Monday, November 30, 2015

Behind The Bridge

What life was like working for the Great Bird of the Galaxy:
As Chaos on the Bridge explores, frequently using ironic animation and music that, combined, evoke Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name” spaghetti westerns, Roddenberry himself had led a remarkably bifurcated existence after the original Star Trek was cancelled. In Hollywood, Roddenberry’s post-Trek productions were considered failures by the studios; none of his 1970s TV series pilots were picked up for production. And yet he was treated as a near God by a growing legion of Trekkies, who hung on his every word at ever-larger Star Trek conventions in the 1970s as the original series was in constant syndicated reruns throughout America.

Consequently, Roddenberry saw himself not as a writer of cop shows and westerns who stumbled into producing an action-oriented science fiction series inspired by Forbidden Planet to get his stories past network TV censors, but as a science fiction genius on par with men like Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. The original series’ writers guide carried a warning to those TV veterans submitting scripts to the show who were unfamiliar with the rules of science fiction: “Beware getting too wrapped up in The Wonder Of It All. The quality of an sf tale is usually inversely proportional to the pretensions a writer brings to it.” Unfortunately, Roddenberry himself would entirely forget this rule, first in producing the behemoth 2001: A Space Odyssey-influenced Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and its deadly dull pacing, and lack of action for its charismatic stars’ first return to the big screen, and then in creating what TNG co-producer Maurice Hurley repeatedly referred to as the “wacky doodle” rules that crippled TNG’s first two seasons. It’s no coincidence that both the Star Trek movies and Star Trek: The Next Generation suddenly became watchable once Paramount moved Roddenberry out of a direct role as day-to-day producer.
Beam him up, Scotty...

Silver Bars

Sheldon Silver is going away for a while:
For portions of his tenure as speaker, Mr. Silver maintained a viselike grip on power, withstanding the rare challenge from a well-intentioned but unsupported Democratic colleague, and brushing off all criticism of his performance. He was faulted for his handling of two sexual harassment allegations; in 2013, a state ethics report criticized him for covering up accusations of sexual harassment against Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez.

Mr. Silver also loomed large in financial disclosure reports that were required under a new state ethics law, reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in outside income from a law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg. That arrangement would become one of the focal points of the government’s prosecution.

At Mr. Silver’s trial, the government presented evidence that prosecutors said showed he had orchestrated two schemes through which he obtained nearly $4 million in illegal payments for taking official actions that benefited a prominent cancer researcher, Dr. Robert N. Taub, at Columbia University, and two New York real estate development firms.
So much for that effort...

Mystery Achievment

So what did Hillary Clinton actually accomplish as Secretary of State? We may never know:
Hillary’s achievements, as recounted by Reines, were redacted not because they were deemed classified, or because their public release might jeopardize American national security. The list wasn’t redacted because it contained personal information.

No, that information was redacted because redaction officials, citing exemption (b)(5) of the federal FOIA, determined that the information constituted “privileged” agency communications.

The State Dept.’s decision to prohibit the release of a January 2013 list of Hillary Clinton’s achievements is especially curious since Clinton left office on February 1, 2013, just two days after Reines sent the “Achievements” e-mail to Hillary’s chief of staff. It strains credulity to assert that these communications consisted of vital data informing ongoing decision-making at Foggy Bottom. In all likelihood, the e-mail was sent only to help burnish Hillary’s legacy, which apparently consisted of only four achievements covering less than one-third of one page.
Too bad they won't let anyone know what those are...

Star Wars: The Debate Continues

Why George Lucas doesn't do the Internet:
Fans have long maintained that Lucas was just flat-out wrong on this one. The shooting established Ford’s character as somebody not to be messed with, and in the scene it’s pretty clear that Greedo is going to kill Han regardless (“Over my dead body” / “That’s the idea”). So Han waiting for Greedo to take a shot at him while at point blank range doesn’t make any sense.

But Lucas won’t read that, or your comment below, because he also admitted in the interview that he has “assiduously avoided the Internet since 2000 — no Facebook, no Twitter, no e-mail even.” The first of the oft-derided Star Wars prequel movies, The Phantom Menace, was released in 1999, so that was probably indeed a good time to bail out.
Cantina lives matter?

Guns For Allah Fubar

One man's terrorist is another's customer:
“The Obama administration effectively switched sides in what used to be called the Global War on Terror [GWOT] when it decided to overthrow the sovereign government of our Libyan ally, Muammar Qaddafi, who’d been helping in the fight against al-Qaeda, by actually teaming up with and facilitating gun-running to Libyan al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood [MB] elements there in 2011,” explained Lopez. “This U.S. gun-running policy in 2011 during the Libyan revolution was directed by [then] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and [the late Libya Ambassador] Christopher Stevens, who was her official envoy to the Libyan AQ rebels.”

To avoid having the funds tracked back to the Obama administration, the arms flow to Libya was financed thru the United Arab Emirates, while Qatar served as the logistical and shipping hub, she noted.

“In 2012, the gun-running into Libya turned around and began to flow outward, from Benghazi to the AQ-and-MB-dominated rebels in Syria,” Lopez added. “This time, it was the CIA Base of Operations that was in charge of collecting up and shipping out [surface-to-air missiles] SAMs from Libya on Libyan ships to Turkey for overland delivery to a variety of jihadist militias, some of whose members later coalesced into groups like Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS [also known as IS].”

Jabhat al-Nusra is al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.
I guess Mexican cartels were unavailable...

Free Bird

Best selfie ever?
Instead of watching the bird suffer, the brothers decided to free the bird and then alert the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry of what had just happened.

Fortunately, the only one of eagle’s talons was stuck in the trap. The bird was also not aggressive with the brothers while they aided it.

“Me and my brother just kind of held onto it, and it calmed right down,” Michael said. “It didn’t really fuss or give any sign of aggression. I don’t know if it knew we were helping him or what.”

“There was no blood or anything,” he added. “I don’t know how long it was caught in there, but I think maybe it had just been in there a little while.”

After they released the bird, the brothers had one last thing to do — take a selfie with the massive bird.
The bird really is the word...

Tabloid Tales

Have the tabloids finally grown up?
Since the 2011 phone-hacking scandal involving the Murdoch-owned News of the World exposed the extent of some tabloids’ reliance on so-called dark arts — illegally listening to voice mail messages, bribing police officers and hiring private investigators for illegal information-gathering and surveillance, among other things — the papers have had to clean up their approach.

Now, such exposés are few and far between.

“The days of the Wild West,” with weekly articles about randy footballers or straying M.P.s with their trousers down, are over, said Alan Rusbridger, former editor of The Guardian and current chairman of the Scott Trust, which owns The Guardian.

In place of these exposés are easy-to-report celebrity interviews, reality-television gossip and articles promoting the political agenda of the papers’ proprietors.
In other words, they've become more like...other mainstream media. Maybe they were more fun when they weren't...

The Bird Is The Word

The science of bird talk:
One second of normal human speech or song therefore contains hundreds to thousands of vocal fold oscillations. During each of the oscillation cycles a wave travels over the vocal folds from the lungs to the mouth, which keeps the oscillations going. The MEAD theory describes these processes in physical terms.

"Already since 1646 we know that birds do not make sounds with their larynx," comments Elemans, "when M. Du Verney surprisingly noted that a beheaded chicken could still make sounds."

Instead, birds produce sound using an organ unique to birds called the syrinx that is located deep in the body and therefore very difficult to study.

"We now managed to film sound production in birds from zebra finches to ostriches in detail using high-speed cameras. We show for the first time that birds also produce sound according to the MEAD theory", says Elemans.

Švec: "To me it was very surprising and fascinating to discover that such different vocal organs make sound in the same way".
So if we talk, are we really singing like the proverbial canary?

Fake Pop Still Eats Itself

Remember Milli Vanilli?
Morvan and Pilatus always maintained that they were suckered by Farian, who recruited them for their looks and presented them with a catchy demo track that they, despite his promises, were never given a chance to rerecord. As that track, “Girl You Know It’s True,” rose to the top of the charts internationally, the two became sensations who gyrated (with great finesse and charisma) for screaming masses. In one spectacularly ill-advised quote, they told a Time reporter that they were more talented than Bob Dylan or Paul McCartney. A backing-track malfunction at a show fed rumors that they were just lip syncing, but it all really began to unravel when a singer named Charles Shaw said that he was the real voice on “Girl You Know It’s True,” after which Farian owned up about what he’d created.

As far as the public knows, no one has quite tried to “pull something like this again,” if “this” means “drastically lying in liner notes and publicity about the provenance of hit songs.” But Milli Vanilli’s influence is a bit counterintuitive: Their fall from stardom presaged more artifice in pop, not less. In his recent book The Song Machine, John Seabrook details the complex, well-funded apparatus of songwriters and producers and executives who mint most pop songs these days, an apparatus that isn’t hidden from listeners but is also not fully understood by most of them.
They weren't the first to fake it, but they were among the most notorious for having gotten caught at it. Pay no attention to the publicity machine behind the curtain...

The Last Job

How a career criminal lives, and dies:
Mr. Forman sold ads for the music magazine Crawdaddy. He once wrote a long letter to editors in the Underground Press Syndicate complaining about the inroads sought by the kid from Rolling Stone magazine: Jann Wenner. (“This was an effort to take bread out of your pockets and put it into his own.”) He wrote another describing his friendship with an unknown Abbie Hoffman, a regular at the Forman dinner table, and his efforts to get “Steal This Book” published.

He knew the director Otto Preminger. He worked closely with Tom Forcade, an activist and journalist who would found High Times magazine in the 1970s. He and Mr. Forman were on the periphery of a follow-up act to Woodstock, a traveling road show called the Medicine Ball Caravan. A documentary about the Caravan flopped, but other concerts he promoted did all right. He lived in a big house. He worked as a consultant for Warner Bros.

His career seemed to be on the rise. Then Otto Preminger entered his Manhattan office one day in 1975 to find a blank spot on the wall where a $100,000 painting used to be.

The painting, by Wassily Kandinsky, was recovered, and a man identified as an advertising executive in the news accounts was arrested and charged with transporting it across state lines to Pennsylvania: Michael Forman.

That same year, much more shockingly to those who knew him, Mr. Forman was charged with murder for killing a woman in Manhattan. The records of the crime are in archives and the details sketchy.

“She wouldn’t give you any more money,” a parole commissioner said to him in 1996, according to a transcript. “You stabbed her or shot her or whatever.”

“Shot, sir,” Mr. Forman replied, calling it an extortion. Years later, he said it was a drug deal gone bad.

“It was my own emotional inadequacies,” he told another parole board, “my own inability to deal with the pressures in life.”
You live by the crime, you die by the crime...

Speed Reading

Looking back at Unsafe at Any Speed:
Mr. Nader started researching automotive safety in 1956 as a second-year student at Harvard Law School and kept at it intermittently. He was inspired by books that prompted change, including Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” which highlighted the dangers of the pesticide DDT to the environment.

“I aspired to the level of getting a law through, getting an agency to implement it,” he said.

About 1965, when he had a few chapters and an outline, he began sending them to publishers. Things did not go well. One publisher replied with a short note. The book, it said, would be “of interest primarily to insurance agents.”
Good or bad, the American auto industry did change. So, kudos to Nader, even if he did become something of a nut later on.

Head Transplanting 101

How to get a new head:
Using either “a specially fashioned diamond microtomic snare-blade” or “a nanoknife made of a thin layer of silicon nitride” (he isn’t sure yet), the bodies will be severed at the neck between the C5 and C6 vertebrae. Then the frames that are clamping the two bodies will begin to separate, their upper parts rotating and taking the two heads with them. The patient’s head will be deposited atop the donor’s body.

Next, a marathon of surgery, somewhere between 36 and 72 hours long and requiring a crew of 150 medics. About 80 of them, Canavero thinks, will need to be surgeons. “At first, it will be expensive” — around $17 million, he guesses, admitting that private sponsors are still needed. “Later, as the technique gets perfected, the costs will be slashed.” In the operating room, those 80 surgeons will relay in and out as expertise dictates. The head-body arteries will be joined first, so that blood recirculates around the brain. As for the other connections required (windpipe, gullet, spine, everything that links a human’s head to the rest), Canavero says he will stand aside until it comes to the spinal cord. Functional neurosurgery, or that relating to movement, is his field.

If his patient is to regain movement after the operation, some of the millions of nerves that exist inside the two spinal cords will need to connect.
And then you find out they gave you the wrong body...

Behind Revolving Doors

They were the friends of Hillary:
The AP found no evidence of legal or ethical conflicts in Clinton's meetings in its examination of 1,294 pages from the calendars. Her sit-downs with business leaders were not unique among recent secretaries of state, who sometimes summoned corporate executives to aid in international affairs, documents show.
But the difference with Clinton's meetings was that she was a 2008 presidential contender who was widely expected to run again in 2016. Her availability to luminaries from politics, business and charity shows the extent to which her office became a sounding board for their interests. And her ties with so many familiar faces from those intersecting worlds were complicated by their lucrative financial largess and political support over the years -- even during her State Department tenure -- to her campaigns, her husband's and to her family's foundation.
Old habits are hard to break...

Winners Never Prosper

"Hey, kid-wanna help us throw the game?"
“This was the most embarrassing sh-t ever,” posted a player on the Davidson team that day, its 2014 season opener, and was upset about what occurred. “We were bad last year, but us players were still pissed we scheduled these guys. We had our starters out before the end of the first quarter and barely ran our offense because we felt bad for almost putting up 50 in the first half.”

Davidson hadn’t just provided medical assistance to its outmatched opponent. It donated equipment, including practice pants and shoulder pads for the Saints players, covered their transportation costs to get to the game and served them a meal when they arrived. There was also a direct payment of thousands of dollars.

What exactly was this tiny Bible college — which has no stadium, campus or professors and whose founder, Sherwyn Thomas, a once homeless street preacher, has moved his football program back and forth between Charlotte and West Memphis, Arkansas — doing playing a school like Davidson?
Preparing the kids for a life in politics?

Smash The Welfare State

When will it wither away?
Both the right and left are failing on welfarism. The right ought to oppose it in the name of shrinking state interventionism. And the left ought to oppose it for the reason that many working-class institutions did oppose it when it was first being developed in the early twentieth century: because it makes people unproductive, and rips them from the society they live in, and because we should have full employment not paternalistic handouts.

The end result of this right/left failure is acquiescence to the rise of a new feudalism: millions of middle-class people employed by the state to look after millions of poor people. It is a scandal. It is domestic imperialism. Osborne doesn’t have the balls for the job, but we must. Never mind simply trimming tax credits — we need to overturn this whole Dickensian system of the well-educated being employed to keep the poor unemployed
Our betters know better. They keep telling us, anyway...

The Ministry Of Fear-Mongering

For the climate changers, propaganda triumphs over reason:
Greenpeace founder Robert Johnson suggests we are moving from legitimate rational concern about changing global conditions and toward a state of “climate hysteria.” This, he suggests, is openly promoted by a scientific and political establishment fed, emotionally and sometimes economically, by selling ever more extreme scenarios. Climate scientists, notes the left-leaning magazine Oz, are even embracing emotion and salesmanship as a part of their job description as researchers, quite a departure from past standard professional behavior.

Rather than address possible shortcomings in their models, climate change activists increasingly tend to discredit critics as dishonest and tools of the oil companies. There is even a move to subject skeptics to criminal prosecution for deceiving the public.

How much this does for our understanding of the complexities of climate seems questionable, but the incessant campaign on the issue clearly is having an effect on the society’s rationality. Canadian psychologists have already found elevated levels of anxiety among young people, who, after all, have been told that their world could be coming to an end, no matter what we do.
When it doesn't, they're going to be awfully mad when they grow up...

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bring In The Muscle

Let the mob handle ISIS?
Gambino, a prolific author of mob history and a scion of the family that saw the rise of the likes of John Gotti and Paul Castellano, said the nature of the mob made it fundamentally better equipped than traditional law enforcement to handle a threat like ISIS.

“Back in the day, probably the safest place ever was an old Sicilian neighborhood like Bensonhurst or Knickerbocker Ave.,” said Gambino of two Brooklyn neighborhoods. “We got our kids going to those schools. We got families in those neighborhoods.”
Paging Don Corleone...

Down The Green Drain

Another "green" energy company goes bust:
The Obama administration tucked $90 billion of stimulus money for energy projects into a huge corner of the $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed with no Republican votes barely a month into Obama’s presidency.

The money was supposedly allocated to fund “strategic clean energy investments intended to promote job creation and promote deployment of low-carbon technologies,” but much of it was squandered.

The General Accounting Office in April warned that of the 38 sustainable loans and guarantees, “the total expected net cost over the life of the loans” was “to be $2.21 billion, including $807 million for loans that have defaulted.”
Save the world-for only a few billion more...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

High Tech Tripping

It's the colors, man:
Serious questions remain in this field and the potential long-term effects could be very serious. That’s in addition to the risk of the drug’s addictive and dangerous nature. “You’re tinkering with the system that is involved with depressive systems, but in unexplored ways,” Matt Johnson a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore told Livescience in July.

Taking hallucinogenic drugs for performance is by no means a new concept. In January of this year CNN Money reported on psychedelic drug use in Silicon Valley as a means of increasing creativity.

“The billionaires I know, almost without exception, use hallucinogens on a regular basis,” Silicon Valley investor Tim Ferriss told the outlet. “[They’re] trying to be very disruptive and look at the problems in the world … and ask completely new questions.”
Like, "How else can I waste my time?"

Co-Op Crash

Whatever happened to the ObamaCare co-ops?
The co-ops are government-backed, nonprofit health insurers propped up with over $2 billion in taxpayer loans. Twelve of the 23 co-ops established under the Affordable Care Act, though, have gone or are expected to go under by the end of the year, leaving customers who used them scrambling for coverage and taxpayer money at risk.

But, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill demand answers on what’s being done, the Obama administration is offering few predictions on the program’s future other than to say no more money will go toward new co-ops. As to whether that future will crystallize next year, a top federal health official said: “It’s impossible to say right now.”

Kevin Counihan, insurance marketplace CEO at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, described the co-op failures and other changes as simply “inevitable” in the health care industry.

“Things change,” Counihan told Fox News. “There is a natural ebb and flow to this business. You see this in start-ups in all industries, and it’s also true in health care.”
Hey, it's just business-as long as it's government-supported...

Another Shooting, Another Demand

Once again, President Obama insists:
Obama didn’t assign blame but mentioned that the shooting took place near a Planned Parenthood building.

“We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was for shooting twelve people, or for terrorizing an entire community, when he opened fire with an assault weapon and took hostages at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado,” he admitted. “What we do know is that he killed a cop in the line of duty, along with two of the citizens that police officer was trying to protect.”
You mean this man? So maybe the shooter is just another loon, after all...

The Canadian Question

It's come to this:
“In a sense, I guess, Cruz is not technically that way — because technically he’s not even an American,” he said. “His mother was born here, so I guess like [President Barack] Obama, it’s interesting to me that the people who had a problem with Obama’s birth certificate don’t have a problem with Ted Cruz, who literally was born in another country and renounced his Canadian citizenry.”

Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada, in 1970 to an American mother and a Cuban-American father. For the majority of his life, he retained a dual-citizenship between the United States and Canada, but publicly renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2014.

“So now we’re counting Canadians as natural born Americans? How does that work?” Grayson challenged. “The Constitution says natural born Americans.”
Maybe he ought to ask Hillary what she thinks-or used to...

Friday, November 27, 2015

The World Isn't Worried

It appears the world has other things to worry about besides climate change:
According to Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation:

“People have given up on climate hysteria. They don’t want to pay for it and they’re concerned that if they sign up to any binding commitments they will be hurt.”

Peiser believes there are two main reasons for this loss of faith in the green religion.

“First, people are becoming aware that the international community is incapable of reaching any meaningful deal. They think: ‘Well if our governments aren’t taking this problem seriously it can’t be that big a problem.”

Secondly, he says, people are increasingly well informed.

“Twenty years ago, when you had a programme on the BBC about melting ice caps people sat up and noticed. Now they’re so used to these scare stories they’ve become totally cynical. Especially when they read elsewhere that in the first nine months of this year alone, 500 new coal fire power stations were built in Asia…”
Scare tactics are sometimes just that...

Viva What Revolution?

The ghost of Hugo Chavez is fading rapidly:
Over a decade of increasingly dysfunctional state controls and the end of an oil bonanza have triggered one of the OPEC nation's most severe economic crises.

Just blocks from where Chavez grew up and sold his grandmother's papaya sweets to make ends meet, Venezuelans now line up for hours hoping a truck will make its way across the palm tree-sprinkled flatlands to deliver scarce rice or toilet paper.

Rampant inflation and the near-collapse of the bolivar currency have destroyed salaries, while violent crime leads many to barricade themselves inside when the region's vast sky turns dark.

"We were 'Chavistas'," said Julio Coromoto, 57, a workman next to a queue of dozens at a shabby supermarket.

"But they destroyed this town."
The failure of socialism is often a hard lesson...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Blue Debt Blues

Guess which party owes more?
Figures show the Republicans now have over $20 million cash on hand, with only $1.8 million in debts owed. The RNC has raised a total of $89.3 million to date in the current election cycle.

The figures stand in stark contrast to the DNC, that has only $4.7 million cash in hand, with $6.9 million in debts owed, putting the DNC in the red, according to FEC figures. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Democrats have so far raised $53.2 million this election cycle, significantly less than their Republican counterparts.

The DNC raised just shy of $4.5 million in October, but spent approximately $5.2 million.

The nearly $7 million in debt the DNC now has was in part due to a $2 million loan from union-owned Amalgamated Bank, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
Remember, this is also their model for government spending...

Man Without A Plan

Some people do have better ideas, but he's not listening:

Live Forever, Or Upload Trying

Who wants to be online forever?
Creating an imprint of people to remain after they go , Humai is using artificial intelligence and nanotechnology to store data of conversational styles, behavioral patterns, thought processes and information about how bodies function.

This data will be coded into multiple sensor technologies, which will be built into an artificial body with the brain of a deceased human.

The science as they explain it means using cloning technology, they will be able to restore the brain as it matures.

Their website explains: "Humai is an AI company with a mission to reinvent the afterlife. We want to bring you back to life after you die."
Just because you're dead, doesn't mean you can't still see your in-laws during the holidays...

How Not To Do It

Hopefully none of these happen to you on this year's Turkey Day:

 Happy Thanksgiving!

Robot Safety Dance

We were warned:
The robots they have created follow verbal instructions such as 'stand up' and 'sit down' from a human operator.

However, when they are asked to walk into an obstacle or off the end of a table, for example, the robots politely decline to do so.

When asked to walk forward on a table, the robots refuse to budge, telling their creator: 'Sorry, I cannot do this as there is no support ahead.'

Upon a second command to walk forward, the robot replies: 'But, it is unsafe.'
Now die, human...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Apotheosis Of William F. Buckley

Remembering America's intellectual conservative:
Over the years Buckley wrote over 50 books. I particularly enjoyed the four books on crossing the oceans in a sailboat with friends. They were about navigating the oceans to be sure, but also about life.

In 1973 he wrote Four Reforms, A Program For The 70’s. His proposals on Welfare, Taxes, Education and Crime seemed revolutionary at the time, but are mainstream now.

Four Reforms was my first exposure to the flat tax. That issue has been part of the general debate now for 30 years. Dick Armey introduced it in Congress and wrote a book about it. Steve Forbes ran for president on it.

In the end it doesn’t really matter whether we agreed entirely with Buckley’s ideas. What matters is that they became part of the debate and we had to deal with them.
Unfortunately, many on the left are now no longer interested in having the debate. But here is something from a time when it was still possible:

Granny State Games

You've really got to watch 'em:
“This is ridiculous,” King said. “We haven’t played in the clubhouse for weeks! We have to go to each other’s homes to play and not everyone lives in Escondido. It is an international game and we are being crucified!”

The 87-year-old said the game is good for the elderly and that even her doctor has told her that it can delay dementia. The women suggested they could “just play for fun” without money, but the property manager said they should “lay low,” until things were resolved.

After a bit of investigating, officials came to the conclusion that there is no ordinance prohibiting mahjong gambling of the nature.
It's definitely a criminal enterprise when grandmothers get together...

Dear Leader Welcomes You

North Korea welcomes its first tourists:
Nicholas Gibbins, an 18-year-old high school student from Sydney, Australia, told NBC News after the flight over Pyongyang that what struck him the most was the amount of construction in the city and surrounding countryside.

"The country seems to be pulling itself together," he said in a telephone interview with NBC News after leaving North Korea.

It had taken years to gain the permission necessary to run the trips, according to Simon Cockerell, director of Koryo Tours, a Beijing-based company specializing in North Korea.
You can look, but don't touch or ask questions...

Mock Wars

The Force is with her:
“I have never had any interest in watching space nerds poke each other with their little space nerd sticks, and I’m not going to start now,” Timpf shared on the original broadcast. “You people are crazy. You Star Wars people are crazy. Yesterday I tweeted something, and all I said was that I wasn’t familiar with Star Wars because I’ve been too busy liking cool things and being attractive — people threatened my life. You’re not really branding yourself in a way that makes me want to join your life-threatening club.”

On Tuesday, Timpf wrote a piece published by the National Review, sharing her thoughts on online bullying and noting that she wouldn’t back down in the face of threats.

“A lot of people are clearly a lot of upset. But guess what? I’m not apologizing,” Timpf wrote. “Why? Because the all-too-common knee-jerk reaction of apologizing for harmless jokes after overblown hysteria is ruining our culture. This political-correctness obsession threatens free speech, and I absolutely refuse to be a part of it.”
Lead to the dark side, fan obsession does...

Pillow Fight Club

No more pillows for them:
First-year students, or "plebes," organize the annual fight to help the group bond after a summer of intense training.

The event, which appears to have been held almost every year since 2001, was particularly violent this time. In one case, a cadet was hit from behind and knocked unconscious, according to a West Report report of the incident. He was given first aid by a cadet who was a certified Emergency Medical Technician.

Other injuries included a broken nose and a fractured cheek. A photograph posted on Twitter showed a cadet wearing a helmet and body armor with blood pouring from his nose and mouth.
This is Pillow Dome...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Climate Chump Change

Those who live in green glass houses:
Cause of Action, a government watchdog group, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank, filed a joint IRS complaint Tuesday against the Institute of Global Environment and Society to have the organization stripped of its tax-exempt status.

The complaint alleges that IGES, run by George Mason University climate dynamics professor Jagadish Shukla, has received more than $60 million in federal grants for the stated purpose of climate research but that the funds have actually gone to benefit Shukla and his family.

“It’s incredibly ironic that while Dr. Shukla accuses global warming skeptics of deceiving the public, his own environmental organization has been pulling a fast one at taxpayer expense,” said CEI general counsel Sam Kazman. “His attempt to use RICO to silence public debate is groundless, and so is his organization’s tax-exempt status.”
So why is the IRS wasting its time going after actual nonprofits?

That'll Show 'Em

The only thing we have to fear is climate change:
“I think it is absolutely vital for every country, every leader, to send a signal that the viciousness of a handful of killers does not stop the world from doing vital business, and that Paris … is not going to be cowered by the violent, demented actions of a few,” Obama said about the upcoming climate conference.
Obama and other administration officials have been criticized for their insistence that climate change is a threat to national security on par with terrorism.
Obama and dozens of other international leaders will participate in an event at the conference Monday, but he will leave Tuesday, and the conference will continue until at least Dec. 11.
Be not afraid, green warriors...

Duck And Run For Cover

War, or no war?
"World War III" was trending on Twitter Tuesday as the world waited to see how Russia would respond to Turkey shooting down one of its warplanes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the incident as "stab in the back by terrorist helpers," as NATO held what it described as an "extraordinary meeting" Tuesday afternoon just hours after the incident.

Russia denies its warplane was violating Turkish airspace, while Turkey — a NATO member — said it warned the aircraft 10 times before shooting it down.

Putin said Russia would "never tolerate such atrocities" and called for the international community to "fight this evil."

"Do they want to have NATO serve ISIS? I understand that every state has regional interests, and we respect that, but we would never tolerate crime like today's," Putin added.
So, what now? Another reset?

A Clone Of Your Own

Who wants a clone?
The centre may cause alarm in Europe, where the cloning of animals for farming was banned in September due to animal welfare considerations.
But Xu Xiaochun, chairman of Chinese biotechnology company BoyaLife that is backing the facility, dismissed such concerns.
“Let me ask one question. Was this ban based on scientific rationale or ethical rationale or political agenda?” Mr Xu told The Telegraph.
“Legislation is always behind science. But in the area of cloning, I think we are going the wrong way and starting to kill the technology.”
Is it Spot, or is it Memorex?

The Switch

A Native American Senator changes sides:
Begay, appointed as a Democrat in 2013 and re-elected in 2014, recently cited his colleague’s reaction to his decision to cross party lines to pass the current budget as a “tipping point.”

In a video released on Monday, Begay said it has been the Republicans who have worked with him to “improve education, jobs and infrastructure.”

Begay said families living within the rural and Arizona tribal communities are in a “crisis” with unemployment as high as 80 percent in some instances. The Republican Party, he said, is more equipped to address the issues.

“With an open mind and heart, I clearly see the Republican Party as a party of progress, the party of opportunity, and moving forward, my party,” he added.
Progress matters!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lost And Found In Stereo

President Obama, the sample:
The album, which is set for release on Friday, will use a clip of Obama singing the hymn as an “interlude,” The Sun reported.

“We have a tiny clip of the president singing Amazing Grace at that church,” Coldplay frontman Chris Martin told The Sun. “Because of the historical significance of what he did and also that that song being about, ‘I’m lost but now I’m found.’”
Sorry, but it doesn't have a beat and you can't dance to it...

The Yoga Police

Yoga is now officially offensive:
The center suggested that some practices involved in the routine “are being taken from” some cultures that ”have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy.”

Thus, the center contends, “we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves while practicing yoga.”

Acting student federation president Romeo Ahimakin said that as a result, student leaders are looking at ways to make students aware of where the spiritual and cultural aspects of yoga come from, ”so that these sessions are done in a respectful manner.”

Meanwhile, yoga classes have been put on hiatus. It was not clear when or if they might resume.
No meditation for you...

Campus Correction

Not all students are happy with the direction their school (and too many others) have taken:
Students with the Princeton Open Campus Coalition expressed concern with the events and asked for a meeting with Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber.

“Academic discourse consists of reasoned arguments. We simply wish to present our own reasoned arguments and engage you and other senior administrators in dialogue. We will not occupy your office, and, though we respectfully request a minimum of an hour of your time, we will only stay for as long as you wish. We will conduct ourselves in the civil manner that it is our hope to maintain and reinforce as the norm at Princeton,” a letter published to Facebook said.

It continued, “This dialogue is necessary because many students have shared with us that they are afraid to state publicly their opinions on recent events for fear of being vilified, slandered, and subjected to hatred, either by fellow students or faculty. Many who questioned the protest were labeled racist, and black students who expressed disagreement with the protesters were called ‘white sympathizers’ and were told they were ‘not black.’ We, the Princeton Open Campus Coalition, refuse to let our peers be intimidated or bullied into silence on these–or any–important matters.”
Sanity is a dirty word these days...

Court Time

Never let a fake clock go to waste:
The attorneys have sent letters to both the City of Irving and Irving ISD (read below), demanding $10 million and $5 million respectively, for the way the incident was handled earlier this year. They claim 14-year-old Ahmed has suffered severe damages as a result of his interrogation and arrest at the school. They also point the finger at Irving’s Police Chief and Mayor for the way they portrayed Ahmed to the media once the story gained international interest.

The attorneys claim that both the school district and the police department violated Ahmed’s rights, which led to a chain of events that ultimately forced the family to move out of the country to Doha, Qatar. The family wants to return to Irving, Texas, when they feel safe again, according to the letters.

Several hardships are spelled out in the nine-page letter to the school district, which states, “Ahmed’s reputation in the global community is permanently scarred.” Among the damages his attorney’s claim include: Ahmed’s face being super-imposed onto a famous image of Osama bin Laden, Ahmed being portrayed as a clock boy on a Halloween costume website, and Ahmed’s address being tweeted out, which forced his family to leave their home.
Fifteen million would buy a lot of therapy, and clocks...

The Smell Of Sweden

No cleanliness for you:
King Carl XVI Gustaf, who once had a reputation as a lothario and is now a staunch environmentalist, said he realised how much water and energy they used when he was recently staying somewhere without a shower.

The 69-year-old ‘green king’ told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet: ‘It hit me how much water and energy it used.

‘I thought “I can’t believe I’m having to do this”. I felt quite ashamed.’

Apparently in jest, he added: ‘We should ban all baths.’
Unfortunately, there are people who would actually want this. Smell ya later, Sweden...

Blogging In The Years: 1941

Did warm weather give the world a hothead?
Increasingly warmer temperatures throughout the world may produce a trend toward dictatorial governments, in the opinion of Dr. Clarence A. Mills, professor of experimental medicine at the University of Cincinnati.
In fact, Dr. Mills believes that the rise to power of Adolf Hitler in German and Benito Mussolini in Italy may be due in part to the gradually warming temperature of the world. People are more docile and easily led in warm weather than in cold, Dr. Mills insists.
Maybe Mother Nature is just getting Hitler and his followers ready for the place they will eventually end up in...

Creative Clinton Accounting

They really do mean private:
According to its corporate records, Fondo Acceso is registered in Colombia as a “simplified stock corporation,” which legal experts said precludes it from doing business as a private equity fund.

Fondo Acceso’s website was also removed from the internet this week, shortly after the Washington Free Beacon reported that the $20 million investment firm was owned by the Clinton Foundation and was run out of the foundation’s office in Bogota.

The website had previously described Acceso as “a Private Equity Fund that seeks investment opportunities in small and medium Colombian compan[ies] with the purpose of obtaining economic and social returns.”

Its website also included a contract for companies seeking investment to fill out, which authorized the release of financial and other internal information to Fondo Acceso and the Clinton Foundation.
Every little bit helps as long as you think you can get away with it...

We Have Met The Enemy And They Are Washington

Americans are not big fans of the Federal government:
More than a third (35 percent) of Republicans believe the federal government is the enemy, while 34 percent of Independents believe the same. The poll found that half of all Democrats (50 percent) view the government as a friend and only 12 percent see it as the enemy.

Other findings include that few think the government is run for the benefit of all the people and that it is viewed as wasteful and inefficient. About 3 in 4 Americans say the federal government is “run by a few big interests” and 57 percent say the “government is almost always wasteful and inefficient.”
It hasn't given a good accounting of itself, at that...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Don't Cry for Kirchner, Argentina

There's a new kid in town:
Macri, the outgoing mayor of Buenos Aires, hails from one of the country's richest families. On the campaign trail, he sometimes talked about being kidnapped in the early 1990s, an experience he said helped him understand the needs of others and he credits with pushing him into politics.

As mayor of Argentina's most important city, he was known for a technocrat manner that stressed efficiency over style.

He campaigned for president on promises to reform and jumpstart the South American country's sagging economy. He also pledged to lead by "listening more and speaking less" than Fernandez, something he frequently said on the campaign trail.

"I'm so happy," said Julia Juarez, a 66-year-old retired teacher who was one of thousands watching the returns at Macri's bunker. "Argentines are tired of this government. Tired of the corruption. We are ready for something new."
Let the free marketer decide!

First Amendment Responders

College professors try to stand up for free speech:
A recent wave of campus protests nationwide has brought new attention to the issue, with some civil liberties advocates fretting that it will erode free speech. The protests, including those that led to the ouster of the University of Missouri's president, also have added to the pressure on presidents to be responsive to students' demands.

But institution leaders say it is nothing new for them to navigate First Amendment conflicts, with more cropping up with this generation in particular on campuses that are generally far more diverse than their communities at home.

Wesleyan's president, Michael Roth, wrote a piece defending free speech in September after the student government moved to cut funding for the student newspaper over an op-ed piece on the Black Lives Matter movement. In an interview, he said the fact that some do not value free speech above all things is not a sign of a problem, but rather reflects one of many continuing debates on a diverse campus.

"As a president, I think it's pretty simple," Roth said. "You want to keep the conversation going so that you can learn from other people's views, but you also want to make sure you're learning and not just spinning your wheels."

Still, Roth said he was asked this week by students how he could defend both the student newspaper and students protesting racism.
Because, that whole free speech thing?

No Explanations Necessary

So how does the Obama administration expect to explain its climate change policy? They won't:
Stephen D. Eule, vice president of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, a Chamber affiliate, appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and told lawmakers that it is “difficult to see how the administration proposes to sell such an unrealistic, bare-bones plan” given the unresolved questions and the lawsuits filed to halt implementation.

“The legal limbo the administration’s actions have created will have real consequences for business as it tries to plan for the future,” Eule said.

President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency have set a goal to cut net greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent from established 2005 emission levels by 2025. The plan, Eule said, “raises more questions than it answers.”

“Nowhere does it explain how the administration intends to achieve the unrealistic goals it has set out,” he said. “In the absence of a detailed explanation of how the administration intends to meet the goal, the Congress, foreign governments and stakeholders here and abroad have no basis on which to assess its cost or achievability.”
Unicorns still need an explanation...

The War On Tweets

You've got to get them where it hurts:
Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy speech Thursday wasn’t exactly packed with specific strategies to defeat the Islamic State. But the Democratic presidential front-runner did offer this highly targeted approach:

“Social media companies can also do their part by swiftly shutting down terrorist accounts, so they’re not used to plan, provoke or celebrate violence,” she said.

Boom. Just shut it down. And do it swiftly.

On the surface, this sounds like a common-sense proposal. Social media is an important part of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine. When the group claimed responsibility for last week’s attacks on Paris, it did so on Twitter. Islamic State members routinely use social media to exchange instructions and recruit new members.
It's a war of words out there...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Subsides In The Wind

Britain cuts down on wind and solar subsidies:
The moves have baffled environmentalists, business leaders and even many government allies. Britain has long been in the vanguard of efforts to combat global warming. It has been expected to play a leading role — alongside the Obama administration — in efforts to secure a package of tough reforms at the U.N. climate change summit in Paris, which kicks off at the end of this month.

But the decision to cut hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of support for renewable energy at home, with a planned 87 percent reduction in subsidies for solar power, threatens to undermine Britain’s international authority, while showing just how difficult it can be for a developed nation to break a centuries-long addiction to fossil fuels.
Or maybe they figured out that supporting unreliable, bird-killing tech isn't such a great idea after all...

Big Ben

Ben Shapiro takes on the culture of micro aggression:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Poop Heads On Campus

Sometimes poop is just poop:
“The one thing that guide dog school trains every student to do is that if they don’t know where the garbage can is, you still always pick it up and put it in the bag, that way no one steps in it,” Zundel told the paper. “But then you leave it outside of a building that way someone else who sees a garbage can put it in there.”

Zundel got a call from police, and her roommates told her about the Hidden Dores post, which she told the Hustler that she read. And while Zundel indicated she supports the group, the tone of the post was troubling.

“The thing that bothered me and upset me was that the post was written very extreme, and what happened was they wrote it without any investigation,” Zundel told the paper. “So there were a lot of assumptions being made.”
First, they came for the poop scoopers...

The Real Science Isn't Settled

Real scientists debunk the alarmists:
The scientists appeared at a climate summit sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The summit in Austin was titled: “At the Crossroads: Energy & Climate Policy Summit.”
Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen, an emeritus Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT, derided what he termed climate “catastrophism.”
“Demonization of CO2 is irrational at best and even modest warming is mostly beneficial,” Lindzen said.
Lindzen cautioned: “The most important thing to keep in mind is – when you ask ‘is it warming, is it cooling’, etc. — is that we are talking about something tiny (temperature changes) and that is the crucial point.”
Never let hysteria go to waste...

Cocaine Madness

This is an already crazy person on drugs:
Captagon, the trade name of a now banned German drug designed to treat ADHD, has in it’s copy-cat home-made form, for years been the narcotic of choice for many in the Middle East.

The drug, whose generic name is Fenethylline, increases aggression at higher doses and abusers can have aural and visual hallucinations, psychotic episodes or extreme dysphoria that manifests as paranoia or depression. It also carries the risk of heart failure or brain haemorrhages, followed by death.

Captagon was first produced in the 1960s to treat conditions such as hyperactivity, narcolepsy and depression, but was banned by most countries in the 1980s for being too addictive.

The underground trade continued to prosper over the years, however, and today ISIS fighters are using the drug to help them stay alert and on their feet for days, during long, protracted battles.
Insanity and death? They don't need much help there...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Exit Strategy

No more Obamacare for them:
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) today reported revised expectations for 2015, reflecting a continuing deterioration in individual exchange-compliant product performance, and provided an initial outlook for 2016.

“In recent weeks, growth expectations for individual exchange participation have tempered industrywide, co-operatives have failed, and market data has signaled higher risks and more difficulties while our own claims experience has deteriorated, so we are taking this proactive step,” said Stephen J. Hemsley, chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group. “We continue to be pleased with the growth and overall performance of our Company outside of the individual exchange products and look forward to strong, positive and broad based earnings growth across our enterprise in 2016.” …

UnitedHealthcare has pulled back on its marketing efforts for individual exchange products in 2016. The Company is evaluating the viability of the insurance exchange product segment and will determine during the first half of 2016 to what extent it can continue to serve the public exchange markets in 2017.
I am shocked that no one saw this coming...

The Hemingway Revolt

Fighting back with the old man:
Hemingway’s ‘‘A Moveable Feast,’’ or “Paris est une Fete” in French, is flying off the shelves at bookstores across the French capital and is the fastest-selling biography and foreign-language book at online retailer Daily orders of the memoir, first published in 1964, three years after the American author’s death, have risen 50-fold to 500 since Monday, according to publisher Folio.
Copies have been laid among the flowers and tributes at the sites of the massacres, and people are reading the book in bars and cafes, Folio spokesman David Ducreux said Thursday. Orders surged after a BFM television interview on Monday with a 77-year-old woman called Danielle, who urged people to read the memoir as she laid flowers for the dead. The video was shared hundreds of times on social media.
If you stop reading, the terrorists win...

Some Backgrounds Get Vetted More Than Others

The liberal bigots who have been going after Ben Carson:
Let’s consider this “vetting” process as they call it for a moment. Barak Obama grew up under strong communist, anti-American influences. He spoke throughout his 2008 campaign about transforming America. But the media ignored it, embraced him, and accused anyone who questioned or disagreed with him as racist.

By contrast, Ben Carson was raised in the Detroit ghetto by a single mother, pulled himself up, worked hard and—with the strong influence and encouragement of his mother—went on to become a world-renowned doctor who helped thousands of people. Ben Carson is the American Dream. So why aren’t the media head over heels, embracing him?
Ben Carson worked to get where he is. Obama didn't, and neither did most of those who praised him.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Middle Class Muddle

No, raising the minimum wage wouldn't help the middle class:
An analysis conducted by economists William E. Even of Miami University and David Macpherson from Trinity University found that the bill would eliminate 770,000 jobs. Nearly 85 percent of the estimated job losses will come from those earning less than $100,000 each year.

“Presidential primary candidate Hillary Clinton has argued for a minimum wage increase as part of her policy platform to boost the middle class. But this analysis shows that those with household incomes between $35,000 and up to $100,000 would bear a large portion (43%) of the job loss from this higher minimum wage,” the analysis says.
You might get your wage increase. Too bad you won't be able to get a job...

The Gawker Gamble

Will politics save Gawker? Probably not:
Desperate Denton’s latest gambit is to transform Gawker into a purely political publication in anticipation of the 2016 presidential race. To accommodate for the pivot, the blogging network has eliminated seven full-time editorial positions and a swathe of contributors. Amusingly, Sam Biddle is not just staying but is to be sent out on the campaign trail.

But Gawker has no credibility, no connections and no core audience in the world of politics, and it has not made the hires necessary to develop expertise. From what we can tell, its plan is to bring the same tired, bitchy formula to bear on politics in an era of unprecedented competition for readers’ attention and widespread loathing of the media.

It’s tough to interpret this new direction as anything more than Denton’s own political aspirations morphing Gawker from what it ought to be — a funny, feisty lifestyle publication — into an instrument of partisan political hackery. Trust me: the progressive Left has enough of those already.
Who needs more hacks? The left, apparently...

The High Country

This is your country on drugs:
Now that the court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to prevent people from smoking marijuana, Fox said it would eventually have to make a similar decision for drugs like cocaine and heroin.
"The other drugs will take a longer cycle, say five to 10 years," he said.
In a 2013 interview, Fox told Reuters he believed Mexico could legalize pot by the end of current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's six-year term in 2018, which had seemed far-fetched to many at the time, but now appears possible.
Party time south of the border?

The Comedians

Thou shall not mock the Queen:
Practically all of the country’s most acclaimed comedians have performed at the Laugh Factory and undoubtedly they have offended politicians and other well-known personalities with their standup routines. Tim Allen, Jay Leno, Roseanne Bar, Drew Carey, George Carlin, Jim Carrey, Martin Lawrence, Jerry Seinfeld and George Lopez are among the big names that have headlined at the Laugh Factory. The First Amendment right to free speech is a crucial component of the operation, though Masada drew the line a few years ago banning performers—including African Americans—from using the “n-word” in their acts.

The five short performances that Clinton wants eliminated include some profanity and portions could be considered crass, but some of the lines are funny and that’s what the Laugh Factory is all about. The video features the individual acts of five comedians, four men and a woman. The skits make fun of Clinton’s wardrobe, her age, sexual orientation, the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the former First Lady’s relationship with her famous husband. The Laugh Factory has appropriately titled it “Hillary vs. The First Amendment.”
Off with their heads?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Inside Job

How to create your own job:
A senior National Weather Service official helped write the job description and set the salary for his own post-retirement consulting post– then came back to the office doing the same job with a $43,200 raise, the agency’s watchdog found.

The deputy chief financial officer also demanded that he be paid a $50,000 housing allowance near Weather Service headquarters in downtown Silver Spring in violation of government rules for contractors, one of numerous improprieties in a revolving-door deal sealed with full knowledge of senior agency leaders, according to an investigation by the Commerce Department inspector general’s office.
Who says government can't create jobs? Or at least allow those who work for it to make up new ones...

Hate Them, Love Their Money

One candidate's special interest is another's friend:
Clinton’s bundlers represent clients trying to prevent a crackdown on Wall Street reforms, protecting the oil and gas industry and promoting corporate tax breaks, a Post review of lobbying records shows.

They work on behalf of Marathon Oil, MasterCard, Corning Inc., Prudential Financial, Exxon Mobil, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Delta Air Lines, Ernst & Young and General Electric.

Unlike President Obama, who swore off lobbyists’ contributions, Clinton is “not quite as allergic” to the lobbying industry, said Viveca Novak, from the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics.

Clinton has tapped her long and extensive Washington network to fuel her campaign and voters should look at campaign contributions to “make a judgment as to who might be more serious about shaking up the system,” Novak said.
She's a crony, but it's honest cronyism...

More Governors Agree

No "refugees" for them:
Governors around the country are concerned with Syrian refugees, in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks. At least one of the Paris terrorists pretended to be a Syrian refugee in order to enter Europe and later take part in the attack Friday that led to the death of over 120 people.

On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Obama saying that his state will not accept Syrian refugees.

“Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity,” Abbott wrote. “As such, opening our door to them irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril.”
Under Obama, the government wants to protect us from ourselves, not others...

Webbed In

Welcome to the age of net "neutrality":
In advance testimony prepared for the committee, commissioner Mike O'Rielly said he could see the FCC extending its power to so-called "edge providers," or entities that connect to the web. "It is easy to envision a scenario where the FCC would undertake an even broader examination of the business practices of edge providers or online businesses as potentially harmful to the so-called 'virtuous cycle' in some unforeseen way," O'Rielly wrote.

Net neutrality, passed by the FCC in February, grants the agency power to regulate Internet service providers. Critics say it could be used to regulate political content on the web using a standard like the Fairness Doctrine, which would require providers to grant equal space to political parties and candidates. FCC commissioner Ajit Pai has specifically pointed to the Drudge Report and Fox News as examples of sites that could be regulated.
Because some speech is more free than others...

Not Winning

Charlie Sheen's behavior catches up with him:
Sheen said he was diagnosed roughly four years ago, but doesn't know how he contracted the virus.

"It started with what I thought was a series of crushing headaches," he said. "I thought I had a brain tumor. I thought it was over."

He also insisted it was "impossible" that he knowingly transmitted the virus to others. While he admitted to having unprotected sex with two people since the diagnosis, both were informed ahead of time and have been under the care of his doctor. But Sheen dismissed the idea that he engaged in high-risk behaviors.

"You're talking about needles and that whole mess? No, definitely not," he said.
It was only sort-of risky...

Monday, November 16, 2015

Senior Moments

Hillary seems to have had quite a few:
Abedin: Have you been going over her calls with her? So she knows singh is at 8? [India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh]
Hanley: She was in bed for a nap by the time I heard that she had an 8am call. Will go over with her
Abedin: Very imp to do that. She’s often confused.

“Huma Abedin’s description of Hillary Clinton as ‘easily confused’ tells you all you need to know why it took a federal lawsuit to get these government emails from Clinton’s illegal email server ,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These emails also show that Hillary Clinton’s and Huma Abedin’s decision to use the Clinton email server to conduct government business was dangerous and risky.”
Keep Grandma away from the server...

Hotel Hell

No Bibles for them:
Just one day after the complaint letter was sent, Northern Illinois University responded that copies of the holy books would be removed — a move that Gaylor praised in a statement published on the atheist group’s website.

“We’re grateful to NIU for so promptly making a decision to respect all of its hotel guests and stay above the religious fray,” she said. ”Nonreligious hotel guests should not have to pay to be proselytized in the privacy of their own bedrooms.”

Gaylor continued, “The Bible calls for killing nonbelievers, apostates, gays, ‘stubborn sons,’ and women who transgress biblical double standards. What’s obnoxious in a private hotel, however, becomes inappropriate and unconstitutional in state-run lodgings.”
Porn on cable will, however, presumably still be available...

Hackers On The Attack

Anonymous goes to war:
“Anonymous from all over the world will hunt you down,” the video said. “You should know that we will find you, and we will not let you go. We will launch the biggest operation ever against you. Expect massive cyber attacks.”

The video went on to say “war is declared” on the Islamic State and to be prepared because “the French people are stronger than you” and will be even stronger after the recent attacks.

Anonymous first gained notoriety when it launched cyber attacks against organizations like PayPal, MasterCard and the Church of Scientology. Additionally, the hacker group has been committed to shutting down the social media accounts of those supporting the Islamic State since the January attack on Charlie Hebdo.
They may be hackers, but they're anti-terrorist hackers...

They Heart The Surveillance State

This, coming from John Brennan:
In his remarks, Brennan said the attacks should serve as a “wake-up call” for those misrepresenting what intelligence services do to protect innocent civilians. He cited “a number of unauthorized disclosures, and a lot of handwringing over the government’s role in the effort to try to uncover these terrorists.”

He added that “policy” and “legal” actions that have since been taken now “make our ability collectively, internationally, to find these terrorists much more challenging.” In June, President Barack Obama signed into law legislation reforming a government surveillance program that vacuumed up millions of Americans’ telephone records. Passage of the USA Freedom Act was the result of a compromise between privacy advocates and the intelligence community.

Brennan’s remarks immediately sparked criticisms from civil liberties advocates who have fought for greater privacy protections from government surveillance and now fear the Paris attacks could roll them back.
As well they should. Our freedom is, after all, what the bad guys want to take from us, and the government shouldn't be helping them.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Clinton Charter

Hillary is not a fan of charter schools:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sounded less like a decades-long supporter of charter schools over the weekend and more like a teachers union president when she argued that most of these schools “don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don’t keep them.”

Her comments in South Carolina came straight from charter school critics’ playbook and distanced her from the legacies of her husband, former President Bill Clinton — credited with creating a federal stream of money to launch charters around the country — and President Barack Obama, whose administration has dangled federal incentives to push states to become more charter friendly.
If it works, and Democrats can't take credit for it, then it must be wrong...

War On Oil

Canada's new PM has a solution for his country's energy problems:
In a letter published Friday, Trudeau asked his Minister of Transportation to “formalize a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s North Coast,” the Calgary Herald reports.

Such a ban could potentially shut down the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline, in which crude oil from Alberta would be piped up to north to British Columbia and then shipped overseas. A coalition of environmental groups and aboriginal advocates applauded Trudeau’s decision.
It's cold up there. Let's hope Mr. Trudeau doesn't mind his people freezing this winter...

The Good Terrorists?

Um, okay:
“ISIS isn’t necessarily evil,” Dan Kimmel, a candidate for a Minnesota state representative seat tweeted Saturday. “It is made up of people doing what they think is best for their community. Violence is not the answer, though.”
ISIS isn't necessarily evil. It is made up of people doing what they think is best for their community. Violence is not the answer, though.

— Dan Kimmel (@KimmelDan) November 15, 2015
The Islamic State has taken responsibility for the terrorist attacks in Paris Friday that claimed the lives of more than 120 people and injured hundreds of others. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, French President Francois Hollande said he viewed the attack as an “act of war” and promised a “pitiless” response.
They're community organizers, with guns and bombs...

Friends Of Hillary And America

She took Wall Street donations because, what?
During Saturday's second Democratic debate, Clinton was put on the defensive by rival Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders when he said Wall Street had been the major contributor to her campaigns. "Now maybe they're dumb and they don't know what they're going to get, but I don't think so," he said.
Clinton responded that she was representing New York in the Senate when downtown Manhattan was attacked and noted that she helped the city's financial hub rebuild. "That was good for New York and it was good for the economy and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country," she said, her voice rising.
Her response drew an incredulous response on social media sites like Twitter, and the debate's moderators asked Clinton to respond to one Twitter user, who took issue with her mention of 9/11 to justify the contributions.
"Well, I'm sorry that whoever tweeted that had that impression because I worked closely with New Yorkers after 9/11 for my entire first term to rebuild," Clinton said. "I had a lot of folks give me donations from all kinds of backgrounds, say, 'I don't agree with you on everything. But I like what you do. I like how you stand up. I'm going to support you.' And I think that is absolutely appropriate."
She did it for America, and her campaign fund...

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Onward Climate Change Soldiers

Come what may, the show goes on:
The conference "will be held because it's an essential meeting for humanity," Prime Minister Manuel Valls told TF1 television on Saturday evening.

He said the summit would also be an opportunity for world leaders to show their solidarity with France after the attacks.

About 118 world leaders are expected to attend the opening day of the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 conference, which is due to nail down a global deal to limit rising greenhouse gas emissions.

In Washington, officials confirmed that both U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry still planned to attend.
They still feel the Earth's pain...

French Lives Matter More

the social justice crowd isn't happy about not making headlines:
Black Lives Matter and Mizzou protesters responded to the murder of scores of people in Paris at the hands of Islamic extremists by complaining about losing the spotlight and saying their “struggles” were being “erased.” Their struggles, remember, consist of a poop swastika of unknown provenance and unsubstantiated claims of racially-charged remarks somewhere near Missouri’s campus.

So debased has the language on American campuses become that these incidents, which many observers believe to be hoaxes, just like previous campus scandals celebrated by progressive media, are being referred to as “terrorism” and a “tragedy” by moronic 20-year-olds who have never been told, “No.”
Or that they don't really matter after all...

Friday, November 13, 2015

Baby Bad Talk

When the kids start swearing:
A study published last year in the American Journal of Psychology collected “data about the emergence of adult like swearing in children.” The authors, Timothy Jay and Kristin Jay, recorded observations of children ages 1 through 12 and adults using taboo utterances, which “were described as offensive words and phrases (e.g. fuck), insults or name calling (e.g. douchebag), and clinical terms (e.g. penis), as well as abusive expressions (e.g. I hate you).”

The study found that, overall, boys had a slightly larger repertoire of bad words than girls (95 compared to 80). But that repertoire varied by age. By age 3 or 4, girls were using 40 taboo words while boys were using 34; but among 7- and 8-year-olds, boys were using 45, and the number of bad words girls were using slipped down to 25.
F is for...

Love Crush

Love letters in the age of "harassment":
The note described how his crush "wears the same uniform and how her eyes sparkled like diamonds," his mother told WFTS.

The station reports the boy lives in Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa. It did not name the child, his mother, or the school, citing privacy concerns.

The principal told the boy's mother the note was inappropriate, and that it would file sexual harassment charges if he wrote another one, she said.

Other students started to tease the boy, saying he wanted to see the girl naked, his mother added.

School district officials told WFTS the child wrote more than one unwanted love note. They added that passing notes in class is too disruptive.

But the boy's mother fired back, "What little kid doesn't write love notes?"
The ones that don't want to face the wrath of the PC police...

Space Balls

In space, nobody can hear you dump your trash:
The locals who found the black sphere said they didn’t see any footprints in the muddy field around it, suggesting it had fallen from the sky.

Other sightings followed a few days later in the nearby town of Calasparra and most recently Villavieja.

20 Minutos (translated via an unofficial translation) carried a story by the Europa Press, which reported that the country’s Civil Guard had a team test the objects for any threat of biological, radiological, nuclear or chemical contamination potential. Thus far, the civil guard told the Press they believe the orbs to be space junk.
I always wondered what happened to happy fun ball...

They The People

Republicans discover the evils of cronyism:
Nearly all the candidates joined the free-market populist club when discussing Wall Street, and that’s fitting: Wall Street and the big banks thrive on implicit bailouts and explicit government backstops. A free-marketeer ought to watch financial giants with the same sort of skepticism he has for cabinet agencies.

Rubio said of the big banks: “The government made them big by adding thousands and thousands of pages of regulations. So the big banks, they have an army of lawyers, they have an army of compliance officers. They can deal with all these things.”

Cruz piled on: “The truth is, the rich do great with big government. They get in bed with big government. The big banks get bigger and bigger and bigger under Dodd-Frank and community banks are going out of business.”

Fiorina, as usual put it most concisely: “The classic of crony capitalism. The big have gotten bigger, 1,590 community banks have gone out of business.”
They'll hate the big banks, until they learn to love them again...

Leftism's Last Stand?

Are campus leftists waging a final battle?
There’s good reason to look at what’s going on in America’s college campuses with incredulity, befuddlement, anger, disdain and repulsion. But what if the Leftist temper-tantrum that we’re witnessing is in fact something of a last gasp, a sudden recognition that their long-awaited nirvana is never going to come?

Deep down, they must realize that the only real career paths for the campus radical are to join some leftist organization in a professional capacity or to stay on campus and attempt to become a professor. Corporate America may pay off an agitator, but they aren’t terribly eager to hire them or give them any real responsibility. The audience for Leftist agitprop is pretty limited, while works they see as trigger-inducing right-wing propaganda, like American Sniper, finds large audiences.
They are not going quietly into that bad night...

Paris Is Burning

Paris is under attack:
World leaders have expressed shock at the violence in Paris.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is "deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris." The German leader issued a statement saying her thoughts were with the victims "of the apparent terrorist attack."

The Secretary-General of the NATO alliance says he is "deeply shocked by horrific Paris attacks."

Jens Stoltenberg said in a Twitter message that "We stand together with the people of #France. Terrorism will never defeat democracy."
Only student protesters can do that...

Who Tickets Whom?

What happens when a self-driving car gets pulled over?
“As the officer approached the slow moving car he realized it was a Google Autonomous Vehicle,” a police department post said.

Which is to say that no one was driving the darn thing.

There was, however, a passenger. So the officer asked the passenger how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways.

He also took the opportunity to inform the passenger about 22400(a) of the California Vehicle Code, which related to impeding traffic — a section of the law the self-driving car may have been unfamiliar with.
Back to driving school?

Will The Real Transgenders Please Stand Up

She/he's not one of them:
The protesters, reportedly from a group dubbed “I Ain’t Kait,” complained that Jenner is a “clueless rich white woman” who doesn’t represent transgender people who struggle to survive every day.

Jenner also has been criticized for touting less-than-liberal perspectives on “I Am Cait,” noting that welfare recipients can rake in more money than those with entry-level jobs: “Why should I work? I got a few bucks, I got my room paid for.”

“Caitlyn Jenner … lives in a mansion and has a net worth of millions of dollars, while the average trans person has a 41 percent chance of experiencing homelessness and a nearly 50 percent chance of living off less than $10k per year,” ET said the group wrote on its Facebook page, which wasn’t active Friday morning.
This is definitely a rich people problem, at that...

Freedom Of Suppress

The real defenders of free speech speak out:
“First, former Dean Mary Spellman. We are sorry that your career had to end this way, as the email in contention was a clear case of good intentions being overlooked because of poor phrasing,” the editorial board wrote. “However, we are disappointed in you as well. We are disappointed that you allowed a group of angry students to bully you into resignation. We are disappointed that you taught Claremont students that reacting with emotion and anger will force the administration to act.”

The university’s president also received harsh criticism for not being “brave enough to come to the defense of a student who was told she was ‘derailing’ because her opinions regarding racism didn’t align with those of the mob around her.”
First, they came for the Deans...

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Is email the Devil's work?
While email may work, technically, there’s a profound sentiment—in tech circles, especially—that there’s something deeply wrong with the way people email today. Maybe not surprisingly, most email is “total garbage,” Johnson says, and that’s the stuff that doesn’t even make it to your inbox. Spam filters are actually pretty good, so this virtual garbage-pile isn’t the real problem. The thing about email that bogs people down is the sorting, and responding, the unsubscribing, the reaching out, the circling back.

People are, clearly, consumed by their inboxes. On average, people check their email about 77 per day, according to Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine. (On the high end, people checked their inboxes 373 times a day.) “The more email people do, the lower is their assessed productivity,” Mark said in the podcast. “[and] the lower is their positive mood at the end of the day.”
Email, the anti-mail?

River Reward

EPA, you're doing a heck of a job:
Environmental Protection Agency officials awarded nearly $2.7 million in contract enhancements to Environmental Restoration LLC after the firm was involved in the Colorado Gold King Mine disaster that dumped three million gallons of yellow wastewater into a drinking water source for people in three states and the Navajo Nation.

The wastewater poured into the Animas River, a Colorado River tributary that supplies water to people in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The company also got a contract enhancement worth nearly $1 million from EPA on Aug. 4, 2015, the day before the spill, according to documents compiled by the Project on Government Oversight, a non-profit government watchdog group.
Remember, they're looking out for you...

Climate Kangaroo Court

Coming soon: climate change show trials?
68% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose the government investigating and prosecuting scientists and others including major corporations who question global warming. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 17% favor such prosecutions. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Just over one-in-four Democrats (27%), however, favor prosecuting those who don’t agree with global warming. Only 11% of Republicans and 12% of voters not affiliated with either major party agree.

After all, just 24% of all voters believe the scientific debate about global warming is over, although that’s up from 20% in July of last year. Unchanged is the 63% who say that debate is not done yet. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

Among voters who believe scientists have made up their minds about global warming, one-in-four (24%) favor prosecuting those who question that theory, but 64% are opposed.
Meet the new inquisitors..

Royal Pains

They'll never be royals:
As recently as last year SDSU named a homecoming “king” and “queen” during its annual football game, according to the university’s website. But this Saturday when the Aztecs take on the University of Wyoming Cowboys, the Royal Court will end up with the “final two Royals,” the website adds. It’s unclear if those final two “royals” will be one male and one female, or some other iteration of the LGBTQAAII spectrum.

“During the application process, candidates were allowed to select gender-neutral pronouns to identify themselves,” the Daily Aztec campus newspaper reports. “These gender-inclusive pronouns aim to dispel the common gender binary of categorizing people as solely masculine or feminine.”

Not all students are happy with the changes.

“It’s just a case of the PC police feeling the need to screw with an all-American tradition under the façade of ‘progression,'” Jordan Dennison, chairman of the SDSU College Republicans, said Wednesday in an email to The College Fix. “Imagine all of the alumni at the game who are going to see that and wonder ‘what the hell was SDSU thinking?'”
That students will now bow down to the new monarchy of political correctness?

Correspondence By Numbers

Most Americans think she lied:
A total of 68 percent believe that what she did was wrong in one way or the other.

The biggest bloc, 40 percent, say she acted unethically, though legally. That includes large numbers of Democrats and independents.

The second biggest, 28 percent, believe she did something illegal.

The third, 27 percent, believe she did nothing wrong.

The results suggest that even as Clinton builds her lead for the Democratic presidential nomination over rival Bernie Sanders, a sizable number of voters have lingering questions about her behavior as secretary of state that would follow her through a general election campaign.
If it were legal, it wouldn't be the Clinton way...

Wait Your Turn, Kids

Old people, and their party:
The average age of the leaders, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders, is 71, older than Ronald Reagan was during his successful 1980 campaign.

The Republican candidates average 57, with three candidates in their 40s, even after Scott Walker (47 at the time) dropped out in September. The sole Republican candidate old enough to collect Social Security? Donald J. Trump.

Where are the national Democratic politicians in their 40s and 50s? At 52, Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor, is this year’s lone exception. Does it say something about the party, or about the generation, that other than President Obama (born at the tail end of the baby boom), national candidates from this age group are rare? If Hillary Clinton is elected and serves eight years, by 2024, the oldest of the millennials will then be hitting their mid-40s, ready to take over. The generation of Run-D.M.C. and Winona Ryder might miss its chance altogether.
Wither the young Democrats? Withering away?

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...