The Guardian: ISIS Orders All Girls and Women in Mosul To Have Their Clitoris Severed From Their Bodies
I thought I would say what they're actually ordering instead of just saying FGM.
Please note that there are claims that this report is ill-founded. Some claim this fatwa was issued a year ago, by ISIL (ISIL is now called ISIS). I suppose this is intended to suggest the fatwa won't be carried out, or was issued without the intent of actually seeing the fatwa through.
I'm not quoting those parts, though, because I want to quote the other parts. But the claim is in fact challenged.
Report says 'fatwa' issued by militant group in and around Iraqi city could affect 4 million, but doubts expressed on social media
The United Nations said on Thursday that militant group Islamic State (Isis) had ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq's northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation.
All girls and women up to age 49 must have their "immoral" clitoris excised from their body.
There was no immediate comment from Islamic State which has led an offensive through northern and western Iraq.
Worldwide, more than 130 million girls and women have undergone FGM and more than 700 million women alive today were children when they were married.
Shortly after 9/11, the left modified its behaviors and arguments to appear more reasonable, more decent.
But a couple of years after 9/11, the left began discussing 9/11 and the War on Terror in way that was repulsive.
A few years after the shock of it, the Left began discussing the war between the West and the Islamist terrorists who would destroy it as not having anything to do with them.
They began discussing the War as if it were some silly shit caused by itchy-trigger-finger Christianists who just Hate Muslims and Muslim Religious Extremists.
They began speaking and acting as if it was not only their right, but their duty, to pretend that this War had nothing at all to do with them, and that the War would just stop if those Stupid Christianist Warmongers would stop poking the Muslims.
They speak as if we're making all this stuff up as propaganda for our Christianist Religious War.
It's good to note, occasionally, that they are fools, cowards, and liars, who make up fantastical stories to excuse their absence from even thinking about an actual war on civilization, modernity, peace, freedom, and the values of The Enlightenment.
While the simultaneously pose as the mighty champions of these things.
On ISIL vs. ISIS: Weft-cut loop has an interesting and, to my ears at least, authorative-sounding explanation as to the difference in the names.
To wit, that there is no difference:
Not that it matters, but;
The current name of the group in english is officially the "Islamic State". Just plain 'ole 'IS'.
ISIL = is the English translation of their name from arabic, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Levant is a geographic region that includes part but not all of Syria,
Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Kuwait, Cyprus, and parts of Turkey.
ISIS = is a partially translated version; Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Al Sham was translated as the Levant but for some reason the AP and other reporting wires decided a half-assed translation was somehow better than the complete translated ISIL. The last 's' did not mean Syria exclusively.
Our Enemy, The Sun: Two Years Ago, A Massive and Potentially Catastrophic Coronal Ejection Just Barely Missed The Earth
Most of us, anyway.
It would depend on how well humans adapted to living without electricity for a few months or a year.
Fortunately, the blast site of the CMEs was not directed at Earth. Had this event occurred a week earlier when the point of eruption was Earth-facing, a potentially disastrous outcome would have unfolded.
"I have come away from our recent studies more convinced than ever that Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did," Baker tells NASA. "If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire."
... NASA offers this sobering assessment:Analysts believe that a direct hit ...could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket. Most people wouldn't even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps.
. . .
According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair.
CWG’s Steve Tracton put it this way in his frightening overview of the risks of a severe solar storm: "The consequences could be devastating for commerce, transportation, agriculture and food stocks, fuel and water supplies, human health and medical facilities, national security, and daily life in general."
Read on. One guy claims that the odds of experiencing this type of direct hit in the next ten years are... ten percent.
This story immediately called to mind a piece I had seen discussed at Volokh about the Fermi Paradox.
The Paradox goes like this: There are a huge number of stars in the universe. There are 100-400 billion in our galaxy alone, and there are 100-400 billion galaxies. (IIRC.)
Given all those stars, surely some would have generated life (assuming, of course, that life does not require a divine genesis) and reached the technological capacity to communicate with us or even travel to our planet and say "Hello."
So: Where are they?
But that's not the interesting part. The interesting part is this: Given the assumptions of the first part of the paradox (that it is almost a statistical certainty that some number of alien planets should have generated technologically-advanced life by now), and the fact of the second part (that we've seen nothing), then we need an explanation for this -- why is the universe so deathly silent?
And "deathly" is the key word there.
And one of those explanations is that technologically advanced societies just cannot live very long at all. They die very quickly.
This would explain why no one's picked up the Space Phone to say hello: Because shortly after inventing the Space Phone, they were all wiped out.
Or set back a thousand years.
Well, that's why the coronal mass ejection story jogged my memory.
Maybe stars are a lot more lethal than we know. After all, we wouldn't know how lethal a star could be until after it had already killed us all -- at which point, we would no longer be around to remember or document this fact in books.
This guy talks about this in this more-academic article, noting that the "Great Sieve" -- whatever factor it is that sharply limits the number of technologically advanced societies-- must either be in our past (that is, it is virtually impossible for life to arise, and hence we should not be surprised that there's none of it out there) or in our future (that at some point it is nearly inevitable that a civilization destroys itself, or is destroyed by regularly-operating forces which periodically return it to the stone age, or just actual stone).
And if that's the case -- that the Great Sieve lay before us -- then we have to wonder about when our planetary ticket is scheduled to be punched.
It's actually pretty sobering stuff.
If the difficult part is behind us, we're okay. If we're just extraordinary/lucky to exist at all, then the Hard Part was already accomplished a billion years ago.
But if the difficult part lay ahead of us, we might soon be joining all those thousands or millions of intelligent species that weren't able to stick around long enough to say hello to anyone else.
(That link was cribbed from Volokh too -- or, more accurately, Ilya Somin.)
Corrected: I stupidly failed to say "100-400 billion" galaxies. My claim that there are only 100-400 galaxies in the universe was a typo.
Heat Map of John Walsh's Paper
In this New York Times map, Yellow indicates "Plagiarism," and Pink indicates "En Fuego Plagiarism."
Okay, just kidding. Yellow indicates where he footnoted sentences entirely or substantially lifted from a source, but did not put the words in quotes to indicate they were being quoted. Pink indicates where he wrote sentences entirely or substantially lifted from a source, and did not even footnote or otherwise acknowledge the source.
White indicates passages which seem to be his own words.
There's not a lot of white in the map. Don't be fooled by all the white from pages 14 to 19 -- on page 14, his footnotes begin (actually, they're endnotes).
Page 13 is particularly a problem. It's all Pink. These are the his key recommendations -- all substantially borrowed from a Carnegie Endowment policy brief.
Earlier, Walsh's aide had floated a soft version of the "He had PTSD" excuse. When she claimed this, she said he had some kind of post-"experiential" syndrome, owing to the recent suicide of a fellow soldier, but was not professionally treated for it.
Then the story got traction, and Walsh now says he did have PTSD, and he did get treated for it.
(AP) - Montana senator says he was being treated for PTSD when he used unattributed work in thesis.— James Hohmann (@jameshohmann) July 23, 2014
Top Headline Comments (7-24-2014)
OK, today I didn't forget. Gabe must just be catching up on all his fancy lawyerin'.
Here's some actual news-ish content. Obama's going after "tax inversions" today. This isn't a good idea, a substitute for broader corporate tax reform, or even intended to pass. It's just a cudgel to beat up the GOP in an election year.
But cynicism is no substitute for hope, etc. says the Obama Cliche Generator.
Overnight Open Thread (7-23-2014)
First a little mood music...
30 minutes of cool jazz awesomeness from their 1960 tour.
Nor do you ever have to lie in bed and watch some mawkish film about Nelson Mandela or one made by Michael Moore. (They don't think you're demented because you'd rather watch Die Hard.) And right-wing women never think that leaving the toilet seat up is a passive-aggressive act of patriarchy.
-- Cosmo Landesman in The Lust That Dare Not Speak Its Name
For the record, all the "villains" on Thomas and Friends are the dirty diesel engines. I'd like to think there was a good environmental message in there, but when the good engines pump out white smoke and the bad engines pump out black smoke - and they are all pumping out smoke - it's not hard to make the leap into race territory.
-- Tracy Van Slyke of the Guardian who's unclear on the difference between steam and smoke among many, many other things.
Before this war, I'd never head the phrase "lone soldier," although the concept is not new to me. A lone soldier is a person who does not live in Israel, but who travels to Israel to volunteer in her military as she fights for survival. Indeed, I knew an American who, in 1973, traveled to Israel and ended up being in one of the first tanks in the Golan. Nice guy and a very decent human being.
Currently almost 2,000 lone soldiers are serving in the IDF.
The fact that they are not Israelis has not kept these lone soldiers out of the fight. The grandson of Rite Aid's founder was wounded, although thankfully this brave young man, who walked away from extraordinary riches into great danger, will recover. Sadly, neither Los Angeles native Max Steinberg, 24, and Texan Sean Carmeli, 21, will ever return home.
To die far away from home is a terrible thing, especially for the family and other loved ones left behind. The Israelis, fully cognizant of this tragedy, as well as grateful for the gift of people who donate their bravery, skills, energy, and heart to Israel, have hastened to repay the favor that Steinberg and Carmeli did for them:With no family members nearby, there were concerns that the lone soldiers' funerals wouldn't be well attended, according to the Times of Israel. But 20,000 Israelis came to Carmeli's funeral on Monday, and 30,000 attended Steinberg's funeral Wednesday. Breitbart notes that the large attendance is especially remarkable considering that the constant threat of rocket attacks on Israel makes traveling and gathering in large crowds very risky.There is something about dying with honor that is just incredibly heart-wrenching. I'm leaking tears all over my keyboard here.
Meanwhile the self-loathing Slate editor, Allison Benedikt, thinks Max Steinberg was just a patsy of Zionist propaganda.
Apparently Congressional inquiries cause this.
Of course she hadn't driven a car for 20 years before her 2012 head injury either so it hasn't been a big change to her lifestyle.
Despite having caught a grand total of 0 terrorists in over a decade of existence.
A security fee that the government charges airline passengers more than doubled on Monday, from $2.50 to $5.60.
Lawmakers last year approved an increase in the fee, which is tacked onto the cost of airplane tickets, as part of a budget agreement.Additionally, passengers will be charged twice if they have a layover for a connecting flight..
So now pretty much every flight will cost us $20 more for the same old existing security theater.
The Group knows what you did.
Tonight's post brought to you by that damn brain:
Notice: Posted by the People's Revolutionary Council of AoSHQ. Please report hooligans and saboteurs to comrade maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to comrade lauraW.
Close it up
Hey We Should Really Pass That Cornyn-Cuellar Compromise, STAT
One of the provisions of that was that children would either be granted asylum or scheduled for deportation within ten days.
That's supposed to signal that we're getting serious about border control.
But what if they just stocked the ranks of the judges with soft-touches on asylum? And just granted it to 90% of all who asked for it?
What a ridiculous right wing conspiracy theory, eh?
From February, when, unknown to most of us, the border situation was hitting crisis levels:
Judge who oversees juvenile immigration docket is replaced
by DIANNE SOLÍS
A Dallas immigration judge known for tough enforcement is no longer handling cases involving minors.
Local immigration attorneys said the change could reduce tension and add flexibility to cases involving children and teenagers....
Calls to the two judges were referred to Kathryn Mattingly, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. She said they would not comment on the change but added her office "may shift docket assignments to best meet the needs of the agency."
The number of court cases involving adult and juvenile immigrants continues to increase in North Texas and other regions.
Oh, and you know that the kids in our custody are being assigned a hearing date, then being seeded out across America?
How many of them do you think show up for that hearing?
The youths were among 20 from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala who were set to appear in federal immigration court Tuesday for initial deportation hearings. But they weren’t there -- 18 of the children whose cases were set to be heard didn't show up Tuesday for court.
It was an absentee rate that federal Immigration Judge Michael Baird said was "highly unusual," so high that he reset the hearings for Aug. 11 rather than possibly issuing a deportation order.
So 18 out of 20 didn't show up.
The judge (this is the one who replaced the other judge, by the way!) said it was likely the kids just didn't get notice of their hearing date, so it's probably the government's fault, and he'll just reschedule rather than issue a deportation order.
Yeah, I can see why open borders agitators like this guy better.
From @Allout1 (Dr. Spank).
Dumb Media Gun Story of the Week
So, apparently we'll just have one of these embarrassments from this day forth.
So Beretta has announced plans to move its factory from gun-controlling Maryland to gun-rights-respecting Tennessee. This gives the gun-control people, and perhaps some Maryland legislatures, a case of the Bothers, and they've been looking to rake Beretta for embarrassing them since.
That's my speculation here: That they've been looking for any kind of reason to claim Beretta is terrible, just terrible, and they've seized upon a routine press release about a rifle as their vehicle of retribution.
Announcing the "unusually powerful" new Beretta rifle -- in the unusually powerful caliber of 5.56mm.
In addition, this guy needs you to know that Beretta describes people who might use this weapon as "tactical shooters," which is, he informs you, a term used "in video games:"
In common usage, "tactical shooter" is one of the descriptions of video game features.
I don't even know what the hell that sentence even means. "One of the descriptions of video game features"? What does this mean? What could this mean?
The statement is literally senseless. It's wrong-- sure. But even worse, I'm not sure it's wrong, because I have no earthly idea what this idiot intended to mean by this strange assortment of words.
As for this SuperWeapon being "unusually powerful:"
Beretta's press release makes no claims whatsoever about a 5.56mm rifle being "unusually powerful" -- probably because people would laugh at them if they did.
Instead, their press release calls out the gun for being "reliable" and "versatile." They also talk about the gun being "ambidextrous," which perhaps is a word whose meaning Yahoo's Finance Editor (or whatever he is) doesn't know.
Maybe he thinks it means "filled with crocodiles."
Anyway, there's a lot to laugh at here. I've barely scratched the surface.
I can't wait to read this guy's dispatches on finance. He seems to really know what he's talking about.
Thanks to @comradearthur.
Hey, Remember That Teenager Who Left Home (Because Her Parents Didn't Approve Of Her Boyfriend) and Then Sued Her Parents for Upkeep and Allowance?
Rachel Canning, the teenager who moved out of her parents' home and then sued them for support and college costs, has gotten a domestic violence temporary restraining order against her boyfriend -- the man her parents had wanted her to stop seeing.
She accuses the boyfriend of having choked her.
Whoa: Democratic Senator John Walsh of Montana Plagiarized 25% of His 2007 War College Masters Thesis
You might not have known about this Senate race, which is my way of saying I didn't know about it, and I don't want to feel stupid about that, so I'm going to graciously forgive your not knowing about it.
Walsh was appointed Senator in Montana last month (Montana-- why do you elect Democratic governors? Are you stupid?) to replace Max Baucus.
The Democrats had been doing their usual Red State play -- put up a guy who talks conservative and has a conservative-seeming biography, who will then vote lockstep with Harry Reid.
They were hoping this Walsh would hold the seat he was appointed to, mentioning his military service (in the National Guard, but he served in Iraq) as a key qualification to the post.
You know -- Honor. Integrity. Military Values.
And this is the NYT, incidentally.
[O]ne of the highest-profile credentials of Mr. Walsh's 33-year military career appears to have been improperly attained. An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh's master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors' works, with no attribution.
Here's the thing: we're not talking about a youthful indiscretion, here. He submitted this paper in 2007 -- when he was 46 years old.
Why, that's practically old enough to be kicked off his parents' insurance policy!
Most strikingly, each of the six recommendations Mr. Walsh laid out at the conclusion of his 14-page paper, titled "The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy," is taken nearly word-for-word without attribution from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document on the same topic.
He also directly lifted two sentences from a Harvard paper by Sean M. Lynn-Jones.
Mr. Walsh does not footnote or cite Mr. Lynn-Jones’s essay, titled "Why the United States Should Spread Democracy," anywhere in his paper.
That's a problem, because not only did he not properly cite the source of the sentences, he did not even acknowledging reading the paper anywhere else in his paper. Which gives rise to a suspicion that he was trying to hide its provenance.
Walsh claims he didn't do anything wrong, at least not "intentionally."
Now, check out how his aides are pushing back against the story:
On Wednesday, a campaign aide.. said Mr. Walsh was going through a difficult period at the time he wrote the paper, noting that one of the members of his unit from Iraq had committed suicide in 2007, weeks before it was due.
The aide said Mr. Walsh, who served in Iraq from November 2004 to November 2005, "dealt with the experience of post-deployment," but acknowledged he had not sought treatment.
Thesis papers take a year to write. Sometimes they take multiple years.
You don't plagiarize one quarter (or more!) of the paper in a two week period where you have the Sadz.
The Times report is all worth reading. Near the end, they cite the War College's policy on plagiarism.
Spoiler: They're not only against it, they're really really against it.
And they specifically state that "forgetting" to cite another author -- their word precisely -- is a serious form of academic fraud.
By the way, here's how the unbiased reporter Blake Hounshell of the unbiased rag Politico chose to report the story:
Remember that time plagiarism accusations ruined Rand Paul's career?— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) July 23, 2014
Update/Correction: Someone Who Knows stuff says the War College offers a one-year masters, and no paper would take that full year to write.
IRS Head John Koskinen Now Says... They've Found Some of those Old Email Back Up Tapes?
I wonder if these tapes will feature any "artifacts" which result in the loss of information.
If I'm reading this right, they haven't found the Lois Lerner backup tapes per se. What they've found is some old backup tapes, covering the time period of Lerner's "lost emails," which they thought they'd recycled.
They "recycle," or "destroy," I think is the better word, the tapes every six months. But I guess they didn't destroy these.
They do not know however if these particular backup tapes contain anything relating to Lerner.*
But they're checking. They're checkin', real hard.
The head of the IRS confirmed Wednesday that investigators looking into missing emails from ex-agency official Lois Lerner have found and are reviewing "backup tapes" -- despite earlier IRS claims that the tapes had been recycled.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know "how they found them" or "whether there's anything on them or not." But he said the inspector general's office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any "recoverable" material.
The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes "no longer exist because they have been recycled."
It is unclear whether the tapes in IG custody contain any Lerner emails, but Koskinen said investigators are now checking.
Thanks to Tami.
* Other readers interpret this differently. They think the tapes are the "Lois Lerner backup tapes" (well, Lois Lerner, and everyone else at the IRS), and the IRS is saying they'll review the tapes to see if there are discoverable emails -- that is, emails they've decided were requested by Congress.
Of course, in adversarial situations, a party has a strong incentive to say "Having reviewed this material, I find nothing discoverable that I have to turn over to you."
They could also claim, conceivably, that communications with White House staff aren't "discoverable" as they would be covered by executive privilege.
I don't even want to think about this.
The Independent (UK): Tear gas fired at ["Mostly Peaceful"] pro-Palestinians demonstrators in Paris
Everything except the brackets is in their headline -- the bracketed part comes from the article itself.
Riot police fired tear gas and fought running battles with pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Paris this afternoon after a banned protest march turned violent.
It just "turned" violent. Who can say who is responsible?
About 6,000 mostly peaceful protesters assembled in the Barbès area of northern Paris in defiance of a government ban. When the march was blocked by police lines after only 500 metres, a minority of young protesters started to hurl stones, bottles and sticks at the riot police.
Let's see what those mostly peaceful/minority of young protesters might look like in actual action:
Affrontements lors de la manifestation pro... by leparisien
What's going on, of course, is that (mostly peaceful) pro-Palestinian Muslim rioters in France have declared war on synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses. Their method of protesting Israel is to throw "peace stones" through the windows of Jewish-owned shops -- and actually burn them down, too, with Peace Molotov Cocktails.
Pictures in that article; also note that those pictures are from the aftermath of another mostly peaceful protest, not in Barbés but in a Paris suburb called Sarcelles, nicknamed "Little Jerusalem" for its large (Entirely Peaceful) Jewish population.
A policewoman takes down a report outside a
From the above-linked article:
"They were shouting: 'Death to Jews,' and 'Slit Jews' throats'," David, a Jewish sound engineer told The Times. "It took us back to 1938."
The government had banned a demonstration planned in Paris for Saturday, but posters were seen around the area which said "Come equipped with hammers, fire extinguishers and batons" and promised a "raid on the Jewish district."
There's more there. That's a Huffington Post article. Both the HuffPo and the French version of it are telling the story straight.
How bad is it? Jews are fleeing France for Israel, which is currently being attacked daily by Hamas' (mostly peaceful) rocket barrages:
More than a thousand Jews have made aliyah (the term used when Jews immigrate to Israel) in the past 10 days, according to the Israeli government.
The BBC also has pictures of what mostly peaceful anti-Jewish-business riots look like.
Extra gasoline bombs means extra peaceful
France has already sentenced three of the rioters to significant (for France, mind you, which permits labor unions to kidnap bosses) jail terms:
The three men, aged 21 and 28, were given sentences of between six and 10 months for their part in the rioting in Sarcelles on Sunday.
A fourth man was given a suspended sentence while a minor received a fine.
A poll of the French population indicates they're in favor of shutting these riots down, given that they seem geared precisely to result in violence against Jewish property (and, I'm sure-- Jewish bodies).
62% called themselves in favor of stopping the "protests" because they are accompanied by serious violence, while 25% said they are opposed to cracking down, because protests are so important.
I found it kind of interesting how people associated with various parties came down on this: Only 60% of the socialist left (the actual Partie Socialiste) support a crackdown, while 70% of the slightly-less-socialist right (Sarkozy's UMP) support it.
The "ultra right wing extremist Nazi-sympathizing party," the FN, supports a crackdown at a rate of 80%. I don't know much about the FN, and so I can't say if the claims that they're "extremist" or racist are true or not, but it is interesting, I guess, that they overwhelmingly support a crackdown against anti-Jewish pogroms.
On the other hand, the Front au Gauche, the most leftwing assortment, including outright communists and so forth, only supports a crackdown at the rate of 43%.
Finally, not in France, but in Gaza itself: Hamas has declared the cancellation of international flights to Israel due to their rocketing Israeli civilian centers a "great victory."
[Translated:]"The closing of Israeli airspace is a great victory for the resistance, and the crowning moment of the fall [or failure*] of Israel," said the spokesman of Hamas, Sami Abou Zouhri, in a communiqué.
So, you know. They're openly bragging about attacking civilians, but I guess we're not supposed to notice that, Because Racism.
* Or maybe "check" or "checkmate." The word generally means "failure" but it has various related meanings.
Close it up
Bad Polling News For Hillary: Less Than Half of Americans Say Hillary Clinton "Shares My Ability to Walk Under My Own Power"
Well okay they didn't say that, but that's probably just because the Skewed Poll never asked the question.
Here's what they did say:
That last question, "understands middle class problems," is where Democrats usually own the GOP.
Click the first link for more.
After having written that headline, I realized I've really worn the Walker joke out.
Thus, I am retiring the Walker joke. To mark the occasion with the appropriate amount of solemnity, I am including a video tribute to the joke, in the form of Lionel Ritchie's moodily reminiscent "Say You, Say Me."
I should also retire the Say You Say Me joke, because it's stolen from Letterman, but no one uses it or remembers that, so whatever.
Close it up
Obama: Now I'm Not Bothering to Watch the News, Either
The guy who only learns about major stories from the news is now not bothering to watch the news?
Because he already knows it all?
Whatever you say, this week.
Mr. Obama told supporters [at a Democratic fundraiser] that he doesn’t watch the news because, “Whatever they’re reporting about, usually I know.”
That contrasts with the explanations that the president and his aides have given from scandals in the past few years ranging from long wait times and deaths at the VA, to the IRS targeting tea party groups, to the Fast and Furious gun-running operation, and the Department of Justice spying on news reporters.
At Hot Air (the first link), some video memories of All The Times Obama has claimed to have only learned of some major scandal he did from the news reports, just like you all.
President Barack "Smooth Chill" Obama
Huh? Like whatever, man.
The Curious thing about the Scratched Hard Drive [krakatoa]
The latest scraps from the IRS aren't much better than the first few courses we've been presented.
I'm not speaking as a current computer tech. Those days are long past, and now it's just a hobby. But I do have some relevant experience in all this.
I can only assume they are talking about one of the hard drive "platters" being scratched. This would be the actual disk or disks within a hard drive case. The pretty shiny disks you see here are the platters:
That tri-claw looking armature at the bottom of the platters is the read/write arm. Its heads hover close to the platters, but should never touch them.
Assuming there was a scratch, there are pretty much only two ways such a scratch could occur.
One - A malfunction of the drive caused the read/write head(s) to come in contact with the platter.
This isn't an unheard of event. I've had a couple drives die this way.
The alternative scenario is that the HD was violently abused. And by violently, I mean high G's. Like throwing it off a several story building. All hard drives in production for at least the last, what, 10 years?, have automatic protection mechanisms that lock the read/write head(s) and the platters in place when power is absent, specifically to prevent HD damage in the event you drop the drive.
If the power is on, say Lerner and her email best friends were all just playing catch with their laptops in the IRS executive lounge, there is still active protection in the way of accelerometers built into most drives to sense excess G's or vibration, and park the read/write heads.
In either case, a scratched HD platter wouldn't result in a complete loss of data. This would be nearly impossible, given the simple physics of the device. You don't change the orientation of all the ones & zeroes on a thin sheet of ferromagnetic material by scratching one part of it, any more than you could change the orientation of a magnet by nicking it with your snuff spoon.
To put it in terms most anyone who has burned media to a CD or DVD ROM:
You know when you have a scratched CD/DVD, and it reads fine up until the point it reaches the scratch?
At that point, depending on the scratch, you may either hear gaps in the music, or the video pixelates or otherwise distorts.
If the scratch is right at the beginning of the burned data, it generally won't play at all.
You look at all that shiny surface around the scratch and just know most of your tunes and/or pr0n are still there, if only you had the means to get to it.
It is pretty much exactly the same thing for a hard drive. The difference being that while you can use a software application to recover your data from a scratched CD/DVD, you generally need professional (and expensive) help for hard drives that have lost control of their read/write heads.
And here is where we get to what I find curious about this latest chapter in Lois Lerner's Hard Drive Apocalypse.
So far as I've ever known, the only way you could possibly determine that a platter was scratched is with a physical examination of the disk. Certainly you could guess a scratch exists if you heard a mechanical clicking sound indicating the read/write heads were contacting the disks, but without taking the case apart, you wouldn't know for sure.
This examination could only occur if you had the specialized tools to take apart a hard drive case, generally a small star-head drive. It's conceivable enough their techs might have the tool, but what is inconceivable is that they would use them in this case.
Why? Because the only time you open a hard drive case is inside a cleanroom, presuming there is an intent to recover data.
Generally speaking, the only people using these tools in this way are the manufacturers of hard drives, or those who are in the business of recovering data from hard drives.
So I suppose what we could be hearing is that a recovery effort was made by data recovery personnel, those people noted a scratch on the platter, but no further attempt was made to recover the drive (although data would almost certainly be recoverable).
But that isn't the story the IRS is selling, is it? This latest story is that their in-house techs identified a scratch and recommended it be shipped out of house for a recovery effort, and then, oops, into the shredder it went.
This just seems like another red herring. Their in-house techs should never have been dicking around with the physical innards of a hard drive. If they were, they should seriously reconsider their capacity for tech work (or better yet, have that capacity reconsidered by their bosses... I know, never gonna happen).
There is simply nothing believable in this, or any of their stories so far. Each one seems to be an attempt to walk back the most ridiculous aspect of the previous lie, but only ends up adding another layer of implausibility to the whole twisted web.
Close it up
Wednesday Morning Open Thread
Sorry, too busy to put something together. Check back tomorrow.
Top Headline Comments 7-23-14
Fake applicants are having no trouble signing up for Obamacare and its tax subsidies.
President Obama says he doesn't watch much news because he knows it all, y'know, except for all his scandals which he'd never heard anything about until he saw them on the news. What a tool.
CNN hastens to emphasize that Obama's bad favorability numbers aren't dropping.
Overnight Open Thread (7-22-2014)
Because of the laziness.
The AoSHQ group. Watch yer cornhole.
Tonight's post brought to you by ghetto seals:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
Close it up
AOSHQDD Primary Night: Georgia Senate Runoff
Hello and welcome again to another addition of the Decision Desk.
The Georgia Senate primary is down to two: Purdue and Kingston. Kingston is favored in polling, but Perdue has a presumed edge out of Atlanta. We'll know who gets to roll over Nunn in a few short hours.
You can follow us along for interesting county results on twitter @AOSHQDD
And our live site is up and running at aoshqdd.com
As always, a big shout out to our numerous volunteers from the horde.
Rob Reiner: I Really Love Acting, Because Actors Have No Responsibilities At All and Can Just Treat Their Jobs Like a Party!
Maybe it's true.
But maybe it's not a smart thing to say, for a director.
A director of actors, I mean.
Ask Bronx native Rob Reiner about climbing out of the director's chair and stepping in front of the lens, and the man who earned five Golden Globe nominations for acting on CBS's "All in the Family" sitcom offers a broad smile.
"I love acting; it's fun. I don't have any responsibilities," Reiner told the New York Daily News about his latest directorial effort....
"To me, acting is like a party. It's like a fun thing to do. You don't have to worry. You don't have to agonize about anything."
He then complained that Hollywood doesn't make movies about "real people" anymore, which is, of course, almost completely true.
"They make three types of movies, and if you don't make one of those three, you have to find independent financing: It's either big-action superhero tent-pole thing or it's an animated film or it's an R-rated, raunchy sex comedy," he lamented. "They don't make movies about real people."
Reiner's latest movie is about a romance between Michael Douglas and Dianne Keaton, because he wants to return to making "the kind of movies that the public just doesn't want to see."
Okay I made that up. But, you know.
Here's an interesting story.
A husband and wife had not been having sex much lately. The husband, to illustrate this, took to plotting his Sex Requests, Achieved Sex, and Sex Turn-Downs on an Excel spreadsheet, and presented it to his wife.
Over the course of the past 7 weeks, he'd asked for sex 27 times, and had been turned down 24. He had sex three times.
The wife presented this to some forum and it became fodder on Reddit.
Mollie Hemingway strikes out for the first time by taking the woman's position way too much, and her husband sells out the male race by telling her "You're right, I have thought about complaining about this or that, but I should just put that energy into improving myself," or words to that effect.
What a betrayal of Team Man.
Anyway, I won't go into what I think too much, as this is such a sensitive topic and everyone has fairly strong opinions on it.
I will say that I saw the Reddit people discussing this and I thought one made a pretty good point: The woman's position was that she was in a "busy period" and that sex just wasn't convenient.
However, for any working adults -- especially with children -- it will always be a busy period. Saying you can't have sex during a busy period is pretty much just saying you can't have sex except on vacation, one or two weeks a year. (And most vacations, involving travel, are themselves very physically tiring, and will themselves produce a lot of reasons why sex is not convenient.)
Sure, the guy's spreadsheet is a bit much, of course.
Ways & Means Committee: We've Learned From Interviews that Lois Lerner's Hard Drive Was "Scratched," But Internal IRS IT Experts Thought The Data Was Recoverable
Ways and Means: Lois Lerner’s hard drive was scratched — but data was recoverable http://t.co/BJDN4AuhnD— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) July 22, 2014
Despite early refusals to make available IT professionals who worked on Lois Lerner’s computer, Ways and Means Committee investigators have now learned from interviews that the hard drive of former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner was "scratched," but data was recoverable. In fact, in-house professionals at the IRS recommended the Agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data. That information conflicts with a July 18, 2014 court filing by the Agency, which stated the data on the hard drive was unrecoverable -- including multiple years' worth of missing emails.
"It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive," said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI). "The Committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded. To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrong doing at the IRS."
Earlier the Washington Post collected six questions from IT professionals they'd like to ask about this "crashed" hard drive.
Here are a few of those:
1.) What happened to the IRS’s IT asset managers who appear to have disappeared at a key juncture?
Ordering the destruction of a hard drive and documenting that process would be handled by trained, certified IT asset managers, according to IAITAM. But the group's records show that at least three IRS IT asset managers were shuffled out of their positions around the time of the May 2013 inspector general's report that detailed the agency’s targeting practices.
IAITAM said investigators need to "determine if these in-house IT asset managers were removed from the picture as the IRS email investigation heated up."
2.) Where is the documentation to prove that the IRS wiped or destroyed Lois Lerner’s hard drive?
So far, we only have the word of IRS officials. IAITAM said its standards call for clear proof and records of destruction when drives are wiped or eliminated."“Until that documentation is provided, the hard drives should be considered lost, not destroyed," Rembiesa said.
3.) Were the drives destroyed by an outside vendor or firm? If so, by who, and can they verify the destruction?
Hiring a specialized firm to destroy IT assets is not unusual for federal agencies, according to IAITAM. If the IRS used this method to destroy Lerner’s hard drive, there would be an additional layer of documentation to show that the action took place, the group said.
6.) Where are Lois Lerner’s Blackberry e-mails?
IAITAM said investigators need to determine whether the IRS’s Blackberry communications are secure and what is on the "enterprise server."
"It is difficult to imagine that none of the emails in question were done on a mobile basis," Rembiesa said. "If so, there may be a freestanding stream of email records that would not be impacted by the Lerner hard drive loss."
So now I have another question: How often is a hard drive found to have been physically scratched, and how often does this lead to a total, catastrophic full-disk lost of information?
Because it sure seems to me that a scratch would result in bad sectors -- parts of the disk which were no longer readable. But these bad sectors would be a tiny percentage of the whole drive.
Does the IRS not know this?
Have they never dealt with a "scratched" hard drive before?
Defying Allies, Ignoring Ukraine Shoot-Down, France Does What Everyone Expected Them To Do and Pledges to Go Forward With Delivery of Advanced Amphibious Warship to Russia
President Francois Hollande won broad domestic applause on Tuesday for defying allies Britain and the United States by confirming plans to deliver a helicopter carrier to Russia, with one backer dismissing the objections as hypocritical.
Speaking on the eve of an EU meeting to discuss sanctions on Moscow over the downing of a civilian airliner over Ukraine, Hollande said late on Monday that a first Mistral warship would be handed over on schedule in October but a decision on a second would depend on Russia's attitude.
It was the clearest signal yet that Paris will go through with the controversial deal despite the Ukraine crisis and came only hours after British Prime Minister David Cameron said it would be "unthinkable" for his country to fulfil such an order.
The United States has also said it opposes the sale, which has exposed France to criticism that it is putting its own interests ahead of Western solidarity over Ukraine.
DrewM (who sent this article) makes this point:
Obama's claim in 2008 and again in 2012 was not that he had a radically different foreign policy (he claimed it was not radically different from the American mainstream), but that he was simply smarter, better at leveraging "soft power," and better at dealing with allies than anyone in the GOP (or anyone in the world, actually).
Apart from his determination to exit Iraq, he did not run on a claim that he would completely undo American foreign policy; just that his charisma, understanding, and intelligence would permit him to handle a mainstream foreign policy better.
Is there any evidence whatsoever of this being true?
Is there one single thing he's accomplished through his much-vaunted personal appeal?
This Is So Awful That I Must Share
You know, what "multiculturalism" means, in actual practice, is that you don't just get to experience your own culture's dysfunctions and massive trove of shit art; you get to enjoy the dysfunctions and shit art of foreigners as well.
I came across this in a French newspaper which is ticking down the biggest Hits of the Summer for the last several decades in France.
So, the below was a huge hit. Per Wikipedia:
"Joe le taxi" (English: "Joe the Taxi Driver") is a French song written by Franck Langolff and Étienne Roda-Gil for French singer Vanessa Paradis. It was later included in her debut album, M&J, which was released in 1988.
It's nice that the singer is 14, but the writers aren't, and the song is horrible. It doesn't even seem like an actual song to me. I don't even hear a melody, nevermind a hook.
And yet it was at the top of the charts for 11 weeks in France -- and, inexplicably, for three in England.
Anyway, this is just so terrible, I think you need to watch it.
Top of the charts. Not "on the charts." Topped them. Runaway summer smash.
Vanessa Paradis "Joe le taxi" with English... by johann92150
By the way, how innovative is that video? As she sings he "knows all the little bars," the screen shows a little bar called "The Little Bar" (le p'tit bar).
Way to work the metaphor!
(Actually, @tsrblke says he thinks those silly pictures were added, well after the fact, by the uploader. That seems very likely to me now, now that I notice how silly they are.)
Close it up
Beretta Moving Its Entire Maryland Gun Factory to More Hospitable State of Tennessee
Beretta's press release is interesting.
Beretta USA Announces Decision to Move Its Entire Maryland Manufacturing Capabilities to Tennessee
Beretta U.S.A. Corp., located in Accokeek, Maryland, announced today that it has decided to move its manufacturing capabilities from its existing location to a new production facility that it is building in Gallatin, Tennessee. The Gallatin facility is scheduled to be opened in mid-2015. Beretta U.S.A. had previously planned to use the new Gallatin, Tennessee facility for new machinery and production of new products only.
"During the legislative session in Maryland that resulted in passage of the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, the version of the statute that passed the Maryland Senate would have prohibited Beretta U.S.A. from being able to manufacture, store or even import into the State products that we sell to customers throughout the United States and around the world. While we were able in the Maryland House of Delegates to reverse some of those obstructive provisions, the possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the State," stated Jeff Cooper, General Manager for Beretta U.S.A. Corp.
"While we had originally planned to use the Tennessee facility for new equipment and for production of new product lines only, we have decided that it is more prudent from the point of view of our future welfare to move the Maryland production lines in their entirety to the new Tennessee facility," Cooper added.
Interesting, I think, that Beretta did get the Maryland state government to back down -- but then decided it did not feel like being routinely threatened by an overweening and hostile local government.
Maybe a bit of bad timing to announce this a year before the move -- doesn't Maryland have an incentive to punish them now?
Pundit: Hillary Is "Finished" as a Political Candidate
Lemme just put up a quick one. This seems pretty provocative. Worth thinking about, anyway, I guess.
This guy doubts Hillary will run at all, and says she can't win even if she does.
By Robert W. Merry
Hillary Clinton isn’t likely ever to become president of the United States. In fact, there is a greater possibility than is generally recognized by the Washington cognoscenti that she won’t even run. If she does, though, the barriers she faces will prove overwhelming. Her 2008 campaign was her last good shot for the office, and she failed. Since then, numerous developments have conspired steadily to diminish her prospects. Those prospects are now near zero.
The country is at an inflection point brought on by its crisis of political deadlock. It desperately needs a new brand of politics that can break the deadlock and set it upon a new course toward its future and destiny....
If so, Mrs. Clinton isn’t going to be able to withstand these winds of change. Her recent autobiography betrays a politician seemingly devoid of fresh thinking or even a recognition of what kind of political message is required by the temper of our times. In some eras of our political past, this wouldn’t have been a handicap. In today’s political climate, it is likely to be fatal.
And so it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that for 2016, Hillary’s handicaps are insurmountable. [T]here is a greater likelihood than is generally recognized that she will vacate the field before the battle begins.
Eh, I love quoting all that, but I believe none of it.
Merry's reasons for claiming Hillary cannot win -- that we are in a "transitional" period in politics, and Hillary is too hidebound to establishment, "old" thinking -- is maybe something to consider, but it's merely a prediction based on speculation about a hypothesis. We are pretty far, in this statement, from anything tangible.
Furthermore, it is very possible that both the Democrat and GOP nominee will be bound by "old" style thinking.
The GOP candidate will be so pegged whether he aligns with the Establishment or the Tea Party. If the Establishment, well, that's clearly business-as-usual, same as Bush.
If the Tea Party, well, that's bringing us back to the old-style thinking of the 1920s -- same as Calvin Coolidge.
In no election, ever, will the media ever permit anyone but a Democrat to carry the mantle (by the way, how the hell do you carry or wear a mantle? seems pretty heavy) of the future-seeking nominee.
As for Hillary not running at all: The woman is nothing if not -- to say something nice --tenacious, and -- to say something not terribly nice -- ambitious, zealous for the cause of Women Just Like Her, and scheming.
Unless Hillary is in dire health, or suffers from a catastrophic Walker Mishap that renders her unable to run, I just can't see this woman not running.
This is her lifelong singular ambition. She's done very little else except but to position herself to become President. In most cases, her positioning was successful (in as much as each of her schemes did in fact bring her within sniffing distance of the Oval Office).
Now she's on the verge. She will almost certainly beat any comer in the Democratic primary-- which makes the possibility of her becoming president a coin-flip, fifty/fifty.
Better than fifty-fifty, actually, given the nation's unwelcome Preference Cascade in support of big government and socialistic policies. Something like 55/45.
How on earth could anyone not throw her hat in the ring when she's that close -- a 55/45 coin flip in her advantage -- to achieving her lifelong dream?
And she is very, very, extremely old, so when I say "lifelong," I'm talking about decades and decades and old and brokedown and the growing infirmity of the elder mind.
Mantle: Okay, I kinda figured that "mantle" must also mean some piece of clothing or badge of office.
In fact, the first definition is some kind of sleeveless cloak, often worn by bishops.
The "fireplace" definition is definition 14.
Engineering the Perfect Candidate:
Washington Post Sends Passionately Pro-Palestinian Intern to Cover Small Palestinian Protest at Israel's US Embassy
"Hundreds of peaceful protesters," the Washington Post story began.
The picture that runs with the story gives no hint at all of "hundreds" of protesters -- I suppose it might just be the camera angle they chose (choosing to focus on a Code Pink prop), but I'm thinking the correct word here is "dozens."
The story went on to quote one Noura Erakat:
"The U.S. is the primary patron of Israel and provides unequivocal diplomatic and military support," said Noura Erakat, a Palestinian lawyer and professor at George Mason University. "It's a complicit third party in what amounts to a massacre of the Palestinian population entrapped within the Gaza strip."
Check the link to see what this Washington Post intern forgot to tell you about Noura Erakat.
Well, it turns out the intern (who cowrote the story with another person) is a stridently anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian activist.
Gateway Pundit now reports that the Washington Post has issued an apology, of sorts:
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Post covered a protest outside the State Department on July 20 against U.S. policy in the Middle East and Israel’s actions in Gaza. One reporter sent to cover the protest, Britain Eakin, is an intern who has written opinion pieces elsewhere that sharply criticize Israel in the conflict. The Post should not have sent her to cover the protest and, had it known of her writings, would not have done so.
I have several questions here. First, if this is standard newspaper practice, shouldn't this Eakin have known that?
Second, it certainly does not seem to be standard newspaper practice to keep partisans on an issue from reporting on it. Sandra Kliff, for example, was a huge partisan for abortion rights, and yet the Post kept her on that beat.
So it seems like Eakin is being punished for being caught red-handed in breaking a "rule" that the overwhelmingly-Democrat-partisan media doesn't actually enforce.
Rather than taking satisfaction that a single, minor intern is being pulled off the beat, isn't the more useful course to press the media to implement this rule more broadly?
Of course, if reporters were to exclude themselves from reporting on any issue they had a strong political interest in -- that's that for the media, huh?
Annndddd...Now The 4th Circuit Court Of Appeals Upholds IRS ObamaCare Rule That DC Court Struck Down This Morning
Gotta try and keep up.
Breaking: 4th Circuit issues ruling on ACA insurance subsidies, sides with Obama administration. Ruling at odds w DC Circuit from this morn.— Brent Kendall (@brkend) July 22, 2014
Unlike the DC circuit the 4th circuit is all about "context", the plain meaning of words be damned.
4th Circuit: context matters. pic.twitter.com/Mlc8SpDTea— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) July 22, 2014
This sheds some light on why the administration is going to seek an en banc hearing at the stacked DC circuit. One thing the Supreme Court takes into consideration when deciding to take cases is whether or not there's a split in how various circuits are treating an issue. Right now there's a split but if they go en banc at the DC circuit and the heavily Democratic full court overturns the panel's decision that eliminates the split and could give SCOTUS an out on taking this issue on.
Four justices have to vote in favor of hearing a case before the Supreme Court will hear it. You'd think the four dissenters in the National Federation of Independent Businesses case would vote to have another go at it or they (read here. "Anthony Kennedy") might take the out and avoid having to go down the path of throwing out ObamaCare now that it's been implemented.
*Note to clear something up people are confused about in the comments...these cases were filed, argued, and decided independently. It's just a coincidence the decisions were released within hours of one another.
Court Of Appeals Throws Out ObamaCare Subsidies On Federal Exchange
Consider this a place holder until Gabe comes along to do a happy dance and break it all down.
(Background on the case here)
So basically anyone who gets their ObamaCare on the federal exchange, which is a lot if not most, can't get subsidies. This would be a death blow to ObamaCare.
This will no doubt be appealed either to the full Court of Appeals, which Obama has packed with his appointees or directly to the Supreme Court.
Either way, John Roberts just threw up in his mouth a little bit.
Basically what happened here is the law says subsidies can only be paid to policies written on state exchanges. Obama then rewrote the law to include the federal exchange because...he wanted to.
This became a big deal when the states didn't create exchanges or they imploded due to poor implementation and more people were forced on to the federal exchange than anticipated.
Liberals maintain the omission of subsidies on the federal exchange was simply a drafting error. Opponents maintained it was a deliberate choice in order to provide incentives for states to create their own exchanges. Either way, the appeals court ruled today that law says what it says (subsidies for state exchanges only) and not what Obama's IRS says it says.
Added: Administration will go for the en banc review before the stacked full court.
Obama Adm official on Halbig: "The Department of Justice can, and will, seek en banc review by the full D.C. Circuit"— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) July 22, 2014
Tuesday Morning News Dump
- American Families Are Right To Be Worried About Inflation
- WH Slams Use OF Anonymous Sources, Schedules Briefing With Anonymous Sources Moments Later
- Bill Clinton Reportedly Has A New Secret Mistress
- Japan Building Massive Drone Fleet
- Putin's Grand Ambition
- IRS Seeks Help Destroying Another 3,200 Hard Drives
- The Russian Conscience
- Clinton's Lobbied MSNBC To Get David Shuster Fired
- Elizabeth Warren Is Overrated
- Just Don't Eat Fast Food, Ever
Follow me on twitter. Look, I'ma be straight with you. CAC is gaining on me. He can't have more followers that me. He just can't. It would be embarrassing. Follow me on twitter. It's for a good cause. If you don't want to follow me, fine. You are always welcome to unfollow CAC.
Top Headline Comments (7-22-2014)
One can only imagine what fresh embarrassment today may bring from the least competent administration in the history of government. I can hardly wait.
But while we do, this tweet by some EPA employee goofing off on your dime can stand in as a metaphor.
Overnight Open Thread (7-21-2014)
"The bear is loose!" President Obama has been saying, whenever he leaves the White House to visit Starbucks, or sandwich shops, or burger joints, or BBQ shacks, or neighborhood diners, in his increasingly rote and pathetic attempts to "connect" with "real people." Obama, we have been told, is frustrated, "restless," bored with the responsibilities and chores of office. He thinks of himself as the bear-intimidating, wild, untamed, roving-escaping his den. But he is flattering himself. Obama is not the bear. He is the cub: aimless, naive, self-interested, self-indulgent, irresponsible, irresolute. The bear is in Moscow.
-- Matthew Continetti
We might as well replace the civil service with the spoils system. Because right now, we've just got a one-party spoils system.
-- Glenn Reynolds
After 2000 years there are no more Christians in Mosul, Iraq.
In a sort of reverse Passover, ISIS activists have marked the homes of Christians with the letter N for "Nassarah," an Islamic term for Christian, to identify the homes whose inhabitants were to be slaughtered.
In Mosul, ISIS has decreed that Christians must convert to Islam, acknowledge their status as dhimmis and pay the Jizyah tax, or be beheaded. This shouldn't be surprising; it is nothing more than what the Koran prescribes. To their credit, Mosul's Christians have mostly left their homes behind and fled toward Kurdish-controlled areas where they believe they will be safe.
Sure betray your country by leaking national security documents, go to prison for 35 years, and we're still unable to deny you sexual reassignment treatments or anything else for that matter.
Or else be indicted for not doing so like FedEx.
Back in March of last year, we were somewhat disturbed by UPS agreeing to forfeit $40 million to the US government for shipping drugs from "illegal internet pharmacies." Not that such drugs or pharmacies should be legal (that's a whole different discussion), but it's insane to pin the blame for the shipments on the shipping company, whose sole job is to get packages from point A to point B. In fact, we don't want shipping companies to be liable for what's in packages, because then they have not just the incentive, but the mandate to snoop through all our packages.
Apparently, FedEx was unwilling to fall on its sword and cough up a similar amount to the US government, so the DEA and DOJ have announced they've gotten a grand jury to indict the company for delivering drugs associated with internet pharmacies. You can read the full indictment, which tries to spin a variety of stories into evidence that somehow FedEx "knew" what was in those packages.
In 2013, the corporate income tax brought in $274 billion, slightly less than 10 percent of total federal revenue. Yet the endless arms race between the IRS and corporate attorneys and accountants consumes huge amounts of money, resources, and labor and vastly distorts the business environment.
Of course. To do any less might somehow in some fashion possibly help the Juice. And that is against the unofficial UN charter.
That framework includes eight essential "working definitions," among them the already-discussed diversity, as well as others: "compositional diversity," "critical mass," "inclusion," "equity mindedness," "deficit-mindedness," "representational equity," and "excellence."
Let us take a closer look at one of these working definitions included, namely "representational equity."It calls for "proportional participation of historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups at all levels of an institution, including high status special programs, high-demand majors, and in the distribution of grades."
Maybe they should simply cut to the chase and start just handing out Bachelors of Thinkology to their favored minorities.
He was one of the few major actors who could seamlessly switch between TV and movies. And one of the last Hollywood actors who was also a combat veteran:
Later, he joined the National Guard serving seven months in the United States. He then went to Korea for 14 months in the Regular Army, serving in the 5th Regimental Combat Team in the Korean War. He was wounded twice, first in the face and hand from shrapnel fire from a mortar round, and second on April 23, 1951, in the buttocks from friendly fire from U.S. fighter jets as he dove headfirst into a foxhole. Garner was awarded the Purple Heart in Korea for the first injury. For the second wound, he received a second Purple Heart (eligibility requirement: "As the result of friendly fire while actively engaging the enemy"), although Garner received the medal in 1983, 32 years after his injury. Garner was a self-described "scrounger" for his company in Korea, a role he later played in The Great Escape and The Americanization of Emily.
Here's a classic Garner scene from The Americanization of Emily.
How much money do you need to make before you start maxing out your monetary happiness?
Despite the saying, money can buy happiness-but only up to a certain point. For each state, the annual salary you need to make before more money won't make you any happier is contingent, understandably, on the cost of living. The Huffington Post developed this map to show the happiness-plateau salary for each state based on new analysis by Doug Short, vice president of research at investment group Advisor Perspectives. Short's analysis combines the findings of a 2010 Princeton study by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, which set the national "happiness-benchmark" at $75,000 per year, with data about the cost of living in each state.
After 7+ years someone finally claimed copyright on it.
The Yahoo AoSHQ group - it's got electrolytes.
And my twitter thang.
Tonight's post brought to you by how the Bank of Taco Bell came to be:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
Close it up
WSJ Op-Ed: Hey, Conservatives, Stop Beating Up on Crony Capitalism
He actually, out of his own mouth, seems to equate "big business" with "crony capitalism."
I guess we're not debating the terminology any longer.
Amid the fight for the soul of the Republican Party, some elements of the GOP coalition have become overtly hostile to Big Business.
Defeating crony capitalism has become the battle cry of libertarian conservatives.
The Export-Import Bank has become the latest in a long line of targets that include highway funding, terrorism risk insurance and "too big to fail" banks.
Big Business wants immigration reform and higher academic standards for elementary and secondary schools--policy priorities that drive the hard right into conniptions.
What would happen if Big Business decided to change sides? What would happen if the Chamber of Commerce suddenly stopped being a huge fundraising machine for the Republican Party and started financing pro-business Democrats?
Ah, so it's hardball, then.
Well here's another question, then: What if the GOP began pushing a business tax break for small and mid-sized business to be paid for by a tax increase on big business?
So long as we're talking about Things We Each Could Do.
Netroots Goofs Discuss Why People on the Left Aren't Funny
Well, actually they claim that people on the left are super-funny, but maybe there's been some problem getting that message out.
People on the right, they avow, are only perceived as "funny" because they make racist jokes.
"The Left is supposed to be funnier than the Right, damn it," the panel description stated. "So why do we so often sound in public like we’re stiltedly reading from a non-profit grant proposal?"
This defensive tone was apparent throughout the hour-plus session, brought up repeatedly by speakers and audience members. Much like a co-worker who doesn’t get anyone's jokes but insists, "I have a great sense of humor!"
"Comedy creates oneness and that is what our side wants," according to Julianna Forlano, host of a news parody without laughter cues called "Absurdity Today."
Absurdity Today -- well, that title alone tells me to tune in for some top-drawer comedy entertainment.
I'm also pretty sure that the best New York and LA comedians talk a lot about creating "a oneness."
She noted how her stand-up performance even created "oneness" at a Pennsylvania Elks Lodge, despite the crowd being filled with racist men (she could tell they were racist from the animal heads displayed on the walls).
Katie Halper agreed with her fellow white comic that racism is endemic in their industry. "When the right says we have no sense of humor, it's a great way for racist/sexist/homophobic men to make themselves seem funny." Halper is a founding principal of Qualified Laughter, a production company "dedicated to comedic social justice media."
Qualified Laughter -- why that sounds like another laugh riot.
Jon Gabriel's piece is worth a read. He notes that the first African-American female member of SNL's cast in a long, long time got in hot water with black critics for making irreverent jokes about slavery.
You can check Jon's link for that, but the basic joke was that she was complaining that only beautiful women are praised, whereas truly "useful" ones like herself -- six feet tall and ready to brawl -- don't get the proper level of praise for their "usefulness" (such as in a back-alley barfight).
She then went on a riff about how, during slavery, she would definitely be valued for her usefulness, and in fact would be assigned to marry the "hottest" male slaves available.
Now, I didn't think this was very funny. Not due to outrage; it was just unfunny in the same way many SNL bits are unfunny, to wit, they just aren't funny.
So this in a nutshell is why the left can't be funny. What this comic was doing was a standard, basic, 101-level comedy trope: mining laughs by treating serious circumstances irreverently. She was hoping for laughs by talking up, strangely, the "good side" of slavery, at least for women like herself, who are more "useful" than beautiful.
And part of what she was doing was playing a character: The character who is so dumb she doesn't realize that slavery would have a lot of downsides that would greatly outweigh any hypothetical impact on her dating options.
But of course this woman knows that. Duh! The whole joke is based on upon her knowledge that the audience will find her statements funny (or, at least, unexpected and incongruous) because of how obviously wrongheaded they are.
She knows it's wrong to talk about slavery as having an Upside. The entire joke hinges on this knowledge being so widely known and deeply felt so as to create a sense of incongruity and absurdity as she goes off on her riff.
And yet her humorless prog critics had to inform her: You know, despite your claims to the contrary, slavery was not a good deal for single women or any other sort of women. *
I didn't think her jokes were that good. But the fact that she had to publicly answer her very public critics about their absurd claims that she was actually suggesting to people that maybe slavery is kinda like a feel-good romantic comedy demonstrates why the political left is so rarely funny.
It's because many jokes -- not all jokes, but a bit chunk of them, like 40% -- rely on establishing a tension between what the comedian and audience knows is true, and what the comedian is actually saying.
Treating something serious in an irreverent way.
Yes, the comic knows what she's talking about is a Serious Matter. When Sarah Silverman used to tell her rape joke -- that she'd been raped by a doctor, which, she said, for a Jewish girl, is bittersweet -- Sarah Silverman obviously knows that rape is a very serious and horrible thing which should not be joked about.
Which is precisely why she is joking about it. Because the forbidden spaces are often where you find the new and unexpected things.
But anyway, the left has a tremendous number of sacred cows. Every little feel and bother they have, they believe to be Very Serious Indeed, and thus exclude from the realm of joking about 90% of the subjects in the human experience.
Of course, another huge trope of joking is the provocatively cynical statement -- stating, hyperbolically, something dark about human motivations.
And progressive thugs can't bear any joking on that score either, because what they're sure about, more than anything else in the world, is the absolute metaphysical purity of their motives in all their behaviors and demands of their fellow citizens.
And joking about that isn't funny. Indeed, it's heretical and blood libel.
* Actually it occurs to me that this is an important part of progressive priggishness. Whereas I would assume that of course the audience of SNL understands that Slavery is Bad, the psychologically-driven progressive activists feel an intense need to feel superior to other people, and therefore posit, ludicrously, that a significant fraction of SNL's audience might actually think that Slavery Wasn't So Bad and may think this woman is actually making Good Points about the upside of slavery.
They have to flatter themselves by thinking they're smarter than everyone else, but as they're not particularly smart, they have to conceive as the majority of people as being absolutely stupid, at nearly-handicapped levels.
So, yeah, for this sort of "progressive" who is chiefly into the "politics" of the progressive movement as a way to process his own mediocrity (or submediocrity) -- I can see the absolute necessity of constantly postulating that upwards of 60% of the country is borderline mentally retarded and in need of guidance from the 92 IQ All-Stars of the Progressive Left.
By the Way, SNL: Stop having your new cast members come on Weekend Update to do three minutes of their stand-up comedy act by way of introduction.
It's never funny. And I do mean "never."
I think John Mulaney is very funny in his standup act, but when they had him do the same standup bit on Weekend Update, I stared at it stone-faced.
Theoretically I should at least have smiled in recognition, but I didn't.
It's just not the place for it. It's not the format of the show. When a comic comes on and just does three minutes of her act, the audience immediately realizes "Hey, this isn't the SNL format" and wonders, subconsciously, why they're breaking format for this lame bit.
And the reason is -- and I think most people get this -- is that they are trying to prove their new recruit is funny.
So it seems forced and strained, like we're supposed to laugh at the New Girl just because it's her First Week.
But we don't.
So just stop this whole practice entirely. If someone wants to get on the show, they should be bringing new material, and material that fits the SNL format, not barely-rewritten stand-up riffs.
I would also ask that this material be funny, but that is quite far out of reach for anyone on SNL these days.
IRS Lawyer: Hey, Sorry, But Maybe More Computers of People Who Corresponded with Lois Lerner Crashed, Too; Don't Worry Though, the Number of Crashes Is Less Than Twenty (or So)
See, originally, the IRS said that they didn't bother informing Congress that Lois Lerner's hard drive had crashed and her emails lost because they thought they could still recover those emails from other people's hard drives -- the people she corresponded and coordinated with.
The IRS didn't want Congress to get "the wrong idea," they said. They didn't want Congress to go off half-cocked, thinking there was some kind of kooky conspiracy to destroy evidence.
Well. Now they've looked into her correspondents' hard drives to see if the emails could be recovered from them, and whoops, up to 20 additional hard drives may have crashed, a bunch involving people Lerner was known to interact with.
So that's it, then, huh?
Also: Another IRS guy is claiming that maybe Lois Lerner's emails weren't lost; maybe those back-up tapes still exist.
Look into it, future tense.
It always seems like the IRS claims there is some possible avenue to getting these emails, before later saying, "nope, that was all destroyed too."
Obama's Oddly Reassuring Statement to Putin
I found Obama's statement strange for how far it went out of its way to reassure Putin that no consequences will follow should he continue attacking the Ukraine (and blowing the occasional airliner out of the sky).
A President does not wish to make it impossible for an aggressive, brutish leader to back down. Brutes are shame-based creatures, and full of machismo. So no president should ever make statements which will activate the Lizard Machismo Complex of the brute's brain, and thus make it impossible for him to back down.
Well, on that score, Mission Accomplished. Obama sure didn't threaten Putin at all.
But it seems to me he went out of his way to let Putin know that Putin could get away with anything he wants.
First, Obama said:
"My preference continues to be finding a diplomatic resolution within Ukraine--I believe that can still happen, that is my preference today and it will continue to be my preference..."
Why swear, from this day until the end of days, that this will continue to be his preference? Why not leave it at "this is currently my preference?"
Putting it that way leaves open the possibility that that preference could change, without actually making any kind of threat that would activate Putin's You Can't Boss Me Around response.
Instead, Obama broadcasts that he will never seek anything other than a diplomatic solution "within Ukraine," no matter what Putin does.
This is a gratuitous reassurance to Putin. Yes, I agree that the President shouldn't bluster and make empty threats against a brute armed with nuclear missiles, but neither does he have to get on his back and show his belly like a defeated dog.
Then Obama got the part of his statement that seemed like a threat -- but wasn't:
"But if Russia continues to violate Ukraine's sovereignty and to back these separatists, and these separatists become more and more dangerous and now are risks not simply to the people inside of Ukraine, but the broader international community, then Russia will only further isolate itself from the international community and the costs for Russia's behavior will only continue to increase.
Russia will "isolate itself." America will not actively isolate Russia -- no, it will just happen (Obama hopes). The EU will not slap sanctions on Russia -- no, the "isolation" will just naturally proceed along (Obama prays).
Obama here is basically talking about Hoping for a Miracle from God, rather than sketching steps that we ourselves might undertake.
Tyrants don't care about what things an American president prays will happen.
They worry about things an American president will make happen.
Now, I already said that I don't think Obama should make direct threats. But this statement is so weak, so fearful of itself, it can't even state a vaguery in a straightforward manner.
Even the vaguery must be couched in the passive voice.
Even Obama's gauze comes shrouded by haze.
Combining those statements together, I can't see how anyone in the Kremlin could fail to read this as an American greenlight for just about anything Russia wishes to do.
And that makes me wonder why this statement was given at all -- if Obama had chosen to remain silent, at least there would have been mystery about his possible responses and current line of thinking.
Instead he went out there to tell Putin not to sweat it, that the US would not do a damned thing, ever.
That said, Russia has promised -- supposedly -- to grant inspectors "unfettered access" to the crash site, and an hour or so ago they promised that the separatists would turn over the plane's black boxes (probably after ascertaining there was no evidence on them directly suggesting Russian involvement).
Washington Post: Obama Administration Had Prior Warnings of Coming Border Crisis
In 2013, researchers at the border warned of a coming deluge.
The researchers' observations were among the warning signs conveyed to the Obama administration over the past two years as a surge of Central American minors has crossed into south Texas illegally. More than 57,000 have entered the United States this year, swamping federal resources and catching the government unprepared.
The administration did too little to heed those warnings, according to interviews with former government officials, outside experts and immigrant advocates, leading to an inadequate response that contributed to this summer's escalating crisis.
Federal officials viewed the situation as a "local problem," said Victor Manjarrez Jr., a former Border Patrol station chief who led the UTEP study. The research, conducted last year, was funded by the Department of Homeland Security and published in March. A broader crisis was "not on anyone’s radar," Manjarrez added, even though "it was pretty clear this number of kids was going to be the new baseline."
Meanwhile, Rick Perry himself had been writing letters to Obama warning him of the growing problem.
And of course Rick Perry has ordered 1000 National Guardsmen to the border.
Obama to Offer Half-Hearted Statement on Ukraine
"What Are They Trying to Hide?"
Of course he was supposed to begin the statement twenty-five minutes ago.
FoxNews' live video feed ishere.
Discussing the separatists' interference with investigators and removal of bodies, Obama asks "What are they trying to hide?"
Obama made a series of things intended to sound like demands -- that Russia order the separatists to stand down and let investigators do their job -- but then offered no consequences in the event of Putin's continued defiance.
The only thing he offered that could sound like a consequence is that "Russia will continue to isolate itself from the international community" -- note the way that's phrased, where it's Russia -- not the US, Europe, or "international community" itself -- that's doing the isolating.
A passive construction from a passive president.
Report: Rick Perry To Send National Guard To The Border
Well, well, someone has come a long way from "you don't have a heart".
Perry will announce his plans Monday to mobilize some 1,000 guardsmen to the Rio Grande Valley to increase security at the border, according to the Monitor, a south Texas newspaper. The newspaper quoted a state senator and an internal memo it obtained from a state official’s office.
“If the federal government does not do its constitutional duty to secure the Southern border of the United States, the state of Texas will do it,” Perry said Sunday at a Republican barbecue in Iowa.
Perry, who has been asking Obama to make the call, recently told Fox News Sunday that mobilizing the troops now is important “because this flood of children is pulling away the border patrol from their normal duties of keeping bad people, keeping the drug cartels, they’re being distracted, so that I would suggest is a very obvious reason that those National Guard troops should come play an important role.”
It's funny how fast the GOP has gone from trying to figure out how to cram amnesty down voter's throats to full on border security. Of course, they will snap right back the other way as soon as it's safe to do so.
Speaking of amnesty, be sure to listen to this week's podcast. Our guest is the only many who thinks less of the GOP on immigration than I do, Mickey Kaus.