Air Force Band Flash Mob Moment at the Smithsonian - Simply Beautiful [dri]
The US Air Force band created a special moment at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC this week. Enjoy and please return to the Overnight Open Thread discussion in the previous post. H/TWeaselzippers
DGAF ONT - 12/6/13 [krakatoa]
So here we are. Friday. Ill met in Lankhmar, we have returned from our weekly grind at the Hobo-hunt to find all our fucks have been taken from us, and so, we simply have no more to give.
Having found myself at the very summit, please allow me, Sensei krak/t, in my Obammic benefecience to enlighten you all in the way of Lettin' it Burn.
I'll begin with a video parable, wherein Obama is Kiai Master Rykerin, and his students being tossed around like so many straw-men are the media and his fawning public.
Master Obama is the master of magic. Magic words. Magic executive pen. Magic unicorns spraying the benighted hinterlands with magical skittle sputum falling like mana from their bedazzled (and, dare I say, magical) hind-mouths.
And Master Obama can do no wrong. He is invincible. He is the closest thing to a deity that has walked this earth in at least 2000 years.
He is, as Ace mentioned during his long-overdue review of Raiders of the Lost Ark earlier today, the Leading Man in firm possession of the only MacGuffin worth holding in politics today.
Then October 1 happened.
I know. Too pat. Too easy you say.
"What if", you say:
"Is this really Obama as Master Rykerin, his assertions vs reality?
Or is the figure of Master Rykerin actually America finding itself in the fetal position on the mat in a puddle of blood and teeth after its exercise in being super duper post-racial?"
Well, maybe we're all just over-reaching here, and it's just a dumb guy with an overblown sense of accomplishment and skill bringing his patented air-slap to a fist-fight.
Moment of zen: I have a shadenboner that has lasted far longer the 4 hours, and could make a good living carving diamonds if it weren't spending all its free time auditioning for the lead in "Life, Love, Pumas -- Dick Cheney Bares All". But I'm here to chew bubblegum, crack wise, and give fucks.
The jokes really do write themselves from here on this segment, so have at it in the comments.
My next lesson involves snakes, because, Raiders.
What we have with Obamacare, and all its attendant subsidies, kickbacks, payoffs, and cronyism, is a cobra infestation.
Due to fair-use laws and copyrights and things a lawyer would give a few fkucs about, I can only really quote a small portion. Do read it all.
Please tell us that wasn't in your pants. It was in your pants, wasn't it?
The answer to the whole mess, according to this Roanoke, Va. man who happens to be a completely non-introspective Real-Estate broker in a fairy upscale region, is the Golden Rule as distilled by Marx.
Which seems to segue nicely to this Christmas list...
"A little thing with that can turn into anything at any time."As you can see, my kid bumped this item up the list. Owning an imaginary object that can grant her God-like powers is now THIRD on her list, right behind the bead kit. Priorities.
And this math problem, courtesy of common-core:
"But Master krak/t", you say, "This simply can't end well..."
Except, well, you know the drill:
DGAF ONT brought to you by my pup Ziva, Terror of crunchy leaves beneath a full moon.
Disclaimer: Not giving a fuck may only last until Monday. Or the next news cycle. Whichever comes first. Neither Master krak/t, nor AoSHQ LLC are liable for premature fucks being given.
Close it up
Seven out of Ten Doctors Are Boycotting Obamacare in California, and Aren't Participating in the System
An estimated seven out of every 10 physicians in deep-blue California are rebelling against the state's Obamacare health insurance exchange and won't participate, the head of the state's largest medical association said.
California offers one of the lowest government reimbursement rates in the country -- 30 percent lower than federal Medicare payments. And reimbursement rates for some procedures are even lower.
Details of the reimbursement rates omitted; check the article. Spoiler: They're quite low.
In order to hide from the public the large number of doctors refusing to participate in the system, Covered California is resorting to, get this, lying.
Only in September did insurance companies disclose that their rates would be pegged to California’s Medicaid plan, called Medi-Cal. That's driven many doctors to just say no.
They're also pointing out that Covered California's website lists many doctors as participants when they aren't.
“Some physicians have been put in the network and they were included basically without their permission,” Lisa Folberg said. She is a CMA’s vice president of medical and regulatory Policy.
ontra Costa Medical Association.
“This is a dirty little secret that is not really talked about as they promote Covered California,” Waters said. He called the exchange's doctors list a “shell game” because “the vast majority” of his doctors are not participating.
Independent insurance brokers who work with both insurance companies and doctor networks estimate that about 70 percent of California's 104,000 licensed doctors are boycotting the exchange.
Covered California, on the other hand, claims 85% of doctors are participating. Someone is obviously extremely wrong here -- or extremely dishonest.
As I Was Saying Earlier...
It's the Hero that the rapt fan is interested in, not the MacGuffin.
The left is just interested in the character, the Hero.
Take it away, New York Times:
WHITE HOUSE MEMO
In Obama’s Book List, Glimpses of His Journey
President Obama, with his daughter Malia, buying books last weekend at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington.
By PETER BAKER
WASHINGTON — President Obama has never visited the rugged mountains of Chechnya, but if he digs into one of the novels he bought last weekend, “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena,” he will be transported to a land of unremitting violence and tragedy, where the innocent are caught up in war as often as the guilty.
Perhaps Mr. Obama is seeking a deeper understanding of the roots of the ethnic bloodletting after Chechnya vaulted back to the front pages this year with the Boston Marathon bombings. Or perhaps he is thinking about his troubled relationship with Russia.
Either way, the novel would give the president a more visceral feel for one of the world’s most brutal conflicts than the graphic intelligence papers that cross his desk.
“I imagine someone in his position gets a lot of facts and figures,” Anthony Marra, the author of the book, mused the other day. “But the novel is really about the experience, about the psyche and the soul.”
A reading list offers a rare window into the presidential mind, a peek at what a commander in chief may be thinking about beyond theprosaic and repetitive briefings that dominate his days.
Yes who cares about those repetitive boring briefings. I mean, there's nothing interesting going on, certainly, apart from the intense drama of his signature policy initiative going up in flames.
The writer claims the reading list is a "rare glimpse" into the president's mind. Just as Howard Fineman said last night that Obama's talking about his own Journey was a "rare" glimpse into a president's mind.
Obama seems to talk about this a lot, and the media seems to write about it with great intensity and interest.
I'm not sure if we can call a several-times-per-week occurrence rare.
In fact, I'm pretty sure it's the concern for Obama's actual record that's rare. The intense interest in Obama the Personality is the common thing.
The right has repeatedly belittled Obama as a "Celebrity." And indeed that is what he is. His fans are primarily interested in Barack the Man, Barack the Personality.
And not so much as Barack Obama, the executor of federal law.
Many of the nearly two dozen volumes Mr. Obama picked up at Washington’s Politics and Prose bookstore will be gifts, and certainly children’s tales like “Harold and the Purple Crayon” offer few lessons for dealing with Tea Party congressmen.
But even if they are given away, some of the books reflect what Mr. Obama has already read or would like to read. They are volumes about identity and reinvention, about what it means to be American, and about family, love, betrayal and redemption.
Yup-- movie themes. Book themes. Story themes.
Unlike many of his predecessors, who devoured American history and biographies, Mr. Obama’s tastes lean toward the literary, in keeping with a man whose first memoir deeply explored issues of race and self.
The media's almost as interested in this Funny Little Muddle called Barack Obama as Barack Obama himself.
And here's the straight-up admission of a big Obama fan that she identifies with Obama, as fans identify with a movie's main character.
“I think President Obama has really searched his soul in the way that writers do,” Ms. Strayed said. “I certainly, like many people, identify with Obama’s journey."
The New York Times, like Chris Matthews, is not interested in policy. It is solely interested in the travails and triumphs of their Hero, Barack Obama.
Elizabeth Warren, Socialist Hero, Threatens Her Critics
Elizabeth Warren sits on the Senate banking committee. This supplies her with the power to harass and harm banks.
A group called Third Way published a paper critical of Warren's views on banking.
Elizabeth Warren responded by demanding that banks -- which she has legislative and investigatory power over -- divulge any donations they may have made to Third Way.
Which is not about answering criticism -- it's about silencing it, scaring it off.
Timothy P. Carney notes the thuggery of Warren.
Warren sits on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. She's basically telling the entities whose livelihood her committee controls to stop criticizing her. This is bullying — and it's the best argument for allowing companies and individuals to anonymously criticize politicians.
Government big enough to menace and harass its critics is bad enough.
But what makes it worse is that government is increasingly controlled by people convinced with absolute metaphysical certainty of their own intellect and righteousness -- which means that any criticism or opposition is, definitionally, contrary to the public good, and that, in turn, justifies any and all means used to squelch such malevolence.
You know what the criticism leveled at Warren was, by the way? Worries by more moderate leaning Democrats that Warren and the crusading socialists might be leading the Party into dire straits.
So of course you'd implicitly threaten people for arguing this. How dare they.
In a sign of the left’s new aggressiveness, a coalition of liberals is trying to marginalize a centrist Democratic policy group that was responsible for a Wall Street Journal op-ed article this week that said economic populism was “disastrous” for the party.
The coalition, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and three other liberal advocacy organizations have urged their members to contact a group of congressional Democrats who are honorary leaders of the centrist group, Third Way. It published the op-ed article on Monday contending that the liberalism of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio of New York City and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts would lead Democrats “over the populist cliff.”
The article — written by Jon Cowan, president of Third Way, and Jim Kessler, its senior vice president for policy — criticizes progressives like Ms. Warren and Mr. de Blasio for opposing measures to cut costs to Social Security and Medicare.
The liberal groups’ campaign has already gotten results, the latest indication that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is ascendant.
While this story is noted in the media (as in this NYT article), I don't hear quite the frothy, drooley mad barking over a "coming Democratic crack-up" that I heard when the media thought the Republican Party might fracture.
Thanks to DrewM for that.
The MacGuffinization of American Politics
In a movie or book, "The MacGuffin" is the thing the hero wants.
Usually the villain wants it too, and their conflict over who will end up with The MacGuffin forms the basic spine of the story.
In Raiders of the Lost Ark, the MacGuffin is, of course, the Lost Ark. Indy wants it; the Nazis have it. This basic conflict over simple possession animates a two hour long movie.
Alfred Hitchcock noted -- counterintuitively, when you first hear this -- that the specifics of the MacGuffin don't really matter at all to a movie. He pointed out that the audience doesn't care at all about the MacGuffin. The hero in the movie itself cares, but the audience doesn't.
In one Hitchcock film, the MacGuffin was some smuggled uranium hidden in vintage wine bottles. But Hitchcock noted it didn't matter if it was uranium in wine bottles, or a fragment of a diplomatic dispatch from the Nazi high command, or a hidden murder weapon, or photographs proving a Senator's affair.
The Lost Ark in Raiders of the Lost Ark could have easily been replaced with some missing Shankara Stones from a Thuggee temple, or the Holy Grail. In fact, that's exactly what they changed the MacGuffin to in the sequels.
No audience member really cared if the Nazis wound up with the Ark of the Covenant. For one thing, the audience walked into the theater knowing, as a matter of real-world historical fact, that Adolf Hitler had not ever possessed a holy artifact of unspeakable power, and that, even if had possessed such a thing secretly, it availed him not at all, because he shot himself through the temple in a bunker as the Allied forces closed in around him in 1945.
But we cared about Indy. He was a character we liked, a character that sparked our imaginations; whether he was looting a South American burial mound (illegally, by the way!) or blowing off his students by sneaking out a back window during office hours (poor work ethic, incidentally), we rooted for him to win.
A MacGuffin only has one requirement: That it be important-sounding, so that the audience understands he hero isn't engaged in some trivial matter, but that the Stakes Are High. (Woody Allen inverted this rule in his parody espionage film What's Up Tiger Lily?, where the MacGuffin was a top-secret recipe for chicken salad.)
But an important sounding MacGuffin is just another way to increase the audience's emotional attachment to the Hero, not to the idea of possessing the MacGuffin.
And that, of course, explains all you need to know about the abnormal political situation we find ourselves in, and the Cult of Barack Obama.
For Obama's fanbois, this is not politics. This isn't even America, not really, not anymore.
This is a movie. And Barack Obama is the Hero. And the Republicans are the Villains. And policy questions -- and Obama's myriad failures as an executive -- are simply incidental. They are MacGuffins only, of no importance whatsoever, except to the extent they provide opportunities for Drama as the Hero fights in favor of them.
Watching Chris Matthews interview Obama, I was struck by just how uninterested in policy questions Matthews (and his panel) were, and how almost every question seemed to be, at heart, about Obama's emotional response to difficulties-- not about policy itself, but about Obama's Hero's Journey in navigating the plot of President Barack Obama: The Movie.
As with a MacGuffin in the movie, only the Hero's emotional response to the MacGuffin matters.
Again and again, Matthews and his panel focused not on weighty questions of state, but on what toll these important-sounding MacGuffins took upon the Star of the Picture, Barack Obama.
Matthews was not terribly interested in hearing about the problems with Obamacare, or how Obama planned to address them.
But he was very interested in learning how Obama was coping with the challenges.
Matthews didn't care all that much about disputes over the budget. But he was keenly interested in Obama's thoughts on his opponents in such struggles.
Chris Matthews' called Obama's last answer the most important in the interview, and his entire panel agreed it was simply amazing.
That last question was about Obama's -- the Hero's -- travails.
Wrapping up the interview, Matthews ended the night with a question about whether going into politics is really worth it, especially considering that the great majority of students in the audience expressed interest in some day joining the congressional ranks.
"It continues to be a way to serve that I think can be noble. It's hard. It can be frustrating. You have got to have a thick skin," Obama said. "But I tell you, the satisfaction you get when you've passed a law or you've taken an executive action and somebody comes up to you and says you know what, my kid's alive because you passed that health care bill. Because he was uninsured, he got insurance, got a check up and we caught a tumor in time [...] So for those young people who don't mind a little gray hair, it's something that I not only recommend, but I'd welcome."
Matthews' panel gushed over Obama's answer here. And why shouldn't they? Usually the Hero offers a self-reflective but somewhat grim speech as he sits in the belly of the beast, at his lowest point in his journey. It's this speech that lets the audience know the Hero may be down, but he's not yet out.
And the audience for President Barack Obama: The Movie just loved it:
HOWARD FINEMAN: i would like to say that you and the students here from AU got a once in a lifetime opportunity to see in person a president talking about what it’s like to be president, while he’s actually president. Now, he’s gone from Superman to Sisyphus. He’s talking about rolling a boulder up the hill. He has a much more mature view, but he has a moral view. I thought he made the moral case for Obamacare, for you folks to consider Obamacare as a measure of community in America. That’s what motivates Barack Obama. He knows it’s tough –
CHRIS MATTHEWS: And he lifted up. He lifted up when he talked about –
FINEMAN: The last 15 minutes of this interview were extraordinary. I’ve never seen anything like it, where a president kind of unburdened himself to you about why he’s in the ball game. And I thought he made a very compelling case for his own decency, whatever the screw-ups were managerially, and they were real.
Note what they're not talking about: America. Policy. The economy. Obamacare. Actual live political controversies and possible programmatic responses to the difficulties we face (many of which Obama has caused himself, or made worse).
No, American politics is now merely a MacGuffin, an important-sounding but ultimately inconsequential and disposable plot device for holding interest in the Hero's Journey.
Ultimately the only thing that matters is the Hero itself. It doesn't matter why the Hero Barack Obama wants the Lost Ark of Sensible Gun Control, or the Shankara Stones of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, or the Democratic Holy Grail of Affordable Health Care. These are very minor details and only matter to the extent the Hero exerts himself to achieve them.
The viewers of this film don't really care about these things, but only Obama's frustration at being denied them, or his joy in attaining them.
"This is a big f***ing deal," his incompetent Comic Sidekick said as he signed Obamacare into law. What the "this" was didn't matter then, as it scarcely matters now.
What counted was that the Hero had won.
Politics is now a MacGuffin in American politics, at least for the frothing fanbois of the Hero Barack Obama.
It doesn't matter what his goals actually are -- it only matters that he succeeds in those quests, whatever they might be.
And this isn't a new phenomenon, either. Since the beginning of this movie, the fanbois have cared very little for MacGuffins (notice they don't care how many thousands of Americans have died in Afghanistan), but have been intensely interested in the Hero's emotional response to it all.
You root for the Hero to win because you like the Hero -- not because you're particularly invested in the Hero's actual goals. And you despise the Villains simply because they're standing in the way of the Hero's triumph.
Chris Matthews sums up, neatly, his only genuine interest in American politics for the past five years:
“We have real people in this country with real power and status who have used that status of power to hurt the country so they could hurt the president.”
Only the Hero matters. The MacGuffin never does.
The Hero is our hopes and dreams. And the Hero has come to us; he has come amongst us.
Close it up
Chris Matthews: The Passing of Nelson Mandela Reminds Us That South Africa's Apartheid Government Leaders Were More Reasonable and Empathetic Than the Republican Party
Matthews hailed Al Sharpton as having uttered the smartest thing he'd heard in five years.
Still throbbingly erect from his interview with Barack Obama (which I'm writing about, but it's a longer post), Chris Matthews was still in something of a Sex High when he spoke to MSNBC Democratic Partisan Alex Wagner.
Matthews acknowledged a point that Rev. Al Sharpton had made earlier in this broadcast where he noted that the last apartheid president, F.W. de Klerk, recognized after Mandela’s release from prison that he would be ascendant and brought him into his government to facilitate that transition.
“I haven’t heard anything as smart as what I heard Reverend Sharpton say a moment go in five years,” Matthews said. “The difference between the way F.W. de Klerk handled the need for change and the election – democratic election of Nelson Mandela – legitimate election, he was never truly elected – for him to recognize his role in history which was to be a patriot at that point is so different than the way [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell handled the election of Obama.”
“They were willing, the McConnell people onto the far right, were willing to destroy the country in order to destroy Obama,” Matthews insisted. “Whereas, to succeed in a country he loved, F.W. de Klerk was willing to see it transformed to black rule so it could be done successfully so he could have his country have a better future.”
“The loss of Mandela and what his history is about and the key statement of why this has been so poisonous the last five years,” he concluded. “We have real people in this country with real power and status who have used that status of power to hurt the country so they could hurt the president.”
“That’s the most damming assessment I’ve heard and, I think, the truest,” Matthews lamented.
Sure why not.
Number of Times Obama Met With HHS Secretary Sebelius Between the Passage and Rollout of Obamacare: One
Peter Schweitzer writes at Politico's Magazine:
Amid the Obama administration’s endless rounds of finger-pointing and blame-shifting, scant if any attention has been paid to the amount of time and executive leadership the president personally devoted to implementing his signature legislative achievement.
“Nothing frustrates me more than when people aren’t doing their jobs,” Obama has said. So, with so much riding on the line, one would assume he held weekly, if not daily, one-on-one meetings with his Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to isolate problems, challenge assumptions, apply executive pressure where needed and successfully manage a project of scale.
That did not happen, at least not according to Obama’s own official White House calendar.
A new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) analysis finds that from July 12, 2010, to Nov. 30, 2013, the president’s public schedule records zero one-on-one meetings between Obama and Sebelius.
Obama did meet with Sebelius and Treasury Secretary Geithner once. That was likely about Obamacare.
There was one such meeting.
Perhaps Obama's too extraordinary to oversee large projects:
The president's closest advisers, like Valerie Jarrett, say the problem is Obama “knows exactly how smart he is” and has “been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do. He would never be satisfied with what ordinary people do.” Obama says the trait he deplores most in himself is that “there’s a laziness in me.”
Sorry it's taken so long to get up a post today. I just can't do what ordinary people do.
AoSHQ Podcast: Guest, Sean Davis
Bumped, and Open Thread.
Then Gabe and Drew pull back the curtain on a new segment to give you a glimpse of what every day's coblogger email group looks like as they argue with each other (over immigration. again.) while the rest of the gang tries to slip a word in edgewise. I think someone may have been killed with a trident.
They wrap up the episode with another new segment - Q&A from the Moron Mailbag.
Referenced in this episode:
- No, America Doesn’t Have Too Many Banks
- Taming The Fury Of Rage: How Not To Write, Starring Slate’s Matt Yglesias
- Matthew Yglesias Does Not Understand Basic Accounting
Send Moron Mailbag comments to: andy+asktheblog AT aoshq DOT com.
Open thread in the comments.
Darknet cyber weapon peddlers have 85 exploits for sale on any given day
Cyberweapons sold to the government that are powered by glitches in popular software have opened a can of worms for citizens who increasingly are being attacked by nongovernment actors buying from the same arsenal of 85 exploits per day, according to new research...
...On any given day during the past three years, high-paying customers have had access to at least 60 vulnerabilities targeting Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and Adobe, according to an NSS Labs...
...The weaknesses remain unknown to the public and, therefore, unfixed for an average of 151 days...
...In the underweb, where hackers hawk illegal goods, an exploit for a system running Windows sells for up to $250,000...
Friday Morning News Dump
- Mandela Dies, People Start Saying Stupid Things
- Obamacare: The Exodus
- Chris Matthews On Obama, "He Came Amongst Us"
- Taranto: A Walk On The Wilde Side
- Women And Young People Turning On Obamacare
- The Three Most Important Ongoing Second Amendment Cases
- A Major Reason I Never Donate Money To Colleges I Attended
- No Talk Of Affordable Healthcare In Obamacare PR Push
- Detroit And The Impact On Pension Reform
- CEO Of Colorado's Failed Healthcare Exchange Asks For A Raise And Bonus
- Sandy Hook Benefit Concert Cancelled Due To Low Ticket Sales
- Authorities Warn Of Further Crackdown On Protesters In Ukraine
- Obama, Detroit, And The New Gilded Age
- Lot Of Ice Storms Hitting The US This Week
- Could Obamacare Destroy Volunteer Fire Departments
- It's Not A Cult
- Obama's Shallow Inequality Speech And The Presidency That Might Have Been
- PA Couple Dropped From Health Coverage Still Unable To Sign Up For Obamacare
- Benedict Cumberbatch Does Dramatic Reading Of R.Kelly Lyrics
Follow me on twitter.
Journalist challenges white hat hacker team to get him, they succeed
It’s my first class of the semester at New York University. I’m discussing the evils of plagiarism and falsifying sources with 11 graduate journalism students when, without warning, my computer freezes. I fruitlessly tap on the keyboard as my laptop takes on a life of its own and reboots. Seconds later the screen flashes a message. To receive the four-digit code I need to unlock it I’ll have to dial a number with a 312 area code. Then my iPhone, set on vibrate and sitting idly on the table, beeps madly.The saga of the hacks and the technology and methods they used is detailed in a 3-part series.
I’m being hacked — and only have myself to blame.
Two months earlier I challenged Nicholas Percoco, senior vice president of SpiderLabs...
PART 1 and PART 2 describes some of the custom malware and tricks used. Pishing, software vulnerability exploits, etc. This is the stuff they managed to accomplish without setting up outside Adam's apartment with WiFi hacking hardware.
...Parts one and two will detail the malware and phishing aspects of our hack with contributions from myself, Matt Jakubowski and Daniel Chechik. Next week, our colleague Garret Picchioni will publish more technical details about the onsite and wireless portions of the attack.Eventually they had to get around to hacking Adam's home WiFi network if they wanted full access to all the crown jewels.
My daily job as a security researcher on the Malware Analysis Team in SpiderLabs typically consists of reverse-engineering malware (usually something encountered during a forensics investigation). When I was asked to take part in this project, it seemed a natural fit that I would help out by writing custom malware in order to gain access to Adam’s machine. Rarely do I get the chance to don my metaphorical "black hat" and actually create a malicious file. Doing so often allows me to see the situation from both sides, which in turn allows me to do a better job when it comes to reversing malware. In short, I was pretty excited...
...Once arriving onsite in Adam’s neighborhood and doing a quick Wi-Fi scan we discovered it was going to be a lot more difficult than originally anticipated. As it turns out, there are a lot of people that live in Brooklyn Heights, and as a result a lot of unique wireless networks. Our initial scans of the area revealed that there were over 1,200 wireless networks discoverable from Adam’s block with our wireless equipment. Without obvious wireless network names such as “Adam Penenberg’s House” we had to resort to some conventional and unconventional methods to identify his network...
...After letting the device sit overnight, we had our final list of approximately 20 wireless networks...
....To do so, we sent specially crafted packets to only these devices informing them to disconnect from the wireless network. Once they attempted to reconnect to the network, we were able to capture the WPA handshake. We sent that handshake to SpiderLabs’ password cracking server and proceeded to crack the password to his network in approximately 15 minutes. With the password, we had full access to his wireless network.
Close it up
Top Headline Comments 12-6-13
Ohio focus group made up of folks who voted for Obama last year describes Obama: “overwhelmed,” “powerless,” “inexperienced” and “cautious.”
Gallup: a majority of Americans want Obamacare slimmed down or repealed entirely.
Fantasy novel readers, here's a list of the best fantasy books this year. I had read some, but not all of these. Looking forward to reading the rest.
And, here's my favorite rendition of my second-favorite Christmas song:
Have a great weekend, ya'll.
Close it up
Overnight Open Thread (12-5-2013)
Hoo boy this one just gives me a headache. Lt. Col Robert Bateman published an essay in Esquire in which he calls for complete gun control and ends up showing how unclear he is on the 2A and the Constitution in general.
Now Lt. Col. Bateman qualified as Airborne and a Ranger and is a military historian having written several books and taught at West Point. So he's not a nobody without any cred. Yet like so many others he gets hung up on the initial clause of the Second Amendment ("A well Regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state.") and pretty much runs off the rails after that.
Fundamentally he doesn't accept the Supreme Court's Heller decision at all. His counter-argument: Well he just knows better and they're all wrong. For him the militia = the National Guard and therefore civilians have no right to own firearms.
Oh and if he were king, he has a few modest royal pronouncements in mind:
1. The only guns permitted will be the following:
- a. Smoothbore or Rifled muzzle-loading blackpowder muskets. No 7-11 in history has ever been held up with one of these.
- b. Double-barrel breech-loading shotguns. Hunting with these is valid.
- c. Bolt-action rifles with a magazine capacity no greater than five rounds. Like I said, hunting is valid. But if you cannot bring down a defenseless deer in under five rounds, then you have no fking reason to be holding a killing tool in the first place.
[See King Bateman is indeed a merciful and generous liege allowing people like yourselves to own something that goes bang - M.]
2. We will pry your gun from your cold, dead, fingers. That is because I am willing to wait until you die, hopefully of natural causes. Guns, except for the three approved categories, cannot be inherited. When you die your weapons must be turned into the local police department, which will then destroy them. (Weapons of historical significance will be de-milled, but may be preserved.)
3. Police departments are no longer allowed to sell or auction weapons used in crimes after the cases have been closed. (That will piss off some cops, since they really need this money. But you know what they need more? Less violence and death. By continuing the process of weapon recirculation, they are only making their jobs -- or the jobs of some other cops -- harder.)
4. We will submit a new tax on ammunition. In the first two years it will be 400 percent of the current retail cost of that type of ammunition. (Exemptions for the ammo used by the approved weapons.) Thereafter it will increase by 20 percent per year.
5. We will initiate a nationwide "buy-back" program, effective immediately, with the payouts coming from the DoD budget. This buy-back program will start purchasing weapons at 200 percent of their face value the first year, 150 percent the second year, 100 percent the third year. Thereafter there will be a 10 year pause, at which point the guns can be sold to the government at 10 percent of their value for the next 50 years.6. The major gun manufactures of the United States, less those who create weapons for the federal government and the armed forces, will be bought out by the United States of America, for our own damned good.
[Okay his lordship is a tad weak in the econ area but that doesn't mean he still doesn't know what's best for all of you]
Okaaay - I don't even know what to say at this point. I think this whole essay is clear evidence that a) some people simply don't get the whole concept of a constitutional republic b) when you leave your domain of expertise, there's no limit to the amount of stupid you can achieve, and c) under no circumstances must Robert Bateman ever be allowed even a scrap of political power. And it's also a reminder that there are some good reasons why the US is a civilian-run republic.
Update: Herschel Smith at The Captain's Journal who's familiar with Bateman's previous work says he's just an academic troll:
And thus has Bateman shored up his progressive credentials one more time, and gotten the attention he so desperately wants, all at the same time. In the future, pay no attention to Mr. Bateman. He’s a publicity hound and attention seeker, and uses inflammatory and exaggerated rhetoric to evoke responses. The internet calls this a “troll.” It’s just that he’s a troll with credentials – and he’s an expert on everything. If you don’t believe it, just ask him.
Unintentional funneh I assume since Sullivan has no known sense of humor.
For reasons I won't share, I was poking around Andrew Sullivan's site this week and stumbled across the following: apparently, there's a "porn gap." In "high-income cities" the top five search terms on porn-video websites are "1. Gay 2. Ebony 3. Teen 4. Lesbian and 5. MILF while in low-income cities they are 1. Teen 2. Lesbian 3. MILF 4. Ebony 5. Gay."
The first thing to cross my mind, obviously, was What would Charles Murray have to say about this?
But then, that question turns out to be easier to answer than you might think.
A weekend Wall Street Journal essay-"Charles Murray on the porn class divide"-practically writes itself. He would look back on the good old days, when both the upper and lower classes had to watch the same pornography, so that no matter how much money your family had, at least you'd have some shared social experience. And there'd be a quiz, so that the rich could realize how little they understand about blue-collar porn.But the best part is that Murray could even recycle his last title: Coming Apart.
"I gotta be me, as the douchebag credo goes."
- Ace of Spades, Nov. 20, 2012<
Hackivist types never take a warning and just keep going until they get busted and then it's all Bush's fault or something.
What the fuck is wrong with our country these days?
Inmates train for riots. At yard time, you'll see a ton of them doing martial arts together. Sometimes they'll start a fight with three or four guys just to see what our response is, that way they're able to work up a counter for it. They figure out what our moves are, and then they practice their methods for beating us while we watch
...That's one of the reasons we let them have things like Xboxes and PlayStations. If you give them video games, they'll be less likely to start fights. So once a week we'd hook up a bunch of TVs in a classroom so all of the murderers and rapists could play Halo. There's nothing more interesting than seeing guys who have killed multiple people deathmatching each other. Teabagging seems a lot less innocent when you know it might end with one of the aforementioned riots.
Speaking of which ...
#4. Anything Can Spark a Riot
It's being unfairly maligned.
The wild American bro is most recognizable by its ubiquitous nighttime camouflage: thigh-length swaths of cotton, collars pointed outward like airplane wings, sleeves rolled up and flared out like a Musketeer's. This is known in bro circles as the "going-out shirt." It is the bro's uniform whenever he goes to clubs, bars, house parties, or-god help us-dates. It is always worn untucked with jeans (boot cut, of course), and is considered the "dressed up" alternative to a T-shirt or polo.
I've still got a Going Out shirt or two and the bottom line is that I just look (and feel) good in it.
Breeding has done a lot of damage to dog breeds.
The English bulldog has come to symbolize all that is wrong with the dog fancy and not without good reason; they suffer from almost every possible disease. A 2004 survey by the Kennel Club found that they die at the median age of 6.25 years (n=180). There really is no such thing as a healthy bulldog. The bulldog's monstrous proportions makes them virtually incapable of mating or birthing without medical intervention.
Yahoo group. That is all.
The group thingy. And the middle class.
And my Twitter spew.
Tonight's post brought to you by it should be ready now:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips plus $1 for S&H to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send your scraps to BizarroAce. Do not taunt happy-fun ball.
Close it up
NYT: The looming "doctor shortage" is not real
... The opportunity exists to deliver more services and care with fewer physicians, but it’s not a foregone conclusion. Policy changes will be necessary to reach the full potential of team care.
That means expanding the scope of practice laws for nurse practitioners and pharmacists to allow them to provide comprehensive primary care; changing laws inhibiting telemedicine across state lines; and reforming medical malpractice laws that force providers to stick with inefficient practices simply to reduce liability risk. New payment models must reward investments in technologies that can save money in the long run. Most important, we need to change medical school curriculum to provide training in team care to take full advantage of the capabilities of nonphysicians in caring for patients...
...Innovations, such as sensors that enable remote monitoring of disease and more timely interventions, can help pre-empt the need for inpatient treatment...
Perhaps piss sniffing toilets and sewer crawling robots?
Of course they point to MA/RomneyCare as evidence that there won't be any doctor shortage.
Take Massachusetts, where Obamacare-style reforms were implemented beginning in 2006, adding nearly 400,000 people to the insurance rolls. Appointment wait times for family physicians, internists, pediatricians, obstetricians and gynecologists, and even specialists like cardiologists, have bounced around since but have not appreciably increased overall, according to a Massachusetts Medical Society survey.Curiously in 2006 Massachusetts had the highest per-capita concentration of doctors in the country, 462/100k...compared to Idaho, at the bottom with 169/100k. Having 2.7X more doctors available might just, maybe, kinda, sorta have had something to do with that, although I'm probably way out on a limb with such wild fact based speculation.
AOSHQDD U.S. Senate 2014
A very lazy piece, but since everybody's already writing about the races, it is long overdue. So here's where the Senate races stand right now:
Republicans have a 50/50 shot at flipping the Senate, with the usual caveat that this is the GOP we are talking about. McConnell is the only truly vulnerable Republican, while Democrats are defending a plethora of seats. Open seats in swing states either outright favor the GOP or are at worst leaning Democratic, giving the Democrats even less room to wiggle and protect their majority.
Again, until the GOP screws that up.
Close it up
Performance Artist and "Craftivist" Has New, Innovative, 100% Novel Way of Drawing Attention to Herself: Involving Her Vagina
I would never have seen this coming. A female artist using her vagina as a prop? Why, I never. Where do these geniuses come up with these startling new ideas I've seen six thousand times this past year?
So, thanks to @laurww (I guess...), a woman who knits Vaginal Yarn. Yes, vaginal yarn. She puts a skein of yarn up her foo and then draws it out as she knits.
Why? Because Patriarchy or Male Gaze or Negative Body Image or Vulva Pride You Guys. She claims, for the seventy billionth time, that people feel "fear and revulsion" towards the vulva, which is why it's Art and Stuff You Guys to knit a muff muffler.
You know, the usual airheaded crap. Do artists feel any need any more to explore a new thought?
The article itself is on HuffPo, and is somewhere between Safe For Work and Not Safe For Work. The video that accompanies the article is Not Safe for Work (you can see bits of her foo, and she mentions knitting with... wet yarn).
And... Open Thread. Weird thing to say in this context.
But I'm sick, and I'm done for the night. I'm going to nap.
Nelson Mandela Dies at Age 95;
Obama Eulogizes Mandela By, Get This, Injecting Himself Into His Life
Obama's remarks on Mandela were largely about how Mandela had inspired him. How the first political event Obama attended was an Anti-Apartheid rally. Observers of Obama know, of course, that Obama feels a life isn't validated or worthy unless Obama can somehow connect himself to it.
But even worse than that was the quotation Obama chose to honor Mandela with. It just so happens that this quotation is perfectly aligned with Obama's current political narrative: I screwed up, but I'm going to keep on working until I get this fixed.
So here's what Obama deemed to be the most important quotation of Mandela's life:
"I'm not a saint, unless your definition of a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying."
That's not Mandela's most important quote.
That's the Mandela quote that's most politically useful to Obama.
But to Obama, these are the same thing.
Not Very Hard to Predict The Actions of an Evil Dullard:
actually Obama does have a staged propaganda photo of a "private" sojourn in Nelson Mandela's cell. We should see that rereleased soon.— SquatchPride69 (@AceofSpadesHQ) December 5, 2013
Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela. pic.twitter.com/4qlqsXLp6e— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 5, 2013
That's the photo I was talking about-- the staged White House propaganda photo of a supposedly "private" visit by the First Family to Mandela's old cell.
Odd how many of these "private" moments are used for public propaganda, eh?
About That "Enrollment Surge"
Something has been bugging me about the administration's very careful and coordinated media push earlier this week about both the website and enrollment.
For starters, the website is still not in any sort of working order. It might not be coughing up as many errors and may be a little more navigable, but it's still failing at its stated purpose. The website is supposed to be a place you can easily sign up for an account, shop for available plans and then actually enroll. This isn't happening. Insurers are still complaining about being sent faulty data and the administration is quietly encouraging people to work directly with insurance companies, bypassing the system entirely.
But the word went out and it was covered in the media. The website has seen a vast improvement.
The rollout of the program through a government website, HeathCare.gov, has been plagued by technical problems since it was launched two months ago. But the White House said on Saturday after an intensive overhaul of the website that it was now working at an acceptable level.In addition to this miraculous turnaround, we were also given enrollment numbers for two days: Sunday, November 30th and Monday, December 1st.
What does two days worth of "enrollment data" give you? Well, it just happens to give you a "rate of enrollment", which can then be conveniently extrapolated over the coming open enrollments months. Watch how the National Journal does this:
Enrollment is still substantively behind schedule, and the administration has a lot of work to do to make up for lost time. The broken website effectively shaved two months off the six-month enrollment window, and enrollment in October was only 20 percent of the administration's initial expectations.Politico does it too:
The administration expects 7 million people to sign up, nationwide, by the end of the six-month enrollment window. Signing up 29,000 people every two days would still not be enough to hit that target, but it's a significant step in the right direction for the White House.
The sharp increase in the pace of enrollments could begin to allay one of the industry’s other major fears — that after a two-month delay in standing up a functioning website, the administration won’t enroll enough people or the right mix of people by the March 30 deadline.Isn't it interesting that the two days they targeted for the "fixes" to be completed also happen to be the same two days they have accurate enrollment data. This comes only a month or so after Kathleen Sebelius testified that accurate data wasn't going to be available in real-time.
"I want to give you reliable, confirmed data from every state and from the federal marketplace. We have said that we will do that on a monthly basis, by the middle of the month. You will have that data, but I don't want to turn over anything that is not confirmed and reliable, and that's what we'll do."But now she has access to two days of data right away. You'll notice since this "source who is familiar with the program" (who is never named) confirmed this two days worth of enrollment data, it's been radio silence. Dead air. They're now back to touting web traffic metrics like pageviews again. So, what are we left with? A "vastly improved" website and an "enrollment surge" based on two days worth of data.
So, here's my theory. These 29,000 new enrollees over those two website deadline days was not a spike in enrollment; they were the backlogged November enrollments that had gotten caught in this data communications black hole. The information was fixed and these people were then formally enrolled over these two days. Boom, there's your enrollment spike.
Politico all but makes my case for me:
About 29,000 people signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov on Sunday and Monday — a figure that surpasses the total for the whole month of October, an official familiar with the program told POLITICO.Little odd, right? This administration is in desperate need of a win. The chances of a technical win at this point was a pipe dream given how far behind they were. All that was left was a media win, and for the most part, they got it. Improved website and surging enrollment.
The quickened pace of enrollments came as the White House hit its self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline to fix the troubled Affordable Care Act website.
We'll see what happens later in the month. If I'm right, this will all catch up with them. If there is one thing we've seen from this bungled operation is that they're panicked and will gladly trade a long-term loss for an immediate short-term win. Just get through today's news cycle. I could be wrong, of course. It's just a theory of mine. But it all does seem convenient.
Healthcare.gov Is Totally Fixed You Guys But You Need to Send a Check to Your Insurer Directly
This happens all the time with Amazon. I "select" a book online, and then they send me an email instructing me I should write a check and send it to the publisher, and complete the transaction with him.
In the podcast last night (which will be available tomorrow), we talked a lot about the coming Crisis. We tried to figure out exactly what the hell was going to happen on January 1st, given that Obamacare kicked five million people off their insurance, and would certainly not manage to sign up that many by the deadline.
Especially given that payments must be made by mail.
And that premiums are now very high.
And that one-third of all 834's sent to insurers are riddled with errors.
And that the whole system is in chaos.
What will happen January 1 when thousands of people have car crashes or other need for insurance, but don't have it, due to Obama's incompetence and stubborness?
John Ekdahl suggested that Obama will just order hospitals and doctors to treat anyone who says he has insurance, whether he does or not. I believe Ekdahl's term was that Obama will order everyone to be "deemed" as covered by insurance.
Is that inconceivable? I don't think so. That's what Allah's thinking, too.
The shocking new news in Allah's post is that only 20% of people who have "enrolled" in insurance have sent a payment yet -- and the hour is growing late for January 1st coverage. And furthermore, that if payment is not received by the start of the term (actually, a week before it-- they need to make sure the check clears), the policy is considered void and the customer will have to go through the nightmare of signing up for Obamacare again.
So is it actually inconceivable that Obama will simply issue a Kingly Edict and instruct insurers to insure people whether they actually are insured or not? Or that hospitals and doctors must, through this "transition period" which may contain "some disruptions," must provide care without actual promise of payment?
Unfortunately, we'll be discovering the answers to these frightening questions very soon.
Four Cases Making Way Through Courts That Might Wind Up Overturning Obamacare
It'll take a while to get a ruling on these cases, and then come appeals, but it's something to keep your eye on.
If the law known as Obamacare gets struck down in the latest court challenge, the victors will thank a Hudson resident and Case Western Reserve University law professor who discovered what the law's critics say is a major flaw.
Jonathan Adler, 44, says he didn't even appreciate initially how significant his discovery might be. He thought it was an interesting bit of legal arcana, worthy of scholarship. But his analysis of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, has led to four pending cases in federal courts, two likely to be decided within months, that offer ACA opponents their best chance of gutting the law.
Oral arguments were heard in one of the cases, in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
Adler, a Case law professor since 2001, pored over the ACA after it passed in 2010 and found this: Congress created a system for providing tax subsidies and penalties in order to give incentives for people to buy health insurance or for employers to provide it. States were supposed to create new agencies that would offer online insurance-shopping options, and states would tie into a federal tax system to dole out the subsidies and assess the penalties.
But the ACA made clear, Adler says, that the subsidies were to be used in these new state marketplaces, or "exchanges." There is no record, he says, that shows Congress directed the subsidies to what has since evolved: a large, federally run, health-policy shopping exchange. When the subsidies are mentioned in the law, Adler says, it is always and only in the context of state exchanges.
The IRS fabricated a regulation that stated, basically, that no matter what the law itself says, they're providing subsidies through the federal exchanges anyway.
These are Gabe's favorite dark-horse candidates for ending Obamacare in a year or two. He mentioned in the podcast that he'd watched arguments in court, and the Administration's line seemed to be that it didn't matter what the law said -- Obamacare needs this.
Apparently Obamacare contains its own Necessary and Proper Clause amid its penumbras and emanations.
Obama, Get This, Lied: Having Previously Denied Ever Meeting His Drunk Illegal Alien Uncle Omar, Obama Now Remembers He Lived With Him For a While During Law School
It would be one thing if he lived with him as a child. But he lived with him as an adult in law school.
The White House claimed Obama had never so much as met the man. They claim, now, that their previous claim was a mistake or something, because they had "researched" the question and had not found any evidence the two had met.
Instead of just asking Obama. Which they now say just occurred to them to do. And they claim it just occurred to them to ask Obama after a witness with no reason to lie (Omar's landlord) came forward to say that Obama had lived with Omar.
President Obama acknowledged on Thursday that he lived with his Kenyan uncle for a brief period in the 1980s while preparing to attend Harvard Law School, contradicting a statement more than a year ago that the White House had no record of the two ever meeting.
Their relationship came into question on Tuesday at the deportation hearing of his uncle, Onyango Obama, in Boston immigration court. His uncle had lived in the United States illegally since the 1970s and revealed in testimony for the first time that his famous nephew had stayed at his Cambridge apartment for about three weeks. At the time, Onyango Obama was here illegally and fighting deportation.
On Thursday, a White House official said the press office had not fully researched the relationship between the president and his uncle before telling the Globe that they had no record of the two meeting. This time, the press office asked the president directly, which they had not done in 2011.
Roger Simon says he's not a conspiracy theorist, but he's beginning to wonder about this Enigmatic Elegant Liar named Barack Obama.
Around Obama there is an unprecedented silence, almost a media omertà. So much remains unknown about this man, although we do know, through the debate surrounding David Maraniss’s failed and tentative biography, that the president lied about his personal history on multiple occasions in his autobiography Dreams from My Father.
Of course, Bill Ayers — the semi-retired terrorist — has claimed on similarly multiple occasions that he was the true author of Dreams, which would make it a lie about a lie about a lie or something like that. The permutations of this are mindboggling.
Actually let me clear that last claim up, because this has far too much traction on the right: Ayers did not claim he was the true author of Dreams from My Father. He says this, sarcastically, in a bit of rightwing-baiting, because he knows the right suspects him of having authored the book.
See, for example, the below clip, starting at 0:33. He always answers the question in this way.
Now, I happen to think this "conspiracy theory" is true: Bill Ayers is the unacknowledged ghost-writer of Dreams from My Father.
But it's not true that Ayers is "admitting" it. He is sarcastically baiting the right by pretending to admit it.
But in pretending to admit it, he is in fact admitting the truth.
Still, you really can't say he "admitted" it. He is playing around the edges of that, but not actually admitting it.
Close it up
Obama Loses Support from Important Swing Demographic, White Women
First he lost young voters, now white women. Over Obamacare.
Polling provided to National Journal by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that white women have soured considerably on the law, especially in the month since its botched rollout. The skepticism runs especially deep among blue-collar women....
The Kaiser poll, which has been conducted monthly since Obamacare’s inception, shows the law has never been a big hit with white women. But this group’s opinions took a sharply negative turn in the November results.
According to Kaiser, 40 percent of college-educated white women hold a “very unfavorable” view of the law—10 points higher than a month ago. An additional 10 percent view the law “somewhat unfavorably.” A month ago, those two groups together totaled just 42 percent.
That’s not damning in and of itself, but this is the one slice of the white electorate where Democrats usually perform well. President Obama won 46 percent of the group in 2012, and even that was an underwhelming showing compared with recent Democratic presidential candidates.
And that’s not all. Democrats should be far more worried about white women who do not have a higher education. The numbers are astounding: In the latest Kaiser poll, 50 percent have a “very unfavorable” view of the law—9 points higher than in October. An additional 13 percent view it “somewhat unfavorably.” Indeed, antipathy among blue-collar white women runs even deeper than the most conservative white demographic group, blue-collar white men (59 percent of whom hold an unfavorable view, Kaiser found).
Remarkably, only 16 percent of blue-collar white women have a favorable view of Obamacare. They disapprove of it by a 4-1 ratio.
Democrats typically do not win the white women vote, but they do fairly well, picking up somewhere between, say, 40-45% of that large section of the vote. They lose white women, but narrowly enough that minority women (strongly Democratic) push the whole of the women's vote to the Democrats.
Because white women make up such a large fraction of the voting population, a few percentage points shifted from Democrats to Republicans will have an impact at the ballot box.
Maybe pro-Obamacare Happy Hours will do the trick.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 To Explore Themes of Repetition, Creative Exhaustion, and Contractual Obligation
I was one of the unhappy few to see the Amazing Spider-Man, a reboot occurring just a few years after the previous sequel. It was terrible.
The new one looks like it was made with the same spirit as the first, which is to say, it also looks terrible. That's the trailer. It looks like an epileptic cartoon. Enjoy.
The main villain is... Electro, a villain even mild geeks have heard of, but who just isn't that interesting. So they've juiced him up with a lot of new CGI superpowers, and he looks even dumber here than he does in the comic. And that's a neat trick, because in the comics, Electro's costume is that of an... angry daffodil.
But no one expects Electro, of all people, to carry a movie, so apparently Spider-Man is fighting the Sinister Six, an Avengers-style team-up of Spider-Man's rogues gallery. Apparently Doctor Octopus is somewhere in the trailer (though I missed him), and they show the Rhino a lot. Green Goblin shows up, Forbes says.
Six villains? Great, you know what that means: More origin stories! And I just can't get enough of origin stories in comic book movies.
At this point, would the audience mind at all if the movie just opened up with a fight between Rhino and Spider-Man, and then didn't bother explaining How the Rhino Came to Be? Would anyone care at all if the film didn't include that critical information? Or if the movie just covered it with a single line of dialogue ("his advanced nano-hydraulic armor gives him incredible strength!")?
Would anyone be upset if the movie just presented all six villains and didn't bother at all explaining their magical powers?
Eh. In this one, it looks like the plot is something about "making humans powerful or something," so they're going to attempt to explain the villains via the same magic serum, which doesn't really make sense, because at least two villains get their magic powers from magic armor, rather than getting their magic strength or magic electricity from from a magic potion.
This might also be the one where Gwen Stacy dies. If you care. I don't. And I actually used to care.
Apparently they're making so much money with bad Spider-Man movies they've already greenlit sequels for 2016 and 2018. I guess that's the ultimate in movie properties -- if you can make $750 million with a bad movie, then why the hell not just keep making them forever?
Anyone can make money with a good movie. It's a special kind of franchise where you make money with bad ones.
So we all have this continuing Cartoon Nightmare for Adult Children to look forward to for some number of years, until they start losing money and the license either reverts back to Marvel or Disney buys it back or something.
Okay, I'm officially done with comic book movies. It took a while to get here, but now I'm agreeing with the cranky guys who've been saying "What the hell is this stupid crap?" for eight years.
Another Hoax "Racist" Incident: After High School Cancels Football Season Over Alleged Racist Messages, Police Say Mother of Alleged Target is "Strong Suspect"
Isaac Phillips delivers a statement at a candlelight vigil in his honor, calling out his football coaches for what he says was a lack of support after racist graffiti was spraying on his home earlier in the week, at Lunenburg's gazebo park on Nov. 18, 2013. The graffiti was directed at Isaac and his status on the Lunenburg High School football team, prompting the vigil and the suspension of the football season indefinitely.
The investigation into who spray painted a home with racist graffiti last month has turned toward the woman who lives there.
Police said on Wednesday that Andrea Brazier [mother of the alleged target of the racist graffiti] is now considered a “strong suspect” in the case.
Officers say they executed a search warrant on Tuesday and seized two cans of spray paint and ammunition from the home.
Brazier, who is white, and her husband Anthony Phillips, who is African American live at the home with their 13-year-old son, Isaac. Brazier initially cast suspicion on her son’s Lunenburg High School football teammates, saying he had been bullied in the past.
The school’s superintendent cancelled the football team’s final game on Thanksgiving after no one came forward to take responsibility.
On Monday, Lunenburg police announced that there was no conclusive evidence that anyone on the high school football team is linked to the graffiti.
A police affidavit obtained on Wednesday indicated that Brazier had stopped cooperating with investigators and had changed her story several times.
Initially she told officers that her 6-year-old daughter heard someone outside of her window and saw someone wearing a feather head dress on either November 14 or 15. She later said that alleged incident occurred on November 4.
Police discovered two cans of spray paint in the family's firepit, burned up. They suspect those cans were used to spray the "hate messages." The father claims the spray paint was used in some kind of home-improvement project in the living room, but apparently the police don't believe them. Not only did the mother begin changing her story, implausibly claiming the racist messages were left November 4, or alternately, November 14 of 15 (10-11 days later-- hardly a plausible mistake), but the father offered three "distinct" versions of his story as to how the spray cans wound up in the firepit.
As the police began asking these questions, the mother began saying she just wanted the investigation to end, and when they put it to her that someone in the family had defaced her own car, she began saying "Okay" and then "You don't understand."
The school superintendent who collectively punished the football team for something they didn't do, Loxi Jo Colmes, is now saying she didn't punish anyone at all.
Colmes also addressed the cancellation of the Thanksgiving football game. “I never looked at the cancellation as a punishment although it is certainly viewed that way by many,” Colmes said. “In the end the safety of students and attendees at the game was deemed to be of paramount importance. At no time did I or any employee of the schools indict or implicate any of our players. In fact, my statements were that the graffiti investigation could NOT be limited to the team.”
For a really interesting analysis of the phenomenon of racial hate hoaxing (for fun and for profit), read David Thompson. Here he speaks generally of people in the Militancy Industrial Complex:
In order to maintain a self-image of heroic radicalism - and in order to justify funding, influence and status - great leaps of imagination or paranoia may be required. Hence the goal posts of persecution tend to move and new and rarer forms of exploitation and injustice have to be discovered, many of which are curiously invisible to the untutored eye. Thus, the rebel academic tends towards extremism, intolerance and absurdity, not because the mainstream of society is becoming more racist, prejudiced, patriarchal or oppressive – but precisely because it isn’t. As mainstream society becomes less fixated by race, gender, sexuality, etc., so peddlers of grievance and victimhood must search out - or invent - something to oppose. Overstatement and escalation are all but inevitable.
With ObamaCare In Shambles, Liberals Have Decided To Pivot To...The Minimum Wage
After once again demonstrating their prowess on all matters economic with ObamaCare, liberals have turned their attention to another economy crippling idea...increasing the minimum wage.
Naturally all the usual suspects, Obama, the media, and professional liberal agitators are united for the push.
First, Obama had his big economic speech yesterday in which he called for hiking the minimum wage to address income inequality. Gotta spread it around, right?
This was tied to today's strike against fast food shops in selected cities across the country.
And then there's the lefty propaganda under the guise of non-partisan scholarship.
Whether or not most of those who work 40 hours a week at the minimum wage or near it and are supporting families believe that they are entitled to food and housing, the fact is that they are doing what we have long believed was fulfilling our basic social contract—work hard, be productive, and you and your family can live a decent life with a place to live, food on the table, clothes on your backs, and other necessities. In the past, Republicans thought that the market ought to set wages, and that a combination of government devices—including the earned-income tax credit, housing subsidies, food stamps, Medicaid, and other social-welfare programs—could fill in the gaps to make that social contract work, while also trying to remove disincentives from work via welfare reform. There is not only a continuing belief in some quarters that markets should set wages, but strenuous efforts to make deep cuts to food-stamp funding and slash other programs that help low-income workers—condemned as “takers.”
It is a fact that our economic system continues to have big gaps. The web of subsidies can create real disincentives for those at the bottom of the scale who want to work but would actually lose more benefits than their minimum-wage income would bring in. The effective marginal tax rate for a couple both making low wages if the second person works can be more than 100 percent because of benefit formulas. A couple of weeks ago, when I wrote about the war on food stamps, I mentioned a D.C. woman who is struggling to feed herself and her daughter, but calculated that she would need a job paying $15 an hour to do better. That is an artifact of poorly constructed, patchwork policies. Liberal cant notwithstanding, there is a culture of dependency that can discourage work among many. But the fact is most people out of work want to work—it defines their self-worth.
So because the liberal welfare state has become so (relatively) generous that the minimum wage would need to be nearly doubled for it to make economic sense for a person to get a job. It then of course falls to businesses to somehow find the money to pay workers more money, even though they are not providing any additional value for that increased wage.
Of course the money for that new higher wage will come from a combination of fewer workers or increased cost to consumers. Meanwhile the consumer and business owners who are expected to carry the increased wage burden will still have to pay the taxes to fund the welfare benefits that compete with wages in a never ending upward spiral.
And that's going to create economic growth?
According to Barack Obama, yes.
Do these people really believe this or are they just messing with us?
Of course no policy fight in the Age of Obama would be complete without liberal totalitarians wondering if King Barack I could just do this on his own without all the messiness of congressional involvement.
Well, progressives say, there's a whole group of low-wage workers that he can fix this for, just with the stroke of a pen. The chairmen of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Reps. Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison, wrote a letter that urges the president to circumvent Congress and sign an executive order to raise the minimum wage for workers employed through federal government contracts with private companies. This letter comes months after 49 members of the CPC requested the same thing from the president, only to hear radio silence about it from the White House.
"It's frustrating," says Ellison, who hand-delivered the letter to the president after his speech Wednesday. "We know his heart is in the right place and he wants to do something, and this is something he can do."
It's especially frustrating for Ellison and his caucus considering there is no chance such a measure could pass the Republican-held House and that Obama said months ago that he would use "whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class."
Unrelated prediction: Liberal love of robust unilateral executive action will end the second a Republican wins the White House again.
The minimum wage fight comes down to a fight between two camps..people who understand economics and the vast majority of Americans. You either understand that wages are a function of labor supply and demand as well as individual skills or you think pay rates are simply social constructs that can be raised or lowered devoid of any connections to real world conditions and consequences.
But hey, the same coalition that brought the wonders of their economic understanding of health insurance market to us through ObamaCare can be wrong, can they?
What's not to love about that? Unless of course you are the one being stuck with the bill or a worker who will either lose their job or fail to get one because reality will kick in no matter what liberals want to believe.
Thursday Morning News Dump
- Obama's "Become The Very Danger The Constitution Was Designed To Avoid
- Panicked Dem Senators Hold Meeting With The WH
- The Id And The Ick
- Theives Who Stole Cobalt-60 In Mexico Likely To Die
- VDH: Ignoring History
- The War Of The Wages
- Schumer Sleeps Next To Poster Of Obama
- The Equilibrium Of East Asia
- Taranto: The Time Thief
- Idiot Dem Quotes The Borowitz Report To Refute Obamacare Critics
- Bashir Had Previously Been Suspended By MSNBC
- Elizabeth Warren Pledges Not To Run In 2016
- Opposition To Gun Control Up 23 Percent Since January
- A Case Study In The Wonk Gap
- Kaus: Obamacare Needs A Doohickey
- 400,000 Year Old Human DNA Found?
Sorry it's a bit light on links, I've been busy this morning.
Top Headline Comments 12-5-13
I'm always surprised when Penny Arcade's comic & blog post manage to dovetail with what we're talking about, but I suppose I shouldn't be, since they're often reacting to the same news that we are. If you're new to PA, the comic is satire, the blog post is where the goods are at.
The NRCC is trying to teach GOP politicians how to run against women candidates without Todd Akinizing themselves.
Fox News has recap from yesterday's congressional hearing on Obama's end runs around Congress. Ace talks about that hearing on the podcast that'll be posted tomorrow.
Oh, hey, 2 million Facebook, Gmail, and Twitter passwords were stolen, so if you happen to use those services, you might consider changing your passwords.
Movie and comic geeks, Israeli actress Gal Gadot has been cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman film.
Overnight Open Thread (12-4-2013)
So I've been on a kick of watching old Carol Burnett episodes especially the classic Family skits. Some of these I haven't seen since they originally aired and I was pleased to see that they're still as funny and timeless as I vaguely remembered. (Mama's Birthday and Forgive Your Enemies are classics)
Of course I see a lot of Eunice, Mama and Ed in my own extended family (I suspect I'm not alone in this which is what made them so appealing) and watched many a family holiday start out with high hopes and a veneer of good cheer and joviality while the tension and periodic squabbling slowly built until you just knew a Scene was about to erupt. Entertaining as long you're not involved and just accept Christmas screaming matches and reconciliation as another family holiday tradition. Good times, good times. Norman Rockwell they weren't but that doesn't mean that they don't love each other (mostly) and aren't a real family.
Another thing I noticed is that the skits are rather long by today's standards. Some are as short as 10 minutes but most run around 20 minutes or more which allows for a good amount of build-up and character development. After watching a few I've realized that they were essentially written as short one act comedy plays with recurring characters (as well as an underlying layer of pathos).
You can watch practically the entire collection here.
Blog Alert: CAC will be on The Wrap with Bruce Carroll and Amy Otto at 10:30pm eastern discussing his
blog treason excellent piece for the Federalist. You can listen here.
Some guy named Josh did this to me tonight, because he thought I was rude when he tried to run me over. http://t.co/j2zVnrwYb1
- Jim Treacher (@jtLOL) December 04, 2013
I think the sooner he gets back to Indiana the better his life will be. And despite the various kerfuffles here the Morons wish him well. There are people who are willing to help him - if he'll let them.
The award for craziest response to 12 Years a Slave has to go to Jonathan Chait, however. Chait claims** to have been so emotionally devastated that he laid in bed unable to sleep for five hours, tossing and turning and tearing up the sheets even though he saw a morning matinee and didn't go to bed until 10 hours later. Indeed, the movie so deeply and profoundly affected Chait that it reminded him that all conservatives are engaging in racist tropes every time they criticize the president.
Granted, it doesn't take much to make Chait think that conservatives are super-terrible race-baiting bad guys. For instance, did you know that Republicans who seized on Obama's "you didn't build that" gaffe were engaging in a racist assault on the president? Don't worry, Chait was all over it. Dog whistles and such.
The Facebook Messenger app requires users agree to be monitored by microphone at any time without their permission. ? pic.twitter.com/NLokWsNlrtStop it, Facebook. Just stop.
- Richard J. Wood (@RichardJWood) November 29, 2013
And apparently they also make you agree that they can monitor your phone camera as well. Did no normal human being ever review this?
An identity defined in terms of victimhood needs fresh injections of oppression to sustain its existence. Those African-Americans who define "blackness" not in terms of positive values but in terms of negative values, need white racism, the real thing or the fake one, to remind them of who they are. And the same holds true for other minorities who define themselves not by their culture or values, but by their resentments.
The left's need for victimisation means that increasing levels of tolerance actually lead to escalating confrontations with these manufacturers of intolerance. The assertion that all white people are innately racist because of their privilege is one such response to increasing tolerance. By claiming that whiteness itself is racist, the left gets back to political identity, rather than actual discrimination, as the source of conflict, and redefines even the most tolerant university multicultural spaces as racist.The manufacturers of intolerance, whether they're tenured academics like Ward Churchill, professional politicians like Barack Obama or angry waitresses like Dayna Morales, respond to tolerance with provocations. Their goal is to elicit evidence of intolerance to sustain their political identity. The more tolerance they encounter, the more they escalate their provocations. Their goal is not a tolerant society. It's not a multiracial society or a post-racial society. It is a society perpetually at war over identity politics. That conflict is what gives them power.
It sure seems that way. The fact that there's no due process of any sort with the no-fly list has always bothered me.
Hockey is as Russian as gulags and alcoholism. So who would've thought the Magnitogorsk Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League would need grassroots marketing to sell out a home stand for a team that is 18-7 and third in its division?
Mostly SFW I think.
We moved on to wool gabardine. When you're doing heroes, when you want the characters to look heroic, there are certain things that you must do to make them seem that way - Broader shoulder, narrow of hip, as vertical as possible, chest out, ready to go after evil. As well as being more comfortable for the actors, changing the uniform to a shirt and pants combo, rather than a jumpsuit, meant that Patrick Stewart's shirt almost constantly rode up, thus creating the iconic Picard Maneuver. Starfleet Uniforms Part 3: 2350s - 2370s
Well whenever I go to an aquarium or Sea World it always make me crave seafood so this makes perfect sense to me. Mmmmm...Flipper. Who's on top of the food chain now MFer?
Le AoSHQ groupe de Yahoo. Ooh la la!
Tonight's post brought to you by ironic or maybe perfectly fitting:
Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.
Close it up
pre-ONT living fossils
OK, this one is actually a mounted specimen.
These are not mounted.
Close it up
Karl: It Would Take a Miracle to Screw Up the Pryor-Cotton Race
Hans Gruber: You Asked For a Miracle? I Give You The G. O. P.
Okay, so, the RNSC jumped on Pryor's newfound devotion to Jesus, or, as Pryor calls him, "The Jay Man," contrasting his recent ad with previous statements averring (when convenient) that the Bible should not be used to inform political choices.
Actually, that seems perfectly reasonable to me. If Pryor previously claimed that the Bible shouldn't guide his votes, it is perfectly fair to point out his hypocrisy in now waving around the Good Book to help him out in a political campaign.
But I guess they didn't clear this with the candidate Tom Cotton. Or something. I don't know. The Pryor campaign has claimed the RNSC is "questioning mah faith!!!!," and the Cotton campaign is now agreeing: Yes, you questioned his faith, and that's horrible. Stop questioning people's faith.
RSC communications director Brad Dayspring emailed reporters to say that statement contradicts one Pryor made last year, however, when he said the Bible "is really not a rulebook for political issues" and that "everyone can see it differently."
"So is the Bible Mark Pryor's compass, providing the 'comfort and guidance to do what's best for Arkansas?' Or is it really not a good rule book for political issues and decisions made in the Senate? Guess it depends on which Mark Pryor that you ask," Dayspring said.
Cotton's campaign ripped Dayspring's remarks.
"That is an incredibly bizarre and offensive email from the NRSC’s press secretary. We should all agree that America is better off when all our public officials in both parties have the humility to seek guidance from God," Cotton campaign spokesman David Ray told The Hill.
It’s an unusual break for Cotton from the NRSC, which has provided strong backing for his campaign while regularly attacking Pryor.
Pryor's campaign seized on the controversy to strike at Cotton.
"It's frankly despicable that Congressman Cotton's Washington allies are manipulating quotes to question the sincerity of Mark's religious beliefs," said Pryor campaign manager Jeff Weaver. "Tom Cotton needs to step up and denounce these shameful attacks on Mark Pryor's faith."
To me, a secular guy, the RNSC attack seemed perfectly fair game. Pryor is plainly trying to have it both ways here. When he casts votes that offend the religious, he says the Bible shouldn't inform public policy. When he's about to get voted out of office, he's on the air saying Jesus is his Copilot.
But I guess maybe... among Arkansans, questioning someone's actual religiosity (even when there's a fair justification for questioning it) is considered dirty pool and out-of-bounds?
I don't know. But I know there's a botch here. Somehow this Fat Ass Elmer Gantry Motherf***er has turned his despicable "Re-Elect Me Because God Wants You To n' Stuff" ad into a referendum on whether his opponent sufficiently respects religious faith.
Newfangled crapper will do medical analysis on your pee
...It also analyzes your pee. “It’s what you’d get if you go to the doctor now, and you need to be checked for diabetes or kidney disease and they check things like the phosphates in the urine,” Sheard says. “In the U.K., many people with diabetes are diagnosed late, which adds billions of pounds a year in health costs.” By checking up on users, the toilet aims to help catch diseases earlier...
...It could also replace the ubiquitous home pregnancy test...
...he toilet could also analyze nutritional deficiencies. All of the health feedback could be sent to a smartphone through an app...Unstated, but obviously possible, is it could send evidence of your illegal drug use directly to the govt. With the NSA already into your shit in a big way, its not a big leap for them to actually be into your shit.
Container of Radioactive Material Stolen In Mexico Found.... But Found Empty
A cargo truck ferrying dangerously radioactive material was hijacked in Mexico.
The truck was carrying a metal container of cobalt-60 headed to a nuclear waste facility in the state of Mexico, said Juan Eibenschutz, director general of the National Commission of Nuclear Safety and Safeguards....
Direct exposure would result in death within a few minutes, he added.
"This is a radioactive source that is very strong," Eibenschutz told The Associated Press on Wednesday, adding that is can be almost immediately fatal, depending on proximity. "The intensity is very big if it is broken."
Eibenschutz didn't know the exact weight, but that it was the largest amount stolen in recent memory, and the intensity of the material caused the alert. Local, state and federal authorities, including the military, are searching for the tr
The thieves likely didn't know what the truck was carrying, he said, and may have discarded the metal container, which he said is about a meter square.
Yeah, the update casts doubt on that appraisal.
"If someone finds a big chunk of metal with radiation symbols all over it, they should notify us immediately and don't open it," Eibenschutz said.
The driver of the truck was doing his level-best to combat stereotypes about Mexicans when he was hijacked:
He said told authorities he was sleeping in the truck when two men armed with a gun approached about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Authorities have now found the container which formerly held the radioactive material -- but the container was empty.
Awesome. RT @AP: BREAKING: Mexican nuclear official say stolen container of radioactive material found empty.— Matt (@Matthops82) December 4, 2013
Why would they take the material out of the container? Given that the container exists to shield nearby people from lethal radiation?
That's extremely dangerous. Either leave the container behind if you don't want it at all, or, if you're looking to sell the material, keep it in the container as you move it.
I can only think of one reason for moving the material out of the container: Because they suspected (wrongly, it turns out) that the container had some kind of electronic tracker in it. So they swapped the radioactive material into their own container.
Which is alarming. Because that means they cane prepared, and were looking specifically for nuclear material. Which means they have specific plans for the material.
Update: My alarmism might have been premature. I had skipped this story, based on the 24 hour rule, but became alarmed to hear it had been moved out of its containers.
Now I see Brandon Darby tweeting the material itself has been found 1 kilometer from the container:
I'm not sure that update is accurate, though: The FoxNews piece, stating that the container was found but not the material it once held, is very recent (updated three minutes ago as I type this). So I don't know about this new claim that the material has been recovered as well.
Update: Live on FoxNews, they're saying the container was found empty, but not the material, which is what I originally thought. I think this tweet about the material being found is just wrong, or at least it's unconfirmed.
BBC: Material Has Been Found, But "Its Condition Remains Unclear." What does that mean? I have no idea myself.
Updated Again: FoxNews Reports Mexican Officials Saying the Material Has Been Recovered.
Stolen radioactive material in Mexico has been recovered and there's no risk to the surrounding population, a Mexican official tells The AP— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) December 4, 2013
Young Voters Turn Against Obama & Obamacare
A Harvard study that tracks the attitudes of young voters (and, I guess, the #WHYouth) finds that they've gone sour on Obama.
The results blow a gaping hole in the belief among many Democrats that Obama's two elections signaled a durable grip on the youth vote.
Obama's approval rating among young Americans is just 41 percent, down 11 points from a year ago, and now tracking with all adults. While 55 percent said they voted for Obama in 2012, only 46 percent said they would do so again.
When asked if they would want to recall various elected officials, 45 percent of millennials said they would oust their member of Congress; 52 percent replied "all members of Congress" should go; and 47 percent said they would recall Obama. The recall-Obama figure was even higher among the youngest millennials, ages 18 to 24, at 52 percent.
Obama needs these young fools to sign up for his massively redistributive trainwreck. But they've gotten word it's intended to harm them:
According to the poll, 57 percent of millennials disapprove of Obamacare, with 40 percent saying it will worsen their quality of care and a majority believing it will drive up costs. Only 18 percent say Obamacare will improve their care. Among 18-to-29-year-olds currently without health insurance, less than one-third say they're likely to enroll in the Obamacare exchanges.
It's an online survey, though performed by what seems to be a respectable outfit. But I'm not sure how the polling industry feels about online polls, which include a healthy dose of self-selection.
Wow: Acolytes Sing Songs of Devotion to the Cult of the State
Via Naked DC, where you can see what songs these are parodying/ripping off or whatever.
Barack Obama is an incompetent idiot, but he does understand one thing. It's a creepy thing -- the Nazis and Soviets understood it as well -- but he definitely does get it.
Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day.
Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime.
Give a man a Cult of Fish, which talks a lot about the Wonders of Fish and the cult-leaders' ability to provide fish to all who want them (despite not doing so),
and then he won't mind that you're not giving him any fish or teaching him how to fish either.
Because you've given him something better. You've given his empty life a semblance of meaning, and you've given his incoherent and craven thoughts some structure.
And he'll thank you for that forever. Even though, still, no fish.
He'll blame the Cult's list of approved devils for the lack of fish, and he'll praise you for your wondrous intentions to provide fish.
Or at least your determination to talk a lot about fish. Fish, fish, fish, And The Middle Class.
Even if you never actually produce a single fish, and in fact cancel the fish-plans of five million people.
I haven't gone Godwin. It's just not capable of being unnoticed any longer.
A lot of people are noticing just how creepy the Cult of the State is.
I liked this video better, which got to the heart of the matter way back in 2008:
Close it up
Martin Bashir Out at MSNBC
MSNBC has a stable of troglodytes, but Bashir's vulgarity was too much even for them.
A couple of idiots from Politico were discussing MSNBC's lineup on their video podcast a couple of weeks ago, and one likened it to "Animal House."
Central to the leftist's sense of vanity is his mistaken belief that he is an elevated person, in taste, intellect, and culture. In fact, he is none of these things. In almost all cases, he actually aspires to mediocrity -- or at least he would aspire to mediocrity, if he weren't already so convinced he had nothing else to prove to the world.
Martin Bashir directly challenges that self-flattery. Not only is he thick-headed and crude as a general matter, but he routinely resorts to provocations so vulgar that only the crudest malefactors in the Fightin' Fightin' Nutroots could fail to notice their vulgarity.
As such, he's bad for business. Starbucks could not con people into buying $6 cups of coffee if, directly beside the register, stood a magazine rack openly displaying vintage copies of Hustler.
Of course, the rest of MSNBC's lineup is similarly crude and thuggish. Ed Schultz is a red-faced rage-drunk, Al Sharpton is a rabble rouser with a body-count, Lawrence O'Donnell gets menacingly angry talking to women and occasionally challenges people to streetfights (people he knows won't accept the challenge, by the way), and Chris Matthews alternates between frothing accusations of racism and sending video selfies of his on-air visible erections to Barack Obama.
Meanwhile, of the alleged "smart ones" -- the ones who play to the leftist's erroneous self-conception of belonging to the intellectual and cultural elite -- Rachel Maddow is a conspiracy-theory loving imbecile whose concept of analysis is a sneering head-tilt, and who routinely pushes Alex Jones level nonsense out to a gullible public. Chris Hayes, despite his pretenses of reasonableness, is true-believing hyperpartisan goon.
But Martin Bashir's ratings were the lowest of The Low lineup, and so he's gone.
Obama's Fixed Website Is So Totally Fixed He's Telling Insurers to "Estimate" People's Subsidies For Them
The "fixed" website is fixed in the sense it lets you enter all of your personal information into a massive sucking black hole of identity theft. That it permits you to do.
Well, it permits you to do that sometimes. Other times it makes you wait for the privilege of entering your most personal and confidential data into a Hacker's Paradise.
After a glowing news conference yesterday citing “night and day” progress on HealthCare.gov, I decided to log in this morning and take the Web site for a test drive, as I’m sure many others are doing. Early reports had been promising. What I found was hardly encouraging — long delays loading pages, an endless circle of tasks (some already completed) and ultimately an error message.
How about shopping for insurance policies? Nah bro, it won't let you do that. Comparison shopping between different products on a website is the sort of Star Wars like technology we can only yet dream of.
So I decided to try the site again this afternoon. This time, I didn’t see the “Please Wait” flags that bogged me down yesterday, but I had a more fundamental problem. When I got to the step of comparing health plans, I couldn’t see any.
So far so good! Healthcare.gov has three big steps: Apply. Shop. Buy. So far you can't do either of the first two. But I have high hopes for the third.
Well not really, because the code for buying a policy hasn't even been written yet. Oh well!
But at least it will calculate your subsidy for you.
Nah bro, it can't do that either. So Obama has pulled out his Magic Legislation-Rewriting Pen again and willed that the Insurance Companies should illegally "estimate" your subsidy for you.
President Barack Obama's administration has found a short-term fix to pay insurance companies for plans selected on HealthCare.gov, the not-yet-complete government website used to shop for insurance required under Obama's healthcare program.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not yet finished building the part of the website that would transfer billions of dollars in subsidies for plan premiums and cost-sharing payments to insurance companies.
It is part of a long technical to-do list that has so far focused on fixing the errors and lag times in the part of the website used by consumers.
The administration is planning a "workaround" for payments, said Daniel Durham, vice president for policy and regulatory affairs at America's Health Insurance Plans.
Health plans will estimate how much they are owed, and submit that estimate to the government. Once the system is built, the government and insurers can reconcile the payments made with the plan data to "true up" payments, he said.
What does "true up" mean? Who pays the difference? Apparently not the consumer -- it will be the government and insurers reconciling the estimate to the actual subsidy. So apparently the government will pay the difference between estimated and actual subsidy?
And don't insurance companies have an incentive to estimate upwards, suggesting a bigger subsidy than the real one, to sign people up?
How much will this fresh incompetence cost us?
The fix puts an additional "burden" on insurance companies, already taxed by having to double-check faulty enrollment data from the HealthCare.gov system.
And here's the kicker: Insurers have to build this system to estimate subsidies in... like a week.
Now, companies need to quickly put together financial management systems to make the payment estimates, so they can be paid beginning in January, he said.
Actually, that's not the kicker. I lied. I do that that a lot. Lying is my cardio.
The real kicker is this: Insurers may begin exiting the exchanges entirely if they can't get paid for policies they're supposed to be covering. The article mentions that some big insurers may have a pile of money to "cushion" them during a period of paying out claims and yet not receiving any premium checks, but smaller companies don't.
"They cannot survive if they don't get paid. And even the larger carriers, it can only go on for so long," Lucia said. "The last thing we need is for a carrier, especially a large carrier, to walk away from this."
Thanks to John Ekdahl.
Mark Pryor's New Ad: Jesus Save Me
I'm angry about this ad. Not just because it's an attempt by a Democrat to invoke the name of God Himself to win an election.
But because of the predictable reaction to it by the determined, angry secularists of the New Class: The reaction will be nothing at all.
When Republicans play the Culture Card, the New Class is outraged. They are made filthy-angry by the injection of religion and tribal loyalty into what they feel should be a decision made upon the bases of reason and empathy and For Science.
But when a Democrat does it, they just nod approvingly, and maybe giggle: Well if that what it takes to move the Rubes...
As with any of the alleged principles of the Progressive Left, Fen's Law applies: They believe none of the things they say they believe. The only thing they actually believe in is that Progressives should rule the world, and they may use any tactic, including resorting to Nasty Jesus Talk, to achieve this long-dreamed goal.
It shouldn't be overlooked that this is a desperation move. Mark Pryor is calling upon the Power of God because it's looking like that's the only power in the universe sufficient to spare him an electoral drubbing. Hit Allah's link for Sean Trende's analysis of Democrats in trouble, generally; and check out the bio of Pryor's Republican opponent, Tom Cotton. Cotton's a Harvard lawyer who signed up in Army and got his officer commission so that he could kill terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Not to slight JAG officers, but I would point out here that Cotton did not serve as a JAG; he served as a front-line soldier leading troops on the battlefield.
As an infantry officer and platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division, he was deployed to Baghdad as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom on May 19, 2006. In Iraq, Cotton was responsible for a 41 man air assault infantry platoon in the 506th Infantry Regiment, and planned and led daily combat patrols. He completed his first combat tour in Iraq on November 20, 2006, and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and various campaign/service medals.
Following his deployment in Iraq, Cotton was assigned as a platoon leader at The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, where he was responsible for conducting military honor funerals for veterans. In 2008, he volunteered to return to combat duty, was promoted to Captain on August 1, 2008, and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on October 15, 2008. In Afghanistan, Cotton was assigned to Laghman Province, just north of Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan. He was assigned duty as the operations officer of a Provincial Reconstruction Team, where he planned and resourced daily counter-insurgency and reconstruction operations for an 83-member joint and interagency team.
I hope this isn't a violation, but God just cc'd me on an email to Mark Pryor. He writes, "I can move mountains, but even I can't get your fat dumper over 40% in the election. Y'all on your own."
Another Hoax: Woman Pens Harrowing Account of Her Life in Abject Poverty; Gets $100,000 from Donors via GoFundMe; Turns Out To Be Middle Class and Educated in a Private School
The story went viral on the left, of course. Touré made the story the centerpiece of a broader call for helping the poor (i.e., redistribution of wealth).
Tirado’s republished confessional in The Huffington Post received more than 4 million views and was featured by MSNBC host Touré. He was clearly moved by the plight of this woman.
“Poverty is sticky,” the MSNBC host opined. “It clings to you, leaves physical markers on the body.” He singled out a portion of Tirado’s essay that was particularly sympathetic.I have missing teeth and skin that looks like it will when you live on b12 and coffee, and nicotine, and no sleep. Beauty is a thing you get when you can afford it and that’s how you get the job you need in order to be beautiful.
But an investigation into Tirado’s background by the Houston Press’ Angelica Leicht revealed that the blog post’s author is a private-school-educated Democratic activist who wildly exaggerated her circumstances. She owns a home as the result of her parent’s generosity. She has worked in politics since 2004 and has called herself a private political consultant since 2010.
She’s married to a Marine, has met President [Barack] Obama while interning for a politician (who obviously wasn’t disgusted by those rotten teeth), and has plenty of time to visit Las Vegas on vacation. And blog about her privileged life on WordPress.
She speaks both German and Dutch, and has a well-rounded political blog that ended in 2011. It’s also a blog where she quite plainly references being paid to win [political] races.
What's her defense? Well, the left has three go-to defenses when they're caught saying things which are either untrue or disgraceful.
1. "I was being satirical."
2. "I was just trying to 'start a dialogue.'"
3. "You misunderstood."
4. "I've been taken out of context."
She goes for 4 with a side of 3:
And that is the answer to the question many of you have asked. How is it that someone with such clarity and evocation has any right to assert that they are poor? It is likely untrue. Well, it is and it isn’t. You have to understand that the piece you read was taken out of context, that I never meant to say that all of these things were happening to me right now, or that I was still quite so abject. I am not. I am reasonably normally lower working class. I am exhausted and poor and can’t make all my bills all the time but I reconciled with my parents when I got pregnant for the sake of the kids and I have family resources. I can always make the amount of money I need in a month, it’s just that it doesn’t always match the billing cycles.
I am having trouble categorizing a woman who owns her own house (apparently assisted in this by her parents) as "lower working class."
Corrected: I wrote that she'd gotten $10,000 in donations. That was way wrong.
Poll: 78% of Americans want congress drug tested
...The latest research from YouGov shows that Americans support requiring welfare recipients (64%) to submit to drug tests, but are even more in favor of requiring Congressmen (78%) to also prove that they do not take illegal drugs. People are only more likely to support requiring airline pilots (87%) to submit to random drug tests...The dude collecting carts in a Home Depot parking lot has to do it, and the fate of the country isn't riding on his shoulders. So, hell yea.