Michael Bay in Talks to Direct Benghazi Drama "13 Hours" [Ace of Spades HQ]

The script seems just about the Benghazi side of things, the attempted defense of the compound, so it doesn't seem to be any kind of expose. Still, interesting enough....

CDC: FYI, Ebola Can Be Transmitted Through Droplets In the Air [Ace of Spades HQ]

As I've mentioned, the CDC has been deliberately misrepresenting the transmission pathway of ebola by stating, over and over and over again, that it was not an "airborne" pathogen. That relies on a technical meaning of the word "airborne" which...

Registered Republicans Outpacing Democrats in Early Vote in Colorado [Ace of Spades HQ]

About half the state's vote is already in. Registered Democrats returned 294,648 of these ballots, or 32.5 percent; registered Republicans were 379,250, or 41.8 percent. A candidate whose party is outpacing the competition by a 9.3 percentage point margin, with...

CBS Poll Shows GOP Ahead by Six on Generic Ballot, Near 2010 Levels; But CBS Hides Its Own Poll [Ace of Spades HQ]

Not only did they bury that poll finding in the ninth paragraph of the print piece, they also failed to report it at all on their broadcast report....

Open Thread [Ace of Spades HQ]

Robert Speer Dunning, "Departing Day" (1902)...

Thursday Morning News Dump [Ace of Spades HQ]

It Took Until A Week Before The Election For A Journalist To Look Into This? CDC: So You Probably Can Catch Ebola From Sneeze Droplets So, Is The FBI Now A Political Organization Too? The NARAL Cory Gardner Ad,...

Morning Open Thread [Ace of Spades HQ]

Stay here while I put something else together. Do not stray from this thread. Stay....

Overnight Open Thread (10-29-2014) [Ace of Spades HQ]

Quote of the Day What's conspicuously missing from this whole debate has been any sense of the right to be wrong. For most commenters on the left, it is enough for them merely to declare the Hitching Post's proprietors to...

World Series: Game Seven! [BCochran81] [Ace of Spades HQ]

Strap on your cups and your cleats one last time boys and girls. It's the final World Series post. Again, before we get started on the series itself, there are a couple of baseball related news items I'd like to...

Now in Wisconsin, Crowd Makes For the Exits While Obama is in Mid-Drone [Ace of Spades HQ]

Via @rdbrewer4 in the sidebar: First time is happenstance... I'm thinking maybe a lot of these people at these rallies are, how do I put this, paid to be there, or expected to be there as part of their work...

Science: Actually, Mass Shooting Incidents Aren't Going Up At All, If You Bother To Do the Actual Research [Ace of Spades HQ]

...as Science demands. Mother Jones is pushing some more fake numbers at the public. [A] recent article in Mother Jones asserted that we have "entered a new period in which mass shootings are occurring more frequently." This report relied on...

The Democrats' Last Line of Defense: College-Educated, Single White Women [Ace of Spades HQ]

The Kaci Hickox demographic. Socially liberal white-collar and single white women look like the fragile last line of defense for Democrats hoping to avoid a Republican sweep in next week's election, according to detailed results from a broad array of...

Senior Administration Official: We Pressured Israel Not To Take Any Action Against Iran's Nuke Program, and "Now It's Too Late" [Ace of Spades HQ]

They're actually bragging about this. Seth Mandel looks beyond the schoolboy taunts ("chickensh*t," "Asperger-y") to find the real meat of yesterday's story. The Obama administration wanted to brag through its stenographer that the president had protected the Iranian nuclear program...

Here’s who and what’s on @atmidnightcc TONIGHT! Our... [@midnight]

Here’s who and what’s on @atmidnightcc TONIGHT!

Our contestants: @jaychandrasekha, @HeffernanRules & @SteveLemme

Here’s a GoPro attached to a bottle of fireball at a wedding! LOVE IS REAL.(via YouTube)

Taylor Swift Explaining New York Vocabulary Is Beyond Cringeworthy.THIS is why we are never ever ever getting back together. (via Huffington Post)

High-Quality NBA Jerseys From China. GO USA! (via epic awesome)





Here’s some of the great stuff we found on the internet today that didn’t make it onto tonight’s show. Get your click on.

There’s a Kickstarter for an Emoji-based Ouija board. Sadly it looks harder to cheat. (via Daily Dot)

Man cleared of bestiality charges after it turns out it was just a guy in a tiger costume. Perfectly natural. (via Uproxx)

Google Glass is now banned from movie theaters. Sorry, everyone who likes reading email and looking like a cyborg while on first dates. (via The A.V. Club)

Tim Cook: ‘I’m Proud to Be Gay’ [Daring Fireball]

Tim Cook, writing in Businessweek:

We’ll continue to fight for our values, and I believe that any CEO of this incredible company, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, would do the same. And I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up.

When I arrive in my office each morning, I’m greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. I don’t pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.

So great.

‘Still’ [Daring Fireball]

Sephko on Google conquering the world.

Assessing the Damage Caused by Credit Card Rewards [Daring Fireball]

Ron Lieber, writing for the NYT back in 2010:

Life might be simpler and more efficient if retailers could levy a surcharge that covers their costs to accept cards and let consumers figure out whether to pay it. But the card companies don’t allow that, and Congress hasn’t yet forced their hand, though this is now how things work in Australia (where some retailers charge excessive fees, alas).

So what’s an American consumer to do in the meantime? For help answering that, I turned to Dave Hanson. Mr. Hanson, a Spokane, Wash., resident, is one of the savviest card users I know. He also happens to have studied philosophy in graduate school at the University of Chicago and taught applied ethics at Gonzaga University.

He’s not cutting up his cards just yet. “The marginal effect of my individual use of plastic simply won’t impact the larger outcome,” he said. “The assumption that we ought to act in a way that we wish all of us would act ignores the fact that there is no mechanism by which we can ensure that we will all act that way. And we won’t.”

The only practical solution would be for Congress to mandate lower transaction fees. I fail to see how this either should or could be Apple’s problem to solve.

Yahoo Finance: ‘Apple Pay Sides With Credit Card Industry Over Consumer Interests’ [Daring Fireball]

Aaron Pressman, writing for Yahoo Finance:

Apple has regularly delighted its customers with cool products on its way to becoming the most valuable company in the United States. But it hasn’t always stood up for its customers’ best economic interests.

Take the case of Apple Pay. Apple partnered with the three major credit card networks, Visa, Mastercard and American Express and the big bank card issuers such as JP Morgan Chase. That is likely a smart move from a business perspective, because so many Apple customers are frequent credit card users and prior mobile payment services have had trouble gaining much traction.

But the partnership decision also meant Apple was taking sides in a long running war between the credit card industry on one side and retailers and consumer advocates on the other.

Retailers typically pay 2% or more on every credit card purchase, costs that cut into their margins and raise prices for all shoppers.

First, the headline. I think it’s clear that Apple Pay is siding with the credit companies and banks — but they’re not pitted against consumers, they’re pitted against retailers. It’s retailers who want to reduce the use of credit cards (and the resulting fees). Not consumers. Any consumer who doesn’t want to use a credit card can simply not use a credit card. (They can still use Apple Pay with debit cards.) Apple Pay is only allowing us to more easily and securely use the credit/debit cards we already have. For consumers, nothing is worse post-Apple Pay (transaction fees are not higher — the banks pay Apple’s 0.15 percent cut), and much is better (security, privacy, and convenience).

I understand the argument that the 2-3 percent processing fees that retailers pay for credit cards are ultimately passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, but for consumers that can be offset by cash back and reward programs from their card providers.

I don’t understand how this article amounts to anything more than “Apple should have used magic” hand-waving. What could Apple have done differently that would have actually worked, without involving credit card processors? Remember, Apple Pay doesn’t require retailers to install Apple Pay-specific POS terminal hardware. It famously works with the standard NFC hardware that’s been out for years. Building atop the existing credit card infrastructure is fundamental to people’s willingness to try Apple Pay and to retailers’ ability to accept it. Pressman is implicitly arguing that Apple should have somehow reinvented the entire retail electronic payments industry, without the help of the banks or credit card companies, and presumably with the cooperation of retailers. But we see with CurrentC/MCX the sort of things the retailers would have demanded of Apple in such a hypothetical systems.

Update: Another point. Who is to say that Apple Pay won’t add additional non-credit-card payment options going forward? This is just the start. But the start needs to be something that gets the whole thing off the ground.

Learn inflationary cosmology from the guy who invented it [Ars Technica]

Inflation—in the cosmic sense, at least—has been in the news lately. Early this year, researchers announced that they found conclusive evidence that our Universe experienced a period of rapid expansion fractions of a second after the Big Bang, an event that left its mark on the present-day Universe. Unfortunately, that result hasn't held up well under more intense scrutiny.

But it's worth understanding what all the fuss is about. Inflation is the only way we have of explaining how the Big Bang could possibly produce the Universe that we find ourselves in today. And the theory has consequences, including the implication that our Universe is not alone; other universes would pop into existence as inflation sped faster than the boundaries of our Universe expanded.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, then you'll have a great opportunity tomorrow afternoon. Alan Guth, the theoretical physicist who was instrumental in developing inflationary theory, is doing a live session in which he'll explain inflation and field questions about it.

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Nintendo wants to watch you sleep… for science! [Ars Technica]


Nintendo's latest internal financial report came with a Tuesday presentation from company president Satoru Iwata, who took the opportunity to announce a new type of product being developed by the game maker: a touchless sleep sensor. (Wait, really?)

Though neither a design nor product name was announced, Iwata repeatedly described a forthcoming "Quality of Life Sensor" meant to sit next to a user's bed during sleep. Overnight, the product will visually record "movements of your body, breathing, and heartbeat," then upload resulting data to Nintendo's cloud servers so that a corresponding app can analyze your sleep and offer suggestions for better rest in the future.

"Fatigue and sleep are themes that are rather hard to visualize in more objective ways," Iwata said. "At Nintendo, we believe that if we could visualize them, there would be great potential for many people regardless of age, gender, language, or culture."

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IRS determined to get EA founder Hawkins to pay millions in back taxes [Ars Technica]

The Internal Revenue Service asked a federal appeals court Thursday to reconsider its September ruling that allowed Electronic Arts founder William "Trip" Hawkins to avoid paying $26 million in California and federal taxes.

The IRS said that Hawkins is not qualified to enjoy the tax relief benefits from his 2006 bankruptcy. The taxing agency claims that Hawkins maintained a wealthy lifestyle ahead of his bankruptcy filing instead of satisfying his tax debt. But the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals didn't agree, and a three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based court ruled 2-1.

"A mere showing of spending in excess of income is not sufficient to establish the required intent to evade tax; the government must establish that the debtor took the actions with the specific intent of evading taxes," the court said. "Indeed, if simply living beyond one’s means, or paying bills to other creditors prior to bankruptcy, were sufficient to establish a willful attempt to evade taxes, there would be few personal bankruptcies in which taxes would be dischargeable. Such a rule could create a large ripple effect throughout the bankruptcy system. As to discharge of debts, bankruptcy law must apply equally to the rich and poor alike, fulfilling the Constitution’s requirement that Congress establish 'uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.'"

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Researchers evolve a molecule that flips the orientation of life [Ars Technica]

A different RNA-based enzyme, showing how complex even short molecules can be.

Even the simplest forms of life, like bacteria, have a handedness, one that's built into the chemicals they're composed of. The complex, three-dimensional molecules that are essential to life can have the same exact set of atoms, yet be physically distinct—one the mirror image of the other. All the amino acids that life uses have a single orientation; same with all the sugars.

While life is very good at operating with this handedness, called chirality, nature isn't. Most chemical reactions produce a mixture of left and right forms of molecules. This seemingly creates a problem for the origin of life—if both chiral forms were available, how did life pick just one? The problem is even more severe than that. If both forms are present, then the reactions that duplicate DNA and RNA molecules don't work. And without those reactions, life won't work.

Now, researchers have found this doesn't pose much of a barrier at all. Through a little test-tube based evolution, they were able to make an RNA molecule that could copy other RNA molecules with the opposite chirality. In other words, they made a right hand that could only copy the left. But the duplicate, the left-handed form, could then readily copy the right-handed version. And as an added bonus, the new RNA molecule may be one of the most useful copying enzymes yet evolved.

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UNITE live: How virtual reality is changing medicine, space exploration [Ars Technica]

The next wave of virtual reality may be largely driven by the gaming industry, but the technology's impact is being explored and felt by many other fields as well. Join us at 1pm Eastern for a discussion of how the cheap availability of quality VR headsets is already changing the worlds of psychology and space exploration.

With us today are:

  • Dr. Marat V. Zanov, director of training at Virtually Better Inc., which has used VR in the treatment of phobias and trauma for decades
  • Dr. Albert "Skip" Rizzo, USC Institute for Creative Technology, who has been researching therapeutic uses for VR since the early '90s
  • Victor Luo and Jeff Norris, engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who are using VR to improve Martian mapping techniques and robotic remote controls

Please join us using the link below and participate by leaving comments and questions for our panelists either before or during the event.

Read on Ars Technica | Comments

Verizon Wireless to pay back customers allegedly billed for free calls [Ars Technica]

Verizon Wireless has agreed to a $64.2 million settlement in a class action lawsuit that alleged it billed phone customers for calls that were supposed to be free.

The proposed settlement (PDF) was filed last week in US District Court in New Jersey and first reported by Law360.

"The motion asks US District Judge Jose L. Linares to sign off on the agreement, which would include a $36.7 million cash payment from Verizon in addition to $27.5 million in 'calling units' that will be accessible via personal identification number," Law360 wrote. The lawyers who represented consumers will get $19.26 million from the total settlement amount.

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Zuckerberg sees “50 to 100 million” Oculus units sold in next decade [Ars Technica]

As a rule, you don't spend $2 billion on a company like Oculus without expecting the technology to eventually reach some kind of world-changing scale. In an earnings call earlier this week, though, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it could take a little bit of time before virtual reality becomes a market force that could represent the kind of "new major computing platform" that only comes around once every ten or 15 years.

"[Oculus] needs to reach a very large scale, 50 million to 100 million units, before it'll really be a very meaningful thing as a computing platform," Zuckerberg said during the call to investors and analysts. "So I do think it's going to take a bunch of years to get there. ... That'll take a few cycles of the device to get there, and that's kind of what I'm talking about. And then when you get to that scale, that's when it starts to be interesting as a business in terms of developing out the ecosystem."

Even with 100,000 development kits already distributed worldwide, Zuckerberg sees the first few consumer iterations of the Rift, expected in the next few years, to merely be the tip of the spear for VR as a platform, so to speak. "So when I'm talking about that as a 10-year thing, it's building the first set of devices and building the audience and the ecosystem around that until it eventually becomes a business."

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Anita Sarkeesian goes on Colbert. You’ll totally believe what happens next [Ars Technica]

If anyone was still unaware of GamerGate by this point, Stephen Colbert provided a one-night crash course through an editorial segment (below) and an interview with critic Anita Sarkeesian (above).

"You and the other feminazis in the gamer world are coming for our balls, to snip 'em off, put 'em in a little felt purse, and take them away so we have to play your non-violent games, right?"

"Not quite. There is something going on," Sarkeesian replied. "What it is, is women are being harassed, threatened, and terrorized..."

"After you first attacked male gamers for enjoying looking at big breasted women with tiny armor that barely covers their nipples?" Colbert interjected. "What's wrong with that? I'm a man, baby. Newsflash: I like that."

In typical Colbert fashion, the host boiled down a hot media controversy to its core and found spots of seeming lunacy. Sarkeesian retold the story of her lecture at Utah State University being canceled after an anonymous e-mail threatened the biggest school shooting to date. She dismissed the "threat" of women gamers, saying it may be a result of the gaming industry's resistance to becoming more inclusive. Colbert's response to all of that? "Why not just have a separate game? Have separate but equal games?"

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Scare your neighbors with a spooky Halloween network name [Ars Technica]


Earlier today, Ars IT editor Sean Gallagher was doing some scary things with wireless when he discovered someone probing for a Wi-Fi network with a name that appeared to be something un-parseable. I theorized that it was actually something in Unicode that Wireshark wasn't parsing properly. "So someone has a Unicode SSID?" Gallagher asked, incredulous.

I was inspired. I wanted a Unicode SSID—one that could match the season and give my network name a seasonal gothic flare. So I set out to see if I could do it with my own Wi-Fi network. While I was successful, the effect may be lost on Windows users and others on devices that can't handle Unicode characters in their wireless network name. And as Gallagher determined, it doesn't work on all Wi-Fi networking hardware.

OS X ♥ Unicode

The tools

Unicode has some fun characters that can be used to generate a spooky SSID, but it can be difficult to type these characters using a traditional keyboard. After some digging around, I found the excellent Unicode Text Converter. This page allows you to enter a simple string and get back a variety of clever representations.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook writes: “I’m proud to be gay” [Ars Technica]

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking during a September 2012 media event.
Nathan Mattise / Ars Technica

After years of speculation and debate about the seemingly open secret of Apple CEO Tim Cook's sexuality, Cook himself finally addressed the matter in an editorial in Bloomberg Businessweek Thursday. "I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today," Cook wrote.

"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

Cook has long been a focal point in discussions about powerful gay CEOs. He's also been in the middle of a meta-discussion about titans of industry and their right to privacy versus the powerful position Cook is in as a member of the LGBT community. For a long time, Cook wrote, many Apple colleagues knew he was gay, but he refrained from publicly defining himself as such.

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Copyright Office to consider 6th round of exemptions for dodging DRM [Ars Technica]

Since 1998, breaking most types of digital locks, often called Digital Rights Management (DRM), is against the law. Even well-lawyered companies that tried to plead fair use, as RealPlayer did in 2008, have been crushed. What chance does a regular Joe have?

But if you have a legal use for copyrighted content, there is an "out." Every three years, the Copyright Office accepts petitions on what activities should get an "exemption" under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The sixth tri-annual rulemaking is now upon us, and the deadline is this Monday, November 3.

"It's not a heavy life to file a petition," said Sherwin Siy, VP of legal affairs at Public Knowledge, an advocacy group that's long been active on copyright issues. "Five pages, max, short and sweet."

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Beyond gaming, the VR boom is everywhere—from classrooms to therapy couches [Ars Technica]

Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock

Welcome to Ars UNITE, our week-long virtual conference on the ways that innovation brings unusual pairings together. Today, a look at how virtual reality excitement is happening beyond the world of gaming. Join us this afternoon for a live discussion on the topic with article author Kyle Orland and his expert guests; your comments and questions are welcome.

When Oculus almost single-handedly revived the idea of virtual reality from its ‘90s vaporware grave, it chose the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo as the place to unveil the first public prototype of the Rift headset. The choice of a gaming convention isn’t that surprising, as the game industry has been the quickest and most eager to jump on potential applications for VR. Gaming has already demanded the majority of the attention and investments in the second VR boom that Oculus has unleashed.

But just as the Rift itself is the result of what Oculus calls a “peace dividend from the smartphone wars,” other fields are benefiting from virtual reality’s gaming-driven growth. Creators all over the world are looking beyond entertainment to adapting head-mounted displays for everything from psychotherapy, special-needs education, and space exploration to virtual luxury car test drives, virtual travel, and even VR movies. The well-worn idea of “gaming on the holodeck” may be driving much of the interest in virtual reality, but the technology’s non-gaming applications could be just as exciting in the long term.

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Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health: The $199 all-platform fitness band [Ars Technica]


After being leaked just a few hours ago, it's now official: Microsoft's first entry into the wearable space is Microsoft Band, a fitness band.

The gadget isn't a smartwatch and isn't intended to replace your watch. It's a Bluetooth fitness band packed full of sensors: optical heart rate sensing, 3-axis accelerometers with a gyroscope to track movement, GPS to track your runs even if you leave your phone at home, skin temperature, galvanic skin response presumably to measure sweating, ambient light and UV light, and a microphone so it can be used with Cortana on Windows Phone.


The 1.4-inch touch screen with its 320×106 resolution can deliver alerts, and there's a vibration motor too. Twin 100mAh batteries give it 48 hours of what Microsoft calls "normal use" though GPS can shorten this. The charge time is 1.5 hours, using a magnetically attached USB charger. There are three different sizes, so it should fit on most wrists.

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Microsoft’s $199 fitness band, the Microsoft Band, leaked by app stores [Ars Technica]

Rumors that Microsoft was coming up with its own cross-platform fitness band appear to have been validated with the perhaps accidental disclosure of apps for OS X, Windows Phone, Android, and iOS designed to support the gadget. Windows Central was first to spot the early publication.

The device will be called "Microsoft Band." Thanks to the app in the Mac App Store, we have a good idea of what it will look like: a black wristband with a screen. Functionally, it looks like it's going to be a pretty standard fitness band: it'll count footsteps (and use this information to attempt to count calories burned) and appears to monitor heart rates day and night to tell you how well you're sleeping.

As we should expect, there will also be a cloud service for accumulating and analyzing the data the band collects.

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Lenovo adds a 13-inch Windows tablet to the Yoga mix [Ars Technica]

Not content with launching five Yoga-branded tablets earlier this month, Lenovo has added a sixth device to its range.

The new device almost rounds out the range announced before. The new lineup has 8-inch and 10-inch tablets in both Android and Windows variants, and a 13-inch Android tablet, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, that also includes an integrated projector that can cast a 50-inch picture.

Today, the company has announced a 13-inch Windows tablet, the Yoga Tablet 2 Windows. This is almost a counterpart to the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, matching its 13.3 inch 2560×1440 screen, quad core Intel Atom Z3745 processor at up to 1.86GHz, 802.11a/b/g/n dual-band Wi-Fi, 15-hour battery life, and a 2.27lb weight. But it's not quite identical. The Windows tablet doesn't have the integrated projector. It does, however, double the RAM to 4GB and double the storage to 64GB.

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Latest Android encrypted by default, adds “smart” device locking [Ars Technica]

The latest version of the Android operating system, Lollipop, adds encryption by default, along with a variety of easy-to-use ways to lock and unlock the phone and a more secure foundation to help protect devices against current threats.

In a blog post published on Tuesday, Google described the features, which will begin shipping with the Lollipop operating system in new Android devices in the coming weeks. While some of the capabilities, such as encryption, are already included in the current Android OS, the new version will turn them on by default.

Many of the security features were born of Android’s open-source foundations and the fact that other researchers and companies can create and test new security features for the operating system, Adrian Ludwig, lead security engineer for Android at Google, said during a briefing on the security features.

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Worsen a laser to improve it [Ars Technica]

Early in my training, I learned one rule: loss is not your friend. In laser physics, loss means that every photon that goes missing is a photon that no longer stimulates emission. And, with every lost photon, it becomes just that little bit harder to keep a laser going. So, when Science published a paper showing that this rule doesn't always hold, I was intrigued.

Also it gives me the chance to talk about lasers, which I never tire of.

Gain, loss, and lasers

Before we get to the experiment, let's talk about lasers in general. Lasers emit light through a process called stimulated emission. Stimulated emission only dominates under two conditions: there have to be more emitters ready to emit light instead of to absorb light. This is referred to as population inversion and provides the gain (or the source of light amplification). The other requirement is that there is light present to stimulate emission. To put it slightly incorrectly, the amplifier needs something to amplify.

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Class-action suit alleges 2011 Apple MacBook Pros were defective [Ars Technica]

Some 2011 MacBook Pros with AMD GPUs are experiencing graphical corruption issues.

Last week three men filed a class action lawsuit in Northern California District Court alleging that Apple's 2011 MacBook Pro laptops were defective and that Apple did not take proper steps to compensate customers whose hardware broke.

The lawsuit specifically addresses 15” and 17” MacBook Pros from 2011, which the plaintiffs claim suffered from “random bouts of graphical distortion, system instability, and system failures.” The plaintiffs also assert that the problem is widespread, with an online survey conducted by the plaintiffs receiving over 3,000 responses from 2011 MacBook Pro owners in a single week.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs blame the solder used to connect the dedicated GPU in the laptops to the main circuit board, saying that the solder was lead-free to comply with EU regulations, and made its way into US products so Apple could save on manufacturing costs.

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Of course blocking instant messaging at work makes sense [Ars Technica]

After listening to our resident alien life form and cable industry sleuth Jon Brodkin lament yesterday evening that he hadn’t been invited to join Verizon’s funded cadre of tech writers over at SugarString, I popped over to the site and flipped through the articles, wondering what Brodkin was missing out on. SugarString's layout isn’t afflicted with what StackExchange developer Jeff Atwood once referred to as "Pinterest Cancer," so I scrolled through and clicked on a few things to get a feel for what kind of reporting—or possibly "reporting"—the Verizon-controlled site was producing.

This story caught my eye:

In the piece, author Meredith Haggerty reached out to three different professionals and gauged their reaction to the idea of being made to work in an office where the employer disallows the use of Google Chat (informally, "GChat"). Haggerty’s first interview subject drew a line in the sand, responding strongly in the negative when asked whether or not he would work in such an office:

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Self-driving cars are starting to evolve [Ars Technica]

Today was the third day of Ars UNITE, our virtual conference, and the topic of the day was the advent of the self-driving car.

Our self-driving car feature this morning looked at the technological solutions that will soon allow our cars to drive themselves under certain circumstances, assuming the regulations and other policy issues are in place. That piece has seen a lively discussion covering a number of different areas. Ars reader mexaly suggested that “[t]o succeed, robots need only drive better than average humans. That's not a high bar.”

Some were skeptical that self-driving cars would be safer. caldron writes, “I think it is a big leap to assume a self-drive is better than a human at driving. Sure in certain conditions and in terms of reaction time, but no computers have been able to reach our level of decision making and ability to react in abstract and unpredictable situations, and there is none in the foreseeable future. We make constant micro-decisions all the time. When there is a grey-area situation that requires deduction I am not so sure a computer will be able to react properly.”

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It came from the server room: Halloween tales of tech terror [Ars Technica]

It's never a good day when the Halon discharges in the server room.

It all began when the monitors started bursting into flames. Well, at least that’s when I knew I had walked into a tech support horror story.

Back in the day when the cathode-ray tube was still the display of choice and SVGA really was super, I was working as a network engineer and tech support manager for a government contractor at a large military research lab. I spent two years on the job, and I learned in the process that Murphy was an optimist. The experience would provide me with enough tech horror stories and tales of narrow escape through the most kludged of hardware and software hacks ever conceived to last a lifetime—and to know that I would much rather be a writer than work in tech support ever again.

Of course, all of us have tech horror stories to tell, especially those of us who were “early adopters” before the term was de rigueur. So we’re looking for you, our readers, to share yours. The most bone-chilling and entertaining of which we’ll publish tomorrow in honor of Halloween—that day each year when some people change their Twitter handles to pseudo-spooky puns, and others just buy bags of candy to have ready for the traditional wave of costumed home invaders.

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reddit launches its own crowdfunding platform [Ars Technica]

reddit has launched its own crowdfunding platform dubbed "redditmade" as of Wednesday, according to a post on the site. redditmade focuses on campaigns for T-shirts and knick-knacks associated with subreddit communities, but the boundaries expand as far as "the best designs and products by the community."

redditmade joins platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but with a more specific focus on redditors and items they want to see made. Sample projects on the redditmade front page currently include a "Not A Cocktail" book associated with r/cocktails, a t-shirt for r/redditblack, and bumper stickers for the r/camping subreddit.

While anyone can open any project for funding, the redditmade FAQ clarifies that "Official subreddit campaigns are distinguished on redditmade as featured campaigns, and they can also receive complimentary ads on reddit for the subreddit they are associated with." The ads are auto-generated but are not shown if the ad space has already been sold, reddit says.

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MPAA, movie theaters announce “zero tolerance” policy against wearables [Ars Technica]

A movie theater industry group and the Motion Picture Association of America updated their anti-piracy policies and said that "wearable devices" must be powered off at show time.

"Individuals who fail or refuse to put the recording devices away may be asked to leave. If theater managers have indications that illegal recording activity is taking place, they will alert law enforcement authorities when appropriate, who will determine what further action should be taken," said a joint statement from the MPAA and the National Association of Theatre Owners, which maintains 32,000 screens across the United States.

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Spooky Halloween Dealmaster has scarily low-priced laptops! [Ars Technica]

A very SCARY Wednesday to you, fellow Arsians! On this fine fall day, our partners at TechBargains have lined up a truly BOO-TIFUL selection of FRIGHTENING deals, sure to make your HAIR STAND ON END! (Cue maniacal laughter here!)

Yeah, OK, jumping the gun on Halloween a bit, but we watched the Tales from the Crypt intro on YouTube a few minutes ago and are feeling the vibe. OR SHOULD WE SAY... THE... knife... vibe? No, that doesn't work. TERRIFYING GHOST SOUNDS! OOOooooOOOO!

Below are our most HAUNTING bargains, featuring a Dell Inspiron with a Haswell i5 for just $549—a price guaranteed to make anyone SCREAM! But in delight, not terror, because it's a pretty good deal.

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Fire @ the Library [Annoyed Librarian]

There’s so little drama in libraries, and that’s just how it should be. Libraries should be low key places for people to visit and enjoy. But in Tacoma they had some major drama: fire in the library. And what’s more, arson in the library. In the Tacoma Public Library, a regular patron who seems to [...]

LIVE AT FIVE: 10.30.14 [The Other McCain]

– compiled by Wombat-socho TOP NEWS Maine Seeking Legal Authority To Keep Hickox Quarantined Jacobson v. Massachusetts. Your “civil rights” argument is invalid. WHO head slams US, Australian Ebola travel curbs Ebola slowing in Liberia? Obama on Ebola fight: US can’t seal itself off Russian Space Agency Resupplies International Space Station Cargo vessel from Kazakhstan […]

Did Pervert @LenaDunham Make Her Younger Sister Grace a Lesbian? [The Other McCain]

Kevin Williamson (@KevinNR) is a masterful journalist who knows a thing or two about effective storytelling. Sometimes, as a writer, you don’t want to be the one to connect the dots. Just say, “Oh, look, here’s a dot and there is another dot,” and let your readers form their own conclusions. And so, having undertaken […]

The Problem of ‘Equality’ [The Other McCain]

Thanks to the reader who tipped me to this wonderful essay on “feminism as male role envy” by Roger Devlin: Much confusion exists regarding the feminist attack upon women’s status, because the feminist movement has always presented itself to outsiders — usually with success — as an effort to improve that status. Feminists, as we […]

The Spookiest Little Publisher in the World [The Travelin' Librarian]

Cemetery_Dance_logoI must say that I am proud to have two forthcoming books that will be published by Cemetery Dance.

Like most genre fiction, horror is sometimes art, often craft, and too often (thank you, Internet) crap. Since its early days, Cemetery Dance has had pick of the litter: it receives more than 5,000 stories every time it opens submissions. Recently, founder Richard Chizmar posted a call for Halloween-themed entries on his personal Facebook page: in two weeks he had 150. The publisher spurns trends (Splatterpunk, swoony vampires) in favor of atmosphere, storytelling, and freshness. “We don’t buy a lot of zombie stories,” says Managing Editor Brian Freeman. “It’s rare to find something where by page two you’re not like, ‘OK, they’re going to end up at the Walmart.’”

Chizmar and Freeman are also admirably democratic: selecting first-rate submissions from no-names over second-rate submissions from names. The result is more and more-varied voices than mainstream publishers typically corral. “Every issue of Cemetery Dance has the kind of wild-eyed, freewheeling quality that Hunter Thompson used to call ‘gonzo,’” says Peter Straub, bestselling author of 17 novels, including the seminal “Ghost Story.” The editors “have always been open to the whole range of the genre they love and, even more importantly, appreciate.

“Chizmar and his crew are willing to gamble, and they are right more often than not,” says Straub. “In any case, whatever they choose to publish is worth reading.”

Read the full article @ Inc.

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Throwback Thuesday: Application of a telereference system to divisional library card catalogs [The Travelin' Librarian]

Application of a telereference system to divisional library card catalogs

This is an artist’s conception of a proposal to make the card catalog viewable from divisional libraries elsewhere on campus through a closed-circuit TV system. Here are some quotes from “Application of a telereference system to divisional library card catalogs : a feasibility analysis : final report” explaining it.


On October 2, 1957, a proposal was submitted to the Council on Library Resources by a manufacturer of closed-circuit television equipment for design and construction of a prototype, remotely controlled, catalog card viewing system. The proposed “Telereference”* system would permit a researcher to view catalog cards in a central catalog from a remote location by the use of closed-circuit television and a remotely controlled card manipulator.

This idea had considerable appeal to the University of Michigan as a possible means of extending the service of the central catalog to divisional and branch library users, perhaps eliminating the cost of maintaining duplicate card catalogs in library units located outside the General Library Building.

Dr. Frederick H. Wagman, Director of the University Library of the University of Michigan, offered the cooperation of the library staff should the Council on Library Resources desire to study this library system as a test case in determining the feasibility of the proposed equipment.


The Operations Research Department of the University of Michigan Engineering Research Institute was consulted concerning such an analysis. A proposal submitted by this department on December 9, 1957, to the Council on Library Resources resulted in the present study project which commenced on February 1, 1958.

The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of the Telereference equipment based on a determination of the amount of equipment needed and any cost savings which might result from installing this equipment in the University Library system at the University of Michigan to replace the card catalogs in divisional libraries. The study was not

intended to discover the extent to which scholarship and library use might be facilitated by the availability in each divisional library of the complete catalog in addition to existing divisional library catalogs.


The use of Telereference equipment to replace divisional library card catalogs in the University Library system at the University of Michigan cannot be justified solely on the basis of savings in direct costs as a result of eliminating divisional library card catalogs. The direct, cost savings would cover only approximately 50% of the cost of maintaining the necessary Telereference equipment, not considering the original equipment investment required.

Source: David Fulmer, Flickr



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Univeristy of Iowa Libraries to digitize 10,000 Science Fiction fanzines [The Travelin' Librarian]

Havelin CollectionThe University of Iowa Libraries has announced a major digitization initiative, in partnership with the UI Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. 10,000 science fiction fanzines will be digitized from the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Collection, representing the entire history of science fiction as a popular genre and providing the content for a database that documents the development of science fiction fandom…

The fanzine portion of the Hevelin Collection, numbering approximately 10,000 fanzines, will be digitized in its entirety.

“Nothing on this scale has been attempted with fanzines before, and we are thrilled to be able to finally address the concern we have been hearing for years from fans and scholars, to find a way to enable them to discover exactly what these pieces contain,” says Greg Prickman, head of special collections.

Once digitized, the fanzines will be incorporated into the UI Libraries’ DIY History interface, where a select number of interested fans (up to 30) will be provided with secure access to transcribe, annotate, and index the contents of the fanzines. This group will be modeled on an Amateur Press Association (APA) structure, a fanzine distribution system developed in the early days of the medium that required contributions of content from members in order to qualify for, and maintain, membership in the organization. The transcription will enable the UI Libraries to construct a full-text searchable fanzine resource, with links to authors, editors, and topics, while protecting privacy and copyright by limiting access to the full set of page images.

To learn more about the project and to follow its progress, visit here.

Read the full article @ now.uiowa.edu.

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Cult Sci-Fi Movies by Danny Peary for free [The Travelin' Librarian]

The eBook edition is free right now so get it while you can.

Cult Sci-Fi Movies

The post Cult Sci-Fi Movies by Danny Peary for free appeared first on The Travelin' Librarian.

That’ll do, Fed. That’ll do [AEI » Pethokoukis]

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Federal Reserve said it would end its long-running bond-purchase program, concluding a historic experiment that stirred disagreement among policy makers, economists and investors about its impact.

Now the WSJ headline put it is this way, “Fed Closes Chapter on Easy Money.” But easy money, from one perspective, is still here with interest rates so low. And to some economists, it’s the stock  – the size of the Fed balance, currently at some $4.5 trillion — rather than flow from more bond buying that matters.

Then again, the slow pace of nominal GDP growth and the gap between actual NGDP and the path of potential NGDP suggests the Fed’s easy money policy really never was so easy. The point of quantitative easing was to boost growth through higher assets prices and through expectations – that expectations of higher future NGDP tend to boost current spending. QE might have been more effective if paired with an explicit NGDP level target. But it still left the US economy in better shape than the eurozone’s — victimized by the tight-money ECB. There’s your counterfactual. The US is growing and adding jobs, while the EZ may be slipping into a triple-dip recession and a return to prosperity is nowhere in sight. QE will surely remain part of the central bank’s toolkit.

One can also argue that a helicopter drop would have been more effective than bond buying, getting money directly into the hands of consumers rather than through a “wealth effect” that also increased inequality.  But again, I give you the eurozone.

Now it’s time for Washington to get busy with the tax and regulatory reform necessary to raise the economy’s potential growth rate, which may be just half of what it was in 2000.

But as for the Bernanke-Yellen Fed:

The post That’ll do, Fed. That’ll do appeared first on AEI.

Why today’s surprisingly strong GDP report was actually ‘lipstick on a pig’ [AEI » Pethokoukis]

The US economy did better in the third quarter than what economists expected, growing at 3.5% annual pace (inflation adjusted) vs. the 3.0% consensus forecast. Combined with the second quarter’s 4.6% gain, we’ve now seen the strongest back-to-back readings since the last six months of 2003, according to Bloomberg. But, as always, you have to dig into the numbers. And economist Robert Brusca wasn’t so pleased with what he found:

I have termed the advance GDP report for the third quarter as lipstick on a pig. This expression implies that you can put lipstick on a pig, but it doesn’t make it look any better. It’s still a pig. And so is this Q3 report despite its pretty headline.  … The real issue here is that GDP growth has decelerated, not just overall, but in each of the private sector components: Each One; exceptions ZERO.

Private sector growth, clearly, is slowing – it’s slowing everywhere. But growth in the quarter is pumped up because government spending accelerated to a 4.6% annual rate from 1.7% in the second quarter, and because of the sharp decline and contraction of imports. The contraction of imports speaks usually to reduced domestic demand and we see that up and down the line across the domestic private sector components that  is what is happening. As a result, we have to conclude that the sector by sector analysis of GDP suggests that the report is worse rather than better and that it has been dressed up by the lipstick applied by surging government spending on military operations (the highest in five years) and by dropping imports, which is itself a double-edged sword to balance expectations of growth upon.

And here is JPMorgan:

The upside surprise was mostly located in defense spending, inventories and, to a lesser extent, net foreign trade. All three of these categories tend to be associated with payback the following quarter. As a result we are lowering our early estimate for Q4 GDP growth from 3.0% to 2.5%. … Consumer spending is still plodding along in a steady, but unspectacular, manner.

Indeed, 0.83 percentage point of the GDP gain came from government. A better measure of the fundamental economic health is private sector GDP, the part of the economy generating consumer-relevant value. In the third quarter, private GDP — consumer spending plus business investment — contributed 1.39 percentage points to GDP. By comparison, private GDP grew by 4% a year during the Reagan and Clinton expansions. Another data point, perhaps, that suggests the economy’s growth potential has declined sharply in recent years,  especially given the Fed’s increasingly upbeat economic outlook. After all, if the economy is growing slowly but this is about as fast as it can grow, then the Fed’s job is pretty much done.

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

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"Nurse Kaci Hickox left her Maine home Thursday morning for a bicycle ride with her boyfriend as police could only watch." [Althouse]

"'It's a beautiful day for a bike ride,' the defiant nurse cheered to assembled reporters as she and Theodore Wilbur wheeled off."

"You could hug me. You could shake my hand. I would not give you Ebola... I’m not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it’s not science-based... I’m fighting for something much more than myself. There are so many aid workers coming back and it scares me to think of how they are going to be treated, how they are going to feel."

"Rather than try to train their provosts and professors to act like prosecutors," colleges are outsourcing their investigation of sexual assault to former prosecutors. [Althouse]

NPR reports:

"The phone starts ringing, you know, the first day after Labor Day, and I sort of joke that I'm like legal 911," Perkins says. The schools are "stressed like you cannot believe," [said Djuna Perkins is a former prosecutor who is now an investigator-for-hire]. They would rather have someone else handle the investigations, she adds, "because they, at a certain point, might feel a little bit out of their element."...
Perkins interrogates the students:
That means asking questions like, "Well, when you did this particular thing was she making pleasurable moans? Was she lifting her pelvis to get clothes off? That all sort of goes into the mix," Perkins explains...

Perkins has had several cases that involved S&M that was at least initially consensual; she says it takes a lot of experience and training to remain consistently fair and nonjudgmental.

"'Cause my real reaction when students are talking about stuff like that — I'm like, 'oh my God, these kids, what are they doing?' " Perkins says with a laugh.
Click for more »

Wisconsin State Journal runs the Trek-fired-Burke story. [Althouse]

The article "Former Trek executive says Mary Burke was forced out in mid-1990s" went up about a half hour ago. Yesterday, we saw this story on a clearly conservative website, and I think it's significant that it has now passed through the journalistic filters of this mainstream newspaper. (For reference: the Wisconsin State Journal endorsed Obama in 2008 and Romney in 2012. It endorsed Walker in 2010.)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke was forced out of her job at her family’s company, Trek Bicycle, in 1993, a top-ranking company executive at the time said Wednesday. However, Trek CEO John Burke rejected that assertion, saying his sister left on her own and that allegations she was fired are “a highly orchestrated move by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign.”
What's the evidence of orchestration by the Walker campaign? It's strange to lob an allegation like that as you're trying to cast doubt on another allegation. I haven't seen anything tying the Trek-fired-Burke story to Walker, and considering the years of harassment Walker has received from the John Doe investigation, it's hard to understand why he'd risk engaging in some "highly orchestrated move."

Anyway, the story that appeared in the Wisconsin Reporter was based on allegations from Gary Ellerman, who is the Jefferson County Republican Party chairman and who himself seems to have been fired from Trek. The Wisconsin Reporter has received a $190,000 grant from the Bradley Foundation and the foundations president is Walker’s campaign chairman.

But the Wisconsin State Journal story is based on the statements of Thomas Albers, who worked at Trek from 1982 to 1997 and was chief operating officer and president in the last 4 years of that stint. Albers was responding to questions asked by reporters who were apparently checking out the truth of what Ellerman had said:
“We were losing a significant amount of money,” Albers said. “A lot of the people that reported to her in Europe were threatening to leave because of her management style. She wanted things done her way and people said that she wasn’t listening to them, that she didn’t value their input.”...

Albers, who oversaw finances and manufacturing, said Richard Burke sent him to Europe to evaluate Mary Burke’s performance after John Burke had determined that a change was needed. Albers said he later organized a meeting in Waterloo at which Burke had to explain the company’s poor performance to about 35 executives....
John Burke purports not to remember that meeting, though Albers says he was there. Do Mary and John Burke want to say that Albers is lying? Albers has contributed to Republican candidates, including a paltry $50 to Walker. He left Trek, we're told "on good terms in 1997 to become CEO of Specialized Bicycle Components," and he had something nice to say about Mary Burke: "I’ve always thought she was very bright. She has an outstanding education." But "I just don’t think she was ready for that job in Europe."

ADDED: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had the Trek-fired-Burke story up last night with the headline "Ex-Trek execs with conservative ties say Mary Burke was forced out." The Journal Sentinel ties the story to criticism of Mary Burke's 2-year service as commerce secretary in the Doyle administration. (Jim Doyle, a Democrat, was governor just before Walker.)

Why is the NYT exposing the Democratic Party's pandering to black people? [Althouse]

The top story at its website since last night begins:

In the final days before the election, Democrats in the closest Senate races across the South are turning to racially charged messages — invoking Trayvon Martin’s death, the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and Jim Crow-era segregation — to jolt African-Americans into voting and stop a Republican takeover in Washington....

In North Carolina, the “super PAC” started by Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, ran an ad on black radio that accused the Republican candidate, Thom Tillis, of leading an effort to pass the kind of gun law that “caused the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.”

In Georgia, Democrats are circulating a flier warning that voting is the only way “to prevent another Ferguson.” It shows two black children holding cardboard signs that say “Don’t shoot.”

The messages are coursing through the campaigns like a riptide, powerful and under the surface, largely avoiding television and out of view of white voters. That has led Republicans to accuse Democrats of turning to race-baiting in a desperate bid to win at the polls next Tuesday.
Why would the NYT push what seems to be a Republican talking point? Why would the NYT direct the entire country to look at ads that the Democratic Party supposedly only wants black people to see? It's possible that the NYT is simply following neutral journalistic principles, but I find it hard to believe that, on the eve of the election, the NYT isn't trying to help Democrats.

So the question becomes: How can this exposure of blatant race-baiting be thought to help the Democrats? I'll list all the ideas I can think of right now, and you can help me refine and add to the list and also opine on the soundness of the various listed points. There are 2 aspects to soundness: 1. Whether the proposition is true, and 2. Whether the editors at the NYT believe it.

1. The racial material in the ads is aimed at black voters, but other voters looking on are alerted to their otherwise more marginal concern about racial matters in America, and seeing these materials tips them toward voting Democratic, and therefore it's helpful to give wider exposure to these ads.

2. Race has not been a sufficiently important issue in this election, and nothing is happening right now to drive it forward. The NYT is looking at an array of possibly newsworthy stories with a racial angle, and this was the best one they could find. There's at least some potential to get some candidates talking about Trayvon Martin and Ferguson again.

3. Lure Republicans into talking about race, because you've got to get them talking about race to create the risk that they'll say something stupid about race. Those damned Republicans have been tight-lipped, and this might loosen them up.

4. It's a longer game. The NYT sees this election as a disaster for Democrats, so kick them while they're down, build some semblance of distance, and make that a foundation upon which to build a Democratic victory in 2016.

At the Larch Café... [Althouse]


... you can talk about whatever you want.

"Students Nationwide Carry Mattresses to Protest Campus Rape." [Althouse]

It's the "Carry That Weight" protest.

I presume the name "Carry That Weight" is meant to evoke the Beatles song by that title, which addresses not a female but "Boy." I never really understood why the boy in the song had to carry a weight "a long time" or even what the weight was:

I never give you my pillow
I only send you my invitations
And in the middle of the celebrations
I break down
I guess when you're a Beatle you get invitations that you pass along to boys you don't sleep with. But what are the celebrations in the middle of which you break down if you've given your invitation to somebody else?

Here's what Wikipedia says about the meaning of the song:
Music critic Ian MacDonald interpreted the lyric as an acknowledgment by the group that nothing they would do as individual artists would equal what they had achieved together, and they would always carry the weight of their Beatle past. McCartney said the song was about the Beatles' business difficulties and the atmosphere at Apple at the time. In the film Imagine: John Lennon, Lennon says that McCartney was "singing about all of us."
Ah, well, now the lyric about the struggles of some males who voluntarily joined together, achieved a happy congress, and then felt burdened by the requirements of groupdom has been appropriated by females who agonize over the involuntarily juncture with males and now feel burdened by the aftereffects of something that was never good.

Are Pondering What I’m Pondering? [hogewash]

I think so, Brain … of course, I’m confident. I have no idea what’s really going on.

The Maryland Margin of Theft [hogewash]

As some of the races tighten before next Tuesday’s election, a lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore over apparent voting by non-citizens in Frederick County, Maryland. Bryan Preston has more here.

Maryland state law makes it easier for non-citizens, both those present legally and those in the country against the law, to vote. Maryland issues drivers licenses to legal and illegal aliens. Driver’s licenses in turn make it easier under the Motor Voter law to register to vote. Maryland also offers copious taxpayer-funded social programs to non-citizens in the state.

Read the whole thing.

Team Kimberlin Bonus Post of the Day [hogewash]

Here are a couple of snippets from The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin’s LinkedIn Profile.BK _LinkedInBK_LinkedIn_EdThat item about a B.S. in law from the Robert H. Smith School of Business brings up some interesting points. From 1986 through 1990, Brett Kimberlin was serving time with the federal Bureau of Prisons. According to Citizen K, TDPK’s authorized biography, he earned a  B.S. in human services from Thomas Edison State College with a specialization in community legal services while he was in the slammer. The Robert H. Smith School of Business does not grant any undergraduate degrees in law. In fact, it doesn’t grant any law degrees at all. University of Maryland law degrees are granted by the School of Law. No B.S. is offered, only the J.D., LL. M., and M.S.L. degrees.

Ah, hah! This may explain TDPK’s clumsiness in dealing with all his vexatious lawsuits. He has a non-existent degree from an institution that doesn’t grant such a degree and that he  earned when he couldn’t have attended the school.


UPDATE—Brett Kimberlin’s skills in public policy, community development, community outreach, and strategic communications are vouched for on his LinkedIn profile by Neal Rauhauser.

Candidate Endorsements [hogewash]

Here are two more candidates that I’m supporting. I’m voting for Fred Hecker to keep his job as a Circuit Court judge and for Jim DeWees to be the new Carroll County Sheriff.

An Active Sunspot Group [hogewash]

This time lapse video shows the activity around sunspot group AR2912 earlier this month. The view is a composite of visible and UV images.

Video Credit: NASA

Sunspot Group AR2912

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

I think so, Brain … but can the Major General really tell, at sight, a mouser rifle from a javelin?

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day [hogewash]

Gentle Reader, do you ever wonder what the Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin does when he isn’t involved in vexatious lawsuit? He’s got himself a rock-and-roll band called Op-Critical. One of the sca … uh … promotions he’s attempted for the band was trying to get a performance by Op-Critical included in the soundtrack of the Twilight movie Eclipse.Op-Crit TweetsEar-plugsIt shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with Op-Critical’s body of work to learn that Twilight Angel isn’t on the album. You can listen to The Dread Performer Kimberlin singing Twilight Angel on YouTube, but I don’t recommend doing so. Normally, folks with TDPK’s level of talent are advised not to give up their day jobs, but I’m not sure which causes more harm in Kimberlin’s case.

Quote of the Day [hogewash]

It is characteristic of all deep human problems that they are not to be approached without some humor and some bewilderment.

—Freeman Dyson

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

I think so, Brain … if a tax increase is the answer, perhaps we should rephrase the question.

Sunrise from the International Space Station [hogewash]

ISS SunriseNASA astronaut Reid Wiseman posted this picture to Twitter.

Image Credit: NASA

Michigan markets in everything department of why not? [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Oakley, Mi. is barely a town at 300 people, only one streetlight and, until recently, one police officer. The one cop was good at his job, reports Vocativ’s M.L. Nestel, until he was forced to step down after getting caught stalking a teenage girl.

In 2008, new chief Robert Reznick made some changes: he hired 12 full-time officers and started an enormous volunteer officer program which allowed lawyers, doctors and football players (from other towns) to work toward upholding the law.

One qualifies for this prestigious program simply by paying $1,200 to the police department. In return, you’ll get a uniform, bullet-proof vest and gun. For an additional donation, you’ll get a police badge and the right to carry your gun basically anywhere in the state, including stadiums, bars and daycares.

There is more here, via Larry Rothfield.

Sentences to ponder [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Here is Jody Lanard and Peter M. Sandman on the risks of an Ebola pandemic in the developing world:

The two of us are far less worried about sparks landing in Chicago or London than in Mumbai or Karachi.

Do read the whole thing, via Andrea Castillo.

Everyone in development economics should read this paper [Marginal REVOLUTION]

It is by Eva Vivalt and is called “How Much Can We Generalize from Impact Evaluations?” (pdf).  The abstract is here:

Impact evaluations aim to predict the future, but they are rooted in particular contexts and results may not generalize across settings. I founded an organization to systematically collect and synthesize impact evaluations results on a wide variety of interventions in development. These data allow me to answer this and other questions across a wide variety of interventions. I examine whether results predict each other and whether variance in results can be explained by program characteristics, such as who is implementing them, where they are being implemented, the scale of the program, and what methods are used.  I find that when regressing an estimate on the hierarchical Bayesian meta-analysis result formed from all other studies on the same intervention-outcome combination, the result is significant with a coefficient  of 0.6-0.7, though the R-squared is very low.  The program implementer is the main source of heterogeneity in results, with government-implemented programs faring worse than and being poorly predicted by the smaller studies typically implemented by academic/NGO research teams, even controlling for sample size.  I then turn to examine specification searching and publication bias, issues which could affect generalizability and are also important for research credibility.  I demonstrate that these biases are quite small; nevertheless, to address them, I discuss a mathematical correction that could be applied before showing that randomized control trials (RCTs) are less prone to this type of bias and exploiting them as a robustness check.

Eva is on the job market from Berkeley this year, her home page is here.  Here is her paper “Peacekeepers Help, Governments Hinder” (pdf).  Here is her extended bio.

The East 25 Years After Communism [Marginal REVOLUTION]

That is the new Foreign Affairs piece by Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman, and they argue that matters have gone strikingly well and are relatively normal.  Here is one excerpt:

Newspapers overflowed with accounts of soaring mortality amid the stress of transition. On average, however, life expectancy rose from 69 years in 1990 to 73 years in 2012. The speed of improvement was two thirds faster than in the communist 1980s. Russia’s life expectancy today, at 70.5, is higher than it has ever been. Infant mortality, already low, fell faster in percentage terms than in any other world region.

Eastern Europe is infamous for unhealthy binge drinking. However, average alcohol consumption fell between 1990 and 2010 from 7.9 to 7.6 liters of pure alcohol a year per resident aged over 14. There were exceptions — drinking rose in Russia and the Baltic states but even in Russia recorded consumption in 2010, 11.1 liters, was lower than that in Germany, France, Ireland, or Austria. (Of course, more drinking might escape the statisticians in the Slavic region.) Smoking among adult males was high – 42 percent on average but about the same as in Asia. In short almost all statistics suggest a dramatic improvement in the quality of life.

In short, almost all statistics suggest a dramatic improvement in the quality of life since 1989 for citizens of the average postcommunist country — an improvement that rivals and often exceeds those in other parts of the world.

You will note that the published version in Foreign Affairs has slightly different wording and organization.

Good sentences [Marginal REVOLUTION]

To develop an intuition for our main result, note that the equilibrium private saving behavior must be resistant to rare mutants.

That is from the new Robson and Szentes AER paper, “Biology and Social Discounting,” which argues that the nature of sexual reproduction causes private discount rates to rise above social ones.

Dem Senator: ‘Those Responsible Should be Held Accountable’ for Netanyahu Slur [The PJ Tatler]

A Democratic senator blasted the senior administration official’s anonymous comments to The Atlantic calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “chickenshit” and “coward,” saying the White House needs to hold the guilty party responsible.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) issued a statement this afternoon stressing that “outlandish remarks made by anonymous sources leave scars that mask the truth of America’s relationship with Israel: we have no greater ally in the Middle East.”

“I’ve just spent two days in New York at the UN meeting with diplomats, including the Israelis who thanked me profusely for all the United States has done to support their efforts,” said Cardin, co-chairman of the Helsinki Commission. “The truth is that Israel has one and only one reliable ally that exercises its leadership at the UN to support its friend Israel and that is the United States. President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu understand the strategic importance and the special bond between our two countries.”

However, the senator continued, “the only parties that benefit from anonymous sources making inappropriate comments about one of America’s closest allies are those who want to weaken the unified, bipartisan support for Israel in both the legislative and executive branches of our government.”

“The leaks and side-shows need to end; those responsible should be held accountable,” Cardin said.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters yesterday he doesn’t “know of any effort” underway to find or punish the official who insulted Netanyahu.

“Again, there are anonymous comments like this that are shared with reporters like yourself on a pretty regular basis, and what we have found to be the most effective tactic is to help all of you understand the proper context for those comments,” he said.

“In this case, I’m not sure there is a proper context for those comments, because they are so directly in opposition to the true view and policy of this administration.”

Earnest said President Obama had no plans to call Netanyahu to apologize, and press secretary Jen Psaki said at the State Department today that they were “working to schedule a call” with Secretary of State John Kerry.

“I can assure anybody who thinks that that the president and the secretary of state don’t feel — feel that those comments were inappropriate and counter-productive and they’ll feel that way next Wednesday as well,” Psaki said of speculation that the administration is holding back open criticism of Netanyahu until after midterm elections.

The State Department has denied the remarks came from one of their people, and Rep. Brad Sherman  (D-Calif.) said the White House “assured me that the pejorative statements were not made by anyone at the White House.”

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called it “unprofessional for administration officials to air their dirty laundry in such a public way.”

“I am getting tired of hearing about the leaks and denials,” Engel said. “This ought to be the last time we hear of such talk because it is getting to a point where nobody believes the denials anymore.”

Politico Magazine: ‘How to Beat Hillary’ (with an unusual cover image that is not a caption contest) [The PJ Tatler]


Politico, the arbiter of mainstream political thought and gossip for inside the Washington Beltway types, is out with an intriguing article in its weekly magazine, “How to Back Hillary Into a Corner.”  The piece details how the sausage is being made before it is shoved down our throats over the next two years.

Displaying the magazine cover is NOT an excuse for an official caption contest since the contest from earlier this week is still up and running and also features “that woman, Miss Hillary.”

BUT, if you insist on writing a creative caption that will crack us all up, we are powerless to stop you.

Here is the cover.

Credit: Politico Magazine

Credit: Politico Magazine


Kerry: If Israel ‘Wants to Be a Jewish State’ It Must Accept Two-State Solution [The PJ Tatler]

Secretary of State John Kerry denounced the word “chickenshit” to describe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as a senior administration official told The Atlantic, but in the same breath described the country as one that “wants to be a Jewish state.”

As soon as the article was brought up to Kerry today at the Washington Ideas Forum, he said “the long game, as everybody knows from the investment I made much of last year, is to find a way to bring the parties to make peace in the Middle East.”

“We still believe it is doable, but it takes courage, it takes strength. You have to be prepared — both sides have to be prepared to compromise in order to do it,” he said. “Here’s what I know, and I think all of you know this, viscerally and intellectually. And I’ve asked this question of people in the Middle East.”

“One of the great challenges for Israel is obviously not to be a bi-national state. It wants to be a Jewish state. To be a Jewish state, you clearly have to resolve the issue of two states.”

Kerry argued that “if you don’t and you are a unitary state and people have equal rights to vote and participate as citizens, is Israel going to have a Palestinian prime minister?”

“I don’t think so. I don’t think so. Not going to happen.”

Netanyahu regularly refers to Israel as the Jewish state.

“So therefore, what is the solution here? How do you move forward?” Kerry said. “And what we’re trying to do is evenhandedly and hopefully thoughtfully strengthen Israel’s ability to free of rockets — not strengthen, to make it free of rockets, to — to end this perpetual conflict in a way that provides for the complete security of Israel, which has a right totally to be free of tunnels coming into its country, terrorists jumping out of a tunnel with handcuffs, with tranquilizer drugs, guns next to a kibbutz. No country would tolerate that.”

Kerry said to put pressure on the parties the administration needs “to work quietly and effectively, and we condemn anybody who uses language such as was used in this article.”

“It does not reflect president. It does not reflect me. It is — it is disgraceful, unacceptable, damaging, and — and — and I think neither President Obama nor I — I’ve never heard that word around me in the White House or anywhere,” he added.

“I don’t know who these anonymous people are who keep getting quoted in things, but they make life much more difficult, and we are proud of what we have done to help Israel through a very difficult time.”

Kerry lauded Obama for being “supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself in the recent — obviously, in this recent war.”

“But at the same time, the president wants to try to nurse the parties together to resolve these differences.”

On the Nov. 24 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran, Kerry said he’s “not gonna give it odds.”

“As I said to the president recently, I’m not going to express optimism,” he said. “I’m going to express hope.”

“Whether Iran can make the tough decisions that it needs to make will be determined in the next weeks. But I have said consistently that no deal was better than a bad deal. And we’re going to be very careful, very — very much based on expert advice, facts, science as to the choices we make,” Kerry continued, adding it shouldn’t be an ”ideological or political decision.”

“If we can do what we’ve said, what the president set out in his policy — the president said they will not get a bomb. If we could take this moment of history and change this dynamic, the world would be a lot safer, and we’d avoid a huge arms race in the region where Saudis, Emirates, Egyptians, others may decide that if they’re moving towards a bomb, they gotta move there, too.”

Yesterday Daniel W. Drezner, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, suggested in the Washington Post that there could be a reason for the foul language.

“The one thing this kind of trash-talking does is send a signal to Iran about the U.S. commitment to a nuclear deal,” Drezner wrote.

Boxer: ‘So Sad to See the Party of Lincoln’ Attempting to ‘Suppress the Vote’ [The PJ Tatler]

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) warned last night on MSNBC that “everything is at stake” in this election “including our democracy, the right to vote.”

“There are seven horrible laws on the books, very bad voter suppression, voter I.D., the worst kind… every one of those, every single one of those signed by a Republican governor,” Boxer said. “This is one of the biggest issues of this election of our time.”

“Everyone who cherishes that right to vote, get out there and defy the pundits who say, ‘Oh it’s just going to be terribly low turnout.’ We have the power to change it. And this issue, there are many issues on the line. We know that. The fair-shot agenda, equal pay for equal work, minimum wage, reducing interest rates on college loans. All those are very important. But this one, the party that stands for the right to vote is the Democratic Party.”

Boxer said she knows “it’s a fact” that the Republican Party is “trying to suppress the vote.”

“It is so sad to see the party of Lincoln has taken this approach,” she said. “They can’t win on the issues so they’re trying to stop people from getting to the polls.”

The senator plans on introducing the Right to Vote Act, which rolls together two House bills and “basically says, ‘OK, states, if you want voter I.D. they have to be offered free and on time. And if you are forcing someone to go buy their birth certificate you have to foot the bill. And if your law is so difficult that people can’t do it then they can go and they can vote.’”

“And they can sign an affidavit that they are who they are and they live where they say they live under penalty of law. And it’s a stiff fine, if anyone lies — $250,000 or five years in prison, or both,” Boxer continued.

“We need to hold control of the United States Senate. And we have to hope we can gain control of the House for that, keep our loses to a minimum there. And it is up to us. It is up to us… If you keep Democrats home because you don’t want them to vote and they can’t get to vote, you have a better shot at controlling the Senate.”

Petition to Keep Kaci Hickox Quarantined Racks Up Signatures [The PJ Tatler]

Neighbors of Doctors Without Borders nurse Kaci Hickox launched an online petition Wednesday to keep the nurse, who was exposed to Ebola in West Africa, quarantined in her Maine home for the virus’ 21-day incubation period.

The petition’s author, Jamie Gaskey, says that she was aiming for 1,500 signatures. But thanks to Hickox’s public grandstanding and stubborn insistence on blowing off even a home quarantine, the petition has already run well past that number. As of 10 am Central time Thursday, it has well over 2,000 signatures from all over the country.

Many of those who signed the petition have also offered detailed opinions regarding Hickox’s behavior.

One wrote “Mrs. Hickox should not be allowed to practice as a nurse any longer, or anywhere in the medical field. Her attitude is contentious and her contempt for the quarantine shows a brazen lack of concern for the public’s overall health. Maine needs to lock her up in a quarantined jail cell immediately.”

Another wrote “I am a Respiratory Therapist and a believer in Infection Control. Kaci is a Nurse. She should know better!”

Another says “This very self centered individual has no respect for the laws or safety of the US. The police officers who had to waste their time escorting Kaci Hickox while she had her bike ride should be payed by her! As an American citizen I demand she does the required quarantine voluntary or involuntary (!!!) and she deserves to be punished for not obeying the laws!”

That’s referring to Hickox’s decision to leave her house and go on a bike ride this morning. CNN, other networks and the police accompanied her.

One nurse practitioner questioned Hickox’s motives.

“I applaud this individual for her care of others in other countries but as a NP I would go into voluntary or mandatory Quarantine to protect others, the nurses’s in Texas wore protection and still were infected. This is just for a moment of fame.”

Another medical professional agreed: “I work in a medical clinic and would gladly self-quarantine in this situation. Too many unknowns with Ebola at this point.”

One pointed out that Hickox is setting a poor example: “As a health worker she is an example to the rest of us. If she doesn’t comply no one else will feel the need to and this disease can get way out of control.”

Others pointed out that US troops returning from the Ebola zone are having to be quarantined. Those troops are not complaining about it, even though they had no choice when President Obama ordered them to go. Hickox chose to go to West Africa, and knew the risks.

Nurse Hickox and, especially, Dr. Craig Spencer are the reason that we’re probably going to have to have mandatory quarantines at some point. The “honor system” is insufficient. Spencer knew that he had been exposed to Ebola yet he went all over town partying it up in New York, even while he was beginning to show symptoms. Then he lied to police about his activities. Police had to retrace all of his movements, which is time-wasting and very expensive.

Hickox is not symptomatic now and odds are she does not have Ebola, however, she was exposed to it and symptoms do not always present themselves quickly. As Hickox knows, it can take 21 days for symptoms to appear.

Senator: U.S. Should ‘Guarantee’ Healthcare Worker Re-Entry, Reimburse Quarantine Wages [The PJ Tatler]

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs said the federal government should be paying the medical care and any lost wages of medical personnel who are quarantined after volunteering in West Africa.

“We cannot protect Americans at home without sending Americans to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone. Instead of demonizing those who volunteer for service, through stigmatizing mandatory quarantines or the imposition of a travel ban, we should be honoring them,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) wrote today in a Washington Post op-ed.

“There’s a simple way to do that: The president should guarantee that all U.S. citizens who travel to West Africa to help fight Ebola will be allowed to return to the United States, that any medical care they need as a result of their trip will be provided free of charge and that wages lost to any government-imposed quarantine will be reimbursed,” Coons wrote. “That’s the least we can do for the volunteers, missionaries and military personnel working to end this outbreak.”

The senator lauded Doctors Without Borders, Samaritan’s Purse, the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations for their service in caring for Ebola patients and said the groups should be “celebrated and thanked for their service.”

“But some of our political leaders have been sending the opposite message. The measures imposed by officials in New York and New Jersey last weekend — although later softened — sent a dangerous, punitive message to these dedicated people. Forced quarantines and the barring of people without Ebola symptoms are tactics not backed by science. Worse, they are likely to do more long-term harm than good,” Coons said.

“Public health experts warn that such measures would deter others from serving and increase the likelihood of potentially infected people actively avoiding U.S. monitoring efforts. Without more volunteers in West Africa, the virus is likely to spread dramatically — in which case soon no level of airport restrictions would keep it from claiming American lives.”

The White House has acknowledged that states have the right to set quarantine procedures as they see fit, while expressing displeasure for the policies.

“We’ve been very clear as an administration what policies we believe are appropriate for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of local populations in this country,” press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday. “And we’ve been clear about that, because we also believe it’s important not to place an undue burden on health care workers who are returning from West Africa because we don’t want to hinder our efforts to stop this outbreak at the source in West Africa.”

Sanders: ‘The U.S. is on the Verge of Becoming a Third World Economy’ [The PJ Tatler]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) warned that the U.S. is going to become a third-world country if paychecks keep shrinking.

Sanders was responding Wednesday to a report from the Social Security Administration that revealed half of all wage earners in the country made $28,031.02 in 2013. Thirty-nine percent made less than $20,000 per year.

“The latest report from the Social Security Administration makes it clear that the American economy continues a 40-year trend of moving in the direction of becoming a Third World country where the vast majority of people are struggling to keep their heads above water while the richest people in the country have never had it so good,” Sanders said in a statement.

The SSA found wages went down for most workers, on average, from 2012 salaries.

“What this new report shows, and what many other studies have shown over the last 40 years, is that the United States is experiencing the kind of obscene levels of wealth and income inequality that are not unusual in impoverished third world countries,” Sanders said. “Since 1999, median income has gone down by nearly $5,000 and more Americans are working longer hours for lower wages.”

“If we don’t act boldly to create millions of new jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, increase the minimum wage to a living wage, and end our disastrous trade policies, the U.S. is on the verge of becoming a Third World economy. We have got to act with a fierce sense of urgency to rebuild the disappearing middle class.”

The 73-year-old self-proclaimed socialist may be eyeing a 2016 presidential run and has made several trip to Iowa to gauge sentiment on the left.

“I am giving thought to running for president. But it is a very, very difficult decision. Not an easy decision,” Sanders told CNN early this month. “I have to assess whether there is the kind of support necessary all over this country in terms of a unprecedented grassroots movement prepared to take on the billionaire class that have so much power. That’s what I’m trying to ascertain right now.”

Sanders is proposing to kick-start job growth by raising the minimum wage to “at least” $10.10 per hour, investing $1 trillion in infrastructure construction, shifting to renewable energy and “rewriting our trade policies to make sure that American corporations invest in the U.S. and not in China.”

NYT Editor Admits Giving a Pass to Palestinian Racism [The PJ Tatler]

The New York Times often prints stories alleging Israeli racism, but never runs any pieces about Palestinian racism. This is despite overwhelming evidence that not only is Palestinian society deeply racist, it also teaches racism to its children, and explicitly ties that racism to hoping for genocide against Jews. Palestinian media also teaches Muslim supremacy. Examples are not difficult to find.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Yet the NYT, the alleged paper of record, doesn’t expose videos like the one above, or report on Palestinian racism. Why?

Editor Matt Seaton revealed why, in a tweet.

Times opinion editor Matt Seaton today provided a window into the mindset of the editors in his response to a query by this media analyst about whether readers “can expect two hit pieces on Palestinian racism in the next month” in keeping with the pace of the publication of (error-ridden) screeds about Israeli racism, both real and imagined.

Seaton, a former editor at the Guardian, known for its hostile treatment of Israel, tweeted back that The Times opinion pages would cover Palestinian racism as “soon as they have [a] sovereign state to discriminate with.”

There’s much more at the link, detailing just how many stories that the Times has recently run on so-called Israeli racism. The Old Gray Lady is being intentionally unfair and biased, and says it will only change its ways once the Palestinians have a state. The Times’ conscious decision not to report Palestinian society’s racism, Muslim supremacy and genocidal tendencies will have gone some way toward creating that state, of course. What kind of state will the New York Times have helped create?

White House Treads Oh-So-Lightly as Burkina Faso Protests 27-Year Rule of Compaoré [The PJ Tatler]


The Obamas and the Compaores pose at a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner at the White House on Aug. 5. (Official White House photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Protesters in Burkina Faso have had it with Blaise Compaoré’s endless reign, yet the White House — not even mentioning the dictator by name — wants everyone to cool down and find a political solution.

Compaoré, 63, led a 1987 coup that brought him to power. He skirted the issue of term limits in his 2005 re-election and now wants the constitution changed so he doesn’t have to leave office next year.

One protest leader told AFP that today is Burkina Faso’s Black Spring, in the style of the Arab Spring that saw dictators flushed out of their posts.

Protesters in the capital Ouagadougou have set the parliament building on fire, according to the BBC, as well as the headquarters of the ruling party and city hall.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Burkina Faso resulting from efforts to amend the constitution to enable the incumbent head of state to seek another term after 27 years in office,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

“We believe democratic institutions are strengthened when established rules are adhered to with consistency,” Meehan said. “We call on all parties, including the security forces, to end the violence and return to a peaceful process to create a future for Burkina Faso that will build on Burkina Faso’s hard-won democratic gains.”

State Department press secretary Jen Psaki said this week that the U.S. is “concerned by the spirt and intent” behind the draft National Assembly bill in Burkina Faso that would allow Compaoré to run for an additional five-year term.

“As the Burkinabe National Assembly prepares to consider the proposed constitutional changes, the United States emphasizes that constitutionally mandated term limits provide an important mechanism to hold heads of state accountable, ensure peaceful and democratic transfers of power, and give new generations the opportunity to compete for political office and elect new leaders,” Psaki said. “We urge all involved, including Burkina Faso’s security forces, to adhere to non-violence, and to debate this issue in a peaceful and inclusive manner.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) at least mentioned Compaoré by name, saying his “efforts to change Burkina Faso’s constitution is a misguided move that betrays his fellow citizens.”

“It was inspiring to see images of thousands peacefully marching through Ouagadougou to oppose an indefinite presidency. Others besides Compaoré can lead Burkina Faso,” Royce said.

“Many, including other term-limited heads of state on the continent, are closely watching Burkina Faso… President Compaoré has a real opportunity to drop this power grab and set the right course for his country, and the continent quite frankly. U.S.-Burkina Faso relations will be impacted by his choice.”

Armed Texas Homeowner Stops Two Female Thieves [The PJ Tatler]

One would think that anyone who is considering theft as an occupation would not consider Texas to be thief-friendly territory. Not only are firearms commonplace here, we have a strong castle law too. Homeowners are empowered to protect themselves and their property. Texans tend to believe that gun control is putting lead on target where you intend to put it, not keeping law-abiding people from owning guns at all.

Two female would-be thieves in the Houston area learned all this the hard way on Wednesday.

Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Deputies responded around 1:30 p.m. to the 8700 block of Rolling Rapids Road after receiving calls that two people were trying to break into a house in the area.

The homeowner, who was not identified, called law enforcement to report that two females were throwing rocks at his windows in an attempt to break in, said Harris County Precinct 4 Lt. Walter Stensland.

“The homeowner never answers the door during the day,” Stensland explained.

The suspects were able to break the glass near the front of the residence and reach into the house to unlock the door.

At that point, the homeowner responded with a shotgun.

“Shots were fired. Both suspects were hit in the upper torso,” Stensland said.

One of the unidentified thieves is in critical condition, the other is in stable condition. They had reportedly stolen a car earlier, which they used to drive to the home where they were shot. So if they recover from their wounds, they can look forward to some jail time.

Holder, Rice Pick Their Movie Doppelgängers [The PJ Tatler]


National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Attorney General Eric Holder had no problem coming up with actors to portray them in the movie version of the administration.

Rice and Holder were separately asked the question at Wednesday’s Washington Ideas Forum.

“Halle Berry,” Rice quickly answered, adding, “I should be so lucky.”

“There’s only person,” Holder replied. “Denzel.”

The last movie Holder saw? “I re-watched The Godfather. The greatest movie of all time.”

He also admitted he likes to “binge watch not-too-serious television.”

“Boardwalk Empire, I’m going to be working on that pretty soon,” Holder said of the HBO series that just ended its five-season run. “Homeland. These are the things that I just love to sit down, and, you know, just go for like hours.”

Asked which political series “gets Washington mostly right” — Homeland, Scandal, Veep, or House of Cards — Holder picked the Netflix series.

“Depending on the administration, I’d say House of Cards,” he said. “There was a pretty bad vice president in House of Cards, but I’ll leave it at that.”

“And I like Joe Biden, so I’m not talking about him,” Holder added.

Treating Israel Like ‘Chickensh*t’ is Official Obama Administration Policy [The PJ Tatler]

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) says he is “shocked” that senior Obama administration officials call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickensh*t.”

“I was shocked and disappointed on reading the comments in The Atlantic,” Engel said in a statement. “I call upon the Administration to reassert the importance of the relationship between the United States and Israel, and to reaffirm that the bonds between our two countries are unbreakable.

“I realize that two allies, such as the United States and Israel, are not going to agree on everything, but I think it is counterproductive and unprofessional for Administration officials to air their dirty laundry in such a public way,” he added. “I am getting tired of hearing about the leaks and denials. This ought to be the last time we hear of such talk because it is getting to a point where nobody believes the denials anymore.”

Engel is a pro-Israel Democrat but, tellingly, he didn’t call for an apology. He did not call for anyone to be ejected from the administration. He called for words to undo the damage that other words are doing.

The Obama administration, given two chances to apologize for the remark and make amends Wednesday, chose not to. And, both Josh Earnest at the White House and Jen Psaki at the State Department were clearly singing from the same sheet of music when both said that the administration would not even bother to try to find out who made the remarks. So they were operating off of official Obama administration policy, which attempted to assert that the smears are not reflective of the administration’s stance, but no one will be punished for undermining what is the official administration stance, with regard to a key ally.

There could be a behind-the-scenes effort to get to the bottom of it, if one supposes that hating Israel is not the pervasive attitude in the Obama administration. But Jeffrey Goldberg’s article in the Atlantic makes it clear, despite most readers and pundits’ failure to pick up on this, that the anti-Israel attitude is widespread in the Obama administration.

That’s right up top before the article officially starts:

The Obama administration’s anger is “red-hot” over Israel’s settlement policies, and the Netanyahu government openly expresses contempt for Obama’s understanding of the Middle East. Profound changes in the relationship may be coming.

That’s not one official — the whole administration is said to be “red-hot” against Israel.

In the article itself, we have the unnamed senior administration official dubbing Netanyahu a “chickensh*t” and another agreeing with that (in paragraph six of the story), adding that he is a “coward.” That second official brags that the Obama administration’s pressure has worked against Netanyahu, long enough to stall him and allow Iran’s nuclear program to proceed. That’s right here:

The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

“Now it’s too late,” the Obama administration official bragged, for Israel to stop Iran from building deployable nuclear weapons. Iran, by the way, has vowed in the past to use those weapons to annihilate Israel.

So that’s two Obama administration officials hiding behind anonymity while insulting Netanyahu, and one evidently tilting toward Iran.

There are more, many more, than just those two according to Goldberg.

Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.)

How many Obama officials are on that list? Does it include the president, the vice president, current and former secretaries of state? Is it two? Is it ten? Does the list include the likes of Valerie Jarrett? How about Ben Rhodes, brother of CBS News president David Rhodes? Don’t the American people deserve to know how rife the Obama administration is with anti-Israel officials?

The question is relevant because of some recent incidents, and one from three years ago. In the recent ones, Vice President Joe Biden said some negative things about Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. He chided them for funding ISIS, which they have.

Those countries objected, and they each got personal apologies from Biden by phone.

But no apologies now for Israel.

Three years ago, a hot mic caught President Obama griping about Netanyahu with then French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“Obama began by reproaching Sarkozy for not warning him in advance that France would vote in favour of Palestinian membership of  UNESCO,” the website reported. “The conversation turned to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, with Sarkozy saying ,’I don’t want to see him anymore, he’s a liar.’

“To which President Obama replied: ‘You’ve had enough of him, but I have to deal with him every day!’ Obama then asked Sarkozy to try  to convince the Palestinians to slow down with their UN membership drive.”

The Obama administration’s anti-Netanyahu attitude goes all the way to the top. That’s why the administration won’t even pretend to hunt down the officials who talked with Jeffrey Goldberg. They won’t reprimand or fire someone for saying what they’re all thinking and saying behind closed White House doors. President Obama will order Vice President Biden to apologize for saying an unpleasant but true thing about Arab countries, but will not go after anyone around him for smearing the Prime Minister of Israel. Because in his heart of hearts, Barack Obama agrees with the smear.

Massive Non-Citizen Voting Uncovered in Maryland [The PJ Tatler]

An election integrity watchdog group is suing the state of Maryland, alleging that it has discovered massive and ongoing fraudulent voting by non-U.S. citizens in one county. But because of the way that the non-citizens are able to cast votes in elections, the fraud is likely happening in every single county and subdivision across the state. The group believes that the illegal voting has been happening for years.

The group, Virginia Voters Alliance, says that it compared how voters in Frederick County filled out jury duty statements compared with their voting records. The group’s investigation found that thousands of people in Frederick County who stated that they are not U.S. citizens on jury duty forms went on to cast votes in elections. Either they failed to tell the truth when they were summoned for jury duty, or they cast illegal votes. Both are crimes. The same group previously found that about 40,000 people are registered to vote in both Virginia and Maryland.

It is a federal crime to cast votes if you are not legally eligible to vote. Non-citizens, whether in the country legally or not, are prohibited from voting in most local and all state and federal elections. Yet the VVA investigation found that hundreds of non-citizens have been voting in Frederick County, Maryland. One in seven Maryland residents are non-U.S. citizens.

“The lawsuit is the equivalent of the lookout spotting the iceberg ahead of the Titanic,” state Del. Pat McDonough told the Tatler. He added that the group’s investigation found a voter fraud “smoking gun.”

Maryland state law makes it easier for non-citizens, both those present legally and those in the country against the law, to vote. Maryland issues drivers licenses to legal and illegal aliens. Driver’s licenses in turn make it easier under the Motor Voter law to register to vote. Maryland also offers copious taxpayer-funded social programs to non-citizens in the state.

The group filed suit in Baltimore’s U.S. District Court on Friday. They are suing the Frederick County Board of Elections and the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Del. Pat McDonough (R-Baltimore and Harford Counties) detailed the alleged fraud in a Maryland press conference today. He is calling for a special state prosecutor because the fraud may be taking place statewide, with significant impact on Maryland elections. Maryland currently holds 10 electoral votes in presidential elections. McDonough is also proposing legislation including voter ID to close the loopholes that he says non-citizens are using to cast votes.

Ebola: Austin Nurse Self-Quarantines After Arriving from West Africa [The PJ Tatler]

It’s called “doing the right thing.” Plus, “thinking of others.” Defiant nurse Kaci Hickox would do well to look into it.

A Texas nurse who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone has agreed to self-quarantine at home for 21 days and undergo frequent monitoring from state health officials, Gov. Rick Perry announced Wednesday. The unnamed nurse will remain in her Austin home despite not showing any signs of the deadly disease.

Texas health officials met the nurse after she landed at Austin-Bergstrom Airport. She has not been named to protect her privacy. Perry spoke with the nurse over the phone to thank her for working to fight Ebola. “In Texas, we have a great tradition of welcoming our heroes back home, and this heroic individual deserves our appreciation, our compassion and our utmost respect,” he said in a statement. “The tremendous work that she and so many other health care workers are doing in West Africa is making life better for those in afflicted countries and helps protect the rest of the world from the spread of this terrible disease; they are doing vitally important work that makes us all proud.”

Earlier today, California joined the ranks of states that are imposing some form of quarantine on American medical personnel who return from the Ebola zone.

NATO Tracking ‘Unsual’ Russian Air Activity in Europe [The PJ Tatler]

Passed along without much comment, other than the obligatory nod to Hillary Clinton’s failed “reset.”

MONS, Belgium – NATO detected and monitored four groups of Russian military aircraft conducting significant military manoeuvers in European airspace over the Baltic Sea, North Sea/Atlantic Ocean, and Black Sea on 28 and 29 October 2014.  These sizable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace.

Eight Russian Aircraft Intercepted over North Sea / Atlantic Ocean on 29 October 2014
At approximately 3:00 a.m. CET on 29 October, NATO radars detected and tracked eight Russian aircraft flying in formation over the North Sea. F-16 aircraft from the Royal Norwegian Air Force were scrambled, intercepted and identified the Russian aircraft, which included four Tu-95 Bear H strategic bombers and four Il-78 tanker aircraft. The formation flew from mainland Russia over the Norwegian Sea in international airspace.  Six of the Russian aircraft then turned back to the north-east towards Russia, while two Tu-95 Bear H bombers continued south-west, parallel to the Norwegian coast, heading to the south-west. The Russian aircraft continued over the North Sea, and  Typhoon fighters from the United Kingdom were scrambled in response.  While over the Atlantic Ocean west of Portugal, the two Russian aircraft were intercepted and identified by F-16s from the Portuguese Air Force. The Russian aircraft turned back heading north-east, flying to the west of the United Kingdom. NATO aircraft from the United Kingdom and Norway were standing by and NATO assets on the ground and in the air tracked the Russian aircraft throughout. At present, the two Tu-95 bombers appear headed back to Russia, but as of 4 p.m. CET the aircraft were still airborne.

Much more at the link.

The raised Russian military aircraft activity isn’t limited to Europe.

Say No to Obama Kicking Israel Curbside [The PJ Tatler]

Oops. They did it again. Only this time president Obama’s senior staffer called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickensh*t” then tacked on this egregious disparagement “worthless coward” in Jeffrey Goldberg’s underhanded article in the Atlantic.

Seemingly Phony Support of Israel

Think there was no response? Hardly. Israeli Economic Minister Nafatali Bennett had these choice words in response to Goldberg’s article in the Atlantic:

“The United States administration is planning to throw Israel under the bus.” He added “Israel is stronger than all those who curse it.” Then he let Obama’s staff have it by saying, “Neither the leader of Syria, who has slaughtered 150,000 of his citizens, nor the leader of Saudi Arabia who stones women and gays, have been called chickensh**t. If what is written is true, then the current administration intends to throw Israel under the wheels of the bus.”

There is no damage control or morning-after chill-pill that will correct or erase Obama’s staffer’s comments either. The Internet lives 24×7. In fact, one word describes this kind of demonization and defamation besides political suicide (as that’s two words): sham. Actually, it sounds a lot like roadkill to me (or as my pre-teens like to term it road pizza). And I’m not talking about Obama as much as I am about Democrats running in the shadow of our POTUS’s train wrecked economy and hemorrhaging foreign policy blunders that are currently twisting and turning into a taut noose around just about every Democrat trying to get elected.

So what was Obama’s staffer thinking when he slandered America’s chief Middle East ally? His critics would likely say “not much.” This most recent disparagement of Netanyahu doesn’t even sound close to the “unshakeable bond” Obama campaigned on and publicly paraded, purported and shoved down our throats at AIPAC.

Repairing Obama’s Trainwreck

It will easily take years if not decades to undo the damage Obama has caused Israel. It will definitely take years to rewind and repair the apathy caused by the Occupy Movement, the wreckage left by race card division, Wall Street’s mortgage fiasco, our flatlined economy, and once and for all kill the albatross known as Obamacare. It’s the only way America can defibrillate our foreign policy, cauterize our bleeding economy and regain credibility among world leaders.

Sick of supporting an administration that prefers the Muslim Brotherhood rules Egypt over its liberal intellectuals, rewards its cousin Hamas with financial aid while the regime lobs rockets at Israelis from U.N. schools? Or maybe you’re tired of an Administration who kicks the can on Syria, gives stateside carte blanche access to Ebola-infected airline passengers, turns its head on ISIS (ISIL) and arms countries like Qatar and Turkey who fund terrorism like Iran?

And Netanyahu? Isn’t time we had a POTUS who employed staffers who acted like patriots or at least like adults and understood the value of embracing and emboldening our allies instead of harpooning them and embarrassing us?

The State Department Isn’t Interested in Finding Out Who Called Netanyahu a ‘Chickensh*t’ Too [The PJ Tatler]

It’s now official Obama administration policy not to punish people who run to the press to undermine its relations with Israel. Josh Earnest said as much during today’s White House press briefing.

And Jen Psaki, sporting a necklace that resembles a large bunch of grapes, has reiterated it at the State Department press briefing.

The AP’s Matt Lee and another reporter queried Psaki about the statement — which was made by one senior official and agreed with by another — but the most she would offer is “There are anonymous sources in all of your stories every single day. If we spent all of our time focused on that effort, we wouldn’t be working on diplomacy.”

Working on diplomacy, and specifically repairing the damage made by the controversial remarks, might also involve punishing the officials who made the statements.

Where in the World is the Ebola Czar? White House ‘Won’t Rule Out’ Letting Klain Talk [The PJ Tatler]

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said today that Ebola czar Ron Klain might soon show his face and maybe even speak with the press corps.

Earnest was asked if the administration has kept Klain so low-profile that no quite understands what his role is supposed to be.

“I will not try to speculate on which aspects of the things that I try to describe here are clearly understood by you or are not understood by you,” the press secretary replied. “I — and on those occasions in which the policy that I’m trying to explain is not well understood, I would be happy to take more — a healthy shared responsibility for that.”

“What I will point out is that even before Ron started in this job, we were clear — at least I was clear — about describing his role as one that was principally behind-the-scenes, one that would be focused on coordinating the activities of the wide variety of federal government agencies that are involved in this response. And that the need for him to play that coordinating role would limit his ability to make a large number of public appearances,” Earnest said.

“That all said, I certainly wouldn’t rule out future opportunities for Mr. Klain to speak with all of you or with other journalists. Right now, the most important thing for him to be focused on is ensuring that this whole-of-government approach that the president has pursued to respond to this Ebola situation is one that meets the very high standard that the president has set for his team and for the American people.”

Earnest was asked Monday what exactly fell under Klain’s area of responsibility.

“We’ve tried a couple of times I think to describe what Mr. Klain’s role is here at the White House and in the federal government, and he is responsible for coordinating the whole-of-government approach that the president has suggested is necessary,” he replied.

Since Klain started last week, “We have seen a significant number of announcements related to the whole-of-government approach that the president has ordered to dealing with the Ebola situation,” Earnest added.

“…Obviously, some of that Mr. Klain was very closely involved with.  Some of it he wasn’t, because it reflected work that had been done before he arrived.  But I do think that what you see here is intensive coordination among a range of federal agencies to respond to this very difficult challenge.”

Klain didn’t go up to New York after a doctor tested positive for the disease, and Earnest didn’t “anticipate that he has the plans to do that any time soon.”

“I anticipate we’ll limit the amount of time that he can dedicate to making the case publicly about our response.  But if that need arises, I’m confident that he will do that if necessary.”

Double Digit GOP Gains in House Now Possible: Cook [The PJ Tatler]

The Cook Political Report, a subscriber-only newsletter closely followed by Washington insiders, is now predicting that Republicans have an opportunity to score double digit gains in the mid term election next Tuesday.

Via Andrew Clark of the National Republican Campaign Committee, 26 districts from Hawaii to New York — 19 of them Democratic — are now classified as “toss-ups.” This is forcing the Democrats to pour increasing amounts of cash into districts that as recently as a few months ago were believed to be safe.

Overall, we are adjusting our outlook from a GOP gain of four to ten seats to a GOP gain of six to 12 seats, with slightly larger GOP gains not out of the question. With ten ratings changes today, there are 19 Democratic seats and just seven GOP seats in Toss Up or worse. If Republicans were to pick up 13 seats, they would win their largest majority since 1928, when Herbert Hoover was elected president.

Of particular concern for Democrats are several races in DCCC Chair Rep. Steve Israel’s New York backyard, where there is no competitive statewide race driving turnout. Although Reps. Tim Bishop (NY-01), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), and Dan Maffei (NY-24) are all very much still in contention, their leads are no longer large enough to keep them out of the Toss Up column.

Of the three, Maffei occupies the most Democratic district, yet he has never established a strong personal brand in Syracuse and took just 49 percent of the vote in 2012 while President Obama was winning 57 percent. Bishop and Maloney may have the opposite challenge: both won with 52 percent in 2012, but they occupy more GOP-leaning seats and could lose in the event of a big Republican night.

There are also places where problematic statewide races are reverberating negatively for down-ballot Democrats. Now that GOP nominee Joni Ernst has the momentum in Iowa’s Senate race, both parties view the race for Democratic nominee Bruce Braley’s open IA-01 as a pure Toss Up. “Bruce Braley is almost a bigger drag than President Obama,” said one consultant familiar with polling in the race.

It appears that the enemy of the Republicans now is not so much the Democratic party is it is complacency. All the close Senate races as well as contests involving this handful of House districts will depend on a maximum effort to turn out core GOP voters — even if many of them have to hold their nose to vote for someone less ideologically pure than they might prefer. Conversely, RINO’s who may not be enthusiastic about a Tea Party candidate are going to have to bury their doubts and pull the lever for the Republican.

Some in the Tea Party might feel the GOP has the Senate in the bag and registering a protest by not voting won’t matter. Others may think their vote isn’t needed, for what ever reason. With so many races that will be decided by one or two percent of the total vote, it doesn’t take a lot of people with those attitudes to turn victory into defeat.

If that kind of scenario were to unfold, it wouldn’t be for lack of money. The GOP has poured more than $100 million into building a sophisticated voter identification infrastructure that is being used to target their voters in key battleground states. They’re still playing catch-up to the Democrats in this regard, but it’s light years beyond what was available to Republicans in 2012. The army of volunteers has also grown, impressing even long time Republican operatives.

In the end, it will come down to the individual voter motivating themselves to get to the polls. With the state of the economy, the nation, and the world the way it is, most will have all the motivation they need.

Clearing the Docket [Judge John Hodgman]

Bailiff Jesse and Judge John Hodgman return to chambers to clear out the docket.


Great question! Judge Hodgman is out on the road right now, touring the Midwest and Northeast United States! Chicago! Milwaukee! Akron! Hartford! and more.

Find a tourdate in your area here! 

Local Hire [KCRW's Martini Shot]

Rob talks about how some actors give up their dreams of stardom and move out of Los Angeles, only to discover there?s more work available in Hollywood when you don?t live in Hollywood.

What you should know about Lenovo's Motorola acquisition [PCWorld]

China’s Lenovo finally has the global smartphone presence it has craved, finalizing the purchase of Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.91 billion.

Motorola’s offerings in mature markets will complement Lenovo’s growing smartphone presence in developing countries. Lenovo hopes to unseat the likes of Apple and Samsung, and has an ambitious goal of shipping 100 million devices, including PCs, tablets and smartphones, by the end of March next year.

Details of the joint product road map were shared in a Thursday press conference and these are some points that stood out.

No Motorola or Lenovo brands are being discontinued

Lenovo and its Motorola subsidiary will continue to distinguish their individual brands. Lenovo will target its products at emerging markets and Motorola products at mature markets. Both Motorola and Lenovo products are sold in some countries, such as India, and there are no plans to change that either.

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Amazon Appstore is throwing a Halloween bash with $115 in free apps [PCWorld]

Sencha melds desktop and smartphone management with Space [PCWorld]

An upgraded version of Sencha’s Space platform has the potential to bring together desktops, smartphones and tablets, with lower management costs along the way.

So far, mobile devices have been managed using separate tools, but in the long run that’s too expensive. The big trend in the management sector is a move from separate to integrated tools that can manage smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Sencha is best known for its cross-platform development tools. But the company also has designs on the management market with Space, which is a managed application platform for HTML and Javascript-based applications.

Instead of running the apps in a browser, Sencha has developed a more secure client for them to run in. With version 1.2 of Space, the client can run on desktops in addition to smartphones and tablets. Once the client has been installed, users can access the same apps they have previously used on their mobile devices.

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Steam Halloween Sale will give your wallet a fright [PCWorld]

Boo! "Oh, it's just you, Steam Halloween Sale. You nearly gave me a heart attack!" That's right: If you noticed your wallet quaking with fear this morning it's because it's Steam Sale time once again. Dozens of games are up to 85 percent off on Steam from now until November 3rd.

It looks like this sale will be decidedly more low-key than Steam's typical Holiday/Summer Sale fare. There's no big front-page display, no meta-game to participate in, no Flash or Community Choice sales, and not even a clear indicator if some of these are Daily Deals or if these are static sale prices for the entire event.

Steam Halloween Sale

It's not nearly as pretty nor as involved as your average Steam Sale, but it'll do.

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MSI fit a full mechanical keyboard in its new GT80 Titan gaming laptop [PCWorld]

The mechanical keyboard's become pretty prevalent in certain gaming circles over the past few years, as more and more people are liberated from their mediocre rubber dome lifestyle. If there's one area that's yet to take advantage of the rise of mechanical keyboards, however, it's laptops. And that makes sense—laptops are on an ever-present quest to get thinner and shed more pounds while gaining performance, which is why most use scissor switches or a modified scissor switch variant.

MSI's new 18-inch GT80 Titan laptop has other plans, though. Built into the front of the chassis is a full-sized mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches. The keyboard itself is provided by SteelSeries, and the GT80 will come with a modified version of the SteelSeries Engine software to allow some form of keyboard customization. Since Corsair still has a lock on RGB Cherry switches however, I'd guess the GT80 will have simple red backlighting instead of the multicolor lighting SteelSeries is known for.

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China: Facebook not banned, but must follow the rules [PCWorld]

China may be blocking access to Facebook, but that doesn’t mean the social media network can’t one day enter the country, as long as it follows the rules, a top government official said on Thursday.

Lu Wei, the director of China’s State Internet Information Office, made the comment at a press conference after media outlets had previously reported him saying that Facebook would never be allowed in the country.

“The media claimed that I said ‘it would absolutely impossible.’ Today, I can tell you that this news is fake,” he said, according to a government transcript of his comments.

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New Chrome bookmark manager de-clutters your favorite sites [PCWorld]

Google’s new bookmark manager gives a much-needed facelift to your favorite websites. 

You can grab the new extension from the Chrome Web Store and check out Google’s new solution for the age-old problem of too many bookmarks. When installing, your bookmarks will be transformed into snippets of webpage previews. It’s somewhat of a Material-Design lite revamp, with more white space and larger images. The extension replaces Chrome’s current bookmark manager, which was never that great.

Along with the eye candy there’s more functionality. You get a dedicated bookmarks search bar at the top of the new page. Bookmarks are now neatly tucked into folders, auto-sorted by similar topic. Yet your existing organisational strategy is still in tact, as your current folders are carried over intact.

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Flipboard 3.0 is both more and less personal than before [PCWorld]

A new update for Flipboard aims to make the popular reading app more personal—but not all the time.

Flipboard 3.0 lets users add new magazines on more than 30,000 topics, from broad ones like “art” and “food” to highly specific ones like “optical illusions” and “human geography.” When launching the app, Flipboard presents a massive list of potential topics to select, along with a search bar for finding exactly what you want. As before, Flipboard sources its stories from around the Web and presents them in a magazine-like format.

For those who don’t want to drill down into specific topics, Flipboard is also adding a staff-curated “Daily Edition,” with general topics like news, business, tech, sports and culture. A new edition will arrive every day at 7 a.m., and it will always conclude with a “Parting GIF.” Of course, users can still follow individual publications or users who’ve curated their own magazines, and they’ll show up alongside new topics in Flipboard’s typical grid view.

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Don’t be surprised to see video ads in your Instagram feed starting today [PCWorld]

Instagram has been slooooowly phasing advertising into your main feed. First there were sponsored photos from brands like Michael Kors—artfully edited and filtered, of course. Now the photo-sharing app is introducing 15-second video ads, starting with a promo for Disney’s new animated film, “Big Hero 6.”

Other brands you might see in your stream are Lancome, Banana Republic, the CW, and Activision, according to Adweek. Activision is pushing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in a 15-second clip, with a longer version of the promo hitting Facebook on Thursday. Lancome has a new perfume and mascara it plans to advertise on Instagram. Banana Republic’s ad is a time-lapse holiday preview.

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Drupal users: Assume your site was hacked if you didn't apply Oct. 15 patch immediately [PCWorld]

Users of Drupal, one of the most popular content management systems, should consider their sites compromised if they didn’t immediately apply a security patch released on Oct. 15.

The unusually alarming statement was part of a “public service announcement” issued by the Drupal project’s security team Wednesday.

“Automated attacks began compromising Drupal 7 websites that were not patched or updated to Drupal 7.32 within hours of the announcement of SA-CORE-2014-005 - Drupal core - SQL injection,” the Drupal security team said. “You should proceed under the assumption that every Drupal 7 website was compromised unless updated or patched before Oct 15th, 11pm UTC, that is 7 hours after the announcement.”

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Samsung' phone-free Gear S smartwatch gets U.S. launch details, requires a service plan [PCWorld]

Samsung's standalone Gear S smartwatch will launch in the United States starting November 7, but the service won't come cheap.

Unlike Samsung's other smartwatches, the Gear S can make calls, send text messages and access the Internet without a paired smartphone. As such, wireless carriers are treating it like any other connected device, with its own service plan.

AT&T and Sprint are both charging $10 monthly access fees for Gear S service, though Sprint says it will waive the charge through December 2015 if you have a shared data plan with at least 20 GB. Those plans will tap into users' existing shared data pools, and will include unlimited talk and text. T-Mobile is creating a new wearable service plan for $5 per month, with unlimited talk, unlimited text and 500 MB of data. Verizon hasn't announced pricing details.

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How to extend the life of your laptop battery [PCWorld]

Siddhartha Raval asked how to take care of a laptop battery so that it lasts a long time.

Batteries don't last forever. Like everything except diamonds and viral tweets, they eventually wear out. But with proper care, a laptop battery can still carry a sufficient charge until you're ready to move on to a better laptop.

But it's a tradeoff. Taking the best care of your laptop battery just may be more of a hassle than it's worth.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

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BrandPost: Recognizing the changing cloud [PCWorld]

When early cloud adopters bought into massive, on-demand scale, they also assumed the responsibility of managing failure-prone commodity hardware. They had to adapt their applications to run in the cloud in addition to monitoring a complex new system. While curing some IT headaches, the public cloud created new ones, like:

  • Unreliability – Cheap, failure-prone commodity hardware creating a requirement to overprovision cloud resources to plan for server failure.
  • Management – Attaining experienced cloud engineers to tweak and tune cloud resources, handle monitoring and alert response, and manage the applications and workloads running on top of cloud resources.
  • Cloud sprawl: To get the additional services needed to run workloads, secure deployments and other cloud-related tasks, businesses needed multiple providers leading to shadow IT, platform lock-in, billing confusion, and service compatibility glitches.

The DIY nature of public cloud didn’t work for everybody. Some organizations wanted the speed-to-launch and flexibility of on-demand cloud resources, but they also needed round-the-clock support and architecture expertise. As Gartner describes in the Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting North America report, “Cloud-enabled managed hosting brings cloudlike consumption and provisioning attributes to the traditional managed hosting market.” Those early cloud adopters quickly found that managing a cloud can cause as many problems as it solves, but the benefits were too enticing to pass up. To mitigate the risks of the new technology, businesses sought out providers who could not only provide raw infrastructure, but also provide:

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Rachio smart sprinkler update reduces water usage, ties into Nest for fire protection [PCWorld]

Rachio just released an update to its sprinkler system app that the company says can reduce your outdoor water usage by up to 30 percent.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks out: ‘I’m proud to be gay’ [PCWorld]

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday published a moving essay in Bloomberg Businessweek in which he publicly announced for the first time that he is gay. Cook is the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to publicly come out.

Cook is famously private and said he doesn’t think of himself as an activist, but decided to speak out to help others.

“If hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy,” Cook wrote.

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Smartphone share of overall mobile phone sales stalling at 70 percent [PCWorld]

Smartphones during the third quarter again accounted for about 70 percent of total mobile phone shipments. Prices need to fall even further to attract more users in emerging markets, but that won’t happen overnight.

Though the smartphone share of overall mobile phone sales increased year over year, it has been flat, sequentially, at around 70 percent for the last couple of quarters, according to Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics. For the smartphone share to increase, prices have to come down so more users in parts of the world such as Africa and India can afford them.

Today the cheapest smartphones cost about US$35 at wholesale, but prices under $20 are needed. Getting there will take a couple of years, at least. “In the short term, the component cost, IPR costs and the software costs are too high for smartphones to compete at the very bottom end of the market, so feature phones aren’t going away,” Mawston said.

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Google's DeepMind AI project apes human memory and programming skills [PCWorld]

The mission of Google’s DeepMind Technologies startup is to “solve intelligence.” Now, researchers there have developed an artificial intelligence system that can mimic some of the brain’s memory skills and even program like a human.

The researchers developed a kind of neural network that can use external memory, allowing it to learn and perform tasks based on stored data.

Neural networks are interconnected computational “neurons.” While conventional neural networks have lacked readable and writeable memory, they have been used in machine learning and pattern-recognition applications such as computer vision and speech recognition.

The so-called Neural Turing Machine (NTM) that DeepMind researchers have been working on combines a neural network controller with a memory bank, giving it the ability to learn to store and retrieve information.

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Motorola re-commits to pure Android under new Lenovo masters [PCWorld]

Motorola is promising not to give up its pure Android ideals as it changes hands from Google to Lenovo.

Lenovo's $2.91 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, announced in January, is now official. It brings to an end more than two years of stewardship by Google, which purchased Motorola in May 2012 for $12.5 billion. (Google will retain and license most of Motorola's patent portfolio as part of the deal.)

Over those two years, Motorola has revamped itself, paring down its product line and launching nearly-pure Android phones with a few measured improvements, such as touch-free voice controls. Compared to other Android devices, like those of Samsung and LG, Motorola's phones have less bloatware and fewer arbitrary design changes. That won't change under Lenovo, according Rick Osterloh, Motorola's president and chief operating officer, wrote.

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Gamers rejoice: YouTube now supports silky-smooth 60fps video uploads [PCWorld]

Pirate Bay co-founder found guilty of hacking in Denmark [PCWorld]

Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking and serious vandalism in the Court of Fredriksberg in Denmark on Thursday.

Warg was found guilty for hacking the mainframe of IT service provider CSC in Denmark. A 21-year old Danish man was also found guilty, as he acted as Warg’s accomplice, according to the ruling. To protect the man’s privacy, Judge Kari Sørensen, who presided over the case, ordered news outlets not to publish his name.

Svartholm Warg’s sentence will be announced on Friday at 1 p.m. local time, said Sørensen. She declined to discuss further details of the case over the phone.

The prosecutor in the case is requesting a prison sentence of five years for Svartholm Warg.

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Nintendo—yes, THAT Nintendo—is building a bedside sleep sensor to monitor your health [PCWorld]

Nintendo has been stimulating people with video games for decades, but now it wants to help them sleep better.

The Japanese gaming giant on Thursday gave a few details of its plan to enter the healthcare business with a device that can sense how well users sleep.

The Quality of Life (QOL) Sensor sits by a user’s bedside and monitors body movements, heart rate and breathing via radio waves. The non-contact unit then sends the data it gathers to cloud-based servers for analysis. Users can then access results that show their sleep and fatigue levels.

The system will also automatically make recommendations such as getting more exercise or changing one’s diet. The information would be made available on “smart devices,” Nintendo said, without elaborating whether that would include smartphones. However, dedicated video game systems could also be used to improve users’ quality of life, it said.

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BrandPost: 3 Ways to Reduce Costs with SIP Trunking [PCWorld]

With up to 70 percent cost savings at stake, small and medium businesses are taking a serious look at Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), an application-layer control protocol used for IP-based audio/videoconferencing, interactive gaming, and call forwarding. By next year, Gartner predicts that 50 percent of U.S. business exchange lines will be SIP-based. That’s a significant slice of the pie for a technology that was shrouded in uncertainty not that long ago. The upward trend isn’t all that surprising, considering all the cost and feature benefits it can provide over Primary Rate Interfaces (PRIs), Basic Rate Interfaces (BRIs) and analog lines. Case in point: a Heavy Reading report estimates that an SMB that adopts SIP trunking can save between 50-70 percent per trunk over TDM-based circuits. If you’ve been considering the switch, here are three money-saving reasons to go for it.

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Germany backs plan to retain personal flight data across EU [PCWorld]

The German government is calling for the EU-wide retention of personal flight data as an anti-terrorism measure, but is facing opponents who object to yet another database holding private information.

Jjihadists returning from battlegrounds in the Middle East threaten the security of the EU and urgent action is needed in the Federal Government’s view, Germany said in a written response to questions asked by Andrej Hunko, a member of the Bundestag. One way to counter this threat is to detect suspicious travel movements via a database with personal flight data, the government said.

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10 reasons to ditch the Gmail app for Inbox [PCWorld]

Inbox will change your life, or at least the way you manage email. Here's what it does best and why you should switch over from the Gmail app.

Three time management apps use data analysis to conquer the clock [PCWorld]

Time management apps help you take care of the one thing you really can’t make more of. These three apps do a great job of maximizing your time and making sure you get paid for it, plus they provide helpful analysis and organization tools. 



Timeful offers suggestions on how to fit in those good habits we all need to make time for.

I’m wary of technology products that claim to be able to make decisions for you. That’s why I wasn’t so sure about Timeful, an iOS app that strives to help you make the most of your time. It does that by combining your calendar, to-do list, and your “daily habits” in one central location, and offering suggestions on how you can best use your time. I’m still not sure I want to leave an app in charge of determining my schedule, but Timeful is winning me over.

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Red Team rocking: Build the ultimate AMD gaming PC [PCWorld]

There’s never been a better time to be a PC gamer, with an abundance of excellent hardware available. Intel recently refreshed its flagship and mainstream processor lines, and AMD and Nvidia both have killer graphics cards on the market—some of which are going for ridiculously low prices.

As part of a weeklong celebration of glorious PC excess, we’ve recently put together a pair of ultra-powerful Intel-based systems using that very hardware: An insane Intel Haswell-E Core i7-5960X build featuring Nvidia’s powerful new GTX 980, and a drool-worthy Devil’s Canyon Core i7-4970K PC paired with a monstrous AMD Radeon R9 295X2 graphics card with not one, but two top-tier graphics processors. Two systems powered by Intel’s top chips will get any DIYers juices flowing—but now it’s time to give AMD its due.

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Samsung eyes cheaper smartphones as profit plunges [PCWorld]

Samsung plans to focus on cheaper smartphones and flexible displays for high-end phones after its third-quarter profit plummeted by nearly 50 percent amid intense competition from Chinese rivals making low-cost handsets.

The low-end smartphone market is still growing rapidly, and the company aims to exploit the opportunity by improving cost competitiveness, said Kim Hyun-joon, the head of the company’s mobile communications segment said during an earnings conference call on Thursday in Seoul. Samsung also aims to differentiate its high-end products with flexible displays and new materials such as metal frames.

The world’s largest smartphone maker saw its market share drop to 23.8 percent in the third quarter from 32.5 percent a year ago, while Xiaomi rose to the third place after second-ranked Apple, according to IDC.

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Meet Microsoft Band, Microsoft's $200, fitness-focused smartwatch [PCWorld]

Wednesday night Microsoft confirmed what we all expected—that it too, has a smartwatch that it wants you to wear 24/7, for work and for play, called the Microsoft Band.

Looking as much like a hospital bracelet as anything else, the $200 Microsoft Band features a rectangular, 320 x106 TFT display that hovers over your wrist. Sensors—a continuous optical heart monitor, GPS, UV sensor, and more—track your activity while on the move and at rest, and send the data to what Microsoft calls the Intelligence Engine, aka Cortana’s little brother. The Band is then designed to work with third-party apps developers, including MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, and Starbucks—which has developed a “payment” app of sorts.

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China's Xiaomi surges to become world's third largest smartphone vendor [PCWorld]

Phones from Xiaomi still haven’t arrived in the U.S., but the company’s booming sales in China have been enough to make it the third largest smartphone vendor in the world.

Xiaomi reached the ranking, behind Apple and Samsung, in the third quarter, said research firms IDC and Strategy Analytics on Thursday.

The Chinese vendor only began selling phones three years ago but it has quickly risen to become a leading vendor in its home market, by offering feature-packed Android phones at affordable prices.

In the third quarter, Xiaomi had a 5.3 percent share of the smartphone market, still far behind second place Apple, which had a 12 percent share, according to IDC. But unlike its rivals, Xiaomi posted triple-digit year-over-year growth in smartphone shipments, of 211 percent, making it the fastest growing among the top vendors.

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Baidu traffic from mobile devices now more than from PCs [PCWorld]

In a sign that more Chinese are relying on their smartphones to go online, local search giant Baidu said its mobile Internet traffic had surpassed traffic from PCs during the third quarter.

Baidu, China’s largest search engine, noted the shift in an earnings call Thursday, when the company’s CEO Robin Li said its traffic from mobile devices represented over half of the total user traffic.

The company’s mobile traffic has been steadily growing over the last quarters, at a time when China has become the world’s largest market for smartphones. In addition, tablet use may have also contributed to the shift.

On Thursday, Baidu said it began bundling in the third quarter user traffic from tablet devices with its overall mobile traffic figures. Tablets had previously been included with the company’s PC figures.

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How many elections…? part 3 [Power Line]

(Scott Johnson)

James O’Keefe has been on the ground in North Carolina for the past week and just released a video contribution to Steve’s series wondering how many elections the Democrats will steal next week. Like Diogenes in search of an honest man, O’Keefe goes in search of someone, anyone, who will discourage illegal voting by noncitizens in North Carolina. Spoiler alert: O’Keefe had no more luck thant Diogenes (video below).

O’Keefe posts a partial transcript of the video here. At NRO, John Fund comments on the video and reports that “Noncitizens are voting.”

How Many Elections Will Democrats Steal Next Week? Part 2 [Power Line]

(Steven Hayward)

As a follow up to our item the other day on the recent academic study examining the evidence of widespread voting by non-citizens, there are two stories out today.

First, Bryan Preston over at Breitbart reports on what appears to be significant voting anomalies in Maryland (where there is a surprisingly close governor’s race that has not attracted much attention outside the state):

The group, Virginia Voters Alliance, says that it compared how voters in Frederick County filled out jury duty statements compared with their voting records. The group’s investigation found that thousands of people in Frederick County who stated that they are not U.S. citizens on jury duty forms went on to cast votes in elections. Either they failed to tell the truth when they were summoned for jury duty, or they cast illegal votes. Both are crimes. The same group previously found that about 40,000 people are registered to vote in both Virginia and Maryland.

Meanwhile, the Daily Caller is all over efforts by La Raza (“the race”) to inform illegal aliens where they can successfully cast ballots without an ID:

The pro-amnesty Hispanic activist organization the National Council of La Raza helpfully promoted a Washington Post article explaining which states people can vote in without having to use a photo ID.

“Voter ID laws are at-issue across the country, with newly Republican-controlled legislatures having passed them in numerous states after the 2010 election,” explained The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake. “Most states still request some form of ID, but don’t require it. Another 20 states don’t require identification. In case you’re wondering where your state is at in all of this, a helpful (sic)graphic from the Post’s graphics team.”

I’m sure Eric Holder will have the Justice Department right on this.

Burke busted [Power Line]

(Scott Johnson)

I haven’t had the stomach to watch the campaign next door in Wisconsin. I can’t think of a more deserving candidate for reelection than incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker, but my approach has been to keep my eyes closed and pray for his success. I admire his cool, his political courage, and the record he has compiled as governor while working in his fight against the goon-led effort to recall him. He has stood in there like a man against the assaults of the Democratic thugocracy. What haven’t they thrown at him? Long may he run.

In Mary Burke, the Democrats fielded a plausible candidate to run against Walker. Burke has staked her campaign on her experience as an executive of the Trek bicycle business, where she worked until 1993. It’s not only homegrown, it’s her own family’s business. Democrats specialize in the art of camouflage and Burke seemed to have the camo nailed down.

However, Burke’s resume has a two-year hole in it after she left Trek in the 1990′s. According to her, she had burned out in her position with the company and left to recharge her batteries.

Yesterday, however, I tuned into the race when M.D. Kittle reported in the Wisconsin Reporter: “Trek sources: Mary Burke’s family fired her for incompetence.” It’s a terrific story, to which WISN/Newstalk 1130 reporter Dan O’Donnell added in “Former Trek president and CEO confirms Mary Burke was fired” (audio below). Quotable quote from Tom Albers, former Trek Vice President and COO: “[S]he just couldn’t handle the position.”

Today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel rushes to Burke’s rescue in “Ex-Trek execs with conservative ties say Mary Burke was forced out.” The Journal Sentinel throws a team of reporters at the story and they go into overdrive to impugn the sources quoted in the stories above. Quotable 2006 quote from Burke’s predecessor as Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce: “She’s a disaster.” Please do read the whole thing and draw your own conclusions.

One has to read deep into the Journal Sentinel story to ascertain Burke’s response. She wasn’t fired; she didn’t burn out. She just departed involuntarily when her position (reminder: in the family business) was eliminated. Cue the laugh track:

“The truth is that after getting five additional offices up and running and managing seven operations, we decided to restructure and there was no need for my position and two of the people reporting to me could directly report to people in the United States,” she said. “I was part of that decision to restructure and did that and then decided to leave.”

The dead giveaway here is the preface: “The truth is…” That’s even a bigger tell than “Frankly,…” My conclusion, the Journal Sentinel to the contrary notwithstanding, is that she was lying then (about burnout) and that she’s lying now (about her voluntary departure). She was let go.

I’m closing my eyes again until Tuesday night.

UPDATE: Via Stephen Gutowski/Washington Free Beacon, below is one of Burke’s ads featuring her experience at Trek.

Chickenshit coming home to roost [Power Line]

(Scott Johnson)

Let us recall Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s disquisition on American foreign policy in which he explicated the text of Malcolm X in his Nation of Islam phase: “America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” It was Wright’s post 9/11 sermon. Thus spake Obama’s pastor (video here): “What Malcolm X said when he got silenced by Elijah Muhammad was in fact true: America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” Wright elaborated and reiterated his point:

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” he told his congregation.

Now in Jeffrey Goldberg’s “chickenshit” variations we have a senior Obama administration official gloating over the invulnerability of Iran’s nuclear program to Israeli attack: “It’s too late for [Netananyahu] to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

The official mocks Netanyahu for letting Obama bully him into inaction on the promise, let it be recalled, that the United States would have Israel’s back. Having foolishly heeded the Obama administration wishes and perhaps even taken its word at face value, Netanyahu is now poorly positioned to do anything about a prospective deal that blesses Iran’s nuclear program. The gloating is nigh on unbelievable, but it is just America’s chickenshit coming home to roost.

H/t: AEI’s Danielle Pletka, who recalled Reverend Wright in this context.

And now for something completely different, part deux [Power Line]

(Scott Johnson)

The first half of The Big Lebowski may the funniest half-movie ever, and is certainly right up there with the other funniest half-movies of all time. Not surprisingly, the film in its entirety has generated its own cult following and annual Lebowski Fest convention.

Dude In the film Jeff Bridges plays the dissolute leading character, Jeff Lebowski (“the Dude,” photo at left). His daily attire is a bathrobe, except when he is bowling.

Shopping for a bathrobe online, not necessarily one like the Dude sports, I find that the film has even generated a Big Lebowski Dude Wig and Costume Set. The Dude Wig and Costume Set is “frequently bought together” with the bathrobe.

As a standalone, it is for the man who has everything, or for the man who needs it for the next Lebowski Fest convention. With one-day delivery, it can even be adapted for use on Halloween tomorrow. This made me laugh.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 11.47.26 AMSTEVE adds: I’ve wondered sometimes whether the Coen brothers aren’t making some sly digs at modern liberalism in Lebowski.  Among other great lines is the early scene by the pool where The Dude spies Bunny’s supposed boyfriend asleep on a pool float.

Bunny: “Oh, he’s a nihilist.”

The Dude: “That must be exhausting.”

Truer words have seldom been spoken.  And don’t even get me started on the wisdom of Walter Slobchak, who is slated to make an appearance in our Week in Pictures this Saturday.

Hilarious: Hillary Sings Praises of Possible 2016 Rival Elizabeth Warren [Wizbang]

Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, both rumored to be in the hunt for the 2016 Democrat nomination for President, appeared at the same event last week prompting Clinton to praise Warren as a “passionate champion for working people.” As one of the nation’s most well known Democrat women, Hillary Clinton is certainly expected to throw her hat in the ring for the 2016 Democrat nomination for President. But there is another up-and-coming woman of the (far, far) left who is dallying with the same decision. Senator Elizabeth Warren has slowly begun to soften her stance against running going

Cosmo Magazine Sponsors Shirtless Male Models and Party Bus to Bring Students to the Polls [Wizbang]

Cosmopolitan magazine has been heavily pushing Obama’s agenda during this year’s election but the magazine isn’t satisfied with mere editorials and advertisements. Instead, the fashion magazine is going the extra mile by sponsoring a series of party busses featuring shirtless male models, free gifts, and snacks all aimed at carting college students to the polls next month. N.C. State University’s Technician, the school’s campus newspaper, reported that the fashion magazine will sponsor the party bus after the associate director of publicity and communications for Student Government entered to win the magazine’s #CosmoVotes election bus contest. After winning Cosmo’s first party

The Religion That Dare Not Be Named [Ed Driscoll]

“Child sexual exploitation has become a ‘social norm’ within some areas of Greater Manchester, according to the author of a report ordered after the Rochdale grooming case,” the BBC reports:

It said girls in uniform were regularly stopped by men outside schools.

Inquiry chairwoman Ann Coffey MP said the “prevailing public attitude” blamed children, leading to 1,000 convictions from 13,000 cases over six years.

Home Secretary Theresa May has described the report as “alarming”.

Ms Coffey has called for exploitation to be “declared a public health priority”.

In her report – Real Voices – Ms Coffey said explicit music videos, sexting and selfies could be “fuelling the increased sexualisation of children”.

‘Children are children’

The “normalisation of quasi-pornographic images… has given rise to new social norms and changed expectations of sexual entitlement,” she said.

“We need to get across the key message that whatever young people wear and however sexualised they appear, they are still children and need our protection.”

Huh. Typing CTRL-F and “Muslim” or CTRL-F and “Islam” returns zero finds on the BBC article. Not even CTRl-F “Asian” brings up that popular British PC euphemism within the actual article. Perhaps my Internet browser is broken. Either that, or from the BBC’s perspective, children aren’t the only group that the BBC feels need protecting.

Not that the BBC is any great shakes when it comes to protecting kids; as one of Glenn Reynolds’ commenters notes, “when it comes to sexual abuse with minors the BBC have serious problems of acknowledgment period. So many at the hands of those in their own organization.” Or as Mark Steyn wrote back in July, ““Notwithstanding two years of headlines re Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall and others, not everyone at the Beeb in my day was a paedophile — or at least I don’t think so,” in his profile of Australian-born UK folk singer Rolf Harris, who was found guilty in June “of 12 counts of indecent assault on young girls in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties,” Steyn wrote.

Talk About Burying the Lede [Ed Driscoll]


Teachers unions have their panties in a bunch over the new issue of Time magazine, the Daily Caller reports:

The feud between unionized teachers and Time magazine is continuing, with the country’s second-largest teachers union planning a demonstration outside the publication’s New York City headquarters on Thursday afternoon.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which has about 1.5 million members, launched a petition effort against Time last week over a cover reading “Rotten Apples: It’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher. Some tech millionaires may have found a way to change that.”

The cover was paired with a lead story focused on efforts by education reformers, funded by wealthy businessmen, to weaken teacher tenure and otherwise make it easier to fire inept educators. The AFT claims the cover “cast[s] teachers as ‘rotten apples’ needing to be smashed by Silicon Valley millionaires with no experience in education.” The petition, which demands that Time apologize, has collected some 90,000 signatures already and may soon pass 100,000.

To send its message home, AFT president Randi Weingarten will be leading a protest on Thursday afternoon at Time’s headquarters. Accompanied by Michael Mulgrew, the head of New York City’s teachers union, and a collection of other teachers and parents, Weingarten will be dropping off tens of thousands of petitions at TIME’s Midtown office at 3 p.m.

In an effort to shame the news magazine, AFT has also been organizing a collective social media protest using the hashtag #TIMEtoApologize, which will be promoted at the same time Weingarten’s multitude delivers the petitions.

Talk about burying the lede. Isn’t the real news here that seemingly for the first time since Republican founder Henry Luce permanently left the Time-Life building in 1967, Time magazine — until recently a subsidiary of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO — has (a) actually committed journalism and (b) wrote damaging news about a key constituency of the left? Presumably though, the shrieking freakout response from the teachers unions will be enough to cause Time into going another half century resuming their role as de facto Democrat operatives with bylines.

Obama’s Frat-House Statecraft [Ed Driscoll]

“The silliness of President Mom Jeans calling an Israeli special forces veteran ‘chickens–t’ was what first dominated the reactions of the Obama administration’s frat-house taunts directed at Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Seth Mandel writes at Commentary:

But the larger strategic impact of the insult, as passed through what Matthew Continetti has termed the “secretarial” press, this time via Jeffrey Goldberg, soon became apparent. And it has now been confirmed by a major story in the Wall Street Journal.

* * * * * * * * *

The Obama administration, then, has been carrying out its preferred policy: aligning with Iran in the Middle East. Now, this isn’t exactly surprising, since the administration has more or less telegraphed its pitches. Obama has also long been a doormat for the world’s tyrants, so adding Iran to the list that already includes states like Russia and Turkey adds a certain cohesiveness to White House policy.

Obama’s infamous and towering ignorance of world affairs, especially in the Middle East, has always made this latest faceplant somewhat predictable. The Looney-Tunes outburst at Netanyahu was not, but it teaches us two important things about Obama.

First, those who wanted to support Obama but had no real case for him in 2008 went with the idea that he had a “presidential temperament.” Those folks now look quite foolish–though that’s nothing new. Obama has a temperament ill suited for any activity not readily found on frat row.

Which also neatly describes his speechwriters and his cabinet members as well:

Mr. Kerry is vocal and forceful in internal debates, officials said, but he frequently gets out of sync with the White House in his public statements. White House officials joke that he is like the astronaut played by Sandra Bullock in the movie “Gravity,” somersaulting through space, untethered to the White House.

Aides to Mr. Kerry reject that portrait, saying he dials into White House meetings from the road and is heavily involved in the policy process. A long memo he wrote on the Islamic State, they said, has become the administration’s playbook for combating the group.

Yeah, that’s working out swimmingly. As far as Kerry as an astronaut, I just can’t see it myself:


Related: “In retrospect Romney’s foreign-policy chops from 2012 are looking spot-on, while Obama’s are looking kinda . . . chickenshit.” Hey, America rejected having grown-ups at the helm in both 2008 and 2012. What did they think was going to happen as a result?


Populism’s Hard When You Don’t Like the People [Ed Driscoll]

The leftwing New Republic on sexist Massachusetts leftists:

Finally, there’s the nasty matter of sexism. Historically, Massachusetts doesn’t like female candidates. And, for all the plaudits showered on the Commonwealth’s voters for overcoming their seeming misogyny by sending Elizabeth Warren to the Senate two years ago, the fact is that Warren is a political superstar. We’ll know Massachusetts has reached true gender equality when its female hacks stand as good a chance as its male ones.

Not to be confused with Democrats in Pennsylvania, who in 2008 were declared racist by their fellow leftists at the Huffington Post:

But now there are two and we’re facing Pennsylvania and whom are we kidding? This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don’t mean people, I mean white men. How ironic is this? After all this time, after all these stupid articles about how powerless white men are and how they can’t even get into college because of overachieving women and affirmative action and mean lady teachers who expected them to sit still in the third grade even though they were all suffering from terminal attention deficit disorder — after all this, they turn out (surprise!) to have all the power. (As they always did, by the way; I hope you didn’t believe any of those articles.)

And don’t get would-be Texas Governor Wendy Davis started on those rubes in her home state:

Jon Stewart tossed the softest of softballs at her. He played up anti-voter ID propaganda as if it’s fact, but hey, he had his clown nose on when he was telling that lie.

The trained audience booed at the mere mention of Greg Abbott’s name. Unluckily for Davis, none of them actually get to vote in Texas.*

Davis mocks the state that she wants to make her its governor at the end of this clip. Stewart notes that a college ID is not a valid form of ID for voting, but a gun permit is.

Davis laughs. “Welcome to Texas!” she fires back in scorn.

And that should be that for the Texas election. Wendy Davis really has just been on an MSNBC audition tour all this time.

As Ricochet’s Troy Senik has noted, “Populism’s Hard When You Don’t Like the People.”

Think of the New Republic quote at the start of this post as a coming attractions teaser, and get ready for two years — possibly followed by four to eight years! — of leftists who spent the last six years telling you’re racist for not supporting Barack Obama telling you you’re sexist for not supporting Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren.

Very likely the same leftists. Forward!

Related: Michelle Malkin on “Up in Flames: The spectacular self-immolation of the Wendy R. Davis gubernatorial campaign.”

‘The NARAL Cory Gardner Ad, in Full’ [Ed Driscoll]

“Forget the Wendy Davis wheelchair ad. NARAL, an extreme pro-abortion group, just nominated its own entry for worst campaign ad of 2014,” the Federalist notes:

The new NARAL ad in Colorado suggests that Cory Gardner wants to ban condoms. Not just the pill, but condoms. Because nothing says “I want to ban birth control” like wanting to make birth control…available over-the-counter without a prescription.

According to NARAL, wanting to make birth control over-the-counter is the same as banning it, and that will cause condoms, which are also available over-the-counter, to disappear entirely from stores. Or something.

* * * * * * * * *

In all seriousness, congratulations to NARAL for airing what might be the dumbest ad of 2014. According to the Real Clear Politics poll average in Colorado, Gardner leads Democratic Sen. Mark Udall by 3 percentage points.

At the NRO Corner, Charles C. W. Cooke has an exclusive Iowahawk-style satiric transcript of the extended rough cut version of the ad; the following is merely a small sample:

With Colorado’s airwaves packed in the final days of the state’s Senate race, NARAL had to cut down its last-ditch anti-Cory Gardner advertisement for length. The full version, as obtained by National Review:

Woman: Did you try Whole Foods?

Man: Of course.

Woman: Grocery store?

Man: Sold out.

Woman: Farmer’s market?

Man: Come on.

Woman: So everyone’s sold out of ramen noodles? How did this happen?

Man: With that personhood decree, Cory Gardner banned anything that could hurt an unborn child. And now, we’re starving. Alcohol was just the start. Raw meat? Cory banned it. Seafood? Gone. No more pâté, fruit, Caesar dressing, sushi . . .

Woman: That one hurts the most.

Man: . . . eggs, Tiramisu, coffee. After food stamps were abolished. I had to eat those old Pell Grant applications just to stay alive. Sometimes I envy Barack Obama. At least they feed him on Elba.

So Colorado leftists fear that Gardner will turn Colorado into a cross between California and New York! Rocky Mountain hipsters — who presumably have lurking within them the deep-seated nanny state urge to “ban everything and then ban it again” that manifests itself once they become elected officials should love the guy — or at least the fantasy hologram they’ve built of him.

Debunking The MSM’s Myth of Michael Brown, Gentle Giant (Video) [Ed Driscoll]

“Ben Shapiro exposes the truth behind the media-created myth of Gentle Giant Michael Brown, the unarmed teen gunned down in cold blood by a white racist cop for the crime of walking while black. Except that every part of that story is a lie,” Breitbart TV notes.

Haven’t we seen this playbook in action before from the media-industrial-Obama complex? Why, yes we have:

And yes, all of the above would be described by those who’ve manufactured the myths of Brown and Martin as “Hate Facts,” to borrow from Greg Gutfeld’s brilliant description of the MSM’s Orwellian overculture.

What Could Go Wrong? [Ed Driscoll]

“PBS To Bring Pages Of The Atlantic To TV,” Betsy Rothstein writes at the Daily Caller:

Everyone is “thrilled” and “excited.”

“We’re excited to see our stories brought to broadcast, and honored to be working with the NewsHour to make it happen,” says James Bennet, The Atlantic’s President and Editor-in-Chief. “No one in the business cares more about journalistic integrity and depth.”

“We are thrilled to collaborate with The Atlantic, leaders in thought-provoking journalism. We share a commitment to finding fascinating stories about our world and giving them the time and the space to tell them well, on air, online and in print,” says Sara Just, Executive Producer of PBS NewsHour, who has just joined the program in this capacity.

The shows write themselves, don’t they? Will PBS and the Atlantic team up to go spelunking in Sarah Palin’s uterus one last time? Will Charlie Rose and Jeffrey Goldberg co-host a broadcast to egg each other on to describe which is man is more clueless about Barack Obama’s foreign policy and worldview? Who will host the show which explores how “unexpectedly” Venezuela went down the tubes under socialist Hugo Chavez? In any case, the boilerplate PBS fundraiser should certainly make for much more interesting viewer when combined with a half-hour star-studded plug for Scientology.

PBS and the Atlantic — it’s a match made in PC purgatory.

Scottish Shadow Minister: “We are in a Dreadful Position” [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Shadow Deputy Leader of the House and Scottish Labour MP Thomas Docherty couldn’t have timed these comments on Wato any better to help out his leader:

“The state that the Labour party is in right now is we are in a dreadful position. And we’ve got to be honest about ourselves. We have very low esteem with the electorate. The electorate looks at us and has no idea what our polices are. We have a moribund party in Scotland that seems to think that infighting is more important than campaigning. And we have a membership that is ageing and inactive. We can return to be the grown-up party that wants to be in government or we can self-indulge like a throwback to the 1980s and watch our party implode, the SNP win again, the Tories win again, and have another referendum.”

Hope Ed enjoys his fundraising dinner with Scottish Labour in Glasgow tonight…

Tagged: Labour, Miliband

Talking Heads Should Go on Russia Today UK… [Guy Fawkes' blog]

The Kremlin-funded news network Russia Today has launched a UK channel this morning, promising to “focus on the issues that matter most to Britons”. Which presumably means anything other than Ukraine and the shooting down of flight MH17. RT’s own staff have previously accused the channel of being a Putin propaganda mouthpiece, so the move has sparked much debate among media talking heads:

Channels like Russia Today will still be there whether or not British talking heads appear on it, so Guido encourages commentators to go on and then subvert it. When Guido went on PressTV he named Iran’s jailed dissident bloggers then asked for his fee to be paid to Conservative Friends of Israel. If you’re looking for inspiration look no further than James Kirchick:


Tagged: GuyNews.TV, Media Guido

Bill Gets Ed’s Axelrod Treatment for Free [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Ed Miliband’s very expensive, but very silent, election strategist David Axelrod has been to see Mayor Bill de Blasio’s team in New York, and he isn’t even getting paid for the service. Ed’s £300,000 fee for a one off visit seems like a bit of a rip off now…

Tagged: Cash, Labour, Spin

Ipsos Mori Poll: Labour Face Wipeout in Scotland [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Remarkable Ipsos Mori poll out this afternoon putting Scottish Labour on just 23%, a massive fall from the 42% they won in 2010 and miles behind the SNP, who rocket to 52%.

STV reports:

“Those who would lose their seat include Jim Murphy, who is standing to be the next leader of Scottish Labour, Douglas Alexander and Margaret Curran… The only Scottish Labour MPs who would survive would be Willie Bain in Glasgow North East, Tom Clarke in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, Gordon Brown in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath and Ian Davidson in Glasgow South West.”

No wonder Jim Murphy is planning his next career move…


Tagged: Labour, Polls

10 Illiberal Policies of the LibDems [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Nick Clegg, that bastion of liberalism, is going around blaming David Cameron’s illiberal policies for the deaths of drug users this morning. Even a LibDem voter on an acid trip could see through Clegg’s conversion to a fearless crusader for the cause of freedom. This is the same Nick Clegg whose party wants to tax fizzy drinks more, tax booze more, change the definition of cider so they can tax it more, ban branding on fag packets, ban houses that are not zero carbon, ban smoking in cars, ban smoking in pubs and restaurants, ban petrol and diesel cars, implement state regulation of the press and regulate goldfish. What would Gladstone say?

Tagged: Clegg, Drugs, LibDems

Apple’s Tim Cook: iGay [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Apple’s Tim Cook has confirmed the obvious:

“While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”

Never mind his private life, what about fixing the battery life?

Tagged: Techno Guido

Who Are These Immoral Tax Raisers? [Guy Fawkes' blog]


“The government has a moral duty to think of these people [taxpayers] in any decisions made on tax and spending” says the Prime Minister. “But what is morally wrong is government spending money as if it grows on trees. Every single pound of public money started as private earning” he continues in The Times.

So who immorally raised VAT to an eye-watering 20%? Who has maintained high combined national insurance and tax rates on everyone earning above minimum wage at Gordon Brown levels? Who allowed inflation to push some million more of the middle classes into the higher rate bracket?

Who introduced 509 tax rises since being elected in May 2010? Who is planning to increase the share of GDP that is taken in taxation by the state to higher levels than under Gordon Brown?

£513 billion in 2009-10, representing 36.5% of GDP
£648 billion in 2014-15, representing 37.0% of GDP
£778 billion in 2018-19, representing 38.1% of GDP

Who would be so immoral?

Tagged: Tax

Labour Expenses Piggy’s Wikipedia Edited From Parliament [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Back in 2012 the Bureau of Investigative Journalism exposed former Labour MP Joan Ryan for deleting references to her expenses scandal shame from her Wikipedia page. She was caught red-handed and ‘fessed up, and details of her flipping her second home were returned to her entry. This week they mysteriously went missing again. 

Wikipedia’s “revisions” analysis shows that yesterday the section “Involvement in the expenses scandal” was removed from Ryan’s page. Curiously, the changes were made anonymously from an IP address located within the Houses of Parliament. This is what the mystery deleter didn’t want you to see:

“In May 2009, it was reported that Ryan had claimed more than £4,500 under the Additional Costs Allowance for work on a house she had designated as her second home. In February 2010, based on an audit report looking into the United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal, Ryan was asked to repay £5,121 mortgage interest.”

Whoever they are, they certainly seem to have a strong opinion on the subject:

Could an old friend of Joan be trying to clean up her record ahead of her ambitious attempt to stand for parliament again?

H/T @parliamentedits

UPDATE: A parliamentary source gets in touch to report that none other than Joan Ryan visited the Commons yesterday, the day her page was edited from a parliament computer. Curiouser and curiouser…

Tagged: Expenses, Labour, Sleaze, Snouts in the Trough, Techno Guido

Quote of the Day [Guy Fawkes' blog]

David Cameron drug policy reformer and leadership contender in 2005…

“Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by posturing with tough policies and calling for crackdown after crackdown. Drugs policy has been failing for decades.”

Tagged: Dave

Telegraph “Squared” By Downing Street Ahead of 2015 [Guy Fawkes' blog]

The dwindling readership of the Telegraph may have noticed a change in the mood of the paper following the sudden departure of Tony Gallagher as editor. A thorn in the side of the Tories for much of the last four years, the paper has seriously softened its stance toward Cameron’s government of late. It’s not even subtle:

A source familiar with the situation stresses to Guido “the deal has been done” ahead of the election, with the paper fully signed up to support the Tories to the hilt – especially in regard to the “purple menace”The terms of the deal – and the benefit to Sark’s famously reclusive billionaire brothers – remain a mystery.

Obama Warned Us – Basic Rights [IMAO]

You now have basic rights and protections when it comes to health insurance—thanks to #Obamacare: http://ofa.bo/e13r


“It used to be a lot more than just the basics, but I whittled it down some for ya. You’re welcome.”

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You’ve Been Judged! [IMAO]

Anonymiss of Nuking Politics picked her favorite punchlines to “A New Government Study Shows That the Only Way to Kill Ebola…

Click here to see if you made the cut.

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Straight Line of the Day: Nancy Pelosi Said People Should Vote Democrat Next Week Because… [IMAO]

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

Nancy Pelosi said people should vote Democrat next week because…

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong? [IMAO]

Asked how Obamacare’s second open enrollment period would go, HHS’s Sylvia Mathews Burwell said she expects “there will be issues that will be raised as we go”.

Also, premiums.

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Frank Move Update [IMAO]

Was supposed to leave for Texas this morning, but 18 month old son had a 102 fever, one cat’s foot was broken (long story short, I installed new blinds poorly), and there was still some work left to do in the house. But God-willing, tomorrow morning we leave for Austin. That’s me, SarahK, two small kids, two cats and a dog in a little SUV toting a trailer.

Anyway, one of these days I’ll get to Texas and start my cool new job at Emergent Order. And hopefully stop neglecting this blog so much. Keep us in your prayers.

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I’m Not Sure What Lesson We’re Supposed to Learn From This [IMAO]

The European Space Agency brags about their comet-orbiting probe:

[Ambition the film] (Viewer #426,356)

I like this video because of the eye-candy visuals.

I’m not sure how I feel about the setting, though.

They take a hard-science topic like spaceflight and turn it into some magical-mystical mumbo-jumbo thing. It’s an insult to every nerd in every laboratory on the planet.

Oh, and that whole “I destroyed it” thing at the end. Spoken like a true socialist who feels like he has the right to revoke your accomplishments on a whim just because he’s feeling puckish.

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Makes Chicken Little Look Like Charles Krauthammer [IMAO]

John Kerry said that if global warming skeptics are wrong, “life as you know it on Earth ends”.

Sheesh! Bond villains roll their eyes at this guy and say “what a drama queen!”

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Link of the Day: List – Why New Yorkers Are Upset About Ebola [IMAO]

[High Praise! to Hatless in Hattiesburg]

Ebola panic in New York

[Think you have a link that's IMAO-worthy? Send it to harvolson@gmail.com. If I use your link, you will receive High Praise! (assuming you remember to put your name in the email)]

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Covers All the Contingencies *I* Can Think Of [IMAO]

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a comprehensive plan for how the US military will address the effects of climate change.

I’m really hoping it’s “ignore it and go kill terrorists”.

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Congress Shall Make No Law… [VodkaPundit]

In which your Trifecta crew takes on the FEC in defense of DailyKos*.

*And of VodkaPundit, too.

Apple Store — Tehran? [VodkaPundit]

Maybe, someday:

Senior Apple executives have met potential Iranian distributors at Apple’s regional headquarters on London’s Hanover Street, four people familiar with the matter said. The Cupertino, Calif., company explored the possibility of having Iranian partners sell Apple products at so-called premium resellers, three of the people said. Instead of company-operated Apple stores, such outlets would be midsize franchisees that sell Apple products only, a model the company has used in Europe and Asia, the people said.

Apple declined to comment.

Now the real reason for the Administration’s pro-Iran policies become clear…

Now for a slightly more serious note.

Businesses exist to make money, and an easy way to make more money is to move into a new market starved for its products or services. For a purely hypothetical example, imagine if California imposed a 30-year moratorium on common sense, you own a profitable cluebat manufacturing plant in Arizona, and the moratorium is about to expire. Naturally, you’d be talking to people across the state line about setting up distribution channels.

There’s nothing right or wrong about what Apple is doing — it’s just business.

The question in my mind is: Why now? What makes Apple think this is a good time to spend scarce resources and precious personnel on the Islamic Republic? Let’s even leave aside for now that big-time Democrat Al Gore sits on the company’s board. (And when Al Gore sits on the board, he really sits on the board.)

We’ve all saw the story this week that the Administration is nonplussed that Iran is close to getting nukes, and seemingly giddy that Israel has acquiesced to that deadly fact. We’ve also all read the stories that Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom, in one of his rare-yet-boneheaded instances of decisiveness, is ready to end-run Congress on lifting the sanctions on Iran unilaterally.

So what Apple is doing is just smart business. What I’m afraid of is we’re all about to learn if iPhones glow in the dark.

The Ugly Side of Lena Dunham [VodkaPundit]


Not to take one single smidgen of a thing away from Jonah Goldberg, whom I enjoy and respect in equal and enormous measure, but Kevin Williamson is to me the most interesting thinker at National Review. Today he takes on Girls girl Lena Dunham, who he says in one sense

may truly be the voice of her generation: The enormous affluence and indulgence of her upbringing did not sate her sundry hungers — for adoration, for intellectual respect that she has not earned, for the unsurpassable delight of moral preening — but instead amplified and intensified her sense of entitlement. The Brooklyn of Girls is nothing more or less than a 21st-century version of the Malibu Barbie Dreamhouse, with New York City taxis standing in for the pink Corvette. Writers naturally indulge their own autobiographical and social fantasies, from Brideshead Revisited to The Lord of the Rings, but Girls represents a phenomenon distinctly of our time: the fantasy not worth having.

Read, of course, the whole thing.

It’s that last line which really got me thinking about so much of what is supposed to pass for entertainment on TV. Today’s great shows — Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Hannibal — or even the “merely” fun shows — Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Castle — are as great or as fun as anything ever on TV. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the modern age’s great dramas, starting probably with The Sopranos, are the best TV shows ever made.

But we also live in the age of the worst shows ever made — and I don’t mean the mediocre schlock and dreck typical of any (every!) network’s lineup since the Dawn of TV. Ninety percent of everything is crap, after all, and TV shows are no exception. With 570 channels and something on, the vast middle has never been vaster. And it’s a straight, short line from Three’s Company to Just Shoot Me to The Millers. These aren’t the worst shows by any measure. They’re just OK. And that’s OK. No need to shoot anyone.

No, the worst shows are the ones filled with unappealing characters in bad situations of their own design, which we’re somehow supposed to enjoy on some strange “elevated” level because the shows are filled with unappealing characters in bad situations of their own design. Girls is the most visible of the New Pure Awful genre, along with more recent additions like Stalker and Scandal, but the latest, worst offender might be ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder.

I watched the first five or six episodes because the cast was strong and some of the writing was sharp. But I gave up a week or two ago after realizing that there was not one single person to cheer for, not even the murder victim, and there likely never would be. I wasn’t able to recognize a single character who wasn’t on some level a sociopath. We find Hannibal Lecter appetizing because while his standards are not the same as decent people’s, he does have standards — and is fully cognizant of his own inhumanity. The monsters of HTGAWM have no standards apart from a chilling capacity for self-presevation, and seem to consider themselves the future of humanity. Gross.

Thought for the Day [VodkaPundit]

News You Can Use [VodkaPundit]

Meanwhile, in the Denver suburb lovingly referred to as Saudi Aurora:

An unidentified Colorado man suffered life-threatening injuries Sunday morning when he jumped out of his vehicle to avoid being burnt by a lit cigarette he had dropped down the front of his jacket — and was run over by his own car.

The incident occurred on the 15900 block of East Nassau Drive in Aurora at 6:37 a.m. while the man backed his vehicle out of a driveway.

As the driver jumped out after the cigarette fell, his van kept rolling backwards and he was knocked to the ground. The front driver’s side tire rolled over his head.

He’s expected to survive, but he may never live down being the guy who ran over his own head.

Japan’s Last Chance [VodkaPundit]

Chart of Doom

Stephen Roach takes a look at Japan’s most recent attempt to spend its way to prosperity:

Abenomics, with its potentially powerful combination of monetary and fiscal stimulus, coupled with a wide array of structural reforms, was supposed to end Japan’s “lost decades.” All three “arrows” of the strategy were to be aimed at freeing the economy from a 15-year deflationary quagmire.

Unfortunately, not all of the arrows have been soaring in flight. The Bank of Japan seems well on its way to delivering on the first one – embracing what it calls quantitative and qualitative easing (QQE). Relative to GDP, the BOJ’s monetary-policy gambit could actually far outstrip the efforts of America’s Federal Reserve.

But the flight of the other two arrows is shaky, at best. In recent days, Abe has raised serious questions about proceeding with the second phase of a previously legislated consumer-tax hike that has long been viewed as the linchpin of Japan’s debt-consolidation strategy. Abe has flinched because the economy remains weak, posing renewed risks of a deflationary relapse. Meanwhile, the third arrow of structural reforms – especially tax, education, and immigration reforms – is nowhere near its target.

Abenomics, one might conclude, is basically a Japanese version of the failed policy combination deployed in the United States and Europe: massive unconventional liquidity injections by central banks (with the European Central Bank apparently now poised to follow the Fed), but little in the way of fundamental fiscal and structural reforms. The political expedience of the short-term monetary fix has triumphed once again.

I think it’s safe to conclude that politicians — and this is universal, not unique to Japan — will never undertake serious political or economic reform, so long as they’re allowed to take the easy way out of printing money.

Printing money feels good, it’s easy to achieve, and it provides effortlessly the illusion of prosperity. Real reform means pushing even your friends off of the gravy train and forcing even the most entrenched business interests to compete. That makes for unhappy power brokers — the only real anathema to progressive political leaders.

So it’s free money for everybody forever. But as Heinlein wrote, anything free is worth what you pay for it — you just don’t find out until later.

Well, it’s later than they think.

Gray Lady Calls for White House Shakeup [VodkaPundit]

It looks like our friends at the NYT are trying to get ahead of the White House Disaster Curve, because even if the Dems steal a win next week, it’s obvious to everybody that the final quarter of the Obama Administration is going to require some fresh faces:

At a time when the Obama administration is lurching from crisis to crisis — a new Cold War in Europe, a brutal Islamic caliphate in the Middle East and a deadly epidemic in West Africa, to name just the most obvious ones — it is not surprising that long-term strategy would take a back seat. But it raises inevitable questions about the ability of the president and his hard-pressed national security team to manage and somehow get ahead of the daily onslaught of events.

Early stumbles in the government’s handling of the Ebola crisis as well as its belated response to the Islamic State have fueled speculation that Mr. Obama may shake up his team, which is stocked with battle-tested but exhausted White House loyalists and cabinet members, like Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who are viewed as less cohesive than the “team of rivals” in Mr. Obama’s first cabinet. George W. Bush took that route after the bruising midterm elections in 2006, when he dismissed Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

First, take notice of the de rigueur “But Booosh!” in the second graf. NYT readers may nod their heads sagely at the reminder that whatever terrible thing might befall Teh Won, it first happened to Bush but worse.

Second, I do love the use of the phrase “battle-tested” to describe Obama’s “loyalists” and cabinet members. “Battle-test and found wanting” would have been closer to the truth, but undoubtedly too wordy when the real point of that graf was to comfort readers with the “But Booosh!”

If the Dems don’t manage to steal a win next week, then things will get seriously ugly.

Seriously, deliciously, delightfully, schadenfreudelly ugly.

Ace calls it a “schadenboner,” and who am I to disagree?

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day [VodkaPundit]


About those millennials who are giving up on the Democrats

Average insurance premiums in the sought-after 23-year-old demographic rose most dramatically, with men in that age group seeing an average 78.2 percent price increase before factoring in government subsidies, and women having their premiums rise 44.9 percent, according to a report by HealthPocket scheduled for release Wednesday.

The study, which was shared Tuesday with The Washington Times, examined average health insurance premiums before the implementation of Obamacare in 2013 and then afterward in 2014. The research focused on people of three ages — 23, 30 and 63 — using data for nonsmoking men and women with no spouses or children.

This next bit is, if I’m choosing the right adjective, rich:

“It’s very eye-opening in terms of the transformation occurring within the individual health insurance market,” said Kev Coleman, head of research and data at HealthPocket, a nonpartisan, independently managed subsidiary of Health Insurance Innovations in Sunnyvale, California.

“I was surprised in general to see the differences in terms of the average premiums in the pre-reform and post-reform markets,” Mr. Coleman said. “It was a higher amount than I had anticipated.”

What part exactly of requiring wider benefits and most people will never use or not charging sick people more than healthy people was supposed to decrease costs for the young.

And how did so-called experts miss this teensy little fact?

Name, Rank, Serial Number, Home Address, Social Security Number… [VodkaPundit]

CurrentC is even worse than I thought:

After you’ve launched CurrentC you’re given two options: I Have An Invitation or I Need An Invitation. If you tap I Have An Invitation you’ll be asked for your email address and ZIP code. Entering an email that hasn’t been invited yet will kick you back to the first screen and give you a message saying they’ll let you know when CurrentC is available in your area. A concerning behavior I saw here is that regardless of what email you enter, CurrentC’s service will respond with a large dictionary of user data.


Now, I have to stress here, I never got CurrentC to return me a real user’s data. However, the fact that these fields exist is a good indicator that CurrentC plans to collect this data, and also why on Earth would you ever return these fields without any sort of authentication first? I never hit on an email that appeared to be a valid account, but I was honestly too nervous to keep trying given the data it seemed eager to send back.

Your CurrentC account, I should add, is tied directly to your checking account. This is ripe for all kinds of abuse, the least of which is all the tracking MCX retailers will put on you.

ONE MORE THING: They just got hacked. Read:

On Wednesday, those taking part in the CurrentC pilot program received a warning from the consortium of anti-credit-card retailers called MCX, or Merchant Consumer Exchange: The program was hacked in the last 36 hours, and criminals managed to grab the email addresses of anyone who signed up for the program.

MCX confirmed the hack, adding what’s become a go-to line for any company that loses your data: “We take the security of our users’ information extremely seriously.”

It’s a rough start for an app that aims to be a competitor to Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Over a million people happily gave their credit card numbers to Apple Pay in the first 72 hours, instantly making it bigger than every other e-payment system combined. It doesn’t seem likely that people will be lining up virtually to hand over their Social Security and checking account numbers to CurrentC.

Run Away! Run Away! [VodkaPundit]


Running away from Bush worked so well for the GOP eight years ago, didn’t it? Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom isn’t making things easier for his own Senate caucus when he insists that while he isn’t on the ballot this year, his agenda is. But read past the headline to learn of Wiggleroom’s exasperation:

With so many Democrats trying to suggest a distance from Obama that doesn’t exist, Axelrod added, it’s natural for the president and his team “to be a little frustrated.”

Another senior Democrat who advises the White House, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said the current feeling among Obama and his aides is “exasperation.”

“He doesn’t think they have any reason to run away from him,” the adviser said. “He thinks there is a strong message there.”

Because that’s what Valerie tells him.

Packt offers library subscription with additional $150 worth of free content [Full Circle Magazine]

As  you may know, Packt Publishing supports Full Circle Magazine with review copies of books, so it’s only fair that we help them by bringing this offer to your attention:


PacktLib provides full online access to over 2000 books and videos to give users the knowledge they need, when they need it. From innovative new solutions and effective learning services to cutting edge guides on emerging technologies, Packt’s extensive library has got it covered. For a limited time only, Packt is offering 5 free eBook or Video downloads in the first month of a new annual subscription – up to $150 worth of extra content. That’s in addition to one free download a month for the rest of the year.

This special PacktLib Plus offer marks the release of the new and improved reading and watching platform, packed with new features.

The deal expires on 4 November.

A Case of Mistaken Identity [Everyday Athlete]

You Are

Pretend for a moment that I am sitting across from you, and I ask, “Who are you?”  What would you say?

You might define yourself by the role you play to others – friend, wife, mother, sister.  You might define yourself by your job or industry – accountant, teacher, marketing, sales.  Perhaps you would define yourself based on your personality traits – sarcastic, intelligent, outgoing, funny.  Or maybe the things you are passionate about – CrossFit, college football, music.

We all label ourselves and each other.  The accuracy of such labels varies.  Many people, self included, may be trying to escape labels from our past and present.

Sometimes, I find myself trying to prove than I am the opposite of a label from the past.  Let’s take for example, unpopular (thank you, middle school and high school).  Despite thriving in Chicago, and being surrounded by a great group of friends, I still feel pressure to prove that I am not the shy loner I once was.  I worry that if I don’t go to every social event I’m invited to, that people will stop including me in things.  I worry that people won’t like me when I meet them for the first time.  I worry that I will be forgotten about or overlooked.

Sometimes, I am trying to live up to a long-standing label, like being fit.  These labels are tricky – despite the long-term nature, after a short period break, you can begin to wonder if you can still claim it.  If I haven’t been to CrossFit in a week, is the label still true?  What about a month?  What if I get injured and can’t train at all for weeks?  What if I go through a phase where I overeat and indulge in unhealthy food for a while?  At what point do I lose the label of fit and healthy?  When I gain 5 lbs?  10? 25?

Sometimes, it’s a label you wrestle with.  It’s funny how a handful of words spoken by someone years ago can entrench itself in your mind and then take root there.  I remember being at a Phoenix Suns game several years ago with one of my best friends at the time.  I don’t remember the context of our conversation, but I remember his words to me as if he had spoken them to me yesterday, “Kayla, I mean, don’t get me wrong, but…you are not a skinny girl.”  Body image is something I have wrestled with for a long time, and his label is just one small piece of a whirlwind of experiences, words, and thoughts that I sometimes still get caught up in.  I’ve gone from being a dancer, where being thin is the aesthetic ideal, to being a bodybuilder, where muscle and extreme leanness is the goal, to being a CrossFitter, where strength and speed and power trump physical appearance altogether.  As much as my dabbling in different types of training have been about fitness, it has also been about finding the place where I can reconcile my perception my body and how I define healthy.

Disproving labels, proving labels, replacing labels – it’s an exhausting process.  But what I’ve come to realize is there is really only one person who can tell me who I am – God.

As a follower of Christ, I am the following (source):

  • A child of God (John 1:12)
  • My former self is gone and I am new creation (Romans 6:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • I have been justified and redeemed (Romans 3:24)
  • I have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in me (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  • I have been set free (Galatians 5:1)
  • I am chosen, holy, and blameless before God (Ephesians 1:4)
  • I am God’s workmanship created to produce good works (Ephesians 2:10)
  • I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20)
  • The peace of God guards my heart and mind (Philippians 4:7)
  • I have been chosen of God, and I am holy and beloved (Colossians 3:12)
  • God loves me and has chosen me (1 Thessalonians 1:4)

Any other label that I might give myself or others might give me can be taken away.  The labels serve as descriptors of transient characteristics that can change over time.  The only permanent identity I can be confident in is the one I have been given by God:

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

So, I have reached a place where CrossFit is my preferred way of being a good steward of the body the Lord has blessed me with, but not in such a way that it pre-empts my God-given identity.  I make mostly healthy choices with my eating, but have let go of needing to weigh and measure everything, to eat six meals per day, or to strictly follow any specific diet guidelines or structured plan.  I am not my past and I am not who I once was.  I tend to cling too tightly to my past, both good things and bad – but part of being a Christian is letting go of the past and moving forward:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.   Phillipians 3:12-14

When I first began writing this blog, I chose the name “Everyday Athlete” for two reasons.  One, I thought of “everyday athlete” in the context of “ordinary” or “average.”  I am not a professional athlete, I am a regular person who wanted to get in touch with my inner athlete.  Two, I wanted to maintain a consistent attitude of treating myself like an athlete – living a healthy lifestyle day in and day out.  Three years have passed, and now “Everyday Athlete” has taken on a different meaning for me.

1 Corinthians 9.24-27

Two Important Publishing Facts Everyone Gets Wrong [LISNews:]

Two Important Publishing Facts Everyone Gets Wrong

October 27th, 2014 | Hugh C. Howey

Almost everything being said about publishing today is predicated on two facts that are dead wrong. The first is that publishers are somehow being hurt by ebook sales. The second is that independent bookstores are being crushed. The opposite is true in both cases, and without understanding this, most of what everyone says about publishing is complete bollocks.

Full post here: http://www.hughhowey.com/two-important-publishing-facts-everyone-gets-wr...

Example infographic from post:

Is the College Model Ripe for Disruption? [LISNews:]

With the rising costs of mounting student debt, education innovators are exploring ways to change the traditional college system. What might college 2.0 look like? WSJ's Jason Bellini has #TheShortAnswer.

Redefining What Discovery Means | Peer to Peer Review [LISNews:]

A recent Ithaka report by Roger Schonfeld asks “Does Discovery Still Happen in the Library?” My immediate thought was “did it ever?” quickly followed by “why do we assume it should?”


A Library Battle in the Cornhusker State [LISNews:]

There’s a fight brewing in Omaha, Nebraska of all places. I say “of all places” because from a distance Omaha seems like a calm place. Maybe it’s all those Mutual of Omaha commercials I saw as a child. Omaha is reassuring.

Nevertheless, the mayor is fighting against the library of all places. I say “of all places” because who fights against the library? Do they ever win?

The mayor wants the library to give out the names and addresses of patrons to the police when they ask, which current policy in Omaha and most other public libraries doesn’t allow.

Full post here. (Annoyed Librarian)

Quote of the Day, Arguing About The Things That Matter edition. [Moe Lane]

Jonah Goldberg:

As a proud member of the “don’t just do something, sit there” school of politics, I don’t fret much about partisanship and gridlock. Partisanship and gridlock aren’t bugs of our constitutional system, they’re features. And while everyone likes to see their preferred policies sail through Congress, on the whole I think we’ve been well served by those features for two centuries.

That said, in the spirit of compromise so lacking in Washington, I would like to offer a suggestion for how to fix the alleged dysfunction in Washington: Let’s have more partisanship about ideas and less about process.

I will raise a cheer for process-related partisanship – I find merit in the Republican party’s history, even when it was not unabashedly conservative* – but Jonah raised some interesting points. Read, as they say, the whole thing.

Moe Lane

*The GOP has always fallen back to embracing liberty.  From the Civil War to civil rights to killing the Soviet Empire, once and for bloody all. And if that meant using the government to do it, well… there is still music in the sound of a shackle broken, and clattering to the ground.

Independent, NAMED sources: Mary Burke fired from family business for incompetence. [Moe Lane]

Come, I will conceal nothing from you: when I heard that Mary Burke had been essentially accused of being a nepotism-loving nincompoop who had to be fired from her father’s company (Trek Bicycle Corp) because she couldn’t hack the family business, I… shrugged.  The original story had one named source – former Trek HR director Gary Ellerman, who is now the chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party – and a couple of anonymous ones; and while the story certainly rang true you could make a legitimate case that the whole thing was just a partisan attack.  Well, OK, it is a partisan attack; which doesn’t make it false, but does make the whole thing arguable.

But then stuff happened.  First off, this:

…So, yeah, she was fired. Something that got confirmed by Tom Albers, former COO of the company. Albers comes across as being incredibly reluctant to talk about this, not to mention being highly sympathetic to Mary Burke (“I’m not saying she was incompetent… Maybe this job was too big for her.”). Apparently Mary Burke’s tenure in Europe as head of Trek’s European operations was plagued with poor employee relations, integration of existing networks, lowered revenue issues, and other executive-level problems: so allegedly Mary Burke was eventually removed and sent to go snowboarding for a couple of years.  Which is… nice, I suppose; but it’s not exactly reassuring.  There are no family members available to bail out Mary Burke when she messes up again, after all.

One other thing to note: the anonymous Wisconsin Reporter sources asked to be anonymous because they were afraid that the Burke family would make their lives miserable.  From the Journal Sentinel article, again:

[Tom] Albers said he had resolved to answer questions if asked about Mary Burke but not to volunteer them himself. He said he was concerned that he would face criticism and attempts to discredit him and repeatedly said that he respected Trek as a company and was concerned about appearing to detract from it.

Bolding mine.  And maybe those anonymous sources knew what they were talking about.

Links via Jeff B of AoSHQDD, who went off on this story – specifically, how the media managed to somehow miss this until now – in epic Twitter-rant form.  Read the whole thing.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Scott Walker for Governor.

Democrats: Danged if they do embrace Obama, danged if they don’t. [Moe Lane]

David Axelrod:

“I’ve always believed that it’s not an effective strategy to run against a president of your own party, unless you’ve been actively opposed to that president,” said David Axelrod, who was Obama’s top political strategist in his two presidential campaigns and a senior adviser in his White House. “You’re going to get tagged with it anyway.”

Particularly when running against said President is in direct contradiction to your own voting history.

[A] new issue of Congressional Quarterly brings fresh evidence that Senate Democrats have maintained a tight formation behind the president, even as his approval ratings have sunk. It analyzed the 120 Senate votes on which Obama has urged a “yes” or “no” this year, and found that the most vulnerable Democrats stood behind him a minimum of 96 percent of the time.

You end up pleasing nobody.

So. Parenting question. [Moe Lane]

Let’s say your youngest kid is home from school because of the usual arcane school scheduling system.  Being conscientious, you have of course dressed the child in fresh clothing.  However, some time in the middle of the morning you look up to discover that the child has quietly changed himself back into pajamas.

You open your mouth, and… shrug, and close your mouth.

Is this bad parenting, or awesome parenting?  I could see it either way.

Hams await Navassa Island project in January [Shortwave Central]

"Navassa Island is currently ranked #2 on the DX Magazine's "Most Wanted List".

KP1, Navassa Island (Press Release)

From the The KP1-5 Project, dated October 22nd

"The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has notified the KP1-5 Project that they will be the team to activate Navassa Island (KP1) in January 2015.  The DXpedition will be a maximum of fourteen days. The exact dates in January will be determined by USFWS mission requirements and weather
 Our experienced team of fifteen is complete and is ready for the challenge. The weeks ahead will be extremely busy as the team has less than 90 days before the DXpedition comes on the air.  January is the month of minimum bird nesting activity and this is the primary reason USFWS is asking that the operation be completed during that month. However, the weather is unpredictable in January and becauseNavassa is surrounded by cliffs, this may preclude a safe landing by boat. For safety reasons and in order to maximize our time on the Iiland and on the air, a helicopter operation is planned. Navassa is over 100 miles (160 km) from the nearest helicopter staging point and as many as
ten round trips will be required at the beginning and end of the operation.

Obviously, this means that there will be a significant cost for activating this #1 ranked DXCC entity.
In the next few weeks, we be working with USFWS and as details firm up, we will issue periodic press releases. Check our webpage www.kp1-5.com for more details of the operation and how you may financially support this DXpedition.

The KP1-5 Project team has committed to fund 50% of the total costs. We are hopeful the DX community at large will fund the remainder  for The KP1-5 Project,
   Bob Allphin, K4UEE, President
   Glenn Johnson, W0GJ, Vice-President
   Mike Thomas, NA5U, Secretary"

  Added Notes:
 * OPDX was informed that the callsign they will use on the island will be "K1N".

 * Press Release: "INDEXA Supports Navassa Island DXpedition

Hello fellow DXers and INDEXA Members:
     INDEXA is pleased to announce that we are generously supporting the just announced major DXpedition to Navassa Island, KP1. The official team announcement says this will occur in January, 2015. The DXpedition call will be announced later. Navassa Island is currently ranked #2 on
   the DX Magazine's "Most Wanted List".
     The Navassa Island DXpedition Team leader is Bob Allphin, K4UEE, and he has assembled an extraordinary team of DXpeditioners with the know-how to plan, implement and activate the rarest of the rare DX entities.
The team includes AA7JV, HA7RY, K0IR, K4UEE, K5AC, K9CT, N2TU, N4GRN, NA5U,
   NM1Y, VE7CT, W0GJ, W6IZT, and WB9Z.
     INDEXA is the first DXpedition support group to announce financial support for this DXpedition. This support is possible because of your membership in INDEXA and the many prior donations. Interestingly, over half of the DXpedition team is made up of INDEXA officers, directors and members. INDEXA has provided support that is over and above what is customary; so if you would like to help replenish our reserves you might  consider an additional contribution via the web page
     This DXpedition should provide many of you with an all-time new DXCC entity as well as new band/mode countries for various ARRL, CQ and IOTA awards.
      Gary Dixon, K4MQG   - INDEXA President
      John Scott, K8YC    - VP-Newsletter Editor
      Dick Williams, W3OA - Secretary-Treasurer"
(OPDX 1186)

Cornhole Watch: Donald Ray Morgan AKA Nasser Abdul Raheem [The Jawa Report]

Everyone wave buh bye to Nasser!

A North Carolina man who was featured in a Nightly News story last month about foreign fighters attempting to join the fighting in Syria pleaded guilty on Thursday to terrorism charges.

Donald Ray Morgan pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

Morgan, 44, was initially held on the gun charge after his arrest at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Aug. 2, shortly after he arrived on a flight from Frankfurt, Germany. The terrorism charge was added Thursday, and he pleaded guilty to both charges.

Morgan admitted that he tried, unsuccessfully, to travel from Lebanon to Syria to join ISIS. He also admitted posting pro-jihadist messages on social media and, as prosecutors put it, conducting an interview with an freelance journalist "to express his support for ISIL/ISIS and violent terrorist activities."

Qu'est-ce que c'est?

Awesome: Foreign Fighter Pouring into Syria "Faster than Ever" (Guest Post by R. Shackleford) [The Jawa Report]

Hi, it's me again, Rusty Shackleford. You may remember me as the guy in the comments who once kicked Greyrooster in the balls.

I saw this report and was so spookified that I thought I'd pass it on:

The rate of travel into Syria [by foreign fighters] is greater than we saw into Afghanistan prior to 9/11,” Randy Blake, a senior strategic advisor in the U.S. Office of Director of National Intelligence, said Tuesday during a panel at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in Orlando, Florida. “It’s greater than anything we’ve seen into Afghanistan, into Yemen, into Somalia, into Iraq, or anything that we’ve seen in the last 10-year period.”

Blake said the number of Westerners heading to Syria to fight has risen so rapidly in recent weeks that a new law enforcement video shown at the four-day event is already out of date.

“The video said there are somewhere around 12,000 foreign fighters in Syria. We would update that number to about 16,000 foreign fighters who have traveled to Syria from over 80 countries,” Blake said, adding that roughly 2,000 of those fighters hail from Western countries -- including "at least 500 from the U.K, 700 from France, 400 from Germany, and more than 100 Americans [who] have traveled, or tried to travel into Syria.”

It's a good thing that we have a competent administration in the White House, one that doesn't craft it's security & counterterror policies based on polling numbers. If that were the case, this would be really really scary.

Dozens of Former Gitmo Detainees Fighting in Syria (Guest Post by Rusty Shackleford) [The Jawa Report]

Hi, I'm Rusty Shackleford. I post here occasionally when Howie lets me.

So, on to news so scary that it's an appropriate way to usher in Halloween:

Of the 620 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay, 180 have returned or are suspected to have returned to the battlefield.

Of those 180, sources say 20 to 30 have either joined ISIS or other militants groups in Syria, or are participating with these groups from outside countries. Officials say most of those 20 to 30 are operating inside Syria.

Want a really scary Halloween costume? Dress up like an ISIS terrorist.

All's Well That Ends Well [The Jawa Report]

Yesterday terrorist Moataz Hijazi shot an American Israeli Yehuda Glick activist who lobbies for Jewish access to the Temple Mount.

Muslims don't like Jews on the Temple mount because the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the rock are their symbols of Islamic domination over the city of Zion (Jerusalem).


Israeli police on Thursday shot and killed a Palestinian man suspected of trying to kill a hard-line Jewish activist in Jerusalem, an incident that quickly sparked clashes between masked stone throwers and Israeli riot police and threatened to further inflame the already high tensions in the city.

Jerusalem has seen near-daily clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police, particularly around a contested site in the Old City that is holy to both Jews and Muslims. Israeli and Palestinian leaders have traded accusations over alleged changes to testy status quo governing worship at the site.

Violence reached a new high late Wednesday, after a gunman on a motorcycle shot and seriously wounded American-born activist Yehuda Glick outside a conference promoting greater Jewish access to the hilltop compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

The gunman approached Glick and spoke to him in "heavy Arabic-accented Hebrew," according to Moshe Feiglin, a lawmaker with the Likud party. Once he confirmed Glick's identity, the man opened fire at point-blank range, shooting Glick three times before fleeing the scene.

Glick, and a well-known advocate for greater Jewish access to the site, remained in hospital and in serious condition on Thursday.

Both Fatah and the terrorist group Islamic Jihad praised Moataz Hijazi as a martyr.

martyr hero2.jpg

But for some reason I can't see his "Martyr's smile?"

Allah must not have been pleased with him and Allah knows best.


Oh I almost forgot....

ISIS Crimes Against Humanity in Mosul [The Jawa Report]

Human Rights Watch runs this account of ISIS treatment of Shia near Mosul. The claim that they only killed fighters falls flat because these were not fighters these were prisoners hunted and murdered for sport by ISIS fighters.

Gunmen from the Sunni extremist group Islamic State systematically executed some 600 male inmates from a prison outside the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on June 10, 2014, according to survivors’ accounts. The vast majority of those killed were Shia.

After seizing Badoush Prison near Mosul, the gunmen from Islamic State, also known as ISIS, separated the Sunni from the Shia inmates, then forced the Shia men to kneel along the edge of a nearby ravine and shot them with assault rifles and automatic weapons, 15 Shia prisoners who survived the massacre told Human Rights Watch. The gunmen also killed a number of Kurdish and Yezidi inmates of Badoush Prison, the survivors said.

“The gruesome details of ISIS’ mass murder of prison inmates make it impossible to deny the depravity of this extremist group,” said Letta Tayler, senior terrorism and counterterrorism researcher. “People of every ethnicity and creed should condemn these horrific tactics, and press Iraqi and international authorities to bring those responsible to justice.”

The mass summary executions amount to war crimes and most likely crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said.

Spooky Vlad's Dungeon [The Jawa Report]

See the thing that made Vlad so spooky was Sultan Murad. It was the forced conversion from the Catholic Faith to Islam and the witness of the utter brutality of the Ottomans that lead Vlad to such extremes as he fought in the crusade against the Ottomans.

For if one is to defeat such murderous brutality once must be willing to take it to a whole nother level.

During an outdoor festival of St. Bartholomew at Sibiu, Dracula had 20,000 citizens arrested and spiked in one afternoon. Claiming that they were either treacherous bourgeoisie, or supporters of that element, he had them - men, women and infants - impaled on the outskirts of a neighboring forest. As was his custom, he had his servants draw up a solitary dining table of fine food and wine so that he might enjoy his lunch by watching the tortures at close range. He occasionally had a servant dip his bread in the blood of the dying souls so that he could savor the taste of life. (Is it a wonder that Stoker was inspired?)

It was at this function that he espied one of his knights holding his nose at the repugnant smell of death permeating the air. When he asked the soldier if he was making fun of the situation, the fellow stammered, "No, my lord, my stomach churns, but -" and he quickly added, "I am not of the stout heart that my prince be."

"But, why would I want in my service a man who cannot look at death without regurgitating? Death is a soldier's livelihood!" And with that, he called to his bodyguards to impale the feeble fellow. "Let him join these others, but because he had been loyal until today, hoist him higher than the rest that he does not have to smell his company!"

White House: Democrats Will Lose Because They Are Running from Obama [Patterico's Pontifications]

Pure delusion:

White House officials are preemptively spinning a midterm defeat, and they’re using their own fantasies to do it. They’re starting to blame candidates for not supporting President Obama enough. As a top White House official told The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty, “He doesn’t think they have any reason to run away from him. He thinks there is a strong message there.”

“He doesn’t think they [Democrat candidates] have any reason to run away from him.”

Well, sure they do.

They’re racists.

The Viral Catcalling Video [Patterico's Pontifications]

Everyone else is embedding this video. Why should I be any different?

The headline at Slate currently reads: “The Problem With That Catcalling Video.” But at the top, it says: “The Problem With That Catcalling Video: They Edited Out the White Guys.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 9.26.08 PM


QE3 Ends [Patterico's Pontifications]

QE4 begins in 3…2…1…

Anonymous Coward in Obama Administration Calls Former IDF Special Forces Team Leader a “Chickenshit” [Patterico's Pontifications]

Isn’t it ironic?

Shorter Obama Ebola Presser Redux [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by JD]

Because, science.

Lab coats, bitches.

If you disagree with my policy you are bed-wetting scaredy-pants.

Because, science.



Veure Update: Missions [Perlsphere]

Just a quick update for those who are following the progress of Veure. Here's the current character stats page.

That's just a hint of some of what's new.

I've done quite a bit of work revamping the inventory system as a necessary precursor to the mission system. I've also implemented NPCs. We've also hired a great developer, Yaroslav Polyakov to work part-time on Veure. Here's some of his initial work prototyping the "cockpit".

(Note: the page isn't actually smaller. I just widened my browser so you could see the cockpit background)

That "mini-map" of the larger 3-D rotating star map is lovely. It only shows the stars that you have the navigation skill to get to. You can click on a star to navigate directly to it.

The reputation system is now in place and mission lines are going to be differentiated by reputation. If you want to take some upper-level missions for independents, you'll have to gain enough reputation to earn their trust. Of course, that might hurt your reputation with others ...

And as luck would have it, we have a good friend here in La Rochelle who loves science fiction, gaming, and also has a bit of a writing background. We're going to be working with her to flesh out NPCs and missions. I've already started to integrate the procedural mission generation into the game, but only as a "suggestion" and quests will still be hard-coded (maybe we'll auto-generate on the fly later, but for now, it's always "the simplest thing that can possibly work").

Naturally, every two steps forward puts us one step back, but we're getting closer all the time.

Upcoming Training [Perlsphere]

I have a few training courses coming up in the next few weeks which I thought you might be interested in.

Firstly, the London Perl Workshop is on 8th November. I’ll be giving a two hour talk on “Perl in the Internet of Things“. As always, the workshop is free, but please register on the site and star my talk if you’re planning on attending.

Then the week after I’m running two two-day courses in conjunction with FLOSS UK. On Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th it’s “Intermediate Perl” and on Thursday 13th and Friday 14th it’s “Advanced Perl Techniques”. Full details and a booking for are on the FLOSS UK web site.

Note: If you’re interested in the FLOSS UK courses, then please don’t pay the eye-watering non-member price (£720!) Simply join FLOSS UK (which costs £42) and then pay the member price of £399.

Hope to see you at one of this courses.

The post Upcoming Training appeared first on Perl Hacks.

Grant Report: Modern OO Programming in Perl (Book) - Oct 2014 [Perlsphere]

Toby Inkster reports in his blog that the book took a back seat to other duties this month. He is continuing to develop the basic ideas, most recently in the form of a talk that he will present at the London Perl Workshop. Toby has shared this <SPOILER_ALERT> material </SPOILER_ALERT>.


Chris Lamb: Are you building an internet fridge? [Planet Debian]

Mikkel Rasmussen:

If you look at the idea of "The Kitchen of Tomorrow" as IKEA thought about it is the core idea is that cooking is slavery.

It's the idea that technology can free us from making food. It can do it for us. It can recognise who we are, we don't have to be tied to the kitchen all day, we don't have to think about it.

Now if you're an anthropologist, they would tell you that cooking is perhaps one of the most complicated things you can think about when it comes to the human condition. If you think about your own cooking habits they probably come from your childhood, the nation you're from, the region you're from. It takes a lot of skill to cook. It's not so easy.

And actually, it's quite fun to cook. there's also a lot of improvisation. I don't know if you ever tried to come home to a fridge and you just look into the fridge: oh, there's a carrot and some milk and some white wine and you figure it out. That's what cooking is like – it's a very human thing to do.


The physical version of your smart recipe site?

Therefore, if you think about it, having anything that automates this for you or decides for you or improvises for you is actually not doing anything to help you with what you want to do, which is that it's nice to cook.

More generally, if you make technology—for example—that has at its core the idea that cooking is slavery and that idea is wrong, then your technology will fail. Not because of the technology, but because it simply gets people wrong.

This happens all the time. You cannot swing a cat these days without hitting one of those refrigerator companies that make smart fridges. I don't know you've ever seen them, like a "intelligent fridge". There's so many of them that there is actually a website called "Fuck your internet fridge" by a guy who tracks failed prototypes on intelligent fridges.

Why? Because the idea is wrong. Not the technology, but the idea about who we are - that we do not want the kitchen to be automated for us.

We want to cook. We want Japanese knives. We want complicated cooking. And so what we are saying here is not that technology is wrong as such. It's just you need to base it—especially when you are innovating really big ideas—on something that's a true human insight. And cooking as slavery is not a true human insight and therefore the prototypes will fail.

(I hereby nominate "internet fridge" as the term to describe products or ideas that—whilst technologically sound—is based on fundamentally flawed anthropology.)

Hearing "I hate X" and thinking that simply removing X will provide real value to your users is short-sighted, especially when you don't really understand why humans are doing X in the first place.

Matthew Garrett: Hacker News metrics (first rough approach) [Planet Debian]

I'm not a huge fan of Hacker News[1]. My impression continues to be that it ends up promoting stories that align with the Silicon Valley narrative of meritocracy, technology will fix everything, regulation is the cancer killing agile startups, and discouraging stories that suggest that the world of technology is, broadly speaking, awful and we should all be ashamed of ourselves.

But as a good data-driven person[2], wouldn't it be nice to have numbers rather than just handwaving? In the absence of a good public dataset, I scraped Hacker Slide to get just over two months of data in the form of hourly snapshots of stories, their age, their score and their position. I then applied a trivial test:

  1. If the story is younger than any other story
  2. and the story has a higher score than that other story
  3. and the story has a worse ranking than that other story
  4. and at least one of these two stories is on the front page
then the story is considered to have been penalised.

(note: "penalised" can have several meanings. It may be due to explicit flagging, or it may be due to an automated system deciding that the story is controversial or appears to be supported by a voting ring. There may be other reasons. I haven't attempted to separate them, because for my purposes it doesn't matter. The algorithm is discussed here.)

Now, ideally I'd classify my dataset based on manual analysis and classification of stories, but I'm lazy (see [2]) and so just tried some keyword analysis:

A few things to note:
  1. Lots of stories are penalised. Of the front page stories in my dataset, I count 3240 stories that have some kind of penalty applied, against 2848 that don't. The default seems to be that some kind of detection will kick in.
  2. Stories containing keywords that suggest they refer to issues around social justice appear more likely to be penalised than stories that refer to technical matters
  3. There are other topics that are also disproportionately likely to be penalised. That's interesting, but not really relevant - I'm not necessarily arguing that social issues are penalised out of an active desire to make them go away, merely that the existing ranking system tends to result in it happening anyway.

This clearly isn't an especially rigorous analysis, and in future I hope to do a better job. But for now the evidence appears consistent with my innate prejudice - the Hacker News ranking algorithm tends to penalise stories that address social issues. An interesting next step would be to attempt to infer whether the reasons for the penalties are similar between different categories of penalised stories[3], but I'm not sure how practical that is with the publicly available data.

(Raw data is here, penalised stories are here, unpenalised stories are here)

[1] Moving to San Francisco has resulted in it making more sense, but really that just makes me even more depressed.
[2] Ha ha like fuck my PhD's in biology
[3] Perhaps stories about startups tend to get penalised because of voter ring detection from people trying to promote their startup, while stories about social issues tend to get penalised because of controversy detection?

comment count unavailable comments

EvolvisForge blog: Tip of the day: bind tomcat7 to loopback i/f only [Planet Debian]

We already edit /etc/tomcat7/server.xml after installing the tomcat7 Debian package, to get it to talk AJP instead of HTTP (so we can use libapache2-mod-jk to put it behind an Apache 2 httpd, which also terminates SSL):

We already comment out the block…

    <Connector port="8080" protocol="HTTP/1.1"  
               redirectPort="8443" />

… and remove the comment chars around the line…

    <Connector port="8009" protocol="AJP/1.3" redirectPort="8443" />

… so all we need to do is edit that line to make it look like…

    <Connector address="" port="8009" protocol="AJP/1.3" redirectPort="8443" />

… and we’re all set.

(Your apache2 vhost needs a line

JkMount /?* ajp13_worker

and everything Just Works™ with the default configuration.)

Now, tomcat7 is only accessible from localhost (Legacy IP), and we don’t need to firewall the AJP (or HTTP/8080) port. Do make sure your Apache 2 access configuration works, though ☺

Alessio Treglia: Handling identities in distributed Linux cloud instances [Planet Debian]

I’ve many distributed Linux instances across several clouds, be them global, such as Amazon or Digital Ocean, or regional clouds such as TeutoStack or Enter.

Probably many of you are facing the same issue: having a consistent UNIX identity across all multiple instances. While in an ideal world LDAP would be a perfect choice, letting LDAP open to the wild Internet is not a great idea.

So, how to solve this issue, while being secure? The trick is to use the new NSS module for SecurePass.

While SecurePass has been traditionally used into the operating system just as a two factor authentication, the new beta release is capable of holding “extended attributes”, i.e. arbitrary information for each user profile.

We will use SecurePass to authenticate users and store Unix information with this new capability. In detail, we will:

  • Use PAM to authenticate the user via RADIUS
  • Use the new NSS module for SecurePass to have a consistent UID/GID/….

 SecurePass and extended attributes

The next generation of SecurePass (currently in beta) is capable of storing arbitrary data for each profile. This is called “Extended Attributes” (or xattrs) and -as you can imagine- is organized as key/value pair.

You will need the SecurePass tools to be able to modify users’ extended attributes. The new releases of Debian Jessie and Ubuntu Vivid Vervet have a package for it, just:

# apt-get install securepass-tools

ERRATA CORRIGE: securepass-tools hasn’t been uploaded to Debian yet, Alessio is working hard to make the package available in time for Jessie though.

For other distributions or previous releases, there’s a python package (PIP) available. Make sure that you have pycurl installed and then:

# pip install securepass-tools

While SecurePass tools allow local configuration file, we highly recommend for this tutorial to create a global /etc/securepass.conf, so that it will be useful for the NSS module. The configuration file looks like:

app_id = xxxxx
app_secret = xxxx
endpoint = https://beta.secure-pass.net/

Where app_id and app_secrets are valid API keys to access SecurePass beta.

Through the command line, we will be able to set UID, GID and all the required Unix attributes for each user:

# sp-user-xattrs user@domain.net set posixuid 1000

While posixuid is the bare minimum attribute to have a Unix login, the following attributes are valid:

  • posixuid → UID of the user
  • posixgid → GID of the user
  • posixhomedir → Home directory
  • posixshell → Desired shell
  • posixgecos → Gecos (defaults to username)

Install and Configure NSS SecurePass

In a similar way to the tools, Debian Jessie and Ubuntu Vivid Vervet have native package for SecurePass:

# apt-get install libnss-securepass

For previous releases of Debian and Ubuntu can still run the NSS module, as well as CentOS and RHEL. Download the sources from:



make install (Debian/Ubuntu Only)

For CentOS/RHEL/Fedora you will need to copy files in the right place:

/usr/bin/install -c -o root -g root libnss_sp.so.2 /usr/lib64/libnss_sp.so.2
ln -sf libnss_sp.so.2 /usr/lib64/libnss_sp.so

The /etc/securepass.conf configuration file should be extended to hold defaults for NSS by creating an [nss] section as follows:

realm = company.net
default_gid = 100
default_home = "/home"
default_shell = "/bin/bash"

This will create defaults in case values other than posixuid are not being used. We need to configure the Name Service Switch (NSS) to use SecurePass. We will change the /etc/nsswitch.conf by adding “sp” to the passwd entry as follows:

$ grep sp /etc/nsswitch.conf
 passwd:     files sp

Double check that NSS is picking up our new SecurePass configuration by querying the passwd entries as follows:

$ getent passwd user
 user:x:1000:100:My User:/home/user:/bin/bash
$ id user
 uid=1000(user)  gid=100(users) groups=100(users)

Using this setup by itself wouldn’t allow users to login to a system because the password is missing. We will use SecurePass’ authentication to access the remote machine.

Configure PAM for SecurePass

On Debian/Ubuntu, install the RADIUS PAM module with:

# apt-get install libpam-radius-auth

If you are using CentOS or RHEL, you need to have the EPEL repository configured. In order to activate EPEL, follow the instructions on http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/EPEL

Be aware that this has not being tested with SE-Linux enabled (check off or permissive).

On CentOS/RHEL, install the RADIUS PAM module with:

# yum -y install pam_radius

Note: as per the time of writing, EPEL 7 is still in beta and does not contain the Radius PAM module. A request has been filed through RedHat’s Bugzilla to include this package also in EPEL 7

Configure SecurePass with your RADIUS device. We only need to set the public IP Address of the server, a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), and the secret password for the radius authentication. In case of the server being under NAT, specify the public IP address that will be translated into it. After completion we get a small recap of the already created device. For the sake of example, we use “secret” as our secret password.

Configure the RADIUS PAM module accordingly, i.e. open /etc/pam_radius.conf and add the following lines:

radius1.secure-pass.net secret 3
radius2.secure-pass.net secret 3

Of course the “secret” is the same we have set up on the SecurePass administration interface. Beyond this point we need to configure the PAM to correct manage the authentication.

In CentOS, open the configuration file /etc/pam.d/password-auth-ac; in Debian/Ubuntu open the /etc/pam.d/common-auth configuration and make sure that pam_radius_auth.so is in the list.

auth required   pam_env.so
auth sufficient pam_radius_auth.so try_first_pass
auth sufficient pam_unix.so nullok try_first_pass
auth requisite  pam_succeed_if.so uid >= 500 quiet
auth required   pam_deny.so


Handling many distributed Linux poses several challenges, from software updates to identity management and central logging.  In a cloud scenario, it is not always applicable to use traditional enterprise solutions, but new tools might become very handy.

To freely subscribe to securepass beta, join SecurePass on: http://www.secure-pass.net/open
And then send an e-mail to info@garl.ch requesting beta access.

Keith Packard: Glamor cleanup [Planet Debian]

Glamor Cleanup

Before I start really digging in to reworking the Render support in Glamor, I wanted to take a stab at cleaning up some cruft which has accumulated in Glamor over the years. Here's what I've done so far.

Get rid of the Intel fallback paths

I think it's my fault, and I'm sorry.

The original Intel Glamor code has Glamor implement accelerated operations using GL, and when those fail, the Intel driver would fall back to its existing code, either UXA acceleration or software. Note that it wasn't Glamor doing these fallbacks, instead the Intel driver had a complete wrapper around every rendering API, calling special Glamor entry points which would return FALSE if GL couldn't accelerate the specified operation.

The thinking was that when GL couldn't do something, it would be far faster to take advantage of the existing UXA paths than to have Glamor fall back to pulling the bits out of GL, drawing to temporary images with software, and pushing the bits back to GL.

And, that may well be true, but what we've managed to prove is that there really aren't any interesting rendering paths which GL can't do directly. For core X, the only fallbacks we have today are for operations using a weird planemask, and some CopyPlane operations. For Render, essentially everything can be accelerated with the GPU.

At this point, the old Intel Glamor implementation is a lot of ugly code in Glamor without any use. I posted patches to the Intel driver several months ago which fix the Glamor bits there, but they haven't seen any review yet and so they haven't been merged, although I've been running them since 1.16 was released...

Getting rid of this support let me eliminate all of the _nf functions exported from Glamor, along with the GLAMOR_USE_SCREEN and GLAMOR_USE_PICTURE_SCREEN parameters, along with the GLAMOR_SEPARATE_TEXTURE pixmap type.

Force all pixmaps to have exact allocations

Glamor has a cache of recently used textures that it uses to avoid allocating and de-allocating GL textures rapidly. For pixmaps small enough to fit in a single texture, Glamor would use a cache texture that was larger than the pixmap.

I disabled this when I rewrote the Glamor rendering code for core X; that code used texture repeat modes for tiles and stipples; if the texture wasn't the same size as the pixmap, then texturing would fail.

On the Render side, Glamor would actually reallocate pixmaps used as repeating texture sources. I could have fixed up the core rendering code to use this, but I decided instead to just simplify things and eliminate the ability to use larger textures for pixmaps everywhere.

Remove redundant pixmap and screen private pointers

Every Glamor pixmap private structure had a pointer back to the pixmap it was allocated for, along with a pointer to the the Glamor screen private structure for the related screen. There's no particularly good reason for this, other than making it possible to pass just the Glamor pixmap private around a lot of places. So, I removed those pointers and fixed up the functions to take the necessary extra or replaced parameters.

Similarly, every Glamor fbo had a pointer back to the Glamor screen private too; I removed that and now pass the Glamor screen private parameter as needed.

Reducing pixmap private complexity

Glamor had three separate kinds of pixmap private structures, one for 'normal' pixmaps (those allocated by them selves in a single FBO), one for 'large' pixmaps, where the pixmap was tiled across many FBOs, and a third for 'atlas' pixmaps, which presumably would be a single FBO holding multiple pixmaps.

The 'atlas' form was never actually implemented, so it was pretty easy to get rid of that.

For large vs normal pixmaps, the solution was to move the extra data needed by large pixmaps into the same structure as that used by normal pixmaps and simply initialize those elements correctly in all cases. Now, most code can ignore the difference and simply walk the array of FBOs as necessary.

The other thing I did was to shrink the number of possible pixmap types from 8 down to three. Glamor now exposes just these possible pixmap types:

  • GLAMOR_MEMORY. This is a software-only pixmap, stored in regular memory and only drawn with software. This is used for 1bpp pixmaps, shared memory pixmaps and glyph pixmaps. Most of the time, these pixmaps won't even get a Glamor pixmap private structure allocated, but if you use one of these with the existing Render acceleration code, that will end up wanting a private pointer. I'm hoping to fix the code so we can just use a NULL private to indicate this kind of pixmap.

  • GLAMOR_TEXTURE. This is a full Glamor pixmap, capable of being used via either GL or software fallbacks.

  • GLAMOR_DRM_ONLY. This is a pixmap based on an FBO which was passed from the driver, and for which Glamor couldn't get the underlying DRM object. I think this is an error, but I don't quite understand what's going on here yet...

Future Work

  • Deal with X vs GL color formats
  • Finish my new CompositeGlyphs code
  • Create pure shader-based gradients
  • Rewrite Composite to use the GPU for more computation
  • Take another stab at doing GPU-accelerated trapezoids

Matthew Garrett: On joining the FSF board [Planet Debian]

I joined the board of directors of the Free Software Foundation a couple of weeks ago. I've been travelling a bunch since then, so haven't really had time to write about it. But since I'm currently waiting for a test job to finish, why not?

It's impossible to overstate how important free software is. A movement that began with a quest to work around a faulty printer is now our greatest defence against a world full of hostile actors. Without the ability to examine software, we can have no real faith that we haven't been put at risk by backdoors introduced through incompetence or malice. Without the freedom to modify software, we have no chance of updating it to deal with the new challenges that we face on a daily basis. Without the freedom to pass that modified software on to others, we are unable to help people who don't have the technical skills to protect themselves.

Free software isn't sufficient for building a trustworthy computing environment, one that not merely protects the user but respects the user. But it is necessary for that, and that's why I continue to evangelise on its behalf at every opportunity.


Free software has a problem. It's natural to write software to satisfy our own needs, but in doing so we write software that doesn't provide as much benefit to people who have different needs. We need to listen to others, improve our knowledge of their requirements and ensure that they are in a position to benefit from the freedoms we espouse. And that means building diverse communities, communities that are inclusive regardless of people's race, gender, sexuality or economic background. Free software that ends up designed primarily to meet the needs of well-off white men is a failure. We do not improve the world by ignoring the majority of people in it. To do that, we need to listen to others. And to do that, we need to ensure that our community is accessible to everybody.

That's not the case right now. We are a community that is disproportionately male, disproportionately white, disproportionately rich. This is made strikingly obvious by looking at the composition of the FSF board, a body made up entirely of white men. In joining the board, I have perpetuated this. I do not bring new experiences. I do not bring an understanding of an entirely different set of problems. I do not serve as an inspiration to groups currently under-represented in our communities. I am, in short, a hypocrite.

So why did I do it? Why have I joined an organisation whose founder I publicly criticised for making sexist jokes in a conference presentation? I'm afraid that my answer may not seem convincing, but in the end it boils down to feeling that I can make more of a difference from within than from outside. I am now in a position to ensure that the board never forgets to consider diversity when making decisions. I am in a position to advocate for programs that build us stronger, more representative communities. I am in a position to take responsibility for our failings and try to do better in future.

People can justifiably conclude that I'm making excuses, and I can make no argument against that other than to be asked to be judged by my actions. I hope to be able to look back at my time with the FSF and believe that I helped make a positive difference. But maybe this is hubris. Maybe I am just perpetuating the status quo. If so, I absolutely deserve criticism for my choices. We'll find out in a few years.

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Gunnar Wolf: Guests in the classroom: @chemaserralde talks about real time scheduling [Planet Debian]

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure and honor to have a great guest again at my class: José María Serralde, talking about real time scheduling. I like inviting different people to present interesting topics to my students a couple of times each semester, and I was very happy to have Chema come again.

Chema is a professional musician (formally, a pianist, although he has far more skills than what a title would confer to him — Skills that go way beyond just music), and he had to learn the details on scheduling due to errors that appear when recording and performing.

The audio could use some cleaning, and my main camera (the only one that lasted for the whole duration) was by a long shot not professional grade, but the video works and is IMO quite interesting and well explained.

So, here is the full video (also available at The Internet archive), all two hours and 500MB of it for you to learn and enjoy!

Rhonda D'Vine: Feminist Year [Planet Debian]

If someone would have told me that I would visit three feminist events this year I would have slowly nodded at them and responded with "yeah, sure..." not believing it. But sometimes things take their own turns.

It all started with the Debian Women Mini-Debconf in Barcelona. The organizers did ask me how they have to word the call for papers so that I would feel invited to give a speech, which felt very welcoming and nice. So we settled for "people who identify themselves as female". Due to private circumstances I didn't prepare well for my talk, but I hope it was still worth it. The next interesting part though happened later when there were lightning talks. Someone on IRC asked why there are male people in the lightning talks, which was explicitly allowed for them only. This also felt very very nice, to be honest, that my talk wasn't questioned. Those are amongst the reasons why I wrote My place is here, my home is Debconf.

Second event I went to was the FemCamp Wien. It was my first event that was a barcamp, I didn't know what to expect organization wise. Topic-wise it was set about Queer Feminism. And it was the first event that I went to which had a policy. Granted, there was an extremely silly written part in it, which naturally ended up in a shit storm on twitter (which people from both sides did manage very badly, which disappointed me). Denying that there is sexism against cis-males is just a bad idea, but the background of it was that this wasn't the topic of this event. The background of the policy was that usually barcamps but events in general aren't considered that save of a place for certain people, and that this barcamp wanted to make it clear that people usually shying away from such events in the fear of harassment can feel at home there.
And what can I say, this absolutely was the right thing to do. I never felt any more welcomed and included in any event, including Debian events—sorry to say that so frankly. Making it clear through the policy that everyone is on the same boat with addressing each other respectfully totally managed to do exactly that. The first session of the event about dominant talk patterns and how to work around or against them also made sure that the rest of the event was giving shy people a chance to speak up and feel comfortable, too. And the range of the sessions that were held was simply great. This was the event that I came up with the pattern that I have to define the quality of an event on the sessions that I'm unable to attend. The thing that hurt me most in the afterthought was that I couldn't attend the session about minorities within minorities. :/

Last but not least I attended AdaCamp Berlin. This was a small unconference/barcamp dedicated to increase women's participation in open technology and culture named after Ada Lovelace who is considered the first programmer. It was a small event with only 50 slots for people who identify as women. So I was totally hyper when I received the mail that was accepted. It was another event with a policy, and at first reading it looked strange. But given that there are people who are allergic to ingredients of scents, it made sense to raise awareness of that topic. And given that women are facing a fair amount of harassment in the IT and at events, it also makes sense to remind people to behave. After all it was a general policy for all AdaCamps, not for this specific one with only women.
I enjoyed the event. Totally. And that's not only because I was able to meet up with a dear friend who I haven't talked to in years, literally. I enjoyed the environment, and the sessions that were going on. And quite similar to the FemCamp, it started off with a session that helped a lot for the rest of the event. This time it was about the Impostor Syndrome which is extremely common for women in IT. And what can I say, I found myself in one of the slides, given that I just tweeted the day before that I doubted to belong there. Frankly spoken, it even crossed my mind that I was only accepted so that at least one trans person is there. Which is pretty much what the impostor syndrome is all about, isn't it. But when I was there, it did feel right. And we had great sessions that I truly enjoyed. And I have to thank one lady once again for her great definition on feminism that she brought up during one session, which is roughly that feminism for her isn't about gender but equality of all people regardless their sexes or gender definition. It's about dropping this whole binary thinking. I couldn't agree more.

All in all, I totally enjoyed these events, and hope that I'll be able to attend more next year. From what I grasped all three of them think of doing it again, the FemCamp Vienna already has the date announced at the end of this year's event, so I am looking forward to meet most of these fine ladies again, if faith permits. And keep in mind, there will always be critics and haters out there, but given that thy wouldn't think of attending such an event anyway in the first place, don't get wound up about it. They just try to talk you down.

P.S.: Ah, almost forgot about one thing to mention, which also helps a lot to reduce some barrier for people to attend: The catering during the day and for lunch both at FemCamp and AdaCamp (there was no organized catering at the Debian Women Mini-Debconf) did take off the need for people to ask about whether there could be food without meat and dairy products by offering mostly Vegan food in the first place, even without having to query the participants. Often enough people otherwise choose to go out of the event or bring their own food instead of asking for it, so this is an extremely welcoming move, too. Way to go!

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Hans Petter Jansson: New toy [Planet openSUSE]


I got a new toy. It’s a WASD keyboard with Cherry MX Clear switches. The picture doesn’t do it justice; maybe I should’ve gotten a new camera instead… I guess it’ll have to wait.

Mechanical-switch keyboards are pricey, but since I spend more than 2000 hours a year in front of a keyboard, it’s not a bad investment. Or so I’m telling myself. Anyway, it’s a big step up from the rubber dome one I’ve been using for the past couple of years. The key travel is longer, and it’s nice to have proper tactile feedback. Since the Clear switches have stiff springs, I can also rest my fingers on the keys when daydreamingthinking. It has anti-slip pads underneath, so it stays put, and it doesn’t bounce or rattle at all.

Until our last move, I clung to an older, clicky keyboard (I don’t remember which brand — I thought it was Key Tronic, but I’ve a hard time finding any clicky keyboards of theirs at the moment), worried that the future held rubber dome and chiclets only — but today, there are lots of options if you look around. I guess we have mostly gamers and aficionados to thank for that. So thank you, gamers and aficionados.

I did plenty of research beforehand, but WASD finally drew me in with this little detail: They have some very well thought-out editable layout templates for SodipodiInkscape. Good taste in software there.

Calvin Gaisford: Why I pay full non-contract price for phones [Planet openSUSE]

I read an article today about how expensive the new iPhone 6 will be if you buy it off contract.  I admit, it's a lot of money but it's actually less money than what you'll pay if you buy it with a contract.

I recently switched back to AT&T from Verizon because they introduced a new plan called the Mobile Share Value plan that offers non-subsidized pricing if you own your phone.  There are two rates for each line on this plan. If you own your phone the rate is $15/month for the line.  If you buy a "contract price" phone that rate is $40/month for the line and you have a 2 year contract.

In case you didn't get that, they will charge you and extra $25/month for 2 years to pay for the rest of that phone.  Over 24 months that ends up being $600.
With that, here are the actual iPhone 6 Plus costs:

Contract Prices:
iPhone 6 Plus 16GB: $899
iPhone 6 Plus 64GB: $999
iPhone 6 Plus 128GB: $1099

Non-Contract Prices:
iPhone 6 Plus 16GB: $749
iPhone 6 Plus 64GB: $849
iPhone 6 Plus 128GB: $949 

The other thing to consider is with non-contract plans you don't have a 2 year contract.  I know that seems obvious but let me just say it once again... you don't have a 2 year contract.  You are free to terminate your service any time you want with no cancellation fees.

Ubuntu App Developer Blog: It’s time for a Scope development competition! [Planet Ubuntu]

With all of the new documentation coming to support the development of Unity Scopes, it’s time for us to have another development shodown! Contestants will have five (5) weeks to develop a project, from scratch, and submit it to the Ubuntu Store. But this time all of the entries must be Scopes.

Be sure to update to the latest SDK packages to ensure that you have the correct template and tools. You should also create a new Click chroot to get the latest build and runtime packages.


prizesWe’ve got some great prizes lined up for the winners of this competition.

  • 1st place will win a new Dell XPS 13 Laptop, Developer Edition (preloaded with Ubuntu)
  • Runners up will receive one of:
    • Logitech UE Boom Bluetooth speakers
    • Nexus 7 running Ubuntu
    • An Ubuntu bundle, featuring:
      • Ubuntu messenger bag
      • Ubuntu Touch Infographic T-shirt
      • Ubuntu Neoprene Laptop Sleeve
    • An Ubuntu bundle, featuring:
      • Ubuntu backpack
      • Ubuntu Circle of Friends Dot Design T-shirt
      • Ubuntu Neoprene Laptop Sleeve


Scope entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges from a variety of backgrounds and specialties, all of whom will evaluate the scope based on the following criteria:

  • General Interest – Scopes that are of more interest to general phone users will be scored higher. We recommend identifying what kind of content phone users want to have fast, easy access to and then finding an online source where you can query for it
  • Creativity – Scopes are a unique way of bringing content and information to a user, and we’ve only scratched the surface of what they can do. Thinking outside the box and providing something new and exciting will lead to a higher score for your Scope
  • Features – There’s more to scopes than basic searching, take advantage of the departments, categories and settings APIs to enhance the functionality of your Scope
  • Design – Scopes offer a variety of ways to customize the way content is displayed, from different layouts to visual styling. Take full advantage of what’s possible to provide a beautiful presentation of your results.
  • Awareness / Promotion – we will award extra points to those of you who blog, tweet, facebook, Google+, reddit, and otherwise share updates and information about your scope as it progresses.

The judges for this contest are:

  • Chris Wayne developer behind a number of current pre-installed Scopes
  • Joey-Elijah Sneddon Author and editor of Omg!Ubuntu!
  • Victor Thompson Ubuntu Core Apps developer
  • Jouni Helminen Designer at Canonical
  • Alan Pope from the Ubuntu Community Team at Canonical

Learn how to write Ubuntu Scopes

To get things started we’ve recently introduced a new Unity Scope project template into the Ubuntu SDK, you can use this to get a working foundation for your code right away. Then you can follow along with our new SoundCloud scope tutorial to learn how to tailor your code to a remote data source and give your scope a unique look and feel that highlights both the content and the source. To help you out along the way, we’ll be scheduling a series of online Workshops that will cover how to use the Ubuntu SDK and the Scope APIs. In the last weeks of the contest we will also be hosting a hackathon on our IRC channel (#ubuntu-app-devel on Freenode) to answer any last questions and help you get your c If you cannot join those, you can still find everything you need to know in our scope developer documentation.

How to participate

If you are not a programmer and want to share some ideas for cool scopes, be sure to add and vote for scopes on our reddit page. The contest is free to enter and open to everyone. The five week period starts on the Thursday 30th October and runs until Wednesday 3rd December 2014! Enter the Ubuntu Scope Showdown >

Jonathan Riddell: Kubuntu Vivid in Bright Blue [Planet Ubuntu]

KDE Project:

Kubuntu Vivid is the development name for what will be released in April next year as Kubuntu 15.04.

The exiting news is that following some discussion and some wavering we will be switching to Plasma 5 by default. It has shown itself as a solid and reliable platform and it's time to show it off to the world.

There are some bits which are missing from Plasma 5 and we hope to fill those in over the next six months. Click on our Todo board above if you want to see what's in store and if you want to help out!

The other change that affects workflow is we're now using Debian git to store our packaging in a kubuntu branch so hopefully it'll be easier to share updates.

If you aren’t freaked out by what was done to Sharyl Attkisson… [protein wisdom]

… then we are well and truly fucked.

Hell, even most of the journalists who have been systematically denied access to the White House and fed nothing but talking points and manufactured lies — not to mention had their phones tapped, in the case of the AP reporters — haven’t seemed to mind all that much.

Living in the old East Germany under the Stasi — only with specialty markets for cupcakes and bigger-screened iPhones so the gaming apps looks better — isn’t my idea of liberty, republicanism, or a stable rule of law.

(h/t Mark Levin)

Yay, lawyers! [protein wisdom]

Ok.  To pursue the case against my brother the lawyer is asking for a $12,500 retainer.  We, as you know, just bought a house — and rented out our other house rather than selling it, which seemed the better investment — and as a result are cash poor right now.  So unless the attorney is willing to work with us on a payment plan, guess the old cancer-ridden gal who was dumped penniless into an assisted care facility, where she shares a room with two other sadsacks, is well and truly fucked, and “Goldie” gets to keep his booty.

Yes, I know:  Life isn’t fair, wear a helmet, etc.  But here’s a new one to mull over:  when you try to teach your own children that crime doesn’t pay, make sure they don’t have a bloated, moronic sociopath for an uncle who, despite his numerous imbecilic maneuvers and the visible paper trail he’s left documenting his malfeasance, has in fact made it pay, and quite handsomely so — retired on a Florida beach at 44, owning a condo and a new car outright, plus squatting on the rest of the proceeds from the sale of the house, my father’s life insurance, bonds, pension, and an IRA — or else the lesson may seem rather forced and not terribly believable.   To the more astute child.

Never having to make a rent payment or a mortgage payment in your life, and sponging up money off the mother you got to treat like a dog while she paid for your drug habit?  That sounds like pretty sweet gig, if you can get past the whole morality thing.

In other news, congrats to Colt McCoy.  Quite a gamer, that little dude is.

Now, back to my increasingly heavy and worrisome drinking.  End of vent.  And apologies to you lawyers out there, most of whom I am sure are good people. The market is what the market is.  I understand that.  I’m just feeling ground down.

When I sober back up, I’ll try to make this work somehow.  Because what other choice do I have?  At the very least, maybe the little bastard will have to do some jail time.

Clockwise 60: Spite Corporation [Clockwise]

How we read e-books, the future prospects of the Apple SIM, Apple Pay versus CurrentC, and the (now resolved?) PCalc widget controversy. With guests Christina Warren and Serenity Caldwell.

This episode of Clockwise is sponsored by:

  • Backblaze: Online backup made easy, for just $5/month.
  • Igloo: An intranet you'll actually like, free for up to 10 people.
  • Please take a moment to help us out by filling out our listener survey, and you could win a $100 Amazon gift card.

Links and Show Notes

Christina's costume:

The Incomparable | Intergalactic FedEx (Episode 117)
Six Colors: A week of Apple Pay: Chips, PINs, and... signatures?

Glenn writes about Starbucks.

Six Colors: Apple: Don't do math in iOS 8's Notification Center
Apple tells developer to kill iOS app widget after the company promoted it
On PCalc, widgets, and how the App Store works | iMore
Six Colors: Apple no longer rejecting calculator widgets

New leopard frog species found in New York City [CBC | Technology News]

Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog

A brand new species of frog has been discovered in the middle of America's largest metropolis, New York City.

RCMP telecom subscriber data requests poorly tracked, says privacy czar [CBC | Technology News]

The privacy watchdog is calling on federal authorities to keep better track of informal requests to telecommunications companies for subscriber data after finding shoddy record-keeping at the RCMP.

U.S. confirms White House was hit by cyberattack [CBC | Technology News]

White House

U.S. officials have confirmed there was a cyberattack on White House computers earlier this month and have released some details of the event.

Antares rocket explosion: Will it set back the commercialization of space? [CBC | Technology News]

The explosion of an unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station has raised some questions as to whether the incident will pose a significant setback of the commercialization of the space industry.

Kilauea volcano lava 30 metres from Hawaiian village home [CBC | Technology News]

Rain fell on a red-hot river of lava as it was about 30 metres from consuming its first home on its slow advance into a rural Hawaii town.

Apple CEO Tim Cook comes out and reveals he's gay [CBC | Technology News]

Apple Conference WWDC 2014 CEO Tim Cook

In an essay written for Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook makes himself the most high-profile chief executive officer to come out as homosexual, saying he's proud to be gay.

Amelia Earhart mystery: Metal found on Pacific island from aviator's plane, group says [CBC | Technology News]

Researchers probing the 1937 disappearance of famed American aviator Amelia Earhart's plane say they now believe a slab of aluminum found decades ago on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean came from her aircraft.

Prospect of cellphone chatter on planes appalls many passengers [CBC | Technology News]


A U.S. Department of Transportation committee is hearing testimony both for and against the idea of allowing passengers on airborne aircraft to make voice calls on cellphones.

Grizzly killed in Yoho National Park road had been orphaned nearby [CBC | Technology News]


Park officials with Yoho National Park say the bear killed on a highway in the park on Sunday had been orphaned several years ago nearby.

Barn owls chicks rescued from old Port Mann bridge [CBC | Technology News]

Barn owl - Port Mann Bridge nest rescue

Some barn owls chicks that were discovered during the dismantling of the old Port Mann Bridge are recovering at a Delta wildlife facility.

BlackBerry CEO explains lack of new features in new smartphone [CBC | Technology News]

BlackBerry CEO John Chen says the guiding principle behind the company's soon-to-be-released Classic phone is 'If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.'

Walt Natynczyk, head of the Canadian Space Agency, moves to veterans affairs [CBC | Technology News]

Walt Natynczyk, the president of the Canadian Space Agency

The head of the Canadian Space Agency is leaving the position after barely more than a year on the job. Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Walt Natynczyk will become deputy veterans affairs minister, effective this coming Monday.

White House computer network may have been hit by cyberattack [CBC | Technology News]

White House

Suspicious cyber activity has been detected on the computer network used by the White House and measures have been taken to address it, a White House official disclosed late Tuesday.

Tecsun PL-380: Displaying temperature in Fahrenheit [The SWLing Post]


I have owned the Tecsun PL-380 for years now. When my buddy Mike (K8RAT) recently asked if the temperature display could be switched from Celsius to Fahrenheit, I gave him a firm “no” as a response.

A few hours later, Mike wrote back:

“Just found out that the PL -380 will toggle between F and C temperature reading. Push and hold the “3” button with radio turned off. Cool!”

I just tried it and, as you can see, it works brilliantly. Thanks, Mike!

(Note to self: Start responding to this sort of inquiry with a softer “no” in the future!)

RiffTrax Live: ANACONDA tomorrow night! [RiffTrax]

RiffTrax Live: ANACONDA tomorrow night!:



Jon Voight heard you might not be coming to RiffTrax Live: ANACONDA tomorrow night, Thursday October 30th at a theater near you and whoa-ho maaaaaaan did he grimace! Or felt sexy. Or his IBS flared up. Some even say that Jon Voight was sad — yes, sad! — don’t let that leathery old shell fool…


US-Backed Palestinian Government Calls For War Against Israel In Jerusalem… [Weasel Zippers]

I wonder how the Obama regime would react if this was Israel calling for its citizens to attack Palestinians? Via Free Beacon: The Palestinian government has called on its “fighters” to launch a “day of rage” against Israel on Friday that will include armed attacks in Jerusalem, a move that has sparked fears that widespread […]

New Wendy Davis Radio Ad Claims Greg Abbott Doesn’t Want Black People To Vote… [Weasel Zippers]

Abortion Barbie going down in a ball of flames. Via Washington Examiner: First Wendy Davis claimed her wheelchair-bound opponent Greg Abbott doesn’t like the disabled. Then she claimed that Abbott, whose wife is Mexican-American, would support a state ban on interracial marriage. Now she’s claiming he doesn’t want African-Americans to vote. In a new radio […]

Michael Jordan Disses Obama: “He’s A Shitty Golfer,” “A Hack”… [Weasel Zippers]

Certainly not from a lack of practice. Via CBS Sports: Michael Jordan was interviewed by Ahmad Rashad recently. Rashad asked Jordan who his dream foursome would include, and Jordan said President Barack Obama isn’t getting an invite. “I’ve never played with Obama but I would,” said Jordan. “But no, that’s okay, I’d take him out. […]

Kerry: The Specter Of All-Out Nuclear Warfare With The Soviets Was “Easy” Compared To What I Have To Deal With… [Weasel Zippers]

Henry Kissinger begs to differ. Via National Journal: Today’s global political landscape makes the Cold War look simple, according to John Kerry. “The Cold War was easy compared to where we are today,” the secretary of State said Thursday, during an appearance at The Atlantic’s Washington Ideas Forum, an annual event that features high-profile speakers […]

Sanity Prevails: Nebraska School District To Stop Calling Kids “Purple Penguins” Instead Of “Boys And Girls”… [Weasel Zippers]

Update to this story. Via NRO: After nearly a month of defending them, Lincoln Public Schools District in Nebraska has finally agreed to stop using the infamous “purple penguin” transgender training handouts. At Tuesday’s Lincoln Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Steve Joel conceded that the handouts were not “appropriate, purposeful” or “clear,” and that he […]

Hagel Continues To Insist “Climate Change Is A Security Issue”… [Weasel Zippers]

It really isn’t. Via CNS News: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed hope Wednesday that next week’s midterm election would deliver an outcome that enables Congress to “work together,” in order to deal with critical security issues, including “global warming.” Hagel, speaking at the the Washington Ideas Forum, argued that climate change presents significant security challenges. […]

Liberal Dem Rep. Steve Cohen Compares Ebola Nurse Kaci Hickox To Terri Schiavo… [Weasel Zippers]

Which is exactly the asinine comparison you’d expect Steve Cohen to make.

Sweden Officially Recognizes Palestinian Terror State… [Weasel Zippers]

Palestinians celebrate by blowing something up in 3… 2… 1… (Reuters) – The Swedish government officially recognized the state of Palestine on Thursday, the first Western European country to do so, reflecting growing international exasperation over the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told reporters her government hoped it would bring a […]

University of Minnesota-Duluth: PC Enforcers Tell Student Dressing Up As Disney’s Pocahontas For Halloween Is “Offensive”… [Weasel Zippers]

Quick, someone drag her off to the closest reeducation camp! Via Campus Reform: The University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) has become the latest school to urge students to be “respectful” while celebrating Halloween. “The office of Academic Affairs is encouraging students to celebrate Halloween with respect at UMD, referencing goal two of UMD’s strategic plan,” UMD’s […]

CAIR Outraged After UC Berkeley Overrides Student Group’s Decision To Drop Bill Maher… [Weasel Zippers]

Predictable. (SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 10/29/14) — The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA) tonight expressed disappointment at the decision of the UC Berkeley administration to override the rescission of an invitation to Bill Maher by the student group that selects speakers for the university’s commencement ceremonies. The original invitation […]

DNC’s Donna Brazile: “Lock Up The Gates Of Hell” To Keep Obama’s Opponents From Getting In His Way… [Weasel Zippers]

Yeah, Donna, what about about all those Republicans who were elected to stop Obama?

Report: As Many As 30 Gitmo Detainees Released By Obama Fighting With Jihadist Groups In Syria Including ISIS… [Weasel Zippers]

Thanks, Barack! Via Fox News: As many as 20 to 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees released within the last two to three years are suspected by intelligence and Defense officials of having joined forces with the Islamic State and other militant groups inside Syria, Fox News has learned. The development has cemented fears that the […]

Climate Scientists Suffering From “Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder” Because No One Takes Their Predictions Seriously… [Weasel Zippers]

Yes, pre-traumatic. Why do they expect anyone to take their doom and gloom predictions seriously when they are always wrong? Via Grist: Two years ago, Camille Parmesan, a professor at Plymouth University and the University of Texas at Austin, became so “professionally depressed” that she questioned abandoning her research in climate change entirely. Parmesan has […]

San Diego State University Moonbats Hold “Shit-In” To Protest Non-Gender Inclusive Bathrooms”… [Weasel Zippers]

Even better, the university already has 10 “gender-neutral bathrooms.” Via Campus Reform: Students at San Diego State University (SDSU) hosted a “Sh*t-In” event last Tuesday morning to protest non-gender inclusive bathrooms. The event’s Facebook page says the goal is “to raise awareness and advocacy for Gender Neutral/ Gender non segregated bathrooms.” “For trans* and gender […]

Tingles: RNC Chairman “Spends Most Of His Time Repressing The Black Vote”… [Weasel Zippers]

Only in Tingles race-obsessed mind. Via Newsbusters: ANDREA MITCHELL: Netanyahu has told people in his cabinet that he’s written off Barack Obama. You saw Reince Priebus and others [like Speaker] John Boehner denouncing what was in Jeff Goldberg’s piece, which was, as I say, not denied by anyone at the White House. CHRIS MATTHEWS: You […]

Attention Whore Ebola Nurse Kaci Hickox Defies Maine’s Quarantine, Leaves Home To Go For Bike Ride… [Weasel Zippers]

Her 15 minutes of fame can’t end quick enough. FORT KENT, Maine (AP) — A nurse who vowed to defy Maine’s voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for a bike ride. Kaci Hickox and her boyfriend stepped out of their home Thursday […]

Apple CEO: Being Gay One Of The “Greatest Gifts God Has Given Me”… [Weasel Zippers]

I don’t think that is a gift from God. Via The Blaze: Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that he is gay in an op-ed published Thursday, noting that he considers being a homosexual “among the greatest gifts God has given” to him. [...] But he said that he recently felt as though his penchant for […]

gameraboy: World War I Flying Ace It’s the Great Pumpkin,... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


World War I Flying Ace

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)




Go on, ask me what’s in the bag.
I won’t spoil it for you, if you like the surprise. But I have a bag here. It’s full. To bursting, even, some would say. It’s only natural to ask what’s in it.
So I’ll let you.
Do you want to? I’ll loosen the tie for a bit. Do you want to ask?

Are you feeling okay? Making sure you’re not sick. What a shame. How are you feeling? No, let’s keep on subject. You’re going to ask a question. And I’m going to let you.
Ask me what’s in here.
This bag. The thing I’m holding, you can ask about it.
Well you can see that it’s burlap, but that’s only because I like it. It should be a Trick or Treat bag. Not a plastic thing you buy from the stores, they have that now, that’s the new bags. Have you seen that? Remember when it was all pillowcases filled to the brim? I remember so much. My mother made me a special bag, just for the holiday. It wasn’t meant to be full, you see. Half full at most.
I miss that bag, I really do. I wonder what happened to it. It was unwieldy in the ways I liked, tied with YARN. Why yarn? Yarn disappears. It wears and frays and…. I liked it longer than that. I could fix it if I found it. But it’s not meant for having.
The concept of trick or treating and… keeping things… collecting things…. expires. It stops. You can use yarn. After a while nobody will use the bags. They think.
I have good memories of them. To me, that’s what this is. It isn’t, but go on.
This isn’t just Halloween candy after all. You know better.
It isn’t even Halloween yet. Soon maybe, but not yet.
So then what is in here?
It could be candy. It could. Stop struggling. It could be little boxes and bits of colored things, wax and corn syrup and food coloring, the kind of things we love to eat. It could be those things, all manner of them, I remember the smell. A sickly sweet smell. Chocolate and fruit and savory and sweet and just…. That’s the real smell of Halloween, if you haven’t stuck your head into a big mixed bag of…
Well I mean, are you really living? Here? In America.
Of course, this smells quite different. No chocolate here. At least, not that I’d have, ahah. This takes much longer to get, you know. You know a lot of things, I can tell by your eyes. I haven’t blindfolded those yet. So tell me, what are you seeing?
It’s just a bag.
But, ask me what’s in it.
I’ll untie you. Just the mouth but I’ll do it. Are you ready? I’m ready for you to ask.
Well it really isn’t fun unless you guess. Can you guess? You know twenty questions? I’m good at it. So try your first.
That’s too specific, start more general. No, by the way. No. Are you even looking? Obviously not.
Well. How am I to say? How are you to know? That’s not the point. I’ll give you that one, and I’ll say…. no. Make of that what you will. Stop crying, this is simple. What’s in the bag. Start thinking, start really thinking.
See, see you’re thinking now. Yes. Yes it is, and you have so many questions left and you won’t squander them will you? Would it surprise you to know I’ve played this before? How well do you think you’re doing?
It’s just a question. I can ask it to you, I mean you have seventeen questions left for me. I can ask a few of my own. In fact I can ask as many as I want. See? Now you can’t ask anymore. Now you can only nod, and cry, not unlike you’ve been doing. You don’t want that. So stop being so… difficult. It’s just trick or treat, that’s all it is. My trick is you guessing. Now quiet down and think.
You can see it. Can’t you?
Don’t be stupid this time.
Ah. Yes! So much closer, so wise. You have ten. Not two. That should be enough, I know it is. You don’t seem to have ten of almost anything. Not sure if maths account for brain cells, either. If you say hair, I can make you wrong about it. So don’t get sharp.
You know, of course you know now. So ask something interesting. How many people? ….Well, can’t you tell? Take a deep breath.
That many.
It took a while.
Ah, the scarf goes back on then. Is that why they call it a scarf? I’ve wondered, the etymology you know. I wonder many things. I wonder what your face would be like when….
You were right after all, so I can just show you.
This little piggy went to market.

This little piggy stayed home.

You know what’s next?
Just nod.
Stop it.
Little piggy.
What did he do?
He had roast beef didn’t he.

Where did he get it from?
Aren’t cows just meat? Aren’t pigs just meat too?
Aren’t we? Sometimes. Aren’t we sometimes just cells and muscles and blood?
You don’t like that but you don’t have to. You didn’t use up the rest of your questions. Try them now. Your mouth is full, but… it’s nice if you try anyway. Maybe you can keep yours after all.
So tell me. What did this little piggy do?

And this one?

You’re all out of order. You didn’t ask anything interesting. You didn’t ask what happened to everyone, or if you would be okay.
They all ask that. Pity, I had such GOOD answers but we’re not worried about that.
THIS little piggy went to market.

Thank you.

This little piggy…. stayed home.

For now.
Ask me again.
How many there are in the bag?
Do your complex math.

This little piggy cried.
All the way

archiemcphee: This Lucky Cat Skull Teapot brings a little sugar... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


This Lucky Cat Skull Teapot brings a little sugar skull flair to our feline friend’s exposed cranium. Fancy! Meow.

Buy one here

Opsec, Snowden style [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]



Micah Lee, the former EFF staffer whom Edward Snowden reached out to in order to establish secure connections to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, shares the methodology he and Snowden employed to stay secure and secret in the face of overwhelming risk and scrutiny.

Read the rest…

theremina: ieatflowerz: driftin240: To anyone dealing with... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]




To anyone dealing with relationship bs, read this


So much this.

I wish I’d known all of this when I was younger. Not just for me, but for the people I tried to date or whatever, because WOW WAS I A MOUNTAIN OF FAIL.

emchughes: Wanna know what it’s like to be a woman walking... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


Wanna know what it’s like to be a woman walking around alone? Hollaback filmed this woman walking silently around Manhattan for ten hours, and it is both horrifying and too real.

These men disgust me.

"In 2012, two massive storms pounded the United States, leaving hundreds of thousands of people..." [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]

“In 2012, two massive storms pounded the United States, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, hungry or without power for days and weeks.
Americans did what they so often do after disasters. They sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Red Cross, confident their money would ease the suffering left behind by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac. They believed the charity was up to the job.
They were wrong.
The Red Cross botched key elements of its mission after Sandy and Isaac, leaving behind a trail of unmet needs and acrimony, according to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR. The charity’s shortcomings were detailed in confidential reports and internal emails, as well as accounts from current and former disaster relief specialists.
What’s more, Red Cross officials at national headquarters in Washington, D.C. compounded the charity’s inability to provide relief by “diverting assets for public relations purposes,” as one internal report puts it. Distribution of relief supplies, the report said, was “politically driven.””


The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster - ProPublica

Well, this is disgusting, and if the American Red Cross wants to regain the trust it’s always had, a whole bunch of people should be immediately fired.

femfreq: My story was featured on the front page of the New... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


My story was featured on the front page of the New York Times this week. The article was called “Feminist Critics of Video Games Facing Threats in ‘GamerGate’ Campaign” and can be read online here.

Amateur Radio Newsline Report 1941 October 24 2014 [Amateur Radio Newsline Podcast]

  • Hams in the Philippines to assist in Manila crime watch 
  • The Sun unleashes an X class flare on October 22  
  • China launches a ham radio payload to circle the moon
  • CQ clarifies policy statement in regard to Crimea in contest scoring 
  • VA announces plans for its own High Frequency radio network
  • Russia plans to launch newly designed smart mini satellites
  • How to collect cosmic rays on a smart phone 

Bidding in Ninth Annual ARRL On-Line Auction Ends on Thursday, October 30 [American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources]

Bidding in the ninth annual ARRL On-Line Auction concludes on Thursday, October 30 (October 31 UTC). Bid closing times are staggered beginning at 0230 UTC and finish at 0307 UTC on October 31. More than 230 items are on the block, including 24 pieces of gear that were the subject of QST “Product Review” articles. One-of-a-kind items include a hard-cover 2014 Centennial edition of The ARRL Handb...

No hope for survivors in Sri Lanka landslide [Asia/Pacific – France 24 - International News 24/7]

All hopes of finding survivors under the mud and rubble of a landslide in south-central Sri Lanka had run out by first light on Thursday, though a government minister cut the estimated death toll to more than 100 from 300 the previous night.

Burkina Faso’s president declares state of emergency [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaoré declared a state of emergency and dissolved the government on Thursday, as he pledged to open talks with the opposition in an effort to defuse protests sparked by his attempt to extend his presidency.

'Right time' to recognize Palestinian state, Swedish FM tells FRANCE 24 [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Sweden became the first major Western country to officially recognise the state of Palestine on Thursday. The country's foreign minister tells FRANCE 24 why her government believes it is time other European countries followed suit.

Roman Polanski questioned by prosecutors in Poland [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Film director Roman Polanski was allowed to walk free after being questioned by Polish prosecutors at the request of the United States, which is seeking his extradition over a 1977 conviction of unlawful intercourse with a minor.

Thanks, Obama! Recently Released Guantanamo Monsters Have Joined Up With ISIS [Jammie Wearing Fools]

We’d complain, but Obama just doesn’t give a shit.

As many as 20 to 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees released within the last two to three years are suspected by intelligence and Defense officials of having joined forces with the Islamic State and other militant groups inside Syria, Fox News has learned.

The development has cemented fears that the U.S. military would once again encounter militants taken off the battlefield.

The intelligence offers a mixed picture, and officials say the figures are not exact. But they are certain at least some of the released detainees are fighting with the Islamic State, or ISIS, on the ground inside Syria. Others are believed to be supporting Al Qaeda or the affiliated al-Nusra Front in Syria.

A number of former detainees also have chosen to help these groups from outside the country, financing operations and supporting their propaganda campaigns.

Sources who spoke to Fox News were not able to provide the identities of the fighters.

Senior Defense and intelligence officials say the vast majority of detainees released from Guantanamo don’t return to the fight — and of those who do, relatively few have made it to Syria.

Of the 620 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay, 180 have returned or are suspected to have returned to the battlefield.

That’s a pretty high recidivism rate. Oh, and in another seven months or so the maniacs traded for Bowe Bergdahl will also be back in action.

Thanks, Obama!

How Cute: Annoying Ebola Nurse Goes for a Bike Ride [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Hurry up, sister, your 15 minutes are just about up.

Kaci Hickox, the combative nurse who vowed to defy Maine’s quarantine for health-care workers who’ve treated Ebola patients, has hit the streets Thursday morning for a bike ride with her boyfriend.

Police are in hot pursuit to monitor her escapade, but can’t detain her without a judge’s court order.

Hickox argues there’s no need for quarantine because she’s showing no symptoms of the deadly virus.

Hickox threatened to sue when she was forcibly quarantined in New Jersey after landing at Newark Airport from Sierra Leone on Friday. State officials were going to court in an effort to detain Hickox for the remainder of the 21-day incubation period for Ebola that ends on Nov. 10.

“I don’t plan on sticking to the guidelines,” she told the “Today” show via Skype on Wednesday. “If the restrictions placed on me by the state of Maine are not lifted by Thursday morning, I will go to court to fight for my freedom.”

She can’t go away fast enough.

UN ambassador shows off new ‘Ebola handshake’ [Jammie Wearing Fools]

UN Ambassador Samantha Power showed off the new “Ebola handshake” Wednesday while greeting the World Health Organization’s Dr. Peter Graaff in Liberia.

The two bumped elbows as health authorities in the three West African countries hardest hit by the virus urged people to no longer shake hands as a way to help stop the lethal virus.

Ebola is rampant in West Africa and is spread through direct contact, the CDC warns.

Power was in the region to urge countries to meet their commitments to help stop the spread of the disease.

Full story.

Sleazy MSNBC Host Scams Real Estate Broker Out of $1.2 Million [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Why are these liberals so damn greedy?

MSNBC host and former ad exec Donny Deutsch scammed a real estate broker out of a $1.2 million commission in the sale of Deutsch’s $30 millionHamptons home, a Manhattan judge seethes in new court papers.

Justice Charles Ramos says Deutsch’s lawyer Jonathan Tarbet was acting on his client’s behalf whenSotheby’s broker Edward Petrie was schemed out of his 4 percent commission, The Post’s Julia Marsh reports.

Petrie had brought a potential buyer, LA hedge funder Howard Marks, by Deutsch’s Tyson Lane home in 2010.

After Deutsch realized he knew Marks, he went behind Petrie’s back and brokered the sale privately to avoid the fee, Petrie claimed.

“This court considers that and refusal to acknowledge [Petrie] as the broker to be marks of dishonesty and greed,” Ramos writes in the Oct. 23 decision awarding Petrie’s employer, Sotheby’s, $1.2 million.

“Both characteristics are particularly unbecoming when exhibited by those blessed with great wealth,” the judge scolds.

Yeah, these liberal 1%-ers really are an unbecoming lot.

Police on the Lookout for Obama After Dunkin’ Donuts Robbery [Jammie Wearing Fools]

With Halloween approaching we should expect a lot of Obama robberies. They’re just taking a cue from their hero.

Police are looking for a person who robbed a New Hampshire Dunkin’ Donuts at gunpoint while wearing a President Barack Obama mask.

Salem police responded just after 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday to a Dunkin’ Donuts on Lowell Road for an armed robbery report.

Police said the robber was wearing the presidential mask, black gloves and carried a black handgun. He demanded money from the register and left, entering the passenger side of a small, dark-colored Toyota with no rear plate, according to police.

The vehicle appeared to be heading toward Pelham, New Hampshire, authorities said.

Police said typically they see robbers wearing ski masks. Since the robber choose such a specific mask it could help lead to his capture.

Right, as if he’s going to keep the mask on. Sheesh. Maybe to help keep America safe we should ban Obama masks.

Mostly Peaceful San Francisco ‘Fans’ Celebrate World Series Win By Rioting [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Really a shame liberals can’t celebrate like normal people. Here the San Francisco Giants win their third World Series in five seasons and an Occupy Wall Street rally breaks out.

The joy that erupted in San Francisco after the Giants won Game 7 of the World Series quickly turned into the same kind of rollicking orgy of fire, broken bottles, fistfights, sirens and drunkenness that the city endured after the last two world championships.

Fire, fightfights and drunkenness. That’s Nancy Pelosi’s constituency there, folks.

Crowds of partyers set bonfires and rampaged through the Mission District, South of Market area and around AT&T Park, where the Giants thrilled their fans this season. Most of the celebrants were peaceful early on, but just as in 2010 and 2012, thuggery increasingly replaced level-headed revelry as the night grew late.

Two men were treated at San Francisco General Hospital for gunshot wounds that weren’t life-threatening, according to police. One of the victims was shot in the arm in the Mission District at about 8:45 p.m.

Also, police said, a man was stabbed several times at 24th and Valencia streets. He was taken to S.F. General with serious injuries.

Police made several arrests throughout the night. Some officers hit by tossed bottles and fireworks suffered minor injuries, and one was hurt badly enough to be taken to the hospital, said Police Officer Gordon Shyy, a department spokesman.

The heavy stench of booze and marijuana filled the air everywhere the rowdy crowds gathered. Those people not inclined to break things headed home soon after the first spasm of celebration, casting nervous glances at the edgy celebrants staying behind — and then the real troubles began.

The stench of booze, marijuana and violence. Obama’s America in a nutshell.

And, of course, in a sign of the times, there were selfies!

Well, at least they have a lot of practice with this drunken violence:

And they wonder why most of America detests them.

Importing Ebola; World Policeman or World Quarantines Incubation Site? Election fraud? [Chaos Manor - Jerry Pournelle]

View 848 Wednesday, October 29, 2014

“I have observed over the years that the unintended consequences of social action are always more important, and usually less agreeable, than the intended consequences.”

Irving Kristol

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

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


It has not been a great week. Monday starts well, but it was late before I got to anything like work. I did manage to do the Five Tibetan Rites, and hoped I’d be able to repeat that daily this week, but so far I have not. Tuesday was consumed with doctors and examinations and then shopping, and it was dinner time before I got home. Today was consumed by locusts mostly.

The eye people have decided that I will get at least one more iteration of new tri-focals before cataract surgery. That’s a bit expensive – even at Kaiser my glare free photo grey tri-focal glasses run to several hundred dollars – but it does put off the cataract surgery for a while. I am told by people I trust that modern cataract corrections are nothing like what I recall from the days when Bob Bloch get the procedure and then needed to be driven everywhere at night. I don’t know precisely when that was, but I do know that I drove him to the grand opening of Star Wars at Fox, so it would be possible to find the date that way. At least he could see the movies (and I made some money on it: after I saw it I bought Fox stock, although alas I couldn’t afford a lot). Now, I am told, the procedure is simple, over with quickly, and you’re better off. But I’m still glad to put it off for a bit.

I was also examined for skin problems, and got spritzed with liquid nitrogen in many places, all of which are now uncomfortable as they decay then heal. Frostbite is a good treatment for pre-cancerous conditions…

But I appear to be in pretty good shape for an 80 year old brain cancer survivor, even if I do tire more easily than I like. They tell me I’m good for another decade.


Importing Ebola

Hello Jerry,

Seems like Ebola is not becoming epidemic in the US rapidly enough to suit the Obamunists, so they are planning to import it in wholesale quantity:


Sounds like a plan—if the plan is national suicide. Or, more precisely, national murder.

A more striking example of ‘benign incompetence’ would be hard to imagine. Apparently a backup to the previous plan of sending the 101st Airborne from Fort Bragg to the center of infection in Africa to ‘fight Ebola’. After all, if you need a ‘quick reaction force’ to ‘fight’ something, isn’t the 101st the first outfit that would come to YOUR mind?

Bob Ludwick=

The Obama Administration says that we cannot quarantine against Ebola.

Obama warns against strict quarantines for Ebola workers

By Lesley Clark, Nancy Youssef and Tony Pugh

McClatchy Washington Bureau October 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama called for health care workers returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa to be treated as “the heroes that they are,” amid continuing confusion and public anxiety over state health measures that call for some to be confined to their homes.

Obama warned there may be future cases of Ebola in the United States and that the only way to bring the risk to zero is to contain the outbreak at its source, in West Africa.

“If we’re not dealing with this problem there, it will come here,” he said at the White House, joined by his Ebola response coordinator, Ron Klain, and sharing a stage with doctors and nurses who have been to West Africa. “What we need right now is these shock troops who are out there leading globally. We can’t discourage that. We’ve got to encourage it and applaud it.”

Without naming any states, Obama warned against overly restrictive monitoring measures, saying, “If we’re discouraging our health care workers . . . from traveling to these places in need, then we’re not doing our job in terms of looking after our own public health and safety.”

Obama’s remarks came as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Wednesday ordered that all U.S. troops who travel to Liberia to help build Ebola treatment centers be quarantined for 21 days afterward, even though the service members will not come into direct contact with Ebola patients. The measure exceeds the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But Hagel noted that the troops are not volunteers and described the measure as a “safety valve.”

And in Maine, nurse Kaci Hickox, who was quarantined without her consent in New Jersey after returning from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, said Wednesday that she won’t comply with health officials in Maine who want her to remain in her home and avoid public contact. Hickox went home to Maine after New Jersey officials released her on Monday.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/10/29/245117/obama-warns-against-strict-quarantines.html#storylink=cpy

Of course these heroes will cooperate with the health authorities and would never risk transmitting Ebola to anyone in the United States.

Ebola doctor ‘lied’ about NYC travels

By Jamie Schram and Bruce Golding

October 29, 2014 | 3:21am

The city’s first Ebola patient initially lied to authorities about his travels around the city following his return from treating disease victims in Africa, law-enforcement sources said.

Dr. Craig Spencer at first told officials that he isolated himself in his Harlem apartment — and didn’t admit he rode the subways, dined out and went bowling until cops looked at his MetroCard the sources said.

“He told the authorities that he self-quarantined. Detectives then reviewed his credit-card statement and MetroCard and found that he went over here, over there, up and down and all around,” a source said.

Spencer finally ’fessed up when a cop “got on the phone and had to relay questions to him through the Health Department,” a source said.

Officials then retraced Spencer’s steps, which included dining at The Meatball Shop in Greenwich Village and bowling at The Gutter in Brooklyn.


The military will quarantine the soldiers sent to the plague zone, preferably in another country; but the military is held responsible for its actions. That does not seem to be true for non-military heroes.

I think I would rather be the world’s policeman than the world’s incubation site for Ebola survivors,


And of course we understand how Ebola propagates.

Questions remain about how Dallas nurse got Ebola

By Ashley Fantz and Holly Yan, CNN

The nurse wore a mask, gown, shield and gloves as she helped care for a dying Ebola patient in Texas.

And a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said she tested positive for Ebola, health officials are still trying to figure out how exactly she caught it.

"Something went wrong, and we need to find out why and what," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.




Mad intelligence

Dr Pournelle

"Public thinkers such as politicians and members of the media who comment on them are the first generation of our society to have been badly schooled without being aware of the fact."

Rev. George W. Rutler, Mad Intelligence: The Secularist Response to Islam http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/mad-intelligence

Live long and prosper

h lynn keith

The definition of a Dark Age is not one in which we have forgotten things; it is a time when we no longer know we ever knew them.  We appear to be entering a Dark Age for a fairly large part of our population.  Of course that makes self-government nearly impossible, but the smart one in charge have a remedy for that.

War Has Been Declared against Us

Dr Pournelle

RE: http://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/mail-bag-2/

Geert Wilders: War has been declared against us.

Islam delendum est?

Live long and prosper

h lynn keith




Don’t you wish you got all the government you pay for?


Royals panties confiscated from Kansas City lingerie shop by Homeland Security

Copyright infringement is the reason feds pop up at lingerie shop, which was trying to find a way to support Royals during World Series against Giants.

Ladies, don’t put on those panties without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball!

In an underwear-related manner that is apparently a matter of national importance, the Department of Homeland Security descended upon a women’s lingerie shop in Kansas City, Mo., according to The Wichita Eagle. The federal officers were there to stop the business – Birdies Panties – from making undies with the Royals logo during the team’s Cinderella run to the World Series.



2014 Margin Of Fraud


The midterm elections are a week away, and many of our hopes to reduce further damage to the nation are tied up with the Republicans taking the Senate. Right now, they nominally look like doing so, barely – Realclearpolitics.com’s "no tossups" average of recent polls shows a

52-48 R result. (I’m counting Orman, barely leading in Kansas, as a D.)


However, it’s way too soon to relax. RCP has ten of these races listed as "tossups", IE the average-of-polls margin is less than 5%. RCP’s split with tossups is 45 R, 45 D, and 10 too close to call.


Those ten tossups are of extreme interest right now. They break down as


AR R+5%

LA R+4.5 (in the likely runoff)

KY R+4.4

CO R+3.2 (universal mail-in ballots with minimal verification) AK R+2.2 IA R+1.7 GA R+0.5 (Libertarian 3.7%, runoff if less than 50%) KS D+0.6 (stealth D) NC D+1.0 (Libertarian 5.0%, no runoff) NH D+2.2

On the face of it, a 7-3 R split. But, read http://thefederalist.com/2014/10/22/do-democrats-always-win-close-statewide-elections/,

and worry. Of 27 statewide races decided by less than 1% since 1998, the D’s have won 20. That’s a 74% D win rate in close races over the last 16 years.

My working hypothesis is that in states where they control one or more major urban centers, the D’s are able to at need manufacture (dead voters, illegal voters, invented voters, non-voters voted-for) on the rough order of 2% more votes than would otherwise exist, and in close recounts they can then (unless actively and knowledgeably prevented) manufacture the additional votes needed to win.

My conclusion is that we may well see "surprise" D wins in any or all of Iowa, Georgia, Alaska, and Colorado (all possibly involving recount-till-D’s-win), with Colorado possibly unusually blatantly fraudulent due to the now universally mailed-out ballots being bought and sold.

So, a word to the wise. Absent a significantly higher than predicted R turnout in close states, next week’s result is like to be a "miraculous"

narrow D hold of the Senate. (I wouldn’t hold out much hope for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker either, currently tied in the polls but with all those dead voters in Milwaukee and Madison polling solidly against him.)

(Oh, and while I’m at it, a Libertarian vote in North Carolina this election looks to me pretty much a vote for two more years of Harry Reid as Majority Leader. NC D 43.6, R 42.6, L 5.0.)

So, assuming I’m right, what then? The D’s won’t likely have been overly subtle about it, given what’s at stake.

Interesting times.


But it is racist to suggest that voters identify themselves. Or so I am told. Vote fraud is imaginary anyway, even if Cook County did once deliver more votes to a presidential candidate than were there were registered voters in the county…

We’re illegal – and We Vote!




Charles Murray interview 

Hi Dr. Pournelle,

My takeaway from the Charles Murray interview that you linked (the emphasis is mine):

“…we need to live in a civil society that naturally creates valued places for people with many different kinds and levels of ability. In my experience, communities that are left alone to solve their own problems tend to produce those valued places. Bureaucracies destroy them.”

My experience is that Mr. Murray is correct.


My experience has been that for most of his life Dr. Murray has been correct.  I am no admirer of the Social Sciences, which I usually call The Voodoo Sciences, and I generally pay little attention to Sociologists and their natterings, but Charles Murray actually deals with facts and scientific method.  He also writers well. 

The Trouble Isn’t Liberals. It’s Progressives.

Not everyone on the left wants to quash dissent or indulge President Obama’s abuses of executive power.


Charles Murray

Social conservatives. Libertarians. Country-club conservatives. Tea party conservatives. Everybody in politics knows that those sets of people who usually vote Republican cannot be arrayed in a continuum from moderately conservative to extremely conservative. They are on different political planes. They usually have just enough in common to vote for the same candidate.

Why then do we still talk about the left in terms of a continuum from moderately liberal to extremely liberal? Divisions have been occurring on the left that mirror the divisions on the right. Different segments of the left are now on different planes.

A few weeks ago, I was thrown into a situation where I shared drinks and dinner with two men who have held high positions in Democratic administrations. Both men are lifelong liberals. There’s nothing "moderate" about their liberalism. But as the pleasant evening wore on (we knew that there was no point in trying to change anyone’s opinion on anything), I was struck by how little their politics have to do with other elements of the left.


The rest of this essay is worth reading.  And Losing Ground is still very much worth attention.


And to change the subject considerably:


Woot woot woot

Yes! Got it right!


and the paper:


Stephanie Osborn

Interstellar Woman of Mystery

http://www.Stephanie-Osborn.com <http://www.stephanie-osborn.com/>

You may now stretch your mind….




Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




In Holocaust restitution affair, Austrian official’s admission may undermine state’s case [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Stephan Templ was convicted of defrauding the Austrian government out of $700,000 in connection with a Holocaust restitution application. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

Stephan Templ was convicted of defrauding the Austrian government out of $700,000 in connection with a Holocaust restitution application. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

VIENNA (JTA) – An Austrian official’s letter is threatening to undermine the central pillar of a controversial court decision that found a Jewish journalist guilty of defrauding the government.

On Sept. 9, senior state attorney Martin Windisch wrote that the government “makes no claims” against Stephan Templ, who was sentenced in April to three years in jail for cheating Austria out of half the value of a sanatorium confiscated by the Nazis from one of Templ’s relatives. In May, the Austrian Supreme Court upheld the ruling but reduced Templ’s sentence to one year.

The court found that Templ had defrauded Austria by failing in his 2006 restitution application to mention his mother’s estranged sister, who would have been entitled to half the $1.4 million his mother received when she sold the property.

Templ rejected the allegation, but when he asked government officials where he should return the money, Windisch wrote to Templ’s attorney, “The republic makes no claims against your client in connection with the conduct of your client.”

Templ’s attorney, the renowned human rights lawyer Robert Amsterdam, has petitioned prosecutors to have the case declared a mistrial.

“This statement basically voids the ruling,” Amsterdam told JTA.

The letter is the latest twist in a case that generated an international uproar over what many in Austria and abroad saw as both a miscarriage of justice and a sign that Austrian society has not fully come to terms with its murky Holocaust record.

Templ, author of the 2001 book “Our Vienna: Aryanization, Austrian-Style,” is a vocal critic of Austria’s Holocaust-era conduct. In the book, he identified individual families that moved into Jewish homes in the 1930s after their lawful owners had been deported.

In the early 2000s, Templ led tour groups to see the stolen houses during which he toted a loudspeaker, occasionally calling out the names of the families that had come to live in them.

It was “unforgivable conduct,” veteran Austrian Jewish journalist Karl Pfeiffer said, in a country that initially resisted offering restitution because it claimed to be a victim of the Nazis and acknowledged its Holocaust-era culpability for the first time only in 1993.

“The case against Templ is absurd,” Pfeiffer said. “The only reason Templ was prosecuted is that he touched a nerve and reminded the Austrians of how they stole Jewish property with his book. So they put him in jail.”

Critics of the original ruling noted that Austria never legally owned the property and therefore cannot be regarded as a victim of Templ’s actions, as prosecutors claimed. Others point out that Austria’s laws do not require restitution claimants to list other heirs.

“This case should have been a civil matter between the Templs and the sister,” said Stuart Eizenstat, a former U.S. deputy secretary of the Treasury who led restitution negotiations with Swiss banks in the 1990s and helped set up Austria’s restitution system. Eizenstat said the ruling is “almost inexplicable.”

The notion that Templ’s conviction was payback for his criticism was explored at length by reporters covering the affair. The Independent called Templ the “author who shamed Austria” and the trial was deemed “Kafkaesque” by the Austrian Tageszeitung Kurier. The Dutch weekly NIW described Templ as “the victim of a legalistic vendetta.”

“Austria has taken a lot of criticism for many injustices in its treatment of Jews from the late 1930s onward,” said Manfred Gerstenfeld, a Vienna-born researcher of anti-Semitism who lives in Jerusalem. “It may well be that what we are seeing is a decision by some officials to get rid of the headache that Templ’s case has brought and may bring to them.”

Windisch, the country’s most senior attorney on financial issues, or Finanzprokuratur, denies this. In an email to JTA, Windisch said his letter was not intended to distance Austria from the conviction. However, he reiterated that the Austrian federal government had suffered no damage from Templ’s action and that the Federal Real Estate Agency had ceded all claims to Templ’s aunt, Elisabeth Kretschmer.

“In conclusion, it is clear from the above that my letter was not designed to distance the Republic of Austria or the Finanzprokuratur from the ruling against Mr. Templ, but to state in clear terms that only Dr. Kretschmer is entitled to a claim against Mr. Templ under private law, so that a possible adjustment of damages can only take place between Mr. Templ and Dr. Kretschmer,” he wrote.

Eizenstat said he thought the letter gave “reasonable ground” for the case to be opened or for the Austrian Supreme Court to intervene. But Amsterdam isn’t taking any chances.

“I’m focusing my attention on keeping Stephan out of jail,” he told JTA. “There are good signs of movement in the right direction, but it remains a possibility and Stephan needs to prepare for it.”

Iran says it thwarted sabotage attempt at nuclear plant [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — Iran said it thwarted an attempted sabotage of tanks used for transporting heavy water to be used at its nuclear plants.

Asghar Zarean, the deputy chief in charge of nuclear protection and security for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told Iranian media that the attempt took place two weeks ago at the Arak heavy-water production plant, according to international media reports.

Zarean said a “foreign country” was behind the sabotage try but did not specify which one.

“There were attempts to cause disruption in storage tanks due to carry heavy water,” he was quoted as saying. “But these attempts were discovered and foiled before the tanks were filled with heavy water at Arak.”

The heavy water reactor at Arak, which is a plutonium reactor, has not yet gone online.

Under an interim deal with the U.S. and other world powers, Iran agreed to roll back its work at Arak. The deadline for a permanent deal is Nov. 24.

The major powers have said that a permanent agreement would include disabling the plutonium reactor at Arak.

AMIT to launch matriculation program in Israel with $6 million endowment [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — The AMIT religious Zionist organization will use a $6 million endowment to help students in Israel earn their matriculation certificate.

The program, Ellen’s Kids, will be established with the grant from the estate of the late AMIT board member Ellen Koplow. It is the largest single gift in AMIT’s 90-year history, the organization said in a statement.

“Ellen’s Kids will help AMIT students in Israel who have struggled academically, so they can excel despite their incredible personal challenges and obtain their bagrut (matriculation) certificate,” AMIT President Debbie Isaac said.

Many students attend AMIT’s schools and surrogate foster care programs in Israel due to financial or  emotional challenges in their families. Among the issues facing these families is the Arab-Israeli conflict, socioeconomic challenges and being new immigrants. Some students come from families dealing with problems of alcoholism, drug use and domestic abuse.

Obtaining the bagrut has a strong correlation with higher paying jobs and greater levels of professional success in Israel.

Eighty-three percent of students enrolled in AMIT’s network of high schools throughout Israel receive their bagrut certificate, which is 20 percent higher than the national average.

Sweden recognizes Palestine, following up on new prime minister’s vow [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Sweden officially recognized the state of Palestine less than a month after its new prime minister said it would.

The recognition, Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement published Thursday in the Dagens Nyheter daily, “is an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. Sweden’s traditionally close ties with the State of Israel are now complemented by an equal relationship to the other party.”

Wallstrom said the recognition “will be followed by enhanced efforts to support the development of democracy and human rights in Palestine.”

Israel recalled its ambassador to Sweden, Isaac Bachmann, in response. In a statement, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the recognition was “an unfortunate decision which strengthens radical elements and Palestinian recalcitrance.”

In his inaugural address to parliament on Oct. 3, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict “can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law. A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful coexistence. Sweden will therefore recognize the state of Palestine.”

Lofven did not say when Sweden would recognize Palestinian statehood. His center-left Social Democrats party took 31.2 percent of the vote in an election last month and formed a coalition with the Green Party.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in a statement called the move an “unfortunate decision which strengthens radical elements and Palestinian recalcitrance.”

“The Swedish government must understand that relations in the Middle East are more complex than one of Ikea’s flat-pack pieces of furniture, and would do well to act with greater sensitivity and responsibility,” Liberman said, referring to the Swedish company.

Seven European Union members already have recognized a Palestinian state. They are Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Romania. Iceland also has done so.

Museum turns Nazi-looted painting to wall to raise money for restitution [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

BERLIN (JTA) — A museum in Germany has come up with a novel plan to buy back a painting stolen from a Jewish collector during the Nazi era.

The Wiesbaden Museum has hung the 19th century painting by Hans von Marées backwards, in a bid to raise public awareness and also the $118,000 it needs by Nov. 5 to buy the painting from its rightful heirs, museum director Alexander Klar announced in late October.

The amount to be raised covers one third of the value of the painting plus the cost of the fundraising campaign, according to an online report from Hessische Rundfunk radio and TV.

The painting, titled “Die Labung” (Sustenance), was part of the collection of Jewish industrialist Max Silberberg of Breslau. He was forced to sell the collection to the Nazis in 1934. Silberberg and his
wife, Johanna, were later killed in Auschwitz.

The rightful heir to the collection is the Israel-based Gerta Silberberg Discretionary Trust. In 1980, a local collector bequeathed the painting to the museum.

HR Online reported that Wiesbaden Museum was a repository for art robbed from Jewish owners during the Third Reich. The museum has been researching the provenance of works in its collection, with an aim to providing restitution. It already has returned two paintings to their proper heirs, or bought them back, HR reported.

Israel Police kill suspected gunman in shooting of Temple Mount activist [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The man police say was responsible for shooting a Temple Mount activist was killed at his eastern Jerusalem home in a shootout with police.

Israel Police surrounded the home of the suspect, identified as Muataz Hijazi, an operative for the Islamic Jihad terror group, on Thursday morning and returned fire after being shot at, according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. Hijazi spent 10 years in Israeli prison for past involvement in terror activities and was released in 2012.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack on Rabbi Yehuda Glick, saying it was in retaliation for recent conditions in Jerusalem.

Glick, who is also an American citizen, was shot three times Wednesday night in the chest and stomach by an assailant on a motorcycle who fled the scene. He remains in serious condition at Shaarey Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he underwent surgery following the attack.

Jonathan Halevy, the hospital’s director-general, said Thursday that Glick’s life is still in danger.

Glick heads the Temple Mount Faithful organization, which advocates building a Third Temple on the holy site. Before the shooting, he spoke at a conference at the Begin Center dealing with Jewish rights at the Temple Mount. He reportedly had received several threats on his life in recent weeks.

Likud lawmaker Moshe Feiglin also spoke at the conference and offered an account of the Glick shooting in a Facebook post.

Glick, Feiglin said, “walked outside to his car. There was a motorcyclist with his helmet on standing there. He turned to Yehuda in a thick Arabic accent and said, ‘Yehuda, I am angry at you,’ and then shot him three times point blank.”

Hijazi was employed in the restaurant located inside the center and reportedly checked what time Glick would be finished speaking.

Israeli security forces are investigating whether it was Hijazi who shot Israeli soldier Chen Schwartz in Jerusalem near Mount Scopus in a July attack on the same day as a tractor attack on the border between eastern and western Jerusalem. Hijazi at the time was working at a restaurant near the attack site.

According to Ynet, Hijazi said upon his release from prison, “I’m glad to be back in Jerusalem. I hope to be a thorn in the Zionist plan of Judaizing Jerusalem.”

Israel closes Temple Mount to Muslims, Jews after attempted assassination [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel closed the Temple Mount to Muslim worshippers and to Jewish and non-Jewish visitors in the wake of the attempted assassination of an Israeli activist.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the closure of the holy site on early Thursday, hours after Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick was shot in Jerusalem, a “declaration of war.”

“This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places, and on the Arab and Islamic nation,” Abbas said, according to his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina.

Glick, who is also an American citizen, was shot at close range three times Wednesday night in the chest and stomach by an assailant on a motorcycle who fled the scene. He remains in serious condition at Shaarey Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he underwent surgery following the attack. Jonathan Halevy, director-general of Shaare Zedek, said Thursday that Glick’s life was still in danger.

The assailant, identified later  by Israel Police as Muataz Hijazi, an operative for the Islamic Jihad terror group, was killed Thursday morning in a shootout with police at his eastern Jerusalem home.

Glick heads the Temple Mount Faithful organization, which advocates building a Third Temple on the holy site. Before the shooting, he spoke at a conference at the Begin Center dealing with Jewish rights at the Temple Mount. He reportedly had received several threats on his life in recent weeks.

Israel Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Thursday that Abbas’ repeated statements that Jews have no claim on the Temple Mount led to the shooting.

“The assassination attempt on Yehuda Glick is another serious step in the Palestinian incitement against Jews and against the State of Israel,” Yaalon said. “When Abu Mazen [Abbas] spreads lies and venom about the rights of Jews to worship in their land the result is terror, as we saw yesterday.”

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu also chided the international community for its silence on the issue of the Temple Mount in a statement in which he also wished Glick a full recovery.

“A few days ago, I said that we were facing a wave of incitement by radical Islamic elements and by Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen, who said that Jews must be prevented from going up to the Temple Mount by any means possible. I still have not heard from the international community so much as one word of condemnation for these inflammatory remarks,” Netanyahu said. “The international community needs to stop its hypocrisy and take action against inciters, against those who try to change the status quo.”

He also called for restraint by activists on both sides.

Knesset lawmaker Moshe Feiglin of the Jewish Leadership faction of the Likud party, who also spoke at the Wednesday night conference, was prevented by police from entering the Temple Mount on Thursday morning. Following the shooting, Feiglin had called for a Jewish march on the Temple Mount.

Other activists joined Feiglin at the entrance to the Temple Mount on Thursday morning, where they performed morning prayers.

“The assassin achieved his aim. There are no Jews on Temple Mount,” Feiglin said at the site.



Israeli, U.S. national security advisers meeting amid tensions [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. and Israeli national security advisers will meet, demonstrating an “unprecedented level” of security cooperation, the White House said.

The announcement of the meeting between Susan Rice and Yossi Cohen to take place Thursday came as tension continued to simmer over an anonymous Obama administration’s official personal attack on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Both the White House and the Israeli Embassy in Washington announced the meeting on Wednesday. The U.S.-Israel Consultative Group meeting will take place at the White House.

“This meeting — and the fact that it occurs every six months — serves as a testament to the unprecedented level of coordination and cooperation between the United States and Israel, and between the president of the United States and the prime minister of Israel,” said Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman.

The White House also distanced itself from the anonymous official who told The Atlantic that Netanyahu was cowardly for not facing down settlement advocates in and out of his government.

Rice, addressing a symposium in Washington, said the meeting demonstrated that the U.S.-Israel relationship was not in “crisis,” as The Atlantic article that included the attack on Netanyahu had argued.

“We share information and engage in strategy on the range of issues that are of mutual interest in the region, from Iran to ISIL and all of the issues that we’re discussing here today, and many others,” Rice told the Washington Ideas Forum on Wednesday evening. ISIL is one of several acronyms for the terrorist Islamic State group. “That kind of deep cooperation, consultation, sharing, strategizing is unprecedented, and that’s something that has evolved uniquely in this administration.”

The Consultative Group meetings, chaired by each national security adviser, are routine and usually heralded with little fanfare. The last meeting was in May.

Separately, Reuters quoted U.S. and Israeli officials as saying this week that Israel had increased its order of F-35 joint strike fighter jets from 19 to 44. The United States shares the state-of-the-art stealth jet with only its closest allies.

Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai giving $50K to Gaza school reconstruction [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai said she will donate $50,000 to a U.N. agency in the effort to rebuild damaged schools in Gaza.

Yousafzai, an advocate for worldwide access to education, was awarded the World Children’s Prize on Wednesday and promptly said she would donate the prize money to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees to assist its efforts to repair schools damaged by this summer’s fighting in Gaza.

“Innocent Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long,” said Yousafzai, a 17-year-old Pakistani, in remarks posted on the UNRWA website. “We must all work to ensure Palestinian boys and girls, and all children everywhere, receive a quality education in a safe environment. Because without education, there will never be peace.”

In the Gaza conflict this summer, UNRWA schools served as civilian shelters. Several schools were shelled, killing dozens of civilians and workers. UNRWA officials accused Israel of targeting schools, but Israel denied the claim while acknowledging that some of its shells had hit schools.

However, rockets were found stored in UNRWA schools and then subsequently disappeared, leading to Israeli accusations that agency officials had given them back to Hamas.


Presidents Conference wants Netanyahu attacker ‘held to account’ [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called on the White House to “hold to account” an anonymous official who slurred Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while the Anti-Defamation League declared the matter closed.

“We ask that the person responsible be held to account and the appropriate steps be taken by the administration,” said a statement Wednesday from the leadership of the Presidents Conference, the foreign policy umbrella for Jewish groups, referring to a report this week in The Atlantic quoting an anonymous official as describing Netanyahu as “chickenshit.”

The Presidents Conference statement also welcomed a White House statement describing the attack as “inappropriate” and “counterproductive,” and derided “personal insults and inappropriate characterizations from both Israeli and U.S. officials.”

The ADL, however, issued a statement saying that the White House condemnation of the attack “should bring closure to this issue.”

“We welcome the White House’s distancing themselves from the inappropriate characterizations of the prime minister of Israel,” Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, said in an email to JTA. “It does a disservice to the bilateral relationship which, despite differences from time to time, has served the national security interests of both countries and the quest for peace and freedom globally.”

The National Jewish Democratic Council, in a rare critique of a sitting Democratic administration, in a statement expressed “surprise and disappointment at the profane and inappropriate language attributed to a senior administration official in describing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

The official was describing to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg administration anger with Netanyahu for bypassing the White House in lobbying Congress and the media to block a potential Iran nuclear deal with the major powers, and for new building in eastern Jerusalem.

The allegation of cowardice referred to what the official said was Netanyahu’s reluctance to face down right-wingers in his government and the settlement movement.

Separately, the Ruderman Family Foundation, a funder of programs that integrate the disabled into the Jewish community, faulted the anonymous official for describing Netanyahu as “Aspergery.”

“The term ‘Aspergery’ was used in a manner that is insulting to the millions of people around the world with Asperger Syndrome,” the foundation said in a statement. “It is never OK to insult someone by referring to them by using disability in a negative manner. The Foundation calls on the administration to release a statement denouncing the use of the name of a disability in a derogatory manner (in this case ‘Aspergery’).”

professional news and thank yous [librarian.net]

future - digital divide images

This title sounds fancy but mostly I needed to play catch-up and this seems like the best way to do that. Hi. In the past month I’ve done two public speaking type things that went well and some other stuff. I’ve been remiss in sharing them in a timely fashion. So now I’m sharing them in a list fashion.

  • I went to Mississippi for the MLA Conference which was a great time. I led a facilitated discussion pre=conference which is the first real time I’ve done something like that. You can read the slides here: The Digital Divide and You which includes input from the discussion part of the afternoon. I stuck around for the conference and was very glad I did. I put some photos up here. Thank you MLA, the Mississippi Library Commission and especially MLA President Amanda Clay Powers for showing me a good time.
  • VLA hosted a table at VT’s first annual ComicCon. This was a hugely fun event and terrific for library outreach. We had free stickers and reading lists, a display of banned graphic novels and people could get their photos taken in our “Vermont Comic Reader’s License” booth which netted a ton of delightful photographs (more on facebook). We also sponsored one of the special guests — Dave Newell, Mr. McFeely from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood) and he did storytime at the booth with puppets. I staffed the table one of the days. Such a good time. Huge shout-outs to other planners: Helen Linda, Sam Maskell and Hannah Tracy.
  • Another MLA! This time the Massachusetts Small Libraries Conference (also the “first annual”) and I was the keynote speaker talking about how to Future-proof libraries. A combination of talking about what the challenges and unique positions small and rural libraries are in as well as some ways to nudge people towards getting interested in the online world. Notes and slides here. Big thanks to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners & the Massachusetts Library System.
  • I started writing for The Open Standard, Mozilla’s new online-writing thing. My first article, After Some Victories, the Time Has Come to Legally Define ‘Fair Use’, has been up for a while now. I’d love to know what you think.
  • Also I’m not sure if I was explicit in my “I’m moving on” post about MetaFilter but I’m still at least somewhat looking for work. I love Open Library and my local teaching but I’ve got a few more hours in my schedule and would be happy to do some more speaking, some consulting or some writing. I have a one-pager website that summarizes my skillset. Feel free to pass it along to people.

I gave a really quick “How to do an elevator speech” talk after lunch at MLA (the one in MA, not the one in MS) and it was really fun. All librarians should practice their elevator speeches. Here’s my one slide from that talk. You can probably get the gist of it.

how do to an elevator speech in one slide

Swann Foundation Awards for 2014-2015 [Library of Congress: News]

The Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon has awarded fellowships to three applicants for the academic year 2014-2015. Recipients are affiliated with McGill University, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Northwestern University.

UPDATED: Registered Republicans Have 94,000 Vote Edge in Colorado's Early Vote [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

Democratic firm Public Policy Polling just unveiled a survey in Colorado, conducted for the League of Conservation Voters, showing Republican Cory Gardner and Democratic incumbent Mark Udall tied, with 48 percent each.

This is a surprise, as most polls of this race showed a solid Gardner lead. Just this morning, Quinnipiac unveiled a poll showing the Republican ahead by 7 points and Rasmussen had Gardner up by 6.

One other piece of evidence casting doubt on the race ending with the candidates neck-and-neck: a good chunk of the state’s vote is already in — 905,500 ballots, or probably close to half the vote.

Registered Democrats returned 294,648 of these ballots, or 32.5 percent; registered Republicans were 379,250, or 41.8 percent.

A candidate whose party is outpacing the competition by a 9.3 percentage point margin, with 40 to 45 percent of the ballots counted is in a pretty nice spot. Not rock-solid locked up, but in a nice spot.

Also note that we’ve heard quite a bit about Democrats’ better-than-ever vote-targeting and get-out-the-vote efforts, and Republicans undoubtedly remember 2012 quite well. But if Democrats have a great get-out-the-vote system in Colorado, we haven’t seen it yet. 

UPDATE: The Denver Post releases a poll showing Gardner up by 2 points, 46 percent to 44 percent. They have him up by 3 points among those who have already voted. The survey also shows Gardner ahead by 7 points among independents.

ANOTHER UPDATE: If the 84,000 vote advantage of yesterday wasn’t enough to cheer Republicans, here are today’s numbers: 1,038,023 votes, 336,908 Democrats, 431,711 Republicans. A 94,803 vote margin.

What's Separating the GOP's Leading Candidates From the Trailing Ones? [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

Sean Trende sounds the alarm for Republicans that even with some good polls floating around, they’re underperforming:

In this sense, I think the large number of undecided voters — who almost certainly disapprove of the president by large margins — are a potential red flag for Republicans. At this point, what more can Republicans do to convince them to make up their minds? Mark Warner has been stuck in the high 40s/low 50s for several months now. In theory, Ed Gillespie should be making a race of it by now.  Yet he remains mired in the high 30s (although he has closed the gap somewhat).  There seems to be a substantial chunk of the Minnesota electorate that isn’t prepared to commit fully to Al Franken, yet isn’t excited about Mike McFadden.

If these voters ultimately opt disproportionately to stay home, it would transform an electorate where the president has a 42 percent job approval into one where he has a 46 percent job approval.  This probably wouldn’t be enough to save the Senate: Democrats who trailed would still lose, albeit by small margins.  But it would probably cap Republican gains in the House, and would probably transform an opportunity for a huge GOP night in the Senate into a modest wave of six or seven seats.

Is this what separates the GOP candidates with solid and consistent leads from the ones who don’t? Is it that these low-motivation, Obama-disapproving voters see something in Cory Gardner in Colorado, Tom Cotton in Arkansas and perhaps Joni Ernst in Iowa that they don’t see in Thom Tillis in North Carolina and Terri Lynn Land in Michigan? Or Gillespie and McFadden? Or Pat Roberts in Kansas and Scott Brown in New Hampshire? Yes, they’re all different candidates, running in different states and in different electorates.

Presuming Election Day follows the current polls — and obviously, polls in close races can be wrong – some will shoehorn the evidence to fit a narrative that “authentic conservatives” like Gardner, Cotton and Ernst won while “establishment Republican” candidates like Tillis and Land lost.

To do this, you have to really blur your definitions of “establishment” and “conservative.” Gardner was first elected to office in 2005, and Cotton is a congressman.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to classify first-time candidate, like Oregon GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby as part of any “establishment.” Georgia GOP Senate candidate David Purdue has never run for office before — but he’s been a successful executive, so Georgia Democrats are running the Romney playbook against him. (If you’re a successful businessman, do Obama-disapproving, low-motivation voters automatically perceive you as part of an “establishment”?)

And the man everyone classifies as part of the “establishment” — Sen. Mitch McConnell — is looking pretty solid in Kentucky.

The shortest explanation is that the GOP Senate candidates who are doing best are just plain good candidates: good life experiences and resumes, good on the stump, good on television, good in debates, good at the little stops shaking hands and meeting people, and (mostly) good in interviews. Chalk it up to charisma, chalk it up to instinct, chalk it up to luck — and perhaps note that it helps to have a flawed opponent.

Life for Republicans would be a lot easier if nomination of an “authentic conservative” — or, for that matter, an “Establishment Republican” guaranteed victory on Election Day. Unfortunately, the candidates in either category have to be good at campaigning.


A Good Morning for Charlie Crist, Cory Gardner & Tom Cotton [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

The good news for Democrats this morning: “A jump in support from independent likely voters in the Florida governor’s race leaves Democrat Charlie Crist with 43 percent, inches ahead of Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Scott with 40 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie has 8 percent, with 9 percent undecided.”

The good news for Republicans this morning“With strong support from men, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican challenger in the Colorado U.S. Senate race, leads U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, the Democratic incumbent, 46 – 39 percent among likely voters, with 7 percent for independent candidate Steve Shogan, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Another 7 percent are undecided.”

The other good news for Republicans this morning“The 16th annual Arkansas Poll found an electorate more pessimistic about the direction of Arkansas and more optimistic about their personal future. Likely voters prefer Republican candidates, although a record significant gap divides male and female voters. Among very likely voters, Tom Cotton, the Republican candidate, maintains a significant lead over Democrat Mark Pryor, at 49 percent to 36 percent.”

The ominous news for the country as a whole this morning: 

The air strikes already ordered by President Barack Obama are supported by 76% of the public, a CNN/ORC International survey of 1,018 adults, conducted Oct. 24-26, found.

However, only 48% of those polled say the U.S. effort is going well — while 54% say they’re confident the strikes will degrade and destroy the military capability of ISIS. That figure is down from 61% last month… Only 32% said they believe Obama has a clear plan for dealing with ISIS. Meanwhile, 59% said further acts of terrorism in the United States are likely over the next several weeks.

Hillary, Not That Invested in Saving Democrats This Year [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Hillary, Too Busy Preparing to Pose for Vogue to Tape Ads for Vulnerable Democrats

There are a lot of reasons why Hillary Clinton is more vulnerable as a 2016 presidential candidate than the conventional wisdom thinks – although I suppose the conventional wisdom might be catching up.

Bloomberg News observes:

Though she’s traveled the country for Democrats, headlining rallies from Colorado to North Carolina, Clinton has not lent any of her star power to any televised campaign ads. It’s a strange discrepancy: While Clinton is one of—if not the most—requested surrogates for Democratic congressional campaigns, many seem far less seem eager to put her in their television ads.

Even the spot for Grimes, a long-time family friend of the Clintons, was online-only—a far less expensive proposition for a campaign than actually buying time to place an ad on television. And it used footage captured two weeks ago at a rally Clinton held for Grimes in Louisville, rather than any new video… 

Hillary Clinton’s spokespeople refused to comment on her ad appearances, or lack of them. But people close to the former first couple say they’ve been turning down requests from candidates to star in ads, fearing that if they cut a spot for one, they’d have to do them for everyone who asked. Those people say former President Bill Clinton is annoyed by several unauthorized usages of his image in ads.

So what is Hillary doing with her time these days, instead of cutting ads?

Is Hillary Clinton about to make her return to the cover of Vogue? Confidenti@l has learned that the presumed presidential candidate and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour visited Michael Kors’ studio for a fitting. We’re told the power trio huddled in Kors’ office at his Bryant Park HQ, studying a “rack of clothes.” Clinton (l.), who was with longtime aide Huma Abedin and a person our spy describes as a “huge bodyguard,” has graced the cover of the fashion bible once before. She was on the December 1998 cover, in velvet Oscar de la Renta, as First Lady in a shoot by Annie Leibovitz. Last year at an opening for a de la Renta retrospective at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark., Wintour said, “All of us at Vogue look forward to putting on the cover the first female President of the United States.”

Democrats are on the verge of an awful midterm election, gobs of Democrats are hanging on by their fingernails, and Hillary’s getting ready to pose for Vogue. If you’re one of those dedicated, door-knocking, flyer-distributing rank-and-file grassroots Democrats, how does it feel to have a front-running nominee who’s less dedicated to electing members of your party than you are?

Like the giant speaking fees (for Chelsea too!), the gargantuan wealth built during a life in “public service”, the backslapping deals at the Clinton Foundation, these little anecdotes add to the narrative that the Clintons are dedicated first and foremost to “Clintons Inc.” and to others – even political allies – second.

What’s working for Hillary this coming cycle is that it’s hard to see any of her potential rivals turning into the next Barack Obama. Even if there’s an argument to be made to Democratic presidential primary voters that Hillary is too old, too establishment, too tied to Washington, too tied to the Obama administration’s failures, not sufficiently connected of the party’s vengeful populist id the way Elizabeth Warren is… who, other than Warren, could come along and play Obama next year? Martin O’Malley? Brian Schweitzer? Joe Biden? Come on.

'Bibles and guns brought us here, and Bibles and guns will keep us here.' [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

Zach Dasher, that is one heck of an ad:

“Hey, Louisiana. Bibles and guns brought us here, and Bibles and guns will keep us here. Zach Dasher believes in ‘em both.”

Dasher has a bit of an “in” with his endorser; his maternal uncles are Phil and Si Robertson of the Duck Dynasty A&E television series. Dasher is running in the Fifth Congressional District. 

Harvard: Young People Are Moving Toward the GOP [National Review Online - The Corner]

I have been generally skeptical of reports that young voters are warming up to the GOP, in large part because so many of the write-ups I’ve seen during the last year have conflated the news that Millenials are souring on the Democratic party with the claim that Millenials are turning on to Republicans. Nevertheless, I’m coming around to the idea that there has been some movement. Consider this New York Times post:

Memo to Democrats: Your days of winning the youth vote may be over. Starting next week.

new poll from the Institute of Politics at Harvard University contains a surprising finding: Slightly more than half of young Americans who say they will ‘’definitely be voting’’ in the midterm elections would prefer a Republican-controlled Congress.

The claim that the Democratic party’s “days of winning the youth vote may be over” is a touch premature. It is one thing for the Republican party to be winning those who are “definitely” voting in “the midterms,” but it is quite another for the Republican party to be on the brink of “winning the youth vote” per se. We do not know, for example, what young people will think when a general election comes along. Perhaps Millennials see presidents as being substantially different animals than congressmen? We do not know who will be running in 2016, and which issue will be at the forefront of the campaign. Perhaps “definite” voters’ preference for Republicans is the product of a temporary desire for change that will not translate to the White House two years hence? We do not know, either, whether young people just want to see some more balance in the government. Perhaps Harvard’s numbers are the simple product of the political pendulum, and, after a couple of years of bolder conservative pushback, the enthusiasm will wane? As always, time will tell.

Still, at the congressional level at least, it is impossible not to conclude that the GOP is making some progress. As we have established, “very likely” voters have recently swung back into the GOP’ column:

In 2010, the last time Harvard polled young voters before a midterm election, 55 percent of those very likely to vote favored a Democratic Congress, while 43 percent preferred Republican control.

The new survey, released Wednesday, found a preference for Republican control among very likely voters, 51 percent to 47 percent. The institute’s polling director, John Della Volpe, said the findings suggest that the youth vote may now be up for grabs.

“The period of time from 2004 to 2012 where Democrats maintained a significant margin of young voters appears to be over,’’ Mr. Della Volpe said. “The youth vote is now returning back to pre-2004 levels, where it is actually a key swing vote.’’

But that’s not all. If Harvard is correct, the partisan divide among all “young Americans” is an awful lot smaller than I thought it was. The Times proposes that,

before Republicans get too excited . . . they might look at the overall preferences of young Americans. When those who do not vote are taken into account, 50 percent prefer that Democrats control Congress, while 43 percent prefer that Republicans do.

I have to disagree a little with the conclusion here. If this is true, Republicans should indeed get “excited.” The conservative party is losing by 7 points among the young? Time to crack open the champagne.

MLB Star Courts Black Voters for GOP Candidate [National Review Online - The Corner]

Detroit Tigers’ outfielder Torii Hunter did his part to help Republicans gain support among black voters with a radio ad in support of Asa Hutchinson, the party’s gubernatorial nominee in Arkansas.

“Dr. King said that men should be judged by the content of their character,” Hunter, an Arkansas native, says in the radio ad.

“Today, we too often prejudge political candidates by their party label. I’m asking you to consider Asa for his actions,” he continues, per the Detroit Free Press noted. . “As a lawyer, Asa fought for more majority African-American districts in the state’s legislature. Asa is committed to the principles we hold dear, like a strong faith in God, equal justice for all and keeping marriage between one man and one woman. Asa wants all children to have access to computer science, to expand charter schools and bring more jobs and small businesses into our communities.”

Hunter’s ad closed by noting that “Asa won’t take your vote for granted,” praise that dovetails with recent black Republican critiques of Democrats.

State Senator Elbert Guillory (R., La.), for instance, told black voters that Senator Mary Landrieu (D., La.) has ignored the black community because she believes they’ll vote against Republicans anyway.

“For her, you’re just a means to an end so that she remains in power,” as Guillory put it.

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much [National Review Online - The Corner]

I wrote yesterday about Kaci Hickox, the Maine nurse whose self-sacrifice abroad, treating the Ebola-stricken in Sierra Leone, has not translated into nobility back in the States. Via the New York Times:

A nurse who cared for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone defied Maine officials on Thursday morning, leaving her house for a short bicycle ride and setting up a legal fight over a 21-day quarantine ordered by the state.

The nurse, Kaci Hickox, left her house on the edge of Fort Kent just after 9 a.m., biking with her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, down a quiet paved road, followed closely by two police cars and a caravan of reporters.

The couple rode less than a mile, then turned onto a graded gravel trail on a former railroad right-of-way flanked by pines. One police car, which has been posted outside her house for days, followed slowly behind. Ms. Hickox and her boyfriend, wearing jackets in the crisp Maine morning, returned to the house an hour later. . . .

It is not clear how Maine officials will respond. State officials said Wednesday that they would seek a court order to enforce the quarantine if Ms. Hickox left the house.

Hickox’s situation does, no question, raise the timeless question of how to balance liberty and security — in this case, to what degree can the government abridge an individual’s liberty in the interests of public health? That is, always has been, and always will be a question of prudence; there are no formulae for making such a determination. In this particular case, though, it is rather difficult to argue that Hickox’s rights are being unceremoniously trampled (or that forcing Hickox to remain in her house will stimulate widespread government overreach). Ebola is a very nasty disease, and Hickox, having been a medical volunteer in West Africa for a month, is as obvious a potential patient as they come. Individual citizens are sometimes forced to endure inconveniences in the interest of more pressing goals. That is not automatically tyranny; it is usually just the reality of living in a community. When governors start quarantining anyone with a sniffle, then pitchforks will be appropriate.

But there is, along with this philosophical question, a more basic, human one: What about decency? As I wrote yesterday, “When it comes to a disease that liquefies your internal organs and pushes blood out your eyeballs, ‘Better safe than sorry’ would seem a dictum to which everyone could agree.” But Hickox evidently does not. It may turn out that she is Ebola-free, and always has been; she has tested negative so far. That would be good news. But for two more weeks, the risk remains. Has Hickox not considered that maybe, just maybe, it would be advisable to take one for the team just in case? Instead, she has turned herself into a martyr — and now a rebel, violating the state’s quarantine order with élan.

I can sympathize with Hickox’s restlessness, being forced to remain at home despite feeling perfectly spry. But really, the prospect of a government-enforced mandate to stay at home, order in, read, and watch Netflix with one’s significant other seems a far cry from the gulag. In fact, I would welcome it. I could finally catch up on The Last Ship.

Behind Every Great Man . . . [National Review Online - The Corner]

Tim, J. S. Bach is not the only genius whose work has been attributed to his wife on flimsy grounds. Back in the 1990s, feminists tried to make a case that Albert Einstein’s first wife had “done his math” for him. It was controversial back then, and the weight of scholarly opinion was strongly against it, but a generation later Mrs. Einstein continues to be invoked as a tragically mistreated mathematical whiz, making necessary new rounds of debunking.

A similar but less prominent case involves Charles Hall, who in the 1880s discovered the method that is still in use to isolate metallic aluminum from bauxite (it isn’t easy). He was not married, but revisionists have suggested that his sister, Julia, with whom he lived, participated in his research and should be credited as co-discoverer. As with Bach’s and Einstein’s wives, Julia does seem to have had some involvement with Charles’s work, but her role has been greatly inflated, to the point where one popular source calls them “a brother and sister team.”

And this is a bit off topic, but if the Bach revisionists succeed in getting Anna Magdalena credited as co-composer, it won’t be the first time that co-authorship of a famous piece of music was retroactively attributed to a clerical assistant. In 2002 an Italian court ruled that Alfredo Mazzucchi was a co-composer of “O Sole Mio” (1898). Mazzucchi, who was 19 at the time, is generally described as a transcriber for the songwriters Giovanni Capurro and Eduardo Di Capua, but the court decided that he had contributed to writing the melody as well.

Why did a court even get involved? Copyright on musical works expires 70 years after the death of the last co-creator. Capurro and Di Capua died in 1917 and 1929, respectively, but Mazzucchi stayed alive until 1972, when he died at age 93 — which means that a song that came out in 1898 will remain in copyright until 2042.

DNC Spokesman Won't Denounce State Democrats' Race-Baiting Tactics [National Review Online - The Corner]

A top Democratic National Committee official repeatedly refused to answer whether state Democrats’ use of incendiary racial appeals were appropriate tools to help drive voter turnout. 

MSNBC host Craig Melvin asked Mo Elleithee, the DNC’s communications director, about the fliers — one of which, in Georgia, warns voters there will be “another Ferguson” if they fail to vote next Tuesday.  “Is using the issue of race like that, to drive turnout — is that appropriate?” Melvin asked.

When Elleithee refused to respond, instead making vague references to “outreach in the African-American community,” Melvin pressed him. “No no, no, no,” he said. “Are those specific efforts appropriate?”

The DNC communications director again demurred, saying his main goal is “to remind people how important it is to remain engaged.”

“But can you not do that without trotting out the images of dead black teenagers?” Melvin asked.

Fliers invoking Ferguson have also been deployed by state Democratic officials in Arkansas and North Carolina, while a super PAC tied to Senate majority leader Harry Reid has run a radio ad claiming North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis is pushing a gun law like the one that “caused the death of Trayvon Martin.”

Immigration Polling [National Review Online - The Corner]

An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today includes this passage: “A recent Fusion poll of likely millennial voters aged 18 to 34 found that a plurality of 49% support the Democratic Party’s immigration-reform position while only 30% supported the GOP’s position. But when the poll asks whom the respondent blames for the failure of immigration reform, 12% blamed the Democrats, 15% blamed President Obama, and 30% blamed both political parties. Thirty-three percent blamed the Republicans in Congress. Looking at the Fusion poll, the best political hope for a GOP nativist strategy is that few voters notice it—hardly a ringing endorsement.”

I wouldn’t make too much of these findings. That 49–30 split is trivially different from the Fusion poll’s ballot-preference question, where 47 percent of  millennials say they’re voting for Democrats and 32 percent for Republicans. My guess is that partisan leanings are driving their answer to the question of which party they prefer on immigration. I’m not denying that there are political risks in being too hostile to legalizing illegal immigrants, etc., just cautioning against reading too much into this finding.

'Joni Ernst Is Right On Guns' [National Review Online - The Corner]

I wrote about Joni Ernst and guns today:

There is a new argument against Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst. To wit, that she should be excluded from the United States Senate because she just might shoot the parliamentarian the first time a procedural ruling goes against her.

In a recently unearthed video from a 2012 National Rifle Association meeting in Iowa, Ernst explained her devotion to her Smith & Wesson 9 millimeter in particular, and to her gun rights in general. “I believe,” she said, “in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.”

The Left reacted to her statement a little like the squealing hogs Ernst talked of castrating in her famous ad, and with about as much care and rationality.


Dem Lawmaker Compares Ebola Quarantines to Terri Schiavo Case, Because Why Not? [National Review Online - The Corner]

In a rather bizarre leap of logic, Democratic congressman Steve Cohen compared the mandatory Ebola quarantines enacted in several states to the case of Terri Schiavo, the patient pulled from life support in 2005 following a long and public legal battle.

The Tennessee lawmaker appeared on CNN Thursday to express his opposition to the 21-day quarantines mandated for health care workers returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa. New York, New Jersey and now Maine have all enacted different versions of this policy.

“They are doing what the public has been driven to think, and they’re appealing to the public,” Cohen said of the governors behind the quarantines. “Politicians should respond to the public, but they should respond to science first.”

The lawmaker claimed that most scientists believe the risk to the public from returning health care workers is small, likening those who believe otherwise to global warming deniers. 

“I think this has strictly been driven by politics and fear-mongering,” he said, “and I think we’ll look upon it one day like Terri Schiavo.” 


Just What Are the Politics of Christopher Nolan's New Film, Interstellar? [National Review Online - The Corner]

Director Christopher Nolan’s 2008 Batman film The Dark Knight frequently lands on lists of “most conservative” movies. The War on Terror played out on the streets of Gotham with the Caped Crusader as a stand-in for President George W. Bush. Here’s mystery writer Andrew Klavan in the Wall Street Journal:

There seems to me no question that the Batman film “The Dark Knight,” currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past. And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society — in which people sometimes make the wrong choices — and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell. “The Dark Knight,” then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year’s “300,” “The Dark Knight” is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.

So what will we make of Nolan’s new film, Interstellar, out next week? The basic plot, I guess, is that Earth is dying, and we need to find a new home out there. (Matthew McConaughey plays an engineer-astronaut.) Sounds a bit like the same sort of left-wing environmentalism that gave us The Day After Tomorrow.  But that sounds too obvious and easy for Nolan. Check out this clip from the film and tell me its politics:

Is Nolan making  a point about the Common Core? Fiscal austerity? Or just about the belief that we need to focus exclusively on problems here on this planet and forget about space exploration?  That last one affects folks on the left and right. You have liberals who think NASA dollars might be better spent on universal pre-K. And just the other day the Federalist ran a piece calling the search for extraterrestrial life a simple waste of money. My guess is that Interstellar will make a strong case that whatever problems man’s technological advancements have caused, the solutions will be found in more exploration, invention, and innovation.

K-State's Football Coach Bill Snyder Endorses Pat Roberts [National Review Online - The Corner]

It’s not quite a Hail Mary, but Pat Roberts is hoping the endorsement of popular Kansas State University football coach Bill Snyder will help him eke out a victory next week. Snyder, whose Wildcats team is ranked No. 11 in the country, endorsed the Republican incumbent in a new ad released five days before Election Day.

In the ad, Snyder praises Roberts as “a dear [personal] friend, and a great friend of the state of Kansas.”

“I think his track record speaks for itself. . . . He’s an honest individual,” Snyder says.

The ad will air across the state in the closing days of his tight contest against independent candidate Greg Orman. The race is neck-and-neck with Orman leading Roberts by 0.9 points, according to the Real Clear Politics average.

The highly respected Snyder is currently in his 23rd season as Kansas State’s head coach; his first stint in Manhattan, Kan., went from 1989 to 2005, and he returned to coach the team in 2009. The team’s stadium was named after him after he first retired from the team, making him the only coach to coach in a stadium named after him upon the start of his second stint with the team.

Eyes Wide Shut [National Review Online - The Corner]

On the homepage today is Part IV of my “Oslo Journal” (notes on the Oslo Freedom Forum, the annual human-rights gathering in the Norwegian capital). I would like to excerpt a kind of extra-curricular bit from Part III, then publish a letter about it:

A session opens at the Nye Theater. It opens with music, performed by a duo: a woman and a man, on keyboard and guitar. They both sing (she principally, I think).

I have noticed something about pop singers — I hope this won’t sound too snarky, because I don’t really mean it that way: They close their eyes when they sing. And the more impassioned they want to be, the tighter they shut their eyes. I think that, when they are very young, they see singers do this — and figure that’s the way you sing.

Anyway . . .

A reader writes,

You mentioned in your latest Oslo posting about pop performers singing with their eyes closed. Having sung a few solos in my life I’m betting that it helps them control their stage fright as well as focus their emotions. I don’t sing with my eyes closed but sometimes, nervously looking over the audience, I’m tempted. I remember watching a season of American Idol where Andrew Lloyd Webber was tutoring David Archuleta (who ended up placing second). He specifically suggested he open his eyes. It bugged him too. I believe David Archuleta has followed his advice ever since.

In Part IV, I relate a memory from a Davos conference. And this memory has sparked another one, which I’d like to give you in a second. First, the excerpt from Part IV, relating the Davos memory:

I spoke with a man who had worked in the development field for 30 years. He was in the aid-to-Africa business. He had given his life to it.

I said, “Have these efforts done any good?” He said, quietly, “No.” I have never forgotten that. It was one of the most honest conversations I have ever had. (It was in the black of night, standing up, outside in the snow.)

There is such a thing as oversimplifying. There is also such a thing as overcomplicating. What do Africans need? The same things everyone else needs: the rule of law; property rights; an independent judiciary; accountability in government; economic freedom; other freedom. Then they will zoom. They are not born to be poor and desolate. The systems that control them make them that way.

Mankind knows pretty well what leads to prosperity and what leads to the opposite. Our experience has been ample — redundant. The road to prosperity is blocked by collectivists, tyrants, and spoilers.

Have I oversimplified? Probably, but the more common error is overcomplicating, I think.

Okay, let me give you a domestic version of the Africa business. Years ago, I spoke with a judge in West Virginia — a die-hard liberal Democrat who, as a young man, had worked with Sargent Shriver in the War on Poverty. I asked him, “Did it do any good?” Quietly, and with sadness, he said, “No.”

If an arch-right-winger like me says that — or even the best economist at the Cato Institute — that’s one thing. But for him to say that — I was kind of moved.

Anyway, this topic deserves books, not blogposts, and it has received books. But I’m just doing blogposts here — not even mentioning that daunting topic, culture.

Jokes and No-Jokes [National Review Online - The Corner]

Concerning last night’s National Review Institute dinner in New York, a few observations:

1) I sat at a table with, among other luminaries, the DeVos family of Michigan. They are the family behind Amway. We (NRI) were honoring them. They have not only sold products that people need at affordable prices; they have provided employment and wealth for many, many people.

The other day, campaigning in Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton said, “Don’t let anybody tell you that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know that old theory: trickle-down economics.”

There are a hundred things you could say about this. I have already said some of them. But here is something else: The Democrats like to say they’re the party of science, knowledge, reason, evidence, logic. But they say things at complete odds with reality — as in Hillary Clinton’s campaign declaration.

2) For years now, I have meant to include something in my Impromptus column. But I never got around to it. Across from the golf range in Manhattan — yes, there is only one, to my knowledge — there is a modern building that is a thing of beauty. It is novel, interesting, and beautiful, all three.

I wanted to say, “I’m always blasting modern architecture — and modern everything — so it gives me special pleasure to praise a certain building.”

Well, I’ll be damned: It was where the dinner last night was held. It turns out to be the “IAC Building,” designed by Frank Gehry. I should have known it was Gehry — Bilbao, Disney Hall, Bard College, and all that.

3) Charles Krauthammer — our honoree, along with the DeVoses — told a joke that I have always known as a Jewish joke. In the version familiar to me, it goes (something) like this:

A priest, a minister, and a rabbi are playing golf. There’s a single player ahead, accompanied by a caddie. The single player is slow, which is odd. The threesome sends a ranger up ahead to see what the problem is. The ranger comes back and says, “The golfer is actually blind. He is playing with the guidance of his caddie, and enjoying himself. It’s just that he’s a little slow, as we can all understand.”

The priest says something about suffering and forbearing. The minister says something else. (Sorry, I’m not telling the joke well, but I’m getting to the punchline.) The rabbi, hard-headed, says, “Why can’t they play at night?”

In Dr. K.’s telling, it was a Franciscan, a Benedictine, and a Jesuit — and the Jesuit was the hard-headed fellow. Dr. K. was comparing that fellow to WFB.

P.S. Longtime readers will recognize the opening formulation of this post — “Concerning Topic X, a few observations” — as a WFB trademark.

P.P.S. On the subject of jokes and religion: Rob Long (emceeing this dinner) said, “You know how to make an Episcopalian look at his shoes? Mention money or Jesus.”

That reminded me of something a reader once e-mailed me. I had written something about social justice, and the fraudulence of that phrase. The reader said, “In our community, we say there are two kinds of rabbis: Those who talk about social justice, and those who can read Hebrew.”

A Good GDP Report, But . . . [National Review Online - The Corner]

The U.S. economy grew 3.5 percent at an annualized rate over the last three months, the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced this morning. That’s a strong number, especially following 4.6 percent growth in the second quarter, although both of them follow an exceptionally bad first quarter, when the economy shrunk at a 2.1 percent annual rate.

Taking that into account, there’s no reason for great celebration: Because these two quarters are to some extent rebounding from the first, this year has not been an especially impressive one for economic growth. (It has been better than most of the recovery in job creation, but wages have barely risen.) The third quarter did beat expectations — most analysts had expected GDP growth to be just under 3 percent, though of course these numbers are subject to substantial revision.

And in some ways, the quarter was even better than it looks. One of the major components of gross domestic product is private-sector inventories, which swell and shrink over time for various not terribly meaningful reasons, and when you take out inventories, according to the BEA, growth was 4.2 percent (though of course inventories have added growth in other months).

On the flip side, one big boost to GDP was government spending. Public-sector spending made the biggest contribution to GDP in the last quarter that it has since the implementation of the stimulus in the second quarter of 2009, increasing GDP growth by 0.8 percentage points (chart via ZeroHedge):

That was in large part thanks to increased federal defense spending — it rose 16 percent on an annualized basis this quarter (thanks ISIS). But state and local governments, with their revenue streams finally recovering, are starting to spend more too. The unexpected nature of that federal boost explains some of why GDP growth was higher than analysts expected.

There’s reason to believe, unfortunately, that this strong growth is going to slow, and not just because we’re still making up for last winter’s slow activity: Exports were a big driver of growth this quarter, and there are problems on that horizon. China and Europe’s economies seem to be slowing, and the dollar, driven by worries about global security and European debt, is strengthening. Provided the right policies, the U.S. economy can grow on its own, but those issues will decrease growth at the margins.

The GDP report also measures inflation over the last quarter, and it’s a miserly 1.3 percent. That’s by a different measure (“personal consumption expenditures”) than the one you usually hear cited (the consumer price index), but it’s the number the Federal Reserve looks at when targeting 2 percent inflation. The Fed ended its quantitative-easing bond-buying program yesterday but has pledged to keep rates low for a significant amount of time — some critics would argue that that’s an inadequate response to the fact that inflation has run noticeably below their set target.

Obama's Veto Pen [National Review Online - The Corner]

The Atlantic:

On the trail, GOP candidates like Roberts frequently make reference to the bills the House has passed that the Senate hasn’t taken up. There are 387 of them—you can find a full list here—ranging from the “Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act of 2013” to bills that would expand offshore oil drilling and get rid of all or part of the Affordable Care Act. Many are what’s known as “messaging bills”—legislation that House Republicans knew would never become law and passed just to make a statement about their priorities, or to satisfy a constituency. Sending those bills through the Senate would result in a speedy Obama veto, accomplishing nothing.

This scenario is not going to happen even if Republicans take the Senate, and you need only skip back two paragraphs in the same story to see why: “With the Senate requiring a 60-vote supermajority for most legislation. . .” I think it is extremely unlikely that a new Republican majority would abolish the filibuster. They will have a limited opportunity to pass bills that aren’t subject to it: They can’t pass bill after bill that way. And bills that get enough Democratic support to overcome filibusters are likely to get Obama’s signature.

If the Republicans take the Senate, I expect Obama to use the veto more than he has in the past. (There have been two insignificant vetoes.) But it’s not going to be a regular occurrence.

#QEDone, But Stimulus Remains [National Review Online - The Corner]

With these words, issued yesterday, the Fed ended its controversial “quantitative easing” program:

The Committee judges that there has been a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market since the inception of its current asset purchase program. Moreover, the Committee continues to see sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing progress toward maximum employment in a context of price stability. Accordingly, the Committee decided to conclude its asset purchase program this month. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. This policy, by keeping the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions.

Some background: After reducing its key short-term interest rate to zero nearly six years ago, the Fed began purchasing what ultimately amounted to trillions of dollars of longer-term securities in an effort to stimulate the economy by pushing down longer-term interest rates. This program — quantitative easing, or “QE” — has been extremely controversial, both among folks in politics and economists. Pretty much everyone now agrees that the QE program sent stocks soaring and reduced interest rates on government debt. But did those soaring stock prices help the broader economy through a “wealth effect”? Did QE help the housing market by lowering mortgage interest rates? Did it nudge corporations to create more jobs? Did its mere existence as a kind of signal of the Fed’s commitment to do whatever it could to boost employment stimulate the economy?

To answer these questions conclusively will require quite a bit of research, and my spider sense tells me that economists will be debating this for a long time. As for me, I’ve been a QE supporter. My opinion is that QE did help support the housing market, and it would take a lot of evidence to change my mind. I’d argue that QE helped other sectors, too, through some of the channels I mentioned above, but I’m more open to being convinced I’m wrong about its effect on non-housing-related economic activity.

Indeed, so controversial and confusing is QE that there is even a question as to whether the end of QE means a reduction in monetary stimulus. It is natural to think that it does. But what matters most, the size of the Fed’s balance sheet, the changes in the Fed’s holdings, or the signal the Fed was sending to market participants that it would go to great lengths to stimulate the economy?

If you believe that the size of balance sheet matters most — which the Fed does — then ending QE is not ending stimulus, but rather ending the Fed’s program of increasing the amount of stimulus it is providing. In other words, stimulus won’t turn to tightening until the Fed’s balance sheet starts to decline, which is still over a year away.

Justin Wolfers, an economist at the Peterson Institute and the University of Michigan, sees things that way.

The most important thing to understand about the Federal Reserve’s decision Wednesday is that it has decided to keep the monetary policy dial set to “stimulate.”

Indeed, by conventional measures, monetary policy is currently dialed in to as expansive a setting as it ever has been — not only in this recovery, but arguably in the history of the nation.

You can find Dr. Wolfers’s essay here, which he concludes by arguing, I think correctly:

But for all the hubbub about the decision to end quantitative easing, realize that the degree of monetary support the economy is receiving tomorrow will be no smaller than it was receiving yesterday.

This continued stimulus is welcome. I wrote a column earlier this month arguing that the Fed needed to continue to simulate the economy, despite the falling unemployment rate.

And then there’s the balance of risks. Let’s say I’m wrong about the unemployment rate but the Fed doesn’t increase rates faster and swifter. In this case, we’ll have some inflation. On the other hand, say that I’m right about the unemployment rate but the Fed tightens too quickly and too rapidly. In that case, a too-cool economy cools off even more, and millions of workers and potential workers who have been suffering for years have to wait even longer to return to full employment. And some surely won’t ever return.

A little inflation above the Fed’s preferred rate isn’t the end of the world — it’s a manageable problem, and may even be desirable. Letting millions of workers sit on the sidelines of the labor market is a bigger problem.

The fundamental logic of monetary policy is the same as it’s been for years now: Prices aren’t rising as rapidly as the Fed would like them to, and the labor market isn’t using workers to their fullest extent. The Fed is still missing on both sides of its “dual mandate.”

You can read my column here.

One final thought: The Fed, I think, thinks that QE was a success. So though it may have ended, don’t be surprised if the Fed pulls it off the shelf at some point in the future.

Let’s hope it isn’t needed again for decades to come.

— Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar and economist at the American Enterprise Institute. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MichaelRStrain.

Get Tough with Turkey [National Review Online - The Corner]

From my most recent NRO article, about the “sick man of Europe”: “If threatening to expel or suspend Turkey from NATO and to encourage the unhappy Turkish Kurds (who claimed on the weekend to have transformed the southeastern Turkish town of Cizre into an autonomous zone’​) will help bring Erdogan to his senses, those steps should be taken. If they don’t bring him to his senses, the threats should be carried out. Allies must be given reasonable leeway, and Turkey has legitimate grievances against Europe, but treachery on Erdogan’s scale is intolerable, and if tolerated can only lead to greater betrayals and provocations.”

Whether you agree or disagree, your comments are, as always, most welcome.

Rob Astorino’s Rainbow Coalition: Gotham Dem’s Race Slurs Are Pure Bull [National Review Online - The Corner]

When it comes to race cards, Letitia James played the ace of spades.

“We have a far-Right Republican, someone who reminds me of Bull Connor in the 1960s,” New York’s Public Advocate said Saturday at a Bedford-Stuyvesant rally for the Women’s Equality Party. “His name is Rick Astorino, and he is more aligned with the Tea Party than our values,” she added.

James most likely meant GOP gubernatorial nominee Rob, not Rick, Astorino.

In a truly baseless, hideous, and racially incendiary rhetorical flourish, James compared Westchester’s county executive to Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor. As Birmingham, Alabama’s Commissioner of Public Safety in 1963, Connor notoriously deployed fire hoses and German Shepherds against peaceful marchers for desegregation.

“All you gotta do is tell them you’re going to bring the dogs,” Connor said back at the time. “Look at ’em run. I want to see the dogs work.”

Like James and Governor Andrew Cuomo — who stood beside her and has not condemned her slurs — Bull Connor was a proud, lifelong Democrat. In fact, he was a member of the Democratic National Committee. He also led Alabama’s delegation as it stormed out of the 1948 Democratic National Convention after it adopted a pro-civil-rights platform plank.

How did Rick, er, Rob Astorino trigger James’s outrageous outburst?

Westchester County is fighting off the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In what it calls a “grand experiment” that it aspires to roll out across America, HUD essentially aims to nationalize local land use and zoning laws to increase the prosperous suburb’s low-income housing and ethnic diversity.

“We are the fourth most diverse county in all of New York State,” Astorino tells me. “Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester.” What keeps minorities from some areas, he says, is not race, but income. Astorino sees dynamic growth and higher wages as the paths that they can follow into more exclusive addresses. As he puts it: “If you can afford a neighborhood, move into that neighborhood.”

This battle pre-dates Astorino’s tenure. Indeed, according to the New York Observer’s Will Bredderman, when none other than Cuomo advisor Larry Schwartz was Westchester’s deputy county executive, he denounced HUD’s “garbage lawsuit.”

Reasonable people can debate HUD’s policy. But James is not reasonable. Rather than explain why she supports this federal power grab, James swung into the race-baiting equivalent of DEFCON 1. Perhaps she hoped to energize turnout among black voters who may feel disappointed with Obama’s performance.

How despicable.

And how stupid.

James at least should have been savvy enough not to call a bigot a man with so many minority supporters.

Not quite the Jim Crow South: (Left to right) New York Republican gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino wins the endorsement of State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. (D – Bronx), as does Astorino’s running mate, Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss. (Photo courtesy of Astorino for Governor.) 

If Astorino really were Bull Connor Jr. would he choose as his running mate New York State Sheriffs Association president Chris Moss, who is black? Indeed, Moss is now the first black Republican ever to run statewide in New York.

What sort of segregationist would appear in public to accept the endorsement of state senator Ruben Diaz Sr., a Hispanic Democrat from the non-lily-white Bronx? “In Rob Astorino, we will have a Governor who will be open to all New Yorkers,” Diaz recently e-mailed his constituents. “Women, Men, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Gay, Straight, Religious, Atheists, Conservative, and Liberal. He will never tell anyone they are not welcome in the State of New York.” In contrast, Cuomo last January announced that traditionalists, “if they are extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York.’’

When he ran for reelection last year, Astorino earned praise from prominent blacks in Westchester.

“These are tight times, and Mr. Astorino works tirelessly to lessen the pain and support the neediest in our county,” said Bishop C. Nathan Edwers, president of United Black Clergy.

“Westchester County is best served by a leader who understands that safe communities, excellent schools, and good paying jobs are all derived from a steady, responsible leader with the right values,” declared Ronald H. Williams, president of the New Rochelle NAACP. “Rob Astorino has shown those values, and I urge my membership and other Westchester voters — of all political parties — to give him a second term in November.”

“I am a lifelong Democrat and a committed community leader,” said the Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson. “I’m backing Rob Astorino because he has been accessible and supportive of our community.” As chairman of the National Action Network, Dr. Richardson is Al Sharpton’s boss.

Such alliances, and Astorino’s campaigning in minority neighborhoods — including stumping in his fluent Spanish in Hispanic precincts — helped Astorino win four more years last November. He secured 25 percent of black ballots and a majority of Hispanic votes.

Clearly, James’s comments were pure bull.

Because of City Hall’s line of succession, Letitia James is just one heartbeat away from becoming mayor of New York. So, three cheers for Bill de Blasio’s pulse.

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. A version of this piece appears in the New York Post.

Houston Mayor Withdraws Unconstitutional Subpoenas; Persists in Unconstitutional Violation of City Charter [National Review Online - The Corner]

Good-ish news:

The city of Houston will withdraw its controversial subpoenas of five pastors tied to a lawsuit over the city’s equal rights ordinance, Mayor Annise Parker announced at a news conference Wednesday.

Houston’s mayor sparked national controversy when her legal team demanded from five local pastors “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to [Houston Equal Rights Ordinance], the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.” The subpoena also covered, among other things, communications between the pastors and their congregants (including Facebook messages and text messages) that pertained to homosexuality, and between the pastors and their attorneys.

Parker’s decision to withdraw the subpoenas is, of course, a positive development — but it should hardly be construed as a victory.

First, here is Parker’s reasoning, per the Houston Chronicle:

Parker said she was persuaded in part by the demeanor of the clergymen she met with Tuesday, saying they were concerned not about the ordinance or politics but about the subpoenas’ impact on the ongoing national discussion of religious freedoms.

“That was the most persuasive argument, because to me it was, ‘What is the goal of the subpoenas?’ The goal of the subpoenas is to defend against a lawsuit, and not to provoke a public debate,” Parker said. “I don’t want to have a national debate about freedom of religion when my whole purpose is to defend a strong and wonderful and appropriate city ordinance against local attack, and by taking this step today we remove that discussion about freedom of religion.”

Perhaps that is Parker’s heartfelt mea culpa; if so, she has a particular flair for saying it in a manner that offers not the slightest hint of an apology. There was never any “discussion about freedom of religion” going on in Houston; there was never anything to discuss. Parker’s subpoenas trampled multiple people’s First Amendment rights, period, case closed. Parker’s explanation for withdrawing the subpoenas sounds more like the expression of her exasperation at having become a target of national scorn. Toss these subpoenas, and maybe weirdos will stop sending her Bibles. That hardly sounds like repentance for egregious constitutional malpractice.

Add to this the fact that Parker removed mention of “sermons” from the subpoenas last week. So she recognizes it is inappropriate to request homilies, but private Facebook conversations and communications protected by attorney-client privilege are fair game? Parker did not think it was wrong one week ago to request private communications that might have mentioned “Mayor Annise Parker”?

But let’s say that Mayor Parker is just torn up inside about what she did, and, golly, she is super-duper sorry. What about that lawsuit?

That is the third problem: The lawsuit from which the subpoena kerfuffle extended was, itself, brought on by Parker’s express violation of Houston’s city charter. As I wrote earlier this month, 55,000 Houstonians signed a referendum petition to force the city council to repeal the Equal Rights Ordinance it passed in the summer (which added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the city’s non-discrimination provisions), or to put the measure up for a citywide plebiscite. The petition was certified by the city secretary, who has sole authority for certifying referendum petitions under the city’s charter. But city attorney David Feldman then insinuated himself into the process and invalidated some 38,000 signatures, bringing it below the 17,000-signature threshold, at which point Parker and the city council refused to heed the petition. So several citizens sued.

What is crucial to keep in mind when considering this whole episode is that the subpoenas were only an additional infraction, piled atop Parker’s refusal to heed the charter she swore to uphold. Annise Parker did not violate the rights of only five pastors. She has trampled the rights of 50,000-plus of her own citizens.

Obama: Americans 'Hiding under the Covers' over Ebola Makes Me 'Frustrated' [National Review Online - The Corner]

President Obama had some harsh words for those spreading fear about the Ebola virus, calling it frustrating that so many Americans are “hiding under the covers” and vowing to continue America’s efforts in West Africa.

The president spoke about the United States’ international response to the virus during a White House address on Wednesday. “When I hear people talking about American leadership, and then promoting polices that would avoid leadership and have us running in the opposite direction and hiding under the covers? It makes me a little frustrated,” he said tersely. “We are at our best when we are standing up and taking responsibility, even when it requires us making sacrifices.”

“So I put those on notice who think that we should hide from these problems,” Obama later said. “That’s not who we are. That’s not who I am. That’s not who [the volunteer health workers] are. This is America. We do things differently.”

Ralph Nader: Hillary 'a Menace to the United States of America' [National Review Online - The Corner]

If activist and perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader is any bellwether for the progressive Left, Hillary Clinton could have a tough time wooing the base of her party in 2016.

Speaking to an interviewer from WeAreChange earlier this week, Nader savaged the Democratic front-runner. “Well, Hillary is a corporatist and a militarist,” he began, after being asked what he thought of both her and Republican hopeful Rand Paul. “Do we want another corporatist and militarist? She thinks Obama is too weak — he doesn’t kill enough people overseas.”

“So she’s a menace to the United States of America,” Nader continued. “And what we need is our people — regardless of whether they’re libertarians or not — that pull back on the empire and make Wall Street subordinate to Main Street.”

“People need to start thinking, doing their homework, and become informed voters, and not coronate another corporatist and militarist,” he finished. 

Nader had kinder words for Rand Paul, but worried that the Kentucky Republican is now gradually turning towards an interventionist foreign policy as he seeks the White House. 

via Mediaite

The Embarassing, Sophomoric Malice of Obama-Administration Foreign Policy [National Review Online - The Corner]

So, a “senior Obama administration official” called the prime minister of Israel — our closest ally in the Middle East and one of the few nations in the region that is not (a) imploding or (b) actively funding or supporting terrorists — “a chickenshit.” While that word has rocketed around the globe, other descriptions of Benjamin Netanyahu include, “recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and ‘Aspergery.’” And let’s not forget the worst word of all, “coward.” 

Behold, the beautiful and delicate rhetorical stylings of our cultural and political elite. They’re the improvisational jazz musicians of American diplomacy, always ready with just the right word to solidify alliances, avoid unnecessary confrontation, and reassure Americans they know exactly what they’re doing in the face of bloody violence.

This is what happens when the academic Left runs American foreign policy.

For those who’ve lived under a rock for the past four-plus decades, the American academy has been characterized by two prime impulses: one substantive, the other stylistic. First, there’s the substantive claim that the problems of the world can largely — if not entirely — be traced back to America’s sins and the sins of our Western allies, most notably Israel. These sins have caused the peoples of the world to accumulate a long list of “legitimate grievances,” and the problem of anti-American or anti-Israeli violence is therefore best dealt with by dealing with the underlying grievance. Thus the fury at George Bush and the steadfast belief that it was American foreign policy and not a particular strain of Islamic theology that fanned the fires of jihad. Thus the fury at Israel when it asserts its right of self-defense, even to the point of blaming the rise of the Islamic State on Israeli/Palestinian relations, when the Islamic State is fighting its wars against Shiites, Kurds, Yazidis, and Americans. 

Next, there’s the sophomoric, malicious style of campus rhetoric, where stigma is the preferred method of argument. It’s hard to overstate the propensity towards name-calling even of “elite” academics, and the culture of the academy is one where groupthink is enforced and reinforced through vicious rhetoric. Their opponents can’t be merely wrong. Instead they are racist, bigoted, homophobic, or — despite professed love of the disabled — “Aspergery.” The arrogance is overwhelming, and the fake tough-guy posture of name-calling elitists is laughable to everyone but themselves.

(By the way, have you noticed how much the elite drop profanity into conversations and commentary to signify how darn angry and serious they are? There’s nothing like a cursing nerd to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies — or friends.)

It should go without saying that this is no way to govern a great nation. So far the Obama administration’s legacy is one of bruised friendships and empowered enemies. The Islamic State rampages, Hamas restocks (with the help of American humanitarian aid), Boko Haram kidnaps, the Taliban advance, Russia owns new/old ground in Europe. And amidst the ruin of their foreign policy, the intellectual and emotional infants in the Obama administration hashtag away, mustering up their anger and fury to sling schoolyard insults at a close ally. All while doing their best to defer the hardest fighting against emerging enemies to the Oval Office’s next occupant.

Bravo. You truly have “reset” American foreign policy. You must feel so proud. 

Udall Going All In on What Hasn't Been Working [National Review Online - The Corner]

He’s been criticized for running a single-issue campaign on birth control, but that didn’t stop Senator Mark Udall (D., Colo.) and his allies from warning that a victory by his Republican challenger, Representative Cory Gardner, could mean the end of condoms.

In a radio ad by NARAL, a man is heard returning home frustrated by not being able to locate an unnamed item. After the woman in the ad, who the man refers to as “sweet pea,” asks if he tried the drug story, grocery store, and corner store, she reveals he was looking for condoms and asks why they are in such short supply.

“Cory Gardner banned birth control,” the man responds, “and now, it’s all on us guys. And you can’t find a condom anywhere. And the pill was just the start.” (For the record, Gardner supports making birth control available over-the-counter.)

The man also blames Gardner for denying his younger brother the ability to go to college as well as “weirding our weather.”

“Come on,” Sweet Pea exclaims.

“This guy has no idea what’s going on the real world,” he says.

Meanwhile, Udall’s campaign released a closing ad highlighting Gardner’s support for a “personhood” bill in Congress, a frequent attack by the incumbent senator throughout the race. Gardner changed his position on the bill earlier this year, but that hasn’t stopped it from being a target.

In its endorsement of Gardner earlier this month, the Denver Post editorial board criticized Udall for “trying to frighten voters” and overplaying his hand on the issues of birth control and abortion. “His obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince,” the board wrote.

The race remains a toss-up in the final week, and the RealClearPolitics average gives Gardner a 3.3-point lead.

Scott Walker Takes 7-Point Lead in New Poll [National Review Online - The Corner]

Republican governor Scott Walker leads Democratic challenger Mary Burke 50–43 among likely voters in Marquette University Law School’s final poll before Tuesday’s election. Walker’s seven-percentage-point lead among likely voters represents a dramatic shift in his direction. The Wisconsin governor’s race was thought to be tied, as a Marquette poll showed earlier this month, and three recent polls showed the two candidates separated by just one point. The Marquette poll shows Walker’s lead among registered voters surveyed to be just one percentage point. 

The bad news for Burke comes amid reports that her family fired her from Trek Bicycle Corp. for incompetence, according to Watchdog.org. The report claims Trek’s former human-resources director and three former employees said the sales team threatened to quit if Burke was not removed from her position as director of European operations following large financial losses overseas. Burke responded to the report this afternoon, telling the Green Bay Press-Gazette that it was a “desperate” attempt by Republicans to undermine her credibility. President Obama campaigned with Burke yesterday, and may have done more to damage support for Burke as he could not keep the crowd from walking out on him. Walker, meanwhile, appears to have gained momentum at just the right time. 

Who's Voting [National Review Online - The Corner]

Maybe the kids are alright, based on the story Michael Cipriano just filed with The College Fix:

More than half – 51 percent – of America’s millennials who say they will “definitely be voting” in November prefer a Republican-run Congress, with only 47 percent favoring Democrat control, according to a Harvard Institute of Politics poll.

This marks a significant departure from the institute’s findings before the 2010 midterm elections, when America’s 18-29 year olds who were definitely voting favored Democrats 55 percent to 43 percent.

re: If Republicans Have a Good Election Night [National Review Online - The Corner]

Ramesh: In Michigan, the problem isn’t money, it’s the candidate. So if the GOP has a good election night but loses the Senate race in Michigan–a very likely possibility–the fault will not have been a lack of spending in October but rather a poor choice of nominee much earlier.

Pa. Taxi Union Boss: Uber Is Just Like ISIS [National Review Online - The Corner]

The head of a Philadelphia taxi union, Alex Friedman, isn’t holding back in his campaign against Uber, which just started operating in the city. He told a city commission Tuesday night: “I try to equate this illegal operation of Uber X as a terroristic act like ISIS invading the Middle East . . . It is exactly the same menace.” That’s true, Alex, you can certainly try.

“The analogy does not strike me as all that apt,” Matt Yglesias of Vox notes.

This is hardly, one might note, the first inapt comparison or argument a union under siege has made.

Election Scenarios [National Review Online - The Corner]

At Bloomberg, I ask what will happen to the parties if the Democrats win the election; at NR, I talk about how Republicans could make the most of it if they do.

Is Inequality Bad for the Middle Class? [National Review Online - The Corner]

Liberals care a lot about economic inequality, but most people don’t. So liberals have spent a lot of time trying to establish that economic inequality contributes to problems that most people do care about. In particular, they have tried to link it to weak economic growth and stagnant incomes for the middle class. Unsuccessfully, concludes Scott Winship in a new paper.

GOTV, Political Environment, and Messaging [National Review Online - The Corner]

Political insiders have been talking a lot in recent weeks about whether the Democrats’ vaunted turnout machine can make up for a hostile political environment. Rich touched on the subject in his appearance last night on Special Report and described the two as countervailing forces. 

Neil Newhouse, Mitt Romney’s pollster, has also weighed in on the matter. Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post interviewed Newhouse recently and described him as ”the most worried Republican in Washington.” Why? Newhouse says the number of undecided and independent voters in the country has declined, and so turning out your voters has become increasingly important for both sides. As he put it: “The persuasion campaigns have been supplanted by the stimulation campaign.” 

Turnout normally hinges on a combination of messaging, on the one hand, and grassroots campaigning and voter-targeting technology on the other. Newhouse seems to suggest that today, the former matters far less than the latter. But messaging, and messengers, do still matter, and I’m guessing it’s hard to win the turnout war if you don’t win the messaging war. 

Democrats know the president is unpopular, but they believe in their own machine and that, fundamentally, they can make 2014 look a little bit more like 2012 than 2010, the last midterm year when voters were dissatisfied with Obama. That’s never happened before, but if it does, it will be a truly impressive feat on the part of the Democratic party. 

On Tuesday, the assumptions of one side will be right and those of one side will be wrong. That will matter hugely not just for who takes the Senate, but for 2016 as well. 

UNC's Big PR Tab [National Review Online - Phi Beta Cons]

According to this piece in the Raleigh News & Observer, UNC has run up a tab of $782,000 for the services of Edelman, the big public relations firm.

Defensively, the university’s spokesman tells us that it isn’t state money being used and that many universities buy PR expertise. Where the funds come from, it seems to me, is not as important as recognizing that there is an opportunity cost. Spending money on PR stuff means less to spend on things that might have something to do with education for the students.

Not all of that 782K relates to the big athletics scandal, but apparently a large chunk does. For $7.82 I’d have gladly written the memo saying what the university needs to say: This was a disgrace and it will not happen again.”

Why Bother With the Humanities? [National Review Online - Phi Beta Cons]

Some people say that it’s a waste of time to study the humanities because what young Americans need is job skills. Others say it’s a waste of time (or worse) because the humanities mostly involves the thinking of dead white males, some of whom owned slaves, and none of that can help young Americans understand our modern, multicultural world.

So, should we yawn as these courses gradually disappear or are taken over by multiculturalists? In this Pope Center piece, Jane Shaw states her case in favor of the humanities as traditionally taught. Her reasons are “modest” and Hayekian in nature. The humanities are part of our cultural heritage, which consists, Hayek observed, “of a complex of practices or rules of conduct which have prevailed because they made a group of men successful.” Therefore, Jane writes, “understanding, preserving, and sharing the great ideas of the past may be more important than we think, since we have profound ignorance of what made societies successful.”

She also maintains that universities should preserve the humanities because they’re a key part of the “great debate” between those who believe they can design society to perfection and those, like Hayek, who argue that such efforts will inevitably lead to poor if not disastrous results for humanity.

“It seems reckless to discard the intellectual traditions that have supported us for so long,” she concludes. I agree. While the percentage of students who have an interest in the humanities is no doubt rather small, it’s nevertheless important to keep this intellectual tradition alive for those who do.

NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN - English News at 21:01 (JST), October 30 [English News - NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN]

Quiet, please? Why shushing may not be a thing of the past [Public Libraries News]


Should we? Image from Christchurch City Libraries Flickr

Should we?
Image from Christchurch City Libraries Flickr

My thoughts on the importance placed by the audience at the Battle of Ideas debate on quiet in libraries is continuing to receive replies and comment.  Public librarians, perhaps in reaction to the  old stereotypical “shush” image, have sometimes gone out of their way to be louder and more energetic and, in doing so, have alienated some of its clientele an core audience.  Now, don’t get me wrong, noise is not a bad thing. I love going into a library with a buzz, where children are being entertained, adults are talking about books and staff are helping customers.  To my mind, it’s a sign of a healthy environment, let alone I suspect a great way of introducing children (and parents?) to the joy of books.

However, it may need to be counterbalanced with one of the few remaining unique selling points that libraries should have: that of quiet.  Now, bear in mind that there’s very little absence of noise in our lives.  I live in a house where the TV is on all the time, children are often shouting (in a happy way; well, most of the time) and ipads and radios are blaring.  This afternoon, I had to move myself into another room to read a book (“Catastrophe” by Max Hastings, by the way: recommended).  Now, what if I did not have another room?  I could go to a coffee shop but that costs money and people have an annoying habit of chatting in there as well. What if it wasn’t leisure reading but study?  Then the library is, or should be, the only haven left for many people. But if I do go into one then the odds are there’ll be loud conversation going on in there, if not outright song.  By discarding the gift of quiet too easily, can it be that  libraries are making themselves vulnerable to criticism from those who don’t use it for any other purpose?  By those who have all the books they want, have Google and no social welfare needs … but crave quiet? To put it another way, by taking over the feeling of the community centre, public libraries may be opening themselves up to closure by those who point out that we already have community centres.

Now, the problem here is for many libraries that of size.  It’s easy for the excellent Manchester Central Library to have a quiet study area, although it is perhaps instructive that its wonderfully restored circular reading room has its silence safeguarded not by library staff but by its hundreds of jealously hushing students. It’s a lot harder for a smaller library, perhaps consisting only of one large (or even not so large) room.  The solution here – and it’s an old one – is to have different uses at different parts of the day.  Get that loud rhymetime out of the way early and then have a quiet atmosphere for the rest of the time until the schools come out.  Advertise quiet times as such.  Start off as one day a week, publicise it (the newspapers will love this, won’t they? Your more reactionary councillors may as well) and see how it goes.  You never know, you may – after putting up with the singing “wind the bobbin up” for the nth time in the morning, secretly relish the forbidden pleasure of saying “shush” in the afternoon?  You know you sometimes want to. Now you have a business case for it as well.

“I worked in public libraries until last year and there was no attempt to maintain a balance between what I characterise as the “Rhyme-time model” and the needs of users (often young people revising or doing academic course work) who valued a quiet space which they couldn’t necessarily find at home. The fact that the noise of children’s activities drove out other users was seen as a positive and the complainants denigrated as old fogeys and definitely not our target audience – the same staff who drive away bookish teenagers by emptying teen sections of books and replacing them with vending machines and uncomfortable orange and purple furniture, which they describe as ‘groovy’ without any sense of irony. Incidentally, I’ve never seen any evidence that a mic-ed up staff member enjoying herself singing and shouting with a group of mothers (and nannies) with pre-school children translates into a lifetime’s use of public libraries by those young children. Why would it?

Our enthusiasm for being customer-led is very selective. But as you say, it should be possible in most libraries to maintain a balance, without veering over to the silent halls of high culture model. One of the key points that celebrity defenders of libraries nearly always make is that libraries represent an oasis of quiet away from piped music, mobile phone conversations etc. which shows that they don’t actually use public libraries but for many that is one f the USPs and the audience at the debate seems to have reflected that view” Kevin Jewell by email

UK national news

  • Library apprenticeships and why they are bad – Medium. “The national minimum wage for an apprentice is £2.73 “for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year” — as most library apprenticeships are a year long, this means most library apprenticeships are covered here. Some employers are a little more generous than this, but many stick quite rigidly to the minimum. My concern is that organisations use library apprenticeships as a cheap way of hiring library assistants and this has worrying implications for the profession as a whole.”

“The cost of “The Qualification” (both economic and time) already goes some way to excluding people from low income backgrounds, who are already massively under-represented in what is a pretty white, middle class profession. The library apprenticeship is another route into the profession that favours those who can afford to work for £2.73 per hour and essentially adds another hurdle for people from low income backgrounds to jump over. “

London libraries news; Barnet, Bexley, Greenwich & Wandsworth. - Stop the privatisation of public libraries. Alan Wylie casts his disapproving eye over changes in four boroughs.

Richard Brooks in his Sunday Times Biteback column writes that Germany’s culture minister highlighted the gulf between her country’s politicians and those in Britain when she said that “Culture is an expression of humanity. Something in the heart of a nation.”. Tell that to Ed Vaizey, our arts minister. Well actually, she did. Grutters had a dispiriting conversation in his office before the event. “I very much got the impression  that he thought the arts were about making money. He also mainly seemed interested in the culture industries, not culture.” Desmond ClarkeEmail received.

  • Supreme Court to hand down key ruling next week on consultations - Local Government Lawyer. “The appeal considered whether a fair consultation required that consultees be informed not just of the proposals of the local authority, but also of the reasons for the proposals. It also considered whether consultees should be given sufficient information to enable them to critically examine the thinking that led to the proposals.”

“According to the Local Government Association’s polling report, HERE @Local.gov, 71% of residents said very or fairly satisfied with their local library services, up from 66% in January.” Polling on resident satisfaction with councils



UK local authority news

  • Barnet – The future of Barnet Libraries: key issues for options consultation - Barnet Unison. Points out options exclude continuing to provide the library service directly by the council. Looks at advantages of continuing service in-house, the dangers of outsourcing and the problems associated with volunteers (including a disproportionate time spent interviewing and training them).
  • Central Bedfordshire – Tales of woe over mobile library ‘bias’ - Biggleswade Today. “Sally Smalley of Upper Caldecote this week tried to visit the service, which visits the village every three weeks, but was turned away. Under Central Beds’ policy, the service can only deliver books to those who are unable to reach a library and have no one to collect books for them, such as the elderly and housebound. But Sally believes the policy is ‘prejudice and short sighted’. She said: “I imagine financial cost has been the reason for the change, but this makes no sense, as the bus still drives to the village, it is staffed (by people who said they would love to see it used for all the community), it is here every three weeks.”
  • Cumbria – Cumbria residents’ views sought in mission to save £83m - North West Evening Mail. “Public libraries run by community volunteers and fewer roads gritted through the winter are just two of the drastic options being put forward by desperate county bosses.” [NB. the consultation is here but, due to the confusing nature of its organisation, I cannot see mention of libraries in it - Ed.]
  • Derbyshire – Letters: Dismay at mobile libraries – Ripley and Heanor News. “I  am dismayed at the selling off of eight mobile library vehicles having used this splendid service for almost 40 years. However to find also that our primary schools and nurseries are not included in the new scheduled stops is appalling.So much for boosting literacy and the love of the written word.”
  • Flintshire – We’re facing catastrophe in Flintshire – News North Wales. “Town and community councils across Flintshire have been asked to consider taking responsibility for community buildings, sports facilities, leisure centres and libraries as well as play areas and open spaces, as the authority works to balance the books in the face of massive government funding cuts.”
  • Gwynedd – Row erupts over Gwynedd Council cut consultation – News North Wales. “Why should the public choose between libraries and care or the elderly? It’s absurd.” 
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire library staff face threats of violence and drunks - Boston Target. “Library staff have been forced to deal with paedophiles, threats of violence and people using the computers to look at porn, the Target can reveal. Details of incident reports filled out by Boston’s librarians have been released to the Target under the Freedom of Information Act. They show there have been 49 incidents in the last three financial years as well as two between April and August this year.”
  • Manchester – Manchester Central Library named building of the year - Manchester Evening News. “Manchester Central Library has been crowned the city’s building of the year. It scooped the prestigious prize at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Property and Construction Annual Dinner last night.”

“The attention to detail in preserving the historic character of the building is matched by the fine updating of the Library’s facilities, making it a superb asset for the inhabitants of a 21st century city.”

  • Northern Ireland – Belfast’s Central Library redevelopment: The story where everyone is hoping for a happy ending – Belfast Telegraph. “The Dumfries red sandstone library, designed by the noted architect W H Lynn, may be an architectural wonder that has been used in TV dramas such as Line of Duty, but inside the public spaces look tired and outdated, and visitors don’t need to be well-read to realise the cramped library is in urgent need of a new chapter and a modern-day makeover.”
  • Northern Ireland – Budget cuts force local libraries to change opening hours – Coleraine Times. “From Monday November 3, opening hours in a number of libraries will be reduced or will operate with a different pattern. The temporary reduction in opening hours is one of the measures that has been implemented to make £1.4 million of savings by March 2015 as a result of the Libraries NI budget being cut by 4.4%.” … “Irene Knox, Libraries NI Chief Executive said: “Reduced opening hours will be very difficult for our customers and our staff and we deeply regret having to take this course of action. The impact of these changes cannot be minimised as many in society now rely on the Wi-Fi access, new computer equipment and faster broadband connections available in all libraries”
  • Surrey – How to write for film workshops with Mark Stay at Epsom and Leatherhead libraries - Surrey Libraries. “Join screenwriter Mark Stay for a fascinating insight into the world of script writing for film. The workshop will look at how film scripts are written and how “the hero’s journey” is used to structure films. Children will then create their own hero’s journey story.”
  • Warrington – We dismantle our library service at our peril – Warrington Guardian. “it angers me when I see cuts to our library services and listen to the politicians talk about dismantling this wonderful, edifying privilege that was bestowed upon us by our forefathers. “

“Why do we still read Dickens or Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky? It’s because they help us understand ourselves, what it is to be human and how we might make things better in the future. If libraries can open the door to this kind of knowledge, this sort of insight, then I think we should be crawling over broken glass to preserve them.”

PNG free health care likely to make a 'dire' situation worse, say researchers [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Researchers say the "dire state" of Papua New Guinea's primary health system will likely only get worse under the country's free health care policy, as many clinics do not receive government subsidies and depend entirely on patient fees to survive.

Amelia Earhart mystery: Metal found on remote Pacific island in 1991 is from famed aviator's plane, researchers claim [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Researchers probing the 1937 disappearance of American aviator Amelia Earhart say they now believe a slab of aluminium found decades ago on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean came from her aircraft.

Lack of data from fishing nations standing in the way of tuna conservation [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Distant water fishing nations in Asia are continuing to find excuses not to provide the data needed to tell how much fish is being caught in the Pacific.

Molten lava heading towards the Hawaiian village of Pahoa [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

In Hawaii, the flow of red-hot lava from the Kilauea volcano in the Puna region on the Big Island of Hawaii continues to claim land and property.

Fiji defends its human rights record to the United Nations [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Fiji has faced the United Nations to defend its record on human rights.

Auckland City gets in the mood for the Club World Cup in Morocco [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

In soccer, Auckland City as club champions of Oceania are building towards to another appearence at the Club World Cup in Morocco in December.

The hard work just starting for the victorious Football Ferns [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

So for New Zealand's Football Ferns it's mission accomplished and they're on their way to another World Cup next year.

Few speak it but many to celebrate Tokelau language [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

It's Tokelau Language Week in New Zealand, the last of seven weeks over the year celebrating Pacific languages.

Pacific climate change activists make their point in traditional style [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Pacific activists travelling in three vaka canoes have arrived in Brisbane, having completed the crossing from Port Vila, on the latest leg of their journey to spread the message about the threat posed by climate change.

Big Pacific tuna surveillance operation nabs record number of culprits [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

The Pacific's biggest ever fisheries surveillance operation has just finished with a record number of boats found to be in potential breach of their licences.

Claims Fiji prime minister's priorities in the north contradict his promises [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says he will give financial priority to his supporters, when carrying out developments in the country's north.

LPFM News: Will Stations Keep Their Localism Pledges? [Radio Survivor]

We’re glad to add nine more low-power FM construction permits to the tally since last week’s report. This group includes Northern Arizona University, which Jennifer covered in her College Radio Watch, a public library and a few interesting community groups. I’m really not sure how many public libraries in the US have their own radio […]

The post LPFM News: Will Stations Keep Their Localism Pledges? appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Where to find classy Halloween indie Internet radio [Radio Survivor]

This Halloween all the big streaming music services will, as usual, cook up perfectly decent curated  channels. But here are various indie online sources that will offer something better than the norm. Classical station WQXR in New York’s Q2 “living composers” channel will be running their second Halloween scarathon with 20th century content that will definitely […]

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Podcast Survivor: Community Radio Must Podcast [Radio Survivor]

First off, if you didn’t catch the big news that streaming music platform Deezer is acquiring Stitcher be sure to read my take on what it means for podcasting. I should also note that former WFMU host Tom Scharpling has announced that he is bringing back The Best Show “sometime in November.” This coincides with […]

The post Podcast Survivor: Community Radio Must Podcast appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Joni Ernst is Right to Skip Editorial Board Meetings [RedState]

Joni ErnstThe media’s sense of entitlement is really something to behold whenever they feel like they aren’t getting their due. The most recent example of this phenomenon has been the media’s reaction to Joni Ernst’s decision to skip meetings with three editorial board meetings, including one with the Des Moines Register, last week. The media, predictably, is up in arms over the gall of Ernst in skipping their gatekeeping function, leading the media to declare that Ernst is unfit for office. Predictably, Ernst has responded that she sees no value added in wasting her time kowtowing to people who aren’t going to endorse her anyway.

In an ideal world, candidates would fairly pay a dear price for dodging the media and would accept responsibility if they got tripped up. But an ideal world assumes a world in which the media operates with equivalent good faith towards Republicans and Democrats. This is not an accurate description of the world we live in. I’ve yet to see a systematic analysis of editorial board endorsements (for primary newspapers) across America but they tilt so overwhelmingly Democratic that when one endorses a Republican, as the Denver Post did for Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Cory Gardner57%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard57% a couple weeks ago, it is a major news event that provokes outrage and howling from entitled Democrats.

So in the real world as opposed to the ideal one, Republicans would not offer the media an opportunity to trip them up while attempting to garner an endorsement they’re almost certain not to get. In terms of cost-benefit analysis, the decision to not open yourself up to questions from most newspaper editorial boards is a no-brainer for Republicans. And if these newspapers want Republicans to come and kowtow before them and possibly give them a juicy attack soundbite, they should perhaps let their endorsement record more closely resemble the voting patterns of the American public at large or at least their reading constituency, rather than the comments section at DailyKos.

Republicans shouldn’t skip meetings with the editorial boards of fair newspapers, if any existed. But they should definitely skip open question sessions with propaganda outlets for their opponents. Not only do I not criticize Joni Ernst for skipping this meeting, I hope it starts a trend.

The post Joni Ernst is Right to Skip Editorial Board Meetings appeared first on RedState.

Governors Breakers Report October 30, 2014 [RedState]

10 30 13 RCP GOV Chart

There’s a lot of poll news to digest, five days from the election. Let’s start with the Governors races, which I last examined on October 22. As always, my method – explained at the outset – is to look specifically at the question of, assuming the accuracy of the RCP poll averages, what percentage of the remaining undecided voters would need to break in the GOP’s direction to win? The underlying optimistic assumption, which I’ll return to more in my next look at the Senate races, is that the national environment should favor Republicans in winning more than half of those voters in most states – an assumption that has yet to be tested, and of course may be less pronounced and consistent in the Governors races than in Senate races, which are more nationalized. Even if we see a “wave” at the end, there’s no guarantee it will lift all the GOP gubernatorial candidates equally, especially the incumbents. But the overall picture we have from the October polls does show continued (if undramatic) movement across the board to favor Republican tickets – if not without a heartburn-inducing share of races where the Democrats are hanging stubbornly onto small polling leads.

It’s important to step back a minute and recall some basic facts about the terrain. There’s been a lot of talk about how the map favors Republicans in the Senate, with Democrats defending a bunch of incumbents in deep-red territory and only one blue-state Republican incumbent (Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Susan Collins22%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard22%, who has a 30 point lead in the polls) facing the voters. Of the ten most contested Senate races in 2014, six are in states won by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. John McCain51%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard51% in 2008, seven in states won by Mitt Romney in 2012, eight in states won twice by George W. Bush, all ten in states Bush won at least once. That’s one of the reasons why the expectations bar for Republicans has to be set so high.

Not so the Governors. This year’s Senate class was last up for election in 2008, a Democratic wave year – the Governors (with a few exceptions like New Hampshire, which still elects a Governor every two years) were last up in 2010, a Republican wave year. Republicans are defending incumbents in nine states won twice by Barack Obama (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maine, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, and New Mexico), four of which haven’t gone Republican in a Presidential election since the 1980s. By contrast, Democrats are defending (and losing) only one governorship in a state (Arkansas) won by Romney two years ago. So, Republicans need something like a wave just to break even (I would describe anything better than break-even in these races as a wave, but we can argue after the election how to read the results).

Let’s split the Breakers chart in two parts. First, we’ll take a quick look at the truly uncompetitive states, all but two of which (Texas and Nebraska) involve incumbents:

10 30 14 Gov Bottom 16

You will note that centrist Republicans (Brian Sandoval, Susanna Martinez, John Kasich) are walking off with some races in states Obama won just two years ago, whereas the only two complete Democratic blowouts are in blue New York and California. And there’s a lot more Republicans not breaking a sweat. Of course, Texas, New York and California are still being lavishly contested given their prominence, but the outcomes have not been in any doubt for quite some time (the full schadenfreude-tastic story of Wendy Davis’ meltdown I will leave aside here). It’s possible that Butch Otter in Idaho is in more of a real race than the polls reflect, but we’re not seeing polling evidence of that.

Now for the top 21 contested races. Some of them (e.g., Vermont) are not really all that competitive, but you will notice that outside Cuomo and Brown, even the safe blue state Democrats are mostly hovering below 50%:

10 30 14 Gov Top 21

I added a row at the bottom for what Nathan Deal needs to force a runoff in Georgia; while Deal is not a lock for re-election, it will be very, very hard for Jimmy Carter’s grandson to get to 50% on Election Day.

The Hawaii race deserves special comment here, because three of the last 4 polls showed Democrat David Ige leading Republican Duke Aiona by 6, 12 and 1, but the fourth – the YouGov internet panel – showed Ige with a staggering 32 point lead. That’s such a huge outlier it skews the average to show Ige having locked the race up. Maybe he has, but if so, the other three polls are just wrong. YouGov has made a real contribution to this year’s polling, partly because it’s doing something different (different is good, for purposes of aggregate averages), partly because of volume (in one race, Nebraska, we have nothing but YouGov polling, and in many others we’d have few new polls without YouGov). But when a different methodology shows a result so vastly out of line with what both national pollsters like Rasmussen and local Honolulu pollsters are finding, you have to be skeptical.

Paul LePage’s lead in Maine is arguably due to a similar outlier, a Portland Press Herald poll showing him up 10 when the other four polls had him tied, down 2 (in YouGov), tied, and up 1. I don’t see a sign of the Portland Press Herald having polled in the 2010 race, in which LePage won by 1.8 points after 4 of the last five polls had him up by double digits. He should continue to be viewed as deeply endangered.

Interestingly, YouGov has persistently favored one side or the other in a number of races, but hasn’t
had a consistent partisan tilt across races (then there’s the internals – in Texas, for example, YouGov has Greg Abbott doing much better with Hispanics than have other polls). By and large, YouGov seems to be favoring incumbents, red state Republicans and blue state Democrats.

The big news yesterday is Scott Walker’s 46-45 lead among registered voters and 50-43 among likely voters in the Marquette Law poll, generally regarded as the gold standard in Wisconsin polling given its accurate record in Walker’s two prior races (and that’s before the late-breaking story that Mary Burke was fired by her family business). But the wide spread between the registered and likely voter results just underscores the extent to which the polling of that race in particular is dependent on its assumptions about turnout. A big part of the national case for Walker is that he’s a guy who has shown he understands how to close a deal in a close election on blue turf, including running a ground game. If Marquette is right and Walker ends up winning this race – and doing so with a margin of victory driven mainly by superior turnout among GOP base voters – that will only bolster that argument.

There remain two separate sets of key battlegrounds (aside from Colorado, which seems one of the likeliest races in the country to end in a race close enough for a recount, unless one side or the other turns out voters better than the polls project). One is the races where Republican incumbents continue to lag – Kansas, Florida, Alaska – as well as what ought to be a strong challenge in Illinois. The other is the raft of blue states, mostly in New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and to a lesser extent longer shots in New Hampshire and Maryland) where Republicans have had surprising strength and/or recent momentum (as of now, only Massachusetts and Connecticut feature a GOP lead).

What about the trends in these races? Let’s look at the trend since October 1:

10 30 14 Gov Trend

Once again, the trend across the competitive races is consistent with, but not proof of, a GOP wave in which more Republican candidates show steady gains than those showing losses – 11 out of 21 have expanded their lead or cut their opponent’s lead by 1 or more points since the start of the month, compared to five with minor improvements, one with minor loss, and four losing at least a point. Granted, some of the big gains are in races that still look like likely defeats or easy wins, but the overall 1.3 point improvement in the GOP’s standing relative to the Democrats is encouraging, as is the fact that most of the improvement came from growth in the GOP’s vote – up 1.6 points, on average, with Democrats up 0.3. That’s consistent with late-deciding voters breaking the GOP’s way.

If we isolate the trend since October 10, we see the same pattern:

10 30 14 GOV Trend since 10 10

What if we zero in on the change since October 22? At this point, it’d be surprising to see a ton of movement across the board in just 8 days this late in the game, and in fact that one Hawaii poll basically swamps the trend (without Hawaii, it would be a 0.5 point move in the GOP’s direction, not bad for 8 days). But we still see 7 races shifting at least a point to the Republican, versus only three in the opposite direction – and the average Democratic candidate declining in the polls, with nine candidates polling lower than they did on the 22d. That too is consistent with what we would expect to see if the national environment constrains the number of voters who are willing to pull the lever for a Democrat this fall.

10 30 14 Gov trend 3

Time to get giddy? No, not yet. We still don’t know how accurate the polls will be, and if Republicans right now win the tied Colorado Governor’s race and all the ones with Republican leads, that would still mean losing four GOP-held governorships (including a painful loss in Kansas and a potentially important loss in Florida to the oleaginous Charlie Crist), for a net gain of zero for either side – a good year, but one with some costly setbacks and disappointments. On the whole, however, I’d rather be playing the Republican hand than the Democratic one right now in these races.

The post Governors Breakers Report October 30, 2014 appeared first on RedState.

Why does Obama’s crisis management suck? [RedState]

obama crisisAn article in Business Week titled Obama Is Too Cool for Crisis Management (@JoshuaGreen) uses the administration’s management of the Ebola crisis, a crisis that is 100% the creation of the administration, to criticize how Obama has responded to the non-ending series of crises his administration has faced. Despite the title the article is generally positive. It blames the public for not understanding Obama. It blames Republicans for being big meanies. It blames the size of the job that stretches even the supernatural powers of a Lightworker.

It’s true that Obama’s task is made considerably more difficult by the antipathy that has marked the Republicans’ response to Ebola. Most seem more intent on stopping Democrats than on stopping the contagion. Their ads politicizing the virus have only added to the climate of fear. And their filibuster of Obama’s surgeon general nominee, Dr. Vivek Murthy, has also silenced an authoritative voice on public health, for reasons as small-minded as those dictating the party’s line on Ebola: They’re carrying water for the National Rifle Association, which objects to classifying gun violence as a public-health issue.

Even so, the failure is mostly Obama’s. It didn’t require extraordinary foresight to anticipate the public freakout once the infection spread beyond Duncan. Obama, who’s better acquainted with Washington dysfunction than anybody, should have anticipated the partisan acrimony. The crisis required more of him than he seemed to recognize. But he was hampered by the same things that have plagued him all along: a liberal technocrat’s excess of faith in government’s ability to solve problems and an unwillingness or inability to demonstrate the forcefulness Americans expect of their president in an emergency.

This is really too kind… and hogwash.

Nevertheless, this has prompted the ever subservient staff at The New Republic to ask Why Can’t the Media Give Obama Credit for Crisis Management? (@DannyVinik). Incredibly the author holds up the VA scandal and ISIS examples of just how well Obama manages crises if only his idiot colleagues in the media would just notice:

Green’s article criticizes Obama’s entire style of crisis management. (The piece is titled, “Obama Is Too Cool for Crisis Management.”) The White House has faced this critique frequently over the past year, from both the left and right, as it has rushed from one crisis to the next. Yet collectively, Obama’s responses to these numerous crises—from the scandal at Veteran Affairs hospital and the border crisis to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and most recently the Ebola outbreak—has been largely successful so far. The insatiable news media just hasn’t noticed.

Their failure to notice would stem largely from the fact that despite their general leftwing hackery, they do inhabit reality. For instance, USA Today has a helpful timeline of the VA crisis. Note that this crisis started in 2012, after Eric Shinski had been at the helm for six years. The crisis attained supernova status in April. The administration attempted to fix the situation by pretending to fire someone who was scheduled to retire. Then they attempted to promote someone who was deeply embroiled in the crisis as head of veterans health services. Finally, on May 30, Shinseki had had all the fun he could stand and resigned. And to celebrate that the culture had changed, the VA ran a victory lap:

The Department of Veterans Affairs is promoting an administrator who advised against publicly disclosing a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak at its Pittsburgh hospital system, the agency told Congress.
David Cord, deputy director of VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System since June 2012, will become director of the Erie VA Medical Center within 60 days, the VA informed Congress.
The VA disclosed the Legionnaires’ outbreak that killed at least six and sickened at least 16 others on Nov. 16, 2012 — two days after Cord told a VA spokesman not to alert the public about it, according to an internal email from the spokesman obtained as part of a Tribune-Review investigation.

That anyone can call handling ISIS a success, when it is a creation of the Obama administration, leaves one breathless with the audacity of it all. The Washington Examiner has looked at how Obama handles crises and makes a good case that it follows a pattern:

Step 1: Avoid getting any skin in the game for as long as possible. Allow Cabinet members to take the heat in headlines and congressional hearings.

Step 2: Have White House press secretary Jay Carney repeatedly express confidence in the Cabinet secretary caught up in the controversy. Rinse and repeat for days, weeks or months.

Step 3: When public attention reaches a tipping point, have White House officials speak out on the Sunday shows, conveying the president’s outrage and commitment to solve the problem.

Step 4: Make a public statement, expressing anger and asking the public for patience while an internal review is conducted.

Step 5: Bring in a fixer from inside the White House or outside government to solve the problem while leaving existing staff nominally in charge.

But contrary to what @JoshuaGreen writes in Business Week, the problem isn’t that Obama relies on technocratic solutions or has an overweening faith in government. There are two underlying features which provide a Unified Theory of Obama Crisis Management.

Obama views every crisis as a political opportunity to be taken advantage of. As a result the problem metastasizes as White House policy staff try do decide the best way to garner some transient advantage. It doesn’t matter to them if veterans die while awaiting appointments. Or if thousands of Iraqis and Syrians are slaughtered by ISIS. Or if your life is jeopardized by a usually fatal tropical disease. The real world considerations are purely secondary to the ephemeral: which constituency will this please? how can we expand government using this crisis as a stalking horse?

All of these bad decisions emanate from the same small circle of Marxist cronies that adhere to Obama much as lint hangs onto Velcro. Ron Klain, Joe Biden’s chief of staff, is nominal Ebola Czar (see point 5 in the Washington Examiner checklist). He may very well be the victim of a serial killer as he’s not been seen in a while. Who does he report to? Susan Rice. What is Rice most adept at? Lying. Shamelessly. We know that most of the CDC’s response to Ebola but has come from the White House. Virtually every bad decision that has been made in this administration… other than those by Eric Holder who is something of a virtuoso at creating crises… can be traced to Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, or Samantha Power.

We are seeing this underway again. In today’s New York Times we are told that Kerry and Hagel may be on the way out:

Mr. Obama is also leaning more than ever on his small circle of White House aides, who forged their relationships with him during his 2008 campaign and loom even larger in an administration without weighty voices like those of Robert M. Gates, the former defense secretary, or Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state.

Over the Columbus Day weekend, the White House chief of staff, Denis R. McDonough, traveled to the San Francisco home of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Dianne Feinstein2%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard2%, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to negotiate personally over redactions in a Senate report on the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation policies after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Kerry and Hagel are about to be cut out of managing the ISIS response, and to great extent they already have been by the appointment of retired General John Allen as plenipotentiary to regional allies. Cutting Hagel and Kerry out of decisions is a much better decision than putting them in a decisionmaking position to begin with, but bringing the decisions back to the same group of half-wits who engineered the rise of ISIS is not a good idea.

On the positive side of the ledger, we only have to survive two more years of this nonsense before we can begin to recreate a federal government that can actually do its job and not simply act as public affairs agent and ruthless gangland enforcer for the administration. Unless we elect Hillary Clinton.



The post Why does Obama’s crisis management suck? appeared first on RedState.

Teamster Members Attack Union ‘Fatcats’ and ‘Parasites’ For Misuse of Funds, Lies & More [RedState]


Members of a New York-based Teamsters local blasted their union leadership for raising their own salaries, in addition to misusing union funds, threats and lies, according to fliers handed out at union-represented worksites in the New York area earlier this week.

Teamsters local 812, based in Great Neck, New York—a suburb of New York City—represents primarily soft drink and brewery workers.

Last year, according to financial records on file with the U.S. Department of Labor, the union claimed 3,504 members and the average Local 812 union members paid over $1,060 in dues, fees, or assessments according to the DOL records.

Since New York is not a Right-to-Work state, the union was able to require payment from the workers or have them terminated from their jobs if they refused.

With their pension fund is in critical status, as is required by law, the union sent out a notice to all affected members last year stating, “that by the 2018 Plan Year, contributions are not expected to be high enough to meet government standards for funding promised benefits plus those benefits that participants are currently earning.”

Given that their pensions may run out of money in a few short years and more than $1,000 coming out of their paychecks to fund the union, members facing an uncertain future appear disgruntled and disgusted at their union leaders for a variety of issues, including misusing union funds, raising their own salaries, lying to members, as well as threatening to a union shop steward at a Anheuser Bush facility in the Bronx.

So disgruntled, in fact, that several members were handing these fliers out at least one Local 812-represented worksite:

Teamsters Local 812 ‘Idiocy’

That Teamster ‘fat cats’ would enrich themselves at the expense of their members is nothing new.

In fact, every year, the Teamsters for a Democratic Union publishes its annual $150,000 Club Report that shows the number of Teamster executives making more than $150,000.

However, for members to air their grievances against union ‘fat cats’ is such a public way is rather unusual.
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)

Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com

Image credit.

Featured Image Credit.

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Supporting Sarah Palin’s #AKGov Endorsement Requires Abandoning Conservative Principles [RedState]

Last week, in the wake of her endorsement of the Bill Walker-Byron Mallott Independent “Unity Ticket” in the Alaska gubernatorial race, I declared that, politically, I was through with Sarah Palin. Evidently and unsurprisingly, this rubbed her most ardent supporters the wrong way. I even merited a front page take-down at one of the most prominent pro-Palin websites.* I was called a cronyist, an establishment squish, a  “rank and file GOP”–whatever that means.

So, let me double down and go further than I did last Friday: Sarah Palin’s endorsement in the Alaska gubernatorial race was unconservative, and supporting it requires abandoning conservative principles.

The major issue prompting Palin to endorse the Walker-Mallot ticket is incumbent Republican Sean Parnell’s dismantling of her oil tax regime, known as Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share, or ACES. As Palin sees it, that program was one of her finest achievements while in office. As the National Journal explains it:

Parnell dismantled Palin’s oil-tax increase, called ACES (short for Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share), by signing a repeal of some oil taxes in 2013 that was intended to curb the state’s production decline. But many fear the measure will severely diminish the revenue brought in by the state, where oil and gas taxes have accounted for as much as 90 percent of government funds.

Palin backed an initiative to repeal the new law, SB 21, when it appeared on the August primary ballot, which put her at odds with Parnell. (Palin accused Parnell of being “suckered” by “crony capitalists” at the time.) The referendum narrowly failed, garnering 47 percent of the vote as the state’s Republican U.S. Senate primary attracted conservative voters to the polls.

So in essence, Palin is endorsing the Unity ticket because she wants higher taxes on oil companies. There are very few Republicans one write about openly doing that.

But what of her ACES program? It was blatantly redistributionist in nature, and it was the most socialist tax regime in the United States. As Elstun Lauesen at the Anchorage Daily News explained in 2008:

Sarah Palin just presided a huge redistribution of wealth when she signed an energy “rebate” of $1,200 for every man, woman and child in Alaska. The money for that wealth redistribution comes from our collective wealth, which we have thanks to our state constitution. Article VIII, Section 2 holds that the resource of the state will be utilized, developed and conserved for the “… maximum benefit of its people.” This precept of public management of benefit is precisely what makes Alaska today one of a handful of states that enjoys a budget surplus while other states are struggling with deficits. The framers of our constitution wisely didn’t want state resources to be privatized, as they are in Texas, for example, where the people of that state are separated from their wealth by billionaires. Thanks to the framers of our state’s constitution, our collective ownership of state resources guarantees low taxes and high revenues, not to mention a Permanent Fund dividend program, another socialist scheme that gave each Alaskan over $2,000 this year.

When Parnell dismantled ACES, he was standing up for common sense conservative free market principles. Predictably, he was called a “cronyist” for making this principled stand, but one is used to Democrats making this charge, not purported conservative icons and former Republican vice presidential nominees. As he explained while pushing his reforms:

One group holds that Alaska’s economic pie is about as big as its going to get, and it’s shrinking. This group says that because Alaska’s economic pie is as big as it’s going to get, the government has to grasp more, to get all the money it can now. You know the senators I’m talking about: Senators French, Wielechowski, Paskavan and others like-minded senators, with just a different view of how it works.

Another group of legislators and I hold that Alaskans can grow our economy. That more capital will flow here from other areas, more oil production will result, and more jobs will be created for Alaska residents. We believe in growing the economic pie for all Alaskans.

Before I continue quoting his speech, I do want to stop for a moment and note that all three of those senators Parnell specifically named as defending Palin’s plan were Democrats. In particular, Hollis French is the current Minority Leader in the Alaska Senate, and until the Unity ticket was formed, he was the candidate for Lieutenant Governor on the original Democratic ticket. Parnell did not name one Republican who defended Palin’s plan.

But anyways, let’s see what else he says:

The bottom line— “our oil” – Alaska’s viscous and heavy oil — remains locked up – even while the price of oil is high. Alaskans cannot benefit from oil trapped in the ground— the result of doing nothing.


As justification for doing nothing, the opponents of tax reform also proudly claim, “It’s our oil.” And it is. It is our oil as Alaskans. Then why are they doing nothing to unlock our oil? Why are billions of barrels of Alaskans’ viscous and heavy oil locked up in the legacy fields while company investment flows to North Dakota, Texas and beyond?

If they really believe it’s our oil, then why are they satisfied with status quo decline? Why have they done nothing to get us new production now?

The notion that tax reform is a “giveaway” is classic “tax more, spend more” government thinking. It’s that Obama-like thought process that the pie is as big as it’s going to get and the government has to grasp everything it can.

Well, I say we need a different vision for Alaska’s future, one where we can grow this opportunity for Alaskans. We don’t need decline. We need increased production. We need a vision from our Legislature that unlocks Alaskans’ oil for Alaskans.

This is exactly the kind of thinking we need to be promoting in today’s Republican Party. Why is Palin against this?

By comparison, let’s look at how Ronald Reagan talked about oil prices in 1986:

One week after I took office, we decontrolled the price of domestic oil, and we stopped the Government from putting ceilings on its pricing and production. Our action wasn’t exactly greeted by rave reviews. Those opposed said decontrol would drive up the price of oil, increase gas prices, and cause terrible inflation. One Member of Congress, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said decontrol would impose impossible economic burdens on those least able to pay. Well, 5 years later, Massachusetts is enjoying an unprecedented economic comeback; and the reason is lower taxes—something else we contributed to—and the lowered energy prices that followed the decontrol of domestic oil.

Despite all the scare tactics and dire warnings, decontrol was a success. The price of oil has fallen from the $36 a barrel of 1981 to about $12 a barrel today. The price of gas has also plummeted from an average of $1.25 a gallon when I took office to about 82 cents today. In fact, the price of gas is now cheaper in real terms, meaning accounting for inflation, than it’s been at any point since the 1950′s. My mother used to tell me, “It’s not nice to crow,” but maybe this once I can’t help it. We’ve also been able to close down the costly Synfuels Corporation, a quasi-governmental agency that ate up billions of taxpayer dollars while it didn’t solve the energy crisis. Government didn’t perform any of these miracles; freedom did, the marketplace did, the entrepreneurs and businessmen and women of America did. Those of us back in Washington just sort of lifted the artificial restraints, sat back, and watched the gushers blow.

Parnell’s rhetoric would be right at home in a speech like this.

The problems don’t stop there. Palin comes off as a bit of a sore loser in all of this fight over the ACES repeal. As the National Journal article I cited earlier notes, she’s making this endorsement after an initiative to repeal these reforms failed at the ballot box back in August. The people spoke, and they want Parnell’s reforms to stay. In other words, Palin cannot respect that fact that Alaskans have already explicitly rejected her failed oil tax regime.

Palin supporters have been wont to compare this endorsement to her decision to support Independent/Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Republican Dede Scozzafava and Democrat Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Bill Owens15%House Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard15% in the 2009 special election for New York’s 23rd Congressional District. There are a few problems with this comparison. The first is that Scozzafava was clearly the Liberal in the race. She never came out against healthcare reform with a public option, she was in favor of card check, and she was staunchly pro-choice. Second, Hoffman was running to the right of Scozzafava, and finally, when it was clear that she wouldn’t win the election, Scozzafava withdrew and endorsed the Democrat in the race.

Parnell, meanwhile, supports none of the things Scozzafava did. Meanwhile, Walker’s actions resemble what she did when she realized she couldn’t win the election. She endorsed the Democratic nominee, and he brought the Democratic nominee onto his ticket.

The only people who are calling Bill Walker a conservative are in the Walker-Mallott campaign. People outside the campaign don’t see things the same way. E.J. Dionne, for example, proudly includes Walker in his list of GOP moderates challenging conservatives across the country. Elsewhere, Paul Jenkins at Alaska Dispatch News describes Walker’s twists and turns he had to make in order to present himself as a moderate:

Until recently a socially conservative Republican, Walker flipped to independent and flopped to undeclared to hook up with a liberal, traditional Democrat to challenge Republican incumbent Sean Parnell for the state’s top executive post. Just think of Walker’s gyrations and contortions in climbing to the tippy top of that ticket as part of a political game of “Twister.”

To get there, to assuage gobsmacked Democrats, he dismisses seemingly irreconcilable contradictions in conservative and liberal dogma by dismissing them with a wave of the hand, by proclaiming social issues are not his bag. He is, Walker will tell you, unconcerned with that sort of thing. He is a fiscal guy, a big picture guy. He will leave the social stuff to somebody else. It is the same schtick, journalist Amanda Coyne notes, that Senate candidate Dan Sullivan uses. Democrats castigate Sullivan, but apparently forgive Walker.

One of those pesky social questions tripped him up right out of the chute. He had vowed, as the fusion ticket was being hammered out, to veto any legislation that would weaken abortion rights. Two days after the new ticket’s formation, he took back the promise.

When he last ran for governor, Walker was not so wishy-washy when it came to core Republican principles. In a 2010 survey by Alaska Family Action, the lobbying arm of the conservative Alaska Family Council, Walker displayed strong views when it came to abortion.

It seems clear from pieces like this that principles are fungible to people like Bill Walker. Like Charlie Crist in Florida, when Bill Walker couldn’t find success in the Republican Party, he left them and went independent. When the chips were down, Bill Walker turned to the Democrats for help. This is the kind of candidate Sarah Palin is now supporting to protect her legacy, but if she needs to support a candidate like him to protect it, what does that say about her legacy?

Sean Parnell needs our help. Alaska should send him back for a second term.

*=You can figure which one on your own. I’m not linking them. They can get their traffic other ways.

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The Races to Watch on Election Day [RedState]

Download Podcast | iTunes | Podcast Feed

On today’s edition of Coffee and Markets, Brad Jackson is joined by Brandon Finnigan to discuss Tuesday’s election, the Senate races to watch and how the spread of early voting has changed politics.

If you’d like to email us, you can do so at bjackson[at]coffeeandmarkets.com. We hope you enjoy the show.

Related Links:
U.S. Senate Forecast Update: A Republican Wave A Mile Wide, But An Inch Deep?
The Endangered Governors List: Democrat Edition
What Would Constitute A Red Wave In 2014?
Ace of Spades Decision Desk

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The hosts and guests of Coffee and Markets speak only for ourselves, not any clients or employers.

The post The Races to Watch on Election Day appeared first on RedState.

WV Democrat Party Leaders Using Intimidation to Get Out the Vote [RedState]

We are less than seven days out from Republicans in West Virginia taking a U.S. Senate seat, all three seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as taking over the state House of Delegates.

Now that we are in the final stretch, Democrat Party leaders in West Virginia are turning to intimidation to get out the vote.

On person on Twitter received the following letter signed by state Democrat Party Chairman Larry Puccio:

“Our records indicate that you are eligible to vote in 2014.

The West Virginia Democratic Party monitors the level of voting in your neighborhood. The Kanawha County Clerk’s Office official voting records are public information, and show whether you cast a ballot, but not [who] you voted for. We will be reviewing these records after the election to determine whether you joined other citizens who voted in 2014…

…Please don’t disappoint us.”

Needless to say, this letter creeped out this woman, who took to Twitter to vent.

Of course, the Democrat candidates has often used intimidation to get people to the polls in the state’s history, particularly during primaries. This is not a tactic that can work anymore, and now people can go to social media with the proof.

This also isn’t the first time that Democrats have tried to use their voter rolls in an unethical way. The state Ethics Commission smacked House Democrats for using voter mailing lists compiled by the state Democrat Party to send official House of Delegates letters to likely voters prior to the May primary. Even Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s office looks like it’s operating in a partisan way. the state Supreme Court scolded Tennant for trying to leave off the ballot a Republican candidate for House of Delegates. Her office has been lax in making Democrat-supporting third party groups, like the the AFL-CIO’s “Honest West Virginians,” file their financial reports on time (Honest West Virginians finally filed their reports two days after I wrote about it, but still weeks after they made large radio and TV ad buys, in clear violation). She can’t even follow her own polling place rules, leading a rally to the doors of a voter registration office.

The numbers don’t look good for Democrats. Republicans just need four seats to sweep the House of Delegates for the first time in 83 years, with as many as 10 seats in play. The state Senate could see as many as seven Republicans elected, putting that body at a 17-17 tie. And U.S. Senator Joe Manchin could easily find himself the senior congressional Democrat. Democrat leaders have lost the confidence of the electorate and can’t get it back any other way than by threatening registered Democrats.

With friends like Democrats, who needs enemies?

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The Democrats’ Desperate, Race-Baiting Push [RedState]

30race1-superJumboAs several key Senate races head down to the wire, many embattled Democrats have, in desperation, resorted to their most reliable, tried and true tactic: race baiting. None has done so more gratuitously or offensively than the pasty white creature of privilege Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Kay Hagan4%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard4% who has distributed flyers suggesting that if Thom Tillis won, blacks would be lynched and more recently suggested that Thom Tillis killed Trayvon Martin. In response to these gratuitous and offensive tactics, Thom Tillis objected publicly to the race-baiting of Hagan’s campaign; for doing so he was subjected to a National Journal story which ran an incredible headline suggesting that “both sides” were injecting race into the NC Senate campaign.

Just to review the bidding – one side (Hagan) ran two racially charged ads, the other side (Tillis) complained that the ads were racially charged, and the media reports this as “both sides injecting race” into a campaign. What despicable and ridiculous arbiters of truth we have in this country.

The New York Times(!), at least, has recognized the blatantly obvious – that embattled Democrats this election cycle are responsible for playing the race card to the hilt this election season:

In the final days before the election, Democrats in the closest Senate races across the South are turning to racially charged messages — invokingTrayvon Martin’s death, the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and Jim Crow-era segregation — to jolt African-Americans into voting and stop a Republican takeover in Washington.

The images and words they are using are striking for how overtly they play on fears of intimidation and repression. And their source is surprising. The effort is being led by national Democrats and their state party organizations — not, in most instances, by the shadowy and often untraceable political action committees that typically employ such provocative messages.

I have given the Republicans a lot of grief over the last couple of weeks for running on a mostly idea-free platform this election season. But it’s important to remember that however little the Republicans have to offer America, the Democrats are offering much, much worse. They have demonstrated time and time again that they are willing to actively sow seeds of discord, discontentment and unrest in America if it helps them keep their seats of power. They care nothing for America or for the health of American society. They have no interest in healing race relationships and in fact are actively working against it because it furthers their electoral prospects.

Such people must not be allowed to keep power, whatever the alternative.

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Why Those White Women Want Nothing To Do With Barack Obama [RedState]

If a group of white Republican women adamantly refused to go near a black man and complained loudly about him, the political press would destroy them as racists.

That is what is happening, however, in Louisiana, North Carolina, and Georgia. Two of the three women, Landrieu and Nunn, are the legacies of old Democrat families in their home states. Hagan is politically connected and of a Democratic political family, though not quite as much an in-state legacy family.

These three women want nothing to do with America’s first black President. Michelle Nunn and Georgia can show us precisely why. You can visibly see it.

Just over a week ago, President Obama called into V-103, an urban station in Atlanta. He urged voters to go put Michelle Nunn in the Senate. He said he could not get his agenda accomplished without her.

Nunn’s Republican rival, David Perdue, immediately turned around the quotes into advertisements. Ending Spending, a thirty party group supporting Perdue, was actually out of the gate the fastest making sure everybody knew what President Obama had said.

Below is a close up of the Real Clear Politics polling average for Georgia. You can visibly see the aftermath of President Obama publicly supporting Michelle Nunn. Perdue, having fallen below Nunn in the polling average, has now bounced back.

Ads with the President’s voice in support of Nunn are all over radio and television in Georgia.


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Coca-Cola’s Anti-Religious Positions [RedState]

Yesterday, Houston Mayor Annise Parker had to withdraw her subpoenas to Christian pastors in Houston. The mayor demanded several pastors turn over the text of their sermons if those sermons mentioned homosexuality, gay marriage, the mayor, etc.

Turns out the Coca-Cola Company’s Nonpartisan Committee for Good Government gave Mayor Parker’s campaign $1000.00. But that’s not the only time Coca-Cola has supported bigotry toward religious adherents in the country.

Earlier this year in Georgia, the Coca-Cola Company joined other major corporations in opposing religious liberty legislation in the Georgia legislature. Coca-Cola, taking the side of gay rights activists, attacked the legislation and made threats to the legislatures. Coca-Cola and others funded a third party group solely forced to shut down the advance of religious liberty legislation in Georgia.

That group then went on to campaign against any candidate who supported religious freedom in Georgia. Now this group and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce are already declaring a “line in the sand.” They will aggressively oppose religious liberty in Georgia.

Between Mayor Parker and Coca-Cola’s actions in Georgia, it looks like the company has a real antipathy toward the religious in America.

The post Coca-Cola’s Anti-Religious Positions appeared first on RedState.

Tech at Night: Sorry, FTC is wrong and AT&T is right. Without a doubt. [RedState]

Tech at Night

The latest Two Minutes’ Hate in lefty land is over AT&T getting sued by FTC because of throttling of unlimited bandwidth users.

The problem is, FTC is wrong, and AT&T is right here, and it’s not even close.

You see, I was an AT&T unlimited customer. In fat I was one of the customers that was grandfathered in. It was a fair idea: AT&T offered its unlimited customers a chance to keep on with the same services as before, but as an incentive to switch, they offered new services to those who did switch. I eventually switched to get wifi tethering of my computer and/or my iPad to my iPhone (I then finally moved to T-Mobile just last month to save $30/mo). Some never switched.

There was a reason AT&T made the change. They knew LTE was coming, and they knew those old unlimited data plans were totally unsustainable once the LTE era began. 3G HSPA was mature, well deployed, and had capacity to spare by that time, so unlimited 3G use wasn’t so bad. Unlimited LTE use would cripple the network and make poor service for all of AT&T’s customers.

So, if AT&T tells these users hey, you signed up for unlimited HSPA, and by gum we’ll give you unlimited HSPA+, then what’s wrong with that? Heck, T-Mobile only gives you unlimited 2G EDGE if you run out of your 4G LTE allotment, so those users would still be getting a better deal even.

Ultimately FTC is trying to take what is a fair arrangement, and turn a market outcome into an adversarial process. That’s not how government and the marketplace are supposed to work. When trade happens, both sides are supposed to benefit. That’s how wealth is created. The free market is a positive sum game. The government is tinkering with that, picking winnners, and creating losers.

FTC is wrong, and AT&T is right.

[Sony] is allowing China to spy on its users. [Originally, in haste I typed the wrong company name, oops]

Russia continues to attack America, too. But quick, whine about NSA, while he aids our opposition.

Do you realize just how much money the local broadcasters and networks are pocketing off of ‘free, over-the-air channels’ through regulatory monopoly-driven Retransmission Consent fee? It looks set to grow to $10 billion by 2020. And all that money is forcibly run through cable companies by regulators, and the cable companies, not government, get blamed for the ever-higher prices.

MCX, the company pressuring retailers to turn off support for competing Apple Pay in favor of its CurrentC, got broken into. Sounds… activist driven to me. I hope the attackers get prison time.

Patent lawsuits are dropping since the Supreme Court went after the broadest, most ridiculous patents used by patent trolls. ACU is right that patents are good, but we have to remember why they’re good. They’re good when protecting inventors, not creating business models for lawyers. We can tune patent law to achieve the good without suffering too much of the bad.

The post Tech at Night: Sorry, FTC is wrong and AT&T is right. Without a doubt. appeared first on RedState.

Independent, NAMED sources: Mary Burke fired from family business for incompetence. [RedState]

Come, I will conceal nothing from you: when I heard that Mary Burke had been essentially accused of being a nepotism-loving nincompoop who had to be fired from her father’s company (Trek Bicycle Corp) because she couldn’t hack the family business, I… shrugged.  The original story had one named source - former Trek HR director Gary Ellerman, who is now the chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party – and a couple of anonymous ones; and while the story certainly rang true you could make a legitimate case that the whole thing was just a partisan attack.  Well, OK, it is a partisan attack; which doesn’t make it false, but does make the whole thing arguable.

But then stuff happened.  First off, this:

…So, yeah, she was fired. Something that got confirmed by Tom Albers, former COO of the company. Albers comes across as being incredibly reluctant to talk about this, not to mention being highly sympathetic to Mary Burke (“I’m not saying she was incompetent… Maybe this job was too big for her.”). Apparently Mary Burke’s tenure in Europe as head of Trek’s European operations was plagued with poor employee relations, integration of existing networks, lowered revenue issues, and other executive-level problems: so allegedly Mary Burke was eventually removed and sent to go snowboarding for a couple of years.  Which is… nice, I suppose; but it’s not exactly reassuring.  There are no family members available to bail out Mary Burke when she messes up again, after all.

One other thing to note: the anonymous Wisconsin Reporter sources asked to be anonymous because they were afraid that the Burke family would make their lives miserable.  From the Journal Sentinel article, again:

[Tom] Albers said he had resolved to answer questions if asked about Mary Burke but not to volunteer them himself. He said he was concerned that he would face criticism and attempts to discredit him and repeatedly said that he respected Trek as a company and was concerned about appearing to detract from it.

Bolding mine.  And maybe those anonymous sources knew what they were talking about.

Links via Jeff B of AoSHQDD, who went off on this story – specifically, how the media managed to somehow miss this until now – in epic Twitter-rant form.  Read the whole thing.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Scott Walker for Governor.

PPS: Don’t forget to sign-up for RedState’s 2014 Mid-Term Elections Day After Conference Call onWednesday, November 5th from 9-10am eastern.  You will hear one of a kind analysis, insights, and Q&A.  Register here and we’ll call you on the 5th.

The post Independent, NAMED sources: Mary Burke fired from family business for incompetence. appeared first on RedState.

Clinton, Crapitalism, and the Fear Machine [RedState]

It must be somewhat disturbing to the less devoted supporters of Hillary! For President that she can’t seem to make a single public appearance without dropping a gaffe bomb that takes days to defuse.  It’s a good thing that Democrats are given endless opportunities to “clarify” their remarks by their friendly media.  Hillary spends as much time clarifying as she does speaking.

Our Lady of Dead Brokeness got into trouble most recently for her bizarre declaration that businesses and corporations don’t create jobs, obliging her online apologists to waste a few million pixels concocting elaborate theories about what she really meant, coupled with vein-popping tirades against anyone who dared to repeat her actual words verbatim.  Eventually Clinton herself went for what CNN describes as a “do-over,” borrowing one of Barack Obama’s favorite verbal crutches to complain about all the people who won’t let her be clear.

“Let me be absolutely clear about what I’ve been saying for a couple of decades,” Clinton pronounced.  “Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in an America where workers and families are empowered to build from the bottom up and the middle out — not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas.”

See, it’s your fault for thinking that when she croaked, “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs” – in a tone of voice that implied anyone who would tell you such a thing might also email you claiming to be a deposed Nigerian price with $30 million he urgently needs to deposit in your bank account – she was saying that corporations and businesses don’t create jobs.  I gather, from her walkback, that she now believes you should let people tell you that corporations and businesses create jobs, provided they don’t want a tax break, or stash their profits overseas.

“It’s the second time Clinton has struggled to speak fluently in the economic vernacular of her party,” CNN notes dryly, looking back to her comments about being “dead broke” after she left the White House with only a few million bucks and a couple of mansions to her name.

That would be the “economic vernacular” of suckers – easily manipulated, deeply ignorant people who think jobs are like bread crusts tossed to happy peasants by the great and noble masters of a politicized, collectivist economy.  Those wise demigods deserve millions of dollars, multiple mansions, exorbitant speaking fees tucked into their pockets by political supporters, and B.S. jobs for their progeny.  The elite shouldn’t have to scrabble like dirty peasants in some capitalist machine that expects solid performance in return for fair pay.  Why, just look how generous the elite are with other peoples’ money!  They’re always saying that everyone deserves things – health care, condoms, a raise, what have you.  Isn’t it fitting for people with such big hearts to travel in limousines and bask in the adoration of grateful peons?

Clinton shot herself in the foot because she only has the most crude and superficial understanding of the con game socialists play with their supporters.  What she was building up to with her “businesses don’t create jobs” gaffe was the aging liberal’s favorite cobwebbed code phrase, “trickle-down economics,” an early prototype of the modern Left’s obsession with saying that all capitalist free-market success is automatically discredited if the wealth isn’t evenly distributed enough.  Don’t hassle them with inconvenient facts, such as “income inequality” getting substantially worse under Barack Obama, the most left-wing President of the modern era.  That only happened because he wasn’t given sufficient imperial power to level the playing field.  So long as one capitalist remains free, and one Republican draws breath to argue for that freedom, no Democrat will ever be blamed for “income inequality.”

We’re in the midst of a long clash between two very different ideals for the relationship between government, capital, and labor.  The traditional American view, harmonious with free-market capitalism, is that the government’s job is to keep things honest, enforcing evenly-applied laws and preventing criminal abuse.  You might rephrase this as saying the government’s role is to keep compulsion out of the free market, therefore guaranteeing its freedom.  Every economic offense citizens can perpetrate against each other, either individually or through their corporations, boils down to a form of compulsion.  Fraud, for example, is an offense against free choice, replacing it with false choices.

The new model, espoused by the Left, puts the government above private enterprise in an activist, managerial role.  The State is empowered to dictate outcomes, based on the Ruling Class’ notions of fairness and equality.  Acting as the executor of popular will, the State seeks to engineer the best, fairest economic outcome.  Of course, the ability to define what constitutes “best” and “fairest” confers immense power upon politicians.  Indeed, it is the source of real power, because the Ruling Class abandons all pretense of duty or the zealous defense of individual rights, and it gets to measure its own success.  Unsurprisingly, it always pronounces itself amazingly successful.

Many different names have been applied to systems where the State actually manages commerce between the people in accordance with political agendas, rather than keeping that commerce honest while refraining from passing judgment upon the outcome.  The end result is usually violent oppression, because the State needs enemies to rile up the public and maintain political supremacy over its Little Partners in business.  At the moment, we’re drifting through the stage in which people like Hillary Clinton get paid two or three hundred thousand dollars to babble about nonsense for twenty minutes by corporate supporters eager to curry political favor with the Ruling Class.

My friend Jason Mattera dubs this system “Crapitalism” in his latest book.  The forms of capitalism are observed, and indeed the Ruling Class is very eager to appropriate its language – for example, by referring to Big Government tax-and-spend programs as “investment.”  But beneath this free-market veneer is a squalid normalization of corruption, in which politicians confer billions from the Treasury upon those who donate millions to their campaigns.  It’s not always a straight cash payoff (although if you haven’t read Jason’s book yet, you might be surprised to learn how often it is.)  Often what crapitalists purchase from Big Government vendors is the incredibly valuable service of anti-competition - laws, and more often mere rules promulgated by the endless bureaucracy, that burden competitors and keep established, well-connected interests on top.  A great deal of behavior that would have been dismissed as the most vile corruption a few generations ago is now standard operating procedure.

We haven’t degenerated to the stage where the political masters of the economy need to foment much violent hatred among the people to remain on top of the game, but they do peddle a great deal of fear.  That’s what Hillary Clinton is selling: the fear that if you don’t give people like her vast power to protect you, see to your basic needs, and give you what you’re “entitled” to collect from society, you’ll be torn to shreds on the cold, hard tundra of the free market by predatory business interests.  Hillary lacks her hubsand’s grace at sounding like she understands and sympathizes with the capitalists under her heel; when she gets lazy and distracted, as she did at that Martha Coakley rally where she said businesses don’t create jobs, she sounds like she’s absently reading from a certain Little Red Book.  But when she gets back on her game, she’ll serve up a freshly-tossed word salad about how of course she loves free market job creators – they’re so cute she just wants to pinch their cheeks! – but not the scalawags who do legal things she disapproves of.  Untrammeled liberty is too much for you chowderheads – you’ll just rob each other blind.  You need long whips in strong hands to keep you in line, and make sure your dirty little profits are divided “evenly,” without paying undue attention to who actually earned the money… or, especially, who took the investment risk that made such earning possible.

There is evidence that young voters are breaking away from Democrats.  It’s largely because they’re tired of the Fear Machine, the messages of despair and decay… the new mythology that says American prosperity was built by giants of yore, a people we can never be again – and who weren’t really that great, what with all their prejudices and insensitivity and such.  There’s really only one thing that “creates jobs”: the opportunity for profit.  Political parasites who siphon off profit reduce the value of opportunity.  Central planners never invest money as shrewdly as entrepreneurs risking their own.  Young people leaving college with six figures in debt to face the jobless wilderness of Barack Obama’s economy have a sense of what’s missing.  Memo to Hillary Clinton: you won’t trick them into seeking answers from you with thirty-year-old political catch phrases you don’t understand, and lies about what happened when Americans were more free to discover and pursue opportunity.

The post Clinton, Crapitalism, and the Fear Machine appeared first on RedState.

A Sad and Desperate Attack on Chris Christie [RedState]

christieplural 622

The Online Left, in its customary fashion, has contrived to feign outrage over RGA Chairman Chris Christie for saying this at a Chamber of Commerce event in DC:

“Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?”

Progressives claimed to be shocked, shocked by these remarks. Steven Benen of the Rachel Maddow Show Blog suggested that “Christie almost seemed to be endorsing corruption” and quoted the always credulous Norman Ornstein characterizing Christie as secretly meaning, “How can we cheat on vote counts if we don’t control the governorships?” Benen followed up with a second piece, quoting this Christie clarification

“Everybody read much too much into that,” he said. “You know who gets to appoint people, who gets to decide in part what the rules are, I’d much rather have Republican governors counting those votes when we run in 2016 as Republicans than I would have Democrats. There was no specific reference to any laws.”

Benen’s hyperventilating conclusion?

[T]aking the two sets of Christie comments together, it’s difficult to think of a charitable interpretation… Christie…wants an elections process in which Republicans control the “voting mechanisms,” Republicans appoint the elections officials, Republicans help dictate “what the rules are” when it comes to Americans casting ballots, and Republicans are “in charge of the state when the votes are being counted.”

In other words, Christie doesn’t want a non-partisan elections process. The governor and likely presidential candidate wants the exact opposite…It might very well be the most controversial thing Christie has ever said in public. That he sees this as unimportant – his intended “clarification” only added insult to injury – speaks volumes about Christie’s cynical, partisan vision of how democracy is supposed to work.

A “non-partisan elections process,” as if the Republicans Christie named were running against…well, something other than Democrats.

Racing to outdo Benen, Brian Beutler of the New Republic wailed, “Chris Christie Just Exposed His Entire Party’s Deceitful Voter Suppression Plan,” and asserted the usual Democratic shibboleth that voter fraud or other improprieties by Democrats in the voting process are impossible and inconceivable.

The most ridiculous part of this garment-rending is the implicit suggestion that Democrats don’t say exactly the same sort of thing that Christie said – that they don’t trust the other side’s conduct of elections, and want their partisans to vote to give them a greater role in protecting their side in the process. No sentient adult could claim with a straight face that Democrats never say this – indeed, the whole point of both Benen’s and Beutler’s articles is to suggest that only Democrats should be trusted to govern the elections process. Nor does one need to look hard for evidence. Consider Bill Clinton, surely still a prominent Democrat, stumping in June for the hapless Ohio Democrat Ed FitzGerald:

“Would you rather have a governor who wants to shift the tax burden onto the middle class, has aggressively pushed this voter-suppression agenda, and done a variety of other things, or one who was an FBI agent, a mayor, a county executive …?” he asked, holding up a sheet of paper as if it were a resume.

…Bemoaning the low election turnout of 2010 that saw the narrow defeat of Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, he said the party has to make the case that midterm elections matter just as much as presidential elections.

“[Republicans] want to make every presidential election look more like the mid-term election by restricting the electorate, and if at all possible, want to restrict the midterm elections even more,” he said. He was referring to Republican-passed legislation that, among other things, has reduced early and absentee voting days.

Democrats say this kind of thing all the time on the stump. But it goes much further than rhetoric. Democratic fundraisers have not been shy about bankrolling efforts to win control of state election offices for precisely the purpose of controlling the vote counting process. Between 2006 and 2011, the Soros-funded Secretary of State Project existed for that explicit purpose:

A small tax-exempt political group with ties to wealthy liberals like billionaire financier George Soros has quietly helped elect 11 reform-minded progressive Democrats as secretaries of state to oversee the election process in battleground states and keep Republican “political operatives from deciding who can vote and how those votes are counted.”

Known as the Secretary of State Project (SOSP), the organization was formed by liberal activists in 2006 to put Democrats in charge of state election offices, where key decisions often are made in close races on which ballots are counted and which are not.

The group’s website said it wants to stop Republicans from “manipulating” election results.

“Any serious commitment to wresting control of the country from the Republican Party must include removing their political operatives from deciding who can vote and whose votes will count,” the group said on its website, accusing some Republican secretaries of state of making “partisan decisions.”

Eventually, as is the way with such organizations, the SOSP faded after some sunlight was shed on it, but in 2014, its heirs live on:

[T]he Democratic group…iVote, [is] part of a highly partisan and increasingly expensive battle over an elected position…Thirty-nine states elect their secretary of State, and because the job includes overseeing the administration of elections, Republican and Democratic PACs have emerged to fight for control of the position. In addition to iVote, a second Democratic PAC called SOS for Democracy and a Republican group named SOS for SOS have also begun raising money for secretary of State races in November.

The election-year focus on secretaries of State results from the flood of outside political spending that began in earnest in 2012 and is now flowing to races further down the ballot. It also grows out of a wave of controversial GOP-led voter identification legislation, challenged in court by Democratic groups arguing that they are intended to disenfranchise poor and minority voters.

The PACs’ effort also is part of a growing political belief that no detail is too small to be ignored in gaining an edge on an opponent. If that means trying to elect your candidate as Ohio secretary of State so that he or she can set early voting hours in Cuyahoga County, that is worth the effort.

“It is the long game. And it’s really important. These are the kind of things that we need to do instead of sitting back and playing defense,” says Jeremy Bird, former field director for the 2012 Obama campaign and now one of the organizers of iVote.

Secretaries of State “have a pivotal role to play in how elections are run,” says Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California-Irvine and author of Election Law Blog. “It’s very inside baseball, it’s very esoteric, but for people who are inside it makes a big difference.”

Left-wing blog DailyKos has touted these efforts and sought to enlist its readers in funding them:

Want to make sure every vote counts? Get involved in these key races for secretary of state…While their powers vary considerably from state to state, secretaries of state have a good deal of influence over how voter ID laws are carried out, who gets to vote early, what areas may or may not have enough voting machines on election day, and who gets to stay on the voter rolls….

Secretary of state races were largely ignored for years, and they still tend to attract low voter interest. However, both parties have begun to understand how important these elections are. This cycle, the Republicans have a PAC called “SOS for SoS” that will spend millions to try and win these offices in critical states. Democrats have two main committees, “SoS for Democracy” and “iVote.” Both sides understand that it is essential to get involved now in secretary of state races now, before it is far too late. As then-Florida Secretary of State Kathrine Harris proved in 2000, these races can often resonate far beyond state lines.

For progressives looking to fight back in the War on Voting, this is the central battleground.

It seems that Benen and Beutler believe that it’s entirely legitimate for Democrats to want partisan Democratic control of the voting mechanism, and to organize, campaign and fundraise to ensure partisan Democratic control of the voting mechanism, but wholly illegitimate when Republicans do the same thing. This is premised not only on the idea that Democrats are trustworthy vote-counters and Republicans are not, but also, at the level of lawmaking, on their assumption that there can be no possible legitimate policy debate over the balance between ensuring the integrity of elections by preventing illegal votes from being cast that dilute the votes of legal voters, and ensuring the right of all legal voters to vote (once).


Which is a ridiculous position, in addition to being one that is out of step with public polls that consistently show things like voter ID to be overwhelmingly popular, even among every racial and ethnic segment of the population (voter ID was endorsed by a bipartisan national commission co-chaired by Jimmy Carter in 2005, and upheld by the Supreme Court in an opinion by the liberal Justice John Paul Stevens in 2008). American history is littered with cases of widespread fraud in the elections process; within living memory, we had the notorious 1982 Illinois governor’s race (decided by 0.14 points after the Republican candidate had led by 15 points in the polls), in which a federal investigation that resulted in 63 convictions found that at least 100,000 fraudulent votes had been cast in Chicago alone, some 10 percent of the city’s entire vote. Chicago was long so notorious for voter fraud that only yesterday, President Obama – who himself won his first election in Chicago by having his opponent thrown off the ballot through a signature-challenging process – joked to a Wisconsin audience that “You can only vote once — this isn’t Chicago, now.” Going further back, biographer Robert Caro has detailed how no less a figure than Lyndon Johnson won his first Senate election in 1948 through some fairly brazen forms of fraud:

Mr. Caro confirmed the charges made at the time by Stevenson supporters that county officials had cast the votes of absent voters and had changed the numbers on the tallies. For example, he said, Jim Wells County provided an extra 200 votes for Johnson merely by changing the 7 in ”765” to a 9.

And in “1984, Brooklyn’s Democratic district attorney, Elizabeth Holtzman, released a state grand-jury report on a successful 14-year conspiracy that cast thousands of fraudulent votes in local, state, and congressional elections….The grand jury recommended voter ID, a basic election-integrity measure that New York has steadfastly refused to implement.”

Every year, year in and year out, there are documented cases of fraud and corruption in the election process. The 2005 Baker-Carter Report noted “that the U.S. Department of Justice had conducted more than 180 investigations into election fraud since 2002. Federal prosecutors had charged 89 individuals and convicted 52 for election-fraud offenses, including falsifying voter-registration information and vote buying.”

Now, fraud on the scale of the 1982 Chicago case is not something we’re likely to see again, at least not on a regular basis. As Jim Geraghty notes, there’s an element of defeatism bordering on paranoia that surfaces among conservatives this time every year, convinced that Democrats are just going to steal the election anyway no matter what we do and no matter how many votes it takes, and that’s just not borne out by the facts. The reality is that election fraud matters only on the margins. But the margins do matter. Florida 2000 is the most famous case – the presidency turned on a 537-vote margin of victory, and Bush won the Election Day count, the automatic recount, and the legal challenges in the trial court, the intermediate appellate court and the U.S. Supreme Court, but not without the Florida Supreme Court trying to rewrite the state’s election laws to give Al Gore a shot at yet another different count, an experience that left many Republicans deeply suspicious of efforts to just keep counting the votes until a different result turned up. And that’s more or less what happened in the recounts in the 2004 Washington governor’s race and the 2008 Minnesota Senate race. You want consequential? Had Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Al Franken0%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard0% not won that Senate race, there would never have been a 60th vote in the Senate to pass Obamacare.

Recount mischief wasn’t the only problem in Florida in 2000:

One of the most comprehensive studies of the 2000 presidential election, “Democracy Held Hostage,” was conducted by the Miami Herald — it found that 400 votes were cast illegally in heavily Democratic Broward County when poll workers allowed voters to vote who were not on the precinct voting rolls. And another 452 were cast illegally by felons in Broward. In Volusia County — which supported Gore — 277 voters voted who were not registered, including 73 voters at predominately black Bethune-Cookman University, which voted heavily for Gore.

The Herald review of votes in 22 counties (with 2.3 million ballots) found that 1,241 ballots were cast illegally by felons who had not received clemency. Of these voters, 75% were registered Democrats. And the Herald study counted only those who had been sentenced to prison for more than a year.

The Washington race was an agony of recounts – there were three counts, and only when Democrat Christine Gregoire pulled ahead of Republican Dino Rossi after a bunch of extra ballots turned up in Democrat-controlled King County (Seattle) did they stop the count. Gregoire won by 129 votes, and subsequent investigation revealed that more convicted felons voted in that race than the margin of victory.

The 2008 Franken-Coleman race in Minnesota, again, saw the Republican Election Day leader lose to the recount-winning Democrat, and by a margin of 312 votes – but “a conservative watchdog group matched criminal records with the voting rolls and discovered that 1,099 felons had illegally cast ballots. State law mandates prosecutions in such cases; 177 have been convicted so far, with 66 more awaiting trial [as of 2012].” As Byron York noted, “that’s a total of 243 people either convicted of voter fraud or awaiting trial in an election that was decided by 312 votes.”

Then there’s the 2010 Connecticut governor’s race:

In the close governor’s race in Connecticut in 2010, a mysterious shortage of ballots in Bridgeport kept the polls open an extra two hours as allegedly blank ballots were photocopied and handed out in the heavily Democratic city. Dannel Malloy defeated Republican Tom Foley by nearly 7,000 votes statewide — but by almost 14,000 votes in Bridgeport.

Even aside from endless controversies over chicanery with poll-closing times and recount mechanisms, there’s plenty more evidence out there showing that the opportunity exists to game the system (both legally and illegally), and that people have a sufficient incentive to do so that some get caught every year – the prosecutions alone (which almost always end in convictions) illustrate that this is more than just partisan propaganda:

-Just last month, a Democratic legislator in – yes – Bridgeport was arrested and charged with 19 counts of voter fraud.

-This month, a former Democratic member of the LA City Council was convicted of voter fraud along with his wife.

-In 2013, a former Maryland Democratic congressional candidate pleaded guilty to voting illegally in Congressional elections in 2006 and 2010 while living in Florida.

-Also in 2013, a former Hamilton County, Ohio poll worker and Obama supporter pleaded guilty to “four counts of illegal voting – including voting three times for a relative who has been in a coma since 2003.” She “admitted she voted illegally in the 2008, 2011 and 2012 elections.” She was recently honored by Al Sharpton at a “voting rights” rally.

-Hans von Spakosvsky summarized some of the other recent prosecutions in Monday’s Wall Street Journal:

In the past few months, a former police chief in Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to voter fraud in a town-council election. That fraud had flipped the outcome of a primary election….A Mississippi grand jury indicted seven individuals for voter fraud in the 2013 Hattiesburg mayoral contest, which featured voting by ineligible felons and impersonation fraud. A woman in Polk County, Tenn., was indicted on a charge of vote-buying—a practice that the local district attorney said had too long “been accepted as part of life” there.

-This Pocket Full of Liberty post from February rounds up other examples, including a Milwaukee man prosecuted for voting five times, 12 indictments of Georgia Democrats for absentee ballot fraud, a dozen arrests in New Jersey, and more than 80 referrals for prosecutions in Iowa.

-Soren Dayton has covered a number of these cases here at RedState, including multiple indictments and guilty pleas in a voter fraud scandal involving Democrats in Troy, New York in 2009, eight arrests by the FBI for absentee ballot fraud in Florida in 2011, a series of voter fraud convictions in Alabama, a 65-count indictment in Indiana, and these two classics (click through for the links):

My favorite example is the 2003 East Chicago (Indiana) Democratic mayoral primary. There were 32 convictions. The election results were also thrown out by the Indiana Supreme Court. Note that that last link is to a story in the Chicago Tribune, my home-town paper, that discusses the conviction of the “reform” candidate in that election, with the splendid sentence, “On Thursday, a federal judge sentenced former Mayor George Pabey to five years in prison, the third consecutive East Chicago mayor to come to grief in a federal courtroom.” This case galvanized support for a voter ID law in Indiana that was eventually argued in the US Supreme Court, where the opinion upholding the law was written by former Justice Stevens. Some noted at the time that Justice Stevens, who was normally a reliable liberal vote, grew up in Chicago.

Then there’s another favorite case, that of Ophelia Ford. Mrs. Ford is the sister of former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford, Sr., sister of former State Rep. John Form, now serving time in federal prison for bribery, and the aunt of former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford, Jr….In this case, Mrs. Ford, a Democrat, defeated an incumbent Republican by 13 votes. The local newspaper, the Commercial Appeal, smelled something and dug. In the end, the State Senate vacated the election on a vote of 26-6, and three people plead guilty to felonies. In that case, the judge noted that the guilty plea actually prevented a full record of the fraud from being documented. But the guilty pleas did involve both dead and moved people voting.

-East St. Louis has had repeated issues with voter fraud, justifying its entry on this lengthy list:

Nonaresa Montgomery was found guilty by a jury late today of perjury in a trial in St. Louis Circuit Court in the St. Louis vote fraud trial…Montgomery, a paid worker who ran Operation Big Vote during the run-up to 2001 mayoral primary, …part of a national campaign — promoted by Democrats — to register more black voters and get them to vote in the November elections.

Montgomery is accused of hiring about 30 workers to do fraudulent voter-registration canvassing. They were supposed to have canvassed black neighborhoods and recorded names of potential voters to be contacted later to vote in the Nov. 7 election. And they were paid by the number of cards they filled out. Instead of knocking on doors, however, they sat down at a fast-food restaurant and wrote out names and information from an outdated voter list.

-In a 2013 New York City investigation, “undercover agents claimed at 63 polling places to be individuals who were in fact dead, had moved out of town, or who were in jail. In 61 instances, or 97 percent of the time, they were allowed to vote.”

-A recent academic study found some evidence that significant numbers of non-citizens may have voted in recent elections, although the study’s methodology suggests its findings should not be treated as conclusive.

-A 2014 analysis by the Providence Journal found that “20 of Rhode Island’s 39 municipalities, from the largest city to the smallest town, had more registered voters than it had citizens old enough to vote.”

-The new state elections director of New Mexico shocked observers in 2007 when he “recounted several conversations he’d had over the years with people who told him they’d used other people’s identities to cast multiple votes.”

-A 2011 report by the Milwaukee Police Department noted why voter fraud is so hard to detect and prosecute:

Although investigators found an “illegal organized attempt to influence the outcome of an election in the state of Wisconsin,” nothing was done to prosecute the various Democrat and liberal staffers who committed the vote fraud [because b]ased on the investigation to date, the task force has found widespread record keeping failures and separate areas of voter fraud. These findings impact each other. Simply put: it is hard to prove a bank embezzlement if the bank cannot tell how much money was there in the first place. Without accurate records, the task force will have difficulty proving criminal conduct beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

-Joe Biden’s neice, who worked in New Hampshire in 2012 just for the election, voted there, and her case raised concerns about the state’s lax residency requirements.

-A 2014 North Carolina investigation of the voter rolls found that:

765 voters with an exact match of first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in N.C. and the other state in the 2012 general election.

35,750 voters with the same first and last name and DOB were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in both states in the 2012 general election.

155,692 voters with the same first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state – and the latest date of registration or voter activity did not take place within N.C.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.


I recently analyzed close statewide elections from 1998 to 2013 (elections for Senate and Governor as well as the statewide contests in the Presidential races) and found that, while Democrats and Republicans were split 50/50 in winning races decided by 1-4 points, Democrats won 20 out of 27 races decided by less than 1 point. Election fraud, even in combination with manipulation of the recount process and other elements of control of the voting mechanisms, is not necessarily the only possible explanation for this disparity; it could be partly the disparity in operational competence at getting the vote out, or it could be a statistical fluke. But certainly the pattern is one that justifiably raises concerns among Republicans about getting a fair shake at the margins of vote-counting.

There’s a structural irony here. Democrats often argue that they need more federal involvement in elections because they mistrust the states. But Republicans tend to seek state supervision of local handling of elections because of the fact that, in almost every state, Democrats tend to depend on winning big margins in areas (usually urban areas) where a lot of Democratic voters are packed together, and consequently the local officials are not just Democrats, but the kind of Democrat who has never had to answer to a Republican voter for anything. And there is a long history, going back to the early 19th Century, of urban Democratic political machines being the worst offenders in any review of electoral shenanigans. Thus, even in deep-red states, the real issue is not Republican monopoly of control over elections, but having Republicans somewhere in the process who can act as a check on local Democrats.

And the hyperbole over voter ID and other election-law issues obscures the fact that the burden they impose is quite minimal and unlikely to keep very many people from the polls, as even President Obama conceded in an interview last week on Al Sharpton’s radio show:

“Most of these laws are not preventing the overwhelming majority of folks who don’t vote from voting,” Obama said during an interview with Rev. Al Sharpton. “Most people do have an ID. Most people do have a driver’s license. Most people can get to the polls. It may not be as convenient’ it may be a little more difficult.”

…”The bottom line is, if less than half of our folks vote, these laws aren’t preventing the other half from not voting,” Obama said. “The reason we don’t vote is because people have been fed this notion that somehow it’s not going to make a difference. And it makes a huge difference.”

This is why Obama’s own Justice Department is reduced to arguing that eliminating same-day registration causes black voters to stay home because they “tend to be . . . less-educated voters, tend to be voters who are less attuned to public affairs” and early voting is “well situated for less sophisticated voters, and therefore, it’s less likely to imagine that these voters would — can figure out or would avail themselves of other forms of registering and voting.”

None of this is to say that these issues are all one-sided in favor of the Republican arguments. There are many aspects of voting law, election law and election practice that involve weighing competing concerns about integrity versus access, about low-tech human error versus less transparent and more tamper-prone machine counting, about voter convenience versus taxpayer expense (where I live in New York City, we have vast numbers of polling places and a cop or more at every one, but you couldn’t possibly afford to run the system like that if we had early voting, much less weeks of it; and every day of early voting multiplies the expense and burden of any system to supervise the integrity of the vote). And there’s a fair argument that Republicans around the country have been too easily satisfied with pushing voter ID laws as a solution to in-person voter fraud, without giving adequate attention to the integrity of mail-in or absentee ballots, which present a greater risk of fraud and tend to result in more prosecutions.

But then, Republicans and conservatives aren’t the ones whose arguments depend on the assumption that the other side has no legitimate case to make and no legitimate role in these debates. Make no mistake: that is the assumption at the core of the hysteria directed at Chris Christie for daring to say what Democrats say and do constantly.

The post A Sad and Desperate Attack on Chris Christie appeared first on RedState.

Obama’s trashing of the economy: by the numbers [RedState]

econ obama

As you head to the polls next week, ask yourself that quintessential political question: are you better off today than you were 2, 4, or 6 years ago? Hell, are you better off today than you were last year?

For the overwhelming majority of Americans the answer is a resounding no.

Though the administration likes to highlight good economic news (remember Recovery Summer) they can only do so by carefully choosing benchmarks against some unique point in the past. When you look at Obama’s overall stewardship of the American economy — let’s not even talk about foreign policy where he has reduced decades of carefully cultivated alliances into a steaming shambles — it has been little short of disastrous. In fact, it is so bad that even the Brits have noticed. From a Telegraph article titled Life under Obama sucks. And these numbers prove it, here are the high points:

econ labor force

The administration has been doing the chicken dance in the endzone over the reduction of the unemployment rate and first time applications for unemployment benefits. This as been primarily accomplished by squeezing millions of Americans outh of the labor market. If you reduce the number of people working to a sufficiently low number you can achieve full unemployment.


While labor force participation rates were declining, so, too, were wages for the bottom 75% of Americans (which is a family income under $67,000/year) have decreased by at least 5%, with the hardest hit segment being families earning less than $25,000 per year. Not only have wages fallen but so has wealth. The only beneficiaries of the Obama economy have been those who were already wealthy:

econ wealth

And inevitably, poverty follows decreases in employment, wages, and wealth:


Right now our economy is being managed and manipulated to benefit major Democrat political donors. Billions are spent on fly-by-night schemes for electric cars, windmills, solar panels, high speed rail, and all manner of nonsense. Regulations stifle competition and deter new companies from entering markets. Energy costs and food costs are kept artificially high by federal regulations and mandates. The working man is taxed out the wazoo, companies who can flee the US are, cheap labor is being imported — to the benefit of major corportations — to depress wages. The structural barriers to efficiency in the economy that this administration had erected are simply a marvel that can scarcely be comprehended.

The immediate task of Congress, assuming a GOP majority in the Senate, it to begin unraveling the skein of obstruction that is destroying the economy and putting average Americans in a no-win economic situation.


The post Obama’s trashing of the economy: by the numbers appeared first on RedState.

The Sound Of Settled Science [Small Dead Animals]

Science Mag;

A debate among scientists over climate change and conflict has turned ugly. At issue is the question of whether the hotter temperatures and chaotic weather produced by climate change are causing higher rates of violence. A new analysis refutes earlier research that found a link, and the two lead researchers are exchanging some pointed remarks.

I Amuse Myself [Small Dead Animals]

"Did you know it takes a Victoria's Secret model five hours to unload one box off a truck?" [Small Dead Animals]

Well, this is a surprise;

During Isaac, Red Cross supervisors ordered dozens of trucks usually deployed to deliver aid to be driven around nearly empty instead, "just to be seen," one of the drivers, Jim Dunham, recalls.

"We were sent way down on the Gulf with nothing to give," Dunham says. The Red Cross' relief effort was "worse than the storm."

During Sandy, emergency vehicles were taken away from relief work and assigned to serve as backdrops for press conferences, angering disaster responders on the ground.

I'd have thought they'd be busy training looters.

This Is Awkward [Small Dead Animals]

Colby Cosh;

Ghomeshi was offered a chance to walk away, go across the street, and find a comfortable cage in a drive-time Morning Zoo. Some people were initially impressed that he refused to do this and went on Facebook to burn the world's entire supply of bridges instead. It sort of looked like integrity, if you squinted.

And now there's a name.

Reader Tips [Small Dead Animals]

Tonight, acclaimed male vocal quartet The Hilliard Ensemble, sounding remarkably at times like a pipe organ than emits vowel tones, performs a Tudor period song called Absent I am.

The comments are open, as always, for your Reader Tips.

Is There Nothing That Obama Can't Do? [Small Dead Animals]

DOOMED: President Obama promised Americans this afternoon that "we are going to solve this particular problem" of Ebola just like we've solved every other problem."

h/t Robert of Ottawa

Should Jian Ghomeshi Have been Fired by the CBC? [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

A major story trending in Canada right now is the Jian Ghomeshi scandal. Mr. Ghomeshi, probably the second-most popular on-camera personality in their stable (after Peter Mansbridge, who recently drew kudos for his Ottawa coverage) has just been fired by the CBC following a string of allegations of sexual assault by multiple women. The allegations […]

The post Should Jian Ghomeshi Have been Fired by the CBC? appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

The New Weird is the new New Wave? [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

Readers like me who cut their teeth on the New Wave of science fiction of the late 1960s and 1970s will remember the intellectual and imaginative energy of that period, the freewheeling mash-up of genres, the political and social awareness, the maturity and sophistication of much of the writing compared to most of what comprised […]

The post The New Weird is the new New Wave? appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

What’s the one thing better for your well-being than reading? Writing! [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

Devotees of the cult of literary suicide may be surprised to hear it, but writing is rated one of the best activities for mental health and overall well-being. As far back as 1986, you have clinical studies to show that ‘writing about earlier traumatic experience was associated with both short-term increases in physiological arousal and long-term […]

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Morning Links: Want to assemble your own smartphone? The Percy Jackson problem [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

Want to Assemble Your Own Reading Device? Google Shows Off Project Ara Modular Phone Prototype (The Digital Reader) The idea of assembling a DIY mobile device has long since fallen out of the mainstream, but if Project Ara is successful then that could change. *** Journalists Need a Point of View if They Want to […]

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Could Japan’s next big science fiction author be Godzilla? [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

A slightly unorthodox take on the thesis of living your art comes in the shape of Japan’s Hoshi Award, a top science fiction prize, which is to be opened to aliens and AIs as well as humans. The Award was launched in 2013 in honor of Shinichi Hoshi (1926-97), “recognized as one of Japan’s most influential […]

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EE launches 150Mbps '4G+' in Central London [The Register]

LTE-A - Faster phones for Hoxton Hipsters

Mobile network EE has announced that higher speed LTE-A is now available in select areas. This will give speeds of up to 150Mbps.…

BT: Consumers and cost cutting save the day [The Register]

Telco adds 88,000 broadband users, sees £4.38bn in sales

Cost cutting and 88,000 new broadband punters helped BT bank more profits in calendar Q3, although revenues went in the opposite direction as all divisions outside of the consumer wing reported declining fortunes.…

Struggling tape bods Quantum a few quids in after good quarter [The Register]

Firm is growing again

One swallow doesn’t make a summer but two certainly does indicate warmer weather is on the way. So too for Quantum, which has just made a profit – the first one after four quarters of losses.…

Samaritans 'suicide Twitter-sniffer' backfires over privacy concerns [The Register]

900,000 twitterati monitored without consent

In response to public outcry via Twitter and personal blogs on Wednesday, the Samaritans have announced an opt-out function for their stalker-friendly app Samaritans Radar.…

NHS quango fatcats spend £2m tax dosh on iPads and iPhones [The Register]

British health chiefs coughed small fortune on Apple gadgets

Government health chiefs have admitted to spending millions of pounds furnishing bureaucrats with Apple iPhones and fondleslabs.…

Watch out, Samsung and Apple: Xiaomi's No 3 in smartphones now [The Register]

From obscurity to selling 19 million mobes a quarter

Chinese Android mobile firm and fierce Apple rival Xiaomi has nabbed the third place finish in the world’s largest smartphone vendors just three years after first setting up shop.…

Programming Office 365: Hands On with Microsoft's new APIs [The Register]

Half-baked samples – is this stuff really ready?

Analysis  Microsoft has announced new APIs and mobile software development kits for Office 365, its cloud platform for email, document storage, and collaboration.…

BIGGEST THREAT to Europe’s cybersecurity? Hint: not hackers [The Register]

Largest EVER Europe-wide cybersecurity exercise

Forget cyber-espionage, cyber-warfare and cyber-terrorism. The biggest threat to Europe’s infrastructure cybersecurity are power outages and poor communication.…

Apple dealer CANCOM: We're RAKING IT IN [The Register]

EBITDA doubles year-on-year at the German firm

Apple dealer CANCOM has announced whopping third-quarter results, way in excess of the same period last year, citing that old favourite "solid business demand".…

The ULTIMATE CRUELTY: Sandworm uses PowerPoint against Swiss bank customers [The Register]

From espionage to cybercrime

The Sandworm vulnerability is being actively abused to attack Swiss banking customers, Danish security consultancy CSIS has warned.…

Facebook OCP crowd to ogle MICROSOFT'S server-room SECRETS [The Register]

Open Compute Project claps eyes on Redmond blueprints

Microsoft has released a second clutch of secret blueprints from its server bunkers to Facebook’s Open Compute Project.…

Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST [The Register]

Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell

Speculation is rife that the Antares rocket accident at Wallops on Tuesday evening was caused by the 1960s-era Russian engines powering the craft, though the official investigations have only just begun.…

UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw [The Register]

Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza

British consumers could easily hack the controversial new smart meters the government plans to introduce, allowing them to illegally slash their energy bills, cyber-security experts have warned.…

Making an entrance: Remote door-opening tech [The Register]

Personal portal peace of mind

Breaking Fad  For a lot of Reg readers, home automation is probably an internal affair – that is, if you're using technology, it's probably to control things inside the home, like heating, lighting and so on. And indeed, that also makes up the bulk of what's available when it comes to the major suppliers.…

Sales down at UK's oldest tech distie: Northamber losses widen in fiscal '14 [The Register]

But chairman Phillips is rosy about future

The prognosis for Northamber’s future is brighter, according to its colourful chairman, despite widening losses and revenues remaining in free fall for fiscal ’14 ended June.…

Samsung's flagging phone fortunes hit profits hard [The Register]

Net earnings nearly halve in the third quarter compared to last year

Samsung has promised to shake up its smartphone line-up to try to win back some of the ground it has lost in the sector, after it revealed that its third-quarter operating profit was the lowest in more than three years.…

Keep up with the fast-moving world of flash array storage [The Register]

How to pick the right kind

An all-flash networked array can do wonders in speeding up data accesses by applications running in connected servers.…

Apple CEO Tim Cook tells world: 'I’m proud to be gay' [The Register]

It is 'among the greatest gifts God has given me'

Tim Cook has come out as gay and vowed to spend the rest of his life helping to "pave the sunlit path" towards equality and justice.…

UK consumers particularly prone to piss-poor patching [The Register]

Java a hot spot – new report

UK consumer patching practices have worsened still further over the last three months, increasing the threat of malware problems, according to a new study by IT security provider Secunia.…

All change at the top of HP's enterprise biz [The Register]

Same strategy, but can the newbies make it work?

A change at the top of HP’s enterprise distie team across both European and UK ops may well help solve the disconnect that occurred when a regionally drafted strategy was executed locally.…

SkyHawk array swoops down, 136TB claws extended [The Register]

Skyera offering more capacity, less power usage

All-flash array startup and packing density expert Skyera has got itself a new version of its skyHawk array, encompassing a threefold increase in capacity.…

Distie titan TD Azlan to cut ties with Huawei [The Register]

'Can't shift the gear', say channel whispers

TD Azlan is quietly and gradually cutting ties with Huawei Enterprise, according to multiple sources close to the matter.…

This time it's SO REAL: Overcoming the open-source orgasm myth with TODO [The Register]

If the web giants need it to work, hey, maybe it'll work

What can the world learn from Google, Twitter and Facebook - apart from how to make millions through ads flinging? How to run a successful open-source project.…

Forget WHITE BOX, it's time for JUNK BOX NETWORKING [The Register]

Readers: Could you build a complete data environment off eBay?

Storagebod  On the way to "Powering the Cloud" with Greg Ferro and Chris Evans, we got to discussing Greg’s book White Box Networking and whether there could be a whole series of books discussing White Box storage, virtualisation, servers etc and how to build a complete White Box environment.…

China set to be buried under mountain of surplus robots, warns biz chap [The Register]

Can't stop the damn things reproducing. Unlike humans

China has been warned of an approaching robot bubble fuelled by Beijing's desire to massively overdevelop the internal automation market.…

Humanity now making about 41 mobes EACH SECOND [The Register]

327 MEEELLION mobes shipped in Q3, say very tired analysts

The world is now manufacturing just under 42 mobile phones a second thanks to an uptick in global production, IDC's presumably-very-tired handset-counters say.…

Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US [The Register]

Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'

Microsoft has joined the wearables market with “band”, a fitness-monitor-cum-smartwatch, which is accompanied by a suite of online services dubbed “Microsoft Health”.…

Amazon's hybrid cloud: EC2 wrangled by Microsoft's control freak [The Register]

Plug-in for System Centre gives Windows Server control of Bezos' bit barns

Hybrid clouds are the new black: world+dog has decided that some workloads just won't ever ascend into the elastosphere, but that running a private and public cloud from separate control freaks is a dumb idea.…

NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM [The Register]

'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE

NASA boffins are chuffed as ninepence this week to announce that they have discovered unmistakable signs of a crashed spacecraft far away from the Apollo landing sites on the far side of the Moon.…

Remember Internet2? It's now a software-defined metacloud [The Register]

Boffins can slice network into their own private connections for research and fun

America's Internet2 research network is embracing the cloud, launching an SDN implementation designed to let academics create their own private clouds.…

Carders offer malware with the human touch to defeat fraud detection [The Register]

Huge credit card heists mean crims want to cash out - fast

A new cybercrime tool promises to use credit card numbers in a more human way that is less likely to attract the attention of fraud-detection systems, and therefore be more lucrative for those who seek to profit from events like the Target breach.…

Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android [The Register]

As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one

Mozilla has released a new app, Stumbler, that “collects GPS data for our location service” by detecting WiFi access points and mobile phone cells towers, then “uses these wireless network locations to provide geolocation services for Firefox OS devices and other open source projects.”…

Twitter, IBM, in deal to create brainy Big Blue Bird [The Register]

#Enterprise #BigData #Analytics #BuzzwordFest

IBM and Twitter have assembled their buzzwords, ranked them into a regiment, and jointly set them loose to march upon a waiting world, by announcing that the avian network will feed data galore to Big Blue's cloudy enterprise big data analytics offerings.…

Drupalocalypse! Devs say it's best to assume your CMS is owned [The Register]

SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins even knew it needed patching

Drupal websites that had not patched seven hours after the disclosure on a 'highly critical' SQL injection (SQLi) hole disclosed 15 October are hosed, the content management tool's developers say.…

Big Retail: We don't hate Apple, we hate the credit card companies [The Register]

Group opens up (slightly) about Apple Pay rival CurrentC

The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) went on a PR offensive on Wednesday to explain what happened in the hacking attack that saw its testers' emails exposed, why its member retailers banned Apple Pay and Google Wallet, and what makes its CurrentC mobile payment system so great.…

Has the United Nations taken over the Internet yet? [The Register]

Impress at your next dinner party with this primer on what's happening at the ITU gabfest

For the past five days, and the next nine, dozens of government representatives are in Busan, Korea discussing changes to the international telecommunications regime.…

NATO declares WAR on Google Glass, mounts attack alongside MPAA [The Register]

Yes, the National Association of Theater Owners is quite upset

Moviegoers will soon be asked to stash their Google Glass before taking in a flick, much like they're asked to pocket their mobile phones today.…

Microsoft opens Office 365 to devs with APIs, SDKs [The Register]

Put a REST into your calendar

Microsoft is putting its Office 365 crown jewels on display, opening up APIs to the environment to attract third-party developers to the platform.…

Australia's media regulator to oversee new data retention regime [The Register]

Bill pitched as essential anti-terror and crime measure

Australia's government has tabled its data retention Bill and outlined a willingness to assist carriers and internet service providers (ISPs) pay for their retention rigs.…

The NO-NAME vuln: wget mess patched without a fancy brand [The Register]

Directory overwrite bug threatens all *nix boxen

Sysadmins: another venerable and nearly-ubiquitous *nix tool, wget, needs patching because of a bug first reported by HD Moore.…

No nudity, please, we're GAMING: Twitch asks players to cover up [The Register]

New rules apply equally to both sexes, as they should

Twitch, the streaming site where users show off their gaming prowess to the public, has altered its terms and conditions to ban users from being cheeky by playing in the buff.…

Hate the BlackBerry Z10 and Passport? How about this dusty old flashback instead? [The Register]

BlackBerry Classic aims to rekindle the flames

The barren husk of BlackBerry is looking to recapture a stake in the smartphone market by going back to its roots as a maker of business communication devices.…

Turnbull: Coding skills 'will be almost as important as literacy and numeracy' [The Register]

Comms Minister thinks digital technologies is baked into maths curriculum

Australia's Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has come out in favour of teaching kids of all ages to code.…

Australian E-Health records breached twice in the last year [The Register]

Sick system saw patients peep into two records

Australia's Office of the Information Commissioner (OAIC) has released its Annual report of the Information Commissioner’s activities in relation to eHealth 2013–14, complete with a report on two data breaches in the systems used to store personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHRs).…

Naked and afraid: that's how Telstra's Wi-Fi security makes you feel [The Register]

All it takes is 1 angry teen with Wireshark and root access

Sit down, open up the laptop, join the advertised SSID, and go online.…

More Microsoft staffers shown the door in Round 3 of job cuts [The Register]

Nadella creeps close to 18,000-layoff target

Microsoft sent another 3,000 staffers packing on Wednesday, after the third round of layoffs in CEO Satya Nadella's multi-phase restructuring program.…

Bad dog: Redmond's new IE tool KILLS POODLE with one shot [The Register]

Azure and Office 365 to end SSL 3.0 support, too

Microsoft has issued new guidance on the POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption) SSL vulnerability, including a one-click utility that can automatically disable SSL 3.0 in Internet Explorer.…

Big Retail's Apple Pay killer CurrentC HACKED, tester info nicked [The Register]

Listen for the chuckling from Cupertino

CurrentC, the mobile payments system being pushed by some of the biggest retailers in the US, has been hacked – before the system is even fully up and running.…

See every Apple product ever made on one poster [The Verge - All Posts]

It's maybe not as iconic as a blacklight Led Zeppelin poster, or this cat parading as an actual sandwich, but Pop Chart Lab has a freshly updated version of its history of Apple products poster. It goes all the way back to 1976, when the company was making the Apple I, and includes everything since then for a grand total of 534 products on a single page. New in this version are recently released products like the iMac with Retina display and iPad Air 2, as well as upcoming products like the Apple Watch.

Continue reading…

Thank you, Tim Cook [The Verge - All Posts]

In a way, what Tim Cook said today felt inevitable. At least since 2008, when Owen Thomas asked the question in Gawker, a steady accretion of reporting has suggested Apple’s chief executive is gay. By 2011, Cook’s sexual orientation was a matter of regular discussion in the media, with gay magazine Out putting him on the top of its gay power rankings. And since becoming Apple CEO, Cook has inched toward making a more public statement about his private life: making suggestive speeches about "human rights," for example, and leading Apple’s opposition to antigay legislation around the country.

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South Park does drones, #TheFappening, and Ferguson all in one episode [The Verge - All Posts]

What happens if a drone enthusiast leaves his quadcopter unattended and his son's friends use it to spy on the neighbors? Many big, sweeping issues have been addressed as the popularity of personal drones has skyrocketed in the last year, but more specific ones like this have so far gone largely unexplored. Leave it to South Park take up the call.

Last night's episode begins with Butters filming birds using the "Specter 2.0" quadcopter — South Park's version of the DJI Phantom 2. Cartman excitedly convinces him ("We could spy on everyone!") that they should use it to poke around the private lives of their neighbors — because, according to him, "that's all drones are for." Eventually the kids post a video to the internet of their...

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Google will have to pay publishers for aggregating news in Spain [The Verge - All Posts]

The fight between Google and news publishers is a story that's been playing out for years. Publishers have argued that aggregation services — like Google News — are infringing on copyrighted material, while Google has said using pieces of news stories and linking to them is within the bounds of fair use. In Spain, there's a new twist: the Spanish parliament has approved intellectual property laws that will allow publishers to charge aggregators for displaying news stories in search.

The law will go into effect on the first of next year, the Associated Press reports, but some details, like how much publishers will be able to charge, haven't been decided. Spanish news publishers have been lobbying for the new IP laws, which are part of a...

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A piece of Amelia Earhart's plane has been found, researchers claim [The Verge - All Posts]

Researchers think they’ve finally found a piece of Amelia Earhart’s lost plane. An aluminum sheet, found in 1991 on Nikumaroro Island, might be the patch that once covered a window on Earhart’s plane, reports Discovery News. The finding, the researchers say, supports the idea that Earhart died from starvation on the island, 77 years ago.

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Louisiana's irrational hostility towards doctors will make Ebola worse, not better [The Verge - All Posts]

Today, Louisiana state health officials told anyone who has traveled to an Ebola-affected country within the last 21 days — or treated Ebola patients elsewhere — not to come to the annual meeting of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The group, founded in 1903, is an organization of scientists, doctors, and others who aim to control infectious diseases that mainly affect the poorest people in the world. Like, for instance, Ebola. Their meeting will begin on Nov. 2 in New Orleans, and the group doesn't know how many scientists will be affected, incoming president Christopher Plowe told Science. Some who will be affected were planning to come from the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control...

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A gold Moto 360 is coming soon, according to Amazon [The Verge - All Posts]

Motorola hasn't announced the champagne gold Moto 360 seen above yet, but Amazon accidentally revealed it to the world early this morning. The listing has since been pulled, but remains visible through cached pages. So it's clear that Moto — now under Lenovo's ownership — will soon offer a gold Moto 360 with a matching steel band. It'll cost $299, which puts it right in line with other metal-band versions of the leading Android Wear smartwatch. And if the regular 23mm strap is too big for your liking, there will apparently be a smaller, 18mm option as well. The watch itself remains as big as ever, so this might not be the answer some were looking for to make the hulking 360 more manageable.

There's also another leather strap color...

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Grocery chain Meijer breaks with other CurrentC retailers to accept Apple Pay [The Verge - All Posts]

At least one member of the Merchant Customer Exchange — a coalition of retailers that are blocking Apple Pay and other mobile payment systems in order to promote their own option — seems to have broken from the group. Michigan Live reports that regional grocery chain Meijer has decided to keep accepting mobile payments besides MCX's app "CurrentC," letting customers tap their NFC-enabled phones to pay for things like groceries and gas. "We don't plan to remove or disable these systems," said spokesperson Frank Guglielmi.

That decision separates it from companies like Walmart, Rite Aid, and Best Buy, all of which disabled their mobile payment systems over the weekend. That meant shutting out not just Apple Pay, but older and more...

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Gamergate is dead [The Verge - All Posts]

As an activist movement with the ability to inspire positive change, Gamergate is dead. Its constituents and its hashtag will remain — and I suspect will be, for sometime, as fierce, aggressive, and vocal — but these remainders represent a hate group and its banner, associated with bigotry and cruelty.

Gamergate died ironically from what it most wanted: mainstream exposure.

The threats aimed at women made by many of its most radical members received attention through mainstream online news outlets, the front page of The New York Times, and yesterday evening, the satirical television program, The Colbert Report. Interviewing Anita Sarkeesian, who has received numerous death threats for her feminist critique of video games, the...

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The company that designs Ferraris just built an $11,000 bicycle [The Verge - All Posts]

Pininfarina is best known as Ferrari's frequent collaborator, but the Italian design firm sketches a lot of other things, too — take the Pininfarina Fuoriserie, for instance, a bicycle that's just a little fancier than your average fixie. Much of the steel frame is concealed with a walnut wood coating, for instance; the handlebars and seat are covered with a woven leather pattern. It's beautiful, particularly with the combination of wood and bare metal on the frame that gives the Fuoriserie a...

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More Antares Coverage [Transterrestrial Musings]

Michael Belfiore has a piece at Popular Mechanics, quoting me, and over at The Atlantic is one by Michael Lemonick (I haven’t read the latter yet).

The Latest Attempt To Shame Men [Transterrestrial Musings]

I’ve never catcalled a woman, and I agree with Jon Gabriel; I refuse to be ashamed because some men are boors: All gentlemen agree that catcalling is a bad thing. In fact patriarchal Victorians were so disgusted by such rudeness, they enforced an elaborate public morality that elevated women with a higher level of respect. […]

Krill Oil [Transterrestrial Musings]

Why you should be taking it.

What I Want from Ebooks in P2P Review [Academic Librarian]

My latest column in LJ’s Peer to Peer Review column is here. Since I spent the last column complaining about the mess of ebooks, I wanted to write something more positive. After complaining about what I don’t like, I made a list of what I’d like to see in library ebooks.

Accepted dianara 1.2.4-1 (source i386) into unstable [Debian package news for dianara]