Watch: AP's Headlines on Hamas Baby-Murderer Change as Outrage Grows [Ace of Spades HQ]

So yesterday a Hamas supporter drove his car into a pack of people near a Jerusalem train station and killed a baby. That baby is -- was, rather -- reportedly an American citizen. During the early evening attack, the car...

Another Day, Another Lie, Another Dangerous Action: Obama Administration Released Illegal Immigrants Who Were Facing Charges of Kidnapping and Murder [Ace of Spades HQ]

Lie, lie, lie, lie. And when Americans die, lie some more. Jim Geraghty quotes this story from USAToday: U.S. misinformed Congress, public on immigrant release Brad Heath, USA TODAY 8:04 p.m. EDT October 22, 2014 Some of the immigrants freed...

Again, the Decision Desk Needs You [Ace of Spades HQ]

I want to thank everyone who answered our call and signed up with us earlier this week. Those of you who have will very soon see team emails and your assigned sheets. We are just over 2/3rds where we need...

CNN's Carol Costello: Hyuck Hyuck, It's So Funny Listening to This Audio Where Bristol Palin Describes Being Assaulted by a Man [Ace of Spades HQ]

Young girl gets beaten by man, and this is comedy fodder for our #WarOnWomen-propagating media? "Anyone who is concerned about a 'war on women' -- but not disturbed by this report — is clearly biased," [columnist Matt] Lewis wrote. Enter...

Open Thread [Ace of Spades HQ]

Leslie Sigala, "Stanford Dish Hiking Trail" (2014)...

Thursday Age Of Ultron Open Thread [Ace of Spades HQ]

Sorry, it's been a busy week for me. I don't have time to put together a post, but I'm not going to leave you hanging. Below the fold is the new trailer for Avengers: Age Of Ultron....

Overnight Open Thread (10-22-2014) [Ace of Spades HQ]

Quote of the Day "Note how they define sexual intercourse above. Apparently men can't have sexual intercourse." -- Tammen on the White House mandated Campus Climate surveys. Fear The Hat, Beware the MaceBut most importantly watch out for the pistol...

Hastily Composed World Series Game 2 Thread [Ace of Spades HQ]

Baseball only, all the real important stuff is down there. But if you want to talk baseball here ya go....

Good News: Family of Second Infected Nurse, Amber Vinson, Says Her Ebola Count is So Low As to Be Undetectable [Ace of Spades HQ]

JUST IN: Family of Ebola infected nurse Amber Vinson says doctors are "no longer able to detect virus in her body." pic.twitter.com/JPQcUQovXh— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) October 22, 2014 This CNN story discusses why some people live and others die....

Ottawa Gunman Identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32; Authorities Say No Motive Is Yet Known [Ace of Spades HQ]

First of all, the soldier gunned down has been identified as well: He was 24-year-old Corporal Nathan Cirillo. RIP, Corporal Cirillo: RIP Nathan Cirillo from America Seen here Sunday per @megunder who asked "a handsome guard" for a pic w/ her...

GOP Now +8 On AP Generic Ballot Among Likely Voters, Exceeding 2010's +7 Mark [Ace of Spades HQ]

Plus 8 is pretty good. Erick Erickson notes that we're in a 2010 type environment. Two of the polls that got 2012 right were the Associated Press/GfK poll and the Reuters/Ipsos poll. According to Reuters, the President is at 61%...

WaPo: Evidence Supports Officer Darren Wilson's Account of Ferguson Shooting [Ace of Spades HQ]

For one thing, the evidence suggests that there was in fact a close-quarters struggle over Wilson's weapon. Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown after they fought for control of the officer’s gun and...

You can play #LameApocalypses here on Tumblr by clicking the... [@midnight]

You can play #LameApocalypses here on Tumblr by clicking the “click here to play a game” button on the right of our Tumblr and sending us a pic of a lame way for the world to end! 

Or play on Twitter! Or Vine! Wherever! Tonight we’re EVERYWHERE!


Send this far and wide. Mark Steyn on the latest Canadian Islamist atrocity: The sub-title of my new book is “Don’t…


Kevin Rudd reviews Gough Whitlam’s career, and reveals the gigantic aircraft component that brought Whitlam down: Of course, where the Australian heart…

The Difference 30 Years Makes [Daring Fireball]

Kent Akgungor:

80 of the original Macintosh displays fit within a single Retina 5K display.

Gmail Inbox [Daring Fireball]

Google at its best: a thorough reimagining of what email should be (along with some imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery inspiration from Mailbox). There’s a lock-in element here, because this takes Gmail even further — a lot further — from the concepts of standard IMAP, but how can you improve email in big ways without changing email in big ways?

Interesting too, that it requires a beta invitation and an altogether new app, separate from the regular Gmail app.

A huge tsunami in Hawaii’s past warns of future risk [Ars Technica]

Simulated tsunamis for earthquakes in several locations.
Rhett Butler

Surfers love Hawaii’s waves, and many dream of catching “the big one.” For most people living in coastal areas vulnerable to tsunamis, though, “the big one” is a bad dream. We’ve seen many devastating events over the years, but our memory is not so long that Mother Nature can’t surprise us. The 2011 tsunami in Japan testified to that.

In 2001, sediment from a past tsunami was found in a sinkhole on the southeast side of the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. The mouth of that sinkhole is about a hundred meters from the shoreline—and over seven meters above sea level. The largest tsunami measured in the area had been three meters, courtesy of Chile’s monstrous magnitude 9.55 earthquake in 1960. Could it be that an event was big enough to send tsunami waves over seven meters high to Hawaii in the past?

Researchers Rhett Butler, David Burney, and David Walsh simulated a variety of earthquakes around the Pacific to find out. They used a model that simulates the spread of tsunami waves, creating some virtual magnitude 9.0 to 9.6 earthquakes from Alaska to Kamchatka.

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Feds examining medical devices for fatal cybersecurity flaws [Ars Technica]

It was an eerie tale. Former US Vice President Dick Cheney announced last year that he disabled the wireless function of the implanted heart defibrillator amid fears it could be exploited by terrorists wanting to kill him.

Cheney's announcement put a face to the fear of possible medical-device hacking exploits, and researchers and the federal government were slowly realizing there were genuine vulnerabilities associated with these implanted devices. They are equipped with computerized functions and wireless capabilities that allow the devices to be administered without requiring additional surgery, and therefore they could be vulnerable to hacker exploit.

Cheney's move may have seemed far-fetched, but his paranoia is being confirmed, as the Department of Homeland Security is now probing potential cybersecurity flaws in certain medical devices.

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Comcast lost 81,000 video customers in Q3, “the best result in 7 years” [Ars Technica]

Comcast reported its third quarter earnings today with positive results—and even the bad news was good.

"Video customer net losses declined to 81,000, the best third quarter result in seven years," the company's announcement said.

"I am pleased to report strong revenue, operating cash flow, and free cash flow growth for the third quarter of 2014," CEO Brian Roberts said. In addition to slowing video losses over the past three months, "cable results highlight the consistent strength of high-speed Internet and business services," he said.

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Investors in anti-Facebook startup have no idea how it will make money [Ars Technica]

Ello, the notably stripped-down, ad-free social network, announced Thursday that it has taken $5.5 million in venture capital and re-incorporated as a “Public Benefit Corporation.”

The company’s founders and investors also published a one-page document in which they declared:

  1. Ello must never make money from selling ads
  2. Ello must never make money from selling user data
  3. In the event that Ello is ever sold, the new owners would also have to comply by these terms

So how is Ello going to make money? Even its investors don't know.

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Android Wear gets standalone GPS and music functionality [Ars Technica]

The Sony SmartWatch 3—the only Android Wear device with a GPS chip.

Google is announcing the rollout of the first major Android Wear update, which allows the smartwatch OS to do a few core functions without being tethered to a smartphone. The update—which was detailed last month—allows a Wear device to play music directly to Bluetooth headphones and use an internal GPS chip to track location, all without the need to tether to a smartphone.

The most obvious use for the new feature is running. Now, with only a watch, a jogging user could listen to music and track their progress with one less device. This previously required dragging a phone along, but when you're running, it's nice to carry as little technology as possible.

The bad news is that the first batch of Android Wear devices didn't plan ahead for this. While standalone music will work on existing devices, nothing on the market right now has a GPS chip. Early adopters of devices like the Moto 360 will have to buy a new smartwatch to take advantage of the GPS feature.

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Bizarre dinosaur matched to an enormous set of arm bones [Ars Technica]

Michael Skrepnick

it seems like everywhere scientists look, they're finding dinosaurs. A new species is emerging at the astounding pace of one per week. And this trend continues with the announcement of perhaps the strangest dinosaur find over the past few years: the toothless, hump-backed, super-clawed omnivore Deinocheirus mirificus, which lived about 70 million years ago in what is now Mongolia.

Deinocheirus may even become a household name, thanks to spectacular new fossils from the Gobi Desert reported by South Korean paleontologist Young-Nam Lee and colleagues, who published their results in Nature. It is a one-of-a kind dinosaur—a creature so astoundingly weird that the world probably won't be able to avoid taking notice.

Half a century of wild speculation

It has been a banner year for dinosaur discoveries. First it was the “chicken from hell” and a dwarf tyrannosaur announced in the spring, then the long-snouted carnivore “Pinocchio rex” and the feathery glider Changyuraptor came in the summer. Over the past couple of months, we have been awed by the 65-ton, long-necked behemoth Dreadnoughtus and wowed by remarkable new fossils of the sail-backed, shark-eating Spinosaurus from Africa.

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Bayonetta 2 Review: A Leading lady worth rooting for [Ars Technica]

The joy of shooting three guns at once.

It's Bayonetta's world, and we're all just living in it. That much was clear after watching her dispatch wave after wave of enemies in divine style in her first game. Nobody could possibly strap a pair of flamethrowers to their feet and breakdance the propellant over a crowd of hostile angels if they weren't 100 percent confident that they were completely in control of everything that happens next.

That sense of control is the most easily accepted facet of Bayonetta 2. Hooking dragons out from hell and launching them at your enemies is as basic in this game as firing bullets from a gun is in a Call of Duty title. When Bayonetta 2 steps past that baseline and actually tries to put on a show, it somehow gets infinitely more absurd, and entertaining.

If you played the first game in the Bayonetta series, you know the titular character gets her witchy powers through a pact with the aforementioned hell-spawn, giving her the canvas to express herself through a unique combination of magic, violence, and dance. The result isn't just ridiculous, but incredibly fluid and responsive. Bayonetta is a force of nature in combat, sliding effortlessly into battle to land blows with guns, fists, and any whatever weapons she can collect. Complete a combo uninterrupted, and Bayonetta calls forth a "Wicked Weave" demonic summon finisher before stringing the tempest over to another heavenly target.

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Lone lawyer sues Obama, alleging illegality of surveillance programs [Ars Technica]

President Barack Obama is being sued for violating the Fourth Amendment.

Justice Department lawyers have asked a federal court in Pittsburgh to dismiss a sweeping lawsuit brought earlier this year by a local lawyer against President Barack Obama and other top intelligence officials.

In a new motion to dismiss filed on Monday, the government told the court that the Pittsburgh lawyer, Elliott Schuchardt, lacked standing to make a claim that his rights under the Fourth Amendment have been violated as a result of multiple ongoing surveillance programs.

Specifically, Schuchardt argued in his June 2014 complaint that both metadata and content of his Gmail, Facebook, and Dropbox accounts were compromised under the PRISM program as revealed in the documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

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Google Inbox impressions: Bundle of (mixed) joy [Ars Technica]

Tie a ribbon around your finger, Google Inbox. We'll be using your reminders for a while yet.

No company rolls out the giant, invite-only drool carpet quite like Google. Doesn't matter if that comes in the form of gems like Gmail and Voice or bummers like Wave; the company's early-bird offerings always attract a ton of interested eyes, not to mention rushed conclusions from people who arrive for the mystique, not the product.

Most of Google's limited beta launches have come from entirely new apps at a given time, which you might imagine adds to the mystique factor. But there's one bigger way to get attention: hijack and remix the look and feel of an established product like Gmail, which is exactly what Google Inbox aims to do.

We received a Google Inbox invite within minutes of the app's announcement on Wednesday, and we didn't hesitate to load it on our Android phones and desktop Web browsers to test Android SVP Sundar Pichai's claim that the combination e-mail/task manager would help us "focus on what really matters."

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Ten years of Ubuntu: How Linux’s beloved newcomer became its criticized king [Ars Technica]

It may not be Superman, but Ubuntu has done wonders for Linux.

In October of 2004, a new Linux distro appeared on the scene with a curious name—Ubuntu. Even then there were hundreds, today if not thousands, of different Linux distros available. A new one wasn't particularly unusual, and for some time after its quiet preview announcement, Ubuntu went largely unnoticed. It was yet another Debian derivative.

Today, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, estimates that there are 25 million Ubuntu users worldwide. That makes Ubuntu the world's third most popular PC operating system. By Canonical's estimates, Ubuntu has roughly 90 percent of the Linux market. And Ubuntu is poised to launch a mobile version that may well send those numbers skyrocketing again.

This month marks the tenth anniversary of Ubuntu. As you'll soon see in this look at the desktop distro through the years, Linux observers sensed there was something special about Ubuntu nearly from the start. However, while a Linux OS that genuinely had users in mind was quickly embraced, Ubuntu's ten-year journey since is a microcosm of the major Linux events of the last decade—encompassing everything from privacy concerns and Windows resentment to server expansion and hopes of convergence.

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Windows Update drivers bricking USB serial chips beloved of hardware hackers [Ars Technica]

Hardware hackers building interactive gadgets based on the Arduino microcontrollers are finding that a recent driver update that Microsoft deployed over Windows Update has bricked some of their hardware, leaving it inaccessible to most software both on Windows and Linux. This came to us via hardware hacking site Hack A Day.

The driver in question is for a line of USB-to-serial chips designed by Scottish firm FTDI. FTDI's chips are incredibly popular in this space, as just about every microcontroller and embedded device out there can communicate over a serial port. But this popularity has a downside; there's a vast number of knock-off chips in the wild that appear to be made by FTDI, but in fact aren't.

FTDI develops drivers for its chips. The drivers can be obtained directly from FTDI, or they can be downloaded by Windows automatically, through Windows Update. This latter feature is a great convenience for most people, as it enables plug-and-play operation. The latest version of FTDI's driver, released in August, contains some new language in its EULA and a feature that has caught people off-guard: it reprograms counterfeit chips rendering them largely unusable, and its license notes that:

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Man sentenced for lasering plane with 118 passengers aboard [Ars Technica]

Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock

On July 6, 2012, a 22-year-old man named Jarryd Hector was partying at a home in Auckland, New Zealand, when he decided to shine a green laser light at a Boeing 737 from Christchurch that was preparing to land at the Auckland Airport. The plane was carrying 118 passengers, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Today, a judge at Manukau District Court sentenced Hector to four months of community detention and 150 hours of community service work for his laser antics. For the duration of his community detention, Hector will have to obey a curfew or face an 18-month prison sentence. He will also have to attend drug and alcohol counseling, the judge said.

Police told Radio New Zealand News that Hector had shined the light into the cockpit of the landing plane for up to 30 seconds, which illuminated the flight deck and distracted the crew. The pilot notified air traffic control, which notified the police. The police then showed up at the party where Hector was and questioned him. At the time he admitted to using the laser, but said he wasn't shining it at the plane.

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Jury trial concludes: Apple slaps down patent troll’s $94M demand [Ars Technica]

A slide that Apple used in its closing statements during the GPNE v. Apple trial. It includes a few of the statements from the many companies trying to rebuff GPNE's attempts to get royalty payments based on old pager patents.

A San Jose jury has handed up a verdict [PDF] finding that Apple does not infringe two patents owned by GPNE Corp., a patent-holding company that has licensed its patents to more than 20 other large companies.

While the jury found that Apple did not infringe a variety of patent claims, it found the two patents at issue, numbered 7,570,954 and 7,792,492, to be valid. The patents describe network communication technology, and they were issued in 2009 and 2010. Both are "continuation" patents, based upon other continuation patents, which stretch back to an original 1994 patent filing.

Essentially, the GPNE claims are from pager-era patents that the company tried to use to extract royalty payments from iPhones and iPads.

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45,000-year-old modern human bone yields a genome [Ars Technica]

The femur from which the DNA samples originated.
Bence Viola, MPI EVA

Svante Pääbo's lab at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany has mastered the process of obtaining DNA from ancient bones. With the techniques in hand, the research group has set about obtaining samples from just about any bones they can find that come from the ancestors and relatives of modern humans. In their latest feat, they've obtained a genome from a human femur found in Siberia that dates from roughly the time of our species' earliest arrival there. The genome indicates that the individual it came from lived at a time where our interbreeding with Neanderthals was relatively recent, and Europeans and Asians hadn't yet split into distinct populations.

The femur comes from near the town of Ust’-Ishim in western Siberia. It eroded out of a riverbank that contains a mixture of bones, some from the time where the sediments were deposited (roughly 30 to 50,000 years ago), and some likely older that had been washed into the sediments from other sites. The femur shows features that are a mixture of those of paleolithic and modern humans and lacks features that are typical of Neanderthal skeletons.

Two separate samples gave identical carbon radioisotope dates; after calibration to the 14C record, this places the bone at 45,000 years old, give or take a thousand years. That's roughly when modern humans first arrived in the region. That also turned out to be consistent with dates estimated by looking at the DNA sequence, which placed it at 49,000 years old (the 95 percent confidence interval was 30 to 65,000 years).

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Pew survey says online harassment rampant, impacts genders differently [Ars Technica]

A Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday found that as many as four in 10 adults have been subjected to online harassment and that men and women suffer from different forms of harassment.

"In broad trends, the data show that men are more likely to experience name-calling and embarrassment, while young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking," the study stated.

Twenty-seven percent of all of those who responded to the survey said they had been called offensive names. As many as 22 percent said someone had tried to "purposefully" embarrass them. Others said they felt threatened, were stalked, or sexually harassed.

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Bluetooth-tracking beacon programs uncovered in LA, Chicago [Ars Technica]

The Logan Square stop on the Chicago Transit Authority blue line.

A report from BuzzFeed News Wednesday suggests that the tracking beacons that cropped up in New York phone booths last year have spread to new cities, including Los Angeles and Chicago. The beacons have been sprinkled around transit centers, including Chicago Transit Authority rail stops and LA bus stops.

The beacons, created by Gimbal, connect with devices like smartphones via Bluetooth and can harvest information like the device's Bluetooth address, as well as the date, time, and location of connection. The beacons in New York were installed as a "test" by advertising company Titan 360. Though officials called for their removal over a year ago, they were not taken out of phone booths until earlier this month, after they were used in promotions for the Tribeca Film Festival and shopping app ShopAdvisor.

Marketing company Martin Outdoor Media confirmed the beacons' existence in LA to BuzzFeed News, as did the CTA in Chicago. Martin called the beacons part of a "pilot program" in a press release last week, while the CTA stated its beacons were part of a "two-week test," to be followed up by a bigger test for a longer period with beacons placed and tracked by Titan.

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Google offers USB security key to make bad passwords moot [Ars Technica]

A new security feature for Google’s services will help users better protect their data by requiring that they insert a USB security key to log in to their account.

Announced on Tuesday, the optional Security Key technology requires that a Chrome user take two additional steps to sign in to their Google account: plug a small key into the USB port on their computer and tap a button. The process is a simpler and more secure version of the 2-Step Verification process that Google offers to security-conscious users. With 2-Step Verification, users receive a code from Google on their phone or in e-mail that they must enter into Google’s site to complete the login process.

Users that opt for the Security Key technology will have to purchase a special USB key, which typically costs less than $20.

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Free Fire Zone- ISIS Military Prowess [BLACKFIVE]

I happily present the first in a hopefully long series of videos I will be producing in my new role as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy. I have known and worked with its CEO Frank Gaffney for quite a few years now and have been a regular guest and guest host of his radio show. My focus will be on Terrorism, Unconventional Warfare and Cybersecurity, but I will also be helping the Center create a world class information operations capability. The Center's motto is "The Special Forces in the War of Ideas" so it is a very good fit for me literally and figuratively. I look forward to fighting back against misinformation and bringing some truth and reality to as many people as we can.

Godspeed Cpl Nathan Cirillo [BLACKFIVE]

Someone sent this cartoon from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald:


They Came In Peace. Today, remember them all. I remember Bill Stelpflug, Lance Corporal, USMC.

The Veteran Benefit Book Fair - San Diego - November 8th [BLACKFIVE]

The following article is a special for BlackFive readers written by Elise Cooper (our favorite book reviewer). On November 8th in San Diego, California, the USS Midway will provide a dramatic setting as best selling authors plan on honoring military veterans presented by the Us4Warriors veteran’s support foundation and American Legion. The authors are hoping this will become a yearly tradition because it falls out on the weekend before Veterans Day. Book enthusiasts are invited to attend this unique event, “Veteran Benefit Book Fair” (www.veteransbookfair.org) between 10 am and 5 pm. Because proceeds go to veteran organizations people who want a book signed will have to buy books at the Midway/Fair bookstore. But the added benefit is that for every book sold a free book is sent to those on active duty. For the price of a Midway ticket, people can meet best-selling authors, purchase a book for signature, and take a tour of the Midway, a ship steeped in history. Readers can also have the opportunity to obtain a collector’s item, a personal written note from an author answering a question they always wanted to ask, or win one of many silent auctions of signed books by number one best selling authors including Nelson DeMille. The organizers hope that people will not be fooled by the title since there will be over forty authors, all from various genres from women’s issues to science fiction. Panel discussions with many of the authors will include: Veteran Characters”; “Female Heroines”; “Hot and Cold Wars”; “Terrorists and Politics” and “Guns and Needles.” In addition there will be a Q/A with Hank Steinberg, the executive producer of the television shows “The Last Ship” and “Without A Trace.” Others in attendance include Catherine Coulter, Charles and Caroline Todd, James Rollins, Ted Bell, C. J. Lyons, T. Jefferson Parker, Jan Burke, D. P. Lyle, Iris and Roy Johansen, W.C. Reed, Amy Hatvany, Andrew Kaplan, and Dale Brown. Also attending is U.S. Navy SEAL CDR (Ret) Rorke Denver, star the movie Act of Valor and U.S. Navy SEAL sniper LTCDR (Ret) Shane Reilly, former XO of the Navy SEAL Training Command. The authors want to emphasize that as Americans, we are living in perilous times and without those willing to sacrifice, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice, to preserve our freedoms we would be in dire straights. They hope Americans will take the time to attend this patriotic event.

Book Review - "Saul's Game" by Andrew Kaplan [BLACKFIVE]

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar. Saul’s Game is an original novel of the Homeland series written by best selling author Andrew Kaplan. It is a prequel that takes fans of this series back to 2009 and before. The plot includes the backstory on many of the characters and what influenced their current attitudes. The story has Saul Berenson and Carrie Mathison returning to the Middle East, Syria and Iraq in particular. They are trying to find the al Qaeda terrorist Abu Nazir and instead come across different plots that would threaten the American forces and involve Arab tribal differences. Kaplan’s experiences have greatly contributed to the realism of the story. As someone who served in the US and Israeli Army he knows the make-up of the Middle East. In fact, what he wrote could be snatched from the views of former high-ranking CIA officials. These former officials speak about the alienation of the Sunnis, by the former Iraq Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and the corruptness created by the Shiites, which all fits into the narrative of the story. Kaplan explained to blackfive.net, “I put into the book a scene that explains why many Americans just do not get what is happening over there. If the Sunnis take over Syria there would be an increase in massacres of the Christians and Kurds. Don’t forget the book was written over a year ago. In the Middle East there are no losers because all losers are killed. What Carrie and Saul are attempting to do is prevent the real enemy, Iran, from having Iraq as its puppet.” Saul’s Game allows readers to find out more of the early life of the main characters but also gives an understanding of the issues facing the Middle East today and why American troops should not have been completely withdrawn. On a side note he will be attending the Veteran’s Benefit Book Fair on November 8th in San Diego on board the USS Midway. He stated, “I am vey pleased to be included in this book fair that includes some wonderful authors. I think doing it on the Midway is a wonderful idea, including matching every book sold to a giveaway to active military personnel.”

A Library Battle in the Cornhusker State [Annoyed Librarian]

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

New adventures: International Copyright [Pegasus Librarian]

I’ve always said I don’t know anything about international copyright. Knowing anything about domestic copyright has seemed like quite enough of a challenge for me. But I guess all things must come to an end.

So here’s what I know now about international copyright.

  1. There’s that Berne Convention you always hear about (full text here). Essentially it says that the countries that have signed onto that treaty agree that they will apply their own copyright laws to foreign works used in their countries. So a French work used in the United States has all the protections that a United States work has in the United States. No special registration required. The author owns all rights to their creative expression (except those granted to users under Fair Use) as soon as the work is fixed in a tangible medium, unless they sign those rights away to publishers and such.
  2. Then theres the TRIPS Agreement (full text here), which says that everyone who signed that agreement will follow articles 1-21 of the Berne Convention, except for the “moral rights” laid out in Berne Article 6bis. Again, no special registration required. Authors own their rights. Fair use applies.
  3. All of which leads us back to good old U.S. Copyright Act

So now you know what I know about international copyright.

Canadian Terrorist: Crazy Muslim [The Other McCain]

We learn that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the terrorist killed in his attack Thursday on the Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa, was both mentally ill and a convert to Islam: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near Parliament Hill, was a labourer and small-time criminal — a man who had had […]

LIVE AT FIVE: 10.23.14 [The Other McCain]

– compiled by Wombat-socho TOP NEWS CDC: All US Residents Returning From Ebola Zone To Be Tracked Monitoring for symptoms to continue for 21 days Death toll from Ebola hits 4900 Robots against Ebola? Some hospitals weighing withholding care from Ebola patients Harper: Ottawa Shooting Will Not Intimidate Canada Addresses Canadians after today’s terrorist attack […]

ISIS Crisis in Ottawa Shooting? UPDATE: Gunman Is Canadian Muslim Convert [The Other McCain]

Because I was offline working on another project today, I haven’t followed the developments in Ottawa, where a terrorist gunman and a soldier have reportedly been killed in an incident at the Canadian Parliament building. In a breaking news situation like this, I hesitate to speculate, but others are not hesitant, and there is a […]

Throwback Thursday: Using the Internet as a Reference Tool [The Travelin' Librarian]

Using the Interet as a Reference ToolThis wasn’t my first book, but was my first book for librarians. Published by Neal-Schuman in June 2001, there is still a copy available on Amazon. It’s yours for the low price of $63.65

The post Throwback Thursday: Using the Internet as a Reference Tool appeared first on The Travelin' Librarian.

Goldman Sachs: The US middle class is finally seeing a recovery [AEIdeas » Pethokoukis]

While Washington keeps talking about income stagnation for the 99%, seem incomes have stopped stagnating — at least for the 80%. From a new Goldman Sachs note:

Perhaps more importantly from the perspective of overall consumption growth, lower- and middle-income wage earners … are sharing fully in the recovery. This is shown in the growth rate of real pre-tax labor income of production and nonsupervisory workers, a group that accounts for roughly the bottom 80% of the private-sector wage distribution. … This measure is already up 3.5% year-on-year as of August 2014, and a further acceleration to around 4% is likely over the next six months as headline inflation declines. Except for a period of about one year at the end of the 2001-2007 expansion, this would be the fastest growth pace since the 1995-2000 boom.

Claims that lower and middle-income wage earners are seeing strong income gains will seem surprising to many readers, given the well-documented weakness in hourly wage growth and the well-documented increase in US income inequality. But it is important to keep two points in mind.

First, hourly wage growth is only one component of overall real labor income growth, and the other components–employment, the workweek, and headline inflation–are all quite helpful at the moment. Second, while inequality has increased significantly over the longer term, the information in Exhibit 2 is consistent with other indications showing a relative improvement at the bottom end of the income distribution over the past year or two.

Did Fed boss Janet Yellen make a huge mistake by talking about inequality? [AEIdeas » Pethokoukis]

That’s the question raised in a new Washington Post column by AEI economist Mike Strain. Or as the click-friendly headline puts it: “Janet Yellen is in danger of becoming a partisan hack: The Federal Reserve chair shouldn’t be picking a side in political debates.” Keep in mind Strain is no reflexive Yellen critic. As he writes, “I forecast Yellen will be an outstanding Fed chair.” But he doesn’t much like how Yellen, first, presented an incomplete analysis of how middle-class incomes have been doing the past three decades, and, second, came close to advocating expanded preschool funding, a contentious issue both politically and economically. Strain:

But even by focusing on income inequality she has waded into politically choppy waters.  … Like many conservatives, income inequality isn’t on my list of the top problems facing the country. But it is a live issue for progressives, many of whom still share the president’s earlier sentiment. By expressing her “great concern” over the issue, Yellen is putting herself squarely in the progressive camp. … If Yellen continues to sound like a left-leaning politician, the political pressure on the Fed will mount, and the ability of the Fed to operate independent of politics will be threatened. If those threats are realized, everyone loses.

Strain is correct. Also, left-liberals/progressives underestimate just how deep and wide Fed hostility is on the right. It’s not just the Ron Paul crowd. I recall speaking before a group of preppy, college-age Republicans who almost to a person thought the Fed should be flat-out abolished. Getting involved in the pre-kindergarten debate — an issue likely to be a big one in 2016 — isn’t going to help the Fed’s reputation with GOPers, conservatives, and libertarians. But it did not surprise me that Yellen spoke on inequality. The theory of “secular stagnation” being advanced by center-left economist Larry Summers — Yellen’s former rival for the Fed job — partly blames the economy’s extended poor performance on rising inequality’s affect on consumer demand. This from a Summers’ interview with New York Times reporter Annie Lowrey:

I asked Mr. Summers what was behind secular stagnation, and he said he was still thinking through all of its causes. But globalization, automation, income inequality and changes in corporate finance might be important factors, he said. Income is now more concentrated in the hands of the rich. Those well-off households tend to save and invest higher proportions of their earnings than middle-class or low-income families do. That might mean, on aggregate, less spending and less demand across the economy for a given level of income.

I call this the left’s “unified theory” of what’s wrong with America. It’s a version of secular stagnation theory (one that focuses more on demand than supply factors) that connects inequality with economic stagnation — and provides a plausible pro-growth justification for government redistribution of wealth and income. And guess what? Yellen just might be a secular stagnationist: From a Reuters report last summer:

The world’s central bankers will cut interest rates to zero more often if economists are correct in thinking that many nations have entered a prolonged period of stagnation, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday.

Asked about the future of monetary policy at a conference hosted by the International Monetary Fund, Yellen brought up the possibility that “secular stagnation” would make it more likely overnight interest rates would again scrape against the so-called zero lower bound.

And inequality might be a topic Yellen returns to again.

"Archeologists Dig Up Sphinxes From DeMille’s 'The Ten Commandments' Buried Along Central California Coast." [Althouse]

I love that headline. It's absurd and yet true, literally — because the stuff from the movie really was buried and in need of meticulous excavation of the archeological kind — and more deeply — because it's making me think that all those ancient Egyptian monuments were melodramatic, crowd-awing  spectacle of a piece with Hollywood.

Abusing children by exploiting them as mouthpieces for adults... [Althouse]

... and putting them on the internet saying "fuck" and "fucking" repeatedly:

Via Metafilter.

This gets my using children in politics tag. I consider it deeply morally wrong to appropriate and exploit children like this. I know I'm contributing to the virality of this video and that it might be more morally pure to protect these children by attempting to hide it, but it's already been on Buzzfeed, on a page that has over 800,000 views, so I think the best I can do is try to shame the adults who are treating children this way.

ADDED: I see that the freeze frame on the video calls the girls "potty-mouthed princesses," and I want to write separately to object to the term "potty-mouthed" to refer to saying the word "fuck," since "fuck" is not a reference to excrement. I know "potty-mouthed" is a generic term, considered old-fashioned and cutesy, and perhaps that makes it seem better to attached to children, but: 1. Children should not be taught that sex is filthy and something that must be kept away from the mouth, and 2. The image is of a mouth filled with excrement, and that is not something that should be connected with children.

"Women are now using technology to try to make themselves seem as much like man as possible..." [Althouse]

"...so that they can have their children later after they have laid the groundwork for their career. It is absolutely true [that egg-freezing as a job benefit] is giving women options and it’s making it economically feasible. And it’s probably the most realistic thing for some women. But it is a shame that we haven’t started a better conversation, not only about the fixes like the day care that was just mentioned, but a deeper conversation about how to reorganize the work world, so you don’t need to be a superwoman at work and a superwoman at home at the same time. That’s never been realistic. And I think the egg freezing is a somewhat extreme response to it."

Said my law school colleague Alta Charo on PBS "Newshour" last night.

"Born Bernard Jewry in the East End of London in 1942, his hits included My Coo Ca Choo, Jealous Mind and I Feel Like Buddy Holly." [Althouse]

"In 1973 he signed with Magnet Records and took on the name that would make him famous. 'It started off as Elvin Starr, because they wanted a kind of rocky, country name,' he recalled in 2010. 'But [a woman] who was doing promotion for us said it wasn't "glam-rocky" enough, so it became Stardust and then Alvin.'"

I'm sorry I don't even remember Alvin Stardust, but he has died at the age of 72. A British glam rock star whose 1973 hit went like this:

"Adesanya angrily fought back against the dogs — punching, kicking and body-slamming the feisty pooches..." [Althouse]

"... before the [Secret Service] agents descended on him."

Adesanya was taken to a local hospital and the two dogs were taken to a vet for injuries sustained during the pummeling they took from the fence-climber.

"But it's very clear why terrorists wanted to strike against Canada." [Althouse]

"Canada was a key part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operations in Afghanistan. Though that participation ended earlier this year, America's neighbor to the North was a key player there, providing a great deal of assistance. Canada is also hardly some socialist, anti-American critic. Since 2004, it's been led by Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. It's policies on the Keystone pipeline and taxes (leading to the Burger King 'inversion') are more in-step with America's Republican Party moderates. And most importantly, Canada has been a strong ally in the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria."

Writes polisci prof John A. Tures.

And, over in the National Review: "Glenn Greenwald Blames Canada for Terror Attack — Against Canada."

The teenaged Colorado sisters, who stole $2,000 and got as far as Germany, on their way to Syria (possibly) to join ISIS. [Althouse]

A few inscrutable details in the L.A. Times:

“They were all underage, and fortunately we were able to assist in finding them,” said a senior FBI official, speaking to the Los Angeles Times on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. “We’re not sure yet who was influencing whom, or why. But they are all safe.”

When a sheriff's deputy on Monday went to their home to check on the girls, the deputy found them asleep in their bedroom.... “I asked them why they went to Germany, and they said, 'Family,' and would not elaborate on any other details about their trip,” the deputy wrote in the report.
More — seemingly — here, at The Daily Beast:
The FBI had apparently decided that this was less a case of jihad than hooky. Agents nonetheless began to examine the girls’ cellphones and computers, seeking to determine whether the girls had been recruited online, as [Shannon Maureen] Conley had been. Conley’s father had been stunned to walk into his daughter’s room and find her Skyping with an ISIS warrior who used the opportunity to announce he intended to marry her....

[F]or some teens ISIS seems to symbolize power and purpose, a great drama promising deliverance from the humdrum. They appear to see not atrocities but adventure, not gore but glory.
AND: From Tablet ("A New Read on Jewish Life"): "Why the Teenage Girls of Europe Are Joining ISIS/Because they want the same things that teenage boys want: a strong sense of meaning and purpose."
[F]or all the awesome social services and consumer goods it can offer, Europe has become incapable of endowing the lives of its citizens, Muslim or not, with meaning....

It is a striking fact that ISIS appeals not only to young men, but also young European women, many hundreds of whom have gone to Syria and Iraq to marry Islamic State fighters. Sure, some of them, like the 15-year-old French Jewish girl Nora el-Bathy, may have come to regret their decision. But that hardly alters the essential point: The girls sought out IS fighters because the West seems weak and unmanly and they pine for real men who are willing to kill and die for what they believe in.

"When Nir Iveniaki told his grandmother back home in Tel Aviv that he was emigrating from Israel to Germany, the first thing she did was produce a gun." [Althouse]

"The tenacious 88-year-old had wielded the antique pistol during World War II, when she fought with a band of Jewish partisans in Nazi-occupied Poland...."

Iveniaki was sure enough to kiss grandma on the cheek, pack his bags and follow an unlikely trail being blazed by thousands of young Israelis who are moving to Germany.... The wave of newcomers from Israel is accelerating the rebirth of Jewish culture in the country that nearly extinguished it....

“I generally feel way safer in Berlin than I felt in Paris,” said Raphael Podselver, a 25-year-old French Jew who moved to Berlin to work for an IT start-up.
ADDED: This made me think of a passage from David Rakoff's "Half Empty":
A few years back, my first book was translated into German and I was flown over for a tour. I don’t kid myself: the primary reason for their interest in me was precisely because I am Jewish, our extirpated culture being somewhat fetishized in Germany today. I was a phantom talisman, like an ivory-billed woodpecker willingly visiting the strip mall that used to be his swampy habitat, or the walking illustration of that rueful old joke about the suburbs being the place where they chopped down all the trees and then named the streets after them. I spent a week as a Professional Jew...

The Germanized Yiddish I spoke to make myself understood to hotel clerks and taxi drivers was met with what can only be described as delight, and a kind of wistful nostalgia for a time no one really remembered anymore, which invariably led to the time none of them seemed capable of forgetting. Every conversation I had began precisely the same way: “How does it feel for you to be here?”

Rush Limbaugh calls my name... and calls out Obama for woman-kissing and other possible sexism. [Althouse]

Here's the transcript of a segment of today's show, where there was discussion of 2 related incidents: 1. The "don't touch my girlfriend" scene in Chicago where Obama, demonstrating how to vote, ordered a woman to kiss him, and 2. Obama's description of an ebola-related appearance at Emory University hospital: "I shook hands with, hugged, and kissed, not the doctors, but a couple of the nurses at Emory because of the valiant work that they did in treating one of the patients."

A woman had called in about that ebola incident, and — as Rush put it:

"[W]hat she thought was that since he made a big deal out of not kissing the doctors, that he wanted to make everybody aware that he wasn't gay. And her point was, what's wrong with being gay? 
My point would be that he used the stereotype that doctors are male and nurses are female. But, yeah, on top of that, what's wrong — within his world view — with men kissing men?
Well, he is married. If he was gay, that would be a problem....
Wait! If he's distinguishing kissing males and females, he's specifying that kissing is sexual, and kissing the women should be a problem for a man married to a woman. If it's not sexual, he should kiss both sexes indiscriminately (which would work to deny the sexuality of kissing unless he's bisexual).
... so he's going out of his way to say he's not gay. That's her interpretation. 
If that's correct, then Obama made a homophobia faux pas.  Rush connects that incident to the "don't touch my girlfriend" scene that I wrote about — here — yesterday. Rush describes what happened and says that some people think the scene was scripted. His theory — which is nothing like mine — is that it was supposed to make Obama seem attractive and supportive to women, to counteract Tina Brown's recent statement: "I don't think [Obama] makes [women] feel safe." Whether the Chicago incident was scripted or not, I didn't read it as a demonstration of making women feel safe. I thought it was an intrusion on the woman. But Rush proceeds to quote me:
Like Ann Althouse on her blog said, "Wait a second, I thought men weren't supposed to --" You know, you have to get consent to do this now on every college campus. You can't just kiss a woman without her permission, and you can't approach her and put your arm around without her permission, without her consent. Obama just forced his way on that woman. And she looked like she wanted it, by the way. She looked like she didn't mind, honored to be given a hug and a smooch by the president, cocksman A. 
In my book, it doesn't matter how she acted. He didn't know in advance how she would feel. Even if she loved it, he assumed he was welcome to impose on her body. And her reaction doesn't convince me that she loved it. She was on camera, overwhelmed by the most powerful man in the world, and forced to think quickly about what might be in her interest. How was rejecting him or acting offended even an option?

Rush continues:
So that happens, and everybody's laughing and Obama walks out around her and he's looking like he's pulled off some major score here. Talks about this guy, why would a brother want to embarrass me like this and so forth. So people are wondering if the whole thing was scripted since it followed, by one day, Tina Brown saying that Obama makes women feel unsafe.

Clearly this woman was not feeling unsafe. She's laughing. She's all excited. 
I don't think that's clear. She was put on the spot... by the President of the United States. She might be laughing out of sheer emotional overload, confusion, and the weirdness of it all. Are you allowed to fight off the advances of The Leader? Droit du seigneur?? Is there some core of personal autonomy and rectitude that I can voice right now? The safe bet is to let it all roll over you. Pretend you're into it. Safe bet. Women want to be safe. Tina says. Safety is one way to play the game of life. But the other players should not assume that your silence means consent. If they do, they don't really care about women. Yes mean yes. Silence does not mean yes. Silence may mean: I am subordinated.

Rush finishing the segment, trying — I think — to pick up on what I'd said:
But it's very clear that she did not sign a consent form before he embraced her. It wasn't an embrace. He put his arm around her shoulder. But there was no consent form. She didn't sign a consent form before he embraced her and kissed her. And that's illegal in many places in America now and on college campi. Just did it.

At the Boardwalk Café... [Althouse]


... you can talk about whatever you want.

Tampa Police Department $5.4 Million Range [The Captain's Journal]



Tampa Police broke ground Wednesday on a new $5.4 million gun training range. TPD says it will keep us all safer. But will it be worth that big price tag?

The new firearms training facility is set to be built inside a City of Tampa complex near Port Tampa Bay. There’s little doubt it will be state-of-the-art.

Plans show the new Tampa Police Department shooting range will have a target area with 40 shooting lanes, a classroom, and something called a “shoot house.”

What’s that? It’s a building with movable walls that trainers can use to recreate complex, real-life scenarios.

TPD’s also planning to install a system that automatically gathers and recycles the lead bullets that are fired to keep down the environmental impact.

Money seized from criminals and drug dealers will pay the $5.4 million cost, not taxpayers. Still, that’s a lot of money that could certainly be spent on other law enforcement projects.

Nice range, huh?  Would you like to be able to use it?  Me too.  Could the public use that $5.4 million to defray the costs of city operation?  You bet.

It’s a good deal, no?  Perpetrate a way on drugs with militarized police, confiscate the largesse, and use the largesse to further the war and militarization of the police, thus feeding the monster.  But only if no one holds you accountable and you are in power over others.

God, Guns And I-594 [The Captain's Journal]

It had to happen.  Some misguided clerics think they need to tell folks that God like I-594.

Charles Stephens, the show’s director, was deeply affected by the tragic shooting at SPU. “We rehearsed there, and everything was going great, and then there was the shooting that happened,” Stephens said.

He decided to reschedule the concert, this time as a fundraiser for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility. That’s the main group pushing I-594. The initiative would institute comprehensive background checks on firearms.

Stephens approached Katie Ladd and asked if he could use her church, the United Methodist Church. She said yes.

“To be a follower of Jesus, who I believe is the Prince of Peace, we have to make stands for peace,” Ladd said. Pastor Ladd feels it’s her responsibility as a Christian to advocate for anti-gun violence laws.

“When asked what the greatest commandment was, you know Jesus says Love the Lord G-d with all of your heart, your mind, your soul and your strength and your neighbor as yourself,” Ladd said. “It seems to me, it’s pretty basic thing to say that we don’t want to kill one another.”

So here’s a question for you lady.  Since you’re so big on not wanting people to perish at the hands of others, how about when a home invader enters your home with the intent of raping and murdering your children?  Isn’t it the case that you’re hating your children and wishing death on them at the hands of the perpetrator by not defending your home?

Notes From HPS [The Captain's Journal]

David Codrea:

Noting that the Obama administration will “open the door to as many as 100,000 Haitians, who will now move into the United States without a visa,” The Washington Times warned Monday of a new dimension in that fundamental transformation of America President Barack Obama promised supporters. The revelation was in addition to news that a solicitation from the government seeks a printer for up to 34 million green cards …

The thought strikes, especially in light of letting in foreign nationals from places where all kinds of nasty bugs run rampant in the population, that for those who donate blood, a disqualifier on the required questionnaire is if they’ve been to certain countries. By bringing people from those countries here, especially in large numbers that are then dispersed throughout the land, are conditions not being created that can mirror many of those in their homelands?

Yes.  Conditions are being created in which the wealth ownership and liquidity, gun ownership, level of medical care, health, education and welfare will be decreased to its lowest common denominator.  This is what happens, and it’s exactly what Obama intends.  He is an anti-colonialist, and he bemoans the colonial history of America.  He aimed to change that, and change it he will, and already has.

Kurt Hofmann:

Japan has for decades imposed iron-fisted controls on not only private possession of guns, but on swords, and even long knives, preserving the “government monopoly on force” so beloved of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. That monopoly is now crumbling. Imura was caught because he made no effort to hide his gun making (and indeed actively publicized it). Others will be more circumspect.

And there is very little a government can do about them, in Japan, in the U.S., or anywhere else.

The far East, Japan included, answered the philosophical question of the one and the many in favor of the one millennia ago.  In the end, though, totalitarian regimes collapse under their own weight.  Let’s pray that happens to all such regimes, including here in America.

If you live in the Yukon, you’d better have your sidearm strapped to you at all times, even in your own house.

A begrudging ‘yes’ on open carry in Missouri.  It’s a good day when you get to watch progressives admit defeat.

In South Carolina, Larry Martin is opposed to recall elections.  Of course he is.  He is a totalitarian.  Remember Larry Martin?

Will H&K USA stop hating their customers and everybody else?  Doubtful.  Besides, I don’t like them, so the feeling is mutual.

Via Mike Vanderboegh, this from USA Today:

Now, factor the Islamists — the usual default terrorist suspects — out of this list, and a striking pattern emerges. Contrary to the popular opinion that radical Islam is the primary threat to homeland security, Christianity provides the other four groups with their extremist rationale. All are in one way or another affiliated with the Christian Identity movement, a hodgepodge of anarchist and white supremacist politics dedicated to white Christian activism. It’s all about God vs. government, and shoring up the rights of Anglo-Saxon Americans …

The Bundy standoff — initially presented as prairie populism by popular media well beyond Fox News — reflects violent currents far deeper and older in American, and Christian, history. It needs to be seen for what it is — religious extremism taken to potentially lethal ends. To the extent that we as a society fail to grapple with the religious element in extremist violence, the blood is on all of our hands.

Good grief.  Just good grief.

Distribution Release: Ubuntu 14.10 [DistroWatch.com: News]

Canonical has announced the release of Ubuntu 14.10, the latest version of the popular Linux distribution for desktops and servers: "Ubuntu 14.10, the latest desktop release is today available for download from Canonical. This release focuses on the developer experience, overall quality, and brings a number of important....

Distribution Release: LXLE 14.04.1, 12.04.5 [DistroWatch.com: News]

Ronnie Whisler has announced the releases of LXLE versions 14.04.1 and 12.04.5, two updated builds of the project's Lubuntu-based distribution made for older computers and featuring the LXDE desktop: "LXLE 14.04.1 and 12.04.5 released. The official release of the incremental update to LXLE 14.04 and 12.04 has undergone....

Distribution Release: Oracle Linux 6.6 [DistroWatch.com: News]

Oracle has announced the release of Oracle Linux 6.6, an enterprise-class distribution based on the recently-released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6. "Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 6.6 for x86 (32-bit) and x86_64 (64-bit) architectures. Oracle Linux 6 Update 6 ships with three....

Development Release: SteamOS 1.0 Beta Update 145 [DistroWatch.com: News]

John Vert has announced the release of update 145 of SteamOS 1.0, a Debian-based distribution for gamers: "We have just updated the released 'alchemist' repository. This is the same content that was pushed to alchemist_beta last week. SteamOS updates: e2fsprogs - latest upstream version; geoclue - latest upstream....

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

I think so, Brain … but how did they get the Potomac River to line up exactly on the states’ borders?

False Narratives [hogewash]

Roger Kimball has a piece up at PJ Media analyzing the spin in a New York Times story about the Democrats’ panic over the coming midterm elections and why their candidates are trying to distance themselves from an unpopular president.

I guess the New York Times needs something more, because according to them, Obama is unpopular not because he has failed but because the Republicans have somehow enveloped him in a “narrative of failure.” Yes, that’s right, folks, the evil Republicans called Obama’s failures, er, failures, and by so doing they managed to substitute a fiction (that’s what the Times means by “narrative”) for the truth.

Read the whole thing.

You know, there’s something about having truthful reporting described as a “false narrative” that seems awfully familiar

NGC 1291 [hogewash]

It might look like as spoked wheel or even a "Chakram" circular weapon wielded by television's fictional warrior Xena, but this ringed galaxy is actually a vast place of stellar life. A newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the gaThis infrared image taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope shows where the action is taking place in the ancient galaxy NGC 1291. Although the galaxy is around 12 billion years old, the outer ring (red in this view) is filled with new stars that are forming and heating up the surrounding dust that glows with infrared light.

Image Credit: NASA

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

I think so, Brain … but why is there such a large variation in the number of persons required to change light bulbs in various ethnic groups?

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day [hogewash]

The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin has been amazingly slipshod in his court filing. This is from his opposition to my motion to dismiss his first amended complaint in the Kimberlin v. The Universe, et al. RICO Madness.ECF 29-55_36The sharp-eyed Gentle Reader will notice the TDPK appears to have suffered a moment of mathematical challenge when he numbered the paragraphs in his opposition. As for the callousness of my argument, I simply pointed out that Kimberlin didn’t bother to allege any of the actual elements of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress in his complaint.

He also failed to do so in the state Kimberlin v. Walker, et al. nuisance lawsuit. Here’s how our lawyer Patrick Ostronic explained the deficiency to Judge McGann during the 1 July hearing on motions for summary judgment in the state case.380966V_1JUL_p41And here’s how Judge McGann ruled.380966V_1JUL_p51That means that the judge found that, given the facts in evidence about which there was no dispute, we defendants were entitled to a summary judgment in our favor as a matter of law.

popcorn4bkSo was it callous of me to point out that essentially the same set of allegations in the RICO Madness as were found in the state case have the same problems? Perhaps, but no more so that TDPK’s filing a bogus and vexatious lawsuit.

Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day [hogewash]

Truth is as impossible to be soiled by any outward touch as the sunbeam.

—John Milton

$1,000 Reward Still Open [hogewash]

In October, 2012, The Lonely Conservative received death threats from an anonymous thug. Hogewash! has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for those threats. In order to qualify for the award any information must have be provided to an appropriate law enforcement agency.

This evening, Hogewash! received the following comment—TK201410230210ZRunning out of time? I think not. The applicable statute of limitations in New York (victim’s location) is 3 years with a 3 year extension for a total of 6 years if, as I believe to be the case, the perp is outside of New York. Charges can be brought as late as October, 2018.

If the perp is in Maryland and is charged under that state’s laws, there is a possible charges for which there is no statute of limitations.

We shall see who laughs last.

UPDATE—If the perp is charged by the feds, there would normally be a 5 year statute of limitations. However, if, as I believe to be the case, certain facts apply to the case, the federal statute of limitations was reset by the send of the comment above, and it will restart whenever Karen B. or I receive any other emails or comments from the perp.

Spatial competition among oligopolistic Jewish rebbes [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Heilman, the expert in Hasidic succession, told me that one reason so many dynastic fights emerged in the past decade is that the grand rabbis are living longer, sometimes too long to have the vigor to conclusively determine whom their successors will be or so long that their increasingly entrenched institutional court refuses to cede power.  In Hasidic Europe before World War II, a contender to the throne unhappy with a chosen successor could set up his seat in a neighboring village, Heilman said.  But since the war, with the consolidation of Hasidim into relatively few sects, each sect’s brand name has been enshrined so that successors want to become, say, the Satmar Rebbe, not the Kiryas Joel Rebbe.

That is from the new Joseph Berger book, The Pious Ones: The World of Hasidim and Their Battles with America.

A Real Life Milgram Experiment [Marginal REVOLUTION]

This amazing video, introduced by Philip Zimbardo, discusses a real world Milgram “experiment” in which people obeyed an authority figure to an astounding degree, even when the authority figure was just on the telephone.

The video comes from the Heroic Imagination Project which hopes to use the results of social psychology to help people to take effective action in challenging situations. More videos on obedience to authority, including from Milgram’s experiment, can be found in the resource section along with other social psychology videos and other interesting materials.

Here is one more, this time a little lighter, an experiment in which people find themselves unexpectedly married:

Where’s my flying hoverboard? (Back to the Future) [Marginal REVOLUTION]

From The Daily Beast:

Greg and Jill Henderson, founders of Hendo, have developed a real hoverboard. Yes, the flying skateboard that millions of moviegoers have wished were real since Back to the Future Part II premiered back in 1989 may become the must-have Christmas gift for 2015. Using “hover engines” that create frictionless magnetic fields, the hoverboard only appears to hover an inch or two off a metallic floor. It’s not exactly ready for, or usable on, concrete but everything has to start somewhere.

There is more here.  It needs something like a copper sheet below it.  There are different accounts here, with varying degrees of enthusiasm or lack thereof, I found this one useful.  Still, this is more progress than we were seeing a year ago.

China fact of the day [Marginal REVOLUTION]

In 2002 Chinese investors spent just $2.7bn on acquisitions and greenfield projects abroad but by 2013 the total had increased 40-fold to $108bn.

From Jamil Anderlini at the FT, there is more here.

Where is the external social value for marginal book reading? [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Let’s assume books — at the margin of course — bring some external social value, perhaps by stimulating ideas production or by improving the quality of voting and citizenship.  If that were the case, at which margin should we look for this external benefit?  I can think of a few possibilities:

1. More books should be produced.  Yet this hardly seems plausible, as there are so many books produced right now and most of them are largely ignored.  In any case, Amazon clearly makes a larger number of books readily accessible, although its lower prices may discourage the number of books longer run.

2. Better books should be produced.  Arguably this is true by definition, but it is not a useful means of evaluating most proposed changes to the book market.  That said, Amazon creates an open forum for useful reviews.  That may improve long-run book quality, or at least lead to a more useful matching of readers with books.

3. Books should be cheaper and thus purchased and read more often.  Maybe so, but public libraries give books away for free — great books too — and their shelves are not stripped bare.  So making commercial books cheaper will get us only so far.  If all books were completely free, reading would go up by only so much, because time and attention would remain scarce.  In any case, with reference to the recent debates, Amazon does in fact make books cheaper.

4. Books should be more vivid in the minds of readers.  People would read more if the books meant more to them and that is a more effective lever than simply making books cheaper.  You will note of course that “buzz” can make books more vivid, and so Piketty’s Capital became a vivid book for a large number of people.  They bought it, though most of them did not read past page 26.  So even making books more vivid will not necessarily bring about the desired end of additional interested readership.  That said, Amazon does create various lists to try to boost the buzz around books, and Amazon tries to raise the relative status of reading and book-buying more generally.

It is in fact not so easy to specify how we might reap significant additional social benefits from the current book market.  The real externality, if there is one, lies in improving the humans not the books.

In the meantime, Amazon, in its current configuration, seems to be producing some marginal social benefits.

Venezuela estimate of the day [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Venezuela loses $728MM for each 1$ the oil price drops. Assuming oil @ $104 in 2014 and $96 in 2015 Vzla’s $ deficit in 2015 will be $27.8bn

That is from Moisés Naim on Twitter.  Here is more on the same topic.

We Need to Call It Terrorism [Ordered Liberty]

Within three days there have been two jihadist attacks in Canada, carried out by Canadian citizens who recently converted to Islam. No terrorist organization has claimed responsibility, at least as yet. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Stephen Harper showed no reluctance in calling the terrorists … terrorists.


Whether the attackers were incited by the summons to jihad from groups like al Qaeda and ISIS, or were actual members of such groups, there should be no question that these were terrorist attacks. The Obama administration’s practice of denying that terrorist attacks are terrorist attacks has been profoundly foolish – and it was good to hear the president seem to inch away from it today.

The point of this cockamamie denial approach is part political correctness and part plain politics.

President Obama has repeatedly claimed to have “decimated” al Qaeda and put it “on the path to defeat.” Actually, the terror network is on the rise. Furthermore, it is now rivaled by ISIS, a jihadist organization that may be even stronger. Denying obvious instances of terrorism, such as the jihadist mass-murder at Fort Hood, is a transparent effort to conceal the obvious falsity of the president’s claims. If these attacks are not really terrorism, the reasoning goes, then there must be less terrorism; therefore, the pretense of defeating terror networks can be spun as validated. As I’ve said before, it is a way of miniaturizing the threat.

It is more than that, though. Terrorism is fueled by an ideology. It is rooted, quite literally, in Islamic scripture. To cite one of many examples, in the Koran’s sura 8:12, Allah instructs Muslims: “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them.” Thus, Omar Abdel Rahman, the infamous “Blind Sheikh” I prosecuted for terrorism in the nineties, used to exhort followers:

Why do we fear the word “terrorist”? If the terrorist is the person who defends his right, so we are terrorists. . . . The Koran mentions the words “to strike terror,” therefore we don’t fear to be described with “terrorism.” . . . We are ordered to prepare whatever we can of power to terrorize the enemies of Islam.

The United States government tried to portray Abdel Rahman as deranged and representative of no mainstream current of Islamic thought. In point of fact, he was a doctor of Islamic jurisprudence graduated from al-Azhar University in Cairo, the seat of Sunni learning for over a millennium. His capacity to command terrorists, although he was physically incapable of committing terrorist acts, stemmed from his indisputable mastery of sharia and Islamic doctrine – subjects I daresay he knew a good deal more about than President Obama. He was spokesman for a well-known interpretation of Islam that, as the Iraqi Shiite cleric Ayad Jamal al-Din recently acknowledged, has existed for 1,400 years.

A Muslim who commits an atrocious act with the purpose of becoming Allah’s instrument for “instilling terror into the hearts of the unbelievers” has committed terrorism. A Muslim who employs violence with the intention of “intimidating or coercing a civilian population; influencing the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or affecting the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping,” to borrow from the federal statutory definition of international terrorism, has engaged in terrorism. He need neither be wearing an al Qaeda team jersey nor be formally sworn in as a member of ISIS for us to state this palpable fact with confidence.

Shouldn’t we be able to agree on at least that much?

Obama Admits: Crisis Management is Beyond Me [The PJ Tatler]

Ebola is stateside and its still putting Americans at risk, and that’s exactly why president Obama finally acknowledged it (albeit to save his own skin) and his defeat against it on October 17, 2014, when he appointed an Ebola Czar. Not sure about you but the title “Ebola Czar” is not one I would readily wear. I worked for Honeywell and KBR and always claimed the one similar corporate badge I would never wear is Siemens. Not because of their business, but because of the image the name created in my head brought me front and center with Fertility 101. Yet think of all the undesirable names most would not like to be associated with like Aids Czar, Diarrhea Czar, or Phlegm Czar. So much for words and their associated images, right?

Yet once again Obama admitted there was something bigger than himself that he couldn’t contain easily, so he had to step out of his comfort zone and appoint a czar he could control and conveniently blame if necessary. Not too different than ruining Hillary Clinton’s chance of ever holding the highest office in the land twice. One word should keep Hillary from ever becoming our 45th POTUS: Benghazi. Becoming the fall guy (well really gal) for the murder of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty will come up when she runs for Obama’s job. So much for campaigning for his own party.

Actually, Obama has done more to bolster himself and Michelle Obama’s status (think literary royalties, endorsements, celebrity elbowing, online followers, and cash flow) than every promoting eligible candidates’ from his own party. Just ask Bruce Braley how he feels about the way FLOTUS flubbed his name and fibbed about his military service in Iowa. Let’s just say, it only helped the Republican, Joni Ernst.

Loyalty and Enmity: Parallels between Islam and the Mafia [The PJ Tatler]

Editor’s note: The following is Part Two of a three-part series examining the many parallels between Islam and the mafia following Bill Maher’s recent exclamation that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will f***ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.”  Click here for Part One.

Death to Traitors (AKA “Apostates”)

Once a Mafioso takes the oath of loyalty to the mafia—including the Omertà code of silence and secrecy—trying to leave the “family” is instantaneously seen as a betrayal and therefore punishable by death.   Any family member, great or small, is given authority to kill the traitor, the “turncoat.”

Compare this to Islam.  To be born to a Muslim father immediately makes the newborn a Muslim—there are no oaths to be taken, much less an option in the matter.   And, according to Islamic law, if born Muslims at any point in their lives choose to leave Islam, they are deemed “apostates”—traitors—and punished including by death.   Any zealous Muslim, not just the authorities, is justified in killing the apostate (hence why Muslim families that kill apostate children are rarely if ever prosecuted).

In the words of Muhammad—the messenger (underboss) of Allah (godfather):  “Whoever leaves his Islamic faith, kill him.”

The charge of “traitor” is especially applicable when the Muslim converts to another religion—most frequently Islam’s historic competitor, Christianity—as opposed to simply losing faith in their hearts.  Put differently, the very recent plight of Meriam Ibrahim—a Sudanese Christian wife and mother who, while pregnant, was imprisoned and sentenced to death for “apostasy”—is the tip of the iceberg of the plight of apostates under Islam.

Loyalty and Enmity

Loyalty is an absolute prerequisite of the mafia.  Following elaborate rituals of blood oaths, mafia members are expected to maintain absolute loyalty to the family, on pain of death.

Compare this with Islam’s “Loyalty and Enmity” doctrine, which calls on Muslims to be loyal to each other and their appointed emirs, even if they dislike them.

For example, Koran 9:71 declares that “The believing [Muslim] men and believing [Muslim] women are allies of one another” (see also 8:72-75).  And according to Muhammad, “A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him…. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother in faith: his blood, his wealth, and his honor”—precisely those three things of a Mafioso that are inviolable for his mafia “brother.”  (This is why Muslims like U.S. Army Major Nidal Hassan, whose “worst nightmare” was to be deployed to fight fellow Muslims, often lash out.)

Aside from loyalty to the family, mafia members are also expected not to befriend or associate with too many “outsiders”—who by nature are not to be trusted, as they are not of the “family”—unless such a “friendship” helps advance the family’s position.

Similarly, the second half of the doctrine of Loyalty and Enmity—the enmity—calls on Muslims to maintain distance from and have hate for all non-Muslim “infidels.”

Thus Koran 5:51 warns Muslims against “taking the Jews and Christians as friends and allies … whoever among you takes them for friends and allies, he is surely one of them.” According to the mainstream Islamic exegesis of al-Tabari, Koran 5:51 means that the Muslim who “allies with them [non-Muslims] and enables them against the believers, that same one is a member of their faith and community,” that is, an outsider and enemy.

Similar scriptures include Koran 4:89, 4:144, 5:54, 6:40, 9:23, and 58:22; the latter simply states that true Muslims do not befriend non-Muslims—“even if they be their fathers, sons, brothers, or kin.” Koran 60:1 declares, “O you who believe! Do not take my enemy and your enemy [non-believers] for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth [i.e., while they deny Islam]?”… Keep reading

Lefty Gets Vapors Because Republican Says Something Obvious and True About Gun Rights [The PJ Tatler]

Despite what the left believes and wants low-information voters to believe, the Second Amendment is not primarily about hunting. It is about the human right of self-defense.

That misunderstanding leads to noise like this, from Daniel Strauss at Talking Points Memo.

During an National Rifle Association event in Iowa in 2012, state Sen. Joni Ernst, now the Republican nominee for Senate in the state, said she carries a 9-millimeter gun around everywhere and believes in the right to use it even if it’s against the government if they disregard her rights.

“I have a beautiful little Smith & Wesson, 9 millimeter, and it goes with me virtually everywhere,” Ernst said during a speech at the NRA’s Iowa Firearms Coalition Second Amendment Rally in Searsboro, Iowa, as flagged by The Huffington Post on Thursday. “But I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.”

And the problem with that is…?

That it doesn’t comport with the left’s worldview? That doesn’t make it incorrect.

If the last century or two have taught us anything, they should have taught us that government can turn feral quite quickly on the one hand, and that government can let its guard down against crime and other actual threats to its citizens on the other. It isn’t as though problems of corrupt and brutal government always stay outside America’s borders. Just look at Chicago. Or cast your eyes farther south. Thanks to Mexico’s endemic corruption and its violent drug war, corruption and worse have spilled right into the border states. Our own government refuses to defend Americans from that. Americans have the right and I’d argue the duty to defend themselves.

Our own government unleashed the IRS as a thought-police. That’s a short step from government going full rogue, shorter than many on the left want to admit since their own did the unleashing.

Ernst has done nothing more than recognize that a free person must make choices to remain free, or they will soon find themselves subjugated. We need Joni Ernst and more like her in Washington.

Canada Gets It Right [The PJ Tatler]

It is not just that Canada is willing to call an act of terrorism by its name: terrorism. That is certainly refreshing clarity in these troubled times, clarity which will help Canada decide how to prevent future attacks. But Canada isn’t just calling terrorism by its name. Based upon Andrew Cohen’s letter posted to CNN, Canada is engaging in some self-reflection. In what I bet will be the Canadian equivalent of Leonard Pitts Jr.’s “We’ll Go Forward from This Moment” letter on September 12, 2001, Cohen wrote a very self-aware post “This is not supposed to happen in Canada“. Just a snippet:

It is too much a cliché to say — as many surely will — that Canada has lost its innocence today. Canada is surely not innocent; a nation that marched into the maw of two world wars and left 100,000 of its sons in Europe understands a few things. That’s particularly true at this time of year, when Canadians wear red poppies in their lapels until November 11, Remembrance Day.

What we might say, though, is that Canada has lost its ignorance today — and, perhaps, a good part of its complacency, too.

It is difficult to engage in that kind of self analysis, much less to have the courage to admit what you find. Compliments to Cohen, though he does seem to be struggling with “we were asking for it” and “we may not be interested in war, but war is interested in us” arguments. Perhaps that is why he failed to mention one other thing that Canada got right over the US.

There is a reason that the terrorist only managed to kill one victim. It won’t surprise readers here to learn that the limiting force was an honorable man with a gun. I doubt that truth will get much play in the US, but it should. On a whim, I did a news search this morning for “Canada Kevin Vickers Sargent at Arms” and all but three hits on the first few Google results pages were non-US news. Canada might be coming to terms with its security illusions. Would that the US did as well.

Latest White House Jumper Taken Down by Dogs, Hurts the Dogs [The PJ Tatler]

The chairman of the House Oversight subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations said that the latest White House fence jumper shows the need to “take down” anyone who tries to break into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Dominic Adesanya, 23, of Bel Air, Md., had previously been detained outside the White House, and jumped the fence last night.

Two Secret Service dogs ran after the jumper, who kicked one pup and punched another, according to CNN.

The dogs were treated for injuries and have returned to duty. Adesanya faces charges for assaulting the dogs, unlawful entry and making threats. He was reportedly unarmed and his father told media that he’s mentally ill.

“The United States capital, it’s one of the highly targeted terrorist facilities in the world, as is the White House,” Chaffetz told Fox on a day when the Canadian parliament was attacked and the White House got its second jumper in two months.

“You have got some jumper… these attacks, they are out there. And the men and women who perform the intelligence to try to prevent them and then the men and women who actually have to respond to those with dogs and other assets, they’ve just got to smother this as quickly as possible. So it’s something that we have been deal with for a long period of time,” the congressman continued. “But when you see, you know, an honor guard killed, murdered, you have got to think this is terrorism, not just, hey, let’s down play this. You have to think, is this part of a bigger, broader terrorist effort? We are in a fight and we have to win this fight.”

Chaffetz acknowledged “we can’t give up every liberty in the name of security.”

“At the same time, when we know there is a threat, there is a clear-and-present danger to the United States of America, then you go take out that threat,” he said. “We can’t be so politically correct as to say, well, let’s not just pretend that this particular thing — let’s just smooth that over. No, you can’t be talking about workplace violence when clearly it’s terrorism. Let’s get real about it and get aggressive about it. People need to know, for instance, in the fence jumping, I spent a lot of time looking at the Secret Service, and most every one of those men and women do awesome work. Awesome work.”

“But when somebody does jump the fence, they need to know that they are going to be taken down. Those men and women who are there, they can’t hesitate. They need to know we got their back, that nobody gets to the president, nobody gets in the White House, no one gets in that Canadian parliament. If that’s the message we continue to send, then I think they will think twice about making those types of attempts.”

The jumper reportedly got 20 yards or so across the lawn before the dogs got him.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said the latest incident shows that the height of design of the fence needs to be changed.

“The Secret Service has learned from the most serious breach in its history that dogs need to be on the job on the ground where the fence-jumpers want to be, not at an off-site location,” Norton said. “However, last night’s jumper scaled the fence when the president was in the residence. When will the Department of Homeland Security or the Secret Service seek a historically authentic, secure wrought-iron fence to thwart fence jumpers?”

“The potential effectiveness of such measures is clear, unlike the overreach of keeping the public farther away from the White House,” Norton added. “These two steps – updating the fence and keeping dogs close to the fence – show that what we need is common sense and attentiveness to every security detail at the perimeter.”

Holder’s Justice Department Isn’t Interested in the Facts in Ferguson [The PJ Tatler]

The official autopsy of Michael Brown leaked Wednesday. It strongly suggests that there was an altercation between Brown and Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson before the 18-year-old man was shot dead on August 9. The autopsy also revealed that Brown had been using marijuana, and had enough THC in his system to trigger hallucinations.

The Justice Department is angry — with the leak.

The U.S. Department of Justice condemned the leaks Wednesday as “irresponsible and highly troubling” and said, “There seems to be an inappropriate effort to influence public opinion about this case.”

That’s rich coming from a Justice Department that bigfooted its way into Ferguson with the express intent to impact public opinion, after the media did its best/worst to turn what might have been an ordinary if tragic police shooting incident into a nationwide race case.

Supposing the leaker does want to influence public opinion, why might that be the case? Could it be because the rioters who menaced Ferguson for weeks after the shooting continue to demand that Wilson not only be indicted, but convicted, no matter what the facts say? Could the leak be an attempt to start slowly draining the story’s controversy away? Could it be because the leaker is aware that the grand jury’s failure to indict Wilson, if that’s what happens, could trigger a whole new round of riots and violence if it comes without some warning?

Here’s what we’re getting, in what looks like an effort to start pulling some of the rage out of the situation ahead of any grand jury decision.

The New York Times reported that investigators found Brown’s blood on Wilson’s gun, on the interior door panel of Wilson’s car and on Wilson’s uniform.

The Washington Post reported that several black witnesses had provided details in secret grand jury testimony that supported Wilson’s account.

John Kerry’s Peace Partners: Fatah Facebook Page Honors Yesterday’s Murder of Israeli Infant [The PJ Tatler]

As reported here yesterday, the State Department’s Jen Psaki was unable to use the word “murdered” in the administration’s official response to yesterday’s terror attack in Jerusalem that ended the life of three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun. Then, outrageously, she urged “all sides to maintain calm” in the wake of the infanticide.

Imagine being a member of the baby’s family and receiving that message.

Today, one of those “sides,” the evil one, posted this outrageous image sanctifying as courageous the act of infanticide. It reads:

The Silwan branch of Fatah honors the heroic martyr Abdel Rahman Al-Shaludi, who executed the Jerusalem operation which led to the running over of settlers in the occupied city of Jerusalem.


Fatah. Not Hamas, the supposedly more extremist member of the joint Palestinian Authority ruling coalition, but Fatah, the “moderates” who have had the honor of frequent audiences with our secretary of State, and who have batted out around the U.S. like a cat toy for some 25 years now with this “moderate” charade.

I expect the State Department to do nothing, or to request Fatah remove the image as a “gesture of goodwill,” and dismiss it as some sort of necessary, realpolitik pandering to their extremist base.

Don’t stand for it this time. Make Kerry answer for his useful idiocy. Force him to represent the U.S. as a country which actually upholds humanity in some regard.

Dallas Nurse Amber Joy Vinson is Now Ebola-Free [The PJ Tatler]

The second Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola from Thomas Duncan has tested Ebola-free.

One week after Dallas nurse Amber Vinson had been diagnosed with Ebola, we learned Wednesday the CDC declared her to be Ebola-free.

A just-released photo of Vinson speaks volumes. She’s smiling, taking a “selfie” from her hospital bed in Atlanta. Her mother Debra Berry issued a statement. It reads, in part:

“We all know that further treatment will be necessary as Amber continues to regain strength, but these latest developments have truly answered prayers and bring our family one step closer to reuniting with her at home.”

The first Ebola nurse, Nina Pham, has been upgraded to “good” condition. Her dog has tested Ebola-free but remains in quarantine.

Obama Admin Misled Congress, American People on Release of Violent Illegal Aliens [The PJ Tatler]

In just about any other election year, a story like this one from USA Today could scramble everything. It’s that explosive.

But this year…the Democrats are poised to lose anyway. President Obama is hellbent on granting unilateral amnesty to several million illegal aliens anyway. He is also intent on sparking as many constitutional disputes with the new Congress as he can.

And by now, we have the measure of the man himself. Every issue, crisis or problem that comes up is handled by him and his administration not on its own merits, but as a political problem for him, personally. He might, if forced to, say something about “protecting the American people” after he has chosen to endanger us. He might even fake outrage and appoint another czar to “get to the bottom of this.” But since Obama himself is at the bottom of this, that czar would be another political fixer, who will not get to the bottom of anything at all.

Two more years of this…

So this story won’t scramble the election. It will play a prominent role in the new Congress, though. Which is probably perfectly fine with the Divider in Chief.

New records contradict the Obama administration’s assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records.

The records, obtained by USA TODAY, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide.

The release sparked a furor in Congress. Republican lawmakers accused the Obama administration of setting dangerous criminals free. In response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had released “low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records,” a claim the administration repeated to the public and to members of Congress.

The new records, including spreadsheets and hundreds of pages of e-mails, offer the most detailed information yet about the people ICE freed as it prepared for steep, across-the-government spending cuts in February 2013. They show that although two-thirds of the people who were freed had no criminal records, several had been arrested or convicted on charges more severe than the administration had disclosed.

ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen acknowledged the discrepancy. She said “discretionary releases made by ICE were of low-level offenders. However, the releases involving individuals with more significant criminal histories were, by and large, dictated by special circumstances outside of the agency’s control.”

“…outside the agency’s control.” Isn’t that interesting?

A spreadsheet ICE officials prepared listing the detainees includes one person in Texas charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child, as well as others charged with armed assaults or assaulting police officers. Another immigrant released from Miami had been charged with conspiracy to commit homicide. Two detainees from Boston had been charged with aggravated assault using a weapon. One in Denver had a sexual assault charge.

These people are still on our streets. It took a FOIA to get that out of the Obama government.

Oh, and this should go without saying, but you’re a racist for even being concerned about any of this.

Dem Congressman: ‘Everybody’s Hair on Fire’ That ‘Somehow the Muslim Hordes are Going to Come Get Us’ [The PJ Tatler]

A Democratic congressman decried reactions to this week’s terrorist attacks in Canada, arguing people shouldn’t get worked up about “Muslim hordes” coming to get the U.S.

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) told MSNBC yesterday that President Obama was “very measured in his response.” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the killing of a soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa followed by shots fired at the parliament building the work of a “terrorist” in his address to the nation. Obama stressed “we don’t yet have all the information about what motivated the shooting,” adding “it emphasizes the degree to which we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorism.”

“Usually people — the information we get immediately after one of this incident turns out to be partial or incorrect or wrong direction all together. I mean you have to look back to Timothy McVeigh when he blew up the building in Oklahoma City, or we had two guards killed in the Congress since I’ve been there by a young man who was trying to bring a gun in who was mentally not balanced,” McDermott said.

“You have to wait and get the information, and I think the president, by not getting his hair on fire is doing exactly the right thing. We don’t know who did this, we don’t know if there’s a conspiracy or anything else. All the speculation you’re seeing in the press is done by irresponsible people in my view.”

The shooter, killed by House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vicker, has been identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Reuters cited U.S. officials saying Zehaf-Bibeau was a recent convert to Islam, and the Globe and Mail said his passport had been taken away by the Canadian government after he was designated a “high-risk traveler” who was planning to go fight overseas.

NORAD was put on high-alert posture after the Canadian attack. McDermott said that wasn’t necessary.

“You know, we’ve just gone through the Ebola virus. That was the crisis of last week. Everybody’s hair was on fire about Ebola and suddenly a shooting occurs in Canada and suddenly our hair is on fire that somehow the Muslim hordes are going to come and get us; there’s no evidence for that,” he said.

“And to me it sends the wrong message to the people, especially to those people who are inclined to do these kinds of things, it gives them ammunition to say, well I’d better do something now before — that kind of stuff encourages this kind of stuff.”

The congressman said he feels “very comfortable” with security on Capitol Hill.

“Walking around the campus as I have for the last few years, you occasionally suddenly see another layer of police, and you see people being directed away from certain areas. And you see things happening and you know that they’ve changed something because they’re concerned about something. I think that’s prudent, that’s what we create the police for, to do the things to protect us,” McDermott said.

“They don’t necessarily have to tell us everything that they’ve heard or worried about. They simply have to do their job. And I think that, sometimes the government official like President Obama doesn’t need to tell everybody everything he knows. He needs to deal with it in an appropriate way using the instruments of government. And so far I’ve seen him do a good job. I really think he’s handled this very well.”

U.S. Offering ‘Blind Support’ to UN Agency Despite Attacks from Gaza, Argue Senators [The PJ Tatler]

Republican senators have let Secretary of State John Kerry know that they won’t support further aid to Gaza residents until the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency can assure that it isn’t complicit in attacks on Israel.

Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) asked Kerry in August to launch a State Department investigation into ”the role played by UNRWA in the recent conflict in Gaza.”

“As you know, during the conflict, rockets were found on UNRWA property on three separate occasions, and rockets were fired into Israel from the vicinity of UNRWA facilities on multiple occasions. Information has also emerged regarding the potential exploitation of UNRWA’s distribution network inside Gaza to by Hamas and other terrorist groups.”

The State Department replied in September, telling the senators that the U.S. is “awaiting the findings of UNRWA’s ongoing internal investigation before considering further action.”

“It is unclear when that investigation will be completed or how truly independent it will be,” Kirk and Rubio wrote Kerry on Wednesday.

“Given UNRWA’s record and the absence of an independent investigation into its actions during the conflict, we were dumbfounded when, on October 12th, you reiterated, without any qualification, that the United States would provide more than $150 million to UNRWA programs in Gaza,” they wrote.

“This blind support sends the wrong message to an institution that has already become far too dependent on the largesse of the American taxpayer and repeatedly failed to ensure that its facilities and resources are not used by terrorists who wish to sow chaos and instability rather than aid the Palestinian people.”

The GOP senators said the United States “should assist the people of Gaza as they rebuild after yet another Hamas-caused conflict.”

“But this support cannot come at the expense of Israel’s security. We will not support the provision of future U.S. assistance to entities or projects in Gaza unless the State Department assures Congress that UNRWA or the relevant recipient entity has imposed independently audited accountability measures to verifiably prevent any U.S. assistance from aiding, directly or indirectly, extremists’ efforts to rearm or lay the groundwork for future attacks against Israel,” Rubio and Kirk added.

“Without greater scrutiny of all U.S. funds being provided to entities in Gaza, it will be difficult to truly diminish Hamas’ and other terrorist groups’ influence in Gaza and will only make a resumption of violence more likely.”

Wendy Davis: Sure, I’d Welcome Obama to Come to Texas and Campaign With Me! [The PJ Tatler]

Early voting is currently underway in Texas. Democrat Wendy Davis is tanking in the polls in the governor race as Greg Abbott looks to be cruising to a win.

The Davis campaign has become so desperate that it has attacked Abbott over interracial marriage — despite the fact that he’s half of one — and it swiped a photo of Republican kids to claim its support is building and burgeoning. And that was just this week.

But finally, Wendy Davis may have just thrown in the towel.

Democrat Wendy Davis says she would welcome President Barack Obama campaigning for her in Texas in the final days of her underdog bid for governor.

Davis says she would be “thrilled” if Obama or the Clintons wanted to help with her campaign. Obama has campaigned for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in other states and will continue doing so next week in Wisconsin.

But most Democrats — including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair — are running as far away from Obama as they can these days. Obama is about as welcome in most campaigns as Ebola. Because most Democrats have clued into the fact that however much they might love his brand of disinterested international leadership and domestic attack dog nonsense, most Americans have tuned him right out.

The math for Davis is not good. She’s running as an Obama Democrat in Texas, a state that Obama lost twice and that Bill Clinton lost twice. No Democrat has won anything of note here in 20 years.

She has run a humorless, drab, terrible campaign that has one setting — ATTACK! — and which has been equal parts low comedy and repulsive dishonesty. Davis herself got off the blocks stating her belief that ships taking on water is a good thing, and has never really improved from there.

Now she wants Barack Obama, the president who is even tanking in the blue states, to come and campaign with her in bright red Texas.

Well, why not? It’s not like she has anything to lose at this point.

State Dept. Urges ‘All Sides’ to ‘Avoid Escalating Tensions’ After Terrorist Kills American Baby [The PJ Tatler]

The State Department condemned yesterday’s terrorist attack in which the assailant rammed his car into a group of people waiting at a light-rail station, killing a 3-month-old.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” press secretary Jen Psaki said in a brief statement. “We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured.”

“We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident,” Psaki added.

The Times of Israel reported that the attacker, Abdelrahman al-Shaludi, 21, is the nephew of late Hamas chief bomb-maker Mohiyedine Sharif. Shaludi was shot while trying to flee the scene.

The victim, Chaya Zissel Braun, had just been taken on her first trip to see the Western Wall, the Jerusalem Post reported.

In statements, Hamas and Islamic Jihad welcomed the baby girl’s murder, as reported by the Post:

“The attack in Jerusalem is an act of heroism and a natural response to the crimes of the occupation against our people and our holy places,” said Mushir al-Masri, a senior Hamas spokesperson.

“The attack in Jerusalem is a natural response to what is taking place in the city, given the harassment and overall attacks of Judaization affecting our holy places and Muslims,” said another Hamas official, Salah Baradwil.

Hamas warned that the latest developments may augur the next “Palestinian intifada in Jerusalem.”

Islamic Jihad released an official statement on Thursday through its military wing, the Al-Quds Brigade, saying: “There is Zionist aggression against all of our people, and today the resistance responded to this attack. This is a natural right.”

“This attack is a strong response to the Israeli occupation, whose crimes are unable to break the resistance,” the organization said.

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad called on the Palestinian Authority to “halt its security coordination with Israel and to act in resistance in the West Bank.”

The two groups also praised the residents of east Jerusalem “for their fierce stance against the crimes of the occupation.”

“This is how Abu Mazen’s partners in government act, the same Abu Mazen who – only a few days ago – incited toward a terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Seven were wounded in the attack.

Missouri Democrat: My Biggest Enemy Is the President of the United States [The PJ Tatler]

Click here to view the embedded video.

The Missouri Torch reports that Democrat state Representative Ed Schieffer, a candidate for the Missouri state Senate, met with the Lincoln County Tea Party this week to ease any fears they might have that he would be taking orders from President Obama:

My biggest enemy in my election is not Jeanie Riddle. My biggest enemy is the President of the United States. My great, educated father knew that. He said, “Eddie, you don’t have to worry too much about the lady running against you. You need to worry about the liberal, overly liberal, President and Congress we have. That’s what you have to worry about.”

Almost sounds like you’re not talking to a Democrat, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, the president gave away the game when he explained to Al Sharpton’s radio listeners how this whole election season conversion switcheroo works:

The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress. So this isn’t about my feelings being hurt. These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me…I tell them…you do what you need to do to win.  I will be responsible for making sure that our voters turn out.

Though Mr. Schieffer won’t get a vote in Congress in the upcoming term, only time will tell if he goes back to sounding — and voting — like an Obama Democrat if he’s elected to the Missouri state senate.

Canadian PM Calls Attacker ‘Terrorist,’ Vows ‘We Will Not be Intimidated’ [The PJ Tatler]

Speaking for the first time since a gunman attacked parliament earlier today, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the week’s multiple assaults “a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.”

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, a reservist serving in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was shot and killed while guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Minutes later, a gunman opened fire inside the halls of parliament before he was shot to death by House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vicker.

The CBC reported that police confirmed a photo tweeted by an ISIS-associated account does depict gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. The Twitter account was suspended soon after the photo was posted.

His mother, Susan Bibeau, is deputy chairperson of the immigration division at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. His father is reportedly Libyan.

The Canada-born shooter was raised near Montreal and had brushes with the law on drug charges, robbery and making threats. Reuters cited U.S. officials saying Zehaf-Bibeau was a recent convert to Islam, and the Globe and Mail said his passport had been taken away by the Canadian government after he was designated a “high-risk traveler.”

Addressing the nation, Harper noted that “for the second time this week, there has been a brutal and violent attack on our soil.”

On Monday, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run over and killed “by an ISIL-inspired terrorist”: Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau.

“Fellow Canadians, in the days to come, we will learn more about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had,” Harper said of Zehaf-Bibeau. “…We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and on our institutions of governance are by their very nature, attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all.”

“But let there be no misunderstanding: We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” the prime minister continued. “In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home, just as it will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores. They will have no safe haven.”

“While today has been without question a difficult day, I have no doubt Canadians will pull together with the kind of firm solidarity that has seen our country through many challenges.”

President Obama called Harper earlier in the day, and the White House said it wouldn’t jump to conclusions on the motive behind the attack.

At a media availability when he sat down with new Ebola czar Ron Klain in the Oval Office today, Obama said, “Obviously, the situation there is tragic.”

“We don’t yet have all the information about what motivated the shooting. We don’t yet have all the information about whether this was part of a broader network or plan or whether this was an individual or series of individuals who decided to take these actions,” he said. “But it emphasizes the degree to which we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorism.”

Obama added that the U.S. and Canada are “entirely in sync” when it comes to “dealing with terrorist activity.”

“You know, every single day, we have a whole lot of really smart, really dedicated, really hardworking people, including a couple in this room, who are monitoring risks and making sure that we’re doing everything we need to do to protect the American people,” he said.

“And they don’t get a lot of fanfare. They don’t get a lot of attention. There are a lot of possible threats that are foiled or disrupted that don’t always get reported on.”

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement on the attacks: “The United States has faced this kind of violence firsthand on our own soil, and we grieve with Canada, seared by the memory of our own painful experiences.”

“I spoke tonight with Canadian Foreign Minister Baird to express our deepest condolences on this tragic day, and to pledge the full support of the United States to Canada as it works to determine the facts and to hold those accountable responsible,” Kerry said, adding the two countries would continue to work “together to counter violent extremism in North America and elsewhere around the world.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said he was “deeply troubled” by the attack.

“Even though many facts surrounding today’s attack remain unknown, it’s clear that those who cherish free and open societies must be constantly vigilant,” Royce said. “The U.S. and Canada must increase our already substantial counterterrorism cooperation.”

Fresh Out of Real Support in Texas, Wendy Davis Tweeps Steal Pic of College Republicans [The PJ Tatler]

Well, this is curious. Take a look at this tweet.

It’s a retweet of a Wendy Davis retweet, in which the Democrats’ fading hope to take Texas retweets a fan claiming that she and her friends all just turned out to vote for Wendy Davis


Only, they didn’t. The photo is actually of a bunch of College Republicans. In Virginia. They didn’t vote for Wendy Davis.

Funny thing, Wendy Davis has raised much of her campaign money outside Texas. Maybe her campaign staff think voters outside the state can make her governor?

As you can see, the original tweeter is a @Lisa_In_Austin.

Or, was.

Soldier, Murderer in Ottawa Shooting ID’d (Update: ISIS Posts Photo) [The PJ Tatler]

The soldier who was killed in today’s shooting rampage in Ottawa, Canada has been identified. He was Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. He was 24 years old.

The soldier that was killed was identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, according to his aunt. Cpl. Cirillo, who was a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, a regiment of Reserve Forces based in Hamilton, was training to join the Canada Border Services Agency, his aunt told The Globe and Mail.

“We’re still in the process of an active operation right now. We’re treating this very seriously with the RCMP in identifying and clearing Parliament Hill to render it safe,” Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau told a mid-afternoon media briefing.

The shooter who was killed has also been identified. His name was Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32. Witnesses report that he was wearing a black jump suit and a white scarf during the attack. According to reports, he drove up to the National War Memorial of Canada and shot Cirillo in the chest. He then made his way into the parliament building nearby and opened fire inside, where the sergeant-at-arms killed him. Reports of a third shooting at a nearby mall turned out not to be true.

Canadian police continue to search for other gunmen.

Update: Zehaf-Bibeau is reportedly of Algerian descent, and was recently designated a “high-risk” traveler by Candada’s government. His passport had reportedly been seized. Canada recently announced that it would revoke passports of anyone found to be trying to support ISIS.

Update: And then there’s this — ISIS has posted what it claims is a photo of the murderer during the attack.

Why Is President Obama Running Around the Country Kissing Women? [The PJ Tatler]

Click here to view the embedded video.

CNN reported on Tuesday:

The woman who voted next to President Barack Obama on Monday says she was “embarrassed and just shocked,” after her fiancé jokingly told him “Mr. President, don’t touch my girlfriend.”

Casting his ballot in Chicago on Monday, Obama stood at a voting booth next to Aia Cooper, whose fiancé, Mike Jones, decided to crack wise with the president, which prompted Obama to reply with “I really wasn’t planning on it,” before adding that Jones was “an example of a brother just embarrassing you for no reason.”

In an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin Tuesday afternoon, Cooper said she was “embarrassed and just shocked” after hearing her fiancé comments. “I was just shaking,” she said.

CNN reported that Obama “got back at Jones” when he finished voting, “with a hug and a kiss for his fiancée.”

“On the cheek, just the cheek — please, Michelle, don’t come after me — just the cheek!” Cooper told CNN affiliate WLS-TV after voting.

“Now, he’s really jealous,” Obama told Cooper.

All these years we thought ogling the women was supposed to be Joe Biden’s gig.


If this was just a one-off, we might be tempted to ignore it because ISIS is advancing, midterm elections are right around the corner, and everyone is stockpiling hand sanitizer and hazmat suits in the event of an Ebola outbreak in their area. But this wasn’t a one-off.

Which brings us to the second presidential kissing incident.

Last week when talking about the potential of an Ebola epidemic in the United States, President Obama tried to reassure the folks by saying that he had visited the hospital in Atlanta where Ebola patient Amber Vinson was being treated.

“I shook hands with, hugged, and kissed, not the doctors, but a couple of the nurses at Emory because of the valiant work that they did,” Obama said. “In treating one of the patients, they followed the protocols, they knew what they were doing, and I felt perfectly safe doing so.”

Before we move on to the kissing part, it’s worth mentioning that Obama was not actually at Emory when Amber Vincent was being treated there. In fact, he visited on September 16, a full 26 days after the second American missionary being treated for Ebola had been discharged from the hospital and nearly a week after any medical personnel who had treated her would have been at risk of contracting the deadly disease.

Besides the fact that Obama went out of his way to say that he kissed only the nurses and not the doctors (is that sexist or homophobic or both?), the whole notion of the president bragging about kissing people while talking about a deadly infectious virus seems not only ill-advised, but very strange.

Have you been to a hospital lately? Nobody should be kissing anybody there. Everywhere you look there are vats of hand sanitizer and warnings about washing hands and disinfection protocols. The places are crawling with germs — staph infections, MRSA, C. diff and, especially this time of year, the flu.

Ferguson: Autopsy Consistent With Struggle, Not Surrender (Update: Hallucinations?) [The PJ Tatler]

Minutes before he was killed by Ferguson, MO police Officer Darren Wilson, Michael Brown stole about $43 worth of Swisher Sweets cigars from a convenience store.

As Tatler reported at the time, an examination of Brown’s social media strongly hinted that the teenager was a marijuana user and that he stole the cigars in order to use them to smoke pot.

An official autopsy of Brown confirms that he was a pot user. He had THC in his system at the time of his altercation with Wilson. The autopsy also suggests that Brown was fighting with, or attacking, Officer Wilson when he was shot.

The official autopsy on Michael Brown shows that he was shot in the hand at close range, according to an analysis of the findings by two experts not involved directly in the case.

The accompanying toxicology report shows he had been using marijuana.

Those documents, prepared by the St. Louis County medical examiner and obtained by the Post-Dispatch, provide the most detailed description to date of the wounds Brown sustained in a confrontation Aug. 9 with Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.

A source with knowledge of Wilson’s statements said the officer had told investigators that Brown had struggled for Wilson’s pistol inside a police SUV and that Wilson had fired the gun twice, hitting Brown once in the hand. Later, Wilson fired additional shots that killed Brown and ignited a national controversy.

The St. Louis medical examiner, Dr. Michael Graham, who is not part of the official investigation, reviewed the autopsy report for the newspaper. He said Tuesday that it “does support that there was a significant altercation at the car.”

If Brown had had has hands up in surrender, as some witnesses claimed, how could he have gotten shot in the hand?

Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco, said the autopsy “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.” She added, “If he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he’s going for the officer’s gun.”

Reaching for an officer’s firearm, not surrendering. And acting under the influence of drugs, not a choirboy headed to college as some have portrayed him.

In addition, blood may have been found on Wilson’s gun, another indication that that there was a close-up fight.

The autopsy’s findings support theories that Brown believed that Wilson intended to arrest him for the convenience store theft when the officer came upon Brown and a friend walking down the middle of a street, disrupting traffic. If Brown believed his arrest was imminent, and he was on marijuana which impaired his judgement, he may have lashed out at Wilson to resist arrest and get away. If so, that was a fatal mistake.

Update: This is huge, from the Washington Post.

Jurors have also been provided with the St. Louis County autopsy report, including toxicology test results for Brown that show he had levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. The Post’s sources said the levels in Brown’s body may have been high enough to trigger hallucinations.

Little Girls F-Bomb the Internet, Social Media Goes Wild [The PJ Tatler]

Click here to view the embedded video.

Serious content warning. Serious enough that the original video was pulled from YouTube.

There’s a great episode of Modern Family in which Cam and Mitchell have to explain to their four year old daughter Lily that she can’t use the f-word. Every time Lily drops the f-bomb, Cam starts compulsively laughing, making it very hard to convince the child that using the f-word is inappropriate. Horrified, Mitchell rebukes Cam throughout the episode until Lily drops a big, fat f-bomb while standing in front of a church full of people, dressed as a flower girl in a wedding party. At that point everyone laughs. Point being: Adults get a perverse kick out of watching innocent little kids use bad words.

It’s probably why Will Ferrell made a series of videos for Funny or Die featuring his creative partner Adam McKay’s toddler daughter repeating loads of foul, inappropriate language in adult-like scenarios. Commenting on his child’s foul-mouthed role, McKay remarked:

“Fortunately she is in this great stage now where she repeats anything you say to her and then forgets it right away, which is key,” says McKay, who has two daughters by his wife of 11 years, actress Shira Piven (Jeremy’s sister).

Adds McKay, “She has not said the B-word since we shot the thing.”

Rumor had it that the videos ceased production once the toddler was old enough to realize what she was saying and repeat it.

Adults find kids cursing to be funny. The younger the kid, the better. So, when FCKH8 decided to have a load of little girls dress up as princesses and drop the f-bomb all over the Internet, they basically decided to give adults everywhere (except those with some sense of moral fiber) a laugh.

And mock feminism at the same time.

I laugh at the War on Women mythology quite frequently. The idea that beauty is somehow associated with helplessness, that abortion translates to career equality, and the whole 77 cents-to-a-dollar thing all really tickle my funny bone. But I do take feminism seriously. And I wonder, if the folks at FCKH8 really took feminism seriously, would they have chosen to market it by employing one of the gags that makes adults laugh the most?

Apparently, FCKH8′s real goal is to say American Feminism, with it’s slavish attachment to the War on Women is a complete joke best understood by those with the intellect of a 5 year old. Which is a shame, both for FCKH8 and American feminism, because, for the women facing real issues of inequality and gender-based persecution, feminism is no laughing matter.

White House Trying to Determine If Canada Attack was Terrorism [The PJ Tatler]

The White House said it’s “in close touch” with Canadian counterparts after today’s deadly shooting at the National War Memorial in Ottawa and at parliament.

Most of the member of the House of Commons and the Senate were on Parliament Hill for caucus day. The buildings went into lockdown and were slowly being cleared as authorities tried to determine if there were any more shooters.

The attack came two days after two Canadian Armed Forces members from Canadian Forces Base Saint-Jean Garrison were run down in a car driven by, in the words of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, “a man who, according to our national security services, had become radicalized.”

Harper was scheduled to host a Q&A session today at a school in Toronto with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who lives under constant threat from the Taliban. He was also going to grant honorary Canadian citizenship to the Pakistani teen.

President Obama called Harper today to “express the American people’s solidarity with Canada” in both Monday’s attack and today’s attack.

“President Obama condemned these outrageous attacks, and reaffirmed the close friendship and alliance between our people,” said a White House readout of the phone call. “The president offered any assistance Canada needed in responding to these attacks. Prime Minister Harper thanked the president and the two leaders discussed the assault and agreed to continue coordination between our governments moving forward.”

In the latest issue of its magazine Dabiq, ISIS faulted “crusader” media for making lone wolf attacks “appear to be random killings” and encouraged attacks on citizens from “crusader” countries.

“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be,” stated the magazine article. “Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling.”

The attacks also came as al-Qaeda released a new 117-page slick English-language magazine, Resurgence, which is largely geared toward its new southeast Asia chapter.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama was briefed earlier today in the Oval Office by his top homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco.

“The details about the nature of this event are still sketchy, which is not unusual in a chaotic situation like this one,” Earnest said.

“Canada is one of the closest friends and allies of the United States. And from issues ranging from the strength of our NATO alliance to the Ebola response to dealing with ISIL, there’s a strong partnership and friendship and alliance between the United States and Canada. The United States strongly values that relationship, and that relationship makes the citizens of this country safer.”

Earnest said he was “not in a position to render a judgment… at this point” on whether Canada was the victim of a terrorist attack.

“There’s no conclusion like that that I’m able to share with you at this point, but we’re obviously in the very early stages of determining what exactly happened here. And as I mentioned, a number of U.S. officials in this government have been in touch with their Canadian counterparts to offer some assistance as they respond to and deal with this tragic situation,” he said, adding he was “not aware” of any change to the threat status in the U.S.

“The United States has been in touch with Canadian counterparts over the last several months to talk about this issue of countering violent extremism and trying to deter foreign fighters who could be radicalized by ISIL. ISIL has demonstrated a capacity to use social media and other aspects of modern technology to try to radicalize citizens in other countries,” Earnest continued.

“…The circumstances around today’s tragic events in Canada are still unknown, but that is a concern that the United States has been focused on for quite some time. We’ve been talking to other countries about steps that we can take in coordination to mitigate that threat, and Canada is one of the countries that has been robustly engaged in those efforts.”

Though Capitol Police are said to be monitoring the developments in Canada, U.S. lawmakers are out of town until after midterm elections.

The State Department said the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa was under lockdown and “restricting the movement of embassy personnel as a precautionary measure.”

Secretary of State John Kerry was briefed on the attack while flying, spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

When asked if there was a tie to the Islamic State, Harf interjected, “I don’t even want to speculate. It’s way too early.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN “there’s been chatter for some time.”

“ISIS encouraging people to undertake self-radicalized attacks, low-tech or high-tech, they don’t care as long as western targets are gone after. We don’t know yet… whether this was a terrorist-inspired attack. But if it was, it’s certainly consistent with what ISIS has been urging,” Schiff said. “So I think FBI taking some prudent steps today to raise alert among the FBI offices and make sure either from a copycat attack perspective or because of this chatter it’s a very prudent step.”

“…Intelligence is really our best defense against something like this, but even intel, obviously, isn’t perfect.”

UPDATE 5:30 p.m. EST: An ISIS-associated account tweeted a purported photo of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, reportedly the shooter killed by parliament Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers. It’s not a new account and tweets an extensive amount of jihadi news, yet didn’t elaborate when pressed for more information about the photo — particularly who took it. The account was suspended minutes after PJM took this screenshot.

The photo is not verified, yet does not conflict with witness accounts:

An Ottawa Citizen reporter inside the Parliament building, Jordan Press, wrote on Twitter that a suspect was ’5’9-5’10, overweight & wearing a dark jacket’. 

Witnesses also told the Citizen that they saw a man wearing an ‘Arabic scarf’ and carrying a long rifle, while others said the suspect looked South American. 

Scott Walsh, who was working on Parliament Hill, told CBC that he saw a man running with a shotgun, wearing a scarf and blue jeans.

…Those who saw the shooter at the War Memorial say that he had dark hair, a dark complexion and a scarf on his head and was armed with a rifle.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 5.19.35 PM

NBC Cameraman Beats Ebola [The PJ Tatler]

Freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo is now Ebola-free.


It’s still not clear how Mukpo came with with the virus. He may have contracted it when he was cleaning a car in which a person infected with the virus had ridden.

Mukpo received a blood transfusion from Dr. Kent Brantly, the American missionary who also survived the disease thanks in part to a blood transfusion that he received from a fellow Ebola survivor. Brantly has also donated blood to Dallas nurse Nina Pham, one of the two nurses who got Ebola from Thomas Eric Duncan.

Another Senator Accuses Democrat-Led Senate of Sexism [The PJ Tatler]

First it was Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, using her book to describe sexist behavior aimed at her in the US Senate. Gillibrand failed to name names, leading to the obvious conclusion that the Democratic senator was talking about fellow Democrats. If the perps were Republicans, Gillibrand would have named them, shamed them, and maybe even Bob Packwooded them.

In the end, Gillibrand blamed a dead Democrat, the late Sen. Daniel Inoue. Whether that was true or not, it certainly took a difficult story for Democrats off the media’s radar.  Try as they might, the media can’t credibly blame anything Inoue did or didn’t do on any Republican, or even the Democrats who currently run the Senate.

Today it’s Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), accusing unnamed senators of behaving boorishly, according to CNN.

During a wide-ranging interview on the Colorado campaign trail—where she was stumping for endangered incumbent Sen. Mark Udall—CNN asked Warren whether she had experienced any different treatment as a woman. “Yes,” she said. Would she elaborate? “Nope.” But was it surprising? “Not really, I wish it were,” she told CNN. “But it’s hard to change these big, male dominated institutions. What I am very happy about is that there are now enough women in the United States Senate to bring change to that place and I think that’s just powerfully important.” There are now 20 women in the senate.

Warren didn’t want to talk specifics, or how the different treatment manifested itself. “I’ve said all I am going to say,” ending that part of the conversation.

Well, we can all infer what’s going on here. If the culprit or culprits were Republicans, Warren, false Indian and darling of the far left, would not hesitate to name them and call them out. No doubt about it. Her accusation would resurrect the phony “war on women” with less than two weeks to go before the election.

So the culprits must be Warren’s fellow Democrats. That’s why she has said all she’ll say about it.

Amicus Grief [Judge John Hodgman]


Will brings the case against his friend Moby. Moby has constructed a "friendship and acquaintance theory" that helps her navigate the relationships in her life. She's entirely upfront about which people in her life are acquaintances, and which are friends. She says it helps her maintain better relationships. Will thinks Moby has gone overboard with the theory, and it's alienating her from other people. Who's right? Who's wrong?

Too Much in Common [KCRW's Martini Shot]

Rob learns the difference between new, old, and really old. It?s okay to be new and to be really old. In the middle, not so much.

Local Hire [KCRW's Martini Shot]

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

Halloween-themed Humble Bundle offers cheap, spooky games [PCWorld]

There are plenty of cool Halloween-themed Android games, but a new offer from the Humble Bundle can get you even more spooky gaming on the cheap.

This week’s gaming discount starts with Oscura: Second Shadow, zombie apocalypse game Rebuild, and Containment: The Zombie Puzzler. You can pay any amount you wish and the games are yours. In the Play Store they’re currently $3.50, $3, and $2, respectively.

If you pay more than the average contribution for the bundle, which is currently sitting around $3, you get the quirky Five Nights at Freddy’s, strategy game The Walking Dead: Assault and zombie shooter Dead Effect Premium.

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

Android Wear continues to evolve with support for local music storage and GPS [PCWorld]

Google is rolling out an Android Wear update that adds features for local music storage and on-board GPS tracking—two nifty tricks that will let you leave your smartphone at home when it’s time for that epic jog. The new features are welcome, but you’ll have to wait for a few puzzles pieces to slide into place before you can begin using them.

Announced in a Thursday blog post, Android Wear 4.4W.2 adds support for GPS tech built directly into watches. This will allow you to track data points like distance, speed, and mapping when you’re out for a run, all without packing along your cumbersome smartphone.

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

Amazon Web Services opens German location to ease privacy concerns [PCWorld]

In a move to help extinguish European and especially German privacy concerns, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has opened a location in Frankfurt.

In Europe, Amazon has up to now offered its cloud services from Ireland only. Meanwhile, there were many German businesses that indicated they wanted to use more of Amazon’s services, but would not do so until Amazon had infrastructure in Germany, according to Andy Jassy, senior vice president at Amazon Web Services.

Revelations about U.S. government snooping have been a hot topic for European and especially German CIOs this year. The CIOs appear to feel that their data would be safer if stored on servers in Germany.

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

What Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg said in Mandarin that so impressed the Chinese [PCWorld]

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg stunned many Chinese on Thursday, not with a new Facebook feature, but because he spoke and answered questions in Mandarin for almost half an hour.

Zuckerberg gave a talk in Chinese at Tsinghua University on Wednesday, and later posted a recording of the event to his Facebook page. The video quickly spread online, generating much surprise and praise from local Internet users.

“Such an awesome person is learning Chinese, why is my own English so bad,” wrote one user on Chinese social networking site Sina Weibo.

Zuckerberg spoke with a strong accent, but handled the language confidently enough to impress the Chinese. Increasingly, executives from the biggest tech companies in the world are visiting the country, but rarely do they speak in Mandarin, let alone for such a long period, or field questions from the audience.

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

AT&T bundles $1 Amazon Fire phone with $49 Fire HDX tablet [PCWorld]

Amazon’s Fire phone can’t get any cheaper than free, so AT&T is doing the next best thing and bundling it with a cheap Amazon tablet.

Starting tomorrow, AT&T customers can get an Amazon Fire HDX tablet for $49—a $130 discount—with the purchase of a Fire phone, which costs just $0.99 on a two-year contract. The deal will last until November 20, according to The Digital Reader .

Amazon’s Fire phone launched in July for $200 on-contract, but had its price slashed to a dollar last month in response to weak sales. Without a contract, the phone costs $449.

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

Akamai sees record-setting spikes in size and volume of DDoS attacks [PCWorld]

The size and volume of distributed denial-of-service attacks has exploded in the past year, with a 389 percent increase in average attack bandwidth between the third quarter of 2013 and the third quarter of 2014, according to an Internet security report from Akamai Technologies.

This should make companies consider using cloud-based security services, such as the DDoS filtering technology Akamai provides, said John Summers, vice president of the company’s security business unit.

During the past quarter, Akamai defended against 17 DDoS attacks flooding targets with traffic greater than 100 Gbps, with the largest at 321 Gbps, the cloud services vendor said in its Q3 2014 State of the Internet report, released Thursday.

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New rumors of Microsoft wearable include FCC filing, mystery watch on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. [PCWorld]

The details keep rolling in on Microsoft’s upcoming fitness band, which will likely be announced within a few weeks.

A new filing with the Federal Communications Commission describes a “mobile wireless device” that comes in small, medium and large sizes, according to Windows Phone Daily. The filing says the circuitry is the same inside each device, suggesting that the size differences are merely meant to fit a wide variety of wrists.

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BrandPost: Making the most of meetings [PCWorld]

You won’t find a single facet of corporate America that’s more resoundingly despised than meetings. Progressive companies have taken note, and they’re taking steps to make meetings less reviled, better attended and more productive. Want to make better use of the hours your company spends in meetings? Try some of these tips.

Cancel as Many Meetings as Possible

The “weekly meeting” is an easy crutch for managers who want to check in with their staff on a regular basis, but employers have a real need for updates about what’s going on in the office. A meeting isn’t always the best way to do that. Try using tech tools to take the place of meetings – project management software, in-house wikis, and simple communications software like instant messaging and group text chats can be used to keep everyone on the same page without having to herd them into a conference room. For remote personnel, consider a videoconferencing solution to keep them in the loop.

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BrandPost: Do employers need to chase IT certifications? [PCWorld]

Innovations in business technology are driving demand for IT professionals with certifications that prove an area of expertise. Certifications cover specific knowledge around a technology unlike computer science degrees, often criticized as too general and impractical. Meanwhile, evolving technologies like cloud, big data, mobile and enhanced security requirements are creating the need for new credentialing programs. All of this has created an environment where employers have to think carefully about which certifications to chase and how hard.

Adding to the confusion is the alphabet soup of certifications. According to the IT Certification Master website, there are currently over 1900 certifications available across almost 170 credentialing bodies covering general hardware, operating systems, cloud computing, networking and security.

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Google Now gets solar eclipse tips and crime alerts [PCWorld]

Google Now's march into every corner of your life continues, as it's now dealing out cards for local crime alerts and solar eclipses. 

The crime notifications are a little geographically challenged at the moment, as our editor-in-chief found one in his feed for Lafayette, Calif., despite not living in that city. Given the public safety angle, however, Google has probably built in a pretty wide radius for alerting people to especially nefarious activity like this armed robbery.

google now police activity

Along with basketball scores and TV recommendations you can now find out about the latest armed robbery in Google Now.

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Vintage Apple-1 computer sells for a record $905,000 [PCWorld]

This article originally appeared on Computerworld.com.

A 38-year-old working Apple-1 personal computer sold Wednesday at auction for a record $905,000, almost double the auctioneer’s high-end estimate.

The aged Apple-1—the first pre-assembled personal computer, although it lacked such amenities as power supply, keyboard or display—was sold by auction house Bonhams in New York to The Ford Foundation, which will put it on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.

The final gavel price was $750,000, but including Bonhams’ commission of $175,000 and taxes, the total was $905,000. That easily beat the record of $671,000 for another working Apple-1, set in May 2013.

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German publishers capitulate and let Google post news snippets -- for now [PCWorld]

German publishers said they are bowing to Google’s market power, and will allow the search engine powerhouse to show news snippets in search results free of charge, at least for the time being.

The decision is a step in an ongoing legal dispute between the publishers and Google. Publishers are trying to get compensation from the search engine for republishing parts of their content. Google however, refuses to share revenue with the publishers.

The move follows a Google decision earlier this month to stop using news snippets and thumbnails for some well-known German news sitess of Thursday. Google said it that as of Thursday it would just show a link to a story along with the headline, to avoid legal risks. However, the publishers, represented by copyright collective VG Media, said on Wednesday that they are being forced to give Google the “revocable” right to republish their content due to Google’s “overwhelming market power.” This “extraordinary step” was made to prevent revenue losses for the publishers, VG Media said.

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Chromebook shipments skyrocket as Microsoft unleashes counterattack [PCWorld]

Google-centric Chromebooks are turning out to be a big deal and they’re only getting bigger. Shipments of laptops running Chrome OS increased 67 percent in the third quarter of 2014 compared to the previous quarter, according to market research firm ABI Research.

A big jump like that should be expected, however, when comparing a spring-summer selling period to the back-to-school season. What’s really interesting is that ABI expects Chromebook shipments to double in size for 2014 compared to 2013. ABI also predicts that North America will account for 78 percent of worldwide Chromebook sales for 2014.

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Nvidia brings one of the the GTX 980's best new features to older graphics cards [PCWorld]

Nvidia is bringing “Dynamic Super Resolution” to older graphics cards, letting users enjoy 4K-like visual smoothness on 1080p displays.

Dynamic Super Resolution, or DSR, is one of the main features of Nvidia's latest GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 processors, based on the company's Maxwell architecture. A new driver update brings the same feature to Fermi- and Kepler-based GeForce GTX 500, 600, and 700 series cards.

With DSR, Nvidia essentially runs the game at a higher resolution in the GPU's frame buffer, then downsamples the image to match the monitor's native resolution. Nvidia also applies Gaussian filter aliasing to eliminate some of the artifacts that are typically associated with downsampling. All told, Dynamic Super Resolution makes image crisper than they appear at native resolution, though the smoothing effect is most pronounced in narrow objects such as blades of grass—especially when in motion. 

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Do the research before you upgrade your RAM [PCWorld]

Hoping to speed up his PC, Elijah Kinch Spector (yes, we’re related) asked about adding more RAM.

The amount of Random Access Memory (RAM) in your PC may or may not be the machine’s major bottleneck. But it will likely speed things up, and it’s easier to install than an SSD, which requires you to move your operating system and other files.

But you have to know not only what kind of RAM your PC can take, but also how much of it.

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

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Abandoned subdomains pose security risk for businesses [PCWorld]

Many companies set up subdomains for use with external services, but then forget to disable them when they stop using those services, creating a loophole for attackers to exploit.

Because many service providers don’t properly validate the ownership of subdomains pointed at their servers, attackers can set up new accounts and abuse subdomains forgotten by companies by claiming them as their own.

Removing or updating DNS entries for subdomains that are no longer actively used sounds like something that should be common procedure, but according to researchers from Detectify, a Stockholm-based provider of website security scanning services, this type of oversight is actually quite widespread among companies.

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More Beats than Spotify: Microsoft to kill free Xbox Music streaming [PCWorld]

The free, ad-supported music streaming party is over, at least for Microsoft. The company recently announced that effective December 1, Xbox Music’s free tier will be retired. Anyone who wants to use Xbox Music after that date will have to pony up for Xbox Music Pass, the company’s $10 per month subscription offering.

The impact on you at home: For Xbox Music listeners, it means you won’t be able to stream music for free anymore via the built-in Music app in Windows 8.1. If you purchased music from Microsoft’s Xbox Music storefront those tracks will still be available across your devices, and since they’re DRM-free you can even take them with you to another service or app. Playlists, collections, and radio stations will cease to work without a Music Pass subscription. You can still view your created playlists inside Microsoft’s apps and the web version—you just can’t listen to them without paying for a monthly subscription.

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Why Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn's humble changes are the calm before the storm [PCWorld]

Ubuntu 14.10—or “Utopic Unicorn”—is now out. It’s a standard release of Ubuntu, not a long term support release like 14.04 “Trusty Tahir,” and at first glance Utopic isn’t the most exciting update. It doesn’t even have new wallpaper! But peer a little closer and you’ll see some huge changes being worked on for Ubuntu. In fact, the alterations are such a massive undertaking that they’re not yet stable enough to be part of the main Ubuntu desktop image.

Massive changes are coming for Ubuntu. Utopic Unicorn is the calm before the storm—and it signifies just how mature the Linux ecosystem has become in recent years.

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Sony Xperia Z3v review: Verizon gets the exclusive on this Xperia Z2 do-over [PCWorld]

You know how you sometimes look back to the past and wish you could have done something in your life differently? Sony sort of pulled the same schtick with its new flagship, the Xperia Z3v. The Xperia Z2 was supposed to be its big flagship phone of the year, but this new phone is making us wonder why it didn’t just wait to release this instead.

Hopefully you didn’t just buy the Xperia Z2, because the Z3v is just a bit better in every way—and it’s exclusive to Verizon, a carrier other than T-Mobile, which the company has been tied to at the hip all this time. Its powerful hardware and neat bundled features are also a perfect example of what Sony is capable of when it takes its time with a product.

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Papers, Please creator's new game invokes Mac Plus era [PCWorld]

It's safe to say I loved Papers, Please. I recommend the game incessantly whenever I come across someone who hasn't played through the pseudo-Eastern Bloc immigration agent simulator. It even won PCWorld's 2013 Game of the Year award.

So when I heard Papers, Please creator Lucas Pope had put out a demo of his new project? I might've rubbed my hands together and grinned with all the fervor I typically reserve for eating a juicy strip steak.

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BrandPost: VoIP Basics Part 3: Voice and Data Working Together [PCWorld]

In my last post, we talked about packet vs. analog communication. In this post, I outline how VoIP technology enables voice and data to work together and the requirements IT should consider when incorporating VoIP.

Voice packets by their nature tend to be very large and require a high degree of quality. When voice packets are added to an existing data-intense network, bandwidth (capacity) can suffer. When data drops out of an application, the program does not work right. When voice packets fall by the wayside, conversations don’t sound right. It is very important for modern IP networks to ensure that VoIP is provided the appropriate amount of bandwidth to support all of the corporate voice and data applications. VoIP services.

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Apple ending SSL 3.0 push notifications in wake of severe POODLE vulnerability [PCWorld]

Apple will stop support next week for an encryption protocol found to contain a severe vulnerability, the company said on Wednesday.

Support for SSL 3.0 will cease as of Oct. 29, it said.

“Providers using only SSL 3.0 will need to support TLS as soon as possible to ensure the Apple Push Notification service continues to perform as expected,” according to a note to developers. “Providers that support both TLS and SSL 3.0 will not be affected and require no changes.”

Google researchers revealed last week they found a flaw in SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) version 3.0, which was released more than 15 years ago. SSL has been replaced by TLS (Transport Layer Security), but the old versions are still used by some servers across the Internet and are supported by web browsers.

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Civilization: Beyond Earth review: Absolutely stellar [PCWorld]

I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Here I am, turn 210. A mere two centuries ago I landed on this planet with naught but a handful of colonists, a rudimentary understanding of the Habitation technology, and the means to stake out a better future for humanity.

That original colony is unrecognizable now. In the years since we first set foot upon these barren, rocky lands, we've built up a massive trading empire that's the envy of the entire planet. Our small home-away-from-home has become a mass of skyscrapers, and it's but the centerpiece to a civilization that contains three healthy and happy cities. Our treasury is filled with excess energy which we can use to outright buy units or new buildings when the sweat of our brow won't do. Because everyone likes a little more money in their pockets, our traders have managed to finagle friendly relations with more than half the colonies on this forsaken world.

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Wi-Fi predicts how long the security line will be at Austin airport [PCWorld]

The Internet can ease travel concerns in many ways, including flight-delay information, maps of road congestion, and ride-sharing apps. But a Wi-Fi network at the Austin, Texas, airport can now answer one of the great unknowns: How long will I have to wait in line at security?

That information is available thanks to fairly simple technology implemented on a Cisco Systems network run by global Wi-Fi provider Boingo Wireless. It’s an early example of how the so-called Internet of Things can make some parts of life easier.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport got the nation’s first airport Wi-Fi network in 2000, according to Boingo, which has run the airport’s Wi-Fi since 2008. Now it’s become one of the first airports to implement Passpoint, the standard that lets users of some devices get on networks and roam between them without entering a username and password. The Cisco network that supports Passpoint can also use location technologies for additional services.

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Twitter weaves Fabric, but will developers be drawn in? [PCWorld]

To identity Twitter solely as a micro-blogging service could be to do it a disservice. The company wants to be much more to developers building mobile apps, and at its Flight conference on Wednesday it welcomed them in.

Twitter unveiled Fabric on Wednesday, a broad software development kit aimed at helping developers build, grow and monetize their mobile apps. It includes tools for crash reporting, app log-ins, embedding and sharing Twitter posts, and measuring ad effectiveness.

The free SDK, more than a year in the making, could usher in a wave of rich apps with more tie-ins to Twitter. Its major components include Crashlytics, Twitter’s crash-reporting system; a tool called Digits that lets users log in with a phone number instead of a password; and easier ways to embed Twitter content in apps and post to Twitter across iOS and Android.

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HP gives Moonshot server its first Xeon chip [PCWorld]

If Hewlett-Packard’s Moonshot server doesn’t pan out, it won’t be for lack of trying.

Its engineers have been hard at work this year adding various different CPU options for Moonshot, which uses a novel design to reduce energy and space requirements and is a big part of CEO Meg Whitman’s effort to get HP back on track.

Just last month, HP released a Moonshot system with a 64-bit ARM processor, becoming the first vendor to offer such a chip in a server. And on Thursday HP released its first Moonshot server with an Intel Xeon chip.

The company already offered a version with Intel’s low-power Atom processor, and Xeon now provides an option for customers who want a bit more compute muscle.

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What you need to know about new zero day that hits most supported Windows versions [PCWorld]

Microsoft issued a security advisory this week with details of a zero day vulnerability that affects every supported version of the Windows operating system with the exception of Windows Server 2003. The flaw is very similar to the OLE vulnerability patched earlier this month, which was linked to the Sandworm cyber espionage campaign.

Like the vulnerability in MS14-060, this new flaw is exploited through the use of a malicious Microsoft Office file that contains an OLE object. If successfully exploited, the flaw could allow an attacker to execute malicious code remotely on the vulnerable system, with the rights and privileges of the currently logged in user.

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Australian ISP stands up to filmmakers hunting pirates [PCWorld]

The producer of Oscar-winning film “Dallas Buyers Club” has taken its hunt for pirates of the film to Australia, after filing a barrage of antipiracy lawsuits in the U.S. But at least one Australian Internet service provider is pushing back out of concern that the movie producer aims to intimidate its customers into paying excessive damages.

“In plain terms, Dallas Buyers Club wants the names and contact details of our customers they believe may have illegally shared their film,” said iiNet, one of the affected ISPs on Wednesday.

In order to identify possible culprits, the company Dallas Buyers Club, which owns the rights to the movie of that name, applied to the Australian Federal Court last week to get five ISPs to reveal details about their customers. It has already used the tactic in the U.S. to identify potential pirates.

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HP’s rumored 'Sprout PC' sure sounds similar to this oddball printer from 2011 [PCWorld]

It was a scanner on a stick that could take 3D-like images of objects. It sat atop a printer that went to market three years ago. And it came to mind immediately when I heard of the so-called Sprout PC, which Recode is saying HP will announce next week.

According to a Tuesday Recode story, “The [Sprout] combines a large flat-screen display…with a flat touch-enabled work surface and an overhead assembly that combines a projector and a 3-D scanner.”

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Panasonic tries tablet service for assisted living homes [PCWorld]

If you’re worried about a loved one languishing in an assisted living home, Panasonic has a tablet service to keep you connected.

The electronics giant’s North American arm is launching a “telehealth” service designed to put users in contact with loved ones and caregivers as well as generate reminders. It’s meant to keep users socially engaged while promoting their independence.

The On4Today service will feature tablets that provide daily reminders, both visually and aurally, for elderly users who may suffer dementia and cannot remember appointments easily, which can be a source of anxiety.

“As the aging population is increasing, there is a growing need and increasing demand for healthcare solutions that are flexible,” Bob Dobbins, Vice President, New Business Development, wrote in an email.

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About Ferguson, the Post Says: Oops, Never Mind [Power Line]

(John Hinderaker)

Yesterday the Washington Post reported on leaks from the grand jury investigating the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as recently-released autopsy results. The bottom line is that the evidence, including both eyewitness testimony and physical evidence, supports the conclusion that officer Darren Wilson acted in self-defense:

Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown fought for control of the officer’s gun, and Wilson fatally shot the unarmed teenager after he moved toward the officer as they faced off in the street, according to interviews, news accounts and the full report of the St. Louis County autopsy of Brown’s body. …

Some of the physical evidence — including blood spatter analysis, shell casings and ballistics tests — also supports Wilson’s account of the shooting, The Post’s sources said, which cast Brown as an aggressor who threatened the officer’s life….

Experts told the newspaper that Brown was first shot at close range and may have been reaching for Wilson’s weapon while the officer was still in his vehicle and Brown was standing at the driver’s side window. The autopsy found material “consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm” in a wound on Brown’s thumb, the autopsy says.

Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco who reviewed the report for the Post-Dispatch, said it “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.”

Melinek, who is not involved in the investigation, said the autopsy did not support those who claim Brown was attempting to flee or surrender when Wilson shot him in the street.

None of this should be surprising. It was always highly unlikely that the police officer gunned down Brown for no apparent reason. I was, however, a little taken aback by this:

Jurors have also been provided with the St. Louis County autopsy report, including toxicology test results for Brown that show he had levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. The Post’s sources said the levels in Brown’s body may have been high enough to trigger hallucinations.

Reefer madness? Perhaps so: marijuana is reportedly much more potent today than it was decades ago, when it gained the reputation of being relatively harmless. Hallucinations aside, Brown appeared belligerent on video as he was robbing a convenience store a few minutes before his encounter with Officer Wilson, and it appears that his belligerence may have carried over to that fatal incident.

This is unfortunate, to say the least, but not surprising:

Seven or eight African American eyewitnesses have provided testimony consistent with Wilson’s account, but none of them have spoken publicly out of fear for their safety, The Washington Post’s sources said.

A lot of money and power are at stake in false liberal narratives like the Michael Brown story, and truth can’t be allowed to stand in the way.

Why is this information finally coming out now? Because the grand jury that has been hearing evidence will soon conclude, in all likelihood, that Officer Wilson should not be criminally charged. The current publicity is intended to prepare the public for that result:

Tim Fitch, a former St. Louis County police chief, said there are benefits to leaking crucial information to the public ahead of a grand jury announcement.

“I think it’s good to get some accurate information out there. That way on game day, it’s not a surprise to people,” said Fitch, who retired last year from the county police department, which is conducting the investigation into Wilson.

Still, I fault the Ferguson Police Department for its handling of the Brown affair. While Darren Wilson can’t be blamed for not wanting to make public statements while he was subject to a criminal investigation, I think the police department could have released more information so as to make it clear that Wilson believed he acted reasonably in self-defense, and why the department shared that belief. Michael Brown mythology has been circulating for so long that at this point, it won’t be possible to eradicate it.

Off to Italy [Power Line]

(Paul Mirengoff)

I’ll be in Southern Italy for the next ten days. I don’t expect to blog while there.

I’ll be back in time for the election. In the meantime, John, Scott, and Steve will keep everyone fired up. I look forward to reading their coverage.

GOP election prospects look good to me. The old cliche would have it that 12 days is a lifetime in politics. That’s not true, but it’s enough time for a few key races to swing in favor of the Democrats or (perhaps more likely) the Republicans.

One thing I know for sure: My ten days in Italy will go by very fast.

Dems at work [Power Line]

(Scott Johnson)

Democrats protect illegal voters as though they are a core constituency of the party, and they promote arrangements that facilitate voter fraud as though fraud is a strategic electoral weapon in their armory. In his latest video (below), James O’Keefe makes the rounds among Democrats and their friends at work on behalf of their causes in Colorado. O’Keefe has posted a partial transcript here.

In the video O’Keefe and his colleagues describe how they intend illegally to exploit Colorado law for the good of the cause and meet with friendly encouragement. A representative of one of the organizations supporting Mark Udall even offers him a job. She’s got a good eye for talent.

John Fund is the coauthor with Hans von Spakovsky of a good book on vote fraud and he devoted a column to the new video in “James O’Keefe strikes again.” The column explains the Democratic “reforms” that facilitate the fraud discussed in the video. I think John accurately describes the video as “rais[ing] disturbing questions about ballot integrity in Colorado[.]”

Here are two key paragraphs from the column:

Colorado secretary of state Scott Gessler, along with several county election clerks, have raised warning flags that a new state law that automatically mails a ballot to everyone is an engraved invitation to commit fraud. “Sending ballots to people who did not even ask for them or have moved out of state is asking for trouble” he told me. For example, little can stop someone who collects discarded ballots from trash cans, fills out the ballots, and mails them in. Election workers are supposed to compare signatures on registration records with signed ballots. But if a person has a “witness” who signs the ballot on the witness line, then the signatures do not have to match and the vote is counted.

Secretary of State Gessler had futile arguments with Democratic state legislators last year who insisted on ramming a bill through that mandated Colorado become the only state in the nation with both all-mail balloting and same-day registration. Under same-day registration someone can register to vote online, have a mail ballot sent to them, and never physically show up to register or vote. Other places that use same-day registration treat the vote as a provisional ballot pending verification. Colorado immediately counts the vote and there is no way to separate it out if the person who votes is later found ineligible. “We know people in other states with better integrity safeguards have cheated using the cover of these methods,” Gessler told me. A decade ago, Melody Rose, then a liberal professor at Oregon State University, concluded that state’s vote-by-mail system “brings a perpetual risk of systemic fraud” in elections with razor-thin margins.

Coincidentally, the documentary Rocky Mountain Heist that I wrote about here earlier this week covers the same “reforms.” Michelle talked about the documentary with Megyn Kelly on the Kelly File. TheRightScoop has posted video of the Kelly File segment here.

Psaki pspeaks [Power Line]

(Scott Johnson)

A terrorist attack in Jerusalem yesterday resulted in the death of a three-month old baby girl, Chaya Zissle Braun. News of the attack was drowned out by events in Ottawa, but the attack is worthy of note.

It turns out, according to Israeli officials, that the perpetrator (he died of injuries sustained in the aftermath of the attack) is connected to Hamas. Hamas has in any event issued a statement praising the attack. So has Islamic Jihad.

It also turns out that the murdered infant was an American citizen. This is the statement issued last night by State Department spokesman Jen Psaki:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured. We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.

Psaki’s statement leaves a few questions hanging. Among them: How many sides are there? Which side are we on? Or don’t we have a side?

You wonder how far we can fall into cretinous moral debility. When we seem to have hit bottom we discover that we have further to fall and that we are falling deeper into it every day.

Via David Steinberg/PJ Media.

Is Architecture “Racist”? [Power Line]

(John Hinderaker)

For a pure distillation of liberal stupidity, it is hard to beat this article in the Denver Post by the paper’s Fine Arts Critic. Denver’s main train depot, Union Station, has been renovated and restored to its former glory (more or less), which is what troubles the arts critic. The restored building is, he thinks, racist…

Our fearless critic began by spending hours at Union Station, classifying visitors by skin color:

Thursday, 1 p.m.: 186 whites, 1 black, 4 Latinos, 4 Asians.

Friday, 6 p.m.: 647 whites, 6 blacks, 6 Latinos, 7 Asians

Saturday, 11 p.m.: 693 whites, 4 blacks, 2 Latinos, 7 Asians.

It’s dangerous to assign race to people simply by glancing at their faces. Some people don’t look at all like their race. Many people are a mix.

But if my recent counts of people in the restaurants, bars and shops in and around Denver’s rehabbed, reopened Union Station are even close, it’s an overwhelmingly white place.


Union Station is, of course, open to all members of the public. Maybe Latinos, Asians and African-Americans are too smart to patronize mediocre, overpriced restaurants. But there is more to the Post’s “racism” theory:

It’s easy to speculate why things are different at Union Station, though it requires some less elegant thinking about the way people of different ethnicities behave, some stereotyping. That’s more dangerous than going room-to-room at the station, divvying up faces by the way they look, and keeping tallies on my iPhone.

But, hey! We’re liberals. Let’s go ahead and stereotype. It’s all in a good cause:

Let’s start with the building itself, the actual architecture. Union Station is a neo-classical mix of styles — European styles. The symmetry, arched windows, ornate cornice and stacked, stone walls have their roots in the glory days of France, England, Greece and Rome, in empires that were nearly absent of ethnic minorities and who felt fully at ease invading, exploiting and actually enslaving the people of Africa, subcontinent Asia and South America.

This is mind-bendingly dumb. It is evident that the Post’s Fine Arts Critic didn’t major in history. France, England, Greece and Rome–four peas in a pod! But let’s not pause to consider the ancient Greeks’ conquest of Brazil, or what on God’s green Earth any of this has to do with Denver’s train station. The stupidity continues:

Yes, that’s all in the past; things have changed. But the $54 million renovation of Union Station doesn’t take that into account. It restores the symbols of an old world with no updates. The gilded chandeliers have been rewired, the marble polished, but there’s no nod to the present, no interior walls in the bright colors of Mexico, no Asian simplicity is in the remix. There are no giant sculptures by African-American artists bonused into the lobby, no murals on the basement walls.

Have you noticed that Asian-Americans don’t like to go anywhere that doesn’t exhibit “Asian simplicity,” and African-Americans won’t set foot in a public place unless it features “giant sculptures”? Sure. Just as I, a loyal Norwegian-American, refuse to patronize any restaurant that doesn’t feature a replica Viking ship in the lobby and whose walls are not lined with horned helmets. Stereotypes rule!

The craziness goes on and on, but let’s close with this:

There is no one at the door looking folks over. The workforce is mixed. There’s no open policy of exclusion.

But there may be an institutional one. RTD had a thousand choices when it was rehabbing the station. It could have put in a farmer’s market or a suite of micro-offices. It could have let its imagination run wild and installed a basketball court or a rec center, day-care facility, museum, a theater that any group could rent, an indoor playground, or yes, a Subway.

But it chose a different path. RTD, whose buses and trains are the most diverse places in Denver, created a monster of separation.

A “monster of separation”? Seriously? This guy needs to take a brisk walk, or, better yet, get a new job, preferably one requiring physical exertion. I have critiqued his effort gently; for less polite evaluations, see the comments on the article at the link. They are unanimously brutal–which, I guess, means that there is still hope for Denver.

Guardian Confirms Guido’s Gordon Outside Earnings Story [Guy Fawkes' blog]

The Guardian have done a run down of the MPs with the biggest declared outside earnings. There could only be one man at the top of the list. How much of Gordon’s £492,331 income declared in the last Register of Members’ Interests has gone to charity?

See also: EXC: Gordon Brown Office Has £10,000-a-Week “Expenses”Raises Over £3 Million, Gives Less Than £1 Million to Charity


Tagged: Cash, Gordon Brown, Guardian, Media Guido

Quote of the Day [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Rob Colvile reviews Russell Brand’s new book:

“Oddly, the person I feel sorriest for isn’t Brand himself – although he certainly comes across as a rather pitiable figure, projecting his own brokenness on to the world around him – but Johann Hari. Drummed out of Fleet Street for plagiarism, the former Independent columnist has washed up as “my mate Johann, who’s been doing research for this book”. For a genuinely talented polemicist, it would have been a humbling experience to have to treat this sub-undergraduate dross as the scintillating wisdom of a philosopher-king.”

Tagged: Media Guido, Quote of the Day

Welsh NHS Blows £1.5 Million on Pilgrims [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Frankie Maude won the Guido award for most successful implementation of an Order-Order blog post into government policy on Tuesday, but unfortunately his Pilgrims reforms are not being embraced further afield. New figures show that in the last three years the Labour-run Welsh government has spent at over £1.5 million on NHS staff undertaking trade union activities. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board alone spent over £500,000, this year blowing £184,231 on 2 full-time taxpayer funded trade union staff and 21-part time staff . Last year it had 37 trade union staff funded by the taxpayer, the year before it had 42. Elsewhere, the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board spent £210,000 a year for eight full time equivalent taxpayer funded trade union posts. Welsh Labour won’t win a Guido like that…

Tagged: NHS, Pilgrims, Unions

WATCH: Daily Politics on #GF10 [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Since Michael White complained about his rugby shirt last time, Guido thought he would dress up for Round 2 on the Daily Politics today…

Tagged: GuyNews.TV

Telegraph Bloodbath: ‘Psycho’ Seiken’s Axe Falls on Mandrake [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Press Gazette has major news of the next round of Telegraph redundancies, reporting that Jason “Psycho” Seiken is planning to axe the Mandrake diary column and its editor Tim Walker. They say 10% of the Telegraph’s journalists are to be fired, which would be around 55. Walker has been there for 12 years. Brave to get rid of a man who knows where all the bodies are buried…

Tagged: Media Guido, Telegraph

Westminster Dog of the Year: The Winner! [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Labour MP Rob Flello’s Alsatian, named Diesel, takes first place. Tintin lookalike Michael Gove and Snowy came second. “Once again the winner is German,” says the chief whip…

Wonk Watch: Loss of Faith But It’s No Talent PX-odus [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Nick Faith is leaving his role as comms chief at the shrinking Policy Exchange to set up a new wonk shop with former Cameron adviser turned PX propeller head Sean Worth. It isn’t another talent exodus however, Faith and Worth’s Westminster Policy Institute will still work closely with their previous employer.

Will the last Cameroon to leave please turn off the light?

Tagged: Wonk Watch, Wonks

WATCH: Guido Fawkes 10th Anniversary Awards [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Did you miss it? See all the jokes, all the speeches and all the awards here:

And the winners:

Keep shagging, keep fiddling, keep leaking, we couldn’t do it without you.

Tagged: #GF10, GuyNews.TV

Snouts In The Trough [Guy Fawkes' blog]

  • Tian of crab, king prawns with keta caviar and crème fraiche.
  • Elderflower sorbet drizzled with Champagne.
  • Herb crusted rack of Elwy lamb, butterbean purée with ratatouille.
  • Warm chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream.
  • Coffee and Truffles.


  • Simonet-Febvre, Chablis 2011
  • l’Espirit de Bellevue, St Emillion 2011

Twitter Hashtag #GF10

Tagged: #GF10, Drunk, Snouts in the Trough

Obama Warned Us – Education [IMAO]

“Let’s keep reforming our education system so young people at every level have the same shot at success.” —President Obama #AmericaLeads



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You’ve Been Judged! [IMAO]

Anonymiss of Nuking Politics picked her favorite punchlines to “Ron Klain’s First Job As the New Ebola Czar…

Click here to see if you made the cut.

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Straight Line of the Day: Hillary Clinton Raked in a Record $2.1 Million in One Fundraiser. How Did She Do It? [IMAO]

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

Hillary Clinton raked in a record $2.1 million in one fundraiser. How did she do it?

Send to Kindle

Random Thoughts: Photo ID, Islam, and Ultron [IMAO]

Oh, little girls dropping f-bombs for feminism. Great idea, because the one problem with feminism is it’s not angry enough.

When a disaster happens, I’m always afraid of getting caught in the stampede of people racing to lecture everyone not to overreact.

Is the reason they ask for a photo ID when you go through security at an airport to keep minorities off planes? If so, I’m against that.

All those against #GamerGate want to do is hatefully dismiss large groups of people and suffer no consequences. For social justice.

Why so many shooters and such who are recent converts to Islam? They aren’t saving “don’t murder people” for advanced Islam, are they?

It could be the party with a long history of voter fraud claiming voter fraud never happens is why voter ID has 70% support.

As a child, I was always deathly afraid of the boogie man coming out of my closet in the middle of the night and starting a dance party.

So I watched the Avengers Age of Ultron trailer, and it looks sorta, well– GAHH!! I CAN’T WAIT! I WANT TO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW!!!

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Failsafe [IMAO]

A new poll shows that only 24% of Americans say they have “confidence” in Obama’s plan for the economy.

The other 76% say they have confidence in the 22nd Amendment’s plan for Obama.

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One Ring Firepit [IMAO]

Only $500 from Etsy. Yeah, it’s expensive, but can you really put a price on unassailable nerd cred?

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Shorter Hobbit [IMAO]

[Lego The Hobbit in 72 Seconds] (Viewer #200,720)

Technically, it contains spoilers if you haven’t read the book, since the third movie’s not out yet.

On the bright side: no Radagast the Brown – live-action Jar-Jar of wizards.

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You Keep Using That Word… [IMAO]

Despite putting out a book critical of the President, former CIA director Leon Panetta said “I am very loyal”.

Nope, sorry. In this administration, that’s defined as “STAYS under the bus”.

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Bacon Cream Cheese! [IMAO]

It’s a real thing, coming to a store near you soon.

I hate to be a pessimist, but I just know my first thought when I peel back the lid will be “these bacon chunks need to be bigger”.

Send to Kindle

Link of the Day: Obama’s Ebola Timeline [IMAO]

[High Praise! to Day by Day Cartoon]

Normally I’d embed this, but it’s a Sunday cartoon, so it’s too big for this page:

Day by Day cartoon for 10-19-14

I’m sending you partly for the “special edition” Obama poster in the second panel, but also for the pithy summary of the Ebola timeline. When you lay the events out straight like that, Obama looks even more crooked and inept than usual.


(Submitted by Les of Nuking Politics [High Praise!])

Million Lines of Code

No matter how much or how little you read on the way down, make sure you get to the bottom.

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

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Wisdom of the Day: U2 Girls Moon Zelwegger Men Twitter Black iPhone [IMAO]

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What Obama Said, Only Pithier [IMAO]

At a DNC fundraiser, President Obama said “there’s a sense that the world is spinning so fast and nobody is able to control it.”

Or, as the Founding Fathers liked to call it: “liberty”.

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Letter: Make Park Ridge library users pay for the use of the library [LISNews:]

Opinion piece in newspaper. Interesting to see the thought process of the public.

Excerpt: I say vote NO on the Park Ridge Public Library referendum!

I counted 28 computers at the library (some may have been for reference data) and not all were in use. To top it off, the library has already purchased iPads with games for use by children. When did the library become a teaching source? That’s what the schools are supposed to do.

Full letter:

Woman charged for torching books at Tacoma library [LISNews:]

A Tacoma woman is in jail, accused of trying to set a library on fire. It happened on a busy Saturday at the Tacoma Main Library, forcing about 250 people to evacuate.

Library workers don't believe the motive was political. According to court documents, Sailly admitted she had an issue with a library worker earlier in the day and admitted to wanting to burn down the library.


Westerville Library Employee Accused of Stealing $20K [LISNews:]

WESTERVILLE, Ohio - The deputy fiscal officer of the Westerville Public Library is being accused of embezzling funds.

Continued here:

using your neurosis to pretend you're an artist is way more fun than just being neurotic. [lol my thesis]

Visual and Critical Studies, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Trichotillomania: Unhoming the Ego

Hobbes played with Calvin [lol my thesis]

Philosophy, Boston College

Democrats and Republicans agree that they hate each other, disagree on everything else. [lol my thesis]

Political Science, Tulane University. 

"To Opt In or to Opt Out: State’s Decisions and Bipartisan Compromise on Medicaid Expansion Under the Affordable Care Act."

Getting castrated does weird stuff to your bones and it brings the girls (and some boys) to the yard [lol my thesis]

Anthropology, Ithaca College

"Biocultural Effects of Castration on Male Italian Opera Singers of the Baroque and Classical Periods"

AP-GfK: 9% of voters enthusiastic about Barack Obama. [Moe Lane]


[A recent] AP-GfK poll asked the approve/disapprove question, finding 17 percent of likely voters said they strongly approve of Obama and 44 percent strongly disapprove. But then it asked a separate — and we would argue, more enlightening — question about the Obama administration. It asked how people felt about it, and gave them four options: “enthusiastic,” “satisfied but not enthusiastic,” “dissatisfied but not angry,” and “angry.”

That would seem to be a pretty good analogue for the approve/disapprove question, but the answers are quite a bit different. While 17 percent of likely voters “strongly approve” of Obama, just 9 percent say they are “enthusiastic” about his administration.

That’s not very good news for the Democrats.

Moe Lane

PS: I do not claim that the polls are biased towards the Democrats in this year’s election cycle.  We’ll know in less than two weeks, and assuming that there’s something wrong with the polls because they’re not matching your view of reality is a really, really good way to get your head handed to you, electorally speaking.  But I will say this: the Democrats should be praying right now – praying very loudly, and very very sincerely – that there is absolutely no bias towards the Democrats at all in the polls – because if there is any, they’re going to be under the Mighty Hammer of Maximum Fun on Election Day.

Marvel’s Age of Ultron counter-leak gambit. [Moe Lane]

Interesting point here from Reason on the leaked Marvel Age of Ultron trailer:

The trailer wasn’t supposed to be released this week at all. Marvel had originally planned to release the trailer next Tuesday, in conjunction with a new episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, a TV show with close ties to Marvel’s ever-expanding Avengers movie universe. After a low-resolution version of the trailer leaked, some copies were pulled at the request of Disney, which owns Marvel.


…within about two hours of the leaked version hitting the web, Marvel went ahead and posted the official version. So much for carefully stage-managed corporate PR, eh? But this is one of the reasons why Marvel is doing such great business these days. They’re not fighting the fans, not trying to control the crowd. The company is accepting the reality of the Internet—that a leak can’t really be contained—and giving fans what they want.

I was actually mildly surprised that Marvel didn’t fight the tide on this one, to the point where I wondered whether leaking the trailer was always the plan. But then it occured to me: Age of Ultron will probably not need much in the way of buzz. Especially this far out before release.  So it was probably an accidental leak… and by promptly putting out a professional, high-resolution trailer, Marvel has actually gotten some of its own back. After all, when I at least wrote this up yesterday I specifically gave the traffic to Marvel


White House pretends that not trusting them on immigration is crazy-talk. [Moe Lane]

There are times when I don’t really get this administration’s messaging strategy.

The White House said Wednesday it was “crazy” to attempt to divine the president’s post-election plans for an immigration executive order based on a procurement request issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

“I mean, this is crazy,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, adding he would caution reporters against “making assumptions” based on the “procurement of green paper.”

The proposal, unveiled earlier this week by Breitbart News, asks potential contractors to prepare for the possibility of producing up to 34 million green cards and work permits over the next five years.

I mean, let’s game this out.

The administration has a basic problem, here: to wit, it’s publicly committed – and more importantly, linked to – a particular and specific stance on immigration issues*. Said stance is more or less anathema to a section of the population that plans to vote this November; and said population is clumped in areas where said anathema will have a disproportionate impact. On the other hand, abandoning that stance will be anathema to another section of the population; and that section has already made it clear that they are not going to simply supinely accept the status quo. In short: one way or the other, this administration is going to make somebody mad over immigration.

So, what to do?  Well, the basic ethical position, of course – also the practical one (that happens a lot, actually) – is to decide what your principles are and try to stick to them. So if the administration really does believe in changing immigration policy, then it should go ahead and do that.  Even if it does hurt the Democrats in the short run, in the longer run it’d show that the Obama administration has moral courage**.

Of course, for that to happen the administration would actually have to have moral courage, which is where the whole thing breaks down.  So instead we have this situation where Obama’s people are nervously blustering about how they’re not going to start issuing green cards en masse after the election.  This is convincing to no-one: because the truth is that the Obama administration will absolutely start doing it if the administration thinks that it can get away with it.  Folks voting in elections featuring Red state Democrats will focus on the bolded part, and vote accordingly; while folks favoring looser immigration rules will focus on the italicized part, assume that another excuse will be coming down the pike, and likewise vote accordingly.  And in both cases, ‘vote accordingly’ will not mean ‘vote in a manner pleasing to Democrats.’

Shorter Moe Lane: try to please everybody, and you end up pleasing nobody.  Personally, I learned this in grammar school: why didn’t the people running the Democratic party?

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: My colleague and friend Leon Wolf has a somewhat different take on this.  Although he and I certainly share a certain scorn towards this administration…

*Full disclosure: it’s accurate to say that I am in fact ‘a pro-amnesty shill.’

**This reminds me of our current situation with regard to national security and foreign affairs.  The GOP is right back to being decidedly considered more trustworthy than the Democrats on both issues, which would startle the average political consultant back in, say, 2006.  Republicans stuck to their guns on the GWOT, accepted the hits to the caucus, and refused to trim their sails to fit the fad of the day; while Democrats more or less abandoned their burnished antiwar credentials as soon as they could. And guess what?  Turns out that voters kind of don’t like politicians that can’t be counted on.  Go figure, huh?

Mary Landrieu is losing, but it’s not DOOM. [Moe Lane]

Sean Trende goes over why I think Mary Landrieu is going to lose, but haven’t called DOOM yet:

It happens like clockwork.  Every six years, observers start the cycle predicting the demise of Louisiana’s Sen. Mary Landrieu.  Every six years, they are proven wrong, as she somehow pulls off an improbable victory.

But this year might really be different.  For the first time, Landrieu trails badly as we approach the November primary.  Her saving grace in 2008 – historically high black turnout – seems unlikely to materialize this cycle, while her saving grace in 2002 – a runoff coalition that favored her – seems impossible to re-create.

You see, I’m pretty sure that she’s going to lose. If I bet on politics* I’d put five bucks on Landrieu losing. But it’s not a gimme by any means at this point.

Moe Lane

*I DO NOT BET ON POLITICS. For largely the same reason that Pete Rose shouldn’t have bet on baseball games, although admittedly I have much, much, much less in the way of influence over elections than Rose did on baseball games.

‘Nebraska.’ [Moe Lane]

NebraskaBruce Springsteen

This one is kind of gruesome. Or maybe ‘cold’ is a better word, here.

A vote for Democrats is ‘A Vote for President Obama.’ [Moe Lane]

Variants of this are going up in six states:

Courtesy of Freedom Partners Action Fund, this is part of a $6.5 million ad buy hitting Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire (online only), and North Carolina. Which is good news, but I have to ask something: how, in God’s name, can anybody look at this and not see it as speech? Just how ignorant do the professional scaremongers of the Democratic party think that we are that we might not recognize that the ability to say This politician is a fool; do not vote for fools is the bedrock of the First Amendment? What are they scared of?

And don’t say ‘Charles and David Koch.’  We let the Left off too easy when we pretend that they really are scared of those two particular men*. And it’s certainly not ‘corporations,’ either.  Democratic and progressive groups are never shy about letting corporations say things that are pleasing to Democrats and progressives.  I don’t even think that it’s speech itself: goodness knows that the Left never shuts up.  Perhaps they’re just afraid that they’re wrong, and this is simply the Activist Left’s way of shouting down the little whispers of doubt inside their own heads? – It’s a theory that does at least have the virtue of simplicity.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Freedom Partners Action Fund, by the way, registered as a Super PAC specifically so that it can endorse candidates by name. …And it really does amaze me that we have to have this level of byzantine regulatory state simply to say This politician is a fool.  Vote instead for this politician, who is not a fool. What part of Congress shall make no law was unclear?

*Who are, by the way, currently funding Sixth Amendment rights: “The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers announced this week that it’s getting a “major grant” from Koch Industries Inc. to support the group’s indigent defense training programs and to study how states can do a better job of delivering legal services to the poor.”  To quote someone or other, it’s all part of their insidious libertarian conspiracy to take over the world and then leave you the heck alone.

Looks like they gave up and released the Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer. [Moe Lane]

Got leaked earlier, or possibly ‘leaked.’ Either way, there’s a lot of stuff in there for the comic book fans, it seems.

(Also via @MelissaTweets)

Partial solar eclipse tomorrow. [Moe Lane]

Via @MelissaTweets:

Starts up close to dusk my time, but other folks should have a better shot at seeing it. Cool.

Update: It is almost that time of year again - CQ WW DX Contest time! [The Btown Monitoring Post]

It is almost time for the CQ WW SSB DX Contest which kicks off on Saturday, October 25 at 0000 UTC and runs until Sunday, October 26 at 2359 UTC.

I fully plan to be in the contest this year looking for new countries to add to my DXCC totals. Might even work a state or two I need to finish off the ARRL Triple Play award I have been working on.

I also plan to have a presence during the CQ WW CW DX contest that starts on
Saturday, November 29 at 0000 UTC and concludes on Sunday, November 30 at 2359 UTC. I hope to finish out the countries I need for an ARRL CW DXCC award.
These are two of my favorite contest and are a lot of fun to participate in at any level. Several years ago I won 1st place in my category, but since I am on a country hunt, I won't be submitting a contest log for these two amateur radio contest.
Complete details can be found on the CQ World-Wide Contest website at http://www.cqww.com/.

Late Breaking News from the ARRL Contest Newsletter:-

CQ Communications has reconsidered its initial policy on stations operating in Crimea for the CQ World Wide contest. Logs will be accepted and counted for the country indicated by the call sign of the station. This aligns CQ policy with DXCC policy. See the CQ website for complete details.
On a related topic, found this that was posted to the ARRL website on 17 Oct 2014:--

CQ Will Not Accept Logs from Stations in Crimea Using Russian-Issued Call Signs

CQ has announced that it will no longer accept logs for any CQ-sponsored contest from stations in Crimea operating with Russian-issued call signs. CQ Magazine said that “after considerable deliberation,” it has decided to follow the lead of the US government and the United Nations and will consider the embattled Crimea region to be a part of Ukraine, “until such time as the political situation there is resolved.” In addition, contacts made by others with Crimean stations using Russian-Issued call signs will be removed from contestants’ logs without penalty. “No contact or multiplier credits will be given,” the CQ announcement said.

“We fully realize that our action may very well disenfranchise several Crimean contesters who use Russian prefixes instead of Ukrainian prefixes,” CQ said. “As regrettable as that may be, our action is consistent with international law, as well as with our own rules.”

CQ sponsors several major international operating events, including the CQ World Wide SSB and CW contests. The first contest to be affected by the new policy would be the CQ World Wide SSB Contest, which takes place this year over the October 25-26 weekend.

Global 24 Radio set to air October 31 [Shortwave Central]

Press Release

Hollywood, FL) Oct. 21, 2014 – Global 24 Radio LLC announced today that its inaugural broadcast will go live at 7:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 31, with a line-up of new and well-known programs and around-the-clock English language programming.  The broadcast can be heard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 9395 kHz on WRMI broadcasting from Okeechobee, Florida.

“We’re very excited about launching Global 24 and the important contributions it will make to shortwave radio listening – as both a medium worth preserving and a vital part of the modern media mix for so many listeners around the world,” said Phil Workman, general manager of Global 24.   “Our broadcast will appeal to dedicated shortwave listeners (SWL) all over the world looking for breaking news, opinion and music.”

Global 24 aims to revitalize the shortwave medium by bringing general interest news and entertainment into sharper focus for listeners looking for high quality programming on a daily basis.  Regular listeners will be informed, entertained and engaged in an ever more complex world.

According to Jeff White, general manager of WRMI,  “Global 24 represents another step in the long overdue commercialization of shortwave radio.  We are excited to be working with them on their ambitious program to engage and entertain a global audience.”

Additional press releases in coming days will announce our broadcast schedule, our Listeners’ Club, contests, sponsors, our web store, staff and much more.  Follow us on Twitter at @Global24Radio or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/global24radio.  Visit our website:  http://www.global24radio.com  to join our email newsletter for the most current updates.

We love to hear from our listeners.  Reception Reports can be sent to:
Global 24 Radio
2719 Hollywood Blvd  B-16

Hollywood FL 33020 USA

Be sure to include:
1) SINPO Report
2) Mailing Address for QSL Card (if desired)

See more at: http://about.global24radio.com/for-immediate-release-shortwaves-newest-broadcaster-global-24-takes-to-the-air-at-700-pm-eastern-on-october-31-on-9395-khz/#sthash.qIoKxvPL.dpuf
(Jeff Demers/Global 24)

KDKA Memorial: Historic 95th Anniversary Ceremony in Pennsylvania [Shortwave Central]

A few days ago, Ray Robinson of shortwave KVOH in Los Angeles alerted us to the information regarding a special historic ceremony in suburban Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.  Because of the interest and significance of this event, we postpone our intended opening feature in this edition of Wavescan and we present the story of this KDKA Memorial: Historic 95th Anniversary Ceremony in Pennsylvania. We are indebted to a feature article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette written by Dave Zuchowski for his information regarding this event, and additional information is taken from other historical sources.
            It was on Friday evening October 17, 1919 that the Westinghouse engineer Dr. Frank Conrad made a significant broadcast over his amateur radio station 8XK.  The station was installed in the second floor of his red brick garage in Wilkinsburg, a city adjacent to the better known city Pittsburgh.                  This was Conrads first broadcast after the United States re-opened the usage of the airwaves to amateur radio operators subsequent to the end of World War 1 and it was one of the very early program broadcasts in the history of radio broadcasting.  This initial two hour broadcast over his homemade radio equipment included several different styles of recorded music together with announcements and spoken information.  This historic broadcast proved so popular that he began a series of similar broadcasts each Wednesday and Saturday evening from the same station 8XK.
            In September of the following year, the local newspaper ran an advertisement on behalf of the Home Department Store offering the sale of radio receivers which could tune in Conrads radio program broadcasts.  The Westinghouse company decided that they would construct their own radio broadcasting station and install it in a small wooden and canvas shack on the roof of their K factory building in suburban East Pittsburgh.
            Engineer Conrad assembled the necessary equipment for their new radio station and they requested a commercial license from the federal government licensing authorities.  This new station made its first broadcast on Tuesday evening November 2, 1920 with progressive information about the Harding-Cox presidential election.  For this inaugural broadcast, Westinghouse was on the air under a temporary callsign 8ZZ, and a couple of days later the commercial license arrived by post, granting a consecutively issued callsign KDKA.
            To honor Dr. Conrads contributions to the broadcast industry, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission approved a historic marker to be erected on a street adjacent to the Conrad garage and this was dedicated on December 1, 1990.  That marker was later removed and placed in storage when the property and garage were sold during the year 2000 to make way for a fast-food restaurant.  With financial backing, the garage was dismantled and all of the items were placed in storage along with documentation on how to reassemble the garage once more.
            At 2:00 pm last Friday October 17, just two days ago, a special commemorative ceremony was held at a planned new location at South Trenton and Penn Avenues in Wilkinsburg and the original marker was rededicated at its new location.  This event took place exactly 95 years later to the very day after Conrads first historic broadcast and it was staged at two consecutive locations, the Community Life Building at 301 Meade Street and then at the new location for the memorial marker.  Present were two of Frank Conrads great grandsons, Jamie Conrad and actor David Conrad.
            Plans are in hand to reassemble the garage and currently they are looking at several sites in the Pittsburgh area.  It is intended to have the garage rebuilt in time for the 100th anniversary of Conrads first broadcast, October 17, 2019.  The completed project will cost an estimated $1.6 million and already $225,000 has been raised for this historic event.
            The international radio world is indebted to the historic endeavors carried out by Dr. Frank Conrad, together with Westinghouse and radio station KDKA.  It is true that there were many earlier ventures into radio broadcasting in the United States and in several other countries, and even their historic election broadcast was not the first in the history of radio broadcasting.  However, the KDKA venture was indeed a major turning point in the development of radio program broadcasting, not only in mediumwave broadcasting but subsequently also in shortwave broadcasting.
                                                                                                                        Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
                                                                                                                        By Dave Zuchowski
                                                                                                                        September 25, 2014
(AWR Wavescan/NWS 295)

Special QSL: Airplane Monitoring, AFRS, Adana, Turkey [Shortwave Central]

          Jack Brown interviews Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart for
broadcast to troops overseas on AFRS during World War II
For our weekly feature about unusual, rare and unique QSLs, our DX editor Adrian Peterson tells the story about his QSL card verifying the reception of a low powered radio broadcasting station in Turkey.  Back in the year 1980, he was flying from India to the United States to attend meetings at the head office for Adventist World Radio in suburban Washington DC. 
            While the passenger airliner was flying high over Turkey, he was invited into the flight deck of the passenger airliner and given the use of one of the planes radio receivers.  He tuned the radio to 1590 kHz and heard his desired station, the low powered AFRS American Forces Radio Station which was installed in the American Air Base near Adana, in the Mediterranean corner of Turkey. 
            At the same time as he was seated in the comfortable high flying airplane, he could see in the distance the clear figure of Mt Ararat, covered in brilliant white snow.  Mt Ararat is a reminder of another method of travel, in a long distant era, with a huge wooden boat, Noahs Ark, the remains of which are said to be in that area to this day.
            In due course, a do-it-yourself, self-prepared tourist travel QSL card, replete with American postage stamps, was received.  This card, with full QSL details, verified AFRS Adana, with just 10 watts on 1590 kHz.  Interestingly, the wavelength is shown as 61886.792 feet which is actually a mistake in calculation.  By moving the decimal place by two positions, the equivalent is indeed 1590 kHz.

            This unusual QSL card features a unique threesome: a receiver in the flight deck of a passenger airliner, a low powered medium wave station on the ground, and a wavelength measured in feet, not metres.
(AWR Wavescan/NWS 295 via Adrian Peterson) 

Monitoring Bhutan [Shortwave Central]


All times UTC
logs edited for clarity

BBS Thimphu Bhutan ? footprint 6035.0 or 6034.952 kHz ? On remote SDR units in Asia and Australia I 'see' two weak station signals side-by-side adjacent, 48 hertz apart. Which is which ?

Best signal on remote Nagoya Toki-city unit. But tiny S4 signals, PBS Yunnan and Bhutan too...
(wb, wwdxc BC-DX TopNews Oct 14)

I believe the lower frequency (6034.95 kHz) would be BBS Thimphu Bhutan, but I would check with Ron Howard to verify that. I logged Bhutan on the lower freq (6034.96 kHz) on Oct 13 and had a carrier (but no audio) from PBS Yunnan on 6035 kHz past the BBS 1240* UT. From the Perseus site
NorthEast of Edmonton AB (VE6JY). (Bruce W. Churchill-CA-USA, DXplorer Oct 14)

6034.955 BBS Thimphu programm auf klarem Kanal 6034.955 kHz sehr schoen mit S=8-9 Signal oder im peak bei -73dBm strength hier in Stuttgart zu hoeren, in Moskau Russia mit S=9+10dB oder -65dBm, 0030 UT am 19. Okt. Bis 0029 UT erklang typische SoAS Himalaya music, danach nur
eintoeniges Gespraech von zwei Maennern, moeglicherweise in der Programmsprache Dzongkha.
(wb, wwdxc BC-DX TopNews Oct 19)
(WWDXC/Top Nx 1181/23 Oct 2014)

6034.95, BBS, Sangaygang, *0037-0100. Fade out, Oct 10 with nonstop slow songs. (Volk via A-DX and SWB). Also heard at 1156-1240*, Sep 27 and Oct 13, positive BBS indigenous music and interview, but after 1245 there was only ONE station there and it was positively in Vietnamese; 1300 usual ID in English “This is the Voice of Shangri-La" (Yunnan PBS). After 1301 in Chinese. Did BBS sign off early Sept 27? On Oct 03 BBS heard at 1248-1258* with nice program of Bhutan indigenous music (certainly very different from the music played on Yunnan PBS), SINPO 33333. (Bruce Churchill/Ron Howard)
DSWCI/DX Window 516)

Bhutan-The Tiny Nation Transforming the Way the World Thinks About Happiness

Stand With Canada (sticky) [The Jawa Report]

A moment of recognition, thanks and prayers for our bothers and sisters in Canada.


Sandcrawler PSA: Save the Trees [The Jawa Report]

After all, a printed ballot that is not fraudulently filled out is a tree that died in vain.

Many liberals are adamant there is no threat of voter fraud that justifies efforts to improve the integrity of elections. “There is no real concrete evidence of voter fraud,” tweeted Donna Brazile, former acting chair of the Democratic National Committee, this week. “It’s a big ass lie.”

James O’Keefe, the guerilla filmmaker who brought down the ACORN voter-registration fraudsters in 2010 and forced the resignation of NPR executives, politely disagrees. Today, he is releasing some new undercover footage that raises disturbing questions about ballot integrity in Colorado, the site of fiercely contested races for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, and the governorship. When he raised the issue of filling out some of the unused ballots that are mailed to every household in the state this month, he was told by Meredith Hicks, the director of Work for Progress, a liberal group funded by Democratic Super PACS.: “That is not even like lying or something, if someone throws out a ballot, like if you want to fill it out you should do it.” She then brazenly offered O’Keefe, disguised as a middle-aged college instructor, a job with her group.

ISIS' Boasting That Airstrikes Will Have No Affect on Them Wrong Dead Wrong [The Jawa Report]

The Beeb:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 464 IS fighters, 57 other militants and 32 civilians have died.

Meanwhile, fierce fighting resumed in the town of Kobane, where militants and Kurdish forces battling for control.

Kurdish sources told BBC Arabic that IS had retaken a strategically important hilltop 4km west of the town.

Kurdish forces fighting IS in Kobane took Tal Shair nine days ago.

Reports also suggest IS fighters have been shelling Kurdish positions and attacking the town centre.

Syrian Kurdish sources told the BBC that IS fighters launched intensive attacks on Wednesday night from the southern and eastern parts of the town, in an apparent attempt to get access to the town centre.

The fighting resumed on Thursday morning after a brief period of calm, the sources added.

That a pretty good rate of kill the enemy with a very low rate of collateral damage. Although its pretty easy to pick off ISIS engaging Kobane in a siege, this dispels the myth that the US intentionally targets innocent Muslims. To the contrary we love to support innocent Muslims, but the terrorists, you know, needed killing.

Will ISIS Bloodlust Lead it To Murder Abdul Rahman Kassig? [The Jawa Report]

My new friend Houston Baghdadi tells me that

Rahman means mercy and GOD (ALLAH) IS THE MOST MERCIFUL and Abdul means "Slave Of"
So Paul Kassigs taken Muslim name is Slave of Mercy.

al-Nusra Front Jihadist Abu Omar Aqidi and Abu-Dunja who's name even I recognize from the boards is both claim Mr Kassig treated them both after Syrian regime attacks on the al-Nusra Front and to execute him would be an act of murder under Islam.


Abdul-Rahman Kassig, the American Muslim convert and aid worker formerly known as Peter, has been named by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as the next victim in their series of videoed murders of British and American captives.

Isil members warned on Twitter that Mr Kassig was to be killed on Wednesday, as a "deadline" passed for meeting their demands – that America call off its bombing campaign.

But the Isil threat to Mr Kassig has caused dissent from within the ranks of the jihadists' own community, with a number of Islamists speaking out in support of him, particularly because of his conversion.

Abu Omar Aqidi, a prominent member of al-Qaeda faction Jabhat al-Nusra, said in a public statement that he had been told Mr Kassig was the medic who treated him and other fellow jihadists.

Salah ad-Din Refsdal, 51, who was born Paul Refsdal said: "People have suggested that Caliph Ibrahim is not informed that some of his followers are planning to murder Abdul Rahman Kassig.

"That must clearly be the case. Having studied Islam extensively he for sure is aware of how enormous of a sin it would be to murder a brother who just converted to Islam."

Mr Refsdal cited an Islamic ruling condemning the killing of Muslim converts, adding that Baghdadi: "must therefore do the only right thing and stop his followers from murdering our brother Abdul Rahman Kassig".

which puts ISIS between a rock and three hard spots. Cornered by its own bravado into either keeping its word and losing Islamic legitimacy or freeing Mr. Kassig to do his work.

Meanwhile in Iran [The Jawa Report]

Hundreds protest a recent string of Acid attacks against women.

Large crowds numbering in the hundreds have demonstrated in Tehran and Isfahan against several recent acid attacks on women that apparently occurred because they were not properly veiled.

Hundreds gathered in front of the parliament building in Tehran on October 22, while eyewitnesses said hundreds came to the Justice Ministry building in Isfahan, the central-western city where the acid attacks took place.

Demonstrators carried signs against the vicious attacks while calling on the state to protect women against violence.

"Where is my face," read a sign held up by a woman. While another sign said: "A secure street is my right."

"Don't allow crimes against women to become legal in the name of religion and Islam," said another sign, which also called for an end to violence against women.

"Acid attacks are a crime, security, security," chanted protesters, including many men.

More here.

Breaking Two Canadian Soldiers Run Down in Apparent Domestic Terror Attack (Update: Radicalized Muslim Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau Killed By Police in Attack) (Update II: One of The Canadian Soldiers Injured in Terrorist Attack Dies of His Injuries) [The Jawa Report]

al-Qaeda and ISIS has been asking for acts like this in various online magazines and videos.

Toronto Star
MONTREAL—The suspect in a hit-and-run that injured two Canadian soldiers in Quebec — an incident identified as a possible terror attack — is fighting for his life in hospital after being shot several times by police.


The shocking incident, which occurred at about noon Monday in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, also sent the two Canadian Armed Forces personnel to hospital with one fighting for his life and the other having suffered minor injuries, according to the Quebec provincial police.

The two soldiers were reportedly walking through the parking lot of a shopping centre located less than three kilometres from the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, the French-language university run by the Department of National Defence, when they were run down by a driver.

A police chase ensued and the car drove into a ditch after the driver lost control of the vehicle, police said.

The good news is whomever did it is Dead Jim!
Witnesses who spoke with the TVA network Monday afternoon said they saw a man emerge from the flipped vehicle that was lying in a ditch on the side of the road. The man had his hands in the air and was walking toward police when at least one officer opened fire on the suspect. The witnesses said they heard up to seven gunshots.

TVA also showed images of a knife with an elaborate handle lodged into the ground near where the incident occurred.

So we're not really sure of the motive, the knife may have been the reason officers opened fire. Normally I might be skeptical of trigger happy police but in this case, meh.
A police spokesperson confirmed that the two injured pedestrians were members of the military but said it was too early in the investigation to comment on suggestions it may have been a terror attack.
We'll know more about motive once the dead perp is identified, it would however fit with recent threats against any nation who opposes ISIS.

Hat Tip: Life Freedom Family.

Update: Confirmed stiff was a terrorist.

The driver of a car who rammed two Canadian Forces members near Montreal before being shot dead by police was known to counter-terrorism authorities who believed he had become radicalized, the RCMP said on Monday as they continued to investigate the possible terrorist attack.

“This individual was known to federal authorities including our Integrated National Security Investigations team in Montreal who along with other authorities were concerned that he had become radicalized,’’ the RCMP said in a statement. The force declined further comment.

The 25-year-old, known as Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau, allegedly hit two members of the Canadian Forces as they were walking in a strip mall just outside St-Jean-sur-Richelieu at about 11:30 a.m. Police chased the man more than four kilometres until his car flipped into a ditch.

The man then exited his car, allegedly holding a knife, and police opened fire, seriously injuring him, said Sûreté du Québec Sgt. Joyce Kemp. He was transported to hospital, but police later confirmed he had died.

The suggestion the incident was an act of terrorism was first raised in the House of Commons by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who said he was aware of the “extremely troubling” reports and that authorities were investigating.

He called himself Ahmad LeConverti on Facebook.

There is still a copy in the google cache.

From what I can tell he was a member of an Anti American Facebook group called United Slaves of America.


Another image from his Facebook.


Update II:

Our prayers go out to the family and to all of Canada.

Also my apologies that your loss for standing with America against ISIS has gotten little or no notice in the American press.

I didn't hear it on NPR, I don't see it on CNN, I don't see it on ABC, CBS. no not even FOXNEWS.

LT_-_Sylvester_Jr (1).jpg

Update III: This image of the stiff Jihadi via Blazing Cat Fur.


Saying It Like It’s A Good Thing: “Obama Has Removed The Threat Of Deportation For Most Illegals” [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

Democrat activist and strategist Simon Rosenberg speaking at Georgetown University Law Center this week:

“I think that the immigration community has, frankly, given the Democrats and the president far less credit than they deserve for how much we’ve – the president has fundamentally altered the system to essentially have removed the threat of deportation over virtually every undocumented immigrant in the country already,” Rosenberg said. “That’s already happened.

Rosenberg believes the president will make his big move (read: amnesty for millions ) after the midterms. No political cynicism there, right? Spelling it out for us:

“The government of the United States no longer wants to deport people from the interior without criminal records,” Rosenberg said. “What that means in practicality is that the threat of deportation over the vast majority of undocumented immigrants in the United States has been lifted.


A New Wave Of Islam [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

Via Instapundit comes this interesting report:

According to the Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO), more Hispanics are turning towards Islam and interestingly, more than half of Miami’s 3,000 Hispanic Muslims are female.

In such a concentration of Hispanics, one assumes the population would be firmly rooted in Catholicism, so what might motivate such conversions?

Arriving from Miami four years ago, Torres said she had “lost her identity in the move and found it in the Prophet Muhammad”, according to a report on Voice of America.

Torres explained: “It was very hard for me because we do not have family here, just my husband and my kids. On this day, my baby – Mahdi – he was going to be born. That is why I converted to Islam because I was scared.”

Stephanie Londono, a well educated woman, published a study on the occurrence, referring to the conversion of Latinas to Islam as “‘Recovering Cultural Memory’, ‘Re-interpreting the past’ and ‘Breaking normative Colonial Representation/Stereotypes’.” Per Londono:

Wearing a hijab is, in her words, a ‘civic engagement’ that she feels passionate about.

“When people see you with the hijab, they respect you first. Second, it’s the emotion you feel because you are different. You believe in something. It’s amazing.” Londono said.

“It defines their world on a clear grid of what’s permitted or ‘halal,’ and what’s prohibited which is ‘haram’. So they know exactly where they stand. So the Qur’an becomes this guidebook that tells you exactly what to wear, what to eat, how to wash, how to behave, when to pray.”

It’s interesting there is no mention of love, mercy or grace when she speaks of her religion and adherence to it. Also interesting is her belief that it is the garb that garners respect, not the person. Further, along with respect, she wants to be seen as “different”- unique, distinct – but the way she believes she achieves this is by being fully obedient to an instruction book of severe rules and by living under a law – rules and laws that all other Muslims are required to follow, thus making them all the same.


U.S. Released Immigrants Charged with Sex Offenses and Homicide, Misled Congress About It [Patterico's Pontifications]

All in a day’s work:

The records, obtained by USA TODAY, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide.

. . . .

In hearings last year, Republican lawmakers pressed then-ICE Director John Morton for specifics on the criminal records of the people the agency had freed. At one, Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., asked Morton directly, “No one on that list has been charged or convicted with murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor, were they?”

Morton answered, “They were not.”

He told lawmakers that, to his knowledge, none had faced child pornography charges.

White House spokesman Jay Carney similarly described them as “low-risk, non-criminal detainees.”

A spreadsheet ICE officials prepared listing the detainees includes one person in Texas charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child, as well as others charged with armed assaults or assaulting police officers. Another immigrant released from Miami had been charged with conspiracy to commit homicide. Two detainees from Boston had been charged with aggravated assault using a weapon. One in Denver had a sexual assault charge. The agency released the spreadsheet to USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act.

ICE’s records do not indicate whether the detainees were convicted of those crimes or merely charged with them. The agency said it would not release information identifying any of the detainees because doing so would invade their privacy, so it was impossible to examine the details of their cases.

Our government, which monitors our Internet traffic and mines our phone data, is suddenly concerned with “privacy” when it comes to information that might embarrass the government.

They are failing in government’s most fundamental task: protection of the public. Worse, one suspects it’s part of a pro-immigrant policy on the part of the Obama administration. Any way you slice it, the ICE director provided false information to Congress, and there may be murderers and sex offenders walking around in our midst. Somehow, I don’t think the government is motivated by concerns for “privacy.”

It’s good to see USA Today starting to hold the administration’s feet to the fire. Turn up the flame.

They Said This Would Not Happen – Part Deux [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by JD]

California is forcing all insurance plans to cover elective abortions.

So, despite their transparent and hollow claims in the Hobby Lobby case, that it was a for-profit business that drove their support for a mandate, not a Church, it seems that they have no compunction with compelling Churches to cover not just medically necessary abortions, but elective abortions.

Slippery slope.


Nominate Perl heroes for the 2014 White Camel Awards [Perlsphere]

We're looking for nominations for the 2014 White Camel Awards that recognize significant non-technical achievement in Perl and its community. Each year we recognize work in the broad categories of community, advocacy, and user groups.

01 - November - 2007 -- White Camel

To nominate someone, you can send me a name through any means you like. Reply here, post on Twitter (use the #whitecamelaward tag so I'll find it), send me email, hire planes to skywrite, or something more creative. Note, however, that the method of nomination does not factor into our decision!

Gunnar Wolf: Listadmin — *YES* [Planet Debian]

Petter posted yesterday about Listadmin, the quick way to moderate mailman lists.

Petter: THANKS.

I am a fan of automatization. But, yes, I had never thouguht of doing this. Why? Don't know. But this is way easier than using the Web interface for Mailman:

$ listadmin 
fetching data for conoc_des@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for des_polit_pub@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for econ_apl@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for educ_ciencia_tec@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for est_hacend_sec_pub@my.example.org ... 

[1/1] ============== est_hacend_sec_pub@my.example.org ======
From:     sender@example.org                                            
Subject:  Invitación al Taller Insumo Producto                          
Reason:   El cuerpo del mensaje es demasiado grande: 777499    Spam? 0  
Approve/Reject/Discard/Skip/view Body/Full/jump #/Undo/Help/Quit ? a
Submit changes? [yes] 

fetching data for fiscal_fin@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for historia@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for industrial@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for medio_amb@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for mundial@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for pol_des@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for sec_ener@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for sec_prim@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for trab_tec@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for urb_reg@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for global@my.example.org ... nothing in queue

I don't know how in many years of managing several mailing lists I never thought about this! I'm echoing this, as I know several of my readers run mailman as well, and might not be following Planet Debian.

Dirk Eddelbuettel: Introducing Rocker: Docker for R [Planet Debian]

You only know two things about Docker. First, it uses Linux
containers. Second, the Internet won't shut up about it.

-- attributed to Solomon Hykes, Docker CEO

So what is Docker?

Docker is a relatively new open source application and service, which is seeing interest across a number of areas. It uses recent Linux kernel features (containers, namespaces) to shield processes. While its use (superficially) resembles that of virtual machines, it is much more lightweight as it operates at the level of a single process (rather than an emulation of an entire OS layer). This also allows it to start almost instantly, require very little resources and hence permits an order of magnitude more deployments per host than a virtual machine.

Docker offers a standard interface to creation, distribution and deployment. The shipping container analogy is apt: just how shipping containers (via their standard size and "interface") allow global trade to prosper, Docker is aiming for nothing less for deployment. A Dockerfile provides a concise, extensible, and executable description of the computational environment. Docker software then builds a Docker image from the Dockerfile. Docker images are analogous to virtual machine images, but smaller and built in discrete, extensible and reuseable layers. Images can be distributed and run on any machine that has Docker software installed---including Windows, OS X and of course Linux. Running instances are called Docker containers. A single machine can run hundreds of such containers, including multiple containers running the same image.

There are many good tutorials and introductory materials on Docker on the web. The official online tutorial is a good place to start; this post can not go into more detail in order to remain short and introductory.

So what is Rocker?

rocker logo

At its core, Rocker is a project for running R using Docker containers. We provide a collection of Dockerfiles and pre-built Docker images that can be used and extended for many purposes.

Rocker is the the name of our GitHub repository contained with the Rocker-Org GitHub organization.

Rocker is also the name the account under which the automated builds at Docker provide containers ready for download.

Current Rocker Status

Core Rocker Containers

The Rocker project develops the following containers in the core Rocker repository

  • r-base provides a base R container to build from
  • r-devel provides the basic R container, as well as a complete R-devel build based on current SVN sources of R
  • rstudio provides the base R container as well an RStudio Server instance

We have settled on these three core images after earlier work in repositories such as docker-debian-r and docker-ubuntu-r.

Rocker Use Case Containers

Within the Rocker-org organization on GitHub, we are also working on

  • Hadleyverse which extends the rstudio container with a number of Hadley packages
  • rOpenSci which extends hadleyverse with a number of rOpenSci packages
  • r-devel-san provides an R-devel build for "Sanitizer" run-time diagnostics via a properly instrumented version of R-devel via a recent compiler build
  • rocker-versioned aims to provided containers with 'versioned' previous R releases and matching packages

Other repositories will probably be added as new needs and opportunities are identified.


The Rocker effort supersedes and replaces earlier work by Dirk (in the docker-debian-r and docker-ubuntu-r GitHub repositories) and Carl. Please use the Rocker GitHub repo and Rocker Containers from Docker.com going forward.

Next Steps

We intend to follow-up with more posts detailing usage of both the source Dockerfiles and binary containers on different platforms.

Rocker containers are fully functional. We invite you to take them for a spin. Bug reports, comments, and suggestions are welcome; we suggest you use the GitHub issue tracker.


We are very appreciative of all comments received by early adopters and testers. We also would like to thank RStudio for allowing us the redistribution of their RStudio Server binary.

Published concurrently at rOpenSci blog and Dirk's blog.


Dirk Eddelbuettel and Carl Boettiger

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

Alessio Treglia: Bits from the Debian Multimedia Maintainers [Planet Debian]

This brief announcement was released yesterday to the debian-devel-announce mailing list.



The Debian Multimedia Maintainers have been quite active since the Wheezy release, and have some interesting news to share for the Jessie release. Here we give you a brief update on what work has been done and work that is still ongoing.

Let’s see what’s cooking for Jessie then.


Frameworks and libraries

Support for many new media formats and codecs.

The codec library libavcodec, which is used by popular media playback applications including vlc, mpv, totem (using gstreamer1.0-libav), xine, and many more, has been updated to the latest upstream release version 11 provided by Libav. This provides Debian users with HEVC playback, a native Opus decoder, Matroska 3D support, Apple ProRes, and much more. Please see libav’s changelog for a full list of functionality additions and updates.


libebur128 is a free implementation of the European Broadcasting Union Loudness Recommendation (EBU R128), which is essentially an alternative to ReplayGain. The library can be used to analyze audio perceived loudness and subsequentially normalize the volume during playback.


libltc provides functionalities to encode and decode Linear (or Longitudinal) Timecode (LTC) from/to SMPTE data timecode.


libva and the driver for Intel GPUs has been updated to the 1.4.0 release. Support for new GPUs has been added. libva now also supports Wayland.

Pure Data

A number of new additional libraries (externals) will appear in Jessie, including (among others) Eric Lyon’s fftease and lyonpotpourrie, Thomas Musil’s iemlib, the pdstring library for string manipulation and pd-lua that allows to write Pd-objects in the popular lua scripting language.



LASH Audio Session Handler was abandoned upstream a long time ago in favor of the new session management system, called ladish (LADI Session Handler). ladish allows users to run many JACK applications at once and save/restore their configuration with few mouse clicks.

The current status of the integration between the session handler and JACK may be summarized as follows:

  • ladish provides the backend;
  • laditools contains a number of useful graphical tools to tune the session management system’s whole configuration (including JACK);
  • gladish provides a easy-to-use graphical interface for the session handler.

Note that ladish uses the D-Bus interface to the jack daemon, therefore only Jessie’s jackd2 provides support for and also cooperates fine with it.


Plugins: LV2 and LADSPA

Debian Jessie will bring the newest 1.10.0 version of the LV2 technology. Most changes affect the packaging of new plugins and extensions, a brief list of packaging guidelines is now available.
A number of new plugins and development tools too have been made available during the Jessie development cycle:

LV2 Toolkit

LVTK provides libraries that wrap the LV2 C API and extensions into easy to use C++ classes. The original work for this was mostly done by Lars Luthman in lv2-c++-tools.

Vee One Suite

The whole suite by Rui Nuno Capela is now available in Jessie, and consists of three components:

  • drumkv1: old-school drum-kit sampler synthesizer
  • samplv1: polyphonic sampler
  • synthv1: analog-style 4-oscillator substractive synthesizer

All three are provided in both forms of LV2 plugins and stand-alone JACK client. JACK session, JACK MIDI, and ALSA MIDI are supported too.

x42-plugins and zam-plugins

LV2 bundles containing many audio plugins for high quality processing.


Fomp is an LV2 port of the MCP, VCO, FIL, and WAH plugins by Fons Adriaensen.

Some other components have been upgraded to more recent upstream versions:

  • ab2gate: 1.1.7
  • calf: 0.0.19+git20140915+5de5da28
  • eq10q: 2.0~beta5.1
  • NASPRO: 0.5.1

We’ve packaged ste-plugins, Fons Adriaensen’s new stereo LADSPA plugins bundle.

A major upgrade of frei0r, namely the standard collection for the minimalistic plugin API for video effects, will be available in Jessie.


New multimedia applications


Advene (Annotate Digital Video, Exchange on the NEt) is a flexible video
annotation application.


The new generation of the popular digital audio workstation will make its very first appearance in Debian Jessie.


Qt4 front-end for the MPD daemon.


Csound for jessie will feature the new major series 6, with the improved IDE CsoundQT. This new csound supports improved array data type handling, multi-core rendering and debugging features.


DIN Is Noise is a musical instrument and audio synthesizer that supports JACK audio output, MIDI, OSC, and IRC bot as input sources. It could be extended and customized with Tcl scripts too.


dvd-slideshow consists of a suite of command line tools which come in handy to make slideshows from collections of pictures. Documentation is provided and available in `/usr/share/doc/dvd-slideshow/’.


DVDwizard can fully automate the creation of DVD-Video filesystem. It supports graphical menus, chapters, multiple titlesets and multi-language streams. It supports both PAL and NTSC video modes too.


Flowblade is a video editor – like the popular KDenlive based on the MLT engine, but more lightweight and with some difference in editing concepts.


Forked-daapd switched to a new, active upstream again dropping Grand Central Dispatch in favor of libevent. The switch fixed several bugs and made forked-daapd available on all release architectures instead of shipping only on amd64 and i386. Now nothing prevents you from setting up a music streaming (DAAP/DACP) server on your favorite home server no matter if it is based on mips, arm or x86!


HTTP Ardour Video Daemon decodes still images from movie files and serves them via HTTP. It provides frame-accurate decoding and is main use-case is to act as backend and second level cache for rendering the
videotimeline in Ardour.

Groove Basin

Groove Basin is a music player server with a web-based user interface inspired by Amarok 1.4. It runs on a server optionally connected to speakers. Guests can control the music player by connecting with a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Further, users can stream their music libraries remotely.
It comes with a fast, responsive web interface that supports keyboard shortcuts and drag drop. It also provides the ability to upload songs, download songs, and import songs by URL, including YouTube URLs. Groove Basin supports Dynamic Mode which automatically queues random songs, favoring songs that have not been queued recently.
It automatically performs ReplayGain scanning on every song using the EBU R128 loudness standard, and automatically switches between track and album mode. Groove Basin supports the MPD protocol, which means it is compatible with MPD clients. There is also a more powerful Groove Basin protocol which you can use if the MPD protocol does not meet your needs.


HandBrake, a versatile video transcoder, is now available for Jessie. It could convert video from nearly any format to a wide range of commonly supported codecs.


New jackd midiclock utility made by Robin Gareus.


Laborejo, Esperanto for “Workshop”, is used to craft music through notation. It is a LilyPond GUI frontend, a MIDI creator and a tool collection to inspire and help music composers.


mpv is a movie player based on MPlayer and mplayer2. It supports a wide variety of video file formats, audio and video codecs, and subtitle types. The project focuses mainly on modern systems and encourages developer activity. As such, large portions of outdated code originating from MPlayer have been removed, and many new features and improvements have been added. Note that, although there are still some similarities to its predecessors, mpv should be considered a completely different program (e.g. lacking compatibility with both mplayer and mplayer2 in terms of command-line arguments and configuration).


SMTube is a stand-alone graphical video browser and player, which makes YouTube’s videos browsing, playing, and download such a piece of cake.
It has so many features that, we are sure, will make YouTube lovers very, very happy.


Sonic Visualiser Application for viewing and analysing the contents of music audio files.


SoundScapeRenderer (aka SSR) is a (rather) easy to use render engine for spatial audio, that provides a number of different rendering algorithms, ranging from binaural (headphone) playback via wave field synthesis to higher-order ambisonics.


videotrans is a set of scripts that allow its user to reformat existing movies into the VOB format that is used on DVDs.


XBMC has been partially rebranded as XBMC from Debian to make it clear that it is changed to conform to Debian’s Policy. The latest stable release, 13.2 Gotham will be part of Jessie making Debian a good choice for HTPC-s.


Binaural stereo signals converter made by Fons Adriaensen


Stereo monitoring organiser for jackd made by Fons Adriaensen


Jack clients to transmit multichannel audio over a local IP network made by Fons Adriaensen


Radium Compressor is the system compressor of the Radium suite. It is provided in the form of stand-alone JACK application.


Multimedia Tasks

With Jessie we are shipping a set of multimedia related tasks.
They include package lists for doing several multimedia related tasks. If you are interested in defining new tasks, or tweaking the current, existing ones, we are very much interested in hearing from you.


Upgraded applications and libraries

  • Aeolus: 0.9.0
  • Aliki: 0.3.0
  • Ams: 2.1.1
  • amsynth: 1.4.2
  • Audacious: 3.5.2
  • Audacity: 2.0.5
  • Audio File Library: 0.3.6
  • Blender: 2.72b
  • Bristol: 0.60.11f
  • C* Audio Plugin Suite: 0.9.23
  • Cecilia: 5.0.9
  • cmus: 2.5.0
  • DeVeDe: 3.23.0-13-gbfd73f3
  • DRC: 3.2.1
  • EasyTag: 2.2.2
  • ebumeter: 0.2.0
  • faustworks: 0.5
  • ffDiaporama: 1.5
  • ffms: 2.20
  • gmusicbrowser: 1.1.13
  • Hydrogen:
  • IDJC: 0.8.14
  • jack-tools: 20131226
  • LiVES: 2.2.6
  • mhWaveEdit: 1.4.23
  • Mixxx: 1.11.0
  • mp3fs: 0.91
  • MusE: 2.1.2
  • Petri-Foo: 0.1.87
  • PHASEX: 0.14.97
  • QjackCtl: 0.3.12
  • Qtractor: 0.6.3
  • rtaudio: 4.1.1
  • Rosegarden: 14.02
  • rtmidi: 2.1.0
  • SoundTouch: 1.8.0
  • stk: 4.4.4
  • streamtuner2: 2.1.3
  • SuperCollider: 3.6.6
  • Synfig Studio: 0.64.1
  • TerminatorX: 3.90
  • tsdecrypt: 10.0
  • Vamp Plugins SDK: 2.5
  • VLC: Jessie will release with the 2.2.x series of VLC
  • XCFA: 4.3.8
  • xwax: 1.5
  • xjadeo: 0.8.0
  • x264: 0.142.2431+gita5831aa
  • zynaddsubfx: 2.4.3


What’s not going to be in Jessie

With the aim to improve the overall quality of the multimedia software available in Debian, we have dropped a number of packages which were abandoned upstream:

  • beast
  • flumotion
  • jack-rack
  • jokosher
  • lv2fil (suggested replacement for users is eq10q or calf eq)
  • phat
  • plotmm
  • specimen (suggested replacement for users is petri-foo – fork of specimen)
  • zynjacku (suggested replacement for users is jalv)

We’ve also dropped mplayer, presently nobody seems interested in maintaining it.
The suggested replacements for users are mplayer2 or mpv. Whilst the former is mostly compatible with mplayer in terms of command-line arguments and configuration (and adds a few new features too), the latter adds a lot of new features and improvements, and it is actively maintained upstream.

Please note that although the mencoder package is no longer available anymore, avconv and mpv do provide encoding functionality. For more information see avconv’s manual page and documentation, and mpv’s encoding documentation.


Broken functionalities

rtkit under systemd is broken at the moment.


Activity statistics

More information about team’s activity are available.


Where to reach us

The Debian Multimedia Maintainers can be reached at pkg-multimedia-maintainers AT lists.alioth.debian.org for packaging related topics, or at debian-multimedia AT lists.debian.org for user and more general discussion.
We would like to invite everyone interested in multimedia to join us there. Some of the team members are also in the #debian-multimedia channel on OFTC.


Alessio Treglia
on behalf of the Debian Multimedia Maintainers


Erich Schubert: Clustering 23 mio Tweet locations [Planet Debian]

To test scalability of ELKI, I've clustered 23 million Tweet locations from the Twitter Statuses Sample API obtained over 8.5 months (due to licensing restrictions by Twitter, I cannot make this data available to you, sorry.
23 million points is a challenge for advanced algorithms. It's quite feasible by k-means; in particular if you choose a small k and limit the number of iterations. But k-means does not make a whole lot of sense on this data set - it is a forced quantization algorithm, but does not discover actual hotspots.
Density-based clustering such as DBSCAN and OPTICS are much more appropriate. DBSCAN is a bit tricky to parameterize - you need to find the right combination of radius and density for the whole world. Given that Twitter adoption and usage is quite different it is very likely that you won't find a single parameter that is appropriate everywhere.
OPTICS is much nicer here. We only need to specify a minimum object count - I chose 1000, as this is a fairly large data set. For performance reasons (and this is where ELKI really shines) I chose a bulk-loaded R*-tree index for acceleration. To benefit from the index, the epsilon radius of OPTICS was set to 5000m. Also, ELKI allows using geodetic distance, so I can specify this value in meters and do not get much artifacts from coordinate projection.
To extract clusters from OPTICS, I used the Xi method, with xi set to 0.01 - a rather low value, also due to the fact of having a large data set.
The results are pretty neat - here is a screenshot (using KDE Marble and OpenStreetMap data, since Google Earth segfaults for me right now):
Screenshot of Clusters in central Europe
Some observations: unsurprisingly, many cities turn up as clusters. Also regional differences are apparent as seen in the screenshot: plenty of Twitter clusters in England, and low acceptance rate in Germany (Germans do seem to have objections about using Twitter; maybe they still prefer texting, which was quite big in Germany - France and Spain uses Twitter a lot more than Germany).
Spam - some of the high usage in Turkey and Indonesia may be due to spammers using a lot of bots there. There also is a spam cluster in the ocean south of Lagos - some spammer uses random coordinates [0;1]; there are 36000 tweets there, so this is a valid cluster...
A benefit of OPTICS and DBSCAN is that they do not cluster every object - low density areas are considered as noise. Also, they support clusters of different shape (which may be lost in this visualiation, which uses convex hulls!) and different size. OPTICS can also produce a hierarchical result.
Note that for these experiments, the actual Tweet text was not used. This has a rough correspondence to Twitter popularity "heatmaps", except that the clustering algorithms will actually provide a formalized data representation of activity hotspots, not only a visualization.
You can also explore the clustering result in your browser - the Google Drive visualization functionality seems to work much better than Google Earth.
If you go to Istanbul or Los Angeles, you will see some artifacts - odd shaped clusters with a clearly visible spike. This is caused by the Xi extraction of clusters, which is far from perfect. At the end of a valley in the OPTICS plot, it is hard to decide whether a point should be included or not. These errors are usually the last element in such a valley, and should be removed via postprocessing. But our OpticsXi implementation is meant to be as close as possible to the published method, so we do not intend to "fix" this.
Certain areas - such as Washington, DC, New York City, and the silicon valley - do not show up as clusters. The reason is probably again the Xi extraction - these region do not exhibit the steep density increase expected by Xi, but are too blurred in their surroundings to be a cluster.
Hierarchical results can be found e.g. in Brasilia and Los Angeles.
Compare the OPTICS results above to k-means results (below) - see why I consider k-means results to be a meaningless quantization?
k-means clusters
Sure, k-means is fast (30 iterations; not converged yet. Took 138 minutes on a single core, with k=1000. The parallel k-means implementation in ELKI took 38 minutes on a single node, Hadoop/Mahout on 8 nodes took 131 minutes, as slow as a single CPU core!). But you can see how sensitive it is to misplaced coordinates (outliers, but mostly spam), how many "clusters" are somewhere in the ocean, and that there is no resolution on the cities? The UK is covered by 4 clusters, with little meaning; and three of these clusters stretch all the way into Bretagne - k-means clusters clearly aren't of high quality here.
If you want to reproduce these results, you need to get the upcoming ELKI version (0.6.5~201410xx - the output of cluster convex hulls was just recently added to the default codebase), and of course data. The settings I used are:
-dbc.in coords.tsv.gz
-db.index tree.spatial.rstarvariants.rstar.RStarTreeFactory
-pagefile.pagesize 500
-spatial.bulkstrategy SortTileRecursiveBulkSplit
-algorithm clustering.optics.OPTICSXi
-opticsxi.xi 0.01
-algorithm.distancefunction geo.LngLatDistanceFunction
-optics.epsilon 5000.0 -optics.minpts 1000
-resulthandler KMLOutputHandler -out /tmp/out.kmz
and the total runtime for 23 million points on a single core was about 29 hours. The indexes helped a lot: less than 10000 distances were computed per point, instead of 23 million - the expected speedup over a non-indexed approach is 2400.
Don't try this with R or Matlab. Your average R clustering algorithm will try to build a full distance matrix, and you probably don't have an exabyte of memory to store this matrix. Maybe start with a smaller data set first, then see how long you can afford to increase the data size.

Matthew Garrett: Linux Container Security [Planet Debian]

First, read these slides. Done? Good.

Hypervisors present a smaller attack surface than containers. This is somewhat mitigated in containers by using seccomp, selinux and restricting capabilities in order to reduce the number of kernel entry points that untrusted code can touch, but even so there is simply a greater quantity of privileged code available to untrusted apps in a container environment when compared to a hypervisor environment[1].

Does this mean containers provide reduced security? That's an arguable point. In the event of a new kernel vulnerability, container-based deployments merely need to upgrade the kernel on the host and restart all the containers. Full VMs need to upgrade the kernel in each individual image, which takes longer and may be delayed due to the additional disruption. In the event of a flaw in some remotely accessible code running in your image, an attacker's ability to cause further damage may be restricted by the existing seccomp and capabilities configuration in a container. They may be able to escalate to a more privileged user in a full VM.

I'm not really compelled by either of these arguments. Both argue that the security of your container is improved, but in almost all cases exploiting these vulnerabilities would require that an attacker already be able to run arbitrary code in your container. Many container deployments are task-specific rather than running a full system, and in that case your attacker is already able to compromise pretty much everything within the container. The argument's stronger in the Virtual Private Server case, but there you're trading that off against losing some other security features - sure, you're deploying seccomp, but you can't use selinux inside your container, because the policy isn't per-namespace[2].

So that seems like kind of a wash - there's maybe marginal increases in practical security for certain kinds of deployment, and perhaps marginal decreases for others. We end up coming back to the attack surface, and it seems inevitable that that's always going to be larger in container environments. The question is, does it matter? If the larger attack surface still only results in one more vulnerability per thousand years, you probably don't care. The aim isn't to get containers to the same level of security as hypervisors, it's to get them close enough that the difference doesn't matter.

I don't think we're there yet. Searching the kernel for bugs triggered by Trinity shows plenty of cases where the kernel screws up from unprivileged input[3]. A sufficiently strong seccomp policy plus tight restrictions on the ability of a container to touch /proc, /sys and /dev helps a lot here, but it's not full coverage. The presentation I linked to at the top of this post suggests using the grsec patches - these will tend to mitigate several (but not all) kernel vulnerabilities, but there's tradeoffs in (a) ease of management (having to build your own kernels) and (b) performance (several of the grsec options reduce performance).

But this isn't intended as a complaint. Or, rather, it is, just not about security. I suspect containers can be made sufficiently secure that the attack surface size doesn't matter. But who's going to do that work? As mentioned, modern container deployment tools make use of a number of kernel security features. But there's been something of a dearth of contributions from the companies who sell container-based services. Meaningful work here would include things like:

  • Strong auditing and aggressive fuzzing of containers under realistic configurations
  • Support for meaningful nesting of Linux Security Modules in namespaces
  • Introspection of container state and (more difficult) the host OS itself in order to identify compromises

These aren't easy jobs, but they're important, and I'm hoping that the lack of obvious development in areas like this is merely a symptom of the youth of the technology rather than a lack of meaningful desire to make things better. But until things improve, it's going to be far too easy to write containers off as a "convenient, cheap, secure: choose two" tradeoff. That's not a winning strategy.

[1] Companies using hypervisors! Audit your qemu setup to ensure that you're not providing more emulated hardware than necessary to your guests. If you're using KVM, ensure that you're using sVirt (either selinux or apparmor backed) in order to restrict qemu's privileges.
[2] There's apparently some support for loading per-namespace Apparmor policies, but that means that the process is no longer confined by the sVirt policy
[3] To be fair, last time I ran Trinity under Docker under a VM, it ended up killing my host. Glass houses, etc.

comment count unavailable comments

Sylvain Le Gall: Release of OASIS 0.4.5 [Planet Debian]

On behalf of Jacques-Pascal Deplaix

I am happy to announce the release of OASIS v0.4.5.

Logo OASIS small

OASIS is a tool to help OCaml developers to integrate configure, build and install systems in their projects. It should help to create standard entry points in the source code build system, allowing external tools to analyse projects easily.

This tool is freely inspired by Cabal which is the same kind of tool for Haskell.

You can find the new release here and the changelog here. More information about OASIS in general on the OASIS website.

Here is a quick summary of the important changes:

  • Build and install annotation files.
  • Use builtin bin_annot and annot tags.
  • Tag .mly files on the same basis as .ml and .mli files (required by menhir).
  • Remove 'program' constraint from C-dependencies. Currently, when a library has C-sources and e.g. an executable depends on that library, then changing the C-sources and running '-build' does not yield a rebuild of the library. By adding these dependencies (rather removing the constraint), it seems to work fine.
  • Some bug fixes


  • no_automatic_syntax (alpha): Disable the automatic inclusion of -syntax camlp4o for packages that matches the internal heuristic (if a dependency ends with a .syntax or is a well known syntax).
  • compiled_setup_ml (alpha): Fix a bug using multiple arguments to the configure script.

This new version is a small release to catch up with all the fixes/pull requests present in the VCS that have not yet been published. This should made the life of my dear contributors easier -- thanks again for being patient.

I would like to thanks again the contributor for this release: Christopher Zimmermann, Jerome Vouillon, Tomohiro Matsuyama and Christoph Höger. Their help is greatly appreciated.

Lucas Nussbaum: Tentative summary of the amendments of the init system coupling GR [Planet Debian]

This is an update of my previous attempt at summarizing this discussion. As I proposed one of the amendments, you should not blindly trust me, of course. :-)

First, let’s address two FAQ:

What is the impact on jessie?
On the technical level, none. The current state of jessie already matches what is expected by all proposals. It’s a different story on the social level.

Why are we voting now, then?
Ian Jackson, who submitted the original proposal, explained his motivation in this mail.

We now have four different proposals: (summaries are mine)

  • [iwj] Original proposal (Ian Jackson): Packages may not (in general) require one specific init system (Choice 1 on this page)
  • [lucas] Amendment A (Lucas Nussbaum): support for alternative init systems is desirable but not mandatory (Choice 2 on this page)
  • [dktrkranz] Amendment B (Luca Falavigna): Packages may require a specific init system (Choice 3 on this page)
  • [plessy] Amendment C (Charles Plessy): No GR, please: no GR required (Choice 4 on this page)

[plessy] is the simplest, and does not discuss the questions that the other proposals are answering, given it considers that the normal Debian decision-making processes have not been exhausted.

In order to understand the three other proposals, it’s useful to break them down into several questions.

Q1: support for the default init system on Linux
A1.1: packages MUST work with the default init system on Linux as PID 1.
(That is the case in both [iwj] and [lucas])

A1.2: packages SHOULD work with the default init system on Linux as PID 1.
With [dktrkranz], it would no longer be required to support the default init system, as maintainers could choose to require another init system than the default, if they consider this a prerequisite for its proper operation; and no patches or other derived works exist in order to support other init systems. That would not be a policy violation. (see this mail and its reply for details). Theoretically, it could also create fragmentation among Debian packages requiring different init systems: you would not be able to run pkgA and pkgB at the same time, because they would require different init systems.

Q2: support for alternative init systems as PID 1
A2.1: packages MUST work with one alternative init system (in [iwj])
(Initially, I thought that “one” here should be understood as “sysvinit”, as this mail, Ian detailed why he chose to be unspecific about the target init system. However, in that mail, he later clarified that a package requiring systemd or uselessd would be fine as well, given that in practice there aren’t going to be many packages that would want to couple specifically to systemd _or_ uselessd, but where support for other init systems is hard to provide.)
To the user, that brings the freedom to switch init systems (assuming that the package will not just support two init systems with specific interfaces, but rather a generic interface common to many init systems).
However, it might require the maintainer to do the required work to support additional init systems, possibly without upstream cooperation.
Lack of support is a policy violation (severity >= serious, RC).
Bugs about degraded operation on some init systems follow the normal bug severity rules.

A2.2: packages SHOULD work with alternative init systems as PID 1. (in [lucas])
This is a recommendation. Lack of support is not a policy violation (bug severity < serious, not RC). A2.3: nothing is said about alternative init systems (in [dktrkranz]). Lack of support would likely be a wishlist bug.

Q3: special rule for sysvinit to ease wheezy->jessie upgrades
(this question is implicitly dealt with in [iwj], assuming that one of the supported init systems is sysvinit)

A3.1: continue support for sysvinit (in [lucas])
For the jessie release, all software available in Debian ‘wheezy’ that supports being run under sysvinit should continue to support sysvinit unless there is no technically feasible way to do so.

A3.2: no requirement to support sysvinit (in [dktrkranz])
Theoretically, this could require two-step upgrades: first reboot with systemd, then upgrade other packages

Q4: non-binding recommendation to maintainers
A4.1: recommend that maintainers accept patches that add or improve
support for alternative init systems. (in both [iwj] and [lucas], with a different wording)

A4.2: say nothing (in [dktrkranz])

Q5: support for init systems with are the default on non-Linux ports
A5.1: non-binding recommendation to add/improve support with a high priority (in [lucas])

A5.2: say nothing (in [iwj] and [dktrkranz])


Comments are closed: please discuss by replying to that mail.

Francois Marier: LXC setup on Debian jessie [Planet Debian]

Here's how to setup LXC-based "chroots" on Debian jessie. While this is documented on the Debian wiki, I had to tweak a few things to get the networking to work on my machine.

Start by installing (as root) the necessary packages:

apt-get install lxc libvirt-bin debootstrap

Network setup

I decided to use the default /etc/lxc/default.conf configuration (no change needed here):

lxc.network.type = veth
lxc.network.flags = up
lxc.network.link = virbr0
lxc.network.hwaddr = 00:FF:AA:xx:xx:xx
lxc.network.ipv4 =

but I had to make sure that the "guests" could connect to the outside world through the "host":

  1. Enable IPv4 forwarding by putting this in /etc/sysctl.conf:

  2. and then applying it using:

    sysctl -p
  3. Ensure that the network bridge is automatically started on boot:

    virsh -c lxc:/// net-start default
    virsh -c lxc:/// net-autostart default
  4. and that it's not blocked by the host firewall, by putting this in /etc/network/iptables.up.rules:

    -A INPUT -d -s -j ACCEPT
    -A INPUT -d -s -j ACCEPT
    -A INPUT -d -s -j ACCEPT
  5. and applying the rules using:


Creating a container

Creating a new container (in /var/lib/lxc/) is simple:

sudo MIRROR=http://http.debian.net/debian lxc-create -n sid64 -t debian -- -r sid -a amd64

You can start or stop it like this:

sudo lxc-start -n sid64 -d
sudo lxc-stop -n sid64

Connecting to a guest using ssh

The ssh server is configured to require pubkey-based authentication for root logins, so you'll need to log into the console:

sudo lxc-stop -n sid64
sudo lxc-start -n sid64

then install a text editor inside the container because the root image doesn't have one by default:

apt-get install vim

then paste your public key in /root/.ssh/authorized_keys.

Then you can exit the console (using Ctrl+a q) and ssh into the container. You can find out what IP address the container received from DHCP by typing this command:

sudo lxc-ls --fancy

Fixing Perl locale errors

If you see a bunch of errors like these when you start your container:

perl: warning: Setting locale failed.
perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings:
LANGUAGE = (unset),
LC_ALL = (unset),
LANG = "fr_CA.utf8"
    are supported and installed on your system.
perl: warning: Falling back to the standard locale ("C").

then log into the container as root and use:

dpkg-reconfigure locales

to enable the same locales as the ones you have configured in the host.

Cameron Seader: openSUSE 13.x / Factory processor P-States and Performance [Planet openSUSE]

Since the introduction of P-States in the Intel SandyBridge and newer processors and the introduction of the P-States driver in the kernel since 3.9 there have been some changes to the power management on systems in regards to userspace tools. It has moved from cpufreq to cpupower and you may have written a script in times past to help set the right power management governor for your system. On a system with P-States you find that using cpupower has no effect on the performance whatsoever when you change the governor with cpupower. In order to get high performance out of your system with P-States you will need to look at some parameters into sysfs and change them using the userspace tool cpupower. Lets have a look at what there is for P-States.

Change your directory to /syse/devices/system/cpu/intel_pstate

system:/sys/devices/system/cpu/intel_pstate # l
total 0
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root    0 Oct 21 18:45 ./
drwxr-xr-x 14 root root    0 Oct 21 18:45 ../
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 4096 Oct 21 18:45 max_perf_pct
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 4096 Oct 21 18:45 min_perf_pct
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 4096 Oct 21 18:45 no_turbo
We have the max_perf_pct and the min_perf_pct and if we cat these files we can see their values.
# cat max_perf_pct
# cat min_perf_pct
This is the default for a powersave governor which you can gather from running the following command.
# cpupower frequency-info
  analyzing CPU 0:
  driver: intel_pstate
  CPUs which run at the same hardware frequency: 0
  CPUs which need to have their frequency coordinated by software: 0
  maximum transition latency: 0.97 ms.
  hardware limits: 1.20 GHz - 3.70 GHz
  available cpufreq governors: performance, powersave
  current policy: frequency should be within 1.20 GHz and 3.70 GHz.
                  The governor "powersave" may decide which speed to use
                  within this range.
  current CPU frequency is 3.53 GHz (asserted by call to hardware).
  boost state support:
    Supported: yes
    Active: yes
    3500 MHz max turbo 4 active cores
    3500 MHz max turbo 3 active cores
    3600 MHz max turbo 2 active cores
    3700 MHz max turbo 1 active cores
Notice the driver is intel_pstate and the current policy is set to powersave

We want the performance governor. So we will need to change our governor to performance. Execute the following.
# cpupower frequency-set -g performance

# cpupower frequency-info
analyzing CPU 0:
  driver: intel_pstate
  CPUs which run at the same hardware frequency: 0
  CPUs which need to have their frequency coordinated by software: 0
  maximum transition latency: 0.97 ms.
  hardware limits: 1.20 GHz - 3.70 GHz
  available cpufreq governors: performance, powersave
  current policy: frequency should be within 1.20 GHz and 3.70 GHz.
                  The governor "performance" may decide which speed to use
                  within this range.
  current CPU frequency is 2.83 GHz (asserted by call to hardware).
  boost state support:
    Supported: yes
    Active: yes
    3500 MHz max turbo 4 active cores
    3500 MHz max turbo 3 active cores
    3600 MHz max turbo 2 active cores
    3700 MHz max turbo 1 active cores
Also if we cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/intel_pstate/min_perf_pct you will notice that it has changed to 100

Thats good its all at 100% but wait we still are not done. There is another setting for P-States. Its called Performance Bias. From the man page cpupower-set you can read the following about it.

--perf-bias, -b
Sets a register on supported Intel processore which allows software to convey its policy for the relative importance of performance versus energy savings to the processor.

The range of valid numbers is 0-15, where 0 is maximum performance and 15 ismaximum energy efficiency.

The processor uses this information in model-specific ways when it must select trade-offs between performance and energy efficiency.

This policy hint does not supersede Processor Performance states (P-states) or CPUIdle power states (C-states), but allows software to have influence where it would otherwise be unable to express a preference.

For example, this setting may tell the hardware how aggressively or conservatively to control frequency in the "turbo range" above the explicitly OS-controlled P-state frequency range.It may also tell the hardware how aggressively it should enter the OS requested C-states.

This option can be applied to individual cores only via the --cpu option, cpupower(1).

Setting the performance bias value on one CPU can modify the setting on related CPUs as well (for example all CPUs on one socket), because of hardware restrictions. Use cpupower -c all info -b to verify.

This options needs the msr kernel driver (CONFIG_X86_MSR) loaded.

So lets set our bias to 0 so we can get absolute maximum performance. The default is 8 on openSUSE. Execute the following.
# cpupower set -b 0
and to check it.
# cpupower info
analyzing CPU 0:
perf-bias: 0
even though it only shows CPU 0 it applies for all and you can see that by adding the -c all switch before info.
Now you have a system running at full performance with P-States.
Note: This will run the CPU's hot and the fans will kick in full speed all the time. So when your away from your system or don't need full performance you will want to put it back in powersave. I'm not responsible for overheating of your CPU. :-)

James Willcox: MP4 improvements in Firefox for Android [Planet openSUSE]

One of the things that has always been a bit of a struggle in Firefox for Android is getting reliable video decoding for H264. For a couple of years, we've been shipping an implementation that went through great heroics in order to use libstagefright directly. While it does work fine in many cases, we consistently get reports of videos not playing, not displayed correctly, or just crashing.

In Android 4.1, Google added the MediaCodec class to the SDK. This provides a blessed interface to the underlying libstagefright API, so presumably it will be far more reliable. This summer, my intern Martin McDonough worked on adding a decoding backend in Firefox for Android that uses this class. I expected him to be able to get something that sort of worked by the end of the internship, but he totally shocked me by having video on the screen inside of two weeks. This included some time spent modifying our JNI bindings generator to work against the Android SDK. You can view Martin's intern presentation on Air Mozilla.

While the API for MediaCodec seems relatively straightforward, there are several details you need to get right or the whole thing falls apart. Martin constantly ran into problems where it would throw IllegalStateException for seemingly no valid reason. There was no error message or other explanation in the exception. This made development pretty frustrating, but he fought through it. It looks like Google has improved both the documentation and the error handling in the API as of Lollipop, so that's good to see.

As Martin wrapped up his internship he was working on handling the video frames as output by the decoder. Ideally you would get some kind of sane YUV variation, but this often is not the case. Qualcomm devices frequently output in their own proprietary format, OMX_QCOM_COLOR_FormatYUV420PackedSemiPlanar64x32Tile2m8ka. You'll notice this doesn't even appear in the list of possibilities according to MediaCodecInfo.CodecCapabilities. It does, however, appear in the OMX headers, along with a handful of other proprietary formats. Great, so Android has this mostly-nice class to decode video, but you can't do anything with the output? Yeah. Kinda. It turns out we actually have code to handle this format for B2G, because we run on QC hardware there, so this specific case had a possible solution. But maybe there is a better way?

I know from my work on supporting Flash on Android that we use a SurfaceTexture there to render video layers from the plugin. It worked really well most of the time. We can use that with MediaCodec too. With this output path we don't ever see the raw data; it goes straight into the Surface attached to the SurfaceTexture. You can then composite it with OpenGL and the crazy format conversions are done by the GPU. Pretty nice! I think handling all the different YUV conversions would've been a huge source of pain, so I was happy to eliminate that entire class of bugs. I imagine the GPU conversions are probably faster, too.

There is one problem with this. Sometimes we need to do something with the video other than composite it onto the screen with OpenGL. One common usage is to draw the video into a canvas (either 2D or WebGL). Now we have a problem, because the only way to get stuff out of the SurfaceTexture (and the attached Surface) is to draw it with OpenGL. Initially, my plan to handle this was to ask the compositor to draw this single SurfaceTexture separately into a temporary FBO, read it back, and give me those bits. It worked, but boy was it ugly. There has to be a better way, right? There is, but it's still not great. SurfaceTexture, as of Jelly Bean, allows you to attach and detach a GL context. Once attached, the updateTexImage() call updates whatever texture you attached. Detaching frees that texture, and makes the SurfaceTexture able to be attached to another texture (or GL context). My idea was to only attach the compositor to the SurfaceTexture while it was drawing it, and detach after. This would leave the SurfaceTexture able to be consumed by another GL context/texture. For doing the readback, we just attach to a context created specifically for this purpose on the main thread, blit the texture to a FBO, read the pixels, detach. Performance is not great, as glReadPixels() always seems to be slow on mobile GPUs, but it works. And it doesn't involve IPC to the compositor. I had to resort to a little hack to make some of this work well, though. Right now there is no way to create a SurfaceTexture in an initially detached state. You must always pass a texture in the constructor, so I pass 0 and then immediately call detachFromGLContext(). Pretty crappy, but it should be relatively safe. I filed an Android bug to request a no-arg constructor for SurfaceTexture more than two years ago, but nothing has happened. I'm not sure why Google even allows people to file stuff, honestly.

tl;dr: Video decoding should be much better in Firefox for Android as of today's Nightly if you are on Jelly Bean or higher. Please give it a try, especially if you've had problems in the past. Also, file bugs if you have issues!

Nathan Cutler: Vim reading list [Planet openSUSE]

For years when I needed to search for something in 'vim', I would use the '/' command and type the search key. Usually this would be inefficient, because I would be typing the name of a function that was right there on the screen (sometimes I would use the mouse to copy-and-paste to save a few keystrokes, taxing my brain with yet another keyboard/mouse context switch and exacerbating my "mouse finger" syndrome). Imagine my surprise to learn that Vim has a '*' command to search for whatever word happens to be under the cursor! And then there are the 'n' and 'N' commands which search forwards and backwards, respectively, for the last search key.
Read more »

openSUSE News: Sneak Peek into GNOME on openSUSE 13.2 [Planet openSUSE]

openSUSE 13.2 comes with the latest and greatest that the GNOME desktop has to offer — GNOME 3.14. At the time of the release 13.2 offers GNOME 3.14.1, which improves upon the user-experience of GNOME 3.10, that came with openSUSE 13.1, several notches, featuring notably a much improved gnome-shell with pretty-but-subtle animations and multi-touch gestures for the first time. The core applications have all seen remarkable activity during the development of 3.14 (and earlier, 3.12), focused on exciting features but also to make the desktop experience more unified and consistent.

  • Activities overview
  • Video player
  • Evince, Notes, Font viewer
  • System Tools


Calculator in the GNOME shell search

At the heart of the GNOME experience is the much improved GNOME Shell, handling such trifle as launching applications, switching between windows and workspaces with the grace of a ballet dancer. Gnome-shell, available at version 3.14.1 with openSUSE 13.2, has picked up the ability to respond to multi-touch gestures, including on touchscreens, to open the Activities overview, applications overview and message tray, and to switch between windows and workspaces. In addition, this latest version of the shell features a host of pretty-but-subtle animations that make working inside GNOME a real pleasure.

Typing in a search term in the gnome-shell’s activities overview now gives results for matching files, documents, notes, contacts, photos… and even features inline calculations (just type in 22/7 and see for yourself)!

The applications overview now lists “Sundry” and “Utility” applications in app-folders making the full list of applications less crowded and easier to navigate. In an openSUSE-special touch, the YaST modules are all classed into an app-folder of its own, making it straightforward to launch any YaST module straight from the shell.

Header-bars aka Client side window decorations

The support for header-bars, that nifty combination of window-header and toolbar in one screen real-estate saving gem, which started with 3.10 (so you should have seen a glimpse of this in openSUSE 13.1 already) has proliferated into all major applications. Core applications such as text-editor GEdit, Notes, eps/pdf viewer Evince, Music, Documents all benefit from this development. In addition header-bars have also picked up touchscreen support, so where one could not previously move windows with header-bars around by touch, this is now possible.

Is that a brand new video player?

Video player showing Apple Movie Trailers straight from the web

Video player showing Apple Movie Trailers straight from the web

No, it is still totem, for long GNOME’s default media player in openSUSE. Except now, in it’s 3.14 incarnation it has been completely revamped, now showing a list of videos in your home directory when launched and allowing you to switch to a list of online video channels at the touch of a button. The playback controls are now presented as a floating toolbar that automatically hides when you don’t need it, allowing the currently playing video to take up maximum screen area. This refined look carries over to the fullscreen view too.

Behind the scenes (literally!), it still uses the trusted gstreamer backend (which has got updates of its own since openSUSE 13.1), so the playback is still robust and beautiful.

Revamped text editing

GEdit utilities menu

GEdit utilities menu

GEdit has a brand new look making use of latest GTK+ technologies including the header-bar and an intuitive pop-over based “Open” button that makes opening recent documents really convenient. It keeps all its power and features from previous versions but packs everything into a beautiful compact interface.

In addition, the application Notes makes it easy to take quick notes without the fuss of having explicitly save a text file for the purpose. It shows all your notes in a convenient easy-to-navigate interface so that you don’t ever have the trouble of searching for where you saved the text file in your file system.

Geolocation support in apps

Geolocation enabled apps in GNOME

Geolocation enabled apps in GNOME

Applications such as Clocks, Weather and Maps have picked up geolocation support by default, automatically detecting your present location and presenting relevant information. When you start up, for example, Clocks now, it defaults to showing the time in your current timezone, where previously you would have had to add your city manually to the list of clocks to make this happen. Same goes with Maps, which defaults to showing your present location when you start it up. Concerned about privacy? Just turn it off from Privacy Settings! Speaking of maps…

Travel directions support in Maps

Maps showing travel directions

Maps showing travel directions

Maps (available at version 3.14.1) has also undergone much work since the version in the previous openSUSErelease, where it was only available as a technical preview. It has since stabilised and now forms a key component of the GNOME experience. It has also gained a handful of nifty features, most notably being able to show directions for travel and the ability to switch between the default map view and a satellite overview.

New default applications

Polari and Music as new default applications

Polari and Music as new default applications

openSUSE 13.2 switches to default applications that fit in with GNOME 3’s vision toward providing a consistent, modern desktop experience. Gnome-music becomes the default music organizer and player replacing Rhythmbox used in previous versions. To have your music catalogued by this new application, simply put your favourite music files in the Music directory inside your home directory. 13.2 also introduces Polari, a beautiful modern IRC chat client, which takes over as the default instead of xchat.

Both xchat and rhythmbox are still available for installation from the default repositories for fans of these applications.



In addition, the visual theme in GNOME has been much enhanced by virtue of careful attention to detail and the reworking of several of its components. Animated transitions in applications such as Weather, GEdit and others make everyday work a pleasure. Enhanced HiDPI support ensures the desktop and applications look just as great even if you are working on that high-resolution screen of your oh-so new (and expensive!) computer.

Much has been done to make the desktop transition from the login screen faster and smoother, and a lot of work has gone on to improve the memory usage of the shell and several core applications, making sure that its 3.14 incarnation provides GNOME’s most smart, snappy, lean and productive experience ever.


Atri Bhattacharya

Andrew Wafaa: Moto-ring into Wearables [Planet openSUSE]

Moto 360 image

I must admit, I'm actually really happy with the Moto360. After reading a load of reviews and speaking to people that already had the device, I was fully prepared for a subpar experience. Maybe that's the beauty of not being a bleeding edge early adopter :-)

The woes that were extolled were many, and the only good thing people had to say were about the stunning good looks; battery life was woeful, not even lasting a day; performance was hit and miss; connectivity to phone was spotty; the list goes on, one almost wonders why on earth I would still want one. As it happens, both Google and Motorola have been fairly quick with updates to the device. Android Wear is still exceptionally young, having only been released at Google I/O this summer, but has already had at least two significant updates.

I've not had any connectivity issues between my Moto360 and my Nexus5, not once has my watch been unable to either connect to the internet or drop the connection. People complained that the vibration for notification was too weak. Seriously?! If it was any stronger my arm would shake as if I was suffering from some serious withdrawal symptoms. I genuinely find the vibration just right, strong enough to be certain it was a genuine notificationa and not a phantom notification as a result of my stomach rumbling because I craved something to eat. I'll be honest here, and those that know me won't be surprised at all by this statement, I'm not the most artistically observant person. Meaning I don't notice small variences in colour hues for icons and glyphs, I don't notice tiny pixelation, I don't notice things like Issue 41827, that is unless someone points it out to me and I look really hard. I may just see it then after a while, the Sad Santa thing took me quite a while to notice the difference.

After a full day of slightly above average usage (I ended up demoing it to my wife for a wee bit), I was left with 57% battery remaining - and that was before the latest update that purportedly improves battery life by upto 15%. Not bad considering many said it barely lasted half a day. I have managed to find one case where I was able to deplete the battery rather rapidly though, it is by no means disasterous as I was fully expecting battery to be impacted. That case was going for a 10km run using Endomondo, with active heart monitoring enabled. After an hour of exercise I had used 40% of my battery, as the screen was permanently on alongside the heart rate monitor taking a reading very regularily. Thankfully the watch charges pretty rapidly and within an hour I was back to a full battery. I love the fact that the Moto360 uses QI charging, which means I don't have to have the specific watch dock to charge and can use the same method as my phone and tablet (Nexus7).

My wife, who is normally fairly critical of my gadgets and gizmos, was genuinely impressed with the device. She hadn't even noticed it was a new fangled "toy" and just took it to be a normal watch. She agreed with the many reviews (and myself) that it is indeed a fine looking thing, and when I showed her the functionality she actually wanted one - well almost. She mostly has her phone in her handbag, which is never that far away from her, but often wont' hear the phone due to running around taking care of three children (well four if you include me). Being able to get notifications and quickly replying to text/Facebook messages would be a godsend for her. The watch as it stands is too big for her, she has always had the small faced watches aimed specifically at the dainier wrist, so for now she won't be getting an Android Wear device.

One complaint I have so far is that the lovely charging face is too damned bright at night when I want to sleep, and I've not worked out how to get the damned display to either switch of or dim all the way down. It's by no means a deal breaker and most likely just an oversight in the settings by me. Another one is that you can reply to text and Facebook messages but not Hangouts, WTF Google?! If I get an IM I get the option to reply by SMS, not what I want. Other than those two grumbles, so far I'm loving it and recommend it to anyone that's on the fence. Sure they may be a new version coming out in the future, but it's not been announced let alone rumored yet.

Frank Karlitschek: Ohio Linux Fest [Planet openSUSE]

This Friday the Ohio Linux Fest kicks off in downtown Columbus and I’ll be there! It is my first Linux Fest in the US so I greatly look forward to being introduced in this grand tradition. Of course, I’ll be talking about ownCloud on Saturday the 25, from 13:00 to 14:00 room D142-143.

The title of the talk is “crushing data silos with ownCloud”: helping people liberate their data from the centralized services they have stored it on. I don’t think that a world where most of the personal data of the world is stored on servers of a hand full companies is a good one. ownCloud is, right now, the best way of getting out of that world!
The talk will also cover a few interesting new ideas that we want to do in ownCloud to build a fully federated and distributed solution in the future.

It would be awesome to do a small ownCloud and/or KDE meetup there.

If you’re going to be there – let me know! Find me on twitter and lots of other social services!

Zygmunt Krynicki: Update on python-glibc [Planet Ubuntu]

My pure-python bindings to glibc are progressing at a nice rate. I've made some interesting changes today that I'd like to share.

  • First, there is a clear difference between the raw glibc functions (all in the glibc module) and anything else. You can use them directly just as you would have from C. There's no magic going on and it's all there.
  • Second, we now have a growing collection of python wrappers (in the new pyglibc package), that give low-level primitives nice, high-level, pythonic API. Some of those are straight out of Python 3.4 (but are not a code copy), those include selectors.EpollSelector and select.epoll, some are custom (there's nothing to based this on) like signalfd and pthread_sigmask. More are on the way.
  • Third, and this is pretty interesting. I've decided to build a PEP3156 compatible event loop API. This is paramount for how this code can be consumed. It should roughly work out of the box as a drop-in replacement for the Python 3.4 only asyncio module. Did I mention that it works on Python 2.7? A lot is still missing but I am making progress. This ultimately means that once my contraption makes it into plainbox it won't have to be supported forever (aka job security) and can be discarded once we can depend on Python 3.4. It also means there's a clear, well defined API, a reference implementation (and some others if you look hard enough.
All of that is coming in the 0.6 release that I plan to make later today. The API is stable as I don't like changing my examples over and over so if you want to give it a try, please do so.

My ultimate goal is to scratch my itch. I want to build a reliable test launcher that does monitoring and cleanup. My only constraint is support for Python 3.2 on Ubuntu 12.04 that I have to support. I'm doing a little bit more by supporting Python 2.7 (since it's not costing me anything) on anything that is running the recent enough glibc.

If you're interested in discussing this, using it, adding patches or the like, ping me please.

Randall Ross: Happy 10th Birthday Ubuntu! [Planet Ubuntu]

Ubuntu is 10 today! That's reason to celebrate.

I encourage everyone who's ever enjoyed or contributed to Ubuntu to find the most fun, outrageous, and outlandish birthday photo you can and show it to three people you know who have never heard of (or tried) Ubuntu. Then post it to Planet Ubuntu (or to your favourite place if you can't post here). (If you're not a Planet Ubuntu author, please link to your post in the comments so others can find it here.)

Here's my favourite birthday photo:

Put Orange Candles on Your Head and Celebrate Ubuntu!Put Orange Candles on Your Head and Celebrate Ubuntu!

10 years may seem like an eternity in the tech world, but I like to remind people that we're only part way along the journey to create technology that respects humans, doesn't treat them as "users", and gives them a voice in the decision-making process. Look around you. Is your technology serving you, or are you part of a predatory business model? Are your friends and family enjoying Ubuntu yet?

I once heard that the path to widespread Ubuntu adoption would be a 20-year journey. I can't remember who to attribute this to, but if you're reading, please chime in, and please accept my thanks for setting realistic expectations. This is a struggle that won't be over soon, but we're well on our way.

I am honoured to be part of the Ubuntu family, and I'm looking forward to the next 10 years. When we have our 20th, the world will be a *much* better place, thanks in part to the wonderful people who make Ubuntu.

And, finally, no Happy Birthday message for Ubuntu would be complete without thanking Mark "sabdl" Shuttleworth. Thank you Mark for being the change you want to see in the world and for inspiring so many (myself included) to work on something meaningful.


image by Bart

Ubuntu GNOME: Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 is released [Planet Ubuntu]

The Ubuntu GNOME Team is proud and happy to announce the release of Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn).

Ubuntu GNOME is an official flavour of Ubuntu, featuring the GNOME desktop environment. Ubuntu GNOME is a mostly pure GNOME desktop experience built from the Ubuntu repositories. Two years ago, Ubuntu GNOME has started as unofficial flavour to Ubuntu – see the release notes of 12.10 – and 6 months after that, Ubuntu GNOME has become an official flavour. So, 13.04, 13.10, 14.04 LTS and today, this is our 5th version and the 4th official one. Let’s find out more about Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 :)

Release Notes

Please read the Release Notes before Downloading Ubuntu GNOME 14.10:

Get Ubuntu GNOME 14.10

There are important steps you need to be aware of before installing Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 so please read carefully: Download Ubuntu GNOME 14.10


Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) is supported for 9 months only. This is our Non-LTS Release. If you seek stability and long support, please consider Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) LTS Release. If you seek the latest software/packages that we can offer, then go ahead and use Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn).

Contact Us

Please, see the full list of our communications channels

Thank you everyone

To each and everyone who participated, helped, supported and contributed to Ubuntu GNOME this cycle; big thanks to all of you. Special thanks to our testers who did a unique great job to make Ubuntu GNOME better.

Thank you for choosing and using Ubuntu GNOME.

Non-Technical Leader of Ubuntu GNOME

Xubuntu: Xubuntu 14.10 released! [Planet Ubuntu]

Xubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn

Xubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn

The Xubuntu team is pleased to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 14.10!

The release is available for download by torrents and direct downloads from http://xubuntu.org/getxubuntu/

As the main server will be very busy in the first days after the release, we recommend using the Torrents wherever possible.

For support with the release, navigate to Help & Support for a complete list of methods to get help.

Highlights and Known Issues

To celebrate the 14.10 codename “Utopic Unicorn” and to demonstrate the easy customisability of Xubuntu, highlight colors have been turned pink for this release. You can easily revert this change by using the theme configuration application (gtk-theme-config) under the Settings Manager; simply turn Custom Highlight Colors “Off” and click “Apply”. Of course, if you wish, you can change the highlight color to something you like better than the default blue!

Starting with Xubuntu 14.10, you should use pkexec instead of gksudo for running graphical applications with root access from the terminal for improved security. The Xubuntu team has prepared and shipped the necessary pkexec policy files for all default applications in the Xubuntu installation that we deemed necessary.
Please note that changes in the default configuration affect all users who haven’t changed the default configuration. Read more about the default configuration changes in the release notes.


  • New Xfce Power Manager plugin is added to the panel
    Note: Upgraders from Trusty will not see the new xfce4-power-manager panel plugin by default, but instead stick to indicator-power. This can easily be resolved by uninstalling indicator-power and adding the “Power Manager Plugin” to the panel.
  • Items in the newly themed alt-tab dialog can now be clicked with the mouse

Known Issues

  • com32r error on boot with usb (1325801)
  • Virtualbox can start with a black screen (1378423)
  • Black background to Try/Install dialogue (1365815)

Workarounds for issue in virtual machines

  • Move to TTY1 (with VirtualBox, RightCtrl+F1), then back to TTY7 (with VirtualBox, RightCtrl+F7) and proceed

For a more complete changelog between Xubuntu 14.04 and 14.10, please refer to the release notes.

Nicholas Skaggs: Sprinting in DC: Wednesday [Planet Ubuntu]

This week, my team and I are sprinting with many of the core app developers and other folks inside of Ubuntu Engineering. Each day I'm attempting to give you a glimpse of what's happening.

To kick off the day, I led a session on something that has been wreaking havoc for application test writers within the core apps -- environment setup. In theory, setting up the environment to run your test should be easy. In practice, I've found it increasingly difficult. The music, calendar, clock, reminders, file manager and other teams have all been quite affected by this and the canonical QA team and myself have all pitched in to help, but struggled as well. In short, a test should be easy to launch, be well behaved and not delete any user data, and be easy to setup and feed test data into for the test process. I'm happy to report that the idea of a permanent solution has been reached. Now we must implement it of course, but the result should be drastically easier and more reliable test setup for you the test author.

I also had the chance to list some grievances for application developers with the QA team. We spoke about wanting to expand the documentation on testing and specifically targeted the need to create better templates in the ubuntu sdk for new projects. When you start a new project you should have well functioning tests, and we should teach you about how to run them too!

Just before lunch the community core app developers were able to discuss post-RTM plans and features. A review of the apps was undertaken and some desire for new designs or features were discussed. Terminal is being rebuilt to be more aligned with upstream. Music is currently undergoing a re-design which is coming along great. Calculator is anxious to get some design love. Reminders potential for offline notetaking as well as potential name changes were all discussed. Overall, an amazing accomplishment by all the developers!

After lunch, I spent time confirming the fix for a longstanding bug within autopilot. The merge proposal for fixing this bug has been simmering all summer and it's time to get it fixed. The current test suites for calendar and clock have been impacted by this and have already had regressions occur that could have been caught had tests been able to be written for this area. Having myself, the autopilot team, and the calendar developers in one place made fixing this possible.

To end the day, I spent some time attending sessions for changes to CI and learning more about the coming changes to CI within ubuntu. In summary the news is wonderful. CI will test using autopkgtest, and all of ubuntu will come under this umbrella -- phone, desktop, everything. If it's a package and it has tests, we will do all of the autopkgtest goodness currently being done for the distro.

The evening closed with a bit of fun provided by a game making hackathon using bacon2d and the hilariously horrible "Turkish Star Wars". We could always use more games in the ubuntu app store, and I hear there might even still be a pioneers t-shirt or two left if you get it in early!

Kubuntu: Kubuntu 14.10 [Planet Ubuntu]

Kubuntu 14.10 is available for upgrade or install. It comes in two flavours, the stable Plasma 4 running the desktop we know from previous releases, and a tech preview of the next generation Plasma 5 for early adopters.

Ferguson Truthers [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

Washington Post (well-known reich-wing racist newspaper) reports that evidence looks to be substantiating officer Darren Wilson’s testimony.

Because Wilson is white and Brown was black, the case has ignited intense debate over how police interact with African American men. But more than a half-dozen unnamed black witnesses have provided testimony to a St. Louis County grand jury that largely supports Wilson’s account of events of Aug. 9, according to several people familiar with the investigation who spoke with The Washington Post.

Some of the physical evidence — including blood spatter analysis, shell casings and ballistics tests — also supports Wilson’s account of the shooting, The Post’s sources said, which cast Brown as an aggressor who threatened the officer’s life. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they are prohibited from publicly discussing the case. [...]

Seven or eight African American eyewitnesses have provided testimony consistent with Wilson’s account, but none of them have spoken publicly out of fear for their safety, The Washington Post’s sources said.

Geez, I wonder why? I mean, isn’t the ultimate goal of all involved is to determine the facts?

Benjamin L. Crump, a lawyer for the Brown family, said Brown’s family and supporters will not be persuaded by the autopsy report or eyewitness statements that back Wilson’s account of the incident.

“The family has not believed anything the police or this medical examiner has said,” Crump said. “They have their witnesses. We have seven witnesses that we know about that say the opposite.”

Oh. In other words, don’t bother them with facts, they have their own “reality” to use in order to have Darren Wilson dead by any means necessary.


Ferguson Truthers.

California forces Churches to pay for abortions, immediately [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

So where are the staunchiest peoples who claimed this could never happen, and promised their support in fighting it if it did?

California’s Department of Managed Health Care has ordered all insurance plans in the state to immediately begin covering elective abortion. Not Plan B. Not contraceptives. Elective surgical dismemberment abortion.

At the insistence of the American Civil Liberties Union, the DMHC concluded that a 40-year-old state law requiring health plans to cover “basic health services” had been misinterpreted all these decades. Every plan in the state was immediately ordered, effective August 22, to cover elective abortion. California had not even applied this test to its own state employee health plans (which covered only “medically necessary” abortions). But this novel reading was nevertheless quietly imposed on every plan in the state by fiat.

The news has slowly leaked out as insurers grappling with this change have begun quietly informing employers of this sudden change in the terms of their policy. This is how Kaiser Permanente broke the news to one California church that its insurance policy for its pastors and staff would now include elective abortion coverage:

I want to formally share with you that on August 22, 2014, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) notified Kaiser Permanente and other affected health plans in writing regarding group contracts that exclude ‘voluntary termination of pregnancy.’

This letter made clear that the DMHC considered health care services related to the termination of pregnancies – whether or not a voluntary termination – a medically necessary basic health care service for which all health care services plans must provide coverage under the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act. You may recall that at the request of some employer groups with religious affiliations, Kaiser Permanente submitted a regulatory filing in May 2012 properly notifying the DMHC of a benefit plan option that excluded coverage of voluntary terminations of pregnancies. The DMHC did not object to this filing, permitting Kaiser Permanente to offer such a coverage contract to large group purchasers that requested it. The DMHC acknowledged that it previously permitted these contract exclusions, but now is requiring health care service plans to provide coverage of all terminations of pregnancies, effective immediately. To that end, the DMHC requires Kaiser Permanente and similar health care service plans to initiate steps to modify their plan contracts accordingly.

Effective August 22, Kaiser Permanente will comply with this regulatory mandate.

How soon will Leftists take the next step and force doctors and nurses to participate in abortions or face losing their license?

Further updates [protein wisdom]

Yes, the nightmare continues.

This time, though, shit just got real, as they say.  Without going too much into depth about it, my younger brother, who is a world class piece of garbage, sold our family home in Baltimore, sold most of our belongings that he didn’t load into a truck, put the rest in a dumpster, stored some of my mother’s belongings in a storage facility (paid for two months, then abandoned), and moved to Florida without leaving anyone a forwarding address.  All of which I’ve heard from either neighbors or other family members.

My brother is 44; until about 4 months ago he’d never lived anywhere but our family home in Randallstown.  He was living with my mother, who had taken in tenants to supplement income (even though the house was owned outright), and he didn’t pay a cent for rent that I know of.  Ever.  His entire life.  He works as a waiter — or rather he did (since he’s been down in Florida he’s been jobless) — but he took the money from the sale of the house, about $165K, left it to a friend of my sister’s to find my mother an assisted living facility, and high-tailed it down to St Petersburg.  Since my mother has had multiple surgeries on her legs, she’s essentially had to rely on my brother for anything requiring mobility, and as a quid pro quo, he convinced her to give him power of attorney over her affairs.  I warned her against this when I found out — as did others — but she was, I suppose, essentially dependent on him after my father passed away in 2010, so he didn’t listen.  She was, in essence, captive — but because she was mentally competent there wasn’t much that anyone could do about it.

Anyway, long story short, using power of attorney, he emptied all her accounts, took the proceeds from the house sale, cashed out her life insurance policy right after my father died (or at least canceled it; not sure if there was money from that to be had), and has had my father’s pension — which was to go to my mother monthly — diverted to him.  He also took something between $9-$19K in bonds and we don’t know what’s become of the $70K from my father’s life insurance policy.  More, he was supposed to have paid up front for future funeral services with money from my father’s life insurance policy; we learned yesterday that that hadn’t been done, either.

I’m mostly estranged from my family in MD — largely because my mother wouldn’t listen to warnings about my brother and what I believed was a form of elderly abuse — so I gave up after awhile and I’ve tried to stay out of the whole mess:  let them each get what they deserve, I figured.  But now my mother is living with two other women in an assisted care facility with a 9 PM lights out curfew, and her caregivers missed an infection in her leg that brought her to the hospital two nights again.  Her Social Security check goes to pay for the facility, leaving her with about $22 per month in spending money.  And I can’t abide that.  Particularly now, as she’s been hospitalized and I was just informed that they’ve found spots on her lungs and on her adrenal gland (biopsy tomorrow, but I’m fairly certain, as are the doctors, that it’s cancer and that it’s spread).  Which, yeah, that info should probably have been in the lede.  Sue me.

My mother says the agreement she made with my brother, whose goes, ludicrously and embarrassingly, by “Goldie” often times, was that he would pay her bills and provide her with monthly money (she fucked up, she trusted him!), using the proceeds from the house sale (as some of you may recall, I offered to buy the house and restore it, but he turned me down; the last time I saw it it wasn’t fit for a hoarding cat lady to live in, but there was no chance he was going to put any work into it. He paid a friend of mine to fix it just enough to pass inspection); instead, he purchased a condo in Florida and a new car (rumor has it) — both outright — and hasn’t been paying a dime to my mother of late.  Other friends and relatives have been paying for her to go play BINGO, or get a sandwich out.  “She doesn’t need her nails done,” my brother told our cousins, who’ve been helping out, when they called about a car insurance payment that was due.  Or,”she doesn’t need a haircut. Mind your own fucking business.”  Etc.

I was contacted about all this a few days back and since then I’ve gone through the Maryland Department of Health and Human Services, who referred me to a detective who is now on the case.  What we’re looking at, beside theft and perhaps wire fraud for the pension transfer, is misappropriation of funds by fiduciary.  I’ve arranged for power of attorney to be changed this afternoon by paying for a mobile notary to travel to her hospital room and by having my cousins download and fill out forms from the office of the attorney general of MD.  I’ve also given my them, because they live down the street from my mother and who have been helping her with money and company, and because I trust them, medical power of attorney. I’ve located my brother — who bragged about not giving his address to anyone — by duping him on the phone:  I called and offered to pay for my mother’s car insurance, which I learned was in arrears, and during that conversation got just enough information out of the greedy bastard (he smelled money and like a rat he bit) to find out what county he was in, after which a property search gave me his address.

Since he found out that I know where he’s living and that he’s under criminal investigation, he’s been trying to get the routing number and account number for my mother’s (empty) checking account, hoping to stuff some money back in to suggest he’s been exercising his power of attorney faithfully.  Now, I’m no detective, but it seems to me that had he EVER planned on sending her money, this is information he’d already have. From what I understand from the detective, they can subpoena all my mother’s accounts and find out where the money went by following that trail.

In addition to being an embezzling, low-life taint, he’s also been making physical threats to my cousins and my sister.  Me, I blocked his number long ago, and the last time I saw him, when I was home for my reunion, it was all I could do to keep from getting locked up.  Fortunately, he ran.  Because I’m not a woman he can throw a punch at.

So.  There it is.  We’re not quite settled into the new house yet, but it looks like I’ll be embroiled in an ugly legal battle with my piece of shit brother as my mother faces what may be terminal cancer.  Doing that all from Colorado might prove difficult, so I suspect I’ll be forced to take a few trips to the People’s Republic of Baltimore — where there’s a good chance I’ll be arrested for accidentally elbowing my brother in his jaw repeatedly (note:  somewhere in California, somebody just did a screen cap of this particular sentence).  It is what it is.

It’s all been a whirlwind.  And now the breeze is picking up yet again.

Apologies for my extended absence.   And apologies for the personal stuff some of you don’t like to read on a “political blog.”  But this is my space.  So if you don’t want to read it, skip over it.  I’m sure Obama’s done something douchey today that will keep you entertained.

As for me, I’m stressed beyond the breaking point.  So if you have it in you, send along your best good vibes.  I can certainly use them right now.


UPDATE:  power of attorney has been changed and notarized.  My cousin and aunt are also going to file for guardianship of my mother.  I’ve counseled both my cousin and my sister to file for temporary protection orders against my brother based on his texted threats so that he can’t reach my mother while they’re around without risking arrest should he do as he says and come up from Florida to try to manipulate my mother yet again.

He also told me his attorney has me “on harassment, slander, and fraud,” and that they are “coming after me financially” — all of which info I’m passing on to the Detective, who is out of town until Thursday.

As many of you know, I’m not one of these people who shrinks from a fight.  So best of luck to the plump little asshole.





kwmurphy: utahgraphicsworld: Here’s my fan art for my favorite... [Join me, won't we?]



Here’s my fan art for my favorite riff of the year so far, The Last Slumber Party!

Thank you, Utah Graphics W. Orld for your lovely graphics. And yes, this is one of my favorites as well.  I’ve rarely seen a movie that seems to be angry at itself for being made.  


One of my favorite lines ever, for its abstruseness to the modern ear, of course, but even for being a weird line AT THE TIME! Thanks for this delightful graphic.

New Examination Checklists [Radio Society of Great Britain - Main Site]

Checklists to help ensure consistency of exam provision between Exam (more…)

Ice age settlement found in the Andes at record high altitude [CBC | Technology News]

Kurt Rademaker and Sonia Zarrillo

Archeologists have found an ice age settlement so high in the Peruvian Andes that they were surprised ancient humans could survive the low oxygen there.

98 snakes found in Regina-area home released to wild [CBC | Technology News]

snakes released salthaven

Some 98 snakes that found their way into a Regina-area basement are back in their natural element.

Partial solar eclipse visible across most of Canada today [CBC | Technology News]

Australia partial Solar Eclipse

The moon will take a bite out of the sun this afternoon during a partial solar eclipse that will be visible across much of Canada, but not in Atlantic Canada.

Vintage Apple 1 computer sells for $905,000 US [CBC | Technology News]

A vintage Apple computer that was one of only 50 made in Steve Jobs' garage in 1976 has sold for $905,000 US at auction in New York City.

Apple Pay double-billing prompts Bank of America apology [CBC | Technology News]

Apple Pay

Some customers have reported they were charged twice for the same purchase when they used Bank of America debit cards with Apple Pay, and the banking giant apologized for the glitch on Tuesday.

Google unveils Inbox app pitched as smarter version of Gmail [CBC | Technology News]

Google has introduced a new app aimed at making it easier for its Gmail users to find and manage information from their inbox more effectively.

Soul Crush Story aims to educate gamers about healthy limits [CBC | Technology News]


A new video game developed by Algoma Games for Health is now online — but it isn’t designed to be played for hours at a time.

DXer.ca: Down but not out [The SWLing Post]

DXerDotCaMany of you might have noticed that the popular Canadian DX website, DXer.ca, has been offline for a few days.

The server where DXer.ca is hosted has been under a persistent “denial of service” attack (much like we experienced last year) which has forced a move to a different web host.

I’ve been in touch with Colin Newell, editor and creator of DXer.ca, and he’s hopeful he’ll have DXer.ca back online within a few days or (worse-case) few weeks.

We’ll make an announcement when DXer.ca is live again!  Good luck, Colin!

Murder in Canada: "Experts" Wrong, Again [The DiploMad 2.0]

As I write this, we have not yet heard all the details of the assault on Parliament in Ottawa and the murder of two Canadian soldiers, one by an automobile hit-and-run in Quebec Province and the other in front of the War Memorial in Ottawa. As is usual, one should always take with a grain or two or three or four of salt initial press reports. They almost always have a high inaccuracy quotient brought about by a combination of factors such as, the natural confusion surrounding violent events; media outlets desire to scoop each other which leads to reporting gossip, rumor, and hyperbole as facts; and, of course, the demands of political correctness which force journalists and officials to censor certain and often obvious facts.

What do we know as of this moment?

Islam. That is what we know.

Recent converts to Islam carried out both brutal murders.

As this humble blog has noted re the horrid Lee Rigby beheading in England (here and here), the Kenya Westgate mall massacre (here and here), the Boston Marathon bombings (here and here) the shootings at Ft. Hood, the DC Beltway Sniper (What was his name? Oh, yes, John Allen Mohammed), the Oklahoma beheading and so many more incidents in the US and elsewhere, media, "experts," and officials prove so reluctant to place the blame where it belongs that it is almost comical, well, comical in a horrible sort of perverse manner.

We have the inevitable statements about there not existing a "link" between the particular incident under discussion and international--code for Muslim--terrorists. We have the desperate search for a culprit who is not Muslim: e.g., in the Ottawa shooting we had initial press reports of a Native American gunman. The press gleefully jumps on the fact that many of these crimes were by people born in the countries where they carried out their crimes: e.g., lots of coverage of the Ottawa shooter being Canadian-born.

When some gutsy Western country, such as Australia, pre-empts the killers and breaks up their plot--one strikingly similar to what happened in Canada--well, the "experts" immediately "raise questions" about the ability of ISIS, or Al Qaeda, or some other group to carry out such long-range activities.

Increasingly I am coming to the conclusion that "expert" is just another word for "naive fool."

In addition, we see what I previously called the "rush to exonerate."  Writing about the disappearance of a Malaysian B-777, I noted that,

It would seem that at a minimum police and media would want to shut up about whether this aircraft disappeared because of terrorism. I also wish media and others would stop citing Interpol as some sort of great investigative agency. It is just a collector of data sent on a voluntary basis by police and intel organizations around the world. It is hardly a complete data base. I love the phrase, "there's no evidence to suggest either [passenger] was connected to any terrorist organization."<...> Would terrorists generally use people "known" to be connected to terrorism to board aircraft? The murderous Clown Posse that flew the planes into the Pentagon, the Twin Towers, and the Pennsylvania countryside had no "known" connection to terror groups, or they would not have gotten their visas in the first place.
Whether these killers were born in England, Canada, Australia, Russia, the USA, or elsewhere, they all had one thing in common. Guess. Can you? Try. Yes, they were all "radicalized" to use the oh-so delicate PC phrase in vogue among the progressive bien pensant. In other words these thugs were Muslim, many of them social losers and recent converts to that totalitarian creed.

There is no need for an ISIS indoctrination, logistics line, training, or other support. The Quran and the local mosque provide all that is needed.

Lib Mouthpiece Rosie O’Donnell Uses Canadian Terror Attack To Push Gun Control… [Weasel Zippers]

Trash. Via Newsbusters: Liberal View co-host (and 9/11 truther) Rosie O’Donnell wasted no time on Thursday in taking the shooting in Canada and spinning it into a plea for gun control in America. The comedienne cited a comment from model Chrissy Teigan. On Wednesday, Teigan tweeted, “Active shooting in Canada or as we call it […]

CAIR Leaders Organize #Muslims4Ferguson Event Claiming There Has Been A “Criminalization Of Black And Brown Bodies”… [Weasel Zippers]

That’s some grade-A race baiting. Via HuffPo: The official autopsy report for Michael Brown came out on October 22 — the same day the Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation has observed a National Day of Protest since 1996. To mark this important day, hundreds of Muslims took to […]

ISIS Raking In Millions From Black Market Oil Sales And Ransoms… [Weasel Zippers]

The savages raised $20 mil off ransoms alone this year… Via Washington Examiner: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria makes $1 million a day from black market oil sales and has raised $20 million in ransom fees this year, according to a Treasury official who warned that the breadth of the terrorist group’s money-raising […]

Ebola Lobbying Soars Amid Crisis… [Weasel Zippers]

Never let a crisis go to waste. Via Capitol City Project: Many health-related companies have kicked their lobbying efforts into high gear after Ebola fears have spread amid the current crisis. The boost in lobbying by pharmaceutical companies, health professionals, and associations shouldn’t come as a surprise as drug companies have seen their stocks rise […]

Socialism Success Story: Venezuela Rationing Food Again To Citizens At Supermarkets [Weasel Zippers]

Venezuela is the socialist paradise it always wanted to be Via Wall Street Journal: Venezuela—Amid worsening shortages, Venezuela recently reached a milestone of dubious distinction: It has joined the ranks of North Korea and Cuba in rationing food for its citizens. On a recent, muggy morning, Maria Varge stood in line outside a Centro 99 […]

White House: Hey Guys, Don’t Read Anything Into Purchase Order For Up to 34M Green Cards… [Weasel Zippers]

Sure, now that they mentioned it… Via CNS News: (CNSNews.com) – Reporters tried again on Wednesday to find out if a DHS purchase order for millions of green cards signals the magnitude of President Obama’s intention to unilaterally grant legal status to illegal aliens after the midterm election. The purchase order requests “an estimated 4 […]

Biden: “I Like Guys Because Of Their Moms”… [Weasel Zippers]

Whereas Obama just likes guys.* *Nothing gets libs more fired up than Obama is gay jokes.

Video: Standing Ovation For Class Act, Kevin Vickers, Who Shot And Killed Ottawa Gunman Yesterday [Weasel Zippers]

Kevin Vickers is Parliament’s Sergeant-At-Arms, who saved lives by shooting the terrorist. They were just outside the caucus rooms where members of Parliament and PM Harper were meeting. Here he is, gun in hand, minutes after taking out the shooter: Wow – video of Sgt. at Arms Kevin Vickers walking in Parliament, weapon in hand, […]

AP Poll: Just 9% Of Likely Midterm Voters Are “Enthusiastic” About Obama… [Weasel Zippers]

Even worse for the Dems, only 17% strongly approve of Obama versus 44% who strongly disapprove. Via WaPo: We’ve written plenty on this blog about Democrats’ enthusiasm deficit in the 2014 election. This gap was, is and will almost definitely continue to be real through Nov. 4. But while it’s well understood that Obama’s unpopularity […]

Biden To Supporters: “If You And I Were In A Room Right Now I’d Shake Your Hand… Then I’d Ask You For $3″… [Weasel Zippers]

Too rich for my blood. From: Joe Biden <democraticparty@democrats.org> To: Drew <weaselzippers@yahoo.com> Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 11:57 AM Subject: Listen up, Drew: If you and I were in a room right now, I’d shake your hand and I’d thank you for being a part of our team. I’d tell you that your commitment to […]

Here We Go: Hospitals Considering Ebola Death Panels… [Weasel Zippers]

Time to play the “white privilege” card. (Reuters) – The Ebola crisis is forcing the American healthcare system to consider the previously unthinkable: withholding some medical interventions because they are too dangerous to doctors and nurses and unlikely to help a patient. U.S. hospitals have over the years come under criticism for undertaking measures that […]

Canadian Officials Say Shooter Was In Contact With Known ISIS Militants In Syria… [Weasel Zippers]

Paging Charlie Rangel. Via CBS News: As the investigation of Wednesday’s shooting rampage in Ottawa continues, CBS News can report that his passport was revoked by Canadian officials after he contacted known militants in Syria, possibly with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. Police swarmed the streets after a gunman shot dead […]

Day After Hamas Killed 3-Month-Old Baby, Palestinians Pelt Jewish Kindergarten With Rocks… [Weasel Zippers]

Ahh, those peace-loving Palestinians. Via Times of Israel: Less than a day after a terrorist attack on a light rail station in Jerusalem in which a three-month-old baby was killed, tensions flared in the capital. Early Thursday morning, a Jewish kindergarten in East Jerusalem was pelted with rocks. No casualties were reported in the incident, […]

Charlie Rangel: ISIS Is “Not A Threat To Our National Security”… [Weasel Zippers]

Apparently he is this dumb. Via Grabien: HOST: Meanwhile, we are seeing a battle in Kobani, seeing Baghdad being surrounded, seeing threats on the green zone in Baghdad by isis. What do you think we as a government should be doing and are we doing enough? RANGEL: Well, one thing, I don’t see where that’s […]

Terrorist Runs Over American Baby In Israel, Obama Regime Urges Israel To Show Restraint In Response [Weasel Zippers]

Update to this story where a Hamas terrorist drove car into crowd at train station in Israel. The family, Americans who were there because of the father’s studies, had great difficulty having a baby, and for that reason, cherished this child even more. Via Jewish Press: The Obama administration pledged its “full support” for Canada […]

Dem Rep. Jim McDermott Mocks People Worried About Islamic Terrorism After Canada Attacks: “There’s No Evidence” They’re Coming After Us… [Weasel Zippers]

Major douche. Via PJ Media: A Democratic congressman decried reactions to this week’s terrorist attacks in Canada, arguing people shouldn’t get worked up about “Muslim hordes” coming to get the U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) told MSNBC yesterday that President Obama was “very measured in his response.” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the killing […]

Poll: Greg Abbott Absolutely Crushing Wendy Davis, Leads By 16-Points… [Weasel Zippers]

Abortion Barbie is running one of the worst campaigns I’ve ever seen. Via Texas Tribune/University of Texas poll: HT: Phil Kerpen

Touching Cartoon On Canadian Terror Attack [Weasel Zippers]

RT: @LegatumInst: most touching of all responses to #Ottawa: a cartoon in the Chronicle Herald http://t.co/BEYimUwIgK pic.twitter.com/nl5y9QLLi7 — Quentin Sommerville (@sommervillebbc) October 23, 2014

Malaysian Islamists Want Man Stoned To Death For Organizing Dog-Petting Event For Muslims… [Weasel Zippers]

Stoned to death for petting a dog? Seems a tad excessive. Via TIME: A Malaysian social activist has received death threats and torrents of online abuse for organizing a dog-familiarization event that religious conservatives claim insults Islam. More than 1,000 people attended the “I Want to Touch a Dog” event in the affluent Bandar Utama […]

Dem Rep. Steve Cohen: GOP Opposition to Obamacare “Will Cause Much Greater Ebola Epidemic”… [Weasel Zippers]

The fact that the far-left Steve Cohen said this will come as a surprise to zero WZ readers.

Felicia Day's public details put online after she described Gamergate fears [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]

Felicia Day's public details put online after she described Gamergate fears:



Felicia Day, a bona-fide geek goddess, talks about fears about speaking out against gamergate because she doesn’t want to be targeted by it, and how silence counts as a victory for the angry mob, and how fear isn’t going to stop her from doing what she loves.

50 minutes later, her personal information and address (she gets “doxxed”) were found and posted in the comments for all to see on her own damn blog by pro-gamergaters.

Two days ago, Chris Kluwe, former kicker for the Minnesota Vikings, and OLD-school gamer, wrote his second brilliant, profanity-laden tirade against Gamergate, and he hasn’t been doxxed yet. Magical penis powers apparently keep the gamergaters from going after him, but Felicia and Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian and Briana Wu are doxxed almost immediately.

Gamergate is not about journalistic integrity, I don’t care what ANYONE says. It is about silencing women, harassing women (and those that support them), and with the threats made to Utah State University because of Anita’s speaking engagement, ACTUAL TERRORISM.

The “Gamergate” movement is irreparably tainted with the evil and sliminess of the origins and the continuing harassment and threats. If you truly want ethics in gaming journalism, abandon gamergate, CONDEMN all of gamergate, and move on. Gamergate is synonymous with misogyny and assholishness. Leave it in the dust.

Heard about Felicia Day getting doxxed last night, still swearing about it.

essex-alpha: okamidensetsu: the-ankle-rocker: This… 1000... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]




This… 1000 times this.


Gaming is about having fun and it gets better with the more people you share it with. Phenomenal advise.

Felicia Day's worst Gamergate fears just came true [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


Felicia Day broke her silence on GamerGate last night in a moving Tumblr post confronting her fear of harassment and urging other women in gaming not to be scared away from the community they love.

But Day’s post also served as a brutal reminder of how toxic and frightening Gamergate has become, and why Day had every right to be afraid. Shortly after writing about her fear of being doxed, a commenter on the post doxed her.

Day’s Tumblr post, “The Only Thing I Have to Say About Gamergate,” was a long and honest look at her own fear about being seen to be supporting Gamergate. “I have tried to retweet a few of the articles I’ve seen dissecting the issue in support, but personally I am terrified to be doxxed for even typing the words ‘Gamer Gate’,” she wrote.

I have had stalkers and restraining orders issued in the past, I have had people show up on my doorstep when my personal information was HARD to get. To have my location revealed to the world would give a entry point for a few mentally ill people who have fixated on me, and allow them to show up and make good on the kind of threats I’ve received that make me paranoid to walk around a convention alone. I haven’t been able to stomach the risk of being afraid to get out of my car in my own driveway because I’ve expressed an opinion that someone on the internet didn’t agree with.


Day wrote of realizing after crossing the street to avoid two gamers she saw in Vancouver that she had allowed Gamergate to enhance her fear of other people within her community. Her post was an attempt to conquer that fear and to urge other women to do the same.

But less than an hour after describing her past experiences with stalkers in the post, a commenter showed up to do the one thing she feared would happen.

[Read more]

"A former aide to President Ronald Reagan is calling for southern states to secede from the union and..." [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]

“A former aide to President Ronald Reagan is calling for southern states to secede from the union and form a new conservative nation called “Reagan” where citizens wouldn’t be forced to compromise on “traditional values” like marriage.”

- Reagan Aide Wants The South To Secede And Form Anti-Gay ‘Reagan’ Nation

nprfreshair: washingtonpost: The heart and soul of The Post... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]



The heart and soul of The Post newsroom.

Ben Bradlee speaking to Terry Gross in 1995 about the day Richard Nixon resigned:

"The wonderful part of journalism [is] that there’s never any time to say ‘Boy, I feel good,’ or ‘Boy, I feel bad,’ ‘Oh my god, I want to go out and celebrate!’ or ‘I want to go and grieve.’ You have an awful lot to do.

In our case, we were pretty sure that he was going to resign but we didn’t know he was going to resign. We had a 20 page extra section ready to go describing the Nixon years, and we had the most important, complicated, difficult story to write about how come he resigned when he resigned and it was vitally important that that be written fairly, gracefully and with intelligence.

We didn’t want to make a silly damn mistake the last day on a story we had spent close to 30 months on. … It consumed our lives. That’s what we did. We did Watergate.”

Ben Bradlee On Journalism: Be ‘Fair’ And ‘Honest,’ But Don’t ‘Back Down’

"black [1] then [1] white are [2] all I see [3] in my infancy [5] red and yellow then came to be..." [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]

“black [1]
then [1]
white are [2]
all I see [3]
in my infancy [5]
red and yellow then came to be [8]
reaching out to me [5]
lets me see [3] there is [2]
so [1]
much [1]
more and [2]
beckons me [3]
to look through to these [5]
infinite possibilities [8] as below so above and beyond I imagine [13]
drawn outside the lines of reason [8]
push the envelope [5]
watch it bend [3]”

- Tool – The Holy Gift : Viznix

gameraboy: Blub! From Star Wars #4 (1977).Written by Roy... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]



From Star Wars #4 (1977).
Written by Roy Thomas, art by Howard Chaykin and Steve Leialoha

I still have my original copy of this comic. Its cover is torn, but the rest of it is in great shape, and it’s as much fun to read now as it was then.

yo hey can you tag Felicia Day's post for ableism pls, that bit about mentally ill people as dangerous stalkers is p terrible and nasty [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]

You know what?  No.  No, I will not.  

Felicia Day is a female celebrity.  A female *geek* celebrity.  When this is your life, guess what, even though most mentally ill folks are largely harmless, when you’re all three of those things, the not-harmless kind of come after you.  And so I think she is well within her damn rights to use the phrase “mentally ill who are fixated on me” and articulate her fear of said folks.  She didn’t even cast aspersions on all mentally ill folks.  She singled out a subset.  And when she has actual literal strangers showing up at her door, YEAH SHE CAN MENTION THOSE PEOPLE.  Who the fuck am I to Um Actually at her?  That makes me a goddamn asshole.

Secondly, why, to what friggin’ end would I do this?  I’d be slapping a little passive-aggressive stamp on someone else’s words.  Look, folks, if something I reblog, like, actually causes some sort of violent brain reaction or pangs of paralyzing fear, please, let me know.  But for the love of God, don’t come to me asking to tag stuff like this.  This is my blog.  This is not your blog.  Tag your own shit.  

The Only Thing I Have To Say About Gamer Gate [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


I had a day off this weekend from shooting Supernatural, and I was walking around downtown Vancouver on Saturday, sampling all the artisan coffee I could get my throat around. At one point I saw a pair of guys walking towards me wearing gamer shirts. Black short-sleeved, one Halo and one Call of Duty. 

Now in my life up until this point, that kind of outfit has meant one thing: Potential comrades. I love games, I love gaming. If it’s Friday night, I’m not out hanging at a club, I’m diving into a new game I downloaded on Steam. And I am blessed with the fact that my career is largely built upon that love, which I channeled into fiction so many years ago with “The Guild”. If there’s anything I’m proud of in this world, it’s the fact that I’ve had people come up to me on the street and at conventions over the years to tell me that they feel confident to call themselves a gamer because of my work, where before they were ashamed. Hearing that kind of stuff has kept me going, against the mainstream, against all odds. 

So seeing another gamer on the street used to be an auto-smile opportunity, or an entry into a conversation starting with, “Hey, dude! I love that game too!” Me and that stranger automatically had something in common: A love for something unconventional. Outsiders in arms. We had an auto-stepping stone to hurtle over human-introduction-awkwardness, into talking about something we loved together. Instant connection!

But for the first time maybe in my life, on that Saturday afternoon, I walked towards that pair of gamers and I didn’t smile. I didn’t say hello. In fact, I crossed the street so I wouldn’t walk by them. Because after all the years of gamer love and inclusiveness, something had changed in me. A small voice of doubt in my brain now suspected that those guys and I might not be comrades after all. That they might not greet me with reflected friendliness, but contempt.  

I went home and was totally, utterly depressed.

I have not said many public things about Gamer Gate. I have tried to leave it alone, aside from a few @ replies on Twitter that journalists have decided to use in their articles, siding me against the hashtag. Why have I remained mostly silent?

Self-protection and fear. 

I have been through a lot in my years on the internet. I have encountered a small fraction of the attacks from people like the ones who currently represent the worst of this “movement”. In the past, I worked through it alone because I felt shining a light on their words gave them exactly what they wanted: Attention and credibility. To say that their attacks and contempt didn’t set me back creatively would be a lie, but overall I got through the twists and turns, emotionally battered, but alright. My philosophy has always been, “Exist and represent yourself the way you want to exist as a woman who loves games, not as a reflection of what other people think or want of you. You will change minds by BEING. Show, don’t tell.” The attacks I experienced over the years were NOTHING compared to people who are the victims of these attacks now, but I still thought early on during the Gamer Gate phenomenon, “These trolls will dissipate into the night like they always do, it will be fine.”

But they have not dissipated. And because of the frightening emotions and actions attached to what has happened over the last month, the events are sure to have a long-lasting affect on gaming as a culture. The fact that it has affected me, to the point where I decided to cross the street last weekend away from those gamers, was heartbreaking. Because I realized my silence on the issue was not motivated by some grand strategy, but out of fear that the issue has created about speaking out. 

I have been terrified of inviting a deluge of abusive and condescending tweets into my timeline. I did one simple @ reply to one of the main victims several weeks back, and got a flood of things I simply couldn’t stand to read directed at me. I had to log offline for a few days until it went away. I have tried to retweet a few of the articles I’ve seen dissecting the issue in support, but personally I am terrified to be doxxed for even typing the words “Gamer Gate”. I have had stalkers and restraining orders issued in the past, I have had people show up on my doorstep when my personal information was HARD to get. To have my location revealed to the world would give a entry point for any mentally ill person who has fixated on me, and allow them to show up and make good on the kind of threats I’ve received that make me paranoid to walk around a convention alone. I haven’t been able to stomach the risk of being afraid to get out of my car in my own driveway because I’ve expressed an opinion that someone on the internet didn’t agree with. 


I have allowed a handful of anonymous people censor me. They have forced me, out of fear, into seeing myself a potential victim. 

And that makes me loathe not THEM, but MYSELF. 

So I write this to urge any person, male or female, who now has the impulse to do what I did, to walk away from something they loved before, to NOT. 

Don’t let other people drive you away from gaming. 

Games are beautiful, they are creative, they are worlds to immerse yourself in. They are art. And they are worth fighting for, even if the atmosphere is ugly right now. A small minority are putting up barbed wire walls between us who love games. And that is sad. Because odds are 99% certain that those guys on the street who I avoided would have been awesome to talk to. I realize that letting the actions of a few hateful people influence my behavior is the absolutely worst thing I could do in life. And not an example I want to set, ever.

So to myself and to everyone else who operates out of love not vengeance: Don’t abandon games. Don’t cross the street. Gaming needs you. To create, to play, to connect. 

To represent.

I know this entry will probably draw contempt from people in the Gamer Gate movement. Something to scorn, something to rile them up against me and everything I’ve ever made. Especially, and most hurtfully, to mock my vulnerability. I just have one thing to say to you who do that: I’m genuinely sorry you are so angry. 

I have lived a large part of my life ruled by negative emotions, mainly fear and anxiety. From my experience of working through those issues, I have this to say: Steeping yourself in the emotions that you’re surrounding yourself with, of hatred and bile and contempt, is ultimately not destructive to others like you want it to be. It’s destructive to yourself. 

I know it feels good to belong to a group, to feel righteous in belonging to a cause, but causing fear and pushing people away from gaming is not the way to go about doing it. Think through the repercussions of your actions and the people you are aligning yourself with. And think honestly about whether your actions are genuinely going to change gaming life for the better. Or whether they’re just going to make someone cross the street away from you. And away from something, ironically, that we both love.

I am so lucky that this woman is my friend.

gameraboy: So many neighbors… and we’re all strangers! Girls’... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


So many neighbors… and we’re all strangers!

Girls’ Love Stories #85 (1962)

Dat halftone, tho.

BitTorrent Performance Test: Sync Is Faster Than Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox - Slashdot [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]

BitTorrent Performance Test: Sync Is Faster Than Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox - Slashdot:

Now that its file synchronization tool has received a few updates, BitTorrent is going on the offensive against cloud-based storage services by showing off just how fast BitTorrent Sync can be. More specifically, the company conducted a test that shows Sync destroys Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, and Dropbox. The company transferred a 1.36 GB MP4 video clip between two Apple MacBook Pros using two Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapters, the Time.gov site as a real-time clock, and the Internet connection at its headquarters (1 Gbps up/down). The timer started when the file transfer was initiated and then stopped once the file was fully synced and downloaded onto the receiving machine. Sync performed 8x faster than Google Drive, 11x faster than OneDrive, and 16x faster than Dropbox.

rowanandphoenixfeather: one of my roommates used to work with 5th graders in a creative writing... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


one of my roommates used to work with 5th graders in a creative writing class thing and they had to write a romance and most of the kids wrote stories about princesses and crap but this one little girl wrote about how a marshmallow fell in love with a mug of cocoa and he loved the cocoa so much that in order to be with her he melted and died like wow kid that’s some shakespearian shit right there

gameraboy: ILM filming explosions for the Death Star attack in... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


ILM filming explosions for the Death Star attack in Star Wars in 1977.

KP1-5 Project Gets Permission to Activate Navassa Island (KP1) in January 2015 [American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources]

The KP1-5 Project has received word from the US Fish & Wildlife Service that it may activate Navassa Island (KP1) in January 2015. The DXpedition will be a maximum of 14 days, and exact dates will be determined by USFWS mission requirements and weather windows.

“Our experienced team of 15 is complete and is ready for the challenge,” said an October 22 KP1-5 Project news release from President Bo...

ARRL November Sweepstakes: Another Chance at a “Clean Sweep” is Coming Up! [American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources]

In a few short days, operators across all 83 ARRL and Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) sections will take to the airwaves to compete in the first of two ARRL November Sweepstakes events. Always a fall favorite “Sweeps” is the longest-running “domestic” contest. The CW event is November 1-3, while the SSB event is November 15-17. The action on both weekends gets underway at 2100 UTC Saturday and r...

After a 'bad week', Canada does soul-searching – the Canadian way [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s brazen attack on parliament, Canada has plunged into national soul-searching as a country famed for its non-threatening harmony digests a disturbing week that saw two deadly assaults on its servicemen in 48 hours.

Mexican mayor linked to cartel abduction of 43 students [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Mexico on Wednesday ordered the arrest of the mayor of the city of Iguala, his wife and an aide, charging they masterminded last month's attack that left six students dead and 43 missing.

Two deadly attacks hit Pakistani city of Quetta [Asia/Pacific – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Attacks in Pakistan’s troubled southwestern province of Baluchistan, including an assault on the country’s beleaguered minority Shiites Muslims and a suicide bombing targeting a pro-Taliban cleric, killed 12 people on Thursday, police said.

After a 'bad week', Canada does soul-searching – the Canadian way [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s brazen attack on parliament, Canada has plunged into national soul-searching as a country famed for its non-threatening harmony digests a disturbing week that saw two deadly assaults on its servicemen in 48 hours.

Police in gunfight with armed group near Tunis [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Tunisian police were exchanging gunfire Thursday with armed "terrorists" who had taken refuge in a town a few kilometres from the capital Tunis, the Interior Ministry said.

Russia detains airport staff after Total CEO's runway death [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Russian investigators detained four more staff members Thursday at the Moscow airport where the CEO of French oil giant Total died when his plane collided with a snowplough.

Awesome: Canadian Parliament Gives Hero Kevin Vickers Extended Standing Ovation [Jammie Wearing Fools]

This is a beautiful tribute to a true hero:

Watch this video on YouTube.

Just imagine the emotions he’s going through the past 24 hours. What a man.

Via Jim Hoft, who adds:

Some day, America.

Brutal: Obama Down to 46% Approval in Illinois, Women Abandon Him in Droves [Jammie Wearing Fools]

The most hated man in America can’t even find love in his home state, where the incumbent Democrat governor is also in big trouble.

Democrats are making a concerted effort to avoid the embarrassment of losing the governor’s mansion in President Barack Obama’s home state. Quinn has actively cultivated the support of Obama, whose lagging popularity nationally has largely kept him away from midterm Democratic candidates, particularly in the Senate, where Republicans need to pick up six seats to take total control of Congress.

Illinois has been an exception, and Obama has been home to raise money for Quinn, headlining a South Side early voting rally Sunday night for the governor. First lady Michelle Obama also has campaigned for Quinn.

But the latest poll found Obama’s job approval numbers slipping in his home state. Only 46 percent approve — that’s down from 52 percent last month and represents a low-water mark for the president since the Tribune began tracking views on his tenure in the White House. In addition, 47 percent disapprove, the highest percentage that Tribune polling has found.

Oh, and he’s lost the white female vote, which is now apparently racist:

Once again, the attitudes of white suburban women were key to the sharp shift in feelings toward Obama.

A month ago, that group largely was split on the home state president: 47 percent approved of his job performance and 45 percent disapproved. The latest poll found 53 percent disapproving of Obama’s handling of the job compared with 38 percent who approved.

As unpopular as Obama is, and let’s face it, he’s radioactive to Democrats across the nation, why would this nutcase go all out with his insane immigration move?

Angst over President Obama’s post-election plans on immigration is growing amid revelations that the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS) has issued a procurement request for as many as 34 million work permits and green cards.

The solicitation, discovered by Breitbart News, says bidders must be able to produce at least 4 million cards annually over a five year contract, and “surge” to provide as many as 9 million documents in the early years of the contract.

That would far exceed current levels at which both documents are issued by the federal government, prompting Republicans to speculate the Obama administration is readying a sprawling executive order that could offer legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.

“This revelation provides startling confirmation of the crisis facing our Republic,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) “The president is preparing to issue work authorization and ‘legal’ status to millions of individuals illegally present in the country, in violation of plain statute.”

Pfft, when has the law ever stopped this madman? Oh, and if you think this is crazy stuff, you’re mistaken according to Obama’s stooges. You’re the crazy one.

But the White House on Wednesday insisted suggestions the procurement order was a precursor to the president’s executive action were “crazy” and “too clever.”

Yes, the sane people on the side of the law are the crazy ones. OK, keep going with that.


Dogs take down White House fence-jumper [Jammie Wearing Fools]

The Secret Service has finally done something right.

Agents and their dogs stopped a 23-year-old man who scaled the White House fence Wednesday, about a month after another trespasser managed to make it all the way inside the presidential mansion.

The agents unleashed two Secret Service canines, who quickly attacked Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Md., on the North Lawn of the White House after he allegedly tried to climb the fence at around 7:15 p.m.

Adesanya angrily fought back against the dogs — punching, kicking and body-slamming the feisty pooches — before the agents descended on him.

The interloper was unarmed, a Secret Service spokesman said. Charges were pending Wednesday night.

Full story.

Canadian Jihadi Was Not a Recent Convert to Islam [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Why is the media painting this psychopath as a “recent convert” to Islam?

Although Canadian police have not released the name of the Ottawa shooter, on Wednesday afternoon U.S. sources leaked that the suspect’s name is Michael Zehaf Bibeau, a 32-year-old Canadian who was a recent convert to Islam.

When you think “recent”  is it perhaps earlier this year? In 2013? Is that still recent? In 2012? Does that count?

Well, let’s have a look:

The paper had previously reported that Zehaf-Bibeau had been designated by authorities as a “high-risk traveller” and was unable to secure documents necessary to go abroad. The friend, a fellow convert to Islam named David Bathurst, told the paper that Zehaf-Bibeau had told him six weeks ago that he wanted to travel to Libya, where he had previously spent time, to study Arabic and learn more about Islam. Bathurst told the paper he urged his friend to make certain that he would only travel to the Middle East to study and “nothing else.”

Zehaf-Bibeau may also have had a family connection to Libya. Official documents list Zehaf-Bibeau’s father as a man named Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman. The Globe and Mail cited this 2011 Washington Times report that quoted a Montreal man named as “Belgasem Zahef” who had taken part in the revolt against Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. That man claimed that he had traveled from Canada to join the anti-Qaddafi rebels and had been detained for a month at an oil terminal, where he had witnessed scenes of torture.

Zehaf-Bibeau’s mother is Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. Zehaf and Bibeau divorced in 1999, according to the Globe and Mail.

Bathurst told the paper Zehaf-Bibeau had moved to British Columbia to find work as a miner and laborer before the two met in a suburban Vancouver mosque approximately three years ago. Bathurst said that his friend displayed signs of mental instability that attracted the attention of the mosque’s elders.

Seems to us three years ago is a bit more than recent, but maybe we’re looking too much into that angle. Curious, though, that his father apparently took up jihad in Libya in 2011, so the influence of Islam in his life may even predate that time.  In fact, he certainly was in Vancouver back in 2011.

According to British Columbia Court records, a “Michael Joseph Paul Zehaf Bibeau” committed robbery in Vancouver on December 16, 2011, and also racked up a lesser charge of uttering threats.

As of Tuesday evening, Vancouver Police were working with Ottawa law enforcement to pass on information about the suspect’s time in B.C.

“The Vancouver Police Department, along with the BC RCMP, are working together to assist an Ottawa City Police and RCMP National Security investigation,” wrote Vancouver Police spokesman Randy Fincham late Wednesday afternoon. “Due to the ongoing investigation, there is little information we can share at this time,” he added.

Citing confidential sources, the Globe and Mail reported Tuesday that Mr. Bibeau was a “high-risk traveller” whose passport had been seized to prevent him from travelling abroad to join ISIS fighters in Iraq or Syria.

It would be interesting to know what this loser’s been doing since then. Meanwhile, the authorities in Canada need to take the threat seriously, as this should alarm everyone.

At the front of the room, likely sitting at his normal spot on a raised dais, was Harper.

Then, in the hallway outside, shots began ringing out in rapid succession. Five, then 10, then 20 or 30, some believe. Possibly more.

A gunman had entered the Centre Block  just moments before, and had walked right by the door leading into the room containing Harper and his Conservatives. He was killed by security.

Following security protocol, Harper was quickly whisked from Parliament Hill to an undisclosed location.

Lord know how many people he could have killed if not for this hero.

To Canadians he is being hailed as a hero, a decorated police veteran and now Sergeant-at-Arms on Parliament Hill who, during a tense and tragic day in Ottawa, is being credited with killing the gunman run amok in the Parliament buildings.

“MPs and Hill staff owe their safety, even lives, to Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers who shot [an] attacker just outside the MPs’ caucus rooms,” tweeted Craig Scott, the NDP MP for Toronto-Danforth. “I am safe and profoundly grateful to Sgt.-at-Arms Kevin Vickers and our security forces for the selfless act of keeping us safe,” tweeted Julian Fantino, the Minister of Veterans Affairs.

While social media was buzzing with praise the phone lines in Miramichi, N.B., the 58-year-old Vickers’ hometown, were ringing nonstop. Several of Mr. Vickers’ cousins had gathered together to be close, and to be thankful that their relative was safe. But also to tell stories about the kid they used to play road hockey and cops and robbers with around the Vickers modest family home out on the Old King George Highway. It was practically a dead-end street. There were woods all around. There was Kevin, and his three younger brothers and an older sister, always heading outside, always ready to play.

We also need to say a prayer for the family and friends of the murdered Nathan Cirillo.

In these pictures, Cpl. Cirillo, who stood six-foot tall, also looked a typical infantryman, both tough as nails and endearingly tender, now rough-and-ready on one military exercise or another, now cradling the dogs he rescued and adored.

Robert (Doc) Fraser, the Argylls’ regimental historian, looked at some of those pictures with a lump in his throat. “I’ve seen my own son look like that,” he said, meaning how soldiers are after their work is done and, unshaven and exhausted, they drop the kit and just play, not so different from the pups Cpl. Cirillo adopted.

Mr. Fraser’s son is an Argyll too, who spent 11 months in Afghanistan, as did many members of the unit.

He told someone, who asked what it was like having his kid overseas in a place like Kandahar, “It was like trying to hold your breath for 11 months … And this poor kid [Cpl. Cirillo] goes off to Ottawa, to do something dignified and ceremonial, and gets shot in this mindless, stupid, violent, outrageous act.”

A victim of the new face of terror.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Finally, let’s hear it for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who paid tribute to Canada prior to the Flyers-Penguins Wednesday night:

Staten Island Ladies Love Their Congressman: “He’s bang-able” [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Normally such slobbering is left for fawning stories about Bill Clinton or some other such rogue. But in this case we’re talking about Staten Island, the forgotten borough of New York City that’s got much more New Jersey to it than it does New York.

You may recall GOP Congressman Michael Grimm, under indictment and generally an embarrassment to the party. Yet less than two weeks before the midterms, he’s actually leading his Democrat challenger in the polls.

The New York Daily News has an interesting look at Grimm.

They like that he’s from Staten Island.

They respect that he was a Marine and an FBI agent.

They love his piercing blue eyes.

Rep. Michael Grimm became a national punchline in January when he threatened to toss a NY1 reporter over a balcony and break him “in half, like a boy.” Four months later, House Republican leaders deserted him when a 20-count federal indictment accused Grimm of tax fraud, hiding income and hiring undocumented immigrants at a Manhattan restaurant he owned.

But here he is, 16 days before the election, with a real shot at winning. A Siena College poll last month found Grimm leading Democrat Domenic Recchia, 44% to 40%.

“How the f**k does that happen?” an astonished Jon Stewart asked on “The Daily Show” last week.

In interviews across Staten Island — at the Ferry Terminal, a hair salon, a diner and Republican headquarters — it was clear why.

Bear in mind Staten Island is more or less a weigh station en route from Brooklyn to the Jersey Shore and you get the idea what’s to follow.

Many said they thought Grimm showed nothing more than understandable frustration when he threatened Michael Scotto of NY1, after Scotto asked Grimm about the federal investigation of him.

“At least he gave (the reporter) a warning,” said Judy Psaotas, 49, a waitress at the Annadale Terrace Diner. “I would have just thrown him off.”

Well, like most of America they at least have a healthy disdain for the media, so that’s a plus.

“I don’t like anybody, and I like him,” Psaotas said. “That’s not just because of the way he looks, because God knows, he is eye candy. I think he’s a man first. Before a politician, he’s a man.”

Sounds like Psaotoas would like her some Michael Grimm. It gets better:

A 37-year-old teacher having breakfast at the diner put it more bluntly: “He’s bang-able,” she giggled, adding that she planned to vote for him.

We surmise Grimm’s got her number by now.

“We have similar backgrounds,” said a 68-year-old retired detective sitting in the waiting area at the Twisted Sisters hair salon. “I was in the Marine Corps, I’m a retired detective. He was in the FBI. I like the way he handles himself.”

And Recchia is “from Brooklyn,” the retired detective added dismissively.

“He’ll take care of Brooklyn.”

Dead Canadian Terror Suspect ID’d as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau; Update: Reportedly Muslim Convert of Algerian Descent [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Believed to be Canadian born.

Tragedy and terror struck Canada’s capital city Wednesday as a gunman shot a soldier standing guard at the country’s National War Memorial before being killed later in a shootout, putting Ottawa’s downtown on lockdown and sending terrified government members and employees scrambling for safety.

The soldier was later pronounced dead from his wounds. Officials are withholding the soldier’s name pending family notification.

Law enforcement and U.S. government sources tell CBS News the dead shooting suspect is Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, born 1982, and he is believed to be Canadian-born.

Ottawa police spokesman Chuck Benoit said two or three gunmen may have been involved in the attack. Gilles Michaud, assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, called it a “dynamic, unfolding situation.”

No motives for the shootings have been revealed yet, but the incidents happened one day after two other soldiers — one of whom later died — were run over by a car driven by a recent Muslim convert and jihadist sympathizer whom police also shot and killed.

Then there’s this:

We’ll see if that’s confirmed moving forward.

Catherine Herridge of Fox is reporting a recent spike in FBI chatter among ISIS types about Canada being targeted.

Update: Surprise!

Canadian police are investigating a man named as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as a possible suspect in the shootings around parliament, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Two U.S. officials said that U.S. agencies have been advised that the shooter was a Canadian convert to Islam.

But hey, let’s not jump to any conclusions or anything.

Kit to check food for pork traces hits France [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Worried that the food you thought was kosher, or at least kosher style, has some hidden pork?

Now, using a few test tubes, water and a small pregnancy test-like strip, you can find out in a few minutes whether your food contains pork traces.

HalalTest, a new product developed by two French entrepreneurs, does just this and already has sold 10,000 kits in France, according to Ynet. The kit is being marketed to France’s Muslim community but reportedly will be available online soon.

As Ynet notes, however, such a test seems to offer minimal practical value for most kosher-observant Jews, since pork is just one of many taboo ingredients and a range of other factors — like slaughter method, separation of meat and dairy, and so on — also affects a food’s kosher status.

Given that — and the hassle and expense factor (each test costs more than $8, according to Ynet) —  it’s hard to see do-it-yourself tests ever replacing kosher supervision and certification.

But who knows, perhaps one day those wishing to demonstrate the strictest level of observance may want to precede their kosher-certified meals with not just a blessing but with a HalalTest. Just to make sure.

After Twitter ruling, tech firms increasingly toe Europe’s line on hate speech [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

French comedian Dieudonne demonstrating the quenelle, a vaguely Nazi-like gesture whose popularity has soared in France. (YouTube)

The French comedian Dieudonne demonstrating the quenelle, a Nazi-like gesture he created whose popularity has soared in France. (YouTube)

BRUSSELS (JTA) — A little over a year after a French court forced Twitter to remove some anti-Semitic content, experts say the ruling has had a ripple effect, leading other Internet companies to act more aggressively against hate speech in an effort to avoid lawsuits.

The 2013 ruling by the Paris Court of Appeals settled a lawsuit brought the year before by the Union of Jewish Students of France over the hashtag #UnBonJuif, which means “a good Jew” and which was used to index thousands of anti-Semitic comments that violated France’s law against hate speech.

Since then, YouTube has permanently banned videos posted by Dieudonne, a French comedian with 10 convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews. And in February, Facebook removed the page of French Holocaust denier Alain Soral for “repeatedly posting things that don’t comply with the Facebook terms,” according to the company. Soral’s page had drawn many complaints in previous years but was only taken down this year.

“Big companies don’t want to be sued,” said Konstantinos Komaitis, a former academic and current policy adviser at the Internet Society, an international organization that encourages governments to ensure access and sustainable use of the Internet. “So after the ruling in France, we are seeing an inclination by Internet service providers like Google, YouTube, Facebook to try and adjust their terms of service — their own internal jurisprudence — to make sure they comply with national laws.”

The change comes amid a string of heavy sentences handed down by European courts against individuals who used online platforms to incite to racism or violence.

On Monday, a British court sentenced one such offender to four weeks in jail for tweeting “Hitler was right” to a Jewish lawmaker. Last week, a court in Geneva sentenced a man to five months in jail for posting texts that deny the Holocaust. And in April, a French court sentenced two men to five months in jail for posting an anti-Semitic video.

“The stiffer sentences owe partly to a realization by judges of the dangers posed by online hatred, also in light of cyber-jihadism and how it affected people like Mohammed Merah,” said Christophe Goossens, the legal adviser of the Belgian League against Anti-Semitism, referring to the killer of four Jews at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012.

In the Twitter case, the company argued that as an American firm it was protected by the First Amendment. But the court rejected the argument and forced Twitter to remove some of the comments and identify some of the authors. It also required the company to set up a system for flagging and ultimately removing comments that violate hate speech laws.

Twitter responded by overhauling its terms of service to facilitate adherence to European law, Twitter’s head of global safety outreach and public policy, Patricias Cartes Andres, revealed Monday at a conference in Brussels organized by the International Network Against Cyber Hate, or INACH.

“The rules have been changed in a way that allows us to take down more content when groups are being targeted,” Cartes Andres told JTA. Before the lawsuit, she added, “if you didn’t target any one person, you could have gotten away with it.”

The change went into effect five months ago, but Twitter “wanted to be very quiet about it because there will be other communities, like the freedom of speech community, that will be quite upset about it because they would view it as censorship,” Cartes Andres said.

Suzette Brokhorst, the secretary of INACH, said Twitter’s adjusted policies are part of a “change in attitude” by online service providers since 2013.

“Before the trial, Twitter gave Europe the middle finger,” Brokhorst said. “But they realized that if they want to work in Europe, they need to keep European laws, and others are coming to the same realization.”

According to Komaitis, the Twitter case was built on a landmark court ruling in 2000 that forced the search engine Yahoo! to ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia. But the 2013 ruling “went much further,” he said, “demonstrating the increasing pressure on providers to adhere to national laws, unmask offenders and set up flagging mechanisms.”

Still, the INACH conference showed that big gaps remain between the practices sought by European anti-racism activists and those now being implemented by the tech companies.

One area of contention is Holocaust denial, which is illegal in many European countries but which several American companies, reflecting the broader free speech protections prevalent in the United States, are refusing to censure.

Delphine Reyre, Facebook’s director of policy, said at the conference that the company believes users should be allowed to debate the subject.

“Counter speech is a powerful tool that we lose with censorship,” she said.

Cartes Andres cited the example of the hashtag #PutosJudios, Spanish for “Jewish whores,” which in May drew thousands of comments after a Spanish basketball team lost to its Israeli rival. More than 90 percent of the comments were “positive statements that attacked those who used the offensive term,” she said.

Some of the comments are the subject of an ongoing police investigation in Spain launched after a complaint filed by 11 Jewish groups.

But Mark Gardner of Britain’s Community Security Trust wasn’t buying it.

“There’s no counter-speech to Holocaust denial,” Gardner said at the conference. “I’m not going to send Holocaust survivors to debate the existence of Auschwitz online. That’s ridiculous.”

Canadian Jewish institutions ramping up security following jihadist incidents [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

MONTREAL (JTA) — Canadian Jewish institutions are stepping up security after the murder of two Canadian soldiers by homegrown pro-jihadist terrorists.

While it is not clear whether the two attacks, which included a shooting Wednesday at the Parliament in the nation’s capital, were related, they have shaken a country that has experienced few acts of terrorism and has often felt immune from attack.

While no direct threats were reported against Jewish institutions, they reportedly are heightening security measures in response.

“The Jewish community takes these incidents very seriously,” said Martin Sampson of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Ottawa. “We have security protocols in place and remain vigilant.”

B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said in a statement, “The attacks this week have demonstrated that Canada is no longer immune to the danger of individuals harboring and propagating radical ideologies.”

On Wednesday in Ottawa, a 32-year-old man identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau stormed a war memorial just off Parliament Hill and shot dead a reservist soldier standing guard with an unloaded weapon. Zehaf-Bibeau, described by some as wearing a keffiyah-like head covering, invaded the main building on Parliament Hill before being shot dead by the Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms.

Two days earlier, Martin Rouleau of Quebec ran over two soldiers in a Montreal suburb, killing one before he was fatally shot by police.

News reports described Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau, both recent converts to Islam, as “radicalized” Canadians. The two were among 90 Canadian-born citizens being monitored by domestic security authorities for their expressed sympathies toward extreme Islam.

Netanyahu vows to secure Jerusalem against terror, international ‘weakness’ [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Attempts to attack Jerusalem residents “will be met with a sharp reaction,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu held a security consultation Thursday afternoon at Israel Police headquarters in Jerusalem a day after a terror attack on the city’s light rail killed a 3-month-old girl and injured seven.

“United Jerusalem was — and will remain — Israel’s eternal capital. All attempts to attack its residents will be met with a very sharp reaction; we will restore quiet and security to Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said following the meeting.

Netanyahu said he has ordered additional security for Jerusalem, including more Border Police units, lookouts, intelligence and enforcement measures.

“These, along with other steps that I will not detail here, can and will restore quiet to the capital,” Netanyahu said. “We have proven that with determination and patience we can achieve these goals in all parts of the State of Israel.”

Netanyahu again charged that the attacks in Jerusalem are supported by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, “who both extols the murderers and embraces the organization that the terrorists belong to, Hamas.”

He also condemned the international community for showing “weakness” against Abbas’ actions.

“They are not prepared to utter so much as a word of criticism against him. We have no such weakness,” Netanyahu said. “We will insist on our rights and on our obligation to defend our capital. We will do strongly – and we will win.”

Joining Netanyahu at the security meeting were Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, Israel Security Agency director Yoram Cohen, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Jerusalem District Police Commander Moshe Edri.

Arielle Davis brightens smiles of sick kids and their families [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

The Teen Heroes column is sponsored by the Helen Diller Family Foundation. To learn more about the foundation’s $36,000 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, visit http://dillerteenawards.org.

WASHINGTON (JTA) — She may have been too young to officially volunteer her time but at 14, Arielle Davis found another way to help her local Ronald McDonald House.

Arielle Davis: “I think it’s important to help those who have a disadvantage. Social justice should help alleviate the injustices that occurs in society. (Courtesy of Arielle Davis)

Arielle Davis: “I think it’s important to help those who have a disadvantage. Social justice should help alleviate the injustices that occur in society. (Courtesy Arielle Davis)

“I looked on their website and it said they needed toothbrushes,” said Davis, now 18. “It’s only a dollar a toothbrush, so even a child can afford to donate one.”

But Davis went further than just donating one toothbrush. She contacted every dentist she could find in a 10-mile radius, set up a collection bin at her school and contacted her local newspaper for some media attention. Within six to eight months she had managed to collect 1,500 toothbrushes and 1,000 tubes of toothpaste.

More than four years later, the Ronald McDonald House is still using her supply.

“To this day, people still hand me toothbrushes. I’m the toothbrush lady,” said the native of Mountain View in Northern California.

Davis would volunteer for the organization for the next couple of years. When she turned 16, she could spend time working inside the house. She set up parties, special events and holiday celebrations for the sick children staying with their families.

“Through my time there, I learned to be grateful for my health and not to take it for granted,” she said.

During her junior year at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto, Calif., Davis was tasked with organizing the school’s daylong Yom Avodah, or day of service. After surveying her classmates of their interests, she paired more than 150 students and faculty with 15 philanthropic organizations ranging from food banks to Habitat for Humanity, to Jewish Children and Family Services and, of course, to the Ronald McDonald House.

After spending nearly five hours at their locations, the students and faculty returned to the school to debrief and share their experiences from the day. Davis said that many students opted to continue volunteering at their organizations.

For her part, Davis also continued to volunteer a couple of hours a week at the Ronald McDonald House up until the day before she left for Pitzer College late this summer. She said her years volunteering informed her decision to attend the Southern California school, which has a social justice bent.

“I think it’s important to help those who have a disadvantage,” Davis said. “Social justice should help alleviate the injustices that occur in society.”

Davis recently shared with JTA what she thinks are the most important qualities of a hero, a meaningful Jewish experience and what sweet treat she likes to bake.

JTA: What are some important qualities in a hero?

Davis: Courage, both with themselves and others. Confidence in their abilities and confidence in situations that might be uncomfortable.

What is your favorite Jewish holiday?

That’s a tough one. Hanukkah, it creates a time when my entire family comes together to light the candles, say the blessings and spend time together.

Can you share with us a meaningful Jewish experience that you’ve had?

Going to Israel in April 2013, my junior year. Being in Jerusalem and seeing the historic sites, I thought, “Wow, that actually happened here!”

What do you think you want to be when you grow up?

Because of my experiences helping [with Mitzvah Day and the Ronald McDonald House], I think I want to do social work.

What advice would you give to other teens interested in volunteering in their community?

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Don’t be discouraged. Find ways to do your part.

What kind of things do you like to do for fun?

I ice skate and volunteer. I also like to bake really good chocolate chip cookies.

Please tell us about teens who deserve attention by sending an email to teens@jta.org.

U.S.-based Helmsley Trust awards Israeli institutions over $9 million [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust is giving more than $9.6 million in new grants to four Israeli institutions.

The grants announced Monday are being awarded to the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

A $1.5 million grant will allow the Technion and south China’s Shantou University to collaborate on field studies in China and train Chinese post-doctoral students studying pollution solutions at the Technion in Haifa, as well as support Technion collaborations with scientists in China. A $2.2 million grant will support the recruitment of science faculty at Hebrew University and provide laboratories for neurobiology and structural biology research.

Two grants to the Weizmann Institute will fund research in the Department of Biomedical Sciences on Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and the purchase of a superconducting magnet for the Department of Biological Chemistry.

A $191,000 grant to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in conjunction with the Center for Jewish Community Studies, will fund “an unbiased, educational report that accurately details what transpired before and during the 2014 Gaza war,” according to the trust. The report will be distributed widely.

The New York-based trust, which began awarding grants to Israel in 2009 and holds more than $4 billion in assets, has committed over $131 million to organizations in the Jewish state. It also funds a range of education, health care and environmental projects in the United States.

The grants, Helmsley trustee Sandor Frankel said, “strengthen Israel’s scientific, technological and medical research, benefiting the nation’s top tier institutions and academics. They also help to solve problems leading the global agenda. These grants will support Israeli innovation so it will continue to make Israel and the rest of the world a healthier and safer place for all.”

Jerusalem hosting challah bake as part of Shabbos Project [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jerusalem will host a challah bake as part of the Shabbos Project being held in 170 cities around the world.

Hundreds of Jerusalem women and girls are expected to take part Thursday evening in the Great Big Jerusalem Challah Bake hosted by celebrity chef and author Jamie Geller.

Events for The Shabbos Project are scheduled to take place this weekend. The project, which originated in South Africa as an initiative of the country’s chief rabbi, calls on Jews to keep the upcoming Sabbath together.

“Preparing the challah for Shabbat is known to be a time of reflection and devotion to the Jewish faith and tradition,” Geller said. “What an amazing experience this will be together with hundreds of other women from all backgrounds, coming together to perform this mitzvah.”

Additional Shabbos Project events scheduled for Friday and Saturday include joint communal meals and festive havdalah ceremonies and concerts.


Rivlin heading to new Warsaw Jewish museum aboard Polish president’s plane [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is set to leave on his first official visit abroad on the plane of his Polish counterpart.

Rivlin earlier this week accepted Bronislaw Komorowski’s offer to give him a ride on his plane to the unveiling of the core display of Warsaw’s new Jewish museum on Tuesday, the Israeli daily Maariv reported Monday.

Rivlin needed the favor because he will attend the opening meeting of the winter session of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, the day before. To bring Rivlin to the ceremony in Warsaw on time, the Polish president offered to send his own plane and bring Rivlin and his entourage to Poland.

In Poland, Rivlin is scheduled to meet Polish heads of state and speak in Hebrew before the Polish parliament.

The centerpiece of the core exhibition of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews is a replica of the 17th century Gwozdziec Synagogue featuring an ornately painted ceiling and timber-framed roof.

Standing on the historic site of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and facing the Monument of the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes, the museum is among the largest Jewish museums in Europe.

It cost $110 million to erect and two decades to design, according to organizers. The Polish government financed the 138,000 square-foot building at a cost of more than $60 million, organizers said in a statement.

The remaining funds were raised in donations by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.





Arab-Israeli soccer team fined for honoring ex-Knesset lawmaker [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Arab-Israeli soccer team was fined for honoring former Knesset lawmaker Azmi Bishara, who fled Israel amid accusations of treason and espionage.

The Bnei Sakhnin club was fined $4,000 on Wednesday by the Israel Football Association’s disciplinary court for its tribute to Bishara, who was accused of providing information to the terrorist group Hezbollah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Bishara left Israel in 2007 while under investigation and now lives in Qatar.

The club also was levied a suspended fine of about $10,000. It said it would not appeal the fine.

The Oct. 18 tribute also honored an anonymous Qatari donor who gave $2 million to the team, the only Arab club in Israel’s Premiere League.

The team’s stadium is called Doha Stadium, named for the capital of Qatar. It was built with millions of dollars in donations from Qatar.

Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat earlier in the week had threatened to remove the Jerusalem-based squad from the league, saying in a statement that penalties and fines “are not sufficient measure.”

During the Oct. 18 match against Hapoel Tel Aviv, Sakhnin fans raised a banner reading “Jerusalem is ours” beneath a picture of the Al-Aksa Mosque in the city.

U.S. condemns Jerusalem terror attack that killed infant [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The United States condemned as “despicable” a terror attack in Jerusalem that claimed the life of a 3-month-old girl.

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral late Wednesday night in Jerusalem for Chaya Zissel Braun, who is reported to be an American citizen.

Chaya was killed when a driver crashed his car into the light rail stop near Ammunition Hill, in northern Jerusalem, that afternoon as passengers were disembarking. Eight people were injured.

The driver, Abdelrahman al-Shaludi, died early Thursday morning at Jerusalem’s Shaarey Tzedek hospital from gunshot wounds inflicted by Israel Police officers as he fled the scene.

Hours after the attack, the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement, “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured. We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement that the Jerusalem attack and an attack on the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa are both a result of the rise of radical Islam.

“The terror attacks which took place yesterday almost simultaneously at two sides of the world, Jerusalem and Ottawa, demonstrate again that terrorism is a worldwide epidemic that must be fought strenuously and without compromise,” Liberman said.

“Terror is not the result of building in Jerusalem, Ottawa, New York, Madrid, London or Mombasa, but of the war of radical Islam against the Western world. We stand alongside our friends in Canada, who have demonstrated by their firm stand alongside Israel and again recently in joining the war against ISIS, that they will not give in to terror. Israel, too, will remain firm in the fight against terror and terrorists.”

Family members told the Palestinian Maan news agency that Shaludi, 21, of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, had been released recently from an Israeli prison where he served 14 months. He was the nephew of Mohiyedine Sharif, the former head of Hamas’ armed wing who was killed in 1988.

Shaludi posted messages and video clips in support of Hamas on his Facebook page, the Times of Israel reported.


Come on, New Hampshire. Let's Make Sam Wang Eat a Bug. [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

CNN, out today:

A new CNN/ORC poll shows a statistical dead heat between New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and her GOP opponent Scott Brown, with Shaheen at 49 percent, Brown at 47 percent, and a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percent.

ARG, out today: Jeanne Shaheen 49 percent, Scott Brown 48 percent. 

Come on, New Hampshire. Let’s make Sam Wang eat a bug.

There's Good News for Oregon Republicans, but Not That Good News [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

Your friendly neighborhood Oregon-trotting campaign correspondent, in a piece written Tuesday night:

Could Oregon governor John Kitzhaber, a three-term Democrat, lose his bid for reelection because of scandals involving his fiancée? After Kitzhaber survived a cavalcade of embarrassing and expensive failures of state government, could he lose to Republican Dennis Richardson because of the Oregon first lady’s consulting business?

A new Survey USA poll, released Wednesday:

With each passing hour bringing new revelations about Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s fiance, Cylvia Hayes, KATU-TV and SurveyUSA attempt here to break the Oregon electorate into 4 quadrants. The question asked of voters paying close attention to the governor’s election and who are following news stories about Hayes, was this:

Which of the following best describes you?

38% were going to vote for Kitzhaber and will still vote for Kitzhaber.

37% were going to vote for Richardson and will still vote for Richardson.

18% were going to vote for Kitzhaber but now will vote for Richardson (disproportionately young, male, independent, liberals).

1% were going to vote for Richardson but now will vote for Kitzhaber.

6% overall, and, importantly, 9% of Democrats, are not sure what to do.

As the pollsters note, it is possible this poll reflects people saying they’re going to switch to Richardson, to express their disapproval of the Kitzhaber scandals, but that they won’t actually carry through with it. And importantly, the above numbers do not reflect the results of their entire sample, just the sub-sample of registered voters paying close attention:

SurveyUSA interviewed 950 Oregon adults 10/20/14 and 10/21/14. Of the adults, 856 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 60% (514 voters) are paying a lot of attention to the race for Governor. Of those paying attention, 79% (407 voters) are following stories about the fiance, Hayes. The poll’s essential question was asked just of the 407 qualified respondents. This may or may not directly overlap the universe of Oregon’s likely voters in 2014.

Remember, Oregon is a vote-by-mail state, so the definition of a “likely voter” in Oregon should be broader than in other states.

Dave Weigel scoffs at the notion that the first lady’s scandals could cost Kitzhaber reelection when voters yawned at Cover Oregon. He’s partially right in the sense that this is still a deeply Democratic state, and Kitzhaber’s head-to-head numbers against Richardson have been way better than his job-approval numbers. But the crunchy, progressive, quinoa-microbrew Oregon voters might have been able to explain away the Cover Oregon debacle as well-meaning incompetence. Oregon’s first lady, Cylvia Hayes, doing well-paid consulting work for groups with business before the state gives off a whiff of corruption, which probably strikes a significant number of voters as a different, and more serious, governing sin.

Kitzhaber is still the favorite, but Oregonians’ patience with him is clearly being tested, and there’s a deep vein of pent-up frustration for Richardson to tap.

The Simple Closing Message: Americans Deserve Better Than This [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

Recent events tied a bow around a simple, powerful, and true closing message for Republicans running for Congress this year: The American people deserve to be treated better than the way their government treats them.

People who like their doctors and health insurance deserve to keep them. Our veterans deserve care in a timely manner. The American people deserve the truth about illegal immigrants released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They deserve straight answers from the Centers for Disease Control, and when a promise is made, it should be kept. Americans deserve a secure border, and when there is overwhelming support for restricting flights from countries with severe Ebola outbreaks, the option deserves careful consideration, not arrogant dismissal.

Americans of all political stripes deserve to be treated equally in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service, with no special targeting based upon political views. Our ambassadors and those serving our country overseas deserve protection when they ask for it. If American taxpayer money is going to be used to save a car company, the people deserve to know whether that company is making unsafe cars.

They deserve to send and receive e-mails, texts, and calls without the National Security Agency peering over their metaphorical shoulder without a warrant. They deserve a director of national intelligence who does not lie in testimony to Congress. For the amount of money we spend on gathering intelligence, we deserve better performance — or for an administration to act upon that intelligence more promptly. In a dangerous world, we deserve leaders who don’t fool themselves into thinking jihadists on the rise are just “the JV team.” They deserve a Secret Service that takes its job seriously and corrects its mistakes.

The Republican party and its candidates are not perfect. But the vast majority of its candidates bring a righteous anger to these unacceptable failures of the federal government and the culture of complacency that is flourishing within the federal bureaucracy.

Democrats, as the party of government, have proven themselves all too willing to avert their eyes from the problems of government, to excuse or explain them away, or to announce some bold-sounding reform that never gets seriously implemented and is eventually forgotten. They’re all too enthusiastic about nodding in agreement to bureaucrats’ excuses that their failures can be solved with a bigger budget. They’re all too likely to believe that appointing some other D.C. staffer in a special czar position will suddenly create accountability, honesty, and diligence. They’re all too inclined to accept passive-voice “mistakes were made” explanations with blame assigned to “systemic” failures instead of particular individuals who failed to perform their duties, meet their responsibilities, and act with integrity.

For all the flaws of Republicans, we know that when confronted with a failure of government, their first response will not be “How can we protect the president?”

The American people deserve better from their government. And for now, the most effective tool to put unresponsive bureaucrats on the hot seat of public hearings, and wield the potential punishment through the appropriations process, is a Republican-controlled House and Senate.

You could say it’s time to pull the weeds out of Washington.

Obama Administration Released Illegal Immigrants Charged With Homicide [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

The opening section of the Morning Jolt spells out why Republicans would be fools to even consider any “comprehensive immigration reform” in the lame-duck session . . . or before the end of the Obama administration, really . . . 

Obama Administration Released Illegal Immigrants Charged With Homicide

This administration lies, and lies, and lies:

New records contradict the Obama administration’s assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records.

The records, obtained by USA TODAY, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide.

The release sparked a furor in Congress. Republican lawmakers accused the Obama administration of setting dangerous criminals free. In response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had released “low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records,” a claim the administration repeated to the public and to members of Congress.

The new records, including spreadsheets and hundreds of pages of e-mails, offer the most detailed information yet about the people ICE freed as it prepared for steep, across-the-government spending cuts in February 2013. They show that although two-thirds of the people who were freed had no criminal records, several had been arrested or convicted on charges more severe than the administration had disclosed.

Notice how many advocates of “comprehensive immigration reform” will ignore this inconvenient story and continue insisting the administration can be trusted to sort through the 11 million or so illegal immigrants and sort out the ones who are a danger to Americans.

This is actually the administration’s second lie on the matter:

The director of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, John Morton, said his agency had released 2,228 illegal immigrants during that period for what he called “solely budgetary reasons.” The figure was significantly higher than the “few hundred” immigrants the Obama administration had publicly acknowledged were released under the budget-savings process. He testified during a hearing by a House appropriations subcommittee.

The allegedly cruel, xenophobic, and ignorant border-security crowd said that if we stopped deporting children who came to the United States illegally, it would create an incentive for more of them — and this summer they were proven right. Those same critics, mostly but not entirely on the right, argued that the administration saw illegal immigrants as a source of future votes, and put that goal over all other priorities and considerations. For this claim, they were mocked and derided; administration defenders insisted our government would never do that.

Shortly after his administration told this lie, Obama went to Ohio State and told the graduates to “reject” cynical voices telling them that government was the problem, that it was incompetent, and that it couldn’t be trusted.

West Virginia Democrat, Managing Election Laws, Violates Own Rules [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

Of course:

The state’s chief election officer may have violated state election laws when she brought a group of supporters to the Kanawha County Voters Registration Office today.

On Wednesday, the first day for early voting in West Virginia, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who is running for U.S. Senate, led a group of supporters down Court Street to cast their ballots and proceeded to stump on the building’s front steps, an activity her office’s voting guide describes as “prohibited.”

Laws are for the little people.

In the photo above from the Charleston Daily Mail, Tennant campaigns
on the front steps of a voter-registration office.


Maybe Congress Will Finally Stand Up to Obama if He Bypasses Them on Iran [National Review Online - The Corner]

Word inside the Beltway is that President Obama intends to reach an Iranian nuclear-weapons deal without involving Congress. Defenders of the Constitution may just sigh and throw up their hands (again). Obama’s plan only adds to the long list of unconstitutional executive actions taken by this administration: refusal to enforce federal laws on health care, immigration, welfare, and crime; refusal to defend federal laws in the courts; appointment of rump officers to federal bodies without Senate advice and consent; targeting of groups by ideology for tax or criminal investigation, and so on.

For the most part, President Obama has gotten away with it. He has been aided and abetted by his supporters in Congress, media, and the academy, who went ballistic over far more serious Bush claims of executive power to pursue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But this might be the final straw that breaks Congress’s back. Over the last century or more, our executive and legislative branches have understood the Treaty Clause, which requires two-thirds Senate approval for treaties negotiated by the president, to govern important international agreements. This has been especially the case for alliances and arms-control agreements. Virtually every important arms-control agreement of the post–World War II period (and before) has required Senate consent, including the Obama-era New START nuclear-arms agreement with Russia. This was the result of bipartisan agreement in the Senate. Both Senator Jesse Helms and Joe Biden, when a senator, demanded that the Bush administration submit the Treaty of Moscow in 2002, which heavily cut nuclear arsenals, to the Senate.

Refusal to submit an Iranian nuclear deal to the Senate could finally spark a bipartisan response to defend the upper house’s prerogatives, and begin the hard road back to restoring the Constitution’s separation of powers. If Obama could commit the United States to nuclear obligations with the Iranians on his own, he could also make agreements with the Russians cutting nuclear arsenals even farther, hand off a sphere of influence to China in Asia, and enter more free-trade agreements with his favorite nations abroad like Iran. The loss of Senate prerogatives would do permanent damage to the Constitution’s design, which imposes a legislative check on important international agreements, and would infringe on the powers of individual senators of all parties from now into the future. That might finally give Republicans and Democrats the incentive to join together to oppose this new example of presidential violation of the Constitution.

White House Insists Obama Is Relevant [National Review Online - The Corner]

President Obama’s spokesman took a moment to rebut the vulnerable Senate Democrat who claimed that he isn’t relevant, saying that “the vast majority” of Americans disagree.

Senator Mark Begich (D., Alaska) tried to distance himself from President Obama during an interview with the Washington Examiner.

“The president’s not relevant,” Begich told Rebecca Berg. “He’s gone in two years.”

Democrats around the country are avoiding the unpopular Obama, but the president won’t let them get away with it.

“I am not on the ballot this fall,” Obama said earlier this month. “But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.”

Obama’s former campaign strategist, David Axelrod, said that statement was a “mistake,” but the president emphasized his closeness to Democrats this week during an interview with Al Sharpton.

“A lot of the states that are contested this [fall] are states that I didn’t win,” Obama said. “And so some of the candidates there, you know, it is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turnout. The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me — they have supported my agenda in Congress.”

Obama to Atlanta Radio Station: A Michelle Nunn Win Means We Keep the Senate and Keep Passing My Policies [National Review Online - The Corner]

​President Obama just directly linked himself to another red-state Democrat Senate candidate. Calling in to Atlanta’s V-103 radio station on Thursday, the president said a Michelle Nunn victory in Georgia “means that Democrats keep control of the Senate” and could continue moving forward with his agenda.

“If Michelle Nunn wins, that means that Democrats keep control of the Senate and that means that we can keep on doing some good work,” he said. “It is critically important to make sure folks vote.”

Despite many vulnerable Democrats’ efforts to distance themselves from him this cycle, President Obama hasn’t made it easy for them. On Monday of this week on Al Sharpton’s radio show, he described Democratic candidates as “folks who vote with me, they have supported my agenda in Congress,” as well as “strong allies and supporters of me.” Earlier this month, he also told an audience to “make no mistake — these policies are on the ballot, every single one of them.”

90 Percent or Bust: The Left's Strange Eagerness to Raise Top Tax Rates [National Review Online - The Corner]

The top income-tax rate is back to where it was during the Clinton years, thanks to the Obamacrats letting the high-end Bush II cuts expire. But don’t think for a second that the left wouldn’t love to take tax rates much, much higher. Last summer, a CNBC reporter asked President Obama if there was a limit to how high taxes should go. “You know, I don’t have a particular number in mind,” is how Obama responded. Indeed, left-wing economists continue to generate papers showing top rates of 70 percent, 80 percent, or even higher would reduce income inequality without damaging the US economy. Over at the Center for American Progress think tank — a favorite of Hillary Clinton’s — blogger Bryce Covert embraces a new paper that suggests a 90 percent tax rate on the top 1 percent of American earners would reduce inequality, boost government revenue, and “make everyone better off.”

Except the history of the US economy under extreme tax rates suggests everyone wouldn’t be better off.  Not at all. 

The last time tax rates were at 90 percent or higher was the 1950s and early 1960s. While GDP grew at a brisk 3.6 percent over the decade from 1951 through 1960, it was also a period that saw three recessions. Recall that John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign promised he would “get this country moving again.” That suggests a decade of stagnation, not growth.

More importantly, the U.S. economy benefited from a set of one-factors that offset the high tax rates. A National Bureau of Economic Research study described the situation this way: “At the end of World War II, the United States was the dominant industrial producer in the world. With industrial capacity destroyed in Europe—except for Scandinavia—and in Japan and crippled in the United Kingdom, the United States produced approximately 60 percent of the world output of manufactures in 1950, and its GNP was 61 percent of the total of the present (1979) OECD countries. This was obviously a transitory situation.” 

What’s more, as American Enterprise Institute scholar Ed Conard has explained about the 1950s, “The United States was prosperous for a unique set of reasons that are impossible to duplicate today, including a decade-long depression, the destruction of the rest of the world’s infrastructure, a failure of potential foreign competitors to educate their people, and a highly restricted supply of labor.”

It should also be noted that effective tax rates were much lower than 90 percent because of myriad tax breaks. But many economists suggesting high taxes would also get rid of all manner of loopholes, pushing effective rates to levels unseen in American history. Finally, the decade was a period of stagnation when it came to innovation. As historian Alexander Field has noted, the postwar economy lived off the technological innovations produced in the 1930s. The postwar decades’ failure to generate big, new breakthroughs led to declining productivity not reversed until the 1990s tech boom.

In short, Big Government taxed away America’s tiger-economy years. And now with new breakthroughs in energy and the internet offering hope America’s New Normal isn’t permanent, the left would do it again.

Malala the Dancer [National Review Online - The Corner]

It’s a real surprise that Ronan Farrow’s show has been a disaster, n’est pas?

Sgt-at-Arms Who Took Down Ottawa Shooter Gets Standing Ovation at Canadian Parliament [National Review Online - The Corner]

Kevin Vickers, the 58-year-old ceremonial Sergeant-at-Arms of Canada’s parliament, received a standing ovation from Canadian lawmakers on Thursday after gunning down an attacker who targeted the Canadian parliament on Wednesday morning.

Off-duty at the time of the attack, Vickers fatally wounded a 32-year-old convert to Islam after the man stormed into the Canadian parliament with a shotgun – which he had just used to kill 25-year-old Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo at the nearby Canadian War Memorial. 

A Canadian journalist snapped a photograph of Vickers moments after he’d shot the gunman:

Canadian lawmakers returned to parliament on Thursday morning, giving Vickers a rousing standing ovation as he took his usual position overlooking the room. 

Poll: Scott Walker Leading by One in Wisconsin [National Review Online - The Corner]

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker leads Democratic challenger Mary Burke 47–46 percent among likely voters, according to a new poll from Wisconsin Public Radio and St. Norbert College. Walker’s lead expands to three percentage points among registered voters, while 11 percent of voters surveyed remain undecided. Walker has trailed or tied Burke in three previous polls, and the newest survey only confirms that the race will likely be just as close on Election Day.

Voter turnout and the still-undecided voters could decide the election if Walker and Burke remain tied in the polls, which puts the spotlight back on the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to block Wisconsin’s voter-ID law from taking effect before November. The Court made its decision without much explanation, but opponents of the law raised concerns that some mail-in votes would not get counted unless the voters showed up to verify their identities. The Court’s decision did not decide the law’s ultimate fate, but the law’s injunction could mean that illegitimate votes shape the outcome of the election.

Nine Percent of Likely Voters 'Enthusiastic' about Obama [National Review Online - The Corner]

Less than 10 percent of likely voters this election cycle say they’re “enthusiastic” about the Obama administration, according to a new Associated Press-Gfk poll.

The Washington Post notes that the survey included a question beyond the typical approval-disapproval rating, asking participants to measure their enthusiasm about the Obama presidency thus far. The poll offered four options: Enthusiastic; Satisfied but not enthusiastic; Dissatisfied but not angry; Angry.

Just nine percent of likely voters said they were “enthusiastic,” with another 28 percent saying they were “satisfied, but not enthusiastic.” The total of respondents with a positive take on President Obama (37 percent) is barely more than the amount that are “angry” (34 percent). The remaining 28 percent said they were “dissatisfied, but not angry.”

The percentage of “enthusiastic” likely voters is down from 11 percent in last month’s AP-Gfk survey.

SCOTUS Corrects Crucial Mistake in Much-Quoted Ginsburg Voter-ID Dissent [National Review Online - The Corner]

Earlier this week the United States Supreme Court ruled that Texas’s voter-ID law can be enforced in November’s midterm elections — a ruling that justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg objected to in a much-touted seven-page dissent. However, on Wednesday the Court formally corrected a not insignificant factual error in her dissenting opinion. Via Fox News:

Aside from “small stylistic changes,” Wednesday’s correction erases a sentence from Ginsburg’s official dissent that refers to photo identification cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs not being an acceptable form of ID in Texas — when they actually are.

“Accordingly, the Justice deleted the following sentence from the dissent: ‘Nor will Texas accept photo ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs,’” the Supreme Court said Wednesday in a written statement.

As one might expect, the correction suggests that the challenge of obtaining valid voter identification is not as burdensome as many liberals have suggested.

WaPo: 'A Half-Dozen Unnamed Black Witnesses' Corroborate Officer Wilson's Story [National Review Online - The Corner]

The Washington Post reports that a significant number of witnesses in the Michael Brown case are offering testimony that supports Officer Wilson’s story: 

Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown fought for control of the officer’s gun, and Wilson fatally shot the unarmed teenager after he moved toward the officer as they faced off in the street, according to interviews, news accounts and the full report of the St. Louis County autopsy of Brown’s body.

Because Wilson is white and Brown was black, the case has ignited intense debate over how police interact with African American men. But more than a half-dozen unnamed black witnesses have provided testimony to a St. Louis County grand jury that largely supports Wilson’s account of events of Aug. 9, according to several people familiar with the investigation who spoke with The Washington Post.

Some of the physical evidence — including blood spatter analysis, shell casings and ballistics tests — also supports Wilson’s account of the shooting, The Post’s sources said, which casts Brown as an aggressor who threatened the officer’s life. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are prohibited from publicly discussing the case.

Earlier in the week, the New York Times noted that:

The police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., two months ago has told investigators that he was pinned in his vehicle and in fear for his life as he struggled over his gun with Mr. Brown, according to government officials briefed on the federal civil rights investigation into the matter.

The officer, Darren Wilson, has told the authorities that during the scuffle, Mr. Brown reached for the gun. It was fired twice in the car, according to forensics tests performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The first bullet struck Mr. Brown in the arm; the second bullet missed.

The forensics tests showed Mr. Brown’s blood on the gun, as well as on the interior door panel and on Officer Wilson’s uniform. Officer Wilson told the authorities that Mr. Brown had punched and scratched him repeatedly, leaving swelling on his face and cuts on his neck.

The combination of these two developments strike me as making an indictment unlikely.

Hagan Becomes Latest Dem to Dodge Question on Obama's Leadership [National Review Online - The Corner]

North Carolina senator Kay Hagan became the latest in a growing line of Democratic politicians refusing to clearly state what they think of President Obama and his leadership.

Hagan spoke on Tuesday with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, who asked the senator point-blank whether she thought President Obama was a strong leader.

“You know, President Obama has a lot on his plate,” Hagan deflected, pointing to a series of crises such as the Islamic State and Ebola.

“And do you think he’s acted as a strong leader in these crises?” Hunt pressed, causing the senator to admit that “we were late to the table” on Ebola. 

“So you don’t think he showed strong leadership,” Hunt said, prompting Hagan to again demur. 

The president is very unpopular in North Carolina, where Hagan is running a tough reelection campaign against Republican state lawmaker Thom Tillis. 

Why Aren't Guns an Issue in the Midterms? [National Review Online - The Corner]

In the New Hampshire Union Leader, Drew Cline notices that gun control isn’t an issue in the midterms:

In the six months after the Sandy Hook shootings, the left brought up gun control constantly. In April of 2013, Granite State Progress brought the daughter of a Sandy Hook victim to a Kelly Ayotte town hall meeting to confront Ayotte, who had just voted against a Democratic gun control bill. Since then, support for gun control has fallen in the polls and the issue has been dropped in favor of character assassination and innuendo. Mentions of the words “Koch brothers” probably outnumber mentions of the word “guns” by more than 1,000 to one.

This is an excellent point. But, honestly, it was never going to be any other way. Gun control comes up when something terrible happens, and then it immediately dies down again when people come to their senses. The idea that an election in November of 2014 would be significantly changed by something that happened in 2012 was always a preposterous one.

Not, of course, that this stopped the predictions from flowing. Per Business Insider, last April,

Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough reamed into Senate Republicans and four Democrats who voted against the passage of a bill expanding background checks. Particularly targeting Republicans, Scarborough said that the party was “moving toward extinction.”

“You do not ignore 90 percent of the American people on an issue of public safety,” Scarborough said, citing poll numbers that consistently showed nine in 10 respondents supporting the measure.

“Mark it down — this is going to be a turning point in the history of the Republican Party as well,” he added. “And let those out there chattering, let them chatter away all they want to and scream like hyenas. Let them do what they want to do.

This line, popular among progressives last summer, was always nonsense. But it was especially odd to hear it coming from a former Republican congressman who won his seat in Florida in 1994 on the back of a Republican wave that materialized in opposition to, among other things, an overreach on gun control.

Cline wonders why Republicans haven’t picked up the cause:

Republicans have been handed an opportunity to show Democratic candidates as actively hostile to some of our most cherished and important constitutional rights, and they are not taking it. Jeanne Shaheen co-sponsored Sen. Mark Udall’s constitutional amendment to rewrite the First Amendment and allow government — including states — to suppress speech. Kuster and Shea-Porter both support it. These incumbents also want to pass laws that, at the very least, further restrict Second Amendment rights. Together, those encroachments upon the Bill of Rights would make a powerful Republican campaign ad.

I agree wholly with Cline on the matter of Udall’s proposal. That Republicans haven’t been running ads noting that their opponents have been trying to repeal the First Amendment is surprising. But I don’t know how much traction most candidates would get by talking about the Second – especially given that most of the competitive Senate seats are in pro-gun states in which Democrats are unlikely to take a strong stance in favor of more control. Mark Pryor and Mark Begich both voted against the Toomey-Manchin bill, so any sustained attack would look a touch odd. Iowa’s Tom Harkin voted in favor of the bill, but he’s not running for re-election. In Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes has done just about everything she can do suggest to the electorate that she’s pro-gun, thereby neutralizing McConnell’s vote against as a campaign issue.

There have been skirmishes in a couple of states. In Kansas, the surprise rise of Greg Orman has led Pat Roberts to bring up the issue — and hard. According to the Wichita Eagle, background checks have become an issue in the race:

Orman said he is a gun owner and Second Amendment supporter. But he came out in favor of closing the so-called gun show loophole, which allows people to buy guns while bypassing the background check they’d need to pass if they bought a gun from a licensed dealer.

“I don’t think that having a loophole that allows people who couldn’t get guns at a legitimate gun dealer to get them otherwise is sound policy,” Orman said. “I just don’t think it makes sense to make it easy for a convicted felon or someone who’s under a restraining order for domestic abuse to be able to walk into a gun show and easily get a gun.”

Roberts’ response: “Well, there you have it. He’s for the Second Amendment, but more federal controls, more federal requirements. I’m for the Second Amendment; I’ve always stood for the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.”

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, Bill Cassidy has criticized Mary Landrieu’s vote in favor of Toomey-Manchin. In late September, the Times-Picayune reported that:

The National Rifle Association is out this week with a controversial TV ad attacking Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La, while Everytown for Gun Safety has announced its endorsement of Landrieu and accused the NRA of playing fast and loose with the facts.

This leaves us with Shaheen, Udall, and Hagan, all of whom voted in favor. Given New Hampshire’s nature, I can’t imagine that Scott Brown would profit greatly from knocking Hagan for her vote in favor of a background-check bill. (Perhaps of all the “no” voters, Kelly Ayotte got the most flack.) And, even if he would benefit, he is on record as supporting that legislation — and much more besides. Colorado has been ground zero for the fight over post-Newtown restrictions, voters there having already pushed back against lawmakers who helped to institute new state rules. Would a sustained push from Cory Gardner motivate anyone new? I doubt it. As for North Carolina, Hagan seems to have already lost whatever ground her “yes” vote was going to cost her, while Thom Tillis seems reluctant to bring the issue up at all. 

In September, Gallup noted that a whopping one percent of Americans believe gun control to be the biggest issue facing the country. Bottom line: Nobody really cares.

Mary Landrieu Attacks Black Politician Who Left Democratic Party For GOP [National Review Online - The Corner]

Senator Mary Landrieu (D., La.) has no love for the black state senator who left the Democratic Party and urged his constituents to abandon Landrieu’s reelection campaign.

Landrieu thinks Guillory switched parties as a cynical stunt. “There’s one in every crowd that will promote himself above the people that he’s supposed to serve,” she told Bloomberg’s Dave Weigel. “ You know, he serves black and white, just like I do. But the only person that I know that promotes himself more than Elbert Guillory would be Bobby Jindal, and the two of ‘em belong in the same boat.”

Former Governor Edwin Edwards (D., La.), who went to jail on corruption charges but is now a Democratic frontrunner in the congressional race to succeed Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy, agrees with Landrieu. Guillory “abandoned” his constituents due to political ambition, Edwards told National Review Online.

Guillory dismissed such charges by noting black economic troubles and reiterating his belief that Landrieu has been useless in helping that community.

“The last time we talked, we talked about a post office in Lafayette and the need to keep that post office open,” he told NRO. “[Landrieu] has not discussed with me, during any of our conversations, anything about the general needs of my community — about safety or education or jobs or anything.”


Brown, Shaheen Neck-and-Neck in N.H. [National Review Online - The Corner]

The New Hampshire Senate race is extremely close in the final weeks before Election Day, with one poll giving the Republican challenger Scott Brown a lead over Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen.

The latest weekly New England College survey shows Brown leading Shaheen by one half of a percentage point, 47.7 percent and 47.3 percent, with a three-point margin of error.

Brown seems to have gained ground over the past month, having trailed by three points in the NEC poll three weeks ago. The latest survey by the college indicates Brown has gained among women (he only trails Shaheen by points among female voters, compared with twelve points last month) and padded his lead among independents — he’s now ahead 49 percent to 44 percent.

Meanwhile, a CNN/ORC poll released on Thursday gives Shaheen a slight edge, 49 percent to 47 percent, with a margin of error of four points.

In that survey, Shaheen’s lead among women is bigger than in the NEC poll (54 percent to 44 percent), and she has an edge among independents (49 percent to 45 percent).

Russian Spy Plane Violates Estonian Airspace, Intercepted by NATO Jets [National Review Online - The Corner]

Just days after reports of a Russian submarine being sighted in Swedish waters, Estonia today accused a Russian spy plane of violating its airspace before it was intercepted by NATO jets.

According to the BBC, the spy plane took off from Russia’s Kaliningrad region, a small territory between Poland and Lithuania geographically isolated from the rest of the country, and initially approached first Denmark and then Sweden before being intercepted by jets from each respective country. It then entered Estonian airspace, only to be escorted out by Portuguese NATO F16s shortly thereafter.

Russia has denied the airspace violation occurred, maintaining the flight was part of a routine training exercise that stayed over “neutral waters.”

The news comes one month after armed Russian officers allegedly entered Estonia and abducted a member of the country’s security services. 

Greg Abbott Leading Wendy Davis Among Women, Nearly Tied Among Hispanics [National Review Online - The Corner]

Wendy Davis is, as I’ve mentioned, a terrible candidate. But that should not obscure the fact that her opponent, Texas attorney general Greg Abbott, is a remarkably good one.

According to a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, not only does Abbott have a commanding lead over Davis (16 points). He is also leading by two points among women (48 to 46 percent) and trailing by only two points among Hispanics (48 to 46 percent).

The poll also notes changes in favorability between the two candidates. Looking at Davis’s numbers, Sean Davis of the Federalist comments:

Abbott’s numbers, by contrast:

Like every state, Texas has a unique political culture, and success there cannot simply be extrapolated to the national stage. But in a race that was poised to be Ground Zero in Democrats’ concocted “war on women,” Abbott has managed to wage a positive campaign, engage voters on substantial issues, and earn support even in the state’s Democratic strongholds. That cannot be chalked up simply to a lousy opponent.

Republicans Making Gains Among Men, Women, Maybe the Intersexed [National Review Online - The Corner]

A new AP/GfK poll shows that among women who are likely to vote, Republican congressional candidates lead 44 percent to 42. Among male likely voters, they lead 50–36. The findings are similar to the exit polls in the last midterm elections elections, in 2010, when Republicans narrowly won women (49–48 percent) and men were six points more likely to back the Republican candidates. Nothing special seems to be happening to the gender gap–the difference in how men and women vote. Republicans are doing relatively well among men and women alike.

Coverage of the elections does not always convey this truth. National Journal has a story today, for example, saying that Democrats may be losing their touch with women. One of its top data points: In the Arkansas Senate race, Republican Tom Cotton has a three-point lead among women (46–43) over incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor. Cotton, however, is winning men 55–37 percent in the same poll. In 2010, running against an incumbent Democratic senator (a woman, for that matter) in Arkansas, Republican candidate John Boozman got, best as we can tell, 61 percent of men and 56 percent of women. Cotton’s gender gap is bigger (he does nine points worse among women where Boozman did five points worse) and his overall support is lower. The real story here has little to do with distinctive trends among women. To the extent this poll is giving us an accurate picture of the race, it shows that Arkansans of both sexes are leaning Republican, but the men a little more so. That’s also what the AP/GfK poll says about the country as a whole, and it’s what one would expect in a good Republican year.

Joni Ernst Confirms She's a Free Woman, Progressives Start Crying [National Review Online - The Corner]

Talking Points Memo’s Daniel Strauss seems to be upset with Joni Ernst for confirming back in 2012 that she isn’t a slave:

During an National Rifle Association event in Iowa in 2012, state Sen. Joni Ernst, now the Republican nominee for Senate in the state, said she carries a 9-millimeter gun around everywhere and believes in the right to use it even if it’s against the government if they disregard her rights.

“I have a beautiful little Smith & Wesson, 9 millimeter, and it goes with me virtually everywhere,” Ernst said during a speech at the NRA’s Iowa Firearms Coalition Second Amendment Rally in Searsboro, Iowa, as flagged by The Huffington Post on Thursday. “But I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.”

As opposed to what exactly? The opposite of this statement is the following:

“I do not believe in the right to carry, and I do not believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.”

Is there any free person anywhere that doesn’t reserve the right to defend himself against a person who would do him harm, or who believes that, should the government turn, he would be better off going quietly into the night? The notion that the state could potentially turn on its citizens is not a right-wing fever dream, nor was it a fear reserved by circumstances to the Founder’s time. If we learned one thing from the twentieth century it was that the state can be a force for extreme ill and that empowered citizens are necessary to forestall and, in extreme circumstances, to combat it. Is Joni Ernst supposed to pretend otherwise because it might upset the delicate flowers who would rather not think about such things?

New Hampshire had it right back in 1784, when it inserted into its state constitution the recognition that:

Whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

Is an outbreak of ”arbitrary power, and oppression” likely to happen in Iowa any time soon? No, it’s not. Is it good to have politicians who recognize that our liberty is a rare and precious thing? Yes, it is. Good for Joni Ernst. She sounds like somebody we need in the United States Senate.

Congress and the Constitution [National Review Online - The Corner]

Chris DeMuth Sr. presents a practical constitutionalist agenda for the Republicans if they win control of both chambers. An excerpt won’t do the article justice; conservatives, especially those on the Hill, should read the whole thing.

O’Keefe: Why Have Those Condoning Voter Fraud Not Been Fired? [National Review Online - The Corner]

Guerrilla filmmaker James O’Keefe certainly stirred things up with his video featuring three liberal activists working to re-elect Senator Mark Udall condoning voter fraud in Colorado. All of them seemed well versed in how to manipulate the state’s new law that automatically sends a ballot to every household in the state and has precious few safeguards against fraud.

Christen Topping of Greenpeace even went so far as to tell O’Keefe the exact address in “ghetto Aurora” where he could find ballots in trash cans that could be fraudulently mailed in. She said residents of the “ghetto” were unlikely to vote because they “don’t really care.”

Imagine if such racial imagery were employed by a conservative political activist.

O’Keefe certainly wants to know if Greenpeace will continue to employ Topping in its political efforts in Colorado. But he also has questions for Alan Franklin, the CEO of Work for Progress (WFP), a liberal group funded by Democratic Super PACs. Meredith Hicks, the head of WFP in Colorado, told O’Keefe that committing voter fraud using unused ballots was perfectly okay. “That’s not even lying or stealing, if someone throws out the ballot. If you want to fill it out you should do it,” she told O’Keefe on tape.

When the TV station FOX31 in Denver finally reached Hicks yesterday for her reaction to O’Keefe’s video, she was apparently nervous. She “initially told FOX31 Denver she knew O’Keefe but then said she didn’t recall” the conversation she had with him just a few days before. “I don’t have anything to say about that,” she said.

Alan Franklin should have already fired Meredith Hicks for suborning voter fraud, a likely violation of Colorado law. He now has another reason: She apparently possesses such a poor memory that she can’t even remember the fraud she was condoning. Work for Progress clearly isn’t getting their money’s worth out of her.

The Fed Chair Shouldn't Sound Like a Liberal Politician [National Review Online - The Corner]

Read my latest column, criticizing Fed chair Janet Yellen’s speech on income inequality.

Speaking in Boston last week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen announced that “the extent of and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concern” her. “I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity.”

Well. I think it is appropriate to ask whether the Fed chair should be expressing concern over whether income inequality is un-American. And to answer: No. The Fed chair shouldn’t sound like a left-leaning politician opining about hot-button political issues.

What do Dr. Yellen and Pope Benedict have in common? Click here to find out.

— Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar and economist at the American Enterprise Institute. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MichaelRStrain.


Will Power [National Review Online - The Corner]

George Will visits Miami University of Ohio. Liberal mayhem ensues. Katie Webster of the College Fix has the story.

Krauthammer's Take: Homegrown Radicals Like Ottawa Gunman 'New Face of Terror' [National Review Online - The Corner]

Charles Krauthammer warned the West to get used to small-scale Islamist attacks like the one that brought Ottawa to a standstill on Wednesday, explaining that lone wolf, self-radicalized jihadists living in Western countries are “the new face of terror.”

The conservative columnist noted that Western security forces have become very good at preventing attacks like those that took place in the 1990s and on 9/11, when Islamists would send fighters over from foreign countries.

“Now what I think has happened, with the tremendous ideological appeal of ISIS . . . it’s now getting these individuals already in Western societies to act on their own,” he said. 

“It looks as if the appeal of ISIS is such that they can now spark these attacks without lifting a finger, without organizing what, for example, al-Qaeda in Yemen does: Create a bomb, send somebody on a plane,” Krauthammer explained. “And that’s the new face of terror.” 

Deceased Ottowa Gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau a Recent Convert to Islam [National Review Online - The Corner]

A clearer picture emerged Wednesday night of the chaos that engulfed downtown Ottawa throughout the day, with Canadian authorities releasing the name of the Islamic convert that killed a soldier and wounded two others before being killed. 

U.S. government sources identified 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as the man killed by security personnel inside the Canadian parliament. The National Post reports that the masked Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed 24-year-old Corporal Nathan Cirillo with a shotgun as the soldier guarded the National War Memorial, before sprinting to the Canadian parliament building and opening fire inside. Reports of a shooting at nearby shopping mall Rideau Centre proved inaccurate.

Throughout the afternoon Canadian police had frantically searched for additional gunmen, telling reporters repeatedly that they did not believe Zehaf-Bibeau acted alone. They have since refused to confirm or deny whether Zehaf-Bibeau acted alone, calling the situation “dynamic” and “unfolding.” 

Chris Christie Isn't Wrong about the Minimum Wage, for At Least Two Reasons [National Review Online - The Corner]

“I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage,” New Jersey governor Chris Christie said Tuesday, adding to a list of a number of things, policy issues and otherwise, that he is tired of hearing about. It’s clear enough that he’s tired of hearing about the minimum wage because it’s a relatively bad, anti-market policy that command high levels of popular support — I hope he doesn’t tire of his position on it (he vetoed an increase in New Jersey’s $8.25 an hour minimum wage last year). But the Washington Post’s Fix thinks it’s caught an error in the explanation he offers. Here’s what he said:

I really am [tired of the issue.] I don’t think there’s a mother or a father sitting around the kitchen table tonight in America saying, ‘You know, honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all of our dreams would be realized.’ Is that what parents aspire to?

Here’s WaPo’s response:

Christie is probably right, for two reasons. The first is the obvious one: no one aspires to make as little a salary as possible, although there are certainly people sitting around kitchen tables wishing for some salary at all. (As of last month, 9.3 million of them.) But he’s also right that no one is doing that — mostly because the image of minimum wage workers as teenagers, kids working at the soda fountain after school, is wrong.

Raising the minimum wage is expected, ceteris paribus, to increase that 9.3 million number, for one (or whatever number it is in New Jersey). But WaPo is also trying to attribute to the governor a common and more or less correct, argument against the minimum wage as a poverty-fighting or opportunity-creating policy: It’s mostly young people that hold minimum-wage jobs, so the level of the minimum wage doesn’t matter for most working Americans. But it seems more likely Christie was making an abstract argument: People aspire to rapid economic growth, broad opportunity, and rising wages for the next generation, rather than hoping that the government will merely bump up the legally required minimum salary. He’s not saying that, when people think about whether to support raising the minimum wage, parents literally think of whether it would improve their kid’s salary at the soda fountain.

The Fix thinks Christie has just claimed that most people making the minimum wage are young people, and they set about proving that he’s wrong and (like a typical Republican) stuck with a outdated understanding of the world. As the headline puts it, “Chris Christie needs to update his stereotypes about the minimum wage.” Unfortunately, they can’t prove Christie is adhering to some old-fashioned stereotype, because, while it can be exaggerated, it doesn’t appear to be outdated.

Citing this chart, they write: “As the recession took hold . . . the number of people earning a minimum wage swelled. . . . And as that wave hit the workforce, it was those over 25 years old who comprised the biggest part of the new minimum wage earners.” Yes, when the recession hit, there were more workers over 25 earning the minimum wage than there were between the ages of 16 and 25, by one percentage point — shocking. But as their chart happens to show, almost the same share of minimum-wage earners are over 25 vs. under 25 in 2012; at the beginning of the recession; and at the beginning of their data set in 2002 (see here and here). The age composition of minimum-wage workers hasn’t changed noticeably at all, so why are they pretending to have proved the stereotype outdated?

It is possible that over a longer time frame, minimum-wager workers are older now than they were in two decades, or three decades ago, or more, but this data isn’t readily presented by the BLS. (FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Casselman has found that minimum-wage earners are more likely now than in 1990s to be supporting themselves, but that does not necessarily indicate a shift in age.)

And this stereotype about the typical minimum-wage earner isn’t inaccurate, either. “It isn’t parents sitting around kitchen tables worried about their kids getting a bump in their minimum wage jobs,” the Fix writes. “Rather, it’s much more likely to be a young mother herself, hoping for a raise in her own paycheck.” This is nonsense. The modal minimum wage earner really is a teenager, and this group is wildly disproportionately represented among minimum-wage earners relative to the labor force as a whole. It’s exceedingly unlikely that someone earning the minimum wage is the primary earner, the bread-winner, for a family, as the Fix’s description seems to suggest. Data on how many minimum-wage earners are parents at all isn’t easily available, but the White House estimates that only a quarter of people earning under minimum wage have children, let alone are young mothers specifically — the people the Fix just presented as the typical minimum-wage worker.

None of this makes Chris Christie right or wrong about the minimum wage. But the argument the Fix attributes to him and the accompanying stereotype is still accurate enough to make raising the minimum wage a very poorly targeted way to help working families.

Glenn Greenwald Blames Canada for Terror Attack — Against Canada [National Review Online - The Corner]

Earlier this week an Islamic State sympathizer known to authorities as a suspected radical ran down two Canadian soldiers in a Quebec parking lot, killing one of them before being shot dead himself. Writing at the Intercept, Glenn Greenwald opted to attack not the murderer, who, according to Canadian police, patiently waited two hours for the ideal moment to plow his Nissan Altima into his victims, but the authorities:

Every time one of these attacks occurs — from 9/11 on down — Western governments pretend that it was just some sort of unprovoked, utterly “senseless” act of violence caused by primitive, irrational, savage religious extremism inexplicably aimed at a country innocently minding its own business. . . . Except in the rarest of cases, the violence has clearly identifiable and easy-to-understand causes: . . . namely, anger over the violence, abuse and interference by Western countries in that part of the world, with the world’s Muslims overwhelmingly the targets and victims.

After “wallowing in war glory, invading, rendering and bombing others,” Canada’s chickens have simply come home to roost.

Greenwald never goes so far as to excuse Islamic radicalism, but he spares no rhetorical bombast linking it in toto to Western overreach. Canada, for example, is many things: vast, beautiful, hockey-obsessed, rich in maple syrup. It is hardly “wallowing in war glory.” (Nations that “glory” in war would perhaps do a better job eliminating their enemies.) But for Greenwald, all activity in the Middle East since 2001 has been an American-led “13-year orgy of violence,” and if Muslims are importing “a tiny fraction of that violence” back into Western nations, how can we be surprised?

Greenwald’s solution is obvious: If America would leave the Middle East alone, it would leave us alone.

But radical Islam is not interested in having neighbors; it is interested in having subjects. Ask the Yazidis. Greenwald’s armchair psychology dismisses terrorists — a word he refuses to use — as scientifically predictable products of their environment. If the U.S. would butt out, the Islamic State would eventually dissolve, as time heals the wounds of American interference. Enlightened philosophe that he is, he cannot imagine a person who is simply ideological — not because he is upset with America’s support for the Shah or for Israel, but because he enjoys the warm, fuzzy feeling he gets slaughtering infidels. To Greenwald, that is “primitive, irrational, savage religious extremism,” and it is a “fairy tale” concocted by Western governments to consolidate power.

Yes, the Islamic State and movements like it are virulently anti-Western — but they are, crucially, more than that. Wipe the United States off the geopolitical map tomorrow, and they will still rape and ruin. Contra Glenn Greenwald and his ilk, not everything is the West’s fault.

Bruce Rauner Has Now Spent $20 Million on His Own Campaign [National Review Online - The Corner]

Republican candidate Bruce Rauner has given more than $20 million to his own campaign to unseat incumbent Governor Pat Quinn (D., Ill.), according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Although Rauner has occasionally been compared to fellow financier-politician Mitt Romney, his contributions to his own campaign reportedly dwarf Romney’s own self-funding efforts. But as a wealthy venture capitalist worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Rauner’s donations will probably serve to reinforce the tycoon stereotype anyway. Rauner has tried to present a more humble image at times during the campaign, appearing in an ad with his “ugly van” and touting his $18 watch, but he has struggled to eliminate the impression left by his membership in a wine club that costs six figures to join.

Rauner’s latest contribution to his campaign comes after President Obama and President Clinton visited Illinois this week to campaign for Quinn. Following a series of heated debates between with Quinn, Rauner emerged with the endorsements of Illinois’s two major newspapers, the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times. But the Republican has lost the substantial lead in the polls he enjoyed earlier this summer, and the race is essentially tied.

Bananas [National Review Online - The Corner]

A New Jersey high school has been exonerated of any racist intent after its football team used a banana to plug a hole in the door between its locker room and that of a majority-black visiting team. But, this being America in the 21st century, the school is being punished nevertheless.

The story goes back to last year. Before one game, the Summit High School team needed to plug the gap caused by a missing doorknob, and someone came up with a banana. The team won the game, and eventually the league championship, and the banana became a superstition. In this year’s opener, the opponent was North Plainfield, a slender majority of whose players are black. They saw the banana as a possible racial reference and complained to the authorities.

In a simpler time, the two teams’ coaches would have worked this out between them, but in Obama’s America, no grievance can be left uninvestigated. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association convened a special committee, which performed a thorough investigation that included six hours of testimony. Since the committee “unanimously determined there was insufficient proof that the incident was an intentional act of racial bias or harassment,” one might think that would be the end of it, along with an apology perhaps.

Not a chance. The NJSIAA ordered the two teams’ captains to meet, which seems sensible enough, but beyond that:

Second, to promote understanding, Summit High School must submit a Corrective Action Plan to the NJSIAA for review and approval. This plan should include, at a minimum, an in-service training program for the entire coaching staff focused on sensitivity to and understanding of racial bias incidents.

And third, to avoid repetition, the Summit High School athletic director must submit a certification to the NJSIAA — prior to the start of each of the next three sports seasons — certifying that he has reviewed with the school’s coaches all NJSIAA sportsmanship rules, in detail.

So a silly high-school tradition of surpassing triviality that clearly had no racial animus behind it must be expiated with large doses of the racemonger’s panacea — sensitivity training — along with lecturing all the school’s coaches, from bowling to swimming to cross country, on how to play nice.

Imagine if they had actually done something wrong.

Anti-Israel Bias in One Headline (or Three) [National Review Online - The Corner]

So earlier today the Associated Press ran a story with the headline “Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem.” Then they changed it to “Car slams into east Jerusalem train station.” Finally, after widespread outrage on social media, they changed it to “Palestinian kills baby at Jerusalem station.” Here are the actual details, from the current version of the report:

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian motorist with a history of anti-Israel violence slammed his car into a crowded train station in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing a three-month-old baby girl and wounding eight people in what police called a terror attack.

The incident came after months of tensions between Jews and Palestinians in east Jerusalem — the section of the city claimed by the Palestinians as their future capital. The area has experienced unrest and near-daily attacks on the city’s light rail by Palestinian youths since a wave of violence over the summer, capped by a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza.

So it begins with the villain being the Israeli police. Then, in a nod to fairness, it’s changed to an evil car. Then finally, it’s a murderous Palestinian. It’s progress, I suppose. 

This is Real "Predatory Lending" [National Review Online - Phi Beta Cons]

Leftists frequently denounce firms that lend money to people with poor credit histories as “predatory lenders.” Pay-day lending, for example, is attacked as “predatory” because the borrowers face high interest costs when they need money. Those firms, however, are just offering customers an option and if they have a better way of obtaining the money they need, they’re free to do so.

Now, the federal government is engaged in something quite similar when it comes to Parent PLUS loans — loans to parents so they can cover college expenses beyond the other loans and grants available. The administration has just announced that it will loosen the credit requirements for these loans, enabling families with weak credit to borrow so their children can go to college. Inside Higher Ed has the story.

This is just like the way the government “helped” low-income, poor-credit-risk individuals qualify for mortgages. Many of the parents who might have previously realized that the college of their choice was too expensive and therefore looked for a less costly school will now be lured into taking on debt they will have a hard time dealing with in the future. In a few years, we’ll have a “crisis” on our hands and the political response will be to bail out parents who imprudently took out these loans. This move just helps inflate the higher ed bubble a bit more; a few colleges will benefit for a while, but the taxpayers will wind up with a larger bill in the end.

Senator Buckley Reflects on FERPA [National Review Online - Phi Beta Cons]

In today’s Wall Street Journal, we find this letter from former Senator James Buckley who was instrumental in drafting and passing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which was the subject of John J. Miller’s article on its unfortunate effects.


As the author of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Ferpa), I found John J. Miller’s “Pay Tuition, but Don’t Ask How the Young Scholar Is Doing” (Cross Country, Oct. 18) on its current application both illuminating and distressing—illuminating in his description of how the legislation has compromised the exercise of parental responsibilities, and distressing in what it tells us of the ways in which administrative interpretations can skewer a central purpose of an act of Congress.

One of Ferpa’s major objectives was to ensure that parents had access to school records relating to their children. In recognition of the fact that on reaching age 18 offspring acquire the rights of adults, the act specifically provides (as Mr. Miller points out) that parents have the right to view the grades of college students who remain their dependents for tax purposes. To suggest that parents may receive their 18-year-old children’s grades but cannot discuss their work with their teachers is absurd. Parents’ responsibilities and legitimate concerns do not come to a halt on a child’s 18th birthday.

James L. Buckley

Sharon, Conn.

A Sensational Story That Isn't a Surprise [National Review Online - Phi Beta Cons]

Kenneth Wainstein, the special investigator of UNC-Chapel Hill’s scandal surrounding “no-show” and “paper” classes, has issued his 131-page report.

There’s a lot in it. “No show” classes (no instruction, no attendance, with only final papers required and those graded by a non-faculty employee) were apparently the result of a sympathetic effort on the part of two people: Julian Nyang’oro, who headed the curriculum that became the African  and Afro-American Studies Department, and his assistant, Deborah Crowder. The classes were designed to help struggling students, and they went on for 18 years.

“Between 1993 and 2011, Crowder and Nyang’oro developed and ran a ’shadow curriculum’ within the AFAM Department that provided students with academically flawed instruction through the offering of ‘paper classes,’” says the report. More than 3,100 students took those classes.

Grades were high, and those grades were critical to some athletes who had to maintain a 2.0 average in order to remain eligible for athletics. Wainstein says that during that period, “paper class” grades gave 81 students the margin that enabled them to graduate.

The classes were clearly known to the football coaching staff. A smoking gun was found. In 2009, when Crowder was about to retire, two members of the academic counseling service warned all the football coaches, in a meeting, that “part of the solution of the past” was ending.

Wainstein reproduces a PowerPoint slide that said:

–They didn’t go to class

–They didn’t take notes, have to say awake

–They didn’t have to meet with professors

–They didn’t have to pay attention or necessarily engage with the material

“THESE NO LONGER EXIST!” said the slide.

At times Nyang’oro was “teaching” 300 students a year in “independent studies.” Yet only one dean even noticed. She told him to reduce the number, which he did.

“Despite the fact that these classes involved thousands of student and cooperation between Crowder and numerous University employees, the Chapel Hill administration never scrutinized AFAM’s operations or the academic integrity of their course offerings,“ Wainstein writes.

Much will be said and written about this report over the next few days. To me, that last sentence is the most important. The administration never “scrutinized AFAM’s operations or the academic integrity of their course offerings.“ So much for shared governance. Or for any governance at all.

You can read the report for yourself (thank you, Jenna Robinson) here.

NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN - English News at 21:01 (JST), October 23 [English News - NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN]

Papua New Guinea to set up anti-corruption hotline to tackle police brutality [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Papua New Guinea's prime minister Peter O'Neill has announced a hotline will be set up for people to report incidents of police brutality.

American Samoa tuna industry leaders raise concerns over Kiribati's reduction of US fishing access [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Tuna industry leaders in American Samoa say Kiribati's decision to reduce the fishing days it is offering the United States could be devastating for the local community.

Pioneering surgeon remembered in PNG [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Papua New Guinea is today remembering the pioneering neurosurgeon Dr William Kaptigau, who has died after a long battle with cancer.

Warning to Fiji parents about keeping kids safe near water [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Parents in Fiji are being warned they must supervise their children to prevent drowning.

Fewer cyclones in western Pacific forecast [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

We're coming up to cyclone season, so everyone is interested in what we can expect.

A Samoa and Pac nations threatened by US Tuna Treaty ructions [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Kiribati's decision to dramatically reduce the fishing days it offers the United States has put the future of American Samoa's tuna industry and the sustainability of one of the world's biggest fisheries in jeopardy, according to industry leaders.

Concern at TVNZ plan to outsource Maori and Pacific programs [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

The announcement that Television New Zealand is to outsource almost all it's Maori and Pacific programs has been greeted with concern from staff and politicians.

Crackdown on police brutality in Papua New Guinea [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Police in Papua New Guinea have a longheld reputation for brutality and corruption.

Notebook from Scott of the Antarctic's ill-fated expedition discovered 100 years later frozen in ice [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

A photographic notebook from Captain Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated Antarctic expedition has been discovered after a century trapped in ice.

PNG looking to impress on home soil in OFC Women's Nations Cup [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

The OFC Women's Nations Cup kicks off in Papua New Guinea on Saturday, with the host nation lining up against Tonga, Cook Islands and New Zealand.

Coach Ben Ryan says Fiji 7s squad worth more in sponsorship [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

After two dominant performances at the Oceania Sevens, and then round one of the World Sevens Series, the Fiji squad has gone back into camp to prepare for the next two rounds in Dubai and South Africa.

Fijians celebrate Diwali [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Hindus all over the world are celebrating Diwali.

PNG's new look Gerehu Market reopens for business [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Port Moresby's Gerehu Market is reopening after more than three years of reconstruction.

Deep sea deposits prompt rethink of Vanuatu's minerals policy [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

A national consultation has begun in Vanuatu on a draft Deep Sea Minerals Policy.

Pacific nations focus on early detection to combat TB [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

The 7th Tuberculosis Control Meeting of the Pacific Islands has wrapped up in Nadi, laying out a framework for tackling TB in the Pacific.

PNG think tank slams government handling of sovereign wealth fund [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Papua New Guinea's National Research Institute has raised serious concerns about the level of secrecy they says surrounds the creation of the country's Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Low-Power FM News: 18 More Stations Include Colleges, Cultural Groups [Radio Survivor]

The tally of new low-power FM construction permits climbed by another eighteen to 1422 this week. Here are some interesting stations in the group: Colleges and Universities: The University of Virginia in Charlottesville will launch student-run WTJX as sister to full-power WTJU. WTJX is already broadcasting as an online station. The Marshall University Graduate College […]

The post Low-Power FM News: 18 More Stations Include Colleges, Cultural Groups appeared first on Radio Survivor.

California requires all health plans to cover abortion [RedState]

abortion nutsWe knew this was eventually going to happen. And if it was going to happen it would more likely than not happen in California (known as the Cereal State because it is populated by fruits, flakes, and nuts). And now it has. California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) Director Michelle Rouillard has ordered all insurance plans in the state to cover surgical abortion for any and all reasons. For instance:

Blue Cross must amend current health plan documents to remove discriminatory coverage exclusions and limitations. These limitations or exclusions include, but are not limited to, any exclusion of coverage for “voluntary” or “elective” abortions and/or any limitation of coverage to only “therapeutic” or “medically necessary” abortions. Blue Cross may, consistent with the law, omit any mention of coverage for abortion services in health plan documents, as abortion is a basic health care service.

It makes no sense to allow a employer to opt out of some contraceptive requirements for reasons of conscience yet require coverage of abortion. In an even more bizarre twist, the California letter allows employers to NOT cover Plan B and similar abortifacients  but requires coverage of partial birth abortion. Via The Federalist:

Several other California churches have received similar notices from their insurers, and others will follow. While California (like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS) exempts churches from its contraceptive mandate, there is no exception to this bureaucratic abortion mandate. This leaves California churches in the illogical and impossible position of being free to exclude contraceptives from their health plan for reasons of religious conscience but required to provide their employees with abortion coverage.

This California mandate is in blatant violation of federal law that specifically prohibits California from discriminating against health care plans on the basis that they do not cover abortion. Alliance Defending Freedom and Life Legal Defense Foundation have filed administrative complaints with the HHS Office of Civil Rights (which oversees this federal law) on behalf of individual employees and seven California churches forced into abortion coverage in violation of their conscience.

The Los Angeles times, in its op-ed pages, crows:

In upholding the law against a constitutional challenge from Catholic Charities in 2004,the state Supreme Court noted that the law’s definition of a “religious employer” entitled to an exemption is specific. The employer must be a nonprofit entity whose purpose is the “inculcation of religious values,” and which “primarily employs”and primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets. Not even Catholic Charities qualifies for an exemption under those rules. Nor would Loyola Marymount or Santa Clara University.

In light of the Hobby Lobby decision, this directive probably cannot stand once it hits the federal courts. The Supreme Court has upheld a much more expansive definition of religious freedom than has the California Supreme Court and, as insurance has become a federally regulated enterprise, rather than a state endeavor there is no reason to think that Catholic universities could be forced to pay for surgical abortions.

As abortion becomes a moral evil to more and more Americans and Planned Parenthood and the pro-infanticide Wendy Davis wing of the Democrat party becomes more desperate these kinds of decisions by entrenched ideologues will become more and more common. It is the act of a wounded predator striking out at everything around it.

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Canada Comes Face to Face with ISIS and Radical Islamic Jihadist Terror [RedState]


It was only a matter of time, but now Canada, a strong ally of the United States and freedom, has been struck with the brutal reality of radical Islamic jihadist terror.

This week not one but two separate terrorist attacks on Canada’s military personnel have ravished the country.

First on Monday, a radical Islamist mowed down two uniformed Canadian soldiers with his car, killing one and injuring the other.

Then yesterday, terror struck the capital of Canada as an armed terrorist killed a soldier standing guard at their equivalent of the tomb of the unknown soldier and then stormed the parliament building in Ottowa, Canada, unleashing a blitzkrieg of gunshots and terror in Canada’s seat of government.

Almost everyone immediately suspected this was the work of terrorists.  It didn’t take long before the news reports began to confirm this suspicion.

The gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, is a recent convert to radical Islam.  His radicalism was so apparent that he was reportedly kicked out of his own mosque.  Canada, alerted to his radicalism, had placed him on a travel watch list and even revoked his passportReports indicate that he has been speaking with friends about his desire to travel to the Middle East and was an associate of a known (and wanted) jihadist who traveled to Syria to join ISIS.  As Fox News and other have reported, “Zehaf-Bibeau was blocked from traveling by government officials who have been monitoring extremists to prevent them from joining the Islamic State.”

Then the bombshell.  An ISIS-linked social media account posted a picture that “police sources confirmed” is in fact Zahaf-Bibeau masked and holding a shotgun, just minutes after he was identified as the gunman.

The fact that ISIS knew more about him than anyone in the media is a strong indication that this terrorist attack is at the very least inspired, if not directed, by ISIS.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not mince words when he addressed his country last night.  He said that “for the second time this week there has been a brutal and violent attack on our soil.”  He was not afraid to call that attacker what he is, a “terrorist,” and reminded his nation that another soldier had been “killed earlier this week by an ISIL-inspired terrorist.”

His resolve was firm:

[T]his week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.

We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and our institutions of governance are, by their very nature, attacks on our country.

On our values, on our society, on us, Canadians, as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all.

But let there be no misunderstanding.

We will not be intimidated.

Canada will never be intimidated.

And he had a message for the terrorists that this heinous attack “will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores.”

That’s how a strong leader should respond in the face of radical Islamic terrorism.

President Obama’s response by contrast was tepid at best.  He wasn’t sure whether to call this an act “of senseless violence or terrorism.”  Even worse, in response to a separate terrorist attack that killed an American baby yesterday, the Obama Administration’s State Department urged “all sides to exercise restraint and maintain calm.”  A Hamas terrorist plowed his car through a crowd injuring eight and killing an American baby in Jerusalem, in much the same way that an ISIS-affiliated terrorist drove down two soldiers in Canada earlier this week, and our response is “restraint” and “calm.”

It’s a stunning contrast.  Thirteen years after America awoke to the reality of radical Islamic jihad, we’ve fallen back asleep.  Will Canada now emerge as an international leader in the fight against terrorism?

I still hope and pray that Americans will reawaken and demand true leadership against Islamic terrorism.  The very future of our nation as a free people depends on it.

Matthew Clark is Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and three boys in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.

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Out of Ignorance or Out of Spite? [RedState]

On more than one occasion in the last couple of weeks (the most vital couple of weeks as we near election day), President Barack Obama has said things that are, simply put, strategically dumb.

It’s more than likely that Republicans, barring a tremendous disaster, will take a majority in the Senate this year. The Democrats, even House ones, are struggling in key races, and groups are pulling money out of states now. Some races they had faith in are now effectively over. But, in other races, Democrats are pulling ahead and could take a victory.

But the president, in speeches and comments made publicly, has tied himself to them in a time when they are running as hard as they can away from him. Even biased news media can’t escape from reporting on the obvious – Obama is unpopular and is a burden on embattled and emerging Democratic candidates. Yet, he goes out and says that, while he is not on the ballot, his policies are. He doubled down later by acknowledging they can’t be seen with him, but they would still vote with him. And no one in his inner circle seems competent enough to tell him to be quiet.

At some point, the Democrats will need to ask themselves whether it’s out of political naivety or out of bitter spite. The former is certainly likely, given Obama’s utter lack of experience in the real and political world. Here’s a man who went from community organizer to state legislator to U.S. Senator to President in almost record time. He is a man filled with contradictions in rhetoric and a politician who cannot seem to make the right choice and ends up fumbling every other decision he makes.

On the other hand, there is certainly no lack of evident spite for his enemies. At every turn, it is someone else’s fault. The GOP are literally called enemies by him. Allies have been thrown under the bus if they speak out of turn. If it is a threat to Obama, it gets steamrolled by him and his team. He would certainly like to do that with Hillary Clinton, but a protective and moved-on media will prevent that.

If Obama believes his legacy is being threatened, he strikes back. That could include now his own party. Those who make it a point to run away from him (or, in some cases, against him) will be seen as those tarnishing his legacy. A betrayal from his own party would make him (somewhat understandably) livid, and he might take the necessary measures to strike back without appearing to.

But, hey, it’s only a theory, and one that rests on the idea that Obama has admitted or can admit he was wrong.


*Don’t forget to sign-up for RedState’s 2014 Mid-Term Elections Day After Conference Call on Wednesday, November 5th from 9-10am eastern.  You will hear one of a kind analysis, insights, and Q&A.  Register here and we’ll call you on the 5th.

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White House pretends that not trusting them on immigration is crazy-talk. [RedState]

There are times when I don’t really get this administration’s messaging strategy.

The White House said Wednesday it was “crazy” to attempt to divine the president’s post-election plans for an immigration executive order based on a procurement request issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

“I mean, this is crazy,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, adding he would caution reporters against “making assumptions” based on the “procurement of green paper.”

The proposal, unveiled earlier this week by Breitbart News, asks potential contractors to prepare for the possibility of producing up to 34 million green cards and work permits over the next five years.

I mean, let’s game this out.

The administration has a basic problem, here: to wit, it’s publicly committed – and more importantly, linked to – a particular and specific stance on immigration issues*. Said stance is more or less anathema to a section of the population that plans to vote this November; and said population is clumped in areas where said anathema will have a disproportionate impact. On the other hand, abandoning that stance will be anathema to another section of the population; and that section has already made it clear that they are not going to simply supinely accept the status quo. In short: one way or the other, this administration is going to make somebody mad over immigration.

So, what to do?  Well, the basic ethical position, of course – also the practical one (that happens a lot, actually) – is to decide what your principles are and try to stick to them. So if the administration really does believe in changing immigration policy, then it should go ahead and do that.  Even if it does hurt the Democrats in the short run, in the longer run it’d show that the Obama administration has moral courage**.

Of course, for that to happen the administration would actually have to have moral courage, which is where the whole thing breaks down.  So instead we have this situation where Obama’s people are nervously blustering about how they’re not going to start issuing green cards en masse after the election.  This is convincing to no-one: because the truth is that the Obama administration will absolutely start doing it if the administration thinks that it can get away with it.  Folks voting in elections featuring Red state Democrats will focus on the bolded part, and vote accordingly; while folks favoring looser immigration rules will focus on the italicized part, assume that another excuse will be coming down the pike, and likewise vote accordingly.  And in both cases, ‘vote accordingly’ will not mean ‘vote in a manner pleasing to Democrats.’

Shorter Moe Lane: try to please everybody, and you end up pleasing nobody.  Personally, I learned this in grammar school: why didn’t the people running the Democratic party?

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: My colleague and friend Leon Wolf has a somewhat different take on this.  Although he and I certainly share a certain scorn towards this administration…

PPS: Don’t forget to sign-up for RedState’s 2014 Mid-Term Elections Day After Conference Call onWednesday, November 5th from 9-10am eastern.  You will hear one of a kind analysis, insights, and Q&A.  Register here and we’ll call you on the 5th.

*Full disclosure: it’s accurate to say that I am in fact ‘a pro-amnesty shill.’

**This reminds me of our current situation with regard to national security and foreign affairs.  The GOP is right back to being decidedly considered more trustworthy than the Democrats on both issues, which would startle the average political consultant back in, say, 2006.  Republicans stuck to their guns on the GWOT, accepted the hits to the caucus, and refused to trim their sails to fit the fad of the day; while Democrats more or less abandoned their burnished antiwar credentials as soon as they could. And guess what?  Turns out that voters kind of don’t like politicians that can’t be counted on.  Go figure, huh?

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Moral Equivalence [RedState]

I noted last night that we do not hear of new converts to Christianity going on to kill, behead, or blow themselves up.

More often, though, we are finding in the relativistic, amoral modern West that new recruits to Islam are doing just that. A convert in Oklahoma beheaded a lady. In the last two days various new converts to Islam in Canada have engaged in terrorist attacks. In fact, at an alarming rate young Muslims and new recruits in Canada are desperate to go to terror training camps.

Young Christians off to Vacation Bible School do not go off and declare war on any societies. Or so I thought.

Naturally, leftists were quick to throw out the names of Christians who had murdered. They missed the “new converts” part. We’re all sinners and can fall to sin. But where are the new converts blowing themselves up?

I have an answer now from a self-described Christian who wrote a book called Jesus is Better Than You Imagined. Jonathan Merritt is one of the loudest voices on the Christian left in favor of gay marriage and the church embracing homosexuality. And he also thinks Christians do go out and kill like new Muslim converts. His tweet:

Again, the point I made was pretty clear. This is what he was responding to:

I did not know new Christian converts get drones to blow people up.

It is important to note that Jonathan is a leading voice on the Christian left. And he believes Christians use drones to kill other people in moral equivalence to new Islamic converts decapitating people and gunning down soldiers at War Memorials.

I am sure Barack Obama is in the White House today declaring his air strikes on ISIS part of Jesus’s plan.

The post Moral Equivalence appeared first on RedState.

The White House Gaslights America on Immigration [RedState]

Josh EarnestThe evidence by this point has become pretty overwhelming that the White House plans some sort of mass amnesty via executive fiat immediately after the elections have concluded. Disgruntled Democrat Hispanics have openly declared that Obama has promised them as much, and earlier this week, Breitbart News revealed that the Administration was placing a supply order that would enable them to issue 34 million green cards, which would represent either a drastic and unprecedented increase in work visa issuage or (more likely) a one-time massive order for them pursuant to an Obama executive order.

In the face of this mounting and very public evidence, the press yesterday tried to get Obama to admit to the obvious – which is that he is planning something having to do with immigration in very short order. Rather than admit that some manner of plans in the works but denying that the election has anything to do with the timing, the White House instead decided to take the approach of gaslighting all of America with respect to their immigration plans:

The gall of these people is really something to behold, even after having witnessed six full years of it. I think Major Garrett speaks for all of America in this particular clip when he says to Josh Earnest, who was trying to pretend that everyone asking the question was insane, “Look, don’t be absurd with us.”

Being absurd with America is all the Obama administration has left. And now, knowing that they will never face election again, and knowing that their best chance at a political turnaround is to try to force the Republicans to attempt impeachment proceedings, expect a whole lot more of being absurd with America from this administration over the next two years.

The post The White House Gaslights America on Immigration appeared first on RedState.

Terrorist Attack in Canada: How the Internet Plays a Role in Self-Radicalization [RedState]

Download Podcast | iTunes | Podcast Feed

On today’s edition of Coffee and Markets, Brad Jackson is joined by David Inserra to discuss yesterday’s terror attack in Canada, the nature of lone wolf threats and how the internet and social media has made it easier for individuals to self-radicalize.

Related Links:

Attack in Ottawa: Facts Remain Scarce But Reality of Security Threat Remains
Canada’s PM says shooting rampage was terrorism
Canadian shooting: What we know — and don’t know — a day later
David Inserra at the Heritage Foundation

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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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California Instructs Churches To Bow Before The Golden Idol of State Power. [RedState]

You Will Support Abortion or Lose Your Health Insurance

You Will Support Abortion or Lose Your Health Insurance

4Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 5That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:Daniel 3:3-4

If you had any doubts over whether the State of California respected the diverse and multi-faceted religious beliefs these can now be dispelled. Agents of His Most-Lambent Auraness, Governor Gerry Brown have spoken. And, you, yes you Roman Catholic Church, will pay for elective Shop-Vac dismemberment abortions. They will be offered as basic health services on all health insurance plans in the State of California. Or as Kaiser Permanente explains to the clergy, here are the religious principles the State of California will now tolerate if you expect to have health insurance.

This letter made clear that the DMHC considered health care services related to the termination of pregnancies – whether or not a voluntary termination – a medically necessary basic health care service for which all health care services plans must provide coverage under the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act.

The decent and committed defenders of decency at The Life Legal Defense Foundation filed immediate protest to the US Department of Health and Human Services over the California Department of Managed Health Care’s blatantly targeted anti-Christian bigotry. As you can read below, they were touching in their sincere naiveté. .

“Forcing a church to be party to elective abortion is one of the utmost-imaginable assaults on our most fundamental American freedoms,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “California is flagrantly violating the federal law that protects employers from being forced into having abortion in their health insurance plans. No state can blatantly ignore federal law and think that it should continue to receive taxpayer money.”

Why you silly Christians think your point of view matters in a state where a man like Jerry Brown can win elections by double-digit margins is beyond me. You are obsolete, Hannibal will feed babies to his fiery Ba’al. Yes, the DHMC whored itself out to the abortion lobby and the move is a pure power play. I’m sure the LLDF is correct in citing many illegalities involved in this gestapo tactic. It doesn’t matter. The guiding principal of the Federal Government under Barack Obama is to make ideological use of laws rather than to impartially enforce them.

The American People were stupid enough to elect Barack Obama. Therefore their religious freedoms are a quaint and very pretty illusion. Those freedoms will remain suspended until an awful lot of elected Democrats lose their jobs at the voting booth over this issue. After all, political defeat is the only force known to mankind that will alter the debased moral perspective of a Leftist.

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A Denuded Victory [RedState]

beaver-crushed-by-his-own-treeIf the polls are to be believed, the Republicans are more likely than not going to regain control of the Senate next year. Probably, they will increase their margin of control in the House. These are good things, I guess, in the sense that all elected Democrats are pro-abortion and removing one from power is always a net positive. So a week from Tuesday I will go out and cast my vote for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Lamar Alexander48%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard48% and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Marsha Blackburn73%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard73% and will do so without much complaint.

But that’s an idiomatic reason that appeals only to me and the relatively small slice of America who thinks like I do on that issue. With respect to the vast majority of the rest of America, I’m at a loss as to what benefit they are supposed to receive from a Republican victory on election day.

This Republican failure of messaging is astonishing and dismaying to me. Democrats, and President Obama in particular, are unpopular and the American public dislikes almost everything they have done since taking power. The Republicans seem content to rest on the sizzling platform of not being the Democrats and ride this to a marginal victory. The one actual policy position they are unified on – repealing Obamacare – remains implausible while Obama himself occupies the White House.

Republicans could be poised to make even bigger gains a week from Tuesday, if they could actually articulate a positive vision about something – anything – that America could be excited about. But instead, they are so scared to make a mistake by sticking their neck out on anything that they are hiding in foxholes and hoping the wave carries them over the top into control – however narrow – presumably so the lobbyists will once again view them with more favor.

Republicans are hoping for a victory on par with 1994 and they may get one that is close, at least in terms of numbers of seats won. But this victory, if it is achieved, will almost definitely be comparatively hollow, and it is their own fault. In 1994, the country was likewise sick of the Democrats, but the Republicans didn’t just run on being sick of the Democrats. They ran on a positive platform of easily articulable reforms that enjoyed broad bipartisan support. When they rode to power they had a convincing reason for Bill Clinton to work with them, because it was clear that the country had voted at least in some measure in support of what the Republicans stood for (other than not being allies of Bill Clinton). The Republicans, if they win, will have no similar claim to popular referendum. The one issue on which they have such a claim – Obamacare – Obama will continue to veto any changes to until he leaves office.

The Republicans have not run aggressively or visibly on any visible package of reform that will fix the structural problems that beset this country. And if they attempt to enact them after taking office, Obama will be able to effectively resist them, with the aid of the press, as a bait and switch or as “surprise extremism.”

As a result, the bottom line we can expect from a Republican victory on election day in terms of actual, measurable results can best be described as “very little.” Definitely a new class of beneficiary will be the recipient of Congress’ crony capitalism. But otherwise it is not reasonable to expect that much will change. Which, frankly, is probably what McConnell and Boehner are most comfortable with.

I am not trying to convince anyone to not vote for Republican candidates on election day. As I said, they’re almost always better than the alternative. But it’s long past time for us to realize that the leaders we have right now are not very good at governing, messaging, or taking measurable steps to improve America. And until they are replaced, through one mechanism or another, this cycle seems likely to replace itself.

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With 12 Days to Go, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Wants Republican Leaders to Oppose Religious Liberty [RedState]

Georgia is facing a very close election. Public polling has the Democrat leading the Republican for the U.S. Senate seat. The Republican Governor is neck and neck with Jimmy Carter’s grandson. And Georgia’s Chamber of Commerce today wants Georgia’s Republicans to publicly stand against Hobby Lobby, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and religious liberty in general. Many of the state’s Republican leaders will do exactly that because they are so beholden to the Georgia Chamber.

It would be a very good time, with twelve days left, for conservatives to get Republicans in Georgia on the record to find out if they support religious liberty. Georgians have twelve days to get public pledges from their legislative and executive leaders on whether they would protect Georgia’s small businesses from persecution. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce wants to make Christians care in Georgia.

Georgia’s Republicans need every vote they can muster, but conservatives need some immediate assurances the GOP will support religious liberty protections in return for a vote.

As you know, the federal government has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It is that very act that saved Hobby Lobby from being forced to pay for abortions. It was that very act that saved Catholic charities from having to violate their religious faith in the name of Obamacare.

But that law only applies to the federal government. A number of states have state-level equivalents. Georgia is not one of them. More troubling, Georgia is trending toward the left and has no religious liberty protections in place for the millions of Georgians who run small businesses based on their Christian values.

In states around the country, it is the state level religious liberty legislation that has protected committed Christians, Muslims, Jews, and others from being forced to provide goods and services against their will in gay marriage ceremonies.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce is opposed to faithful people being able to consciously object. Why? Because the Chamber is scared of the gay mafia that threatens boycotts. The businesses that fund the Chamber are scared of boycotts and people not liking them. Delta, Coca-Cola, SunTrust Bank, Georgia Power, Home Depot and other major corporations joined with Georgia’s Chamber of Commerce last year to oppose religious liberty protections.

The Chamber of Commerce is now drawing a line in the sand claiming it will oppose religious liberty protections this coming year.

With Georgia trending against the GOP, the time is short to put in place a state level Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Protecting religious liberty is broadly popular across racial demographics in Georgia. It is just the well off, rich, white business leaders in Georgia who are scared of being disliked by popular culture who insist on stopping this legislation.

More importantly, there are just twelve days left to ask people on the ballot: Do you stand for religious liberty or with the Chamber of Commerce? You should demand an answer now and get them on the record — then hold them to their public statements.

And if Georgia’s Republicans will not now, before the election, stand with Christians and faith based small businesses to protect their liberties, the next question that should be asked is why should any of us stand with them.

The post With 12 Days to Go, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Wants Republican Leaders to Oppose Religious Liberty appeared first on RedState.

Tech at Night: Inside the Beltway they blame anyone but government [RedState]

Tech at Night

All too often it’s the case that government acts, and forces corporations to behave in a certain way, but then we go and blame the corporations instead of the government that’s making them do it.

Naturally the folks inside the beltway reacted this way tonight during the World Series game. Blame anyone but government.

Twitchy did a good job of capturing the anger at Comcast over the civil defense test during the World Series game. But note that these tests are, in fact, a government mandate. Stations receive tests and they act on those tests.

But DC folks blame anyone but themselves. Naturally.

Even as a broad consensus is growing among tech experts and anyone who’s not a left-wing ideologue basically, FCC is stalling on mergers. Stall, stall, stall. It’s the Keystone Pipeline playbook.

FCC could greatly harm competition in streaming video.

This is why we need a strong NSA.

I remember when I used to get told that Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Anna Eshoo9%House Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard9% was a sensible Democrat moderate. They don’t exist. She’s falling hard to the left on regulating the Internet using 1930s phone rules.

FCC “warns” politicians over robocalls. COINCIDENTALLY FCC only has a history of going after Republicans on this. Gee what a surprise.

Under Barack Obama the patent system has gone full cronyist and Google is jumping in head-first.

At least Orrin Hatch wants to control regulation and the trial lawyers Democrats love with respect to patents.

Mike Rogers (the Congressman, not the NSA chief) wants Edward Snowden charged with murder.

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It’s Like a Gang Land Initiation [RedState]

The man who beheaded that lady in Oklahoma is a recent convert to Islam.

The Canadians suffered a terrorist attack today by a recent convert to Islam. The day before they had another attack by a recent convert of Islam.

I don’t remember ever hearing about a recent convert to Christianity shooting up a government building, killing a soldier, or beheading anyone.

But if you read most press reports, Christians are ruthless bigots out to control women’s bodies and don’t you dare judge Islam by the acts of a bunch of recent converts, the popularity of ISIS among muslims in Europe, the Middle Eastern states that deny women basic rights and kill gays and fund foot soldiers in terror to blow up embassies, shoot up night clubs, and fly planes into tall buildings.

Nope. Christians are a problem and you are bigot for daring to connect the dots on Islam. Just ask Ben Affleck, bigot.

In Rotherham, England, over a period of years muslim men routinely gang raped young, white English girls. The local authorities were so fearful of stirring up ethnic tension that they turned a blind eye to it.

The authorities and media were so held hostage to political correctness they could not confront the problem. To this day many of the major press reports have bypassed any talk of it being muslim men.

I believe here too, both Republican and Democrat leaders and the national press corps are so held hostage to political correctness they have Stockholm Syndrome with it. They will not confront the truth.

Canadians have no such problem. They are openly calling these terrorist acts. They are pointing out that it is recent converts to Islam who are doing this. And anyone who knows geography knows the largest unsecured border on earth is between the United States and Canada.

We don’t need to fortify that border, thankfully. We have grown ups in Canada who recognize the problem. Nathan Cirillo died today because of an Islam radical terrorist. A western society devoid of any meaning except hedonism is going to see more young men and women flirt with things that give them a meaning. People are more than an accident in the universe. They are created in the image of a living God. The natural impulse of man is to connect with that voice that calls to him that he is more than an animal and is specially created. Some suppress it, some are hostile to it, but many go in search of it knowing it is there.

The west has become so hostile to God and His Son that many western elites would rather spend their time calling Christians bigots than deal with the threat that is Islam in areas where the Islamic population has grown substantively enough to impact local cultures. We don’t have that problem in the United States because the number of muslims is so low.

The truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ died on a cross and those who convert to a saving faith in him have no need to go out and behead, kill, or blow themselves up.

Mohammed died in the arms of one of his many wives and for some reason a whole lot of Western converts to the religion he founded seem pretty intent on making other die less comfortably. It’s like a gang land initiation.

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Polling Against the President and Other Trends [RedState]

I spent a great deal of time on all the national polling trends against the President. More and more I’m beginning to believe something is off with a lot of state level polling.

The post Polling Against the President and Other Trends appeared first on RedState.

A vote for Democrats is ‘A Vote for President Obama.’ [RedState]

Variants of this are going up in six states:

Courtesy of Freedom Partners Action Fund, this is part of a $6.5 million ad buy hitting Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire (online only), and North Carolina. Which is good news, but I have to ask something: how, in God’s name, can anybody look at this and not see it as speech? Just how ignorant do the professional scaremongers of the Democratic party think that we are that we might not recognize that the ability to say This politician is a fool; do not vote for fools is the bedrock of the First Amendment? What are they scared of?

And don’t say ‘Charles and David Koch.’  We let the Left off too easy when we pretend that they really are scared of those two particular men*. And it’s certainly not ‘corporations,’ either.  Democratic and progressive groups are never shy about letting corporations say things that are pleasing to Democrats and progressives.  I don’t even think that it’s speech itself: goodness knows that the Left never shuts up.  Perhaps they’re just afraid that they’re wrong, and this is simply the Activist Left’s way of shouting down the little whispers of doubt inside their own heads? – It’s a theory that does at least have the virtue of simplicity.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Freedom Partners Action Fund, by the way, registered as a Super PAC specifically so that it can endorse candidates by name. …And it really does amaze me that we have to have this level of byzantine regulatory state simply to say This politician is a fool.  Vote instead for this politician, who is not a fool. What part of Congress shall make no law was unclear?

PPS: *Don’t forget to sign-up for RedState’s 2014 Mid-Term Elections Day After Conference Call onWednesday, November 5th from 9-10am eastern.  You will hear one of a kind analysis, insights, and Q&A.  Register here and we’ll call you on the 5th.

*Who are, by the way, currently funding Sixth Amendment rights: “The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers announced this week that it’s getting a “major grant” from Koch Industries Inc. to support the group’s indigent defense training programs and to study how states can do a better job of delivering legal services to the poor.”  To quote someone or other, it’s all part of their insidious libertarian conspiracy to take over the world and then leave you the heck alone.

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Fact Check On Fact Check Of Dana Loesch’s New Book ‘Hands Off My Gun’ [RedState]

Dana Loesch’s new book “Hands Off My Gun” went on sale yesterday, and naturally the liberal media immediately want it quashed and destroyed. Loesch is a favorite target for these attack groups, not least because she is such a fierce advocate for gun rights and protecting the constitutional freedoms guaranteed to Americans.

One such outlet, Media Matters for America, posted a supposed fact check of some of the Founding Fathers quotes that are included in the book. Their claim is that Dana “botches” the quotes, because as you know, girls are stupid. But the assertion requires a little more perusal, if for nothing more than satisfaction of curiosity.

Here is how the article begins. And remember, “Botches” is in the title of the post.

Conservative commentator Dana Loesch’s new book Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America includes spurious quotes from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers, despite the fact that it purports to teach readers about “the history of the Second Amendment.”

Spurious, they say. Botched, they say. That is quite the pair of charges. I say “pair” because one implies malicious intent, while the other implies ignorance or stupidity. At Media Matters, they don’t like to leave any pejorative phrase unturned.

Here is an example of the “spurious” and/or “botched” quote from George Washington.

“A free people ought to be armed.” – George Washington

And the quote as posted by Media Matters:

“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”

MMFA reasons that Washington was advocating merely for an armed militia, not for the free people to be armed. Presumably, this is because the words discipline and uniform appear, which everyone knows are very militia-y things to say. They rely on a PBS website posting of a transcript, and a Politifact expert who helped them “translate that into 21st-century-ese.”

Dana Loesch’s book, which “went through two legal reads” for accuracy, sources the quote to Buckeye Firearms, where their page of Founding Fathers’ quotes included the version in Loesch’s book.

A third version also appears online. It, like the one MMFA used, is from a media transcription, albeit a teensy bit more contemporary than PBS. It’s from the newspaper Massachusetts Spy, which article was published on January 21, 1790. It reads: “A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined. And to be independent of others.” The contemporary Spy reports that Washington’s context was strengthening America to be “self-sufficient domestically.”

It’s available from the Archiving Early America website, which was founded by archivist for the Keigwin and Mathews Collection of 18th century historical documents of early America Don Vitale, former senior lecturer on journalism at USC.

Botched, they say. Spurious, they proclaim. Poppycock, says reasoning.

The analysis of the language is apparently subjective, as two different experts offer two different explanations. As proof that Washington didn’t believe in the rights of citizens to own guns, MMFA has offered nothing at all. Loesch’s quote withstands scrutiny.

Another quote MMFA says was similarly wrong is from Thomas Jefferson.

“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” — Thomas Jefferson (quoting eighteenth-century criminologist Cesare Beccaria)

But of course, after they present Loesch’s version, they offer no other. Because there is no other. That’s just the quote. That he wrote. With his fingers.

Botched, they say. Spurious, they claim. Accurate, they mean.

They claim “Loesch presents this quote as if Jefferson were quoting Beccaria approvingly, but that is not necessarily the case.” WHOA! Not necessarily what he meant? Well call the Massachusetts Spy! We have a breaking story here! Headine “Nuh-uh, probably!”

Speaking of quoting someone incorrectly, here is MMFA’s reasoning.

Jefferson copied the Beccaria quote in Italian into his legal commonplace book, a “journal or notebook in which a student, reader, or writer compiles quotations, poems, letters, and information, along with the compiler’s notes and reactions.” Jefferson notated the copied passage with the words, “False idee di utilità,” which is a summation of the idea contained in the quotation and is not evidence of what “our Constitution’s drafters intended when they drafted and approved the Second Amendment.”

In fact, Jefferson’s notation doesn’t mean what MMFA says it does at all. Jefferson notes the passage with the phrase “False idee di utilità” in his commonplace book. The passage quoted and marked with that notation, which means “false ideas of utility”, includes examples of such false ideas.

Laws that are examples of a false idea of utility “are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent.” Well gosh, what can that mean? Luckily, it goes on:

“Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance?”

Another example of a false idea of utility was legislators “who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned.” Does that sound like something Thomas Jefferson would do? Sacrifice liberty in pursuit of safety? His notation was blatantly drawing attention to these transgressions against liberty as being “false ideas,” and that includes the false idea that disarming the law-abiding citizens serves any useful purpose. To put it another way, Media Matters is dead wrong, both in their understanding of the quote, and their understanding of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s explanation of the quote.

In short, they have misquoted those correcting a common misattribution of a quote which was correctly quoted and attributed by “Hands Off My Gun”. Now that is a dandy of a trick.

The next is another in the ongoing absurdness of gun control nuts. This comes up over and over and over, and it is a blatantly silly premise. Here is the quote.

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of other countries, whose leaders are afraid to trust them with arms.” — James Madison

.. and the quote as Media Matters posts it:

Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

And their reasoning? They call it a “mangled summation of The Federalist Papers #46 that distorts Madison’s meaning.” Again, it’s “but but but that’s not what he meant.” Emanations and penumbras and all that. They then add the gun control trope that it was clear Madison was “talking about state militias being a check on government tyranny, not privately held arms.” As if Media Matters would be totally fine with a bunch of armed Texans walking around as long as they called some random guy “sir” while they did it.

In fact, what is actually clear is that Madison is saying that armed people as a check on government tyranny is an awesome idea. He says “besides the advantage of being armed” .. BESIDES that … “the existence of subordinate governments” etc etc. Let me translate that from Liberaleses: Not only is it super badass that we can own our own guns, but also we get to have big old gun-owning super clubs that are practically mini-me governments so the big britches boys in DC can’t boss us around.”

You know what else Madison said?

“A Government resting on a minority, is an aristocracy not a Republic, and could not be safe with a numerical & physical force against it, without a standing Army, and enslaved press, and a disarmed populace.”

Oh yeah, he hated private guns. Great point.

Botched, they sneer. Spurious, they whine. Completely supported by facts, say facts.

Next up is this quote by Patrick Henry:
“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined… The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.” –Patrick Henry

And the Media Matters version:

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined… May we not discipline and arm them, as well as Congress, if the power be concurrent? So that our militia shall have two sets of arms, double sets of regimentals, and thus, at a very great cost, we shall be doubly armed. The great object is, that every man be armed. But can the people afford to pay for double sets of arms, Every one Who is able may have a gun. But we have learned, by experience, that, necessary as it is to have arms, and though our Assembly has, by a succession of laws for many years, endeavored to have the militia completely armed, it is still far from being the case.”

Once more unto the trope, dear friends. Their reasoning, again, is “Henry was actually talking about ensuring that members of the militia were adequately armed, not the general public.”

Let’s examine their text. “May we not discipline and arm them, as well as Congress, if the power be concurrent? So that our militia shall have two sets of arms, double sets of regimentals, and thus, at a very great cost, we shall be doubly armed. The great object is, that every man be armed.”

I offer you this comparison: “We already have a health care system. But may we not create Obamacare, in addition to the private sector, if both have equal footing? So that our citizens may have two sets of protections and thus, at very great cost, we shall be doubly sure no one falls through the cracks? The great object is that every person be covered.”

The object is that every man be armed. In most of the documents linked by MMFA, it was taken for granted that where one heard militia, one heard “every able-bodied adult white male who is a citizen”. And doubly-armed obviously refers to the idea that the provision of those weapons would be a financial burden both of the Federal government and of the organized state militias, so that every man should have a gun. The gun controllers confuse methodology with intent. They presume the intent was an organized army, and the methodology was arming citizens as a militia. It is clear from volumes of context that the reverse is true. The intent was that every man be armed, the method was through the militias and the army.

Furthermore, MMFA cites a historian, who says that over the years the quote was assembled from two different speeches through the judicious use of the ellipses. Links to the speeches are provided. Here is a full excerpt from one of them.

“The honorable gentleman who presides told us that, to prevent abuses in our government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical, no longer a democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?”

This is part of a broad argument against centralized power made by Patrick Henry at the Virginia Ratifying Convention. It refers, likewise broadly, to the power of the individual states but also to the power of individual citizens. “How different from the sentiments of freemen, that a contemptible minority can prevent the good of the majority,” he argues. The entire philosophical basis of his days of speech-making is abundantly, overtly clear: that the tyranny of government is inevitable, that it must be prepared against, and that such preparation necessarily means empowered citizens with arms speaking as force. This is the most elementary and clearly stated case for the Second Amendment as a bulwark against the terror of a dictatorial, centralized federal government as can possibly be made. Literally, arm the people so they can shoot back if the government gets a wild hair. It could not be more clear.

And at long last we come to Thomas Paine. Here is the quote from “Hands Off My Gun”:

“Arms… discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property… Horrid mischief would ensue were [the law-abiding] deprived the use of them.” –Thomas Paine

.. and here it is from Media Matters:

“… arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them …”

This is a quote about armed nations according to Media Matters. In it, Thomas Paine makes the following reasonable argument: If no nations had guns, then all nations would equally not have guns. But since nations will have guns, nations are only equal that likewise have them. Paine is specifically referring to arms. To guns. Now in the first case, that argument as a philosophical point could not be more obviously or easily applicable to individuals as well as nations. Eg: If nobody had guns, everyone would equally not have guns. But since some criminals will have guns, law-abiding citizens are only equal who likewise have guns. Pretty simple.

But there is, of course, more. The section heading of the work where Thomas Paine wrote this is, indeed “Thoughts On Defensive War.” And it begins thus:

Could the peaceable principle of the Quakers be universally established, arms and the art of war would be wholly extirpated: But we live not in a world of angels. The reign of Satan is not ended; neither are we to expect to be defended by miracles. The pillar of the cloud existed only in the wilderness. In the nonage of the Israelites. It protected them in their retreat from Pharaoh, while they were destitute of the natural means of defence, for they brought no arms from Egypt; but it neither fought their battles nor shielded them from dangers afterwards. I am thus far a Quaker, that I would gladly agree with all the world to lay aside the use of arms, and settle matters by negotiation; but unless the whole will, the matter ends, and I take up my musket and thank heaven he has put it in my power.

“I take up my musket and thank heaven he has put it in my power.” I, he says. My, he adds. You see, above we used the defense of a nation to justify the defense of a man. But in full work, it is clear Paine means precisely the opposite.

“That which allures the Highwayman has allured the ministry under a gentler name.” The purpose of the metaphor is to use what is supposed to be commonly understood as self-evidently true: that man would defend himself against a robber. He is justifying the use of arms by the nation in the terms that would be most obvious to his contemporaries. If a man can hold a weapon in defense of himself, therefore cannot a nation bear arms the same? “In the barbarous ages of the world, men in general had no liberty. The strong governed the weak at will,” he says. “The peaceable part of mankind will be continually overrun by the vile and abandoned, while they neglect the means of self defence.”

It is a truth he finds inarguable. “For while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong. The history of every age and nation establishes these truths, and facts need but little arguments when they prove themselves.”

Additionally, his defensive war argument is not some mere justification of the existence of war in the abstract, as Media Matters suggests. It is entirely specific to the time and place, to the American revolution, and to the defense of the colonists through their own arms. Defensive war. As waged by armed citizens. “The live of hundreds of both countries had been preserved had America been in arms a year ago.”

Botched, they intoned. Spurious, they protest. Self-evident, says Thomas Paine.

Loesch has included quotes from the Founding Fathers to establish again what was at the time so well understood as to barely be worth remarking on. That a citizen of America was entitled to retain his natural, God-granted right to defend himself, his liberty, and his property, by arms if necessary. The barest study of just the documents provided by Media Matters itself bears out the truth of this. Far from correcting “Hands Off My Gun”, MMFA has provided ample documentation of just how right Dana Loesch is. The founders, the framers, intended for the right of each citizen to bear arms to be protected and not infringed upon.

Revisionist attempts have not, and will not, unwrite what has been written, undo what has been done, or disarm we who have been armed.

Hand Off My Gun: Defeating The Plot To Disarm America is the new book from Dana Loesch that just went on sale this week. It does, among many other things, talk about the Founding Fathers.

Here is an excerpt from the chapter about the Founding Fathers and their message on guns.


DanaBookRarely in history have so many people quoted the United States Constitution and yet seemed deliberately obtuse to its meaning than have the members of the United States Congress. Why that still comes as surprise probably says more about me than it does about them. Let’s face it. Liberals always have had a love-hate relationship with the Constitution — they love it when they can use it to abort babies or let gay people get married. They hate it when its language gets in the way of their big-government schemes, like censoring conservative media outlets or investigating troublesome, truth-telling journalists. They especially hate the fact that the Constitution explicitly — yes, explicitly — protects gun owners. To get around that inconvenient truth, the left does what it does best: It denies that things say what they actually say, or mean what they actually mean. Or as everyone’s favorite sexual harasser once famously put it, “it depends on what the meaning of is is.”

The gun grabbers’ useful idiot, Sen. Chuck Schumer, once claimed that his fellow Democrats needed to admit that there was such a thing as a Second Amendment that gave people “a constitutional right to bear arms.” But before we think Senator Schumer was actually on our side, he went on in the same breath to call for a “compromise” that allowed the left to ban a whole bunch of different guns and thus infringe on that aforementioned constitutional right to bear arms.

Things got a little testy in the Senate in 2013 when Ted Cruz tried to explain to Diane Feinstein that the Second Amendment protected gun owners. “I’m not a sixth grader” she snapped, as she continued to argue that the Second Amendment was irrelevant to her latest gun-grab legislation. (Respectfully, I would argue that most sixth graders understand the Second Amendment, and civics, better than Senator Feinstein.) Liberal academics given a megaphone by various media outlets, have told us again and again that the Second Amendment doesn’t mean what we think it means or it doesn’t mean what it says. Always good for a laugh, the Huffington Post once went even further with the #WTFbananas headline: “The Second Amendment Demands Gun Control.”

It’s long past time for a basic tutorial on the Constitution. Our founders meant for it to be read, not trampled under foot. We should present it in a way that even someone with the reading comprehension of a dolphin could understand it. Or a member of Congress.

Guess we know who should be the first ones in line for that tutorial.

The post Fact Check On Fact Check Of Dana Loesch’s New Book ‘Hands Off My Gun’ appeared first on RedState.

ObamaCare: failure at any price [RedState]

It was rather refreshing to see the very brief return of cost/benefit analysis to the American Left during the Ebola crisis.  You had to listen carefully to hear it, but the muddled arguments against imposing a travel ban on the West African outbreak nations boiled down to an assertion that the safety benefits would not be worth the costs, which would be paid primarily by inconvenienced West Africans, whose prosperity America was held vaguely responsible for, because slavery.

It’s quite reasonable to measure cost against benefits, but the Left hates doing it, because many of their ideas look less attractive – if not downright absurd – when such calculations are made.  Much of modern politics can be thought of as the art of promising benefits without regard to cost.  If necessary, cost gets straitjacketed and locked in a closet until the political discussion is over.  The related subject of exactly who covers the cost, and how that group overlaps with who gets the benefits, is considered extremely rude to bring up.  Politicians are very generous with other peoples’ money.  No one is more gregarious than the liberal politician who has never, in his life, been forced to make a business payroll, but is eager to burden those who do with minimum wage increases.

All sorts of ideas are palatable to the American electorate only because they don’t think about the cost.  (The belief that the Evil Rich can cover those costs out of loose change from their treasure vaults is another way of ignoring cost, because people who think that way are convinced looting the rich is a “soft” crime – they’re not really injured by confiscatory taxation, because they have plenty of money to spare.)  For example, no Big Government enthusiast likes to talk about the way rising fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles kill people, but it is undeniably true – the fatality rates for traffic accidents rise as cars get smaller and lighter.  It’s a trade-off, and such standards have benefits, ranging from consumer savings on gas to environmental benefits, but nobody wants to think about those benefits in terms of human lives lost.

ObamaCare is a fantastic example of how abject failure can be portrayed as success, provided the costs are completely ignored.  In this case, people who complain about their personal costs – rising insurance premiums, lost access to doctors – are actively muzzled.  It’s infuriating, but also undeniably amusing, to watch ObamaCare apologists claim that if you just ignore everyone injured by the program, and count only those who seem pleased with it, it looks like it’s working.  It’s hard to imagine an enterprise that wouldn’t look good under that kind of analysis.

But even the sole metric of “success” ObamaCare defenders can point to, the number of people who gained insurance coverage under the program, does not hold up well under scrutiny, and it falls apart like wet tissue paper when measured against the cost of the program.  Edmund Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski took a look at those enrollment figures at the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal, using numbers for the second quarter of 2014 that captured enrollments delayed by what they delicately describe as “numerous problems experienced by the exchanges,” and concluded that the vast majority of “ObamaCare enrollments” are actually Medicaid enrollments.  Furthermore, the net number of people who gained new insurance under the Affordable Care Act is far smaller than the numbers bandied about by the Administration and its apologists, because most of them are people who found out the hard way that President Obama was lying when he promised they could keep their old insurance plans:

Our analysis of the data is reported in more detail in our latest paper, but our key findings are that in the first half of 2014:

  • Enrollment in individual-market plans (both on and off the exchanges) increased by 6,254,564 individuals.
  • Enrollment in private employer-sponsored group plans declined by 3,788,978 individuals.
  • In the states implementing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, enrollment in Medicaid grew by 5,716,977 individuals.
  • In the states not implementing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, enrollment in Medicaid grew by 355,674 individuals.

Applying a little arithmetic to those four key data points yields the following observations:

  1. The drop in employment-based coverage offset 61 percent of the gains in individual-market coverage, for a net increase in private-sector coverage of 2,465,586 individuals.
  2. Total Medicaid enrollment increased by 6,072,651 individuals, with 94 percent of that growth occurring in the states that adopted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.
  3. The total, net increase in health insurance coverage (private-market and Medicaid combined) during the first half of 2014 was 8,538,237 individuals, but 71 percent of that coverage gain was attributable to Obamacare expanding Medicaid to able-bodied, working-age adults

Thus, while most of the attention this year focused on the new health insurance exchanges, the data indicate that a significant share of exchange enrollments were likely the result of a substitution effect—meaning that most of those who enrolled in new coverage through the exchanges already had coverage through an individual-market or employer-group plan.

Given that increased enrollment in Medicaid accounted for 71 percent of the net growth in health insurance coverage during the first half of 2014, the inescapable conclusion is that, at least when it comes to covering the uninsured, Obamacare so far is mainly a simple expansion of Medicaid.

Which is something the American people should have been given an honest opportunity to debate, but Obama and his allies were too busy blowing smoke about a brilliant technocratic reinvention of the insurance industry, under the wise guiding hand of the omni-competent State… okay, stop laughing, that’s what these people really believe, and they made you pay for it.

They made you pay a lot for it.  That train wreck of an ObamaCare website ended up costing us nearly $2 billion altogether.  (Wouldn’t you have preferred the Department of Health and Human Services to spend that money on oh, say, Ebola preparedness instead?)  The cost of Medicaid rose from $265 billion to $305 billion in just the first year of fully-functional ObamaCare, and it’s projected to double over the coming decade.  Subsidies for non-Medicaid enrollees were $17 billion in ObamaCare Year One, but they’re projected by the Congressional Budget Office to soar 800 percent within ten years.  “The combined $707 billion that the federal government will spend on Medicaid and ObamaCare subsidies in 2024 is roughly equal to the $716 billion the CBO estimates the government will spend on national defense that year,” CNS News tartly observes.

Meanwhile, insurance premiums are rising by so much that the numbers had to be kept secret from the American people until after the midterm elections, and insurance deductibles have gotten so out of hand under ObamaCare that many of its “enrollees” are afraid to use their “benefits.”  Many of them end up doing exactly what ObamaCare was supposed to prevent people from doing: marching into hospital emergency rooms to get “free” care.  The huge constellation of new taxes swirling around ObamaCare will drain more money from the private sector in various ways; the widely hated medical-device tax has been credited with killing over 30,000 jobs all by itself, and is so toxic that a couple of weeks ago, Hillary Clinton spent a full five minutes stammering nonsense to avoid answering a question about whether she would support repealing it.

That all adds up to a huge amount of money confiscated, and wealth destroyed, in the service of ObamaCare.  Arguments will rage forever about how much health care spending would have risen without the program, and how many peripheral costs should be figured into the total bill.  (Let us postulate that if you’re one of the people who lost his job because of the medical device tax, you probably take a dimmer view of ObamaCare than a previously uninsured person with pre-existing conditions who now has a health-insurance policy, 80 percent of which is paid for by other people.)

But look at those enrollment numbers from the Daily Signal again.  6.3 million people bought policies, but 3.8 million lost the insurance they used to have – a net increase of a paltry 2.5 million paying customers.  How can anyone argue that the immense cost to the American people as a whole – to say nothing of the burden placed on countless People Who Work Hard and Play By the Rules who got sandbagged by insurance cancellations and premium hikes – justifies such a modest achievement?  And that’s without getting into customer satisfaction, which isn’t great for ObamaCare, even among the previously uninsured.  Medicaid is not well-loved by its beneficiaries, either, which is something we should have discussed at length before shoveling another 6 million people into a program with chronic fiscal problems.

Forget about the cost, and ObamaCare, like many other government programs, looks a lot better.. which is why you should never, ever forget about the cost.

The post ObamaCare: failure at any price appeared first on RedState.

Governors Breakers Report October 22, 2014 [RedState]

10 22 GOV Chart

As promised yesterday, the second half of the latest installment of my roundup of the RCP polling averages (these for the Governor’s races), looking at what share of the remaining undecided vote would need to break in the GOP’s direction to win each race. The overall trend across numerous races since October 1 (even since yesterday, when I started gathering these figures) is positive, but a lot of these races remain incredibly close, and several high-profile races have had disappointing news.

First up, the big board:

10 22 GOV Breakers

There have been new polls in every race since October 1, thanks in large part to YouGov polling every race, although many of the less competitive races have not been polled in almost three weeks. Nebraska is now the only race without enough polls to compute an average. The biggest change is that we finally have some polling in Arizona, showing Doug Ducey out to a much healthier lead than the sparse polling had previously indicated.

The most worrisome races right now:

-Wisconsin, where the most recent poll nudged Mary Burke ahead of Scott Walker, and where there are very few undecided voters left to pick from after three Walker gubernatorial campaigns in five years. Walker, if he wins, will be a formidable national candidate, but this race is putting his ability to seal the deal and get his voters out to a stern test, and one has to think that the unsecret nature of his national ambitions aren’t helping him in a blue state.

-Florida, where Rick Scott got a ton of terrible press from an unforced error in “Fangate,” refusing to go onstage at the beginning of a debate because Charlie Crist had violated debate rules by bringing his omnipresent fan to blow cold air up Orange Charlie’s trousers. You can’t really blame the voters for despising both of these candidates, but Republicans will have to bank on the economic progress made on Scott’s watch and the staggering degree of Crist’s craven, unprincipled opportunism.

-Illinois, where Pat Quinn pulled off a miraculous escape in 2010 (running ahead of his party’s Senate ticket, which lost to Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Mark Kirk38%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard38%) and has a slight lead over self-funding tycoon Bruce Rauner.

-Alaska, where Sean Parnell is 2.5 points back of the “independent” Walker-Mallot ticket, although Alaska is notorious for bad polling in general and polls that understate Republican strength in particular.

Many of the other races with Republican leads are extraordinarily tight, especially in New England, where the GOP leads in Massachusetts and Connecticut by a hair and trails slightly in an ugly three-way race in Maine (Rhode Island remains a tantalizing possibility – recall that as recently as 2006, there were GOP governors in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island and New York). And as I noted this morning over at The Federalist, the trend in recent years has been for Democrats to win an indordinate share of statewide elections decided by less than 1 point, so just going into Election Day with a tiny lead is no reason to get comfortable (although you’d still rather be ahead in the polls than behind).

The overall trend since October 1 has been positive in many more races than it’s been negative:

10 22 GOV Trendline

That’s a nice recovery by Tom Corbett, but he’s still toast. Larry Hogan is also putting enough pressure on Anthony Brown that the White House felt compelled to dispatch the president to stump for Brown. Let’s zero in on the trendline in the 16 most competitive races:

10 22 GOV Trends Top 16

Republicans have gained at least a point in their standing in twice as many races as the Democrats have, albeit in some cases (like New Hampshire) cutting into a lead that will likely prove insurmountable. But the news has gotten less nerve-racking for Sam Brownback and more comfortable for Rick Snyder in their re-election bids. The average across these races is a 1.4 point improvement for Republicans, but notice that unlike the Senate races, we’re still dealing with an average poll standing of 43.6 points for the Republicans across these races, 43.4 for the Democrats – which leaves an awful lot of undecided voters less than two weeks from Election Day.

The post Governors Breakers Report October 22, 2014 appeared first on RedState.

Only 4? [Small Dead Animals]

Features bonus angry hippie commenters! 4 Ways Hippies Are (Still) Trying to Kill Us.

Lest We Forget [Small Dead Animals]

I was in Ottawa a few days ago and extensively photographed the National War Memorial and Parliament Buildings. So yesterday's terrorist violence had an extra personal meaning. Little did I realize at the time that the soldiers guarding our sacred monument were at threat from anyone. We now have an extra special reason to be thankful to those who serve in our military.


Your Moral And Intellectual Superiors [Small Dead Animals]

Faster, Please [Small Dead Animals]

Let's hope Treason is among the charges.

On the other hand...

More Pavilions At Folkfest [Small Dead Animals]

Sweet Jesus.

...and was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya,

Reader Tips [Small Dead Animals]

Sincere condolences to the family of Corporal Nathan Cirillo. May he rest in God's hands.

#WendyDavisFail [Small Dead Animals]

Broad Strata Update [Small Dead Animals]

Daily Mail has more on Muslim convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau "had his passport seized after being designated a 'high-risk traveler'"

‏@WalshFreedom - Media always calls Bradley Manning "Chelsea," but won't call #Ottawa shooter by his chosen name Abdul Zehaf Bibeau

More Pavilions At Folkfest [Small Dead Animals]

"Democracy, Immigration, Multiculturalism -- Pick Any Two"

A new law will come into effect in Sweden after Christmas 2014, that will allow people to be prosecuted for criticizing immigration or politician's unwillingness to tackle the issue. The Constitutional Committee's report has been voted for in parliament, seen in a letter from the Parliamentary Offices. Member of Parliament Andrew Norlén, member of the Constitutional Committee, has been pushing the issue and he says it will rapidly become a deterrent. "I do not think it takes very many prosecutions before a signal is transmitted in the community that the internet is not a lawless country, the sheriff is back in town" Norlén said during a one-sided 'debate' on the issue in Swedish parliament.

h/t Me No Dhimmi

We Don't Need No Stinking Giant Fans [Small Dead Animals]

As for wind farms, it seemed a bit strange that an innovation designed to save our beautiful world wreaked unique havoc on the best landscape. When we learnt that wind power needed vast amounts of conventional power back-up because of intermittency, we started to see it as the greatest physical folly in our island story.

Yet no mainstream political party engaged with this. You could tell that they were worried about the symptoms of their own policies - hence Ed Miliband's call for an energy price freeze. But none wanted to discuss the causes. Owen Paterson, then the environment secretary, was the only minister who dared raise doubts. He annoyed what he calls the "green blob". David Cameron duly sacked him this summer.

In the Global Warming Policy Foundation lecture on Wednesday, Mr Paterson said of wind farms that "this paltry supply of onshore wind, nowhere near enough to hit the 2050 targets, has devastated landscapes, blighted views, divided communities, killed eagles ..." When this was quoted on the BBC News, he was saying no more than millions of ordinary people have been saying for years. Yet it was very striking to hear it in public, because no other elected person charged with these responsibilities had said anything like this before.

ALA welcomes Court of Appeals reinforcement of fair use in Georgia State University case [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

The American Library Association (ALA) has issued a positive response to the recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit handed in Cambridge University Press et al. v. Carl V. Patton et al., a case previously covered by Chris Meadows here. This is the latest round of proceedings following the suit bought […]

The post ALA welcomes Court of Appeals reinforcement of fair use in Georgia State University case appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

Updates from Ottawa! [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

I’m sure everyone has heard the news by now about yesterday’s events in my nation’s capital. We have a young relative in Ottawa who we visit there several times a year, and we have been to all those places; we were relieved to speak to him last night to find everything going well. The teachers […]

The post Updates from Ottawa! appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

Morning Links: Ellora’s Cave vs Dear Author removed to Federal Court. Kindle vs. Kindle [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

Ellora’s Cave vs Dear Author Suit Removed to Federal Court (The Passive Voice) Dear Author has just removed the case from the Ohio state court where it was originally filed to the relevant U.S. District Court in Ohio claiming diversity jurisdiction is present in the case. *** How Piracy Benefits Companies, Even if They Don’t […]

The post Morning Links: Ellora’s Cave vs Dear Author removed to Federal Court. Kindle vs. Kindle appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

France to draft blacklist banning alleged piracy websites – what could POSSIBLY go wrong? [The Register]

La censure! Le bord mince de la cale de fromage, mes amis!

France looks set to increase funding and power for its controversial piracy-battling Hadopi agency.…

Upstart brags about cheaper-than-Amazon private cold data cloud [The Register]

Storiant man asks you to check out their racks

Storiant is an object storage startup which claims its customers can use its technology to store petabyte-scale data in a private cloud at a price below public cloud storage. How does it pull this trick off?…

Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec [The Register]

You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that

Hoping to woo the ladies with your shiny new Google Glass? Don't bother, because no woman in her right mind would let a Glasshole anywhere near her data centre, an HP bigwig has claimed.…

Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool [The Register]

Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window

Microsoft will retire the visual design tool for its Entity Framework (EF) database tool in the upcoming version 7, in favour of a text-based “code first” approach.…

Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings [The Register]

Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here

“It hurts my eyes,” Steve Ballmer once joshed during a demonstration of Microsoft’s Virtual Server 2005 Service Pack 1 managing Red Hat Linux.…

Lollipop unwrapped: Chromium WebView will update via Google Play [The Register]

Faster updates, and more Google control for Android

Android 5.0, codenamed Lollipop, has introduced a key change to the WebView component, used by app developers to display HTML 5 content within their apps, making new features more readily available.…

Amazon's AWS opens data center in Germany – just as we said [The Register]

Scalability away from Uncle Sam, in theory

Amazon’s European mainland customers wary of US spies can now build scalable clouds on AWS and stay entirely on the Continent. The giant today announced the opening of a data centre in Frankfurt, Germany – just as we reported it would in July.…

Speaking in Tech: Too fat for MARS! [The Register]

And Sarah HATES Doctor Who

Ad-borne Cryptowall ransomware is set to claim FRESH VICTIMS [The Register]

Cybercrooks slurping hundreds of thousands from innocent marks, say securo-bods

Security watchers are warning of a surge in CryptoWall ransomware victims this month that will coincide with a campaign to spread a new variant of the malware though advertising networks.…

DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets [The Register]

Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated

Tim Cook's dream of bonking-to-pay global domination has taken a serious battering after customers using the new Apple Pay system were double charged.…

Consumers start feeling the love as Chromebook sales surge [The Register]

Samsung, Acer, HP take three quarters of Google-based market

Chromebooks are set to become the next big thing in personal computing devices after sales skyrocketed by two thirds over the last quarter.…

Zuckerberg bombshell: Man married to Chinese woman speaks Chinese in China [The Register]

Oh stop the world, we want to get off

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shocked a Chinese audience with his mastery of Mandarin – a language that's as difficult to master as his website's privacy settings.…

Web Developers: Autumnal webinars throw light on the Cloud [The Register]

Special guests for special webinars

Promo  Microsoft is running a raft of Azure training events throughout October to help you get onboard its cloud platform, whether you’re a neophyte or an experienced web developer.…

Hey, Joe. Give EMC the gun and SHOOT IT DOWN - before someone else messes 'round town [The Register]

You built it up; tear it down while you still can

Comment  What should we do about the EMC Federation and the coming retirement of its founder and architect Joe Tucci?…

LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved [The Register]

Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger

The secrets of a long-armed, “totally bizarre” dinosaur have finally been plumbed after bone-boffins unearthed a much fuller specimen of the odd creature.…

There's a lot more to backup than you thought [The Register]

Which kind will you choose?

If backup is too often an afterthought, have you considered its even poorer relation, archive. You haven’t? What a surprise.…

Mobe-free Nokia STORMS back into profit after ditching WinPho [The Register]

Sales up for all divisions. Having fun, Microsoft?

Nokia reported strong results on Thursday even after giving long-suffering shareholders a dividend and taking the hit of a one-time charge.…

Are there sounds on Mars? NASA launches audio athenaeum [The Register]

Space scientists capture creepy Kepler chorus, Saturn storms

Audiophiles at NASA have published more than 60 samples of historical space artefacts to the administration's Soundcloud account.…

The future health of the internet comes down to ONE simple question… [The Register]

Can ICANN be forced to agree to oversight of its decisions?

Analysis  When was the last time you gave any thought to how the internet actually works? Despite the extraordinary and never-ending growth in people and devices that connect to the internet every second of every day, we have never seen the equivalent of Twitter’s Fail Whale. The internet, as a whole, just doesn’t go down.…

Flash! Ah-ahh: Storage in 2014 [The Register]

Join us in the Reg Studios on 27 November

Register now to watch our webcast that explores the benefits of cheaper Flash Storage in 2014 — How do you buy, configure and manage it?…

Vulture trails claw across Lenovo's touchy N20p Chromebook [The Register]

The Googlebook you can fondle

Review  A friend recently introduced me to a North West fast-food tradition called half-and-half. That’s chips, rice and curry sauce to those of us born and raised in the more enlightened parts of the realm. It’s not a combination I’d considered before, but truth be told it’s a pleasant repast. Especially after a beer or three.…

Xen says its security policies might be buggier than its software [The Register]

Users didn't know if they were allowed to patch bug behind world cloud reboot

The Xen project has asked for help to ensure future bugs aren't as disruptive as the XSA-108 flaw that saw major cloud operators reboot an awful lot of servers.…

Want to own .app, .blog or .pet? Best sell a third of yourself for $100m on London Stock Exchange [The Register]

Registry Afilias preps float ahead of gTLD auction battle

Internet registry Afilias hopes to build a $100m (£62.3m) war chest by floating on the London Stock Exchange – just in time to spend the cash snapping up the rights to new dot-word domains.…

Microsoft may be leading the charge against US data grabs [The Register]

But European companies can't afford to get complacent if they have any tied to the US

Apple, Cisco, Verizon and AT&T are considering joining Microsoft’s battle against the US government to safeguard customers' privacy – but European corps should also take note.…

Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING [The Register]

Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming

Climate change may be causing alpine goats to shrink in size, according to biologists at Durham University.…

Quick PHP patch beats slow research reveal [The Register]

Simple solution to remote code execution

Patches have been flung out to cover vulnerabilities in PHP that led to remote code execution and buffer overflows.…

NIST to hypervisor admins: secure your systems [The Register]

Hypervisor security draft open for comment

US standards body the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has laid out the basics of hypervisor security in a draft publication released for comment on 20 October.…

Newly-private BMC gets cloud/social/mainframe (!) religion [The Register]

Warning: Disruption ahead. Once the new products emerge.

Newly-privatised BMC thinks it can re-invent - nay, disrupt - itself by cashing in on on all of 2014's biggest buzzwords: cloud, social, mobile and disruption. And mainframe, for good measure.…

NBN Co reports fibre traction and Telstra action [The Register]

FTTP services breach the not-very-magical 200,000 barrier

NBN Co has made the slightly awkward announcement that it's more than tripled the number of premises connected to its fibre network in the past year, while maintaining its commitment to the multi-technology model for future rollouts.…

In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the internet [The Register]

While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net

On February 8, 2000, the US government signed a contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to run the so-called "IANA functions" – which glue together the internet as we know it.…

Privacy complaints skyrocketed in 2013-14, says Pilgrim [The Register]

DoI set Oz government record for privacy fumbling

Privacy breach complaints in Australia nearly tripled between 2013 and 2014, according to the soon-to-be-defunct Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).…

Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit [The Register]

USB-serial imitators whacked by driver update

Reports are emerging that chip-maker FTDI has declared war on chip counterfeiters with a driver update that bricks USB devices recognised as fakes.…

Forget the $2499 5K iMac – today we reveal Apple's most expensive computer to date [The Register]

Unbelievable specs, too

Pic  When Bonhams put a vintage Apple I computer on the block, the Brit auction house thought the tech antique would fetch as much as $500,000.…

Whistleblower behind PM's daughter scholarship leak must wait for fate [The Register]

Magistrate says she needs about five weeks to consider the case

Freya Newman, the Sydney student who pled guilty to illegally using login credentials to leak documents about a scholarship awarded to the daughter of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, won't learn her fate until November 25th.…

RUMPY PUMPY: Bone reveals humans BONED Neanderthals 50,000 years B.C. [The Register]

Hairy, steamy protohuman revelations

Bone boffins in Germany have extracted the oldest human DNA yet discovered – from a 45,000-year-old thighbone found in Siberia.…

Disney and chums halt Comcast-TWC, AT&T-DirecTV weddings [The Register]

FCC reaches to pull back curtain, TV networks run screaming from sunlight

US watchdog the FCC has hit the brakes while scrutinizing the proposed mergers of Comcast-Time Warner, and AT&T-DirecTV.…

Smartphone giant _____ puts citizens' private data beyond reach of oppressive regime _____ [The Register]

And into the hands of _______ that also spies on people

Chinese Apple wannabe Xiaomi says it's spent much of the past year migrating its online services out of its Beijing data centers so that it can better serve customers in international markets.…

How to hit the top of Google's rankings: 'Use a new dot-thing gTLD' [The Register]

You know what they, say – when the Cutts away ...

If you want to get higher up Google's search rankings, it turns out that using a new dot-thing domain – such as .guru or .ninja – may give you the edge.…

Google opens Inbox – email for people too stupid to use email [The Register]

Print this article out and give it to someone techy if you get stuck

Vid  Email has been around for more than 40 years – but Google thinks you just can't handle its fiendish complexity. And lo, the web king has developed an application dubbed Inbox to make an easy job easier.…

Nokia France leak: Windows Phone DUMPED in Microsoft Lumia revamp [The Register]

Haricots renversés sur Facebook

The French wing of Microsoft's Nokia mobile device division appears to have confirmed some Windows Phone rebranding efforts that have been rumored for the past few months.…

SNIA's Australia/New Zealand chapter winds itself up [The Register]

Board declares mission accomplished

The Storage Networking Industry Association's (SNIA's) Australia and New Zealand chapter has decided to wind itself up.…

Pay a tax on every gigabyte you download? Haha, that's too funny. But not to Hungarians [The Register]

Sssh, don't give anyone any ideas, Hungary

Hungary is threatening to tax its broadband providers for every gigabyte their subscribers use.…

Australia to 'relieve' telcos of need to disclose intercepts [The Register]

Administrivia-reduction measure said to have no consumer benefit

Updated  The federal government's “red tape repeal” policy looks set to reduce the amount of information Australians receive about telecommunications interception requests.…

Is your home or office internet gateway one of '1.2 MILLION' wide open to hijacking? [The Register]

Doublecheck your NAT-PMP settings now

Hundreds of thousands of routers, firewalls and gateways used by small offices and homes are said to be vulnerable to hijacking due to bungled NAT settings.…

Guns don't scare people, hackers do: Americans fear identity theft more than shooting sprees [The Register]

Citizens know their stats

A survey into what Americans fear most has shown that fears of identity theft and being unsafe online outweigh the fear of being shot.…

Ello becomes a public-benefit corporation with mandate to not sell ads [The Verge - All Posts]

Ello exploded in popularity last month partly on the grounds that it would remain ad-free and never sell users' data, and today it's putting those promises down in legal writing. Ello says that it has converted to a public benefit corporation, with its charter prohibiting it in "the strongest legal terms possible" from making money by selling ads or user data. It also requires that any company that might purchase Ello in the future follow these same rules. "In other words," the company writes, "Ello exists for your benefit, and will never show ads or sell user data."

Continue reading…

Facebook's new Rooms app brings bite-sized forums to your iPhone [The Verge - All Posts]

"We’re not trying to build the next Snapchat — we’re trying to build the next Wordpress."

These aren’t the words you expect to hear from the guy building Facebook’s next big app. Facebook has spent the last two years cloning Snapchat, trying to buy Snapchat, and eventually creating a pseudo-Snapchat. None of these plans have worked, so now it’s building… a blogging platform?

Not exactly. Today, Facebook is launching Rooms, an iPhone app that lets you create tiny message boards for posting text, photos, and videos. In each room you can create your own username and identity, and post or comment with friends or strangers about anything from minimalist furniture to Kendama or Destiny. Like on conventional message boards, you can set...

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How Kevin Smith learned to love making movies again [The Verge - All Posts]

Kevin Smith’s legendary film Clerks hit theaters 20 years ago this month. Shot in black and white with a measly $27,000 budget, the film ended up being a critical success and launched Smith’s filmmaking career. He spent the next decade building a quirky and bizarre film universe that mixed his trademark brand of vulgar humor with surprisingly intense and personal stories; his movies were never box-office smashes, but they were cult hits that built him a loyal and passionate fanbase.

In more recent years, however, Smith’s output has slowed down and started to dry up. He tried his hand at some more conventional Hollywood movies (Zack and Miri Make a Porno with Seth Rogen, Cop Out with Bruce Willis) with limited success and seemed far more...

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Senator wants Whisper to clarify privacy policy after reports of user tracking [The Verge - All Posts]

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller is calling for Whisper's CEO to clearly outline his company's privacy policy after The Guardian accused the anonymity-focused social app of quietly monitoring its users in an exposé last week. "I take this matter seriously," wrote Rockefeller in a letter sent to CEO Michael Heyward Wednesday. In a statement provided to The Verge, Whisper said "We share the Senator's interest in protecting consumer privacy and will respond shortly. Though we disagree with the Guardian’s reporting, we welcome the discussion."

The original report claimed that Whisper tracks the location of its users — even those who've opted out of geolocation services entirely — through a system that can pinpoint messages...

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Steve Carell is making a movie with 'Eternal Sunshine' writer Charlie Kaufman [The Verge - All Posts]

Steve Carell is generating early Oscar buzz for his performance in the upcoming drama Foxcatcher, but now there's exciting news about a project that's further out. Deadline reports that Carell has signed on to star in an adaptation of the 1978 sci-fi novel IQ 83, and surrealist auteur Charlie Kaufman is now re-writing the script.

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Groupon is trying to turn itself into Yelp [The Verge - All Posts]

Groupon has been attempting to move beyond the waning group-discount space that it pioneered, and it's now trying to do that by looking a little more like Yelp. This week, Groupon is beginning to roll out millions of individual pages for local businesses, giving them a place to display images, business hours, a phone number, a menu, and various other pieces of information. Visitors to those businesses will also be able to leave comments about them. The service was already being tested in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, DC, and Seattle, and Groupon says that it'll be launching with 7 million total listings.

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Android Wear gets GPS support, offline music in first major update [The Verge - All Posts]

Google promised that it would consistently improve Android Wear with a number of updates, and now the first major update is here. Announced today in a blog post, the update unlocks some key fitness functionality. It now supports watches with built-in GPS sensors, providing new tools to track your distance and speed independent of your phone. Additionally, with the new software, you'll be able to pair Bluetooth headphones, and offline music playback will also be enabled. And, of course, we're sure the Android Wear team has squashed some bugs along the way.

The Sony SmartWatch 3 is the first Android Wear watch with a dedicated GPS sensor, and it is available for preorder today for $249.99 from Verizon Wireless, with Google Play...

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Keanu Reeves has definitely seen a ghost before [The Verge - All Posts]

Autonomous meme-generation beacon Keanu Reeves was on Jimmy Kimmel last night, promoting his latest movie, John Wick. In the middle of the standard interview questions — what was Keanu's favorite movie to work on? (The Matrix) — Kimmel threw out the question I hope we'd all ask: Has Keanu Reeves ever seen a ghost?

The answer is yes, Keanu Reeves has seen a ghost. Maybe. When he was young, he saw what was either some kind of floating jacket, or a ghost, and who is to say which it really was? No one, except a second witness to the event whose terrified face confirmed that, yes, it was a ghost.

But Keanu's preface to the story is what ties it all together. After being asked if he'd been visited by the great beyond, he told Kimmel, "It was...

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Netflix series 'Bloodline' starring Kyle Chandler will premiere in March [The Verge - All Posts]

Netflix has announced that its original series Bloodline will premiere in March. And as you'd expect, all episodes from season one — there are 13 of them — will be available for streaming immediately. Bloodline stars Kyle Chandler of Friday Night Lights fame along with Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises), Linda Cardellini (Mad Men, Freaks and Geeks), Sam Shepard (The Right Stuff), and Sissy Spacek, among others. Created and executive produced by Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman, and Glenn Kessler — the trio behind FX's DamagesBloodline "centers on a close-knit family of four adult siblings whose secrets and scars are revealed when their black sheep brother returns home."

It doesn't reveal much, but you can catch a teaser trailer for...

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The Big Future: Can we build a better brain? [The Verge - All Posts]

How will the future change the human brain? This week's Big Future takes a look at a new wave of neurological techniques that directly alter the brain's electrical patterns, correcting seizures and movement disorders. Some doctors are even experimenting with using it to treat depression. Could the same technology be used to correct more fundamental mental properties like attention span? We're still early in the research, but there are already plenty of projects aiming to give human beings greater control over the inner workings of the brain.

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Peter Thiel And Global Warming [Transterrestrial Musings]

Why he’s skeptical: “Whenever you can’t have a debate, I often think that’s evidence that there’s a problem,” Thiel said on The Glenn Beck Program. “When people use the word ‘science,’ it’s often a tell, like in poker, that you’re bluffing. It’s like we have ‘social science’ and we have ‘political science,’ [but] we don’t […]

“Workplace Violence” [Transterrestrial Musings]

The new epidemic. If we won’t call things by their proper names, it’s impossible to fight them.

Violence Against Women [Transterrestrial Musings]

It’s great, as long as it’s against the “right” women: The anchor went on to say “sit back and enjoy,” before playing the audio, in which Bristol says she confronted a man who had allegedly pushed her little sister, only to have him shove her to the ground, then drag her by her feet while […]

Colorado Voter Fraud [Transterrestrial Musings]

Sarah Hoyt’s mad as hell, and not going to take it any more.

The Hunter Biden Chronicles [Transterrestrial Musings]

Rules are for the little people.

A Partial Solar Eclipse [Transterrestrial Musings]

Visible in most of the US and Canada this afternoon.

A Medical Breakthrough [Transterrestrial Musings]

An informational one: …new recommendations regarding dietary fat from “what’s new Family Medicine” section. Fat intake and coronary risk (April 2014) Although it is known that there is a continuous graded relationship between serum cholesterol concentration and coronary heart disease (CHD), and that dietary intake of saturated fat raises total serum cholesterol, a 2014 meta-analysis […]

Republican Crony Capitalism [Transterrestrial Musings]

…in Michigan. This is shameful, but Snyder probably did stand a good chance of losing his reelection if he hadn’t supported it.

Fighting The Left’s Fire With FIRE [Transterrestrial Musings]

Instapundit has some ideas for dealing with the war on college men: You could add some street-theater when prospective freshmen tour the campus by putting up posters and passing out leaflets telling them that the campus is a “rights-free zone” for men or some such, too. And maybe demand that the admissions people warn admitted […]

Pro-Privacy Senator Wyden on Fighting the NSA From Inside the System [WIRED » Threat Level]

Pro-Privacy Senator Wyden on Fighting the NSA From Inside the System

Wyden spoke with WIRED about the difficulties of keeping mum on classified matters, about his public showdown with intelligence chief James Clapper over the NSA's data collection on Americans, and about the government's use of zero-day exploits.

The post Pro-Privacy Senator Wyden on Fighting the NSA From Inside the System appeared first on WIRED.