All The Scarlet Letters [According To Hoyt]

One of the most interesting things – and by interesting I mean scary – about the reaction to Sad Puppies 3 is that many people who are anti-puppy (always wanted to write that) were mad at Brad for “not telling people you were putting them on the slate.”

Okay. The accusation is not true. Brad actually told people, except for a couple he legitimately forgot to contact.

But let’s not defend Brad on that front, because when we are defending him on that front, we’re already swallowing whole a pretty bizarre assumption of the other side.

Instead, let’s step back and take a deep breath.

What are the Hugos?

They’re awards, right? They’re awards given, supposedly, for the best science fiction and fantasy of the year, right?

In theory, theoretically as it were, who is supposed to nominate: why, Lord love a duck, right? Any reader of science fiction who pays at least the supporting worldcon membership.

And who gets to make recommendations for nominations? Well, from what I’ve seen over the years, anyone with an interest in sf/f. I could, tomorrow, (well, not tomorrow, but at the beginning of the next set) put my list of recommends on the blog, whether I meant to vote for them or not. (I.e. whether I paid the membership or not.)

Readers, reviewers and various other side-spurs of science fiction do that pretty much every year.

So, if I did that, would I have any obligation, no matter how remote, to tell people I was putting them on my slate? Why? I mean, I might, as a friendly gesture, send a note saying “I love your books and I’m putting such and such on the slate.” BUT WHY would I HAVE to?

I mean, when I won the Prometheus and the two other times I’ve been nominated, all I got was an email saying “you’ve been nominated.” No one warned me. And trust me, ten years ago that announcement would have frozen me solid, instead of causing me to dance in my office.

That is because ten years ago, I lived in a state of fear. And the fact that my fear was real and serious is justified by that accusation to Brad, “You bad bad man, when you decided these people deserved awards, you didn’t TELL THEM you were putting them on a recommend list.”

I lived in fear because of the implied end of that sentence “And you knew that because you associated them with you, a known conservative, we would make their lives miserable and do our best to end their careers.”

And that, my friends is what I realized when I sold my first novel in the late 90s. Most Americans might not be that sensitive to the “climate” but I was. I had after all grown up in a socialist (at best, during the better times) country where to graduate you had to present the proper progressive front. I knew the signs and the hints and social positioning of “further left than thou.” For instance, my first SF cons, as an author, in the green room, I became aware that “a conservative” was a suitable, laughter inducing punchline for any joke; that all of them believed the Reagan years had set us on course to total dystopia; that the US was less enlightened/capable/free than anywhere else; that your average Republican or even non-Democrat voter was the equivalent of the Taliban.

As for Libertarians, I will to my dying day cherish the dinner I had with my then editor to whom I was describing a funny incident at MileHi where for reasons known only to Bob, I found myself in an argument with someone who wanted to ban the internal combustion engine. My editor perked up and (I swear I’m not making this up) said “Oh, a Libertarian.” At which point my husband squeezed my thigh hard enough to stop me answering. But yeah. That was a not uncommon idea of a libertarian. If it was completely insane and involved banning something, then it was a libertarian.

I once overheard the same editor talking to a colleague and saying that if she got submissions across her desk and they were – dropped and horrified voice – somewhat conservative she recommended they try Baen.

Which the other editor (from a different house) agreed with, because after all, they weren’t in the business of publishing conservative works.

This immediately put me on notice that in the field if you were a conservative (I presume libertarians were worse, or at least they seemed to induce more mouth foaming. And though I was solidly libertarian and – at the time – might have qualified as a Libertarian, I suspect if faced with my real positions they would have classed me as conservative, because my positions were self-obviously not left and that’s all it took.) there was only one house that would take you, and if what you wrote/wanted to write wasn’t accepted by then, then you were out of luck.

After that I lived in a state of fear

I imagine it was similar to living in one of the more unsavory periods of the Soviet Union. You saw these purges happen. Whisper-purges. You got the word that someone was “not quite the thing” or that they associated with so and so who associated with so and so who was a – dropped voice – conservative. Suddenly that person’s books weren’t being bought and somehow people would clear a circle around them, because, well, you know, if you’re seen with a – dropped voice – conservative they might think you’re one too. And then it’s off to Neverland with you.

I found a few other conservatives/libertarians (frankly, mostly libertarians) in the field, all living in the same state of gut clenching fear.

We did such a dance to test both the reliability and discretion of the other before revealing ourselves that we might as well have developed a hanky code. [Blue for true blue Conservative, white for pure Libertarian, red for the blood of our heroes, brown for OWL (older, wiser libertarian), purple for squishy conservative, baby blue for Brad Torgersen.]

Conventions were nerve wracking because I watched myself ALL the TIME. And you never knew how much you had to watch yourself. Suddenly, out of the blue, at a World Fantasy the speaker, a well known SF/F writer went on about Howard Dean, our next president. The room erupted in applause, some people stood to clap, and I sat there, frozen, unable to actually fake it to that point but too shocked to even put a complaisant expression on my face.

This is one of the instances where I think if I didn’t give myself away I gave them the impression I was not very bright and therefore untrustworthy. Another would be the letter exchange with a gentleman who went after my first Analog story. Another instance would be that I actually could not help myself and defended Heinlein at all possible occasions.

They were never sure enough that I was a – dropped voice – conservative, but they were sure enough that my books had the strangest issues with distribution and marketing. I. e. like the year I had six books out and not one on the shelves anywhere. [Yes, I have considered the possibility that maybe my books sucked, but a) if that was the case then why did they keep buying? b) why are the same books making me a paycheck every month indie?] And I was never one of the “darlings” who got promo or even really nice treatment (by editors) at cons (until I worked for Baen.)

Btw, speaking of Baen, when I was picked up by them after my first series tanked and no one else would touch me, I was overjoyed. The agent who had been trying in vain for years to get SOMEONE to buy me, promptly told me that I couldn’t work for Baen because of the Baen taint. (yeah, that – dropped voice – conservative taint – this while Baen publishes anyone from any political color provided they like the story.)

One time I came into the room at a con and found one of my editors talking to another of my editors. I could tell from the expression, the startled look at me, that news that I might be a – dropped voice — conservative had been conveyed. I hoped I was being paranoid, but I wasn’t. My treatment by that other house immediately changed, overnight.

So I lived in fear, unable to associate normally or make friends with anyone. It was like being spied on all the time and knowing the worst construction would be put on my actions and words, even if the actions and words were not political, even if I just forgot what the week’s hate and the week’s cause was.

I got tired. I got really tired. I know authors who walked away after one or two books because they simply couldn’t take it anymore. I know others – gentle souls – who didn’t realize they’d been blacklisted on suspicion of being – dropped voice – conservative. This was particularly true of Libertarians (and libertarians) who never thought of themselves (I still don’t) as “conservatives” and couldn’t understand it when I tried to explain it.

All this was justified, you see, because in the minds of the establishment and establishment hangers on, conservatives are creatures shown as “right wing” on movies and tv (none of whose writers would know a true conservative, much less a libertarian if one bit them in the fleshy part of the *ss [and libertarians might.]) They give conservatives (which again is everyone to the right of Lenin) informed attributes never found in the real creature: conservatives, in their crazy little heads, are people who are racist, sexist, homophobic, ultra-religious in a medieval fashion or a crazy-evangelical (there are some, but not many) one.

Informed attributes for those who don’t follow the link, are a characteristic of lazy, sloppy writing, particularly common in fanfic AND beginner writers (though we all do it, but hopefully not in contradiction to our real writing.) This is when you tell the reader that the character is kind or socially conscious or whatever even though the rest of your writing shows exactly the opposite. (One of my ex-fledgelings had a penchant for this. Would inform you the character was so nice and universally loved, and then show he was the ass everyone rode in on and most people hated him. Eh.)

The informed attributes of “conservatives” in gatekeeper circles for SF/F are just that. Someone informed these people that “conservatives” are sexist, racist, homophobic religious fanatics and they believe it without checking it against every day reality.

Here I am tempted to insert snark about their preferred modes of writing, but I won’t. I’ll just say that once in a group populated mostly by them I found that if a person was good but didn’t proclaim it, then they were horrible. No, I don’t get it either. But somehow it works for them. They HEARTILLY believe this stuff, because someone told them.

And frankly if someone were racist, sexist, homophobic (religious fanatics I don’t care either way, unless they chase me down and make me believe as they do) I wouldn’t want to work with them either.

So, if you are revealed, through… what are the words of the old act of contrition? “Your thoughts, your words, what you’ve done and what you’ve failed to do” or indeed, whomever you associate with at a third remove, or whom you failed to denounce on denouncing day, to be a – dropped voice – conservative they don’t want to work with you. And if they have to work with you, they’re going to do it at as arm’s length as possible.

When I realized I couldn’t watch everything and didn’t have the energy to keep up with the hate or the enthusiasm of the week (there is a reason most of the darlings are single or at least childless) I told my husband I was dropping out. But by then there was indie, and I was working for Baen, and he convinced me to stay on.

Still, such was the reflex of that fear that the first time I was mentioned on Instapundit I reached up to wipe the scarlet L from my forehead.

Now? I’ve come a long way in seven years. By baby steps. But now I don’t hide I’m a libertarian. (Technically an OWL – waves brown feathery scarf.)

And still that naked “you should have told them you were putting them on your slate” and the implied, scary because we intend to f*ck up their lives because you like their work made me catch my breath and remember the fear.

The people who preach to you of inclusiveness and love (SF is “love” apparently); the people who are hunting for writers of various colors of the rainbow to give awards to demand (and receive) perfect lockstep abasing compliance with their beliefs.

The prize they held hostage was a writers ability to make a living.

Fortunately there is indie. They haven’t realized it yet, but what they hold in their hands is nothing. And the more they show their colors, the more they pursue their little purges (now in public) the less they’ll be taken seriously.

We haven’t yet reached the point when “banned by the New York Publishing establishment” is a badge of honor, but unless I mistake my gut we’re not very far off.

And it’s a beautiful thing. A scarlet l on my forehead, and an American flag on my heart, and what is it to you, and who made you keeper of other’s thoughts, other’s ideas, other’s art, other’s opinions?

Are you so empty, so vacant, so devoid of creativity and joy that all you can do is tear down the designated targets?

Well, then, you have my sympathy. But you no longer have my fear.

And you never had my allegiance.

Depart from us in peace and go find someone else who might still fear you. It won’t happen here.

Ask not for whom the puppies bay. They bay for you.

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Tweet of the day [Don Surber]

Scoreboard for 3-31-2015 [Don Surber]

1. "Study: Lesbians in U.S. Earn 20% More Than Heterosexual Women." Hmm, wonder if President Obama will whine about 80 cents on the dollar for straight women. GOOD.

2. "Iran militia chief: Destroying Israel is ‘nonnegotiable’." Hey, that's one of the things President Obama wants. EVIL.

3. "Regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran traded accusations Tuesday over the escalating conflict in Yemen, which the UN rights chief warned was on the brink of 'total collapse'." In September, President Obama declared Yemen a success. Time to relieve the commander in chief of duty. EVIL.

3. "UKIP leader Farage pledges 90 percent immigration cut." Stop paying them "benefits" and they will go away. GOOD.

4. Gallup: 26% of African-Americans are conservative. Barack Obama is the right's best recruiter. GOOD.

5. "IRS ignoring 60 percent of taxpayers’ calls as deadline looms." Civil Service is neither civil, nor is it service. EVIL.

6. "Could Another Democrat Beat Hillary Clinton? Strategists Offer a Blueprint." Breaking news from 2008. GOOD.

7. "Is Carly Fiorina the GOP's best hope of damaging Hillary Clinton?" Nope. Hillary Clinton is. GOOD.

8. "Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the presumed next Democratic leader in the chamber, has deep ties in the lobbying and influence sector — and a reputation for being cozy with Wall Street." In other words, he is Obama Junior. EVIL.

9. "School Principal: Being ‘Colorblind’ Really Just Means Being Racist." Up is the new down. EVIL.

10. "Congresswoman Tweets, Immediately Deletes, Enthusiasm For Beer And Fast Food." The par-tay is at Ann Wagner's house. GOOD.

11. "CNN Grills State Dept Spox: Why Won't Iran Deal Be Like Failed North Korea Deal?" No, no, no. CNN acting like a news organization is so wrong. Tomorrow is April Fool's Day, folks. GOOD.

From the blog:

12. "Will Connecticut boycott Connecticut?" GOOD.

13. Soon.


14. OK, another reason is it was a Top Down Day. GOOD.

Today's American Vignette: "The aluminum men: Charles Martin Hall, Alfred Ephraim Hunt, and Arthur Vining Davis."

Final score: GOOD 9, EVIL 5.

Will Connecticut boycott Connecticut? [Don Surber]

Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut arbitrarily banned all state-funded travel to Indiana because the state recently adopted a Religious Freedom Act -- similar to one Connecticut already has had on the books for years.

This is another false narrative like "Hands Up" and "I Can't Breathe." (If you cannot breathe, you cannot speak.) But false narratives work. The media sells it, and you live the role, as Ozzy Osbourne once put it.

CNN failed to point out Governor Malloy's hypocrisy in its reporting. But I will.

"When new laws turn back the clock on progress, we can't sit idly by. We are sending a message that discrimination won't be tolerated," Governor Malloy said.

Governor Malloy has defended his law by saying, well, it does not discriminate against lesbians, gays, bisexual or transgendered people. But Republican Governor Mike Pence of Indiana has said the same thing.

The bottom line is will the state be able to force a church minister to marry two gay people. Either it protects the right to say no, or it does not.

From CNN:
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is joining a growing number of voices against a controversial Indiana law that critics say discriminates against gay people.
Malloy signed an executive order Monday blocking state-funded travel to Indiana and other states that permit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Of course, the Indiana law does not say a damned word about LBGT.

That is just liberal hyperventilation. You have to keep the base ginned up 24/7/365. The Islamic State is eating up North Africa and the Middle East, and John Kerry is giving Iran the wink, wink, nudge, nudge on a nuclear bomb. This provides a great distraction.

It is brilliant. A bunch of coastal liberals get to feel smug about those rubes in Indiana.

Except as Hunter Schwartz of the Washington Post pointed out: "19 states that have ‘religious freedom’ laws like Indiana’s that no one is boycotting."

And of course, religious freedom is the federal law thanks to a Democratic Congress and a Democratic president. The state laws were passed when a federal judge said the federal law does not apply to the states.


We shall see how long it takes for this False Narrative to fall apart. The Washington Post story may be one-off, or it may be a harbinger of a take down.

In the meantime, let us work to have religious freedom in all 59 states, not just Indiana, Connecticut and 18 more.

The aluminum men: Charles Martin Hall, Alfred Ephraim Hunt, and Arthur Vining Davis [Don Surber]

Pittsburgh was built on oil and steel, but its greatest gift to the world was aluminum. Thanks to the patent of Charles Martin Hall, the business skills of Alfred Ephraim Hunt, and the management of Arthur Vining Davis, the world was able to produce aluminum cheaply, which made heavier-than-air flight possible. Together, they would found the Aluminum Company of America -- Alcoa.


Hall was fascinated by aluminum, which was a scientific metal at the time he was in college (Oberlin) as it cost a whopping $4.86 a pound. He worked with various chemicals to try produce aluminum cheaper, beginning in 1881, when he was 17. He would go on to study chemistry at Yale, at the University of Göttingen in Germany, Harvard, and at the Imperial University of Tokyo.

Working with his sister, Julia Brainerd Hall, he was able to develop a system that is known as the Hall-Héroult process, as Frenchman Paul Héroult developed the same method around the same time.

This was a breakthrough that was as great as the discovery of iron. Alcoa's official company history noted, “Charles Martin Hall’s discovery came on February 23, 1886, when he was only 22 years old. The globules from this discovery are referred to as Alcoa’s crown jewels.”

But what good was it if no one would build a factory to make the aluminum? Unable to find backers in Ohio, Hall journeyed to Pittsburgh.

"Hall sought assistance from Cowles Electric Smelting & Aluminum Company, which made alloys. Hall worked on the process for them for 90 days. They weren’t interested, so Hall was back where he started. However, at Cowles, he met Romaine C. Cole, who recognized the value of Hall’s invention and recommended contacting Capt. Alfred E. Hunt — one of the foremost metallurgists in the steel industry," the Alcoa history said.

Hunt was an MIT graduate who knew metallurgy well. His grandfather and his uncle had started the Hunt Axe and Edge Tool Works at East Douglas, Massachusetts, in 1795. Young Hunt grew up watching blacksmiths turn blocks of iron into axe heads.

Between Hall's patent, Hunt's understanding of metallurgy, and a team of chemists, the company was able to make a go of it. The cheap method of producing aluminum gave the company -- originally called the Pittsburgh Reduction Company -- a huge competitive advantage.

The competition was not other aluminum companies, but other metals and alloys. Alcoa made it in Steel City, a truly remarkable matter.

Equally important was hiring good people. The company's first employee was Arthur Vining Davis, whose father had been Hunt's minister. This proved to be a godsend to the company as Davis was quick on the uptake. He would become the general manager in a few years and would rise all the way to the top, driving it to domination until his retirement in 1957.

But that is getting ahead of the story. Hall continued to do research, eventually adding 22 patents. Hunt ran the company, but he also served his country. Early on, Hunt helped to organize Battery B, a cavalry division of the Pennsylvania National Guard, and was elected its first captain. The unit was dispatched in 1898 to Puerto Rico (a Spanish territory) in the Spanish-American War. He caught malaria and died shortly after returning home in 1899.

“Captain Hunt will be long remembered as the leading personality in the development of the aluminum industry, but his whole professional life had been active, broad, and useful to an unusual degree … Under Captain Hunt’s earnest and aggressive management the business became highly prosperous, a corps of fifty or more chemists, metallurgists, inspectors, and assistant engineers being at times employed.  Notwithstanding the demands of business on his time and vitality, Captain Hunt always retained the most lively interest in technology affairs … Few men had so wide a circle of acquaintances and friends, and it is as a friend and for his rare personal qualities that the loss of Captain Hunt was widely felt.  Never too busy for a quiet joke or a hearty laugh, with no bitterness or malice toward those who had crossed his path in business, a joyous good nature was the safety-valve that relieved the high pressure at which he worked,” John R. Freeman of Technology Review wrote in 1899.

Hunt was only 44. He had emphasized research. He had good backers, with the Mellon family investing millions into the business. He also had a good management team. Davis became president in 1910 and board chairman in 1928. The company was so successful that the federal government was jealous, suing Alcoa several times under antitrust laws.

"In 1937 the Justice Department began an extensive antitrust case against Alcoa. This one was conspicuous for its duration and for Davis' extraordinary performance on the witness stand. Davis was the star witness, testifying for six weeks and contributing over 2,000 pages of testimony. In dismissing the petition of the Justice Department, the trial judge praised Davis, who also drew accolades from his Alcoa colleagues for having personally won the company's case," Wikipedia reported.

Davis battled the press, telling a reporter once, "I've had to work hard all my life. I've had to work sixteen hours a day to make a good living. Do you work sixteen hours a day?"

However, the government appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the call was that since Alcoa controlled 90 percent of the market, Alcoa was guilty. But World War II was on. Alcoa and the U.S. government expanded aluminum capacity quickly and by the end of the war, Alcoa had formidable competition in Kaiser Aluminum and Reynolds Metals, rendering the case moot.

The Alcoa story reflects, sadly, the changes in America. In the 19th century, entrepreneurs flourished under laissez faire government, as they invested their time in making better products, improving production, and marketing. In the 20th century, the government slowly and steadily ate into that time as it pushed companies to jump through new hoops. Obviously, we cannot foul our air and water. But we also cannot continue to belittle and ridicule men and women who put in 16-hour days to make the products we need. Without Alcoa, it is difficult to imagine America winning the second World War.

We should praise our aluminum men: Charles Martin Hall, Alfred Ephraim Hunt, and Arthur Vining Davis.

Catch up on all the American Vignettes.

Tweet of the day [Don Surber]

Scoreboard 3-30-2015 [Don Surber]

1. At least three jurors cried as they viewed photos of an 8-year-old boy as the prosecution rested its case against Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It's a pressure cooker in there for the defendant. GOOD.

2. "Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens probably expects her columns to generate lots of chatter, but she never thought that her hair would spark a thousand (mostly cruel) comments." Here is an idea: Comb your hair. EVIL.

3. Barack Obama and John Kerry continue to kiss Iran's ass as negotiations over nukes continue. By now it is clear what this is about: Lifting oil sanctions against Iran so Democratic donors can cash in. EVIL.

4. John Kerry Says Nuclear Deal With Iran is Possible: “If Allah Wills It.” Cannot believe that 59 million people voted for Kerry for president. EVIL.

5. "One person was killed and another was injured Monday morning when police with the National Security Agency opened fire on a vehicle whose driver refused commands to stop at a security gate, according to a statement from the agency." If you cannot secure your own facility, how can you secure a nation? EVIL.

6. McDonald's to start table service. Next: They will come to your house and shovel the food into your piehole. EVIL.

7. "Harvey Weinstein questioned by NYPD after Italian woman, 22, says he groped her in his office: cops." Groping women? Just who does he think he is? Bill Clinton? EVIL.

8. "California's death row runs out of room." Gee, if only there were some way to alleviate the situation. EVIL.

9. "Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth announced Monday she will run for Senate, giving Democrats a top-tier candidate in a must-win seat in 2016."

Duckworth season.
Wabbitwowth theathon.
Duckworth season.
Wabbitwowth theathon.
Duckworth season.
Wabbitwowth theathon.
Rabbitworth season.
Duckwowth theathon.

10. "NYC 2015: Black Councilwoman Suggests ‘Benefit’ To Ethnically Segregated Housing." Democrats, still the party of racial segregation. EVIL.

11. Not 70 degrees, but rode with the top down. GOOD.

From the blog:

12. "Will Supremes defend wearing the flag?" GOOD.

13. "Imagine there's a heaven; it's easy if you try." Atheists flip out. Again. EVIL.

14. "52% of Americans see Obama as a threat to the United States." GOOD.

15. "Allies don't want to be Israel-ed." EVIL.

Today's American Vignette: "Arthur Wightman, physicist and teacher."

Final score: EVIL 10, GOOD 5.

Allies don't want to be Israel-ed [Don Surber]

I see where the Smart Diplomacy crew in the White House are flummoxed by the unwillingness of our Pacific allies to agree to a Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Why are our friends being so distant?

Ask Benjamin Netanyahu.

Our allies are not stupid. They see what has happened to Israel and they cringe at the thought of being next on the list. Democrats act as if they can compartmentalize the world. They cannot. The world sees the whole picture.

President Obama's anti-Semitism is noticed not just in Iran, but in Tokyo. And Seoul. And Singapore. And Bogota, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro. Our allies are nervous. They wonder if they will be the next to be thrown under the Greyhound bus by the United States.

From the Economist:

NEGOTIATIONS on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an ambitious trade agreement linking America, Japan and ten other countries — together accounting for 40% of global GDP — have missed so many deadlines that one more may not seem to matter. But talks are reaching a point of no return. Without an agreement in the next few weeks there will not be enough time to complete the TPP before America is embroiled in a presidential election campaign, and progress will be impossible until 2017. American diplomats, however, insist the deal is on track. They sometimes seem to be trying to convince themselves that an aim that has become a linchpin of American strategy is still achievable.
Their nervousness has been heightened by the recent embarrassment over the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a new, China-led multilateral development-finance institution. A number of close American allies have applied to become founding shareholders, ignoring American entreaties to shun it as a threat to global standards. After that setback, America needs the TPP to succeed more than ever. It may well do so. But the most recent round of TPP talks, in Hawaii, appears to have ended with some important disagreements still unresolved.
Negotiating international trade agreements among a dozen nations is tedious enough. But turning is back on Israel makes the task more difficult. The allies question our trustworthiness. Uncle Sam's word is no longer his bond.

52% of Americans see Obama as a threat to the United States [Don Surber]

Reuters is pooh-poohing the findings of its poll as Republicans-hate Obama.

But the results show half of all Americans -- black and white -- male and female -- gay and straight -- see President Barack Obama as a threat to the United States of America.

Only 35% say he poses no threat.

Wow. Finally something we agree on.

From Reuters, the question: "How much of a threat does President Barack Obama pose to the United States?"

The answers:

Imminent threat 18%
Serious threat 10%
Moderate threat 12%
Minimal threat 11%
No threat 35%
Not sure 13%
That is incredible.

From Reuters:
A third of Republicans believe President Barack Obama poses an imminent threat to the United States, outranking concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A Reuters/Ipsos online poll this month asked 2,809 Americans to rate how much of a threat a list of countries, organizations and individuals posed to the United States on a scale of 1 to 5, with one being no threat and 5 being an imminent threat.
The poll showed 34 percent of Republicans ranked Obama as an imminent threat, ahead of Putin (25 percent), who has been accused of aggression in the Ukraine, and Assad (23 percent). Western governments have alleged that Assad used chlorine gas and barrel bombs on his own citizens.
But wait a second. Republicans are a minority in this country. In order to get to a majority of Americans fearing their president, you must get many independents and Democrats to agree.

The willingness of Barack Obama to ignore the Constitution, and his casual attitude toward national security fuel those fears.

Imagine there's a heaven; it's easy if you try [Don Surber]

Arizona state Senator Sylvia Allen, a Republican from Snowflake, made a keen observation during a debate on carrying concealed weapons into government-owned buildings. She said the real reason people no longer feel safe is the country has divorced itself from God:

“Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth [but] that would never be allowed.”
Well, why not? If you can force people to buy health care insurance regardless if they want to, you can force them to attend church. Prayer after all helps heal, which would reduce health expenses, right?
Sylvia Allen is taking self-righteous crap from atheists who mock religion and patriotism.

But she did not push a law. She merely said we should be debating a cause of violence. And she told a newspaper afterward: “People prayed, people went to church. I remember on Sundays the stores were closed. The biggest thing is religion was kicked out of our public places, out of our schools.”

How odd that the media consider her viewpoint odd.

She is not foisting herself on others. She is merely stating the obvious about societal change. Only in repressive regimes are there subjects you cannot discuss.

Cue John Lennon.
Imagine there's a heaven
It's easy if you try
With hell below us
Above us more than sky
Imagine all the people
Praying each Sunday...
Or Saturday.

Will Supremes defend wearing the flag? [Don Surber]

You can burn the flag. The United States Supreme Court of Appeals said so in 1989. Dissent was patriotic because we had a Republican president.

But can a white student wear a flag on Cinco de Mayo under a Democratic president?

The Supremes will take a crack at that question this year. This case is why we wrote the First Amendment, to protect a minority from the violent threats of the majority. In this case, the mob won by forcing the flag-wearing students to leave the school.

Those who say it was provocative speech or hate speech should realize something: Those forms of speech are protected speech. In fact, those forms are at the front of the line when it comes to being protected.

Why? Because unpopular speech has a chance of being the wisest speech of all.

You know what is the only form of speech not protected? Threats of violence. We shall see if this holds as true in the 21st century as it has in the past.

From the Los Angeles Times:

The appeal in Dariano vs. Morgan Hill Unified School District asks the justices to decide whether wearing an American flag can be curtailed as an unnecessary provocation, or instead is a right of every citizen protected by the 1st Amendment. A decision on whether they will accept the case could come as soon as Monday.
The legal battle began on May 5, 2010, at Live Oak High School south of San Jose, when several students wore shirts bearing the American flag on the Mexican holiday marking the May 5, 1862, defeat of French invaders.
Their protest came in response to an incident the year before when a group of Mexican American students unfurled a Mexican flag on the holiday and paraded around the campus, triggering tensions with white students who began chanting, "USA! USA!"
The school had seen at least 30 fights between white and Latino students, school officials said.
Upon seeing the white students wearing U.S. flags, Mexican American students called them racists and complained to Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez.
Fearing violence, the assistant principal told several of the white students wearing the American flag that they had to turn their shirts inside out or go home. They chose to leave.
The incident caused an uproar in the community, and Fox News channel picked up the story.
"This is heartbreaking to the students and parents who see the flag as a symbol of national unity," said Los Angeles lawyer William Becker, who sued on behalf of several parents. "It rewards those who believe the flag is a symbol of hostility toward minorities. If they think there is a problem, then don't hold a Cinco de Mayo celebration."
We can live in a nation of mob rule, or in a country with rights protected by the government. The Supremes will decide which nation we live in.

By the way, this Miguel Rodriguez seems like an anti-white racist.

Arthur Wightman, physicist and teacher [Don Surber]

In academia, there are theorists and there are teachers. Arthur Wightman was both. He stood on the shoulders of giants, and giants now stand on his shoulders, including Harvard's Arthur Jaffe and Caltech's Barry Simon.

Wightman was a founder of the axiomatic approach to quantum field theory, and originated the set of Wightman axioms. I have no idea what these are, but I know what they mean: He advanced Man's knowledge of the universe, and continues to advance it through the men and women he taught.

Born on March 30, 1922, Wightman grew up in the Rochester, New York. Upon graduation from Yale in 1942, he served in the Navy during World War II. After the war, he entered graduate studies at Princeton under Eugene Wigner, the brilliant physicist who would win the Nobel in 1963. But Wigner's work at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory took him away from his work at Princeton.

John Archibald Wheeler became Wightman's advisor. What a great backup. Wheeler would win everything but a Nobel -- the Albert Einstein Award (1965), the Enrico Fermi Award (1968), the Franklin Medal (1969), the National Medal of Science (1970), the Oersted Medal (1983), the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Prize (1984), the Albert Einstein Medal (1988), the Matteucci Medal (1993), the Wolf Prize in Physics (1997) and Einstein Prize (APS) (2003).

Wheeler also popularized or coined such science terms as "black hole," "neutron moderator," "quantum foam," and "worm hole." Not only did this help science but it gave science fiction a vocabulary.

Perhaps this inspired Wightman to be a teacher as well as a theorist, or maybe it was his nature. The tributes following his death on January 13, 2013, from Alzheimer's are heartwarming.

"I can say I've been a student ever since. Arthur set me on the path of what I spent most of my life doing. I think of Arthur as the spiritual leader of mathematical physics and his death really marks the end of an era. It's hard to think of who will step into Arthur's shoes with the same wonderful breadth of interests, insights, understanding of people and ability to inspire the best from others. In the meantime, I mourn his loss," said Professor Arthur Jaffe of Harvard.

"During my four years as a math major at Princeton, I didn't get to know Professor Wightman well; indeed I spoke with him only once, on my way out, so to speak, at a small reception the Department held for graduating seniors and their parents after the graduation ceremony. Though we had never spoken before, he introduced himself to me and my parents and surprised me by not just knowing who I was but by speaking quite knowledgeably about work I had done with Professor Dwork for my senior thesis. He spoke to me as if I were already a fellow mathematician: he was enormously kind and encouraging. The whole conversation lasted maybe ten minutes, but it was my last interaction in the mathematics department as an undergraduate and made a lasting impression. In many ways, it was emblematic of the Princeton experience, where even a fledgling student on his way to learning his craft was not only noticed but treated like an equal by a giant of the field.  Historians of Mathematics and Physics will remember Professor Wightman as a founder of mathematical physics -- I'll remember him as a Professor who was as classy and elegant in his human interactions as he was in his mathematics," Professor Farshid Hajir of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

"Arthur Wightman was not intimidating; he was avuncular. I made frequent appointments with Arthur, which he would record in the pocket-size little black book that professors used to carry in those days. But sometimes I would find him alone in his office when I passed by, and with an undergraduate’s sense of entitlement (particularly pronounced at Princeton, at least according to the graduate students), I would barge in to ask a question. He almost always received me amiably, and these impromptu visits sometimes turned into long meetings. I sometimes felt uncomfortable, sensing that graduate students and postdocs, who may have had more compelling reasons to claim some of Arthur’s time, were a bit annoyed: That kid is talking to Arthur again! I kept coming back because Arthur always made me feel like he genuinely enjoyed my company. Maybe he made everyone feel that way," Professor John Preskill of Caltech.
"Wightman was known for his honesty and his adherence to the highest scientific standards, attributes that he tried to communicate to whoever crossed his path. His lectures in Princeton were legendary for their careful planning and for content that included constant attempts to integrate the latest research directions into his courses. Behind the scenes, Wightman worked tirelessly to encourage Princeton to accept the most talented undergraduates, to improve and to preserve Princeton’s famous library of mathematics and physics, and to create a research atmosphere in the department that stimulated outstanding work," Professor Barry Simon of Caltech.

Science needs more men -- and women -- who can research and teach. Giants need large shoulders to stand on.

Catch up on American Vignettes [Don Surber]

“I think the core of conservative philosophy is that every one of us is equal. Every one of us has God-given gifts. No one of us is better than any other one of us.” -- Carly Fiorina.
In America, we get to use those gifts. American Vignettes looks at those who used their God-given gifts wisely. Some are famous, most are not. All made America better. This is a list of them with links, also updated daily. Any inaccuracies should be pointed out in comments here, or to DonSurber@gmail.com.

* 1. James Knox Polk. He was our best one-term president, annexing most of what is west of the Mississippi, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.

2. Louis Chevrolet. Mechanic, race-car driver, and nameplate.

3. Evelyn Stone Bryan Johnson. She was 35 when she took her first flying lesson. She taught more men to fly than anyone.

4. George Swinnerton Parker. He took a socialistic board game and turned it into a primer on capitalism called "Monopoly."

5. "Edwin Howard Armstrong, caught static for inventing FM." Perhaps my best headline. Earworm warning on the Steely Dan tune.

6. Thomas Nast. Invented editorial cartooning, and used it to bring down Boss Tweed.

7. Lamar Hunt. Helped create the AFL, which made America's game better -- and gave us the Super Bowl.

8. Gail Borden Jr. His condensed milk helped win the Civil War.

* 9. Samuel Gridley Howe. Abolitionist and pioneer in education. Unlike today's activists, he did not spend all his time lobbying politicians to spend government money on their pet projects; Samuel Gridley Howe walked the talk.

10. Jonathan Winters. I don't do many celebrities, but he turned his mental illness into comedy.

11. Ewing Marion Kauffman. Started a pharmaceutical company in his basement and nursed it into a billion-dollar corporation. Then he cashed in and brought major league baseball back to Kansas City. A class act.

12. "David Swinson Maynard: He put the Seattle in Seattle."

13. Carl Anthony Rakes. He always wanted to be a sheriff's deputy. Murdered by a career criminal on a lonely highway.

14. Andrew Grove. Survived the Hungarian Fascists, endured the Nazis, dodged the Holocaust, escaped the Communists, and came to America at 20 to help launch Intel as its first employee.

15. Philip Hubert Frohman. Born in the Chelsea which his grandfather designed, he designed cathedrals across America including the National Cathedral in Washington.

16. Eugene Paul Wigner. The physicist who convinced Albert Einstein to lobby for the Manhattan Project.

17. Charles F. Dowd. He brought standardized time to the United States, making trains run right and enabling commercial broadcasting after he died.

18. William F. Buckley Jr. -- the true nonconformist of the fifties.

19. Robert Houghout Jackson. Supreme Court justice and Nuremberg prosecutor. What is remarkable about the Nuremberg trials is not that men were convicted and hanged, but that men were acquitted. These were not show trials, but rather a commitment to the judicial system that is the backbone of Western civilization.

* 20. Josiah Bartlett. As governor of New Hampshire, he sent the legislature home saying there was nothing left to do. Can we get his DNA and Jurassic Park him?

21. J.D. Tippit. The other man Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated.

22. Edwin Powell Hubble. Along with Belgian Monseigneur Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, he gave us the Big Bang Theory. Incredibly, neither man received the Nobel Prize -- but Al Gore did.

23. Cass Gilbert. Designed the best state Capitol in the nation: West Virginia's.

* 24. Andrew Carnegie. I eschew celebrities but his tale is irresistible, because it begins 126 years before his birth.

* 25. Saint Katharine Mary Drexel. Perhaps the richest woman in America, she gave it all up and took a vow of poverty. Patron saint of racial equality.

* 26. "Mary Edwards Walker, the only woman to earn the Medal of Honor." Oh, and she wasn't a soldier.

* 27. John Wesley Hyatt. He saved the elephant by inventing plastic.

28. James Robert Cade. The inventor of Gatorade.

29. Bill W. Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

30. Mario R. Capecchi. The war waif who would win the Nobel Prize. One of my favorites.

31. Elsie Quarterman. She brought the Tennessee purple coneflower back from extinction.

32. Nellie Tayloe Ross. The first woman elected governor.

* 33. Almon Brown Strowger. Upset with a conniving phone operator, he invented the forerunner to the rotary dial.

* 34. Oliver Evans. A century before Henry Ford, he made the movable assembly line possible.

35. George Phydias Mitchell. He liberated us from OPEC.

36. H.P. Lovecraft. Died in obscurity, but influenced Stephen King and other writers.

37. William Fouts House. He brought hearing to the deaf, which drew ire from the "deaf community."

38. Walt Disney. His was no Mickey Mouse operation.

39. Albert Abraham Michelson. America's first Nobel scientist.

40. Dorothy Scott Gerber. Babies were her business.

41. Ralph Braun, He gave mobility to the wheelchair-bound -- like him.

42. Clarence Birdseye. He changed how we eat.

43. Sarah Chang. The violinist prodigy who grew up.

44. Annie Jump Cannon. The astronomer given the "woman's task" of classifying the stars.

* 45. Melville Dewey. He computerized libraries before there were computers.

* 46. Henry Wells. He was the Wells in Wells Fargo and co-founder of American Express.

* 47. David Wilkinson. Inventor of a steam engine -- and a lathe that would change America.

* 48. George Swift. He beat the railroads and improved the American diet.

* 49. Benjamin Edes. He threw the Boston Tea Party.

50. Richard Jewell. The worst thing you can be sometimes is an innocent man.

51. Harold Eliot Varmus. The hippie who won the Nobel.

52. John Winthrop. America's first scientist.

* 53. Harvey Samuel Firestone. Tire magnate who fought the rubber cartel, and refused to join a tire cartel.

54. "George Warren Fuller, the man who crushed typhoid." The best public health measures have little to do with medicine.

55. "J. Walter Christie and the tank that beat Hitler."

56. Richard Conner. A little known Civil War hero who represents so many.

* 57. "The Real Adventures of Kit Carson." Folks, the true story beat the fiction.

58. Claude Shannon. Juggler -- and father of the information theory.

* 59. George Dewey. The highest ranking sailor in U.S. history.

60. "The Barcode Boys: Bob Silver and Joseph Woodland." Sometimes genius is ahead of itself.

61. Kary Banks Mullis. He took an LSD trip and landed a Nobel Prize.

* 62. "Charles Goodyear, invented the rubber industry and died broke." Goodyear Tire was founded 38 years after his death.

63. John Geary. The man behind the boulevard in San Francisco.

* 64. "Leland Stanford: After the Gold Rush." The true story of his founding of Stanford University is sadder than the urban legend.

* 65. Cyrus Hall McCormick. His reaper made America's breadbasket possible.

* 66. Mad Anthony Wayne. Like many good soldiers, Anthony Wayne rose through the ranks to become a general. But he earned the title Mad in the Revolutionary War on July 19, 1779.

67. "How Harold Zirin became Captain Corona." Or as Manfred Mann sang, "Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun, but mama, that's where the fun is."

68. Everett Dirksen. He made the Civil Rights Act of 1964 possible. Democrats rewarded that Klansman Bob Byrd, who tried to filibuster the bill, with majority leadership.

69. "Ban Johnson: He saved baseball." He did so two decades before Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

* 70. Jedediah Smith. He died at 32, but he had opened the West. Less than 40 years later, a transcontinental railroad would cross through the land he explored. The maps he helped draft would guide them.

71. Adolph Zukor. He beat Thomas Edison's movie cartel, created the studio system, and believed the public is never wrong.

72. Frank Nelson Doubleday. He published John D. Rockefeller's autobiography -- and Upton Sinclair.

73. Earl Gilbert Graves:“How to Succeed in Business Without Being White.”

74. Charles F. Brush. He brought electric light to the world.

75. Ezra Cornell. He formed Western Union and co-founded a school you may have heard about.

76. Ray Harroun. He won one Indianapolis 500, in a way that later saved thousands of lives.

77. Alfred Fuller. The first Fuller Brush Man.

78. Hal Roach. He teamed Laurel with Hardy, and quietly incorporated black kids in the Little Rascals.

79. Hap Arnold. He overcame a fear of flying to become the highest ranking Air Force general ever.

80. Marshall Field: "The customer is always right."

81. George Stigler. An economist who challenged the notion that regulation hurts business; actually, regulation can protect businesses from competition -- making matters worse.

* 82. Joseph Glidden. He did not invent or perfect the six-shooter, the telegraph, or the locomotive. But Joseph Glidden did as much to tame the West as Samuel Colt, Samuel Morse, or all those railroad magnates. He did it with barbed wire.

83. John H. Johnson. His "Ebony" magazine pretty much invented the black middle class -- and enlarged it.

84. Joan Weston. Her sex and her social status limited her opportunities, so she used her great athleticism to become the queen of the Roller Derby.

* 85. John C. Frémont. The handsome bastard who should have been president. Seriously, we went with James Buchanan?

86. Wrong Way Corrigan. The workingman's Charles Lindbergh. And he flew a plane literally held together by baling wire.

* 87. John Hancock. The man behind The Signature.

88. Ayanna Howard. She wanted to be a doctor until she had to dissect a frog. Now she is building robots.

89. Charles Curtis. He left the reservation to become the first and only American Indian elected vice president.

* 90. Julia Grant. The Army wife who became first lady, and helped a nation heal from a civil war, an assassination, and an impeachment.

91. Will Cook. He wrote the music that brought down Broadway's color line.

92. William Seward Burroughs. The man whose adding machine helped pave the way for the computer.

93. Allen B. DuMont. Invented radar and sired television.

94. John Lansing. Was this Founding Father murdered?

95. Red Knickerbocker. The journalist whom both the Nazis and the Soviets despised.

96. Bradbury Robinson. The quarterback who threw the first forward pass.

97. Henry J. Kaiser. He built that!

* 98. Horace Greeley. Go West, Young Man.

* 99. Tadeusz Kościuszko. A Revolutionary War hero whom Thomas Jefferson betrayed.

100. Ruth Fertel. A bitter divorce left her destitute. Hard work made her a millionaire.

101. Thurl Ravenscroft, his voice was too deep for opera, but not Tony the Tiger.

102. Yvonne Helen Swayze. She taught Tommy Tune to dance.

103. Maggie Bailey. The grandmother who sold moonshine.

* 104. William Still. He was the conductor on the underground railroad.

105. Sam Tilden. He just may have won that 1876 presidential election.

106. Thomas Alva Edison. Let there be light.

* 107. David Davis. He made Lincoln president.

108. Edward Bates. The slave owner who fought in court to free a slave.

109. Isidor and Ida Straus. A love story for all of time.

110. Al Gilbert. He invented the Erector Set.

111. Calvin Coolidge. He recognized Indian rights.

112. Dodie Stevens. Tan shoes with pink shoelaces.

113. Tiffanys.

114. Woody Williams. A hero of Iwo Jima.

115. Elizabeth Holloway Marston. The real Wonder Woman.

* 116. Rebecca Nurse. First victim of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

* 117. Gilbert Stuart. Why he did not finish his portrait of Washington.

118. Jonas Salk, Henrietta Lacks, and Albert Sabin. They helped end polio.

119. When President Cleveland saved the life insurance industry.

120. Edwin Land. Invented Polaroid. Inspired Steve Jobs.

121. Marjorie Merriweather Post. Cereal queen.

122. Townsend Harris. He made 13 Nobel winners possible.

123. Earl Anthony. Mister Bowling.

124. Albert Berry. First parachutist.

125. You Can Be Sure... If It's George Westinghouse.

126. Matthew B. Ridgway. The man who succeeded General MacArthur.

127. George Pake. If only Xerox had listened.

128. Charles Goodnight. The real Lonesome Dove.

* 129. Philip Henry Sheridan. Civil War hero. Indian fighter. Guardian of Yellowstone.

* 130. Robert Townsend and James Rivington. Spies so good, they hid it from each other.

131. Frederic Goudy. The man of 113 typefaces.

* 132. Albert Gallatin. He quelled the Whiskey Rebellion.

* 133. John Gunby. "I would sooner sink into a patriot's grave than wear the crown of England."

134. Lawrence Welk. It's a wunnerful life.

135. Raymond Loewy. He gave America style.

136. Leslie Richard Groves. Builder of the Pentagon and The Bomb.

137. Lucy Beaman Hobbs Taylor. First woman dentist.

138. Isaac Murphy. Arkansas's lone vote against secession.

139. Andrew Smith Hallidie. His little cable cars climb halfway to the stars.

140. Jim Bridger. The greatest Plainsman.

141. Ernest and Julio Gallo. Those little old winemakers.

142. Phil Metschan Tobin. The father of modern gambling.

* 143. Francis and Elizabeth Lewis. They sacrificed their lives and fortune for your liberty.

* 144. Sam Colt. The man behind the gun.

* 145. Anne Marbury Hutchinson. Mother of freedom of religion.

146. Bette Claire Graham. She truly profited from her mistakes.

147. Matilda Carse. 19th century mother against drunk driving.

148. Norman Borlaug. He saved a billion lives.

149. Prince Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole. He saved the Hawaiians.

150. Adolphus Greely. Medal of Honor for a lifetime of service.

151. Frederick Pabst, the captain who became a beer baron.

* 152. Edwin Drake, he drilled the first oil well.

* 153. Samuel Kier, he started the oil business.

154. Arthur Wightman, physicist and teacher.

155. Charles Martin Hall, Alfred Ephraim Hunt, and Arthur Vining Davis, the aluminum men.

US offers the UN its plan for meeting climate obligations [Ars Technica]

Earlier today, the US submitted its plan for controlling greenhouse gas emissions, part of the effort to forge an international climate agreement at a summit meeting in Paris later this year. In doing so, the US becomes one of only a handful of nations to have joined the EU in submitted anything by the end of March, the intended deadline for countries to have a plan formulated.

The document is termed an INDC, for Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. Under the current United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations, the INDCs are intended to show how nations will track their greenhouse gas emissions, and the measures they will take to control them in the future. These documents will serve as part of the process that is intended to produce a binding agreement that will help limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.

The US' documentation is pretty sparse, coming in at four pages (one of which is largely empty). In it, the US describes its goals: relative to a baseline of 2005 emissions levels, it intends to be 17 percent lower in 2020, and 26-28 percent lower in 2025. These are the same goals laid out in the recent agreement forged between the Obama administration and China. The US is currently close to its 2020 goal already, but will need to accelerate progress further in order to reach the 2030 target.

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Details surface about Intel’s 14nm Celeron and Pentium chips for cheap PCs [Ars Technica]

Earlier this month, Intel officially announced new Atom x3, x5, and x7 chips aimed primarily at Android and Windows tablets. Those chips are all part of Intel's Cherry Trail platform, which combines CPU cores based on the Airmont architecture with a cut-down version of the integrated GPU used in the Broadwell family of chips. Cherry Trail replaces Bay Trail, and we're already beginning to see it in products like the Surface 3.

Intel will also be offering versions of the same chips aimed at cheap desktops and laptops, sold under the venerable Celeron and Pentium brand names. The Bay Trail versions of these chips were just called "Bay Trail-D," but the Cherry Trail versions get a new codename: Braswell. Today, CPU World published details on four of these new Braswell chips.

Braswell chips have the same CPUs and GPUs as the Cherry Trail Atoms, but they come with a few extra features necessary for mainstream PCs—for Bay Trail chips this included SATA ports and higher RAM limits—and higher TDPs. Chips in laptops and desktops will have more room to stretch their legs than they would in tablets, and higher TDP levels will let them run at their maximum rated frequencies for longer periods of time.

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Fan-made Super Mario 64 game pulled after Nintendo cries foul [Ars Technica]

Super Mario 64 HD Remake!—In Unity.

Just a couple of days after computer science student Erik Roystan Ross released a free recreation of the first level of Nintendo's 1996 Super Mario 64 in Unity, the game's original creator stepped in to put “No” in “N(intend)o.”

Ross, who released his high-definition version of the Bob-Omb Battlefield for play in a browser, or on a computer running Windows, Mac, or Linux, didn't have any intention of selling the game and made it available for free.

Still, Nintendo sent Content Delivery Network (CDN) Cloudflare a complaint under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) this week demanding that the fan recreation be taken down:

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Massive denial-of-service attack on GitHub tied to Chinese government [Ars Technica]

The massive denial-of-service attacks that have intermittently shut down GitHub for more than five days is the work of hackers with control over China's Internet backbone, according to two technical reports published Tuesday that build a strong case that government authorities are at least indirectly responsible.

GitHub officials have said the torrent of junk data pummeling their servers is the biggest they have ever seen. As previously reported, the two GitHub pages are constantly loaded and reloaded by millions of computer users inside and outside of China, an endless loop that left unmitigated outages not just on the two targeted pages but throughout GitHub's entire network. Exhibit A in the case in which China is involved are the two specific GitHub pages targeted: one hosts anti-censorship service GreatFire.org while the other hosts a mirror site of The New York Times' Chinese edition. The targets suggest the attackers are sympathetic to the vast censorship apparatus known as the Great Firewall of China.

Now researchers have unearthed additional evidence implicating China that goes beyond motive. Specifically, the computers hammering GitHub servers are all running a piece of malicious code that surreptitiously makes them soldiers in a massive DDoS army. The JavaScript gets silently injected into the traffic of sites that use an analytics service that China-based search engine Baidu makes available so website operators can track visitor statistics. About one percent of people visiting such sites don't receive the true Baidu analytics JavaScript but instead get code that forces their browser to constantly reload the two targeted GitHub pages.

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Teens hit with child porn charges after tweeting their group-sex video [Ars Technica]

Four suburban Illinois teenagers were being held Tuesday on child pornography charges for allegedly producing a group-sex video of themselves and posting it to Twitter.

The youths, whose names were not released because of their age, include a 15-year-old girl and boys 14, 15, and 16. They were arrested Friday and charged with distributing child pornography online.

"The child pornography offense that was charged is in place for a reason, because we don't want to accept that type of behavior as a society. So I think it's making a strong statement, and I think it's important to do so to send the message to others: that kids shouldn't be involved in this type of behavior, and hopefully this will serve as a deterrent," Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton said.

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Feds subpoena reddit in effort to learn about users behind Dark Web chatter [Ars Technica]

An Immigrations and Customs Agency (ICE) special agent, who previously was involved with the investigation into Mt. Gox, has issued a subpoena to reddit in an attempt to learn more about five redditors active on /r/darknetmarkets.

That subreddit has been very active as a “clearnet” (eg, not on Tor) discussion for various Dark Market websites over at least the last several months.

Neither ICE nor the Department of Justice immediately responded to Ars' request for comment.

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LAPD does not adequately review dash-cam footage, audit says [Ars Technica]

A review of dash-cam footage of Los Angeles Police Department traffic stops found a "legal basis supporting the majority" of them. But Tuesday's audit by the Los Angeles Police Commission's inspector general concluded that supervisors do not regularly review the "digital in-car video system" (DICVS) footage.

"The Department reviews the content of in-car video footage during the investigation of complaints, uses of force, vehicle pursuits, and other critical incidents. It generally does not, however, review the substance of DICVS footage in the absence of one of these investigations or reviews," according to the audit (PDF) from the commission's inspector general, Alexander Bustamante.

Bustamante said his office will continue monitoring the footage to ensure "that officers adhere to constitutional and legal standards as well as Department policy."

The audit comes as the recording of police activity—either by the public or by police video cameras—has become a national phenomenon in the wake of an 18-year-old unarmed teenager being shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in August. Police departments nationwide are gobbling up dash cams and body cams. And the public is posting videos to YouTube of police activity regularly, often prompting investigations of activities that otherwise would have gone unnoticed without the mobile-phone footage.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department dash cam policy requires officers using vehicles equipped with them to activate the cameras during all motor vehicle stops and when "practicable" during pedestrian stops. The report recommended that officers activate them during all stops, and the LAPD has agreed to change course.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report found it quite helpful when footage was reviewed.

The advent of DICVS technology has been a great benefit to the Department and the OIG in investigating and reviewing events involving complaints of officer misconduct, officer-involved shootings and other uses of force, vehicle pursuits, traffic collisions, and other issues. Where available, in-car video or audio evidence has enabled the Department, in many cases, to refute false allegations, as well as to hold its employees accountable for those incidents where misconduct has occurred.

The dash cams include a front-facing camera and an internal camera pointing to the back seat. There is a built-in microphone and a portable one worn on an officer's belt. The camera turns on automatically if the light bar atop the vehicle is activated. The camera can also be activated on the system console or via a portable unit.

The audit found that it was easy for supervisors to review the footage, too.

"Each clip is searchable by an officer’s name or serial number, date, and can be viewed by authorized users on any network computer equipped with the DICVS software," the report said.

The department expects to have dash cams in most patrol vehicles by year's end.

In December, the LAPD announced it was purchasing 7,000 body cameras for LAPD officers to wear in the street.

Read on Ars Technica | Comments

Judge: Mississippi investigation of Google likely violates 1st Amendment [Ars Technica]

An investigation of Google by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood was halted earlier this month when a federal judge in Hood's home state granted Google's motion for an injunction.

Now, US District Judge Henry Wingate has published an opinion laying out his reasoning for siding with Google. In a 25-page order (PDF), Wingate found "significant evidence of bad faith" on Hood's part.

In particular, Wingate said some of Hood's remarks at a conference of attorney generals were overly threatening. According to a transcript submitted by Google, Hood said:

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Report: Facebook tracks all visitors, even if you’re not a user and opted out [Ars Technica]

Facebook tracks the Web-browsing activities of all visitors to the facebook.com domain even if they are not a Facebook user, according to new research from Europe. The report (PDF) updates work from earlier this year, which found that Facebook's updated privacy policy breached EU law.

The research has been commissioned by the Belgian data protection agency, which is investigating Facebook. It was a collaboration between the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT/Centre for Intellectual Property Rights (ICRI/CIR) at the University of Leuven and the Department of Studies on Media, Information, and Telecommunication (SMIT) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels.

This newly found tracking, used to provide targeted advertising, is carried out through Facebook's social widget, the Like Button. A cookie is placed in the browser when someone visits any page in the facebook.com domain, including sections that do not require an account. For visitors that are not Facebook users, the cookie contains a unique identifier, and it has an expiration date of two years. Facebook users receive additional cookies that identify them uniquely. Once those cookies have been set, Facebook will receive them for every subsequent visit to a website that uses Facebook's social widget. That applies whether or not the Facebook user is logged in to his or her account and whether or not the visitor to the third-party site actually uses the social widget.

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By the numbers: America’s favorite vehicles mapped [Ars Technica]

The automotive world is not a homogeneous one. Different regions have distinct opinions when it comes to the vehicles they’ll buy, and what works in Toledo might not make any sense on the streets of Turin or Tokyo. It’s a commonly accepted fact that Americans love big trucks and gas-hungry SUVs, but is that actually true?

Turns out, the answer is yes... unless you live in California. EveryCarListed.com has crunched the numbers, looking for the most popular vehicles per state, how much residents of a state spend on their cars on average, and so on. The Ford F-150 truck is the undeniable winner for the vast majority of the United States, being the most popular vehicle in 39 of the 50 states. They also compared overall truck versus car sales (without giving any information about the time period, but we’re going to assume it was for a single month, given the numbers) and found that truck sales edge out car sales, 8.7 million versus 7.7 million.

A few states do buck the trend. The aforementioned California favors the BMW 3-Series, and the Nissan Altima wins out in Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. Rhode Islanders adore their Mercedes-Benz C-Classes, Hawaii goes crazy for the Honda CR-V, Massachusetts is mad for the Honda Accord, and for reasons I don’t understand, Arizona is all about the Dodge Grand Caravan.

Read on Ars Technica | Comments

Cortex A17 chips allow ARM Chromebooks to limbo down to $149 [Ars Technica]

Most Chromebooks cost somewhere between $200 and $300, a price range they've occupied since the launch of the first $199 Chromebook in late 2012. For a long time, they were unchallenged in this price range, but recent efforts by Microsoft and PC OEMs have brought decent Windows laptops down to $200, too. Today the price war escalates again—Google is announcing a pair of Chromebooks that go down to $149.

The new Chromebooks are the first from Hisense and Haier, two Chinese companies known primarily for supplying budget products to specific retailers. Hisense products, including the new Hisense Chromebook, are typically sold through Walmart, while the Haier Chromebook 11 will be available from Amazon.

Both of these Chromebooks come with ARM processors rather than the more common Intel offerings, which partially explains why they're so cheap. The other specs are pretty barebones, too: each laptop includes 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC storage and an 11.6-inch 1366×768 display with a maximum brightness of 200 nits. Each has two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, a microSD card reader, a headphone jack, a full-size HDMI port, and a 720p webcam, as well as 867Mbps 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 support.

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Dealmaster: Get up to 95% off Udemy online education courses [Ars Technica]

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our partners at TechBargains, the Dealmaster is back with a fresh batch of items that cost less than they normally do. The featured deal this week is something a little different: knowledge!

We're offering up to 95% off courses from Udemy, an online education platform. It's not college credits or anything, but it's a great place to learn a new skill. Learn photography, or programming, or design—there are courses on almost anything you can imagine!


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Comcast mega-merger brings more cable consolidation with new Charter deal [Ars Technica]

Another cable company merger was announced today, but it won't be completed unless the government allows Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable (TWC).

Charter Communications plans to buy Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion, but the deal is contingent on Comcast's big merger. That's because Charter itself has a stake in Comcast/TWC; Charter stands to gain 1.4 million subscribers from Time Warner Cable in exchange for $7.3 billion. Comcast would also divest itself of 2.5 million subscribers with the spinoff of a new cable company called GreatLand Connections.

If the Comcast/TWC and Charter/Bright House mergers go through, Charter would end up as the second biggest cable operator in the US behind Comcast.

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Supreme Court mulls lengthy patent deals in spat over Spider-Man toy [Ars Technica]

A disagreement over a toy that lets kids pretend they're Spider-Man is the impetus for one of two patent cases the Supreme Court is considering this year.

The subject matter in Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises is lighthearted enough that one has to imagine some kind of mild joke will be made from the bench. But while the lawsuit doesn't have the weight of the patent cases that were considered by the high court last year, it's no small matter. The question of how far a patent license can last will affect all patent defendants, including the tech companies that face a steady drumbeat of lawsuits from patent trolls.

A lucrative toy

Stephen Kimble invented a toy "for shooting string foam" in 1990, and he patented it as US Patent No. 5,072,856. The device envisaged is a glove that shoots foam from the palm "to create a spider-like web for amusement purposes."

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Charlotte DA review: In 40 cases, cops don’t even know if they used stingrays [Ars Technica]

Last fall, a judge in Charlotte, North Carolina, unsealed a multi-case set of 529 court documents that detail the use of a stingray, or cell-site simulator, by local police. After that, the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office set out to review the applications and determine which records needed to be shared with defense attorneys.

The DA's office released a statement Friday saying its review is complete, and the county’s top prosecutorial authority found that "only two cases" involved the use of stingrays "for investigative purposes," meaning defense attorneys should be notified.

However, the report is not that simple. The DA review excluded cases that were "dismissed, resulted in a not-guilty verdict, or were federally charged." In total, only 149 cases were examined. The local Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) confirmed that stingrays were used in more than 20 percent of these (39 cases), but in 38 of those 39 instances, "the device was used to locate a defendant who already had a warrant for his arrest, and only one was used for investigative purposes."

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Top UK doctors call for ban on “inherently risky” fracking [Ars Technica]

Following the decision last year by New York state to ban fracking for natural gas, a group of senior doctors and academics in the UK has called for a similar, nationwide moratorium on the extraction technique. This would extend the ban on "unconventional oil and gas extraction" announced by the Scottish government earlier this year to the rest of the UK. The Welsh Assembly has already passed a motion against fracking, which is a highly controversial technology in many European countries and not widely deployed there.

In a letter published by the British Medical Journal, the health professionals write: "Fracking is an inherently risky activity that produces hazardous levels of air and water pollution that can have adverse impacts on health. The heavy traffic, noise and odour that accompanies fracking, as well as the socially disruptive effects of temporary ‘boomtowns’ and the spoilage of the natural environment are additional health hazards."

They point out that the UK is likely to suffer the ill-effects of fracking more than other countries because of its greater population density. This would lead to gas extraction taking place close to communities, rather than in more isolated locations. The letter notes that there are also strong environmental reasons to ban fracking, because contrary to some claims, shale gas extraction would "be incompatible with global efforts to prevent global warming from exceeding two degrees centigrade."

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Flickr offers new public domain licensing in wake of SpaceX photo release [Ars Technica]

On Monday afternoon, Yahoo's photo-sharing platform Flickr announced that it would add public domain and CC-Zero licensing options for users who want to share their work freely with the public. Both options allow others to reuse photos licensed in that manner in any way they wish.

In a blog post yesterday, Flickr said that Elon Musk's private space flight company, SpaceX, was one of the first accounts to change the licensing on its photos.

Musk put hundreds of SpaceX photos up on Flickr last week, initially releasing them under a Creative Commons license, which does leave some restrictions on reuse of the photos (commercial use is not permitted, for example). But when pressed by Twitter followers, Musk agreed to put his company's photos in the public domain, free for all to use. Still, on Flickr's platform, Musk had to list his photos as CC-BY, which allows for any type of reuse as long as attribution is maintained, because a less-restrictive option was not available.

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If you believe enough, can you invalidate a patent? Supreme Court to decide [Ars Technica]

Commil USA is an Israeli patent-holding company, which says its patent number 6,430,395 solves the problem of "how to manage 'hand-offs' between different base stations that together provide wireless coverage over a large area." Rather than using old base stations, the invention "provides a novel architecture that includes a new hardware device called a switch,'" Commil lawyers explain in their brief.

In 2007, Commil sued Cisco in the Eastern District of Texas, saying that its "Split-MAC WLAN systems" infringe the patent. Technically, though, it's Cisco's customers who were said to infringe the patent, which describes the invention in a series of "method claims." Commil lawyers said that Cisco's customers violate those claims any time they use one of an array of "Split-MAC" products that Cisco acquired when it bought a company called Airespace. The company introduced its "Split-MAC" concept in 2002, more than a year after the priority date of Commil's patent, according to Commil.

The issue that has the high court's attention in Commil v. Cisco is how a defendant should be allowed to defend itself from accusations of infringement. Cisco says, essentially, that when it comes to proving secondhand infringement, intent matters. It should have been allowed to present evidence that showed it had a "good-faith belief of invalidity" to the jury, which the trial judge prevented it from doing.

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

“It felt like robbery”: Tomb Raider and the fall of Core Design [Ars Technica]

The house that built Tomb Raider sat on top of the world in 1998. Fresh from two gang-busting chart toppers that eventually amassed roughly 15 million in sales between them, Core Design and its parent company Eidos prepared to release a third adventure for starlet Lara Croft—a video game character so immensely and immediately popular that she was a household name within a year of her introduction. Croft quickly became an icon not just of the burgeoning, maturing games industry, but also of popular culture. She was on the covers of magazines such as Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and Time. And she later found her way onto the silver screen, portrayed by Angelina Jolie in two blockbuster films. Ms. Croft seemed to be everywhere.

Tomb Raider developer Core Design appeared untouchable with Lara in tow, and it was thanks to the franchise's immense success that publisher Eidos had just been named the fastest-growing company in the world at the 1998 World Economic Forum. But the studio's creative origins clashed with the publicly traded Eidos' year-in, year-out reliance on the Tomb Raider brand as a money-making machine. By the end of 2003—the year that the disastrous, hellishly developed sixth Tomb Raider in seven years was forced out unfinished—they were laughing stocks of the entertainment world.

Embarrassed at losing face, Eidos put Core Design co-founder and CEO Jeremy Heath-Smith on gardening leave (suspension with pay) for a year and yanked the Tomb Raider franchise from its home. The British heroine was packed off to Legacy of Kain developer Crystal Dynamics in the US, where she has arguably flourished without the pressures of annualized sequels.

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Microsoft unveils the Surface 3: Mostly ARMless, a whole lot x86ier [Ars Technica]

With Surface Pro 3, Microsoft finally had a Surface tablet that made sense. The combination of a kickstand tablet with its detachable keyboard, stylus support, x86 processor, and full version of Windows made for a lightweight PC that was a good fit for all manner of mobile workers. While still not the device for everyone, Surface Pro 3 established a niche for Microsoft's PCs.

But this only represented a partial redemption. The non-Pro Surface line—meaning, the first generation Surface RT and the second generation Surface 2—never found market success. They used ARM processors and ran Windows RT, Microsoft's version of Windows 8 built for ARM. As such, they couldn't run traditional Windows software. In spite of this, they still sported a traditional Windows desktop (and specially recompiled versions of Office), providing an experience that was not quite Windows, but not pure tablet, either.

It wasn't immediately clear how Microsoft wanted to iterate the Surface line. When Surface Pro 3 was revealed, it wasn't joined by a corresponding ARM Surface 3. Instead, there was evidence of an 8-inch, ARM-powered Surface Mini that was mysteriously canceled at the last minute.

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Abused women twice as likely to experience depression, new study shows [Ars Technica]

Research indicates that women who have experienced partner violence have a higher rate of mental illness. However, the link is more complex than it might seem, because pre-existing illnesses and other risk factors, like childhood abuse and early motherhood, can confound the analysis. It could be that women at risk for mental illness due to other factors, like child abuse, are also more at risk for experiencing partner violence.

Researchers at the University of Montreal conducted a study designed to analyze the specific link between depression and partner violence, separating it from other known risk factors. They found that, even after confounding factors were controlled for, women who had experienced partner violence were twice as likely to suffer from depression. The results were published recently in the journal Depression and Anxiety.

The participants in the study were drawn from a larger longitudinal study of English and Welsh mothers of twins. Only women with no history of depression were included, leaving a sample size of 978. The women were interviewed three times over seven years to assess their experience of partner violence as well as other risk factors for depression.

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Man who sued Comcast now wants over $5M, says ISP shouldn’t have smeared him [Ars Technica]

Just after his lawsuit failed to settle last week, aggrieved former Comcast customer Conal O’Rourke filed an amended civil complaint that stemmed from a year-long billing dispute with the ISP.

But this time, he's now raised the demanded amount to more than $5 million. Previously, he had asked for "all damages legally and/or proximately caused to Mr. O’Rourke by Defendants totaling more than $1 million" when the suit was first filed in October 2014.

The new March 27, 2015 amended complaint is largely identical to the original one, except that it also adds a new "cause of action" against Comcast, listed now as number six of seven: "Invasion of Privacy (Public Disclosure of Private Facts)."

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Sling TV didn’t tell users its newest channels “restrict” certain programs [Ars Technica]

Megan Geuss
Over the weekend, reddit users posting on the subreddit /r/cordcutters were surprised to find that some of Sling TV's most recent channel additions—A&E, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network (LMN), and WE TV—were not entirely available. Shows like Criminal Minds on A&E, Kept Woman on Lifetime, and Intervention on LMN were throwing up a “Restricted Content” notice, sometimes for eight- and ten-hour blocks.

The new channels are not part of Sling TV's basic, $20-per-month package, but require users to pay an extra $5 per month for the Lifestyle Extra package.

“Due to rights restrictions, this content can not be streamed on Sling TV,” the notice tells Sling TV users.

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Tim Cook leads tech sector opposition to “dangerous” Indiana law [Ars Technica]

Opposition to Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence last week, has been particularly strong among the tech and hobbyist sectors, and that opposition grew even louder thanks to a letter written by Apple CEO Tim Cook.

His Sunday op-ed, printed in The Washington Post on Sunday, didn't mince words, describing Indiana's new bill—and similar bills around the nation, including a few that have yet to be signed into law—as a "dangerous" means of enabling discrimination. He urged states considering similar laws to think again, pointing out how their signing "truly will hurt jobs, growth and economic vibrancy."

"These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear," Cook wrote. "They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality." Cook went on to describe his stringent religious upbringing: "I have great reverence for religious freedom. As a child, I was baptized in a Baptist church, and faith has always been an important part of my life. I was never taught, nor do I believe, that religion should be used as an excuse to discriminate."

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We Can’t Hear You: The Shameful Review of Bill C-51 By the Numbers [Michael Geist]

The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security will hold its clause-by-clause review of Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism bill, this morning. The government is expected to introduce several modest amendments that experts note do little to address some of the core concerns with the bill. While there is some tinkering with the information sharing provisions, the law will still allow for widespread sharing without effective oversight from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Moreover, key concerns with respect to the CSIS Act (warrants that can violate Charter rights) and broader oversight and accountability remains untouched.

None of this comes as a surprise. Earlier in the committee hearings, Green Party leader Elizabeth May lamented that “the hearing process is a sham. They’re not listening to witnesses.” Now that the hearings have concluded, the data bears this out. Witnesses from across the political spectrum called for changes to the information sharing rules, to oversight, to the CSIS powers, and to the advocating or promoting terrorism provision, yet Conservative MPs never bothered to listen.

Few legislative issues are as important as the security and privacy of Canadians, but the entire hearings were structured to avoid hearing from experts, to asking irrelevant questions, or to bringing in witnesses with scant knowledge of the proposed bill.  Just how bad was it? The Bill C-51 hearings by the numbers:

Conservative MPs (Roxanne James, Rick Norlock, Diane Ablonzcy, LeVar Payne, Ted Falk)

49: Number of external witnesses
16: Number of hours spent in committee with external witnesses
25: Number of times a Conservative MP asked a substantive question about a Bill C-51 provision (Payne (7), Falk (6), Norlock (6), Ablonzcy (3), James (3))
3: Number of times a Conservative MP asked a critic a substantive question about a Bill C-51 provision (Falk (2), Ablonzcy (1))
4: Number of times a Conservative MP asked one or fewer questions during their time due to long statements (Norlock (2), Ablonzcy (1), James (1))

3: Number of times LeVar Payne asked if CSIS or the RCMP is too busy to ask government for information on protesters (Davies, Morrison, Toronto Police Association)
2: Number of times Roxanne James interrupted critics of Bill C-51 with points of order or questions to the chair during their statements or responses (CCLA, Open Media)
4: Number of times Diane Ablonczy asked about jihadi or ISIS threats (Cooper, NCCM, Heritage Foundation, CIJA)

1: Number of times Diane Ablonzcy questioned whether the witness was committed to fighting terrorism (NCCM)
1: Number of times Rick Norlock asked a witness if they “opposed taking terrorists off the street” (BCCLA)
1: Number of times Roxanne James asked witnesses to comment on “unhelpful information” being circulated about information sharing (Davies)
1: Number of times Diane Ablonczy said she struggled with the relevance of former Senator Hugh Segal’s concerns (Segal)

The Witnesses

9: Number of witnesses who did not comment on C-51 specifics in their opening statements (Davies, Collacott, Gora, Neumann, Quigan, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Nawaz, Boisvert, Center for Security Policy )
8: Of those who were supportive of Bill C-51 (Davies, Collacott, Gora, Neumann, Quigan, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Boisvert, Center for Security Policy)

12: Number of Canadian privacy commissioners who have publicly criticized Bill C-51
0: Number of appearances by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
0: Number of appearances by any Canadian (federal or provincial) privacy commissioner
3: Number of U.S. groups with no Canadian connections who appeared as witnesses (American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Heritage Institute, Center for Security Policy)

135: Number of pages Professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach wrote in four background papers on Bill C-51
3: Number of questions posed directly to Forcese and/or Roach by Conservative MPs

1: Number of immigration “experts” who could not answer a direct question (asked three times) on the immigration provisions in Bill C-51 (Collacott)
1: Number of witnesses who argued that critics of Bill C-51 were unaware of the increasing threat of terrorism and tide of hatred of Canadian university campuses (Benlolo)
1: Number of witnesses who pointed to the need for Parliamentary oversight and claimed that Bill C-51 included it (Center for Security Policy)
1: Number of witnesses who, when asked what gaps Bill C-51 fills, responded that it allows police to monitor what people say in public (Sheehy)

The post We Can’t Hear You: The Shameful Review of Bill C-51 By the Numbers appeared first on Michael Geist.

Is Sexual Desire Dehumanizing? [The Other McCain]

Studying feminist theory requires an ability to maintain sanity in the constant presence of madness. Today while making my rounds inside the online feminist lunatic asylum, I encountered this: When women say “But I like to be objectified! Doesn’t everybody, sometimes?” it used to annoy me, but now it just breaks my heart a little. […]

Poll Finds ‘Clear Majority’ of Americans Are Hopelessly Gullible Fools [The Other McCain]

That’s not the headline in the Washington Post, however: Poll: Clear majority supports nuclear deal with Iran We’re conducting diplomacy by referendum now? Exactly how much does the average American know about the details of this “deal”? Are folks sitting around over dinner at the Olive Garden chatting about centrifuges and enriched uranium? Have random […]

Study: Lesbians in U.S. Earn 20% More Than Heterosexual Women [The Other McCain]

CNN has been giving hourly updates to hype claims that a religious freedom law in Indiana could unleash hateful discrimination against gay people. This appears to be a media-driven hysteria. Nineteen other states have laws similar to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which is modeled after a federal law Bill Clinton signed. Yet the question […]

Meet ‘Tony'; Senator Reid’s Occasional 6’2″, 225lb, Taciturn ‘Retirement Advisor’ [The Other McCain]

by Sissypuss the Blog Kitty I got word via Her Majesty’s spy network (what’s a little ‘stealth outsourcing’ between frenemies, eh?) that Tony Scambilloni had a flight booked for Dulles. This within hours of the surprise announcement that Harry “the Cadaver” Reid was not intending to transition from un- to fully-dead right there on the […]

‘Peak Hipster’ in San Francisco [The Other McCain]

“Affordable housing” is one of those phrases, like “social justice” and “sexual equality,” that sounds like a good thing, until you realize it’s a license for totalitarianism. For most of us, “affordable housing” means living someplace where we can afford the rent. The advocates of “affordable housing,” however, always want to live someplace we couldn’t […]

‘Publicly Shamed:’ Who Needs The Pillory When We’ve Got Twitter? [The Travelin' Librarian]

Writer Jon Ronson has spent a lot of time tracking people who have been shamed, raked over the coals on social media for mostly minor — but sometimes major — transgressions. And he writes about some of them in his new book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

Ronson tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep his anxiety level shot up while he was writing about the victims of public ridicule. “My book has a kind of panicky, heart-racing quality to it,” he says, “but in a positive way, because I wanted to say look, if we’re going to carry on destroying people for nothing, this is what it feels like.”

Source: NPR

The post ‘Publicly Shamed:’ Who Needs The Pillory When We’ve Got Twitter? appeared first on The Travelin' Librarian.

Tuesday Tech Tip: Firefox’s Share this page [The Travelin' Librarian]

Just in case you didn’t notice that new paper airplane icon that appeared in Firefox a few weeks ago, it’s their new “Share this page” feature. At first it does nothing, but as you conntect it to your social networking accounts, it will give you the ability to post the pager you’re currently viewing to various social networks such as Facebook, G+, Twitter, delicious, Tumblr, and more. Just click the icon to check it out. If it’s not there, customize your toolbar accordingly.

Firefox Share this page

The post Tuesday Tech Tip: Firefox’s Share this page appeared first on The Travelin' Librarian.

Fresh Air: How ‘One Nation’ Didn’t Become ‘Under God’ Until The ’50s Religious Revival [The Travelin' Librarian]

The words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase “In God we trust” on the back of a dollar bill haven’t been there as long as most Americans might think. Those references were inserted in the 1950s during the Eisenhower administration, the same decade that the National Prayer Breakfast was launched, according to writer Kevin Kruse. His new book is One Nation Under God.

In the original Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy made no mention of God, Kruse says. Bellamy was Christian socialist, a Baptist who believed in the separation of church and state.

“As this new religious revival is sweeping the country and taking on new political tones, the phrase ‘one nation under God’ seizes the national imagination,” Kruse tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “It starts with a proposal by the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic lay organization, to add the phrase ‘under God’ to the Pledge of Allegiance. Their initial campaign doesn’t go anywhere but once Eisenhower’s own pastor endorses it … it catches fire.”

Kruse’s book investigates how the idea of America as a Christian nation was promoted in the 1930s and ’40s when industrialists and business lobbies, chafing against the government regulations of the New Deal, recruited and funded conservative clergy to preach faith, freedom and free enterprise. He says this conflation of Christianity and capitalism moved to center stage in the ’50s under Eisenhower’s watch.

Source: NPR

The post Fresh Air: How ‘One Nation’ Didn’t Become ‘Under God’ Until The ’50s Religious Revival appeared first on The Travelin' Librarian.

Is the US corporate tax burden really too low? [AEI » Pethokoukis]

Something bothers me about this Reuters story:

Tax collections from individual Americans last year reached their highest share of the U.S. economy in seven years while corporate tax revenue again lagged historical averages, a new congressional report showed on Monday. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) said in a review of the tax system that individual federal income tax receipts were 8.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in fiscal 2014. That level was last achieved in 2007 before the financial crisis plunged the economy into its worst recession since the 1930s.

As large companies clamor for tax code reforms aimed at reducing corporate rates, the JCT data show individual wage-earners and business owners who treat their firms’ profits as personal income are bearing an increasing share of the U.S. tax burden. Meanwhile, federal corporate income tax collections were just 1.9 percent of GDP, up slightly from the past two years, but below the 2.6 percent average since 1950.

Don’t get me wrong, I assume the data itself are correct. But I would guess that many Reuters readers would draw the conclusion that the corporate tax burden should increase, at least back to its historical level. But keep in mind that corporations, as a recent AEI analysis noted,  “are merely institutions through which people conduct their business affairs. … Taxes on corporations must ultimately be borne by individuals, although it is unclear how the burden is divided among corporate shareholders, other recipients of investment income, employees, or consumers of corporate-sector goods and services.”

And here is AEI’s Matt Jensen:

Capital can be shielded from U.S. corporate income taxes by funding projects outside of the United States rather than within its borders. If capital flees the country in response to higher corporate income taxes, then American workers have less capital to work with, reducing their productivity and, ultimately, their wages. The wage decline means labor bears a share of the burden of the corporate tax, not just capital. The exact portion of the corporate tax burden that ends up getting shifted to labor depends upon a number of factors, including the extent to which the flight of capital from the United States drives down worldwide returns, the degree of international mobility of capital and labor, and the substitutability of capital and labor.

The JCT has decided to assign 25 percent of the burden of corporate income taxation to labor and 75 percent to capital. The Congressional Budget Office recently made the same allocation after assigning for many years the entire burden to capital. The Office of Tax Analysis at the Treasury Department also began assigning part of the corporate tax burden to labor in 2009; it now allocates 18 percent of the burden to workers and 82 percent to capital.

These agencies’ recognition that workers bear some of the burden of the corporate income tax is a good first step, but there is more to do. The empirical literature, which American Enterprise Institute economist Aparna Mathur and I reviewed in a 2011 Tax Notes article, indicates that the share borne by labor is higher, possibly much higher, than the agencies assume. Several studies have shown that a $1 increase in corporate tax revenue might decrease aggregate wages by more than $1 — high-end estimates show them falling $2 to $4. That means a corporate tax cut might be a big gain for lower-income Americans.

So increasing the corporate tax burden also means increasing the tax burden of American workers (and the reverse). But there might be a better way, one that involves getting rid of the corporate tax …



The post Is the US corporate tax burden really too low? appeared first on AEI.

THE JUSTIN PARTY: Required Reading [halls of macadamia]

From "Party of One," the scary, post apocalyptic Michael Harris fairy story about evil Stephen Harper's "sabre-rattling"...

"The White House, the Pentagon, American and Israeli intelligence, and the IAEA had all come to the same conclusion based on the evidence: Iran does not have a nuclear weapon, is not building one, and has not decided to build one."
Meanwhile, back in the real world...
Lausanne, Switzerland, March 30, 2015 3:55 pm - Iran rejected on Monday ongoing demands by Western powers that it export to Russia its stockpiles of enriched uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb. “The export of stocks of enriched uranium is not in our program, and we do not intend sending them abroad,” Abbas Araqchi, an Iranian negotiator and diplomat, was quoted as telling the country’s state-run press. “There is no question of sending the stocks abroad.”
Oh, yeah... that enriched uranium.

Need another example?
"Since dismantling the Long Gun Registry, the Harper government has four times delayed rules that would assign serial numbers to guns."
That's funny, EVERY GUN I've ever owned, EVERY GUN I've ever seen, including an octagonal barrelled muzzle loading rifle from the 1800's has had a serial number.

Perhaps Mr Harris is referring to tattooing serial numbers on gun owners themselves? I do know that when I go to Canadian Tire to buy .22 ammunition for my tin can plinker, I have to present my state-issued photo-id Firearms Licence which duly records my every crime against humanity.

"It would be strange indeed to give a clause that makes federal law supreme a reading that limits Congress’s power to enforce that law..." [Althouse]

"... by imposing mandatory private enforcement — a limitation unheard — of with regard to state legislatures," wrote Justice Scalia in an opinion called Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center, issued this morning.

To say that the Supremacy Clause does not confer a right of action is not to diminish the significant role that courts play in assuring the supremacy of federal law. For once a case or controversy properly comes before a court, judges are bound by federal law....

The dissent agrees with us that the Supremacy Clause does not provide an implied right of action, and that Congress may displace the equitable relief that is traditionally available to enforce federal law. It disagrees only with our conclusion that such displacement has occurred here.
The dissenting opinion is by Justice Sotomayor, who is joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Kagan.  The statute the 2 sides are interpreting is the Medicaid Act.

ADDED: In the comments, Smilin' Jack says: "WTF? Have they run out of those Easter-Bunny-Display-in-National-Park cases? At least those were funny."

Yes, let's get back to talking about cake. The important thing in America right now is cake. Why are we all hepped up to talk about RFRA (which had previously bored the bejeezus out of everyone)? Cake.

"Our city lost today because the mayor wouldn’t listen to the voices of moderation and pragmatism." [Althouse]

"This should be an issue of local control and, in the end, we are seeing Democrats and Republicans gang up on the city as we were unable to act over the course of months."

Said Madison mayoral candidate Scott Resnick, about a new and bipartisan bill in the Wisconsin legislature that would authorize companies like Uber to operate throughout the state and block local legislation imposing various limitations of the sort Resnick and his opponent Mayor Paul Soglin have been showing enthusiasm for in their campaigns. Soglin said:

"The point is, Uber has got a lot of muscle, they’ve got a lot of money, they have a lot of influence, they’ve done this around the rest of the country, and they have absolutely the best, most vulnerable legislature in the country in Wisconsin to use their campaign dollars to get the legislation they want which is not in the best interest of the riding public. The public needs essential cab service every day of the year, every hour of the day.”

"Auction houses, consignment stores and thrift shops are flooded with merchandise, much of it made of brown wood." [Althouse]

"Hardly a day goes by that we don’t get calls from people who want to sell a big dining room set or bedroom suite because nobody in the family wants it. Millennials don’t want brown furniture...."

"Millennials have stuff on discs and flash drives.... I don’t think my sons are going to want my walnut table, eight chairs and buffet."

The children of Baby Boomers don't want their shit.

"Jackie lied, Erdely lied, Rolling Stone lied, Teresa Sullivan — at best — went along with a lie. All should face more consequences than they have so far experienced." [Althouse]

Writes Instapundit in what might be the longest ever Instapundit post — with excerpts from Ashe Schow ("Why the Rolling Stone gang-rape story will never be labeled a hoax") and Cathy Young ("The UVA Case and Rape-Hoax Denial").

My question is: Why "more consequences" and not the usual and classic free-speech-loving remedy more speech? It seems as though more speech is working out well enough, or is the complaint that anti-rape activists are still going to use Rolling Stone story to maintain the feeling that something terrible is happening out there? That complaint is a concession of the weakness of your side of the debate. Improve your debate. Your more speech needs to be better. The grim call for consequences is chilling.

ALSO: This post was down for a short time, not because I intentionally took it down, but because I mishandled an open window.

AND: Instapundit responded to this, saying:
Yes, “more speech” is a remedy for opinions one doesn’t like. When speech falls into the category of actions — which false accusations certainly do — it calls for more than simple talk as a response. (But note that Jackie was smart enough not to file a police report, though that should have been a tip-off). And I should note that the fraternity in question was the victim of violent mob action that was ginned up in part by the University of Virginia itself. Is the only remedy for officially-inspired thuggery “more speech?” No. That’s one remedy, but it’s not the only remedy, nor should it be.
I strongly disagree with the proposition that if free-speech law permits negative consequences to be imposed that we ought to want these consequences. I am promoting the more speech approach where the First Amendment would permit negative consequences.

Instapundit quotes a commenter of mine who says "The proper remedy for slander is not 'more speech.' The proper remedy... are [sic]  'consequences.'"

Proper remedy? I'm not purporting to be the arbiter of propriety here. I'm saying what I think is the better policy and the better approach to this political discourse. I called for more and better speech and rejected the "grim call for consequences" as "chilling."

"Saying 'no' has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined." [Althouse]

"No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know. We are not taught to say 'no.' We are taught not to say 'no.' 'No”' is rude. 'No' is a rebuff, a rebuttal, a minor act of verbal violence. 'No' is for drugs and strangers with candy. Creators do not ask how much time something takes but how much creation it costs. This interview, this letter, this trip to the movies, this dinner with friends, this party, this last day of summer. How much less will I create unless I say 'no?' A sketch? A stanza? A paragraph? An experiment? Twenty lines of code? The answer is always the same: 'yes' makes less."

From "Creative People Say No."

"People often ask me what to teach girls or what they themselves can do to challenge sexism when they see it." [Althouse]

"In general, I'm loath to take the approach that girls should be responsible for the world's responses to them," writes Soraya L. Chemaly, who has come up with a specific and very practical answer: "I say to them, practice these words, every day...."

The words are 3 phrases. Perhaps you can guess before looking. What 3 phrases would do a lot of good for girls if they had an ingrained reflex to say them forthrightly at the appropriate time?
Click for more »

"I’m jealous of the fun Wisconsin is having." [Althouse]

"I love this Wisconsin team so much that I hate them. I hate that they got to go to the Final Four last year, that it was so much fun that all the players who didn’t graduate came back, and that now they get to do it all over again. I hate that they’re taking Final Four selfies, messing with stenographers, adorably embarrassing themselves in press conferences, adorably embarrassing themselves in postgame interviews, growing out their mustaches, and wearing GoPros on their chests. I hate that they (almost) make Bo Ryan likable. I hate that their three most famous fans are a Florida alum (Andy North), a Cal alum (Aaron Rodgers), and an Oklahoma alum (Olivia Munn) who just can’t resist cheering for a team this fun. I hate that this is not only the best player on their team — he’s also the best player in the country.... I hate that all of this is happening with Wisconsin just because it’s not also happening to me. If Wisconsin held an auction in which the highest bidder got to ride mopeds, play FIFA, eat cheese curds, drink Spotted Cows, and do whatever else happens when you hang with the Buzzcuts for a week, I’d bid somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 billion."

Writes Mark Titus.

Andrew Sullivan says blogging — 7 hours a day, day after day — "was killing me." [Althouse]

And that's why he quit.

Quit if you need to, and I appreciate what you gave us over the years, Andrew, but 7 hours of work a day is just not that grueling.

"And inevitably, for those seven hours or more, I was not spending time with any actual human being, with a face and a body and a mind and a soul."

Sullivan said the job resulted in lost friendships and minimal contact with his family. He said his husband, whom Sullivan married in 2007, called himself a "blog widow."
There are 24 hours in a day. Work 7 hours and sleep 7 hours, and there are still 10 hours left. The numbers just don't add up.

Now, I can see how a writer can burn out. The energy needs to come from somewhere to make those words. It's not the same as using manual skills to make something or fix something or doing routine clerical work, which you can bang out for 7 hours a day whether you mind is a blank or a fuzz. You need the spirit, and if the spirit dies and you labor on, maybe you do feel that it's killing you. There might be something about taking on a staff that you need to pay and accepting subscription money that makes it all too obligatory and not intrinsically valuable. But if it is intrinsically valuable, I don't think 7 hours a day, even 7 days a week, is all that hard, and I don't see why it would leave your husband aggrieved. I don't see why it would leave you feeling that you are not spending time with any actual human being.

"In 1998, the philosophers Andy Clark and David Chalmers introduced the idea of 'the extended mind'..." [Althouse]

"... arguing that it makes no sense to define cognition as an activity bounded by the human skull. Humans are masters of mental outsourcing: we archive ideas on paper, we let Google Maps guide us home, and we enlist a spouse to remember where our wallet is," writes Daniel Zalewski in a New Yorker article about an artist, Lonni Sue Johnson, who has suffered from from amnesia ever since, in 2007, viral encephalitis "essentially obliterated her hippocampus."

Her "extended mind" includes: 1. a tote bag full of various notes and maps, and 2. her sister Aline (whose "account of her life [she trusts] as strongly as she used to trust her own memory"). Johnson has a terrible impairment, but reading about her impairments, we see things that are true about ourselves. We may feel that our mind is entirely inside our heads, but the people and things that surround us function enmeshed with our memory. I was especially struck by this paragraph:

Johnson was wearing a magenta turtleneck with black sweatpants and plastic Mardi Gras necklaces. (An amnesiac cannot be trusted with gold.) She had worn the same outfit to the Princeton lab. Some of her favorite clothes are growing threadbare, but it’s difficult to replace them, because she doesn’t accept new clothes as hers.
She doesn’t accept new clothes as hers... We're not that impaired. New things can become ours. But I know the feeling. It's something like what George Carlin was talking about in his delightful monologue "Stuff":

"That's all your house is - a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all the time. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it." But that's your extended mind, too.

"Sometimes you leave your house to go on vacation. And you gotta take some of your stuff with you. Gotta take about two big suitcases full of stuff, when you go on vacation. You gotta take a smaller version of your house." Well, of course, you're going to need your mind.

"You get over to your friend's house... and he gives you a little place to sleep, a little bed right next to his windowsill or something... You put your stuff up there. You got your Visine, you got your nail clippers, and you put everything up. It takes about an hour and a half, but after a while you finally feel okay, say, 'All right, I got my nail clippers, I must be okay.'"

What things (and people) do you accept as yours? How are they part of what makes feel okay... makes you remember who you are and what you are doing here?

Distribution Release: Linux Lite 2.4 [DistroWatch.com: News]

Jerry Bezencon has announced the launch of Linux Lite 2.4. The new version of Linux Lite features smooth ugrades between point releases. There have also been a number of improvements, including VPN support and the installer now supports disk encryption. "With the release of Linux Lite 2.4 Final,....

Development Release: OpenIndiana 2015.03 "Hipster" [DistroWatch.com: News]

Ken Mays has announced the availability of a new OpenIndiana release, "Hipster" 2015.03. The new release provides updates to the GNOME 2 desktop, Intel video drivers and system libraries. "First of all, most evident changes were made in desktop area. We've updated Xorg server and libraries, which allowed....

Development Release: SME Server 9.1 Beta 1 [DistroWatch.com: News]

Terry Fage has announced the availability of the first beta build of the upcoming SME Server 9.1, a CentOS-based specialist distribution for servers: "The Koozali SME Server (SME Server) development team is pleased to announce the release of SME Server 9.1 beta 1 which is based on CentOS....

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

I think so, Brain … of course, we’re innocent—but of what?

A Total Lunar Eclipse [hogewash]

Video Credit: NASA

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

I think so, Brain … of course I want to be noticed, but what are you staring at?

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day [hogewash]

I received a formal notice from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County that The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin’s has appealed of the Kimberlin v. Hoge peace order petition. According to Maryland Judiciary Case Search data base the de novo trial is scheduled for 14 May, 2015.

I do not intend to make any substantive public comment concerning this matter until after the trial.

Quote of the Day [hogewash]

It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.

—Michael Corleone

China fact of the day [Marginal REVOLUTION]

New brokerage accounts have surged since China’s bull market got running mid-2014. The number of new trading accounts hit a five-year high in early March. But as you can see in the chart above, a lot of those new investors probably aren’t the savviest.

Some 67.6% of households that opened new accounts in the past quarter haven’t graduated from high school, according Orlik’s chart, which comes from a large-scale quarterly national survey of household assets and income conducted by Gan Li of the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics. Only 12% have a college education. Among existing investors surveyed, only 25.5% lack a high school diploma; 40.3% have finished college.

From Gwynn Guilford, there is more here.

*Genealogy of American Finance* [Marginal REVOLUTION]

By Robert E. Wright and Richard Sylla, Columbia Business School Publishing, this is both a beautiful picture book, coffee table style, and also a history of America’s “Big 50″ financial institutions.  It appears to be a very impressive creation, full of useful information.

File under “Arrived in my Pile”!  You can order it on Amazon here.

Are more egalitarian societies more likely to adopt school vouchers? [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Timothy Hicks has a new and recently published paper:

It is argued in this article that the marketisation of schools policy has a tendency to produce twin effects: an increase in educational inequality, and an increase in general satisfaction with the schooling system. However, the effect on educational inequality is very much stronger where prevailing societal inequality is higher. The result is that cross-party political agreement on the desirability of such reforms is much more likely where societal inequality is lower (as the inequality effects are also lower). Counterintuitively, then, countries that are more egalitarian – and so typically thought of as being more left-wing – will have a higher likelihood of adopting marketisation than more unequal countries. Evidence is drawn from a paired comparison of English and Swedish schools policies from the 1980s to the present. Both the policy history and elite interviews lend considerable support for the theory in terms of both outcomes and mechanisms.

There are less gated versions here, and for the pointer I thank the excellent Kevin Lewis.

The Aztec diet was more nutritious than it may seem at first [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Colin M. MacLachlan, in his splendid Imperialism and the Origins of Mexican Culture, reports:

1. Corn gruel and tamales were reinforced with fish, seeds of various kinds, fruit, and honey.

2. Beans were supplemented with meat from iguanas, armadillos, and rabbits.

3. The calcium content of corn was (and still is) increased by alkaline cooking with lime (“nixtamalization,” duh).

4. “Pulque” has “substantial food value,” “whether fermented or fresh.”

5. Dried red maguey worms have 71 percent protein.

6. Axayacatl (a species of aquatic insect sometimes called “water boatmen“) have 68.7% protein.

7. Mesquite pods and seeds have high caloric value.

8.”Tecuitlatl (spirulina), the green scum collected from lakes with high saltwater content, was sold in the market to be eaten with chilies and tomatoes and has been shown to be a modern wonder food.”

As you can see, the world of food really could have evolved along very different lines.

I also enjoyed this line from the book:

The fundamental belief that the gods sacrificed themselves to create the Earth and continued to do so to sustain it locked the gods and humans into a circular dependency — a relationship characterized by fearful respect coupled with regulated violence.

Definitely recommended, and oh yes that reminds me, here is the livestream for my chat later today with Peter Thiel.

MSNBC Ratings Continue to Crater [The PJ Tatler]

Surprise! But not.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for MSNBC, along came the quarterly ratings reports.

In both daytime and prime time, MSNBC endured its lowest quarterly demo numbers in a decade, and its total viewership since the final quarter of 2007. Prime-time viewership was down 45 percent in the demo from the first quarter of 2014, while daytime viewership was down 39 percent in the demo.

On Tuesday, while Fox News and CNN were boasting their own quarterly numbers — Fox News remained dominant, CNN made major strides in the demo — MSNBC chose to focus on the month of March instead, where it boasted gains in prime time and a victory for “Morning Joe” over CNN’s “New Day.”

But things are still looking grim for MSNBC: Between the hours of 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Monday, for instance, more people were watching Al Jazeera America than MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Thomas Roberts and “The Cycle.”

That’s right, even perpetually catering to the pro-terrorist crowd isn’t helping MSNBC pull numbers away from Al Jazeera America.

Unlike their favorite energy sources to talk about, the progressive audience isn’t a sustainable one because there aren’t as many progressives in America as the coastal media elites think there are. It doesn’t take that many to get distracted by things like prison or the occasional flirtation with employment to carve into your audience.

Bless their hearts, none of them have even tried to become more appealing. The entire lineup spent so many years being coddled by upper management that they don’t know they are failing miserably. Soon, most of them will be able to cuddle their participation trophies for comfort.

Until the money from their severance checks runs out.

Hillary Responds to Drone Crash Email With Breezy Furniture Chitchat [The PJ Tatler]


It’s frightening to think that someone who hasn’t yet mastered the basics of a simple email program might have control of America’s nuclear weapons in 2017.

The AP released a copy of an email they received from the State Department as a result of a 2013 Freedom of Information Act request on Tuesday. The email features a 2011 exchange between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and adviser Huma Abedin (wife of Anthony Weiner) that begins with a report sent form Abedin to Clinton’s private email address about a drone crash in Pakistan.

Hillary then wandered off into whimsical musings about furniture.

“I like the idea of these,” Hillary responded to Abedin. “How high are they? What would the bench be made of? And I’d prefer two shelves or attractive boxes/baskets/ conmtainers (sic) on one. What do you think?”

Abedin seemed (rightly) confused by the response. “Did u mean to send to me?”

“No-sorry!” Clinton replied. “Also, pls let me know if you got a reply from my ipad. I’m not sure replies go thru.”

Is anyone else with me in thinking that this woman should not be allowed anywhere near the nuke button?




Poll: American Support for 2 State Solution in Israel Hits 20 Year Low [The PJ Tatler]

So much for that story.

Support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at nearly a 20-year low among Americans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Only 39 percent of respondents in the poll expressed support for a two-state solution, down from 58 percent in 2003, according to a Gallup Poll.

It is worth noting that Politico is running a huge picture of a Code Pink anti-Israel protest. That’s a powerful, not-so-subtle attempt to undermine the very news in the post running below the picture.

Also, it’s rather difficult to ascertain if Americans are losing hope, realizing that this is a part of the world that will always be in turmoil.

One thing is certain: the relationship between the United States and Israel is going to need a lot of repair when President Fundamentally Transform finally exits the arena. If he stays around to muck up the works like Jimmy Carter has all these years, things may never be patched up.

Cincinnati Reds Create a ‘Breastfeeding Suite’ for Moms at the Ballpark [The PJ Tatler]

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Cincinnati Reds COO Phil Castellini heard from female fans that they wanted a place to breastfeed their children while at the baseball game. The father of five thought that made a lot of sense, so he had a suite built in the Great American Ballpark for women to have a more private space to breastfeed their infants. There’s also room for women who want to bottle feed their children, diaper changing stations, and other amenities.


The site, built by local home builder Fischer Homes and sponsored by Pampers, which is owned by Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, will have five gliders that will give the female fan the comfort of home while at the ballpark.

The space can be used for breast- or bottle-feeding and diaper changing. Areas include private restrooms, a kitchenette, refrigerator and lockers to store items during the game.

“We’ll also have flat screen TVs so that they won’t miss the game, and there will be toys to play with if the 3-year-old has to come with them,” Castellini said.

The nursing center is another example of teams catering more to female fans. New stadiums, including Yankee Stadium, have doubled the number of toilets for women than for men — a far cry from more than 50 years ago, when White Sox owner Bill Veeck happened to notice there were no women’s bathrooms in the bleachers.

One could question the judgment of parents who bring an infant to a baseball game or any public event that’s loud, smelly, and crowded. But there are too many busybodies today who are trying to tell parents how to raise their kids and what is or isn’t good for them. I don’t want to join that chorus.

It’s amazing that breastfeeding in public is still controversial. A woman flying on a Virgin Australia flight was taken off the plane and arrested because she wouldn’t stop breastfeeding her baby:

Virgin Australia Airlines has responded to controversial allegations that it kicked a woman off a flight and summoned the police after she refused to stop breastfeeding her 10-month-old son.

The statement, which the airline posted on its Facebook page on Tuesday, read: “We’ve seen some misinformation today regarding our policy relating to breastfeeding on board. To clarify, Virgin Australia welcomes breastfeeding and bottle-feeding on board at any time during the flight, especially during take-off and landing when it can help prevent any ear discomfort felt by infants. When the seatbelt sign is illuminated, an infant must be restrained to their carer via the infant seatbelt only, which is provided by our crew. Safety is always Virgin Australia’s number one priority.”

But mom Virginie Rutgers had a different take. “I was in a state of shock honestly,” she told Australian news station Seven News. Rutgers was using a cover to nurse her son on the March 15 flight that was taxiing down the runway but a cabin supervisor asked her to remove it and “started to raise his voice” and became “quite abusive.” She added that she wasn’t given an explanation for why her behavior was wrong so she continued nursing. She was allegedly forced off the plane and met by federal and local police who ultimately released her without charge. Virgin offered Rutgers a flight credit, however she returned home by a Qantas flight.

Other incidents of intolerance for breastfeeding in public show that there are some people in positions of authority who worry about what some loudmouth might say about it. The fact is, too many people are uptight about public breastfeeding because of the sexual overtones of the female mammaries. There is nothing remotely sexual about breastfeeding and besides, most women — like Mrs. Rutgers above — use specially designed covers so that nothing of the breast is exposed to prurient eyes.

You can’t expect women to be chained to the home when they’re breastfeeding their child. That’s why businesses like the Cincinnati Reds who provide mothers with a private space to nurse their children are likely to score big with women, building good will and — most importantly from their point of view — creating loyal customers.

Obama Lifts ‘Executive Holds’ on Military Deliveries to Egypt [The PJ Tatler]

The White House said President Obama told Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi today that he’s lifting blocks on military deliveries that were put in place after the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi.

The move comes as el-Sisi, former commander of the country’s armed forces, racked up support for his idea of a joint Arab force.

According to al-Ahram, Algeria and Iraq have “reservations” going into Sunday’s start of meetings on the joint force. El-Sisi first called for the force after ISIS slaughtered 20 Coptic Christians in February, but the proposal picked up steam as Saudi Arabia hustled together nine allies to attack Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Operation Decisive Storm.

The White House said Obama spoke with el-Sisi today “regarding the U.S.-Egyptian military assistance relationship and regional developments, including in Libya and Yemen.”

“President Obama informed President al-Sisi that he will lift executive holds that have been in place since October 2013 on the delivery of F-16 aircraft, Harpoon missiles, and M1A1 tank kits. The President also advised President al-Sisi that he will continue to request an annual $1.3 billion in military assistance for Egypt. Beginning in fiscal year 2018, the President noted that we will channel U.S. security assistance for Egypt to four categories – counterterrorism, border security, Sinai security, and maritime security – and for sustainment of weapons systems already in Egypt’s arsenal,” said a readout of the call.

“The President explained that these and other steps will help refine our military assistance relationship so that it is better positioned to address the shared challenges to U.S. and Egyptian interests in an unstable region, consistent with the longstanding strategic partnership between our two countries.”

As the administration has consistently put in a plug for “inclusiveness” from the Egyptian government — the Muslim Brotherhood is banned — the relationship between Washington and Cairo has suffered.

“President Obama also reiterated U.S. concerns about Egypt’s continued imprisonment of non-violent activists and mass trials,” the White House continued. “He encouraged increased respect for freedom of speech and assembly and emphasized that these issues remain a focus for the United States. The two leaders agreed to stay in touch in the weeks and months ahead.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest wouldn’t commit today to U.S. support for a joint Arab force.

It would “obviously depend a lot on how, what sort of — what the command structure looks like, how decisions would be made about deploying the force,” Earnest told reporters.

“Obviously, the United States has strong relationships and in some cases even strong military to military relationships with many of the countries that have entered into this, you know, broad agreement,” he added. “So, we’re obviously going to watch closely what additional steps the countries take to put this together. It’s obviously something that we will watch closely and have conversations about.”

The Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement saying it “regrets the situation” in Yemen “and the unfortunate developments in our country as a result of political parties failing to reach a mutually-acceptable political solution, due to the insistence of some parties to resort to use of force to resolve differences.”

California Dem: ‘Push the Politics Out of This,’ Pass New Sanctions on Bad Iran Deal [The PJ Tatler]

A California Democrat warned that an Iran deal would have to be “spectacularly good” — and “I’m not hearing that at all,” added Rep. Brad Sherman — for Congress to change course on Iran sanctions.

The deadline for a framework with Iran is today. Congress returns from spring break in two weeks.

“So the most the president will be able to deliver is that he’ll suspend the sanctions for the rest of his presidency and when we get a new president, and we’ll have to see who that is and what their platform is,” Sherman told MSNBC.

He acknowledged that the power to override President Obama’s expected veto rests on the shoulders of his party.

“I would hope that Congress would push the politics and the personalities out of this, and evaluate the deal,” he said. “And if it’s a bad deal, pass new sanctions.”

Sherman stressed that “anything is better than returning” to a policy of doing “nothing to sanction Iran and Iran went full speed ahead with their centrifuges,” as in the past.

“If this deal breaks apart, we can’t just walk away, do nothing and say, well, the sanctions that were strong enough to quote, bring Iran to the table will be sufficient to get them to suspend their program,” he said. “Obviously, if these talks break down, it’s proof that that wasn’t the case. So if the talks don’t go forward, we need a new program. We can’t just continue what we’re doing.”

There is broad unity in Congress about having a voice in any final deal with Iran.

“It sounds like it’s going to get pushed now, again, to June about, you know, the number of centrifuges, inspections monitoring where the stockpiles that they currently have go,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told Fox this morning. “But I think the really important thing to focus on is the breakout period and that’s how long would it take for Iran to acquire a nuclear capability. That’s going to be of great interest to the Saudis and the Egyptians, everybody in the region.”

“…You’ve heard now the administration saying it may go to the United Nations to get this thing ratified or approved. And that would be a big mistake, because Congress does represent the collective voices of the American people who I think have great concerns and should about what this might mean, not only to the region and a lot of our allies, but certainly, obviously, the national security interests of the United States, as well.”

Rubio Plans Big Announcement on April 13, Six Days After Paul’s Announcement [The PJ Tatler]

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has promised to announce “something on April 13 that I hope you all watch.”

Rubio confirmed that a big announcement is coming in a Fox News appearance after tweeting that he’s “making a huge announcement on Monday, April 13th in Miami.” The tweet included a link to reserve tickets for the event.

“We haven’t reserved the specific site yet, that I will confirm on that. But I will announce on April 13th what I’m going to do next, in terms of running for president or the U.S. Senate,” Rubio told Fox.

Asked why he should be picked by voters over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Rubio replied, “I’m not a declared candidate for anything yet.”

“Let me just say, were — the time will come for comparison shopping for voters and others. I would just say that I strongly believe that the future of this country will depend on the next election. And what’s at stake in 2016 is not simply what party is going to win, or what candidate is going to run. The fundamental question for in 2016 is what kind of country do we want to be in this new century? Do we want to remain an exceptional country? A land of equality of opportunity, the strongest nation on earth, or are we prepared to diminish and decline?” he said.

“And decline is a choice. It’s not our destiny. So I think in order to transition to that new better 21st century, what I think will be another American century. This nation is need of leadership that understands this new era and has new ideas for a new — a new age and — so, again, I’m looking forward to talking about that and many other things on April 13th.”

Addressing critics of his participation in the Group of Eight that negotiated a compromise immigration bill, Rubio said he’s “realistic on immigration.”

“The two things that are clear, one, we have a problem that needs to be fix and address, what we have today is not sustainable. And number two, we can’t do it all at once, especially because of the two executive orders, the latest one in particular. The American people will not support doing anything further on immigration until first they believe that illegal immigration in the future is under control. If that happens, I think people are willing to be very reasonable about what we do with those here now, that have been here for a long time and not that otherwise violated our laws,” the senator argued.

“But until you can show them, not tell them, until you can show them that you are going to bring future illegal immigration is under control, I think it’s impossible to move forward on anything else on immigration. That’s just the fact that given what has happened over the last couple of years.”

A presidential announcement on the 13th would put Rubio after Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) expected announcement April 7 at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Ky.

That kicks off Paul’s “Stand with Rand” tour, stopping in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa and Nevada.

Brother of Mass Shooting Victim Campaigns Against Gun Control [The PJ Tatler]


Few people on either side of the border realize that school shootings were invented in Canada, not the U.S. — a good 20 years before Columbine, as a matter of fact.

Canada’s worst — the 1989 killing of 14 female engineering students by evil white man Marc Lepine (Muslim) Gamil Gharbi — was the impetus behind the nation’s utterly pointless long gun registry.

Every year, Canadian liberals and progressives “celebrate” the December 6 anniversary (I call it “Never Hear the End of It” Day), because at least until recently, that registry (like “free” “health” “care”) was one of the Canadian things they were most proud of.

Then Harper’s Conservatives, as promised, abolished the registry.

A recent Supreme Court decision upheld the government’s right to destroy all its data.

(Another moot point: Thanks to the ingenious Great Canadian Gun Registry Shuffle, those records were rendered useless anyhow.)

Here and in the U.S., we gun-rights types are used to being scolded with the phrase, “You’d change your mind if one of your relatives got shot.”

Well, meet Claude Colgan.

His sister was killed during the “Montreal Massacre,” and he is an outspoken opponent of gun control laws that merely punish the law abiding while doing nothing to reduce crime.

Here he is talking to Brian Lilley of TheRebel.media following the Supreme Court decision:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Are Pesticides Ruining the Quality of Your Sperm? Harvard Thinks So [The PJ Tatler]

A new Harvard Study suggests that pesticide residue on fruit and vegetables could affect the fertility of men.

Research by Harvard University found that men who ate the greatest amount of fruit and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue had a 49% lower sperm count and a 32% fewer normally formed sperm than those who consumed the least.

The study was published in Human Reproduction and revealed that “more research was needed and that their findings should not encourage men to reduce their consumption of fruit and vegetables.”

Brian Hunt

“We found that total intake of fruit and vegetables was completely unrelated to semen quality. This suggests that implementing strategies specifically targeted at avoiding pesticide residues, such as consuming organically grown produce or avoiding produce known to have large amounts of residues, may be the way to go,” said Jorge Navarro, an assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard’s school of public health.

The study was fairly comprehensive and included 338 semen samples from 155 men between the ages of 18 and 55 who visited a fertility center.  The research used data from the U.S.D.A. pesticide data program to evaluate whether a fruit or vegetable was high, moderate or low for pesticides.

There are limitations to the study — in particular,  men already going to fertility clinics have infertility issues. In addition, there was no information as to whether the fruits and vegetables were organic.

Warren: ‘I’m Not Running’ for President, Give Hillary a Chance [The PJ Tatler]

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is deferring to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary, stressing to the Today show this morning that she’s not throwing her name into the ring.

“No. I’m not running and I’m not going to run,” Warren said. “I’m in Washington. I’ve got this really great job and a chance to try and make a difference on things that really matter.”

“I think we need to lower the interest rate on student loans. I think we need to put more money into medical research. I think that we need to raise the minimum wage. Nobody should work full time and still live in poverty. I think we need to strengthen Social Security and expand its reach. There’s a lot to fight over right this minute.”

Pressed on 2016 again, she repeated, “I’m not running. I’m not running.”

Warren said she never even entertained the idea of running. “Look, what I’m working on are the issues the people of Massachusetts sent me to work on.”

On whether Clinton is the right candidate for a liberal platform?

“Well, I think we need to give her a chance to decide if she’s going to run and to declare and to lay out what she wants to run on. I think that’s her opportunity to do that,” Warren said.

“But this is really the point: I think that everyone needs to be talking about it, in every race, in every part of this country, about how it is that we build a future. Because right now Washington is working great for those who have money and power. It’s working great for those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers. It’s just not working so great for the American people, for real families. And that’s where we’ve got to make a change.”

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case Involving Worship in NYC Public Schools [The PJ Tatler]

On March 30, the Supreme Court declined to review a case involving which groups can meet after hours in New York City’s public schools. The Bronx Household of Faith, a small congregation, sued the city over its policy.

The city permits groups to rent school facilities for extended periods of time for “social, civic and recreational meetings and entertainment, and other uses pertaining to the welfare of the community.” There are few limitations on extended use, but one prohibits using school buildings for “religious worship services” or as a “house of worship.”


Lawyers for the Alliance Defending Freedom argued that excluding worship services from “a broadly available public forum” discriminates against religion. The church, which has outgrown its own building, needs more space for special occasions and the nearby public school is the only place large enough that they can afford.

The appeals court, however, said the reason the space is affordable is because of taxpayer subsidies, and the school board is taking reasonable precaution against liability for appearing to unconstitutionally advance a particular religion.

“The Free Exercise Clause does not entitle Bronx Household to a grant from the board of a subsidized place to hold religious worship services,” the appellate court ruled. Further, the court found no evidence the rule was “motivated by hostility to religion.”

Naturally, opponents of the policy have expressed their disdain, and they are appealing to an unlikely ally to assist them in their fight.

Fernando Cabrera, a council member and pastor leading opposition to the policy said he was “profoundly disappointed” that the Supreme Court won’t be hearing the case.

“We cannot ignore the immense contribution to society that religious organizations and institutions have made throughout our nation’s history and continue to make across the U.S. today,” he said in a statement.

“Churches meeting in New York City public schools for worship services have fed the poor and needy, assisted in rehabilitating drug addicts and gang members, helped rebuild marriages and families and provided for the disabled.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom called on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to use his power to revoke the policy. De Blasio said last year he opposes the policy and believes “that a faith organization playing by the same rules as any community nonprofit deserves access.”

What’s next for the Bronx Household of Faith and other churches? That of course remains to be seen, but if De Blasio intervenes, he may create an interesting alliance.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / VICTOR TORRES

Ad Warns Obama Not to Go All Neville Chamberlain on Iran [The PJ Tatler]

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s This World: The Values Network took out a last-minute ad warning President Obama against running down the path of appeasement in last-minute nuclear talks with Iran:


Boteach has been leading a full-court press against the Islamic Republic, with a February ad featuring Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel imploring Congress to attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session, followed a couple of weeks later by an ad warning that National Security Advisor Susan Rice “has a blind spot” when it comes to genocide.

Wiesel then appeared on the Hill at the beginning of the month with Boteach, where he warned, “When our enemies make threats, take them seriously.”

The new ad ran in the New York Times and Washington Post.

Psst, You Do Realize a Boycott Is Discrimination, Right? [The PJ Tatler]

The cognitive dissonance on display in reaction to Indiana’s newly signed religious freedom law staggers the mind. Nowhere is it more apparent than in the feeble effort to boycott the state in protest.

The Onion has a great piece which, intentionally or not, demonstrates the futility of organized boycotts, particularly on the scope being prescribed in this case.

… local man Ryan Schutz, 32, told reporters Monday that he’s torn between boycotting Indiana’s businesses and visiting Evansville’s Mesker Park Zoo. “This is definitely an important moment to take a moral stand, but on the other hand, they have a new sun bear that I really want to see—boy, this is real tough,” said a visibly anguished Schutz, noting that he definitely wanted to protest in solidarity with the state’s homosexual community while also stressing that it was a beautiful day out and if he got there early enough he’d be able to hand-feed oats to the Bactrian camel.

The real losers in a boycott are those who stage it, depriving themselves of desired values in an often unsustainable fashion. How long can one actually avoid commerce with an entire state?

Of course, the larger dissonance emerges from the concept of boycott itself. You can’t rationally protest discrimination with discrimination. By doing so, the protestors are actually affirming the validity of the law. Individuals have a right to apply their judgment and values to the question of whether to enter into or maintain relationships. That’s the point of the religious freedom law, and it’s the right exercised by those protesting through boycott.

Tea Partiers Will Agree with This Leftist Rant [The PJ Tatler]


As an activist contending for individual rights, beginning with the Tea Party movement in 2009 and continuing in and around the Republican Party in subsequent election cycles, I’ve noted increasing levels of apathy and disengagement. Oddly, it doesn’t seem confined to those on the right side of the political spectrum. Note how Occupy flamed out, how Tea Party rallies have become sparse and lightly attended. The hip trend has become “removing consent,” which is libertarian shorthand for taking your ball and going home.

Writing for Mother Jones, Tom Engelhardt attempts to piece together a functional explanation of this “moment”:

… this period doesn’t represent a version, no matter how perverse or extreme, of politics as usual; nor is the 2016 campaign an election as usual; nor are we experiencing Washington as usual.  Put together our 1 percent elections, the privatization of our government, the de-legitimization of Congress and the presidency, as well as the empowerment of the national security state and the US military, and add in the demobilization of the American public (in the name of protecting us from terrorism), and you have something like a new ballgame.

If you can bring yourself to look past Engelhardt’s thinly veiled politics, his analysis of these trends transcends partisan ideological debate. Just as the Occupy and Tea Party movements cited many of the same complaints while prescribing vastly different solutions, this piece from Mother Jones acknowledges problems which should concern all of us — no matter our politics.

Does Jon Stewart’s Replacement, Trevor Noah, Have a Jewish Problem? [The PJ Tatler]

Yesterday, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency appeared to be the first media outlet to notice a disturbing tweet from Comedy Central’s new hire Trevor Noah, who is pegged to replace Jon Stewart as host of the Daily Show:

South Africans know how to recycle like israel knows how to be peaceful.

— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) June 2, 2010

Late this evening, author and former Conservative MP Louise Mensch found several more:

Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel

— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) May 7, 2012








JTA also found this from Noah’s Facebook page, which appears to show Noah as having been present at an anti-Israel rally in front of the White House:



I just don’t see Comedy Central standing behind a host they have nothing invested in besides eight hours of PR after they review that “Jewish chicks” tweet, among the others. And of course, other examples are sure to appear in the next few hours.

What do you think: does Noah survive the day in his new job?

Reeling Detroit Residents Hit with 62,000 Tax Foreclosure Notices [The PJ Tatler]

Via NPR:

In Detroit, tens of thousands of people are facing a deadline tomorrow that could cost some of them their homes. That’s when homeowners have to make arrangements to either pay delinquent property taxes — or risk losing their home at a county auction.

When Detroit emerged from bankruptcy last year, it did so with a razor-thin financial cushion. It desperately needs every bit of tax revenue it can muster.

Earlier this year, county officials sent out 72,000 foreclosure notices to homeowners behind on property taxes — 62,000 of them in Detroit alone. They say about 18,000 of these properties are occupied, but fewer than half of those homeowners have paid all of their tax.

A tax moratorium has been discussed by some politicians but those pending “revenues” are already budgeted:

We pledge all the penalties and fees in our bond pledges to borrow money,” he says. “We can’t do a moratorium on police protection or fire protection.

The Democrats who drove Detroit off of the cliff for half a century probably planned on get some grand scale federal assistance, much like New York received in the mid 1970s. A slightly more fiscally responsible approach was taken, however, and the city is far from being out of the woods.

According to this piece, a thriving slumlord market is opening up.

The glitch here is obvious: kicking these people out and taking over the properties for nonpayment doesn’t solve the revenue problem. Can the city really expect to quickly sell over 60,000 properties for back taxes in time to take care of budgetary needs?

Is that Donald Trump at the door?

California: No Room at the Death Penalty Inn [The PJ Tatler]

What if they gave a death penalty and no one was killed?

The country’s largest death row has run out of room.

As NPR member station KCRW reports, that’s because a legal fight has meant that the state has not put an inmate to death in nearly a decade, leaving more than 750 of them on death row in the state.

Can it really be called a “death penalty” if they don’t really put criminals to death? California taxpayers suffer from the double whammy of funding automatic appeals for death sentences which then aren’t even carried out if upheld, so we get to pay for life imprisonment too. Add to all of that the need for additional funding to expand death rows in prisons and these murderers are getting pretty expensive.

Also, where are the supposed deterrent effects of the death penalty if criminals know the “death” part isn’t in play?

Too Cute: Monkey Meets Puppies for First Time [The PJ Tatler]

I couldn’t resist this one — even though, like most animal videos, it’s probably staged.

If you’re looking for a pick-me-up today, you’ve come to the right place!

Watch as Tommy, a curious Capuchin monkey, meets a litter of adorable puppies for the very first time. He can be seen caressing the tiny pooches and seemingly giving them sweet kisses.

If this interaction doesn’t melt your heart, consider us floored.

Tommy almost certainly saw humans and the puppies interacting, which gave him the right idea on how to behave around them. And yeah, consider my heart melted.


Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 410 [Ubuntu Fridge]

True confessions [Information Wants To Be Free]

gut churn

When my brain was completely full on Thursday at the ACRL Conference, Jad Abumrad’s keynote felt like a spa for my brain. For those who don’t know, he is the co-host of Radiolab, a very cool and innovative show on NPR, and the recipient of one of those fancy schmancy MacArthur genius grants. Good call ACRL planning committee! His keynote was brilliant and it was coming at a time when I’ve been reflecting on where I am in my career now that I feel like I’m not in survival mode anymore.

For those who missed Jad’s talk, here’s another one he gave two years ago that covered some similar territory:

Jad Abumrad: Why "Gut Churn" Is an Essential Part of the Creative Process from 99U on Vimeo.

I have such admiration for people who are confident. People who are poised. People who are strong advocates for themselves. People who are quick thinkers. People who are energized, not anxious, when in a crowd of people. People who can be politic. People who are brave. I have a lot of friends I wish I was more like. But I’ve also learned over the years that many of the people I thought were all those things were actually just as big a ball of neuroses as I am. That a lot of people I thought were so confident were actually overcompensating for major insecurities.

People you admire are probably more than meets the eye too.

There are people who say they admire me. I’ve always been uncomfortable with that because I don’t think I deserve it. I’m also uncomfortable because I worry that it creates this false expert vs. novice dichotomy that might make them think they can’t achieve what I have. Anyone can do what I’ve done.

I know a lot of people who are afraid to take risks in their work and/or are in difficult work situations that are killing their passion for their work. In the interest of encouraging other people who are struggling, and inspired by Jad’s talk (though not nearly as eloquent), I’m going to share a bit here.

I am a big ball of self-doubt.

Have you let doubt keep you from trying something or pursuing an idea? Well, screw that! I have never felt certain about anything I’ve done while I was doing it. The entire time we were working on Library DIY, there was a constant voice in the back of my mind telling me “this is crap. There’s a reason no one has done something like this and that’s because it makes no sense.” I’ve cringed when hitting publish on the vast majority of blog posts I’ve written because I think most times that the ideas I have are stupid.

Jad talked about how “gut churn” is an essential part of the creative process. That feeling of anxiety and doubt and panic when you’re trying to do something really creative and different is very normal and very necessary. I’ve always believed that talented, accomplished, and creative people feel really certain about their projects and path (á la Steve Jobs), but it was a relief to know that I’m not alone in feeling the “gut churn.”

So many of us are stopped in our tracks by fears that our ideas are not innovative or even good. Sometimes we’re right and sometimes we’re wrong. I’ve had projects fail and I’ve had projects succeed beyond my wildest dreams, but I’m always glad I went for it because I learned from every one of them.

I’m starting to realize that “gut churn” is better than certainty, because it leaves you more open to making changes and improvements based on what you hear from others (colleagues, patrons, etc.). The more stuck you get on the perfect rightness of your original vision, the less likely you’ll be to accept feedback and make improvements. I’ve learned to develop some amount of detachment from my projects, so that when my work is criticized, it doesn’t feel like a criticism of me. Becoming defensive isn’t productive, and I regret times when I was defensive about stuff in the past.

I’m more of a beginner now than I was before.

One of my favorite former colleagues sent me an article entitled “The importance of stupidity in scientific research.” What I initially thought was a joke actually was a fantastic editorial about seeking out opportunities to “feel stupid;” where you can’t easily find an answer and have to struggle, learn, and make your own discoveries.

Productive stupidity means being ignorant by choice. Focusing on important questions puts us in the awkward position of being ignorant. One of the beautiful things about science is that it allows us to bumble along, getting it wrong time after time, and feel perfectly fine as long as we learn something each time. No doubt, this can be difficult for students who are accustomed to getting the answers right. … The more comfortable we become with being stupid, the deeper we will wade into the unknown and the more likely we are to make big discoveries.

I was a high achiever in high school and, at the elite college I attended where I felt perpetually out of my depth, I avoided taking classes that scared and challenged me. What a waste. I’ve come to love the anxiety of doing something new that I’m not necessarily a natural at. Public speaking was something that used to terrify me, but over time, I became increasingly comfortable and found my voice as a speaker. Moving from a university to a community college put me back into the beginner role, and I’ve grown so much as an instructor over the past few months because of it. Feeling ignorant (as I did in my first term here) is not a comfortable thing, but it makes you struggle more and learn more to get beyond that beginner state.

I don’t consider myself an expert at anything. There are some things I’m better at than others, but in my teaching, my writing, my speaking, and everything else I do professionally, I am a work in progress; a perpetual beginner. Having that attitude leaves us open to learning and growth.

Haters gonna hate, but don’t let them define you.

I’m one of those people who just wants to be liked. I’m a people pleaser. I remember in my sophomore year of college, I lived in a house where most of my housemates were always fighting with each other. My buddy Dan Young and I were like Switzerland where everyone bitched to us about other people and we just tried to stay neutral and sympathetic.

I’ve always gotten along with people in the workplace, so when I had what I can only describe as a “nemesis” in one of my jobs, I had no idea how to handle it. This was someone who had been up for the management job I got. I tried to connect with her and be friendly, but she did everything in her power to undercut me in meetings and make me look bad to our superiors and colleagues. I constantly heard from colleagues about her saying bad things about me behind my back, as if I was some kind of horrible person, which made me wonder if I was. I hate that I let her get to me so much. But when she started alienating other people at work, I realized it wasn’t all about me.

The good thing that came out of this experience is that I’m now more ok with not being liked, especially when I’m pretty sure there was nothing I did to deserve it. Sometimes it’s not really about you, but about a situation or the fragile ego of the other person. Sometimes you’re walking into a context that dooms you from the start. It’s always worth starting from a place where you examine your own behavior to see if you somehow caused the problem, but you shouldn’t hang your whole sense of self-worth on whether or not your colleagues adore you.

Even my painful experiences have led to valuable learning.

I spent a big part of the past four years feeling like a failure. Every time I started to feel good about the work I was doing, something or someone came and smacked me down. Still, I’ve learned so much about myself and how to handle difficult work and political situations because of the experiences I had.

In the talk I shared above, Jad talks about reframing awful things that happen; using them as an arrow to point you toward the solution. That’s what led me to my current job, one that was not at all what I’d envisioned as my future when I was at Norwich five years ago. Yet it fits me like a glove. When I was feeling horrible about work, I thought a lot about what the right job would look like. And it looked quite a bit like what I’m doing now. Pain has a way of sharpening your focus and showing you the right path.

I deserve good things. So do you.

I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes and I’m sure I’ll make more in the future. I’m a work in progress, but I’m always striving to be better. I want to be a supportive colleague and be good at my job. I want to be a good wife and mother. I want to feel like I’m contributing to the profession beyond my library in useful ways. I’m working on getting used to the happiness I feel now that I’m in a job I love. I’m trying to be nicer to myself. I’m trying to feel like I deserve these good things that are happening for me.

We all deserve good things. We are all works in progress. Don’t let your own doubts or the stories you’ve got in your head (or that people tell you) about what you can and can’t do prevent you from taking risks and growing. Try. If the worst thing to fear is failure (and recognizing that you will learn from it either way), it doesn’t seem like such a huge risk to take.

Image credit: Gut churn, by Dreadful Daily Doodles

African survey on counterfeit electrical products is a call to action [PCWorld]

The first survey on counterfeit electrical products ever done in Africa has been conducted by Schneider Electric to determine the extent of the problem and highlight actions to mitigate its spread across the continent.

“We knew that counterfeiting in Africa had a huge impact on the market both in terms of safety and on the economy,” said Schneider Electric Anti-Counterfeiting Global Manager Tracy Garner, via email. “But how much are we talking about exactly, what are we dealing with precisely? There was no clear information. And it is difficult for any stakeholders in the electrical market, including Schneider Electric, to set up concrete actions when you don’t know what you are fighting against or how much you could gain from it.”

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

Thousands call on Congress to overturn net neutrality rules [PCWorld]

Opponents of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules aren’t giving up, with a conservative advocacy group saying it has collected more than 540,000 signatures on a petition asking Congress to overturn the agency’s action.

American Commitment, a group with connections to Republican billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, delivered those petitions to Congress this week. Each petition went to the three members of Congress, one representative and two senators, representing the person signing the letter, American Commitment said.

“The landslide 2014 elections made crystal clear that the American people reject larger, more intrusive government,” the Web form leading to the letters says in part. “But President [Barack] Obama reacted by moving even further left, ignoring the fact the Federal Communications Commission is supposed to be an independent agency, and openly demanding the FCC take the most radical action imaginable: reducing the Internet to a ‘public utility,’ imposing sweeping new taxes and destroying private investment, competition, and innovation while putting bureaucrats firmly in control.”

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

Survey: A majority of Apple Pay users encounter problems [PCWorld]

Apple Pay is coming up short for many people who attempt to use the mobile payment service at the register.

A survey from research firm Phoenix Marketing International found that 68 percent of respondents who have used Apple Pay had encountered an issue when making an in-store purchase.

The leading compliant made by nearly half of respondents was that retailers’ sales terminals took too long to record a transaction. Other problems: employees who didn’t know how to process sales with the mobile wallet (42 percent); errors in how the sale posted (36 percent), like a transaction appearing twice; and out of service Apple Pay terminals (27 percent). Almost half of the Apple Pay users surveyed (47 percent) found that the particular store they visited didn’t accept Apple Pay although the retailer was supposed to support the service.

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

HP hits former Autonomy execs with $5B suit [PCWorld]

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office may have dropped its investigation of software firm Autonomy earlier this year, but that doesn’t appear to have done much to allay HP’s ire. HP—which acquired Autonomy in 2011—has confirmed that it plans to sue Mike Lynch and Sushovan Hussain, Autonomy’s former CEO and CFO, for $5.1 billion.

HP filed a Claim Form against Lynch and Hussain on Monday alleging they engaged in fraudulent activities while executives at Autonomy, an HP spokeswoman said via email. “The lawsuit seeks damages from them of approximately $5.1 billion.”

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

Seven things to know about Intel's 'Cherry Trail' Atom chips [PCWorld]

Microsoft’s Surface 3 is the first announced device to use Intel’s new Cherry Trail Atom chips, but you can expect therm to show up soon in other devices too. So what are the chips capable of and what should we expect?

The Surface 3, which went on sale Tuesday, highlights some of the capabilities of Cherry Trail, officially called the Atom X5 and X7. The chips can run full Windows 8 and Windows 10 and are better at graphics than their ‘Bay Trail’ predecessors. But they also have limitations. They won’t do so well at compute intensive tasks such as video editing, which remain the domain of Intel’s faster Core processors.

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

Amazon Dash Button lets you insta-buy household goods [PCWorld]

For those who find shopping too burdensome, the Dash Button nearly automates the whole process.

SAP co-founder Tschira dies at 74 [PCWorld]

Klaus Tschira, an SAP co-founder who helped pioneer the development of modern ERP (enterprise resource planning) software and turn the Germany-based company into a global software powerhouse, died Tuesday in Heidelberg at 74.

Tschira founded SAP with four former IBM colleagues in 1972, with the intention of creating standardized application software for real-time data processing, a departure from the batch-oriented systems in place at the time.

“Klaus Tschira’s passion for the sciences, in particular mathematics and computer sciences, guided him throughout his life. With his foundations he opened the doors for many young talents to enter the field of science,” SAP said in a statement announcing the death. No cause of death was given, but SAP said it was “unexpected.”

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

Microsoft consolidates enterprise editions of Visual Studio [PCWorld]

For the next version of its Visual Studio, Microsoft has consolidated the enterprise versions of the integrated development environment (IDE) software into a single product so it can be more easily managed by large organizations.

“What we’ve been hearing from our customers is that they want to standardize on one offering across their teams in the enterprise,” said Mitra Azizirad, Microsoft general manager for developer tools marketing and sales. “We want to help them have a more seamless integration between development and operations.”

Microsoft is expected to release Visual Studio 2015 this year, though has not specified a date as of yet. Users can download a preview version.

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

New malware program used in attacks against energy sector companies [PCWorld]

A new malware program is being used to do reconnaissance for targeted attacks against companies in the energy sector.

The program, dubbed Trojan.Laziok by researchers from antivirus vendor Symantec, was used in spear-phishing attacks earlier this year against companies from the petroleum, gas and helium industries.

The attacks targeted companies from many countries in the Middle East, but also from the U.S., India, the U.K., and others, according to malware researchers from Symantec.

The Trojan is spread via emails with malicious documents that exploit a Microsoft Office vulnerability for which a patch has existed since April 2012.

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

Tidal needs lots of improvements to justify its lofty price tag [PCWorld]

Yesterday’s cavalcade-of-stars re-launch was fun and all, but the service is no different than it was last week.

How to add a number row to the Google keyboard [PCWorld]

Typing in a series of numbers can be a cumbersome process on a touch-screen keyboard. 

Fortunately, Google Keyboard lets you create a dedicated number row across the top of the keyboard so you can fly through your data entry. 

If you’re using another keyboard, make sure you change your keyboard to Google Keyboard for this exercise. 

Next, you’ll need to head to the Google Keyboard settings, which are found in the keyboard’s app icon. Or you can go to the Settings app > Language & Input > Google Keyboard.

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

Facebook tracks all site vistors, violating EU law, report says [PCWorld]

Facebook tracks everyone who visits its site, including people who don’t have an account, and even continues to track users and non-users who have opted out of targeted ads, researchers at two Belgian universities have found.

Researchers at the University of Leuven in cooperation with researchers at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel have published an update to a February analysis of Facebook’s new policies and terms. The report, commissioned by the Belgian Privacy Commission, already found in preliminary conclusions in February that Facebook, with its 2015 privacy policy update, likely acts in violation of European law.

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Tanium's fast-acting endpoint management tool grows up [PCWorld]

A tool for nearly real-time management of clients like desktops, laptops and Windows tablets is now set to take on massive organizations that have millions of endpoints.

Tanium is software that can examine and modify all such clients across an enterprise within 15 seconds, according to the company. It’s already being used by customers with more than 500,000 endpoints, and the newly released Version 6.5 is designed to serve some of the world’s largest organizations, especially in the public sector, Tanium says.

At the heart of Tanium’s software is the ability to rapidly reach all endpoints throughout an organization, which can speed up both security and IT management tasks. Tanium makes this work by organizing endpoints into linear chains in which they communicate peer to peer.

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Hands on: The $149 Hisense Chromebook succeeds at being incredibly affordable [PCWorld]

The Hisense Chromebook—announced Tuesday morning and available now at Walmart.com—costs just $149. And that super-low price is probably its most remarkable feature. This model, along with the Haier Chromebook also announced today, sets a new standard for affordable computers in this age of more expensive Windows laptops, and even pricier Macs. 

We could easily criticize this Chromebook for everything it doesn’t have for $149, but we can’t ignore the benefit of that price point for people or schools on a tight budget. Think about it this way: The minimum wage in San Francisco (where PCWorld is based) is currently $11.05. Someone working for that wage would have to work about 15 hours (based on gross pay, and assuming sales tax) to afford the $149 Hisense Chromebook. That already seems like a lot, doesn’t it?

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Google gives Apps admins more control over their files and docs [PCWorld]

Google is giving systems admins more control over Apps documents in an attempt to alleviate concerns about securing company data after moving email and productivity software to the cloud.

Specifically, admins will be able to apply more granular policies for sharing files inside and outside their companies, as well as set custom alerts that are triggered by certain actions and events, Google said Tuesday.

“Security ranks at the top of the list of concerns that companies have about moving to the cloud,” Scott Johnston, Google Drive’s director of product management, wrote in a blog post.

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Infinit speeds up video, photo sharing via smartphones [PCWorld]

French company Infinit has released Android and iOS applications for free file-sharing that promise improved transmission speeds over cloud-based services.

High-resolution smartphone cameras that can shoot 4K videos means that such a service is needed on mobile devices, Infinit said in a blog post on Tuesday. There are already apps for Mac OS and Windows.

All the apps are free and there is no limit on file sizes or types that can be transferred. There are two ways to share files. Recipients who have the one of the apps installed get a notification they have to accept. It’s also possible to share content with users who don’t have the apps; they get a link to download it from via email.

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Google's App Runtime for Chrome to bring native Android apps to Chromebooks [PCWorld]

If you begin to see a deluge of pure Android apps suddenly appear in the Chrome Web Store for Chromebooks, there’s a reason: Google has gone mainstream with App Runtime for Chrome (ARC), the company’s bid to lure uber-apps like VLC to the Chrome OS platform.

Think of ARC as a complement to the so-called “Chrome apps” or ”packaged apps” that debuted in 2013. But while a packaged app might be just a glorified Web app, Google employees said an app written with ARC is more like a native port of an Android app.

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Meet the Asus Chromebook Flip, a $249 Chrome OS tablet with a 360-degree hinge [PCWorld]

On Tuesday, Google announced the $249 Asus Chromebook Flip. As the first mainstream Chrome device to offer a 360-degree hinge, the Flip can function as a tablet as well as a laptop. (Lenovo was first to offer a Chrome OS convertible with its ThinkPad Yoga 11e last year, but that model was meant primarily for education, and was chunkier and pricier that most people would like.)

By the time the Chromebook Flip ships—in six to eight weeks, Google says—Google will also release version 42 of Chrome OS, with updates to improve the touch experience. Google says highlights will include the ability to flip the display image, an onscreen keyboard, handwriting recognition, and “full offline capabilities.”

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New Chromebooks and Chromebit stick start at $100 thanks to lower-power chips [PCWorld]

After a steady two-year drizzle of Chromebook releases, Google and its partners are preparing a flood of new hardware to sway consumers away from cheap Windows laptops. Chromebooks from HiSense and Haier go on sale today at $149 each, followed by the Asus Chromebook Flip, a 360-degree convertible, in the coming months.

And if a Chromebook itself is too big and bulky, then you might consider the Asus Chromebit, a Chromebook-on-a-stick that will cost less than $100. In all, 10 Chrome products will launch over the next two months, Google executives said. Besides the HiSense and Haier laptops highlighted here, you’ll see models from Acer, AOPEN, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and LG ranging from $149 to $499.

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WhatsApp voice calling now available to all without an invite [PCWorld]

If you’ve been impatiently waiting for an invite to try out the new WhatsApp calling feature, you’ll be glad to know someone finally flipped the switch for everybody.

The only catch is you need to make sure you have the most recent version of the app installed: you can grab it from the WhatsApp site, APK Mirror, or wait for version 2.12.19 to show up in Google Play.


Fire up WhatsApp next time you want to call one of your buddies.

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Asus' new Transformer Book Chi hybrids are more affordable Surface clones [PCWorld]

Asus is taking orders for the latest version of its Transformer Book Chi laptops, which can convert into tablet mode with detachable keyboards.

The T100 Chi is a successor of sorts to the old Transformer Book T100 from 2013. It has a 10.1-inch IPS touchscreen with 1920-by-1200 resolution, quad-core Intel Atom Z3775 1.46GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage for $399. (A 64 GB version will cost $449.)

The tablet alone measures 0.3 inches thick and weighs 1.3 pounds, and becomes 0.5 inches thick and 2.4 pounds with the keyboard dock. Asus is advertising up to 10 hours of battery life for this model.

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First fictional film lands in Valve's Steam store [PCWorld]

Want to buy movies through Steam? Yeah, me neither. You can though, and I'll admit I've picked up a few documentaries in my Steam library over the years— Indie Game: The Movie, for one, and a copy of last year's VR-oriented film Zero Point.

But today sees the release of the first fiction film on Steam, thanks to Devolver Digital. The film is titled Motivational Growth, and is apparently a sci-fi comedy. "Ian is a depressed recluse whose beloved television set has just died; after a botched suicide attempt, he begins to take life advice from the smooth-talking chunk of aspergillus in the 104-minute game- and pop culture-inflected joyride."

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Nintendo says game over to Super Mario 64 on the web [PCWorld]

Mario just got crushed, but this time it wasn't a barrel-throwing gorilla or an angry mushroom—instead, it was Nintendo that dealt the death blow.

The video game maker recently issued a complaint notice against a website hosting an unlicensed recreation of a single level of Super Mario 64. Built by developer Roystan Ross, the demonstration game was a faithful recreation of the Bob-Omb Battlefield level of the 1996 hit for Nintendo 64 consoles.

Ross' version was built using the Unity Game Engine, which meant it could be played as a desktop program or in a web browser. It also had gamepad and keyboard support and featured glorious high-definition visuals.

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Watch out, Withings: Xiaomi's Smart Scale will cost just $16 [PCWorld]

Chinese gadget maker Xiaomi is gunning for the connected fitness market with a dirt-cheap smart scale.

The Mi Smart Scale will cost roughly $16 when it goes on sale in China. It tracks both weight and body mass index, and connects over Bluetooth to Xiaomi’s Mi Fit iOS and Android apps, so users can track their weight over time.

The scale also has a built-in LED display that lights up when the users steps on, and is covered in glass. Xiaomi says the scale is accurate to within 50 grams, or roughly a tenth of a pound.

While none of those features are unique among smart scales, the asking price is considerably cheaper compared to scales from Withings and Fitbit, which cost upwards of $100.

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Cloudyn helps companies keep track of Microsoft Azure deployments [PCWorld]

Israeli cloud monitoring company Cloudyn has added support for Azure, helping companies stay on top of their Microsoft deployments.

One of the biggest challenges with large-scale public, private or hybrid cloud rollouts is monitoring usage and performance, to avoid bill shock or angry users. Offering to help companies manage such cloud deployments, Cloudyn launched its platform about three years ago, and on Tuesday it added Azure.

Up to now, Cloudyn has been able to monitor Amazon Web Services’ EC2, Google’s Cloud Platform and a number of OpenStack distributions, including those from Mirantis and Red Hat, according to CEO and co-founder Sharon Wagner.

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How to figure out if a website is down...or if it's just you [PCWorld]

Internet access is a glorious thing—except for when it isn't. Sometimes it's an easy fix if you know how to solve Wi-Fi router problems, and other times the issue isn't so obvious, especially if it looks like your favorite site went down and took half the web with it.

If you need to figure out if a particular site is up and running or if the problem begins and ends with you, here's how.

Ping sites


Down for everyone or just me? is as easy to use as Google.

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AT&T brings gigabit Internet to Apple's home town, charges steep premium over cities where Google Fiber's available [PCWorld]

AT&T promised to bring gigabit broadband to Silicon Valley, and more than seven months later it has finally delivered. The carrier recently announced U-Verse with GigaPower is now available in parts of Cupertino, California—albeit for a steep price premium compared to the cost of the GigaPower service in cities with gigabit Internet competition. 

GigaPower arrives ahead of Google Fiber, which is available in eight markets across the U.S., but has not yet come to the heart of America’s tech industry. Cupertino is best known as Apple’s home base, but it’s also just down the road from Google’s backyard in Mountain View.

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Lebanese cyberespionage campaign hits defense, telecom, media firms worldwide [PCWorld]

For the past two years, a cyberespionage group that likely operates from Lebanon has hacked into hundreds of defense contractors, telecommunications operators, media groups and educational organizations from at least 10 countries.

The still-active attack campaign was uncovered and analyzed recently by security researchers from Check Point Software Technologies, who dubbed it Volatile Cedar. The company’s researchers found evidence that the attackers started their operation in late 2012, but have managed to fly under the radar until now by carefully adapting their tools to avoid being detected by antivirus programs.

Unlike most cyberespionage groups, the Volatile Cedar attackers do not use spear phishing or drive-by downloads to gain a foothold into their victims’ networks. Instead they target Web servers and use them as initial entry points.

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Microsoft Surface 3 promises great battery life, costs just $499 and runs Windows 8.1 [PCWorld]

What if you could buy a Surface tablet with a bit less horsepower and a slightly smaller display but longer battery life than the Surface Pro 3? And what if you could have all this for a lot less money? If your wallet is already open, let me tell you what you’re buying: the new Microsoft Surface 3—and it's powered by Windows 8.1.

On Tuesday morning, Microsoft launched the Surface 3 with several subtle but critical changes to its entry-level Surface offering. Gone is Windows RT, casually tossed in the dustbin in favor of Windows 8.1. Microsoft also ditched the Surface 2's ARM chip in favor of Intel’s latest “Cherry Trail” Atom X7.

It's a move to a more power-efficient processor that I predicted last week. 

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LG teases April 28 reveal for leather-covered G4 flagship [PCWorld]

LG Electronics is expected to introduce its next high-end smartphone on April 28, and has hinted that the back of the device will be covered in leather.

In the light of the growing focus on looks at the recent Mobile World Congress, it wouldn’t be surprising if LG uses better materials for the successor to the G3, which is expected to be called the G4. The invite for April 28 that the company sent out on Tuesday just said “save the date” and “see the Great”, but the text is written over a leather back with stitching on one side.

LG wouldn’t be the first to offer leather or faux leather as an alternative. Real leather is an option on Motorola Mobility’s Moto Maker customization service, and Samsung Electronics uses faux leather on the back of the Galaxy Note 4.

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How Long Can Noah Tread Water? [Power Line]

(Steven Hayward)

The Daily Show has announced little known South African comic Trevor Noah as Jon Stewart’s replacement, and going with an unknown talent is an understandable move for such an iconic show. (Some initial media reports predictably referred to this South African as “African-American” because they’re afraid to say “black,” because PC.)

But speaking of PC and compromised comics, the furor that has erupted over some of Noah’s old un-PC tweets reminds me of that old Bill Cosby punch line: “Noah—How long can you tread water?” Because it looks as though Trevor Noah may come undone for making jokes about un-petite women and Jews. Dave Weigel notes over at Bloomberg that Noah has gone from Progressive hero to villain in 24 hours.

Uh oh:

Noah 1 copy Noah 3 copy Noah 4 copy Noah 5 copy Noah 1

Unless Noah recants fast, he’s only going to be able to play in Indiana.


Noah 2 copy

Harry Reid, Serial Liar [Power Line]

(John Hinderaker)

Perhaps the lowest of the 2012 presidential election’s many low points was Harry Reid’s absurd claim, asserted on the floor of the Senate, that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid any income taxes in ten years. It was a classic Democratic Party lie, too dumb to be believed by people of any sophistication–which, of course, didn’t prevent it from being widely reported–but catnip to the party’s base.

Now that Reid has announced his retirement, he is giving a series of mostly-celebratory interviews about his career. On CNN, Dana Bash asked Reid whether he regretted his statement about Romney, the implicit premise being that it was a lie. Reid didn’t deny that he lied. Instead he responded, “Romney didn’t win, did he?” Here it is:

Chris Cillizza comments:

This sort of “the winners make the rules” approach is part of the broader partisan problem facing Washington and the polarization afflicting the nation more broadly. There is no trust between the two parties because they believe — and have some real justification for believing — that the other side will say and do literally anything to win.

But this is wrong, isn’t it? It may describe the Democrats accurately–I think it does–but when did Mitch McConnell or John Boehner peddle an outright, slanderous lie about Barack Obama? It hasn’t happened. Hysteria is a constant among Democrats: consider Reid’s crazed attacks on the Koch brothers, the current ridiculous misrepresentations about Indiana’s RFRA, the repeated suggestions that scientists who prefer data to global warming alarmism should be shot or imprisoned. There simply isn’t anything like this on the right.

Harry Reid may be exiting the stage, but he leaves behind a party that never had any problem with his lies, as long as they worked.

So much for Hillary’s “one device convenience” excuse [Power Line]

(Paul Mirengoff)

I doubt that anyone believed Hillary Clinton when she claimed she exclusively used a personal email address on a home server for “convenience,” so that she could carry a single device. In this day and age, the assertion is sufficiently implausible that only a Clinton would offer it.

Now, the Associated Press reports that Clinton used an iPad in addition to her BlackBerry to email staff. In response, Clinton admits, through a spokesman, that she used her iPad from time to time. She claims that she did so primarily to read news clippings, but doesn’t deny that she also used it for email.

We don’t know for certain whether Clinton “carried” the iPad with her, as she did the BlackBerry. Presumably, she (or someone in her retinue) did; that way she could read news clippings whenever she wanted to.

But it doesn’t matter. The fact that she used the iPad for email shows that her stated reason for exclusively using a single, private email account — the desire to rely on a single device for email — is false.

Perhaps one day in the distant future, when Clinton next takes questions from the press, someone will ask her to explain the inconsistency between her claim that she emailed from only her private account because she used one device for email and the fact that she used at least two devices for email.

Then again, perhaps not.

An MSNBC state of mind [Power Line]

(Scott Johnson)

As an outlet for political news and commentary, MSNBC is not completely worthless. It provides a window onto the left-wing mentality. Indeed, it gives us a comprehensive view: the political ego/superego/id of Al Sharpton & company. One gets the impression that medication has already done all it can do to make it fit for public consumption. A kind of cure will come only when management pulls the plug.

The Free Beacon’s David Rutz has compiled a Reader’s Digest version of gleanings from NSNBC for our viewing pleasure in the video below. He calls it “Questions so stupid only MSNBC could ask them.” I’m filing this under Laughter Is the Best Medicine.

The Clinton/Kendall claptrap [Power Line]

(Scott Johnson)

After seeking a two-week extension within which to respond to the outstanding subpoena issued by the House Select Committee on Benghazi for Madam Hillary’s email and request for email server, Clinton attorney David Kendall responded by letter that copies of all responsive documents had been turned over to the Department of State and the server had been wiped clean. The Democrats on the House Select Committee have posted David Kendall’s six-page, single spaced letter here.

Shannen Coffin parses the letter in “The latest bombshell from Clinton’s lawyer.” Shannon captures the defiant tone of Kendall’s letter:

Lawyers are not usually this bold when disclosing evidence that suggests potential breaches of criminal law. I say “potential” because it is impossible to know for sure — unless, of course, you, like most congressional Democrats, are willing to take Mr. Kendall’s (and Mrs. Clinton’s) word for it. But the destruction of any record while a person is subject to a congressional-committee investigation is a reason for humility, rather than hubris, on the part of that person’s lawyer. This is so because a number of federal laws prohibit obstruction of such investigations.

Shannen’s column addresses the legal issues in the context of the subpoena/request of the House Select Committee. Byron York takes a look at Clinton’s response in the context of previous subpoenas. Byron’s column is “Hillary Clinton withheld information from Congress. Now what does Congress do?”

Bloggers Accomplish What Mainstream Media Wouldn’t [Wizbang]

Usually, the mainstream media will talk about wrongful discrimination in an industry until something is done about it. Now, bloggers have done what the MSM wouldn’t do. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wizbang Weekend Caption Contest™ [Wizbang]

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for the Wizbang Weekend Caption Contest™. Enter your best caption for the following picture: Update: Thank you to Sarahconner2 who volunteered to take over the judging. Winners will be announced Monday morning.

And the Beards Have All Grown Longer Overnight [Ed Driscoll]


We’ll get to Trevor Noah and Salon’s 180-degree pivot on him in just a moment, but first some context. Since the days of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, to first Vietnam and then the Iraq War, all the way to 2008 when Hillary was a “big f***ing whore” and her supporters racists to 2015, when Hillary is the left’s savior, self-described “Progressives” have been known for their remarkable ability to cast-off their current morals and perform dramatic slashing Tony Hawk-style mid-air 180 degree pivots whenever it’s politically expedient (see also: Oceania versus East Asia/Eurasia). But they rarely happen as quickly as Salon’s 24-hour inversion on Trevor Noah, Viacom’s designated replacement for corporate spokesman Jon Stewart (nee Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz). It was learned — apparently after he landed the gig — that Noah has or had a remarkable tendency to drop lurid anti-Semitic “jokes” on Twitter. The result being the leftwing mob waking itself into action last night on Twitter, and Salon’s flip-flop illustrated above. As Ace of Spades co-blogger Jeff tweets, “Seriously, this is the most beautiful two-day juxtaposition ever.”

At NRO, Kevin D. Williamson charts “Mr. Noah and the Flood.” Beyond Salon being “always offended about something,” (Salon and the New York Times have daily completions to see who can hit the fainting couch first and hardest) “Why didn’t Comedy Central apply strict scrutiny here? There are a few answers to that question that are obvious — but not if you are inside the progressive cultural bubble. Those being:”

1. Comedy Central knows that Jon Stewart’s viewers are cheap dates. They are not very bright, and they are not very interested in the world around them. The function of The Daily Show is to flatter the prejudices of a certain segment of largely white and middle-aged metropolitan liberals. Daily Show viewers are not interested in original insight — indeed, the utterance of an original thought or the indulgence of an unpredictable angle of analysis would undermine the entire structure of the program. Daily Show viewers tune in so that they can be made to feel clever for continuing to believe the things they already believe. There is no reason to believe that Noah is going to fail to deliver those exceedingly modest goods.

2. Comedy Central was probably counting on the usual double standard, which is, generally, a safe bet. When a couple of nobody RNC staffers ran up a $2,000 bill at a lesbian-bondage-themed strip club — it is a big tent, after all! — that was a national story, with Jon Stewart providing a Muppet reenactment. (Really.) Bill Clinton parties with Jeff Epstein on Pedophile Island? A strange quiet falls upon the land. If Rush Limbaugh had joked about running over Jewish children with his German car, there would be a presidential speech on the matter in the works.

Will Noah survive? Of course he will. And that’s not a bad thing, actually:


Not to mention, what Viacom’s hiring decision implies regarding their current forecast for after 2016 as well.

Harry Reid: Extremism in the Defense of Fascism is No Vice [Ed Driscoll]


“I give you Harry Reid, Proud ‘McCarthyite,’ as CNN’s Dana Bash explicitly framed it,” Ed Morrissey writes:

REID: I don’t regret that at all. The Koch brothers — no one would help me. They were afraid the Koch brothers would go after them. So I did it on my own.

BASH: So no regrets about Mitt Romney, about the Koch Brothers. Some people have even called it McCarthyite.

REID: Well… [shrug] … they can call it whatever they want. Um … Romney didn’t win, did he?

As Ed responds, “Hey, so I smeared Romney. It worked, didn’t it?

Despicable. The Senate will likely throw him a celebration on his way out; they should be censuring him instead, especially with that arrogant admission. Reid embodies the worst of American politics, and no amount of fluffery over the next two years will disperse the stench that should attach itself to his name as long as it’s remembered at all.

Reid’s admission is “The soul of the 21st century Democratic Party laid bare,” Glenn Reynolds adds at Instapundit. “This kind of thing is surprising only if you haven’t been paying attention. And it’s not as if Reid is an outlier here, except in terms of his honesty.”

And if you haven’t been paying attention, “The End of Tolerance And Enforced Morality” by Ben Domenech of the Federalist will quickly bring you up to speed, particularly in regards to how the new strain of liberal fascism, to coin a phrase, is working against the people of Indiana. Exit quote: “When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.”

Great Satan Takes Holiday in Hell [Ed Driscoll]

Andrew Stiles visits Iran on “A Free Beacon journey to the birthplace of Valerie Jarrett.” In 1982, P.J. O’Rourke filed his classic travelogue in which he accompanied a group of wealthy Nation magazine limousine leftists on a river cruise up the Volga. O’Rourke summed up those pathetic losers perfectly in a sentence:

“These were people who believed everything about the Soviet Union was perfect, but they were bringing their own toilet paper.”

Stiles is off on a similar jaunt with equally awful American leftists in search of the 21st century equivalent of the Soviet Union and/or an exotic paradise of income and sexual equality:

This particular Persian excursion, after all, is sponsored by none other than the New York Times, the esteemed paper of record that, in case you hadn’t noticed, is quickly transforming itself into a travel agency of some renown, offering an array of exhilarating (and expensive) cultural journeys for the sophisticated traveller.Looking for a “people to people experience” in communist Cuba? The Times has you covered. Eager to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Ditto. Keen to “retrace the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest explorers” in Antarctica? There’s a trip for that. It’s not clear whose footsteps you’ll be retracing aboard the “297-foot luxury expedition yacht” the Times has commissioned, but why quibble? Rates start at $15,695. Carlos Slim must be loving this.

No Times Journey, as they’re called, is as popular as “Tales from Persia.” Ours is the inaugural voyage, but there’s been so much interest that they’ve already had to increase the number of offerings this year from three to five, all of which are sold out. At the end of the day, no one—not even the ayatollah—is going to f—k with the Times. That’s what you’re counting on, anyway. Although the Gray Lady has certainly gone to great lengths to ensure her release from liability:

Without limitation, we are not responsible for any injury, loss, or damage to personal property, death, delay or inconvenience in connection with the provision of any goods or services occasioned by or resulting from, but not limited to, acts of God, acts of government, weather, force majeure, acts of war or civil unrest, insurrection or revolt, strikes or other labor activities, criminal or terrorist activities or the threat thereof…

But even if it comes to that—getting yanked into a windowless room upon arrival at Imam Khomeini International Airport—you’ve settled on a failsafe strategy: blame everything on the Jews. Before you know it, your Qatar Airways flight to Tehran (connecting through Doha, site of the 2022 World Cup final) is preparing for takeoff. There’s a large compass displayed on a big screen at the front of the cabin. One arrow points towards Mecca, the holiest of Muslim holy sites, and another (for some reason) towards Gaithersburg, Md.

Fortunately, unlike the ayatollah and the average New York Times reader, the Iranians themselves are pretty cool about Americans — and even more curious about them than the average Times subscriber:

Americans in Iran are generally regarded with a degree of skepticism, but not for the reason you might think. Iranians want to know what you’re doing in Iran, not because they suspect you of plotting a coup, but because they know American passport holders could spend their vacations anywhere else on earth (give or take a few tin-pot communist police states), and feel sorry for you. They are almost always friendly and eager to tell you there are no hard feelings. “Ninety percent of Iranians love America,” is a widely cited statistic, though it’s not clear if this is based on actual data. Eventually, this becomes rather eerie, as if everyone is reading off the same approved script.

Nazri, a student studying computer animation, offered the boldest riff on the “We love America” line, leaning in close to whisper “and Israel,” though I am not convinced this is a 90-10 issue. Moments later, a mullah in a black turban strolled by and leered in our direction. “Very dangerous,” Nazri said after he passed. “I f—king hate them.” Also, can I get him a job in California?

Time to up your game California — we’ve at last found a region of the world with less freedom than San Francisco.

Found via Moe Lane, who adds, “It’s a strange, confusing dictatorship that they have over there, but it’s very real.”

Iran, that is.

Eric Clapton Turns 70 [Ed Driscoll]


Monster guitarist; at times problematic life driven by a few monstrous demons. Given his transformation from blues guitarist to pop and country-twinged singer by the mid-1970s, it may be difficult for younger readers to fathom how influential a guitar player he was at the start of his career, when a then-unknown New York-based musician named Jimi Hendrix, enticed to launch his solo career in London, asked in reply if he’d get to meet Clapton in the process.

Students #OccupyComfySofas at UAL [Guido Fawkes]

ocs1 Students #OccupyComfySofas at UAL

News that Russell Brand is not coming to UAL to offer solidarity to the students occupying-the-comfy-sofas -in-a-stand-against-austerity has hit hard. Either that or it is the post-sugar high comedown after all the sweets. The party hat wearing revolutionaries will just have to spend their time practising Feminist Jazz Hand movements or watching Hollyoaks on the widescreen. On the plus side Owen Jones popped in and tweeted his support

Tagged: Loony Left

Smart Meter Programme’s Digital Activity Waste [Guido Fawkes]

smartmeter9412 Smart Meter Programmes Digital Activity Waste

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the government’s smart meter agenda is on track be the biggest IT money drain yet. Techno Guido is just scratching the surface, but bundles of money is being spent on ‘Smart Energy GB’, the organisation set up to peddle the scheme.

Smart Energy GB has been under pressure to explain exactly where the £1,224,084 it has put aside this year for “Digital Activity” is being spent, but after exhaustive research TG thinks he has got to the bottom of things. It appears their lavishly funded digital activity department have managed to register THREE twitter accounts:

smart meter tweets

 Bung them another million and they might start tweeting from them…

Tagged: Smart Meters

BBC Digital Election Fail [Guido Fawkes]

He’s behind you…

Tagged: GuyNews.TV, LibDems

Lord Ashcroft Quits Lords [Guido Fawkes]

camdance Lord Ashcroft Quits Lords

Cameron’s funder, turned pollster, turned critical biographer is off:

“Earlier this year Baroness D’Souza, the Lord Speaker, said that any Member of the House of Lords who can “no longer contribute meaningfully” should retire. She added that since the House has close to 800 members, “retirement at the right time should be seen as a condition of membership of the House of Lords – a duty as well as a right”.

I agree with the Speaker, and have concluded that my other activities do not permit me to devote the time that membership of the Lords properly requires.

Accordingly, I have today written to the Clerk of the Parliaments giving notice of my resignation from the House of Lords with immediate effect, pursuant to Section 1(1) of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014.

I will continue my involvement in politics through Lord Ashcroft Polls and my political publishing interests: Conservative Home, Biteback Publishing and Dods.”

Tories will be grateful, after busting a gut to get him in there…




“Lord Ashcroft should be recognised for his contribution to public life and to the Conservative Party during his time in the Lords. We wish him all the best for the future.”

Doesn’t He Know There’s a War On? [Guido Fawkes]

64853156 64853155 Doesnt He Know Theres a War On?

Someone should really let David Davis know that there is an election on. The Tory grandee has been spotted wandering around an empty parliament this afternoon, while the other 649 MPs have left, by law. Confused onlookers have been wondering how Basher even got in, given that MPs passes were disabled upon the dissolution of parliament. Must have been his SAS training…

Tagged: Tories

Mask Slips From Greenpeace ‘Health Charity’ Front [Guido Fawkes]


A report published by “independent” medical charity Medact calling for a UK-wide moratorium on fracking, is nothing more than left-wing propaganda pushed by Green extremists, Gaia can reveal. The Guardian is already excitedly claiming that the report is prompting doctors and academics to call for a ban on fracking…

Health & Fracking was launched yesterday by Andy Haines, who wrote a chapter of a Greenpeace global warming report, and its lead author is David McCoy. McCoy is on the record saying that health professional associations should do more to lend their authority to the campaigning efforts of organisations such as Greenpeace.

Another contributor to the report is none other than Mike Hill. As previously revealed by Gaia, Hill is a fantasist who falsely claims to be an advisor to the government and EU and is running for parliament on an anti-fracking platform. Something the report didn’t see relevant to declare as a conflict of interest… 

Medact is funded by the ‘International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons UK’, of which Greenpeace is a partner organisation, along with Crisis Action, who include Greenpeace in its network of members. ‘Scientists for Global Responsibility’, whose Executive Director has collaborated with Greenpeace, also supported them. Do we detect a pattern here?

Gaia hears whispers that the report was originally scheduled for release last week, but Medact opted to drop it during purdah so that Public Health England could not respond…

Tagged: Fracking, Gaia Fawkes, Guardian, Medact

Fancy Deporting Farage? [Guido Fawkes]


With the TV General Election debate looming, London creative marketing agency Brand & Deliver has today launched Election Fight Night, an online mobile-ready game offering the satisfying opportunity to punch the living daylights out of every major party leader.

The game is a hilarious mix of Newsnight-meets-Street Fighter, where players choose a party leader and quite literally beat the electoral seats out of the other party leaders. There’s something for everyone, whatever the political persuasion! Savour the image of Cameron rotting in an NHS hospital bed, Farage being deported and Miliband being crushed by a mansion.

“Though it’s largely just a bit of fun, we anonymously log how many players choose each party, so who knows, we might even predict the election results,” says CEO Ben Gallop.

The game is completely free, logs no cookie data and displays up-to-the-second updates of its election poll.  Play it at http://www.electionfightnight.co.uk

Tagged: Sponsored

Andy Slaughter is Having a Mayor [Guido Fawkes]

mayor Andy Slaughter is Having a Mayor

Yesterday Shadow Justice Minister Andy Slaughter’s cack-handed campaign for re-election suffered the embarrassment of distributing illegal leaflets in Hammersmith. Today the Labour MP faces more questions after he was photographed canvassing alongside the Mayor of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. Mercy Umeh was foolishly snapped by neighbouring Labour candidate in Chelsea Alexandra Sanderson, clutching leaflets backing Slaughter alongside Labour party activists. The rules are very clear: there is a strict requirement for the Mayor to be non-party political. It’s not the first time she’s been caught helping out Labour either. Will the powers that be show Mercy?

Tagged: Labour Party

Are You Happier Than You Were Four Years Ago? [Guido Fawkes]

misery index Are You Happier Than You Were Four Years Ago?

Depending on whether you believe the IFS or Ed Balls, the jury is out on Reagan’s question of “are you better off than you were four years ago”. One barometer that cannot be statistically disputed however is the question of whether or not we should, based on economic indicators, be more miserable than we were in 2010. There has been a clear decline in Guido’s Misery Index during this parliament and we should be happier today than we have ever been in the last five years.

mis Are You Happier Than You Were Four Years Ago?

Cameron and Osborne inherited an unemployment rate of 7.9% when they took office, a number which rose as high as 8.4% in March 2012 but has now fallen to a low of 5.7%, the lowest since 2008.

Falling inflation should make us happier. Though the Retail Price Index remained around 5% for the first year or so of this government, it then embarked on a steady decline reaching a current low of 1.1% in February.

Today’s very slightly revised GDP figures – up from 0.5% growth in the last quarter of last year to 0.6% – also contribute. While the Public Sector Net Cash Requirement – the individual monthly borrowing requirement – this month stands at zero. When we are borrowing less, we should all be much happier.

On all four measures of the Misery Index, there has been an improvement under this government, albeit small. Guido started our version of the traditional Misery Index – it is actually a variation on the Robert Barro version of the original Misery Index created by economist Arthur Okun – back before the last general election. Adding in the PSNR to the composite to give the deficit reduction objective of the government some weight. Are we happier than we were five years ago? Statistically the numbers say yes…

Tagged: Evidence Based Blogging, Statistics

Labour’s Martin “Fairness” Freeman Sends Son to Private School [Guido Fawkes]

fairness Labours Martin Fairness Freeman Sends Son to Private School

“I don’t know about you, but my values are about community”, says Martin Freeman in Labour’s election broadcast. “The bottom line is what values are we choosing, because in the end this choice we make really does matter,” adds the multimillionaire. Freeman declares that Labour “start from the right place – community, compassion, fairness – I think all the best things about this country”.

12669 Labours Martin Fairness Freeman Sends Son to Private School

That “fairness” in the “community” does not stretch to his own family though. The “values” that Freeman chooses encompass sending his young son to the elite Lochinver House School in Potters Bar for the compassionate sum of £12,669 per year. Onwards, to socialism comrades…

Tagged: Labour Party, Spin

Cameron Gets Last Word at Thursday’s Debate [Guido Fawkes]

line up Cameron Gets Last Word at Thursdays Debate

ITV have released the speaking order for Thursday night’s debate:

debate Cameron Gets Last Word at Thursdays Debate

The PM on podium 7 gets the final word…


Tagged: Dave, Debates, ITV

LibDems Feline Funny [Guido Fawkes]

cats LibDems Feline Funny

If you go to the LibDems’ website this morning, this is what you see. Apparently it’s all because when Joey Essex met Nick Clegg he thought the party was called the “Liberal Democats”. Well using cat pictures in a vain attempt at increasing your popularity worked for Buzzfeed…

Tagged: iCampaign, LibDems

Foxy Baroness’ Website Borked [Guido Fawkes]


The one time Government digital tsar, Baroness Martha Lane Fox gave her much hyped Richard Dimbleby lecture last night, unveiling her master plan to “make Britain brilliant at the internet.” The Solution? A proposed brand new public institution called “Dot Everyone” that would tackle the core issues holding back the nation’s digital development: education, women and ethics.

Apparently this new national institution would take charge of Britain’s digital development, stopping big commercial technology platforms shaping our digital lives. Baroness Fox sold her big technology company lastminute.com for £557 million at the height of the dot com bubble…

To spread the Fox’s message to the masses she launched doteveryone.org.uk, unfortunately this is what is looked like when people tried to access it last night.

lanefox Foxy Baroness Website Borked

Just what we need, another bloated public sector money drain...




Tagged: Techno Guido

UKIP’s “Straight Talking” Hotline Doesn’t Work [Guido Fawkes]

straight UKIPs Straight Talking Hotline Doesnt Work

UKIP offer a“straight talking” free phone number: 0800 587 6 587

Just one problem… It’s busted:

Straight talking? More like straight out of the ‘how not to run a campaign’ play book.

UPDATE: UKIP spinners say they disabled the number last year after it was spammed all day long by Hope Not Hate.

Tagged: Fail, UKIP

Post-Paxo Poll of Polls [Guido Fawkes]

poll Post Paxo Poll of Polls

As of this morning there have been 5 polls since Paxo interviewed the two leaders. Averaging them all out it appears there has been no ‘Miliband bounce’ post-Paxo as Labour have hoping, the two main parties are still neck and neck. Both the Tories and Labour are squeezing up towards that 35% mark, while UKIP are feeling it down on an average 12%. The Green surge has fallen away slightly down on 5 points.

Not like the Sunday Times to have an errant poll throwing everyone off guard

Tagged: Data Journalism, Polls

Beneath the Surface [VodkaPundit]


Microsoft has just announced a slower, cheaper, less flexible Surface 3, for those who want a laptop they can’t use on their lap and a tablet they can’t use without a keyboard, but who don’t want to spend more money than they would on a iPad.

The all-but-mandatory keyboard is still an extra $129 though.

The End of China’s Communists — Or the Beginning? [VodkaPundit]

Fascinating deepthink piece from Bo Zhiyue:

By world communist standards, the CCP has indeed entered its endgame. After 70 years, for instance, communist rule in the Soviet Union ended on December 26, 1991. In six months, the Chinese Communist Party will have ruled the People’s Republic of China for 66 years. With rampant corruption at all levels of the party and the government — where a typist has taken bribes in the amount of four million yuan and a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission took cash bribes weighing more than one ton — the CCP seems unlikely to outlive its Soviet counterpart by a large margin.

Nevertheless, by Chinese dynastic standards, the CCP’s rule is not in its endgame. Instead, it might very well be in its beginning. The last dynasty, the Qing, lasted for 267 years; by that standard, CCP rule is still in its infancy. In 1710, 66 years into the Qing Dynasty’s rule in China, the country was at its peak as a prosperous and powerful nation under the wise leadership of Emperor Kangxi. The dynasty would last another 200 years.

Read the whole thing, even though Zhiyue doesn’t even try to provide any definitive answer to his own question. He’s smart — prognosticating about the fate of the CCP is a fool’s errand. But exploring the issue anyway is smarter still.

Gritty Kitty Litter: Now with the Smell of Fresh Uranium [VodkaPundit]


Good advice:

If you’re trying to stabilize nuclear waste, don’t use organic kitty litter.

That’s the take-away of a 277-page report, just released by the Department of Energy (DOE), on a radioactive leak that occurred at the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) east of Carlsbad, New Mexico, on Feb. 14, 2014.

Investigators confirmed that a 55-gallon metal drum of nuclear waste burst open after it was packed with the wrong kind of cat litter, as had been suspected since last year.

I don’t want to badmouth my cat or anything, but we could sure use some of that nuclear-proof litter here at Casa Verde.

It’s All Down Hill from Here [VodkaPundit]

Hillary Clinton, who belongs in jail, seems to be developing some trust issues with voters in three crucial states:

The former secretary of state’s leads in matchups with possible 2016 Republican presidential candidates are down in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a new Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released Tuesday. Clinton is heavily favored to win the 2016 Democratic nomination.

In Florida, former Gob. Jeb Bush garners 45 percent to Clinton’s 42 percent support — last month she edged him, 44 percent to 43 percent. Once leading Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in his home state by 10 percentage points February, Clinton now holds a 46 percent to 44 percent lead.

In Pennsylvania, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul gets 45 percent to Clinton’s 44 percent.

Though she still has a lead in Ohio (46 percent to 41 percent over Paul), no voters in any of the three states find Clinton honest and trustworthy.

I’m not interested in the head-to-head numbers per se, since we don’t have any actual candidates yet on either side. But the trend lines for Clinton are clearly not good, especially the ones regarding her honesty and trustworthiness — of which she has neither.

Once lost, trust is difficult, nearly impossible, to get back — and that’s when a President already has the full weight of the Oval Office behind them. For candidates, it’s probably a deadly loss.

Are you starting to think the biggest question left in her political career is how to bow out gracefully?

Jeb: His Finger on the Pulse of Official Washington [VodkaPundit]

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush, NSA apologist:

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush stated that he is “nervous” about criticism of the NSA and that he wished the president would do a better job defending government surveillance systems on Monday’s “Hugh Hewitt Show.”

Bush said that lone wolf terrorism “is a serious threat in a world where we’re so connected with the rest of the world. We have people moving in and people moving out. People get their information now, not everybody gets to listen to your show to get all their information. People get their information in different ways. They get disaffected, disillusioned, preyed upon, and so yeah, I think that this is an ongoing threat, and I hope that our counterintelligence capabilities are always vigilant. I’ve always been nervous about the attacks on the NSA, and somehow that we’re losing our freedoms by keeping the homeland safe. I think we need to be really vigilant about that.”

“I think we need to be really vigilant about” what, exactly?

If I’m reading Bush’s statement correctly, he thinks Americans knowing the truth about an essentially unlimited domestic surveillance program is more dangerous than the essentially unlimited domestic surveillance program itself. Bush also seems to have essentially unlimited trust in the NSA, and that its unprecedented doings really are “keeping the homeland safe.”

His position then is for Americans to shut up so the NSA can go about its business without having to worry about little things like what the hell the voters think. On top of that, he seems to have a deeply uncurious mind, at least about this matter — which is an important one to me.

I held my nose and voted for Romney in 2012, but I’m increasingly doubtful that I could do the same for another Bush.

Oh, That Second Device? [VodkaPundit]

(AP photo)

(AP photo)

The Clinton lies, they never stop:

Hillary Rodham Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal email address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The State Department released a total of four emails between Clinton and her top advisers as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2013 by the AP, which sought Clinton’s correspondence with senior advisers over a four-year period relating to drone strikes overseas and U.S. surveillance programs.

While limited, the emails offer one of the first looks into Clinton’s correspondence while secretary of state.

Limited? You bet you’re ass they’re limited — she deleted 32,000 of them, despite a subpoena from Congress.

Hillary Clinton belongs in jail.

PolitiFact: Providing Cover Since 2009 [VodkaPundit]

PunditPress ran the numbers behind PolitiFact’s so-called fact-checking, and they ain’t pretty:

PolitiFact’s Obameter has been ongoing for six years now. I remember looking at it in 2009 and thinking about how it would stand near the end of Obama’s term in office.

Today, looking at the chart, there are many more “promises kept” than there are “promises broken.” Yet anyone who has been paying attention over the last few years would surely see that Mr. Obama had broken a tremendous amount of promises.

So why does PolitiFact still have Mr. Obama’s promises kept at nearly twice those broken? I decided to take a look.

The first thing I did was see what promises were considered broken. It’s a fairly hefty list, but some of the very largest are completely missing. The biggest, and most famous, broken promise is that “if you like your doctor, you can keep you doctor.” That was proven irrefutably to be a lie.

According to PolitiFact, that wasn’t a broken promise. In fact, that promise doesn’t exist; it’s no where to be seen on their “promise broken” page.

Read the whole, devastating thing.

Region on Fire [VodkaPundit]

David Schenker and Gilad Wenig report that The Arab League is getting serious about putting together a standing “intervention force” to fight terror — and Iran:

Washington has served reliably as the guarantor of Gulf security for much of the past 25 years. But lately, as the Obama administration has moved closer to a nuclear deal with Iran—and as Tehran has expanded its influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen—Washington’s traditional Sunni allies are increasingly concerned about a diminished U.S. commitment.

The willingness of Arab states to finally sacrifice blood and treasure to defend the region from terrorism and Iranian encroachment is a positive development. But it also represents a growing desperation in the shadow of Washington’s shrinking security role in the Middle East.

The old joke about NATO was that it was supposed to “keep the Americans in, the Soviets out, and the Germans down.” And it did exactly that until recently, due to feckless leadership on both sides of the Atlantic.

Something similar is happening in the Middle East, where our “President who ends wars” doesn’t seem to comprehend what prevents them, or what kind of leadership is required to prevent a small war from becoming a regional one.

What I’m not saying is that there’s any solution, any fix, for what ails the Middle East. That dysfunctional region isn’t a problem to be solved, but rather a problem to be managed. Obama giving free rein to Tehran and promising he won’t “do stupid shit” isn’t exactly sound management — and the result, a region descending into chaos, is there for the whole world to see.

Meanwhile, every time I pull up Bing News or Drudge or Instapundit, I dread the almost inevitable headline: “Washington, Iran Reach Nuclear Deal.” Because when I see what the Administration has given up already, I know what they’re willing to give up to get a deal, any deal.

If you think Iran is bold now, just wait until they’re on the Washington-approved path towards nukes.

It doesn’t seem likely that Tehran has the financial, military, or cultural wherewithal to be the regional hegemon they’re trying to be, but this Administration has given them every incentive to keep on trying. The Arab states are putting together a valiant, if perhaps belated effort to do what Washington won’t. But as we’ve seen in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, once an Arab state is pulled apart, like Humpty Dumpty it doesn’t go back together again.

We — “we” being the sane world — are counting on this new Riyadh/Cairo Axis, this Pan-Arab Army, to hold the line. But if either Riyadh or Cairo falls, then it’s going to be one giant Syria from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from Mosul to Sana’a.

How’s That Workin’ Out for Ya? [VodkaPundit]

Obama has allowed Iran to run wild through the Middle East in hopes of making a deal with them regarding their “peaceful” nuclear program.

Improbable Libraries [LISNews:]


Via the LA Times a review of a book on the current state of affairs in libraries and a few observations from the British son of two librarians, author Alex Johnson.

In our technology-obsessed world, libraries provide tranquil sanctuaries for zoning out with physical books. Regardless of the ultimate fate of the printed book, reports of the imminent death of the library as a physical entity seem to have been greatly exaggerated.

Libraries have a long history of overcoming geographic, economic and political challenges to bring the written word to an audience," writes Alex Johnson, a journalist at the U.K. newspaper the Independent, in the introduction to his fascinating new book, Improbable Libraries.

State cuts could cause libraries to lose federal funding [LISNews:]

The Department of Libraries is part of the Agency of Administration and is poised to receive a $2,275,682 appropriation from the state’s general fund for fiscal year 2016. In fiscal year 2015, the libraries were promised a $2,746,649 appropriation, but the actual figure fell because of budget rescissions.

From State cuts could cause libraries to lose federal funding - VTDigger

MATH 1001 Intro to Tech Math [31484] [Lakeland Cancellations]

5:15 P.M. - 6:25 P.M., T 215

MATH 1001 Intro to Tech Math [31485] [Lakeland Cancellations]

6:30 P.M. - 7:45 P.M., T 215

vs. Owens [Lakeland Events]

DATE: Wed, 4/1/2015 | TIME: 3:30 PM | LOCATION: Kirtland, Ohio

Franklin University Campus Visit [Lakeland Events]

DATE: Thu, 4/2/2015 | TIME: 11:00 AM | LOCATION: Bookstore Hallway

Teaching Online Workshop Series #9 Engaging the Online Learner [Lakeland Events]

DATE: Fri, 4/3/2015 | TIME: 9:30 AM | LOCATION: Room C-1012

Women's Softball vs. Beaver County [Lakeland Events]

DATE: Fri, 4/3/2015 | TIME: 12:00 PM | LOCATION: Kirtland, Ohio

Men's Baseball at Owens* [Lakeland Events]

DATE: Fri, 4/3/2015 | TIME: 1:00 PM | LOCATION: Perrysburg, Ohio

Women's Softball vs. Beaver County [Lakeland Events]

DATE: Fri, 4/3/2015 | TIME: 2:00 PM | LOCATION: Kirtland, Ohio

Quote of the Day, Chuck Schumer’s Lack Of Vision Suits His Party, Actually edition. [Moe Lane]

Via Instapundit: we must know of different Chuck Schumers.

There’s a certain lovable quality to Schumer that is hard to avoid even when he is on the other end of the phone yelling at you and threatening never to speak to anyone who works for your newspaper ever again. He works hard and he relishes what he does and I think he is a genuinely patriotic American.

But that makes it all the more tragic that this politician—who Bloomberg is now likening to Lyndon Johnson, writing that he has “been the highest-profile political player for the last decade in the major media centers of New York and Washington”—stands for so little.

Still, it remains true that it’s danged hard to actually say what the Democratic party is for, these days. If the GOP disappeared tomorrow I’d half expect the Democratic party leadership to wander around in a daze until they died from starvation and forgetfulness. :shrug: The price you pay for never having any ideas of your own, I guess.

Tweet of the Day, Go Ahead And Get Good Seats For The Coming Carnage edition. [Moe Lane]

Oh, my.

As somebody succinctly replied: “Someone’s going to die.”

My Interview with Andrew Klavan about Werewolf Cop is up at RedState. [Moe Lane]

Sorry about the lack of crossposting, but I am blogging while on a mini-vacation, which means Chromebook, which means I am not going to crosspost because it’s just a little too much of a pain.  Sorry about that.  Anyway, check me out over there.

…This clip from Mulan is not a musical number. [Moe Lane]

But it is illustrative of why Mulan is one of my favorite Disney flicks.  Mulan can be in my adventuring party any time, no questions asked. And I rarely say that about Disney princesses:

A… live-action Mulan movie? [Moe Lane]

…Well: “Another live-action take on a Walt Disney Pictures animated feature is on the way today as The Hollywood Reporter reveals that plans are underway for a new big screen take on Mulan!”

Well.  That should be… interesting to see.  I mean, it’d work pretty well, with the right actress.  Just… it’s a movie set in more or less ancient China, OK?  Cast it with people of Chinese ancestry.  Let’s not have another The Last Airbender situation, here.

A Public Service Announcement for public officials saying stupid things on Twitter. [Moe Lane]

  1. Don’t.
  2. If you do, don’t delete the Tweet once it blows up in your face.
  3. If you do, don’t then claim that you were hacked once your deletion of the Tweet that blew up in your face blows up in your face.
  4. If you do, don’t then delete the claim when it blows up in your face.
  5. …Look, just get off of Twitter, OK? Bad Idea. Bad idea.

Moe Lane

PS: I’m being merciful by not mentioning the person’s name, yes.  I have these urges towards kindness, from time to time. Or maybe I’m just finicky that way.

So *that’s* what happened at Fort Meade today, then. [Moe Lane]

‘What happened’ being ‘two guys dressed as women tried to crash the NSA gate with their stolen car and were then promptly shot.’  Not terrorism, by the way: just… surreal.  In fact, this would be possibly not devoid of humor, except that somebody died:

One man is dead and another severely injured after gunfire erupted today at one of the main gates of the National Security Agency located at Fort Meade, Maryland.


Sources say the two inside were men dressed as women. Preliminary information indicated the two men were partying at an area hotel with a third individual when they took that individual’s car without permission. However, it’s still unclear how or why they ended up at the NSA gate.

The owner of the SUV picked up two men dressed as women in Baltimore late Sunday, sources confirmed. The three allegedly drove to a hotel in Howard County, Maryland, where they partied, sources said. Early this morning, the man woke up alone and the two men he allegedly had picked up were gone and so was his vehicle, sources said. The man reported his vehicle stolen to Howard County Police before the incident at the NSA, sources said.

I don’t like to preach, but there seems to have been a cascade event of Poor Life Choices going on, there.

A *dirty* Democratic primary season may still happen! [Moe Lane]

Call me an optimist? Sure.  It’s a fair cop.  Still, here comes the war: “Minutes after [Martin] O’Malley’s appearance on “This Week,” former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, a top adviser to the Ready for Hillary PAC, said on the same program, “Martin O’Malley, he’s a very nice guy, and I was thinking he might make a nice member of a President Clinton administration, so he better watch it.””  Jennifer Granholm, for those of you who don’t remember, was the person that liberals used to get wistful about: she’s a naturalized citizen – and thus ineligible to become President.  Well, to be honest about it Granholm would have been ineligible to become President anyway, given that she drove the state of Michigan into the ground so hard that it left an impact crater; but that is perhaps incidental to my point.

Moving along: streiff over at RedState takes O’Malley seriously as both a challenger to Hillary, and as a candidate for President.  I share his opinion on the first, but not the second; the pathway for a Democratic victory in 2016 is through the difficult trick of simultaneously embracing Clintonism and rejecting Obamaism while at the same time being publicly seen to embrace Obamaism and reject Clintonism. It’s a devil of a problem, really. Democratic primary voters will be made up of bitter progressives who want to be told pretty lies about how they’re not the ones who are fringe, really, and African-American voters who want proper deference shown to Barack Obama.  That’s enough of a combined voting bloc to get the nomination.  Alas for the Democrats, swing voters have already had eight years of Barack Obama and progressives; and those voters are showing little sign of being interested in twelve.

Put another way: no, really, regular voters don’t care about the same things that the Democratic base cares about. Martin O’Malley’s record might endear him to base voters, but yelling about Glass-Steagall will not get him far in a general election.  But since it will endear him to base voters… expect a war to break out.  And the funny part about that is that the war won’t be directed by Hillary Clinton herself. Hillary may not even realize what’s happening until something spectacular goes down.  Her staff will be the ones fueling this feud: there are a lot of people that have planned out their near future on the assumption that they’d be part of another Clinton administration.  They will be prepared to strike out at anybody who dares threaten their plans.

Via @lachlan.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

Buried lede: Comedy Central expects Republicans to win in 2016. [Moe Lane]

You don’t load up a guy like this to replace Jon Stewart if you’re expecting four more years of a Democrat.

On Monday, Comedy Central announced that South African comedian Trevor Noah would be replacing Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. To get a feel for Noah’s brand of humor, one could simply watch his debut on the fake news show in December of 2014, when he jokingly declared that present-day America had worse race relations than Apartheid South Africa.

Watch the clip, over at Newsbusters. The clip shows a comic whose routine would be pure ratings death during a new Democratic administration.  But it’ll knock the liberals dead during a new Republican one.

Moe Lane

PS: What? Well, of course the guy is a schmuck. Wait, you were expecting anything else? I can’t even get mad over it, sorry. I do, however, suspect that Comedy Central will wonder why they’re not generating as much buzz on that show as they used to do…

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Commentary on Reform of Islam [The Jawa Report]


The ferment we see in the Muslim world today is not solely due to despotic political systems, and it is not solely due to failing economies and the poverty they breed. Rather, it is also due largely to Islam itself and the incompatibility of certain of that faith’s key tenets with modernity. That is why the most important conflict in the world today is between those who are hell-bent on preserving, and even increasing, these incompatibilities, and those who are bravely prepared to challenge them — not to overthrow Islam but to reform it.

Forget the crude distinction between “extreme” and “moderate” Muslims. Rather, we should distinguish among three groups of Muslims.

Hat Tip: Pop.

Feel Good Story of The Day: She's Drunk Jim! [The Jawa Report]

And to think just yesterday she was just a drunk, today she's a world famous drunk!

'Merca the land of opportunity.

Shocking News! Sudden Peace Falls Over Islamic World! [The Jawa Report]

No one killed anyone today. No wait!

BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide bomber targeted a bus carrying Iranian Shiite pilgrims north of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing 10 people, including seven Iranians, according to Iraqi officials.

Police officials said the attack happened in the town of Taji, 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the Iraqi capital where the bomber detonated his explosives as the pilgrims were getting off the bus at a gas station.

Whew! We were hanging by the skin of our teeth on that one!

Situation Normal.

Carry on.

Crashing America [The Jawa Report]


Cartoon by A.F. Branco at Legal Insurrection.

Uncle Samuel in comments posted a link to a very similar analogy at HopeNChange Cartoons (all emphasis is the author's):

The pilot was locked out of the cockpit.

That phrase finally revealed the full horror of the crash of Germanwings flight 9525. Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz waited for the pilot to leave the cockpit, then locked the door to prevent his re-entry. After which Lubitz, for reasons unknown and perhaps unknowable, deliberately steered the jet into a harrowing 8 minute plunge ending in an explosive 434 mph impact with a rocky mountainside. 150 men, women and children met an immediate, unthinkably violent death.

Lubitz, in his single-minded madness, couldn't be stopped because anyone who could change the jet's disastrous course was locked out.

It's hard to imagine the growing feelings of fear and helplessness that the passengers felt as the unforgiving landscape rushed up to meet them. Hard - but not impossible.

Because America is in trouble. We feel the descent in the pits of our stomachs. We hear the shake and rattle of structures stressed beyond their limits. We don't know where we're going anymore, but do know it isn't good. And above all, we feel helpless because Barack Obama has locked us out.

Read it all.

Virginia State Bar: "We Are A State Agency That Strives For Maximum Inclusion And Equality, So BOYCOTTT ISRAEL!" [The Jawa Report]

It looks like the Virginia State Bar is joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that has been a rage on anti-Semitic college campuses across America. This organization that claims to be all about inclusion and equality has decided to move a long planned seminar from Jerusalem to a yet-to-be-announced location.

Kevin Martingayle, president of the Virginia State Bar, writes:

Certain members of the Virginia State Bar and other individuals have expressed objections to the VSB's plan to take the Midyear Legal Seminar trip in November to Jerusalem. It was stated that there are some unacceptable discriminatory policies and practices pertaining to border security that affect travelers to the nation. Upon review of U.S. State Department advisories and other research, and after consultation with our leaders, it has been determined that there is enough legitimate concern to warrant cancellation of the Israel trip and exploration of alternative locations.

Undoubtedly, this news will disappoint some VSB members. But we are a state agency that strives for maximum inclusion and equality, and that explains this action. Fortunately, we still anticipate being able to find a suitable location for the November seminar trip, and we will send out further news very soon.

Legal Insurrection has partnered with Judicial Watch in a quest to find out exactly who is behind this curious change and to which specific Israeli policies and practices this state agency objected.

Since the Virginia State Bar is subjected to Virginia's FOIA statute, answers should be forthcoming soon. Unless they pull a Hillary...

No One More Surprised Than Hillary Clinton At Her Ability To Handle The Inconvenience Of Using More Than One Device At A Time [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

Remember when Hillary Clinton claimed that it was for reasons of “convenience” that she exclusively used personal email on a single device while at State and we all laughed?

Yes, well about that:

Hillary Rodham Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal email address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

While limited, the emails offer one of the first looks into Clinton’s correspondence while secretary of state. The messages came from and were sent to her private email address, hosted on a server at her property in Chappaqua, New York, as opposed to a government-run email account.

They show that Clinton, on at least one occasion, accidentally mingled personal and work matters. In reply to a message sent in September 2011 by adviser Huma Abedin to Clinton’s personal email account, which contained an AP story about a drone strike in Pakistan, Clinton mistakenly replied with questions that appear to be about decorations.

“I like the idea of these,” she wrote to Abedin. “How high are they? What would the bench be made of? And I’d prefer two shelves or attractive boxes/baskets/ conmtainers (sic) on one. What do you think?”

Abedin replied, “Did u mean to send to me?” To which Clinton wrote, “No-sorry! Also, pls let me know if you got a reply from my ipad. I’m not sure replies go thru.”

The other emails between Clinton and her advisers provided by the State Department contained a summary of a 2011 meeting between Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and senior Egyptian officials in Cairo. It was uncensored and did not appear to contain sensitive information. That email was forwarded to Clinton’s private account from Abedin’s government email address.

Clinton’s spokesman acknowledged her use of an Ipad:

“She used her Ipad from time to time, but mostly just to read news clippings“.

(So both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton learned of major events by reading the news!)

Further, today the House Committee on Benghazi officially summoned Clinton to testify before the committee no later than May 1:

“We continue to believe Secretary Clinton’s email arrangement with herself is highly unusual, if not unprecedented,” Gowdy wrote. “The decision to delete these records during the pendency of a congressional investigation only exacerbates our need to better understand what the Secretary did, when she did it, and why she did it. While she has cited a variety of justifications for this arrangement, many questions and details about the arrangement remain unanswered. These questions relate to:

1. her decision to bypass official government email account;

2. whether she affirmatively turned over any relevant records during the pendency of the
Accountability Review Board investigation or at any time after Congress first began
investigating the Benghazi attack until December 2014;

3. her decision to retain those records upon separation from the Dept. of State;

4. the methodology by which those emails were subsequently searched for evidence of
official records; and

5. her decision to delete certain emails.


Ted Cruz Makes Big Fundraising Push [Patterico's Pontifications]


This week has been an early test of whether [Ted Cruz] can bring in the contributions he’ll need to stay afloat throughout the course of a campaign.

Cruz is hoping to build on the $2 million he raised in the first three days after becoming the first official candidate for the White House. Tuesday marks the cut-off for first quarter fundraising for congressional and presidential candidates.

Cruz’s advisers have said he needs at least $30 million to compete ahead of next November. If he can post strong numbers from the opening week of his bid, it will help him combat perceptions that he isn’t a top-tier candidate with broad appeal.

“In less than 48 hours, my campaign faces its biggest challenge to date,” Cruz wrote in Monday night’s dispatch. Opponents and supporters “will be looking at this report to determine the strength of our campaign.”

I donated today. I believe it’s the first time I have ever given money to a politician.

Bubba Clinton: “House of Cards” Just Like Washington D.C. (Spoilers) [Patterico's Pontifications]

Don’t read this post if you haven’t seen “House of Cards” and you plan to.

Anybody left? (I’m guessing there are plenty of you left, and that it’s a group comprising both a small handful of people who have already seen it, and a much larger group that never intends to.)

So. Bill Clinton recently told his pal Kevin Spacey, the star of the show, that real-life Washington D.C. is just like “House of Cards”:

According to Kevin Spacey, his friend Bill Clinton says 99 percent of what’s seen on “House of Cards” is true.

As the star of Netflix’s political thriller, Spacey plays the corrupt and conniving President Frank Underwood. Spacey, who counts former President Clinton among his pals, tells Gotham magazine, while doing his best Clinton impression, “Kevin, 99 percent of what you do on that show is real.”

Oh, just 99 percent. That’s a relief. You see, Spacey’s character Frank Underwood rises to the Oval Office through a manipulative and cynical brand of brass-knuckle politics that knows no moral bounds. Ruining reputations of good people, taking stances he doesn’t believe in, manipulating people like pieces on a chess board, and stabbing people in the back is the least of it. Underwood’s character also commits murder in his quest for power. More than once.

So it’s good to hear that only 99 percent of the storyline is accurate. Clearly, the 1 percent they got wrong is in making the President of the United States out to be such an amoral monster. Right, Bill?

Continuing with his impersonation of the 42nd president, Spacey says, as Clinton, that there’s one aspect of the show that’s pure fiction. “The 1 percent you get wrong is you could never get an education bill passed that fast.”


Well, things will be different when Hillary is in office.

Jon Stewart’s Successor And The Jews: Yeah, I Know It’s Supposed To Be Funny … [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

So 31-year old comedian Trevor Noah has been named heir to the Daily Show. Jon Stewart, who will officially leave the show later this year, is said to be thrilled at the selection of Noah.

Noah, himself, was also very excited upon being informed that he would succeed Stewart:

“You don’t believe it for the first few hours,” Noah told The New York Times while on the phone in Dubai, speaking about his first reactions to learning that he had been selected as the new “Daily Show” host. “You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol.”


With that, I’ve never really been a Stewart fan. Maybe I’m old and cranky, but it has never struck me as particularly original to be sarcastic and smarmy and belittling all in the same breath. That’s just called being a teenager. Oh sure, he has some some talent, but certainly that sort of humor is an acquired taste. And although I’ve tried, my taste buds have never cooperated where Stewart was concerned. And honestly, that clown nose business was so annoying: nose-on, nose-off. For god sake, you are a grown man – act like one!

Anyway, I wondered if Noah would be just another Stewart clone. Judge for yourself:

I know he’s supposed to be funny. I know that nothing is off limits for comedians. I know we are told to respect their art. Except, we are already witnessing not just the world, but Our. Very. Own. President. display such levels of intolerance and annoyance toward the Jewish people and Israel that the relationship with one of our greatest allies has been damaged as a result. So it’s a bit disappointing to see Trevor Noah, heir to pop-culture’s throne, use Jewish stereotypes for his punchlines. (…but, you know, it’s only Jews, so maybe I’m overreacting.)

Anyway, it doesn’t look like I’ll be tuning in anytime soon. It also doesn’t look like I’ll be missing much.

(h/t JWF)


Pep Boys Mandates Discussion of Transgender Issues [Patterico's Pontifications]

A truly hilarious commentary on the Starbucks initiative to discuss race, from Saturday Night Live. Thanks to elissa for the tip.

Zlatan Todorić: Fruit flies like a banana [Planet Debian]

I started working for Valve as a community manager.

Zlatan Todorić: Interviews with FLOSS developers: Francesca Ciceri [Planet Debian]

Debian and FLOSS community don't only occupy coding developers. They occupy people who write news, who talk about FLOSS, who help on booths and conferences, who create artistic forms of the community and so many others that contribute in countless ways. A lady, that is doing many of that is Francesca Ciceri, known in Debian as MadameZou. She is non-packaging Debian Developer, a fearless warrior for diversity and a zombie fan. Although it sounds intimidating, she is deep caring and great human being. So, what has MadaZou to tell us?

Picture of MadameZou

Who are you?

My name is Francesca and I'm totally flattered by your intro. The fearless warrior part may be a bit exaggerated, though.

What have you done and what are you currently working on in FLOSS world?

I've been a Debian contributor since late 2009. My journey in Debian has touched several non-coding areas: from translation to publicity, from videoteam to www. I've been one of the www.debian.org webmasters for a while, a press officer for the Project as well as an editor for DPN. I've dabbled a bit in font packaging, and nowadays I'm mostly working as a Front Desk member.

Setup of your main machine?

Wow, that's an intimate question! Lenovo Thinkpad, Debian testing.

Describe your current most memorable situation as FLOSS member?

Oh, there are a few. One awesome, tiring and very satisfying moment was during the release of Squeeze: I was member of the publicity and the www teams at the time, and we had to pull a 10 hours of team work to put everything in place. It was terrible and exciting at the same time. I shudder to think at the amount of work required from ftpmaster and release team during the release. Another awesome moment was my first Debconf: I was so overwhelmed by the sense of belonging in finally meeting all these people I've been worked remotely for so long, and embarassed by my poor English skills, and overall happy for just being there... If you are a Debian contributor I really encourage you to participate to Debian events, be they small and local or as big as DebConf: it really is like finally meeting family.

Some memorable moments from Debian conferences?

During DC11, the late nights with the "corridor cabal" in the hotel, chatting about everything. A group expedition to watch shooting stars in the middle of nowhere, during DC13. And a very memorable videoteam session: it was my first time directing and everything that could go wrong, went wrong (including the speaker deciding to take a walk outside the room, to demonstrate something, out of the cameras range). It was a disaster, but also fun: at the end of it, all the video crew was literally in stitches. But there are many awesome moments, almost too many to recall. Each conference is precious on that regard: for me the socializing part is extremely important, it's what cements relationships and help remote work go smoothly, and gives you motivation to volunteer in tasks that sometimes are not exactly fun.

You are known as Front Desk member for DebConf's - what work does it occupy and why do you enjoy doing it?

I'm not really a member of the team: just one of Nattie's minions!

You had been also part of DebConf Video team - care to share insights into video team work and benefits it provides to Debian Project?

The video team work is extremely important: it makes possible for people not attending to follow the conference, providing both live streaming and recording of all talks. I may be biased, but I think that DebConf video coverage and the high quality of the final recordings are unrivaled among FLOSS conferences - especially since it's all volunteer work and most of us aren't professional in the field. During the conference we take shifts in filming the various talks - for each talk we need approximately 4 volunteers: two camera operators, a sound mixer and the director. After the recording, comes the boring part: reviewing, cutting and sometimes editing the videos. It's a long process and during the conference, you can sometimes spot the videoteam members doing it at night in the hacklab, exhausted after a full day of filming. And then, the videos are finally ready to be uploaded, for your viewing pleasure. During the last years this process has become faster thanks to the commitment of many volunteers, so that now you have to wait only few days, sometimes a week, after the end of the conference to be able to watch the videos. I personally love to contribute to the videoteam: you get to play with all that awesome gear and you actually make a difference for all the people who cannot attend in person.

You are also non-packaging Debian Developer - how does that feel like?

Feels awesome! The mere fact that the Debian Project decided - in 2009 via a GR - to recognize the many volunteers who contribute without doing packaging work is a great show of inclusiveness, in my opinion. In a big project like Debian just packaging software is not enough: the final result relies heavily on translators, sysadmins, webmasters, publicity people, event organizers and volunteers, graphic artists, etc. It's only fair that these contributions are deemed as valuable as the packaging, and to give an official status to those people. I was one of the firsts non-uploading DD, four years ago, and for a long time it was just really an handful of us. In the last year I've seen many others applying for the role and that makes me really happy: it means that finally the contributors have realized that they deserve to be an official part of Debian and to have "citizenship rights" in the project.

You were the leading energy on Debian's diversity statement - what gave you the energy to drive into it?

It seemed the logical conclusion of the extremely important work that Debian Women had done in the past. When I first joined Debian, in 2009, as a contributor, I was really surprised to find a friendly community and to not be discriminated on account of my gender or my lack of coding skills. I may have been just lucky, landing in particularly friendly teams, but my impression is that the project has been slowly but unequivocally changed by the work of Debian Women, who raised first the need for inclusiveness and the awareness about the gender problem in Debian. I don't remember exactly how I stumbled upon the fact that Debian didn't have a Diversity Statement, but at first I was very surprised by it. I asked zack (Stefano Zacchiroli), who was DPL at the time, and he encouraged me to start a public discussion about it, sending out a draft - and helped me all the way along the process. It took some back and forth in the debian-project mailing list, but the only thing needed was actually just someone to start the process and try to poke the discussion when it stalled - the main blocker was actually about the wording of the statement. I learned a great deal from that experience, and I think it changed completely my approach in things like online discussions and general communication within the project. At the end of the day, what I took from that is a deep respect for who participated and the realization that constructive criticism does require certainly a lot of work for all parts involved, but can happen. As for the statement in itself: these things are as good as you keep them alive with best practices, but I think that are better stated explicitly rather than being left unsaid.

You are involved also with another Front Desk, the Debian's one which is involved with Debian's New Members process - what are tasks of that FD and how rewarding is the work on it?

The Debian Front Desk is the team that runs the New Members process: we receive the applications, we assign the applicant a manager, and we verify the final report. In the last years the workflow has been simplified a lot by the re-design of the nm.debian.org website, but it's important to keep things running smoothly so that applicants don't have too lenghty processes or to wait too much before being assigned a manager. I've been doing it for a less more than a month, but it's really satisfying to usher people toward DDship! So this is how I feel everytime I send a report over to DAM for an applicant to be accepted as new Debian Developer:

Crazy pic

How do you see future of Debian development?

Difficult to say. What I can say is that I'm pretty sure that, whatever the technical direction we'll take, Debian will remain focused on excellence and freedom.

What are your future plans in Debian, what would you like to work on?

Definetely bug wrangling: it's one of the thing I do best and I've not had a chance to do that extensively for Debian yet.

Why should developers and users join Debian community? What makes Debian a great and happy place?

We are awesome, that's why. We are strongly committed to our Social Contract and to users freedom, we are steadily improving our communication style and trying to be as inclusive as possible. Most of the people I know in Debian are perfectionists and outright brilliant in what they do. Joining Debian means working hard on something you believe, identifying with a whole project, meeting lots of wonderful people and learning new things. It ca be at times frustrating and exhausting, but it's totally worth it.

You have been involved in Mozilla as part of OPW - care to share insights into Mozilla, what have you done and compare it to Debian?

That has been a very good experience: it meant have the chance to peek into another community, learn about their tools and workflow and contribute in different ways. I was an intern for the Firefox QA team and their work span from setting up specific test and automated checks on the three version of Firefox (Stable, Aurora, Nightly) to general bug triaging. My main job was bug wrangling and I loved the fact that I was a sort of intermediary between developers and users, someone who spoke both languages and could help them work together. As for the comparison, Mozilla is surely more diverse than Debian: both in contributors and users. I'm not only talking demographic, here, but also what tools and systems are used, what kind of skills people have, etc. That meant reach some compromises with myself over little things: like having to install a proprietary tool used for the team meetings (and getting crazy in order to make it work with Debian) or communicating more on IRC than on mailing lists. But those are pretty much the challenges you have to face whenever you go out of your comfort zone .

You are also volunteer of the Organization for Transformative Works - what is it, what work do you do and care to share some interesting stuff?

OTW is a non profit organization to preserve fan history and cultures, created by fans. Its work range from legal advocacy and lobbying for fair use and copyright related issues, developing and maintaining AO3 -- a huge fanwork archive based on open-source software --, to the production of a peer-reviewed academic journal about fanworks. I'm an avid fanfiction reader and writer, and joining the OTW volunteers seemed a good way to give back to the community - in true Debian fashion . As a volunteer, I work for the Translation Committee: we are more than a hundred people - divided in several language teams - translating the OTW website, the interface of AO3 archive, newsletter, announcements and news posts. We have a orga-wide diversity statement, training for recruits, an ever growing set of procedures to smooth our workflow, monthly meetings and movie nights. It's an awesome group to work with. I'm deeply invested in this kind of work: both for the awesomeness of OTW people and for the big role that fandom and fanworks have in my life. What I find amazing is that the same concept we - as in the FLOSS ecosystem - apply to software can be applied to cultural production: taking a piece of art you love and expand, remix, explore it. Just for the fun of it. Protect and encourage the right to play in this cultural sandbox is IMO essential for our society. Most of the participants in the fandom come from marginalised group or minorities whose point of view is usually not part of the mainstream narratives. This makes the act of writing, remixing and re-interpreting a story not only a creative exercise but a revolutionary one. As Elizabeth Minkel says: "My preferred explanation is the idea that the vast majority of what we watch is from the male perspective – authored, directed, and filmed by men, and mostly straight white men at that. Fan fiction gives women and other marginalised groups the chance to subvert that perspective, to fracture a story and recast it in her own way." In other words, "fandom is about putting debate and conversation back into an artistic process".

On a personal side - you do a lot of DIY, handmade works. What have you done, what joy does it bring to you and share with us a picture of it?

I like to think that the hacker in me morphs in a maker whenever I can actually manipulate stuff. The urge to explore ways of doing things, of create and change is probably the same. I've been blessed with curiousity and craftiness and I love to learn new DIY techniques: I cannot describe it, really, but if I don't make something for a while I actually feel antsy. I need to create stuff. Nowadays, I'm mostly designing and sewing clothes - preferably reproductions of dresses from the 40s and the 50s - and I'm trying to make a living of that. It's a nice challenge: there's a lot of research involved, as I always try to be historically accurate in design, sewing tecniques and material, and many hours of careful attention to details. I'm right in the process of make photoshoots for most of my period stuff, so I'll share with you something different: a t-shirt refashion done with the DebConf11 t-shirt! (here's the tutorial)

T-shirt pic

Niels Thykier: Jessie is coming the 2015-04-25 [Planet Debian]

Indeed, we settled on a release date for Jessie – and pretty quick too.  I sent out a poll on the 28th of March and yesterday, it was clear that the 25th of April was our release date. :)

With that said, we still have some items left that needs to be done.

  • Finishing the release notes.  This is mostly pending myself and a few others.
  • Translation of the release-notes.  I sent out a heads up earlier today about what sections I believe to be done.
  • The d-i team got another release planned as well.
  • All the RC bugs you can manage to fix before the 18th of April. :)

Filed under: Debian, Release-Team

Laura Arjona: Upgrading my home server (HP Microserver N54L G7) to Debian Jessie [Planet Debian]

Note: this is a long overdue post. I upgraded some months ago… but I promised myself to blog about my selfhosting adventures, so here you are.

You may know the story… TL;DR

  • I wanted to self host my web services.
  • I bought a Microserver (N54L).
  • I installed Debian stable there, RAID1 (BIOS) + cryptsetup + LVM (/ and swap, /boot in another disk, unencrypted).
  • I installed GNU MediaGoblin, and it works!
  • When rebooting, the password to unencrypt the disk (and then, find the LVM volumes and mount the partitions), was not accepted. But it was accepted after I shutdown, unplug the electricity, replug, and turn on the machine.

After searching a bit for information about my problem and not finding anything helpful, I began to think that maybe upgrading to Jessie could fix it (recent versions of kernel and cryptsetup…). And the Jessie freeze was almost there, and I also thought that trying to make my MediaGoblin work in Jessie now that I still didn’t upload lots of content, would be a nice idea… And, I wanted to feel the adventure!

Whatever. I decided to upgrade to Jessie. This is the glory of “free software at home”: you only waste your time (and probably not, because you can learn something, at least, what not to do).

Upgrading my system to Jessie, and making it boot!

I changed sources.list, updated, did a safe-upgrade, and then upgrade. Then reboot… and the system didn’t boot.

What happened? I’m not sure, everything looked “ok” during the upgrade… But now, my system even was not asking for the passphrase to unlock the encrypted disk. It was trying to access the physical volume group as if it was in an unencrypted disk, and so, failing. The boot process left me in a “initramfs” console in which I didn’t know what to do.

I asked help from @luisgf, the system administrator of mipump.es (a Pump.io public server) and mijabber.es (an XMPP public server). We met via XMPP and with my “thinking aloud” and his patient listening and advice, we solved the problem, as you will see:

I tried to boot my rescue system (a complete system installed in different partitions in a different disk) and it booted. I tried then to manually unencrypt the encrypted disk (cryptsetup luksopen /dev/xxx), and it worked, and I could list the volume group and the volumes, and activate them, and mount the partitions. Yay! my (few) data was safe.

I rebooted and in the initramfs console I tried to do the same, but cryptsetup was not present in my initramfs.

Then I tried to boot in the old Wheezy kernel: it didn’t asked for the passphrase to unencrypt the disk, but in that initramfs console, cryptsetup was working well. So after manually unencrypt the system, activate the volumes and mount the partitions, I could exit the console and the system was booting #oleole!

So, how to tell the boot process to ask for the encryption password?

Maybe reinstalling the kernel was enough… I tried to reinstall the 3.16 kernel package. It (re)generated /boot/initrd.img-3.16.0-4-amd64 and then I restarted the system, and the problem was solved. It seems that the first time, the kernel didn’t generate the initrd image correctly, and I didn’t notice about that.

Well, problem solved. My system was booting again! No other boot problems and Jessie seemed to run perfectly. Thanks @luisgf for your help!

In addition to that, since then, my password has been accepted in every reboot, so it seems that the original problem is also gone.

A note on systemd

After all the noise of last months, I was a bit afraid that any of the different services that run on my system would not start with the migration to systemd.
I had no special tweaks, just two ‘handmade’ init scripts (for MediaGoblin, and for NoIP), but I didn’t write them myself (I just searched about systemd init scripts for the corresponding services), so if it was any problem there I was not sure that I could solve it. However, everything worked fine after the migration. Thanks Debian hackers to make this transition as smooth as possible!

Reinstalling MediaGoblin

My MediaGoblin was not working, and I was not sure why. Maybe it was just that I need to tune nginx or whatever, after the upgrade… But I was not going to spend time trying to know what part of the stack was the culprit, and my MediaGoblin sites were almost empty… So I decided to follow again the documentation and reinstall (maybe update would be enough, who knows). I reused the Debian user(s), the PostgreSQL users and databases, and the .ini files and nginx configuration files. So it was quick, and it worked.

Updating Jessie

I have updated my Jessie system several times since then (kernel updates, OpenSSL, PostgreSQL, and other security updates and RC bugs fixes, with the corresponding reboots or service restarts) and I didn’t experience the cryptsetup problem again. The system is working perfectly. I’m very happy.

Using dropbear to remotely provide the cryptsetup password

The last thing I made in my home server was setting up dropbear so I can remotely provide the encryption password, and then, remotely reboot my system. I followed this guide and it worked like a charm.

Some small annoyances and TODO list

  • I have some warnings at boot. I think they are not important, but anyway, I post them here, and will try to figure out what do they mean:
[    0.203617] [Firmware Bug]: ACPI: BIOS _OSI(Linux) query ignored
[    0.214828] ACPI: Dynamic OEM Table Load:
[    0.214841] ACPI: OEMN 0xFFFF880074642000 000624 (v01 AMD    NAHP     00000001 INTL 20051117)
[    0.226879] \_SB_:_OSC evaluation returned wrong type
[    0.226883] _OSC request data:1 1f 
[    0.227055] ACPI: Interpreter enabled
[    0.227062] ACPI Exception: AE_NOT_FOUND, While evaluating Sleep State [\_S1_] (20140424/hwxface-580)
[    0.227067] ACPI Exception: AE_NOT_FOUND, While evaluating Sleep State [\_S2_] (20140424/hwxface-580)
[    0.227070] ACPI Exception: AE_NOT_FOUND, While evaluating Sleep State [\_S3_] (20140424/hwxface-580)
[    0.227083] ACPI: (supports S0 S4 S5)
[    0.227085] ACPI: Using IOAPIC for interrupt routing
[    0.227298] HEST: Table parsing has been initialized.
[    0.227301] PCI: Using host bridge windows from ACPI; if necessary, use "pci=nocrs" and report a bug

And this one

[    1.635130] ERST: Failed to get Error Log Address Range.
[    1.645802] [Firmware Warn]: GHES: Poll interval is 0 for generic hardware error source: 1, disabled.
[    1.645894] GHES: APEI firmware first mode is enabled by WHEA _OSC.

And this one, about the 250GB disk (it came with the server, it’s not in the RAID):

[    3.320913] ata6: SATA link up 3.0 Gbps (SStatus 123 SControl 300)
[    3.321551] ata6.00: failed to enable AA (error_mask=0x1)
[    3.321593] ata6.00: ATA-8: VB0250EAVER, HPG9, max UDMA/100
[    3.321595] ata6.00: 488397168 sectors, multi 0: LBA48 NCQ (depth 31/32)
[    3.322453] ata6.00: failed to enable AA (error_mask=0x1)
[    3.322502] ata6.00: configured for UDMA/100
  • It would be nice to learn a bit about benchmarching tools and test my system with the nonfree VGA Radeon driver and without it.
  • I need to setup an automated backup system…

A note about RAID

Some people commented about the benefits of the software RAID (mainly, not to depend on a particular, proprietary firmware, what happens if my motherboard dies and I cannot find a compatible replacement?).

Currenty I have a RAID 1  (mirror) using the capabilities of the motherboard.

The problem is that, frankly, I am not sure about how to migrate the current setup (BIOS RAID + cryptsetup + LVM + partitions) to the new setup (software RAID + cryptsetup + LVM + partitions, or better other order?).

  • Would it be enough to make a Clonezilla backup of each partition, wipe my current setup, boot with the Debian installer, create the new setup (software RAID, cryptsetup, LVM and partitions), and after that, stop the installation, boot with Clonezilla and restore the partition images?
  • Or even better, can I (safely) remove the RAID in the BIOS, boot in my system (let’s say, from the first disk), and create the software RAID with that 2nd disk that appeared after removing the BIOS RAID (this sounds a bit like science fiction, but who knows!).
  • Is it important “when” or in which “layer” do I setup the software RAID?

As you see, lots of things to read/think/try… I hope I can find time for my home server more often!


You can comment on this pump.io thread.

Filed under: My experiences and opinion Tagged: Debian, encryption, English, Free Software, libre software, MediaGoblin, Moving into free software, N54L, selfhosting, sysadmin

Jonathan McDowell: Shipping my belongings across the globe [Planet Debian]

I previously wrote about tracking a ship around the world, but never followed up with the practical details involved with shipping my life from the San Francisco Bay Area back to Belfast. So here they are, in the hope they provide a useful data point for anyone considering a similar move.

Firstly, move out. I was in a one bedroom apartment in Fremont, CA. At the time I was leaving the US I didn’t have anywhere for my belongs to go - the hope was I’d be back in the Bay Area, but there was a reasonable chance I was going to end up in Belfast or somewhere in England. So on January 24th 2014 I had my all of my belongings moved out and put into storage, pending some information about where I might be longer term. When I say all of my belongings I mean that; I took 2 suitcases and everything else went into storage. That means all the furniture for probably a 2 bed apartment (I’d moved out of somewhere a bit larger) - the US doesn’t really seem to go in for the concept of a furnished lease the same way as the UK does.

I had deliberately picked a moving company that could handle the move out, the storage and the (potential) shipping. They handed off to a 3rd party for the far end bit, but that was to be expected. Having only one contact to deal with throughout the process really helped.

Fast forward 8 months and on September 21st I contacted my storage company to ask about getting some sort of rough shipping quote and timescales to Belfast. The estimate came back as around a 4-6 week shipping time, which was a lot faster than I was expecting. However it turned out this was the slow option. On October 27th (delay largely due to waiting for confirmation of when I’d definitely have keys on the new place) I gave the go ahead.

Container pickup (I ended up with exclusive use of a 20ft container - not quite full, but not worth part shipment) from the storage location was originally due on November 7th. Various delays at the Port of Oakland meant this didn’t happen until November 17th. It then sat in Oakland until December 2nd. At that point the ETA into Southampton was January 8th. Various other delays, including a week off the coast of LA (yay West Coast Port Backups) meant that the ship finally arrived in Southampton on January 13th. It then had to get to Belfast and clear customs. On January 22nd 2015, 2 days shy of a year since I’d seen them, my belongings and I were reunited.

So, on the face of it, the actual time on the ship was only slightly over 6 weeks, but all of the extra bits meant that the total time from “Ship it” to “I have it” was nearly 3 months. Which to be honest is more like what I was expecting. The lesson: don’t forget to factor in delays at every stage.

The relocation cost in the region of US$8000. It was more than I’d expected, but far cheaper than the cost of buying all my furniture again (plus the fact there were various things I couldn’t easily replace that were in storage). That cost didn’t cover the initial move into storage or the storage fees - it covered taking things out, packing them up for shipment and everything after that. Including delivery to a (UK) 3rd floor apartment at the far end and insurance. It’s important to note that I’d included this detail before shipment - the quote specifically mentioned it, which was useful when the local end tried to levy an additional charge for the 3rd floor aspect. They were fine once I showed them the quote as including that detail.

Getting an entire apartment worth of things I hadn’t seen in so long really did feel a bit like a second Christmas. I’d forgotten a lot of the things I had, and it was lovely to basically get a “home in a container” delivered.

Dirk Eddelbuettel: R / Finance 2015 Open for Registration [Planet Debian]

The annoucement below just went to the R-SIG-Finance list. More information is as usual at the R / Finance page.

Registration for R/Finance 2015 is now open!

The conference will take place on May 29 and 30, at UIC in Chicago. Building on the success of the previous conferences in 2009-2014, we expect more than 250 attendees from around the world. R users from industry, academia, and government will joining 30+ presenters covering all areas of finance with R.

We are very excited about the four keynote presentations given by Emanuel Derman, Louis Marascio, Alexander McNeil, and Rishi Narang.
The conference agenda (currently) includes 18 full presentations and 19 shorter "lightning talks". As in previous years, several (optional) pre-conference seminars are offered on Friday morning.

There is also an (optional) conference dinner at The Terrace at Trump Hotel. Overlooking the Chicago river and skyline, it is a perfect venue to continue conversations while dining and drinking.

Registration information and agenda details can be found on the conference website as they are being finalized.
Registration is also available directly at the registration page.

We would to thank our 2015 sponsors for the continued support enabling us to host such an exciting conference:

International Center for Futures and Derivatives at UIC

Revolution Analytics
MS-Computational Finance and Risk Management at University of Washington

Ketchum Trading

On behalf of the committee and sponsors, we look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

For the program committee:
Gib Bassett, Peter Carl, Dirk Eddelbuettel, Brian Peterson,
Dale Rosenthal, Jeffrey Ryan, Joshua Ulrich

See you in Chicago in May!

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

Konstantinos Margaritis: "Advanced Java® EE Development with WildFly" released by Packt (I was one of the reviewers!) [Planet Debian]

For the past months I had the honour and pleasure of being one of the reviewers of "Advanced Java® EE Development with WildFly" by Deepak Vohra. Today, I'm pleased to announce that the book has just been released by Packt:


It was my first time being a reviewer and it was a very interesting experience. I would like to thank the two Project Coordinators from Packt, Aboli Ambardekar and Suzanne Coutinho, who guided me with the reviewing process, so that my review would be as accurate as possible and only related to technical aspect of the book. Looking at the process retrospectively I now begin to understand the complication of achieving a balance between the author's vision for the book and the scrutiny of the (many) reviewers.

And of course I would like to thank the author, Deepak Vohra, for writing the book in the first place, I'm looking forward to reading the actual physical book :)

Daniel Leidert: Prevent suspend/hibernate if system is remotely backed up via rdiff-backup [Planet Debian]

I usually use rdiff-backup to backup several of my systems. One is a workstation which goes to sleep after some time of idling around. Now having a user logged in running rdiff-backup (or rsync, rsnapshot etc for that matter) won't prevent the system from being put to sleep. Naturally this happens before the backup is complete. So some time ago I was looking for a resolution and recieved a suggestion to use a script in /etc/pm/sleep.d/. I had to modify the script a bit, because the query result always was true. So this is my solution in /etc/pm/sleep.d/01_prevent_sleep_on_backup now:



command_exists rdiff-backup || exit $NA

case "$1" in
if ps cax | grep -q rdiff-backup
exit 1

exit 0

Currently testing ...


The above works with pm-utils; but it fails with systemd. Seems I have to move and modify the script for my system.

Update 2

It doesn't work. In short: exit 1 doesn't prevent systemd from going to suspend. I can see, that the script itself leads to the results I want, so the logic is correct. But I cannot find a way to tell systemd, to stop suspend. Shouldn't it be doing this automtically in a case, where a remote user is logged in and runs a command?

Update 3

There is also a related bug report.

Robert Edmonds: Bad Google repository signatures [Planet Debian]

Update: I was able to get in touch with the Googlers responsible for the dl.google.com service, and the root cause for the mismatched signature problem described below has been found and fixed. I now consistently receive from Google's servers Release and Release.gpg files that pass apt's signature validation on my home connection.

Google publishes Linux software repositories for several of their products, including Google Chrome, which is available from the following apt source:

deb http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main

These repositories are signed with an 8 year old 1024-bit DSA key:

pub   1024D/7FAC5991 2007-03-08
      Key fingerprint = 4CCA 1EAF 950C EE4A B839  76DC A040 830F 7FAC 5991
uid                  Google, Inc. Linux Package Signing Key <linux-packages-keymaster@google.com>
sub   2048g/C07CB649 2007-03-08

Asymmetric 1024-bit keys are not considered strong enough and were, for instance, aggressively retired from Google's SSL frontends almost two years ago. Such short keys should not be used to protect the integrity of software package repositories.

Note that this key has a longer 2048-bit ElGamal subkey, which is not actually used to produce signatures, but only for encryption. In fact, only a signing key is needed to sign the files in a secure apt repository, and, for instance, the archive keys used to sign official debian.org repositories do not contain an encryption subkey.

Since years, many users have reported an error message like the following when running apt-get update:

W: GPG error: http://dl.google.com stable Release: The following signatures were
invalid: BADSIG A040830F7FAC5991 Google, Inc. Linux Package Signing Key

This error might resolve itself if apt-get update is run again. Apparently, this is due to "bad pushes" occurring in the Google infrastructure. An example of this can be seen in the following curl output:

$ curl -v http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/dists/stable/Release \
* Hostname was NOT found in DNS cache
*   Trying
* Connected to dl.google.com ( port 80 (#0)
> GET /linux/chrome/deb/dists/stable/Release HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.38.0
> Host: dl.google.com
> Accept: */*
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Accept-Ranges: bytes
< Content-Length: 1347
< Content-Type: application/octet-stream
< Etag: "518b8"
< Expires: Sun, 22 Mar 2015 18:55:19 PDT
< Last-Modified: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 04:22:00 GMT
* Server downloads is not blacklisted
< Server: downloads
< X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
< X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
< X-Xss-Protection: 1; mode=block
< Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2015 01:55:19 GMT
< Alternate-Protocol: 80:quic,p=0.5
Origin: Google, Inc.
Label: Google
Suite: stable
Codename: stable
Version: 1.0
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2015 22:55:29 +0000
Architectures: amd64 i386
Components: main
Description: Google chrome-linux repository.
 53375c7a2d182d85aef6218c179040ed 144 main/binary-i386/Release
 c556daf52ac818e4b11b84cb5943f6e0 4076 main/binary-i386/Packages
 867ba456bd6537e51bd344df212f4662 960 main/binary-i386/Packages.gz
 2b766b2639b57d5282a154cf6a00b172 1176 main/binary-i386/Packages.bz2
 89704f9af9e6ccd87c192de11ba4c511 145 main/binary-amd64/Release
 fa88101278271922ec9b14b030fd2423 4082 main/binary-amd64/Packages
 1ba717117027f36ff4aea9c3ea60de9e 962 main/binary-amd64/Packages.gz
 19af18f376c986d317cadb3394c60ac5 1193 main/binary-amd64/Packages.bz2
 59414c4175f2cc22e67ba6c30687b00c72a7eafc 144 main/binary-i386/Release
 1764c5418478b1077ada54c73eb501165ba79170 4076 main/binary-i386/Packages
 db24eafac51d3e63fd41343028fb3243f96cbed6 960 main/binary-i386/Packages.gz
 ad8be07425e88b2fdf2f6d143989cde1341a8c51 1176 main/binary-i386/Packages.bz2
 153199d8f866350b7853365a4adc95ee687603dd 145 main/binary-amd64/Release
 7ce66535b35d5fc267fe23af9947f9d27e88508b 4082 main/binary-amd64/Packages
 a72b5e46c3be8ad403df54e4cdcd6e58b2ede65a 962 main/binary-amd64/Packages.gz
 dbc7fddd28cc742ef8f0fb8c6e096455e18c35f8 1193 main/binary-amd64/Packages.bz2
* Connection #0 to host dl.google.com left intact
* Found bundle for host dl.google.com: 0x7f24e68d06a0
* Re-using existing connection! (#0) with host dl.google.com
* Connected to dl.google.com ( port 80 (#0)
> GET /linux/chrome/deb/dists/stable/Release.gpg HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.38.0
> Host: dl.google.com
> Accept: */*
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Accept-Ranges: bytes
< Content-Length: 198
< Content-Type: application/octet-stream
< Etag: "518f4"
< Expires: Sun, 22 Mar 2015 18:55:19 PDT
< Last-Modified: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 04:05:00 GMT
* Server downloads is not blacklisted
< Server: downloads
< X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
< X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
< X-Xss-Protection: 1; mode=block
< Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2015 01:55:19 GMT
< Alternate-Protocol: 80:quic,p=0.5
Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)

* Connection #0 to host dl.google.com left intact

Note that both the Release and Release.gpg files were fetched with the same HTTP connection, so the two files must have come from the same web frontend. (Though, it is possible they were served by different backends.) However, the detached signature in Release.gpg does not match the content in Release:

gpgv: Signature made Fri 20 Mar 2015 12:01:58 AM EDT using DSA key ID 7FAC5991
gpgv: BAD signature from "Google, Inc. Linux Package Signing Key <linux-packages-keymaster@google.com>"

Performing the same pair of fetches again, the same Release.gpg file is returned, but the Release file is slightly different:

$ curl -v http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/dists/stable/Release \
* Hostname was NOT found in DNS cache
*   Trying
* Connected to dl.google.com ( port 80 (#0)
> GET /linux/chrome/deb/dists/stable/Release HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.38.0
> Host: dl.google.com
> Accept: */*
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Accept-Ranges: bytes
< Content-Length: 1347
< Content-Type: application/octet-stream
< Etag: "518f3"
< Expires: Sun, 22 Mar 2015 18:55:04 PDT
< Last-Modified: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 04:05:00 GMT
* Server downloads is not blacklisted
< Server: downloads
< X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
< X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
< X-Xss-Protection: 1; mode=block
< Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2015 01:55:04 GMT
< Alternate-Protocol: 80:quic,p=0.5
Origin: Google, Inc.
Label: Google
Suite: stable
Codename: stable
Version: 1.0
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 04:02:02 +0000
Architectures: amd64 i386
Components: main
Description: Google chrome-linux repository.
 89704f9af9e6ccd87c192de11ba4c511 145 main/binary-amd64/Release
 fa88101278271922ec9b14b030fd2423 4082 main/binary-amd64/Packages
 1ba717117027f36ff4aea9c3ea60de9e 962 main/binary-amd64/Packages.gz
 19af18f376c986d317cadb3394c60ac5 1193 main/binary-amd64/Packages.bz2
 53375c7a2d182d85aef6218c179040ed 144 main/binary-i386/Release
 c556daf52ac818e4b11b84cb5943f6e0 4076 main/binary-i386/Packages
 867ba456bd6537e51bd344df212f4662 960 main/binary-i386/Packages.gz
 2b766b2639b57d5282a154cf6a00b172 1176 main/binary-i386/Packages.bz2
 153199d8f866350b7853365a4adc95ee687603dd 145 main/binary-amd64/Release
 7ce66535b35d5fc267fe23af9947f9d27e88508b 4082 main/binary-amd64/Packages
 a72b5e46c3be8ad403df54e4cdcd6e58b2ede65a 962 main/binary-amd64/Packages.gz
 dbc7fddd28cc742ef8f0fb8c6e096455e18c35f8 1193 main/binary-amd64/Packages.bz2
 59414c4175f2cc22e67ba6c30687b00c72a7eafc 144 main/binary-i386/Release
 1764c5418478b1077ada54c73eb501165ba79170 4076 main/binary-i386/Packages
 db24eafac51d3e63fd41343028fb3243f96cbed6 960 main/binary-i386/Packages.gz
 ad8be07425e88b2fdf2f6d143989cde1341a8c51 1176 main/binary-i386/Packages.bz2
* Connection #0 to host dl.google.com left intact
* Found bundle for host dl.google.com: 0x7ffa33d8b6a0
* Re-using existing connection! (#0) with host dl.google.com
* Connected to dl.google.com ( port 80 (#0)
> GET /linux/chrome/deb/dists/stable/Release.gpg HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.38.0
> Host: dl.google.com
> Accept: */*
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Accept-Ranges: bytes
< Content-Length: 198
< Content-Type: application/octet-stream
< Etag: "518f4"
< Expires: Sun, 22 Mar 2015 18:55:05 PDT
< Last-Modified: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 04:05:00 GMT
* Server downloads is not blacklisted
< Server: downloads
< X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
< X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
< X-Xss-Protection: 1; mode=block
< Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2015 01:55:05 GMT
< Alternate-Protocol: 80:quic,p=0.5
Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)

* Connection #0 to host dl.google.com left intact

Note that the Date line in the Release file is different:

@@ -6 +6 @@
-Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2015 22:55:29 +0000
+Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 04:02:02 +0000

The file hashes listed in the Release file are in a different order, as well, though the actual hash values are the same. This Release file does have a valid signature:

gpgv: Signature made Fri 20 Mar 2015 12:01:58 AM EDT using DSA key ID 7FAC5991
gpgv: Good signature from "Google, Inc. Linux Package Signing Key <linux-packages-keymaster@google.com>"

Note that the Release.gpg files in the good and bad cases are the same, and the same signature cannot cover two files with different content. Also note that the same mis-signed content is available via HTTPS, so it is probably not caused by a MITM attack.

The possibility of skew between the Release and Release.gpg files is precisely why inline signed Release files were introduced, but Google's repositories use only the older format with a detached signature.

It would be nice if Google could fix the underlying bug in their infrastructure that results in mis-signed repositories being published frequently, because it trains users to ignore cryptographic failures.

SUSE Studio: Google OpenID 2.0 service discontinued [Planet openSUSE]

Google discontinues their OpenID 2.0 service, which is responsible for authenticating you using your Google Account in Studio.

So what does it mean for you ? First of all, you are still able to use your Google Account as usual to logon. Since Google OAuth 2.0 replaces OpenID 2.0 for authenticating your account, you might be prompted to re-consent Studio to verify your Google Account. In your user account information page in Studio an additional Google Account using OAuth 2.0 will show up after successful logon. You might delete your old account marked as deprecated.

Enjoy building!

Your Studio Team

Google OpenID 2.0 deprecated information: 

openSUSE News: Gear Up For The Screenshot Contest! [Planet openSUSE]

Greetings, green portion of the GNU/Linux web! It’s been a while since you last heard from us, so let’s say we give you something special this time around.

Wanna Play a Game?All of us users of open and free operating systems tend to celebrate the flexibility of our systems and desktop environments so we can tailor our systems to work best with our specific workflows. Often, we like to show off our desktops to the web vastness. So, how about we play a little game? How about we fill up the web with the best, most innovative desktops, and show off the power and flexibility of our geeko-powered mean machines?

At this point, I’m announcing the beginning of openSUSE’s monthly screenshot contest! Yes geekos, all of your online screenshot boasting will not be in vain. From the 1st of April onward, you’ll be able to enter into the openSUSE’s screenshot contest through one of the official channels described in the rules, which you can read below. Basically, it will work like this: You post a screenshot of your über-pimped desktop to one of the official channels. After three weeks, we’ll gather all of the contestants and create a week-long poll which will decide the desktop-pimp of the month. The winner will then be announced on the news site, with his/her screenshot posted on it, and politely asked to send his/her information so you can receive a small reward to your physical inbox. The reward for your openSUSE love spreading will be a choice between two openSUSE sticker packs. But that’s not all! At the end of the year, will pick-up the year’s monthly winners, and put them up again for public scrutiny, and that way we’ll get our world screenshot champion of the year. The yearly winner shall also be rewarded accordingly. The yearly reward will be announced when the time comes and after we deliberate on how much we should beef it up for the screenshot world series. :)

So the rules are quite simple:

– On the 1st of every month, there will be an appropriate topic opened in the screenshot section of the forums.

– Also, there will be a topic or group opened on the openSUSE Connect site, where you can post your screenshots.

– Since it’s a geeko competition, we kindly ask you to proudly sport your openSUSE desktops.

– You will be able to post your screenshots for three full weeks (3 x 7 days).

– The remainder of the month will be left for a poll on the openSUSE Connect site. The poll will decide a winner. It is entirely possible for the monthly title to go multiple ways, if the voters decide so. Poll will be closed on midnight on the final day of the month, and you’ll be already able to compete the very next day for the next month’s title. Ideally, the winner will be announced on the 1st of next month, along with a new game announcement!

– The aforementioned reward-packs are:









Now, you’re in a one-day head start, so go and dissolve this news piece to your friends across the globe!

Let the games begin…

…but still, do have a lot of fun, won’t ya ;)

Michael Zanetti: OpenStore, TweakGeek and more [Planet Ubuntu]

Now that the Ubuntu Phone is finally in the hands of many people, it’s time to get some hacking started! This is an attempt to bootstrap some hacking community around the devices that wants to explore the phone beyond of what the platform offers to the normal user at this time. To get this started I prepared an app, called Open App Store that allows hackers to install applications that can’t be published to the official store. This really is not about competing with the official Ubuntu store, but is meant as an extension for power users and developers.

Excited? Download the app here but think twice! This thing opens doors for possibilities to break your Ubuntu installation. Only install it if you know what you’re doing, install it at your own risk and make sure that you know how to reflash your device if you break something [1].

At this point you won’t find many apps in this store, but I managed to prepare two:

* TweakGeek: An app that allows you changing special settings of the device.
* Big Moving Text: You probably know this one from the official store. This version however, is able to keep your display lit while the text is running. Thanks to Michal Predotka for this contribution.

If you have an app that you’d like publishing in this store, here are the rules we’re gonna start with (those might change at some point but for now I think they make sense to see where this is going):

* If an application can be published in the official Ubuntu store, publish it there.
* If an application could be published in the official Ubuntu store if it wouldn’t be about that one cool feature, publish a stripped down version in the official store! Not everyone should and will have Open App Store installed.
* Only open source applications allowed: As the applications might have arbitrary access to the device, every submitted app will get a review and the source code is published along with the app.

Still on board? Here’s how you get started:
* Add an additional .apparmor file to your project (.apparmor.openstore) requesting the special permissions you need.
* Send me a link to a branch for your app to michael.zanetti@ubuntu.com along with some instructions on how to build it if they differ from the standard (Ubuntu SDK).
* Give a short explanation why you can’t publish that in the official store. No need to go into details, a one liner like “needs to keep the display lit” will do. List all the special features you have, if there are more.

Looking forward to your contributions. For now the source code for the Open App Store can be found here. If you want to help out with developing the store app and/or the infrastructure behind it, ping me on IRC or drop me a mail.

Happy Hacking!

[1] http://askubuntu.com/questions/602035/how-do-i-use-ubuntu-device-flash-with-the-bq-aquaris-e4-5

Ubuntu Kernel Team: Kernel Team Meeting Minutes – March 31, 2015 [Planet Ubuntu]

Meeting Minutes

IRC Log of the meeting.

Meeting minutes.


20150331 Meeting Agenda

Release Metrics and Incoming Bugs

Release metrics and incoming bug data can be reviewed at the following link:

  • http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/reports/kt-meeting.txt

Status: Vivid Development Kernel

Our Vivid kernel has been rebased to v3.19.3. We are planning to
upload today. We are rapidly approaching kernel freeze for Vivid on
Thurs Apr 9. If you have any patches which need to land for 15.04′s
release, please make sure to submit those asap.
Important upcoming dates:
Thurs Apr 09 – Kernel Freeze (~1 week away)
Thurs Apr 23 – 15.04 Release (~3 weeks away)

Status: CVE’s

The current CVE status can be reviewed at the following link:


Status: Stable, Security, and Bugfix Kernel Updates – Utopic/Trusty/Precise/Lucid

Status for the main kernels, until today:

  • Lucid – None (no update)
  • Precise – Testing & Verification
  • Trusty – Testing & Verification
  • Utopic – Testing & Verification

    Current opened tracking bugs details:

  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/sru/kernel-sru-workflow.html

    For SRUs, SRU report is a good source of information:

  • http://kernel.ubuntu.com/sru/sru-report.html


    Current cycle: 20-Mar through 11-Apr
    20-Mar Last day for kernel commits for this cycle
    22-Mar – 28-Mar Kernel prep week.
    29-Mar – 11-Apr Bug verification; Regression testing; Release

    NOTE: Lucid goes EOL on April 30.

Open Discussion or Questions? Raise your hand to be recognized

No open discussion.

Ubuntu App Developer Blog: Return of the Ubuntu UI Toolkit [Planet Ubuntu]

Next month will be the release of Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) for desktop, and this version of Ubuntu will soon become the version that will be installed on Ubuntu phones as well. With the release of 15.04, we also release a new version of our UI toolkit: Ubuntu.Components 1.2. Below are some of the new features that it will have.

Hasta la vista, toolbar!

In Ubuntu.Components 1.1, the bottom-edge toolbar was replaced by a new header that can be used for navigating the app and trigger actions. Actions that used to be in the  toolbar were automatically moved to the header, and a useDeprecatedToolbar property was added to the MainView for developers that liked to keep the toolbar. In 1.2, the toolbar and useDeprecatedToolbar property are definitely gone which enabled us to clean up the MainView and header code, so that we can give you a fresh new visual design and more control over the looks and behavior of the header very soon.

One ListItem to rule them all

ListItem leading actions

There are many different list items in Ubuntu.Components.ListItems, but they are not always easy to customize and the performance when you use thousands of them in your app is not optimal. Therefore, we now introduce the all-new ListItem component. It replaces all of the old list items, is super-fast (even when you have ten thousands of them), you can swipe them left and right to reveal actions, they offer selection mode (to quickly select a subset of all the list items), and the user can re-order the items in a list. Awesome :)


Ubuntu Shape up (doo doo doo)

Image with transparent background in UbuntuShape

The UbuntuShape is now in the best shape ever! It has been refactored to optimize performance (for example, the rendering is now "batched" so even a lot of them can be rendered fast), semi-transparent images and colored backgrounds are supported, you can use all the fill modes and tiling that the Image component supports, there is 2D transformation support, and the implementation was made extensible so that new features can be added more easily.

Here is the code for the app that was used for the two screenshots above:

import QtQuick 2.4
import Ubuntu.Components 1.2

MainView {
    width: units.gu(40)
    height: units.gu(50)
    //useDeprecatedToolbar: false // terminated

    Page {
        title: "Return of the UITK"

        ListItemActions {
            id: exampleLeadingActions
            actions: [
                Action {
                    iconName: "tick"
                Action {
                    iconName: "delete"

        ListView {
            anchors.fill: parent
            model: 10
            delegate: ListItem {
                id: listItem
                Label {
                    anchors {
                        left: parent.left
                        leftMargin: units.gu(2)
                        verticalCenter: parent.verticalCenter
                    text: "List item "+index
                leadingActions: exampleLeadingActions

                UbuntuShape {
                    anchors {
                        right: parent.right
                        top: parent.top
                        bottom: parent.bottom
                        margins: units.gu(0.5)
                    backgroundMode: listItem.highlighted ?
                                        UbuntuShape.VerticalGradient :
                    backgroundColor: listItem.highlighted ?
                                         UbuntuColors.blue :
                    secondaryBackgroundColor: UbuntuColors.green
                    source: Image {
                        source: "logo.png"
                    sourceFillMode: UbuntuShape.PreserveAspectFit

Besides these new features, we fixed a whole bunch of bugs and we are working hard on the next version of the UI toolkit that we will be blogging about in the near future, so stay tuned for more good stuff!


Pederast Harry Reid: Lying is a virtue when I do it … [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

… because it worked

One of the more outlandish moments of the 2012 campaign came when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went to the floor of the world’s greatest deliberative body and accused GOP nominee Mitt Romney of not paying any taxes at all for the past 10 years. Reid’s evidence? Someone had told him. (That “someone” is alleged to be Jon Huntsman, father of the former Utah governor. Huntsman denies involvement.)

Reid’s claim, which seemed outrageous on its face, was widely dismissed by fact-checkers. Wrote WaPo’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler in a piece giving Reid four Pinocchios for the claim […]

And yet, the clip above shows Reid, in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, not only refusing to apologize for the claim but defending it — in a very weird way.

“Romney didn’t win, did he?” Reid said in response to Bash’s question of whether he regretted what he had said about Romney.

Think about that logic for a minute. What Reid is saying is that it’s entirely immaterial whether what he said about Romney and his taxes was true. All that mattered was that Romney didn’t win.

Yeah, we sure dodged a bullet by not electing that Mormon goody-two-shoes Romney who was so totally unqualified to be President.

Reid has no shame about his behavior because, like all Leftists, he believes there is no behavior nor action that should not be taken in service of his ideology.

It is what they do, it is what they are.

We spend out time trying to counter all the little fires … the lies about Indiana’s RFRA, the lies about “rape culture”, the war on boys, the zero tolerance of the anti-gun hysterics … but the foundation of it all is Leftism, which moves on unmolested towards fundamental transformation of America.

RSGB Twitter photo competition [Radio Society of Great Britain - Main Site]

The Society is celebrating amateur radio with the launch of a new photo competition. Entries should reflect an aspect of amateur radio and the winning photo will be used as the RSGB’s new Twitter profile photo. The deadline is midnight on Sunday, 12 April 2015—further information and the terms and conditions of entry can be […]

DNA matchmaking claims to help singles find the right mate [CBC | Technology News]

Can a DNA testing help you find love? A Toronto startup thinks it can. But not everyone is convinced by the scientific evidence.

Microsoft presents Surface 3 - a cheaper version of Surface Pro 3 tablet [CBC | Technology News]

Microsoft is making a cheaper version of its Surface Pro 3 tablet computer in an effort to reach students and budget-conscious families.

More boys than girls are born, but sex ratio is equal at conception [CBC | Technology News]

Fraternal twins boy and girl

Every year, slightly more boy babies than girl babies are born worldwide. Is that because more boys are conceived? A new study uncovers a surprising answer.

Google Maps adds playable Pac-Man game on city streets [CBC | Technology News]

Search engine company Google has added a button to its Google Maps mapping software that lets users play the classic arcade game Pac-Man on city streets.

Scientists wrong about polar bear numbers, Inuvialuit hunters say [CBC | Technology News]

Polar bear

Scientists may be worried about the fate western Arctic polar bears, but estimates made according to Inuvialuit traditional knowledge tell a different story, a new study suggests.

U.S. pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 28% in new global climate change treaty [CBC | Technology News]

The United States pledges to cut its greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 per cent as part of a global treaty aimed at preventing the worst effects of climate change.

YouTube FanFest set for Toronto [CBC | Technology News]

Gadget Show

Google is bringing its YouTube FanFest event to North America for the first time and has chosen Toronto as the host city.

North Pole travel advisory: Check ice before leaving [CBC | Technology News]

Yearning for the fame of visiting the North Pole? First you need to think about money, lots of it, and then about global warming.

'Flying sheepdog' drone may be herding dogs to the unemployment line [CBC | Technology News]


It appears replacing human workers won’t be enough to satisfy our shiny metal overlords when they take over — the robots are coming for dogs' jobs too.

Ouch! Scientist endures thousands of insect stings to measure which hurts most [CBC | Technology News]

File this one under the category of jobs you likely don't want to have. An Arizona scientist undured thousands of bites and stings from ants bees and wasps to determine which one of them has the most painful sting.

Reddit user's photos show 'breathtaking' Saskatchewan sights [CBC | Technology News]

Sarcastic Saskatchewan travel pictures

A Reddit user's photos from a "glorious roadtrip" through Saskatchewan poke fun at the province.

My new (to me) Sony ICF-2001 shortwave radio [The SWLing Post]


A few weeks ago, I made an impulse purchase: a Sony ICF-2001.

Perhaps it was the post about John Lennon’s ICF-2001, or perhaps it was the simple fact I couldn’t afford a ‘2001 when I was a kid; either way, I saw what I thought was a fair price and I bit the bullet.

icf2001lAt about 9-10 years old I remember seeing the (above) image of the ICF-2001 in an advertisement and imagining all that I could hear with this amazing–microprocessor-controlled, dual conversion, frequency synthesized general coverage(!)–portable receiver.


At the time, my only shortwave radio was the Zenith Trans Oceanic Royal D7000–a wonderful radio for sure–but the convenience of digital tuning? I could only imagine.

The ICF-2001 had revolutionary featured like direct access keypad tuning and an LCD digital readout. The ICF-2001 covered 150 to 29,999 kHz and, like my Transoceanic, could receive single sideband. It also had six memories that could be assigned to buttons for quick access to my favorite frequencies. Six. Whole. Memories!  


I picked up my used ICF-2001 for $67.00 US shipped. The seller (a fellow ham radio operator) insured that the radio was in excellent mechanical shape, though cosmetically showed some signs of wear. The only thing missing was the ICF-2001’s shoulder strap. That was fine by me, though, because the seller included all original manuals/documentation and a very cool canvas carry bag (below) that fits the ICF-2001 like a glove.

Sony-ICF-2001-8I’ve had the ICF-2001 for a few weeks now and I must say that I’m quite pleased.  It’s much larger that most portables currently on the market, but was probably slightly smaller than the venerable ICF-2010.

The audio from the ICF-2001’s built-in speaker is top-notch; with separate treble and bass control, it’s easy to adjust audio to your taste.

Would the ICF-2001 out-perform a modern portable receiver? Probably not. Was performance similar to the ICF-2010? No way. The ICF-2001 has a few annoying quirks (like muting between frequencies, no tuning knob, a backlit display that’s rather small and hard to read at certain angles)–items most modern portables have long since addressed.

With that said, the ICF-2001 does have a few features I wish modern receivers would adopt, like, a built-in antenna trimmer.


This morning, on my porch, I listened to several broadcasters across the bands and used the antenna adjustment to tweak the match. The adjustment would sometimes increase reception by three S units. I would love to have a similar feature on, say, my Tecsun PL-680.

I also like the old school power switch–a proper mechanical switch that makes it much more difficult to accidentally turn the radio on while traveling or operating in a portable setting.


Even thought the ICF-2001 was a bit of an impulse purchase, I have no buyer’s remorse at all. She’s a sturdy rig with great audio and, I believe, decent performance on the shortwave and medium wave bands. I can certainly confirm that it would have blown my mind when I was 9 years old!

Besides..if the ICF-2001 is good enough for John Lennon, it’s good enough for me!


Any SWLing Post readers out there still have a Sony ICF-2001?

Sometimes I feel like Mccoy didn't get the chance to have his story told like it should have do you think it would have been had the series run its full 5 years [My Happy Space Family]

This is an interesting question.  I think the full five years (go watch TAS too just for fun) would have certainly given the writers more time to cover his past.  And we probably would’ve seen the Joanna-centric episode that kept getting rewritten and shoved around.  I would’ve loved to see all of the relationships to continue to develop for two more years, that’s for sure. 

But, with that being said, I don’t think there’s enough time in the world to fully tell the story of McCoy or any one introduced in the Trek-verse (especially if they only appear for a moment.)  For example, when Spenser and I first started TNG, we were given more background on how the Academy entrance process works, and - being the unstoppable TOS nerds we are - we immediately decided how the TOS crew would have faced their entrance exams, ceremonies, and classwork.  This is something TOS never gave us, but something we can easily expand on with help from the extended Trek-verse.  Arguably every episode of every series shows us something we wished we had seen for the crew before. 

And that, I think, is one of the reasons this show and fandom continue to thrive, nearly fifty years later. 

Thanks for your great question!

Have a question for one of S.T.A.R. Labs’ finest and... [The Flash]

Have a question for one of S.T.A.R. Labs’ finest and brightest? Join us TODAY at 4PM PST for a LIVE Q&A with Carlos Valdes! on.fb.me/1MuBXUu 

The Flash is all new tonight at 8/7c!

He’s back, and this time he’s got the perfect trick. The... [The Flash]

He’s back, and this time he’s got the perfect trick. The Trickster returns to Central City on a new The Flash TONIGHT!

Cinema Cisco [The Flash]



Chapter Four

Get ready, this is a big one. A real dream come true. Everyone said it was a bad idea. Caitlin, Barry, all of them. Oh well. You ready?

Cinema Cisco. BOOM. It finally happened. The first moderately successful movie night in the Pipeline. And it was the Weather Wizard’s first night too! Damn, I’m good. So, I’ve tried to rig up monitors in the cells like a million times but The Mist kept trying to kill me and Prism kept trying to whammy me. I mean, cut a guy some slack. I’m trying to give ya some entertainment, people. This time, though, I recruited a really cool, teleporting lady. Maybe you know her? Peek-a-boo (Shawna!) - I promised she could have peanut M&Ms in her popcorn if she would be my lookout while I set the scarier ones screens up. Btw, ew. M&Ms? I’m all about that sour patch and popcorn mix.

The screens were up, the metas all in their respective cells, it was almost perfect until Mr. Handsome Weather Wizard started boohooing my movie choice. Who doesn’t dig The Goonies? Chunk, Data, Mama Fratelli, Sloth!!! Murderous meta-humans. WW riled em up, screaming for a vote. I think he’s just bummed Barry caught him in what, like, three minutes? Not impressed.

But I still asked what Shawna would vote for. “Not the Goonies,” she said. My heart is broken. She went on that the movie doesn’t stand the test of time. I almost snagged back her popcorn. I’m out of love and… I’m back in. Yeah, I’m easy. All she had to do was offer me a seat and a bite of her popcorn concoction. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad.

I paused the movie with a plan. I didn’t want the movie night to be another disaster and the Weather Wizard wouldn’t shut his pie hole so I’d let them think they were choosing the film. All I had to do was stack the odds in The Goonies favor. They could choose between Goonies, Mean Girls, the Godfather part III, and Pearl Harbor. Easy, right? Nope. They chose Mean Girls. Literally, every single one of them. Prism drew an explanation point as well as a very detailed rendering of me holding a piece of the tiara from the ending. I left him for like two seconds, tops! Oh, and I’m definitely hanging this in my living room. I look powerful.

I popped the movie in, prepared for more mayhem and hijinks from the metas, but instead a magical thing happened – everyone was silent, engaged, and dare I say happy. The best part was after Mean Girls, when I did my usual rounds, no one tried to murder me. Now I just gotta figure out the next movie choice. Was Tina Fey the key to their viewing pleasure or was it Lindsay Lohan? Should I try to stream that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt show or whack them with a double dose of Lohan in the Parent Trap? Either way, Cinema Cisco will return.

Till next time, remember - 


NCAA President Joins In On The Outrage; Says Indiana Religious Freedom Law Against Their Core Values… [Weasel Zippers]

This has everything to do with money and people calling on them to pull the final 4 from Indiana. Not to mention their headquarters is in Indiana. Can’t wait for the calls to relocate… Via CNBC: NCAA President Mark Emmert said Tuesday that Indiana’s new “religious freedom” law goes against what higher education and America […]

Virginia State Bar Cancels Trip To Israel Citing “Discrimination” Against Muslims… [Weasel Zippers]

And what about how Muslims treat Jew and Christians? Via WaPo: The Virginia State Bar has canceled its midyear legal seminar in Jerusalem, citing “unacceptable discriminatory policies and practices pertaining to border security that affect travelers,” in a decision that provoked a swift reaction Sunday among some political leaders The decision to cancel the trip […]

Compilation: Questions So Dumb Only MSNBC Would Ask Them… [Weasel Zippers]

On a lighter note, here’s another great video compilation from the Washington Free Beacon. Some of these are truly amazing. Via WFB: Turns out there are stupid questions. Last week, MSNBC fill-in host Ari Melber’s way to push back on a guest’s offensive comment that “nothing says let’s go kill some Muslims like country music” […]

MSNBC Guest: Indiana’s Religious Freedom Laws Could “Lead To A State Of Anarchy And Chaos”… [Weasel Zippers]

Overexaggerate much? BESEN: “It is about context. When the original freedom restoration laws were passed, it was about legitimate protection, a Muslim could go to prison, closely shave a beard, Christians could feed homeless people in parks. In the context now, religious right sees marriage equality laws across the land, saying Christians don’t have to participate […]

Great News: Americans Have To Work From Jan. 1 Through April 24 Just To Pay Nation’s Tax Burden… [Weasel Zippers]

That means Americans have to work 114 days as a whole to pay the burden. Via CNS News: (CNSNews.com) – Tax Freedom Day will arrive this year on April 24 – 114 days into the year – according to a report from the Tax Foundation. “Tax Freedom Day is the day when the nation as […]

“Christian Privilege” Bulletin Board Set Up At Appalachian State University To Shame Christians… [Weasel Zippers]

Another glaring example of the intolerance of the “tolerant” left on display…literally. Via Campus Reform: Another privilege bulletin board has surfaced in an Appalachian State University residence hall, urging students to “check their privilege”—this time, their Christian privilege. According to photos exclusively obtained by Campus Reform, a pastel bulletin board across from an elevator in […]

MSNBC’s Ratings Implosion Continues, First Quarter Ratings Hit 10-Year Low… [Weasel Zippers]

Even better, MSNBC’s unwatchable shrill Rachel Maddow saw her ratings hit an all-time low. Via Mediaite: … It’s safe to say MSNBC has the least to brag about for this quarter. Their press releases focused mostly on March 2015 ratings rather than the quarter, and this is likely why: For Q1 2015, MSNBC’s weekday primetime […]

Daily Beast’s “Progressive” Muslim Sees Racism In Backlash Against New Daily Show Host’s Anti-Semitic Comments… [Weasel Zippers]

Don’t worry, Dean, Comedy Central said today it’s standing behind your anti-Jew pal. If you are white, criticizing this is racist.

Poll: Majority Of Americans Say “Big Government” Is Back…. [Weasel Zippers]

Did it ever really go away? Via Rasmussen: Bill Clinton made news when he declared nearly 20 years ago that the era of big government is over. Voters still prefer smaller, cheaper government but clearly recognize that Barack Obama, the next Democrat after Clinton to be in the White House, has reversed that trend. A […]

College Cancels All Classes For Mandatory Forum On Racism Over Professor’s Anti-Hamas Facebook Post And Racist Bathroom Stall Graffiti… [Weasel Zippers]

Ughhh… Via College Fix: How’s this for a teachable moment? A professor at Connecticut College wrote a Facebook post in August comparing Hamas to a “rabid pit bull” and justifying Israel’s blockade. A student complained about it in February. The prof took it down and apologized to those who thought he was slurring Palestinians. Now […]

ISIS’ Female Sharia Police Mutilating Women Caught Breast Feeding In Public Using Medieval Torture Device… [Weasel Zippers]

Not the first time we’ve seen reports about this. Via Raqqa News: A young mother has been savagely mutilated by ISIS – for breastfeeding in public. Islamic State (ISIS) has a record of treating women appallingly. But a new report has revealed just how barbaric its regime can be. […] Recently, one 24-year-old woman in […]

Network Newscasts Devote 300% More Time to Indiana Religious Freedom Law Than Hillary E-Mail Server Wipe… [Weasel Zippers]

Shocked? Didn’t think so. Via Newsbusters: The stunning revelation that Hillary Clinton wiped her personal e-mail server clean is the kind of political cover-up that should have sent the networks into overdrive, except they had an even more important agenda to advance: smearing an entire state and its Republican governor as anti-gay bigots. From the […]

Lib Rag Salon Headline Of The Day… [Weasel Zippers]

“Progressive” news at its finest.

New York Dem Gov. Cuomo Bans State-Funded Travel To Indiana Over Religious Freedom Law… [Weasel Zippers]

How will Indiana survive? Via The Hill: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on Tuesday that he is banning all non-essential state-funded travel to Indiana in response to a state law that critics say would allow businesses to deny service to gay people. “Today, I direct all agencies, departments, boards and commissions to immediately […]

OFA Continues Its Creepy Meet-Obama Campaign: “You Could Even Compare Jump Shots” With Dear Leader! [Weasel Zippers]

If I could “talk about anything” with Obama his jump shot would be at the bottom of the list. I guess if you’re an Obamabot you’d feel differently. Here are the other

Military Planning To Spend Billions On New Air Force One – Due To Obama’s Overuse During Last Six Years… [Weasel Zippers]

Obama to request a rose petal-blowing escalator to deplane? Via FOX The Pentagon is considering spending billions of dollars on three new Boeing 747s to use as Air Force One, the aircraft that shuttles the United States president. According to CBS News, the current Air Force One fleet is getting old, and the U.S. military […]

Bloody Wars Rage Islamic World, U.N. Chief Slams Israel For “Causing Enormous Suffering”… [Weasel Zippers]

Priorities. Via UN.org: Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, 28 March 2015: I thank President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the Government of Egypt for inviting me to address this Summit of the League of Arab States at this pivotal time. I sincerely hope that under the able leadership of President el-Sisi will address many challenges and issues of […]

NASCAR Condemns Indiana For “Embracing Intolerance” With Religious Freedom Law… [Weasel Zippers]

Groan-inducing. Via CNN: NASCAR has joined the growing number of businesses to criticize a controversial Indiana law that critics say allows discrimination against gay people. The nation’s leading stock car racing organization, which is set to hold a major race Indianapolis in July, said Tuesday it’s disappointed by the so-called religious freedom law signed last […]

White House: Indiana Law “Not Consistent With Our Values”… [Weasel Zippers]

Obama’s DOJ defended the most controversial aspect of the law in 2012 and Obama himself voted for the law while in the Illinois state senate… so no, you can’t have it both ways.

Indiana Gov. Pence To Media: You Realize Barack Obama Voted For Religous Freedom Bill When He Was A State Senator In Illinois, Right?… [Weasel Zippers]

Pence +1 PENCE: “I think it is explained by the fact this was grossly mischaracterized by advocates who oppose the bill and quite frankly from sloppy reporting for the first several days, so I really do believe that. I mean look, if I read some of the stuff about this bill, I would have had […]

Novel Completion Queries, Day Sixteen [Whatever]

Is the novel finished: NO

Today’s question: What’s the longest amount of time you’ve ever slept, from head down on the pillow to head up? “Sleep” in this case meaning actual sleep, not a coma, trauma-induced unconsciousness or any such thing (actual sleep related to things like colds and flus totally count, however).

My answer: In high school, I stayed up for four days (not 96 hours, but through four calendar days) and finally went to sleep when I started hallucinating. I put my head down on Friday night and woke up on Sunday morning. Since when I woke up my bladder wasn’t exploding (and my bed was not damp and smelly) I assume that at some point I got up to use the bathroom, but if I did I have absolutely no memory of it. So: About 30 hours, more or less.


View From a Hotel Window: Perth [Whatever]


Taken earlier today, before I took a jetlag-laden nap. I was mildly concerned that if I took a nap in the afternoon I would be unable to sleep this evening, but now it’s evening here in Perth and I’m here to tell you, I will have no trouble sleeping. 34 hours of travel is exhausting.

First impression of Perth: Seems nice, and more than a little bit like San Diego in terms of climate and vibe. There are worse places to be like.

Off to do a little writing and then sleeeeeeep.

meet the players who will be rolling initiative in our tabletop rpg show [WIL WHEATON dot NET]

We’re shooting the Tabletop RPG show all this week. Yesterday was our first day of production, and we had so much fun, eleven hours of nonstop work flew by in a flash. In fact, at the end of the day, one of the players said to me, “that’s it? I want to keep playing!”

We’re going to be slowly announcing details about the show all this week, and yesterday, I introduced the players to the world:

Here’s a little bit about them:

  • Hank Green is one of the most successful and influential YouTubers of all time. With his brother, John, he created the Vlog Brothers. Their network has grown to over 1 billion views, and earlier this year, Hank interviewed the president. Hank is an old school role player, and he’s a fantastic storyteller.
  • Alison Haislip hasn’t ever played an RPG like this, but she was amazing in Fiasco during the first season of Tabletop. She’s worked for G4 and Nerdist, among others. It was pretty awesome to watch her start out tentatively yesterday morning, and by the middle of the day she was slinging dice like she’d been doing it all her life.
  • Yuri Lowenthal is one of my best friends. We met when we were working on Legion of Superheroes, and we’ve gone on to work together on Ben Ten, There Came an Echo, and countless other animation projects. You’ve heard him in pretty much every video game, ever, (he’s Sandal in Dragon Age: Origins), and you’ve heard him as Sauske in Naruto. Yuri has been playing RPGs as long as I have.
  • Laura Bailey and I met when we worked on There Came An Echo last year. By lunchtime on the first day, we had decided that we needed to be friends, and it feels like we’ve known each other since college. She’s an accomplished voice actor who you have heard in over 250 projects, including Dragon Age: Inquisition, Hearthstone, The Last of Us, World of Warcraft, and Fullmetal Alchemist. Laura also plays on Geek & Sundry’s RPG Twitch show, Critical Role.

You can find them on the usual social networks, and we’ll all be posting behind the scenes pictures and short videos during production this week.

hipeerpressure:whiskey-and-ink:micdotcom:These bad ass derby... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]




These bad ass derby photos are shattering stereotypes about female athletes 

A healthy body is a strong body. That’s the message behind Cory Layman’s “Body by Derby” project, an inspiring collection of images of roller derby players. The project is proving that women of all shapes and sizes can be strong and powerful — no matter their body fat percentage.

There are 6 more of these — equally as awesome

One has a tattoo that says ‘THESE GAMS KILL FASCISTS’ just

just fuck me up.

This is exactly what I love about derby. So long as you work for strength, you can have any kind of body and still be a kick-ass jammer or blocker.

markiqlier:wow red vs blue season 13 is really looking promising... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


wow red vs blue season 13 is really looking promising im so excited

bu77er: Six years ago today, April Ludgate had 93 meetings... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]


Six years ago today, April Ludgate had 93 meetings scheduled for Ron Swanson. Never forget.

meet the players who will be rolling initiative in our tabletop rpg show [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]

BLOG: meet the players who will be rolling initiative in our @tabletop rpg show on @geekandsundry

We’re shooting the Tabletop RPG show all this week. Yesterday was our first day of production, and we had so much fun, eleven hours of nonstop work flew by in a flash. In fact, at the end of the day, one of the players said to me, “that’s it? I want to keep playing!”

We’re going to be slowly announcing details about the show all this week, and yesterday, I introduced the players to the world:


View On WordPress

ARRL Headquarters Will Be Closed on Good Friday, April 3 [American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources]

ARRL Headquarters will be closed on Good Friday, April 3, and there will be no W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions and no ARRL Audio News on that day.

ARRL Headquarters will reopen Monday, April 6, at 8 AM Eastern Daylight Time.

We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday!

No forgiveness for slavery, racism without making restitution, Baptist pastor says [Blazing Cat Fur]


Real repentance leading to racial reconciliation demands restitution for victims of oppression and injustice, Wendell Griffen told a Hardin-Simmons University audience March 23.

“The work of healing what has been wounded, righting what has been wronged and restoring what has been stolen or destroyed requires doing justice and the ethics of restitution, reparation, restoration and reconciliation,” said Griffen, pastor of New Millennium Church, a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregation in Little Rock, Ark.

“Until we do these things, we have not engaged in biblical repentance, no matter what else we may have accomplished”…

And what gives him the right to “forgive” something that was not done to him nor done by any person alive now. It’s tribal talk.  Besides, affirmative action is exactly that: restitution.

Palestinians join ICC with Israelis in sights [Blazing Cat Fur]


A Palestinian demonstrates against Israeli action in the occupied West Bank Photo: AFP/Getty Images

(AFP) – The Palestinians formally gain membership of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday with the aim of pursuing Israelis for war crimes, despite uncertainty over the move’s wider ramifications.

The accession is another step in the Palestinian diplomatic and legal international campaign, which gained steam in 2014.

It has uncertain consequences, not only because it is highly unlikely Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israelis will find themselves being tried at the ICC, but also because it constitutes a new deterioration in the strained relationship.

But the Palestinians are beyond caring.

Exasperated after decades of failed negotiations with Israel, with no perspective for the state they have been yearning, they have decided to take their case to the international arena…

Notice that AFP does not mention that negotiations have failed because of the Palestinians themselves.

86% Polled Think Muslim Terrorism A Serious Threat To America [Blazing Cat Fur]


65% believe Muslims will attack a critic of Islam in America during the next year…

‘Islam Is a Very Dark Theory’: How the Son of a Founding Member of Hamas Rejected Extremism and Converted to Christianity [Blazing Cat Fur]


Mosab Hassan Yousef, the bestselling author of “Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices,” appeared on The Glenn Beck Program Monday to discuss how he rejected radical Islam and converted to Christianity.

“I was brought up in a state of delusion, believing the Islamic theory that once we control the globe and build an Islamic State we can bring humanity, justice and happiness and solve the human condition,” Yousef said. “Islam is a very dark theory and we need to face this reality.”

The son of one of the founding members of Hamas, Yousef worked as a spy for the Israeli intelligence service after beginning to question the ideology he had been raised with. On Monday, he reiterated his belief that “Islam is the religion of war.”

“Islam is at war with everything that is not Muslim,” he said. “Islam has been in a war against the west and its foundations for the last 1,400 years. This is a fact. The Islamic phenomena that we see in ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Taliban — this is not just a new phenomenon. It has been out there for the last 1,400 years. And I think this is the time for humanity to have the courage to say no to the Islamic theory”…

Students’ unions wrong on minimum wage [Blazing Cat Fur]


Students’ unions across Canada pour a great deal of financial resources – which it expropriates from the student body via mandatory student union fees – into political actions. One popular cause of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) is campaigns to increase the minimum wage. In 2013, the CFS-Ontario, which is composed of 38 students’ unions and more than 300,000 students, submitted a document to the province’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel, in which it called for an immediate minimum wage hike to $14. Students’ union leaders met with organizers of a union- and activist-run campaign to raise the minimum wage, and donated $500 of students’ money to this campaign.

Iraqi forces drive Islamic State out of central Tikrit: PM [Blazing Cat Fur]

Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite paramilitary fighters hold an Islamist State flag, which they pulled down in Tikrit

Iraqi security forces and Shi’ite paramilitary fighters hold an Islamist State flag, which they pulled down in Tikrit, March 31, 2015. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

(Reuters) – Iraqi troops aided by Shi’ite paramilitaries have driven Islamic State out of central Tikrit, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said on Tuesday, but the fight to retake all of Saddam Hussein’s home town continued.

Government forces have been in a month-long fight for the city, which became a bastion for the Sunni jihadists who are at war with Baghdad and have been targeted by U.S.-led air strikes.

Hundreds of insurgents ready to fight to the death are still holed up in Salahuddin province’s capital city and at least three neighborhoods remain under Islamic State control, along with a palace complex in the city’s north.

The further Iraqi forces push into the city, the greater the risk of ambushes.

“Our security forces have reached the center of Tikrit and they have liberated the southern and western sides and they are moving towards the control of the whole city,” Abadi said in a statement.

In their push from southern Tikrit, security forces and paramilitary fighters retook the governor’s headquarters and the main hospital which had been occupied by Islamic State…

Heavy clashes on Saudi-Yemen border; Hadi government pleads for troops [Blazing Cat Fur]

Houthi fighters ride a patrol truck outside Sanaa Airport

Houthi fighters ride a patrol truck outside Sanaa Airport March 28, 2015. REUTERS/KHALED ABDULLAH

ADEN (Reuters) – Saudi troops clashed with Yemeni Houthi fighters on Tuesday in the heaviest exchange of cross-border fire since the start of a Saudi-led air offensive last week, while Yemen’s foreign minister called for a rapid Arab intervention on the ground.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Arab states in a six-day-old air campaign against the Shi’ite Houthis, who emerged as the most powerful force in the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country when they seized Yemen’s capital last year.

The Saudis say their aim is to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who left the country last week. The Houthis are allied with Saudi Arabia’s regional foe Iran, and backed by army units loyal to long-term ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was toppled three years ago after “Arab Spring” demonstrations…

Iraq: Suicide blast hits bus with Iranian pilgrims, kills 10 [Blazing Cat Fur]


Could be Islamic State — we know they hate shrines. It was hit in 2006 and 2007, the latter seriously damaging it.

BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide bomber targeted a bus carrying Iranian Shiite pilgrims north of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing 10 people, including seven Iranians, according to Iraqi officials.

Police officials said the attack happened in the town of Taji, 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the Iraqi capital where the bomber detonated his explosives as the pilgrims were getting off the bus at a gas station.

Hospital officials said two Iranian women and the Iraqi bus driver were among the dead. At least 14 Iranian pilgrims were wounded in the attack. The pilgrims were returning from a trip to the holy Shiite city of Samarra…

Yemen nears ‘total collapse’ as country cut off from aid deliveries [Blazing Cat Fur]


Huge plumes of smoke rise above buildings during airstrikes allegedly carried out by the Saudi-led alliance on a weapons storage depot in Sana’a, Yemen Photo: EPA/JABER GHURAB

The United Nations said Yemen was nearing “total collapse” on Tuesday as airstrikes and fierce street fighting deepened the country’s humanitarian crisis.

“The situation in Yemen is extremely alarming, with dozens of civilians killed over the past four days,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement. “The country seems to be on the verge of total collapse.”

A Saudi-led military coalition has been pounding rebel positions in Yemen since last Wednesday night in an attempt to halt their march across the country.

Aid agencies said on Tuesday that the closure of air and sea ports was preventing the delivery of emergency aid. At least 93 civilians have been killed and 364 wounded across five Yemeni cities in as many days, according to UN figures.

The Red Cross has called for help negotiating safe passage for an aid shipment carrying enough medical supplies to treat at least 700 people. The organisation said one of its local aid workers was shot dead on Monday evacuating wounded residents in south Yemen…

Buhari claims victory in historic Nigerian vote [Blazing Cat Fur]


Muhammadu Buhari

ABUJA, March 31 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) declared an election victory on Tuesday for former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari and said Africa’s most populous nation was witnessing history with its first democratic transfer of power.

“The people of Nigeria have taken over,” an ecstatic APC spokesman Lai Mohammed told Reuters at the house in the capital where Buhari, a sandal-wearing Muslim ascetic watching the results on television.

“This is the first time in Nigeria that a sitting government will be voted out of power using purely democratic means.”

The count showed Buhari steamrolling to a landslide against President Goodluck Jonathan, whose People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has made no comment since the scale of the political earthquake in Nigeria — Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer — has become apparent.

With just one of 36 states left to declare, Buhari’s APC had 15.1 million votes versus 11.7 for Jonathan and the PDP, according to a Reuters tally…

"April Trauma!" March 31, 2015 [Comedy Factory from CBC Radio]

Wait...is that toothpaste in the middle of that Oreo?! WE KNOW WHAT YOU'RE UP TO!

US pharmacists join doctors in urging against lethal injection [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

The largest grouping of pharmacists in the United States has announced that it will discourage its members from distributing lethal injection drugs, joining other US healthcare professionals in refusing to take part in executions.

US, Cuban envoys to address prickly human rights issues [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Representatives of the United States and Cuba meet in Washington on Tuesday for talks on human rights, an issue central to normalising relations between the two governments but loaded with uncomfortable questions for both sides.

Air Canada plane skids off Halifax runway during landing [Americas – France 24 - International News 24/7]

An Air Canada plane made a hard landing in bad weather and skidded off the runway at the airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the airline said Sunday that 25 people were taken to hospitals for observation and treatment of minor injuries.

Iran nuclear talks push past deadline as US threatens to walk away [Asia/Pacific – France 24 - International News 24/7]

The United States said on Tuesday that world powers and Iran would keep negotiating over an outline accord on Tehran’s nuclear programme beyond a midnight deadline, while warning that it was ready to abandon the talks altogether.

Key differences remain as Iran nuclear talks deadline looms [Asia/Pacific – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Marathon talks aimed at stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons entered their final scheduled day Tuesday with global powers racing to agree a framework deal by a midnight deadline.

Turkish prosecutor dies from wounds sustained in hostage crisis [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

A Turkish prosecutor has died from wounds he sustained Tuesday after being taken hostage at an Istanbul courthouse by two members of a banned leftist group. The suspects were killed in a shootout with police.

Iran nuclear talks push past deadline as US threatens to walk away [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

The United States said on Tuesday that world powers and Iran would keep negotiating over an outline accord on Tehran’s nuclear programme beyond a midnight deadline, while warning that it was ready to abandon the talks altogether.

Co-pilot told Lufthansa of ‘depressive episode’ [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Lufthansa said Tuesday that the co-pilot who is thought to have deliberately crashed a Germanwings passenger jet in the French Alps last week informed the company six years ago that he suffered from a “serious depressive episode”.

Iran militia chief: Destroying Israel is ‘nonnegotiable’ [Jammie Wearing Fools]

The e commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said that “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable,” according to an Israel Radio report Tuesday
Militia chief Mohammad Reza Naqdi also threatened Saudi Arabia, saying that the offensive it is leading in Yemen “will have a fate like the fate of Saddam Hussein.”

Naqdi’s comments were made public as Iran and six world powers prepared Tuesday to issue a general statement agreeing to continue nuclear negotiations in a new phase aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord by the end of June.

In 2014, Naqdi said Iran was stepping up efforts to arm West Bank Palestinians for battle against Israel, adding the move would lead to Israel’s annihilation, Iran’s Fars news agency reported.

“Arming the West Bank has started and weapons will be supplied to the people of this region,” Naqdi said.

“The Zionists should know that the next war won’t be confined to the present borders and the Mujahedeen will push them back,” he added. Naqdi claimed that much of Hamas’s arsenal, training and technical knowhow in the summer conflict with Israel was supplied by Iran.

Full story.

NBC News ‘Columnist': It’s ‘Ridiculous Hate’ to Retweet Trevor Noah [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Now that the hiring of alleged comedian Trevor Noah to replace alleged comedian Jon Stewart as host of some doped “comedy” show has blown up so badly, kneejerk lefties are rushing to his defense. And we may have already found the dumbest possible defense from this buffoon.

Hate brigade? So going through his Twitter timeline is hate? Really? Soooo predictable.

Not just hate, ridiculous hate!

Can’t say we’re surprised by this clown’s bio:

Political Science Professor Hiram College, Columnist NBC BLK, Analyst CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera

We’ll be accused of hate just for retweeting him.

Update: Tale about a stunning lack of self-awareness:

Good News: Cop Killer Mumia Abu Jamal in Intensive Care, Crackpot Lefties Freaking Out [Jammie Wearing Fools]

First the good news:

Sources confirm to Action News that former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal has been rushed to the Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

Abu-Jamal’s lawyer, Bret Grote, told the Associated Press Monday that prison officials won’t tell him the reason for the hospitalization.

Grote confirmed that his client is in the critical care unit.

Grote says neither he nor Abu-Jamal’s brother, Keith Cook, have been allowed in to see him.

Abu-Jamal, 60, is a former Black Panther serving life in prison for the 1981 murder of white Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

Now for the amusement:

Here’s one of these discredited Ferguson clowns:

It’s a conspiracy or something:

He should have been executed decades ago. You just know when these piece og human debris expires the frothing left will be babbling on about how he was murdered.

Wonderful: Islamic Terror Organization Hires DC Consulting Firm Run by Former Clinton Assistant Attorney General [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Can we please get back the manufactured hysteria over Indiana and stop bringing up these messy stories?

Last week, O’Dwyers PR Report, a leading trade magazine, revealed that The Raben Group, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying and consulting firm owned by Robert Raben, former Assistant Attorney General under President Clinton, has been hired by Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), a UK-based Muslim charity.  This organization with an innocuous-sounding name is believed to be a terrorist organization by the governments of Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

As The Jerusalem Post reported in 2014, Israel believes that “Islamic Relief Worldwide which markets itself as a charitable agency that solicits donations from all over the world, funnels cash to Hamas.”

Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon noted, “[The IRW] is another source of funds for Hamas, and we have no intention of allowing it to operate and assist terrorist activity against Israel. This is another in a series of steps that we are taking against Hamas in Judea and Samaria and the pressure we are applying, the goal of which is to harm the organization’s leadership and rank-and-file as well as its civilian infrastructure. These serve as the foundation from which Hamas operates among the local population.”

The Gatestone Institute, a New York based think-tank has previously written that “The large number of links between Islamic Relief Worldwide, and extremist pro-terror groups, suggests that under the cover of a charity with excellent public relations officers lies a structured pro-terror group with an anti-Western agenda.” Excellent public relations campaigns can whitewash and spin even terror.

Brown Lloyd James, an American Public Relations firm worked for the Assad family to burnish the image of the regime leaders. The firm arranged a glowing profile of Asma al-Assad, Syria’s First Lady in Vogue in 2011 entitled “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert”, which described her as “glamorous, young, and very chic – the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies.”

ISIS understands the power of propaganda with their uber-powerful videos.  Perhaps someone in my industry is helping them to spin.

If they funnel enough money to the greedy Clintons pretty much anything is possible.


The New Nixon [Jammie Wearing Fools]

At least Richard Nixon never burned the White House tapes.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, wiped clean the private e-mail server at the heart of her current scandal. So says Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who heads the House Select Committee on Benghazi. And she did it after Congress and the State Department issued subpoenas for her e-mails.

Seems she learned from her time as a lawyer for the Watergate committee: The only safe way to keep potential evidence from investigators is to destroy it.

Now the nation can never get to the bottom of Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server for her entire time as secretary of state.

Yes, she had her own people hand over hundreds of pages of e-mails that they selected. Her lawyers claim this complies with the subpoenas. Will Gowdy & Co. accept it? The Clinton camp already has its tried-and-true “old news, let’s move on” chant ready to roll.

Meanwhile, a kindly hacker has revealed another Nixonian trick in HillaryWorld.

Clinton had a private intelligence operation running under longtime family hatchetman Sidney Blumenthal — whom the Obama White House had blocked from working at State.

Full story.

Stunner: Grandma Clinton Lied About Using Single Device to Conduct Her Secret Business [Jammie Wearing Fools]

We’re not quite sure how this story managed to break through the manufactured outrage over Indiana’s RFRA law, but there it is.

Hillary Rodham Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal email address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The State Department released a total of four emails between Clinton and her top advisers as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2013 by the AP, which sought Clinton’s correspondence with senior advisers over a four-year period relating to drone strikes overseas and U.S. surveillance programs.

While limited, the emails offer one of the first looks into Clinton’s correspondence while secretary of state. The messages came from and were sent to her private email address, hosted on a server at her property in Chappaqua, New York, as opposed to a government-run email account.

They show that Clinton, on at least one occasion, accidentally mingled personal and work matters. In reply to a message sent in September 2011 by adviser Huma Abedin to Clinton’s personal email account, which contained an AP story about a drone strike in Pakistan, Clinton mistakenly replied with questions that appear to be about decorations.

“I like the idea of these,” she wrote to Abedin. “How high are they? What would the bench be made of? And I’d prefer two shelves or attractive boxes/baskets/ conmtainers (sic) on one. What do you think?”

Abedin replied, “Did u mean to send to me?” To which Clinton wrote, “No-sorry! Also, pls let me know if you got a reply from my ipad. I’m not sure replies go thru.”

The other emails between Clinton and her advisers provided by the State Department contained a summary of a 2011 meeting between Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and senior Egyptian officials in Cairo. It was uncensored and did not appear to contain sensitive information. That email was forwarded to Clinton’s private account from Abedin’s government email address.

In another note, Clinton expressed apparent dismay at leaks of classified U.S. government information to the media. Referencing a CNN story, which described “loose lips” in the Obama administration, she asked two officials if she should comment on the matter as had Leon Panetta, the former Central Intelligence Agency director.

“I think this is both dishonorable and dangerous and want to find way to say it,” she wrote.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said early Tuesday that the secretary used her iPad from time to time, primarily to read news clippings.

At the United Nations earlier this month, Clinton said she chose a personal account over a government one out of convenience, describing it as a way to carry a single device, rather than one for work emails and another for personal messages.

“Looking back, it would have been probably, you know, smarter to have used two devices,” Clinton said. Her office that day released a statement saying she “wanted the simplicity of using one device.”

The corrupt Democrat frontrunner for 2016 clumsily tried to glom onto the Indiana story Monday in an effort to distract from her likely felonious behavior. She really should avoid Twitter to avoid any further embarrassment.

Another Step Farther Out; Priorities; Moore’s Law Continues; and other matters. [Chaos Manor - Jerry Pournelle]


Chaos Manor View Monday, March 30, 2015


Eric has got a publishable manuscript of Another Step Farther Out, a compendium of Galaxy, InfoWorld, New Destinies, scientific magazines, and other places where I published in the old days. You’d think it ought to be dull, but it isn’t, and I’m working on because I got a lot of it right—we just haven’t done some of that stuff yet. The difference is that when I wrote it we couldn’t quite do it yet; now we can, we just don’t,

One column shows the confusion of climate scientists, divided into “We’re warming!” and “The Ice is coming back!” groups. No Believers and Deniers. Just science. Nut that was before all that money went into building the Warming consensus…

I’ll have to write some comments one where I got it wrong, but the horror is that I got a lot right, and we still aren’t doing it.


I’m still experimenting with the Surface, and I still have to update a lot of the Apple equipment; stand by; but Another Step is still important, more than I thought, so it gets moved up a few notches. I’m also moving 2020 Visions up a bit in importance. That’s a lot to do, and I don’t work as fast as I used to, but we keep going, thanks to Eric and Peter and Rick and Brian and Alex and Dan and my other hard working advisors. And the readers: I still say I have the most interesting mail of anyone I know.

From Another Step Farther Out:


Voices: A peek into the future of tech (USA Today)

Rick Jervis, USA TODAY 9:05 a.m. EDT March 29, 2015

MIAMI — Anyone interested in what the dot.com future may hold would have done well by strolling through the second floor of the InterContinental Hotel here recently.

There, mingling between the Disney World display and the CNN en Español booth, they would have found an intriguing mix of media titans, marketing gurus, start-up entrepreneurs and YouTube careerists — all part of and aimed at the country’s burgeoning Latino population.

They were there as part of Hispanicize 2015, an annual gathering of the nation’s top Latino media execs, journalists and new-media entrepreneurs for a week of workshops, networking and parties. I was invited to the conference to speak on a panel on race and media.

A few days prior, I had covered the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin. It was interesting traveling from SXSW, one of the premier tech gatherings in the country but one still struggling to be more diverse, to a similar, albeit smaller, gathering of techies flush with diversity. Hispanicize, in fact, is often referred to as the “Latino SXSW.”

In Austin, panel discussions explored the myriad reasons Silicon Valley firms — especially at the managerial level — aren’t more black, brown and female. In Miami, those very diverse faces that have eluded the upper echelons of Yahoo and Facebook shared ideas and unfurled their cyber strategies.

Hispanics make up just 4% of managerial positions at Yahoo and even fewer at Facebook and Google. That number drops even further for African Americans. Black and Hispanic professionals — such as lawyers, accountants and computer scientists — make up 5% of all professionals at Facebook, Google and Yahoo but 13% of similar professionals nationwide.

Meanwhile, Latinos are the nation’s largest minority, numbering 53 million in the USA, and its fastest growing. By 2060, they’re expected to make up one-third of the total population, with more than $1 trillion in spending power.

Attendees at Hispanicize didn’t seem overly concerned with those disparate stats. They appeared less anxious about climbing corporate ladders at Silicon Valley and more focused on starting their own empires.

Hispanicize is the brainchild of Manny Ruiz, whom I knew from our days working at the campus newspaper at Miami-Dade Community College two decades ago. Ruiz left journalism to start a Hispanic-focused public relations firm, sold that and used the proceeds to launch Hispanicize. The gathering has grown from 260 attendees at its inaugural event five years ago to more than 2,000 today.

“We’re in a new era where there’s so much opportunity for everyone,” Ruiz told me. “You don’t have to be in Silicon Valley anymore to succeed.”

It was a mantra repeated throughout the conference. Entrepreneurs shared stores of how they’ve cobbled careers out of blogs and YouTube channels with names like Rocking Mama and Crafty Chica, drawing hundreds of thousands of loyal online followers and the attention of major brands willing to pay handsomely for that coveted audience. There was very little talk of trying to break into Google.

Alejandra Ayala, 29, started her fashion/beauty blog and YouTube channel, known as Chulavision, two years ago. She began in English, with just 1,200 subscribers. But when Ayala, who’s Mexican-American, started posting videos in Spanish, her channel quickly swelled to 123,000 subscribers. Her YouTube channel has since captured 5 million views.

Ayala said she doesn’t know how far she’ll take her project. But the fact that brands are reaching out to her tells her something about the direction of online enterprises.

“Slowly, they’re starting to notice us,” Ayala said about both her loyal following and corporations willing to pay for a few seconds of their time. “They’re starting to realize the impact we can have.”

Asked about the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, Ayala smiled.

“If someone doesn’t want to give it to us,” she said, “we’re going to find a way to get it.”

An interesting attitude…


Windows 10 Or OS X: Can Hardware Make The Difference? (Forbes)

clip_image002The Surface Pro 3 is a design you won’t get from Apple.

Would you switch from Mac to Windows to get access to “better” hardware?

I resolved that dilemma long ago by becoming, more or less, operating system agnostic.

There is one stubborn, undeniable fact in favor of being agnostic: One side offers more choice. That would be Windows, of course. And that means that there are sometimes better hardware options. And with Windows 10 on the horizon, that becomes even more enticing.

Lots of businesses are already agnostic, i.e., either Macs or PCs are allowed.  Though that doesn’t necessarily favor Windows PCs (BYOD — Bring Your Own Device — policies are trending to non-Windows platforms), I’ve been moving in the other direction.

Barring job-specific platform requirements, the experience on Macs and PCs is increasingly the same for me.  Particularly, if you spend much of your time inside Google’s GOOGL+0.2% Chrome browser, which I do.

(And the virus or malware argument against Windows isn’t that convincing anymore after both my MacBook and a friend’s recently got slammed with nasty malware.)

Let’s look briefly at laptops: On the Mac side, you’ve essentially got the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and the new 2-pound MacBook. Good choices but limited. While on Windows it’s almost limitless, if you throw in third-tier suppliers and the white box crowd.

But that’s stating a well-known fact, which is not my point.  What I’m getting at are unique products from top-tier suppliers that, because of the design, pull you off the Mac and over to Windows.

There’s a good bit to discuss in that.



How Will Deep Learning Change SoCs? (EE Times)

Junko Yoshida

3/30/2015 00:00 AM EDT

MADISON, Wis. – Deep Learning is already changing the way computers see, hear and identify objects in the real world.

However, the bigger — and perhaps more pertinent — issues for the semiconductor industry are: Will “deep learning” ever migrate into smartphones, wearable devices, or the tiny computer vision SoCs used in highly automated cars? Has anybody come up with SoC architecture optimized for neural networks? If so, what does it look like?

“There is no question that deep learning is a game-changer,” said Jeff Bier, a founder of the Embedded Vision Alliance. In computer vision, for example, deep learning is very powerful. “The caveat is that it’s still an empirical field. People are trying different things,” he said.

There’s ample evidence to support chip vendors’ growing enthusiasm for deep learning, and more specifically, convolutional neural networks (CNN). CNN are widely used models for image and video recognition.

Earlier this month, Qualcomm introduced its “Zeroth platform,” a cognitive-capable platform that’s said to “mimic the brain.” It will be used for future mobile chips, including its forthcoming Snapdragon 820, according to Qualcomm.

Cognivue is another company vocal about deep learning. The company claims that its new embedded vision SoC architecture, called Opus, will take advantage of deep learning advancements to increase detection rates dramatically. Cognivue is collaborating with the University of Ottawa.

If presentations at Nvidia’s recent GPU Technology Conference (GTC) were any indication, you get the picture that Nvidia is banking on the all aspects of deep learning in which GPU holds the key.

China’s Baidu, a giant in search technology, has been training deep neural network models to recognize general classes of objects at data centers. It plans to move such models into embedded systems.

Zeroing in on this topic during a recent interview with EE Times, Ren Wu, a distinguished scientist at Baidu’s Institute of Deep Learning, said, “Consider the dramatic increase of smartphones’ processing power. Super intelligent models—extracted from the deep learning at data centers – can be running inside our handset.”  A handset so equipped can run models in place without having to send and retrieve data from the cloud. Wu, however, added, “The biggest challenge is if we can do it at very low power.

AI to Deep learning

One thing is clear. Gone are the frustration and disillusion over artificial intelligence (AI) that marked the late 1980’s and early ‘90’s. In the new “big data” era, larger sets of massive data and powerful computing have combined to train neural networks to distinguish objects. Deep learning is now considered a new field moving toward AI.

There’s a lot more, worth your attention. AI is coming; as Minsky says, when you get it, they say, well that wasn’t Artificial Intelligence at all…


New 3D NAND flash memory from Intel, Micron could result in 10-terabyte SSDs (ZD)

Summary:The two companies claim their new technology offers up to three times the density of other 3D NAND competitors, with full production ramping up later this year.

By Sean Portnoy for Laptops & Desktops | March 30, 2015 — 13:07 GMT (06:07 PDT)

NAND flash memory isn’t the type of technology that might get your heart racing, but breakthroughs in making solid-state storage denser means more storage can be squeezed into ever-smaller spaces. While Samsung has been the company most associated with making 3D NAND technology the latest trend in flash memory, longtime partners Intel and Micron have just announced the results of their collaboration that could yield equally impressive results.

As the term suggests, 3D NAND adds a new dimension to producing flash modules. By stacking cells vertically, density is improved, which allows for more capacity in the same dimensions. Intel and Micron have further refined this process by using a floating gate cell for the first time in 3D NAND production.

Moore’s Law isn’t dead yet…

Researchers Claim 44x Power Cuts (EE Times)

New on/off transceivers reduce power 80%

R. Colin Johnson

3/30/2015 00:01 AM EDT

PORTLAND, Ore.– Researchers sponsored by the Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC, Research Triangle Park, N.C.) claim they have extended Moore’s Law by finding a way to cut serial link power by as much as 80 percent. The innovation at the University of Illinois (Urbana) is a new on/off transceiver to be used on chips, between chips, between boards and between servers at data centers.

The team estimates the technique can reduce power up to whopping 44 times for communications, extending Moore’s Law by increasing computational capacity without increasing power. “While this technique isn’t designed to push processors to go faster, it does, in the context of a datacenter, allow for power saved in the link budget to be used elsewhere,” David Yeh, SRC director of Integrated Circuits and Systems Sciences told EETimes.

Today on-chip serial links consume about 20 percent of a microprocessor’s power and about seven percent of the total power budget of a data center. By using transceivers that only consume power when being used, a vast amount can be saved from their standby consumption.

The reason the links are always on today is to maximize speed. The new architecture reduces their power-up time enough to make it worth turning them off when not it use. The team estimates that data centers alone would save $870 million per year by switching to their transceiver architecture.


Surface Pro 3 and Hyper-V

Dear Dr Pournelle,

I have been following your Surface Pro 3 observations with interest, as my Precious arrived last September. It’s the Core i7 model with the 512GB SSD. At the moment I am running Windows 8.1. I love it to bits but I have some observations that may be relevant to the ongoing discussion about waking up from sleep:

I installed Visual Studio 2013 on my Surface Pro 3 and it promptly switched on Hyper-V for Windows Mobile app development. Hyper-V is fantastic on a decently fast desktop PC but it really messes things up on an SP3. Mine really really did not like waking up from sleep and there were many incidents of having to hold the power button and reboot. Eventually I switched off Hyper-V again as I really didn’t need it.

WiFi does my head in. My home network uses an Apple AirPort and a Linksys WRT54GL as access points. The SP3 is unable to reconnect to them from sleep without some encouragement or sitting back and waiting for a few minutes. Newer access points or routers seem fine though, including a NetGear AirCard 762S that I use for 4G internet access on the go. It works a treat for everything I can throw at it, including live video streaming using UStream.

Finally, for those of you who haven’t bought one yet, go for one of the base models. The one I have is super fast but it runs hot and battery life is compromised. On the plus side, it easily replaces a full desktop PC, unless you are a gamer. I use mine for development work, which includes running Android emulators and Ubuntu VMs, all without performance problems.

Best wishes,

Simon Woodworth BSc MSc PhD.



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




Surface Pro Antics; Another Reason to Avoid Breaking News; Putin’s Patriotism [Chaos Manor - Jerry Pournelle]


Chaos Manor View, Saturday, March 28, 2015


Warning: this a day book, and I no longer type fast.  These are more notes toward learning the new system than anything like a finished product.  When I am done with Precious, the Surface 3 Pro running beta Win 10, I’ll put it all together into a column for Chaos Manor Reviews, which I hope to revive. Meanwhile, day book notes.

1615: the Time Warner cable connection to the Internet just died. meaning that I cannot update this until it is restored. One grows accustomed to being able to fix errors, but unreliable high speed negates that. This Time Warner failure is nearly always about this time of day and lasts about an hour.  Perhaps someone comes home and downloads – or uploads – stuff? Pure speculation, of course.

1622: seems to be restored. Short interruption today.

Begin day book:

I think Microsoft has some secret plot to drive Surface Pro users mad – at least those who keep their Surface Pro in a docking station, under power at all times. I have tried to find every power setting—and there are several, some hard to find – and tell it that when the system is under mains power, it should go to sleep NEVER. You’d think that wouldn’t be hard to understand. Never is not a complex word.

Can’t do it. After a few hours it goes to sleep. Eventually I get the screen to turn on – sometimes the return key does it. Other times the power button is needed – and I get the instruction that I need to press and hold the Windows key, then press the power button. Alternatively I can press control-alt-delete. So I hold down the Windows key and press the power button. The screen goes dark, and up comes the message that I can hold down the Windows key, then press the power button. Alternatively I can press control-alt-delete. Now doing the same thing several times hoping to get a different outcome is not usually productive, but with Microsoft you never know, so I try it again. The screen goes dark for a moment, then up comes the same screen. I figure five tries is enough, that’s what it it going to do.

Control-alt-delete causes the screen to go dark, then up comes a demand for a password, and lo! I have the use of my Surface Pro. Why it tells me to do the Windows key-power button thing is not known to me; some Microsoft in-joke I suppose. Or maybe they really do use customers as a quality control department and eventually someone will tell them and they will try this themselves? This only started after the massive updates from Tuesday.  Bet they’ll have another update pretty soon…

Obviously if you use the Surface Pro as a portable you cannot leave the thing awake all the time, so the power settings for when it is on battery must be different. I tell it to sleep after several minutes. When I go to wake it I get the same routine, and after futilely trying the Windows key-power button thing I do control-alt-delete, enter the password, and I can use the machine again, but of course things have gone past what I wanted to make a note of, and I have missed part of the lecture or demonstration trying to get my tablet working.

After a couple of iterations of that I get out my paper log book and make notes the way I have for decades. The bound, page-numbered, lined, hard-bound log books cost a couple of dollars and no matter how many I use a year it won’t add up to the cost of the tablet.

When Microsoft shows adds of people doing things with the Surface they don’t show all the security monkey motion so I suspect this is peculiar to the beta testing of Windows 10 and at some point of the developers will listen to someone who is trying to USE this thing to get useful work done. Hope springs eternal.

On passwords: sure, tablets need some kind of security, but Microsoft wants a complex password so that when you log on you are also logged on to the Microsoft account also. That means a long and complex password. That means to get to your tablet, which has gone to sleep during the jokes and introduction, so that you can take notes when the presenter finally gets past the friendliness and comes to some point you need to make note of, you must type in that long and complex password, and of course you missed what you wanted to remember. More points for carrying a good paper log book.

Maybe tablets need a quick and easy password – like a four digit number – to get into them when they go to sleep. Hit any key, type in the passcode, and make your notes. But to think of that you’d have to be a user, and developers can’t be bothered to USE they stuff they want us users to pay for. Ah well.


And I have today:

Hi Jerry,

I also have a Surface Pro 3, and it is a little quirky. The wake up function doesn’t always work, and it appears to be unresponsive to taps or holds on the power button. In that situation, mine will often respond to holding down one of the volume keys (I don’t remember which one) along with the power button for a few seconds. Microsoft says that will wipe everything and restore the original windows, I’ve not had that happen, so I can’t guarantee what I do is safe, though I’ve not had problems with it.

I think the Surface Pro 3 has had chronic Wi-Fi problems, though it has gotten better with recent system upgrades. But the form factor, the pen, the travel keyboard are all excellent. I use a Logitech blue tooth keyboard at home, as I don’t like touchpads

Thanks for your site.

Live long and prosper

Jack Jacobson

All true, and why I keep using it although Microsoft keeps trying to drive me mad. I thought tablets would be the wave of the future the first time I saw Bill Gates using one, and they got better so long as he was a user. But he moved on to being a philanthropist, and has equerries to take his notes, which I do not begrudge him, but the driving force to make tablets useful sort of went away then, and Microsoft is stumbling in its revival. If the Surface Pro would stop[ changing its settings to revert back to teeny tiny print, I could live telling it to sleep never when the cover is open, battery or not, and maybe we can all get along. I just hope that they ARE using customers as quality control; at least they are listening. The Surface Pro has enormous potential; I just hope they get some user in the development cycle.

Eric Pobirs tells me “ Up Volume and Power held down together is how you get into the UEFI (BIOS) of the Surface.” You probably don’t want to go there—I certainly don’t.


Peter Glaskowsky tells me I am being a bit unfair to Microsoft Developers, but he uses his Surface with Windows 8;  that’s probably true, but I got no user manual with the Surface with 8 either.  Perhaps there’s an O’Reilly I should get.

I remain convinced that they’ll get it eventually, which is why I don’t just get an iPad and be done with it, but it takes patience when my Surface likes to change the setting I so painfully put in.  Why must it sleep at all when in its dock? But it does even though I have tried to make it sleep NEVER WHEN UNDER MAINS POWER.

I used to do this enough that I could figure things out, but now I just want them to work.  Probably old age.

Peter also tells me there are some settings that allow the equivalent of a pin code; they are in the Windows 8 edition anyway,  I’ll investigate. I remain hopeful that they’ll get this right, because the Surface Pro has enormous potential.  We’ll see.

Eric Pobirs says:

    Also, you can use a short password, similar to a PIN, with Windows 8.x and presumably Windows 10. In Windows 10, open the Start menu, select Settings, Select Accounts, select Sign-in Options. You can create a short PIN. You can also create a visual login where you select a picture and then overlay a gesture. For example, you could use a group photo and circle a particular person’s face for the gesture.

    Requiring a password on return from standby is a setting that’s goes back to 90s with Windows. It was usually found on the same tab of the Display control panel used to set the screen saver. On more recent Windows generations: right-click on the desktop, select Personalize, select Screen Saver (lower right corner), on the control panel will be a check box for “On Resume, show Login Screen.”

He also reminds me that we chose the long and complex password so that I would be logged in to the Microsoft Cloud account when I logged in on the Surface; it wasn’t Microsoft that imposed that, but you do pretty well have to log onto the cloud when you’re away from home with the Surface Pro.  I have just created the pin number login on the Surface; works in Win 10 beta too.  So that relieves some of the complaints I had, leaving the question of why I didn’t know about them. But I was just learning that stuff when I had the stroke and forgot a lot, so it’s not a fair experiment. Today Precious has behaved nicely in the dock; hasn’t gone to sleep yet.  So perhaps much of this simply should have been notes toward a column.  On the other hand, this is a day book, and you’ve been warned of that.

Peter Glaskowsky points out that they had the pin login all along, probably for the same reason I thought it needed; so I can hardly fault Microsoft for that, except my general complaint that expensive systems are shipped without manuals. Second complaint: lack of redundancy. Maybe the new terminology is better, but there have to be ways to make it easier to go from, say, Windows XP – saw a lot of that in use at JPL –to the new Windows.  But that is a very old problem.



Snopes is skeptical of claims the Germanwings co-pilot was a convert to Islam:
Given that ISIS thrives on attention I suspect they would claim involvement whether he was a convert or not.
The Caliphate is our enemy – it does not help to believe and spread their propaganda.


As noted I have no great faith in the sources of that story. Alas I have little in Snopes, which also has an agenda. I seldom post breaking news, and this is an example of why. We don’t know. And most media are so terrified of appearing discriminatory that they won’t publish facts.

We can only wait and see.


  Dr. Pournelle,
I look to foreign television sources for some of my breaking news intake. German Deutche Welle (in English – my German is no longer good enough for understanding) and BBC sources have few reasons, these days, to hide possible Muslim connections to either victims or perpetrators of crime, and certainly the French Gendarmes don’t. Early reports of any violent crime from most European countries’ and NHK news services seems to include speculation on terrorist or middle Eastern links. Both BBC and DW repeatedly report that no radical Muslim link is detected in the Airbus crash by the investigating services, and the question has been put to representatives of those services many times in interviews and news conferences.
They have reported on some of the evidence discovered for the copilot having some form of illness, and my latest feed reported a denial that the illness was depression. This coverage has not included any discovery of evidence that the copilot had recently converted, even though other private papers and electronic correspondence have been referenced.
20-30 years ago, my experience was that French, German, Swiss, Dutch and Belgian citizens had their choice of as many yellow sources of journalism as I had in English from the U.S. or U.K. While I can detect an editorial slant to both BBC and DW (and NHK) televised and print news, I find them still to be pretty reliable information sources.

I very much hope you are right. I see signs of self induced blindness to certain facts, but I hope I am wrong.  We will wait and see, and I will have little more to say until we have stable facts. Either way we remain at war with the Caliphate – their declaration – whether we believe it or not, and that does not change.


The Hunt for White October

Dear Jerry;

Though  Comrade Putin is still with us, Russia has produced a sympathetic  film about the life and times of  White  Russian  commander Admiral Kolchak !


This is not to say that the world is now safe for the Easter Bunny,


and Faberge egg rolling, but it represents  progress of a sort.

                         Russell Seitz

Putin is a Russian patriot; perhaps super-patriot.. He needs to be understood accordingly. In another note, Russell says

I am bemused to note that while yesterday saw the highest temperature ever recorded on Antarctic Terra firma, 63.5 F, it is snowing as a write in Boston.

That reminds me that satellite observations of atmospheric temperature are getting easier and cheaper: but the new cheaper instruments are not the same as the old, and continuity has a large error bar making comparisons to past satellite observations less useful.  By large I mean up to a Kelvin, which is not serious unless models want 0,01 K accuracy. More on that another time.



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




Experiments With The Surface Pro; Tell Your Friends; Is SETI dangerous; Pi for Home Schools; the Caliphate Again [Chaos Manor - Jerry Pournelle]


Chaos Manor View, Friday, March 27, 2015

I’m told we are down a bit on viewers – there are several thousand a day, but fewer than the managing editor likes. I’m getting a bit more energy so things may pick up. Getting that abscessed tooth out is part of it: those things really use up a lot of your immune system resources.

This place is dedicated to rational discourse. I have over the years come to the conclusion that rational discourse is the best way to come to reasonable conclusions, and it does no harm at all to reexamine premises once in a while. Of course that can be done as harassment, example being the chap in undergrad discussions who immediately begins chanting “define your terms” to everything said, generally bringing the seminar to a close as everyone goes to find somewhere more interesting. We don’t allow such things here. We assume that all present are aware of the general principles of General Semantics, The map is not the territory, but we still need maps if we are going to discuss how to get someplace.

Anyway, if you like what we do, you might tell your friends. This is not a “right wing” site, and indeed I did a Ph.D. dissertation showing that right and left do not have any precise meaning and often are confusing when used http://www.baen.com/chapters/axes.htm . The political axes change over time, and left-right sometimes makes sense, but sometimes prevents discussion. This is not a right wing site, but then that term has no real meaning. One of these days I’ll get around to a full essay on this. But if you like this place, tell a friend


Saga of the Surface Pro

We have been installing Windows 10 with updates on Precious, the Surface 3 Pro, and I think this may turn into the best Windows yet, but there are some glitches, at least one of which may be in the Surface Pro. Precious normally resides in her docking station on the bay window shelf, which is a good place for her except in the mornings since the window faces east, and it’s bright out there.

Wednesday I had medical appointments and was in sort of a hurry on coming back. Precious was asleep. I pushed the button. Nothing happened. I looked at the power cable. The docking station uses a different power supply from the normal one. I took the Surface out of the dock and held the button down a long time. Nothing. I plugged in the usual power supply. Nothing. Eventually I did something else, leaving it not plugged into anything for some time, about an hour. Then I was fooling with it, put it back in the dock, and Alex asked what I was doing. I told him, he pressed the button, and whammo! it came on. Logged in, played with Cortana, the AI that’s in upcoming Windows – so far she’s a very dense girl—and went back to something else. Got a message that massive updates to the Windows 10 Beta were now available, started on them, and forgot the system. Later looked at it. Dead again. Dead, but warm. Interesting.

Left her out of the dock for several hours. Pressed the button. On she came. Said she was resuming downloads of update and would need to reset several times. Complained about wireless, which may me my fault: we have several wireless thingies here and systems do log onto the wrong one sometimes. Put her back in the dock. Worked fine and went on with massive update.

That done she went to sleep. Only once again I couldn’t wake her, but I had a theory. Took her out of the dock and let her cool a bit. On she came. Took her out to LASFS meeting where I logged on to the LASFS wireless. Seemed to work fine except there are too many users so it’s slow, but Precious was working fine. Took her to the after-meeting restaurant. She turned on fine, but said she needed to download something and there was no Internet connection and she was sulky. Put her back in my briefcase, brought her home, put her in the dock, told her never to sleep when she had external power, and so far she’s been fine ever since. Bit hard to see in the mornings because of sun coming in the east window she sit in, but she seems all right.

Next test, I suppose, will be using her portable power supply out of the dock and letting her sleep, and see if she can awake when fully charged (and then some). It may be the dock. Dunno.

Actually I do know. For two or three days in the hospital Precious was the only computer I had and never failed, and of course was using Wi-Fi, and damned slow Wi-Fi at that. Problem testing here is my confusing Wi-Fi nets. I need to get a net adapter – USB to Ethernet so she’s on Ethernet and under power but not docked. I may have one but Roberta won’t let me go upstairs and look for it. Saw Harlan Ellison at LASFS last night. Susan tells me she won’t let Harlan go upstairs either, so I guess we are recovering at about the same rate, only his handwriting is far better than mine. Speech is as good as ever, while I sound like I have hearing aids, which, come to that, I do. Anyway Harlan looks good, so I have hopes.

My Plantronics headset – an old one, but with cans, not buds; the cans work with the hearing aids, I expect they have new ones that are better, but these are pretty good – works nicely with Precious in her dock, and I’m trying to learn to talk with Cortana the AI. More when I know more. Precious the Surface Pro with Windows 10 has the potential to be what I’ve been looking for all my life, and my hands are pretty steady for using the stylus. But I think the dock overfeeds her.

I just networked to her from here. Works perfectly as far as I can tell. But I think I’ll put Dragon speech recognition on another portable until I’ve got this sleep of death thing completely understood. I need it because my typing is pretty slow.



Active SETI

To all of those concerned with the hazards of active SETI, I say either relax or panic. Pick one, but don’t bother with worry. Why? We have been a peculiarly bright radio object for over a century now. Our multi-kilowatt to multi-megawatt radio and TV transmissions have been flowing out in vast torrents every minute of every day for that period of time. Our kilowatt to megawatt radar pings have been mixed in for a good portion of that time.
Again, relax or panic. There are 512 known stars within 100 light years of earth. 28 of them are G-type. I do not have a number for the K-type (see an earlier post on the habitability of the universe). Within 50 light years are 34 known stars. Anyone out there with our level of technology could be tuning into I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best right now. They will have already listened to the Golden Age of Radio, heard all of our Big Band and Swing music and suffered through reports from the World War I and World War II battlefields. They will also have been treated to the enormous energy blasts from our nuclear tests.
If they are listening, they should be frightened by what they are hearing. Maybe the Beatles will redeem us? With all of the inadvertent signals we have been sending, it might actually make sense to start broadcasting something on purpose, to let them know we are not quite as crazy and dangerous as we already sound.
Personally, I cannot find a single reason that sticks for an interstellar capable civilization to go from star to star exterminating and enslaving other species. They already have access to and control of huge amounts of inexpensive energy. Being in space, they have better access to most raw materials than a planet-bound civilization. They also have the means to manufacture in space, alleviating the hazard of damaging a biosphere. In fact, living on a planet at all might seem rather wrong to such a civilization, with uncontrollable weather, limited energy, poor waste management, and an extraordinary limitation on living space, why waste your time living at the bottom of a gravity well? So why would a civilization want to travel across the stars to exterminate us?
Perhaps there is one reason. Whenever a more technologically capable civilization meets up with a less capable one, the less capable inevitably gets destroyed, either out-right or through assimilation. If one is dedicated to ensuring the survival of one’s own culture, it would behoove one to exterminate the potential rival cultures while one has the upper hand. Get out there first, wipe the others out.
In the end, that may be a self defeating policy, though, as one’s own civilization will inevitably diversify in culture as it spreads through the galaxy. Then who is the alien culture to be destroyed?


The cultural extermination may not be intentional. There are many science fiction novels with that theme. I have no firm conclusions.


GERMAN NEWS REPORT: Co-Pilot of Germanwings Airbus Was MUSLIM CONVERT …’Hero of Islamic State’? | The Gateway Pundit

It’s no longer “cherchez la femme?” Now we have “cherchez le Moor?” It appears the German Wings pilot was a recent (2009?) convert to Islam.

Follow the “found an “item of significance” at the apartment” and the “NOT a suicide note” links. The latter is quite interesting.


——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject: GERMAN NEWS REPORT: Co-Pilot of Germanwings Airbus Was MUSLIM CONVERT

…’Hero of Islamic State’? | The Gateway Pundit

Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2015 07:03:43 -0700


Surprise or oh well – another one?

GERMAN NEWS REPORT: Co-Pilot of Germanwings Airbus Was MUSLIM CONVERT …’Hero

of Islamic State’?

Posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, March 26, 2015, 9:48 PM





— STAYED AT Bremen Mosque

Police have reportedly found an “item of significance” at the apartment <http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/03/breaking-item-of-significance-found-at-germanwing-co-pilots-apartment/>

of the co-pilot who crashed the Germanwing passenger plane into the Alps this week.

The item was NOT a suicide note


Andreas Lubitz


28-year-old German Andreas Lubitz trained in the Phoenix, Arizona and is pictured here in San Francisco.

*A German news website claims Andreas Lubitz was a Muslim convert.* Speisa.com <http://speisa.com/modules/articles/index.php/item.1086/the-co-pilot-of-the-germanwings-airbus-was-a-convert-to-islam.html>


According to Michael Mannheimer, a writer for German PI-News, Germany now

has its own 9/11, thanks to the convert to Islam, Andreas Lubitz.

Translation from German:

*All evidence indicates that the copilot of Airbus machine in his six-months

break during his training as a pilot in Germanwings, converted to Islam* and

subsequently either by the order of “radical”, i.e.. devout Muslims , or

received the order from the book of terror, the Quran, on his own accord

decided to carry out this mass murder. *As a radical mosque in Bremen is in

the center of the investigation*,*in which the convert was staying often,*

it can be assumed that he – as Mohammed Atta, in the attack against New York

– received his instructions directly from the immediate vicinity of the mosque.

*Converts are the most important weapon of Islam.* Because their resume do

not suggests that they often are particularly violent Muslims. Thus Germany

now has its own 9/11, but in a reduced form. And so it is clear that Islam

is a terrorist organization that are in accordance with §129a of the

Criminal Code to prohibit it and to investigate its followers. But nothing

will happen. One can bet that the apologists (media, politics, “Islamic

Scholars”) will agree to assign this an act of a “mentally unstable” man,

and you can bet that now, once again the mantra of how supposedly peaceful

Islam is will continue. And worse still, the attacks by the left against

those who have always warned against Islam, will be angrier and merciless.

For now the German Islam supporters like never before have their backs

against the wall.

Michael Mannheimer, 26.3.2015

Apparently from the comments


at German PI – Andreas Lubitz was Muslim convert from his Facebook page.

*ISLAMIC STATE PRAISES GERMAN CO-PILOT AND MASS MURDERER–* Another Facebook page was set up=> Support for Andrew Lubitz, hero of the Islamic State.


(The Facebook page has since been taken down)

But *Pamela Geller* captured a screengrab <http://pamelageller.com/2015/03/germanwings-co-pilot-andreas-lubitz-praised-on-facebook-our-holy-martyr-lubitz-died-for-our-prophet.html/>

of the page before it was removed.

lubitz facebook Muslim page


A close friend of Andreas Lubitz says he was mentally unstable <https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pi-news.net%2F2015%2F03%2Fgerman-wings-absturz-kapitaen-aus-cockpit-ausgesperrt-suizid-des-co-piloten%2F&edit-text=>.


I have no great confidence in the sources given here, but if the primary thesis be true, namely that Lubitz was a recent convert and considered himself a soldier of the Caliphate, it is one more reason for war against ISIS to the extermination of that Caliphate as a governing body. On its internal logic it is not the legitimate Caliphate if it rules nothing. ISIS is not just another faction in the IRAQ war. It is a chiliastic power seeking to rule the world, and that is its attraction.

And we have:

Hello, Jerry,
The co-pilot of the Germanwings plane appears to have been diagnosed with a mental illness, although he did not tell Lufthansa / Germanwings. Police have found several notes from several doctors. Perhaps he was searching for a second / third etc. opinion to would clear him to keep flying.
One story is at the NY Times.
Washington Post has a similar story.

I do note that diagnosis of mental illness doesn’t mean a lot: in the latest DSM it’s pretty hard not to find some disorder you can diagnose.  And the Caliphate has declared war on us.

Snopes is skeptical of claims the Germanwings co-pilot was a convert to Islam:
Given that ISIS thrives on attention I suspect they would claim involvement whether he was a convert or not.
The Caliphate is our enemy – it does not help to believe and spread their propaganda.


As noted I have no great faith in the sources of that story. Alas I have little in Snopes, which also has an agenda. I seldom post breaking news, and this is an example of why.  We don’t know.  And most media are so terrified of appearing  discriminatory that they won’t publish facts.

We can only wait and see.



The disposable income of people in every country of the world in one fantastic infographic


The $60 Car Hacking story

Regarding the $60 device that can ‘hack’ your car (in Tuesday’s View http://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/more-thin-gruel/ ); a ‘hobbyist’ could also do this with a Raspberry PI 2 (small ARM computer about the size of a deck of cards that costs $35) coupled with a small TFT screen (there is one for the Raspberry) and the open-source software mentioned in the article. That would remove the need for a laptop (with Linux).
A basic Raspberry PI 2 kit (the Pi plus power supply, keyboard, and OS, etc.) for about $70 (here http://preview.tinyurl.com/q9zo55v). Add a TFT touch-display (about $40 here http://preview.tinyurl.com/od32azg) and you’ll have a very small ‘car hacking device’.
The Raspberry PI 2 is a great little computer that can be used for many purposes. I’ve set up one up as a Media Server (and network storage) with a 1TB portable hard disk attached.
I have also seen reports of a Pi-based network testing tool.
Since it does “Python”, plus a kid-oriented visual programming system called “Scratch”, along with a Debian-based Linux OS, there is no limit to what can be done with the Pi. (See www.raspberrypi.org ). Many schools are using the Pi as a teaching tool for kids. Home-schoolers might also find the Pi as an interesting project.

And they get smaller, and cheaper, and smarter all the time. And yes. Pi may be a great tool for good schools and home classes. Along, of course, with the California reader… http://www.amazon.com/California-Sixth-Grade-Reader-Pournelle-ebook/dp/B00LZ7PB7E



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




War crimes complaint filed against Hamas in U.S. [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Tel Aviv-based NGO filed a war crimes complaint in the United States against Hamas leaders over the group’s firing of rockets at Ben Gurion Airport last summer.

The Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center filed the complaint with the Department of Justice on Tuesday on behalf of 26 U.S. citizens who were at the airport near Tel Aviv at the time of the attack on July 22. The attack, for which Hamas has claimed responsibility, took place during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza.

The complainants, who come from several U.S. states as well as Israel, said they were forced to take cover in bomb shelters at the airport during and after the attack. Several U.S. planes also were on the ground at the airport at the time.

Several Hamas leaders are named in the lawsuit, including its head, Khaled Meshal. The complaint, addressed to the U.S. attorney general, details why each of the Hamas leaders named is liable for prosecution.

Hamas targeted Ben Gurion all summer, according to the complaint, and warned airlines not to fly there on Aug. 20, when the terror group said it would again target the airport.

More than 4,500 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza at Israel during the six-week Israel-Gaza conflict in 2014.

After the nuclear negotiators go home, what happens next? [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sits with his counterparts from Germany, China, the European Union, France, the United Kingdom, and Russia on March 30, 2015, in Lausanne, Switzerland, before the P5+1 partner nations resume negotiations with Iranian officials. (U.S. State Department/Flickr)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, third from left, in Lausanne, Switzerland, with his counterparts from the other world powers negotiating with Iran before the nuclear talks resumed, March 30, 2015.  (U.S. State Department/Flickr)

(JTA) – Diplomats in Lausanne, Switzerland, have extended their deadline on a framework accord on Iran’s nuclear program. But even if an agreement is reached this week, it’s merely a way station toward a comprehensive deal that is due by June 30.

If a deal is reached, who needs to approve it?

If the six world powers – the United States, Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany – negotiating with Iran manage to reach a final deal, Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei still must grant his approval and President Obama will have to overcome opposition in Congress.

The deal need not be subject to a congressional vote, but there are several ways Congress could scuttle it anyway. Opponents could assemble a veto-proof congressional majority for a bill that either negates the deal or makes implementation extremely difficult – like delaying the lifting of sanctions until Iran satisfies certain conditions, or automatically reinstating them if Iran supports a terrorist act.

While Congress alone has the authority to permanently suspend congressional sanctions against Iran, the president has the power to temporarily waive them. In practice, that means Obama can circumvent Congress indefinitely by continually suspending sanctions – much the same way the president invokes a national security waiver every six months to avoid implementing the 1995 law requiring the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Why is Israel so against a deal?

The Israeli government believes a bad deal is worse than no deal. At best, the deal under consideration would leave Iran with the capability to produce a weapon – its so-called breakout time – in about a year. At worst, Tehran would continue secret work toward a bomb while capitalizing on the easing of sanctions to reinforce the Islamic regime and expand its power abroad.

Despite his bluster, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel says he’s not against a deal, just this particular one. The Israelis believe that the harsher the sanctions regime against Iran and the tougher Washington’s negotiating stance, the more concessions they’ll be able to get from Iran. U.S. officials believe additional sanctions would scuttle the talks and that Israel’s expectations for a deal are unrealistic.

What are Israel’s alternatives?

The Israeli government will continue to push for sanctions against Iran with the hope that they hobble the Islamic regime, either toppling it or forcing it back to the negotiating table under more favorable terms for the West. Meanwhile, Israel likely will continue its clandestine efforts to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program, including tactics like Stuxnet, a software virus designed to destroy Iranian centrifuges. Israel is also believed to have been behind the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.

It’s not clear whether Israel has a viable military option. Aside from the diplomatic consequences of a military strike, the geography of Iran’s nuclear facilities – multiple sites, dispersed and underground – makes it highly unlikely that Israel would be able to wipe out Iran’s nuclear program as successfully as it did Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 or a Syrian nuclear facility in 2007. An Israeli attack on Iran also is likely to set off harsh responses from Tehran, its Hezbollah proxy in Lebanon and its allies elsewhere in the region. Reprisals might not be limited to Israel, and could include Israeli and Jewish targets abroad.

What are America’s alternatives?

While the United States has never officially taken the military option off the table, Obama is exceedingly unlikely ever to use it. Aside from the difficulty of mounting a successful attack on Iran’s nuclear installations, Obama is not likely to take such an extreme step given his cautious nature, the rapport the U.S. administration has built with the Iranians and the lack of international consensus for such a move.

Obama may try again with the Iranians if a deal is not reached by the June 30 deadline. But if Congress strengthens sanctions first and the Iranians balk at returning to the negotiating table, the most likely outcome is that Obama goes back to Chicago without an agreement when his term expires in 22 months, leaving the problem for the next U.S. president to resolve.

How is the rest of the Middle East reacting to a prospective Iran deal?

There is great concern among the region’s Sunni Arab regimes (Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Persian Gulf nations) that Washington’s pursuit of a deal with Tehran is widening Shiite Iran’s regional influence and power. Since the 2003 Iraq War, Iranian allies have taken over in Iraq, Lebanon and now Yemen. While Sunni Arab governments regard the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State (ISIS) as a threat, they don’t want them replaced with Iranian proxies either.

Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt long have relied on cozy relationships with Washington, but things have cooled in tandem with Washington’s negotiations with Tehran. The relationship between Obama and Netanyahu has devolved into bitterness and dysfunction; Cairo has been kept at arm’s length since the Egyptian military deposed the democratically elected Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, and installed Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in his place; and Saudi Arabia feels it doesn’t have the U.S. administration’s ear when it comes to Iran.

So these countries have been taking matters into their own hands. Netanyahu has bypassed the White House in trying to marshal U.S. opposition to an Iran deal. In Yemen, Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes with support from Egypt and Gulf regimes to counter the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who overran the U.S.-backed Yemeni president and prompted U.S. officials in the country to flee.

If these Sunni Arab regimes now believe they can’t rely on the United States to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, they’re likely to pursue nuclear weapons, too. So might Turkey, igniting a regional arms race.

GW student gov’t addresses swastika incidents with request for added security [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — In the aftermath of swastikas found in a residence hall, the student senate at George Washington University asked the university to install more security cameras in dorms.

The Student Association Senate passed a resolution Monday calling for the extra security measures in public spaces, such as near elevators and in residence hall lobbies, the student newspaper The Hatchet reported Tuesday.

The proposal came in response to the posting of swastikas twice in three weeks at the university’s International House, which houses members of nine fraternities and sororities.

Three swastikas were drawn on walls of the International House at the end of February in an incident that is now being investigated as a hate crime. Earlier in March, a member of the predominantly Jewish fraternity Zeta Beta Tau posted a swastika on the public bulletin board of the residence hall in an incident that also is being investigated as a hate crime.

After the first incident, the university installed a security camera in the lobby of International House, according to The Hatchet.

The bill also asked the student senate to formally condemn the postings of the swastikas.

Dermer: Israel must speak up on Iran threat [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, said Israel should never be afraid to speak up on issues such as the Iranian threat to the Jewish state.

His address Monday in Chicago at an event sponsored by the local Israel Bonds chapter was his first public comments since Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected prime minister two weeks ago.

Dermer reaffirmed the strong partnership between the United States and Israel, saying that the two countries would “weather the current storm and emerge stronger than ever.” He was referring to the current strained relations between the United States and Israel, including Netanyahu’s controversial speech earlier this month to a joint meeting of Congress in which the Israeli leader criticized the proposed deal between the U.S. and other world powers and Iran on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Dermer came under fire for helping to arrange the speech with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and not informing the Obama administration.

Referencing the speech, he said in Chicago, “Iran actively works for the annihilation of Israel. Faced with such a threat, Israel should never be afraid to speak up. Israel must speak up.”

Dermer added, “The days when the Jewish people remained silent in the face of genocidal enemies are over.”

Plans for 2,200 homes in Jerusalem Arab neighborhood gain preliminary approval [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Interior Ministry committee in Israel approved preliminary plans for the construction of 2,200 housing units in an Arab neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem.

The plans approved on Monday by the District Planning and Building Committee also will retroactively approve 300 illegal Arab homes in the same Jabel Mukaber neighborhood.

Right-wing activists had made several attempts to cancel the plan, Ynet reported.

It could take years for building permits to be issued, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Last week, the same committee canceled a hearing on plans for the construction of 1,500 housing units in the Jewish eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, saying that the instructions had come from above.

Iran talks deadline extended a day [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) – The negotiations in Switzerland over a framework deal with Tehran are being extended by a day.

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department, Marie Harf, told reporters on Tuesday that the talks would be extended past that day’s deadline for a framework agreement. The deadline for a comprehensive deal is June.

“‎We’ve made enough progress in the last days to merit staying until Wednesday,” Harf told reporters. “There are several difficult issues still remaining.”

There reportedly are a few sticking points to a deal, including the pace of lifting the sanctions on Iran, whether sanctions automatically will return if Iran violates the deal, whether Iran ships its nuclear fuel for processing outside the country, what to do with Iran’s existing stockpile of fissile material, and the degree to which Iran must open up its nuclear facilities to international inspectors.

The United States is leading the talks between Iran and six world powers. Joining the U.S. are the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security — Russia, China, Britain and France — plus Germany.

The March 31 deadline for a framework agreement is somewhat arbitrary. It was imposed about three months ago after the two sides decided to extend the overall negotiations to June 15. Iran and the world powers, known as the P5+1, had entered into an interim agreement on Nov. 24, 2013, with Iran agreeing to temporarily freeze some elements of its nuclear program in exchange for a temporary easing of certain sanctions while the two sides negotiated a final deal.

That six-month agreement took effect on Jan. 20, 2014. In July 2014, the two sides agreed to a four-month extension, and last November the deadline was extended again, to June 15, 2015. Shortly afterward, the goal was established to reach a high-level political agreement by March 31, and all technical issues by mid-June.

From ‘80s to today, Israeli ‘family’ revels in close ties [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Some members of Garin Tidhar gathering in Israel, March 2015. (Courtesy Isaac Eyon)

Some members of Garin Tidhar gathering in Israel, March 2015. (Courtesy Isaac Eyon)

The Seeking Kin column aims to help reunite long-lost relatives and friends.

(JTA) – As sage burned on a tin tray atop the green-carpeted floor of his living room, Arieh O’Sullivan stuck a pin in a voodoo doll. Meanwhile, friends played a guitar, Jew’s harp and harmonica. Others chanted.

O’Sullivan then grasped a shrunken monkey head and recited biblical verses, an ancient Assyrian text and an Irish-Catholic poem – all praying for his new home to be protected.

The laugh-inducing scene in late March was straight out of O’Sullivan’s hometown of New Orleans, known for its superstitions and singular ceremonies, and adapted for a daylong party celebrating his move to a former castle in Ajur, a village near Beit Shemesh in central Israel.

“I was ridding my house of evil spirits and ghosts,” O’Sullivan, 54, said of a housewarming event that included guests sipping from a kiddush cup that had been salvaged from a synagogue gutted by Hurricane Katrina. The goblet, he said, is “a symbol of surviving.”

As was the gathering of the group filling his home that day, which was marking a third of a century since coming together as new immigrants in Israel under the Israeli army’s Nahal program combining military service with the building of agricultural settlements.

The 20 immigrants, all from English-speaking countries, came together beginning in late 1981. They were officially organized in January 1982 as a garin, or core group, and sent to live at Kibbutz Ohr Haner near the Gaza Strip.

Nearly everyone has remained in Israel and stayed close, seeing each other often despite being scattered throughout the country. Some who moved back to the Diaspora return for reunions and maintain the bonds via email and a Facebook group page.

Their get-togethers include Yom Ha’atzmaut barbecues and the Jacob’s Ladder Festival of music every spring, along with attending the b’nai mitzvah and weddings of their children. The affection has moved to the second generation, many of whom revel in the uncle-and-aunt familiarity of the gatherings.

Edan Eyon, the 24-year-old son of Moshav Kfar Azar resident Margo Eyon, joins the outings when he hears that the husband of his mother’s friend from the garin will be there. The principals’ children long ago made friends with one another, too.

With their own clans having remained in the Diaspora, the garin members quickly became each other’s surrogate families – a tie that has intensified over time.

Even while visiting her mother and cousins recently in her native northern California, Eyon pined for her Israeli clan.

“I love them dearly,” Eyon, who works as a translator, said of her relatives by blood, “but that doesn’t come close to this feeling of being so connected to these people for so long” in Israel.

The March party was arranged for when London resident Jonathan Cohen would be in Israel on a business trip.

“The bond is so strong that this is my family, despite the fact that they’re 3,000 miles away,” Cohen said. “My wife and kids in England know this. [They] would not even raise an eyebrow if I say I am going to see my Israeli family for a few days.

“You’re lucky to have two or three close friends in life. If I called any one of them at 3 a.m. and said ‘I need you,’ they’d be there.”

That has happened all too regularly. When one person needed a kidney transplant, others had themselves tested for compatibility. (An outside donor was found.) While a member underwent cancer surgery, her husband and son stayed with Eyon and her husband, Isaac. As Iraqi-launched Scud missiles fell on nearby Ramat Gan during the Gulf War in 1991, the Eyons relocated to O’Sullivan’s then-home in Jerusalem. The young son of a Chicago resident was killed in a car accident, and garin members held a memorial service in solidarity. After Cohen’s father died two years ago, people called from Israel “asking what they could do, giving me support,” he said.

To Eyon, “That’s what family is for.”

The group, given the name Garin Tidhar at its formation, was nearly undone just as it began. Israel’s Lebanon War started just months after the garin’s establishment, with many of the men dispatched to battle and the women transported to Kibbutz El Rom in the Golan Heights to live temporarily. Everyone eventually returned to Ohr HaNer before moving on.

For the 30th anniversary reunion in 2012, held at El Rom, where one garin member ended up settling, O’Sullivan produced a 15-minute video with still photographs, nearly all from days of yore.

Eyon believes, though, that the strong ties forged three decades ago endure by living in the present.

“When we’re sitting around, we’re talking about now, not ‘Do you remember the time that …?’ ” she said.

O’Sullivan, a reporter for the Israel Broadcast Authority’s English-language news telecasts, has been the ringleader.

“We’re like brothers and sisters,” he said. “We’re a tight group.”

(Please email Hillel Kuttler at seekingkin@jta.org if you would like “Seeking Kin” to write about your search for long-lost relatives and friends. Please include the principal facts and your contact information in a brief email. “Seeking Kin” is sponsored by Bryna Shuchat and Joshua Landes and family in loving memory of their mother and grandmother, Miriam Shuchat, a lifelong uniter of the Jewish people.)

What biblical villain is Obama most like (besides Haman, of course)? [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin recently compared President Obama to Haman. (Wikimedia Commons)

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin recently compared President Obama to Haman. (Wikimedia Commons)

In his seven years as president, Barack Obama has had plenty of unflattering comparisons thrown his way.

Detractors of the Democrat have likened him to such notorious figures as Nixon, Hitler and Machiavelli. There are even a series of conspiracy theory videos on YouTube claiming that Obama is not just like Osama bin Laden but actually is bin Laden.

Over the weekend Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the chief rabbi of the West Bank settlement Efrat, added to the list in a speech he gave in Jerusalem, comparing Obama to Haman, the arch-villain of the Purim story whose genocidal plots are thwarted. Fleshing out the analogy, Riskin added that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is Mordechai, one of the story’s heroes.

Riskin’s hyperbolic comparison/analogy left me wondering whether the former spiritual leader of the modern Orthodox Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York actually believes a president who hosts regular Passover seders and Hanukkah parties is anti-Semitic, let alone genocidal. But it also made me wonder:

– If Obama is Haman and Netanyahu is Mordechai, then who are the equivalent of Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus?

– Why, less than a week before Passover, is Riskin referencing the Book of Esther and not the Haggadah? Why not compare Obama to Pharaoh and Netanyahu to Moses?

– What biblical analogies will be used next to express distaste for the president and support for right-wing Israeli policy? Perhaps Obama is Cain and Netanyahu is Abel. Or Obama (and the rest of the world) is a floodable sinner, Netanyahu is Noah and Israel is the ark. (Not sure who are the animals in this scenario.) Or Obama is Isaac, Netanyahu is Jacob and Iran is the the preferred son Esau, whose birthright/nuclear deal Netanyahu will steal with the intervention of Rebecca/John Boehner. Some rabbi could even do a yearlong exploration of Obama and what role he plays in each week’s Torah portion.

One piece of advice for Riskin: When Hanukkah comes, don’t compare Obama to Antiochus, the Greek emperor who desecrated the Temple and ordered Jews to assimilate. Gerald Flurry, pastor general of the Philadelphia Church of God, beat you to it in his 2013 booklet “America Under Attack.”

Tweets by ‘Daily Show’ pick Trevor Noah concern ADL, B’nai B’rith [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — Two Jewish groups expressed their concerns over past social media posts by Trevor Noah, the choice to succeed Jon Stewart as host of “The Daily Show.”

The Anti-Defamation League and B’nai B’rith issued statements urging Noah, a South African standup comedian, to avoid making distasteful jokes about Jewish stereotypes on “The Daily Show.”

Since his appointment was announced Monday by Comedy Central, Noah has come under fire for past tweets about Jews and Israel, including one from 2010 that read “South Africans know how to recycle like Israel knows how to be peaceful.”

In 2012, he tweeted that “Messi gets the ball and the real players try foul him [sic], but Messi doesn’t go down easy, just like jewish[sic] chicks.”

“B’nai B’rith is concerned about the long history of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and misogynistic tweets by the new choice to host the popular comedy program, The Daily Show,” the organization said in a statement issued Tuesday. “We recognize that the platform The Daily Show provides its host is different from the stand-up comedy circuit, and we are hopeful that Noah will use this new and larger role responsibly on complex, sensitive issues.

“Entertainment cannot justify promoting hate and misinformation — and no group, including Israelis and Jews, should be considered fair game for bigotry.”

Noah, 31, who has over 2 million Twitter followers, was a surprise selection for “The Daily Show” post, as is he relatively unknown in the United States. He is a star in South Africa, where he has filmed four standup specials.

Noah made three appearances as a correspondent on “The Daily Show” since December before being named host.

In a statement, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said that he hopes that “The Daily Show” remains “funny and irreverent without trafficking in bigoted jokes at the expense of Jews.”

“We welcome Trevor Noah to his new endeavor at ‘The Daily Show’ and wish him success. We need humor — perhaps now more than ever — and we hope that he will build on Jon Stewart’s great legacy,” Foxman said.

Museum of Jewish Heritage, Folksbiene to partner and possibly merge [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

NEW YORK (JTA) — Two New York Jewish cultural organizations are expected to sign a partnership agreement that could lead to a merger.

The memorandum of understanding between The Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and the National Yiddish Theater-Folksbiene is to be announced Tuesday night and, if all goes well, will ultimately lead to a full merger, several media outlets reported.

Founded in 1997, the museum in recent years has struggled to attract large numbers of visitors, despite its location near other tourist sites like the Statue of Liberty and the ferry to Ellis Island.

The Folksbiene, founded in 1915, has an audience of about 30,000 patrons each year, but lacks a permanent performance venue. Under the partnership agreement, it will be able to use the museum’s 375-seat auditorium for approximately 16 weeks each year.

Under the agreement, the two institutions will work together on programming but maintain separate boards and budgets.

Library Acquires Rare Civil War Stereographs [Library of Congress: News]

The Library of Congress has acquired 540 rare and historic Civil War stereographs from the Robin G. Stanford Collection. The first 77 images are now online, including 12 stereographs of President Lincoln’s funeral procession through several cities and 65 images by Southern photographers showing South Carolina in 1860-61.

NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN - English News at 21:01 (JST), March 31 [English News - NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN]

2000 fewer libraries? Ed Vaizey again decides not to intervene [Public Libraries News]


Mr Vaizey has again decided not to intervene in a library service that is severely reducing it’s number of branches and budget. In his letter saying he is “minded not to intervene” in Lincoolnshire, he makes it clear that 15 static libraries, online provision and a housebound book delivery service meet the statutory requirement for provision.  It accepts that the other 30 branches can be closed or passed to volunteers but, crucially, does not include them in making its final judgement – they are therefore effectively entirely optional and the council can do with them as it pleases, electorate willing.  The county council of Lincolnshire accounts for around 850,000 people so that raises the bar to 56,000 people per branch library being an acceptable figure.  So those who think that one should have a library in anything smaller than a middle to large town should consider writing to the minister before 24th April.

It’s worth bearing in mind, by the way, that that ratio would mean the secretary of state would be happy with less than one thousand libraries in all of England: 2000 – or two-thirds – fewer than now. One of the reasons for this acceptance appears to be that housebound library services are a “replacement” for those who cannot get into a local library, which is a scary thing where someone delivering the books to an incapacitated person in their own home can be used as an excuse to close down a vital service.


National news

  • Chrissie in the running for national learning award – Eastbourne Herald. ” mother-of-three is in the running for a national award after following her dream of becoming a teacher – with the help of courses at her local library. Hailsham-based Chrissie Price, originally from 
Eastbourne, is a regional finalist in the learndirect
 Inspiration Awards, organised by the online learning provider to recognise people who go the extra mile to develop their skills.”
  • Putting the spot light on Picture Books – Neilsen. “Picture Book loans have done well for this period with a growth of 17.3% to 865k from last period’s 737k, unsurprising as half term fell in this period. Three of the top Picture Book titles of this period appeared in the Top 5 of the same period in 2014. Superworm and Where the Wild Things Are are the two newcomers in the Top 5 this period. Two Julia Donaldson titles, Superworm and The Gruffalo, feature in both this month’s Nielsen LibScan Top 5 chart and the Nielsen BookScan TCM (Total Consumer Market) Top 10 chart for Picture Books”
  • Views on volunteer-led libraries sought – Speak Up for Libraries. “Speak Up for Libraries would welcome hearing from anyone with a view about volunteer-led ‘libraries’ (often called ‘Community Libraries’), whether it be that of a volunteer, a library worker or a library user. What works well and what doesn’t? … A summary of the evidence will be published. All information received will be anonymised unless specific permission has been given to identify the contributor and the names of library or library service.”



The British Council has asked that we encourage UK colleagues to take a close look at an amazing new post. The British Council is opening new libraries in Pakistan (initially in Lahore and Karachi) as part of a bigger programme for a refreshed engagement with local people, to promote British Culture, encourage enterprise and build positive relations with key partners in Pakistani society. The British Council is looking to the UK for a Director to lead the programme. This is a fantastic opportunity to take on a unique and challenging but fascinating role with – you will see – a great package of salary and rewards. The advert is here on the CILIP Lisjobnet. Don’t hesitate to at least take a look and give it some real thought. It could change your life – and will help many others! The closing date is quite soon so take a look now. ” John Dolan (Salary is £90,000 but free flights)

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – Author’s plea to stop library cuts at demo – Barnet Today. “Nicole Burstein was speaking outside Edgware Library on Saturday before a march by Save Barnet Libraries. Protesters walked to Mill Hill Library via Burnt Oak Library – two buildings which could be closed altogether under Barnet Council’s plans to cut 60 per cent from the libraries budget. Nicole, who grew up round the corner in Penshurst Gardens, said: “I have been using Edgware Library for as long as I can remember. It is because of my passion for reading that I ended up doing a degree in English literature, and a masters in creative writing.””
  • Birmingham – Birmingham moots library cooperative model – BookSeller.
  • Croydon/Lambeth - Upper Norwood Library investigates who got the loot – Inside Croydon. Impressive events list.
  • Hackney – The secret’s out: advocating for housebound library services in Hackney – CILIP. “Hackney’s best kept secret” was the tantalisingly modest claim in its promotional leaflet when I joined the Community Library Service in 2008. I realised that the key to success could be letting people in on the so-called ‘secret’ so that they could help us grow, improve our service offer, better serve our users and – ultimately – safeguard the service for the future. But how to proceed… We started a targeted promotion of our service.  We used the skills, time and expertise of our staff and local people to make a short film about the service which was shown in common rooms and daycentres and uploaded on YouTube.  Our worth was recognised outside libraries when a link to the film was prominent on the front page of Hackney’s Adult Social Care ‘iCare’ webpage. We had tables at health related events and I ran and presented training for health-associated workers and professionals. With national news reporting the growth of isolation in the elderly and the pressure on doctors to prescribe more than drugs, we were a perfect fit. A free service that provided regular calls to the elderly and disabled taking them books, talking books, films, music and jigsaws to entertain them, inform them and fill lonely hours.” … “Today, we’re one of Hackney’s worst kept secrets, much to our delight. The latest CIPFA survey results show that we have the largest number of housebound service users in London. People come from all over the UK to see how we operate. “
  • Harrow – Harrow library strategy 2015-2018 - Harrow Council. Full details of proposed changes to the service.
  • Hertfordshire – Merger plans look healthy for Knebworth library and surgery – Mercury. “Hertfordshire County Council has been given the green light to negotiate a fee to bring Knebworth’s surgery and library together. The Knebworth and Marymead Medical Practice has decided its demand has outgrown the current building, in Station Road. The move to the library was suggested to the council by General Practice Investments, which is footing the bill for the redevelopment.”
  • Kent – Last chance to have a say on libraries consultation – Kent Media Hub. “An extensive 12-week public consultation on KCC’s plans to modernise its Libraries, Registration and Archives service by the creation of a charitable trust closes next week (Wednesday, 8 April). Since the consultation’s launch on 12 January, KCC’s Libraries, Registration and Archives service has organised a series of 27 roadshows across the county to give Kent residents the chance to learn more about KCC’s plans. In addition, residents have been invited to register their views online at www.kent.gov.uk/libraries and a questionnaire contained in an explanatory booklet has been available in county libraries.”
  • Lambeth – Anger at cultural cutback – Brixton Blog. “Friends of Lambeth’s libraries and parks, including those in Brixton, have criticised Lambeth council for its proposals to reduce cultural services. They have branded its Culture 2020 consultation “pointless” and said that the council do not understand the seriousness of what they are doing. The proposals include the sale of Waterloo and Minet Libraries, having community groups take over running three others, cuts to the remaining five libraries, as well as cuts to park budgets and having friends’ groups or communities take over the running of the borough’s green spaces as “charitable trusts”.” … “The consultation is open until April 24 and we really want to make sure people get involved and tell us their views and ideas.””
  • Lincolnshire – Letter :  Ed Vaizey MP to Leader, LCC | Local inquiry into library provision in Lincolnshire – Gov.uk. Government decides 15 static libraries, online provision and a housebound book delivery service meets statutory requirement for provision and accepts that the other 30 branches can be closed or passed to volunteers. Comments required before 24th April.

“As you all know, we are currently thinking about another court case to fight the last consultation. We are looking for people who are willing to give witness statements, which is basically to explain how you feel the County Council decision to cut the Libraries has effected you. These will be read by the Judge, our solicitor/barrister and the Council’s barrister/solicitors and will form the basis of our case…” Save Lincolnshire Libraries on Facebook

  • Newport – Public consultation open on hours-cut proposal for saved Malpas library – South Wales Argus. “PUBLIC consultation is open on plans to save a Newport library which would see its opening hours cut, … During a Malpas ward meeting last night, residents were informed that Newport City Council’s initial decision to close the Malpas library had been overturned, with the council now proposing to keep the library open for 20 hours per week. Malpas residents now have until April 29 to voice their opinion, with the council running a public consultation on the new proposal.”
  • Pembrokeshire – ‘Adventures start at the library’ says TV wildlife expert - Western Telegraph. “Pembrokeshire County Council libraries and primary schools have joined forces to provide library cards to children in 12 local schools. The move is part of a national initiative called ‘Every Child a Library Member’, launched in ten Welsh counties. Launching the initiative in Milford Haven Library, Dr Rhys Jones – best known for his hit BBC series ‘Rhys to the Rescue’ and ‘Dr Rhys Jones’s Wildlife Patrol’ – said: “Libraries are such an important resource – they are a great place for children to let their imagination grow and to develop and it is vitally important that we encourage our children to read more not only to improve their literacy levels but also to help them with life skills and future opportunities.””
  • Sussex – New way of working for police officers in Bognor – Bognor Regis Observer. “The policemen and women are being equipped with the latest hi-tech equipment, like the phones and tablet computers, to enable them to stay connected while they are out on the beat around Bognor Regis … Officers will be using their mobile phones while they are sitting in Costa Coffee or the local libraries. That has got to be a good thing. “In the future, I would encourage my staff to be out there and engaging with the public in that way”

Super Typhoon Maysak causes devastation in FSM [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

There are reports of deaths and severe damage after super typhoon Maysak struck the Federated States of Micronesia.

FSM death toll from Typhoon Maysak reaches four [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

The government of the Federated States of Micronesia says there have been four confirmed fatalities resulting from Typhoon Maysak.

Kiribati praises Australia for its help after Cyclone Pam [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop's whistle-stop tour of the Pacific started yesterday with a short visit to Kiribati where she met president Anote Tong and his senior ministers.

High turnout expected for Cook Islands by-election poll [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Polling has begun in Cook Islands at a by-election which is crucial for the future of the government, and for the opposition's hopes of ousting it.

Marshall Islands defends its position registering Arctic oil rigs [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Environmental activists will be keeping a close eye on the Cabinet meeting in Marshall Islands tomorrow, watching for any sign that the government plans to act on calls to de-register two oil rigs operating under the Marshalls' flag in the Arctic.

Remains of six WW2 Japanese soldiers found on Palau to be repatriated [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Some bodies have been recovered after one of around 200 sealed World War 2 caves on the island of Pelileu in Palau was opened for the first time in nearly 70 years.

Billions available for Pacific climate change projects [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Countries in the Pacific will have access to billions of dollars to fund climate change projects now the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme has been accredited to the Green Climate Fund as what's called a 'regional implementing entity'.

Super Typhoon Maysak: Category five storm slams into Yap state in Federated States of Micronesia [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Super Typhoon Maysak slams into the outlying islands of Federated States of Micronesia, packing sustained winds of 250 kilometres per hour.

Typhoon Maysak: Federated States of Micronesia brace for super storm; reports up to five dead [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Remote island communities in the Federated States of Micronesia brace as Typhoon Maysak approaches, as unconfirmed reports surface that up to five people have died in Chuuk state.

Barrister says Australians, politicians torn on detention and border protection [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

The ABC has learned that Australia's immigration minister Peter Dutton, and new Operation Sovereign Borders commander Major General Andrew Bottrell, paid a low-key visit to Papua New Guinea's Manus Island detention centre on Monday, but shadow minister Richard Marles was not with them.

PNG National Disaster Centre confident tsunami warnings worked following quake [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Papua New Guinea's National Disaster Centre says it would've been able to save many lives if yesterday's strong earthquake off East New Britain did produce a destructive tsunami.

Call for large boost to Australian seasonal work for cyclone-hit islanders [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Australia's leading labour mobility experts and farmer organisations are calling on the Australian government to make many more visas available for Pacific islanders under the seasonal work program to help cope with natural disasters.

Vanuatu government hits back at opposition leader on aid distribution [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

The Vanuatu government has hit back at opposition criticism of the way aid is being distributed in the country in the wake of Cyclone Pam.

Central Pacific's Yap state braces for Typhoon Maysak [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Remote island communities in the Federated States of Micronesia are bracing for the arrival of Typhoon Maysak, which is expected to strengthen into a super typhoon before it passes over Fais and Ulithi in Yap state in a few hours time.

West Papua: PNG prime minister calls on Indonesia to fulfil former president's promise to reduce troops [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O'Neill calls on Indonesia to fulfil the promise of its former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to reduce troops stationed in West Papua.

Music 101 Pocket Edition 33 [RNZ: Music 101]

The dance of Death and the Maiden, SJD presents 'Invisible Man', Pokey LaFarge in session and Graves' grinding intensity.

Beyond the Hype – Will All Musicians Benefit from Jay-Z’s TIDAL? [Radio Survivor]

Monday Jay-Z’s newly acquired TIDAL streaming music service pulled back the curtain on its relaunch, but just a little bit. As predicted, TIDAL is adding a compressed music service, competing with the likes of Spotify, to accompany its lossless CD-quality HiFi service. The compressed service is $9.99 a month, while the lossless version is double […]

The post Beyond the Hype – Will All Musicians Benefit from Jay-Z’s TIDAL? appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Harry Reid Unapologetic over Lying about Romney, Because Obama Won [RedState]

The activist Left has given us ample evidence over the last several months that the narrative is more important than the truth, and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Harry Reid10%Senate Democrat Average29See Full Scorecard10% all but confirms this in his latest interview. Reid, if you will remember, said the following from the Senate floor prior to the 2012 Presidential election:

“So the word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for ten years,” Reid said. “Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t. We already know from one partial tax return that he gave us, he has money hidden in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account. Not making that up, that’s in the partial year that he gave us.”

In the years that have followed since then, has Reid come to feel any remorse over his lie? After all, once an older Senator announces his retirement, sometimes he decides to be a little more honest in his views, since he doesn’t need to please people to get reelected.

However, Reid still stands by his remarks. Courtesy of the Washington Free Beacon we have this footage of him telling CNN’s Dana Bash that his lie about Romney was justified because “He Didn’t Win, Did He?”

Here’s the video:

One of the core tenets of the Left’s, and by extension the Democratic Party’s, is that the end justifies the means, so if a person has to stretch the truth or even outright lie, it’s perfectly fine, as long as the it brings about a favorable result. Reid’s words weren’t the only thing that killed Romney’s chances of being elected President in 2012, but it is doubtless that the large portion of Americans who get their news from the mainstream media and heard Reid’s words never thought to question if he was telling the truth because the media never held him accountable in a meaningful way.

Right now, the best thing we can do is work on electing a conservative Republican to Reid’s Senate seat in 2016.

The post Harry Reid Unapologetic over Lying about Romney, Because Obama Won appeared first on RedState.

They Don’t Want Your Cake [RedState]


The Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The RFRA. It’s caused more people to freak out in the last 24 hours than the ebola crisis could have ever dreamed. The party of extreme fear-mongering has declared the new law in Indiana as a five-alarm fire and they are pulling out all the stops to make sure that the Hoosier State is viewed as the return of 1955 Alabama. The return of Jim Crowe. The return of segregation.

It’s insulting. It’s insulting to the people that lived in those times and fought those battles. People that were kicked out of restaurants and shoved off buses because of the color of their skin.

But let me draw the clearest distinction possible for you right now as to why these events aren’t remotely the same situations and that no, the return of the Reconstruction Era is not upon us.

No one is being discriminated against in Indiana as a result of this law. No one.

In fact, let me go one step further: none of the people that you’ve heard about on the news who were denied a cake or photography for a gay wedding… none of those people were discriminated against either.

On religious grounds, certain business owners have said they are unwilling to provide their product or service for specific types of events. Period. That’s it. It doesn’t matter if the person that came in asking for the cake or the photography was a straight man, a gay woman, or Steven Crowder in drag.

If a store owner were to say “I’m not willing to serve gay people, get out of my store,” well then one assumes there might be a case. But that’s not what happened in all these situations and that’s not what the RFRA seeks to protect.

Consider this: with gays being executed in other countries, some like Cuba who we’ve just reopened communication with, why would progressives be so focused on civil disputes between engaged couples and bakers?

Because their focus is on making sure that open Christianity is silenced.

Want evidence? Look at the rampant increase in stories like the ones mentioned above. Gay couple seeks photography from Christian organization. Gay couple seeks cake from Christian baker. And yet, common sense tells us that if they know the service provider doesn’t want to provide the service requested, then why would they sue to force them?

If someone making your dinner is forced to make it, do you really want that dinner? Of course not. And none of these people suing bakers and photographers ever wanted their services either.

This was never about getting the cake or the photos or any of the other things people are suing Christians all over the country for.

This is and always has been about putting people out of business for what they believe.

Sure, they’re resorting to boycotts now that a law is being passed to stop their antics, but boycotting is not what they want. They want absolute fealty. Total submission to their point of view codified by law. And total condemnation of Christian values and beliefs.

They warn that “separate but equal” are echoes of the Jim Crowe era. But it the progressives creating a separate but equal dynamic. One group permitted to live their life in public and celebrated. The other group told to hide in the shadows lest their lives be ruined.

It’s been proven over and over again.

Two years ago this week, Erick Erickson coined the phrase, “you will be made to care” as it relates to this issue. I think it’s fair to say he was right.

**NOTE** The excellent illustration in this post was drawn by a friend of mine who, drawing on current events, decided it would be unwise to reveal his name. Not because he’s famous or holds public office. But simply because believing what he believes is rapidly becoming against the law.

The post They Don’t Want Your Cake appeared first on RedState.

Iran Nuclear Talks: Farce followed by tragedy [RedState]

iran nuke3

Between 1922 and 1933, there was an amazing degree of cooperation between Germany, which was seeking to rearm in violation of the Versailles Treaty, and the Soviet Union, which was trying to modernize its military in between bouts of purging anyone who could read or write from the Red Army. In 1924, the Luftwaffe began training at Lipetsk. Chemical warfare troops were trained in the Volga region of the USSR. The Panzerschule operated in the town of Kama in what is now Tartarstan (fomerly Kazan). Future field marshals, Keitel, Mannstein and Model, all graduated from the German military academy in Moscow.

The point being is that if a nation is hell-bent on evading international monitoring of its weaponry it can do so with very little effort. If this applies to ideological foes, even foes that understand they will engage in warfare one day, it is much more relevant when dealing with international pariah states. The Obama administration seems to have lost sight of this salient fact in dealing with Iran.

Iran has already been caught concealing major nuclear weapons research facilities. The last, at Fodow, was discovered while the current round of negotiations was underway. This tells you all you need to know about Iran’s intent. Not only have they not declared all their nuclear capabilities but they have said they will not allow the IAEA to conduct snap inspections:

An Iranian official has reacted to comments by the head of the UN nuclear agency demanding snap inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites.

Six world powers and Iran are facing an end-of-the-month deadline to reach a framework agreement to limit Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Tehran denies it is developing a nuclear weapon, as the West suspects.

Earlier this month Yukiya Amano, the head of the the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Tehran should agree to snap inspections to reassure the international community.

Iran’s nuclear spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said Amano’s comments harm the delicate negotiations.

“It would be much better if Amano only talked about the IAEA’s seasonal and monthly reports,” he said, according to state TV on March 24.

So while we know that Iran is concealing facilities and will not allow snap inspections, we also know they are hiding their nuclear weapons program abroad.


Last November a car carrying Iranian and Syrian nuclear scientists was ambushed and five scientists were killed. English-language Arabic media noted at the time that as much as 50 tons of enriched uranium has gone astray in Syria, and Mark Hibbs – a top supporter of the Iran deal – noted that “there is always the concern that the fuel might have been moved to Iran“. A few months later Der Spiegel revealed the existence of an undisclosed nuclear facility in Syria where the material may have been taken so that it remained on Syrian soil but under Iranian control. The facility is deep in Hezbollah/IRGC territory, and rebel groups reported that it was lousy with Iranian officers. Separately, the Iranians have bragged about using Syrian territory for ballistic missile construction.

North Korea

The Iranians may be using North Korea the same way they’re using Syria: as a storage facility for both the uranium and missiles needed to create and deliver nuclear weapons. I’ve pasted the articles from yesterday at the bottom. Ali Alfoneh and Reuel Marc Gerecht, senior fellows at FDD, wrote on how Iran uses North Korean territory to produce nuclear material. Gordon Chang, veteran journalist, wrote on how Iran has ballistic missiles parked in North Korea .

But no inspections of Iranian sites will solve a fundamental issue: As can be seen from the North Korean base housing Tehran’s weapons specialists, Iran is only one part of a nuclear weapons effort spanning the Asian continent. North Korea, now the world’s proliferation superstar, is a participant. China, once the mastermind, may still be a co-conspirator. Inspections inside the borders of Iran, therefore, will not give the international community the assurance it needs… there is no point in signing a deal with just one arm of a multi-nation weapons effort. That’s why the P5+1 needs to know what is going on at that isolated military base in the mountains of North Korea.

This is not unknown to the administration. When the White House forced USMC General James Mattis out as CENTCOM commander and into early retirement, part of the reason was that he wanted to be more aggressive about interdicting North Korea-Iran shipments.

What all this does is undercut the very core of the nuclear weapons negotiations which is based of verified and verifiable capabilities.

Negotiations and the farce of breakout

The combined effect of this is to make a farce of the key point in the Iran unclear negotiations. That concept is breakout, or the date when Iran will have enough fissile material to produce a bomb. Right now the target for breakout is… one year. That’s right. The official position of the United States is that we are willing to lift sanctions on Iran if its breakout time is one year in the future. In reality, the Iranians are probably 8 months from breakout and they will have a weapon long before our inspections detect it.

What Obama is doing is nothing less that surrendering to Iran, giving them nuclear weapons married to North Korean delivery systems, and making them the de facto regional superpower in southwest Asia.

Credit: parts of this story, the specific instances of cooperation between Iran and North Korea and Syria, are the product of Omri Ceren at The Israel Project.



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RedState Review/Interview: Werewolf Cop, by Andrew Klavan. [RedState]

Short version: I liked Werewolf Cop quite a bit.  It is, as the name, suggests, a novel about a cop who is abruptly given the curse of being a werewolf; and this is very much an old-school, unfriendly, bloodthirsty kind of Lon Chaney Jr. werewolf.  How the hero struggles with that, and his need to stay good while being tempted by no-fooling evil, gives the book a moral complexity that enlivens the narrative. The book expects you to take a side, in other words. It also expects you to take the correct side.  Couple that with the police procedural that’s also present in the book and you have a pretty nice read for the upcoming beach season.

I talked to Andrew Klavan – who, by the way, is One Of Us – about the book: the interview is below.

I’d like to note the bits about nihilism, by the way: I don’t want to give away spoilers, but Werewolf Cop does rather strongly critique relativism as an ethical policy. As to who can read it: well, it’s a cop novel about werewolves, so don’t let your twelve year old read it unless he or she already watches splatter horror movies. Sexual content is mild, and not even remotely gratuitous. The moral turpitude is reserved for the bad guys, although the hero is not perfect. All in all, if you like cop novels or the old black and white Wolfman movies you should be good to go on this one.

Moe Lane

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Mike Pence prepares to cave [RedState]

mike pence3

Stick a fork in Mike Pence’s hopes of running for president. He’s done. Having done the right thing by protecting the religious freedom of the people of Indiana, he’s now negotiating a surrender.  What is more troubling is that he seems to be trying to have it both ways. This morning he said:

Gov. Mike Pence appeared on Fox and Friends Tuesday morning and said lawmakers will clarify Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but declined to offer specifics.

“I stand by this law,” Pence told the morning show anchors. He did not say how the law might be amended or clarified.

The brief appearance followed an an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal that appeared in Tuesday’s print edition.

“I abhor discrimination. I believe in the Golden Rule that you should ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore,” Pence wrote in the piece.

Pence repeated on Fox and Friends that he believes the media has mischaracterized the “religious freedom” law, but he said Indiana is “open for business.”

“If we have to make adjustments to this law to make it clear…this law was never intended to create the impression that businesses can turn away customers on the basis of sexual orientation, we are going to fix that,” Pence said.

When asked whether he would support a clause that would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation, Pence responded: “That has not been my position.”

But he said if the state legislature wants to consider it, they can “have that debate.”

On the one hand he “stands by this law.” On the other, he’s going to allow the legislature to “clarify” the language.

Republican leaders in the Indiana General Assembly said Monday they are looking at options to clarify the state’s controversial religious freedom law, though they don’t believe the law would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians as opponents fear.

House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long made their comments at a Statehouse news conference to address a national firestorm over the law that has prompted some convention organizers, businesses, and entertainers to stall events or planned expansions in the state over concerns about discrimination.

“To the extent that we need to clarify through legislative action that this law does not and will not be allowed to discriminate against anyone, we will do just that,” Long said.

But what exactly they will propose remains unclear. They said they are in talks with the governor’s office about potential clarifying language and that a repeal of the bill is unlikely.

I don’t even know what this means. I don’t know how you’d incorporate this low-rent, feel-good-iness into law without specifically attacking the core issue of religious freedom. If a Christian vendor can be forced to collaborate with an unmitigated evil, like assisting with a homosexual marriage, then the law and religious freedom has no meaning. If a Catholic institution must accept open homosexuals who are not continent (definition 7) then it no longer has religious freedom. In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court acknowledged that even a closely held corporation cannot be compelled to violate its religious beliefs. Why private citizens should not have the same rights, and be able to enforce those rights when harassed and bullied by the gaystapo is a mystery.

This volte face is inexplicable. Pence has already been beaten up over this law by the gaystapo and their willing allies in the media. If he backs down, they aren’t going to like him. They are going to boast about bringing him down. Right now he at least has friends who support him. If he allows this law to be “clarified” in any way he will be burning bridges with his allies as well as with his enemies.

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The Free Market is Only for People Who Have Self-Worth [RedState]


I’ve been watching over this controversy over the Indiana RFRA with no small amount of genuine amazement. I legitimately cannot relate to the arguments that the opponents of the law are making. The reasons for that are simple: I believe that I have inherent worth and that my spending dollars, earned with my labor, should not be voluntarily given to people who disrespect my sense of self-worth. Let me explain.

My own thoughts on the subject of same-sex marriage are relatively clear at this point and if I personally owned the sort of business that catered to people who were getting married, I would have no problem at all providing that service for a same-sex marriage. I strongly oppose any judicially imposed redefinition of marriage for the reasons set forth by my friend Thomas Crown, and believe that supporters of SSM should pursue victory at the ballot box, where this particular fight belongs.

I don’t think that people who disagree with me on this point are bigots or hateful people. There are some people who just don’t get the concept of following the precepts of their religion, wherever that might take them and however hard or unpopular that might be. However, let’s grant the (false) assumption that the people who don’t want to, say bake cakes for same sex weddings are bigoted people who hate everyone who is gay. Fine.

All that having been said, it’s worth remembering what this particular fight is about. This fight is not about discrimination in the workplace, under the law, or through access to public facilities. This is a fight about forcing people to accept your money who don’t want to take it. And that’s something I can’t even comprehend.

Throughout the few years I have lived on this earth I have had occasion to feel disrespected by any number of companies. And I’m not even talking about being told “We don’t serve your kind here.” I’m talking, companies that have missed appointments with me (looking at you, Comcast), companies whose employees have failed to return phone calls in what I considered to be a timely fashion, companies in which their sales people refuse to pick up the phone when you call (looking at you, Best Buy), companies who fail to hire enough employees to get me through a checkout line in less than 10 minutes (looking at you, Wal Mart), companies that broke promises their customer service people made to me, and so on and so on.

Look, the great thing about America and the free market is that there are an almost infinite number of companies that will compete for your business in all sorts of ways, almost none of which are about price. As a person possessed of self-worth, I take pleasure in not spending my hard earned money with a company that tells me – even in subtle ways – that my money or my time is not valuable to them, and instead giving it to companies who make an effort to win my businesses that provide good service.

Moreover, if a company held some bigoted beliefs against me or others like me, I would prefer that they be permitted to state it openly on their storefront so that I don’t mistakenly freely give my money to people who hate me.

I can’t for a moment wrap my mind around the mindset of the SSM activists in this case, especially the gay ones. Assume that they are successful in this fight and it becomes illegal to refuse to provide given services on this basis. That won’t, contrary to their expectations, change anyone’s religious beliefs, so people who they consider to be bigoted and hateful will still be bigoted and hateful.

Under a RFRA regime, there might be two bakers in a given town who could provide cakes for weddings – one with religious objections to providing them for a same-sex marriage, the other without. If a gay couple wanted to get married, they might unknowingly walk into the first and promptly be informed that the people therein held beliefs they considered to be bigoted towards them – in which case they would promptly go to the other baker who would presumably become more prosperous thereby.

Under the regime the anti-RFRA people are pushing, the first baker still holds the same beliefs and attitudes toward the gay couple and their wedding but now they are essentially prevented from refusing money and business which means that the gay couple might well order a cake from them and unwittingly enrich the business of bigots, which might well have the effect of prolonging the business’s life at the expense of the “tolerant” baker down the road.

For most of us, money is not free. It is purchased with work, and with time away from our families, loved ones, hobbies, and recreational time. The way that the free market works is that people of self-worth mold the business community and the market by valuing their money, effort, and time enough to not force it upon people who don’t want it. Given sufficient time, the market responds to these forces and changes in business culture take hold.

What the anti-RFRA people are doing will almost certainly have a distorting effect on the marketplace that will not change hearts and minds, will breed resentment, and will fail in its ultimate goal: revenge upon the religious for perceived historical persecution of gays. The real revenge here would be for those businesses who wish to not participate in SSM to diminish or go out of business through market pressure, to the benefit of “tolerant” bakeries/photographers/whatever. Instead the RFRA opponents are seeking to remove any market benefit from being geniunely tolerant and inclusive by forcing tolerance and inclusivity at the point of a gun. And thus everyone is equal in the marketplace, the “bigots” and the “tolerant” alike.

The fight against the RFRA is one of the worst examples of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face I have ever seen. And it is undertaken by those who, obviously, don’t have much regard for the value of their face.

The post The Free Market is Only for People Who Have Self-Worth appeared first on RedState.

All Rights Are Equal (But Some Are More Equal Than Others) [RedState]

Animal Farm remains one of my all time favorite books. It’s a satire of Communist Russia AND it’s got farm animals, so I can read it to my three-year-old and she likes it. The indoctrination has to start early, after all.

Now, I know it’s a reference that’s been made on this Front Page before (and, as is often the case, what it’s used for can vary because it applies so well to just about everything), but the ending is incredibly powerful: The laws that govern the farm are constantly being changed to the point where the only one remaining states that all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Personally, I hope that Indiana can survive the Internet not liking it and calling for a boycott using a hashtag. After all, hashtags have worked so well for the Obama Administration’s foreign policy. Indiana did screw up, though, when it assumed that the rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution are equal and should be treated as such. How funny is it that they think Speech, Peaceful Assembly, Press, and Redress of Grievances should be forced to coexist on the same level as Religion. But the Activist Left, which is known for its rational behavior, is here to right all wrongs and make things better for all.

The freedom to practice one’s religion without fear of persecution is exactly how America became a thing that happened in history. Religious freedom was vital to the people who left Europe looking for somewhere less oppressive toward their views. The freedom of these people to call for a boycott is, ironically, a direct result of the Founders putting those rights on equal footing. It is amazing to see the negligence toward history (negligence at best, tremendous hostility and rejection at worst) when these groups complain and call things unfair.

What, exactly, makes the freedom of religion worth less than the other freedoms? The Supreme Court has said the KKK has protections for freedom of speech (except in cases where they incite imminent, lawless action). What makes the KKK’s freedom of speech worth more than a baker’s freedom to exercise his faith in his practice?

Augusta National has only two female members in its ranks. Why won’t this government, which doesn’t shy away from activism, pressure it to bring in more women?

The answer to both of those is simple, and you already know it if you’ve been reading the Front Page for a while: There is a growing hostility to the Christian religion and people of the Christian faith. I add the “Christian” qualifier in there because it’s well-known that the Left does not hold radical Islam to the same standards, despite a vibrant history of killing gays and women.

All rights, my friends, are supposed to be created equal. These rights – given to us by God Himself, endowed by our Creator – are all for the purpose of making us a free country that can enjoy them. But, to these groups, some of these rights are more equal than others.

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So What If We All Carried Ourselves More Like Ted Kennedy? [RedState]

People Who Carry Themselves Like Senator Edward kennedy

People Who Carry Themselves Like Senator Edward kennedy

Allahpundit over at Hot Air noticed that our President is perhaps in a mood to play the comedic straight-man and improve our nation’s mood. Yesterday he presided over the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate.* He asked a magical question. “What if we all carried ourselves more like Ted Kennedy?”

Let’s see. We’d probably all deal with foreign nations that hate America in much the same way Barack Obama is currently dealing with Iran. Here is how Edward Kennedy offered to sell out US Foreign Policy in return for Soviet help in the 1984 Elections.

Kennedy made Andropov a couple of specific offers. First he offered to visit Moscow. “The main purpose of the meeting, according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA.” Kennedy would help the Soviets deal with Reagan by telling them how to brush up their propaganda. Then he offered to make it possible for Andropov to sit down for a few interviews on American television. “A direct appeal … to the American people will, without a doubt, attract a great deal of attention and interest in the country. … If the proposal is recognized as worthy, then Kennedy and his friends will bring about suitable steps to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews. … The senator underlined the importance that this initiative should be seen as coming from the American side.”

If we were to handle the War on Women™ with the same aplomb as Senator Irish Swill did, we would no doubt be Chateau Heartiste Nation. Here’s how respectful of gender differences Senator Chappaquiddick Daredevil was with Carrie Fisher during a dinner party in 1985.

“Suddenly, Senator Kennedy, seated directly across from me, looked at me with his alert, aristocratic eyes and asked me a most surprising question. ‘So,’ he said, clearly amused, ‘do you think you’ll be having sex with Chris at the end of your date?’ … To my left, Chris Dodd looked at me with an unusual grin hanging on his very flushed face.” Her reply: “‘Funnily enough, I won’t be having sex with Chris tonight,’ I said, my face composed and calm. ‘No, that probably won’t happen.’ People blinked. ‘Thanks for asking, though.'” His retort: “‘Would you have sex with Chris in a hot tub?’ Senator Kennedy asked me, perhaps as a way to say good night? ‘I’m no good in water,’ I told him.” (A representative for Dodd did not immediately respond to ABCNews.com’s request for comment.)

If we had the respect for differing opinions and ideologies that Senator Kennedy had for Robert Bork, well our Twitter Accounts would all probably look something like this. The true spirit of the Kennedy Family is embodied in the 140 characters of sterling dialogue we see below.

Michelle J Soleil@michellejsolei1 @tedcruz @mike_pence may you hang by the ropes the dead gay children used to kill themselves because they are gay !! 8:09 PM – 30 Mar 2015

This, perhaps, wasn’t quite the same eloquence Senator Kennedy used to oppose the confirmation of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Give her a few more years and about 50,000 vodka screwdrivers.

We don’t even need to mention how he acquired the sobriquet Senator Swimmer. If we all carried ourselves the same Ted Kennedy did, we would all be totally selfish, totally debased, and totally entitled to whatever we felt was our just due from other people. Maybe the vast majority of America’s current problems comes from being a nation of people that carry themselves a bit too much like Senator Edward Kennedy. So no President Obama, the citizens of a civilized nation should hang their heads in shame if anybody in their immediate family were to carry themselves like Edward Kennedy. Even if they could manage it without the assistance of a wheelbarrow.

*-Perhaps the only rehab clinic with a liquor license in America.

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It’s time for Tim Cook and Apple to stand up for homosexual rights in China [RedState]

Tim Cook has become a vocal activist in recent years, taking his role in charge of Apple and using to promote his personal point of view on issues. He’s using that role to attack the state of Indiana for a political decision he disagreed with. However Indiana (population 6.5 million) is small potatoes. The fact that they don’t have a law specifically banning discrimination against homosexuals is nothing.

The People’s Republic of China (pouluation 1,350 million) is a major manufacturing hub of Apple’s, also has no law protecting homosexuals specifically from discrimination, but further is arresting homosexual activists. It’s time Apple stood up to China the same as Indiana.

Not only is the Chinese government arresting activists, people who like Tim Cook himself are promoting their point of view, they’re also censoring the Internet to block people from learning about these arrests.

And yet Foxconn is making 70% of all iPhone 6 phones as well as an unknown percentage of iPhone 6S units. Foxconn has more manufacturing plants in the People’s Republic of China than in any other country.

Further, Apple does big business selling in China selling hardware, running Apple Stores (18 in China vs 2 in Indiana), as well as buying parts and products for other parts of the firm’s line. Apple is fully integrated with the People’s Republic of China, an entire country which omits the same protections Indiana is supposed to be omitting.

So if Apple, and specifically Tim Cook, are serious about using this soapbox to stand up for homosexual rights, then it’s time to get as active about the People’s Republic of China, as they are about Indiana. Speak out just as loudly, and if any economic threats are made, they must be applied equally to both.

Anything less discredits their position.

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How Will a Change in Democrat Leadership Impact the U.S. Senate? [RedState]

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On today’s edition of Coffee and Markets, Brad Jackson is joined by Melissa Quinn to discuss Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Harry Reid10%Senate Democrat Average29See Full Scorecard10%‘s retirement, the likely accent of Chuck Schumer to Minority Leader and what a change in leadership will mean for Democrats in the Senate.

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Obama’s Iran Monkey Trap [RedState]

monkey trap

The idea of a monkey trap is spectacularly elegant. A bit of food or a shiny object is placed inside a sturdy object (often a coconut is mentioned but the image comes from a termite hill being used for the purpose). There is a hole that is just big enough for the monkey’s hand to pass through. However, once the monkey grasps the object its fist is too large to pass through the hole. All the monkey has to do to free itself is to let go of the object inside, but, being the avaricious little f*** that it is, it won’t. And it soon joins the supply of “bush meat.”

This has become a fitting metaphor for Obama’s negotiating position with Iran on how soon he wants them to have nuclear weapons.

Iran is driven by two objectives. First, it wants to have a nuclear weapon. Second, it wants UN sanctions removed. Make no mistake about it, Iran intends to have both; Obama intends to give it both; and that is the reason the White House had an aneurysm over the letter by Senator Cotton and signed by 46 other GOP senators. Let’s review the bidding. In just the last week:

Wednesday — WSJ scoop on PMDs concession — the WSJ revealed that the administration was willing to let Iran put off fully disclosing its nuclear program until after sanctions relief had been granted, a concession that would gut any verification regime (http://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-stalls-u-n-probe-into-its-1427327943)

Thursday — AP scoop on Fordow concession — the AP revealed that the administration was willing to let Iran continue spinning centrifuges in its underground military enrichment bunker at Fordow, ensuring that Iran would be allowed to maintain nuclear infrastructure completely impervious to Western intervention if they decided to break out (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/ap-exclusive-iran-run-centrifuges-fortified-site-29925489)

Monday — NYT scoop on Iran stockpile bait-and-switch — the NYT revealed that the Iranians had backed away from suggestions they would ship their enriched uranium to Russia, a scenario they had used for months to secure concessions on the number of centrifuges they’d be allowed to run (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/world/middleeast/iran-backs-away-from-key-detail-in-nuclear-deal.html?_r=0)

 A treaty with Iran has become an all-consuming goal of the Obama administration. They have indicated there is nothing they will not do to arrive at a deal:

Efforts by the Obama administration to stem criticism of its diplomacy with Iran have included threats to nations involved in the talks, including U.S. allies, according to Western sources familiar with White House efforts to quell fears it will permit Iran to retain aspects of its nuclear weapons program.

A series of conversations between top American and French officials, includingbetween President Obama and French President Francois Hollande, have seen Americans engage in behavior described as bullying by sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

A defector from the Iranian negotiating delegation, the media aide to Iranian “President” Hassan Rouhani had this to say:

In his television interview, Mr Mottaghi also gave succour to western critics of the proposed nuclear deal, which has seen the White House pursue a more conciliatory line with Tehran than some of America’s European allies in the negotiating team, comprising the five permanent members of the UN security council and Germany.

“The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” he said.

The reason for Obama’s monomania seems to be an effort to create a legacy in foreign policy that is more positive that “a f***ing shambles,” and “the world in ruin.” Via Politico as quoted in my weekend epic Obama’s foreign policy: Cluster f*** or g-d freefall?

“There’s a sense that the only view worth having on the Middle East is the long view,” said the State Department official. “We’ve painfully seen that good can turn to bad and bad can turn to good in an instant, which might be a sobriety worth holding on to at moments like this.”

The official offered a hopeful note, adding that a nuclear deal with Iran — which some reports say could come as soon as Sunday — could be a turning point for the region.

“The truth is, you can dwell on Yemen, or you can recognize that we’re one agreement away from a game-changing, legacy-setting nuclear accord on Iran that tackles what every one agrees is the biggest threat to the region,” the official said.

If Obama is truly interested in a legacy-worthy treaty that will remake the region he needs to walk away from these non-negotiations, ramp up sanctions, and acknowledge that Iran is not our friend. But he can’t for the exact same reason the monkey can’t let go the shiny object.

Editor’s note. I am sure this analogy is going to cause a round of panty-wetting and self-befouling at a variety of left wing sites, but, you know what, I just don’t care. If you want to enjoy the pleasures of monkey trapping for yourself, check out the video below.

The post Obama’s Iran Monkey Trap appeared first on RedState.

Let Them Eat Cake! [RedState]

We will all be made to care. Compassion; is now compulsory. You are not allowed to fight your wars against Westasia when Big Brother tells you to fight Eastasia or Eurasia. So if you own a bakery, you are free to believe anything you would like about gay couples. However, if a gay couple orders a wedding cake, you will bake it. You will render unto Caesar and he has a fwend in Wome named Biggus Dickus…

So what would Jesus do? The American Digest offers us a suggestion, but that would be too mean. Instead, make like the pwoud Woman Centuwion Naughtious Maximus and bake them a cake that you truly believe reflects the nature of their unconditional mandate to your business.

If They *Demand* You Bake It, Why Not?

If They *Demand* You Bake It, Why Not?

Now should they be upset, or lodge any complaints, you could plead ignorance. You should, of course, apologize profusely. Don’t let the slightest lilt of sardonic irony creep into your voice. Why bless their hearts! You simply misunderstood. Offer them a complete refund with no hard feelings. If they don’t accept that, bake them yet another cake. Something that reflects young ones, in the spring of their lives.

For Young Lovers Who *Demand* You Bake Their Cake!

For Young Lovers Who *Demand* You Bake Their Cake!

If that fails to adequately send them running off screaming into the woods, then you bake them a nice, traditional cake that has a gentleman and a lady right on the top. If they seem perturbed, nonplussed or otherwise upset, clarify your confusion. Apologize again and explain you were led to believe that this cake was for a marriage ceremony. You know, the union of one man and one woman. By this time, they should get the point. After all, passive resistance worked wonders for both Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Images courtesy of Weknowmemes.com)

The post Let Them Eat Cake! appeared first on RedState.

You Don’t Need a Rainbow Sticker to Let People Know You’re Black [RedState]

To recap: Tim Cook (please, please click this link) and the left are happy to do business in countries that stone to death or otherwise jail gay people, but will not do business with Indiana, which merely passed a law insisting that the “free exercise” clause of the first amendment be on the same legal footing in courts as the “free speech” clause of the first amendment.

The Supreme Court, in Perry Educ. Ass’n v. Perry Local Educators’ Ass’n, 460 U.S. 37 (1983), ruled that for a state to restrict content based speech, it must have a compelling governmental interest. But the Court subsequently ruled that the free exercise clause, also in the First Amendment, need not fall under the compelling governmental interest” standard. President Bill Clinton and a near unanimous Congress disagreed and passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

31 states similarly moved to protect religious practice and 20 have explicit copies of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Indiana is the latest. Georgia’s Governor, Nathan Deal, just tucked tail and ran from putting religious expression on the same legal footing as speech. The cowards of the Georgia Republican Party decided they would rather serve Mamon and have the checks to prove it.

What we are learning in the controversy, though, is simple: you will be made to care. There will be no middle ground. Many people would like to find middle ground. Many churches would like to find middle ground. But there will be none because homosexuals and their culture war warriors on the left are unwilling to have a middle ground.

The gay rights movement has decided their rights are equivalent to the Civil Rights movement and, through their interpretation of the Civl Rights movement, there can be no accommodation with the “free exercise” clause of the First Amendment. The “free exercise” clause is not limited to worship. It is “free exercise of religion.” It applies, or should, to the business owner who views his job as missional. It applies, or it should, to the religious school whose faculty honor the tenets of its faith. But the left, in recent years, has taken to calling it a “right to worship” instead of a “right to religion.”

The gay rights movement cannot abide a middle ground and a free exercise of religion for a simple reason — homosexuality is not normal in nature, in historic relationships, or in the sacred texts of almost all religions. The gay rights movement must therefore censor and subjugate dissent. Any who point out the lack of historic or religious acceptance or the lack of its ready existence in nature or, for that matter, the lack of scientific evidence showing homosexuality is a birth trait as opposed to a choice or external factors, must be shut up.

Homosexuals and the gay rights movement crave not tolerance, but the veneer of normalcy. To tolerate them means to allow them to be. But that also equates to heterosexuals being in a better position — one that decides who to tolerate. They have moved to demanding “equality” for now.

You can generally look at a woman or a person of a different race and tell immediately that the person is a woman or of a different race or ethnicity. One does not need a rainbow sticker on the back of their car to let people know they’re black. Or Asian. Or a Woman. The struggle for equality and civil rights between genders and races is inherently and objectively different from the gay rights movement. It is also why the gay rights movement is so invested in arguing that gender, though not sexuality, is a choice.

The gay agenda depends on equating the various struggles. Through mythology [insert your favorite historic person and he'll probably be declared gay], pseudoscience [you're born gay, but you pick your gender], and organized harassment of critics, the gay rights movement silences dissent to establish legitimacy in their quest for normalcy. The Stonewall riots are their Selma. Pay no attention to the lack of dogs in the street, poll taxes at the voting booth, and “heterosexual only” water fountains.

In Macon, Georgia, a Catholic School was okay with a gay band teacher until he wanted to get married. The Catholic Church views marriage as a church sacrament. The school dismisses teachers who get divorced for violating the sacrament and dismissed the gay band teacher for marrying in violation of the sacrament. The Obama Administration has decided the Catholic Church cannot set the standards of conduct for its faculty.

Around the country, gay rights activists have attacked Christians for daring to put their faith ahead of the wants and desires of homosexual marriage advocates. The Christians must be silenced and punished. Their faith cannot be respected. Legislation designed to allow diversity of religion and the free exercise thereof must be stopped and must be decried as discrimination.

The move to put “free exercise” on the same footing with “free speech” must be opposed because most major faiths recognize homosexuality as outside normal behavior. The logical outcome of this will eventually be to reduce free speech. People and faiths are going to have to be shut up for homosexuals to have the veneer of normalcy.

But it won’t stop there. Over time, the gay rights movement will move to pushing churches to marry gays because normally people get married in churches. Over time, it will move to push religious schools to abandon standards on sexuality. Over time, it will mean religious institutions lose their tax exempt status. Over time, it will require Bible believing churches be labeled hate groups and orthodox Christianity be forced to the sidelines. Over time, it will mean that the state must intervene and protect children from parents who want to raise them as orthodox Bible believing Christians.

Essentially, replacing the prohibition on religious tests clause of the Constitution will become an enforcement of a secularism clause. People of faith need not apply for jobs, political appointments, or elected office. People of faith will be the new bigots because their God said “go and sin no more” and dared list homosexuality as one of those sins.

Ultimately, over time, two thousand years of Christianity will be forced to be treated as the deviant lifestyle. You will be forced to pick a side. If you remain true to your God, you will be outside the bounds of acceptable conduct. You will be made to care.

If you pick the wrong side, you will be punished. Gay rights activists cannot show you tolerance and cannot treat you equally, because that means you and your faith that suggests homosexuality is a sin would be allowed to remain in the public square. And in the quest for the veneer for normalcy, that cannot stand.

For any who suggest this is hyperbole, a college is having its accreditation threatened because of its religious views on sex and a seventy year old is losing her home and business because she did not want to provide flowers to existing, regular customers for a gay wedding.

The good news, however, is this — Christianity is growing worldwide, even in places like China and Saudi Arabia. People of faith continue to have more kids and, in fact, can actually naturally procreate. The gay rights agenda may demand the veneer of normalcy, but nature itself will deny the gay community natural reproduction. And the religion that withstood Nero and even now withstands ISIS can withstand a bunch of angry people in comfortable shoes who need stickers on their cars to tell us who they are.

The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.

Psalm 37:12-13

The post You Don’t Need a Rainbow Sticker to Let People Know You’re Black appeared first on RedState.

Tech at Night. Obama’s plan is “playing God with the Internet.” [RedState]

He do have some conservatives in DC, and Louie Gohmert is pushing Obama’s FCC on Net Neutrality. He told Obama’s rubberstamp, Tom Wheeler, “You’re playing God with the Internet.” And he’s making great points on innovation.

Innovation is the life blood of growth, and regulation kills it. By design.

You see, Regulation was always a bargain between big business and big government. Big business submits to greater government, and in return government makes sure the regulations hinder upstarts. It’s win-win, except the rest of America loses.

It’s no wonder regulation attacks the first amendment. They have to in order to keep the deal going without the rest of us noticing.

Remember when I said Bitcoin was anarchic and hinders property rights? Told you so. It doesn’t protect against government, it prevents government from protecting us.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. No comprehensive reform bills.

The post Tech at Night. Obama’s plan is “playing God with the Internet.” appeared first on RedState.

‘Ferguson: The Play': Stage Reenactment Based On Grand Jury Testimony Asks Audience To Decide [RedState]


Phelim McAleer, who along with Ann Mcelhinney brought us “Not Evil, Just Wrong” and “FrackNation” is the man behind a new and daring production to hit the stage. “Ferguson: The Play” will be a live, stage reenactment of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, based on actual grand jury testimony and the facts of the case. This means there won’t be any “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” moment. And the extra twist? The audience gets to vote on Darren Wilson’s case, just as the grand jury did.

It’s a truly interactive, innovative way to bring daylight to the events that took place from the time of the shooting, up to the acquittal.

In a press release, McAaleer said:

“I want to bring the truth about what happened that day to the stage. I think audience members will be very surprised, even shocked, when they hear the clear and unaltered truth about the events that took place on Aug. 9, 2014. There are a lot of myths and half-truths circulating about the shooting. FERGUSON is a chance to dispel these once and for all.”

Surprised is probably a major understatement. As we have outlined here at RedState, the one thing the public has yet to see is a full, unadulterated, honest accounting of exactly what happened. Minus the pandering. Minus the media hype. And minus the myths.

Here is McAleer talking about the play in his own words:

McAleer says the “theatrical establishment” would find the subject matter to hot to handle, which comes as no surprise to RedState readers who are accustomed to a cowardly media establishment that caves to pressure groups and panders to special interests. For that reason, the production is being funded through crowdsourcing, via IndieGoGo. The contribution page is at FergusonThePlay.com.

This type of crowdfunding is absolutely essential to productions that challenge media assumptions. After all, the media establishment is the reason the myth of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” exists in the first place. Remember?

If you want to be a part of the truth, you can click below to visit the site.

The post ‘Ferguson: The Play': Stage Reenactment Based On Grand Jury Testimony Asks Audience To Decide appeared first on RedState.

A *dirty* Democratic primary season may still happen! [RedState]

Call me an optimist? Sure.  It’s a fair cop.  Still, here comes the war: “Minutes after [Martin] O’Malley’s appearance on “This Week,” former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, a top adviser to the Ready for Hillary PAC, said on the same program, “Martin O’Malley, he’s a very nice guy, and I was thinking he might make a nice member of a President Clinton administration, so he better watch it.””  Jennifer Granholm, for those of you who don’t remember, was the person that liberals used to get wistful about: she’s a naturalized citizen – and thus ineligible to become President.  Well, to be honest about it Granholm would have been ineligible to become President anyway, given that she drove the state of Michigan into the ground so hard that it left an impact crater; but that is perhaps incidental to my point.

Moving along: streiff  takes O’Malley seriously as both a challenger to Hillary, and as a candidate for President.  I share his opinion on the first, but not the second; the pathway for a Democratic victory in 2016 is through the difficult trick of simultaneously embracing Clintonism and rejecting Obamaism while at the same time being publicly seen to embrace Obamaism and reject Clintonism. It’s a devil of a problem, really. Democratic primary voters will be made up of bitter progressives who want to be told pretty lies about how they’re not the ones who are fringe, really, and African-American voters who want proper deference shown to Barack Obama.  That’s enough of a combined voting bloc to get the nomination.  Alas for the Democrats, swing voters have already had eight years of Barack Obama and progressives; and those voters are showing little sign of being interested in twelve.

Put another way: no, really, regular voters don’t care about the same things that the Democratic base cares about. Martin O’Malley’s record might endear him to base voters, but yelling about Glass-Steagall will not get him far in a general election.  But since it will endear him to base voters… expect a war to break out.  And the funny part about that is that the war won’t be directed by Hillary Clinton herself. Hillary may not even realize what’s happening until something spectacular goes down.  Her staff will be the ones fueling this feud: there are a lot of people that have planned out their near future on the assumption that they’d be part of another Clinton administration.  They will be prepared to strike out at anybody who dares threaten their plans.

Via @lachlan.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

The post A *dirty* Democratic primary season may still happen! appeared first on RedState.

Bill's Wife [Small Dead Animals]

Uh oh. Hillary Clinton's poll numbers crumble

The Tolerant Left [Small Dead Animals]

Jon Stewart's 'Daily Show' Replacement Ignites Furor Over Past Tweets About 'Jewish Chicks', Israel and 'Fat Chicks'

Taking a Bullet for the team. [Small Dead Animals]

I am withdrawing from the CPC caucus voluntarily; the decision is entirely my own. Given the circling trolls, I do not intend to entangle the most multi-racial, multicultural and multi-faith caucus in parliamentary history in my decision to defend my beliefs.

It is sad that the current media/political environment forces people of faith to regulate their views away from their party so as not to damage the party, but right or wrong, that's the world we live in.

Update: According to the Ottawa Citizen Editorial Board Lunney's just, ya know, a crack-pot. After all, the media would never frame religion in a negative light.

Let alone the opponents:

Liberal campaign advisor Warren Kinsella displays a Barney the Dinosaur stuffed toy as he discusses Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day's creationist beliefs during an appearance on Canada AM, November 16, 2000. At right is Tim Powers, Canadian Alliance election strategist. To go with Southam News story by Kate Jaimet. (Mandatory credit CTV ' Canada AM)

Oh...Shiny Pony [Small Dead Animals]

"Be Humble", she said.

Yeah, that's not asking a lot, eh, "honey"?

Supremes Rule [Small Dead Animals]

Catholics can be Catholic. For the time being.

Renegade Regulator [Small Dead Animals]

SDA gets results! "In December, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) fired their President and CEO, Ash Sahi..."

It's okay when the left does it... [Small Dead Animals]

Ever notice how dismissive the left, including much of the media are, regarding "American-style" political tactics. That is unless a leftie is using those tactics, in which case things are great.
Watch the video to see the latest hypocrisy.

Ixnay on the Teepee [Small Dead Animals]

An attempt by Santa Barbara art students to provide a "comfy, squishy environment" in which to cultivate "positive vibes" doesn't entirely go to plan.

Is There Nothing That Obama Can't Do? [Small Dead Animals]

Peace Prize Update!

If you're confused about the Saudi Arabia-led air attacks against Islamist rebels in Yemen and can't tell one group of head-choppers in Iraq and Syria from another, don't despair. All you need is imagination.

Close your eyes and imagine that those countries and terrorists have nuclear weapons. Imagine their barbarism going nuclear as they blow up cities, wipe out ethnic and religious groups and turn the region into cinders.

Now open your eyes and realize you've seen the future, thanks to President Obama's policies. It is a future that will be defined by Obama's Wars. Yes, plural.

h/t Frank

Reader Tips [Small Dead Animals]

In tonight's entertainment en route to the tips, English rockers Motörhead and lead singer Lemmy, aka the Hostess with the Mostest, strike you repeatedly about the head and neck with their sprightly rendition of Iron Fist.

The comments are open, as always, for your Reader Tips.

Do You Know How to Pirate? [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

Techdirt’s latest on the whole cord-cutting thing was a good one. They make an interesting point, which is this: piracy exists. That might not seem like such a revolutionary statement—surely we all know that?—but their point is is: One gets the sense that media outlets feel like if they so much as even acknowledge that […]

The post Do You Know How to Pirate? appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

This "reunion” story has legs [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

It’s a story with legs, as editors used to say in the print newspapers of yore, and this story does have legs. When the Irish Central online newspaper in New York picked up a San Diego Jewish World story about Holocaust survivors Peter Kubicek — in New York — and Tomi Reichental in Ireland, word […]

The post This "reunion” story has legs appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

The Great Canadian Amazon.ca Upgrade [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

I did something a little momentous today—I finally caved to Amazon’s repeated suggestions that I move my account over to Amazon.ca. I did it in part because the Canadian dollar isn’t so strong right now and I didn’t want to get dinged on the exchange rate, and in part because I want to sell on […]

The post The Great Canadian Amazon.ca Upgrade appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

Morning Links: Pretending piracy doesn’t exist. Changing roles of bookstores and libraries [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

When Analyzing Cord Cutting Options, Most TV Analysts Continue To Pretend Piracy Simply Doesn’t Exist (Techdirt) One gets the sense that media outlets feel like if they so much as even acknowledge that piracy is a real thing — they’ll somehow be taken as advocates for piracy. It’s as if piracy is some kind of […]

The post Morning Links: Pretending piracy doesn’t exist. Changing roles of bookstores and libraries appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

Atmel stoops to an 'all-time low' in Internet of Things battle [The Register]

Claims new microcontroller family is Cortex-M world's least power greedy silicon

Atmel reckons it has crafted the world's lowest-power ARM Cortex-M microcontrollers, a family of chips that can go for "decades" on the same batteries. The SAM-L21 family is aimed at "fire alarms, healthcare, medical, wearable, and devices placed in rural, agriculture, offshore and other remote areas."…

Intel boosts low-end PCs, laptops with Atom-powered 'Braswell' SoCs [The Register]

14-nanometer chips deliver modest speeds at low power

Without much fanfare, details have begun to emerge about Intel's latest line of Atom system-on-chips for low-end desktop PCs, and laptops.…

US still hoarding zero-day app vulnerabilities, say EFF campaigners [The Register]

Uncle Sam keeps security hole glory box locked tight

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation reckons America's spooks aren't living up to the Obama administration's 2014 statement that it would disclose more vulnerabilities than it hoarded.…

Telco and IT courses merged in TAFE tech teaching refresh [The Register]

Two training packages become one and telco qualifications get a boost

IT training courses offered in Australia's technical and further education (TAFE) colleges and by private training outfits have been given a major overhaul.…

CSC tells execs to stay quiet on Australian bribery scandal [The Register]

Memo to senior leaders says 'we know nuh-think!' about ServiceMesh mess

Senior executives at CSC have been told to say nothing substantive about the bribery scandal surrounding ServiceMesh, the source of CSC's “Agility” technology.…

HP blasts $5.1bn sueball at ex-Autonomy execs, Lynch preps return fire [The Register]

Bitter bedfellows now in open war in UK courts

As it has long threatened to do, HP has sued two former Autonomy executives, accusing them of impropriety related to the two companies' financially disastrous 2011 merger.…

Put those smartphones away: Google adds anti-copying measures to Drive for Work [The Register]

How's that business model looking, Dropbox?

Google has rolled out five new functions aimed at beefing up the security, administration and sharing features of its Drive for Work cloud business suite and the equivalent education package.…

Thanks for the data retention, tech sector [The Register]

World's lamest lobby chalks up another win

While Australians wring their hands over data retention, let's also remember the tech sector's abject failure to influence politics in the seven years the debate's been running here.…

Microsoft to slash price of top-level MSDN subs for Visual Studio 2015 [The Register]

New Enterprise tier to offer Ultimate features at sub-Premium cost

Microsoft is streamlining its service offerings for the forthcoming version of its Visual Studio IDE, cutting the prices of its high-end subscription levels in the process.…

Bloke faces 25 years in the cooler for upsetting Thai king on Facebook [The Register]

Businessman given sentence over five pics in closed-door hearing

Setting a record for what may be the most unreasonable jail sentence ever handed down over a Facebook post, a Thailand citizen has started a 25-year stretch behind bars for five pictures deemed insulting to the country's monarchy.…

New dirt-cheap Chromebooks: Team Google keeps jackboot on throat of PC titans [The Register]

But Microsoft may be about to strike back

While Google is trying to push Chromebooks upmarket with its flashy Pixel, its Chrome OS partners continue to target budget-conscious buyers with a new batch of devices priced at $250 and lower.…

Silicon Valley gets its first 1Gbps home bro– oh, there's a big catch [The Register]

AT&T is back with its privacy-busting internet connections

Silicon Valley, or rather a small patch of it, finally has gigabit home broadband – and it's not Google Fiber. And there is a catch.…

Microsoft dumps ARM for Atom with cut-price Surface 3 fondleslab [The Register]

Well, that just about wraps it up for RT

Pic + vid  Microsoft's brief flirtation with ARM-powered Windows RT tablets looks to be over: the Redmond giant has unveiled its latest fondleslab, the Surface 3, which is a dinky Atom-powered slate running a full version of Windows on Intel hardware.…

GLOWING TAMPONS hold the key to ending pollution [The Register]

Uni research team finds new way of tracing wonky sewer connections

A paper by a University of Sheffield research team, published Tuesday in the Water and Environmental Journal, has sought to answer one of the eternal questions facing humanity — how female hygiene products can be used to detect sewer misconnection discharge.…

Tidal music launch: Pop plutocrats pour FLAC on rival Spotify [The Register]

Like a sort of United Artists thing, but for music?

Pop mega-stars including potty-mouthed rapper Jay-Z, professional non-smiler Kanye West and someone called Madonna have “launched” a music-streaming service owned by the artists.…

SanDisk, Netlist heading to court in patent brouhaha that won't end [The Register]

Case accuses Smart Modular business unit of infringement shenanigans

After its ULLtraDIMM OEM supplier Diablo Technologies walked out of the jury trial against Netlist with a big "not guilty" stamped on its brow recently, it's now SanDisk's turn to fight a little Netlist court action.…

Chief architect Beepy ready to take Pure’s flash somewhere new [The Register]

Flash array rumour mill working overtime

Pure Storage is putting ex-NetApp FlashRay engineering head Brian Pawlowski into a chief architect role.…

UberPop granted temporary reprieve in France [The Register]

Guillotine still primed, however

A French Court has declined to ban Uber's controversial UberPop app, bouncing the decision to the country's highest appeals court.…

Kaminario playing 3D flash chippery doo-dah with its arrays [The Register]

Now it's just looking for a little TLC

Interview  Twitter can be great. There we were, we storage twits, talking about 3D flash, when Kaminario CTO Shachar Fienblit got in touch to say Kaminario was using 3D flash already.…

Huawei bellows big revenue jump thanks to brisk 2014 phone sales [The Register]

Chinese vendor's profit up 33%

Huawei – which was backed by Britain last week despite repeated claims that the Chinese company's network kit could endanger national security – saw a 33 per cent leap in net profit for 2014.…

Ding Dong, ALIENS CALLING [The Register]

We already saw your infrared ‘signature’ suckers!

Sorry, sci-fi fans: pretty much anyone who's imagined what a near-light-speed spacecraft would look like has got it wrong, because they've forgotten its interaction with photons.…

Microsoft update mayhem delays German basketball game, costs team dear [The Register]

17 minutes waiting proved to be just a bit too long

What’s the worst thing that could happen when your Windows update takes longer than expected? Ask the Paderborn Finke Baskets, a German pro basketball team who got relegated thanks to Windows’ sluggish performance.…

Oracle boat picks up ex-HP hardware man Donatelli [The Register]

Could be joining former colleague Mark Hurd on board

HP exec David Donatelli has followed Mark Hurd to Oracle, and taken up an exec veep position related to hardware, according to Business Insider, citing numerous sources.…

Snakes on a backplane: Server-room cabling horrors [The Register]

Unwired planet? Get real

Twisted Pair – Part 2  The internet is not something you can just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. Nor is it a series of tubes. It’s an unimaginably large collection of computers connected by cables and radio waves.…

El Reg lays claws on RockBLOCK Mk2 Iridium sat comms unit [The Register]

And we have one to give away

Heads up  Our chums at Rock Seven – supplier of Iridium satellite comms units to our audacious spaceplane ballocket mission – have announced the release of the RockBLOCK Mk2.…

EU digi-chief clashes with robo-veep over geo-blocking [The Register]

Commissioners out of step on copyright reform, digital single market

Gaffe-prone Commissioner Günther H-dot Oettinger is at it again. In statements to the German press (he rarely talks to anyone else), Oetti directly mocked his boss Andrus Ansip’s desire to end geo-blocking.…

Life after Lord Shugs looks good, as Viglen directors' packages swell [The Register]

Financials out for Westcoast Holding-owned XMA, Viglen

Being a director at Viglen has become considerably more lucrative since Lord Shugs offloaded the tech supplier to Westcoast Holdings.…

Think server vulns are the IT department's problem? Think again [The Register]

Don't get caught with your cyber pants down

Regardless of the type or size of business you're part of, the way we approach security has changed forever.…

Encryption is the REAL threat – Head Europlod [The Register]

It’s all the tech firms' fault!

Europe’s top cop has taken to the BBC to once again slam encryption as the biggest threat to counter-terrorism and law enforcement.…

Managed services biz Claranet adds £107m to war chest [The Register]

Founder hints more acquisitions could be on the cards

Acquisition-hungry European managed services provider Claranet has drummed up £107m in a refinancing deal.…

Big Blue to give car insurers IoT peeking powers [The Register]

New US$3bn business unit promises connected cloudy capers

IBM has announced it will spend US$3 billion over four years on a new internet of things business unit.…

Wearables market action is all in the wrist says market-scryer IDC [The Register]

Tech specs aren't going to make it and the wearables market is smaller than PCs

The wearables market will be dominated by wrist action, according to market-watcher IDC, and will remain smaller than the PC market.…

Ebay snuffs malware upload bug [The Register]

Flaw let crims sling drive-by-downloads

Hacker Aditya Sood has disclosed two vulnerabilities in eBay that allow hackers to upload files for drive-by-download attacks.…

Secret Bezos delivery helicopters operate from mystery Canadian base to evade US regulators [The Register]

Watch the Skies for the BLACK DRONES, eh

Amazon's relationship with Uncle Sam's Federal Aviation Authority has apparently deteriorated so much that the web-based retailer has fled its jurisdiction for the more liberal regulatory regime of Transport Canada.…

Periscope smeared by streaming security SNAFU [The Register]

Live vid titles leak from Twitter's new app for the Bong! crowd

Twitter's Meerkat-strangling live streaming app Periscope has had its first privacy SNAFU, leaking the titles (but not the content) of videos meant for private circulation only.…

Pre-Snowden NSA grunts wanted to nix phone spying: report [The Register]

Memo seen by managers, but not top dog

Even before Edward Snowden spilled the beans on the National Security Agency's(NSA's) extensive surveillance programs, high-level US bureaucrats were considering spiking the program.…

SoftLayer and Telstra in cloudy embrace [The Register]

Today Australia, tomorrow THE WORLD! Maybe

Australia's dominant telco Telstra, which also operates an AU$2bn a year IT services arn, has struck a deal to resell IBM's SoftLayer cloud down under and is chatting about taking the arrangement global.…

Prostrate yourself before the GNU, commands Indian DEITY [The Register]

India issues policy mandating open source software for government

The best-acronymed government department in the world – India's Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) – has laid out a new policy (PDF) commanding the nation's government to use only open source software.…

Google plans ROBOTS to SLICE YOU OPEN AND CUT YOU UP [The Register]

Chocolate Factory signs robo-surgeon development deal with Johnson & Johnson

Google has signed a deal to collaborate with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon to work on surgical robotics applications.…

How much did T-Mobile US make from that failed AT&T buyout? How about $7.7bn [The Register]

Stop grumbling about the auction, John. You cleaned up

A failed 2011 merger with AT&T is paying off in a big way for T-Mobile US.…

AMD opens kimono on chip futures a little more [The Register]

A 200-300W HPC GPU by 2017? Tell us more

The best way to protect corporate secrets is to announce them at a tech conference in Japan, which is why word is only just arriving of AMD's February reveal of a clustering roadmap.…

Cisco wipes its memory from susceptible-to-Row Hammer list [The Register]

Make sure you use only original spares …

Cisco has worked through data centre and switch products that may have been vulnerable to the Row Hammer vulnerability, and decided there's nothing with the bridge brand on the front that's subject to the bug.…

Day FOUR of the GitHub web assault: Activists point fingers at 'China's global censorship' [The Register]

Code repository warns of 'evolving' attacks

With the GitHub distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack nearing its fifth day of bombardment, the code-sharing upstart said it is holding up well under fire.…

Anti-gay Indiana starts backtracking on hated law after tech pressure [The Register]

Angie's List joins Pivotal, Apple, Salesforce and others in threatening economic sanctions

The governor of Indiana is quietly backtracking on a law that threatens to legalize discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people – after growing pressure from tech companies.…

Sony snags Spotify for streaming music to Playstation gamers [The Register]

Pogo as you play

On Sunday, as promised, Sony killed off its Music Unlimited song streaming service and now the replacement is in place: Spotify is slinging music to PlayStation users from the cloud.…

Microsoft's Project Spartan browser is HERE (unless you build apps or run VMs, that is) [The Register]

Devs might be wise to skip latest Windows 10 build

Microsoft has shipped a new build of Windows 10 that offers a first look at its much-hyped Project Spartan web browser, but the software giant has cautioned that developers may want to hold off upgrading.…

US outlines how it will cut 28 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 [The Verge - All Posts]

The United States began to outline today how it will achieve the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by the end of 2025. In a submission to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United States says that it will use executive actions, largely under the Clean Air Act, to cut carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, improve fuel economy standards, and limit methane emissions from landfills and the oil and gas sectors. The submission comes ahead of a UN climate conference in Paris meant to coordinate a global response to climate change and prevent the Earth from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius, a widely accepted target for limiting the effects of warming.

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Windows 10's new Music and Video apps finally drop the Xbox naming [The Verge - All Posts]

Microsoft appears to be moving away from its Xbox Music and Xbox Video branding. Two new Music and Video apps for Windows 10 have debuted today, and they both drop the Xbox brand in favor of simplified names. Microsoft’s Xbox Music naming has undoubtedly been confusing, with some consumers questioning whether the music service only works on the company’s gaming console. This new naming in Windows 10 means users won’t have to search around for an Xbox-branded app that’s on their PCs; it’s just Music and Video like it is on most modern operating systems.

Some minor UI tweaks and changes for now

While the new Music and Video Preview apps are mostly the same as the ones found in Windows 8.1, Microsoft is taking the opportunity to tweak...

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Comedy Central says it's 'unfair' to judge Trevor Noah on his bad tweets [The Verge - All Posts]

Comedy Central says that replacement Daily Show host Trevor Noah shouldn't be judged solely on his old tweets, which many have been highlighting today as sexist and anti-Semitic. "Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included," Comedy Central says in a statement. "To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central."

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Fan-made Mario 64 remake disappears following Nintendo copyright complaint [The Verge - All Posts]

Nintendo has issued a takedown request for the browser-based Super Mario 64 remake that delighted the internet last week. If you attempt to play the game, created by student Erik Roystan Ross as an experiment with the Unity game engine, you'll instead see a series of emails, including a copyright complaint from Nintendo of America.

"The web site at http://mario64-erik.u85.net/Web.html displays, and allows users to play, an electronic game that makes unauthorized use of copyright-protected features of Nintendo's Super Mario 64 video game," explains an attorney on Nintendo's behalf, according to an email posted on the site. The remake includes only the first level of the game, and was available to play free of charge.

While it's...

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Facebook's new 'Scrapbook' helps parents keep baby photos in one place [The Verge - All Posts]

Facebook is in the process of rolling out a new "Scrapbook" feature that gives parents a simple way of putting photos of their newborns, toddlers, and kids under the age of 13 in one spot. Rather than a proper profile (users can't sign up for those until they're 13), Scrapbook serves as a handy tool for amassing all those baby photos and storing them in a dedicated, easy-to-access place on Facebook.

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Facebook's tracking cookies affect even users who opt out, claims EU report [The Verge - All Posts]

Facebook is continuing to monitor the browsing habits of European users even when they explicitly opt-out of tracking, claims a new report compiled by the Belgian Privacy Commission. The social network tracks users that are logged out of the site and individuals who do not have a Facebook account, say researchers. This, they say, means that Facebook is not only ignoring the data rights of users but is also in breach of European law requiring users to consent to having tracking cookies placed on their computer.

Facebook's Like button is found on 32 percent of the top 10,000 websites

Facebook's habit of tracking users' movements across the web to sell targeted ads has been under scrutiny in the EU for months now. An earlier version of...

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NBC's next live musical will be The Wiz, produced by Cirque du Soleil [The Verge - All Posts]

NBC has officially made its live musical event an annual tradition — and there's an interesting twist this year. After staying on solid ground for 2013's Sound of Music Live and flying gracefully for 2014's Peter Pan Live, this year's holiday event will be a version of The Wiz produced by acrobatic connoisseurs Cirque du Soleil. Which is to say, we're expecting the Tin Man to double backflip through a very high ring while trying to flee the funky monkeys.

As with the previous events, The Wiz will be executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who reportedly want to bring The Wiz back to Broadway in the 2016-2017 season. The 1975 stage production for The Wiz won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The 1978 film adaptation,...

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New Tropes vs. Women series explores positive female characters in gaming [The Verge - All Posts]

Anita Sarkeesian and Feminist Frequency are now taking an ongoing look at some of the more positive representations of women in gaming. In the latest "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games" segment, Sarkeesian delves into the critically acclaimed 2011 indie title Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, which happens to feature a female protagonist known only as the Scythian. That it happens to feature one is significant. Sword & Sworcery has earned praise for its subtle depiction of a female adventurer in a traditional epic not at all unlike The Legend of Zelda. The Scythian lacks the signifiers that would clue most gamers in about her gender, and the player only learns about her being female through character interactions. It's a big leap from...

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Samsung and LG call off their legal war over a washing machine [The Verge - All Posts]

Samsung and LG have agreed to call off their legal tangle over damage done to Samsung's high-end washing machines at last year's IFA conference. For months, Samsung has accused senior LG executive Jo Seong-jin of deliberately sabotaging four of the $2,700 machines on the show floor. The bizarre incident between two storied rivals somehow erupted into all-out war, with Samsung suing LG over the matter and LG firing back with a countersuit of its own (and surveillance footage meant to clear Jo's name).

All the while, there's been plenty of trash talk to go around. At one point, LG told The Wall Street Journal that Samsung's washer was "particularly weak on the hinges." Mediation attempts between the companies had previously failed to...

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The new Mad Max: Fury Road trailer is the absolute craziest yet [The Verge - All Posts]

Deserts are incredible settings for anything on film, but that is apparently so much truer when it comes to insane action sequences and strange post-apocalyptic cults. Mad Max's gorgeous wasteland of a world has been shown off in every trailer for Fury Road so far, but this latest somehow takes it all three steps further, showing creepy interiors, terrifying landscapes, and the wild chase sequences taking place on them. Forget Furious 7, it's hard to remember a recent driving sequence that looked anywhere near this cool. It'll be in theaters May 15th.

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The Iran Deadline [Transterrestrial Musings]

Hearing that they’re extending it to tomorrow. Which means, as I noted on Twitter, that they’ll have to extend to Thursday, otherwise people will think that whatever they come up with is an April Fools joke.

An Israeli Cancer Vaccine [Transterrestrial Musings]

…may prevent or cure 90% of cancer types. Funny how you never hear about stuff like this coming from Islamic countries.

My USA Today Piece [Transterrestrial Musings]

A truncated version of this will be in the print edition tomorrow. Hope it boosts book sales.

Harry Reid [Transterrestrial Musings]

His retirement makes perfect sense, until he tries to explain it. Plus, he thinks it’s perfectly reasonable and acceptable to tell bald-faced lies about his political opponents. It’s a tall bar, but I think he’s currently the most contemptible person in public life. When he retires, maybe Durbin or Pelosi can take the crown. But … Continue reading Harry Reid

Experts: Coming Demographic Shift Will Strengthen US Culture [USA - Voice of America]

America’s demographics are changing like never before.  In less than 30 years, whites will no longer be the racial majority in the United States.  As VOA Senior Analyst Victor Morales explains in this first part of a two-part series, this population shift will have important implications for American culture and society. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that by 2045, the United States will have a population of some 389 million people.  And for the first time in the nation’s history, the majority of people living in the U.S. will be non-white.  “This new diversity boom that we’re seeing right now will be every bit as important for our country in the decades ahead as the baby boom [people born between 1946 and 1964] was in the last half of the 20th century,” said demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution. “We know that the baby boom has changed the country in lots of ways – popular culture, changing values about all kinds of social issues, families, women’s roles and politics.  And I think this diversity boom is going to have just as big of an impact.  We’ll be a very different country and we’re only just beginning to see the start of it,” said Frey. Hispanics, Asians, African Americans Lead Demographic Shift Hispanics, who now total some 52 million people, are expected to remain the largest minority group in the United States for decades to come.  Despite an influx of undocumented immigrants from Latin America to the United States during the past 20 years, the rise in the number of Hispanics is driven mainly by birth.  Latinos account for much of the population growth in major cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.  But they also are moving into rural areas, where currently there are relatively few Hispanics. There are more than 16 million Asians in the United States.  America’s fast growing minority group, Asians live largely in major metropolitan areas.  By 2045, this growth is expected to be due to U.S. births rather than immigration.  And as with all of the nation’s ethnic minorities, many middle class Asians are moving to the suburbs of major cities. The more than 40 million African Americans in the U.S. make up the nation’s oldest ethnic minority group.  “We’ve seen now in the last 20 years a black migration back to the South,” said demographer William Frey.  “Blacks left the South 100 years ago during the days of high discrimination and the decline of the cotton industry, and the growth of jobs in the Northeast and Midwest.” “But that’s all turned around as the South has become more prosperous.  So states like Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Florida are big gainers of African Americans.  In the future, I think, the South will still be predominated by African Americans as the major group, even though the South is getting more Hispanics and Asians.  On the West Coast, it will be more of a Hispanic and Asian confluence.  And in the Midwest and Northeast, it will be some mix of all of those groups,” said Frey. US National Character Unaffected by Demographics By 2045, Hispanics, Asians and African Americans are expected to grow from more than a third of the population to a little more than half of the people living in the United States.  “The degree of cultural diversity that this introduces to this country is rather like the cultural diversity we had in the 19th century, and for that matter in the 18th century at the time of founding,” observed American Enterprise Institute political scientist Charles Murray.  In many ways, according to Murray, diversity has been a positive force throughout America history. “We used to have radically different ways of life among different groups in this country.  And the 20th century was something of an anomaly in this regard as we saw an increasingly homogeneous culture with the rise of mass media,” Murray said.  “In many ways, I think the America of the 21st century with its increased cultural diversity is going to look familiar to historians of America.  And in that respect, it’s as American as apple pie.” A few decades ago, many analysts warned that these demographic trends would lead to a balkanization of America.  However, most experts now agree that U.S. culture and assimilation will reinforce America’s national character, particularly as the rate of interracial marriage grows.  In 1960, multiracial marriages accounted for only 0.4 percent of all marriages in the United States.  By 2010, that figure rose to 8.4 percent, with interracial couples accounting for 15 percent of all new marriages – a trend that experts say will only continue.  “To some degree, immigrants change America.  But America also changes immigrants,” said Pitzer College political scientist Adrian Pantoja. “The strengths of the English language, American culture and symbols and history and values – those are adopted very quickly among immigrant populations,” said Pantoja, who is an expert on immigrant and Hispanic politics in the United States.  “There’s overwhelming data that shows that by the second generation, the Spanish language is practically gone; the children of immigrants are English-dominant.  By the third generation, the Spanish language is essentially nonexistent.  So those assimilationist forces have been alive and well since the founding of this country.” “We have a nation that’s built not on blood ties, but that’s built on ideas and ideals,” added Tamar Jacoby, president and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA, a national federation of small business owners working to promote better immigration laws.  “Those ideals are freedom, the individual, democracy, equality and opportunity.  And those are pretty powerful things.  And we’ve come to live in ways that exemplify those ideals, and people find that way of living very attractive.  And that’s why people want to come here.  People come, and they succeed, and they like it.”

US Releases Military Aid to Egypt [USA - Voice of America]

The White House says Obama is lifting the hold on sending F-16 fighter jets, Harpoon missiles and M1A1 tank kits

Prosecutors: Boston Bombing Suspect Posted Troubling Tweets [USA - Voice of America]

Prosecutors portraying accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a cold-hearted killer have pointed to his Twitter accounts to help back the claim. Tsarnaev allegedly tweeted from two Twitter accounts.

Indiana Will 'Fix' Religious Freedom Law, Governor Says [USA - Voice of America]

Indiana's Republican Governor Mike Pence, responding to national outrage over the state's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, said Tuesday that officials would "fix'' it to make clear businesses cannot use it to deny services to same-sex couples. Pence said the law he signed last week had been widely mischaracterized and "smeared,'' but he called on the state's Republican-controlled General Assembly to send a new law to his desk this week to fix it. "I believe it would be appropriate to make it clear that this law does not give businesses the right to deny services to anyone,'' he told reporters in the capital, Indianapolis, at a nationally televised news conference. "We will fix this and we will move forward.'' The bill, which passed with an overwhelming majority in the state's legislature, set off widespread outrage. The Indianapolis Star newspaper on Tuesday published a front-page editorial headlined "FIX THIS NOW'' in giant type. But Pence defended the law as protecting people of all faiths from being forced by government to go against their beliefs and said repeatedly it had never been meant to discriminate against anyone. Major companies including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Apple Inc., Angie's List, diesel engine-maker Cummins Inc., Salesforce Marketing Cloud and drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. have called on Indiana officials to clarify or repeal the law. But Pence found support from conservatives including Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz and possible presidential contenders Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Twenty other states have passed such laws since the early 1990s, but Indiana's was the first enacted since gay marriage became legal in many states last year, and critics have seen it as a backlash against same-sex marriage. The 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act sought to give individuals clear recourse to challenge perceived government infringement of their First Amendment right of the free exercise of religion. The Supreme Court ruled, however, that it did not apply to states, which is why some states passed their own such laws. Rock band Wilco canceled a show in Indianapolis, and the Democratic governors of Connecticut and Washington state said they would ban official travel to Indiana. Auto racing company NASCAR and the Indianapolis-based National Collegiate Athletic Association, an organization for university athletic programs, expressed concern and disappointment about potential discrimination. Critics said Indiana's law went too far in potentially allowing businesses to deny services to gay couples, because they could argue that doing so went against their deeply held beliefs. Same-sex marriage became legal in Indiana under an appeals court ruling last year. Religious-freedom Acts in Georgia and North Carolina appeared to stall this week after Indiana's law came under fire. But the Arkansas House of Representatives is expected to approve this week a similar measure that has already passed the state's Senate. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, has said he supports the measure and intends to sign it into law if it arrives at his desk. While Pence said the law in Indiana would be modified to make it clear businesses could not deny services to same-sex couples, Rubio, speaking on Fox News, said religious liberties of Americans who do not want to provide services to a same-sex marriage should be protected under religious-freedom statutes.

New 'Daily Show' Host's Tweets Spur Criticism [USA - Voice of America]

A day after Trevor Noah was declared the new host of "The Daily Show,'' complete with the blessing of the exiting Jon Stewart, graphic tweets targeting women, Jews and victims of the Ebola virus are causing a social media backlash. By Tuesday, Noah was a trending topic on Twitter as he drew fire for jokes described as tasteless, hateful and unfunny. Roseanne Barr was among those calling out the 31-year-old South African comic, who has an international following and 2 million Twitter followers. "U should cease sexist & anti semitic `humor' about jewish women & Israel,'' she tweeted late Monday. Noah's controversial tweets were posted between 2009 and 2014. In 2009 he wrote, "Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!'' A 2012 post derides "jewish chicks.'' Another one from 2011 jokes about "a hot white woman.'' In a post from 2011, he writes, "Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!'' He attributes the joke to "fat chicks everywhere.'' When a fan tweeted him last fall with a request to come to Texas, Noah replied, "But you've already got Ebola?'' Comedy Central did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, conservative commentator David Frum, anticipating the network's response to the uproar, tweeted, "Daily Show method: entrap & edit targets to look stupid & bigoted. But for Trevornoah (who edited himself) they'll urge context & nuance." The tweets showed a different side to Noah than the picture painted by Comedy Central and the comedian himself just a day earlier. In a phone interview on Monday from Dubai, where Noah was traveling on a comedy tour, he likened himself to the New York-born Stewart, saying, "One thing we both share: We are both progressives.'' He added, "Traveling the world I've learned that progressives, regardless of their locations, think in a global space.'' Noah, the son of a black South African mother and white European father who speaks six languages, was bring pitched by Comedy Central as reflecting a new age of global multiculturalism — "a citizen of the world,'' in the words of Michele Ganeless, the network's president. He was named a little more than a month after Stewart unexpectedly announced he was leaving "The Daily Show'' after 16 years as the show's principal voice. Although no dates have been disclosed, Stewart is expected to depart by the end of the year, with Noah taking over soon afterward. On Monday, Ganeless spoke of the advantage of introducing Noah to a mainstream U.S. audience through "The Daily Show,'' with viewers coming to the show he hosts with no preconceptions. "They will get to discover him, and form their opinions of him, as they watch him host.'' The choice of a new host for "The Daily Show'' is a critical decision not only for the satirical-news program, but for the network, whose identity has largely been forged by the "Daily Show'' franchise, which for years was followed by the likewise signature "The Colbert Report.'' By the end of the year, Comedy Central will have completely remade this programming block. In January, African-American comic Larry Wilmore replaced the "The Colbert Report,'' hosting ``The Nightly Show.''

US Treasury Targets Syrian Banker, 3 Companies With Sanctions [USA - Voice of America]

The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed sanctions on a Syrian official and three front companies it said were helping the Syrian government, which has been engaged in a bloody civil war. The department targeted Batoul Rida, an official of the Central Bank of Syria, and one Syria-based company and two companies in Lebanon for working with the Syrian weapons agency, the Scientific Studies and Research Center, which Treasury said had connections to Syria's chemical weapons program. “We are determined to use our financial tools to raise the costs to the Syrian government of its illicit activities,” said Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. Szubin said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government is a "gross violator of human rights" and engages in "dangerous weapons proliferation." Syria agreed in 2013 to destroy its entire chemical weapons program after hundreds of people were killed in a sarin gas attack near Damascus. But a group monitoring the civil war said this month that government forces attacked another town using the poison gas chlorine as a weapon. U.S. sanctions freeze any accounts the firms and Rida may have in the United States and prohibit U.S. people and companies from dealing with them.  Some material for this report came from AP.

Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations' [USA - Voice of America]

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations."   The group's annual report, released in March, found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72 percent parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement.  It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. Medgar Evers College, whose student body is nearly 90 percent black, is filled with hard-working students fulfilling their degree requirements.  But unlike their white peers, African Americans overall are statistically much more likely to be unemployed,  according to findings from the 2015 State of Black America report by the National Urban League.     Despite annual increases in high school graduation and college attendance rates, unemployment figures for blacks are as high as 20 percent in seven of the country's largest cities.  The current national unemployment rate is 5.5 percent.   "The recession is, 'over', except that the recession is still raging in many urban communities," said Urban League President Marc Morial.   The study links education and joblessness, says Morial.  He points to the 36 percent national proficiency gap between blacks and whites in math and reading as a major indicator of future inequality.     “The United States must close the gaps - must close the achievement gap, must close the jobs gap - it is essential to America’s economic competitiveness in the 21st Century," he said.   Medgar Evers College, which hosted the report’s release, is taking proactive steps to make sure graduates are ready for the workplace.     “More and more we’re having everything from career days to a real focus on the network, if you will, that it takes not just to enter your chosen career but to really get the job that you want," said Medgar Evers College President Rudy Crew. College senior Shemroy Primo interned with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office to make himself a more attractive candidate for law schools. He says he was disappointed but not surprised by the study’s findings.   “But as a black man, it’s really hard out there in the job market.  I went to high school in Brooklyn, East New York, so I have a lot of friends who are really looking up to me and really proud of me because I’ve taken a different route, I’ve gone to college. I’m a senior, I’m a rising senior and I plan to go to law school," said Primo. However, the Urban League study indicates there is still employment bias.   “One thing that was troubling was that even when a black person had the same academic background, the unemployment rates seems to be still higher for black Americans.  People ask me why and I think it is the presence still of exclusion and discrimination in the work force to some extent," said Morial. Because of this, Primo says he must work twice as hard to earn a spot in the workplace.

US House Committee Seeks to Interview Hillary Clinton Over Emails [USA - Voice of America]

A U.S. House panel is seeking an interview with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her use of private email and a personal computer server while at the State Department, the committee said in a letter to her lawyer released on Tuesday. Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, who chairs the U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi, said in the letter that he wanted to schedule her appearance for no later than May 1 and that the private interview with the committee would be transcribed. Clinton, the presumed front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, has faced criticism for her use of personal email to conduct State Department business during her tenure rather than a government-issued account. She has said she used the personal account for convenience. Representatives for Clinton could not be immediately reached for comment on the committee's request. Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement last week that the former secretary welcomed the opportunity to appear before the House panel. Gowdy, whose committee is investigating the 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, during Clinton's tenure, last week said she had failed to respond to the panel's subpoena for documents in the case. The State Department has said it has turned over relevant emails to the committee.

Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations' [USA - Voice of America]

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.

US, Cuba Hold First Formal Talks on Human Rights [USA - Voice of America]

The United States and Cuba met on Tuesday to discuss how they intend to treat future dialog on the thorny issue of human rights as the countries move toward restoring diplomatic ties. While no major announcements are expected from the meeting, it was the first formal dialog tackling human rights between the countries since U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on Dec. 17 they were seeking to restore diplomatic ties. The U.S. delegation was led by Tom Malinowski, the State Department's assistant secretary for human rights and democracy. Pedro Luis Pedroso, deputy director of multilateral affairs and law at the ministry of foreign affairs, led the Cuban side. "This preliminary meeting reflects our continued focus on human rights and democratic principles in Cuba," a State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Human rights are a priority." The United States has pressed Cuba to improve human rights conditions on the communist-led island and expressed concern, in particular, about the jailing of political dissidents and activists and treatment of political prisoners. Cuba has told Washington it will not tolerate meddling in its internal affairs and to stop supporting dissidents. It has pointed at U.S. police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City as human rights issues in the United States. Obama, a Democrat, needs the Republican-controlled Congress to completely normalize relations with Cuba, but Republicans such as Florida Senator Marco Rubio have opposed engagement as long as Cuba remains a one-party state, represses dissidents and controls the media. Geoff Thale, program director for human rights group WOLA, said Cuba has often taken actions in response to outside forces, referring to calls from the Vatican to release political prisoners. "The first meeting is intended to discuss the structure of future talks, and the dialog is going to have to overcome a legacy of mistrust, as well as the vast conceptual differences between the two countries on the topic of human rights," Thale said.

White House Releases Plan to Cut Greenhouse Emissions [USA - Voice of America]

The White House on Tuesday released President Barack Obama's proposal to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 percent below 2005 levels within the next decade as part of a global treaty to tackle climate change. The proposal includes several policies already in effect, such as higher fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, energy efficiency measures for buildings and appliances, and programs to eliminate the use of the polluting refrigerant HFC. In an Internet post, the White House pointed to upcoming rules to limit emissions from the oil industry and carbon pollution from power plants. The plan follows Obama's pledge last November in Beijing to reduce U.S. climate warming emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. It comes ahead of the U.N. climate change talks in Paris in December. "Over the last eight years, the U.S. has cut carbon pollution more than any other country," said White House senior adviser Brian Deese, who described the proposal as both "ambitious and achievable." "In the U.S. we don't need to choose between economic growth and protecting our planet for future generations," he said. Deese said the overall target is to reduce emissions up to 80 percent by 2050. Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute, said, "The United States' proposal shows that it is ready to lead by example on the climate crisis." "This is a serious and achievable commitment," she added. " ...The United States' acknowledgment of the need for 'deep decarbonization' sends a positive signal."   The submission makes the United States one of 34 countries to submit its climate action plan to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The U.S. joins all the countries under the European Union, as well as Russia, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland.

Poll: Majority of Americans Support Iran Nuclear Deal [USA - Voice of America]

A new public opinion survey in the United States shows that Americans broadly support efforts to negotiate an agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear program even though they are skeptical that it will actually prevent Tehran from building an atomic weapon. The Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday found that 59 percent of Americans polled favored completion of a deal, with 31 percent opposed. The survey came as the United States and five other world powers face a self-imposed midnight deadline at talks in Switzerland to reach accord with Iran to curb its nuclear development program in exchange for easing sanctions that have hobbled the Iranian economy. The random survey of 1,003 adults also showed that 59 percent are not confident that an agreement with Iran would prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon. The world powers — China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and the U.S. —  are trying to keep Iran from becoming the presumed 10th country across the globe with nuclear capability and give the world at least a year's warning if Tehran attempts to develop a weapon. The survey showed support in the U.S. for completing a deal outpaces opposition across nearly all demographic and political groups; but, support for an agreement is weakest among Republicans, with only a slight plurality favoring it.

Defense Rests in Boston Bombing Trial [USA - Voice of America]

Defense lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have rested their case after trying to shift jurors' focus onto his older brother, Tamerlan, who they say masterminded the April 15, 2013 attack. The defense has made it clear from the beginning of the trial that its strategy is not to win an acquittal for the younger Tsarnaev, but to save him from the death penalty. Tsarnaev, 21, faces the death penalty or life in prison if found guilty of the April 15, 2013 attack. Three people were killed and 264 others wounded in the twin blasts he and his older brother, Tamerlan, are accused of setting off and planning. Prosecutors concluded their case Monday with graphic testimony from a medical examiner about the blast injuries that killed 8-year-old Martin Richard - the youngest victim in the attack. Several jurors cried as they were shown autopsy photos of the boy, who suffered a ruptured stomach, broken bones and third-degree burns when his body was torn apart by one of the pressure cooker bombs. The boy's parents were in the courtroom as their son's devastating end was described. Another medical examiner told the court how Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, 23, bled to death on the sidewalk. Prosecutors said the brothers, who were born in Kyrgyzstan and lived briefly in Russia's mostly-Muslim Dagestan region before coming to the U.S., were driven by Islam and seeking retaliation against the U.S. for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The defense argued it was Tamerlan who "self-radicalized," and Dzhokhar merely "followed him."

Boehner's Trip to Middle East Focuses on Iran, Islamist Threat [USA - Voice of America]

U.S. House Speaker, Republican John Boehner, traveling in the Middle East this week, warned that, should Iran nuclear program negotiations fail, new sanctions would be imposed, and quickly. Iran and the P5+1 world powers worked toward a self-imposed midnight Tuesday deadline to reach a framework for a deal aimed at ensuring that Tehran cannot develop a nuclear bomb, and removing U.N. sanctions that are crippling the country’s economy. With hours to go until Tuesday’s deadline, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN from Lausanne, Switzerland, "There still remain some difficult issues. We are working into the night and obviously into tomorrow.... Everyone knows the meaning of tomorrow." Boehner, speaking Sunday on CNN’s news show State of the Union, said if the talks collapse, “The sanctions are going to come, and they’re going to come quick. "I just don't understand why we would sign an agreement with a group of people who in my opinion have no intention of keeping their word," he added. Boehner told State of the Union he has had ”serious doubts” about the current negotiations. On Monday, he accused the White House of playing a “dangerous game of false choices,” in a statement published on his website. “The White House has attempted to construct this false choice again and again. It would have Americans believe that anyone who questions the president wants war with Iran and hundreds of thousands of American troops on the ground in places like Iraq and Yemen,” Boehner’s statement said. Focus on Iran, Islamist threat Boehner and a delegation of senior Republican lawmakers are in the Middle East this week, with discussions focused on Iranian-backed violence and the growing Islamist terrorist threat in the region. His office did not reveal specific details about his itinerary, citing security concerns. Boehner met Sunday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman. On Monday, the delegation met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.   Plans also include meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later this week.   Tensions between Boehner and the Obama administration have been heightened since he invited Netanyahu to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress earlier this month. He did not consult with the White House, which called the invitation a breach of protocol. Netanyahu used his address to criticize nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 group, which includes the U.S., China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany, and Iran. He said the negotiations were a “bad deal” and virtually ensured Iran would obtain a nuclear weapon. Obama rejected Netanyahu’s claim, saying he would “rather have no deal than a bad deal. But if we’re successful in negotiating, then in fact this will be the best deal possible to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” Netanyahu further infuriated the White House and other Western allies by saying he would not support a two-state solution to resolve the Palestinian conflict on the eve of Israeli elections. He has since backtracked on the rhetoric. Speaking on State of the Union, Boehner discussed what he called Obama’s attacks on Netanyahu and growing bipartisan concerns with the administration’s approach in the Middle East. “I have one goal. That goal is to make sure that the American people heard and the Congress heard about the serious threat that Iran poses not only to the Middle East but for the rest of the world including the United States,” Boehner said. “The president doesn't want to talk about it. Doesn't want to talk about the threat of radical Islam and the fact that he has no strategy to deal with it.” In responding to Boehner’s criticism of Obama’s foreign policy, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on ABC’s This Week, "I will simply say that if John Boehner thinks that U.S. troops should be on the ground in Yemen fighting the Houthis, or that we should re-occupy Iraq, or that the United States should bomb Iran to prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon, then he should have the courage of his convictions to actually say so.” U.S. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell also traveled to the Middle East, meeting with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv Sunday.

S. African Comic Has Chance to Change US Perspectives [USA - Voice of America]

When I first heard South Africa’s most beloved comic, Trevor Noah, was going to take the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show, I checked the date. No, it wasn’t April 1, April Fool’s Day.  It was real. Surely, I thought, people are joking when they ask if America is “ready” for Trevor Noah.  Is the United States - recently riven by race-related violence in Ferguson, Missouri and race scandals at top universities - ready to talk about race? How can we not be, when mixed-race Americans are the fastest growing demographic in the country, with a 32 percent increase in the last census?  How can we not be when the mayor of Houston, my hometown and the fourth-largest city in the nation, proudly told me that one in five Houstonians is foreign-born?   In ways that increasingly more Americans can identify with, Trevor Noah is like many Americans.  His struggles with identity are our struggles with identity. And South Africa’s 21-year-transition from apartheid to the (admittedly imperfect) rainbow nation is not that different from the U.S.’s struggle for equality.   More importantly, however, Noah’s way of dealing with his struggle -- with words and humor -- follows the very American tradition of Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin. Two very serious and respected Americans who used humor to poke at their society’s problems.   I’m American, but I live in South Africa.  And like Trevor Noah. I am of mixed race. During my 14 years living in the United States, my race was a regular topic of conversation in my interactions with fellow Americans.   When Noah joked about being addressed by strangers in Spanish, I chuckled -- that happens to me regularly when I visit family in Texas.   When he talked about being "born a crime” to parents of two different races in apartheid-era South Africa, I’m reminded of what my mother said was her first reaction upon seeing my newborn pale skin, wispy blonde hair and blue eyes.   “That’s not my baby,” said my mother, a doctor who had delivered countless squalling, dark-skinned, black-haired babies in her native India. “Take it away and bring me MY baby.”   And I think many people can relate to Noah’s experience of being held to two simultaneous sets of standards.  He has described the weird feeling of never being black enough or white enough -- as if one human being could, or should, try to meet two different sets of rules at once. Sound familiar? The U.S. ambassador to South Africa, Patrick Gaspard, was among the countless numbers of people around the world who welcomed the announcement of Noah’s promotion.  He tweeted:     I was at a talk with the normally cheerful ambassador earlier this year.  In a rare, raw moment, he spoke about growing up in New York City and going to an elite school, where he was one of a few black students there.  His voice grew thick as he talked about being stopped by a white police officer who refused to believe he was a student, and tore up his subway pass.  It took him hours to walk home.   These things are hard to talk about.  That’s where comedy comes in -- gently poking at our frailties, taking apart our imaginary walls, uniting us through laughter.   The morning after South African social media exploded, I caught up with two members of South Africa’s comedy community.  I was expecting jokes -- and I was honestly disappointed when comic Deep Fried Man (real name, Daniel Friedman) refused to humor me with an impromptu version of one of the satirical songs he’s known for in his role on Late Night News with Loyiso Gola, the South African version of The Daily Show.   Like Noah, Friedman often discusses race in his work, like this refrain from one of his particularly caustic ditties: “I’m scared this country’s turning into the next Zimbabwe, so I spent my time looking for clues - I think I’ve got a bad, bad case of them white South African blues.”   But this is serious, Friedman told me.   “One thing that’s very interesting to me is that already there’s been a backlash over his Tweets …and I read the Tweets, and they are Tweets that by South African standards are pretty mild,” he said. “I think we have, if anything, a very confrontational style of comedy here and we’re allowed to get away with whatever we want.  Trevor is already, in person, a lot more than on Twitter, very able to discuss difficult concepts in a non-offensive way.  And he’s so charming that he can pretty much go anywhere.  But I think his biggest challenge is going to be pretty much that the U.S. has a lower threshold for controversial comedy than we do.”   The show’s content producer, Karabo Lediga, said she thinks Noah is well-equipped to talk about race on American television.   “I think America has its own race issues to talk about,” she said. “So maybe it’s not such a bad thing.”   And, she said, she hopes that Noah can finally overturn the world’s perception of Africa as a hopeless, backwards place -- something he has also brought up in his comedy routines.   “For Trevor in that spot, that amazing, particular spot, it just means a better opportunity for us to be normal, like everybody else around the world,” Lediga said.  “And I think that for me is the most powerful thing about this.”   If there is anyone who can find humor in this, it’s probably Trevor Noah.

Questions Remain After NSA Shooting [USA - Voice of America]

The warnings are strong and security is always tight, but most drivers are versed in the daily routine as thousands of employees and contractors stream through the closely guarded entrance to the National Security Agency.   The ordinary start to the work week came to a violent halt Monday, though, when two men dressed as women and driving in a stolen, dark-colored SUV ignored officers' orders at the gate to the spy agency headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland. Police fired on the SUV, which then rammed into a police vehicle. One suspect was killed. The second suspect was injured, as well as a police officer.   Whether the pair wanted to breach the perimeter or the driver was desperate and confused in a security-sensitive area added to the mystery. The FBI's Baltimore field office said it was investigating the "shooting incident'' and did not believe it was related to terrorism.   Authorities say the cross-dressing men stole the SUV Monday morning from a hotel in Jessup, Maryland, and ended up about seven miles (11 kms) away at the NSA gate at Fort Meade, a sprawling Army post.   "The driver failed to obey an NSA Police officer's routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus,'' Jonathan Freed, an NSA spokesman, said in a statement. The vehicle failed to stop, then "accelerated toward an NSA Police vehicle blocking the road. NSA Police fired at the vehicle when it refused to stop. The unauthorized vehicle crashed into the NSA Police vehicle.''   Images from the scene showed emergency workers loading a uniformed police officer into an ambulance. Nearby were the dark-colored SUV and a white SUV emblazoned with "NSA Police,'' both heavily damaged.   It's not the first time someone has disobeyed orders at an NSA gate. In July, a man failed to obey an NSA officer's command to stop as he approached a checkpoint. The man drove away, injuring an NSA officer and nearly striking a barricade. He was later arrested and is awaiting trial on federal charges.   Earlier this month, police captured a man accused of firing at a building on the NSA campus. The man, who was also accused of shooting at vehicles, told police he heard voices.   Fort Meade is home to the NSA, the Defense Information Systems Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command. About 11,000 military personnel and about 29,000 civilian employees work on the property.

Syria Donor Event Opens With More Than $1 Billion in Pledges [USA - Voice of America]

The United States pledged $507 million and Kuwait promised $500 million toward humanitar