Overnight Open Thread (7-31-2014)
Ace mentioned this article a day or two ago but the entire thing is worth reading since it encapsulates so much that is wrong with the left's worship of 'science'. And justifies my dislike of Neil deGrasse Tyson for his arrogant smugness.
"Ignorance," a popular Tyson meme holds, "is a virus. Once it starts spreading, it can only be cured by reason. For the sake of humanity, we must be that cure." This rather unspecific message is a call to arms, aimed at those who believe wholeheartedly they are included in the elect "we." Thus do we see unexceptional liberal-arts students lecturing other people about things they don't understand themselves and terming the dissenters "flat-earthers." Thus do we see people who have never in their lives read a single academic paper clinging to the mantle of "science" as might Albert Einstein. Thus do we see residents of Brooklyn who are unable to tell you at what temperature water boils rolling their eyes at Bjørn Lomborg or Roger Pielke Jr. because he disagrees with Harry Reid on climate change. Really, the only thing in these people's lives that is peer-reviewed are their opinions. Don't have a Reddit account? Believe in God? Skeptical about the threat of overpopulation? Who are you, Sarah Palin?
...Ironically enough, what Tyson and his acolytes have ended up doing is blurring the lines between politics, scholarship, and culture - thereby damaging all three. Tyson himself has expressed bemusement that "entertainment reporters" have been so interested in him. "What does it mean," he asked, "that Seth MacFarlane, who's best known for his fart jokes - what does it mean that he's executive producing" Cosmos? Well, what it means is that, professionally, Tyson has hit the jackpot. Actual science is slow, unsexy, and assiduously neutral - and it carries about it almost nothing that would interest either the hipsters of Ann Arbor or the Kardashian-soaked titillaters over at E!Politics pretending to be science, on the other hand, is current, and it is chic.
Built on conflicts of interest and barely disguised campaign contributions.
This is what a global political empire looks like.
The Washington Examiner reports that Bill Clinton earned $48 million-from speeches and consulting deals-during his wife's tenure as secretary of state. A number of those speeches were funded by powerful business and political entities with a clear interest in influencing U.S. policy, yet the State Department did not object to any of them, despite policies intended to prevent "potential or actual conflicts of interest."
For example, the Examiner investigation found that Clinton made more than $2 million for a total of eight speeches in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. Much of the funding for the speeches came from wealthy investors with close ties to the governments in those countries....China was another priority country for Secretary Clinton. During his wife's time at the State Department, Bill Clinton gave four speeches in China or funded by Chinese entities, earning $1.7 million. Organizations with ties to China have donated at least $750,000, and likely much more than that, to the Clinton Foundation. The former president earned $1 million for three speeches financed by Turkish sponsors, as well as $625,000 for two speeches in Russia, including one to a Russian investment bank.
It's not like CTR can force the media to use this material. It can only politely inform the press that it's falling for right-wing spin. CTR's own spin has described an attack on the Clintons' wealth as an attack on the "profoundly American success and philanthropy of Bill and Hillary Clinton," and criticism of her speaking fees as "relentlessly attacking Hillary Clinton for raising money for universities."
All of what Brook says is true. But as an explanation of libertarian support for Hamas, it begs the question. Why would those who have a deep hatred of government be more supportive of a totalitarian regime than a democratic one?
Well Libertarians do have a large contingent of kooks who have glommed onto libertarianism mostly because they don't fit in anywhere else. And kookdom and Jew hatred go together like peanut butter and chocolate.
Until this whole Gaza thing is cleared up I guess.
"Due to the current security situation in Tel Aviv, U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv remains open but is operating at reduced staffing until further notice, and has canceled routine visa application processing and American Citizen services," the statement says. "Emergencies involving an American citizen and visa applications will be considered on a case by case basis."
The statement surfaces in the midst of both souring US-Israel relations and an already-pressured visa crisis, which has seen the visa process for Israelis grow more and more difficult over the past year.In April, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced an internal review into claims that hundreds of young Israelis were being barred from entering the US for political reasons.
Of course, refusing to accept that you've made an enormous mistake is natural behavior. But at some point, you have to be able to see the obvious.
Other people could, which is why CBS retracted the story, why Mapes and Rather were pushed out, and why the consensus among journalists -- from conservative magazines to Mother Jones -- is that the documents were faked and Mapes was had. It would be a pity if Hollywood made the same blind mistakes that destroyed several distinguished careers in New York. I know that the film production company for this project is called Mythology Entertainment. That said, the journalists who deserve to have their stories told are the ones who dug into the provenance of these memos and exposed them for what they actually were.
Add to that, Donna Brazile's confession at CNN.com last year that despite her party's efforts, particularly by its operatives with bylines to portray things otherwise at the time for cheap (and ultimately successful) political gain, that "Bush came through on Katrina."
They go to the river.
Because sometimes pictures say it all. And here's a blog full of'em.
Yahoo group. That is all.
Come on be a smartie and join the yahoo group party! For the children.
And my lo-fi Twitter spew.
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No, Stop, It's Too Cute. Stop It Right Now.
A dog had been separated from its owner for two full years.
The owner was away in Slovenia, but returned home to Pennsylvania, whereupon she saw her pooch.
Here's the little guy's reaction at the reunion.
Thanks to @rdbrewer4.
And open thread.
Corrected: I had a huge amount of stuff wrong at first. It's corrected now.
Incidentally, the YouTube commenters prove once again why they're called "YouTube Commenters:"
This is the second time I've seen this: the inane laughter is shocking. This dog is in acute distress and needed immediate help. The true story here is the careless - even narcissistic - reactions of the woman and the 80, 911 'thumbs up' so far.
Yup, you called it dude.
Close it up
72 Hour Ceasefire Declared in Hamas-Israel Fight
Beginning at 8
pm am on Friday.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations announced early Friday that Israel and Hamas had agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza conflict.
Israel will keep its troops in place on the ground during the ceasefire -- the article does not say if they will continue their tunnel-busting missions during the ceasefire.
The parties will gather in Cairo to discuss a longer-lasting ceasefire.
Leftwing "Wonks" Shocked Again to Learn Basic Things
I would propose a simple definition of "expert:" One who is not surprised or even stunned to learn the basics of his claimed field of expertise.
By this definition, the left has a serious lack of experts.
I might add to the definition of "expert:" One who is interested in a subject matter and motivated to learn as much about it as possible, even if such fresh learning might cut against his base partisan impulses.
I'm afraid the left is studded with "experts" who fail this prong of the definition, as well:
See Sean Davis' piece for leftist "wonks" claiming that the argument in Halbig couldn't possibly be accurate, or else it would prove them (those who supposedly follow this subject in all its details) to be "idiots."
And of course -- we know that couldn't possibly be true.
Oh: The below video recapitulates Jon Gruber's meanderings.
The Only Appropriate Reaction to the Wisconsin Supreme Court's Decision on Act 10
The voter ID decision is also a biggie, but here is the orgasm-inducing quote from the Milkwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
In upholding Gov. Scott Walker's union law limiting collective bargaining for most public employees, the state Supreme Court effectively ended major litigation over the measure.
We won, they lost.
Considering the string of defeats Republicans have dealt to themselves and their base, the long slow slide towards bigger government, and the utter failure of any Republican to actually roll back the progressive agenda anywhere, that a Governor and Legislature did so, in a place like Wisconsin, is huge.
This should also put pressure on Republican legislatures and governors to do more. What is their excuse, when this was pulled off successfully?
Kudos to the conservatives who (at least for the moment) govern the Badger State, and to the voters who put them in there and rejected a recall. To the latter group though, a reminder that November is coming. Please don't screw it up.
Belgian Doctor Refuses Treatment to Jewish Patient
She had an injured rib. She tried to get a house-call (which is apparently how it's still done in Belgium).
The woman, Bertha Klein, had her son, who is American, call the hotline at 11 p.m.
"I'm not coming," the doctor reportedly told the son and hung up. When the son called again, the doctor said: “Send her to Gaza for a few hours, then she'll get rid of the pain." According to Joods Actueel, the doctor confirmed the exchange, saying he had an "emotional reaction."
The call is confirmed. Apparently they then called the doctor back to get his explanation for saying this, and that call was recorded.
Israel's enemies have a not-so-secret weapon against Israel: They hold hostage the world's Jewry. And when they get angry about Israel defending itself (or merely existing), they will burn down the shops of Jewish storekeepers and kill Jews on the Metro.
Brendan O'Neill recently wrote about the rising tide of real anti-semitism. Not merely being anti-Israel; I don't believe being anti-Israel makes one, necessarily, anti-semitic.
...it seems pretty clear to me that much of the left in Europe and America is becoming more anti-Semitic, or at least risks falling into the trap of anti-Semitism, sometimes quite thoughtlessly. In the language it uses, in the ideas it promotes, in the way in which it talks about the modern world, including Israel, much of the Left has adopted a style of politics that has anti-Semitic undertones, and sometimes overtones.
The key problem has been the Left’s embrace of conspiratorial thinking, its growing conviction that the world is governed by what it views as uncaring "cabals", "networks", self-serving lobbyists and gangs of bankers, all of which has tempted it to sometimes turn its attentions towards those people who historically were so often the object and the target of conspiratorial thinking -- the Jews.
This is a recurring theme in anti-Israel sentiment today: the idea that a powerful, sinister lobby of Israel lovers has warped our otherwise respectable leaders here in the West, basically winning control of Western foreign policy.
Indeed, some of the most influential trends in Left-wing politics over the past five years – including the Occupy movement and the Wikileaks movement -- were both given to conspiracy-theorising and both also had a bit of a problem with anti-Semitism. So Occupy was kickstarted by Adbusters, a magazine convinced that powerful corporations control the masses’ fickle minds. In 2004, Adbusters published a disgustingly anti-Semitic article titled "Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?", which listed the neocons in the Bush administration and put a black mark next to the names of those who are Jewish.
It's worth reading in full.
Bill Clinton, September 10, 2001: You Know, I Could Have Killed Bin Ladin Years Ago, But I Chose Not To, Fearing Civilian Casualties
Within ten (10!) hours of his making this admission, Al Qaeda would demonstrate that it was not particularly bothered by civilian casualties, and in fact was rather keen on them.
The tape has only now been disclose by the Australian media -- Clinton was over there giving a paid ($150,000) speech to businessmen, naturally.
On September 10, 2001, Clinton was speaking to a group of about 30 businessmen in Melbourne, including Michael Kroger, the former head of the Liberal Party in the Australian state of Victoria. The event was recorded with the former president’s permission, according to Kroger, but the audio never released -- until Wednesday night, when Kroger appeared on Sky News with host Paul Murray to unveil it. Kroger said he had forgotten about the recording until last week.
At the event in Melbourne, which took place not long after the end of Clinton’s term in office, the former president was asked about international terrorism.
"And I'm just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden -- he's very smart guy, I've spent a lot of time thinking about him -- and I nearly got him once," Clinton is heard saying. "I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him. And so I didn’t do it."
Remember that Clinton claimed that the "Path to 9/11" was substantially false and pressured the network to alter that docu-drama?
Here is Clinton claiming, to Chris Wallace, that he "tried" to get bin Ladin, unlike "all those right-wingers." He's angry throughout the interview, but at 5:17 or so he starts with the "I tried" crap.
He does not ever mention that on the eve of the 9/11 attacks, he bragged that he "could have" gotten bin Ladin, but specifically chose not to. (And he bragged about that, too.)
In case you weren't sure, Clinton is lying that other people wouldn't let him kill bin Ladin.
Crumpton, whom Logan calls "one of the most seasoned and accomplished CIA officers of his generation,"described his team’s sighting of bin Laden:
Crumpton: Our human sources took us to a village uh, far, not far from Kandahar
Logan: And what did you see there?
Crumpton: We saw a security detail, a convoy, and we saw bin Laden exit the vehicle.
Crumpton: Clearly. And we had -- the optics were spot on, beaming back to us, CIA headquarters. We immediately alerted the White House, and the Clinton administration’s response was, "Well, it will take several hours for the TLAMs, the cruise missiles launched from submarines, to reach that objective. So you need to tell us where bin Laden will be five or six hours from now." (Pause) The frustration was enormous.
Logan: So at that moment you wanted to kill him.
Logan: But you couldn’t get permission.
Logan then narrates that Crumpton "couldn't get permission to do anything, including allowing the CIA's Afghan agents on the ground to attack bin Laden's compound."
Close it up
House Kills Fake Border Security Bill
The Democrats were united against it, because they're against anything that even pretends to discourage illegal immigration.
Conservatives balked at voting for a pretend measure that just might be a "supertrap" for having a conference committee which then votes out a Comprehensive Amnesty bill.
And now what?
I actually don't know. If no bill has any potential of being passed, and we can't trust Boehner and McConnell not to stuff a conference committee with Gang of 8 Amnestias, then what do we do?
Then we're at a point of complete paralysis.
A US Attorney Just Threatened to Open an Investigation Into Democrat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's Role in Witness Tampering in a Political Corruption Investigation, and the Media Says "MOAR SCOTT WALKER"
Via Jim Geraghty, a large new development in the Moreland Commission case.
Andrew Cuomo set up the Moreland Commission to investigate political corruption in New York State. At some point -- let's just speculate "at the point when major Democratic politicians were threatened" -- he ordered the commission shut down.
A US Attorney is now investigating why it was shut down -- and pursuing the investigations the commission itself abandoned.
The New York Times (which is actually covering this matter) reports on a "sharply worded" letter to Governor Cuomo from the US Attorney leading the investigation.
In an escalation of the confrontation between the United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over the governor's cancellation of his own anticorruption commission, Mr. Bharara has threatened to investigate the Cuomo administration for possible obstruction of justice or witness tampering.
The warning, in a sharply worded letter from Mr. Bharara's office, came after several members of the panel issued public statements defending the governor's handling of the panel, known as the Moreland Commission, which Mr. Cuomo created last year with promises of cleaning up corruption in state politics but shut down abruptly in March.
The New York Times, to its credit, is covering this story.
The rest of the national media is not.
Why not, I wonder?
This is a genuine corruption investigation of a sitting governor and a much-talked-about possible Democratic candidate for President.
What is the missing "X Factor" here that makes this story so unsexy for the national media? What "X Factor" did the fake investigation of Scott Walker have that made it so appealing? What "X Factor" did Christie's Bridge Controversy have that makes it more important than the shuttering of a commission investigating widespread political corruption?
There is no plausible answer here except the obvious one.
Evan Sayet: "The Modern Liberal is the Stupidest Human Being Who Has Ever Lived"
"I have a problem," Sayet says in the video, "If the modern liberal is as stupid as I believe him to be, how does he keep rising to the tops of his professions?"
Good question, and Sayet provides some rather insightful, albeit hilarious, reasons why the "modern liberal" has been incredibly successful at being so stupid by employing brilliant alliteration on the word "do." In essence, modern liberals succeed because they flock to professions that require they do nothing, according to Sayet.
"They don't build, they don't make, they don't construct, they don't manufacture, they don't prepare, they don't sow, they don't mend," Sayet says. "Every single profession that we associate with liberalism is all talk, but no action, and the thing is when you don't 'do anything', you don't know what you're talking about."
Thursday Morning News Dump
- The Cost Of American Indifference
- Obamacare Website Has Cost 840 Million
- The 'Myths" Of Gaza
- Europe Set To Give Putin
- How Many Children Will Die In Gaza
- The Endangered Governors List
- NLRB Gives Big Labor Another Win
- Alison Lundergan Grimes Explains The Iron Dome
- Argentina Is In Default Again
- Of Course Dems Are Running On Impeachment, They Have Nothing Else
- ISIS Releases Videos Of It Slaughtering Civillians
- Illegal Alien Invasion Is Now Obama's Worst Issue
- Bloomberg Anti-Gun Ad Pretty Much Proves The Point That Guns Are Necessary
- A Youtuber Makes Another, Better Version Of The Bloomberg Anti-Gun Ad
- How Is This Not Legal? What Is This, Russia?
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Top Headline Comments 7-31-14
"We never tried to impeach Bush," says Democratic lawmaker who cosponsored articles of impeachment against Bush.
WaPo has an interesting piece on happy and unhappy cities.
The ATF agents responsible for the insane reverse-sting operation in Milwaukee get slaps on the wrists.
Lawyer-morons, the Popehat Signal is out for a fellow in Colorado being sued by his former ISP for putting up bad reviews on Yelp, among other things.
NYTimes has an A1 piece on the American suicide bomber in Syria.
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Overnight Open Thread (7-30-2014)
And it struck me also that this might be the sum total of why he has risen to the heights he has, that and his ability to promote himself. He has never seemed especially bright or accomplished, and certainly never especially likeable. But he always looked like a senator, and so instead of playing one on TV he became one.
Politics isn't the only thing Kerry ever did; he was a prosecutor for a while. But it's the main thing he's done, and although it's hard to point to any specific accomplishments of his even in politics, he still managed to almost become president. I maintain that it's because he's the perfect cargo cult senator, presidential nominee, and now Secretary of State. He looks a certain way, and sounds a certain way, and our society has devolved to the point where looking like something is considered good enough. Why should skills be necessary, as well? The simulacrum of the thing is enough.
I think my first ever impression of John Kerry came from a 1986 PJ O'Rourke article ("Goons, Guns, and Gold") in Rolling Stone on his experiences during the Philippines election in which Marcos was attempting to stuff the ballot box against the far more popular Corazon Aquino. Senators Kerry and Lugar were sent there by Reagan as election observers. But when the election workers walked out over Marcos' chicanery with the vote totals and asked for his assistance, John Kerry was the waste of human skin that we've all come to expect.
Here is PJ O'Rourke's recollection of the events:
Village Voice reporter Joe Conason and I had been tipped off about the walkout, and when we got to the church, we found Bea Zobel, one of Cory Aquino's top aides, in a tizzy. "The women are terrified," she said. "They're scared to go home. They don't know what to do. We don't know what to do." Joe and I suggested that Mrs. Zobel go to the Manila Hotel and bring back some members of the Congressional observer team. She came back with Kerry, who did nothing.
Kerry later said that he didn't talk to the COMELEC employees then because he wasn't allowed to. [A bone-head Rolling Stone fact-checker sent the article to Kerry's Senate office for comment. Kerry staffers were wroth and insisted the senator's version of events be included.] This is ridiculous. He was ushered into an area that had been cordoned off from the press and the crowd and where the computer operators were sitting. To talk to the women, all he would have had to do was raise his voice. Why he was reluctant, I can't tell you. I can tell you what any red-blooded representative of the U.S. Government should have done. He should have shouted, "If you're frightened for your safety, I'll take you to the American embassy, and damn the man who tries to stop me." But all Kerry did was walk around like a male model in a concerned and thoughtful pose.And there you have probably the only comparison of Kerry to a male model ever made.
O'Rourke noted in 2004 that he's "had a nonpartisan grudge against John Kerry for 18 years" over this incident. And ever since I read O'Rourke's account I have as well. John Kerry had a chance to actually do something meaningful as a US Senator and instead he chose to uselessly walk around and preen as the well coiffed empty-suit that he is.
You can read the original article here. It's still funny even after 28 years and entertaining to read now since we know what nemesis eventually had in store for the feckless members of the US delegation.
I hate to say it but the ladies of Congress seem to have more than their fair share of borderline retardation. Just having a uterus may get you elected in some districts but it clearly does not convey any special knowledge or mental prowess or even guarantee average faculties.
Here is Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) talking about the need for high speed rail (as well as anything else that darts through her brain) at a hearing in 2012. TRIGGER WARNING: This audio will make you dumber and Sanchez's near-ultrasonic screeches may cause feeling of alarm and anxiety about the country's future.
Public trustee Charles Blahous warned that the ongoing refusal to fix Social Security means the program's troubles are already worse than when the program was last bailed out, in 1983. Blahous said fixing Social Security's shortfall would require either a 21% increase in payroll taxes or a 16.5% benefits cut for all beneficiaries, including current retirees.
Of course neither of these options will happen and so either future retirees will get nothing or more likely benefits paid off in massively inflated dollars. But not to worry Matt Yglesias is ready to Voxplain to you why Social Security is so awesome that we should expand it to everybody - retired or not.
Always alert to even a whiff of Islamophobia the media themselves end up treating Arabs (and Muslims in general) as retarded children.
There's an unconscious soft bigotry in the press coverage of the region. Nobody wants to accept that these exotically caparisoned militants are serious. They're not out to 'end the cycle of hatred' or to 'promote reconciliation' or to 'seek justice'. They are out for conquest. They are out for blood. They are determined to grind their heel into the enemy's face and carry off everything he owns. Or, as one Iranian general put it: they are out to hunt the Jews house to house.
Yet even when they say it, we insist on misunderstanding them, as if they were retarded children, which they are not. "Surely you don't mean that? Don't you want a ceasefire? Of course you do. Can't we all stand on a mountaintop and share a Coke?"
If we could only listen to ourselves we would conclude that we were loco in the coco.
The only thing that distinguishes Israel is they, alone of all the countries in the region, are the only ones willing to humor us. To put up with this crazy talk. Obama is Napoleon, in the sense that inmates in the funny farm are convinced they are the former Emperor of France. Sure boss, sure you're Napoleon. Anybody can see that.The Middle East is mentally at war. And the West is mentally on the happy ranch.
Alliance Defending Freedom asked the Internal Revenue Service Tuesday to release all documents related to its recent decision to settle a lawsuit with an atheist group that claims the IRS has adopted new protocols and procedures for the investigation of churches.
ADF submitted the Freedom of Information Act request after learning of the IRS's agreement with Freedom From Religion Foundation in a press release the group issued on July 17 concerning its lawsuit Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Koskinen, which accused the agency of failing to investigate churches the way the atheist group would like.
Granted some churches (particularly black ones) have been acting in violation of their tax-exempt status for a long time but I'm pretty sure they're not the ones who will be investigated.
How, then, did Ventura prevail in court against Kyle? We can blame the judge and the jury and call the verdict a travesty, yet there is one element of Kyle's case any newspaper editor would immediately spot as a vulnerability: He asserted private knowledge.
This is a line that no smart journalist would ever cross: To claim to know something bad about somebody, a private fact otherwise unknown, on the basis of information not publicly available.Any reporter could publish a story about the conflict between Ventura and Kyle - the alleged barroom confrontation at the heart of this lawsuit - and write that Kyle says X, Y and Z happened, including Ventura's denials that any such confrontation occurred, without fear that his reporting could be construed as libelous.
Note that the oven's magnetron is putting out radio waves approximately the same frequency as typical WiFi devices - just with a giga-shitload more power.
I've long been tempted to mount one of these on the rear bumper of my car to deal with persistent tailgaters.
Or why the Hoboken school district is throwing away hundreds of laptops after just a few years of trying to use them.
There is no technological magic bullet when it comes to education - and I'm old enough to have lived through TV/calculators/VCRs/graphing calculators/CDs/laptops/tablets as the learning panacea that would change everything. They didn't - but a whole lot of money was wasted in the process. In the end there is no substitute for direct instruction by a human, student attention and focus, and a lot of hands-on practice.
And I think I saw nearly every one of these. The Flash Gordon scene still gives me the willies whenever I have to reach into something dark and start thinking about the scorpion.
1. "I knew I shouldn't go/and get another tattoo/of you on my arm/but what do I go and do."
2. "I wish I were dead/When she left, she wept."
3. "A woman broke my heart/I say heart/she ripped it in two parts."
4. "Thought we shared a covenant/I even held your hand in public."
5. "No one writes a lyric on a battlefield/on a map stuck with arrows/but I think I can do it if I just lurk."
6. "An ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge/some words live in my throat."
7. "Now only words in a rhyme/no more than a name/on a stone/and that well overgrown."
8. "Sometimes it feels like the world's almost over/but then she comes back to me."9. "All that time alone/kinda taught me how to cope/so I shaved my head/and made me a rope."
Eminem Lyric: 1, 3, 4, 8
Lesbian Poetry: 2 (Sappho), 5 (Adrienne Rich), 6 (Audre Lorde), 7 (Carol Ann Duffy), 9 (Alix Olsen)
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Open Thread: Sharknado 2: The Second One
So, this eagerly non-anticipated film debuts at 9pm on ScyFy.
Boy, The Democrats Really Are Running Hard on Impeachment, Huh?
They mean Boehner's lawsuit against Obama's executive-action overreach.
Sheila Jackson Lee: We Never Tried to Impeach Bush, Because We Recognized He "Had That Authority"
So, of course, you know where this is heading. You must know what will happen if you google "Sheila Jackson Lee Bush Impeachment," right?
France Offers Asylum to Christians Iraqis Fleeing ISIS; Washington, DC, Silent
The French government says it is willing to grant asylum to Iraqi Christians in the face of a jihadist onslaught against them.
"We are assisting displaced persons who are fleeing the Islamic State's threats and seeking refuge in Kurdistan," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a joint statement this week. "Should they so wish, we are prepared to offer them asylum on our soil."
They're Socialists, by the way. I just say that in case anyone thinks they're part of the French Neocon Establishment or something.
In Washington, meanwhile, a leading religious freedom advocate on Capitol Hill slammed both President Obama and Congress Tuesday for their "silence" about the plight of Iraq’s Christians, which he said amounted to "genocide."
"The silence in this town -- in Washington -- is deafening," Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said on the House floor. "Does Washington even care?"
And once again it seems like the sympathies of the progressive establishment are turned off the minute someone mentions the C-word, "Christians."
Surprising No One, Five Thirty Eight Gives In to Priestly Caste's Shrieking and Fires Global Warming Skeptic
The skeptic is Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of climate studies at the University of Colorado. As far as Credentialism, then: He has all his credentials. Certainly better credentials that the millions of "pro-science" lefties who know nothing about science, except that we must put our Faith in Science.
But even though he knew what he was talking about, he said The Wrong Things, Forbidden Things, Things Which Are Not Of The Book or the Body, and so, the "Pro-Science" contigent does what "scientists" do best, which is of course excommunicating heretics.
Charles Cooke has a piece on the general appropriation of the "Science" mantle (there we go with mantles again) for leftwing political agitprop.
In this manner has a word ["nerd"] with a formerly useful meaning been turned into a transparent humblebrag: Look at me, I’m smart. Or, more important, perhaps, Look at me and let me tell you who I am not, which is southern, politically conservative, culturally traditional, religious in some sense, patriotic, driven by principle rather than the pivot tables of Microsoft Excel, and in any way attached to the past. "Nerd" has become a calling a card -- a means of conveying membership of one group and denying affiliation with another....
Thus do we see unexceptional liberal-arts students lecturing other people about things they don’t understand themselves and terming the dissenters "flat-earthers." Thus do we see people who have never in their lives read a single academic paper clinging to the mantle of "science" as might Albert Einstein. Thus do we see residents of Brooklyn who are unable to tell you at what temperature water boils rolling their eyes at Bjørn Lomborg or Roger Pielke Jr. because he disagrees with Harry Reid on climate change. Really, the only thing in these people’s lives that is peer-reviewed are their opinions.
Submitted for Your Disapproval
Somewhere a cow's ghost is saying, "I deserved better."
Hillary Clinton was shooting a fashion spread for Don't magazine.
Meanwhile, to deflect attention away from Hillary Clinton's fashion catastrophe, Ronan Farrow embarrassed himself.
More at Newsbusters, including the video.
Ed Schultz: Hey, Maybe Obama Doesn't Have the Constitutional Power to Just Grant Amnesty Via His Personal Royal Decree
First Jen Rubin, now Ed Schultz?
Well, actually now that Ed Schultz says it, I guess I do see that being anti-Amnesty is racist.
It's just the way he says it. So much White/Red hate.
After Ending Interview with Israeli Ambassador to the US, Mika Brzezinsky Invites Viewers To Watch the Next Segment on "Morning Jew"
I'm sure we'll see the left go into fully frothy mode that we last saw when Bob Beckel said "Chinaman."
So Taxpayers Are Paying $202,000 To Figure Out Why Wikipedia is Sexist; Apparently This is Proven By The Brevity of Its Sex & the City Recaps
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is spending over $200,000 to find out why Wikipedia is sexist.
The government has awarded two grants for collaborative research to professors at Yale University and New York University to study what the researchers describe as "systematic gender bias" in the online encyclopedia.
An ongoing debate exists over whether the website has sexist undertones.
Zandt argues that Wikipedia is biased because the majority of its editors are "young, white, child-free men."
Noam Cohen, a columnist for the Times who does not have a Wikipedia page, has asserted the encyclopedia is biased because articles about friendship bracelets are shorter than entries about baseball cards.
"And consider the disparity between two popular series on HBO: The entry on 'Sex and the City' includes only a brief summary of every episode, sometimes two or three sentences; the one on 'The Sopranos' includes lengthy, detailed articles on each episode," he wrote.
The only true thing here is that Wikipedia does have a cultural bias. The bias is towards the cultural phenomenon that Wikipedia's editors are interested in. Some cultural phenomena -- science fiction, comic books -- get a fairly exhaustive treatment, and others get brief blurbs.*
I have trouble imagining this as "sexist," though, even doing my level-best to see the other side. Wikipedia is a volunteer site, and the people who volunteer will, necessarily, tend to bring their own interests and areas of expertise to the site. If (and I'll just assume this is true for purposes of this post) Wikipedia's volunteers tend to be younger men hooked into sci-fi/manga culture and interested in stuff young men are interested in (they have a pretty good article on The Longbow, for example), the site is going to reflect that.
The site is not sexist. Period. But the site inherently appeals to cultural ideas favored by (young) men of a nerdish bent. The very fact that a site exists which gives an exhaustive, 4000 word plus citations treatment of Ant-Man is going to skew male.
I love Wikipedia. There is something about it that appeals to me on a primal level. I feel like... I don't know, that I'm hunting on the great plains of data or something.
Men (well, those of a nerdly bent) tend to be interested in trivia and obscura; women tend to not be, or at least not so much.**
If you want to annoy a date, just keep quoting Midnight Run to her. A male friend might like your calling yourself "Jack Walsh, I mean, John Wesley Walsh" when you put in for a table at a restaurant. A female date will be much less taken with your wit.
I don't care about Ant-Man, but for some reason I find comfort in knowing that someone out there does care about Ant-Man, and has digested Ant-Man's fifty year history for me, should my life ever depend on knowing when Ant-Man married Janet Van Dyne.
If women aren't volunteering in large numbers -- I don't know what on earth a feminist agitator suggests we could do about that. Pay female volunteers (but not male ones) to increase interest?
And the most important thing here is that this is only one small part of Wikipedia. The rest of Wikipedia is about less silly things. It's not as if most of Wikipedia is about Ant-Man, for crying out loud. The rest of it is about history and quarks and evolutionary biology and just about everything else.
So the real complaint boils down to: the ten percent of a website which could reflect the cultural preferences of its unpaid volunteers does in fact reflect the cultural preferences of its unpaid volunteers, and yes, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine does get a more exhaustive, nerdishly-loving treatment than Sex & the City.
The federal government needs to pay people to study this and propose "solutions"?
Thanks to @comradearthur and @lizwfb.
* This bias isn't mostly male, though. It's mostly nerdish (which does tend to skew male).
I myself have looked up various cultural artifacts which have not been embraced by the nerdly community, and have found the articles on those to be thin and not nearly satisfying as that for Ant-Man.
I hardly imagined I was the victim of a Bias Crime owing to this, though.
** It also occurs to me that we've spent $202,000 for a "study" which deliberately avoids examining a very simple explanation:
Women just aren't as interested in this type of crap as men.
You don't have to believe that to at least agree: This should have been one of the explanations scientifically studied, if we're going to have a scientific study at all.
Let's get down to brass tacks: I've seen Die Hard 50 times and I would watch it right now if it were on.
I will watch Die Hard only to see the Asian guy steal the candy bar.
And when I click on Wikipedia, I'm expecting them to tell me if the Asian guy stealing the candy bar was in the script, or if it was improvised on the day of the shoot.
And when Wikipedia doesn't tell me this (it doesn't, I've checked), I'm disappointed in it.
Do women watch episodes of Sex & the City 50 times? No, they don't. Maybe the "best" episodes, they'll watch two or three times. Women do watch some things a bunch of times (Law & Order repeats, for example), but this phenomenon is much more a male trait than a female one.
So why isn't this obvious truism even part of this "study"?
Because the academy doesn't exist to do science or scholarship; it exists to collect grants from politicized arms of the government for the purpose of agitation of coalitions of voters in support of the politicized arms of the government.
The difference between a scholar or scientist and priest is that the scholar or scientist, supposedly, will question any and everything, whereas the priest will only ask those questions permitted by his Holy Book, and only seeks to elicit answers which support the dogmas of his Holy Book.
Seems to me we have a lot of Priests posing as scholars.
Oh Dear God In Heaven. I Agree With....I Can't Event Type It
I'm not sure what sign of the Apocalypse this is but you're going to want to get right with your God ASAP.
If you had asked me ten minutes ago what I thought Jennifer Rubin would suggest the GOP do after Obama's upcoming executive amnesty I'd have bet all my money it would be something like, "GOP candidates must promise to extend this policy or else they will lose forever". I'd have gone broke-broke (not Hillary "dead broke")
For starters, they and the GOP candidates for 2016 should make clear that any executive order will disappear at the end of Obama’s term and any who step forward for exemptions now may be subject to deportation in 2 1 /2 years. Harsh? No; it’s a sensible deterrent to prevent widespread lawlessness. (The Democratic presidential nominee should be challenged on his or her own plans to rule by executive edict. Let Hillary Clinton try to win an electoral majority on a platform of executive imperialism.)
And then she suggests how the GOP can get really tough.
I'm going to say this non-ironically...read and enjoy the whole thing.
Was her blog hacked?
If Rubin is on board with this approach maybe the rest of the squish brigade will be too.
I gotta go lay down, the world doesn't make sense any more.
A crumb of content (probably more about it later)....Lois Lerner doesn't think much of you.
Lois Lerner: right-wingers are "assholes," "crazies that will take us down" pic.twitter.com/LMv2vja1d4— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) July 30, 2014
"Not a smidgen" of corruption.
By the way, it appears the person Lerner is emailing with is also a Treasury employee. Look at the originating email of the tread and scroll to the last page where the first email is. It comes with a Treasury Department non-disclosure statement.
So who's the other person and what's their job?
Update: Maybe not. The original email was a forward that the redacted person couldn't read. Maybe that person isn't a government employee after all.
Rand Paul: Hey Maybe The Government Shouldn't Be Able To Take Your Stuff Without Any Due Process
"Civil Asset Forfeiture" is a cancer in America. Cops and prosecutors across the country are empowered to take your money and property if they think it's been used as part of a crime. You'll have to prove your innocence before you can have your belongings back, and that isn't always enough. Oh and if the state taking all your money means you can't afford a lawyer? Too bad.
How did this cancer spread so far? We made it profitable for the government to rip off citizens. But it's ok because it was "for the children".
Though civil-asset forfeiture has a long history, it took off in America following passage of some amendments to the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention Act in 1984 that allowed police to keep and spend forfeiture proceeds. This gave law-enforcement agencies a direct financial incentive to take more stuff, and led to what the Institute for Justice (IJ), a libertarian law firm, calls "policing for profit". In 1986 the federal Asset Forfeiture Fund took in $93.7m; by September 2013 the Fund held more than $2 billion in net assets. Some of those funds are disbursed to local law-enforcement agencies. As Sarah Stillman noted in her outstanding article on forfeiture abuses, many police departments depend on forfeiture funds to fill budget gaps, which further increases the incentive to snatch (for some, this is a feature, not a bug). Agencies can spend funds with relatively little oversight on activities only tenuously related to law-enforcement: in Atlanta's Fulton County, for instance, the district attorney's office is alleged to have spent forfeiture funds on a Christmas party, flowers, a security system for the district attorney's home and assorted yummies including "mini crab cakes in a champagne sauce" (Paul Howard, the district attorney, insists such expenditures have reduced turnover and improved morale).
You'd think there'd be an outcry against this sort of extortion but there hasn't been. It doesn't happen to most people (until it does) and no politician wants to get labeled as being soft on crime or anti-police.
Well someone has finally decided to try and end this abuse. Rand Paul has taken up the cause and try and put the government back in its box. Don't think of it as anti-police, think of it as pro-freedom and limited government.
The bill would also require states “to abide by state law when forfeiting seized property.” This is important. Currently, a number of state legislatures across the country have passed reform bills to rein in forfeiture abuses. The problem is that the federal government has a program known as “adoption” or “equitable sharing.” Under the program, a local police agency need only call up the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or similar federal agency. That agency then “federalizes” the investigation, making it subject to federal law. The federal agency then initiates forfeiture proceedings under the laxer federal guidelines for forfeiture. The feds take a cut and then return the rest — as much as 80 percent — back to the local agency. This trick thwarts the intent of state legislature that have attempted to make civil forfeiture more fair when it comes to burden of proof, protections for innocent property owners and eliminating the perverse incentive of allowing forfeiture proceeds to go to the same police agency that made the seizure.
Which brings us to a final important provision in the bill: It would “would remove the profit incentive for forfeiture by redirecting forfeitures assets from the Attorney General’s Asset Forfeiture Fund to the Treasury’s General Fund.” Read the full text of the bill here.
I've sworn off voting for Paul a number of times (Remember his pal the "Southern Avenger" and his goofy theories on Iraq and Dick Cheney?) but he keeps doing stuff I like and tempts me to get back on board.
Republicans keep telling me there are no perfect candidates and you have to hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils. I accept that but Republicans need to accept that for some of us that means Rand Paul is the lesser of the evils. At least with Rand Paul's crap I actually get stuff I like. With supporters of a muscular and far reaching federal government like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, I just get the crap.
Wednesday Morning News Dump
- Smarter Than Thou
- Why Is The World Becoming Such A Nasty Place?
- Israel Is A Lot Like Us
- Ebola On Planes?
- Quiz: Parody Or Actual Salon Article
- Israel Has Lost 53 Soldiers In This Current Conflict
- Burn The Witch
- How The West Rode In To Save Libya, Then Abandoned It To Its Fate
- Secretive Left Wing Networks Discovered Through WI Open Records Law
- Sandra Fluke's Biggest Donor Is Sandra Fluke
- Mike Pence Learned HHS Was Dumping Illegal Children In His State From The Media
- Democrats Still Pumping Out Impeachment E-mails
- Sierra Leone's Top Ebola Doctor Dies From The Virus
- Vulnerable Senate Dems Worried About Obama's Reckless Behavior On Immigration
- It Looks Like Argentina Is Going To Default Again
- The GOP Needs To Hire The Best Talent, Not The Connected Talent
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Top Headline Comments 7-30-14
But, honestly, I think Sargent might just be learning disabled or something. Because, c'mon:
Being able to write the bar exam on a computer instead of writing all those essays by hand is nice, except when it is so not nice.
President Obama gives big speeches on nuclear nonproliferation, also cuts the nonproliferation budget by $399 million in FY2015. Left hand doesn't know what the far left hand is doing.
AoSHQ Weekly Podcast | Stitcher | Download | Ask The Blog | Archives
Overnight Open Thread (7-29-2014)
We had turned the corner at U Street and were marching up 14th Street when the woman with the megaphone leading SlutWalk DC started a new chant: 'We love consensual sex! We love consensual sex!' Well, OK, but who doesn't? Is there any actual opposition to this agenda? Is there an Anti-Consensual Sex Movement that someone forgot to tell us about?
-- Robert Stacy McCain in "Slutwalk Insanity"
Yes kids, prior to Star Wars, these were the films we were forced to watch to document our hardscrabble existence during the horrific Nixonfordcarter years when America went to hell in a polyester hand-basket: lots of crime, lots of grime, lots of graffiti, lots of bell-bottoms - and at least until the very end of the decade, no Internet, no cable TV, or video games: Kathy Shaidle brings you the "10 Movies Millennials Must See to Understand the 1970s - The era of devils, divorces and disasters, captured on film."
For decades, authorities treated subway graffiti like it was a sanitation issue. Gunn believed that graffiti was a symptom of larger systemic problems. After all, trains were derailing nearly every two weeks. In 1981 there were 1,800 subway car fires-that's nearly five a day, every day of the year!
When Gunn launched his "Clean Trains" program [in 1984], it was not only about cleaning up the trains aesthetically, but making them function well, too. Clean trains, Gunn believed, would be a symbol of a rehabilitated transit system.
Systemically, train line by train line, Gunn took the subways off the map for graffiti writers. While they were fixing it, they didn't allow any graffiti on it. If graffiti artists "bombed" a train car, the MTA pulled it from the system. Even during rush hour.May 12, 1989 was declared the official day of the city's victory over train graffiti.
According to a new study by the Urban Institute, 35% of U.S. adults with a credit history (91% of the adult population of the U.S.) have debt "in collections" - a status generally not acquired until payments are at least 180 days past due. Debt problems seem to be worse in the South, with states hovering in the 40%+ range, while the Northeast has it better, at less than 30%. The study's authors claim their findings actually underrepresent low-income consumers, because "adults without a credit file are more likely to be financially disadvantaged."
Oddly, only 5% of adults have debt 30-180 days past due. This latter fact is partially accounted for by the fact that a broader range of debt can enter "in collections" status than "past due" status (e.g. parking tickets).
Are people really this behind on payments or is this just a quirk of what counts as 'in collections'? But in any case the South is definitely deadbeat-ier than other areas of the country - something David Hackett Fischer noted as a regional trait in Albion's Seed.
Louisiana holds its primary election on the same day other states conduct their general election. The top two voter getters in Louisiana then proceed to a run-off election in December. It is not improbable that control of the Senate culd hang on the outcome of the December run-off in Louisiana. Having endorsed Landrieu, the Chamber would find itself fighting to keep Democrats in control of the Senate.
Two of the Chamber's current top legislative priorities are preserving the Export-Import Bank, which subsidizes foreign sales of certain manufactured goods and comprehensive immigration reform. Both of the issues have put the Chamber on the opposite side of many conservatives.
Is immigration reform and the Ex-Im Bank really that important to Chamber of Commerce members or is it yet another institution captured by the left?
The NYTs reports that "Mr. Ventura has said that his lawsuit is not about money." He just wanted an apology and to clear his name.
Not that he has any plans to return the $1.8 million dollars he won against Chris Kyle's widow and children.
Note that George Zimmerman's defamation lawsuit was dismissed because he was a 'public figure' while public figure Jesse Ventura was just awarded $1.8 million dollars.
The Atlantic's latest clickbait piece is an essay asking "Why Are There So Few Ramadan Marketing Campaigns?"
And then, in the third graph, the author answers her own ridiculous question:In the U.S., the growth of the Muslim population is projected to climb from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million in 2030.So the reason Ramadan doesn't get marketed to is because because only 0.8 percent of the American population is Muslim and of that tiny sliver we have no idea how many American Muslims actually observe Ramadan in a meaningful way. There are more than twice as many Mormons. Heck, there are more Buddhist in America, too. Islam in America is an incredibly small niche.
It's not that professional journalists are uniquely dumb but the gap between their self-perception and actual smarts is quite possibly the largest in any field.
Do you need to be carrying an AR-15 around the Phoenix airport while accidently muzzle-sweeping people? Does this do anything for the gun rights cause?
Oh and a judge has issued a 90 day stay for DC concealed carry. So no more carry there until November.
I wonder if any of the non-Muslim Jew-haters out and about on Saturday looked at that Khomeini portrait and felt a little queasy. You sign on for a little light anti-Semitism - getting your pension fund to divest from Israel, which is the 21st century equivalent of getting your country club to nix the Jews - and next thing you know you're standing next to a fellow who's hot for the Ayatollah. And at that point, if you've got any sense of self-preservation, you'll realize it's not really about the Jews anymore, it's about you.
Canada used to be a country proud of its role in helping keep some of those American embassy staff out of the Ayatollah's clutches. The Khomeinibopper at Queen's Park would gladly have handed them over. Yet he's as Canadian as you, at least de jure. And given Canadian immigration and demographic trends how many more who think like him will be at the al-Quds rally by 2020?
They're normally harmless but 'startle easily'. So always make plenty of noise when traveling in anteater territory and try to be very un-ant-like.
The AoSHQ group. Watch yer cornhole.
Tonight's post brought to you by ice cream sandwich pr0n:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp Ltd. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to El Senor Ace.
Close it up
Horrible News Presented in The Chill Groove (TM) Format
Shock: Democrats absolutely insist that the price for doing anything about a crisis-in-progress on the border will be some form of Comprehensive Amnesty to satisfy their Open Borders donors.
By the way, illegals insist on being included, and by included I mean physically present, during White House negotiations on amnesty.
Oh, and there are reports that Obama intends to issue millions of work permits to illegals on his own authority.
And while millions of people spore across our southern border from parts unknown, there's an extremely serious outbreak of Ebola killing people in Africa.
An Ebola victim who was allowed to board an international flight was an American citizen on his way home to the United States, it has emerged.
Patrick Sawyer worked for the Liberian government and was visiting his sister there when he developed symptoms while on a plane to Nigeria. He was quarantined on arrival in Lagos and died on Friday.
His wife, Decontee, 34, who like Mr Sawyer is originally from Liberia, currently at the heart of the terrifying Ebola outbreak, said he had been due to travel on to America where he could have become Patient Zero in a US epidemic.
Fellow passengers on his plane were given warnings about the disease’s symptoms, which can include bleeding from the nose and mouth, but were allowed to continue on their journeys.
As Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days, there are fears that some may even now be spreading the disease still further.
This outbreak is the most serious ever.
The outbreak is the largest and deadliest on record, with more than 670 deaths and more than 1,200 infections in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fatality rates for Ebola have been as high as 90% in past outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization.
Oh, and in that article, a second American has been found to have Ebola.
One scientist claims this:
"No Ebola cases have been reported in the United States and the likelihood of this outbreak spreading outside of West Africa is very low," says Monroe, who says that the CDC has sent 12 experts to Africa to help with the crisis. "While it's possible that someone could become infected with Ebola in Africa" before boarding a plane to the USA, "it's very unlikely that they would spread it to other passengers."
What if they're deliberately trying to spread it? This is the most fantastically cheap and easy terrorist weapon I can think of.
On the plus side, this is going to make my next game of Pandemic much more meaningful.
And finally, conspiracy-addled asshole Jesse Ventura wins $1.8 million in his defamation suit against slain SEAL sniper Chris Kyle -- or rather against his widow.
Thanks to @doreenhdixon, @coolczech, and @cuteemergency and probably @emergencypuppy.
WaPo's Greg Sargent Devastates Halbig Case Against Obamacare Federal Subsidies With Bombshell Reporting (JeffB.)
Guest post by JeffB./@esotericCD.
Wait, did I say "devastates?" I meant "vindicates." I get confused about stuff like that sometimes. Then again, in my defense, so does Greg Sargent. Let me explain. This is a lengthy post, so fair warning.
Quick refresher: Halbig case turns upon the question of whether the ACA, as written, permits the government to offer federal subsidies (read: price relief) to people who purchase health insurance on federally-established exchanges, or only on state-established ones. The IRS issued an official administrative ruling last year that subsidies applied to both state and federal exchanges.
The problem? The actual text of the Affordable Care Act says something different: it states that subsidies/tax credits are only available to consumers using "exchanges established by the state." Nowhere are federal exchanges mentioned, even though they pop up several times elsewhere in the statute.
This is obviously a Big Problem, since (contrary to expectations at the time of the ACA's drafting, it must be pointed out) only 14 states plus DC ultimately bothered to establish their own exchanges. The rest -- either out of protest or naked sloth -- farmed the work of establishing ACA exchanges out to the Feds.
So does that mean that, under the statutory language of the ACA as written, the residents of those 36 states are ineligible for federal subsidies and will have to pay extremely elevated prices for plans purchased via federal ACA exchanges?
We now have two answers: in Halbig v. Burwell the DC Circuit Court of Appeals said "Yes." Meanwhile, in King v. Burwell, the 4th Circuit said in so many words, "Erm...no, we guess. But honestly this language is really ambiguous and hey SCOTUS help us out here will ya?"
Chaos, predictably, has ensued. On the Left, the amusingly unified PR response to Halbig has been variations upon the theme of "LOL are you kidding? Of course Obamacare was always supposed to provide subsidies to everyone, only madmen ever thought otherwise, now hush your crazytalk."
Jonathan Gruber, unless he is in fact a madman, put paid to that argument with his deliciously self-undermining speak-oes.
So now, rushing into the breach, here comes Crack Legal Correspondent Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, with his breathlessly reported scoop that will save the day for the Left:
Senate documents and interviews undercut 'bombshell' lawsuit against Obamacare
Let's pause for a moment and savor that headline on its own for the spectacular own-goal carnage that's about to follow.
Sargent's argument, summarized, is that of course Congress meant all along for the ACA to offer subsidies on both the state and Federal exchanges, and intent only got muddled when two separate versions of the ACA legislation (one coming out of the Senate Finance Committee and one coming out of the Health, Education, Labor & Commerce Committee) were awkwardly and imperfectly merged.
There is so much that is wrong with Sargent's legal reasoning here that it's hard to know where to start. We’ll go with the money shot, I guess.
1) The first Senate version of the health law to be passed in 2009 -- by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee -- explicitly stated that subsides would go to people on the federally-established exchange. A committee memo describing the bill circulated at the time spelled this out with total clarity.
I could stop right here. In fact, I will. And so would the courts, if we were dealing with a less politicized piece of legislation.
Sargent just helpfully informed us that an earlier version of the ACA -- not a draft, mind you, but one that was actually passed out of committee -- included explicit language granting subsidies to people on federal exchanges, language that was later dropped from the final bill.
If Sargent had been an attorney rather than a layman, this is the point where he would have hit "delete" on his draft post and forgotten all about it.
One of most fundamental rules of statutory interpretation used by courts when they are asked to discern legislative intent from ambiguous statutory language is this: if explicit language was in an earlier version of a bill but dropped from the final version, the court will treat that as proof it was removed on purpose.
For example, if the draft copy of the "Jeff B. Memorial RINO-Hunting Act" states that "no more than six mature RINOs" can be bagged by any one hunter during open season, but the final legislation lacks the word "mature," then every court in the land would apply standard canons of construction and say that the legislature therefore intended to allow people to go after RINOs of all ages -- the earlier language was dropped for a reason, and so long as it doesn't render the statute facially nonsensical it's not the place of the court to wade any deeper into the thicket and find out what that reason was, or whether it's a "good idea."
Similarly, the argument advanced by the Left (and Sargent) that "of course the ACA intended all along for subsidies to cover federal exchanges!" is runs squarely onto the rocks of this earlier language. Thanks to Sargent's crack reporting we have now confirmed that earlier iterations of the ACA specifically granted subsidies to federal exchanges...but that, for whatever reason, this language was later stripped from the bill.
The subsequent blathering about "why" this language fell out of the bill ("drafting errors," you see) is immaterial as far as the Court is concerned, and this is apparently what Sargent doesn't seem to realize; in a case where the wording of the statute is otherwise clear, the Court's inquiry will stop cold right here -- or at least it should.
(Again, the fact that the ACA is uniquely controversial and major legislation of course plays sub rosa role here.)
This is not a fringe theory. This is not a novel legal argument. There's a reason that canons of construction are called "canons," after all. And of all the canons of statutory construction, "few are more compelling than the proposition that Congress does not intend sub silentio to enact statutory language that has earlier discarded in favor of other language."
(Don't take my word for it: that last quote is from the Supreme Court in INS v. Cardozo-Fonseca (1987).)
And the fact that Greg Sargent could blithely drop, in the midst of an attempt to shore up the Left's "legislative intent" argument, a bombshell that utterly devastates that very argument's legal chances in court without even realizing it is a mighty example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action.
I, for one, thank him for his efforts in assisting with the legal case against Obamacare.
Bonus Damage [Ace:] Via @drewmtips, the state of Oklahoma has now moved to include Jon Gruber's "Speak-O's" into the record.
Close it up
Meanwhile, Libyan "Militants" Overrun a Special Forces Base
The Special Forces have been reassigned to a Very Special Forces unit.
Also, they're dead.
Well I don't know if they're dead. I actually expect they fled, like Special Forces do.
The Cavalcade of Awesome Foreign Policy continues.
Militant fighters overran a Libyan special forces base in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday after a battle involving rockets and warplanes that killed at least 30 people.
A special forces officer said they had to abandon their main camp in the southeast of Benghazi after coming under sustained attack from a coalition of Islamist fighters and former rebel militias in the city.
"We have withdrawn from the army base after heavy shelling," Saiqa Special Forces officer Fadel Al-Hassi told Reuters.
Benghazi has been at the centre of fighting between special forces and ex-rebel fighters of the Benghazi Shura Council who have joined up with the Ansar al Sharia, a militant Islamist group, residents said.
They joined forces? I'd like to see the videotape that caused that to happen.
I don't even know what to say anymore.
Unfortunately, neither does Barack Obama.
It's An Open Secret That Hamas Maintains Its Command Center Below Al-Shifa Hospital, But The Media Won't Report That
Last week a French-Palestinian reporter confirmed this, when he was brought to the hospital to meet with a Hamas "local council" and be interrogated and threatened. Then, he asked for the article to be unpublished.
So all the reporters know this -- and in fact the reporters have been brought there for friendly chats with Hamas -- but no one will report it.
The idea that one of Hamas' main command bunkers is located beneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is one of the worst-kept secrets of the Gaza war. So why aren't reporters in Gaza ferreting it out? The precise location of a large underground bunker equipped with sophisticated communications equipment and housing some part of the leadership of a major terrorist organization beneath a major hospital would seem to qualify as a world-class scoop--the kind that might merit a Pulitzer, or at least a Polk.
[T]he rules of reporting from Shifa Hospital are easy for any newbie reporter to understand: No pictures of members of Hamas with their weapons inside the hospital, and don't go anywhere near the bunkers, or the operating rooms where members of Hamas are treated...
Reporters who bravely or foolishly violate Hamas' rules even on their social media accounts can be seen to repent with such alacrity that it’s not difficult to imagine how scared and dependent they are. Nick Casey of the Wall Street Journal, for example, tweeted that "You have to wonder w the shelling how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media." Casey then quickly deleted his tweet, which didn’t save him from being put on a list of journalists who “lie/fabricate info for Israel” and "must be sued" -- a threat which is surely the least of Casey’s fears. Last week, French-Palestinian journalist Radjaa Abu Dagg was summoned to Shifa by Hamas and interrogated. He wrote about the experience of "attempted intimidation" for Liberation--and then quickly had the paper take down the article.
Hey I was just saying that.
The writer has sympathies for reporters, who, after all, could simply be murdered for reporting something Hamas doesn't like.
However, he wonders about the editors sitting back home.
Wow: Obama "Demands" That Israel Unilaterally Declare a Ceasefire;
Israeli Government Apparently Leaks the Transcript of the Conversation to the Press
This is huge.
A State Department Spokesman says this is a major breach of diplomatic etiquette if this is a genuine transcript. (Don't they know?)
Which it would be. But on the other hand, look at the contents of it.
I am going to guess, provisionally, that this isn't real.
Even for Barack Obama, this is too much.
Still, for the moment, this is news.
Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.
Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?
BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire -- silence will be met with silence.
BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It's a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel's position.
BN: Kerry's proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.
BO: Within a week of the end of Israel's military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel's commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.
BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It's impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.
BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.
BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks --
BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball's in Israel's court, and it must end all its military activities.
Now, this is apparently a translation of a Hebrew transcript, which means that Obama's words have been translated twice -- once into Hebrew, and then again back into English.
Understand that an awful lot can change in one translation, nevermind two.
"Ask," for example, can erroneously become "demand." In some languages they're the same word.
We know the Famously Cosmopolitan President only speaks a single language.
On the other hand, the transcript, if accurate, features Obama demanding that Israel concede to Hamas that which it began the war to get -- the lifting of the blockade, so it can go back to arming itself without bother.
Giving Hamas a huge win for starting and then losing a war.
Denied: Not that the White House's denials count for much, but Ben Rhodes calls this completely "false," and a commenter posts this, I think from WH go-to mouthpiece Chuck Todd (but I'm not sure):
NSC aide tells me purported Obama-Netanyahu phone call transcript is "literally made up" dialogue. Says POTUS never made those statements
That doesn't resolve it either way, because I'd expect them to lie.
However, as I said, I tend to think this is false. That, or a botched and tendentious translation so bad as to constitute a #switchrape.
(Note that this latter explanation would only account for the tone of the transcript. But there are substantive demands in the transcript that cannot be explained away by a bad translation. But, as I say, this strikes me as likely bogus all the way through.)
Netanyahu: The Claimed Transcript Bears No Resemblance to Reality. This is more authoritative:
We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality 1/2— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) July 29, 2014
Shocking and disappointing someone would sink to misrepresenting a pvt convo between POTUS and PM in fabrications to Israeli press 2/2— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) July 29, 2014
Important Moral Guidance from the Vice Prime Minister of Turkey: Women Must Not Laugh In Public, As It Is Indecent
Bit of a #WarOnWomen here.
"A woman must keep her moral rectitude, she must not laugh out loud in public," stated the Turkish Vice Prime Minister, Bulent Arinc, sparking a controversy Tuesday in Turkey...
"A man must be moral, and a woman too;, she must know that which is decent and that which is not," said, on Monday Bulent Arinc, and influential memeber of the Islamist government, of which he is also the spokesman...
And he added: "She must not laugh out loud in front of everyone, [she] must absolutely keep her decency at all times." This little sentence provoked an avalanche of reactions -- for the most part, indignant -- on the social networks where internet-users denounced the the intervention "more and more flagrant" of the Turkish regime into the private sphere...
A dozen days from the [upcoming] presidential elections from August 10th to the 24th, which for the first time will include universal suffrage the candidate of the oppostion, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, had immediately responded.
"We have a real need to hear the gay laughter of the women," he wrote... on Twitter.
The article says "rire fort." I've translated this as "laugh openly," though it probably means something like "burst into laughter." I guess maybe gentle ladylike titters are permissible.
Before anyone says it, I saw Gentle Ladylike Titters open for 4 Non Blondes in 1995.
I commenter suggests "laugh out loud." Perfect. I changed it.
Oh is that all? Fruminous Bandersnatch checks a German paper (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) for this clarification:
Aric (acting head of government) is only limiting laughter, not banning it. They may laugh as lustily as they want to in private, but may not laugh loudly in public.
Wow. Thank you, Lord Aric.
Does John Kerry Read the New York Times?
The Times actually had a good article for a change. Last week, they reported that Hamas started this war with Israel in order to shore up their internal political standing.
GAZA CITY -- When war between Israel and Hamas broke out two weeks ago, the Palestinian militant group was so hamstrung, politically, economically and diplomatically, that its leaders appeared to feel they had nothing to lose.
Hamas took what some here call "option zero," gambling that it could shift the balance with its trump cards: its arms and militants.
Now, this conflict has demonstrated that while Hamas governed over 1.7 million people mired in poverty, its leaders were pouring resources into its military and expanding its ability to fight Israel. If it can turn that improved military prowess into concessions, like opening the border with Egypt, that may boost its standing among the people of Gaza -- although at an extraordinarily high cost in deaths and destruction.
I don't wish to excerpt more than that, but if you read on, you will read of a series of political problems Hamas was/is experiencing.
Unemployment in the Gaza Strip is around fifty percent.
Hamas lacked the funds to even pay its 40,000 government workers.
The blockade of Gaza (by both Israel and Egypt) was of course unpopular with Palestinians, and Hamas seemed weak in its inability to undo that.
They even began talking about forming a unity government with their hated rival Fatah -- but that just provoked a fresh burst of criticism.
So... they began lobbing missiles at Israel, and, get this, sent out fictitious reports about all the Israeli casualties those missiles produced. (Note well: Hamas considers high civilian casualties to be a strong selling point.)
This is why Israel reacted with such vehemence to John Kerry's attempt to cede by treaty what Hamas cannot win by force.
Israel understands that Hamas started this war because Killing Jews is Good Politics in Gaza.
Ergo, Israel will absolutely refuse to permit Hamas to politically profit from this war. They will not concede points to Hamas that will permit it to spin a great and cynical catastrophe for its people as some kind of cunning victory.
They will not announce to Hamas that all they need to do when they're in political trouble is to abduct and murder some Israeli teenagers.
Israel, for reasons which must appear obvious even to John Kerry, wishes Hamas instead to learn the opposite lesson.
John Kerry stumbled, bumbled, and gaffed his way to delivering a cease-fire agreement that gave Hamas much of what it wanted. He did so without consulting the Israelis, the Egyptians, or damn near anyone else besides Hamas' patrons Turkey and Qatar.
With his actions -- either stupid and uninformed, or actively hostile to Israeli lives -- he's announced that he has absolutely no credibility, gravitas, or authority to speak on these matters or to broker any kind of peace.
Eli Lake and Josh Rogan report on Kerry's "meltdown."
[Deputy National Security Advisor Tony] Blinken also insisted that Kerry's plan contained many of the "same elements" as an Egyptian proposal, released July 15 and immediately rejected by Hamas. Cairo's plan called for an immediate halt to violence on both sides and would have provided for the opening of border crossings and the end of rocket fire into Israel.
But the two plans also had key differences. Multiple Israeli officials, lawmakers, and experts told The Daily Beast that Kerry's proposal altered the Egyptian ceasefire in many important ways, and in one case altered longstanding U.S. policy toward the funding of Hamas.
The Kerry proposal also stated a commitment would be made to "transfer funds to Gaza for the payment of salaries of public employees." Israeli and U.S. officials said the understanding was that money would be given to Hamas by the government of Qatar. A senior U.S. official said that the American government doesn't like Qatar providing money to Hamas, which is still officially designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department. But Kerry was trying to reach Hamas and he believes this was the best way to influence them.
Again, this is helping Hamas out of problems it itself created -- all because they started murdering people.
And, via @benk84, who remembers all:
Given his enormous achievements as Secretary of State, John Kerry has to be considered a leading contender for the 2016 nomination.— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) November 24, 2013
David Harsyani: What the Hell is John Kerry Doing?
Krauthammer calls Kerry Hamas' lawyer.
He is the bumbling blowhard hard-left fool we always took him for.
It seems like a rather big deal when Egypt, Israel, Fatah, Jordan, Saudi Arabia -- ostensibly, all allies of ours -- agree on anything. This development, one imagines, would be something the United States would be interested in fostering rather than destroying. Certainly, the idea that Hamas’ power should be neutralized and the influence of the "moderate" Palestinian authority expanded, sounds like a plan worth pursuing.
You would think. But instead, Kerry basically ignored an Egyptian-led ceasefire effort to do just that, and handed Israelis a document that offered them this:
* Rather than empowering Fatah, it recognizes Hamas as the legitimate authority in the Gaza Strip, though it is considered a terrorist organization by the Justice Department and an entity that’s founding principle and driving purpose is to eliminate Israel and replace it with an Islamic state.
* Rather than choking off this organization's lifeline, it would have allowed them to collect billions in 'charity' that would be been able to use to rearm, retrench and reengage in hostilities.
* And all the while, it would not have made no demands on Hamas to get rid of its rockets, or its tunnels and other weaponry used to instigate war – while at the same it would have limited Israel’s ability to take them out. (Update: This final point is disputed by U.S. officials.)
Kerry's actions have caused a major diplomatic row -- the Israeli press are criticizing him, accurately, and the Administration, of course, is thus required to claim the Israelis are lying. I'm sorry, I meant sowing a "misinformation campaign," and suggesting, weirdly, that the Israeli government should clamp down on the Israeli press.
"It's simply not the way partners and allies treat each other," Jen Psaki psimpered.
Her comments were echoed by the White House, where National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the U.S. was "dismayed" by mischaracterizations of Kerry's efforts...
As Kerry returned from the region over the weekend, Israeli media commentators leveled almost nonstop criticism of his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey -- two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters -- into the cease-fire negotiations. Kerry was also accused of abandoning some of Israel's key demands during the negotiations, including demilitarizing Gaza.
In trying to implement the cease-fire over the weekend, "U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything," wrote columnist Ari Shavit in Monday's Haaretz, Israel's leading liberal newspaper. "Very senior officials in Jerusalem described the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a 'strategic terrorist attack.'"
Obama's had such practice intimidating the US press he's decided to try his hand at intimidating the Israeli one.
The question that routinely comes up regarding U.S. foreign policy these days is: What in the world were they thinking? The latest puzzlement is the weekend fiasco in which President Obama and John Kerry pressed a cease-fire that is likely to extend the war between Hamas and Israel.
The reaction in Israel was opposition bordering on contempt. Ari Shavit, a center-left columnist for Haaretz, wrote that Mr. Kerry's "decision to go hand in hand with Qatar and Turkey, and formulate a framework amazingly similar to the Hamas framework, was catastrophic..."
He added that "the Obama administration proved once again that it is the best friend of its enemies, and the biggest enemy of its friends." And you should hear what Israel's hawks are saying. We're told Mr. Kerry is upset about being criticized so publicly by an ally, but Israel is a free society and the U.S. doesn't get to impose a gag order.
The WSJ says the Obama Administration, by encouraging Hamas to hold out (in hopes that America will increasingly pressure Israel to cave), has achieved the opposite of what it was supposed to.
But then they reconsider this:
We say "supposed" because it's hard to know what this Administration is trying to achieve beyond its perennial call to end the violence. From Iran to Syria to Iraq and now to Gaza, this Administration seems to believe that merely enunciating good intentions will yield good outcomes. No wonder it yields more war.
Americans are increasingly concerned about these questions: Does the president know what the hell he even intends to do, and if he does, does he have any competency whatsoever to achieve that intention?
Yuval Levin: Obama's Deliberately Divisive Plan for Amnesty
Many people in Washington seem to be talking about the prospect of the president unilaterally legalizing the status of several million people who entered the country illegally as though it were just another political question. But if reports about the nature of the executive action he is contemplating are right, it would be by far the most blatant and explosive provocation in the administration’s assault on the separation of powers, and could well be the most extreme act of executive overreach ever attempted by an American president in peacetime.
In one sense, the approach the president is said to be contemplating does fit into a pattern of his use of executive power. That pattern involves taking provocative executive actions on sensitive, divisive issues to isolate people he detests, knowing it will invite a sharp response, and then using the response to scare his own base voters into thinking they are under assault when in fact they are on the offensive. That’s how moving to compel nuns to buy contraception and abortive drugs for their employees became "they're trying to take away your birth control." This strategy needlessly divides the country and brings out the worst instincts of people on all sides, but it has obvious benefits for the administration and its allies. Liberals get both the substantive action and the political benefit of calling their opponents radicals and getting their supporters worked up.
[S]urely it would all harm the country -- dividing the public and debasing our system of government. It seems like just the sort of thing that a national leader would seek to avoid, rather than work to invite.
But they'll win the day's Twitter War, which is what matters.
Spike Lee was right -- we will speak of America in terms of "Pre-Obama" and "Post-Obama."
At Least 160 Children Have Died Digging Hamas' Tunnels, as of 2011
And these do not seem to be deaths due to Israeli action -- just the natural consequence of setting children to work deep in the earth.
The author of the paper, Nicolas Pelham accompanied a police patrol in Gaza during December 2011. He reported that "nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies."
"You just got Harry Reid's attention!" emails Harry Reid.
He also found that "at least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials." And, as noted, this was as of the end of 2011.
Tuesday Morning News Dump
- The July Forecast For November Senate Elections
- Legalization By Edict
- When Strategies Collide
- Inside The Kerry-Israel Meltdown
- Hilarious Twitter Exchange
- Court Rules Man Can't Sue Judge Who Was Having An Affair With His Wife During Child Support Case
- Michelle Nunn's Campaign Plan
- Halbig Shows How We Legislate Now
- 35% In US Facing Debt Collectors
- Democrats Still Fundraising Off Impeachment Talk
- De Blasio Was For The Poor Doors Before He Was Against Them
- Palestine Makes You Dumb
- Let Me Google "England" For You, Matt Yglesias
- Is The Left Anti-Semitic
- Why Doesn't The Left Care About Shaneen Allen
- Brilliant Marketing
- Ira Glass Has Opinions About Shakespeare
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