Friday, July 31, 2015

Planet Of The Humans

Sorry, Caesar:
Hercules and Leo, the research chimpanzees whom an animal rights group went to court to set free, will stay put because chimps aren’t “legal persons,” a New York judge ruled Thursday.

The Nonhuman Rights Project, a non-profit activist group in Coral Springs, Florida, sued on behalf of the 8-year-old chimps in March, arguing that they’re autonomous, intelligent creatures and that holding them at the State University of New York at Stony Brook is illegal imprisonment. It said Thursday it would appeal the ruling.

In a ruling filed Thursday in Manhattan, New York State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe turned down the group’s request to approve a writ of habeas corpus — the legal mechanism under which people are freed from unlawful detention. But she indicated that she sympathized with Hercules, Leo and their supporters.
You damn dirty activists...

They're Back

Internet regulators, on the march again:
When the Democrats on the FEC first raised the possibility of regulations, opponents feared they were going to target conservative groups, activities and news sites. A proposal to delve into the issue died in a 3-3 vote.

Republican Commissioner Lee E. Goodman, the previous chairman, warned that regulations would silence voices on the internet and that sites with a political bent, even in the media, could face rules requiring them to disclose donors and finances.

But in answering the question this week, Ravel indicated she wants to pursue regulations. "It would be under the purview of the FEC to look at some of the issues that arise in new media and the impact of new media, in particular with respect to disclosure and ensuring that there is no corporate contributions, for example excessive contributions or contributions to a particular candidates for example," she said.
That darned free speech, again...

Return Of The B's

What's old may be new again:
Today Lucianne Goldberg, the literary agent who looked after several of the women claiming relations with Bill Clinton, said it is no longer a matter of 'if' the 'bimbo eruptions' will return to haunt Hillary.

Speaking to Daily Mail Online, Goldberg said: 'It's already happened. It's back. I think it's something they've always been worried about.'

According to Goldberg the 'bimbo eruptions' are just one of many scandals that have left her convinced that Hillary will have to bow out before nominations.

She said: 'I don't think she's going to make it to the nomination. I never thought she would. It's cumulative. It's everything piling on her.'
The stains of memory...

The Travel Job

Well, if anyone deserved it:
If you’re low on funds for that big vacation, you could always ask to borrow some, run a Kickstarter campaign … or swindle a couple of Islamic State recruiters. It may not be the safest way to make money, but that’s what three young women from Chechnya, a Russian republic in southeastern Europe, did.

The Chechen women are under investigation for fraud after they allegedly scammed IS members into giving them money on the pretense that they would use it to travel from their homeland to Syria. The ladies got away with some $3,300 before being discovered, according to RT News.

The IS members allegedly reached out to the young women on their social media accounts, asking them to join the militant cause. The women kept in touch with IS members and even sent fake pictures to string them along.
It's just too bad they weren't working for law enforcement...

Hey, It Wasn't Our Fault

We're innocent, they said:
Saudi Arabia had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks and should be dismissed as a defendant in lawsuits brought by victims’ families, a lawyer for the kingdom told a judge Thursday.

Attorney Michael Kellogg made the argument before a Manhattan federal judge, who did not immediately rule.

Saudi Arabia was dropped as a defendant nine years ago by a judge who said it was protected by sovereign immunity, but a federal appeals court in December 2013 reinstated it, saying a legal exception existed and the circumstances were extraordinary.

Kellogg said there were no facts showing Saudi Arabia knew of the attacks in advance or knowingly aided terrorists.
They just provided the ideology behind them...

One Man's Socialist

The answer is, not a whole lot:

Proud To Be A...What?

Don't say the "A" word:
American. A term best avoided, according to the guide. “North Americans often use ‘American’ which usually, depending on the context, fails to recognize South America,” it helpfully explains. Prefer: US citizen or Resident of the US. Or – if they are an “illegal” (which is a word you shouldn’t use by the way because it implies they are “an object”) an “undocumented immigrant or worker”.
God Bless our nondescript continent?

Soul TV

The Devil made them do it?
Exorcism: Live! will air October 30 on Destination America, reports Deadline. The cast of DA’s Ghost Asylum, along with medium Chip Coffey, will perform an exorcism on the original St. Louis house featured in William Friedkin’s 1973 film The Exorcist.

The crew will reportedly undertake daytime and nighttime investigations to “rid the lurking spirits and demons that inhabit” the iconic home.

The Exorcist House was the site of exorcisms performed on Roland Doe in 1949.

“As we step into one of the most haunted and well-known spirit destinations in America, Exorcism: Live! will show exactly what is inside this infamous, highly dangerous and possessed home,” Destination America general manager Marc Etkind said in a statement. “By actually exorcising this iconic house live, Destination America will do what it does best bringing never before seen experience to television.”
The power of Christ compels you to watch?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Cut That Bleeds

If you get Social Security, you may want to check twice:
Clearly, in 2009, the government’s prediction — that Social Security would have to be cut to 78 percent of benefits come 2041 — was overly optimistic.

Now, in 2015, they are projecting 2033, eight years earlier, with one percentage point less of my projected benefits. The projections have steadily worsened over the past few years, helped by a much weaker economy than the federal government expected. Does anyone really expect these numbers to get better?
You were warned...

Internet Masters

What couldgo wrong?
President Xi Jinping—with the help of conservatives in government, academia, military and the technology industry—is moving to exert influence over virtually every part of the digital world in China, from semiconductors to social media. In doing so, Mr. Xi is trying to fracture the international system that makes the Internet basically the same everywhere, and is pressuring foreign companies to help.

On July 1, China’s legislature passed a new security law asserting the nation’s sovereignty extends into cyberspace and calling for network technology to be “controllable.” A week later, China released a draft law to tighten controls over the domestic Internet, including codifying the power to cut access during public-security emergencies.

Other draft laws under consideration would encourage Chinese companies to find local replacements for technology equipment purchased abroad and force foreign vendors to give local authorities encryption keys that would let them control the equipment.
All the easier to hack with...

Deadly Letter Office

Well, okay, then:
FedEx’s refusal to transport these kinds of specimens is drawing concern among officials at major laboratories, who say it was the primary way they sent and received critical samples used to diagnose diseases and for the development of vaccines, treatments, tests and detection equipment. Neither UPS nor the U.S. Postal Service will transport the specimens.

“It potentially is a devastating blow,” said James Le Duc, director of the Galveston National Laboratory in Texas, a major high-containment research facility that has two to three shipments a month. Le Duc said much of infectious-disease research involves pathogens found in the wild in other parts of the world, which requires the shipment of specimens.

“Everybody is kind of dumbfounded that this has happened,” Le Duc said Wednesday.
Apparently they've never actually dealt with FedEx...

Three For Court

Rolling Stone continues to face the consequences of its actions:
Three graduates of the University of Virginia have filed a defamation suit against Rolling Stone in a case related to a controversial story that the magazine wrote about rape, according to various reports.

The lawsuit filed by the three men also names Wenner Media, publisher of Rolling Stone, and journalist Sabrina Ruden Erdely, who wrote the piece, titled, “A Rape on Campus.” The men claim they suffered “emotional turmoil” and were unable to focus at work or school after the story appeared.

The November 2014 piece offered details of an alleged 2012 gang rape on campus that a freshman experienced at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house.

The three plaintiffs are seeking damages for emotional distress and defamation, according to ABC News.
"Journalists" get put on notice: You can't just make stuff up and get away with it after all...

Listen To The Judge

Send 'em all to jail:
Sullivan warned that the failure to follow his order was serious and the IRS and Justice Department’s excuses for not following his July 1 order were “indefensible, ridiculous, and absurd.” He asked the IRS’ Justice Department lawyer Geoffrey Klimas, “Why didn’t the IRS comply” with his court order and “why shouldn’t the Court hold the Commissioner of the IRS in contempt.” Judge Sullivan referenced his contempt findings against Justice Department prosecutors in the prosecution of late Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and reminded the Justice Department attorney he had the ability to detain him for contempt. Warning he would tolerate no further disregard of his orders, Judge Sullivan said, “I will haul into court the IRS Commissioner to hold him personally into contempt.”
It's only fair. The IRS has been holding the taxpayers in contempt for a long time...

Big Boom Country

You're not just hearing things:
Glen White, a science instructor at Columbia College in Sonora, California, told KBET-TV that the sounds people keep hearing are actually coming from more than 100 miles away at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Hawthorne, Nevada, where obsolete munitions are destroyed every weekday during the very same hours in which Sonora residents have reported hearing them.

But White pointed out another part of the story that seems even more strange: He said that while residents of California’s gold country can hear the booms clearly, residents who live near the site of the explosions don’t hear them at all — because the sound travels over them.

“I can’t explain all the physics involved, but the atmosphere is bouncing in response to the energy and it’s reflecting and bouncing [the sound] back down,” White said. “The really odd part is people fairly close to the source of the energy, the explosions, aren’t hearing it. The sound goes over them.”
I knew there was an echo out there...

Long Haul In Hell

I'm sure a lot of truck driver would appreciate this:
“Drivers experience multiple roadblocks to health, including laws permitting long work hours and an isolating job structure that restricts physical activity and dietary choices,” according to the NIH grant. “Despite the growing health crisis, there is a lack of effective weight loss and health promotion interventions for truck drivers.”

“To address this research gap we developed an innovative intervention that is integrated with the job structure and modern technologies of truck driving,” the grant said. “Our approach uses mobile computing technologies to provide training and feedback during a weight loss competition, and delivers motivational interviewing on cell phones.”
Because a call from a government health representative is something that a truck driver will want to hear at two in the morning...

Have A Coke And A Crash?

Well, I'm still not giving it up entirely:
Maybe you sip it and it’s gone in 20 minutes, or maybe you were thirsty and downed it in just a few glugs.

Either way, 39 grams of sugar, 45 grams of sodium, in addition to some phosphoric acid, caffeine and other ingredients, from a 12-ounce serving are now in your system. And while you might not be actively thinking about it at the time, your body is hard at work processing the beverage.
Unfortunately some peoples' brains only process propaganda...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ms. Bunny

Not again:
“He has a blonde, busty mistress, and she’s been code named Energizer by agents. This is unofficially, but that is what they call her…She comes in to the Chappaqua [NY] home whenever Hillary leaves. The details coordinate to make sure they don’t cross paths. She, unlike Hillary, is very nice to the agents. She’ll bring cookies.”
Bill keeps going and going and going...

Field Of Schemes

Is it time for a coup against John Boehner?
“It’s really more about trying to have a conversation about making this place work,” Meadows said. “Hopefully we’ll have some discussions about that in the days and weeks to come. It’s more about having an inclusive process where you have debate on a regular basis, where you have open dialogue and an exchange of ideas. That’s what this is all about. This body is driven on debate and on the work on committees … and those bills or legislations should be debated based on the merit.”

Meadows’ move will undoubtedly force Republican lawmakers over the recess to answer questions about Boehner’s political problems, and possibly shift attention away from their opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and other priorities.
Why can't they talk about both? Do they really need to save Boehner in order to save themselves?

How To Create A Panic

The rape culture that wasn't:
The most widely quoted figures—that 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by serial offenders and that they average six rapes each—were calculated on a total of 76 non-traditional students who were not living on a college campus, and whose offenses may or may not have happened on or near a college campus, may or may not have been perpetrated on other students, and may have happened at any time in the survey respondents’ adult lives.

In March, when I pointed to the differences between the men in Lisak’s paper and the student population on which his popular campus presentations focus, Lisak responded: “Are you asking if there are comprehensive studies about sexual offenders on traditional college campuses? No, there aren’t.” Yet this is exactly how Lisak’s work has been treated.

Even the serial nature of the assaults reported in Lisak’s paper is speculation, since he did not distinguish between multiple offenses committed against multiple victims and multiple offenses committed against one victim. In fact, when asked about the high number of assaults by individuals who allegedly remained “undetected” by law enforcement, Lisak stated that “a number of these cases were domestic violence,” i.e., ongoing abuse in intimate partnerships, including marriages.

This is an important revelation. Even a single rape is abhorrent. Even one woman, victimized multiple times, endures trauma. But campus training and government policy, citing Lisak, are being built around presumptions of serial, predatory behavior from most campus rapists, a fact not established in the data and potentially contradicted by Lisak’s own characterization of the men included in his paper.
Fanaticism doesn't require facts...

The Mailing Dead

Lois Lerner's emails miraculously return:
Judicial Watch released 906 pages of newly recovered Lois Lerner emails from the IRS that are believed to recently have been recovered by the IRS’ internal watchdog – the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). The IRS released the emails under a court order by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. The new documents show that Lois Lerner and other top officials in the Exempt Organizations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), including soon-to-be Acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller, closely monitored and approved the controversial handling of tax-exempt applications by Tea Party organizations. The documents also show that at least one group received an inquiry from the IRS in order to buy time and keep the organization from contacting Congress.

At July 1, 2015, status conference, Judge Sullivan ordered the IRS to begin producing, every week, the nearly 1,800 newly recovered Lois Lerner emails responsive to Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Despite the court order, the IRS did not produce any Lois Lerner emails until July 15. The IRS also failed to provide Judicial Watch a status report of the Lois Lerner email production issues, as also ordered by Judge Sullivan. Last week, Judge Sullivan ordered sua sponte the parties to appear for a status hearing for tomorrow (July 29) shortly after Judicial Watch raised concerns about the IRS’ failure to comply with his orders to release the newly discovered Lerner emails and status updates on its production of previously “missing” documents.

The developments come in Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuit seeking documents about the Obama IRS’ targeting and harassment of Tea Party and conservative opponents of President Obama (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559)). Judicial Watch’s litigation forced the IRS first to admit that Lerner’s emails were supposedly missing and, then, that the emails were on IRS’ back-up systems.
It's amazing how you can find something if you really look hard enough...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jersey Mores

They just won't quit:
Three public workers’ pension funds are suing New Jersey for billions in damages, claiming the state government breached contracts when it contributed less than planned.

The filing Friday is the latest volley in a more than yearlong dispute over pension contributions. They stem from Gov. Chris Christie’s decision last year amid a budget shortfall to veer from a pension funding plan he signed into law in 2011…

Last year, New Jersey had a surprise revenue shortfall and Christie balanced the books almost entirely by reducing pension contributions. Unions sued, arguing the state had a contract with them to pay up. In June, the state Supreme Court ruled on the issue. It found that it could not order the administration to make the full pension payments, largely because doing so would violate a provision of the state constitution that blocks the current Legislature from saddling future ones with debt.
That won't stop state Democrats from trying...

Dream On

It's literally a gamer's dream:
The device, which comes as part of Nintendo’s “quality of life” initiative, is designed to monitor people in their sleep and it comes equipped with a ceiling projector, IGN reports.

The recently filed patent, which was was reportedly unearthed by a NeoGAF user, offers a glimpse into what the company has planned for the future and it is, without doubt, an odd future at that, as the English part of the patent application, the abstract, indicates that the “portable terminal” will “assess a user’s emotions.”
Are you the dream, or the dreamer?

Baby, It's Cold Inside

Air conditioning is...sexist:
“Air conditioning is another big, sexist plot,” revealed WaPo local writer Petula Dvorak in a Thursday column.

Then, on Friday, Dvorak claimed one man wants to hold menopausal women responsible for cold offices but he is wrong, see, because the real problem is men who dress in suits.

“Every single woman I talked to in downtown Washington on a hot, humid July afternoon was thawing out,” Dvorak initially explained after her investigation into sexist air conditioning which involved speaking randomly to some people at lunch.
If you can't stand the cold, get out of the cubicle?

Highway Run

Somewhere, Ted Cruz is smiling:
On Tuesday, leaders in both chambers got behind the stop-gap bill and said they plan to work on long-term highway funding legislation this fall, downplaying the significance of once again passing a short-term reauthorization.

“The House wants to produce a long term highway bill,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters. “And so we’ve got work to do, and we’ve got to buy some time to get that work done.”

McConnell said the Senate will complete work this week on his three-year plan but will then take up the House authored three-month extension to prevent highway funding from expiring at the end of the month.

House Republicans plan to vote Wednesday and the bill will then go to the Senate where it is expected to be cleared for the president’s signature.
So they can apparently work together, if they have to...

Sympathy Pains

He literally feels your pain:
Dr. Joel Salinas is not your average doctor.
“When I see people, I have the sensation of whatever touches their body on my own body as well and it’s kind of reflected as a mirror,” he told WBZ-TV.
It’s called mirror touch synesthesia.
He’s had this trait for as long as he can remember. In fact, he thought everyone had it.
“When I was a kid, having these experiences where if I would see someone hug I would feel the hug on myself or if I would see someone get hit, I felt the sensation on me as well,” explains Dr. Salinas.
Jerry Lewis already covered this:

The Price Of Prosperity?

When high prices are good:
For American consumers who have become used to flat or even falling prices for several years, an unfamiliar sight has emerged in many corners of the economy: Inflation is ticking up.
The price increases remain modest. And in many cases, they're canceled out by price declines for other items that are keeping overall inflation historically low.
Yet the stepped-up price tags for a range of consumer items are the largest since the Great Recession ended six years ago. They actually reflect a healthier economy: Many businesses have finally grown confident enough to pass their own higher costs on to consumers without fear of losing customers. Employers have added nearly 5.6 million jobs the past two years, allowing more people to absorb higher prices.
The problem is when they can't...

Faking The Warming

Climate "experts" are engaging in massive fraud:
They accomplish this through a spectacular hockey stick of data tampering, which corrupts the US temperature trend by almost two degrees.

The biggest component of this fraud is making up data. Almost half of all reported US temperature data is now fake. They fill in missing rural data with urban data to create the appearance of non-existent US warming.
The fake science is settled?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Less Corn All Around

Voters don't want more corn in their cars:
“Voters across party lines express grave concerns for the impacts of the corn ethanol mandate from the Renewable Fuel Standard that touch many parts of their lives from the cars they drive to the food they buy,” said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. “They strongly support bi-partisan proposals that would reduce the impact of corn ethanol, and particularly support the EPA reducing the amount of corn ethanol required by law.”
Corn is for dinner, not driving...


Watch out for...wind?
According to the ordinance, “commercial barbecue cookers are not exempt from causing a nuisance odor. If a sufficient number of complaints, representing different households, are reported and an Inspector witnesses the problem, they can issue a Warning Letter.”

The two men continue to laugh in disbelief and explain that other neighbors routinely cook out but no one appears to issuing warnings to them.

“So everyone in the whole world can cook out except me," Jordan can he heard saying.

Graham also says that in order to avoid a warning, the men should first check wind patterns before starting to barbecue—or upgrade their equipment to a newer model designed to curtail smoke and odors.

Graham's friend, who videoed the entire scene says, "We can't control the wind, God does that."
Unfortunately, some local bureaucrats think they are God...

Dues For Blues

Well, good:
The Employee Rights Act, introduced Monday by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah., and Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., would allow union members to tell their bosses they don't want their share of dues going to certain candidates or causes, without fear of retaliation.

It also would seek to stop intimidation tactics by requiring secret ballots for employee elections regarding issues like unionizing or striking.

Any bid to restrict union political donations could have a big impact on Democrats, who get the lion's share of union campaign money. According to the Center for Union Facts, unions in 2012 contributed nearly $90 million to Democratic Party and aligned organizations.

"Forty percent of the union members are Republicans, yet virtually 100 percent of money that they've raised, and it's considerable money, goes to elect Democrats," Hatch told Fox News.
It's your money, but it's their party...

Web Wars

The Clintons will not be pleased:
The website, “A Scandal a Day,” currently only asks viewers: “Are you being harassed, stalked, intimidated or persecuted by a person in position of power or public trust?”

However, according to WND, she plans to add more specific wording on Bill Clinton.

“In light of what’s happened with Bill Cosby, I thought I’m going to add to that,” Willey reportedly told radio host Aaron Klein. “‘If you or any one you know has been harassed, sexually harassed, assaulted or intimidated by Bill Clinton please send your name and email address and you can be assured that your anonymity will be ensured and it will be honored and you will be safe and we will make sure that you are safe.’”
The past is always there...

The Media's Miscalculation

Yes, they did:

Property Values

As they should:
After the tough-on-crime 90s, the conservative side of the political spectrum has often been presumed to be more friendly to law enforcement. With a proliferation of groups like the Institute for Justice and Right on Crime, and the launch of criminal justice reform projects at conservative mainstays like the Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks, that tide has turned.

"It's a civil liberties issue, it's a due process issue, but first and foremost, it's a property rights issue," Jason Pye, director of justice reform for FreedomWorks, said. "This is legal plunder. What they're doing is wrong, and we need to fix this... I've been surprised at how activists have embraced this issue."
Due process is for everybody...

Breaking The Bank

About that highway/bank bill:
“We’re not taking up the Senate bill,” McCarthy declared to a roomful of reporters in his office.

Instead, McCarthy urged the Senate to take up a short-term House-passed bill which extends federal highway funding for five months, without renewing the Ex-Im Bank charter. He called the House bill the “best option” for Congress before money for highways, bridges and mass transit runs out on Friday.

McCarthy’s declaration is a blow not only to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) had teamed up to craft the bipartisan, long-term highway bill.

It’s also a blow to backers of the Ex-Im Bank, who had hoped the 81-year-old institution would be revived by catching a ride on the back of the Senate transportation bill. The charter for the bank, which provides loan guarantees to help U.S. corporations sell goods overseas, expired on June 30.
Leadership? Never mind...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Wave

Ted Cruz isn't done yet:
Cruz explained that the “Washington cartel,” which he said is behind such deals that ultimately benefit “a handful of giant corporations” and drain taxpayers’ pockets, is an ugly outgrowth of establishment politics on both sides of the aisle.

“It’s career politicians in both parties who get in bed with lobbyists and special interests,” Cruz said. “It’s why we’re bankrupting our kids and grandkids.”

The senator noted as much in an email blast to supporters Saturday, saying that “today we have government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, and for the lobbyists.”

Cruz told Limbaugh there’s mounting frustration among voters — particularly those who put their trust in GOP office holders — because the Republican majority is looking nothing like one.

“We see so many campaign conservatives that pretend to be conservative on the campaign trail but they don’t govern according to what they promised us on the campaign trail,” he added.
Sounds like someone who's gearing up for a long fight...

They Say They Want A Revolution

What could go wrong?
“The atmosphere is a little similar to the time after 1968 in Europe. I can feel, maybe not a revolutionary mood, but something like widespread impatience”.
These were the words of European council president Donald Tusk, 48 hours after Greece’s paymasters imposed the most punishing bail-out measures ever forced on a debtor nation in the eurozone’s 15-year history.
A former Polish prime minister and a politician not prone to hyperbole, Tusk’s comments revealed Brussels’ fears of a bubbling rebellion across the continent.
“When impatience becomes not an individual but a social experience of feeling, this is the introduction for revolutions” said Tusk.
“I am really afraid of this ideological or political contagion.”
Historically speaking, European countries have not fared well when their people become "impatient..."

Rainbows Over Kenya

President Obama learns that not everyone in other countries agree with him
Mr Obama said that as an African-American, he was “painfully aware” of what it was like to be treated as a lesser citizen in law in his own country and that such discriminatory policies ended up on the wrong side of history.
"When you start treating people differently, not because of any harm they’re doing anybody but because they’re doing different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode, and bad things happen,” Mr Obama told reporters at State House in Nairobi.
“And when government gets in the habit of treating people differently, those habits start to spread. I am unequivocal on this. The idea they are going to be treated differently or abused because of who they love is wrong, full stop.”
But Mr Kenyatta, who was warned by senior members of his party not to comment on the issue in the run-up to Mr Obama’s historic visit, insisted gay rights in conservative Kenya was a “non-issue”.
“We share so many values, our common love for democracy, entrepreneurship, value for families. But there are some things we must admit we don't share, our culture, our societies don't accept,” he told a frowning Mr Obama.
“It’s very difficult to impose that on people that which they themselves do not accept. For Kenyans today the issue of gay rights is really a non-issue. We want to focus on other areas that are day-to-day living for people.”
Maybe it should be, but was it really Obama's place to lecture the president of Kenya when he was standing right there?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Three The Conspiracy Way

Green paranoia:
Professor Peter Wadhams said he feared being labelled a “looney” over his suspicion that the deaths of the scientists were more than just an ‘extraordinary’ coincidence.
But he insisted the trio could have been murdered and hinted that the oil industry or else sinister government forces might be implicated.
The three scientists he identified - Seymour Laxon and Katherine Giles, both climate change scientists at University College London, and Tim Boyd of the Scottish Association for marine Science - all died within the space of a few months in early 2013.
Professor laxon fell down a flight of stairs at a New year’s Eve party at a house in Essex while Dr Giles died when she was in collision with a lorry when cycling to work in London. Dr Boyd is thought to have been struck by lightning while walking in Scotland.
Obviously God hates environmentalists...

Springtime For Outrage

A liberal discovers Mel Brooks:
“I understand the intent is satire,” says Jeffrey Imm, who is organizing the demonstration through his anti-discrimination group, Responsible for Equality And Liberty. “This is the point of morality: some things we have to recognize as absolute evil. When 6 million people are murdered, we don’t view it with knee-slapping, we view it with reverence.”

In The Producers, which is adapted from Brooks’s Oscar-winning 1968 film of the same name, two crooked Broadway producers endeavor to profit off a critical and commercial flop, which they believe they find in Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden, which portrays Hitler as a flamboyant dandy.
But he was a better dancer than Churchill...

Justice Delayed

At long last:
These whistleblowers have now been exonerated by the office that investigates claims of retaliation against federal employees. The Office of Special Counsel announced this week that it has smoothed the way for the Department of Veterans Affairs to make amends to Thompson, Christensen and Honl with monetary settlements, reinstatements to their jobs and by purging their records of negative claims.

“Rather than silencing the messenger, supervisors can use disclosures as opportunities to address problems,” Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said in a statement. “It’s an important sign of progress that the VA settled these cases and provided relief to the employees who suffered retaliation.”
Telling the truth should be rewarded, even if it is better late than never...

Crustacean Conflict

War of the lobstermen:
The northeastern-most part of the US — on the coast where Maine meets New Brunswick — there are two tiny, uninhabited islands in a political gray area. It isn’t because anyone wants the islands — instead, they want the lobster surrounding the islands, and it’s disputed which country has the fishing rights.

During normal times, the dispute seems to be little more than an annoyance. But apparently this year, there are real problems because the price of lobster is so high ($5.50 a pound in that area, compared to $4 the previous year), according to Zane Schwartz in Maclean’s.
We cannot afford a lobster gap...

Mail Call

The fateful four?
At least four emails from the private email account that former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used while in office contained classified information, according to a government inspector’s letter that has deepened the email controversy dogging Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The inspector general who oversees U.S. intelligence agencies wrote in a letter to members of Congress on Thursday that a sampling of 40 of about 30,000 emails sent or received by Clinton found at least four that contained information the government had classified as secret.

The information was classified at the time the emails were sent, according to the inspector general, Charles McCullough.

“This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system,” McCullough said in a joint statement on Friday along with his equivalent at the State Department, Steve Linick.
It depends on what the meaning of "classified" is...

Wall Street: BS Never Sleeps

So Hillary Clinton is ready to take on her friends:
Hillary Rodham Clinton made a case on Friday for weaning Wall Street from an addiction to profits, calling for a change to the capital gains taxes for the highest earners and a string of measures to adjust the balance of power between corporate titans and their employees.

She also supported raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 in New York, where a wage board this week suggested such an increase, but she also insisted such a rise is not a one-size-fits-all approach for the whole country.

Amid pressure from the left to take a more aggressive approach toward the financial industry, Mrs. Clinton presented her proposals in a speech at New York University, the second major address of her campaign that focused on economic issues. Her approach — suggesting, among other things, increasing transparency involving stock buybacks and executive compensation — marks the first efforts to take on Wall Street, without the gate-rattling that some more liberal elements of the Democratic Party have called for.
Don't want to rattle it too much, after all...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Zombie Welfare State

No more collecting dead:
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 3311 on July 21, requiring the Department of Human Services to conduct a monthly crosscheck of its aid recipients with the death records kept by the Department of Public Health.

If the crosscheck yields a death record, the department will immediately cancel all public aid benefits to the recipient. To hedge against the hardship of a head of household passing away and a family being left without a safety net, the benefits will continue to flow if individuals in the “assistance unit” in question rely on the payments. The unit includes spouses and children.

Welfare dollars for the deceased have long been an object of scrutiny in Illinois. Millions have been spent on dead residents in the last few years.

Auditor General William Holland found the state had more than 8,200 people on the Medicaid rolls in 2013 who had been dead for more than 60 days. According to the audit, the state spent $12.3 million on 2,850 of those people. The following year the auditor general found nearly 6,000 people enrolled had died more than 60 days prior. Of those, the state spent $3.7 million on 1,111 people.
But they can still vote...

Check Your Anger

Jon Stewart, angry white male:
[Stewart] got incredibly defensive. I remember he was like, What are you trying to say? There’s a tone in your voice. I was like, “There’s no tone. It bothered me. It sounded like Kingfish.” And then he got upset. And he stood up and he was just like, “Fuck off. I’m done with you.” And he just started screaming that to me. And he screamed it a few times. “F**k off! I’m done with you.” And he stormed out. And I didn’t know if I had been fired.
You can't challenge his privilege, after all...

The Document Trail

Darrel Issa says he has proof that the IRS was spying on conservatives:
"You're going to continue to hear more about this. Because when the targeting became evident, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee put in place a subpoena for the documents – a small window of Lois Lerner's e-mails. Internally, the IRS put a preservation order in place -- don't destroy or get rid of any of these documents. These documents and e-mails were in the possession of the IRS. And on March 4, 2014, they destroyed them" he said.

"Imagine if the IRS had given you a summons for you to produce documents. You had them in your possession, and then you destroyed them. What would happen to you? Do you think they would say, 'Oh, darn it!' No, which is why Congress has to stand up for itself. You cannot -- with a duly issued subpoena and eternal preservation order in place -- go out and destroy documents and say there is no consequence to that; nobody's going to be held accountable, and nobody is at fault.
The IRS thought they could. They apparently still do...

Middle Of The Radical Road

The middle revolt:
The radical middle is attracted to populists, outsiders, businessmen such as Perot and Lee Iacocca who have never held office, and to anyone, according to Newsweek, who is the “tribune of anti-insider discontent.” Newt Gingrich rallied the radical middle in 1994—year of the Angry White Male—but his Republican Revolution sputtered to a halt after the government shut down over Medicare in 1995. Once more the radical middle had become estranged from the GOP. “If Perot gets in the race,” a Dole aide told Newsweek, “it will guarantee Clinton’s reelection.”

Well, here we are again, at the beginning of a presidential campaign in which the Republican Party, having lost its hold on the radical middle, is terrified of the electoral consequences. The supporters of Reagan and Perot, of Gingrich and Pat Buchanan, have found another aging billionaire in whom to place their fears and anxieties, their nostalgia and love of country, their disgust with the political and cultural elite, their trepidation at what our nation is becoming.
The Republican establishment ignores it at its own risk...

Question Time For The Queen

Hillary Clinton, investigated at last?
Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday.

The request follows an assessment in a June 29 memo by the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence agencies that Mrs. Clinton’s private account contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” The memo was written to Patrick F. Kennedy, the under secretary of state for management.
Too bad she couldn't make them magically disappear like the IRS...

The Militaristic Kingdom

It's an armed world after all:
Opened by Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, the $368 million theme park — so the Kremlin hopes — will become an important element in what authorities call vital “military-patriotic work with young people” by the time it is fully operational in 2017. Mr. Putin used the opportunity at the opening of the theme park to announce that Russia would add 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles to its massive nuclear arsenal this year.

The construction of Patriot Park is just the latest sign of a growing zest for all things military that has swept Russia since last year’s annexation of Crimea by heavily armed Russian troops, operating without insignia. In recent months, children’s mock military parades have taken place across the country, tanks and other military hardware have been displayed at a once-pacifist rock festival in Moscow, and the fashionable mode of transportation at wedding parties has become armored personnel carriers.
In Russia, theme park tours you...

Out In The Field

Bowe Bergdahl aparently needed a place to crash:
Captian Greg Van Patten with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office told Fox News Thursday that the county’s marijuana eradication team encountered Bergdahl on Tuesday while serving a search warrant on a home in Redwood City, Calif.

Van Patten said Bergdahl was detained, but ultimately was “determined not to be connected to the operation, at least there was no evidence to suggest he was involved.”

When Bergdahl encountered the law enforcement team, Van Patten said he identified himself while the sheriff’s office reached out to the Department of Defense. The agency confirmed Bergdahl was on leave, and asked for their assistance in getting him back.

Sheriff’s office personnel later drove Bergdahl “to a halfway point,” where he met up with army representatives.
He just "wandered off" again, looking for munchies...

The Living Vampire

Bloodsucking from the dead:
Roughly 15 million pints of blood are donated each year by approximately 9.2 million individuals. Over the course of the same year, about 2.6 million Americans will — sadly — pass away. If hospitals were to harvest the blood from a third of those people, roughly 4.5 million liters would be added to the reservoir.

Contrary to what you might think, blood from cadavers is not only usable, but quite safe.

“For six to eight hours, the blood inside a dead body remains sterile and the red blood cells retain their oxygen-carrying capabilities,” Mary Roach reported in her book Stiff.

In fact, as Roach further described, “For twenty-eight years, the Sklifosovsky Institute [in Moscow] happily transfused cadaver blood, some twenty-five tons of the stuff, meeting 70 percent of its clinics needs.”
If you get a transfusion, thank a dead person?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

None For Us, Please, We're Teens

What's the matter with kids these days?
In 2013, 44% of teenage girls surveyed said they had experienced sex, compared to 51% in 1988.
For teenage boys, the drop was more dramatic. In 1988, 60% reported they’d had sex compared to only 47% in 2013.
Changing sexual mores could explain the overall decline, but one expert believes it is because teens are better educated about sex. Dr. Brooke Bokor, an Adolescent Medicine Specialist at the Children’s National Health System says their smartphones may provide a private, comfortable space to access information.
“They’re looking on the web,” Bokor told the Washington Post. “They’re looking for guidance from parents, guardians and physicians. They can and will make positive decisions for their own health, both sexual and otherwise.”
Next thing you know, they'll be developing moral standards and values...

Portrait In Prayer

The lips that moved?
Lips on the painted image of Jesus’ mother, which is on display at the St. Charbels Church in New South Wales, Australia, are said to be moving along with the recitation Lord’s Prayer, the Daily Mirror reported.

The video began going viral after a man named George Akary posted it to his Facebook page on July 19.

“I saw this during mass and at the end of mass the rosary is prayed,” he wrote in a description accompanying the clip. “I went to the altar and wanted to confirm via recording it … lights are not relevant and there flickering etc as I have seen this occur under various lighting and have considered those possibilities. It is what it is.”

Akary said that the speed of the congregation’s prayer seemed to impact how fast he saw the lips moving.
Even paintings can pray?

Upside Down

A little bit of reverse inspiration:
As Mashable pointed out, the original source of the poem appears to be a teen named Chanie Gorkin, who according to her profile on PoetryNation is — or at one point was — an 11th grade student at an all girls high school in Brooklyn, New York.

Rachel Eber with Eber & Wein Publishing, an independent publisher that runs PoetyNation, told TheBlaze over the phone Friday that Gorkin submitted her poem in a contest in November 2014. She made it to the semifinal round in that contest and her piece was published in an anthology.
Not everything is as it seems...

The Basement Photos

How many kids get to say their dad knew Nirvana?
Maggie’s dad never mentioned that the photos are of Nirvana’s very first show in March 1987 in Raymond, Washington — and were never seen by the public before. But folks on Twitter pointed it out, her tweet was reposted the world over and soon news outlets were contacting her.

“I didn’t realize it was such a historical thing,” Maggie told Rolling Stone. “I thought they were just cool pictures of my dad and Kurt jamming together.”

Tony Poukkula was a guitarist in a local band and was asked by Nirvana’s manager if the fledgling outfit could play in his basement.

“He said, ‘Do you mind if they come down to one of your parties just to get their feet wet?’” Tony recalled to KING-TV. “I said, ‘Sure, anytime.’ He said, ‘What about Friday?’ I said, ‘Bring them on down, we’re always there.’”
And then their parents came down and told them to stop making all that racket...

Dinner Dates

Thomas who?
Under pressure from the NAACP, the state Democratic Party will scrub the names of the two presidents from its annual fundraising dinner because of their ties to slavery.

Party leaders voted unanimously Wednesday night in Hartford to rename the Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner in the aftermath of last month’s fatal shooting of nine worshipers at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.

The decision is believed to be unprecedented and could prompt Democrats in other states with similarly named events to follow suit.
So does that mean they'll no longer follow the Constitution that Jefferson wrote? Oh, wait...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Meal For All Hours

At long last, the time has come:
The company in March began adding food-preparation space to restaurants in San Diego, and later in Nashville, to accommodate all-day breakfast. The tests have been encouraging, according to Tuesday’s memo, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The memo, sent from LeAnn Richards, a Tucson, Ariz., franchisee who heads a task force studying all-day breakfast, said franchisees need to be ready for the potential launch of all-day breakfast as soon as October…

McDonald’s already has been struggling with the complexity of its kitchen operations, after adding numerous menu items over the years, from fruit smoothies to oatmeal, that have resulted in slower service and customer complaints about incorrect orders. In recent months, the chain has added options for people to customize their burgers with different toppings and buns.
If there's one thing that could save McD's, this might be it...

Unicorn Speech

How to be politically correct, with unicorns:
“Sometimes people gravitate away (from inclusive language). We all live in our own lives. We all live in our own cultural experiences … and there is always going to be a large group of people who don’t want to get out of that or who want to stay in their comfort zone. So – you have to draw them out. And sometimes the best way to do that is to pose your (chastisement) as, ‘Here is how to be a better coworker, here is how to be a better professor.’ And this is just one part of that,” the College Fix reported.

The last page of the event’s handout includes a drawing of “The Gender Unicorn” — a friendly looking purple creature complete with rainbow thought bubble and a pair of hearts on its chest — courtesy of Trans Student Educational Resources. Alongside the Unicorn is a chart to educate readers on emotional and sexual attraction as well as gender identity, expression and assignment.
If you don't comply, the unicorn will impale you...

Gas Man

Don't inhale:
Right-to-die campaigner Philip Nitschke, 67, will invite people on stage to inhale gas from his updated version of the Deliverance machine that helped end the lives of four terminally people in the 1990s using intravenous drugs. Dr Nitschke said the move to gas made his new Destiny euthanasia machine much easier to use as no special skills, such as inserting an IV tube, are required.

Destiny asks three questions before delivering a lethal gas made up of nine per cent carbon monoxide and 91 per cent nitrogen through either a face mask, or nasal prongs, to the patient wanting to die. Volunteers at next month’s ‘Dicing with Dr Death’ show, the first public appearance of the new machine, will receive 100 per cent nitrogen.
Who's up for a breath test?

The Wages Of Less

More pay equals less?
Evidence is surfacing that some workers are asking their bosses for fewer hours as their wages rise – in a bid to keep overall income down so they don’t lose public subsidies for things like food, child care and rent.

Full Life Care, a home nursing nonprofit, told KIRO-TV in Seattle that several workers want to work less.

“If they cut down their hours to stay on those subsidies because the $15 per hour minimum wage didn’t actually help get them out of poverty, all you’ve done is put a burden on the business and given false hope to a lot of people,” said Jason Rantz, host of the Jason Rantz show on 97.3 KIRO-FM.

The twist is just one apparent side effect of the controversial -- yet trendsetting -- minimum wage law in Seattle, which is being copied in several other cities despite concerns over prices rising and businesses struggling to keep up.
You got your raise-but where are you going to spend it?

We Have Come For Your Crops

The revolution comes full circle:
Farmers and manufacturers who produce milk, pasta, oil, rice, sugar and flour have been told to supply between 30 per cent and 100 per cent of their products to the state stores. Shortages, rationing and queues outside supermarkets have become a way of life for Venezuelans, as their isolated country battles against rigid currency controls and a shortage of US dollars – making it difficult for Venezuelans to find imported goods.
Pablo Baraybar, president of the Venezuelan Food Industry Chamber, said that the order was illogical, and damaging to Venezuelan consumers.
"Taking products from the supermarkets and shops to hand them over to the state network doesn't help in any way," he said. "And problems like speculating will only get worse, because the foods will be concentrated precisely in the areas where the resellers go.
He pointed to statistics showing that two thirds of hoarders – or "bachaqueros", giant ants, as they are nicknamed in Venezuela – buy their goods from the three state-owned chains, to resell at a profit.
"Consumers will be forced to spend more time in queues, given that the goods will be available in fewer stores."
You wanted Cuban-style government, you got it...

Warriors Without An Audience

Mean people don't win:
The Social Justice Warriors forgot that most Americans just don’t like mean people. And in one two-week span of American life, millions of SJWs helpfully and unmistakably labeled themselves with their rainbow profile pictures, then proceeded to act like hectoring, condescending, arrogant scolds — loudly and publicly — day after day. They were mean. They mocked Christians, celebrated the plight of a Christian baker’s family as it faced financial ruin for refusing to facilitate a gay wedding, and kept pointing at the Supreme Court and White House as if they represented some sort of cosmic scoreboard — as if the only conservative response was to take their ball, slink away, and go home.
It's one thing to celebrate a win. It's another to be arrogant about it.

Last Man Running

John Kasich is in:
The 63-year-old Kasich became the 16th GOP candidate -- and perhaps not the last -- when he declared his candidacy at the Ohio State University.

“The American Dream is pivotal to the future of our country,” he said. “But I have to tell you, a lot of people are not sure that dream is still possible, not sure that dream is still alive. … I have the skills and experience” to restore that dream.

Kasich, known for his bluntness, was overwhelmingly re-elected last year to a second term as governor, winning bipartisan support for cutting taxes and improving the state economy.

Prior to becoming governor, Kasich served in the U.S. House from 1983 to 2001, where in 1995 he ascended to chairman of the chamber’s Budget committee. In 1997, he helped seal a federal balanced budget deal.

Kasich also made a White House bid in 2000, but dropped out before the Iowa Straw Poll.

"He's certainly going to be a viable candidate," Republican campaign strategist Ed Rollins told on Monday. "No one's more qualified than he is. No one has more knowledge about the federal government. ... He was an extraordinary governor."

Kasich enters the race facing long odds. But he will likely use the situation to his advantage -- telling voters he understands tough challenges, considering he was the only Republican elected to Congress in 1982, and that he's eager to lead the fight for the middle class.
Last, but not least?

Top Secret Sauce

It exists:
“You can order from the 'Secret Menu'. Just like with any of our sandwiches, you can add, remove or change ingredients by special request. These are called 'grill orders' (i.e. Big Mac no pickle)."

For the uninitiated, a Land, Air and Sea Burger is pretty much the surf and turf Golden Arches style with a Big Mac, McChicken, and Filet-O-Fish all slammed together. A McGangBang is a McChicken sandwiched within a double cheeseburger—with Big Mac sauce of course.

These aren't official McDonald's creations, said orchidhibiscus. "Order one and the workers might not know it by name (i.e. Land, Air and Sea burger or the McGangBang), but if you explain what it is, and are willing to pay for all the ingredients, it's just another 'grill order' that we can make up.”
Just don't tell anyone where it came from...

No Trespassing

They mean it:
As Wackulus explains, the isolated indigenous tribe, one of the last of its kind on Earth, almost always attacks visitors. A little digging uncovered this story: After a night of drinking in 2006, two fishermen drifted too close to the island and were killed by the Sentinelese, who've lived there for 60,000 years.

A helicopter sent to recover their bodies was halted by tribesmen's arrows, the Telegraph reported at the time; the air generated by the copter's rotors revealed their bodies in shallow graves.

One of the earliest known encounters a century earlier ended when a convict who'd escaped from the neighboring Andaman Islands ended up on the island with his throat slit, the New York Times reported in 2012.
It's not Gilligan's Island...

Last Repose

Farewell to E.L. Doctorow:
The author of a dozen novels, three volumes of short fiction and a stage drama, as well as essays and commentary on literature and politics, Mr. Doctorow was widely lauded for the originality, versatility and audacity of his imagination.

Subtly subversive in his fiction — less so in his left-wing political writing — he consistently upended expectations with a cocktail of fiction and fact, remixed in book after book; with clever and substantive manipulations of popular genres like the Western and the detective story; and with his myriad storytelling strategies. Deploying, in different books, the unreliable narrator, the stream-of-consciousness narrator, the omniscient narrator and multiple narrators, Mr. Doctorow was one of contemporary fiction’s most restless experimenters.
The experiment was a success. RIP.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dogs Are People-Like, Too

Lend a helping paw:
In a new study, scientists tested 54 dogs that each watched their owners struggle to retrieve a roll of tape from a container. The dogs were divided into three groups: Helper, non-helper, and control.

In the helper group, the owner requested help from another person who held the container. In the non-helper group, the owner asked for help from a person who turned their back on them. In the control group, the additional person turned his or her back without being asked for help. In all experiments, a third “neutral” person sat in the room.

After the first round of experiments, the neutral person and the helper or non-helper both offered treats to the dog.

In the non-helper group, canines most frequently favored the neutral person’s treat, shunning the non-helper. However, in the helper group, the dogs did not favor either the neutral or helper’s treat.
They know us...

Taking The Wheel

What it's like when hackers take over your car:
The Jeep’s strange behavior wasn’t entirely unexpected. I’d come to St. Louis to be Miller and Valasek’s digital crash-test dummy, a willing subject on whom they could test the car-hacking research they’d been doing over the past year. The result of their work was a hacking technique—what the security industry calls a zero-day exploit—that can target Jeep Cherokees and give the attacker wireless control, via the Internet, to any of thousands of vehicles. Their code is an automaker’s nightmare: software that lets hackers send commands through the Jeep’s entertainment system to its dashboard functions, steering, brakes, and transmission, all from a laptop that may be across the country.

To better simulate the experience of driving a vehicle while it’s being hijacked by an invisible, virtual force, Miller and Valasek refused to tell me ahead of time what kinds of attacks they planned to launch from Miller’s laptop in his house 10 miles west. Instead, they merely assured me that they wouldn’t do anything life-threatening.
Famous last words?

Bernie Sanders' Greatest Hits

It's the Bernie Sanders album:
According to to one Vermont political blog, the album was recorded while Sanders was serving as the mayor of Burlington.

Apparently, at the time, everyone in Sander's inner circle thought the recording was a pretty good idea. That was until they realized that Sander's had no musical talent, whatsoever. So they hired a cadre of more talented musicians in order to try and make the album somewhat listenable.
Here is the singing socialist:

Rod Returns

Rod Blagojevich is sort of off the hook:
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling Tuesday, throwing out five of the 18 convictions on corruption charges Blagojevich had faced. Eleven were tied to allegations he tried to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama’s Senate seat.
Although the ruling ordered a new trial on those five charges, it also said if prosecutors elect to drop those charges, a new trial is not needed, and the district court should proceed directly to a new sentencing. A new sentencing would not necessarily mean Blagojevich’s sentence would be reduced.
Blagojevich, 58, has been in prison in near Denver since March 2012, but the appeals court said he is not entitled to be released from custody pending further proceedings, likely because it upheld convictions on 13 other counts, and he will still likely face a long prison sentence on those charges.
He'd better relax; it still looks like he's not going anywhere soon...

Passing The Blame

hey, the IRS targeting scandal wasn't my fault:
The IRS’s internal auditor concluded that the agency did, in fact, target conservative and tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny, and Mr. Obama’s own Justice Department is still conducting a criminal investigation into the targeting.

Mr. Obama, though, disputed that version Tuesday, according to the pool reporter traveling with the president.

Mr. Obama said Congress “passed a crummy law” that provided vague guidance to the people who worked at the IRS. And he said that employees implemented the law “poorly and stupidly.”

The president went on to say that the “real scandal around the IRS is that they have been so poorly funded that they cannot go after these folks who are deliberately avoiding tax payments.”
They just went after those who weren't...

Slaying The Beast

It's Rand Paul versus the tax code:

Punking The Mayor

Bill de Blasio gets punk'd:
“He talks about discrimination in NYDailyNews OP ed but has no idea how hard it is for ethnic people to get a cab. He talks about protecting drivers but has no idea about the people who drive for Uber to subsidize their income,” Kutcher continued. “He talks about congestion but doesn’t even recognize that Uber is a fraction of a fraction of the traffic in the city. He talks about data but fails to recognize that he has none. He’s trying to regulate a problem with out providing a single solution other than putting a target on a companies back so he can keep getting political funding from another. This is the kind of corrupt shortsighted politics that is destroying innovation.”
Unfortunately for Big Bill it's anti-business as usual...

The First Review

A Democratic senator tries to remind Obama about Congress:
“Now there was a new wrinkle in this on Friday, which concerned me, which was the administration was talking about going to the U.N. to get approval,” Wyden told a town hall audience this weekend. “I think the U.N. does some very good things, I think they do some other things not so good. But the point is going to the U.N. before the Congress weighs in is really in my view flouting the Review Act, you know the whole point…”
“I hope I’ve told you what my concerns are a, b, how I’m going to proceed with it, and three, I didn’t much care for this notion that suddenly this is going to go to the U.N. and somehow there would be a U.N. stamp of approval before the Congress has a chance to review it.”
Because to a World Citizen president, they matter more than you do...

Children Of The Revolution

Meet the heirs to Obama's legacy:
The 2015 "KIDS COUNT" report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation said that the percentage of children living in poverty jumped from 18 percent in 2008, the year Obama was elected, to 22 percent in 2013. It added that the rate dropped from 2012 to 2013, in line with the improving economy.

Among minority children and in some states, especially the South, however, the situation is dire. The report said, for example:

• The rate of child poverty for 2013 ranged from a low of 10 percent in New Hampshire, to a high of 34 percent in Mississippi.

• The child poverty rate among African Americans (39 percent) was more than double the rate for non-Hispanic whites (14 percent) in 2013.
Government-induced poverty-it's for the children!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Taxed For The Privilage

Punish me more, they said:

Gawker Gate Continues

The collapse continues:
In his resignation letter, Craggs offered more details on the process by which the post was taken down.

According to Craggs, the company decided to remove the controversial post after advertisers—including Discover and BFGoodrich—began pulling ad campaigns from the site.

Craggs wrote that he was never informed of the managing board vote—he was on a plane to California while it took place—and that none of the members of the managing board ever contacted him or anyone else in the editorial division about taking down the story.

Four members of the managing board—C.E.O. Nick Denton, C.O.O. Scott Kidder, chief strategy officer Erin Pettigrew and advertising head Andrew Gorenstein—voted to take the post down, while two—Craggs, who is the lone editorial representative on the board, and president and general counsel Heather Dietrick—voted to keep the post up.
It's always different when it's your boss that gets caught with another man...

Shouting The Stupidity

They're really not interested in what you have to say:
The moment was iconic: the Democratic establishment getting a taste of their own medicine, as the Frankenstein monster of the Black Lives Matter movement that they helped create and promote turned on Democrat candidates, including self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders.

Angry, emotional Black Lives Matter activists took the stage to screech that black people are “in a state of emergency” over police violence, a position that has been shown to be statistically inaccurate but that led to violent clashes and riots in cities like Ferguson and Baltimore, where O’Malley served as mayor. As people shouted from the audience at him, O’Malley tried to respond but was continually shouted down.
Liberalism reaps what it sows.

Walking On The Moon

The Smithsonian is trying to save Neil Armstrong's space suit:
The campaign begins Monday, marking 46 years since Armstrong’s moonwalk in 1969. Conservators say spacesuits were built for short-term use with materials that break down over time. Currently, the original suits are kept in a controlled environment for preservation, but the museum hopes to change that in creating an exhibit that will protect and publicly display the suit.

The museum’s $500,000 conservation effort on Kickstarter would involve building a climate-controlled display case and digitizing the spacesuit with 3D scanning.
Save our moon man?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Libertarian Detective

Libertarian Investigation?
From a libertarian perspective, it’s perfect that Frank’s big play to “go legit” is to use political connections to get in on the billion-dollar boondoggle that is Jerry Brown’s real-life high-speed rail project. Governor Moonbeam’s sad, never-to-be-completed legacy project is dependent upon huge amounts of federal and state tax dollars and eminent-domain abuse. It has no chance of succeeding at anything other than filling the coffers of politically connected plutocrats and displacing thousands of regular people. Even lefties at outlets such as Mother Jones, who usually gush over rail projects like Matt Damon over low-flow toilets, are calling bullshit on the plan.

But here’s the real genius part of True Detective: The corruption on display in True Detective is bigger than Frank, Cesere, Velcoro, or any single individual and is thus uncontainable. It’s systemic and inevitable in a world where politicians, gangsters, and businessmen form a sort of human centipede that’s impossible to disentangle or rein in. When the government controls who gets to build what where and what sorts of permission is needed to run a bar or a restaurant—not to mention a whorehouse—you end up building graft and corruption into everything. That’s the deepest libertarian insight of the show and it infuses every frame.
And, in the show's case, it can get you knocked off in brutal fashion...

Meet The New Philistines

Literary barbarians on the march:
European intelligentsia used to ruthlessly mock this type of censoriousness masquerading as sensitivity. Because until the mainstreaming of political correctness, these literary Carrie Nations, for the most part, all inhabited the same side of the ideological divide — they were almost all religious conservatives. I turned to the American Library Association’s 1995 list of banned books — literary works under attack by would-be censors and right-wing moral scolds — and noticed the inclusion of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic “The Great Gatsby,” which was rejected from Baptist College in South Carolina because of “language and sexual references.”

Twenty years later, and with social conservatism on the decline, it’s still under attack — but by philistines on the other side. Writing in the Rutgers University student paper, one particularly twitchy undergraduate suggested that professors plaster a trigger warning on “The Great Gatsby” — a book of “gory, abusive, and misogynistic violence”— that warned of the themes of “suicide,” “domestic abuse,” and “graphic violence” contained therein.
The triggers of ignorance are literary killers...

The Fallen Arches

Things aren't looking good for McD's:
“My numbers are not good due to new competitors,” one franchisee said. “Overall, sales are still in a slump and I don’t see much to get excited about in 2015.”

Another respondent said, “At least half of the operators in my region are on [the] verge of collapse. With minimum wage for fast food workers potentially increasing to incredibly high levels, we are facing a crisis situation.”
Who could have seen this coming? Who, indeed?

Broken Stone

Rolling Stone's new defense? Hey, it wasn't our fault:
“Last July 8, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, a writer for Rolling Stone, telephoned Emily Renda, a rape survivor working on sexual assault issues as a staff member at the University of Virginia. Erdely said she was searching for a single, emblematic college rape case that would show ‘what it’s like to be on campus now … where not only is rape so prevalent but also that there’s this pervasive culture of sexual harassment/rape culture,’ according to Erdely’s notes of the conversation.”

And now here’s how the Rolling Stone letter to Eramo puts what happened:

“Ms. Erdely did not stumble on Jackie’s story. She was directed to Jackie by Emily Renda, then working closely with Dean Eramo in the Student Affairs office the — same Emily Renda that included Jackie’s account of being ‘gang-raped’ in her Congressional testimony about campus sexual-assault policies. There is no question that both the author and Rolling Stone had full faith in Jackie’s credibility and the accuracy of its Article at the time of publication. In no small measure, Rolling Stone believed in the credibility of Jackie’s story because it came with the imprimatur of UVA, and of Dean Eramo specifically.”
They were just along for the ride. But what does that say about them?

Bad Roots

Martin O'Malley literally gets booed off the stage:
The infighting has gotten ugly because the non-Hillary Democrat candidates were apparently not focused intently enough on the #BlackLivesMatter movement. No other topics of discussion seem to be acceptable this year, and the high profile speakers got an earful if they strayed from that script or dared say something more general about the needs of the entire population of the nation. The first, and probably biggest loser of the day was Martin O’Malley, who showed up there and foolishly began talking about things like income inequality and prison reform. The crowd wanted none of it and began chanting, “Black Lives Matter” until O’Malley was silenced and the stage was given over to a “Black Lives Matter activist” who explained that they didn’t need to hear about those other things. That’s when O’Malley attempted to respond and foolishly uttered the one phrase which will get you hounded to the ends of the Earth with that crowd.
Getting devoured by your own is never pleasant...

When Haters Collide

What happens when bad meets worse:
With police officers watching from nearby rooftops and a din of racial slurs heard on the pavement below, members of the Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party appeared at dueling rallies outside the South Carolina State House on Saturday, eight days after officials here removed the Confederate battle flag from the Capitol grounds.

Despite sporadic scuffles and hours of inflammatory rhetoric from white and black demonstrators alike, the authorities largely maintained order and prevented any significant violence. The police made five arrests, and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety estimated that the State House crowd, including onlookers, had at one point swelled to about 2,000 people. They chanted — or at least heard — volleys of incendiary speech and shouts of “white power!” and “black power!”
People were probably confused because it was hard to tell them apart.

Searching For Silence

When everything is too loud:
Nesbit ardently believes misophonia is a neurological disorder. Over time, she has learned to cull especially loud co-workers, friends, and romantic partners from her life, she says, recalling with warmth an old boyfriend who switched to plastic utensils for her.

Kaufman, who has three college-age daughters, has inadvertently conditioned his children to cover their mouths while eating, and he admits that misophonia has caused strain in his marriage. “You feel like it’s trivial and you shouldn’t even be bringing it up,” he says, “but they don’t understand what’s going on inside and how it’s terrorizing your head.”

In 2013, a team of Dutch researchers published in PLoS One a study in which they recorded the shared characteristics of 42 misophonics. The authors concluded that misophonia should be classified as a distinct psychiatric condition. Other researchers have put forth the theory that misophonia involves a neurological dysfunction in the connections between the auditory and limbic systems. Such an explanation suggests that this condition is not new, but simply was ignored in previous times.
It was, after all, quieter back then.

Bring Out Your Fertilizer

The gardening dead?
“This is much better stewardship of the Earth and human resources and land than putting up a cement crypt and a coffin that obligates people to care for it,” he said. “We’re not a doctrinal church. It’s not like a church body would say yes or no, it’s more like Episcopalians do it and so it becomes church practice.”

Muslims wanting to participate in the Urban Death Project may hit some theological obstacles. In Islam, while burial in a shroud and natural decomposition are consistent with the Urban Death Project’s model, its compost harvesting might be seen as disinterment, considered a forbidden mutilation of the body. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that scholars may be able to argue around the issue.
Think of it as the ultimate return to the earth...

Village Of The Dolls

Where creepy dolls came from:
“You’re getting mixed messages. If something is clearly frightening, you scream, you run away. If something is disgusting, you know how to act,” he explains. “But if something is creepy… it might be dangerous but you’re not sure it is… there’s an ambivalence.” If someone is acting outside of accepted social norms – standing too close, or staring, say – we become suspicious of their intentions. But in the absence of real evidence of a threat, we wait and in the meantime, call them creepy. The upshot, McAndrew says, is that being in a state of “creeped out” makes you “hyper-vigilant”. “It really focuses your attention and helps you process any relevant information to help you decide whether there is something to be afraid of or not. I really think creepiness is where we respond in situations where we don’t know have enough information to respond, but we have enough to put us on our guard.”

Human survival over countless generations depended on the avoidance of threats; at the same time, humans thrived in groups. The creeped out response, McAndrew theorized, is shaped by the twin forces of being attuned to potential threats, and therefore out-of-the-ordinary behavior, and of being wary of rocking the social boat. “From an evolutionary perspective, people who responded with this creeped out response did better in the long run. People who didn’t might have ignored dangerous things, or they’re more likely to jump to the wrong conclusion too quickly and be socially ostracized,” he explains.
Dolls, Will Robinson...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Hard Times Are Here

In D.C., the good times are over:
From 2010 to 2011, the District gained about 1,300 residents a month, most of them young and well-educated. With a new mayor, a new president and an $800 billion national recovery act, the city and local developers had rolled out new bike lanes, dog parks, apartment buildings and dozens of new restaurants and sidewalk cafes.

College graduates poured into neighborhoods that had suffered from disinvestment: Shaw, Columbia Heights, NoMa and H Street NE. For a few years, this sleepy government town was brimming with reinvention. Now it seems the District’s millennial boom is grinding to a halt. Census data released last month indicates that the District’s incredible growth in young adults, ages 25 to 34, has stalled. After adding 10,430 people in that age bracket between 2010 and 2011, D.C. added a net of just 2,662 of them from 2013 to 2014. Surrounding counties, including Arlington, Montgomery and Fairfax, have become even less attractive. Each lost more millennials than they added from 2013 to 2014.
Oh, whatever will the well-heeled yuppie class do now?

Mild Boys

Yes, they're still around:
"You don't hear Beethoven again and think, 'This is a nostalgia thing.' Nor Shakespeare: ‘Oh no, another reading of Hamlet' artist that still had tremendous vitality into his 70s,” bassist John Taylor told Billboard.

They added lead singer Simon Le Bon, "We were the last band people thought would carry on...They thought we were a flash in the pan, contrived, probably put together by management."

The group also spoke about what it's like to hang out with the royal family.

"'Glamorous' and 'shallow' are never words you use to describe your own life. But, yes, it was fun. It was fun hanging out with Princess Margaret, Prince Charles and Diana and Warhol, too. But that’s all the press ever talked about: the parties, the models, the boats, the booze. But we did work hard.”
It's still just an ordinary world...

Foot Captured In Mouth

Bad taste, or just bad phrasing?
“He’s a war hero because he was capture, okay? You can have — and I believe — perhaps he’s a war hero, but right now, he said some very bad things about a lot of people. So, what I said is, John McCain, I disagree with him, that these people aren’t crazy. And, very importantly, and I speak the truth, he graduated last in his class at Annapolis. So I said, nobody knows that. I said he graduated last or second to last — he graduated last in his class at Annapolis. And he was upset. I say, ‘What? For telling the truth?’ See, you’re not you’re supposed to say that somebody graduated last or second to last in their class, because you’re supposed to be, like Frank says, very nice. Folks, I want to make America great again. We want to get down to brass tacks. We don’t want to listen to his stuff with being politically correct, and everything has to — we have a lot of work to do. Frank, the other day, Hillary Clinton got up and she said, [paraphrasing] ‘I didn’t like Mr. Trump’s tone.’ We have people, Christians being — having their heads cut off in the Middle East. We have people dying all over border, that — where I was right, 100% right. We have all of this, like, medieval times. And she said, [paraphrasing] ‘I didn’t like his tone.’ And you know who else said that? Jeb Bush, [paraphrasing] ‘I didn’t like his tone.’ What does it have to do with tone? We want results. This group wants results. We don’t want tone.”
It's all about the tone? Update: Here's Trump's response.

No Talking

Keep your mouths shut, minions:
"Here's what struck me," said Susan Page of USA Today, "when I read the coverage in the Des Moines Register this morning. Jennifer Jacobs, who's been on your show, was covering this last night. Big demonstrations outside of young people for O'Malley and Hillary Clinton. She went up to the Clinton supporters -- these are protesters for Clinton -- and they were told they were not allowed to [speak to] a reporter."

Page continued, "Now, why in the world would the campaign tell their own supporters who came out to campaign in favor Hillary Clinton ... these are the young people, college kids, for Hillary, and they've been told they can't talk to reporters. Why in the world would you do that?

"This raises some warning flags for Hillary Clinton campaign that is trying to control their supporters."
Do not speak ill of the Queen...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Thumbing A Ride

It's the hitchhiking robot:
The kid-size robot is immobile on its own, so it gets from place to place by being schlepped around by strangers. Travelers can pass it off to others they meet, or leave it at a gas station or shop. They can just leave it seated on its kickstand with its thumb raised.

Ideally, the creators hope, drivers won’t leave the bot along busy roads and will charge the battery when it runs low. Otherwise, there are no rules.
At least it won't have to stop for a bathroom break...

Angry Mamas

Feminist mothers react to suggestion that they're not feminist enough:
Nicola Sturgeon and others have attacked the image as “cringeworthy,” “crass” and “sexist.” Ms. Sturgeon’s Europe minister, Humza Yousaf, called it “outrageous” and Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, said, “Oh, do sod right off.” Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, added: “Outrageous! When I see things like this, I wonder how much progress on equality we’ve actually made.”

The cover story of the New Statesman is titled ‘The motherhood trap’. It acknowledges there has never been a better time to be a woman in the upper echelons of politics, as the number of powerful women has shot up, but conversely claims that “barriers stopping the ascent of MPs who are mothers reflect the structural discrimination throughout society.”
Like, biological imperatives?

Poor Man's Bluff

Joe Biden, man of the people?
“Folks, we ought to start in our own party,” he told a liberal gathering this week. “You ought to be demanding of all of us, all of us, because at least in our own party fights among ourselves, in primaries, that we adhere to a policy that doesn’t rest on millionaires and billionaires.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with being wealthy, he hastened to add. It’s fine to “take their money in limited amounts,” Biden said. But, he warned, candidates must also be willing to stand up to big donors.

“We can do something about the corrosive impact of massive amounts of money. We can demand that the people we support don’t yield to millionaires and billionaires,” the vice president insisted.

Could Biden have anyone in mind?

“I know a lot of people are going to read into this part of what I’m saying something I’m not intending. I’m not talking about any individual. I really am not,” the veep insisted. Still, it seems like a thinly veiled shot at Hillary Clinton (a millionaire in her own right, of course).
He's just talkin', folks...

Horse Manure

Bad news for New York tourists-those carriages are a form of abuse, or something:
Simmons said, “I’m a vegan. I don’t believe in the abuse of animals. I think it’s the worst holocaust in the history of mankind, 100 billion animals born into suffering every year. So, to — the horses are of issue to me, but it’s not the two hundred horses, it’s the larger issue. And as we move toward a more compassionate society — a more conscious society — we should take senseless abuse off the table. Senseless abuse of these horses is not necessary.”
Neither is senseless idiocy from aging rappers...

Our Back Pages

The Huffington Post demotes Donald Trump:
“After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won’t report on Trump’s campaign as part of The Huffington Post’s political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section. Our reason is simple: Trump’s campaign is a sideshow. We won’t take the bait. If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you’ll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.”
Well, the Post isn't real news either, isn't it?

No Hackers Near Her

Joy Reid's story continues to fall apart: Cybersecurity expert Jason McNew, who spent 12 years working for the White House and Camp Davi...