Friday, September 30, 2016

Snow Job

So here's Howard Dean, talking about Donald trump being a cokehead:
STEPHANIE RUHLE: We’re going to talk about Donald. And Donald gives you low-hanging fruit to go after every day — just like why is he tweeting at 3:00 am. But you’re a member of the Democratic Party. Michelle Obama had the line: When they go low, we go high. To suggest that Donald Trump was maybe coked up? Come on, he has no history of that.

DEAN: If I could — Well, I don’t know that we know that [Donald Trump has no history of drug use]. People who stay up until 5:00 in the morning tweeting about sex tapes — these are not normal people. There is something the matter with him, and I don’t know what it is. Let me say this: I would be very willing to apologize (not to Donald Trump). But I don’t think using innuendo is a good thing. But the problem is much greater than that.
Then why are you using it? Yeeeeargh!

Blogging In The Years: 1980

Don't make Reagan angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry:

Crash Test

Friends don't let friends drive happy:
While anger is the most potentially dangerous emotion, excitement and happiness can also cause drivers to fall foul of traffic laws.

Behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings said: ‘If you’re giddy with joy, you’re likely to be self-absorbed, which may impair your concentration. When feeling happy, your heart rate could increase from a standard 60 beats per minute to 100.

‘Also, feel-good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin flood our bodies. This can make us feel highly alert but can sometimes impair focus and concentration.’
Don't be too happy behind the wheel?

Cults Of Personality

Why do otherwise smart people join cults?

Not Cool Ride

Why cars are now uncool:
For one part, they’re a major source of carbon emissions, and thereby a principal cause of global warming. For another part, they’re expensive to own and operate, especially in big cities. The high-status technology, media, and finance professionals who live in cities like New York and San Francisco and the like can get around by public transit, on foot, and by bike. Elsewhere, the recession stifled car purchases and use among all demographics. Millennials just entering the workforce, who might have started buying cars had the economy been better, are more likely to have found and then acclimated to other options—including ride-hailing services like Uber.

Then there’s the robocars. Once a wild-west, self-driving are cars gaining momentum. Google has been driving robotic Lexus SUVs in Mountain View for years. Uber has begun a working trial of an autonomous fleet in Pittsburgh. Tesla has installed partially-autonomous “autopilot” in its cars for years. And finally (thanks partially to Tesla autopilot’s questionable safety record) the U.S. government has issued guidelines for autonomous vehicles, along with an endorsement of their promise for the future.
It's not quite the same as when you got your first car to get a cool set of wheels...

Sailor People

All pronouns on deck:
According to Navy Times, what this decision means in practice is that “Fire Controlman 1st Class Joe Sailor…would be Petty Officer 1st Class Joe Sailor.”

“We’re going to immediately do away with rating titles and address each other by just our rank as the other services do,” Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke told Navy Times. “We recognize that’s going to be a large cultural change, it’s not going to happen overnight, but the direction is to start exercising that now.”

The shift gets rid of pesky job title names like “yeoman,” which the Navy bureaucracy had no idea how to make gender-neutral, thereby fulfilling a request from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to make positions more female-friendly to facilitate integration.
So what would they have called Janice Rand?

All Hail The King

Hail to the King, baby:
The student, Grant Strobl, has declared that he shall henceforth be referred to as “His Majesty, Grant Strobl.”

Strobl was able to announce his new pronoun because the taxpayer-funded school launched a new web page allowing students to declare their preferred, “designated” pronouns.

A Tuesday email from Martha E. Pollack, Michigan’s provost, and E. Royster Harper, the vice president for student life, links to the Wolverine Access student web portal, which students with a free-form box to fill in their pronouns of choice in a “new Gender Identity tab within the Campus Personal Information section.”
I personally prefer the term Grand Vizier or maybe Potentate. Kings have a tendency to go bankrupt...

Panning The Plan

Sorry, kids:
“I would love to see the Clinton administration come and make college free for students coming from families earning less than $125,000,” Professor Nicholas Dirks says. “But I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Dirks spoke at a panel discussion on the topic of “Who Pays For World-Class Universities?” during the Times Higher Education (THE) World Academic Summit.

“[I]f such a thing came to be, there would be a real concerted effort to control parts of some of the great research institutions that are public in ways that might compromise their capacity to compete at the highest level,” he added, noting as well that implementing Clinton’s plan would be a “complicated political process” since state governments oversee universities.
If you want free stuff, somebody always has to give something else up...

The Director Speaks

Tim Burton on political correctness:
“Nowadays, people are talking about it more,” Burton said in a brief interview with Bustle when asked about the “lack of people of color” in his new movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

“Things either call for things, or they don’t,” he continued. “I remember back when I was a child watching The Brady Bunch and they started to get all politically correct, like, ‘Okay, let’s have an Asian child and a black’ – I used to get more offended by that than just – I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, ‘Okay, there should be more white people in these movies.’”

Samuel L. Jackson, who stars in Burton’s new film, also defended the director when asked about the lack of diversity in his film’s casts.

“I had to go back in my head and go, how many black characters have been in Tim Burton movies?” said Jackson. “And I may have been the first, I don’t know, or the most prominent in that particular way, but it happens the way it happens.

“I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling, it’s just how it’s played out” he continued. “Tim’s a really great guy.”
What's wrong with just being weird?

Crazy Ride

When insanity becomes offensive:
The virtual haunt placed visitors into a wheelchair seat, before visitors had their arms strapped down and a pair of virtual reality goggles were placed over their face, entering them into the experience which would have visitors being chased by crazed inhabitants of the hospital.

“Over the past week we have heard from a number of people expressing their concern that one of our temporary, Halloween attractions — Fear VR — is hurtful to those who suffer from mental illnesses,” said a representative of Knott’s Berry Farm. “Contrary to some traditional and social media accounts, the attraction’s story and presentation were never intended to portray mental illness. As it is impossible to address both concerns and misconceptions in the Halloween timeframe, at this time we have decided to close the attraction.”

The attraction’s original name, which was titled “Fear VR: 5150,” a reference to California’s Welfare and Institutions code which stands for a patient who is a danger to themselves or others, was also dropped after criticism shortly before the entire attraction was scrapped.
Wait until they find out about Michael Myers and practically every other horror movie icon...

Free the Frog

The time has come to take back the meme:
The war started when Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign branded the cartoon frog a “symbol of white supremacy,” basing their claims on a Daily Beast interview with two notorious trolls who have since mocked the author for taking their bait.

The claims have since been echoed by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, NBC’s Katy Tur, Heat Street’s Louise Mensch and Ian Miles Cheong, and even the Anti-Defamation League, who added the cartoon frog into their Hate Symbol Database alongside the Nazi swastika, the burning cross, and the Ku Klux Klan logo.

Attempting to take back their beloved cartoon frog meme, users on Twitter have protested the media’s coverage, using hashtags such as #TheWarOnMemes.
Pepe Power!

Web 2.0

Is this the new Net?
A Union Square Ventures and Y Combinator backed startup called Blockstack, just barely out of stealth mode, has been designing an alternative browser for what could be fairly described as another internet, one powered by the bitcoin blockchain. “They are in it for the long run,” Muneeb Ali, a CTO and Cofounder, said of his investors, during an interview with the Observer at his office. “They actually believe that this is the future.” In other words, even if a different kind of internet undermines past investments, investors still want to be positioned well for the next ones.

Ali spoke on the TEDxNewYork 2016 stage, describing an internet that couldn’t be censored. In that talk, he said, “The new internet takes away power from these large companies and takes it to where it always belonged, with the people.” The architecture the team has built is completely open source.
Welcome to Free Web?

Where The Jobs Went

Well, she said she wants to create jobs:
“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent federal agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State… USAID plans its development and assistance programs in coordination with the Department of State,” according to the State Department’s website.

The head of USAID at the time was Rajiv Shah, who was a former top director with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Microsoft has been one of the nation’s biggest lobbyist for expansive immigration policies, which would allow corporations to replace American tech workers with foreign laborers who will work for a fraction of the Americans workers’ salary. For example, in 2014 Microsoft pushed for greater admissions of low-wage foreign workers into the United States at the same time as the tech giant was laying off 18,000 of its own employees.
Workers wanted-just not here...


For a full flushing experience?
Photos shared by CCTV News show the restroom facilities featuring slightly fogged glass doors which opened to the public at the Shiyan Lake Resort in Changsha city on Thursday.

“This ‘au naturel’ toilet was surely created as a challenge to those who claim they aren’t shy!” CCTV News wrote.

The see-through bathrooms provide a view of the surrounding scenic wooded area and contain several rows of stalls and multiple urinals.
In China, toilet uses you...

The Long Vacation

Venezuelans are going on vacation for groceries:
Pew notes that the number of Venezuelans living in the United States skyrocketed nearly 400 percent between 1990 and 2013 (Chávez took power in 1998, though he attempted a coup in 1992). Many of these, however, were the Venezuelans with the most resources to leave the country, as evidenced by their educational backgrounds. Pew notes that Venezuelan-Americans have, on average, attained higher education levels than the U.S. population overall, not just the U.S. Hispanic population, and 70 percent speak English proficiently.

The number of Venezuelans fleeing their country upon Chávez’s assumption of power, though certainly spiking significantly after Nicolás Maduro took over in 2013, reflects a slow-burn decline of the nation’s economy, political freedom, and the solidity of its democratic institutions. Reports that Venezuela had run out of toilet paper began as early as May 2013 — two months into Maduro’s tenure — but, by 2015, even luxury hotels were warning travelers to pack their own.
It's the real paper chase...

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Jurassic Bling

Size did matter:
Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that theropods that developed ornaments on their heads evolved to gigantic body sizes 20 times faster than those that didn’t, and that 20 of the 22 largest theropod species, like T. Rex and Allosaurus, had them.

Researchers Terry Gates and Lindsay Zanno suspect the ornaments served as socio-sexual display mechanisms the dinosaurs would use to signal their mating, territory and defense intentions.

Gates and Zanno examined the fossils of 111 ornamented and unornamented theropods and determined that those weighing under 80 pounds did not develop head ornaments, but 20 of 22 above that threshold did.

"We were surprised to find such a strong relationship between ornaments and huge body size in theropods," Gates said. "Something about their world clearly favored bling and big bods."
Dinosaurs keeping it real?

Halloween Pet Parade

Don't make sexist costumes for
On the site, options for your female pooch include “sweet heart nurse” or French maid. “Any tidy girl dog will look adorable wearing this French Maid Dog Costume,” the site’s description reads. “Whether your pup is a clean freak or a messy mutt, she will enjoy playing ‘dress up’ in this fun costume.”

The choices for male dogs, meanwhile, include fireman, mob boss and doctor (suggested pairing: “match up with a girl friend with the Sweet Heart Nurse Dog Costume.”)

“It seems silly on the surface, but this is part of a larger message we’re sending, that there are certain jobs for men, and certain jobs for women,” said Scott Lawrie, 36, who co-hosts a podcast, ‘She will not be ignored,’ about gender issues. “The career options for women — and dogs — need to go beyond pink loofahs and pink cowgirls.”
Chasing chew toys needs to be respected, you know...

Breaking The Bank

What is going on with Deutsche Bank?
European regulators and government officials have kept a low profile in public over Deutsche’s deepening woes. However, in private they have struck a sanguine tone, stressing that in extremis there is scope under European regulation to inject state funds to support the bank, provided it is done in line with market conditions.

Marcel Fratzscher, head of DIW Berlin, a think-tank, said: “If push comes to shove, the German government would contribute because Deutsche Bank is the only global bank that Germany has.”

A person briefed on the situation at Deutsche said some of the bank’s hedge fund clients had imposed risk limits on the business they do with it in response to the negative headlines swirling around the lender and the recent rise in its credit default swap prices, a key indicator of credit risk.
I'm sure everything will be just fine...

Black Moon Rising

'Tis only the moon:
The latest causing excitement among skygazers is the so-called black moon, however there are several definitions about what it actually is.

Most experts agree the term black moon refers to the second new moon in a calendar month.

It shouldn’t be confused with a blue moon, a phenomenon that occurs when there is a second full moon in one calendar month.

Joe Rao from explains: "A second full moon in a single calendar month is sometimes called a blue moon. A black moon is supposedly the flip side of a blue moon; the second new moon in a single calendar month."
The moon is black and blue...

The Dearly Disemboweled

Always make sure your loved one's internal organs are properly stored:
The woman, who has lived in Graz for the past eight years, asked a Moroccan doctor to examine the body for evidence that her in-laws killed their son in protest of his marriage. The doctor agreed with her suspicions, and told the woman to take a small piece of the man’s intestine to Europe for testing.

The customs officials had never experienced a similar situation and called in police to decide if the woman was breaking any laws. Police spokesman Leo Josefus said it turned out to be perfectly legal to bring a sample of your dead spouse’s organs to Austria, and the woman was cleared to take the bag to a lab for examination.

“I would imagine that it was done by a pathologist,” Gerald Höfler, the pathologist examining the intestine, said of the package, according to The New York Times. “It was absolutely secure, triple wrapped, according to European Union norms.”
No leakage, no problem...

The Last Days

Headed for election Armageddon?
Caddell said, “One of the things we’ll see, and I’ll predict this now and why if Trump’s going to win he has to go to this higher ground, is, you’re going to see … just how much the establishment order will fight to hold onto its power and privilege at all costs.”

He continued, “It is going to be the most broad-based assault in every direction to try to keep [Trump] out of the White House. And so this is headed to Armageddon, if you will, politically.”

“This is an election where the American people have bolted,” asserted Caddell, adding:

They want control back of their government, and they are very anti-establishment and political class. That’s why you see such a united effort by the Democrats and Republicans in the establishment who are terrified that Trump represents the diminution of their power.
Power to the people-or just power?

Remember When

Linda Tripp brings back the dark side of the Clinton years:
Tripp possesses insider information on the scandals known as Travelgate, Filegate and Whitewater, and she personally witnessed the handling of documents from Vince Foster’s office the morning after the Deputy White House Counsel was found dead in an apparent suicide. Foster was heavily involved in defending the Clintons in the Travelgate, Filegate and Whitewater cases. Tripp was the last person known to have spoken to Foster before his death.

In an exclusive interview, Tripp reopened each of those scandals – Travelgate, Filegate, Whitewater and the issues surrounding Vince Foster’s death – and she used her unique vantage point to explain how the notorious cases foreshadowed many of the current Clinton controversies, from the Clinton Foundation to Hillary Clinton’s private email server troubles.
The past is always there, even if you try to delete it...

Government Train Wreck

Where were the crash controls?
Passengers aboard the No. 1614 Pascack Valley line train say it never slowed down before slamming through barriers and into a wall at the New Jersey station.

A witness at the scene said the engineer was found slumped over at the wheel of the train.

Now it has emerged that the train lacked a system called Positive Train Control (PTC), which combines satellite and computer data to monitor train movements and prevent them from going too fast or hitting other locomotives on the track.

A mandatory report by Federal Railroad Administration revealed that the life-saving technology is not installed on any NJ Transit locomotives.
More government fail-at passenger expense?


Delivered in thirty bytes or less?
Here’s how it works: When a customer places an order, a robot sauces a pre-formed uncooked pie, then sends it down a conveyor belt to a human, who adds the toppings. The pizza is then loaded into one of those 56 ovens on a special delivery truck, where it will bake en route to its destination.

“We’re starting with pizza, but the implications for BOTW [baked on the way] technology extends to the entire food-delivery industry,” Garden said in a statement. “By eliminating dwell-time, we can make pizza with locally sourced, chemical-free ingredients, so that customers don’t have to compromise quality for convenience.”

The pizzas range from $15 to $18. And the toppings go beyond your average cheese and pepperoni: On something called a Veggie Jackson pizza, you’ll find mozzarella, young goat gouda, baby spinach, yellow squash, green squash, Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, red onions, gremolata and tomato sauce. There’s also a gluten-free option for some of the pies.
Don't forget to tip your robot...

Up Above The World So High

The world of flight:
Cruising along, skimming the top of the cloud layers rewards you with the glory of it all. The sun is above you. The clouds are at eye level. You can peer down through the breaks to see farmlands, winding rivers, and geometric highways. You can spot quarries and prisons, schoolyards, and backyard swimming pools.

The cooling towers of the nuclear plants make their own clouds, which rise and mingle with those of Mother Nature.

Other strangers appear in the sky: sometimes there are “jumpers” who are sliding out of planes and floating down to earth by parachute. Sometimes there are low-flying gliders or dirigibles. In the distance, we’ll see the profiles of big jumbo jets and 747s. Occasionally at low altitudes, birds will come out of nowhere, unexpected and dangerous. And near storms, we might see the drama of lightning.
The sky above, the ground below...

Young Man With A Cleaver

Learning a useful trade:
Basically, what we do is we take the pig and figure out how to best preserve it and create different flavors. I take the raw product and through either curing or smoking preserve the product so that it becomes sellable, as well as altering the flavor to a more desirable, complex flavor background.

Lam: What are some of the challenges of your job?

Larson: When I first started, it was very difficult because I'd never done anything like that. It was tough to get through a pig in one day. Even skinning the pig was challenging. I think that was the biggest struggle was getting my butchery skills to a level to where I could do more interesting and valuable things with the meat. That took a solid four or five months before I was really comfortable breaking down the whole pig, making accurate cuts, being precise, and knowing what I was going to do with it.

Now, the challenge has kind of changed. Recently, it's been more about creativity and understanding more what I can do with the animals: How I can work with Nathaniel to create different products that are more interesting and more useful?

Lam: What do you mean by useful?

Larson: For instance, today we're trying to figure out how to make pork-skin sausage. Traditionally, what we do is we take the pork skin, boil it down, render out the fat, and scrape the skins, then dehydrate them and fry them and they crackle. We'll sell that at Bourrée.
An education can come in many forms...

The Worst Boss

When it comes to the government, scraping the bottom of the barrel is areward, not punishment:
In St. Louis, Nelson oversaw a hospital that potentially exposed 1,800 patients to HIV and was closed twice for serious medical safety issues. Patients and employees both gave it the worst possible marks for trustworthiness. The Democratic congressman who represents the area around the facility said mediocrity “thrives” under Nelson and he was astounded that she was still employed by the VA.

When she starts Oct. 2, she will become the seventh director in less than three years for Phoenix’s hospital — the epicenter of the national wait-time scandal that rocked the nation. She is the second consecutive boss who is known to have a bad track record even before her first day on the job.
She'll fit right in...

Railroading 101

The rights of the accused still matter:
The decision, by Judge William E. Smith, blasts Brown for a variety of actions that deprived Doe of due process. Most notably, he faults the school for telling Doe he would be judged under the 2014 student code of conduct, but then without warning switching to a new code of conduct that did not even exist when his alleged offense occurred. The new code of conduct included a tougher definition of sexual consent, likely increasing the odds that Doe would be found responsible and kicked out.

The ruling also notes that Brown’s training of sexual assault investigators apparently caused them to deliberately overlook evidence with the potential to exonerate Doe, such as exculpatory text messages sent after the alleged assault.
In the real world, you can still have a chance at a fair trial. On campus, not so much...

The New Net Masters

So who will run the web now?
Bottom line: contrary to left-wing cant, there is such a thing as American exceptionalism – areas in which the United States is demonstrably superior to every other nation, a leader to which the entire world should look for examples. Sadly, our society is losing its fervor for free expression, and growing more comfortable with suppressing “unacceptable” speech, but we’re still far better than anyone else in this regard.

The rest of the world, taken in total, is very interested in suppressing various forms of expression, for reasons ranging from security to political stability and religion. Those governments will never be comfortable, so long as parts of the Internet remain outside of their control. They have censorship demands they consider very reasonable, and absolutely vital. The website you are reading right now violates every single one of them, on a regular basis.
I hope the left likes their new Internet overlords...

Red Payment Plan

Communists are finally making money, sort of:
The country’s GDP per capita for 2015 is now estimated to be $1,013, according to the Hyundai Research Institute on Thursday.

That figure is roughly equivalent to the average South Korean income in the mid- to late 1970s.

In 2013, North Korea’s per capita GDP was $854, then rose to $930 in 2014.

North Korea’s economy has been improving incrementally since the 2000s, when former leader Kim Jong Il called for new reforms that would bring significant changes to the economy’s centralized planning system.

But the lack of substantial reform has also left North Korea’s economy stuck at underdeveloped levels, according to the report.

The data provides a remarkable contrast to the wealthier South, where GDP per capita for 2015 is estimated to be $27,195.

North Korea’s estimated per capita GDP for 2015 is less than 4 percent of the South’s, and is well below China at $7,990, Vietnam at $2,088, and Laos at $1,779, according to the analysis.
I'm sure they'll thank Dear Leader for his table scraps...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Write It Off

Breaking the law is tax-deductible:
The Clintons’ publicly available tax filings show that the former first couple deducted similar amounts from Bill Clinton’s speechmaking income for computer maintenance expenses in those same years.

The Clintons also depreciated computer equipment that was put in service in June 2011 — the same month Pagliano traveled to the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, N.Y. to work on the server — as well as at other times when major changes were made to the off-the-books email system.

The similarities in the deductions and server payments are not definitive proof that the Clintons wrote off the money they paid to Pagliano. But none of the available evidence rules it out.
It's the giving that counts...

Where's My Internet?

Who controls the web, now?
Pai said, “This proposal is to essentially give up the US oversight role that it’s had for the last 20 years, basically for the entire commercial lifespan of the Internet to a company called ICANN, which is an international organization, which includes a number of foreign countries. And, it’s an unprecedented move, and one that, as Mr. DeMint pointed out, is irreversible. Once we give up this oversight role, we can’t get it back.”

He added that Internet oversight is a case of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Pai further stated, “[I]f you cherish free expression, and free speech rights generally, you should be worried, I think, when there’s — this oversight role’s going to be ceded to potentially, foreign governments who might not share our values.”
An online dictatorship by default?

Winding Up, Winding Down

Whatever happened to Obamacare?
As a candidate on the campaign trail in 2008, Obama once said: “If you’ve got health insurance, we’re going to help that employer save $2,500 per family per year. … Those savings are going to be passed along to the workers.”

Nationally, though, premium hikes are expected to average 8 percent next year. Many insurance companies are seeking much more than that, for the exchange plans and those offered to employers.

Premera in Washington state is approved to charge 19 percent more next year. Rates across California will go up an average of 13 percent. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is asking to raise premiums a stunning 60 percent.

Long-time critics of ObamaCare say they saw it coming.

“That basic promise, that it’s going to make health care more affordable, it’s not making health care more affordable,” said Avik Roy, an author and Republican adviser. “It’s making health care more expensive, especially for the uninsured.”
As it was planned to do...

Hatin' On The Frog

So apparently a cartoon frog is now hateful:
“In recent years, with the growth of the ‘alt right’ segment of the white supremacist movement, a segment that draws some of its support from some of the above-mentioned Internet sites, the number of ‘alt right’ Pepe memes has grown, a tendency exacerbated by the controversial and contentious 2016 presidential election,” wrote the ADL on their Pepe page. “Though Pepe memes have many defenders, not least the character’s creator, Matt Furie, who has called the alt right appropriation of the meme merely a ‘phase,’ the use of racist and bigoted versions of Pepe memes seems to be increasing, not decreasing.”

The ADL’s entry of Pepe the Frog into the Hate Symbol Database is accompanied with various modified images, portraying the cartoon frog as a Nazi, a Ku Klux Klan member, a negative stereotype of a Jew, and a black person.
Could it be that Trump supporters took Pepe away from the real haters? But then, these are the same types of people who are scared of Harambe, so...

Angry Snakes On A Plane

Why are people so angry when they fly?
Some 10,854 incidents were reported to IATA by its member airlines in 2015, equating to one every 1,205 flights. That’s up from 9,316 incidents, or one every 1,282 flights, the previous year, the industry group said Wednesday.
The majority of cases involved verbal abuse, failure to follow lawful crew instructions and other forms of anti-social behavior, while 11 percent featured physical aggression toward passengers or crew, or damage to the aircraft.
Intoxication was identified as a factor in 23 percent of cases, and in most instances alcohol was consumed prior to boarding or from a personal supply rather than bought -- or handed out -- on the plane.
Rage doesn't work well at 30,000 feet...

What's In A Mispronounced Name?

Say their name, or else:
The “microaggression” of failing to say a student’s name correctly adds to America’s lengthy and ever-growing list of “microaggressions” — everyday words and actions that radical leftists have decided to be angry or frustrated about.

The pledge to pronounce every kid’s name correctly 100 percent of the time appears to have originated with a national campaign launched last year by the National Association for Bilingual Education and the taxpayer-funded school district in Santa Clara, California, according to the Media Research Center.

The campaign, called “My Name, My Identity: A Declaration of Self,” suggests that teachers cause “anxiety and resentment” when they mispronounce students’ names.
It's always easier with Smith or Jones...

Blogging In The Years: 2003

What would a President Trump do? Would he invade Iraq?

Master Payment

The US owes reparations, according to the UN:
The group’s statement was part of a study by the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, a group that reports to the international organization’s High Commissioner on Human Rights, The Washington Post reported.

The group of experts, made up of leading human rights lawyers from around the world, presented its findings about the link between the U.S.’s history of slavery and present injustices, such as the recent police shootings of African Americans to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday.

“In particular, the legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the United States remains a serious challenge, as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent,” the report stated. “Contemporary police killings and the trauma that they create are reminiscent of the past racial terror of lynching.”
Because shooting an armed man is like putting his ancestors on a slave ship, or something. while we're at it, how about the Middle Eastern and African countries that participated in the slave trade? Or all the other countries that had slavery long before the U.S.? Any takers?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Penalty Box

If you don't want your Obamacare, you still have to pay for it:
The number of people paying the penalty rather than purchasing insurance in 2014 is greater than IRS officials initially thought last year. Based on reports, IRS commissioner John Koskinen estimated that around 7.5 million Americans paid $1.5 billion in penalties.

Several Republican senators proposed legislation this summer to suspend the individual mandate if insurance premiums rose.

“Our bill would exempt people from the law’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance if their plan’s premiums increase by 10 percent or the average of their home state’s premiums increase by more than 10 percent,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, one of the co-sponsors of the bill, said in July.

“Obamacare has failed,” Sen. Tom Cotton, another co-sponser of the bill, said in July. “Premiums are skyrocketing by more than 50 percent in some states, deductibles average more than $5,000 for the cheapest plans, and networks are shrinking Even worse, many of those same families will face a massive tax penalty because they can’t afford care”
But it's their "fair share..."

Winners And Losers

By most accounts Hillary won, or at least survived. But it wasn't without help:
Holt reminded viewers he’s liberal – from pushing the birther issue to harassing Trump about his tax returns to a wildly biased question about Clinton as “the first woman nominated by a party” not having “the look.” Clinton skated by with a 15-second response on her emails while Trump was asked repeated follow-up questions while Hillary was not. There was no “deplorables” question and Holt promoted the birther meme without noting its origin in the Clinton camp.

Clinton discussed fact-checking three times, even imploring her media friends: “Well, I hope the fact checkers are turning up the volume and really working hard.” Holt sure was.
But who checks the fact checkers?

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Great Debate '16

One way or another, one of them will become the next President of the United States.

Will Hillary be the Richard Nixon of 2016?

Nixon was ill-prepared for the 1960 debate. He'd been recently hospitalized, didn't want to wear makeup, and sweated like a stuck pig. Kennedy was young and charismatic, and cool on camera.

Hillary's health issues have become part of the debate-she wants a bigger podium, presumably the better to sneer at Donald Trump with. Any coughing will immediately raise red flags with viewers, even low-information types who haven't been paying that much attention until now.

Trump brings his vast experience with television performances to the arena, but how well will that carry over into a debate? He may be living rent-free inside her medicated head, but what if she gets under his skin?

Lincoln concluded another consequential debate by saying that a house divided cannot stand. Douglas wound up supporting Lincoln as the country unraveled. Who will unravel first in 2016?

Are we ready?

Blogging In The Years: 1972

Is our problem really too many people? If so, what's the solution? Something that only a radical environmentalist could love?

Beam Them Up

While the method of breaking down people and objects into an energy pattern sounds downright scary (we feel you, Bones), researchers have figured out a way to teleport a particle of light just under four miles away. That doesn't mean humans will be replicating food anytime soon, but it's a step in the right direction. More specifically, the researchers teleported a photon over a straight line using the fiber-optical cable structure in the city of Calgary.

The research was conducted through a collaboration between the University of Calgary, a group of United States-based researchers, and the Canadian city itself. Wolfgang Tittel, a professor in the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Calgary, led a team of physicists to set a new record for transferring a quantum state a specific distance using teleportation. The achievement arrives after kicking off the project in 2014 thanks to an Urban Alliance seed grant.

The project is based on quantum entanglement where two or more photons become entangled with each other to the point that their properties become linked, creating a single "quantum state," or a set list of properties. The team managed to teleport two photons of an entangled set, which remained linked to each other despite the distance they traveled.
At least they didn't lose their photons on the way...

Romney's Last Win

That moment when Mitt Romney actually won:
Obama hated debates, his former speechwriter Jon Favreau recalled in a recent column for The Ringer. The President viewed them as phony gladiator matches and "a highly subjective test of style and demeanor over substance and accuracy."
And it showed in his wince-worthy performance that night, his annoyance at having his record challenged, his disengagement, all magnified by the split screen images of the two candidates.
"In the green room, we were on our feet, hooting and hollering; like watching an early Tyson fight," recalled Will Ritter, a Republican strategist who was Romney's 2012 director of advance. "Gov. Romney humbled the sitting president who was too arrogant to prepare."
Obama hasn't changed much, has he?

Mac Man

Who to thank for mac and cheese:

No Police Near Them

Black Lives Matter goes South Park:
Garza argued that the United States gives too much respect to police officers, explaining that when police do wrong, a few bad cops are blamed, rather than a “corroded and corrupt system.”

“Quite frankly, many of our [Black Lives Matter] members are continuing to investigate what it would mean to have police-free communities. I think what we’ve continued to see over time is that no moral appeal is actually stopping the deaths of black people, whether they be armed or unarmed.” Garza told Complex.

Garza also claimed that the Charlotte riots are a natural reaction; they occurred because people had been denied housing and good schools.
We'll see how well this works out:

Gorilla, Gorilla

No great apes for them:
“I think it would be best if your floor chose a different theme animal to be more inclusive,” Assistant Complex Director Dale Morrow wrote in an email at the start of this academic year. “First, gorillas represent a very masculine image, and I feel that this would not be inclusive to all of our residents on that floor.”

Morrow went on to add that images of a gorilla could reinforce “stereotypes,” but fails to stipulate exactly what sorts of stereotypes he is referring to.

“Second, this animal could be triggering to some people as their [sic] are stereotypes that surround this animal,” he continued, noting that all the RA would need to change “is the picture and the words.”
What would Harambe do?

Here We Are Now, Entertain Us

Feel old yet?
Spencer Elden, 25, wanted to go au naturel when he made a splash to honor the legendary grunge band, he told The Post.

“I said to the photographer, ‘Let’s do it naked.’ But he thought that would be weird, so I wore my swim shorts,” said Elden, an artist from LA.

The album, released 25 years ago Saturday, includes songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Come as You Are” and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

“The anniversary means something to me. It’s strange that I did this for five minutes when I was 4 months old and it became this really iconic image,” he said.

“It’s cool but weird to be part of something so important that I don’t even remember,” said Elden, who prefers the punk band The Clash over Nirvana.
Many rock stars can say they've often felt the same way...

Public Plan B

The Obamacare option?
The idea is contentious, even at state and local levels. By offering cheaper rates, public-option plans can put pressure on private plans to reduce prices as well, helping consumers buy health coverage that is typically expensive.

But opponents say government-run health plans ultimately hurt the healthcare industry by destroying competition among plans and slashing reimbursements to doctors and hospitals.

Yet there may soon be some room for lawmakers to work together, as states grow increasingly concerned about rising rates and decreasing competition in the Obamacare marketplaces where their low-income residents are buying coverage.
Or were, before they couldn't...

Lend Me Your Earmarks

What could go wrong?
A GOP lawmaker is proposing a change in the House rules next year that would revive congressional line-item spending, known as earmarks, but only for water resource development projects of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., called his proposal "a toe in the water" for restoring direct funding authority to House lawmakers that was eliminated nearly six years ago under now-retired House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Rooney's idea received bipartisan praise from members of the House Rules Committee at a recent hearing on proposed changes for the 115th session of Congress, which begins in January.
That's how it starts...

The Extremists' Choice

Remember him?
Ahmadinejad had not announced any plans to run in the vote scheduled for May, but has made several speeches in recent months, prompting speculation of a political comeback.

Commentators had suggested the firebrand populist, who frequently enraged the West with his rhetoric during his eight years in office, would have given Iran’s conservatives their best chance of regaining power.

But the instruction by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reported by state news agency IRNA, effectively destroys his chances of getting the wider backing he would need to run a successful campaign.

“He (Ahmadinejad) came to me and I told him not to stand as I think it is not in his interest and that of the country,” Khamenei was quoted as saying.
You know it's bad when the other extremists don't want you...

"We're Begging You"

Please vote for her, says the Times:
Our choice, Hillary Clinton — has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway. (We will explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.)

But this endorsement would also be an empty exercise if it merely affirmed the choice of Clinton supporters. We’re aiming instead to persuade those of you who are hesitating to vote for Mrs. Clinton — because you are reluctant to vote for a Democrat, or for another Clinton, or for a candidate who might appear, on the surface, not to offer change from an establishment that seems indifferent and a political system that seems broken.
In other words, Hillary Clinton...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

America's Post-Racial Troubles

Welcome to Obama's transformed America:
Under Obama, the number of both white and black Americans who believe race relations are good has declined, and a July Rasmussen poll found 60 percent of Americans think race relations are worse; a growing number of violent riots across the country seem to back up that sentiment.
Much of this has been building for a long time, to say the least-but this was supposed to be the age of Hope and change, and instead we got anger and entitlement. It would most likely not get any better under Hillary Clinton, and would take more than a President Trump to fix, even though he is at least offering a real alternative. The Obama legacy will be felt-and remembered-long after he's gone, and that's not good.

The FBI Show

They didn't need any real investigation:
Just how much Comey and his Bureau punted on EmailGate has become painfully obvious since then. Redacted FBI documents from that investigation, dumped on the Friday afternoon before the long Labor Day weekend, revealed that Hillary Clinton either willfully lied to the Bureau, repeatedly, about her email habits as secretary of state, or she is far too dumb to be our commander-in-chief.

Worse, the FBI completely ignored the appearance of highly classified signals intelligence in Hillary’s email, including information lifted verbatim from above-Top Secret NSA reports back in 2011. This crime, representing the worst compromise of classified information in EmailGate – that the public knows of, at least – was somehow deemed so uninteresting that nobody at the FBI bothered to ask anybody on Team Clinton about it.

This stunning omission appears highly curious to anybody versed in counterintelligence matters, not least since during Obama’s presidency, the FBI has prosecuted Americans for compromising information far less classified than what Clinton and her staff exposed on Hillary “unclassified” email server of bathroom infamy.
Well, they weren't Clintons...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

New Friends For Hillary

Looking for new gigs?
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg were part of over 1,100 "elite bundlers" that also include actor Ben Affleck and the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

The analysis done by the Center for Public Integrity also found several lawmakers on the Clinton bundler list.

CPI's Michael Beckel explained, "A 'bundler' is someone who collects checks from friends or associates and gives them to the campaign. They are often rewarded for their efforts with prize positions in the administration of the candidate they support. That is, if the candidate wins."
Also for when foreign dictators are unavailable for funds...

The Voting Dead

So dead people are apparently still voting in Colorado, but is it really a problem? I guess it depends on who you ask:
Donald Trump has repeatedly alluded to fraud as a reason to introduce controversial voter ID laws, but a News21 analysis and recent court rulings show little evidence that such fraud is widespread.
A study of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases in 50 states between 2000 and 2012 found the level of fraud was infinitesimal compared with the 146 million voters registered over the 12-year period.

The analysis found only 10 cases of voter impersonation, the only kind of fraud that could be prevented by voter ID at the polls.
Never mind those zombies at the polling place...

Triggering The Insanity

So criticizing safe spaces is crazy, or something:
"The people who decry safe spaces do it from their segregated housing places, from their jobs without diversity — they do it from their country clubs," Schapiro said. "It just drives me nuts."

[…]Calling people who deny the existence of microaggressions "idiots," Schapiro said he clearly remembers every microaggression he has experienced.

Microaggressions "cut you to the core" and aren't easily forgotten, he said.

Schapiro also criticized those who "conflate" the use of trigger warnings with undermining the First Amendment, saying students should be warned about potentially traumatic content, such as the Holocaust or lynching of black people.

"If they say that … you shouldn't be warned to prepare yourself psychologically for that, that somehow that's coddling, those people are lunatics," Schapiro said.
Snowflakes must be protected-and their therapists need jobs...

Imperfect Match

Who wants Cleveland? Anyone?
In Cleveland, officials are eying development possibilities that exist in neighboring East Cleveland, a place so impoverished that some residents fill their own potholes.

In East Cleveland, City Council members had long balked at the idea of dissolving their city. But with no viable solution short of an economic miracle in sight, they agreed last month to pursue annexation without the list of demands — such as continuing to be paid after annexation — it originally submitted to the dismay of Cleveland officials.

"Without a revenue stream, I don't know how we would exist," said Thomas Wheeler, president of East Cleveland City Council. He and mayor Gary Norton agreed their city is out of options and needs money now.

East Cleveland has millions in unpaid bills and hasn't been able to borrow money on the municipal credit market for years. The city can barely make payroll even after deep cuts in its workforce. Wheeler said only five firefighters were available to respond to a recent house fire.
A marriage made in Hell that even Hell doesn't want?

Liars On Trial

Rolling Stone goes to court:
Nicole Eramo sued Rolling Stone for $7.85 million last year over her portrayal in its story “A Rape on Campus.” It tells the story of UVA student Jackie Coakley, who claimed she was gang-raped at a fraternity party and then spent years struggling to get justice. The article portrayed Eramo as callous toward Coakley’s plight and unwilling to take action to stop sexual assault because “nobody wants to send their daughter to the rape school.” The magazine even took a photo of Eramo giving a lecture and photoshopped it to make her look more sinister.

But Rolling Stone eventually had to retract its entire story, after follow-up investigations revealed Coakley had invented the story as part of a bizarre scheme to win the affections of a boy she had a crush on.

Eramo’s case was the first lawsuit filed against Rolling Stone over the article, and is the most likely to succeed. Eramo claims Rolling Stone and writer Sabrina Erdely had ample reason to distrust Coakley’s story, but published the story anyway due to a mixture of recklessness and desire to push a particular narrative.
Unfortunately Rolling Stone isn't alone in this regard...

No Joke, Mrs. Clinton

Who's laughing now?
The documents, released en masse Friday afternoon, include numerous notes the FBI made of interviews with members of Clinton’s staff and Platte River Networks, the private company that handled her private email server.

In one of them, an unnamed employee of Platte River Networks is shown an email from 2014 in which he refers to a “coverup operation” with Clinton’s emails.

“After reviewing an email dated December 11, 2014 with the subject line ‘RE: 2 items for IT support,’ and a December 12, 2014 work ticket referencing email retention changes and archive/email cleanup, [redacted] stated his reference in the email to ‘…the Hilary [sic] coverup [sic] operation…’ was probably due to the requested change to a 60 day email retention policy and the comment was a joke,” the FBI’s notes say.
It's always funny until somebody wants immunity...

Friday, September 23, 2016

Contracts For Sale, Not Cheap

Andrew Cuomo's pals share the wealth:
As we’ve noted before, handing a billion dollars in taxpayer money to the private sector in the name of “economic development” is an open invitation to corruption, especially in New York.

But when it involves the governor’s pet project, which allegedly was looted by the governor’s closest pals — well, even though he’s “saddened and profoundly disappointed,” there’s no way Cuomo can avoid getting stung.

The indictment alleges Percoco solicited and took more than $315,000 in bribes from companies (and Cuomo donors) to steer state contracts their way.

Another decades-long Cuomo friend and former top aide, Todd Howe, allegedly helped arrange the bribes.

Bottom line, per Bharara: “Companies got rich, and the public got bamboozled.”
It was strictly giving them the business...

Chalk Speech Outlines

You can talk, but not chalk?
“It is important to recognize that there will be times when chalking offends or even upsets us, individually or as a campus that stands for respect, inclusion, and a diversity of perspectives and people,” he wrote. “Over the next several weeks, there will inevitably be an increase in expression, in many forms, about the candidates (presidential and others) and the issues at play. We are an institution of learning and a marketplace of ideas, and a campus that doesn’t just permit but actively encourages our population to engage in dialogue about sensitive topics. The safety of those who wish to express their viewpoints is of utmost importance. In turn, the safety of those exposed to those expressions is also critical.
“I do believe it is important to note that not agreeing with an opinion shouldn’t be equated with feeling threatened by it,” the chancellor added.
“I take seriously my obligation as your chancellor to encourage free and open expression while treating each other with respect and dignity — not just in your political opinions but always,” Mr. Sartarelli wrote. “We are Seahawks, and we must not let differences divide us. This election season is a timely opportunity to illustrate our campus’s regard for higher learning and the honor with which we approach the exchange of ideas.”
Some chalkings are more equal than others...

Rocky Mountain Die

The voting dead come to Colorado:
Election sleuthing by Brian Maass of KCNC-TV in Denver exposed multiple instances in recent years where dead Coloradans were still voting. A dead World War II veteran named John Grosso voted in a 2006 primary election, and a woman named Sara Sosa who died in 2009 cast ballots in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Mrs. Sosa’s husband Miguel died in 2008, but a vote was cast in his name one year later.
“This is the kind of thing you hear rumored, joked about in Chicago, that kind of thing,” Mr. Maasssaid during a Thursday evening broadcast. “Tonight, that changes. We did find voter fraud in Colorado that essentially waters down your vote.”
At one point Mr. Maass‘ investigation led him to the Colorado Springs home of Sarilu Sosa-Sanchez, the daughter of Mrs. Sosa. The reporter received the cold shoulder when he asked the homeowner about her mother’s “voting” record.
“Go talk to someone else,” the woman said. “I don’t have to clear anything up. I don’t know what that has to do with me.”
The son of Mr. Grosso, John, was much more willing to talk.
“I think that’s a disgrace,” he told the station. “The man is dead. He can’t vote. Somebody is cheating.”
Or maybe he's just resting...

The Pseudonym Smoking Gun?

What's in a pseudonym?
The latest revelation from the FBI adds to a growing list of questions about Obama's claim in 2015 that he didn't learn of Clinton's private email server until it was on the news.

"My emails, the Blackberry I carry around, all those records are available and archived," the president said in an interview with CBS News' Bill Plante. "I'm glad that Hillary's instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed."

Asked when he learned of Clinton's private emails, Obama responded unequivocally, "the same time that everybody else learned it through news reports."
But what name was he learning it under?

Snakes In The Sand

Our allies, our enemies?
A CIA memorandum dated July 2, 2002, stated unequivocally that the connections found between the hijackers, the Saudi embassy in Washington and Saudi consulate in Los Angeles are “incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi government.”

“Numerous” FBI files also fingered two Saudi government employees who assisted the 9/11 hijackers as “Saudi intelligence officers,” the newly declassified documents reveal.

Though much is still redacted, they also show the Saudi government’s ties to the hijackers and other al Qaeda suspects were so extensive that the FBI’s Washington field office created a special squad to investigate the Saudi angle.
Don't mention the Saudis, though...

Cruz Surrender

Ted Cruz finally capitulates:
In Cleveland, I urged voters, “please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket whom you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

I’ve made this decision for two reasons. First, last year, I promised to support the Republican nominee. And I intend to keep my word.

Second, even though I have had areas of significant disagreement with our nominee, by any measure Hillary Clinton is wholly unacceptable — that’s why I have always been #NeverHillary.
Or maybe just #AlwaysAboutMe?

How Now, Clean Cow

The climate change cows come home?
Although these gases don't linger in the atmosphere, they still make people sick and hasten global warming due to their heat-trapping ability, per Reuters. "We're protecting people's lungs and their health," Brown said, per Courthouse News.

One of the main methane culprits: manure. Per the bill, dairy farmers have to cut methane emissions to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030. Under a cap-and-trade plan, farmers will receive aid from the $50 million or so raised via polluter fees, which they can then put toward machinery that uses methane to create energy they can in turn sell to electric companies.

The state's Air Resources Board can also now regulate bovine flatulence, as long as there are practical ways to reduce the cows' belching and breaking wind.

Under the bill, emissions from HFCs also must be reduced by 40 percent from 2013 levels by 2030, while black carbon emissions will have to get to 50 percent below those levels by the same year.
Don't have a dirty cow...

Super Hack

Who hacked you?
It’s reported Yahoo knew of the potential hack that affects 500m users in ‘at least August’, but only confirmed the huge breach on Thursday.

The hackers are believed to have grabbed names, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, encrypted passwords and the ‘unencrypted’ security questions and answers of its 500 million users.

They are now said to be selling the stolen data on the ‘dark web’ for just 3 bitcoin – around £1,400.

The ‘treasure trove of secrets’ could be used to defraud or blackmail money from Yahoo users or even steal their identities.

The company said that certain account information was stolen from the company’s network in late 2014 in what it believes was a ‘state-sponsored actor.’

Russia has been linked to several recent US hacks. North Korea are also understood to have a large state-sponsored hacking unit.
Those Russians seem to be everywhere...

No Pain, Just Gain

It has arrived:
The new drink, known as 'alcosynth', is designed to mimic the positive effects of alcohol but doesn’t cause a dry mouth, nausea and a throbbing head, according to its creator Professor David Nutt.

The Imperial College Professor and former government drugs advisor told The Independent he has patented around 90 different alcosynth compounds.

Two of them are now being rigorously tested for widespread use, he said – and by 2050, he hopes alcosynth could completely replace normal alcohol.
I don't know what it is, but it's green...

The Immunity Syndrome

Let's make a deal?
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, told the wire service that Mills, who served as Clinton’s chief of staff, granted federal investigators access to her laptop on the condition that nothing found on the computer could be used against her.

Two other former State Department officials also received immunity, Chaffetz said. Heather Samuelson, a former State Department official who now works as a lawyer for Clinton, received immunity. So did John Bentel, a former State Department official who managed the agency’s IT systems.

“No wonder they couldn’t prosecute a case,” Chaffetz said of the Justice Department. “They were handing out immunity deals like candy.”
It's deals all the way down...

Some Estates Are More Equal Than Others

Taxes for thee, not for me and mine:
Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill have created a number of tax shelters in recent years to dramatically limit their payment of the very same tax. As Bloomberg reported back in 2014: “To reduce the tax pinch, the Clintons are using financial planning strategies befitting the top 1 percent of U.S. households in wealth.”

In 2010 the Clinton created “residential trusts” and the following year moved their Chappaqua estate into the trust, according to their financial records. As David Scott Sloan, a partner at the firm Holland Knight explained the Clinton trust to CBS News, “You’re creating things that are going to be on the nontaxable side of the balance sheet when they die.”

The move will save the Clintons hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes, according to accountants quoted by Bloomberg.
More money for the Foundation?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Sands Of Twitter

Did Saudi Arabia get Twitter to censor a woman's rights group?
After reaching Twitter’s trending section, podcast host Lalo Dagach reported that the official account for the female empowerment non-profit, S.A.F.E Movement, had been suspended, allegedly in part due to “Saudi men spamming reports.”

Soon after, other accounts were reported to have been suspended for joining in with the hashtag, including S.A.F.E’s director Isaac Cohen.

The suspensions caused a huge backlash, with many people questioning whether Twitter’s links to Saudi Arabia had anything to do with the censorship.

Last year, Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud became Twitter’s second largest shareholder, owning a total of 34.9 million shares, or 5.2% of the company—2 per cent more than Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
The Princes of the Internet?

Stop And Seizure

A step towards reform:
The bill, authored by Republican Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, would require the agency to demonstrate probable cause before seizing businesses' bank accounts. It also would guarantee businesses a quick hearing for people to appeal seizures.

The bill found support on both sides of the aisle. Civil asset forfeiture reform has been a priority for free-market groups.

Earlier this year, after the House Ways and Means Committee's work, the IRS returned $150,000 that it had taken from North Carolina convenience store owner Khalid "Ken" Quran in 2014, according to the libertarian Institute for Justice. Quran's account was seized because of what the IRS thought were suspicious transactions, but he wasn't accused of anything.
Legalized theft is still theft...

Are You Genetically Lonesome Tonight?

Do you have lonely genes?
Physical pain alerts us to potential tissue damage and motivates us to take care of our bodies.

Equally, loneliness sets off a warning system that alerts us of damage to our 'social bodies', lead researcher Dr Abraham Palmer explained in the study published on September 15 by Neuropsychopharmacology.

Dr Palmer, professor of psychiatry and vice chair for basic research at UC San Diego School of Medicine, said each individual has a preferred social situation, that they compare to their actual life.

This is different for everyone.

'For two people with the same number of close friends and family, one might see their social structure as adequate while the other doesn't,' Dr Palmer said.

'And that's what we mean by "genetic predisposition to loneliness" - we want to know why, genetically speaking, one person is more likely than another to feel lonely, even in the same situation.'
Your genes just want company-but what if other genes don't want to associate with them?

No Test, No Worries

She's just fine:
“I’m very sorry I got pneumonia,” Clinton replied, letting out a hearty laugh. “I’m very glad that antibiotics took care of it. And that’s behind us now. I’ve met the standard that everybody running for president has met in terms of releasing information about my health.”

She added, “I have to say, my opponent has not met that standard. So I am very happy that we have put out all the information that there is — that reflects on my health. And I am physically, mentally healthy and fit to be president of the United States.”

Asked specifically whether she’d submit to testing, Clinton said no.

“There’s no need for that. The information is very clear. And the information, as I said, meets the standards that every other person running for president has ever had to meet, and I’m happy that we’ve met and even exceeded them in certain ways,” she told the local Florida reporter.

Red Coals Burning

China is picking up our coal slack:
The Balkan region’s first privately-funded power plant came online on Tuesday, increasing the region’s dependency on coal-fired power stations even as environmental concerns are driving them to the brink of the extinction elsewhere in Europe. It was built by China’s Dongfang Electric Corp and financed with the help of a 350 million euro ($391.13 million) loan from the China Development Bank. Even though the Western Balkans has a power deficit, European investors are reluctant to finance more polluting coal which forms the backbone of supply in the region, attracting Chinese financiers and contractors. Some 2,800 megawatts of extra coal-fired capacity is planned across the region in coming years at a total cost of 4.5 billion euros, most of it financed by China.
Since Hillary hates coal workers so much, I'm sure she'd have stern words for them as President...right?

Pie Eyed

When the rage hits your eye:
Sources in attendance have told the Express that, during the meal, a protester ran at the mayor and threw a store-bought pie in his face.

A different witness said that the pie had whipped cream as a topping.

After this, the protester reportedly said something to Johnson. This prompted the mayor to allegedly tackle the protester and punch him in the face "repeatedly," more than half a dozen times, landing "five to 10" blows.

One witness described it as a "bloody pulp." Other witnesses say that the pie-thrower was hit multiple times in the face and will definitely need stitches, and that there was visible blood.

Ambulances and fire department arrived at the scene.
It's the dangerous pie culture at work...

Why So Behind?

Hillary wants to know why she just can't surge ahead:

Drive And Survive

How to deal with rioters:
A video of the alarming moment was posted on social media by writer Heather Head in the midst of the chaos.

'White dude drives into crowd of peaceful protesters, draws gun, allowed to drive away alive. With my own eyes. #CharlotteProtest,' she wrote alongside the shocking clip.

The man was surrounded by protesters who were marching against the deadly shooting of black man Keith Lamont Scott by a cop on Tuesday afternoon.

'No justice, no peace,' the group are heard chanting before they spot the man's weapon.
He stood on the side of justice, and was allowed to leave in peace. Seems to have worked.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Clinton Papers

Hand 'em over:
Judge Richard Leon ruled Tuesday in favor of The Daily Caller News Foundation by rejecting the State Department’s motion to dismiss TheDCNF’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit concerning production of the documents originally sought under the Freedom of Information Act. But he also denied TheDCNF’s request to depose State Department officials.

The State Department has been unable to produce any records confirming that Clinton and her top aides received mandatory annual security briefings about the proper handling of classified materials and the proper methods for conducting secure communications.

In addition to Clinton, TheDCNF seeks the same records for former Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin and Advisor Jacob Sullivan.
No deletions this time...

Backward The Foundation

Good question:
“They would have been better off postponing it this year,” said one member of the Democratic National Committee and a Clinton ally. “The foundation has been a negative this year, with concerns about donors seeking influence and access — why shine light on it right before the debate?”
Because even cockroaches sometimes like attention?

Birther Of A Notion

The original birther 's past keeps coming back to haunt her:
On Sept. 16, 2016, Johnson posted another description of his work with Blumenthal, after an editor for the McClatchy news service reported that Blumenthal prompted the news service to ask an Africa-based reporter to check out rumors about Obama’s ties to Africa.

“I am shocked at the audacity of Hillary Clinton to decry Donald Trump as a birther because her campaign not only pushed that item in a bid to discredit Barack Obama, but mounted a sustained campaign attack Obama on a broad array of issues,” Johnson wrote on Sept. 16.

“How do I know? I was part of that effort and was in regular email and phone coordination with Sidney Blumenthal. Sidney was the conduit who fed damaging material to me that I subsequently posted on my blog,” he wrote.
Careful; you might share the fate of some of Hillary's other critics...

Parting Shots

Obama makes his last appearance to remind the world that he's somehow important:
Four months before leaving office, Obama called for a "course correction" to ensure that the unstoppable forces of globalization don't lead nations to entrench behind their borders and ignore the most vulnerable. He chided foreign leaders for stoking ethnic and religious divisions while faulting Russia for a brutish approach to its role on the world stage.

Still, Obama insisted it was critical not to gloss over "enormous progress" on economics and global cooperation that he said formed a template for tackling the problems of the future.

In a less-than-subtle jab at Donald Trump, the Republican running to replace him, Obama said, "A nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself."

Obama's parting words to the global body contained a grim assessment of the challenges he's leaving behind: a devastating refugee crisis, terrorism, financial inequality and a tendency to make immigrants and Muslims scapegoats. Across the Middle East, he said, "basic security, basic order has broken down."

"This is the paradox that defines our world today," Obama said. "A quarter-century after the end of the Cold War, the world is by many measures less violent and more prosperous than ever before. And yet our societies are filled with uncertainty and unease and strife."
Yeah, that last part hasn't worked out so well, has it?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Real Health Scare

Hillary Clinton admits what liberal Democrats have wanted all along:
She says she will “defend and expand” Obamacare, according to Clinton’s campaign website. Her solution to the mass exodus of insurance companies from the failing exchanges across the nation is to institute a full-scale “public option.”

A public option would essentially “be a government-sponsored and government-run insurance plan, probably modeled on the traditional Medicare program, which would be offered to customers on the exchanges as an alternative to the private-insurance plans,” according to AEI.

Backed by taxpayer money, a public option would act in direct competition to private insurance plans on the exchange marketplace. A public option would not be in the business of competing for price equilibrium, as would be the case in any private marketplace where firms vie for competitive advantage in pricing to get the greatest share of the market possible.
It's the "affordable" option that really isn't...


The outrage over a cartoon frog:
Under the title “Hillary Clinton Is Absolutely Right, ‘Pepe’ Meme Is Antisemitic – An Apology,” Mensch apologized for Cheong’s defence of the cartoon frog, claiming that the piece was “inaccurate.”

“We apologize for publishing it,” she wrote, adding an editor’s note on Cheong’s story: “This article was wrong and we should never have published it. Pepe the Frog is antisemitic.”

Heat Street, backed by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, boasts in its motto: “Free speech celebrated. No safe spaces.”

Quoting Cheong’s claims that “no single group or ideology has ownership of the meme,” Mensch argues: “That is untrue. While Pepe, once a harmless frog meme, may have started out as a widely used meme, the frog is now a symbol of the Nazi Jew-baiting of the alt-right.”
And sometimes a frog meme is just a frog meme...

Nothing More Than Feelings

No free speech for you:
Kohn, who frequently appears as a progressive commentator on CNN, claimed at the symposium that the right, by fighting for free speech, has merely been seeking new ways to stifle calls for diversity, particularly on college campuses.
Kohn argued that pro-free speech conservatives are really just afraid of “multiculturalism.”

Kohn’s CNN colleague Kirsten Powers challenged her, arguing that “speech is not in itself dangerous.” Kohn responded that their white, upper-middle class backgrounds disqualify them from deciding if free speech is harmful.

“Feelings are valid,” Kohn declared. “I’m never going to argue with people’s feelings.”

“If they feel like they can no longer speak against positive social change, good,” Kohn said of conservatives who are silenced on college campuses. “They think [diversity] is dumbing down humanity, or the greatness and exceptionalism of America. I’m happy that’s under assault.”
All her lies are feelings...

Sorry, Charlie

It's not easy being a Hillary supporter:

No More Nastiness?

Can the Internet really be a "nicer" place?
Conversation AI will use machine-learning techniques to pick up on “harassment” and “abuse” faster than any human moderator possibly can. According to Google, the filter has a 92% success rate at detecting so-called “abusive” messages in concurrence with a panel of humans, producing a false-positive only 10% of the time.

The major issue with such a tool is the possibly unintended consequences that automatic detection will create.

Writing in Wired, Andy Greenberg highlighted that “throwing out well-intentioned speech that resembles harassment could be a blow to exactly the open civil society Jigsaw has vowed to protect.” When discussing the potential for “collateral damage” with its inventors, co-creator Lucas Dixon argued that the team wanted to “let communities have the discussions they want to have… there are already plenty of nasty places on the Internet.”

“What we can do is create places where people can have better conversations,” Dixon claimed, which Greenberg noted was “[favoring] a sanitized Internet over a freewheeling one.”
Even the Web has feelings?

Midnight Man

The clock is ticking, so Obama crams while he can:
“Midnight regulations” are a feature of any lame-duck administration and represent a president's last opportunity to lock in rules on legacy issues. In many instances, GOP members acknowledge they are powerless to stop him.

Obama first served notice that he'd take such a tack in January 2014, when he vowed to use the legal authorities of the office of the president to act when Congress would not — or could not — do so. “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need,” he said then. “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone."
White House aides in recent weeks have made it clear that Obama will continue to use his legal authorities on whatever he deems important to wrap up before he leaves the Oval Office on Jan. 20. Major regulatory changes require a 60-day waiting period, meaning Obama theoretically has until late November to tend to his to-do list.
He has a bucket list-and he's using it to dump on the opposition...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Comfort Package

James O'Keefe offers aid for hurt snowflakes:
The emotional first aid kits are designed to address the trauma of any “microaggressions” a student or professor might encounter if they cannot reach a “safe space” in time, and include a “genderless” baby blanket, earplugs, and Hershey’s Kisses (though the Project Veritas team ran into a serious snag when the chosen candies came prepared in American flag wrappers).

O’Keefe and his team, representing the “99.99 percent,” pitched the emotional first aid kits to an academic adviser in the University of Houston’s philosophy department, who thought it was such a good idea that she offered to help assemble them.
No sanity required...

Please Use Correct Cutlery

No more plastic for you:
The law comes into force in 2020. It is part of a French environmental initiative called the Energy Transition for Green Growth, part of a package aimed at tackling climate change.

But, the Independent reported, the move faces a challenge from Pack2Go Europe, a Brussels-based organisation representing European packaging manufacturers.

"We are urging the European Commission to do the right thing and to take legal action against France for infringing European law," said Eamonn Bates, secretary general of Pack2go Europe.

He said there was no proof that biologically sourced material was any more environmentally beneficial.
Plastics, monsieur:

Trash Diet

Garbage-it's what's for dinner:
The study — conducted by More Consulting and published in the Spanish-language Diario de las Américas — reflects a reality that has become the signature of President Nicolás Maduro’s tenure: a food and medicine shortage that forces most in the nation to wait in supermarket lines that can last up to eight hours. On many occasions, after the wait, they find that there is nothing left to buy.

The More Consulting study found that three out of every four Venezuelans (72 percent) was unable to feed themselves an optimal diet of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 24.2 percent say they rarely eat protein, living off of local tubers like yuca and malanga and some fruit. More than half of Venezuelans (52.3 percent) buy their foods through the black market, from private individuals who have stocked a surplus of an item they need.

53.9 percent of Venezuelan respondents said they had gone to bed hungry, 48 percent say they have been forced to take time off work to scrounge for food.
But hey, it'll make you hard, or something...

All Trans On Deck

Welcome to the new Navy:
“Service members are expected to maintain standards of conduct and treat each other with dignity and respect,” Anderson said. “Training for sailors will be conducted by command triads via mobile training teams or DVD with a facilitation guide if the unit is in a remote area and unable to receive face-to-face training. There will also be webinars for COs to ask questions prior to delivering training to their commands.”

The training deadline is set to coincide with the date that the Navy will start accepting transgender recruits, July 1, 2017.

The military is creating ground rules for servicemembers who want to change their gender while serving and is requiring that all transgendered people use the bathroom associated with their preferred gender.

Anderson said that leadership will crack down on any mistreatment or harassment of transgender individuals.
They're all sailors under the, whatever...

No Runs For You

Will they be back? Maybe not:
Priebus said, “People who agreed to support the nominee. They took part in our process. They used tools from the RNC. They agreed to support the nominee. They took part in our process. We are a private party. We’re in the a public entity. Those people need to get on board. And if they’re thinking they’re going to run again some day, you know I think that we’re going to evaluate the process of the nomination process and I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for them.”

He added, “People in our party are talking about what we’re going to do about this. There is a ballot access issue in South Carolina. In order to be on the ballot in South Carolina, you actually have to pledge your support to the nominee, no matter who that is? So what’s the penalty for that? It’s not a threat. It’s just a question. We have a process in place. And if a private entity puts forward a process and has agreement with the participants in that process, then those participants don’t follow through with the promises that they made in that process, what should a private party do about that if those same people come around in four or eight years?”
Nobody likes a sore loser, especially one from their own side...

Manhattan Madness

More details on the Manhattan bombings:
The police released a photograph of a 28-year-old man, described as a naturalized citizen of Afghan descent, , Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is wanted in connection with the attack.

“I want to be very clear that this individual could be armed and dangerous,” Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said on Monday morning. “Anyone seeing him should call 911 immediately.”

In a separate appearance, Mr. de Blasio said New Yorkers should be prepared to see a large increase in police presence across the city.

“In the coming hours we are going to be able to say a lot more about what happened here,” Mr. de Blasio said during an interview on the show “Good Morning America.” “It is certainly leaning more in the direction that this was a specific act of terror.”
But what was his motivation?

Lifting Her Up

Because even an invalid can be inspiring, or something:

The Silent Partners

Why are so many women hitting men?
Tory MP Philip Davies, who uncovered the stats, said: “When people think of domestic violence, they automatically think of men abusing women.

“But the vast increase in the number of women convicted of domestic violence over the past decade must not be overlooked.

“We must not forget the male victims.

“Both male and female perpetrators of domestic violence should be dealt with equally harshly by the courts and more should be done to help victims of domestic violence whether they are men or women.”

More than 52,000 women have been prosecuted for assaulting their partners since 2006, the figures show.
Male bashing is a popular pastime among many feminists these days...

Laid To Rest

Was Jesus here?
The area is called Talpiot Tomb and it was first found in 1980. But now Aryeh has done some tests, which he says prove Jesus of Nazareth, his wife Mary Magdalene and SON Judah were laid to rest there.

There are nine burial boxes in the tomb, and they all have names with links to the New Testament of the Bible on them.

It all caused people to suggest it was where Jesus’s body was buried, and was proof he’d married and had a child. This was highly controversial, given Christians believe Jesus was resurrected.
Did they roll away the stone first?

Blue Rules

I'm sure everything will be above board:
The amount of money is small by the standards of a modern presidential campaign, but it is one-sided. A pair of Ph.D. candidates at Stanford University examined campaign finance reports and found that all of the $5,650 in contributions that commission members have made to presidential candidates during this election season have gone to Clinton.

Republican Donald Trump, who will meet Clinton in the first debate a week from Monday, received no donations from debate commission members. Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who both learned Friday that they will be shut out of the first debate, also received nothing.

Kevin Zeese, an adviser to the Stein campaign, told LifeZette the contributions are further evidence of a bipartisan conspiracy to rig the electoral system against third-party alternatives. And the fact that Clinton scooped up all of the contributions made by commission members this year fits with the fact that she has won support not only from her own party but many Establishment figures in the Republican Party, as well.

“Hillary Clinton has done a really good job of uniting the two parties,” he said. “It’s almost like one party.”
They're both equally against her?

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...