2015-08-04

18:07

Trekking With the Green-Eyed Monster – David Pascoe [According To Hoyt]

Trekking With the Green-Eyed Monster – David Pascoe

This weekend was a busy one at Caer Dave. Mrs. Dave had a thing Saturday morning on base through our gym. Lots of lifting things, and some paddling thing, and then a run thing. Also, fun being had. Wee Dave enjoyed it, too. There were puppies, and other small creatures. After a brief (well, for one of us) round of naps, yours truly got to cooking in preparation for a dinner at a friend’s. With that endeavor accomplished, the adults mounted a trusty steed, and headed north, skirting the Wretched Hive (seriously, the place is a moral singularity) until we landed at the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts.

Wolf Trap is a part of the national park system, and home to several (like the name says) performing arts venues. We were at what I think is the main stage: an enormous wood-and-steel open air concert/opera hall. We went to the movies. Star Trek (’09, not the Motion Picture) was showing, and the National Symphony Orchestra played the score. Immediately prior, there was a brief discussion/Q&A session with the composer (incidentally, same guy that did the score for Jurassic World, as well as *many* other recent films. Guy’s kind of a machine).

Brief aside: should you have the opportunity to attend such an event, I highly recommend it. Even if you’re only meh about the film or the score themselves, it’s worth it for the appreciation of the players’ skills. I particularly liked watching the string players’ arms moving in unison through the dramatic points.

But one thing the composer said during the discussion period struck me. When he and the director were working up the primary theme for the score, he was having trouble nailing it down. Until the director told him that at base, Star Trek ’09 is a buddy film, albeit one where the buddies don’t start off that way. At that point, everything started falling together.

But something else start working in my back brain as I watched the film, and it wasn’t until I read Sarah Clithero’s  [Pat Richardson forgot to byline it.  Bad Pat. – SAH]post at <a href=http://otherwheregazette.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/envy/>Otherwhere Gazette</a> yesterday that it started to crystallize. For those unfamiliar (SPOILERS! Well, vague ones, at least), the villain of the film works to destroy a planet so that one man will feel the same pain he does.

The Green-Eyed Monster sure is an ugly one. It’s a classic motivation in plots throughout literature, film, and the high school experience. So and so has a thing, and this other person wants it. It doesn’t much matter what “it” is, but as long as the first person has it (confidence, the captaincy of the football team, a crown, a shiny and truly un-weather-worthy hat), the person of the second part yearns for it. Or, at the least in the case mentioned above, desperately wants for the first person to NOT have it.

It’s universal in humanity (What’s that? Humans and Vulcans are cross-fertile? I guess that makes Vulcans just pointy-eared humans, then, doesn’t it? Of course that just demonstrates my humanocentric bias. Speciesissss!). It’s a prime driver of, well, lots of things. Before anybody goes there, seeing the fortunes of another and using that as a motivation to achieve is zeal, per <a href=http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3036.htm>Thomas Aquinas</a> (See Article II), and isn’t necessarily problematic.

It occurs, what with the Hugo voting just finished, and the results to be announced in a couple of week, that most of the Puppy Kickers are suffering from an excess of envy. I mean, think about it: the prospect of Jim Butcher (or Kevin Anderson, etc.) receiving a shiny, rocket-shaped object is so painful to them that they’re willing to ruin the award’s (remaining shreds of) credibility to prevent it. It’s accepted wisdom at this point that a move to limit voting to attending memberships will be advanced at the WSFS business meeting at Sasquan. While there’s a good deal of speculation over whether such a motion will even get approved (what then, would supporting members get for their hard earned filthy lucre? How could WorldCon possibly garner any kind of diverse, international support by shutting out anybody who can’t afford to fly across an ocean to come to the majority of conventions?), that it’s not reduced to backroom rumor mills is a sign of how strong the desire is to keep out the undesirable types.

And why? So “those kind of people” can’t get awards that are meant for our kind of people. Dress it up how you will, the Puppy Kickers so strongly identify with owning the rocket award that they’re willing to see it sink into the realm of ridicule – and ultimately complete obscurity – in order to prevent the wrong sort from even being involved in the process. And that will somehow increase diversity in scifi.

I don’t blame them (well, actually, I do. They’re the ones feeding the outrage machine and spreading lies about my friends) as this is just what they’ve been taught. The rise of Marxism as the du jour guiding philosophy of the intelligentsia coincided with the rise of postmodernism. The Modern Project failed (for reasons better kept to the comments) and instead of looking objectively at why, humanity tossed out the notion of objective truth. If there isn’t a Standard to which people should be held (I’m cutting so many corners, here, but it’s Monday morning, I haven’t talked to herself, and I’m completely uncaffeinated. That last is the important part, really. I think.), then nothing is truly opprobrious, and so any behavior at all becomes justifiable.

I’d love to say this is a new thing, but the Puppy Kickers (also the race baiters, the SJWs, the left in general, and the greater world of progressiveness) are simply humans being the way humans be when nothing restrains them. An even cursory read of history suggests that human critters want what they ain’t got, and what someone else does, and that without something to inhibit, they’ll do what it takes to get it. Or see that that other poor bastard doesn’t have it long.

I don’t really have a hopeful ending to this. Partly that’s fighting the black dog, and partly that’s looking at the world as things grow ever darker. As those with eyes to see, it’s up to us to be a light shining in the gloom. That’s why we write, and why we fight. Keep your powder dry, friends.


Fox News Announces Debate Line-UP [Ace of Spades HQ]

Perry out, Kasich in. Fox News has announced the line-up for the prime-time Republican presidential debate this Thursday, and here's who qualified: Real estate magnate Donald Trump; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; former Arkansas Gov. Mike...

Feminist Bitchings of the Day [Ace of Spades HQ]

1. There's Too Much Air Conditioning In Offices Because of Men. At the office, she bundles up in cardigans or an oversized sweatshirt from her file drawer. Then, she says, "I have a huge blanket at my desk that I've...

So Sometimes You Want to do Some Low-Risk Progressive Moral Preening and Collect Your Knee-Jerk Seal-Claps for Your Thick-Headed-but-Politically-Correct Statement, But Then You Accidentally Veer Off Into a Ditch and Say Something Condescendingly Racist [Ace of Spades HQ]

I think it's fair to play the Outrage Game here with Kelly Osborne because she was trying to play it, in her own stupid way, against Donald Trump. So, if she screwed up what should have been the easiest tap-in...

Chris Christie: I Would Not Permit Businesses to "Discriminate" Against Gay People, But Would Make Exemptions for Religious Organizations Only [Ace of Spades HQ]

If Politco's reporting is to be believed as accurate -- a dubious proposition -- that is what Christie supposedly said today. Commenter tommylotto points out that I am trusting Politico's paraphrase of Christie's remarks for this post, which he claims...

The Haggard Queen Loses Support Among White Women [Ace of Spades HQ]

Who, for some reason, find her untrustworthy. Mrs. Clinton is losing ground with white women and many other important slices of the electorate, the poll shows, amid a spate of reports about her email practices, speaking fees and foreign donations...

Huh: Dutch King Declares End to the Welfare State [Ace of Spades HQ]

Misfire! Readers, who actually read the post and the article, point out that this story dates from 2013. I completely missed that. Apologies. I'll throw up a fresh post. Original post follows: Via Instapundit, as America abandons the American Dream,...

5th Planned Parenthood Video Drops: "We Can Get Creative" About What Procedures We Employ When We're Hunting Human Tissue [Ace of Spades HQ]

Gee, this sure sounds like a violation of federal law, which states that abortionists can never alter abortion procedures for tissue-hunting purposes. But this fine citizen says they can get "creative" with that stricture. Farrell also allegedly tells two actors...

Open Thread [Ace of Spades HQ]

Robert Julian Onderdonk, "Cactus in Bloom" (1915)...

Impressions From Last Night's GOP Speed Dating Event [Ace of Spades HQ]

Last night almost all of the major candidates were in NH for a really weird "candidate forum." The format involved a local moderator who asked some strange questions to each candidate in blocks of about 3-5 minutes before the candidate...

Tuesday Morning News Dump [Ace of Spades HQ]

Dutch King Declares The End Of The Welfare State(From 2013) 'The Miracle Of The 1940s' Guess How Many Licensed Mammogram Facilities Planned Parenthood Runs The Frontrunner Hillary Clinton Loses Ground With White Women Huntington Park To Appoint Two Illegals...

Morning Thread (8-4-2015) [Ace of Spades HQ]

So you're all solidly on Team ¡Jeb! now, right?...

Overnight Open Thread (8-3-2015) [Ace of Spades HQ]

On L'Affaire Cecil and Why Internet Outrage May Doom the Lions of Zimbabwe I've been trying to avoid getting sucked into this topic but there's been so much insanity on the subject and even otherwise reasonable people have spouted such...

AS DOG IS MY WITNESS [Tim Blair]

The dog in the lower left corner enjoys the show, as you would if you’re a dog. Then, when all hell breaks loose, there…

NATION HORRIFIED BY EVERYTHING [Tim Blair]

An actual story in today’s Australian:

FOREVER IN THE PAST [Tim Blair]

On ABC News Breakfast, leftist academic Scott Burchill offers a surprise nomination for Bronwyn Bishop’s replacement: As hosts Michael Rowland and Virginia…

A MINNESOTA DENTIST DID IT [Tim Blair]

Embraced elsewhere, hitchBOT meets its doom in the US: A hitchhiking robot that relied on the kindness of strangers to travel the…

Apple Denies It Plans to Launch MVNO [Daring Fireball]

Reuters:

“We have not discussed nor do we have any plans to launch an MVNO,” said an Apple spokeswoman in a statement on Tuesday.

So much for that.

Why get out in front of this with a flat-out denial, instead of their usual policy of ignoring rumors? My guess is to keep things amicable with the various carriers around the world. That’s always been the problem with this “Apple running its own phone service”. Ostensibly, as a handset maker, Apple is a partner with all the carriers around the world that support iPhone. They can’t compete against them while partnering with them. So I’m guessing Apple wants to signal, clearly, that they aren’t conspiring against their carrier partners.

Inside the Sad, Expensive Failure of Google Plus [Daring Fireball]

Remember Google Plus? Seth Fiegerman goes behind the scenes on its creation for Mashable:

For those elsewhere in the company, Google’s approach to Plus represented a radical departure. Most Google projects started small and grew organically in scale and importance. Buzz, the immediate predecessor to Plus, had barely a dozen people on staff. Plus, by comparison, had upwards of 1,000, sucked up from divisions across the company. One employee on a different team recalled thinking at this time, “Where have our engineers gone?”

That’s no way to make a successful product. Google Plus was never anything more than chasing Facebook.

Update: Tony Fadell on Apple Watch [Daring Fireball]

A few weeks ago I linked to a BBC interview with Tony Fadell, in which I thought Fadell took a backhanded shot at the software design of Apple Watch. The BBC’s Leo Kelion kindly emailed me with a full transcript of Fadell’s remarks, which makes clear that my original interpretation was flat-out wrong. I’ve updated the post accordingly.

The Declining Marginal Value of Crazy [Daring Fireball]

Josh Marshall:

In a crowded field, for almost everyone but Bush, it’s critical to grab hold of the mantle of anger and grievance. But the Huckabees and Cruzes simply cannot compete with Trump, who is not only willing to say truly anything but also has — whatever else you can say about his nonsense — a talent for drama and garnering press attention honed over decades. With a mix of aggression, boffo self-assertion and nonsense, Trump has managed to boil modern Republicanism down to a hard precipitate form, shorn of the final vestiges of interest in actual governing.

Rob Rhinehart: ‘How I Gave Up Alternating Current’ [Daring Fireball]

I read this like eight or nine hours ago, and I still don’t know what to think of it. It’s worth knowing going in that Rhinehart is the creator of Soylent, and Soylent 2.0 launched today. So I think Andy Baio is right that this post was purposefully written to go viral.

The thing is, I can’t tell whether this is parody or not. Seems like certain aspects have to be a joke (e.g., his wardrobe: once-worn clothing custom-made in China), but I thought Soylent was a joke when I first heard about it. Even if it is a PR ploy, it’s a damn clever one — at once both deeply thought-provoking and enragingly obnoxious.

Samsung Computer Display With Built-In Wireless Phone Charger [Daring Fireball]

Clever new product from Samsung. Filed under “Words I didn’t expect to write today”. (Via Chandana Kulatunga.)

Update: Of course, since it’s Samsung, they ripped off the old iOS 6 battery image.

Tweet of the day [Don Surber]


Today in stupid, Salon shows it knows nothing about car safety [Don Surber]





Salon writes: "The only way to reduce the crazy number of car-crash deaths is to reduce the number of cars."

That is totally wrong. Completely. So wrong it should be an Obama policy. There are plenty of ways to reduce car deaths and we are using them all. The number of cars on the highways are at an all-time high while the traffic deaths per miles driven are at an all-time low.

Let's go to the numbers shall we?

Vehicle deaths per 100,000 population fell to 10.345 from a high 45 years ago of 26.418 in 1969. Back in 1920 (when cars per population were fewer) the rate was 11.417, a number we did not best until 2009.

When we go by deaths per 100 million miles driven, we get the big picture.

The all-time high was 24.09 set in 1921, the first year we calculated it. The number has steadily fallen to 1.11 last year.

This happened with an astounding leap in the number of cars (as well as trucks, motorcycles, buses and every other type of vehicle) which proves the fallacy of the Phil Kabler-Salon Conjecture -- designed to promote government-run transportation.

1. Traffic signs. Sounds simple but those stop signs and traffic lights work. They are universal and well-designed. A hexagonal sign on your left is a stop sign. Everyone knows that. If the light on the top of the traffic light tree is on, you stop. Everyone knows that too. You can be illiterate, deaf or color-blind and still know when to stop on a road. Other signs also are international in shape and unworded message.

2. Driver's education. I cannot think of another course in high school that saves more lives. CPR is overrated. Few people every use this knowledge, but just about everyone drives every day.

3. Better cars. Growing up, cars survived traffic collision, people don't. Now people total cars without a scratch.

4. Better highways. America has designed roads that sweep across the nation. We call them interstates. Technically, it is possible to travel from New York City to Los Angeles without stopping for a traffic light or stop sign. Interstates are safer than any other road, and by taking traffic off the backroads, we have made them safer as well.

5. Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Fred Astaire introduced "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" in the 1943 musical, "The Sky's the Limit," and Frank Sinatra recorded it six times beginning in 1947. Thankfully, oe for the road is now history.

There is no polite way of saying this: Salon is lying when it says the only way to reduce car deaths is by reducing cars.

People now cannot eat cheese without government assistance [Don Surber]


Graphic shamelessly stolen from Ray Felitto III on Facebook.

On Monday, the government forced yhe Kraft Heinz Company to recall 36,000 cases of Kraft Singles individually wrapped slices because three customers were too stupid to peel off the plastic, and choked. Ten other morons couldn't figure out how to get all the plastic off and complained.

From Fox Business News:
The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC) is voluntarily recalling 36,000 cases of select code dates of Kraft Singles individually-wrapped slices after customers reported choking on the plastic wrapping.
Three consumers choked and ten complaints were filed after some sections of the plastic remained connected to the cheese after it was unwrapped.
“If the film sticks to the slice and is not removed, it could potentially cause a choking hazard,” according the company’s statement.
The recall applies to 3-and 4-pound sizes of Kraft Singles American and White American pasteurized prepared cheese with a use-by-date of December 29, 2015 to January 4, 2016. The products were distributed throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Grand Cayman.
“We deeply regret this situation and apologize to any consumers we have disappointed,” Kraft said.
This is the company’s second recall this year. Back in March, the company recalled 242,000 cases of its trademark original flavor Macaroni and Cheese dinners over concerns boxes may contain small metal pieces.
Though no injuries were reported, the company said eight consumers did contact the company regarding the recall.
Meanwhile, McDonald's continues to have to warn customers that hot coffee is hot.

Eventually the government will feed people with eyedroppers, like baby birds.

Drama Queen Joe Manchin fakes pro-life [Don Surber]



Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is one of the most entertaining and least sincere politicians in Washington. He loves to pose as this Hamletian compromiser torn between two sides always seeking compromise -- on issues conservatives can never compromise without being a little bit pregnant. He is a liberal in West Virginia clothing. On abortion, free speech, religious freedom and gun ownership, there is no middle ground.

He is a poseur and his latest pose is as a de-funder of Planned Parenthood.

Drama Queen Joe said he will vote to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

So what?

The vote was meaningless, blocked by Senate leadership. And even if the Senate passed the measure President Obama would veto the bill.

The Democratic Party gave him a pass on this one. He can appear to be pro-life but deep inside he is as pro-choice as Nancy Pelosi and every other Catholic in the Democratic Party caucus on The Hill.

His statement: “Like many West Virginians, I am very troubled by the callous behavior of Planned Parenthood staff in recently released videos, which casually discuss the sale, possibly for profit, of fetal tissue after an abortion. Until these allegations have been answered and resolved, I do not believe that taxpayer money should be used to fund this organization; instead those funds should be sent to other health care providers, including community health centers, which provide important women’s healthcare services. While my vote is one that will prevent taxpayers dollars from going to Planned Parenthood, I will remain committed to ensuring that all women in West Virginia and America receive the health care services they need.”

Deeply troubled by the behavior on the video.

But not disturbed by abortion or the sale of baby body parts.

The man who made Pepsi "Pepsi-Cola" [Don Surber]



Walter S. Mack Jr. turned around struggling corporations that had suffered in the Great Depression. He cut costs and retrofitted marketing plans. Toward the end of the 1930s, he took on Loft Inc., which had been the nation's largest candy maker in the 1910s.

The candy did not interest him as much as the soda drink company the company owned, an off-brand called Pepsi. He would re-brand it as Pepsi-Cola and begin a rivalry that continues 75 years later -- a competition that serves both well as it pushes all the other competitors off the shelves, a lesson Mack would discover when he was in his 80s.

Born on October 19, 1895, in New York City, Mack graduated from Harvard in 1917 and served in the Navy during World War I. He returned home and emerged in Republican politics and Wall Street finances, foolishly seeking a state Senate seat. Pepsi was the reason he acquired Loft in 1938, selling off the candy company in 1941.

Pepsi had gone bankrupt twice before and in 1933 introduced a 12-ounce bottle selling it for a nickel, the same price as a 6 1/2-ounce Coke. One of Mack's first moves was to brand Pepsi as Pepsi-Cola, its original name. Coke sued claiming trademark on thee name "cola." Pepsi won.

Mack's second bold move was reducing its 60-second radio commercial to the 15-second jingle inside: ''Pepsi-Cola hits the spot/ Twelve full ounces, that's a lot/ Twice as much for a nickel, too/ Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you.''

Upon hearing the jingle in the commercial, he ordered the talking part removed, saying, "Cut the spinach."

His next innovation was marketing to black people. Pepsi was headquartered in Queens, Coke in Atlanta in the Jim Crow South. He hired black salesmen and women at a time when black college graduates could expect manual labor. He paid his black sales staff less than his white sales staff, but he got more out of his black crew. For example, after working black neighborhoods in Louisville, sales rose 13 percent. They hit the South hard, enduring racial discrimination laws. Grace Elizabeth Hale later wrote in the New York Times "Coke studiously ignored the African-American market. Promotional material appeared in segregated locations that served both races, but rarely in those that catered to African-Americans alone."

Allen McKellar recalled being hired by Pepsi right out of college in the 1940s: "I didn't know at the time that we were the first blacks to enter the corporate world. We learned that when we got out into the marketplace."

Mack hired Duke Ellington as a spokesman, which gave him a rare commercial endorsement. Mack also took out ads in black publication, which helped finance them. His ads showed middle-class black people, a sign of respect. The black salesmen he hired got an education in business and a job that did not involve a mop.

"After we were so successful, everywhere we went, we were headlined in the black newspapers and treated like celebrities, if you will," McKellar said. "Our main objective was to let the young black kids know that there appears to be a move in the right direction of opening up opportunities for blacks to come into the business world, as opposed to teaching school or those few who could become doctors."

To be sure, Mack's motives were not altruistic. He just wanted to sell soda. But his capitalism was solving a social problem that the government not only ignored but encouraged.

In 1945, Mack began selling Pepsi in cans.

Pepsi also financed 117 annual college scholarships to two students from each state plus 19 special grants to black students. He also began one-year on-the-job training for college graduates, annual national painting contests, three recreational clubs for New York City teen-agers and centers for military personnel in New York, Washington and San Francisco.

But after 13 years as president, the board axed Mack in 1951, hiring Alfred N. Steele, who had headed Coke's marketing division. Steele later married actress Joan Crawford, who succeeded him on the company's board of directors when he died on April 19, 1959.

Mack's association with Republican politics paid off when Vice President Nixon confronted Nikita Khrushchev in the Kitchen Debate at the opening of the American National Exhibition at Sokolniki Park in Moscow on July 24, 1959. Nixon showed the Pepsi bottle in the photos.

Just as there was life before Pepsi for Mack there was life afterward. Besides Pepsi, over the years, he was president of Bedford Mills, Phoenix Securities and Great American Minerals and a board chairman of United Cigar-Whelan Stores, Aminex Resources, and Aminex Petroleum.

He tried to re-enter the cola wars in 1978 at age 82 by founding King Cola. But problems getting shelf space in stores and distributors led to its failure. It was either Pepsi or Coke, or go home.

John W. Donlevy, who was president of the ill-fated King Cola, later said, ''When I joined Walter, I figured that at 60 I'd hang it up. He changed me completely. He's so alert and has so much fun, you forget his age. Now I can't imagine not being involved with some business as long as I'm healthy.''

Ditto his mentor. Mack, continued to work after King Cola's demise. He died on March 18, 1990, at 94. America got its nickel's worth out of him.

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

British DX Club’s Broadcasts in English [DX International radio]



All of the summer shortwave schedules appear in the British DX Club’s Broadcasts in English publication and I keep a copy by my radio to remind me of when to tune to some of my favourite regular broadcasters, such as the Voice of Turkey and Voice Vietnam by following the schedules. 

For those who are more adventurous it offers tantalising glimpses of ever more exotic sounding stations. Just taking some of the 35 options that are in the English during the 1300 to 1400 late lunchtime slot, you may be tempted to seek out signals from Ovozi Tojik, the Voice of Tajik in Dushanbe who target the Middle East on 7245kHz. 

Or maybe Pyongyang’s latest proclamations will liven up your lunch on 9435, 11710, 13760 and 15245kHz. Radio Tunis Chaine International’s domestic service is on 963kHz medium wave in English for an hour while, on Tuesdays, domestic station Radio Nikkei 1 from Tokyo offers the intriguing prospect on 3935, 6055 and 9595kHz of “Let’s Read the Nikkei” (Japan’s stock market) in English and Japanese. 

If you want to order a copy of Broadcasts in English then send a cheque for £3 made payable to British DX Club to  British DX Club, 10 Hemdean Hill, Caversham, Reading, RG4 7SB. A pdf version is also available as well as the paper one for the same price (email bdxc@bdxc.org.uk ). More details including overseas rates are at http://bdxc.org.uk/bie.html


India nixes online porn ban following intense public outrage on social media [Ars Technica]

That didn't take long. The world's oldest Internet hobby is resuming in India, days after the country virtually banned Internet porn. Indians took to Twitter and other social-media sites blasting this weekend's anti-porn move, and the government has listened.

IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Tuesday that websites that don't display child pornography may resume streaming, according to local media reports. On Saturday, the Indian government initially ordered Internet providers to filter about 857 websites said to render pornographic material in a bid to protect morality. The government said the sites' content was "immoral and indecent," sites including things like Pornhub and Playboy.

"A new notification will be issued shortly. The ban will be partially withdrawn. Sites that do not promote child porn will be unbanned," Prasad told India Today TV.

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Galaxy Note 5 leak shows glass back, fixed battery, and no microSD slot [Ars Technica]

After Samsung axed the removable battery and microSD slot from the Galaxy S6, all eyes were on the Note 5 to see if Samsung would carry the move to its other big flagship. If a leak from Droid Life is to be believed, though, the Galaxy Note 5 will have a non-removable back, fixed battery, and no expandable storage.

Samsung has traditionally been a supporter of letting users take stuff out of their phone. From the Galaxy S5 and Note 4 on back, you've been able to pop off the back and swap out the battery and microSD card. With the Galaxy S6 though, Samsung switched from a removable, plastic back to a fixed glass back, and all of the removable components went with it. The result was a more premium-feeling device that seemed like it could compete with the iPhone, but many Samsung users were buying Samsung products specifically because of how it was different than the iPhone.

The Galaxy Note series is all about extras, with its huge screen and S-Pen stylus, so many Samsung fans were hoping that the Note 5 would keep the removable items. Droid Life claims to have the device in hand though, and it says nothing is removable. Like the S6, the report says base storage is now 32GB with 64GB and 128GB options available.

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DDoS attack temporarily takes down $18M Dota 2 e-sports tourney [Ars Technica]

SEATTLE—The online components of The International, the largest annual e-sports tournament for video game Dota 2 with a prize pool of more than $18 million, have been creaking and suffering a bit since the event's finals began on Monday. On the first day, the major issue was interruption of the video streams from the event, with the game itself appearing to avoid trouble.

But on Tuesday, those issues were kicked up a notch by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack aimed directly at the finals' gameplay servers as opposed to any tertiary systems. Presenter Paul "ReDeYe" Chaloner, speaking at The International's English-speaking broadcast booth, confirmed to a thousands-strong Key Arena crowd that gameplay in Tuesday's first match, between the teams Evil Geniuses and Complexity Gaming, had been disrupted by a DDoS attack. The outage lasted for nearly two hours.

This vulnerability stands out in particular because the gameplay itself, as opposed to any supporting systems, was targeted and taken down, implying that the game was not running in local or LAN mode. We cannot find official word as to why the game's core content isn't run in a wholly offline or LAN mode or whether the DDoS attack somehow targeted a crucial, non-gameplay portion of The International.

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Appeals court cuts university’s massive patent win against Marvell [Ars Technica]

In 2012, a Pittsburg jury ordered Marvell Semiconductor to pay Carnegie Mellon University $1.17 billion for infringing two patents related to reducing hard drive "noise." It was the largest patent verdict of all time, and it got bigger when the federal judge overseeing the case knocked the damages up to $1.54 billion and added an ongoing royalty.

A ruling (PDF) today from the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has cut Marvell's award significantly, affirming only $278 million in damages and ordering a re-trial over other damages issues. The three-judge panel struck all enhanced damages, saying that the additional penalty wasn't warranted. Even though Marvell lost at trial, its patent invalidity defense was "objectively reasonable," and therefore its infringement was not willful.

The parts of the case that need re-trial involve the location of sale of many of Marvell's infringing chips; the judge must re-consider the issue of whether some chips were sold in the United States or not. Chips that were produced abroad, sold abroad, and not imported into the US can't be slapped with a royalty payment based on Carnegie Mellon's US patents.

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Surfing the Internet… from my TRS-80 Model 100 [Ars Technica]

The true test of a man's patience is crimping pins onto the end of a cable that leads to building a custom serial cable—especially if it's the first time you've even handled a serial cable in a decade. So as I searched under my desk, using my phone for a flashlight, I wondered whether I had finally found the IT project that would send me over the edge. On a recent day, I set out to turn my recently acquired vintage Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 computer into a working Internet terminal. And at this moment, I crawled on the floor looking for a DB-25 connector's little gold pin that I had dropped for the sixth—or maybe sixteenth—time.

Thankfully, I underestimated my patience/techno-masochism/insanity. Only a week later, I successfully logged in to Ars' editorial IRC channel from the Model 100. And seeing as this machine first saw the market in 1983, it took a substantial amount of help: a Raspberry Pi, a little bit of BASIC code, and a hidden file from the website of a certain Eric S. Raymond.

Meet the machine

In case you're not familiar with it or perhaps have confused it in some way with the slightly more famous TRS-80 desktop, the TRS-80 Model 100 (affectionately known among retro-computing buffs as the "T100") is the Radio Shack-branded version of an early "laptop" computer developed by Kyocera and Microsoft. It was the last system for which Bill Gates wrote a significant amount of code. As we reported in our initial hands-on tour of the Model 100, he considered it his favorite machine ever. (Sadly, Gates was unavailable to take this trip with us down memory lane.)

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Memo to MPAA: Congress didn’t pass SOPA [Ars Technica]

Remember 2012, when there was that giant Internet backlash against the Stop Online Piracy Act that, amazingly, Congress listened to and hence the content-industry-backed legislation died a loud death?

Well apparently the Motion Picture Association of America didn't get the memo that SOPA failed. SOPA provided for DNS-redirecting of blacklisted sites. It gave the Justice Department the power to seek court orders from search engines like Google not to render search results of infringing websites.

What's more, the failed proposal also would have codified that content owners like the MPAA and Recording Industry Association of America have the legal backing to seek court orders demanding that judges require financial institutions and ad networks to stop doing business with sites that content owners prove are dedicated to infringing activity.

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The Martian author says Comcast let hacker take over his e-mail [Ars Technica]

Andy Weir is the creator of Mark Watney, a fictional astronaut who can solve any problem the harsh environment of Mars throws his way.

But Weir, author of The Martian, ran into a tricky problem on Earth this week when his e-mail and Twitter accounts were hacked. The culprit, he says, was a hacker who reset the password for his Comcast.net e-mail account by calling Comcast and pretending to be him. Comcast let the hacker take control of his e-mail account after asking "security questions" for which the answers were easy to find, according to Weir.

"Well I got hacked," Weir wrote on Facebook last night. "Someone compromised my e-mail account and twitter account. I don't know how they got the password. My guess is they socially engineered a password reset on my e-mail account, and they used that to do a password reset on Twitter. They also set up an e-mail forward to an account they control, so even after I changed my e-mail password they were still getting my e-mails until I found that. Whee."

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Epson wants us to abandon those pesky inkjet cartridges forever [Ars Technica]

On Tuesday, printer giant Epson announced its new “EcoTank” models, starting at $400. Rather than forcing customers to buy highly profitable ink cartridges over and over again, this new offering comes with an ink reserve tank.

The new business model is to simply charge more for the printer up front, which comes with two years worth of ink. If you run out, Epson offers a set of replacements for $52.

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Windows 10, Xbox 360 compatibility, and a chatpad coming to Xbox One in November [Ars Technica]

At Gamescom in Cologne today, Microsoft announced that the new Windows 10-based Xbox One user interface first shown at E3 in June will be rolled out Xbox One systems in November.

The new interface is designed to make it quicker to get into games and easier to socialize with your friends. The update will also include Cortana support. With this, players will be able to do things like ask if particular friends are online, invite them to games, and send them messages, all without interrupting their game.

This update will also include Xbox 360 backward compatibility. Currently available in preview, the November release will open up support for playing a limited (but sure to grow) selection of Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One console to everyone.

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Xbox unveils major 2016 games: Quantum Break, Halo Wars 2, Scalebound, more [Ars Technica]

COLOGNE, Germany—Microsoft's Tuesday keynote presentation at the Gamescom video game conference was all about its Xbox brand, and unlike the company's E3 presence earlier this summer, this event saw the company focusing on games coming in 2016.

The biggest reveal was Quantum Break, the Remedy-produced game that has been teased for over two years. The new full-gameplay footage, however brief, included the signature bullet-time action that Remedy made famous with its Max Payne games, only this time with a serious infusion of future-science weaponry and zoomed-in, detailed faces during dialogue. Best of all, Microsoft attached a release date to this long-awaited title: April 5, 2016, across the world on Xbox One. As a bonus on that date, a live-action TV series will launch alongside the game to air exclusively on Xbox consoles.

Platinum Games was on hand to introduce gameplay for Scalebound, a third-person slasher that sees Bayonetta-style, higher-speed combat enter a more Monster Hunter-like fantasy landscape. Ever wanted to don super-hip headphones and tear dragons apart with bows, arrows, swords, and magic? Platinum will make that happen for gamers worldwide exclusively on Xbox One by "fall 2016."

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Windows 10 doesn’t offer much privacy by default: Here’s how to fix it [Ars Technica]

Windows 10, by default, has permission to report a huge amount of data back to Microsoft. By clicking through "Express Settings" during installation, you allow Windows 10 to gather up your contacts, calendar details, text and touch input, location data, and a whole lot more, and then send it all back to Microsoft so that it can be used for personalisation and targeted ads.

This isn't entirely unusual: recent versions of Windows, unless you explicitly say otherwise, have reported some kind of data back to Microsoft. Windows 10 definitely goes one step (well, a few steps) further though, primarily thanks to Cortana (which ideally needs to be personalised/optimised based on your voice inputs, calendar, contacts, etc.), and other "cloudy" features that somewhat necessitate the collection and squirting of personal data back to Microsoft.

That isn't to say you should be happy about this state of affairs, however. If you'd like to retain most of your privacy and keep your personal data on your PC, Windows 10 can be configured in that way. Just be warned that there are quite a few toggles that need to be turned off, and you'll lose some functionality as well (Cortana won't work, for example).

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Where broadband is a utility, 100Mbps costs just $40 a month [Ars Technica]

There’s been a lot of debate over whether the United States should treat Internet service as a utility. But there’s no question that Internet service is already a utility in Sandy, Oregon, a city of about 10,000 residents, where the government has been offering broadband for more than a decade.

SandyNet” launched nearly 15 years ago with DSL and wireless service, and this summer it's putting the final touches on a citywide upgrade to fiber. The upgrade was paid for with a $7.5 million revenue bond, which will be repaid by system revenues. Despite not being subsidized by taxpayer dollars, prices are still low: $40 a month for symmetrical 100Mbps service or $60 a month for 1Gbps. There are no contracts or data caps.

“Part of the culture of SandyNet is we view our citizens as owners of the utility,” City IT Director and SandyNet GM Joe Knapp told Ars in a phone interview. “We've always run the utility on a break-even basis. Any profits we do have go back into capital improvements and equipment upgrades and things like that.”

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How The Witcher 3’s economy was saved by polynomial least squares [Ars Technica]

For a game as complex and as huge as The Witcher 3, it's hard to imagine that one of its core gameplay elements—one that ties the entire game together—didn't actually exist until just months before its release. And yet, according to senior gameplay designer Matthew Steinke, speaking at GDC Europe, that's exactly what happened with The Witcher 3's economy, crafting, and inventory systems. These three core elements of the game were "fragmented and incomplete" to the point that "there was no time left in the project to accomplish everything by the deadline."

But as is so often the case, a complex task and a rapidly looming deadline can often lead to some great innovations. For Steinke and The Witcher 3, that meant coming up with a entirely new way to create and maintain an in-game economy; one that was reactive to the player and the world around it. Steinke started with the basics, noting that The Witcher 3's economy is based around money, or rather the concept that money is simply anything in the game that can be traded for something else.

"I had specific goals for the economy," said Steinke. "I wanted players to need money for purchasing food, ingredients, and upgrades, to explore the world around them for new items, earning money from combat, and collecting loot along the way. I wanted them to buy better items to improve their stats. Additionally, I wanted these items to cost more, so that players felt like they were earning lots of money by the end of the game. To visualise these goals, I sketched out a higher-level state diagram to illustrate the system interactions. Defining system interactions in this way, it's easy to see what kind of relationships created between the player and the economy."

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DRAM “Bitflipping” exploit for attacking PCs: Just add JavaScript [Ars Technica]

In March, researchers revealed one of the more impressive if slightly esoteric hacks in recent memory—an attack that exploited physical weaknesses in computer memory chips to hijack the operating system running on them. Now a separate research team has unveiled techniques that make the attack more practical by allowing hacked or malicious websites to carry it out against unsuspecting visitors.

The "bitflipping" attack exploits physical flaws in certain DDR3 chip modules. By repeatedly accessing specific memory locations millions of times per second, attackers can cause zeroes to change to ones and vice versa in nearby memory locations. These bitflips can make it possible for an untrusted application to gain nearly unfettered system privileges or to bypass security sandboxes designed to keep malicious code from accessing sensitive operating system resources. Early versions of the attack worked only by running special code that wasn't practical in website environments, making the weakness hard to exploit in large, drive-by-style campaigns.

Last week, researchers published a bitflipping method that relies on JavaScript code used by standard browsers. Rowhammer.js, as the new proof-of-concept attack has been dubbed, is slow, and so far it only works on a Lenovo x230 Ivy Bridge Laptop running default settings and on a Haswell CPU if its refresh interval is increased as gamers sometimes do to increase system performance. And even then, the researchers were unable to use the attack to gain root access. Despite the limitations, however, the modified attack does what has never been done before—achieving a bitflipping attack using nothing more than the JavaScript allowed by every modern browser.

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Acer’s “Cloudbooks” are Windows 10 laptops starting at $170 [Ars Technica]

If you don't demand too much from your computer, these days you don't need to spend much to get one that can do everything you want. That's the working theory behind Acer's Aspire One "Cloudbooks," which despite their name are actually just low-spec Windows 10 laptops in the vein of HP's low-cost Stream PCs.

There will eventually be four different Cloudbook configurations, two 11-inch models that will be available from Microsoft this month and two 14-inch models that will be available directly from Acer in September.

The 11-inch models are differentiated primarily by storage: the $170 model includes a paltry 16GB eMMC SSD, while the higher-end $190 model includes a somewhat-less-paltry 32GB. Both include 1366×768 displays, a 1.6GHz dual-core Celeron N3050 based on Intel's Braswell architecture, 2GB of DDR3L RAM, one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, a VGA webcam, and an SD card reader. Acer promises 7 hours of battery life, and all models have touchpads that support Windows 10's new multitouch gestures.

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CCP’s Gunjack brings space combat to Samsung Gear VR [Ars Technica]

Gunjack announcement trailer.

Eve: Valkyrie and Eve Online developer CCP Games has just taken the wraps off Gunjack, a brand new VR game being made exclusively for Samsung Gear VR in Unreal Engine 4.

Like everything CCP, Gunjack is set within the Eve universe, and while there are certainly some similarities to Eve: Valkyrie, it appears to offer a more focused VR experience, with an emphasis on shooting and combat, rather than full-on space flight. Players take on the role of a gun turret operator on a mining vessel, and as part of the ship's defence team is tasked with protecting the rig from pirates and other would-be attackers.

Naturally, Gunjack is played from first-person perspective, with the announcement trailer showcasing some of the rather splendid Unreal Engine 4 visuals. CCP describes the game as a "first-person arcade shooter," which suggests that players will largely be moving around on rails, especially when coupled with the control limitations of the Samsung Gear VR platform.

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0-day bug in fully patched OS X comes under active exploit to bypass password protection [Ars Technica]

Hackers are exploiting a serious zero-day vulnerability in the latest version of Apple's OS X so they can install adware applications without requiring victims to enter system passwords, researchers said.

As Ars reported last week, the privilege-escalation bug stems from new error-logging features that Apple added to OS X 10.10. Developers didn't use standard safeguards involving additions to the OS X dynamic linker dyld, a failure that lets attackers open or create files with root privileges that can reside anywhere in the OS X file system. It was disclosed last week by security researcher Stefan Esser.

On Monday, researchers from anti-malware firm Malwarebytes said a new malicious installer is exploiting the vulnerability to surreptitiously infect Macs with several types of adware including VSearch, a variant of the Genieo package, and the MacKeeper junkware. Malwarebytes researcher Adam Thomas stumbled on the exploit after finding the installer modified the sudoers configuration file. In a blog post, Malwarebytes researchers wrote:

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We’re hiring! Are you a grade-A gadget lover and tech reviewer in NYC? [Ars Technica]

Friends! Arsians! Lend me your ears—and your résumés, because we are a-hiring!

Ars is looking to hire a tech reviewer and gadgetologist to join our butt-kicking gadget review team. Perks of the job include being able to argue about Android in-person with Ron Amadeo, hear wisdom from Andrew Cunningham's Reviews Cat, touch Peter Bright's glorious beard, and maybe even down some Soylent shots with me in a well-ventilated location. We need someone who's sharp, tech-savvy, personable, and who doesn't mind appearing on camera, since you're going to see a lot more video on Ars in the near future.

There are two catches: first, this is not an entry-level job. We need someone who's been in the reviewing game before, at least a bit, and we need to see some writing samples. Second: you have to be in the New York City area, no exceptions.

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Countdown To Thursday's GOP Debate [JustOneMinute]

Fox is hosting the GOP debate Thursday night. Or debates, really, with the top 10 candidates in the polls getting into the prime time slot at 9 PM EST, and the rest on at the 5 PM "kiddie table" debate....

Canadian Government Amends “Caretaker Rules” To Give Itself Power to Continue Negotiating TPP [Michael Geist]

This past weekend was a busy one politically as Canada was launched into a lengthy election campaign just as countries negotiating the latest round of Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations in Hawaii failed to conclude a deal. With reports that there may be a follow-up ministerial meeting within weeks, Canadian officials have been quick to claim that the election campaign will not interfere with the TPP trade talks.

To support the claim that the government is permitted to continue negotiating even when it is a “caretaker” government, the Privy Council Office yesterday released a document titled Guidelines on the Conduct of Ministers, Ministers of State, Exempt Staff and Public Servants During an Election. In previous elections, this document was not publicly released, leading Liberal MP Ted Hsu to table a motion in 2011 calling for its availability and to recent op-eds raising the same concern.

Why the sudden change of heart? Perhaps it has something to do with the desire to release this paragraph:

For greater clarity, there may be compelling reasons for continued participation by Ministers and/or officials in specific activities such as treaty negotiations. For example, when negotiations are at a critical juncture with timelines beyond Canada’s control, the failure to participate in ongoing negotiations during the caretaker period could negatively impact Canada’s interests. Under such conditions, a compelling case may be made for ongoing efforts to protect Canada’s interests. Irreversible steps such as ratification should be avoided during this caretaker period.

That paragraph sounds suspiciously tailor-made for the government’s claim that it can continue to negotiate the TPP, reading more like an argument than a guideline. In fact, it is the only section in the document that purports to expand upon the guidelines by offering “greater clarity.” More notably, the paragraph was not included in earlier versions of the guideline.  James Bowden obtained a copy of the 2008 guidelines under the Access to Information Act. Those guidelines, which were also issued under a Conservative government, are very similar to the 2015 version with the exception of the paragraph discussing on treaty negotiations.

Despite the government’s attempt to grant itself the power to continue to negotiate the TPP during an election campaign, there are reasons to doubt that it can effectively do so. First, while there would seemingly be no problem with ensuring Canada remains at the negotiating table, committing to significant policy changes would go well beyond the description of a caretaker government that should be largely limited to “routine” activities.

The guidelines note that “where a major decision is unavoidable during a campaign (e.g., due to an international obligation or an emergency), consultation with the opposition parties may be appropriate, particularly where a major decision could be controversial or difficult for a new government to reverse.” The government seems unlikely to consult with the opposition parties and the end-game TPP negotiations are anything but routine. As has been widely reported, the agreement would require major changes to a wide range of issues including Canadian copyright law, patent law, and supply management protections. These changes would involve significant legislative reforms with enormous costs to health care, education, and agricultural sectors. Agreeing to those changes when acting as a caretaker government would appear to violate the requirement to restrict activities to routine or non-controversial matters.

Second, even if the government participates in the negotiations, the remaining TPP countries should have doubts about Canada’s ability to deliver on its commitments since a change in government in October is a possibility. A new government – or even a Conservative minority government – might have an impact on Canada’s position on the most contentious TPP issues that would force parties back to the bargaining table. The electoral uncertainty places Canada in much the same position as the U.S. before Congress approved Trade Promotion Authority.  Without TPA, the TPP was subject to specific approval by Congress, which could have demanded changes to the text. The remaining TPP countries were unwilling to negotiate with the U.S. knowing that an agreement was not really final given the possibility that U.S. domestic politics could lead to changes.

The same is now true for Canada. Without a government mandate, Canadian negotiators simply can’t provide other TPP countries assurances that concessions made today will last beyond October 19th. The government may have quietly altered its rules to provide assurances that it can negotiate a deal, but it would be more appropriate to adopt observer status until the conclusion of the current election campaign.

The post Canadian Government Amends “Caretaker Rules” To Give Itself Power to Continue Negotiating TPP appeared first on Michael Geist.

In The Mailbox: 08.04.15 [The Other McCain]

— compiled by Wombat-socho OVER THE TRANSOM EBL: Democrats Taking Trump Seriously Da Tech Guy: Why Trump Resonates And Why The Left Doesn’t Get It In One Image Conservative Intel: Rand Paul Gaining In Spite Of Media Attacks Michelle Malkin: Desperate Democrats Recycle Planned Parenthood’s Mammogram Lie Twitchy: Fifth Planned Parenthood Video Out – Now […]

Feminists Are Raping Journalism [The Other McCain]

Rolling Stone‘s UVA rape hoax continues to echo in discussions of the legal and cultural consequences of bad journalism: Tamara Tabo is a summa cum laude graduate of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the school’s law review. After graduation, she clerked on the U.S. […]

“Right now, I’m all right.” [Walt at Random]

I was reading Rajnar Vajra’s novella “Zen Angel” in the May 2015 Analog (I’m about four months behind on my SF magazine reading) and encountered this:

From necessity, I’d developed a coping strategy for times when trouble overflowed: repeating the phrase “right now, I’m all right” until it became true.

A few days earlier, we’d been to see The King and I at the Bankhead Theater. And, for the life of me, when I read that sentence I could not help but get an earworm involving whistling a happy tune…

No, no deeper significance. (Good novella, by the way; Vajra’s usually a good read.) Just found the parallel amusing…

Now, back to the OA checking…

Links and Quotes: Facebook does live-streaming, Google and privacy laws, data-driven farming, and more [AEI » Pethokoukis]

 Some lunchtime reading:

Facebook Live Events Could Command A Truly Global Audience – Wired – “With its massive reach, Facebook could attract a truly global live audience that it could serve up to advertisers seeking to connect with the whole world.”

You Don’t Have to ‘Like’ the News to Respect It – Bloomberg View

The website Real Clear Science did something remarkable this week: It disclosed the political biases of its regular contributors. The effort did not involve self-identification. Instead, each contributor took a “political quiz,” and the site posted the results…

What’s interesting about the disclosure isn’t where the biases lie. (Unsurprisingly for a tech site, the contributors skew libertarian.) What’s interesting is that the editors felt a need to come up with a creative response to the growing perception that news and analysis are always slanted.

Google and the “Right to be forgotten: Swiss cheese internet, or database of ruin?” – The Guardian and TechDirt – “Last week, Techdirt wrote about Google’s refusal to comply with France’s order to apply the “right to be forgotten” — actually, a right to be removed from search results — globally. Perhaps because the issue seems easy to understand, many have offered their opinions on the rights and wrongs of Google’s move, both for and against.”

The Internet of Things and the Future of Farming – New York Times – “In the United States, major agriculture companies are making sizable investments to position themselves for data-driven farming. …Yet the most intriguing use of the technology may well be outside the United States. … To close the food gap, worldwide farm productivity will have to increase from 1.5 tons of grain per acre to 2.5 tons by 2050.”

Google-Style Office Perks Go Mainstream – WSJ – “As companies try to put themselves on a path to faster growth, some are mimicking the workplace practices—and lavish perks—at technology behemoths like Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.”

Science vs science: Is modern science broken? – RealClearScience/ABC – “… results not getting reproduced isn’t a sign that science is broken. This is the process in action. It does highlight, however, that science does not abide by a 24 hour media cycle.”

Homeland Security: Hobbyist-sized drones are the latest terrorism threats – ArsTechnica

 The Dawning of High Mobility- RealClearTechnology via TechPinions – the time spent, in hours, on smartphones is continuing to increase while the time spent with PCs is either flat or in some cases declining.1. This emphasizes another observation being floated that the PC is increasingly becoming just a work/productivity device. The follow-up comment to this one is how the number of people who need a PC to do work is significantly smaller than those who don’t.”

NY Fines on Small Businesses Drop Sharply – WSJ – “New York City slashed the total amount of fines to small businesses by more than half in fiscal 2015…”

 

Sarah Gustafson is the Editorial Assistant and a blogger at the AEIdeas blog. 

The post Links and Quotes: Facebook does live-streaming, Google and privacy laws, data-driven farming, and more appeared first on AEI.

Links and Quotes for July 31, 2015: Drones, patents, driverless cars, and more [AEI » Pethokoukis]

Some reading for the weekend:

How Amazon’s Drone Superhighway Would Work – Readwrite | “Amazon’s plan involves two different paths for traffic—an expressway for long-haul travel and a separate, slower “local” lane for shorter trips. Fundamentally, the approach could clear some of the biggest hurdles for drone safety, and if it’s adopted, it would offer some clear guidelines for anyone interested in developing or using this technology.”

The Secret to a Great Economy – Noah Smith | “Some level of patent protection, of course, is necessary to encourage innovation. But many economists believe that we now give out far too many patents, often for innovations of questionable originality. This is something we would expect to increase the gap between the most productive companies and the rest.”

Should Personalization Be the Future of Learning? – EducatioNext

The U.S. Doubled Its Farm Production In Just 60 Years. Here’s How – IO9 | “So what’s going on? In a word, technology. Automation isn’t typically what we call it, but that’s precisely what’s been happening on farms over the last 60 years: time and labor were replaced by better farm equipment, pesticides, fertilizers, and new varieties of plants. At the same time, farmers were also moving from being generalists to specialists—and were customizing their farms and equipment to suit the needs of those specific crops.”

How to Think About the Future of Cars – Maxwell Wessel | “Transportation seems to be following a very similar path to cloud computing. Renting a ride for point-to-point transportation with a click of a button (Uber), is a lot like renting some capacity within a server for web hosting (Amazon Web Services, or AWS). Today, it’s an absurdist claim to argue we’re near the point where we don’t need to own cars. In a couple of decades, owning a car will be much less critical.”

Dear Health Care, the Internet Is Here to Stay – Re/code | 

Teslas will soon be able to park themselves, steer on the highway – Ars Technica |

A new soft technology – Venkatesh Rao | 

Sometime around the dot com crash of 2000, though, the nature of software, and its relationship with hardware, underwent a shift. It was a shift marked by accelerating growth in the software economy and a peaking in the relative prominence of hardware. The shift happened within the information technology industry first, and then began to spread across the rest of the economy.

But the economic numbers only hint at the profundity of the resulting societal impact. As a simple example, a 14-year-old teenager today (too young to show up in labor statistics) can learn programming, contribute significantly to open-source projects, and become a talented professional-grade programmer before age 18. This is breaking smart: an economic actor using early mastery of emerging technological leverage — in this case a young individual using software leverage — to wield disproportionate influence on the emerging future.

Only a tiny fraction of this enormously valuable activity — the cost of a laptop and an Internet connection — would show up in standard economic metrics. Based on visible economic impact alone, the effects of such activity might even show up as a negative, in the form of technology-driven deflation. But the hidden economic significance of such an invisible story is at least comparable to that of an 18-year-old paying $100,000 over four years to acquire a traditional college degree. In the most dramatic cases, it can be as high as the value of an entire industry. The music industry is an example: a product created by a teenager, Shawn Fanning’s Napster, triggered a cascade of innovation whose primary visible impact has been the vertiginous decline of big record labels, but whose hidden impact includes an explosion in independent music production and rapid growth in the live-music sector.

The post Links and Quotes for July 31, 2015: Drones, patents, driverless cars, and more appeared first on AEI.

Two shot dead, three others injured [halls of macadamia]

When the bagpipes start to play... it drives the Highlanders completely... oh, wait a minute...

The nightclub was hosting the official OVO Fest afterparty featuring Toronto rapper Drake. A similar incident occurred in front of Muzik last year when a 28-year-old man was shot around 4 a.m. after OVO Fest on Aug. 5, 2014.
It's a long, long way from Degrassi.

On sale at Whole Foods: 16 ounces of water with 3 stalks of asparagus in it, labeled "Asparagus Water" and priced at $5.99. [Althouse]

"[A] gentleman in the produce department who did not want to give his name... explained that the product was new, 'We've had them on the shelf for the last few days.'"

When asked how the item is made, he said, "It's water, and we sort of cut asparagus stalks down so they're shorter, and put them into the container." When Eater asked what it was for, there was a long pause before he said, "Well, it's... to drink." He elaborated, "The nutrients from the asparagus do transfer into the water."
Later, Whole Foods' Senior Media Relations Specialist Liz Burkhart made a statement asserting that item was carried in only one store (in California) and that the store was making it wrong: "It was meant to be water with the essence of vegetables and/or mushrooms to be used as broth (similar to a bone broth), which are typically made over a long period of time soaking in water."

The photograph at the link looks like something some anti-Whole-Foods prankster made. It would be funny as a joke. It's even funnier knowing it was actually, seriously made and put on the shelf for sale.

And by the way, Whole Foods sells homeopathic stuff, which is based on a much stupider idea than "The nutrients from the asparagus do transfer into the water." Wake me up when they walk that back.

"Mugabe describes himself as both a practicing Catholic and a Marxist, but his birthday party was held at the Elephant Hills golf resort..." [Althouse]

"... near Victoria Falls, just up the road from the haunts of Cecil. Mugabe was honored with seven birthday cakes. One was so large that it had to be carried in by eight men; another was described as the size of a mattress. The celebration reportedly cost a million American dollars, in a country that now suffers up to ninety-five per cent unemployment and underemployment, according to the C.I.A.’s World Factbook. (Mugabe conceded during his last election, in 2013, that at least sixty per cent of his countrymen were jobless). Three-quarters of Zimbabwe’s population lives below the poverty line. 'It’s sad when wildlife is abused, but the Zimbabwean people have been suffering decades of abuse under the wily old Mugabe, who seems never to relent and never to go away,' Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, told me last week."

From "Cecil the Lion and Robert Mugabe," by Robin Wright in The New Yorker.

I don't understand the "but" in the first sentence — "a practicing Catholic and a Marxist, but his birthday party," etc. I mean, I understand it, but it assumes the reader thinks a certain way, and I don't.

"Psilocybin, it appears, targets this existential and spiritual distress." [Althouse]


"A look inside N.Y.U.’s Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety research study, in which magic mushrooms are used to treat those with or in remission from cancer."

"It all began last year; the girls kept asking me and my cousin to do cheerleading. At first we didn’t want to do it because it just isn’t right." [Althouse]

"You don’t hear football players doing cheerleading, but I thought about it and it is our senior year, so I might as well do something fun."

“Olive [Sagapolu] has by far exceeded my expectations,” said [University of Wisconsin senior cheerleading co-captain Gisella] Mendoza. “We just needed Olive for the stunt work. He can tumble, dance and jump off the cheer floor. All of his teammates admire and respect him for that work ethic and just being an overall great guy. Olive is a great athlete, competitor [and] friend, and now we can all say he is a great cheerleader.”...

“The biggest thing I will probably take away from cheerleading is teamwork, working together as a team and trying to reach that goal and just trying to win,” said Sagapolu. “At Wisconsin, we will work together as a team and make it to the Big Ten championship. Knowing that your brother is right there by your side and teamwork is definitely something I have learned, even more so from cheerleading.”

"What I’ve come to realize is that when it comes to The Bluebook, small changes are made for the sake of making small changes." [Althouse]

Writes Bryan Garner, commenting on the new edition — the 20th edition — of the "Uniform System of Citation" law students are supposed to obsess over.

New law students want their predecessors’ work to look obsolete. It’s the theory first elaborated by the social philosopher Thorstein Veblen: planned obsolescence. Veblen postulated that companies deliberately produce consumer goods that will become outdated after limited use so that consumers will have to buy new items more often.

You see the principle at work with smartphone chargers (your old ones won’t work on your new gear), iPod connections (ditto), lightbulbs and even coursebooks. Legal publishers like frequent editions so as to avoid the forgone profits represented by a secondhand market.

And so it is with The Bluebook. Things shift from edition to edition—every five years or so—in response to nothing but the itch of a new crop of law students to leave their mark on their venerated citation guide.
I'm not convinced that law students feel a desire to "leave their mark" with changes in citation form. Anyone who is meticulous about citation form ought to feel bad about changes that make older volumes of the journal different from the new. The most important thing about form is consistency. Pick a form and then stick to it. I have various things like that on this blog, certain punctuation, capitalization, and grammatical preferences that have been established. The interest in formal consistency now vastly outweighs all the various factors that went into the original decision. For example, I capitalize "Justice" but not "judge." And in a sentence like "The five men blew their nose," I am never going to change that "nose" to "noses," no matter how many times Meade says "Shouldn't that be 'noses'?" I just say, "That's that thing again," meaning that's that point of grammar I resolved long ago.

I wish Death Cab For Cutie had followed my grammatical preference in the lovely song "I Will Follow You Into The Dark," which has the great, but flawed, line: "If Heaven and Hell decide/That they both are satisfied/Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs." If it were "Illuminate the no on their vacancy sign," listeners would be spared the no's/nose homophone. Each afterlife domain has only one sign, and each sign has only one no that can be illuminated when there is no vacancy, so the singular makes sense and avoids confusion. I learned that long ago from a teacher who knew it was better to say to us students "Use your head," not "Use your heads."



But back to "The Bluebook." I think Garner got closer to the truth when he said "Legal publishers like frequent editions so as to avoid the forgone profits represented by a secondhand market." When you're an editor, you have to resist stepping on the writer's stylistic choices. But I'd just like to say, I'd never have written the sentence like that. Garner is using that verbose, 19th century style of rhetoric that W.C. Fields made fun of in the early 20th century. And in doing so, he's making it easier to overlook the truth — what I think is the truth — that is lost in the musings about the psychology of cite-checking law students. I'd have written: The new editions of The Bluebook are a scheme to extract money from students, and students not only pay for new books, they pay in the time and effort it takes to learn the piddling new rules.

Ohio lady refused to yield to town pressure, cherished the "diverse potpourri of plants [that] began to flourish" and "rich assortment of insects and animals [that] followed" after she stopped mowing her lawn. [Althouse]

To the people of the township who would fine her, it's a "nuisance," but to her — and her "partner" (who seems not to want his name in The Washington Post) — it was "a working ecosystem, one that had been waiting for the chance to emerge."

Ah, but what is a "nuisance," within the meaning of Ohio law? Whose notion of nuisance prevails? The authorities had their perspective, deeming the rodents and snakes "nuisance animals." But:

The un-mowed plants in our yard attract plant-eating bugs and rodents, which in turn attract birds, bats, toads and garter snakes that eat them. Then hawks fly in to eat the snakes. Seeing all this life emerge in just one growing season made me realize just how much nature manicured lawns displace and disrupt....

People should be allowed to live out their values on their own property as long as they are not causing a true nuisance that hinders their neighbors’ use of their own properties....

Society needs to adjust its cultural norms on lawn aesthetics. For the health of the planet, and for our own health, we need to start letting nature dictate how we design our outdoor spaces.... Instead of putting nature in its place, we need to find our place in nature. Local officials have told us countless times that our lawn looks bad and is a nuisance. In one public meeting, a brave young boy, Max Burton, stood up and told our critics, “What you are saying is that life itself is a nuisance.”

William J. Lewinski Trains Police To Shoot First And Let Him Handle The Fallout [The Captain's Journal]

NYT:

The shooting looked bad. But that is when the professor is at his best. A black motorist, pulled to the side of the road for a turn-signal violation, had stuffed his hand into his pocket. The white officer yelled for him to take it out. When the driver started to comply, the officer shot him dead.

The driver was unarmed.

Taking the stand at a public inquest, William J. Lewinski, the psychology professor, explained that the officer had no choice but to act.

“In simple terms,” the district attorney in Portland, Ore., asked, “if I see the gun, I’m dead?”

“In simple terms, that’s it,” Dr. Lewinski replied.

When police officers shoot people under questionable circumstances, Dr. Lewinski is often there to defend their actions. Among the most influential voices on the subject, he has testified in or consulted in nearly 200 cases over the last decade or so and has helped justify countless shootings around the country.

He has appeared as an expert witness in criminal trials, civil cases and disciplinary hearings, and before grand juries, where such testimony is given in secret and goes unchallenged. In addition, his company, the Force Science Institute, has trained tens of thousands of police officers on how to think differently about police shootings that might appear excessive.

[ … ]

Many policing experts are for hire, but Dr. Lewinski is unique in that he conducts his own research, trains officers and internal investigators, and testifies at trial. In the protests that have followed police shootings, demonstrators have often asked why officers are so rarely punished for shootings that seem unwarranted. Dr. Lewinski is part of the answer.

Dr. Lewinski said he was not trying to explain away every shooting. But when he testifies, it is almost always in defense of police shootings. Officers are his target audience — he publishes a newsletter on police use of force that he says has nearly one million subscribers — and his research was devised for them. “The science is based on trying to keep officers safe,” he said.

[ … ]

A former Minnesota State professor, he says his testimony and training are based on hard science, but his research has been roundly criticized by experts. An editor for The American Journal of Psychology called his work “pseudoscience.” The Justice Department denounced his findings as “lacking in both foundation and reliability.” Civil rights lawyers say he is selling dangerous ideas.

Hmm … let me see.  He got his doctorate from a diploma mill (you do the research), engages in pseudoscience (which has as its stated outcome keeping cops “safe”), trains cops, always testifies in their defense, and by virtue of the fact that he is the one being called as an “expert” witness, becomes the one who is called to testify as an “expert” witness in future cases, a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy.

Yea.  You know what else might become a self-fulfilling prophesy?  People knowing that police are going to discharge weapons as a matter of first recourse, and then act accordingly.

The Latinization Of U.S. Cities [The Captain's Journal]

Examiner:

A study of the growing Hispanic immigrant population declares that the country is on the verge of the “Latinization of the United States,” a “browning of America” that by 2050 will be 29 percent Latino — and politically influential.

Published in the authoritative journal “Ethnicities,” the immigration analysis by two California experts noted that while big states such as California and Florida are home to most Hispanics, there has been a recent growth surge exceeding 300 percent of mostly Mexicans to Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina and Arkansas.

[ … ]

“By the sheer force of numbers, the kinds of adults that Latino students become will dramatically shape the future history of this country, as the former white majority becomes a minority population, at least in terms of number,” said the study provided to Secrets. It sits behind a paywall.

“Latinos have become more than an electoral voting bloc, emerging as strategic actors in major processes of democratic social transformation,” they added.

Gosh.  I sure am glad that this doesn’t effect SNAP payments, taxes, medical care, social security, emergency room protocol, or especially gun rights.  The government is in charge, so I’m sure everything will be okay.

Notes From HPS [The Captain's Journal]

Why won’t Scott Walker say Obama is a Christian?  Um, well, you know, because he’s not.  He’s a Marxist  A man cannot serve two masters.

David Codrea:

No.  Your move.

More David:

A Washington DC “Democrat media consulting firm” affiliated with Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (and a host of anti-gun politicians) is offering Oregon gun dealers $1,500 to allow them to film an on-location “public service announcement,” Oregon Firearms Federation announced Friday. The filmmakers need a gun store as a backdrop for an actor to tell viewers how “easy” it is to comply with form requirements …

Uh huh.  They’d better not.

Mike Vanderboegh:

… and twist old Chris Christie’s 2nd Amendment titty.

Now that’s something we’d all like to see.  By the way, I’m not sure I could name a single person with whom I went to High School.  Honestly.

VIDEO: 3D printing: A disability revolution? [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

Nikki Fox looks at how 3D printing could potentially revolutionise the lives of disabled people.

German prosecutor axed in treason row [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

Germany’s justice minister sacks the country’s top prosecutor, who had accused the government of interfering with a treason investigation.

Hacker sends woman pictures of herself from her own webcam [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

Hacker sends woman images of herself and her boyfriend, which were captured through their own webcam.

The post Hacker sends woman pictures of herself from her own webcam appeared first on We Live Security.

British Museum offers Bronze Age VR [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

A second UK museum has started using virtual reality to give visitors a new view of its collection.

Hackers exploit OS X zero-day vulnerability [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

Hackers have exploited a zero-day vulnerability in the latest version of Apple’s OS X.

The post Hackers exploit OS X zero-day vulnerability appeared first on We Live Security.

First 3D-printed pill approved in US [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

In a world first, the US Food and Drug Administration has given go-ahead for a 3D printed pill to go into production.

Angry Birds gamers mad at in-app purchases [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

The sequel to the hit game is free to download but in-app purchases are making some gamers angry.

Hackers target internet address flaw [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

Hackers are exploiting a serious flaw in the internet’s architecture, according to a security firm.

VIDEO: Create beautiful photos of space [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

BBC Click’s Kate Russell looks at some of the best tools and sites for editing photos of space

Development Release: Q4OS 2.0 Testing [DistroWatch.com: News]

The developers of Q4OS have announced the availability of a new testing release. The new development branch, Q4OS 2.0 (Testing), combines Debian Stretch packages with the Trinity desktop environment. "We introduce the initial development build of the new major Q4OS version 2.0, code named 'Scorpion'. This release is....

Distribution Release: Tanglu 3.0 [DistroWatch.com: News]

Matthias Klumpp has announced the launch of Tanglu 3.0. Tanglu is a Debian-based desktop distribution which focuses on ease of use. The new release of Tanglu ships with a new graphical system installer, the Apper package manager front-end has been replaced with Muon Discover and the KDE edition....

Development Release: Bodhi Linux 3.1.0 Pre-Release [DistroWatch.com: News]

Jeff Hoogland has announced the availability of the initial development build of Bodhi Linux 3.1.0, a desktop distribution featuring the Enlightenment window manager, still based on Ubuntu 14.04: "Bodhi 3.1.0 pre-release image. Getting back to having releases within their targeted release dates. Because this is the first release....

Distribution Release: Simplicity Linux 15.7 [DistroWatch.com: News]

David Purse has announced the release of Simplicity Linux 15.7. The new version of the Puppy-based distributions for desktops and netbooks was already announced last Friday, but because of a critical bug in one of the released images, a new respin was required and it was finally delivered....

Is There Anything Men Can’t be Blamed For? [Dr. Helen]

I thought about this as I read the title of an article at CNBC: “Is your office too cold? Blame men”:

Complaints about cold offices finally have some basis—it’s likely your male colleagues are to blame.

According to a new research by Maastricht University, the standard used to determine the ideal indoor temperature is based on the body heat of the average man.

Current calculations for building temperatures try to balance average body heat—which is dictated by the body’s metabolic rate—and that of the room or office, in order to find the ideal level of warmth. …

“By taking into account the actual metabolic rate of women, a crucial step can be made in creating more energy-efficient buildings and a more comfortable working area for women,” the release explained.

I like the first comment to the article from William Wallace: “Or they could put on a sweater…”

But that would be too easy and take the fun out of blaming men for all of women’s discomfort in the world.

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

I think so, Brain … but when they gave me a take home exam,  I forgot where I lived.


What’s Up for August? [hogewash]

Video Credit: NASA


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

I think so, Brain … I got 8 out of 10 on the driving test, but the other two jumped clear.


Team Kimberlin Post of the Day [hogewash]

Busy, busy, busy …

Among other things, I mailed the following to the U. S. District Court (and The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin) yesterday—

Other motions to dismiss will be arriving for the Kimberlin v. Team Themis, et al. RICO 2: Electric Boogaloo LOLsuit over the next five or six weeks.

popcorn4bkIn state LOLsuit news, Aaron Walker has a post up dissecting TDPK’s nonsense motion asking for a TRO, preliminary injunction, and protective order. That’s in the Walker v. Kimberlin, et al. case. Also, here’s a copy of the motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and lack of personal jurisdiction filed on behalf of Breitbart in the Kimberlin v. Most of the Universe, et al. RICO Retread LOLsuit—

And there’s more interesting stuff to share as the week goes along.

Stay tuned.

Oh, one more thing. $4,169.35.


Quote of the Day [hogewash]

Never position a rock near a hard place.

—Rohan Candappa


Spoiler alert: Jeb Bush’s campaign apparatus is PACked with cash [Hot Air » Top Picks]

$$$


Last Friday, political action committees (PACs) had to file their mid-year reports, and Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise PAC is doing quite well. In all, the Wall Street Journal  reports that the super PACs backing 17 presidential candidates for 2016 raised more than $250 million, nearly doubling the $125 million raised by candidates for their respective campaigns. […]

Read this post »

Breaking: Fox News to announce the 10 participants in Thursday’s first GOP debate; Update: Line-up set [Hot Air » Top Picks]

In.


The big reveal is coming soon on FNC, so tune in. Kos’s election analysts lay it on the line: Top 10 per polls =Trump, Jeb, Walker, Carson, Huck, Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Christie & Kasich. If that's not Fox's debate lineup, the fix is in. — Daily Kos Elections (@DKElections) August 4, 2015 Yup, that’s what […]

Read this post »

Important news from Chris Christie: I’ve used birth control, and not just the rhythm method [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Rhythm.


Ace is right that what Christie allegedly said today about limiting exemptions from antidiscimination laws in gay marriage cases to religious institutions is more important than this silliness, but I don’t want to hammer him for that without a direct transcript and I can’t find one anywhere. If he said what he’s claimed to have […]

Read this post »

CNN to director of pro-life Planned Parenthood sting: Your critics say you’re violent, you know [Hot Air » Top Picks]

“Do you have any ties to Operation Rescue?”


Via Mediaite, skip to 3:00 for the big smear. So, Mr. Daleiden, when did you stop beating your wife? Actually, that’s giving CNN too much credit. Asking this guy if he beats his wife would at least be a specific charge. All Daleiden gets here from Alisyn Camerota to support the claim that he and […]

Read this post »

Kelly Osbourne to Donald Trump: If you kick out all the Latinos, who’s going to clean your toilet, huh? [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Questions.


I think I speak for all of us when I say, “Who’s Kelly Osbourne?” The best part of this is an offended Rosie Perez apologizing to Osbourne after being reminded that they should focus on the Common Enemy. Perez clarified the point Collins was trying to make, saying, “There are a lot of Latinos here […]

Read this post »

TEMS Thursday: Andrew Malcolm, Linda LeFauve, Milo Yiannopoulos [Hot Air » Top Picks]

4 ET!


Today on The Ed Morrissey Show (4 pm ET), we have another great lineup for the news of the day! Andrew Malcolm joins us for Tuesdays with Andrew! The Prince of Twitter and I will discuss all of the hot political stories of the day. Reason’s Linda LeFauve, also a VP at Davidson College, will […]

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Yesterday, Democrats voted to force you to fund baby killers [Hot Air » Top Picks]

How extreme is that?


Since Day One of the new Planned Parenthood scandal, Democrats have gone to the walls to defend the nation’s most prolific killer of human beings. For two examples from just yesterday: only two Senate Democrats voted for a bill that would shift Planned Parenthood’s federal funding to other organizations. And only days after she called […]

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Federal court strikes down “ag-gag” law, protects undercover journalism [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Gee, I wonder where else this might apply?


The ACLU, PETA, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund won a major First Amendment case yesterday — and it should delight pro-life activists. The state of Idaho passed a law forbidding the use of undercover and other secret surveillance for journalistic purposes, a protection of the dairy and meat industries that had suffered public-relations disasters […]

Read this post »

Video: Southern California city appoints two “undocumented immigrants” as city officials [Hot Air » Top Picks]

"Out of order."


KCAL-9 calls this “a landmark move,” but Huntington Park residents considered it more of a political stunt. A city council meeting turned into a battle of words last night in the Los Angeles-area community, the only city in the state to appoint illegal immigrants as city officials. The man behind the move, Jhonny Pineda, shrugged […]

View the video »

Tables turned: Trump turns cell phone number exposed by Gawker into a campaign ad [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Outfoxed.


Remember when he trolled Lindsey Graham by giving out Graham’s private cell phone number on live TV? The new kinder, gentler Gawker (20 percent nicer!) trolled him back yesterday by publishing Trump’s own cell number on their site. Game, set, and match, right? “You cannot troll the master troll,” notes Ross Douthat. Thank you @gawker! […]

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Reminder: Letter to LA Health Dept from Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast denied allegations corroborated in video; Update: Abbott promises to “aggressively investigate” [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Jindal's office taking a close look at today's video.


When the Center for Medical Progress first began releasing videos of its undercover investigations into Planned Parenthood, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal ordered an investigation into its practices in the state. After a query to the regional Planned Parenthood affiliate, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, its president, Melaney Linton, sent a reply to Louisiana’s Department of Health […]

View the video »

Sure looks like Rick Perry’s going to miss the cut-off for the first debate [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Out?


Today’s the day Fox News announces the finalists for Thursday’s main event. Until Kasich got in, Perry was just inside the bubble. Now he’s outside, and as Harry Enten notes, not even rounding up or down to the next percentage point will help him. He spent the last month trying to muscle into Trump’s media […]

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New CMP video: Intact fetuses “just a matter of line items” for Planned Parenthood [Hot Air » Top Picks]

"Diversification of revenue stream"?


As suspected, that temporary restraining order isn’t restraining Center for Medical Progress from continuing to release videos about Planned Parenthood, even if it might delay material from the National Abortion Federation. CMP just dropped a new video from its undercover investigation of the nation’s leading abortion chain, with another executive admitting that its clinicians change […]

View the video »

Federal judge extends TRO on Planned Parenthood videos to end of August; Update: New video dropping today? [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Trump: Shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood.


Is this a blow for Center for Medical Progress, or a short toss into a briar patch? Last week, a federal judge in San Francisco placed a temporary restraining order on CMP that enjoined it from releasing any more of its videos, specifically those relating to the National Abortion Federation, after NAF officials claimed that […]

View the video »

WSJ/NBC poll shows Hillary favorability shrinking across the board [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Slide.


Democrats like to argue that demographics are destiny. If so, they’re headed for disaster, as long as Hillary Clinton remains the front-runner for the nomination. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows her favorability ratings shrinking, most significantly among two demographics considered key to Democratic turnout. The WSJ report focuses on one particular subgroup: […]

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Some “political speed dating” in New Hampshire [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Flash forward


Like many of the hopeless political addicts around the nation, I turned on C-SPAN last night and sat through the first “unofficial” debate of the GOP primary season, the Voters First summit in New Hampshire Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post referred to it as political speed dating and that’s not a bad description. We […]

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Making sense of the TX AG indictment [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Another example of overcriminalization?


The indictment against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is pretty straightforward, but also leaves plenty of questions. Paxton turned himself into Collin County authorities on Monday after a grand jury indicted him on securities fraud violations. He’s promising to fight the charges and his attorney said Paxton wanted to tell his side of the story. […]

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Quotes of the day [Hot Air » Top Picks]

In?


Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his associates have begun to actively explore a possible presidential campaign, which would upend the Democratic field and deliver a direct threat to Hillary Rodham Clinton, several people who have spoken to Mr. Biden or his closest advisers say. Mr. Biden’s advisers have started to reach out to […]

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Real TIME headline: “Charles Koch Says U.S. Can Bomb Its Way to $100K Salaries” [Hot Air » Top Picks]

You won’t be surprised to learn that the libertarian Koch said…exactly the opposite. What he was pointing out as a “monstrous measure” was the amount of spending, particularly government spending on among other things military endeavors, that goes into the GDP that might not be a great representation of the growth of our economy. The […]

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Democrats manning the walls to defend sanctuary cities [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Let's not criminalize the criminals, now.


Last month, trying to strike while the iron was hot, some members of Congress – most notably Chuck Grassley – drafted legislation to reign in the so called “sanctuary cities” where illegal immigrants are regularly released back into the wild. This takes place in many cases unless there is some definitive indication that they are […]

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“True Detective” grumble thread: Playin’ out the string [Hot Air » Top Picks]

One to go.


In hindsight I’m embarrassed that I’ve pushed theories on you guys about huge twists to come as season two tumbled to its end. Between the complexity of the plot and the endless detours into humdrum personal drama, like Frank’s IVF treatment, watching the show has grown more numbing every week. The only justification for that, […]

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The Brits struggle to deal with their own illegal immigrant problem [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Giving the boot


We make plenty of news here in the United States for our “hateful policies of exclusion” when it comes to trying to keep people from illegally entering the country, but we’re actually not the only ones dealing with the issue. In merry ole’ England they’ve been having some troubles of their own. Just recently we […]

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Having solved all other problems, NY fines companies selling toy guns [Hot Air » Top Picks]

We're finally safe


New York’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, in cahoots with his boss, Andrew Cuomo, are very big into solving problems. Not to confuse anyone here… they’re not dropping the murder rate in New York City or staunching the the hemorrhaging of businesses and jobs from one of the worst business climates in the nation. But gosh […]

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Can Tabarrok Bridge the Wonks and Burning Man? [Marginal REVOLUTION]

It’s a TED-style talk, and Alex Tabarrok is just getting going, dressed in D.C.-friendly attire (dark gray suit) in front of the usual casual-hip crowd at the Voice & Exit conference in Austin, Texas. Pacing behind the podium, he flashes images of workers, of wastrel, skeleton-thin immigrants seeking labor. Your heart bleeds as he sings his songs of morality and justice and the need for immigrants in any good society and etc., etc., etc.

His pitch to solve this messy hot topic of the day? Two words: open borders.

That’s from an amusing profile of me in OZY, Can Philosopher Alex Tabarrok Bridge the Wonks and Burning Man?

Addendum 1: Tyler’s office is even messier than mine.

Addendum 2: Tyler, of course, blogged this 3 minutes earlier from somewhere in Serbia. How does he bend the laws of space and time?

Profile of Alex Tabarrok [Marginal REVOLUTION]

…Even Cowen tells OZY that even he doesn’t want Tabarrok to “entirely get his way” on all things…

Otherwise it is all about Alex, but that is my cameo.  It is a good and fun profile, though I think it understates Alex’s pragmatic side somewhat.  The author is Sanjena Sathian.

A few of my thoughts on teaching [Marginal REVOLUTION]

What concrete changes would I make in schools? The idea that you need to take a whole class to learn some topic is absurd. Whatever you’ve learned is probably going to be obsolete. A class is to spur your interest, to expose you to a new role model, a new professor, to a new set of students. We should have way more classes which are way shorter. It should be much more about learning, more about variety, give up the myth that you’re teaching people how to master some topic; you’re not! You want to inspire them; it’s much more about persuasion, soft skills.

That is from a longer OECD interview with Marilyn Achiron.  By the way, here is a new and interesting Alana Semuels article on competency-based approaches.

My favorite things Serbian [Marginal REVOLUTION]

serbia

1. Painter: Marko Čelebonović.  Plus lots of the art in the monasteries.

2. Performance art: Marina Abramović.  I still love this video of the staring game.

3. Author: Danilo Kiš, the Serbian Borges.  Or how about Milorad Pavic, Dictionary of the Khazars, which somehow seems to have fallen through the cracks since the time of its publication.  Ivan “Ivo” Andrić is the Serbian Nobel Laureate, sort of, he espoused a Serbian identity but actually was Bosnian.

4. Actor and director: Emir Kusturica.  Recently he has disappointed, and taken flak, for having supported Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.  He is still an impressive creator, however, and is also an accomplished musician and author.  Did I mention that he espouses a Serbian national identity, and has converted to Orthodox Christianity, but originally was a Bosnian Muslim?

5. Actress: Milla Jovovich, most of all in Fifth Element and also Resident Evil, she is part Serbian.

6. Economist and blogger: Branko Milanović.

7. Sports: Lots of tennis players, plus Pete Maravich was of Serbian descent.

Other: Tesla was ethnic Serbian though born in Croatia.  American poet Charles Simic was born in Serbia, though he moved to the United States at a young age.

Another Obama Success Story: New Taliban Leadership Cements Ties With … Al-Qaeda [Ordered Liberty]

With all the attention Obama’s disastrous Iran nuclear deal is getting, it is easy to overlook yet another of the president’s many foreign policy success stories: the Taliban.

It is under new leadership, and has strengthened its ties with the decidedly un-“decimated” al-Qaeda terror network.

Recall that just as Obama “ended” the war in Iraq by ceding our hard-won gains to Iran and the Islamic State (the former a longtime al-Qaeda ally, the latter the spawn of al-Qaeda in Iraq), the president is similarly “ending” the war in Afghanistan by consigning the country to the resurgent Taliban.

Toward that end, even though the Taliban continued to conduct and support jihadist attacks on American troops, the president appallingly traded five of its commanders in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a deserter.

Moreover, besides its own negotiations with the Taliban — the chief enabler of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans – the Obama administration has enthusiastically supported “reconciliation” talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

The suspension of disbelief we are to indulge is that, while Kabul strikes a settlement with the Taliban, the remaining U.S. forces can exit after finishing up the training of Afghan security forces, thus enabling us to “end” the war by leaving behind a stable Afghanistan and an al-Qaeda that has been “decimated” and put “on the path to defeat.”

If you believe that one, I’ve got a peaceful nuclear energy site in Parchin you might be interested in.

In fact, the Taliban continue to wage their jihad against the Afghan government they have every intention of retaking once the last U.S. troops have pulled out, if not before. The deadly attack they executed in June against the parliament in Kabul is only one of the most recent examples.

And significantly, the Taliban is continuing its campaign under new leadership with intimate ties to al-Qaeda.

As Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio have been reporting at the Long War Journal, the Taliban has finally confirmed that longtime leader Mullah Mohammad Omar is dead. There remains mystery about when Omar’s demise took place — it may have been over two years ago, though some insiders claim it was more recent. In any event, the group has named a new leader: Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour.

Mansour was Omar’s deputy while the latter gave sanctuary to al-Qaeda in the years prior to 9/11 — years during which al-Qaeda bombed the United States embassies in Eastern Africa and the U.S.S. Cole as it docked in Yemen.

Top Dem on Appropriations Committee Says ‘No’ to Iran Deal [The PJ Tatler]

The top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee says she will oppose the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran when it comes before Congress.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who has served in Congress since 1989, said in a statement that she’s reviewed the details of the deal “and consulted with officials in the Obama administration, regional experts, foreign leaders, Congressional colleagues, and my constituents.”

“In my judgment, sufficient safeguards are not in place to address the risks associated with the agreement,” Lowey said. “Relieving UN sanctions on conventional arms and ballistic missiles and releasing billions of dollars to the Iranian regime could lead to a dangerous regional weapons race and enable Iran to bolster its funding of terrorists. The deal does not explicitly require Iran to fully disclose its previous military work to the IAEA’s satisfaction before sanctions relief is provided, and inspectors will not have immediate access to the most suspicious facilities. There are no clear accountability measures regarding punishment for minor violations, which could encourage Iran to cheat.”

She added that the agreement “will leave the international community with limited options in 15 years to prevent nuclear breakout in Iran, which will be an internationally-recognized nuclear threshold state, capable of producing highly enriched uranium.”

“I am greatly concerned that the agreement lacks a crystal clear statement that the international community reserves the right to take all military, economic, and diplomatic measures necessary during the course of the deal and beyond to deter Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapon,” Lowey continued. “Since the U.S. and Iran severed relations in 1980, the Iranian regime has become increasingly aggressive, openly anti-America and anti-Israel, extremely anti-Semitic, and the largest sponsor of terrorism in the world. Even today, the regime has made no good-faith demonstration toward bringing home four Americans who are held prisoner or missing in Iran.”

“…Congress’s role has been invaluable, in partnership with the administration, in implementing the crippling sanctions that brought Iran to the table. I remain hopeful that the administration and Congress, in concert with our P5+1 and regional allies, can prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. However, I cannot support this agreement before Congress.”

Another New York Dem, freshman Rep. Kathleen Rice, yesterday wrote in an op-ed in the 5 Towns Jewish Times that she can’t support the deal because it “represents a pause, not an end, to Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon.”

“I’m unwilling to grant such economic and political legitimacy to a regime that prides itself on its persecution of women, children, journalists, religious minorities and political dissidents,” Rice wrote. “I find the main argument for this deal – that the only alternative is war – to be a false choice.”

“…I hope that history will ultimately prove President Obama right in his gamble on diplomacy and social progress in Iran. But for me, it is a risk I cannot support. It’s a gift of political legitimacy and economic empowerment that requires too little Iranian maturation across too little of its dangerous agenda.”

New York Dem Grace Meng said last week that she’d be voting no. That came the day after Secretary of State John Kerry lobbied her and other lawmakers in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

Meng commended President Obama and Kerry “for their efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but the deal before us now is simply too dangerous for the American people.”

UPDATE 5:30 p.m. EST: Another New York Dem — and former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — has said no.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), a member of the House Democratic leadership tasked with steering the Dems’ policy and communications, told Newsday in a telephone interview, “I’m going to vote against the Iran deal.”

“I tried very hard to get to yes. But at the end of the day, despite some positive elements in the deal, the totality compelled me to oppose it,” Israel said.

“The alternative is as imperfect as the deal is. I can’t cast my vote based on hypotheticals. I have to base my vote on what’s in my heart… This is one of the most important foreign policy and national security issues we’re gong to vote on. My thoughts on it will be expressed as respectfully but as forcefully as I can.”

UN Chief: Obama Has Really ‘Visionary Leadership’ [The PJ Tatler]

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon came to the White House today to praise President Obama for his “visionary leadership” on the Climate Power Plan unveiled yesterday.

Ban also heaped more praise on the president for foreign policy, noting that September’s General Assembly would be “truly historic… in the aftermath of all these very historic diplomatic achievements that President Obama and the U.S. government have been making in many areas like the Iranian nuclear deal and normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba, and his recent very successful visit to Africa.”

“And all these are truly historic diplomatic achievements,” the UN chief added.

Ban commended Obama’s “strong commitment since day one in his office up to now” on climate change, and the pair said they talked extensively about the upcoming climate summit in Paris this December.

“The U.S. can and will be able to change the world in addressing a climate phenomenon,” he continued. “…And I really appreciate your personal engagement starting with China and Brazil and India, and many others, as I’m going to have some small-scale leaders meeting on the margins of the General Assembly. I hope you will really lead all this campaign under your strong leadership.”

Obama said that climate change topped their list of discussion items — followed by people dying and terrorists gaining ground in Syria and Yemen.

“At the top of our list was the urgency of a world response to the threat off climate change. And the Secretary-General has been a consistent champion of a concerted, unified, global response to the issue. I shared with him the work that we are doing with the United Nations so that we can be a leader in addressing this critical — perhaps the critical issue that faces humankind going forward, and explained how through our power plant rule, through the work we’re doing on renewable energies and so forth, that we’re in a position now to meet the very aggressive targets that we’re putting forward in preparation for the Paris conference,” Obama said.

“And I encouraged the Secretary-General to continue to work with us to press those countries who have not yet put forward bold, aggressive plans to do so — because we need Paris to be a success, and the world has to step up in a concerted way on behalf of our children and future generations.”

Ban added that he really appreciates Obama’s “strong support for human rights.”

“In all these conflict areas, it is the people whose human rights are being abused,” the secretary-general said. “And we are taking human rights up front as priority issues, and I really appreciate the United States continuing support and leadership.”

Farrakhan Calls for ‘Retaliation’ Against Whites Who Kill Blacks [The PJ Tatler]

A chilling example of the double standard applied by the Obama Justice Department to hate speech was on display when Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan called on his followers to “rise up” and “kill those who kill us” if the federal government fails to “intercede in our affairs.”

His speech was delivered in Miami before an enthusiastic crowd, many of whom stood up and applauded when he suggested “retaliation” against whites.

This, from his Facebook page:

Retaliation! If the federal government won’t intercede in our affairs, then we MUST rise up and kill those who kill us; stalk them and kill them and let them feel our pain.

Farrakhan is planning another “Million Man March” for October. In connection with that event, he has created a social media campaign with the charming hashtag #JusticeOrElse

The radical Muslim is calling for 10,000 men “among the million” who are willing to die in order to carry out this “retaliation.” Here’s the relevant snippet from the speech. (Note the segregation of women, who are relegated to the back of the church.)

Meanwhile, media outside of Miami didn’t seem particularly interested in Farrakhan’s hate-filled rant. The local CBS affiliate covered the speech but couldn’t bring themselves to quote anything from it. The Miami Herald story is also notable for what it doesn’t say:

According to the Twitter feed of Brother Jesse Muhammad, a blogger and member of the Nation of Islam who attended Thursday night’s gathering, Farrakhan spoke about respect for women, religion and race relations in America. Journalists from mainstream media outlets such as the Miami Herald, WLRN-FM, CBS 4 and others were not allowed into the church for the event.

“Every time they kill a black man, beat a black woman, we’re being radicalized,” Muhammad quoted Farrakhan as saying.

God forbid the Herald does anything like honest reporting. Perhaps they could have hung around outside the venue and interviewed people leaving the speech?  I’m sure they would have gotten an earful.

Iran Nuclear Deal Disapproval Resolution Introduced, Will Get Vote in September [The PJ Tatler]

Today House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) introduced a resolution of disapproval for the Iran nuclear deal, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said it will receive a vote after Congress returns from recess in September.

Royce sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday protesting that lawmakers need access to Iran’s deals with the International Atomic Energy Agency to properly review the agreement.

After initially turning down a request to meet with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano will meet with the committee behind closed doors tomorrow.

Iran has publicly protested revealing any details of the agreements it has with the IAEA. “Definitely, the agreements between a country and the UN agency, which are classified, can by no means be available to any other country,” Iranian ambassador to IAEA Reza Najafi said over the weekend, according to Iran’s PressTV.

The documents are not in the possession of the Obama administration, Kerry has said.

Royce said he was recently briefed by Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, who testifies tomorrow before the Senate Banking Committee, and “it is clear” after the meeting with Sherman “that this issue deserves more scrutiny by the Committee.”

“Indeed, all Members of Congress should have access to the separate arrangements negotiated between Iran and the IAEA,” Royce wrote to Kerry. “In recent Congressional testimony, you and other Administration officials emphasized the verification aspects of the Iran nuclear agreement and expressed confidence in the access to suspicious sites that the agreement provides the IAEA.  Yet these ‘separate arrangement’ have the potential to seriously weaken our ability to verify the agreement as a whole.”

“…While this may not be typical IAEA practice, there is nothing typical about the Iranian threat or this nuclear agreement.”

McCarthy confirmed that Royce has introduced the disapproval resolution.

“Everything we have learned about this agreement has given Congress and the American people cause for grave concern. Iran still has a legitimate path to a nuclear bomb, Iranian leaders and the Obama Administration have expressed major public disagreements on key tenets of the deal, and ‘snapback’ sanctions are a fallacy,” McCarthy said in a statement. “What’s worse, at least two side deals have been made between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and, thus far, the Obama Administration has refused to share the text of the side deals with Congress.”

“It is clear that this is a bad deal, and the House will vote on disapproval in September,” the whip added.

Along with Royce’s resolution, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) led a letter to President Obama, signed by 94 lawmakers, demanding the text of IAEA deals be delivered to Congress.

“Under the clear language of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which you signed into law, members of Congress are entitled to the text of these two side deals. Specifically, members have a right to all ‘annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other understandings and any related agreements, whether entered into or implemented prior to the agreement or to be entered into or implemented in the future.’  Congress’s legal right to these documents creates a corresponding legal obligation for your administration to provide them for our review,” the letter states.

“The JCPOA with Iran is a matter of immense importance to the immediate and long-term security of the United States. Members of Congress have the right and the duty to review every relevant document, every term, and every word of this agreement in order to make an informed decision about whether or not it merits our support. We request that you provide the text of these side deals to Congress as expeditiously as possible. If you do not possess these documents, we request that you immediately secure them from the IAEA and then provide them to Congress.”

“Over the course of the next few weeks, Congress will continue to study the deal, listen to the American people, and make the best choice for our country,” McCarthy said.

Royce said he wished the administration had negotiated “a verifiable, enforceable, and accountable agreement.”

“I do not relish in introducing this consequential legislation,” the chairman added. “But the consequences for global security from this agreement are too great. This deal gives up too much, too fast, to a terrorist state – making the world less safe, less secure, and less stable.”

Fifth Planned Parenthood Video Worst Yet: ‘Intact Fetal Cadavers’ At 20 Weeks ‘Just a Matter of Line Items’ [The PJ Tatler]

Despite two temporary restraining orders against them, the Center for Medical Progress continues to release videos about Planned Parenthood. (The restraining orders apply to footage of officials from the National Abortion Federation and StemExpress.)

CMP’s fifth video from its undercover investigation of the nation’s leading abortion chain features a Planned Parenthood executive admitting that its clinicians change abortion procedures based on financial concerns unrelated to the procedure or well-being of the patient.

Via the Center for Medical Progress:

In the video, actors posing as representatives from a human biologics company meet with Farrell at the abortion-clinic headquarters of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Houston to discuss a potential partnership to harvest fetal organs.

“Where we probably have an edge over other organizations, our organization has been doing research for many many years,” explains Farrell. When researchers need a specific part from the aborted fetus, Farrell says, “We bake that into our contract, and our protocol, that we follow this, so we deviate from our standard in order to do that.”

Asked specifically if this means Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast can change abortion procedures to supply intact fetal specimens, Farrell affirms, “Some of our doctors in the past have projects and they’re collecting the specimens, so they do it in a way that they get the best specimens, so I know it can happen.“

The investigators ask Farrell how she will frame a contract in which they pay a higher price for higher quality fetal body parts, and she replies, “We can work it out in the context of–obviously, the procedure itself is more complicated,” suggesting that “without having you cover the procedural cost” and paying for the abortion, the higher specimen price could be framed as “additional time, cost, administrative burden.”

Farrell finally summarizes her affiliate’s approach to fetal tissue payments: “If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. It’s all just a matter of line items.”

The CMP investigators were taken to the clinic’s pathological laboratory where the Planned Parenthood team demonstrated the quality of the fetal body parts.

(NOTE: This video contains disturbing images.)

Click here to view the embedded video.

CMP Project Lead David Daleiden issued the following statement:

This is now the fifth member of Planned Parenthood leadership discussing payments for aborted baby parts without any connection to actual costs of so-called tissue ‘donation.’ Planned Parenthood’s system-wide conspiracy to evade the law and make money off of aborted fetal tissue is now undeniable.

Anyone who watches these videos knows that Planned Parenthood is engaged in barbaric practices and human rights abuses that must end. There is no reason for an organization that uses illegal abortion methods to sell baby parts and commit such atrocities against humanity to still receive over $500 million each year from taxpayers.

Last week, Daleiden told CNN that they have video footage revealing that StemExpress receives fully intact babies from abortion clinics.

“Stem Express is trying to suppress a specific video recording,” Daleidan told CNN’s Alisyn Camerata.
“In a meeting with their top leadership, they admitted that they sometimes get fully intact fetuses shipped to their laboratory from the abortion clinics they work with, and that could be prima facie evidence of born alive infants. And so that’s why they’re trying to suppress that videotape and they’re very scared of it.”

The New Worry: Military Frets About Taking Down Enemy Drones [The PJ Tatler]

Click here to view the embedded video.

Until recently, most of our attention on drone wars has been about the debate over us going after bad guys with armed flying-robots.  Indeed, America’s drone wars are bigger than ever.  The U.S. just announced it will start conducting armed-drone flights against terrorists in Syria from the American airbase in Turkey.

Now, however, the news is all about drones diving on us.

Just a few days ago a commercial plane heading into JFK reported almost colliding with a drone lingering near the airfield.  That’s not close to being the first story of an accidental meeting between a plane and a drone.  In California, two firefighting planes had to divert because someone was sightseeing over the scene with their hobby drone.

If those stories don’t peak your worry meter, last week Homeland Security issued an intelligence assessment that commercially available recreational drones “could be used by adversaries” as weapons.

Even the armed forces are worried.  The U.S. military is in the middle of holding its annual live-fire drill where it practices shooting down enemy drones.

Meanwhile, privacy concerns also dominate the debate about domestic drones.

Get used to these stories. Drones are the new normal—soon everybody will be flying them everywhere.

And don’t panic.

We figured out managing manned aircraft. With common sense America ought to be able to figure out how to keep American skies friendly with drones darting about the clouds as well.

Inevitable: Tough-Talking, Thrice-Married New Yorker Led GOP Polls in July…2007 [The PJ Tatler]

He was a straight-talking, thrice-married national celebrity New Yorker, often on TV — proud of his country, tough on crime and terrorism. Though his historical position on social issues was tough to pin down, and his own social life the subject of titillating gossip, the prospect of his presidency ignited enthusiasm among many Republicans.

By the end of July, 15 months before the general election, his support among Republicans had grown to 25-33 percent in major polls. It was thought his track record of success, and larger-than-life persona would trump all the other nominee-wannabes.

But former Mayor Rudy Giuliani did not become president of the United States, nor even his party’s nominee. Nor did actor/Senator Fred Thompson, who finished July 2007 in second place, at 19-25 percent in the polls. Arizona Sen. John McCain, barely in double digits at this stage of the race, stood on the stage in St. Paul, Minnesota, the following year to receive the RNC mantle.

John McCain, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani on the debate stage in October 2007.

John McCain, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani on the debate stage in October 2007.

Fast forward to July 2011: The eventual 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, did indeed lead the polls, but not far ahead of Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann. The conservative firebrand melted away around the turn of the year, and the libertarian physician survived to the end, but only barely.

My point is not to make direct comparisons between the positions, personalities and prospects of anyone going into 2016, but merely to say that the only unchanging principle in presidential polls is the near inevitability of change.

Donald Trump: Poster Child of American Decline

Here’s How Jim Gilmore Thinks He Can Win the GOP Nomination [The PJ Tatler]

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore insists that he’s the “entire package” for the GOP presidential nomination — something nobody else in the field has.

“I am a governor and governors are considered legitimate for this debate in this presidential campaign. A governor has run a state. He understands what is going on. But I have an additional component. The fact that I’m a United States Army veteran, a degree in Soviet affairs, that I chaired the National Commission on the Homeland Security for the United States, I was governor during the 9/11 attack so I have foreign policy credentials to go along with gubernatorial credentials and that combination doesn’t exist elsewhere in the field,” Gilmore told CNN.

Still, Gilmore ran in 2008 and didn’t make it far.

“I think it will be a long race,” he said. “…After a while, the people of the country will say, ‘Look, I’m tired of the circus. I want a candidate who understands my concerns, jobs, opportunities.’ And my real concern about the international threat. I’m addressing those issues and I’m capable of doing that.”

Gilmore said if Virginia law had allowed him to serve more than one term “there wouldn’t have been a budget shortfall” when he left office.

“I’m not concerned about Donald Trump. I’m more concerned about the opportunity…to get my ideas out there, the idea of revitalizing the economy and the deep experience I have to address the international crisis. It’s very real. The danger of the United States is serious,” he said.

“We have multiple challenges at this point because of the weakness of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy. The Obama/Clinton foreign policy has made a dangerous world more dangerous. I believe I can reverse the American decline and get America back on the upswing both in terms of jobs and opportunity and foreign policy.”

Gilmore added that he’s “a little taken aback” by Jeb Bush’s new immigration strategy and “position that he wants to deport five million people who have overstayed their visas. ”

“His signature issue for years has been amnesty. Jeb has been about amnesty. So I think he’s trying to have it both ways. This is both-way Jeb now. If he can take a signature issue he’s cared about so much, amnesty for illegal aliens, then turn on a dime, what will he do as president? Can he be trusted to carry out the things he says he’ll do? I think he’s looking at Trump’s numbers and he’s seen the light but the light is Trump’s poll numbers.”

Gilmore is not registering on the polls, according to the Real Clear Politics average.

Cambridge Cabbies Strike to Protest Uber, Uber Business Spikes [The PJ Tatler]

File this one under “obviously.”

Cabbies in Cambridge, MA, went on strike yesterday for nine hours to protest the business of ride-sharing and the result was a spike in business for Uber while the cabbies refused to drive people around.

“While specific data isn’t available, we’ve seen a meaningful spike in trips beginning in Cambridge,” an Uber spokesman said after the cabbies’ strike ended at 1 p.m.

“That’s OK,” said cab driver Marc Raymond, one of the taxi strike organizers. “You have to lose some to win some.”

I don’t think so — you’ve just introduced a bunch of people who need transportation to a service that is faster, cheaper and cleaner. Not so smart.

Uber Protest

The cabbies took to Cambridge City Hall, jamming up traffic (which I am certain will make them even more sympathetic figures to the public), because they say there is a double standard threatening their livelihood.

Raymond, who has been a taxi driver for 31 years, said he has lost half his business to ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, which are able to operate in the city without having to comply with the same regulations cabbies do or pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a medallion.

“You call that technology?” Raymond said. “Technology is not above the law. They’re a little bit cheaper, but they don’t have to play by the rules.”

People will always look to be efficient in order to maximize their self interest and their bottom line. If someone figured out a way to operate outside the burdensome, costly laws and regulations of a city to their advantage, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Regardless of the roadblocks regulation presents the entrepreneurial folks, someone is going to find a way to get around them and make money. Fact.

The cabs had some support from honking cars but not so much from the Twitter folk.

“Cambridge taxi mindset: ‘To show how much we hate Uber and Lyft, we’ll strike so people will be forced to use Uber and Lyft!’ Genius,” one person tweeted.

Image from Lee McGuire

 

Caitlyn Jenner’s Not Toeing the Liberal Line [The PJ Tatler]

Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce, has become a media darling throughout her public and “courageous” transition from man to woman. However, her story hasn’t fit neatly into the liberal LGBT agenda.

In the above video, Caitlyn speaks out against the welfare state among a group of lefty compatriots. She says, “A lot of times, they can make more [money by] not working [and relying on] social programs than they actually can with an entry-level job.”

The others look visibly uncomfortable as Caitlyn speaks her mind. One responds out of Caitlyn’s earshot, “Caitlyn has every right to be just as conservative as she chooses. But many transgender men and women need social programs to survive.”

More: 

Caitlyn Jenner and the Respect That Trans People Deserve 

 

Camille Paglia Unloads on Feminism, Bill Clinton at Salon and It’s Delicious [The PJ Tatler]

I’m a Paglia addict, which is why I’m so psyched for her 3-part interview series being released by Salonliberal bastion that it is. Dear God, don’t let that turn you off. Read this lesbian atheist’s cultural commentary and you’ll find in it the seeds of the equity feminist movement (fancy lingo for the kind of women’s lib that even conservatives love) that is today being championed by women like Christina Hoff Sommers. Fabulous excerpts include:

The horrible truth is that the feminist establishment in the U.S., led by Gloria Steinem, did in fact apply a double standard to Bill Clinton’s behavior because he was a Democrat. The Democratic president and administration supported abortion rights, and therefore it didn’t matter what his personal behavior was.

The Clinton’s are responsible for the destruction of Monica Lewinsky! They probably hoped that she would just go on and have a job, get married, have children, and disappear, but instead she’s like this walking ghoul.

We’re in a period right now where nobody asks any questions about psychology.  No one has any feeling for human motivation.  No one talks about sexuality in terms of emotional needs and symbolism and the legacy of childhood. Sexuality has been politicized–“Don’t ask any questions!”  “No discussion!” “Gay is exactly equivalent to straight!” And thus in this period of psychological blindness or inertness, our art has become dull. There’s nothing interesting being written–in fiction or plays or movies. Everything is boring because of our failure to ask psychological questions.

The erasure of motherhood from feminist rhetoric has led us to this current politicization of sex talk, which doesn’t allow women to recognize their immense power vis-à-vis men. When motherhood was more at the center of culture, you had mothers who understood the fragility of boys and the boy’s need for nurturance and for confidence to overcome his weaknesses. The old-style country women–the Italian matriarchs and Jewish mothers–they all understood the fragility of men. The mothers ruled their own world and didn’t take men that seriously.  They understood how to nurture men and encourage them to be strong–whereas current feminism simply doesn’t perceive the power of women vis-a-vis men.  But when you talk like this with most men, it really resonates with them, and they say “Yes, yes! That’s it!”

On campus rape: “I wasn’t automatically kowtowing to the standard rhetoric that men are at fault for everything and women are utterly blameless.  I said that my 1960s generation of women had won the right to sexual freedom–but with rights came personal responsibility.  People went crazy! ”

On Emma Sulkowicz, aka the mattress girl of Columbia U: “I call it “mattress feminism.” Perpetually lugging around your bad memories–never evolving or moving on!  It’s like a parody of the worst aspects of that kind of grievance-oriented feminism.”…nd for Columbia to permit this girl to carry her mattress onstage and disrupt the commencement ceremony was absolutely ludicrous. It demonstrates the total degradation of once eminent and admirable educational institutions to caretaking nursery schools.

Her conclusions are as chilling as they are correct. Read the whole interview here.

Arab Media Justifies Attack on French Tourist at Al Aqsa Mosque [The PJ Tatler]

french settler

According to blogger Elder of Ziyon, the Arab media has jumped on the story of an “Israeli extremist” attempting to hoist an Israeli flag over the Dome of the Rock, aka the Temple Mount. Championing the Palestinian worshipers at the scene who attacked the man, the Arab media failed to report that he was not, indeed, an Israeli let alone an “extremist.” Rather, the man being attacked was a French tourist who, according to the blogger, was probably carrying an Israeli flag (or possibly just wearing an Israeli flag lapel pin) purchased as a piece of tourist memorabilia.

Anyone slightly familiar with Israeli culture would recognize the fallacy inherent in the Arab media reports. Religious Jews rarely, if ever approach the Temple Mount. If they do, it is usually in a large group and done intentionally to make a statement. One lone guy? Highly doubtful. Pictures of the supposed Jewish extremist were published revealing a black man wearing a green polo looking rather disoriented (probably because of the head wound he received for walking in the wrong place at the wrong time). In any case, he was not exactly the vision of religious “extremist” Jewry.

How do we know he was a French tourist? Israeli reports, of course. According to one Israeli news outlet, the tourist was a French Christian who displayed the Israeli flag on the Temple Mount. FYI: This is a huge no-no. Sure, Israeli security forces guard the site (and get rocks thrown at them as thanks) but no one is permitted to wave an Israeli flag on Israeli land for fear of “inciting violence” among the locals.

But, as EoZ points out, attacking a French tourist doesn’t play as well as “defending your religious site against Jewish extremists.” So, the entire narrative of the incident was changed in order to suit the Arab media’s political agenda.

Report: Obama Admin Taking the Side of Palestinians Over U.S. Citizens in Terror Case [The PJ Tatler]

The Obama administration is reportedly mulling an intervention next week in a civil lawsuit involving the Palestinian leadership and American victims of Palestinian terror.

Guess which party the administration is siding with?

The lawsuit was filed over a series of bombings and shootings in or around Jerusalem that killed dozens of U.S. citizens during the second Palestinian intifada a decade ago.

The case was delayed for years while Palestinian lawyers tried to challenge the American court’s jurisdiction, but last February the families won a $218.5 million judgment after a seven-week trial in a Manhattan federal court. The jury found that the PLO and Palestinian Authority were responsible for a string of attacks from 2001 to 2004 that killed 33 and injured hundreds.

Unfortunately for the cash-strapped Palestinians, a 1992 law requires damages in cases such as these to be tripled with interest on the award, pushing it to as much as $1.1 billion.

The judgment amounts to nearly a third of the Palestinian Authority’s annual operating budget.

Palestinian leadership say they are not responsible “for the actions of individuals” who killed or wounded Americans, and are appealing the decision.

The Obama administration has reportedly signaled that it will intervene on behalf of the Palestinians in this case over U.S. citizens.

Via Fox News: 

Late last month, the Department of Justice, which had previously not been involved in the 11-year-old case, informed the court it was considering filing a “statement of interest” in the case by Aug. 10, but officials would not elaborate. A source said the Department of Justice was working with the State Department on the matter.

“As the filing states, the United States is considering whether to submit a Statement of Interest in the [Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization] matter,” a DOJ spokeswoman told FoxNews.com. “Any filing would be made on behalf of the United States, not on behalf of any other party.”

The Palestinian leadership would not have to pay the award unless it is upheld on appeal, but U.S. District Judge George Daniels said he may require the Palestinians to post bond while the case works its way through the process to show “some meaningful demonstration that the defendant is ready and willing to pay the judgment.”

 “An administration which claims to be fighting terror is planning to weigh in favor of the terrorists,” Yalowitz told FoxNews.com. “If our government actually came in favor of convicted terrorists, it would be a really sorry statement about the way our government treats terror.”

Note that this is the same administration that is apparently considering charges against a Navy officer for defending himself and other military personnel during a terrorist attack on the Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga, TN, last month. 

It is the same administration that traded five dangerous Taliban commanders for one pot-addled Army deserter in the spring of 2014.

It is the same administration that sides with the Islamist government of Turkey over the secular Kurds who are fighting the ISIS terrorists.

Price of College Textbooks Up Over 1000 Percent Since 1977 [The PJ Tatler]

Via NBC News

Students hitting the college bookstore this fall will get a stark lesson in economics before they’ve cracked open their first chapter. Textbook prices are soaring. Some experts say it’s because they’re sold like drugs.

According to NBC’s review of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, textbook prices have risen over three times the rate of inflation from January 1977 to June 2015, a 1,041 percent increase.

“They’ve been able to keep raising prices because students are ‘captive consumers.’ They have to buy whatever books they’re assigned,” said Nicole Allen, a spokeswoman for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

In some ways, this is similar to a pharmaceutical sales model where the publishers spend their time wooing the decision makers to adopt their product. In this case, it’s professors instead of doctors.

“Professors are not price-sensitive and they then assign and students have no say,” said Ariel Diaz, CEO of Boundless, a free and low-cost textbook publisher.

One component not often discussed is that many, if not most, of those books are authored and/or co-authored by-you guessed it-college professors. Academia is polluted with anti-capitalists who are getting fat off of capitalism. These very same professors are complicit in the skyrocketing costs of education, which they then use to prop up tired wealth redistribution “solutions” for the very problem they created.

In the digital age, there is no sound reason for a college student to be forced to spend $100 or more for something printed on paper. Students all have laptops and Internet access, all the material they need for a class can be made available online at a more manageable cost than a printed textbook.

Maybe the professors getting royalty checks for textbooks can finance Bernie Sanders’ free college plan.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan Resurrects Cap-and-Trade by EPA Rule [The PJ Tatler]

Two years after directing the Environmental Protection Agency to come up with federal carbon limits on power plants, President Obama today announced his new climate change plan with a goal that “by 2030, carbon pollution from our power plants will be 32 percent lower than it was a decade ago.”

In his East Room remarks, Obama rattled off a litany of climate change issues, including “shrinking icecaps forced National Geographic to make the biggest change in its atlas since the Soviet Union broke apart.”

“By definition, I don’t deal with issues if they’re easy to solve, because somebody else has already solved them,” he said. “…But this is one of those rare issues, because of its magnitude, because of its scope, that if we don’t get it right, we may not be able to reverse and we may not be able to adapt sufficiently. There is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change.”

Under the 1,560-page EPA rule, states and tribes would have to ensure that all power plants meet the new emission performance rates from 2022 to 2029 — through methods including emissions trading, aka the cap-and-trade he couldn’t get through Congress in his first term.

“The nerdier way to say that is that we’ll be keeping 870 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution out of our atmosphere,” Obama said. “The simpler, layman’s way of saying that is that it’s like cutting every ounce of emission due to electricity from 108 million American homes, or its the equivalent of taking 166 million cars off the road. By 2030, we will reduce premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90 percent, and thanks to this plan, there will be 90,000 fewer asthma attacks among our children each year.”

Obama said his opponents “will claim that this plan will cost you money, even though this plan, the analysis shows, will ultimately save the average American nearly $85 a year on their energy bills.”

“They’ll claim this plan is a war on coal to scare up votes even as they ignore my plan to actually invest in revitalizing coal country and supporting healthcare and retirement for coal miners and their families and retraining those workers for better paying jobs and healthier jobs,” he said.

“Communities across America have been losing coal jobs for decades. I want to work with Congress to help them, not to use them as a political football. Partisan press releases aren’t going to help those families.”

Tomorrow is Obama’s birthday, and the president said he’s “starting to reflect on age.”

“And folks who are older than me can remember the Cuyahoga River burning because of pollution and acid rain threatening to destroy all of the great forests of the — of the Northeast,” he said. “And you fast-forward 30, 40 years later, and we solved those problems. But at the time, the same characters who are going to be criticizing this plan were saying, ‘This is going to kill jobs. This is going to destroy businesses. This is going to hurt low-income people. It’s going to be wildly expensive.’ And each time, they were wrong.”

Obama claimed that “the only reason that China is now looking at getting serious about its emissions is because they saw that we were going to do it too.”

“…I don’t want my grandkids not to be able to swim in Hawaii or not to be able to climb a mountain and see glacier because we didn’t do something about it. I don’t want millions of people’s lives disrupted and this world more dangerous because we didn’t do something about it. That’d be shameful of us.”

Secretary of State John Kerry quickly praised the rule as “immediate, ambitious action” that is “needed to lower our greenhouse gas emissions and stave off the worst effects of climate change.”

“The President’s Climate Action Plan, including today’s final Clean Power Plan, is already working to comprehensively drive down U.S. emissions, and lead the way for our international partners,” Kerry said. “These actions are all the more critical as we draw closer to the UN climate negotiations in Paris this December.”

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), though, said the administration “has no concern for costs, no concept of reality and no respect for the rule of law.”

“President Obama, and his EPA know that Americans do not support his costly carbon mandates, as most prominently on display when the U.S. Senate expressly rejected such an economically disastrous idea by failing to pass cap-and-trade legislation in 2009,” Inhofe said. “…Despite the president’s rhetoric, the so-called Clean Power Plan will be most harmful to low-income and minority communities. Our seniors will be forced to choose between medical care and meals while paying for a multi-billion dollar rule that has no measurable impact on global warming.”

Inhofe said his committee is working on legislation to counter the EPA and with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on “two Congressional Review Act Resolutions of Disapproval to overturn both the new and existing source rules.”

Uber Battle in New York Shows the Problems and Promise of the Sharing Economy [The PJ Tatler]

The ride sharing app Uber started in New York City barely three years ago and already has 26,000 cars driving for them, compared to just 13,400 city taxis.

AP has an analysis of the advantages and drawbacks for riders, cab drivers, and passengers:

On a muggy summer evening, a woman stood on a midtown Manhattan street corner and switched between raising her hand for a taxi and glancing at her phone, possibly for an Uber car.

“She’s going to take whoever comes first,” yellow cab driver Jatinder Singh speculated as he scouted out the scene.

While New York City riders have increasingly more choices in how to get from here to there with the rise of e-hailing apps — and lawmakers grapple with how to regulate the booming industry — the drivers who keep cars moving are stuck in the middle.

Uber, a service that allows riders to choose a car type and pay by credit card from a mobile phone, has in four years gone from nearly non-existent to more than 26,000 drivers, joining the city’s 13,437 taxis.

Some traditional yellow cab drivers say that since the arrival of Uber, the increased competition has cost them about 30 percent of their earnings.

Uber drivers also have complained the crowded streets are hurting their bottom line, a notion disputed by the company, which is moving forward with a goal of adding 10,000 drivers by the end of the year. The plan alarmed New York City lawmakers who later backed off a plan to cap the number of cars on the street in exchange for ridership data to study the issue.

Uber was recently valued at $50 billion, and they’re going to need those deep pockets. Lawsuits against the company are multiplying as traditional cab companies, drivers, and even customers have attacked the company for a wide variety of perceived abuses. And Uber isn’t the only representative of the new “sharing economy” that has been targeted. Several other companies, including the growing housecleaning service Homejoy, have been hit with lawsuits:

The assault on Homejoy is part of a much larger and increasingly organized attack on sharing economy startups by plaintiffs attorneys, Big Labor and the political left. No less than Hillary Clinton bowed to this movement last month when she lamented that the “so-called ‘gig’ economy” is “raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.”

In the last year such companies as Uber, Lyft, HandyBook, Instacart, Postmates and Try Caviar have been slapped with lawsuits arguing that they have misclassified workers as “independent contractors,” which aren’t covered by most federal and state labor regulations. The lawsuits demand backpay for overtime, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, unpaid meal breaks and business expenses. Homejoy was accused of not providing 30-minute meal breaks every five hours.

This can raise labor costs by upward of 20%, and far more in California where workers-comp premiums exceed 14% of payroll in the transportation industry. Companies with 50 or more full-time workers would also have to provide health insurance under ObamaCare’s employer mandate. Some lawsuits claim that the time workers spend driving to jobs and making phone calls counts as “work” and must be compensated under minimum-wage and overtime laws.

Labor groups are driving this assault because independent contractors can’t unionize. Startups are also disrupting the market for services, providing efficiencies and cost savings that often out-compete unionized businesses.

Lawfare writ large. If you can’t beat ‘em, kill ‘em. The enemies of what some observers are calling “The Next Big Thing” are looking to strangle this derivation of the sharing economy in its infancy.

There are other, more traditional “sharing” aspects to the sharing economy. In Maine, a new tool-sharing company has sprung up, warehousing items like chain saws, drills, even kitchen gadgets and lending them out on a weekly basis to members who pay $50 a year to join. This model is more like the communes of the 1960s and will probably remain small and local.

Google's Project Tango coming to 12 more countries [PCWorld]

Google’s Project Tango tablet development kit is going on sale this month in 12 additional countries.

The tablet and associated tools were released in the U.S. in May, and as of Tuesday they’re now available in South Korea and Canada as well, Google said in a blog post. On Aug. 26, the development kit will also go on sale in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.

While anyone in those countries will be able to buy Project Tango from the Google Play Store, the company stressed that it’s intended right now for developers.

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The International, Valve's $18 million Dota 2 tourney, disrupted by DDoS attack [PCWorld]

It’s day two of The International 2015, Valve’s massive $18 million Dota 2 tournament, and play has ground to a halt in the very first match of the very first round due to a crippling distributed denial of service attack (DDoS).

Just when things started to heat up in match one of the best-of-three competition between Evil Geniuses and compLexity Gaming, the game was suddenly struck by lag and paused soon thereafter. The tourney has been on hold for over 45 minutes now. (Update: It's back in action as of 4:20 P.M. ET.) Fortunately, analysts are filling in the void on the livestream, and host Paul “Redeye” Chaloner just stated on-air that the delay is definitively due to a DDoS attack.

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Salesforce taps Instagram's new API with tailored marketing tools [PCWorld]

Users of Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud on Tuesday gained easier access to Instagram’s roughly 300 million users thanks to an integration made possible by a new API.

Marketers can now use Salesforce’s cloud software to buy and manage Instagram advertising, publish content and offer customer service on the photo and video sharing site, among other capabilities.

Making the new integration possible is Instagram’s Ad API, which was originally announced in June. At the time, the site said it would initially open up the application programming interface just to a select group of Facebook marketing partners and agencies.

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AMD is working on a new Linux graphics driver to catch up with Nvidia [PCWorld]

There’s no doubt about it: AMD’s Linux graphics drivers are behind Nvidia’s, something that will start mattering a lot more when Valve’s first Linux-based Steam Machines start hitting the market this November.

AMD hasn’t turned the ship around yet, and big-name games are still only supporting Nvidia hardware when they launch on Linux. But AMD hasn’t been sitting on its hands. AMD’s developers are working on a new Linux driver architecture that will result in better open-source drivers, too—eventually.

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Victor Vran review: Your loot is your class in this addictive Diablo-like RPG [PCWorld]

You know what? I’m starting to think that the original Diablo III release being a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad game (or at least being perceived that way) was potentially the best thing that could’ve happened to the action-RPG genre.

I mean, it’s tragic that so many people felt they got screwed by Diablo III—and it’s great that Reaper of Souls eventually fixed most of the major issues.

But think about it: Before Diablo III, the action-RPG genre was largely stagnant. Then Diablo III came out, botched its launch, and people started looking around for something to sate those pesky aRPG cravings. From a dev perspective, suddenly Diablo III didn’t seem quite so unassailable. Torchlight blew up, Path of Exile launched, and the Van Helsing series nabbed some fans.

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Nine months after launch, Lollipop is only on 18 percent of Android devices [PCWorld]

Windows 10 will fix the Xbox One’s disastrous UI this November [PCWorld]

The Xbox One menu system will look a lot different this November, when Microsoft moves to Windows 10 as the backbone of the console’s software.

Microsoft has tried to emphasize speed in the new interface. A demo from a couple months ago shows the console zipping through menus, jumping into a game, and quickly launching the friends list in a sidebar menu. It seems like a huge improvement over the current interface, which often takes several seconds to load something as simple as an achievement list.

But the design itself is also a drastic change, looking like an entirely different gaming system and taking cues from the new Xbox app for Windows 10 PCs. The old Windows 8-inspired Live Tiles are gone, and so is the confusing grid-based layout that spread out in both directions from the home screen. When users start the console, they’ll instead see a list of their most recent games and apps, along with any noteworthy updates or friend activity for those titles. Common menu items such as friends lists, messages, and settings now live in a dedicated sidebar menu for convenient access.

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Who goes there? CA will know with Xceedium buy [PCWorld]

In a move to round out its portfolio of enterprise identity management software, CA Technologies is acquiring security software provider Xceedium.

The purchase will allow CA to offer to enterprises more comprehensive coverage of who is allowed on their sensitive networks and systems, according to CA.

Identity management is proving to be an increasingly vital component to securely managing the enterprise. It is the process of assigning each employee or contractor a systems account, and then limiting that user to only those systems that he or she has a legitimate reason to use.

The recent breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management might have been thwarted, for instance, through tighter access controls.

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Office 365's Outlook web interface spruces up with new features and a sleeker look [PCWorld]

Now that Windows 10 is out in the wild, Microsoft’s turning its attention to other services. On Tuesday, the company announced numerous tweaks and new features for the Outlook web interface for Office 365 subscribers—changes designed to please power users and make your email look purdy.

The first thing most people will notice is the fresh coat of paint. The Outlook team says they’ve “made a number of tweaks and improvements throughout the UI for a cleaner look,” such as larger email subject lines and more noticeable Calendar buttons. You’ll also notice a new universal “action bar” spanning Outlook’s Mail, Calendar, People and Task interfaces, which were added to make it quick and easy to launch commonly used commands. You can see it if you peer closely at the image at the top of this article.

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Chrome Beta 45 adds custom tab feature to speed up in-app browsing [PCWorld]

The latest Chrome for Android beta brings to life a feature teased at Google’s I/O conference earlier this year. 

It’s called custom tabs, and while it’s targeted at developers, the feature should help you experience speedier in-app browsing. That’s because it allows developers to specify that a web link goes to a pop-out tab inside of an app. This is less resource intensive than kicking you out to Chrome.

chrome custom tabs Google+

Chrome’s custom tabs are designed to launch web content faster than moving to the browser or using WebView.

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India reverses ban on porn websites [PCWorld]

India has decided to remove a block on porn websites that it introduced over the weekend, but will continue blocking sites that promote child pornography, according to reports.

The country’s order to Internet service providers on Friday to block 857 websites was in response to an observation recently by the country’s Supreme Court that the government had to address the proliferation of pornography on the Internet. The court was hearing a public interest litigation by a private person asking for a ban on pornographic websites.

The government has now decided to issue an order partially withdrawing the ban, according to reports that cited an unnamed top-level source. Government representatives could not be immediately reached for confirmation.

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EFF-led group wants to give do-not-track some bite [PCWorld]

For years now, checking the “do-not-track” option on your browser has been little more than wishful thinking on the part of users who care about privacy online. But now a group led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation is looking to make that a more meaningful action.

The EFF and others have published a standard policy it hopes advertisers, analytics companies and publishers will adopt in order to respect the wishes of users who don’t want to be tracked online. Getting the support needed to make a real difference will be an uphill battle, they acknowledge.

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Halo coming to Windows 10 in 2016... sort of [PCWorld]

Well, PC brethren, you finally got your wish: Halo is coming to the PC again in 2016. Sort of.

Okay, so it’s just Halo Wars 2, a sequel to the 2009 real-time strategy game—it’s not the full-fledged Halo shootathon everyone wants on the PC. And it’s only coming to Windows 10 on PCs—presumably via the Windows Store—as far as anyone can tell from the trailer. Still, I guess it’s something. Here’s the teaser from today’s Microsoft Gamescom press conference:

I’m curious to see how the game turns out on the PC. The previous Halo Wars was developed solely for the Xbox 360 and was criticized for simplifying the real-time strategy genre to fit the constraints of the controller. With PC stalwarts Creative Assembly (of Total War fame) developing the sequel for Windows 10 and Xbox One, hopefully they can find a balance between the depth of a traditional real-time strategy game and something that can be played with a controller. Not the easiest challenge to overcome.

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BitTorrent Sync's cloudless file syncing adds mobile productivity features [PCWorld]

BitTorrent Sync, BitTorrent's "cloudless" cloud storage service, just keeps getting better and better.

The Sync mobile app just got some new features on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone to help make you more productive. For the first time on iOS, you’ll be able to create files and save them to a sync folder. You’ll also have the ability to make edits to a file and have the changes sync back to other users.

As for Android and Windows Phone, advanced users who know their way around a file system can already create, edit, and sync files from mobile. The latest Sync update makes that functionality easier to use so that everyone can enjoy it. The new Sync update is “intended to be a much more native and convenient experience for the user, with deeper integration with the platform,” a BitTorrent spokesperson told us.

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Xbox One is getting over-the-air DVR, with caveats [PCWorld]

Microsoft will add over-the-air DVR support to the Xbox One in 2016, letting users record broadcast channels for free.

The news follows Microsoft’s launch of an official Xbox One TV tuner for the U.S. market last May, and a tuner for European markets last fall. With DVR capabilities, users can record major broadcast channels such as ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox without a cable TV subscription. They’ll also be able to stream those recordings over Wi-Fi to phones, tablets, and PCs, or use those devices to schedule recordings remotely. Windows 10 users can even store recordings on a phone, tablet, or PC for offline playback.

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Parrot backs off plan to sell Android Auto, CarPlay systems to consumers [PCWorld]

Senate heads toward vote on CISA cyberthreat info sharing bill [PCWorld]

The U.S. Senate could take a preliminary vote as soon as Wednesday on a controversial bill intended to encourage businesses to share cyberthreat information with each other and with government agencies, despite concerns that the legislation would allow the widespread sharing of personal customer data.

Senate leaders are attempting to iron out compromise language to address privacy concerns in the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), but if no compromise is reached Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will schedule a so-called cloture vote on Wednesday morning, said a spokesman for McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.

A cloture vote would limit debate on the bill and move the Senate toward final passage, potentially before the Senate leaves for a four-week summer recess this weekend.

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EFF’s new Do Not Track standard seeks to stop sneaky data collection [PCWorld]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and privacy firm Disconnect are trying to make “Do Not Track” more meaningful with some clear rules for the web to follow.

The new policy seeks to stop websites and advertisers from tracking users through cookies, fingerprints, and supercookies when users enable the Do Not Track setting in their browsers. Most notably, the policy makes clear that websites should not even collect this data for themselves, let alone use it to track users across the web. (Some exceptions apply, such as collecting data to comply with the law, or to complete an online purchase.)

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SanDisk, Toshiba reveal world's highest capacity 3D NAND flash chips [PCWorld]

SanDisk announced today that it is manufacturing 256Gbit, 3-bit-per-cell (X3) 48-layer 3D NAND flash chips that offer twice the capacity of the next densest memory.

SanDisk is currently printing pilot chips in its Yokkaichi, Japan fab in conjunction with its partner, Toshiba.

Last year, Toshiba and SanDisk announced their collaboration on the new fab wafer plan, saying they would use the facility exclusively for three dimensional “V-NAND” NAND flash wafers.

At the time of the announcement, the companies reported the collaboration would be valued at about $4.84 billion when construction of the plant and its operations were figured in.

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Apple falls to third in China smartphone rankings, while Xiaomi vaults ahead [PCWorld]

Xiaomi regained its position as China’s leading smartphone vendor in the second quarter, while Apple fell to third place despite increased sales of its iPhones.

Xiaomi took 15.9 percent of the Chinese market in the April-to-June quarter, according to research firm Canalys, followed by Huawei, which had 15.7 percent and was the fastest growing vendor.

It’s an impressive feat for both Xiaomi and Huawei. China is the world’s biggest smartphone market and competition is more fierce than ever, with Apple, Samsung, and dozens of smaller local vendors all fighting for a bigger piece of the pie.

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Can't find a Windows 10 feature? Ask Cortana for help [PCWorld]

Coming to Windows 10 from Windows 7 can be quite a shock to the system. Even though I’d argue that Windows 10 is a better experience overall, it can be difficult at first to confront Windows Store apps and the slow demise of the Control Panel. Not to mention that Microsoft has moved features and settings around a bit, requiring you to relearn where all the “furniture” is even if you’re coming from the relatively recent Windows 8.1.

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Acer's insanely cheap Windows 10 Cloudbooks take aim at Chromebooks [PCWorld]

Acer isn’t wasting any time with rolling out its low-priced Windows 10 notebooks.

On Tuesday, the Taiwan-based computer maker announced the new Aspire One Cloudbook series,and it’s aimed squarely at the Chromebook crowd. Acer is starting with 11- and 14-inch models dubbed the Cloudbook 11 and Cloudbook 14, with prices starting at $169 and $199 respectively. The 11 rolls out in the U.S. this month with the 14 to follow in September. A specific launch date was not announced.

With prices as low as they are, it should come as no surprise that you get what you pay for with these clamshells—luxury road warrior toys these are not. Both laptops come with Intel Celeron processors, 2GB of RAM, and 1366-by-768 resolution. The 11 comes with either 16GB or 32GB storage, and the 14-inch comes in 32GB or 64GB configurations. 

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Cleaning up botnets takes years to complete—if ever [PCWorld]

In late 2008, a worm called Conficker began infecting millions of computers, startling the computer security community into action.

Conficker’s quick spread was so alarming that an organization was formed called the Conficker Working Group that was tasked with stopping the botnet and finding its creators.

Many countries also formed their own groups that worked with Internet service providers to remove infections from users’ computers. But seven years later, there are still about 1 million computers around the world infected with the malware despite the years-long cleanup effort.

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Yahoo tackles large malicious ad campaign in its network [PCWorld]

Yahoo said Monday it had removed malware from its advertising network, after malicious code there had gone undetected for at least six days.

Security researchers at Malwarebytes said they discovered malicious ads planted in Yahoo’s network on Sunday and alerted Yahoo. The malware attack had been underway since last Tuesday, wrote Jerome Segura, a senior security researcher at Malwarebytes Labs.

The malware was found in Yahoo’s ads network at ads.yahoo.com, which runs ads across Yahoo’s sites like its finance, games and news portals, as well as Yahoo.com. Users may have come across the infected ads when visiting Yahoo’s sites.

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Why SMS is still the best way to message with others from your smartphone [PCWorld]

Plain ol' texting still beats out jumping between five different instant messaging apps to reach all your contacts.

The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Tuesday, August 4 [PCWorld]

Google has already started its own car company

Turns out that even while Google has been sweet-talking automakers to get its software platform into their cars, it had set up a subsidiary to compete with them, the Guardian reports. Google Auto LLC is registered as a passenger vehicle manufacturer, and was licensed last year as a carmaker in California. It’s run by Chris Urmson, project lead for Google’s self-driving cars. Google wouldn’t talk to the Guardian, which uncovered the company registration via documents it requested under the public records act.

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Everything you need to know about Rich Communication Services (RCS) [PCWorld]

This robust messaging standard will super charge your text messages. Here's why you want it.

Acer's new Windows 10 laptops arrive with Chromebook-like prices [PCWorld]

Acer has come out with new Windows 10 laptops, and they’ll arrive with low prices to compete against Google’s Chromebooks.

The Aspire One Cloudbook series was announced on Tuesday, and it comes in two screen sizes, 11-inch and 14-inch. The smaller laptop will start at US$169, while the latter will be priced at $199.

That puts them in the same price range as Chromebooks, which have been competing against Windows PCs. Although Microsoft’s operating system still dominates the PC market, Google’s Chrome OS has been seeing rising adoption.

Like the Chromebooks, Acer’s new Windows 10 laptops will also leverage cloud-based software, but from Microsoft. Both laptops come with a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, and at least 100 GB of online storage through Microsoft OneDrive.

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Trust no one: How caller ID spoofing has ruined the simple phone call [PCWorld]

I was walking through San Francisco when my phone buzzed. No caller ID, but the phone number was local, so I picked it up. Calling the man on the other end “irate” would be an understatement.

"Stop. Calling. Me." He bit off every word in anger.

Taken aback, I managed an eloquent, "Excuse me?"

"You keep calling me from this number," he said. "Stop it."

I knew what had happened, but it took five minutes to convince "George" (not his real name) that I was not the telemarketer who kept calling him using my number. He had already filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, and I let him know that I would do the same.

The plain old telephone has become a significant security problem. While security experts tend to focus on online fraud, fraud via the phones has skyrocketed. In 2014, 54 percent of complaints to the Federal Trade Commission concerned companies contacting consumers by phone, up from 40 percent in 2013. Identity theft, attempts to collect fraudulent debts and scammers posing as someone else are the top types of fraud, according to the FTC report.

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Microsoft updates program to encourage diversity in partner law firms [PCWorld]

Microsoft has overhauled a program for promoting diversity at the law firms it works with, to promote higher representation for lawyers of different minority groups in the firms’ leadership ranks.

The company’s Law Firm Diversity Program has been changed to offer bonuses to 15 law firms it works with, based on how many attorneys in positions of power are female, from racial and ethnic minorities, openly LGBT, people with disabilities or military veterans.

Microsoft started the program 7 years ago and originally offered firms a 2 percent bonus on their billings if a set percentage of the hours they billed to the company were worked by diverse attorneys.

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Richard Schweiker, RIP [Power Line]

(Steven Hayward)

I neglected to note yesterday the passing of another significant figure, former Pennsylvania Senator and HHS Secretary Richard Schweiker. He became a person of special prominence in 1976 when Ronald Reagan announced he’d pick Schweiker—who had a reputation as a very liberal Republican—if he (Reagan) wrested the nomination away from Gerald Ford. Many conservatives were appalled, but when Schweiker became HHS Secretary in 1981, he turned out to be a true-blue (the color we used in those days before we started using red) conservative, and stalwart Reaganite. Reagan had that effect on people. Remember that Caspar Weinberger was a Rockefeller Republican in California who opposed Reagan’s gubernatorial ambitions in 1966, but he came around quickly.

Here’s my account of the Schweiker gambit in 1976 from Volume 1 of my Age of Reagan:

It was evident on the eve of the convention that neither man had enough delegates to assure nomination on the first ballot. Delegate counts varied, with the New York Times giving Ford 1,102 to Reagan’s 1,063, with 1,130 needed to win. This circumstance clearly favored Ford, though Ford’s people knew that if they didn’t win on the first ballot (presumably through the abstention of a handful of delegates), many wavering delegates would break for Reagan on the second. Reagan’s campaign knew it, too. Ford’s full court press was even succeeding in peeling away a few Reagan delegates on the eve of the convention. Reagan’s only chance to win was some kind of Hail Mary play to woo uncommitted delegates or extend the voting to a second ballot.

John Sears thought he had the answer. Reagan should name his running mate in advance of the convention. Since Reagan was strong in the south and the west, political calculus suggested that a running mate from the upper midwest or northeast would help Reagan most in a general election. Some weeks earlier Reagan had instructed his senior campaign staff to begin vetting potential running mates, so the campaign already had its “A” list underway. Sears own first choice was even more audacious than the tactic itself: Nelson Rockefeller! It is doubtful Rockefeller could have been persuaded, but the matter was moot. Sen. Paul Laxalt knew the idea would be a non-starter. Other names of political figures from the northeast were considered, including a young second-term congressman from Buffalo, Jack Kemp, and former Attorney General William Ruckelshaus. Kemp was rejected as too young and unknown. Rucklelshaus was not entirely ruled out, but Sears zeroed in on what he considered a better prospect: Pennsylvania Senator Richard Schweiker. In addition to his geographical attractiveness, Sears thought Schweiker could peel away as many as 70 of Pennsylvania’s convention delegates (47 of Pennsylvania’s delegates were officially “uncommitted” at that point, though thought to be leaning to Ford)—enough to put Reagan over the top. Sears and Sen. Paul Laxalt arranged to meet Schweiker in Washington, where they popped the question. Schweiker, who didn’t even know how to pronounce Reagan’s name correctly (he kept referring to him as “Ree-gun”), accepted.

The next step was convincing Reagan to make the offer formally. Sears and Laxalt had gone to Schweiker and offered him the second spot without Reagan’s knowledge! The trouble with Schweiker is that he was known as a liberal Republican, siding so solidly with organized labor that he was the only Senator to receive a 100 percent rating from the AFL-CIO in 1975.   Schweiker was arguably as liberal as Jimmy Carter’s running mate, Sen. Walter Mondale. His vote rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), 89 percent, was identical to Sen. George McGovern. Like McGovern, Schweiker had opposed the Vietnam War, voted against Nixon’s missile defense plan, against two of Nixon’s Supreme Court appointments, and in favor of overriding all 14 of Nixon’s vetoes (for which he earned himself a place on Nixon’s infamous “enemies list”). He voted against Ford’s program to deregulate energy markets, and in favor of breaking up “big oil.” He was also a notorious big spender, having voted repeatedly to raise federal spending, and even co-sponsoring the original liberal Humphrey-Hawkins full employment act (the bill that Reagan had said a few weeks earlier was “a design for fascism”). No wonder McGovern was able to remark later that if Schweiker didn’t make it onto a Reagan-led GOP ticket, he could succeed McGovern as president of the ADA. A more incompatible running mate for Ronald Reagan could hardly be conceived if central casting had been asked to fill the spot with a total opposite. Murray Kempton summarized the problem memorably: “While Rockefeller groaned for pardon of his seldom ardent and long ago renounced traffickings with the liberals, Schweiker was writhing unashamedly at their orgies.”

But Schweiker opposed gun control, opposed abortion, and was always in the forefront of Captive Nations resolutions in Congress (which tacitly put him in the anti-Kissinger camp), which gave him just enough cultural conservative credentials, Sears and Laxalt thought, to be acceptable. But there was Reagan’s professed antipathy toward traditional notions of “ticket balancing.” “I do not believe,” Reagan had said during the primaries, “you choose someone of an opposite philosophy in hopes he’ll get you some votes you can’t get yourself, because that’s being false with the people who vote for you and your philosophy.” Just a few days before meeting Schweiker for the first time, Reagan had reiterated the point even more forcefully when asked by reporters what the reaction would be if Ford picked another northeastern liberal like Rockefeller to be his running mate. “It would be a foolish mistake,” Reagan said. “Ford would lose the South, and a lot of Republicans might not work for him.” Yet now Reagan was to contemplate the same maneuver.

Sears, Laxalt, and Schweiker quickly arranged to see Reagan in Los Angeles. Schweiker flew out incognito under the name of one of his Senate office staff members. As Schweiker waited in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Sears and Laxalt made the case to Reagan at his Pacific Palisades home. Reagan liked the sound of the idea, and wanted to meet Schweiker immediately.

Schweiker and Reagan talked for six hours the following day. Reagan took an instant liking to Schweiker, especially his religious convictions (Schweiker was a Catholic) and his family values. (Schweiker was the father of five.) Schweiker assured Reagan that he could support Reagan’s positions in the campaign and as Vice President. He further assured Reagan that he was not at heart a big spender, and favored private sector solutions to social problems. “You know, I have a strong feeling,” Reagan told Schweiker, “that I’m looking at myself some years ago” (apparently referring to his own liberal past). Schweiker said, “Well, I’m no knee-jerk liberal.” Reagan replied: “And I’m no knee-jerk extremist.” At that point Reagan formally offered Schweiker the Vice Presidential nomination.

Reagan publicly announced his selection of Schweiker a week later, just days before the GOP convention opened in Kansas City. As expected, all hell broke loose, but mostly against Reagan. Time magazine described the move as “one of the most astonishing and bizarre turnabouts in a campaign full of surprises.” Ford didn’t believe the news when he first heard it. “I thought someone was pulling my leg,” Ford said later. Reagan’s campaign was startled by the vehemence with which conservatives reacted against Schweiker, and Reagan was on the defensive. “I am not going to pretend, nor is he, that in every area we are in complete agreement,” Reagan said on August 6. “He has represented a blue collar constituency, essentially a labor constituency, but I have found that when principle dictated going counter to that he was not a rubber stamp for them.” How was Reagan’s selection of Schweiker any different that Ford’s selection of Rockefeller? Or of Carter’s selection of Walter Mondale? The latter comparison did the most damage, and the Reagan campaign hastily composed memos to show that Schweiker’s Senate voting record was not indistinguishable from Mondale’s.

The whole point of the conservative movement starting with Goldwater was to purge the northeastern wing of the Republican Party, and here was Reagan giving the liberal wing a seat near the head of the table. Furthermore, the Schweiker pick would give Ford more latitude to select a liberal running mate—perhaps even to bring back the dreaded Rockefeller. Angry letters from Reagan supporters flooded the campaign office in Los Angeles. One letter, written with the thick script of a black marker, simply said, “Dear Governor Reagan: Schweiker?!?! For God’s sake!!!” Conservatives leaders were no less harsh. Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus blasted Reagan, saying Reagan had “betrayed the trust of those who look to him for leadership.” Sen. Jesse Helms swallowed hard and stuck with Reagan, calling the Schweiker pick “a coalition with the widest wingspan in all history.” George Will was less charitable, writing that Mondale’s liberalism “is a sliver more or less advanced than Schweiker’s (more or less, depending on whose micrometer does the measuring). . . If the Reagan-Schweiker ticket is a political coalition, then sauerkraut ice cream is a culinary coalition.” Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde likened the move to “a farmer selling his last cow to buy a milking machine,” while Mississippi Congressman Trent Lott switched from Reagan to Ford in anger over the Schweiker pick. “It’s the dumbest thing I ever heard of,” said Congressman John Ashbrook. James Jackson Kilkpatrick wrote in National Review: “In that last misjudgment, no matter how plausible it seemed in conception, Reagan lost his purity; he was no longer Galahad in quest of the Holy Grail, but Lancelot panting for Guinevere.” It didn’t help that Jimmy Carter said “I think he [Schweiker] is a good man.” And the Washington Post praised Schweiker’s pick, calling the move “dazzling” and “wise.” How could Reagan square this pick with his aforementioned attacks on “ticket-balancing”? “I got in this to win an election,” Reagan replied tersely. “It was time to reach our hands across the border.”

Reagan’s strategists thought it was possible they might lose some southern delegates, and sure enough, the Mississippi delegation, hitherto tenuously pledged to Reagan, seized upon the Schweiker pick to defect to Ford, which its leader, Clarke Reed, had wanted to do anyway. Meanwhile, the expected gains among northeastern delegations failed to materialize. Schweiker couldn’t budge any Pennsylvania delegates, despite four telephone conversations the leader of the delegation, Drew Lewis, who was a close friend of Schweiker’s. (Both Schweiker and Lewis would serve in President Reagan’s cabinet in 1981.) Despite his friendship with Schweiker, Lewis stuck firmly with Ford and lost only one delegate to Reagan.

The Schweiker gambit was widely perceived for what it was—an act of desperation. Although it failed to break the delegate hunt in Reagan’s favor, it nonetheless kept the drama of the convention alive when otherwise it might have been over before it began.

The Immigration Onslaught Continues [Power Line]

(John Hinderaker)

We are in the midst of the biggest influx of immigrants in our country’s history. In the next ten years, under current law, the federal government will issue 10 million green cards–more than the combined populations of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. This chart is courtesy of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration:

image002

Subcommittee staff explains the significance of green cards, the large majority of which will go to low-skill workers:

Each year, millions of visas are issued to temporary workers, foreign students, refugees, asylees, and permanent immigrants for admission into the United States. The lion’s share of these visas are for lesser-skilled and lower-paid workers and their dependents who, because they are here on work-authorized visas, are added directly to the same labor pool occupied by current unemployed jobseekers. Expressly because they are admitted into the U.S. on legal immigrant visas, most will be able to draw a wide range of taxpayer-funded benefits, and corporations will be allowed to directly substitute these workers for Americans. Improved border security would have no effect on the continued arrival of these new foreign workers, refugees, and permanent immigrants—because they are all invited here by the federal government.

The most significant of all immigration documents issued by the U.S. is, by far, the “green card.” When a foreign citizen is issued a green card it guarantees them the following benefits inside the United States: lifetime work authorization, access to federal welfare, access to Social Security and Medicare, the ability to obtain citizenship and voting privileges, and the immigration of their family members and elderly relatives.

The current immigration regime is unprecedented in our history:

The post-World War II boom decades of the 1950s and 1960s averaged together less than 3 million green cards per decade—or about 285,000 annually. Due to lower immigration rates, the total foreign-born population in the United States dropped from about 10.8 million in 1945 to 9.7 million in 1960 and 9.6 million in 1970.

These lower midcentury immigration levels were the product of a federal policy change: after the last period of large-scale immigration that had begun in roughly 1880, immigration rates were lowered to reduce admissions. The foreign-born share of the U.S. population fell for six consecutive decades, from 1910 through 1960.

The 1965 immigration legislation for which Ted Kennedy was largely responsible, was sold to Americans under false pretenses. It established a new regime, in which Third World immigration was prioritized and family connections valued over any benefit an immigrant might bring to the United States:

Legislation enacted in 1965, among other factors, substantially increased low-skilled immigration. Since 1970, the foreign-born population in the United States has increased more than four-fold—to a record 42.1 million today. The foreign-born share of the population has risen from fewer than 1 in 21 in 1970, to presently approaching 1 in 7.

As the supply of available labor has increased, so too has downward pressure on wages. Georgetown and Hebrew University economics professor Eric Gould has observed that “the last four decades have witnessed a dramatic change in the wage and employment structure in the United States… The overall evidence suggests that the manufacturing and immigration trends have hollowed-out the overall demand for middle-skilled workers in all sectors, while increasing the supply of workers in lower skilled jobs. Both phenomena are producing downward pressure on the relative wages of workers at the low end of the income distribution.”

How anyone could consider this a good thing for America is beyond me. And, of course, the millions of illegal immigrants that the Obama administration encourages to come to the U.S. are above and beyond the legal immigration described here. When did Americans vote for these extreme immigration policies? We didn’t. But we had better vote them out, or it will soon be too late.

Robert Conquest, RIP [Power Line]

(Steven Hayward)

Sad news this hour of the passing of the great historian Robert Conquest, at the age of 98. Conquest surely deserves to be counted among the top five most important historians of Communism and the Soviet Union in our time. His book The Great Terror, about the Soviet purges and deliberate famine policy of the 1930s, made it impossible for anyone to deny the essential character of Stalin’s regime. But leftists tried anyway. As the Wall Street Journal explains in its new story:

Mr. Conquest’s master work, “The Great Terror,” was the first detailed account of the Stalinist purges from 1937 to 1939. He estimated that under Stalin, 20 million people perished from famines, Soviet labor camps and executions—a toll that eclipsed that of the Holocaust. Writing at the height of the Cold War in 1968, when sources about the Soviet Union were scarce, Mr. Conquest was vilified by leftists who said he exaggerated the number of victims. When the Cold War ended and archives in Moscow were thrown open, his estimates proved high but more accurate than those of his critics.

The Daily Telegraph offers more essential details on this remarkable man:

Conquest personified the truth that there was no anti-communist so dedicated as an ex-communist. His career illustrated also what the Italian writer Ignazio Silone, another former communist, meant when he said to the communist leader Palmiro Togliatti that “the final battle” of the 20th century would have to be fought between the two sides they represented.

An ardent Bolshevik as a young man, Conquest became a bitter foe of Soviet “Socialism”. He had first visited Russia in 1937 as a youthful devotee of the great experiment. It was a half century before he returned in 1989, having spent his life between chronicling the horrors the country had endured, and emerging, in the view of the Oxford historian Mark Almond, as “one of the few Western heroes of the collapse of Soviet Communism”. “He was Solzhenitsyn before Solzhenitsyn,” said Timothy Garton Ash.

RIP.

Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2005.

Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2005.

Speaking of the Iran deal (12) [updated with video] [Power Line]

(Scott Johnson)

Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke via live webcast this afternoon about our deal with Iran. I understand that the recorded video will be available later this afternoon. If it is embeddable I will post it here. Please check back later.

The webcast was sponsored by and addressed to supporters of the Jewish Federations of North America. Thousands tuned in. The show got on the road 30 minutes later than scheduled. I found the webcast glitchy. I listened in via cellphone whenever the webcast paused. I deleted the previous version of this post embedding the live webcast because it was so glitchy. My apologies for any inconvenience to readers.

Even though Netanyahu said nothing new in substance, I found the webcast worth waiting for. Netanyahu’s brief remarks responded forcefully to positions asserted by President Obama and administration officials since the final deal was announced. “Only yesterday we were told no deal is better than a bad deal,” Netanyahu said (roughly according to my memory). “Now we are told it’s this bad deal or war.” Netanyahu also made it clear, however, that this bad deal would be highly likely to lead to war.

While waiting for the video, I recommend Victor Davis Hanson’s outstanding column on the possibility of Israeli preemptive action. It is the perfect supplement to Netanyahu’s webcast.

UPDATE: The video is below.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office has posted the text of his remarks here. The New York Times reports on the webcast here, CNN here, the Jerusalem Post here, and Breitbart here.

5th Planned Parenthood Video Discusses “Intact Fetal Cadavers” [Power Line]

(Steven Hayward)

I have suspected from the beginning that the ten or more videos of Planned Parenthood personnel discussing the selling of infant organs would get progressively worse (for PP), and there have been rumors that one or more might contain evidence of intact fetal cadavers or even confirmation of a live birth terminated outside the womb (what normal people would call “infanticide”).

Today the Center for Medical Progress released the fifth video in its series, where a Planned Parenthood ghoul does indeed discuss how to handle transactions involving intact fetal cadavers, whose pricing is “just matter of line items.” The PP person also uses the phrase, “We bake that into our contract. . .”  Bake? Curious word choice. Make of that what you will.

This one is about 15 minutes long, and is as hard to watch as the others.

“Women Betrayed” Rally [Wizbang]

“I support the rights of women, but I don’t think that means we should be required to secure our liberation from the blood of our children.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What’s it going to take? [Wizbang]

We all lead busy lives… we all have different passions… we all see the world through our own filtration systems and perspectives and so it makes sense that in many respects, our priorities will be different, our order of things important distinct and dissimilar. Despite those differences however, there ought to be some things that rise to the top of what we as humans deem to be significant and meaningful and one would think that one of those significant and meaningful things, despite our diversity in passions and perspectives, is in fact not a thing at all. We call them

More Trouble for Democrat Congressman Chaka Fattah [Wizbang]

“The House Ethics Committee is opening an investigation into whether Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) violated House rules related to the alleged bribery and money laundering charges for which he was indicted.” – TheHill.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . To learn about the depth of the corruption centered on Fattah, read the Philadelphia Inquirer story

While the Dentist Hides, the ‘Italian Huntress’ Flaunts Her Exotic Animal Hunting Prowess.. and more! [Wizbang]

There is one big game hunter who is working to stand out from the crowd, and that is Sabrina Corgatelli, the "Italian Huntress."

Bobby Jindal: “Sanctuary City Mayors Should be Arrested” [Wizbang]

Bobby Jindal one-upped Donald Trump on Monday. Trump is making his moves on illegal immigration, Jindal came out against sanctuary cities ...

Confused About Your Gender? Simple: Join the Military [Wizbang]

Is it any wonder the Army is going to have a big miss in their recruitment goals?

John Boehner Can’t Find Votes to Keep Him as Speaker: Let the Crying Begin [Wizbang]

It's going to be a looooooong hot summer and the entire House Republican caucus is going to be feeling the heat.

The DNC’s Sergeant Schultz [Wizbang]

Debbie Wasserman Schultz doesn’t seem to know the answer to an important question about her own party. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A World Turned Upside Down [Wizbang]

So even before the news and social media degraded and humiliated themselves by going into hysterics over the death of Cecil the lion while covering up or excusing Planned Parenthood’s butchery and sale of human babies, I’ve had cause to reflect on human-animal relationships.

Bullets & Bourbon News [Ed Driscoll]

Nina Yablok (aka PJM’s attorney, aka Mrs. Ed Driscoll) who’s been organizing the Bullets & Bourbon event in the Dallas Fort Worth area coming this December featuring Glenn, Dana Loesch, Ed Morrissey, Kevin D. Williamson, Roger L. Simon, Steve Green and Mark Rippetoe is scheduled to appear on Michael Graham’s radio show at 10:45 eastern/7:45 pacific tomorrow morning on Atlanta’s News Radio 106.7 FM. Tune in here to listen online; for more on Bullets & Bourbon (we’d love to see you attend), click here.

Is Air Con Sexist? [Guido Fawkes]

Meanwhile, over at Sky News, good to see they are fully embracing the silly season spirit with a discussion on whether office air con is sexist:

“Often in offices, it is men who control temperatures…”


Tagged: Media Guido, Silly Season, Sky News

Guardianisation of Buzzfeed Continues [Guido Fawkes]

The Guardian’s head of news is the latest to twig that former colleagues who’ve jumped to Buzzfeed are getting paid more money for less work:

Millar joins Janine Gibson and James Ball as part of the ongoing exodus from Kings Place to their more productivity-relaxed internet alter ego.

\ (•◡•) /\ (•◡•) /\ (•◡•) /


Tagged: BuzzFeed, Guardian, Media Guido

Ted Heath’s Whip Boasts of Paedo Cover Up [Guido Fawkes]

“Anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to the whips and tell them the truth, and say now, “I’m in a jam, can you help?” It might be debt, it might be a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal which a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help. And if we could, we did. We would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points. That sounds a pretty nasty reason but one of the reasons is, if we can get a chap out of trouble, he’ll do as we ask forever more.”

The words of former Tory MP Tim Fortescue. Who was appointed a government whip in 1970, by one Edward Heath


Tagged: Crime, Crime Must Not Pay, GuyNews.TV, Tories

Conflicted Yentob Slammed “Horrendous” BBC “Innuendo” [Guido Fawkes]

£330,000-a-year BBC bore Alan Yentob has been caught allegedly trying to block Beeb journalists from invesitgating Kids Company, the scandal-hit charity of which he is chairman. Yentob apparently “telephoned Newsnight staff hours before it aired” and tried to “influence the direction” of the story. A pretty massive conflict of interest, exposed in this denial Yentob issued about the original Kids Company allegations:

“Let me be clear. There was no financial mismanagement. Our books have been audited and we passed every audit with no concerns raised. What we have is a shortage of funds, which arises because children self-refer and our policy has been that no child should be turned away. You could say it’s an unsustainable policy, but it’s been sustainable for 18 years. There is no doubt in my mind that Camila has been unfairly vilified. The gossip and innuendo that she has had to deal with have been horrendous.”

On top of the alleged financial impropriety, police are investigating darker claims of sexual abuse by Kids Company staff members being covered up. Tory backbenchers are already calling for Yentob’s head…


Tagged: BBC, Media Guido

About This Post-Capitalism Thing? [Guido Fawkes]

post-capitalism

One thing is troubling Guido about the otherwise enjoyable PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason. If, as he argues, goods and services no longer respond to the dictates of neo-liberalism as parallel currencies and time banks, cooperatives and self-managed online spaces flourish with vast numbers of people changing their behaviour, discovering new forms of ownership, lending and doing business that are distinct from, and contrary to, the current system of state-backed corporate capitalism, why is he selling the book on Amazon?

Why didn’t he upload the text to a self-managed online space? Not very “post-capitalist” is it?

Boris Collapse: Third in Tory Leader Poll [Guido Fawkes]

More bad news for Boris in the monthly ConHome next Tory leader survey. Osborne tops the poll for the first time and BoJo slips to third, behind Saj. The first time Boris has been outside of the top two for two years…


Tagged: ConHome, Poll, Tories

Owen Jones: Then and Now [Guido Fawkes]

Owen Jones, 4 May 2015: “Russell Brand has endorsed Labour – and the Tories should be worried.”

Owen Jones, 4 August 2015: “The Right are mocking Jeremy Corbyn because they fear him.”

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…


Tagged: Guardian, Loony Left, Media Guido, New Statesman

One Term Burnham [Guido Fawkes]

In a less than subtle dig at veteran Jeremy Corbyn, Andy Burnham tells GQ that MPs should stand down after 25 years:

“I think modern politics is intense – it’s changed in my 14 years in Parliament. I always felt I would give it my all for 20, 25 years. Never put a time limit on it but then maybe finish off my career by doing something different. If you’ve had a seat for 25 years, people should let some new thinking in.”

Hang on a minute.

Andy Burnham was elected to parliament in 2001.

If he wins the Labour leadership and wins the general election, admittedly big ifs, he would become Prime Minister in 2020.

Yet sticking to his rule of standing down after 25 years in the Commons, that means Burnham would have to quit in 2026. So he would only be able to serve one term as PM.

Further proof he can’t do maths


Tagged: Labour Leadership, Labour Party

Guido’s Fashion Tips: Labour Leadership Edition [Guido Fawkes]

Where does Andy Burnham buy his suits? GQ have asked the big question:

“God, do I have to… This is going to get me in trouble. It’s an Armani suit, this one. [Is it off the peg?] Oh God, yeah. To redeem myself a little bit, I only ever go in the sale time. Boxing Day every year, I take myself off and get two suits at half the price of what they normally are.”

A typical Armani Collezione suit made from virgin wool will set you back the best part of a grand. Burnham insisted his other suits are only Jaeger, where a navy wool mohair modern suit, not dissimilar to the one he is wearing above, costs a mere £700. Liverpool has over a dozen bespoke tailors, man of t’people Andy has his made in Milan…

The Telegraph have meanwhile located Jeremy Corbyn’s vest supplier, Ali Rifat of B&H Quality and Underwear and Socks in Nag’s Head market. He sells ’em to Jez for £1.50…


Tagged: Cash, Guido's Fashion Tips, Labour Leadership, Labour Party

Thought for the Day [VodkaPundit]

Cleanup on Orbit Five [VodkaPundit]

(Image courtesy Space.com)

(Image courtesy Space.com)

What to do with all the manmade debris cluttering up our orbital space and endangering our satellites? Send Space Pac-Man up there to gobble it up:

A new entry to de-litter Earth orbit is the CleanSpace One project, spearheaded by researchers from eSpace, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s (EPFL) Center for Space Engineering and Signal Processing 5 Laboratory and HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland.

Their intent is to trap a small satellite — SwissCube — tossed into space in late 2009. SwissCube is a joint cubesat project of various laboratories at EPFL and universities in Switzerland.

This small cubesat-type satellite, measures just 4 inches by 4 inches (10 centimeters by 10 centimeters). Barring an unforeseen event, SwissCube’s demise has been programmed for 2018.

The size of SwissCube makes it tough to grasp, but it also has darker and lighter parts that reflect sunlight differently, explains Christophe Paccolat, a PhD student working on the concept.

CleanSpace One could be launched as early as 2018 in collaboration with the company S3, headquartered in Payerne. The engineering team is reporting a major step forward in designing an approach and capture system — a so-called “Pac-Man” solution.

The prototype CleanSpace One resembles a net in the form of a cone that unfolds and then closes back down once it has captured the small satellite. It will trap the small satellite and the two would combust together in the atmosphere.

It’s no WALL·E but it’s still worth looking into.

IRAN CLAIM: US Breaking Nuke Deal [VodkaPundit]

Lando'd again. (Image courtesy Lucasfilm)

Lando’d again.
(Image courtesy Lucasfilm)

This deal keeps getting worse all the time:

The complaint alleges that Mr. Earnest’s comments about the possible use of military force against Iran and the U.S. use of nuclear inspections to gain intelligence on Iran’s nuclear facilities constitute a “material breach” of the nuclear deal itself, Breitbart News reported Monday.

The complaint notes that the deal does not allow the U.S. to use the IAEA to gain intelligence.

The text of the deal itself states that any of the parties can treat “significant nonperformance” of the agreement “as grounds to cease performing its commitments.”

Of course.

Summer Reading Assignment, Iran Edition [VodkaPundit]

So Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has written a charming little book about how to destroy Israel:

Khamenei isn’t suggesting that he’ll simply push a button and sink Israel into the Mediterranean. Oh no—he’s planning on dragging this out in the worst way possible.

Khamenei insists that he is not recommending “classical wars” to wipe Israel off the map. Nor does he want to “massacre the Jews.” What he recommends is a long period of low-intensity warfare designed to make life unpleasant if not impossible for a majority of Israeli Jews so that they leave the country.

His calculation is based on the assumption that large numbers of Israelis have double-nationality and would prefer emigration to the United States and Europe to daily threats of death.

Khamenei makes no reference to Iran’s nuclear program. But the subtext is that a nuclear-armed Iran would make Israel think twice before trying to counter Khamenei’s strategy by taking military action against the Islamic Republic.

In Khamenei’s analysis, once the cost of staying in Israel has become too high for many Jews, Western powers, notably the US, which have supported the Jewish state for decades, might decide that the cost of doing so is higher than possible benefits.

The world’s most barbaric cost benefit analysis: stay, or go? Life, or death? Khamenei may claim that he doesn’t want to use a bomb or bullets to chase Jews out of Israel, but the very intent and purpose of this genocidal fever dream is too clear to be ignored.

This comes from Amy Miller who adds, “REMINDER: We negotiated with these people.”

A decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires waiting at least until the ink is dry on the nuclear deal before rubbing our noses in Obama’s crap, but that’s not how Khamenei plays — because he knows he’ll get away with it.

Putin also knows it. So does Xi.

The next US President is going to have a very short grace period to unteach them that lesson, assuming of course there hasn’t already been a major war by then.

REPORT: Obama Administration Whitewashed Cuba Abuses [VodkaPundit]

Surprise, surprise, surprise:

In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba. And in China, they found, things had grown worse.

The State Department’s senior political staff saw it differently — and they prevailed.

A Reuters examination, based on interviews with more than a dozen sources in Washington and foreign capitals, shows that the government office set up to independently grade global efforts to fight human trafficking was repeatedly overruled by senior American diplomats and pressured into inflating assessments of 14 strategically important countries in this year’s Trafficking in Persons report.

In all, analysts in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons – or J/TIP, as it’s known within the U.S. government — disagreed with U.S. diplomatic bureaus on ratings for 17 countries, the sources said.

The analysts, who are specialists in assessing efforts to combat modern slavery – such as the illegal trade in humans for forced labor or prostitution – won only three of those disputes, the worst ratio in the 15-year history of the unit, according to the sources.

Everything in this Administration is tertiary to politics — and nothing is secondary.

New Offensive in Obama’s War on the Middle Class [VodkaPundit]

I don’t know what else to call the EPA’s new rules on carbon emissions:

The final rule aims to accomplish a 32 percent reduction in carbon emissions from the nation’s fleet of power plants by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, against 30 percent in the EPA’s original 2014 proposal. Emissions are already down 15 percent from that peak.

The plan will accomplish this by in part by giving states credit for solar or wind projects that break ground in the next few years, before the rule takes effect in 2022. It will also force utilities to run natural gas plants more or encourage customers to use less electricity.

Power generation, specifically the burning of coal to make electricity, is the biggest source of carbon pollution in the U.S., and until now there was no cap on those emissions.

“The way electricity is being produced is being significantly transformed,” said Michael Brune, president of the Sierra Club. “It will amount to a move away from fossil fuels toward clean energy.”

“Clean energy” is another way of saying “expensive energy.” The rich can afford it. The poor will get subsidies. The middle class, or whatever is left of it, will feel the pain.

Today’s news release didn’t include the words “necessarily skyrocket,” but it didn’t need to. We know this Administration’s agenda, and it is endless war in myriad ways on the vast middle of the country.

Hey, Where the White Women At? [VodkaPundit]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=493pL_Vbtnc/p>

Wherever they are, they aren’t with Hillary Clinton:

In the first three months of the year, suburban women by a margin of 18 points had a positive view of Mrs. Clinton. In July, those numbers took a dramatic turn for the worse. By a five-point margin, suburban women had a negative view of Mrs. Clinton.

Among white women with at least a college degree, 51% had a positive view of Mrs. Clinton and 38% a negative as of June. In July, those numbers had turned to 43% positive and 47% negative.

“There is no way you can say she’s in the same position this month compared to last month,” said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who directs the WSJ/NBC News survey along with Democrat Fred Yang. “She’s been dented and she’s in a weaker position.”

If she can’t win back those voters, Clinton can’t get elected President.

Period.

It isn’t quite Panic Time for the Clintons and the Democrats, because one poll is after all just one poll. But one or two more like this, and the sharks will circle.

A Slightly More Serious Case for Candidate Biden [VodkaPundit]

Vice President Joe Biden at the Bobrick Washroom Equipment Factory in Los Angeles, describing to workers there his favorite bowel movement.

Vice President Joe Biden at the Bobrick Washroom Equipment Factory in Los Angeles, describing to workers there his favorite bowel movement.

By the numbers, from Noah Rothman:

An Economist/YouGov survey released this spring revealed that Biden’s favorability rating among black voters is comparable to Clintons (46 percent describe their feelings toward the vice president as “very favorable” compared with 45 percent who say the same for Biden.

That same survey found Biden is viewed favorably by 42 percent of women compared with Clinton’s 55 percent, but Clinton has seen her appeal toward women crater in the intervening months. YouGov’s latest survey, released last week, shows Clinton’s favorably among women collapsing to 45 percent while another 45 percent view her negatively. Whereas 52 percent of voters age 18 – 29 viewed Clinton favorably in the spring, only 40 percent feel the same today. Just 7 percent of younger voters described their views toward Clinton as “very favorable.”

Considering the fact that the GOP nominee is almost certain to be younger than Clinton on Election Day, the Democrats’ “coolness deficit” is going to be especially acute. The party that has spent the better part of the last decade manufacturing a celebrity cult of personality around Barack Obama is on the verge of an identity crisis perhaps best typified by the tortured liberal effort turn the “notorious” octogenarian Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg into a rock star. But unlike Hillary Clinton, who never fails to project coldness and insincerity, Joe Biden is a natural retail campaigner and a figure that effortlessly connects with his audience.

The best argument in favor of a Biden run is watching Hillary go into Permanent Eye Roll mode.

No Smoking Gun at Planned Parenthood? [VodkaPundit]

Bob Cesca reports for Salon:

Last week, Massachusetts’ Attorney General Maura Healey became the latest in what’s sure to be a long list of state attorneys general to conclude the same thing. Specifically, Healy concluded,

“Over the past week, my office has conducted a thorough review and found that Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts’ health care centers are fully compliant with state and federal laws regarding the disposition of fetal tissue. Although donation of fetal tissue is permissible under state and federal law, PPLM does not have a tissue donation program. There is no evidence that PPLM is involved in any way in the buying or selling of tissue. As such, our review is complete.”

Sure, Massachusetts is a leftward-leaning state, but Indiana is very much not. Back on July 16, Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., launched an investigation of Planned Parenthood following the release of what was obviously a doctored and misleading video. The probe focused on facilities in Indianapolis, Bloomington and Merrillville, and this past week the Indiana Department of Health reported it was “unable to find any non-compliance with state regulations. Therefore, no deficiencies were cited.”

I’m all for defunding Planned Parenthood, although that probably has more to do with my philosophical stance against public funding for much of anything other than police, courts, and military. But while it’s easy to argue with Salon, it’s more difficult to argue with investigations which turn up nothing.

Then again, those videos do seem both unaltered and unambiguous.

There must be more to this story, but it’s impossible yet to say what it is.

Stump Trump [VodkaPundit]

Contents may settle during shipping. (Shutterstock photo)

Contents may settle during shipping.
(Shutterstock photo)

Mollie Hemingway notes that Chuck Todd failed to ask Donald Trump a single substantive policy question on Meet the Press on Sunday:

Chuck Todd is the ultimate issues guy! So imagine my surprise when the very same Chuck Todd interviewed Donald Trump by phone for the first time on Meet the Press this weekend.

The ultimate issues guy literally didn’t ask a single “issue” question apart from what Trump thinks about Black Lives Matter. And Trump isn’t running for a seat in the House of Representatives. He’s running for president.

For his time with Trump, though, Todd asked the following questions:

•Why do you think you’re resonating so quickly in the Republican field?
•Why do you believe there is this sort of polarizing view of you?
•Why did you downplay your expectations on debating?
•How would you advise a candidate to debate you onstage?
•What is this? Seriously, what kind of silliness is this?

In what world do you put a random economics professor from nowhere through some economic and foreign policy ringer but handle a man with decades of international media experience with kid gloves? I don’t get it.

I’m sure Mollie is being coy, because of course she gets it — Trump is a useful distraction from the actual conservative candidates, and will be propped up by Todd and his ilk for as long as Trump remains useful.

Windows 10 Upgrade Ransomware, Thunderstrike 2 Mac Hack, New TOR Anonymity Attack [Technolust since 2005]

Don’t click on links in email. Ever. Especially if they claim to be Windows 10 upgrade links, ‘cause CTB Locker Ransomware hurts. Does the latest TOR attack spell DOOM for privacy, or is it overrated and fairly easy to spoof? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed a lower court decision tossing out a class action lawsuit over at 2014 data breach at Neiman Marcus, and, hey, how much is your stolen identity worth, anyhow? Meanwhile Thunderstrike 2 takes the Mac OS X firmware attack to the next level. Watch the video to find out more!

Links:
Fake Windows 10 Upgrade Ransomware: http://blogs.cisco.com/security/talos/ctb-locker-win10
Deanonymize TOR With 88% Accuracy. Maybe: http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/07/new-attack-on-tor-can-deanonymize-hidden-services-with-surprising-accuracy/
US Courts Taking Data Breach Victims Seriously: http://www.zdnet.com/article/courts-data-breach-decision-shows-new-tilt-toward-victims-class-action-lawsuits/
How Much Is Your Stolen Identity Worth: http://qz.com/460482/heres-what-your-stolen-identity-goes-for-on-the-internets-black-market/
Thunderstrike 2 Firmware Mac OS X Firmware Attack: https://threatpost.com/thunderstrike-2-os-x-firmware-attack-self-replicates-to-peripherals/114124#sthash.Nc4FDy3O.dpuf

The post Windows 10 Upgrade Ransomware, Thunderstrike 2 Mac Hack, New TOR Anonymity Attack appeared first on Technolust since 2005.

Trailer - The End of the Tour [LISNews:]



The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace's groundbreaking epic novel, 'Infinite Jest.'

US bookshop offering refunds for Go Set a Watchman [LISNews:]

Topic: 

Brilliant Books in Michigan says customers are owed apologies for portrayal of Harper Lee’s long-lost manuscript as a ‘nice summer novel’ rather than an academic curiosity

From US bookshop offering refunds for Go Set a Watchman | Books | The Guardian

Unique historic photographic collection online from Mount Holyoke College [LISNews:]

https://www.mtholyoke.edu/media/rare-images-reveal-early-womens-college-...

ount Holyoke College has just digitized some 2,000 rare and beautiful photographs that document life at the College from 1899 to 1939. The entire collection is now available for research and enjoyment online.

The images were originally captured on glass-plate negatives by Mount Holyoke botany professor and photographer Asa Kinney.

For more information about the collection:

http://asakinneyproject.blogspot.com/

Regards,

James Gehrt
Digital Projects Lead
Mount Holyoke College

Writing poems! [Moe Lane]

That’s what I gotta do tonight.  Well, more accurately I gotta revise poems, but that’s pretty close to what I’m doing.  Gonna be a surprise, but I don’t think very many of my household brothers/sisters actually read this blog anyway.

Islamist Terror on US Soil Ends as # of Plots Now Exceeds # of Virgins in Paradise [The Jawa Report]

73 > 72:

The Department of Justice recently charged Harlem Suarez with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction as he sought to use a bomb against beachgoers in the Florida Keys. Suarez was inspired by the Islamic State (IS) and considered himself a member of the terrorist organization. Though the FBI intervened before the public was in any danger, Suarez’s plot demonstrates that the IS is extending its reach across the U.S. This is the 73rd Islamist terrorist plot or attack since 9/11 and the 11th plot in 2015—the largest number of plots against the U.S. in a single year since 2001.
The bad news is most of the plotters are still alive, so maybe there are a few virgins left after all.

Blind Hatred [The Jawa Report]

What would make a black man so enraged that he would deliberately crash his vehicle - twice - with his young daughter inside? Why, a police cruiser with two officers in it:

Police said in court records that Labriado rammed a police car from behind about 8:35 p.m. Friday in the 1100 block of Riverview Boulevard. The two officers in the car, 33 and 25 years old, were on patrol at the time and believed it was an accident until Labriado struck their squad car a second time.

Labriado tried to drive off but struck a city fire hydrant, court records say. Police grabbed him, and as they were arresting him, Labriado yelled several times that "This is for the black people!" Several other people were in the car with Labriado at the time, including his 5-year-old daughter, police said.

The officers were not seriously hurt. They and everyone in Labriado's vehicle, including the girl, were treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

He did it for black people and was perfectly willing to sacrifice his daughter to the cause.

These are the type people police have to deal with every day. And the #BlackLivesMatter crowd wonder why officers are so quick to use force on non-compliant individuals.

(Hat Tip: Weasel Zippers)

Who Will President Obama Support For 2016? [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

Recently, we’ve seen a push for Joe Biden to enter the presidential race. It has also been reported that it was his dying son’s wish that he run.

This weekend Maureen Dowd looked at how a Biden run might impact Hillary’s campaign:

Having Mr. Biden as an opponent could help Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in its efforts to shed the perception of inevitability that hurt her with Iowa caucus-goers in the 2008 contest. Back then, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Biden sparred on the debate stage before Mr. Biden withdrew from the race after receiving less than 1 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses.

Going up against Mr. Biden again in the first Democratic debate in October could help Mrs. Clinton hone her skills and appear to be working for the nomination, said Steve Elmendorf, a veteran Democratic strategist. “You’re a better general election candidate if you have competition,” he said. “The vice president would be a formidable opponent.”

Dowd notes that President Obama is playing it close to the vest:

Mr. Obama has been careful not to undermine or wholeheartedly endorse his former secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton, or his vice president. “The president has said that the best political decision he’s ever made in his career has been to ask Joe Biden to run as his vice president,” Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, said last week.

With that, Monica Crowley points out that Obama has not publicly committed to backing his former secretary of state in her bid for the presidency. As such, she floats an interesting idea that President Obama is quietly waiting for Biden to announce, and when he does, he will throw the full weight of his office behind Biden and simultaneously work to dismantle Hillary’s campaign:

The Clintons and the Obamas have a long history of bad blood, dating to the 2008 primary race. After Mr. Obama creamed her, he offered her the plum gig of secretary of state. Friends close, enemies closer. She tried to get her dirty tricks consigliere, Sidney Blumenthal, a top position in the State Department, which Mr. Obama pointedly denied. So she hired him anyway through the Clinton Foundation.

Through Mr. Blumenthal, she was fed all kinds of intelligence on global hotpots such as Libya, much of it inaccurate, as she circumvented traditional government communication chains via her private email server. What was she hiding from Mr. Obama? And why? Perhaps because she trusted Mr. Obama about as much as she trusted Bill.

Mr. Obama didn’t trust her, either. In a recently disclosed email, Mrs. Clinton complained that she heard “on the radio” that there was a “Cabinet meeting” that morning and wondered if she could attend. The secretary of state — fourth in line to the presidency — was frozen out, so she set up her own fiefdom.

Mr. Obama needs a successor whom he can control to ensure that the “fundamental transformation of the nation” continues. He cannot control either of the Clintons. In a revealing “tell” this week, he said, “In 18 months, I’m turning over the keys. I want to make sure I’m turning over the keys to somebody who is serious about the serious problems that the country faces and the world faces.”

So here’s the likely plan: Mr. Biden will announce that he is running for president (the reported dying wish of his late son, Beau). After a respectable amount of time, Mr. Obama will announce that while he admires all of the Democratic candidates, Mr. Biden has earned his particular loyalty. Following his presidential endorsement, Mr. Obama will then support Mr. Biden with the full weight of the White House, including the sophisticated technical infrastructure his campaigns used to win in 2008 and 2012. For years, Mrs. Clinton has begged Mr. Obama to turn it over to her, and he refused. He’s been saving it for someone else. Mr. Obama will also use his considerable influence with black and Latino voters to support Mr. Biden, which may be enough to help him significantly….

Read the whole thing.

–Dana

Democrats Protect Baby Harvesters, Block Measure To Defund Planned Parenthood [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

In a vote of 53-46, Senate democrats blocked a bill to defund Planned Parenthood:

Republicans fell short of the 60 votes needed to move forward with the legislation, which was fast-tracked to the floor after the release of undercover videos that show Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue from abortions.

Only two Democrats, Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.), voted for the legislation, while two Republicans, Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), voted against it.

McConnell voted no to preserve the option of bringing up the bill again. Kirk, who is facing a tough reelection race in 2016, had signaled he was likely to break with his party on the vote, citing the preventive health services that Planned Parenthood provides.

Sen. Lindsay Graham, who has railed against the videos, skipped the vote so he could campaign instead. However, he threw a bone to voters and reassured them that when he is elected, he would immediately defund the organization.

Interestingly, as with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Democrats who voted against the defunding measure made sure they did not watch the videos:

“I have not seen them,” Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire told me after the vote.

“I’m sorry, what’s your name?” asked Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii in response to a simple yes-or-no question. “Can you call my comms director?”

“I have not seen them, no,” Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania told me last week.

As New York senator Chuck Schumer stepped into a senators-only elevator, I asked him the same yes-or-no question. “Shut the door,” Schumer told an aide.

One Democrat did watch the videos, but chose to further the myth that defunding Planned Parenthood would keep millions of women from the nation’s largest health care provider instead of saving intact babies from having their organs harvested:

Only one Democratic senator, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, told me that she had seen any of the videos. McCaskill agreed that the videos were disturbing, but she added that “that’s not the point. The point is to prevent abortions by making sure that women can get birth control.”

–Dana

City Attorney Confirms: Legal To Appoint Illegal Immigrants To Adivsory Boards [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

In a brazen move, a city in Southern California will be the first in the state to name two illegal immigrants as commissioners:

Huntington Park may become the first city in California to appoint two undocumented immigrants as commissioners on city advisory boards, a lawmaker confirms.

City Councilman Jhonny Pineda has picked Francisco Medina to join the health and education commission and Julian Zatarain for the parks and recreation commission.

The 32-year-old lawmaker told CBSLA online producer Deborah Meron that he promised voters while running for office that he would create more opportunities for undocumented residents.

“Huntington Park is a city of opportunity and a city of hope for all individuals regardless of socioeconomic status, race, creed, or in this case, citizenship,” the councilman said in a statement. “Both these gentlemen have accomplished a great deal for the city. For that, on behalf of the city council, mayor, and our city, I want to say thank you to them both and I am confident they will do an excellent job on their commission posts.”

Pineda, ever mindful of following the law, sought confirmation from the city attorney that the appointments were permissible. He was assured that “[t]here’s nothing that requires a commissioner to be a registered voter, a documented citizen or even a resident, which technically means someone here without legal residency can serve.”

And from another official equally concerned with following the law, former Huntington Park mayor, Ric Loya, commented:

“Everybody can be involved in government, as long as it’s done legally,” he said.

And they don’t even bat an eye.

–Dana

Hillary Clinton, Just Like A Woman: Last Week I Thought The Planned Parenthood Videos Were Disturbing, This Week I Think They’re Terrific! [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a video today in which Hillary gives a full-throated defense of Planned Parenthood. This after claiming last week that she was “disturbed” by what was on the videos. Just like a woman, right? First she’s disturbed, then she’s not, first she’s hot, then she’s cold… It’s anybody’s guess how she’ll react when the next one is released.

Oh, and let’s not forget that last week when she said she was “disturbed” by the videos, she hadn’t actually watched them, but instead looked at pictures from them. Imagine how “disturbing” she would find the videos if she if she ever had the courage to actually watch them in all their disturbing glory.


“I’m proud to stand with Planned Parenthood, I’ll never stop fighting to protect the ability and right of every woman in this country to make her own health decisions.”

“If this feels like a full-on assault on women’s health, that’s because it is,” Clinton said in the video. “When politicians talk about defunding Planned Parenthood, they’re talking about blocking millions of women, men and young people from live-saving preventive care.”

“Unfortunately, these attacks aren’t new, they’re more of the same, we’ve seen them in Wisconsin where Gov. Walker defunded Planned Parenthood and left women across the state stranded with nowhere else to turn,” Clinton said. “We’ve seen them in Florida where Jeb Bush funneled millions of taxpayer dollars into abstinence-only programs while gutting funds for crucial family planning programs. And we’ve seen them in Texas where Gov. Perry drastically cut funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings and then signed legislation that forced health centers across the state to close their doors. .

“When they attack women’s health, they attack America’s health and it’s wrong and we’re not going to let them get away with it,” she said.

I’m curious as to why Hillary changed her tune. Perhaps she was strongly reminded by the DNC that abortion remains the end-all be-all identifier of a good Democrat and a good feminist, and that she needed to do damage control. No more lapses of judgement, no more straying from the company line, and certainly no more biting the hand that feeds her. And perhaps she was also reminded of the ever-increasing popularity of her rival and his ardent support and defense of Planned Parenthood, in spite of not watching the videos either:

“They’re not selling fetuses,” Sanders said. “And this is something, I think the tone of that discussion was unfortunate. But if the question is, do I support Planned Parenthood? I absolutely do. … I will defend Planned Parenthood. I think a lot of this attack, to be honest with you, comes from people who simply do not believe that a woman should have a right to control her own body. That’s the motive.”

–Dana

Developing virtualhost-aware PSGI applications: Plack::Middleware::MockProxyFrontend [Perlsphere]

Let’s say you work on a team that runs a web content management system for various different customers. It is hosted at ourcms.com, but each customer’s public content is published on a different domain, which is determined by a setting in the interface, which they can change at will. When a customer is logged into ourcms.com they see links to their public content in various places, and some of the public content has “edit this”-type links back into ourcms.com. All of this runs as a single PSGI application. A not unfamiliar scenario, presumably.

How do you spin up a development server where you can test this?

OK, let’s see. We all know that you plackup and then go to localhost:5000 in your browser and then you can click around. What will that show you in this case? Most probably: what ourcms.com would look like. And then you log in there and click around the edit interface.

But how do you test the linking to the customer’s site as you edit stuff?

This is the scenario for which I wrote Plack::Middleware::MockProxyFrontend.

What you do when you use it is after you plackup, you set localhost:5000 as the proxy in your web browser configuration. Then you navigate not to localhost:5000 but to ourcms.com – just as you would if you were going to the live site.

That request will actually hit your local development server, since you set it as the proxy. The reason you need a middleware to do this is that it will be an HTTP proxy request rather than a regular HTTP request, which has one small but important difference. MockProxyFrontend’s job is to convert that request back to a regular HTTP request and pass it to your app. The request will then look just as it would if the browser was actually talking to ourcms.com. Therefore likewise, your app’s response will look just as it would if the app was actually running at that domain. And so the browser will think that that is what it’s doing.

This even works with HTTPS. All you need to do if your site uses HTTPS is give MockProxyFrontend your SSL key and certificate(-chain), just like you would configure the production server for your site. (If your site does not use HTTPS then you need not do anything.)

Effectively, by setting your app as your proxy and putting MockProxyFrontend in front of it (preferably as the very outermost middleware), your app becomes your browser’s entire internet. Thus, you get to click around your entire network of sites on your development machine as though it was the real deal.

Share and enjoy.

For the interested, let me give some further background on the SSL support – because this is the real trick to the module, if anything is clever about it at all.

Proxy requests that involve SSL are very different from regular, unencrypted proxy requests: there is an outer, unencrypted request to the proxy whose payload is effectively the real-time streaming connection to the target site – over which the actual HTTP request, wrapped inside an encrypted envelope, takes place.

To a regular proxy the content of this connection is opaque. But for MockProxyFrontend, the app it wraps is the target site and there is no other HTTP server with SSL support to deal with the connection. The goal is certainly that the user won’t have to set one up. So unlike a proxy, MockProxyFrontend never connects anywhere, and again unlike a proxy, it needs to see inside the connection.

So it must unwrap the connection’s crypto layer itself and then process the connection with a server-side HTTP protocol implementation… a second time, after the connection in its unencrypted phase has already been processed once before by the development server. By default MockProxyFrontend uses a local HTTP::Server::PSGI instance (not listening on any port) for that purpose.

The upshot is that you generally need not do anything more than pass your key and certificate and let the middleware do the rest – except when your app needs PSGI server capabilities that HTTP::Server::PSGI does not implement. In that case, you will have to provide MockProxyFrontend with an alternative implementation which does implement those capabilities. (Consult the documentation about how. If you do have this use case, please let me know, especially if you have issues; this is an area I did not test at all.)

Again, share and enjoy.

Matthew Garrett: Reverse this [Planet Debian]

The TODO group is an industry body that appears to be trying to define community best practices or something. I don't really know what their backstory is and whether they're trying to do meaningful work or just provide a fig leaf of respectability to organisations that dislike being criticised for doing nothing to improve the state of online communities but don't want to have to actually do anything, and their initial work on codes of conduct was, perhaps, suboptimal. But they do appear to be trying to improve things - this commit added a set of inappropriate behaviours, and also clarified that reverseisms were not actionable behaviour.

At which point Reddit lost its shit, because Reddit is garbage. And now the repository is a mess of white men attempting to explain how any policy that could allow them to be criticised is the real racism.

Fuck that shit.

Being a cis white man who's a native English speaker from a fairly well-off background, I'm pretty familiar with privilege. Spending my teenage years as an atheist of Irish Catholic upbringing in a Protestant school in a region of Northern Ireland that made parts of the bible belt look socially progressive, I'm also pretty familiar with the idea that that said privilege doesn't shield me from everything bad in life. Having privilege isn't a guarantee that my life will be better, in the same way that avoiding smoking doesn't mean I won't die of lung cancer. But there's an association in both cases, one that's strong enough to alter the statistical likelihood in meaningful ways.

And that inherently affects discussions about race or gender or sexuality. The probability that I've been subject to systematic discrimination because of these traits is vanishingly small. In the communities this policy is intended to cover, I'm the default. It's very difficult for any minority to exercise power over me. "You're white, you wouldn't understand" isn't fundamentally about my colour, it's about the fact that my colour means I haven't been subject to society trying to make my life more difficult at every opportunity. A community that considers saying that to be racist is a community that will never change the default, a community that will never be able to empower people who didn't grow up with that privilege. A code of conduct that makes it clear that "reverse racism" isn't grounds for complaint makes it clear that certain conversations are legitimate and helps ensure we have the framework we need to gradually change that default, and as such is better than one that doesn't.

(comments disabled because I don't trust any of you)

comment count unavailable comments

Sven Hoexter: TLS scanning and IPv6 [Planet Debian]

I just noticed that SSLLabs now supports IPv6. I could not find an announcement for it but I'd guess it's already there for some time.

There is also a new sslscan release in experimental with IPv6 support. Thanks to Marvin and formorer who finally made that happen.

Julien Danjou: Ceilometer, Gnocchi & Aodh: Liberty progress [Planet Debian]

It's been a while since I talked about Ceilometer and its companions, so I thought I'd go ahead and write a bit about what's going on this side of OpenStack. I'm not going to cover new features and fancy stuff today, but rather a shallow overview of the new project processes we initiated.

Ceilometer growing

Ceilometer has grown a lot since that time when we started it 3 years ago. It has evolved from a system designed to fetch and store measurements, to a more complex system, with agents, alarms, events, databases, APIs, etc.

All those features were needed and asked for by users and operators, but let's be honest, some of them should never have ended up in the Ceilometer code repository, especially not all at the same time.

The reality is we picked a pragmatic approach due to the rigidity of the OpenStack Technical Committee in regards to new projects to become OpenStack integrated – and, therefore, blessed – projects. Ceilometer was actually the first project to be incubated and then integrated. We had to go through the very first issues of that process.

Fortunately, now that time has passed, and all those constraints have been relaxed. To me, the OpenStack Foundation is turning into something that looks like the Apache Foundation, and there's, therefore, no need to tie technical solutions to political issues.

Indeed, the Big Tent now allows much more flexibility to all of that. Back a year ago, we were afraid to bring Gnocchi into Ceilometer. Was the Technical Committee going to review the project? Was the project going to be in the scope of Ceilometer for the Technical Committee? Now we don't have to ask ourselves those questions, now that we have that freedom, it empowers us to actually do what we think is good in term of technical design without worrying too much about political issues.

Ceilometer development activity

Acknowledging Gnocchi

The first step in this new process was to continue working on Gnocchi (a timeserie database and resource indexer designed to overcome historical Ceilometer storage issue) and to decide that it was not the right call to merge it into Ceilometer as some REST API v3, but that it was better to keep it standalone.

We managed to get traction to Gnocchi, getting a few contributors and users. We're even seeing talks proposed to the next Tokyo Summit where people leverage Gnocchi, such as "Service of predictive analytics on cost and performance in OpenStack", "Suveil" and "Cutting Edge NFV On OpenStack: Healing and Scaling Distributed Applications".

We are also doing some progress on pushing Gnocchi outside of the OpenStack community, as it can be a self-sufficient timeserie and resource database that can be used without any OpenStack interaction.

Branching Aodh

Rather than continuing to grow Ceilometer, during the last summit we all decided that it was time to reorganize and split Ceilometer into the different components it is made of, leveraging a more service-oriented architecture. The alarm subsystem of Ceilometer being mostly untied to the rest of Ceilometer, we decided it was the first and perfect candidate to do that. I personally engaged into doing the work and created a new repository with only the alarm code from Ceilometer, named Aodh.

Aodh is an Irish word meaning fire. A word picked so it also had some relation to Heat, and because we have some Irish influence around the project 😁.

This made sense for a lot of reason. First because Aodh can now work completely standalone, using either Ceilometer or Gnocchi as a backend – or any new plugin you'd write. I love the idea that OpenStack projects can work standalone – like Swift does for example – without implying any other OpenStack component. I think it's a proof of good design. Secondly, because it allows us to resonate on a smaller chunk of software – a reason really under-estimated today in OpenStack. I believe that the size of your software should match a certain ratio to the size of your team.

Aodh is, therefore, a new project under the OpenStack Telemetry program (or what remains of OpenStack programs now), alongside Ceilometer and Gnocchi, forked from the original Ceilometer alarm feature. We'll deprecate the latter with the Liberty release, and we'll remove it in the Mitaka release.

Lessons learned

Actually, moving that code out of Ceilometer (in the case of Aodh), or not merging it in (in the case of Gnocchi) had a few side effects that I admit I think we probably under-estimated back then.

Indeed, the code size of Gnocchi or Aodh ended up being much smaller than the entire Ceilometer project – Gnocchi is 7× smaller and Aodh 5x smaller than Ceilometer – and therefore much more easy to manipulate and to hack on. That allowed us to merge dozens of patches in a few weeks, cleaning-up and enhancing a lot of small things in the code. Those tasks are very much harder in Ceilometer, due to the bigger size of the code base and the small size of our team. By having our small team working on smaller chunks of changes – even when it meant actually doing more reviews – greatly improved our general velocity and the number of bugs fixed and features implemented.

On the more sociological side, I think it gave the team the sensation of finally owning the project. Ceilometer was huge, and it was impossible for people to know every side of it. Now, it's getting possible for people inside a team to cover a much larger portion of those smaller project, which gives them a greater sense of ownership and caring. Which ends up being good for the project quality overall.

That also means that we technically decided to have different core teams by project (Ceilometer, Gnocchi, and Aodh) as they all serve different purposes and can all be used standalone or with each others. Meaning we could have contributors completely ignoring other projects.

All of that reminds me some discussion I heard about projects such as Glance, trying to fit new features in - some that are really orthogonal to the original purpose. It's now clear to me that having different small components interacting together that can be completely owned and taken care of by a (small) team of contributors is the way to go. People that can therefore trust each others and easily bring new people in, makes a project really incredibly more powerful. Having a project covering a too wide set of features make things more difficult if you don't have enough manpower. This is clearly an issue that big projects inside OpenStack are facing now, such as Neutron or Nova.

Jakub Steiner: FPV Addicts [Planet openSUSE]

I’ve started doing longer edits of the 15 second clips I usually put on Instagram. I’ve been really creative with the naming so far.

FPV Addicts

FPV Addict

Benjamin Weber: Lambda Type References [Planet openSUSE]

We’re used to type erasure ruining our day in Java. Want to create a new T() in a generic method? Normally not possible. We can pass a Class<T> around, but that doesn’t work for generic types. We can’t write List<String>.class

One exception to this was using super type tokens. We can get the generic type of a super class at runtime, so if we can force the developer to subclass our type, then we’re able to find out our own generic types.

It let us do things like

List<String> l1 = new TypeReference<ArrayList<String>>() {}.newInstance();

This was really convenient prior to Java 8, because without lambdas we had to use anonymous inner classes to represent functions, and they could double up as type references.

Unfortunately, the super type token does not work with Lambdas, because Lambdas are not just sugar for anonymous inner classes. They are implemented differently.

However, there’s another trick we can use to get the generic type. It’s far more hacky implementation-wise, so probably not useful in a real scenario, but I think it’s neat nonetheless.

Here’s an example of what we can do, a method that takes a TypeReference<T> and creates an instance of that type

public static <T> T create(TypeReference<T> type) {
    return type.newInstance();
}

So far just the same as the supertype tokens approach. However, to use it we just need to pass an identity lambda.

This prints hello world

ArrayList<String> list = create(i->i);
list.add("hello");
list.add("world");
list.forEach(System.out::println);

This prints hello=1 world=2

LinkedHashMap<String, Integer> map = create(i->i);
map.put("hello", 1);
map.put("world", 2);
map.entrySet().forEach(System.out::println);

We could also use as a variable. This prints String

TypeReference<String> ref = i->i;
System.out.println(ref.type().getSimpleName());

Unfortunately, it won’t work for the main motivation for supertype tokens – we can’t use this TypeReference as a key in a map because it will be a different instance each time.

Massive hack

So what’s the trick? If we try casting something, and the cast is invalid we’ll get a ClassCastException at runtime that will tell us exactly what the type actually is. This does work with lambdas, since they’re translated into normal methods.

Underneath the above Java snippet with a TypeReference<String> has been translated into something like

private static java.lang.String lambda$main$0(java.lang.String input) {
    return input;
}

As you can see, calling this with a type other than String is going to generate a ClassCastException.

Putting it together

First we’ll create a Newable interface that will take care of instantiating our type for us. It will have an abstract consumer() method which will provide a method that accepts a value of type T. This is a placeholder for the above autogenerated lambda method.

We can get the name of the type of T by invoking this method, and catching the ClassCastException, then extracting the name from the thrown exception.

Once we have the name of the class we can use Class.forName to get a Class and then we can call .newInstance() to create an instance of it.

interface Newable<T> {
    Consumer<T> consumer();
    static final class DummyType { private DummyType() {} };
    default String className() {
        try {
            consumer().accept((T) new DummyType());
            throw new UnableToGuessClassException();
        } catch (ClassCastException e) {
            return e.getMessage().replaceAll(".*to ", "");
        }
    }
    default Class<T> type() {
        try {
            return (Class<T>)Class.forName(className());
        } catch (Exception e) {
            throw new UnableToGuessClassException();
        }
    }
    default T newInstance() {
        try {
            return type().newInstance();
        } catch (Exception e) {
            throw new RuntimeException(e);
        }
    }
    class UnableToGuessClassException extends RuntimeException {}
}

Now we can make use of this Newable<T> to make lambda-compatible interfaces that can instantiate their type parameters. Implementing the TypeReference<T> that enables the above create() method is as simple as this.

public interface TypeReference<T> extends Newable<T> {
    T typeIs(T type);
    default Consumer<T> consumer() {
        return this::typeIs;
    }
}

Anywhere we use the TypeReference type and pass a lambda, the type will be inferred from the usage.

So where we do

ArrayList<String> list = create(i->i);

The type of the lambda is inferred as being a TypeReference<ArrayList<String>> because the left hand side is an ArrayList<String>.

Underneath Java is creating a method that takes and returns a list to implement the lambda. This enables the above casting trick to work out what type is involved by passing a dummy type to the lambda.

Parameter Objects

Let’s consider a more concrete example of why lambdas that are aware of their types can be useful. One application is parameter objects. Extract parameter-object is a common refactoring.

It lets us go from a method with too many parameters, to a method that takes a parameter object.

e.g.

List<Customer> customers = listCustomers(dateFrom, includeHidden, companyName, haveOrders);

becomes

List<Customer> customers = listCustomers(customerQuerySpec);

Unfortunately the way this is commonly implemented means simply moves the problem one level up to the constructor of the parameter object.

e.g.

CustomerQuerySpecification customerQuerySpec = new CustomerQuerySpecification(dateFrom, includeHidden, companyName, haveOrders);
List<Customer> customers = listCustomers(customerQuerySpec);

We still have just as many parameters, and still just as hard to follow. Furthermore, we now have to import the CustomerQuerySpecification type. The CustomerQuerySpecification type that your IDE might generate for you is also quite big. So this isn’t ideal.

At this point we might reach for the builder pattern, or a variation thereof, to help us name our parameters. However, there are alternatives.

If we were using JavaScript we might pass an object literal in this scenario, to allow ourselves to have default parameter values and named parameters.

listCustomers({
    includeHidden = true,
    companyName = "A Company"
});

We can achieve something similar in Java using lambdas. (Or we could pass an anonymous inner class and use double-brace initialisation to override values)

First of all we’ll create a Parameter Object to store our parameters. It can also have default values. Instead of using getters/setters and a constructor I’m going to deliberately use public fields.

public static class CustomerQueryOptions {
    public Date from = null;
    public boolean includeHidden = true;
    public String companyName = null;
    public boolean haveOrders = true;
}

Now we want a way of overriding these default values in a given call to our method. One way of doing this is instead of accepting the CustomerQueryOptions directly, accepting a function that mutates the CustomerQueryOptions. If we did this then we can easily specify our overrides at the callsite.

listCustomers(config -> {
    config.includeHidden = true;
    config.companyName = "A Company";
});

You might notice that this lambda looks a lot like a Consumer<CustomerQueryOptions> – it accepts a config and returns nothing.

We could just use a Consumer as is, but we can make life easier for ourselves with a little utility method that just gives us the config back and applies the function to it.

Let’s make a Parameters interface that extends consumer. We’ll add a default method to it that returns our config. It instantiates the config for us, applies the consumer function to it in order to override any default values, and then returns the instantiated config.

First we’ll need a way of creating a type of the CustomerQueryOptions ourselves, this is where our Newable<T> interface comes in. We define a NewableConsumer<T>

interface NewableConsumer<T> extends Consumer<T>, Newable<T> {
    default Consumer<T> consumer() {
        return this;
    }
}

And now we define our Parameters interface extending NewableConsumer

public interface Parameters<T> extends NewableConsumer<T> {
    default T get() {
        T t = newInstance(); // provided by Newable<T>
        accept(t); // apply our config
        return t; // return the config ready to use
    }
}
public static class CustomerQueryOptions {
    public Date from = null;
    public boolean includeHidden = true;
    public String companyName = null;
    public boolean haveOrders = true;
}
public List<Customer> listCustomers(Parameters<CustomerQueryOptions> spec) {
 
    System.out.println(spec.get().haveOrders);
 
    // ...
}

This would even work with generic types.

The following will print hello world.

foo(list -> {
    list.add("Hello");
    list.add("World");
    // list.add(5); this would be a compile failure
});
 
public static void foo(Parameters<ArrayList<String>> params) {
    params.get().forEach(System.out::println);
}

Summary

We can use a hack to make lambdas aware of their generic type. It’s a shame that it’s rather too terrible to use for real, because it would be really useful for some of the reasons outlined above.

Unlike the super type tokens we also cannot use it as a key in a map because we’ll get a different lambda instance each time.

Does anyone have an alternative approach?

This post was inspired by Duncan‘s use of this pattern in Expec8ions

The code from this post is available on github.

Jos Poortvliet: Special people [Planet openSUSE]

After a rant on G+ I thought it'd be nice (for me, at least) to share a thought: we have an urge to put certain people on a pedestal because it helps our own identity and self esteem.

We need to feel superior

Self Esteem is very important for us - Maslov put individuality on top of the piramid for a reason. We need it to function, be happy in life.

So our brain lies to us

But how do you feel special and unique when you're not? Our brain lies to us, causing our illusion of superiority. I say 'our' because this is a near universal issue: 90% of people in pretty much any profession feels they are better than average, despite skills pretty much always following a bell curve (statistics speak for "half the people is worse and half is better than average").

Our brain is in charge of maintaining that positive sense of identity and has a series of tricks to keep that.

For example, identity depends on contrast. So we tend to exaggerate differences with others who are close to us. See for example countries who make fun of each other - it is inevitably between peoples very similar. Some interesting experiments were done with group behavior at a young boys' summer camp in the US in the 50's. Read a bit about this here if you're interested. You'll realize some of the problems we have in society are ingrained in our brains - a point I've made in an earlier blog.

Then there is the Fundamental Attribution Error:
In social psychology, the fundamental attribution error, also known as the correspondence bias or attribution effect, is the tendency for people to place an undue emphasis on internal characteristics (personality) to explain someone else's behavior in a given situation rather than considering the situation's external factors.

We do that? Yes, we do. Examples are everywhere, and some honest introspection will show you. Why do we do it? Because it makes us feel better about ourselves! If something goes wrong, it's the fault of the world. If things go well, I DID AWESOME!

Another important strategy is self justification: it is how we deal with a perceived discrepancy between what we believe about the world and what we see (also called 'cognitive dissonance'). And there are many more of these biases which maintain our belief in ourselves.

Special or not

So, the rich have their brain lies to them, maintaining their illusory superiority. Now we can understand why somebody on top of the world feels that it is justified that he/she is paid more per hour than much of the world population earns in a year.

But why do we support this illusion by buying auto-biograpies and looking up to the Steve Jobs and Fords and Warren Buffets like they are such special people?

Because they support the narrative that we all need: the self made (wo)man.

We westerners have far better lives than most other people. As Sam Harris points out in a painful description of an iPad user, things are going very wrong in the world. So we have the need to justify ourselves, feel superior over the poor.
If somebody is begging at the side of the street, they must be lazy. Admitting that it was merely bad luck that got them there (be it a mental issue, social/economic abuse or otherwise), that would have consequences. Because we'd have to realize that it could have been US - we're not better, just privileged. So we cherish the stories of a poor (wo)man working their way to the top: like they got their purely by their own effort.

I think that the stories of these great, wonderful people we've made up - from Henry Ford to Warren Buffet - help us justify the thought that people who are worse off than us have only themselves to blame. We have a need to deny the harsh reality that the world isn't fair and we would be in their situation if the marbles would've fallen slightly different. The reality that we're not special. Just privileged.

Randall Ross: Juju: Re-Framing the Discussion [Planet Ubuntu]

A while back, just before Dockercon 2015, the friendly folks behind Ubuntu, Juju, LXD, and a whole bunch of other goodness hosted a special event that was all about service modelling, orchestration, and making all the container-y Docker-y stuff work well with in the DevOps world.

We assembled a panel of industry luminaries, including our very own Ben Saller. For those of you who don't know Ben, he's one of the original creators of Juju and an all-around great guy.

At one point in the panel discussion, the moderator asked (I'm paraphrasing) whether the Twitter's and Google's of the world are a "special breed" with respect to the scale of containerization or whether that's become a more common design pattern for the "rest of us", i.e. the smaller companies... Though indirect, the question implied that the rest of the world was now ready for scale and the solutions that provide it.

Here's what Ben had to say in response:

    I don't thinks it's the scale that you're operating at, it's the properties that you demand of the infrastructure.
    Everybody wants the self healing. Everybody wants the dynamic recovery, the load balancing.
    The problem becomes an economic function for many people, whether or not they can run eight machines to have some kind of bespoke PaaS (1) to do the one piece of software they have. It's not worth it in some sense unless that piece of software is mision-critical to carry a lot of infrastructure. And, it's very difficult to specialize a team to gain the knowledge to do that for a small organization.
    So, when we talk about things like Kubernetes or the kinds of software that we have with Juju and the other things what we're really trying to do is exactly what you were talking about: Make those best practices available by capturing the automation stylings of the larger players and presenting them in a cost-effective way.
    And I think that everyone is interested in that. Absolutely.

Sometimes, the problem being solved isn't well formed. It has been framed in a manner that makes us blind to the path forward. (I think much of the tech industry does this on purpose, but that's the topic of a whole other article.) This concept resonates with me as someone who studied engineering. In my university days, engineering professors were particularly clever at creating assignment problems that were solvable only if framed correctly. Approach a problem the wrong way, and you'd be up all night dating an intractable problem with no solution in sight.

Ben obviously gets this. Watch the video and see for yourself. He's the guy with the beard ;)

So, before you jump on a tool to solve a problem, frame your problem carefully and with precision, then pick a tool to help you.

Yes, that tool could be Juju.

--
(1) PaaS = Platform-as-a-Service

Ubuntu Kernel Team: Kernel Team Meeting Minutes – August 04, 2015 [Planet Ubuntu]

Meeting Minutes

IRC Log of the meeting.

Meeting minutes.

Agenda

20150804 Meeting Agenda


Release Metrics and Incoming Bugs

Release metrics and incoming bug data can be reviewed at the following link:

  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/reports/kt-meeting.txt


Status: Wily Development Kernel

We have rebased our Wily master-next branch to the latest upstream
v4.2-rc5 and uploaded to our ~canonical-kernel-team PPA. We are
resolving fallout from DKMS packages at this time before we proceed
uploading to the archive.
—–
Important upcoming dates:

  • https://wiki.ubuntu.com/WilyWerewolf/ReleaseSchedule
    Thurs Aug 6 – 14.04.3 (~2 days away)
    Thurs Aug 20 – Feature Freeze (~2 weeks away)
    Thurs Aug 27 – Beta 1 (~3 weeks away)
    Thurs Sep 24 – Fina Beta (~7 weeks away)


Status: CVE’s

The current CVE status can be reviewed at the following link:

  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/reports/kernel-cves.html


Status: Stable, Security, and Bugfix Kernel Updates – Precise/Trusty/Utopic/Vivid

tatus for the main kernels, until today:

  • Precise – Verification & Testing
  • Trusty – Verification & Testing
  • lts-Utopic – Verification & Testing
  • Vivid – Verification & Testing

    Current opened tracking bugs details:

  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/sru/kernel-sru-workflow.html
    For SRUs, SRU report is a good source of information:
  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/sru/sru-report.html

    Schedule:

    cycle: 26-Jul through 15-Aug
    ====================================================================
    24-Jul Last day for kernel commits for this cycle
    26-Jul – 01-Aug Kernel prep week.
    02-Aug – 08-Aug Bug verification & Regression testing.
    09-Aug – 15-Aug Regression testing & Release to -updates.


Open Discussion or Questions? Raise your hand to be recognized

No open discussion.

Svetlana Belkin: Conference Plans: Fall 2015 [Planet Ubuntu]

I’m going to two (2) conferences this fall: Open Help Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio and Ohio Linux Fest in Columbus, Ohio.  If anyone else* is going to either or both of them, please let me know.  I’m willing to show you Cincinnati, where I live now and explore Columbus!

* For the Open Help Con, I know of two (2) that are going and you know who you are!  And for Ohio Linux Fest, one (1).

Mattia Migliorini: How To Upgrade Your Company’s Tech Capabilities [Planet Ubuntu]

As your business grows, so does the amount of data you manage. You may store thousands of pages of sensitive information electronically. If you use a website to convert prospects into customers, it’s critical that your website performs well. If all of this information is not secure, it can destroy your business. Use these tips to upgrade your company’s tech capabilities.

Challenges you face as your business grows

Doing business becomes more challenging as your company grows. Think about how you can address these issues as you increase sales:

  • Customer lists, competitive data: if your business is growing, you’re accumulating a great deal of data that is confidential. That includes your contact data and the buying history of your customers. You’ll also store your company budgets, forecasts and other data that is extremely sensitive.
  • Client data: in addition to contact data, you may store credit card information for your clients. Legal and regulatory bodies insist that all customer payment data you store is secure.
  • Employee data: as you add workers, you’re also required to collect and store sensitive employee data. This may include social security numbers and other personal data.

You need systems in place to protect all of this information from theft.

Keeping your business up and running

In addition to the sensitive data you must protect, you may need to upgrade your tech capabilities to operate your business. You’ll take more phone calls, answare a great number of emails and process more paperwork as you grow.

Many firms consider using an SIP Trunking system to operate more efficiently. MegaPath explains that SIP Trunking is a way to process your voice and Internet data through an Internet connection. SIP can reduce your costs, since you no longer process voice data through a phone line.

There are several other benefits to using SIP Trunking:

  • Purchase only the capacity that you need: with SIP, you can increase or decrease your data purchases easily. This concept allows you to control your data spending more precisely.
  • Scalability: SIP is also very scalable. You can increase your SIP usage to just about any data level you require. You’re not forced to switch to another tech service as you grow your business.
  • More Responsive to Clients: SIP allows you to route calls to an employee’s mobile phone. This helps your staff respond to customers faster.

Look into SIP Trunking to handle your operational needs as you grow.

Securing your data

SchoolRack lists some other great ideas to protect your data from cyber attacks:

  • Update CMS and plugins: many people use a Content Management System (CMS), such as WordPress, to build their website. You may also use plugins to perform specific tasks on your site. For example, a plugin can be used to place a contact form on your site. To secure your data, make sure that you use the most recent version of your CMS system and all plugins.
  • Passwords: it may sound simple, but using a strong password can still prevent hackers from accessing your data.
  • Password manager: if you have multiple passwords on different tech platforms, it can be difficult to keep track of all of your passwords. You can find a password manager to simplify the process of creating strong passwords and updating them periodically.

Every company that is growing has to face the demands of technology. Use these tips to manage your operations effectively. You can protect your sensitive data and grow your business.

The post How To Upgrade Your Company’s Tech Capabilities appeared first on deshack.

Harald Sitter: Akademy 2015 – Phones, CI, and Kubuntu [Planet Ubuntu]

Last week KDE’s annual world summit, Akademy, happend. And how exciting it was.

Akademy always starts off with two days of ever so exciting talks on a number of engaging subjects. But this year particularly interesting things happened courtesy of Blue Systems.

First Plasma Mobile took the stage with a working prototype running on the Nexus 5 using KWin as Wayland compositor. This is particularly enjoyable as working on the prototype, currently built on Kubuntu, made me remember the Kubuntu phone and tablet ports we did some 4 years ago.

Plasma Mobile was followed by a presentation on Shashlik, technology meant to enable running Android applications on Linux systems that aren’t Android. So I can finally run candy crush on my desktop. Huzzah!

Rohan Garg and I also talked for a bit about our efforts to bring continuous integration and delivery to Kubuntu and Debian to integrate our packaging against KDE’s git repositories and as a byproduct offer daily new binaries of most software produced by KDE.

After a weekend of thrilling talks, Akademy tends to continue with a week of discussion and hacking with Birds of Feathers sessions.

Ever since the Ubuntu Developer Summits were discontinued it has been common practise for the Kubuntu team to hold a Kubuntu Day at Akademy instead, to discuss long term targets and get KDE contributor’s thoughts and input. Real life meetings are so very important to a community. Not just because it is easier to discuss when talking face to face making everyone more efficient and reducing the chances of people misunderstanding one another and getting frustrated, they also are an important aspect of community building through the social interaction they allow. There is something uniquely family-like about sharing a drink or having a team dinner.

A great many things were discussed pertaining to Kubuntu. Ranging from Canonical’s  IP rights policy and how it endangers what we try to achieve, to websites, support, and the ever so scary GCC 5 transition that José Manuel Santamaría put a great deal of effort into making as smooth as possible.

In the AppStream/Muon BoF session Matthias Klumpp gave us an overview on how AppStream works and we discussed ways to unblock its adoption in Kubuntu to replace the currently used app-install-data.

Muon, the previously Kubuntu specific software manager that is now part of the Plasma Workspace experience, is getting further detangled from Debian specific systems as the package manager UI is going to be moved to a separate Git repository. Also tighter integration into the overall workspace and design of Plasma is the goal for future development.

As always Akademy was quite the riot. I’d like to thank the Akademy team for organizing this great event and the Ubuntu community for sponsoring my attendance.

akademy2015

❤ KDE ❤

Didier Roche: Ubuntu Make 0.9.2 hot from the builders, with Firefox Developer Edition language support [Planet Ubuntu]

Ubuntu Make 0.9.2 has just been released and features language support in our Firefox Developer Edition installation!

Thanks to our new awesome community contributor Omer Sheikh, Ubuntu Make now enables developers to install Firefox Developer Edition in their language of choice! This is all backed with our mandatory medium and large extensive testsuites. Big thanks to him for getting that through!

The installation process will ask you (listing all available languages) what is your preference for that framework:

 $ umake web firefox-dev
 Choose installation path: /home/didrocks/tools/web/firefox-dev
 Choose language: (default: en-US)
 ach/af/sq/ar/an/hy-AM/as/ast/az/eu/... fr
 Downloading and installing requirements
 100% |#########################################################################|
 Installing Firefox Dev
 |##############################################################################|
 Installation done

And here we go, with Firefox Dev Edition installed in french:

Firefox Developer Edition en français svp!

You can as well use the new --lang= option to do that in non interactive mode, like scripts.

Brian P. Sizemore joined as well the Ubuntu Make contributor crew with this release with some clarification of our readme page. Valuable contribution to all newcomers, thanks to him as well!

Some general fixes as well were delivered into this new release, full list is available in the changelog.

As usual, you can get this latest version direcly in Ubuntu Wily, and through its ppa for the 14.04 LTS, 15.05 ubuntu releases.

Our issue tracker is full of ideas and opportunities, and pull requests remain opened for any issues or suggestions! If you want to be the next featured contributor and want to give an hand, you can refer to this post with useful links!

Arthur Schiwon: Setup Karma JS test suite for ownCloud on Kubuntu 15.04 [Planet Ubuntu]

Recently I set up the Karma Javascript suite for locally running the Javascript tests for ownCloud. Since it was not totally straight forward to get it up an running, here be my setup notes!

First, it requires Node.js. They can be installed right out from the repositories. As I read somewhere, more recent versions are available on some PPA, but this one is sufficient. npm is its package manager.

Update

sudo apt install nodejs npm sudo apt install nodejs nodejs-legacy npm

The nodejs-legacy package provides the symlink, so you don't need to mess around manually in /usr/bin. Thus the following step is obsolute. Thanks to Felix for the hint.

First obstacle: because of a hard coded path somewhere, npm would not be able to find node. A symlink helps:

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node

/Update

Afterwards, we need the karma test suite and the modules which are used by ownCloud. They are installed using npm. You will notice the -g flag, which stands stands for global. If you leave it, the stuff will be installed into the local directory. One time I forget the flag and spent hours figuring out why it is not working. However, this step is supposed to be optional as the autotest script we will run eventually should take care of this. For unknown reasons it did not work for me, so I executed this steps manually once.

sudo npm install -g karma
sudo npm install -g karma-jasmine
sudo npm install -g karma-junit-reporter
sudo npm install -g karma-coverage
sudo npm install -g karma-phantomjs-launcher

That's all. Finally you can cd into your git clone of ownCloud and let the autotest script do all the JS tests:

./autotest-js.sh

There is one minor flaw. I was too lazy too "You must set an output directory for JUnitReporter via the outputDir config property" so the JUnitReporter does not work. It does not matter to me at all, the output shows me whether tests succeed or which fail.

Andrew SB: Package Management with Fabric [Planet Ubuntu]

Recently, I’ve been using Fabric quite a bit. It is simple, Pythonic, and I’ve grown to enjoy using it for automating basic systems administration tasks when a full-fledged configuration management system is more than you need for the job.

For the most part, Fabric keeps to the basics, e.g. executing remote shell commands and uploading files. There are quite a few sets of tools that have popped up to extend it, but unfortunately there no is “official” contrib library. Many of these project serve very specific use cases like deploying a Django application and duplicate certain functionality.

One thing that I’ve become a bit frustrated with is copying around convenience functions into multiple Fabfiles. In particular, I end up cargo culting functions related to package management. So to finally rid myself of these, I’ve created fabric-package-management.

The source is on GitHub, and you can install it from PyPI with:

sudo pip install fabric-package-management

The aim is to provide basic primitives for package management with Fabric. Its focus is intentionally narrow. The 0.1 release only offers support for Apt, but I hope to see it grow support for more distributions. It could potentially add an abstraction layer for cross distro support.

Here’s a quick example of using it to update all your DigitalOcean servers:

import os
import digitalocean
from fabric.api import task, prompt, env, settings
from fabric.operations import reboot

from fabric_package_management import apt

USER = 'username'

def get_hosts():
    token = os.getenv('DO_TOKEN')
    manager = digitalocean.Manager(token=token)
    droplets = manager.get_all_droplets()
    hosts = []
    for d in droplets:
        hosts.append(d.ip_address)

    return hosts

@task()
def run():
    hosts = get_hosts()
    for h in hosts:
        with settings(host_string=h, user=USER):
            apt.update()
            apt.upgrade()
            if apt.reboot_required():
                prompt("Reboot required. Initiate now?\nYes/No?",
                       "response",
                       default="No",
                       validate=r'yes|Yes|YES|no|No|NO')
                if env.response.lower() == "yes":
                    reboot()

Hope you find this useful!

Launchpad News: Launchpad news, July 2015 [Planet Ubuntu]

Here’s a summary of what the Launchpad team got up to in July.

Code

  • We fixed a regression in the wrapping layout of side-by-side diffs on bazaar.launchpad.net (#1436483)
  • Various code pages now have meta tags to redirect “go get" to the appropriate Bazaar or Git URL, allowing the removal of special-casing from the “go" tool (#1465467)
  • Merge proposal diffs including mention of binary patches no longer crash the new-and-improved code review comment mail logic (#1471426), and we fixed some line-counting bugs in that logic as well (#1472045)
  • Links to the Git code browsing interface now use shorter URL forms

We’ve also made a fair amount of progress on adding support for triggering webhooks from Launchpad (#342729), which will initially be hooked up for pushes to Git repositories.  The basic code model, webservice API, and job retry logic are all in place now, but we need to sort out a few more things including web UI and locking down the proxy configuration before we make it available for general use.  We’ll post a dedicated article about this once the feature becomes available.

Mail notifications

We posted recently about improved filtering options (#1474071).  In the process of doing so, we cleaned up several older problems with the mails we send:

  • Notifications for a bug’s initial message no longer include a References header, which confuses some versions of some mail clients (#320034)
  • Package upload notifications no longer attempt to transliterate non-ASCII characters in package maintainer names into ASCII equivalents; they now use RFC2047 encoding instead (#362957)
  • Notifications about duplicate bugs now include an X-Launchpad-Bug-Duplicate header (#363995)
  • Package build failure notifications now include a “You are receiving this email because …” rationale (#410893)

Package build infrastructure

  • The sbuild upgrade last month introduced some regressions in our handling of package builds that need to wait for dependencies (e.g. #1468755), and it’s taken a few goes to get this right; this is somewhat improved now, and the next builder deployment will fix all the currently-known bugs in this area
  • In the same area, we’ve made some progress on adding minimal support for Debian’s new build profiles syntax, applying fixes to upload processing and dependency-wait analysis, although this should still be considered bleeding-edge and unlikely to work from end to end
  • We’ve been working on adding support for building snap packages (#1476405), but there’s still more to do here; we should be able to make this available to some alpha testers around mid-August

Miscellaneous

  • We’ve arranged to redirect translations for the overlay PPA used for current Ubuntu phone images to the ubuntu-rtm/15.04 series so that they can be translated effectively (#1463723); we’re still working on copying translations into place from before this fix
  • Projects and project groups no longer have separately-editable “display name” and “title” fields, which were very similar in purpose; they now just have display names (#1853, #4449)
  • Cancelled live file system builds are sorted to the end of the build history, rather than the start (#1424672)

Federal Judge strikes down ban on undercover investigative videos on First Amendment grounds [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

Oh wait, this is for Animal rights activists

A federal judge struck down Idaho’s ban on undercover videos at factory farms Monday, saying state legislators wrongly criminalized free speech to protect powerful agricultural groups.

Animal rights advocates called the ruling the first such defeat for a so-called ag-gag law in the U.S. The laws have gained popularity in some states as activists continue to publish undercover videos showing animal abuse at facilities around the country.

U.S. Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the District of Idaho swept away the state’s ban on the grounds that the law violated the 1st Amendment and selectively targeted activists or journalists who might be critical of factory farm practices.

“The effect of the statute will be to suppress speech by undercover investigators and whistleblowers concerning topics of great public importance: the safety of the public food supply, the safety of agricultural workers, the treatment and health of farm animals, and the impact of business activities on the environment,” Winmill wrote in a summary judgment.

The judge said that “the facts show the state’s purpose in enacting the statute was to protect industrial animal agriculture by silencing its critics.”

But three years and three-hundred hours of investigative videos on what is being done to human babies?

A Planned Parenthood executive admits in an undercover video that her doctors alter abortion procedures and she manipulates prices to accommodate specific fetal tissue harvesting requests — including delivering fully intact fetuses — though doing so may violate federal law.

In the nearly 16-minute, edited video, the fifth released by Center for Medical Progress, a woman identified as Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, discusses pricing for specimens — ranging from intact fetuses to tissue and organs — for outside tissue procurement companies.

“Yeah, and so if we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, then we can make it part of the budget, that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this,” Farrell said. “I mean it’s all just a matter of line items.”

Whatever, h8rs. You just want to suppress the sexuality of teh womyns.

Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum: “Liberals don’t generally consider aborting a fetus to involve killing a human being.” [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

Well, I’m glad Kevin has decided to put aside all the equivocation, obfuscations and euphemisms that Left-liberals employ to avoid stating their view quite so baldly.

And, be assured, Kevin wants you also to know that “Obviously the rest of our views follow from that.”

The occasion of Kevin’s refreshing candidness on the non-humaness of a gestating human [where the magical line of humaness is once the head has cleared mom and no one in the room either places said quasi-human in a closet to become fully non-human or hands it over to a medical tech to harvest the quasi-humans decidedly human liver, spine, kidneys and other assorted viscera — the Agents of Choice sprinkle magic dust and pronounce it “A Child”*] ….

*saying “boy” or “girl” is to engage in assigning a gender; something that all the Bright and Shiny enlightened ones will not so stoop to burden a new child with such binary heteronormativity.

… is a back-handed dismissal of Ramesh Ponnuru’s question:

A recent Sarah Silverman tweet distilled one argument many liberals are making about the Planned Parenthood videos into a few characters: ”Abortion is still legal in the great U.S of A. It would be insane not to use fetal tissue 4 science & education in such cases. #StandwithPP.”

The death penalty is also still legal in our great country. Should we employ methods of execution so as to yield the highest number of usable organs? Should prisons be able to donate these organs in return for some compensation for their costs–maybe enough to break even, or do a little bit better than break even? For that matter, should we do experiments on death-row inmates before we execute them, in the name of “science & education”? (We could render these experiments painless, if that’s important to people, even though we do not require the anesthetization of late-term fetuses being aborted.) And remember, our reasons for saying no can’t have to do with respect for the convicts’ autonomy, since we are about to violate that autonomy in a bigger way.

Kevin deigns to fart in Ramesh’s general direction …

To us lefties, the death penalty involves killing a human being. Abortion doesn’t.

Leftism in all its glory. Mass murderers should be afforded all the respect of a human being, but an unborn child at any stage of development deserves no more respect than a skin tag.

Thanks for clearing that up, Kevin.

Airbus patents plane that could fly from New York to London in 1 hour [CBC | Technology News]

A supersonic rocket-plane that could theoretically fly from New York to London in an hour has been patented by Airbus.

More twisters than normal could tear through Canada this summer [CBC | Technology News]

Ontario is due for

An above-average number of tornadoes may be ripping through - and ripping up - Canada this summer, scientists say.

Surveillance footage could reveal who decapitated HitchBOT, or not [CBC | Technology News]

Surveillance camera footage obtained by Philadelphia YouTuber Jesse Wellens appears to show Canada's favourite hitchhiking robot being destroyed. But is it real?

Climate change could make it hard for yellow perch to breed [CBC | Technology News]

Yellow Perch

The yellow perch living in Lake Erie have long faced challenges breeding after short, warm winters and some scientists believe that climate change could thus cause further problems for them.

Toronto startup's 360-degree camera lets you capture 'virtual world' [CBC | Technology News]

CanuckTech Bubl 20150804

Snapping the perfect photo of an unforgettable moment can be a challenge when you're an amateur photographer, but Sean Ramsay says his new camera will forever change how we think about taking pictures.

Raising the Maud, Roald Amundsen's Arctic time capsule [CBC | Technology News]

Divers check an airbag for the Maud

Years of work are coming to a slow and methodical end as a team of Norwegians puts the finishing touches on an audacious plan to raise the Maud, Roald Amundsen's sunken ship, from the little Arctic bay where it has rested for decades.

3D-printed drug approved in U.S. for 1st time ever [CBC | Technology News]

3-D Printing Drug

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first prescription drug made through 3D printing: a dissolvable tablet that treats seizures.

Canadian hacktivists use Donald Trump's website to praise Jon Stewart [CBC | Technology News]

Members of the anonymous, decentralized hacktivist group Telecomix Canada covertly used Donald Trump's website to host a love letter to Jon Stewart.

sociologistbridget: I’m tempted to unfollow everyone who lifts because my lower back has sympathy... [http://sexyfitarmychick.tumblr.com/]

sociologistbridget:

I’m tempted to unfollow everyone who lifts because my lower back has sympathy pain whenever I see arched backs for booty selfies.

My injury is actually a 2/10 on the pain scale lately and y'all keep making it go up to a 6.

But the selfie twist with booty pop is ALL I KNOW 😩

weaponsgradegains: Also, going to be looking for some guinea pigs soon. I’m sitting for my NSCA... [http://sexyfitarmychick.tumblr.com/]

weaponsgradegains:

Also, going to be looking for some guinea pigs soon. 

I’m sitting for my NSCA this week and I’m looking to get some practice on online people who actually follow through. But, I’m only really looking to work with people that want to improve the Squat/Bench/Deadlift (for the moment) and or target weak areas or improve 1 of those 3 lifts. Free of charge and then if I ever get into the online business we can work out a continuation plan or keep it going. I just need some practice working with people I cannot physically be there for so when my clients have their training days that are not planned meet ups, I can adjust and learn to manage fatigue and cues. 

Just to get some practice and solidify some things before I reach out and start doing full programs/programming and to build up some confidence to help real life clients and see if I need to adjust and where I could be learning/doing better. I’ve got 2 people I’m helping with singular lifts right now. 

So feel free to message me. Keep in mind I’ll probably be picky though so no hard feelings if you don’t get a returning message. 

I am here for this 👌🏼

I lasted two hours at the call centre. Fuck. That. As I was walking out the manager guy was like... [http://sexyfitarmychick.tumblr.com/]

I lasted two hours at the call centre.

Fuck. That.

As I was walking out the manager guy was like “nah, I totally understand, you’re way too overqualified for this. I actually wasn’t even sure why you applied here?”

Anyway, the job hunt continues.

broodingsoul: My favorite part of this is that in the version... [http://sexyfitarmychick.tumblr.com/]



broodingsoul:

My favorite part of this is that in the version that aired, you can see Jennifer Aniston cracking up behind her hand because she could never get it together.

soycrates: “Why are you so suspicious of men even when they say nice things to you? What he said... [http://sexyfitarmychick.tumblr.com/]

soycrates:

“Why are you so suspicious of men even when they say nice things to you? What he said was gentlemanly, you should give him a chance!”

image

Can’t decide if I love or hate Wet Hot American Summer. [http://sexyfitarmychick.tumblr.com/]

Can’t decide if I love or hate Wet Hot American Summer.

Rhino Party ready to weigh in as election campaign begins [http://sexyfitarmychick.tumblr.com/]

Rhino Party ready to weigh in as election campaign begins:

allthecanadianpolitics:

Calling a federal election where the campaign is so long might be considered crazy.

But if you really want crazy, check out the Rhinoceros Party.

The website www.PartyRhino.ca has such promises as the Loto-Senate, “a lottery game where all Canadians will be eligible to win a seat in the Senate.”

“It’s not going to be reserved for some old men who served the party well and got lifetime jobs,” said Rhino leader Sebastien CoRhino, in a telephone interview Monday from his home near Rimouski, Que.

CoRhino, whose real surname is Corriveau, said there’s also a promise to privatize the Queen “to save on taxes and to profit from subsidies.”

“It’s very expensive to have the Queen,” said CoRhino. “We’re not a colony any more. We’re stuck with the Queen of some other country. Why don’t we have our own Queen?”

Another part of the Rhino platform is to have a “Tax on the Black Market.” The party plans to add a cashier to the exit of the black market to collect as much as $333 billion a year. The key, of course, would be to find the exit.

Continue Reading.

Rhinoceros Party is the best. Canadian satire at its best.

The Siru Innovatios SDR20 adds new features [The SWLing Post]

Siru-Innovations-SDR20-1

Many thanks to Jarkko Mäkivaara with Siru Innovations who writes with the following update:

We have added some new features to our SDR20 portable radio!

Please see the video [below] for a demonstration of the following features:
* Smooth zoom in FFT/waterfall view
* Adaptive menu
* Frequency memory with snapshot pictures of signals
* Sliding effect between views
* Keyboard beep
* FM broadcast receiver
* Example of Ham radio transceiver with Narrow-FM mode
You also might got the email sent out Today where this is in HTML format.

Guest Post: Richard tests the frequency stability of the Tecsun PL-880 [The SWLing Post]

PL-880 (1)Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, for the following guest post:


Frequency Stability of My Tecsun PL-880

Recently, while recording the audio on a particular SW frequency unattended over night, I decided to set my Tecsun PL-880 in USB mode with the 3.5 kHz RF bandwidth setting as I had previously noticed splatter QRM from a station 10 kHz below my frequency of interest. I adjusted the frequency to the nearest 10 Hz for natural-sounding voice. On playing the recording, I was disappointed to find that the signal had drifted in frequency and although speech was still recognizable, music was distorted.

I decided to try to measure the stability of the receiver by recording the Canadian time signal station CHU on 7850.00 kHz in USB mode (CHU has no LSB component) over night for over nine hours. The receiver was operated with just its telescopic whip antenna indoors and the audio was recorded with a Tecsun ICR-100 radio recorder / digital audio player. I wrote a Python script to compute the audio spectrum of each one-minute segment of the recorded files using a fast Fourier transform (after removing a DC component). The script then looks for the largest peaks in the spectra centred on a specified frequency and prints out the frequency (to the nearest Hz) and amplitude of the peak. In case the signal has dropped below audibility, a threshold is set and if the detected peak is below the threshold (likely just detecting the random noise background), it is skipped. The specific centre frequency I was looking for was 1000 Hz, the frequency of the tone used to mark each second of the CHU broadcast except when the voice announcement and digital signal are transmitted. In AM mode, the spectrum would consistently show a peak at 1000 Hz but in SSB mode, the peak will vary depending on the receiver frequency setting and the actual frequency of the receiver’s oscillator.

The plot below shows the received CHU one-second tone frequency as a function of time (UTC) from when the receiver was first switched on.

StabilityPlot-CHU1000hz

It shows the tone frequency started out at about 1046 Hz slowly dropping in the first half hour to about 1012 Hz and after about an hour stabilized to 1011 Hz ± 1 Hz for the better part of an hour. (This shows that you may have to allow a receiver to “warm up” for perhaps up to an hour before attempting anything close to accurate frequency reading at the order of 10 Hz.) But then, over the course of the next seven hours when the signal was audible, the frequency slowly rose ending up at about 1034 Hz. The variation might be affected by the ambient air temperature (but this should have been nearly constant), air flow around the receiver, and perhaps the charge level of the receiver’s battery. On several occasions, I have turned the receiver on (after being off for many hours) and seen a CHU frequency offset of only 10 or 20 Hz. So, I intend to repeat this experiment sometime to check on the day-to-day frequency stability. This frequency stability measurement technique could also be used with WWV/WWVH by recording the 440, 500, or 600 Hz tones broadcast at different times during the broadcast hour.

Of course, it’s also possible to check the receiver’s frequency offset in real time by switching between AM and SSB modes while adjusting the receiver frequency in 10 Hz steps until the signal sounds the same in both modes. There is also freely available computer software for various operating systems that can display a real-time spectrum of audio passed to it through a microphone or line input. So, a CHU or WWV/WWVH test using such software could also be performed in real time. And alternatively, by tuning say exactly 1 kHz away from the transmitted carrier frequency in SSB mode, the software can be used to measure the audible heterodyne frequency to better than 10 Hz — even 1 Hz. This frequency can then be added or subtracted as appropriate to the dial reading (assumed accurate or with a noted offset) to get the exact transmitted carrier frequency.

By the way, it is possible to calibrate and reset the PL-880 using the procedure documented on the SWLing Post (click here to view).

As a side benefit of the analysis I carried out, we can also look at the quality of the received signal over the recorded interval. In this case, it is a measure of the level of a particular audio frequency rather than the RF signal+noise level we usually get from the receiver S-meter or other signal strength display. This is illustrated in the plot below for the CHU recording. As you can see, reception was mostly quite good between about 02:00 and 04:00 UTC and then became fair but above threshold level until about 05:30 UTC.

AudioLevel-CHU7850kHz

The signal was then essentially inaudible up to about 08:00 UTC when with bouts of fading it became audible again for an hour or two with sunrise approaching.

— Richard Langley

Can’t wait for season 2 of The Flash? Watch the original... [The Flash]



Can’t wait for season 2 of The Flash? Watch the original for FREE on CW Seed! bit.ly/FlashOriginal

Don’t miss tonight’s encore episode of The... [The Flash]



Don’t miss tonight’s encore episode of The Flash at 8/7c, and watch the latest episodes on The CW App! bit.ly/TheCWApp

Does The First Amendment Protect The Release of Videos Exposing Planned Parenthood? [The Federalist]

A Los Angeles court has ordered the Center for Medical Progress not to publish further video exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted babies. Another Federal Court has also barred the release of specific documents pertinent to CMP’s investigation. On Federalist Radio today, Ben cuts through the legalese with scholars from Powerline Legal Blog and the Alliance Defense Fund.

Paul Mirengoff, a lawyer and author at Power Line Blog, explains that both courts have made use of prior restraint, an instrument barring free expression before publication. He says that this legal mechanism has long been deemed as unconstitutional and highly unfavorable in most cases.

Casey Mattox, Senior Council for the Alliance Defense Fund, predicts that, “in the long run, these videos will keep coming out.”

Also during the program, the founder of Puerto Rico Clearing House, Cate Long, explains how that US territory ended up in default for the first time in history.

Click here to listen, or use the embedded link below.

Fifth Video Exposing Planned Parenthood Released [The Federalist]

The Center for Medical Progress released a fifth video today exposing Planned Parenthood’s organ trafficking scheme. In the video, lab technicians are seen sifting through second trimester baby organs, and pulling a 20-week-old twin baby out of the freezer, among other revelations.

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Research Director Melissa Farrell explains to investigators posing as organ buyers that she has 6 abortion clinics that perform abortions on babies after 16 weeks.

Stem cell harvesting companies like Stem Express aren’t the only ones collecting aborted babies for research. In the video, Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast says that many abortionists frequently keep the bodies for their own research.

Farrell is seen negotiating the cost of charging more money for “intact fetal cadavers,” and how she would justify those increased costs in accounting terms. She also explains that organs from older babies are worth more because there’s more paperwork and administrative effort involved.

“It’s all just a matter of line items,” she said.

Organs from intact, older babies are apparently in high demand. Other buyers are taking livers, brain matter, bone marrow from 16-22 week old babies, Farrell said. After looking at her computer, she said that one client has asked for 120 samples from these older babies.

Towards the end of the video, the investigators are taken into the pathological laboratory, where an employee pulls the remains of a 20-week-old twin out of a freezer, and fishes through the organs in a strainer over the sink. With forceps, the employee holds up a liver and lungs.

“Like I said, the organs come out really really well, almost intact” a lab technician said.

A large severed limb is pulled out of the petri dish where the other mangled remains lay.

Another lab technician explains that the cooperation of the mother is crucial to getting intact organs. Though they are consciously sedated, mothers often reach their maximum pain tolerance, which requires the abortion doctors to rip apart the baby more in order to get it out.

“If they’re completely relaxed, it’s easier not to do so many passes with the forceps,” she explains.

Because of the difficulties with aborting older babies, the lab technician explains that they will lay all of the parts out on a table and make sure that everything has been pulled out of the mother before they seal it up in a plastic bag.

WARNING: The video embedded contains graphic content after the 9:45 minute mark.

The Left, Not Fox News, Has Made Us All Crazy [The Federalist]

“I said some years ago that the genius of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes was to have discovered a niche market in American broadcasting—half the American people,” Charles Krauthammer once observed. “The reason Fox News has thrived and grown is because it offers a vibrant and honest alternative to those who could not abide yet another day of the news delivered to them beneath layer after layer of often undisguised liberalism.”

Since Fox’s creation in the mid-90s, the media has become less and less interested in disguising its liberalism, which has, ironically, ensured Fox’s continued success. Certainly, the escalating polarization is lamentable and it seems particularly pronounced among older Americans. My parents watch a lot of Fox News, as do my in-laws. Frankly, the majority of people over 60 that I know watch a lot of Fox News. However, are Fox News viewers victims of a “conspiracy” to brainwash them? That’s literally what a new documentary by Jen Senko—“The Brainwashing of My Dad”—is claiming:

If it seems surprising to you that older viewers watch a lot of Fox News, you should probably take care to let your eyes gradually adjust to the light once you finally venture out of your cave. Fox is easily the highest-rated cable news channel, and older voters skew conservative. But it’s also fair to say that interest in politics generally increases with age. The demographic base for subscribers to political magazines—Right and Left—always skews older.

Projecting Their Aggression onto the Right

Sure, there are times when I wish my parents weren’t so obsessed with politics. Then again, I wish so much of my life wasn’t consumed by politics, and I write about the topic professionally. Indeed, part of the problem is that contemporary progressivism ensures that politics consumes everything, no matter how trivial—from what shirt a rocket scientist wears at a press conference to daring to call yourself “American.”

[It] also warns of how generations of Americans have been tricked into an angry cult-like devotion to a new conservative lord and savior: Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

They then whinge that those who express exasperation by having to refute this nonsense are obsessed. But believe it or not, it’s possible for people—even within the same family!—to disagree without classifying dissenting opinions as evidence of a pathology. Yet, according to this highly sympathetic Daily Beast write-up—“How Fox News Made My Dad Crazy”—that’s the entire premise of the documentary:

In a new documentary unveiled this week at Michael Moore’s film festival, one filmmaker takes aim at the ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ Hillary once put on blast. The Brainwashing Of My Dad also warns of how generations of Americans have been tricked into an angry cult-like devotion to a new conservative lord and savior: Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

Her case study? Her own dad.

Now, maybe Senko’s dad did become obsessed, and maybe he really is not well. But if that’s the case, her father’s issues can’t be projected on to half the country. It also doesn’t seem like Senko is at all interested in evaluating things from her father’s perspective. Senko describes her dad as a “nonpolitical Kennedy Democrat.” In other words, he supported the Catholic pro-life guy who slashed marginal tax rates, fought the commies aggressively, and would otherwise be a completely unwelcome figure among today’s liberals, both culturally and politically.

Indeed, among today’s Democrats Thomas Jefferson is persona non grata, while the current liberal Democratic president of the United States shared an office with a left-wing domestic terrorist for years. Yet, Senko seems convinced that the rapid cultural and political shifts in the country are the product of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

Who’s Afraid of Fox News? This Gal

So Senko trots out a host of liberal bugaboos that she’s convinced are revealing and novel, even though they’ve been standard liberal agitprop for the last 15 years. The Powell Memo is cited as the founding document of the vast right-wing Conspiracy. Of course, at the time the Powell Memo was written in the early ’70s, liberals were doing plenty of their own conspiring to radicalize the political debate. And progressives have done plenty of backroom plotting since then, even citing the Powell Memo as their direct inspiration.

Liberals, progressives, we want to be fair—but it’s not about being fair, it’s about being objective.

Senko informs us Fox News personalities “use hand gestures to subliminally connect with their viewers.” She claims the GOP has used language to manipulate voters. That’s true of every politician, but hilariously, she seems to think use of the word “climate change” over “global warming” is a GOP plot. (Frank Luntz did write memo to Republicans endorsing the term, but it’s a phrase that dates back to the ’50s and even climate-change advocates say the idea Republicans convinced everyone to adopt new terminology is bunkum.)

Not only that, George Lakoff, a Berkeley linguist who has long advised Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats on how to manipulate language to their own end is used as a talking head in Senko’s film. (Other unimpeachable experts on right-wing conspiracies such as Media Matters’ David Brock, Noam Chomsky, and liberal talk-radio host Thom Hartmann also make appearances.) Lakoff is so oblivious to his insanely biased academic pettifogging, in 2009 he was asked about the anger being expressed in congressional town halls over Obamacare being rammed through in the face of overwhelming public opposition, and he said this: “I think it is very hard because [Democrats] don’t have the message machine the Republicans do. The Democrats still believe in Enlightenment reason: If you just tell people the truth, they will come to the right conclusion.”

Senko made more or less the same argument to the Daily Beast. “Centrists and liberals and progressives have to wake up and smell the fucking coffee,” she said. “We’ve all sort of been polite. Liberals, progressives, we want to be fair—but it’s not about being fair, it’s about being objective. So I really hope to make people aware of this. Oh my God, it’s the media, stupid.”

Exploiting Dad Is Totally Okay to Make a Political Point

Senko’s claim that liberals are getting rolled because they’re the only ones playing by the rules is particularly rich coming from a documentary, a form of media that has come under repeated scrutiny for distortions and liberal bias. Not one sentence later: “Senko, incidentally, calls herself a Progressive and is throwing her weight behind Bernie Sanders. ‘I’m tired of seeing Democrats allowing themselves to be slapped in the face, allowing and adopting the language that people like Frank Luntz came up with for the Republicans,’ she said. ‘Just being aware is a huge step. It’s going to change conversations.’”

Senko needs to take a long, hard look at what she’s done, and ask herself a simple question: Which member of her family has really been brainwashed?

Rarely does a single word do so much to demolish an entire argument, let alone all the work Senko has put into this documentary over the last number of years. Whereas Senko’s father’s right-wing politics are the result of being brainwashed by a media conspiracy, Senko is “incidentally” a progressive. (Elsewhere, the Daily Beast describes her as an “ex-hippie.”) But nothing about this documentary is incidental. Senko has quite deliberately made a film that invites the public to pass judgment on her own aging father. She thinks her father’s obsessed with politics, but all he did was rant and rave to people he thought loved him enough to be sympathetic. It’s his own daughter who’s fine with humiliating him in the national press so long as it “changes conversations” in a way that helps Sanders get elected and stick it to the Rethuglicans.

Senko needs to take a long, hard look at what she’s done, and ask herself a simple question: Which member of her family has really been brainwashed?

How We’ve Responded To Miscarriages [The Federalist]

In announcing their current pregnancy, Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan also revealed they’ve had three miscarriages in their attempts to bear children. Miscarriage, although often not discussed, is a part of many women’s lives, given that studies show it occurs with between 10 and 25 percent of known pregnancies.

Here’s part of their announcement:

You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience. Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you’re defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own.

In today’s open and connected world, discussing these issues doesn’t distance us; it brings us together. It creates understanding and tolerance, and it gives us hope.

When we started talking to our friends, we realized how frequently this happened — that many people we knew had similar issues and that nearly all had healthy children after all.

We hope that sharing our experience will give more people the same hope we felt and will help more people feel comfortable sharing their stories as well.

We took this invitation to heart, and invited senior contributors to The Federalist to share their thoughts and feelings about miscarriage.

It Can Be Hard to Mourn a Person You Didn’t Know

Rachel Lu

I think pro-lifers find it really hard to figure out how to think about this. Their instinct is to affirm their love of life by making a lot of it, and most of the pieces I’ve read on miscarriage underscore this point. “This is a huge deal, we should be talking about it more. Treat women who have miscarried like any other person who just lost a child.” That sort of thing.

Lots of factors will affect the way we feel about a miscarriage.

I have experienced miscarriage. For me, it was sad but not wrenching. I am not saying this is the correct way to feel about it, but I also don’t think it’s wrong. Lots of factors will affect the way we feel about a miscarriage. Had you been desperately hoping for a child for years, or was this a surprise, “Wow, was I fertile already?” pregnancy? How far along were you? Is there any reason to think it would be hard to get pregnant again? These things do make a difference, emotionally. Some miscarriages are absolutely wrenching. But if you already have children, and expect to have more, it would be strange to grieve an early miscarriage the way you would the death of an already-born child.

People are sometimes upset by that point, because they think it calls into question the humanity of the newly-conceived. But it doesn’t. Metaphysically, I absolutely believe that everyone is a human being, precious in God’s sight, and fully worthy of love and protection, from the moment of conception.

But people die all the time, and our reactions to those deaths aren’t determined by the metaphysical status of the deceased. They’re mostly determined by our personal relationship to the deceased, and most especially by whether or not we love them. Can we love someone we don’t really know? Maybe a little, but it’s not the same love we feel for a known person. Especially in the early weeks, before we’ve even felt them moving, we don’t really know our unborn children at all. That’s one of the things that makes miscarriage confusing: we know that the person existed, but we didn’t know them, and we don’t even have any mementoes except maybe a grainy ultrasound photo.

That’s one of the things that makes miscarriage confusing: we know that the person existed, but we didn’t know them.

Of course, it doesn’t follow that we should blow off a miscarriage like it’s nothing. Even if we didn’t know them, they’re still our own children. The knowledge of their very brief existence does mean something to us, and it should. But for me, both as a Christian and as someone who sees openness to life and fertility as an intrinsic part of womanhood, I find miscarriage to be a bit bittersweet. Death is part of life; it’s sobering to reflect that my own body can be the cradle of both. I also think it’s rather beautiful to reflect that there are souls that pass through life without really experiencing (so far as we can tell) pain or grief. I believe that God cares for those souls in some good and loving way.

One reason I don’t announce my pregnancies early is because, should I miscarry, I really don’t want a lot of people bringing me flowers or meals, or trying to “talk about it.” I never needed or wanted that. Some people do, and that’s fine. But I also think there are probably people for whom pro-life “miscarriage awareness” is more burdensome than helpful. For example, some women name their miscarried babies, do things to observe their would-be due dates or the anniversaries of their deaths, etc. If that gives people comfort, they should do it. But I don’t think we should view such measures as expected or necessary.

What Gives Me Peace about My Miscarriage

Jayme Metzgar

One of the hardest things about a miscarriage (besides the obvious loss) is not really knowing how handle it socially or emotionally. This is compounded by the fact that not every pregnancy loss is identical. Circumstances really do make a difference: whether you’ve been struggling with infertility, whether you already have children, how far along you are, and your own temperament. As women, we tend to compare our experience to others’ and feel conflicted: Am I taking this too hard? Or not hard enough?

One burden women shouldn’t have to bear is that of validating our child’s humanity through our grief.

Of course, every human life is equally precious—that’s not in doubt. One burden women shouldn’t have to bear is that of validating our child’s humanity through our grief. If there’s anything pro-life people believe, it’s that the feelings of the mother don’t determine the value of the child’s life. He or she is valuable as a human being created in God’s image, period. Our feelings don’t make them any more or less so.

But as finite people, relationships and proximity do impact our grief. With losing a child already born, the grief is both for a loss in the present (who the child is now, and the relationship you have), and in the future (who the child will be, and the hopes you had for him or her). With a miscarriage (especially an early one), the loss belongs much more to the future. Of course, those struggling with infertility experience another set of painful losses and fears. There’s no one-size-fits-all way you’re supposed to feel. We women should give ourselves permission to experience whatever emotions come without expectations or comparisons.

Eleven years ago, I miscarried my third pregnancy in the second trimester. I was 16 weeks along when it was discovered, but the baby had died at around 14 weeks old. So having gone through the whole first trimester with all its discomforts, and having had several months to think about the baby and prepare for his or her arrival, it was hard. I really did appreciate the friends who sent flowers and cards—I was grateful to them for acknowledging the depth of the loss.

Most of all, I appreciated hearing from other women who had experienced a later miscarriage (and there were more than I had realized). One of the hardest emotions for me at that point was wondering if I had done something wrong to harm the baby. I had a lot of guilt and doubts, and they helped me work through those.

We women should give ourselves permission to experience whatever emotions come without expectations or comparisons.

We did a few intentional things to memorialize our baby and bring closure, and that helped a great deal. That’s another ache of miscarriage: there’s no tangible evidence or real memories of the child to hold on to. It’s an empty feeling. So, first, we named the baby. My husband also put a memorial stone in our garden and planted a tree nearby. And I wrote a poem for the baby, which in a strange way was probably the most healing thing for me at the time. Of course, the very best thing for my healing was getting pregnant a few months later. Having that next baby (who wouldn’t have been conceived if her sibling had been born) was what really took the sting away. If I’d never had another child, it’s likely I’d still be grieving.

As it is, I can’t say I’m still grieving or that it’s painful anymore. I still remember and love my baby, but I’ve come to have complete peace that he or she was always meant for heaven. My little girl who came next is the one who was meant for me to have and raise. It’s not that my daughter is more valuable than the baby I lost—it’s just she’s the one who’s supposed to be here.

I’m sure there are women who are still grieving for babies they miscarried years ago. I don’t fault them. I also don’t fault myself for not feeling that sting still today. I’m thankful for the support of friends and family through our time of loss, and I’m especially thankful for my Christian belief that death is not the end. One day, I’ll finally get to meet my little one, and heaven will be that much sweeter.

Why Is Miscarriage Still Taboo?

Nicole Russell

“This isn’t a viable fetus,” my doctor said to me. “Let’s schedule a day for you to come in.” At eight weeks along, I’d just found out I was pregnant barely two weeks prior. It was unexpected, sure—my youngest son then was around one year old—but my husband and I were adjusting to the idea and getting excited about it. I’d had a great first pregnancy and couldn’t wait to see what carrying my second child would be like. What gender? What color hair would the baby have? What kind of name goes well with “Beckett?”

I had to ask my doctor again. “What do you mean, not viable?”

You feel a mix of emotions afterward: sadness, emptiness, confusion, and even a bit of shame.

Turns out that means you will never know the answer to those questions because you either are in the process of having, or will in a matter of days have, a miscarriage. Upon bloodwork and tests showing the baby had stopped growing, I opted to have a D&C, rather than wait to miscarry naturally. The procedure is relatively simple and recovery is easy, except that you feel a mix of emotions afterward: sadness, emptiness, confusion, and even a bit of shame. My doctors never discussed anything with me except the physical signs of miscarriage I may experience again.

I say shame because what struck me most about having a miscarriage is the fact that it’s so common. Except you would never actually know it’s common, because it feels like it’s still rarely discussed among women (although a Google search will show a myriad of articles on the topic.) According to the March of Dimes, 50 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, many of these before a woman even realizes she’s pregnant. About 15 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.

It’s a hush-hush subject, an awkward topic that people react strangely toward, somewhere between the way you feel when someone tells you she wants to get pregnant and can’t and when a relative has died. How does one react to that news? No one knows, so no one does, and so no one tells anyone. You feel at once lonely, like your friends have betrayed you, sad, like your emotions have betrayed you (crying for a baby you never met?), and angry that your body betrayed you, as it begins to expel what is “not viable.” You find yourself googling: Causes of miscarriage. Could I have done anything different?

It’s a hush-hush subject, an awkward topic that people react strangely toward.

Unlike many women who endure a miscarriage, I had a lively red-headed boy to distract me, to propel me into the days ahead. I had friends who rallied around me (brownie bites always taste great, but especially when you’re sad), and emotions and hormones that stabilized over time. My body healed and adjusted, too. Several months passed, and I became pregnant again. Nine months later, all my questions were answered: Girl. Strawberry blonde. Keira.

Every woman’s story about miscarriage is different. For some who struggle to get pregnant, miscarriage is a devastating loss, a baby that mom names, buries, and grieves over. For others, it somehow feels a little less hard, the pain not quite as searing, although I wouldn’t say it’s ever easy. Most miscarriages cannot be prevented through medical intervention or lifestyle changes. They happen because of chromosomal abnormalities or other things about which mom-to-be can do little.

But what should be happening is conversation. Every woman should feel comfortable talking about this painful and uncomfortable experience. In 2015, miscarriage shouldn’t be so taboo. If you have a friend who recently suffered this loss and you don’t know what to say, just admit you’re at a loss, ask her how she’s feeling, and give her a hug. A few words and a little empathy can go a long way, and can ultimately make a common occurrence less taboo, a sad reality a little more bearable.

Obama Wasn’t Kidding About Wanting To Spike Your Electricity Bill [The Federalist]

We have all seen the YouTube video of then-candidate Barack Obama saying his energy goals would make electricity rates “necessarily skyrocket.” That was 2008. Well, with his term less than a year and a half from ending, President Obama is delivering on that promise.

No matter how adroitly he said it, most of Obama’s comments in the ornate White House East Room Monday were propaganda, communication aimed at influencing the attitude of a population toward some cause or position. Facts be damned.

Obama was announcing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) final Clean Power Plan regulation. It is little changed from the proposed rule, although the administration and supporters will tout cosmetic changes to the rule as evidence of their “flexibility.” It is designed to force states to force the electric utilities to reduce “carbon pollution.” (FYI, carbon is not a pollutant.) Among other things, the regulations require power plants to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent in 15 years, and states to reduce overall emissions at a rate that depends on current levels. If states don’t create their own plans that please the feds by 2018, EPA will create a plan for and impose it on them.

The Clean Power Plan Is Terrible—Let Us Count the Ways

In reality, nothing from the proposed rules has changed.

ILLEGAL: The final rule is still illegal and will be changed in court as soon as the ink is dry later this summer. At least 15 states, if not more, will file suit challenging the regulation that Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe called “lawless.” The plan has four “blocks. EPA only has the legal authority to do one of the blocks.

The Heritage Foundation estimates a loss of $2.5 trillion in gross domestic product and more than 1 million job losses.

EXPENSIVE: The cost of the rule is in the billions. The final rule still imposes higher energy prices on families, businesses, and the poor. NERA Economic Consulting estimates that U.S. electricity prices will increase by an average of 12 to 17 percent. The Heritage Foundation estimates a loss of $2.5 trillion in gross domestic product and more than 1 million job losses.

INFLEXIBLE: The final rule still offers no actual flexibility to the states. EPA to states: “Comply, or else.” Utilities are scared sh-tless.

DESTABLIZING: According to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, regional grid operators, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the final rule threatens the electric power grid.

INEFFECTIVE: Even if you believe carbon is a pollutant, the final rule still does nothing to address climate change—in fact, it only reduces global temperatures by an immeasurable 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100. Say what? The EPA’s climate rule fails to impact the climate in any meaningful fashion, since the vast majority of global emissions originate outside the United States.

Republican Leaders Pile On

Reaction to the rule was swift. Presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said, “President Obama’s plan should be called the Costly Power Plan because it will cost hard-working Americans jobs and raise their energy rates.” Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida) predicted increases in electricity bills that would be “catastrophic.” Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, also a 2016 candidate, called the rule “irresponsible and overreaching. Climate change will not be solved by grabbing power from states or slowly hollowing out our economy.”

‘The final plan released today will shut down power plants across the country, increase electricity prices and cost thousands of Americans their jobs.’

Referring to the plan as a “national energy tax,” House Speaker John Boehner said, “[T]his final plan is an expensive, arrogant insult to Americans who are struggling to make ends meet.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said of the rule, “Not only will these massive regulations fail to meaningfully affect the global climate, but they could actually end up harming the environment by outsourcing energy production to countries with poor environmental records like India and China. They may also be illegal.”

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said, “Today the Obama administration ignored the outcry from stakeholders and the American public in issuing the final rule on its Power Plan. The Obama administration continues to force costly and unnecessary regulations on hardworking American families. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon. Yet the president and his Environmental Protection Agency are sidestepping Congress to push their extreme environmental agenda. The final plan released today will shut down power plants across the country, increase electricity prices and cost thousands of Americans their jobs. And my home state of Texas would be one of the hardest hit. This rule goes well beyond the regulation of power plants, even reaching down into Americans’ homes to control electricity use. Higher energy prices means the price of everything will increase, and low-income families already struggling to make ends meet will be among those most burdened by this costly rule.”

As Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming said, “With the stroke of a pen, President Obama’s EPA is launching a regulatory attack on the west and the nation that will singlehandedly lower our nation’s GDP, increase the price of each kilowatt, and make our power supply less secure.”

Here’s What Lawmakers Should Do

The president is writing a check he expects electricity consumers to pay just so he can be praised in Paris the site of the United Nations meeting in December. Can someone win the Nobel Peace Prize twice?

Just like health care under the Affordable Care Act, prices will skyrocket and availability will drop.

The federal government should not be allowed to take control of the power system in America. Just like health care under the Affordable Care Act, prices will skyrocket and availability will drop. EPA should especially not be allowed to become our meter readers. Over the last few years, the agency has been caught lying to Congress, hiding science, falsifying emails, and paying employees who pretend they work for the Central Intelligence Agency. Really? Trust EPA? You have to be kidding.

What should states do?

Governors should continue to oppose the rule by refusing to submit a state plan. Three courageous governors have already said publicly that they will not submit a plan.

State legislatures should also oppose the rule by passing legislation to protect consumers, businesses, and low-income Americans, and by restricting state agencies from submitting a state plan until the courts have ruled it legal. Almost 30 states filed negative comments on the proposed rule.

Congress should continue its efforts to restrict funding for the plan, passing legislation protecting ratepayers, and allowing governors to have the flexibility to reject the plan if it raises electricity rates.

More Evidence The Campus Rape Epidemic Is Overblown [The Federalist]

We’ve heard it over and over again: rape is epidemic on college campuses, and it’s being committed by sociopathic, serial rapists. “This cannot be emphasized enough,” says Amanda Marcotte at Slate. “The high rates of campus sexual assault are due mostly to a small percentage of men who assault multiple women.”

Al Jazeera reported that serial rapists commit 9 out of 10 campus sexual assaults, citing a 2002 study by psychologist David Lisak. The problem is, Lisak’s work has now been debunked. His study, as Linda LeFauve at Reason discovered, is seriously flawed, relying on survey data Lisak didn’t collect and having no direct connection to campus sexual assault.

“The basis of Lisak’s 13-year old paper was not his own research but data collected as part of one student’s master’s thesis and three dissertations, none of which were about campus sexual assault,” LaFauve writes. “The most widely quoted figures—that 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by serial offenders and that they average six rapes each—were calculated on a total of 76 non-traditional students who were not living on a college campus, and whose offenses may or may not have happened on or near a college campus, may or may not have been perpetrated on other students, and may have happened at any time in the survey respondents’ adult lives.”

This Study Is a Big Deal

Lisak’s misleading work has formed the foundation for anti-due-process policies mandated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and President Obama’s January 2014 memo announcing the creation of White House task force to address rape and sexual assault on campus. Lisak has also influenced the controversial documentary “The Hunting Ground,” which asserts that the vast majority of campus sexual assaults are “highly calculated, premeditated crimes” committed by serial predators, not one-time drunken offenders or opportunists known to the victims.

Lisak’s misleading work has formed the foundation for anti-due-process policies mandated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

Lisak’s work has inspired many to try to expose these sociopathic perpetrators on campus, the most infamous being Sabrina Rubin Erdely of Rolling Stone, who went so far as to publish a false story about several members of a fraternity at the University of Virginia who allegedly raped a woman known as “Jackie.” Rolling Stone later retracted the article after police found no evidence of rape and the Washington Post reported that Erdely’s story was “a complete crock.”

Three former members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity who were accused of raping “Jackie” have filed a lawsuit against Rolling Stone for defamation and infliction of emotional distress. They say the discredited article had a “devastating effect” on their lives and reputations. Now, Will Dana, the managing editor of Rolling Stone, is leaving the magazine. When asked if his departure is linked to the lawsuit and controversy surrounding Erdely’s false article, the magazine’s publisher said, “Many factors go into a decision like this.”

Much of the furor over sexual assault on campus that led to the Rolling Stone debacle and the damaged lives of three young men has roots in Lisak’s misleading work. As Robby Soave of Reason has written, “Prior to the widespread adoption of Lisak’s views, campus rape was often considered to fall into the supposedly less serious category of ‘date rape.’ Students who committed rape were assumed to be one-off offenders motivated by alcohol and circumstance into crossing blurry lines. But the 2002 study turned this thinking on its head by revisiting campus rapists as sociopaths inclined to commit violence over and over again. Abuse was in their nature, and reforming them was difficult.”

Federal Statistics Also Contradict Lisak’s Study

Since most campus rapists are now assumed to be serial predators, Lisak has advocated that colleges establish stronger measures to deal with the problem. “This logic makes some sense, but only if one accepts this interpretation of the research,” Soave writes. “Such thinking makes it much easier for administrators to justify the abridgment of due process rights for accused students, and to operate from the presumption that accused students are guilty—of a great number of rapes, no less.”

Most men who sexually assault women on college campuses aren’t serial rapists or sociopaths who can’t be reformed. Neither are they unknown to the victim.

This, of course, turns out to be false. Most men who sexually assault women on college campuses aren’t serial rapists or sociopaths who can’t be reformed. Neither are they unknown to the victim, as Lisak claimed in his paper. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 80 percent of college-age women who are victims of sexual assault know the offender. It’s not surprising that the same percentage refuse to report the events to the police.

According to the BJS, more than 90 percent of rapes and sexual assaults were committed by a single offender—not a group of offenders. Additionally, the often-quoted statistic that one in five women are victims of sexual assault on college campuses is bogus. The actual rate is 6.1 per 1,000 students, making the real number 0.03 in 5.

As LeFauve writes, “Even a single rape is abhorrent. Even one woman, victimized multiple times, endures trauma.” But university and government policies, citing Lisak, are being built on the false notion that that sexual assault on college campuses are not part of a hook-up culture but the actions of serial rapists. Lisak has said that these “undetected rapists” must be “identified and removed from our communities.”

Instead of instituting draconian policies that target male students as possible serial predators, it’s time to put the mattresses back in the dorm rooms and consider real solutions to actual problems at our universities, including—first and foremost—the true nature of the hook-up culture, along with the radical secularization of the college campus and students taking responsibility for their own actions.

I Could Have Been One Of Planned Parenthood’s Victims [The Federalist]

I tried to watch the third video revealing the horrors of Planned Parenthood’s fetal organ trafficking business, but I could not finish it for two reasons: one, I’m the father of three beautiful children; and, two, if a scared young woman had made a different choice in 1971, I would not be a father, or writing this.

In 1971, a sailor from Maine was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Beeville, Texas. He met a young Mexican woman, and they hit it off. Thankfully, I am unaware of the details, but at some point in their relationship I entered the world. I was conceived out of wedlock, and my mother had a choice.

A few years ago, my mom handed me an envelope on which she’d written, “Pray before you read this, in a quiet moment.” In that letter, these words stood out: “Still in school, offered a full scholarship to anywhere in the U.S., barely knew your father. So for a moment, abortion crossed my mind. I know family members who had done that, so I knew no better. But, I did not.”

My mother grew up poor and did not speak English until she entered public school, where she excelled. Her intelligence and academic success provided her the opportunity to study at universities without cost. A woman who grew up in poverty was given a path to escape.

At that moment, the only thing standing between my mother and the plans she had for her life was what pro-abortion advocates would describe as a “small clump of cells” growing inside her, the result of a mistake and an inconvenience easily remedied. When I entered the world, my existence was a cause for fear and shame instead of celebration, and I literally owe my life to a decision made by a woman who was barely out of her teens, a decision she would summarize later in four words: “But I did not.”

Human Lives Are Not Slogans

Some will read this and wonder why they should care about the life story of a random writer from Maine, a story that I don’t even like to think about. The best answer I can give is that it’s not about me. It’s about “Baby 11.6” and the millions of other stories that will remain untold.

The legality and morality of abortion are important questions, but the reality of abortion is that it ends lives.

Since January 22, 1973, discussions of abortion tend to be focused on it as an “issue.” Society has debated the legality of the Supreme Court’s decision, and the morality of abortion. Far too often, the abortion debate descends into a morass of anger, euphemism, defensiveness, and derivative issues. We argue about terms and definitions, spout slogans, and wave signs in an attempt to persuade one another and change laws. The legality and morality of abortion are important questions, but focusing on the arguments has allowed society to look away from the reality of abortion, a reality that has been brought into brutal focus with the release of the Planned Parenthood videos.

The reality of abortion is that it ends lives. Not just the life of the child who has been aborted, but the lives of the children they might have had. This is not a theoretical question for me. I can definitively say that if my mother had made the decision to abort me, my children would not exist. Period. Full stop. This is not an opinion that comes out of my political or religious beliefs—it’s a statement of simple logic. My two daughters, ages 9 and 7, and their little brother, age 4, are alive because of a choice my mother made long before they were born.

Murder Is Not a Solution, But Courage Is

Some would say her choice should have been easy—the clump of cells in her womb was the result of a mistake and there was no reason to keep it, and every reason to do what her peers had done. Go to the clinic. Endure some pain. End the pregnancy and go on with her life. I can’t imagine the fear she felt, but I am grateful for the courage she showed in the face of it.

I can’t imagine the fear my mother felt, but I am grateful for the courage she showed in the face of it.

When Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood, she built support for her cause by fomenting fear. She was an evangelical eugenicist who created an empire by exploiting the fear that Americans had of immigrants, minorities, and the mentally ill.

The organization she founded carries on her legacy and continues her message. The modern Planned Parenthood hides behind euphemism while it tells women who find themselves in the situation my mother faced that a baby will complicate their lives, end their dreams, and ruin their futures. They offer a convenient “solution” to the problem. Then, as we’ve learned from the videos, they profit from the corpses that result. It’s disgusting, heartbreaking, and infuriating, but evidently, that’s their business model.

My Mother’s Choice Gave Me a Future

My parents married in February of 1972, and are still together. Like most children, I assumed that I was born because my parents wanted me and had planned for my arrival. Nothing they ever said or did made me think otherwise. I grew up knowing I was loved, and that was enough. As I got older, I realized there was something off about the timing of my birth. My parents were married in February, and I was born in August. I was almost 11 pounds at birth (sorry, mom!), so either I was the largest premature baby in history, or my parents jumped the gun.

In 40 years, pro-choice activists have gone from ‘safe, legal and rare’ to ‘I don’t think it would be as war-torn.’

Fast-forward almost 40 years. My mom hands me an envelope as I’m picking up our three kids from their house. I’m tired from work and shopping. I’m hungry, frazzled, and all I want to do is get the kids to bed and spend some quality time with a good book. Eventually, I got the girls to sleep and held my then one-year-old son, awake, in my arms. I picked up the envelope, opened it, and read the letter quoted earlier. I knew I was conceived before my parents were married, but learning that my entire life was the result of a single decision made by my mother before I was born? That took some time and more than a few prayers to process.

My mother never graduated from college. She gave up her academic dreams to marry my father and raise me and my siblings. Although my existence was unplanned, my parents never made me feel it was unappreciated. They are the bravest people I know, and they made it clear that I was, and still am, loved. In 1971, my mother’s choice gave me a future.

In 1973, months after I was born, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote a decision that ultimately enabled the horrors of Kermit Gosnell and now Planned Parenthood. In 40 years, pro-choice activists have gone from “safe, legal, and rare” to “I don’t think it would be as war-torn.” I mourn the fact that the children in those videos will never get to experience the lives they were supposed to live, especially since I know now that I was only a decision away from sharing their fate.

Don’t Let Cecile Richards’ Extremist Attacks Trick You [The Federalist]

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, recently appeared on ABC’s “This Week“ to defend her organization from charges that it is involved in commodifying body parts taken from aborted fetuses. In her interview, Richards seemed to be playing a game whose only discernible objective was to see how many times she could say “militant,” “highly edited,” and “extremists.” Credit where credit is due: she was really good at that game.

Richards’ agenda was obvious: tar the Center for Medical Progress, which produced the undercover videos revealing Planned Parenthood’s fetal-part-trafficking, as a group of radicals, which effectively makes them less relatable and gives the impression that they are dangerous crusaders.

As PR strategies go, it was one of the only maneuvers available to an organization so comprehensively outclassed by its ideological opponents. The claim that the journalists releasing the videos are extremists lacks any semblance of substance, of course, but it is understandable that Richards used it.

Then, Richards went off the deep end. She associated the center with those who have blown up buildings and murdered abortionists. Yes, because a team of journalists constructing an investigative ruse in order to raise awareness of the evils of abortion is tantamount to murder. Capturing video footage covertly is ethically indistinguishable from committing arson—didn’t you know?

Calling People Extremists Is a Smear Tactic

Let me put Richards’ preposterous smear aside and focus on the broader strategy of calling opponents extremists and radicals. In fairness, Richards is hardly the only one to deploy it. I want to consider some instances in which members of the media use those labels to describe their opponents. In many ways, the examples represent even more egregious behavior, since we accept the fundamental deceptiveness of public-relations campaigns yet hold journalists to a higher standard.

If the Left’s more careful writers find it irresistible to assign the labels without any real warrant, there might be a real problem here.

These selections are from writers not typically given over to sensationalism. It would be easy to multiply examples of undisciplined click-baiters adopting this strategy. But if we see this happening with writers who are typically measured and poised, if the Left’s more careful writers find it irresistible to assign the labels without any real warrant, there might be a real problem here.

Take The New Yorker’s John Cassidy, who wrote the following in a Marco Rubio profile piece from earlier this year: “Although Rubio was elected to the Senate in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave, and although he still espouses extreme views on issues like climate change (he’s a skeptic) and same-sex marriage (he opposes it), many people in the conservative movement don’t view him as a true believer.”

Really? Being a climate change “skeptic”—a charge that is culpably vague on Cassidy’s part since skepticism can take significantly different forms—is an “extreme view”? Opposing same-sex marriage is an “extreme view”?

Climate-Change Skepticism Isn’t Extreme

Let’s take the climate-change charge first. It takes a bit of effort to figure out exactly where Americans stand on climate change, because there are different forms of skepticism and different degrees of concern. Saying of Rubio, “he’s a skeptic,” and construing his as an “extreme view” ignores the complexity inherent to the climate-change debate.

This is the allure of ‘extreme’—it provides an intellectual shortcut that misses much that is important along the way.

This is the allure of “extreme”—it provides an intellectual shortcut that misses much that is important along the way. Instead of the writer carefully delineating a public figure’s position, taking into account important distinctions and supplying the necessary qualifications, the label’s rhetorical force is relied upon for its persuasive power.

Let’s consider two forms of climate-change skepticism. Some are skeptical that the effects of climate change will be as catastrophic as many claim. This is a probabilistic skepticism, a skepticism about the plausibility of the projections. Others are skeptical about the existence of anthropogenic climate change in the first place. This is a substantive skepticism, a skepticism about the science.

To further complicate matters, simple “accept/deny” questions will be misleading, given that Americans exhibit varying degrees of outrage toward contemporary moral problems. If combating climate change is tenth on your list of priorities, that should differentiate you from those who put it first. For this reason, special polling is done on this question.

One poll, not even a year old, asks Americans to rank the relative importance of climate-change policy. Is it, for example, more important than finding a way to neutralize ISIS? Climate-change policy fares less well on these questionnaires. This is highly significant. If we simply ask people to tell us whether they think climate change is a problem, and the overwhelming majority say yes, then skepticism about climate change might appear extreme. But if we ask people to tell us how important climate-change policy is, and a sizable portion indicates it’s not very important, then the skeptical position doesn’t appear so extreme. In the latter example, a climate-change skeptic would be functionally equivalent to one who accepts climate change yet does not think we should do much about it.

Marco Rubio, the Climate Moderate

A careful look at Rubio’s statements on climate change suggest a candidate who is uneasy with the question, rather than a candidate who is hardened against environmental concerns. Consider his remarks in the wake of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si,” remarks far more tempered than those coming from his Republican rivals for the presidency: “I have no problem with what the pope did. He is a moral authority and as a moral authority is reminding us of our obligation to be good caretakers of the planet. I’m a political leader and my job as a policymaker is to act in the common good. And I do believe it’s in the common good to protect our environment, but I also believe it’s in the common good to protect our economy.”

Simply labeling Rubio as extreme skips one ahead to judgment without doing the work that is necessary to arrive at it.

If my suggestion that Rubio is not a climate-change extremist seems off, run a little test. Take all of his statements on climate change and try to figure out if he falls into either one of these camps: is he (a) a hardened denier of anthropogenic climate change or (b) ideologically, politically, and economically opposed to using the machinery of government to address climate-change concerns?

If we cannot conclude definitively which of these best characterizes Rubio, that is a major knowledge gap to account for. But one would not be informed of any of this by reading Cassidy; he doesn’t consider these distinctions. The problem is that simply labeling Rubio as extreme skips one ahead to judgment without doing the work that is necessary to arrive at it.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s possible to tell at this point which camp Rubio falls into. Rubio shares some of the blame for this, of course, since Republican candidates are notoriously cagey on climate change. The reality, though, is that if we aggregate Americans who take the A position, above, with Americans who take the B position, we have something close to 50 percent of American opinion on this matter. In other words, Rubio falls within the “skepticism-to-indifference” continuum that half of America can be lumped into. According to Gallup, only 40 percent are “concerned believers.”

Judge Before Seeing the Evidence, Please

So, then, how do we make sense of Cassidy’s usage of “extreme” here? It’s possible that Cassidy is relativizing it to expert opinion, rather than to Americans at large. In other words, it’s possible that Cassidy means to say that Rubio’s position is extreme in light of what most climatologists believe, not that it’s extreme in light of what most Americans believe. Indeed, Politifact concluded that one of Rubio’s statements on climate change contradicts 97.1 percent (the 0.1 in that number is a fantastic touch, by the way) of “climate change findings.” If Cassidy is intending to use “extreme” in this way, then he is on safer ground.

If half or most of America more or less agrees with Rubio, then what use is the word ‘extreme’ here?

But that would be a strange application of the word, since his article is presumably referring to Rubio as a political candidate, not as a scientific popularizer. This means that it doesn’t matter what the scientists believe as it relates to political analysis, since agreeing with scientists is not politically necessary for electoral success (you may weep, but this is true). The relevant usage of “extreme,” therefore, is in relation to what the country believes, not what scientists believe.

Don’t miss the funny reasoning here: if Cassidy is issuing a claim, within the broader context of offering a political assessment, that Rubio holds an extreme view about climate change, yet half or most of America more or less agrees with Rubio, then what use is the word “extreme” here?

Opposing Same-Sex Marriage Isn’t Marginal, Either

What about same-sex marriage? Pre-Obergefell data—selected because it was the data available to Cassidy at the time of his writing—from the Pew Research Center tell us that 39 percent of Americans oppose same-sex marriage, whereas 54 percent support it. It seems quite a bit of a stretch, then, to conclude that a position taken by two in five Americans is an extreme one, unless “extreme” is being used as a moral, rather than a sociological, category.

Readers see ‘extreme’ affixed to Rubio, which creates the impression that his views are not in step with the rest of the country. But this is false.

So, again, Cassidy might be using “extreme” relative to what he and other liberal Americans believe concerning the morality of same-sex marriage. Taken this way, yes, Rubio’s position is “extreme,” but, as I noted above, this isn’t politically significant. If both of Cassidy’s statements are disguised ways of saying “Rubio’s beliefs about climate change are extreme relative to what climatologists believe” and “Rubio’s beliefs about same sex marriage are extreme relative to what liberal Americans believe,” then the article is not political or electoral analysis, which is what it presents itself to be. It’s something more in the genre of philosophical criticism of conservatism.

That’s fine, of course, if that’s what Cassidy wants to put out, but isn’t his article pitched to us as a political assessment of Rubio? Isn’t he assessing Rubio as a political candidate? Readers see “extreme” affixed to Rubio, which creates the impression that his views are not in step with the rest of the country. But this is false. They’re just not in step with what many scientists and what many liberals believe. So Cassidy’s decision to use “extreme” here has confused rather than illuminated.

If You’re Religious, You’re a Fanatic

Consider also Glenn Greenwald’s column from earlier this year, invitingly titled “Religious Fanaticism is a Huge Factor in Americans’ Support for Israel.” Greenwald, who is rightly respected for having done lots of good work on other topics, seems to be promising the reader quite a lot. The religious-based reasons for support of Israel are declared “fanatical.” We should expect him to support this characterization, right?

Why should we accept Greenwald’s own beliefs on religion as our frame of reference?

Except that’s not what we get in the article. Greenwald does make the case that American support for Israel is fundamentally theological. But he doesn’t go any distance toward showing that this theologically-based support is fanatical, or extreme, or radical.

Notice how he puts it: “The U.S. media loves to mock adversary nations, especially Muslim ones, for being driven by religious extremism, but that is undeniably a major factor, arguably the most significant one, in explaining fervent support for Israel among the American populace.”

But where is the argument that this “fervent support” constitutes “religious extremism”? Since “extreme” is a relational term, requiring a frame of reference for intelligibility, what is functioning as the reference frame? Is it Greenwald’s own views? But why should we accept Greenwald’s own beliefs on religion as our frame of reference? In other words, Greenwald wants us to accept his claim that religious extremism is behind American support for Israel, but if “extremism” just means “strongly deviates from Glenn Greenwald’s views,” we can legitimately ask, “Why should we accept Glenn Greenwald’s views?” What reason does he offer? None that I can see.

Again we see the failure of using “extreme,” “radical,” and “fanatical,” as terms of substance. Since they are so rhetorically effective, using them seems to disarm the critical powers of the writer and lull him or her into foregoing any penetrating analysis all together.

You’re Radical If You Disagree with Me

More from Greenwald: “The primary reason evangelical Christians in the U.S. are so devoted to Israel is simple: their radical religious dogma teaches them that God demands this.” Evangelicalism represents a fairly large camp. Does Greenwald make any effort to convey the varieties of evangelicalism to his readers, aside from a passing comment about “dispensationalism” later in the article? Much of Reformed evangelicalism, for example, sees no special eschatological place for Israel moving forward. So his application of “evangelical” as some sort of monolithic category is sloppy journalism.

This all seems to rely on his own appraisal of evangelicalism—since he personally finds the views so strange or wrongheaded, they must be radical.

Moreover, in what way is Greenwald claiming that devotion to Israel stems from a “radical” religious dogma? Is he analyzing the dogma himself and concluding that it is theologically deficient? What’s his frame of reference? Again, it seems to just be his own views. This all seems to rely on his own appraisal of evangelicalism—since he personally finds the views so strange or wrongheaded, they must be radical.

Using “radical,” “extreme,” or “fanatical” is not per se illegitimate, yet doing so tends to discourage analytical rigor given the persuasive power such words naturally pack. By using these words, writers must feel as though that is all they need to adequately characterize a view, but this is a mistake. The words are not self-evident, since their application is often idiosyncratic, reflecting a baseline of the writer’s own choosing rather than an agreed-upon standard.

Richards is just the latest to employ this strategy. We should reject it as an obvious ploy to smear her opponents. If this tactic fails even journalists whose work tends to be intellectually serious, it is one that we should extremely, radically, and fanatically beware.

Former Felons Deserve Second Amendment Rights, Too [The Federalist]

On July 16, Mohammed Abdulazeez killed five people at a Tennessee military recruitment center and a Navy operations center. It feels like it’s been a busy summer for shootings in America. This is tragic, personal for the victims and their loved ones, and unfortunately also fodder for many a thinkpiece about guns.

Now, Abdulazeez’s massacre, Dylann Roof’s alleged one in South Carolina, and a subsequent shooting in a Louisiana movie theater often provoke a foolish debate on how lone-wolf attacks and senseless massacres can be preemptively stopped. This is a foolish optimism.

Nobody outside of an Asimov novel has the ability to predict which white racist or which radical (Muslim or otherwise) will actually commit violence in service of their views. Not even if someone already has a criminal record can we predict their actions. There is usually someone jumping in after a shooting to remind hysterical people that a radical, a religious person, or even a racist is not an inherently violent person. Criminals have fewer people in their corners.

Yet we live in a country that has 2.3 million people in prison. We need to accept that people with a record deserve a second chance, especially if we want them to turn their lives around.

Earlier this month, President Obama made the wise and constitutionally-sound decision to commute the sentence of 46 people who had been behind bars for an excessive length of time, mostly for drug and related offenses. That very day, vaguely conservative pundit S.E. Cupp wrote a retro-terrible New York Daily News piece about a scary felon the president also freed, back in March. Hopefully the attitude Cupp expressed is dying, because it is responsible for a substantial loss of life and an incalculable number of lost years for people who have been excessively punished.

Owning Guns Doesn’t Make You Violent

According to Cupp, pardoned felon Harold Kenneth Herring, 76, is not the nonviolent offender and victim of draconian drug laws that he was made out to be. Nobody commented on this in March, but it turns out Herring was sentenced not just for possession with intent to distribute crack, but for being a felon in possession of a gun!

If she is arguing that simply having a gun makes you violent, she should be filed away with the most timid of liberals.

Are you still waiting to panic? Cupp writes that she is a staunch Second Amendment supporter, but every fear-soaked word and needless reference to Roof suggests otherwise. (Roof committed a drug offense that some people report as misdemeanor possession. Should he have been locked up and denied a weapon because of that? No. More importantly, nor should the thousands of people who have no intention of committing a violent massacre.)

It doesn’t matter that Cupp agrees that Chicago is violent because of strict gun laws (or at least regardless of them). If she is arguing that simply having a gun makes you violent, she should be filed away with the most timid of liberals. In fact, she reminds me of nothing so much as the Smith College student who argued in the Huffington Post that speaking a slur during a free-speech debate counts as “an explicit act of racial violence.”

But that young woman is a straw liberal who—let’s be mean and assume—is probably not a fan of guns. If Cupp is truly opposed to gun control, she and the people opposed to America’s full-to-bursting prisons must come together and accept the fact that all felonies are not equal. And that having a gun, even when you weren’t supposed to, does not count as being violent.

America’s Overbearing Criminal Statutes

As tempting as it is to flail towards gun-control measures after yet another shooting—yes, even conservatives do so in just this sort of a “sensible” fashion—all this will accomplish is feeling good while more people like Herring suffer.

The man may not be your grandpappy of choice, but selling a substance and possessing and owning a gun doesn’t make him more dangerous than a child rapist, a murderer, or even a bank robber.

Consider his background. In 1998, Herring was sentenced to life in prison for the aforementioned charges because he had two previous drug convictions (possession).The man may not be your grandpappy of choice, but selling a substance and possessing and owning a gun doesn’t make him more dangerous than a child rapist, a murderer, or even a bank robber (all of whom could get out of prison at some point). This kind of excessive punishment is pure lunacy. There are thousands of federal statutes, and something like 300,000 ways to be convicted of a felony. The recent bipartisan realization of the need for systematic reform is heartening (albeit criminally late).

But along with celebration of the slow-moving, but still burgeoning push against mandatory minimums, it must be said that these are not just about drug laws, though they were heavily fueled by anti-drug panic. Narcotics minimums often team up with firearm minimums to bring about more disproportionate punishments for even folks who never committed a violent act in their lives.

This isn’t even about having some black-market AR-15 and waving it at a fellow weed dealer. Someone who sells drugs can have a firearm enhancement even if they own a legal weapon. They can be punished if the piece was an antique, or if it was at home while they sold their product elsewhere. They can be hit with additional decades behind bars just for having a gun on their person during a sale, even if they never shot, threatened, or flashed it at someone.

You sold pot with your legal piece strapped to your ankle, or meth while your gun was safely at home, and that makes you deserve an extra decade or two in prison? How is that a conservative mentality? Or a compassionate liberal one?

It’s Insane to Punish People for Legal Posession

Cupp wrote that Herring might be okay now that he’s old and gray, but “at one point in his life he was a very dangerous man” because after all, “[c]an we properly define criminals with guns as ‘nonviolent’?” We can. We must. Shaneen Allen made headlines last year when she was threatened with a seven-plus-years prison sentence after she was pulled over in New Jersey while in possession of her legally-purchased (in Pennsylvania) weapon. Brian Aitken lived under a similar sword of Damocles and was actually convicted before being pardoned by Gov. Chris Christie. But these horror stories, like any drug war casualty tale, are not unique to New Jersey or its dangerously rigid law.

Shaneen Allen was threatened with a seven-plus-years prison sentence after she was pulled over in New Jersey while in possession of her legally-purchased weapon.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) is a nonprofit that advocates against this prepacked-style of punishment. They focus a great deal on drug punishments, but they also have worked with prisoners who suffer under federal gun minimums. According to their website, these slap “5-, 7-, 10-, and 30-year mandatory minimum sentences [onto offenders] for possessing, brandishing, or discharging a gun in the course of a drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence.” (Strange how the drug war lead to us placing narcotics and violent offenses into the same category, no matter how inaccurate that is.)

From a cleaned-up meth addict who got a longer prison sentence than her dealer, a firearm-owning boyfriend to a gun-owning pot dealer serving a staggering 55-year-sentence, FAMM highlights people who may not always be blameless, but whose crimes pale in comparison to their punishment. (In the latter case, the man suffered from “stacking” which mandates sentences be served consecutively.)

“Categorizing all felons as violent people who shouldn’t have guns is an oversimplification,” Molly Gill, the government affairs counsel for FAMM, said in an email. “Giving them all mandatory minimum prison sentences is inevitably going to produce some unjust results.”

If we want to fix this prison problem—if we want to understand that people who made a few (sometimes arguable) mistakes should not have had their lives destroyed—we need to stop being as terrified as Cupp sounds in her article. A Second-Amendment supporter in particular should be able to understand the world of difference between committing violence and owning a gun.

Titansgrave Chapter 9: Nightmares [WIL WHEATON dot NET]

It’s Titansgrave Tuesday!

Chapter Nine isn’t in the book, it wasn’t in the schedule, and it wasn’t something any of us thought about until the day before.  If you want to know more details, keep reading. I recommend that you don’t continue this post until you’ve seen the episode, though I avoid any specific or direct spoilers.

This was originally part of Chapter Ten, and in the book it’s pretty much something like, “the PCs endure nightmarish visions and have to make a save roll”. I was ready to do that, but my son and co-creator, Ryan, realized that I had inadvertently paid off some important character moments and goals way back in Chapter 5 when they got the Staff. I didn’t see what he was talking about until we got to the end of Chapter 8 (we filmed 7, 8 and the original 9 on the same day) and that’s when I knew I had messed up some really important stuff that affected the narrative character arcs for most of the players.

“What am I going to do?” I asked him. “It’s too late to change anything, and now all this very important character stuff — the most important thing to me in the whole season — isn’t going to pay off.”

“I’m going to stay up all night and write you something that will accomplish what you wanted to accomplish,” he told me. He has a degree in writing, and is an accomplished storyteller, so I trusted him.

“You sure you want to stay up all night?” I said.

“Let me try. I’m young, and I have coffee and ideas.”

“Okay. Good luck.”

The following morning, I texted Ryan when I got out of bed. At the same time, he was e-mailing me the script he’d written. I won’t discuss specifics because spoilers, obviously, but it was exactly what I needed: a final test for the characters. A final test they needed to endure, to coalesce into the family they needed to be in order to have a chance at taking on The Prophet Dahwan.

The result is nearly 50 minutes of narrative, with some extremely emotional and intense decisions being made by the players about their characters. The players did an amazing job with this, and when we got to the end of this section, most of the crew and all of our observers were wiping their eyes.

If you’re not connected to the characters and want a lot of RPG action, this is going to leave you cold. But if I’ve accomplished what I always wanted to accomplish, you’re invested in the characters at this point. If I’ve done what I wanted to do, you may not even notice that this is a story-heavy episode without a single die roll. If I’ve gotten you to come along on this journey with us the way I wanted to, this will be an emotional episode for you like it was for us

So I expected that this would be a polarizing episode, but after four days at GenCon where I talked to hundreds of people who are watching this show, I’m hopeful that the vast majority of the audience will be glad they watched it.

RadFXSat/Fox-1B Launch Opportunity Announcement November 2016 [AMSAT-NA]

AMSAT has been notified by Scott Higginbotham, Mission Manager for ELaNa-12 (Fox-1A launch) and ELaNa-14 (RadFxSat/Fox-1B launch) in NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center, “The ELaNa-14 CubeSat complement is scheduled to fly along with NOAA’s JPSS-1 spacecraft on a Delta II that will be launching from VAFB on November 15, 2016. Due to a number of CubeSats recently dropping off of the manifest for this flight, a door has been opened, and it is my pleasure to inform you that your respective CubeSats (RadFXSat, GoldenEagle-1, EagleSat, and MiRaTA) have all been
officially added to the manifest.”

AMSAT will begin working with Tyvak, the CubeSat Dispenser and Dispenser Integration Contractor for this flight. Additional news regarding the schedule milestones toward meeting launch requirements will be released as more information becomes available.

In a message sent to AMSAT Vice President Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY, Higginbotham concluded, “Congratulations and welcome aboard!”

             Planned Frequencies for the Fox-1 FM Series Cubesats

                  Uplink FM (67 Hz tone)      Downlink FM
                ----------------------------    -----------
Fox-1A            435.180 MHz                   145.980 MHz
RadFxSat/Fox-1B * 435.250 MHz                   145.960 MHz
Fox-1C*           435.300 MHz/1267.300 MHz **   145.920 MHz
Fox-1D*           435.350 MHz/1267.350 MHz **   145.880 MHz

* Pending IARU Coordination, Changes will be announced
** Switchable by command station, not operational simultaneously

Download the Fox-1A Operating Guide

Additional ARRL Books Now Available as E-Books [American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources]

ARRL has announced plans to significantly increase the availability of its publications as e-books. At the same time, the League introduced six more ARRL titles in the popular Amazon Kindle format.

“I’m very pleased that members and readers will find more and more ARRL books available in the reading format they prefer,” ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, said. “This effort underscores...

New QST QuickStats Poll Posted [American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources]

This month’s QuickStats poll has been posted! Check the QuickStats page and answer these questions . . .

• Have you ever repaired your primary transceiver?

• Have you ever built your own QRP transceiver?

• Did you assemble your station computer from individual components?

• Have you built any of your station accessories (meters, keyers, clocks, etc)?

Visit the QuickStats page and be sure to bookmar...

ARISS Space Station Contact on Tap for Space Jam 9 Attendees [American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources]

The Space Jamboree Workshop (Space Jam) 9 STEM/Scouting merit badge workshop in Rantoul, Illinois, once again will have the opportunity to host an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact. Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, KO5MOS, is on tap to conduct the over-the-air interview on Saturday, August 8 (16:57:49 UTC). Lindgren arrived at the ISS in July. Audio from the 2 meter cont...

02/08/2015 [The Archers Omnibus]

Please see daily episodes for a detailed synopsis.

Outrage! Kelly Osbourne clumsily tries to denounce Trump, is now being denounced for it [Blazing Cat Fur]

CLl6BSUUkAA2Joi[1]

Isn’t this just the whole “jobs Americans won’t do” line? Never mind. Kelly Osbourne is not powerful enough to avoid denunciation for Wrongthink. Chelsea Clinton could have gotten away with this.

ISIS Claims Child Who Executed Iraqi Spy ‘Killed In Air Strike’ [Blazing Cat Fur]

ISIS child executioner

A child militant who appeared in a shocking video appearing to shoot an alleged Iraqi spy in the head has been killed in an air strike, IS social media accounts say.

The boy, who appears to be in his early teens, was featured in a video titled The Harvest Of The Spies that was released on May 2.

He is shown loading a handgun and forcing a captive to kneel.

The child then vows to take revenge on United States, Russia, and Europe before raising his gun and apparently shooting the captive several times in the head. However, the teenage militant does not appear in the same frame when the shots are fired, and it is not clear whether he actually killed the captive.

Welcome to our nightmare [Blazing Cat Fur]

justin-trudeau-praying-in-mosque

If Justin Trudeau becomes prime minister, backed by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, it’s not going to be pretty, Canada

Even in the early days of this election campaign it’s apparent federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne are two peas in a pod.

Wynne has called for the defeat of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, announced she and her Liberal minions will be pounding the pavement for Trudeau, and, proving she lives in an irony-free zone, accused Harper of wasting taxpayers’ money by calling a 78-day election.

It’s always “just” vandalism [Blazing Cat Fur]

vandalized-church-in-bath

666, upside-down cross spray-painted on front doors of church, nearby crosswalk sign also vandalized

Islamophobia or Ingratitude? [Blazing Cat Fur]

Muslim immigration to the USA

While much of the discussion concerning illegal versus legal immigration centers on the action on our southern border, the immigration statistics and patterns of another group will also have a large impact on the future of America.

According to U.S. Census Data, the United States admits approximately 100,000 Muslim immigrants legally each year, representing the fastest growing bloc of legal immigration into the U.S.

ISIS or Al Qaeda? American Officials Split Over Top Terror Threat [Blazing Cat Fur]

Isis crisis

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s top intelligence, counterterrorism and law enforcement officials are divided over which terrorist group poses the biggest threat to the American homeland, the Islamic State or Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

The split reflects a rising concern that the Islamic State poses a more immediate danger because of its unprecedented social media campaign, using sophisticated online messaging to inspire followers to launch attacks across the United States.

AQAP Releases Video Calling for Lone Wolf Attacks, Praising Chattanooga Shooter [Blazing Cat Fur]

AQAP video

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video calling for lone wolf attacks and praising attackers like Chattanooga shooter Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez. The nine minute, 41 second video was produced by AQAP’s al-Malahem Media Foundation and released on August 4, 2015.

In the video, AQAP official Abu al-Miqdad al-Kindi (AKA Khalid bin Umar Batarfi), who was freed from a Yemeni prison in April of 2015, condemned “America France and other kufr [disbeliever] nations” that “assist and make legislations to protect those who abuse Islam and the Prophets.” To that point, he stressed, “And as you put limits to freedom of expression and punish whomever goes against them, it is upon us to punish whoever transgresses out boundaries and sanctities.”

You can watch the video here.

No gore just a lot of the Kufr this and the Kufr nation that…

Huh? The time for a Guaranteed Annual Income might finally have come [Blazing Cat Fur]

flying car

“So how much would introducing a GAI across Canada cost?

According to several Queen’s University professors, the cost of replacing social assistance (which includes welfare and disability support) and Old Age Security (which includes a top-up for low-income seniors), plus providing every adult with an annual income of $20,000 and children with an income guarantee of $6,000, would be $40-billion. The Fraser Institute calculates the total cost of Canada’s current income support system (payout plus administrative costs) at $185-billion in 2013.

Our own estimates, which build on existing social programs, range from a gross annual cost of $17-billion for a program that (in today’s dollars) is slightly more generous than was offered in Dauphin, to a “Cadillac” version costing $58-billion that would guarantee everyone a minimum income equal to the low-income cutoff and pay at least some benefits to people earning well above the low-income cutoff.”


The numbers intrigue me as they purport to show a much lower overall cost than our current mish-mash of programs.

But it still doesn’t explain how we would pay for it all as the incipient “automation of everything” is expected to cause massive job losses.

Adding to the mess Canada maintains a record breaking immigration intake, a short sighted policy that smacks of generals fighting this war with the last war’s tactics.

I doubt any politician has the guts to halt that nonsense. Who wants to lose the ethnic vote?

Christopher Hyndman, co-host of CBC’s Steven and Chris, dead [Blazing Cat Fur]

Toronto police told CBC News on Tuesday that Hyndman was found without vital signs in an alleyway near the intersection of Queen Street and Broadview Avenue in Toronto shortly after 11 p.m. ET Monday.

Det. Terry Wray said police are not appealing for witnesses, though it remains a “completely open investigation.” He added that police would not comment further until completing interviews. h/t DM

Christopher Hyndman

‘I ran for my life as ISIS shot my eight months pregnant mother in the stomach’ [Blazing Cat Fur]

Muslim executes Yezidi neighbours

A doctor who works in a refugee camp in Kurdistan has told how she treated a 14-year-old girl who ran for her life from ISIS who shot her pregnant mother in the stomach as they overran her village.

The girl turned around as she fled and her father put his hands over her eyes as jihadis opened fire and killed her mother, who was eight months pregnant.

The traumatised teenager has gone temporarily blind after the horrors of what she saw.

Dr Nemam Ghafouri also revealed how she treated a young man who was shot in the back and the shoulder after his entire village was wiped out when they refused to convert to Islam.

US lawmakers to vote on Iran deal disapproval resolution [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

US legislation to disapprove of the nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran was introduced on Tuesday as President Barack Obama and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu began lobbying support for their opposing positions.

Puerto Rico defaults on $58 million debt repayment [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

The government of Puerto Rico confirmed Monday that it failed to make a $58 million debt payment in a significant escalation of the debt crisis facing the U.S. island territory.

Delta Airlines bans shipments of big-game trophies [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Delta Air Lines had a major change of heart about shipping hunting trophies, announcing Monday afternoon that it would no longer accept lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies.

Murdered celebrated Mexican photojournalist showed ‘signs of torture' [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

A prominent Mexican news photographer was among five people found dead in a middle-class neighborhood of the capital on Friday, the city's prosecutor told reporters at a Sunday press conference.

Pakistan hangs 'tortured' convict despite international outcry [Asia/Pacific – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Pakistan on Tuesday hanged a man whose case triggered an international outcry after his lawyers said he was arrested as a juvenile and tortured into confessing to a murder.

MSF doctor tells of ‘horror after horror’ in Yemen [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

A member of the medical aid organisation Doctors Without Borders has given a stark account of his experiences during a 10-week posting in the city of Aden in Yemen – a country torn apart by months of conflict.

Israel rounds up suspected Jewish extremists [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Israel arrested two suspected Jewish extremists on Tuesday after extending the detention of the leader of a radical religious group following the burning to death of a Palestinian baby.

FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen to face disciplinary hearing [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France’s far-right National Front (FN), was summoned Tuesday to appear in front of party chiefs at a disciplinary hearing on August 20 in the latest chapter in an ongoing feud with his daughter, FN leader Marine Le Pen.

US lawmakers to vote on Iran deal disapproval resolution [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

US legislation to disapprove of the nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran was introduced on Tuesday as President Barack Obama and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu began lobbying support for their opposing positions.

Critics say the price to pay for Windows 10 is user privacy [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Microsoft’s latest operating system Windows 10 is now available, and is even free. However, critics say its capacity to collect and exploit users’ personal information likens it to worryingly invasive spyware.

German chief prosecutor sacked in media treason row [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Germany’s government sacked its top prosecutor Tuesday after he accused the justice ministry of interfering in a widely criticised treason investigation against a news website.

Russia submits Arctic claims to UN [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Russia has submitted its bid for vast territories in the Arctic to the United Nations, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Video: Praise for Obama's climate change plan [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

President François Hollande on Tuesday praised Barack Obama's climate change plan ahead of December's summit on the environment in Paris, whilst a former French environment minister has called it 'sincere'.

Pakistan hangs 'tortured' convict despite international outcry [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Pakistan on Tuesday hanged a man whose case triggered an international outcry after his lawyers said he was arrested as a juvenile and tortured into confessing to a murder.

Loyalist forces retake Yemen's biggest airbase from rebels [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Fighters loyal to Yemen's exiled president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi seized the country's largest military base from Houthi forces on Monday after heavy combat in which dozens were killed or captured, a pro-Hadi commander said.

Catalonia calls early polls in fresh independence challenge [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Catalonia on Monday called early regional elections for September 27, polls that will serve as a proxy vote on independence from Spain and likely raise tensions with the central government in Madrid.

French customs seize €25 million Picasso in Corsica [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

A Picasso worth 25 million euros ($27.4 million) and considered a national treasure by Spanish authorities -- who had barred it from being exported -- has been seized from a boat docked in Corsica, French authorities said Tuesday.

Scores of Christian tombs desecrated in French cemetery [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Around 40 Christian tombs were desecrated in a cemetery in eastern France on Monday, with headstones uprooted or broken, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Fifth Planned Parenthood video turns to ‘intact’ fetuses [Jammie Wearing Fools]

A Planned Parenthood official discusses the procurement and cost of “intact” fetuses and altering abortion procedures to meet specific needs in a video released Tuesday by an anti-abortion group.

In the fifth video from the Center for Medical Progress, a woman identified as Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, discusses contributing to the organization’s “diversification of the revenue stream” and the potential to “get creative” with conditions for procurement needs. The video was reportedly filmed this past April at a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas.
“Just depending on the patient’s anatomy, how many weeks, where it’s placed in the uterus … we’re going to potentially be able to have some that will be more or less intact, and then some that will not be,” she said.

“But it’s something that we can look at exploring how we can make that happen so we have a higher chance,” she adds.

Planned Parenthood has pushed back strongly on four other videos released in the past few weeks, noting that the recordings are heavily edited and maintaining that the group does not profit off the transfer of aborted fetal parts and tissue to researchers but merely gather costs relating to the tissue’s preservation and transfer.

The organization did not immediately return a request for comment on the latest video.

Full story.

Portraits of strength and hope at the Maccabi Games [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

BERLIN (JTA) — The European Maccabi Games are underway in Berlin — it’s the first time Germany’s hosted the event since it began 86 years ago. The location represents pain for a people mourning the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust, but the young Jewish athletes, traveling to Germany’s capital from across the globe, symbolize abundant hope and survival.

Below are 10 portraits of the international athletes, representing just a fraction of the 36 participating countries’ delegations. The photographs were taken as competitors assembled to march into the Waldbuhne amphitheater — built by Hitler for the 1936 Olympics — for the opening ceremony on July 28. The games close August 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The government of Germany funded the reporting trip of Hillel Kuttler. It had no involvement in the writing or editing of this article.

What can Iran hide in 24 days? Answering the questions posed by the nuclear deal [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, left, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the nuclear deal n Washington, DC on July 29, 2015. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, left, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the Iran nuclear deal, July 29, 2015. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Congress has until mid- to late September to consider whether to reject the nuclear restrictions for the sanctions rollback deal reached by Iran and six major powers on July 14. Some of the debate is over the meaning of certain provisions in the accord. Here’s a breakdown of differences in how the sides interpret parts of the deal.

The 24 days

All sides agree that the deal has a rigorous inspections regime for Iran’s known sites: “24/7” scrutiny, as President Barack Obama has put it, with inspectors and video monitoring.

But what happens when intelligence agencies suspect nuclear weapons activity at an unmonitored site?

Under the agreement, Iran has 14 days to work out terms to check the site in question with a joint commission composed of its own representatives  along with those from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia and China. If after 14 days terms are not agreed upon, the commission has up to seven days for a majority of its members to decide on terms of inspection. Iran must comply within three days — a total of 24 days.

Obama and his Cabinet have said that detectable signs of nuclear enrichment activity outlast 24 days — by centuries, even.

But critics say there are other activities related to nuclear weaponization that can go undetected, such as computer modeling for nuclear devices, explosives testing and the building of nuclear warheads, said Mark Dubowitz, director of the Foundation of Defense of Democracies.

“That kind of activity may not involve actual enrichment where there would be traces of uranium to detect,” he told JTA.

Additionally, a small centrifuge plant with advanced centrifuges in a containment system could be rapidly moved without leaving traces, according to Senate testimony given Tuesday by David Albright, a former U.S. nuclear inspector who is now president of the Institute for Science and International Security.

Deal proponents say the mining and transportation of the uranium needed for a contained enrichment site would be impossible to hide, given the numerous monitoring and verification choke points. Additionally, Iran has little to gain from such small-scale cheating like testing explosives, said Alireza Nader, an Iran analyst with the Rand Corp.

Preventing sabotage

Among the agreement’s provisions aimed at ensuring nuclear safety is “cooperation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is running for president, argues that this provision sets the United States and its traditional allies in the Middle East on a collision course by requiring the United States to help Iran defend itself against Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies in the region.

But Daryl Kimball, president of the Arms Control Association, says that is not the intention of the provision. Rather it’s meant to maintain security at civilian nuclear sites so terrorists can’t access them or steal equipment for other countries. The provision does not oblige the United States to avoid sabotage operations like Stuxnet, the computer virus believed to have been designed by Israel and the United States that wrecked Iran’s centrifuges in 2010.

But Dubowitz says the wording may give Iran legal cover to solicit assistance from other countries, such as China, in stopping cyber attacks.

“It’s not clear from the agreement,” he said.

Ghasan Soleymani

Soleymani, the general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps whose Quds force is believed to have trained Hezbollah and helped carry out some of the worst Assad regime atrocities during the ongoing Syrian civil war, has appeared on a broad array of sanctions lists since 2007. In the agreement, he appears on a long list of entities and individuals to be removed from “nuclear-related” sanctions lists.

Critics say that this and other delistings open up the floodgates to global financial activity by the Revolutionary Guard.

Deal defenders note that Soleymani still appears on multiple lists, in the United States and elsewhere, sanctioning him for terrorist activity.

“The United States has a lot of leverage on that person,” Kimball said.

Does Israel give Jewish extremists a pass on violence against Arabs? [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Palestinian Baby Dies In Arson Attack

Family members of Ali Saad Dawabsheh outside their home in a West Bank Palestinian village after an arson attack that killed the 18-month-old boy, July 31, 2015. Jewish extremists are suspected of setting the fire. (Oren Ziv/Getty Images). (Oren Ziv/Getty Images)

(JTA) – There are some striking similarities between last week’s arson attack on a Palestinian home that killed an 18-month-old boy and last summer’s kidnapping and immolation of a 16-year-old Palestinian, Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

Then, as now, Jewish extremists were the prime suspects in the attack. Then, as now, the murder horrified many Israelis and was condemned by Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Then, as now, Netanyahu used the incident as an opportunity to drive home the argument that Palestinian society celebrates murder whereas Israeli society deplores it.

“There, murderers are received as heroes, and city squares are named in their honor,” Netanyahu said of Palestinians after the killing of Abu Khdeir, which was later acknowledged by the perpetrators to be revenge for the kidnapping and abduction of three Israeli teens in the West Bank whose bodies had been found two days earlier. “I know that in our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers.”

Netanyahu sounded a nearly identical note this time after the attack in Duma, a West Bank village, left Ali Dawabsheh dead and his 4-year-old brother and parents in critical condition. The two masked perpetrators scrawled the Hebrew words for “revenge” and “Long live the king messiah” at the site. (Nobody has taken responsibility for the attack, which some have speculated was revenge by Jewish extremists for the Israeli government’s demolition last week of two illegal buildings in the West Bank settlement of Beit El.)

“This is what distinguishes us from our neighbors,” Netanyahu said. “We deplore and condemn these murderers. We will pursue them to the end. They name public squares after the murderers of children. This distinction cannot be blurred or covered up.”

Israel, by contrast, “takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are,” he said.

But by almost all accounts, it’s not true that Israel treats Jewish terrorists and Palestinian terrorists the same way.

Less than 2 percent of complaints submitted to the Israel Police by Palestinians lead to an effective investigation, arrest and conviction, according to the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din. Of the 15 firebombings of Palestinian homes in the West Bank since 2008 by suspected Jewish terrorists, no assailants have been caught, according to a report on Israel’s Channel 2 cited by the Times of Israel. As of June, the number of individuals held in Israeli jails under administrative detention — a practice that allows the holding of terrorism suspects without charges or trial — included 370 Palestinians and two foreigners, but not a single Israeli Jew, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

“We have been lax in tackling Jewish terrorism,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin acknowledged last Friday.

While there are some indications that Israel is taking a harsher approach to Jewish terrorism following the Duma attack, it remains to be seen whether the crackdown lasts or whether it’s a passing response to public outrage that fades once the country’s attention moves on.

On Sunday, Israel’s security Cabinet approved the use of administrative detention for Jewish suspects. The following day, Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced that the security Cabinet also had deemed any method of interrogation used with Palestinians to be used for Jews.

“An interrogation method like ‘tiltul’ [violent shaking] or anything that is done when it comes to Palestinian terrorists — the same thing should be done when it comes to a Jewish terrorist,” Erdan said.

Israeli advocates for Palestinian rights, however, say harsh interrogations and administrative detention are deeply problematic methods that shouldn’t be used on anyone — Jewish or Arab — except in the most extreme cases as sanctioned by international law.

“Suddenly talking about using measures against settlers that are themselves a violation of due process is not the way to solve this,” said Sarit Michaeli, a B’Tselem spokeswoman. “You don’t add additional human rights violations.

“The problem isn’t lack of tools for law enforcement; it’s the lack of will to enforce the law against Israeli settlers,” she said. “There are plenty of legal tools that haven’t been applied, like proper police work and regular criminal prosecutions.”

READ: After Palestinian baby’s death, Israelis say condemnation not enough

After Abu Khdeir’s murder last year, three Jews were apprehended and confessed to the killing. But the case ushered in no major crackdown on Jewish extremists and was quickly overshadowed by the outbreak of war in Gaza.

On Monday, Israeli authorities arrested Meir Ettinger, a leading Jewish extremist and the grandson of the late Meir Kahane, whose anti-Arab political movement, Kach, was banned in 1994 and eventually designated as a terrorist group. Ettinger is suspected of “nationalist crimes” but not direct involvement in the West Bank firebombing, Israeli authorities said.

READ: Jewish terror draws Netanyahu’s focus homeward

According Yesh Din, which investigates law enforcement in the West Bank, 85 percent of West Bank cases involving suspected Jewish crimes against Arabs are closed due to police failure to locate suspects or find sufficient evidence to indict. These include so-called “price tag” attacks in which Jewish extremists torch Palestinian olive trees, vandalize gravestones and mosques, and burn vehicles.

Critics say the Israeli soldiers stationed in the West Bank are under the impression that they are responsible only for protecting Jews, not Palestinians or their property.

“The soldiers refrain from exercising their powers to detain and arrest the individuals involved in the incident, secure the scene in order to enable the police to investigate and collect evidence and, at a later stage, provide testimony about the incident to the police,” Yesh Din said in a report in May.

For their part, figures associated with Israel’s extreme right are questioning the assumption by authorities that Jews were behind the attack in Duma. They are also complaining about what they say is outsized attention devoted to Jewish-perpetrated violence when the vast majority of violence in the West Bank is perpetrated by Arabs against Jews.

“If only a thousandth of what they’re doing against Jews they would do against the Arab terrorists,” Michael Ben-Ari, a former Knesset member from the National Union party and a self-identified follower of Kahane’s ideology, told Arutz Sheva, a right-wing news service.

Netanyahu sounded a similar note Tuesday when decrying the absence of international outcry over a firebombing attack on Monday night against a Jewish couple driving through an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem.

“Several days ago the international community joined in my condemnation of terrorism directed against Arabs, and I expect that they will similarly join in vis-a-vis terrorism directed against Jews,” Netanyahu said. “I am still waiting.”

Gaza hosting a West Bank soccer team for first time in 15 years [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — A Palestinian soccer team in Gaza is hosting a team from the West Bank for the first time since 2000.

After receiving permission from Israel, the West Bank club, Al-Ahly from Hebron, crossed into Gaza on Tuesday for Thursday’s match against Shejaia, Reuters reported.

Israel’s office that controls travel in and out of Gaza confirmed to Reuters that Al-Ahly’s travel had been approved but did not explain whether the decision had been planned or was the result of a sudden change of policy.

Before FIFA held its annual meeting in May, the Palestinian soccer association had been pushing for months for the sport’s international governing body to suspend Israel from FIFA competition because of its travel restrictions on Palestinian players. The bid was dropped just before the FIFA meeting.

Gaza sports official Abdel-Salam Haniyeh said that Israel’s decision to allow West Bank Palestinians to come for the match was a result of the international pressure.

“This is an achievement for the Palestinian sports family and is a first step towards a unified Palestinian league and cup tournament,” Haniyeh told Reuters.

Israel cites security reasons for restricting travel in and out of Gaza.

Extreme heat kills Israeli soldier, sends 8 citizens to hospital [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — An extreme heat wave in Israel has caused the death of an 18-year-old soldier and sent eight civilians, including a toddler, to the hospital.

Pvt. Dan Sela of the northern city of Afula died in Jerusalem on Tuesday after collapsing from heat stroke during an educational tour of the Old City, the Times of Israel reported. Although the temperature in Jerusalem was 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the humidity was almost 40 percent, and Sela’s body temperature had reached 107 degrees.

Meanwhile, hikers in the West Bank area of Wadi Qelt and in the foothills of Mount Carmel, near Haifa, had to be rescued because they were suffering from dehydration.

The heat wave began Sunday. According to Haaretz, the temperatures in most parts of the country on Tuesday were slightly lower than the previous day, but humidity was dramatically higher. Areas experiencing the highest temperatures were the Hula Valley (105.8 degrees) in the North and the Jordan Valley (111.2 degrees).

The heat wave, which is not expected to break until Thursday, broke temperature records on Sunday, with Sunday night the hottest since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, according to Ynet. The heat led to record electricity consumption on Monday.

A record-breaking heat wave in May caused forest fires.

3 top House Democrats oppose Iran nuclear deal [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Rep. Ted Deutch, Rep. Nita Lowey and Rep. Steve Israel.  (house.gov)

Rep. Ted Deutch, of Florida; and Rep. Nita Lowey and Rep. Steve Israel of New York (house.gov)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Three top Jewish Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives came out in opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.

Reps. Nita Lowey and Steve Israel, both of New York, and Ted Deutch of Florida announced their opposition on Tuesday afternoon. Lowey is the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee; Deutch is the top Democrat on the House Middle East subcommittee; and Israel until last year led the House Democratic reelection effort.

They are the first leading Democrats and the first Jews in their party to oppose the deal.

Until now, the deal had garnered opposition only from four Democrats, none in the leadership.

A larger number of Democrats have declared for the deal, among them Jews who are in the leadership or are veterans in Congress: Reps. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Sander Levin of Michigan, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. On Tuesday, the junior senator from California,  Barbara Boxer, came out for the agreement.

Congress has until mid-late September to consider whether to exercise legislation that would kill the deal. President Barack Obama has promised to veto any such bill, meaning that two-thirds of both chambers would be needed to override his veto.

Most Republicans oppose the deal, so the battleground will be among Democrats.

Obama and his Cabinet, backed by an array of liberal groups, including J Street, are campaigning for the deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, vehemently opposes the deal.

Lowey, Israel and Deutch, in statements and Op-Eds in hometown newspapers, said they considered carefully before arriving at their decisions.

“This agreement will leave the international community with limited options in 15 years to prevent nuclear breakout in Iran, which will be an internationally-recognized nuclear threshold state, capable of producing highly enriched uranium,” Lowey said in a statement. “I am greatly concerned that the agreement lacks a crystal clear statement that the international community reserves the right to take all military, economic, and diplomatic measures necessary during the course of the deal and beyond to deter Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapon.”

Boxer, in her statement favoring the accord, said, “If we walk away from this deal, Iran would have no constraints on its nuclear program and the international sanctions that helped bring the Iranians to the table would collapse. The strong support from the international community — including the announcement this week by the Gulf states [in favor of the deal] — underscores how this deal is the only viable alternative to war with Iran.”

Kahane’s grandson, 3 other suspected Jewish terrorists to stay in administrative detention [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Meir Ettinger, grandson of Rabbi Meir Kahane, seen at Magistrate's court in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth , Aug. 4, 2015. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Meir Ettinger, grandson of Rabbi Meir Kahane, seen in court in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth, Aug. 4, 2015. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

(JTA) — The suspected Jewish terrorist arrested as part of the Shin Bet’s investigation of a firebombing that killed a Palestinian toddler will be held in custody for at least six days.

Officials said Tuesday that Meir Ettinger, a grandson of Meir Kahane born after the far-right Jewish extremist’s assassination, will stay in administrative detention until at least Sunday by order of a closed-door judicial proceeding, the Times of Israel reported.

Ettinger, who Israeli authorities believe oversees a Jewish terrorist group, was arrested Monday in the northern Israeli town of Safed. It was not clear whether he is a suspect in the firebombing or is being interrogated for information he might have that could lead to the perpetrators.

Judicial officials, including Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, decided Tuesday that subject to the approval of Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, they would authorize holding Ettinger and three other suspects without charge in administrative detention, a practice used almost exclusively for Palestinian terror suspects. The security Cabinet approved the general practice at an emergency meeting on Sunday responding to the firebombing of two Palestinian homes in the West Bank village of Duma.

Shin Bet officials have said Ettinger heads a movement that also was responsible for the June arson of the historic Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes and seeks to bring down the government and replace it with a Jewish theocracy.

Ettinger’s attorney, Yuval Zemer, claimed Tuesday that his client had been tortured in custody, but security officials denied the allegation, according to the Times of Israel.

Zemer also accused the Shin Bet of arresting Ettinger for “PR purposes” rather than for a real investigative reason.

Ettinger has previously led efforts to establish new and unauthorized West Bank settlements. The Shin Bet sought to put Ettinger under administrative detention in 2014, according to Haaretz, but state prosecutor Shai Nitzan denied the request, instead barring Ettinger from Jerusalem and the West Bank.

According to the Times of Israel, Ettinger in his 2013 “the rebel manifesto” called for bringing down the Israeli government by targeting the country’s “weak points” and firing “up these powder kegs … until we have a situation in which Jews must decide whether they are part of the revolution or part of the repression [of the rebellion].”

Israeli couple’s big day saved by crowdsourced wedding crashers [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

An Israeli couple’s wedding day went from depressing to uplifting thanks to social media.

At first, just a handful of guests showed up Sunday for the wedding of Annette and Lior Solomon at the Harmonia Bagan event venue near Gadera Junction in south-central Israel. Apparently, according to Ynet, most of the invited guests assumed the wedding had been canceled since the bride’s father had passed away.

That’s when one of the bride’s relatives, identified as Rivka, turned to social media to save the couple’s wedding day.

“The bride lost both her parents in the last two years. Her father passed away a month ago, and now there is no one there except for a few relatives. You don’t need a gift, you don’t need money. Just come fill the auditorium, fulfill a mitzvah, and make a bride and groom happy,” read the Facebook post.

Hundreds of guests began pouring into the wedding venue, with an estimated 2,000 eventually showing up to celebrate with the couple.

“These are the Israeli people at their best. The groom and bride cried,” Rivka told Ynet. “Understand, at the wedding canopy they were alone. After the story was published, people came to make them happy.”

Many of the guests left checks for the couple, in accordance with Israeli custom, though many did not even know who to write the checks out to.

In April, the funerals in Israel of two Holocaust survivors who died three days apart were attended by hundreds of strangers after messages were posted on social media.

The family of Benjamin Schlesinger, who was survived by one son and few other relatives, was concerned that they would not have a minyan to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish at the burial.

The surrogate granddaughter of Chaya Gertman, a survivor of Auschwitz who was unable to have children, took to Whatsapp to ask people to attend Gertman’s funeral to assure a minyan and to give her a respectable sendoff.

Shabbat meal at European Maccabi Games sets Guinness record [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — A Shabbat meal at the European Maccabi Games has broken a Guinness World Record.

Some 2,322 Jewish men and women gathered Friday night for a meal held by Chabad-Lubavitch at the games in Berlin, Chabad.org reported, making it the largest Shabbat meal ever. Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, the head of Chabad in that German city, presided over the festivities.

The gathering broke the mark of 2,226 set in June 2014 at an event hosted by White City Shabbat, a Tel Aviv organization that hosts and coordinates Shabbat meals. That meal also was co-sponsored by Chabad-Lubavitch.

The record-breaking meal was the project of Alon Meyer, the president of Maccabi in Germany, and Robby Rjber, vice president of Makkabi Deutschland.

“There was much more than meets the eye,” Chabad rabbinical student Shneur Volfman of Oak Park, Michigan, who volunteered at the games as part of the Roving Rabbis program, told Chabad.org about the Berlin event. “Even giving out kippahs. It may seem simple, but when you realize how many people there were, you see it’s a big deal.”

Netanyahu urges U.S. Jews to oppose Iran deal [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

NEW YORK (JTA) – The Iran nuclear deal will pave the path to Iranian nuclear weapons whether or not Iran keeps its end of the agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal, or Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal,” Netanyahu said in a 20-minute webcast Tuesday aimed at American Jews and organized by the Jewish Federations of North America.

The Israeli leader repeated the same litany of criticisms against the deal that he has been reciting since Iran and six world powers, led by the United States, reached the agreement on July 14, as well as in the months leading up to the announcement: It will leave Iran’s vast nuclear infrastructure in place; Iran’s “breakout time” for a nuclear weapon in 10-15 years, once the deal expires, will be practically zero; the deal will give Iran a massive infusion of cash that it will use to arm its terrorist proxies in the region; and the deal will spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Netanyahu said his opposition to the deal has nothing to do with President Barack Obama.

“This policy disagreement has never been personal,” he said, saying he believes Obama genuinely thinks the deal is the best method for blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.

“Judge the deal on its substance and on its substance alone,” Netanyahu said. “The more people know about the deal, the more they oppose it.”

Netanyahu also criticized efforts by opponents to “delegitimize” criticism of the deal, saying it’s nonsense that the only alternative is war.

“The alternative to this bad deal is still no deal, or a better deal,” he said. “The claim that I wouldn’t accept any deal and wouldn’t propose any alternative is certainly not true.”

Sanctions and pressure on Iran should be increased, and Iran will come back to the negotiating table and accept a better deal, Netanyahu said.

“They need the deal a whole lot more than any of us need a deal,” he said.

NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN - English News at 21:01 (JST), August 4 [English News - NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN]

Fox News Sets Lineup For First Republican Debate [Outside the Beltway]

Fox News Republican Debate Lineup

Fox News has announced the lineup for Thursday’s Republican Presidential debate, and it’s about what we expected:

Fox News has announced the line-up for the prime-time Republican presidential debate this Thursday, and here’s who qualified:

Real estate magnate Donald Trump; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The roster of 10 candidates was determined based on an average of the five most recent national polls. Trump as expected made the cut, as did Bush and Walker, who have each posted strong numbers in recent surveys.

The drama, rather, was at the edge of the top 10. Christie and Kasich, who were hovering by that edge in recent polling, were able to qualify.

But former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and several others will not be on the prime-time, 9 p.m. ET stage. The seven who did not make the top 10 will be invited to a separate 5 p.m. ET debate. Aside from Perry and Santorum, this includes Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; former HP head Carly Fiorina; South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham; former New York Gov. George Pataki; and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.

The five polls included in the average that determined the line-up were conducted by Bloomberg, CBS News, Fox News, Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University.

The debates, hosted by Fox News and Facebook in conjunction with the Ohio Republican Party, will be held at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

With the campaign lately being rocked by Trump’s rise in the polls above the jam-packed field, though, the big question is how the other nine candidates will hold their own on the prime-time stage — and whether Trump will remain the front-runner after his debate debut.

For political outsiders like Trump and Carson, Democratic strategist Doug Schoen said, “The question is are they ready, literally and metaphorically, for prime-time?”

The debate will test whether they can articulate a “cogent narrative of what they’ll do to promote and provoke change in our country,” Schoen said.

Analysts have warned that Trump, whose bomb-throwing persona has seemingly fueled his climb, stands to lose traction if he can’t command the stage.

Steve Deace, who hosts a conservative radio talk show in the Hawkeye State, said: “His entire campaign is based on him being a blunt instrument” and if he holds back, “that would be the death knell for him.

Given how the polling has been going for the past week, with Kasich and Christie rising in the polls while Perry fell, this is about the result that everyone was expecting today. As I noted earlier, there was some speculation that Fox News would end up making an exception to its rules and bringing Perry into the main debate given the fact that he had run for President before and had served as a Governor for over a decade. Had he ended up closer in the average to Christie and Kasich, it’s possible that this would have happened since you could make a plausible case that a difference of a few tenths of a percentage point in a polling average doesn’t really amount to very much. However, because Perry has been declining in the polls for the better part two weeks now he now stands nearly a full percentage point behind Kasich and Christie, although he still outperforms everyone else in the bottom seven who will be participating in the consolation debate that airs at 5pm on Thursday afternoon. Given that, it would have been something of a stretch to drag Perry into the main debate, especially since adding an eleventh person to that debate would make a situation that already seems quite unmanageable quite chaotic and even less substantive than the rules that Fox News has already established are likely to allow.

No doubt, several of the candidates who are being relegated to what is being referred to as the “Kid’s Table Debate” will complain about the arbitrariness of Fox News’s decision here, but it seems to me that they’ve made the best of a very difficult situation. In a different year, it would fair to say that candidates with substantive political records like George Pataki and Lindsey Graham should be allowed to participate in the first round of debates. This is not a typical year, however. We have seventeen announced arguably credible candidates for the Republican nomination, this is the largest field that either party has seen in decades and may well be the largest field that any party has ever fielded for a Presidential race in American history. Seventeen people on a debate stage is simply unmanageable and would not lead to anything informative for voters. Therefore, it is entirely reasonable for Fox News and CNN, which is staging the second debate in September, to set some kind of reasonable criteria for participation, and the Top Ten candidates in the most recent polls seems as if it is the most reasonable option available. Additionally, while it’s unlikely that any of the seven candidates in the consolation debate will ever be a contender for the nomination, they arguably might have a better chance of breaking through with the public in a forum that wasn’t dominated by outsized personalities like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Who knows, maybe one of these seven will do well enough to push themselves into the top ten for the CNN debate. If they weren’t being given a consolation forum at all, I could see the grounds for these candidates to complain, but they will still getting airtime and it will be up to them to get their message across. If they fail, they’ve got nobody to blame but themselves.

Donald Trump’s Substance Free Campaign For President [Outside the Beltway]

Trump Escalator

Over at Reason, Peter Suderman makes this observation about Donald Trump’s campaign and the people who support him:

What Trump offers is a fantasy of governance without negotiation, of economic success without policy detail, of a president who does not particularly feel the need to act presidential. It’s a fantasy of politics without politics, for people who just don’t want to think about it too much. In this view, the fact that Trump has clearly put so little thought into it himself makes him seem sensible and relatable. All of which is to say that the mindlessness and stupidity of Trump’s presidential campaign are not incidental to the candidate’s recent success. On the contrary, they are key to his appeal.

All of this is, in some sense, an outgrowth of the Republican party’s own mindlessless during the Obama era. The party has consistently refused to be clear about its domestic policy goals, and what it plausibly expects from government. And while it has not, as a general rule, fully embraced Trump levels of of vapidity, it has embraced figures like Trump, and allowed them to rise within the party.

This was clearly evident, albeit in a much milder form, in Mitt Romney’s 2012 run as the GOP nominee, which was marked by its consistent lack of policy detail, and by Romney’s unwillingness to provide clarity about his policy plans. Romney did, however, praise Trump’s “extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works and to create jobs” as he accepted Trump’s endorsement.

It’s evident still, in the party’s ongoing inability to unify around an Obamacare replacement, to reckon with the realities of immigration, to discuss in detail what cutting the federal budget would really entail. It is telling, I think, that a top priority for one of the major intellectual movements on the right is simply to encourage Republicans to engage with policy ideas, at all.

Trump’s candidacy is what a refusal to engage with policy and its practical realities looks like when taken to an extreme. He is a mindless candidate for a party that for years has casually courted mindlessness, and is now faced with the worrying possibility that it might prevail.

Suderman bases much of his column off of a piece by Andy Kroll that appears in this weeks print edition of National Journal in which Kroll attempts to treat the Trump campaign seriously just as a political reporter would treat any other candidate for President, especially one that was running at the front of the pack after only a month and a half in the race. To that end, Kroll followed Trump on his trip to Laredo, Texas last month, attempted to contact his campaign regarding answers to basic policy questions, and spoke with Trump supporters at campaign appearances in an effort to figure out exactly why it was that they were supporting this guy for President. The entire piece is worth a reason, but as you imagine Kroll’s efforts were largely unsuccessful. Trump didn’t answer any substantive questions during his campaign visit to Laredo, his campaign never got back to Kroll with answers to any of his policy questions, and the responses from Trump supporters regarding why they were supporting him were as astoundingly mindless as the ones that a Bloomberg Politics focus group in New Hampshire gave last week.

None of this should come as a surprise, of course. As I noted last month just as the Trump bandwagon was picking up steam, it is eminently clear that neither Trump nor his supporters care one whit about policy matters or about answering the practical question of how Trump is going to “Make America Great Again,” to borrow a campaign slogan that Donald Trump basically stole without attribution from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign for President. Trump’s campaign is not about policy, though, it is about exploiting the infotainment industry that Cable and Internet “news” has became and feeding into to a cycle of resentment and fear that has been the building block of the Tea Party movement and the far right wing of the Republican for the better of a decade now. Honestly, I have no idea whether Trump actually believes the things he is saying or not, but it hardly matters because the people he is preaching to care less about sincerity than they do about hearing what they want hear. As long as he continues doing that, and unless and until prospective voters start changing their minds, there’s no reason to believe this won’t continue.

More importantly, there’s not that much difference between Trump’s platitude-rich, substance-deficient campaign and the rhetoric that we have seen over the years from such favorites of that wing of the GOP as Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Steve King, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and so many others. To a person, these are politicians who have relied far more on appeals to base emotions than reasoned arguments about policy, and the reason they’ve done it is because that is what their audience wants.  At its base, there is no difference between what we are seeing from Trump and his supporters and what we have seen from Republicans since President Obama took office. As Suderman notes, Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign was completely lacking in substance and the same was true of his major challengers for the Republican nomination that year. John McCain’s campaign in 2008 was hardly better, of course, and his lack of substance was exemplified by his selection of a running mate to whom substance and depth seemed to be completely foreign concepts. In the years that followed, and especially after the GOP took control of the House, we have been subjected to one act of symbolism after another, from countless attempts to repeal Obamacare to endless Congressional investigations of “scandals” that never measured up to the rhetoric of those claiming they were evidence of nefarious dealings in the Obama Administration. It all accomplished very little, but it made the base happy, and that’s all that seemed  The fact that the nation’s most consummate showman since P.T. Barnum has now mimicked their style and ridden it to heights that few people would have thought logically possible before he entered the race. There’s no guarantee it will last forever, of course, and it probably won’t, but for the time being Donald Trump is succeeding largely because he is providing the very type of emotion-laden substance-free campaign that the fringe of the Republican Party has been asking for since Barack Obama took office.

The Bonsai Tree That Survived A Nuclear Blast [Outside the Beltway]

Atomic Bomb Bonsai Tree

A bonsai tree that is believed to be at least 390 years old survived the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima 70 years ago this week:

Moses Weisberg was walking his bicycle through the National Arboretum in Northeast Washington when he stopped at a mushroom-shaped tree. The first thing he noticed was the thickness of the trunk, estimated at almost a foot and a half in diameter. And then there was the abundance of spindly leaves, a healthy head of hair for a botanical relic 390 years old.

But it was only when he learned the full history of the tree, a Japanese white pine donated in 1976, that he was truly stunned. The tree, a part of the Arboretum’s National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, has not only navigated the perils of age to become the collection’s oldest, but it also survived the blast of an atomic bomb, Little Boy, dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II.

“For one, it’s amazing to think that something could have survived an atomic blast,” said Weisberg, a 26-year-old student at the Georgetown University Law Center. “And then that by some happenstance a Japanese tree from the 1600s ended up here.”

The bonsai tree’s history is being honored this week, as Thursday marks the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. But visitors can see the tree as part of the museum’s permanent collection throughout the year.

The tree, donated by a bonsai master named Masaru Yamaki, was part of a 53-specimen gift to the United States for its 1976 bicentennial. Little was known about the tree until March 8, 2001, when — with no advance notice — two brothers visiting from Japan showed up at the museum to check on their grandfather’s tree.

“I find it amazing that Masaru Yamaki could give a priceless bonsai basically to his enemy and not say a word about it,” said Felix Laughlin, president of the nonprofit National Bonsai Foundation. “I get emotional just talking about it.”

Shigeru Yamaki and his brother, Akira, filled in the blanks for museum officials, though they had never seen the tree before their visit and had only heard about it through family stories. News footage taken at the Yamaki Nursery after the blast shows the pine sitting unscathed in the background.

Ensuring the continued survival of such an important piece of the collection is no easy task. It falls to Jack Sustic, who has been the curator of the Bonsai and Penjing Museum since 2002.

Bonsai, Sustic said, refers not to the type of tree but rather the manner in which it is cared for. It is the blending of nature and art, he said.

The care includes seeing that it is watered daily, inspected for insects, rotated for the sun twice a week and repotted on occasion.

In the winter, the tree is moved to the museum’s climate-controlled Chinese Pavilion. Currently, it sits in the museum courtyard.

“One of the things that makes it so special is, if you imagine, somebody has attended to that tree every day since 1625,” Sustic said. “I always like to say bonsai is like a verb. It’s not a noun; it’s doing.”

And apparently, doing it well enough so the tree survives an atomic bomb blast.

Donald Trump Solidifies His Lead In Final Pre-Debate Polls [Outside the Beltway]

Donald Trump Speaking Closeup

What are likely to be the final polls released before Fox News announces who it will be inviting to Thursday’s debate and who will get stuck with an invitation to what is being called the “Kid’s Table” confirm what we’ve been seeing for the past two weeks, Donald Trump in the lead and Rick Perry’s effort to get himself into the main debate has most likely failed.

First up, there’s the new poll from Fox News that puts Trump nine points ahead of his nearest rival and only two candidates in double digits:

Businessman Donald Trump continues to gain ground in the race for the Republican nomination.  What’s more, the number of GOP primary voters saying they would at least consider backing Trump has more than doubled in the last two months.  Meanwhile, support for Democratic frontrunner former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains high, despite sliding to its lowest yet.

These are some of the findings from the latest Fox News national poll on the 2016 presidential race.

Trump receives the backing of 26 percent of self-identified Republican primary voters — up from 18 percent in mid-July and 11 percent a month ago. That’s not only the highest level of support for Trump, but it’s also the highest any GOP candidate has received since the Fox poll began asking the question in December 2013.

Trump’s rise hasn’t hurt former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who garners 15 percent and is the only other Republican in double-digits.  He was at 14 percent in mid-July and 15 percent in June.

Behind Trump and Bush, it’s Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 9 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 7 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 6 percent each, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 5 percent a piece, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich get 3 percent each.

That group is followed by businesswoman Carly Fiorina and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum tied at 2 percent, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tied at 1 percent and former New York Gov. George Pataki, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore receive less than 1 percent support.

Two Republicans threw their hat in the ring in the last two weeks.  Kasich formally announced July 21 and his support went from two percent in mid-July to three percent in the new poll.  Gilmore made his candidacy official July 30.

Men (29 percent) are a bit more likely than women (24 percent) to back Trump — yet he’s the top vote-getter for both.

Another example of GOP primary voters increasingly liking what they hear from Trump:  34 percent say they would “definitely” vote for him, which is more than four times what it was two months ago (8 percent).

And the number who would “never” support Trump dropped 26 percentage points: it was 59 percent in June and 33 percent now.  Graham (40 percent), Christie (34 percent) and Pataki (34 percent) now have more voters than the Donald saying they would never vote for them.  

This morning, we got two polls from Bloomberg News and CBS News and The New York Times:

Chris Christie and John Kasich remain ahead of Rick Perry in the race for the final spots on the debate stage in Cleveland this week, according to two new polls released Tuesday that have Donald Trump on top of the GOP presidential field.

Christie and Kasich each earn 4 percent of the vote in a Bloomberg Politics poll, ahead of Perry, who is at 2 percent. A new CBS News poll shows Christie at 3 percent, Perry at 2 percent and Kasich at 1 percent.

The two polls keep Perry, the former Texas governor, mired in 11th place in an average of the most recent live-caller polls, which is believed to be Fox News’ criteria for selecting the 10 participants in Thursday night’s first Republican presidential debate.

The Bloomberg poll shows Trump with 21 percent of the vote, easily ahead of the second-place candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, at 10 percent. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (8 percent), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (7 percent), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (6 percent), pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson (5 percent), Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (5 percent), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (4 percent), Christie and Kasich round out the top 10.

Further back in both the Bloomberg poll and the average of recent polls are former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (2 percent in the Bloomberg poll, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (1 percent), South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (1 percent), former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (0 percent) and former New York Gov. George Pataki (0 percent).

In the CBS News poll, Trump has 24 percent, to 13 percent for Bush and 10 percent for Walker. Trailing the top three are Huckabee (8 percent), Carson (6 percent), Cruz (6 percent), Rubio (6 percent), Paul (4 percent), Christie (3 percent), Jindal (2 percent), Perry (2 percent), Gilmore (1 percent), Kasich (1 percent), Pataki (1 percent), Santorum (1 percent), Fiorina (0 percent) and Graham (0 percent)

With this final round of pre-debate polling, Donald Trump now clearly leads the Republican field outside of the margin of error. In the RealClearPolitics average, which is slightly different from the average that Fox News will be using for the debate but close enough for the purpose of analysis, Trump now has a 23.2% average, with Jeb Bush second at 12.8% and Scott Walker third at 10.6%. Nobody else has an average in the double digits, and the closest candidates to Walker in the average are Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson, neither of whom will be the Republican nominee, who are tied a 6.6%. The top ten is about the same as it has been since late last week, with Chris Christie and John Kasich in ninth and tenth place respectively and Rick Perry standing on the outside with an average poll standing of 2.0%. Indeed, instead of seeing his numbers go up in the most recent polls Perry has actually seen his numbers get worse as time has gone on. The fact that the former Texas Governor has been among the most vocal critics of Donald Trump over the past month and half led many observers to think that he would benefit from some of the anti-Trump antipathy that one sees in the poll numbers. Instead, Perry’s numbers have gone done and Donald Trump has seemingly become more acceptable to potential Republican voters.

The big question, of course, is how long all of this will last. The conventional wisdom among political analysts continues to be that Trump’s rise in the polls and Republican voters’ flirtation with him are temporary phenomena not dissimilar from similar episodes we’ve seen in past elections with candidates such as Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich. Perhaps this will prove to be correct. Indeed, anyone with a passing knowledge of the history of American electoral politics knows how uncommon it is for the candidate who is leading in the polls in the August before primaries even start to end up being their parties nominee. It didn’t happen to Hillary Clinton in 2008 or Rudy Giuliani in that same year, and logic tells us that much the same thing will happen to Donald Trump. At some point, the enthusiasm for Trump will fade either because Republican voters have ended their summer fling and decided to focus on candidates that actually have a realistic shot at winning the election or Trump will shoot himself in the foot somehow. So far, neither of those things have happened though, and it seems unlikely that it will happen any time soon. Indeed, every time Trump does something that one would rationally think would hurt him with voters, like attacking John McCain’s military service, his poll numbers go up. Additionally, as I’ve said before, the fact that Trump is self-funding means that he isn’t subject to the same pressures that other candidates whose political fortunes are on the decline may be. If he wants to, Donald Trump could stay in this race all the way to the Republican Convention next June.

The process will begin sorting itself out on Thursday with the first debate. There was a candidate’s forum last night in New Hampshire, but it wasn’t a traditional debate, Trump wasn’t there, and by all accounts for format required to accommodate the fourteen candidates who did show up unsurprisingly resulted in a less than substantive event. Thursday won’t be much better in that regard, of course, but at least with all the top candidates in the room at the same time we’ll get a better idea of how the race will shape out going forward.

Lindsey Graham Promoted Twice As Absentee Reservist [Outside the Beltway]

lindsey-graham-air-force-retirement

lindsey-graham-air-force-retirement

Lindsey Graham recently retired as a colonel in the Air Force Reserves after 33 years of service. His missed most of the last twenty.

WaPo (“Sen. Graham moved up in Air Force Reserve ranks despite light duties“):

Of all the candidates vying to become the nation’s next commander in chief, none has spent as much time in the military as Sen. Lindsey O. Graham. The South Carolina Republican retired from the Air Force this summer after a 33-year career, including two decades as a reservist while serving in Congress.

[...]

But a detailed examination of Graham’s military record — much of it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act — shows that the Air Force afforded him special treatment as a lawmaker, granting him the privileges of rank with few expectations in return.

During his first decade in Congress, the Air Force promoted Graham twice even though documents in his military personnel file reveal that he did little or no work. Later, the Pentagon gave the military lawyer a job assignment in the Air Force Reserve that he highlighted in his biography for several years but never performed.

After he was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1994, Graham was designated by the Air Force Reserve as a “key federal employee,” a category for a small number of lawmakers and senior government officials.

Over the next 10 years, he rarely put on his uniform. According to his personnel file, between January 1995 and January 2005 he received credit for a total of 108 hours of training — the equivalent of less than a day and a half per year.

During that span, however, the Air Force kept awarding him promotions. In 1998, he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Six years later, he was promoted to colonel by President George W. Bush.

In interviews with The Washington Post, Graham called that period the “wilderness years” of his military service. He said he struggled to find a useful niche in the Reserve and that his legislative duties left him little time to devote to his military career.

“At one time I almost thought about getting out because I felt like, okay, what am I doing here?” he said.

He added, “I didn’t feel guilty because I wasn’t getting any money.” As a key federal employee, he could earn points for a military pension but was ineligible for a service paycheck.

Even so, Graham said his promotions to lieutenant colonel and colonel were warranted. He said he earned them primarily based on his work as a junior officer, before he became a politician, when he served as a full-time military prosecutor and defense counsel.

“I think when it came to being Colonel Graham that they looked at my entire record, and I’ll put it up against anybody who’s ever served,” he said. “I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but I was one hell of a judge advocate.

“Yeah, I think I deserved promotion.”

The arrangement benefited both sides. Graham emphasized his ongoing military service in his political campaigns, while the Air Force was grateful to have an influential lawmaker in its ranks.

By all accounts, Graham was indeed a hell of a judge advocate. But, no, he didn’t deserve promotion.

The fault here lies with the Air Force, not Graham. There’s no evidence he sought especial favoritism, much less applied pressure on the Service from his perch in the Congress.The nature of the legislative schedule, combined with the demands of fundraising and campaigning, left him little time to perform actual work for the Air Force but the Air Force was happy to have an enthusiast on Capitol Hill.

Given his glowing performance evaluations (some of which are referenced later in the story) it’s quite possible that he would have been promoted to lieutenant colonel even if he weren’t a VIP. Granted, 1998 was a fallow period for promotions but he was considered a superstar. But colonel was a tough cut even in 2004 and one doesn’t get selected for colonel based on one’s service as a captain and major but rather on one’s performance in command or other highly competitive lieutenant colonel billets. Graham did not fill one of those, at least not truly. And, frankly, the JAG corps isn’t generally a ticket to full bird status to begin with.

The Air Force referred questions to the Air Reserve Personnel Center. Col. Robert Palmer, a spokesman for the center, said that “selection for promotion is based on the whole person concept, which includes performance, professional qualities, leadership, depth and breadth of experience, specific achievements, academic education, and developmental education.”

Jack L. Rives, a retired Air Force judge advocate general who oversaw Graham’s assignments for several years, said he was an accomplished lawyer who took his Reserve duties seriously.

Asked if Graham’s standing in Congress influenced the Air Force’s decision to promote him to colonel, Rives replied: “Your question is a good one and a natural one. But I can say from having served on [promotion] boards, you do score the record and you take an oath to do that. People are warned specifically you can’t show favoritism.”

Right. But clearly someone did.

After he became a colonel, Graham began to dedicate more hours to the Reserve. He deployed for brief stints in Iraq and Afghanistan, visits timed to overlap with his travels there as a senator.

For nearly a decade, however, Graham gave inaccurate public descriptions of his job assignment, records show.

From 2006 until the start of this year, Graham’s official biographies stated that he worked as a senior instructor at the Judge Advocate General’s School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., the training hub for the service’s legal corps. That description has been cited in virtually all news coverage of Graham’s military career.

In fact, Air Force officials said they had no record of Graham teaching any courses on behalf of the school or even visiting it during that period.

Other uniformed lawyers said Graham’s assignment was widely perceived as a no-show job granted to a politician with whom the Air Force brass was eager to curry favor.

“It was kind of an open joke among people, that he was supposed to be a senior instructor here but he never taught any classes,” said an active-duty Air Force lawyer who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation. “Clearly, the rules didn’t apply to him.”

In his interviews with The Post, Graham acknowledged that he “never went” to Maxwell Air Force Base and didn’t serve as an instructor for the school. “I actually did zero,” he said with a chuckle. “I don’t know why they picked that title.”

He clarified that the Air Force did assign him to the school but said that he persuaded his superiors to allow him to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan instead so he could work with a Defense Department task force on detention policy.

Graham said he kept the inaccurate job description in his biographies because he didn’t want to draw attention to his war-zone missions. Although many of his trips to Afghanistan and Iraq were documented by the news media and publicized by the Defense Department, Graham said he tried to minimize coverage for fear that the Pentagon would view his desire to serve there as a political stunt.

“I never took time to change it,” he said of his biographies. “I probably should have. At the end of the day the one thing I didn’t want to talk about was being deployed overseas. If I start putting that out there . . . I thought that would screw everything up.”

I suppose Graham had the right to claim holding the post since he was technically assigned to it. But, frankly, instructor duty at the JAG school isn’t a particularly high-profile colonel billet even if you fill it.

When he arrived in Washington in 1995 as a freshly minted congressman, Graham struggled to fulfill his military duties.

As an unpaid officer in the Air Reserve, Graham was not required to serve a fixed number of hours, according to Air Force officials. But in eight of the next 10 years, he failed to achieve what the Reserve considered “satisfactory service,” or the minimum number of hours to qualify for a pension credit.

To be promoted to lieutenant colonel or colonel, Air Force officers are generally expected to complete advanced courses at the Air War College and the Air Command and Staff College, according to interviews with several current and former Air Force lawyers.

Graham did not and was promoted anyway, according to his personnel file.

Palmer, at the Air Reserve Personnel Center, said the courses were not formally required but “may be used as a qualifier or tie-breaker when considering the merits of multiple candidates.”

Graham acknowledged he did not complete the advanced courses, which are often taken by correspondence. He said it was unrealistic to expect a member of Congress to do so.

“I’ll just be honest with you: There is no way I had the time,” he said. “If you really want to keep members of Congress and people at the level I’m serving with in the Reserves, those requirements are probably not going to be met.”

My understanding of Reserve promotion policies is limited, other than that it’s supposed to mirror the active duty side. Regular officers are expected to complete an intermediate level school such as the Command and Staff College for promotion to lieutenant colonel and attendance at a resident school is quite helpful. Similarly, completion of a top level school like the War College is almost a prerequisite for the highly competitive promotion to full colonel. There’s simply no way a JAG officer without either of those courses under his belt and who essentially skipped his entire lieutenant colonel career should have been selected for colonel.

Graham did ultimately use his post to change the rules:

Graham wanted to go overseas instead. As a senator, he had visited Iraq and saw that the war was going badly. The torture scandal at Abu Ghraib prison showed the armed forces needed help devising policies for handling prisoners, he said.

“You could see the place fall apart in Iraq,” Graham said, recalling how he heard disturbing reports from military lawyers in the field. “People said, ‘You need to come over here and see this.’ ”

 An obstacle stood in his way: a Defense Department policy that prohibited legislator-reservists from serving in war zones or “imminent danger areas.” In addition, the Air Force rarely called up reservists for war duty for fewer than several months — an unrealistic option for a senator.

But Graham buttonholed senior commanders and persuaded the Pentagon to grant him waivers to its policy.

The Air Force agreed to let him deploy for unusually brief tours — between two days and two weeks — when it suited his schedule. He would travel to Iraq or Afghanistan with a congressional delegation, then stay to perform his military service.

“Bottom line is, I kept pushing and pushing and pushing,” Graham recalled. “I said, ‘Listen, I want to go over there and see what you’re doing. I think I can help.’ ”

Graham said commanders were leery but eventually began to see him as an asset. In addition to tapping his expertise in military law, they used him as a political fixer to twist the arms of Iraqi and Afghan leaders who were causing headaches, he said.

One Air Force lawyer who served in Iraq in 2006 and 2007 said it did not appear that Graham did meaningful work.

“Nobody who was in the war-zone billets who were doing [legal] work in Baghdad ever knew what he did,” said the lawyer, who is still on active duty and spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid retaliation. “He was just hanging on.”

While in uniform, Graham was often treated like a visiting celebrity. He was featured in military news releases and posed for photographs with other units.

Graham said he focused on the task force that oversaw the detention of military prisoners. His superiors said he did invaluable work.

“He’s a national treasure,” said Richard C. Harding, a retired Air Force judge advocate general who oversaw Graham’s duties. “His contributions were huge over there.”

This is all hearsay, of course, but it’s damned curious. At best, he was there as a senator-in-uniform. At worst, he was a tourist.

Not only should he have not been promoted to colonel, it’s not clear how he earned enough “good years” to qualify for a pension.

Radio Survivor Podcast #9: Remembering Negativland’s Don Joyce [Radio Survivor]

This week Jennifer Waits joins us live in studio as we remember Don Joyce, a pioneering sound artist and member of the culture jamming musical group Negativland, who passed away on July 22. We also discuss AT&T's plan to activate the FM radio's on the carrier's Android phones, and KEXP's recent 12-hour marathon broadcast exploring every song sampled on the Beastie Boys seminal "Paul's Boutique" album. In College Radio Watch Jennifer takes us on a tour of KWVA-FM at the University of Oregon, and Matthew Lasar reads excerpts from some poems about radio. We welcome your comments on anything you hear in the show–send them to podcast@radiosurvivor.com. We want to share your thoughts with all our listeners, so please let us know if we can read them on the show. Or, even better, record an audio commentary for us to play. Please rate and/or review the show on iTunes. That helps new listeners find the show, and is an easy way to spread the word about Radio Survivor. Show Notes: RIP Don Joyce: Negativland Member, Artist, KPFA DJ KBOO's Tribute to Negativland's Don Joyce (1944 - 2015) Tribute to Don Joyce on KPFA's Over The Edge Casey Kasem’s greatest hit: Negativland and ‘the letter U and the numeral 2’ The Letter U and the Numeral 2 Negativland's Mark Hosler and Don Joyce on CIRCUIT07 DVD from 2000 KEXP Steps Inside Paul’s Boutique Digital Watch: AT&T Android Phones Get FM in 2016

Gov. Scott Walker’s Big Opportunity to Defund Planned Parenthood [RedState]

From day one of his administration, Gov. Scott Walker (R) has demonstrated a commitment to stewarding taxpayer dollars in a way that prevents them from providing support to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. As a presidential candidate touring the nation, Walker has used his campaign to call for the federal defunding of Planned Parenthood amidst a national debate over the organization’s morally perverse ethics, revealed in shocking videos.

In his very first budget, Walker eliminated Title V funding for Planned Parenthood. Title V is a federal block grant that requires matching state contributions for a joint state-federal funding of maternal and child health programs. For years, Planned Parenthood’s Wisconsin affiliate received millions of taxpayer dollars through the Title V program.

Walker’s decision to deny Planned Parenthood Title V funds earned him the condemnation of Cecile Richards, the national leader of Planned Parenthood. “It is outrageous that Governor Walker would take away health care away from thousands of women and families in Wisconsin,” Richards declared after the cuts went into effect.

Walker could again earn the ire of Richards, who has lately been in the public spotlight claiming it is perfectly acceptable for Planned Parenthood to traffic in the sale of fetal human body parts leftover from abortions, if he moved to stop Title X funds from going to Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin. According to state and federal documents, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin will receive $3.5 million of taxpayer money in fiscal year 2015 thanks to Title X funds.

Congressional efforts to prohibit taxpayer money from going to Planned Parenthood via Title X family planning grants are likely to stall thanks to procedural hurdles in the U.S. Senate and opposition from the White House. That means it will be up to the states, and governors like Walker, to take meaningful action in the absence of reform from Washington.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Walker’s gubernatorial office told Newsweek that the governor, “supports additional changes to Wisconsin law to restrict federal funds that flow to Planned Parenthood as well.”

Already, draft legislative proposals are being floated in the state Capitol in Madison to redirect federal Title X funds to clinics and women’s health centers that would provide family planning services, but would not be affiliated with abortion providers. The plan is modeled on legislation enacted in Kansas and Texas that establishes a tiered priority system in which abortion providers like Planned Parenthood are placed in last priority, behind full service clinics and other licensed care providers that provide a more comprehensive level of care to patients.

The Kansas and Texas plans have both withstood legal scrutiny in the federal court system, an important consideration for Wisconsin, where every pro-life reform signed into law by Walker has been challenged with a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood or its allies.

Walker has already made it very clear that as president he would eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, but in Wisconsin he has a chance to finish the job by redirecting and reprioritizing Title X dollars, sending them to health clinics that can offer women better care without recommending or providing abortion services.

The post Gov. Scott Walker’s Big Opportunity to Defund Planned Parenthood appeared first on RedState.

Left-wing reporter uses “America’s swastika” in wedding proposal [RedState]

If the left is good at anything it is manufactured outrage. A prime example of this is the whole sorry affair involving the murders in a black church in South Carolina by what is generally considered be a mentally disturbed young man who had a Confederate battle flag on his car’s license plate. This led to a major eructation of outrage. It even led NBC affiliate WXIA-TV in Atlanta to ask “Is the Confederate flag the American swastika?” They seem to think the answer is “yes.”

If there is anything that acts as catnip to the left more than any sighting of the Confederate battle flag it is when two or more conservatives gather together to advance conservative ideas. You only have to listen to the deranged rants by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 14% against the Koch brothers to get a flavor of it. A second favorite target is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). While ALEC is a very small organization, it is very effective in fighting the conservative fight in state legislatures. This is important:

Last Tuesday, Republicans made historic gains in the nation’s state legislatures. The GOP now controls 68 out of 98 partisan state legislative chambers — the highest number in the history of the party. Republicans currently hold the governorship and both houses of the legislature in 23 states (24 if Sean Parnell wins re-election in Alaska), while Democrats have that level of control in only seven.

Back in June, the “investigative reporter” for WXIA_TV (Is the Confederate flag the American swastika?), a guy name Brendan Keefe set out to do a smear on ALEC which was meeting in Savannah. He registered at the conference hotel under an assumed name and tried to crash the meeting. Oddly enough, if he had wanted to attend all he needed to do was request media credentials. As Erick wrote:

What he failed to mention is that the event held by the right-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council was open to the press, he did not register for the event, he registered at the hotel under an assumed name, and the hotel was not a resort, just a hotel in Savannah. More particularly, it was the Hyatt in Savannah.

Brendan Keefe, in his video, tries to claim that because he is Georgia media he is credentialed for ALEC’s event. This obfuscates the fact that Keefe did not register for ALEC’s event. He’s demanding access to the event held by a private group that, irony of ironies, he could have gotten into had he bothered to register.

But Keefe wanted a sensational story for sweeps week, so he manufactured scandal where there was none. Then he hounded people at the event where, again, had he registered he’d have been given direct access. He also claimed to be a registered guest at the hotel, but the hotel told ALEC’s communications department that if he was a registered guest, he had checked in under a different name.

At the end of Brendan Keefe’s story, he cited Georgia legislator Nan Orrock who claims she dropped out of the event because it was just a bunch of “angry white men.” What Brendan Keefe did not report is that Orrock is a member of several closed left-wing groups, including serving as Leadership Chair of Progressive States Action’s Public Education Working Group. The Progressive States Action group is a left-wing competitor to ALEC.

In fact, throughout Brendan Keefe’s report he failed to disclose any of these things while following a lot of the left-wing talking points put out by ALEC’s competitors. He manufactured the story for sweeps week, relied on leftwing legislators to attack their conservative counterparts, claimed things that cannot be substantiated, and most importantly failed to note that had he just registered for the event, he could have gone behind the very doors he claimed were closed in face.

It seems that Keefe was able to convince a woman to marry him — something of a sweeps-worthy event in and of itself — and in the process produced a cheesy, horrible, cringe-worthy “wedding announcement.” Don’t watch this if you have problem with incontinence. Anyway, the American swastika features prominently:

brendan keefe
Does this mean that either Keefe or his bride are neo-Confederates or racists? I don’t know. From what we’ve told by the left, the answer could very well be yes. Even if Keefe is a racist, one would think when your employer is leading the charge against all things Confederate — to the extent of sandblasting the Holy Trinity of the Confederacy off Stone Mountain — you might not use the Confederate battle flag in your bizarre little wedding video. The video does, however, make a compelling case that Keefe is an idiot and a dishonest left-wing hack masquerading as a journalist.

The post Left-wing reporter uses “America’s swastika” in wedding proposal appeared first on RedState.

New Planned Parenthood video lands [RedState]

Though a couple of tame, pro-abort judges have been enlisted to try to combat the release of the videos, a new video by Cemter for Medical Progress landed today.

It is horrific as it is obvious that Planned Parenthood does used parts and organs from aborted babies as a profit center in their operations.

From the video

Asked specifically if this means Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast can change abortion procedures to supply intact fetal specimens, Farrell affirms, “Some of our doctors in the past have projects and they’re collecting the specimens, so they do it in a way that they get the best specimens, so I know it can happen.

The investigators ask Farrell how she will frame a contract in which they pay a higher price for higher quality fetal body parts, and she replies, “We can work it out in the context of–obviously, the procedure itself is more complicated,” suggesting that “without having you cover the procedural cost” and paying for the abortion, the higher specimen price could be framed as “additional time, cost, administrative burden.

Farrell finally summarizes her affiliate’s approach to fetal tissue payments: “If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. It’s all just a matter of line items.

As bad as the trafficking in human organs and tissue is. As reprehensible as it is to put women an medical risk by changing the abortion procedure in order to maximize the dollar value of the dead baby. What really strikes one over the course of the videos is the utter callousness of the people involved. The total lack of basic humanity that the alleged medical professionals in this horrible practice exhibit.

We saw Deborah Nucatola calmly talking about revenue based on dead babies who ordering wine and chowing down on a nice, green salad. If you go the 9:45 in today’s video you can hear the staff laughing, that’s right laughing, about how hard their day has been and how they have plenty of dead babies in the freezer:

planned parenthood 5-2

Back in 1963, Hannah Arendt covered the trial of Adolph Eichmann in Jerusalem and wrote a book called Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. In it she noted that Eichmann wasn’t necessarily motivated by ideology but rather by self-interest, i.e. personal advancement and from that concluded (broadly) that even ordinary people can become involved in horrendous crimes, not because they are evil but simply because they lack the empathy for their victims.

What one sees in these videos is not unlike what one saw in the series of war crimes trials visited upon the German military and political classes after World War II. There is a top tier of ideologues who are carrying out an agenda. They could be questioned on the morality of their actions and convince any polygraph examiner in the world that they truly believe they are on the side of the angels. There are a handful of truly malevolent individuals, in the case of abortion this would be the doctors who carry out the procedure. But most of these people, oddly enough nearly all in the video are women, just put their conscience in a lock box, stuff dead babies in the cooler, and go home and fix dinner. That casual cruelty is what makes this series of videos so powerful.

The post New Planned Parenthood video lands appeared first on RedState.

Europe’s Migrant Crisis [RedState]

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On today’s edition of Coffee and Markets, Brad Jackson is joined by David Frum to talk about Europe’s migration crisis, then Jeffery Tucker stops by to tell us how Washington is ruining your dishwasher, and finally Chuck Lindell of the Austin American Statesman describes the criminal charges facing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Related Links:

Closing Europe’s Harbors
When will Cameron act? Germany risks post-Nazi laws and calls in Army over migrant crisis
David Frum at The Atlantic
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Buy Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World on Amazon
Government Ruins the Dishwasher (Again)
Jeffrey Tucker at The Foundation for Economic Education
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Ken Paxton arrested, booked; indictment released
A Guide to the Legal Players in the Paxton Case
Follow Chuck Lindell on Twitter

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Subscribe to The Transom

The hosts and guests of Coffee and Markets speak only for ourselves, not any clients or employers.

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Wife of Obama-bundler judge, William Orrick III, is a pro-abort activist [RedState]

 

One of the hallmarks of the Obama administration has been the total corruption of the executive branch to serve Obama’s political agenda and interests. It doesn’t matter if innocent Mexicans and US Border Patrol agents are killed if gun control legislation can be expanded. US law can be flouted by the IRS to punish Obama opponents. Federal judges can be ignored to create a base of illegal aliens with documentation so large and diffuse that the damage can’t be undone. So is should come as no surprise that the men and women Obama has seen permanently ensconced in the Federal judiciary should have the same operating philosophy.

A federal judge in California has entered a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the pro-life group, Center for Medical Progress. The reasoning is nothing short of bizarre.

District Judge William H. Orrick III in San Francisco issued the restraining order out of concern for the safety of National Abortion Federation leaders.

“NAF would be likely to suffer irreparable injury, absent an ex parte temporary restraining order, in the form of harassment, intimidation, violence, invasion of privacy, and injury to reputation, and the requested relief is in the public interest,” he wrote.

Following Orrick’s reasoning to its logical conclusion it would be illegal for an investigative journalist to release video of a meeting of the Russian mob or MS-13 or any other illegal conspiracy because they, too, would have the exact same set of fears. It is really difficult to see how any group, operating within the law, could make such a case.*

Of course, the law has nothing to do with this. Since the era of the Pentagon Papers it has been pretty well established that prior restraint is not an appropriate legal remedy. If it was true in the case of actual secret documents stolen from the Pentagon, documents that could result in the death or imprisonment of actual people, it should certainly apply to the flight of fancy in which Orrick has engaged. What is at stake is this: the administration is utterly wedded to the practice of infanticide and it will do whatever it takes to protect the procedure and the largest single practitioner of the procedure. Orrick is less a judge than he is a political hack. He didn’t get appointed to the bench because of his legal accomplishments, he purchased a sinecure from the Obama administration by bundling and donating at least $230,000 to Obama.

Not only is Orrick essentially a tenured retainer of the Obama administration, his wife is a vocal advocate of infanticide, so there is no surprise when Orrick acts on his own beliefs, the beliefs of his patron, and the beliefs of his bedmate in order to try to protect what seems like a RICO conspiracy.

*One can’t read about this meeting and not be reminded of The Wire (Season 3, Episode 5) where drug kingpin Stringer Bell tried to use Robert’s Rules of Order at his meetings.

“The Wire: Straight and True (#3.5)” (2004)

Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell: Motherf***er, what is that?
Sean ‘Shamrock’ McGinty: Robert Rules say we gotta have minutes for a meeting, right? These the minutes.
Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell: N—-r, is you taking notes on a criminal f***ing conspiracy?

The post Wife of Obama-bundler judge, William Orrick III, is a pro-abort activist appeared first on RedState.

How #Cuckservative reminds me of #BlackLivesMatter [RedState]

#Cuckservative Tries To Be #BlackLivesMatter

#Cuckservative Tries To Be #BlackLivesMatter

In many respects, the Alternative Right is a pale imitation of an effective and meaningful political movement. The blogging community that supports their cause repeats a plausible critique of many aspects of the modern malaise. However, they fail to provide anything that resembles effective solutions. They can, however, wreck a certain level of havoc and take down their opponents in a manner reminiscent of the Lilliputians tying down Gulliver. #BlackLivesMatter showed how to do this par excellence at the recent Netroots Nation convention. Alternative Right purveyors of the #Cuckservative hashtag are attempting their own version of this political maneuver.

#Cuckservative and #BlackLivesMatter are symmetric mirror images in many ways. Both movements are inter-party insurgencies aimed at delegitimizing more moderate alternatives within their own political spectrums. Each movement is highly reactionary in nature. Each is decidedly racialist in outlook with some components in each movement qualifying as flagrantly bigoted and willing to crawl into the Not Safe For Work gutter in order to forward their assault against more moderate political actors.

You would have to apologize to your typical 4Klan* Warrior for daring to imply that any Non-Alternative Right Conservative is anything *other* than a vile #Cuckservative. You likewise must grovel before His August Augustulus; Deray McKesson for daring to suggest that any lives *other* than #BlackLivesMatter if you continue to play in Leftist politics. In the end, the intransigence is a result of desperation.

You see it really isn’t a question of whether all black lives matter. It’s a question of whether a self-selecting cadre of Progressive African-American activists still holds powerful positions and meaningful lives. Likewise, the #Cuckserative movement isn’t particularly worried about whether you are suffering rectal pain from recent political events. They are in this to settle inter-party scores and could care less about anything other than themselves. In this sense, they are merely an ofey alternative to the #BlackLivesMatter movement and should be regarded with a similar dismissive contempt.

*-My more accurate descriptor for the analytical geniuses at 4chan.

The post How #Cuckservative reminds me of #BlackLivesMatter appeared first on RedState.

Plunder & Deceit is Out TODAY [RedState]

Mark Levin has a new book out called Plunder and Deceit. It may not be exactly what you expected, but it is exactly what you need.

Actually, I’m not exaggerating about that. I have been wondering as the culture shifts what I need to be thinking about in relation to my kids’ ethics, morals, and values. We have a shelf of Dobson at home and others. Those are terrific books focused on faith and values.

But what about political values? We’ve got Bill Bennett. But with the leviathan of government growing, we need to know more.

Mark Levin is a great guy and a friend. A few weeks ago he sent me an advance copy of Plunder and Deceit. It hits the mark for where my present thinking is (pun intended).

The book is a call to action for parents as the government continues to grow and, through growth, pressure and coerce our children. It is also a call to action for younger voters, showing them the road forward, suggesting ideas for action, and a push for a new civil rights movement for individual liberty.

If you are a parent or millennial wanting a political book that does not rant, but suggests and educates, this is for you.

The post Plunder & Deceit is Out TODAY appeared first on RedState.

The Private Sector Giveth – and Government Taketh Away [RedState]

It is – sadly, always – a clash of two titans. The private sector and government. There are claims made that it is – or can be – a symbiotic relationship. The free market and government – walking hand-in-hand into a brighter tomorrow.

But it is never symmetrical – it is always adversarial. In large part because it isn’t a fair fight. The government gets to bleed the private sector – they get to tax and regulate the opposition.

Imagine McDonald’s getting to take money from Wendy’s. And impose tens of thousands of regulations on how Wendy’s does business. If the opposing pitcher is also the umpire calling balls and strikes – how’s that game going to turn out?

Which is why we must always rigorously adhere to the Yellow Pages Rule:

If you can find it in the Yellow Pages (or on YellowPages.com) - the government shouldnt do it.

Seton Motley | Red State | RedState.com

The private sector creates – to the tune of $17-trillion-a-year. The government gets all its operational capital by leeching the private sector – because it creates nothing.

The private sector has given us electricity. And the Internet. And (cell) phones. And cars. And planes. And… And creates enough wealth to support professional sports. And music. And sculpture. And….

The government has given us ObamaCare. And the Veterans Administration. And the fabulous cybersecurity of the Office of Personnel Management. And Benghazi. And Fast and Furious. And…. It’s $18+ trillion in debt – and climbing.

I know for which participant I am rooting.

Our nation’s farmers know this dichotomy all too well. Yesterday we had examples of both the private sector and government doing what they respectively do.

The Internet of Things and the Future of Farming

Lance Donny, founder of an agricultural technology start-up, OnFarm Systems, gave a wide-ranging talk that laid out the history of farming and presented the case for its data-driven future. Inexpensive sensors, cloud computing and intelligent software, he suggested, hold the potential to transform agriculture and help feed the world’s growing population.

Venture capitalists seem to share some of Mr. Donny’s optimism. In the first half of this year, venture investment in so-called agtech start-ups reached $2.06 billion in 228 deals, according to a study published last week by AgFunder, an equity crowdfunding platform for agricultural technology. The half-year total was close to the $2.36 billion raised in all of 2014, which was a record year….

The benefits should be higher productivity and more efficient use of land, water and fertilizer….

Higher yields and less waste…can be achieved with better information on weather, soil conditions and market demand for specific crops – all delivered via cellphone.

The private sector: Higher productivity – and more efficiencies. Explosive growth – with beneficial lessen-ings. More – with less.

Compare – and contrast:

President Barack Obama Orders Steeper Cuts from Power Plants

Obama was installing the core of his ambitious and controversial plan to drastically reduce overall U.S. emissions, as he works to secure a legacy on fighting global warming.

Set aside the fact that Congress never authorized any of this – which makes it yet another unConstitutional unilateral fiat. Set aside the fact that there hasn’t been any global warming at all since 1998.

Set aside the fact that even if there were any global warming – and it was man-caused – what the President is imposing won’t move the thermometer at all. Set aside the fact that it is especially insignificant when massive industrial countries like China and India rightly refuse to join us in committing economic suicide.

What the President’s latest imposition will absolutely do is “necessarily skyrocket” the cost of electricity. How very government: All pain – no pleasure. All down – no up. We don’t grow and get better – we shrink and diminish.

How do our farmers (and everyone else) take maximum advantage of the free market’s rapid developments – if government is exploding the costs to power it all?

Farms use a LOT of electricity – for the Internet of Things and lots of other things. The government just dramatically tightened its stranglehold on electricity production.

The private sector giveth – and government taketh away.

The post The Private Sector Giveth – and Government Taketh Away appeared first on RedState.

Marco Rubio’s Campaign Must Adapt or Die [RedState]

bugslife

On paper, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 92% has been checking all the right boxes lately. He opposed the disastrous Iran Deal. When asked about the Planned Parenthood video, he had an appropriate quip about how silly it is for everyone to focus on Cecil the Lion when this is going on beneath all our noses. There’s no specific area where Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 92% has made a serious misstep over the last several weeks. And yet, Rubio’s campaign is at risk of starving to death for lack of oxygen and stories are leaking right and left that his major donors are jumping ship.

The reason for this is simple – the mood of the GOP primary electorate has shifted and Rubio has been too slow to adapt. Rubio’s appeal has always been as the guy with the easiest access to soaring rhetoric and the best ability to generate optimism and hope. A couple of months ago, this looked like a relatively plausible path to the nomination, especially in the heady days of the new Congress.

However, after several months of Obama successfully trolling the GOP led Congress, combined with the faithlessness of leadership in both chambers, have left a simmering and resolute anger where a sense of hope used to be. And frankly, they’re tired of people not even acknowledging the ways in which Obama, the GOP Congress, and the Supreme Court have dashed so many of their hopes in such a short time. When people are mad, they don’t want to hear about how great everything is.

Now, Rubio is never going to be a Chris Christie or a Donald Trump, and he frankly shouldn’t try. I think his ability to inspire optimism and hope is the best path for him to win in the general. But he has to show that he can at least acknowledge and connect with the widespread voter anger that has catapulted Trump to the top of the field, or he risks being left in the dust permanently. Voters have to at least be able to think to themselves “Okay, if this guy is elected, he is really going to take the fight both to the Democrats and the traitors on our side,” and nothing about what Rubio is doing now conveys that.

Somewhere, somehow, Rubio has to make a move that shows a fighting spirit. Mouthing the party line against Obama’s excesses won’t cut it. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) 87%‘s attempt at a standalone Planned Parenthood defunding bill just enabled leadership’s play and voters saw right through it. The usual playbook for getting attention from GOP primary voters isn’t valid anymore.

 

Here is one way to illustrate the problem that Rubio has at this point. In the latest CBS News Poll of GOP primary candidates, Rubio’s favorables (46-11) are among the highest in the GOP field, much higher than Trump’s (47-38). However, only 47% of those polled say Rubio generally “says what he believes,” whereas 35% said that Rubio generally says “what people want to hear.” However, with respect to Trump, 77% of those polled said that Trump usually “says what he believes,” whereas only 22% said that he generally “says what people what to hear.” You can see for yourself which is more important to the voters right now.

The smartest thing for Rubio to do at this point, if he intends to make an honest run for President instead of just elevating his profile as a Senator, is to publicly align himself with Cruz and/or Lee in a way that publicly gets him on the wrong side of McConnell, Cornyn, and Alexander. Something that would make people think to themselves, “Whoa, I didn’t think Rubio had that kind of fight in him.”  He’s got to at least set a tone that says that occasionally, he can take the varnish off and lay the wood on someone.

Otherwise, his day in the sun may have already come and gone.

The post Marco Rubio’s Campaign Must Adapt or Die appeared first on RedState.

Trump Triumphant [RedState]

Whether you like Donald Trump or not is irrelevant. On Thursday, Donald Trump will appear on a Presidential debate stage with nine other Americans out of more than 300 million people.

The nine candidates who will be on stage with Trump still have not figured out how to deal with Trump. Maybe by Thursday they will. The way to deal with Trump is to speak on the issues that galvanize the Republican base — the dysfunction of Washington and the capitulation of the Washington Republicans.

Trump is triumphant. He is on the stage as a player. If they gang up on him, he wins. If they ignore him, he wins. Trump alone can sabotage Trump on Thursday. He might do that. He might not show a grasp of issues. He might nuance his foot into his mouth.

The simple truth of Thursday is that Trump has the least to lose and is least likely to lose it. The other simple truth is that Trump’s campaign would not even exist if the Republican Party in Washington, D.C. kept its promises and liked the non-monied portion of its base.

You may not like Donald Trump, but Trump is on a debate stage on Thursday and you and I are not.

The post Trump Triumphant appeared first on RedState.

Tech at Night: Catching up before the Gathering [RedState]

So the Red State Gathering is this week, and it’s going to be fun. Hopefully you’re coming.

Since Wednesday night I’ll be packing to go, and Friday I’ll be in Atlanta, so this is probably the one shot I have this week to look over Tech news, so let’s go.

The so-called “right to be forgotten” is censorship, and that’s why Google is right to tell the French to pound sand.


I’m always talking about how Ajit Pai is the model reform commissioner at the FCC, but relative newcomer Mike O’Rielly is no slouch exposing FCC’s problems.


Bitcoin and crime watch. Technically Bitcoin never needed exchanges, but it’s always had them. And every time you hear about this or that retailer taking Bitcoin, it’s always an exchange. Like Mt. Gox.


Russia is censoring the Internet. Now, Daily Dot is stupid and there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing about going after the Sturges art, but look at that “Dumb Ways to Die” video. That’s ban worthy? Come on. And yet, some want to give control of the Internet, via ICANN and IANA, up from US control to global governance? Get real. Keeping the Internet free will be harder than ever.


Heres an interesting proposal: turn off ad block for firms that honor do not track. Google will never go for it, which will just prove that gathering your data is what Google is in the business of doing.

But people will keep using Google, which will just prove that nobody really cares about privacy.


I’m going to laugh so hard if Tor was never secure.


I’m all for drones but I’m also all for shooting drones spying on teenage girls.


Seeing how the GOP establishment operates, I remain firmly against comprehensive anything reform, including patents.

The post Tech at Night: Catching up before the Gathering appeared first on RedState.

Mitch McConnell Must Never Be Elected Again [RedState]

Let me prefix my next few sentences by pointing out: I am not the executive editor of Redstate and I cannot unilaterally set or change policy for this site.  So what I write here is simply my own personal opinion and not necessarily that of this station or its leadership.

After today’s latest episode of McConnell-sponsored GOP Failure Theater, there is only one conclusion to draw:  Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 58% must never be re-elected to office.  I do not care if it’s a primary, where we most certainly must not support him, or the general election.  I will donate to his opponent, no matter whether the primary or the general.  I would rather see a pro-death, anti-gun, zombie-infected, flamboyant cross-dressing, virgin-eating cannibal elected before I see that man ever win another election…for U.S. Senate or any other office.  I will do anything and everything in my power to see him out of Senate leadership and in 5.5 years, out of office completely.  This is my life’s mission – to see him defeated.

I know that Erick stuck with our site’s stated policy after McConnell won the primary and supported McConnell in the general.  That’s his prerogative.  I understand the theory – a GOP officeholder is virtually always better than the alternative.  In this case, it is not true (and wasn’t true before, but that’s water under the bridge).  Even if McConnell is the deciding vote in a GOP Senate, I don’t care.  The GOP Senate has done us zero favors since January, and there is no obvious sign that will change.

Now McConnell may swoop in and try to un-do the damage he’s done and attach a defunding rider to a forthcoming bill and perhaps even participate in a Senate shutdown if need be.  If he is successful and reverses his current course towards being an accomplice in the murder of millions of the unborn, perhaps I will change my mind.  But this “man” has done more damage to the conservative cause in his leadership position in the Senate than dozens of Democrats could have done from the other side.

By the way, let me point out that I am not the only contributing editor who has supported this particular tactic.  Both streiff and Joe have long been on the Ditch Mitch train as well.  But the recent events with Planned Parenthood funding should place McConnell squarely at the top of the Conservative Public Enemy list…even above most/all Democrats.

Kentuckians, you should be ashamed of what you have wrought on this nation.  And to you Republican Senators who voted to retain McConnell as Majority Leader – you are shameful for supporting this execrable individual.   Start worrying about pulling this nation out of the grasp of the Left and stop worrying about your precious committee assignments and your funding.  Do what you were elected to do: LEAD this nation out of the disaster wrought by Barack Obama and his cohorts.  You haven’t been doing this, and blood of the aborted unborn is partially on your hands as well. You enabled McConnell to pull these stunts.  And spare me the whining about Obama’s veto – it is YOUR job to take advantage of procedures such as riders on existing bills.  If you weren’t going to do anything, why did we bother to put you in the majority?

McConnell must go.  And I will do everything I can with my access to this bloggy pulpit and with my wallet that I can to help him out the door.  No matter what phase of the election season, I will be at the front of the line to get rid of this sorry excuse of a Senator.

The post Mitch McConnell Must Never Be Elected Again appeared first on RedState.

These Senators Voted to Force You to Pay for Planned Parenthood’s Abortion Harvesting Business [RedState]

Senate Democrats

A radical pro-abortion minority of the Senate just voted to continue forcing you to fund Planned Parenthood’s abortion and baby harvesting business.

You need to know who they are.

Despite a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate’s support for defunding the abortion giant (including Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-WV) 23% and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) 23%), these political pawns of Planned Parenthood filibustered to ensure the Culture of Death keeps getting its government handout.

Each of the Senators below voted to block legislation that would have stripped taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood – an abortion business that takes $500 million tax dollars, murders nearly 330,000 babies, and sells them for parts to pad its bottom line each and every year:

  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) 6%
  • Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) 6%
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) 12%
  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) 17%
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) 6%
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) 12%
  • Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) 0%
  • Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) 12%
  • Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) 12%
  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) 17%
  • Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE) 0%
  • Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) 6%
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 0%
  • Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) 6%
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) 12%
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) 17%
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) 12%
  • Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) 12%
  • Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) 0%
  • Sen. Angus King (I-ME) 6%
  • Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) 17%
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) 6%
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 6%
  • Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) 12%
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) 6%
  • Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) 6%
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) 12%
  • Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) 12%
  • Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT) 17%
  • Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) 0%
  • Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) 0%
  • Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) 6%
  • Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) 12%
  • Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 14%
  • Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) 12%
  • Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) 6%
  • Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) 12%
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) 0%
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) 6%
  • Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) 17%
  • Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) 12%
  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) 12%
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 17%
  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) 6%
  • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) 6%

They must be held responsible for their vote.  Planned Parenthood’s evil must not be subsidized by you and me – the taxpayers.

The fight is not over.  In fact, at the ACLJ, we’re in federal court defending the pro-life investigative journalists at the Center for Medical Progress who have been exposing Planned Parenthood’s barbarity.  The abortion industry does not want its evil coming to light.

We’re fighting to make sure big abortion is exposed.

The veneer is being ripped off of big abortion.  Now is the time to redouble our efforts.  Join us in defending life, demanding congressional investigations, and fighting to stop the sale of murdered babies’ body parts by signing our petition today.

Matthew Clark is Senior Counsel for Digital Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and four children in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.

The post These Senators Voted to Force You to Pay for Planned Parenthood’s Abortion Harvesting Business appeared first on RedState.

Dave's Insight [Small Dead Animals]

Dave's a loyal reader and fellow dog show traveller, so I'm shooting him a link: Apparently, 970,000 Scientists are Missing in Action.

Scroll up and check out the rest of his site while you're there. Try not to break the server.

Again, Education is NOT for the "Students" [Small Dead Animals]

It's for worthless, talentless, unemployable leftists who need make-work jobs.

Purina National [Small Dead Animals]

A very successful weekend at Spruce Meadows (Alberta Kennel Club/Purina National Dog Show) behind us, regular blogging will resume in the coming hours. After we rest up a little.

Pilot.jpg

Minuteman Up With The Birds (Pilot) was Best Terrier Puppy.

Raylan.jpg

AmGCh.CanCh.Minuteman Justified, third in Terrier Group three of four days, and currently the #1 Miniature Schnauzer in Canada.

Why Is There Always A Big Screen TV? [Small Dead Animals]

Narrative, disrupted;

[Chief Cece Hodgson-McCauley, of the Inuvik Dene Band] claims that a lot of the bad stories told about residential schools are a lie.

"They're only reporting the bad side, and the more you lie, the more you say it's bad the more money you make, and the lawyers are making money because they're pushing people to tell their stories."

She said some people have contacted her, wanting to tell their positive stories about the schools, but are too scared to come forward.

Hodgson-McCauley wants the truth to come out, and she plans on being the person to start it.

h/t Derek

Rendering [Small Dead Animals]

George Will on the Planned Parenthood horror show:

In partial-birth abortion, a near-term baby is pulled by the legs almost out of the birth canal, until the base of the skull is exposed so the abortionist can suck out its contents. During Senate debates on this procedure, three Democrats were asked: Suppose a baby's head slips out of the birth canal -- the baby is born -- before the abortionist can kill it. Does the baby then have a right to live? Two of the Democrats refused to answer. The third said the baby acquires a right to life when it leaves the hospital.

One of these.

Top Secret - Press [Small Dead Animals]

The opening round of retaliation for the OPM crack.

Those damned myths about Quebec and politics [Small Dead Animals]


Don't believe a damned one of them. Watch and please share far and wide.

TeleRead Editor-in-Chief Juli Monroe resigns to focus on consulting and fiction-writing [TeleRead]

Juli MonroeOver the past three years, TeleRead has been lucky enough to employ Juli Monroe as editor in chief. But two other Julis exist: one a social networking whiz and another a novelist. And this week Juli told me that old and valued consulting clients were now tugging at her for more of her time.

What should she do? If she gave me a few weeks’ notice, could she leave TeleRead and focus on her other activities?

How could I not have said yes? Per hour, TeleRead has paid a fraction of Juli’s usual work, and I’d certainly want her to be free to pursue what she calls “an explosion of business opportunities” involving existing clients.

Please check out the Web site for Juli’s 1 to 1 Discovery business and see if her services might be of interest once she has caught her breath and can squeeze in new clients. She provides networking coaching not only for the usual business types but also writers and publishers.

Among other things, Juli will coach clients on podcasting—in areas ranging from content and delivery to promotion of the shows. Via paid advertising labeled as such, we may link to her clients’ podcasts in the future.

In addition to her networking and social media coaching work, Juli plans to expand her fiction writing. If you haven’t already dropped by her Amazon Author Page, we encourage you to do so.

Meanwhile, big thanks to her for the talented people she both retained and recruited for TeleRead.

Our appreciation, too, Juli, for your helpful business advice on such matters as my purchase of TeleRead from NAPCO Media. You also helped pave the way for our arrangements with Ezoic, the Web optimization service, which, based on preliminary numbers, might double TeleRead’s advertising revenue.

Handling Juli’s duties, effective immediately, will be Editor Chris Meadows and I. We’re skipping the few weeks’ notice so Juli can crank up her consulting activities without delay. My title will remain publisher.

Please join me in wishing Juli the best in her future endeavors! “It’s been a fun ride,” she tells us, “and now it’s time to move on.”

In the publishing industry, Ursula K. Le Guin wants less profiteering, more freedom [TeleRead]

LeGuin_Ursula_KWhile researching the piece I wrote about Ursula K. Le Guin’s writing advice earlier today, I found enough interesting material that I decided to make another post out of it rather than tacking on a one-paragraph by-the-way.

In July, Portland Monthly Mag had an interesting editorial take on Le Guin, covering a speech from 2014 at the National Book Awards ceremony in which she “coolly proceeded to torch her own publishers, the ‘profiteer’ Amazon, and the overcommercialized state of literature in general.” Here’s the whole speech courtesy of YouTube, including Neil Gaiman’s introduction:

In the speech, she speaks out against publishers’ sales departments being given control over editorial departments, her own publishers charging public libraries “six or seven times more than they charge customers” for e-books, and accused Amazon of being a “profiteer” who “tried to punish a publisher for disobedience.”

“We need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art,” she said. “Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximize corporate profit … is not quite the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.”

She went on to say that “Books are not a commodity. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art.” She urged writers to resist the commercialization of their industry. Rather than profit, writers should seek after freedom.

In June, Le Guin herself wrote an essay on her Book View Café site complaining that Amazon is despoiling literature with the “BS Machine,” but she seems to be confusing the behavior of Amazon with the behavior of the publishers. (Which, judging from her take the above speech, probably isn’t surprising; they seem to be sharing the responsibility of overcommercializing literature, so it’s easy to see how she might ascribe the actions of one of them to the other.) She lays at the feet of Amazon things like adapting books into movies to steal attention away from the books, or letting books fall out of print, which are not things Amazon actually has a hand in (at least directly).

Once it’s less read and talked about the BS is no longer a BS. Now it’s just a book. The machine has finished with it, and it can depend now only on its own intrinsic merit. If it has merit, reader loyalty and word of mouth can keep it selling enough to make it worth keeping in print for years, decades, even centuries.

The steady annual income of such books is what publishers relied on, till about twenty years ago, on to support the risk of publishing new books by untried authors, or good books by authors who generally sold pretty well but not very well.

That idea of publishing is almost gone, replaced by the Amazon model: easy salability, heavy marketing, super-competitive pricing, then trash and replace.

She wishes that people wouldn’t buy books through Amazon, though she doesn’t have a problem with commodities such as household goods. She doesn’t even object to people self-publishing through Amazon; she says, “If you think Amazon is a great place to self-publish your book, I may have a question or two in mind, but still, it’s fine with me, and none of my business anyhow.”

Nonetheless, many of the comments below the article are from people puzzled and hurt by her vehemence given that Amazon has made it possible for many self-publishing writers to make a living now. Apparently some of them were so hurt they resorted to name-calling, as the site ended up closing the comments after just two days.

I think, as do many of those commenters, that Le Guin does have some valid points about the overcommercialization of literature, but she’s pointing her gun at the wrong target. It’s the publishers who have been moved to put restrictive terms on library e-books, or more recently to manufacture best-sellers at the expense of their customers. I suppose you could paint Amazon as an enabler, making it possible for the publishers to become more commercial than ever before, but it’s not the prime mover behind all this in any event.

I suppose the crowning irony is that while Le Guin blames Amazon for what the publishers are doing, the publishers themselves are mad at Amazon for getting in their way, to the point where they will try to break the law to get ahead, or else get into months-long disputes over contract negotiations.

It’s tempting, but probably too patronizing, to ascribe Le Guin’s beliefs about Amazon’s place in the current book and e-book marketplace to a “generation gap.” Rather than try to claim she has “Amazon Derangement Syndrome” like so many of the name-callers did, I think it’s probably best to focus on the larger truths.

As a product of the publishing industry of several decades ago, Le Guin looks at the modern state of the industry and doesn’t like what she sees. And, well, I imagine a lot of people from those days don’t. Rather than try to slice up the blame, I think it’s fair enough to say she doesn’t like what the publishers and Amazon have wrought between them.

The important thing is for everyone to work toward improving the industry in their own ways—to seek after their own freedom, as Le Guin said in her speech. Le Guin herself sells some titles as DRM-free e-books or MP3s via Book View Café. I think that’s an idea we can all get behind.

Some Little Free Libraries are being robbed of books [TeleRead]

When it comes to getting people interested in reading, the Little Free Library is a great idea, as we’ve reported here a number of times before. But sometimes even Little Free Libraries can run into a tragedy of the commons. BookRiot and Melville House report that some people in different places have come out to find their Little Free Libraries entirely cleaned out—every single book taken by some unseen thief.

Of course, you can wax philosophical about the issue. If a book is free, can it truly be “stolen”? In a sense, no—if the person taking it actually means to read it. But someone who comes along and cleans out twenty or thirty titles probably doesn’t mean to read them all. They probably mean to get their jollies by making sure nobody else can get any books. It’s like what happened to that hitchhiking robot in Philadelphia a couple of days ago—some people like to destroy things rather than build them up.

(Of course, there are people out there who are so book-hungry they’ll take anything they can get, but the odds are pretty good that they’re in the minority compared to the jerks.)

But on the other hand, this kind of malfeasance can usually be relied on to stir up the community. After all, the vast majority of people are good. If they see a little free library as a community resource, and someone vandalizes it, they’ll step up to help out.

BookRiot has some good tips for helping keep Little Free Libraries safe. They include putting fliers inside to explain to people what they’re about, stamping each book with a “this book is free!” notice to try to prevent people from selling them to used bookstores, and letting the community know if you’re being ripped off.

And I would add, don’t give up—you’re doing something good in the world, making books available to people for free. Don’t let the jerks get you down.

That’s not what a ‘Kindle bookmark’ is supposed to mean… [TeleRead]

This dates back a couple of years, but I first ran across it in a Facebook re-blog yesterday.

kindlebookmarkCAN WE ALL TAKE A MOMENT TO APPRECIATE MY MOTHER USING A KINDLE AS A BOOKMARK

A photo posted by Riot Rogers (@rossmonstr) on

Ironic, isn’t it? The idea of using an e-book reader as a bookmark in a paper book? But if you think about it for a bit, it makes sense. They made the book reader so thin and light that naturally if you’re looking for something to keep your place in a paper book and you can’t find anything else…well, why not?

Theresa Horner to join Scribd as Vice President of Strategy and New Content Verticals [TeleRead]

Theresa-Horner-headerScribd announced today that Theresa Horner, former VP, Digital Content at Barnes and Noble will be joining them as their Vice President of Strategy and New Content Verticals.

They have a Q&A with her on their site, and it has some interesting tidbits, like the fact that Horner has been reading ebooks since Palm Pilot days. She was as dismissive of “you can’t read an entire book on such a small screen” as I was at the time.

Readers of TeleRead may recognize Horner’s name from her tenure at Barnes and Noble when she testified for the defense in the Apple price fixing case. Fortune characterized her as “everything Apple could hope for.”

But according to Horner’s testimony, Barnes & Noble was already planning internally to switch the Big Six to agency before Apple arrived, and that she was under instructions to put those plans into “overdrive” before Barnes & Noble lost even more money.

According to an article by David Gaughran earlier this year, Horner was also instrumental in leading the negotiations between Author Solutions and Nook Press in the creation of Nook Press Author Services.

Theresa Horner – the General Manager of Nook Press and VP of Content Acquisitions – led the negotiations with Author Solutions, which concluded in October last year. When making the announcement, Horner explained to Publishers Weekly that Barnes & Noble plans to further expand the services offered by Nook Press to its users.

She previously worked for both Microsoft and HarperCollins. Since HarperCollins was the first of the Big Five publishers to sign with Scribd, she’s a logical choice to continue and strengthen that relationship.

Hiring someone to manage both those areas is a good move for Scribd. New content will keep readers subscribed and should lead to new subscribers. Based on their recent reduction of romance titles in Scribd, it’s obvious they need to continue to work on strategy to create a sustainable pricing model.

I just think I’d be happier if they hadn’t hired someone so closely involved with the Nook Press/Author Solutions partnership. Or if she’d been more successful at keeping Nook a solid player in the ebook industry. However, Scribd may give her more leeway to make better strategic decisions. Time will tell.

Japanese citizens buy the most e-books per capita [TeleRead]

Update: Nate’s questioning BI’s number. He could be right.

Japanese-FlagA recent piece in Business Insider reports that Japanese consumers are crazy about their e-books. On average, they spend nearly twice as much on e-books per capita as the average US user ($86.50 vs $46). Indeed, the US is only in 5th place; Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are numbers 4, 3, and 2.

Of course, the figures don’t tell quite the whole story. Japan considers digital manga to be e-books as well, and the Japanese manga market has always thrived. In Japan, manga accounts for 80% of all e-book sales.

Japan’s e-book market had a rocky start. In 2011, TeleRead contributor Robin Birtle characterized the Japanese e-book market as “waiting for a push.” He continued the theme in a second post a month later, discussing e-book activity at the Tokyo International Book Fair.

Meanwhile, a lot of Japanese e-book users had gotten fed up with waiting, and companies sprang up to digitize their paper books for them. But in 2012, a consortium of publishers got together to digitize one million books to kick-start the Japanese e-book market. At the same time, Japanese company Rakuten bought Kobo in order to bring its e-readers to Japan. (It bought Overdrive just this year.)

It’s interesting to see the difference a few years can make.

(BI piece spotted via Good E-Reader.)

Heard About The Book Radio Show? [TeleRead]

ScreenClipA few weeks ago I was approached to be a guest commentator for The Book Radio Show, a weekly podcast stuffed full of interviews with authors and a short spot on the state of the ebook industry. I’ve done two spots now and will be recording the third later today.

Kari is an excellent host, and I’m going to recommend you check out the show. It goes live every Wednesday, and she has extensive archives to browse. Each week she interviews one literary fiction author, a non-fiction author and a self-help author. There’s plenty there to listen to.

Check out the show and let us know what you think!

WiFi, e-books and low-income people: Let’s connect the dots and learn from Bexar County [TeleRead]

Connect HomeA push to get WiFi into low-income people’s homes is happening right now, from the Obama Administration. Now let’s connect a few dots.

The President has also launched a K-12 e-book initiative with disadvantaged children especially in mind, and let’s hope that it and ConnectHome will dovetail.

Laudably, the American Library Association is encouraging local libraries to reach out in a big way people living in public housing.

Mere wires and e-book-friendly devices, even with books to access, aren’t enough. The kids will need guides and mentors. Librarians and others, in other words!

All this, of course, could fit in well with the cell phone book club concept, given the increasing rates of smartphone ownership even among low-income people.

For inspiration, meanwhile, librarians can turn to Bexar County, Texas, which has just opened the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech branch in a public housing project. Significantly, a study room is already well booked. What a wonderful reinvention of the role of libraries as study havens! And recognition that the tech by itself isn’t enough.

Let’s not forget these other details. From the start the branch is encouraging public housing residents to bring in their smartphones to learn how to download applications safely.

One hopes that e-book-related apps will be among them—not just the usual commercial software, but also programs such as Moon+ Reader Pro, which will enable people to download public domain and Creative Commons works with which they can build personal libraries.

Kids need keeper books as well as loaner books. And they also need access to software best for their personal needs, not just those of corporations.

At the same time I applaud projects under which libraries are developing their own e-reading applications.

Needless to say, a national digital library endowment could allow a vast expansion of efforts—not just getting the content out there, but helping it be discovered, enjoyed and absorbed. And if we can also think about teaching low-income people to create content, not just consume it, then so much the better.

Related: More information, via Google Cache and InfoDocket. And TeleRead’s past posts about BiblioTech. You might also check out my review of Bexar BiblioTech: The Evolution of the Country’s First All-digital Public Library, by Bexar County Judge Nelson W. Wolff, who conceived the BiblioTech idea.

 

 

Ursula K. Le Guin on how to write: ‘There are no recipes’ [TeleRead]

leguinFeeling that she no longer has it in her to write another full-length novel, novelist Ursula K. Le Guin has started an on-line writing workshop at the Book View Café, and gotten such a huge response that the question submission form had to be disabled. She has posted her first answer, which is to the question, “How do you make something good?”

Her answer is written in the full, rich prose that has made her novels such classics of literature, even if it does boil down to about the same advice any experienced professional writer would give a neophyte: practice, practice, practice.

Inexperienced writers tend to seek the recipes for writing well. You buy the cookbook, you take the list of ingredients, you follow the directions, and behold! A masterpiece! The Never-Falling Soufflé!

Wouldn’t it be nice? But alas, there are no recipes. We have no Julia Child. Successful professional writers are not withholding mysterious secrets from eager beginners. The only way anybody ever learns to write well is by trying to write well. This usually begins by reading good writing by other people, and writing very badly by yourself, for a long time.

Different people find different tricks and secrets that work for them, but not necessarily anyone else, she explains, but you have to find them for yourself because nobody else can tell them to you. So you need to put enough time and effort into it, and write enough words, that those secrets have the chance to reveal themselves.

The answer in full is well worth reading for itself, and Le Guin looks forward to answering more such questions—but she does hope most of the rest of them will be a bit smaller topics, such as “Do I have to outline my plot first?” or “How often can I split an infinitive?”

Related: Ursula Le Guin’s Web site. Publicity photo copyright © by Marion Wood Kolisch.

Are content curators becoming more important than content creators? [TeleRead]

contentcreators6a00d83452242969e201b7c7b950fd970b-250wiI’m sure most of you bristle at the thought of curators being more valuable than creators. After all, the former have no job without the latter. I agree, but it’s not as if the content creation population is declining. In fact, that number only increases every month, and that’s what’s driving up the value of curation.

Regardless of your preferences and interests there’s simply too much content to read. Whether it’s books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, websites, newsletters, etc., every year it becomes more difficult to keep up. Faced with this steady firehose stream of content, we can all use some help determining which elements are worth reading and which are a waste of time.

Separating the good from the bad is, of course, where curation comes into the mix. My favorite magazine, The Week, shows just how powerful and useful curation can be: Every week their editors sift through the latest news, presenting both sides of every story and saving readers countless hours with their summary coverage. Flipboard is another example of a platform that leverages curation. At first Flipboard curated the content and then they expanded their platform so now anyone can create a Flipboard magazine. Here’s mine, for example.

Despite its success, Flipboard illustrates the fact that curation still has a long way to go in its evolution. I say that because the signal-to-noise ratio of Flipboard and Flipboard magazines is getting worse. Every week I find fewer new, interesting Flipboard stories to read and reflip for others to discover.

So where will this valuable curation and consumption take place in the future? Today it’s spread across the web but I’d rather have it all united in one convenient stream.

The Evernote platform has the potential to move from simple note taking to becoming a more powerful content curation, sharing and consumption service. I’ve stopped using Instapaper because it’s so easy to clip, annotate and save web pages into Evernote. I’m also clipping magazine pages from my Next Issue subscription and pouring those into Evernote. In short, Evernote makes it easy and convenient to curate content from a variety of sources and splice them all together.

Here’s the thorny question that will probably need to be answered soon: At some point, does a service like Evernote offer an option to buy access to the curation of others? In other words, can I charge you for access to my curated Evernote collections, including all that content I have no right to redistribute?

It’s yet another example of The Innovator’s Dilemma: Traditional publishers will aggressively fight to prevent it while forward-thinking ones find a way to participate in the revenue stream it represents. And this revenue stream, by the way, will be one where the curators are highly valued and, in some cases, become the key brand.

(Orignally published in Joe Wikert’s Digital Content Strategies.)

Stellar e-reader and Netflix viewer: 10.5" 32GB Samsung Galaxy Tab S [TeleRead]

samsung-galaxy-tab-s-t800-32gb-10.5-tablet-view-of-color-options_2It’s too late to buy a 10.5” 32GB Samsung Galaxy Tab S refurb for $330 from A4C, but a restock may be coming, and you can also look elsewhere. I know this one’s good, because I own the same model myself.

The 10.5”  screen of 2,560 x 1600 pixels can do justice to anything from Moon+ Reader Pro to Netflix.

Color are especially vivid, and I like the contrast levels. If you want to watch Frank Underwood for revealing twitches during House of Cards, this could be the tablet for you.

The Galaxy Tab S has 3GB of RAM and a 1.9 GHz Exynos 5 Octa Processor. The  Android version is 4.4.

The $330  refurb from A4C is well under half the list price for a new device with the same amount of storage, 32GB. Samsung has also offered 16GB models.

Yes, newer and faster models are coming out, but the Tab S should suffice for 90-95 percent of Android fans. What’s more, the screen is larger—10.5”, compared to the 9.7” of the just-announced Galaxy Tab S2. Samsung is also releasing a new eight-incher, the Galaxy Tab S2 8.0”.

Drone delivery sparks Ohio prison brawl [The Register]

Geez, you would think they had never seen a heroin-dropping quadcopter before

An exercise-yard fight at an Ohio prison is being blamed on a drone's failed drug-smuggling attempt.…

Wait, what? TrueCrypt 'decrypted' by FBI to nab doc-stealing sysadmin [The Register]

Do the Feds know something we don't about crypto-tool? Or did bloke squeal his password?

Discontinued on-the-fly disk encryption utility TrueCrypt was unable to keep out the FBI in the case of a US government techie who stole copies of classified military documents. How the Feds broke in isn't clear.…

The Register WHEELY needs YOU to help raise charity funds [The Register]

Join or support our cycling team: biggest fund-raisers score a "Vulture Velo" cycling jersey

The biggest event on Sydney's cycling calendar is the annual "Gong Ride", a 90km trip from Sydney to Wollongong.…

If you read anything today about ICANN taking over the internet, make sure it's this [The Register]

Hodgepodge of flawed ideas, bad processes

Analysis  The internet community has published its plan to pull the United States government out of its role at the top of the internet's hierarchy.…

Marvell-LESS! Chip giant slashes $1.5bn judgment in CMU patent fight [The Register]

Or not ... judge calls for new trial

Chipmaker Marvell has managed to whittle down the amount of patent infringement damages it must pay to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) after a US court of appeals found that it was only liable for chips that were imported into or sold in the United States.…

Sales veep, staff log-off from cluster-cache upstart PernixData [The Register]

This is fine, everything's fine

PernixData has lost Ted Stinson, its veep of worldwide sales, and laid off up to 16 people in its North American channel and inside sales operations.…

Playing with graphene? All the cool kids are using TIN – atom-thick sheets of stanene [The Register]

Newest nanomaterial could be perfectly power efficient

Researchers at Stanford have laid down the first atom-thick sheet of tin, and it has the potential to revolutionize electronics thanks to its unique power propagation properties.…

Screw your cutesy plastic art tat, the US govt has found a use for 3D printing: DRUGS! [The Register]

Epilepsy pill gets OK for public use

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted its first-ever approval for a drug manufactured by 3D printing.…

Mac fans! Don't run any old guff from the web: Malware spotted exploiting OS X root bug [The Register]

Dodgy apps use hole in Yosemite to inject adware

The amusing vulnerability in Apple's OS X that grants administrator-level access to anyone who asks is being exploited in the wild by malware. Yeah, malware exists for Macs, this isn't the 1990s.…

Seagate flaunts 4TB-ish enterprise SAS flash that can shift 1.5GB/s [The Register]

Micron-assisted with variable endurance ratings

Seagate has announced a not-quite 4TB, dual-port SAS SSD technology, built in an alliance with Micron: the drive giant is touting four 1200.2 products defined by their endurance. Micron is using the same tech in its S600DC SSD products.…

Want to avoid a hangover? DRINK MORE, say boffins [The Register]

Erm, yeah, more Korean pear juice, that is, before you hit the hard stuff

The juice of Korean pear Pyrus pyrifolia might just be the greatest discovery in all human history, as boffins think the fruit can reduce the severity of hangovers.…

Reclothed BlackBerry Passport launched as Silver Edition [The Register]

Third time lucky for the Phreak Phablet?

BlackBerry has revamped the design of its Passport, putting its monster QWERTY phablet in a new upmarket frame.…

Asian worries for Samsung and Apple as local brands chop up the market [The Register]

Hometown boys mean big trouble in China

Figures from research company Canalys indicate both Apple and Samsung are feeling the pinch in the world's two fastest growing mobile markets: China and India.…

Netzpolitik spy journo treason case stalls, chief prosecutor told to quit [The Register]

Attorney General wanted to plough on ... others aren't so sure

Updated  Germany's Attorney General Harald Range says “political interference” has forced him to halt a treason investigation into two Netzpolitik journalists.…

MoD splashes £1.5bn on 10-year IT deal to 'keep pace with threats' [The Register]

Savings of £1bn expected ... yeah, we'll see

The Ministry of Defence has inked a ten-year deal worth £1.5bn with HP, Fujitsu, Airbus and CGI for IT and comms.…

Kelway new owner CDW tells staff to rest easy. Job cuts? Nah [The Register]

No severance or office closures pegged, but Brit firm will have to pull up SOX

The great unwashed at Kelway could be forgiven for checking their backs after CDW acquired the reseller yesterday, but job cuts or office closures are not part of early integration plans, or so say the new bosses.…

Allow the merger, please, we'll play nice, NXP begs EU competition chief [The Register]

Dutch chipmaker submits Freescale takeover bid

Dutch chipmaker NXP is attempting to get ahead of any EU antitrust concerns regarding its planned Freescale takeover by offering a bunch of concessions to the European Commission, before it has even had a chance to investigate.…

Intel doubles its bounty for women and ethnic minorities [The Register]

The queue for the men's toilet is out of control

Chipzilla Intel is so desperate to increase the diversity of its workforce that it is paying double its finder's fee for women and minorities, according to reports.…

Be safe: The Great Windows Server 2003 Migration [The Register]

Pithy advice for your move

On Demand  So what happened on July 14 when support ended on Windows Server 2003?…

Radian ready to replace the flash translation layer [The Register]

It's all about the speed baby, speed, speed, speed

Stealthy startup Radian Memory System's Symphonic software replaces an SSD's Flash Translation Layer software to accelerate performance up to 80 per cent and extend endurance. It's selling its own RMS-250 SSDs with this software for data centre use…

SDN: It's living the dream – and just using what you've got [The Register]

Freedom to pick the hardware you want, when you want

Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) are growing in importance. Genuine interest around them is growing fast, faster even than the hype would indicate. This is having some curious knock-on effects.…

Hacklands introducing geeks to something called 'outdoors' [The Register]

In tents coding session for hackers

A new take on a hackathon is being tried by the team behind more traditional geek gatherings such as Swedish Beers and Heroes of the Mobile Fringe. They are going to do it outdoors. Yes, outside. In fresh air.…

Duncan Campbell: GCHQ and me and a roomful of Reg readers [The Register]

Long suppressed video finally makes it onto the web

Reg Lecture  Veteran investigative journalist Duncan Campbell detailed his long time entanglements with GCHQ and the Echelon project in a long-form article in The Intercept yesterday – but a select group of Register readers heard the full story from the man himself, last year.…

Windows 10 Start menu replacements shifting like hot cakes [The Register]

You had one job, Microsoft. One job

Microsoft had one job to do with Windows 10 – but it looks like it's failed to get even that right.…

Do you speak NFV? Time to go back to school and learn [The Register]

Software – not shelves – is the answer, whatever the other kids may say

Administrators have some growing up to do before they're ready to properly implement Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), as it not only has to be automated and integrated into extant management systems, it needs to be a lot more lightweight than most administrator believe is possible.…

Diving for pearls of data just got easier, thanks to EMC/Hadoop deal [The Register]

Impaling your data insights with Impala

Customers can now buy Cloudera Hadoop from EMC to run on their Isilon arrays, diving into data lakes for those pearls of insight; essentially running on Isilon's scale-out NAS boxes (with their native HDFS support), rather than building a separate Hadoop storage silo using cheapo DIY nodes.…

Yahoo! website! ads! spaff! CryptoWall! ransomware! AGAIN! [The Register]

Unpatched Flash holes exploited to inject file-scrambling nasty

Yahoo! has been used to spread ransomware to Windows PCs almost exactly a year after the previous big outbreak.…

China and the cloud sink their teeth into server sales [The Register]

Tier-1 server suppliers feel the bite as Chinese vendors increase market share

China and the cloud are wreaking havoc on Dell, HP and Lenovo server sales, with Chinese and Taiwan ODMs benefitting. Why should this change?…

Sony Xperia Z4 4G Android tablet – gift of sound and vision [The Register]

Thinner, lighter 10-incher now with bundled keyboard dock

Review  Time to recap the history of Sony’s Xperia tablet range to put this new model into context. In the beginning was the Xperia Tablet, the first Sony 10-inch slab. Then came the Z2 Tablet, launched just over a year ago and reviewed here. The Z3 Tablet never existed, only the clumsily named Z3 Tablet Compact, an 8-inch affair.…

Vodafone adopts hydrogen fuel cells to dodge African outages [The Register]

Avoids the light-fingered criminal element by using a light element

Vodafone in South Africa plans to avoid the recent problems it has had with South African power outages with more hydrogen-powered fuel cell base stations.…

Painfully insecure GDS spaffs £21,000 on online narcissism tool [The Register]

Navel-gazing gov body flings taxpayers' hard-earned at bot that reads Twitter

The Government Digital Service is spending £21,000 per year on a brand monitoring tool designed to track what is being said about it online.…

We made a new Do Not Track thing – not like you'll use it or anything, huffs emo teen EFF [The Register]

God, you never understand me

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is making a second attempt to sell online publishers and ad networks on a Do Not Track specification.…

OFFICIAL SCIENCE: Men are freezing women out of the workplace [The Register]

Some like it hot

As the Northern hemisphere languishes in summer temperatures, a new study has shown that office climate control systems are giving women the cold shoulder.…

Hackers use 'cartons' with 'sticks', may be foiled by 'watermelons' [The Register]

Translation from Russian hack-slang: Credit card, PayPal and secure server

Gaining an invite to the best of the nearly 60 websites powering the cybercrime underground is only half the fight for researchers; they also need to know that credit cards are called 'cartons', PayPal a 'stick', and bulletproof servers 'watermelons'.…

Chechen women swindle ISIS via social media: 'We need roubles to join you xx' [The Register]

Con-artist activities unlikely to temper Islamist misogyny

Chechen rozzers have reportedly arrested a trio of jihadi-baiting women who flirted with ISIS fighters online before conning them out of money they sent to pay for a non-existent rendezvous in Syria.…

Pivotal brings its labs to Asia with JVs in Australia and Japan [The Register]

Agile PaaS Kool Aid Klubs coming to Sydney and Tokyo

EMC Federation member Pivotal will brings its “Labs” consultancy services to Australia and Japan.…

Google's Moto-v-Microsoft appeal denied [The Register]

Acted 'in bad faith' over WiFi, H.264 patents

A US appeals court has said that yes, Motorola/Google had chased Microsoft in bad faith over WiFi patents and that the Chocolate Factory still owes Redmond US$14 million.…

Boffins turned off by silicon switch to TILTING MAGNETS [The Register]

'Anisotropy': look it up, use it, wear it out

Solid state memory is already a viable technology at a decent scale, but it's hard to make it small enough to replace hard drives.…

RIG exploit kit scum pop 27,000 machines a day [The Register]

Version 3.0 gets Flash.

The authors of the RIG exploit kit have bounced back after a source code leak and are now again happily infecting computers at the rate of around 27,000 machines a day.…

Nearby exoplanets circle naked-eye-visible star [The Register]

HARPS-N search finds rocky planets just 21 light years away

Just a couple of weeks after NASA announced the “Earth twin” (that might not be), astronomers working at the Italian-operated HARPS-N spectrograph have turned up four exoplanets just 21 light-years distant.…

QEMU may be fro-Xen out after two new bugs emerge [The Register]

Five guest-host escalation SNAFUs might be stretching the virtual friendship

The Xen project has revealed another two bugs in the QEMU hypervisor and is now wondering whether the extent to which it should support the buggy code.…

OS X remote malware strikes Thunderbolt, hops hard drive swaps [The Register]

Thunderstrike 2 hack liberated of need for physical access.

BlackHat video  Researchers Trammel Hudson and Xeno Kovah have built a self-replicating Apple firmware malware that can infect peripherals to spread to new computers.…

Bound to happen: BIND bug exploits now in the wild [The Register]

Tardy on the patch? GET BUSY

Security bods are nagging anyone running BIND to install last week's patch, as active exploits have started to appear in the wild.…

W3C's bright idea turned your battery into a SNITCH for websites [The Register]

Blame HTML5's battery API – yes, you can read someone's battery status via JavaScript

Website owners keen on tracking netizens, but thwarted by AdBlock or similar, could instead look at the battery charge in people's devices to identify them.…

New South Wales to create Ministry of Truth [The Register]

Whole-of-government data analytics centre will fight crime and expanding waistlines

The Australian State of New South Wales has created a whole-of-government data analytics centre.…

New US cyber laws will hit privacy and security, says Homeland Security [The Register]

When even the DHS thinks it's a bad idea then it must be time for a rethink

The US Department of Homeland Security is hardly what you'd think of as a bunch of whining lefties, but even this agency has come out against the proposed Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act.…

Valve’s $18 million Dota 2 tournament delayed by DDoS attack [The Verge - All Posts]

The International, the annual tournament for Valve's Dota 2, featuring dozens of players and millions in prize money, was put on hold today when a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack slammed the game's servers. Unlike the games of the past, played over local area networks (LAN), Dota 2 requires a connection to the internet, making it susceptible to these sorts of online attacks.

According to VentureBeat, "Valve's on-stage commentators confirmed to the assembled crowd of thousands that the DDoS was the reason they were pausing the action."

A good day for LAN lovers

The technical difficulty raises a question about how Valve will hold future tournaments, namely why hasn't the publisher created a self-contained version of Dota 2 t...

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Windows 10 preview for Xbox One set to arrive in September for testers [The Verge - All Posts]

Microsoft revealed earlier today that it's planning to roll out its Windows 10 update to Xbox One consoles in November. While that's the date when most will be able to access the new dashboard user interface and features, preview members will get it a little earlier. Mike Ybarra, head of platform engineering at Xbox, has revealed on Twitter that the Windows 10 update for Xbox One is planned for preview in September for testers. That gives Microsoft around two months to receive feedback about the big changes and implement various fixes and improvements in time for the roll out.

Most of the changes are focused on speed. The current Xbox One dashboard is slow to switch between various tasks like viewing a friends list, party chat, and...

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Apple’s music deals allow for new Beats stations at any time [The Verge - All Posts]

While Apple Music may have gotten off to a less than stellar start, Apple’s 24/7 radio station Beats 1 has lived up to the hype, quickly becoming the most praised part of the service. But it may not be the only official station from Apple for long. Apple has the ability to expand its lineup of Beats radio stations at will, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

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I rode the Lexus hoverboard at a skatepark in Spain [The Verge - All Posts]

Of the many technologies predicted by the 1989 classic Back to the Future Part II, perhaps none has stirred our collective imagination more than the Mattel Hoverboard, breathlessly ridden by Marty McFly through the streets of 2015 Hill Valley. The combination of an important part of American pop culture — the humble skateboard — with not-quite-plausible futurism made for a powerful combination, and people have been trying to replicate it ever since.

Some of those efforts have been marginally successful, but none have produced the dream of a go-anywhere skateboard replacement. Still, we want these things so badly that we keep pounding away, consistently ignoring the realities of physics in the 26 years since the film came out. This year,...

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54 times Donald Trump called someone a 'dummy' on Twitter [The Verge - All Posts]

Here are some facts about Donald Trump, a man running for president:

  • Donald Trump is an asshole.

Don't be fooled: being an asshole might make Donald Trump highly electable. One recent study suggests bullies enjoy high self-esteem, and that advantage seems to be helping Trump; he's currently leading a bunch of polls among people with bad taste.

Calling Donald Trump what he is — a huge asshole — probably won't damage his self-image, seeing as the man is a gelatinous cube that grows stronger in proportion to the public's disgust. But documentation is nonetheless necessary. Here are 54 times Donald Trump called someone a dummy on Twitter.

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How baseball’s tech team built the future of television [The Verge - All Posts]

It was the first week of April, 2015, and New York’s Chelsea Market, typically packed with hordes of noisy tourists, was quiet. It was close to midnight, but five stories above, things were tense. The building is a former cookie factory, and the outlines of ovens still scar the brick walls. In their place, a vast array of screens are now mounted, each tuned to a live video feed. Joe Inzerillo and his team had their eyes glued to the glass, hard at work trying to wrangle the internet into doing something it was not built for.

Continue reading…

A gift for President Obama on his 54th birthday [The Verge - All Posts]

Dear President Obama,

My name is Chris Plante. You don't need to pretend to know me. We've never met. I'm just one of the millions of citizens in the country you've sworn to lead. I know you're busy, but I would like to wish you a happy birthday and share this little token of my appreciation.

It's not much. I don't have much expendable income, and even if I did buy you a gift — a statue of a grizzly bear high-fiving a baby grizzly bear — I can't figure out how the statue would find its way to your deserving hands. As you can see, my options are limited, as is my time. In fact, I fear the editor-in-chief of this very site might terminate this post if he sees it being written. Far as I can tell, I have one real option, and that's to...

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Epson’s new printers will make ink cartridges a thing of the past [The Verge - All Posts]

Thank god we're moving closer and closer to a paperless society, because dealing with printers still sucks. The printer destruction scene from Office Space rings just as true today as it did in 1999. Printer drivers, paper jams, running out of ink, it's all the worst (though the advent of wireless printing makes things marginally less horrible). Epson is trying to do its part to make things a little better with its new line of EcoTank printers — despite the ridiculous name, they have the smart idea of coming with huge tanks of ink that should last about two years before they need to be replaced. Epson claims that these printers have about the same capacity of 20 sets of ink cartridges; when the tanks run low, you can top them off with a...

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Dr. Dre’s new album will premiere on Apple Music this Thursday [The Verge - All Posts]

The wait is almost over, as Dr. Dre's first album in 16 years is set for release this Friday on iTunes and Apple Music. But Apple subscribers are getting a special treat: Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe took to Twitter today to announce that the album, Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre, will stream uncensored on Apple Music Thursday night:

That means three hours of music inspired by new N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, which hits theaters next Friday. That the stream is uncensored is an interesting play for Apple, as Beat 1 only broadcasts censored tracks....

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Robert Conquest [Transterrestrial Musings]

RIP. I wonder who history will record as his equivalent with respect to totalitarian Islam? Spencer? Pipes?

The Rising Star Program [Transterrestrial Musings]

Go over there and support my buddy @kelliegerardi. She’s a finalist.

Hillary And Huma [Transterrestrial Musings]

…have until the end of the week: I noted that Judge Sullivan recently reopened the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Judicial Watch to obtain emails from Huma Abedin, the top Clinton aide who is married to infamous and disgraced former Congressman Anthony Wiener. Judge Sullivan reopened the case when he learned that Clinton and … Continue reading Hillary And Huma

Memphis Police Shooting: Sister Comes To His Defense, “You Know How They Do, Just Trying To Do You In”… [Weasel Zippers]

Along with the “he was a good boy turning his life around” defense. Via NBC The sister of the man accused of gunning down a Memphis police officer claims her brother “was defending himself.” Tremaine Wilbourn, 29, was being held on $9 million bond on Tuesday on first-degree murder charges for the fatal shooting of […]

Fever Pitch: Vacation Home Of Dentist Who Killed Lion Vandalized [Weasel Zippers]

Beyond ridiculous now. Via Daily Mail: Angry vandals defaced the vacation home of lion killer Walter J Palmer overnight on Monday, while also littering the American dentist’s driveway with pig’s feet in a show of outrage over the death of a beloved lion named Cecil. Pictures taken Tuesday morning outside the 55-year-old’s $1million vacation home […]

Cops Video Cams Destroy Claims Of Police Brutality In Kansas Case [Weasel Zippers]

Note that the bystander claimed things which the tape proved weren’t true. This has happened often in other cases of alleged police brutality, one example being the Mike Brown case. Via BPR: This is one case where getting the whole picture made the difference. A video recorded by a bystander of two Kansas police officers […]

Family Of Sandra Bland Sue Police For Wrongful Death [Weasel Zippers]

They’re hoping to get a settlement, because there is no way they would prevail, given the autopsy findings that she killed herself. Via Mediaite: The family of Sandra Bland has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the trooper that pulled her over and other local law enforcement authorities. Bland was pulled over weeks ago by […]

Breaking: Two Men In A Pickup Truck Open Fire On Soldiers At Fort Shelby, Mississippi [Weasel Zippers]

FLASH: Shots fired at National Guard training center #CampShelby **No injuries reported** | http://t.co/09u8vxlrHp pic.twitter.com/XBm1c5U8fs — Dan Gabriel (@danpgabriel) August 4, 2015 Via Fox News: Authorities in Mississippi are searching for two men who allegedly opened fire at a group of soldiers at the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Hattiesburg Tuesday, according to […]

Embarrassingly Lame PR Stunt By Eco-Moonbats Giving Scott Walker A Koch Brothers Check [Weasel Zippers]

Meanwhile they are the real science deniers. Via The Guardian: Wisconsin governor Scott Walker encountered what looked like a group of young supporters during a campaign stop on Monday at a local pizza shop, only to be presented with a fake check from the billionaire Koch brothers by a group of climate activists. Walker, one […]

CNN Asks Activist Behind Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Videos If He’s A “Violent Extremist”…. [Weasel Zippers]

Ughhh… Via Mediaite: Ian interview with the Center for Medical Progress’ David Daleiden, CNN’s New Day host Alisyn Camerota asked the activist behind the undercover Planned Parenthood videos to respond to criticism he was a “violent extremist.” “Your critics– critics of your organization I should say– say that you’re not journalists as you purport to […]

ISIS Releases Video Of Child Executing Prisoner… [Weasel Zippers]

Via Daily Mail: Bloodthirsty Islamic State militants have today released images purporting to show a young boy executing a man accused of spying. Images published by an anti-ISIS activist in Syria show a man kneeling in a red jumpsuit while a young boy points a handgun at his head. It is not clear if he in […]

Leftist Loon Amanda Marcotte: Hating Planned Parenthood Is Like Getting Mad At Someone Who Uses Food Stamps To Buy Strawberries [Weasel Zippers]

Amanda Marcotte is a crazy train writer for various leftist publications on ‘feminism and politics’. She famously gaffed all over the Duke Lacrosse case and more recently claimed the false rape allegations against Donald Trump would show the ‘truth about sexual assault’. Someone may have to help me with this one, I don’t speak loon. […]

Report: More U.S.-Based Jihadi Terror Cases In 2015 Than In Any Year Since 9/11… [Weasel Zippers]

“We love you Barack Obama!” Via Washington Times: There have been more U.S.-based jihadi terror cases in 2015 than in any full year since 9/11, according to a “Terror Threat Snapshot” report released Tuesday by the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, who asserts that U.S. officials must “do more to take the […]

Pentagon Says ISIS Has Recruited Enough Fighters To Offset 15,000 Killed By U.S. Airstrikes… [Weasel Zippers]

And is anyone buying the “we’ve killed 15K” claim? WASHINGTON — In a sign of its resilience, the Islamic State appears to have recruited new fighters to offset 15,000 militants killed in a U.S.-led airstrike campaign approaching its first anniversary, U.S. military and intelligence estimates show. More than 5,500 airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria that […]

White Guilt-Ridden Ivy League Students Form Group To “Confront White Privilege”… [Weasel Zippers]

From the UPenn website: I’m white and I hate myself! Via Campus Reform: White students at the University of Pennsylvania have an official student organization to confront their own white privilege. Students Confronting Racism and White Privilege (SCRWP), according to the university’s website, “was founded by white students with the purpose of confronting their own white […]

Venezuelan President Blames Socialism’s Failures On America… [Weasel Zippers]

Obviously. Via Breitbart: Socialist Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is blaming a United States conspiracy for a supermarket riot over the weekend that left one 21-year-old man dead–a man witnesses say was shot to death by Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard. A mob attacked a supermarket warehouse in San Félix, Bolívar, on Friday, attempting to tear down […]

Iran: U.S. Banned From Knowing Details Of Iran Nuclear Inspection Agreement… [Weasel Zippers]

Well done, John. Via WFB: Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the nuclear inspection organization is barred from revealing to the United States any details of deals it has inked with Tehran to inspect its contested nuclear program going forward, according to regional reports. Recent disclosures by Iran indicate that the […]

Barbara Boxer Thinks Men Aren’t Allowed To Comment On ‘Pregnancy’, Gets Schooled By Republican [Weasel Zippers]

Barbara Boxer of course starts off with the wrong premise. It isn’t about ‘pregnancy’, it’s about the selling of baby parts and intact babies to make money in violation of the law. HT: BPR

WSJ/NBC Poll: Hillary Clinton Down 15 Points In Favorability Since June [Weasel Zippers]

Dropping like a rock… Via Free Beacon: A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out Tuesday found that voters’ opinion of Hillary Clinton has dropped. MSNBC political commentator Mark Murray said Clinton has had a rough month. In June, the share of voters with a negative view of Clinton was 36 percent. In the newest […]

Two Illegal Aliens Appointed City Commissioners In Huntington, CA [Weasel Zippers]

How do you pass a background check if you’re an illegal alien? Via LA Times: Julian Zatarain always assumed the doors of City Hall were closed to him because he is here illegally, arriving from Sinaloa in 2007 when he was 13. The 21-year-old college student found other outlets for service, such as volunteering for […]

Memphis Cop Killer Turns Self In, Neighbors Chant ‘Free T!’, Restaurant Honors Officer Sean Bolton [Weasel Zippers]

Chanting for a cop killer, just unreal. Via Twitchy: Tremaine Wilbourn, 29, identified as the suspect in the shooting, was convicted of robbing a bank in 2005 and was reportedly on “supervised release” from prison at the time of the fatal shooting. According to WLBT, Wilbourn turned himself into U.S. Marshals at the federal building […]

Louis Farrakhan Calls For Race War: “If the Federal Government Does Not Intercede…. Then We Must Rise Up And Kill Those Who Kill Us. Stalk Them And Kill Them” [Weasel Zippers]

Via The Blaze: … “The Koran teaches persecution is worse than slaughter. Then it says, retaliation is prescribed in matters of the slain. Retaliation is a prescription from God to calm the breaths of those whose children have been slain,” Farrakhan said. “So if the federal government will not intercede in our affairs, then we […]

List of Pending Appellate Cases [FCC Recent Releases]

List of Pending Appellate Cases

FCC Announces Workshop to Promote the Wider Use of the Emergency Alert System [FCC Recent Releases]

Thursday, August 27, 2015, 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm, Workshop to promote wider use of the Emergency Alert System

What Elementary Bit of Wisdom Is Shared by Donald Trump and Bono? [International Liberty]

If I asked you what Donald Trump and Bono have in common, the easy and accurate answer is that they both have lots of money.

But if I asked you to identify a shared perspective by the two men, at first glance that would seem to be a much harder question.

After all, it seems like a rock star and a real-estate tycoon are about as different as two people could possibly be.

Yet the answer should be obvious.

I’ll give you a big hint. You probably have the same perspective as well.

At least if you answer “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second question.

  1. Do you ever voluntarily pay extra tax?
  2. Or do you, like John Kerry or Bill and Hillary Clinton, take prudent steps to minimize the amount of your income confiscated by government?

In other words, the perspective shared by Donald Trump and Bono is one that is widely held by every sensible person. Simply stated, your income belongs in your pocket, not in the grasping hands of politicians.

This irks politicians such as David Cameron in the U.K., who seem to think we have some sort of moral obligation to help finance their vote-buying efforts.

But I bet almost all of us agree with Trump’s view. Here are some excerpts from a CNN report.

Trump was unambiguous. “I pay as little as possible,” he said. “I fight like hell to pay as little as possible, for two reasons. Number one, I’m a businessman, and that’s the way you’re supposed to do it, and you put the money back into your company and employees and all of that.” “But the other reason is that I hate the way our government spends our taxes. I hate the way they waste our money. Trillions and trillions of dollars of waste and abuse and I hate it,” Trump said. “And I’ll be probably the first candidate in the history of politics within this country to say, I try — by the way, like every single taxpayer out there — I try to pay as little tax as possible, and again, one of the big reasons is I hate what our country does with the money that we pay.”

Amen.

As an economist, I don’t want tax increases because the economy will be hurt and workers will suffer.

But what upsets me at a visceral level is the notion of sending more money to DC when there’s so much waste, fraud, and abuse.

And I suspect tens of millions of other Americans agree that it would be foolish to reward the wasteful antics of Washington politicians with more of our money.

Which is why almost all of us also agree with Bono’s view. As reported by the U.K.-based Mirror, Bono says it is very “sensible” to minimize tax and that it would be “stupid” to behave otherwise.

Members of U2 have hit back at claims they shield millions of pounds in overseas tax havens – claiming they are just “being sensible”. In an interview with Sky News, lead singer Bono insisted the band pays a fortune in tax and it was the right decision to move some of their business to the Netherlands. “It is just some smart people we have working for us trying to be sensible about the way we are taxed,” he said. …“Because you’re good at philanthropy and because I am an activist people think you should be stupid in business and I don’t run with that.”

Bingo, he’s exactly right.

Indeed, even though I’ve praised Bono’s economic analysis in the past, I suspect he doesn’t even understand how right he is.

Because he’s not just doing what’s right from his band’s perspective, he’s also doing what’s right for the rest of us as well.

P.S. While I’m glad lots of leftists seek to minimize their tax burdens, it would be better if they weren’t such total hypocrites.


Quizzes to Determine Political Philosophy and Political Candidates [International Liberty]

As far as I’m concerned, a key gateway test of whether someone might be a libertarian is whether they get upset when ordinary people are mistreated or brutalized by government.

Though admittedly any decent person should get upset by those examples.

So perhaps we need something more detailed to identify supporters of limited government, individual freedom, and personal responsibility. So when one of my friends sent me the “definitive political orientation test,” I immediately was tempted to see my score.

I don’t know if it’s the “definitive” test, but it seems reasonably accurate. As you can see, I’m about as libertarian as you can be without being an anarchist who wants zero government.

Though I should point out that there aren’t any questions on anarchism. I think the test probably assumes anarchism if your answers are both anti-welfare state and anti-defense.

This “circle test” is probably a simpler way of determining where you are on the big government-some government-no government spectrum.

But the most more sophisticated measure of libertarianism is Professor Bryan Caplan’s test. I only got a 94 out of a possible 160, which sounds bad, but that was still enough for my views to be considered “hard-core.”

And since we’re looking at online surveys, here are my results from the “I Side With” quiz. I don’t endorse candidates (as if anyone would care), but this quiz suggests that Rand Paul is closest to my views, followed by Scott Walker and Marco Rubio.

For what it’s worth, I’m not exactly shocked to see Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at the bottom.

By the way, since we’ve shifted to a discussion of the 2016 race, I was the warm-up speaker for Governor Jeb Bush at a recent “Road to Reform” event in New Hampshire sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. Here’s what I said about fixing the budget mess in Washington.

You can watch the entire event and also see what the governor said by clicking here.

And for folks in Nevada, I’ll be the warm-up speaker for a similar event with Ted Cruz on August 14.

P.S. The most inaccurate political quiz was the one that classified me as a “moderate” with “few strong opinions.”


Setup Karma JS test suite for ownCloud on Kubuntu 15.04 [ownCloud Planet]

Recently I set up the Karma Javascript suite for locally running the Javascript tests for ownCloud. Since it was not totally straight forward to get it up an running, here be my setup notes!

First, it requires Node.js. They can be installed right out from the repositories. As I read somewhere, more recent versions are available on some PPA, but this one is sufficient. npm is its package manager.

Update

sudo apt install nodejs npm sudo apt install nodejs nodejs-legacy npm

The nodejs-legacy package provides the symlink, so you don't need to mess around manually in /usr/bin. Thus the following step is obsolute. Thanks to Felix for the hint.

First obstacle: because of a hard coded path somewhere, npm would not be able to find node. A symlink helps:

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node

/Update

Afterwards, we need the karma test suite and the modules which are used by ownCloud. They are installed using npm. You will notice the -g flag, which stands stands for global. If you leave it, the stuff will be installed into the local directory. One time I forget the flag and spent hours figuring out why it is not working. However, this step is supposed to be optional as the autotest script we will run eventually should take care of this. For unknown reasons it did not work for me, so I executed this steps manually once.

sudo npm install -g karma
sudo npm install -g karma-jasmine
sudo npm install -g karma-junit-reporter
sudo npm install -g karma-coverage
sudo npm install -g karma-phantomjs-launcher

That's all. Finally you can cd into your git clone of ownCloud and let the autotest script do all the JS tests:

./autotest-js.sh

There is one minor flaw. I was too lazy too "You must set an output directory for JUnitReporter via the outputDir config property" so the JUnitReporter does not work. It does not matter to me at all, the output shows me whether tests succeed or which fail.

How Youth Can Move the Needle of Emergency Preparedness [Blog]

Author: 

When it comes to creating meaningful and impactful change, youth are some of the most important members in a community. During the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council annual summit, I sat down with Hailey Starr, a Council member from the Muckleshoot reservation in the Pacific Northwest. I wanted to learn more about Hailey’s work as a member of the Council, and what she was doing to improve the level of preparedness on the reservation where she lives.

Hailey’s interest in emergency management and preparedness began when she joined Muckleshoot Teen CERT. If you’re not familiar, CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Teams. “I realized that the reservation isn’t prepared,” Hailey said. “I wanted to do something to change that.” Her experiences as a Muckleshoot Teen CERT member led to her selection as a member of FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council, where she is required to complete a self-selected project, act as an ambassador for youth preparedness, and liaise to FEMA on the youth perspective.

One of the many projects Hailey is involved in as part of her work with the Council is a video on active shooter awareness, which she produced and assisted with writing. This alone was enough to impress me, but then she revealed that the video’s been so well received that the school board wants to share the video with other schools, use it for staff training, and translate it into the Lashootseed dialect. Not only that, but it’s also the first video in a series she’s planning on producing on emergency preparedness – the next two topics are earthquakes and wildfires.

Here’s why Hailey said she decided to produce the active shooter awareness video:

After [the shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School], a lot of youth on the reservation were scared and felt unprepared. The video helped relieve kids’ stress and helped them feel better, because it let them know what to do in an active shooter situation. It made them feel more prepared.

Anytime you show things happening in places where they might actually happen, it becomes a lot more meaningful. And if it’s cheesy, kids won’t pay attention to it or take is seriously.

As she told me more about the video, it became clear that she worked hard to make it as realistic as possible. Hailey also wanted to keep the video interesting, as she knows people have short attention spans.

In addition to producing preparedness videos, Hailey is participating in a project to make emergency backpacks for the elders in the community and is collaborating with her school librarian on an article about what to do in a windstorm. She’s also working on coordinating an emergency preparedness fair in the spring, which will offer preparedness information and hands-on exhibits.

Finally, Hailey is engaged in an emergency management exercise that will take place at the end of the school year. While the details have yet to be finalized, it’s likely that the scenario will involve an earthquake and require participants to shelter in place. Her eyes lit up with excitement as she told me about her ideas for how to make the scenario as true-to-life as possible. “There’ll be emergency alerts, a police presence, everything,” Hailey said. “The community’s really supportive, because they understand the importance of being prepared.”

It’s clear that Hailey is an impressive individual who is making her community better prepared as part of her work with the Youth Preparedness Council. But I’m not the only one that’s impressed. The National Congress of American Indians has invited Hailey to present at their annual conference in October, where Indian Country comes together to advance the most important discussions regarding policy and programs. I hope  Hailey’s example shows how youth can be a powerful force in creating meaningful and impactful change in their community.

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