A Pause For Thanks [According To Hoyt]

So much to give thanks for in this very difficult year that I can’t fully articulate it.

I’m thankful my issues proved not to need chemo-therapy.

I’m thankful my working on the house during recovery did not cause major problems.

I’m thankful older son has moved out and is pursuing his vocation.

I’m thankful it hurts a lot not to have him around, because if it didn’t, what would that mean for our family?

I’m thankful I have younger son for six months more, at least.  And I’m thankful he’s — against all expectations for someone in his percentile — gregarious and outgoing as well as a good student.

I’m grateful the cats are all still with us, despite their having told us two years ago that Miranda had six months at most.

I’m thankful I’m feeling better and that writing is coming back.  Not as fast as I wish it, but it’s coming back, as is my strength.  (Even if the stupid-tired still clobbers me out of nowhere after some effort.)

I’m thankful that the place we’re renting suits us.

I’m thankful we have houses to consider.

I’m thankful for this blog and the friends and fans I’ve found here. In a way all the regulars have become family.

I’m thankful for Baen who has been very understanding of the illness-and-move caused chaos and who, in this dog-eat-dog world has provided me a family of colleagues who are like brothers and sisters (squabbling sometimes, but brothers and sisters.)

I’m thankful for indie, which as I recover will allow me to publish those things that are just not Baen.  Yes, as the illness subsides and the Great Move of Fifteen is completed once we find a house and move into it, there will be orphan kittens and the rest of the vampire musketeers, as well as Darkship Revenge and the Dragon trilogy.

But most of all I’m thankful I have my husband, without whom none of this would matter.  I’m thankful he decided to marry the weird Portuguese chick who wanted to write sf, and I’m thankful our love has deepened through the last thirty years.

Yeah, it’s been a difficult year, in which strength and will power were demanded that I could hardly summon. But we’ve come through the challenges and, heaven willing, next year will be easy.

May the next year be easier for every one of the regulars on this blog, may you be blessed with love and health and something you enjoy doing, which provides your livelihood.

The times are dire and scary but we have each other and we have many reasons to be thankful for, most of us.  Good measure, pouring over, and given without our doing anything to deserve it.

Today, we go and eat turkey and enjoy our families and/or friends.

Tomorrow we resume the fight. And that too I’m grateful for. While we battle, we’re alive.

In the end, we win, they lose.  Be not afraid.


On This Thanksgiving, I'm Grateful For the Gullible Goons of Salon [Ace of Spades HQ]

Wait, @AceofSpadesHQ was serious? Huh. https://t.co/o3OcSlETW5 pic.twitter.com/VpoEqQWYrO— Scott Lincicome (@scottlincicome) November 26, 2015 [H]e wasn't alone on his righteous indignation. Conservative blogger Ace of Spades wrote an entire treatise on how to deal with the miscreant liberals in your family...

Blowoff Thread: Silly Inventions [Y-not] [Ace of Spades HQ]

Here's a silly thread while we all sit, sans pants, waiting for the turkey to roast. A couple of weeks ago I spotted this in our local Hobby Lobby: There's a product for a problem I didn't know existed! Reminded...

Early Birder Thread [krakatoa] [Ace of Spades HQ]

Time to smoke the turkey. I wish I were more thankful today. Persevering through a flu bug that has completely detailed my original plans. Nevertheless, despite the ick, I have much to be thankful for. My loving wife who holds...

Overnight Open Thread (11-25-2015) – Pre-Thanksgiving Edition [Ace of Spades HQ]

Tonight's theme is cooking tips and recipes. So share'em if you got'em. And this evening's Food Octagon event will be Oatmeal vs. Cream of Wheat vs. Grits. Three hot cereal foods enter, one food leaves. Notice: Posted by permission of...

What is going on with Turkey (Not Thanksgiving)? [Chicago Boyz]


Turkish F 16s shot down a Russian SU 24, a bomber, after it entered Turkish airspace and did not respond to warnings.

A U.S. track of the Russian plane shot down by Turkey shows that the plane was inside Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.

After 10 warnings without a response, a Turkish fighter jet shot the plane down Tuesday. U.S. officials said Wednesday that all of the warnings occurred before the plane entered Turkish airspace, Martin reports.

What remains unclear is whether the Russian plane was still in Turkish airspace when the F-16 fired, Martin reports. The explosion that brought the warplane down occurred when it was back in Syrian airspace, the U.S. officials said.

Why did Turkey do this ? One reason may be that the Russians were attacking Turkmen who are opposed to Assad.

Another is that Turkey is involved in oil trade with ISIS.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who canceled his planned trip to Turkey after the incident, described the shooting down of the Russian plane as a “planned provocation.”

He said the Turkish action came after Russian planes successfully targeted oil infrastructure used by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, alleging that Turkey benefited from the oil trade.

Lavrov also said that Turkish territory was used by “terrorists” to prepare attacks in other countries, but offered no details. He said that Russia “has no intention to go to war with Turkey,” but added that Moscow will re-consider its ties with Ankara.

Turkey has been trending to Islamism since Erdogan took over the government ten years ago.

President Erdogan also attended the summit, proceeding to speak at the event’s closing ceremony: “Muslim sailors reached the American continent 314 years before Columbus, in 1178. In his memoirs, Christopher Columbus mentions the existence of a mosque atop a hill on the coast of Cuba”. In this way, the Turkish President managed to cause a sensation, while ignoring the fact that mere notion of the ‘discovery of America’ is nothing but a linguistic ploy used to consecrate the European domination of the world from the 16th century onwards and to discount the achievements of the continent’s native populations.

Richard Fernandez has a theory about why this is happening.

Charles Krauthaummer argues that since the Turks could not have been spurred into action by such minor Russian intrusion into their airspace, their true motive must have been to signal Moscow to lay off one its proxies, the Turkmen. They were willing to violate the ‘no clash between principals’ rule to emphasize the point.

This I think sort of highlights that, the Turks are the most opposed to Assad of anybody on the ground. It wasn’t only that the Russian airplane went into Turkish air space. It’s that the bombing run was against Turkmen, who a minority in Syria, ethnically Turkish that the Turks have always felt they have to defend.

Remember that Turkey and ISIS are both Sunni Muslim and the entire ISIS movement began as a Sunni reaction to the extreme provocation of the Sunnis by the Pro-Iran government of Iraq.

The challenge has been Russia’s focus on propping up Assad rather than focusing on ISIL. … Until that happens, it’s very difficult. It’s difficult because if their priority is attacking the moderate opposition that might be future members of an inclusive Syrian government, Russia is not going to get the support of us or a range of other members of the coalition.

Putin’s reaction to the incident on the occasion of his meeting with the King of Jordan describes the same strategic picture, albeit viewed from the other side of the lines.

Obama is basically an ally of Iran and that may be why he withdrew US forces that might have imposed discipline on the Iraqi government. In that sense, ISIS was created by Obama as the Sunnis had nowhere else to go. Turkey has little incentive to fight ISIS as they share Sunni religious affiliation and have no love for the Kurds and other anti-Assad forces. They certainly have little love for Shia Islam, of which Alawite is a form.

The differences between Russia and the West are also a a major factor in our dilemma.

Anybody who has met actual Russians knows how little they, even the cultured ones, have been touched by post-modern Western mores on race, gender, and sexuality. They remain comfortable with the tough, ugly, dog-eat-dog world we have. I have tried on multiple occasions to explain “trigger warnings” to educated Russians, but they never believe me and burst out laughing. What causes this — Communism? Byzantinism? Tsarism? something in Russian water and/or DNA? — is debatable but that Russians simply live in a different mental universe than twenty-first century Westerners do is not.

No matter what we wish to see they are not like us. We are getting further and further from any common culture.

Putin and Putinism represent a direct challenge to the post-modern way of life that has become normative, especially among educated Westerners since the 1960’s. A worldview that prefers soft, feminine values to tougher masculine ones, that finds patriotism risible, that believes there is nothing worth dying for, has little to say when the monsters we firmly believed were safely behind the fortress walls, lurking hungrily, turn out to be on our doorstep, and the front door is unlocked.

What can we expect to see in the future ?

Putin is clearly holding Washington accountable for keeping Turkey to the proxy war rules. The most singular thing about the president’s press conference was how completely he avoided addressing the issue of whether Erdogan was a loose cannon. Instead he flew off into the most bizarre tangent possible at such a moment.

next week, I will be joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the global climate conference. What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.
But there was no indication he was taking the Turkish wolf or the Russian bear in hand. Both were left to roam in the wild for the present. Interestingly, it was the French president, not Obama, who was most alive to the danger.

The French have had a rude lesson in nationalism and self interest. We have no leadership that seems willing to accept this as a warning.

The WEIRD take on Putin has been perfectly captured by a piece in The New York Times Magazine, authored by just the self-absorbed, nebbishy sort who both writes and reads the Grey Lady. The author, a Russian Jew who came to America as a child, covers his subject with roughly the same dispassion as a Palestinian would write about Israelis. To learn what makes Putin’s Russia tick, the author submitted himself to a week of non-stop Russian TV, while holed up in a swanky Manhattan hotel, fed with room service finery to counteract all the Kremlin agitprop.

Lots Seinfeld-y inside jokes about calling therapists ensue, amidst constant jibes about how latently homosexual Putin and his testosterone-driven Russia really are. What comes through clearly, however, is that popular culture under Putin has created a mindset that is nationalist and firmly anti-Western in virtually every way; at times, it drips with hatred towards the West, seeing nefarious plots against Russia everywhere. That Russians are a bunch of uncouth idiots is made obvious. But the crux of the matter, as revealed in the piece’s title, “Out of My Mouth Comes Unimpeachable Manly Truth,” is that Russia has simply opted out of the post-modern Western way of life, emphasizing outmoded values such as masculinity, faith, plus traditional sex and gender roles, in a thoroughly atavistic manner.

The US seems to be the one with a weak sense of self preservation. At least the left-leaning coastal elites have little sign of “manly virtues.”

Thanksgiving [Chicago Boyz]

signing of the Mayflower Compact

Thank God for our ancestors of blood and spirit who built this country, dedicated to freedom, equality and the rule of law. The Plymouth pilgrims wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact before landing. They faced a barren wilderness, no shelter, with winter coming on, and a hard and dangerous future. They had a lot to plan for. Yet the first thing they did is clarify the legal and political foundation of their colony. Liberty under law came first, and if that prevailed, prosperity would follow.

God bless America.

The Mayflower Compact

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620.

John Carver
William Bradford
Edward Winslow
William Brewster
Isaac Allerton
Myles Standish
John Alden
Samuel Fuller
Christopher Martin
William Mullins
William White
Richard Warren
John Howland
Stephen Hopkins
Edward Tilley
John Tilley
Francis Cooke
Thomas Rogers
Thomas Tinker
John Rigsdale
Edward Fuller
John Turner
Francis Eaton
James Chilton
John Crackstone
John Billington
Moses Fletcher
John Goodman
Degory Priest
Thomas Williams
Gilbert Winslow
Edmund Margesson
Peter Browne
Richard Britteridge
George Soule
Richard Clarke
Richard Gardiner
John Allerton
Thomas English
Edward Doty
Edward Leister

The Clapper [[Citation Needed]]

In 2014 They Even Installed The Clapper In The Disney Channel Original Movie Entitled How To Build A Better Boy & That Was In The Part Of When Gabby Harrison & Mae Hartley Needed Mae’s Brother Bart Hartley To Keep Dr. James Hartley A.K.A. Father Hartley Occupied In Order To Prevent Father Hartley From Having To See What Gabby & Mae Had Done In The Way Of Overloading The Computerized Technology By Mistake & When Bart Tried To Distract Father Hartley In That Way Only This Time When Bart Used The Clapper Device Instead Of Clapping On A Light He Clapped On A Very Special Plug In Power Fountain That They Had Plugged Into The Clapper Device Itself In The Living Room So That Father Hartley Can Relax A Bit When Bart Sent Him In There To Sit Down In Father Hartley’s Own Favorite Chair & That Was It


goodhealthgoodvibes:Went all out on my oatmeal this morning... [http://cupcakesandproteinshakes.tumblr.com/]


Went all out on my oatmeal this morning haha. Chocolate chia cake batter oatmeal with banana, chocolate granola, melted chocolate peanut butter, some dairy free chocolate chunks and cacao nibs!

Instagram - goodhealthgoodvibes

Reality [http://cupcakesandproteinshakes.tumblr.com/]


When we talk about how hard it is to leave stripping and go back to vanilla jobs because we’re used to making “crazy amounts of money”, I think we need to realize we’re not making crazy amounts. We’re making what should be normal amounts. We’re making, what should be, a living wage. With what I currently pull, I have enough to pay my rent, school loans, bills, with enough left over that I don’t have to worry. If I quit stripping, it would mean going back to poverty level wages unless I was at a senior position in my career. And I think the idea that we should consider our income “crazy” is more of how women and sex workers are gaslighted into thinking we shouldn’t deserve happiness and success in our life.

We’re not crazy. We want to live.

Dead Again: Another Apple Watch Killer [Daring Fireball]

The Macalope:

Writing for the lovely people and robots and angry raccoons and SEO generation algorithms at Business Insider, Matthew DeBord warns that “The TAG Heuer Connected is the first smartwatch that Apple should be worried about.”

Google Claims Mobile Search Result Impacting Yelp, TripAdvisor Is Bug [Daring Fireball]

Mark Bergen, writing for Recode:

Over the weekend, executives from public Internet companies Yelp and TripAdvisor noted a disturbing trend: Google searches on smartphones for their businesses had suddenly buried their results beneath Google’s own. It looked like a flagrant reversal of Google’s stated position on search, and a move to edge out rivals.

Nope, it’s a bug, claims Google. “The issues cited were caused by a recent code push, which we’re working quickly to fix,” a Google spokeswoman said.

In the meantime, the “issues” may be diverting tons of traffic from Google’s competitors. Some, particularly Google’s longtime rival Yelp, are not pleased. “Far from a glitch, this is a pattern of behavior by Google,” said its CEO Jeremy Stoppelman.

It’s a bug and a feature.

Tweet of the Day [Don Surber]

Happy Thanksgiving [Don Surber]

Have a great American holiday. Tweet of the Day posts at 5 PM Eastern.

I'll be back tomorrow with Glenn Kessler's worst "fact" checks ever.

Blocked by Bernie Sanders! [Don Surber]

If he gets elected, IRS comes after me, right?

UPDATE: I am now a Twitter Legend!

Do You Like What I Do For a Living? [Bradley M. Kuhn's Blog ( bkuhn )]

[ A version of this blog post was crossposted on Conservancy's blog. ]

I'm quite delighted with my career choice. As an undergraduate and even in graduate school, I still expected my career extend my earlier careers in the software industry: a mixture of software developer and sysadmin. I'd probably be a DevOps person now, had I stuck with that career path.

Instead, I picked the charity route: which (not financially, but work-satisfaction-wise) is like winning a lottery. There are very few charities related to software freedom, and frankly, if (like me) you believe in universal software freedom and reject proprietary software entirely, there are two charities for you: the Free Software Foundation, where I used to work, and Software Freedom Conservancy, where I work now.

But software freedom is not merely an ideology for me. I believe the ideology matters because I see the lives of developers and users are better when they have software freedom. I first got a taste of this IRL when I attended the earliest Perl conferences in the late 1990s. My friend James and I stayed in dive motels and even slept in a rental car one night to be able to attend. There was excitement in the Perl community (my first Free Software community). I was exhilarated to meet in person the people I'd seen only as god-like hackers posting on perl5-porters. James was so excited he asked me to take a picture of him jumping as high as he could with his fist in the air in front of the main conference banner. At the time, I complained; I was mortified and felt like a tourist taking that picture. But looking back, I remember that James and I felt that same excitement and just were expressing it differently.

I channeled that thrill into finding a way that my day job would focus on software freedom. As an activist since my teenage years, I concentrated specifically on how I could preserve, protect and promote this valuable culture and ideology in a manner that would assure the rights of developers and users to improve and share the software they write and use.

I've enjoyed the work; I attend more great conferences than I ever imagined I would, where now people occasionally walk up to me with the same kind of fanboy reverence that I reserved for Larry Wall, RMS and the heroes of my Free Software generation. I like my work. I've been careful, however, to avoid a sense of entitlement. Since I read it in 1991, I have never forgotten RMS' point in the GNU Manifesto: Most of us cannot manage to get any money for standing on the street and making faces. But we are not, as a result, condemned to spend our lives standing on the street making faces, and starving. We do something else., a point he continues in his regular speeches, by adding: I [could] just … give up those principles and start … writing proprietary software. I looked for another alternative, and there was an obvious one. I could leave the software field and do something else. Now I had no other special noteworthy skills, but I'm sure I could have become a waiter. Not at a fancy restaurant; they wouldn’t hire me; but I could be a waiter somewhere. And many programmers, they say to me, “the people who hire programmers demand [that I write proprietary software] and if I don’t do [it], I’ll starve”. It’s literally the word they use. Well, as a waiter, you’re not going to starve.

RMS' point is not merely to expose the false dilemma inherent in I have to program, even it's proprietary, because that's what companies pay me to do, but also to expose the sense of entitlement in assuming a fundamental right to do the work you want. This applies not just to software authorship (the work I originally trained for) but also the political activism and non-profit organizational work that I do now.

I've spent most of my career at charities because I believe deeply that I should take actions that advance the public good, and because I have a strategic vision for the best methods to advance software freedom. My strategic goals to advance software freedom include two basic tenants: (a) provide structure for Free Software projects in a charitable home (so that developers can focus on writing software, not administration, and so that the projects aren't unduly influenced by for-profit corporations) and (b) uphold and defend Free Software licensing, such as copyleft, to ensure software freedom.

I don't, however, arrogantly believe that these two priorities are inherently right. Strategic plans work toward a larger goal, and pursing success of a larger ideological mission requires open-mindedness regarding strategies. Nevertheless, any strategy, once decided, requires zealous pursuit. It's with this mindset that I teamed up with my colleague, Karen Sandler, to form Software Freedom Conservancy.

Conservancy, like most tiny charities, survives on the determination of its small management staff. Karen Sandler, Conservancy's Executive Director, and I have a unique professional collaboration. She and I share a commitment to promoting and defending moral principles in the context of software freedom, along with an unrelenting work ethic to match. I believe fundamentally that she and I have the skills, ability, and commitment to meet these two key strategic goals for software freedom.

Yet, I don't think we're entitled to do this work. And, herein there's another great feature of a charity. A charity not only serves the public good; the USA IRS also requires that a charity be funded primarily by donations from the public.

I like this feature for various reasons. Particularly, in the context of the fundraiser that Conservancy announced this week, I think about it terms of seeking a mandate from the public. As Conservancy poises to begin its tenth year, Karen and I as its leaders stand at a crossroads. For financial reasons of the organization's budget, we've been thrust to test this question: Does the public of Free Software users and developers actually want the work that we do?.

While I'm nervous that perhaps the answer is no, I'm nevertheless not afraid to ask the question. So, we've asked. We asked all of you to show us that you want our work to continue. We set two levels, matching the two strategic goals I mentioned. (The second is harder and more expensive to do than the first, so we've asked many more of you to support us if you want it.)

It's become difficult in recent years to launch a non-profit fundraiser (which have existed for generations) and not think of the relatively recent advent of gofundme, Kickstarter, and the like. These new systems provide a (sadly, usually proprietary software) platform for people to ask the public: Is my business idea and/or personal goal worth your money?. While I'm dubious about those sites, I do believe in democracy enough to build my career on a structure that requires an election (of sorts). Karen and I don't need you to go to the polls and cast your ballot, but we do ask you consider if what we do for a living at Conservancy is worth US$10 per month to you. If it is, I hope you'll “cast a vote” for Conservancy and become a Conservancy supporter now.

DoD working around $17 billion deficit for 2017 [FederalNewsRadio.com » Congress]

The Defense Department has a $17 billion deficit it is dealing with for fiscal 2017, partly exacerbated by President Barack Obama’s decision this fall to keep more troops in Afghanistan.

Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said there is a $14 billion deficit between the two-year budget deal Congress passed at the end of October and the President’s 2017 defense budget request.

The extra $3 billion comes from the decision to keep 5,500 troops in Afghanistan through 2017.

Work told reporters during his visit to Halifax, Canada this weekend that DoD was in the “end-game” of 2017 budget planning.

“We’ve made all our programmatic decisions — our big programmatic decisions,” Work said in a transcript of the exchange with reporters.

Work said he plans to sit down with the Office of Management and Budget on Dec. 4 and hopes to have everything locked down by Dec. 18. At that point, everything will be turned over to the budgeters, he said.

Work said DoD needs to “come to grips” on military compensation and determine what the size of the military pay raise will be, and what DoD will do about health care. He said that issue would be resolved by Dec. 2.

The 2016 Defense authorization bill includes a 1.3 percent increase in pay for the military, which will go into effect Jan. 1.

Work said that DoD is taking into account fuel prices and inflation numbers, which were delivered to Work on Nov. 20.

“That’s very important for us because that can either be an asset that frees up money for program, or it could be a cost and take money away from program,” Work said.

Another issue DoD will have to resolve is how much it will spend on its military assets in Europe. Congress gave DoD $1 billion in 2015 to “reassure” allies against Russian aggression. The President requested a little more than three-quarters of a billion dollars for 2016.

Work said decisions on the European Reassurance Initiative will also be solved on Dec. 2.

DoD has a lot to think about after Turkey shot down a Russian military plane on Nov. 24. Turkey is a part of NATO and therefore the United States is obligated to back the country. Also factored into that decision is how much more the department wants to invest in counterterrorism.

The two-year budget deal passed by Congress gives DoD $551 billion in base budget funding and $59 billion in overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding — a total of $610 billion for 2017.

OCO funding is used for emergency operations; however, recently it has been used as a relief valve by Congress to pay for base budget items without triggering sequestration.

The 2016 Defense authorization bill approves $607 billion for DoD, $5 billion less than expected. Congress originally planned to give DoD $612 billion in 2016 and used OCO as a means of avoiding sequestration.

Obama vetoed that bill on the grounds that it increased defense spending without upping domestic spending and did not solve the sequestration problem.

After the budget deal was passed Congress had to cut some increases it made to the President’s defense budget request to get to $607 billion.

The post DoD working around $17 billion deficit for 2017 appeared first on FederalNewsRadio.com.

Obama signs defense authorization bill despite Guantanamo provisions [FederalNewsRadio.com » Budget]

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed a $607 billion defense policy bill despite his opposition to restrictions in the legislation that ban him from moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States and making good on a long unfulfilled campaign promise.

Obama has opposed provisions preventing detainee transfers since Congress first attached the measures to spending bills in an attempt block Obama’s plans. The dispute has taken on added intensity this year because the White House has launched a final push to close to the prison before Obama leaves office.

In a statement, Obama said the bill “includes vital benefits for military personnel and their families, authorities to facilitate ongoing operations around the globe, and important reforms to the military retirement system” as well as other measures.

He added, however, that he is “deeply disappointed that the Congress has again failed to take productive action toward closing the detention facility at Guantanamo.” Keeping the prison open, Obama said, “is not consistent with our interests as a Nation and undermines our standing in the world.”

The White House and the Pentagon are preparing to send to Congress a plan outlining more precisely how it would shutter the prison and where in the U.S. might transfer detainees. The proposal, however, was not expected to overcome sizable opposition among Republicans and some Democrats.

That’s put the defense policy bill at the center of the debate over whether Obama would move some detainees from the detention center in Cuba to U.S. facilities without congressional approval. Some legal experts and Obama administration allies argue the restrictions are unconstitutional and are urging Obama to move the detainees and close the prison despite the provisions. The White House has said it is focused on working with Congress, but has not ruled out other options.

“As I have said repeatedly, the executive branch must have the flexibility, with regard to the detainees who remain at Guantanamo, to determine when and where to prosecute them, based on the facts and circumstances of each case and our national security interests, and when and where to transfer them consistent with our national security and our humane treatment policy,” Obama said in the statement.

But after Obama signed the bill, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said his approval “reaffirms longstanding prohibitions on the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.”

The legislation will guide Pentagon policy for nearly all of the remainder of Obama’s tenure. In addition to the detainee ban, it includes a 1.3 percent pay increase for service members, authorization for lethal assistance to forces fighting Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine and funding to help Iraqi forces fight Islamic State militants.

Obama vetoed an earlier version of the bill over a dispute — later resolved — about the way defense programs would be financed. He did not repeat the threat over the Guantanamo provisions, mindful that he would not have the votes to sustain a veto. The legislation passed with overwhelming support in both the House and Senate approval.

The White House announced the signing Wednesday afternoon along with five other bills.

The post Obama signs defense authorization bill despite Guantanamo provisions appeared first on FederalNewsRadio.com.

It’s illegal to make private copies of music in the UK—again [Ars Technica]

(credit: Adcro )

The UK's 2014 private copying exception, which allowed you to make personal copies of your own music, including format-shifted versions, has now been definitively withdrawn, according to The 1709 Blog. As a result, it is once more illegal to make personal backups of your own music, videos or e-books, rip CDs and DVDs to standalone digital files, or upload your music to the cloud.

The UK's new private copying exception had been in a state of legal limbo following a judicial review of the legislation in June, which had been sought by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, the Musicians’ Union, and UK Music. In his review, the High Court judge mostly found in favour of the UK government, except for one crucial aspect. He said the UK government's decision to bring in the new copyright exception was "flawed" because "the evidence relied upon to justify the conclusion about harm was inadequate/manifestly inadequate."

This left the UK government with three options. It could carry out further research to prove more rigorously that copyright holders would not suffer from the introduction of this personal copy exception, in which case the law could stand; it could repeal the relevant section of the law; or it could introduce a compensation scheme. In the end, it decide to throw up its hands and withdraw the private copyright exception completely.

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Star Wars beyond the films: Ars’ staff picks its fave games, toys, more [Ars Technica]

Stop the presses: A new Star Wars movie is coming out! Heard about it? Between the steady flow of new trailers, the talk show appearances, the Colbert-helmed Q&As, the SW-themed Google apps, and zillions of new toys, eager fans have no shortage of ways to get hyped for the December 18 launch of Episode VII.

Before the film can either live up to our lofty expectations or come crashing down in a tumultuous, fanboy-fueled blaze of disappointment, we wanted to take a Thanksgiving-holiday opportunity to remember some of our favorite Star Wars items—that is, ones outside of the official films. While our staff isn't much for the extended-universe-rich novels—which The Force Awakens appears to ignore—we enjoy our fair share of Force-filled video games, toys, and even amusement park gimmicks. Today, we share them with you while taking the day to enjoy time with our loved ones—or, at least, the loved ones not made by Kenner.

Heck yes, we have toys

Though I don't collect all that actively anymore, I've got a decent-sized collection of modern Star Wars toys—and by modern I mean post year 2000. I like collecting the new sculpts, and very little of what I have is vintage in any way. Right now they're all in my garage, and not the easiest to photograph, but I snapped a selection of them to show some of the things I like.

Read 25 remaining paragraphs | Comments

UK ISP boss points out massive technical flaws in Investigatory Powers Bill [Ars Technica]

(credit: Aurich Lawson)

The head of the UK ISP Arnold & Arnold, Adrian Kennard, has pointed out a number of major technical issues with the proposed Investigatory Powers Bill (aka the Snooper's Charter). Kennard and other representatives of the UK Internet Service Provider’s Association (ISPA) met with the Home Office on Tuesday, where they presented a number of ethical, technical, and privacy related issues with the incoming new law. These issues, plus some of the Home Office's responses, can be found in written evidence (PDF) penned by Kennard.

Kennard's key point is that the Internet Connection Records, which lie at the heart of the UK government's proposals, are largely meaningless for most modern online services. He recounts that, in the Home Office briefing this week, the example of a girl going missing was used once more to illustrate why the authorities want to be able to see which services she accessed just before disappearing, in the same way that they can track her phone calls. But Kennard and the other ISPA members pointed out this example betrayed a lack of understanding of how the Internet works today:

"If the mobile provider was even able to tell that she had used twitter at all (which is not as easy as it sounds), it would show that the phone had been connected to twitter 24 hours a day, and probably Facebook as well. This is because the very nature of messaging and social media applications is that they stay connected so that they can quickly alert you to messages, calls, or amusing cat videos, without any delay."

He also pointed out that the main protocol used online, TCP, can maintain a connection for hours or even days at a time, and that others such as SCTP and MOSH are designed to keep a single connection active indefinitely even with changes to IP addresses at each end,

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

A brief history of USB, what it replaced, and what has failed to replace it [Ars Technica]

We've all had this first-world problem, but USB is still leagues better than what came before. (credit: Sheepfilms)

It's Thanksgiving season here in the US, and it's a great time to pause and consider everything we're thankful for. One of those things is the humble USB port, which for all its quirks is vastly preferable to all the stuff that came before it. The piece below is a lightly updated version of this one from August of 2014.

Like all technology, USB has evolved over time. Despite being a “Universal” Serial Bus, in its 18-or-so years on the market it has spawned multiple versions with different connection speeds and many, many types of cables.

Read 29 remaining paragraphs | Comments

My coworkers made me use Mac OS 9 for their (and your) amusement [Ars Technica]

Enlarge / Welcome to 1999, friends! Everyone, buy Apple stock, trust me. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

It's Thanksgiving, all Ars staff is off, and we're grateful for it (running a site remains tough work). But one thing our Andrew Cunningham remains unthankful about is that time we forced him to take an extended dive back into the world of OS 9. We're resurfacing his experience from September 2014 for your holiday reading pleasure.

jonathan: perhaps AndrewC should have to use OS 9 for a day or two ;)
LeeH: omg
LeeH: that's actually a great idea

The above is a lightly edited conversation between Senior Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson and Automotive Editor Jonathan Gitlin in the Ars staff IRC channel on July 22 of 2014. Using Mac OS 9 did not initially seem like such a "great idea" to me, though.

I'm not one for misplaced nostalgia; I have fond memories of installing MS-DOS 6.2.2 on some old hand-me-down PC with a 20MB hard drive at the tender age of 11 or 12, but that doesn't mean I'm interested in trying to do it again. I roll with whatever new software companies push out, even if it requires small changes to my workflow. In the long run it's just easier to do that than it is to declare you won't ever upgrade again because someone changed something in a way you didn't like. What's that adage—something about being flexible enough to bend when the wind blows, because being rigid means you'll just break? That's my approach to computing.

Read 63 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Chip-based credit cards are old news; why is the US only rolling them out now? [Ars Technica]

(credit: Ciaran McGuiggan)

With the October 2015 deadline behind us and Square now offering a compatible reader, we're surfacing our explainer on the US' slow transition to the chip-and-PIN credit card system. This piece was originally posted in August 2014, but we've made some minor modifications to bring it up to date.

Earlier this week, mobile payments company Square announced that it is finally launching its long-awaited card reader that will accept payments from cards with an embedded chip or a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip. Currently, US consumers primarily rely on swipe-and-sign credit cards, which give card details to a merchant through the magnetic stripe on the back. But because the swipe-and-sign system became overburdened with instances of fraud, MasterCard, Visa, and other financial groups decided in 2012 that they would transition their systems to a chip-based setup called EMV (eponymous for EuroPay, MasterCard, and Visa, the three primary developers of the standard) by October 2015.

Square is hoping to capitalize on this transition by being one of the first companies out of the gate in the US to offer small- and medium-sized business owners a smaller, less-expensive alternative to buying a whole new set of credit card terminals.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Airbus proposes new drop-in airplane “cabin modules” to speed up boarding [Ars Technica]

Every few months, a crazy patent or research paper pops up that promises to revolutionise air travel. A few years ago, an astrophysicist devised a dehumanising algorithm that can decrease airplane boarding times by almost half, as long as you don't mind being split up from whoever else you're travelling with. Then, of course, there was Ryanair's idea of replacing normal seats with standing seats: near-vertical seats that have a tiny little ledge to rest your bum on.

Today, Airbus has been granted a patent (US 9,193,460) on a method that essentially turns an airplane into an articulated truck. The plane, instead of being a single, contiguous hull, would have a huge hole in the middle where the passengers and luggage would normally be. Instead of boarding the plane directly, passengers and luggage would be loaded into a separate "cabin module." Then, when the module is ready to go, it's simply dropped into the airplane. If you ever watched Thunderbirds as a kid, it's a lot like Thunderbird 2.

The purpose of the patent, in Airbus' own words, is to "reduce the immobilisation time of the aircraft and air terminal." In more human terms, this patent is all about reducing turnaround time. Instead of milling around in the departures lounge while an incoming plane is disembarked, cleaned, and restocked, you could already be taking your place in the drop-in cabin module. Likewise, hold luggage could be loaded up instantly, rather than waiting for the incoming plane to be emptied.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The digital “Monuments Men” are fighting the devastation of ISIS [Ars Technica]

There are days when Ross Davison feels as if people just aren't taking him seriously. The other day he was supposed to explain to a couple of guys what the future of their jobs is going to look like. It was a workshop in Indiana. There were students: engineers, historians, archaeologists—and Davison, a 26-year-old surfer-boy from Santa Cruz who only just graduated from university. One of those smartasses who studied something quirky with underwater-measurement.

"When we first met, they were so sure that I didn't have the slightest idea about what work really is“, he remembers. But those experts, they underestimated their teacher. Not for nothing does Davison offer his classes in Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan: there, people yearn to learn what he knows. His last lecture in Pakistan was packed, 30 people squeezed into the classroom.

Most of them were researchers from the region, students, and activists. People who know the place, locals. "They couldn’t wait to use the tools I showed them," says Davison. "One student proposed that we should secure an archaeological excavation site right away. The place is controlled by militias of the fundamentalist Taliban almost all year round."

Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Pi Zero: A full Raspberry Pi for just $5 [Ars Technica]

Have you ever wanted a Raspberry Pi but thought that £16/$25—roughly three packs of cigarettes—was a little exorbitant for a complete computer capable of running Linux? Well, I have good news: the Raspberry Pi Foundation has just released the Pi Zero, a single-board computer that costs just £4/$5.

The Zero isn't just some add-on module or something like that, either—it's a full-fledged member of the Raspberry Pi family. The Zero is powered by a Broadcom BCM2835 (the same SoC in the Raspberry Pi 1), with a 1.1GHz ARM11 CPU core. There's 512MB of RAM; a micro SD slot; a micro USB slot for data and power; and a mini HDMI socket that can output at 1080p60. Perhaps most importantly, though, the Zero has 40 GPIO pins with the same pinout as the Model A+, B+, and 2B.

The ARM CPU, according to the Foundation, is 40 percent faster than the original Raspberry Pi 1 Models A, A+, B, and B+. The SoC, plus the RAM and the standard GPIO layout, means that the Zero has enough chutzpah to run Raspbian, and it should also be fully compatible with most existing Raspberry Pi apps and projects.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Mozilla: We’re not getting money from Google any more but we’re doing fine [Ars Technica]

For many years, Firefox developer Mozilla generated substantial income from a sponsorship deal with Google; the search and advertising firm paid Mozilla in return for Firefox making Google its default search engine. That deal was ended last year, with Firefox defaulting to Yahoo in the US, Yandex in Russia, and Baidu in China.

Given the prior dependence on the Google deal, this was a big shift for the open source browser developer. Mozilla has just released its 2014 financial report; last year it had just shy of $330 million of revenue, 98 percent of which came from its search deals.

In 2014 that meant the Google deal, but now the organization says that it isn't receiving anything from Mountain View. Although Google remains the default search engine within Europe, Denelle Dixon-Thayer, Mozilla's chief business and legal officer, told CNET that "We don't have a commercial relationship with Google at this point."

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Photo - Dive Ops in Korea [BLACKFIVE]

U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal technicians conduct diving operations with a South Korean underwater demolition team in waters off Santa Rita, Guam, Nov. 20, 2015. The U.S. sailors are assigned to Commander Task Force 75. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Rolston

Book Sale On Kindle [BLACKFIVE]

Since it seems to be the thing to do, I am running a sale on all my works on Kindle starting this Friday. For a limited time, the three books in my "A Different View" photography series (A Different View: Travels to Al Qa'im and Beyond , A Different View: Travels with Team Easy, Iraq 2007 , and A Different View: DJ, Doura, and Arab Jabour ) which showcases day-to-day life of the troops in Iraq will be available for just $0.99 cents. My short story "Flight of the Fantasy " will also be available for just $0.99 cents, and my latest short story "Slaughterhouse " will be available for free. You don't have to have a Kindle to read them, you can download a free app for your computer or smart phone. If you have read, or do read them, please do leave an honest review of them.

Happy Thanksgiving All! [JustOneMinute]

You think you know a person, and then you find that Megan McArdle could have chucked the whole politics/economics thing years ago and gone into comedy. Her Thanskgiving tips.

Five Shot In Minneapolis [JustOneMinute]

We are offered conflicting narratives about a shooting in Minneapolis. Here is the WaPo with two versions [with UPDATES below]: Five Black Lives Matter protesters shot in Minneapolis; police searching for white suspects By Michael E. Miller and Lindsey Bever...

Thanks for Another Thanksgiving [Annoyed Librarian]

Thanksgiving has rolled around again. How time flies. And what do we have to be thankful for this year? If nothing else, we can be thankful that most of us aren’t this Harvard librarian who’s been arrested for allegedly attempting to have sex with a child. That’s got to put a damper on the holiday […]

Why the Supreme Court’s Endorsement of Technological Neutrality in Copyright May Be Anti-Technology [Michael Geist]

The Supreme Court of Canada issued its long-awaited decision in SODRAC v. CBC today, a case that has major implications for the role of technological neutrality in copyright. As I noted when it was argued before the court, though the case was about whether CBC should be required to pay royalties for incidental copies necessary to use new broadcast technologies, at stake was something far bigger: the future of technological neutrality under Canadian copyright law.  The case offers wins and losses for both users and creators, but the manner in which the court strongly affirmed the principle of technological neutrality runs the risk of actually undermining technological adoption.

CBC argued that technological neutrality means that it should not pay for incidental copies since it already pays for the use of music in broadcasts. The incidental copies – copies which are made to create the final broadcast version of a program (including copies from the master to a content management system or other internal copies to facilitate the broadcast) – do not generate revenue and are simply made to facilitate use of the music that is paid for through a licence. SODRAC, a Quebec-based copyright collective, countered that CBC had always paid for these copies and that the CBC argument was the reverse of technological neutrality, since it wanted to avoid payment in the digital world for copies that were being paid for with earlier, analog technologies. Other parties such as Music Canada used the case to argue for a narrow interpretation of the technological neutrality principle, claiming that it was just an “interpretative metaphor” (similar arguments about users’ rights being no more than a metaphor were rejected by the Supreme Court in 2012).

The court split 7-2 in the case, with Justice Rothstein writing his final copyright decision for the majority (he retired over the summer) and Justice Abella writing a dissent. On the specific issue of royalty payments, SODRAC emerged victorious as the majority ruled that the incidental copies engage the reproduction right and are compensable. The amount of compensation will be determined by the Copyright Board as the majority also ruled that it did not properly take into account the principle of technological neutrality in setting the rate.

The broader implications for Canadian copyright will take some time to figure out, but both users and creators will find elements they like and dislike. From a user perspective, there are several important, favourable findings. First, technological neutrality is confirmed as far more than a metaphor. Indeed, the court emphasizes that it is an integral part of the law:

The principle of technological neutrality is recognition that, absent parliamentary intent to the contrary, the Copyright Act  should not be interpreted or applied to favour or discriminate against any particular form of technology. It is derived from the balancing of user and right-holder interests discussed by this Court in Théberge — a “balance between promoting the public interest in the encouragement and dissemination of works of the arts and intellect and obtaining a just reward for the creator”: para. 30. Because this long-standing principle informs the Copyright Act  as a whole, it must be maintained across all technological contexts: “The traditional balance between authors and users should be preserved in the digital environment”.

Second, the court rejects the view – often raised in the Access Copyright context – that more copying necessarily means more royalties.  The majority states:

The notion that “more copies mean more value and thus, more royalties” is appealing in its simplicity. However, it is out of step with the principles of technological neutrality and balance.

Third, the court ruled that the Copyright Board may not compel a user to agree to the terms of a licence against the will of a user. In other words, Copyright Board tariffs are optional, not mandatory. This aspect of the decision will have clear reverberations for Access Copyright as educational institutions have assurances that they can decide for themselves if the collective’s licence is necessary and not have it mandated for them.

While these are important developments for the user community, the hope that technological neutrality would promote greater certainty and adoption of new technologies may have been lost.  As Justice Abella (rightly in my view) states in dissent:

The result of the majority’s conclusions is uncertainty as to the purpose and application of the principle of technological neutrality in the interpretation and application of the Copyright Act , uncertainty as to how users of copyrighted material are to exercise their authorized rights and activities without incurring additional copyright liability, and uncertainty as to the “value” of incidental activities.

The concern stems primarily from the majority’s decision to effectively expand technological neutrality to include not only a functional equivalence analysis (ie. ensuring that functionally equivalent technologies that are doing the same are treated equivalently) but add in a complex layer of valuation that will make judgements on royalties exceptionally subjective and uncertain.

The question of whether technological neutrality had an impact on the incidental copies at issue in this case came down to a matter of statutory interpretation. The majority ruled that the Copyright Act created specific exceptions that addressed broadcasting and that the court could not “do by ‘interpretation’ what Parliament chose not to do by enactment.” Justice Abella in dissent calls for a robust approach to technological neutrality and argues that the exceptions were enacted “in order to maintain technological neutrality, not a comprehensive statement on the content of the reproduction right, or which kinds of copies will trigger it.” She warns that “to find otherwise would trap Parliament in an interminable and losing game of catch-up with swift and unknown technological currents.”

The future complexity from the case comes from the majority’s extensive discussion on how technological neutrality factors into questions of valuation. SODRAC had argued that it did not factor at all. The majority disagreed, concluding that technological neutrality applies to both the interpretation of the Copyright Act and its application. In doing so, the majority identifies factors for the Copyright Board to consider that have nothing to do with the rights held by the rights holder:

Relevant factors will include, but are not limited to, the risks taken by the user, the extent of the investment the user made in the new technology, and the nature of the copyright protected work’s use in the new technology. The Board must assess the respective contributions of, on the one hand, the risks taken by the user and the investment made by the user, and on the other hand, the reproductions of the copyright protected works, to the value enjoyed by the user.  In this case, where the financial risks of investing in and implementing new technology were undertaken by the user and the use of reproductions of copyright protected works was incidental, the balance principle would imply relatively low licence fees to the copyright holder.

While this suggests that incidental copying as part of a new technology will result in a low royalty, the majority assures that the royalty will not be zero:

it will never be the case that, because a user makes a significant investment in technology or assumes substantial risk, royalties for the rights holder will amount to zero. From the moment the right is engaged, license fees will necessarily follow.

This approach is problematic. First, the linking compensation to user investment does not seem relevant for an analysis of value of copyright works. Indeed, if technological neutrality is a foundation of Canadian copyright law (as everyone agrees), why would the amount of the investment in different technologies designed to achieve the same purposes lead to different amounts of copyright royalties? The user investment and the technology used is a red herring and should be viewed as irrelevant.

Second, the automatic triggering of a licence fee similarly runs counter to technological neutrality. The court has previously emphasized the need to prevent imposing additional, gratuitous fees on the user simply for the use of more efficient technologies.  This decision runs directly counter to that, by actually supporting higher royalties for more efficient technologies.

The CBC v. SODRAC case was billed as placing the future of technological neutrality in copyright in the spotlight. It certainly lived up to expectations with the promise that technological neutrality analysis will become an increasingly important – though uncertain – factor, particularly for cases before the Copyright Board of Canada.

The post Why the Supreme Court’s Endorsement of Technological Neutrality in Copyright May Be Anti-Technology appeared first on Michael Geist.

The Thanksgiving Book Post [The Other McCain]

— by Wombat-socho What with all the pre-season tax training, an excursion to Portland, and what have you, it’s been way too long since my last book post, so let’s do this thing. First on the docket is Jean Larteguy’s The Centurions, the famous novel that bridges the First Indochina War and the Algerian War. […]

In The Mailbox: 11.26.15 [The Other McCain]

— compiled by Wombat-socho Wall Street Journal: The Desolate Wilderness… …And The Fair Land OVER THE TRANSOM EBL: Antisocial Personalities American Irony: Unamerican Sniper Michelle Malkin: Have A Happy, Politics-Free Thanksgiving Twitchy: POTUS Is Trolling Thanksgiving RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES American Thinker: The Alien Nation On Its Way BLACKFIVE: Book Sale On Kindle Conservatives4Palin: Sarah […]

In The Mailbox, 11.25.15 [The Other McCain]

— compiled by Wombat-socho OVER THE TRANSOM EBL: Being Thankful With Cat Meme Therapy Proof Positive: Give Us Your Tired, Poor Teeming Masses, No Huddle, Fourth And Long American Irony: Five Passive-Aggressive Ways To Handle Liberal Loved Ones At Thanksgiving The Political Hat: Public Service Announcement For All College Men Doug Powers: Obama To Pentagon […]

Nightmare on North Avenue [The Other McCain]

K.C. Johnson (@kcjohnson9 on Twitter) of Minding the Campus has posted the latest “John Doe” lawsuit alleging violation of due process rights in a sexual assault case, and John Doe v. Georgia Tech is the kind of nightmare that makes me want to shout: WARN YOUR SONS, AMERICA! NEVER TALK TO A COLLEGE GIRL! According […]

From our bulging "doomed to repeat it" files [halls of macadamia]

Say, Professor Obama...

doomed to repeat itRefresh my memory... how exactly did that "Pilgrim" thing work out for the folks already living in the neighborhood?


RELATED: As arrogant as Pierre

“I know that if I’m sitting here as Prime Minister, it has very little to do with my last name.”
Oh my gawd... you vainglorious twit.

Your surname is the only reason you're not degreasing the fry station at McDonalds.

Dear PM "Imagine All the People"... [halls of macadamia]

I get that aboriginal people in Canada are way more likely to be murdered, than, for example, the rest of epidermally privileged us.

What I'm curious to know is, what if the killer isn't actually that ol' racist Colonel Mustard with his Hudson's Bay blankets in the gender-specific bathroom?

According to party-poopers like StatsCan and the RCMP, there's a few other things to be considered here.

"The agency also examined the identities of those accused of homicide. It found almost a third of people accused of [homicide] last year were aboriginal. The rate of aboriginal people accused was 10 times higher than the rate for non-indigenous people. By gender, aboriginal people accounted for 30 per cent of men accused of homicide and 51 per cent of accused women."
While our newly-minted APEC hottie may not have packed a contingency parachute, it seems the national police service has already implemented their own "Plan B" to deal with any further possible disturbances to "The Force"...
"The RCMP said they no longer plan to release annual stats on missing and murdered aboriginal women."
Yeah... "too many facts..." we wouldn't want to clog up homicide investigations with any of that.

Anyway, your PILFiness, in light of your recent climbdown from that Syrian refugee mess, I just thought I'd give you a little heads-up.

That whole "running an entire country" deal is a little more complicated than teaching a high school drama class. Don't worry, though... only four more years.


"At the risk of breeching culturally appropriate protocols, we are NOT talking about roving bands of marauding Presbyterians, Jesuit or Lutheran reformers."

Is your safety and security... [halls of macadamia]

...dependent on Liberals calling audibles & gadget plays?do you believe in magic?Of course, the headline is a little misleading as it says nothing about the 15,000 refugees being admitted in the eight weeks after Christmas.

The government will prioritize complete families, women at risk, and members of the LGBT community. Single men will only be allowed to come to Canada if they identify as LGBT or are accompanying their parents as part of a family unit.
Ooh, there's some tough love. But wait, Coach Justin has called a double-reverse. The priority categories do not apply to the suddenly split-off group of 10,000 'privately sponsored' refugees.

"Privately sponsored" single men (and I predict an inexplicably sharp rise in the number of self declared gay Muslim men) will still be allowed to come to Canada like any other refugee... which renders the proviso above totally moot (and, incidentally, intentionally deceptive).

The one thing this proviso seems to do is shift responsibility for all the single men onto their private sponsors. I guess that if one of these guys blows himself up on the steps of Parliament, you will have to bring civil suit against the United Church and all the other private sponsors. Who says Pierre-lite doesn't have a certain animal cunning?

I guess that particular obfuscation will be enough of a climbdown to appease the media and the average low-information voter.

What we do know now is that 10,000 refugees will arrive between December 1 and Christmas. Given civil service 8 hour days (even with no lunches or coffee breaks) that means 416 persons per day will have to pass security and medical screening. 15,000 won’t arrive in Canada until the end of February and will now be screened at the rate of 375 per day. Of course, there's the outliers who have presumably been screened with the same magic wand that apparently don't count.
Officials said 102 Syrian refugees have arrived since Nov. 4, which is when they started the clock on the commitment. The 3,089 resettled between July 2013 and Nov. 3 did not count toward the total.
Fwiw, meeting the pre-Christmas deadline means clearing a refugee every 1.15 minutes. On the end of February deadline that's been stretched out to 1.28 minutes.

Feeling safer yet? Just don't turn on your tv.

"Every year at the holidays, millions of Americans partake in a whole parallel tradition: avoiding the 'crazy uncle'..." [Althouse]

"... that one exhausting relative who treats every event as a chance to assault you with their fringe political ideas, hector you about your life, infuriatingly question your values. Whole articles now offer strategies on how to handle this character when the family sits down around the table.... But wait: What’s so bad about crazy uncles? Who said the holidays need to be as boring as a George Pataki rally?... Yes, it’s time to be the crazy uncle for a change...."

That's Politico, "How to BE the Crazy Uncle This Thanksgiving." That's the only title in the hate-your-family subgenre of Thanksgiving stuff(ing) I've clicked on. Basically, politicos at all websites have figured out a way to keep writing about politics while purporting to provide Thanksgiving sustenance. The fiends.

It's Thanksgiving. Why are you reading a blog? [Althouse]

It's Thanksgiving. Why are you reading a blog?
pollcode.com free polls

"When I first saw it, I was kind of creeped out because it was just a random person on the street with a scary mask. I don't like clowns." [Althouse]

Said one young woman about the man dressed as a clown who's been seen walking around Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. People want the police to do something, but the police know the clown to be a developmentally disabled teenage boy who, they say, is "just doing this to see people's reaction," which is, of course, not a crime.

ADDED: Laws against wearing masks are not unheard of. This came up in the context of Guy Fawkes masks in the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2012:

[A]ccording to the New York Penal Law 240.35(4), it is illegal to congregate in public with two or more people while each wearing a mask or any face covering which disguises your identity. The law has existed since 1845, when tenant farmers, in response to a lowering of wheat prices, dressed up as “Indians” and covered their faces with masks in order to attack the police anonymously. There are exceptions for masquerades and other entertainment events that are deemed appropriate by the city (such as Halloween).

"When Palestinian artist Ashraf Fayadh was tried last year on blasphemy-related charges, the Saudi judges overseeing the case rejected the prosecution's request for a death sentence for apostasy." [Althouse]

"Instead, he was sentenced to 800 lashes and four years in prison over a book of poetry he wrote and for allegedly having illicit relations with women. An appeal was filed and the case was sent back to the lower court, but this time around judges threw out defense witness testimony, refused to accept Fayadh's repentance and on Nov. 17 sentenced him to execution for apostasy.... The case illustrates how courts in Saudi Arabia can issue vastly different punishments based on how judges interpret Islamic Shariah law.... While judges in the initial trial accepted Fayadh's repentance for anything deemed offensive to religion in his poetry book, judges in the retrial said the case was considered an instance of 'hadd' — specific crimes, such as apostasy, that have fixed punishments in Islam...."

From "Artist's death sentence in Saudi points to importance of interpretation in Islamic law" (in U.S. News & World Report).

"The opposite of ISIS" is the First Amendment, but "No principle of the First Amendment... requires us to pretend that a religiously motivated terrorist is not religious." [Althouse]

Writes lawprof Marci Hamilton.

... Americans can grasp that the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is decidedly not the same as the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And there are plenty of extremist groups in the United States from neo-Nazis to Skinheads to our own homegrown religiously motivated terrorists. That means Americans can get the difference between the millions of law-abiding Muslim believers and the extremist Islamic terrorists. And we actually need to make that distinction for the sake of the millions of good citizen Muslims....

The fact that these terrorists are mobilized by religion sends a message that their apocalyptic horizon is fervently and even feverishly embraced, and that it is not open to rational debate. These are terrorists who share a rigid religious dogma, and we have a long history showing us what religious entities can and will do when they decide to root out apostates. It is horrifying. Without the religious descriptor, it is too easy to treat them as political actors rather than the dogmatic, unbending fundamentalists that they are....
That is, there's something distinctive about the way religion goes wrong when it goes wrong, and to think about it rationally, you have to take account of the way it's irrational.

Tweeting at Taranto about Trump. [Althouse]

Happy Thanksgiving, blog readers. [Althouse]

Are you reading blogs this morning, like it's a normal day? I sure am, but I love normal days. It's absurd to complain that a holiday is interrupting the flow of normal days, when there's always the option of honoring the holiday by according it equal treatment with all those other days, the non-needy just-another-day days.

Pirate makes film to avoid being sued [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

A convicted Czech software pirate agrees to make a successful anti-piracy film in order to avoid being sued by the firms whose software he pirated.

The truth about Facebook quizzes [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

Much press attention has been devoted to a Facebook quiz which asked for large swathes of data in return for a word cloud of your most used words, but do we really need to worry?

VIDEO: Kids visit virtual reality picture gallery [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

The Dulwich Picture Gallery in London has become one of the first museums to offer a virtual reality tour of its collection.

How your nationality may influence your online Black Friday shopping [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

When it comes to shopping online, Germany is the most security conscious country in the world – most will use a security solution to thwart cybercriminals.

The post How your nationality may influence your online Black Friday shopping appeared first on We Live Security.

Zano drone makers detail spending [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

The company behind failed mini-drone Zano has provided some details of how more than £2m in funding was allocated.

Shrinking to Zero: The Raspberry Pi gets smaller [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

Launched in 2012, the Raspberry Pi has become Britain’s most successful homegrown computer. Now it’s getting smaller and cheaper.

Universities ‘best’ for business ideas [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

How universities in the south England are helping scientists turn their creativity into cash.

Cyber-thieves ‘target bargain hunters’ [The Category5.TV Newsroom » The Category5.TV Newsroom]

Cyber-thieves are preparing malware and spam campaigns in a bid to catch out retailers and shoppers during the run-up to Christmas, say experts.

Distribution Release: Oracle Linux 7.2 [DistroWatch.com: News]

Oracle has announced the release of Oracle Linux 7.2. Oracle Linux is built from Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code and is designed to be binary compatible with Red Hat's product. Oracle Linux 7.2 ships with two kernels, a "Red Hat Compatible Kernel" and Oracle's "Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel",....

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know [hogewash]

Walter Olson has posted some highlights of student demands from around the country. Here’s a doozy.QueerEngineering

I’m not sure how one would relate deviant sexuality to Physics or Astronomy or Engineering or Geography, all of which are subject of study for undergraduates at Dartmouth.

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

I think so, Brain … but the hardest part about surviving Thanksgiving Dinner Talking Points is the fowl language.

Grace and Reconciliation [hogewash]

David French recommends them over at NRO as the proper response to Thanksgiving Dinner Talking Points.

Mercy at the Thanksgiving table means not dropping the hammer on a condescending Millennial niece. Grace means striving to find a way to help make her Thanksgiving more meaningful and enjoyable — by treating her with kindness and taking a genuine interest in her life, especially her life outside her talking points.

Amen. Read the whole thing.

Google, Gooble! [hogewash]

Orion_Nebula_-_Hubble_2006_mosaic_18000M42 is most commonly known as the Orion Nebula, but it’s also called the Turkey Nebula.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image Credit: NASA

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

I think so, Brain … but if the Patriots played the Redskins, would they steal their stadium afterwards?

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day [hogewash]

When a felon’s not engaged in his employment
Or perfecting his felonious little plans,
His capacity of innocent enjoyment
Is just as great as any other man’s.

There are no posts planned for the next 24 hours concerning Team Kimberlin. Even an avowed atheist with no one to be thankful to deserves a quiet and peaceful Thanksgiving Day. There will be more days ahead during which we can consider their story, so a day off is in order.

Quote of the Day [hogewash]

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.

—Maya Angelou

Logins [hogewash]

2015 NOV 24 05:12:31 UTC
2015 NOV 24 05:17:07 UTC
2015 NOV 24 05:49:30 UTC

UPDATE—2015 NOV 24 15:41:22 UTC
2015 NOV 24 15:44:42 UTC
2015 NOV 24 15:46:48 UTC

UPDATE 2—2015 NOV 24 21:41:54 UTC

UPDATE 3—2015 NOV 25 02:22:06 UTC

NFL Thanksgiving Day open thread [Hot Air » Top Picks]

Ed: It’s Thanksgiving Day, which means that Americans will gather around the dinner table to share a feast, invoke God’s blessing, and get into arguments. Some want to manipulate the latter tradition into political food fights, but here at Hot Air’s we’re traditionalists. We’d prefer that you fight over the football games today.

Jazz: I hope you’re all having at least as much fun, feasting and family interaction as we plan on. I was following the #MyRepublicanUncle thread on Twitter this week which has provided much amusement, but in our case I actually am the Republican Uncle. My in-laws are also conservatives so any of the young folks who want to talk about socialism will have a tough sled to pull. Anyway, the one thing that still binds us all together is football.

Ed: This is a holiday rather than part of our weekly predictions, so we won’t mention (5-2 last week) season records (53-20) today.  Let’s just hope that we get three sweet potatoes for games today, and leave the turkeys on the dining room tables.

Jazz: I agree with Ed. This is no time for partisanship on such a wonderful holiday. A lesser man might mention his first 6-1 week of the season (still a sad 33-40) and the first session of defeating Ed, but I’m taking the high road and not bringing it up. Surely a cornucopia of winning predictions is coming my way today.

Ed: Here are my picks for the day:

  • Eagles at Lions (12:30 pm ET, FOX): It’s tempting to take the Lions at home, and they’ve played better of late. However, the Eagles score more 4.4 points per game and give up 4.5 fewer points per game. I’ll pick Philly in an upset, 24-20.
  • Panthers at Cowboys (4:30 pm, CBS): Tony Romo’s back, along with Dez Bryant, and the Cowboys managed to get past a struggling Miami Dolphins team on the road. Can they beat an undefeated powerhouse like the Panthers at home? The betting line says yes, but …. it seems questionable at best. The 4th-ranked Carolina defense will make the difference in a 21-17 nailbiter win for the Panthers.
  • Bears at Packers (8:30 pm, NBC): Last week, after the Pack lost its third straight game and Da Bears started looking competitive again, I might have given some thought to an upset. The Pack fixed most of its problems and won impressively in Minnesota, and Chicago lost to a backup QB at home. So, don’t expect an upset today. The Pack should rack up another win and keep its slim advantage in the NFC North, 27-17.


  • Eagles at Lions (12:30 pm ET, FOX): The Lions seem to be in the mood to just tick everyone off this season and I see no reason for them to stop now. The Eagles have been tough on the road, it’s true, but the Lions’ fans have been starting to pick up some juice. I’ll go with the home field advantage and take the Vegas line. Detroit in a close one… possibly in overtime, 27-24.
  • Panthers at Cowboys (4:30 pm, CBS): The Panthers had a great run with a long string of W’s, but I’ve been saying from the beginning that it was vaporware. The Boys are back in town (80’s reference totally intended) and they’ll carry the day strongly sending the Panthers to their next loss, 34-17.
  • Bears at Packers (8:30 pm, NBC):The late game will take place when we’re all passing out from turkey overload and this game won’t be any reason to try to stay awake late. The Pack is back and Green Bay will win it 30-16.

A happy and blessed Thanksgiving to Hot Air readers [Hot Air » Top Picks]

On behalf of everyone here at Hot Air, here’s to a happy, blessed, and peaceful Thanksgiving holiday to all of our readers and friends.

Traditionally, people look for presidential precedent to either George Washington, who first established the concept of a national day of Thanksgiving, or Abraham Lincoln, who put it firmly in our culture. The presidents between Washington and Lincoln also participated in this tradition, though, as well as the Congresses during our formative years. Pilgrim Hall Museum has a short collection of Thanksgiving proclamations from the founding presidents, and this one from James Madison is worth a reflection. Note that the date is fixed in April rather than November, as Washington had chosen, but the intent to give thanks to the Lord remains just as strong as it did with our first President.

The senate and House of Representatives of the United States have by a joint resolution signified their desire that a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity as a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God for His great goodness manifested in restoring to them the blessing of peace.

No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States. His kind providence originally conducted them to one of the best portions of the dwelling place allotted for the great family of the human race. He protected and cherished them under all the difficulties and trials to which they were exposed in their early days. Under His fostering care their habits, their sentiments, and their pursuits prepared them for a transition in due time to a state of independence and self-government. In the arduous struggle by which it was attained they were distinguished by multiplied tokens of His benign interposition. During the interval which succeeded He reared them into the strength and endowed them with the resources which have enabled them to assert their national rights, and to enhance their national character in another arduous conflict, which is now so happily terminated by a peace and reconciliation with those who have been our enemies. And to the same Divine Author of Every Good and Perfect Gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land.

It is for blessings such as these, and more especially for the restoration of the blessing of peace, that I now recommend that the second Thursday in April next be set apart as a day on which the people of every religious denomination may in their solemn assembles unite their hearts and their voices in a freewill offering to their Heavenly Benefactor of their homage of thanksgiving and of their songs of praise.

May your day be filled with praise, and with family, fun, fellowship, and feasting as well.

Golden State fact of the day [Marginal REVOLUTION]

So far this season, [Stephen] Curry has made 74 threes — the most in the NBA. Damian Lillard ranks second, with 45. To say that Curry is an outlier would be an insult to the word outlier. So far this season, 84 percent of NBA threes have come off assists. But for Curry, that number is just 62 percent, and his ability to get his own deadly looks beyond the arc is arguably his signature weapon as a scorer. For context, only one of Klay Thompson’s 33 threes has been unassisted this season.

Here is more from Kirk Goldsberry at 538.  Here is a Curry highlights reel.  Here is the educational philosophy of Kevin Garnett.  And ESPN has lost seven million subscribers in the last two years, that is quite a bleed rate.  Meanwhile, last night Kobe Bryant was one for seventeen.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shipping storage cost sentences to ponder [Marginal REVOLUTION]

It costs $300 to move a 40-foot container from Rotterdam to Shanghai…Here’s some more context. Let’s say that you want to travel for a year; it’s cheaper to put your personal belongings in a shipping container as it sails around the world than to keep it at a local mini-storage facility.

That is from Ryan Petersen, via Dan Wang.

What I’ve been reading [Marginal REVOLUTION]

1.Shahab Ahmed, What is Islam?: The Importance of Being Islamic.  Too much hermeneutics for my taste, but intelligent and interesting throughout.  The authors downplays the prescriptive side of Islam and plays up the experiential and polyvalent aspects of the religion.  If you are reading books in this area, this one should be part of your program.

2. Adam Sisman, John Le Carré: The Biography.  Entertaining, and puts him in the proper context, deserves its strong reviews.

3. Simon Critchley, Memory Theater. Very short book, hard to explain, often brilliant, here is one bit: “Hegel’s philosophy is a mnemotechnic system in the ancient and Renaissance tradition.  The difference is that what Hegel adds to his memory theater is time, that is, the experience of becoming.”  Not for everyone.

Arrived in my pile are:

David E. Bernstein, Lawless: The Obama Administration’s Unprecedented Assault on the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Edward Lucas, Cyberphobia: Identity, Trust, Security and the Internet.

Frank Trentmann, Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the 15th Century to the 21st.

Elaine C. Kamarck, Primary Politics: Everything You Need to Know About How America Nominates its Presidential Candidates.  From a quick glance, appears to be very useful.

We truly live in an insane world [Marginal REVOLUTION]

I can’t say I understand this FT article so well, but I suppose that is the point.  Which are two groups/persons implicated in buying oil from ISIS, or otherwise enabling such trades to take place?

First, Syria.  Or is that “Syria.”

Second, the head of the world chess federation, namely Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: “he is best known for his belief in aliens — he has repeatedly recounted an instance when he was abducted in 1997 by “people in yellow spacesuits”.”  And this:

Mr Ilyumzhinov has a diverse business empire, stretching from sugar to banking, and a network of contacts to match. He regularly meets the Dalai Lama, and he played chess with Libyan president Muammer Gaddafi shortly before his overthrow.

He also has been working with the Syrian central bank.  Here is NYT coverage, here are other sources.  As the old Haitian proverb states, if you’re not confused, you don’t know what’s going on…

Community Council elected [Ubuntu Fridge]

Hello everybody,

the Community Council has been elected and the results can be viewed here:


On the CC for the next two years are going to be:

  • Daniel Holbach
  • Laura Czajkowski
  • Svetlana Belkin
  • Michael Hall
  • Scarlett Clark
  • C de-Avillez
  • Marco Ceppi

Thanks to all the nominees and all the voters. Thanks a lot also to everyone who served on the CC the last two years.

Originally posted to the community-announce mailing list on Thu Nov 26 16:48:22 UTC 2015 by Daniel Holbach

Connected cars gather too much data about their drivers, say motorists associations [PCWorld]

Car drivers may imagine they have greater privacy than public transport users, but that isn't necessarily the case in modern, connected cars, European motoring organizations warned this week.

To help identify faults or plan maintenance, manufacturers are able to gather performance data from connected cars such as the total distance travelled, or the length and number of trips made.

But drivers may be unaware of just how much other information such cars allow manufacturers to gather about them.

A study conducted by German motorists organization ADAC for European lobby group FIA Region 1 found that in addition to trip and distance data, one recent model reported maximum engine revolutions, the status of vehicle lights -- and far more besides.

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

Meet Raspberry Pi Zero: The $5 computer is here [PCWorld]

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has hit rock bottom. After years of working to lower the cost of hobbyist and educational computing, founder Eben Upton says it can go no further: At just US$5 its latest creation, Raspberry Pi Zero, is as cheap is it can make a computer.

The $5 Zero follows the wildly successful Raspberry Pi A, B and 2 computers, which cost $20 to $35.

But despite the staggeringly low price, the Zero still has many of the same features, and runs about 40 percent faster than the Raspberry Pi 1.

At the heart of its 65 x 30 millimeter circuit board is a Broadcom BCM2835 application processor, the same as in the Raspberry Pi 1, with a 1GHz ARM11 core. The board holds 512MB of RAM, and the operating system is loaded from micro-SD card.

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

Older Dell devices also affected by dangerous eDellRoot certificate [PCWorld]

Users of Dell Windows-based laptops, desktops, tablets and other devices that were bought before August should check if their systems have the self-signed eDellRoot certificate that can compromise their private communications.

The certificate was installed by Dell Foundation Services (DFS), an application that Dell preloads on many of its devices in order to ease customer service and technical support functions.

After the certificate's existence came to light earlier this week, Dell said that it started deploying the certificate through a Dell Foundation Services version released in August. This led many people to believe that only Dell devices bought since August were affected.

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

Millions of embedded devices use the same hard-coded SSH and TLS private keys [PCWorld]

Thousands of routers, modems, IP cameras, VoIP phones and other embedded devices share the same hard-coded SSH (Secure Shell) host keys or HTTPS (HTTP Secure) server certificates, a study found.

By extracting those keys, hackers can potentially launch man-in-the-middle attacks to intercept and decrypt traffic between users and millions of devices.

Researchers from security firm SEC Consult analyzed firmware images for over 4,000 models of embedded devices from more than 70 manufacturers. In them they found over 580 unique private keys for SSH and HTTPS, many of them shared between multiple devices from the same vendor or even from different ones.

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

How to get the best Black Friday deals on your Android phone [PCWorld]

Another Black Friday is here, and this time you’ll swear there’s no chance you’ll sucked into the craze. Before you know it, you’re shivering in the cold on the day after Thanksgiving waiting for the electronics store to open. 

Enough with the denial. No matter your philosophical objection to the chase-after-the-bargains madness, there are usually deals that might line up with your holiday wish list. 

So get your phone ready, because with the right apps and services, you just might make it out alive. If nothing else, maybe this will give you something to do while you tune out Uncle Bobby’s rant about how President Chester A. Arthur shouldn’t have taken office because he was really a Canadian.

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

InfoWorld's 2015 geek gadget gift guide [PCWorld]

The technology gifts you won't find simply anywhereInfoWorld 2015 geek gadget gift guide

The gift-giving holidays are fast approaching, and geeks across the world are dreaming about techno toys. In the spirit of spreading holiday cheer of the gadget variety, InfoWorld presents our picks for the coolest gadgets for the gift-giving season tailor-made for that special geek in your life.

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

16 of the best traditional holiday movies now streaming [PCWorld]

What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving Holiday than to binge-watch all your favorite holiday movies!

Post Google, Mozilla's new search deals to make up revenue [PCWorld]

The Mozilla Foundation is getting most of its revenue from Yahoo, Yandex and Baidu after the end of its large deal with Google last year.

The nonprofit behind the Firefox browser and other software reported its financial results on Wednesday for 2014, the last year for which the lucrative Google deal contributed.

The foundation's total revenue for 2014 was US$329.5 million, close to $15 million more than a year prior.

The Google deal accounted for for 88 percent of its revenue in 2013, or about $275 million. It likely also helped Mozilla's modest growth in 2014.

But since that arrangement ended,  Mozilla has made deals with other search providers to be the default engine in its browsers. The largest deals are with Yahoo, Yandex and Baidu, with others including Amazon, eBay and Bing. It also receives donations and grants.

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

US spy court appoints lawyers to panel of advisers [PCWorld]

A secret U.S. spy court has appointed a five-member panel of advisers as part of the reform of the surveillance of the National Security Agency.

The presiding judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review have jointly designated five persons to be eligible to serve as an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, according to a notice on the FISC website.

The appointments have been made under the USA Freedom Act, the reform legislation that was signed into law on June 2 by President Barack Obama.

The panel consist of four lawyers and a professor of law, and does not include technology experts, although the USA Freedom Act provides for a panel of experts at the FISA court to provide guidance on matters of privacy and civil liberties, communications technology, and other technical or legal matters.

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

Microsoft beefs up security products to block adware [PCWorld]

Microsoft is adding a new opt-in defense for enterprises to block adware, which is often sneakily wrapped into free downloads.

Adware is often classified as a potentially unwanted application, or PUA, an industry term for applications that aren't necessarily malware but could be a security or performance risk.

"These applications can increase the risk of your network being infected with malware, cause malware infections to be harder to identify among the noise, and can waste helpdesk, IT, and user time cleaning up the applications," according to a Microsoft blog post.

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

Dridex spam campaigns target the US, UK and France [PCWorld]

The Dridex botnet, which targets financial credentials, appears to be gaining steam again, striking computers in the U.S., U.K. and France.

Trend Micro is the latest security vendor to say it is seeing Dridex activity after the U.S. Department of Justice said last month it had significantly disrupted it in a joint action with the U.K. 

Sometimes referred to as Cridex or Bugat, Dridex is advanced malware that collects financial login details and other personal information that can be used to drain bank accounts.

Trend has seen multiple spam campaigns sending out malicious attachments, such as Excel or Word documents, that could install Dridex, wrote Ryan Flores, a threat research manager.

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

Google receives steady stream of 'right to be forgotten' requests [PCWorld]

Google continues to receive a steady stream of requests to delist specific search results as a result of a controversial European court ruling.

The company said Wednesday it has received 348,085 requests since it launched its program after the European Court of Justice's ruling in May 2014. That's up from about 300,000 it had received by the end of July.

The court's ruling allows people to ask search engines to delist results to content that is inadequate, irrelevant or not in the public interest, the so-called "right to be forgotten."

The search engine can decide whether to scrub the results or not based on the circumstances. Google provided some anonymized examples of how it handled certain requests.

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

Apple eyes OLED screens for the iPhone in 2018, report says [PCWorld]

Apple is reportedly planning a switch to OLED screens for the iPhone, replacing the current LCD technology with one that produces a brighter, more vibrant image.

The company will make the switch in 2018, according to a report in the Thursday morning edition of Japan's Nikkei newspaper, and has already begun talking to display makers to ensure sufficient supply.

OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology is fundamentally different from the liquid crystal displays (LCDs) used in current iPhones and iPads.

LCDs work by electronically switching pixels on and off so that light from a rear panel is either allowed through or not. With OLEDs, a small amount of organic material exists in each pixel, and applying a current causes the material to emit light. Because it doesn't require the back lighting panel or switching layer, OLED screens can be thinner. They're also more power efficient, and most people agree the resulting image is superior to an LCD.

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

Michael Ramirez Explains [Power Line]

(John Hinderaker)

Last night I did a not-very-serious post about this cartoon by my favorite cartoonist, Michael Ramirez. I liked the cartoon, I said, and the three turkeys pictured bore an obvious resemblance, but I felt like I was missing something:


Lots of readers weighed in with their interpretations. But now we have the definitive word from Michael Ramirez himself, who took note of my puzzlement and wrote to explain:

Hey John,

Sorry for the confusion. It was the rare cartoon with no deep penetrating message or profound thought but merely a reflection of my view of the President’s recent performance on the world stage and the disastrous results of his destructive and dangerous policies.

Looking at the President’s failed policies and feckless performance, President Obama is merely a member of the flock, leading from behind a tree, trying to survive.

I hope this explains the cartoon.

I thought of putting the caption, “Turkeys” under the ‘toon but a friend and a colleague told me it was so obvious that it was unnecessary.

They’re fired… Just kidding.

I’m a huge fan of PL. Keep up the great (and necessary) work

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Best wishes,

p.s. Tell them to buy my new book, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Obamacare. It is filled with cartoons that are far less ambiguous and makes a great gift for conservatives and a much needed guide for progressives.

Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving to you, Michael, and to our readers: buy this book!

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 12.41.34 PM

Thanksgiving in Pictures: Gobble Edition [Power Line]

(Steven Hayward)

As usual I’ve got a huge inventory of cartoons, pics, and memes for Saturday, so I thought a Thanksgiving-themed preview is in order. One of these reminds me of an old Reagan line about Detente with the Soviet Union: “Detente—isn’t that what a farmer has with the turkey—until Thanksgiving?” Yup. Happy Thanksgiving everybody.







Branco Turkey copy


Vader Thaksgiving copy

Kligon Hobbit Thanksgiving copy Cowboys Thanksgiving copy Aflac Thanksgiving copy Facebook Thanksgiving copy One Piece copy Chill Bird copy Jedi Turkeys copy Cook Turkey copy Pop Up copy Turkinator copyAnd finally. . .


Oh what the heck, why not:

Miss Turkey copy

Unraveling the Harvard Law School Hate Crime [Power Line]

(John Hinderaker)

I wrote here about the supposed hate crime that has roiled Harvard Law School: someone put small pieces of black tape over the portraits of black law professors that hang in Wasserstein Hall. This incident is somehow related, we are told, to the fact that the law school’s crest includes three sheaves of wheat, taken from the arms of a man named Isaac Royall, a slaveowner who donated money with which the law school was founded 200 years ago:


A student group called Royall Must Fall has been campaigning to get rid of the law school’s crest. With the discovery of the pieces of tape (coincidentally, by a Social Justice Warrior), the school went into full hysteria mode. Dean Martha Minow told students that racism is a “serious problem” at Harvard Law School, which she has led since 2009, apparently without noticing the “serious problem” until now.

Almost all campus hate crimes turn out to be hoaxes, and this one probably is too. That argument is made by a group of Harvard Law students who have anonymously set up a web site called Royall Asses. The linked page is titled: “Relax: It Was a Hoax, Not a ‘Hate Crime,’ at Harvard Law School.” Other pages include “What the Royall Asses Did”, “The Evidence Inculpating the Royall Asses”, “Who Are the Royall Asses?” and “Chance of Harvard Law ‘Hate Crime’ Hoax is 99.99%”.

I won’t try to summarize the evidence; suffice it to say that it is highly persuasive. I will merely note that not all of the black professors’ pictures were defaced: the photo of Lani Guinier, the most radical of Harvard’s black law professors, was untouched.


Oh, one more thing: black protesters did exactly the same thing–placed tape over the portraits of black law professors–a year ago. I suspect that the authors of Royall Asses have understated the probability of this event being a hoax.

Things seem to have quieted down a bit at the law school, and there hasn’t been any news about the hate crime investigation for a few days. If it becomes obvious that it was a hoax, the school will likely let the whole thing fade away, while nevertheless adding a diversity sinecure or two to the school’s staff to counter its serious racism problem. The most recent fallout I can find is an op-ed in the Boston Globe by a “diverse” third-year scholarship student, urging law school alumni to stop supporting such a racist institution–a singularly ungrateful act, ill-timed for the season of Thanksgiving.

Discipline in the 2016 race [Power Line]

(Paul Mirengoff)

John Sears, Ronald Reagan’s one-time campaign manager, once said “discipline is nine-tenths of politics.” And, as Tevi Troy reminds us:

Candidate Reagan put Sears’ dictum into action, running a relentlessly focused communication operation that kept to its message of the day, often to the consternation of the reporters following the campaign. This approach continued into Reagan’s presidency. As the authors of All the President’s Spin put it: “Ronald Reagan’s administration broke new ground with its message discipline and image control.”

The same was true of George W. Bush. Troy, who worked in the Bush administration, recalls Bush’s chief-of-staff Andy Card saying “George W. Bush is the most disciplined person I have ever met: He’s disciplined in his exercise, his worship, and how he runs his White House.”

Even Bill Clinton was a disciplined politician up to a point. Troy notes that he “maintained strict message discipline – recall ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ – setting up a war room, and maintaining the standard of never letting a charge go unanswered for 24 hours.”

For all of his faults and despite his occasional fits of public pouting, President Obama seems disciplined, though maybe “willful” is a better description. Certainly no one can deny that his presidential campaigns were highly disciplined.

How does the current batch of presidential contenders fare under the John Sears test? Donald Trump’s campaign strikes me as the least disciplined ever, at least at the superficial level where my political mind operates.

There is probably a method to Trump’s madness, and I suspect he’s organizing well behind the scenes. But a disciplined campaigner Donald Trump is not. He will put the John Sears theory to a stern examination.

Ben Carson, by contrast, exercises extraordinary self-control. However, he hasn’t put himself in a position to talk about foreign policy at more than a very superficial level. Maybe there is just too much to learn.

Jeb Bush was something of a gaffe machine early on in his campaign. He seems to lack his brother’s discipline. Maybe this was just a function of being at a different stage in his life.

Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina strike me as severely disciplined campaigners. However, we don’t know much about how they operate behind the scenes, and thus how disciplined they are when it comes to organizing.

Fiorina probably lacks the resources needed to put together a campaign juggernaut. As between Cruz and Rubio, I get the impression that Cruz has done a better, more disciplined job of organizing, but I could easily be wrong.

What about Hillary Clinton? She sometimes struggles when she speaks off the cuff. However, she has the discipline to keep such occasions to a minimum.

The first Democratic debate, for which she clearly prepared intensely, showed her at her disciplined best. The second debate confirmed how difficult it can be consistently to maintain discipline over the long haul, particularly at an advanced age.

There is only one Ronald Reagan.

Desperately seeking ISIS [Power Line]

(Scott Johnson)

Over the past few months I’ve been researching law enforcement issues related to Minnesota’s large community of Somali immigrants. The Paris massacres and Syrian refugee crisis have given the issues a renewed timeliness. I turned some of my research to use in the article just published by the Weekly Standard: “The threat from ‘Minnesota men.'” Please check it out! I am grateful to Standard managing editor Richard Starr and his crew for making room for it in the new issue.

The subject reentered the news in a big way this past April when six “Minnesota men” were charged with seeking to join ISIS. The original criminal complaint and underlying FBI affidavit have been posted online here by the Department of Justice. The Wall Street Journal article that I mention in the lead paragraph of my article is “U.S. charges six Minnesota men with trying to join ISIS.”

Reading the criminal complaint and underlying affidavit, I was struck by how “connected” the six men were to local schools and jobs. They were “connected” right up until the moment they weren’t. The Star Tribune noted this aspect of the case in the article “Minneapolis men facing ISIL-linked terrorism charges belie stereotypes.” I was also struck by the mysterious appearance of cash to pay for the travel each of the six planned to Syria.

In the case of Guled Omar, the travel expenses were to be defrayed in part by taxpayers. The affidavit reveals: “Bank records obtained show that OMAR withdrew $5,000 in cash from his federal educational financial aid debit card in the weeks leading up to his attempted departure.” It’s a striking fact I haven’t seen noted or have overlooked in news of the charges.

Omar, incidentally, was one of the 12 vetted refugees turned jihadists to make the dishonor roll promulgated this week by the indomitable Senator Jeff Sessions. Senator Sessions’s dishonor roll was reported here earlier this week by Breitbart’s Neil Munro.

Who Is On Question Time Tonight? [Guido Fawkes]


Tonight’s episode will be from Wythenshawe in Manchester. Maybe Ken will finally give a proper apology

Tagged: BBC, Question Time

Quentin Writes Around Sally [Guido Fawkes]

Buy "The Speakers Wife"

Quentin Letts’ new novel The Speaker’s Wife’, is published today. It is about Parliament and the Church of England, mainly. In the book a sly little backbencher fancies his chances of becoming Speaker of the Commons. To help him win the Chair, his supporters devise an election strategy called ‘Operation Chaise’ and it is laid out in a document which states:

“A would-be Speaker must show himself devoted to the House. He attends the start of Questions every day and adjournment debate every evening. Statements, Urgent Questions, Opposition-day debates – all attract his presence. Even Westminster Hall.

A would-be Speaker has a safe seat and can therefore afford to be magnanimous in debate. By arguing against pork-barrel issues he will present himself a politician of principle and impress the weekly columnists who deplore low populism. Immigration is a worry in his seat? He makes a speech deploring racism. It will cost him a few thousand votes but he will impress Hon Members whose political views are so much more refined.

A would-be Speaker is rude to his own frontbenchers, yet not to backbenchers on both sides. He catches the eye of those who have just spoken and nods in agreement. He may even write these MPs notes of congratulation and have them taken immediately to the recipient by the doorkeepers. He extols the ‘clarity and verve’ of plodders. They will be pathetically grateful. He tells ranters that ‘despite the false polarities of our parliamentary system and the silly convention that we should heckle one another, it must remain possible to hear a colleague on the other side of the House speak – ‘as you just did with such remarkable succinctness and courage’ – and agree with every word that is uttered’. These letters may be composed in a florid hand, in a fountain pen.

A would-be Speaker will also defend any MP who has been attacked by Grub Street. He will disdain those who ‘undermine the work we all do in this place’.”

Fiction? The book also has a sexy young Russian woman who gains a security pass to the Palace of Westminster. But of course that is an absurd fiction, as Mike Hancock will tell you. As for a colourful speaker’s wife, is that plausible? 

Available on Amazon: The Speaker’s Wife 

Tagged: Parliament

LibDem Kingston Council Leader Paedophile Re-Arrested [Guido Fawkes]


Former Liberal Democrat Kingston Council leader Derek Osbourne has been taken into custody after breaching the terms of his sexual offences order. Osbourne, who pleaded guilty in 2013 to possessing and distributing indecent images of children, served only half of a two year sentence in jails including Wandsworth and Brixton. This is despite being caught with more than 5,000 indecent images of children, including 50 in the most extreme category possible. Guido is sure that Tim Farron is happy that he won’t have to deal with it…

Tagged: Lib Dems, Liberal Democrats

Salmond Misses Syria Debate to Unveil Portrait of Himself [Guido Fawkes]

One notable absentee during the Syria debate in the Commons today: the SNP’s Foreign Affairs spokesman at Westminster was nowhere to be seen. Surely rumours that Alex Salmond missed the PM make the case for war because he wanted to unveil a portrait of himself in Scotland were just nasty unionist smears? Alas not.

Peak Salmond.

Tagged: SNP

Daesh Release Slick New Propaganda Video [Guido Fawkes]

In light of today’s debate on Syria it seems appropriate to reveal Daesh’s new propaganda video. The slickly shot flick derides the secular west and its regional allies, even citing the suicides of American soldiers as an example of how Western intervention is immoral. Stay classy Daesh-bags…

Despite its message, Guido will concede that the video is very handily edited. If you think you can edit videos to a similar standard (or you’re a disaffected jihadi looking for an exit strategy) then apply for a job at Guido Fawkes here.

Tagged: ISIS

Labour MP Warns of “World War Between Christians and Muslims” [Guido Fawkes]

Congratulations to loony lefty Labour MP Paul Flynn for submitting the least helpful intervention in the Syria debate. Flynn reckons attacking ISIS will “escalate a regional war into a world war between Christians and Muslims”Guido awards him the Order of the OTT…

Tagged: Labour Party, Loony Left, WAR!

Bomber Blunt’s Syria U-Turn [Guido Fawkes]

Three weeks ago Crispin Blunt, the chair of the Foreign Affairs select committee whose voice is crucial for Cameron in winning over MPs on Syria, opposed war:

“We are concerned that the Government is focusing on extending airstrikes to Syria, responding to the powerful sense that something must be done to tackle ISIL in Syria, without any expectation that its action will be militarily decisive, and without a coherent and long-term plan for defeating ISIL and ending the civil war… [as things stand] the Government should not try to obtain Parliamentary approval to extend British military action to Syria.”

Today Blunt backed bombing:

“On balance the country would be best served by this House supporting [the PM’s] judgement.

That should help Mark Harper get the numbers…

Tagged: Tories, WAR!

Chinese Labour Camp Victim Contradicts McDonnell’s Green Room Claim [Guido Fawkes]

John McDonnell was on the Today programme this morning to defend his Mao “joke”, where he was condemned by Chinese author Diane Wei Liang, who was sent to a labour camp as a 3 year-old and forced to quote from the Little Red Book. McDonnell boldly claimed that he had spoken to Liang off air, and that she told him that she understood his ‘joke’:

“I just had a chat with that young lady – that lady – and she said ‘actually I understood the joke'”

Liang herself told Today that she absolutely did not understand it, and that as a labour camp victim she did not find it funny at all:

“Not I can understand perhaps because of my background. I grew up in China and to me it was not very funny and I rather think it’s not funny for the millions of people who died during Mao’s regime, nor for those who lived through those times.”

Who to believe? The Chinese Labour camp internee or John McDonnell?

Tagged: BBC, Today

John MaoDonnell Didn’t Consult His Deputy About Little Red Book [Guido Fawkes]

Seema Malhotra was on Newsnight last night, where she was quizzed about John McDonnell’s bizarre decision to quote from the writings of the venerable Chairman Mao. Seema, who serves as McDonnell’s deputy in the treasury team, was forced to concede that she wasn’t even consulted by the shadow chancellor about whether or not it was a good idea to quote from the writings of one of history’s most prolific mass murderers. Not like Labour to roll out an idea that hasn’t been properly reviewed. It’s the Edstone all over again…

However Guido is unsurprised despot McDonnell didn’t consult his minions before making the decision. Mao would most certainly approve…

Tagged: Labour, Labour Party, Newsnight

Linux Australia suffers another data leak [Full Circle Magazine]

Linux Australia has suffered a second leak of data from its servers, according to a message sent to its main mailing list by president Joshua Hesketh.
The umbrella organisation for Linux user groups in the country suffered a data breach in March this year.
Hesketh said a limited amount of personal information had been leaked as a result of the breach. He said it was not related to the earlier breach.
The complete details of how the March breach was effected have yet to be released.
Hesketh said the breach affected Linux Australia’s legacy wiki system which was being used by a small number — 0.5 per cent — of current and non-current members.
A community member had alerted the organisation to the leak. The website has now been taken offline.

Source: http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/open-source/70431-linux-australia-suffers-another-data-leak
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Home security gateway runs Linux, features glowing orb [Full Circle Magazine]

Dojo-Labs announced a Linux-based “Dojo” home security gateway that notifies users of security threats via a mobile app and a glowing orb.

An Israeli startup called Dojo-Labs has launched $99 presales on its Dojo security device, with shipments due March 8. After the first year, yearly subscriptions cost an additional $99 per year. CEO Yossi Atias has confirmed to LinuxGizmos that the device runs on a Linux operating system based on a Broadcom distribution.
Like the $49 Cujo device, which successfully completed its Indiegogo funding on Nov. 13, the Dojo is a Linux-based unified threat management (UTM) security device that sits between your Internet source and Internet router. Other similarities include a soft, consumer friendly design and, weirdly enough, a four-letter name that ends in “jo.”

Source: http://linuxgizmos.com/home-security-gateway-features-glowing-orb/
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

KNOPPIX 7.6.0 Live Linux OS Officially Released, Features Popular 3D Programs [Full Circle Magazine]

According to the release notes, KNOPPIX 7.6.0 is now based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 8 (Jessie) operating system, but it’s powered by a recent Linux 4.2 kernel. It includes updated graphics drivers for Nvidia and Radeon cards, as well as various packages from the Debian Testing (Stretch) and Unstable (Sid) software repositories.

“Version 7.6.0 of KNOPPIX is based on the usual picks from Debian stable (jessie) and newer graphics drivers or desktop software packages from Debian/testing and Debian/unstable (sid). It uses kernel 4.2.2 and xorg 7.7 (core 1.17.3) for supporting current computer hardware,” says Klaus Knopper.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/knoppix-7-6-0-live-linux-os-officially-released-features-popular-3d-programs-496659.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

rifftrax: Rifftrax: A Day of Thanksgiving (1951)Fun... [kevin w murphy]


Rifftrax: A Day of Thanksgiving (1951)

Fun Thanksgiving fact: ‘Thanksgiving’ is a combination of two words, ‘tha’ and ‘nkgsiving’, possibly. Nobody really knows.


rifftrax: Rifftrax: Dining Together (1947)Dining together:... [kevin w murphy]


Rifftrax: Dining Together (1947)

Dining together: sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, that’s pure hubris on your part, and probably the Prince of Lies himself whispering prideful thoughts in your ear. Show a little humility for once by watching this instructional film which takes you through the minefield of napkin-folding, soup-eating, and sitting in a chair.


Enjoy the pleasantness.

mcconville: Get Pistol Shrimps Radio into your life. I OWN... [kevin w murphy]


Get Pistol Shrimps Radio into your life.


spicyhorror: The Max Headroom broadcast signal... [kevin w murphy]


The Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion (1987)

During a broadcast of the Dr. Who episode “Horror of Fang Rock” on WTTW Chicago Channel 11, on Sunday November 22nd, 1987, at around 11:15pm, a video hacker wearing a Max Headroom mask hijacked the signal and transmitted one of the weirdest, unauthorized things ever to hit the Chicago airwaves.

Earlier in the evening on the same day, during the Nine O'Clock News on Channel 9 the Max Headroom hacker also broke in - although it was for a much shorter time and there was no audio.

Neither the hijacker nor any known accomplices have ever been found, caught or identified.

lastowka: I hadn’t rewatched the Ice Cream Bunny’s entrance... [kevin w murphy]


I hadn’t rewatched the Ice Cream Bunny’s entrance in years. It’s even greater than I remembered.

RiffTrax Live: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny is on 12/3. Tickets here.

I hadn’t rewatched the Ice Cream Bunny’s entrance... [Conor Lastowka]

I hadn’t rewatched the Ice Cream Bunny’s entrance in years. It’s even greater than I remembered.

RiffTrax Live: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny is on 12/3. Tickets here.

Stronger Locks, Better Security [LISNews:]

What if, in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, or cybersecurity attacks on companies and government agencies, the FBI had come to the American people and said: In order to keep you safe, we need you to remove all the locks on your doors and windows and replace them with weaker ones. It's because, if you were a terrorist and we needed to get to your house, your locks might slow us down or block us entirely.  So Americans, remove your locks! And American companies: stop making good locks!

From Stronger Locks, Better Security | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Firefox maker Mozilla: We don't need Google's money anymore [LISNews:]


The organization once banked on the millions that Google paid for search traffic from the Firefox browser. Now it relies on Yahoo, Baidu and others, and it expects revenue to grow.

From Firefox maker Mozilla: We don't need Google's money anymore - CNET

The Birth And Death Of Privacy: 3,000 Years of History Told Through 46 Images [LISNews:]

Privacy, as we understand it, is only about 150 years old.
Humans do have an instinctual desire for privacy. However, for 3,000 years, cultures have nearly always prioritized convenience and wealth over privacy.
Section II will show how cutting edge health technology will force people to choose between an early, costly death and a world without any semblance of privacy. Given historical trends, the most likely outcome is that we will forgo privacy and return to our traditional, transparent existence.

From The Birth And Death Of Privacy: 3,000 Years of History Told Through 46 Images — The Ferenstein Wire — Medium

And Happy Thanksgiving! [Moe Lane]

Free Wi-Fi at the timeshare.  Also, dinner buffet at the Cracker Barrel, which means I get two Thanksgiving dinners out of this weekend, not one. Not to mention a birthday cake for the youngest kid, probably. Folks: have a good holiday and let it all be good. Tomorrow or Saturday is going to be plenty soon enough to start going to the races again.

Moe Lane OUT.

Sandcrawler PSA: Kid! Jawa Report is Closed on Thanksgiving! [The Jawa Report]

All dumps are closed on Thanksgiving.

Eat well Jawas, you earned it.

Ooopsie Portly Jew Kicks Muslim's Ass [The Jawa Report]

For shame.....

Daniel Radcliffe [The Nerdist]

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter series) returns to the Nerdist to talk about his love of @midnight, how he is lucky to work with such great people and getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! They also talk about growing up filming Harry Potter, choosing what projects he wants to do and his new film Victor Frankenstein!

A Tale of Two Universities [Patterico's Pontifications]

After students saw a Confederate flag displayed on a laptop, Framingham State University Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Sean L. Huddleston wrote an email which said:

A student reported a bias incident today, in which the image of the Confederate flag was displayed on a laptop. Many of you may be aware that last month we received a Bias Incident involving two other students for a similar issue. Although related in nature, the two incidents involve separate parties.

. . . .

We recognize that bias incidents are upsetting for the entire campus community, but especially for the target(s) and witness(es) of these incidents. It is strongly suggested that anyone impacted by a bias incident find someone to speak with.

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, one university president has a different attitude. I’m going to quote his email in its entirety because it deserves it:

This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears that this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love! In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic! Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims! Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”

I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience! An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad! It is supposed to make you feel guilty! The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization!

So here’s my advice:

If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up!

This is not a day care. This is a university!

I love this man.

I want my children to go to a place like this, not a place like Framingham State University or 98% of the other universities out there.

I read this to my mom and she said: “How long will it take them to fire him?”

Happy Thanksgiving! [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving to all Patterico readers! Suffice it to say, I’m thankful for the generosity of our host as he continues to provide this platform for all of us to speak our minds, whether we post or comment.

Anyway, my turkey is in the oven (olive oil and balsamic vinegar rub, fresh oranges, salt, pepper, and cranberries), two pumpkin pies down, one pear pie still to make. It’s going to be an extra-busy day, what with all the cooking, hostessing duties, and efforts to reduce my Thanksgiving carbon impact and not offend anyone as we celebrate “white, cis-hetropatriarchal Christian fascism,” otherwise known as Thanksgiving.

May we all have a Vox-free day because we are no longer children in need of an index card, and because we understand that at the end of the day, it is Love and Grace that triumphs over all else.


The Clinton News Network Rides Again [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by JVW]

CNN reporter Elise Labott, part of the network’s global affairs team, was recently given a two-week suspension for sending out a Tweet critical of last week’s House vote to tighten the vetting process for refugees from Syria and points beyond.

The Tweet apparently violates a CNN policy prohibiting their reporters from editorializing on “partisan” issues.

Whether prompted by Ms. Labott’s indiscretion or whether the timing is purely coincidental, conservative outlets such as the Daily Caller are reporting that Labott was unusually receptive to and accommodating of suggestions from one Philippe Reines, a Hillary! Clinton aide turned State Department flack turned Hillary! Clinton aide. On the morning that The Once and Future Inevitable Next President of the United States was being grilled in the Senate over her behavior during the Benghazi imbroglio, Labott and Reines begin an email correspondence which has been uncovered by a Freedom of Information Act request by Gawker Media. At one point in the exchange Labott seems to refer back to a previous conversation she had with Reines, asking him in an email message, “are you sure rand paul wasn’t at any hearings?” Within five minutes, she sends out this tweet:

A few hours later when Her Majesty’s testimony had wrapped up, Labott emails Reines to pass along her congratulations on Hillary!’s testimony: “She was great. well done. I hope you are going to have a big drink tonight.”

Still later that evening, Reins emails Labott to mention that he has another tweet to suggest (it should be noted here that, like his boss, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reins appears to have a fondness for conducting government business on private email servers). She responds, “What did you suggest. [sic] I didn’t see it.” He replies, “Pin,” which appears to refer to a private messaging system. Labott makes a promise to “get back to you,” then six minutes later tweets out the following:

The Rand Paul campaign has naturally jumped all over the story of the CNN reporter colluding with the State Department employee (and Clinton aide) to ensure sympathetic coverage. As of this writing, CNN has not commented upon the situation and Elise Labott remains on suspension for one more week.


Christmas Idea: Berlin Philharmonic on DVD in Exotic Locales [Patterico's Pontifications]

If you have any classical music lovers in your family or circle of friends, who might appreciate a (relatively) inexpensive DVD set from the Berlin Philharmonic for Christmas, you’ve come to the right place.

Every year the Berlin Philharmonic performs a “EuropaKonzert” at some exotic locale in Europe. As explained here:

The purpose of this unique concert series is to perform at places which have a special cultural history and compel through their stunning architecture in order to provide the audience with a visual experience out of the ordinary.

The locales include the Escorial in Madrid (1992), the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg (1996), the Vasa Museum in Stockholm (1998), St. Irene Church in Istanbul (2001), and Hieronymus Monastery of Belém in Lisbon (2003).

I am currently listening to fantastic soloists performing the Brahms Triple Concerto in a stark former factory in Berlin called the Kabelwerk Oberspree. Earlier this evening I listened to Verdi, Berlioz, Schubert, and Wagner performed in the Basilica at El Escorial, the magnificent monastery/royal palace outside Madrid. El Escorial is where many famous kings and queens of Spain are buried, including Phillip II (who had it built), and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (who took on Martin Luther).

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 6.43.09 PM
Above: El Escorial

The complete 25-DVD set from 1991-2014 set can be bought for $107 (about $4 per DVD) here.

I get nothing out of this, other than the satisfaction of knowing I have made classical music fans happy.

Use the Patterico Amazon Widget to Buy a Drone! [Patterico's Pontifications]

That’s what a reader did recently: used the Amazon widget to buy a quadcopter Phantom drone with the ability to take pictures and record video.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 5.06.35 PM

Now that is pretty damned awesome.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and that means Black Friday is just around the corner. Please be like this reader and keep the Patterico Amazon widget in mind when you do your holiday shopping. It helps out the site and costs you nothing.

Or just make this your Amazon bookmark: http://is.gd/PattericoAmazon

It’s all much appreciated! Happy Thanksgiving!

On Triumphalism Over Lazy and Sloppy Big Media Types [Patterico's Pontifications]

In their zeal to debunk Big Media types who zealously and inaccurately “debunk” statements made by Republican candidates, conservatives sometimes accept “facts” that are questionable.

One case in point was Donald Trump’s claim that “thousands” of Muslims celebrated 9/11 on the rooftops of buildings in New Jersey:

I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.

I was among those on Twitter who pummelled Glenn Kessler for his sloppy “fact-checking” column that claimed to find absolutely no evidence of any Muslims celebrating in New Jersey. John Hinderaker had some fun pointing out that Kessler had overlooked an article in his own paper to that effect. Kessler proceeded to defend himself on Twitter by serially misquoting the article, adding a small walkback on his original post, and generally looking like a putz caught with his pants down.

Still, does anybody really believe there were “thousands” celebrating in Jersey? I don’t. Hinderaker doesn’t. But I bet you anything there are Trumpzombies out there who believe TRUMP WAS RIGHT!!!

Similarly, Ben Carson said Thomas Jefferson “tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control people’s natural tendencies.” At USA Today, David Mastio (who I like a lot) wrote a column that defended Carson, by accurately citing some authority to the effect that Jefferson’s exhortations played some role in the adoption of the Bill of Rights. Among the citations are this from the ACLU:

The American Bill of Rights, inspired by Jefferson and drafted by James Madison, was adopted, and in 1791 the Constitution’s first ten amendments became the law of the land.

And this from the National Archives:

Q. What did Thomas Jefferson have to do with framing the Constitution?

A. Although absent from the Constitutional Convention and during the period of ratification, Jefferson rendered no inconsiderable service to the cause of Constitutional Government, for it was partly through his insistence that the Bill of Rights, consisting of the first ten amendments, was adopted.

This is fine as far as it goes, and the statements from the ACLU and the National Archives have some support in reality. Prof. Kevin Gutzman, in his book on James Madison (which I highly recommend) did note that Jefferson said in “several letters” to Madison, written between about December 1787 and December 1788, that a Bill of Rights must be adopted. These letters were written and sent months after the summer of 1787, when the Philadelphia Convention was in session. According to Prof. Gutzman, Madison replied that he liked the idea to the extent that a bill of rights would safeguard liberties, rather than restructure the grant of powers to the federal government from the states. Madison ultimately favored a bill of rights, despite his general skepticism of their necessity, Gutzman writes, because they would allay the concerns of people like Jefferson and George Mason.

(By the way, according to Prof. Gutzman’s book, the Bill of Rights was not considered to be anywhere near as important then as it is today. Indeed, there were those who described it as a “tub to the whale” — an unimportant plaything to distract the Leviathan.)

So far so good. In my view, Mastio went a little overboard with the extent to which he defends Carson, whose point appeared to be far less nuanced and subtle than Carson’s claim that Jefferson “crafted” the Constitution, which he certainly did not.

Here’s the problem: some are running with Mastio’s piece as proof that Thomas Jefferson was, like, totally! behind the drafting of the Constitution, even at the Philadelphia Convention!!1! Rush Limbaugh has taken Mastio’s piece and oversimplified its findings to the point of total inaccuracy and absurdity. Here’s Limbaugh:

But guess what? Ben Carson turned out to be right. Thomas Jefferson did craft the Constitution from France. Jefferson loved France, by the way. He loved going. Jefferson was a big wine connoisseur, among many other things. Perhaps some of you have seen the movie or heard of the movie Jefferson in Paris. He loved it there. But what Politico didn’t know that Ben Carson did know — and they’re running, “Oh, there’s Carson again, boy, making a big fool of himself once again. See, this guy, he’s not in our league. Ben Carson thinks Jefferson wrote the Constitution. Jefferson wasn’t even there. Ben Carson doesn’t even know the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”

And all of the Drive-By Media critics just launched into poor old Carson, pointing out that Jefferson wasn’t even in America when the Constitution was written. He was in France. What a dope Carson is. How’d this guy ever pass the medical test to be a surgeon? Except this. And credit to USA Today for digging this up.

. . . .

And what they found was that Thomas Jefferson was writing all kinds of letters from France to the Constitutional Convention, and they were sending him letters, and so he was participating in the writing of the Constitution while he was in France with these things called letters that were put on boats that went over the ocean and then to horses in saddlebags where they were delivered to the recipients. It could take months for these things to go back and forth, given the length of time it would take back then to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, if they made it alive. But the point is, Carson was right, and the Drive-Bys mocking him and laughing at him, and making fun of him had no idea Thomas Jefferson was writing these letters.

Yeah, this is totally wrong. Gutzman says on Facebook:

One more time: 1) there is no evidence that Thomas Jefferson had any — any — effect on the “crafting” of the US Constitution, and 2) the Bill of Rights was *not* “his idea.”

1) He was in France in summer 1787, at a time when it took six weeks for a letter to cross the Atlantic to the east and longer to the west. The delegates to the Convention were all sworn to secrecy, so they could not have consulted him even if they had desired to do so and it had been practicable.

2) The first promise to seek a bill of rights was made by Federalists in Massachusetts to get Governor John Hancock and other waverers to support ratification. None of them consulted Jefferson–who was still in France, if anyone in Boston had cared. James Madison was finally persuaded to favor a bill of rights, which he had opposed, by political imperatives in Virginia: the North American Baptist movement happened to be centered in his home county, and local Baptists insisted he promise to seek amendments, particularly one like the Establishment Clause, before they voted for him over James Monroe for Congress. Everyone knew this was his motivation at the time.

While Kessler did too much of a victory dance over Donald Trump, and exaggerated the lack of evidence to support Trump’s claim, Trump was almost certainly wrong to claim there were “thousands” of Muslims celebrating on rooftops in New Jersey on 9/11.

While Politico did too much of a victory dance over Ben Carson, and exaggerated the lack of a role that Jefferson played in inspiring the Bill of Rights, Carson was not correct to claim Jefferson played a role in “crafting” the Constitution. And Rush Limbaugh has screwed up the analysis beyond all recognition.

Unfortunately, Patterico (and even Gutzman) are nothing compared to Limbaugh’s mis-educating of millions of people on this issue.

Olivier Berger: Handling video files produced for a MOOC on Windows with git and git-annex [Planet Debian]

This post is intended to document some elements of workflow that I’ve setup to manage videos produced for a MOOC, where different colleagues work collaboratively on a set of video sequences, in a remote way.

We are a team of several schools working on the same course, and we have an incremental process, so we need some collaboration over a quite long period of many remote authors, over a set of video sequences.

We’re probably going to review some of the videos and make changes, so we need to monitor changes, and submit versions to colleagues on remote sites so they can criticize and get later edits. We may have more that one site doing video production. Thus we need to share videos along the flow of production, editing and revision of the course contents, in a way that is manageable by power users (we’re all computer scientists, used to SVN or Git).

I’ve decided to start an experiment with Git and Git-Annex to try and manage the videos like we use to do for slides sources in LaTeX. Obviously the main issue is that videos are big files, demanding in storage space and bandwidth for transfers.

We want to keep a track of everything which is done during the production of the videos, so that we can later re-do some of the video editing, for instance if we change the graphic design elements (logos, subtitles, frame dimensions, additional effects, etc.), for instance in the case where we would improve the classes over the seasons. On the other hand, not all colleagues want to have to download a full copy of all rushes on their laptop if they just want to review on particular sequence of the course. They will only need to download the final edit MP4. Even if they’re interested in being able to fetch all the rushes, should they want to try and improve the videos.

Git-Annex brings us the ability to decouple the presence of files in directories, managed by regular Git commands, from the presence of the file contents (the big stuff), which is managed by Git-Annex.

Here’s a quick description of our setup :

  • we do screen capture and video editing with Camtasia on a Windows 7 system. Camtasia (although proprietary) is quite manageable without being a video editing expert, and suits quite well our needs in terms of screen capture, green background shooting and later face insertion over slides capture, additional “motion design”-like enhancement, etc.
  • the rushes captured (audio, video) are kept on that machine
  • the MP4 rendering of the edits are performed on that same machine
  • all these files are stored locally on that computer, but we perform regular backups, on demand, on a remote system, with rsync+SSH. We have installed git for Windows so we use bash and rsync and ssh from git’s install. SSH happens using a public key without a passphrase, to connect easily to the Linux remote, but that isn’t mandatory.
  • the mirrored files appear on a Linux filesystem on another host (running Debian), where the target is actually managed with git and git-annex.
  • there we handle all the files added, removed or modified with git-annex.
  • we have 2 more git-annex remote repos, accessed through SSH (again using a passphrase-less public key), run by GitoLite, to which git-annex rsyncs copies of all the file contents. These repos are on different machines keeping backups in case of crashes. git-annex is setup to mandate keeping at least 2 copies of files (numcopies).
  • colleagues in turn clone from either of these repos and git-annex get to download the video contents, only for files which they are interested in (for instance final edits, but not rushes), which they can then play locally on their preferred OS and video player.

Why didn’t we use git-annex on windows directly, on the Windows host which is the source of the files ?

We tried, but that didn’t make it. Git-Annex assistant somehow crashed on us, thus causing the Git history to be strange, so that became unmanageable, and more important, we need robust backups, so we can’t allow to handle something we don’t fully trust: shooting again a video is really costly (setting up again a shooting set, with lighting, cameras, and a professor who has to repeat again the speech!).

The rsync (with –delete on destination) from windows to Linux is robust. Git-Annex on Linux seems robust so far. That’s enough for now :-)

The drawback is that we need manual intervention for starting the rsync, and also that we must make sure that the rsync target is ready to get a backup.

The target of the rsync on Linux is a git-annex clone using the default “indirect” mode, which handles the files as symlinks to the actual copies managed by git-annex inside the .git/ directory. But that ain’t suitable to be compared to the origin of the rsync mirror which are plain files on the Windows computer.

We must then do a “git-annex edit” on the whole target of the rsync mirror before the rsync, so that the files are there as regular video files. This is costly, in terms of storage, and also copying time (our repo contains around 50 Gb, and the Linux host is a rather tiny laptop).

After the rsync, all the files need to be compared to the SHA256 known to git-annex so that only modified files are taken into account in the commit. We perform a “git-annex add” on the whole files (for new files having appeared at rsync time), and then a “git-annex sync”. That takes a lot of time, since all SHA256 computations are quite long for such a set of big files (the video rushes and edited videos are in HD).

So the process needs to be the following, on the target Linux host:

  1. git annex add .
  2. git annex sync
  3. git annex copy . –to server1
  4. git annex copy . –to server2
  5. git annex edit .
  6. only then : rsync

Iterate ad lib 😉

I would have preferred to have a working git-annex on windows, but that is a much more manageable process for me for now, and until we have more videos to handle in our repo that our Linux laptop can hold, we’re quite safe.

Next steps will probably involve gardening the contents of the repo on the Linux host so we’re only keeping copies of current files, and older copies are only kept on the 2 servers, in case of later need.

I hope this can be useful to others, and I’d welcome suggestions on how to improve our process.

Canonical Design Team: An expanded device mono icon set [Planet Ubuntu]

We will soon push an update of the Suru icon theme that includes more device icons in order to support the Ubuntu convergence story.

Because the existing icon set was focused on mobile, many of the new icons are very specific to the desktop, as we were missing icons such as hard disk, optical drive, printer or touchpad.

When designing new mono icons, we need to make sure that they are consistent with the graphic style of the existing set (thin outlines, rare solid shapes, etc).

A device, like a printer or a hard disk, can be quite complex if you want to make it look realistic, so it’s important to add a level of abstraction to the design. However the icon still has to be recognisable within the right context.

At the moment, if you compare the Suru icon theme to the symbolic mono icons in Gnome, or to the Humanity devices icons, a few icons are missing, so you should expect to see this set expand at some point in the future — but the most common devices are covered.

In the meantime, here is the current full set:

Device icon set

Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S08E38 – Santa with Muscles - Ubuntu Podcast [Planet Ubuntu]

It’s Episode Thirty-eight of Season Eight of the Ubuntu Podcast! With Mark Johnson, Laura Cowen, Martin Wimpress, and Alan Pope recording as normal over the internets which are suffering slightly from the storms outside…

In this week’s show:

  • We talk about Laura’s recent experience 3D printing Christmas tree-shaped Christmas tree decorations:

That’s all for this week, please send your comments and suggestions to:

Thanksgiving dinner: Here’s a tip for handing that special snowflake SJW niece/nephew/whatever xhe is calling xeself these days [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

“Dear, we aren’t going to discuss that now.”

“Really, we aren’t going to discuss that.”

“Really? I believe you need to leave now.”

Ace has some great suggestions,

It is the goal of the dedicated Thanksgivingman, then, to achieve the sublime art of giving offense without offense being taken.

My basic strategy is thus: It would be as rude of you as it is rude of your cretinous grownchildren kin to allow a Thanksgiving dinner into a stupid game of Rachel Maddow Talking Points and their rebuttals.

So, rather than confront the unemployed idiots who will be assailing you, I propose instead to superficially avoid conflict and engagement on their dummy mouthflappings, and appear instead to agree with them.

But — and here is the point — a skilled Thanksgivingman will only appear to agree with the grownchildren to feeble intellects, such as those possessed by the grownchildren themselves. Instead of disagreeing with them — which will cause argument and anger — you will instead claim to agree with them, while in fact contradicting them, subverting them, of baffling them with statements that nearly, but do not quite, make sense.

however, that means listening to the bleatings for more than a few minutes in order to engage in the mocking.

It is a fine sport, I’ll agree. Yet, sometimes you just want to relax with some wine or Irish coffees after dinner without the verbal irritation … so a nice, politely worded sentiment along the lines of shut up or get the fuck out may be in order.

I really really hate the mean-spiritedness of Democrats and Obama sending forth their zombie hordes to fuck with one of my favorite holidays … They are the Westboro Church of Progressive Enlightenment and just as welcome at my Thanksgiving as Phelps and his mob are welcome at funerals.

Cranks, one and all.

WRC-15 – Day-18 [Radio Society of Great Britain - Main Site]

Another success!  – Our WRC-19 future agenda item draft Resolution for 50-54 MHz in Region 1 was approved on first plenary reading. This is now included in the draft WRC-19 agenda document which is currently being delayed by other proposed agenda items. SmallSats: One of the remaining contentious issues for the WRC-19 agenda is the […]

WRC-15 – Day 16 – start of final week [Radio Society of Great Britain - Main Site]

The day has been concentrating on the work of Committee-6 which is reviewing future agenda items, with work continuing late into the evening. Of interest to the amateur services is that the proposal to add an agenda item to WRC-19 to allocate and harmonise the band 50-54 MHz in Region 1 with the allocation already […]

World's cheapest computer Raspberry Pi is now just $5 [CBC | Technology News]

Rapsberry Pi Zero

Buying the cheapest computer in the world is now cheaper than buying your lunch.

Phuc Dat Bich admits to hoax after fighting Facebook's name policy [CBC | Technology News]

Phuc Dat Bich

A Vietnamese-Australian man who went viral after claiming he'd been wronged by Facebook's 'real name' policy has admitted to being a fake.

Ottawa tech worker develops powered wheelchair you can control with your phone [CBC | Technology News]

Ke Wang Smartchair Power Wheelchair

An Ottawa computer engineer is developing a power wheelchair users can move around with a smartphone or remote control with voice commands.

Polar bear injured by radio collar part of U of A study, Environment Canada says [CBC | Technology News]

Polar bear radio collar

Researchers from the University of Alberta are responsible for fitting a polar bear with a radio collar that appears to have injured the animal, an Environment Canada scientist says.

Alexander Keith's bottle nearly as old as Canada discovered in Halifax waters [CBC | Technology News]

A Halifax man has found a beer bottle nearly as old as Canada, with century-old suds still inside.

Why Calgarians may want to check out the city's newest net-zero home [CBC | Technology News]

Forty solar panels, double-wide insulation, rain-water collection and more: find out how the builders created a home that they say produces as much energy as it uses.

Thanksgiving, Microwaves and…Acorns? [The SWLing Post]


It’s Thanksgiving here in the States–without a doubt, my favorite holiday.  What’s not to love about family, feasting, and, of course, friends? To that end:

I’d like to take a moment to offer my thanks to all of you who read, comment, and otherwise contribute to the SWLing Post community. You make this a terrific place for everything radio! Thank you.

And on the topic of radio–while anticipating a wonderful Thanksgiving meal–I’m reminded of this video I recently viewed.  Evidently, some form of native wildlife–and suspicion rests upon a number of industrious squirrels and woodpeckers–decided that a radio microwave antenna in Bear Creek would be an excellent place to stash a few acorns and other winter nuts.

So–just for fun–here’s what it looked like when the field engineers cleaned out the microwave antenna cover:

Sometimes it really is a challenge to count all your blessings.  At any rate, may your day, no matter where you live in this world, be just as abundant!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

VOA Radiogram 128 on a cheap Tesco shortwave radio [The SWLing Post]


SWLing Post reader, Christopher, lives on the north coast of Labrador, Canada. He recently contacted me regarding the purchase of a new receiver–he’s currently stuck with a very inexpensive analog portable he purchased at the UK grocery store, Tesco: the Tesco RAD-108.

While the RAD-108 has poor sensitivity and selectivity, it’s still (evidently) more than capable of receiving the VOA Radiogram. Many thanks to Christopher for sharing this video he found on YouTube:

Hackaday recounts an “An Unlikely Radio Story” [The SWLing Post]


Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Michael Letterle, who shares this story from the excellent website Hackaday.

The following is an excerpt from Swans, Pigs, and the CIA: An Ulikey Radio Story:

Shortwave radio is boring, right? Maybe not. You never know what intrigue and excitement you might intercept. We recently covered secret number stations, and while no one knows for sure exactly what their purpose is, it is almost surely involving cloaks and daggers. However, there’s been some more obvious espionage radio, like Radio Swan.

The swan didn’t refer to the animal, but rather an island just off of Honduras that, until 1972, was disputed between Honduras and the United States. The island got its name–reportedly–because it was used as a base for a pirate named Swan in the 17th century. This island also had a long history of use by the United States government. The Department of Agriculture used it to quarantine imported beef and a variety of government departments had weather stations there.

…[T]he most famous occupant of Swan Island was Radio Swan which broadcast on the AM radio band and shortwave. The station was owned by the Gibraltar Steamship Company with offices on Fifth Avenue in New York. Oddly, though, the company didn’t actually have any steamships. What it did have was some radio transmitters that had been used by Radio Free Europe and brought to the island by the United States Navy. Did I mention that the Gibraltar Steamship Company was actually a front for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)?

Read the full story on HackADay…

Brittle ribbon cables: James cautions Sony ICF-2001D and ICF-2010 owners [The SWLing Post]


Regarding the Sony ICF-2001D (or ICF-2010 in North America), SWLing Post contributor James Patterson writes:

I have a comment on the Sony ICF-2010. In New Zealand it is called the ICF-2001D, as labeled on it.

I bought the ICF 2001D at a sale. Brought it home and it seemed to perform almost perfectly on all bands. In fact I was very suprised on how well it worked. Audio was excellent, sensitivity was great, even the Air Band received very well. But I’m a very keen SSB DXer, meaning I monitor the Single Side Band [SSB] utility stations like HFAir, Marine, military, etc. so I needed to check the SSB in the radio.

[O]n official frequencies like 8.86700 HF AIR, it was well off, and came up readable around 8.86500, even with the tuning speed mode set to “slow”. So I then decided that with the age of the radio, over time it has drifted off zero beat, so I would need to re-align the BFO/SYNC coil.

I looked up on the internet at the signal board, and located the correct coil. Having the batteries out of the radio, I plugged in the DC power supply and retuned that coil and got the speech correct at 8.86700. I also checked the universal time signal on both USB and LSB and it was “Bang on”.

I was very pleased with myself, meaning I now had a Sony ICF-2001D working in perfect condition.

But just then the radio went dead. At this stage I still had the board lifted up, as I had just finished the realignment. I could not understand, after all my work, what had happened. So having a good look at the wires and the board, to my most disappointed dismay, I noticed one of two ribbon cables–Sony called it a “Flexible circuit board” had snapped right across and come apart.

There are two ribbon cables on the board. This was the short one. So,with the slightest lift of the board, this one snapped. I then felt the cable and noticed how frail it was with a piece just falling off. The ribbon cable as I call it, had become most fragile with age and probably heat from the sun(?) over the years the previous owner had it.

So all of a sudden I found I had a ICF-2001D no more. I looked at the other board, the CPU board underneath and noticed that ribbon cable was joined to the other ribbon cable side by side to become one cable, and spot soldered onto the board. Also on shifting the CPU board to view underneath it, the selective speed plastic slide switch snapped off.

Note broken ribbon cable and broken switch.

Note broken ribbon cable and broken switch.

Sony ICF 201D .Note broken ribbon cable and broken switch 001

[B]y now, I was in a state of complete disarray to say the least. Never was I going to have the ICF-2001D operational again.

So guys, be most careful if you ever need to do any repairs or realignment of that radio–remember the ribbon cables become very fragile and will just snap right across as mine did with the slightest lift of the board. I wish I had known this, and I would have taken the cable out of it’s socket first,then when finished, plugged it back in, and radio would still be working. But to realign it, the cable would need to be connected anyway. So I hope this does not happen to anyone else, especially if you don’t have spare parts, as I don’t have.

So Im keeping this one for parts now,and hopeing to replace it with either another 2001D or its older brother ICF 2001. I do have a small collection of vintage portable short wave radios; they all have SSB, and all work very well. Most have the varible BFO control knob and that seems to suit me better, rather than a radio with tuning steps and needing to perhaps realign it. I think the ICF-2001D is very similar to my ICF-SW7600G with only a few memories and no tuning knob. I think the older ICF-2001D would still be my radio of choice though.

Showing the slide switch that snapped off the CPU board when trying to bend it slightly to get access to the board.This pic shows a small hole where the plastic tip of the switch was.The switch is unsoldered off the board.

Showing the slide switch that snapped off the CPU board when trying to bend it slightly to get access to the board.This pic shows a small hole where the plastic tip of the switch was.The switch is unsoldered off the board.

Showing soldered open ends of the computer cable.

Showing soldered open ends of the computer cable.

In this photo I have tried to replace the ribbon cable with an old Computer ribbon cable,but that job failed because the board underneath has the ribbon cable spot soldered on.There are two ribbon cables both joined side by side to become one.So the idea of replaceing the broken ribbon cable would disturb the other having to cut it away from it.

In this photo I have tried to replace the ribbon cable with an old Computer ribbon cable,but that job failed because the board underneath has the ribbon cable spot soldered on.There are two ribbon cables both joined side by side to become one.So the idea of replaceing the broken ribbon cable would disturb the other having to cut it away from it.

SPROUT SSTV and Digitalker Every Sunday [The SWLing Post]

SPROUT SSTV and Digitalker active every Sunday

SPROUT SSTV and Digitalker Active Every Sunday – AMSAT-UK

AMSAT-UK Announces SSTV Activity Every Sunday

Slow Scan TV (SSTV) images in Scottie 1 format will be transmitted from the SPROUT satellite every Sunday (Japanese Standard Time) on 437.600 MHz FM (+/- 9 kHz Doppler shift). The Digitalker will also be active.

SPROUT, a 20 x 20 x 22 cm amateur radio nano-satellite with a mass of 7.1 kg, launched successfully with the L-band (1236.5 MHz/1257.5 MHz/1278.5 MHz) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite ALOS-2 on May 24, 2014 at 0305 UT. SPROUT is in a 654 km, 97.9 degree inclination Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

SPROUT (Space Research On Unique Technology) was built by students from Nihon University

— A FM Digitalker will enable the satellite to speak to amateurs around the world.

— The Voice Message Box will record transmissions from radio amateurs and play them back.

— Pre-loaded images from the Message Gallery can be transmitted using Slow Scan TV (SSTV).

— Pictures of the Earth can be transmitted by SSTV and radio amateurs can receive it using free software such as MMSSTV. As part of the Earth mapping project the team ask radio amateurs to contribute pictures they have received from the satellite for display on the SPROUT website.

Callsign: JQ1ZJQ

Size: 214x210x220 mm

Weight: 7.1 kg

Mode: 1200bps AFSK, 9600bps GMSK

CW downlink 437.525 MHz

FM packet downlink 437.525 MHz

Digipeater uplink 437.600 MHz

Digitalker downlink 437.600 MHz

SSTV downlink 437.600 MHz

Many FM radios can be switched been wide and narrow deviation FM filters. For best results you should select the wider filter designed for 5 kHz deviation FM.

— SPROUT English website http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout-e/

— SPROUT Japanese website http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout/

— Nihon-Univ. Miyazaki Laboratory on Facebook


— Telemetry Software http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout-e/2-Software-e.html

— Telemetry format http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout-e/2-Formats%20of%20telemetry-e.html

SPROUT launch data page

http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout-e/2-Launch%20data-e.htmlTLE’s from the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) are also available at http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/tle-new.txt

Free Slow Scan TV (SSTV) software MMSSTV http://hamsoft.ca/pages/mmsstv.php

The JE9PEL website has information on other satellites on this launch


(Full details and links may be found here.)

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Now On Sale: Federalist Swag [The Federalist]

Are you a lover of freedom? Are you anxious for the fray? Show your love for The Federalist this holiday season with our graphic tees. With The Federalist logo gracing the front of a tri-blended cotton, charcoal-colored tee, these shirts make for the softest, classiest manifestation of Federalist swag.

federalist swag



One Way To Make Thanksgiving Tolerable: Bet On Football [The Federalist]

I know it’s Thanksgiving but I would be wrong if I didn’t start by wishing a Happy Birthday to my son Lincoln. I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since I became a dad. It feels like just yesterday I found out the news on the Maury Povich show. Looking back on my past decisions and his current report card, I can’t say I was ready for the gig, but sometimes you’ve gotta make like Jason Pierre Paul and play the hand you’re dealt.

Which brings me back to Thanksgiving. I don’t know what your family traditions are. Some people like to wait until the food is served to curse each other out, others like to go h.a.m before the ham and have an awkward silence for dessert. In the interest of full disclosure I come from neither and it’s not because we don’t booze it up and I can assure you, we DO NOT suffer a shortage of loud-mouthed buffoons. In fact, it’s quite possible the Failla family leads the league in loud-mouthed buffoonery. And I say that with all due respect to the Stephen A. Smith show.

What’s our secret? We’re too busy screaming at the TV to curse each other out because I come from a hardcore gambling family. Always gambling, all the time. We fly Spirit Airlines. We eat White Castle. Heck, I once had an Uncle who bought sushi at a gas station. God rest his soul.

But the big action has always been on NFL football and this Thanksgiving I’m suggesting you do the same – because not only is betting football an exciting distraction from your family, but it can make you money. Which is way cooler than arguing with your Prius-driving sister in law about the dangers of the Keystone Pipeline. And unlike your Prius-driving sister in law, the great majority of people LIKE football.

Bet a few games, make a few bucks, and your family will seem way cooler in the long run. “But Jimmy,” you might say, “I don’t know anything about football.”

Let me handle the dirty work on that. You go polish your stance on Black Lives Matter in case the Trump argument goes into overtime.

Lions Over Eagles

Start the day by betting the Detroit Lions, at pick em, (PK) over the Philadelphia Eagles. I am fully aware that the Lions are having a better year in Zimbabwe than they are in Detroit. But Mathew Stafford and the boys are on a two game winning streak and the good majority of their roster has played on Thanksgiving 3-4 times now. As a franchise, they’ve hosted 75 Turkey day games, while as a franchise the Eagles are going the way of Orange Julius. There’s not too many of them left.

Quarterback Sam Bradford gets hurt more than a college kid’s feelings and he’s out again this week. Which puts Mark “Butt Fumble” Sanchez under center for the Eagles. As a New York guy who watched Sanchez up close for 4 seasons, I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’d hire Adrian Peterson to babysit my kid before I hired Mark Sanchez to quarterback my team. There’s been rumblings that Eagles coach Chip Kelly wants to go back to college and I think he should because after losing this one, he won’t find any “safe spaces” in Philly.

Cowboys Over Panthers

Up next is my Thanksgiving bet of the century. No, it’s not the over 13 shots of police escorting Phil Simms’ All-Iron trophies into the stadium, but I like that bet. The team I’m on, BIG, is the Dallas Cowboys, minus one point, (-1) over the Carolina Panthers. Everything you need to know about this game can be summed up by the fact that Carolina is 10-0 yet somehow they are a slight underdog to the 3-7 Cowboys. This is the classic definition of a sucker bet, although for further reading, you can look up O’Malley, Martin.

Why is it a sucker bet? Because while Dallas may not be America’s team anymore 70% of the money in this game is on Carolina, which makes Dallas the bookie’s team. Not only that but the Cowboys are 3-0 when Tony Romo starts this year and they’re way more experienced on Thanksgiving Day. I like this Panthers team a lot. And I love that Cam Newton is dancing like nobody is watching, which would be easier to do if he played in Jacksonville, might I add. But the Cowboys take this one in walk, assuming Greg Hardy is able to walk through the metal detectors without incident.

Packers Over Bears

The night game between the Packers and the Bears is going to be filled with pomp and circumstance, as Pack Nation will be retiring Brett Favre’s Jersey number at halftime. Incidentally, they’re not the only team to honor him this year: the New York Jets will also be retiring his cell phone number for the all the good late night work he did with their female staffers.

But back to the field for a minute, which is how long it should take for the Packers to end this thing. Take Green Bay, minus 9 (-9) and have another slice of Pumpkin Pie to celebrate your good fortune. The Pack have beat the Bears 12 of their last 14, including a 31-23 win in Chicago earlier this year. And if that weren’t enough, the Bears just lost, at home, to Brock Osweiler and the Denver Broncos. If you can’t beat a guy making his first start in your home building, there’s no way you get by Aaron Rogers, who’s been tested more times than Charlie Sheen’s exes.

I know some of you didn’t like that last one but what would Thanksgiving be without someone getting offended? In closing, I’d like to wish the happiest of Thanksgivings to you and yours. And best of luck with your Black Friday shopping. I’d love to join you, but I don’t have the time or the health insurance.

Give Thanks [The Federalist]

It is difficult to give thanks in a time that seems so dark. War, terror, and genocide stalk nearly every corner of the globe. The insecurity we felt after 9/11 is amplified by the fears, for the first time in a generation, of great-power war — or even world war. China is run by authoritarian kleptocrats. Latin America is run by criminal gangs. Russia is run by a revanchist tyrant. Europe is run by a discredited and feeble gerontocracy in deep denial over reality. And the Middle East is run by fanatical killers who will gladly provide the sparks that light the whole thing ablaze.

Then there is these United States. America too is governed by fools, and the political phenomena of the past few months bears this out. Americans do not trust their government to get anything right – to pay the bills, to respond to hurricanes, to analyze intelligence, to hold to red lines, to build websites – and certainly not to tell the good refugee from the bad. The personality to come along and give voice to these concerns of total fecklessness and incompetence at the highest levels is thriving. At least he recognizes BS for what it is, and calls it like it is, even if he himself is the highest ranking BSer in the land.

Yet we Americans should be thankful, very thankful, for our place within the world. Thanksgiving serves as a reminder that for us today, compared to the history of our country and the planet, all the problems of modern America are rich people problems. A lot of our problems are problems of choice. We have human and social capital and natural resources in great abundance that we simply choose not to use.

Tomorrow blue collar working stiffs across the country are going to eat feasts that would put all but a handful of emperors in history to shame. The United States in 2015 is still the envy not only of every country in the world but every country in history. Our controversies are the controversies of a nation that has prospered to an unbelievable degree. Our policy questions are more about how to make almost universal educations and benefits that were once reserved for royalty.

Yes, the status quo is broken. Yes, we are ruled by idiots. Yes, there is corruption and mismanagement and very real despair. But anyone wondering what to be thankful for just ought to look around. Go to an American grocery store on Wednesday, a Thanksgiving dinner in Thursday, and then a mall on Friday, and then think on the fact that most of the country thinks we’re in a recession and headed on the wrong track. Be thankful that our biggest problem is an isolated authoritarian who is nonetheless term limited and checked by constitutional counterweights. Compared to surviving a winter barely living indoors, and eating only what you can kill, we are doing rather well.

The rest of the world still has many millions of people who live in such poverty. Homeless and hopeless, life for them is little changed from the dark old days of warlords and scimitars. Things are very dark in far too many corners of the earth.

But there, too, we can have hope. Our current leadership may not grasp the indispensability of America to the world — but Americans do. We did not seek the charge to stand against the foes of civilization and freedom. We never do. But we will do the job when the job comes to us. America is not without her faults. But it has within its people a stoic spirit that for all the weaknesses of an era of soft heads and hearts is still firm as iron. When the world is at its worst, we are at our best.

So let us be thankful for this: that we are incredibly fortunate to be Americans. We have good fortune to live in these times, dumb as they are. We have the luck to be born at a time in history when anyone can prosper and thrive. We have the blessing and the privilege, whether born to deep roots or newly arrived from strange lands, of being the greatest people in the history of the man.

The world is dark. But there is a light in the darkness, and it is us.

Rifftrax: Fun in Balloon Land (1965)If you found Santa and the... [RiffTrax]

Rifftrax: Fun in Balloon Land (1965)

If you found Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny charming and pleasant enough, but a little too coherent and conventional in its plotting and execution, and painfully lacking in bobbing, inflated freaks voiced by ghostly off-mic stagehands, Fun in Balloon Land is probably the film for you. 


Rifftrax: Dining Together (1947)Dining together: sounds easy,... [RiffTrax]

Rifftrax: Dining Together (1947)

Dining together: sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, that’s pure hubris on your part, and probably the Prince of Lies himself whispering prideful thoughts in your ear. Show a little humility for once by watching this instructional film which takes you through the minefield of napkin-folding, soup-eating, and sitting in a chair.


Rifftrax: A Day of Thanksgiving (1951)Fun Thanksgiving... [RiffTrax]

Rifftrax: A Day of Thanksgiving (1951)

Fun Thanksgiving fact: ‘Thanksgiving’ is a combination of two words, ‘tha’ and ‘nkgsiving’, possibly. Nobody really knows.


Rifftrax: A Day of Thanksgiving (1951)This holiday season, join... [RiffTrax]

Rifftrax: A Day of Thanksgiving (1951)

This holiday season, join the Johnson family in a delightful reminder that not everyone can afford fancy food, sweets, color film, or hair; and that what really counts is that you be grateful for your dreary, tedious life and its crushing, punitive obligations. 


lastowka: I hadn’t rewatched the Ice Cream Bunny’s entrance... [RiffTrax]


I hadn’t rewatched the Ice Cream Bunny’s entrance in years. It’s even greater than I remembered.

RiffTrax Live: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny is on 12/3. Tickets here.

Dogshaming Seamus and some other things [WIL WHEATON dot NET]

Dogshaming Seamus“I took the tomatoes off the counter and spilled them all over the floor. I don’t even like tomatoes.” – Seamus Wheaton

I go back to Atlanta on Monday for another episode of Powers. I have notes from the last episode that I need to put into words on a blog, but I haven’t felt particularly motivated to sit down and do that work. I’m basically okay with that, because I’m doing other creative things, like making a new TV Crimes Podcast with Mikey. It makes me laugh really hard. In fact, it makes me laugh so hard I told Mikey that I don’t care if nobody ever listens to it but us, because I have that much fun making it.

I’m up to week five of my couch to 5K training, and I’ve done two of the three runs. I’m probably going to have to do this week over, though, because I’m so busy and traveling so much, I haven’t been able to keep up the kind of day to day consistency that I feel I need to get the most out of the training. I did run for 1.5 miles today, in about 16 minutes, which is a much slower pace than I usually run, but I’m still proud of myself for getting out and doing it, because it would have been really easy to stay inside and watch the MST3K Turkey Day Marathon.

Speaking of, congratulations to Jonah Ray and Felicia Day, who are joining the cast of MST3K when it relaunches!

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you have a great one. If you don’t, I hope you have a great Thursday. If it isn’t Thursday or Thanksgiving when you read this, I hope you have a good day.


Dr Karl: KIC 8462852 [5 live Science Podcast]

Dr Karl answers listeners' questions about the weird and wonderful world of science, including; kepler recently discovering something unusual in the light variations coming from the star KIC 8462852

Anyone who would let the New York Time advise them on books… [Blazing Cat Fur]

… probably won’t benefit from commentator Brent Bozell’s notes, but for the record:

The Bible is the best-selling book of all time, but The New York Times would have to consign it to the ghetto for “Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous” books. That’s what “The Gray Lady” has done to David Limbaugh and his new book, “The Emmaus Code: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament.”

Paul Bedard at The Washington Examiner revealed that on the newspaper’s Nov. 29 best-seller chart, the Times didn’t put David Limbaugh’s book at No. 8 on the nonfiction list, where it belonged. They set it aside in the “Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous” category.

Even there, the Times played games, Bedard reported. “In the most recent week, the Regnery-published book sold 9,642 copies. The New York Times best-seller list for advice put it at No. 5 even though it out-sold No. 4, ‘Big Magic,’ by 3,533 copies.”

And much more.

Reality check: Bozell’s information is useful, but a dimension is missing here.

Looking at it from a Timesman’s perspective, the Times survives by giving its surviving public what it wants: A view of the world that flatters them and reflects poorly on people they don’t like. It doesn’t survive by interpreting the situation accurately.  Anyone who really wants to know can find out the sales facts from Amazon.

So there is no problem with the Times’ statistics monkey in principle. A problem arises when the Times’s perspective is treated as privileged even when, as an institution, it is clearly failing (falling circulation, ad revenue, share value, etc.).

In a way, we contribute to the problem if we obsess over its partisan manipulations, so I say no more. Except this: One ought to do one’s best to make sure that no public money gets funnelled to these obsolete behemoths.

See also: Slaughter in Legacy Gulch: Key staff cuts in Ottawa media

Sixty-five percent don’t trust US media. But so? [Blazing Cat Fur]

From Pew research:

And nearly two-thirds (65%) say the national news media has a negative effect on the country.

Breitbart comments on the survey’s main finding,

Americans simply don’t trust the federal government—only 19 percent believe they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right, with a paltry 3 percent qualifying that statement as “just about always” and 16 percent specifying, “most of the time.”More.

Reality check: None of it matters. First, the fact that Americans don’t trust progressive media means nothing because they are probably not paying much attention to it.

They are progressives by necessity if they need government to feed, clothe, house, and love them.

That doesn’t obligate them to listen to government PR media’s manufactured news, so they don’t.

There, that was easy. Cancel your contact with that high-priced consultant.

See also: Watch the old media elite snicker with the baby fascists.

West Germany’s Former Chancellor Predicted Europe Would Have an Assimilation Problem [Blazing Cat Fur]

In 1990, former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt told me in an interview that massive Islamic immigration into Europe kept him awake at night. Between pinches of snuff, Schmidt said he worried Muslims wouldn’t assimilate, and that this would become a big problem for the continent.

No special treatment for Islam

The sign reads: No special treatment for Islam and not “No extra sausages for Islam” as I initially translated.

He was depraved on account he was deprived: London Law School Grad Becomes Latest Dead Brit Jihadi [Blazing Cat Fur]

Abu Basir Dead Muslim Terrorist

Law school grad lead horrible life amidst Western infidels

London law graduate who appeared in jihadi propaganda video is among two British Al-Qaeda fighters killed in Syria

Well, it’s no wonder he became a violent Muslim Jihadi, he likely didn’t get accepted into the law school of his choice.

Sweden’s Muslim Christmas Show [Blazing Cat Fur]

Sweden's Muslim Christmas Show

From the night of the Paris attacks until Tuesday, when Sweden’s government announced it was reversing its open-borders policy, Sweden was in a state of turmoil. No matter what the government said, it accomplished nothing — other than making the Swedes increasingly livid.

When Prime Minister Stefan Löfven accused his people of being naïve about radical Islamism, anger exploded on social media. You could read comments such as: “No. Some of you have been naïve. The rest of us have been labeled fascists and other ugly things.”

How the Paris attacks shook my faith in the Archbishop of Canterbury [Blazing Cat Fur]


The Archbishop of Canterbury, we heard during the BBC’s Songs of Praise broadcast last Sunday, ‘doubted God’ after the Paris attacks. On a walk on Saturday (he told listeners) he said to God, ‘Where are you in all this?’

As we are in confessional mood, here’s an anxiety of my own. The Paris atrocity has not occasioned me any new doubts, but Justin Welby’s remarks have caused me to doubt Archbishop Welby. Speaking on behalf of God, I have to ask the Archbishop: ‘Justin, where are you in all this?’

I’m not a believer, but I try to understand what believers believe. Christian theology has a long and distinguished intellectual history; faith’s most difficult conundrums have all been raised and answers (acceptable or otherwise) have been offered to all the obvious questions.

Europe and Islam: A clash of failures [Blazing Cat Fur]

Muslim pretending to be French

After the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, and the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris this month, everyone has hastened to remind themselves that some of the first responders, and best citizens of France, are Muslims. This much is true.

But it’s also true that Islam and France are in a complicated dance. Up to 70 percent of France’s prison population is Muslim. Intellectuals fantasize about a religious revolution that is an Islam “Made in France.” Michael Houellebecq’s novel Soumission imagines Islamic vitality buying off French passivity and nihilism and bringing national renewal. Others see the encounter between France and Islam looking like the Clash of Civilizations, as imagined by Samuel Huntington.

But in truth, it is a Clash of Failures. France and Islam each hold out a universal promise for the world. And in each other, they see that promise revealed as a lie.

Rapid development of aggressive radical Islam in Europe was underestimated [Blazing Cat Fur]

Migrant  hordes invade Europe

Sofia. “Incredibly rapid development of aggressive radical Islam in Europe was underestimated,” said Alex Alexiev, expert in international security and chair of the Centre for Balkan and Black Sea Research, speaking for FOCUS News Agency in relation to the terror attacks carried out on November 13 in Paris.

In his words, the underestimation is a result mostly of stifling political correctness, multiculturalism, and similar “pathological” phenomena in a declining civilisation.

“Politicians like Ms Merkel [German Chancellor Angela Merkel], who announced there is no limit to the number of refugees Germany could accept, are entirely to blame for the refugee flow. This is a high degree of political idiotism, due to which she will not be remembered for good things in history. The vast majority of these so-called refugees are not persecuted for political or religious regions but simply know the moment they set foot on Western Europe’s territory, their living standard will improve significantly, while they will not have to work,” Alexiev commented.

He noted a county allowing this deserved solely contempt.

“Tolerance, which is characteristic of the western civilisation, is one of its most attractive qualities. But being tolerant to those not tolerant is suicide,” Alex Alexiev stated.

Declaration of Geert Wilders before the Court [Blazing Cat Fur]

Geert Wilders

Mr. President, members of the Chamber,

I have the right to a fair trial. That is why I am here.

Not to ask you a favor. But to ask you what I am entitled to.

A fair trial. And the right to defend myself in the best possible way.

If you do not give me that chance then this trial will be a farce.

Venezuelan opposition candidate shot dead at campaign event [http://www.france24.com/en/americas/rss]

An opposition leader was shot to death on Wednesday at a campaign rally for next week’s congressional elections in Venezuela, his party said.

Obama 'disturbed' by video of Chicago police shooting death [http://www.france24.com/en/americas/rss]

US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he was “deeply disturbed” by graphic video footage showing a white Chicago police officer repeatedly shooting a black teenager as the teen walked away.

‘Putin has not returned my call’, Erdogan tells FRANCE 24 [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an exclusive interview Thursday with FRANCE 24, said his country “does not want tensions with Russia” after Turkish planes downed a Russian fighter near the Syrian border.

Two arrested in Berlin suspected of preparing ‘serious act of violence’ [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

German police detained two men in a series of anti-terror raids in Berlin on Thursday who they said were suspected of planning “a serious act of violence representing a danger for the state”.

Putin ready to work with France against ‘mutual enemy’ IS group [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

French President Francois Hollande said Thursday after talks in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin that Russia and France would intensify the exchange of intelligence information and coordinate their strikes against the Islamic State group.

French unemployment rises by highest rate since 2013 [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

The number of unemployed in France rose by 42,000 in October from September to reach 3,589,800, the biggest monthly rise in two years, the Labour Ministry said Thursday.

Mali arrests two suspects linked to Bamako hotel attack [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Mali’s security ministry arrested two people suspected of links to an attack on a luxury hotel in the country’s capital that killed 20 people, the ministry said on Thursday.

UK air force needed to fight Islamic State group in Syria, says France [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

British air force capabilities would make a difference in the fight against Islamic State in Syria, with precision strikes especially increasing pressure on the group, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a column on Thursday.

Tunisia identifies bus attack suicide bomber [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Tunisian authorities have identified as a Tunisian national the suicide bomber from Tuesday's bus attack which killed 12 presidential guards, the interior ministry said on Thursday.

Belgium lowers security alert level in Brussels [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Belgium lowered the security threat level in Brussels on Thursday after nearly a week on maximum alert following the Islamic State attacks in Paris, a government minister said.

Hollande calls on French to fly the tricolour flag to honour Paris vicitms [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

French President François Hollande has called on his countrymen and women to display the country’s national flag outside their homes for Friday’s day of national mourning for the 130 victims of this month’s terror attacks in Paris.

Boko Haram accused of deadly attack on Niger village [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Boko Haram militants attacked a village in Niger’s southern border area of Diffa on Thursday, killing 15 people, two security sources said.

African Union hosts first-ever summit on ending child marriage [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

The African Union launched its first-ever African Girl’s Summit on Ending Child Marriage on Thursday in Lusaka, Zambia, a two-day gathering that unites diplomats, UN officials and NGOs for talks on how to change regional cultural norms.

Obama 'disturbed' by video of Chicago police shooting death [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he was “deeply disturbed” by graphic video footage showing a white Chicago police officer repeatedly shooting a black teenager as the teen walked away.

French soldier in Mali dies after 'terrorist' attack, says Hollande [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

A French soldier has died after injuries suffered in Mali when his vehicle was attacked by “terrorist groups” last month, the French President’s office said in a statement on Thursday.

Organisers hope Paris attacks don't overshadow COP21 climate summit [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

One of France’s leading environmental activists expressed hope that the recent terrorist attacks would urge world leaders to "reinforce their focus on the planet" and strike an international deal on climate change.

Moron Obama: Syrian Refugees are like Pilgrims on the Mayflower or Something [Jammie Wearing Fools]

Happy Thanksgiving, America, Barack Obama is here to drop a steaming dump upon you.

This Thanksgiving, President Obama is calling for Americans to lend a helping hand to another group of pilgrims fleeing persecution.

“Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families,” Obama said in his weekly address Thursday. “What makes America America is that we offer that chance.”
The president praised Americans who have offered to open their homes to refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

“One woman from Pennsylvania wrote to me to say, ‘Money is tight for us in my household. … But I have a guest room. I have a pantry full of food. We can do this,’ ” Obama said.

Maybe you can tell your stupid Republican uncle this story tonight while you’re busy fighting at dinner. Just wondering: Would it be asking too much to have one day a year where this clown doesn’t insult our intelligence?

Are We At War? Reusable First Stage. Vanishing Quasars, and the world goes on. [Chaos Manor - Jerry Pournelle]


Chaos Manor View, Tuesday, November 24, 2015

We are now on the brink of war with Russia.


Roland Dobbins

Turkey has called for an emergency meeting of NATO.

The Russian warplane was over an area of Syria inhabited largely by Turkmen, ethnic Turk Syrian citizens who are in rebellion against Bashar Assad. Turkey has supported this rebellion. There are political factions in Turkey who support the annexation by Turkey of Syrian Turkmen areas of Syria, although I know of no formal claim by Turkey.

Firing on the Russian warplane by a Turkish Air Force F-16 is reported as authorized by the highest levels of the Turkish government. It was claimed that the Russian warplane was in Turkish airspace, but apparently that is not the case – unless Turkey is laying claim to the northern area of Syria inhabited by Turkmen.

Two Russian pilots ejected from the Russian plane. They were reportedly killed by Turkmen rebels, and a Russian rescue helicopter was grounded by ground fire and then destroyed by heavy weapons. There is no news of the crew.


1130: It is time for a walk. More when there is something to know. I cannot guess what President Obama will do, except to note that he took weeks to months to authorize the strike against Bin Laden; he is not likely to act in haste. This morning he said that ISIS must not be tolerated, it must be destroyed; but he said much the same thing before, and there is little indication of how he expects to accomplish this.


1310: Turkey is adamantly claiming that the Russian airplane was in Turkish airspace, and they were justified in shooting the Russians down.

Russia continues to deny that their aircraft ever crossed into Turkish airspace.

The President of the US has said there are no plans to send US divisions to fight ISIS, but emphasized that the Caliphate cannot be tolerated and must go, but if he knows how to do this he is keeping it confidential: so far as we can tell, he is staying with his strategy he formed last summer. Oil is up a dollar a barrel.

No one seems eager to go to war, but President Putin has yet to announce his plans. It is futile to speculate. He has announced that he will attend the climate conference in Paris, and that this is a major rebuke to the terrorists.  He did not say why.

Meanwhile the world goes on.


Some good news from my son Richard:

A perfect landing

Your grandson watches this over and over. I told him the landing might make his Grandpa in California cry for joy just a little bit.


Apparently a reusable first stage. The rocket has no reentry vehicle, but a reusable first stage is one key to cheaper access to orbit.

Blue Origin sticks rocket landing, a major step toward reusable spaceflight | Ars Technica

This is too cool for words.


John Harlow

Bezos did it.




The Case of the Disappearing Quasars.



Roland Dobbins

I wish I had known this when – but maybe not.  it sure happens fast!


“No one needs to learn cursive.”

So say today’s K-12 “educators”. Accordingly it is being eliminated from many schools’ curriculum.

I was doing some genealogical research and realized that much original source historical data, such as census reports, was created in cursive. Some may have been scanned and converted or keyed as computer searchable data but much has not.

Will the American people, in a generation or so, have to rely on government gatekeepers to interpret these source documents? Will the nation be as functionally illiterate in cursive English as it is in historical Latin or Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic (or any number of other languages both historical and current)?

Why do some in positions of authority consider this a “good thing”?

Charles Brumbelow=

Is this the end of cursive writing? We can hope that we always have electric power.



Response to Concerns Regarding eDellroot Certificate

Today we became aware that a certificate (eDellRoot), installed by our Dell Foundation Services application on our PCs, unintentionally introduced a security vulnerability. The certificate was implemented as part of a support tool and intended to make it faster and easier for our customers to service their system. Customer security and privacy is a top concern and priority for Dell; we deeply regret that this has happened and are taking steps to address it.

The certificate is not malware or adware. Rather, it was intended to provide the system service tag to Dell online support allowing us to quickly identify the computer model, making it easier and faster to service our customers. This certificate is not being used to collect personal customer information. It’s also important to note that the certificate will not reinstall itself once it is properly removed using the recommended Dell process.

We have posted instructions to permanently remove the certificate from your system here. We will also push a software update starting on November 24 that will check for the certificate, and if detected remove it. Commercial customers who reimaged their systems without Dell Foundation Services are not affected by this issue. Additionally, the certificate will be removed from all Dell systems moving forward.


A little arithmetic

It seems we have let in some 785000 Muslim refugees from the Middle East etc.

But, we are told we are safe because the overwhelming majority do not support ISIS or terrorism. In context it turns out that “overwhelming” part is a “huge”

87% or so. But, if you think about it that amounts to about 13% who DO support ISIS or terrorism (or both, of course.) That’s about 100,000 enemy personnel (of all ages, of course) who are our enemies.

To put that in perspective Wikipiddle claims a typical US Army division is 17000 to 21000 people, not all out there pounding mud, of course. That means we have a count of 5 divisions of enemy personnel in our country, perhaps half as many front line troops as our Army maintains. Does having 5 divisions of worth of enemies in our country make YOU feel safe?

I don’t feel safe at all. Dig into the facts and pry out the numbers that are being obscured by “vast majority” type words. We are in deep doo-doo with the enemy count behind our lines in our homeland. Europe is likely toast. Their numbers are MUCH worse than ours. Obama is doing everything he can to “correct”

that error.

This is the article that led me to pry out some real numbers of significance.


O’Reilly failed us by not going the next numerical step.











Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




Strategy; the Caliphate; refugees. Dating the Fall of Troy. [Chaos Manor - Jerry Pournelle]


Chaos Manor View, Monday, November 23, 2015


We had a panel Saturday for the Greater Los Angeles Writers Association. Larry, John DeChancie, Barbara Hambly, and I, pretty well free form writer’s class. I said that Niven having got 2/3 of the way through the mail-order – this was before anyone ever thought of the Internet or “on-line – Famous Author’s School for Writers, which got a laugh, but in fact John and Barbara actually teach writing. I was the only one there who never taught writing or took any kind of writing class. I even got excused from freshman comp and bonehead English – the Christian Brothers were really thorough in my high school – so I had no idea of what they taught in those classes.

I really didn’t have a lot to say, and since I hadn’t brought the Surface Pro 3 (with Pro 4 keyboard) I couldn’t read them my decades old essay How To Get My Job which tells all the secrets I know about being a professional writer. They still bought me dinner and gave me a badge that says I am a lifetime member of GLAWA, and a ribbon that proclaims me an AUTHOR, so I guess now I am one.


The news continues. The President insists he has a winning strategy in the war on terror. We will cut off all the money and destroy the Caliphate without sending any – well not many – troops, mostly by air bombardment and encouraging other people to fight and die for the United States. We will also accept refugees, and no, there won’t be any terrorists lurking among them; and the Governors who reject having them settle in their states are just mean spirited and don’t know who the true Americans are, and I have a pen and a phone and I don’t need to pay attention to Congress. And if Congress tries to shut down the funds for importing refugees, they are just being mean and as President I’ll just spend it anyway, because I won, and if Congress tries to cut my funds I have a veto, and if they have the votes from traitor Democrats to pass it over my veto I’ll shut down the government. That will defeat ISIS or Daesh or The Caliphate or whoever they are.

That is a parody of his position, of course, but it actually sounds like he thinks it is a policy.

It isn’t a policy, and many of his advisors know it; as do some of the Democrats in Congress. The Caliphate can be destroyed, but only by taking away its claim to govern by the Will of Allah; and that can be done by owning the land they claim to govern.

“You may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, and wipe it clean of life -but if you desire to defend it, protect it, and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman Legions did – by putting your soldiers in the mud.”

T.R. Fehrenbach. “This Kind of War” .

Mr. Obama has never learned that lesson, and I think he has no advisors with the courage to tell him – if they know it, as increasingly few of them do.

The Senate grinds on; and the President has made it clear that he rules, with or without the consent of the governed.


Intelligence and the Paris attacks

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

John Dvorak observes that there was a complete absence of chatter before the latest round of attacks.


This implies, perhaps, that our intelligence agencies are looking in the wrong places for terrorists and are not successfully detecting the most sinister groups via electronic surveillance; it appears we are going to need old-fashioned HUMINT infiltration. Perhaps the refugees may be of use?  They speak the language, have friends and cousins in the area, and moreover have a deep and abiding grudge against ISIS.


Brian P.

But can we assume the refugees are genuine refugees?  Deception and false flags are allowed under the Koran

Jerry Pournelle

Intelligence and the Paris attacks

Dear Dr. Pournelle, 
I would be surprised if ISIS *wasn’t* attempting to infiltrate terrorists through that vector. Surely they  wouldn’t waste the opportunity? 
Be that as it may, I doubt they are all that big a percentage of the overall refugee flow.  ISIS is fighting a conventional war to establish a nation-state, after all. So I suspect they are already using the bulk of their riflemen types as precisely that; riflemen.   The pool of candidates who can successfully infiltrate the west and carry out a terror action must be much smaller. 

It also is in their interest to push out other brands of Muslims, such as Kurds, as well as Yazidis and Christians.  So I suspect most of the refugees are exactly what they appear to be; frightened people with no special hatred of the west and a great deal of hatred for the people who drove them out. 

Also, while refugees are a potential vector for terrorism, it is by no means the only one nor, perhaps, the most likely.  Of the attackers in Paris, just as with the 9/11 attackers, none appear to be refugees. Rather, they appear to be raised in the west, and perhaps became bored. 


The most dangerous threat, I suspect, is not from first-generation refugees but from second- and third- generation descendants who grow up in the west and become radicalized by Saudi propaganda, or perhaps by social media. 

Not to mention, the people who have done the gravest damage to American national security in this decade — Edward Snowden and Manning — are neither Islamic nor refugees. 

So I think the refugees as they exist offer a potential pool of recruits, much as refugees from Castro’s Cuba or Czarist refugees from the old USSR did.  I suggest we make use of that. Surely, of the 278 million or so American citizens, there is at least one person like Horace Hussein Al-Shamlan Bury from your Gripping  Hand novel?   Find that person, put him in charge of vetting. We don’t need very many, just one. And then that one recruits two or three, and those two recruit two or three, and eventually snowball to the point where they can act as an expeditionary force or as an intelligence group. 

Of course vetting will fail and the bad guys will slip in one or two ringers; they’ve done that to us since Turing and his Cambridge associates spied for the Russians.   But I’m given to understand that this is precisely why intelligence agencies use cells and need-to-know; so that a single turned operative does not compromise the entire network. 

Looking at it from the other side, I’m sure ISIS has the same problem; no doubt the Russians , the Iranians, and everyone else are trying desperately to penetrate their organization, yet somehow they are able to maintain a credible threat despite potential infiltration. 

That reminds me … The Russians DID manage to pacify Chechnya , didn’t they?  

So the problems we face are not unsolvable; they merely require a determination to do what is necessary, and a willingness to see through the solution across multiple administrations. That’s why doomed Bush’s efforts; I think. The Awakening was a success before the Democrats pulled the plug on the whole thing, For this to work, it has to be something both parties will stick to beyond the election cycle. 

*Thinks* Or perhaps done by career people outside of the election cycle altogether.

*Shrug* that’s my opinion anyway.


Brian P.

While I agree that the first requirement is the will to win and we don’t have that, the fact remains that the refugees are migrants who have not any intention of assimilating; an indigestible lump most of whom will require considerable public assistance for food, shelter, health care, and education; all of which would cost us less if it were delivered in the Middle East, not Iowa or Louisiana. And if we conquer oil producing lands we have land to settle them on. If they then want to come to the United States, they can go apply for visas like anyone else.

We are going to have to defeat the Caliphate, and having done that we will have considerable land we do not want – and refugees who want land. We will have oil that we do not need (after we have sold some to pay for our having to conquer the land). Sometimes problems solve themselves.

We tried nation building. We are no good at it. But we can apply other philosophies. Protectorates are cheaper than assimilating vast hordes who do not want to be assimilated, and have no claims upon us other than pity. Alas we have not time to train the refugees into a fighting force – assuming they would actually want that.

Stretched FBI braces for Islamic State holiday terror attacks


I think we need not add to their burden. This is war.


Muslims Take Over US City

It seems we have our very own Hamburg, Germany:


It’s traumatic for them,” said Majewski, a dignified-looking woman in a brown velvet dress, her long, silvery hair wound in a loose bun.

Around her at the Tekla Vintage store, mannequins showcased dresses, hats and jewelry from the mid-20th century, and customers fingered handbags and gawked at the antique dolls that line the store, which sits across the street from Srodek’s Quality Sausage and the Polish Art Center on Joseph Campau Avenue, the town’s main drag.

Majewski, whose family emigrated from Poland in the early 20th century, admitted to a few concerns of her own. Business owners within

500 feet of one of Hamtramck’s four mosques can’t obtain a liquor license, she complained, a notable development in a place that flouted Prohibition-era laws by openly operating bars. The restrictions could thwart efforts to create an entertainment hub downtown, said the pro-commerce mayor.

And while Majewski advocated to allow mosques to issue calls to prayer, she understands why some longtime residents are struggling to adjust to the sound that echos through the city’s streets five times each day.

“There’s definitely a strong feeling that Muslims are the other,” she said. “It’s about culture, what kind of place Hamtramck will become.

There’s definitely a fear, and to some degree, I share it.”



◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

The joys of diversity?


Government As the Enemy

This is interesting:


Pew Research Center found that 27 percent of registered voters say they think of government as an enemy, up 8 points since 1996. The latest poll looked at general public opinion regarding the federal government.

The findings suggests that 57 percent of voters feel frustrated with the government, while 22 percent feel angry and 18 percent feel “basically content.”

The majority of Americans feel the federal government has room for serious improvement, with 59 percent saying the government needs “very major reform.” Only 37 percent of voters felt that way in 1997.

When asked what particularly makes the government problematic, congress and politics were cited most often. Thirteen percent mentioned Congress, while 11 percent named politics.

More than a third (35 percent) of Republicans believe the federal government is the enemy, while 34 percent of Independents believe the same. The poll found that half of all Democrats (50 percent) view the government as a friend and only 12 percent see it as the enemy.



What surprises me is that independents and republicans are close on this matter.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

When I was young, no one would have said the government is the enemy.


Gingrich on Obama

In pleasant surprise, I find myself agreeing with Gingrich:


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Saturday that President Barack Obama is heading “the most dangerous national security administration in American history.”

“They’re totally wrong about the war on terror and they lie about what is going on,” he told Uma Pemmaraju on Fox News. “Secretary [John] Kerry suggested that there was justification for the attack on Charlie Hebdo. He said al-Qaida has been degraded, which is not true.

“The president has called ISIS the junior varsity,” Gingrich added, referring to the Islamic State. “He said just last week that they have been contained. This administration is out of touch with reality.”



He goes on to speak about a young woman being radicalized in France and blowing herself up; he says this Administration doesn’t understand what we face.

Gingrich did not get into details,but he’s referring to a girl who posted pictures of herself wearing cowboy hats and making suggestive faces. Then, you see pictures of her dressed with a hijab and making hand signs. She sounds like an impressionable girl who got the wrong impression and we know the rest.

Gingrich has a rational position in that we need to consider this, calmly, and cope with it.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

Newt and I are no longer close, largely because I seldom get to Washington any more; but he remains a good friend. Given time to consider he often has excellent reasons for what he says. Do not forget that he led in restoring the House to the Republicans when everyone thought it was irretrievably lost.




David Couvillon
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; 
Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; 
Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; 
Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; 
Chef de Hot Dog Excellence;  Avoider of Yard Work


Mafia Against Daesh

You may have read that Anonymous declared war on Daesh, even releasing a hacking for “noobs” (novices) tutorial. Now the Mafia is after



The son of a New York mob boss has given Islamic State a stark warning, saying if they are planning any attacks in New York, they will have to contend with the Sicilian mafia. The notorious crime syndicate say they want to do their bit to protect locals.

TrendsIslamic State

Giovanni Gambino, the son of a key figure in the Gambino mob organization, says the mafia is in a much better position than security bodies, such as the FBI or Homeland Security, to give New Yorkers the protection they need.

“They often act too late, or fail to see a complete picture of what’s happening due to a lack of ‘human intelligence,’” he said in an interview with NBC News, as cited by Reuters, adding that the mafia’s knowledge of individual movements and interaction with locals gives it the upper hand, even compared to the latest surveillance technologies.



◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

Cosa Nostra has the Constitution to protect its soldier against the American forces of law. They can provide preventative protection; but at what costs? A Sicilian Committee of Vigilance?


Cushy, well-paid government jobs
Government employment isn’t just a “sweet gig” in the USA; it is also very much so in the UK – maybe even more so.
If I had kids and/or grandkids, which incidentally isn’t the case and isn’t going to be, I would strongly suggest a career in government as being better paid, far less stressful and more secure (and with far better pension arrangements) than private industry. I would be gritting my teeth while saying it, but I’d still say it.
But this only really applies to government paper-shufflers; when the occasional crackdown on expenditure happens it ALWAYS hits services and people who actually do useful jobs (which do exist in government service) first. This is, of course, because it’s the paper-shufflers who make the decisions, as you have repeatedly pointed out.
Also incidentally, all this applies to some of the more monopolist and cartel-oriented industries as well. Banking, for sure.
I don’t think it’s ever going to happen, but I think this is only going to change when someone like Thatcher or Reagan gets into power and that is highly unlikely in the near future. (Maggie Thatcher’s granddaughter is natural-born Texan, so there might be a chance in maybe 2030…) Someone who is going to respond to disdainful masters in the way Reagan responded to the air traffic controllers. (“You’re on strike? Very well, you’re fired.”)




short video interview about Paris attacks Sender Name : Kerry Liles
Sender Email : kerry.liles@gmail.com
Sender Message
Jerry, have seen this interview with a young boy in the aftermath of the Paris attack? I urge you to watch it (less than 90 sec) – it is perhaps small proof there is some hope for humanity… Out of the mouth of babes…

‘They have guns, but we have flowers. So all will be well.”

I think I’d rather have the guns.



‘If true, this would date the fall of Troy itself to precisely 1188 BC.’



Roland Dobbins

There was a time when this would have been enough to go over there and look. I have a number of theories about the Bronze Age at the dawn of history. This fits them rather well.

Lost Island of Ancient Greece Discovered in Aegean Sea.



Roland Dobbins





Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




CNN omits Israel from Middle East map [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — CNN posted a map on the CNNMoney feature on its website that replaced Israel with “Palestina.”

The map was posted on Wednesday on the “Syria and the Middle East” section of the feature article “Beyond ISIS: 2016’s scariest geopolitical hot spots.”

“Palestina” is a Spanish or Portuguese translation of Palestine. The image was taken from Getty Images’ iStock and is not a creation of CNN’s graphics team, according to the media watchdog HonestReporting, which first reported the map.

The graphic was later replaced with a photo of the aftermath of a Syrian airstrike in Aleppo.

“While we question how the error occurred at all, nonetheless we commend CNN for taking prompt action,” HonestReporting said in a statement on its webpage, saying that the switch came following its flagging of the map and “the complaints of many HonestReporting subscribers.”

HonestReporting Managing Editor Simon Plosker wrote: “Whether it was an oversight or something more sinister, CNN’s illustration of the Middle East without Israel is completely unacceptable. At a time when the state’s very legitimacy is being called into question by vicious anti-Israel extremists, any message that Israel does not belong in the Middle East plays into this false narrative and feeds those like the Iranian ayatollahs who wish to see Israel erased from the map.”

In January, veteran CNN anchor Jim Clancy resigned after a series of Twitter posts in which he mocked pro-Israel tweeters on a thread discussing the Charlie Hebdo massacre.


NYC to fund security guards for non-public school, including Jewish ones [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — New York City will fund security guards for Jewish, Catholic and Muslim students in non-public schools.

The agreement, which will provide each non-public school with an additional security guard, was reached by Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. The agreement caps more than two years of grassroots advocacy by the Orthodox Union – Teach NYS, the organization said in a statement.

“As security is increased in light of recent events and religious communities face especially heightened concerns, it is especially critical that all students are protected regardless of what kind of school they attend,” said Maury Litwack, Director of State Political Affairs for the Orthodox Union.

The bill, which was sponsored by Democratic City Councilman David Greenfield, would make $19.8 million available to fund security at New York City’s private schools, Politico reported. It is the first time religious and non-public schools in the city will receive taxpayer-funded security, according to Politico.



Young woman whose father, brother killed in terror attack gets married [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The young woman whose father and brother were killed in a West Bank terror attack days before her wedding was married in Jerusalem.

Sarah Techiya Litman married Ariel Beigle on Thursday night under a wedding canopy in front of hundreds of guests. Thousands more were expected later in the evening, including some from the Diaspora, in answer to the couple’s call inviting the public to their wedding.

The entire wedding was live streamed on YouTube.

The wedding originally was scheduled for Nov. 19, four days after the attack, but was postponed for the shiva, or mourning period.

“This evening, instead of wearing the bridal dress, I will sit on the floor with a torn shirt,” Sarah said on Nov. 19, the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot reported. “But very soon, we will marry in a large and happy wedding. We will go on and be happy as Father and Netanel always were. We will not be crushed.”

The couple called it the “million person wedding,” according to Yediot, which quoted the couple as saying, “Multitudes will come to make us happy.”

The public wedding invitation began with the biblical quote “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy, for I have fallen but I have gotten up” (Michah 7:8).

NYT’s Rudoren announces departure from Jerusalem [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren announced that she will be leaving Jerusalem at the end of the year and returning to New York.

“I knew this would be my last Thanksgiving in Jerusalem, but I had not expected to be cooking amid packing up and saying goodbyes. The Rudorens depart Jan. 1 for New York,” she wrote.

“On this Thanksgiving — or, as it is known here, Thursday — I am so grateful for the incredible, generous, insightful and intrepid Palestinians and Israelis who enabled me to do this most demanding work, and experience this most complicated place. You have taught me endlessly, you have supported me thoroughly, you have challenged my brain, you have filled my heart. Journalists who guided me, sources who shared with me, friends who embraced me — even advocates who attacked me: you have helped me grow and see and question, and question. Exactly why we came here, exactly why I’ve been doing this journalism thing all these years,” she wrote.

The post generated many comments from well wishers.

Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, is considered to be the leading candidate for the job, unnamed sources told CNN Money on Wednesday. Baker came to The New York Times in 2008 after 20 years at the Washington Post.


Bus carrying dozens of Israeli soldiers overturns in West Bank, killing one [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A female Israeli soldier, 19, was killed when a bus carrying dozens of soldiers overturned in the West Bank.

Cpl. Stav Partush was identified by the Israel Defense Forces as the dead soldier. Her rank was posthumously raised to sergeant. Some 42 other passengers, all soldiers, were injured in the accident near the Kohav Hashahar settlement on Thursday morning. At least one soldier with serious injuries was airlifted to a hospital in central Israel, according to reports.

The bus driver told the Hebrew-language news website Walla! that he lost control of the bus after a Palestinian car passed him wildly on a bend in the road.

The bus was carrying soldiers from their army base to Jerusalem.

Several soldiers were trapped in the bus after it overturned, and it was difficult to extract them from the bus since it was armored, to protect against rock and shooting attacks on the bus.

Palestinian assailant killed in stabbing attack [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian man was shot and killed during an attempted stabbing attack in the West Bank.

The alleged assailant attempted to stab Israeli Border Police officers at an army checkpoint near the Tapuah junction in the northern West Bank on Thursday morning.

The Palestinian man was identified by Palestinian sources as 51-year-old Samir Seresi. He brandished the knife while running toward the soldiers yelling “Allahu akbar,” or God is great, according to police.

It is the same place where three soldiers were injured in a car ramming attack on Tuesday.

Earlier on Thursday morning, a Palestinian man, 21, was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers during a raid on the West Bank town of Qatanna, near Jerusalem. During the raid, troops searching the town for suspected terrorists and weapons clashed with residents, leading to the use of tear gas and guns, the Palestinian news agency Maan reported. The victim was shot in the head during the clashes, according to Maan.

The Israel Defense Forces said that troops uncovered IDF uniforms, weapons and ammunition in the raid and said it was aware of reports of a Palestinian casualty, Haaretz reported.


Lone soldiers from North America attend Thanksgiving dinner in Tel Aviv [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Lone soldiers and new immigrants from North America celebrate Thanksgiving. (Courtesy photo/NBN/Yonit Schiller)

Lone soldiers and new immigrants from North America celebrate Thanksgiving. (Courtesy photo/NBN/Yonit Schiller)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 200 lone Israeli soldiers from North America will attend a special Thanksgiving dinner catered by a former lone soldier from New York.

The holiday dinner on Thursday, at the Beit Hachayal in Tel Aviv, will be hosted by Nefesh B’Nefesh, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, and the Jewish National Fund. The dinner will allow the young immigrants without family in Israel to celebrate the traditional American holiday.

“When I was a lone soldier, I celebrated Thanksgiving with only a few friends,” said Idan Ianovici, owner of Vici Deli in Raanana, who served in the IDF’s Armored. He will prepare the soldiers a meal that includes cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and other traditional Thanksgiving fare.

The soldiers will be joined by other new immigrants from North America.

“Thanksgiving is a very family-oriented holiday,” said Marc Rosenberg, director of pre-aliyah at Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We wanted to give new olim who arrived alone, including lone soldiers, the opportunity to celebrate this American holiday with other Anglo olim here in Tel Aviv.”

Argentinean rabbi tapped as government minister [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

BUENOS AIRES (JTA) – Argentinean lawmaker Rabbi Sergio Bergman was tapped to serve as Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development.

Bergman, who will start his new position on December 10 when the new government is sworn in, is believed to be the only rabbi serving as a government minister outside of Israel.

Bergman will be part of the Mauricio Macri’s new center right government, after being named by Macri in 2011 to head the his party’s slate of the parliamentary candidates for the Buenos Aires City Municipal Legislature and in 2013 to head the list of National parliamentary candidates, winning both elections. He is the rabbi of the oldest synagogue in Argentina  which is part Fundación Judaica, a network of Jewish institutions founded and led by Bergman.

Bergman is a friend of the Pope Francis, who served as the archbishop of  Buenos Aires prior to his election as pope. The rabbi wrote a book of religious essays, titled  “A Gospel According to Pope Francis,” which praises the Pope as a religious leader,
social worker and political statesman.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Macri on Wednesday to congratulate him on the election victory, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. “Macri told me that relations between Argentina and Israel will now change for the better,” Netanyahu wrote in a post on Facebook.

The new Argentinean government has said it will cancel the pact that Argentina signed with Iran to jointly investigate the bombing of the  AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, a measure welcomed by American Jewish Committee, Latin American Jewish Congress, the Argentinean Jewish political umbrella DAIA, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The agreement has been criticized by Israel and Argentina’s Jews, among others. Iran has been accused of being behind the 1994 AMIA bombing, which killed 85 and injured hundreds.

“We will propose to the Congress to cancel the pact with Iran as we promised in the campaign,” Macri said Monday morning in his first news conference after being elected in a runoff vote the previous day.

Despite Jewish security concerns, new kosher supermarket opens in Berlin [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — Despite Jewish security concerns throughout Europe, Berlin is about to get a new kosher supermarket, this one serving customers located in the former West Berlin.

The “Daily Markt” kosher supermarket in the Charlottenburg district adds a new option to those already existing in Berlin, including the
Kosher Life supermarket, which opened in 2008 in the former East Berlin, as well as a few smaller shops and bakeries.

They are designed to meet the needs of small but growing communities of observant Jews in the German capital, but draw non-Jewish customers as well, owners say.

The newest addition is the result of a cooperation between the non-Jewish businessman Asan Mytev and entrepreneurs within the local
Jewish community, assisted by Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, head of Chabad Lubavitch and an official rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin.

A partner in the Daily Markt, store manager Evgeny Bort, said in a statement that he was optimistic that, despite security concerns and the recent European Union decision to require relabeling of products made in the West Bank and Golan Heights, people would patronize the shop.

“We can’t let terrorism stop us and interfere with our lives,” Bort said. He also said that he does not worry about the politics of labeling, and is only concerned with making it easier to purchase kosher food in Berlin.

For Mytev, it made sense to “bring all kinds of kosher products under one roof.” He also noted that many customers are non-Jews who “want to be sure that their food doesn’t have any traces of insects and other health hazards in it.”

The partners plan on opening more “Daily Markt” kosher supermarkets in other cities in the country.

Berlin’s Jewish population has about 11,000 official members; it is estimated that at least twice that number live in the city but are
unaffiliated with the Jewish community.


Anne Frank’s diary to be published online in challenge to copyright [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — In two separate challenges to the foundation that owns the rights to Anne Frank’s diary and is seeking to extend its copyright, a French lawmaker and a French scholar each plan to publish the text online in January.

Isabelle Attard, a French Parliament member whose own grandparents died in the Holocaust, plans to publish the entire Dutch text of the famous Holocaust diary on Jan. 1, the date when the current copyright expires, the Guardian reported Wednesday. Separately, Olivier Ertzscheid, a lecturer at the University of Nantes, is also planning to publish the text on the Internet on Jan. 1.

Anne Frank’s diary, which chronicles two years of hiding from the Nazis in the “secret annex” of an Amsterdam warehouse, is arguably the most famous Holocaust-era document and inspired several play and film adaptations. She died in 1945 at the Bergen Belsen extermination camp, and because European copyrights generally expire 70 years after an author’s death, the copyright was expected to expire at the end of this year.

However, Anne Frank Fonds, the Swiss foundation that Frank’s father, Otto, established to allocate the book’s royalties to charity, announced recently that it planned to list Otto Frank as a co-author, thus adding 35 years to the copyright. Otto Frank, the sole survivor of the eight Jews who sought refuge in the annex, died in 1980.

A spokesperson for Attard told the Guardian that she plans to defend her online version of the diary in court,  and is prepared to go to court, according to the Guardian.

“Many revisionists, people who want to deny the extermination camps existed, have tried to attack the diary for years,” Attard’s spokesperson said. “Saying now the book wasn’t written by Anne alone is weakening the weight it has had for decades, as a testimony to the horrors of this war.”

The spokesperson added: “On 1 January, Mein Kampf will enter the public domain, and [Attard] feels the symbolism of this, Mein Kampf entering the public domain, and a counterpart, Anne Frank’s diary, this very important work about the horrors of the Second World War, not entering at the same time, was unacceptable for her.”

Yves Kugelmann, a member of Anne Frank Fonds’ board of trustees, told The Guardian: “After the war, Otto Frank merged, or compiled, the two versions of the diary that Anne Frank left, that were both incomplete and that partly overlapped, into one reader-friendly version. He typed over Anne Frank’s manuscripts and with scissors and glue subsequently, literally, ‘cut and pasted’ them into the version that was published in English from the early ‘50s. The book he created earns his own copyright.”

NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN - English News at 21:01 (JST), November 26 [English News - NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN]

Happy Thanksgiving From Outside The Beltway! [Outside the Beltway]

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at OTB!

It was 152 years ago that President Abraham Lincoln set forth the precedent that led to the fourth Thursday in November being declared a National Day of Thanksgiving with this Proclamation:

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans. mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.


And here’s President Obama’s Proclamation for 2015:

Rooted in a story of generosity and partnership, Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the gifts we have and to show our appreciation for all we hold dear. Today, as we give of ourselves in service to others and spend cherished time with family and friends, we give thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us. We also honor the men and women in uniform who fight to safeguard our country and our freedoms so we can share occasions like this with loved ones, and we thank our selfless military families who stand beside and support them each and every day.

Our modern celebration of Thanksgiving can be traced back to the early 17th century. Upon arriving in Plymouth, at the culmination of months of testing travel that resulted in death and disease, the Pilgrims continued to face great challenges. An indigenous people, the Wampanoag, helped them adjust to their new home, teaching them critical survival techniques and important crop cultivation methods. After securing a bountiful harvest, the settlers and Wampanoag joined in fellowship for a shared dinner to celebrate powerful traditions that are still observed at Thanksgiving today: lifting one another up, enjoying time with those around us, and appreciating all that we have.

Carrying us through trial and triumph, this sense of decency and compassion has defined our Nation. President George Washington proclaimed the first Thanksgiving in our country’s nascence, calling on the citizens of our fledgling democracy to place their faith in “the providence of Almighty God,” and to be thankful for what is bequeathed to us. In the midst of bitter division at a critical juncture for America, President Abraham Lincoln acknowledged the plight of the most vulnerable, declaring a “day of thanksgiving,” on which all citizens would “commend to [God’s] tender care” those most affected by the violence of the time — widows, orphans, mourners, and sufferers of the Civil War. A tradition of giving continues to inspire this holiday, and at shelters and food centers, on battlefields and city streets, and through generous donations and silent prayers, the inherent selflessness and common goodness of the American people endures.

In the same spirit of togetherness and thanksgiving that inspired the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, we pay tribute to people of every background and belief who contribute in their own unique ways to our country’s story. Each of us brings our own traditions, cultures, and recipes to this quintessential American holiday — whether around dinner tables, in soup kitchens, or at home cheering on our favorite sports teams — but we are all united in appreciation of the bounty of our Nation. Let us express our gratitude by welcoming others to our celebrations and recognize those who volunteer today to ensure a dinner is possible for those who might have gone without. Together, we can secure our founding ideals as the birthright of all future generations of Americans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 26, 2015, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to join together — whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors — and give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

As in the past, no real posts today absent major earth-shattering news, and probably not even then. However, in keeping with the political spirit of what we do here, I must once again share these classic clips from The West Wing

First, President Bartlet pardons a turkey:

Second, the great Joe Bethersonton calls the Butterball Hotline:

Enjoy the day, or the long weekend as the case may be.

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s The Best Thanksgiving Sitcom Episode Ever [Outside the Beltway]

WKRP Thanksgiving

I’ve posted this before, but there’s no reason not to share it again, especially since I’m not sure that you’ll be able to catch it on television as has been the case in recent years.

When it comes to sitcom holiday episodes, there’s not much that can beat, Turkey’s Away, perhaps the one episode of WKRP In Cincinnati that even people who were not alive when the show aired are familiar with.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s the Hulu version. Unfortunately, thanks to copyright issues I believe that much of the music originally featured on this episode has been replaced, nonetheless it’s still worth watching:

Or, you can just skip to the most important parts:

Listening to Alice’s Restaurant on the Radio on Thanksgiving 2015 [Radio Survivor]

It’s that time of year. The holidays are just around the corner and for some stalwarts, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without listening to the Arlo Guthrie classic “Alice’s Restaurant” on the radio. 50th Anniversary of the Events that Inspired the Song This year is particularly special as it marks the 50th anniversary of the 1965 […]

The post Listening to Alice’s Restaurant on the Radio on Thanksgiving 2015 appeared first on Radio Survivor.

The Top 5 Holiday Movies You Must Watch [RedState]


Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season. From Thanksgiving to Christmas there is an abundance of food, Christmas decorations, Hanukkah, presents, Christmas music and more. Truth be told, it is my favorite time of the year. In addition to everything listed, there are a bunch of different movies and TV specials to choose from. I have managed to create this list of five that you should definitely watch.

Some might be inclined to ask, “Where is Die Hard?” For the record, I am on the side of the angels when I say ‘Die Hard’ is in fact, a Christmas movie. Unlike that heathen Sonny Bunch who works for the Washington Free Beacon. His opinions are terrible. That said, it did not make this list because I went with more conventional holiday movies. There are those who know ‘Die Hard’ is a Christmas movie and those who are wrong. There’s no point in debating it. So here is the list:

5. Miracle On The 34th Street

Nobody asks “Which one?” because there is only one. It begins and ends with the 1947 version with Edmund Gwenn. It also stars the recently deceased and very beautiful Maureen O’Hara. One of the best parts is when a judge declares Kris Kringle to be Santa Claus.

4. The Ref

The Ref is not the most conventional Christmas movie either, but it does take place on Christmas Eve and there is a lot a family and friends as well as a kidnapper involved. Denis Leary is at his chaotic best in this role and Kevin Spacey along with Judy Davis are so good at being amazingly annoying, that a criminal (Leary) becomes the hero in this one. Best scene is when Spacey’s character, Lloyd tells his mother off. (Language warning):

3. Christmas Vacation

Not much explanation is needed for this one. It nearly stands on its own as the best of the series. This is at a time when Chevy Chase was still funny, Randy Quaid was not a fugitive and when Beverly D’Angelo was smoking hot. Also, pre-Seinfeld Julia Louis-Dreyfus appears in it. One of the best scenes is when Clark freaks out.

2. A Christmas Story

What holiday movie list does not include this movie? Did you know there are people who actually do not like this movie? These people actually exist. I think we should find them and expose them. There is no room in this world for anybody who does not like this movie. Ralph Parker is the kid in all of us. There has always been that Christmas where we wanted one gift more than anything else and when we got it, it became the Christmas we would never forget. How can we forget the Sticky Tongue scene?

1. Planes, Trains And Automobiles

Not only is this the funniest holiday movie of all time, it is also one of the funniest movies of all time, genre notwithstanding. Steve Martin is in top form as Neal Page, the marketing executive who is trying desperately go make it home to his family for Thanksgiving and the late John Candy was never funnier as the amazingly annoying but endearing Del Griffith. You’ve likely seen the movie so I don’t have to explain more. If you haven’t, then I can only assume you have recently escaped North Korea, so feel free to enjoy it now. Money scene…when Neal goes to the car rental counter. (Major language warning):

So there you have it. Lists such as these cause all kinds of debates. I am sure some of you are saying, “How can you not have ______ on the list?” By all means, list yours in the comments. There maybe somebody reading who hasn’t seen something, you think they should.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The post The Top 5 Holiday Movies You Must Watch appeared first on RedState.

Five Things That Happened In 2015 To Make Us All Thankful [RedState]

Another Thanksgiving is here and another year is almost over.  The holiday season is officially in full swing today as we visit with our families, and friends, and enjoy a day of togetherness and unity.  In a time when the world is crumbling all around us, and our culture is increasingly ungrateful and demanding, it’s important to stop, reflect, and be grateful for some of the good things that have happened to us all in 2015.

1) Low gas prices

Gas prices this Thanksgiving are the lowest they have been in seven years.  Just three Thanksgivings ago, Americans were paying record prices at the pump, nearing $4 a gallon in some places.  Some families made alternate holiday plans in years past because the price of travel was just too costly.

This year, AAA estimates that almost 47 million people are traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday, 89% of those journeys being taken on the road.  That’s a lot of money saved this year between us all!

2) Economic improvements

Do we have a long way to go?  Absolutely.  But the economy has shown progress this year, and although slow, progress is progress.  Kiplinger predicts a 3% growth in the last quarter of the year, with an overall growth of 2.5% for 2015.   Just four years ago, the GDP growth rate was 1.6%, and in 2009 it was an abysmal -2.8%.

Consumer spending is up, which is only expected to increase with Black Friday and holiday shopping.  The housing market is only getting stronger, and interest rates are as low as 2.3%.

These are all muted, but welcome signs of economic improvement in 2015.

3) The 2015 off year election

Last year during the midterm elections, Republicans crushed the Democrat party and overtook the Senate, taking full control of Congress. It sent a clear message to President Obama that the voters were not happy with the projected course.

Apparently, the voters didn’t have buyers’ remorse from last year.  The off year elections earlier this month showed that voters are still somewhat awake (there is that whole Trump thing), and still pissed at President Obama.

Kentucky voted into office their second Republican governor in the past 40 years, Matt Bevin.  Social issues such as marijuana and anti-LGBT discrimination were rejected by voters.  All in all, November 2015 was another decisive victory for Republicans.

4) Hillary Clinton’s email scandal

I don’t want to make light of someone getting investigated by the FBI for a felony (okay, maybe that’s not entirely true).  But really, with all the awful things she’s done in her past, isn’t it time the media/government take her to task on something?  In the past, she’s certainly been untouchable.

Hillary is more unfavorable than ever, as evidenced by the Colorado poll showing a whopping two thirds of those polled do not find her trustworthy or honest.  I never thought I’d have a reason to be impressed with Colorado voters, but here we are.

It is past time the American people, namely the Independents and lite Democrats (there’s no hope for the radical liberals), had a good look at exactly who they could be voting for in 2016.  However that happens, I’m thankful.

5) The new Star Wars movie

Unless you live under a rock, you should know that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is hitting the big screen in December 2015.  Disney has also confirmed a plan to expand the franchise, effectively pledging one Star Wars movie per year until 2020.  The trilogy begins December 18th, with spinoffs in the years between the films to hold fans over.

JJ Abrams, producer of LOST and the new Star Trek movies, has proven to be more than capable of re-creating old franchises and breathing life into them.  I have faith he will do right by George Lucas.  Any good American should be excited to see this movie.

I’m going to be blunt, you don’t have to look very far to find reasons to worry about the state of our country these days, and even the world.  It’s a terrifying place out there.

Let’s not forget to be thankful for the recent events, big or small, that enrich our lives daily.  We forget how much we have, and how fortunate we are to live here.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The post Five Things That Happened In 2015 To Make Us All Thankful appeared first on RedState.

Donald Trump Mocks A Disabled New York Times Reporter [RedState]


Last week, Donald Trump claimed that “thousands and thousands” of people in Jersey City turned out to celebrate the dropping of the World Trade Center towers by al Qaeda. Presumably they were Muslims, but his is New Jersey we are talking about so who knows.

“Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

In pushing back against the tsunami of truth consuming his fanciful story, Trump and his campaign and apologists have started using a Washington Post story by Serge Kovaleski headlined Northern New Jersey Draws Probers’ Eyes to bolster their case.

In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners’ plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.

No mention, you’ll notice, of “thousands and thousands” but it does show that some people were celebrating. Again, I’ll note, this is New-freakin-Jersey we are talking about. This is the Land-of-the-Jersey-Neck-Warmer. These people could have thought they were looking at a Kiss concert.

Anyway, Mr. Kovaleski, who now works for the New York Times, seems to be uncomfortable with his reporting being Ground Zero of a food-fight involving his media brethren and Donald Trump and tried to extricate himself.

Serge Kovaleski, the lead reporter on the Washington Post story that Trump links to, said he doesn’t remember witnesses reporting large groups of people celebrating.

“We did a lot of shoe leather reporting in and around Jersey City and talked to a lot of residents and officials for the broader story. Much of that has, indeed, faded from memory,” said Kovaleski, who’s now an investigative reporter for The New York Times. “But I do not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating. That was not the case, as best as I can remember.”

A bit of background. Kovaleski has a very rare congenital condition called arthrogryposis.

Arthrogryposis is a general or descriptive term for the development of nonprogressive contractures affecting one or more areas of the body prior to birth (congenitally). A contracture is a condition in which a joint becomes permanently fixed in a bent (flexed) or straightened (extended) position, completely or partially restricting the movement of the affected joint.

And he and Trump know each other from when Kovaleski covered Trump for the New York Daily News.

That brings us up to the present.

Tuesday evening, Trump was at a campaign event in South Carolina. The subject of the phantom Muslims and Kovaleski’s not corroborating the version of the story Trump wanted to hear came up. Well, watch for yourself:

Via Politico:

Trump went on, “Now the poor guy — you ought to see the guy: ‘Uhh I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember.’ He’s going, ‘I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said.’” As he spoke, Trump launched into an impression which involved gyrating his arms wildly and imitating the unusual angle at which Kovaleski’s hand sometimes rests.

Now I realize that this isn’t going to make people who oppose Trump think less of him. Not only has that floor been reached but probably the sub-foundation as well. Sadly, it probably isn’t going to have much of an impact who support him. This will just be another blow Trump is striking against political correctness… or good manners were they not already dead.

The post Donald Trump Mocks A Disabled New York Times Reporter appeared first on RedState.

The WKRP Thanksgiving Memorial Open Thread. [RedState]

This is something of a tradition around here at RedState. And most of us do love this particular episode of WKRP.   Heck, sitcom television doesn’t get any better than this:

Open thread. And Happy Thanksgiving! Don’t talk politics at the dinner table.

Moe Lane

PS: “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

The post The WKRP Thanksgiving Memorial Open Thread. appeared first on RedState.

The Virtue of Thanksgiving [RedState]

It’s safe to say the act of giving thanks is waning in our culture. The holiday comes and goes each year in much the same fashion, but truly giving thanks is almost foreign to us. However, thanksgiving is a virtue.

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero

Current societal obsessions include social justice, gender inequity, and class envy. Each comes from comparing one’s surroundings or circumstances with another person’s, and allowing discontent to fester. These resentments prove that lack of thankfulness is really the foundation upon which frustrations grow.

We can easily list virtues of honor, compassion, charity, humility, faith, grace, joy, and perseverance, but ultimately, thankfulness isn’t one we’re quick to include. Why is that? Because today’s culture can be categorized as a “more is never enough” culture. Our obsession with stuff is obvious. The high we get from amassing said stuff is fleeting, we’re left bored and dissatisfied, and ungratefulness grows.

There is no better example than Black Friday shopping. Actually, many places have turned it into Black Thursday shopping. The official Thanksgiving holiday is not even sacred, and too many of us are rushing through festivities in order to secure a place in line…to buy more stuff. It serves as a band-aid on top of our envy. Briefly, our wants our meet, and briefly, we feel satisfied. But this is not thankfulness at all.

At my brother and sister-in-law’s home, this phrase hangs on the wall: “There is always, always, always something to be thankful for”. I’m not sure about you, but I know me, and I know that such a phrase feels good to say in the moments when things are going well. When things aren’t going well I prefer to avoid that thought. It’s a nagging reminder that despite current dissatisfaction, I’m forgetting the one thing – thankfulness – which should be life’s undercurrent. And that thankfulness, for me personally, as an imperfect Christian, cannot be directed anywhere else but God. For who am I giving thanks to if not to Him?

It’s quite obvious that America needs simplification. There is too much filler, too many distractions, too many TV channels, and too much padding to carry us from morning to night. Strip all that away, and there’s a nagging feeling of wanting more. I think it’s clear that the simplicity – and virtue – of giving thanks is what we’re missing.

The post The Virtue of Thanksgiving appeared first on RedState.

The Myth of “4 Million Conservative Voters Stayed Home in 2012″ [RedState]

gandalf cavalry

I have frequently criticized liberal and Democratic commentators for relying on the Static Electorate Fallacy, the idea that the 2016 electorate and results will not stray far from the demographic, geographic and ideological contours of 2012, despite longstanding American electoral history showing that elections following the re-election of an incumbent have always featured shifts in the map to the detriment of the party in power. Candidates make their own turnout, and removing a successfully re-elected incumbent always puts more voters and potential voters up for grabs.

But conservative and Republican commentators need to avoid believing our own comforting myths, and one of those has managed remarkable durability even though it should have gone away within a month of the 2012 elections: that something like 4 million usually reliable conservative voters – voters who showed up at the polls even in the down year of 2008 to support Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) 51% – stayed home in 2012 because Mitt Romney was too moderate. This theory keeps getting offered as proof that all the GOP needs to do is nominate a real conservative and this cavalry, 4 million strong, will come charging over the hilltop and save the day. In fact, poor a candidate as he was, Romney actually got more votes than McCain did; the belief that he got less is based entirely on incomplete numbers reported in the first 24-48 hours after Election Day, before all the votes had finally been counted.

The Myth

The myth itself first appeared shortly after the November 6, 2012 election. Here’s Jeffrey Lord in the American Spectator:

On Tuesday night, it comes clear, as this is written using the latest Fox News figures, Mitt Romney lost to President Obama by 2,819,339 votes.

And the news ekes out that Moderate Nominee Number 10 Romney received some 3 million Republican votes less than Moderate Nominee Number 9 — John McCain in 2008.

Which is to say, 3 million base GOP voters simply refused to vote for Romney. Doing the available math, that means had those 3 million Republicans voted for Romney he would have, as this is written, a margin of victory in the national popular vote of 180,661.

Here’s Rush Limbaugh the same day:

So three million Republican voters stayed home on Election Day. Three million predominantly white voters stayed home. The media is all over the place with the fact that the Republicans lost “the white vote.” They can’t get the white vote. They did lose the white vote, but Democrats didn’t get it. They just didn’t show up, and it wasn’t voter suppression that didn’t turn ’em out.

What would be the reason that three million voters didn’t show up? Let’s go through the possibilities. It could be that there are a number… We’ve talked to ’em. We’ve had ’em call. We got ’em, in fact, on hold. A number of Republicans are tired of moderate nominees. They’ve sent the Republican Party money for years and said, “To hell with it. If you’re gonna eschew conservatism, I’m not giving you any money, and I’m not voting for you.”

Here’s Andrew McCarthy at National Review, on November 10:

Somehow, Romney managed to pull nearly 2 million fewer votes than John McCain, one of the weakest Republican nominees ever, and one who ran in a cycle when the party had sunk to historic depths of unpopularity. How to explain that? The brute fact is: There are many people in the country who believe it makes no difference which party wins these elections.

Here at RedState, diarist Griffin offered a similar take on November 14, under the title “What went wrong in 2012? The case of the 4 million missing voters”:

Over 62 million voters cast their ballot for George W. Bush in 2004. Less than 60 million voters cast their ballot for John McCain in 2008. And somewhere under 57-59 Million voters cast their ballot for Mitt Romney in 2012. The numbers from the latest election seem to indicate that the Republican Party is losing voters while America is gaining them.

These were preliminary analyses, and Griffin in particular cautioned that they were based on non-final numbers. That’s fine; all of us who do punditry after an election work with the best data we have. The problem is, this became an article of faith for too many people long after the final numbers were available. The 4 million figure shows up in comments sections and on Twitter all the time, and there are still some prominent voices citing it as if it was quantifiable fact. Rush has kept repeating it for years, like this in March 2014:

The 2010 turnout was not duplicated in 2012. But what about the 2012 turnout stands out to you? What stands out to me is that four million Republicans didn’t vote in 2012. Four million stayed home, for whatever reason. I said, it seems to me that if those four million had shown up, we would have won, and we would have won by turning out our base.

or this in February 2015:

[L]o and behold, when 2012 came around, the people that made the 2010 midterm landslide possible stayed home. Remember those four to five million Republicans that did not vote in 2012? They did not show up for Romney. And in 2008 they did not show up for McCain. They show up in the midterms, they stay home.

Since 2008 and 2012 turnout was by any measure higher in absolute terms in all groups than the 2010 and 2014 midterms, I’m not sure that’s even a relevant comparison, but leave that aside. Here’s Emmett “Bob” Tyrell of the American Spectator in February 2015:

We conservatives have learned a lot from Obama’s election and from his re-election in 2012. The election of 2012 was but a rerun of 2008 with four million conservatives absent…Four million conservatives took a vacation from history in 2012 and the results were four more years of a papier-mâché president. It will not happen again.

Here’s Craig Shirley in April 2014, speaking to CNS News:

“In 2012, four million conservatives stayed home. And in 2006, the last time Republicans controlled the House and Senate, 1 out of 5 self-identified conservatives didn’t vote to punish the Republican Party.”

American Thinker in November 2013:

Obama won by only 5 million votes. Three million Republicans didn’t vote in the 2012 Obama-Romney face-off and a hefty number of disgruntled Republicans voted for libertarian Gary Johnson, who garnered 1.5 million votes. Millions of conservatives — who are not registered Republicans — also withheld their votes. Imagine if all of those protest votes had gone to Romney?

Shreveport Times just last month:

There’s probably a lot of folks out there right now who would just as soon stay at home on election day. In fact, that’s what happened in the 2012 presidential election. For Republicans, it is estimated that as many as four million conservative voters just stayed home on election day and didn’t show up.

What sounds like the most extreme version of this – more on this below – is from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 100%, who keeps citing a number ten times that in his stump speeches:

“The last election, 2012, 54 million evangelicals stayed home. Fifty-four million,” the GOP presidential candidate told the crowd of about 1,500. “Is it any wonder the federal government is waging a war on life, on marriage, on religious liberty when Christians are staying home and our leaders are being elected by nonbelievers?”

You can watch him give a speech citing that figure here. And here is Ralph Reed, last month:

Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, told the crowd that evangelical Christians made up 27% of the electorate in 2012, a presidential year, and 32% of voters in the 2014 midterm elections.

Yet as many 17 million evangelicals stayed home in 2012, he added, an election in which President Obama beat Mitt Romney by some 5 million votes.

The Reality

To the extent that any of these analyses are based on the proposition that Romney got millions fewer votes than McCain, they are provably wrong. What happened is pretty simple: some states and localities take longer to count the votes than others – some big cities are notorious for this, some count absentee ballots slowly, California traditionally counts very slowly, and some of the jurisdictions hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 were understandably slow getting finalized. But the final numbers are not what was originally available in the immediate aftermath of the election:

In 2004, George W. Bush got 62,039,572 votes vs 59,027,115 for John Kerry.

In 2008, John McCain got 59,950,323 votes vs 69,499,428 for Barack Obama – in other words, McCain lost about 2 million votes from what Bush had received, while Obama gained over 10 million vs Kerry’s total.

In 2012, Mitt Romney got 60,934,407 votes vs 65,918,507 for Obama – a million more votes for Romney than McCain, and 3.5 million fewer for Obama (but still up around 6 million compared to Kerry).

Presumably, some of Bush’s voters in 2004 stayed home in 2008 and 2012, while others switched to Obama or one of many minor third party candidates. But even if we compare Romney to Bush, he’s off by only a little over a million votes, not such an enormous number in an electorate of around 130 million people. And exit polling doesn’t really support the notion that self-identified conservatives were noticeably missing, as Karl Rove noted in the Wall Street Journal back in April:

According to exit polls, self-identified conservatives made up 35% of the 2012 turnout, and 82% of them voted for Mr. Romney. This translates into about 45.2 million conservatives who turned out—roughly 531,000 more than in 2008.

In 2008 conservatives were 34% of the turnout, and 78% voted for John McCain. So Mr. Romney got around 2.2 million more conservative voters than Mr. McCain—and the conservative share of the 2012 electorate was the highest since exit polls began asking voters about their political leanings in 1976.

The Actual Opportunity

So, the cavalry isn’t coming. The number of people who voted for a past Republican presidential candidate and not for Mitt Romney likely isn’t be much above the 1 million to 1.5 million range, not enough by itself to cover the distance between Romney and Obama, and the missing stay-at-home voters did not appreciably cut into the proportion of voters who think of themselves as “conservatives.”

But this doesn’t mean the electorate really is static, or that there’s no opportunity to improve on it. What it means is that the missing potential Republican voters are mostly people who have not been regular voters in the recent past, and many of them may not be politically engaged people who think of themselves as conservatives, whether or not their actual beliefs are. Let’s start with the fact that about 93 million eligible voters didn’t vote at all in 2012:

VEP Not Voting

By no means are all of those reachable voters; the annual trendline shows pretty convincingly that you’ll never get all of them to show up, nor would you want to. But it’s a deep pool, and as this chart from my 2014 piece at The Federalist shows, the total vote tends to grow a lot faster for the party out of power after an incumbent re-election (the “Ch TO” column) than it does for either party in the previous election – the party out of power increased its vote total by at least 11.3% in every post-incumbent election from 1868 to 2008 except three elections where there was another incumbent on the ballot (1904, 1944, and 1948 – the chart splits off the elections where there was an incumbent running):

Turnout Change Post Re Election

Where might those votes come from? When PoliFact challenged Cruz’s “missing evangelicals” number, his spokesman offered this:

By email, Cruz campaign spokesman Rick Tyler said Cruz reached his “roughly half” conclusion starting from a 2007 survey by the non-partisan Pew Research Center indicating 26.3 percent of American adults identified as evangelical Protestants. The center conducted a “nationally representative sample of 35,556 adults living in continental United States telephone households” from May 8, 2007 to Aug. 13, 2007.

Apply that result to the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimate of adults who were eligible to vote in 2012, 215 million, Tyler wrote, and it looks like nearly 57 million of citizens eligible to vote in 2012 belonged to evangelical Protestant churches. Separately, he pointed out, Pew cited voter exit polls taken for news organizations to conclude 23 percent of the nation’s November 2012 voters were white evangelical Protestants. Given that 129 million voters participated that fall, Tyler said, that means there were about 30 million evangelical Protestant voters, which would have been about half of the evangelical Protestants eligible to vote.

If you credit Tyler’s math, you get around 27 million missing evangelical Protestants, which is roughly half Cruz’s 54 million number but much larger than Reed’s 17 million. 54 million would mean a heavy majority of the eligible non-voters, which is implausible, plus Tyler’s email makes clear he’s not breaking out those numbers by race, and non-voting black or Hispanic evangelical Protestants – while quite plausibly less overwhelmingly Democratic than their voting brethren – are probably not a heavily majority Republican-friendly group. You can read the rest of the PoliFact “analysis” – as is sometimes the case, it’s a more useful endeavor than reading PoliFact’s “conclusion” – but even if Cruz’s stump speech is off by an order of magnitude, the idea that there are a few million evangelical Christians out there who could be mobilized to vote for the first time is hardly unreasonable and a good place to start.

Rove notes other groups who seem to have been down from 2008 to 2012, including at least one group (white Catholics) that Romney did well with:

There were approximately 4.9 million fewer self-identified moderates, 1.7 million fewer white Catholics, and 1.2 million fewer women who voted in 2012 than in 2008.

There may be factors unique to Romney that caused problems around the edges, as was true of McCain in his own ways – you can read an effort here to extrapolate the potential effects of anti-Mormon bias from some social-science research, and while I don’t find it notably persuasive, there may be some spots on the map where the removal of that factor could open new avenues in 2016. Romney was also more of an immigration hawk than McCain and more identified with personal wealth, while McCain was older, had a more polarizing running mate, a messier personal life, and a markedly less favorable political environment to run in.

Then there’s Sean Trende’s “missing white voters” analysis, which I reviewed back in July 2013 and which you should read in its four-part glory if you want a deep dive into this stuff. Trende’s conclusion was that white-voter turnout rates were down much more than voter turnout among other racial groups in 2012 (other than voters categorized as “other” – if you look at the map, one of the unexplained features of 2012 seems to have been drastically lower Native American turnout than in 2008). Trende concluded from close examination that these were “largely downscale, Northern, rural whites. In other words, H. Ross Perot voters.” Or Donald Trump voters, today, perhaps.

When I looked at Trende’s map, I noted the mixed Electoral College bag in the return on chasing these voters:

[A] good number of the “missing” voters were in uncontested states like New York and Oklahoma where they would not have made a difference. And the big chunks of deep blue in New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Dakota (as well as the heavy dropoff in turnout in Alaska, not shown on the map) are consistent with a dramatic decline in Native American voter turnout.

But a significant number of others were in Pennsylvania (Obama by 309,840 votes out of 5.75 million cast), Ohio (Obama by 166,272 votes out of 5.59 million cast), Michigan (Obama by 449,313 votes out of 4.74 million cast), and Minnesota (Obama by 225,942 votes out of 2.94 million cast). This is consistent with Trende’s conclusion that – while these voters were not, in and of themselves, the cause of Romney’s loss – they were a contributing factor large enough to consider, and one that may loom even larger in a closer future contest between a better Republican candidate and a Democrat who has less visceral appeal to non-white voters. (The lower turnout throughout the Northeast also surely reflects the influence of Hurricane Sandy).

Here’s an overlay of Trende’s district-by-district map (with declining turnout in blue and increased turnout in red) against a map that puts up for grabs the states (and one Congressional district in Nebraska) where one party or the other, mostly the Democrats besides Georgia, North Carolina and Nebraska, won with less than 54% of the two-party vote, so that a 4-point or less shift in that vote could change the outcome:

Missing White Voters Map

Realistically, Nevada, Colorado, Florida and Virginia are not states where the GOP candidate in 2016 can shift the electorate just by recovering people who dropped out between 2008 and 2012, although a map against 2004 might be rather a different picture, and those states may be more attuned to Cruz’s idea of digging more deeply for evangelical voters. But Trende’s less religious “missing white voters” could make a bigger impact in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio and the Upper Midwest, if the nominee can appeal to them.


No matter who the Republican Party nominates in 2016, there’s a lot of work to be done trying to expand the GOP presidential electorate, whether by appealing to new, young voters, disenchanted Obama 2012 voters, evangelical Christians, working-class white Northerners/Midwesterners, or some other group. History suggests that the opportunity is real, and the task is achievable. The electorate is never set in stone, the battle never over. A clear message, and an appealing candidate who means what he or she says and stands for something and can explain what it is and why, is certainly an important asset in that process. But even then, there’s no magic formula, no cavalry of millions of conservatives waiting just over the hill to save the day, and no single issue or message that will flip the switch. The work will be hard, and will take energy and determination and a whole lot of one-voter-contact-at-a-time labor to register, to activate, to persuade. George W. Bush did that work to get Republicans 11 million new votes from 1996 to 2000, and another 12 million in 2004. Barack Obama did that work to get Democrats 10 million new votes from 2004 to 2008. It will need to be done again.

The post The Myth of “4 Million Conservative Voters Stayed Home in 2012″ appeared first on RedState.

Wait! A CNN Reporter Coordinated Benghazi Coverage With Hillary Clinton? No! [RedState]

elise labott sm

Last week CNN suspended a reporter name Elise Labott for editorializing on a vote by the US House of Representatives. The issue was a bill, which passed with a veto proof majority, to halt the movement of Syrian refugees to the United States pending a review of our vetting procedures. This common sense act, rare in the House, offended Labott’s sensibilities.

labott tweet

That a CNN reporter would be a lackwit incapable of understanding an issue is not news. That, seemingly, is part of the screening criteria used by their CNN’s human resources department in hiring. That a CNN reporter would be a left wing hack devoted to using their position to advance a personal agenda is, likewise, not newsworthy. Who can forget when the ironically named Candy Crowley threw her more than ample weight into the 2012 presidential debate she was moderating on behalf of Barack Obama.

What makes Labott unusual is that now we have a smoking gun that proves she slanted her news coverage of Hillary Clinton during her January 2013 Benghazi testimony. Well, slanted is not the right word. She sent her work to Hillary’s press guru, Philippe Reines, for approval before releasing it.

The emails, which were released to the website Gawker, show that Elise Labott, a foreign affairs reporter at CNN, took guidance from Clinton aide Philippe Reines by posting a tweet criticizing Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) 88% for asking Clinton tough questions during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks.

Labott also coordinated with Reines to post a favorable quote from Clinton’s testimony, which she gave just a week before she left office.

In the Reines emails, which are the subject of a Gawker lawsuit against the State Department, Labott appears to pick up on a previous conversation she was having with Reines during the Benghazi hearing, asking him: “are you sure rand paul wasn’t at any hearings?”

Check out this exchange:

labott email1


And here it is:

What is notable about this is that Reines obviously requested the tweets from Labott and she sent them to him for pre-approval. And lest you think this is an innocent, one-off behavior, hold on: labott email2   Here Reines has suggested a “good Tweet.” What might that tweet have looked like. The Blaze examined Labott’s twitter feed and pinged this one:

But, as the the infomercial guy says, there is more. Labott deliberately mislead colleagues at CNN and at other networks on behalf of Clinton.

labott email3

Kind of funny, isn’t it, that she got suspended for editorializing where we could see it but rewarded for recycling Clinton spin and hiding it as news reporting? It makes you think her real sin was getting exposed.

This is not journalism this is a specific instance of that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 94% was talking about:

The Democrats have the ultimate super PAC; it’s called the mainstream media. Last week Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she had sent emails to her family, saying, Hey, this attack on Benghazi was caused by Al-Qaeda-like elements. She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of the video, and yet the mainstream media is going around saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It was the week she got exposed as a liar. She has a super PAC helping her out, the American mainstream media.

Why anyone continues to think of CNN as anything but an arm of the Clinton presidential bid is beyond me and that any of our candidates speak to CNN shows how much we have to learn about how the US media operates.

The post Wait! A CNN Reporter Coordinated Benghazi Coverage With Hillary Clinton? No! appeared first on RedState.

Being Thankful in Barack Obama’s America [RedState]

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you’re having a blessed day with friends and family, spending time being as American as it gets: spending time with loved ones, remembering tradition, thinking about the settling of our great country, eating way too much and blaming your sudden exhaustion on a chemical found in turkey meat, and watching football.

We do have plenty to be outraged about, to be sure. Heck, it’s our job here at RedState to find the things that are outrageous and expose them. However, we are also aware that, even in Barack Obama’s America, there is plenty to be thankful for. Take a moment and consider these small, but very important contributions to America courtesy of the Obama Administration.

First, Republicans (even with the loss of the governor’s mansion in Louisiana) have enjoyed a massive sweep of both houses of Congress, many more governor’s mansions, and a massive amount of state legislatures. The GOP has done well under Barack Obama’s tenure. One would hope that they sit down for their Thanksgiving meals and thank the president for their gains.

On a related note, we need to be thankful for the absolute obliteration of the Democrats’ bench, which has no one prepared to take on national prominence. Mr. Obama is term-limited, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 15% has little remaining power, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 11% is retiring, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) 10% is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) 10%. These are their national leaders. Hillary Clinton will likely be their presidential candidate, and things continue to look bad for her campaign. Her opponents are little more than jokes, with Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist and noted lunatic, being her only credible threat.

We also need to thank Mr. Obama, who has helped America realize just how bad government expansion is. The vast majority of Americans distrust the government as a whole, which can really help set the table for the reduction of government. Increased government has given us Obamacare, the near-militarization of the police force, an IRS that targets political opponents, and other negative stories. At the same time, a Congress and a President that can’t and won’t work together have lowered trust in both institutions.

Finally, we need to be thankful for the President’s foreign policy (or lack thereof) because, historically, Republicans have a much easier time winning the presidency on foreign policy issues than domestic ones. Mr. Obama’s complete mismanagement of the ISIS situation has left the region, and the world as a whole, destabilized, and ripe for a war hawk to come in and promise swift action to return the nation to the forefront of global affairs in order to end many of these threats.

I realize America is in a sorry state thanks to the President of these United States, but please remember that the long game is also important, and he has done a lot to help ours. It won’t be impossible to turn it around. It will be tough, though. Luckily, we have enough young, motivated leaders (thanks for that, too, Mr. President!) to bring us back to where we were, and beyong.


The post Being Thankful in Barack Obama’s America appeared first on RedState.

From RedState to You, Happy Thanksgiving [RedState]

On June 3rd of this year, after ten years as editor of this site and eleven years as a writer on this site, I told Salem Communications I thought it was time for me to move on. December 31st is my last day here. In January, I’ll focus on radio and television with most of my writing at my radio website instead of here. I am so thankful for and proud of Leon, who has come in like a wrecking ball (intentionally gratuitous Miley Cyrus reference to humiliate Leon) and really worked to build in fresh ideas while keeping his clothes on while swinging from that wrecking ball. I know I leave my other family in good hands and look forward to spending a bit more time with my natural family.

In eleven years at RedState we have lost some loved ones, both readers and writers. Our dear friend Mark Kilmer still comes to mind on a near daily basis and enters our conversations here frequently. Others too, who have gone to be with the Lord, come to mind.

All of that is to say that I love y’all and am thankful for y’all. The contributors of this site are an extended part of my family. You guys have been my prayer warriors and cheerleaders and accountability partners and friends, in addition to being the readers and diarists of this site. RedState could not exist without you all and I thank you.

I am also mindful on a daily basis that I would not be where I am but for Ben Domenech, Mike Krempasky, Josh Trevino, and Clayton Wagar, the first three but for whom this site would never have originated and the latter but for whom this site would not have stayed online in the early days. I stand on the shoulders of men better than myself and could not do what I now do and go where I now go but for them and the contributors here and all of you.

So I thank you.

I do not truly know what the future holds, but I know I am excited about it, thankful for the opportunity, and value your prayers. In the eleven years that RedState has been around, this site has helped elect some amazing people and advance an agenda for freedom. I cannot wait to see RedState evolve and change and grow.

There is a bit of sadness in leaving, but I’ll still be around. I’ll surprise Leon with an occasional post, ignore him on timing because I have the Emeritus shield that guards me from his wrath, and I will see you all in Denver at next year’s RedState Gathering. In the meantime you’ll be able to hear me on radio and stop by my personal site where I refuse to put up a comments section by design. You’ll just have to wave at your computer screen.

Lest I make this all about me, let me also say on behalf of all of us here at RedState, we do value your participation, even if we think our comments section needs another Kraken moment. You are our friends and fellow happy warriors in a fight for freedom and small government.

I am a believer in small government because I am a Christian. I know we are all fallen sinners and thus I want as few of them in charge of me as possible. I am a RedStater because in that belief, I choose to be surrounded by good people across the country who share that commitment as they also focus on their families, jobs, and faith. It is something that has always set this site apart from so many others. You guys are activists not because you want to be, but because you know you need to be. All of us have things we would rather do and interests we would rather pursue. But we have families and want the world to be a better place for them. So we soldier on together.

For that companionship, I am so thankful.

Before I wind this up, I would like to just say that for fifteen years and eleven years here I have been supported by my wife Christy. We have not had an easy time with all the curveballs in life thrown at us. When I told her I was going to work at RedState full time, she was two weeks from giving birth to our first child. It went over as you might expect it. Christy has been a steady source of comfort and support and this site would not have advanced had she not been there in the background praying, rooting, loving, and supporting me and this endeavor.

Now, off to smoke a turkey. Here is my gravy recipe if you need it.

You guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

May the Lord bless you and keep you;
may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

The post From RedState to You, Happy Thanksgiving appeared first on RedState.

Diebold Stole My Doobies! Stoners Blame “Stolen” Election [RedState]

obama smoked up

For all of the joy the Left takes in declaring that it has a monopoly on facts and data and faith in both – and its insistence that only racists believe fraud at election time is possible – we’re really only one national election loss away from an outbreak of whackadoo conspiracy theories about Republicans stealing elections. (Actual headline at TPM today: “Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy”). You can see those bubbling up already at the far-Left site Alternet, which has recently peddled theories that election fraud cost Democrats the Kentucky Governor’s race and – horrors! – defeated the referendum in Ohio to legalize marijuana.

The Kentucky theory, in which Brad Friedman of BradBlog (drawing on a post over at Crooks & Liars) breathlessly asks, “Did GOP Insiders Steal the Kentucky Governor’s Race for Tea Partier Matt Bevin?,” is based entirely – I kid you not – on the notion that it’s impossible that Bevin would run better than some other Republican candidates on the ballot:

As detailed on today’s program with my guest Karoli Kuns of Crooks And Liars, there are a number of reasons to question the reported results. Among them, as Kuns points out today at C&L, the Democrats running in the down ballot races — for Secretary of State, Attorney General (Conway’s current job) and even state Auditor — each reportedly received tens of thousands more votes than Conway did at the top of the ticket!

Bev Harris, of BlackBoxVoting.org, described the higher vote totals in the down ballot races as a “significant anomaly”. She tells me that, at least until more records are requested and examined, the KY-Gov’s race “has to be looked at as a questionable outcome, particularly because of the discrepancies in the down ballot races. More votes in those races and not at the top…that just doesn’t happen.”

Well, actually yes, that exact thing happens all the time. It’s all there – disbelief that the polls could be wrong, conspiracy theories about voting machines, endorsement of a book purporting to show “how the GOP suppressed and stole votes in Ohio’s 2004 presidential election.”

The piece by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman arguing that the pot referendum was “Stolen,” is even funnier, as you can see from its opening:

Expert Says Ohio’s Vote Against Pot Legalization Was ‘Statistically Impossible’

The conclusion that the vote was stolen is almost inescapable.

The “stolen election” controversy over this month’s officially defeated Ohio pot legalization referendum has gone to a new level.

You keep using that term, “statistically impossible.” I do not think it means what you think it means. Here’s the “expert” analysis:

The Columbus Free Press asked Baiman to calculate the odds of the official vote count of Ohio’s Issue 3, to legalize marijuana, being correct – compared to the tracking polls charting voter preference leading up to this year’s November election. The Free Press supplied Baiman with poll results taken prior to the election by noted pollster Jon Zogby.

The polls leading into the November 3 vote showed the referendum passing. But the official results claim it lost by 2:1.

The standard assumption with such polling is that the undecided voters in the poll would have potentially gone 50-50. Thus half of them would be voting no and the other half would be voting yes on Issue 3. Baiman pointed out that with such an assumption being probable, the odds against the referendum losing 2:1 go through the roof. They are, he said, “one in a trillion.”

The analysis showed that even if the most illogical outcome is assumed – that every single undecided voter in the polls voted against Issue 3 – it is still statistically impossible to accept Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s official tally as being credible.

If the Zogby poll was accurate, says Baiman, one would expect the official outcome as reported by the state once in every 105,000 elections.

Yes, that Zogby, who has been the laughingstock of the polling industry since 2002. Yet Alternet breathlessly concludes:

There can be only two explanations for this.

Ohioans can assume that the well-funded corporate multimillionaire growers backing Issue 3 who hired highly-regarded pollsters were given made-up drivel as the poll results. Or, Ohio’s notoriously corrupt, antiquated and highly-vulnerable voting system was hacked or manipulated by partisans like Ohio’s Secretary of State Husted.

Well, no. In fact, with no major statewide elections in Ohio – to say nothing of the inherent difficulty of polling referenda – sane analysts recognized beforehand that the polls could well be worthless in light of the difficuly in predicting turnout:

A poll conducted by Zogby Analytics for Bowling Green State University in October found 44 percent of likely Ohio voters support Issue 3, 43 percent oppose it and nearly 13 percent were undecided…

Marijuana legalization hinges on who goes to the polls Tuesday. Odd-year election year turnout has averaged 38.5 percent over the past 20 years. Off-year voters tend to be white, older and more conservative — those who typically oppose legalization. Still, ResponsibleOhio is gambling that marijuana legalization will drive younger, atypical voters to the polls and they are trying to appeal to the solid majority of voters who support medical marijuana.

Early voting numbers reported last week by the Secretary of State did not show promise for a big turnout.

A University of Akron poll noted that voters were deeply skeptical of the state-granted monopolies that the referendum would produce, making support for the overall goal shaky, as did a Bowling Green State University poll.

As it ended up, turnout was unexpectedly high, but the people who turned out weren’t – turnout to vote on the pot referendum exceeded the turnout for John Kasich’s re-election against an overwhelmed opponent in 2014, and the voters who showed up were decisively opposed. Maybe, just maybe, people who are really in favor of pot smoking are not the most reliable at showing up on time to do stuff. And maybe the polls were just really bad at predicting turnout for a referendum.

But for the kooks over at Alternet, there’s no such thing as a legitimate election when their side loses.

The post Diebold Stole My Doobies! Stoners Blame “Stolen” Election appeared first on RedState.

Putin Amuses Himself [Small Dead Animals]

Operation Empty Chair [Small Dead Animals]

Russia hits the reset button:

Russia's Foreign Ministry recommended Thursday that Russians refrain from visiting Turkey, and called on those already in the country to return home.

Funny You Should Ask [Small Dead Animals]

From the comments - "How soon will they be closing all our military bases evicting all the military personel and their families to make room for all these so called refugees? Beleive me liberals always want military bases turned into multi cultural and commune with nature centers."

Via email, yesterday.


(Click to enlarge.)

Update - good observations here.

Obama's Continuing Efforts to Destroy the American Family [Small Dead Animals]

There's a longstanding adage that one should never discuss religion or politics at work or a family gathering. But such wisdom (actually, ALL wisdom) has never quite sunk into the heads of Devout Leftists. Proof positive is how the Obama Administration and Democrat Party are encouraging their devout cult members sycophants supporters to disrupt all enjoyment by talking politics with their non-brainwashed family members.

The DNC has even created a website entitled Your Republican Uncle. This site is full of mindless talking points that are so pathetically weak. Furthermore, they don't even trust their own supporters enough to regurgitate such words on their own that they've automated the process of spewing them out on Twitter. Totalitarian leaders, past & present, would be envious of how well the leaders of the American Left have automated the process of controlling their mindless drones.

Tremble, Ye Patriarchs [Small Dead Animals]

As a follower of Diana; as a worshipper of the sun, the moon, and the earth; and as a witch, it is my responsibility to engage in radical politics.

Yes, it's feminism and witchcraft, together at last.

More Pavilions At Folkfest [Small Dead Animals]

Molenbeek: A Troubled Neighborhood in a Failing State

Wynneing! [Small Dead Animals]

I wonder what the electricity bills look like at Maple Leaf Foods.

Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses [Small Dead Animals]

Yearning for entertainment;

Some don't like living so far out; one asylum seeker described Tärnsjö as 'boring'.

So, they started throwing rocks at cars.

...residents retaliated by throwing them back.

Now it's not so boring.

Reader Tips [Small Dead Animals]

In tonight's tips music Richard Thompson sings Sights and Sounds of London Town on Scottish television.

The comments are open, as always, for your Reader Tips.

Honey, I Finished The ... [Small Dead Animals]

Oh, Shiny Prime Minister [Small Dead Animals]

Liberal strategist and Trudeau donor Herb Metcalfe pleads guilty to tax evasion - "We can just add him to the long and growing list of Liberals who have and likely will do this kind of thing again. It's a list of names the Media Party won't pay too much attention to..."

Should other retailers take a page from Amazon Books? [TeleRead]

1_FINAL_WTEXT._V289768024_.0On GigaOm, Nathaniel Mott looks at the Amazon Books retail store and poses an interesting and incisive question—one that I’ve wondered about a time or two myself, but somehow never managed to articulate. If Amazon Books is such a threat to the model of existing brick-and-mortar stores, why aren’t more existing stores taking a lesson and doing some things the same way?

In particular, Mott zeroes in on the mutable pricing and online price-matching. Customers already use their smartphones in shopping, and it’s actually not to showroom most of the time. Frequently, they just want to look up more information about the product online even though they intend to buy the item then and there.

At the moment, the very idea of online price-matching is often treated as something new and bizarre, even if you’re trying to get a chain store such as Wal-Mart to price-match its own Internet arm, walmart.com. And if you do want such a match, you have to know the on-line price and ask for it. Mott thinks that retailers should do as Amazon does and automatically price-match their own online store. (He recognizes that price-matching competitors is an entirely different issue.)

And while they’re at it, they could also look into the idea of dynamic pricing. Amazon doesn’t actually list prices on items in-store at all, because it’s always possible the online price could change at any time. That does lead to some awkwardness among people who don’t have smartphones, of course, but it provides a great deal of flexibility that fixed prices don’t give you. (And it also makes less work for all the retail employees who have to go through and re-label everything when the price changes.)

After all, what if Amazon Books turns out to be more than just an experiment, and within a few years there’s an Amazon Books in every major city and many smaller ones? If their peculiar new model of retail turns out to be a hit with consumers, their competitors could be in danger of being left behind. Which seems to be something of a theme when it comes to Amazon’s competitors these days.

It is funny, when you come to think of it, just how little the retail shopping experience has changed since the advent of the smartphone. Before Amazon Books came about, about the only time you heard about the use of smartphones in a retail context was the retail-industry-wide howl of protest when Amazon ran a promotion around a price-checking app in December, 2011. Of course, there had been plenty of price-checking apps and services in the years prior to that, as I note in the articles I just linked, but they were always third-party services, not from places that actually wanted to be the one to sell you the thing, like Amazon.

And yet, smartphones are very powerful information-gathering tools. There are applications that will let you scan an item’s UPC code and pull up prices and other product information about it; Amazon even has one itself, a later evolution of that 2011 promotional app. Why don’t retail chain outlets make something similar? A Wal-Mart price-scanning app that would check a price on walmart.com, for example, or a Barnes & Noble app that does the same thing for BN.com. Then, if (you grant it permission to check your GPS location and it sees) you’re in a store of that chain at the moment, it could offer something Amazon couldn’t, since Amazon doesn’t have brick and mortar stores, like perhaps a discount, freebie, or other incentive for walking out of the store with the product right now.

Maybe it wouldn’t be necessary to go to quite the Amazon Books extreme of eliminating all price labels altogether, but something that makes use of the smartphones people who are shopping anyway carry with them might be a big competitive advantage. At any rate, it will be interesting to see if something like that becomes available, and who comes up with it first.

Want a $5 computer? Buy a magazine (if you’re in the UK) [TeleRead]

40_Cover_SmallHappy Black Friday Eve, everybody! (And Thanksgiving, for those of us in the fifty states.) Hope you’re not too overstuffed with turkey by the end of the day.

While you’re digesting all that tryptophan, consider that we now live in a time where it’s possible to put a full-fledged computer on the cover of a magazine. Seriously. In the UK, anyway, the latest issue of the print magazine The MagPi has an honest-to-goodness Pi Zero computer attached to the front cover. It may not be the most powerful computer in the world, but at $5 or £4 standard retail, it’s certainly the cheapest.

The Pi Zero is available from Element14, the Pi Hut,  and Pimoroni in the UK, and Adafruit in the US (though they seem to be all sold out of the $5 stand-alone version by now). Ars Technica has the technical details:

The Zero isn’t just some add-on module or something like that, either—it’s a full-fledged member of the Raspberry Pi family. The Zero is powered by a Broadcom BCM2835 (the same SoC in the Raspberry Pi 1), with a 1GHz ARM11 CPU core. There’s 512MB of RAM; a micro SD slot; two micro USB sockets (data and power); and a mini HDMI socket that can output at 1080p60. Perhaps most importantly, though, the Zero has 40 GPIO pins with the same pinout as the Model A+, B+, and 2B. There’s also some headers for RCA composite video out.

If the Raspberry Pi Foundation can keep up with demand, this could be a great computer for all sorts of embedded projects—or even just for hooking up to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and doing some Linux programming. Maybe it could even form the core of some kind of tablet or e-reader. Regardless, this is a great sign of just how inexpensive computer technology has gotten by now.

Who knows how cheap it will be within just a few more years?

Jeff Bezos CBS interview sheds light on New York Times, the home of bookenfreude [TeleRead]

CBS BezosA recently aired interview on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose shows Jeff Bezos “still mad at The New York Times,” as Observer.com has it. But it also allowed Bezos to share some details about Amazon’s own newspaper ambitions – and some context on any of the anti-Amazon or anti-ebook NYT reporting you might happen to read.

Taxed with the celebrated supposed NYT expose of “brutal” Amazon working practices, Bezos is still insisting that “you can’t have a corporate culture like that’s the one described there and then do the things Amazon does.” Amazon people (Amazonians?), he insists, “have to love what they’re doing. We’re full of inventors and people who like serving customers.”

No matter what you think of that reply, it’s interesting what Bezos brings up regarding newspapers and the NYT in his ensuing responses. Of his new asset, the Washington Post, he says, “we’re working on becoming the new paper of record. We’ve always been a local paper. Just this month, the Washington Post passed The New York Times in terms of numbers of viewers online. This is a gigantic accomplishment for the Post team. We’re just going to keep after that.” And in support of this goal, he adds, “we have a lot of patience for that job.”

Bezos also, it appears, respects traditional journalistic values. He says the Post’s current success is “because we have such a talented team at the Post. It’s all about quality journalism. Even here in the Internet age and the 21st century, people really care about quality journalism.”

So, the Post, in Bezos’s hands, is out to steal the NYT‘s crown. And the NYT just happens to be the venue whose drastically slanted coverage of e-book sales figures led me to coin bookenfreude. And which did the anti-Amazon expose. And which has been sharing critiques of e-books hand over fist. And reporting the Amazon/Hachette spat in highly partisan terms. Well, you know what they say: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” And fourth? And fifth … ?

Not that I’m suggesting, of course, for one moment, that competitive and inter-corporate rivalry might influence NYT‘s reporting or whole posture towards e-books and Amazon …

What Black Friday bargains are you snapping up—especially e-book-related? [TeleRead]

$35FireThe $35 Fire tablet is now a reality, at least for those of us here in the States, as part of Black Friday.

Anyone actually pulling the trigger?

What else are you buying or are about to? Any other e-book-related bargains to point other TeleRead community members toward? And see any non-e-book electronics that still might be worth a mention?

How smart is Amazon’s recommendation engine? [TeleRead]

Amazon recommendationsI’ve been a big fan of Amazon’s recommendation engine. Because, well, Amazon. And recommendations. However, these days I seem to be getting reminded constantly of its limitations. I keep getting hit up by recommendation emails from Amazon that are based on a one-time-only search, for stuff that I would never want to look at another time. Yet Amazon serves them up to me.

For instance, I did a search for Teleread for Chromebits on Amazon. I looked at the Amazon Fire TV stick, once. I have never bought a single piece of Amazon hardware. Yet Amazon has just sent me a “Based on your recent visit, we thought you might be interested in these items” email with a Fire TV stick and accessories, none of which I will ever buy. Seems like a great way to make no sale and piss off your customer. If this is a demonstration of actual modern AI at work, Skynet could never have made it out of the bunker.

Of course, I could turn off such emails, except I still appreciate those times when Amazon does recommend something worth seeing. Yet time and again, it seems to be serving up no-brain spam.

If this is how things go, I don’t know why any marketing mavens even try to pretend that the AI or algorithms behind Amazon’s recommendation platform are so powerful or so mysterious. Too often, it only seems as clever as your last visit or search. Surely it can’t be that hard to tweak the AI to recommend based on number of past purchases or visits, etc? Especially since Amazon supposedly keeps all your data on file.

Yes, Amazon does have an “Improve Your Recommendations” page, where you can tweak your recommendations settings yourself. But how many users will bother to do that? The whole point of this platform is surely that customers should not have to do anything, and that Amazon’s AI will just learn by observation. At this rate, though, traditional retailers, and especially independent bookstores, can breathe a sigh of relief. They’ll always have a role, through intelligent dialog with, and understanding of, their customers. Both of which seem lacking at Amazon, however formidable its rep.

Another perspective:  Amazon advertising misfires are not as silly as they seem, by Chris Meadows.


Toward a new vision for libraries [TeleRead]

bookshelves-at-the-library.jpgI came across this fascinating snippet the other day, about how Polish libraries are preparing for new copyright laws which come into effect this month. From the summary:
“Major new provisions enabling digitization for socially beneficial purposes, such as education and preservation of cultural heritage, are the centrepiece for libraries of the new law.”
I love this! Digitization for culturally beneficial purposes and preservation of cultural heritage? I am all in for that! I think proper fair use provisions are vital to a healthy copyright reform in this day and age. My own country is getting a lot of stuff wrong on copyright these days, for example, sliding a music copyright extension into a budget bill so it passes without debate, and signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which unfairly lumps an extension to Life-Plus-70 in with negotiations on dairy exports and auto manufacturing.
But one thing they have done right is to defend fair use provisions for education. There is a rigorous use test which looks at six different factors to determine whether a use is infringing. This provides for a balanced system wherein use that is truly non-infringing may occur, but creators also get their fair due for works which need to be paid for.
Going forward, I would like to see any new legislation be similarly balanced. We do need to provide for creators to be fairly compensated for their work. But it should not be at the expense of reasonable and legitimate uses by society as a whole.

Mobile photography and virtual reality might have a future, but not the future of books [TeleRead]

cardboardOn Publishers Weekly, Peter Brantley spends some time talking about the current mobile obsession with photography, and wondering where that and virtual reality might lead digital media. It’s an interesting article. Though it seems to have some things in common with all the publishers who are trying to innovate “the future of e-books” despite no evidence anyone actually wants that particular future,  there’s just enough of a difference to bear consideration.

Brantley discusses the way that many of the most popular mobile applications are all about creating and sharing images. “Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, mobile Facebook, as well as legacy apps such as Flickr, drive huge amounts of traffic on mobile devices.” He could also have mentioned Foursquare/Swarm and Yelp, which are primarily location-check-in apps, but they both also have photo-sharing components. (I photograph and Swarm-share most meals I eat out these days, myself.)

He notes that mobile photography is so quick and easy, we often use it as a short-cut for note-taking, simply snapping a shot of something that we might otherwise have jotted down on a memo pad or other spare scrap of paper. Who hasn’t, especially when pressed for time, simply taken a photo of something they want to remember? And sometimes those photos get shared.

So, all right, we take a lot of pictures. But, Brantley notes, so far there hasn’t been a whole lot done with that in the publishing world. He does point to a novel that used Instagram, however, and the New York Times’s recent experiment sending out Google Cardboard headsets so it could post a story in VR.

“Experiencing VR for the first time isn’t just cool, it’s revelatory,” Marcus Wohlsen observed in a Wired story. “If you’re a kid… there’s a good chance you’ve grown up assuming that portable touchscreen portals to a significant portion of human knowledge, entertainment, and communication are a given. Yes, you think your dad’s iPhone is pretty cool. But then yesterday, you put on Google Cardboard and watched a train come hurtling toward you before you flew up into the sky and into the embrace of a giant baby. And you said, ‘Yeah, now we’re talking.’ ”

Brantley wonders if this could lead to a revolution in the way textbooks are published and stories are told, and whether today’s publishers will take part in it.

Here I go, putting on my speculation hat. I’m going to say yes and no.

Yes, it will probably lead to a revolution in teaching, reporting, and storytelling. If not right away, a few years down the road once the tools have matured a little, they’ll probably be in more common use. Just look at how far computers’ use in education has come in the decades since a generation of kids stared at a green CRT screen and tried desperately not to die of dysentery. There’s no reason that mobile photography or VR applications couldn’t be a part of the future of that computer media revolution. And given how big the publishing mega-conglomerates are today, and how many different media they work in, there’s no reason some of them might not poke their fingers into those pies, too.

But no, any media created with these new techniques will almost certainly not be considered textbooks. Or regular books, for that matter. They’ll be their own thing. Educational VR simulations. Applications. Games. Whatever you want to call them, I can pretty much guarantee they won’t be called “books” in any sense of the word. We don’t call educational computer games “textbooks” today, do we? We didn’t call The Oregon Trail a “textbook” in the 1980s.

Just because something teaches doesn’t mean it’s a “textbook.” Just because it reports the news doesn’t mean it’s a “newspaper” or “magazine.” And just because it tells stories doesn’t mean it’s a “book.”

I don’t know why this seems to be so hard for people to understand. It’s as if e-books being digital and various other media being digital too causes them to think that those other media are automatically also e-books. They’re not. That doesn’t mean that they’re bad, or that they won’t be useful. It just means they’re not books. And the more energy people spend on trying to pretend they are books, the less they’ll have to make them be better at whatever it is they really are.

(Thanks to Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader for calling my attention to this story.)

On a related note, Mattel’s plastic Viewmaster VR implementation of Google Cardboard for iOS and Android is just $20 at Amazon right now. That’s barely more than one of the cardboard versions costs.

A Quick Gloat on Iran "Deal" [The DiploMad 2.0]

This humble blog's five or six readers will recall that I labelled the "historic" nuclear deal with Iran as fake (here, here, here, and here, for example) and predicted that Obama would call it a treaty when convenient and a Joint Plan of Action, or something else, when not. I specifically called for somebody to show us the signatures on the "treaty." I strongly suspected there was no signature.

Go ahead, check my comments on this "deal." I'll wait for you right here.

I now refer you to this article  in the Daily Mail which reports that,

The Obama administration has disclosed to Congress that this summer's controversial nuclear arms agreement with Iran was never signed and is not legally binding, according to a new report this week. 
The State Department made the disclosures in a letter to Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo, a Republican, who had written the department to inquire why the agreement as submitted to Congress in July did not bear the signature of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. 
'The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document,' Julia Frifield, an assistant secretary for legislative affairs wrote Pompeo last Thursday.

How about that? Who coulda seen that coming? I mean besides this little blog, of course.

Just thought you might want to know . . .

NZ Uni EMC broke considered ditching EMC before SNAFU [The Register]

VNX fleet was almost out of warranty, RFI called for replacements

Oh, the irony: the New Zealand University that suffered a two-day brownout as a result of a problem with its EMC kit last month sought a replacement for the company's products.…

Microsoft rides to Dell's rescue, wrecks rogue root certificate [The Register]

Windows Defender lives up to its name by dealing death to Dell's dumb DLL

Microsoft has killed Dell's user-pwning root certificate and its self-reinstalling .dll with its antivirus Defender tool.…

Lights, power, action! Smartplugs with a twist [The Register]

Zuli pushes past the competition - but how useful is it really?

Review  For reasons that continue to confound consumers, the two most popular areas for smart-home technologies right now are lightbulbs and plugs.…

Getting a little flashy! Funds are in place, and Kaminario targets growth [The Register]

Pure? Pah! Scale-out beats scale up

Feature  Kaminario CEO Dani Golan was in the UK yesterday, sporting a brand new EMEA veep and going gung-ho for growth from his scale-out, storage-for-all-seasons data centre flash array.…

Last call for the NCC Group Cyber 10K challenge [The Register]

Get your entry in by Nov 30 for chance to win £10,000

Competition  The November 30 deadline for entering NCC Group’s Cyber 10K challenge is coming up fast – so get those entries in now.…

Nuclear exploit kit seen chucking CryptoWall 4.0 at late patchers [The Register]

First time this one's been seen in the wild

The Nuclear exploit kit has been spotted throwing ransomware CryptoWall 4.0 at innocent netizens' machines, according to a security researcher Brad Duncan, who stated it is the first time he's noticed that particular nasty being distributed by an exploit kit.…

GDS £450m investment probably an 'accounting fudge' – gov IT analyst [The Register]

Have we just been Rick rolled by Osbo?

Plans to pump an extra £450m for the Government Digital Service to fuel the "digital revolution" was the shock take-away announcement in George Osborne's Spending Review yesterday - from the perspective of technology spend at least.…

RAF web survey asks for bank details via unencrypted email [The Register]

Hey participants, don’t be like Jeremy Clarkson. Enough said

An online survey of the Royal Air Force’s website aimed at journalists has invited would-be participants to send their banking details using unencrypted email to third-party organisers.…

MPs and peers have just weeks to eyeball UK gov's super-snoop bid [The Register]

Meanwhile, vague 'Internet Connection Record' term worries small ISPs

IPB  A joint panel of cross-party politicos and peers have been granted a very small window to scrutinise the Home Office's draft Investigatory Powers Bill.…

Broadband's frequency hunters denied Freeview patch – for now [The Register]

Of COM8 and CBeebies: multiplex snare

Freeview is safe. For now. Mobile operators with broadband services were denied the 470-694MHz frequency used by the terrestrial TV service.…

Startup Iguaz.io is creating real-time Big Data analytics storage [The Register]

Surviving under the waterfall deluge of Big Data

One-year-old Iguaz.io, an Israeli Big Data startup, has just won a $15m A-round from Magma Venture Partners, JVP and large strategic investors. So what's the magic product that grabbed funding so early in the game?…

Top copper Lynne Owens to lead National Crime Agency [The Register]

Leaves leafy Surrey for London

Lynne Owens has been announced as the new director general of the National Crime Agency.…

HP storage financials: Meh. Meg Whitman needs to make this right [The Register]

Final results aren't good for storage bods at HP(E)

+Comment  HP, no HPE, storage's revenues are down again, continuing a longish slump and, with HP Inc (PCs and printers) now undocked from HPE (the rest), many are asking the question: "What next?"…

US gourmets sizzle in bacon-scented underwear [The Register]

'Lovers of naughty bits and breakfast rejoice'

It may be a couple of rashers too far, but we feel obliged to alert readers to the immediate availability bacon-scented undies, courtesy of purveyors of all things pork J&D's Foods.…

Android on Windows is disruptive because neither Microsoft nor Google can stop it [The Register]

A blast from the past: Meet AMIDuOS

Welcome to the DMZ where the world’s two most ubiquitous operating systems meet and eye each other warily. It’s a place where the future platform battles are being shaped.…

What the world needs now is Pi, sweet $5 Raspberry Pi Zero [The Register]

Ickle Welsh 'puter packs punch, is cheaper than a pricey latte

Our American cousins may be getting stuck in to pumpkin pie today, but Raspberry Pi hopes they'll also appreciate its $5 (£4) Pi Zero computer, which the Blighty outfit launched today.…

HPE to open private London drinking club [The Register]

IT party central at City premises?

It has come to our attention that megacorp Hewlett Packard Enterprise is planning to open a private drinking establishment in its new London nerve centre, for the benefit of "employees, officers, guests and persons attending bona fide private functions".…

Brits learning from the Continent? Authority, digi gov wheezes and the Autumn Statement [The Register]

Scrap the dead trees and get it all on email

Analysis  Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne included several uses of technology in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review.…

Sneaky Microsoft renamed its data slurper before sticking it back in Windows 10 [The Register]

How many coincidences does it take to be Scroogled?

“Anonymity is like virginity. You don't get it back once you've lost it,” writes one Register reader on Microsoft’s latest raid on your privacy.…

Nuisance call blocking firms fined £170,000 ... for making nuisance calls [The Register]

Trebles all round!

The Information Commissioner's Office has raised a tidy £250,000 this week with two more fines for companies flogging nuisance call-blocking services by, yep, you guessed it, making nuisance calls, after receiving over 1,000 complaints.…

128GB DDR4 DIMMs have landed so double your RAM cram plan [The Register]

Samsung's monster memory is here and 96-DIMM-slot servers can now pack … WOAH!

Samsung's started volume production of 128GB DDR4 RDIMMS.…

Samsung Gear VR is good. So good 2016 could finally be the year virtual reality makes it [The Register]

But can anyone make VR content? Ask whoever runs your local film school ...

Having already lived through one virtual reality hype cycle, I’m surprised to find that 2015 has been punctuated of a number of experiences proving that virtual reality may finally be nearing the mainstream. In February, I experienced some of the new head-mounted displays - and found first-generation Oculus Rift unimpressive. Quick on the heels of that, I got a taste of some ‘immersive video’, footage gathered by an expensive, fancy camera that capture a full sphere around the device.…

Researcher reveals Chinese e-crime shopping list [The Register]

Crazy low prices for app 'purchases', or perhaps you'd like a poison PoS unit?

Dodgy developers can have their data-stealing iOS applications boosted to the top ranks of Apple's App Store for as little as US$4000 thanks to services on offer by Chinese hackers.…

Capita increases share of public sector revenue to measly £1.8bn [The Register]

Top 20 IT suppliers made £10.7bn from gov last year as 'relationship improves'

Capita slurped up £1.8bn in public sector spending last year, a 12 per cent increase on the previous year, according to research from analysts TechMarketView.…

Mozilla annual report shows risky Google dependency now risky Yahoo! dependency [The Register]

Revenue up 4.9 per cent, but browser market share shrinking

The Mozilla Foundation has published its 2014 annual report and while revenues are up, the numbers show the outfit is now very dependent on Yahoo! for future income and has declining market share.…

Lenovo slings privilege patches at in-built tools [The Register]

Temp account means God mode for regular users.

IOActive security bod Sofiane Talmat has found two since-patched privilege escalation vulnerabilities in Lenovo System Update utility.…

Green rectangles are the new rounded rectangles [The Register]

Hewlett Packard Enterprise's green box unleashes green monster at Korean portal with similar logo

Logowatch  South Korean web portal Naver is considering a legal tilt at Hewlett Packard Enterprise over just who first decided a green rectangle makes a good corporate insignia.…

Indian scientists teach computers to see by watching Cricket [The Register]

Mashing up Indian Premier League and CricInfo offers new machine learning approach

Indian researchers from Xerox and the International Institute of Information Technology at Hyderabad have used the sport of Cricket to develop a novel approach to interpreting human movement recorded by video.…

Lazy IoT, router makers reuse skeleton keys over and over in thousands of devices – new study [The Register]

SSH logins, server-side HTTPS certs baked in firmware

It's what we all assumed, but quietly hoped wasn't quite this bad.…

Hearthstone’s revamped e-sports tournament features $1 million in prizes [The Verge - All Posts]

Activision Blizzard is getting serious about e-sports, and that now extends to the ever-popular digital card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Blizzard has announced details for the 2016 edition of the Hearthstone Championship Tour, and it differs from 2015 in one key regard: there's a lot more money on the line. Next year's championship final will feature a $1 million prize pool, quadruple the amount from the 2015 edition.

Quadruple the amount from 2015

To go along with the increased cash, the year-long competitive series will also feature a more structured format. Players from Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Americas, will compete in a series of seasonal tournaments throughout the year, and winning will earn them a place in the...

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OnePlus is offering refunds for its troublesome USB Type-C cables [The Verge - All Posts]

OnePlus has admitted that its USB Type-C cable is "using a resistor that may not be fully compatible with some third-party devices," and is now offering refunds for the accessory — but only if you purchased it separately.

News of the faulty cable came to light after Google engineer Benson Leung tested it, and discovered that the OnePlus cable had the potential to damage devices from other manufactures by drawing too much power. "This may cause damage to whatever cable, hub, PC, or charger you plug into this," he explained. OnePlus now says that the problem is due to the resistor in the cable; it's using a 10kΩ resistor, instead of the 56kΩ that should be standard for Type-C.

However, the cable is perfectly safe to use with the OnePlus...

Continue reading…

The latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens TV spot dives into the dark side [The Verge - All Posts]

We're just a few weeks out from Star Wars: The Force Awakens' worldwide premiere, and Disney and Lucasfilm have offered up a tasty Thanksgiving morsel in the form of a new TV spot for the season's most anticipated movie. The movie's first TV-centric trailer premiered on Twitter a few weeks ago after a series of dynamic domestic and international trailers. This new clip (it's called "All the Way," according to the series' Facebook page) focuses more on the Dark Side than other recent releases, which have highlighted specific characters and combat sequences. An army of Stormtroopers amasses under a blood-red sky; the villainous Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is told he's "never faced such a test"; Finn (John Boyega) warns his comrades they "all...

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Five science videos to be thankful for [The Verge - All Posts]

The things that I'm thankful for at Thanksgiving usually change from year to year — but science is pretty much a constant. This year, I'm sharing some of my favorite (recent) science videos.

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12 movies to stream this Thanksgiving weekend — no matter who you're spending it with [The Verge - All Posts]

Thanksgiving and movies go together like Thanksgiving and binge-watching. And while it may be tradition to head out to the theater after the table's been cleared, there are only so many films in theaters right now. Why spend $20 on tickets and parking when you could stay home and enjoy the beautiful bounty of Netflix and Hulu's combined powers? No matter the crowd you're spending the holiday with — even if it's a crowd of one — there's something for everyone to enjoy on our nation's laziest holiday.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 (Hulu)

If the family's about to make the trek to the multiplex to catch the grand finale of The Hunger Games, and you are somehow lagging behind on the most culturally significant YA phenomenon...

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The best cars for storming Black Friday [The Verge - All Posts]

Black Friday isn't just about outsmarting and outlasting your neighbors to get the last $9.99 DVD player in the bin — it's also about rolling up to Target, Walmart, and Best Buy in a stylish machine that can strike fear into your shopping adversaries' hearts while still offering enough utility to bring those sweet, sweet deals home. Doorbusting is no joke: it looks cool if you do it in a Z06 or a 911 GT3 RS, yes, but that doesn't do you a whole lot of good when you emerge from the store victorious, battle scarred, hoisting a 65-inch 4K television above your head.

Let's get real. You need a Black Friday tank. I have some options for you.

Continue reading…

Three years later, Fez is getting a wonderfully ornate physical release [The Verge - All Posts]

Does the abrupt cancellation of the sequel to Fez still sting? Well, this might help: three years after the indie gaming classic made its debut, it's getting a wonderfully detailed limited edition pressing. The new physical edition of Fez takes the form of a red hardcover notebook, "ready to be filled with details of your journey into the third dimension." A DRM-free version of the game for both PC and Mac, along with a download code for the amazing Disasterpeace soundtrack, are "hidden inside" the tome.

This is the first time the game, which launched in 2012 to much acclaim, will be available as a physical release, and developer Polytron didn't stop at just the notebook. You can also now buy the soundtrack on vinyl, and it comes...

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The nine best games to get you through Thanksgiving [The Verge - All Posts]

One of the best things about video games is how diverse they can be; the difference between Tetris and Fallout is massive. So when you're looking for a game that can help get you (and your family) through Thanksgiving, there are a lot of choices. And it all depends on what you want to do. Do you want to get out some aggression with your uncle? Teach your little cousin how to build stuff? Or chill out and enjoy a good story together? No matter your mood, one of these will help make your Thanksgiving just a bit better.

Want to get creative?

Super Mario might be the closest thing gaming has to a universal language. Nearly everyone understands how he jumps and what happens when you grab a mushroom. Super Mario Maker for the Wii...

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Google is sending out this cool little Lego kit to Project Fi subscribers [The Verge - All Posts]

Google's Project Fi is an interesting twist on standard cell phone service, one that's full of promise — and it also comes with some surprisingly unique benefits. Google is sending out gifts to a number of Fi subscribers in the form of a Lego kit, one that works as a charging stand for your Nexus phone once assembled. It's not clear if every subscriber gets a kit, but a number of users have been posting photos on — where else — Google+, showing off their Lego docks, complete with the Fi color scheme and a warm holiday welcome. "Thanks for your support," the note reads, "let's build on this." It's not quite a 10,000 brick Millennium Falcon, but it's a neat bonus. Project Fi is still in its early stages, and you can only sign up by...

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12 TV shows to binge watch this Thanksgiving [The Verge - All Posts]

Thanksgiving is here, so hopefully you’re home with your loved ones right now, waiting for the feasting and family dysfunction to finally begin. But today is about a lot more than just family and food. It’s also (and I think truly) about planting yourself on the couch, stomach full to bursting, while you watch some of the best TV online to fight off that tryptophan coma. As always, there’s entirely too much good television out there to really watch in one long weekend. But you might as well try, since, let’s face it, you’re probably not going anywhere for awhile. Here are some recommendations for great TV you can watch while you digest all that turkey.

So Hot Right Now

Jessica Jones (Netflix)

Jessica Jones is Marvel’s best show...

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Trust In The Federal Government [Transterrestrial Musings]

One in five Americans still have some. What fools. They must not be paying any attention at all.

Cryopreservation [Transterrestrial Musings]

This looks like a huge breakthrough in vitrification. Note that they don’t mention the implications for cryonics, though.

Common Sense On Climate [Transterrestrial Musings]

The Economist remains overconcerned, but at least its editorial board recognizes how unrealistic the warm mongers are: In short: thinking caps should replace hair shirts, and pragmatism should replace green theology. But that doesn’t support the collectivist agenda.

Judith Curry [Transterrestrial Musings]

She is a heretic, who has been cast out of the tribe: In the run-up to the Paris conference, said Curry, much ink has been spilled over whether the individual emissions pledges made so far by more than 150 countries — their ‘intentional nationally determined contributions’, to borrow the jargon — will be enough to … Continue reading Judith Curry

Giving Thanks For Private Spaceflight [Transterrestrial Musings]

Thoughts on Monday’s flight from Instapundit, with an appreciated plug for the book.

President Ignores Ezra Schwartz Killed By Islamic Terrorists, But Decries Killling Of Laquan McDonald By Police Officer [Weasel Zippers]

Ezra was an 18 year old from Boston who went to Israel, and was a volunteer delivering food to soldiers when he was shot by a Palestinian terrorist. But because he wasn’t shot by a police officer, but by a terrorist, President Obama seems not to have noticed. President Obama also failed to even say […]

Just In Time For Thanksgiving, Hillary Explains How She And Bill Are Rowdy Football Fans… [Weasel Zippers]

Hillary has a PhD in phony. Via Legal Insurrection: Anyone observing the 2016 election cycle who also possesses a functioning brain stem (and I assure you, there are a great many people observing the 2016 election cycle who don’t) knows that some candidates and comms shops excel at relating to voters, and some don’t. Some […]


Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Pre-turkey bump: Post-turkey bump:

West Point Bans Cadet Pillow Fight After 30 Injured… [Weasel Zippers]

Next rule change is safe spaces at West Point. Update to this story. Via Stars and Stripes: Cadet pillow fights like the bloody one that left 30 injured this summer will be banned and actions are being pursued against many of those involved, U.S. Military Academy officials said Wednesday. First-year students, known as “plebes,” organize […]

WaPo Wants Americans To Eat Jell-O Topped With Mayo This Thanksgiving…. [Weasel Zippers]

Perfect dish for discussing gun control. Via The Federalist: The Washington Post seems to think the Cold War is still ongoing, because it suggested that mayo is an acceptable Jell-O topping. Perhaps escalating tensions between Russia and pretty much every other country have set off alarm bells in WaPo’s newsroom. Their account tweeted out a […]

Obama: Syrian Refugees Are Like Pilgrims On The Mayflower [Weasel Zippers]

No, really they’re not. Via The Hill: This Thanksgiving, President Obama is calling for Americans to lend a helping hand to another group of pilgrims fleeing persecution. “Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a […]

Leftist Group Calls Fort Rucker’s Red Crucifix Logo And “Crusaders” Nickname “Incredibly Offensive”…. [Weasel Zippers]

From the perpetually offended Military Religious Freedom Foundation… Via Army Times: A religious-freedom advocacy group has filed its second grievance in as many weeks with the Army, again demanding that imagery featuring a red crucifix be removed from Army signage — and this time, insisting the aviation unit involved change its logo and its nickname. The […]

The Pilgrims Were Definitely Not Like Modern-Day Refugees… [Weasel Zippers]

*Added historical note that some among the Pilgrims were not actually ‘pilgrims’ searching for religious freedom, and not even necessarily religious, but were coming to the new world for other reasons such as freedom from servitude. Via Daily Caller: This upcoming Thanksgiving Day is sure to offer you and your family plenty of opportunities to […]

Hillary’s Guide To Persuading Your Relatives To Vote For Her Over Thanksgiving Dinner [Weasel Zippers]

We told you yesterday how Hillary was pushing for her minions to target their family at their Thanksgiving dinner and try to change their minds to vote for her. But here’s the guide that the Hillary team is providing for you to use. Because, of course, being a brain dead minion and not actually having […]

DHS Is Ready For Threats On Thanksgiving…Warns You About How To Fry Your Turkey Safely… [Weasel Zippers]

Obama says we don't need to worry about #ISIS this weekend. His DHS has the deep fried turkey threat under control. https://t.co/TgKrABtAmG — John Schindler (@20committee) November 26, 2015

#BlackLivesMatter Protesters Attack Chicago’s Christmas Tree, “This Is Part Of The Problem”, “F**k Yo Christmas Tree!”.. [Weasel Zippers]

Protestors ripping lights off #Chicago holiday tree #LaquanMcDonald pic.twitter.com/w76wG4o7jX — Elizabeth Matthews (@ElizabethFox32) November 26, 2015

Chicago #BlackLivesMatter Protesters Yell “F**k France”, Curse And Blow Whistles In Face Of Police [Weasel Zippers]

Rev Com is, of course, present. Their base is out of Chicago (why are the country’s famous communists all out of Chicago?). This idiot appears to be the same one who said ‘F**k France’ and was in every officer’s face. Protesters getting full use of the whistles passed out earlier #LaquanMcDonald pic.twitter.com/NWf2AuRASI — Tony Briscoe […]

New ISIS Video Claims U.S. Soldiers ‘Lack The Will’, Mock Obama For Cooking Intel Reports On Them… [Weasel Zippers]

Click on for video: Do not mistake our President’s weakness for that of our military men. Via Breitbart: A new English-language propaganda video released on Tuesday, purportedly from the Islamic State’s Al-Hayat Media Center, claims that for all their military skill and superior technology, Western troops are weaker than jihadis. America is portrayed as exhausted […]

Moonbat Author Does It Again: Wonders Why North Koreans ‘Choose’ To Live In North Korea… [Weasel Zippers]

Joyce sounds like she’s sniffing glue again: That little thing about being locked up in a camp if you go against the government tends to inhibit some…

84%, More Than 4 Out Of 5 Voters, Characterize Immigration From The Middle East As ‘Dangerous’ [Weasel Zippers]

Via Fox Nation: Survey Results: A nationwide survey of 2016 likely general election voters conducted by McLaughlin & Associates for SecureAmericaNow.org finds that more than 4 out of 5 voters, 84%, would categorize immigration from the Middle East to the United States as “Dangerous.” The plurality, 49%, said “very dangerous,” with another 35% saying “somewhat […]

Democratic Senator Of Largest Legislative District In Nation Switches To Republican, Republican Party Is ‘Party Of Opportunity’ [Weasel Zippers]

Very proud to welcome my friend #Arizona State Senator @CarlyleBegay to the #Republican Party! https://t.co/9aynHcpyJL — John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) November 23, 2015 Nice. Via BPR: Republicans are rejoicing as the largest legislative district in the nation just flipped from blue to red. Arizona State Senator Carlyle Begay, a Navajo (who also call themselves Diné) whose […]

Illegal Alien Children Being Placed With Child Molesters, Slave Lords and Murderers… [Weasel Zippers]

Obama regime doesn’t even protect those who they claim to be helping, in the end, they’re just pawns to the game. Via Washington Examiner: The administration has been placing youths illegally crossing over the Mexico-U.S. border with guardians with criminal histories including domestic violence, homicide, child molestation, sexual assault and human trafficking, a whistleblower has […]

Israeli Intelligence Provided Warning That Lead To Hanover, Germany Soccer Game Cancellation… [Weasel Zippers]

Still want refugees? Via JPost: Germany received key intelligence regarding an imminent terror attack against a packed soccer stadium from Israeli intel services less than two weeks ago, German magazine Stern reported Wednesday. Israeli intelligence provided the crucial information that lead German authorities to cancel a scheduled friendly soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands […]

More Regulation: Bad for Jobs and Entrepreneurship, Good for Corporate Cronies [International Liberty]

When people think about government regulation, it’s understandable that they focus on things that impact their everyday lives.

Most of us, for instance, are irked by government’s war against modern life. Bureaucratic pinheads in Washington think they have the right to plague us with crummy dishwashers, inferior light bulbssubstandard toilets, and inadequate washing machines.

But what matters more is the way that onerous regulation throws sand in the gears of the economy, slowing growth and undermining job creation. And no matter how you slice the data, there’s no escaping the conclusion that American competitiveness is suffocating because of red tape and regulation from Washington.

Here are some very depressing bits of information I’ve shared in the past.

So what’s President Obama’s plan to deal with this regulatory morass?

Well, he wants to make matters worse. I’m not joking. Here are some excerpts from a report in The Hill.

President Obama is moving to complete scores of regulations as he looks to cement key parts of his legacy… The White House quietly released its formal rulemaking schedule late last week, revealing the administration’s latest plans for regulations currently in the works at agencies across the federal government. …Obama has no intentions of slowing down the process during his final year in office. …Critics, however, say the President has already issued far too many burdensome regulations. …the administration has finalized about one rule a day since Obama took office and estimates the compliance costs associated with those rules to total about $700 billion.

What makes this so depressing is that the Mercatus Center has new research showing that the regulatory burden is especially harmful to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Here are some of the findings from this new study.

…a 10 percent increase in the intensity of regulation as measured by the RegData index leads to a statistically significant 0.5 percent decrease in overall firm births. …regulation deters hiring overall. A 10 percent increase in regulation is associated with a statistically significant 0.9 percent decrease in hiring. …Regulation leads to a statistically significant reduction in hiring and firm births for firms overall and for small firms. …our results suggest that from 1998 to 2011, increased federal regulation reduced the entry of new firms by 1.2 percent and reduced hiring by 2.2 percent. That result implies that returning to the level of regulation in effect in 1998 would lead to the creation of 30 new firms and the hiring of 530 new employees every year for an average industry.

So who benefits from red tape?

Other than bureaucrats and lobbyists, the big winner is big business.

…we find that large incumbents are actually less likely to die when their industry becomes more regulated. That finding suggests that incumbents, in particular, benefit from increasing levels of regulation and provides support for the idea that incumbents might actively seek increasing regulation to deter entry and limit competition (consistent with capture theory).

The good news is that a growing number of people are recognizing the need to deal with excessive regulation.

I don’t think many people would accuse Professor Noah Smith of Stony Brook University of being a libertarian, yet he makes a strong case for regulatory relief in a recent Bloomberg column.

Republicans should stop focusing so much on taxes and devote more attention to deregulation. …Although it’s very difficult to measure the amount of regulation across the economy, there are more and more areas that are cause for concern. For example, the scope of occupational licensing, which economists mostly believe is a drag on growth, is startling, and seems to have no good reason behind it. …Another concern is environmental regulation…local development opponents are often able to use costly environmental reviews to block needed infrastructure. A third area is zoning. As the incentives for density have risen, zoning regulation has become an increasing burden on growth.

He lists additional items, such as the approval process at the FDA for new drugs and all the Byzantine red tape required by the Sarbanes-Oxley law, and he also makes the very important point that cost-benefit analysis is necessary since not all regulations are created equal.

So what’s the solution to this mess?

Research from the folks at Mercatus points to some possible solution.

First and foremost, cut the budgets for regulatory agencies. If there’s less money, there will be fewer bureaucrats with fewer resources.

Here’s a very persuasive chart from a Mercatus report showing the correlation between regulatory budgets and the burden of red tape.

By the way, notice how regulatory spending exploded during the Bush years. Yet another bit of data showing that statist Republicans can be even worse for the economy than statist Democrats.

But I’m digressing. Let’s now look at another potential way of reining in the regulatory state.

Another study from Mercatus looks at a policy in Canada that put an aggregate cap on red tape.

Canada recently became the first country in the world to legislate a cap on regulation. The Red Tape Reduction Act, which became law on April 23, 2015, requires the federal government to eliminate at least one regulation for every new one introduced. Remarkably, the legislation received near-unanimous support across the political spectrum: 245 votes in favor of the bill and 1 opposed.

The nationwide legislation was based on an experiment in British Columbia.

When the BC government first introduced the Reform Policy in 2001, two regulatory requirements had to be eliminated for every one introduced. …today the policy calls for eliminating one requirement for every new one introduced. …requiring regulators to…eliminate…regulatory requirements for every new one introduced represented a dramatic change in thinking about regulation in BC: It put the onus on the government to…reduce the total amount of regulation.

And this policy apparently was very successful.

There is no question that BC’s economic performance improved markedly after 2001 in contrast to the “dismal decade” of the 1990s. The province went from being one of the worst performing in the country to being among the best. …economic growth in BC was 1.9 percentage points below the Canadian average between 1994 and 2001 but 1.1 percentage points above the Canadian average between 2002 and 2006. BC’s real GDP growth was lower than Canada’s as a whole in six of the nine years between 1992 and 2000, but BC’s GDP grew faster than Canada’s every year between 2002 and 2008.

What’s the key takeaway lesson?

Well, just as a spending cap is the right approach to fiscal policy, a regulatory cap also is the right way to deal with red tape.

…a hard cap on the total amount of regulatory requirements…has forced a discipline that did not previously exist, a discipline that has helped change the culture within government to one where regulators see their job as focusing on the most important rules.

Gee, what a radical idea. Requiring the folks in Washington to set priorities and make tradeoffs!

P.S. I guess we can add regulatory reform to our good-things-we-can-learn-from-Canada collection, along with spending restraint, corporate tax reform, bank bailouts, reducing double taxation, and privatization of air traffic control. Heck, Canada even has one of the lowest levels of welfare spending among developed nations.

P.P.S. Since we just reviewed research on how big corporations can benefit by supporting regulations that will disproportionately hurt their small competitors, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that some of those same big companies support tax hikes that will be especially damaging to small businesses.

P.P.P.S. While I suspect America wins the prize for worst regulatory agency and most despicable regulatory practice, Japan almost surely wins the prize for the oddest regulation.


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