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October 22, 2014

Overnight Open Thread (10-22-2014)


Quote of the Day

"Note how they define sexual intercourse above. Apparently men can't have sexual intercourse."

-- Tammen on the White House mandated Campus Climate surveys.

Fear The Hat, Beware the Mace

But most importantly watch out for the pistol in the hands of a man who knows how to use it and is prepared to act.

A former Mountie is being hailed a hero for reportedly shooting a gunman who went on the rampage inside the Canadian Parliament today.

Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers is being praised by politicians for 'selflessly keeping them safe' following today's terrifying shooting spree, with unconfirmed reports he was the one who took the suspect down.

Veteran Mr Vickers undoubtedly saved lives by bravely taking down the alleged shooter, putting his own safety at risk in doing so. 

Canadian media are reporting that he is a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, better known as a Mountie, and that he has held his current position as Sergeant-at-Arms since 2006.
Sergeant-at-Arms-Kevin-Vickers FedElxn 20110325

Remembering A Bridge Too Far

Well after watching this fan-made trailer I'm ready to go watch it again.

Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:40 PM Comments

Hastily Composed World Series Game 2 Thread

—Dave In Texas

Baseball only, all the real important stuff is down there. But if you want to talk baseball here ya go.

World Series 2014.jpg

Posted by Dave In Texas at 08:17 PM Comments

Good News: Family of Second Infected Nurse, Amber Vinson, Says Her Ebola Count is So Low As to Be Undetectable


This CNN story discusses why some people live and others die. Apparently it's very important to get diagnosed early, and begin a course of hydration.

Another thing that helps is to get transfused with antibodies in the plasma of an ebola survivor.

And that's how Dr. Kent Brantly -- one of the missionaries who caught ebola a couple of months ago -- is still saving people from ebola.

Three Ebola patients -- Sacra, NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo and Texas nurse Nina Pham -- all received plasma donations from Brantly. And all three have survived.

The theory is that Brantly's plasma contains the antibodies necessary to fight the virus.

"It's very fortunate that the three patients I've been able to donate to, they and I share the same blood type," Brantly told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

"I'll keep doing it as much as it's needed, as much as I can."

There was some controversy about why Brantly didn't give plasma to Duncan. But the problem came down to blood type, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said.

Nina Pham was recently upgraded to "good" condition, though she's still fighting the disease.

Nina Pham's dog, Bentley, apparently doesn't have ebola. So that's good news too.

Posted by Ace at 06:31 PM Comments

Ottawa Gunman Identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32; Authorities Say No Motive Is Yet Known


First of all, the soldier gunned down has been identified as well: He was 24-year-old Corporal Nathan Cirillo.

RIP, Corporal Cirillo:

Regarding the killer:

A search on the internet for the name "Zehaf" discloses that the name is chiefly known in Algeria and Morocco (and France, but that is explained easily enough by the hundreds of thousands of French Algerians now living in France).

But he seems to have dubbed himself with that name:

Authorities say they do not yet know Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's motive for gunning down an innocent stranger.

However, Reuters just reported he was an Islamic convert.

Two U.S. officials said that U.S. agencies have been advised that the shooter was a Canadian convert to Islam.

It should be noted that the media is still suggesting this is likely a case of jihadism, and authorities don't seem to be warning them off that theory.

The incident comes just two days after two Canadian soldiers were run over, one of them killed, in Quebec by a man with jihadist sympathies.

That suspect, 25-year-old Martin Couture Rouleau, was shot by police, and later died.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman David Falls said Monday that the suspect "was known to federal authorities" and "authorities were concerned that he had become radicalized."

The case is similar to one in London last year in which an al Qaeda-inspired extremist and another man ran over a soldier with a car before hacking the off-duty soldier to death. Images of Michael Adebolajo, 29, holding a butcher knife and cleaver with bloodied hands in the moments after the May 2013 killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby shocked people around the world and sparked fears of Islamist terrorism in Britain.

Supposedly, a picture of Zehaf-Bibeau, dressed like a jihadi, was posted by an "ISIS media account."

The French says something a bit clumsy like "A photo which would be that of the Ottawa shooter." I don't speak French so I don't know if that really is clumsy, or it just seems clumsy.

The account that's from does call itself "Islamic Media," apparently a French-language Islamic site. However, I have no idea if this really is an ISIS account as some say, or if this really is a picture of Zehaf-Bibeau.

I don't know if that picture is real, or a hoax, but you're going to see it anyway. Might as well see it here.

Thanks to @jimmyprinceton for that picture.

Good Lord: Zehaf-Bibeau had been designated a "high-risk traveler" by Canada (which I'm going to assume maybe meant he had some intention to fly to Syria), and his passport was seized.

ources told The Globe and Mail that he was recently designated a “high-risk traveller” by the Canadian government and that his passport had been seized – the same circumstances surrounding the case of Martin Rouleau-Couture, the Quebecker who was shot Monday after running down two Canadian Forces soldiers with his car.

Rouleau-Couture, the car-killer, had himself wanted to fly to Syria to fight with ISIS.

Posted by Ace at 05:25 PM Comments

GOP Now +8 On AP Generic Ballot Among Likely Voters, Exceeding 2010's +7 Mark


Plus 8 is pretty good.

Erick Erickson notes that we're in a 2010 type environment.

Two of the polls that got 2012 right were the Associated Press/GfK poll and the Reuters/Ipsos poll. According to Reuters, the President is at 61% disapproval among likely voters. In the Associated Press poll, 60% of likely voters disapprove of the President. Further, the AP poll has the GOP ahead by eight percentage points in the generic ballot. For perspective, the AP had the GOP ahead by +7 in 2010. Even female voters are moving toward the GOP.

Jim Geraghty seized on that finding.

Geraghty quotes from the AP's analysis of its poll:

Women have moved in the GOP’s direction since September. In last month’s AP-GfK poll, 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 percent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.

Meanwhile, Josh Kraushaar reports that Democrats are beginning to snipe at the White House over its "ineptitude."

The relationship between the White House and Senate Democrats hit a new low Tuesday evening after the administration's press office released a transcript of first lady Michelle Obama's appearance in Iowa on behalf of Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley. The problem: The subject line of the e-mail referred to Braley as the "Democratic candidate for governor."

The botch came after the first lady repeatedly referred to the Democratic Senate nominee as "Bruce Bailey" in a campaign appearance earlier this month--and it took an attendee in the crowd to correct her mistake....

Indicating the sensitivity of the ["candidate for Governor"] mistake, top Senate Democratic officials wasted no time lashing out at the Obama administration's political team in response, suggesting it was acting like a junior varsity operation two weeks before the midterms....

"The ineptitude of the White House political operation has sunk from annoying to embarrassing," one senior Senate Democratic aide told National Journal.

But the Democrats aren't sunk yet: A campaign called "F*ckH8" has a bunch of little girls boosting "feminism" by saying the f-word a bunch.

Posted by Ace at 04:22 PM Comments

WaPo: Evidence Supports Officer Darren Wilson's Account of Ferguson Shooting


For one thing, the evidence suggests that there was in fact a close-quarters struggle over Wilson's weapon.

Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown after they fought for control of the officer’s gun and after Brown moved toward Wilson as they faced off in the street, according to interviews, news accounts and the full report of the St. Louis County autopsy of Brown’s body....

[M]ore than a half-dozen unnamed black witnesses have provided testimony to a St. Louis County grand jury that largely supports Wilson’s account of events of Aug. 9, according to several people familiar with the investigation who spoke with The Washington Post.

Some of the physical evidence -- including blood spatter analysis, shell casings and ballistics tests -- also supports Wilson’s account of the shooting, The Post's sources said, which cast Brown as an aggressor who threatened the officer's life. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they are prohibited from publicly discussing the case.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch late Tuesday night published Brown’s official county autopsy report, an analysis of which also suggests the 18-year-old may not have had his hands raised when he was fatally shot, as has been the contention of protesters who have demanded Wilson’s arrest.

Experts told the newspaper that Brown was first shot at close range and may have been reaching for Wilson's weapon while the officer was still in his vehicle and Brown was standing at the driver's side window. The autopsy found material "consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm" in a wound on Brown’s thumb, the autopsy says.

Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco who reviewed the report for the Post-Dispatch, said it "supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound."

A writer (wish I could remember who, so I could credit him) speculated that this information was being leaked deliberately -- with an okay from Holder's DoJ -- in order to let the Ferguson protesters down easily, to let them know what is coming.

Which may be a wise notion.

One protester put it succinctly: "If there is not an indictment, excuse my French, all hell is going to break loose."
Posted by Ace at 03:27 PM Comments

Croat Boxer Expresses Slight Disagreement With Referee About Stoppage of Fight


A referee stopped a fight involving a Croat boxer named Vido Loncar. He also awarded the victory to Loncar's opponent.

Both fighters went to their corners and took off their gloves.

The ref then invited each fighter over to talk with him, or something.

At this point Vido Loncar expressed his strong disagreement with the ref about his decision.

The below video begins just before the ref stops the fight. If you want to jump to the real action, skip to 1:05.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 02:25 PM Comments

Update: No Shooting at the Rideau Center Mall
Press Conference Now On


One shooter confirmed deceased.

However, if there was no shooter at the Rideau Center, then there is no logical reason why there needs to be more than one shooter. The shooter who killed the soldier at the War Memorial could have easily have done that, then walked a block and a half to shoot up the Parliament. (In fact, there are reports he was seen moving from the War Memorial to the Parliament.)

I think, given the false reports at the Rideau Center, we just might find out this one was one shooter after all.

That's from @benk84's CBC live feed.

The CBC notes that the belief of more than one shooter was premised on the idea there were additional shootings at the Rideau Center after the gunman was killed at the Parliament. But that premise now appears to be false.

I will get to other news soon. But this seems to be a big enough update, upending previous reports, to warrant its own post.

Press Conference: Still at @benk84's link, but also on the cable news channels.

Posted by Ace at 01:54 PM Comments

Update: Shootings at Three Sites in Canada?
Update: Soldier Shot at National War Memorial Dies, Reports Senior Canadian Minister
PM Steven Harper: There Is More Than One Shooter


Per Fox, "police searching for multiple gunmen."

Before getting to the claims of shootings at multiple venues, The PJM Tattler notes an interesting fact:

Update: The attacks come on the same day that Canada is set to bestow honorary citizenship on Malala Yousafazi. She won the Nobel Peace Prize last week, for advocating for women’s rights and education in her native Pakistan. That ceremony is to take place in Toronto.
[Quoting the Toronto Star: Yousafzai’s activism on behalf of girls in her region in Pakistan made her a target of the Taliban at the age of 15, when a would-be assassin shot her in the head. Since recovering, she has become known worldwide as a spokesperson on the importance of access to education.

That claim notwithstanding -- sometimes these things are just coincidences.

I don't know if I'd bet that way, but at the moment this is simply a theory and a speculation.

There are reports at three different sites.

Also suggestive: A Canadian soldier was just killed in a hit-and-run attack with a car in an attack police are calling a terrorist attack.

Hit-and-Run That Killed Canadian Soldier Is Called Terrorist Attack


OCT. 21, 2014

OTTAWA -- A hit-and-run car crash that killed one soldier and injured another this week was a terrorist attack, Canadian politicians, police and military commanders all suggested Tuesday, saying it had resulted from another Canadian's turn to radical Islam.

But little had emerged about why the man driving the car, Martin Rouleau-Couture, became radicalized last year or ran over the two soldiers at a strip mall in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on Monday.

The attack, which ended with the police fatally shooting Mr. Rouleau, as he was known, came at a time when Prime Minister Stephen Harper, like most of his Western counterparts, has been vigorously denouncing the Islamic State movement and warning of possible domestic terrorist attacks. Mr. Harper’s government has indicated that it is about to introduce new antiterrorism legislation, a move that troubles some civil liberties lawyers.

But the death of Patrice Vincent, 53, a warrant officer, and the wounding of an unidentified soldier underscored the difficulty the police and intelligence agencies face when dealing with radicalized citizens.

The killer had been "monitored" by an anti-terrorism task force since June.

Update: Soldier shot at National War Memorial appears to have died, per this tweet from Canada's Minister for Employment, Social Development, and Multiculturalism:

Note: This update comes from the CBC live feed that @benk84 linked in the last post.

Confirmed: Some MP's are also now reporting they were told the soldier has died.

Posted by Ace at 12:59 PM Comments

Active Shooter Near(In?) Canadian Parliament Building


[Update:] Changed: I'm seeing reports on twitter that the soldier may still be alive. I had linked to a NYT article claiming he died. I removed that link.

Sorry, this seems to be ongoing so the details are a bit sketchy.

BBC is reporting that someone was shot outside the Canadian Parliament building and that the assailant(s) then ran into the Parliament building

However, I'm seeing information on twitter that says it took place "near" the Parliament building. I will update ad credible information comes out.

You can watch CBC live coverage here.

Continue reading

Posted by BenK at 11:02 AM Comments

Open Thread


Bernhard Gutmann, "Gardens, Silvermine" (c. 1910)

Posted by rdbrewer at 10:59 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 10-22-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Wednesday.

The White House press secretary explained in the face of news media questioning yesterday that the only reason we know that the White House has been inaccurately editing the official transcripts of President Obama's statements is because of the White House's commitment to transparency. Cue Inigo.

Obama appears to be sabotaging his fellow Democrats out of single-minded, oblivious pursuit of a legacy.

If the trend holds, the GOP is about to do something magical and historic in Iowa.

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

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:45 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (10-21-2014)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the power to tax is the power to destroy.

Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:29 PM Comments

IS Now Lobbing Mortar Shells Into Baghdad's Green Zone


So that seems to be that then.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Ace at 08:07 PM Comments

World Series Game One

—Dave In Texas

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

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

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

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

There's no cryin in baseball.

There's no cheerleaders either.

So what.


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

Posted by Dave In Texas at 07:55 PM Comments

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



Annie Lennox, former member of the Eurythmics...

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And what do those girls see?

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

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

Thanks to @rdbrewer4.

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

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 06:37 PM Comments

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


I don't know what the hell to say.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, it went through our minds as well.

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

But I'm only mildly annoyed by that.

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

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

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

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

Were they all wrong?

No they weren't.

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

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

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

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

Posted by Ace at 04:26 PM Comments

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


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

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

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

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

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

On Al Sharpton's radio show:

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

Posted by Ace at 02:51 PM Comments

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The enhanced guidance is centered on three principles:

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

No skin exposure when PPE is worn

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

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

Principle #1: Rigorous and repeated training

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

Principle #2: No skin exposure when PPE is worn

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

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

Double gloves

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

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


The guidance includes having:


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

Trained observer to monitor PPE use and safe removal

Step-by-step PPE removal instructions that include:

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

Um, why limit this to disinfecting visibly contaminated PPE?

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

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

Principle #3: Trained monitor

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

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

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

And yet it's only being recommended now.

Posted by Ace at 12:46 PM Comments

Top Headline Comments 10-21-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Tuesday.

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

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

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

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Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:48 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (10-20-2014)


2001 Holiday Inn Commercial Accurately Predicted Our Current Ebola Czar*

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

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

Is a 21 Day Ebola Quarantine Long Enough?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 09:49 PM Comments

MNF Thread

—Dave In Texas

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

Ah well. It's a game.

Have a pleasant evening y'all.

MNF 10 20.jpg

She seems nice.

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

Thank you.

Posted by Dave In Texas at 08:29 PM Comments


—Brandon Finnigan

It has been a crazy year at the Decision Desk.

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

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

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

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

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


A mass of morons.

Join us.

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

Posted by Brandon Finnigan at 08:08 PM Comments

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

So yeah, it's like that.

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

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

But so this is what he said four days ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Ace at 07:37 PM Comments

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



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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Posted by Ace at 06:34 PM Comments

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Ace at 04:57 PM Comments

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


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

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

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

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

There's been some controversy about those scores.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 03:55 PM Comments

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


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

Posted by Ace at 02:32 PM Comments

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


Not just women, Tina.

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

They're beginning to feel slightly like that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now this...

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Ace at 01:47 PM Comments

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


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

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

Posted by Ace at 12:39 PM Comments

Marvel's Civil War Storyline Is Not About Gun Control

—Gabriel Malor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:33 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 10-20-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Monday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:51 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (10-19-2014)


Quote of the Day

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

Ah RIP Peak Oil - we barely knew ye.

Bobby Jindal Has Got Obama's Number

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


Ten Things the Ebola Crisis Tells Us About the Obola Administration

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

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


Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:08 PM Comments

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

—Open Blogger

Bobby Jindal has been on a tear lately.

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

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

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

And ICYMI, there's this gem:

Continue reading

Posted by Open Blogger at 08:20 PM Comments

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

—Open Blogger

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted by Open Blogger at 06:20 PM Comments

Gaming Thread 10/19/2014

—Gang of Gaming Morons!

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Open Blogger

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


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

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Posted by Open Blogger at 04:15 PM Comments

Gun Thread: 10-19-2014 [WeirdDave]

—Open Blogger

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

Gun of the Week


Defensive Gun Use of the Week

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

Continue reading

Posted by Open Blogger at 01:12 PM Comments

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Top Headlines
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Official TRAILER #1 [rdbrewer]

Matthew Boyle, Breitbart: Donald Trump to Mitt Romney: Don't Even Think About Running Again
"You 'blew it' in the last election, so don’t even try to run for president again.... Trump said that Romney fails to appeal to the Republican base and as such would lose yet again." [rdbrewer]

Canada probes Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as possible suspect in Ottawa shooting
"Canadian police are investigating a man named as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as a possible suspect in the shootings around parliament...." Related: Heavy: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know. [rdbrewer]

Sean Davis: Wastebook 2014: Eight Absurd Government Projects Funded With Your Money
"5) Free Luxury Gym Memberships For Federal Bureaucrats." [rdbrewer]

Adam Kredo: Iranian Gangs Step Up Acid Attacks Against ‘Immodest’ Women
Horrible. "More than 1,000 Iranians took to the streets across Iran early Wednesday to protest a rash of so-called 'acid attacks' against women who do not strictly follow Islamic law...." [rdbrewer]

The Guardian: Goodfellas actor files $250m lawsuit against The Simpsons for using his likeness
The complaint reads: "1. Stop breaking my balls, alright?" [rdbrewer]

Noah Rothman: This could be the most embarrassing New York Times editorial ever
"'Back off Obama, if you know what’s good for you,' these liberal outlets appear to be saying. For liberal journalists and political commentators, however, it’s just business. That might not be so for The New York Times editorial board, which seems to be taking Obama’s rebuke at the hands of erstwhile allies rather personally." [rdbrewer]

Cuomo Sells 945 Copies of Book; Paid Over $700,000 Advance
"The memoir, released last week, has sold 945 hardcover copies in its first week of sales, Amy Chozick of the New York Times reports." I just can't see why. [rdbrewer]

Heather MacDonald, City Journal: Infected by Politics
"To evaluate whether [opposition to travel bans] rests on purely scientific grounds, it helps to understand the political character of the public-health field. For the last several decades, the profession has been awash in social-justice ideology." [rdbrewer]

Wired: The Weird Astrophysics of Interstellar
Watch the video. "Neither wormholes nor black holes have been depicted in any Hollywood movie in the way that they actually would appear." --Kip Thorne [rdbrewer]

Finalists named for $10m Star Trek 'tricorder' X Prize
"The Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, launched last year, challenges anyone to develop a wireless device capable of detecting a range of diseases." [rdbrewer]

Aaron MacLean: Ebola v. Obesity: The Politicized NIH
From a couple of days ago. "But just because an outcome is good doesn’t mean that the federal government has a mandate to pursue it, let alone by means that are borderline Orwellian." Related story. [rdbrewer]

Video: Mark Udall Advocates Condone Voter Fraud: "That’s not even like lying or stealing"
James O'Keefe, Project Veritas. [rdbrewer]
Milo Yiannopoulos, Breitbart: Incredibly, GamerGate Is Winning - But You Won't Read that Anywhere In the Terrified Liberal Media
"There's the Intel vice president who told me via email that GamerGate was 'doing great work' and that he was 'sick of slander and self-loathing from the press'. He was talking about male journalists who do misandrist feminists' work for them." [rdbrewer]
Video: Chainsaw Massacre Prank
(Content warning.) Dude with no legs uses that for effect. Cruel, effective. [rdbrewer]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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