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October 21, 2014

Overnight Open Thread (10-21-2014)


Leslie Loftis: Houston Sermons Are, Legally Speaking, Fair Game

Why? Because the IRS and 501(c)(3) tax exemption which prohibits some political activity and speech.

'To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.'

Surprisingly this prohibition against political activity is a relatively new policy. And is being used exactly as it was intended:

To start, the political speech prohibition did not exist until 1954. To punish and prevent political opponents from speaking out against him, then - Sen. Lyndon Johnson, who was in a contentious re-election campaign, pushed through an amendment to the tax code which prohibits "political activity" by 501(c)(3) entities. It is called the Johnson Amendment. Since the prohibition passed, it has only been lightly-and selectively-enforced. Various test cases have appeared in the courts trying to figure out just what political activity is prohibited, without much success.

However the IRS has generally declined to enforce this rule - as the activities of pretty much any black church during the election season demonstrate - but not always. The situation got so egregious that Branch Ministries successfully sued the IRS in 1992 for selective and disparate enforcement of the rule. The IRS was cowed for a while but not to worry the they're busy updating their 501(c)(3) guidelines so they can get back to going after churches again.

So how as a tax exempt religious organization do you avoid running afoul of these restrictions and having your tax exemption revoked? Well guess what - currently there's no way to know because the IRS won't release their new guidelines.

The IRS has not complied with Freedom of Information Act requests to disclose those new guidelines. If the press release from FFRF is true, the IRS has new guidelines for enforcement, but just isn't telling the public what they are.

So you'll have to just guess, mind your chilled Ps and Qs, and try to avoid any Official Attention I suppose.

And how does this federal restriction relate to the city of Houston's subpoenas? Well Leslie has a pretty good idea of what the end goal is here:

The City of Houston plans to try to invalidate the petitions by showing that the pastors tried to influence city legislation and then, I suspect, will turn the communications obtained in a court proceeding over to the IRS hoping it will revoke participating churches' tax-exempt status, which would also expose the churches to property taxes in Harris County. (IRS speech restrictions apply at both the federal and local level because Texas Tax Code requires federal exemption status for local exemption status.)

And the power to tax is the power to destroy.

Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:29 PM Comments

IS Now Lobbing Mortar Shells Into Baghdad's Green Zone


So that seems to be that then.

Meanwhile, IS launched 15 near-simultaneous attacks into Kurdish territory.

ISIS militants launched about 15 near-simultaneous attacks on Kurdish forces in northern Iraq on Monday in what Kurdish government officials and the news agency Rudaw said was a fierce and renewed push for territory.

ISIS also launched attacks against Mosul Dam, a strategic prize, and also renewed its offensive on the Sinjar mountain range in northern Iraq.

An ISIS-commandeered military truck loaded with explosives targeted a Peshmerga checkpoint along the security belt circling the dam, killing six security force members and injuring seven others critically, according to Peshmerga spokesman Said Mamazeen.

At almost the same time, ISIS militants launched an attack on the Nineveh Valley near the dam, which was repelled by Peshmerga forces using European and American weapons, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Turkey has said it will allow peshmerga forces based in Turkey to cross the border to fight IS in Kobani.

Posted by Ace at 08:07 PM Comments

World Series Game One

—Dave In Texas

If you're interested in this baseball thing. If not, there are other things.

Before I go here I want to echo something Ace said in the Annie Lennox post, having 2 now adult daughters and being conservative pretty much ruined me on young girls being sexually provocative and that was before this twerking nonsense came along.

It's one of the reasons you don't get risque cheerleader pics, I'm talking Maxim like stuff, so pat yourself on the backs because my pain is your pain.

OK baseball tonight. The Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, 8:07pm EDT. The Royals haven't been to the show since 85. Both teams ripped through their AL and NL series (KC went 8-0 and the Giants 8-2). I'm pullin for KC because the hell with the Giants.

There's no cryin in baseball.

There's no cheerleaders either.

So what.


Just because I don't like the Giants (for kickin my Rangers in the teeth 4-1 in the 2010 series) doesn't mean I can't like her.

Posted by Dave In Texas at 07:55 PM Comments

Annie Lennox: Bumping and Grinding in Skimpy Underwear for the Sexual Delight of Men Isn't "Feminism"



Annie Lennox, former member of the Eurythmics...

FYI, Annie Lennox hasn't been a "member of the Eurythmics" for like thirty years. The band -- really just her and Dave Stewart -- broke up after a couple of years. They were done by 1984. (Correction: Wikipedia says they stayed together, as group, until 1990, though I think they broke up as a romantic couple before then.)

She's been solo for 24 years. (Corrected) I get what this article is saying, but seriously. If you don't know who Annie Lennox is, telling you that she was once a member of a 24-years-defunct pop duo (which had like three hits) isn't going to help jog your memory.


Lately, those conversations have often turned to a different topic: Beyonce. Lennox labeled Bey "feminist lite" in an interview at the end of September. Talking with NPR in a recent interview, Lennox attempted to clarify her stance.

NPR's Steve Inskeep asked the singer, "What has made you comment on a lot of modern music today that is being put out by women as being over-sexualized?" "Well you've said it in the question," Lennox replied. "The reason why I've commented is because I think that this overt sexuality thrust -- literally -- at particular audiences, when very often performers have a very, very young audience, like 7 years older, I find it disturbing and I think its exploitative. It's troubling. I'm coming from a perspective of a woman that's had children."


Inskeep pressed further: "It sounds like you feel that there was a phrase taken and that became the headline, but you were actually trying to deliver a more involved thought?"

"Listen," said Lennox, "Twerking is not feminism. That's what I'm referring to. It's not -- it's not liberating, it's not empowering. It's a sexual thing that you're doing on a stage; it doesn't empower you. That's my feeling about it." Before returning to Nostalgia, Lennox suggested, "Maybe this is a good thing because it creates debate."

One major point of cleavage between progressives and conservatives is this:

When you see a young girl acting in a sexually provocative manner, do you identify that girl with yourself, or do you identify her with your daughter?

Most progressives -- either younger themselves, or "forever young" in their thinking -- always look at teenage sexuality and think about themselves. They wouldn't want any moral trips laid on them concerning their own sexual choices, so they decided they don't want any moral trips laid on the teenaged girl.

On the other hand, most conservatives -- sometimes older, sometimes pretty young, but having had children -- look at a teenage girl shaking her ass and think, "I don't really want my daughter doing that."

I'm guessing that Annie Lennox has been a fierce socialist or anarchist all her life. Everything from her look to her occupation to her nationality (British) skews left.

And yet, she's had children. So when she sees Miley Cyrus twerking, or Beyonce selling the bump-and-grind as a "feminist" statement, what she's thinking about is not she herself receiving these messages about sexuality, but her daughters.

And she's thinking of other young girls. Young girls at that age when they're determined to prove they're not little girls anymore, and go looking for possible role models.

And what do those girls see?

Any sort of judgment about sexualization of young girls is claimed to be a #WarOnWomen. Well, it's not -- what it is is a suitable level of concern for a #WarOnLittleGirls.

And where you stand on this is largely determined by whether you've had a daughter (or son) at that delicate, highly impressionable age yourself.

Thanks to @rdbrewer4.

More: And speaking of things that seem like they should be more important to self-claimed "feminists" than whether Beyonce shakes her ass well: What IS is doing to women is hellish.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 06:37 PM Comments

Monica Lewinsky: Hey, You Know What, I'm The First Victim of Internet Bullying


I don't know what the hell to say.

At the midpoint of the clip, she lists the various invectives thrown at her -- "slut," "tramp," "floozie," etc.

One word she doesn't mention is "stalker." While she casts her claims fairly widely, she seems to avoid throwing any blame at the Clinton White House.

In his deposition Wednesday, [top Clinton aide Sidney] Blumenthal testified that he had no knowledge or involvement in spreading derogatory information about Lewinsky to the media.

"I have no idea how anything came to be attributed to a White House source," he said.

"Mr. Blumenthal stated that Monica Lewinsky had been a 'stalker' and that the president was 'the victim' of a predatory and unstable sexually demanding young woman," Hitchens statement reads. "Referring to Ms. Lewinsky, Mr. Blumenthal used the word 'stalker' several times."

Hitchens went on to say, "I have personal knowledge that Mr. Blumenthal recounted to other people in the journalistic community the same story about Monica Lewinsky that he told to me and Carol Blue."

I don't know what to make of Monica Lewinsky's efforts to cast herself as the First Victim of the Internet Bullying Culture.

On one hand, I understand it, on an emotional level: She wants her life back.

But on the other hand, I'm a bit mystified as to how she seems shocked and betrayed that she went from a "private person" to a national punchline with the revelation she had had a fairly tawdry affair with the President of the United States of America, in the Oval Office itself.

I'm pretty sure it went through her mind (and Bill's, too): OMG, I can't believe I'm doing this in the Oval Office.

Well, it went through our minds as well.

I'm also annoyed that she continues to pretend that her own actions had nothing to do with this.

But I'm only mildly annoyed by that.

What I'm really annoyed by is her determination to both claim victim status while remaining a Loyal Democrat and therefore refusing to lay any blame at Bill Clinton's feet, or Sidney Blumenthal's.

It wasn't Republicans who went to the Nuts and Sluts defense that had worked for Clinton before. Obviously, Republicans wanted Lewinsky to be a credible witness, not one tarnished by the Nuts and Sluts categorization.

And yet through all this Lewinsky just blames "the internet," "the media," and people as a general matter.

Well, as one of the four billion people who talked about the Clinton-Lewinsky affair in 1998 -- I would put forth the four billion other people who found this to be a newsworthy story.

Were they all wrong?

No they weren't.

So I'm afraid I have to reject Ms. Lewinsky's attempt to shame me. Yes, the fallout for her was unfortunate, personally. But the story was newsworthy, and the witnesses to it were lying about it (except for Linda Tripp, of course, who was personally destroyed by the Democrat Media Complex).

It was more of a story because those involved lied about it. Clinton lied about it to a judge's face.

I don't think Monica Lewinsky deserved all this -- those who experience the very worst possible penalty for misbehavior rarely deserve it; I mean, look at the millions of people who have affairs and suffer hardly any consequence at all -- but I also refuse to accept that I'm to blame for the inevitable consequences for actions I had nothing to do with.

I'm sure a lot of other people feel similarly.

Posted by Ace at 04:26 PM Comments

Obama: Hey, Those Democrats Who Are Claiming They Didn't Vote For Me Are Actually Just Saying What They Need to Say to Win the Election


For months, Democrats have been claiming Obama wasn't on the ballot, so there was no opportunity to vote against him, and voters should judge candidates on their personal merits.

But then, on October 2nd, Obama insisted that "my policies are on the ballot."

"I am not on the ballot this fall. Michelle’s pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them," Obama said.

Well, that was unhelpful for Democrats. Republicans began running ads against Orman (the "independent" in Kansas) and Charlie Crist noting Obama's proclamation that his policies are on the ballot.

And Obama just can't keep from making it All About Him.

On Al Sharpton's radio show:

The president, during a radio interview on Monday, claimed Democratic candidates who are avoiding him on the campaign trail nevertheless are "strong allies" who have "supported my agenda in Congress."


"A lot of the states that are contested this time are states that I didn’t win," Obama said. "And so some of the candidates there -- it is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turnout."

He added: "The bottom line is, though -- these are all folks who vote with me, they have supported my agenda in Congress."


"This isn't about my feelings being hurt," Obama said. "These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me."

Obama also implicitly suggested that Democrats are lying about "distancing" themselves from him, in order to win elections.

"These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me, and I tell them, I said, 'You know what, you do what you need to do to win. I will be responsible for making sure our voters turn out.'"

What he seems to be saying is: You claim you've "distanced" yourself from me, to win your election, but meanwhile I'll put the word out to "our voters" that in fact you are my "strong allies and supporters."

Posted by Ace at 02:51 PM Comments

CDC Announces Additional "Protocols" For Travelers Coming to US from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea


First of all, all travelers originating from those countries (whether by direct or indirect flight) will have to terminate at one of five specified airports, which I guess will supposedly be given additional training so they can perform better screenings.

But the only screening specified is... taking the passenger's temperature. Something we already know doesn't work.

This is obviously a political move designed to pretend that we're blocking ebola cases from entering the US. But the maneuver itself is calculated to not block potential ebola cases. Once again, we're relying on the taking-temperature "screening," which has failed to stop not one but two ebola-infected patients from traveling to or within the US.

Meanwhile, a Fox TV report stated that the CDC had announced new protocols for health care workers. I don't see a print story yet, and I forget the details mentioned. However, the new protocols, broadly, were:

1. personal protective equipment (PPE) must not leave any skin exposed. I would have thought this would have been the old protocol, but apparently it's a new one.

2. Health care personnel must practice and drill putting on and taking off PPE. Again, the time for practice and drilling was five months ago, when ebola had a historically-unprecedented outbreak Africa.

3. The reporter mentioned something about a supervisor or "buddy" making sure that personnel were putting on and taking off their PPE properly.

Incidentally, they ran some B-roll of people drilling at putting on and taking off the PPE; it appears that medical personnel are leaving their gloves on until last. Taking off one's gloves first -- per the old protocol -- exposes the user to ebola when he touches a piece of ebola-infected gear (such as his face shield). I mentioned that as a flaw in the old protocols.

Five months after a historically-unprecedented outbreak, we're implementing these (still inadequate) protocols.

Here are the new "tightened" protocols. The CDC, five months too late.

Tightened Guidance for U.S. Healthcare Workers on Personal Protective Equipment for Ebola

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tightening previous infection control guidance for healthcare workers caring for patients with Ebola, to ensure there is no ambiguity. The guidance focuses on specific personal protective equipment (PPE) health care workers should use and offers detailed step by step instructions for how to put the equipment on and take it off safely.

Recent experience from safely treating patients with Ebola at Emory University Hospital, Nebraska Medical Center and National Institutes of Health Clinical Center are reflected in the guidance.

The enhanced guidance is centered on three principles:

All healthcare workers undergo rigorous training and are practiced and competent with PPE, including putting it on and taking it off in a systemic manner

No skin exposure when PPE is worn

All workers are supervised by a trained monitor who watches each worker putting PPE on and taking it off.

All patients treated at Emory University Hospital, Nebraska Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center have followed the three principles. None of the workers at these facilities have contracted the illness.

Principle #1: Rigorous and repeated training

Focusing only on PPE gives a false sense of security of safe care and worker safety. Training is a critical aspect of ensuring infection control. Facilities need to ensure all healthcare providers practice numerous times to make sure they understand how to appropriately use the equipment, especially in the step by step putting on and taking off of PPE. CDC and partners will ramp up training offerings for healthcare personnel across the country to reiterate all the aspects of safe care recommendations.

Principle #2: No skin exposure when PPE is worn

Given the intensive and invasive care that U.S. hospitals provide for Ebola patients, the tightened guidelines are more directive in recommending no skin exposure when PPE is worn.

CDC is recommending all of the same PPE included in the August 1, 2014 guidance, with the addition of coveralls and single-use, disposable hoods. Goggles are no longer recommended as they may not provide complete skin coverage in comparison to a single-use, disposable full-face shield. Additionally, goggles are not disposable, may fog after extended use, and healthcare workers may be tempted to manipulate them with contaminated gloved hands. PPE recommended for U.S. healthcare workers caring for patients with Ebola includes:

Double gloves

We're just getting around to recommending double-gloves?

There is a list of PPE equipment which I'm omitting. To all of it, I say: We're just finally recommending this?


The guidance includes having:


Designated areas for putting on and taking off PPE. Facilities should ensure that space and layout allows for clear separation between clean and potentially contaminated areas

Trained observer to monitor PPE use and safe removal

Step-by-step PPE removal instructions that include:

Disinfecting visibly contaminated PPE using an EPA-registered disinfectant wipe prior to taking off equipment

Um, why limit this to disinfecting visibly contaminated PPE?

Disinfection of gloved hands using either an EPA-registered disinfectant wipe or alcohol-based hand rub between steps of taking off PPE.

I can't believe that this disinfection step -- of the gloves, which you'll be touching yourself with doing anything -- is only now recommended.

Principle #3: Trained monitor

CDC is recommending a trained monitor actively observe and supervise each worker putting PPE on and taking it off. This is to ensure each worker follows the step by step processes, especially to disinfect visibly contaminated PPE. The trained monitor can spot any missteps in real-time and immediately address.

This seemed obvious from the get-go. A nurse getting off a difficult and dangerous patient encounter -- cleaning up vomit, etc. -- is going to be jittery, exhausted, and scatter-brained. And she's not going to have muscle memory for taking off PPE after just a few hours of drilling (which, by the way, she's only now required to do).

You're going to need to have someone watching her each move, instructing her how to take off her equipment safely.

And yet it's only being recommended now.

Posted by Ace at 12:46 PM Comments

Top Headline Comments 10-21-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Tuesday.

President Obama gives Republicans another gift. This guy just can't help himself.

Oh, hey, the dude who cracked the Jack the Ripper case made a serious error, say other dudes. So, yay (?), that mystery remains a mystery.

And, in case you missed it, Brandon could use some more volunteers at the Decision Desk to help out on Election Night. All you need is a phone and a computer.

AoSHQ Weekly Podcast rss.png itunes_modern.png | Stitcher | Download | Ask The Blog | Archives

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:48 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (10-20-2014)


2001 Holiday Inn Commercial Accurately Predicted Our Current Ebola Czar*

* Note that there's no evidence that Rob Klain ever stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. He did work for Al Gore once though.

Related: CBS Employee Snarkily Wonders When Rand Paul Became 'Doctor' Rand Paul, Deletes Tweet When Someone Puts Some Knowledge to Her

Is a 21 Day Ebola Quarantine Long Enough?

Maybe not. Still any period of quarantine is better than none but 21 days shouldn't be taken as gospel either.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year also found that 5 per cent of patients who contracted Ebola in West Africa in the first months of the epidemic had an incubation period longer than the recommended 21 days.

The CDC's website puts the incubation period of the virus at 2-21 days.

Ben Affleck, Bill Maher, and Brad Pitt All Own Guns to Protect Their Homes and Families

Maher then used Affleck's comments as a springboard to launch into a short discussion on self-defense and the rights a private citizen has to defend himself and his property. He said: "In California, anyway, you can shoot an intruder in your home."

Maher then looked at Affleck and said, "I mean, you have guns." To which Affleck responded, "I do." The audience grew quiet for a second and then roused up when Maher said, "So do I, and for that exact reason."

Maher added: "I'm not disarming unilaterally."
According Fox News, Pitt told Radio Times "there's a rite of passage where [he] grew up of inheriting your ancestors' weapons." Subsequently, his brother inherited their father's weapons, while Pitt says of himself, "I got my grandfather's shotgun when I was in kindergarten," which was age six.

He said his father "instilled [in him] a profound and deep respect for the weapon."

Two years later, at age eight, Pitt fired his first handgun. He said he does not "feel that his family is safe unless there is a gun in the home."

In September 2012, Outdoor Life reported that Pitt gave Angelina Jolie a "$400,000 shooting range as wedding gift."

And I'm guessing that only one of these three would unreservedly support your right to have a gun for self-defense.


Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 09:49 PM Comments

MNF Thread

—Dave In Texas

A very exciting game tonight, the 3-3 Texans take on the 3-3 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ah well. It's a game.

Have a pleasant evening y'all.

MNF 10 20.jpg

She seems nice.

OH! Please also notice Brandon's post calling for Decision Desk volunteers which I just pushed down like a fat kid at recess.

Thank you.

Posted by Dave In Texas at 08:29 PM Comments


—Brandon Finnigan

It has been a crazy year at the Decision Desk.

I could talk about our calls and press but screw that. This is a humble request to the tens of thousands of loyal readers: we need you on Election Night.

Lurkers, regulars, miscreants, if you've enjoyed our coverage and want to be part of our drive to provide a fast and reliable call on election night- with the goal of besting the bigwigs who have had a forty-year head start- I implore you to email us.

Training is simple, the task, even simpler. From the moment you sign up, a link pops in place that will guide you through the whole process.

As a volunteer, you will be plopped into a spreadsheet, assigned counties next to your name, with contacts for obtaining results for your assigned counties/municipalities. For some of you, it will be as simple as refreshing an inbox. For others, opening a PDF. For those with great phone plans, contacting frazzled clerks from Bangor to San Diego. Numbers in hand, you input. That's it. You input until all of your precincts have reported.

The genius behind this project is the lack of it: it doesn't take brains to construct a spreadsheet. To hit CTRL-C and CTRL-V. To read up on past returns and early voting trends. It simply takes a mass of dedicated people.


A mass of morons.

Join us.

PS- if you live in New Hamsphire, we have a special assignment for you. We are still looking for on-the-scene reporters for Rochester, Laconia, Milford, Hampton, and, why not. Dixville Notch.

Posted by Brandon Finnigan at 08:08 PM Comments

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Votes to Suspend One Of Its Own Members In Bitter, Crazy Pornographic Email Tiff


There seems to have been bad blood boiling on the court for years.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice exposed as having sent and received pornographic emails, and who is accused of then trying to coerce a fellow justice, is temporarily barred from "any further judicial or administrative action whatsoever" in the court.

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts announced the decision Monday night against Justice Seamus McCaffery.

McCaffery will continue to be paid during the suspension, the order says. That could change in the event formal misconduct charges are filed by the state Judicial Conduct Board following a review slated to take 30 days.


"The most recent misconduct of Justice McCaffery — forwarding sexually explicit pornographic emails to employees of the Attorney General's Office (and, in one instance, an email depicting a naked 100-year-old woman as the target of a sexually explicit joke and a video of a woman in sexual congress with a snake that is clearly obscene and may violate the Crimes Code Section on Obscenity) — has caused the Supreme Court to be held up to public ridicule," Castille wrote. "This conduct deserves the immediate action as implemented by this court today."


[Another Justice, Eakin,] on Friday said McCaffery tried to coerce him into taking his side against Castille, saying he "was not going down alone."

I don't know how some dirty emails get trumped up into a reason to suspend a state Supreme Court justice, but if you read the order by the Chief Justice (Castille), you'll see that they've apparently been snapping at each other for years.

On page 5, Castille says that based on his knowledge of psychiatric diagnoses, he feels that McCaffrey's personality type is best described as "sociolpath."

So yeah, it's like that.

I have no idea what the hell's going on here but Castille's order borders on hysterical so I have my doubts about his claims.

McCaffrey's Response... Actually, McCaffrey issued this response based on Castille's latest round of accusations, prior to the issuance of the order of suspension.

But so this is what he said four days ago.

Ron Castille's statement yesterday, issued on AOPC letterhead and purporting to represent the position of the entire Supreme Court, was a lie. In fact, members of the Supreme Court did not even know about the statement until they read the publication. And it is only the latest lie in the Chief Justice’s egomaniacal mission to 'get me.' His mission began when he reported me to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over my wife’s legitimate receipt of referral fees, and that didn’t work. He has done everything possible within our Court to undermine me with my colleagues, and that didn’t work. Now, with only two months left in the hourglass of his tenure on our Court, he is trying to finish what he has been trying to do for so many years. He has been on this mission because I had the guts to challenge him on the Family Court fiasco and on what the citizens of Pennsylvania got for the more than $3 million of First Judicial District funds that were funneled to one of his closest friends. And I had the guts to challenge him on his disastrous handling of Pennsylvania's worst judicial scandal and a tragic injustice that will forever be known as the 'Kids for Cash' disaster.

Ron Castille is a Republican, and McCaffery is a Democrat.

Per this article, McCaffrey seems to have engaged in some sleazy string-pulling behavior earlier.

But for Castille, the conduct board's work has been disappointingly slow so far.

Along with McCaffery's sexually explicit e-mail traffic, the board is investigating his role in two other matters.

The first stemmed from a 2012 report Castille commissioned that found McCaffery had met with a top administrator at Philadelphia Traffic Court while his wife and judicial aide, Lise Rapaport, contested a traffic citation inside. She was acquitted.

The second arose from stories last year in The Inquirer raising questions about fees Rapaport received for referring cases to law firms while she worked in her husband's judicial office.

McCaffery has denied any impropriety in either instance, and, in his statement on the porn e-mails last week, blamed Castille for exaggerating the circumstances of both.

"He has done everything possible within our court to undermine me with my colleagues," McCaffery said.

(McCaffery has also sued The Inquirer, saying the articles about the referral fees painted him and his wife in a false light.)

Yeah, It's Not Just About the Dirty Emails: Castille seems to suspect McCaffery of a lot more than crude language.

At the end of last year, in a report Castille commissioned about Philadelphia’s corrupt Traffic Court, McCaffery was accused of using his power in an unseemly and perhaps illegal way: He had driven his wife, Lise Rapaport, to Traffic Court on Spring Garden Street for a hearing on a ticket and, while the hearing took place, summoned a top court administrator out to his car for a conversation. Rapaport was found not guilty.

With Ron Castille’s blessing, the Traffic Court report was given to the Inquirer, which did a series of front-page stories on it. Naturally, that didn’t sit well with Seamus McCaffery, who has denied any wrongdoing.

Then a second matter came up. The Inquirer wrote about fees that Rapaport, a Harvard-trained lawyer, received for referring cases to law firms while she was employed by McCaffery as his chief Supreme Court aide. Eleven of the law firms that paid Rapaport--one referral fee was $821,000--have argued cases before the Supreme Court while McCaffery has been on the bench.

When that story broke, Castille--who was first elected to the court in 1993 and has been chief justice since 2008--told reporters he was worried about "conflicts of interest and the appearance of impropriety." His opinion wasn’t shocking, but it was an unusual slapdown; chief justices of a Supreme Court almost never publicly rebuke a fellow robesman....

In mid-June, McCaffery’s trouble seemed to grow worse. The Inquirer reported that the FBI had opened an investigation into those referral fees his wife received. Meanwhile, the Legal Intelligencer wrote that McCaffery had contacted a high-level Philadelphia Common Pleas administrator last year about civil cases---and that in two of the cases, a law firm that had paid a referral fee to Lise Rapaport was involved. McCaffery's lawyer says there is no FBI investigation, but Ron Castille told WHYY that he has "no reason to believe the allegations of an FBI investigation against Justice McCaffery are not true." He added, "So I think if I was Justice McCaffery, I’d start rethinking my position on the Supreme Court."

Philadelphia Magazine says the war is partly about the power to supervise all of Pennsylvania's state courts -- power Castille doesn't trust McCaffery with.

Posted by Ace at 07:37 PM Comments

Senator Kay Hagan Recommends a Judge for Federal Service; Just Nine Days Later, That Same Judge Ruled in Favor of a Company Partially Owned by Her Husband



Just a week after Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) recommended a North Carolina judge to President Barack Obama for a seat in the U.S. District Court, the judge ruled in favor of a company partially owned by Hagan’s husband.


The case concerned a lawsuit by Hydrodyne against a local water authority. Hydrodyne claimed the water authority unlawfully siphoned water from a source and thus damaged Hydrodyne, which generates hydroelectric power. I guess: Less water, less power.


Superior Court Judge Calvin E. Murphy ruled the case in favor of Hydrodyne, setting the table for the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority to pay millions in damages to companies including Hydrodyne.

Murphy’s ruling was made on Oct. 23, 2009, just nine days after Sen. Hagan sent his name to Obama to be nominated for a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for Western North Carolina.

Hagan withdrew her recommendation to Obama after North Carolina’s News and Record contacted her office about the apparent conflict of interest, telling the paper that she "was not aware that Judge Murphy was hearing a case in which my husband had an interest."


The water authority is appealing the decision based upon the connections between the Hagans and Judge Murphy.

This isn't the first time the Hagans have been accused of benefiting themselves financially using Senator Hagan's political juice.

The Kochs are running ads about that particular sketchy transaction in the state this week.

Posted by Ace at 06:34 PM Comments

Shocker: New York Times Reports That Obama Is Once Again Conspicuously "Seething" Over the Poor Performance of His Government


He's pulled this move so many times before that people shorthand it as the "Limbaugh Theorem." The idea is that Obama's political tactic for his many, many failures is to run against his own government, as if he were an outsider, and external critic, rather than the man who is in charge of each and every bureaucracy.

And now he's doing that with the CDC's response to ebola, Tom McGuire notes.

Here's the New York Times, carrying, get this, Obama's water:

Beneath the calming reassurance that President Obamahas repeatedly offered during the Ebola crisis, there is a deepening frustration, even anger, with how the government has handled key elements of the response.

Those frustrations spilled over when Mr. Obama convened his top aides in the Cabinet room after canceling his schedule on Wednesday. Medical officials were providing information that later turned out to be wrong. Guidance to local health teams was not adequate. It was unclear which Ebola patients belonged in which threat categories.

"It's not tight," a visibly angry Mr. Obama said of the response, according to people briefed on the meeting. He told aides they needed to get ahead of events and demanded a more hands-on approach, particularly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "He was not satisfied with the response," a senior official said.

MacGuire says he can't even remember all the scandals about which Obama has claimed to be "mad as hell" about.

Nice Deb quoted John Hayward, noting out the many, many things Obama has been claimed to be madder than hell about and linked this GOP video:

The Gateway Pundit writes more, and includes a definition of "The Limbaugh Theorem."

Posted by Ace at 04:57 PM Comments

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Runs Ad Promising That "Common Core Scores" Won't Be Implemented For At Least Five Years


He's up for reelection. He'll say anything.

But this is a remarkable about-face on Common Core.

Among [Cuomo's] education pledges is a solemn one "not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready."

This isn't a repeal of Common Core. Rather, it's Cuomo struggling to reassure parents that the scores from Common Core won't be used for any purpose, such as deciding which schools to shut down, or which students are deemed "proficient" in subject areas.

There's been some controversy about those scores.

State officials touted increases in scores on tough Common Core exams this year but failed to reveal that they had lowered the number of right answers needed to pass half the exams.

The state Education Department dropped the number of raw points needed to hit proficiency levels in six of the 12 English and math exams given to students in grades 3 to 8, officials acknowledged.

"The reason that occurs is because the tests are slightly harder," Deputy Education Commissioner Ken Wagner told The Post.

Student scores plunged on last year’s statewide 3-8 tests -- the first based on the new Common Core standards. Before the 2013 exams, a panel of 95 educators decided how many points, or correct answers, students had to get to demonstrate proficiency.

But the point cutoffs were tweaked after this year's tests....

Score manipulation has erupted in scandal before. Between 2006 and 2009, the state reduced the number of raw points students needed to pass. Then-state Education Commissioner Richard Mills insisted the questions got harder, justifying the lower passing scores. But experts found the test items got easier, inflating scores hailed by then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg, among others, as proof of great progress.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 03:55 PM Comments

Wendy Davis: Greg Abbott Won't Answer the Question of Whether He'd Ban Interracial Marriage


Given that Abbott is married to a Mexican-American woman, I kinda think he's already weighed in on this important issue.

Posted by Ace at 02:32 PM Comments

Obama Super-Fan Tina Brown: This President Makes Women Feel "Unsafe"


Not just women, Tina.

"They've got themselves a little better disciplined. But, you know, the fact is that Obama's down with everybody, let's face it, there's a reason,” Brown said. "And I think that particularly for women. I don't think it makes them feel safe. I think they're feeling unsafe. Economically, they’re feeling unsafe. With regard to ISIS, they’re feeling unsafe. They feel unsafe about Ebola. What they're feeling unsafe about is the government response to different crises. And I think they're beginning to feel a bit that Obama’s like that guy in the corner office, you know, who's too cool for school, calls a meeting, says this has to change, doesn't put anything in place to make sure it does change, then it goes wrong and he's blaming everybody. So there's a slight sense of that."

They're beginning to feel slightly like that?

Via @instapundit, contrast Tina Brown's 2008-era opinion of Obama.

This has been an election full of magic. White Magic that only the black man from everywhere and nowhere could perform. Even his adored grandmother dying on the eve of the victory had a mythic feeling of completion to it in a candidacy full of signs and symbols. Remember the three-point basketball shot when he played with the soldiers in Kuwait? It’s as if Obama is the prince who lifts the curse in a fairy story, a curse that began eight years ago with an election wrenched away from the rightful winner and begetting as a consequence the wrathful visitation of tragedy and wars and hurricanes and economic collapse.

There's more at Ed Driscoll's link. Brown is actually just getting rolling with embarrassing herself there.

Another Super-Fan, the New York Times' Frank Bruni, is also slightly beginning to feel like that.

[O]ne dimension of the disease's toll is clear. It’s ravaging Americans' already tenuous faith in the competence of our government and its bureaucracies.

Before President Obama’s election, we had Iraq, Katrina and the meltdown of banks supposedly under Washington’s watch. Since he came along to tidy things up, we’ve had the staggeringly messy rollout of Obamacare, the damnable negligence of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the baffling somnambulism of the Secret Service.

Now this...

Ebola is his presidency in a petri dish. It’s an example already of his tendency to talk too loosely at the outset of things, so that his words come back to haunt him. There was the doctor you could keep under his health plan until, well, you couldn't. There was the red line for Syria that he didn’t have to draw and later erased.

With Ebola, he said almost two weeks ago that "we're doing everything that we can" with an "all-hands-on-deck approach." But on Wednesday and Thursday he announced that there were additional hands to be put on deck and that we could and would do more. The shift fit his pattern: not getting worked up in the early stages, rallying in the later ones.


"If you were his parent, you'd want to shake him," said one Democratic strategist, who questioned where Obama's passion was and whether, even this deep into his presidency, he appreciated one of the office's most vital functions: deploying language, bearing, symbols and ceremony to endow Americans with confidence in who's leading them and in how they’re being led.

Right now in this country there's a crisis of confidence, and of competence...

Well, there's not a really a crisis of confidence per se. Bruni seems to acknowledge this, by adding in "and of competence," but it's really just a crisis of competence, and of leadership.

The lack of confidence is not a freestanding crisis. It's a direct and rational response to the lack of leadership and competence.

Tina Brown link via @instapundit, who also talks about New York State's war on online bed-and-breakfasts. The problem: Some people may be dodging the state's regulation and taxation.

The Frank Bruni link is via @hotair, and the very good Quotes of the Day from last night, which are largely about questions about Obama's competency.

More: Last week, Megyn Kelly mentioned a FoxNews poll in which 58% of respondents agreed the country was "going to hell in a handbasket." That was the actual poll question, not Megyn Kelly's paraphrase of it.

There's a Politico poll noting that basic sense of it all coming apart.

Despite the fact that 61 percent expressed some or a lot of confidence in the federal government to be able to contain the spread of the Ebola virus in the United States, there is an air of crisis that has voters concerned. 64 percent told Politico pollsters that "things in the U.S. feel like they are out of control right now." Only 36 percent expressed some faith in American institutions to be able to meet the myriad economic and national security challenges they face.

When asked who they believe was a better manager of the federal government, George W. Bush or Barack Obama, only 35 percent backed the president. 38 percent said they thought Bush had more control over the reins of government

Posted by Ace at 01:47 PM Comments

Maryland Dems Walk Out on Obama Speech, Just Ten Minutes In


From @Benk84's morning newspile, Obama just doesn't seem to have any kind of hold on even his party faithful.

Allah notes that maybe even more stunning than Democrats filing out "by the dozen" during Obama's droning monotone is the fact that liberal outlets, including Politico and Reuters, actually reported it.

Posted by Ace at 12:39 PM Comments

Marvel's Civil War Storyline Is Not About Gun Control

—Gabriel Malor

Comics and film geeks, this one's for you. Everyone else, meh. As you may know, it appears that the MCU films will attempt to bring Marvel's Civil War storyline to the big screen. This story, published in 2006 and 2007, pitted hero against hero with, most notably for our purposes here, Captain America becoming a libertarian opponent of hero registration and Iron Man championing the pro-registration side of things. The writer of this series describes it as a reaction to the post-9/11 security apparatus, including the Patriot Act.

The news that this story is coming to theaters near you, put one liberal writer in a tizzy. He thinks this storyline is about a "far right paranoid fantasy" and he's worried that he might have to watch it. There are many things wrong with Bouie's piece, but I only have a few minutes to spare this morning, so here are the major problems.

First, Bouie's suggestion that Marvel did something "paranoid," "messy," and "slanted" by treating the Super Human Registration Act as a draft rather than as mere government list-making is ignorant at the outset. The purpose of the Civil War storyline, in addition to clearing up Marvel's back catalog, was to write a compelling story that would set hero against hero in a frantic, no-holds-barred, nation-breaking fight. An, er, Civil War, if you will.

Bouie might as well suggest that it is silly or messy for Magneto to keep inciting the U.S. government to hunt him, since he doesn't want to be hunted. Well, yes, but then there would be no story. Bouie might think it is "paranoid" for the Wolverine to keep acting out of irrational fear that people are out to get him all the time, but, again, then there would be no story. For the Civil War storyline, maybe the SHRA could have been mere list-making and not a draft, but then there would be no story.

Moreover, contra Bouie, treating super registration as a draft is not new to the Civil War storyline or even new to Marvel. Most comics that do super registration stories (which is approximately all of them) treat it as a draft, not mere list-making. That includes X-Men's well-regarded Mutant Registration Act stories, which are viewed by critics and liberal arts students as a thinly-veiled allegory for anti-gay bigotry. DC Comics has this story too, as the Justice League was forced to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee to be unmasked. Alan Moore's DC imprint Watchmen also used the draft version rather than the list-making version in the form of the Keene Act. Even the Harry Potter series used the draft version, with supernatural individuals forced to register and turn out to work for the Ministry of Magic or die.

Second, Bouie's real problem is that, he says, Marvel's Civil War "draft" registration does not work as a gun control allegory. This gun control allegory shtick is entirely Bouie's gloss. Nobody seemed to think the X-Men's MRA was a gun control allegory, nor are gun control schemes often compared with the Ministry of Magic's Muggle-Born Registration Commission because such a comparison is absurd on its face.

Bouie claims that Marvel poorly handled super registration because it gave too much credit to the anti-registration side. But, again, that's Bouie's invented problem. He says the story is supposed to be an allegory for gun control and that, as such, it is unreasonable for the heroes to resist registration since it, like gun control, is reasonable.

In other words, having prescribed an allegory that does not fit the Civil War storyline, Bouie proceeds to dispatch the Civil War storyline for not reasonably describing the allegory. This kind of sophistry is nice work if you can get it.

The issue, then, for Bouie is simply that Marvel set out to engage in story-telling outside of the same old "heroes versus government registration." What if, the Civil War storyline posited, in a rather fresh change, some heroes supported super registration, including a draft? It's compelling. But it's not about gun control, no matter how many words Bouie has been forced to turn out by his liberal magazine.

PS: In regards to Bouie's insistence that registration of people would be reasonable, if only Marvel had written that story, he should review the Supreme Court's decisions in NAACP v. Alabama, which concerned an exercise in government list-making here in our own world that provides a far better allegory to super registration than any gun control yarn he could possibly spin.

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:33 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 10-20-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Monday.

Overbroad public accommodation laws strike again. A couple operating a wedding chapel in Idaho have sued to enjoin their city's public accommodation non-discrimination law as applied to their business, which a city ordinance defines as a public accommodation. The city has said it could fine them (and escalate to jail time) if the couple refuses to allow same-sex weddings at the chapel.

At present, 21 states have public accommodations laws that prohibit anti-gay discrimination, in addition to the more typical prohibitions of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and national origin. Additionally, many cities in states without such broad public accommodations have adopted their own ordinances, which seems to be the case here (Idaho does not cover anti-gay discrimination in its public accommodation law).

In each of those states and cities, folks operating businesses covered by public accommodations laws, which includes pretty much every business not specifically exempted, including wedding chapels, could face the threat of fines or, as in this case, jail time from overzealous city and state attorneys.

Is that legal or constitutional? In the case of wedding chapels, no, it is not. Click there for the explanation, since Eugene Volokh has done the legwork.

Yesterday, President Obama gave a speech on behalf of Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown. And the crowd started leaving early.

This was a bewildering state of affairs--to the press. As our own Lauraw noted, however, these journalists just couldn't figure out how to figure out what was going on:

We may never know why people started bailing early on the president. I wish there were a group of people whose purpose was to find that sort of thing out and then tell the rest of us about it.

The family of Thomas Eric Duncan will be released from quarantine today. No virus.

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Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:51 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (10-19-2014)


Quote of the Day

With productivity continuing to rise, the United States has a chance to become the single biggest producer of crude oil sometime in the near future. If you had said that a decade ago, you would've been laughed at and called a fool. What a difference fracking makes.

Ah RIP Peak Oil - we barely knew ye.

Bobby Jindal Has Got Obama's Number

And now we're clearly in stage 2 of Obama's well known crisis management by-running-out-the-clock-while-doing-fuck-all style.


Ten Things the Ebola Crisis Tells Us About the Obola Administration

The announcement of Ron Klain as the new Ebola "czar" checks all the boxes: Harvard Law, longtime Democrat party op, veteran of the Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry campaigns. The problem is, it checks all the wrong boxes. The Progressive myth is that we ought to have a government of experts - top men! - to handle the nation's problems in a calm, deliberative manner. The reality is that we have a nation of unscrupulous lawyers, amoral apparatchiks and political hacks whose only area of expertise is manipulating the electoral and governmental systems and getting rich by doing so.

So don't worry - the Obama administrator has got Top. Fixers. on the problem so they can move on to stage 3 and 4 faster.


Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:08 PM Comments

So How About That Bobby Jindal Fella? [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

Bobby Jindal has been on a tear lately.

A couple of days ago, he ripped Fearless Reader a new one over Ebola:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who has said he's considering making a run for president in 2016, criticized the government's response to the Ebola epidemic at an appearance in New York City on Thursday.

"Time and time again, the CDC and the administration in general have told us things that turned out not to be true," Jindal said. "They first said – the president said it was unlikely the virus was going to get here. It did get here, it turns out it did get here. Then he said it was unlikely it was going to spread and it did spread."

And ICYMI, there's this gem:

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Posted by Open Blogger at 08:20 PM Comments

Sunday Evening Open Thread: Happiest Years of Our Lives [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

How about a change of pace from the 24/7 cycle of lousy news?

According to a study by the Center for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics that was reported last year, most of us can expect to experience two periods of peak happiness in our lives, at age 23 and age 69:

What goes up must come down: after our early twenties, happiness declines on the way to our mid-fifties; then, after cycling back up through our late sixties, it falls again once we reach 75. If you're having a midlife crisis -- brooding over life choices and unfulfilled ambitions -- buck up, better days are coming: the turnaround point is 55, according to the study, at which point happiness starts climbing once more (though that second harder turnaround after 75 sounds a little ominous).

Their findings were based on a survey of over 23,000 people.

An earlier study by a British social networking site, Friends United, found this:

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Posted by Open Blogger at 06:20 PM Comments

Gaming Thread 10/19/2014

—Gang of Gaming Morons!

Sorry for the delay in posting this, with the League of Legends World Championship (which continued the tradition of being extremely boring) this morning and the Packer game, I just didn't get it done in time

Next weekend in the annual 24 hour gaming marathon for Extra Life, a drive to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network

Starts Saturday morning at 8 AM and runs till Sunday (though for the most part everyone starts on Friday and goes till late Sunday night). It's always fun to watch the streams and donate. it's a fun to be had for all.

The Site is here if you want to read up on them

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Posted by Gang of Gaming Morons! at 05:00 PM Comments

Food Thread: Don't Get Your Guests Sick Edition [CBD]

—Open Blogger

Ah....the joys of gastrointestinal disturbances. Everybody has had the unfortunate and distressing experience of food-borne illness. Most of them resolve in several hours, and they are rarely life threatening, although they do seem existentially awful.


Luckily our food production and logistics systems are extremely good at minimizing the risk of food poisoning from commercially produced food, although the hysterical over-reporting of the occasional large outbreaks might make it seem as if we are living in some third-world backwater with no clean water and fields fertilized with human waste.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 04:15 PM Comments

Gun Thread: 10-19-2014 [WeirdDave]

—Open Blogger

WeirdDave pointed this Gun Thread at me and requested demanded I format it and post it for him.
I tried peeing on myself to make this scary Gun Thread go away, but that didn't work!
Neither did "sheltering in place" until the Gun Thread lost interest and wandered off.
So here it is...

Gun of the Week


Defensive Gun Use of the Week

Democratic State Lawmaker Opens Fire on Suspected Armed Robbers in the Streets of Harrisburg
The linked article notes that in this incident, nobody was shot, and these types of situations don't get reported as a "defensive gun use." They do tend to get reported if the victim is not armed, however they are usually reported under a different category: murder.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 01:12 PM Comments

Sunday Football Thread

—Dave In Texas

You know what to do.

10 19.jpg

Posted by Dave In Texas at 12:12 PM Comments

Weekend Open Thread: Amazing Animal Anecdotes [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

I need a break from DOOM. How about you? We have a lot of animal lovers in the Moron Horde, so here's a thread about amazing animals and how they communicate with us.

Do you guys know about "Alex" the African Grey Parrot?

Continue reading

Posted by Open Blogger at 11:00 AM Comments

Sunday Morning Book Thread 10-19-2014: Doom and Gloom [OregonMuse]

—Open Blogger

dystopia 4.jpg

Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Kilts are OK, too. But not tutus.


I had last week's book thread up on my work computer last week, the one with the photo of the 3 ugly cavemen, and one of the managers happened to walk by and see it, and remarked, "Oh, I didn't know Grand Funk Railroad was doing a reunion tour."

Deriding Dreary Dystopias of Dreck

Author/editor Kathryn Cramer over at the HuffPo wants you to know that she's had it with dystopian sci-fi:

As our world became more complicated and our shiny futuristic infrastructure began to age and fail, dystopias emerged as a subgenre of science fiction...In 2011, following the Fukushima disaster, Neal Stephenson came to the realization that much of our crucial infrastructure is aging, and we are dependent upon infrastructure built in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. He wrote about this in an essay called Innovation Starvation. He gave a speech on this subject at GoogleX conference. Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University challenged him, saying that we had stopped getting big stuff done because science fiction writers like Stephenson had stopped envisioning it.

Well, that's certainly an interesting perspective, but I doubt that it's true. I think the real reason we're no longer getting "big stuff" done is that it just costs too damn much. Combine this with the fact that, most, if not all, of the governments of the world are run by idiots who have absolutely no clue how wealth is created, and who are only interested in taking it from people they don't like and giving it to those they do, and you get a sure-fire recipe for a bleak dystopian future full of poverty, want, and hard times.

One of the purposes of this article is for Ms. Cramer to promote her own, recently published anthology, Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, which is fine. It's a compendium of "techno-optimistic" stories by writers such as Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, and Neal Stephenson. But this revolt against the smothering, ubiquitous presence of dystopian-themed fiction is being introduced as if it's some Big New Thing.

However, if Ms. Cramer was familiar with the indie sci-fi writers, or even had been reading the stately and prestigious AoSHQ book thread, she would have known that we had this covered a year ago. 'Human Wave' science fiction has been around for awhile. In fact, Sarah Hoyt wrote her HW manifesto back in 2012. I kind of like her guidelines for writing. For example:

5 -- You shall not commit grey goo. Grey goo, in which characters of indeterminate moral status move in a landscape of indeterminate importance towards goals that will leave no one better or worse off is not entertaining...

6 -- Unless absolutely necessary you will have a positive feeling to your story. By this we don't mean it will have a happy ending or that we expect pollyanish sentiments out of you. Your novel and setting can be as dystopic as you want it. In fact, your character can die at the end. Just make sure he goes down fighting and dies for something, so the reader doesn't feel cheated.

For some examples of this, we can start with Ms. Hoyt's own works, such as Darkship Thieves, the first of her Darkship trilogy, followed up by Darkship Renegades, and then A Few Good Men.

There are more human wave authors listed at this old post at Sabrina Chase's blog, with the caveat that the prices she quotes no longer apply.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 09:31 AM Comments

Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

—Open Blogger

Good morning.

A short, fascinating clip about the discovery of the Ebola virus:

Alas, that ain't nothing! Check this out:

Funny. He still manages to look somewhat normal. What I find most endearing is, of course, his staged and indignant laughter.

This dude votes. And, the sidebar at You Tube is filled with this nonsense.

Although he doesn't do it here, folks such as he will argue that there's no such thing as God or Satan while simultaneously holding the belief that humans are capable of inflicting such horror upon other humans.

But wait! He uses the word "pray" towards the end of the vid.

Yep. He's just as normal as you and me.

Oh hell, let's go for broke! These people are truly insane.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 07:27 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (18 Oct 2014)



The President teases what is to come after the midterms. Laws are for little people. Obama quietly begins unilateral immigration reform by inviting in 100,000 Haitians to be your new neighbors.

Doom! A year of living on the brink.

The U.S. and Europe have paid a high price for six years of stimulus that didn't stimulate, programmed consumption that fell short, regulatory expansion that froze private producers, and high tax-rate regimes that benefited the public-spending class and beggared everyone else, especially young people and the working poor scrambling for jobs.

No one should underestimate the political dangers of persisting with a Keynesian economic model that looks depleted.

Hopefully the young people and the working poor most hurt by these policies wise up by 2016. They'll have no one else to blame but themselves.

Top image part of the well rounded cat meme.

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Posted by CDR M at 09:36 PM Comments

How A President Should Behave [CBD]

—Open Blogger

This is independent of his politics, which may be awful beyond compare (Wilson, Johnson, Carter, Obama) or marvelous in the main* (Washington, Coolidge, Reagan), or a mixture (almost all of them).

But there must be a visceral, heartfelt connection to this country and what makes it great. And that connection seems best exposed by the way the president treats the armed forces......

Bush 1.jpg

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Posted by Open Blogger at 05:00 PM Comments

Weekend Open Thread: Best Music Era [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

*Reposted because of enstompening.*

So I was poking around on You Tube and stumbled onto a real gem of a movie: "Rhythm and Blues Revue."


I'm going to put the link to the full movie below the fold...


Continue reading

Posted by Open Blogger at 03:30 PM Comments

Senator Mark Udall Crashes and Burns in Local TV Interview


I'm not quite sure what's going on with Udall here. He seems pretty distracted and out of it.

At one point, he was asked if Common Core was good or bad for Colorado students and he replied "yes".

Towards the middle of the interview, he was asked to name the three most influencial books in his life. He stumbled through one, asked for a do-over, then called himself braindead.

Overall, a pretty disastrous appearance.

Related: Check out Matthew Continetti's latest over at Free Beacon, "The Macaca Democrats".

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Posted by JohnE. at 02:38 PM Comments

Fundamental Concepts: The Tragedy of the Commons [WeirdDave]

—Open Blogger

This one is not going to be very long, because it's an easy one. Tragedy of the Commons is the name given to a theory that if a group of people share a resource, it will eventually be plundered and rendered useless. Overfishing of the Grand Banks is a commonly cited example. Selfish people will overuse the resource, ruining it for everybody. This concept is the basis for a good deal of leftist political thought, it is the reason that they want to put government in charge of everything. They are right, up to a point, but as usual they miss the mark completely in an attempt to bring everything under the thumb of government.

Let's start with an example:

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Posted by Open Blogger at 01:10 PM Comments

Saturday Gardening Thread: TIMBER! [Y-not and WeirdDave]

—Open Blogger

Greetings gardeners! Welcome to you Saturday Gardening Thread. This week's thread is brought to you by the aspen:


Follow this link for a 3D interactive display of autumn aspens in Alta, Utah.

Take it away, WeirdDave:

So, everything seems to be done for the year. It's time to sit back, relax, and plan for next year.

Or is it?

Corn Maze

There are still garden related things that can be done, although many of these are the milieu of the professional farmer rather than the green thumbed amateur. For example, there's a place in Dixon, Ca. That claims to have the World's Largest Corn Maze. Now, a Google search shows that lots of places claim this honor, but this story had pictures (of corn. With a path between rows. Not exactly visually exciting journalism). It covers 40 acres, and I think that'll do until a larger maze comes along.


Fall also means pumpkins. Here are some pictures of pumpkins, in case you don't know what they are (are you out of your gourd?).

Most of us think of pumpkins like this:


Continue reading

Posted by Open Blogger at 12:40 PM Comments

College Football Thread

—Dave In Texas

This is the place to discuss the football things.

Top ten action this week, all times EDT:

Mississippi State (1), idle
Baylor (4) at West Virginia, noon
Auburn (6), idle
Texas A&M (21) at Alabama (7), 3:30pm
Michigan State (8) at Indiana, 3:30pm
Georgia (10) at Arkansas, 4pm
Tennessee at Ole Miss (3), 7pm
Washington at Oregon (9), 8pm
Notre Dame (5) at Florida State (1), 8pm

Have a great weekend morons.


Posted by Dave In Texas at 11:53 AM Comments

Saturday Politics Thread: Candidates on the Issues [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

Welcome to a somewhat abbreviated version of your Saturday Politics Thread. We've be spending the past several weeks reviewing and discussing some prospective candidates for the 2016 election. Although there are probably others we may want to cover at some point, for example Governor Pence in Indiana is starting to garner attention, I'd like to start burrowing in on the top candidates' (as judged by the esteemed Horde) positions on issues that matter most.

The goal of this is not to persuade you. I have my favorites at the moment, but I really am not wedded to anyone yet. The goal is really to just try to be as rational as we can about deciding who each of us might want to support early in the primary (and pre-primary) process. I think we can all agree that it would behoove conservatives to weed out non-starters as early in the process as possible to avoid some of the foolishness we saw in the 2012 primary.

Of course, a lot of us rely on our guts to choose a candidate and, frankly, I'm ok with that. I don't think there's any way to be 100% "rational" about this sort of decision. But if we can identify fatal flaws with candidates, or find that we've misjudged other GOP prospects based on sketchy information, I think it'll help us have a good pool of acceptable candidates from which to work.

If there is one thing I do want to persuade you of, it's that this potential field of candidates is much better than the last one. There's no reason for conservatives to give up and assume that Jeb Bush or Name-Your-RINO-Here has to be the nominee.

So with that in mind, these were the top issues identified by the horde two weeks ago as being important to them in choosing a Presidential candidate:

Reducing the size of the Federal bureaucracy and regulation 16.1% (1,295 votes)
Reining in Federal spending 14.13% (1,137 votes)
Repealing Obamacare 12.01% (966 votes)
Solving the illegal immigration problem 11.41% (918 votes)
Strengthening national security and global alliances 8.09% (651 votes)
Reforming or eliminating entitlement programs 5.79% (466 votes)
Addressing problems with the Federal tax code 5.64% (454 votes)
Promoting energy independence 5.62% (452 votes)
Protecting the U.S. from terrorism 5.57% (448 votes)

I've started to research the candidates, but before rolling out the first installment in this series I thought I'd solicit some input from the Horde on what things to factor into my research.

Most of the candidates we'll be examining in depth are governors, so how do we assess a how a candidate would behave if s/he was elected President? For example, if someone is governor of a blue (or purple) state, how do we assess if that person would govern as a conservative President? Likewise, if a governor is from a red state, how much "credit" do we give him or her for conservative policies enacted there?

I'd like to hear from you on how you make this "calculation" when assessing candidates. I'll try to incorporate some of the suggestions you make into future posts.

Finally, these are the candidates I plan to evaluate in upcoming weeks, based on the moron poll results and, in one case, my own personal interest:

Continue reading

Posted by Open Blogger at 10:20 AM Comments

Yes, We Have Lost Our Collective Minds [CBD]

—Open Blogger

Crayon guns: the new weapon of choice for suicide in five year old girls

"When I was in middle-school, Mortal Kombat was released on home video game consoles. Because my friends and I loved the game so much, we used to draw pictures of the characters doing seriously horrible things to one another. As in, rectal-based spine-retrieval type of stuff. It was fun and it was funny...and if we did that today, I have to assume we all would have ended up arrested and in some kind of psychiatric facility. "
Hat-tip: @DoreenHDickson
Posted by Open Blogger at 09:00 AM Comments

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Milo Yiannopoulos, Breitbart: Incredibly, GamerGate Is Winning - But You Won't Read that Anywhere In the Terrified Liberal Media
"There's the Intel vice president who told me via email that GamerGate was 'doing great work' and that he was 'sick of slander and self-loathing from the press'. He was talking about male journalists who do misandrist feminists' work for them." [rdbrewer]
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(Content warning.) Dude with no legs uses that for effect. Cruel. [rdbrewer]

Allahpundit: The only technology that Americans really wanted from the future will soon be real
The hoverboard is here. Also, check out the other applications shown in the back half of the video, especially the one at about 2:32. [rdbrewer]
Dallas Health Presbyterian Hospital Releases Patient With Ebola Symptoms, Because He Wanted to Leave the Hospital
One thing here: if the guy wanted to leave, I'm not sure you can keep him against his will absent a confirmed ebola test and a court order. I'm not casting blame here; but it is worrisome that potentially-infected people are refusing voluntary quarantine. That happened in west Africa, too.

The Externalization of Responsibility: Monica Lewinsky’s Personal Shame
She won't finish rebuilding her life and healing until she can assess blame honestly. Like Ace says, she's trying to stay loyal for some reason. That doesn't sound healthy. [rdbrewer]

Anthony L. Fisher: Sex, Spice, and Small-Town Texas Justice: The Purple Zone Raid
"The DEA was supposedly hunting for drug-dealing, money-laundering terrorist supporters, but instead appears to have been roped into one district attorney's personal crusade against a woman who jilted him years earlier." [rdbrewer]

Billboard: Annie Lennox: 'Twerking Is Not Feminism'
"Lennox labeled Bey 'feminist lite' in an interview at the end of September.... 'I think that this overt sexuality thrust -- literally -- at particular audiences, when very often performers have a very, very young audience, like 7 years older, I find it disturbing and I think its exploitative.'" Bey thinks vulgarity is hip. It isn't. Via @slublog. [rdbrewer]

Yahoo: FBI Asks Congress For Backdoor Access To All Cellphones For Surveillance
The FBI now thinks its mission is less about investigating crime than it is surveillance of the general public. Problem is, we don't do that in this country. "'[T]he law hasn’t kept pace with technology....'" No, the Fourth Amendment hasn't kept pace with technology. [rdbrewer]

Mary Katharine Ham: Obama: Hey, all these red-state Democrats running away from me are strong supporters who vote with me!
(Link fixed.) "President Barack Obama appeared on Al Sharpton’s radio show today to send a campaign message.... ' The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me. They have supported my agenda in Congress.'" [rdbrewer]

‘I’ve been raped 30 times and it’s not even lunchtime. I can’t go to the toilet. Please bomb us’
Obama couldn't care less. No, really. #Narcissist. Via @DoreenHDickson. [rdbrewer]

Carolla On Elizabeth Warren: When She Says Take Back Our Country ‘She Means Give More Shit To People’
People like Warren want power by any means necessary. They don't care about the country--even though their own offspring will have to live with the mess they create. Also from TheDC: HHS-Funded Study: Obamacare Will Suffer ‘Death Spiral’ If Subsidies Fail. [rdbrewer]

The Daily Beast: Harvard Liberals Hate New Campus Sex Laws
This is important because liberals are starting to figure out they have authoritarians in their midst they don't like. [rdbrewer]

Thousands of federal workers on extended paid leave
"During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer. The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone." [rdbrewer]

Surveillance Video Apparently Catches Guy Doing Something at the Ballot Box That Left Republican Monitor Stunned
"An Arizona county party official said he saw a man stuffing 'hundreds' of ballots into the ballot box and later told a local news outlet the entire incident was caught on surveillance video." [rdbrewer]

Mediaite: O’Reilly: The Only Reason Any Americans Vote for Democrats Is ‘Emotion’ [rdbrewer]
Dude Plays Star Spangled Banner With Gun
He's got 10 or so metal targets, each which play a different note when hit with a .22 rifle round... it's pretty cool

The new T-Rex scale of relative size
Dark Matter... detected?!?!
It's Axiomatic that proof of Dark Matter requires Axions. [ArthurK]
OC Register: Joel Kotkin: Thunder on the Left
Via RCP. "Much has been written about the right-ward shift of the Republican Party, but far less about a mounting left-wing movement among Democrats. While the media tends to dismiss the right-wingers of the GOP as 'wingnuts,' it typically refrains from categorizing even the extreme left of the Democratic Party in a similar manner." [rdbrewer]

USA Today: Video of police officer shooting dog sparks investigation
"So she requested the video from the lapel camera worn by the officer. What she saw horrified her. 'Never once did Max stop wagging his tail. Never once do you hear a growl, an aggressive anything,' Henderson said." Sick cops dying for a reason to discharge their weapons. Stories like this are so numerous, states need to start passing laws restricting law enforcement gun use. If postal workers and meter readers can avoid killing dogs, so can cops. [rdbrewer]

Breitbart: Politico Poll: 64% Believe America Is 'Out of Control'
"57% of Americans believe their health care costs will increase, and just 7% believe that Obamacare will do as President Barack Obama claimed and reduce personal costs. Politico's poll also found Obama slightly trailing former President George W. Bush on managerial effectiveness." [rdbrewer]

Republican Strategist: GOP Midterm Win Coming Thanks To ‘Conga Line Of Screw-ups’ By Obama
Heheh. [rdbrewer]

Eric Owens: Women’s Studies Professors Pitch Tantrum Over George Will Appearance
"The faculty meltdown over Will’s speech is a response to his June column in the Washington Post about sexual assault on college campuses. The professors are calling the column 'hate speech'...." It's not hate speech. They just don't want him to talk. What is it with progs and speech they don't agree with? [rdbrewer]

Erick Erickson: In Idaho, Christian Pastors Ordered to Perform Gay Marriages. You Will Be Made to Care.
More from TheDC. [rdbrewer]
Internet Aristocrat: How SJWs pushed their way into Atheism
Video. The Aristocrat talks with a couple of guests about how feminists have appropriated --or tried to-- several popular movements. [rdbrewer]
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