House Passes Border Bill With One Democratic Supporter; Also Passing Bill to Defund DACA [Ace of Spades HQ]

The ONT is below -- I thought I should get this up, as it's breaking news. I'll bump it below the ONT in an hour or so. ... The Democrats in the Senate have already said they won't vote for...

Overnight Open Thread (1 Aug 2014) [Ace of Spades HQ]

Ahhh, first day of August. Hopefully some summer weather will show up here. At least on the east coast. It has been feeling like late September, early October lately. Sigh. It should be real easy for the GOPe to...

Of Course [Ace of Spades HQ]

Of course. Of course....

NASA Confirms The Plausibility of Reactionless Drives??!! [Ace of Spades HQ]

Let me geek out on you (I love science) and explain to you the science (I love science) and why this had previously been confined to the pages of science fiction (I am a nerd; and oh Dear Sweet Bunsen-Burner...

Obama: "We tortured some folks" [Ace of Spades HQ]

"Some folks." This has long been Obama's position, and a position of the left generally -- that the three terrorist commanders (aka "some folks") we waterboarded were unjustly and cruelly "tortured." It's not entirely surprising, then, that he should say...

AoSHQ Podcast: Guest, Sean Davis [Ace of Spades HQ]

Sean Davis reverse-Meatballs over from The Federalist to join Ace and Drew on today's episode where they talk science and some other stuff. But mainly science. Because they f'n LOVE science. Intro/Outro: She Blinded Me With Science-Thomas Dolby/Summer In The...

Hamas Kills 2 Israeli Soldiers, Captures a Third, Just Ninety Minutes into the Ceasefire They Demanded [Ace of Spades HQ]

Ninety minutes. They honored their ceasefire commitments for little bit more than three episodes of Friends. The United Nations released a statement cautioning that they are not in a position to confirm either side’s claims. The statement was clear though...

BUH-BYE [Tim Blair]

Remember that bunch of Tamil illegals whose arrival in Australia so excited our leftist friends? Well, they’re gone: The 157 Tamil…

Dan Frommer on Samsung: ‘There’s No Easy Fix’ [Daring Fireball]

Dan Frommer:

Today in Seoul, Samsung “reported its worst quarterly profit in two years and flagged uncertain earnings prospects for its key handset business,” Reuters’ Se Young Lee reports. Of course, Samsung thinks its new products will fix the situation.

But we’ve seen this story before. This particular chart shows Nokia’s adjusted closing price from the day Apple released the first iPhone, in 2007, to the day in 2013 when Microsoft announced it would acquire Nokia’s struggling handset business.

First, Samsung has to answer a major question: Do they continue their efforts as Android’s leading handset maker (and remain under Google’s thumb), or do they forge their own path with Tizen? Hard to see how they can have it both ways.

Microsoft Sues Samsung to Collect Unpaid Patent Royalties [Daring Fireball]

David Howard, Microsoft deputy general counsel:

After becoming the leading player in the worldwide smartphone market, Samsung decided late last year to stop complying with its agreement with Microsoft. In September 2013, after Microsoft announced it was acquiring the Nokia Devices and Services business, Samsung began using the acquisition as an excuse to breach its contract. Curiously, Samsung did not ask the court to decide whether the Nokia acquisition invalidated its contract with Microsoft, likely because it knew its position was meritless.

They just stopped paying. You have to love Samsung’s shamelessness.

A Lot Can Change in 6 Years [Daring Fireball]

Allen Pike:

In many ways, the iOS app market is where the web was in 2001. The easy wins have been won, and a lot of developers have hangovers. Still, successful products will continue to surprise and delight us from those who stick with it.

Our first three products at Steamclock were paid iOS apps. The two products we have in the lab are not. One is a web app, and one a Mac app, both on subscription models. We’ll be building software for iOS for a long time, but it’s time to experiment as well.

A Different Kind of Indie Success [Daring Fireball]

Stephen Orth on his experience as an iOS indie developer:

The app never turned my business into a product-based powerhouse with a hockey-stick growth chart. Instead, the app gave me the skills to build another sort of business: a business where I call all the shots, where I decide my own schedule, where I can be truly present, every day, as my boys grow up. And, I still get to create things and use my brain to solve real problems. I’ve even released a couple of other apps. But most of all, the business has let me live a rich, simple life.

Death of man in viral NYPD arrest video ruled a homicide [Ars Technica]

The death of a Staten Island man whose filmed arrest went viral online last month was ruled a homicide on Friday.

New York medical examiners said that the chokehold and other force applied by New York police officers were the primary cause of Eric Garner’s death.

The taping is one in a myriad to recently surface online that apparently captured police abuse. Yet the footage—and the medical examination in this case—tell a more complete story than the NYPD's initial assessment of the incident.

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Android makers must pay Microsoft, or else—software giant sues Samsung [Ars Technica]

Samsung was late in making a patent royalty payment to Microsoft over the Android phones it sells, and today that led to the predictable result: a lawsuit.

"Today's legal action is simply to enforce our contract with Samsung," Microsoft wrote in a blog post explaining its actions. "We don't take lightly filing a legal action, especially against a company with which we've enjoyed a long and productive partnership."

The two companies reached a patent deal in 2011, in which Samsung presumably paid Microsoft for the patents it says apply to devices running Google's Android operating system.

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Flappy Bird is back… on Amazon Fire TV? [Ars Technica]

Ars Culture Editor Casey Johnston fills her TV screen with Flappy Bird... and quickly fails.
Casey Johnston

It's been nearly six months since Flappy Bird officially ended its meteoric rise up the mobile app store charts, taken down by Vietnamese creator Dong Nguyen out of discomfort with the game's addictiveness and unanticipated attention from fans and haters. Now, after hinting that the game might return in the future, sequel Flappy Birds Family has quietly appeared in the Amazon App Store, touting its compatibility with the Fire TV set-top box.

The Amazon page suggests compatibility with "Android 3.0," but the game doesn't seem to be installable on any device except the set-top Fire TV. The listed developer, Dotgears, has one other Fire TV game to its name, the Nguyen-developed Super Ball Juggling.

Flappy Birds Family's product description from Amazon touts "incredible new features" such as "Person vs Person mode, more obstacles, more fun and still very hard." In addition to local split-screen multiplayer and multiple colored birds, the game now has floating, cloud-shaped ghosts to avoid and standard Mario-style pipes. "Enjoy playing the game at home (not breaking your TV) with your family and friends," the description says.

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Report: Google+ Photos to be separated from Google+ [Ars Technica]

Back in April, Vic Gundotra, a senior executive at Google and the leader of Google+, left the company. Shortly afterward, reports surfaced claiming that Gundotra's departure was part of a plan to back away from the original Google+ strategy of forcing users into the service and to drastically cut the division resources.

A report from Bloomberg claims that the first big service on the chopping block is Google+ Photos, one of the social network's best features. Bloomberg says the service will be given "more autonomy" from Google+ and "may be rebranded" in order to pull in more people who otherwise wouldn't use the services thanks to its association with Google+. Separating Google+ Photo from Google+ would seemingly turn it into a Flickr-style service—a standalone photo hosting site that would compete on features and storage options rather than the social network a person chooses to use.

Google+ Photos has a number of features that could help it stand out in the photo hosting space. It has a ton of cloud smarts, which Google calls "Auto-Awesome," that can automatically tweak photos to look better and can combine several pictures into an animated gif. The one area that would seriously need improvement is the free storage amount, which sits at a paltry 15GB shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. The Yahoo-owned Flickr offers 1TB of storage for free.

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Formerly Nexus-only Google Now Launcher out for all Android 4.1+ devices [Ars Technica]

Replacing the home screen on a Droid Razr Maxx HD.
Andrew Cunningham

When KitKat was released on the Nexus 5 last year, it included a new application launcher that we spent quite a bit of time on in our review. That launcher wasn't actually a part of KitKat, though—it was exclusive to the Nexus 5 for several months and was only made available to other Nexus and Google Play edition phones well after they had been updated to KitKat. Now, Google is casting an even wider net. The company just announced that the Google Now Launcher can be installed on any phone running Android 4.1 or newer, regardless of manufacturer.

As we've covered previously, the Google Now Launcher isn't really a launcher in and of itself—it just ties in to code that's been shipping with the Google Search app for around a year now. If you try to install the Google Now Launcher on a phone with an older version of the Search app, you'll be prompted to update it before you can actually switch home screens. Previous versions of the launcher could often be sideloaded onto newer phones and tablets with no issue, since the launcher is just part of the Search app, and the Search app is installed on all Google-approved Android devices.

If you haven't experimented with it before, the Google Now Launcher replaces your phone's home screen with the same one Google first released on the Nexus 5 late last year. It offers its own wallpapers, and it has voice controls that can be activated by saying "OK Google" when sitting at the home screen. If you've opted into Google Now, you can see all of your cards by swiping right from your primary home screen.

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Appeals court: Shell game over, Prenda Law must pay sanctions in full [Ars Technica]

Prenda Law sued thousands of people over allegations of illegally distributing adult movies before its business was brought to a crashing halt by a series of judicial sanctions. The lawyers behind Prenda—Paul Duffy, John Steele, and Paul Hansmeier—steadfastly maintained that those sanctions were unwarranted, and they appealed.

On Thursday, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit became the first appeals court to weigh in on their arguments. It didn't think much of them. The first sentence of the 24-page opinion suggested where things were going to go. "The first rule of holes, according to an old saying, is to stop digging," wrote Chief Judge Diane Wood on behalf of the three-judge panel.

Duffy, Steele, and Hansmeier chose to appeal a lower court order that they should pay attorneys' fees to Anthony Smith, one of their erstwhile defendants in a porn-downloading lawsuit, as well as SBC Internet and Comcast, two giant Internet providers they unwisely prodded with a lawsuit. "They did not, however, file a motion either to clarify the nature of the sanctions or to stay the order," noted Wood. "Instead, they simply did not pay."

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Microsoft security sandbox for IE: Still broken after all these years [Ars Technica]

There's a trivial way for drive-by exploit developers to bypass the security sandbox in almost all versions of Internet Explorer, and Microsoft says it has no immediate plans to fix it, according to researchers from Hewlett-Packard.

The exploit technique, laid out in a blog post published Thursday, significantly lowers the bar for attacks that surreptitiously install malware on end-user computers. Sandboxes like those included in IE and Google Chrome effectively require attackers to devise two exploits, one that pierces the sandbox and the other that targets a flaw in some other part of the browser. Having a reliable way to clear the first hurdle drastically lessens the burden of developing sophisticated attacks.

The bypass technique "does give the attacker a significant advantage by giving them higher-level access than a typical exploit might in Internet Explorer, by allowing them to escape the sandbox," Robert "Rsnake" Hansen, a vice president at security firm WhiteHat Labs, wrote in an e-mail to Ars. "In practical terms this is a very important finding, because it can be tied into existing exploits that might otherwise not be able to escape the IE sandbox."

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Don’t buy stock in impossible space drives just yet [Ars Technica]

Some microwave resonators left over from early accelerators at CERN.
John Timmer

Yesterday, Wired UK had geeks everywhere salivating at the prospect of a purely electrical space thruster system—one that should be impossible based on what we know about classical physics. The article notes that NASA engineers have now tested one of these devices and found that it appears to produce thrust without using any fuel. Although there are ways that non-classical physics can make things work, there are enough red flags raised by material in the initial report that the news should be greeted very skeptically.

The limit that space thrusters face is purely classical: to push something along at a higher velocity, you need to push against something else. So typical thrusters push against the mass of the burning fuel that they're explosively expelling behind them. Even the most sophisticated, efficient thrusters—ion drives—act as particle accelerators that shoot ions out in the opposite direction of the way they're accelerating. As a result, any form of thrust that we've used requires that the spacecraft carry some mass that then gets shot out from the spacecraft. This adds weight to the launch vehicle and sets a finite limit on how much propulsion can be generated during the spacecraft's lifetime. Which is a bit frustrating, given that the high-efficiency solar panels on many spacecraft can give them a surplus of energy. It's just not energy we can convert into thrust—or at least we think we can't convert it into thrust.

The Wired UK article details how a variety of groups have suggested that it might be possible to use electricity to generate some thrust via a decidedly non-classical mechanism. The device involves a radio frequency resonant cavity, which takes microwaves as an input and uses them to create an oscillating electrical field. These cavities are used in particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider, where the electric field helps boost the energy of the circulating ions. At the LHC, however, they actually provide some ions for the resonant cavity to push around, which would be equivalent to supplying this thruster with fuel. Yet the backers of this device suggest it's pushing against the swarm of virtual particles that quantum mechanics indicates are constantly popping in and out of existence in empty space.

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New Russian law represses social media, bloggers [Ars Technica]

New online speech restrictions are taking effect Friday in Russia, making it more difficult for bloggers to remain anonymous and requiring social-networking sites like Facebook to retain user data for at least six months.

Under a measure approved by Russia's parliament in April, the law also demands that the social media data be stored within the country's boundaries so it can be available for government inspection.

Human Rights Watch called the development "another milestone in Russia's relentless crackdown on free expression," in a statement given to the BBC. The Internet, the group added, "is the last island of free expression in Russia and these draconian regulations are clearly aimed at putting it under government control."

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Commies for Abortion [The Other McCain]

PHOTO: Aaron Reiss, Houston Press “Stop Patriarchy” (@StopPatriarchy) is a front group for the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), a Maoist cult led by Bob Avakian, a septuagenarian leftover of 1960s Berkeley radicalism. (For background on these deranged freaks, read the entries “Robert Avakian” and “Revolutionary Communist Party” at Discover the Networks.) So when RCP activist […]

A dire outlook for Europe’s debt problem [AEIdeas » Pethokoukis]

The IMF assumes the average primary surplus – the surplus exclusive of interest payments —  in the decade 2020-2030  will be 5.6% for Ireland, 6.6% for Italy, 5.9% for Portugal, 4.0% for Spain, and 7.2% for Greece.


Can large primary surpluses solve Europe’s debt problem?” by Barry Eichengreen, Ugo Panizza:

For the debts of Europe’s problem countries to be sustainable, absent restructuring, foreign aid or an unanticipated burst of inflation, their governments will have to run large primary budget surpluses, in many cases in excess of 5% of GDP, for periods as long as ten years.

History suggests that such behaviour, while not entirely unknown, is exceptional. Countries that have run such large surpluses for such extended periods have faced exceptional circumstances.

On balance, this analysis does not leave us optimistic that Europe’s crisis countries will be able to run primary budget surpluses as large and persistent as officially projected.

Follow James Pethokoukis on Twitter at @JimPethokoukisand AEIdeas at @AEIdeas.

A conservative war over the Fed? Wait, what? [AEIdeas » Pethokoukis]

“Then it’s war! Then it’s war! Gather the forces! Harness the horses! It’s war!” – Groucho Marx as Rufus T. Firefly in “Duck Soup.”

A breathlessly headlined Federalist piece, “Conservatives Need To Have It Out Over The Federal Reserve,” offers a tossed data-salad recap of the prewar Austrian-based criticisms (sigh …) of Federal Reserve policy that are currently popular on the right. (I feel really fortunate to have been handed a copy of Milton Friedman’s “Free To Choose” by my high school econ teacher. Thanks, Mr. Roelofs!)

A few observations and thoughts:

1.) Supposedly pro-Fed conservatives like myself think the central bank played a decisive role in both the Great Depression and Great Recession. So, yeah.

2.) That being said, Fed actions since the financial crisis have prevented a worse downturn and an even slower recovery. Here is a mystery: As Scott Sumner points outs, nominal GDP accelerated in 2013 from 2012 — to 4.6% from 3.5% under the weight of “of higher income taxes, higher payroll taxes and the famous “sequester” which reduced government spending.” What explains the speed up? David Beckworth – along with Sumner — makes a strong case that “monetary policy was easily able to offset the 2013 fiscal austerity despite the [zero lower bound].  … This ‘Great Experiment’ of 2013 revealed the potential of monetary policy even at the ZLB. It suggests the Fed could have done more over the past five years to restore full employment. Alas, it did not!” Alas, indeed.

3.) How about a counterfactual? Here are two charts. Each shows a different way in which the US and EZ economies have diverged thanks to the tight-money policies of the European Central Bank vs. the easier Fed.

MKM Partners

MKM Partners

4.) Since the Fed debate has dovetailed with the silly “Is inflation much higher than what the government says” debate, I would offer this additional data point from “How Much Do Official Price Indexes Tell Us About Inflation?“:

This paper shows that the relationship between the economic concepts of inflation and the inflation indexes reported in official statistics is nonlinear. In particular, changes in the CPI and PCE deflator overstate changes in true inflation when inflation is low, and are only accurate measures when inflation is high.

But whatever. Eggs.

5.) The way forward is not some hopeless effort of misinformed economic nostalgia to “end the Fed.” Rather this, if you want rule-based monetary policy for the 21st century:

Most simply, the Federal Reserve should begin by adopting an approach of “level targeting” of nominal GDP. This doesn’t mean keeping NGDP level, but rather targeting a specified trajectory, such as a 5% NGDP growth path, and committing to make up for any near-term shortfalls or excesses. Thus, if NGDP grew by 4% one year, the central bank would cut rates or engage in quantitative easing until its models yielded an expectation of 6% NGDP growth for the following year. …

Another approach — which would be more radical, but perhaps also more effective — would limit the Fed’s role to setting the NGDP target, and would leave the markets to determine the money supply and interest rates. This would mitigate the “central planning” aspect of the Federal Reserve’s current role, which has rightly come under criticism from many conservatives. To give a simplified overview, the Fed would create NGDP futures contracts and peg them at a price that would rise at 5% per year. If investors expected NGDP growth above 5%, they would buy these contracts from the Fed. This would be an “open market sale,” which would automatically tighten the money supply and raise interest rates. The Fed’s role would be passive, merely offering to buy or sell the contracts at the specified target price, and settling the contracts a year later. Market participants would buy and sell these contracts until they no longer saw profit opportunities, i.e., until the money supply and interest rates adjusted to the point where NGDP was expected by the market to grow at the target rate.

Note: This is an expanded and updated version of an earlier post.

Follow James Pethokoukis on Twitter at @JimPethokoukisand AEIdeas at @AEIdeas.

About that school blogger fired for writing about homophones (which sounds like "homophobes"). [Althouse]

Volokh Conspiracy writer Dale Carpenter links to a story in the Salt Lake Tribune:

[W]hen the social-media specialist for a private Provo-based English language learning center wrote a blog explaining homophones, he was let go for creating the perception that the school promoted a gay agenda.
I don't see how we are supposed to understand the school's reaction without seeing what the blogger actually wrote. It was the school's own website, and if the blogger fooled around with the similarity between the words "homophone" and "homophobe," it might be too edgy for an official website.

ADDED: If this is, in fact, the blog post in question and the ground for firing the blogger, then the school really does look terrible. It's a totally innocuous post, devoid of any playfulness about the similarity between the word "homophone" and anything having to do with homosexuality.

How Will We Avoid Disaster if Politicians Won’t Listen to Experts? Cries Galaxy Guardian Krugman [The PJ Tatler]

The science is settled in yet another field — economics — but no one’s listening. Citizens of the galaxy, be afraid.

New York Times pundit and economist Paul Krugman says the “overwhelming” consensus among his colleagues proclaims the Obama stimulus reduced unemployment and was “worth it.” But most Americans have no idea that these academics speak with virtually one voice on Obamanomics.

More important, over the past several years policy makers across the Western world have pretty much ignored the professional consensus on government spending and everything else, placing their faith instead in doctrines most economists firmly reject.

One rejected doctrine, “government austerity measures,” is pure foolishness during down cycles according to Krugman’s cabalmates. After all, nearly every economist knows that the only sure way to keep recession from plunging into depression is massive new government spending of money borrowed from our grandchildren.

Krugman wrings his soft science hands over the consequences of ignoring the voice from the ivory tower.

All of which raises a troubling question: Are we as societies even capable of taking good policy advice?

The op-ed column is headlined: “Knowledge Isn’t Power.” Like most progressives, Krugman believes that all it takes to do the right thing is to know the right thing, and so he’s crestfallen at the realization that the treasury of economics knowledge remains untapped by policy makers.

This must be tremendously frustrating, because Krugman started his career with the ambition to be a kind of guardian of the galaxy.

 “I went into economics,” he wrote in an e-mail message, “because I read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels, in which social scientists save galactic civilization, and that’s what I wanted to be.”

For those stories, Asimov invented a fictional science called psychohistory – a mix of social science, history and math, whose practitioners, in Krugman’s words, “understand the true dynamics” and thus “save the galaxy.”

In fairness to Krugman, he has, at least, entered a parallel field of fictional science. Among the most common news headlines related to the economy are those proclaiming how far astray economist predictions were from actual performance.

EPA Regs Still Busy Killing Coal Jobs [The PJ Tatler]

Rogue agency is rogue.

West Virginia coal company, Alpha Natural Resources, told 1,1000 workers to prepare for layoffs because 11 mines across the state are “subject to being idled.”

The reason: weak market conditions and Environmental Protection Agency regulations, the company said.

The company notified the 1,100 employees late Thursday that “sustained weak market conditions and government regulations have challenged the entire Central Appalachian mining industry.”

The layoffs would not take place till mid-October, Alpha said.

When The Idiot King said he would have a “laser-like” focus on jobs oh so long ago he really didn’t specify whether he would be focused on creating or destroying them. At least we’ve cleared that up.

These greendoggle regulations aren’t just wreaking havoc on an industry, they’re intentionally assaulting one of poorest regions of the United States.

Remember though, it’s the Republicans who hate the poor.

UN Human Rights Chief Condemns Israel, U.S. for Not Sharing Iron Dome with Hamas [The PJ Tatler]

Iron Dome was built by Israel with partial funding from the US, to protect against rockets that Hamas is launching at Israeli civilians. Its entire purpose is defensive, against Hamas and Hizballah rockets.

Today, the UN’s Human Rights Commission’s chairman condemned Israel and the US for not sharing the Iron Dome technology with Hamas.

Haaretz reports that United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, delivered this blistering statement on Iron Dome.

Pillay said that she was appalled at Washington consistently voting against resolutions on Israel in the Human Rights Council, General Assembly and Security Council.

“They have not only provided the heavy weaponry which is now being used by Israel in Gaza but they’ve also provided almost $1 billion in providing the ‘Iron Domes’ to protect the Israels from rocket attacks,” she said. “But no such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling.”

Sharing Iron Dome with Hamas would have given Hamas insight into how to defeat it, in addition to being entirely pointless for Israel, given Iron Dome’s design. Its capabilities involve intercepting small, unguided rockets that are aimed at civilian populations. Israel uses no such weapons, and neither does Egypt, Hamas’ other major enemy.

Perhaps Pillay would have Israel give Hamas its drones, and the US hand Hamas a fleet of B-2 stealth bombers as well? How about a Los Angeles class nuclear sub with cruise missiles while we’re at it?

Obama on CIA Scandal: ‘We tortured some folks.’ [The PJ Tatler]

That was the most astonishing moment of today’s galling Obama press conference.

President Obama had earlier lectured journalists how to do their jobs, ripped Republicans for doing their jobs, and chided everyone within earshot for not wishing him a happy birthday yet.

After that descent into pre-teen self-absorption, the president was asked about whether CIA chief John Brennan had lied to Congress under oath when he said that the agency had never spied on senators and staff who were investigating the CIA’s enhanced interrogations of a very few al Qaeda terrorists.

Obama glided past the actual question, other than voicing his full support for Brennan — who either lied to Congress, or doesn’t know what his own agency is doing and does not check his facts before testifying — and refused to wade into that scandal.

His preference, as always, was to wade into an old Bush-era scandal rather than deal with a scandal involving his appointees in his administration. And despite the fact that Congress has not formally accused anyone in the CIA of torturing anyone, Obama did.

“We tortured some folks,” he said of the waterboarding that was used on a very few captured al Qaeda suspects.

That’s a lot to pack into four words.

“Torture” opens up the possibility that CIA officers who were involved in those interrogations will be prosecuted now.

“Folks” minimizes the truly horrible terrorists who were subjected to enhanced interrogation. They are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah. KSM planned 9-11, and had planned airborne terrorist attacks before that. Zubaydah was an al Qaeda senior commander who had extensive knowledge of ongoing al Qaeda plots after 9-11. They’re not “folks.” They’re the kind of enemy operatives who Obama regularly incinerates with drone missiles whenever he gets the chance.

“We tortured some folks” opens up a ghastly can of worms for the United States. It is a public relations victory for every enemy that America has. It tells CIA officers that their anti-terror actions, sanctioned in emergency today, will get them prosecuted tomorrow if a careless president comes along to condemn them. It may even bring up the specter of the Obama administration prosecuting high level Bush administration officials.

Obama will now ride off into his vacation. But the damage he has just done will be with us for a very long time.

DEVELOPING STORY: Democrat Rep. Julia Brownley is Really, Really Into Fundraising Off Of Impeaching Obama [The PJ Tatler]

Democrat Rep. Julia Brownley (CA) fired off a fundraising email on July 30. Subject line: DEVELOPING STORY: [Impeachment]. Here is that email.



It’s signed “Thanks for standing strong, JuliaBrownley.com.”

The email implies that Brownley’s Republican opponent, Jeff Gorell, supports impeaching President Obama.

He doesn’t.

Brian Dennert, journalist for the Ventura County Star, started tweeting at Gorell about the email.

Gorell tweeted back.

Dennert responded:

Gorell replied:

Dennert, a liberal, was persuaded and turned his fire back on Brownley.

Brownley’s response?

Click here to view the embedded video.

John Kerry, American Idiot? [The PJ Tatler]

It was 3 a.m. in India. While most people there were asleep, the American secretary of State, John F. Kerry, was up all night announcing yet another cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Kerry’s tirelessness came to nothing. Hamas violated the 72-hour ceasefire in less than two hours, and kidnapped an Israeli soldier to boot, as anyone who knows anything Hamas should have expected. Breaking cease-fires and kidnapping (and killing) Jews is what Hamas does. Kerry’s response: More words.


As any sentient being knows by now, trusting Hamas is a fool’s game. The terrorist organization is one of the world’s leading taqiyya practitioners. They lie in the service of their Islam.

Perhaps Secretary Kerry doesn’t watch Hamas TV. Hamas says nice things to him, and preaches genocide to its own faithful.

Before Secretary Kerry flew off to Israel uninvited, before he wound up in India, he could have achieved far more for Israel and for the peace of the world by staying put and saying just a few clear words. Charles Krauthammer picks up the story.

Kerry seems not to understand that the Arab League backed the Egyptian ceasefire-in-place, which would have left Hamas weak and isolated, to ensure that Hamas didn’t emerge from this war strengthened and enhanced.

Why didn’t Kerry just stay home and declare unequivocal U.S. support for the Egyptian/Arab League plan? Instead, he flies off to Paris and sends Jerusalem a package of victories for Hamas: lifting the blockade from Egypt, opening the border with Israel, showering millions in foreign cash to pay the salaries of the 43,000 (!) government workers that the near-insolvent Hamas cannot.

Forget about Israeli interests. Forget about Arab interests. The American interest is to endorse and solidify this emerging axis of moderate pro-American partners (Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf states, and the Palestinian Authority) intent on seeing Islamist radicalism blunted and ultimately defanged.

Indeed, but as Krauthammer notes, Kerry doesn’t see it. His slavishly devoted staff, like Marie Harf in the tweenish tweet above, don’t see it. Does anyone in the State Department see it?

Some of their joy over cease-fires that fail to cease any actual fire springs from the “everyone gets a trophy” culture. They keep playing up “engagement” in this and that as if merely talking equals getting something done. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki keeps talking up “engagement” while Putin keeps waging war in Ukraine.

But John Kerry isn’t from that millennial culture. What explains his wretched handling of the current Israel-Hamas war? What explains his acting as Hamas’ lead advocate, and isolating the United States when he could achieve something good by isolating Hamas?

Vitter Says Administration Tried to Hide Number of Illegal-Immigrant Children in Louisiana [The PJ Tatler]

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said the Obama administration is concealing the number of unaccompanied alien children sent to his home state.

Vitter formally requested the information through the Department of Homeland Security on July 10, but had not received a response. So he went through an anonymous Immigrations and Customs Agency official to tally up the number of cases that had been opened for juveniles since the border crisis hit the headlines and added that to existing cases waiting for processing.

“I’ve been warning the administration for months that this would happen. Our borders go unsecured and our president does everything in his power to hinder Border Patrol, so an influx of illegal immigrants should come as no surprise,” Vitter said. “The administration is trying to hide the truth, but we know that there are at least 3215 cases in Louisiana. This is already a national crisis – it certainly shouldn’t become a Louisiana crisis too.”

The administration has also contacted military and other facilities in Louisiana to see if they can house some of the children, including a request to Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport, La., which has housed people left homeless by hurricanes. Hurricane season began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

Gov. Bobby Jindal fired off a letter to President Obama yesterday calling it “unacceptable” that DHS “considers posting information on a website as a legitimate notification mechanism of unaccompanied minors being placed in Louisiana.”

Jindal noted that it’s hurricane season and filling shelters with more than a thousand additional illegal immigrant children “gravely hampers” the ability of state and local governments to plan evacuations and shelter residents in the case of an emergency.

“Furthermore, the school year is about to start. The state has received no guidance or resources to ensure the education and healthcare for these children. As you know, the state is responsible for child safety and welfare, yet no information has been provided on the vetting process of potential sponsors,” he wrote.

“This crisis is a predictable one. It is happening because your administration has failed to secure our borders and enforce immigration laws, making our country a magnet for these migrants.”

Homeland Security Seizes Woman’s Land Rover, and Even They Don’t Know Why [The PJ Tatler]

I saw this on Fox earlier today and was gobsmacked.

Six armed agents, federal plus local, seized this American citizen’s property by force and took it. They did not tell the owner where they took it. They have not given it back.

When she asked why they took it, even the agents who took it did not know why they were taking it. They thought that it might be because of some environmental regulation.

DHS seized 40 cars that day in similar raids.

Why is the Department of Homeland Security enforcing EPA regulations? And who empowered the EPA to go around taking Americans’ property away without any court action at all?

Due process, anyone?

Obama signs cellphone unlocking bill [PCWorld]

The right to unlock your cellphone became law on Friday as President Barack Obama signed a bill that rapidly passed both houses of the U.S. Congress.

The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act passed in the Senate on July 16 and was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives last Friday. Obama had been expected to sign it.

The law restores U.S. consumers’ rights to update the software on their phones so they can change mobile operators. That practice had been outlawed by a January 2013 decision by the Library of Congress, which ruled that consumer unlocking violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

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

Thanks, Obama: Now you can legally unlock your smartphone if you want to [PCWorld]

The President has signed a bill into law that allows American citizens to legally unlock their phones. That means that you can take your mobile device, no matter which carrier subsidized it, and take it over to one of its competitors. Unlocking phones was made illegal in January of 2013 when an exemption to the DMCA expired.

The bi-partisan bill was passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives, after already being approved by the Senate. There is bit of a catch, however: the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, as it’s called, is only valid through 2015. For now, it ensures that you have a choice in matters of your mobile device, just as long as your phone is compatible with another carrier’s network and you’ve complied with your previous contract. And even if you don’t fancy yourself as technologically savvy, the bill allows you to seek outside help.

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

Microsoft sues Samsung for license violations, post-Nokia [PCWorld]

Microsoft sued Samsung Friday, saying Samsung violated the terms of a patent licensing agreement following Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia.

David Howard, corporate vice president and general counsel for Microsoft, tacitly accused Samsung of simply growing too big to ignore a mutually agreed-upon contract. Samsung had not issued a statement of its own by press time.

In a blog post, Howard struck a neutral tone, citing Microsoft and Samsung’s long history of partnering with one another. The statement referred to a 2011 agreement where Samsung and Microsoft agreed to cross-license each other’s patent portfolio, with Samsung agreeing to pay Microsoft royalties for devices that used the Android operating system. Samsung also said at the time that it would develop and market Windows Phones—a pledge which Samsung largely abandoned after becoming the world’s largest supplier of Android phones.

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

Microsoft sues Samsung, says it stopped paying for patents [PCWorld]

Microsoft filed suit against Samsung on Friday, claiming the device maker has backed out of an agreement that requires it to pay licensing fees to Microsoft for the Android phones it sells.

Samsung has not honored the agreement since at least last September, when Microsoft announced it was acquiring Nokia’s devices and services business from Google, Microsoft alleged in the complaint.

“Samsung breached the license agreement last fall by refusing to make its Fiscal Year 2 royalty payment on time and then refusing to pay interest on its late payment, and is threatening to breach the License Agreement again with respect to its ongoing royalty payment obligations,” says the complaint, which was filed Friday in federal court in New York.

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

HTC M8 Windows Phone shows up on Verizon's site [PCWorld]

An image of an HTC One (M8) running the Windows Phone operating system is currently on the Verizon Wireless site, providing compelling evidence that the company plans to sell the phone.

The URL of the image identifies the hardware as the “HTC M8 Windows” phone. A quick check of URL strings similar to the string of the live image failed to pull up any other information about the phone on the Verizon site. Nonetheless, there’s no disputing the live URL itself.

htc m8 windows Verizon

The HTC M8 Windows, as it appears on Verizon’s site.

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

HP's SlateBook 14 Android laptop ships, but with a higher price than expected [PCWorld]

Hewlett-Packard’s SlateBook 14 laptop with the Android OS has started shipping on schedule, but it’s priced at US$429, which is $30 more than the company had said it would cost.

The laptop, which has a 14-inch screen and Android 4.3, was announced in June. At the time, HP said it would be priced at $399.

It is available on HP’s website.

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

Missing Pieces: Mass Effect 4, Steam Controller tweaked, and more must-know games news [PCWorld]

Lots of videos coming out of last week's San Diego Comic-Con, the Steam Controller may be getting tweaked (again), Doom now runs on an ATM, and woo boy Crytek's in trouble—this is your must-know gaming news for the week of July 28.

Bucking tradition

The Steam Controller gets more and more traditional with each design pass. First Valve ripped out the LCD touchscreen in the center of the controller and added four diamond-array A/B/X/Y buttons. Now a new (legitimacy unconfirmed) image found by Steam Database seemingly indicates Valve has added an analogue stick to supplement the dual trackpad control scheme.

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

Comcast doubles broadband speeds in California, Midwest [PCWorld]

If you’re a Comcast customer in tech-friendly California, good news—your available bandwidth will likely double today, for free. But you may need a new cable modem, too.

Customers in California, as well as select markets in Kansas, Missouri, and Texas, will see their available throughput about double, the company said on Friday. The available throughput will vary by plan.

Specifically, Comcast has increased the speeds of three Xfinity Internet tiers: “Performance” now offers speeds up to 50 Mbit/s, up from 25 Mbps; “Blast” is now 105 Mbps, up from 50 Mbps; and “Extreme 105” has been bumped to 150 Mbps. Comcast has not announced any changes to the other plans.

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

Train robots hands-on to dump trash with this new OS [PCWorld]

Don’t program robots—train them. That’s the stated goal of Brain Corporation, whose operating system is designed to allow robots to learn how to dump trash or open doors via hands-on training, not programming.

The Brain Operating System—also called BrainOS—injects a level of intelligence into robots that will allow them, like animals, to be given hands-on and visual training on how to perform home, service or industrial tasks, the company says.

Robots with BrainOS can be supervised through remote controls or other signals to “demonstrate explicitly the desired behavior,” all without complex programming, the company says on its website.

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

Report: OnePlus is building an Android Wear smartwatch [PCWorld]

Leaked images reveal a possible smartwatch from the maker of the OnePlusOne phone.

Oregon's move from Oracle-developed site to Healthcare.gov on track, official says [PCWorld]

Oregon’s effort to transition its health insurance exchange from a problem-wracked website originally developed by Oracle to the federal Healthcare.gov platform is going according to schedule and expectations, state officials said this week.

“We’re tracking as we should be tracking,” said project head Tina Edlund during a press conference late Thursday, according to news reports. “We’re making the progress we should be making.”

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

Report: Google will enable you to spice up a custom case for your Nexus 5 [PCWorld]

The Nexus devices are normally boring and black, but an upcoming feature will let you decorate it with your favorite selfie.

Android vulnerability still a threat to many devices nearly two years later [PCWorld]

Security researchers have recently found a vulnerability that could be used to hijack Android apps and devices, but an older issue that can have the same effect remains a significant threat nearly two years after its discovery, according to security firm Bromium.

The issue was reported in December 2012 and concerns an Android API (application programming interface) called addJavascriptInterface that allows applications to expose their native code to Web code running inside a WebView, an instance of Android’s Web browser engine.

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

Kidnapped Israeli soldier may be dead [Power Line]

(Paul Mirengoff)

Hamas’ military wing says it doesn’t know the whereabouts of the IDF soldier who was captured by Hamas during an ambush. According to Hamas, it lost contact with the unit that carried out the ambush. Hamas speculates that the ambushers were all killed by Israeli bombardment and that the IDF soldier, Second-Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, may have been killed along with them.

There’s no reason to believe anything Hamas says. But if Hadar Goldin is still alive and under Hamas’ control, we should be seeing pictures of him soon. Hamas will no doubt use him as a bargaining chip.

Regardless of Goldin’s fate, Israel’s best course of action is to press ahead with the destruction of Hamas’ tunnels, the personal destruction of its leaders and fighters, and the degradation of its rocket launching capability. And, of course, no more “ceasefires” for Hamas to violate.

When Israel has finished destroying the tunnels and degrading the rocket launching capability, it should withdraw. There should be no attempt to reoccupy Gaza. Israel should never have left, but at this point reestablishing authority and policing Gaza would be too difficult and too costly.

If, once Israel withdraw, Hamas ceases its missile attacks on Israel, that will be the “ceasefire” — no piece of paper required. If Hamas persists, Israel should resume bombardment of Gaza.

Israel obviously should continue with its blockade of Gaza and, indeed, should tighten it. Egypt will likely cooperate with Israel in attempting to cut off arms and material to Hamas.

Any outcome in which Hamas ends up with a better deal, in terms of access to outside world, than it had before the war would be a clear and disastrous defeat for Israel. It would mean that Israel’s soldiers died in vain. I find it shocking, but not surprising, that the Obama administration has pushed to impose such a defeat on Israel.

It’s possible that, with Hamas’ tunnels and rockets destroyed and Gaza even more isolated than before, Hamas will be unable to maintain its grip on Gaza. More likely, Hamas will retain that grip.

In that event, Israel will need, somehow, to do a better job of monitoring Hamas’ activity. Apparently, Israel was taken very much by surprise by the extent to which Hamas has tunneled its way towards, and indeed into, Israel.

The above prescription would require Israel to ignore much of what President Obama and Secretary Kerry demand. That’s not a pleasant prospect for Israel.

But the rest of the world manages largely to ignore these two. So can Israel. Fortunately for all of us, the days in power of Obama and Kerry are numbered.

On Immigration, the National Rifle Association Shows the Way [Power Line]

(John Hinderaker)

For reasons I do not understand, some Republicans remain convinced that the House needs to “do something” on immigration. This, despite the fact that stopping illegal immigration polls as the number one issue among Republicans, and public opinion in general is turning decisively away from the Obama administration. So I understand why Democrats hysterically demand that the Republican House “do something”–misery loves company. But why should Republicans fall into that trap?

Conservatives should take a lesson from the success of the pro-gun movement. For decades, pro-gun forces have fought off efforts at various forms of gun control, in large part with a simple response: how about if we enforce the laws that are already on the books? That basic principle resonates with a large majority of voters, not just conservatives. It appeals to common sense: we already have hundreds if not thousands of laws and regulations relating to firearms, many of which are widely ignored. Not to mention the fact that every crime committed with a gun is already a crime. So rather than casting about for new laws to be broken, let’s enforce the laws we already have.

Conservatives can make much the same point on immigration: the first thing we should do is enforce the laws we already have. The truth is that the Democrats don’t want to enforce immigration laws–any immigration laws–but that is hard for them to admit in public. Given that our current laws are widely ignored, with the connivance of the federal government, what is the point of passing new ones? They will just be ignored, too. Until we establish control over our borders and demonstrate that we are in control of immigration into our country, passing new laws is pointless. We have an immigration regime on the books, so let’s start by enforcing it. My guess is that 75% of voters would subscribe to that simple proposition.

When asked what they propose to do about immigration, every Republican’s first response should be: let’s enforce the laws that are already on the books. After all, if we have abandoned the rule of law, what is the point of changing the laws?

The Awful Jobs Picture: 6.2% Unemployment Is Only the Beginning [Power Line]

(John Hinderaker)

The Labor Department reported today that the economy added 209,000 jobs in July as the official unemployment rate rose to 6.2%. But, as Peter Morici explains, that dismal unemployment number only begins to tell the story:

Adding in discouraged adults who say they would begin looking for work if conditions were better, those working part-time but say they want full time work, and the effects of immigration, the unemployment rate becomes about 15 percent—and that is a lower bound estimate. …

Many Americans who would like full time jobs are stuck in part-time positions, because businesses can hire desirable part-time workers to supplement a core of permanent, full-time employees, but at lower wages. And Obamacare’s employer health insurance mandates will not apply to workers on the job less than 30 hours a week.

Young people have been hit hardest:

Many young people are being duped both by unscrupulous for-profit, post-secondary institutions—as well as accredited colleges and universities with low admission standards—to enroll in useless programs. They would likely be in the labor force now but for easy access to federally sponsored loans and will end up heavily in debt.

Adding in these students, the real unemployment rate among U.S. citizens and permanent residents is at least 18 percent.

Morici makes important points about the role of both our welfare system and illegal immigration in perpetuating low levels of labor force participation:

Since 2000, Congress has enhanced the earned income tax credit and expanded programs that provide direct benefits to low-income workers, including food stamps, Medicaid, Obamacare, and rent and mortgage assistance.

Virtually all phase out as family incomes rise, either by securing higher hourly pay or working more hours, and impose an effective marginal tax rate as high as 50 percent. Consequently, these programs discourage work and skills acquisition and encourage single parents and one partner in two adult households not to work. Often, these motivate single people to work only part-time.

Undocumented immigrants face more difficulties accessing these programs, and lax immigration enforcement permits them to openly take jobs that government benefits discourage low-income Americans from accepting.

When the supply of workers exceeds the demand for work, it should be no surprise that wages are stagnant, or worse:

No surprise, average family income, adjusted for inflation, has fallen from about $55,600 in 2007 to $51,000 even as the gap between families at the bottom and top widens.

In view of this dismal picture, it is almost beyond belief that the administration, and even some misguided Republicans, want to import tens of millions of unskilled, low-wage foreign workers.

Today’s Climate Embarrassment & Green Weenie Award [Power Line]

(Steven Hayward)

Stiff competition for the biggest climate embarrassment of the week.  It could be the screenwriter of Sharknado 2, the improbably named Thunder Levin, who said on MSNBC that climate change could cause Sharknado to come true.  Said Levin:

“You know we just felt it was time that the world was alerted to the perils of global warming and bio-meteorology, so it was just a matter of doing our research and getting the facts out to everybody.”

This is perhaps just a clever attempt to cause The Warmlist site to crash irretrievably.  Or maybe Levin is actually a climate skeptic punking MSNBC, and no one noticed.  In which case he deserves an Emmy for Sharknado instead of a Green Weenie.

The Washington Post gamely tries for the prize with speculation that global warming will increase the spread of flesh-eating bacteria.  Can zombies be far behind?  (Oh wait: Been there, done that.  From NASA, no less.  And you thought “climate zombies” referred to Michael Mann and such.)

But the winner belongs to that repeat champ, the New York Times, which on Wednesday ran an op-ed from a purported economist named James K. Boyce advocating for a “cap-and-dividend” idea that would put more money in everyone’s pocket!  Like this:

What if we could find a way to put more money in the pockets of families and less carbon in the atmosphere without expanding government? If the combination sounds too good to be true, read on.

If it sounds “too good to be true,” it’s because it is.  Boyce’s argument requires more sleight-of-hand than a bad Vegas street magician.  Pay close attention and spot the fallacies:

Paying dividends to all isn’t rocket science. The state of Alaska has been doing it since 1982. That’s when the Alaska Permanent Fund, the brainchild of Gov. Jay S. Hammond, a Republican, began to pay dividends from oil royalties based on the principle that the state’s natural wealth belonged to all its people.

Of course, the production of Alaskan oil represents the creation of new net wealth.  Cap and trade ideas don’t create anything new—it promises, at best, to shift around the source of energy production, very likely resulting in a net loss of overall wealth since most “clean energy” sources are more expensive.  But let’s keep going:

The number of permits initially would be capped at the level of our 2005 carbon dioxide emissions. This cap would gradually ratchet down to 80 percent below that level by 2050. Prices of fossil fuels would rise as the cap tightened, spurring private investment in energy efficiency and clean energy. Energy companies would pass the cost of permits to consumers in the form of higher fuel prices. But for most families, the gain in carbon dividends would be greater than the pain. In fact, my calculations show that more than 80 percent of American households would come out ahead financially — and that doesn’t even count the benefits of cleaner air and a cooler planet.

As the cap tightened, prices of fossil fuels would rise faster than quantity would fall, so total revenues would rise. The tighter the cap, the bigger the dividend.

Boyce seems not to notice that people would be getting paid dividends with their own money.  Oh wait, not really, as Boyce goes on to explain:

The outsize consumption — and outsize carbon footprints — of the richest 10 percent of Americans means that they’ll furnish a similarly high fraction of the carbon dollars generated by household spending on gasoline, electricity, airplane trips and so on. For these households, the dividends won’t outweigh the costs. But the affluent can afford to pay for their emissions.

So in other words, this “cap-and-dividend” scheme is nothing like the Alaska oil dividend, and is simply another attempt to set up a wealth transfer from the rich.

Other than that, looks just fine.  Oh yes—how much would such a plan, if fully implemented, reduce global warming?  Silly—it’s not about reducing global warming (the correct answer is zero, of course).  Kudos to Boyce for disguising the real purpose so poorly.  He’d better not try this kind of misdirection on the sidewalks in Vegas.  He’ll get worse than booed.  And worse than just a Green Weenie.

GOP gaining ground in House races [Power Line]

(Paul Mirengoff)

The Cook Political Report has revised its district-by-district assessment of this fall’s House races. 21 races have a new rating and 17 of them favor Republicans.

Of particular interest for us is the reassessment of the race in Minnesota’s Eighth District, in which John’s friend Stewart Mills is challenging incumbent Democrat Rick Nolan. Cook has switched this race from “leans Democrat” to “toss-up.”

Stewart Mills will be one of our “Power Line Picks.” We will be presenting our full slate very soon.

Two other Minnesota races have moved favorably to Republicans, according to Cook. The race involving John’s congressman, John Kline, has been moved from “likely Republican” to “solid Republican.” And in the Seventh District, the race between incumbent Democrat Collin Peterson and Republican Torrey Westrom has moved from “likely Democrat” to “leans Democrat.”

There are now 16 House races that Cook rates a toss-up. Thirteen of them involve seats held by Democrats. We like that math. We also like the trend Cook detects.

Obama: ‘We Tortured Some Folks’ [Ed Driscoll]

“This has long been Obama’s position, and a position of the left generally — that the three terrorists= leaders (aka ‘some folks’) we waterboarded were unjustly and cruelly ‘tortured,’” Ace writes. “It’s not entirely surprising, then, that he should say this, but the offhanded flippancy of it does surprise:”

Listening to Brand and Obama, I had a realization.

People on the right often claim that people on the left are guilty of something called “moral relativism.” Which, I believe, is defined as excusing/minimizing acts of cruelty, murder, and violence by looking at the “context” of those acts, and the “desperation” of the monsters perpetrating those acts, and judging that, in the scheme of things, they are either justified, or at least their culpability is mitigated — “They had little choice.” “These were the only weapons available to them.”

But that’s not quite right, I realized.

The left does indeed engage in moral relativism– selectively.

For the enemies of America or Israel, or for the enemy of civilized, orderly society (say, the common street-murderer), the left does indeed engage in this analysis of moral relativism.

But what about for America itself, or Israel, or the family murdered by a “desperate” and poor lifelong criminal?

Does the left ever engage in the same moral relativistic thinking and say, of America, Israel, or a community outraged by murder, “Well, these people were scared. They felt as if they had no choice. Their anger can be excused and understood, and justified to some extent, because of the grievances they felt they had against their enemies.”

No– they do not. This moral relativism, the excusing and justifying of evil acts, is a one-way street only, only serving to apologize for people who kill Americans (or Westerners; the Israelis in this case are taken to be White Westerners).

This same “let’s look at their grievances and how they felt justified” excuse is never, ever applied to America, Israel, or law-abiding folks outraged that a serious crime has occurred in their community.

In those cases, an absolutely sacrosanct and invariable ethic is applied — and America, Israel, and law-abiding folks are found guilty of having violated it.

Read the whole thing.


But Obama’s speechwriters have gotten him into plenty of trouble as well, often because he doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, when they’ve gone off the rails.


Moreover, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Republicans had reportedly been warning the State Department to prepare American facilities overseas for the release of the enhanced interrogations report. They warned that even the cautiously worded findings could go off like a bomb in the Arab World, and American diplomatic personnel should be prepared for any resulting fallout.

“On several occasions, the White House and the State Department have told the Committee, both verbally and in writing, that a series of security steps will be needed to safeguard the lives of U.S. personnel overseas and the facilities in which they work,” the senators wrote.

If the report, which apparently did not use the term “torture,” might have inflamed sentiment in the Muslim World, Obama’s blunt declaration that the United States engaged in torture will surely have a more significant impact.

Obama’s statement is a momentous development, and it is likely to have far-reaching implications. And by the way, no one is talking about the CIA spying on the Senate anymore. Funny how that worked out.

For Obama, it’s all about winning the weekly news cycle, even if it means trashing America, your predecessor in the White House, the memory of September 11th and its aftermath in the process, and inflaming the Middle East. Read: especially, where I wrote “even.”

Video: Say, Why Not Host an Illegal Alien Child in Your Home? [Ed Driscoll]

“Citizens in tony Oldtown, Virginia – an upscale, predominantly liberal area of Alexandria directly across the bridge from Washington, D.C. – were put on the spot by MRC TV’s Dan Joseph and asked to host some of the illegal immigrant children who have flooded across the nation’s southern border,” BizPac Review notes. “Joseph asked passers-by if they would be willing to sign a petition calling for some unaccompanied children to be brought to Alexandria. If they agreed, he then asked them to sign a second petition, consenting to house one or two.”

Two guesses as to what happened next — which was entirely predictable to anyone who’s familiar with Saul Alinsky’s Rule Four, “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

And shades of James O’Keefe’s many stings, including asking gun control-obsessed leftwing journalists if they’d like a “This Home is Proudly Gun Free” sign on their front lawn.

(Perhaps Dan Joseph should try petitioning the same Democrat operatives with bylines as O’Keefe did, and see how many would like an illegal alien living in their gun-free home…)

Sharpton Versus de Blasio [Ed Driscoll]


“There was an astonishing visual display of the battle for the future of New York yesterday in a round-table discussion at City Hall,” John Podhoretz writes in the New York Post, describing a face-off between William Bratton, New York’s police commissioner, Bill de Blasio, the city’s newly minted far left mayor, who took office sounding like Bane from the last Batman movie, and as Podhoretz writes, “Al Sharpton, the longtime anti-cop rabble-rouser (and slanderer) who rose to fame and fortune in the 1980s in part by attacking the legitimacy of the Police Department Bratton ran from 1994 to 1995 and runs again now:”

Sharpton said he would not be satisfied with “window-dressing.” Here was his stark warning to the mayor: “If we’re going to just play spin games, I’ll be your worst enemy.”

In fact, New Yorkers benefited unambiguously when City Hall treated Sharpton as though it were his worst enemy. They may smile together now on occasion, but Bratton certainly wasn’t smiling back in 1995 at City Hall, when he stood beside his then-boss, Rudy Giuliani, as Giuliani effectively accused Sharpton of responsibility for a 1994 shooting spree and fire that left seven dead (eight, if you count the murderer).

Sharpton had led a long-standing protest against the owner of Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem, whom he called a “white interloper.”

His inflammatory conduct and that of his deputy Morris Powell certainly helped rile up Roland J. Smith, who shot and killed four people inside the store before setting the fire that killed three more.

The outright contempt with which Giuliani and Bratton (and the commissioners who followed him under Rudy) showed Sharpton were part and parcel of the strong message they were sending about their support for law enforcement and their unwillingness to kowtow to cop-haters and those who profit from social decay and disorder.

Bill de Blasio was with Sharpton then. Will he surrender his mayoralty to Sharpton now?

Mike Bloomberg knew that whatever social tinkering he wanted to do — and he did enormous amounts, to NYC’s detriment — if he watered down the anti-crime policies Giuliani and Bratton pioneered and New York returned to its Death Wish/Panic in Needle Park era, he’d be out of a job. How important is de Blasio’s radical chic ideological affiliation with Comcast/NBC spokesman Al Sharpton, versus getting re-elected?

Bill Clinton, September 10, 2001: Sure, I Left Bin Laden Go [Ed Driscoll]

“Bill Clinton, September 10, 2001: I could have killed Bin Laden once but called it off because of civilian casualties,” Allahpundit paraphrases:

A time capsule from Australia via MSNBC, captured for posterity at what would have been around 11 p.m. New York time. The hijackers may have been ritually shaving themselves as he said it. Previewing the audio, the host says Clinton “almost brags” about his decision. Of course he does; at the time, it would have been a no-brainer for a politician to congratulate himself for sparing a terrorist in the name of also sparing dozens (or, if you believe Clinton, hundreds) of civilians, even if that terrorist was responsible for the U.S.S. Cole attack. Twenty-four hours later, I guarantee you he wasn’t bragging anymore. In fact, you can draw a straight line from this audio to America’s drone policy today. These 20 seconds or so are precisely why Obama ended up pulling the trigger on Anwar al-Awlaki and why he continues to pull the trigger on Al Qaeda’s bigger fish even if it means incinerating civilians in Waziristan or Yemen in the process. He’s never going to let a statement like this come back to haunt him.

Obligatory Allahpundit-style exit question: MSNBC rarely actually breaks news, and almost never goes after any of its fellow leftists. Are they bringing this up now to get it out of the way early, so that if Hillary’s opposition raises it, Hillary’s spox can shrug and say, “Hey, old news. This made the rounds in 2014. 9/11 was a wake up call for everyone. How dare you politicize it!” Or is this another effort to push Hillary aside for Elizabeth Warren, MSNBC’s preferred socialist presidential candidate?

Oh and one more: Say ABC, how’s that DVD edition of The Path to 9/11 coming?

Hamas Violates Its Own Ceasefire After Only 90-Minutes [Ed Driscoll]

“Call Us When an Israel-Hamas Cease-fire Lasts Longer Than a Peter Jackson Movie,” quips Jim Geraghty:

Forget these 72-hour cease-fire proposals, guys. Try a 72-minute one, see how that works out.

Because we could just run “Cease-fire Broken” headlines in an endless loop for the foreseeable future. Here’s how it went down:

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said that government forces were moving to destroy a tunnel, as the terms of the cease-fire allowed for, when several militants came out of the ground.

Colonel Lerner said the militants included at least one suicide attacker, that there was an exchange of fire on the ground and that initial indications were that a soldier was apparently dragged back into the tunnel. He was unable to offer details about the soldier’s condition or whether others were killed in the attack. He said the episode began at around 9.30 a.m., about 90 minutes after the 72-hour cease-fire came into effect.

As Geraghty grimly concludes, “Is everybody who voted for [John Kerry] in 2004 proud now? Or did they have more faith in his running mate?”

Getting ready for Pennsic… [Moe Lane]

…which, by the way, I will be not taking a laptop, Chromebook, or tablet to. I got the phone, and an iPod for tunes, and that’s it.

So expect zero posts until the weekend’s over. If I don’t write about it tonight, it’ll have to wait a couple of days.

Moe Lane

PS: Yup, I’m only doing a weekend Pennsic trip. Kids.

Cook Political Report House race update: 17 races +GOP, 4 +Dem. [Moe Lane]

This is not precisely a ‘Boom!’

…and I’d hold off calling DOOM on this, either. But it’s getting there. There are two interesting data points, here:

  1. Cook’s main ratings now show that there are five Republican seats that are seriously at risk of flipping, as opposed to fifteen Democratic ones.
  2. Looking at the race changes themselves: Cook took 6 Republicans and one Democrat effectively off of the board completely by rating their races as Solid.  Cook also put one race  (IA-02) into play by upgrading it from Solid Democratic to Likely Democratic.

That last point is important because it shows in stark relief the shrinking of the Democratic playing field. Right now Cook ranks the house as: 204 Solid Republican, 160 Solid Democratic. The Republicans currently control 15 seats that are ranked Likely Republican: even if you spot the Democratic party every other race (including the two Democratic-controlled seats that are ranked Likely Republican) the GOP would still have a majority in the House next year. Not that will happen: what is expected to happen is that the Democrats will probably lose a net six seats or so.

So why isn’t this a Boom! or a DOOM? …Largely because there’s nothing really unexpected about this.  The Democrats were and are never really expected to win the House back this year, no more than they were really expected to do so in 2012. The only people who really believe (or believed) otherwise were and are hardcore partisans: and while I’m not going to mock them for it this time* I will still note that those people are not being given good information right now. And what’s good information?  Well, it’s that this is a midterm year, and there’s precious little enthusiasm being generated by Democrats right now.

And there’s unlikely to be much of any generated, because for the last six years or so the Democratic party apparatus has been converted into a cult of personality centered around the President.  This is why my mailbox – and the mailbox of every other Republican operative out there – is currently overflowing with increasingly shrill Democratic denunciations of the House GOP’s lawsuit against Barack Obama (when they’re not screaming about impeachment)**.  Even a only reasonably impartial observer would concede that it’s in the Democrats’ own best interests to re-establish checks on the executive branch’s power – after all, there’s going to be a Republican President in that position soon enough*** – and goodness knows that Barack Obama is going to be even more unproductive during his formal lame-duck period anyway.  But that doesn’t matter to personality cults.  The awkwardness?  Personality cults don’t really care about any election where their Anointed One isn’t on the ballot.

Ach, well, self-correcting problem.  Alas.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Hey, I’m a hardcore partisan, too.  And a hack, come to think of it.

**We signed up to keep track of what nonsense the Other Side was dishing out.  Presumably our opposite numbers on the Left do the same.  Makes sense, right?

***Let us now pause for the ritual No Republican will ever be elected President, ever again Chorus, done in two-part (and bipartisan) harmony.

Frequency Update - International Shortwave Broadcast Guide: Summer 2014 [Shortwave Central]

This is the forth update for the 2014 Summer edition of International Shortwave Broadcast Guide. The ebook from Teak Publishing, can be purchased at Amazon.com for US $ 4.99, and is available at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K6YKNFM

All time references are UTC, frequencies in kHz (kilohertz) // indicates a parallel frequency. Broadcast are daily unless otherwise indicated.


Stations broadcasting in the tropical band, that have closed down in this band during 2013.

kHz kW Station Country Last log

3315 10 NBC Manus, Lorengau Papua New Guinea JAN13
3350 100 R Exterior Espana, Cariari Costa Rica OCT13
3915 1 R Fly, Kiunga Papua New Guinea FEB13
3915 100 BBC, via Kranji Singapore MAR13
3990 15 Gannan PBS, Tianshui, Gansu China MAR13
3995 100 R Pakistan, Rewat, Islamabad Pakistan MAR13
4050 100 R Rossii, Krasnaya Rechka Kyrgyzstan JUN13
4700 100 Voice of Broad Masses, Asmara Eritrea APR13
4750 50 Qinghai PBS-1, Xining, Qinghai China FEB13
4790 10 RRI Fak-Fak, Propinsi Papua Indonesia MAR13
4815 1 R El Buen Pastor, Saraguro Ecuador MAR13
4828 00 Voice of Zimbabwe, Guineafowl Zimbabwe APR13
4940 50 AIR Guwahati A, Assam India MAR13
4960 100 Voice of Russia via Yangiyul Tajikistan DEC13
4974.8 5 Pacifico R, Lima Peru JAN13
5765 3 AFRTS feeder, Barrigada Guam SEP13
(Danish Shortwave Club Intl/June-July 2014/Shortwave Central 28 July)

Australia, Reach Beyond Australia (former HCJB Australia)
1230-1300  11590as (ex 11595as)
1300-1400  11590as (ex 11595as) (ex 1300-1315 mtwhfa)
1400-1430  11590as (ex 11595as)

Canada, Bible VO BCN 
1100-1115  twh  21480as (cancelled)
1115-1130  m  21480as (cancelled)
1100-1130  Sat/Sun  21480as (new entry)
1830-1900  Sun  9635me (ex 11600me)
1900-1915  Sun  9635me (ex 11600me)
1130-1145  Sun  21480as (new entry)

China, VO Jinling
1230-1300  6200do  (ex 5860do)
1300-1400  6200do  (ex 5860do)
1400-1500  6200do  (ex 5860do)
1500-1505  6200do  (ex 5860do)

Clandestine, R ERGO
0830-0900  13685af (new entry)
0900-0930  13685af (new entry)

Clandestine, R Inyabutatu
1600-1700  Sat  17500af (ex 17870af)

Clandestine, SW R Africa
Station closed all shortwave services from 18 July, 2014

Clandestine, Shiokaze/Sea Breeze
1600-1700  h  6090as (ex 6165as)
1600-700   Sat/Sun  6090as (new entry)

Clandestine, VO Martyrs
1600-1700  7510as  (ex 7530as)
1700-1730  7510as  (ex 7530as)

Cuba, R Havana Cuba
1800-1830  11760ca

1500-1600  11760ca (new entry)
1600-1700  11760ca (new entry)
1700-1800  11760ca (new entry)

Ecuador, FEBA/HCJB Quito
2145-2200  11985af (ex 9530af)
2200-2215  11985af (ex 9530af)

Greece, ERT/VO Greece (from 04 July, 2014)
Frequency use on various days are irregular or not in use at all times. Most are not registered with HFCC database.
0000-0100  9420na  9935na (ex 7475na)  15630ca (ex 15650ca)
0100-0200  9420na  9935na (ex 7475na)  15630ca (ex 15650ca)
0200-0300  9420na  9935na (ex 7475na)  15630ca (ex 15650ca)
0300-0355  9420na  9935na (ex 7475na)  15630ca (ex 15650ca)

0400-0500  9420eu  15630eu
0500-0600  9420eu  15630eu
0600-0700  9420eu  15630eu
0700-0800  9420eu  15630eu

0800-0900  9420eu  11645af  15630eu
0900-1000  9420eu  11645af  15630af

1000-1100  9420eu  11645af  15650as (ex 15630as)
1100-1155  9420eu  11645af  15650as (ex 15630as)

1200-1300  9420eu  9935eu  15650as (ex 15630as)
1300-1355  9420eu  9935eu  15650as (ex 15630as)

1400-1500  9420eu  9935eu  15650as
1500-1600  9420eu  9935eu  15650as
1600-1700  9420eu  9935eu  15650as
1700-1800  9420eu  9935eu  15650as

1800-1855  9420eu  9935 (ex 7450eu)  15650as
1900-2000  9420eu  9935eu (ex 7450eu)  15650eu
2100-2200  9420eu  9935eu (ex 7450eu)  15650eu
2200-2255  9420eu  9935eu (ex 7450eu)  15650eu
2300-0000  9420na  9935na  15630ca
(Ivo Ivanov/Bulgaria)

India, AIR/National Channel - Revised summer schedule
0040-0100  9380as  (ex 9470as) 9425as
1320-1400  9380as  (ex 9470as) 9425as
1400-1500  9380as  (ex 9470as) 9425as
1500-1600  9380as  (ex 9470as) 9425as
1600-1700  9380as  (ex 9470as) 9425as
1700-1800  9380as  (ex 9470as) 9425as
1800-1900  9380as  (ex 9470as) 9425as
1900-2000  9380as  (ex 9470as) 9425as
2000-2100  9380as  (ex 9470as) 9425as
2100-2200  9380as  (ex 9470as) 9425as
2200-2300  9380as  (ex 9470as) 9425as
2300-0000  9380as  (ex 9470as) 9425as
(DX Mix Nx 863)

India, AIR/New Delhi/Vividh Bharati - Revised summer schedule
0100-0200  9380as  (additional freq)  9870as
0200-0300  9380as  (additional freq)  9870as
0300-0400  9380as  (additional freq)  9870as
0400-0435  9380as  (additional freq)  9870as
0900-1000  6100as  9380as (additional freq)  9870as
1000-1100  6100as  9380as (additional freq)  9870as
1100-1200  6100as  9380as (additional freq)  9870as
1320-1400  9870as
1400-1500  9870as
1500-1600  9870as
1600-1700  9870as
1700-1740  9870as
(DX Mix Nx 863)

Kuwait, R Kuwait - revised summer schedule
0000-0100 15475as
0100-0200 15475as
0200-0300 5960me 15475as
0300-0400 5960me 15475as
0400-0500 5960me 15475as
0500-0600 5960me 15515as 15475as
0600-0700 5960me 15515as 15475as
0700-0800 5960me 15515as 15475as
0800-0900 5960me 15515as 15475as
0900-1000 15475as
1000-1100 15475as
1100-1200 9750af 15475as
1200-1300 9750af 15475as  21540eu
1300-1400 9750af 15475as  21540eu
1400-1500 9750af 15475as  21540eu
1500-1600 9750af 15475as  21540eu
1600-1700 6050me 15475as
1700-1800 6050me 13650na 15475as
1800-1900 6050me 13650na 15475as
1900-2000 6050me 13650na 15475as
2000-2100 6050me 15475as  17550na
2100-2200 15475as  17550na
2200-2300 15475as  17550na
2300-0000 15475as  17550na

1800-1900  15540eu
1900-2000  15540eu
2000-2100  15540eu

0800-0900 7250as
0900-1000 7250as

1000-1100  21580as
1100-1200  21580as

1600-1700  15540as
1700-1800  15540as

Kuwait, R Kuwait/Holy Qu'ran
0930-1100  11630af (ex 11630as)
1100-1200  11630af (ex 11630as)
1200-1300  11630af (ex 11630as)
1300-1400  11630af (ex 11630as)
1400-1500  11630af (ex 11630as)
1500-1600  11630af (ex 11630as)
(SWL DXing/26 July)

New Zealand, R New Zealand Intl - revised schedule from 12 July
0000-0100  15720pa
0100-0200  15720pa
0200-0300  15720pa
0300-0400  15720pa
0400-0458  15720pa
0459-0500  11725pa (al freq 15720pa hrd 17 July)
0500-0600  11725pa (al freq 15720pa hrd 17 July)
0600-0650  11725pa (al freq 15720pa hrd 17 July)
0651-0700  11725pa
0700-0758  11725pa
0759-0800  9700pa (al freq 11725pa hrd 17 July)
0800-0900  9700pa (al freq 11725pa hrd 17 July)
0900-1000  9700pa (al freq 11725pa hrd 17 July)
1000-1058  9700pa (al freq 11725pa hrd 17 July)
1059-1100  9700pa (al freq 11725pa hrd on 17 July)
1100-1158  9700pa (al freq 11725pa hrd on 17 July)
1159-1200  9700pa (al freq 11725pa hrd on 17 July)
1200-1258  9700pa (al freq 11725pa hrd on 17 July)
1259-1300  6170pa
1300-1400  6170pa
1400-1500  6170pa
1500-1550  6170pa
1551-1600  5975pa (ex 9700pa)
1600-1700  5975pa (ex 9700pa)
1700-1745  5975pa (ex 9700pa)
1746-1800  9700pa
1800-1835  9700pa
1836-1850  9700pa
1851-1900  11725pa
1900-1950  11725pa
1951-2000  11725pa
2000-2050  11725pa
2051-2100  11725pa
2100-2150  11725pa
2151-2200  15720pa
2200-2300  15720pa
2300-0000  15720pa

0000-0100  17675pa (cancelled)
0100-0200  17675pa (cancelled)
0200-0250  17675pa (cancelled)
0251-0300  17675pa
0300-0400  17675pa
0459-0500  11690pa (cancelled)
0500-0600  11690pa (cancelled)
0600-0650  11690pa (cancelled)
0651-0700  7330pa (ex 9890pa)
0700-0758  7330pa (ex 9890pa)
0759-0800  9890pa (cancelled)
0800-0900  9890pa (cancelled)
0900-1000  9890pa (cancelled)
1000-1058  9890pa (cancelled)
1059-1100  9890pa (cancelled)
1100-1158  9890pa (cancelled)
1551-1600  7330pa
1600-1700  7330pa
1700-1745  7330pa
1746-1800  7330pa (ex 9630pa)
1800-1835  7330pa (ex 9630pa)
1836-1850  9630pa
1851-1900  11690pa
1900-1950  11690pa
1951-2000  15720pa
2000-2050  15720pa
2051-2100  15720pa
2100-2150  15720pa
2151-2200  17675pa (cancelled)
2200-2300  17675pa (cancelled)
2300-0000  17675pa (cancelled)
(Ivo Ivanov, Bulgaria via WWDXC/Top Nx)

Romania, IRRS/R Santec/Cosmic Wave
1530-1600  Sun 15190 (ex Swahili)

South Korea, KBS World R
2000-2100  3955eu (ex French 2000-2100)

Swaziland (see United Arab Emirates)

Sweden, IBRA Radio
1700-1730  12045me (new entry)
1830-1900  15510af (new entry)
1730-1800  15510af (new entry)
1900-1930  11875af (new entry)
1800-1830  15510af (new entry)
1945-2000  fasmt  11875af
1945-2000  wh  11875af (new entry)
1930-1945  smtw  11875af (new entry)
1930-1945  sm  12070af (new entry)
1930-194  hfa  12070af (new entry)
1730-1800  11610af (ex 1700-1730 6180af)
1930-1945  tha  11875af (new entry)
1930-1945  tw  12070af (new entry)

Sweden, IBRA/R Sadaye Zindagi
1500-1530  9590as (ex 9390as)
1530-1600  9590as (ex 9390as)

Taiwan, R Taiwan Intl
2000-2100  5915eu (ex 3965eu) via France
2000-2100  5915eu (ex 3965eu) via France)

Ukraine, R Dniprovska Hvylya 
0600-0700  11980usb (new entry)
0700-0800  11980usb (new entry)

United Arab Emirates, TWR Africa
previously listed as Swaziland, TWR Africa via SWL DXing info 19 Apr
1830-1845  Sun  6120af
1800-1830  Sun  6120af
1800-1830  Sat  6120af
1800-1815  mtwh  6120af
1815-1845  mtwhf  6120af

United Kingdom, FEBA
1600-1630  11655af (new entry)
1600-1630  hfas  12125af (new entry)
1630-1700  hfa  9820af 12125af (new entry)
1500-1530  9390as (new entry)
1330-1345  m  9720as (ex daily)
1600-1630  mtw  12125af (new entry)
1700-1730  9630af (new entry)
1730-1800  7510af (new entry)
1700-1730  6180af (new entry)
1630-1700  smtw  9820af
1730-1800  9630af (new entry)
0200-0215  mtwhfa  9750as (ex daily)
0200-0230  Sun  9750as (ex 0215-0230)

United States, R Free Asia
This current Radio Free Asia summer schedule, supersedes all other RFA schedules that have recently been published in hobby newsletters, email news groups and blogs, as part of the IBB/BBG frequency adjustments from July 1, 2014. This version, directly from the station’s frequency manager, is effective July 12. It does not separate the various language services, by broadcast days, or “frequency hopping.” Instead, it reflects what Radio Free Asia is currently broadcasting at what time and frequency.  Any adjustments to this schedule will be posted as those occur.
Gayle Van Horn W4GVH

All programming targeted to Asia
0030-0130   9940 12115 15700
1230-1330   7390 9335 13870
1330-1400   7390 9335 12140
1400-1430   7390 9335
1630-1730   9940

1400-1500  *FNP
2200-2300  *FNP

1230-1330  12140
2230-2330  13740

1500-1700    1188 5820 7210 7455
1700-1900    1188 5820 9975
2100-2200    7460 9610 11945

0000-0100  15690
1100-1200  15120

0300-0400  13710 17495 17615 17855
0400-0500  13790 15615 17855 21505
0500-0600  13790 15615 17855 21690
0600-0700  13790 15615 17790 17810
1500-1600   9455 13675 15205 15430
1600-1630   9455 11685 13675 15560
1630-1700   9695 11685 13675 15560
1700-1800   5890 7395 9355 9745
1800-1900   5890 9355 9745 11555
1900-2000   1098 5890 7260 9355 9745
2000-2100   1098 5890 6140 7260 7435 9355 9745
2100-2200   1098 5890 7435 9335 9690
2300-2400   9440 11785 15570

0100-0200   9680 9885 11695 17730 *FNP
0200-0300   9885 11695 11745 17730 *FNP
0600-0700  17510 21550 21690 *FNP
1000-1100  13680 15620 *FNP
1100-1200   7470 13830 15195 *FNP
1200-1400   7470 11605  13830 15195 *FNP
1500-1600   9370 11795 *FNP
2200-2300   7505 9370 *FNP
2300-2400   6075 9805 9815 9875

0100-0200   9350 9400 9780 11640 11945
1600-1700   9370 9555 9975 11560

1400-1430   1503
2300-2400   1503

*FNP – Frequency Not Promoted
(Harry Scott & A.J. Janitschek-RFA)

0130-0200  sm  9975as (new entry)
0200-0300  sm  9975as (new entry)

USA, WHRI Cypress Crk SC 
0515-0600  f  11635eu (new entry)
0500-0525  f  11635eu (new entry)

al  alternative frewuency

m (Monday)
t (Tuesday)
w (Wednesday)
h (Thursday)
f (Friday)
a/Sat (Saturday)
s/Sun (Sunday)
DRM: Digital Radio Mondiale

Target Areas:
af Africa
as  Asia
ca Central America
eu Europe
na North America
pa Pacific
sa South America
va Various target areas

QSL Report: August 2014 [Shortwave Central]

Philately and QSLing
Next time you receive a QSL from a station you have reported to, take a closer look at the stamps or postal marks on the envelope. Some stations will use a few colorful postage stamps, or perhaps a special postal cancellation when they send their verification to you. If you are interested in collecting stamps and post mark cancellations from various countries around the world, be sure to indicate that fact in your reception report. For stamp collectors, known as philatelist, this is an extra treat if you also happen to be a shortwave radio listener.

Topical stamp collecting – the art of acquiring stamps specializing on one topic – has long been a popular aspect of the stamp collecting hobby. And for radio hobbyists searching for topical stamps, cancellations or postal covers focusing on various aspects of communications is a natural extension of the radio hobby. The DXer/philatelist can collect topical stamps from many countries on varied subjects, including –  flora-fauna, animals, scenery, or even radio-oriented stamps.

The U.S. Postal Service has periodically released stamps that have pictorial themes on amateur radio, electronics, American inventors, communications and Voice of America. In 2003, Canada's Post Office released a set of stamps commemorating the Fathers of the Wireless Age that wowed the hobby. India, United Kingdom, Austria, Solomon Islands, Netherlands, Estonia, Slovenia and Australia have issued radio-oriented postage stamps in the past and present. Don't discard the envelope (called covers) since these are collectible items as well. It is fun to collect postal materials with colorful stamps from around the world. Philately and QSLing can add an extra layer of enjoyment to the hobby of QSLing.

Thank you to those who contributed their latest QSL information, and the kind newsletters and e-email groups, who graciously permit us to share their QSL information with radio hobbyists.

Don't forget...if your new to QSLing or a seasoned collector, my book QSLing the World - A How to Guide will lead you through the various ups and downs of QSLing. For additional information, consult Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0083M2O4W/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

Your contributions are always welcome at the email address in the above masthead. Tell the world what you're QSLing !!!

Amateur Radio

Belgium-ON4KBJ, 20 meters PSK31. Full data color castle card. Received in 62 days via ARRL bureau. (Larry Van Horn, NC)

Canada-VA7PX-IOTA NA-075, 7 MHz RTTY. Full color postcard of Mayne Island, British Columbia. Received in 42 days via ARRL bureau. (Van Horn).

Germany-DH1TW, 20 meters SSB. Full data color card of antenna arrays at sunset. Received in five years via ARRL bureau. (Van Horn)

Martinique QSL via Larry Van Horn, N5FPW
Martinique, FM5CD, IOTA NA-107, 14 MHz RTTY. Full color Martinique beach scene. Received in 35 days for report to QSL Manager, Jean Brunner, 9 Rue Des Pigeonniers, Montgame 86210-Voneuil Sur Vienne, France. Operator, Michel Brunelle, P.O. Box 321, 97287 Lamentin, Martinique (Van Horn).

USA-W7PX, Missoula, MT, 14260 kHz, USB. Full data color call sign, view of Hellgate Canyon, NE Missoula and University of Montana photo card signed by operator, Bob. Some nice personal comments written on reverse of card.  Received in ten days for reception of special event station celebrating Independence Day at Fort Missoula. SASE sent and used. QSL address: Hellgate Amateur Radio Club, PO Box 3811, Missoula, MT  59806-3811. (Larry Zamora, Garland, TX)

USA-W4A, Huntsville, AL, 7188 kHz, LSB. Full data color call sign with Apollo 11 logo card received in five days for reception report of a special event station operating from the US Space & Rocket Center commemorating the 45th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.  SASE sent and used.  QSL address: Huntsville Amateur Radio Club, 307 Clinton Ave., Ste. 100, Huntsville, AL 35801.  (Larry Zamora, Garland, TX)

USA-KD8ILL, 7 MHz PSK31. Full data scenery postcard of Valley Falls State Park, Fairmont, West Virgtinia. Received in 12 days for report to Jason Lemley, RR 4-Box 727B, Fairmont, WV 26554 USA (Van Horn)

Ascension Island
BBC Atlantic Ocean relay station, 15400 kHz. Full data Babcock card, signed by Jeff Francis (Engineering Manager). Received in 14 days. Several attempts made to contact the transmitter center in Ascension Island, and finally found a valid email address to: jeff.francis@babcock.co.ac (Alvaro López Osuna, Granada, Spain/playdx)

Radio Ö1 International, 6155 kHz. Full data verification letter that included scenes of Vienna on main page. Received for details to roi.service@orf.at (Dmitry Kutuzov, Ryazan, Russia/"deneb-radio-dx"/RUS-DX 777)

ABC-VL8A (Alice Springs) 4835 kHz. Multiple attempts and several postal cards, finally received a QSL and personal letter of thanks from Elaine Erskine, Communicatrions Transmission Officer, plus small ABC logo sticker enclosed. Program details to reception.advice@abc.net.au (Osuna) Postal address: Northern Territory Shortwave Service, Box 9994, Darwin, NT 0801 Australia.

Bangladesh Betar, 15105 kHz. Full data QSL card and program schedule. Received for a follow-up report. Station address: Sr. Engineer, Research and Receiving Centre, 121 Kazi, Nazrul Islam Avenue Sha Bagh, Dhaka 1000 Bangladesh. Email: rrc@dhaka.net (Osuna).

Overcomer Ministry via Kostinbrod, 11590 kHz. E-QSL. Received in two days for report details to lasttime@overcomerministry.com  (Artur Fernandez Llorella, Spain/playdx)

QSL via Gayle Van Horn W4GVH
Radio Inconfidencia, 15190 kHz. Full data verification letter, signed by Gleison Ferreira. Received after four years of letters and email. Veri signer email: gleisonferreira@inconfidencia.com.br (Osuna) Streaming audio for AM/FM at www.inconfidencia.com.br

Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic/Moldova-Radio Miraya via Grigoriopol, 11560 kHz. Miraya FM card, signed by Mr. Jean-Luc Mootoosamy,Miraya Program Officer. Received in only nine days, which included a holiday and a weekend. QSL address: Foundation Hirondelle, Avenue du Temple 19C, CH-1012 Lausanne, Switzerland (Wendel Craighead, KS)

Radio EYSC (Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change) via Issoudun, France 15245 kHz. Brief E-letter, thanking me for my report and verifying my reception. Received in 19 hours from Daniel G. Mikael. My report was sent via the EYSC contact form at www.eysc.net/?page_id=294. According to various websites and a BBC interview, Mr. Mikael lives in Ls Angeles, and is the chairman of the Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change. He is involved with various Christian denominations, including Catholic, Coptic and Lutheran. (Craighead).

Radio Congo QSL via Artur Fernandez Llorella
Congo (Republic)
Radiodiffusion Congolaise (Radio Congo) Brazzaville, 6115 kHz. Electronic station verification letter, signed by Jean de Dieu Oko, Directeur des Programmes. Received confirmation in two years, after multiple attempts via email and postal mail. This is a very special QSL, as it verifies country # 162 from the EDXC country list. Station postal address: Radiodiffusion Congolaise, Boite Postal 2241, Brazzaville, Republic du Congo. (Llorella) Excellent QSL, Artur ! Congo is rarely heard or verified. (GVH)

Radio Habana Cuba, 15230 kHz. Full data card with Cuban flags (a new series) from Arnie Coro. Program details to arnie@rhc.cu (Osuna).

AWR/Wavescan via Issoudun relay, 15670 kHz. Full data E-QSL. Received in four weeks for e-report to wavescan@awr.org (Llorella).

Radio Öömrang, 15215 kHz. E-QSL. Received in 79 days for report to QSL-Shortwave@media-broadcast.com (Kurt Enders, Bickenbach, Germany/HCDX). Radio Öömrang, broadcast once a year on shortwave in lower German in Frisian dialect and German/English. The annual program is on February 21, relayed by Media Broadcast from a Nauen, Germany transmitter. The station identifies in English as, "The Free Voice of Frisian People from Amrum island in Germany".

Missionswerk/Voice of Hope, 3995 kHz via HCJB Weenermoor. Full data verification letter, siged by Kornelius Duck. Received in three months. QSL address: Eckenhagener Str. 21, D-51580 Reichhof, Germany.(Llorella)

Gemeinde Gottes Herford via HCJB Weenermoor, Germany, 3995 kHz. QSL and letter from Nikolai Ernst. Received in one month for e-report to info@gemeinde-gottes-herford.de (Llorella).

Geronimo SW, 9485 kHz via MVBR. E-QSL. Received in four weeks for e-report to geronimoshortwave@hotmail.com (Llorella).

MV Baltic Radio QSL
MV Baltic Radio, 9485 kHz. Full data QSL. Received in ten weeks for an e-report to qsl@mvbalticradio.de (Llorella).

Echo of Europe, 7315 kHz. E-QSL on same day as reception report. Program details posted at http://echoofeurope.eu/reception-reports/ (Enders) Echo of Europe, 7315 via Nauen, Germany. E-QSL from Simon Marty. Received in one day for e-report to contact@echoofeurope.eu (Llorella).

Radio PCJ International, 5995 kHz. E-QSL in 44 days. Program details to pcj@pcjmedia.com (Enders) 5995 via Nauen, Germany 5995 kHz. E-QSL in five weeks for e-report to pcjqsl@pcjmedia.com (Llorella).

Radio Biafra London via Wertachtal, Germany, 11870 kHz. E-QSL. Received in 21 months for e-report to QSL-Shortwave@media-broadcast.com (Osuna)

MGLOB, 13765 kHz. E-QSL. Received n 45 days for program details to monitoring@mglob.mg ()suna).

Medium Wave
Canary Islands-Es Radio-Las Palmas, 1008 AM kHz. E-QSL. Received in 58 days after follow-up email to tecnico@radiolaspalmas.com (Osuna)

Czech Republic-Radio Dechovka, 1233 kHz AM. E-QSL from Jane Pusová. Received in five days for AM report to pusova@radiodechovks.cz (Kurt Enders, Germany/HCDX)

Germany-Deutschlandfunk, 756 AM kHz. E-QSL. Received in 80 days for follow-up report. Program details to hoereservice@dradio.de (Osuna). Deutschlandfunk 153/1422. E-QSLs for an e-report to hoereservice@dradio.de (Llorella).

Ireland-RTE, 252 AM kHz (off air RTA). PDF E-QSL in seven days. Program details to info@rte.ie (Osuna)

Iceland-RUV-Ras 2, 189 kHz AM. QSL and verification letter. Received in 95 days for follow-up report. Station address: Efstaleiti, 1  150 Reykjavik, Iceland. (Osuna).

Slovenia-Radio Capodristia, 1170 AM kHz. E-verification letter. Received in 21 days for report to capodistria@rtvslo.si (Osuna)

USA-WSM Nashville 650 AM kHz. Partial data QSL card of vintage QSL folder, unsigned. Station stickers and a guitar pick enclosed. Received in four days for an AM report and mint stamps (not used). (David Jones, Nashville, TN/NRC) Streaming audio at http://www.wsmonline.com/

USA-WBBM 780 kHz AM Chicago. Partial data verification letter, signed by Greg Davis. Received in 40 days for an AM report and mint stamps. (Jones). Streaming audio at www.tunein.com 

USA- WQXI-ESPN 790 The Zone. No-data letter, signed by Scott Trask. Map and ESPN promotional items enclosed. Received in 51 days for an AM report. (Jones). Streaming audio at http://www.790thezone.com/

USA-KRVN 880 kHz AM Lexington, Nebraska, The River-Rural Radio. Full data QSL certificate, signed by Rod Ziegler (formerly of KSAL). Also received hat, stickers and book in 21 days via UPS. (Jones) Streaming audio at  http://www.krvn.com/

Radio Méditerranéen Internationale (Medi 1) 9575 kHz. Full data E-QSL from Abdellah el-Atmani. Received in two months from follow-up report to elatmani@medi1.com (Osuna) Streaming audio at http://www.medi1.com/ Postal address: 3/5 Rue M'Sallah, 90000 Tanger, Morocco

Radio Myanmar, 5985 kHz. E-QSL with no date notation. Received an email of "thanks" and attached programming schedules. Received in one year after follow-up report, with a postcard and a few stickers. Station address: Myanmar Radio and Television, 426 Pyad Road, Kamayut 11041, Yangon, Myanmar. (Osuna).

North Korea
Voice of Korea, 9435 kHz. Full data Some of the Changjon Street Built in Pyongyang card. Package included a copy of The Pyongyang Times, a folder of Korean Stamp Information, and two small mini-booklets about Korean stamps. Received in 107 days. (Rich D'Angelo, PA/DXplorer) Station address: Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Website: www.vok.rep.kp 

Radio Tarma, 4775 kHz. E-QSL and info received same day as program details to gerenciageneral@grupomonteverde.com (Enders).

FEBC Philippines, 11650 kHz. Acknowledgment only on card for station's Russian service. Card featured the FEBC Iba, transmission tower. Program details to norie.estabillo@os.febc.org.ph 

Voix du Sudan, 9505 kHz. E-QSL from Bakhit Bushara, French service. Received in 19 days for e-report to bakhit02bb@yahoo.com (Osuna).

Grimeton Radio SAQ. Full data color antenna card with illegible signature. Received in 30 days for special mid-year transmission on June 29 (Alexanderson Day). Email: info@alexander.n.se . Postal address: Alexander – Grimeton Veteranradios Vaenner, Radiostationen, Grimeton 72, SE-432 98 Grimeton, Sweden. (Francesco Ceccoini, Italy/playdx) Next special programming is scheduled for Christmas Eve 2014.

Ireland-Church of Immaculate Conception Boherbue, 27815 kHz. No-data letter. Prepared QSL signed and stamped by Fr, Jim Kennelly. Received in eight days. QSL address: The Presbytery, Boherbue, Co. Cork, Ireland. (Patrick Robic, Austria/UDXF).

Ireland- Church of Christ the King Caherdavin/Limerick, 27731 kHz. No-data letter. Prepared QSL card signed and stamped by Fr. Tom Ryan. Received in 15 days. QSL address: Parish House, Caherdavin, Limerick, Co. Limerick, Ireland. (Robic).

Italy-Sellia Marina Radio, 518 kHz. Full data card, signed by Capt. Leopoldo Manna, Head of MRCC Operative Center. Letter and booklet enclosed on the history of Italian Coast Guard. Received in 16 days. Ship address: Ministerio della Infrastruture e dei Transporti, Comando Generale del Corpo Capitanerie di Porto, Centrale Operativa, Viale dell'Arte 16, 00144 Roma, Italy. (Robic)

Macedonia-PT-NDB Skopje, 295 kHz. Prepared QSL card returned with signature and station stamp. Received in 46 days for a utility report. QSL address: M-NAV, P.O. Box 9, 1043 Petrovec, Macedonia. (Robic)

Malta- Malta Radio NAVTEX service 518 kHz. Prepared QSL card returned with signature and station stamp. Received in 14 days for a utility report. QSL address: Headquarters Armed Forces of Malta, Luqa Barracks, Luqa VLT-2000, Malta. (Robic)

MSC Boreas (shipspotting.com)
Utility/Ship Traffic
2GDR8 MCS Boreas (Crew Boat) MMSI 235096501, 2187.5 MHz. Full data prepared QSL card returned as verified. Received in 33 days for a utility report. (Andy Ibold, Alpen, Germany/UDXF) Ship postal addresses may be searched by using the MMSI number at www.google.com

2AFC4 F.D. Reliable (Platform Supply vessel) MMSI 235059076, 2187.5 MHz. Prepared QSL card returned as verified. Received in 650 days for a utility report. (Ibold).

9HJH9 Mein Schiff 1 (Cruise ship) MMSI 249051000, 2187.5 MHz. Full data prepared QSL card returned as verified and personal letter. Received in 21 days for  utility report. (Ibold)

9HA3053 Bold Tern (Offshore Jack-Up vessel) MMSI 229080000, 2187.5 MHz. Full data E-QSL letter. Received in 72 days for a utility report to postal address. (Ibold).

H9DD Weser Highway (Cargo) MMSI 35590000, 2187.5 MHz. Prepared QSL card returned with partial data noted. Received in 35 days for a utility report (Ibold).

OJCS Silja Serenade (Passenger ship) MMSI 230184000, 2187.5 MHz. Prepared QSL card returned as verified, plus photo of ship. Received in 21 days for a utility report. (Ibold).

LYAG Kaunas Seaways (Roll-On/Roll-Off) MMSI 27700000, 2187.5 MHz. Full data E-QSL. Received in 31 days for a postal reception report. (Ibold).

ELWVS Ensco 101 (Drilling Rig) MMSI 636011107, 2187.5 MHz. Full data prepared QSL card returned as verified. Received in 17 days after follow-up report. (Ibold)

OVZI2 Maersk Attender (Anchor handling supply tug) MMSI 21966500, 8414.5 MHz. Full data prepared QSL card returned as verified, plus photo of ship and personal letter. Received in 43 days. (Ibold).

VSTY7 Hamnavoie (Ferry) MMSI 235449000, 2187.5 MHz. Full data prepared QSL card returned as verified. Received in 487 days (no follow-up). (Ibold)

V2EZ3 UOS Pathfunder (anchor Handling Supply Tug) MMSI 305608000 2187.5 MHz. Full data E-QSL, plus personal letter and info on ship. Received in 45 days for utility report via postal mail. (Ibold)

Cruise ship Oceana, photo Thames Ship Society)
ZCN9 Oceana (Cruise ship) MMSI 310473000, 2187.5 MHz. Full data prepared QSL card returned verified in 44 days. Enroute from Southampton to Gibraltar. (Ibold).

United States
WWV Fort Collins, CO, 25000 kHz. Full data fold-out card of Indians on the Prairie, signed by John B Milton, Engineer-in Charge. Received in 14 days for an E-report to inquiries@nist.gov My QSL # 3,0422. (D-Angelo) Station address: 2000 East County Road 58, Ft, Collins, CO 80524 USA. Website: www.nist.gov. 

Voice of Vietnam, 9835 kHz. Full data card, program schedule and station pennant. Received in 24 days for e-report to vovmundo@gmail.com (Osuna).

SW Address/Veri Signer or Email Updates
Clandestine, R Ergo, IMS Productions Aps, FAO-Somalia Compound, Ngecha Road (off Lower Kabete Road), P.O. Box 2234, 00621 Nairobi, Kenya. Website: www.radioergo.org/en/

Adventist World/Wavescan DX program. Several QSL cards are available. Send your reception reports to AWR & WRMI & WWCR & KVOH, and to the AWR relays stations that carry Wavescan. Wavescan QSL address: Box 29235, Indianapolis, Indiana 46229 USA wavescan@AWR.org Jeff White, SW/WRMI

AM/Euro Pirates Address & Email Updates

Bogus Man differenttadio@yahoo.co.uk
Borderhunter R borderhunterradio@hotmail.com
Crazy Wave R  shortwave@gmx.de
FRS Holland frs@frsholland.nl
Free R Victoria freeradiovictoria@gmail.com
Laser Hot Hits studio@laserhothits.co.uk
Little Feat R littlefeatam@gmail.com
NMD R   nmdradio@hotmail.com
Premier R premiurradio@yahoo.ie
R ACDC radioacdc@gmail.com
R Adelaar derodeadelaar@gmail.com
R Alice radioalice@hotmail.com
R Black Arrow  radioblackarrow@hotmail.com
R Caroline Intl  carolineradio@hotmail.com
R Casanova radiocasanova@hotmail.com
R City  citymorecars@yahoo.ca
R Dutchwing radiodutchwing@live.nl
R Focus Intl  focus@live.co.uk
R Grutte Pier radiogruttepier@hotmail.com
R Joey sandraotten@hotmail.com
R Marabu info@radiomarabu.de
R Merlin Intl radiomerlin@blueyonder.co.uk
R Odynn shortwaveman@gmail.com
R Paardenkracht paardenkracht@draait.nl
R Pink Panther pinkpantheram@hotmail.com
R Python python@pirateradio.at
R Relmus relmusfm@hotmail.com
R Ronalisa radionalisa@hotmail.com
R Star Intl rsi@live.co.uk
R Tango Italia libertango58@libero.it
R Tidalwave radiotidalwave@hotmail.com
R Tower radiotower@home.nl
R Uboat 66 uboat@gmail.com
R Underground  radioundergroundsw@gmail.com
R Universe radiouniverse@hotmail.com
Rode Adelaar  derodeadelaar@gmail.com
Shortwave Combination Holland swch@live.nl
Shortwave Gold shortwavegold@gmail.com
Sluwe Vos R rxreport@live.nl
Tango Italia libertango58@libero.it
Technicial Man R technicalman@hotmail.com
Tip and Elvia Show t.eshow@hotmail.com

Thank you to the following contributors and newsletters.
(Contributors as listed above and via DX News-Playdx 1619-1620/NASWA/HCDX/UDXF/NRC/RUS-DX/DXplorer)

Amateur Radio Special Events Calendar: August 2014 [Shortwave Central]

This month's calendar has a great variety of events and places that you may need a google search to find these elusive location. Just where in the world is ... Chagos Islands, King Island, Fir Island, and Rotuma" - and who has heard of Bornholm Island ? Events are open to amateur radio and shortwave listener's. QSLing information is included in the post. Have fun - and good luck !!


QSL via Larry Van Horn, N5FPW

Estonia, ES.  In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way, amateur radio operators here will use the prefix ES25 during the month of August.

Chagos Islands. VQ9. Bob, N7XR, is planning to be active as VQ9XR from Diego Garcia (AF-006) in 2014. His planned operations are for three weeks in August followed up by a one week trip in October or November. Activity will be focused on CW and RTTY during these trips. QSL via NN1N, direct or LoTW (Logbook of the World) only.

England, G. Special event station GB1418WAR is QRV during August. Activity is on 160 to 10 meters using predominantly SSB with some CW.  QSL via M0OXO.

Lithuania, LY.  In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way, amateur radio operators here will use the prefix LY25 during the month of August.

August 1-3
Annual Pro Football Hall Of Fame Festival 1800-2000 UTC, W8AL, Canton, OH. Canton Amateur Radio Club. 28.365 21.365 14.265 7.265. Certificate. Roger Gray, W8VE, 3506 21st St NW, Canton, OH 44708. Send QSL and $2.00 for S&H to event Mgr W8VE www.w8al.org

August 1-2
Gerhard, OE3GEA, plans to visit the Dominican Republic (NA-096, WLOTA 2974) and will sign HI3/OE3GEA. QRV holiday style, using CW on the HF bands. QSL via home call, Bureau or
direct. [rsgbiota.org]

August 1-3
Scotland-GA14, (Special Event). To celebrate the Commonwealth Games this summer, the Stirling & District Amateur Radio Society (GM6NX) are hosting a special event station, GA14CG, at their club premises, approximately 25 miles northeast of the city of Glasgow. The station will be run by members of the Stirling & DARS along with other clubs in the surrounding area. Visitors are most welcome to the station and visiting amateurs can operate the station, permitted they bring a copy of their license. There will be three HF stations and two VHF stations operational. Activity will be on 160-2 meters using CW, SSB and Data. For more information about the station, visit: www.ga14cg.com  You can also follow them on Twitter (@GA14CG) and "like" them on FaceBook. QSL via LoTW and e-QSL. For direct and Bureau QSLs are via ClubLog's OQRS only. They prefer to QSL via LoTW and e-QSL to save money, time and to protect the environment. Uploads to ClubLog are instantaneous. Uploads to LoTW and e-QSL are made at the end of each day. If you send your card via the bureau or direct, you WILL NOT receive a reply!

August 1-3
Zimbabwe-Z2, Mirek, SP5IXI/VK6DXI, will once again be active as Z21DXI from Bulawayo. He informs that this is a business trip, so radio activity will be limited to his spare time and
Sundays. Activity will be on 160-6 meters, mostly CW. Mirek will be using 100 watts (IC-7000) and wire antennas. QSL via SP5UAF, by the Bureau (E-mail request), direct or by ClubLog's OQRS). Logs will be uploaded to the ClubLog.

August 1-3
Anguilla-VP2E. Frank, K3TRM, will be active as VP2ERM from Anguilla (NA-022). Activity will be on the HF+6m bands using CW, SSB and RTTY. Real-time logging will be available on
ClubLog. QSL by direct or bureau to his home callsign, OQRS (via ClubLog) and LoTW. Additional information will be available on his Web site at www.k3trm.com and Twitter @k3trm.

August 1-4
Tonga, A3.  Dave, G4BUO is QRV as A35UO from Tongatapu Island, IOTA OC-049. Activity is holiday style on 40 to 10 meters using only CW.  QSL to home call.

August 1-4
Bahamas, C6.  Marilyn, WM2W and Terry, N0TW are QRV as C6AMW and C6ATW, respectively. This includes entries in the 10-10 International Summer SSB contest.  QSL via N0TW.

August 1-5
Timor-Leste, 4W.  Adhi, YB3MM is QRV as 4W/NB3MM from Dili on Timor Leste, IOTA OC-148, until August 5.  Activity is on 30 to 12 meters using mainly SSB with some CW and PSK31.  QSL via YB3MM.

August 1-6
Tanzania, 5H.  Flavio, IW2NEF is QRV as 5H1NE from Zanzibar Island, IOTA AF-032. Activity is holiday style on the HF bands using SSB.  QSL via IK2DUW.

August 1-17
Indiana State Fair-1400-2000 UTC, W9ISF, Indianapolis, IN. Indiana State Fair Amateur Radio Club. 28.400 14.245 7.240. QSL. Ken Bandy, 7405 E County Rd 900 N, Brownsburg, IN 46112. www.state.in.us/statefair/fair

August 1-31
Special callsign 8J5JAZZ celebrates Imabari (JCC 3802) Jazz Town on all bands and modes during the entire month of August 2014. Imabari is located in Ehime prefecture on the island of Shikoku (AS-076), Japan. QSL via Bureau is preferred. [JJ1WTL/AC6IM]

August 1-October 31
Look for 8N1AQ to be active on all bands and modes from August 1 to October 31, to celebrate the second Chiba Aqualine Marathon (Aqualine: The Trans-Tokyo Bay Highway), Chiba prefecture island of Honshu (AS-007, WLOTA 2376), Japan. QSL via the Bureau. [JJ1WTL/AC6IM]

August 2-3
Easter Island, CE0.  Manuel, CE2NTT and Cristian, CE2WTF will be QRV from Isla de Pascua, IOTA SA-001. They each may be QRV as XR0YNTT, 3G0YNTT, CB0YNTT, and, XR0YWTF, 3G0YWTF, CB0YWTF,
respectively.  Activity will be on 40, 20, 15, 10 and 6 meters using SSB, with some possible activity on various satellites.  QSL via operators' instructions.

August 2-3
World War 1 Centennial Observance, 1500Z-2000 UTC, WW1USA, Kansas City, MO. The World War 1 Museum Amateur Radio Club. 14.270 21.310 28.475. Certificate. The World War 1 Amateur Radio Club, 100 West 26th St, Kansas City, MO 64108. www1usa.org

August 2-8
National Lighthouse Week - Mount Dora Lighthouse - USA1407- Repeat Activation, 1300-2300 UTC, N4N, Mount Dora, FL. Area Amateurs. 40 20 15 10. QSL. Carol Scoglio, 31 Lake Wood Cir, Ocala, FL 34482. N4N - Repeat Special Event – Activating the Mount Dora Lake Lighthouse – USA-1407 during National Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend We had so much fun with the FEB 2014 event- that we decided to do a REPEAT SPECIAL EVENT during NATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE & LIGHTHOUSE WEEKEND - Aug 2014!!!! We will again activate the Mount Dora Lake Light located on Lake Dora at the entrance of the Port of Mount Dora in Mount Dora, Florida. We will operate from 1300 UTC Aug 2nd, 2014 to 2300 UTC Aug 4th, 2014 (9:00 am to 7:00 PM - local time) on Saturday August 2nd, 2014 and POSSIBLY again on Sunday August 3rd, 2014 or Thursday August 7th, 2014- National Lighthouse Day. We will operate CW, SSB phone & PSK31. QSL information is the same as noted below for the FEB 2014 lighthouse event on the qrz.com page for KA4WJR. 146970.com/lighthouse

August 2
River City Days, 1400-2000 UTC, W0R, Red Wing, MN. Hiawatha Valley Amateur Radio Club. 14.250 7.250 147.300. QSL. Bill Eichenlaub, 1966 Launa Ave, Red Wing, MN 55066.

August 2
224th US Coast Guard Birthday 0800-2200 UTC, K4US/K4CG, Alexandria, VA. Mt Vernon Amateur Radio Club. 14.240 7.235 7.036. QSL. MVARC, PO Box 7234 , Alexandria, VA 22307. mvarc.org

August 2
Coast Guard Day at USCG STA Port Canaveral FL 0800-2200 UTC, KC2UFO, Port Canaveral , FL. Skywatchers and Communicators and Indian River Amateur Radio Club. 14.265+-. Certificate. Online only, see URL for info on how to, Print PDF. Certificates available online only--no mail. www.qrz.com/db/kc2ufo

August 2-3
Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival, 1300-2000 UTC, VE3WCD, Port Colborne, ON. Niagara Peninsula Amateur Radio Club. 21.250 14.250 7.250. QSL. Niagara Peninsula Amateur Radio Club, PO Box 20036, Grantham Postal Outlet, St Catharines, ON L2M 7W7, CANADA. www.nparc.on.ca

August 2-4
Easter Island-XR0, (Update). Operators Cristian/CE2WTF and Manuel/CE2NTT will be active from Isla de Pascua (SA-001) starting 0000, August 2nd, ending 0000 UTC, z, August 4th. Manuel informs OPDX that their special callsigns could be one of the following:   CE2NTT - XR0YNTT / 3G0YNTT / CB0YNTT CE2WTF - XR0YWTF / 3G0YWTF / CB0YWTF . Activity will be on 40/20/15/10/6 meters using SSB. They will also use Echolink and Hamshere, and possibly QRP LEO satellites. Look for details and updates on: www.ce2ntt.blogspot.com

August 2-8
Christmas Island, VK9X. A group of operators will be QRV as VK9EX. Activity will be holiday style on 160 to 6 meters using CW, SSB, RTTY, FM and PSK31.  QSL via JF3PLF.

August 2-9
Indonesia, YB.  Imam, YB4IR will be QRV as YB4IR/5 from Tambelan Island, IOTA OC-122. Activity will be on 40 to 10 meters using CW, SSB and various digital modes.  QSL to home call.

August 2-9
Chillicothe Ross County Ohio Fair 1600-1800, W8BAP, Chillicothe, OH. Scioto Valley Amateur Radio Club. 28.455 14.280 7.250 3.860. Certificate. Don Barnhart, 31 Anna Marie Dr, Londonderry, OH 45647. Event is to help celebrate the centennial of ARRL and to publicly promote Amateur radio operations. Station to operate entire week UTC 1600 to 1800 hours. EDST. Noon to 2 PM.

August 3-4
US Coast Guard 224th Birthday, 1400-0400 UTC, K1CG, Port Angeles, WA. Coast Guard CW Operators Association and the Coast Guard Club. 21.327 21.052 14.327 14.052 7.227 7.052 3.827 3.552. QSL. See QRZ.COM/DB/K1CG for QSL info, Fred Goodwin, 424 N Bagley Ck Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362. K1CG will be operated by several different stations across the country starting on the east coast and moving west. CW-A K1CG QSL card will be sent to each contact. SSB-- Send your QSL card to KE7A. SASE appreciated. www.qrz.com/db/k1cg

August 3-13
Austria-OE2, (Special Event). Look for the special event station OE2WURZL14 [Boy Scout Club station of "Club TeleScout (CTS)] to be active from the international "Camp of the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of Salzburg (PPÖ)" operating from the Gasteiner Valley (JN67NE). QSL via the OE-Bureau. The station is also valid for the Austrian Radio Scouting Award! For more information, see the following URLs: www.qrz.com/db/oe2wurzl14  www.wurzl14.at

August 4-10
Indianapolis MotoGP Special Event, 2200-2200 UTC, W9IMS, Indianapolis, IN. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Amateur Radio Club. 21.350 14.245 7.240 3.840. Certificate & QSL. Indianapolis Motor Speedway ARC, PO Box 30954, Indianapolis, IN 46230. See website for all times, frequencies, and instructions for Certificate and custom QSL card. www.qrz.com/db/w9ims

August 5-15 September
To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference special event station VC3A will be active on all bands and modes. QSL via VE3JO. [IC]

August 7-17 Iowa State Fair, 1300-1500 UTC, W0ISF, Des Moines, IA. Madison county DX Club. 14.230 7.230. QSL. Mark Mease, 2989 Truro Rd, Truro, IA 50257. Will be operating for 11 days with no set schedule.Operating on fairgrounds.See you at the Fair!! mmease@netins.net

August 8-10
Scout AirFest, 2000-1600 UTC, K2BSA/9, Romeoville, IL. Rainbow Council Amateur Radio Club. 7.190 14.290 21.360 14.070. QSL. Brian McDaniel, 2508 Fox Meadow Dr, Crest Hill, IL 60403. With nearly 4,000 attending, AirFest is the largest Scout camporees in Northern Illinois this year. The Rainbow Council Amateur Radio Committee will operate 4 HF stations on Phone, CW, and PSK, introducing Scouts to one of the most interesting hobbies in the world. www.ScoutAirFest.org

August 8-21
South Cook Islands-Joel, K2QBV, plans activity as E51QBV from Avarua, on the northern side of Rarotonga Island (OC-013), South Cook Islands. This is not a true DXpedition but a vacation for Joel's wife and  himself while still enjoying amateur radio and visiting friends along the way. Equipment used on South Cook will be a Yaesu 756 Pro, Ameriton AL1200, Tennadyne T7 log or a KLM 4 element 20. The tower is at 70 ft. QSL via K2QBV, direct (Joel H Kornreich K2QBV, PO Box 240, Pomona, NY 10970-0240, USA) with a SASE or two dollars if you're overseas. [NG3K]

August 9
VJ Day/US Coast Guard Birthday Special Event, 1600-2300 UTC, NI6IW, San Diego, CA. USS Midway (CV-41) Museum. 14.320 7.250; PSK31 14.070; D-STAR REF001C. QSL. USS Midway Museum Radio Room, 910 North Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101.

August 10-11
Fair Winds Alternative Energy Ham Event, 0000-0000 UTC, W8BM, Berea, OH. Cuyahoga Amateur Radio Society. 7.250. Certificate & QSL. CARS, PO Box 31264, Independence, OH 44131. Operation using Solar and Wind Power at the Cuyahoga County Fair. Talk in 146.820 PL 110.9. Full details on times, frequencies and how to apply for custom QSL and Certificate at www.qrz.com/db/w8bm

August 11-21
Italy-I. Robert, DL7VOA, will be active as I5/DL7VOA from Tuscany, Italy. This will be a holiday style operation from Lama (WW Loc: JN53XP) mainly during the evening and night hours on 40-10 meters using a Elecraft K2 with 100 watts, Palm Radio Mini Paddle, and into Vertical dipoles (10-20m) and Lambda/4 Ground-planes on 30m/40m. QSL via DL7VOA, by the Bureau or direct.

August 13-16
Navajo Code Talkers Day Aug, 0000-0000 UTC, N7HG, Window Rock, AZ. Navajo Amateur Radio Club . 14.265 7.265. QSL. Herb Goodluck, PO Box 3611, Window Rock, AZ 86515. A group of American Native Indians who served in WWII as radio men.

August 14-17
King Island-OC-233. Tony, VK3VTH, will once again be active as VK3VTH/7. Activity will be on 40/20 meters using SSB. He will also be in the International Lighthouse/ Lightship Weekend, from Currie Lighthouse (AU-0016), August 16-17th. QSL via VK3VTH, direct or by the Bureau. Bureau cards will be sent for all QSOs immediately after the activation.

August 14-18
Avionics Marine Reunion, 1600-0100 UTC, W4M, Saint Helena Island, SC. KD8TTM. 28.350 24.950 21.325 14.325. Certificate. Bill Van Houten, 275 S Main St Apt B5, Britton, MI 49229. This is to celebrate the Avionics Marines of MCAS Beaufort and Cherry Point of the 80s and 90s reunion. Please send #10 self addressed stamped envelope.

August 15-18
South Dakota Statehood 125 Years and Yankton River Boat Days, 1500-0200 UTC, W0D, Yankton, SD. Prairie Dog Amateur Radio Club, W0OJY. 28.400 24.940 18.130 14.250. QSL. Prairie Dog Amatuer Radio Club, 30971 433 Ave, Yankton, SD 57078. From Yankton,SD, Dakota Territorial Capital pdarc.org

St Augustine Lighthouse, photo by Gayle Van Horn W4GVH
August 16
Point Reyes Lighthouse Activation, 1600-2359 UTC, N6P, Pt Reyes National Seashore, CA. Valley of the Moon Amateur Radio Club. 14.272 14.070 14.040 7.272. QSL. Ken McTaggart, 402 4th St E, Sonoma, CA 95476. In conjunction with ILLW weekend. QSLS with SASE in care of W6AJF or N6KM. 1600 to 2359 each day. vomarc.org

August 16-17
Southwest Reef Lighthouse, 1600-2200 UTC, W5BMC, Franklin, LA. Bayouland Emergency Amateur Radio Service - BEARS. 14.260 7.260; Echo Link 5070.0 IRLP 3670. QSL. Jackie Price, 708 Front St, Morgan City, LA 70380. This is the first time this lighthouse has been activated on the air. Station will be located on the bank of the Atchafalaya River in Berwick, LA.

August 16-17 Lighthouse Lightship Weekend, 1422-1420 UTC, W2GSB, West Babylon, NY. Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club. 14.300 7.200 3.800 satellite. QSL. Robert Myers, PO Box 1356, West Babylon, NY 11704. www.gsbarc.org

August 16-17
International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend, 0000-2359 UTC, K6A, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. 14.250. QSL. Thomas Budar, 1975 Jaybrook Dr, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. tbudar@earthlink.net

August 16-17
Gabo Island-(ILLW AU-0080) OC-196. Trevor, VK3ATX, will once again be active as VK3ATX/P. Activity will be on the HF bands. QSL via his home callsign direct. For more details and updates, see: http://vk3atx.net

August 16-18
International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend, 0000-0200 UTC, W6A, San Pedro, CA. US Coast Guard Coast Guard Auxiliary. 14.250. QSL. Roy Lay, 219 Beal Ave, Placentia, CA 92870.

August 22-23
D-Day Reenacment Conneaut, Ohio -- 70th Anniversary of Normandy Landing, 1300-1900 UT, W8BHZ, Conneaut, OH. Conneaut Amateur Radio Club. 14.240 7.240. QSL. CARC ARS W8BHZ, PO Box 661, Conneaut, OH 44030. The largest annual D-Day Reenactment in the US. The Conneaut Amateur Radio Club in conjunction with D-Day Ohio is operating a special event station during the weekend reenactment of the Normandy Landing. 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of this historical landing. Commemorative QSL cards will be printed for the event. It is now the largest annual event in the United States commemorating D-Day-June 6th 1944 . Please see visit www.ddayohio.us for on the reenactment event. www.qsl.net/w8bhz

August 22-24
Mexico-Jose, XE2L, and others will be active as 4C2L from the Baluarte Bicentennial Bridge, the highest cable-stayed bridge in the world. They will operate SSB and CW on 80, 40, 20, 17, 15, 12 and 10 metres SSB and CW. QSL via XE2L (direct). Website: www.qrz.com/db/4c2l [425 DX News]

August 23
National Park Service Birthday, 1500-2359 UTC, W7SVD, Hereford, AZ. Sierra Vista Contesting Club. SSB 7.185, 14.275, 21.285 & 28.350; CW 7.050, 14.050, 21.050 & 28.050; PSK-31 7.070, 14.070, 21.070 & 28.120. QSL. W7SVD, Sierra Vista Contesting Club, c/o Grant Hays, 3707 Elder Ct, Sierra Vista, AZ 85650. Commemorating the establishment of the National Park Service August 25, 1916. W7SVD operating portable high in the Huachuca Mountains of SE AZ . ghays@cis-broadband.com

August 23-24
"Damn The Torpedos!" - 150 years since the Battle of Mobile Bay, 1700-0200 UTC, K4T, Huntsville, AL. N/A. 18.140 14.250 7.200. QSL. Dennis Pesca, 11220 Suncrest Dr, Huntsville, AL 35803. www.qrz.com

August 26-September 2
Mariana Islands-KH0. Joe, OZ0J/5Q2T, will be active as KH0/OZ0J from Saipan's Island (OC-086, USi NI002S, WLOTA 1333) Rental Shack http://saipan.rental-shack.com/. Activity will be on all possible bands between 80-6 meters using CW, SSB and the Digital modes (RTTY or PSK). QSL via OZ0J, direct or by the Bureau. He requests to please use the OQRS on Clublog.org. For more details and updates, watch his web page at: www.oz0j.dk

August 29-31
Look for Jim, VE3DCX (FISTS #16447, NAQCC #6972), to be active using the special callsign VC3B. The station will be active during the 14th  annual Warrior's Day in Coe Hill. This is the largest display and parade of current and vintage military equipment in Ontario. Plan is to operate an old fashioned wireless telegraph station and make contacts on 80 and 40 metre CW. Also operating will be a copy of an old WW2 Paraset spy radio. Contacts will also be made on SSB. QSL via VE3DCX, direct or Bureau and LotW. Further info at: www.qrz.com/db/VC3B

August 29-September 1
CARA's 35th Annual Trek to the Ghost Town of Paradise, AZ, 1900-1900 UTC, K7RDG, Sierra Vista, AZ. Cochise Amateur Radio Association. 28.315 21.215 14.315 7.230. Certificate and QSL. Cochise ARA, PO Box 1855, Sierra Vista, AZ 85636. www.k7rdg.org

August 30-September 1
72 Rag Chew Labor Day Special Event, 1317-1317 UTC, K1R, Northfield, MA. 72 Rag Chew Group. 7.272. Certificate. Robert Lobenstein, WA2AXZ, 1936 East 36th St, Brooklyn, NY 11234. Join us Labor day weekend to help celebrate all the US Workers that make this Country the best in the world. k1lrb@arrl.com

August 31
Hollenberg Pony Express Festival /154th Anniversary of the Pony Express, 1430-2100 UTC, K0ASA, Hanover, KS. Crown Amateur Radio Association. 18.085 14.245 14.045 7.045. Certificate & QSL. Crown Amateur Radio Association, 11551 W 176th Ter, Olathe, KS 66062. www.arrlmidwest.org/ponyexpress.html

LVH QSL of Chausey Island

IOTA/ Islands on the Air

Pacific Tour
"The Daily DX" reports that operators Stan/AC8W, David/KC8CO, Charles/KN8R and Lee/N8LJ will activate two DXCC entities in the Pacific starting late next month. Their tentative schedule is as follows: August 16-24th - from Tonga, callsigns announced are A35AC, A35CO, A35LT and A35TR, respectively, from the Island of Tongatapu (OC-049).

August 1-3
Vir Island (CI-141) EU-170.  Karoly, HA9MDN, will be active as 9A/HA9MDN. Activity will be on SSB, RTTY, PSK and SSTV. QSL via his home callsign by the Bureau or eQSL.

August 10-15
Mariana Islands (NH0) Operators Yutaka/JQ2GYU/WS2Y and his wife Miho/ JJ2VLY/WS2M will once again be active as NH0J from Tinian Island (OC-086), Northern Mariana Islands. The special commemorative Tinian station of the "J-Tinian Radio Space Club. Activity will be on 80-10 meters including the 30/17/12 meter bands, using CW, SSB and RTTY. Miho will focus on RTTY. QSL via JJ2VLY, direct (SAE + 2 USDs) or by the JARL Bureau. Please don't send your QSL request to Tinian Island. Also, QSL via LoTW.For more details and updates, see: http://jq2gyu.blogspot.jp

August 26-September 2
Mariana Islands (KHO) (Update). Joe, OZ0J/5Q2T, will be active as KH0/OZ0J from Saipan's Island (OC-086, USi NI002S, WLOTA 1333) Rental Shack http://saipan.rental-shack.com/. Activity will be on all possible bands between 80-6 meters using CW, SSB and the Digital modes (RTTY or PSK). All QSOs will be uploaded to ClubLog www.clublog.org once a day depending on the Internet connection. He requests to please use the OQRS on Clublog.org. QSL via OZ0J, direct or by the Bureau. For more details and updates, watch his Web page at:  http://www.oz0j.dk
(OPDX 1165/1168/1171)

August 1-3
21/07/2014:  Look for Jim, MM0BQI, to be active as MA0BQI (Homecoming Scotland special call) from Tanera Mor (IOSA SC10, SCOTIA CN32), Summer Isles (EU-092). Activity will be holiday style on the HF bands. Jim will also participate in the RSGB IOTA Contest using the callsign GA1J (another Homecoming Scotland special callsign). QSL both MA0BQI and GA1J via MM0BQI, direct or Bureau. [rsgbiota.org]

August 1-4
Look for Donald, KB6QEW, to be active from the Prince Edward Island DX Lodge (VY2TT), (NA-029, CIsA PE-001, WLOTA 0523, WW Loc. FN76VS), as KB6QEW/VY2 QRV holiday style on all HF bands, including an entry in the North American CW QSO Party (2-4 August). For QSL please send SASE for stateside. $2.00 or IRC for foreign. Bureau Direct QSL address is 7585 El Paso St., La Mesa, CA 91942 USA, [VY2TT]

August 1-8
Rotuma-3D2/R, Antoine, 3D2AG, will once again be active as 3D2AG/p from Rotuma (OC-060). Activity will be 40-6 meters using CW and SSB. This will be a one-man operation while also working on climate change projects, so he will not always be on the air. He will also be using solar power during the whole operation and running barefoot at 100 watts. He still states, "Now looking for spare parts for my 14-years-old ICOM 706-MKII, which is faulty (no TX). If anyone can help please contact me, so that I can be operational on 6m from Rotuma. Thanks in advance." His E-mail address is on QRZ.com. He also mentions, "QSL direct only to the Fiji address. Please include at least two green stamps [very well concealed, with foil or between QSLs] or one IRC with AIRMAIL SAE for first class return postage. NO CALLS ON ENVELOPE PLEASE. We have LOTS of mail theft in Fiji. After intense lobbying by 3D2AG, IRCs are now exchangeable at the normal UPU rate in Fiji. Please don't forget to put an airmail label on your return envelope, and write your country name clearly."

August 1-16
Nauru-Yuki, JH1NBN, will again be active from Nauru (IOTA OC-031) as C21BN. QRV on 80-6 metre SSB. QSL via home call. [DX-World]  Activity will be on 80-6 meters SSB using simple antennas with 100 watts. QSL via his home callsign. For more details and updates, visit his Web page at: www.1nbn.net

August 2-9
Tambeland Island OC-122.  Imam, YB4IR, will be active as YB4IR/5 from Tambelan Island. Activity will be on CW and SSB. QSL via his home call sign, direct, by the Bureau, LoTW or ClubLog's OQRS.

August 2-17
Balkan Tour. Operators Mek/SP7VC and YL Katarzyna/SQ7OYL have announced their next DXpedition will be to the Balkan area between. They state that they will "visit some Balkan countries: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia. As usual you can expect our activity from each country on many bands..." No other details were provided, but stay tuned! For details and updates, see: www.sp7vc.dxing.pl

August 14-20
Rathlin island-Grantham Amateur Radio Club (G6SSN) members Alan G0RCI, Kevin G6SSN, Harry G7DEH, Pete M0USY and Arthur M0GUU will be active as GN0GRC from Rathlin Island (EU-122, WLOTA 0039), Northern Ireland. QRV on all bands and modes, on or near the usual island and IOTA frequencies. They also plan to activate East, West and South lighthouses during the week. QSL via the Bureau OR direct with SAE and $2.00 to G0RCI. Website: www.garc.org.uk/ [rsgbiota.org]

August 20-September 2
Prince Edward Island-Look for special event station XO2C to be active on all bands and modes, operated by Robert, VY2XDX, from Prince Edward Island (NA-029, CIsA PE-001, WLOTA 0523). Activity is to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference. QSL via VE3RHE, direct and LotW, or Bureau. [IC]

August 31-September 12
Denmark-Bornholm Island EU-030.  Operators Zdeno/OK1OM (also OK1DDR, former Y29AL) and Renata/OK1GB (also OK1FYL, former Y29YL and 3V8BB) will be active as OZ/OK1DDR (MBR of DIG 2432, AGCW 1432 IPA) and OZ/OK1FYL (MBR OKDX Foundation - 005), respectively, from Bornholm Island (WWFF Hammeren [OZFF-030], WW Loc. JO75JG) They will also try to reactivate the Lighthouse (WLOTA 2203). Activity will be on 80-10 meters (IOTA & WWFF frequencies) using mainly CW. QSL via their home callsigns.
(ARRL/ARLD/OPDX 1171,1172,1174)

'To Be Where the Audience Is' - Report of the BBG on Future of Shortwave Broadcasting [Shortwave Central]

Report of the BBG Special Committee on the Future of Shortwave Broadcasting

WASHINGTON (August 1, 2014) -- The Broadcasting Board of Governors today released "To Be Where the Audience Is," a report that found shortwave radio to be essential to listeners in target countries, but of marginal impact in most markets. The report's recommendations came after a comprehensive review, grounded in audience-based research, of the efficacy of shortwave as a distribution platform for U.S. international media.

"Shortwave radio continues to be an important means for large numbers of people in some countries to receive news and information," said Matt Armstrong, who chaired the BBG's Special Committee on the Future of Shortwave Broadcasting, which issued the report. "However, many of our networks' target audiences have moved to newer platforms including TV, FM and digital media. This report maps a way forward for U.S. international media to remain accessible for all our audiences."

Research-based evidence of media trends suggests that the increased availability and affordability of television, mobile devices and Internet access has led to the declining use of shortwave around the world. Still, the report finds that substantial audiences embrace shortwave in Nigeria, Burma, North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Cuba and other target markets for the BBG.

At the same time, the committee's recommendations make clear that the BBG will need to continue to reduce or eliminate shortwave broadcasts where there is either minimal audience or that audience is not a U.S. foreign policy priority. It also ratifies reductions that were made in redundant signals in 2013 and further cuts in transmissions that were made in 2014.

Even with these recent reductions, the BBG makes programs in 35 of its 61 broadcast languages available on shortwave where there is a strategic reason to do so.

The report notes there is no evidence that shortwave usage increases during crises. At such times, audiences continue to use their preferred platforms or seek out anti-censorship tools to help them navigate to the news online, including firewall circumvention tools or offline media including thumb drives and DVDs.

The Shortwave Committee report will be discussed at the August 13 public meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors

(BBG/Lynne Weil)

Adventist World Radio - Annual DX Contest [Shortwave Central]

Dear Shortwave Radio Listener,
            Adventist World Radio is issuing a special invitation to shortwave listeners around the world to participate in the 2014 Annual DX Contest in association with the DX program Wavescan.  Shortwave listeners, international radio monitors and DXers around the world are invited to search their collection of QSL cards and letters for rare, unusual and unique verifications.  You are invited to make up a list (up to 5 in number) of your QSLs in this collective category, and to write a short paragraph about each.  Partial entries for this years contest are considered to be valid. 
            At the conclusion of the contest, we at Wavescan are planning to write up and publish a detailed compilation of interesting information on a world wide basis about the rare, unusual and unique QSLs that come to light in this way.  This will be the first occasion in the history of international radio broadcasting for the compilation of such a QSL list, and you all are invited to submit entries.
            Full details of this remarkable contest are given below.
Dr. Adrian Peterson
DX Host

Adventist World Radio

Adventist World Radio  - - - -  Annual DX Contest 2014  

Rare, Unusual, Unique QSLs  -  AWR Focus on Asia Annual DX Contest

 As Adventist World Radio enters into its 43rdyear of international radio broadcasting, we take pleasure in announcing our annual Wavescan DX contest, which comes to you under the title, Rare, Unusual, Unique QSLs.  In short, you are invited to check your collection of QSL cards and letters for rare, unusual and unique QSLs from shortwave, mediumwave and communication stations throughout the world.  You are also invited to log AWR programming to Asia on shortwave, mediumwave or FM during the month of September 2014. 
 Here are the details of our 2014 Rare, Unusual, Unique QSLs  -  AWR Focus on Asia Annual DX Contest:-

A. Rare, Unique and Unusual QSL Cards and Letters
* You are invited to make a list of what you consider to be your rare, unique or unusual QSL  cards        or letters in your QSL collection.  Perhaps no one else in the world has a QSL                        verifying some transmissions that you have verified.
* Your list of QSLs can show any number of different rare, unique or unusual QSLs up to a total             of 5 QSLs.
* Your QSLs may verify a wrong transmission channel or an emergency broadcast due to                      flood, fire, earthquake, turmoil etc, or a transmission from an emergency transmitter, or                    test broadcasts or first broadcast or last broadcast, unusual propagation, etc. 
 * These QSLs can be from any shortwave broadcasting station or shortwave communication                 station or mediumwave station located in any country anywhere in the world.  Amateur                    QSLs nor CB QSLs are not valid for this contest. 
* You are invited to provide a photocopy of each of the QSLs that are on your list in Part A.                      Preferably, these photocopies should be in color, though black & white copies may be                         acceptable.

B. Details of Rare, Unique and Unusual QSL Cards and Letters
* Please state very briefly, no more than one paragraph for each, why you consider each item in           your list of QSLs is rare, unique or unusual.
C. AWR Reception Reports
* You are invited to prepare three reception reports for the broadcast on shortwave                                 medium wave or FM of any AWR Asian programming.  These broadcasts from Adventist                     World Radio may be from shortwave, medium wave or FM stations located anywhere in                       Asia or on nearby Asian islands; or AWR programming beamed into Asia on shortwave                  from other countries.
* It is not necessary to send an off-air recording of your reception.  We just need your honest                   reception report on paper.

D. Adventist Photograph
* You are invited to visit a unit of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in your country and                 take a photograph of it, preferably in color, though B&W can be acceptable, and submit               one picture with your contest entry.
* The Adventist unit may be, for example a:-
SW MW FM communication or amateur radio station, radio studio, TV station, TV studio Church building, church congregation, public meeting, or church event
Administrative office or building
University, high school, academy, elementary school, language school, kindergarten or day    care, etc
Hospital, medical clinic, dental clinic, orphanage, nursing home, retirement center, etc
Food factory, printing company, publishing house, etc, book shop, health food shop, restaurant, etc
ADRA mobile emergency relief van, boat, airplane, office or project, etc   
 E. Three Radio Cards
* Where possible, you are invited to include three radio cards for the Indianapolis Heritage                       Collection with your contest entry.  These cards may be old or new, and they may be                       QSL cards, reception report cards, or picture cards of radio stations, etc.  Not valid for this               contest are amateur cards nor CB cards.
 Other Contest Details
* Well, there you have it, the details for our Wavescan 2014 “Rare, Unusual, Unique QSLs”  -                   AWR “Focus on Asia” Annual DX Contest.
* This contest will run through the month of September 2014, and all contest entries should be                  postmarked at your local post office anywhere in the world on any date up to the end of               the month of September and they should be received at the AWR post office address in                    Indianapolis no later than the end of the month of October 2014.
* Partial and incomplete entries are considered valid.
* Post your entry with all items to Adventist World Radio in Indianapolis, remembering that                        neatness and preparation, will all feature in the judging procedure.  Due consideration                       will also be given to the area of the world in which the contestant lives.
* Where possible, please enclose return postage in the form of currency notes in any                                international currency, or mint postage stamps.  Please note that IRC coupons are too                  expensive for you to buy, and they are no longer valid in the United States. 
* Please enclose your postal address label also.
* The awards for the 2014 AWR “Rare, Unusual, Unique QSLs”  -  AWR “Focus on Asia” Annual             DX Contest will be similar to all previous contests.  There will be a special award for the                        world winner, one of the Jerome Berg radio history books; and World Radio TV                                 Handbook 2015 for each continental winner.  In addition, there will be other special                       awards as well as AWR souvenirs and radio curios for many participants. 
*  You can remember that all AWR reception reports will be verified with a specially endorsed                  AWR QSL card.  Please remember that it will take a period of many months, well into the    new year 2015, to process all of the contest entries and reception reports,  but each will  in due course be processed. 
* The only address for the “Rare, Unusual, Unique QSLs”  -  AWR “Focus on Asia” Annual DX                 Contest is:-
                        QSL DX Contest
                        Adventist World Radio
                        Box 29235
                        Indiana 46229 USA

AWR QSL Policy [Shortwave Central]

Adventist World Radio - Regular QSL Policy

            Adventist World Radio welcomes reception reports from listeners in all countries.  Please note the following items of information:-
* Each reception report should contain the following items of information
  Time, preferably expressed in International Radio Time, equivalent to UTC
                        Frequency in kHz
                        Sufficient program details to verify that you actually heard the AWR programming
                        Reports using SINPO Code preferred
* Reception reports by postal mail are preferred, though email is also acceptable.
* Where possible, please enclose return postage in the form of currency notes in any                                international currency, or mint postage stamps. 
* Please note that IRC coupons are too expensive for you to buy, and they are no longer valid in the United States. 
* Where possible, please enclose your address label.
* You will receive a full data QSL card, including location, through the postal system in response to your reception report.
* Several different QSL cards are available.
* The envelope will be affixed with regular postage stamps, not a postage label.
* AWR does not send out email QSLs.
* It is not necessary for you to send and resend the same reception report.  All reception reports that we receive are verified with a regular full data QSL card.
* It is not necessary to send an off-air recording of your reception.  We just need your honest                   reception report on paper.
* At times, there may be a delay before you receive your AWR QSL card.  This is due to the                    large inflow of reception reports we receive from listeners in so many different countries.
* The regular postal address for reception reports is:-
                        Adventist World Radio
                        Box 29235

                        Indiana 46229 USA

Raphaël Hertzog: My Free Software Activities in July 2014 [Planet Debian]

This is my monthly summary of my free software related activities. If you’re among the people who made a donation to support my work (548.59 €, thanks everybody!), then you can learn how I spent your money. Otherwise it’s just an interesting status update on my various projects.

Distro Tracker

Now that tracker.debian.org is live, people reported bugs (on the new tracker.debian.org pseudo-package that I requested) faster than I could fix them. Still I spent many, many hours on this project, reviewing submitted patches (thanks to Christophe Siraut, Joseph Herlant, Dimitri John Ledkov, Vincent Bernat, James McCoy, Andrew Starr-Bochicchio who all submitted some patches!), fixing bugs, making sure the code works with Django 1.7, and started the same with Python 3.

I added a tox.ini so that I can easily run the test suite in all 4 supported environments (created by tox as virtualenv with the combinations of Django 1.6/1.7 and Python 2.7/3.4).

Over the month, the git repository has seen 73 commits, we fixed 16 bugs and other issues that were only reported over IRC in #debian-qa. With the help of Enrico Zini and Martin Zobel, we enabled the possibility to login via sso.debian.org (Debian’s official SSO) so that Debian developers don’t even have to explicitly create their account.

As usual more help is needed and I’ll gladly answer your questions and review your patches.

Misc packaging work

Publican. I pushed a new upstream release of publican and dropped a useless build-dependency that was plagued by a difficult to fix RC bug (#749357 for the curious, I tried to investigate but it needs major work for make 4.x compatibility).

GNOME 3.12. With gnome-shell 3.12 hitting unstable, I had to update gnome-shell-timer (and filed an upstream ticket at the same time), a GNOME Shell extension to start some run-down counters.

Django 1.7. I packaged python-django 1.7 release candidate 1 in experimental (found a small bug, submitted a ticket with a patch that got quickly merged) and filed 85 bugs against all the reverse dependencies to ask their maintainers to test their package with Django 1.7 (that we want to upload before the freeze obviously). We identified a pain point in upgrade for packages using South and tried to discuss it with upstream, but after closer investigation, none of the packages are really affected. But the problem can hit administrators of non-packaged Django applications.

Misc stuff. I filed a few bugs (#754282 against git-import-orig –uscan, #756319 against wnpp to see if someone would be willing to package loomio), reviewed an updated package for django-ratelimit in #755611, made a non-maintainer upload of mairix (without prior notice) to update the package to a new upstream release and bring it to modern packaging norms (Mako failed to make an upload in 4 years so I just went ahead and did what I would have done if it were mine).

Kali work resulting in Debian contributions

Kali wants to switch from being based on stable to being based on testing so I did try to setup britney to manage a new kali-rolling repository and encountered some problems that I reported to debian-release. Niels Thykier has been very helpful and even managed to improve britney thanks to the very specific problem that the kali setup triggered.

Since we use reprepro, I did write some Python wrapper to transform the HeidiResult file in a set of reprepro commands but at the same time I filed #756399 to request proper support of heidi files in reprepro. While analyzing britney’s excuses file, I also noticed that the Kali mirrors contains many source packages that are useless because they only concern architectures that we don’t host (and I filed #756523 filed against reprepro). While trying to build a live image of kali-rolling, I noticed that libdb5.1 and db5.1-util were still marked as priority standard when in fact Debian already switched to db5.3 and thus should only be optional (I filed #756623 against ftp.debian.org).

When doing some upgrade tests from kali (wheezy based) to kali-rolling (jessie based) I noticed some problems that were also affecting Debian Jessie. I filed #756629 against libfile-fcntllock-perl (with a patch), and also #756618 against texlive-base (missing Replaces header). I also pinged Colin Watson on #734946 because I got a spurious base-passwd prompt during upgrade (that was triggered because schroot copied my unstable’s /etc/passwd file in the kali chroot and the package noticed a difference on the shell of all system users).


See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

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Ian Donnelly: How-To: Write a Plug-In (Part 1, The Basics) [Planet Debian]

Hi Everybody!

For the first part of my Plug-In tutorial, I am going to cover the basic overview of an elektra plug-in. This post just explains the basic format and functions of an Elektra plug-in, specifically a storage plug-in (this will be the focus of my tutorial).

All plug-ins use the same basic interface. This interface consists of five basic functions, elektraPluginOpen, elektraPluginGet, elektraPluginSet, elektraPluginError, and elektraPluginClose. The developer replaces ‘Plugin’ with the name of their plugin. So in the case of my plugin, the names of these functions would be elektraLineOpen(), elektraLineGet(), elektraLineSet(), elektraLineError(), and elektraLineClose(). Additionally, there is one more function called ELEKTRA_PLUGIN_EXPORT(plugin), where once again ‘Plugin” should be replaced with the name of the plug-in, this time in lower-case. So for my line plugin this function would be ELEKTRA_PLUGIN_EXPORT(line).

The KDB relies on the first five functions for interacting with configuration files stored in the key database.  Calls for kdbGet() and kdbClose() will call the functions elektraPluginGet() and elektraPluginClose() respectively for the plugin that was used to mount the configuration data. kdbSet() calls elektraPluginSet() but also elektraPluginError() when an error occurs. elektraPluginOpen() is called before the first call to elektraPluginGet() or elektraPluginSet(). These functions serve different purposes that allow the plug-in to work:

  • elektraPluginOpen() is designed to allow each plug-in to do initialization if necessary.
  • elektraPluginGet() is designed to turn information from a configuration file into a usable KeySet, this is technically the only function that is REQUIRED in a plug-in.
  • elektraPluginSet() is designed to store the information from the keyset back into a configuration file.
  • elektraPluginError() is designed to allow proper rollback of operations if needed and is called if any plugin fails during the set operation. This allows exception-safety.
  • elektraPluginClose() is used to free resources that might be required for the plug-in.
  • ELEKTRA_PLUGIN_EXPORT(Plugin) simply lets Elektra know that the plug-in exists and what the name of the above functions are.

Most simply put: most plug-ins consist of five major functions, elektraPluginOpen(), elektraPluginClose(), elektraPluginGet(), elektraPluginSet(), and ELEKTRA_EXPORT_PLUGIN(Plugin).

Because remembering all these functions can be cumbersome, we provide a skeleton plugin in order to easily create a new plugin. The skeleton plugin is called “template” and a new plugin can be created by calling the copy-template script. For example for my plugin I called

../../scripts/copy-template line

from within the plugins directory. Afterwards two important things are left to be done:

  1. remove all functions (and their exports) from the plugin that are not needed. For example not every plugin actually makes use of the elektraPluginOpen() function.
  2. provide a basic contract as described above

After these two steps your plugin is ready to be compiled, installed and mounted for the first time. Have a look at the mount tutorial for details on howto do this.

So Part 1 of the tutorial covers the implementation details for a plug-in. Next up will be Part 2, which will cover the theory behind contracts in Elektra as well as how to implement them.

Ian S. Donnelly

Russell Coker: More BTRFS Fun [Planet Debian]

I wrote a BTRFS status report yesterday commenting on the uneventful use of BTRFS recently [1].

Early this morning the server that stores my email (which had 93 days uptime) had a filesystem related problem. The root filesystem became read-only and then the kernel message log filled with unrelated messages so there was no record of the problem. I’m now considering setting up rsyslogd to log the kernel messages to a tmpfs filesystem to cover such problems in future. As RAM is so cheap it wouldn’t matter if a few megs of RAM were wasted by that in normal operation if it allowed me to extract useful data when something goes really wrong. It’s really annoying to have a system in a state where I can login as root but not find out what went wrong.

After that I tried 2 kernels in the 3.14 series, both of which had kernel BUG assertions related to Xen networking and failed to network correctly, I filed Debian Bug #756714. Fortunately they at least had enough uptime for me to run a filesystem scrub which reported no errors.

Then I reverted to kernel 3.13.10 but the reboot to apply that kernel change failed. Systemd was unable to umount the root filesystem (maybe because of a problem with Xen) and then hung the system instead of rebooting, I filed Debian Bug #756725. I believe that if asked to reboot a system there is no benefit in hanging the system with no user space processes accessible. Here are some useful things that systemd could have done:

  1. Just reboot without umounting (like “reboot -nf” does).
  2. Pause for some reasonable amount of time to give the sysadmin a possibility of seeing the error and then rebooting.
  3. Go back to a regular runlevel, starting daemons like sshd.
  4. Offer a login prompt to allow the sysadmin to login as root and diagnose the problem.

Options 1, 2, and 3 would have saved me a bit of driving. Option 4 would have allowed me to at least diagnose the problem (which might be worth the drive).

Having a system on the other side of the city which has no remote console access just hang after a reboot command is not useful, it would be near the top of the list of things I don’t want to happen in that situation. The best thing I can say about systemd’s operation in this regard is that it didn’t make the server catch fire.

Now all I really know is that 3.14 kernels won’t work for my server, 3.13 will cause problems that no-one can diagnose due to lack of data, and I’m now going to wait for it to fail again. As an aside the server has ECC RAM and it’s hardware is known to be good, so I’m sure that BTRFS is at fault.

Juliana Louback: Extending an xTuple Business Object [Planet Debian]

xTuple is in my opinion incredibly well designed; the code is clean and the architecture ahderent to a standardized structure. All this makes working with xTuple software quite a breeze.

I wanted to integrate JSCommunicator into the web-based xTuple version. JSCommunicator is a SIP communication tool, so my first step was to create an extension for the SIP account data. Luckily for me, the xTuple development team published an awesome tutorial for writing an xTuple extension.

xTuple cleverly uses model based business objects for the various features available. This makes customizing xTuple very straightforward. I used the tutorial mentioned above for writing my extension, but soon noticed my goals were a little different. A SIP account has 3 data fields, these being the SIP URI, the account password and an optional display name. xTuple currently has a business object in the core code for a User Account and it would make a lot more sense to simply add my 3 fields to this existing business object rather than create another business object. The tutorial very clearly shows how to extend a business object with another business object, but not how to extend a business object with only new fields (not a whole new object).

Now maybe I’m just a whole lot slower than most people, but I had a ridiculously had time figuring this out. Mind you, this is because I’m slow, because the xTuple documentation and code is understandable and as self-explanatory as it gets. I think it just takes a bit to get used to. Either way, I thought this just might be useful to others so here is how I went about it.


First you’ll have to set up your xTuple development environment and fork the xtuple and xtuple-extesions repositories as shown in this handy tutorial. A footnote I’d like to add is please verify that your version of Vagrant (and anything else you install) is the one listed in the tutorial. I think I spent like two entire days or more on a wild goose (bug) chase trying to set up my environment when the cause of all the errors was that I somehow installed an older version of Vagrant - 1.5.4 instead of 1.6.3. Please don’t make the same mistake I did. Actually if for some reason you get the following error when you try using node:

<<ERROR 2014-07-10T23:52:46.948Z>> Unrecoverable exception. Cannot call method 'extend' of undefined

    at /home/vagrant/dev/xtuple/lib/backbone-x/source/model.js:37:39

    at Object.<anonymous> (/home/vagrant/dev/xtuple/lib/backbone-x/source/model.js:1364:3)

chances are, you have the wrong version. That’s what happened to me. The Vagrant Virtual Development Environment automatically installs and configures everything you need, it’s ready to go. So if you find yourself installing and updating and apt-gets and etc, you probably did something wrong.


So by now we should have the Vagrant Virtual Development Environment set up and the web app up and running and accessible at localhost:8443. So far so good.

Disclaimer: You will note that much of this is similar - or rather, nearly identical - to xTuple’s tutorial but there are some small but important differences and a few observations I think might be useful. Other Disclaimer: I’m describing how I did it, which may or may not be ‘up to snuff’. Works for me though.


First let’s make a schema for the table we will create with the new custom fields. Be sure to create the correct directory stucture, aka /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/<YOUR EXTENSION NAME>/database/source or in my case /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/database/source, and create the file create_sa_schema.sql, ‘sa’ is the name of my schema. This file will contain the following lines:

do $$
  /* Only create the schema if it hasn't been created already */
  var res, sql = "select schema_name from information_schema.schemata where schema_name = 'sa'",
  res = plv8.execute(sql);
  if (!res.length) {
    sql = "create schema sa; grant all on schema sa to group xtrole;"
$$ language plv8;

Of course, feel free to replace ‘sa’ with your schema name of choice. All the code described here can be found in my xtuple-extensions fork, on the sip_ext branch.


We’ll create a table containing your custom fields and a link to an existing table - the table for the existing business object you want to extend. If you’re wondering why make a whole new table for a few extra fields, here’s a good explanation, the case in question is adding fields to the Contact business object.

You need to first figure out what table you want to link to. This might not be uber easy. I think the best way to go about it is to look at the ORMs. The xTuple ORMs are a JSON mapping between the SQL tables and the object-oriented world above the database, they’re .json files found at path/to/xtuple/node_modules/xtuple/enyo-client/database/orm/models for the core business objects and at path/to/xtuplenyo-client/extensions/source/<EXTENSION NAME>/database/orm/models for exension business objects. I’ll give two examples. If you look at contact.json you will see that the Contact business object refers to the table “cntct”. Look for the “type”: “Contact” on the line above, so we know it’s the “Contact” business object. In my case, I wanted to extend the UserAccount and UserAccountRelation business objects, so check out user_account.json. The table listed for UserAccount is xt.usrinfo and the table listed for UserAccountRelation is xt.usrlite. A closer look at the sql files for these tables (usrinfo.sql and usrlite.sql) revealed that usrinfo is in fact a view and usrlite is ‘A light weight table of user information used to avoid punishingly heavy queries on the public usr view’. I chose to refer to xt.usrlite - that or I received error messages when trying the other table names.

Now I’ll make the file /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/database/source/usrlitesip.sql, to create a table with my custom fields plus the link to the urslite table. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m under the impression that this is the norm for naming the sql file joining tables: the name of the table you are referring to (‘usrlite’ in this case) and your extension’s name. Content of usrlitesip.sql:

select xt.create_table('usrlitesip', 'sa');

select xt.add_column('usrlitesip','usrlitesip_id', 'serial', 'primary key', 'sa');
select xt.add_column('usrlitesip','usrlitesip_usr_username', 'text', 'references xt.usrlite (usr_username)', 'sa');
select xt.add_column('usrlitesip','usrlitesip_uri', 'text', '', 'sa');
select xt.add_column('usrlitesip','usrlitesip_name', 'text', '', 'sa');
select xt.add_column('usrlitesip','usrlitesip_password', 'text', '', 'sa');

comment on table sa.usrlitesip is 'Joins User with SIP account';

Breaking it down, line 1 creates the table named ‘usrlitesip’ (no duh), line 2 is for the primary key (self-explanatory). You can then add any columns you like, just be sure to add one that references the table you want to link to. I checked usrlite.sql and saw the primary key is usr_username, be sure to use the primary key of the table you are referencing.

You can check what you made by executing the .sql files like so:

$ cd /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/database/source
$ psql -U admin -d dev -f create_sa_schema.sql
$ psql -U admin -d dev -f usrlitesip.sql

After which you will see the table with the columns you created if you enter:

$ psql -U admin -d dev -c "select * from sa.usrlitesip;"

Now create the file /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/database/source/manifest.js to put the files together and in the right order. It should contain:

  "name": "sip_account",
  "version": "1.4.1",
  "comment": "Sip Account extension",
  "loadOrder": 999,
  "dependencies": ["crm"],
  "databaseScripts": [

I think the “name” has to be the same you named your extension directory as in /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/<YOUR EXTENSION NAME>. I think the “comment” can be anything you like and you want your “loadOrder” to be high so it’s the last thing installed (as it’s an add on.) So far we are doing exactly what’s instructed in the xTuple tutorial. It’s repetitive, but I think you can never have too many examples to compare to. In “databaseScripts” you will list the two .sql files you just created for the schema and the table, plus another file to be made in the same directory named register.sql.

I’m not sure why you have to make the register.sql or even if you indeed have to. If you leave the file empty, there will be a build error, so put a ‘;’ in the register.sql or remove the line “register.sql” from manifest.js as I think for now we are good without it.

Now let’s update the database with our new extension:

$ cd /path/to/xtuple
$ ./scripts/build_app.js -d dev -e ../xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account
$ psql -U admin -d dev -c "select * from xt.ext;"

That last command should display a table with a list of extensions; the ones already in xtuple like ‘crm’ and ‘billing’ and some others plus your new extension, in this case ‘sip_account’. When you run build_app.js you’ll probably see a message along the lines of “<Extension name> has no client code, not building client code” and that’s fine because yeah, we haven’t worked on the client code yet.


Here’s where things start getting different. So ORMs link your object to an SQL table. But we DON’T want to make a new business object, we want to extend an existing business object, so the ORM we will make will be a little different than the xTuple tutorial. Steve Hackbarth kindly explained this new business object/existing business object ORM concept here.

First we’ll create the directory /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/database/orm/ext, according to xTuple convention. ORMs for new business objects would be put in /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/database/orm/models. Now we’ll create the .json file /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/database/orm/ext/user_account.jscon for our ORM. Once again, don’t quote me on this, but I think the name of the file should be the name of the business object you are extending, as is done in the turorial example extending the Contact object. In our case, UserAccount is defined in user_account.json and that’s what I named my extension ORM too. Here’s what you should place in it:

 1 [
 2   {
 3     "context": "sip_account",
 4     "nameSpace": "XM",
 5     "type": "UserAccount",
 6     "table": "sa.usrlitesip",
 7     "isExtension": true,
 8     "isChild": false,
 9     "comment": "Extended by Sip",
10     "relations": [
11       {
12         "column": "usrlitesip_usr_username",
13         "inverse": "username"
14       }
15     ],
16     "properties": [
17       {
18         "name": "uri",
19         "attr": {
20           "type": "String",
21           "column": "usrlitesip_uri",
22           "isNaturalKey": true
23         }
24       },
25       {
26         "name": "displayName",
27         "attr": {
28           "type": "String",
29           "column": "usrlitesip_name"
30         }
31       },
32       {
33         "name": "sipPassword",
34         "attr": {
35           "type": "String",
36           "column": "usrlitesip_password"
37         }
38       }
39     ],
40     "isSystem": true
41   },
42   {
43     "context": "sip_account",
44     "nameSpace": "XM",
45     "type": "UserAccountRelation",
46     "table": "sa.usrlitesip",
47     "isExtension": true,
48     "isChild": false,
49     "comment": "Extended by Sip",
50     "relations": [
51       {
52         "column": "usrlitesip_usr_username",
53         "inverse": "username"
54       }
55     ],
56     "properties": [
57       {
58         "name": "uri",
59         "attr": {
60           "type": "String",
61           "column": "usrlitesip_uri",
62           "isNaturalKey": true
63         }
64       },
65       {
66         "name": "displayName",
67         "attr": {
68           "type": "String",
69           "column": "usrlitesip_name"
70         }
71       },
72       {
73         "name": "sipPassword",
74         "attr": {
75           "type": "String",
76           "column": "usrlitesip_password"
77         }
78       }
79     ],
80     "isSystem": true
81   }
82 ]

Note the “context” is my extension name, because the context + nameSpace + type combo has to be unique. We already have a UserAccount and UserAccountRelation object in the “XM” namespace in the “xtuple” context in the original user_account.json, now we will have a UserAccount and UserAccountRelation object in the “XM” namespace in the “sip_account” conext. What else is important? Note that “isExtension” is true on lines 7 and 47 and the “relations” item contains the “column” of the foreign key we referenced.

This is something you might want to verify: “column” (lines 12 and 52) is the name of the attribute on your table. When we made a reference to the primary key usr_usrname from the xt.usrlite table we named that column usrlitesip_usr_usrname. But the “inverse” is the attribute name associated with the original sql column in the original ORM. Did I lose you? I had a lot of trouble with this silly thing. In the original ORM that created a new UserAccount business object, the primary key attribute is named “username”, as can be seen here. That is what should be used for the “inverse” value. Not the sql column name (usr_username) but the object attribute name (username). I’m emphasizing this because I made that mistake and if I can spare you the pain I will.

If we rebuild our extension everything should come along nicely, but you won’t see any changes just yet in the web app because we haven’t created the client code.


Create the directory /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/client which is where we’ll keep all the client code.

Extend Workspace View I want the fields I added to show up on the form to create a new User Account, so I need to extend the view for the User Account workspace. I’ll start by creating a directory /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/client/views and in it creating a file named ‘workspace.js’ containing this code:

XT.extensions.sip_account.initWorkspace = function () {

	var extensions = [
  	{kind: "onyx.GroupboxHeader", container: "mainGroup", content: "_sipAccount".loc()},
  	{kind: "XV.InputWidget", container: "mainGroup", attr: "uri" },
  	{kind: "XV.InputWidget", container: "mainGroup", attr: "displayName" },
  	{kind: "XV.InputWidget", container: "mainGroup", type:"password", attr: "sipPassword" }

	XV.appendExtension("XV.UserAccountWorkspace", extensions);

So I’m initializing my workspace and creating an array of items to add (append) to view XV.UserAccountWorkspace. The first ‘item’ is this onyx.GroupboxHeader which is a pretty divider for my new form fields, the kind you find in the web app at Setup > User Accounts, like ‘Overview’. I have no idea what other options there are for container other than “mainGroup”, so let’s stick to that. I’ll explain content: “_sipAccount”.loc() in a bit. Next I created three input fields of the XV.InputWidget kind. This also confused me a bit as there are different kinds of input to be used, like dropdowns and checkboxes. The only advice I can give is snoop around the webapp, find an input you like and look up the corresponding workspace.js file to see what was used.

What we just did is (should be) enough for the new fields to show up on the User Account form. But before we see things change, we have to package the client. Create the file /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/client/views/package.js. This file is needed to ‘package’ groups of files and indicates the order the files should be loaded (for more on that, see this). For now, all the file will contain is:


You also need to package the ‘views’ directory containing workspace.js, so create the file Create the file /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/client/package.js and in it show that the directory ‘views’ and its contents must be part of the higher level package:


I like to think of it as a box full of smaller boxes.

This will sound terrible, but apparently you also need to create the file /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/client/core.js containing this line:

XT.extensions.icecream = {};

I don’t know why. As soon as I find out I’ll be sure to inform you.

As we’ve added a file to the client directory, be sure to update /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/client/package.js so it included the new file:



Remember “_sipAccount”.loc()” in our workspace.js file? xTuple has great internationalization support and it’s easy to use. Just create the directory and file /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/client/en/strings.js and in it put key-value pairs for labels and their translation, like this:

(function () {
  "use strict";

  var lang = XT.stringsFor("en_US", {
    "_sipAccount": "Sip Account",
    "_uri": "Sip URI",
    "_displayName": "Display Name",
    "_sipPassword": "Password"

  if (typeof exports !== 'undefined') {
    exports.language = lang;

So far I included all the labels I used in my Sip Account form. If you write the wrong label (key) or forget to include a corresponding key-value pair in strings.js, xTuple will simply name your lable “_lableName”, underscore and all.

Now build your extension and start up the server:

$ cd /path/to/xtuple 
$ ./scripts/build_app.js -d dev -e ../xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account
$ node node-datasource/main.js

If the server is already running, just stop it and restart it to reflect your changes.

Now if you go to Setup > User Accounts and click the “+” button, you should see a nice little addition to the form with a ‘Sip Account’ divider and three new fields. Nice, eh?

Extend Parameters

Currently you can search your User Accounts list using any of the User Account fields. It would be nice to be able to search with the Sip account fields we added as well. To do that, let’s create the directory /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/client/widgets and there create the file parameter.js to extend XV.UserAccountListParameters. One again, you’ll have to look this up. In the xTuple code you’ll find the application’s parameter.js in /path/to/xtuple/enyo-client/application/source/widgets. Search for the business object you are extending (for example, XV.UserAccount) and look for some combination of the business object name and ‘Parameters’. If there’s more than one, try different ones. Not a very refined method, but it worked for me. Here’s the content of our parameter.js:

XT.extensions.sip_account.initParameterWidget = function () {

  var extensions = [
    {kind: "onyx.GroupboxHeader", content: "_sipAccount".loc()},
    {name: "uri", label: "_uri".loc(), attr: "uri", defaultKind: "XV.InputWidget"},
    {name: "displayName", label: "_displayName".loc(), attr: "displayName", defaultKind: "XV.InputWidget"}

  XV.appendExtension("XV.UserAccountListParameters", extensions);

Node that I didn’t include a search field for the password attribute for obvious reasons. Now once again, we package this new code addition by creating a /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/client/widgets/package.js file:


We also have to update /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/client/package.js:


Rebuild the extension (and restart the server) and go to Setup > User Accounts. Press the magnifying glass button on the upper left side of the screen and you’ll see many options for filtering the User Accounts, among them the SIP Uri and Display Name.

Extend List View

You might want your new fields to show up on the list of User Accounts. There’s a bit of an issue here because unlike what we did in workspace.js and parameter.js, we can’t append new things to the list of UserAccounts with the funciton XV.appendExtension(args). First I tried overwriting the original UserAccountList, which works but it’s far from ideal as this could result in a loss of data from the core implementation. After some discussion with the xTuple dev community, now there’s a better alternative:

Create the file /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/client/views/list.js and add the following:

1 var oldUserAccountListCreate = XV.UserAccountList.prototype.create;
3 XV.UserAccountList.prototype.create = function () {
4   oldUserAccountListCreate.apply(this, arguments);
5   this.createComponent(
6   {kind: "XV.ListColumn", container: this.$.listItem, components: [
7        {kind: "XV.ListAttr", attr: "uri"}
8    ]})
9 };

To understand what I’m doing, check out the XV.UserAccountList implementation in /path/to/xtuple/enyo-client/application/source/views/list.js – the entire highlighted part. What we are doing is ‘extending’ XV.UserAccountList through ‘prototype-chaining’; this is how inheritance works with Enyo. In line 1 we create a prototype and in line 4 we inherit the features including original components array which the list is based on. We then create an additional component immitating the setup shown in XV.UserAccountList: An XV.ListColumn containing an XV.ListAttr, which should be placed in the XV.ListItem components array as is done with the existing columns (refer to implementation). Components can or should (?) have names which are used to access said components. You’d refer to a specific component by the this.$.componentName hash. The components in XV.UserAccountList don’t have names, so Enyo automatically names them (apparently) based on the kind name, for example something of the kind ListItem is named listItem. I found this at random after a lot of trial and error and it’s not a bullet proof solution. Can be bettered.

It’s strange because if you encapsulate that code with

XT.extensions.sip_account.initList = function () {
 //Code here

as is done with parameter.js and workspace.js (and in the xTuple tutorial you are supposed to do that with a new business object), it doesn’t work. I have no idea why. This might be ‘wrong’ or against xTuple coding norms; I will find out and update this post ASAP. But it does work this way. * shrugs *

That said, as we’ve created the list.js file, we need to ad it to our package by editing /path/to/xtuple-extensions/source/sip_account/client/views/package.js:


That’s all. Rebuild the app and restart your server and when you select Setup > User Accounts in the web app you should see the Sip URI displayed on the User Accounts that have the Sip Account data. Add a new User Account to try this out.

The Fridge: Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) alpha-2 released! [Planet Ubuntu]

– The Unicorn looked dreamily at Alice, and said "Talk, child."
– Alice could not help her lips curling up into a smile as she began: "Do
you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too? I
never saw one alive before!"
– "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the Unicorn, "If you’ll
believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?"

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.

The second alpha of the Utopic Unicorn (to become 14.10) has now been released!

This alpha features images for Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, UbuntuKylin and the Ubuntu Cloud images.

Pre-releases of the Utopic Unicorn are *not* encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavor developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting and fixing bugs as we work towards getting this release ready.

Alpha 2 includes a number of software updates that are ready for wider testing. This is quite an early set of images, so you should expect some bugs.

While these Alpha 2 images have been tested and work, except as noted in the release notes, Ubuntu developers are continuing to improve the Utopic Unicorn. In particular, once newer daily images are available, system installation bugs identified in the Alpha 2 installer should be verified against the current daily image before being reported in Launchpad. Using an obsolete image to re-report bugs that have already been fixed wastes your time and the time of developers who are busy trying to make 14.10 the best Ubuntu release yet. Always ensure your system is up to date before reporting bugs.


Kubuntu is the KDE based flavour of Ubuntu. It uses the Plasma desktop and includes a wide selection of tools from the KDE project.

Kubuntu development is now focussing on the next generation of KDE Software, Plasma 5. This is not yet stable enough for everyday use, so we are still shipping the Plasma 1 desktop on our image which has been updated to the latest version in the alpha.

The Alpha-2 images can be downloaded at: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/kubuntu/releases/utopic/alpha-2/

More information on Kubuntu Alpha-2 can be found here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UtopicUnicorn/Alpha2/Kubuntu


Lubuntu is a flavor of Ubuntu based on LXDE and focused on providing a very lightweight distribution.

The Alpha 2 images can be downloaded at: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/lubuntu/releases/utopic/alpha-2/

Ubuntu GNOME

Ubuntu GNOME is a flavor of Ubuntu featuring the GNOME desktop environment.

The Alpha-2 images can be downloaded at: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-gnome/releases/utopic/alpha-2/

More information on Ubuntu GNOME Alpha-2 can be found here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UtopicUnicorn/Alpha2/UbuntuGNOME


UbuntuKylin is a flavor of Ubuntu that is more suitable for Chinese users.

The Alpha-2 images can be downloaded at: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntukylin/releases/utopic/alpha-2/

More information on UbuntuKylin Alpha-2 can be found here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Ubuntu%20Kylin/1410-alpha-2-ReleaseNote

Ubuntu Cloud

Ubuntu Cloud images will shortly be available. These images can be run on Amazon EC2, Openstack, SmartOS and many other clouds.


Regular daily images for Ubuntu can be found at: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com

If you’re interested in following the changes as we further develop Utopic, we suggest that you subscribe to the ubuntu-devel-announce list. This is a low-traffic list (a few posts a week) carrying announcements of approved specifications, policy changes, alpha releases and other interesting events.


A big thank you to the developers and testers for their efforts to pull together this Alpha release!

From the steps outside GUADEC in Strasbourg, and on behalf of the Ubuntu release team,

Originally posted to the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list on Fri Aug 1 08:50:23 UTC 2014 by Iain Lane

Ubuntu GNOME: Ubuntu GNOME 14.04.1 LTS [Planet Ubuntu]


Ubuntu GNOME Team is happy to announce the first point release for Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS.

  • Q: What are point releases for LTS versions of Ubuntu family?
  • A: Please, see the answer.

Get Ubuntu GNOME 14.04.1

  1. First of all, kindly do read the release notes.
  2. Download from here.

To contact Ubuntu GNOME:
Please see our full list of contact channels.

Thank you for choosing and using Ubuntu GNOME!


Ubuntu GNOME: Utopic Unicorn Alpha2 [Planet Ubuntu]


Ubuntu GNOME Team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu GNOME Utopic Unicorn Alpha 2.

Please do read the release notes.


This is Alpha 2 Release. Ubuntu GNOME Alpha Releases are NOT recommended for:

  • Regular users who are not aware of pre-release issues
  • Anyone who needs a stable system
  • Anyone uncomfortable running a possibly frequently broken system
  • Anyone in a production environment with data or workflows that need to be reliable

Ubuntu GNOME Alpha Releases are recommended for:

  • Regular users who want to help us test by finding, reporting, and/or fixing bugs
  • Ubuntu GNOME developers

To help with testing Ubuntu GNOME:
Please see Testing Ubuntu GNOME Wiki Page.

To contact Ubuntu GNOME:
Please see our full list of contact channels.

Thank you for choosing and testing Ubuntu GNOME!

Ubuntu Scientists: Backport spyder 2.3 to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS [Planet Ubuntu]

News from Ghislain Vaillant:

The recently released Spyder version 2.3 introduced the much awaited Python 3 support. Debian already has a working package in testing/unstable for both Python 2 (spyder) and Python 3 (spyder3). I have proposed a backport of this version of Spyder to the current LTS in the following bug report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/spyder/+bug/1347487 For those who are interested, please back this proposal up by adding any additional comments up in the bug report or simply marking yourself as affected.

UPDATE: https://bugs.launchpad.net/trusty-backports/+bug/1351131 is where the action is happening now. Please come on in and join in for testing if you’d like this backport to happen soon.

Filed under: News Tagged: spyder

Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S07E17 – The One with the Chicken Pox [Planet Ubuntu]

Tony Whitmore and Laura Cowen are in Studio L, Alan Pope is AWOL, and Mark Johnson Skypes in from his sick bed for Season Seven, Episode Seventeen of the Ubuntu Podcast!

In this week’s show:-

We’ll be back next week, when we’ll be interviewing Graham Binns about the MAAS project project, and we’ll go through your feedback.

Please send your comments and suggestions to: podcast@ubuntu-uk.org
Join us on IRC in #uupc on Freenode
Leave a voicemail via phone: +44 (0) 203 298 1600, sip: podcast@sip.ubuntu-uk.org and skype: ubuntuukpodcast
Follow us on Twitter
Find our Facebook Fan Page
Follow us on Google+

Can we clone Trey Gowdy? [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

Because this is what defending the Constitution looks like –

The “The ‘Hamas is a persecuted victim of the Zionist racists’ haiku” haiku [protein wisdom]

Our trees scream out, “a

Jew hides behind me!” Too bad

they can’t quite spot missiles yet…

“Hamas Issues ‘Terrorism 101 Handbook’” [protein wisdom]

But wait, before you jump to conclusions, consider the sources, one a conservative outlet, the other a bunch of racist Zionist butcher kikes:

Hamas has been disseminating to its followers in the Gaza Strip a detailed terrorism training manual that teaches would-be bombers how to make explosives and conceal them in household items such as televisions, according to documents seized by the Israeli military during recent raids.

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers discovered the handbook on the ground in the Gaza Strip as they conducted raids of homes and other facilities used by Hamas to plan its terror activities.

Hamas’ terrorism manuals instruct readers on how to build homemade explosive devices and how to set them to explode in unlikely places.

Hamas has even strapped explosives to donkeys and attempted to send them after Israeli soldiers.

The terror group’s goal is to encourage the citizens of Gaza to plant explosives in unlikely places in the hopes that Israeli military personnel set them off during routine raids in Gaza.

It is just another example of how Hamas utilizes unconventional warfare techniques and civilian cover to carry out attacks on Israelis. Hamas has already been caught using women and children as human shields and firing their rockets from hospitals and United Nations-owned schools.

The detailed manual, excerpts of which werepublished by the IDF this week, explicitly instructs readers to camouflage their explosives, with one diagram demonstrating “how to fill a television-shaped bomb with shrapnel,” according to the IDF.

Soldiers in Gaza have reported seeing the techniques described in the handbook implemented in various homes. In one instance, an Israeli soldier entered a civilian home located next door to a school only to find eight mines connected together by cable and spread throughout the home.

Mines have also been discovered hidden in the shape of a chicken coop in other homes. Other diagrams in the handbook appear to detail methods to embed explosives in wall mounts, such as those used to hang televisions.

Is there any doubt that, just as it’s without question Israeli artillery is responsible for bombing innocent, missile-hiding UN schools, the Jews themselves are behind this false flag operation, willing to kill their own just to suggest, ludicrously, that Hamas is some sort of terror organization?

I mean, please, people. These are Jews.  Who control all the banks and Hollywood and the media.  Can we trust them?   I mean, honestly?

Factoid:   You can’t spell Benjamin Netanyahu without “Satan”.   If he had an “s” in his name.  Think about it!

Flashback: John Kyl told by Obama no border security unless amnesty is passed [protein wisdom]

Given that we are now experiencing genuine national security risks thanks to the surge at our border, it bears repeating: Obama doesn’t give a shit. He wants what he wants, and that’s fundamental transformation of a colonialist, racist nation that doesn’t deserve its hyperpower status and whose citizens live to well and arrogantly and disgustingly lay claim to selfish individual sovereignty at the expense of the collective Greater Good. As imagined, engineered, and run by Obama and his like. For our own good, naturally.


I mused a few weeks back that the camps that Bill Ayers once dreamed of may manifest themselves in pockets of disease that wipe out the right kind of citizens. As stories of ebola begin to make the rounds, keep that crazy conspiratorial gleaming in the back of your minds.

And worry not if lots of the proper kinds of citizens are also impacted. They’ll be just bumps in the road to Utopia, their deaths for the cause the greatest form of heroism. Not one that any of the movement’s leaders would take, mind you — Ayers didn’t like to get his hands dirty, either, though he wasn’t averse to watching as pieces of his girlfriend got scooped into plastic bags — but then, somebody has to do the difficult work of taking care of all the thinking.

(h/t Pat Dollard)

Good News / Bad News [protein wisdom]

The bad news first:  “Alpha announces 1,100 layoffs at several mines“:

Eight operating affiliates of Alpha Natural Resources, Inc., including two in Boone County, have notified their employees that the coal mines and other facilities where they work are subject to being idled due to sustained weak market conditions and government regulations that have challenged the entire Central Appalachian mining industry.
In accordance with requirements of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, notice has been given today to approximately 1,100 employees at 11 Alpha affiliated surface mines in West Virginia, as well as preparation plants and other support operations, advising them of the expected idling of those facilities based on Alpha’s current assessment of market conditions.

Now the good news:  these 1100 serial, terrestrial rapists have been effectively castrated so that Mother Nature no longer has to endure their unwanted penetrations into her resource-rich inner regions.  This may prove disastrous for humans — after all, our energy grids are still reliant on coal, and brown outs and black outs, in addition to over a thousand newly-unemployed, may soon flood the markets — but then, humans are just carbon dioxide belching walking plagues, anyway.

No worries, though. Ebola will probably take care of a good chunk of them.  So we can get back to the paradise we were all promised — where cougars once again run wild, and we sleep quietly and contemplatively in our thatch huts.  Right up until the time we’re either wiped out by a flu or eaten by emboldened, pissed-off bears.

Utopia is nigh!

“Study: Hundreds of rules passed by Obama administration are technically illegal” [protein wisdom]

That’s the bad news.  The good news is, there’s not a damn thing we can do about it!  So let’s keep this party going, bitches!


Over the past 21 / 2 years, the Obama administration has published hundreds of rules — on how wheelchairs should be stowed aboard U.S. aircraft, how foreign trade zones should be regulated, how voting assistance should be provided for U.S. citizens overseas and so on.

There’s a problem, however: Technically speaking, these and about 1,800 other regulations shouldn’t be in effect, because they weren’t reported to Congress as required. Yet there is little that lawmakers or the courts can do about it.

The situation illustrates the obscure, byzantine process used to create federal regulations — and how easily it can go awry.

“It’s pretty apparent that the system is broken,” said Curtis Copeland, a retired Congressional Research Service staffer who discovered the issue. “It would seem this is one area where congressional Republicans and Democrats could get together and say: ‘This is crazy. We can fix this.’?”

Under a 1996 statute, most federal rules are supposed to be reported to the House and Senate in paper form and to the Government Accountability Office electronically. But since the start of 2012, that hasn’t happened for many of the regulations put out by the Obama administration, either because of bureaucratic oversight or because they were considered too minor to be reported.

Failing to report many of the rules is a “technical violation” of the statute, “and the law says they can’t take effect,” according to Robert Cramer, the GAO’s managing associate general counsel.

But there’s another catch: Congress also barred such rules from judicial review. Two federal appeals courts and two district courts have upheld this principle even when the regulation in question was not submitted to Congress as required. Since Congress cannot pass a resolution of disapproval for a rule until it receives it, this means neither lawmakers nor the courts can step in and demand that agencies submit the required paperwork.

The 1996 law at the center of this mess is the Congressional Review Act, or CRA, which added requirements for reporting most administrative rules to Congress. The idea — stemming from the Republican Party’s “Contract With America” — was that lawmakers would have a chance to overturn any pending regulations they didn’t like before they took effect.

But Congress has only set aside one rule in the 18 years since, and bureaucrats and some lawmakers say the law has evolved into a major hassle. In addition to copies of each rule, agencies are supposed to provide a “concise general statement relating to the rule” and the rule’s effective date, all to be distributed to relevant committees. It’s also not entirely clear which rules need to be reported.

In 2009, the House parliamentarian complained that the law had more than doubled the number of committee referrals it had to send out. “This flow of paper poses a significant increment of workload for a range of individuals,” according to a House Judiciary Committee report from that year.

“It’s called the ‘Messenger Relief Act’ because it provided so much business to couriers,” said Jeff Lubbers, a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law.

Well, we wouldn’t to burden people with work.  The Constitution would hate that idea!  After all, it’s nothing if not a document begging for its own streamlining and deconstruction!

Most of the missing rules are minor. But 43 have been deemed “significant” by the Office of Management and Budget, and six of those count as major. Three rules published in early 2013 carried out the Pentagon’s sexual-assault prevention and response program; one was estimated to cost nearly $15 billion to implement.

The only measure overturned since the law was passed was an ergonomics rule that the Labor Department adopted just before former president Bill Clinton left office.

“This is a make-work statute,” said Columbia Law School professor Peter L. Strauss, an administrative and regulatory law specialist. “It creates volumes of paperwork for Congress and the GAO that sit on the floor.”

Former senator Don Nickles (R-Okla.), one of the law’s original sponsors, said the statute helps lawmakers hold hearings and use other tactics to influence regulations before they take effect. Major rules are not supposed to go into force until 60 days after they are reported to Congress or published in the Federal Register, whichever is later.

When informed about the hundreds of missing rules, Nickles — who now heads his own consulting and lobbying firm — said: “It sounds like they’re breaking the law.”

Yeah. As if that’s even a thing.

You throwbacks.  You just don’t understand how DC works, do you?

Answer:  any which way it can.  And if that means churning out rules that aren’t subject to congressional oversight — and so aren’t subject to any kind of check, including a check on the Congresspeople who represent us who can be judged by how they deal with such regulations — that’s all the better for Leviathan.

Leviathan don’t care.  Leviathan don’t give a shit.

(h/t Ernst)

Huge waves detected in Arctic waters for 1st time [CBC | Technology News]

Wave detector on a float in Arctic sea

For the first time, waves rearing as high as the second-floor windows of a building have been detected in a part of the Arctic Ocean that's normally calmed by ice.

Polar bear wins tug of war with Nunavut man over beluga [CBC | Technology News]

Polar bear tug of war beluga

Peter Kaludjak of Arviat, Nunavut, caught a beluga whale in Hudson Bay this week, only to have a polar bear also take an interest in it.

Next Mars rover will make oxygen on Mars [CBC | Technology News]

Mars 2020 Rover instruments

NASA's next Mars rover will carry seven instruments, including one that will be able to make oxygen on Mars.

Tesla partners with Panasonic for $5B Gigafactory battery plant [CBC | Technology News]

Electric car manufacturer Tesla is to partner with Japanese electronics giant Panasonic to build a $5-billion battery manufacturing plant on U.S. soil.

BBG publishes report on the efficacy and future of shortwave radio [The SWLing Post]

VOA-Greenville-Curtain-AntennasMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bennett Kobb, who shares this downloadable Report of the Special Committee on the Future of Shortwave Broadcasting. If you recall, this report was produced by a Broadcasting Board of Governors committee and chaired by Matt Armstrong.

Both Bennett and I believe it’s unfortunate that the committee failed to recognize one of VOA’s most innovative shortwave products: the VOA Radiogram.

Below you can read the full press release which accompanied the report:

(Source: BBG)

WASHINGTON (August 1, 2014) — The Broadcasting Board of Governors today released “To Be Where the Audience Is,” a report that found shortwave radio to be essential to listeners in target countries, but of marginal impact in most markets. The report’s recommendations came after a comprehensive review, grounded in audience-based research, of the efficacy of shortwave as a distribution platform for U.S. international media.

“Shortwave radio continues to be an important means for large numbers of people in some countries to receive news and information,” said Matt Armstrong, who chaired the BBG’s Special Committee on the Future of Shortwave Broadcasting, which issued the report. “However, many of our networks’ target audiences have moved to newer platforms including TV, FM and digital media. This report maps a way forward for U.S. international media to remain accessible for all our audiences.”

Research-based evidence of media trends suggests that the increased availability and affordability of television, mobile devices and Internet access has led to the declining use of shortwave around the world. Still, the report finds that substantial audiences embrace shortwave in Nigeria, Burma, North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Cuba and other target markets for the BBG.

At the same time, the committee’s recommendations make clear that the BBG will need to continue to reduce or eliminate shortwave broadcasts where there is either minimal audience or that audience is not a U.S. foreign policy priority. It also ratifies reductions that were made in redundant signals in 2013 and further cuts in transmissions that were made in 2014.

Even with these recent reductions, the BBG makes programs in 35 of its 61 broadcast languages available on shortwave where there is a strategic reason to do so.

The report notes there is no evidence that shortwave usage increases during crises. At such times, audiences continue to use their preferred platforms or seek out anti-censorship tools to help them navigate to the news online, including firewall circumvention tools or offline media including thumb drives and DVDs.

The Shortwave Committee report will be discussed at the August 13 public meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The report can be found here.

PL-880 Hidden Feature: Adjusting FM muting threshold [The SWLing Post]

PL-880-RightSideMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Hector (AD4C) for discovering and sharing this hidden feature of the Tecsun PL-880. Hector writes:

“I have been using the Tecsun PL-600 for some time but never was satisfied with its performance in SSB, you can read my review on eham.

Last night I received the PL-880 I purchased trough amazon.com and I am really impressed with its performance, its a day and night difference compared with the PL-600, especially for SSB–the addition of narrow filters for LSB and USB made a huge improvement to the performance, also the availability of choosing different BW either on SSB or AM also improved a lot the reception.

I have to congratulate you for the well designed webpage you did to show all the hidden menu in this great radio but I have to tell you also that when performing all the menu by your links, I found by accident another one you did not mention. I’ll explain with details:

  1. Turn the radio ON, select FM, and go to freq that be in between two stations–an empty frequency–in my radio it will sound like complete silence because the squelch circuit is acting properly and majority of users will prefer to leave it like that to avoid the squelch noise BUT that decreases receiver sensitivity a few microvolts on FM, so because I am a dxer in any band, I reset the squelch threshold to have permanent noise or “open squelch” condition.
  2. Now press and hold the key #9  for more than 2 seconds to display the squelch value
  3. Use the tuning wheel to adjust the squelch value. Mine was at 3 but when I moved it down to zero using the tuning knob the noise appeared in all frequencies between used ones and I could detect weak stations more than 100 miles away. This is good to know when propagation by sporadic E is open and an indicator for the 2 and 6 M dx chasers.”

Many thanks, Hector! I’ve added this to the Tecsun PL-880 hidden feature list. The ability to lower squelch is, as you say, essential for FM DXing.

Note that I tried this hidden feature on my Tecsun PL-880 and it didn’t work. My FM muting threshold must be set to 0, however, because I can hear static between stations. Tecsun must have made this addition after my radio was produced (mine came from one of the first ’880 shipments in November 2013).

Have any other SWLing Post readers tried to adjust the FM muting threshold on their PL-880?

Friday Fluff [The DiploMad 2.0]

I am back. Feeling mightily awful. Too much sun, airplane, and genera; stress produced by having the kids back in our house for the summer vacations. Hope the antibiotics work for all that.

Spent a few days in Miami--one of my favorite cities. As luck would have it, our motel in Coral Gables had its wifi go down just before we got there, and had it come back just as we were leaving.  That meant that I was almost entirely off the grid, and disconnected from the world--I am not much of a TV watcher. At first this lack of access to Drudge and all my other webby friends was intolerable, but after a bit, it became kind of nice. I forgot about Obama, Holder, Reid, Pelosi, Putin, and the other whackos who are running and ruining our country. I had wonderful coffee, great breakfasts, and totally pigged out on massive quantities of meat at my favorite Argentine restaurant in Miami, The Knife. I tormented the very nice Argentine manager by telling him I was adopting the Argentine government position on debt. I freely without coercion would have his very nice dinner, and refuse to pay. Didn't work. He made me pay. You cannot default at The Knife.

Got back to California and gave my wife her birthday present. A very nice Aussie-designed, Canadian-built "American" car, a convertible Chevy Camaro. The Aussie designers did a great job of capturing the spirit and sheer fun of an old-time American muscle car--kind of makes you wonder if the "American" spirit hasn't moved on to places such as Australia.

It's a nice machine even if I had to buy it with an automatic transmission as my wife has gotten it into her head that she can't drive stick--she most certainly can. Anyhow, the Diplowife seemed happy as a clam (are clams happy?) driving her big black Camaro around town. I, of course, would run the thing at 80 mph and above. Under the Diplowife's reign, however, I don't think the beast will ever see life above 35 mph. All of this makes the point that cars are about personal choice and, yes, having fun. The hideous progressives would deny us both of those facets of life, and force us all into absurd "Smart" cars, or, even better for them, public transportation all in the name of polar bears, children, transgender rights, or something else. Buying big fast cars is one of the few legal acts of rebellion still open.

Enjoyed being back with my dogs, and watching them behave without a care in the world. The younger one had finished destroying the screen door and done a good job of modifying one of the window frames outside. He also has eaten the cable connecting the thermostat to the a/c unit, thereby leaving me without a/c in the blistering SoCal heat. I can't punish him. He is so genuinely happy to see me. The only time I have seen anybody else that happy was my personnel guru at State when I told him I was fed up and leaving State.

Anyhow, I am back. I hope to have my head clear up and be able to start posting something useful.

Police: Gangster Says He Was Just Testing Glock Outside Rap Show [Weasel Zippers]

Seattle got a new shipment from Chicago. Via Seattle PI Two young men accused of firing more than a dozen shots outside a Seattle rap show now face felony charges. King County prosecutors claim Marquis Jackson and Jerrod Marks II opened fire as a gangster rap concert concluded at a Beacon Hill bar. One of […]

First Hawaii, Now Obama Regime Ships Illegal Aliens To Alaska On Your Dime [Weasel Zippers]

Shipped and then just released… Via Breitbart: HOUSTON, Texas–As unaccompanied minors continue to illegally cross the Texas-Mexico border, President Obama’s Health and Human Services (HHS) has been quietly releasing them onto U.S. soil. A total of 30,340 unaccompanied minors have already been released from federal custody and placed into foster homes, according to HHS’ Office […]

California School District Drops Mandatory Geography Class, Replaces It With Course On “Diversity And Inclusion”… [Weasel Zippers]

Mind-numbing. Via NRO: El Rancho Verde Unified School District will stop requiring its high-school students to take geography and instead require them to take a class on diversity and inclusion. ERUSD president Aurora Villon said the class is necessary because minority students “need to feel validated.” “When you negate their culture, they feel less than […]

Panel Finds Obama Military Downsizing Leaves U.S. Too Weak To Counter Global Threats [Weasel Zippers]

Internal and external threats have never been greater… Via Washington Times: An independent panel appointed by the Pentagon and Congress said Thursday that President Obama’s strategy for sizing the armed services is too weak for today’s global threats. The National Defense Panel called on the president to dump a major section of his 2014 Quadrennial […]

Drone Crashes During Attempt To Smuggle Pot, Cellphones And Cigarettes Into U.S. Maximum Security Prison [Weasel Zippers]

Thugs are getting high tech. Via Calgary Herald A drone carrying cellphones, marijuana and other contraband into a U.S. maximum-security prison never made it inside the razor wire fence, and authorities said Wednesday they are looking for one of two people accused of trying to sneak it in. The search has been ongoing since April […]

Hamas’ Lib Defenders: Don’t Call Them “Terrorists” Because It’s “Racist”… [Weasel Zippers]

…and the race card jumps the shark. Via IPT: By attacking Israeli troops and kidnapping one just hours into a new ceasefire Friday morning, Hamas guaranteed that the people it claims to represent in Gaza will face more casualties as Israeli forces hunt for the terrorist who live among them. Yet, for Hamas defenders, this is unlikely […]

Obama Concentrates On The Important Stuff…Begging For Birthday Wishes… [Weasel Zippers]

*Video* "President Obama bummed that reporters forgot his birthday..” http://t.co/dD8LUUJz2r — Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) August 1, 2014 Israel is pounded by missiles, Russia is invading Ukraine, there's an Ebola epidemic, and Obama wants the press to ask about his birthday. — Princess Chelsea (@chelsea_elisa) August 1, 2014 How did this empty suit, leaning on his […]

Divided Court Upholds Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law [Weasel Zippers]

$20.00 for a certified copy of a birth certificate is a stumbling block for a free State issued ID. Via Journal Sentinel A divided state Supreme Court on Thursday tweaked a provision of Wisconsin’s voter ID law to put it in keeping with the state constitution, making it easier for people to get identification cards […]

Philadelphia Considers Making City’s Schools A “One-Stop Location” For Welfare… [Weasel Zippers]

It’s almost like Dems want people to go on welfare. PHILADELPHIA – Instead of the welfare office and City Hall, Philadelphia residents may soon be lining up at schools to apply for government benefits. A proposed bill by the Philadelphia City Council would make public schools the “one-stop location” for government handouts, including everything from […]

2 Dems Call For Resignation Of CIA Head John Brennan Over CIA Spying On Senate [Weasel Zippers]

Update to this story. In March, Brennan flatly denied the spying. Now his own inspector general said they did it. Via Politico: Two Democratic senators demanded that Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan resign on Thursday after revelations that the CIA snooped on Senate computers. Administration officials briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee’s membership on Thursday […]

Legendary Music Producer Says Funding Israel Is Like Funding The KKK… [Weasel Zippers]

Ignorant jackass. Via Raw Story: Acclaimed producer and musical artist Brian Eno has written a letter accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and asking why the United States would continue to support what he considers “a ragingly racist theocracy.” The letter was sent as an email to a number of friends, including frequent collaborator David Byrne, […]

Illegal Alien Beats USC Grad Student To Death [Weasel Zippers]

The status of the rest of the folks in the killer group is not mentioned in the accounts, but the group includes a 14 year old. Via Daily Caller: A 19-year-old who was part of a group suspected of fatally beating a USC graduate student with a baseball bat told authorities that he has been […]

Dem Rep. Gutierrez​ Speaking In Spanish: Republicans “Want To Punish Our Community”… [Weasel Zippers]

Translation via NRO: They know he’s going to act soon — they want to maintain this crisis to condemn our community, a community without rights for our kids at this moment, our DREAMers, and for millions of others that the president has said he wants to help. That’s what they want. They want to punish […]

British MP: “Israel’s Days Are Numbered”… [Weasel Zippers]

No surprise considering this is from pro-Islamic terror MP George Galloway.

Illegal Aliens To Be Given “Suites” With Flat Screen T.V.s, New Clothes And Schooling In San Antonio [Weasel Zippers]

Notice they are referred to as “residents”, not “detainees”. Putting them in school there doesn’t sound like they’re just staying there for 23 days… KARNES CITY – Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Friday will open a remodeled detention center three hours north of the Rio Grande Valley. The Karnes City center will house women and […]

Obama: The CIA “Tortured Some Folks” After 9/11… [Weasel Zippers]

Some folks? Like mass-murderer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? Via The Hill: President Obama said in blunt terms Friday that the United States “tortured some folks” — describing how a forthcoming report will detail now defunct U.S. interrogation techniques he described as “contrary to our values.” Obama said the White House has finished its declassification review of […]

Obama On Border Crisis: “I’m Going To Have To Act Alone”… [Weasel Zippers]

Just because every president before him had to negotiate with Congress to get stuff done doesn’t mean he has to the same, right? Via Breitbart: Friday at a press conference, President Barack Obama said in order to address the humanitarian crisis of ten of thousands of unaccompanied children illegally flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border, he was […]

Just Hours Before 9/11, Clinton Rued Not Taking “Kill Shot” Against Osama Bin Laden [Weasel Zippers]

Osama wasn’t in the town, but in the hills, Clinton wouldn’t have had to harm Kandahar at all. Via NY Post: WASHINGTON — Bill Clinton ruminated about a missed chance to get Osama bin Laden just hours before the horrific September 11th attacks, according to new audio made public Wednesday in Australia. He made his […]

Troll Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Under A Bridge) Files Bill To Tax Sugar In Soda… [Weasel Zippers]

Bloomberg-approved. Via CNS News: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax (SWEET Act) this week. A measure that aims to institute a tax of one cent per teaspoon – 4.2 grams – of sugar, high fructose corn syrup or caloric sweetener. The measure (HB 5279), introduced Wednesday says, “A 20-ounce bottle of soda […]

Pic: Israeli Soldier Helps Mentally Ill Palestinian Man Chained To Building By Hamas… [Weasel Zippers]

Is Hamas still claiming they don’t use civilian as human shields? HT: Israellycool

Dean Drive and NASA [Chaos Manor - Jerry Pournelle]

View 836 Friday, August 01, 2014

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


Dean Drive Again

The most interesting things I have read recently are complicated, and the most interesting of all is breaking news with no estimate of time required for further developments. Let’s begin with this: there is some speculation that NASA has confirmed the existence of a reactionless drive: a gizmo that undergoes a small but real thrust without expending reaction mass or reacting against a fixed object, or bobbing as happens with small boats and bobsleds because of differential friction.

Note that this would be revolutionary if confirmed, and the NASA engineers who tested the device are well aware of it. This isn’t like the reports I keep getting of tests that are about to be made, and offering to pay my expenses for an impartial inspection. Some years ago the Vaughn Foundation paid the expenses of participants in a rather informal conference of those who had any experience with the Dean Drive. That story is told here http://www.jerrypournelle.com/sciences/dean.html and if you aren’t familiar with any of this it might be worth your attention for a few minutes.

In any event the conclusion of the conference, which included the late Bob Forward and I believe either Greg or Jim Benford (twin Ph.D’s in physics) concluded that nothing could be done, and it was pointless to pay attention to various theories, such as that of the late Dr. William Davis, Col. USAF Ret’d, whose theoretical principle involving phase relationships of spinning disks and weights intrigued many people, particularly the late Harry Stine. Theories were not enough to justify sinking more money in research on reactionless drive. What would be interesting would be results: any results that could show thrust without reaction. If that worked the theory would be worked out – and it would be a revolutionary theory indeed.

The most likely explanation is Peter Glaskowsky’s hypothesis: NASA has indeed discovered a flaw, not in Newton’s Law, but in their test procedures, but they don’t yet know what the flaw is. That was my conclusion from the first instance, but I am prepared to believe – let us say I hope to see evidence that lets me believe – that there is such a thing as reactionless drive, a way to convert angular acceleration into linear acceleration. But as the years have worn on, and I have been told of case after case in which the first conclusion was Reactionless Drive!, only to find that it was a bad test, I am more convinced that I won’t see a working Dean Drive in my lifetime and neither will you. But I can still hope.

I do wonder why NASA hasn’t tried a swing as a test. If that shows there is thrust, put the test stand in a big chamber and pump the air out. And if still hangs off vertical with the motor on and returns to vertical when you turn the power on, Call Stockholm…


Some relevant mail.

So, NASA are now asserting they have seen a working Dean Drive?!




My guess is that this is either an instrumentation/telemetry artifact or an outright hoax. We’ll see.


Roland Dobbins

Nasa validates ‘impossible’ space drive (Wired UK)

Hey, Jerry, this sounds like they did exactly the sort of test you’ve been talking about for years..



new quantum space drive


The interesting part for me is NASA says they have tested the drive and measured thrust¦

jim dodd

There’s more but you get the idea.




The other interesting flap involves an old friend, and I’m not sure I want to be involved; I’ll wait at least until it either heats up more or gets colder…



The situation in the Ukraine continues without anything new surfacing, and the Hamas-Israeli war threatens the Middle East. And what happens when the Revolutionary Guard of Iran gets a pair of Hiroshima style weapons?  Which is fairly likely in the quite near future.



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




Obama still wants cease-fire, faults Hamas for its rupture [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama said his team would continue to pursue a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, but faulted the militant group for violating the one in place with its apparent capture of an Israeli soldier.

“It’s imoptant to note that we have and I have unequivocally condemned Hamas and the Palestinian factions that were responsible for killing two Israeli soldiers and abducting a third almost minutes after a ceasefire had been announced,” he said Friday afternoon at a press conference, describing the events of the morning, when militants captured Hadar Goldin 90 minutes after a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire brokered by the United States had begun.

“I want to make sure they are listening – if they are serious about trying to resolve this situation that soldier needs to be released as soon as possible,” he said.

Hamas has not claimed responsibility for the apparent abduction, but Obama said the organization neded to internalize that it was the address for such violations. “When they sign on to a cease-fire, they’re claiming to speak for all the Palestinians factions,” he said.

“It’s hard for the Israelis to feel confident cease-fires can actually be honored” under the circumstances, Obama said.

Israeli troops were dismantling a tunnel when they were ambushed, and Obama said the were in their rights.

“The Israelis are entirely right that these tunnel networks need to be dismantled,” he said.

Despite the collapse of the current cease-fire, Obama said his secretary of state, John Kerry, would continue to seek its reinstatement and once again called on Israel to show restraint in targeting civilian areas.

“I want to see everything possible done to make sure that Palestinian civilians are not being killed,” he said. Obama had called the press conference to discuss a rallying economy, but virtually all the questions had to do with foreign policy, with a focus on the ruptured cease-fire.

National Jewish security arm calls for enhanced security [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The security arm of national U.S. Jewish groups called on Jewish institutions to enhance security because of a spate of attacks on Jewish targets in Europe in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip.

“In light of the current threat environment, SCN strongly encourages member organizations to increase their overall security posture,” said the bulletin distributed Friday to Jewish community institutions nationwide by the Secure Community Network in coordination with the Anti-Defamation League.

Among its recommendations: Requesting additional patrols from local law enforcement, limit access to a minimum, perhaps to a single entryway, monitoring social media and reviewing security measures, including cyber security.

“While there is no imminent or specific threat to the American Jewish community at this time, given the escalation in violence in the Middle East, an unprecedented level of violence and attacks against Jewish facilities across Europe, and the uptick of demonstrations and protests across the United States, it is prudent for Jewish community organizations to reassess their current security posture and consider increasing levels of security during this period of heightened security,” the statement said.

Paul Goldenberg, the director of SCN, a joint enterprise of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, emphasized that such security considerations should not deter Jews from attending synagogue or using Jewish facilities.

“As a direct result of the ongoing conflict I’m encouraging Jewish organizations to increase vigilance,” he told JTA. “The American Jewish community should not hesitate to attend synagogues or federations or JCCs or any events or rallies being considered.”

Goldenberg said one cause for concern was that anti-Israel protesters in the United States had in recent weeks shifted their focus from Israel diplomatic outposts to Jewish community buildings; there was one such protest this week at the JCC in Washington, D.C. and another was reportedly planned for the Cleveland area federation building on Friday evening.

From the Archive: A Jewish tunnel to Israel [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

A group of Jewish refugees in a British detention camp in Cyprus swim in the Mediterranean Sea behind a barbed wire fence that surrounds the camp, 1946. The refugees were permitted use of the beach from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. (Courtesy JDC Archives)

A group of Jewish refugees in a British detention camp in Cyprus swim in the Mediterranean Sea behind a barbed wire fence that surrounds the camp, 1946. The refugees were permitted use of the beach from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. (Courtesy JDC Archives)

Destroying Hamas’ extensive and sophisticated network of tunnels has become the primary focus of the Israel Defense Forces’ operation in Gaza. In the 1940s, however, Jews were digging their own tunnels in order to enter Israel.

In August 1948, British engineers blew up a Jewish-built tunnel in colonial Cyprus. The underground corridor was designed not for terror attacks but to facilitate immigration to Israel. While the Cyprus tunnel did not, of course, lead all the way to the newly declared State of Israel, it was the first leg of a journey, followed by an under-cover-of-night voyage:

The tunnel–30 yards long and two feet wide–had been completed only two days before it was discovered last week, It ran under the barbed wire surrounding one camp to a point well beyond the guard perimeter. The detainees had wired the tunnel with electric light with current obtained from a searchlight tower, British authorities believe that it took the Jews six months to dig the tunnel. Twenty-nine refugees were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment, ranging up to nine months, when the passage was discovered last week.

It was reliably estimated here today that at least 100 Jewish detainees succeeded in escaping from Cyprus last week. British officials on the island voiced the opinion that Jewish representatives outside the camps, stationed in Cyprus, but who are in radio contact with Israel, are attempting to help “selected male specialists among the refugees” to escape on small boats which are brought near the Cyprus coast at night.

Men and women washing their clothing on laundry day at camp 60 in Cyprus, December 1946. (Courtesy JDC Archives)

Men and women washing their clothing on laundry day at camp 60 in Cyprus, December 1946. (Courtesy JDC Archives)

You might think the Cyprus detention camps, which housed tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors and other Jewish refugees the British had barred from entering Palestine, would have already closed by August 1948, which was a full three months after the British Mandate ended and the State of Israel was declared. However, the British — who did not want to alienate the Arabs by helping supply Israel with soldiers for its ongoing War of Independence – continued to intern and guard thousands of military-age Jewish men until January 1949.

Although only military-age men were being forced to stay, many women and children stayed as well in order to avoid dividing the family.  As JTA noted in August:

Last week the one hundredth Jewish baby was born on Cyprus and many more are due soon. Many expectant mothers refuse to go to the hospital until the last minute, hoping that the baby will be born in Israel.

A woodworking class in the trade school established and funded by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee at a Cyprus detention camp in 1947. Chairs, tables, and benches were constructed for use by the detainees. (Courtesy JDC Archives)

A woodworking class in the trade school established and funded by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee at a Cyprus detention camp in 1947. Chairs, tables, and benches were constructed for use by the detainees. (Courtesy JDC Archives)

During this time, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee continued to provide services, including vocational training and recreational programs, for the camps’ Jewish residents. [The photos accompanying this post are all courtesy of the JDC Archives, which displays an entire gallery of camp photos on its website.] Meanwhile, Jewish leaders mounted a legal challenge, which JTA described:

The legal basis of the test will be whether the government is competent to detain the Jews since the end of the British Mandate in Palestine on May 15, whether the Jews here are Israeli citizens and, if so, whether the British can legally detain citizens of another state trying to reach that state.

The case neared victory on Dec. 12, when a judge issued an order requiring the commander of the Xylotymbou camp to appear before the Cyprus Supreme Court to “show cause why 5,164 Jews [the military-age men] now held should not be released,” JTA reported.

A month later, British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin announced that all remaining internees would be released, and on Jan. 24, JTA reported on the first boatload, whose 1,500 passengers including 110 infants, fortunately needed no tunnel to reach :

British troops assisted the Jews in boarding the vessel and in loading their baggage into the holds. A holiday atmosphere pervaded the entire operation, with the Jews demonstrating no resentment toward their former jailers. In the camps every tent and Nissen hut is jammed with home-made boxes and suitcases in which freshly washed and patched clothing and other personal possessions have been packed in anticipation of the entry into Israel, goal of a voyage which in some cases began two years ago.




Times of Israel, 5 Towns paper, remove posting pondering genocide in Gaza [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

WASHINGTON — The Times of Israel and the 5 Towns Jewish Times removed a blog post calling for genocide to be considered as an option in the Gaza conflict and the Times of Israel dropped the blogger.

The blogger in a note to JTA apologized for the entry.

“I wish to express deep regret and beg forgiveness for an article I authored which was posted on 5TJT.com, Times of Israel and tweeted and shared the world over,” Yochanan Gordon said in an email to JTA.

“I never intended to call to harm any people although my words may have conveyed that message,” he said.
“With that said I pray and hope for a quick peaceful end to the hostilities and that all people learn to coexist with each other in creating a better world for us all.”

In his original post, Gordon called for a consideration of the argument that Israel would never obtain quiet until it had committed genocide in the Gaza Strip.

“If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?” said the piece by Yochanan Gordon posted on both sites on Friday, entitled, “When genocide is permissible.”

“The blog post, which was both damnable and ignorant, was uploaded by a blogger,” Miriam Herschlag, the Times of Israel op-ed editor, said in an email. “It was removed by the Times of Israel for breaching our editorial guidelines. The blog has been discontinued.”

The Times of Israel removed the Post within hours of its posting, as did the 5 Towns Jewish Times, a Long Island paper founded by Gordon’s father.

Gordon had immediate posting rights at the Times of Israel, and did not need an editor’s clearance; it’s not clear what rights he had at the 5 Towns Jewish Times, where the post had appeared on a rotation of top home page articles illustrated with a picture of a sunset.

“An article that was posted earlier today on our website dealt with the question of genocide in a most irresponsible fashion,” the Long Island newspaper’s editors said in a statement on the site.

“We reject any such notion or discussion associated with even entertaining the possibility of such an unacceptable idea,” it said. “The piece should have been rejected out of hand by editors but escaped their proper attention. We reject such a suggestion unequivocally and apologize for the error.”

Gordon engaged for a while with critics of the piece on Twitter; he had also posted the piece on his Facebook page, but it appeared to be shut down mid-Friday.

The dilemma of Israel’s captured soldier [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Israel Defense Forces Lt. Hadar Goldin was captured by Hamas, Aug. 1, 2014. (Via Facebook)

Israel Defense Forces Lt. Hadar Goldin was captured by Hamas, Aug. 1, 2014. (Via Facebook)

(JTA) – Now that Hamas appears to have achieved one of the central goals of its confrontation with Israel, the capture of a live Israeli soldier, a number of things are likely to follow.

Hamas is going to trumpet its operation as a success, and that assertion will reach receptive ears among Palestinians. With thousands of Palestinians locked up in Israeli prisons, the capture of Lt. Hadar Goldin on Friday gives Hamas a chit with which to negotiate with the Israelis.

Polls show that far more Palestinians back the idea of capturing Israeli soldiers to trade for Palestinian prisoners than, say, terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. By and large, the idea of trading prisoners for prisoners gets broad Palestinian support.

The last time Hamas captured an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit in 2006, Israel hemmed and hawed for five years but eventually agreed to the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in order to set Shalit free in 2011. At least one of the released prisoners, Ziad Awad, went on to murder an Israeli, Baruch Mizrahi, a police chief killed near Hebron in early April.

Goldin’s capture also gives Hamas an opportunity to demonstrate its supremacy over the Palestinian Authority, bolstering Hamas’ argument that it is able to achieve more through violence than the Palestinian Authority is able to achieve through diplomacy.

In Israel, the public debate over the efficacy of lopsided prisoner exchanges will be renewed, probably with unprecedented intensity.

Critics of the Shalit deal warned that the lopsided trade would encourage more kidnappings, and indeed several kidnapping attempts have taken place since then. The most recent was the abduction in June of three Israeli teenagers from a hitchhiking post in the West Bank. That incident, in which the three boys were murdered shortly after their abduction, helped spark the current round of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Goldin’s capture highlights the inherent challenge of a policy in which no Israeli, dead or alive, is left behind. Friday’s incident marked the second time during the current fighting that Hamas claimed to have captured an Israeli: On July 20, seven Israeli soldiers were killed when their armored personnel carrier was struck by an anti-tank shell, but only six bodies were recovered. Hamas said it had the seventh soldier, Oron Shaul, in hand, and provided his name as proof, suggesting that Hamas at least might have recovered his dog tags.

On July 25, Israel officially declared Shaul a “a soldier killed in action whose burial site is unknown” — a signal, perhaps, that the Israeli government would take a tough line in any negotiation for his remains.

For Israel, great value is attached to retrieving even the bodies of Israelis. In 2008, Israel traded five Lebanese prisoners and the remains of 199 Lebanese fighters to Hezbollah in exchange for the remains of two Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whose bodies were captured in the incident that sparked the 2006 Second Lebanon War. While Goldwasser and Regev officially were not known to have been killed, Israeli intelligence services concluded long before the swap that they almost certainly had died in the 2006 incident along the Lebanon-Israel border.

In 2007, Israel released a Hezbollah member and two Hezbollah bodies in exchange for the remains of an Israeli who drowned in the Mediterranean and washed ashore in Lebanon.

Shalit was Israel’s longest-held captive to return home alive. While successive Israeli governments held out for more than five years under mounting public pressure for a deal, ultimately the Israeli Cabinet voted for a prisoner swap, despite the high price.

It remains to be seen how that experience will influence public thinking now that Goldin has been abducted.

Moshe Yaalon, now Israel’s defense minister, was a staunch critic of the Shalit deal. In 2008, when he was IDF chief of staff, he argued against lopsided swaps in a speech at an IDF conference.

“When it comes to the question of a deal, I am one of those who call for the minimum,” Yaalon told the security conference at Tel-Hai Academic College. “And in some cases we must even say we are ready to sacrifice in the face of what we are required to pay, because the payment price is much heavier than the price of losing the hostage.”

For now, Israeli troops are carrying out intensive operations in the southern Gaza Strip, where Goldin was captured, in an effort to locate and recover him.

Kerry calls for ‘immediate, unconditional’ release of soldier [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Hamas must “immediately and unconditionally” release the soldier it apparently captured during a cease-fire.

“Hamas, which has security control over the Gaza Strip, must immediately and unconditionally release the missing Israeli soldier, and I call on those with influence over Hamas to reinforce this message,” Kerry said in a statement Friday posted after Hadar Goldin, a second lieutenant, went missing during a firefight in southern Gaza.

Israel’s army said Hamas ambushed Israeli troops 90 minutes into a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel conflict, launched July 8.

Hamas has not acknowledged taking Goldin.

Kerry’s call to “those with influence over Hamas” was reported in Israeli media as an appeal to Qatar and Turkey to press Hamas to release the soldier; both countries had acted as interlocutors on behalf of Hamas during the cease-fire talks, which were led by Kerry.

Sheila Jackson-Lee Should Be Impeached For Encroaching Senility [RedState]

What Sheila Jackson-Lee Brings To Capitol Hill

What Sheila Jackson-Lee Brings To Capitol Hill

Image Credit: Bill Day

It was June 10, 2008 and Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich from the 10th District of Ohio had proudly introduced H.Res.1258 entitled Impeaching George W. Bush, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors. He brought with him a Star-Wars Cantina Scene of 11 co-sponsors including Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee proudly representing the 18th District of Texas. The bill went on for 167 pages outlining all the nefarious deeds performed by the man Sheila and her cronies frequently referred to as “The Smirking Chimp.” Her “Chimpeachment” motion was quashed by then-speaker Nancy Pelosi and ultimately contributed about as much to American Democracy as most of the rest of Dennis Kucinich’s laughable tenure in political office. However, it became germane just yesterday because Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee was dumb enough to dig it back up and put it on display for condign mockery. It seems that The Gentlelady From Texas
has made the following claim.

It is a historical fact that President Bush pushed this nation into a war that had little to do with apprehending terrorists. We did not seek an impeachment of President Bush because as an executive, he had his authority.

A cursory review of H.Res.1258 (AKA The Kucinich/Wexler Impeachment Articles) shows us the following.

The Kucinich/Wexler impeachment resolution contained 35 articles covering the Iraq war, the Valerie Plame affair, creating a case for war with Iran, capture and treatment of prisoners of war, spying and or wiretapping inside the United States, use of signing statements, failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas, the 2004 elections, Medicare, Hurricane Katrina, global warming, and 9/11. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was the most substantial portion of the articles of impeachment introduced by Kucinich and Wexler. 15 of the 35 articles directly relate to alleged misconduct by Bush in seeking authority for the war, and in the conduct of military action itself…

In no functional model of the universe can Sheila Jackson-Lee claim that The Democratic Party didn’t at least attempt the Impeachment of President George W. Bush over his use of executive authority in relationship to his conduct of warfare in Iraq. Thus, the Politifact Column of The Tampa Times rates this statement as “Mostly False.” This would be slightly less dubious than a statement rated “Gastro-Intestinally Produced Nitrate Fertilizer.” But then Congresswoman Jackson-Lee wouldn’t quite grok that because she’s convinced that Nitrates are cheaper than Day Rates. You could show The Gentlelady from Texas into a room full of horse poop and come back 24 hours later to find her still looking for the cute, little pony. She subscribes to TV Guide so that she knows which night of week to tune in to Saturday Night Live. When it comes to brightness; she’s a sub-standard candle. Pluto reflects greater luminosity in the direction of Earth.

How can I say such evil and insulting things? I can recall her previous career. Her trip to JPL belongs in The Hall of Congressional Infamy. She asked the good and worthy Astro-physicists whether the Mars Pathfinder had photographed where our astronauts had left the flag. Her geographical misunderstandings extend to Earth as well as other parts of the Solar System. 38th Parallel; 17th Parallel, whatever. I can’t even begin to fathom why else she would have said the following back in 2010.

“Today we have two Vietnams, side by side, North and South, exchanging and working. We may not agree with all that North Vietnam is doing, but they are living in peace. I would look for a better human rights record for North Vietnam, but they are living side by side.”

And her grasp of American History doesn’t really quite qualify as a grasp. Give her two or three days and she’ll get back to you on who the City of Houston was named after. She offers her best estimate of the age of the US Constitution below.

Maybe I should offer a good thanks to the distinguished members of the majority, the Republicans, my chairman and others, for giving us an opportunity to have a deliberative constitutional discussion that reinforces the sanctity of this nation and how well it is that we have lasted some 400 years, operating under a constitution that clearly defines what is constitutional and what is not.

So I hesitate to accuse Sheila Jackson Lee of lying per-se. You have to acquire knowledge first in order to falsify it. It’s really tough to lie when you’re the type of person who walks into flat-screen TVs the way disoriented birds fly into skyscraper windows. Sheila might really have a bad enough case of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s to not even remember Co-Sponsoring the Kucinich-Wexler Impeachment Resolution. I keep expecting her to ask some poor witness at a Congressional Hearing “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?

The Roman Empire got better use out of Incitatus than the American Republic ever got from having Sheila Jackson-Lee in The House of Representatives. She is prima-facie evidence of a nation in decline. She can’t prevaricate without looking the word up in a dictionary first to see what it means. The woman should be impeached for encroaching senility.

The post Sheila Jackson-Lee Should Be Impeached For Encroaching Senility appeared first on RedState.

Why We Fight [RedState]

Today was my final day as a summer law clerk with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.  Now that my U.S. Senate badge is turned in and I no longer in any way speak for the senator for whom I interned — the Honorable Mike Lee of Utah — the time has come for reflection.


We live in a deeply disturbed world.  Ethnic minority separatists in the Ukraine shoot civilian airliners out of the sky.  There are legitimate pogroms in Paris and rising Jew hatred in Berlin and Rome, as European Jews make Aliyah to Israel — a country under the constant bombardment of terrorist rocket fire — in hitherto unforeseen numbers.  There are ostensibly mainstream journalists on indisputably mainstream cable news network who attribute surviving the Holocaust to “white privilege.”  Practicing Christians are forced to abdicate their sincerely held doctrinal beliefs at the altar of secular humanist political correctness, as the “new tolerance” perniciously supplants sincerely held religious beliefs, entrepreneurship, and private property rights alike.  Hashtag diplomacy is all the rage, supplanting Reaganite “peace through strength” as the contemporary guiding light of Obama-era American international relations.


As it so happens, we live in a deeply disturbed world due in no small part to the unfathomable moral dilapidation of the modern-day Left.  These past few months have been particularly illuminating, then, in once again evincing to all of us conservative activists why it is that we fight:



For the future of our republic, it is imperative that Leftists be stopped in their tracks.  They are wrong and they are dangerous.  When Benjamin Franklin spoke of “a republic — if you can keep it,” it was with folks precisely like contemporary Leftists in mind.


I look forward to working with all of you to advance our cause, and to joining the RedState community.


In liberty,




The post Why We Fight appeared first on RedState.

Obama’s Own Stimulus Predictions Show We’d Have Been Better Off Without It [RedState]

Upon arriving late (as usual) to his press conference, Obama launched into a tirade about the obstructive Republican party that has gotten in his way so often that the world is now on fire as a result.

This was, in part, a way of using the bully pulpit to remind Americans how awesome the Recovery Act (Stimulus) was and that it is the reason for all of our wonderful employment which sits at 6.2%. This number ignores that there are 3.6 million fewer full-time jobs than there were in 2007 as well as the millions of workforce dropouts that have simply given up. But hey, he’s got a new stimulus to fund because somehow after spending a trillion dollars, we still haven’t fixed any roads or bridges.

But how do you measure the success of the stimulus anyway? Obama claims it’s with our current job numbers, but even accepting the highly misleading 6.2% number, did the stimulus come through?

Well according to their own predictions, the short answer is no. The long answer is HELL no.

In fact, according to the experts that crafted the monstrosity, we would’ve done better had we not had a stimulus bill in 2009 at all.

Stimulus Fail

If you can’t quite make that out it shows that as of this year, we should’ve been at 5% unemployment, with or without the stimulus. So one can only assume that means that their efforts actually impeded our ability to return to pre-recession employment.

I’m surprised the media ignored this milestone given that this landmark bill was the first major “accomplishment” of his administration and the predictions it laid out all extended to this year. Seems like a good time to review how things went. Strangely, unless I simply missed the reports, the media remains silent on it.

The post Obama’s Own Stimulus Predictions Show We’d Have Been Better Off Without It appeared first on RedState.

Josh Marshall & TPM Promise a “BOOM,” Deliver A Dud [RedState]


There’s a well-known saying among lawyers that when the facts are against you, argue the law; when the law is against you, argue the facts; and when the facts and the law are both against you, pound on the table and yell like heck. The behavior of Josh Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo is just the latest illustration of this axoim among the critics of Halbig v Burwell, who keep ratcheting up the temperature of their rhetoric in a none-too-thinly veiled effort to paper over the weakness of their argument on the law and the facts. But don’t just listen to me – look at the evidence.

We have covered here on several occasions the ongoing debate over Halbig and King v. Burwell; in the latter, the case coming out of the Fourth Circuit, the plaintiffs have now petitioned for Supreme Court review, setting up a possible Supreme Court ruling in the spring of 2015 if the Court takes the case rather than waiting to see if the en banc D.C. Circuit overrules the Halbig panel. As Leon Wolf noted this morning, left-leaning pundits on the healthcare beat (most of them not lawyers) have grown increasingly shrill in labeling Halbig’s defenders – anyone who argues that the Obamacare statute should be read (as its plain language indicates) to provide subsidies only to buyers of healthcare on an exchange “established by the State,” defined in the statute as one of the 50 States or DC, and not to buyers on the federal Healthcare.gov exchange – as “Obamacare Truthers” or some such sneering epithet.

Other longtime writers on the healthcare beat have noticed the same thing. Phil Klein at the Washington Examiner, who in my experience has always been unfailingly polite to writers on the Left who frequently fail to return the favor, hopefully posited yesterday that perhaps the revelations of contemporaneous prior statements by Jonathan Gruber and Jonathan Cohn on the federal exchanges and subsidies issue might lead to a reduction in sneering and perhaps even a little humility:

Liberal critics of this legal theory have portrayed it as absurd, ridiculous, nutty, stupid, and even criminal. Recently, I’ve been likened to the health policy equivalent of a World Trade Center attack conspiracy theorist merely for sympathetically reporting the legal case of the challengers…

I think the Gruber and Cohn revelations should mark a turning point in discussions on Halbig. Skeptics of the legal challenge should show a bit more humility and debate the issue like adults, instead of resorting to name-calling and accusations of dishonesty and stupidity in an effort to delegitimize the opposition…There’s no need to resort to juvenile attacks and act as if people are being completely insane for placing weight on the actual text of a law in a legal dispute over statutory interpretation.

Josh Marshall Promises A “Boom”

Marshall’s original reaction to Halbig was to accuse the judges – without a scintilla of evidence – of “corruption,” in a fairly obvious effort to delegitimize the practice of courts reading statutes by reference to the statutory language rather than what a law’s supporters would like that language to say. Today, on Twitter, he breathlessly (“Boom!”) touted a long Dylan Scott story at TPM purporting to be definitive proof that Halbig defenders were wrong:

You would be forgiven in thinking that Marshall was looking mostly to troll Halbig‘s defenders if you read his next tweet in which he suggested…trolling Halbig’s defenders:

The story, subtly entitled “BOOM: The Historic Proof Obamacare Foes Are Dead Wrong On Subsidies,” recounts how the CBO scored Obamacare:

[L]ike everybody else on Capitol Hill in 2009 and 2010, from legislators to the journalists who covered them, the CBO’s quants never even considered the scenario that Obamacare faces today. A federal appeals court has ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that the law’s crucial subsidies are not available on the federal insurance exchange, HealthCare.gov, putting coverage for nearly 5 million people in 36 states at risk. That outcome, as bad as it would be for the uninsured, would dramatically lower the cost of Obamacare — but the CBO never entertained that possibility for the same reason no one else did: It was not how the law was supposed to work.

… “It definitely didn’t come up. This possibility never crossed anybody’s mind,” David Auerbach, who was a principal analyst for the CBO’s scoring of the ACA, told TPM on Thursday. “If we started to score it that way, they would have known that, and they would have said, ‘Oh, oh my gosh, no, no no,’ and they probably would have clarified the language. It just wasn’t on anybody’s radar at all.”

Scott goes on to detail, repeatedly, how every CBO score assumed that subsidies would be available in all 50 states – which he and Marshall present as definitive proof that the CBO concluded that subsidies would be available in the states served only by the federal exchange:

[U]nder all that scrutiny and after all its familiarity with the law, the CBO never did one thing: It never considered that subsidies would be unavailable in some states if they didn’t set up an exchange, as Auerbach told TPM this week. In all its iterations of the law, the idea that the subsidies would be available nationwide permeated all of them.

So what many of the current legal challenge’s proponents ask us to believe then is that Congress somehow pulled one over on the agency tasked with understanding the law as well as anyone — and on which they relied for the entire legislative debate.

There are two obvious, glaring and related flaws in this analysis, however: 1) it overlooks the fact (to which Scott alludes at the end) that the CBO never even analyzed how the federal exchange would work if states failed to set up their own exchanges, and 2) it completely ignores how the CBO functions.

How The CBO Works

As to the first point, as Jonathan Adler (a law professor deeply involved in developing the Halbig argument) has noted, the CBO’s score of the bill assumed that the federal Healthcare.gov exchange would not cost a single penny. The scores done during the debate leading up to passage assumed no cost at all for the federal exchange. Why? Because, rather obviously, the bill’s proponents assumed that every state would establish an exchange, and thus at most the federal exchange would be a stopgap so small it was not worth scoring. This turned out to be factually wrong.

But that assumption is something that Halbig critics keep going back to and keep getting wrong about the argument. They insist that, if they can show that everybody assumed subsidies would be available nationally, that meant they’d be available federally. But in fact, as I’ve explained before and so have numerous others, all that really means is that they assumed the states would have a strong enough incentive that none would decline to run an exchange. At best for their argument, that’s a neutral fact about the federal subsidies, if you read it to mean that they were mostly an afterthought nobody looked at too closely; at worst, it’s evidence that they were at least implicitly relying on the very thing Halbig defenders claim the bill’s plain language does: create an incentive parallel to the incentive in the Medicaid section of the bill.

In any event, the fact that the CBO never (prior to passage) scored what would happen to subsidies on the federal exchange – because the CBO never scored any scenario in which the federal exchange would even exist – means that there is absolutely zero probative value to anything in Scott’s story. All he shows is that nobody working on the bill predicted what actually happened in 36 states. Which ought to be a cautionary tale for the next time we are treating CBO scores as some sort of religious totem.

Which brings me to my second point. The CBO is only ever as good as the questions it is asked and the assumptions it is given. Anyone who knows even a little bit about Congress knows that CBO scores prove only one thing: what CBO was asked to score. And proponents of bills ask CBO to score only what they want CBO’s score to reflect. Like any mathematical model, this means that, while the CBO process can work fine for fairly straightforward questions, its output is often a case of “garbage in, garbage out.”

In particular, the CBO’s function is mainly economic, not legal, and by its own admission it never analyzed the statutory language. As Adler and Michael Cannon have explained:

The JCT and CBO produced revenue and spending estimates that assumed tax credits would be available in all fifty states. But this is not the same as ‘‘assum[ing] that the tax credits will be available through the federal exchange,’’ and neither the CBO nor JCT stated such an assumption when conducting their analysis. Indeed, the CBO has acknowledged it did not conduct a legal analysis of whether the statute authorizes tax credits through federal Exchanges. Thus its cost projections can hardly be considered authoritative. Like many of the PPACA’s supporters, it appears the CBO and JCT simply assumed that every state would create its own Exchange and incorporated that miscalculation into their projections. Further evidence for this interpretation, if more were needed, is that the CBO made no mention of the hundreds of millions of dollars it would take to establish and operate federally run Exchanges (just as Congress didn’t authorize those funds).

As the House Ways & Means oversight report on this issue concluded:

CBO confirmed that they did not conduct a legal analysis of whether premium subsidies would be available on federal exchanges. Furthermore, during the time period the law was being debated, CBO was inundated with requests to score various changes to the proposed health care bill. The Director of CBO, Douglas Elmendorf, told the Committees that CBO also only had a single full-time lawyer on staff during this time period.

It wasn’t just the CBO, and it didn’t end with the bill’s passage. The same report goes on to note that the IRS, when it was developing what would be included in its 2012 ruling on the statutory language, didn’t do much more:

In the June 13, 2013, briefing, two senior IRS attorneys who worked on the 36B rule told the Committees that they did not consider the availability of tax credits in federal exchanges as a central issue during the rulemaking process and they spent relatively little time on it. Chip Dunham, a lawyer in the income tax and accounting division at the Office of the Chief Counsel, mentioned that the issue was discussed but that it was not considered a key issue. Kim Koch, a lawyer in the health care division at the Office of the Chief Counsel, told the Committees that IRS employees working on the rule were extremely busy discussing and drafting the regulation during that time and many other issues related to the tax credits were a higher priority.

The IRS, in fact, ended up having to ask HHS for an excuse to find that the federal exchange was actually an exchange “established by the State”:

[A]n email sent after the March 25, 2011, large group meeting, where the issue of subsidy availability in federal exchanges was discussed…highlighted three specific points. First, Treasury and IRS considered that the language restricting tax credits to state-established exchanges may have been a “drafting oversight.” Second, the email between Treasury department employees expressed concern that there was no direct statutory authority to interpret an HHS exchange as an “Exchange established by the State.” Third, the email suggested that IRS request HHS clarify the issue in their rulemaking by deeming HHS exchanges to be exchanges established by States.

Which was what HHS wound up doing, in March 2011, a year after the statute was passed.

The fact that nobody at the CBO worked through this question at the time the statute was being prepared for passage, that liberal reporters covering the story never asked about it, and that the IRS had to ask for help a year later coming up with a theory for how the statute could provide subsidies on the federal exchange, all show that the people involved in the process simply didn’t think much about this issue, and didn’t ask the right questions (which, as Sean Davis notes, means the journalists simply weren’t very good at their jobs). It also, as I noted before, reflects the chaotic circumstances in which the law was passed, and is a consequence of the Democrats’ determination to keep pushing this massively complex law under circumstances where reflection, attention to detail, and the correction of mistakes was impossible. Of course, given the omission of earlier statutory language providing such subsidies, we can fairly conclude that somebody decided at some point that at least one version of the bill (which by accident of fate ended up being the one passed by Congress) should have the “established by the State” language and no other, and we can draw plausible inferences from the language and circumstances about what they meant to do by that. But any realistic reading of these events confirms that most people involved in the process just did not consider what would happen if states did not set up exchanges, and thus put no effort into providing a separate subsidy structure to deal with that eventuality. They thought it wouldn’t rain, so they didn’t build an ark.

The Politics of “Derp”

I’ve been blogging since 2000, and Marshall was already covering Washington politics on the web before that, so while I’m not surprised that – being a history Ph.D. rather than a lawyer – he does not know how statutory interpretation works, I find it hard to believe that he actually does not understand how the CBO scoring process works. Look at what one Halbig critic, Brian Beutler, wrote for Marshall at TPM last July when President Obama delayed the employer mandate, an action that will soon be challenged in court by the House of Representatives as illegal: “I assume Republicans will rightly ask the Congressional Budget Office to analyze both the fiscal consequences of the decision and its impact on coverage — how many people will now be insured and by whom.” Beutler did not jump to the conclusion that, because the CBO’s original scores had assumed the mandate would be in place by now, this meant there was no statutory authorization to delay it.

In any event, Marshall’s responses on Twitter to being called out on the flaws in the reasoning of Scott’s piece were decidedly short on facts and law and long on pounding the table and yelling like heck:

Marshall ran through all his favorite insults here – “dead ender,” conspiracy theorist, “LOL,” and of course that ever-popular logical fallacy, the argument from personal incredulity. All that was missing was his favorite, “derp.”

In my experience (and I’m not the only one), this sort of thing is a signal to the reader of weakness, not strength: if you actually have a good argument on the facts and the law, you don’t need to keep asserting that the other side is making “dead ender” and “truther” arguments, you just show why they are wrong and respect your readers to listen to that. I had the good fortune, as a young lawyer, of having more senior lawyers teach me that lesson when I submitted draft briefs that went too far in denigrating the other side rather than illustrating why they were wrong, and it seems sad that someone like Marshall appears never to have been taught this, and has evidently not taught it to young writers under his tutelage. Ross Douthat made a similar point a while back on Twitter about this style of argumentation (tweets read bottom to top):


This is not a plea for civility (we’re all adults here, we can take it) or an argument against the occasional flourish; everybody in the world of opinion journalism does this sort of thing now and then in making an argument. It’s more an observation that this is a rhetorical crutch that intelligent readers will weary of and tune out if they are not already converts to your cause – and maybe a symptom of no longer believing that persuasion is necessary.

The post Josh Marshall & TPM Promise a “BOOM,” Deliver A Dud appeared first on RedState.

The Giver: A Close Look At Reality [RedState]

Image Via: https://thegiverfilm.com

Image Via: https://thegiverfilm.com

As a child one of my favorite places to go was the library. To be swept up and transported to another world by a book was a joy, and, although I’m not quite sure I understood it at the time, I learned much about this world in my readings. From the battle between good and evil in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, to the battle with self in The Bell Jar, there are just some concepts that are better explained by a good story. Now that I have children of my own, I am once again thankful for the help given to me by stories. Not only do I get to re-read classic books that give way to important conversations with my kids, but we get to explore books I missed out on as a child. It only adds to the adventure when a story we’ve read has been made into a movie.

One such story that has been around since my youth is The Giver, by Lois Lowry. I was delighted to hear that The Giver has been made into a film and it is every bit as good as the book. The film adaptation follows a boy named Jonas, played by Brenton Thwaites, as he receives his job assignment in the utopian society in which he lives. Tasked with the job of “Receiver of Memories,” Jonas works with “The Giver,” played by Jeff Bridges, to receive all the memories that lead up to the creation of his society. The film also stars Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift. It will be in theaters August 15th.

The world revealed in the movie is really something to behold. It truly embodies the answer to every child (and adult) who wonders what it would be like if everything were fair. Everyone in The Giver has a family unit, an assigned job with uniforms provided and all the houses are same. There is no competition, lying, pain, sadness or even love. Everything is controlled from the weather to death. It is a socialist dream come true but, as the film uncovers, the consequences of “sameness” aren’t as good as they seem.

While other stories tackle maybe one or two concepts, The Giver covers a multitude of issues that are so pertinent to the times in which we are living. The depth of the story is profound and so excellently woven together that to consider it all takes more than just the time spent watching the movie. I know more than a few adults who really need to see the film, which would hopefully help them understand the real results of the society to which many in America aspire. As for explaining the complex topics covered in The Giver to children, Walden Media, the company behind the film, has created an Educator’s Resource Guide that parents and teachers can use. Beyond the concerns brought on by a utopian society, The Giver ultimately is a celebration of humanity that will, in vivid color, inspire both children and adults.

The post The Giver: A Close Look At Reality appeared first on RedState.

Gaza Ceasefire Fails Utterly [RedState]


For the United States, it’s nice to have the rest of the world respect us but failing that, it’s important for the stability of the globe at large to have them fear us. The current complete disintegration of the situation in Gaza is demonstrating nicely that they do neither anymore. Blaring headlines across the global news sphere are now announcing that the 72-hour ceasefire, negotiated by the very obviously out of his depth John Kerry after a solid week of bumbling and public embarrassments, has dissolved after 90 minutes. Libya and Iraq are now either in flames or are under the control of militant Islamists who are destroying U.S. interests with impunity, or both. Russia is slow playing an out-and-out reconstitution of the former Soviet Union while shooting civilian passenger jets out of the sky.

The unifying theme to all these stories is that no one in the world gives a crap what the United States thinks about what ought to happen in world events anymore. There is absolutely no reason to believe, at least for the next 2.5 years, that there will be any military reprisal from the United States at all for any action whatsoever. While this is doubtless a vision that is enticing for the Glenn Greenwalds and Rand Pauls of the world, for those caught in the crosshairs of the unfolding chaos, it’s a markedly less comforting world (whether they are cognizant of the fact or not).

Liberal historians love to scoff at the excesses of Pax Romana, Pax Brittanica, and now Pax Americana – and we will grant the premise that none of these eras were even close to perfect – but history reflects that the world at large is a much worse place when there isn’t a reasonably civilized nation carrying a big and at least quasi-global stick. The collapse of these successive empires threw much of the world into centuries of chaos marked by the almost total lack of advance of civilization in the case of the Romans, a worldwide mass conflagration in the case of the British, and who knows what if America falls victim to the same internal rot, either through the incompetency of the Obama Administration or the active cheering of the demise of American power a la Greenwald and Rand and Ron Paul. What we do know is that the weapons that will be left lying around for the various barbarians now marauding the globe to use on each other are of significantly greater destructive capacity than they were at the fall of Rome or Britain.

We have lost the ability to even mount a pretense of meaningful influence over a foreign policy crisis that has captivated the attention of the entire world, much of which is galvanized against our only true ally in a dangerous yet important region of the world. As viscerally satisfying as it is to point out the manifest ineptitude of this blind and arrogant administration and its foreign policy foibles, we should only instead pray that America has yet again learned, as they learned in 1980 but forgot in the interim, that Democrats can never be trusted to man the helm of United States Foreign Policy.

The post Gaza Ceasefire Fails Utterly appeared first on RedState.

Ending Spending Uses Michelle Nunn’s Memo for Advertising [RedState]

Michelle Nunn’s campaign in Georgia is off to a rough general election start with the release of her campaign memo. It gives away the game that she’s a liberal outsider who is going to have to pretend to be a moderate Georgian.

Our friends at Ending Spending are first out of the gate with an ad based on that memo.

The post Ending Spending Uses Michelle Nunn’s Memo for Advertising appeared first on RedState.

The Watercooler ~ Media Becoming Hysterical Over Israel [RedState]

Joel B. Pollak at Breitbart hit the nail on the head in his analysis regarding the explanation for the media’s increasing shrill cacophony of criticism toward Israel’s handling of the battle against Hamas. Naming MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Fox’s Shepherd Smith, and the White House Press Corp as just three examples of the criticism — just yesterday — reaching a collective fevered pitch of near hysteria, Pollak’s explanation is succinct:

The reason for the hysterics is that Israel is refusing to play by the usual script. The media are used to a familiar pattern: terrorists attack Israel, Israel fights back for a while, a major civilian casualty event happens, the U.S. pulls its support, and Israel stops whatever it is doing. That pattern has been the same across Republican and Democratic administrations–from the Second Lebanon War to Operations Cast Lead.

This time, however, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ignored White House exhortations as well as international criticism, and has vowed to continue to destroy Hamas terror tunnels, with or without a ceasefire. The media are incredulous: Israel has not just defied the UN and the U.S., but it has defied them. And the media are not used to anyone pushing back–least of all Israel, which journalists believe can be bullied with impunity.

Personally, it is really gratifying to me to watch Benjamin Netanyahu — with majority support from Israeli citizens — ignore the biased media hysteria and do what he has to do to protect Israel. There comes a point when even tiny Israel — essentially abandoned by the Obama administration — must accept that all of their good faith attempts to assure the world that they are acting with integrity will never be recognized by certain people. But those of us who are not blinded by stupidity and a perverse love for terrorists will always stand with her.

God bless Israel. And pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Psalm 122:6

The Watercooler is always an open thread.

The post The Watercooler ~ Media Becoming Hysterical Over Israel appeared first on RedState.

David Vitter (R-LA) Supports Common Core [RedState]

David Vitter, a Republican Senator from Louisiana, came out voicing strong support for Common Core education standards in a recent interview.

In an interview taped for C-SPAN’s ‘Newsmakers,’ Vitter called Common Core “very strong, significant, positive standards.”

He added that the state must make sure teachers are properly prepared to use the standards and must retain local control of curriculum.

The comments come as Jindal is taking steps to undermine the standards and remove them from Louisiana classrooms, in a dispute with education leaders that’s headed to court.

Vitter is taking a different stance from his two competitors in the governor’s race, who have raised concerns about Common Core.

The gubernatorial election is still quite a ways off, but polling has shown Vitter consistently over anyone else who has discussed running or is seen as potentially running. This sudden support for Common Core is, frankly odd. The standards are the basis of no less than three lawsuits (one filed by 17 state legislators who are opposed to it, one filed by aggrieved parents and teachers who are in support of it and were joined recently by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and a counter-suit filed by Jindal in response to the previous one).

It is also not the first time Vitter and Jindal have been at odds over Louisiana policy. Vitter, has talked about Common Core before and has voiced his support over what the standards represent, even if he questioned the use of the PARCC Testing, which is the current source of the drama in Louisiana.

The post David Vitter (R-LA) Supports Common Core appeared first on RedState.

Cook Political Report House race update: 17 races +GOP, 4 +Dem. [RedState]

This is not precisely a ‘Boom!’


…and I’d hold off calling DOOM on this, either. But it’s getting there. There are two interesting data points, here:

  1. Cook’s main ratings now show that there are five Republican seats that are seriously at risk of flipping, as opposed to fifteen Democratic ones.
  2. Looking at the race changes themselves: Cook took 6 Republicans and one Democrat effectively off of the board completely by rating their races as Solid.  Cook also put one race  (IA-02) into play by upgrading it from Solid Democratic to Likely Democratic.

That last point is important because it shows in stark relief the shrinking of the Democratic playing field. Right now Cook ranks the house as: 204 Solid Republican, 160 Solid Democratic. The Republicans currently control 15 seats that are ranked Likely Republican: even if you spot the Democratic party every other race (including the two Democratic-controlled seats that are ranked Likely Republican) the GOP would still have a majority in the House next year. Not that will happen: what is expected to happen is that the Democrats will probably lose a net six seats or so.

So why isn’t this a Boom! or a DOOM? …Largely because there’s nothing really unexpected about this.  The Democrats were and are never really expected to win the House back this year, no more than they were really expected to do so in 2012. The only people who really believe (or believed) otherwise were and are hardcore partisans: and while I’m not going to mock them for it this time* I will still note that those people are not being given good information right now. And what’s good information?  Well, it’s that this is a midterm year, and there’s precious little enthusiasm being generated by Democrats right now.

And there’s unlikely to be much of any generated, because for the last six years or so the Democratic party apparatus has been converted into a cult of personality centered around the President.  This is why my mailbox – and the mailbox of every other Republican operative out there – is currently overflowing with increasingly shrill Democratic denunciations of the House GOP’s lawsuit against Barack Obama (when they’re not screaming about impeachment)**.  Even a only reasonably impartial observer would concede that it’s in the Democrats’ own best interests to re-establish checks on the executive branch’s power – after all, there’s going to be a Republican President in that position soon enough*** – and goodness knows that Barack Obama is going to be even more unproductive during his formal lame-duck period anyway.  But that doesn’t matter to personality cults.  The awkwardness?  Personality cults don’t really care about any election where their Anointed One isn’t on the ballot.

Ach, well, self-correcting problem.  Alas.

Image via Shutterstock.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Hey, I’m a hardcore partisan, too.  And a hack, come to think of it.

**We signed up to keep track of what nonsense the Other Side was dishing out.  Presumably our opposite numbers on the Left do the same.  Makes sense, right?

***Let us now pause for the ritual No Republican will ever be elected President, ever again Chorus, done in two-part (and bipartisan) harmony.

The post Cook Political Report House race update: 17 races +GOP, 4 +Dem. appeared first on RedState.

Border bill moves to vote in the House [RedState]

gop leadership
After a conservative revolt yesterday forced the GOP leadership’s border funding bill to be pulled from the floor, a new bill is ready to pass.

The new legislation — described to GOP lawmakers in a closed-door meeting in the Capitol — uses new language from Texas Rep. John Carter and Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt to change a 2008 trafficking law that made it harder to deport children from countries other than Canada and Mexico.

The bill is more costly than than the legislation that had to be yanked from the floor Thursday. The latest version sends $35 million to the governors to pay for their National Guards, sending the price tag to $694 million — a far cry from the nearly $4 billion President Barack Obama requested. It is fully offset by spending cuts, GOP sources said.

According to Politico, Marsha Blackburn has included language that will prevent, as much as any mere law can, Obama from granting amnesty unilaterally. This provision will get a separate vote from the funding bill. Michele Bachmann and Steve King are both on board with the new bill.

With the Senate already on recess and unable to produce a bill itself, this represents something of a victory of style over substance. The next round will take place if the Senate passes a different bill and a conference committee is required.

The post Border bill moves to vote in the House appeared first on RedState.

RedState Gathering 2014 Agenda #RSG14 [RedState]

Dear RedState Gathering Attendee,

We are looking forward to seeing you in Fort Worth. The RedState Gathering is less than two weeks away, please find below some important information about the details for the weekend.

You will need your registration badge to access the Ballroom and the evening events. Please check in at the Registration desk on the Mezzanine level near the Ballroom Foyer when you arrive at the hotel.

Business Casual attire is appropriate during the Friday and Saturday program, casual for all the evening events.

Below is the detailed draft agenda for the Gathering; please note that exact times are subject to change. Please check the program onsite for exact times 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

3:00 – 6:30 p.m. Registration 
Ballroom Foyer

6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Governor’s Welcome Reception featuring The Brad Dunn Band 
Cooper’s, Fort Worth Stockyards District
301 Stockyards Blvd.
(Buses will load in front of the Hotel beginning at 6:30pm. and loop throughout the evening.) 

Friday, August 8, 2014 

8:00 – 5:00 p.m Registration 
Ballroom Foyer

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast 
Ballroom Foyer

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Ken Cuccinelli – Senate Conservatives Fund 
Grand Ballroom

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. Welcome, Opening Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance 
Erick Erickson

9:30 – 10:00 a.m. Governor Rick Perry

10:00 – 10:30 a.m. Konni Burton, Candidate, Texas SD-10 

10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Morning Break

11:00 – 11:30a.m. State Representative Scott Turner

11:30 – Noon Jim DeMint, President, Heritage Foundation

Noon – 1:30 p.m. Lunch – Ballroom Foyer 

12:30- 1:15 p.m. “Emerging Conservative Issues” 
Frontiers of Freedom
Enter to win a free iPad (Must be present to win.)
Grand Ballroom 

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. Jessica Anderson, Heritage Action 

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. BATTLEGROUND TEXAS – Mark Davis & Bryan Preston 

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. John Ratcliffe, Candidate for US House, TX-4 

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. Afternoon Break 

3:30 – 4:00 p.m. Obama Scandals – Katie Pavlich & Kevin Glass,Townhall.com 

4:00 – 4:30 p.m. RedState Weekly Briefing 
Aaron Gardner & Caleb Howe 

4:30 – 5:00 p.m Ben Sasse – Candidate for US Senate, Nebraska 

5:00 – 5:30 p.m. Senator Ted Cruz 

7:00 – 10:00 p.m. Reception with Senator Ted Cruz 
Joe T. Garcia’s 
2201 N. Commerce Street 
Buses begin loading at 7:00 p.m. in front of the hotel. 
Buses will loop throughout the evening. 
Buffet begins at 8p.m., Cash bar available. 
(Please note Joe T’s doesn’t accept credit cards.) 

Saturday, August 9, 2014 

8:00 – 5:00 p.m Registration 
Ballroom Foyer 

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast 
Ballroom Foyer 

8:15 – 8:45 a.m. “Protecting Life, Liberty & Property in Your State” 
Empower Texans
Grand Ballroom 

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. Governor Nikki Haley 

9:30 – 10:00 a.m. Coffee and Markets – Brad Jackson 

10:00 – 10:30 a.m. Ken Buck – Candidate for US House, CO-4 

10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Morning Break 

11:00 – 11:30 a.m. Drew Ryun – Madison Project 

11:30 – Noon Congressman Jim Bridenstine 

Noon – 1:30 p.m. Lunch – Ballroom Foyer 

12:30 – 1:15 p.m. “America’s Getting Right on Crime” 
Right on Crime 
Grand Ballroom 

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. Matt Kibbe – FreedomWorks 

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Elections Preview – Erick Erickson & Guy Benson 

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Reince Priebus – Chair, Republican National Committee 

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. Afternoon Break 

3:30 – 4:00 p.m. Paul Dietzel – Candidate for US House, LA-6 

4:00 – 4:30 p.m. Ken Paxton – Candidate for Texas Attorney General 

4:30 – 5:00 p.m. Attorney General Greg Abbott 

7:00 – 9:30 p.m. Reception with Attorney General Greg Abbott
Texas Motor Speedway 
Food, Drinks and a Special Surprise 
Buses will load beginning at 6:15 p.m 
Due to the distance between the hotel and the 
Speedway, the buses will not loop. Buses will return 
promptly at 9:30. Please be on the bus prior to 9:30 as we will not be responsible for transporting anyone left behind.
Sunday , August 10, 2014 

8:00 – 10:00 a.m. Informal Breakfast 
Grand Ballroom Foyer 

The post RedState Gathering 2014 Agenda #RSG14 appeared first on RedState.

It's official: You can now legally carrier-unlock your mobile in the US [The Register]

Tomorrow belongs to us, says iFixit boss

President Obama has signed off on the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, meaning that, in the US, people can take their mobile phone and unlock it from the carrier that sold it to them.…

Google's mysterious floating techno barge SOLD FOR SCRAP [The Register]

Baffling boat scuppered after Page and Brin abandon ship

Google's hopes of operating a floating technology showcase in the San Francisco Bay appear to have sunk, with word that the online ad-slinger has sold off at least one of two mysterious – or merely hare-brained? – Google Barges.…

We sent a probe SIX BILLION km to measure temperature of a COMET doing 135,000 km/h [The Register]

FYI, it was -70 degrees celsius

The comet-chasing spacecraft Rosetta has got close enough to its target to start getting temperature readings. The results show that comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko isn't the snowball some boffins were expecting.…

Apple ebook price-fix row: Stiffed readers inch closer to $450m windfall [The Register]

Judge signs off on payout deal – but it's not over yet

An ebooks price-fixing lawsuit against Apple in the US is close to wrapping up – with the iPhone maker coughing up nearly half a billion dollars as a result, potentially.…

Microsoft blasts sueball at Samsung in Android patent royalty spat [The Register]

Claims payment halted after Redmond bought Nokia mobe biz

Updated  Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Samsung in a US court on Friday, claiming the Korean firm is in breach of an earlier cross-licensing agreement relating to mobile technology patents.…

What the FLOCK? Addictive 'Flappy Bird' is back – and it's coming for your family [The Register]

What a time to be alive

Pic  Infuriating yet stupidly popular crapp Flappy Bird has officially returned, it appears – and it's now a multi-player game called Flappy Birds Family. It's available for free for Amazon's set-top box, the Android-based Fire TV.…

Microsoft: IE11 for Windows Phone 8.1 is TOO GOOD. So we'll cripple it like Safari [The Register]

Grudgingly supports quirky features so sites look right

The forthcoming Windows Phone 8.1 Update will include plenty of tweaks and fixes for Internet Explorer 11, and while many of them are designed to improve the browser's web standards compliance, Redmond says others are designed to do exactly the opposite.…

Comcast, Time Warner boost net speeds in Google Fiber city – COINCIDENCE? [The Register]

Aah, the power of competition

Comcast and Time Warner will hike their broadband speeds in Kansas City, which just so happens to be the first place Google Fiber rolled out.…

Vulturization: Who'd be a sysadmin today? [The Register]

Trevor and Phoummala chat to Nutanix's Dwayne Lessner about hype, Hyper-V and more

Podcast  The Register presents the second installment of the Vulturization podcast series – listen here or from the player below.…

Facebook goes down, people dial 911 [The Register]

Police appeal for calm – yes, seriously

Facebook's servers fell over today – with users on the US east coast, and in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, complaining of outages.…

Hey, what's inside those Imation Nexsan arrays? Whoa, bundles of cash? [The Register]

Same old, same old, though – revenues down and a loss

The pace of revenue decline at storage biz Imation is lessening – but the loss-making continues: its second quarter results show storage media revenue falls outweighing storage array and security product revenue rises.…

Siri won't let Beats into Dr. Dre's party in bizarre new ad [The Verge - All Posts]

Beats officially became part of Apple today, and the companies are celebrating with a strange new ad in which no one gets to celebrate at all. In the 30-second spot posted to Twitter, Siri overhears two Beats spokes-speakers happily discussing the news about their new corporate owners. Siri's disembodied voice lets them know that Beats founder Dr. Dre is hosting a party tonight, leading to much rejoicing. "I gotta go get my hair and nails done," shouts the lady Pill, who is named Tina and has a Twitter account. The man Pill asks for directions, but Siri shoots him down. "Sorry, Mikey and Tina," Siri says, not sounding sorry at all. "Dre's party is invitation only." The Pills get sad. They're out of luck. Fade to logos!

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World Health Organization chief says latest ebola outbreak is moving too fast to control [The Verge - All Posts]

In a speech to three countries hit hard by an ebola outbreak, the director of the World Health Organization today said that efforts to halt the spread of the deadly virus have not been good enough"This is an unprecedented outbreak accompanied by unprecedented challenges. And these challenges are extraordinary," WHO Director General Margaret Chan told leaders of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in a speech in Guinea's capital city Conakry. "This outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it. If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries," she warned.

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How Samsung can bounce back [The Verge - All Posts]

Samsung just finished a pretty rough financial quarter, but it's not out of the woods yet.. The company itself has just admitted it has a tough row to hoe for the second half of 2014. It's going to need to find a way to succeed in China in the face of low-cost competitors who are producing surprisingly decent phones of late. In the US, the impending release of a big-screened iPhone could put a serious hurt on what has been Samsung's best differentiator so far.

It's a lot to take on, but as we explained earlier today, Samsung is preparing all the right things to make it happen. Now it actually has to execute. Better software and better hardware materials will be key to making "an uncompromised phone that can outsell the iPhone because it...

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Microsoft takes Samsung to court over Android royalties [The Verge - All Posts]

Microsoft wants a judge to decide whether its recent Nokia acquisition should allow Samsung to stop handing over royalties on Android devices. Since 2011, Samsung has been paying out per-device royalties to Microsoft for every Android product it sells. Microsoft has struck similar deals with many Android OEMs, and it's been a lucrative endeavor. But apparently late last year, the dominant Android manufacturer decided it was tired of paying on time, or paying interest when a late payment was finally made.

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WWE Network isn't yet the streaming champion Vince McMahon wants it to be [The Verge - All Posts]

When Vince McMahon proudly announced WWE Network at CES in January, he essentially gave wrestling fans everything they'd ever wanted. The 24/7 streaming network offers access to WWE's massive vault of past pay-per-views. You can watch Hulk Hogan take on Andre The Giant at WrestleMania 3, then jump forward 14 years and see Hogan versus Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at WrestleMania X8. (The latter match is way better.) There's plenty of other programming from years past, and newer original shows. All for $9.99 monthly with a six-month commitment.

It seemed like an absolute bargain for fans, and set WWE on a new trajectory that will ultimately abandon the old, $60 Sunday night pay-per-view formula that's lined McMahon's pockets for decades....

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Apple's $450 million ebooks antitrust settlement approved by judge [The Verge - All Posts]

Apple's $450 million ebooks case settlement received preliminary approval from US District Judge Denise Cote today, though the ultimate sum distributed to consumers will hinge on the outcome of Apple's appeal. If the original verdict is upheld, $400 million will go to consumers that were "harmed" by the price-fixing scheme between Apple and book publishers, with $50 million directed to lawyers' pockets. If Apple somehow pulls an upset and wins on appeal, the company won't have to pay anything. And then there's a third scenario: the appeals court could overturn Cote's verdict and kick the case back down to her for another go. Should that play out, Apple will pay consumers $50 million, with lawyers still earning a healthy $20 million...

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PlayStation Now is a glimpse at the future of gaming — for a price [The Verge - All Posts]

"Honey, can you turn off Netflix? I'm trying to play Twisted Metal."

In my life, I never thought I'd utter those words. But that's the future, according to PlayStation Now — that's the name for Sony's streaming games service that launched this week in open beta on PlayStation 4. The "Netflix for games" truly is the future of gaming — but that future comes with a whole new vocabulary of gripes and concerns, all of which will be familiar to anyone who uses Netflix.

PlayStation Now is a cloud gaming service that lets you rent games by the hour, day, week, or month. There is no processing done locally on a game console or computer; you're essentially streaming the game from a server far away, with your button presses passing from the...

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Google is reportedly separating its photos service from Google+ [The Verge - All Posts]

The Google+ photo organization and editing tools are probably the most useful part of Google's oft-critizied social network, and now it sounds like they'll soon be spun off into their own standalone product. According to Bloomberg, Google is planning to make the existing Google+ photo features into an independent product that'll be accessible even to users who don't have a Google+ account. It's an effort to find more users for the strongest part of Google+ without the baggage that comes with a service that has consistently struggled to find an engaged user base, despite Google's claims to the contrary.

The future of Google+ has been up in the air for several months now — VP Vic Gundotra, the head of Google+, left the company in April,...

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You can now install Google's app launcher on almost any Android phone [The Verge - All Posts]

Google special app launcher, which initially debuted on the Nexus 5 last year, is now available for all Android devices running 4.1 Jelly Bean or newer. The Google Now Launcher integrates Google's virtual assistant service into a permanent pane to the left of the primary homescreen and has larger app icons than the standard launcher that comes on many Android phones. Google had previously expanded availability of the launcher to its own Nexus devices, including the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, but now it is available for about 75 percent of the Android devices currently in use.

The Google Now Launcher follows behind a number of other Google-made apps that have made their ways to the broader Android universe, including Google CalendarGoogle...

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One of Google's two mystery barges is being dismantled and sold for scrap [The Verge - All Posts]

So much for Google's barge project, it seems. One of the only two multi-level barges owned by Google has been sold by the company, and the rest is headed off to a scrapyard, reports The Portland Press Herald. Earlier this week, Google quietly sold off the barge that was holding up the mysterious four story structure. The floating vessel had been harbored in Maine since last October, with Google planning to eventually use it as "an interactive space where people can learn about new technology." A counterpart on the West Coast was originally docked in San Francisco bay, though was moved inland back in February.

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The World’s Oldest Profession [Transterrestrial Musings]

It’s long past time to legalize it.


Book Reveals Stuff About Joe Biden You Didn't Want to Know and Will Be Angry At Me For Telling You [Ace of Spades HQ]

Allegedly, our weird vice president prefers skinny dipping when he swims. And the female secret service agents protecting him don't like that. They don't like that one bit. "Agents say that, whether at the vice president’s residence or at his...

House Readies Another Border Control Bill, This One Limiting DACA (The Executive Law Granting Amnesty to Young Illegals) [Ace of Spades HQ]

The Senate's already gone home for their five week vacation, or, as they call it in the government, their "Service." The House, however, is preparing some kind of new bill. The last bill consisted of two bills, actually -- the...

Friday Morning News Dump [Ace of Spades HQ]

Halbig Shows How Leftist Wonks Just Aren't Very Good At Their Jobs Schools For Scandal Criminal States Hamas Breaks Ceasefire After 90 Minutes Free Gaza Tampering Tinkerers Of Capitol Hill When All That Glitters Is Bronze IRS Strikes Deal...

Morning Chitchat 08-01-14 [Ace of Spades HQ]

Good morning you darling Morons, and Happy Friday! An ebola patient is being brought to the United States. All will be well, of course. Hey, it's not like we can't trust people to diligently account for dangerous pathogens and not...

Overnight Open Thread (7-31-2014) [Ace of Spades HQ]

Children Pose With Their Most Prized Possessions       Charles C. Cooke: Smarter Than Thou Ace mentioned this article a day or two ago but the entire thing is worth reading since it encapsulates so much that is wrong with...

No, Stop, It's Too Cute. Stop It Right Now. [Ace of Spades HQ]

A dog had been separated from its owner for two full years. The owner was away in Slovenia, but returned home to Pennsylvania, whereupon she saw her pooch. Here's the little guy's reaction at the reunion....

72 Hour Ceasefire Declared in Hamas-Israel Fight [Ace of Spades HQ]

Beginning at 8 pm am on Friday. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations announced early Friday that Israel and Hamas had agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza conflict. Israel...

Leftwing "Wonks" Shocked Again to Learn Basic Things [Ace of Spades HQ]

I would propose a simple definition of "expert:" One who is not surprised or even stunned to learn the basics of his claimed field of expertise. By this definition, the left has a serious lack of experts. I might add...


Same big crate at a much lower rate: A Western Sydney company has offered to build Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s giant…


Convicted terrorist, disability pensioner and bludjahideen warrior Khaled Sharrouf explains his cause: They fight us and harm us we will…


No agency? No problem: A Labor-appointed bureaucrat is being paid $28,000 a month to head an agency that no longer exists. …


By God, this is beautiful. (Via Instapundit)

IE on Windows Phone Now Spoofing iPhone Safari’s Useragent String [Daring Fireball]

Totally understandable on Microsoft’s part, but man, what a sign of how much the iPhone has turned the industry upside-down. IE used to be the browser whose useragent string others had to spoof.

Daring Fireball: T-Shirts [Daring Fireball]

Thumbnail of a slate gray Daring Fireball baseball t-shirt.

On sale now through tomorrow.

Where are they now? Former shortwave broadcasting giants & minnows [DX International radio]

Photo above from Public Radio of Armenia Facebook page

Extracts below from Radio Websites (August 2014)  by Chrissy Brand, for Radio User, 2014. 

Where are they now?

This is the part of the magazine where I track down and remind you of where former radio shortwave broadcasting giants and minnows have now gone to. The Voice of Russia left shortwave to park its bus in cyberspace but can be heard on DAB in south east England, and online at the special UK service website. It’s today’s equivalent of those mighty shortwave broadcasts that Radio Moscow used to target to listeners in “Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.  If you go to  http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/  you can see how the Voice of Russia  still has the variety of exciting programmes that it used to air on shortwave. With current world politics it will pay to keep an ear to that station.

The Voice of Armenia still broadcast on shortwave but not in English, on 4810kHz. The next best thing is that you can watch Armenian television at http://www.armeniatv.am/en/voice with programmes such as The Human Factor, Sharp Angle and Inner Kitchen. It’s also available on a Russian version of You Tube, called Ru Tube http://rutube.ru/  and you can follow the tv channel on Twitter at @armeniantv 

When you mention The Voice of Armenia these days it is more associated with the tv singing show The Voice which started in the USA and has spread globally.  

There is sport as well which doesn’t require too much in the way of knowing the local lingo. It all looks slick and there is a even a little English to help us poor saps. The Armenian alphabet and script looks very elegant I must say, as do some of the presenters you’ll see. It’s a long way from the “This Is Yerevan” identification calls that used to echo across the shortwaves with more regularity than they now do, but I enjoy staying in touch with a country I learned so much about through radio.

Of course, as well as current day audio and video from former international broadcasters, there is an ever-expanding archive being compiled by DXers around the world, and uploaded to You Tube, Vimeo and doubtless other similar video and audio social media sites. You can spend many a happy hour wallowing in the snap crackle and pop of shortwave’s golden era when you search for archive material online. 

For example D Firth has a You Tube channel laden with off-air recordings clips from the late 1960s which feature Radio Australia, Radio Moscow, Radio Peking, Swiss Radio International and the Voice of America at https://www.youtube.com/user/dfirth224  

Our good friend of the DX community SWLDX in Bulgaria, along with a regular blog, has over 2,000 videos online at https://www.youtube.com/user/SWLDXBulgaria which include vintage as well as current catches. Listen to his 40 minute long audio from “The Glory Days of Shortwave Radio”, if you fancy a trip down memory lane. 

Others I’ve enjoyed recently include John Doe’s YouTube channel 
https://www.youtube.com/user/RWObservatory which has current recordings of shortwave stations such as the BBC and Vatican Radio plus some older material including  vintage Brother Stair clips – in full preacher mode- from the 1980s.

FCC asked six more ISPs, content providers to reveal paid peering deals [Ars Technica]

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler speaking to the cable industry in April 2014.

The Federal Communications Commission investigation of how network interconnection problems affect the quality of Internet service began when the FCC obtained the paid peering deals Netflix signed with Comcast and Verizon.

The FCC has asked another six Internet service providers and content providers for copies of similar agreements, a commission official told Ars this week. The FCC will likely announce more details of its probe in the fall, but the public probably won't see any specific details of the contracts. Ars sent the commission a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain Netflix's contracts with Comcast and Verizon, but it was denied due to their confidential nature.

That's no surprise, but it may be tricky for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to fulfill his stated goal of explaining to the public how interconnection disagreements affect the quality of streaming video and other Web services.

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Terrorists embracing new Android crypto in wake of Snowden revelations [Ars Technica]

Security researchers announced Friday that they have found new evidence to bolster claims from the National Security Agency that terrorists have altered their countermeasures in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations.

"Al-Fajr, one of Al-Qaeda’s media arms, released a new Android encryption application [in] early June 2014 on their website, referring to how it follows the “latest technological advancements” and provides '4096 bit public key' encryption," intelligence firm Recorded Future said in a Friday report.

The report added that Global Islamic Media Front, another arm of Al Qaeda, just released a "new version" of Android crypto software.

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Hydropower no longer majority of renewable energy in the US [Ars Technica]


Less than a decade ago, renewable energy in the US meant hydropower; everything else was just a rounding error. Times have definitely changed. Yesterday, the US Energy Information Agency announced that non-hydro renewable had gone eight months where it outproduced hydroelectric dams. And that's without counting residential or distributed solar power.

The EIA defines non-hydro renewables as a mix of solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas, and municipal solid waste; currently, the largest contributors there are solar and wind. But the EIA doesn't track projects below one megawatt of capacity, which would include all residential solar installations, as well as distributed projects like the ones New Jersey is placing on utility poles. As a result, the numbers for non-hydro renewables should be considered a lower bound on the true output. (The EIA estimates distributed solar's 2013 output as 10 billion kilowatt hours.)

Despite that caveat, the growth has been impressive. The non-hydro output had never been more than half the renewable total before late 2012, but it had already started its eight-month run just a year later. The high variability of hydro output (which has seasonal and other water availability limitations) caused it to bounce back above half in May, but the EIA expects that, on the whole, it will be below half of the annual generation for the year. And given current trends, it's unlikely to ever dominate renewable generation again.

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Ryan Seacrest’s BlackBerry-ish iPhone keyboard returns after lawsuit [Ars Technica]

The new Typo 2 keyboard case. It now looks kind of like a BlackBerry instead of exactly like a BlackBerry.

Remember Typo, the company co-founded by entertainer and tech luminary Ryan Seacrest that began selling a suspiciously BlackBerry-like keyboard case for the iPhone earlier this year? Typo is back with a new iteration called the Typo 2, which takes the same idea and implements it in a way that hopefully won't make a certain Canadian smartphone manufacturer feel litigious.

The original Typo keyboard looked so much like BlackBerry's that BlackBerry sued in January, and by March it had won a preliminary injunction banning Typo from selling the accessory. Looking at the original Typo keyboard, it's not hard to see why:

And here's the keyboard BlackBerry is using on its Q10 smartphone.

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One of Google’s mystery barges has been sold and is shipping out [Ars Technica]

One of Google's mysterious party/showroom barges has reportedly been sold and will be shipping out of its location in Portland, according to a report from the Portland Press Herald. The barge was transferred to a new terminal Wednesday, and the terminal's owner states that it's preparing to ship out to a new owner shortly.

When the four Google barges first turned up on both the East and West coasts, reports indicated that Google intended them to be a show floor for projects in work, such as Google Glass and the company's self-driving car technology. Onboard two of the barges were structures made of 40-foot shipping containers that could be put together, rearranged, and transported as needed. The structures also reportedly included a "party deck" and various amenities for receiving clients, business partners, and VIPs.

As of fall 2013, little work had been done on the two barges parked in Portland and San Francisco Bay, and the two others in San Francisco's Treasure Island and New London, CT didn't even have superstructures to support future development. Portland collected property taxes on the barge parked there to the tune of $400,000. In February, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission told Google it needed to move its barge out.

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Understanding chronic pain’s link to depression [Ars Technica]

Chronic pain, defined as disabling pain that persists despite attempts at treatment and often without obvious cause, has become a serious challenge for health professionals. It is not surprising that someone suffering from this level of pain might become depressed, but most studies consider depression a "comorbidity"—an associated disorder—or suggest that the pain is "somatization" of the depression. That is, it may be a mental disorder’s effect on the body.

These ideas ignore both the impact of pain on people and 50 years of understanding in pain science. A new study by Neil Schwartz at Stanford University and colleagues, just published in Science, has helped clarify the relationship between pain and depression. The researchers identify the underpinnings of loss of motivation in mice with chronic pain and depression.

For the study, they induced chronic pain in mice through injury. Before the injury, the mice were tested for their motivation to search for and work to get food. After the injury, they were just as interested in food they could obtain with minimal effort. But those with pain gave up much sooner when getting food required more work per pellet. This shows that chronic pain can reduce motivation.

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Why the head of Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange should be in jail [Ars Technica]

While Mt. Gox owner Mark Karpeles was growing what would become the world's largest Bitcoin exchange, he should have been serving time in his home country of France. He was sentenced to a year in custody in 2010 on fraud accusations.

A newly obtained French court document shows that Karpeles has a civil and non-civil judgment pending where, in addition to custody, he also owes €45,000 ($60,000). The document is being published jointly for the first time by Ars Technica and the French publication Le Monde. (Read the French original here and an English translation here.)

The case was brought by a former employer who accused Karpeles of stealing customer user names, customer passwords, and a domain name, among other grievances. Under French law, Karpeles is not considered a criminal but rather “un délinquant,” a delinquent offender. It's a lesser label than “criminal,” because that word is reserved only for very serious crimes within the country.

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Gearbox responds to Aliens class-action lawsuit, throws Sega under bus [Ars Technica]

Historically, the biggest class-action lawsuits filed against video game companies have stemmed from antitrust and monopoly accusations, such as Nintendo's alleged price-fixing in 1991 or EA's football-series monopolies in the mid-'00s. But in some cases, like a filing over the 2013 shooter Aliens: Colonial Marines, the suit's terms boiled down to little more than "the game stinks."

That's what happened when two fans sued producer Sega and developer Gearbox in May 2013 over that disastrous Aliens game, alleging that the game's previews were so different from the retail release that they "misled" shoppers. On Thursday, over a year after the suit was filed, Gearbox finally responded with a motion for dismissal—and revealed more of the game's woes in the process.

One section of the motion, penned by Gearbox Marketing Director Steve Gibson, recounted the game's development timeline in order to distance itself from any financial obligation should the lawsuit turn out in the plaintiffs' favor. In particular, Gibson alleged that "Gearbox supplemented Sega’s development budget with its own money" to the tune of millions, "none of which was ever repaid."

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NASA announces the instruments for the next Mars rover [Ars Technica]

This is Curiosity, but physically, Mars 2020 will look quite similar.

When NASA announced its plans for future explorations of Mars, there was a sense of disappointment in some quarters, since it featured a rover much like Curiosity. But NASA made clear that it was only using the proven technology of the vehicle itself; the instruments it carried would be all new and shaped by both the advancement of technology and the experience of past missions.

Today NASA announced exactly what instruments the mission—currently called Mars 2020—will carry. They included hardware capable of making a more directed search for organic chemicals on the red planet, which could be evidence that life existed there in the past. And it will also carry an experiment designed to test our ability to produce oxygen for future manned explorations of Mars. The rover will also gather and cache samples to be picked up and returned to Earth by a future mission.

NASA had received nearly 60 proposals for instruments to fly on the Mars 2020 mission. From that list, it has selected seven, which it expects will cost a total of roughly $130 million to develop and build. Once again, the rover will be equipped with a mastcam (Mastcam-Z in this iteration) that includes panoramic and stereo imaging. The rover will also carry an instrument to track the wind, temperature, and the properties of Mars' persistent dust.

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Office for iPad updates add PDF exports, better keyboard and font support [Ars Technica]

Exporting to PDF from Excel for iPad. All four Office apps can do this now.
Andrew Cunningham

Microsoft at long last released Office for the iPad in March, in keeping with CEO Satya Nadella's "cloud first, mobile first" approach to competitors' platforms. OneNote had already been available for some time, but it was the first time Word, Excel, or PowerPoint had been available as native iPad apps. Today Microsoft updated all four applications, following the hasty addition of printer support about a month after the initial release.

All four apps can now export files as PDFs, crop pictures inline, and reset changes made to pictures. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint can also use third-party fonts, presumably in addition to the Microsoft- and Apple-supplied fonts that come with iOS and the Office apps themselves. Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote pick up more features that will be appreciated by heavier users of the desktop Office apps. From the release notes:


  • Flick to select: flick a cell’s selection handle in any direction to quickly and easily select all the data in a row or column.
  • External keyboard support: using an external keyboard is even easier. Use the same keys to input data and move around a worksheet as you would on your PC or Mac.
  • PivotTables: interact with PivotTables that have source data in the same workbook.
  • Print options: more paper sizes and scaling options give you more control over the layout when printing your workbooks.


  • Presenter view: view and edit speaker notes, see your next slide, or jump to other slides while presenting.
  • Play media: play videos, sound effects, and background music while presenting.
  • Insert video: insert videos from your Camera Roll.
  • Presenter tools: now you can erase highlights and drawings on your presentation.
  • Hyperlinks: add links to your presentation or edit existing ones.


  • Protected sections: now you can lock or unlock password-protected sections created in OneNote for Windows.
  • Organize notebooks: now you can move and reorder pages and sections and manage subpages.
  • Formatted text: copy and paste formatted text between applications—whether it's an article from Safari or a document in Word, any content you paste into OneNote will look great!
  • Creating notebooks: now you can create notebooks and save them to OneDrive for business. Have multiple accounts? No problem! It's easy to select exactly where you want to store your new notebook.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote are all available in the App Store for any iPad running iOS 7. A Microsoft account is required to view files in all of the applications. A current Office365 subscription is required to edit files in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

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Calling Ebola outbreak “unprecedented,” WHO plans $100-million fight [Ars Technica]

Today, the World Health Organization announced that it will begin coordinating a $100-million effort to contain the Ebola virus outbreak that's currently killing people in West Africa. The 120 staff WHO has directed to combat the disease are turning out to be insufficient, even when combined with local health workers and a collection of NGOs. The organization has called the scale of the outbreak "unprecedented."

The launch will officially take place tomorrow in Guinea, one of the countries that has been hit the hardest by Ebola. An Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Response Plan in West Africa has already been developed. The plan calls for several hundred additional workers, primarily "clinical doctors and nurses, epidemiologists, social mobilization experts, logisticians and data managers." Their goal will be two-fold: strengthen surveillance and response capabilities in surrounding countries to limit the spread of the virus and cut down on transmission in affected areas by scaling up existing outbreak control measures.

Ebola is part of a family of viruses that causes what are termed "hemorrhagic fevers." The results are exactly what the name implies: failure of blood vessel integrity and blood clotting, leading to widespread internal and external bleeding. Since the virus is present in these fluids, the bleeding puts anyone who comes in contact with a symptomatic individual or the body of anyone killed by Ebola at risk of infection. Health care workers can easily become infected during routine care.

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Hoboken School District: We’re not tossing laptops, but moving to “rolling laptop carts” [Ars Technica]

The Hoboken School District said in a statement that it is not throwing away its student laptops, despite a headline from public radio station WNYC that stated: "Why Hoboken Is Throwing Away All its Student Laptops."

That story was a reprint of The Hechinger Report's original story, under the headline: "Why a New Jersey school district decided giving laptops to students is a terrible idea." The original story noted that the school district was abandoning the essential goal of providing one laptop to each 7th and 8th grader.

In a letter “to the Hoboken Community” posted on the district website on Thursday, Interim Superintendent Richard Brockel wrote that the district’s program purchased 300 laptops “with the intent to provide technology for all students regardless of their relative personal economic situation.”

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Trolls bring down the launch of conservative social network “Reaganbook” [Ars Technica]

A number of the profiles created on Reaganbook and cached by Google before the site was closed to the public, some of them NSFW.

The launch of ReaganBook, a conservative-oriented social network, was overrun by trolls Thursday despite its attempt at a soft launch meant specifically to avoid trolls. RawStory reports that the site was flooded with several fake accounts, including ones for Vladimir Putin, Sarah Palin, and Manuel Noriega. Eventually the whole site was taken offline.

ReaganBook is the work of Janet Porter, an Ohio Republican and founder of "pro-life, pro-advocacy" group Faith 2Action, according to The Daily Beast. The site, pitched as "Facebook for patriots," officially opened Tuesday and attracted such personalities as "Ben Ghazi, "Al Zheimers," "Ayn Randy," "Zombie Reagan," and "Ronald Reagan" himself. Users also created group pages for the band Slayer, "Cut Dicks for Christ," and various types of pornographic content, wrote The Daily Beast.

As of Thursday, the site is nothing but a boilerplate message thanking those who (attempted to) participate in the soft launch. "Your participation is helping us build a more secure site. Thank you!" the message reads. "Please be patient while we make the necessary changes to keep the site free from obscenity, pornography, and those intent on the destruction of life, liberty, and the family… As Reagan taught us, trust, but verify." The post is signed "Management." Ayn Randy could not be reached for comment.

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Microsoft ordered to give US customer e-mails stored abroad [Ars Technica]

Microsoft, Sandyford, Co. Dublin.
A federal judge ruled Thursday that Microsoft must hand over e-mails stored on an overseas server to US authorities. The case gives the Obama administration approval to reach into servers abroad.

"It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information," US District Judge Loretta Preska ruled in a closely followed legal flap. The bench order from the New York judge was stayed pending appeal.

The judge sided with the Obama Administration claims that any company with operations in the United States must comply with valid warrants for data, even if the content is stored overseas—in this case Dublin, Ireland. It's a position Microsoft and companies like Apple contended was wrong, arguing that the enforcement of US law stops at the border.

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Industry “self-regulation” has cost cell phone users millions [Ars Technica]


It's no secret that mobile cramming has cost cell phone users lots of money. A Senate Commerce Committee report released yesterday says the unauthorized charges crammed into customer bills have "likely cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars."

The report further says that industry self-regulation has "left gaps in consumer protection." The carriers promised last November to stop these charges, given that previous attempts at self-regulation failed, but much damage was already done and Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) says the risks to consumers are not entirely gone.

The committee staff report, requested by Rockefeller, says, "For several decades, phone companies have allowed third-party vendors to charge consumers on their phone bills for goods and services unrelated to phone service, such as photo storage, voicemail, and faxes. This practice began with landline phone bills and continued on wireless phone bills as consumer use of mobile phones increased. Throughout this period, the industry has assured the public that its self-regulatory system is effective at protecting consumers from fraudulent third-party billing on their phone bills."

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Thursday Dealmaster has a Dell Inspiron 15 for $560 off the MSRP [Ars Technica]

Greetings, Arsians! Our partners at LogicBuy are back with a ton of deals for this week. We've got a back to school special today only: a Dell Inspiron 15 laptop with a Core i7 Haswell processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive for just $749.99. There's also a lower-specced Inspiron 15 for $499.99. Either one will save you a ton of cash and get you ready for school.

Featured deal

Laptops, desktops, and tablets

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Dinosaurs that led to birds were shrinking for millions of years [Ars Technica]

Davide Bonnadonna

We tend to think of feathers as one of the defining features of birds. But in recent years, it's become apparent that the lineage of dinosaurs that gave rise to birds (the Theropods) had feathers millions of years before anything remotely bird-like existed. Just last week, feathers were also found on a dinosaur outside the theropod lineage, raising questions about what made the theropods special (aside from, well, all sorts of cool dinosaur species).

Previous attempts to detect any global trends in bird-like traits among the theropods haven't come up with anything definitive. But today, scientists are releasing a new computer analysis of thousands of traits from theropod dinosaur fossils. The results show that the lineage that gave rise to birds has been getting smaller for 50 million years, and it underwent a huge burst of adding novel anatomical features. Both of these revelations are in sharp contrast to the rest of the theropod lineage.

The first theropods appear in the fossil record after the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction event. During the early part of their history, they were notable for being rather large and static. Some groups appeared in the fossil record 180 million years ago, persisting right up to the mass extinction event that ended the non-avian dinosaurs. And one of the earliest groups to split off the lineage that led to birds were the Megalosaurids—which, as their name implies, were rather large.

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CIA boss apologizes for snooping on Senate computers [Ars Technica]

The head of the Central Intelligence Agency has apologized to leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee after determining that his officers improperly accessed computers that were supposed to be available only to committee investigators, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

The mea culpa from CIA Director John O. Brennan was in sharp contrast to a defiant statement he made in March. After US Senator Dianne Feinstein accused the agency of breaching long-recognized separations between employees of the legislative and executive branches, Brennan maintained that there had been no inappropriate monitoring of Senate staffers' computer activity.

"When the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong," he said at the time.

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Air Force wants weapons faster, cheaper as it sees writing on wall [Ars Technica]

The F-35 program and the F-22 before it, coupled with budget sequestration, have put the Air Force into a strategic tailspin.
US Navy

Yesterday, US Air Force leadership released a document called “America’s Air Force: A Call to the Future,” a 30-year plan focused on “strategic agility” according to its authors. Created by the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force and advisors to the Air Force Chief of Staff, the strategy document calls for the Air Force to focus on the ability to quickly adapt to the changing world by using incremental, agile weapons system development instead of budget-busting major programs that aim for giant leaps in capability.

That doesn’t mean that the Air Force is abandoning its present path right away. The more than $1 trillion acquisition of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter—the most expensive fighter aircraft development program in history—continues unabated. But the Air Force, which slashed the size of its force and much of its capability to fund the F-35 and the F-22 Raptor, is now realizing that it has run hard up against a fundamental law of defense procurement: Augustine’s sixteenth law.

The Ferengi rules of defense acquisition

In 1983, Norman Augustine, former CEO and president of Lockheed Martin, published a book through the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics entitled Augustine’s Laws. The “laws” in the book were a collection of observations and aphorisms about business in general with insights on aerospace and the defense industry in particular. Many were tongue-in-cheek jabs (Law XI states, “If the Earth could be made to rotate twice as fast, managers would get twice as much done…If the Earth could be made to rotate 20 times as fast, everyone else would get twice as much done since all the managers would fly off”).

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Updated Qi 1.2 standard makes wireless charging more wireless [Ars Technica]

The Qi-compatible Nexus 5 on the Nexus Wireless Charger. New chargers will be able to increase the space between the device and the pad.
Andrew Cunningham

The Wireless Power Consortium's Qi wireless charging standard is wireless in that the phone is not physically plugged into anything, but it still requires your device and the wireless charging pad to be touching each other to work. Today, the WPC announced (PDF) that version 1.2 of the Qi standard will add support for resonant charging, making it possible for your phone to be charged when near a Qi pad rather than directly on top of it.

A small image showing Qi 1.2 in action.

It's a minor enough change that current Qi 1.1 receivers will be able to take advantage of it with no extra hardware, but it opens up a few different possibilities for companies that want to build Qi support into their products. The WPC says that Qi chargers can now be embedded within tables and desks rather than placed on the surface, making them less obtrusive. "New low power transmitter designs" will make it easier to build Qi chargers into cars, and a single Qi 1.2 transmitter will be able to charge multiple Qi devices simultaneously. Qi can also now supply up to 2,000 watts of power to household appliances (the release specifically mentions "kitchen applications").

Current Qi devices will be able to draw power from these new transmitters at distances of up to 30 mm (around 1.2 inches), while devices with purpose-build Qi 1.2 receivers increase the distance to 45 mm (about 1.8 inches). Engadget reports that the resonant version of Qi is roughly 70 to 80 percent efficient, while the old inductive version is around 85 percent efficient, and Qi 1.1 and 1.2 transmitters and receivers will be able to interoperate, so inductive charging pads like the Nexus Wireless Charger will still be able to charge Qi 1.2 phones. Just know that resonant charging will require a Qi 1.2 transmitter.

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The Quest review: Reality game of thrones [Ars Technica]

Shondo, the reality series' MMA fighter, adds a lot of excitement and energy to a medieval-obsessed show whose lore and fictional world don't always keep up.

The Quest, ABC’s latest reality TV series, debuts on Thursday with a shameless plea to lovers of fantasy and other self-identifying geeks. The show asks its 12 contestants to fake like medieval knights—which they do thanks to activities like living in a castle, wielding spears, bowing to a queen, and meeting creepy witches in the woods.

But for the producers who dumped real people into a Tolkien-obsessed world, that’s not enough. These “paladins” apparently all have a greater purpose beyond a cash prize or D-list celebrity status. Contestants don’t take long to reveal the massive chips on their shoulders, many of them recalling a younger life when they didn’t fit in, when they wore headgear and giant glasses, or when they hid with books or video games.

So only now, wearing leather armor and clutching the broken shards of the ancient “Sunspear,” do they see a path to confidence and redemption. The quotes come flowing while the dozen players take their first steps toward the show’s world of Everrealm: “It was my fate to embark on this journey,” one says, while another goes a little further: “I want to show the little kid I used to be, who was so shy and so quiet, that he doesn’t always have to be that way.”

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Fantasy footballers and coaches rejoice—NFL players to wear RFID tags [Ars Technica]


The surveillance society, it seems, is broadening at NFL stadiums.

Facial-recognition technology already tracks fans at some venues. But now, with its upcoming season just around the corner, the NFL is installing radio frequency identification (RFID) chips in players' shoulder pads to track all of their on-field movements in real time.

The NFL announced Thursday that it is partnering with Zebra Technologies, the company that already supplies RFID chips for applications from "automotive assembly lines to dairy cows' milk production." For the football nerd, it's a bonanza of sorts, possibly changing fantasy football and morning-after box scores forever. Zebra said the technology, known as "Next Gen Stats," will track player acceleration rates, top speed, length of runs, and even how much separation a ball carrier got from a defender. It's not just a Pandora's box of stats for fans and broadcasters, as coaches can immediately employ the data to decide what plays to run or how to defend them.

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CRTC Finds Rogers Engaged in Unjust Discrimination With Its Domestic Roaming Agreements [Michael Geist]

From seemingly the moment in launched in Canada, Wind Mobile argued that it was being placed at a competitive disadvantage due to unfair roaming agreements with Rogers. As a new entrant, the company was reliant on roaming agreements to offer nationwide service, yet it claimed that Rogers was tilting the playing field against it. Rogers unsurprisingly disagreed.  In a Senate appearance in 2009, the company was asked directly about the issue:

Senator Zimmer: Have you had any requests from new wireless entrants for roaming and tower-sharing agreements, and how have you handled those? What is the progress on these arrangements to date?

Mr. Engelhart: I am glad you asked that question, because we have been reading in the press some grumbling by some of the new entrants, and it has left us puzzled. Mr. Roy and I, mostly Mr. Roy, have successfully concluded roaming agreements with all the new entrants who have approached us, and we did that in a business negotiation that did not need arbitration or enforcement from Industry Canada. We have also provided access to a huge number of our towers to the new entrants. We believe the government policy that requires us to make those facilities available is working, and we are proud of what we have done.

A year later, Wind filed a complaint with the CRTC over dropped calls when its customers roamed on the Rogers network, arguing that it was an undue preference since Chatr (a Rogers flanker brand) did not face the same problem. The Commission rejected the complaint, finding that there was insufficient evidence and that:

the fact that the terms and conditions of the roaming agreement negotiated between WIND and Rogers do not require seamless roaming, the Commission is not persuaded that WIND has demonstrated the existence of a preference in the circumstances of this case.

By 2013, the regulatory environment for wireless services in Canada had changed and the government was displaying a clear willingness to regulate wholesale wireless services to encourage greater competition. The CRTC began investigating the issue in 2013 with a fact-finding exercise that found:

some Canadian mobile wireless carriers were charging or proposing to charge significantly higher rates for wholesale mobile wireless roaming services to other Canadian mobile wireless carriers than to U.S.-based carriers. For instance, the rates that some Canadian carriers contracted to pay or were being asked to pay were many times higher than those that U.S.-based carriers paid, particularly with respect to data services. Further, some Canadian carriers were subject to more restrictive terms and conditions than those that applied to U.S.-based carriers.

While Rogers remained dismissive, warning against cheaper roaming agreements that it says discourage network development, those findings raised the possibility of a violation of Canadian telecom law, with the incumbent carriers granting themselves an undue preference or engaging in unjust discrimination.

Yesterday, the CRTC ruled that Rogers had engaged in unjust discrimination, charging new entrants far higher prices than those for U.S. carriers and including exclusivity clauses that prevented the new entrants from negotiating better terms with other carriers. As a result, the Commission has created a ban on exclusivity clauses in wholesale domestic wireless roaming agreements.

Further regulatory measures may be forthcoming in the fall when the CRTC conducts a more extensive review of wholesale wireless services.  While the practical effect may be limited given the new legislated cap on domestic roaming, the decision provides some vindication for Wind and affirms that unlawful, discriminatory tactics were used by incumbent carriers to hamstring new wireless competitors in Canada.

The post CRTC Finds Rogers Engaged in Unjust Discrimination With Its Domestic Roaming Agreements appeared first on Michael Geist.

Dear Vloggers: Please Learn to Type [The Other McCain]

Jaclyn Glenn (@JaclynGlenn) is an atheist video performer — vlogger, as they say — whose online presence seems to consist entirely of a YouTube channel and a Twitter account. This presents difficulties for those of us whose preferred medium is the written word. To explain: I’m a super-fast reader. If you were to provide me […]

Atheist Creep @RichardDawkins Destroying His Own Reputation [The Other McCain]

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” – Romans 1: 18-19 (KJV) Three days ago, I took notice of how notorious […]

Israel/Gaza Ceasefire Collapses, Along With Joe Scarborough’s Credibility [The Other McCain]

The 72-hour ceasefire fell short by about 70 hours: A 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire agreed upon by Israel and Hamas collapsed shortly after it took effect Friday morning. Mortar shells fired from within the Gaza Strip landed near a border-regioning town some two hours after the truce deal brokered by the United States and the EU […]

LIVE AT FIVE: 08.01.14 [The Other McCain]

– compiled by Wombat-socho TOP NEWS Bruised And Battered Hamas Now Accepts Ceasefire 72-hour unconditional ceasefire omits all of Hamas previous demands Uneasy truce in Gaza City As bulldozers destroy Hamas underground network, IDF sees light at the end of the tunnel Gas Leaks Trigger Powerful Explosions In Taiwan Buildings toppled in Kaohsiung; 22 dead, […]

Friday Video: Once Upon a Town [The Travelin' Librarian]

Bog GreeneMr. Greene discussed his book Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen. The book recounts the story of North Platte, Nebraska, during World War II. In 1941, a North Platte resident wrote a letter to the local newspaper suggesting that the railroad depot be converted into the North Platte Canteen — a place where homesick soldiers could enjoy coffee, home-cooked food and friendly conversation during the ten minute stopover of the troop trains. From Christmas Day 1941 to the end of World War II, the community of 12,000 people provided this service to more than six million GIs. The book is based on interviews with residents of North Platte, Nebraska, and soldiers who passed through the town. After his presentation, Mr. Green answered questions from members of the audience.

The post Friday Video: Once Upon a Town appeared first on The Travelin' Librarian.

3 thoughts from Deutsche Bank on the future of driverless cars [AEIdeas » Pethokoukis]

From Deutsche Bank:

This week Britain gave “the green light” to driverless cars from January 2015. Three imponderables leap to mind as government policy evolves.

Firstly will this mean more vehicles on the road? Average trips per year are falling in the UK and are 12 per cent fewer today than in 1995. Average driving distances are down a similar amount.

Secondly what happens to labour supply and productivity? Does the 60 per cent of the labour force that spends 55 minutes a day commuting by car suddenly boost the economy’s hours worked by a tenth or will everyone sit in the back seat streaming Netflix?

Speaking of streaming the third policy quandary is Europe’s beloved net neutrality. Surely if your driverless car is about to crash as you watch Downton Abbey you want the network to prioritise the vehicle over your iPad?

Follow James Pethokoukis on Twitter at @JimPethokoukisand AEIdeas at @AEIdeas.

On language: Paul Ryan and the end of the welfare state ‘hammock’ [AEIdeas » Pethokoukis]

An interesting exchange today between House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and CNBC reporter John Harwood:

JOHN HARWOOD: One of the reasons why people have been – Democrats have been hostile to your ideas, and others have raised questions. Is the idea that they have taken from some of your public comments, that you think government help, per se, is the problem with the poor? The hammock is the problem and that the way to help people is actually take away government assistance.

PAUL RYAN: No, I think the hammock’s the wrong analogy.

JOHN HARWOOD: You have used it though.

PAUL RYAN: I know and I think that is wrong. I think what I worry about are government programs that actually disincentivize work. And the many cases, and I flesh this out in my report, a person can be worse off leaving government benefits because they lose a lot of money doing that going to work. We need to fix that.

And it’s the “wrong analogy” because it (a) sort of loosely suggests everyone receiving government benefits — single moms, the disabled, seniors, long-term unemployed — is an underserving loafer and moocher and (b) can lead to the conclusion that the best way to get someone out of the “hammock” is to tear it down, to shred the safety net.  As Michael Strain has written:

Over the last several decades, employment in Western economies grew in both low- and high-skill occupations, but fell in middle-skill occupations. That’s because middle-skill, middle-class occupations are those that can be most easily replaced by technology.  … Without middle-class jobs, many male workers have taken low-skill, low-wage jobs. And many men have simply chosen not to participate in the labor force — employment rates for less-skilled men in the U.S. have dropped significantly over the past three decades. This has coincided with a decline in real hourly wages for men without a college degree.

Smart public policy should encourage and support work through work requirements and wage subsidies. Doing just that is the intent of Ryan’s new anti-poverty plan.

Follow James Pethokoukis on Twitter at @JimPethokoukisand AEIdeas at @AEIdeas.

"If people make the difference in a locale, that’s also true in Madison — unfortunately. In my dozens of trips to Wisconsin’s capital city..." [Althouse]

"... I found a pleasant area surrounded by many pristine lakes ruined by its residents. Collegians from around the country, their professors and local progressives team up to form Berkeley of the Midwest, where generally one ideological mindset is tolerated. Most of downtown is swallowed by the enormous university. Once you peel through the masses, the capitol building is constantly obscured by either renovations or violent protests, thus you rarely get photos outside or inside the building."

So says Ari J. Kaufman at Pajamas Media, putting Madison at #2 on his list of "10 Most Overrated Destinations in the Midwest." I guess his dozens of trips were back in 2011, during the big uprising against Scott Walker, and even then his observations are none too astute, since the protests, while clamorous, were never violent. Groups that got as large as 100,000, full of people who were really upset and trying to crank up the emotion, did not become violent. That was actually pretty amazing, and the Capitol building, one of the most beautiful state capitol buildings, isn't obscured by anything.

Kaufman seems to be pandering to the PJ Media readership, which is apparently supposed to be a lot of liberal-haters. If you're reading my blog, you've seen plenty of what's great about Madison. I've lived here for 30 years, and Meade has lived here 5 years now. I asked him what he thought of Madison, and he said:

I like it. I like the residents. I find it a very peaceful place to live. I know it's very lefty, but I think most of the real lefties are old, complacent, kind of fat, drunk, and lazy. So it's a nice time to be in Madison, because there's some re-energizing in the politics, and a lot of that is due to Scott Walker Republicans....
ADDED: Kaufman's powers of observation are also deficient when it comes to assessing lakes. They are not pristine.  Here's a picture I took from the Union Terrace on the shore of Lake Mendota a few days ago:


So it's certainly not "pristine." But don't worry, the sign isn't always there, and I haven't seen it recently. And we have Wingra, Monona, Kegonsa, and Waubesa as well as Mendota.

AND: Lake Wingra:


"I think the idea of the 'manly-man' appeals to the far right and not really to the rest of us." [Althouse]

"To me it's kind of a twisted concept of maleness. Not a protector or a dynamic kind of pizzaz but a bully. Putin is a good example of it. People's lives don't matter to him. Power matters to him. Who's the top dog? That's what I think machismo is all about. It's like Saddam Hussein. It's all about a pecking order and who is on top. Pretty boring really. Who has the biggest......weapon :-)"

Said Sunsong in the comments to last night's post linking to Adam Gopnik's New Yorker piece about overemphasis on manliness in a President. That comment made me think of this scene in Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator":

By the way, my father once opined that that was the greatest moment in all of movies. He wasn't a big moviegoer, though, so there were many scenes he missed, but he loved that one because it said the pithiest possible thing about politics, and it says it completely in the visuals, though it's not a silent film.

There is dialogue, but it's almost only background music for the ears — "a barber shop... that also has glass walls... oh, yes, with goldfish swimming inside... they're all dead, that's why I'm building a new barbershop...."

Monica Lewinsky is now "officially contributing to Vanity Fair's website on an 'ongoing basis.'" [Althouse]

Politico reports, and here's her new piece: "The Online Rebuttal Is the New Black." If I were writing headlines over at Vanity Fair, I'd avoid using the word "rebuttal" for a piece about a butt. And if I were Monica Lewinsky, a woman notorious for calling attention to her butt by displaying her thong underpants to the President of the United States, I would not choose to make my point about the use of social media to fight back against public humiliation by focusing on a 14-year-old girl making a show of her butt.

Last line of Monica's piece:

In Carleigh’s case, her body-positive photo went viral. An online rebuttal . . . in all meanings. Sounds good to me.
Oh! So it wasn't just the headline writer stumbling onto a pun. Monica punned on purpose. I don't think a 14-year-old girl is well served by having Monica Lewinsky talking about her ass.

50 years ago today: "Ranger 7 radioed to earth... the first close-up pictures of the moon..." [Althouse]

"... a historic collection of 4,000 pictures one thousand times as clear as anything ever seen through earth-bound telescopes...."

The still pictures were snapped and transmitted in the last 17 minutes before the spacecraft crashed into an area northwest of the Sea of Clouds.

They meant in effect that the 240,000 mile distance to the moon had been shrunk by man's ingenuity to a mere half-mile in terms of what he could see of its topography.

"Obama’s perceived flaws are the ancient effeminate ones, of the kind that a bigoted tradition ascribed to women..." [Althouse]

"... above all, the criticism reflects the President’s unapologetic distaste for violent confrontation and for making loud threats, no matter how empty those threats may obviously be."

Writes Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker, responding to criticism of Obama for his supposed lack of manliness.

What pushed me over the line as I pondered whether to blog this was remembering that, of my huge number of tags about Obama, I have one for Obama and manliness.

"I don't need a dude. I mean, Neil and David, their twins are beautiful. It's 2014!" [Althouse]

"We are living in the future; we don't need anything. I don't think I'll have to, but we'll see. I'm not anti-men. I love men. But there is an option if someone doesn't present himself."

Katy Perry feels wonderful.

ADDED: I'd have felt wonderful too, if anyone had noticed my Talking Heads allusion. I'd be tipping over backwards.

"The GOP legislation, which was rewritten twice to attract support, had trouble getting off the ground..." [Althouse]

"... and if the House doesn’t vote, lawmakers will head back to their districts to hear from voters with a crisis raging at the border."

The turmoil is stunning considering how far to the right the GOP leadership pulled this bill. Boehner, McCarthy and Scalise, the new GOP whip, crafted a process that would have given the House a vote on legislation to stop the Obama administration from expanding its deferred deportation program. But even that wasn’t enough....

WaPo's "30 of Washington’s ‘Most Beautiful’ people." [Althouse]

The first face that comes up in the slide show doesn't strike me as even somewhat beautiful, so I'm afraid to keep clicking.

ADDED: This made me think of the old line: "Washington is Hollywood for ugly people." Who started that?

The phrase appears to be an immediate descendant of one that took off in the early '90s: "Politics is show business for ugly people." It is frequently credited to Jay Leno -- but when we checked the record, it appears the late-night host always presented it as someone else's witticism: "It's like they say, 'Politics is. . .' "

Who were "they"? While James Carville uttered the phrase in a 1996 Playboy interview, we found what may have been the first in-print usage of it, in a 1992 Washington Post interview with Carville's fellow Clinton-Gore strategist Paul Begala.
But Begala doesn't claim to have originated it. Rush Limbaugh says it a lot. Maybe he knows. It seems related to his longstanding aphorism "Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream of society." Nice of him not to say "ugly," no?

Putin calls Obama "chicken." [Althouse]

No, not really. It just looks that way on Drudge:

The link goes here.

Thanks to the multiple readers who, knowing my love for Drudge juxtapositions, emailed me about that.

"My blog is so serious today!" [Althouse]


"Yeah. I'm dabbling in profundity."

UPDATE: The next thing I thought of saying out loud was: "I need to throw it to some wild zoo animals and have them tear it up, as if it was spiked with catnip, and see if I can get it to look more distressed."

The next thing I actually did say out loud was: "Okay, once you go meta, you've got to step away."

UPDATE 2: There. I've had 1000s of steps away, and I am back, renormalized, and searching once again for the basically bloggable.

Notes From HPS [The Captain's Journal]

David Codrea says he figured his most recent column would be controversial.

Still, if one is to credit backers of such measures with being sincere, it makes little sense to demand background checks in one case, but to not only turn a blind eye, but to attack people for advocating doing them on the intentionally undocumented.  So why haven’t the “gun safety” groups joined in demanding background checks on illegal aliens, particularly with well-documented tie-ins to increases in crimes[?]

Controversial in import, perhaps, but not in facts.  We’ve discussed it before.  The Democrats want the illegals because of votes.  The GOP wants them because they want low paid workers who must live [in part] off the backs of the middle class, thus providing corporate welfare.  The GOP is in bed with the crony capitalists.  You want to see the NRA’s alleged power evaporate into nothing?  Flood the country with another ten million illegals who are given the right to vote.

Kurt Hofmann:

If the military stumbles upon new technology to make firearms more effective, we the people are owed access to that technology, and we must take it, by whatever means necessary.

Besides, as Kurt notes in his article, this isn’t a one way street.  I have always and will continue to claim that a new firearm or design isn’t fully vetted until it is released to the civilian market.  Soldiers and Marines work with what they are issued.  We get to buy what we want because it works the best.  We are the test laboratory, not the military.

Mike Vanderboegh:

What I hear is that Malloy has issued whispered, oh-so-quiet orders not have any enforcement of the Intolerable Act until after his re-election. After that, however, he will turn KGB Lawlor loose to wreak havoc. Voters in CT should be reminded forcefully that a vote for Malloy is a vote for the arrest and possible death of their friends and neighbors. Lord willing, I intend to go to CT just before the election in the last week of October to make that point. I will be in CO the week before that to do the same thing to Hickenlooper.

Go get ‘em Mike.  I’m sure glad that Mike’s on our side.  Let’s support him however we can.

Finally, Muslims declare jihad against dogs.  Sorry folks.  My dog is a non-negotiable, just like my guns and my theological views.  Now pardon me while I go smooch with my Doberman.

Development Release: Ubuntu 14.10 Alpha 2 [DistroWatch.com: News]

Iain Lane has announced the availability of the second alpha release of Ubuntu 14.10, code-named "Utopic Unicorn". As with the first alpha, only Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME and Ubuntu Kylin have opted to release CD/DVD images for testing. From the release announcement: "The second alpha of the Utopic....

How Deadlifts and Squats Changed My Life (or at Least Made Me Feel A Little Better). [Dr. Helen]

I have been following Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program twice a week now for a few months. I have to say it has worked really well for me.

Since having a heart attack many years ago, I was afraid to do squats and deadlifts with much weight, if at all. However, Mark gave me the confidence to feel that I could indeed, do them again, albeit with some modifications. I have been using lighter weight, mainly just the 45 pound bar for deadlifts and the same for squats. Yeah, it’s light but sometimes I add five pounds on each side if I feel like it. I do three sets of five reps of each of the exercises with rest in-between as Rippetoe suggests. At first, I thought it didn’t seem like this plan would do much but I have noticed subtle changes over the past few weeks.

My lower back rarely hurts and my legs are much stronger. I have been doing overhead presses also that help me keep my posture in line and my upper body no longer hurts from the computer as much as it did. I feel better and can easily squat down now to lift things more readily. The idea of these exercises is to give one more functional ability in his or her daily life and they definitely have done that for me. I am still doing some yoga and other exercise for variety but I think the squats and deadlifts have really been key to helping me achieve the goals that I wanted–less pain and more ability to do tasks in my daily life. Thanks Mark!

You Won’t Believe the Disgusting Smear that a Democrat Just Launched in the Immigration Battle [The PJ Tatler]

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) is getting desperate.

This is coming from a member of the party of unrestricted abortion. The party that is funded by Klan Parenthood, the eugenics-advocating abortion industrial leader that has built its business by killing millions of minority babies for profit.

Obama’s Minimum Wage Push Won’t Reach the Karnes City Illegal Alien Housing Facility [The PJ Tatler]

We’re learning more about the facility in Karnes City, Texas that will house hundreds of the illegal aliens who have recently flooded the Texas-Mexico border.

It’s no longer a “detention center” and those held there are no longer “detainees.” They’re now “residents” and the guards are called “resident advisers.”

“I am pretty sure you will agree this is nothing like we have seen before,” said ICE field office director Enrique Lucero during Thursday’s media tour of the facility.


It has many amenities, including free clothes and free medical exams according to KXAN, and some jobs too.

Other amenities include recreational fields, a library, internet access, and a cafeteria which will serve three all-you-can-eat meals a day. Certified teachers will also be on site to provide year-round education and small jobs will also be available paying $3 a day for four hours of work.

That’s less than a dollar an hour, far from the $10.10 that Obama wants for the federal minimum wage. Talk about minimum wages…

Of course, as long as they’re in the facility, room and board isn’t a concern. And they’ll get free lawyers too.

Added up — free health checkup, free clothing, free flat screen TV, free meals, free housing, free charter schools better than your kid’s public school, and free lawyers.

Meanwhile, 100 miles north, Austin’s homeless — a group that includes some mentally ill, some charlatans, some veterans, and some who are just stranded for one reason or another, but are American citizens — bake in the August sun.


Kerry to Hamas: Give Back Kidnapped IDF Soldier ‘Immediately and Unconditionally’ [The PJ Tatler]

Secretary of State John Kerry called on Hamas to “immediately and unconditionally” release an Israel Defense Forces soldier kidnapped in a Palestinian attack that rapidly broke what was supposed to be a 72-hour cease-fire.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s attack, which led to the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the apparent abduction of another. It was an outrageous violation of the cease-fire negotiated over the past several days, and of the assurances given to the United States and the United Nations,” Kerry said in a statement.

“Hamas, which has security control over the Gaza Strip, must immediately and unconditionally release the missing Israeli soldier, and I call on those with influence over Hamas to reinforce this message,” he continued.

“After the horrific loss of life in this attack and its aftermath, it would be a tragedy if this outrageous attack leads to more suffering and loss of life on both sides of this conflict. I have been in close touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu, with UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry and with other regional partners. The international community must now redouble its efforts to end the tunnel and rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists on Israel and the suffering and loss of civilian life.”

The father of captured soldier 2nd-Lt. Hadar Goldin, Simha Goldin, says he’s “sure the army will not let up for a moment and will turn over every stone in Gaza to bring back Hadar safe and sound,” according to The Times of Israel.

Netanyahu’s office said the prime minister spoke with Kerry by phone and assured him “the Palestinians had unilaterally and grossly violated the humanitarian ceasefire and attacked our soldiers after 09:00.”

“PM Netanyahu told Secretary Kerry that Hamas and the other terrorist orgs in the Gaza Strip will bear the consequences of their actions and that Israel would take all necessary steps against those who call for our destruction and perpetrate terrorism against our citizens,” his office said.

Coulter to House GOP on Border Bill: Don’t Pass Anything [The PJ Tatler]

Ann Coulter appeared on Fox and Friends today and commented on the ongoing debacle in the House over its border bill.

That bill, or anything that passes the House, stands nearly no chance of passing the Senate, and even less chance of President Obama signing it, unless it includes everything that he and the Democrats want. Yet the House is delaying its recess to pay something anyway.

Coulter says that’s not a good idea and the House shouldn’t bother.

Coulter calls the border crisis a “fake emergency, what is happening is Obama is violating the law as written.” Coulter points out that the 2008 Wilberforce law is intended to stop sex trafficking, and that hardly anyone currently crossing the border illegally is even claiming to be a victim of sex trafficking. That law also excludes anyone who crosses illegally who has family in the United States. Yet the Obama administration, says Coulter, is violating that law by transferring some of those illegal aliens to family living — often illegally — in the US.

So why shouldn’t the House pass something anyway, just to show that they’re doing something? Because it’s a trap, says Coulter.

“If they pass a fence bill it goes to conference,” Coulter said. “If it goes to conference, it could come out amnesty.”

Which is exactly what the Democrats, and some establishment Republicans, really want.

Senate Approves $225 Million for More Iron Dome Systems for Israel [The PJ Tatler]

The Senate today passed extra funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, as members argued that more defense was needed for the Jewish state as quickly as possible.

“Israel does not have enough Iron Domes to protect them,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the floor. “They need more.”

The funding bill introduced by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), to the tune of $225 million, passed by unanimous consent.

“The Iron Dome missile defense system has played a critical role in defending Israel’s population from rocket attacks launched by Hamas from within the Gaza Strip,” McConnell said. “The Iron Dome system will remain essential to Israel’s security until a cease fire is achieved, and it will remain vital afterwards as well, because this defensive system helps blunt the impact of one of Hamas’ preferred tools of terror.”

“By passing this bipartisan measure, we send a message to Hamas that its terrorist tactics and its attempts to terrorize Israel’s populace will not succeed. And we can help Israel defend its civilian population against indiscriminate attacks as it continues its campaign—Operation Protective Edge—to destroy the often-Iranian-supplied weapons stockpiled within Gaza.”

Members of the House Armed Services Committee urged Reid in a letter Thursday to bring the Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act to the floor for a vote, citing Israel’s missile defense as one of the points of urgency.

The House version of the NDAA includes the $176 million the president requested for Iron Dome as well as an additional $175 million.

We believe that Hamas’ violent attacks on Israeli citizens will help us make the case for the higher level of funding provided in H.R. 4435.

“Unfortunately, the Senate’s failure, under your leadership, to consider the FY15 NDAA is needlessly tying up more than $620 million in vital defense support for Israel at a time when it is fighting for its survival from Hamas and its Iranian sponsors,” the House lawmakers wrote.

“On the matter of Iran, we also encourage you to schedule an immediate vote, upon completion of debate on the FY15 NDAA, on legislation increasing sanctions on Iran.  For example, H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, which passed the House on a 400 to 20 vote, has been waiting for Senate action for 364 days.  Further delay on both measures strengthens only Israel’s enemies.”

Obama’s EPA Costs Him the Support of a Key Union [The PJ Tatler]

The United Mine Workers of America union leans very Democrat and represents thousands of coal miners in the United States. The political trajectory of that union during the Obama years goes like this.

In 2008, the union enthusiastically endorsed then Senator Barack Obama for the presidency. That endorsement, coming from a big union in coal country, helped shore up Obama’s standing as he geared up to finish off Hillary Clinton’s Democratic primary challenge.

After four years of President Obama using the Environmental Protection Agency to wage war on coal, though, the United Mine Workers decided to sit out the 2012 election. It was the first time in decades that the union did not endorse a presidential candidate. It was clear in 2012 that Obama’s policies led directly to the union declining to endorse him a second time. Some coal miners appeared with Mitt Romney during the campaign, to slam the “war on coal.”

David Kameras, a UMWA spokesman based at the union’s headquarters in Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C., said UMWA has not officially completed its endorsement selection decisions for the 2012 election and expects to do so by about mid-September. In 2008, UMWA endorsed Obama in May of that year.

“Our members count on coal-fired power plants and burning of coal to keep jobs,” Caputo said. “We’re a very Democratic union and we try to listen to the rank and file. They’ve sent a clear message that they’re not supportive of the environmental rules that are being put in place.”

Fast forward to 2014. The United Mine Workers are now in a street protest battle with Obama’s environmentalists.

In Pittsburgh, PA Thursday, coal miners from the union gathered to protest even more EPA regulations. They ended up in a shouting match with environmentalist protesters.

On Liberty Avenue just after noon, shouts of “Move to China!” from union marchers in green camo shirts met responses of “No planet, no jobs!” from sign-waving environmentalists.

“There are many good people who have bought into these regulations,” said Edwin D. Hill, international president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. “Many of them have the best intentions. But if somebody is going to take our jobs and health care and pensions and harm our families, it doesn’t matter to me what their intentions are; we’re going to fight back.”

Fourteen UMWA organizers were arrested at the Pittsburgh confrontation, while protesting to protect their families and jobs from Obama’s policies.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers also endorsed Obama, both in 2008 and 2012. Now they’re protesting him, too.

Obama thanks them for their support by using the EPA to take their jobs away.

By the way, coal state West Virginia voted Democrat for decades. Now that it’s shifting to the GOP, though, the Obama EPA didn’t even bother to hold any hearings on the new regulations there. That’s of a piece with Obama neglecting the border when he visited Texas this summer. States that did not vote for him are not part of his union. When Obama isn’t neglecting red states, he either uses them as an ATM for the Democrats, or he uses federal policy to punish them.

But back to the miners union. Are we seeing Big Labor (the UMWA is affiliated with the AFL-CIO) re-think its ironclad bond with the Democratic Party? Or, at least, a fracturing of Big Labor’s support for Democrats? For all the talk of a “Republican civil war,” is the Democrat base coming to war with itself — a war between the environmentalists Luddites who oppose the Keystone Pipeline and who want to do away with coal entirely on the one hand in the name of the global warming myth, and jobs and energy security on the other hand?

White House: Bringing Ebola Victims to U.S. Like Bringing TB Patients [The PJ Tatler]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increased its travel warning for “the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history” as the White House claimed it’s doing everything possible to protect American citizens.

National Security Council senior director for development and democracy Gayle Smith told reporters on an administration call previewing next week’s Africa leaders’ summit in Washington that the outbreak is “obviously… a great concern.”

“We have been engaged with and in the region in working on this issue since March, when the first cases appeared. Obviously, there has been a decline in a couple of countries so that there’s greater attention on it. We are closely engaged with the leaders and the governments of the three countries most affected,” Smith said.

“We’re doing several things. One is ramping up our efforts to support a regional effort to deal with this outbreak and support, again, three governments who are doing a lot of things to contend with a real threat. Mind you, these are countries that have emerged — particularly Sierra Leone and Liberia — from years of war.  And so this is an uphill challenge for them,” she continued. “We’re also taking the necessary steps domestically to protect the American people. We have no plans to change the agenda of the summit, but we will obviously adapt as needed and in consultation with our partners, depending on their requirements.”

The CDC said it’s “rapidly increasing its ongoing efforts” in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

“This is the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history. Far too many lives have been lost already,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden in a statement. “It will take many months, and it won’t be easy, but Ebola can be stopped. We know what needs to be done. CDC is surging our response, sending 50 additional disease control experts to the region in the next 30 days.”

The precautions don’t include screening air passengers from affected countries.  ”It is important to note that Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear, and that transmission is through direct contact of bodily fluids of an infected, symptomatic person or exposure to objects like needles that have been contaminated with infected secretions,” the CDC said.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told CNN that the outbreak is “coming close to being a catastrophe.”

“We already have 300 persons in Liberia under surveillance, we have 47 deaths, 28 health workers dead, and I daresay it may be even greater in some of our other neighboring countries. This is very serious, it’s a disease that is unknown to us, it’s strange, it’s deadly, there’s no cure for it. Our people have at first — at — on the basis of no knowledge, resisted. The authorities deny today as people begin to die, we have — we are fearful, we are panicking, they are moving from one community to another,” said Sirleaf.

“We need everything. We need preventive gear, we need ambulances. More importantly, we need human assistance. We need technical assistance — doctors, nurses, experts that can train our own people as to how to deal with those who are sick, how we can encourage the preventive measures we are already taken — and we’ve taken a lot of them. We’ve quarantined places, we’ve closed schools, we’ve closed our borders, we’ve closed markets, we’ve done everything we can, but we’ve done is just not enough. What has happened in our sub region with our neighbors who have done a lot is still not enough. This is an international crisis and I hope that the international community will respond to it in that kind.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest defended bringing at least one of two American aid workers stricken with Ebola back to the U.S. for treatment.

“These kinds of medevacs that are performed by private entities, by private organizations, yet facilitated by the U.S. government and government agencies, is consistent with what has been done in similar situations in the past,” Earnest said.

“In 2003, there were reports of American citizens overseas who contracted SARS. And the U.S. government facilitated the private transportation of those patients back to the U.S. so they could benefit from our modern medical infrastructure and have access to the kind of technology that could render lifesaving aid to them,” he added. “In 2007, there were Americans overseas who were at risk of contracting drug-resistant tuberculosis. Again, those individuals were transported through private means, but yet in a manner that was facilitated by the U.S. government, to return to the U.S. where they could get treatment.”

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a Sexist [The PJ Tatler]

In an interview with Katie Couric, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg levels a remarkable charge against the conservatives on the court. She thinks that they think with their penises.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, fresh off a bruising loss in the Hobby Lobby birth control case last month, told Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric in an exclusive interview that she believes the male Supreme Court justices who voted against her have a “blind spot” when it comes to women.

“Do you believe that the five male justices truly understood the ramifications of their decision?” Couric asked Ginsburg of the 5-4 Hobby Lobby ruling, which cleared the way for employers to deny insurance coverage of contraceptives to female workers on religious grounds.

“I would have to say no,” the 81-year-old justice replied. Asked if the five justices revealed a “blind spot” in their decision, Ginsburg said yes.

There’s a blind spot here alright. But it’s not on the court’s Hobby Lobby majority.

Couric’s bias here is so obvious that it hardly merits a fisking. The question that Couric — allegedly a non-partisan journalist, but in fact a leftwing hack — asks about the “ramifications of [the majority's] decision” never allows religious freedom and private property rights to intrude. It never even allows that there are women in the Hobby Lobby-owning Green family. In fact it never even allows for the possibility of any woman, anywhere, agreeing with the Supreme Court’s decision. Even though millions of women do agree with it.

As guilty of bias as Couric is, Ginsburg’s guilt is worse. The justice fails to allow for any possibility that does not comport with the left’s most dishonest take on the Hobby Lobby case. Ginsburg cannot conceive that the 5 justices who ruled that the government does not have the right to force business owners to pay for abortion-causing drugs came to that conclusion not because they’re stupid men ruled by testosterone, but because they recognize limits on government power and because they recognize that Americans do not surrender the religious and private property rights just because they own a successful business. Ginsburg reveals here, again, that she is a menace to individual rights and freedoms and fundamentally disregards the plain text of the Constitution that she is charged with upholding. Ginsburg is unfit for the court, frankly, and should never have been confirmed to it.

Just imagine, though, if Justice Scalia had come out and said that Ginsburg voted the way she voted — on any case — because she has a female “blind spot.”  Can you imagine the firestorm that would ensue?

The left would demonize him even more than they already do. They would call for his resignation, impeachment, plus tar and feathers just for fun. There would be Code Pink activists wearing garish lady part costumes in every city.

Ginsburg gets away with lobbing a blatantly sexist smear at her fellow justices. Because she is a leftist woman, and because Katie Couric is one of the worst working journalists in America today.

14-Year-Old Kid Imitates LeBron James, by Becoming CEO of His Own Pizza Delivery Business [The PJ Tatler]

This story contains most of what’s great about this land of opportunity — creativity, hard work, volunteerism, risk-taking and learning from other leaders.

Fourteen-year-old Ajayi Jackson couldn’t could get a job because of bloody age discrimination [my phrase, not his], so he started his own company, Pop’s Pizza, with $100 of capital be borrowed from — you guessed it — his Dad.

He invented the made-from-scratch pizza recipe after learning to cook from his Mom. Already turning a profit, he’s made his sister jealous because she works longer hours for someone else and makes less money.

The best part of the story: Ajayi, like a lot of kids, admires NBA star LeBron James. But the budding entrepreneur is more interested in King James’ off-court business than in his moves in the lane.

He wants to meet the hoops hero because LeBron owns a chain of pizza places, and could share tips for success in business.

God bless Ajayi Jackson, and God bless America.

Hamas Violates 72-Hour Ceasefire After Just 90 Minutes [The PJ Tatler]

Overnight there was another humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, and Hamas broke it with about 70.5 hours still on the clock.

A Hamas attack on IDF soldiers in southern Gaza, which occurred an hour and a half after the start of a humanitarian truce, ended with the suspected kidnapping of a soldier, the IDF said Friday.

Second Lt. Hadar Goldin, a 23-year-old Givati officer from Kfar Saba, was named as the IDF soldier presumed to be abducted by Hamas. His family has been notified.

Two other soldiers were killed during the incident.Their families have been notified.

Terrorists emerged from a tunnel shaft, and a suicide bomber detonated himself in the vicinity of soldiers. Heavy exchanges of fire ensued, before one of the IDF soldiers was kidnapped, a senior army source said.

If previous cases are any guide, Hamas will either trade Goldin for dozens to hundreds of its own jailed terrorists, or Hamas will murder him.

Hamas used one of the tunnels that it built with child labor to perpetrate this attack. The Israelis say that they have discovered 35 such tunnels, and have destroyed about half of them.

Some of the tunnels reportedly have entrances inside UN facilities, so American taxpayers paid indirectly for Hamas to build these tunnels in two ways — by paying aid to the Palestinians that gets diverted by Hamas, and by paying for the UN’s upkeep.

h/t Gateway Pundit


Cantor Quits Early: Governor Should Deny His Request for Lame-Duck Special Election [The PJ Tatler]

A member of Congress who loses his primary loses his influence. Few have lost more influence in less time than Rep. Eric Cantor, drubbed in May by a relative-unknown, summarily dethroned as House majority leader.

Nevertheless, Republicans in Virginia should call on Gov. Terry McAuliffe to deny Cantor’s request that he call a special election when Cantor quits the House early on August 18th, as he has just announced he would.

“I want to make sure that the constituents in the 7th District will have a voice in what will be a very consequential lame-duck session,” Cantor told the Times-Dispatch. “That way he will also have seniority, and that will help the interests of my constituents [because] he can be there in that consequential lame-duck session,” he added.

Cantor actually wants the special election to happen on November 4th, the same day as the general election. This means that the winner of the special election (who Cantor naturally assumes will be the Republican Dave Brat) would start immediately, having a leg up on the rest of freshman class of 2015…that is, assuming he also wins the general election race.

Of course, there’s no reason Cantor can’t remain in the saddle, voting his conscience (if anyone does that anymore) through the end of his term.

Late-term special elections are political power maneuvers having nothing to do with the purported effort to ensure that people of the district “have a voice.” After all, isn’t Eric Cantor the voice of his district? With 234 Republicans vs. 199 Democrats, Cantor could walk away now — no doubt to a lucrative legal or lobbyist career already lined up — with no loss to the GOP.

Odds are that Cantor was told that he would call for a special election by the Oz-behind-the-curtain party patriarchs who sustain their own power through such tactics. I’m sure some partisan hack will question my devotion to the party, but my devotion is first to the rule of law, the Constitution, and integrity in public service.

To quote The Dread Pirate Roberts, “We are men of action. Lies do not become us.”

If there’s a bright spot in this story, it’s this: Cantor’s coinage of the phrase “a very consequential lame-duck session.”

Apparently a duck’s handicap does not prevent mischief.

Perhaps these should be called “starving vulture” sessions instead.

Cruz Scoffs at Notion That He’s Pushing Boehner Around on Border Bill [The PJ Tatler]


As House Republicans struggled Thursday to rally behind legislation to address the influx of illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a tea party favorite who has close ties to House conservatives, dismissed talk that he was partly responsible for the GOP’s stumble.

Defending his recent meetings with House Republicans, Cruz insisted that he was seeking fellowship with conservatives, rather than whipping against House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

“One of the unfortunate things in Washington is how little communication there is between members of House and Senate,” Cruz said in an interview with The Washington Post. “For many months, I’ve been periodically hosting gatherings with House members to discuss issues and challenges of the day and our gathering last night was scheduled several weeks ago.”

“The suggestion by some that House members are unable to stand up and fight for their own conservative principles is offensive and belittling to House conservatives,” he added. “They know what they believe and it would be absurd for anyone to try to tell them what to think. In order for Washington to work better, and for Republicans to work better, and for Republicans to come together to defend conservative principles, we need to build relationships between both chambers and I’m working hard to do so. There should be much more of that in Washington.”

When asked whether he ever encouraged his allies to vote against Boehner’s border plan on Wednesday night, when he hosted more than a dozen House Republicans in his office, Cruz said he simply reaffirmed his position and listened closely to the concerns of his guests as they mulled how to proceed.

Cruz also recalled that he did praise efforts by Boehner to hold a vote on President Obama’s Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, which has granted temporary relief for some children of illegal immigrants and is set for renewal this fall.

“The House, to its credit, is trying very hard to pass legislation to prevent President Obama from illegally granting amnesty to millions of people who entered the country illegally,” he said. “Harry Reid and Democratic senators have refused to even discuss the matter, much less allow a vote on it.”

As noted in an earlier post, it has become all the rage to blame Cruz for pretty much everything but Roger Goodell’s wussification of the National Football League. There is a very real possibility at any moment of the day that Hank Johnson is in a fetal position somewhere mumbling something about Ted Cruz invading Poland in 1939. Cruz, however, succinctly points out that all of this is simply nonsense:

But the idea that the freshman is looking to be speaker in all but name is “hyperbole,” uttered by “Democrats desperate to shift blame,” Cruz said.

Cruz is forever under fire from both sides and isn’t as petulant as his detractors so he doesn’t run to his own defense each time someone says something ridiculous. He is so good at verbally brushing these attacks off though that I wish he would do it just a little more often.

Hey, Hey, Hey…Ebola Is On Its Way [The PJ Tatler]

I’m moving to Iceland.

Emory University Hospital has been told that a patient with the Ebola virus will be transferred to its hospital in Atlanta.

Emory says it has a special isolation unit to treat patients that are exposed to serious infectious diseases that is separate from other patient areas at the hospital.

Emory’s isolation unit is one of only four such units in the country, according to the hospital, which also said that its staff are highly trained in the procedures necessary to care for the patient.

A spokesperson from the hospital said the exact arrival date of the patient is unknown.

White House officials are expected to reassure a nervous public that this doesn’t pose a terrific threat because something much worse will most likely happen next week.

They’ve got a system, you know.

‘Blame Cruz’ Is the New ‘Blame Bush’ for Whiny Democrats [The PJ Tatler]

Aw, is someone sad?

Rep. Chris Van Hollen slammed House Republicans on Thursday, saying members now have to check with “Speaker Cruz” to get any legislation passed.

“It was Senator Cruz calling the shots, and that’s why people around here are calling him ‘Speaker Cruz’ today,” the Maryland Democrat said to MSNBC’s Alex Wagner. “It means when Speaker Boehner says he’s going to get something done from now on, he’d better be checking with Senator Cruz to see if he’s gonna get the votes because clearly the new leadership team isn’t up to the task.”

It is perfectly understandable that Democrats would be upset at the thought of someone other than them pushing John Boehner around. He has, after all, been theirs to do with what they will for the longest time.

No one is living rent free in more Democrats’ heads these days than Ted Cruz. He could take the next six months off and they would be blaming everything on his “failure to come to work and show leadership” or something. He is a convenient fall guy because none of the useful idiot Republican senators from the old guard will openly defend Cruz after he failed to spend his first year in office kissing their backsides.

What Cruz is most guilty of is responding to his constituency rather than the popularity police on Capitol Hill. We have created a permanent ruling class thanks to a lazy electorate who returns idiots to office for decades. These idiots stay in office by mugging for the cameras but not really doing much. Anybody new who shows up and acts like a representative in this — you know –representative republic is just asking for trouble.

House Border Bill Pulled, Recess Delayed After GOP Can’t Find Votes [The PJ Tatler]

House Republican leaders pulled a border supplemental bill and said they wouldn’t adjourn for the summer recess as planned today as they tried to scrape more votes together for the $659 million legislation.

Most Democrats oppose the bill because, in the words of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at her press conference today, it “is so bad, but is not bad enough for some of their outside groups to whom they pander.”

“And so in order to sweeten the pie for them and intensify the harm for the children, they have added another bill to follow the supplemental that they have on the floor, the supplemental that does not track humanitarian assistance, due process, assistance to repatriate these children back to their own countries in a safe way. It only tracks more on the border without helping to resolve the humanitarian challenge that we have,” Pelosi said.

GOP leaders tried to rally votes for the funding supplemental by promising a separate vote to block any expansion of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“This situation shows the intense concern within our conference – and among the American people – about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws. There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), and Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said in a statement.

It’s the first major test of the new leadership team as Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) stepped down from the majority leader post this morning, drawing tears from Boehner and words of praise from both sides of the aisle.

“For the past month, the House has been engaged in intensive efforts to pass legislation that would compel the president to do his job and ensure it can be done as quickly and compassionately as possible,” the GOP leaders’ statement continued. “Through an inclusive process, a border bill was built by listening to members and the American people that has the support not just of a majority of the majority in the House, but most of the House Republican Conference. We will continue to work on solutions to the border crisis and other challenges facing our country.”

The bill provides supplemental funding to the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense, and Health and Human Services to deal with the influx of illegal immigrant children at the southern border. It also amends the 2008 law that has led to extended amnesty and deportation proceedings for those coming from non-contiguous countries and prohibits the Interior Department from restricting Border Patrol activities on federal lands.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) gathered a group of House conservatives in his office over Dr. Pepper, pizza and Skittles on Wednesday night to lobby against the bill, Roll Call reported. Thirteen lawmakers showed up: Reps. Steve King of Iowa, Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan, Steve Stockman of Texas, Randy Neugebauer of Texas, Paul Broun of Georgia, Todd Rokita of Indiana, John Fleming of Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.

Cruz wanted the language on ending the deferred enforcement program for young illegal immigrants included in the main bill.

Other reports indicated that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) had greater pull with House conservatives and shepherded the downfall of the bill.

The House Rules Committee met after the bill was yanked and passed a same-day authority to move any border bill through the lower chamber quickly. A floor vote could come late Thursday or Friday, or the session could be pushed into recess next week.

“It’s beyond belief that Congress is abandoning its post while our border crisis continues to create humanitarian suffering, and criminal aliens still represent a clear threat to our citizens and our nation,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement. “While Texas has taken what steps it can to mitigate the damage caused by a porous border, Congress and the president have a duty to address our border security issues without further delay. Congress should not go into recess until the job is completed.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said he and other lawmakers including Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) were due to leave this evening for a tour of the Texas border.

“I guess it is harder to take candy from children than they thought. The Republicans planned to pass a bill to deport children quickly and take away protections from deportation that the president extended to children raised in the U.S., but it didn’t work out as planned. They just couldn’t go far enough over the anti-immigrant ledge to satisfy enough of the GOP conference to get a majority,” Gutierrez said in a statement.

“The number of kids who have come to this country from Central America fleeing violence could all fit in Soldier Field with room to spare, yet about 60,000 kids have made adult American legislators lose their marbles,” he continued. “They could not agree on how to deport them fast enough and the Democrats were not going to let a decade or more of progress in improving our asylum and human trafficking laws get thrown out for election year politics.”

Willing To Swap? 112 Arrested At Deportations Protest [The PJ Tatler]

Because nothing else is happening in the world.

Immigrant activists and religious leaders massed outside the White House on Thursday to protest against U.S. policies on deporting migrants in the country illegally, and police arrested 112 demonstrators for blocking traffic.

The protesters urged President Barack Obama to immediately halt all deportations. They also called on him to extend relief for migrants by decree and to protect Central American children crossing into the U.S. unaccompanied by adults.

Minerva Carcano, a bishop for the United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, said such protests are needed to “raise a moral voice, because you do not hear from either Congress or the White House.”

“The two parties only think of immigrants for their political games, when elections come or to hurt their rivals,” she said. “But immigrants are not balls, nor ciphers. They are people.”

Pedro Palomino, a Peruvian journalist living in Baltimore, said he had put aside his fears and decided to publicly declare that he is in the U.S. without authorization by joining in the protest. He said it’s time for Obama “to provide a solution for millions of immigrants” who are fearful of deportation.

My solution: take the Americans citizens who are protesting, drop them in a foreign country with no papers or embassy access and let them see how other countries handle things like this.

As a bonus, every illegal dumb enough to show up at a protest is given the option of having one border kid stay if he or she gets sent back. We’ll see how much they care then.

Confirmed: Illegal Alien Kids Will Be Going to Publicly Funded Charter School in Texas [The PJ Tatler]

KRGV reports that a refurbished detention center in Karnes City, TX, will be used to house hundreds of women and children who crossed into Texas illegally.

The center’s rooms, called “suites,” have only been used to house adult illegal aliens in the past, but with the recent surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America, it will now be used to house kids too.

KRGV’s story says that the illegal aliens will only be housed at the center for an average of 23 days, or that’s the federal government’s claim. The facility includes flatscreen TVs in each suite, plus ping pong tables and even an astroturf soccer field.

But in the story’s final paragraph, there is a suggestion that the stay will be longer than 23 days.

A charter school nearby will provide schooling and access to a library for the immigrant children.

Charter schools are publicly funded independent schools, and are intended to allow American students to escape failing public schools. Now this one will be used to give illegal alien kids access to the quality of schools that many American kids cannot obtain.

Progressive Environmentalists’ Hypocritical Support for Illegal Immigration [The PJ Tatler]



In the continuing illegal immigration crisis, most of us find that we still like children. However, we are also concerned about being a nation that enforces its laws,the huge influx of immigrants coming into an already fragile economy, border crime and terrorism, as well as the huge costs involved in additional social services. However, there are others that have their own concerns about illegal immigration and have for years; the radical environmentalists and zero population growth advocates.

It may surprise you to learn that some of the most vocal voices for a strong immigration and border security policy are not “conservative” groups at all, but are groups whose main concern is the environment and population control. Their focus has little to do with the above mentioned concerns of the average American. Among those groups are Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Roy Beck’s NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).  Reading a history of these groups, we discover that their outward rallying of everyday Americans exists to forward their own cause, shutting down population growth. With Planned Parenthood connections, several of the aforementioned groups were founded or funded by John Tanton:

Sierra’s National Population Committee was chaired from 1971 to 1975 by John Tanton, who at the time was a liberal activist. He later became convinced that immigration was, in fact, the primary cause of overpopulation. In 1980, Sierra Club officers testified before the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Reform that it is “obvious that the numbers of immigrants the United States accepts affects our population size.”

There have been some big names in this movement who have defected, however. In the last few years, large organizations such as the Sierra Club and Bill McKibben’s 360.org movements did a sudden “about face” on the issue, after years of working so hard for population control measures. Why?

The 360.org Board members put it this way (emphasis mine):

Immigrants to this country bring a fresh and global perspective to our environmental challenges, as well as much needed political power.

Could it be possible that something more has helped change their perspective as well? Seems like their change of attitude came just about the same time they were seeking support in fighting the Keystone Pipeline. Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) was not pleased with this development and had this to say about it:

Like Bill McKibben’s about-face on immigration last month, this recent shift looks to have been driven by short-term politics. Word has it that in exchange for La Raza’s support for 350.org’s and the Sierra Club’s big D.C. rally against the Keystone XL pipeline, McKibben and Michael Brune, the Sierra Club’s executive director, promised to support CIR. We at PFIR oppose Keystone XL. But with hundreds of millions more Americans in coming decades, we can expect dozens more such bad projects to be built.

Bill McKibben wrote a piece for the LA Times, further clarifying his well-thought-out turnaround on immigration:

And that’s precisely where white America has fallen short. Election after election, native-born and long-standing citizens pull the lever for climate deniers, for people who want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, for the politicians who take huge quantities of cash from the Koch brothers and other oil barons. By contrast, a 2012 report by the Sierra Club and the National Council of La Raza found that Latinos were eager for environmental progress. Seventy-seven percent of Latino voters think climate change is already happening, compared with just 52% of the general population; 92% of Latinos think we have “a moral responsibility to take care of God’s creation here on Earth.”

That is an interesting take. One wonders what some of the immigrants currently being housed in McAllen, Texas would say? Have they been giving some thought to how, as new citizens, they could better support environmental causes than the disappointing white population? Considering articles about the trashing of the desert by illegals, Bill might have a lot of re-educating to do.

The Bureau of Land Management has been the major player in picking up garbage on the border since 2003. That year, the agency began its Southern Arizona Project, designed to fix the widespread environmental damage done by illegal aliens and drug smugglers.

The agency doles out taxpayer cash—more than $5 million since 2003—to private and government groups to do this work, and trash collection is part of it. BLM spurs the pickup of about 230,000 pounds a year.

What about the Sierra Club? What else might cause such a radical turnaround for them? The very progressive Colorlines site has some thoughts on it:

Sierra has more than two million members, many of them white and elderly. In order for their numbers to grow, recruitment will have to reflect what America looks like today and in the future, which is younger and more racially diverse. For Sierra to do that, though, they have to reconcile their history, which didn’t always endorse open pathways to U.S. citizenship, or even its own membership.

Latino organizations such as Mi Familia Vota Education Fund have applauded Sierra’s new stance, noting the “the wide array of issues that could be addressed through the passage of reform, such as climate solutions, fixing our nation’s healthcare system, educating our future workforce, and fixing our nation’s economy.”

Americans with real and justifiable concerns about illegal immigration must stay the course, as special interests from all sides are coming at us hard. From those who see a financial benefit for their business to those who hope to halt population growth to those who simply see a grand new block of Democrat voters, there are plenty of wolves out there in this fight.

The Russians Are Openly Mocking Obama on Twitter Now [The PJ Tatler]

Dmitry Rogozin is Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister.

Here he is on Twitter today, beating President Obama and his tweenies at the State Department at their own social media game.

This feels like one of those family fight things. I’m free to mock my brother, but don’t you dare or I’ll knock you out. We mock Obama around here all the time, because he deserves it. But that mockery ends at the water’s edge and means an entirely different thing when the Russians do it.

It’s fair to say that the Russians have just put a final promise of hashtag to that whole “Reset” thing.

Bill Clinton Hours Before 9/11 Attacks: I Could Have Killed bin Laden [The PJ Tatler]

Click here to view the embedded video.

[HT: Truth Revolt]

Hours before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Bill Clinton told a group of Australian business leaders that he could have killed Osama bin Laden, but chose not to because the risk of civilian casualties was too great.

Former Australia Liberal Party President Michael Kroger appeared on Sky News’ Paul Murray Live on Wednesday and released an audio recording of a speech former president Bill Clinton gave to a group of 30 Australian business leaders just ten hours before the planes flew into the World Trade Center.

“Bill Clinton was answering a question from a member of the audience about international terrorism and he made some extraordinary remarks, which have hitherto remained in my vault,” Kroger told Murray. “It was only when we talked about Clinton and bin Laden last week and many, many people contacted me and said they were quite interested to hear what they’d forgotten — that Clinton was in Australia the day before the planes hit the World Trade Center.”  Kroger said he then remembered the tape and the comments Clinton made about bin Laden just a few hours before the planes hit the World Trade Center.

“I’m just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden — he’s a very smart guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him, and I nearly got him once,” Clinton said to the business leaders on September 10, 2001. “I nearly got him. And I could have gotten, I could have killed him, but I would have had to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and killed 300 innocent women and children. And then I would have been no better than him.”

Clinton added, “And so I didn’t do it.”

Kroger said that in the days after the attack, those who had heard Clinton’s September 10th remarks were “saying, ‘My God! Did you hear what he said at the meeting? He could have killed bin Laden and he didn’t!’”

Kroger noted that thousands were killed in the attacks and “the world changed. The world changed. And we’ve never been the same since, whether it’s airport security, whether it’s planes not flying over countries that are at war … the world has never been the same since September 11, 2001 and there’s President Clinton admitting just a few hours before it happened that he could have taken out bin Laden but decided not to. So it was an extraordinary thing for the president to say.”

“Here was a moment in time when — terribly for the world —  this man, bin Laden, was allowed to continue with his terrorist activity as Clinton was made aware of where bin Laden was,” Kroger said.

Kroger also noted in the interview that the Rwandan genocide is another black mark against Clinton’s name. “He says in his diaries — in his autobiography — that he should have intervened in Rwanda and he didn’t and there was a massive slaughter that took place there and the Americans did nothing,” Kroger told Murray.

Report Says Attacks on Border Patrol Officers are Increasing [The PJ Tatler]

According to a report obtained by Fox News, attacks on US Border Patrol officers are on the increase even as over all illegal border traffic has decreased slightly.

The report, compiled by the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Border Security Operations Center, details “ local and federal authorities encountering smugglers carrying millions of dollars’ worth of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, some of which was found in vehicles filled with biblical passages and religious items; federal agents being assaulted and shot at; gang members brazenly approaching people in their homes; and ranch workers witnessing men crossing into the U.S. wearing camouflage and carrying long guns and automatic weapons.”

In the week of July 16-23 alone, according to the report, U.S. authorities apprehended 6,028 illegal immigrants, 4,152 of whom were not from Mexico. Most came from Central America. But there also were people from Russia, Morocco, China, Cuba and India, among other nations.

Cabrera, the union rep for the Rio Grande Valley Sector, the most heavily trafficked portion of the border, was shown a copy of the report by FoxNews.com. He contends the increase in attacks against law enforcement and the compilation of such events–including the game warden assault that occurred in Cabrera’s sector — should have been shared with him and his colleagues. But only higher-up officials receive the weekly reports, he said.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety declined to respond on the record; Border Patrol did not return FoxNews.com’s request for comment.

The 83-page report for July 16-23 reveals, among other things, that authorities seized $478,879 in U.S. currency, recovered more than seven tons of marijuana (street value: $6.35 million) and turned up more than a million dollars’ worth of cocaine and methamphetamine.

According to the report, a game warden trying to seize a raft was assaulted with a rock thrown at his head from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. The assailant then used children to shield himself from any counter action.

Game wardens have also reported seeing people in black uniforms and armed with rifles on the Mexican side of the border, and automatic gunfire was heard from the Mexico side on four different nights from July 16-23.

“This happens all the time. We’re out on the border, often we are alone, and all you hear is gunfire,” a Border Patrol agent working an overnight shift along the Rio Grande said last week.

“We are sitting ducks, and it’s only getting worse. Every night, it gets worse.”

I’ve heard the nightly sound of gunfire over the course of about a week. But that was in Baghdad, not Texas.

Rubio’s Utilitarian Case for Traditional Marriage Dodges More Powerful, Controversial Approach [The PJ Tatler]

How many more social conservatives must we endure as they make the utilitarian case for traditional marriage, dodging the more frank, powerful and controversial biblical case, summarized thus: “God says.”?

In Sen. Marco Rubio’s recent speech at Catholic University, as my colleague Rodrigo Sermeño reports, Rubio defended “strong values for a strong America.” But the senator connected these values only tangentially with the God who designed us and who sanctifies our relationships. He rested the weight of his argument upon the social sciences, history, conventional wisdom and stats about wealth and happiness.

Thousands of years of human history have shown that the ideal setting for children to grow up is with a mother and a father committed to one another, living together, and sharing the responsibility of raising their children. And since traditional marriage has such an extraordinary record of success at raising children into strong and successful adults, states in our country have long elevated this institution and set it apart in our laws.

This is what I mean by the utilitarian argument. Essentially, he says that marriage works, so the government should recognize it.

“I was taught certain values that led me to live my life in a sequence that has a proven track record of success. In America, if you get an education, find a good job, and wait until marriage to have children, your chances of achieving economic security and professional fulfillment are incredibly high,” Rubio said.

Rubio calls this the “success sequence,” and attributes our moral decline to the “erosion of the success sequence.”

But the truth is that the social and moral wellbeing of our people has a direct and consequential impact on their economic wellbeing.

Islamic Jizya: ‘Protection’ from Whom? [The PJ Tatler]

Is jizya—the money non-Muslims historically paid their Muslim conquerors—meant to buy them “protection,” including from outside enemies, as modern Western academics maintain?  Or was it simply extortion money meant to buy non-Muslims their lives, as Islam’s scriptures mandate?

The word jizya appears in Koran 9:29: “Fight those among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued(emphasis added).”

In the hadith, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, regularly calls on Muslims to demand jizya of non-Muslims:  “If they refuse to accept Islam,” said the Islamic prophet, “demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay jizya, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”

Keeping the above in mind, consider the following July 18 report from Reuters:

Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq’s dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul….

It said Christians who wanted to remain in the “caliphate” that the Islamic State declared this month in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a “dhimma” contract—a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya.”

“We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword,” the announcement said.

“After this date [July 19], there is nothing between us and them but the sword,” it said.

The Nineveh decree echoes one that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the former name for the Islamic State, issued in the Syrian city of Raqqa in February, demanding that Christians pay the jizya levy in gold and curb displays of their faith in return for protection.

Note how straightforward the Islamic State’s words are—jizya, conversion, or death—compared to the language of Reuters, which twice invokes the concept of “protection” without explaining from whom:  1) “a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya”; 2) “demanding that Christians pay the jizya levy in gold and curb displays of their faith in return for protection.”

Reuters doesn’t bother to clarify this notion of “protection,” but rather leaves it vague, implying that the protection Christians receive is against some random elements.

The reason for this obfuscation is that Mideast academics in the West have been whitewashing the meaning of jizya for decades.  After all, the concept of jizya is one of the most ironclad proofs that Islam is innately intolerant of non-Muslims.

A very typical Western definition for jizya can be found in the Encyclopaedia Britannica: “The Muslim rulers tolerated the dhimmis [conquered non-Muslims] and allowed them to practice their religion. In return for protection [from whom?] and as a mark of their submission, the dhimmis were required to pay a special poll tax known as the jizya.”

Other academics have gone so far as to claim that non-Muslims paid jizya to buy Muslim protection against outside forces.  Consider the following excerpt from John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.  It essentially makes the idea of being subjugated to Islamic overlords and paying them tribute appear as an enviable position for non-Muslim minorities:

In many ways, local populations [Christians, Jews, and others] found Muslim rule more flexible and tolerant than that of Byzantium and Persia. Religious communities were free to practice their faith to worship and be governed by their religious leaders and laws in such areas as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In exchange, they were required to pay tribute, a poll tax (jizya) that entitled them to Muslim protection from outside aggression and exempted them from military service. Thus, they were called the “protected ones” (dhimmi). In effect, this often meant lower taxes, greater local autonomy (emphasis added) …

The idea that jizya was extracted in order to buy “Muslim protection from outside aggression” is an outright lie—one that, as the equivocal tone of the aforementioned Reuters report indicates, has taken root in the West.

Equally false is Esposito’s assertion that jizya was paid to “exempt them from military service”—as if conquering Muslims would even want or allow their despised “infidel” subjects to fight alongside them in the name of jihad without first converting to Islam.

The root meaning of the Arabic word “jizya” is simply to “repay” or “recompense,” basically to “compensate” for something.  According to the Hans Wehr Dictionary, the standard Arabic-English dictionary, jizya is something that “takes the place” of something else, or “serves instead.”

Simply put, conquered non-Muslims were to purchase their lives, which were otherwise forfeit to their Muslim conquerors, with money. Instead of taking their lives, they took their money.  As one medieval jurist succinctly puts it, “their lives and their possessions are only protected by reason of payment of jizya” (Crucified Again, p. 22).

So jizya was, and is indeed, protection money—though protection, not from outsiders, as Esposito and others claim, but from surrounding Muslims themselves.  Whether it’s the first caliphate from over a millennium ago or whether it’s the newest caliphate, the Islamic State, Muslim overlords continue to deem the lives of their non-Muslim subjects forfeit unless they purchase it, ransom it with money.

There is nothing humane, reasonable, or admirable about demands for jizya from conquered non-Muslim minorities, as the academics claim. Jizya is simply extortion money. Its purpose has always been to provide non-Muslims with protection from Muslims: pay up, or else become one of us and convert to Islam, or else die.

And it is commanded in both the Koran and Hadith, the twin pillars of Islam.

In short, jizya is an ugly fact of Islam—one that, distort as they may, the academics can’t whitewash away, even as the world stands idly by watching its resumption in the twenty-first century.

HP agrees to settle allegations it overbilled US Postal Service [PCWorld]

Hewlett-Packard has agreed to pay US$32.5 million to settle allegations that it overbilled the U.S. Postal Service on a IT hardware contract.

The U.S. Department of Justice had alleged that HP overbilled the Postal Service for a government contract called Acquisition of Desktop Extended Processing Technology (ADEPT) II, which ran between October 2001 and December 2010. HP allegedly failed to comply with pricing terms of the contract that required the company to offer the Postal Service prices that were not higher than offered to HP customers with comparable contracts, the DOJ said in a news release.

The DOJ also alleged that HP misrepresented its prices.

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HP's luxury smartwatch focuses on fashion, supports both iOS and Android [PCWorld]

Don't expect this smartwatch to be an Android Wear device, but if you're concerned about looks HP's watch will be one of your best bets.

German copyright law is unconstitutional, Yahoo says in complaint [PCWorld]

A German copyright law that gives publishers the exclusive right to the commercial use of their content online is unconstitutional according to Yahoo, which has filed a complaint with Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court.

The law, which came into effect last August, gives publishers exclusive commercial rights over their content online except in the case of single words or small text snippets.

The exemption for small text snippets was added to allow search engines and aggregators to continue to show parts of news articles without infringing on copyright. However, publishers interpret the law differently and are demanding compensation from search engines.

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Mysterious Google Barge headed for the scrap heap [PCWorld]

Like previous famous barges before it, Google's barge on the east coast is about to meet an ignominious end. After months of speculation about what its ultimate purpose would be the Portland, Maine Google barge is headed for the scrap heap, literally.

The east coast barge was recently towed from Portland to a cargo terminal in South Portland. The barge is now being prepared for an ocean voyage after being sold to a new owner. But before it goes the 63 shipping containers that make up a 4-story building on top of the barge will be disassembled and scrapped, according to The Portland Press Herald.

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Surface Pro 3's Core i3 and Core i7 models available today [PCWorld]

More than two and a half months after the Surface Pro 3's reveal, all of its variants are finally available: On Friday, the Core i3 and Core i5 editions of Microsoft's laptop-replacing tablet are scheduled to hit the streets, following the June 20 launch of the Core i5 versions. Shipping notifications for preorders will be landing in inboxes soon, or you can waltz into a Microsoft Store to pick up one of the new models today.

PCWorld senior editor Mark Hachman found a lot to like in the Core i5 version of the Surface Pro 3, awarding it 4 (out of 5) stars in his review. In particular, he applauded the larger, more gorgeous 12-inch display; the more ergonomic kickstand and Type Cover connection mechanism; and battery life that outshines previous Surface Pro generations. "With its latest tablet, Microsoft continues to hone in on what buyers increasingly want: a spacious sheet of thin glass for work and play," he wrote.

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Attackers can easily create dangerous file-encrypting malware, new threat suggests [PCWorld]

A new program that encrypts files to extort money from users highlights that attackers don’t need advanced programming skills to create dangerous and effective ransomware threats, especially when strong encryption technology is freely available.

Researchers from antivirus vendor Symantec recently came across a Russian-language—for now—ransomware program of which the core component is a simple batch file—a command-line script file.

This development choice allows the attacker to easily control and update the malware, said Symantec researcher Kazumasa Itabashi in a blog post Thursday. The batch file downloads a 1024-bit RSA public key from a server and imports it into GnuPG, a free encryption program that also runs from the command line. GnuPG, which is an open-source implementation of the OpenPGP encryption standard, is used to encrypt the victim’s files with the downloaded key. “If the user wants to decrypt the affected files, they need the private key, which the malware author owns,” Itabashi said. In public-key cryptography, which OpenPGP is based on, users generate a pair of associated keys, one that is made public and one that is kept private. Content encrypted with a public key can only be decrypted with its corresponding private key. The new ransomware threat that Symantec calls Trojan.Ransomcrypt.L encrypts files with the following extensions: .xls, .xlsx, .doc, .docx, .pdf, .jpg, .cd, .jpeg, .1cd, .rar, .mdb and .zip. Victims are asked to pay a ransom of €150 (around US$200) to recover them. What sets Trojan.Ransomcrypt.L apart is not its use of public-key cryptography for encryption—other threats do the same—but its simplicity and the fact that the author chose to use a legitimate and open-source encryption program instead of creating his own implementation, which malware authors often do. There are some complex ransomware programs with advanced features that are developed with the primary goal of being sold to other cybercriminals who lack the skills to create their own.

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Microsoft security tool EMET 5.0 puts a leash on plugins [PCWorld]

The latest release of a Microsoft security tool that’s designed to stop exploits lets administrators control when third-party plugins are launched, a long favored route for attackers.

Microsoft has been steadily improving and adding more capabilities to the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), a free tool that strengthens the security of non-Microsoft applications by using defenses built within Windows, such as ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) and DEP (Data Execution Prevention).

The latest 5.0 iteration, released Thursday, includes something called “Attack Surface Reduction,” which can block some of an application’s modules or plugins that might be abused, wrote Chris Betz, senior director of the Microsoft Security Response Center.

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People are twisting facts in requests to be forgotten, Google says [PCWorld]

Some of those seeking to scrub their histories from the Web under Europe’s “right to be forgotten” rule are being economical with the truth when making their requests, Google said Thursday.

In a letter to European data regulators, Google listed some of the challenges it faces in complying with the ruling, which allows people to compel search engines like Google and Bing to remove links to pages that mention their name, if the references are “inadequate,” “irrelevant” or “excessive.”

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Austrian privacy campaigner files 'class action' suit against Facebook over privacy policy [PCWorld]

Privacy campaign group Europe-v-Facebook is inviting Facebook users outside the U.S. and Canada to join a lawsuit against the company, which it alleges violates privacy laws.

Europe-v-Facebook’s front man Max Schrems filed suit with the commercial court in Vienna, Austria, where he lives, the group said Friday on a website devoted to the case, fbclaim.com.

Schrems sued Facebook Ireland, which is responsible for processing the data of users outside the U.S. and Canada. Under EU law, consumers can always sue businesses at the relevant court of their home country. Moreover, the Austrian courts have reasonable fees compared to other countries, the group explained.

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10 awesome Android Wear apps you won't find on Google's list [PCWorld]

Developers are all over this smartwatch thing, and some of the new apps are great.

These old-timey Radio Shack photos prove techies have been nerding out since 1931 [PCWorld]

Vintage Radio Shack styleRadio Shack 1931 Boston

Image by Radio Shack

Radio Shack first opened its doors in 1921 to serve radio officers stationed on ships in Boston Harbor. Today, the chain has more than 4,000 stores across the U.S., all of them packed with hardcore nerdware. You probably already know that Radio Shack is a good place to go for batteries and computer cables, but as the company battles the Amazons and Best Buys of the world, it’s doubling down on enthusiast gear like smartphone-controlled drones. 

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Illustrator CC2014 review: Adobe continues to add refinements that benefit illustrators [PCWorld]

Adobe continues to refine its flagship illustration tool with Illustrator CC 2014, a minor update with just a handful of feature additions. Interestingly, many more new features were introduced to the vector app with the mid-cycle Illustrator CC 17.1 update in January. A number of these earlier additions merit discussion, and combined with the enhancements in CC 2014, they address one of the longest-standing complaints I’ve had with the application.

Better tools

In my past Illustrator reviews, I have consistently lamented the application’s anemic object tools. Select the rounded rectangle tool, click the artboard and you’d be asked to specify the corner radius; once the radius was determined, it was locked in and uneditable. Stretch the object in one direction, and the corners would stretch and distort, too. Similarly, the star and polygon tools provided little in the way of settings, and those too were locked in once set. Creating a star with rounded corners or a polygon in the shape of gear was a logistical nightmare for even the most hardened Illustrator veterans.

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10 great Rainmeter skins for productivity [PCWorld]

Desktops designed for productivityrainmeterdesktop primary

The Rainmeter desktop customization tool isn’t just about creating the coolest-looking desktop by mixing and matching different skins. Rainmeter can also help your productivity by letting you keep tabs on your inbox at a glance, know what kind of weather you’re facing outside, monitor PC system health, track the news, and take notes.

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Asus Transformer Pad TF103C review: This hybrid is better for fun than work [PCWorld]

I enjoyed the Windows-based Transformer Book T100 I tested a few months ago, so I was excited to see how its Android-powered sibling would stack up. The engineers at Asus engineers have now proven themselves to be pros at designing 2-in-1 tablet/laptop hybrids running in both Windows and Android flavors. But the names they’ve chosen for these two devices are telling: The Windows device conjures the image of a notebook, while the Android device evokes the iPad.

Asus Transformer Pad TF103C

The Asus Transformer Pad TF103C might look like a small Windows 2-in-1 notebook, but it runs the Android OS (KitKat). 

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Mitro makes password manager open source as team heads to Twitter [PCWorld]

The team at Mitro Labs, the developer of a password manager, is joining Twitter, and its software is being released under a free and open source license, Mitro said Thursday.

The Mitro team said in a post on the company’s website that they were joining Twitter’s location team in New York to focus on geo-related projects.

Twitter said it is not providing any details of the deal at this time beyond what is in Mitro’s blog post. Twitter Engineering welcomed the Mitro team in a message.

The Mitro password manager for individuals and groups records user names and passwords as users log in to new sites, synchronizes them across devices, and lets users share them with others. It has extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, mobile apps for iOS and Android, and a server to do the synchronization.

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Almost 200,000 people may have been affected by US visa system crash [PCWorld]

Computer problems with the U.S. State Department’s system for issuing passports and visas may have affected up to 200,000 people, it emerged Thursday, as the scale of the problem became clear for the first time.

The problems began July 20 when engineers from Oracle and Microsoft applied a software patch to the State Department’s Consular Consolidated Database, which handles millions of passport and visa applications in the U.S. and at its embassies and consulates around the globe.

The patch was intended to solve several months of instability but instead crashed the system, which did not come back online until July 23.

“From the start of the operational issues on July 20th through the 28th, we issued more than 180,000 non-immigrant visas globally,” said Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, at a televised briefing Thursday. “Based on our average production figures, we would have anticipated issuing closer to 370,000 in that same time period.”

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Friday Open Thread: Female Secret Service Agents Offended by Joe Biden’s Naked Swims [Wizbang]

OPEN THREAD!!! And there’s this… Secret Service agents dread being assigned to protect the vice president, in part because Biden’s a big fan of skinny dipping, according to a new tell-all book. Seriously, who the hell wants to see Joe Biden swimming in the buff in the VP’s pool. And why does the VP get […]

Wizbang Weekend Caption Contest™ [Wizbang]

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for the Wizbang Weekend Caption Contest™. Enter your best caption for the following picture: Winners will be announced Monday morning – I promise…

Dem Chair Says Obama ‘Doing His Job Less Often’ Than Any Prez Since Cleveland? [Wizbang]

Once again we see how stupid Democrat Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is with a clumsy comment filled with false implications and absurd assumptions not to mention unintentional hilarity as this fool proclaims that Obama has done his job “less often” than any president since Grover Cleveland. In an appearance on the odious and bottom […]

Time Stands Still In ‘Progressive’ Old Europe [Ed Driscoll]

● “Belgian doctor refuses treatment to Jewish patient.”

—Headline, Jerusalem Post, today.

● “‘How, as a socialist, can you not be an anti-Semite?’ Adolf Hitler asked his party members in 1920. No one thought it an odd question.”

—As quoted at Small Dead Animals today.

Oh, and bonus anti-Semitism: Mika Brzezinski seems determined to live up to that previous quote: “Keep it Right Here on Morning Jew.”

Update: Mika’s Freudian slip occurred yesterday; her “conservative” co-host seems determined to keep up theme, though: Joe Scarborough Turns On Israel: These Attacks are ‘Asinine,’ ‘Indiscriminate.’

MSNBC: We Are All Al Sharpton Now.

Just ask the channel’s president: In 2011, MSNBC’s Phil Griffin told NPR, “I’m a big fan of the Reverend Sharpton. I’ve known him quite a bit. he’s smart. He’s entertaining. He’s experienced. He’s thoughtful. He’s provocative, all the things I think that MSNBC is.” And how.

More: Breaking News from 1938: “German Jews Warned: Hide Your Jewishness ‘The Risk Of Being Target Of An Attack Is Too Large.’”

Whatever Gets You Through the News Cycle [Ed Driscoll]

“When CIA Director John Brennan — then the White House counterterrorism adviser — laid out the Obama administration’s new approach to fighting Islamist terrorism on June 29, 2011, he mocked conservatives who suggested that Islamist extremists were plotting to re-establish a caliphate across the Middle East,” the Washington Examiner reminded its readers last month. Back then, Brennan was saying:

Our strategy is also shaped by a deeper understanding of al Qaeda’s goals, strategy, and tactics. I’m not talking about al Qaeda’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate. That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counterterrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen.

So how are things working out in the Middle East these days? As the Washington Examiner noted last month in its headline, “Lack of intelligence: What CIA chief said is ‘never going to happen’ is happening in Iraq and Syria.” And that was before Hamas launched its latest attacks on Israel. Between ISIS in Iraq, and Hamas’s attacks on Israel, as Jeff Dunetz, the self-described “Yid with Lid” notes today, “The Only Difference Between Hamas and ISIS Violent Goals Are Their Names.”

This Hamas goal was outlined by Fathi Hammad Minister of Interior and National Security for  the Hamas government in Gaza who said in November 2013:

 We look forward to future victories, in which, Allah willing, we will liberate our land, our Jerusalem, our Al-Aqsa [Mosque], our cities and our villages, Allah willing, all this in preparation for establishing the next Islamic Caliphate. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are at the brink of a period of global Islamic culture, whose fuel is Gaza, whose spearhead is Gaza, its Jihad fighters (Mujahideen) and commanders are Gaza, Allah willing…

And as the leftwing UK Guardian reported last month, “Isis announces Islamic caliphate in area straddling Iraq and Syria.”

To be fair to Brennan, no doubt, his words sounded good at the time, and it got the administration through another news cycle, which is ultimately all it cares about anyhow. But to paraphrase Bill Clinton, he might want to put a little ISIS on his ego, as his reputation — and that of the Obama administration’s foreign policy as a whole — are badly in tatters.

Oh and speaking of foreign policy reputations in tatters, as John Podhoretz writes in the New York Post, John Kerry and his staffers “have taken to whining — not sure there’s a nicer word — over how unfairly he’s being written and talked about in Israel:”

John Kerry fought in Vietnam, threw his medals away, served decades in the Senate, ran for president, did some windsurfing and then became secretary of state of the most powerful country on Earth.

He’s a big boy. But there are those who seem to feel otherwise, that Kerry is a fragile and tender reed in need of delicate care — people who work for and with him. Not to mention Kerry himself.

Over the course of the past year, on several occasions, Kerry and other staffers have taken to whining — not sure there’s a nicer word — over how unfairly he’s being written and talked about in Israel.

In January, after Israel’s defense minister was twice quoted speaking disparagingly about Kerry’s peace-process efforts and his nuclear diplomacy with Iran, Kerry actually called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to complain.

This was an odd thing, given the relative power of Kerry and the relatively minor position of Moshe Ya’alon. Kerry could have brushed Yaalon’s words off as a giant brushes off a fly.

But it was so hurtful to Kerry that he made sure the world knew about it. His spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said at a public briefing that Ya’alon’s “comments were not constructive.

Perhaps Iowahawk has the best explanation for Kerry & Co’s kvetch fest:


Cargo Cult of Big Government Reaches Terminal Limit [Ed Driscoll]

Say there (former) Madam IRS Commissioner, do you let your ideology influence your job and whom you choose as your next victims? And as Glenn Reynolds wrote yesterday, “As bad as the emails that have been released are, the ones they’re hiding must be just dreadful.” But how bad is the above sample? So bad, Noah Rothman notes at Hot Air today, that even Democrat operatives with bylines and microphones are grudgingly forced to admit Lerner’s insanely obvious bias:

While most of the major news networks have not yet made note of the latest emails, CBS This Morning did bring its audience up to speed on the latest controversy. After asking if the latest emails represent a “smoking gun,” CBS quoted Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) who told reporters that the Lerner had evidenced “a political bias against conservatives.”

MSNBC’s Morning Joe hosts made a startling admission when tackling the issue of the latest emails. While the panel’s Republicans were animated about these newest developments, the majority of the program’s liberals were silent. Only NBC News personality Willie Geist offered his thoughts on the newest revelations.

“If the question is, ‘was there political, ideological bias inside the IRS?’ Geist asked, “It’s hard to argue ‘no.’”

CNN’s New Day politics panel offered a similar take on the latest emails. Asked if the latest correspondences could create a critical mass which might force the administration to surrender control of the IRS investigation to an independent investigator, Associated Press White House reporter Julie Pace said she did not think so. She did, however, concede that it appears the former IRS official accused of discriminating against conservatives “had a real axe to grind” with conservatives.

National Journal Editorial Director Ron Fournier was more succinct. “To borrow the president’s phrase, there’s at least a smidgen of bias in the IRS,” he said.

And while the IRS is busy being weaponized against its citizens, the CIA confesses, “Yeah, we hacked the Senate’s computers,” as also spotted by Rothman today:

The outrage over the CIA’s claimed abuse of authority was bipartisan. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the allegations against the spy agency “dangerous to a democracy.”

“Heads should roll, people should go to jail, if it’s true,” Graham said at the time. “I’m going to get briefed on it. If it is, the legislative branch should declare war on the CIA, if it’s true.”

War, it would seem, is imminent.

On Thursday, the CIA admitted to secretly and improperly hacking Senate staffers’ computers linked to the internal review of the agency’s tactics under George W. Bush.

“CIA Director John Brennan has determined that employees ‘acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding’ brokered between the CIA and its Senate overseers, according to agency spokesman Dean Boyd,” National Journal reported. In the statement, Boyd apologized to the committee chair and vice chair who were misled by Brennan.

Barack Obama promised fundamental transformation; a grimly amusing cartoon at Small Dead Animals sums up how the “Progressive” alphabet soup created by successive prior Democrat administrations has been corrupted and weaponized during BHO’s administration.

And as Charles Murray notes on Twitter, there’s bipartisan room for change:

But don’t worry — the left and the RNC will cheerfully go back to sleep and resume the status quo until the taxpayer money runs out.

Your ObamaCare Fail of the Day [VodkaPundit]


Today’s edition comes courtesy of NRO’s Deroy Murdock, who just opened an letter from his insurer with “IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING YOUR POLICY” printed in large, friendly letters on the envelope. Here’s what he found inside:

“We are writing to let you know that your health insurance coverage through Easy Choice Health Plan of New York (‘Easy Choice’) will be terminated no later than December 31, 2014,” it stated. Moreover, “Easy Choice will no longer be offering your policy or participating in New York’s commercial health insurance market.”

So, no more health insurance for me, and no more Empire State for my health insurer. To underscore that point, the July 1 letter added: “Easy Choice will no longer be issuing any commercial health insurance policies in the association group, employer, or individual markets in New York State.” Among the reasons that its clients are losing coverage, Easy Choice cited “changes in federal law set forth in the federal Affordable Care Act” — a.k.a Obamacare.

While my insurance agent secured me a grandfathered-in pre-Obamacare plan after my coverage was canceled last year, “grandpa” will expire by year’s end. What happens now is anyone’s guess.

If there’s a happy note to be found in Deroy’s sad song, it’s that he certainly makes too much money to quality for subsidies, so he can buy straight from his broker instead of having to rely on one of the notoriously unreliable exchanges.

I mean, there is still somebody offering insurance in New York, right?


China’s Big New Nukes [VodkaPundit]

It’s officially official — China has a nulcear-tipped, MIRV’d ICBM capable of reaching anywhere in the United States:

A government environmental monitoring centre in Shaanxi said on its website that a military facility in the province was developing Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) missiles, the Global Times reported.

The DF-41 is designed to have a range of 12,000 kilometres, according to a report by Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems, putting it among the world’s longest-range missiles.

It is “possibly capable of carrying multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles”, the US Defense Department said in a report in June, referring to a payload of several nuclear warheads.

China’s military is highly secretive, and the Global Times said it had not previously acknowledged the existence of the DF-41.

We’ve unofficially known about the DF-41 for a while, so the question is why China decided now to reveal it.

By Grabthar’s Hammer… What a Story [VodkaPundit]


I’d love to call this one Required Reading, but it might be a little too fringe. Anyway, MTV sat down with the stars, producer, and director for an oral history of the making of Galaxy Quest — which David Mamet once called “a perfect movie.”

The interview is almost as charming as the movie itself.

Required Reading [VodkaPundit]

Ben Domenech says Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom will be “disgraced, not impeached,” which sounds exactly right to me. More:

Whatever your preferred immigration policy solution, yes, [executive-action amnesty] is outrageous. It’s the sort of action taken by a monarch, not an elected representative of the people. Total abandonment of the rule of law for blatantly partisan reasons after failing to achieve anything legislatively, betting on the courts to ignore it or do the no standing dance until it’s established policy – it’s all pretty obscene. But impeachment is a unrealistic and unworkable approach and Republicans know it (though it is amusing to watch the media and Capitol Hill Democrats which such short memories). There is no court or parliamentary procedure or legal technicality which can defend against Obama’s actions at this point or short-circuit the process (or lack thereof) he’s going to employ for the rest of his presidency. Under his leadership, his party has thoroughly abandoned the rule of law in pursuit of their policy aims. It might as well be part of the party platform now, and the Joe Biden presidency (lulz) would not be markedly more respectful of it.

So Republicans and Independents keep dropping jaws and cracking monocles, but it’s not going to do any good, and there’s no referee to throw the flag or umpire to call out the president for slapping the glove (well, there is that god-awful record at the Supreme Court, but that works on a delay). Paul Ryan has said that the GOP’s current political differences with the president don’t add up to high crimes and misdemeanors. But even if Obama does this, and even if the base concludes this is a step too far, there’s really nothing Republicans can do other than to laugh at how much of a failed presidency this has become, at the sheer absurdity and elitism of engaging in mass amnesty at a time when the working class is struggling so much, and get back to winning the argument with the people.

Read the whole thing.

Obama once remarked he’d rather be remembered as a “really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.”

He’ll be remembered as neither.

Cantor to Step Down [VodkaPundit]


Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has been asked to call a special election to replace Eric Cantor in Congress, following the Republican’s decision to step down from Congress early and completely end his tenure on Capitol Hill.

The former House majority leader, shockingly defeated in a GOP primary less than two months ago, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he would resign effective Aug. 18. Cantor said he had asked McAuliffe to call a special election concurrently with the Nov. 4 general election, which is allowed under state law, so that his successor could serve in a lame-duck session.

Cantor has given no hints what he’ll be doing next.

(Still) The Camera of the Future [VodkaPundit]


Light-field photography is potentially a very powerful way to shoot. Instead of recording a single still image on a flat sheet of film or silicon, it records the way the light enters the camera. This trick allows the shooter or the viewer to change a picture’s focus, perspective, or otherwise manipulate in 3D. Really, the resulting image isn’t a picture as we currently understand it.

A company called Lytro has been leading the, uh, field of study, and has just introduced its first real camera. The results can be impressive, but unfortunately the Illum isn’t ready for primetime:

It never really feels like everything’s working properly. If I captured too many shots too quickly, the camera would freeze or crash spectacularly. Once, I framed and fired a shot, and all the Illum recorded was black. The touchscreen picks odd moments to be slow or just unresponsive. Each image takes a few seconds to process, after which it either will or won’t refocus when you tap on the screen for no reason. The Illum’s autofocus is basically nonexistent, meaning you’re stuck manually focusing for every shot. There’s no image stabilization, so if you’re zoomed in you either need a tripod or the world’s steadiest hands. It feels like every time you push the Illum, try to explore its capabilities, it just breaks down. And if there’s one way to immediately alienate the customer who’s most likely to part with $1,500 for this camera, it’s to build a product that can’t hack it under pressure.

This is Lytro’s biggest problem, the most frustrating thing about the Illum. It’s made for and sold to professional photographers, those pushing at the creative edges of their profession. It can’t replace a DSLR (though I wish it could), and Lytro knows that. But buyers with $1,500 to spend on a second or third camera want certain things: fine manual control, quick access to settings, sharp images, adaptive performance to any conditions, easy processing, and much more. In way too many places, the Illum doesn’t deliver to the expectations of its target audience.

The price isn’t a big deal for pros used to spending that much or more on one high-speed telephoto lens. But the camera has got to function, flawlessly, shot after shot under field conditions.

I hope Lytro gets serious about producing a quality project, and quickly. For the next generation of photographers, children already used to playing with their images on touchscreens, light-field photography will be as natural to them as switching out lenses is to generations of SLR shooters.

So there’s that — and I really really want one.

The Talking Heads of August [VodkaPundit]


Three reasonably intelligent history buffs having an impromptu discussion on the continuing relevance of the First World War? That’s this week’s Trifecta Wildcard.

The Deadly Dongle [VodkaPundit]

This USB hole has got to be the scariest computer security threat to come along since maybe ever:

Nohl and Lell, researchers for the security consultancy SR Labs, are hardly the first to point out that USB devices can store and spread malware. But the two hackers didn’t merely copy their own custom-coded infections into USB devices’ memory. They spent months reverse engineering the firmware that runs the basic communication functions of USB devices—the controller chips that allow the devices to communicate with a PC and let users move files on and off of them. Their central finding is that USB firmware, which exists in varying forms in all USB devices, can be reprogrammed to hide attack code. “You can give it to your IT security people, they scan it, delete some files, and give it back to you telling you it’s ‘clean,’” says Nohl. But unless the IT guy has the reverse engineering skills to find and analyze that firmware, “the cleaning process doesn’t even touch the files we’re talking about.”

The problem isn’t limited to thumb drives. All manner of USB devices from keyboards and mice to smartphones have firmware that can be reprogrammed—in addition to USB memory sticks, Nohl and Lell say they’ve also tested their attack on an Android handset plugged into a PC. And once a BadUSB-infected device is connected to a computer, Nohl and Lell describe a grab bag of evil tricks it can play. It can, for example, replace software being installed with with a corrupted or backdoored version. It can even impersonate a USB keyboard to suddenly start typing commands. “It can do whatever you can do with a keyboard, which is basically everything a computer does,” says Nohl.

The malware can silently hijack internet traffic too, changing a computer’s DNS settings to siphon traffic to any servers it pleases. Or if the code is planted on a phone or another device with an internet connection, it can act as a man-in-the-middle, secretly spying on communications as it relays them from the victim’s machine.

I’ve always behaved as though if anyone can get physical hold of my computer or device, they can crack it. I behave that way because it’s true. But this new threat can be piggybacked into any USB device, opening up avenues that were only open before if someone got physical hold of your stuff.

My advice? Don’t borrow any wired keyboard or mice. And if you use an Android phone or tablet, charge it on a wall charger, period — don’t plug it into your Windows or Mac computer.

Required Reading [VodkaPundit]

Speaking of the devolution of the Arab world, Christopher Hill calls it “the end of the Arab state.” Read:

In a region where crises seem to be the norm, the Middle East’s latest cycle of violence suggests that something bigger is afoot: the beginning of the dissolution of the Arab nation-state, reflected in the growing fragmentation of Sunni Arabia.

CommentsView/Create comment on this paragraphStates in the Middle East are becoming weaker than ever, as traditional authorities, whether aging monarchs or secular authoritarians, seem increasingly incapable of taking care of their restive publics. As state authority weakens, tribal and sectarian allegiances strengthen.

CommentsView/Create comment on this paragraphWhat does it mean today to be Iraqi, Syrian, Yemeni, or Lebanese? Any meaningful identification seems to require a compound name – Sunni Iraqi, Alawite Syrian, and so forth. As such examples suggest, political identity has shifted to something less civil and more primordial.

In all fairness to the Arabs, false Franco-British constructs acting the part of nations didn’t do anything to help Arabs build a sense of nationality.

Tweet of the Day, I Concur In This Judgement edition. [Moe Lane]

That was very well done.

I hate political books, but maybe I should read ‘Clinton, Inc.’ ? [Moe Lane]

I was going to give it a pass, but if the book is hated this much by the Clinton Machine then maybe there’s something to it.

Former Clinton administration press secretary Mike McCurry is quietly waging a campaign to quash coverage on a new tell-all book that exposes Bill and Hillary Clinton’s massive political empire.

McCurry has successfully blockedPolitico media reporter Dylan Byers from writing about the bestselling Clinton, Inc., written byWeekly Standard editor Daniel Halper, according to emails obtained by theWashington Free Beacon.

Hillary Clinton’s people are certainly stereotypical about this sort of thing.


Moe Lane

‘Angie.’ (Tori Amos) [Moe Lane]

AngieTori Amos

I must be getting my head ready for Pennsic.

It is official: Sheila Jackson Lee’s rude insanity now infects her entire staff. Allegedly [Moe Lane]

This isn’t unprofessional.  This is nega-professional: if it ever touches any professionalism then Ohio will abruptly become an Atlantic beachfront state*. 

Short version if you haven’t heard it yet: Sheila Jackson Lee announced on Wednesday that Democrats had never tried to impeach the President, despite the fact that she was a co-sponsor of a bill to impeach the President. PJ Tatler called up to inquire about that, and the results were apparently epic:

I was transferred to a gentleman on Lee’s staff. When I again asked him about the contradiction and stated that perhaps I was confused, the man said “Oh look it here, we have one of those right wing, tea-bagger nut jobs on the phone taking his cues from FOX News.”

He then accused me of being un-American, raising his voice at me while asking me to calm down, and telling me that I am just on some mission to destroy our country. When I calmly asked for his name, he said “I don’t have to give it to you because I don’t want to show up on some right wing blog and be on your Twitter account.” Keep in mind, I never said who I was – he just made assumptions and attacked me. When I reminded him that he gets paid by our tax dollars, he said “I doubt you even pay taxes and the IRS will find you soon enough,” and hung up on me.

Pro-tip for any Democratic staffers that may be reading: don’t do this.  There will be internal calls made about this incident, because it is in the vested interest of all Congressional offices that none of them get the reputation of threatening to sic the IRS on people who call them.  Don’t be that bad example.

Moe Lane

*Because the entire Eastern Seaboard would blow up… oh, never mind.  It’s a geek joke and leave it at that.

Ventura County Dem chair David Atkins screams for Julia Brownley (D) to give back ‘stolen’ money. [Moe Lane]



The Ventura County Democrats apparently believe that Julia Brownley’s  $235,000+ in salary and investment income, which puts her in that top 4%, is the product of theft

Come, I will conceal nothing from you: I felt that the original formatting by the NRCC was, ah, a bit lurid.  But it’s accurate. The fact of it is, even a beginning Congressman’s salary – like Brownley’s – puts them squarely in the top income brackets ($174K  a year is a good deal of money). Add in the investments and Congresswoman Brownley is doing all right for herself.  Does this mean that we should pay Congressmen less? …Maybe?  And maybe not: it’s a tough job with long hours and an infinite number of ways to crack under the strain.

Or maybe you don’t care about that.  That’s fine.  That’s absolutely fine… unless you happen to be the chairman of the Ventura County, California Democratic party.  When you’re that person - like, specifically, David Atkins – then you have to explain why you’re calling your own sitting Congresswoman a dirty thief.  I mean, does David Atkins know something that the rest of us don’t?  And if he does, then why hasn’t he notified the relevant law enforcement agencies?

Or is David Atkins merely a sloppy idiot?

Moe Lane

What happens when Republicans take the Senate? I’ll tell you, @voxdotcom. [Moe Lane]

Somewhere between half and two-thirds* of the Democratic staffers that talk to Vox right now won’t have jobs on Capitol Hill anymore. No jobs, no access to power, and all chasing the same stopgap employment opportunities.  It won’t be pretty: why, some of ‘em might even have to move back home.

Ain’t it a shame.

Moe Lane

*I assume that Vox talks disproportionately to the ones who haven’t figured out yet that they probably shouldn’t talk to Vox.  Mind you, those are the first you downsize, so I guess it all works out, nu?

Quote of the Day, I WANT TO BELIEVE edition. (Guardians of the Galaxy) [Moe Lane]

I really want this movie not to suck. From Thom Dunn’s Tor.com review of Guardians of the Galaxy:

But if you’re anything like me, and somehow haven’t gotten sick of the ironic juxtaposition of 70s pop music set against the backdrop of a technicolor Mos Eisley, I’m here to tell you that Guardian’s of the Galaxy is the greatest remake of Footloose that you will likely ever see.

I really, really, really want this movie not to suck.  For both noble and ignoble reasons.  The thought of Hollywood being just the slightest bit scared of Marvel amuses me.

Moe Lane

HA! My Secret Map made the Tor.com blog! @tordotcom [Moe Lane]

Without attribution, but that’s my own damn fault: I didn’t slap my website info on the thing. So there was no way that either Tor.com nor Thom Dunn could know where it came from, but I’m glad they enjoyed it.  And, besides…

I kind of ripped off Slate myself, remember?

So, hey, no kick coming.


Moe Lane

PS: Obviously, it’s not the same map: the colors are slightly different and the angle of Alaska is shifted.  But the coloring of the states mimics the Slate piece.

August Amateur Radio: Islands, Castles and Portable Operations [Shortwave Central]


A portion of special events for ICPO (Islands, Castles and Portable Operations). Events open to amateur radio and shortwave listeners. QSL info is included and all time references are UTC. Good luck with these events !

Luc, ON6DSL, informs ICPO that he will be QRV once again from the Greek island of Crete (EU-015, GIOTA KRS-005, MIA MGC-005, WLOTA 1400) during his August holiday stay as SV9/ON6DSL/p. "I will be regularly QRV (holiday style) from the beach at QTH Pigianos Kampos near Rethimnon with equipment FT-817-ND - 5W (QRP) and a home made multiband antenna inv.V dipole at only 4 m high. SRI ONLY SSB. PSE QSL via ON UBA BURO home call. [ON6DSL]

August 1-4
Kuny, AH0BT and his son Yoshiki (14y/o), KH0UA are once again active from the Saipan BBQ Contest Club, island of Saipan (USi NI-002S, WLOTA 1333, Grid Loc. QK25), Northern Mariana Islands (OC-086) until August 4. QRV holiday style on the HF bands, all modes. QSL AH0BT via the  JARL Bureau or direct with 2USD+SAE (ML9292, 2-14-8, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061, JAPAN). QSL KH0UA via the Bureau or direct 2USD+SAE (ML9292, 2-14-8, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061, JAPAN). NOTE: Direct address had been changed in 2014. Please forward the new address to your friends. [AH0BT via NG3K]

August 1-4
Marilyn, WM2W and Terry, N0TW (10x #36547 VP 3138) will be active as C6ANW and C6ATW, respectively, from the Bahama Islands. They will be QRV on 10 metre SSB, especially during the 10-10
Summer QSO Party (www.ten-ten.org). QSL both callsigns via N0TW. [425 DX News]

August 1-14
Michel, F5OZF and Solange, F5RXL will be active as TK50O from near Ajaccio, island of Corsica (EU-014, DIFM TK-001, MIA MCO-001, WLOTA 1390, WW Loc. JN41IW), Corse du Sud (DDFM 2A). QSL via F5RXL, direct or Bureau, and LoTW. [425 DX News]

August 2
On Saturday, August 2, Jean-Pierre F8NUH/p will activate the Castle of Montceau (DFCF 38-052), commune of Ruy-Montceau (CP 38300 WW, Loc. JN25QO). Plans are to be QRV on 80 and 40 metre CW and SSB. QSL via home call, Bureau or direct. [F8NUH]

Mount Dora Lake Lighthouse
August 2-3/ 7
Repeat Special Event - Activating the Mount Dora Lake Lighthouse (ARLHS USA-1407) during National Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend. Carol, KA4WJR, informs ICPO "We had so much fun with the FEB 2014 event- that we decided to do a REPEAT SPECIAL EVENT during NATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE & LIGHTSHIP WEEKEND - Aug 2014!!!! We will again activate the Mount Dora Lake Light located on Lake Dora at the entrance of the Port of Mount Dora in Mount Dora, Florida. We will operate from 1300 UTC Aug 2nd, 2014 to 2300 UTC Aug 4th, 2014 (9:00 am to 7:00 PM - local time) on Saturday August 2nd, 2014 and POSSIBLY again on Sunday August 3rd, 2014 or Thursday August 7th, 2014 - National Lighthouse Day. We will operate CW, SSB phone and PSK31. QSL information is the same as noted on the QRZ.com page, under KA4WJR, for the FEB 2014 lighthouse event." [KA4WJR]

August 2-3
Cristian, CE2WTF and Manuel, CE2NTT plan to pay a short visit to the Isla de Pascua [aka Easter Island, Rapa Nui] (SA-001, DICE ICE-001, WLOTA 0319, WWFF CEFF-027). They have the
following options for callsigns: CE2NTT: XR0YNTT / 3G0YNTT / CB0YNTT; CE2WTF: XR0YWTF / 3G0YWTF / CB0YWTF. QRV on 40, 20, 15, 10, and 6 metre SSB, maybe also on LEO satellites. QSL via operators' information. Website: www.ce2ntt.blogspot.de/ [DX-World]

August 2-5
Larry, K4KGG, plans activity from Fogo Island (NA-198, CIsA NF-005), Newfoundland. QRV on HF bands, SSB. Possibly RTTY. QSL via K4KGG, LotW preferred and direct (Lawrence R Libsch,
23383 Water Circle, Boca Raton, FL 33486-8542, USA) with SAE + 2GS, or Bureau. [DX-World]

August 2-8
Laci, HA0NAR reports that he will be active from the island of Thasos [aka Thassos] (EU-174, GIOTA NAS-037, MIA MG-124, WLOTA 4186) as SV8/HG0R. QRV holiday-style on 160-6 metre CW, SSB
and RTTY. QSL via HA0NAR, Bureau or direct. [DX-World]

August 2-9
Imam, YB4IR, will be active as YB4IR/5 from Tambelan Island (OC-122, WW Loc. OJ30SX) off the west coast of West Kalimantan, (Borneo), Indonesia. QRV on 40-10m, CW, SSB and Digital modes.
QSL via home call, direct, Bureau or ClubLog OQRS. [YB4IR]

August 2-17
Operators Mek, SP7VC and YL Katarzyna, SQ7OYL have announced their next DXpedition will be to the Balkan area. They state that they will visit some Balkan countries: Slovenia, Croatia,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia. As usual you can expect our activity from each country on many bands. No other details were provided, but stay tuned! For details and updates, see: www.sp7vc.dxing.pl [OPDX Bulletin]

August 3
Tony, VK3VTH, announces an activation of Snowy River National Park (WWFF VKFF-455) for 3rd August 2014. QRV as VK3VTH/p from 02:00-04:00 UTC on 7085 kHz and from 04:00z - 06:00 UTC on 14244 kHz. QSL via home call, direct or Bureau. [DX Newsletter]

August 4-12
Rich, KB5FLA, plans to be active from the island of Dutch Sint Maarten (NA-105, WLOTA 0711) as PJ7/KB5FLA. QRV holiday-style on the HF bands. QSL via LoTW and eQSL. [DX-World]

N5FPW QSL from Azores Islands
August 5-11
Azores Islands/Portugal, look for Joao, CU3AA, to be active as CT7/CU3AA/P in several counties in the districts of Lisbon, Coimbra and Santarem. Also will activate parishes for DDFP and if the opportunity arises, some monuments to DMHP (WCA). He will have access to 40, 30, 20 and 17 metre SSB and CW (if necessary). Information about the activation will be sent to the international network of clusters. Joao hopes to contact you on this "on-the-run expedition". [CU3AA]

August 6-11 / August 9-10
Eric, K9GY, will once again visit the shack of Ed, VP9GE, located in Hamilton Parish, island of Bermuda (NA-005, WLOTA 0201, WW Loc. FM72PI) and be active as K9GY/VP9. Eric will focus on
the Worked All Europe (WAE) CW Contest (9-10 August). Outside of the contest look for Eric to be QRV on 160-6 metres (100W on 6M). QSL via LotW (preferred) or direct via CBA for K9GY. [NG3K]

August 7-11
A team from the Royal Omani Amateur Radio Society will operate SSB, CW and digital modes as A43MI from Masirah Island (AS-014, WW Loc. LL90JL), off the East coast of Oman, Ash Sharqiyah Region, Masirah Province. QSL via A47RS. [DX-World]
(ICPO/31 July)

Blog Logs: August [Shortwave Central]

A sampling of shortwave monitoring from hobbyist.

All times UTC/ frequency in kHz (kilohertz) // parallel frequency
* Sign-on  / Sign-off *
English unless otherwise indicated

Logs edited for clarity

15344.43, Radio Argentina Exterior, 2246-2301.+ Spanish phone interview, con embajador a Panama. Mix of classical guitar and easy-listening jazz with numerous station ID's, included "RAE" Continued in Spanish after 2300. SIO 3+33 with Arabic splash from 15355 kHz. (Harold Frodge, MI/MARE 790/791)

An aerial view over Ascensions Islands
Ascension Island
12095, BBC World Service, 2105. Heard station ID to interview with lady who is an Egyptian Broadcast journalist. Signal poor with much QRN and fading. (Frodge).

17860, Radio Australia (presumed) 2124-2131+. Male/female with newscast to 2130, followed by sports program. SIO 252 and very peaky (Frodge) Radio Australia noted on 9710 at 0830 // 9475 with news. (Martin van Driessche, Belgium/HCDX) 4910, VL8T, Tennant Creek, NT, 2132-2145. Newscast for SINPO 24322. Heard on  // 4835 and 5025. (Manuel Méndez). Also heard at 2215, ABC news, Gaza evacuation, SINPO25333. (Bell/DX Window 510)

15450, Reach Beyond Australia (former HCJB) Kununurra at 1400. Beginning of musical interval signal, weak sign-on by male announcer in English. Very poor signal. (Harold Sellers, BC Canada).

11955, AWR Europe via Moosbrunn, 2126. Religious sermon to 2127, just before 2130 head AWR identification to musical tones at 2130. (Vanca, MI?MARE)


5952.5 Radio Pio XII, Siglo 2305-2312. Spanish comments from announcer for a SINPO 14321. (Manuel Méndez, Lugo, Spain/HCDX

6135, Radio Santa Cruz de la Sierra, 2309-2320. Spanish. Soccer coverage for the Libertadores Cup Semifinal, Argentinian team San Lorenzo de Almagro vs Bolivian team Bolivar, live narration, "Copa Libertadores". SINPO 23222. (Méndez)

6024.97, Radio Patria Nueva, La Paz, 2240-2310. Spanish newscast to ID as, "informa Patria Nueva desde la Paz", program ”Bolivia Informa.” News, ads and music with political messages. Additional ads Campo Ferial Yanomarca, SINPO 44444. (Arrunátegui). Also heard at 0057, alone and clear. Has been here on the low side for a long time. Radio Amanencer has been off for a very long time and was last reported in Aug 11. (Nilsson/DX WIndow 510)

6155.10, Radio Fides, La Paz, 2340-0005. Music to ads as - ”Banco los Andes.” Program, ”El Hombre Invisible”, ID: “El grupo Fides presento…”, ID: “Radio Fides la voz permanente de Bolivia”, ID: “La historia de Bolivia es Radio Fides”, program: ”En Contacto”, SINPO 44444, (ex 6154.90) verified in USB and LSB. (Arrunátegui/DX Window 510)

6080 Voice of America relay, Moepeng Hill at 0320-0347. Announcer's discussion with several people, followed by Day Break Africa program. Several promo announcements and station ID's. Website mention at 0328, followed by VOA International Edition at 0330. Poor - fair signal quality. Also heard this relay 15579.99 at 0400 with newscast script, // 6080 via VOA Sao Tome relay (Brandon Jordan, TN/HCDX)

4965.01, Radio Alvorada, Parintins, AM, 2300. Definite on this station, heard on // with a two minute delayed webstream. Easy to hear the ID from the web, but the noise just above 4865 is very annoying, but when you know what will come, you can hear the ID. This frequency carries their FM cultural program. The station was gone for a week or two but back again from Jul 06. Parintins is known for a popular folklore festival held there each June called Boi-Bumbá. (Nilsson/DX WIndow 510)

Gayle Van Horn QSL from Radio Nacional Brasilia
5990.1, Radio Nacional Brasilia 0408-0415.+ Station ID's as, "Radio Nacional" and "Radio Nacional Brasilia." Pop 'bumper' music to male's commentary in Portuguese. Brief Happy Birthday tune played at 0414. SIO 32+3 with splash from 6000 kHz (presumed to be Cuba). (Frodge).

9820v, Radio Nove de Julho, São Paulo, SP, 0558-0612. Religious program "Santuario Nacional", "Com a Mãe Aparecida", comments and songs, SINPO 24322. (Méndez). I heard this program "Com a Mãe Aparecida" on 25 Oct 2013. Luckily I also heard an ID of ”Radio 9 de Julho” on top of the hour, so I sent a report and got surprisingly also a QSL. So it's possible to identify the station also during the network programme. Based on the QSL letter the programme is produced and transmitted by Rádio Aparecida and it's on air from 22h00 till 5h00 every day (definitely local time). I mentioned in my report that there were phone calls from Parà also and they replied in Portuguese, that this programme integrates Brazilian people from various states of Federation. (Nurmela). (Cf. DX-Window no. 509. Ed/DX Window 510)

11815 Radio Brasil Central via Goiania at 2320-2346. Lively discussion by several males in Portuguese. Quick station jingle ID at 2330, followed by fast-paced discussion. (Rich D'Angelo, PA/DXplorer/WWDXC Top Nx)

6155, CNR2/China Business Radio, Beijing, 1237. Apopular variety show (comedy, music) in Chinese, frequently broadcast via CNR2. Good reception; occasional nice English IDs: “Ladies and gentlemen, Haiyang live show. It's brought to you by Haiyang live from Beijing." Audio at https://app.box.com/s/blshq8rw2d8k71nalva5   // 6065, 7265, 7315 and 7375. (Ron Howard, CA/DX WIndow 510)

6200, Voice of Jinling, Nanjing, 1400. Usual "FM" IDs, station moved to this frequency, ex 5860. Mixing with Xizang PBS, Tibet. For many years Tibet had sole possession of 6200, but no longer. VOJ is stronger by far than Tibet, so bad news for Xizang PBS. (Howard/DX Window 510)

11985, Radio Akhbar Mufriha, via Ascension Island, *2145-2215.* Arabic instumental music and talks to ID for Akhbar Mufriha. Announcement for postal address in Paris, and e-mail address. New frequency, and very good signal. Their web site lists they broadcast at 2100-2145 on 7300, but nothing could be heard on 7300 at 2100-2145 here in Japan. (Wakisaka/DX Window 510)

15425, Radio Free Sarawak 1105. Fair signal at tune-in. Announcers in Iban language. Unsure of correct or current transmitter location. (Wendel Craighead, KS)

6010.00, Radio La Voz de tu Conciencia, Lomalinda, 2325-2345. Religious hymns and Joropo music with religious messages, ID: “Por la Voz de tu Conciencia”, SINPO 44444. (Arrunátegui/DX Window 510)

4765 Radio Progreso 0302-0313. Cuban songs and Spanish comments. SINPO 24322. (Méndez)

5990 China Radio International relay, Havana, 2347-0002. Group discussion talking about brain functions, being forgetful and deterioration with old age. At 2355, CHinese language lesson, followed by Spanish program at midnight. Very good signal. (D'Angelo)
9965, Radio Cairo 0018. Lady announcer discussing 'how to sleep, type of mattress and what side to sleep on." All this during a constant and heavy howling tone interference. Music followed by 'The Egyptian Wall of Sound' music. (Vance, MI/MARE)

15690, Radio Farda relay via Biblis at 1312 in Farsi. Moodly Blues song Nights in WHite Satin, followed by station ID for fair signal quality. (Sellers). Germany's Hamburger Lokal Radio heard on 7265 kHz at 0512-0523. (Méndez)

11895, AWR Asia/Pacific 1124-1130.+ English/Chinese language lesson and special English for religious phrases. Program close down at 1128 with "bye-bye", then to CHinese service. SIO 353. (Frodge).

4054.98, Radio Verdad, Chiquimula, 1100-1116. Religious music in English, ID, SINPO 22222. (Arrunátegui/DX WIndow 510). Also heard at close down 0540-0607.* Religious songs, comments, ID in various languages, anthem, SINPO 14321. (Manuel Méndez, Spain/HCDX)

13710, All India Radio 1417. English service and noted on parallel 13710 kHz. Music and station ID to Music Box program. Good signal. AIR noted on 13710 at 1346 with program schedule into Hindi music. Fair signal until China Radio Int;l came on before 1358 with English program for poor signal. (Sellers).

3325, RRI Palangkarya, 1626. Male speaker in Bahasa Indonesia taking callers, slow romantic songs, SINPO 25432. (Bell) Indonesia's 3344.87, RRI Ternate, 1136-1202. Heard daily now, mostly non-stop reciting from the Qur'an, with a few phone calls. Seems to never carry the 1200 Jakarta news. (Howard and Sellers/DX Window 510)

GVH QSL from Voice of Indonesia
9525.9 Voice of Indonesia 1302. English at tune-in with program announcements. Station ID "Voice of Indonesia with the news." Male/female trade news items during poor signal. (Sellers)

9845, Voice of Islamic Republic of Iran, Sirjan at 0026-0121.* Lady announcer in Turkish, apparently about Ramadan special program. Selections of vocals, talk and recitations with carrier cut mid-song. Fair-good signal. (D'Angelo)

11665 Wai FM (presumed) 1110-1120. Lady announcer taking phone calls in Malay language. LSB helps with 11670 splash, noticebly worse about a half-hour later (Frodge). Malaysia's Klasik Radio on 5964.7 at 1215, Malaysian pop music to announcers in Bahasa Malay, followed by Islamic 'call to prayer.' Malaysia's Asyik FM on 6050 at 1218 for fair signal (Sellers).

6185, Radio Educación, México D. F., 0453-0510.* Spanish comments, songs, ID: "Radio Educación, desde la ciudad de México, y en internet www.radioeducacion.com.mx , SINPO 23322. (Méndez)

9689.915 Voice of Nigeria. Foot print is probably Hausa at 2044. Strong interference from REE French service on 9685 kHz. (wb, Germany/WWDXC Top Nx)

North Korea
11735 Voice of Korea, 1144-1202.+ Tune-in to rousing music then vocal by lady announcer, followed by French and off to more music.SIO 153- // 11710. Presumed same station on 15180 at 0442 with choral music and English between items. SIO 2+53- (Frodge)

15140 Radio Sultanate of Oman at 1406. Lady announcer's comments about raising children under the Islamic religion. Poor signal quality (Sellers)

GVH QSL from Radio East New Britain
Papua New Guinea
3385, NBC East New Britain, Rabaul, 1138-1153. Tok Pisin. Pop music, 1150 several ads in English, including one for a car dealer identified as a “supporter of NBC East New Britain”, 1153 phone number and invitation for dedications, SINPO 45444. (Sellers). Also heard at 1200-1228.* Noted at 1201 PNG bird call, "Good night Papua New Guinea. The News Roundup", news and "weather forecast" (weather now a regular feature with the news), 1207 "Provincial News" in Tok Pisin, ads and promos, DJ with "musical requests," listing persons with dedications for pop songs. They have re-set the timer for closing down the transmitter (ex 1200.*) (Ron Howard/DX Window 510)

4955.00, Radio Cultural Amauta, Huanta, 2300-2320. Peruvian music, Spanish religious talk, SINPO 25232. (Petersen). Also heard at 1122-1145, with Quechua program, advs about the evangelical churches in the zone, religious music in Spanish,  ID: “En quechua.. Radio Cultural Amauta”, SINPO 44444. (Arrunátegui/DX Windoe 510)

5024.92, Radio Quillabamba, Quillabamba, Cusco, 1138-1200. Deal with the different political parties in the upcoming municipal elections, ID: "Muchas gracias por su presencia en Radio Quillabamba", music, ID: "Radio Quillabamba", sports  program about World Cup, ID: "Radio Quillabamba pionera en educación y cultura", SINPO 33333. (Arrunátegui/DX Window 510)

5980.00, Radio Chaski, Urubamba, Cusco, 2320-2335. Program ”El Camino de la vida”, religious in Spanish //  la Red Radio Integridad, 700AM in Lima, religious hymns, program Momentos decisivos "Mientras el Señor Regresa", SINPO 44444. (Arrunátegui/DX Window 510)

7290 Radio City via IRRS Milano, 1840-1900.* Pop music to English comments and station ID as " Radio City, the station of the cars." "This is the Italian Radio Relay Service signing off." SINPO 44444. (Méndez)

7330 Radio Romania Intl 0532. Noted DRM signal in English with Romanian news, 100% decode and parallel signal on 9700 with excellent signal, 17760 poor. (Jordan).

11900 Deutsche Welle relay via Kigali at 0503. News reports on Israel and Libya. Excellent S 9 signal // 12070 fair, 9800 fair, 7425 poor. Ascension Island's 6005 good in USB to avoid 6000. Jordan).

Solomon Islands
5020.00, SIBC, Honiara, 0830. Noted on even frequency on remote unit at Sydney, S=9+10dB. (Bueschel). Also heard at 1154-1158.* Usual evening devotional in English, normal full ID and national anthem. Is now generally agreed that this is most likely the same newer transmitter that is also used on 9545, thereby replacing the older off frequency one. (Howard and Wagai). Schedule probably now: 5020 1900-2200, 0500-1200 and 9545 2200-0500. (Ritola/DX Window 510)

6015, ZBC Radio, Dole, *0255-0401. Different format now for Ramadan. Normally suddenly on with Spice FM music, but today had chatting till brief "Zanzibar song", pips (5+1), mostly monologue, 0314-0330 reciting from the Qur'an, 0359 normal drums leading up to pips (5+1) and the news. (Howard/DX Window 510)

11735, Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation, Dole, 1525-1805. Swahili 1525-1800, English 1800. (Ivanov, Bulgaria/DX Window 510)

United States
7355, Alaska-KNLS Anchor Point, 1226-1227, English. Oldie pop song “You’re the Only Woman.” The English Express program looking at the phrase “the once over”, SINPO 45444. (Sellers) KNLS 9655, 0757 sign-on (van Driessche)

Radio Romania International announces new contest [Shortwave Central]

RadiRo - International Festival of Radio Orchestra 

Radio Romania International invites you to participate in the new contest dedicated to the second edition of the International Festival of radio orchestras. It is a unique event in Europe, held 20 to 27 September on Radio Romania, which supports the classical music since 1928 when it aired its first signal. The event will gather on the stage of the Concert Hall of Radio Romania and live on its stations, 5 famous orchestras, conductors and soloists alongside world-renowned.

In 2012, the first edition of RadiRo brought Romania the prestigious BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

The second edition of the Festival invites the public to meet the Radio Symphony Orchestras of Finland, Prague and Stuttgart, next to the Orchestre National de France and the National Orchestra of Radio Romania, under the baton of famous conductors including Joshua Weilerstein, Ondrej Lenard Stéphane Denève, Case Scaglione, Vassily Sinaisky, Tiberiu Soare and Cristian Mandeal.

Next to them, equally famous soloists: the pianists Jonathan Biss and Jan Simon, soprano Katarina Jovanovic Nikolaj Znaider and violinists Vadim Gluzman, along with the great Romanian artists: the mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose, pianist Horia Mihail, violinist Alexandru Tomescu. Honorary Director of the Festival will be the Romanian conductor Cristian Mandeal, which will bring greater prestige and value to the European RadiRo.

To you as one of the winners, follow the programs of Radio Romania International, visit us on the www.rri.ro and profiles of Facebook, Twitter and Google+, answer the questions correctly in writing of the competition by September 26, 2014, postmark attesting.

The awards consist mainly of symphonic music CD with Romanian and foreign, but also objects of cultural and tourist promotion. The competition is organized with the publisher, House Radio and the Municipality of Bucharest.

Here are the questions:
When we held the first edition of the International Festival of Orchestras radio?
Who is the honorary director of the second edition of RadiRo?
How many radio orchestras participate in 2014 edition of the Festival?
Nominate known Romanian artists (soloists or conductors) in the billboard RadiRo 2014.

Write us what prompted you to participate in our contest and, above all, why follow the programs of Radio Romania International or its online presence.

We look forward to hearing your answers by mail, fax, e-mail, Facebook or directly on the site www.rri.ro, by 26 September, at:

Radio Romania International
General Berthelot Street nr. 60-64, district 1, Bucharest, Romania
PO Box 111, Postal Code 010 171 fax, e-mail ital@rri.ro 

Winners will be announced after 26 September. Radio Romania International wishes you good luck!
(Dario Monferini/playdx 31 July)

Schedule Updates on VOA Radiogram [Shortwave Central]

Hello friends, 

Our new experiments with MFSK32 on the VOA Mandarin Service continue. The center audio frequency has been moved up to 2500 Hz, so you will probably need a 6 kHz bandwidth for best results.  

Until the MFSK32 begins, most of the audio you hear will probably be Chinese domestic radio on the same frequency as VOA Mandarin.

Each MFSK32 transmission is 1 minute, 10 seconds. Here is the schedule:

2258      6135  9845 kHz
0058      9880  15385  15565  17560 kHz

Please send reception reports for the VOA Mandarin MFSK32 to radiogram@voanews.com.  Audio recordings (mp3 is OK) are especially helpful.

TW in Shimane Prefecture, Japan, prepared these YouTube videos of his decoding:

VOA Radiogram this weekend will include news about legislation that could bring major changes to VOA and to other entities of U.S. international broadcasting.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 70, 2-3 August 2014 (MFSK32):

1:32  Program preview
2:40  International broadcasting bill passes House, with image
8:17  Moose drool detoxifies fungus, with image
11:36  ESA spacecraft will land on comet, with image
18:18  Bahama Islands formed from Sahara dust, with image
22:29  Outernet, via satellite, launches 11 August, with logo
25:25  Closing announcements

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com.

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
Sat 0930-1000 5745 kHz
Sat 1600-1630 17860 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Saturday at 1130 UTC on 6095 kHz and Sunday at 0130 UTC (Saturday 9:30 pm EDT) on 9925 kHz. Both frequencies are via Germany. Reports for this broadcast to themightykbc@gmail.com .

Thanks to everyone who have sent reception reports for VOA Radiogram and for the VOA Mandarin tests. I will prepare a new eQSL for both of these and start sending them tomorrow.


Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram

Kiga-Rauswurf [Perlsphere]

Tja, das war's also: Zoe ist aus dem Kiga geflogen. Angekündigt hat sich das ja schon länger, aber gestern hatten die Erzieher endgültig die Nase voll und haben sie sprichwörtlich rausgeworfen. Eltern zum Kiga zitiert, Fenster auf, Kind raus, fertig. Da stand sie dann und hat jetzt Hausverbot. Rückkehr ausgeschlossen.

YAPC::NA::2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah [Perlsphere]

The Salt Lake Perl Mongers User Group (saltlake.pm.org) has been selected to host the YAPC::NA::2015. The conference will be held June 8-10th, 2015. The Salt Lake Perl Mongers and the local Provo Linux Users Group (plug.org) will combine to host this national event.

Salt Lake City (Utah's Silicon Slopes) is well known as a technology hub for both start-ups and large corporations. Companies such as Adobe, Intel, Bluehost, Overstock.com, Boeing, and ATK call Salt Lake City home. Another major non-tech consumer of perl in the area is the multi-petabyte database of the LDS Church.

The Perl Foundation is very excited to be taking our North American conference to Salt Lake City June 8-10th, 2015. We look forward to seeing all you there!

PBP: 026 Arrays and Hashes [Perlsphere]

The PBP suggests naming for hashes and arrays; hashes in the singular, and arrays in the plural.

In general, I agree with this, and think the reasons stated are valid.  It’s easy to do, reads well, and the few corner cases it looks funny in are pretty rare.  Arrays can be dealt with as array-sized chunks, and now hashes can be sliced, too.  But those are relatively uncommon operations, and the naming shouldn’t suffer because maybe someday someone will write odd code.


July 2014 Grant Votes [Perlsphere]

The Grants Committee has concluded the voting of the July round.

Proposals in this round

Voting Results

Start ACT - Voyager5218 = 5+4+3+3+3
Book: Practical Approach to...27

Definition of the score is found in 3.2 of the rules.


Start ACT - Voyager

We are pleased that the Grants Committee will approve and fund this grant. This is one of the best areas where the community resources are spent.

We understand some people raised concerns about the premature schedule in the proposal. We request that the grantee will work closely with the grant manager and keep the community posted with his progress.

We look forward to seeing more community feedback after the code is published and tested.

Liz Mattijsen has been assigned as a grant manager.

Book: Practical Approach to Web Programming with Perl 5

We appreciate the enthusiasm and the proposal. We are not convinced, however, this grant delivers enough value for the community. For such grants, we would like to have more cases made to show what it would offer beyond existing resources.

Next round

The next round is in September. You can submit proposals now.

PBP: 025 Reference Variables [Perlsphere]

The PBP suggests suffixing reference variables with _ref.  The book notes in a footnote that this is the only type of “Hungarian notation” suggested in the book.  That’s good, because Hungarian notation is a bad idea.

I don’t agree with this.  Firstly, it makes a lot of variable names needlessly longer.

Secondly, if you have strict and warnings on, it will complain.  There’s no reason to clutter your code because you might possibly forget something sometime.

Thirdly, with current Perls, several of the things you’ll do no longer need the dereference – keys, for instance.

If, as I suggested in another comment, you always use references for hashes and arrays, you don’t have the “what kind was this” problem, either.  It’s always a reference.

I don’t do this, and will resist the suggestion to doing so.  It is a waste of the programmer’s time and energy, and distracts from what your code is trying to do to make up for a perceived weakness in the interpreter.

Gunnar Wolf: Wow. Just rejected an editorial offer... [Planet Debian]

Yes, I've been bragging about the Operating Systems book all over... Today, a colleague handed me a phone call from somebody at Editorial Patria, a well known educational editorial in Mexico. They are looking for material similar to what I wrote, but need the material to be enfocado a competencias — Focused on skills, a pedagogic fashion.

I was more than interested, of course. As it currently stands, I am very happy that our book is being used already at three universities in three countries (by the different authors) and have heard other people saying they would recommend it, and of course I'm interested in making our work have as big an impact as possible. Of course, we'd have to modify several aspects of the book to cater to the skills focus... But it would be great to have the book available at commercial bookstores. After all, university editions are never as widely circulated as commercial ones.

I had just one hard request to accept this: Our work must be distributed under a free licensing. Explicitly allow book photocopies and electronic distribution (didn't get into the "and modification" part, but I would eventually get there ;-) )

And... Of course, the negotiation immediately fell down. Editorials, this person says, live from selling individual books. She says she was turned down by another university professor and for another subject this same week.

So, yes, I took the opportunity to explain things as I (and the people that think as I do — Fortunately, not so few) see them. Yes, of course, editorials have to make a living. But text books are often photocopied as it is. Who buys a book? Whoever needs it. On one hand, if somebody will be using a book throughout a semester and it's reasonably priced (say, up to 3×cost of photocopies), they will probably buy it because it just works better (it is more comfortable to use and nicer to read).

If a teacher likes the explanation for a particular topic, it should be completely legal for him to distribute photocopies (or digital copies) of the specific material — And quite probably, among the students, more than one will end up appreciating the material enough to go look for the book in the library. And, as I have done throughout my life, if I read (in copies, electronically or in a library) a book I like... Quite probably I will go buy it.

So... Of course, she insisted it was against their corporate policy. I insisted on my explanation. I hope they meet many stubborn teachers refusing to distribute books under a non-free licensing. I hope I contributed to making a dent in an industry that must change. Yes, a very very small dent, but one that helps them break free from their obsolete mindset ;-)

(But yes, I don't know how long I will regret not being part of their very nice catalog of science and engineering books) ;-) )

Russell Coker: Links July 2014 [Planet Debian]

Dave Johnson wrote an interesting article for Salon about companies ripping off the tax system by claiming that all their income is produced in low tax countries [1].

Seb Lee-Delisle wrote an insightful article about how to ask to get paid to speak [2]. I should do that.

Daniel Pocock wrote an informative article about the reConServer simple SIP conferencing server [3]. I should try it out, currently most people I want to conference with are using Google Hangouts, but getting away from Google is a good thing.

François Marier wrote an informative post about hardening ssh servers [4].

S. E. Smith wrote an interesting article “I Am Tired of Hearing Programmers Defend Gender Essentialism [5].

Bert Archer wrote an insightful article about lazy tourism [6]. His initial example of “love locks” breaking bridges was a bit silly (it’s not difficult to cut locks off a bridge) but his general point about lazy/stupid tourism is good.

Daniel Pocock wrote an insightful post about new developments in taxis, the London Taxi protest against Uber, and related changes [7]. His post convinced me that Uber is a good thing and should be supported. I checked the prices and unfortunately Uber is more expensive than normal taxis for my most common journey.

Cory Doctorow wrote an insightful article for The Guardian about the moral issues related to government spying [8].

The Verge has an interesting review of the latest Lytro Lightbox camera [9]. Not nearly ready for me to use, but interesting technology.

Prospect has an informative article by Kathryn Joyce about the Protestant child sex abuse scandal in the US [10]. Billy Graham’s grandson is leading the work to reform churches so that they protect children instead of pedophiles. Prospect also has an article by Kathryn Joyce about Christians home-schooling kids to try and program them to be zealots and how that hurts kids [11].

The Daily Beast has an interesting article about the way that the extreme right wing in the US are trying to kill people, it’s the right wing death panel [12].

Jay Michaelson wrote an informative article for The Daily Beast about right-wing hate groups in the US who promote the extreme homophobic legislation in Russia and other countries [13]. It also connects to the Koch brothers who seem to be associated with most evil. Elias Isquith wrote an insightful article for Salon about the current right-wing obsession with making homophobic discrimination an issue of “religious liberty” will hurt religious people [14]. He also describes how stupid the right-wing extremists are in relation to other issues too.

EconomixComix.com has a really great comic explaning the economics of Social Security in the US [15]. They also have a comic explaining the TPP which is really good [16]. They sell a comic book about economics which I’m sure is worth buying. We need to have comics explaining all technical topics, it’s a good way of conveying concepts. When I was in primary school my parents gave me comic books covering nuclear physics and other science topics which were really good.

Mia McKenzie wrote an insightful article for BlackGirlDangerous.com about dealing with racist white teachers [17]. I think that it would be ideal to have a school dedicated to each minority group with teachers from that group.

Russell Coker: BTRFS Status July 2014 [Planet Debian]

My last BTRFS status report was in April [1], it wasn’t the most positive report with data corruption and system hangs. Hacker News has a brief discussion of BTRFS which includes the statement “Russell Coker’s reports of his experiences with BTRFS give me the screaming heebie-jeebies, no matter how up-beat and positive he stays about it” [2] (that’s one of my favorite comments about my blog).

Since April things have worked better. Linux kernel 3.14 solves the worst problems I had with 3.13 and it’s generally doing everything I want it to do. I now have cron jobs making snapshots as often as I wish (as frequently as every 15 minutes on some systems), automatically removing snapshots (removing 500+ snapshots at once doesn’t hang the system), balancing, and scrubbing. The fact that I can now expect that a filesystem balance (which is a type of defragment operation for BTRFS that frees some “chunks”) from a cron job and expect the system not to hang means that I haven’t run out of metadata chunk space. I expect that running out of metadata space can still cause filesystem deadlocks given a lack of reports on the BTRFS mailing list of fixes in that regard, but as long as balance works well we can work around that.

My main workstation now has 35 days of uptime and my home server has 90 days of uptime. Also the server that stores my email now has 93 days uptime even though it’s running Linux kernel 3.13.10. I am rather nervous about the server running 3.13.10 because in my experience every kernel before 3.14.1 had BTRFS problems that would cause system hangs. I don’t want a server that’s an hour’s drive away to hang…

The server that runs my email is using kernel 3.13.10 because when I briefly tried a 3.14 kernel it didn’t work reliably with the Xen kernel 4.1 from Debian/Wheezy and I had a choice of using the Xen kernel 4.3 from Debian/Unstable to match the Linux kernel or use an earlier Linux kernel. I have a couple of Xen servers running Debian/Unstable for test purposes which are working well so I may upgrade my mail server to the latest Xen and Linux kernels from Unstable in the near future. But for the moment I’m just not doing many snapshots and never running a filesystem scrub on that server.


In kernel 3.14 scrub is working reliably for me and I have cron jobs to scrub filesystems on every system running that kernel. So far I’ve never seen it report an error on a system that matters to me but I expect that it will happen eventually.

The paper “An Analysis of Data Corruption in the Storage Stack” from the University of Wisconsin (based on NetApp data) [3] shows that “nearline” disks (IE any disks I can afford) have an incidence of checksum errors (occasions when the disk returns bad data but claims it to be good) of about 0.42%. There are 18 disks running in systems I personally care about (as opposed to systems where I am paid to care) so with a 0.42% probability of a disk experiencing data corruption per year that would give a 7.3% probability of having such corruption on one disk in any year and a greater than 50% chance that it’s already happened over the last 10 years. Of the 18 disks in question 15 are currently running BTRFS. Of the 15 running BTRFS 10 are scrubbed regularly (the other 5 are systems that don’t run 24*7 and the system running kernel 3.13.10).

Newer Kernels

The discussion on the BTRFS mailing list about kernel 3.15 is mostly about hangs. This is correlated with some changes to improve performance so I presume that it has exposed race conditions. Based on those discussions I haven’t felt inclined to run a 3.15 kernel. As the developers already have some good bug reports I don’t think that I could provide any benefit by doing more testing at this time. I think that there would be no benefit to me personally or the Linux community in testing 3.15.

I don’t have a personal interest in RAID-5 or RAID-6. The only systems I run that have more data than will fit on a RAID-1 array of cheap SATA disks are ones that I am paid to run – and they are running ZFS. So the ongoing development of RAID-5 and RAID-6 code isn’t an incentive for me to run newer kernels. Eventually I’ll test out RAID-6 code, but at the moment I don’t think they need more bug reports in this area.

I don’t have a great personal interest in filesystem performance at this time. There are some serious BTRFS performance issues. One problem is that a filesystem balance and subtree removal seem to take excessive amounts of CPU time. Another is that there isn’t much support for balancing IO to multiple devices (in RAID-1 every process has all it’s read requests sent to one device). For large-scale use of a filesystem these are significant problems. But when you have basic requirements (such as a mail server for dozens of users or a personal workstation with a quad-core CPU and fast SSD storage) it doesn’t make much difference. Currently all of my systems which use BTRFS have storage hardware that exceeds the system performance requirements by such a large margin that nothing other than installing Debian packages can slow the system down. So while there are performance improvements in newer versions of the BTRFS kernel code that isn’t an incentive for me to upgrade.

It’s just been announced that Debian/Jessie will use Linux 3.16, so I guess I’ll have to test that a bit for the benefit of Debian users. I am concerned that 3.16 won’t be stable enough for typical users at the time that Jessie is released.

Harald Sitter: Porting to KDE Frameworks 5 [Planet Ubuntu]

Porting to KDE Frameworks 5 is so easy even I can do it.

about driver-manager software-properties usb-creator whoopsie

Almost all Kubuntu software is ported already. Some of the applications even managed to go qt-only because of all the awesome bits that moved from kdelibs into Qt5. It is all really very awesome I have to say.

Harald Sitter: Kubuntu Testing and You [Planet Ubuntu]

With the latest Kubuntu 14.04 Beta 1 out the door, the Kubuntu team is hard at work to deliver the highest possible quality for the upcoming LTS release.

As part of this we are introducing basic test cases that every user can run to ensure that core functionality such as instant messaging and playing MP3 files is working as expected. All tests are meant to take no more than 10 minutes and should be doable by just about everyone. They are the perfect way to get some basic testing done without all the hassle testing usually involves.

If you are already testing Beta 1, head on over to our Quality Assurance Headquarters to get the latest test cases.

Feel free to run any test case, at any time.

If you have any questions, drop me a mail at apachelogger@kubuntu.org, or stop by in #kubuntu-devel on irc.freenode.net.

kitten by David Flores

Kubuntu: Utopic Alpha 2 Released [Planet Ubuntu]

Alpha 2 of Utopic is out now for testing. Download it or upgrade to it to test what will become 14.10 in October.

Adam Stokes: Ubuntu Openstack Installer – upcoming ui enhancements [Planet Ubuntu]

In our next release of the Openstack Installer we concentrated on some visual improvements. Here are a few screenshots of some of those changes:

We’ve enhanced feedback of what’s happening during the installation phase:

Statusbar updates

Services are now being displayed as deployment occurs rather than waiting until completion:

Mid install

An added help screen to provide more insight into the installer:

Help screen

We decided to keep it more Openstack focused when listing the running services, this is the final view with all components deployed:

Final deploy screen

And if you don’t care about the UI (why wouldn’t you?!?) there is an added option to run the entire deployment in your console:

Console Install

We’ve still got some more polishing to do and a few more enhancements to add, so keep your eye out for a future announcement!

If you are interested in helping us out head over to the installer github page and have a look, the experimental branch is the code used when generating these screenshots. Some of our immediate needs are end to end testing of the single and multi installer, extending the guides, and feedback on the UI itself.

Adnane Belmadiaf: Ubuntu Touch session in Morocco [Planet Ubuntu]

Next November I'll be speaking at JMaghreb conference, i'll be giving a talk about the Ubuntu Touch platform and the Ubuntu development story, together with a live coding session and a Q&A round at the end.

Ubuntu logo

In this session i'll be covering :

  • System architecture
  • Security model
  • Platform APIs(udm, push notifications, webview, etc...)
  • Writing & testing apps on the device & the emulator
  • Publishing apps to the store

The exact time & date of the session will be announced soon, so if you're going to be in or near Morocco this November, make sure to attend!

Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S07E18 – The One with the Flashback [Planet Ubuntu]

We’re back with Season Seven, Episode Eighteen of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope is sill MIA, Mark Johnson is still in quarantine but talking to us using Skype, and Tony Whitmore and Laura Cowen are drinking cold squash (it’s really quite hot out there!) and eating Jamaican Ginger cake in Studio L.

In this week’s show:

We’ll be back next week, so please send your comments and suggestions to: podcast@ubuntu-uk.org
Join us on IRC in #uupc on Freenode
Leave a voicemail via phone: +44 (0) 203 298 1600, sip: podcast@sip.ubuntu-uk.org and skype: ubuntuukpodcast
Follow us on Twitter
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Elizabeth K. Joseph: A Career in FOSS at Fosscon in Philadelphia, August 9th [Planet Ubuntu]

After years fueled by hobbyist passion, I’ve been really excited to see how work that many of my peers and I have been doing in open source has grown into us having serious technical careers these past few years. Whether you’re a programmer, community manager, systems administrator like me or other type of technologist, familiarity with Open Source technology, culture and projects can be a serious boon to your career.

Last year when I attended Fosscon in Philadelphia, I did a talk about my work as an “Open Source Sysadmin” – meaning all my work for the OpenStack Infrastructure team is done in public code repositories. Following my talk I got a lot of questions about how I’m funded to do this, and a lot of interest in the fact that a company like HP is making such an investment.

So this year I’m returning to Fosscon to talk about these things! In addition to my own experiences with volunteer and paid work in Open Source, I’ll be drawing experience from my colleague at HP, Mark Atwood, who recently wrote 7 skills to land your open source dream job and those of others folks I work with who are also “living the dream” with a job in open source.

I’m delighted to be joined at this conference by keynote speaker and friend Corey Quinn and Charlie Reisinger of Penn Manor School District who I’ve chatted with via email and social media many times about the amazing Ubuntu deployment at his district and whom am looking forward to finally meeting.

In Philadelphia or near by? The conference is coming up on Saturday, August 9th and is being held at the the world-renowned Franklin Institute science museum.

Registration to the conference is free, but you get a t-shirt if you pay the small stipend of $25 to support the conference (I did!): http://fosscon.us/Attend

Duncan McGreggor: OSCON 2014 Theme Song - Andrew Sorensen's Live Coding Keynote [Planet Ubuntu]

Andrew Sorensen live-coding at OSCON 2014

Shortly after Andrew Sorensen began the performance segment of his keynote at OSCON 2014, the #oscon Twitter topic began erupting with posts about the live coding session. Comments, retweets, and additional links persisted for that day and the next. In short, Andrew was a hit :-)

My first encounter with Andrew's work was a few years ago when I was getting back into Lisp. I was playing with generative music with Overtone (and then, a bit later, experimenting with SuperCollider, Hy, and Twisted) and came across his piece A Study in Keith. You might want to take a break from reading this port and watch that now ...

When Andrew started up his presentation, I didn't immediately recognize him. In fact, when the code was displayed on the big screens, I assumed it was Clojure until I looked closely and saw he was using (define ...) and not (defun ...).  This seemed very familiar, and then I remembered Impromptu, which ultimately lead to my discovery of Extempore (see more links below) and the realization that this is what Andrew was using to live code.

At the end of the performance a bunch of us jumped up and gave a standing ovation. (In fact, you can hear me yell out "YEAH" at the end of his presentation when he says "And there we go."). It was quite a show. It seemed that OSCON 2014 had been given a theme song. The next step was getting the source code ...

Andrew's gist (Dark Github Theme)
Sharing the Code

Andrew gave a presentation on Extempore in the ballroom right after the keynote. This too was fantastic and resulted in much tweeting.

Afterwards a bunch of us went up front and chatted with him, enthusing about his work, the recent presentation, the keynote, and his previously published pieces.

I had Andrew's ear for a moment, and asked him if he was interested in sharing his keynote source -- there had been several requests for it on Twitter (that also got retweeted and/or favourited). Without hesitation, he gave an enthusiastic "yes" and we were off and running for the lounge where we could sit down to create a gist (and grab a cappuccino!). The availability of the source was announced immediately, to the delight of many.

Setting Up Extempore

Sublime Text 3 connected to Extempore
Later that night in my hotel room, I had time to download and run Extempore ... and discovered that I couldn't actually play the keynote code, since there was some implicit setup I was missing. However, after some digging around on the docs site and the mail list, music was pouring forth from my laptop -- to my great joy :-D

To ensure anyone else who is not familiar with Extempore can also have this pleasure, I've put together the all the prerequisites and setup necessary in a forked gist, in multiple parts. I will go through those in this blog post. Also: all of my testing and live coding was done using Ben Swift's Extempore Sublime Text plugin.

The first step is getting all the dependencies. You'll want to start the downloads right away, since they are large (the sample files are compressed .wavs). While that's going on, you can install Extempore using Homebrew (this worked for me on Mac OS X with no additional tweaking/configuration necessary):

With Extempore running, let's do some setup. We're going to need to:

  • load some libraries (this takes a while for them to compile),
  • define some samples, and then
  • define some musical note aliases for convenience (and visual clarity).
The easiest way to use the files below is to clone the gist repo and load them up in Sublime Text, executing blocks of text by hi-lighting them, and then pressing ^x^x.

Here is the file for the fist two bullets mentioned above:

You will need to edit this file to point to the locations where your samples were downloaded. Also,
at the very end there are some lines of code you can execute to make sure that your samples are working.

Now let's define the note aliases. You can just hi-light the entire contents of this file in Sublime Text and then ^x^x:
At this point, we're ready to play!

Playing the Music

To get started on the music, open up the fourth file from the clone of the gist and ^x^x the root, scale, and left-hand-notes-* constants.

Here is the evolution of the left hand part:
Go ahead and start that first one playing (^x^x the definition as well as the call). Wait for a bit, and then execute the next one, etc. Once you've started playing the final left hand form, you can switch to the wider range of notes defined/updated at the bottom.

Next, you'll want to bring in the right hand ... then bassline ... then the higher fmsynth sparkles for the right hand:

Then you'll increase the energy with the drum section:

Finally, you'll bring it to the climax, and then start the gentle fade out:

A slightly modified code listing for the final keynote form is here:

Variation on a Theme

I have recorded a variation of Andrew's keynote based on the code above, for your listening pleasure :-) You can listen to it in your browser or download it.

This version plays part of the left hand piano an octave lower. There's a tiny bit of clipping in places, and I accidentally jazzed it up (and for too long!) with a hi-hat change in the middle. There are also some awkward transitions and volume oddities. However, these should be inspiration for you to make your own variation of the OSCON 2014 Theme Song :-)

The "script" used for the recording can found here.

Links of Note

Some of these were mentioned above, some haven't been. All relate to Extempore :-)

TurnKey Linux: No Juju for you! Ubuntu's Not Invented Here syndrome [Planet Ubuntu]

Today Brian emailed me to share his enthusiasm for the Ubuntu Juju project, developed by Canonical, the company that makes Ubuntu.

Brian is a good friend that has been advising us on all matters TurnKey practically since the project began. His advice and feedback is always well informed and insightful so even when I already have my own opinions on the matter, I still take the time to look into his suggestions carefully. Thanks Brian!

This time, Brian wrote in to share that he's been enjoying his (impressive) Juju experience and sent a few links for us to look at. He also asked:

Have you guys ever thought of creating Juju Charm's for all of the TurnKeyLinux apps?

The first thing I looked at was whether I could use Juju without using Ubuntu. Not really, and that's a major dealbreaker because TurnKey is based on Debian. It used to be based on Ubuntu but a few years after we started TurnKey it became increasingly clear that we made the wrong decision. Debian was superior on so many levels: community, security, stability, packaging quality and most importantly - the fundamental driving values. So we bit the bullet and moved over to Debian in 2012.

I figured a somewhat expanded version of my answer to Brian could start an interesting discussion so I'm posting it to the blog. In a nutshell, I'm trying to explain why I think many in the free software community are not terribly enthusiastic about building on top of Canonical's work and why Ubuntu seems to have lost so much ground as the world's favorite Linux distro.

In 2008, when Alon and I started TurnKey, Ubuntu was at its height. Here are the Google Trends for Ubuntu since:

Ouch. What happened? My response to Brian tells a small part of this story.

Brian, thanks for prompting me to take another look at Juju today. We are evaluating several directions for TurnKey 14, which we will be re-engineering to work as a collection of modular services built on top of Core rather than monolithic system images. We're going to try and avoid reinventing the wheel as much as possible by leveraging the best components.

Juju is an option but to be honest it's probably not the leading horse in the race, and sadly that has more to do with the track record of the company backing it then any technical fault. In the context of the free software community, getting the answers right at the technical level is almost never enough. Collaborating successfully with the broader ecosystem and winning over hearts and minds matters. A lot.

At this point, Juju doesn't seem to support Debian at all. Debian have even removed the Juju client from sid for some reason. Not sure what the story behind that is. Given the growing divergence between Ubuntu and Debian, we can't expect to be able to leverage the Juju Ubuntu charms without some serious forking.

More importantly, we don't want to back the wrong horse. Canonical have a bad case of not-invented-here syndrome and a tendency to not really listen to the community. They're like the Apple of the FLOSS world except that Shuttleworth is no Steve Jobs and I mean that both in a good way (not as much of an asshole) and a bad way (not as good a leader/visionary).

Brian responded by defending Canonical and explaining that from his perspective working with the world's largest service providers Canonical was making impressive in-roads, especially in the enterprise and cloud arena.

Brian is the expert here so I'm in no position to argue, and to be honest rereading the email I sent him it did come off as a bit more anti-Canonical / Ubuntu than I intended. But my main point wasn't that Canonical is a bad company or that Ubuntu sucks, just that what happens in Ubuntu stays in Ubuntu. Maybe that's great for Canonical in the Enterprise space, but it makes building on their work a shaky proposition.

Canonical: boldly going where no one wants to go after

Canonical has a special talent for either backing the wrong horse, or breeding it.  A few examples of Canonical's track record:

  • UEC vs OpenStack
  • Bazaar vs Git
  • Upstart vs systemd
  • Launchpad vs github
  • Unity vs gnome
  • mir vs wayland

Given this track record, a Canonical backed project is an unlikely winner in any race for widespread adoption. You'd think they would win some battles just by chance. What's going on? 

My pet theory is that it has to be a mix of reasons: They don't listen. They don't inspire. They don't make the best stuff. They don't have the best people. They don't have the most money or the best business.

They do good work, and provide nice solutions, but for some reason we never seem to see those solutions adopted outside of Ubuntu by the wider Linux community. If you aren't already in the Ubuntu camp it seems short-sighted to back their projects. 

I don't think that Canonical is bad at what it does. It's just that they're rarely the best and being mediocre (or even second best) isn't good enough when the tournament effect is at work. The winner takes home the pot (e.g., becomes the new standard) and Canonical isn't winning.

I'm not even sure they want to. I mean, does Apple want Firewire to become a standard? But Apple can afford to create its own standards. Can Canonical?

If companies were text editors, Canonical would be Emacs

Canonical is not a company driven by the Unix philosophy of doing one thing and doing it well. If companies were text editors, Canonical would be Emacs.

It's easy to lose count of the many different  directions they seem to be trying to go in at once: Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Cloud, Ubuntu Phone, Ubuntu Tablet, and Ubuntu TV. Oh my! I'm waiting for them to announce the Ubuntu gaming system and Ubuntu car. 

I'm impressed (and slightly fearful) by the way companies like Google have expanded their business, but Google waited until they were wildly profitable with their core product to do that. I'm no expert but having your fingers in so many pies when your company is still losing money a decade after its creation doesn't seem like sound business strategy.

And then there are the various community antagonizing fiascos that left me wondering how they didn't see it coming:

  • Sending Unity search results to Canonical (they've since fixed that)
  • Inserting Amazon product referrals into the desktop experience (they've since made it opt-in)

Sure they've since come to their senses, but as the old saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

How much does Canonical really care about free software values?

Here's another thing that bugs me. It's unclear how much Shuttleworth/Canonical genuinely cares about the underlying values of free software. From the outside it looks like Canonical is firmly rooted in the "commercial open source" camp as opposed to the "free software" camp (what's the difference?). This is reflected in a tendency towards technical isolation and the design of solutions that encourage dependence on Canonical services.

The focus is on utility and convenience, not values. And to clarify what I mean by that - a value is a principle you would hold onto even if you get penalized for it by the marketplace. If you give lip service to a value but are willing to give it up to make more money that's not a value - that's marketing.

I'm not saying Canonical's focus on convenience and utility are bad. It's just not inspiring. And you need to be inspiring to lead.

Still, they do a lot of good work and have done much to popularize free software. We should congratulate them for that and be thankful that Shuttleworth decided to invest his millions to create the company. There's definitely a useful place for a company like Canonical in the ecosystem. Ubuntu provides a gentler introduction to the sometimes harsh world of free software. It's especially useful to the vast majority of "human beings" who aren't aware that free software has anything else to offer beyond the magic of getting stuff for free. Who knows, some of them may eventually pull back the curtain.

But it takes more then being useful to lead and Canonical's take on free software is just not very inspiring for developers and would-be contributors, many of whom, like myself, do care deeply about values. There's what you do, and there's why you do it.

Free software is more than a better way to develop software, and more than a way to get stuff for free. Free software is about freedom. The more technologically dependent our society becomes, the more free software values matter because technology is a double edged sword. It can be used to strengthen our freedoms, or take them away.

We need utility as a measuring stick, and the right values as our compass. We need both.

Which reminds me of a pearl of wisdom I came across that keeps reverberating in my head:

Develop people, not products.

United Nation holds that police agencies who don’t provide Kevlar vests to criminals are guilty of crimes against humanity [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

Or something like that …

Navi Pillay told reporters following yet another “emergency” meeting of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council that Israel was not doing enough to protect civilians. “There is a strong possibility,” said the known Israel critic, “that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes.”

Among the UN’s long bill of particulars against the beleaguered Jewish state comes the almost unbelievable accusation that Israel’s refusal to share its Iron Dome ballistic missile defense shield with the “governing authority” of Gaza – i.e. Hamas, the terror group created to pursue the extermination of the Jewish state and now waging a terrorist war against it – constitutes a war crime against the civilians of Gaza.

Jerry Brown says “California is back” — Really? [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

Not like the California Leftist aristocracy in Marin County and the legislature actually give a damn.

August fundraiser is here [sticky; new posts below] [protein wisdom]

As some of you have gathered, we are getting ready to move shortly — in fact, because of an unprecedented string of good weather (thanks, climate disruption!), the builder finished our new home early and has us scrambling to get our current house packed up, fixed up, and ready for potential rental — and the work has become overwhelming, particularly with my wife traveling often for her job and, soon, Satchel beginning fifth grade.

Fifth grade.  Where does the time go?

At any rate, I’ve been trying to balanced parenting — Tanner has hit the terrible twos! — with the heavy work of packing and lifting and logistical planning (our cars have been booted from the garage so that we can store the packed up house until we close, and at the same time get things out of our current living space so we can make the minor dry wall repairs, buff the floors, do the banister refinishing, and rip out and replace the carpeting, in order that we can start showing the house to potential tenants) — while at the same time maintaining the site, keeping up a presence on Twitter (which evidently is something you have to do these days, even if that presence is you getting called a liberal by people so dumb that they almost certainly harm us more than they help us), and fighting off a sickness that has made its way through our family and settled squarely in both my stomach and head.

In short, though I have much to be thankful for, life is a real bitch right now.

Because we’ll be taking possession of the new house earlier than we anticipated, by close to two-months, in fact, our budget was thrown for a bit of a loop.  Rather than go through the builder, we decided to do our finishes through a friend whose family owns a flooring / stone /cabinet shop, which means that even once we close, the first few weeks will be spent replacing the builder grade floors, carpet, tiling, and the majority of the counter tops.   Additionally, we have to install the garage door openers I purchased separately, along with the laundry sink, the fans, a pair of fireplaces, a second hot water heater, a set of french doors, all the toilet seat lids, four sinks, a new faucet, new shower heads and wands, the exterior security cameras, and a pair of garbage disposers.

Our budget had us finishing up this work in November.  But because of the early close, we’re going to have to do get much of it done sooner:  the guys putting in the wood flooring, tiles, heated floor elements, etc., are all in the same crew and working under the same labor bid.  The guy doing the carpet needs to begin once the wood is laid, or else we’ll be stuck moving in to a house with exposed sub floors on the entire second level (we’re tearing out and selling the builder carpet:  5000 sq ft, roughly, including padding, for $2500, if anyone is interested).  I have an electrician friend who will come in and give me a GFI outlet and wire and hang the heated towel rack in the master bath for dinner and beer, which is great.  Another friend of mine is a master carpenter, and he’ll be doing some custom built ins and a secret door for us, as well as helping replace the sliders with the french doors and, we hope, finishing the interior roof of the outdoor patio with wood planking.

This doesn’t even take into account the basement pub / entertaining space and in-law suite, which will be back to concrete slab until my wife and I can lay the flooring down there ourselves — a task we’d like to try to complete as the carpet is being finished up, but that we as of now can’t fit into our immediate budget.  Furniture?  Uh, yeah.  Yoga mats and folding chairs.

Which is why these next two-to-three months of fundraising is going to be so crucial to us.  This site used to generate more income — it’s no secret that requiring comment registration, coupled with certain actions taken against me that are outside of my control, has reduced revenue, and that fundraising itself is down rather significantly — but it’s not something I’ve worried much about, because on whole we’re doing just fine, thanks, and I’ve started an ancillary business that relaxes me somewhat and brings in a bit of extra revenue.

But that, too, takes time — and capital — to run.

So.  If you can manage to contribute over the next few months, that would be, in a word, superb.  It wouldn’t be just me who appreciates it.  It would be my entire family, which is about to face a rather big life change.

Having said that, I do write a political blog, and I’m aware of the economic situation right now.  So if you can’t do it, you can’t do it, and I understand.

Thanks in advance to those who can contribute, and to all of you who have long kept pw afloat.  Sincerely.

– Jeff





Global Cooling, Global Warming, Climate Change Climate Distruption — Is there anything it can’t do? [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

All you First World, carbon big-foot, Gaia-raping people of pallor, the flood of Little Brown Children™ across the artificial southern border is your fault

On a three-day trade mission to Mexico, California governor Jerry Brown talked most frequently about climate change and immigration, and spoke passionately about the link between the two, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“We can see how some are fearful of children walking across the border,” Brown said at the signing of a voluntary climate-change agreement with Mexico’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, according to the Journal. “What will they think when millions of people are driven north from the parched landscapes of a world degraded by intensifying climate change?

Brown reportedly spoke of California’s relationship with Mexico as older than the one his state has with the “government in Washington.” Brown pledged to do whatever he could do to aid the Central American unaccompanied alien children arriving in his state and proclaimed his support for additional shelters for the illegal-immigrant children in California.

Amazon tribe's 1st contact with modern civilization revealed in video [CBC | Technology News]

An isolated Amazon tribe's first contact with modern civilization is revealed in footage released by the Brazilian government this week.

Watch for Perseid's meteors this weekend to beat the supermoon's brightness [CBC | Technology News]

This weekend, it's not too early to watch for the Perseid meteor shower, as its peak may be washed out by a supermoon. You might also catch the Delta Aquariid meteor shower, which is underway.

Tesla stock soars after Elon Musk pledges 100,000 cars a year [CBC | Technology News]

Tesla stock was up five per cent on Friday morning after CEO Elon Musk said the electric-car company would deliver 100,000 vehicles next year.

Scientists invent way to make see-through mice [CBC | Technology News]

Researchers have found a way to make see-through mice, to help scientists study fine details of anatomy.

HitchBOT takes a 'botnap' in Toronto during cross-Canada trek [CBC | Technology News]

A talking robot hitchhiking its way across Canada is taking a rest in Toronto.

Rogers wireless roaming rates discriminatory, CRTC says [CBC | Technology News]


Canada's telecom regulator has banned exclusive wireless roaming deals in Canada after finding that Rogers included unfair clauses in them that hiked the cost of doing business for new entrants and customers.

Whale, dolphin breeding banned at Vancouver Aquarium by park board [CBC | Technology News]

Beluga whale at Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Park Board voted unanimously to allow the aquarium to keep cetaceans in captivity at a special meeting Thursday night, but ordered an end to the breeding of most whales and dolphins.

IMF calls for green shift with 52% gas tax hike in Canada [CBC | Technology News]


The International Monetary Fund says Canada and other countries can improve their economies and environment by hiking energy taxes — while cutting them on people and capital.

Cyberattack breached system holding personal data: privacy watchdog [CBC | Technology News]


Hackers who targeted Canada's National Research Council infiltrated a system containing personal information, the federal privacy czar says.

How dinosaurs shrank into birds [CBC | Technology News]

Early birds with dinosaur

Scientists have mapped how a group of fearsome, massive dinosaurs evolved and shrank to become the first birds.

Democrat Fundraising Email Rages Over GOP Fundraising Email: ‘We’re still FUMING’ [Jammie Wearing Fools]

This from the clowns who’ve saturated us with emails begging for money based on a non-existent threat of impeachment.

Give Obama Hell!”


To Me
Today at 8:38 AM
We’re still FUMING:
Last night, House Republicans voted to officially sue President Obama. Boehner claimed it wasn’t about attacking the President. It was about the Constitution.
But mere minutes after the vote, Boehner’s campaign operatives fired off a fundraising email to top right-wing donors:
FROM: National Republicans
Subject: Give Obama Hell!
That’s right. As soon as the vote was in, he was trying to rile up the extreme Tea Party base!
We’re done mincing words: We want to make Boehner pays for his actions before tonight’s midnight deadline.
To do that, we’re working to reach 5OO,OOO grassroots donations since Boehner announced the lawsuit. Right now, we have 27,947 to go.

Chipped in to defend President Obama?

Will you be a part of this?


Chip in $5 immediately >>

Chip in $35 immediately >>

Chip in $50 immediately >>

Chip in $100 immediately >>

Chip in $250 immediately >>

Or click here to donate another amount.


DCCC Update

They’re fuming so much they followed up with this:

FIRE Boehner
To Me
Today at 11:01 AM
  • Monday: President Obama emailed you to ask for your support.
  • Yesterday: Barack Obama became the FIRST President — ever — to be sued by Congress.
  • Today: It’s the BIGGEST fundraising deadline of the year.

Jammie — What a month! We’re in reach of 5OO,OOO supporters backing up President Obama since Boehner announced his lawsuit.


According to our records, you haven’t answered President Obama’s call-to-action yet.

Jammie, we’ll need a huge surge of support in these final hours to hit the 5OO,OOO donation mark.

If you’ve been planning to make a contribution to defeat the Tea Party Republicans, we could use your support before tonight’s federal fundraising deadline.

Chipped in to defend President Obama?


Chip in $5 immediately >>

Chip in $35 immediately >>

Chip in $50 immediately >>

Chip in $100 immediately >>

Chip in $250 immediately >>

Or click here to donate another amount.




To summarize: How dare the GOP raise money, send us money! Even as we’re writing this, here comes another:

sorry jammie
To Me
Today at 12:58 PM
Apologies for bothering you again, but our deadline is in 12 hours. And we are in desperate need of your help.
It’s been less than 24 hours since John Boehner and House Republicans voted to sue President Obama. It’s simple. If we fall short on tonight’s federal fundraising deadline: BOEHNER WINS.
According to our records, you haven’t answered President Obama’s call-to-action yet.

Jammie Wearingfool
Answered President Obama’s call-to-action?

We’re still lagging behind our grassroots goal. We need 21,764 to hit 5OO,OOO by midnight. If we’re going to defeat Boehner, we need your support now.

MIDNIGHT DEADLINE: All Gifts Triple-Matched!

Chip in $5 immediately >>

Chip in $35 immediately >>

Chip in $50 immediately >>

Chip in $100 immediately >>

Chip in $250 immediately >>

Or click here to donate another amount.




Cossacks! Being polite to power. Immigration dilemma [Chaos Manor - Jerry Pournelle]

View 836 Thursday, July 31, 2014

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


A reader says

Every time I read about the chaos and machismo of the "pro-Russian rebels", something in the back of my head whispers:


The tinge of excitement is palpable to anyone familiar with Russian literature. Gogol, Pushkin, Tolstoy, all wrote of the “Russian Cowboys.” One of Yul Brenner’s best movies was Taras Bulba, a Cossack leader from a Gogol novel. My late friend Claire Huffaker’s novel, The Cowboy and the Cossack, romanticizes both cowboys and Cossacks. (It’s a good read, too.)

Although most Cossacks were Slavs, the name has no racial implications, and can be transmitted as “The Free”; many Cossacks were fugitives, including runaway serfs, of various ethnic origins who were assimilated into the Cossack society and ethnos. There were several bands of them, and at one time the land now called the Ukraine was as often named Cossack territory.

Although the Cossacks were often rebellious, they enjoyed a special status with the Tsars, and considerable autonomy. They were instrumental in many Tsarist conquests, and served as Imperial guards; the rumor that the Cossacks had abandoned the Tsars was important in the early victories of the Bolsheviks. After the early victories of the Bolsheviks the Cossacks became a major part of the White (anti-Bolshevik) army during the Civil War. They were defeated by Trotsky and his new Red Army. Stalin’s vengeance against them was terrible, and most were exiled from the Ukraine.

Cossacks regard the Ukraine as their own territory, and many Cossacks, exiled to Siberia and other remote parts of the Soviet empire, have returned to claim their land. Numbers are unreliable, and since Cossacks are not an ethnic group, many adoptions have taken place to swell their numbers.  They are, after all, The Free, obedient to their hetmen, who may or may not be obedient to government. Cossacks are said to be a major component of the ”rebel Ukrainian” faction in the civil war in eastern Ukraine. Organized Cossacks were employed by Putin as guards and escorts at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

They served as both modern police, and in more traditional costume at Sochi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dryMojBq3Mg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiw0fw_sJOk shows them suppressing Pussy Riot

There is considerable sentiment both for and against the Cossacks in modern Russia. Their legendary loyalty to but independence from the central government looms large in contemporary thought. One thing is certain. If Putin is using the Cossacks, as Cossacks, in his efforts to destabilize today’s Ukraine, and this is successful, he will have gained allies who are not obsequious servants.


The melting pot

Hello Jerry,

I read Phil Tharp’s piece about immigrant’s casual approach to leaving their kids at home unattended. His example was a couple of kids 9 and 11 left alone at night.

It reminded me of an experience that I had back in the mid-70’s, when I was working for NSWC, Dahlgren, VA, and had occasion to do a job in Istanbul.

The other tech I was traveling with and I checked in to our hotel, then went to the Consulate, where we met our point of contact, and asked him about decent restaurants in the area. He told us about one in easy walking distance from our hotel, so that is where we went. We arrived about 5:30, not realizing that in Turkey restaurants are just getting going good around 9:00.

The place was deserted, except for us, and we were greeted by a nice English lady who gave us a menu and went back to the kitchen. A little later, a small girl, about 5 or 6, showed up, identified herself as ‘Ann’, and struck up a conversation with me and my companion. We told her our names. She disappeared into the kitchen, came back with a pencil and paper, and informed us that she would make us a book. The English lady came back and took our order. Ann worked on our books during the process of ordering and cooking, maintaining a conversation all the while.

My book was entitled ‘Bob’s Book’. With capitals and apostrophe. And no input from me, except for providing my name, verbally. It contained several pictures (mountains, trees, etc.), all labeled with properly spelled names. She made a similar book for my fellow tech, appropriately entitled ‘Dave’s Book’, again proper spelling, with no prompting from us, and a few labeled pictures. I put mine in my wallet and thanked Ann.

When our food was ready, Ann (5-6 years old) went to the kitchen, wheeled it out on a serving cart, and proceeded to serve us, including serving the veggies with the big fork/big spoon thing that I have never learned to do, and went back to the kitchen.

We were suitably impressed.

The next night after work, we decided that the food was great and we loved Ann, so we went back to the same restaurant. This time, we were served by the English lady, start to finish, with no sign of Ann.

Finally, when we were ready to pay up and leave, we asked about Ann. The English lady, Ann’s mother, told us that Ann wasn’t able to come to the restaurant that evening, as she was home babysitting her little brother.

Turns out that Ann’s mother was English, her father was Iranian, and they owned and were running a very nice restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey. Ann routinely spoke English, Farsi, and Turkish, as required by the customer. While waiting tables, making and annotating ‘books’ for random customers, and babysitting as required. I don’t KNOW that she wrote in Turkish and Farsi, but I have no reason to believe that she didn’t.

I carried ‘Bob’s Book’ in my wallet for many years, before I somehow lost it, and showed it to a good number of people while telling them the story.

I don’t use this tale to demonstrate that Ann was a super genius (she just seemed to be a sweet little girl), but rather to demonstrate YOUR point, that you have made many times, that small children are ‘learning machines’ and are capable of what appears to be astounding feats of learning, by OUR ‘educational standards’, if simply given the chance and encouraged. Which our education system is seemingly designed to prevent at all costs.

Bob Ludwick

The American education system cannot believe that Ann can exist.  Some of us know better.  And many of the charter schools in Harlem and in the District of Columbia could show the Department of Education if anyone there cared to look.




Hello Jerry,

When I came back from a tour in Germany in 1992 I had to go to the DMV to get re-Americanized. Winchester, VA turned out to be convenient at the time, so that is where I went. With no appointment.

It was ‘Take a number’ and watch the monitor; when your number comes up, go to the window directed. There were a few people in front, but the wait was reasonable. When I got to the window, the person behind the window was pleasant and competent. She told me what I needed to do, provided the proper papers, and got me out quickly and efficiently.

I asked her if her supervisor was available. She looked nervous, and told me the supervisor was out on a driving exam. I waited. When the supervisor returned, my window lady called her over, introduced me, and went back to her window. I told the supervisor about my experience, identified the person I had dealt with, and thanked her for the excellent service that her staff was providing (My experience was the norm; I watched.). The supervisor seemed to be pleasantly surprised, as I suspect that being complemented for providing excellent service was fairly rare.

Since then I have routinely dealt with the office in Front Royal, VA, with similar results. I have also made it a point to thank the ‘Big Boss’ in FR a few times.

At least in my experience, and realizing that when you are dealing with a bureaucracy things can ‘go horribly wrong’, small town VA DMV’s may not be the best of examples when I want to whine about government incompetence.

Bob Ludwick

Well done. I should have done something of the sort myself.


Congress is still dithering over immigration. I would think it obvious that the first move should be the repeal of the well meant 2008 amendment that entitles youthful refugees from Central American countries to formal hearings once they manage to get into US territory. The intent was to help those who were victims of sex slavery by the cartels, but the result has been a mass movement of youngsters toward the United States.

So long as that law is in place, they will come: and if we are going to invite them to run that dangerous gauntlet through Mexico, we must be prepared for them to be here – and to have some notion of what should happen to them. A program that allows them to become apprentice soldiers and administrators – Janissaries – is not likely to be favored.

Note that one of the murderers of the legally resident Chinese USC student was an illegal immigrant, who apparently was part of a group that makes a living by mugging people in the USC university area.


It’s time I went upstairs and worked on a large naval battle taking place right now in Mamelukes…


Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




TWIT, Rule of Law, and Democracy; Working on Mamelukes [Chaos Manor - Jerry Pournelle]

View 836 Tuesday, July 29, 2014

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


I was on TWIT Sunday afternoon from Larry Niven’s house. http://twit.tv/show/this-week-in-tech/468 He was on for a few minutes. It made for a good TWIT, and you might like it. Meanwhile I am pounding away at getting things back together for reviving Chaos Manor Reviews. Eric was over yesterday and we replaced the cable modem, provided by Time Warner when we first got cable internet – long time readers will remember it took years, and I used a number of gimmicks including having Dan build a Linux box dedicated to being what amounted to a firewall router for a commercial Wi-Fi company, then we had an EarthLink satellite; Chaos Manor is 19,000 feet from a DSL switch. But eventually we got Time Warner Cable, and it has worked ever since. TW is upgrading their fiber links, and out at Eric’s house in Castaic he got five time his Internet speeds simply by replacing the modem with a newer model. We thought we would try that here. Full story in Review; bottom line is we improved what’s here by about 10%. They haven’t improved their cable hardware in my area for a while, but the 10% improvement in speed is solid.

That took up Sunday and Monday. Today I got the urge to get going on Mamelukes, the next story in the Janissaries series. I had 150,000 words, and an idea on how to end this book; so today I spent the afternoon up in the Monk’s cell with the new and improved ThinkPad with the new SSD hard drive. Worked like a charm. Literally. And since we have installed new Wi-Fi repeaters throughout the house, I get better Wi-Fi up in the Monk’s Cell (actually the room inherited in turn by the oldest of the four boys as they grew up and one after the other left the house) where I do fiction work. No phone up there, and no Internet – that is, Wi-Fi works well enough to let me use Google to do quick research on such things as Venetian 14th Century warships, but it’s not fast enough for games, and I don’t do amusements up there. And now I have 151,024 words, and we’re approaching the final battles, after which there’s some afterwards on political settlements… Anyway, that used up today.

And tomorrow morning early I get to go out to DMV and spend the day renewing my driver’s license, so I’ll have to turn in early.

There was a 60 foot geyser on Sunset near UCLA, where a water main broke. This being Los Angeles, aka Detroit Southwest, it took the DWP an hour to get someone out there, and while it’s no longer a geyser, the water is – ha. As I write this, the radio announces it has stopped. It started at 1530 this afternoon. Flooded the lower decks of several parking structures. Cars lost. Los Angeles has highly paid city workers, but not a lot of city work gets done. We have about the worst streets in a big city of anywhere including Detroit. We have a pretty good police department and it is fairly efficient, except they are threatening to strike for more pay and the politicians have spent all the money from the highest taxes in the country. Ah well, the Fire Department works well. Not a lot else does.

Meanwhile in Long Beach an elderly man was attacked and beaten up in a home invasion robbery. He managed to get a gun, and shot the female who was whaling on him. Her fiancé ran away, and she staggered out the door, shouting “Don’t shoot me again, I’m pregnant.” He’d been beaten pretty badly, and he had no sympathy. He shot her again. The police are trying to decide what to charge him with.

The is the Long Beach Police Department which found it good policy when four patrol police shot a man sitting on his friend’s porch holding a garden hose nozzle that looked like a gun. He was drunk and had gone to his friend’s house to avoid trying to drive home, but no one was home so he was sitting on the porch with the hose nozzle. The Long Beach Police patrolmen responded to a suspicious person call by sneaking up on him, not announcing their presence so there was no way for him to know they were there, and when he held the nozzle in a shooting position, they all four opened fire on him, killing him instantly with multiple gunshot wounds. This was held to be within police policy and no charges were ever filed.

We live in interesting times.


I am working on an essay about income discrepancy and how the income of the top 1% is rising, but that of the middle class is not rising or not rising much, and that of the working class is about the same as it was many years ago. Of course I grew up in a different era, and I see things differently.

For one thing, the poverty level now includes access to and ownership of stuff that my middle class family could never have afforded: like cataract operations that don’t lay you up and render you unable to drive at night. I drove Robert Bloch (author of Psycho among many other great stories and movies) to the big Studio Invitational opening of Star Wars because Bloch’s cataract operations rendered him unable to drive at night; that was half a lifetime ago; he wasn’t upper 1% but he was upper middle class, and he couldn’t afford better cataract surgery. I can, and so can almost everyone else now. I’m aware of this because it looks as if I’m going to have to let them do that to me. Niven and my friend Michael Galloway have had theirs done, and it was relatively painless and over in a day (a day for each eye), and they drive all right…

When I was growing up, and during the great boom periods following World War II, no one on earth could have afforded the radiation treatments that cured my brain cancer in 2008. I have more teeth than almost anyone my age when I was growing up. My income may not be growing as rapidly as that of Bill Gates – indeed, it’s not growing faster than inflation, another incentive for me to finish Janissaries – but I can buy things with what I have that Bill Gates could not have afforded back in the 1980’s. My iPhone is more powerful than all the computers anywhere when I first started playing about with the IBM 650. Anyway, there is more to income discrepancy than gets written about. Hilaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton wrote a bit on the subject; it’s not something to be ignored; but it’s just not true that the rising tide in America doesn’t float all boats. Much of what comes as entitlements to those in poverty would have been thought wealth beyond the dreams of avarice when I was growing up…


Another new item: does Democracy promote rule of law? And of course it does not. Indeed, the prospect of America becoming a Democracy frightened most of the Delegates to the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. Democracy is the road to poverty. We used to joke that when the legislature is in session no man’s property is safe, but as America transforms herself from a Republic to a Democracy, as she is rapidly doing, that ceases to be a joke. Rule of law is necessary for there to be a stable Democracy; but Democracy does away with rule of law whenever possible.

Case in point:

Judge Ruling Prevents Donald Sterling from Appealing to Keep Clippers Franchise

By Matt Fitzgerald , Featured Columnist

Jul 28, 2014

The Los Angeles Clippers have distanced themselves considerably from disgraced owner Donald Sterling, whose bid to block the sale of the franchise was denied on Monday.   

According to Billy Witz of The New York Times, probate court judge Michael Levanas ruled in favor of Sterling’s wife, Shelly, who arranged for the Clippers to be sold for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. It marked the most expensive team sale in NBA history.


Sterling’s awful crime was to tell his colored mistress that he did not want her being escorted to Clippers games by black athletes. He told her this in private, but he was being recorded, and somehow the recordings became public, and Sterling’s wife wants to sell the Clippers; so she managed to get him declared incompetent.

Sterling is no pleasant person, and his ownership of the Clippers is bad news for the other stockholders, and the team manager, and the players, and the fans; it’s undemocratic to allow him to keep this team which, under his ownership and coached by Doc Rivers (black) got into the playoffs this year after being a  joke underdog in Los Angeles for many years.

And since this decision to fling Sterling out – after all, he’ll get a share of the $2 Billion Steve Ballmer is paying for the Clippers – well, it’s popular. It’s what everyone (including me, except that it makes a wreck of a vital principle of limits to government) wants, well, hurrah. Who needed that rule of law crap to begin with. But of course the lack of any tradition of rule of law is what has produced disasters in places that America has expended blood and treasure to rescue from tyranny.

If you establish a democracy, you must in due time reap the fruits of a democracy. You will in due season have great impatience of the public burdens, combined in due season with great increase of the public expenditure. You will in due season have wars entered into from passion and not from reason; and you will in due season submit to peace ignominiously sought and ignominiously obtained, which will diminish your authority and perhaps endanger your independence. You will in due season find your property is less valuable, and your freedom less complete.

Benjamin Disraeli


And it’s bed time.


Things I should write about, but at the moment I can only remind you of.



Cthuhlu Power http://www.strategypage.com/military_photos/2014072021160.aspx 



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




Children suspected of vandalizing Jewish, Christian tombstones near Paris [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

PARIS (JTA) — Children aged 11 and 13 are suspected of vandalizing at least 15 Jewish tombstones and six Christian ones at a cemetery near the French capital.

The three children, two of them 11 years old and the third 13, were taken into custody earlier this week and are awaiting a juvenile court judge review of the charges brought against them, the French-language news site JSSNews.com reported last week.

Police sources told JSSNews that the children were from families of Turkish descent.

The vandalism happened  at Villiers-le-Bel, a suburb located north of the French capital, amid a wave of attacks against Jewish institutions and individuals in connection with Israel’s actions in Gaza.

In France, nine synagogue have been attacked, eight of them in the Paris region. Some of the attacks occurred after unauthorized protests against Israel turned into riots in which demonstrators hurled stones and firebombs at synagogues and Jewish-owned stores.

Similar incidents occurred in Belgium and the Netherlands, where unidentified individuals hurled three stones into the home of Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, smashing his backyard door.

Lawyers of suspected Brussels shooter shown performing quenelle [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

BRUSSELS (JTA) — Attorneys representing the suspected killer of four people in Belgium’s Jewish museum posed for a picture while performing the quenelle gesture, which many believe is an anti-Semitic salute.

A photo showing Sebastien Courtoy and Henri Laquay, the two lawyers representing Mehdi Nemmouche in Brussels, performing the quenelle surfaced this week, the Belgian Het Belang van Limburg local daily reported.

Nemmouche, a 29-year-old French national who is believed to have fought with jihadists in Syria, was extradited this week from France to Belgium to face trial for the May 24 murders at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels. He was arrested on May 30 in the French port city of Marseille during a routine customs inspection, in which he was found to be carrying weapons similar to the ones used in the attack on the museum. He has denied any involvement in the murders.

The undated photo of the lawyers shows them performing the quenelle with the gesture’s inventor, the French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who has several conviction for inciting racial hatred against Jews and has written, directed, produced and starred in the 2012 film called “The Antisemite.”

Earlier this year, Manuel Valls, France’s former interior minister, said the quenelle — the act of folding one’s arm over one’s chest while pointing downward with the other arm — was “ an anti-Semitic gesture, an inverted Nazi gesture” which may violate France’s laws against incitement.

Valls, who is now France’s prime minister, made the assertion based on hundreds of photos online of people performing the quenelle at sites connected to the Holocaust or Jews, or while holding a pineapple in an allusion to a joke created by Dieudonne to suggest the Holocaust never happened or to mock it without breaking laws forbidding Holocaust denial. Dieudonne coined the phrase “shoananas” — a mashup of the Hebrew world for the genocide and the French word for pineapple.

Dieudonne — who has often mocked the Holocaust and other murders of Jews — and several of his supporters have argued the quenelle is merely an expression of objection to the establishment, not to Jews.

Dems and GOP unite in Senate to approve extra Iron Dome funding [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Senate unanimously approved new funds to Israel for its Iron Dome anti-missile system after Republicans and Democrats settled differences over how to pass the bill.

The emergency supplemental bill passed Friday adds $225 million to $350 million for the system, which Israel has credited with hitting over 80 percent of the Gaza-launched rockets it has targeted since the July 8 launch of the latest Israel-Hamas conflict.

Democrats and Republicans had tussled over how best to approve the funding, which had broad bipartisan support.

The majority leader, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), had at first attached it to a $2.7 billion bill for funds to deal with the influx of undocumented arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Republicans accused him of playing politics, and Reid on Thursday night stripped the Iron Dome funding out of the borders bill and advanced the Iron Dome funding, along with funding for fighting a recent scourge of wildfires in western states, as a standalone item.

That strategy had the backing of some GOP senators, but a number of others used parliamentary procedures to stop that bill, saying they wanted to balance the spending with cuts in other areas.

It appeared Thursday night that the funding would not be approved before the August recess starting Aug. 1, but congressional leaders extended the current session to deal with a welter of outstanding bills, and on Friday, the $225 million was approved by unanimous consent.

Sponsoring the bill were Reid, Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee who had originally championed the funding.

“Passing this bipartisan measure, we send a message to Hamas that its terrorist tactics and its attempts to terrorize Israel’s populace will not succeed,” McConnell said in a statement.

Leonard Bernstein sculpture unveiled at Tanglewood [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

LENOX, MASS. (JTA) – A bronze sculpture of Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), one of the last century’s towering musical figures, was unveiled last week at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO).

The sculpture, by artist Penelope Jencks, is the second in a series planned depicting Tanglewood’s most iconic music figures, according to a statement issued by by the BSO. The first sculpture, also by Jencks, is of Aaron Copland, Bernstein’s teacher and mentor, who in 1940 recommended the young Bernstein for Serge Koussevitzky’s conducting class at Tanglewood.

Over the next 50 years, Bernstein, who went on to lead the New York Philharmonic, and later conducted around the world, frequently in Israel, became a highly-anticipated presence at the renowned music center, known for its pastoral scenery.

“Tanglewood has always been, and will continue to be, the spiritual home of Leonard Bernstein,” said composer and Academy Award winner John Williams, whose donation to the BSO is funding the sculpture series. A courtyard at the music center is named after Bernstein.

The themes of many of Bernstein’s scores, including his Kaddish Symphony and Chichester Psalms, reflected his Jewish roots. The son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrant parents, Bernstein wrote of the early musical influence of Solomon Braslavsky, the European-born and trained vocal director and organist at Boston’s Congregation Mishkan Tefila, the family’s synagogue.

Bernstein, who taught at Brandeis University from 1951 through 1956, launched the school’s Festival of Creative Arts in 1951 and served on the university’s Board of Trustees from 1976 to 81. He performed frequently in Israel, notably during the country’s founding years and during the 1967 Six-Day War. At age 70, Bernstein was named conductor laureate of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Bernstein was also a prolific composer for Broadway, with the musical “West Side Story” his most famous Broadway show.

College Radio Watch: WSJ Reports on “Shift” in College Radio as Evidenced by WRAS Situation [Radio Survivor]

This week the Wall Street Journal ran a piece about recent changes at Georgia State University’s college radio station WRAS-FM. As we’ve been reporting, the student-run station in Atlanta, Georgia was recently told that administrators had made a secret deal with Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB). As part of that arrangement, student voices are now only […]

The post College Radio Watch: WSJ Reports on “Shift” in College Radio as Evidenced by WRAS Situation appeared first on Radio Survivor.

LPFM Watch: Eight More Guel Applications Dismissed, While Seven Non-Profits Are Granted New LPFMs [Radio Survivor]

On Monday, the FCC dismissed 8 more LPFM applications that were affiliated with Hispanic Christian Community Network owner Antonio Cesal Guel. As we’ve noted, Guel helped to file at least 245 LPFM applications in fall 2013  and several groups have expressed a myriad of concerns about these applications. Monday’s 8 dismissals were due to lack […]

The post LPFM Watch: Eight More Guel Applications Dismissed, While Seven Non-Profits Are Granted New LPFMs appeared first on Radio Survivor.

How radio changed Woody Guthrie’s life [Radio Survivor]

Aric Allen has a compelling YouTube documentary about the impact of radio on Woody Guthrie’s life and career (although I’m not sure Guthrie would approve of the c-word). “California turned Woody into a radical but in 1937 Los Angeles turned him into a radio star,” Allen contends. “He was just a 24 year old sign […]

The post How radio changed Woody Guthrie’s life appeared first on Radio Survivor.

People Who Can Read Are “Obamacare Truthers” Now [RedState]


The left has been in power so long they have completely lost both the ability to persuade people and any interest in doing so. Instead the only tools remaining in their kit are mocking and derision. So it is that we find that the left has coined a new and not very creative insult for people who believe that the Halbig plaintiffs were correct and that Obamacare, as written, confines the subsidies for the purchase of health insurance to states that have set up their own exchange. The term, of course, is “Obamacare Truther.”

I am not entirely sure what connection can be drawn between people who can read and the festering mass of people on the left who believe that 9/11 was a government conspiracy, but logical connections are not the point in this discussion. The point is to intimidate and shut down legitimate debate over what is fairly obviously a reasonable question.

The latest instance of a lefty using this derisive phrase is especially egregious since it happens to be Jonathan Cohn, who was most recently caught on tape contradicting virtually all his reporting for this entire year by saying,  back in 2010, that the Halbig plaintiffs have the legislative history exactly correct. Cohn’s response to “pulling a Gruber” was essentially to “pull another Gruber” and claim that he has no idea what he was thinking at the time, he cannot possibly explain it, he must have had a speak-o, because no one actually believed the words that came out of his mouth. His concluding graf basically asks us to believe that people who have a nakedly partisan post hoc interest in lying should be believed without question:

To me, the most plausible account of what actually happened in Congress is the one that Greg Sargent pieced together the other day, complete with quotes from people who were writing what became the final bill. Those people say they always believed subsidies should go to all states, even those where the federal government runs the exchanges. White House officials and Congressional leaders have all said the same thing. I still think they are telling the truth. I still think it’s not a close call.

Pardon me for saying so, but I think they are not telling the truth, and I think it isn’t a close call. And thankfully, you don’t have to choose between partisan liberal Jonathan Cohn saying that he thinks the Democrats are telling the truth and partisan conservative Leon Wolf saying the Republicans are telling the truth.

It turns out that we have quite a bit of evidence about the behavior of Congress over the past century that we can draw from. And it turns out that attempting to force states to participate in programs they might otherwise not want to participate in by dangling money in front of them is pretty much definitively Congress’ all time favorite move. In fact, I would defy the current Halbig critics to find a single bill in the last 20 years involving the appropriation of federal money that did not contain some clause somewhere (or more likely, several clauses) giving money to the state or local governments, contingent upon their acceptance of some condition or participation in some program. As the Halbig majority noted, we don’t have too look far at all for an example of the contrary behavior, as Obamacare itself is littered with similar provisions in other parts of the bill where it is undisputed by anyone that the federal government conditioned the acceptance of funds on state participation in various programs (i.e., Medicaid expansion). 

The argument that the Halbig critics are asking us to accept on faith, and contrary to their own express contemporary statements (in the case of Gruber and Cohn in particular), is that it’s unreasonable and far fetched to assume that Congress did with Obamacare what Congress always does with almost every spending bill it passes. This argument is obviously not persuasive on the merits to anyone who does not already have their partisan blinders on; accordingly those making it have no choice but to resort to insult, mockery, and begging the question.

Republicans to some degree reached this point in 2006 – we see how that worked out in the voting booth.

The post People Who Can Read Are “Obamacare Truthers” Now appeared first on RedState.

Could the Unemployed Cause Political Turmoil? [RedState]

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The post Could the Unemployed Cause Political Turmoil? appeared first on RedState.

Putin’s Potemkin rebellion in Ukraine [RedState]

ukraine strelkovWhen Moscow’s tool, Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, was deposed by a popular uprising because of his policy of turning Ukraine into a Russian client state when the people wanted a closer association with the European Union, an insurgency developed in Eastern Ukraine. That region is economically depressed and heavily populated by ethnic Russians, these  Russians saw an Anschluss with Russia as their best hope for success. When Russia successfully carved Crimea out of Ukraine without so much as a peep from the West, this seemed to be a reality.

Now that the separatist movement seems on the verge of collapse, some of its leaders have fled and key towns have been taken by the Ukrainian Army, the true nature of the rebellion is becoming more obvious. It is Russian led, Russian directed, and composed of Russians from Russia.

Russian Led

The central leader of the separatist military forces is a man named Igor Girkin who goes by the nom de guerre of Igor Strelkov, or Igor the Rifleman/Shooter.

He is a man with three names, sought by Ukrainian intelligence as the top Russian operative in the separatist east. He moves through the streets in a black Mercedes, his face with pencil moustache hidden behind tinted windows, and his aim is to “destroy” Ukrainian forces that venture onto his territory.

In a leaflet distributed this week in the rebel Donetsk region, “Colonel Igor Strelkov” assumed command of all rebel forces there and called for Russian army help to ward off what he calls the threat from the Kiev “junta” and from NATO.

Residents of a sleepy neighborhood in northern Moscow said they recognized their neighbor when they saw him on Russian television last month introducing himself as the leader of the militia in Slaviansk.

The man they knew as Igor Girkin has lived most of his life in the nine-storey building on Shenkursk Way where his mother, two children and former wife also reside, neighbors said.

He is a Russian, a member of the FSB — what used to be known as the KGB — and a veteran of Russian involvement in Bosnia, Moldova, and Chechnya. In Bosnia he was implicated in the massacre of some 3,000 Bosnians in Visegrad in 1992 as part of the Serb ethnic cleansing program.

Russian Directed

While one could understand a “soldier of fortune” turning up in the separatist movement, it is harder to explain the presence of Russian nationals in political positions.

As Ukrainian troops gained ground in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks, a number of native Russians have taken charge of the separatists’ rebellion.

Separatist leader, Aleksander Borodai, a Russian national, left for Moscow for political consultations in early July.

Vladimir Antyufeyev was named “deputy prime minister” by Borodai on July 10, one of several native Russians to have taken charge of the separatist rebellion in Ukraine’s eastern regions.

Ukrainian-born rebel leaders have been eased out, causing rifts among increasingly nervous separatists since a Malaysian airliner was downed over rebel-held territory just over a week ago.

Antyufeyev replaced Donetsk native, Alexander Khodakovsky, as the top security person in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. Denis Pushilin, another local once titled the republic’s president, was dismissed.

A Ukrainian official in the southern Azov Sea city port of Mariupol, which Kiev reclaimed from rebels last month, said Russians were taking over the entire rebel operation, sidelining or removing locals.

Composed of Russians Supported by Russia

Once actual fighting started, the “separatist” movement found that most of the population in Ukraine didn’t want to participate. Even before the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17, Strelkov was complaining of the lack of military ardor on the part of ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine.

Apparently, to win the war, Strelkov also needed more professional fighters to use that newfound arsenal. His irregular forces were made up of local men in their late 30s or 40s, and volunteers from Russia and the Caucasus with little to no combat experience. He still required men who knew how to operate heavy weapons such as, say, surface-to-air missile batteries.

In Strelkov’s recent video posted online, he said he “could never have imagined” that of the more than 4.6 million people living in the Donetsk region, only about 1,000 volunteers were willing to join his rebel army to defend Novorossiya: “We can see anything but crowds of volunteers outside our gate,” admitted Strelkov, whose nom de guerre means “gunman” and whose real surname is Girkin.

Though Putin has denied that Russian troops are present in Ukraine it is undeniable that Russian military units have massed along the border with Eastern Ukraine and that Russian artillery has fired on Ukrainian Army units from Russia. We know that separatist troops are being trained inside Russia. Given that Strelkov, himself, is Russian and that native Russophone Ukrainians are reluctant to serve, it would be unsurprising to find Russian troops appearing in separatist units. In fact, a “selfie” indicates that this is the case.

Moscow has tried to hide its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, but some social media posts from a Russian soldier may reveal even more direct involvement in the region.

Over at BuzzFeed, reporter Max Seddon has the scoop on a 24-year-old soldier named Alexander Sotkin, who has been posting some very interesting photos of his military service, and the locations of the photos are rather telling.

While Seddon has embedded a number of Sotkin’s photos, which show him in southern Russia taking selfies, it’s this one the communications specialist posted, in rebel-controlled Krasna Talycha in east Ukraine, that’s most intriguing

At a minimum, most of the troops come from Russia and would not be in Ukraine unless Moscow was supportive:

That flavor started at the top. Before fleeing Slaviansk on July 5, rebel units here were commanded by Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, a Russian from Moscow. Strelkov is known for his experience in Bosnia, fighting for Serb forces, and in Chechnya, and reportedly also has links to Russian security services. [Editor's note: The original version misspelled Mr. Girkin's name.]

In addition to the Russian leadership came rough-hewn recruits from Kazakhstan and Chechnya, and more Russians from as far afield as Moscow or Vladivostok in the east. Even today, most social media references of those who fought here are Russians, not locals.

The military professionalism of the rebels stands out in the defenses they left behind: a sophisticated network of sand-bagged bunkers, firing positions, and even a tunnel between Strelkov’s command compound and the aged brick building that once housed the town’s KGB headquarters and became a rebel headquarters. Even the bridge north to Kharkiv was expertly destroyed by the rebels, its span perfectly sheared away.

That Russia has been supplying the separatists with arms and ammunition is not in question.

A Potemkin Rebellion

According to popular believe, when Empress Catherine the Great visited the Crimea in 1787, Grigory Potemkin, a favorite of the empress and governor general of Crimea, wanted to impress her. To do this he build facades of towns and villages along the Dnieper River that gave the illusion, from a distance, of actual settlements. Much the same is true the Ukraine separatist movement.

All evidence indicates that the separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine is as much an astroturf movement as anything conceived of by Organizing for America. The rebellion is not supported by the people of Ukraine. It is led by Russians. The political direction comes from Russia. The army is manned by Russians… including regular Russian forces. This is not an instance Ron-Paulian “self determination.” This is a blatant power play by Vladimir Putin and little more than an military invasion of Ukraine by Russia.



The post Putin’s Potemkin rebellion in Ukraine appeared first on RedState.

Check and Mate [RedState]

According to Zach Taylor an outspoken former Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent who is the chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, “As the government allocates resources to South Texas, it is systematically leaving areas within the U.S., as well as vast swaths of land along the border, unguarded.”  Taylor continues, “This gives people that are trying to get their infrastructure, their personnel, their drugs, their dirty bombs, their biological weapons, their chemical weapons into the United States without being noticed” the opportunity to do so, “because this part of the border is open, it is not being controlled.”
Taylor also said, “If asymmetrical warfare is going to be successful, the first thing that has to be done is to compromise America’s defenses against invasion because they have to have their personnel inside the United States to affect the infrastructure… they have to affect the degeneration from inside the United States.”

By constantly focusing on the 10% that is apprehended, and by consistently referring to the 1%who are immigrant minors, the government and their media fellow-travelers draw the attention of most Americans away from the hundreds of thousands who evade capture.  No one knows how many of these people are gang members.  It is known that in Central America children as young as ten join these gangs and that the initiation for many is committing murder.  These are the poor but not innocent children who may be in a classroom with your own sons and daughters come September.

According to a June press release Taylor elaborated, “This is not a humanitarian crisis.  It is a predictable, orchestrated and contrived assault on the compassionate side of Americans by her political leaders that knowingly puts minor Illegal Alien children at risk for purely political purposes. Certainly, we are not gullible enough to believe that thousands of unaccompanied minor Central American children came to America without the encouragement, aid and assistance of the United States Government.”

Former Agent Taylor asked this pregnant question, “Will this heartless criminal exploitation of Central American infants and children finally awaken Americans to the ruse being foisted upon them by their government, the media and other interested parties, or has America lost her ability to stand up against the tyrants and do what is right rather than what is easy?”

Perhaps the most chilling thing Taylor had to say was, “It is a perfect military strategy. It doesn’t raise any eyebrows because we’re focused on the children, but we need to focus on our children, because this is asymmetrical warfare. Everything says it is. And the way the United States government is responding to it is concealing that fact from the American people.  In other words they’re assisting in the downfall of America, and you need to understand that.”

What is the real scope of this invasion?  According to Dan Patrick a Texas State Senator, “Every week, week after week, we’ve been averaging for the last year apprehending between six and ten thousand people a week.  If we apprehend eight or nine thousand a week, that’s more people than are born in Texas each week.” The Senator continued, “Now, we think we catch one out of every five. That means twenty five or thirty thousand are crossing the border, that we don’t catch.  Don’t focus on the numbers that are apprehended, that’s the ones we catch.”

Ronald Colburn, former national deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol says, “According to my sources, it appears that this administration is causing that [bottleneck] on purpose.  So they [the Obama administration] may be saying they’re trying to resolve it, but they’re doing something different. They need to put their actions where their mouths are.”

According to a Pew Research study, “Even though the growth is higher among younger children, the bulk of unaccompanied children caught at the border remain teenagers. In fiscal year 2013, nine-in-ten minors apprehended at the border were teens. This share has dropped as the number of younger children making the dangerous trip has risen dramatically: In the first eight months of fiscal year 2014, 84% were teens.”

We are told every day all day by the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media and the cable clones that this is an emergency.  Or as they say it, “THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!!”  Yet according to the Congressional Budget Office only $25 million out of the $4.3 billion request will be spent this year.  The CBO score conflicts with the argument of Democrats and Obama administration officials, that the money is urgently needed for border activities.  We are portrayed as heartless, as merely wanting to protect our own privilege while consigning the children to lives of hopeless poverty.  However the fact is that according to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) the Senate Budget Committee’s ranking member, “Between 2000 and 2013, we lawfully issued almost 30 million work and immigrant visas. To put that number in perspective, 30 million is about the population of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala combined.”

I believe it is time that those of us who believe in a traditional America and its values of limited government, personal liberty and economic freedom are honest with ourselves.  For the past 100 years when you compare the long game of the Progressives with the rest of us; we have been playing checkers and they have been playing chess.  Not only have they kept their end goals always in view through victory and defeat they have successfully captured education and media programming generations of people to if not think like them to at least accept the soundness of their premise: government can be all things to all people.  In this game of chess that we never realized we were playing, the current invasion, plotted and planned well in advance, may well be check and checkmate.  How can we ever recover from an influx of millions of new progressive supporters and voters shipped around the country to the districts needed to sway elections?  How are we ever going to come back from this?

Abraham Lincoln told us, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Europe committed suicide in two fratricidal world wars.  We have allowed hubris abroad and greed at home to lead us down the same path.  By establishing a world-girdling empire of nation building money pits and a centrally planned redistributionist attempt at utopia at home we have stifled freedom and killed the golden goose.  Now the preplanned crisis in the south is delivering the plurality of low information voters to seal the deal.

Finally a plan by the Obama Administration to save the children from the train of death, pick them up in their home countries and fly the directly to the districts where democratic voters are most needed.  As far as political theater this comes under the “You’ve got to be kidding me” category.  And as a bonus once the children are here we will need to bring their parents along to help preserve the family.  And now the undocumented democrats are demanding representation at any White House meetings designed to determine their fate.  They plan to protest in front of the White House until their demands are met with no fear of arrest.  Has Monty Python taken over this country?  How can living in the shadows include public demonstrations and representation in the government?

We cry about the people who have broken all the rules of our checker game while they move our pawns to the welfare line, our knights to the unemployment line, our rooks our bishops and our queen to the sidelines, and our king to the deadline.  Check and mate.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

The post Check and Mate appeared first on RedState.

Boehner Has Time to Salvage a Ridiculous Farce Descended to Stupidity [RedState]

House Republican leaders had a closed door meeting with their conference late yesterday where they blasted Senator Ted Cruz for obstructing their plans to hand more than $600 million of your tax dollars to the man they’re also suing for not doing his job, Barack Obama. As an aside, Senator Jeff Sessions deserves a great deal of praise, along with Senator Cruz, for his actions related to fixing this mess.

What House Republican leaders refused to do is stop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (‘DACA’) executive action that President Obama took in 2012. In fact, they wanted to first fund the man they’re suing, then give House conservatives a vote Harry Reid could quickly dispatch.

But then that was the face all along. No matter what House Republicans did, Harry Reid was going to toss it. So instead of doing the right and publicly popular thing by shutting down DACA, the House GOP was going to give Barack Obama a pile of cash with no obligation or steps to secure the border. Then they’d watch Harry Reid stop that action too.

How stupid can these people be? If the President’s polling is at 65% unfavorable on the border situation and the Democrats have no intention of doing anything about, it should be an easy vote for the House GOP to show they’re the ones who took the steps to stop the mass migration across the border.

Instead, on Eric Cantor’s last day as leader, the whole of the leadership bollixed it up and embarrassed themselves. Harry Reid then concluded the business of the Senate.

The House has stayed and has one more opportunity to get this right. Conservatives concerned about the spending were willing to set those concerns aside if the House leaders would shut down DACA. Today, the House can get it right, shut down DACA, show they are serious, and let the public turn toward the Senate where the “closed” sign is lit up.

But let’s not forget the punchline to this. House Republican Leaders want to give more than $600 million to the same man they just voted for sue for the way he’s doing and not doing his job.

The post Boehner Has Time to Salvage a Ridiculous Farce Descended to Stupidity appeared first on RedState.

Has John McCain Lost His Mind? [RedState]

It seems that you can’t go a day lately without Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) appearing on television advocating the United States invade another country. On a