Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Congratulations, You're An Envoy

How to be an ambassador:
Brett McGurk, a deputy special presidential envoy to the Global Coalition who serves under General John Allen, was temporarily appointed by the administration as an ambassador on Oct. 18, 2014.

He was conferred this rank through a little-known legal loophole that allows the administration to bypass congressional confirmation of an individual for a period of no longer than six months. Ambassadors confirmed by the Senate have the title for life.

McGurk’s temporary ambassadorship, which cannot be extended under U.S. law, ended in April of this year. Yet McGurk has continued to use the honorific when defending the administration’s Syria policy on television and print media.
When you don't have an actual policy, you don't need an actual ambassador...

Olympics, Dude

Surf's up:
Baseball and softball were joined by youth-oriented sports such as surfing and skateboarding as Japanese organizers on Monday recommended the inclusion of five additional sports and 18 events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Karate and sports climbing were also on the list proposed by the Tokyo organizing committee. Bowling, squash and wushu failed to make the cut from the list of eight finalists.
Nothing for miniature golf?

No Dying Here

No dying, please:
Sellia is not the first town in the world to try to outlaw dying – indeed, it is not even one of the first five. In recent years, similar measures have been taken in Cugnaux (2007) and Sarpourenx (2008) in France, Biritiba Mirim in Brazil (2005), Lanjaron in Spain (1999) and Falciano del Massico (2012), also in Italy. In each of these previous cases, the issue had been the local cemetery, which was running out of room, driving the local authorities to desperate measures.
....

The old “ban on death” manoeuvre, in short, is often the local government equivalent of a naked calendar – a good-natured way of driving attention to their cause. In Sellia, 100 people signed up for their health checks in the flurry of publicity that followed the prohibition of dying and, who knows, perhaps one or two did have their lives saved as a result. As for Cugnaux, eight years later, it still doesn’t have its cemetery. “It should be open in a few years,” GuĂ©rin insists. “In France, it takes a lot of time.”
In the meantime, please don't die yet...

No First Amendment For Them

This free speech sounds kinda dangerous, dude:

Putin Goes To War

Well, sort of:
Putin had to request parliamentary approval for any use of Russian troops abroad, according to the constitution. The last time he did so was before Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March 2014.
The Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, discussed Putin's request for the authorization behind closed doors Wednesday, cutting off its live web broadcast to hold a debate notable for its quickness.
Sergei Ivanov, chief of Putin's administration, said in televised remarks after the discussion that the parliament voted unanimously to give the green light to Putin's plea. The proposal does not need to go to another legislative body.
Ivanov insisted that Moscow is not going to send ground troops to Syria but will only use its air force "in order to support the government Syrian forces in their fight against the Islamic State" group.
For now, anyway. So does this latest move make Putin the George W. Bush of 2015?

Promotional Values

It's not their job anyway, but still:
Democrats (62%) are much more likely than Republicans (39%) to say the government should not promote any set of values. Democrats have consistently been more likely to hold this view over time. But one reason Americans as a whole are more likely now than in the past to say government should not promote any set of values is that an increasing number of Republicans hold this view.
Let values stay with those who actually have them...

Take Me Home, Regulatory Roads

Hey, EPA, what about those energy bills?
“We found by 2030 the average cost of a person’s electric bill would go down by about seven percent as a resulted of increased efficiency in energy coming into the system,” said McCabe.

Capito wasn’t convinced.

“Right now we have 430,000 low and middle income people in West Virginia who’s take home pay is $1,900 a month. They spend 17 percent of their take home money to pay for their energy,” Capito said. “When this goes up, say 20 percent, this is going to have a cost to them, a human cost to them.”

Capito also didn’t buy McCabe’s answers regarding the slight cost elevation to clean the atmosphere.

“I would take exception to that, If it goes up 20 percent and you’re bringing home $1,900. That’s a significant amount,” she said.
Somebody has to pay-as long as it isn't the ones in charge...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

No Guns For You

Guns for me, not for thee:
“Prosecutors often have special reasons they may want to be able to defend themselves,” Eugene Volokh, a professor at the UCLA School of Law, told Fox News. “I’m not arguing they should have extra rights beyond what everyone else has; I’m arguing they should have the same rights.”

“Handgun possession in the home does not interfere with the prosecutor’s ability to do his or her work,” he also said. ”The Second Amendment restricts the government’s ability to ban handguns.”

Volokh argued that the district attorney’s office ban could also violate New York labor code if handgun collection is considered a “hobby” or “lawful, leisure-time activity, for which the employee receives no compensation and which is generally engaged in for recreational purposes.”

The Nassau County District Attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze Tuesday morning, but in an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Volokh said the office told him the policy in place for safety reasons.

“Our practice of asking prosecutors to not possess handguns is to ensure the safety and comfort of staff, victims, and witnesses, and is consistent with other district attorney’s offices in the New York City metropolitan area,” Volokh wrote.
Have to keep the defendants safe from those violent prosecutors, you know...

What About Bill?

What do you do with Big Dog?
“I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch. I just want to be sure that we get the chance to earn the votes of the American people and to win the White House back,” the front-runner for the Democratic nomination said in response to a question about Bill Clinton having a West Wing office.

In the interview airing on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” Clinton lauded her husband as a “great adviser” who “knows as much about the economy and how to get jobs created and how to help people see their incomes rise as anybody that I could talk to.”

But she wouldn’t elaborate on the role that the former president would have in her potential administration.
Intern management would appear to be out...

Virgin Fields

they're not yet complete:
At least eight players on Iran’s national women’s soccer team are not actually women, according to regional reports lambasting the Islamic Republic for unethical practices.

These eight players have not fully completed sex change operations, yet they are currently playing for the Iranian female team, according to Arab language reports carried by Al Arabiya.

At least eight of the women “have been playing with Iran’s female team without completing sex change operations,” Mojtabi Sharifi, an Iranian official close to the league, was quoted as saying during an interview with the Iranian website, Young Journalists Club.

“The proportion of players in the team who were born men was not known,” according to the report cited by Al Arabiya.
The definition of "male" in Iran is apparently more flexible than realized...

Putin's Stage

If you create a vacuum, someone else will take over:
America’s president said he opposed the “logic of supporting tyrants.” After all, Assad “drops barrel bombs on innocent children.”
But Putin has troops in Syria, is arming Assad to the teeth and signed a pact of anti-ISIS intelligence-sharing with Assad, Iran and the leaders of Iraq (the ones America fought to put in power).
And after meeting Obama for the first time in two years Monday, he spoke vaguely about future “joint air attacks on ISIS.” But no agreement on Assad was reached in the 90-minute meeting.
Meantime, if Obama has any realistic Syria plan of his own — beyond having Assad magically “transitioned” out of the country and simultaneously fighting ISIS — he failed to present it during his UN speech. Or any other time.
Leading from behind can leave you in the dust...

Monday, September 28, 2015

Life After Boehner

Who's next?
While House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is undoubtedly the likely successor, the top names that keep coming up in the conversation among conservative grassroots activists and leaders include Rep. Dave Brat, the Virginia Rep. who defeated Eric Cantor, Rep. Curt Clawson, the former CEO who famously challenged Pres. Obama to a basketball game in an ad, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chief House investigator for the Benghazi attack.

Also on the buzz list? Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Justin Amash of Michigan…Of the group, Hensarling is arguably the best positioned to make a move, but all have grasssroots “street cred.”

According to Tea Party Express Executive Director Taylor Budowich, Boehner’s exit is a chance to move House leadership in a new direction.

“Leadership hasn’t reflected the changes in Congress that have been happening since 2010.” Budowich said. “This is a great opportunity-leadership needs to be more reflective of the new passion and energy.”
And, hopefully, less weeping all around...

The Digital Dead

Beware the digital zombies:
News that you could get hurt or even die while walking around — made oblivious to your surroundings by your cellphone obsession — isn’t very like to be more persuasive. But there is plenty of anecdotal evidence and an emerging body of research to back up those warnings.

“Some data suggests that at any given moment on the streets of America, 60 percent of pedestrians are distracted while walking, meaning either on the phone or doing something on their phone,” said Alan S. Hilibrand of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “It’s a bit of a startling number.”

Hilibrand, vice chairman of orthopaedic surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, has seen evidence of what he calls “digital deadwalkers” on center-city streets.

“We’ve had people come into the emergency room who were hit by cars,” he said. “They’re looking at their phone and not paying attention to the fact that a vehicle is making a turn.”
Nature takes its course...

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Beware Of False Promises

John Boehner apparently knows who to blame:
Boehner said,” You know, the Bible says beware of false prophets, and there are people out there spreading noise about how much can get done. I mean this whole idea that you are going to shutdown government to get rid of ObamaCare in 2013, This plan never had a chance.”

He added, “We got groups here in town, members of the House and Senate here in town, who whip people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things that they know — they know! — are never going to happen.”
The problem is, sir, is that you made promises you never kept...

Tags Are Free

Taggers, play on:
Beyond disagreeing with the ban, they also were upset that they weren’t consulted about the new policy, instituted after contact-oriented games “deteriorated into name-calling, fighting and injury,” the Times said, citing the district.

One parent even launched a Facebook group: “STAR MI (Support ‘Tag’ At Recess in Mercer Island),” which boasts 418 members so far.

The district gave in a little bit, offering alternatives to tag.

“We want to initiate a new form of tag-like running games to minimize the issues of ‘you were tagged/no I wasn’t’ or ‘the tag was too hard and felt more like a hit,’” Superintendent Gary Plano wrote on Thursday, the Times said.

But that wasn’t going to fly — and on Friday, the ban was lifted.
Stupidity doesn't always win...

Coming Clean, Sort Of

So here's Hillary, trying to explain her emails to Chuck Todd:

Frauds Of A Feather

They're a perfect match:
Ortel calculates that 2004 was the year when the foundation began engaging in massive fraud. Now guess who was director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Rulings & Agreements Division at that time? And guess who in December of 2005 was promoted to director of the entire IRS Exempt Organizations Division? Does the name Lois Lerner ring a bell?

The now disgraced Ms. Lerner resigned and retired from the IRS in September of 2013. In May of 2014 she refused to testify before a congressional committee. She then invoked the 5th Amendment, and was found in contempt of Congress. Lerner became the name most associated with what is still an ongoing IRS investigation as to why and how her department consistently denied tax-exempt status to conservative groups.

Ortel told RedState that he believes Lerner, a known partisan Democrat, “looked the other way at the IRS, thus allowing the Clinton Foundation’s cancer to spread.”
The Foundations of corruption run deep...

Low Bridge

America's premier sanctuary city imposes its will:
Situated in the prominent city heart of Mission Street, High Bridge Arms was founded in the mid-1950s by Bob Chow, who competed in the 1948 Olympics 25-yard pistol shooting event. By some accounts a Bay Area institution, it has long been a tourist destination – specially for members of the law enforcement community who visit the city.

“I found the staff to be friendly, decent, law-abiding people who have been harassed by the San Francisco anti-gun crowd for quite some time,” Jim Wilson, a retired sheriff from Alpine, Texas, told FoxNews.com as he recalled stopping by the shop during a visit to San Francisco a few years back.
Being friendly, law-abiding and living in San Francisco don't mix...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Nooses That Weren't

Those aren't nooses:
University of Delaware police say what was originally believed to be “nooses” hanging from a tree on campus were actually leftover lantern decorations.

Officials say a hate crime investigation ended when it was determined the items were paper lantern decorations leftover from an event that was held on campus on September 16.

The items that were left in the tree were part of a decoration from a paper lantern that was used during an event held on The Green that was a UD-sanctioned event,” University of Delaware Police Chief Patrick Ogden said Wednesday morning.

It was determined that the paper lantern decorations were removed from the tree, but the strings were never taken down, leading to them being mistaken for nooses.
It figures that fake outrage would follow a nonexistent crime...

Thin Skins International

Feminists' feelings versus free speech:
Unable to prove that they are the victims of a wave of “misogynistic hate” – no bomb threat against a feminist critic of video games has ever been deemed credible and there are serious doubts about threats supposedly levelled at transsexual activist Brianna Wu – feminists are trying to redefine violence and harassment to include disobliging tweets and criticisms of their work.

In other words: someone said “you suck” to Anita Sarkeesian and now we have to censor the internet. Who could have predicted such a thing? It’s worth noting, by the way, that if Sarkeesian’s definition is correct, Donald Trump is the world’s greatest victim of “cyber-violence.” Someone should let him know.

Sarkeesian’s comments were echoed by former video game developer, feminist activist and professional victim Zoe Quinn, who told the United Nations: “There are individuals on YouTube who have made a living off of [sic] abusing Anita and I.” Quinn does not name any specific YouTubers, and we are left guessing as to who these mysterious “abusers” really are.
Who abuses the abusers?

Thanks, Pentagon

About that equipment we gave you:
CENTCOM said the equipment was supposedly given to the Al Nusra Front, often referred to as Al Qaeda in Syria, in exchange for safe travel through the area.

“Today the NSF unit contacted Coalition representatives and informed us that on Sept. 21-22 they gave six pick-up trucks and a portion of their ammunition to a suspected Al Nusra Front intermediary, which equates to roughly 25 percent of their issued equipment,” said Col. Patrick Ryder, U.S. Central Command spokesperson.

He added, “If accurate, the report of NSF members providing equipment to Al Nusra Front is very concerning and a violation of Syria train and equip program guidelines.”
Our "friends" in Syria...

Next?

Should Mitch McConnell be worried?
Salmon’s speculation reflects a theory of Boehner’s struggles that is common among the outgoing speaker’s friends and foes alike — that his unpopularity among the grassroots stems more from McConnell’s failure to take advantage of the Senate majority than anything House Republicans have done. If that’s true, then Boehner’s departure can hardly be expected to ease the tensions between GOP leadership and the conservative base or preempt more leadership fights in the future.

“People are frustrated with out Republican leadership, with Boehner and McConnell, and it’s not usually the third or fourth question that comes up — it’s the first question that comes up,” Representative Marlin Stutzman (R., Ind.), who voted against Boehner in January, told National Review last week. “It’s happening at tea-party events, but it’s [also] happened at Republican breakfasts, it’s happening at donor meetings — there’s a deep frustration.”
If you're not willing to fight...

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Crying Man

John Boehner's career is over:
Mr. Boehner, who was first elected to Congress in 1990, made the announcement in an emotional meeting with his fellow Republicans on Friday morning.

“My first job as speaker is to protect the institution,” Mr. Boehner said at a news conference at the Capitol, adding, “It had become clear to me that this prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable harm to the institution.”

Looking poised and sounding rehearsed, Mr. Boehner, who stunned the capital with his news, became emotional as he recalled a moment alone with Pope Francis, who had been his guest the day before at the Capitol and who had asked the speaker to pray for him.

Reflecting on his decision, he said, “This morning, I woke up, said my prayers, as I always do, and decided, ‘This is the day I am going to do this.’ ”
Courage, John...

Big Ben

Kanye West is apparently a huge fan:
I want everyone to win. When I run for president, I’d prefer not to run against someone. I would be like “I want to work with you.” As soon as I heard [Ben] Carson speak, I tried for three weeks to get on the phone with him. I was like this is the most brilliant guy. And I think all the people running right now have something that each of the others needs. But the idea of this separation and this gladiator battle takes away from the main focus that the world needs help and the world needs all the people in a position of power or influence to come together.
Carson is a smart man, which means he'll give Kanye all the attention he deserves, and then move on...

Tag Tackle

You're not it:
The school promotes competitive sports like football, which is like tag only instead of gently tagging someone and saying "you're it," students will viciously tackle their opponents. Further, the school also provides for wrestling; again, considerably more violent and dangerous than a game of tag.

The only difference I can find behind this kind of hypocrisy is that they charge students $190 per sport in order to participate (this fee was recently raised $15 - perhaps that will go to counseling for the players - they likely will suffer emotional damage from all the rough play, right?). Or perhaps the school can't charge $190 for tag, so they'll ban it.

Parents are understandably critical.

"In this day and age of childhood obesity, there's a need for more activity," Melissa Neher, a mom of a student in the district, told Q13. "Kids should be free to have spontaneous play on the playground at recess. It's important for their learning."
Especially for those who can't cough up the cash...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

She Who Shrills

Well, she is, isn't she?
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is dismissing yet another accusation of sexism after calling Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton “shrill,” a term he said Tuesday does not exclusively apply to women.

“I know men that are shrill and it’s just an expression that I thought of as I was speaking. I thought it was a very accurate expression,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday morning. “I would call Rand Paul shrill. I think he’s shrill. I don’t think that’s a term that applies exclusively to women at all.”

Trump added that he believes his characterization of Hillary Clinton was accurate, saying that Clinton has “gotten very loud and obnoxious.”
Telling the truth can get you into trouble, you know...

Muppet Drama

these aren't the muppets you remember:
One Million Moms posted a lengthy plea on its official website, voicing the opinion that the new “Muppets” show, as opposed to previous incarnations, is “not suitable for family viewing” and should be protested. The advocacy group cites the program’s adult-themed humor as its main source of contention, pointing to jokes about “sex” and “drugs” as evidence. The organization even goes as far as to say, “ABC has ruined ‘The Muppets.'”

The new “Muppets” is in fact being promoted as an “adult Muppet show,” something that Kermit says himself in one of the promos. And the creators of the new series have admitted that ABC’s “Muppets” has more in common with “30 Rock” and “The Office” than it does a typical “Muppet” movie. The show is shot mockumentary-style, and takes place behind-the-scenes of a talk show titled “Up Late With Miss Piggy.” Much of the storyline revolves around the love lives of the various muppets.
Let me guess-Kermit gets a sex change operation to have a lesbian relationship with Miss Piggy...

No Integration For Us, Please, We're Liberals

Not their kids:
More than one Dumbo parent has tried to explain to me how they’re totally different from other people who fight against integration. They explain that what they really want is a better world in which we spend far more on our public schools, not mentioning, or perhaps not knowing, that New York city spends $20,331 per pupil, almost twice as much as the national average of $10,700, and that much of this money is spent very inefficiently. Of course they want integration, they’ll tell you, but only if it entails no sacrifice on their part. “It’s more complicated when it’s about your own children,” says one Dumbo parent. Well, yes, it is more complicated, and that is exactly what every parent believes, whether they are in Brooklyn or South Boston or Kansas City.
Dumbos, indeed...

The Government Gets Fingered

Who wants a few million fingerprints?
OPM and the Department of Defense were reviewing the theft of background investigation records when they identified additional fingerprint data that had been exposed, OPM said in a statement.

Breaches involving biometric data like fingerprints are particularly concerning to privacy experts because of their permanence: Unlike passwords and even Social Security numbers, fingerprints cannot be changed. So those affected by this breach may find themselves grappling with the fallout for years.

“The fact that the number [of fingerprints breached] just increased by a factor of five is pretty mind-boggling,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology. “I’m surprised they didn't have structures in place to determine the number of fingerprints compromised earlier during the investigation.”
Those who know how the government works won't be...

A Little Reminder

Pope Francis reminds Obama:
American Catholics are “concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and the right to religious liberty,” Pope Francis told the president at the arrival ceremony in his honor at the White House.

“As my brothers, the United States bishops have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it,” the pope told the president.
....

The pope didn’t mention Obamacare or gay marriage or any other specific examples of threats to religious liberty in his remarks. But some observers have been urging the pontiff to speak out in defense of religious liberty in light of dozens of court challenges to the government mandate that religious-affiliated employers provide contraceptive coverage through their health insurance plans.
Sometimes it takes an ally to tell you what's wrong...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lost And Found

Oh, there they are:
Sources told Bloomberg News that some of Clinton’s emails have been extracted from the server, thus disproving the claim that Clinton managed to wipe her server clean after she deleted all of her emails earlier this year.

Therefore, some of the emails that Clinton deleted — the ones that she determined were NOT relevant to federal investigations — are now in the hands of the FBI.

The federal investigation, therefore, is now out of Clinton’s control.
Kind of like her own campaign...

Birthday Song

Everybody sing!
U.S. District Judge George H. King determined the song's original copyright, obtained by the Clayton F. Summy Co. from the song's writers, only covered the tune's musical arrangement and not the lyrics.

King's decision comes in a lawsuit filed two years ago by Good Morning To You Productions Corp., which is working on a documentary film tentatively titled "Happy Birthday." The company challenged the copyright now held by Warner/Chappell Music Inc., arguing that the song should be "dedicated to public use and in the public domain."

The company asked for monetary damages and restitution of more than $5 million in licensing fees it said in 2013 that Warner/Chappell had collected from thousands of people and groups who've paid to use the song over the years.

"Because Summy Co. never acquired the rights to the 'Happy Birthday' lyrics, defendants, as Summy Co.'s purported successors-in-interest, do not own a valid copyright in the Happy Birthday lyrics," King concluded in his 43-page ruling.
You say it's your birthday...

On The Run

Frankly, if I worked for her campaign, I wouldn't want to admit it, either:
“I think I might have an idea of what you’re talking about,” Andres says in the new video. “There’s a lot of information that goes out there, and there’s always a fine struggle, we have to make sure that folks — We have so many volunteers, hundreds of volunteers, and it’s making sure that everyone who comes to the organization knows exactly what they can and can’t do, and what is the right way to talk about things. And so we’re mindful of that, and I think you know, luckily we didn’t do anything that was illegal.”

“There’s a lot of videos online,” Andres continues. “And ultimately when videos like that come out, you know that they come out because folks are targeting campaigns that are doing the right thing. That they’re talking to us and they’re getting out there. And they target the folks who are winning.”

Christina Gupana has gone into virtual hiding since the video’s release. Nevada election officials in the Secretary of State’s office have opened a formal investigation into the Clinton campaign’s efforts.
I'm sure she wishes she were an email right now...

Clocked

How to create a phony incident:
In addition to the above YouTube video, Anthony DiPasquale with Artvoice.com composed a post, which is not available as of the time of this posting, writing “there has indeed been a hoax,” the Daily Beast reported. That hoax being that “Ahmed Mohamed didn’t invent his own alarm clock. He didn’t even build a clock,” DiPasquale wrote.

He told the Daily Beast that he looked into the clock because “the nerd in me wanted to know specifically what he did—what technology or methods he might’ve used.” That’s when he discovered it was likely a store-bought clock.

“Here we have a social media frenzy going on, with everybody to the president of the United States giving him a pat on the back, and I started thinking less about the clock, and more about us, as a society,” he told the Daily Beast.
Those who want to be conned, will do so...

Don't Forget...

All lives matter:
“According to a study by the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, more African-American babies were aborted (31,328) in New York than were born (24,758) there in 2012. Needless to say, this number is severely repulsive,” Carey wrote. “Yet, we’ve heard nothing from those within the camp of Black Lives Matter on the subject.”

The player, who describes himself in his Twitter profile as a “disciple of Jesus Christ who happens to play in the NFL,” likened this dynamic to a “Matthew 7 dilemma,” explaining that there’s such a focus on the “speck in eyes of others” that planks are being ignored.
That's because infants are too young to know they're supposed to hate cops...

Upgrade On Aisle 12

Memo to future wage hikers-you can be replaced:
Most notably, Target is working on a "concept store" that will open within in one to two years. This store might include robots.

Hardware store chain Lowe's has already been testing robots that can find and retrieve items.

“We know that technology will continue to revolutionize retail, and that Target’s future will be built on innovation,” Casey Carl, Target’s chief strategy and innovation officer, said in a press release.

Target is experiencing massive growth in its online sales, which rose 30% last quarter.
Now, when you can have robot shoppers fighting over batteries, then you'll have something...

Selfie Crimes

Why is a teenager being prosecuted for taking naked pictures...of himself?
Copening was charged with four counts of making and possessing images of himself and one count of possessing a naked image of his 16-year-old girlfriend.

His girlfriend, Brianna Denson, took a plea deal after being prosecuted on similar charges for having naked, suggestive pictures of herself on her cellphone.

While the pictures were technically illegal, actual sex would not be – the age of consent for sexual intercourse in North Carolina is 16.

The pictures were discovered on Copening’s phone when authorities were investigating a wider problem of sexual images allegedly being shared at school without the permission of the subjects involved. Copening turned out not to be involved in that case.

He was prosecuted for having his own and his girlfriend’s image, despite them not having been shared further.
Don't smile for the camera...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Life After Reagan

Remember Reagan, but don't repeat?
Conservatism—and by derivation Republicans—must change with the times and recognize solutions that worked for the Gipper don’t resonate today.

Democrats have an advantage. European-style democratic socialism offers plausible-sounding, even if tragically flawed, solutions.

Clinton has a fresh list of free stuff and wrong-headed mandates for private business, even though two generations of handouts and affirmative action have failed to raise the African-American living standards to anywhere near parity with other Americans.

Palliatives nearly always fail—subsidized student loans, grants and government coerced minority and low-income enrollment have driven tuition costs out of sight. Medicare prescription drug coverage for seniors has accelerated the rise in drug prices.

For conservatives to win, they must offer understandable proposals that get to the root causes of job loss, student debt, unaffordable health care, and remaining discrimination—or they simply can’t win.
Reagan was a good man and great President, but he was of and for his time. The best way to honor Reagan may be to remember that.

Walker's Last Run

As noted earlier (see below) Scott Walker has called it quits:
Appearing ashen and drained at a brief news conference late Monday in Madison, Mr. Walker said the Republican presidential field was too focused on “how bad things are” rather than on “how we can make them better for everyone.” Without naming Mr. Trump, Mr. Walker issued a plea to fellow candidates to coalesce around a different Republican who could offer a more “optimistic” vision and guide the party to a victory next year that, he admitted with sadness in his voice, he could not achieve himself.

“Today I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field,” Mr. Walker said. “With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.

“I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same,” he said, “so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner.”
He may be gone, but not forgotten...

Don't Mention The Spending

Remember when Republicans used to be for spending cuts everywhere?
Chris Christie’s proposal to increase the retirement age is way too slow because it phases it in over a 25 year period. Jeb Bush says DC isn’t “protecting or preserving out entitlement system,” while Mike Huckabee laughs off entitlement reform as being unfair to people over 65. And Trump? He doesn’t want to do anything except possibly make it voluntary because “there are people that truly don’t need it, and there are many people that do need it very, very badly.” Cruz has talked the need for “common sense” entitlement reform without giving specifics. Raul Paul is also nebulous on entitlement reform, but has promoted raising the retirement age, testing yearly earnings, and making sure people currently on Social Security (or close to it) can still get full benefits. Fiorina doesn’t want to even discuss entitlement reform until a whole host of other issues are solved. It’s disheartening that no one appears interested in trying to actually solve the problem.
Hoping something goes away on its own won't make it so, and it won't get you votes.

Let 'Em Fly

Obama's peace-loving supporters:

Blogging In The Years: 2008

Not that she's suggesting anything, of course:

Walker Won't Run

Scott Walker drops out:
Mr. Walker called a news conference in Madison at 6 p.m. Eastern time.

“The short answer is money,” said a supporter of Mr. Walker’s who was briefed on the decision. “He’s made a decision not to limp into Iowa.”

Mr. Walker’s intended withdrawal is a humiliating climb down for a Republican governor once seen as all but politically invincible. He started the year at the top of the polls but has seen his position gradually deteriorate, amid the rise of Donald J. Trump’s populist campaign and repeated missteps by Mr. Walker himself.
Time to move on...

Look The Other Way

The warped policy behind ignoring Afghanistan's rape culture?
The policy has endured as American forces have recruited and organized Afghan militias to help hold territory against the Taliban. But soldiers and Marines have been increasingly troubled that instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of villages — and doing little when they began abusing children.

“The reason we were here is because we heard the terrible things the Taliban were doing to people, how they were taking away human rights,” said Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who beat up an American-backed militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave. “But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.”
Sometimes evil flourishes when good people aren't allowed to do anything...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Girls Into Boys

Sometimes nature decides later:
Johnny, who is now in his 20s, was once known as Felicita. He was brought up as a girl and remembers going to school in a little red dress.
When he was young he would happily play with other little girls, but after the age of seven he started to change
“I did not feel good, I no longer liked to wear a skirt, and I was no longer drawn to play with girls. All I wanted to do is play with toy guns and boys”
When he turned obviously male he was teased at school because”, as he put it, “it is hard to imagine a girl that is now is a boy”.
In America, feminists are trying to do the opposite...

The Invisible Woman

She's been transparent, honest:
Clinton said, “This was is done by prior government officials including,” which led Dickerson to interrupt and say, “But not at this level. Not solely server just for you.”

An visibly annoyed Clinton waved her arms and said, “You know, It was done by others. Let me just say that, yes, when I did it it was allowed, it was above board. Now I’m being transparent as possible more than anybody else ever has been.”
Well, people can see right through her...

Debbie Does The Hostile Room

Where are the Democratic debates?

Fake Apologies All Around

This is how a show dies:
“Backstage, I heard the girls being like, ‘Oh yeah, our nurse jokes didn’t go over well so we have to apologize because they’re tweeting us too much,’” the controversial comedian said.

Arbor called out the women of The View for not standing behind their jokes and said, “I can sit in my jokes and be like, yeah, I made them, I think it’s funny.”

“When the cameras weren’t rolling, Michelle was like ‘Yeah, that’s not a real profession. They want to be doctors,’” she continued, calling the apology “fake.”
What happens when you get a bunch of women in a room who have nothing better to do?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Hillary's Kids

The campaign apparently isn't for the children:
The Democratic frontrunner was scheduled to visit with 30-35 kids after appearing at a heroin forum in Laconia, NH1 reported. However, she never showed.

“When I heard it, I was kind of angry and mad at the same time,” 8-year-old Landon told NH1. “And I kind of felt a little bit sad because I was looking forward to it for all day today.”

“I think it’s unacceptable,” he told NH1. “You want to be the president of the United States, it starts with the youth. You couldn’t even live up to a promise that was made or told to these kids?”
She had to check her emails...

The Gender-Free Monarch's English

No more manly speech:
“English has changed since the Declaration of Independence was written,” the guide says. “Most readers no longer understand the word ‘man’ to be synonymous with ‘person,’ so clear communication requires writers to be more precise.”

The writing guide gives students alternative options to use instead, such as “postal carrier” instead of mailman. It also suggests students use “legislator” instead of “Congressman” and the word “actor” to describe both male and female entertainers.

“It is wise to be sensitive and aware of choices that are gender inclusiveness,” Vicki Behrens, assistant director of the Writing Center, told The College Fix. ”We are glad to have a handout to help people navigate and make informed choices.”
Now be good non-specific younger persons...

Enemies Domestic And Sort-Of Foreign

No foreigners allowed:
The Russian government increasingly has portrayed any cooperation with foreign companies or nationals as a potential security threat, a throwback to Soviet times when any interaction with foreigners aroused suspicion. The eclectic group of Russians charged with treason this year includes a mother of seven, a Sochi traffic controller, a Black Sea Fleet sailor, a Siberian police major, a Russian Orthodox Church employee, a Moscow university lecturer and a retired nuclear scientist. The variety of suspects is not in itself evidence of a harsher crackdown, but Russia is clearly widening its net on treason and hauling in the most people in years.
Nine people, including Kravtsov, were arrested in Moscow in 2014 on suspicion of treason, according to the Moscow City Court. Across Russia, 15 people were convicted of treason last year, nearly four times as many as the year before, Russian Supreme Court data show.
The stepped up campaign against suspected traitors follows a Kremlin move in 2012 to expand the definition of treason to include undefined "assistance" to a foreign government, which rights activists have warned could lead to abuse.
"If you look at it, any person who has talked to a foreigner and said something bad about the government can be sent to prison," said veteran human rights defender Lev Ponomarev.
In Russia, citizenship claims you...

Permits, Please

Free speech on campus? You can't do that:
Enders asks the officer, "[w]hat are the rules for doing this kind of stuff on campus?"

"You go to the Student Life office, and they give you a permit to do so," the officer replies.

"So you need a permit to ..."

"Yeah, because you can’t have everybody out here doing this," the officer tells him. "Otherwise you’d have stuff lined up all along here, everybody having a different view and a different point, so you can’t do that."
Can't have everybody having different points of view now, can we?

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Virgin Snake

Who's your reptile daddy?
Conservation Department herpetologist Jeff Briggler said virgin births are rare but can occur in some species through a process called parthenogenesis. It occurs in some insects, fish, amphibians, birds and reptiles, including some snakes, but not mammals.

Parthenogenesis is a type of asexual reproduction in which offspring develop from unfertilized eggs, meaning there is no genetic contribution by a male. It's caused when cells known as polar bodies, which are produced with an animal's egg and usually die, behave like sperm and fuse with the egg, triggering cell division.

The conservation department said there are no other documented cases of parthenogenesis by a yellow-bellied water snake. Like other water snakes, this species gives birth to live young rather than eggs that hatch.
At least they don't have custody battles...

Horror Of The Apes

Forget science fiction, apes dig horror:
When shown a 'horror' film, featuring an actor dressed as a King Kong attacking a human, the selected Chimps watched on intensely, neither covering their eyes nor accepting treats as they may distract from the viewing.

In the 40-second film, King Kong is taunted by a human on the other side of a cage. The ape then breaks free, attacking the human. The human then grabs a red hammer and precedes to hit King Kong. Frightening stuff.
....

What is remarkable about the video is that, on second viewing, their eyes quickly dash to the hammer before anyone goes near it. They also predict where the human will move to in order to grab the weapon.
Take your stinking paws off Kong, you dirty human...

Union Versus Union

It's a union civil war:
Squabbling has broken out among union forces — with a splinter group, OUR Walmart, claiming that it better represents the interests of Walmart’s 1.4 million employees than the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which has led the charge against Walmart for the past two decades.
On Thursday, OUR Walmart, which is composed of Walmart workers and at least two former UFCW employees, said that it had joined forces with 20 worker advocacy and social justice groups, including Working Families Party and Restaurant Opportunities Centers.
The problem is that the UFCW owns the trademark and logo to the five-year-old name “OUR Walmart” and says that the UFCW’s OUR Walmart group is alive and thriving. The labor group was also OUR Walmart’s main backer.
UFCW has asked the splinter group to stop using the name.
“We’re committed to changing Walmart for the better,” a UFCW spokeswoman said. “We’re not sure what they are doing.”
Acting desperate?

Send The Heretics To Jail

The Cult wants action:
Scientists from several universities and research centers even asked Obama to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute groups that “have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.”

RICO was a law designed to take down organized crime syndicates, but scientists now want it to be used against scientists, activists and organizations that voice their disagreement with the so-called “consensus” on global warming. The scientists repeated claims made by environmentalists that groups, especially those with ties to fossil fuels, have engaged in a misinformation campaign to confuse the public on global warming.

“The actions of these organizations have been extensively documented in peer-reviewed academic research and in recent books,” the scientists wrote.
So now having an opinion is grounds for facing charges? Well, it works for college campuses...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Family Business

It's a family affair:
As Bloomberg congressional reporter Greg Giroux notes on Twitter, the younger LaHood joins 19 other members of Congress whose parents also served in Congress. The list includes senators Rand Paul, Lisa Murkowski, Shelley Moore Capito, and Tom Udall, as well as 15 other House members.

But why stop with children? Michigan congressman Sander Levin is the brother of recently retired senator Carl Levin, and Dan Kildee, also of Michigan, succeeded his uncle Dale Kildee in the same House seat. It also wouldn't be fair to leave out the members who serve in their spouses' former seats, including Doris Matsui and Lois Capps of California and Debbie Dingell of, yes, Michigan (Is there something in the water of the Great Lakes that induces political nepotism?)

Add to that those members of Congress whose parents and other kin have been elected to statewide office like governor, and American politics is starting to look like a real family affair. It's a feature (or a bug!) of both parties.
I guess they need something to pass on to their offspring...

Welcome To Sad Town

Who's up for a sad party?
The gathering is being supported by the Somerville Arts Council, and the local health department will provide resources about depression.
Organizers say to expect “sad bands, depressing clowns, melancholy poetry, and video games that you just can’t win.” But there will be some fun – namely in the form of free ice cream.
More than 4,600 have RSVP’d to the event on Facebook, which is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Union Square.
“So turn that grin upside down and help us make Somerville the saddest town around,” organizers say.
Isn't Massachusetts pretty much this already?

In Retrospect

That Nobel Peace Prize might not have been such a good idea:
Geil Lundestad, director at the institute for 25 years, said in his just-published memoir that he and the committee had unanimously decided to grant the award to Mr. Obama just after his election in 2009 more in hopes of aiding the American president to achieve his goals on nuclear disarmament, rather than in recognition of what Mr. Obama had already accomplished.

Looking back over Mr. Obama’s presidency, Mr. Lundestad said, granting him the award did not fulfill the committee’s expectations.

“[We] thought it would strengthen Obama and it didn’t have this effect,” he told the Associated Press in an interview.
....

“Even many of Obama’s supporters thought that the prize was a mistake,” Mr. Lundestad said. In the book, he expressed regret that the decision had been based in a hope for the future rather than recognition of past accomplishments, and that their expectations for Mr. Obama were not fulfilled.
It didn't mean anything. Much like Obama himself...

The Texas Cuckoos

So it was just school stupidity, not bigotry:
The Irving Student Code of Conduct includes a whole slew of potential violations written in accordance with the state’s 1995 Safe Schools Act and Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code. The code addresses threats, hoaxes, plus perceived and sometimes even discretionary threats and their harsh blanket consequences.

Breitbart Texas reports on the school-to-prison pipeline and the often devastating outcomes of these choking zero tolerance policies that criminalize typical kid behavior nationwide. Just days ago, officials in Maryland charged a 13-year-old boy with assault for stealing a kiss from a 14-year-old girl.

The vast majority affected by rigid zero tolerance policies are boys. Hence, the term war against boys, popularized by Christina Hoff Sommers in 2001. It cuts across race, religion, and socio-economics.
It's an equal opportunity enforcer...

Take Your Common Core Or Else

You will accept Common Core and like it:
Weiss, who led RttT from its start, explains the federal government took advantage of the fact that states were strapped for cash due to the recession.

“[S]o the large pot of funding that we had to offer was a significant inducement for states to compete,” she writes, adding the surprise number of 46 states willing to sign onto the Common Core standards initiative was due to “our decision to leverage the spirit of competition.”

Though Weiss apparently believes she and the U.S. Department of Education (USED) fostered “competition,” her essay essentially admits to remarkable amounts of manipulation of states, as well as non-transparency, at the hands of a puppeteer federal government.
No Core, no cash...

Dirtying The Waters

Who jails the jailers?
Sullivan asked McCarthy what would happen if a private company “was continually violating the law the way the EPA does.”

McCarthy said she didn’t believe the EPA was violating the law.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), earlier in the hearing, that the EPA had spent $8 million to date to respond to the spill.

“Based on the committee’s oversight to date, it’s clear the EPA knew that there was likely significant amount of water behind the collapsed Gold King Mine entrance and that there was a risk of a blowout. Given these facts, it is unclear why the EPA and the contractor did not excersie more care when working at the Gold King Site,” Inhofe said.
When in doubt, let government handle pollution...

Not Dead Yet

What happens when your bank thinks you're dead?
Perstin is taking Experian to court over the issue, claiming that for the past year, they've sold reports marking him as dead, making it impossible for him to obtain a credit of any kind. "If the Defendant actually believed that Mr. Perstin was deceased, it had no legally permissible basis to sell his report," the civil complaint says. "If the Defendant believed Mr. Perstin was alive, they knowingly sold his report with a gross inaccuracy." The complaint continues, making the issue crystal clear: "plaintiff is not deceased."
On the plus side, he can now vote for the Democratic party...

Dog Watches Human

They're not as dumb as they look:
At first glance it might seem to a dog lover that the dogs were brilliant, saying, in essence, “Can I get some help here? You closed it; you open it.” But Dr. Miklosi didn’t say that. He concluded that dogs have a genetic predisposition to look at humans, which could have been the basis for the intense but often imperfect communication that dogs and people engage in.

Dr. Udell decided to turn the experiment around and give the wolves and dogs a task that they could solve, if they tried. She also put a food treat in a container. The difference, she said, was that “the animals could get it openThey just had to exert themselves.”

The wolves persisted and solved it. The dogs, in both groups, quickly looked back at the humans.
"I can has treat, but you get it, human..."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tent Ghost Town

Saudi Arabia's ready, so where are their refugees?
As Saudi Arabia faces mounting criticism for refusing to take in any of the millions of Syrians fleeing conflict in their homeland, it was revealed this weekend that the country has over 100,000 empty, air-conditioned tents that could house up to 3 million refugees.

The tents, located roughly 2,150 miles from Syria in the city of Mina, are only used a few days a year to house pilgrims on their way to Mecca for the hajj, the news station TeleSUR reported.

The huge tents are also fireproof and equipped with kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Apparently the refugees are more interested in the welfare state...

Win And Lose

When winning isn't everything:
In the end, Sterrett may have had his suspension vacated, but he’s still out of school and has to explain to the next school why he left. Perhaps his record has been expunged in the transcripts but his name will show up with better than a million results in a Google search which all feature the word “rapist.” You may be able to tear up a piece of paper but you can’t erase the past.

But even more to the point, Sterrett’s accuser is still out there claiming she was wronged and neither of them have had a day in court. The police have never been able to do a complete investigation and a prosecutor has never had a crack at the evidence. Let’s just say for a moment that she’s telling the truth (contrary to all reported evidence) and got the short end of the stick. This wasn’t just some incident of inappropriate language or touching. Both of the parties agree without question that intercourse took place. She’s claiming it was without consent. That means it was rape, not sexual harassment of any sort. Is she going to allow a rapist to run free? Should the police? How was this never presented to a judge in the first place?
Because in Kangaroo Court, you don't need things like due process or proof...

Crystal Nazis

Were Nazis the first meth heads?
It wasn't some secret operation: Pervitin was openly available in Germany in 1937 and used as a kind of medicine to make people feel alert. It was even put in chocolates so housewives could take part in the high.

"It became a drug of choice, like people drink coffee to boost their energy," Ohler says. "For the first couple of days, you don't need to sleep." That made it perfect for when Hitler's armies invaded Poland in 1939.

Ahead of the attack on France, some 35 million tablets were ordered for the army, Ohler says. General Erwin Rommel, a decorated tank commander known as the "Desert Fox," reportedly consumed Pervitin like it was his "daily bread," reports the Independent.
The Nazis apparently didn't live on real bread and invasion alone...

The Alarmists

No, you can't be arrested for offending the clerks:
Barboza, who was 22 at the time of his initial arrest, was stopped for speeding on Route 17 in May 2012, according to The New York Times. On his payment form, Barboza crossed out the name of the town and wrote "Tyranny" in its place. He then wrote the phrase "F--- your s----y town b----es."

When the form arrived at the Liberty town clerk's office, one of the workers, all of whom are women, told a local judge Barboza's profane phrase upset and alarmed them, according to court records. The judge referred Barboza's speeding payment form to a prosecutor and ordered Barboza to appear in court.

When Barboza showed up, the local judge reprimanded him for his comments on the form and told him he would be arrested, Seibel said in her ruling. Barboza was handcuffed and taken away before his release on $200 bail.

Seibel's ruling noted the criminal charge eventually was dismissed in 2013 on First Amendment grounds. She said Barboza's phrase was crude and offensive to some but "did not convey an imminent threat and was made in the context of complaining about government activity."

"That the court clerks who received plaintiff's message were apparently alarmed by it does not alter the analysis," the judge added.
Maybe tickets should come with trigger warnings?

Meet The Non-Boss

Can you have a world without bosses?
Holacracy, it’s called, and it makes all previous moves toward “employee empowerment” look like the mild concessions of an 18th-century monarch. Freed from direct supervision, employees are expected to join various impermanent democratic assemblies called “circles” (headed, but not run, by a “lead link”), in which they will essentially propose their own job descriptions, ratify the “roles” of others, and decide what projects the group should undertake.

The constitution was written by Brian Robertson, a Philadelphia entrepreneur unaffiliated with Zappos who’d grown disaffected with standard management practices. Hsieh had heard him speak about holacracy at a 2012 conference, and was captivated. “We adopted it wholesale with zero changes,” says John Bunch, who used to be a technical adviser at Zappos but is now title-less. (He is, nevertheless, heading the implementation of holacracy.)
Sorry, but socialism and the workplace just don't mix...

Super Happy Fun Girlfriend

The Japanese, always a step ahead of us:
One player holds a picture of him and his virtual girlfriend, Manaka, at a resort town called Atami, which caters to players on a weekend retreat programmed into the game. Another 48-year-old player spends one of many nights alone in his one-bedroom apartment with his console, chatting with Manaka, his e-girlfriend of five years.

Some like Kosaki, stopped playing Love Plus when the Konami, the game’s developer, stopped offering update to the Nintendo DS version. When asked what he was looking for in a woman, he said he wanted someone who appreciates his hobbies. “I thought they would tell me all these physical things like, ‘she has to look like this,’ but nobody said anything like that. They wanted someone who accepted them as they were.”
It's just too bad they can't take her home to meet the parents...

Ancient Mysteries

Is this the first use of the F word?
The word appears three different times in the 1310 document, suggesting that “Fuckebythenavale” was a nickname and not simply a one-time joke. “I suggest it could either mean an actual attempt at copulation by an inexperienced youth, later reported by a rejected girlfriend,” Booth said of the term’s likely meaning, “or an equivalent of the word ‘dimwit,’ i.e. a man who might think that was the correct way to go about it.”
Surely it belongs in the Source.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Trash Talking

How bad are the trash police? Even liberal Seattle has a problem with them:
Nine full-time solid waste inspectors have been hired as part of a controversial program to check city trash to make sure people are recycling. Additionally, contracted waste haulers have been effectively deputized as trash police, given the authority to tag bins when people fail to recycle and compost enough.

The program is now the subject of a lawsuit, as residents fume over what some call an intrusive government program.

“I understand people have noble goals,” said Keli Carender, who got tagged two weeks in a row, an offense that soon could bring a fine. “But at some point we have to say, you can’t violate my rights to achieve this noble goal.”
Welcome to the nanny state...

Last Critic Standing

Obama criticizes the campus PC culture:
“Sometimes there are folks on college campuses who are liberal, and maybe even agree with me on a bunch of issues, who sometimes aren’t listening to the other side, and that’s a problem too,” Obama said. “I’ve heard some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women.

“And you know, I’ve got to tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. You know, I think you should be able to—anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with them. But you shouldn’t silence them by saying, ‘You can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say.’ That’s not the way we learn either.”
I guess he won't be invited back...

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Time Has Come

Scott Walker, via Hot Air, makes the case for getting rid of government unions:
Federal union political donations go overwhelmingly to liberal political candidates and causes. In the 2014 election cycle alone, the largest federal employee union, the American Federation of Government Employees, contributed more than $943,000 to political candidates – 93 percent of which went to Democrats. Not to be outdone, the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents employees across more than 30 federal agencies and departments, gave more than 95 percent of its $550,050 in candidate contributions to Democrats. These lopsided donations in support of Democrats have been happening for decades, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks the political donations of unions and other groups.

What’s more, federal unions are a force for making our government less efficient and accountable. Case in point is union opposition to a commonsense congressional proposal that would simply give the scandal-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs the ability to “remove or demote a VA employee based on performance or misconduct.” In case the union bosses hadn’t noticed, VA has a lot of problems nowadays, and difficulty firing bad employees is one of them.
When you work for the taxpayers, shouldn't they have a right to fire you?

Mail Gate Job Review

A majority now believe Hillary broke the law:



wapo-poll

Going to jail won't look good on her resume...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Girls On Stage

You go, girls:
The activists stormed the stage, leading to two embarrassed looking Muslim men shuffling off stage smirking while clearly trying to get an eye-full, before more violent men took to the stage to shove them over, eventually kicking the women off the side of the stage.

Femen protesters are best known for their targeting of Christian iconography and representatives, such as the desecration of crucifixes in St. Peter’s Square, or baring their chests in churches.

The group was founded in Ukraine in 2008, but has since become a Europe-wide phenomenon.
Attacking sexism where it actually exists, unlike American feminists...

Wipers Off

Whoops:
The 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner and her advisers have said for months that Clinton gave the government all of her official emails and deleted about 31,000 personal ones.

However, it has been unclear whether the server had been “wiped” -- a process by which the emails can never be recovered.

“Platte River has no knowledge of the server being wiped,” a company spokesman told The Washington Post. “All the information we have is that the server wasn’t wiped.”

The server was stored at Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, N.Y., and was used by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and his staff. It was managed by a State Department staffer whom the Clintons paid personally.
I'm sure they thought no one would notice...

Little Gold Men

It looks like he won't winning any now:
According to law enforcement, as reported by CBS Los Angeles, both Bauth and Haymes had gone out drinking with a group of friends. After returning home, the two got into an argument after Bauth mentioned he was going to win five Oscars.

Haymes told CBS he and the other friends laughed at the producer for the ambitious statement, which he did not take well.

Bauth, who was born in Colombia, allegedly chased Haymes through a room with a knife, and stabbed him in the chest, puncturing one of his lungs. Bauth then reportedly fled the scene and is still on the lamb.

Haymes was taken to a local hospital, where he is still recovering.

“I was terrified for my life. I’m just happy to be alive,” said the 23-year-old actor. “I just don’t understand why he would want to do this to me ‘cause we’re friends.”
Friends don't let friends stab each other drunk?

Diplomas For Everyone

Who needs graduation?
The state of California is poised to award thousands of high school degrees to dropouts by passing a new law retroactively removing the requirement to pass a high school exit exam.

The California High School Exit Exam (CASHEE) was created in 2004, and is intended to make sure that students have a rudimentary grasp of English and mathematics before being awarded a high school diploma, and to counter the phenomenon of students receiving passing grades while learning almost nothing. The test is hardly complex. The math test, for instance, only covers 8th grade-level material and can be passed if students answer 55 percent of questions correctly. About 80 percent of California high schoolers take and pass it on their first try while in the 10th grade, and overall passage rates for the class of 2014 were above 97 percent.
No diploma, no problem...

School's Out For Fall

Teachers go on strike because...things are getting better for everyone else?
The educators, who have not received a cost-of-living pay raise in six years, have joined other workers pushing for higher wages that compete with the city’s growing, highly paid tech workers.

Olga Addae, a science teacher at Franklin High School, walked the picket line Thursday with other union members who said they will stay out of the classroom until the district offers a fair compensation package and agrees to stop cutting student services.

“We’re doing this for the students and for a better school system,” said Addae, a teacher of 21 years.
So, what exactly are their complaints?
Negotiations between Seattle Public Schools and the striking teachers union will continue Sunday with a new offer by the school district to set aside funds to compensate teachers for a proposed extended school day.

The district previously proposed adding 20 minutes to the school day starting in the 2017-18 school year, but the union opposed any increase without addtional pay for the extra work time.
Oh, the horror. But, it's not like they're exactly hurting:
The district lists the pay rates for local teachers as ranging from $44K to nearly $100k depending on experience. I lived in the area many years ago and still have friends there. The cost of living isn’t as dirt cheap as remote rural areas, but it’s nowhere near most of the major metropolitan centers. $44K as a starting salary for a job where you get a summer vacation really isn’t all that shabby. And after you move up the chain a ways, well… let’s just say there are a lot of people who would give their eye teeth to be making more than $80K.
If you really want to do less (or nothing) on taxpayer money, there's always the Federal government...

Jobbers

Can a black boss be racist?
CBS Los Angeles reported that Daniel Beasley sued Roscoe’s for firing him after he complained to human resources that the managers harassed him for being black and gave preferential treatment, such as better work hours, to the Hispanic employees.

“It’s owned by an African American owner, but he gives full authority to the Hispanics to run it,” Beasley told reporters. “It just caught me by surprise because here I am getting fired when I’m trying to fix the problem.”

Beasley was frustrated that his complaints to management never got addressed, so he sued. “It’s owned by an African American owner, but he gives full authority to the Hispanics to run it,” he told reporters. “It just caught me by surprise because here I am getting fired when I’m trying to fix the problem.”
And get paid well while doing it?

She And Xi

What's in a term?
While it’s true that UT wasn’t actually forcing students to censor their he’s and she’s, the message was sufficiently confusing to make it unclear whether the pronoun guide was a suggestion or a decree. And it’s really no surprise that so many people interpreted Braquet’s advice as an articulation of mandatory campus-wide policy. Universities continuously blur this line when they attempt to spell out their contradictory rules on offensive speech.

The City University of New York, in fact, told faculty members last January that they should stop using gender-specific salutations like “Mr.” and “Ms.” in emails to each other and to students. CUNY’s speech requirement was mandatory; administrators maintained that the elimination of gendered language was necessary in order to bring the university in compliance with Title IX, a federal law that requires equality in higher education.

The idea that Title IX requires such a degree of language policing is preposterous, and would never stand up in court. But university administrators seem very confused about their obligation under the Bill of Rights to take the side of free speech whenever and wherever conflicts with bizarre federal dictates arise.
If you don't know who you are, how do you end the confusion in the first place?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Game Over

Meet the defender of feminism (warning: NSFW):
Sarah Nyberg, a transsexual formerly living as Nicholas Nyberg, sometimes known as Sarah Butts, is a well-known critic of the GamerGate movement who was recently quoted on the topic by The Washington Post. She enjoys the support of prominent progressive commentators including Salon columnist Arthur Chu, former NFL punter Chris Kluwe and academic Katherine Cross.

But a recent leak from an online chat room owned by Nyberg reveals Nyberg’s disturbing past. In 2005, Nyberg described herself as a pedophile, revealed how she was obsessed with her young cousin, who was 8 years old at the time and whom we will refer to as “Alice,” defended white nationalism, and orchestrated a cyberattack against a rival’s website. Public records reveal that she currently owes at least $100,000 in back taxes and is classed as a “delinquent” by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
I'm sure she's just gender-confused...

Ministry Of Tolerance

Check your feelings:
The University of California is committed to protecting its bedrock values of respect, inclusion, and academic freedom. Free expression and the open exchange of ideas – principles enshrined in our national and state Constitutions – are part of the University’s fiber. So, too, is tolerance, and University of California students, faculty, and staff must respect the dignity of each person within the UC community.

Intolerance has no place at the University of California. We define intolerance as unwelcome conduct motivated by discrimination against, or hatred toward, other individuals or groups. It may take the form of acts of violence or intimidation, threats, harassment, hate speech, derogatory language reflecting stereotypes or prejudice, or inflammatory or derogatory use of culturally recognized symbols of hate, prejudice, or discrimination.
You can have your free speech-just don't say anything...

Look What We Found

How convenient:
Iran has discovered an unexpectedly high reserve of uranium and will soon begin extracting the radioactive element at a new mine, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said on Saturday.

The comments cast doubt on previous assessments from some Western analysts who said the country had a low supply and would sooner or later would need to import uranium, the raw material needed for its nuclear program.

Any indication Iran could become more self-sufficient will be closely watched by world powers, which reached a landmark deal with Tehran in July over its program. They had feared the nuclear activities were aimed at acquiring the capability to produce atomic weapons – something denied by Tehran.
I'm sure everything will be just fine. We can trust them, right?

To Byte Or Not To Byte



Enter the robot actors:
The robot comes from a showbiz family - his or her cousin, IRB 120, starred as Tony Stark's robotic assistant, Butterfingers, in the Iron Man films, according to HuffPost Tech.

It's unclear if the robot has completed SAG-AFRTA's eligibility qualifications for membership, which would include three days paid work as a background extra under a SAG-AFTRA collective bargaining agreement, according to the union's website.

New members must pay a one-time-only initiation fee, plus the first semiannual dues at the time of joining. The national initiation fee rate is currently $3000.00 (initiation fees may be lower in some states), according to the website.

Union members qualify for healthcare benefits and pension, competitive rate mortgages, and legal assistance among other benefits.
Don't quit your day job, kid...

Friday, September 11, 2015

Kisser Warning

Quick, call the cops:
School officials took a report regarding a 13-year-old boy who kissed a 14-year-old girl during school hours. The unwanted kiss was allegedly the result of a dare made by students.

Police confirm that the boy is now facing a second-degree assault charge as a juvenile. No one was injured during the incident, police say, and disciplinary actions related to suspension or expulsion will be handled by the school system.
Something must be done about this violent kissing culture...

Perry Goes Home

Rick Perry is out:
Perry, who has made his mark on the political landscape as the longest-serving governor in Texas history, in recent weeks wrestled with fundraising woes and an inability to break out of the bottom tier during his second presidential run.

"I share this news with no regrets," Perry said, according to the prepared text of his remarks. "It has been a privilege and an honor to travel this country, to speak with the American people about their hopes and dreams, to see a sense of optimism prevalent despite a season of cynical politics. And as I approach the next chapter in life, I do so with the love of my life by my side, Anita Perry. We have our house in the country, we have two beautiful children and two adorable grandchildren, four dogs, and the best sunset from our front porch that you could ever imagine. Life is good. And I am a blessed man."
Blessed are those who bow out gracefully...

The Last Round

So Obama won his Iran deal-what's next?
Even as the Iran deal gets implemented in the months ahead, a potentially thorny process that will occupy significant bandwidth in the White House, Obama will shift his focus to climate.

An international climate summit kicks off at the end of November in Paris, where Obama hopes to find agreement on meaningful new limits on carbon gases. The summit is expected to be one focus of Xi's visit.

Beneath the heady talk of agenda-setting, however, is the grim reality of a global stage where multiple fires burn despite Washington's efforts to extinguish them. Obama could spend much of his final year performing triage on issues like the Islamic State, Syria’s civil war and the conflict in Ukraine.

Officials are also braced for possible new crises, including in Afghanistan, as U.S. troops withdraw from a country whose government and security forces remain fragile.
Back to the golf course, then?

Dirty Money

Apparently politicians in Alabama don't have much to do:
Alabama lawmakers have struggled to pass a budget this year, now into their second special legislative session. Negotiations began in February with a proposal from Gov. Robery Bentley to raise taxes by more than $500 million. Despite having campaigned on his personal written commitment to oppose tax hikes, the governor has rejected budget restraint and reforms that did not include tax increases. The governor has attacked conservative lawmakers, threatened to withhold state funding for local projects, and neglected the will of taxpayers who elected him as a result of his promise to oppose tax hikes since the beginning of session.

Though Bentley's proposals to raise cigarette taxes, eliminate state deductions for F.I.C.A. taxes, and a wide range of other targeted tax hikes have been rejected by the legislature thus far, the legislature has until October 1 to balance the budget in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Rep. Jack Williams (R-Vestava Hills) explained his reasoning for proposing the massive tax by saying “any entertainment product that’s adult in nature, that you have to be over 18 to purchase, would have an excise tax like cigarettes and tobacco do.”

Despite declining tobacco use and tax revenue, typical proponents of tobacco tax hikes have cited the impact on public health costs borne by taxpayers as a result of smoking. Proposals, like those from the governor, that include cigarette tax hikes will only increase the state'd dependence on cigarettes, an extremely volatile source of revenue. It is unclear what public health program porn tax revenue would fund.
A program for bored government workers?

Fake Crimes Have Real Consequences

One lie, two dead careers:
One of two socially conservative Michigan lawmakers embroiled in scandal over their extramarital affair and a cover-up attempt resigned early Friday morning rather than be expelled by his colleagues.

Republican Rep. Todd Courser announced his resignation, effective immediately, and was escorted out of the chamber. His decision came amid a marathon overnight session in the House over whether he and Rep. Cindy Gamrat should stay in their jobs. …

Sixty-seven members supported expelling him, six short of the two-thirds supermajority needed under the state constitution. More than two dozen minority Democrats abstained from voting and criticized the process.

Courser, 43, of Lapeer, has admitted sending an “outlandish” phony email to GOP activists and others in May claiming he was caught with a male prostitute. The email was intended to make his affair with the 42-year-old Gamrat appear less believable if it were exposed by an anonymous blackmailer who Courser said was demanding his resignation.
An affair might be one thing, but...fake blackmail schemes? Even the Clintons weren't dumb enough for that.

Don't Tax The Streams

In Chicago, an online tax revolt:
In a lawsuit filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court, the nonprofit Liberty Justice Center says the city Finance Department’s rulings in June extending two taxes were illegal.

The department posted letters online announcing that the city was extending the 9 percent amusement tax to include paid subscriptions for streamed digital music, rental movies, TV shows and games, and also extending the personal property lease transaction tax to professional services like electronic property databases used by real estate agents.

The ruling applied the new standards to subscribers with Chicago addresses, and city officials said they expected the changes to bring in about $12 million annually in the latest example of Mayor Rahm Emanuel boosting various smaller fees and fines to try to help close the city’s gaping budget hole.

The lawsuit argues that aldermen should have gotten to vote on the changes.

“The Comptroller has exceeded his authority under the ordinance by issuing a rule that imposes a new tax that the City Council did not authorize in enacting the Amusement Tax,” the suit reads.
From their cold, dead hands you'll take their Game of Thrones...

Missing In Inaction

The invisible man:
During the NFL season opener at Gillette Stadium, fans openly chanted “Where is Roger?” during the game’s fourth quarter.

The chant was quickly noticed by viewers at home and found its way splashed onto headlines around the Internet shortly after.

Goodell, who attempted to suspend Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady over the “Deflategate” scandal, chose not to attend the game. Last week, a federal judge nullified the punishment.

The Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-21.
On the other hand, maybe it was good he didn't show his face...

Rainbows Over Manhattan

Via the Blaze, a rainbow appears over the World trade Center:

Image source: Ben Sturner / @leverageagency

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Movie Talk

Making a movie, the CIA way?
Special access to the intelligence community was granted to director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal, raising fears that national security might have been compromised. The depiction of enhanced interrogation techniques in the movie was criticized, especially by those who insist such techniques had little or nothing to do with locating bin Laden. The degree of editorial review the CIA was given over the EIT scenes, and other details of the film, was also controversial.

According to a report at the UK Daily Mail, the CIA Inspector General referred several questionable instances to the Justice Department, but they refused to prosecute, and the CIA did not pursue the allegations further.

“The documents show that the inspector general was concerned about Bigelow and Boal buying the CIA agent who tracked down Osama bin Laden some pearl earrings and taking her on an eight hour shopping trip with a stop at a Prada store,” the Daily Mail writes. “Overall the CIA inspector general and concluded that every single one of the officers it interviewed ‘accepted gifts, to include meals, from Bigelow and/or Boal.'”
It's just business...

Crossed Out

No Pope for us, please, we're Saudis:
A report in Foreign Policy suggested that besides the outrage of having the leader of the Catholic Church on the cover, “Saudi censors might have also seen dangerous implications for the Wahhabi state in how National Geographic framed its coverage, as the cover referred to Francis leading a ‘quiet revolution’ to reform the Catholic Church.”

An editor’s note in the same issue of National Geographic’s Arabic edition praised the Pope for his forward-looking leadership but also moved beyond Catholicism to make inferences for all religions, arguing that to remain relevant religious institutions must adapt to a rapidly changing world.

Religious pillars, the article declared, “are only tools aimed at preserving something, and if they are no longer capable of that, they must be altered.”

Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi religious authorities, who adhere to a literal interpretation of the Quran, may well have seen these words as a challenge, FP noted. Wahhabis are Muslim traditionalists who look for a return to the practices of seventh-century Islam. They are radically opposed to the sort of adaptation that the National Geographic story seemed to propose.
If those pillars weren't so shaky, maybe they wouldn't so scared of a man in a hat...

It's A Cis Man's World

Welcome to the new Hollywood:
The Danish Girl tells the story of Lili Ilse Elvenes (1882 –1931), a Danish transgendered woman and one of the first identifiable recipients of sex reassignment surgery. Shockingly, however, the BAFTA and EMMY nominated director chose to cast Oscar winning actor Edward Redmayne OBE in the lead roll.

What’s the problem, then? Well, Redmayne is a man, a so-call “cis-man,” meaning that he was born a man, remains a man, and isn’t transgendered. Which is really not on, according to the trans-lobby. It is “erasing their existence,” perpetuating “discrimination” and “transmysoginy,” they say.
You're just not trans enough for their tastes...

Head Games

Don't lose your head:
Valery Spiridonov, 30, was diagnosed with a genetic muscle-wasting condition called Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, and volunteered for the procedure despite the risks involved, Central European News (CEN) reported.

“When I realized that I could participate in something really big and important, I had no doubt left in my mind and started to work in this direction,” Spiridonov, a Russian computer scientist, told CEN. “The only thing I feel is the sense of pleasant impatience, like I have been preparing for something important all my life and it is starting to happen.”

Dr. Sergio Canavero, an Italian neurosurgeon, will perform the procedure on Spiridonov. The procedure is expected to last up to 36 hours, and it will require Spiridonov’s head be cooled as well as the donor’s body to extend the period during which the cells can survive without oxygen, CEN reported.

“According to Canavero’s calculations, if everything goes to plan, two years is the time frame needed to verify all scientific calculations and plan the procedure’s details,” Spiridonov told CEN. “It isn’t a race. No doubt, the surgery will be done once the doctor and the experts are 99 percent sure of its success.”
I guess they'll know pretty quickly if it doesn't work...

Boss 'Bot

Meet the new boss:
Hitachi has deployed the AI in an unspecified number of warehouses, where it issues work orders and instructions to employees. The computer analyzes employees' previous approaches to problems, and if an employee uses a new way to accomplish a job more efficiently, that technique is analyzed and used later on. This idea of kaizen, or constant improvement, is an often-repeated theme in Hitachi’s announcement of the AI system.
Rather than relying on preprogrammed instructions like other warehouse software, Hitachi claims that this AI can go off-script, adapting to on-site changes, weather patterns, and shifts in demand.
The company says productivity has already increased in the warehouse environment by 8 percent, compared to one of their non-AI run warehouses, and they hope to expand “human and AI cooperation.” Last month, they also announced a warehouse robot that picks up items twice as fast as other robots. It has two arms that operate independently, and is expected to be commercially available within 5 years.
At least it won't demand coffee...

A Dishonest Profession

If he says so: Acosta said of the exchange, “Sarah Huckabee Sanders is going off on reporters, who she is accusing of intentionally misleadi...