August 04, 2015

The Haggard Queen Loses Support Among White Women

—Ace

Who, for some reason, find her untrustworthy.

Mrs. Clinton is losing ground with white women and many other important slices of the electorate, the poll shows, amid a spate of reports about her email practices, speaking fees and foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation.

In June, 44% of white women had a favorable view of Mrs. Clinton, compared to 43% who didn’t. In July, those numbers moved in the wrong direction for Mrs. Clinton: Only 34% of white women saw her in a positive light, compared to 53% who had a negative impression of her, the poll found....

In the first three months of the year, suburban women by a margin of 18 points had a positive view of Mrs. Clinton. In July, those numbers took a dramatic turn for the worse. By a five-point margin, suburban women had a negative view of Mrs. Clinton.

Among white women with at least a college degree, 51% had a positive view of Mrs. Clinton and 38% a negative as of June. In July, those numbers had turned to 43% positive and 47% negative.

“There is no way you can say she’s in the same position this month compared to last month,” said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who directs the WSJ/NBC News survey along with Democrat Fred Yang. “She’s been dented and she’s in a weaker position.”

The WSJ/NBC poll of 1,000 adults was conducted July 26-30.

Other worrisome trends for Team Clinton:

–In the first quarter of the year, independents were about evenly split in their perception of Mrs. Clinton. By July, many independents had soured on her. Just 27% had a positive image of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, compared to 52% who had a negative view.

Barack Obama lost white women by 14 points, however, he of course had historic (historic, I tell you) levels of support from blacks and other minorities. The Haggard Queen won't have quite that, I don't think, so she needs to make up that ground in other demographics.

Obviously, she's looking to pull in a historic chunk of the women's vote.

But what if women just don't like the dissembling cow?

Oh, and Then There's Hillary's "Assistant" Or Whatever They're Calling It These Days: Quick, media, write another 6000 stories about how "beautiful" and "elegant" Huma Abedin is.

Clinton aide may have 'delivered favors' for friends, IG finds

By SARAH WESTWOOD • 8/3/15 12:42 PM

An investigation may have found evidence a top State Department aide to Hillary Clinton took advantage of government employment rules with potential conflicts of interest and overpayments.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday, Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said an inspector general probe suggested Huma Abedin leveraged her State Department job to benefit her two other employers at the time: the Clinton Foundation and a consulting firm called Teneo Strategies.

Teneo Strategies was founded by a longtime aide to Bill Clinton, Douglas Band, and boasted the former president as a paid board member when it first launched in 2011.

Abedin allegedly sent or received more than 7,000 emails on her government account that involved Band, the letter said.

As an example of the potential conflicts of interest at play, Grassley cited an email exchange in which Band pressed Abedin to encourage her State Department boss, Hillary Clinton, to facilitate a White House appointment for one of his clients.

This is just the worst hornet of corruption in a swarm of scandals buzzing around the beautifully mercenary and elegantly self-dealing Ms. Abedin -- there are also questions about whether she should have been paid lots of money for not taking a government leave (though she did take it, it is alleged), and whether the State Department should have been paying for her travel plans -- travel that seems to have been in service of her private clients, not the US government.

Not to mention -- What the hell is she doing working for the State Department and private, favor-seeking clients simultaneously?

But that's the thing about the Clintons, isn't it? So hard to tell where the government ends and their private interests begin.

Posted by Ace at 01:04 PM Comments



Huh: Dutch King Declares End to the Welfare State

—Ace

Misfire! Readers, who actually read the post and the article, point out that this story dates from 2013. I completely missed that. Apologies. I'll throw up a fresh post.

Original post follows:


Via Instapundit, as America abandons the American Dream, other people seem to be interested in exploring it.

King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone.

In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government....

"The shift to a 'participation society' is especially visible in social security and long-term care," the king said, reading out to lawmakers a speech written for him by Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government.

"The classic welfare state of the second half of the 20th century in these areas in particular brought forth arrangements that are unsustainable in their current form."

Rutte may be hoping that the pomp and ceremony surrounding the king and his popular wife, Queen Maxima, will provide a diversion from the gloomy reality of a budget full of unpopular new spending cuts he revealed later in the day.

The Dutch have pursued an austerity program (Northern European countries favor hard currency and more balanced budgets) and many (government workers, union workers, pensioners, etc.) are upset about all the cuts. Rutte's government is actually at record low levels in terms of support.

So this isn't a victory parade. As they say about democracy, people turn to freedom, capitalism, and personal responsibility when no other options are remaining.

Meanwhile, just to give you a bit of background on European politics, Geert Wilders "far-right" Freedom Party -- the party that is most vocal about stopping immigration -- is actually opposed to Rutte's cuts, and calls them a case of kicking the nation when it's down.

That tends to happen, that is, parties deemed allegedly "far right" pursuing more socialist, wealth-spreading agendas. Not as much as the socialists, but also opposed to what is often sneered at in Europe as "liberalism" (liberalism being both social and economic freedom)*.

* I found this Wikipedia entry useful on the subject. Basically, America is so thoroughly "liberal" -- in the "classic liberalism" sense -- that the parties were formally split between two branches of liberalism, what I'd call left-liberalism or populist/socialist liberalism, and "conservative liberalism."

But in America, we just called the two "liberalism" and "conservatism."

In Europe, they might deem people like us simultaneously "ultra-liberal" and "far-right."

Now that the Democrats are increasingly openly embracing Socialism, and increasing state control (every single day they rail against "so-called 'free speech'"), I don't think we can term them "liberals" any longer.

Posted by Ace at 12:46 PM Comments



5th Planned Parenthood Video Drops: "We Can Get Creative" About What Procedures We Employ When We're Hunting Human Tissue

—Ace

Gee, this sure sounds like a violation of federal law, which states that abortionists can never alter abortion procedures for tissue-hunting purposes.

But this fine citizen says they can get "creative" with that stricture.

Farrell also allegedly tells two actors posing as tissue buyers that Planned Parenthood can "get creative about when and where, and under what conditions can we interject something that is specific to the tissue procurement needs."


Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 11:42 AM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Robert Julian Onderdonk, "Cactus in Bloom" (1915)

Posted by rdbrewer at 11:08 AM Comments

Impressions From Last Night's GOP Speed Dating Event

—DrewM.

Last night almost all of the major candidates were in NH for a really weird "candidate forum." The format involved a local moderator who asked some strange questions to each candidate in blocks of about 3-5 minutes before the candidate was kicked off and another came in before the seat could get cold. It turned out there were two rounds of this and candidates sat in the front row watching the others while they waited their turn.

It was...weird.

There was no Trump or Huckabee. Cruz, Paul and Rubio were in DC and appeared via satellite (more on that in a minute).

So how did they all do? A few quick thoughts on each (not in any particular order):

Rick Perry: My first impression is he can not seem to find the sweet spot between HYPED UP ON ENERGY DRINKS and stoned on back pain pills. He was asked which agencies he'd eliminate which got a laugh because it hearkened back to the "oops" moment from 4 years ago. The problem is, he kind of rambled on and never actually answered the question. His inability to catch on nationally is a real surprise. I think his problem is that while he's clearly better prepared after the disaster of 2011/12, people have other choices this time who don't carry Perry's previous baggage. If the field were thinner, he'd probably be getting a second look but people have other options so they've moved on. It looks like he won't make the main debate this week, so he's kind of done.


Scott Walker was....there. This guy is a puzzle to me. He's just sort of there but he should be so much more or less. He's basically a talking point machine and once you've heard them a few times you don't need to hear them again. The only good part of this format was he didn't have time to tell his "I shop at Kohls" story, so that was good. And yes, I get he has to reach out to voters who don't pay much attention so the relentlessly on message stuff may work and be necessary. It is what it is. I just wanted more from him than a super safe campaign.


Ben Carson: Not sure why he's still running. His, God wants 10%, no deductions, no loopholes, so that's what the tax code should be, thing is never going to fly. He's really capitalized on that one prayer breakfast speech, huh?


Jeb Bush: Let me be charitable and say that this was an off night. Unless he's speaking about the joys of immigration he just seems disinterested. None of the Bushes are great speakers but at least with W. even when he mangled stuff you kind of got what he was trying to say. It wasn't pretty but it worked. Jeb...is not that lucky. Jeb's answer on Syria involved saying no to "boots on the ground" but yes to special forces. Um, ok. Then this....

We've seen this movie before. Twice. We're going to see it a 3rd time because he's going to be the nominee.

Chris Christie: Says he wasn't ready last time but is now. The problem is, voters were ready for him last time but not so much now. He wants to be the guy who will level with voters about entitlements and things like raising the retirement age and means testing Social Security and Medicare. Ok but I think to sell that kind of stuff (which is near impossible but necessary) you have to do it by putting it into a shared sacrifice, for the good of America context. Christie says those things but his personality makes it sound like, "shut up and give men your damn Social Security." Not sure how that plays beyond a very limited audience.


John Kasich: Who let the Democrat in? His late arrival in the race is likely to bump Perry out of the main debate so there's something else to hate him for. He was asked what to do about sanctuary cities and haughtily dismissed the question by saying there's broad bi-partisan agreement to end them. This is what we political junkies call, "a lie". After dispensing that bull he went on to shill for amnesty. He also said while economic growth was good and necessary we then need spread it around to poor people because that's what God wants us to do. So...yeah.

Carly Fiorina: The candidate everyone thinks more people should be supporting while supporting someone else. She said she was against the status quo so much in such a short period of time I feared for the safety of anyone who made "status quo" their drinking game phrase. She served a purpose early on by taking on Hillary but that seems to have faded for now and Trump has the "successful business person" thing locked down so, yeah. I do wish her well in her campaign to be the VP pick though.

George Pataki: Yes, he's still alive and yes he was there and he said things. The best part was when he said he supported defunding Planned Parenthood and started to say something else but then stopped himself. I think he was about to remind everyone he was pro-choice but thought better of it.

Lindsey Graham: Screw this guy. He was the only one of the four Senators running who wasn't in DC to vote against Planned Parenthood yesterday. He also said he'd send troops to Syria and hold territory there. So if you liked the Iraq occupation and want to try it again in an even worse situation, Lindsey's your guy.

Rand Paul: Full disclosure, he's my guy for now. He's at his best when he finds ways to connect his libertarian beliefs with more mainstream conservative ones. He was asked if his opposition to the NSA meta-data collection was putting the country at risk. He made a good case for traditional constitutional protections and then compared the problem of expansive surveillance with the IRS targeting conservatives. You can argue about how they are different issues but as a political argument it was a smart way to bridge a gap. He was asked which country he'd visit first as President and he said Russia or China, which was....weird. So, that was not good. Overall he didn't say anything to make me jump off the bandwagon and really that's all I hope for with him.

Marco Rubio Strong against the Iran deal as you'd expect. His defense of amnesty, hawkish foreign policy and big surveillance were expected. Those who like that will continue to like that, I however continue to find myself immune to his particular charms. His defense of the war on drugs and taking a shot at the dangers of alcohol were just bonus reasons not to like him. And when he said ISIS is the biggest threat this country has ever faced, I laughed. There was this thing called the Soviet Union Senator. I've seem some of his supporters be down about his performance but I cut him some slack. Like Paul and Cruz he was on via satellite and he had the most trouble dealing with the delay. His appeal comes from his smooth "I Love America' speeches and that didn't translate in this format or delays. I'd give him a pass on that.

Ted Cruz: I find myself thinking, screw it I like him more and more. I hate myself for it a little bit to be honest. I find his overt religiosity a bit much at times for my personal taste and I prefer executive experience but damn it, at least he gets it. He did come up against the question every Senator has a tough time with...when has your character been tested in a crisis? He rambled on a bit about stuff and then kind of settled on how hard it is to be an outspoken Senator fighting the DC machine. It would have been a good answer to another question but it highlighted that some people have been there and had to make calls and some talk and vote. There's not much he or Rubio or Paul can do about that. If you prize executive experience, that's just not going to work for them. Otherwise he was strong and eloquent on Planned Parenthood and the normal stuff.

Overall...weird night but a good warm up for the coming debate season. Not sure anyone really helped or hurt themselves last night. It did provide some clues about who needs some work going into Thursday. If Jeb! doesn't get his act together he could create some trouble for himself (though he's going to win the nomination). Kasich will be a great dividing line. Anyone who thinks, "wow, that could be the guy" will effectively out themselves as an establishment hack. He's terrible. Rubio needs a solid performance to wash away what seemed to some of his supporters a weak showing. Cruz needs to do his thing and hope Trump flames out. And Paul needs to keep teh cray cray in check and hope he has a solid night while letting Team Establishment hit Trump and not him.

I forgot one: Rick Santorum Bring back the sweater vest! Only candidate who is talking about decreasing legal immigration which is interesting. Got hit with the "which woman should be on a bill" question and didn't have an answer ready. I bet most other candidates didn't have one either and were glad they didn't get asked. They'll need to have one picked starting this morning to be safe.

I forgot two! Bobby Jindal He's another guy who should be doing better but won't even make the big kid's debate. I don't know if it was his not well received State of the Union response a few years ago or what but he's just not getting any traction. I like the guy and would be opening to supporting him but the fact he didn't stand out from the crowd (not sure how he can at this point) is not a good sign. He's the youngest guy running so maybe in the future when the field's not so crowded. But this time...he's just getting lost in the noise.

Posted by DrewM. at 10:02 AM Comments

Morning Thread (8-4-2015)

—Andy

So you're all solidly on Team ¡Jeb! now, right?

Posted by Andy at 07:25 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (8-3-2015)

—Maetenloch

On L'Affaire Cecil and Why Internet Outrage May Doom the Lions of Zimbabwe

I've been trying to avoid getting sucked into this topic but there's been so much insanity on the subject and even otherwise reasonable people have spouted such nonsense on it that I feel compelled to say something. So let me make the case here for why (lion) trophy hunting in Africa is not only not harmful but is in fact necessary for the continued survival of lions.

Now I'm a bit of an odd duck when it comes to this subject since I'm someone very interested in hunting who has not actually ever gone hunting - mostly due to time and logistics than anything else. But I have read most of the classic hunting literature from Hunter to Ruark to Capstick as well as various modern reference guides to safaris so I believe I know more than the average person in this area.

I am also indebted to a friend of mine from South Africa who has put me a lot of knowledge on the subject. He's a professor here in the US who goes back to South Africa during summers to work as an assistant to a PH (professional hunter), and is very familiar with the on-the-ground realities when it comes to managing and hunting big game. One thing that becomes clear from the hunting writers and my friend is that they all have a respect (even love) for the animals they hunt as well as a deep knowledge of how they live, breed - and eventually die, which means they are also decidedly unsentimental about individual animals.

So let me lay out some facts for you...

- Without hunting lions have no economic value for the local people or ranchers. In fact they're a giant menacing pain in the ass since they tend to eat the locals' cattle as well as occasionally the locals themselves. There's really no upside at all to having an apex predator like a lion prowling around your village or ranch; only bad things can happen. Yes, there are photo-safaris but unless you're near tourist areas and are setup for it, there's not much money in this. So the reality is that without any economic incentive to keep the lions around, the locals end up driving them out or just poisoning them.

And here to paraphrase Jack Dunphy the alternative to allowing hunting is not perfection - it's the alternative. With no hunting at all you won't get a Lion King-Simba happy existence on the savannah, instead you'll see a slow gradual extinction of lions as a species due to loss of habitat and eradication by humans. Lions will not die out from hunting - rather it will be because none of the locals want them around or care enough about their continued existence to protect them.

But with controlled trophy hunting, the lions suddenly do have economic value. Because the hunting is so strictly limited hunters will pay a lot to be allowed to take a trophy - $30,000 and up. And $30,000 goes a long way in Africa. This money is split between the land owner, the local villagers, and the government. For the land owner and villagers this makes up on any losses they might have suffered from the lions, and it also means that they have a strong incentive to protect and maintain the local lions e.g. maintaining water pools, not putting  up fences, watching for poachers, etc. The money from hunting is a major source of revenue for some remote villages. The revenue to the government helps pay for full-time rangers, park wardens and equipment to protect the lion populations.

- Africa is a huge place. Bigger than most people can really imagine. So to say that lions are endangered is both correct and false. Depending on where you are in Africa lions may be endangered or they may be actually over-populated. Due to their territorial nature both may be true - too many lions in one area but very few in another regions. Logistically it's not possible to move lions hundreds of miles away to open areas so you have to manage the population locally. And that means allowing controlled hunting.

- Adult male lions do not die peacefully of old age. They tend to die from injuries sustained in battles with younger males or from starvation from being driven out of their territory. Both of which tend to be unpleasant, lingering deaths. This is the reality of male lion life. Also only a few breeding males are needed in an area to maintain and grow a lion population. So a mature adult male like Cecil who was close to the average life span of a male lion in the wild (10-14 years) is the most expendable member of any lion population.

Zimbabwe has a population of lions estimated around 1,680 and on average 10-40 lions a year are taken through hunting which is approximately 1-2% of the population - less than the natural death rate of adult lions. But the permit fees from each hunted lion make a huge difference to the overall lion population. This isn't just theory - there are empirical results backing this up with elephant populations:

Anti-hunting groups succeeded in getting Kenya to ban all hunting in 1977. Since then, its population of large wild animals has declined between 60 and 70 percent. The country's elephant population declined from 167,000 in 1973 to just 16,000 in 1989. Poaching took its toll on elephants because of their damage to both cropland and people. Today Kenya wildlife officials boast a doubling of the country's elephant population to 32,000, but nearly all are in protected national parks where poaching can be controlled. With only 8 percent of its land set aside as protected areas, it is no wonder that wildlife in general and elephants in particular have trouble finding hospitable habitat.

But in Zimbabwe controlled hunting was allowed and hunting revenues shared through the CAMPFIRE program:

The numbers attest to the program's success. Ten years after the program began, wildlife populations had increased by 50 percent. By 2003, elephant numbers had doubled from 4,000 to 8,000. The gains have not just been for wildlife, however. Between 1989 and 2001, CAMPFIRE generated more than $20 million in direct income, the vast majority of which came from hunting. During that period, the program benefitted an estimated 90,000 households and had a total economic impact of $100 million.

The results go beyond the CAMPFIRE areas. Between 1989 and 2005, Zimbabwe's total elephant population more than doubled from 37,000 to 85,000, with half living outside of national parks. Today, some put the number as high as 100,000, even with trophy hunters such as Parsons around. All of this has occurred with an economy in shambles, regime uncertainty, and mounting socio-political challenges.

- Note that only hunters with proper permits and PH guides are allowed to hunt lions. The PH is responsible for obtaining all the permits and knowing all the local restrictions on hunting and knowing which animals can and can't be legally taken. So Dr. Walter Palmer was completely dependent on the PH and local guide when it came to shooting a lion. So if Cecil was shot illegally, the fault is all on the PH and crew. It's ironic that the person facing the most hate from all this (Palmer) is in fact the one most innocent of any charges of poaching.

So the bottom line is that if you actually care about the survival of lions as a species, you should support controlled trophy hunting. Hunters like Walter Palmer who paid $55,000 for the hunting permit have done far, far more to actually preserve real world lions in Africa than all of the hand-wringing celebrities and any of you reading this post. Ironically the weeping over Cecil and calls to ban all hunting of lions in Africa out of First World emotionalism may end up actually dooming them as a species. But everyone would get to feel awesomely smug about their love of lions from their armchair and general moral superiority.

Gary-Gazelle-copy

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 11:16 PM Comments

First Republican Debate -- Or, Rather, Joint Interview Opportunity -- Stars in 3 Minutes on CSPAN

—Ace

Trump won't be there, and neither will Huckabee, but most everyone else will be.

I think I'll just leave this as the last post of the day, and get to some of the stuff I didn't get to tomorrow.

Posted by Ace at 06:55 PM Comments

If It's Monday, It Must Be Time For Another Group of Greatly Overweight Women To Strip Down to Prove that Fat is Beautiful

—Ace

These are not the kind of "good thick" chicks that the fashion industry calls "Plus Size" despite having ballpark-normal-range bodyfat. These gals are legitimately beefy.

I don't like picking on fat people, being one myself. (Though attempting to be a not-so-fat person.)

So I'm not going to attack these women for being overweight.

Though I will question all the terrible, terrible tattoos.

I will, however, question this weird mix of narcissistic masochism that compels people to show off their flaws.

I don't know on that last one -- I can kind of make out, in my mind, the argument that to openly flaunt one's flaws is a sort of bravery.

Except for the fact that these women are proclaiming these are not flaws they're exposing at all, but rather their charms.

I don't get this whole "Fat Acceptance Movement." I guess it's just yet another manifestation of our Participation Trophy Non-Culture, with the specific kick of women now being empowered by every single thing in their lives.


Posted by Ace at 06:09 PM Comments

Is This Something?

—Ace

I'm going to bet on optimism and say it's something, even though I'm old enough to know better.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 05:31 PM Comments

John Kerry: We're Saying the Iran Treaty Isn't a Treaty Because It's "Impossible" To Pass a Treaty Anymore

—Ace

This is weekend news, but a lot of you take off from the blog on weekends (what lazy rotters you are), so I think this is worth a post.

More and more, the Obama Administration claims that because Congress disagrees with them, they gain the power of Imperator (emperor).


If you don't have time to watch the vid, hit the first link (Twitchy) to see the text of Kerry's response.

He does claim what I claim he claims. He says it's not a treaty, because it's "impossible" to pass treaties, so now we're doing things by Executive Whim.

That's not all John Kerry said. In a remark that Ben Shapiro has deemed one of the most openly anti-semitic slurs he's heard from a major Democrat, John Kerry announced that Jews had better hope this Iran deal should pass, otherwise, the Jews Will Be Blamed.

So, you know, Jews: You'd better start playing ball. You know what happens when non-Jews start blaming you for things.

Rafael Medoff:


Secretary of State John Kerry's warning that Israel will be "blamed" if Congress opposes the Iran agreement conjures up troubling memories of other instances in which Israel or Jews were warned they might be blamed for international conflicts.

Secretary Kerry made his remark in an address to the Council of Foreign Relations on July 24. He appeared to be not merely predicting that Israel might be blamed, but hinting that the Obama administration itself might do the blaming. And since the administration has repeatedly claimed that rejection of the agreement will lead to war with Iran, the implication of Kerry's statement seems to be that Israel, the Jewish state, would be to blame for such a war.

The possibility that the blame would be extended to Israel's supporters in the United States has already been raised by President Obama himself, in his warning that unnamed "lobbyists" and "money" were trying to block the Iran deal.

It has been my custom of late to end posts with the word "unbelievable," but that's clearly no the right word, is it?

Unbelievable: US Banned from knowing details of Iran's nuke program, per treaty-which-is-not-a-treaty.

Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the nuclear inspection organization is barred from revealing to the United States any details of deals it has inked with Tehran to inspect its contested nuclear program going forward, according to regional reports.

Recent disclosures by Iran indicate that the recently inked nuclear accord includes a series of side deals on critical inspections regimes that are neither public nor subject to review by the United States.

Obama and Kerry have ravaged American dignity in a manner reminiscent of Jenjis Khan.

Posted by Ace at 04:46 PM Comments

Jeb Bush's Camp Calls Donald Trump a "Godsend" For Sucking Away the Oxygen From Any Potential Jeb Rival

—Ace

Via Hot Air, Trump's popularity benefits Trump, but it's also great for Jeb!

...

[The lack of media oxygen for other candidates] mainly helps Mr. Bush, who can quietly continue to build his daunting advantages in money and organization while his would-be challengers struggle to break through.

...

In Iowa, a crucial state for Mr. Walker, Mr. Trump is now statistically tied with him, according to an NBC Marist poll of potential Republican caucusgoers.

...

Privately, Mr. Bush’s top strategists, who have become increasingly fixated on halting Mr. Walker, believe that Mr. Trump is nothing short of a godsend. That is because Mr. Trump is drawing support from voters -- blue-collar, less-educated, more conservative -- who are unlikely ever to support Mr. Bush but are essential to Mr. Walker’s candidacy.

Hit the first link (the Hot Air link) to read about Trump saying he doesn't expect to throw any punches in Thursday's debate -- though he will punch back if hit.

People have been hoping another candidate, a more respectable one, would grab hold of the populist lightning that Trump has ridden to the top of the polls.

But none really are.

I can't help but think this has something to do with it.

A new oligarchic era of American politics came into full view on Friday, as super PACs disclosed fundraising details showing billionaires bankrolling the 2016 presidential race to an unprecedented degree.

The unlimited-money super PACs account for one-third of all federal election funds raised in the first half of 2015 -- up from 4 percent at this time in the last presidential election. Three-quarters of all super PAC money came from more than 500 wealthy donors, corporations and unions in contributions above $100,000. More than half the money in the presidential race so far -- to super PACs and to campaigns -- came from donors who have given at least $100,000.

For the first time in more than a century, the majority of funding for a presidential election is coming in six-figure or larger checks from corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The presidential campaigns, limited to a maximum of $5,400 from a single donor, raised a combined $128 million. Super PACs supporting those candidates pulled in $260 million, with $208 million from those giving $100,000 or more.

Now, a political candidate needs votes, but even more importantly, I think, he needs money. I had hoped my friend Mike Flynn could make an impact in IL-18 with very little money (he raised $100,000, compared to LaHood's $850,000+), but he could not.

To even keep the lights on in your campaign offices requires a lot of money.

And voting comes later. Much later. For the next year, candidates need, more than anything else, money. You will not be around to try to grab up votes if you don't have the money to stay viable until balloting actually begins.

And I think we all know how the Donor Class feels about amnesty, and the prospect of replacing broke-down old American workers with younger, hungrier foreign ones.

So I'm thinking that all the candidates in the Money Primary have already made a series of commitments on amnesty precluding them from taking any kind of real position against it, beyond the standard litany of "border security first" (supposedly -- all those "Virtual Walls" they have tried selling us on for going on 10 years now).

It's hard to see how anything can possibly change here, absent the transformative power of calamity.

Scary and sad.

Trump Now Has Biggest Lead Ever, Per Monmouth Poll: 26% support, 14 points ahead of Jeb!


Posted by Ace at 03:54 PM Comments

In Japan, a Hotel Entirely Staffed by Robots Has Just Opened

—Ace

And when I say "just opened" I mean two weeks ago. I missed it at the time.

That Business Insider link contains a video of the robots.

Endagaget has pictures of the robots. The reception desk is interesting -- one staffer is a somewhat-realistic looking woman; the other is a velociraptor who speaks English, because, why not.

Video of reception below, and a CBS report after that.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 03:02 PM Comments

Is This a Joke?

—Ace

I used to think I knew what a joke was.

For example, Andrew Stiles' headline is kind of a joke, and his subhed is a fun, weird, random little anti-joke joke.

But Elizabeth Harrington reports -- I think she reports; is she doing a Stiles-like deadpan schtick? -- that the EPA is spending $1.5 million for...

I can't summarize it. Let the EPA explain to you what they're spending $1.5 million for.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is spending $1.5 million to bring a "stove intervention" to Africa.

The project, conducted by the University of Colorado, is attempting to change how people living in the Sahel of Africa cook and light their homes to be more energy efficient.

Okay, let's review some facts:

Africa is the poorest continent on earth, where starvation is a real and continuing problem.

Energy efficiency is a rich man's luxury.

And cooking makes many inedible, or semi-edible, foods edible. I don't mean it makes them taste better (though it does that). I mean that cooking is a technological necessity for humankind because it begins the process of breaking down chemical bonds in food (or potential food) that the body would either not be able to break down (that is, the food would not be food at all; it would be biologically inert) or make it more biologically efficient to break down (that is, it takes metabolic energy to break down some foodstuffs, and if the body is spending a lot of energy on just breaking the food down to a useful form, it is getting very little net energy from the food.)

Cooking is not just something bored rich Westerners watch on TV. Cooking is absolutely essential to human survival, and the invention of cooking is one of the most important breakthroughs in human development.

But the EPA is going into impoverished Africa, to places where people are literally living at the edge of a desert (not a "food desert" as progs like to say, but a real desert) in order to boss Africans around and tell them they're not getting the Carbon Efficiency out of their wood-burning stoves that they should be getting.

Oh, don't take my word for it. Read the grant:

The EPA grant argues the project is necessary because the population in this region, which lies between the Sahara Desert and the vast Sudanian Savanna, is "projected to continue to grow at alarming rates," meaning more carbon emissions from when Africans cook.

"For this study, we will leverage an existing stove intervention study of 200 households in the region; randomly selected rural households received pairs of improved wood cookstoves," the grant said. "We expand that intervention study to assess stove use behaviors and emissions for an entire year and add urban households and commercial cooking activities."

....

The researchers will then analyze carbon emissions from "actual cooking events."

"These surveys will be supplemented with direct observations of cooking related behaviors to aide in assessment of time use (e.g., time spent cooking and gathering fuel) as these are not accurately determined through surveys," the grant continued. "Using the next generation of novel, inexpensive air quality monitors, we will continuously monitor concentrations of CO2, CO, NO2, and VOCs in the households throughout the year as well as seasonal subsets of direct emissions measurements from actual cooking events."

The project began last June, and is expected to run until May 2017. The research has cost taxpayers $1.5 million.

The EPA grant said that the goal of the project is to "develop a better understanding of the social, physical, and climatological determinants" of carbon emissions in the region.

There's more at the article, including the EPA's response to Ms. Harrington's report.

There is one humanitarian aspect here: If the stoves cook using less fuel, that reduces the amount of time that someone needs to spend on just gathering firewood.

Also, hey, free stove.

But I think it's pretty clear the major goal of this study is not to help desperately poor Africans; it's to lower the carbon footprint of people whose carbon footprints are already one one-hundredth of the smug Western progressives looking to save the world.

This may be the high-water mark for the wealthy urban progressives' favorite hobby, the collection and display of Luxurious Concerns.

Meanwhile, in America, President Cnut has ordered, by his own personal majesty, a 30% cut in CO2 emissions in America.

Because energy, you see, is some kind of trifle that we can well afford to burden with heaping additional costs.

Posted by Ace at 01:57 PM Comments

In Deadly Complication of Obama's Half-Assed Action Against ISIS, Turkey is Now Bombing a Key US Ally, the Only Trustworthy Ground Troops Fighting ISIS

—Ace

The Kurdish militia, the YPG, coordinates with the US in the few airstrikes we lodge against ISIS. I suppose that means they provide us the enemy's location and maybe conduct maneuvers designed to hold them while bombers are scrambled.

But in Turkish-occupied northern Kurdish enclaves, the PKK -- officially branded a "terrorist" organization (and I think that's a fair label) -- shoots Turkish cops and plants bombs.

What set this off? Well, a couple of weeks ago a suicide bomber killed 20 people in a Turkish town near the Syrian border, but most believe this was an ISIS suicide bomber, having nothing to do with the PKK.

A suspected female Islamic State suicide bomber has set off an explosion near a cultural centre hosting youth activists in a Turkish town near the border with Syria, leaving 32 dead and scores injured.

The blast ripped through the centre in Suruc, just a few miles from the Syrian flashpoint of Kobane - which was itself later hit in a co-ordinated suicide car bombing.
Most of the dead were university students with the Federation of Socialist Youths, who had been planning a mission to help rebuild Kobane, which was retaken by Kurds from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants earlier this year.

This has outraged Turkey, and Erdogan, being a politician, promised action. But while he is bombing ISIS, he's also taking the opportunity to bomb the PKK, Turkey's long-standing foe because, hey, why not. YOLO.

Turkey says the YPG sometimes works with the PKK, so now they're bombing our only real ground-troops allies in the fake war on ISIS.

Kurdish militia fighting Islamic State in Syria accused Turkey on Saturday of targeting it at least four times in the past week, calling the attacks provocative and hostile.

Turkey began a campaign of air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) camps in northern Iraq and Islamic State fighters in Syria last Friday, in what Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has called a "synchronized fight against terror."

The campaign has raised suspicions among Kurds that Ankara's real agenda is checking Kurdish territorial ambitions rather than fighting Islamic State.

The president of Iraq's Kurdistan region on Saturday condemned Turkey's bombardment of Zargala, a village there which he said had killed civilians, and called for a return to the peace process between Ankara and the PKK.

Nine were killed in the Zargala. The Kurds claim a pregnant woman is among the dead, which is certainly possible, but I think we've all come to be skeptical of reports of massacres by partisans in Middle East conflicts.

Turkey called an Article 4 (not 5) NATO meeting, which is a request for consultation when a member nation is threatened. NATO backed all of Erdogan's actions, for some reason.

And then PKK got vengeance, by blowing up a Turkish gas pipeline.

Turkey has also agreed to let America use our Incirlik air base to conduct raids (piloted and drone) on ISIS.

Now, you may be worried that amidst this backdrop of complex, ancient hatreds, President Obama might not have a plan capable of dealing with any of this.

But on that, you'd be wrong:

The plan is for Iran to fix everything with its brand-new Nuclear Bomb Rangers.


Correction: Embarrassing error: I wrote that America was letting Turkey use America's Incirlik base. In fact, the base is Turkey's; they're allowing the US to use it.

When I wrote that, I thought "This doesn't make any sense" but I told myself "Oh well, must be one of those bases like Diego Garcia that I haven't heard of."

Ah well. I call Mondays "Matt Yglesias Days." The days for Learning Adventures, each started by embarrassing mistakes.


Posted by Ace at 12:37 PM Comments

Jeb!: Look, I'm Going To Do Amnesty But I Will At Least Talk About Border Security

—DrewM.

You can read his 6 point border security plan here. It's all the stuff we've been hearing for decades (A mandate for a biometric entry/exit system has been on the books since 1996 and has never been created)

Here's the key bit from Jeb.

These six proposals, when combined with a rigorous path to earned legal status, would realistically and honestly address the status of the 11 million people here illegally today and protect against future illegal immigration. While passions run high on this issue, there is no rational plan to deport millions of people that the American people would support. It would disrupt communities and families and could cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.

I tend to agree that there's no real support for a "plan to deport millions of people", though there might be in the future. That doesn't mean that we have to have amnesty. It also doesn't mean that you can't deport those you find through the criminal justice system, work place enforcement investigations and raids, etc.

The real questions for Jeb! are what's the content of this "rigorous" process for legalization (he's pretending he's not for a path to citizenship here so let's humor him) and the sequencing of events?

As we see with all the broken enforcement and security measures a plan that simply consists of legislative promises to increase security/enforcement in exchange for immediate legalization should be a non-starter. We'll get the amnesty (and Yes, It's Amnesty) and the enforcement will slowly fade from memory.

If Jeb! is serious about this he needs to make it clear that the only plan he will support consists of security and enforcement measures that are proven to be in place and working for some number of years (3-5 seems reasonable) not just written down on some piece of paper somewhere and filed away never to be seen again. Only after that can we even begin to talk about legalization.

So no you're never going to "hunt them down and round them all up" (which is a strawman) but you can certainly deport those you do find while making it harder and less attractive to be here illegally. That should reduce the number pretty substantially before any amnesty talk.

Personally, I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by DrewM. at 11:48 AM Comments

GOP Weekly Address: Everything's Kind Of Awesome, Huh?

—DrewM.

The GOP establishment has found a hill to die...they don't give a damn that you don't like what they are doing.

Let me sum up what Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the 4th ranking member of the House GOP leadership, has to say: Gosh everything is swell and on behalf of Republicans in Congress, You're Welcome!

Watch it and see if it matches in tone or content what people are thinking about the GOP led Congress.

This isn't the first time they've run this scam.

Reminder: McMorris Rodgers slipped and told the truth last year...the GOP is going to keep ObamaCare and she was pretty sweet on passing amnesty too.
Try and square this upbeat, "damn aren't we wonderful," pitch with a little thing I like to call reality.

Donald Trump is leading the GOP field and less than a year after historic GOP victories, this....

Among GOP voters, 53% say they don't feel their views are well represented in Washington at all, nearly double the 27% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who feel the same way.

That's an astonishing number given the position the GOP finds itself 7 years after being written off for dead in 2008.

But fear not, Jeb! Bush thinks he's diagnosed the cause of the anger...not enough bi-partisan BS in DC.

At Koch confab, Bush, asked to explain Trump appeal: 'Look, watch Washington. Nothing's happening. People are angry. People are frustrated.'

No Jeb! too much is happening in DC and Republicans don't like it. They don't like the deficit and debt increasing Doc Fix and Highway bills. They don't like Mitch McConnell caving on executive amnesty or lobbying to get Republicans to vote for Loretta Lynch. They aren't too thrilled with the idea that the GOP has only been willing to go to the mat on trade so far, you know, that thing Obama wanted. They don't like the Iran failure theater.

The GOP establishment honestly seems befuddled as to why people aren't flocking to them with rose petals. They really think this is a winning plan.

I get that I'm Mr. Anti-GOP but I'm not demanding anything new and exciting here. I'd simply like the GOP to live up to the promises they made less than a year ago. People can see what's going on and who is benefiting from it. All the happy-happy talk in the world won't fool people.

Think about this: Have you seen any of the GOP scolding class who spend all their time yelling at the dumb hicks who are ruining their party by flirting with Trump ever say, "maybe Trump isn't helpful but we should at least acknowledge that there's a legitimate frustration out there"? I haven't. It's all been, "Screw you. Either get in line or get the hell out."

If the GOP nominates a guy like Jeb! and crashes and burns next year (Hillary attacked Jeb! at event on Friday they were both speaking at. Jeb! didn't attack back), it won't be the fault of pissed off conservatives. It will all be on a GOP establishment that thought it could pull the wool over the eyes of the party's voters one more time.

They've made their choice on how to deal with their disgruntled voters. Now they will have to live or die with it.

But let's be honest, it's not a bad bet. It's worked before.

Posted by DrewM. at 10:46 AM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Robert Julian Onderdonk, "Bluebonnets in Texas" (1915)

Posted by rdbrewer at 10:14 AM Comments

Morning Thread (8-3-2015)

—Andy

Maybe that dentist who killed the lion self-identifies as a crocodile. I mean, who are we to judge zim or zer?

Posted by Andy at 05:50 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (8-2-2015)

—Maetenloch

Quote of the Day

"The Guardian hasn't been this upset since Hugo Chavez died."

-- Larry Correia on the Guardian's freakout over the Sad Puppies Hugo campaign

The Latest #Outrage That We're All Gonna Be Lectured About For the Next Few Weeks

A 'hitchhiking robot' got beaten up and decapitated in Philadelphia and this means that America is a terrible place or something.

Only two weeks into an attempt to travel across the United States, the friendly hitchhiking robot's journey has ended in Philadelphia after being beaten to a pulp.

HitchBOT, who was created by a team of communication researchers from Ontario, was found damaged beyond repair early Saturday in the city of brotherly love.

"Sadly, sadly it's come to an end," Frauke Zeller, one of HitchBOT's co-creators told the Associated Press.

This was no robot - what it actually was was a bunch of junk glued on to a trash can and left by the side of the road along with a sign asking people to cart it around.

Sure it was a kinda sad end but either way HitchBOT was going to eventually end up in the dump.

hitchbot_hitchhiking hitchbot_beaten

So Biden is In in 2016

Because it's what his dying son wanted:

"Dad, I know you don't give a damn about money," Beau told him, dismissing the idea that his father would take some sort of cushy job after the vice presidency to cash in.

Beau was losing his nouns and the right side of his face was partially paralyzed. But he had a mission: He tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.

Frankly I don't believe this story because Biden has a lifelong history of lying about things like this. But it is a signal that he is in fact joining the race. Because otherwise why would he tell a story where he ends up betraying Beau's dying wish.

Confirmed: Navy Seriously Considering Charges Against Lt. Cmdr Timothy White For Firing Back Against An Enemy Attack

Apparently the correct action would have been for him to die quietly and tragically like a hero instead of actually defending himself and the men under him.

And Nate Hale attempts to explain why the Navy brass would make such a fucktarded decision in Scapegoating 101:

And that brings us back to changing the narrative.  By suggesting that Lieutenant Commander White may be facing charges, senior government officials have successfully changed the focus of the Chattanooga investigation, at least temporarily.  That should make everyone wonder what new revelations are about to drop, in terms of the shooter's travels and affiliations, and security measures in place at the reserve center at the time of the attack.

As we learned in the days followed the shooting, the reserve base was a largely undefended target, putting sailors and Marines at risk.  Abdulazeez was able to crash through an unmanned gate at the facility and open fire.   To date, DoD has said nothing about why the gate was secured with nothing more than a chain and a padlock, and the response of base security personnel.  It was Lieutenant Commander White and that unidentified Marine returned who fire from inside the perimeter and it was the Chattanooga Police Department--in pursuit of the suspect--who finally cornered Abdulazeez and shot him dead.  Base security--based on what we have learned so far--was AWOL. 

Keep an eye on the Navy's "prosecution" of Randy White in the weeks ahead.  It will provide a convenient distraction while far more serious revelations about the attack dribble out.  Sad to say, but it won't be the first time the feds have sought a scapegoat in a terrorist strike against the U.S. military.

Also when it comes to scapegoating consider the sad tale of USMC Lt. Col. Kate Germano who seems to have been forced out for having the temerity to believe that female Marines could perform as well male Marines. Because #SisterhoodIsPowerful.

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Posted by Maetenloch at 11:12 PM Comments

A Baseball Thread: Midway through Already? Pt. 2 [BCochran]

—Open Blogger

baseball_thread___ill__brush_by_stoostock-d36pk9o.jpg

Two weekends? Two baseball posts? In a row?

Inconceivable.

And yet here we are.

We're back again this week to look at our leaders in the American League. Now remember, this is written a couple days before it's posted, so some of the numbers may have changed by now.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 08:27 PM Comments

Food Thread: The Tastes of Summer [CBD]

—Open Blogger

tomato mozz.jpg

Great tomatoes and fresh mozzarella are a fantastic combination; one that is distressingly difficult to find. I won't rant about the dearth of great tomatoes, except to say that the reputation of New Jersey as the mecca of great tomatoes is pure, unadulterated hype. Okay, the mozzarella is a different story....there are many wonderful sources all over the state. Just don't slice it thin and lose the fantastic texture and mouth feel. I drizzle some olive oil over everything, a few sprinkles of kosher salt, and a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Simple and satisfying. Some people like artfully scattered basil leaves on top, but I prefer to chiffonade them so each bite gets some basil.

If you can get good crusty bread, then the sandwich route is the way to go. Soft breads will get mushy and soggy very quickly from the moisture from the cheese and tomatoes, especially after salting, so be warned.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 04:00 PM Comments

Norman Lear: Patriot [CBD]

—Open Blogger

When you've lost Norman Lear, is there anything left to say?

For the youngsters out there, Lear was a hard-core leftist during the culture wars of the 70s and 80s, and founded an organization called "People For The American Way," which was a typical (but unfortunately successful) leftist organization that pretended to educate and inform, but was, in reality, a front for the progressive movement of the 1980s.

Everybody knows me to be a progressive or a liberal or lefty or whatever. I think of myself as a bleeding-heart conservative. You will not f-- with my Bill of Rights, my Constitution, my guarantees of political justice for all. But does my heart bleed for those who need help and aren't getting the justice that the country promises them and the equal opportunity the country promises? Yes. I'm a bleeding heart, but I think myself to be a total social conservative. The people who are running just don't seem to have America on their minds, not the America I think about. When I was a kid we were in love with America. As early as I can remember, there was a civics class in my public school. And I was in love with those things that guaranteed freedom before I learned that there were people who hated me because I was Jewish. I had a Bill of Rights and a Constitution, those words out of the Declaration that protected me. And I knew about that because we had civics in class. We don't have that much in the country anymore. So before World War II or shortly after, we were in love with America because we understood what it was about and that's what we were in love with. I believe everybody's patriotic today. Everybody loves America. But I don't need their flag plans to prove it. I'd like to go back to civics lessons.

Sure, it's a bit incoherent, and his roots in 1930s socialism are showing....but so is his love of America.

Posted by Open Blogger at 12:02 PM Comments

Sunday Morning Book Thread 08-02-2015: Defectors [OregonMuse]

—Open Blogger


Escorial.jpg
Library at El Real Monasterio de El Escorial - Madrid, Spain

Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The Sunday Morning Book Thread is the only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Assless chaps don't count. Serious you guys. Kilts are OK, though. But not tutus. Unless you're a girl.


Book thread MULTIPLE TRIGGER WARNINGS for statements to the effect that murdering babies and chopping up their bodies for money is a bad thing, the climate science is NOT settled, and accused rapists have not thereby forfeited their due process rights.


There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.
-Charles Dickens

Demons

For a number of years now, this country is going to hell in a handbasket, and there doesn't seem to be anything we can do about it. Heck, I even joined the communist party awhile back, but it didn't work out. But, along these same "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" lines, I think it's time for a second look at one of mankind's oldest problem-solving techniques.

I'm referring, of course, to the black arts.

I mean, why not? The country is now circling the drain, so what have we got to lose? As the poet says, at this point, what difference does it make?

We are aided by the fact that the necessary magic tomes and necromancy self-help books are much more accessible than they used to be. If you want your book of spells, you don't have to seek out some faraway ruined castle or creepy, half-deserted New England coastal town, and fight your way through vampires, ghouls, Planned Parenthood medical directors, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and other evil, unnatural creatures. No, now you can simply order them direct from Amazon. With their Kindle editions and Amazon Prime free shipping, dabbling in the occult and meddling with Things Best Left Alone has never been easier!

What brought this on was a link posted by the moron commenter 'The Great White Snark' in a thread earlier this week. He said "If you're having personal problems, you may want to read this book" and then linked to The Daemonic Companion: Creating Daemonic Entities To Do Your Will by Baal Kadmon, and I'm guessing that "Baal" is not the name he was given at birth.

Now, at $4.99, you'd think you'd be getting a bargain, but it's only 38 pages long, so making contact with Beezlebub's servants certainly doesn't come cheap. But I'll give him this, having my own personal demon (daemon?) would come in might handy at times, like when the wife wants me to mow the lawn and I don't feel like it, or I want my boss's wife to walk in on him while he's cheating on her.

The downside is that, as fun as this is, it won't be any good for the stuff I really want to do, such as see Bill and Hillary! incarcerated in a federal penitentiary, or to have entire departments of the federal government simply disappear. I don't think that will be allowed. Because Jesus said:

..."Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?
(Mat 12:25-26)

So there's that. Satan is smart enough that he wouldn't do anything against his own interests. He'd make a great CEO of one of our companies, and come to think of it, he probably already is.

But this "Baal" guy has written a number of other booklets on how to use the occult, such as
Vashikaran Magick: Learn The Dark Mantras Of Subjugation and Chakra Mantra Magick: Tap Into The Magick Of Your Chakras. (Al Gore gives this book a thumbs up)

I don't recommend them. I mean, seriously, isn't this obviously a lose-lose deal? If it doesn't work, you're out 5 bucks, but if it does work, these things usually turn out badly, don't they?

These guys are the original mad scientists.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 09:03 AM Comments

EMT 08/02/15 Opulence edition [krakatoa]

—Open Blogger

Sunday. Big plans today. Price checking pressure washers at Sam's Club, and coming home with a rotisserie chicken.

I know, I know. "Stop flaunting your fancy lifestyle in our faces, krak/t!"

What can I say?

I has it.

Posted by Open Blogger at 06:00 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (1 Aug 2015)

—CDR M

Crime levels rise to highest level in 43 years in Baltimore. It's not just Baltimore either.

The number of murders in 2015 jumped by 33% or more in Baltimore, New Orleans and St. Louis. Meanwhile, in Chicago, the nation's third-largest city, the homicide toll climbed 19% and the number of shooting incidents increased by 21% during the first half of the year.

Yup. You can tell when a city is managed by democrats.

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Posted by CDR M at 10:15 PM Comments

Open Thread: Best Movie Soundtracks [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

Mister and I are watching Conan the Barbarian (at MY request -- boy is he a lucky fellow to have married me!). It is one of my favorite soundtracks. You can listen to it here.

Here's a list of the 100 Best Movie Soundtracks as selected by Entertainment Weekly. (Conan is not on the list -- tsk tsk!)

Others that I really enjoy: Grosse Point Blank, The Fifth Element, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and Charlie's Angels.

For musicals (which I think is sort of its own category), I like 7 Brides for 7 Brothers and Calamity Jane. Howard Keel for the win!

What are some of your favorite soundtracks?


Open thread.

Posted by Open Blogger at 09:10 PM Comments

Saturday Gardening Thread: "Cold" August Ovens [Y-not and KT]

—Open Blogger

I apologize for the delay in posting the Saturday gardening thread.

Y-not: Good afternoon, gardening morons and moronettes!

KentuckyBarnSmall.JPG

A pretty barn in Kentucky.

Today's thread is brought to you by ragweed:

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Posted by Open Blogger at 06:43 PM Comments

Microsoft Getting Very Googley with Windows 10

—rdbrewer

Basically, they are going to watch everything you do. Soon we're all going to be Winston Smith in Orwell's 1984. A long time ago when I read the book, I wasn't that worried. I knew what it would take to install cameras everywhere, including peoples' homes, and that the cost would make it an impossible undertaking for government. But in the digital age, we're doing it to ourselves. The government doesn't have put cameras in our homes and create two-way television sets; we are. Now Google is talking about smart thermostats, and guess who will require them to be installed. Well, all those who will ostensibly come to believe it's essential for energy conservation--Jerry Brown types.

There was a television news report several years ago with some agency higher up grinning and bragging about their ability to get into your computer and use the camera, mic, and Bluetooth, etc. And with the computer's Bluetooth, for example, they can access and download all the information in other Bluetooth equipped devices like, say, phones in the area. I put a piece of electrical tape over my computer's camera and disabled Bluetooth. Not because I'm particularly interesting. I just don't like the idea of a swaggering bureaucrat with little or no concern for constitutional protections having access.

We began to address some Fourth Amendment concerns when Rand Paul and the Senate let section 215 of the "Patriot" Act expire in June, killing bulk metadata collection. But we have a long way to go, and there is even talk of Section 215 coming up again.

If you don't know what an administrative subpoena is, you should familiarize yourself with that. It's a tool that completely subverts the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment.

And no warrant is required at all in situations where courts have decided you have no "reasonable expectation of privacy." Your checking account and your credit card transactions are frequently used as examples: third parties see your purchases; they can see your checks, and they can see your credit card bills. Thus, the court reasons, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. But what they've done here is insert in the word "absolute" without saying so. I have no reasonable expectation of absolute privacy in my checking account: I know banking proof and end-clearing departments can see my checks. But thousands--if not millions--of checks whiz by at around 40 or so per second, per machine. (And that was 30 years ago.) Who is going to notice my check? And even if my check gets thrown out of the machine, what are the chances someone I know will see my check? So, yes, although I don't have a reasonable expectation of absolute privacy, a reasonable expectation of privacy is precisely what I do have. I can reasonably expect no one will notice I bought a can of Jock Itch for $5.95 at the local Wallgreens. But the courts disagree. I'm not a Fourth Amendment expert, but in the case of checking accounts and credit card transactions, it's obviously a legal fiction you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. We need to work on that one.

So, if I'm sharing my data with Google and Microsoft, do I have a reasonable expectation of privacy? Can an agency use an administrative subpoena and get anything Microsoft has on me without going to a court and getting a warrant? Does anyone think these giant corporations are in the habit of not cooperating with the government when the government wants something?

From the Newsweek article:

More than 14 million devices are already running Microsoft’s Windows 10 after its global launch on Wednesday, but it’s unclear how many of their users read the company’s Privacy Policy and Service Agreement before downloading. Tucked away in the 45 pages’ worth of terms and conditions (effective August 1) is a substantial power grab: The company is collecting data on much of what you do while using its new software.

From the moment an account is created, Microsoft begins watching. The company saves customers’ basic information—name, contact details, passwords, demographic data and credit card specifics —but it also digs a bit deeper.

Other information Microsoft saves includes Bing search queries and conversations with the new digital personal assistant Cortana; contents of private communications such as email; websites and apps visited (including features accessed and length of time used); and contents of private folders. Furthermore, “your typed and handwritten words are collected,” the Privacy Statement says, which many online observers liken to a keylogger. Microsoft says they collect the information “to provide you a personalized user dictionary, help you type and write on your device with better character recognition, and provide you with text suggestions as you type or write.”

Read the rest. That's about all I can quote. It turns out Microsoft will share the information it gathers with third-parties for "targeted advertising." But I'm sure there will be "no personally identifiable information." Right? I'm also sure I'm going to win Powerball tonight.

Are you upgrading?

I didn't mean for this Windows 10 thread to be about privacy and the government, but the Newsweek article pushed it in that direction. So let this be about two things, if possible: privacy and your experience with your Windows 10 upgrade. Do you like it? Why or why not?

Additional links:
The Guardian: Windows 10: Microsoft under attack over privacy
The Register: Wait, STOP: Are you installing Windows 10 or ransomware?
USA Today: Surf Report: 10 things you didn't know about Windows 10

Posted by rdbrewer at 04:54 PM Comments

Hillary! Goes Full Otter [OregonMuse]

—Open Blogger

Sacred honor compels me to state that I wrote this piece a couple of days before moron commenter 'The Great White Snark' posted this comment. He obviously hacked into my computer and stole my stuff. Yeah, that's the ticket.

So let's get to it:

In an interview with the (New Hampshire) Manchester Union Leader, Hillary! said that the videos showing Planned Parenthood officials negotiating for the sale of body parts from aborted babies are 'disturbing'.

She also discussed her recent discovery that the current Pope is, in all actuality, a Roman Catholic. Also that bear poo can often be found in many of our nation's woodland areas.

But, enough of that. Here's what Hillary! actually said about the videos and the slo-mo public pantsing of Planned Parenthood:

“Planned Parenthood is answering questions and will continue to answer questions. I think there are two points to make,” Clinton said. “One, Planned Parenthood for more than a century has done a lot of really good work for women: cancer screenings, family planning, all kinds of health services. And this raises not questions about Planned Parenthood so much as it raises questions about the whole process, that is, not just involving Planned Parenthood, but many institutions in our country.”

And:

“And if there’s going to be any kind of congressional inquiry, it should look at everything and not just one (organization),” she said.

Joe Pesci e-mailed and said that everything that woman just said is bullshit.

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Posted by Open Blogger at 02:00 PM Comments

A Few Weekend Links [CBD]

—Open Blogger

But first some wild footage of an Eagle descending from the tallest building in the world:

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Posted by Open Blogger at 11:30 AM Comments

Saturday Politics Thread: Carly Fiorina [Y-not]

—Open Blogger

Good morning, morons and 'ettes. Welcome to your regular Saturday Morning Politics thread!

Next Thursday Republicans will hold the first of their primary debates:

The Aug. 6 debate is hosted by Fox News, in conjunction with Facebook and the Ohio Republican Party.

The 9 p.m. ET stage will be open to the top 10 candidates in recent national polls. With 17 total candidates now in the race -- former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore was the latest, announcing his bid Thursday -- not everyone will make the cut.

Those who don't can qualify for an earlier debate, at 5 p.m. Fox News has eased the criteria for that debate, and candidates will no longer have to reach at least 1 percent in the polls to make the stage, though there are other criteria.

In addition, several of the GOP hopefuls, including Perry, Fiorina, and Santorum, have said they will stop by a debate-watching event being hosted by the American Conservative Union. (Follow this link to see the details of all eleven GOP debates planned thus far.)

The New York Times has been maintaining a list of all of the announced candidates, both Republican and Democrat, here.

I thought this week we could do a short "backgrounder" on Carly Fiorina. She was not on our radar last Fall when we reviewed 21 prospective GOP candidates. (I've been slammed in Real Life, so I apologize in advance for not doing a more thorough job on Fiorina's backgrounder.)

Here's a bit about Ms. Fiorina from her campaign website:

Continue reading


Posted by Open Blogger at 09:30 AM Comments

Driver Download Websites

—rdbrewer

AboutTech: 10 Driver Download Websites Reviewed.

I looked for this article because of my recent computer problems. I almost, almost clicked on a driver download place called DriverInstaller.com. That site didn't even make the list. So, one more word to the wise: When you're on the internet, don't click on anything. Ever. Actually, the word is, check things out first. DriverInstaller might be a fine place, but I don't know, and if it doesn't even rank as a reputable site on that list, well, see ya.

Here is a site that is proving to be very helpful on computer issues: How-To Geek. Nice, step-by-step instructions on just about any topic without pushing you to download anything. And speaking of driver downloads, they had a thing or two to say about downloading driver utilities: never download driver utilities. I did this with Greasy-Fast Pig about three weeks ago. So, a little late for me, but good to know now. Another vector from which I could've picked up hellware.

That's why How-To Geek is good. Nice, straight-forward answers, and they seem to be ethical and very consumer-oriented.

One more thing for commenter "AllenG": I think How-To Geek is Waldo's day job. Check out the geek. This is where he earns the money to go to all those exotic places. So, there's that, brah.

Posted by rdbrewer at 08:33 AM Comments

Early Morning Thread 08/01/15 [krakatoa]

—Open Blogger

I'm going to say it: Hillary is toast.

It's going to come down to Sanders or Joe Biden, and for my L.I.B. money, I'll take Pokin' Joe hip-sliding across the hood of a stretched '78 Trans Am T-Tops every. single. time.

Posted by Open Blogger at 08:10 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (31 Jul 2015)

—CDR M

I guess tonight's ONT is a once in a blue moon edition!

Bonus celestial viewing tonight. You can also try to catch the Delta Aquarids. Best time to view is after midnight and there are about 20 per hour. Don't forget to put your pants back on if you go outside to view.

Continue reading


Posted by CDR M at 10:00 PM Comments

Evening Open Thread

—rdbrewer


François Charles Cachoud, "Clair de lune sur le lac d’Aiguebelette" (1906)*


*Thanks to commenter "NaCly Dog" for providing the title and date. --RD

Added: We were talking about improving the composition in the thread. How about this crop...

Continue reading


Posted by rdbrewer at 08:46 PM Comments

Chris Matthews to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: What's the Difference Between a Democrat and a Socialist?
DWS: Well I Don't Know, But Let Me Tell You What, Those Republicans Are Extremists

—Ace

"I used to think there was a big difference between a Democrat and a Socialist," Chris Matthews says, suggesting that perhaps there's not so much of a difference any longer.

But remember, it's officially Racist Hate Speech if you call Obama, who is a socialist, a socialist. See, it's a "Code Word."

Which should tell you something about progressives right there -- they don't understand that the term "socialist" is itself a derogatory term, so they're are convinced that if you call someone a "socialist," you must mean something else -- you know, something that's actually a bad thing.

And, by the way, Hillary Clinton is running to Bernie Sanders' left, except for corporate cronyism, so that makes her a socialist of the corporatist bent.

You know, like they had in Germany and Italy. Worked out famously well for all concerned.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 07:40 PM Comments

MSNBC Axes Ed Show, Alex Wagner; Lets Go Krystal Ball, Toure.
But Now They're Bringing In Their Big Guns -- Brian Williams

—Ace

That'll fix things up just right.

Shows being canceled outright include The Cycle, a multiple-host show similar to Fox’s The Five, Now with Alex Wagner, and The Ed Show. Politico reports that MSNBC President Phil Griffin is expected to make the formal announcement as soon as Thursday.

Not all of the hosts of the three canceled shows are leaving. Alex Wagner is expected to remain with the network as is Ari Melber, one of the co-hosts of The Cycle. However, TV Newser reports that Ed Schultz, Abby Huntsman, Toure, and Krystal Ball are "out."

Brian Williams will be hosting a new "News" show, with the actual quotes actually in the title.

Actually, the full title is

Breaking "News" & Storytime Adventure Hour with Your Host, Captain Brian Williams

Okay I made all that up, but seriously, they should put "News" in quotes. That would be funny.

No longer having steady employment on TV, Ed Schultz, Krystal Ball, and Toure announced their plans for a more "interactive" sort of programming, which they described as "annoying people on a one-on-one fashion in the streets or shopping malls."

The network’s decline is being blamed on the heavy focus on progressive commentary over straight news. A Pew Research report published in 2013 found that MSNBC was 85% commentary and 15% "factual reporting."

Brian Williams is hoped to bring that up to as high as 17% "factual reporting."

Meanwhile, there's just more Democrat/Media incest-- Alex Wagner's husband (whose wedding was attended by both the Obama's and the Ayers/Dohrn coupling), former White House chef Sam Kass, has been hired by NBC.

NBC is said to be "excited" (no really) to have yet another Obamoid on the payroll.

Co-host Savannah Guthrie gushed: "...we've got an exciting announcement. You guys remember Sam Kass, of course he’s the former assistant White House chef, executive director of the First Lady's Let's Move campaign, and nutrition advisor to the President....He is becoming an NBC News senior food analyst."
Posted by Ace at 06:03 PM Comments



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Top Headlines

"I've seen things...            
          I've seen things."
BI: Airbus just patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in 1 hour
I'll see it when I believe it. [rdbrewer]

Entertainment Weekly: TV legend Norman Lear gives 6 strong opinions about American life
ICYMI. This is epic. From the guy who created Archie Bunker: "You will not fuck with my Bill of Rights, my Constitution, my guarantees of political justice for all." Right on, brotha. [rdbrewer]
Smithsonian: Maine Brewers Are Selling Lobster-Infused Beer
Huh? "[W]hy drink a regular beer with your lobster roll when you can drink lobster-infused beer?" [rdbrewer]

Christina Hoff Sommers, AEI: How to survive the wacky gender politics on campus
Video. Truth-seeking at college is being replaced by safe-making. [rdbrewer]
Condiment Robert Downey, Jr. Via @Zakn. [rdbrewer]

Gordon Kelly, Forbes: Windows 10 Vs Windows 8 Vs Windows 7: What's The Difference? [rdbrwer]

NetworkWorld: Microsoft will NOT email you Windows 10, it's ransomware
"For people who are impatient for their Windows 10 upgrade, don't fall for an email scam that includes a zipped file that is supposedly Windows 10 sent by Microsoft. It's not the OS, but it will install ransomware on your PC." [rdbrewer]

BI: MIT researchers have bad news for users of anonymity browser Tor [rdbrewer]

P.J. O'Rourke, The Weekly Standard: They Hate Your Guts
A must-read. "I would like to address myself to the poor, the huddled masses, the wretched refugees teeming to America’s shore, the homeless, the economically, socially, and mentally tempest-tossed. Also, I’d like to address the young, the hip, the progressive, the compassionate, and the caring. I’d like a word with everyone who votes for Democrats. ¶ Democrats hate your guts." Thanks to commenter "naturalfake." [rdbrewer]

Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist: ‘Issues Guy’ Chuck Todd Has No Policy Questions For Donald Trump On Meet The Press
Or as we like to say, "Press the Meat." [rdbrewer]

Adam Kredo, WFB: Majority of House Backs Resolution to Kill Iran Deal
"A majority of House lawmakers now support a resolution to reject the recently signed nuclear agreement with Iran, marking another blow to the White House’s aggressive push to convince Congress to back the deal...." [rdbrewer]

Christian Datoc, TheDC: DNC Chair STILL Doesn’t Know The Difference Between ‘Democrats’ And ‘Socialists’
"DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was stumped by Chris Matthews over the difference between Democrats and Socialists last week, and Sunday, the representative revealed she still doesn’t know the difference, despite essentially being fed the answer by NBC’s Chuck Todd...." Also from TheDC: Levin: Why Should We Let The Left Destroy Future Generations? [rdbrewer]

Quinnipiac University Poll: August 3, 2015 - American Voters Oppose Iran Deal 2-1, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Pope's Climate Change Message Gets Huge Support
Sen. Bob Corker responds: "Who gives a damn? We do what we want. That's why I gave Obama a blank check on this deal." [rdbrewer]
Video: Christina Hoff Sommers on how Feminism went awry
Conversation with Bill Kristol. Via @Zakn. [rdbrewer]


Paul Anka sings Teen Spirit
No, really. Via @PollySpin. Added: Here's what happened backstage just after that performance. [rdbrewer]

For the patriotic Lambo man
Via @DoreenHDickson. [rdbrewer]


BI: This map shows the US really has 11 separate 'nations' with entirely different cultures
"Colin Woodard identifies 11 distinct cultures that have historically divided the US." Picture. [rdbrewer]
GOP's Kasich, Perry battle for final spot in first GOP presidential debate Sounds like Carly Fiorina will be in the "second-tier" debate with Jindal. That may be reason enough to watch it. [Y-not]

Death of a Diploma Mill "According to Department of Education data, the University of Phoenix online campus has a graduation rate of 7.3 percent and a loan default rate of 19 percent -- 5 percent higher than the national average." Part of the negative attention they've drawn recently pertains to the outcomes for military veterans. Related: These 20 schools are responsible for a fifth of all graduate school debt [Y-not]
Texas Tribune: "Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been indicted by a Collin County grand jury... Kent Schaffer, one of two special prosecutors who took the Paxton case to the grand jury, told The New York Times that the indictments include three felony counts -- two alleging first-degree securities fraud and another alleging a third-degree charge that he failed to register as a securities agent." Is this legitimate or more "law-fare"? [Y-not]

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