, Dabit said his father had understood and approved of his plan.

“My father knew all my life that I am doing a lot of things,” Dabit said. “I am a strange bird.”

Ben David’s parents had a harder time with his decision to live in Berlin.

“They would prefer me being close to them,” he said. “But they are happy to see me successful and making my dreams come true. And they come to visit me a lot.”

Kanaan’s cooks use the former pizzeria’s kitchens across the street, as well as the second one in the shack. Among the employees are recent refugees from Eritrea and Syria, who are permitted to earn money while studying the German language. More than a million refugees, mostly from Muslim and African countries, have poured into Germany over the past year.

“We have had an English and Russian teacher from Syria; we have had many young people age 18, 19, with no profession,” Ben David said. “We teach them how to cook.”

In the kitchen on this night, standing at a pot filled with chickpeas, is Tamir, a 34-year-old Druze refugee who ran a clothing store in Syria. His wife, expecting their first child, is an agricultural engineer. They feared for their lives in Syria, Tamir said.

“Germany is afraid of refugees, but demographic change is something that every society has to face,” said Dabit, whose family restaurant has employed Arabs, Christians and even Jewish immigrants from the United States. “Are we going to miss the opportunity and see a crisis, or use the opportunity to make us stronger?”

Ben David and Dabit are seeking out other opportunities, too. They want to become a household name — through Kanaan for now, but eventually through cookbooks, television and a showroom for their food products. They recently opened a smaller venue in the Kreuzberg section of Berlin, an area that has become home to much of the city’s new Israeli population.

“In five years we are planning to be the biggest food company producing Middle Eastern food in Germany,” Ben David said.

They are also planning a “Spice Dreams” program – a spice packaging enterprise that would train refugees and teens from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds to help them “learn about business and have goals,” he said.

For now, however, Dabit and Ben David are working to win over locals who are not necessarily familiar with Middle Eastern foods. The trick?

“Put something they are familiar with inside,” Ben David said.

For example, the partners mixed the familiar favorite hummus with either shakshuka (eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce) or crisp Moroccan potato pancakes — prepared with tahini instead of egg as a binder. Just like that, two of Kanaan’s signature dishes were born.

“It was obvious,” said Dabit, his eyes twinkling from behind black-and-white-rimmed glasses. “We need to touch people in a different way. Our message is that when we combine things together, it’s always better.”


DJ Diplomacy: Nightclubs in Tel Aviv and Berlin celebrate a half-century of friendship

Haredi parties threaten government crisis over Shabbat rail construction [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Haredi Orthodox parties in Israel are threatening to leave the ruling coalition and bring down the government over the construction of a Tel Aviv train station on the Jewish Sabbath.

Late Saturday night, the heads of the religious parties demanded a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and issued calls for him to fire his transportation minister, Yisrael Katz of his Likud party.

The haredi Shas and United Torah Judaism parties held hours-long talks on the issue overnight Thursday with Katz, calling on him to not undertake the work on Shabbat. Party leaders in a statement called the work an “unnecessary desecration of the Shabbat.” They reportedly threatened to leave the government coalition during the talks.

Katz said the work had to be undertaken on Saturday to avoid traffic snarls that would endanger the public safety. During the rail infrastructure work, parts of the major Ayalon Highway were closed off.

“The work done over the weekend was something that was both needed and essential. There was no other way,” Katz said Saturday night during a visit to the Hashalom train station in Tel Aviv.

“I operated in accordance with the law and the status quo. I would not agree to cancel the work despite the pressure to do so. I am a traditional man and was sorry about the position taken by the heads of the ultra-Orthodox parties.”

The work is part of the construction on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv high-speed train line.

Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, ex-defense minister and longtime Knesset member, dies at 80 [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, a former Labor Party leader and defense minister who served in the Knesset for 30 years, has died.

Ben Eliezer, who withdrew from the country’s presidential election in 2014 over corruption charges, died Sunday in a Tel Aviv hospital. He was 80.

Known by the nickname “Fouad,” Ben-Eliezer served in the Knesset from 1984 through 2014. He led the Labor Party in 2001 and 2002.

In the early 2000s he was the defense minister for four years under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during the second Palestinian intifada. The West Bank security fence was built during his tenure.

In December 2014, Ben Eliezer resigned from the Knesset for health reasons. A year later he was indicted for receiving more than $500,000 from businessmen in return for political favors. He paid a nearly $3 million fine in a plea bargain in May, which kept him out of prison.

Along with being defense minister, he served in the Cabinet as housing, infrastructure, communications, and industry and trade minister.

Ben-Eliezer was born in Basra, Iraq, in 1936 and immigrated to Israel as a teen immediately after the birth of the state. He had a distinguished military career in Israel, beginning his service in the Israel Defense Forces in the Golani Brigade, which he served as an officer. He served as deputy battalion commander during the Yom Kippur War, and was appointed battalion commander of the IDF brigade responsible for protecting the Lebanese border. He was the first commander of South Lebanon, and served as commander of the Judea and Samaria region for four years until 1982, when he retired from the IDF, returning in 1984 for one year to serve as coordinator of government activities in the West Bank and Gaza.

On a visit to Tunisia in 1994 with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Ben Eliezer became the first Israeli minister to meet PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.

In December 2014, Ben-Eliezer received a kidney transplant and several months later was placed in a medically induced coma with a serious case of the flu until his health improved.

“Fouad served the State of Israel for decades as a fighter, commander, public servant and senior government minister,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “I knew him and I esteemed his contribution and his special personality. In my many conversations with him, Fouad expressed his concern for – and commitment to – the future of the State of Israel that he loved so much. May his memory be blessed.”

Argentine boxer Carolina Duer wins world bantamweight title on return to ring [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

Carolina Duer, known as "The Turk," won by a third-round TKO in the third defense of her boxing title. (Facebook)

Carolina Duer, known as “The Turk,” won by a sixth-round knockout to win the interim IBF world bantamweight title. (Facebook)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Argentine Jewish boxer Carolina Raquel Duer won the interim International Boxing Federation’s world bantamweight title in her return to the ring after two years.

Duer, 38, nicknamed “The Turk,” knocked out Aline de Casia Scaranello of Brazil in the sixth round Friday in Quilmes, a Buenos Aires suburb. The bout was aired live by the main Argentine TV channel sport TyC, which called the knockout “spectacular” and spread a video of the victory via social media.


Duer, a former World Boxing Organization super flyweight and bantamweight champion, raised her record to 19-3 with one draw. The knockout was her sixth. She must defend the IBF crown against Chile’s Carolina Rodriguez, who is unbeaten in 15 bouts.

Duer is the daughter of Syrian immigrants to Argentina and attended the Jaim Najman Bialik Primary School in Buenos Aires. She spent more than a month in Israel in her younger years working on a kibbutz and touring the country.

In 2010, Duer was the first Jewish woman to hold a WBO crown, which she defended six times. In 2014 she became a boxer announcer for Argentine National TV.

As an amateur, Duer won 19 of 20 fights.

Report: Sheldon Adelson meets with Donald Trump, suggests he demonstrate humility [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson told Donald Trump in a private meeting that the Republican presidential candidate must demonstrate a measure of humility, The New York Times reported.

Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate, also told Trump in the meeting last week in Adelson’s suite at the St. Regis Hotel in New York that he was committed to his presidential campaign.

The newspaper cited five unnamed Republicans briefed on the meeting who were not authorized to publicly disclose information about the get-together.

Adelson’s wife, Miriam, also a large donor to the Republican Party, reportedly was at the meeting with Trump on Wednesday. Neither Adelson has contributed to Trump’s campaign, to groups supporting him or to the Republican National Committee since they pledged to support him during a private meeting in May at the same hotel, the Times reported.

Trump’s campaign would not comment to the Times on the meeting.

Many of the Republican Party’s most generous contributors have refused to give to Trump’s campaign, according to the newspaper.

Trump campaign CEO reportedly made anti-Semitic remarks, his ex-wife says [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — Donald Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon made anti-Semitic remarks over a private school in Los Angeles that accepted his twin daughters, his ex-wife charged during a court battle over post-divorce financial issues.

Bannon’s second wife, Mary Louise Piccard, said in a sworn court declaration that Bannon said he did not want to send his daughters to The Archer School for Girls for the 2007-08 school year because he “didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews,” The Associated Press reported over the weekend. The AP obtained and reviewed the court papers, which were part of a request for Bannon to pay $25,000 in legal fees and cover the $64,000 in tuition.

“He said he doesn’t like Jews and that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats,'” Piccard said in a 2007 court filing.

Bannon took over as the head of Trump’s presidential campaign last week. He previously served as executive chairman of the conservative website Breitbart News, which the Hillary Clinton campaign has charged as being anti-Semitic.

Bannon spokeswoman Alexandra Preate denied that Bannon made anti-Semitic comments about the school.

The AP also cited remarks that his ex-wife said Bannon made while visiting private schools in 2000. At one school, Bannon reportedly asked the director why there were so many books about Hanukkah in the library. At another school, Piccard said Bannon asked her if it bothered her that the school building was formerly a synagogue.

Piccard filed for divorce in 1997 after accusing Bannon of beating her up in an altercation over money.

The Trump campaign has come under fire for anti-Semitism, notably in July, when the Republican candidate’s website showed a Star of David shape and dollar bills superimposed over an image of Clinton and the words “most corrupt candidate ever.”

Lone Duma firebombing survivor, 6, taken for ‘solidarity visit’ to Hamas terrorist’s demolished home [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

A house fire in the Palestinian village of Duma, West Bank, suspected to have been set by Jewish extremists, killed an 18-month-old Palestinian child, injuring both the parents and four year old son. (Oren Ziv/Getty Images)

Palestinians surrounding the body of an 18-month-old boy from the Dawabsheh family who was killed in the firebombing of his home in the West Bank village of Duma allegedly set by Jewish extremists, July 2015. (Oren Ziv/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian boy who was the lone survivor of an attack on his family’s West Bank home in Duma was taken for what was described as a “solidarity visit” to the demolished home of a Hamas terrorist who killed three, including an American citizen.

On Saturday, Ahmed Dawabsheh, 6, went with his grandfather Hussein to the Hebron home of Mohammad Abed al Basset Harub, Ynet reported. They were accompanied by Mohammad Qiq, a Hamas member who in February ended a 93-day hunger strike in an Israeli prison to protest his administrative detention — being held without charge or court appearance.

Ahmed was released from an Israeli hospital near Tel Aviv in July, though he returns for ongoing treatment. His grandfather has been by his side since the July 2015 firebombing in the Duma village that killed the boy’s parents and younger brother. Right-wing Jewish extremists have been indicted in the attack.

In November, Harub shot into a minivan filled with passengers as well as another car in Gush Etzion, and then rammed his car into several other cars and bystanders. Among those killed in the attack was an 18-year-old yeshiva student, Ezra Schwartz, of Sharon, Massachusetts. Harub was shot and killed by Israeli security forces while trying to flee the scene.

Beach performance by Israeli singer halted over bikini [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A female Israeli singer refused to halt her performance at an Ashdod beach after being asked to close a shirt she was wearing over her bikini top.

Concert organizers ended the performance Friday at a government-sponsored music festival in southern Israel after Hanna Goor declined the request, The Times of Israel reported, citing Israeli news reports. The free concert was not well attended, according to reports.

Goor, a contestant on the Israeli music reality show “A Star is Born” in 2004, was in the middle of her second song in a scheduled half-hour performance when she was asked to leave the stage.

“I cannot accept the double standard where people are invited up from the beach to attend a performance but I’m not permitted to perform in a swimsuit,” Goor told a local news website, Ashdodnet, according to The Times of Israel. “It wasn’t a provocation but simply a matter of comfort. It’s summer, it’s hot and we were at the beach. All over the world there are festivals where artists appear wearing whatever they want.

She also told Ynet: “Perhaps if my chest were smaller this wouldn’t have happened.”

Goor’s performance “did not respect the audience,” the Culture and Sport Ministry said.

The incident comes on the heels of the decision by some 30 French municipalities to ban the burkini, a full-body swimsuit worn by Muslim women, from public beaches. A French court on Friday ruled that the ban is illegal.


Philly artist paints over swastikas with flowers, has neighbors do the same [Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — A Jewish artist in suburban Philadelphia turned swastikas painted on her trash can into a neighborhood demonstration of love and caring.

Esther Cohen-Eskin of Havertown discovered the Nazi symbol painted on her trash can on Aug. 19, The Associated Press reported. She and her husband have lived there for 20 years.

“The swastika is such a deep-rooted sign of hatred for everyone, especially Judaism, that I felt so targeted,” she told the AP on Thursday.

Cohen-Eskin decided to paint over the swastikas with flowers. Then she wrote a letter to her neighbors asking them to paint a swastika on their trash bin and paint over it as she had. Garbage cans throughout the neighborhood have been painted with flowers and other symbols of love and caring.

People as far away as Canada, Germany and Ireland called to offer their support. Some sent photos of their own decorated trash containers, according to the AP.

“It gave me a whole new reassurance in humanity,” Cohen-Eskin told the AP. “I feel invigorated by all the love. It’s exciting … it makes you feel there’s so much good out there.”

NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN - English News at 20:01 (JST), August 28 [English News - NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN]

Should Presidential Candidates Be Required To Undergo Independent Medical Reviews? [Outside the Beltway]



If he were to win the election in November, Donald Trump would become the oldest person to ever become President of the United States, exceeding by more than half a year the  69 years, 349 days that Ronald Reagan was when he became President. If she wins the election in November, Hillary Clinton would become the second oldest person to take the office, falling some ten months short of Reagan’s age in 1981, but well ahead of William Henry Harrison, who was 68 years, 23 days old when he took office on March 4, 1841. If either Trump or Clinton were to serve two full terms in office, they would be 78 years and 77 years old respectively when their successor took office on January 20, 2021. Because of this, there’s been at least some attention paid to the issue of the health of the candidates. For her part, Hillary Clinton, who had a health scare shortly before leaving office in December 2012 when she reportedly fainted in her Washington, D.C. home and suffered what was reported at the time as a concussion that we later learned had developed into a blood clot near her brain that required hospitalization, released a two-page letter from her primary care physician detailing her condition and the medications she was taking in little more than the most general of ways. Donald Trump, meanwhile, released as his medical “report” a short, bizarre letter from his purported physician that reads more like a Trump speech than something that a doctor would write, and which was apparently composed in five minutes while Trump waited outside the doctor’s office in his limousine.

For the most part, these disclosures are similar to what we’ve gotten from recent Presidential candidates in the way of disclosures about their past or present medical condition or revelations regarding what medications they may have been on. In the past, of course, the public was largely unaware of Presidential health. President Woodrow Wilson spent the final years of his Presidency largely incapacitated in the White House thanks to a stroke, and there have been persistent rumors in the years afterward that, in many cases, orders and decisions purported to come from the President were actually being made by Wilson’s wife Edith and his chief aides, who kept the President’s true condition a closely guarded secret. Similarly, few Americans were even aware that Franklin D. Roosevelt was even in a wheelchair, never mind the fact that his health by the time of the 1944 election was so precarious that Democratic Party officials acted to remove Henry Wallace as FDR’s running mate and replace him with Harry Truman for fear of what might happen should Wallace, a man to the left of FDR who had long expressed sympathy for the Soviet Union, should become President. Similarly, Americans were unaware of the fact that President Kennedy suffered from Addison’s Disease, an autoimmune disease that can become debilitating over time.

Additionally, the lack of full disclosure has led unsurprisingly to a host of conspiracy theories, especially regarding the current health condition of the two major party candidates for office. In the case of Hillary Clinton, conservatives have taken it upon themselves to put forward conspiracy theories claiming that Clinton is suffering from some undisclosed ailment, typically by using photos and video that have obviously been altered or taken out of context to support their argument. These claims have, of course, been largely debunked and discredited, but they remain common fodder on the right side of the political spectrum and will likely follow Clinton into office. In Trump’s case the strangeness of the letter drafted by his physician has led many to wonder if he isn’t hiding something regarding his health, although there has not been a similar level of conspiracy theory mongering among Democrats about that issue.

It all leads one to wonder, if anything, could be done about this issue that balances both the right to medical privacy of candidates and office holders and the right of the public to have at least some knowledge about the fitness for office of the people competing for what is obviously among the most stressful and demanding in the world. As a way of trying to resolve these issues, Dan Diamond discusses one possible solution in Politico Magazine:

It’s reasonable to worry about a candidate’s health. There’s an entire amendment to the Constitution that centers on whether a president is mentally or physically able to carry out the duties of the office. And this is an especially pressing question this year, when the two major-party candidates represent the oldest pair in presidential election history. But, even in more mainstream outlets, the reasoned speculation you might expect seems to have been replaced by untamed conjecture.

One reason for this is that there’s a vacuum of information about our candidates. That problem is largely preventable, medical ethicists say. “If people care about health—and they don’t, they care about politics—if they did, they’d have an independent panel of doctors checking out the candidates,” says NYU bioethicist Art Caplan.

The idea of asking candidates to undergo an independent medical review isn’t new; it’s kicked around medical conferences and academic journals for years. But the concept has gained traction this campaign season as conspiracy theories about Clinton’s and Trump’s health have gone viral. Caplan and others argue that a panel of a half-dozen doctors could do a comprehensive workup of the candidates—checking everything from their bloodwork to physical fitness and even mental health—and share a summary that voters could find trustworthy and useful. “They don’t have to get down to psychoanalysis,” Caplan caveats.

Here’s the drawback with our current system: We don’t actually know how healthy Clinton or Trump are. Candidates don’t undergo any kind of independent examination and they aren’t obligated to release their medical records, either. And what they do share isn’t always the full story, given the risk of political damage. “The things that we’d want to know are the things, unfortunately, that people won’t want to reveal,” says internal medicine doctor Connie Mariano.

As the White House physician to three presidents, Mariano has seen the rigors of the job up close, and she ticked off the list of conditions that candidates might be tempted to hide. “Mental illness, like being treated for depression. Seizure disorder. If they have cancer—will there be a reoccurrence. Have they ever had a stroke, or heart disease.” Fairly or not, those conditions have been perceived as disqualifying.


It’s important to know as much about our next presidents as possible—their policy positions, their temperament, even their health information, given the possibility of electing a president who isn’t long for the office. But it’s also clear that as long as candidates can cherry-pick their physicians, they can essentially cherry-pick their medical reports, too.

There is a way to try and fix the broken system, and it was former President Jimmy Carter who helped identify it. In 1994, more than a decade after he left office, Carter floated an idea in the Journal of the American Medical Association: An independent commission to evaluate the health of the president, in case of disability. Carter’s proposal never went anywhere, but was a high-profile acknowledgement that medical fitness for the presidency should be taken seriously, and de-politicized as much as possible.

Mariano says that she served on an American College of Physicians subcommittee that looked at a similar proposal to require presidential candidates to undergo an independent medical evaluation, although the idea was eventually shelved. “We debated it back and forth, and then reality set in,” she says. “Most candidates bristle at releasing private information” and might seek to avoid a medical review.

But candidates also bristle at false attacks, and it’s clear that as long as the system doesn’t require them to disclose complete records, the medical rumors aren’t going away. Martin Shkreli—the embattled ‘Pharma Bro’—conducted an hours-long online video session this month where he “diagnosed” Clinton with Parkinson’s disease. Seizing on Sean Hannity’s prime-time series of “medical investigations” into Clinton’s health, Trump is actively trying to turn Clinton’s admission that she “short-circuited” when answering a recent question into a subtle attack on her mental fitness.

That’s one reason why some prominent doctors have new interest in the old idea of an independent review. “I’ve been proposing a panel for more than six years,” NYU’s Caplan said, arguing that when figures like Rudy Guiliani attack a candidate’s health, it’s bringing unnecessary legitimacy to what used to be fringe conspiracy theories.

Ethicists point out that a mandatory medical review might not be feasible. While some important jobs—think airline pilot—do require medical approval, it would be harder to make the case for a politician and would raise complicated legal questions.

So “let’s assume it is not a government panel,” muses Harvard ethicist I. Glenn Cohen, “but rather something that candidates voluntarily undertake.” He points to how the American Bar Association, for instance, has historically rated the qualifications of Supreme Court nominees. Many lawmakers say they consider the ABA’s assessment as one factor among many when vetting a judicial appointee. Yes, it’s possible for candidates to buck a voluntary expectation—Trump’s doing it right now with his tax returns—but it reframes the focus, Cohen argues.

As Diamond readily acknowledges, there are possibly benefits and downsides to proposals such as this:

It’s possible that an independent medical commission could diffuse a lot of the controversy over presidential health. In a world where nearly 60 percent of adults take prescription drugs, many for heart disease or mental health conditions, an independent medical commission probably wouldn’t hurt candidates as much as the perception that they’re hiding something—and the wild theories that spawns.

Of course, the opposite scenario could unfold: That voters seize on bouts with cancer, heart disease or other legitimate health concerns that turn out to be irrelevant. Despite the many questions about McCain’s fitness for office in 2008, the Arizona senator hasn’t had serious medical issues in the past seven-and-a-half years, as the end of President Barack Obama’s second term looms. Franklin Roosevelt was one of our least healthy presidents, physically, and yet he steered the United States through a depression and a World War.

This is an issue where I’m not entire sure where I stand at the moment. On the one hand, I agree that it is important for Americans to know as much as reasonably possible about the people running for President, and that the health of the candidates is certainly a relevant concern going forward since it could tell us something about the candidate that is arguably important and could effect how they do their job or whether or not they actually can do their job. At the same time, the possibility that the public could misinterpret the results, or that opponents will latch on to something that is largely irrelevant as a political issue is quite high. For example, what if a candidate had been on a mild anti-depressant in the past, as many Americans have been.. The probability that this could be misinterpreted or exploited would seem to be quite high, even though the risk of such medication having adverse side effects is low. Evidence of a candidate being treated for high cholesterol or high blood pressure could be used in a similar manner. This, no doubt, is one reason why candidates in the past have been reluctant to reveal too much about their medical history even though the public should arguably be confident about a candidate willing to do what it takes to take care of their health. Another argument against the idea of mandatory independent medical reviews is the fact that, as President, one of these candidates will have access to some of the best medical care in the world at a moments notice. Given that, requiring them to reveal potentially embarrassing details about their health status is arguably unnecessary.

As it stands, of the eight Presidents who died in office, four of them died of what amounts to ‘natural’ causes, the most recent being FDR in 1945. Since then, there have been a handful of serious health incidents involving sitting Presidents. Perhaps the most notable involved President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had a serious heart attack while traveling in Colorado. Eisenhower recovered from that attack, though, and went on to be overwhelmingly re-elected a year later. A year after that, Eisenhower suffered a mild stroke that left him temporarily debilitated. Along with other considerations, these incidents eventually led Congress to pass, and the states to quickly ratify, the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, which sets up a procedure involving the Vice-President, the Cabinet, and Congress to deal with Presidential disability, something that the Constitution had failed to address for nearly 200 years. Since then, there have been a number of incidents involving Presidents who have needed surgery for one health matter or another, but very little that amounted to a serious health condition other than the doubt that surrounded the White House on March 30, 1981 when President Reagan was shot outside the Washington Hilton. Since Reagan, Presidents Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama have all been relatively healthy while they served in office. At some point, though, it’s likely that the law of averages will play out and we’ll end up with a President with a serious health condition that voters knew nothing about before electing that person to office. Before we get there, perhaps we should ask ourselves if candidates ought to be required to be far more open about their physical and mental health than they have been to date.

Some Alt-Right Basics [Outside the Beltway]

Via RawStory:  The Alt-Right Dictionary: 7 terms you need to know to understand Trump’s most hateful supporters.

And, straight from two of the self-proclaimed leaders of the movement from back in March at Breitbart:  An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right.


Pandora: when everything else stalls, you can always try radio [Radio Survivor]

I’m looking forward to Pandora’s impending new radio offering featuring Questlove of Tonite Show fame. The press release says the program will be called “Questlove Supreme”: ” . . . a raw and ingenious three-hour show curated and produced by the four-time GRAMMY winner. The show will be a weekly ride through the global musical landscape featuring adventurous music selections, […]

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Former Obama Campaign Manager Plays Amateur Psychologist and Diagnoses Trump [RedState]

OH… I’m all over this.

David Plouffe, former campaign manager for President Obama, is playing amateur psychologist and has made a diagnosis of whatever is going on in Donald Trump’s brain.

"I mean, basically, we have a psychopath running for president," Plouffe told NBC. "I mean, he meets the clinical definition, okay?"

Asked by NBC's Chuck Todd whether it was fair for someone without a degree in psychology to diagnose someone's mental state on air, Plouffe doubled down.

"Listen, the grandiose notion of self-worth, pathological lying, lack of empathy and remorse," Plouffe said on "Meet the Press." Hillary Clinton and President Obama has all been accused at various points of harboring each of these characteristics.

"I don't have a degree in psychology, Plouffe said. But here it is: Chuck, basically, the race ends today. I think Hillary Clinton is guaranteed at least 269 electoral votes — think about that. Because Virginia and Colorado, both campaigns I think believe are put away."

You’re in luck, David. I do have a degree in Psychology, so let me take a stab at it.

To be a psychopath, a person falls into a Cluster B personality disorder. Psychopathy is a subgenre of the Antisocial Personality Disorder, which, in turn, falls under the Cluster B disorders.

Does that mean Trump is a psychopath?

Not necessarily. Psychopaths become master manipulators and charmers. They can mimic “normal” behavior, even if they don’t necessarily feel it.

Trump hasn’t been able to control himself or act normal from the first day he announced.

If Trump is to be diagnosed with anything, it is another Cluster B disorder.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is marked by those who have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and a desire to become more important by amassing more and more successes.

They have to have all eyes on them, at all times, and are extremely sensitive to criticism or failure.

Sound familiar?

They exhibit extreme mood swings, between their personal preening and admiration of themselves, and feeling insecure and “picked on.” They also tend to take advantage of those who are close to them.

I am absolutely sure Trump has some sort of disorder, but the media is not the place to diagnose it, and unfortunately, Trump is surprisingly short of principled people in his circle.

Plouffe, however, amateur psychologist as he is, may have saved us a lot of trouble, had he been as observant and concerned a few years back, with the charming narcissist, possibly psychopathic problem that has so painstakingly dismantled our republic over the past eight years.

After all, he helped him get there.



The post Former Obama Campaign Manager Plays Amateur Psychologist and Diagnoses Trump appeared first on RedState.

Trump African American Voter Outreach Strikes a Nerve With New Black Panther Leader (Video) [RedState]


Donald Trump's effort to reach out to African America voters has been dismissed by the biased media wing of the Democrats Party and attacked by Hillary Clinton, but it resonated with the leader of the New Black Panther Party in Houston, Texas, Quanell X.

Quanell, during an appearance on Fox 61 Houston mentioned that last week Trump went to Milwaukee because of the rioting sparked by a police shooting of a young African American male by a Black officer. In Milwaukee, The Donald spoke about why he thought Black people should vote for him. Quanell had a lot to say about Trump's outreach:

  • For 54 years we have been voting for the Democratic Party like no other race in America.
  • They have not given us the same loyalty and love.
  • Black people must reexamine the relationship where we are being pimped like prostitutes and they're [the Democrats' Party] the big pimps.
  • Barack Obama, our president, served two terms. The first Black president ever. But did our condition get better? . . . The Condition got worse.
  • No politician can save the Black people. We have got to do it ourselves.

You can watch the video of Quanell X below:

Transcript of the video:

Let me say this to the brothers and sisters who watched that speech. We may not like the vessel that said what he said. But I ask us to truly examine what he said. Because it is a fact that for 54 years we have been voting for the Democratic Party like no other race in America. And they have not given us the same loyalty and love that we have given them.

We as Black people must reexamine the relationship where we are being pimped like prostitutes and they're the big pimps. Pimping us politically, promising us everything and we get nothing in return.  We got to step back now as Black people and say we got to look at all the parties and vote our best interests.

[. . .]

He spoke directly to Black people. And I want to say and encourage the brothers and sisters. Barack Obama, our president, served two terms. The first Black president ever. But did our condition get better? Did, financially, politically, academically with education in our community did things get better? Are our young people working more than before he came into office? The Condition got worse.

So now we as Black people have to do what the honorable Elijah Muhammad said, no politician can save the Black people. We have got to do it ourselves.

[. . .]

America is in trouble. And I want to say to Black and White people, only a fool fights in a burning house. This House is on fire.

You can read Trump's Milwaukee speech here. Trump's outreach to African American voters reminds me of President Bush's similar effort, which was epitomized by his Gagging on the Donkey speech. Will Trump's effort will be any more successful?

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Reince Priebus Jumps the Shark And Punches It In the Nose On Face the Nation [RedState]

Politics is a tough business. Sometimes you find yourself defending a very hard brief for a candidate. Sometimes you want to shower after defending a candidate or politician. But there should always be a little bit of dignity and self-respect retained by the spokesman. If you serially beclown, or as it is becoming known "Pierson", yourself you cease to be an asset to anyone.

I think Reince Priebus has crossed that line. Priebus was on Face the Nation today and the subject of Donald Trump's incoherent positions on immigration came up.

REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, a nominee is not - doesn't have to adopt every single position and platform position of the Republican Party. If we're talking about what my opinion is on birthright citizenship does not necessarily have to be adopted by a nominee. My exact view of immigration and how it should be pursued does not have to be adopted by a nominee.

CHUCK TODD: All right, but let me ask you this, in the infamous 2013 autopsy, this is what was written in it. "If Hispanic-Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States, i.e. self deportation, they will not pay attention to our next sentence." Do you think Donald Trump understands this analysis?

REINCE PRIEBUS: I think he understands it completely.

CHUCK TODD: And is that what this evolution is about?

REINCE PRIEBUS: No, you know what? I don't know what when you say "what the evolution is all about." What I think is that Donald Trump understands that with every position that is taken and as you get closer to the White House, a degree of humanity and decency is part of every decision that needs to be made.

And I know Donald Trump. I know Donald Trump in private, I talk to him every day. I know what he's thinking about a lot of these issues and this is a good and decent man that wants to do the right thing and wants to take every position that he's talking about and pepper it with decency, dignity and humanity.

Take a moment as savor this statement. Donald freakin Trump wants to "pepper" every issue with "decency, and dignity and humanity." How does a grown man come to say such an outrageous thing on national television. Can you even think of a single time in this campaign where "decency, dignity and humanity" could a appear in the same sentence with "Donald Trump" without a negative or a huge dose of irony or sarcasm. Of course not. This is the guy who tried to flimflam people who were donating money at a fundraiser for veterans. This is the guy who pushed lies about each and every one of his opponents. This is the guy who attacked the father of a young officer who was killed in Iraq.

Even in the world of political spin there are limits and Reince Priebus just blew right through the decency barrier himself and didn't bother to look back.

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Hillary’s Very Bad Week (Video) [RedState]

Hillary Clinton

Saturday, the Republican National Committee released a new video highlighting another week of Hillary Clinton pay-to-play revelations, lies, and cover-ups from the Democrats' fundamentally dishonest candidate. The highlight reel hits include the following:

  • Even Hillary supporters slamming the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
  • Colin Powell complaining about Hillary trying to blame her email scandal on him.
  • Praise Donald Trump from Louisiana's Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards for showing up while Hillary was fundraising.
  • More Embarrassing Hillary emails showed Hillary aides setting up a meeting for a Clinton donor the crown prince of Bahrain.
  • The FBI  revealed it found 15,000 more emails Hillary didn't turn over.
  • And Hillary's, "What's a few more," response
  • And President Obama’s former chief strategist David Axelrod retort that Hillary should not joke about this.
  • Bill Clinton announced plans to shake up the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation which raised more questions.
  • More revelations about Hillary's top aide, Huma Mahmood Abedin -- Flying in private jets courtesy of Clinton's foundation while a State Department employee.
  • The Associated Press report that "More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money - either personally or through companies or groups - to the Clinton Foundation."
  • The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation shake up looks to be no change at all with Chelsea staying on the board and "exceptions."
  • Hillary's flippant and condescending response to questions about why she hasn't had a real press conference since December 4, 2015, "Stay tuned."

You can watch the video, "Hillary’s Very Bad Week,” below:

This is a powerful video, which should be on the air everywhere.

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Libertarian Candidate Johnson’s Honest Assessment of His Chances [RedState]

Apparently, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is more honest and forthright than either of the candidates for the Big Two.

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson said it's "game over" on any chance of winning the White House if he does not make it to the debate stage.

"Winning the election, yes, I would say game over," Johnson said on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace.

Johnson would need to be at a 15 percent threshold to join Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the debate stage. The Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the five polls it would use to determine that threshold are ABC-Washington Post, CBS-New York Times, CNN-Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News and NBC-Wall Street Journal.

This is not news. Most politicos know the rules and the 15% marker has been discussed on multiple occasions. Still, of all the third party candidates making a play to get the attention of a disgruntled and unsatisfied population, Johnson has been the closest to stirring up the political waters.

Johnson said he is at 10 percent in those five polls but has seen an increase of about 4 percentage points over the past six weeks.

"We're optimistic we're going to actually get into the debates," the former New Mexico governor said. "We're spending money right now in many states, and in five states right now we're at 16 percent. So I'm just really optimistic."

The first hurdle for Johnson, or any third party candidate remains in ballot access, and at this point in the election, Gary Johnson and the Libertarian party are already on the ballot in 39 states. That’s more than any of the other third party hopefuls.

Swing states remain an issue. In Ohio, Libertarian activists turned in thousands of signatures to gain access to the ballot, but the name of the candidate listed on the paperwork was Charlie Earl, a gentleman who ran for Ohio governor back in 2014.

Johnson’s people say Earl is just a “stand in” until the signatures can be certified and that Johnson/Weld will replace Earl’s name once that happens.

Earlier in August, however, the presidential debate commission began making arrangements, in the event that some third party candidate was able to receive the required 15% of the national polling, that there be three candidates on the debate stage.

In the interview with Wallace, he expressed that his initial goal was to keep Trump or Clinton from reaching the requisite 270 electoral college votes, thereby forcing the vote to the House of Representatives, and getting him the win as a compromise candidate.

On Sunday, however, Johnson was much more confident that if presented to the people against Clinton and Trump, he could win the election without going to a second ballot vote.

"The object is to win outright," Johnson said. "If we go into the presidential debates with the polarization" of the Clinton and Trump campaigns, "we might actually run the table on all this."

It’s not impossible.

If nothing else, it’s refreshing to see a candidate who isn’t so convinced of his own superiority that he’s incapable of admitting what his shortcomings are, or the obstacles that will impede a path to victory, without making a ton of excuses along the way.

The post Libertarian Candidate Johnson’s Honest Assessment of His Chances appeared first on RedState.

Ann Coulter Got DESTROYED at the Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe [RedState]

A question I've been asking myself is this: Why was Ann Coulter even invited to Rob Lowe's roasting? If you're unfamiliar with the term, it is simply an event where people get up on stage and tell insulting jokes about someone prominent. That someone is on the stage with them, just taking shot after shot before he is allowed to return the favor.

Back to my question, however, why was Coulter there? It's not the type of place you'd expect a political pundit who has never really been funny. But, alas, she went, and according to reports, she was roasted much harder than Rob Lowe. Variety listed some of the jokes made at the taping:

Nikki Glaser: “The only person you will ever make happy is the Mexican who digs your grave.”

Peyton Manning: “I’m not the only athlete up here. As you know, earlier this year, Ann Coulter won the Kentucky Derby.”

[Pete] Davidson: “If you are here, Ann, who is scaring the crows away from our crops?”

[Rob] Lowe: “After seeing your set tonight, we’ve seen the first bombing you can’t blame on a Muslim.”

Jeff Ross: “Ann is against gay marriage. What is your thinking on that? If I can’t get a husband, they can’t either?”

Jewel: “I do want to say as a feminist that I can’t support everything that’s been said tonight. But as someone who hates Ann Coulter, I’m delighted.”

Rob Riggle: “If Ann Coulter is here, someone must have said her name three times. Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!”

Now, I'm fairly certain that, Trump support or not, Coulter would have gotten most of this anyway. The comedy world is definitely as leftward trending as the rest of the entertainment media (albeit with a few notable exceptions). But, Coulter is definitely a high-profile Trump supporter, and was destined to be the most disliked person on that stage.

We really have no way of knowing which, if any, of the jokes were cut. Knowing Coulter, she's taking it all in stride, and has the sense of humor to not blow up about it. No one really knows why she was invited, but she was there and got destroyed for her trouble.

The Roast will air on Comedy Central on Labor Day, if you're interested in seeing Ann Coulter torn to shreds by comedians and Peyton Manning.

The post Ann Coulter Got DESTROYED at the Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe appeared first on RedState.

Here’s Hoping They Never Understand Why Bernie Sanders Happened [RedState]

Politico is reporting that the Democratic National Committee is hiring a Hillary Clinton fundraiser to be their new finance director, and while I'm sure the general public doesn't actually care, it does raise a point that the DNC seems to be unable to comprehend, even with it's incredibly incompetent former leader stepping down.

Angelique Cannon-Harris, who is currently Clinton’s deputy national finance director for the mid-Atlantic region, will soon move into the DNC’s offices on Capitol Hill, “but her main job is to be mid-Atlantic finance director,” Clinton finance director Dennis Cheng told DNC staff on a Saturday afternoon conference call during which new DNC executive director Brandon Davis announced the pick.

The move marks yet another subsuming of the DNC to the Clinton campaign, with its finance operation for the entire party being put under the responsibility of an aide who reports back to Brooklyn first.

A DNC official confirmed the call, calling it “another step since the Convention to seamlessly integrate our respective operations in order to help elect Hillary Clinton and Democrats up and down the ballot.”

The question will ultimately become whether or not Cannon-Harris remains at the job, or if it is just an interim appointment. If it's the former, then we see exactly why Bernie Sanders and any other insurrection movement in the future will happen: the Democratic Party is tying all of its hopes and dreams to the Clinton Machine, which has only its own interests at heart and certainly not the general population's.

If her appointment is just temporary, then the DNC has the chance to begin separating itself from Clinton, who could very well be a one-term president. Her age and health, along with the demands of a job that is well known to suck the life out of its holders, will do a lot to make a second run at president extremely difficult. She will probably not see another challenger of note from her own side, but she will definitely face a well-rested opponent from the Republican Party, one eager to take advantage of every bad thing that can and will happen for the next four years.

But, the DNC has proven itself to not be that smart. It kept Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on well past her prime and let her nearly muck things up for the rest of the party. It has brought back Donna Brazile, who is much more prolific and much more charismatic than DWS ever could hope to be... But Brazile is very much a Clinton person. If the DNC decided to keep Clinton people around long after the Clintons have come and gone, then it cannot hope to expand its hopelessly shallow bench.

Luckily, I don't much care if they don't fix themselves. It helps me sleep better at night knowing that my side has much less competition. Gives us a chance to rebuild after our own tremendous mistake.

The post Here’s Hoping They Never Understand Why Bernie Sanders Happened appeared first on RedState.

Water Cooler 8/28/2016 – OPEN THREAD – International News [RedState]


Earthquake in Italy

One of the things I've always appreciated about Europe is they accept that bad things are part of life and don't look for scapegoats for natural disasters. Unfortunately, this seems to be happening after the earthquake in central Italy.

Investigations will focus on a number of structures, including an elementary school in Amatrice that crumbled when the quake hit Wednesday. The school was renovated in 2012 to resist earthquakes at a cost of 700,000 euros ($785,000).

My first career was in Architecture. I've seen the results of earthquakes, and I know that no two are the same. As soon as they think they have the answer, another one happens that behaves in a way never seen before and everyone scrambles to change their design methodology to fit the new information. Also, these buildings are centuries old. Only so much can be done to retrofit against earthquakes.

The quake early Wednesday killed 290 people and injured hundreds as it flattened three medieval towns in central Italy. Giuseppe Saieva, the prosecutor in the regional capital of Rieti, said the high human death toll "cannot only be considered the work of fate."

The investigation should take place, but it seems this prosecutor has already made up his mind before he even starts. Bad things happen. It's the way of the world...always has been and always will be. It doesn't have to be someone's fault.

There was a heartwarming story from one of the towns of a nun who was rescued from the rubble of her convent.

"When I started losing all hope of being saved, I resigned myself to it and started sending messages to friends saying to pray for me and to pray for my soul and I said goodbye to them forever," she said outside the order's headquarters in Ascoli Piceno.

She was eventually rescued by a young man who cared for one of the women there.

Cow Urine Remedy

Natural remedies are a big thing these days. I even use a natural remedy for my allergies. It's great because there are no side effects. Disclaimer: I am making no medical claims whatsoever. It is sad that I have to include this. This remedy however might be carrying things a bit too far.

Vishal Gupta, 37, gave up his job to become a full-time practitioner of cow urine therapy and attended a cow medicine training school in the district of Kanchipuram, southern India, before launching a store selling products made from cow urine.

Look for this at a Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage near you? No thanks.

Champagne Shortage

Champagne production is expected to be down this year by about 70 percent due to problems including frost, gray rot, and mildew.

Prices could increase catastrophically, he said, "if — and that's the big question," the harvest is as bad as is reported. At minimum, he said, the uptick number would match the drop in production. So that $100 bottle just leaped to $170.

I think you have to be crazy to spend that much money on sparkling wine when you could be drinking Prosecco instead. A good Prosecco will only cost you about $20 or less here in the U.S. In Italy, I get mine at Col Vetoraz in Valdobbiadene for €8.50 per bottle.

Peace in Their Time

Colombian rebels are meeting for a final time to ratify a peace accord with the government to map out the group's political strategy without weapons.

The 297-page peace accord reached this week in Cuba seeks to bring an end to Latin America's oldest guerrilla war, which has caused more than 220,000 deaths and driven 5 million people from their homes over five decades of warfare. As part of the deal, FARC members must turn over their weapons within six months after the deal is formally signed and instead seek to persuade skeptical Colombians that it's ready to play by the rules of democracy.

The government has conceded much to with this agreement. He's hoping it works out and the conflict there finally ends.

The Greatest Generation

I'm writing today's Water Cooler from Springfield, MO. I'm here for my aunt and uncle's 70th wedding anniversary and uncle's 95th birthday celebration. Uncle Roy was in the Navy during WWII. His LST was involved in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day and the invasion of Okinawa. He was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 2004 with 102 others. These men and women risked everything in service to their country and the world over and over. It's an honor to me to be related.

That's it for today's Water Cooler. Mingle amongst yourselves in the comments!

The post Water Cooler 8/28/2016 – OPEN THREAD – International News appeared first on RedState.

Former Advisor: Press Wants Hillary to Hold a Press Conference Because She’s a Woman [RedState]

The media, to its credit, has been getting progressively (no pun intended) louder and louder in its calls for Hillary to hold a press conference. Her lack of media access is bothering them, and they want in. The Clintons are, after all, celebrities to the Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself), and they want to get a chance to talk to her and ask her questions.

I'm not convinced many of them don't just want to bask in the warm glow of her presence.

But, it's problematic for Clinton because time she speaks, the American people trust her less and less. She isn't beating Donald Trump on the issues, after all. She's beating him simply because she's not him. Enter Peter Daou, a man whose last name I cannot accept as being real, complaining about the "real" reason the media is demanding Clinton speak to them.

Bet you didn't see that one coming!

That's right. It's not because the media wants the truth, nor is it because they adore her. Nope. Nuh uh. It's because she's a woman. That's why they are seeking her out and asking for access to her. Because they have to play this whole woman thing in order to get some sort of sympathy for her. She isn't someone who naturally draws a lot of sympathy, so her surrogates and allies have to manufacture as much of it as possible.

The post Former Advisor: Press Wants Hillary to Hold a Press Conference Because She’s a Woman appeared first on RedState.

Lessons From Daniel and Why I’m Not Afraid of November 9, 2016 [RedState]

I’ve been re-reading the story of Daniel (Daniel 1:1-21; 6:1-28). Daniel is an inspiration and an example of living by principle. He honored his God and the principles of his faith by not bowing to any worldly king.

He respected them. He even gained their favor, but the principles of his faith came first and foremost.

I’ve been drawn to the book of Daniel and I’ve pondered that story again and again because of the situation Americans find themselves embroiled in, where either choice at the top of this election cycle is abhorrent.

No, Daniel wasn’t being asked to choose between two wicked kings, but he was asked and expected to act against his principles – first by eating food that was forbidden for him to eat, and then to cease his prayers to his God, under the threat of death in the lions’ den.

In similar fashion, in Daniel 3, Daniel’s three friends, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abednego) were commanded to bow to a golden idol by King Nebuchadnezzar, at the sounding of a musical herald. This was under threat of death in a giant, fiery furnace.

They refused to bow, even to save their own lives. They trusted the God they served more than they trusted the decrees and ways of men.

If any of you remember your childhood Sunday school lessons, you know what happened with this faithful crew.

Daniel was taken from the lions’ den, whole and unharmed.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were tossed into a fiery furnace that burned so hot, that even the soldiers who got close to the opening to toss them in were consumed and killed.

King Nebuchadnezzar saw the three walking about in the fire, unharmed, along with a fourth figure. When he called the three to come forth, they emerged from the fire without even the smell of smoke in their clothes.

That is faith, and that is standing on principle above everything else, and coming out well, in spite of what, by the standards of what our senses and knowledge tell us, should be the outcome.

This is my approach and my answer to those who insist that I only have two choices in this election and I must choose one… preferably Trump, in order to keep Clinton out of the White House.

Trump is a serial adulterer, does not pay his debts, is oppressive to the widow and the immigrant, speaks slander and abuse, promotes the profane, and uses the people of God as tools.

How could I support that and still say I stand with God? Is not standing with God seeking His favor and holding to His principles, which speak against the things Trump does with regularity?

Believe me when I say that I know I’m not the perfect Christian. I mess up on a daily basis, unfortunately. No matter how much I want to get it right, inevitably, some matter of the flesh will rear its head and I’ll take the bait.

But I try.

I know how flawed I am. Were I, or any person capable of getting it 100% right, there would be no need for a risen Savior.

With that being said, supporting Trump, who I pray is being influenced and convicted of the things he’s said and done, but so far, shows no proof of that on the trail, would be akin to voting against my principles and my faith.

This is where Trump’s supporters have been coached to say that I must be supporting Hillary Clinton, or that not voting for Trump is a vote for Clinton. This is ridiculous, and wrong, not just in actual math, but in theory, as well.

What it actually is is a ham-fisted attempt to guilt-trip someone into a vote for Trump.

It is an attempt to force someone to doubt their own convictions and compromise their Christian principles.

The second attack is from those who claim Christ as Lord, who like to say “God chose Trump!”

No. The people chose Trump.

There were 17 contenders for the GOP candidacy, several of whom were strong, professing Christians, with the words and deeds to back up their claims.

If you were seeking a godly, competent and wise leader, you could have lined up each of the 17 from Most Acceptable to Least Christ-like, then Trump, by every measure, should have been the last one in line.

And yes, before any of Trump’s fan club mention David, and how God instructed Samuel not to choose based on what he saw, but on the heart, keep in mind that David was a devoted, godly, and courageous young man, as well.

God allowed us choices, but the people make the choice, and they chose, based on flesh. Trump appealed to the lesser, the meaner, the most desirous to exact revenge, rather than to do good. And with that, those who should have been considered were rejected.

Were those who got us Trump in charge of choosing King Saul’s replacement, David never would have made the cut.

We have to live with our choices. One of those choices we have is to give in to the world, or to stand on principle, in spite of the world.

Am I belaboring this point?

I think I am, because I’ve written similar pieces over the last few months. As long as there are those saying that we must vote for Trump because “at least he’s not Hillary” I will continue to stress that choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil, and I won’t be a part of it.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;”
Proverbs 3:5 NIV

Part of trusting in God requires we allow Him to intercede in every area that touches our lives.

Every area.

That includes our politics, because what touches our lives on a more wide-scale, day to day basis than our government?

I’m not suggesting a theocracy. Those don’t work, because true faith is not compelled by government edict.

I am suggesting… nay, saying outright… that a revival of spirit is needed in this nation, and it begins in the hearts of the individuals. It has to begin on a personal level before we will ever see it implemented in our leadership.

I am saying that it begins with me.

Just as Daniel was willing to go into the lions’ den, rather than give up his prayers to the true God, and as the three Hebrew boys were willing to be cast in the flames of the furnace before bowing to a false god, I’m going to have the courage of my convictions. My God means that much to me.

What this looks like is that I will not let fear of what happens after November 8th lead me to vote for a candidate who is against the principles of my faith.

I will stand with God. I will believe that no matter the fire, the storm, or the hardship that follows, my God is with me, because I sought to be faithful to Him before any man-made political system or party.

I can offer this: I had the same convictions in 2008 and 2012, and I fought hard against Barack Obama, knowing him to be a wicked man. Everything I was afraid of happening during his tenure as president has come to be. Our nation has suffered.

The wonderful thing about an Obama presidency? During this period of testing, I, and others, have been drawn closer to God, have become more vocal about our faith and freedoms, and see the need for national repentance.

God can use anything and anyone to achieve His purpose. With that in mind, I will continue to trust Him more than the system, while simultaneously fighting with whatever gifts and avenues made available to me to see better for my nation.

"Do not trust in princes,
In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation (help)."
 Psalm 146:3 AMP

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” Luke 21:33 AMP

Indeed, long after the election, the Word of God will stand, and I will go forward with a clear conscience and a heart that’s ever hopeful of seeing the goodness of God in this land again, not because of a president, or any policy system, but because of the faith I have in Him to sustain and keep His children.

The post Lessons From Daniel and Why I’m Not Afraid of November 9, 2016 appeared first on RedState.

Horrifying: Students Made to Dissect Aborted Babies’ Brains [RedState]

The University of New Mexico has admitted to having a professor who obtained the brains of aborted babies in order for students to dissect them at a summer camp. The students were just in high school when they were given the brains to dissect, and the university has admitted to this.

National Review has a piece up about the scandal, and the fact that it, like so many other things regarding fetal tissue these days, is a violation of state law (it could very well also violate federal law).

The State of New Mexico long ago made a special provision in its law to prevent such outrages. According to the state’s Jonathan Spradling Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, enacted in 2007, “a fetus that is the subject of an induced abortion” cannot be donated “for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research or education.” (Maternal permission to do so, to which defenders are now appealing, is irrelevant.) As the House panel wrote in June: “Based on the information obtained and reviewed by the Panel, SWWO’s provision of tissue from aborted infants, and the reception and use of the tissue by UNMHSC, arguably violates the Spradling Act.” Roth appears to have confirmed their conclusion. Anyone involved in this ongoing, illegal relationship — at Southwestern Women’s Options and at the university — should be subject to immediate investigation, termination, and prosecution.

I encourage you to read NRO's entire piece, because it touches at the very heart of the problem: This isn't a medical issue. It wasn't done in the name of research, and no one gained anything of medical breakthrough from the exercise. High school students - still mostly children - were asked to cut apart the brains of other children. It is a perversion of science, not a relevant use of it. But, what are the odds the media is going to devote any time to this story?

You and I both know the answer: they won't. Unless of course there's a whistleblower to be shamed. Then they'll dig into that person's background and find out that they are human garbage with an agenda to destroy Planned Parenthood. And the media will take them down accordingly.

This is a society that has become morally bankrupt when it comes to the treatment of life in general, much less the life of the unborn. And it is very clear that conservatism isn't just fighting for its life right now, but the very soul of the nation.

The post Horrifying: Students Made to Dissect Aborted Babies’ Brains appeared first on RedState.

Germans Don’t Seem to Want Angela Merkel Around Anymore [RedState]

Polling in Germany is showing that Germany's citizens are becoming increasingly opposed to the idea of Angela Merkel sticking around as their nation's leader. Unsurprisingly, it could have something to do with the idea that an open-door policy regarding Syrian immigrants. At least, that's what Reuters is speculating.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's domestic popularity has declined, a poll showed on Sunday, with 50 percent of Germans against her serving a fourth term in office after a federal election next year.

A series of violent attacks on civilians in July, two of which were claimed by Islamic State, have focused attention on Merkel's open-door migrant policy, which allowed hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere into Germany last year.

I mean, would you blame the Germans? They have faced attacks against their own from people who are disguising themselves as refugees, and their government is just letting more and more of them in. It's a mind-blowing lack of national security, and it's all in the name of being nice to people.

Merkel's polling was low the last time this particular poll was taken, but her popularity has continued to drop over the last year or so. She refuses to say one way or another if she'll stick around. I am betting a re-election is going to be quite difficult, however.

The post Germans Don’t Seem to Want Angela Merkel Around Anymore appeared first on RedState.

Donald Trump’s New Slogan is Even More Depressing than the Old One [RedState]

If you've been watching Donald Trump on the campaign trail over the last week or so, you'll notice that he has a new slogan, one that seems to have largely supplanted "Make America Great Again," at least insofar as it pertains to Trump's largely incompetent outreach efforts to minority voters. That slogan, you might have noticed, is "It Can't Get Any Worse, What Have You Got to Lose."

This is really just more proof that Trump is not the second coming of Reagan, in spite of what some of his older supporters might like to claim. He has no vision of an America that has existed at any point in his life that has been positive or uplifting. Even back in the 80s, when Reagan was in office, he was criticizing the United States as "weak" and praising the Chinese for their brutal suppression of democracy.

The reality, of course, is that things can get a lot worse - and that includes even in the worst American inner city. Every American has quite a lot to lose by putting a person who doesn't know what the hell he is doing in the White House. America is not the third-world hellhole Trump believes that it is, and even if it was, nothing he has suggested would make the problem better.

I don't know, it seems like a candidate who's trailing handily in all the polls would come up with a better sales pitch than trying to convince people that their lives are total crap, but what do I know.

The post Donald Trump’s New Slogan is Even More Depressing than the Old One appeared first on RedState.

Your Sunday Morning Weekly Poll Results: Wow, You’re Looking Seriously Rough, Fam [RedState]


It's August 28, and this is your Sunday morning weekly poll round-up and real world Walking Dead warning. We've missed the last few weeks for reasons, but we're back, we're using weirdly out of place youngster slang, and things are as bleak as ever, fellow kids. So get your Maalox, put on some opera music, and let's do this thing.

Here we go.

Reuters/Ipsos Daily Poll

The Reuters/Ipsos Daily tracking on Trump vs. Clinton (animated GIF):

The daily tracker shows Secretary Hillary Clinton reliably 3 or more points over Donald Trump. He has an ever so slight gain toward the end of the week.

NBC News/Survey Monkey

NBC's latest poll has Hillary with an 8-point lead over Trump, down insignificantly from about 9 points the last edition of the same poll. It's a trend.


Johnson remains in double digits here, as in other polls.

In a four-way general election match-up, Clinton holds a 5-point margin over Trump 43-38 percent, while Libertarian Gary Johnson garners 11 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein gets 5 percent.

Trump is down by 3 behind Hillary in the latest YouGov poll of their head to head matchup, 47% to 44%. Her lead increased to four points when you add in Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.


Hillary added one point from the last poll, while Trump gained three.

Quinnipiac's latest head to head matchup between Trump and Hillary has her up a whopping 10 points over Donald, at 51 to 41, significantly breaking the 50% mark.


From the survey:

When third party candidates are added to the mix, Clinton gets 45 percent with Trump at 38 percent, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson at 10 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 4 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds.

Note that Hillary's lead drops three points when you add in the third party candidates. Interesting difference from other polls.

No head-to-head this time, Rasmussen's results how the four way race, with Hillary leading Trump by 4 points in what has certainly been the most Trump-friendly of the major polling outlets.

The e-mail scandal and new accusations about the Clinton Foundation may be bedeviling Hillary Clinton, but Donald Trump appears unable to capitalize on them.

The latest weekly Rasmussen Reports White House Watch shows Trump losing ground: Clinton now holds a 42% to 38% lead among Likely U.S. Voters, up slightly from the 41% to 39% advantage she held a week ago.

In the latest survey, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson again captures nine percent (9%) of the vote, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein picks up two percent (2%) support. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided.

Rasmussen notes Trump's support is in the thirties for the second week in a row. Bro. Not good. They also reiterate the point I've made here several times, that Trump can't capitalize on scandals that should be rocking, or rock-bottoming, Hillary's numbers. Almost any other Republican candidate surely would have.

In the latest Marist poll, done in association with Breitbart dot com, Hillary leads Trump by one point. One infuriating, inexplicable point if you're Breitbart.


The poll has hilarious Breitbartian questions like "Do you agree or disagree? Donald Trump would fight for people like me." A gigantic 51% disagree that he would. Ouch, right guys?

RCP Average
This week the RCP Average for the head-to-head shows Hillary Clinton up 6.3 over Donald Trump, at 48.4 to 42.1. In the four way matchup, they score Clinton Clinton +3.7 over Trump, with 44.1 for Hillary, 40.4 for Donald, 6.1 for Gary Johnson, and 2.3 for Jill Stein.

That's some tough numbers for the Trump camp. Things can always change, but not many people think they will. And of course, there's the matter of Trump's previous suggestion that he'd drop out if his numbers tanked.

I think, though, the more significant moment in that video is Trump professing his full faith and belief in what the polls says. It's something we've seen all through his campaign as he has touted and praised polling data over and over from the stage. Keep that in mind if Trump supporters start up again with the total nonsense about the polls being meaningless and Twitter activity being the real gauge. Even Trump doesn't think that.

The post Your Sunday Morning Weekly Poll Results: Wow, You’re Looking Seriously Rough, Fam appeared first on RedState.

The Sound of Settled Science [Small Dead Animals]

Most Scientific Findings are Wrong or Useless:

Why it is a lie? Because it makes "it easy to believe that scientific imagination gives birth to technological progress, when in reality technology sets the agenda for science, guiding it in its most productive directions and providing continual tests of its validity, progress, and value." He adds, "Technology keeps science honest." Basically, research detached from trying to solve well-defined problems spins off self-validating, career-enhancing publications like those breast cancer studies that actually were using skin cancer cells. Yet no patients were cured of breast cancer. The "truth test" of technology is the most certain way to tell if the knowledge allegedly being generated by research is valid. "The scientific phenomena must be real or the technologies would not work," Sarewitz explains.

Busy day [Small Dead Animals]

More canning today so don't expect many posts.

Bearing Down For A Better World [Small Dead Animals]

Says one class warrior, "It's our job for the rich to fear us." And so, inevitably, radical activism must take new and thrilling forms.

That's all it ever was. [Small Dead Animals]

Emergency Theater for Paris Agreement

But the gala performance may work if enough other countries fall for it -- especially the stupidly obedient Anglosphere, and the trapped EU. India, Russia and Brazil will only buy into it they are fed enough pork. But the pork has to come from somewhere, and that's us -- The West. That's who this show is for -- western voters.

NBN HFC scaled down to stave off financial disaster [The Register]

Net-builder hopes to raise AU$19 BEEELLION in debt by 2020; AFP leashed again

DOCSIS 3.1 might one day give gigabit to HFC customers on the National Broadband Network, but not to as many customers as promised: nbnTM is scaling back the number of customers connecting on the former Telstra and Optus networks.…

The sounds in your backyard are unique, go record them [The Verge - All Posts]

Pristine soundscapes are so important that the National Park Service works to preserve wilderness sound in many natural parks. There's even federal legislation in the US, like the 1987 National Park Overflights Act, that aims to keep noise from airplanes out of the lands below. Of course, it's impossible to escape noise where I live in New York City, but recently I've been inspired to look for quieter pastures.

After reading Bernie Krause’s The Great Animal Orchestra, I took the first chance I had to get out of the city for the weekend and head up to my hometown in Connecticut to listen and record soundscapes from a less industrialized environment. As an audio engineer I was well prepared for these kind of projects, since I have to...

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The Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb is a short, muddy, English masterpiece [The Verge - All Posts]

The starting line is just ahead of us, and the guy behind the wheel of this 650-horsepower muscle car is showing off for the crowd. We're spinning the tires, doing burnout after burnout. Ostensibly it's warming them for a quick blast up the 1.16-mile hillclimb, but really it's to show off. This is what the Goodwood Festival of Speed is about.

It's glorious. And I think I can safely say that the this event, held every year in the south of England, is the greatest car show in the world. I've been to a lot of car shows, and none of them are like this.

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Around the world in an iPhone [The Verge - All Posts]

Landing late at night in Shenzhen for my first trip to China, I was nervous about being able to navigate the city. I didn’t speak the language and had never been to Asia. Starting the next day I would have the services of a local translator, but for that first night, I was on my own.

I opened my iPhone, connected to an international Mifi, and tapped the Uber app. The interface alerted me that I would be switching to the Chinese version, controlled now by Uber’s rival turned business partner Didi. The black screen turned a deep shade of red, and just like that, I had hailed a cab.

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How to be human: finding new ways to cope [The Verge - All Posts]

Leah Reich was one of the first internet advice columnists. Her column "Ask Leah" ran on IGN, where she gave advice to gamers for two and a half years. During the day, Leah is a Senior User Researcher for Slack, but her views here do not represent her employer. You can write to her at askleah@theverge.com and read more How to be Human here.

Hi Leah,

I'm in my late twenties and feeling stuck with not being able to come to terms with my childhood trauma of growing up with a paranoid schizophrenic mother.

I worry about conflating the good moments with the manic, sometimes violent episodes. All I can remember is the yelling and the fighting. It's hard to remember the nurturing moments. I feel bad for imagining her now in the present as a...

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The Verge Review of Animals: Champagne Lady, a wild mustang [The Verge - All Posts]

This column is part of a series where Verge staffers post highly subjective reviews of animals. Up until now, we've written about animals without telling you whether they suck or rule. We are now rectifying this oversight.

As an adult who survived public schooling, I am aware that science generally demands objectivity of its practitioners. As a girl who "adopted" a mustang out of an overwhelming sense of duty and fate, I am here to tell you that there is nothing more beautiful in this world than Champagne Lady, the wild mustang.

The National Park System is turning 100, and The Verge is celebrating with Wilderness Week: a look at the natural world, its freaky critters, and its future.

Like all classy women, Champagne Lady is of...

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What do you think of exclusive albums? [The Verge - All Posts]

Beyoncé. Drake. Kanye West. Future. Rihanna. Frank Ocean. That's just a sampling of some of the artists who have released albums in 2016 exclusively to either Apple Music or Tidal. The streaming service's desire to grow their user base through exclusive content deals has been a boon for a talented group of artists who can once again get great value for their creations. These artists are now making money directly off music like it's 1999.

Apple Music and Tidal have both grown in notoriety and increased subscriber totals as a result of these deals. Both have also shelled out production costs for music videos and live shows. The artists are making more money and the music labels are paying out less overhead. But everyone isn't happy.


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What do you think of exclusive albums?
They're great for both artists and fans
146 votes
They hinder my listening experience
942 votes
I don't like them, but artists need to get paid
421 votes

1509 votes | Poll has closed

Yes, I Am MIA [Transterrestrial Musings]

Thanks for the concerned emails, but I am alive, despite the lack of posts (and tweets). This week has been the final throes of getting the house ready to sell, and we’re doing open houses this weekend.

Fence Rises Along New Mexico Border Town, Skeptical Residents Say Manpower Keeps Them Safe… [Weasel Zippers]

A drop in the bucket. Via Fox News: Residents of this dusty hamlet are skeptical that an ongoing effort to replace 1.4 miles of chain link fencing with an imposing steel curtain — much less the the ambitious border wall Donald Trump has vowed to build — will stem the tide of illegal immigrants they […]

Lavoy Finicum’s Widow Announces Plans To Sue Feds, State Cops Over Husband’s Death… [Weasel Zippers]

Via Oregon Live: The widow of Lavoy Finicum, the 54-year-old Arizona rancher and key figure in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation earlier this year, plans to sue the Oregon State Police and FBI for civil rights violations relating to his death, her lawyer told The Oregonian/OregonLive on Saturday. Jeanette Finicum, who has been outspoken in […]

Former Advisor: Press Wants Hillary To Hold A Press Conference Because She’s A Woman… [Weasel Zippers]

Hillary is woman, hear her cackle. Via Red State: The media, to its credit, has been getting progressively (no pun intended) louder and louder in its calls for Hillary to hold a press conference. Her lack of media access is bothering them, and they want in. The Clintons are, after all, celebrities to the Democrats […]

Jill Stein Commemorates 3 Month Anniversary Of The Death Of A Gorilla… [Weasel Zippers]

What a crazy old cat lady. Gotta love the nuttiness of the Left.

BREAKING: Axe-Wielding ISIS Terrorist Stabs Priest, Tries To Blow Up People At Mass In Indonesia… [Weasel Zippers]

Police not yet sure of his motive. Fortunately, he was pretty inept and seemed to have hurt himself more than anyone else. Via Daily Mail: An ISIS suicide bomber today attacked a Catholic priest with an axe as he tried to blow up hundreds of worshippers at a church during Sunday Mass. Priest Albert Pandiangan, […]

Kaepernick’s Social Media Shows A Change To Radical Positions, Black Lives Matter Obsession [Weasel Zippers]

About a year ago, Colin Kaepernick’s Instagram was a typical football player’s Instagram. Pictures of himself playing football, being involved in charity events, pictures of his family. Then his Instagram takes a radical switch, with virtually every post talking about police attacking/killing black people, quoting the common tropes pushed by Black Lives Matter, also quoting […]

Donna Brazile Says It’s Normal For Donors To Clinton Foundation To Want Access To Her… [Weasel Zippers]

The fact that she considers it normal says a lot more about Donna Brazile. Via NYDN: A top Hillary Clinton surrogate denied Sunday that it was at all unusual for donors to and allies of the Clinton Foundation to ask the Democratic nominee for help or access during her time at the State Department. “This […]

Google Appears To Be Censoring ‘Hillary’s Health’ Searches… [Weasel Zippers]

Kassy Dillon compared it to Yahoo and Bing, which had no problem coming up with ‘Hillary’s health’.

Team Obama’s New Low In The Name Of ‘Trans Rights’… [Weasel Zippers]

We keep saying ‘unbelievable’ but somehow he keeps topping himself. Via NY Post: One of the top guardians of American freedoms just entered the fight against the Obama administration’s insane excesses in the name of “trans rights.” The Department of Health and Human Services recently issued rules telling doctors they can’t decline to perform gender-reassignment […]

Facebook Says Humans Will No Longer Manually Select What Trends And What Does Not… [Weasel Zippers]

The idea to seemingly eliminate the bias of which they have been accused. Via Fortune: Who would have thought that a tiny section on Facebook’s homepage would cause so much controversy? The “Trending” feature, where a few popular news topics are listed on the social network’s homepage, is getting a makeover,Facebook said on Friday. Most […]

Stanford Deletes Page On “Alcohol Safety” After SJWs Call It Sexist… [Weasel Zippers]

Via Daily Caller: Stanford University has deleted a page warning women about the dangers of alcohol after critics complained the page was sexist and patronizing, and constituted “victim-blaming” because it linked drinking to sexual assault. The page, titled “Female Bodies and Alcohol,” was mostly a straightforward description of the effects alcohol has on women, and […]

2 Brothers Charged In Fatal Shooting Of Dwyane Wade’s Cousin… [Weasel Zippers]

Black Disciples also suspected in shooting last week of Chicago rapper, King Yella. So where is the Black Lives Matter effort to stop gang violence? Via NYDN: Two brothers have been charged for the fatal shooting of the cousin of NBA star Dwyane Wade, police said. Darwin Sorells, 26, and Derren Sorells, 22, were charged […]

Chicagoland: 23 Wounded, 3 Dead Since Last Saturday… [Weasel Zippers]

Still summer in Chicago… Via Chicago Tribune: Three people were killed and at least 23 others have been wounded in shootings since Saturday afternoon, officials said. The first fatal shooting happened at about 12:15 p.m. in the city’s Park Manor neighborhood on the South Side. Three people were shot in the 7100 block of South […]

Iran Arrests One Of Its Own Nuclear Deal Negotiators… [Weasel Zippers]

Hmm, wonder what the real backstory is… Via Reuters: Iran has arrested a member of the negotiating team that reached a landmark nuclear deal with world powers on suspicion of spying, a judiciary spokesman said on Sunday. The suspect was released on bail after a few days in jail but is still under investigation, Gholamhossein […]

Legal Loophole Allows Clinton Donors To Give Even More Than Usual… [Weasel Zippers]

Of course. Via The Drum: Last month the Democratic National Committee announced a $32 million fundraising haul, suggesting this was evidence of “energy and excitement” for Hillary Clinton’s nomination for the White House . However , said Bloomberg , the influx of money also owed in part to an “unprecedented workaround of political spending limits […]

Little Precedent For $400 Million Cash Payment To Iran… [Weasel Zippers]

Another first for the Obama regime. Via Stars and Stripes: A $400 million cash delivery to Iran to repay a decades-old arbitration claim may be unprecedented in recent U.S. history, according to legal experts and diplomatic historians, raising further questions about a payment timed to help free four American prisoners in Iran. The money was […]

Roseanne Barr Calls Out “Anti-Semite” Hillary Clinton… [Weasel Zippers]

Barr is actually a frequent reader of our site. Via JPost: Jewish actress/comedian Roseanne Barr repeatedly slammed Hillary Clinton on Twitter, saying Clinton “will be the absolute death of Israel.” Barr posted numerous inflammatory remarks, videos and articles about the Democratic presidential nominee this week, including one that refers to her as “Hitlery Clinton” and […]

49ers Fan Has A Flaming Message For Colin Kaepernick [Weasel Zippers]

Hey, Kaepernick, you’re not the only one with an opinion. Here… have some oppression. And while you’re at it, why don’t you just stay on the bench? Via Daily Mail: Furious San Francisco 49ers fans have started burning Colin Kaepernick jerseys after he refused to stand for the national anthem as part of a racial […]

The Promo, My Friend by Free Range Oyster [According To Hoyt]

The Promo, My Friend by Free Range Oyster

Dwight R. Decker

A Moon of Their Own

Is it a theme park or a model railroad? Or a mad billionaire’s ultimate self-indulgence?

It’s the year 2037. Sixty thousand miles out in space orbits the asteroid called Vesper, Earth’s new second moon and the private property of the richest man in history. No one knows what he has been building there, but suddenly the future of the human race depends on finding out – and fast.

For fifteen-year-old Ronn Evans, what begins as another ordinary day in school winds up very differently when he and his cousins are all but kidnapped by their own government to be sent into space. To their amazement, they learn that they are the only ones who can get inside the mysterious asteroid to see what has gone terribly wrong.

There are other players in the game and time is running out. Will the cousins ever see Earth again?

J.M. Ney-Grimm

Livli’s Gift

Livli heals challenging injuries among the pilgrims to Kaunis-spa. Its magical hot spring gives her an edge, but Livli achieves spectacular cures mainly because she refuses to fail.

A born pioneer, she hopes to match her new ways for banishing hurt with new ways of living. But the sisters of Kaunis-lodge fear rapid change. What precious things might they lose while tossing old inconveniences?

Livli pushes forward the new, and one influential foe pushes back. Kaunis-home will keep its revered traditions, even if Livli loses everything she values.

Everything… and the one thing she absolutely cannot lose.

Livli seeks an answer in the oldest lore of her people, something so ancient, it’s new. But mere resolve against failure meets an immoveable counter force this time. Victory requires more.

Gun Control Lessons for Morons [International Liberty]

While I’m depressed about the election and America’s economic future, the news isn’t completely grim. Advocates of personal freedom are winning on the issue of guns.

Gun ownership has become more pervasive and legal protections for the Second Amendment have expanded, all of which is very good news for those of us who want a more law-abiding society.

And we also get lots of clever humor on the issue. Though I must confess that I’ve been negligent about collecting and sharing examples of anti-gun control humor in recent months. I did have an amusing comparison of how Texans and Europeans fight terrorism last month, but otherwise you have to go back to 2015 (see here, here, here, here, and here) and earlier.

So it’s time to atone for this oversight with some new humor targeting the pro-gun control crowd.

We’ll start with a visit to the University of Texas, which has been the scene of protests because a handful of students are upset that the law has been reformed to allow concealed carry on campus.

David French of National Review looks at this issue with an appropriately sarcastic piece that mocks the left-wing students for their silly tactics.

On January 16, 2002, a former student at Appalachian Law School walked into the office of the school’s dean and opened fire. His rampage ultimately took the lives of the dean, a professor, and a student. As the shots rang out, most bystanders ran for their lives, but not all. Three students approached the shooter. One, a Marine veteran, was unarmed. The other two had raced to their personal vehicles the instant they heard shots fired and returned with their dildos. Wait. No. That’s not what happened. Sorry. They returned with their guns. As two students held the shooter at gunpoint, the Marine tackled him, ending the threat. The cost was still high: Three people died, and three more lay wounded. But at the end of the day, a bad guy with a gun was stopped by good guys with guns. I thought of this story while reading the fawning media coverage of Texas students protesting a new state law permitting license-holders to carry concealed firearms on campus. Students are out in force, waving . . . sex toys. The inevitable hashtag? #CocksNotGlocks.

Yes, you read correctly.

The protesting students think that brandishing dildos will somehow persuade the general population that law-abiding students should be denied the right to bear arms.

Mr. French points out the silliness of their anti-gun position.

…if University of Texas protesters, teachers, and officials believe that until classes started yesterday UT was, in fact, a gun-free campus, they’ve lost their minds. Before this new law, there were two types of people who had guns on campus: criminals and the handful of law-enforcement officers scattered across a vast university. Every single other responsible, law-abiding citizen was disarmed — utterly dependent on officers who could be minutes away. …if one a person thinks that a licensed concealed-carry holder makes the UT’s campus more dangerous, they’ve lost their minds. Let’s make this concrete. Imagine you’re teaching a class, and you know that Amy, a student in the front row, has a concealed-carry permit. Sitting next to her is Roxanne, who does not. You have no idea if either one of them is actually armed. Who’s more likely to shoot the teacher? Roxanne, and it’s not even close. Who’s more likely to save your life? Amy, and it’s not even close. …If you are in a classroom, and a criminal opens fire, would you rather have a dildo on your desk or a revolver in your backpack?

Gee, that’s a tough question. Maybe a really skilled student could use a dildo like a Jedi light saber and deflect bullets, right?

By the way, if you’re wondering why Mr. French is so bold in his claim that Amy is likely to save lives with her concealed-carry weapon, that’s because John Lot of the Crime Prevention Research Center has crunched the numbers and determined that people with concealed-carry permits are about the most law-abiding group of people in the nation.

Here are some excerpts from a story in The National Interest.

Concealed-carry permit holders are nearly the most law-abiding demographic of Americans, a new report by the Crime Prevention Research Center says… “Indeed, it is impossible to think of any other group in the U.S. that is anywhere near as law-abiding,” says the report, titled “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States 2016.”

So what group in the nation is better about obeying the law?

The article doesn’t say, though my guess is nuns.

If you guessed police officers, you’d be wrong.

The study compared permit holders to police, who committed 703 crimes from 2005 to 2007, and 113 of those were firearm violations. “With about 685,464 full-time police officers in the U.S. from 2005 to 2007, we find that there were about 103 crimes per hundred thousand officers,” the report reads. “For the U.S. population as a whole, the crime rate was 37 times higher—3,813 per hundred thousand people.” …“We find that permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at less than a sixth the rate for police officers,” the report says. “Among police, firearms violations occur at a rate of 16.5 per 100,000 officers. Among permit holders in Florida and Texas, the rate is only 2.4 per 100,000.10. That is just one-seventh of the rate for police officers.”

In other words, the folks in Texas (like the hypothetical Amy in David French’s article) are statistically the one most likely to obey the law and protect against crime.

So the protesters at the University of Texas should be thankful the law has been changed and their campus is no longer a “gun-free zone,” which means that only law-abiding people are disarmed.

Rather than carrying dildos as a form of protest, they should therefore use their sex toys for other purposes (particularly if they have Pajama Boy-type partners).

Speaking of gun-free zones, here’s a very clever video exposing why signs don’t keep people safe.

I’ll have to add this to my collection of humorous anti-gun control videos.

Let’s close by addressing the leftist argument that the Second Amendment only applies to the weapons that existed in the late 1700s.

I addressed that issue earlier this year in a tweet, but this poster does it far more effectively.


P.S. The best evidence that we’re winning on the issue of gun control is that more and more and more leftists are now admitting that private gun ownership is a good idea.

Louisiana Flooding, One Week Later [Blog]


A photo of a member of Texas Task Force 1 member conducting search and rescue operations on the flooded streets of Louisiana.

Unprecedented. Historic. Epic. Three words that have been used to describe this month's flooding in Louisiana. Last Friday, as the rains came down and over 31 inches of water fell in some areas, we knew it was a big deal.

A week later, this remains a very significant disaster. Our Administrator traveled down on Tuesday. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security traveled down on Thursday. Next Tuesday, the President will travel.

With disasters like these, the federal family wraps its arms around affected communities. Large and small. The federal family becomes a true family and does what it does best: helps those in need.

From cots and sheltering to disaster loans and search and rescue, the federal government—in coordination with its state colleagues in Louisiana—has been working hard to make sure these communities have the resources they need.

Here's a look at just some of the work that has been done so far.

Over 3,800 members of the National Guard have been working to help the state complete important tasks like evacuations and search and rescue operations. The Army Corps of Engineers deployed subject matter experts to help state and local counterparts with debris removal. The Small Business Administration is providing a wide range of services to both businesses and homeowners, including low-interest disaster loans. Over 300 AmeriCorps members (from FEMA Corps and other programs) have been deployed to help various groups with operations like mucking and gutting homes damaged by the floodwaters.

Here at FEMA, we've deployed nearly 1,100 staff members to the Baton Rouge area—this includes housing inspectors, disaster survivor assistance teams, and an Urban Search and Rescue team from Texas.

Like I said before, this is a look at just some of the important work being done so far. There is much more to do and much more being done. Events that are "unprecedented" and "historic" like this one require long-term recovery efforts. It will take time. And the federal family will remain with Louisiana as long as needed.

There are several resources available for those inside and outside the area.

First, if you live in an affected parish, check out our disaster page for this event to find important information and you can apply for assistance directly at DisasterAssistance.gov.

If you don't live in the area but want to help, there are resources out there for you as well. For volunteering and donating, check VolunteerLouisiana.gov. That site is a great resource for those who look to help as much as they can.

And one of the most important things you can do is share this information with people you know. Retweet. Share on Facebook. Get the information out so people can get the help they need.

We've seen quite an outpouring of support for Louisiana so far and it warms our hearts. We're always mentioning how it's "neighbor helping neighbor" in the early stages of disaster response, and it's carried through from response into recovery.

Our thoughts continue to be with Louisiana and its affected communities, as we will also be with them through each step of the response and recovery process.


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The Federalist XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
The Flash XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
The Ihnatko Almanac XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
The Jawa Report XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
The Nerdist XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
The Other McCain XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
The Register XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
The SWLing Post XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
The Travelin' Librarian XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
The Verge - All Posts XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Tim Blair XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Top Picks – Hot Air XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Transterrestrial Musings XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Ubuntu Fridge XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
VodkaPundit XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Voices for the Library XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Walt at Random XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Weasel Zippers XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Welcome to the FUNcube Web Site XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
WIL WHEATON dot NET XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Wizbang XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Works and Days XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Xfce Blog XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
xkcd.com XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Xubuntu » Blog XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17
Yourish.com XML 2016-08-28 18:07 2016-08-28 18:17