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January 29, 2015

Sign of the Times: Guy Armed With Gun Commandeers Dutch TV Station, Demands To Have His Message Transmitted to Country

—Ace

Guy looks like "Agent 47" from the Hitman videogame series, though he seems to be playing out a fantasy from the film V for Vendetta.



Per this French language report from Itele:

An Armed Man Stops the 8 O'Clock News Before Being Handled by The Police

* The man was holding an object resembling a silenced pistol, with which he briefly took hostage an employee of the Dutch TV station NOS, unseen on the screen, for a few minutes

* The armed man had demanded that this be transmitted: "The things which are going to be said are of global importance, we have been engaged by the secret services and have heard things that put our current society in doubt. And we are going to reveal them."

Video at that link.

This English language account has more video, including a different angle of the moment the cops take the mutant down.

The dramatic arrest of a gunman was caught on the cameras of the TV studio he had stormed in the Netherlands.

The gunman got into the headquarters of Dutch national broadcaster NOS demanding airtime.

I've seen various speculations that the guy is Muslim in the Itele thread, but those seem like pure guesses, with no evidence backing them. As of now, the gunman's motive is unknown. Heck, we don't even know if he was carrying a real gun.

He looks plain ol' Dutch to me.

Posted by Ace at 05:01 PM Comments



You Don't Say: Communist Party USA Vows to Help Democrats Get Elected

—Ace

Via @WeirdDave0 in the sidebar, news the media won't report, because, I guess, it's so Obvious.

Though if it's obvious the Communists and Democrats are on the same side, I question why the media is always denying this.

The chairman of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA has penned a 2,023-word manifesto making the critical point that American Communists are eager to work with the Democratic Party to advance the modern communist agenda and achieve communist goals.

Communist Party chairman John Bachtell published his essay last week at People’s World, a "daily news website of, for and by the 99% and the direct descendant of the Daily Worker."

"[L]abor and other key social forces are not about to leave the Democratic Party anytime soon," Bachtell promised. "They still see Democrats as the most realistic electoral vehicle" to fight against perceived class enemies.

Bachtell, 58, is playing the long political game and he has a strategy, he said.

"First, we are part of building the broadest anti-ultra right alliance possible, uniting the widest array of class (including a section of monopoly), social and democratic forces. This necessarily means working with the Democratic Party," the communist leader explained.

...

The rest of Bachtell’s declaration is mostly a somewhat modernized version of the same, garden-variety communist drivel communists have been spouting since roughly 1840.

I thought the same thing about the State of the Union.

Posted by Ace at 03:56 PM Comments



Shock: Racist Attempts to Contrive Racial Incident

—Ace

Some racists really seem to want the races to be in violent struggle.


He deliberately omitted one crucial detail:


If we lived in a decent society, penny-ante racial arsonists like Blow would be run out of town on a rail; but we do not live in a decent society, and probably never will again.

Posted by Ace at 02:10 PM Comments

NBC Reporter: Chris Kyle Was a "Racist" Who Lit Out on "Killing Sprees" In Iraq

—Ace

A serial killer, is what he's saying.


And yet these same guys are always Johnny-On-The-Spot in explaining the justifications for terrorism. I'm sure this guy could tell us why it isn't so bad that Iran is now encouraging Hezballah to "hunt" and kill Bibi Netanyahu's children.

It is past time to all but stop immigration from most Muslim countries. They are simply not ready to join the west; they carry with them their wars and ancient barbarities, and are too proud (and proud of what, I'd like to ask) to let these fall away as they join a new society.

No, I don't mean "all Muslims," but laws are in fact crafted to deal with masses of people, not individuals in all their idiosyncratic difference. And the mass of Muslims is simply too eager to continue fighting their 1000 year vendetta-wars and too determined to turn secular Christian nations into sharia lands.

We don't "owe" them citizenship, and it's time to start challenging this implicit claim from progressives that we somehow "owe" strangers citizenship, even when that act of kindness will bring us discord and even death.

Posted by Ace at 12:41 PM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky, "Sunny Morning" (1935)

Thanks to @zeyneppnyz for most of the art I post here.

Posted by rdbrewer at 10:36 AM Comments

Is The GOP Going To Confirm A Woman As Attorney General Who Thinks Illegal Aliens Have "A Right" To Work In This Country? Spoiler: Of Course They Are.

—DrewM.

During yesterday's confirmation hearing for Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General, Jeff Sessions of Alabama asked her if she thinks illegal immigrants have the right to work in the US.

Well, Senator, I believe that the right and the obligation to work is one that’s shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here. And certainly, if someone here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace…

She'd prefer that people who are here illegally continue to break the law by working? Fantastic!

Surely this, and her support for the legality of Obama's executive amnesty program (the one Republicans say violates the Constitution), is disqualifying. I mean, you can't have a someone who doesn't support enforcing the law serving as Attorney General. Wasn't stopping this kind of lawlessness one of the main campaign promises of Republicans less than three months ago?

Here's the new Chairman of the Judiciary Committee bringing the hammer down on the idea an amnesty supporter like Lynch can be confirmed by the new GOP Senate.

“As far as I know, Ms. Lynch has nothing to do with the Justice Department problems, but as the new attorney general, she can fix them,” said Grassley (R-Iowa).

Oh.

It's not the hill to fight on guys. But the next one? Oh you bet they'll ready to fight! You know, unless there's another hill and a better fight to keep their powder dry for.

Of course Team GOP apologists have a perfectly reasonable argument for supporting Lynch...conservatives are stupid.

Here's the problem with the "and keep Holder" argument that GOP officials other than Rubin are already floating.

One of the arguments in favor of a GOP Senate was that it would serve as a check on Obama should he have another Supreme Court nomination or two. Sure a Republican Senate would cave and confirm his picks but at the least it would force him to send up more moderate candidates. Well, if you're argument is "we'll stop the extremists" you've kind of given away the game that you won't if you confirm Lynch. Here's a woman who is saying that the policy the GOP is supposedly most upset about (spoiler: they aren't really), what's Obama's motivation to send up a moderate Supreme Court nominee? You really think he'll be so afraid of the GOP that he'll give up his last chance to send a hard core leftist to SCOTUS for life after the GOP gives Lynch a pass?

And remember the GOP complained about eliminating the filibuster for executive nominations but they didn't put it back in. It's almost as if Mitch McConnell and crew were more interesting in making sure Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and the rest couldn't make their lives unpleasant by forcing confrontations with Obama. Almost.

Posted by DrewM. at 09:35 AM Comments

How Obama's 529 Plan Shows The Welfare State Is Doomed

—BenK

Nice piece over at Reason.

The core of the problem is clear: the growing cost of the entitlement state. As the Congressional Budget Office warned earlier this week, over the next decade, "spending will grow faster than the economy for Social Security; the major health care programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and subsidies offered through insurance exchanges; and net interest costs." Tax revenues will stay essentially flat at around 18 percent of GDP, while spending, driven by entitlements, will rise to more than 22 percent of GDP. Longer-term projections indicate the cost of entitlements and interest on the debt will continue to rise in the decades after that.

In the bigger picture, the existing welfare state is unaffordable. Either it will have to be cut, or reformed, or paid for—by someone, somehow. The administration and its allies would like to reassure you that the someones who will pay for all of this will be limited to the richest of the rich, but in practice there’s only so much money that can be squeezed out of the extremely wealthy.

Which means that eventually, anyone looking for ways to keep the welfare state afloat will have to go after after the middle class—and, in particular, middle class savers. That’s where the money is. Sure, you can imagine alternatives, like a Value Added Tax (VAT), which might raise enough tax revenue to keep the budget in the clear. But it’s hard to imagine a popular political coalition forming around a regressive consumption tax that gives the government a major new revenue stream.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

Posted by BenK at 08:19 AM Comments

Morning Thread (1-29-2015)

—Andy

So, apparently the Tollybonn were just Freedom Fighters all along?

Smart Power FTW!

Posted by Andy at 06:53 AM Comments

Ye Old Obernite Open Thred (1-28-2015)

—Maetenloch

Helsinki Great, NYC Good, Lisbon Bad: The "Honesty Arc"

So researchers did a test of honesty in major cities around the world based on lost wallets.

Sixteen world cities, times twelve wallets. Each wallet containing the equivalent of $50 in local currency, some business cards and family photos, and a mobile phone number. How many wallets are returned?

...First, the good news: none of the cities surveyed brought shame on itself by returning none of the wallets. The bad news: globally, your chances or getting your wallet back are less than half. Of the grand total of 192 wallets sprinkled across malls, parks and sidewalks in those 16 cities, only 90 were returned - not more than 47%.

The most honest city was Helsinki, Finland where 11 out of 12 wallets were returned. And New York City outperformed every city in Europe other than Helsinki and Budapest with 8 out 12 wallets returned. Of all the cities in the test the worst were Lisbon and Madrid with a 90%+ loss rate. So don't lose any personal belongings or children in those cities.

lostwallet

MSM Attempting to Ban the N* G* Z*** Word

Not only do they not exist according to the MSM but by the newly issued PC rules you can no longer even talk about them in public.

But in the following days, the counter-attack against those calling attention to the growth of Islamist extremism in Europe has now gotten to the point where it is no longer possible for anyone to mention the existence of a "no go zone" for non-Muslims anywhere in Europe. But those who are trying to portray the entire topic as a conservative or anti-Muslim meme that must be stamped out are forgetting some important information. It wasn't Fox News or any conservative outlet that helped popularized the idea of such zones; it was the impeccably liberal New York Times.

The backlash against mention of no-go zones has gotten to the point where CNN anchor Anderson Cooper actually apologized for letting several guests mention them on his program. Though had he interviewed Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo who speciously threatened to sue Fox News for mentioning no go zones in the region of the French capital and had heaped scorn on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal for doing the same, Anderson also did a mea culpa for letting some guests say the dreaded words.

In the wave of the Paris attacks, several guests on this program mentioned 'no-go zones' in France. I didn't challenge them and twice referred to them as well. I should have been more skeptical, I won't make the same mistake again.

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 10:34 PM Comments

Al Jazeera's English Bureau: You Can't Say "Extremism," "Terrorism," "Jihad" or (of course) "Islamism"

—Ace

What if they threw an aggressive hegemonic theocracy and the left, as usual, didn't show up to fight it?

Shortly after news broke of a deadly January 27 attack by Islamic terrorists on a hotel in Libya’s capital, Al Jazeera English executive Carlos van Meek shot out an email to his employees.

"All: We manage our words carefully around here," the network’s head of output wrote to staff at the Doha-based news channel’s New York and Washington, D.C. newsrooms. "So I'd like to bring to your attention some key words that have a tendency of tripping us up.:

In an email obtained by National Review Online, van Meek warned the network’s journalists against the use of terms including "terrorist," "militant," "Islamist" and "jihad."

"One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter," the Al Jazeera executive wrote.

Grotesque. I wonder, if some right-wing privateer jihadist fighters decided to just blow up him and his family with a rocket, if he have such difficulty distinguishing between "terrorist" and "freedom fighter."

I'm beginning to hope these Murder Enthusiasts will be visited with just such an opportunity.

The word "extremist" was labeled off-limits. "Avoid characterizing people," van Meek said. "Often their actions do the work for the viewer."

"Do not use," van Meek's said of the term 'Islamist." He described it as "a simplistic label."

Dullards and savages and ignoramuses always imagine themselves to be so complex, don't they?

This isn't the first Al Jazeera email chain linked to NRO. Just after the Charlie Hebdo Freedom Fighter Incident, someone slipped NRO emails from Al Jazeera staffers arguing that the Charlie Hebdo murders were more complicated than believed by many Westerners.

Below was a list of "suggestions" for how anchors and correspondents at the Qatar-based news outlet should cover Wednesday’s slaughter at the Charlie Hebdo office (the full e-mails can be found below).

Khadr urged his employees to ask if this was "really an attack on 'free speech,'" discuss whether "I Am Charlie" is an "alienating slogan," caution viewers against "making this a free speech aka 'European Values' under attack binary [sic]," and portray the attack as "a clash of extremist fringes."

Noe the left has joined the Muslim jihadist-sympathizers in that effort, to portray the Charlie Hebdo "battle" as a "clash" between "two equally invalid extremist fringes," one which shoots people, and one which provokes people into shooting them by drawing doodles. The left has pushed this idea since they got over the initial shock of 9/11 -- that the War of Terrorism on the West is actually a war between terrorists and violent right-wing Christians, having nothing at all to do with the peaceful, rational, nonsectarian lefties in the middle, like Barack Obama, currently MIA from the War on Terror.

These nasty little moral retards refuse to comprehend that any jihadist would give us a quick slash of the knife to wound us in order to get by us to cut off their heads.

Sure, we right-wingers, being largely male and mostly straight, religious, and sexually modest, are natural enemies of violent radical Islam, but we're not the actual Targets of violent radical Islam.

The targets they're most interested in are almost all on the left.

And yet, when we attempt to protect these venal little monsters, what do they do? They accuse us of being violent warmongers.

For protecting them!

Posted by Ace at 06:21 PM Comments

Mike Huckabee: I've Got All Sorts of Strong Opinions About How You Live Your Life

—Ace

There was a Peanuts cartoon I remember. Linus was watching TV, and, without a word, Lucy entered the panel, walked in front of Linus, and turned off the TV.

"You shouldn't be watching this program," Lucy stated with Lucy-like certitude.

"Just what I always wanted," Linus said to himself. "My own personal censor."

Well, Mike Huckabee wants you to know he's got some opinions about your use of spicy language.

During an appearance on the Iowa radio program "Mickelson in the Morning," last Friday (comments at the 6:00 mark), Huckabee said that he found it "trashy" for a woman to curse in the workplace.

Host Jan Mickelson asked Huckabee, a Republican flirting with a 2016 presidential run, whether the former governor had experienced any "culture shock" by traveling from Arkansas to New York to host his own show on Fox News.

"Absolutely," Huckabee said, before explaining the differences in profanity usage between the South and the Northeast.

"In a business meeting ... in Iowa, you would not have people who would just throw the f-bomb and use gratuitous profanity in a professional setting," Huckabee said. "In New York, not only do the men do it, but the women do it!"

Tell me more about what you remember of the Techno-City, Grandpa Wanderer.

"This is worse than locker-room talk," Huckabee added. "This would be considered totally inappropriate to say these things in front of a woman and for a woman to say them in a professional setting. ... As we would say in the South: 'That's just trashy.'"

That's terrific. It's the height of manhood to begin carrying on like a 90 year old grandmother.

Posted by Ace at 04:39 PM Comments

Andrew Sullivan Will Stop Blogging "In the Near Future"

—Ace

Who cares?, you ask.

Um, no one, actually, but I needed a quickie post and look how quick this is.

As you can imagine this news from Andrew Sullivan has been greeted with a tasteful level of Seething Hatred. Various whoop-de-doos are linking their favorite dissections of Sullivan.

Through the Looking Glass With Andrew Sullivan

23 Jun

by Christopher Badeaux


Perhaps the single, common life goal of every intellectual, pseudo-intellectual, and intellectual aspirant, is to be a true Renaissance man -- a genius whose force of will and flexible, dominating intellect allows him to master or nearly master not one or two, but a whole host of related and unrelated fields of study and practice.

Sadly, not everyone can be Leonardo da Vinci or Karol Wojtyla. Or Andrew Sullivan.

Sullivan, who has worn dozens of hats in his lifetime, is truly unique. He stands astride the worlds of politics, journalism, theology, foreign policy, and applied obstetrics like the Colossus of Rhodes....

Few among us have the raw intellectual firepower to go where he has. Fortunately, the internet tubes allow us to track his movements over time -- an otherwise dizzying effort made more vertiginous by Sullivan’s kaleidoscopic mind. As with all things Sullivan, the best place to start is with human genitalia.

To say that Sullivan has focused his laser-like mind on human reproductive organs is to engage in an understatement worthy of the master himself. We could simply look at Sullivan’s relentless, years-long focus on circumcision (a relentlessness not well-captured by the internet tubes, as Sullivan’s archives traditionally become difficult to search when he moves from site to site), an unusual genre for a man who will never have children and who is not Jewish or Muslim, though perhaps not so unusual given his general interest in the member in question---

But to spend too much time on mere ponderings on the presence or absence of foreskin is to do Sullivan an injustice. Anyone can bloviate on that. Few men of letters -- indeed, few doctors -- can diagnose a woman's pregnancy forensically from a handful of news articles and photographs. Few are gifted with the ability to toss out thousands of words as tightly organized as Ulysses at the drop of a hat and still able to offer informed medical opinions on changes to the female body during mid- and late-term pregnancy --opinions at odds with normal understandings of human biology and the preeminent textbooks of the field.

But then again, few men are Andrew Sullivan. Depending on the day, Andrew Sullivan might not even be Andrew Sullivan.

Dr. Sullivan on Sarah Palin’s Reproductive Abilities

[A] select group of internet personalities decided that Mrs. Palin's son Trig must, in fact, be her daughter's, who was then a senior in high school. This being modern American political online writing, proof of this ridiculous assertion was neither offered nor demanded, and a thousand would-be obstetricians immediately began poking at pictures of a teenaged girl to demonstrate, for all the world to see, that those photos showed she was large enough to be pregnant. That these same people would be the first to cry in fury if the child being subjected to this humiliation were not the child of a Republican was, again as usual, lost on the lay doctors caught in their five-minute hate.

Andrew Sullivan immediately leaped into the fray. Unlike the rest of these non-experts, many of whom began to back off of the story when word emerged that Mrs. Palin's daughter was pregnant and had been close to the time of Trig's birth, Sullivan, who apparently received a secret medical degree while attending Harvard, began obsessively following this story, turning the Atlantic from a fairly uninteresting opinion website into a leading journal of gynecology and obstetrics. Rarely in human history has a gay man been that obsessed with a married woman's vagina.

This became, perhaps even more than the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency, Sullivan’s driving motivation during the 2008 campaign, if the quantity of his writings are any indication of his drive. While others were intimidated by photos of Mrs. Palin in late-stage pregnancy looking like a woman in late-stage pregnancy, the biological impossibility of a seventeen year-old girl giving birth to two non-fraternal children less than eleven months apart, and other indicia of what the rest of us take for ordinary reality, that laser-like mind knew no fear. Without a blow by blow of those two months of Herculean effort, it's impossible to fully capture the way in which the Atlantic rivaled the New England Journal of Medicine in pushing the edge of medical consensus; a sampling will have to suffice.

Great stuff.

Of course I noted that Andrew Sullivan was a gibbering maniac as well. (Do NOT comment on old threads-- the system will ban you.)


And of course, given Andrew Sullivan's penchant for claiming to be the victim of such outrageous betrayals as would make Christ Himself weep, there was this:


Posted by Ace at 02:09 PM Comments

Our Asshole President Drops His Asshole Proposal to Tax the Education Savings of the Middle Class

—Ace

It is becoming impossible to avoid the conclusion that Obama has a visceral hatred of America and its middle class which has largely (and positively) shaped its civic culture for 200+ years, but that won't stop the media from ignoring it anyway.

President Barack Obama is abandoning his proposal to eliminate Section 529 -- the popular tax break used by millions of Americans to save for college -- following a big backlash, not only from Republicans and parents, but also from his own Democratic allies.

"Given it has become such a distraction, we’re not going to ask Congress to pass the 529 provision so that they can instead focus on delivering a larger package of education tax relief that has bipartisan support, as well as the president's broader package of tax relief for child care and working families," a White House official said Tuesday.

Actually I think it was a stunt from the start. The point of it is to propose an outright attack on the Middle Class so that our energies are expended defending against that attack and not expended on offense repealing ObamaCare.

We then get a the feeling we've "won one" and have less of an appetite to fight.

In fact we won nothing. This was always a Negotiating Point, proposed only to be bargained away.

It is interesting that Obama can propose such attacks on the middle class and yet the middle class seems cool with it so long as he is ultimately blocked from actually executing the attack. I assume that is because of his Media Flanking Cover -- I'm pretty sure a Republican who proposed aggressively attacking the Middle Class would get pinned on that, even if he later retreated.

According to The New York Times, Obama and his advisers were lobbied directly by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi while she flew with the president on a flight from India to Saudi Arabia. Other Democrats, including House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen, were also big critics of the proposal.

So: Barack Obama is more left-wing, and more of an anti-Middle-Class class warrior, than the socialist Nancy Pelosi.

Posted by Ace at 12:40 PM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Robert Julian Onderdonk, "Bluebonnets at Late Afternoon,
near La Grange" (1918)

Posted by rdbrewer at 10:54 AM Comments

The Last Argument of Kings [Dave at Garfield Ridge]

—Open Blogger

The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg has a piece criticizing the Israeli Prime Minister for not playing nice with the Obama Administration.

I'll leave aside Goldberg's main argument-- he has a fair point that this is a high-risk strategy by Netanyahu-- but instead focus on why Netanyahu may feel compelled to pursue this strategy now.

In general, I notice that pieces discussing the Iranian nuclear threat to Israel and the West fail to note the most salient concern: Iran never has to use the Bomb for it to work.

Even if we assume Tehran isn’t led by an irrational apocalyptic regime – wanna bet?– the popular "smart take" from the Beltway bandits is, “the U.S. and Israel can deter Iran from using nuclear weapons, just as we’ve deterred the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea.”

True, if Iran's leaders are indeed now and always shall be rational actors.

But guess what? Deterrence works both ways: a nuclear Iran will also deter *us*.

Immediately, the threat of regime change will be permanently off the table, just as it is with every other nuclear state. Imagine a world where North Korea and Pakistan never acquired nuclear weapons, and appreciate the freedom of action the United States and its allies no longer has with respect to those two nations. Once a regime has nuclear weapons, forget regime change; even run-of-the-mill gunboat diplomacy is no longer credible. You're left with a weak hand of diplomatic measures and half-hearted economic sanctions. Ask the Ukrainians how that's helping them right now.

Overnight, a nuclear Iran will be able to extend its nuclear umbrella over all of its terrorist operations abroad, whether in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, the Gulf, or elsewhere, and the West won’t do anything about it.

After all, we don’t risk war with Iran over their terrorism today, when we are strongest and they are non-nuclear; we surely won’t risk war against a nuclear Tehran. Just as we don't against any other nuclear power. Indeed, nuclear weapons are Ultima Ratio Regum.

Meanwhile, Israel– populated as it is by a smart and wealthy people (read: mobile)– will inevitably and inexorably empty out as its citizens realize that there is no safety in deterrence. A nuclear Iran may be reasonable today– again, wanna bet?– but there are no guarantees that a future ayatollah won’t roll the dice on Armageddon.

Bottom line: Iran never needs to use nuclear weapons to be a mortal threat; it just needs them, period.

---
This post has been approved for posting outside of openblogging hours. This post represents the personal opinions of the author.

Posted by Open Blogger at 09:52 AM Comments

The Expatriate Terrorist Act's Patent Flaws

—Gabriel Malor

I wrote about the reintroduced Expatriate Terrorist Act over at National Review. Over there, I write about how the legislation is unconstitutional as proposed and unnecessary anyway. Here, I thought to point out that it's also completely illogical.

Click over and read the short piece so we're on the same page:

Representative Steve King and Senators Ted Cruz and Chuck Grassley have reintroduced the Expatriate Terrorist Act, a bill to strip U.S. citizenship from terrorists. The proposal sounds nice in theory, but it is also unconstitutional and unnecessary, the latest in a sad line of civil-liberties infringements justified by politicians trying to look tough in the war on terrorism. Even if the bill did not have these fatal infirmities, it would put the determination of who will retain their citizenship in the hands of unelected bureaucrats at the Departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security. On that ground alone, all Americans should unite in opposition.

As I explained at National Review, to actually revoke someone's citizenship and stay within the bounds of the Fifth Amendment's due process clause and the Fourteenth Amendment's citizenship clause the government bears the burden to demonstrate (1) the expatriating act; and (2) that the person intended to relinquish their citizenship when they committed the expatriating act.

Under settled precedent, Congress may designate expatriating acts. The Expatriate Terrorist Act would add membership, training, oaths of allegiance, and material assistance to terrorist organizations to the existing list of expatriating acts. That's not, in itself, the problem with the bill.

The problem is that Sen. Cruz claims that the mere act would constitute an "affirmative renunciation" of citizenship such that the government would then not have to also demonstrate the intent to relinquish citizenship. Decades ago, the Supreme Court has held that Congress may not simply do away with the intent requirement in this manner--and for good reason: it would leave the citizenship of all Americans to congressional whim. Fail to pay your taxes? Commit a crime? Without the intent requirement, there's nothing to stop Congress from defining either as expatriating offenses except Congress' own forbearance.

Obviously, such a regime is inconsistent with the Constitution and, indeed, the Supreme Court has explained, "the intent of the Fourteenth Amendment, among other things, was to define citizenship; . . . that definition cannot coexist with a congressional power to specify acts that work a renunciation of citizenship even absent an intent to renounce."

Thus, for implementation of the Expatriate Terrorist Act to be constitutional, the government would still have to show not only that a citizen-terrorist committed the expatriating act but also the intent to relinquish.

Here's the illogical part: a citizen-terrorist who intends to return to the U.S. to wage terrorism will never have the intent to relinquish citizenship. His citizenship is his ticket back into this country to wage war. Of course he's not going to intend to give it up. His citizenship is essential to his plan to come back to this country and kill us! So this bill is not practical at all (aside from being unconstitutional and unnecessary, I mean).

I'm sympathetic to the idea of expatriating terrorists. Who wouldn't be? But this legislation is purely symbolic. There's no reason to expect the Expatriate Terrorist Act to actually increase expatriations. There are better ways to stop returning citizen-terrorists.

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 09:22 AM Comments

Morning Thread (1-28-2015)

—Andy

Time to go shovel some Global Warming.

Posted by Andy at 06:39 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (1-27-2015)

—Maetenloch

The Ignorance of the American People

What the American public doesn't know is what makes them the American public.

-- Ray Zalinsky, car parts entrepreneur

And the American public clearly want to get rid of the Public Affairs Act because of its continuing ill effects on the country:

Many weeks back I wrote here about the polls from the 1990s in which a majority of Democrats favored repealing the Public Affairs Act of 1975 because Bill Clinton was said to recommended repeal, with the punch line being that there is no such thing as the Public Affairs Act of 1975. It was a contrivance of pollsters to check on public ignorance.

And also want government-mandated labels on all food containing DNA. For the children.

A recent survey by the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics finds that over 80 percent of Americans support "mandatory labels on foods containing DNA," about the same number as support mandatory labeling of GMO foods "produced with genetic engineering." Oklahoma State economist Jayson Lusk has some additional details on the survey. If the government does impose mandatory labeling on foods containing DNA, perhaps the label might look something like this:

"WARNING: This product contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The Surgeon General has determined that DNA is linked to a variety of diseases in both animals and humans. In some configurations, it is a risk factor for cancer and heart disease. Pregnant women are at very high risk of passing on DNA to their children."

Oh and approximately half of all Americans approve of the job that President Obama is doing.

Is Public Opinion Rational?

Well the public in general knows so little about so much - but it turns out that that doesn't necessarily make them irrational or incapable of making decent public policy choices.

One recent headline summed it up: "British Public wrong about nearly everything, and I'd bet good money that it isn't just the British who are exceptionally misinformed.

This looks like a problem for democracy, which supposes a rational and informed public opinion. But perhaps it isn't, at least according to a body of political science research neatly summarised by Will Jennings in his chapter of a new book "Sex, lies & the ballot box: 50 things you need to know about British elections".

But they're ignorant - not stupid - and can still tell which way the trends are blowing even if they're off on the absolute state of things. Which is one reason pollsters focus so much on the right track/wrong track results.

Will's chapter discusses the "public opinion as thermostat" theory. This, briefly, is that the public can be misinformed about absolute statistics, but we can still change our strength of feeling in an appropriate way. So, for example, we may be misled about the absolute unemployment rate, but can still discern whether unemployment is getting better or worse. There's evidence to support this view, and the chapter includes this striking graph (reproduced with permission), showing the percentage of people saying "unemployment" is the most important issue facing the country against the actual unemployment rate . As you can see public opinion tracks reality with remarkable accuracy.

mii_unem

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 10:19 PM Comments

Geraghty Handicaps the Field in Iowa

—Ace

Talk amongst yourselves.

An interesting observation on Carly Fiorino and her run for Vice President (though she won't admit that), and how nice an attack dog she'd make against Hillary.

And Open Thread.

Posted by Ace at 07:48 PM Comments

On the Run: General Testifies that Al Qaeda Has Grown "Fourfold" In Last Five Years

—Ace

Take a bow, Obama. We know you love applause.

"AQ and its affiliates exceeds Iran in beginning to dominate multiple countries," retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane testified.

Using a term that the Obama administration now eschews, Keane called radical Islam "the major security challenge of our generation."

...


That leads to an "unmistakable" conclusion that "our policies have failed," Keane added.

"And the unequivocal explanation is U.S. policy has focused on disengaging from the Middle East, while our stated policy is pivoting to the east," he said. "U.S. policymakers choose to ignore the very harsh realities of the rise of radical Islam. In my view, we became paralyzed by the fear of adverse consequences in the Middle East after fighting two wars. Moreover, as we sit here this morning, in the face of radical Islam, U.S. policymakers refuse to accurately name the movement as radical Islam. We further choose not to define it, nor explain its ideology, and most critical, we have no comprehensive strategy to stop it or defeat it."

Meanwhile, on Obama's Triumphant Stage of Libya, #SmartPower is having some unintended (?) but predictable results.

At least 10 people and two attackers were killed in Tuesday's attack against the luxurious Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, Libya, a spokesman for a security division of the Ministry of Interior in Tripoli said.

Five foreigners -- one American, one French citizen, and three people from Tajikistan -- were killed in the attack, Essam al-Naas said. Five Libyans were killed.

Al-Naas said it appears the attackers were Libyans.

American contractor David Berry was among the people killed in a terrorist attack at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, Libya, on Tuesday, according to Cliff Taylor, chief executive officer of Crucible, a security firm where Berry was working. The FBI is expected to open an investigation into the incident, two U.S. officials told CNN. A State Department official confirmed the death of a U.S. citizen, but would provide no further information.

...

An online group that supports ISIS said the attack was carried out in the name of Abu Anas al-Libi.

Al-Libi was an alleged al Qaeda operative accused of involvement in the bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa. He was captured by U.S. special forces in Libya. He died in a U.S. hospital this month.

I'm sure you've heard about Obama's tremendous successes in Yemen, where terrorists have overrun the capital and forced our embassy to be shuttered.

Posted by Ace at 07:05 PM Comments

Claim: Disney Eyeing Guardian of the Galaxy's Chris Pratt for Indiana Jones in New Raiders Reboot

—Ace

I like him, but as Indy...?

As Indy, my once and maybe future all-time favorite Action Hero...?

Eh, Indy's smart. Not a genius, but up there. I know Chris Pratt has mostly played dumb-guy roles, and I shouldn't typecast him, but... Okay I'll say, I don't think he can come across as smart enough to play Indy.

Meanwhile, they're casting him opposite Denzel Washington in a... Magnificent Seven remake. I assume Denzel will play the Yul Brenner role, because bald.

Meanwhile x2, yeah, they're serious about doing the all-girl Ghostbusters remake. Here's your cast:


Okay, Kristin Wiig, fine, I like her (though most don't).

Melissa McCarthy? Are we all still pretending we find her schtick as refreshing and wild as we pretended to find it in 2009? Are we not yet tired of her?

The other two are two lame cast members from the very awful current season of Saturday Night Live. I don't know their names. I just know I see clips of them sometimes.

These clips are so funny that I, get this, forget to laugh.

Eh.

Well, Hollywood exists to teach us one lesson:

Life is horrible and the human imagination is worse.


Oh: Good Men Did Nothing, so they went ahead and did a new Fantastic Four reboot.



Posted by Ace at 05:26 PM Comments

After the Snowstorm That Could Destroy New York Drops Less Than a Foot on the City, Weathermen and Politicians Apologize For -- or Defend -- Their Climate Alarmism

—Ace

You know why they do this, right?

Apart from Global Warming, I mean. Though that's a big part of it.

It also goes to the media's calculated 2005 decision to turn a hurricane for which the local Democratic Mayor and the local Democratic Governor had all responsibility into George W. Bush's Weather Watergate.

Now, of course the media only did that Because Bush. They're not going to apply the same absurd rules to other people.

But other politicians can't be sure. After all, the media is 1 corrupt 2 stupid 3 immature 4 borderline insane; who knows the next time the media will claim All of This Weather Is YOUR FAULT?!

So, now it's accepted that government officials will essentially declare Martial Law on a whim. Martial Law has become mainstreamed, thanks to our viciously incompetent media.

After being a promised a blizzard of historic and catastrophic proportions on Monday, New York City residents woke up today to rather meager snow totals and a lot of questions for their public officials.

...

In the media capital of the world, however, the howls are loud after predictions of [snowfall in NYC specifically of] 30 inches or more fizzled into somewhere closer to five or six. Meteorologists are even apologizing for their somewhat overblown predictions.

The focus, in particular, seems to be about the decision to shut down New York City at 11:00 p.m. Tuesday night. All roads in the region (not just in the city, but in Connecticut and New Jersey, as well) were closed to non-emergency traffic, but Governor Andrew Cuomo also made the unprecedented decision to preemptively shut down the entire NYC subway system. That's never happened in the 100-plus years of the subways due to snow.

Yet, by 11:00 p.m., it was already becoming clear that such a move was likely going to be unnecessary. That confusion quickly turned to outrage after a report by The Brooklyn Paper that the subway was actually still running. In order to keep the power on and the tracks clear, the MTA continued to shuttle empty trains all throughout the system and was planning to all along. It was apparently Cuomo's decision to shut the system to passengers, a move that caught MTA off guard and appeared to be unnecessary.

Naturally, some people are upset about the overreaction. It's one thing to clear the streets of cars, but the subway is the lifeline of the city, particularly for those people who work third-shift jobs or have family and friends in other boroughs. Cries of "nanny state"-ism, political posturing, or just plain cowardice are ringing out today.

These high-handed, alarmist, panicky, lawless actions are being defended on grounds of "safety."

This is not an overblown statement: All forms of fascism and totalitarianism proceed under the guise of securing the public's "safety and security." I don't think you can cite a single time where fascism did not ride upon twin horses named Public Safety and Public Security.

We seem to becoming jaded by frequent assertions of dictatorial power for this claimed emergency or that imagined crisis.

And let us be clear about things: Cuomo did not do this to "protect the public safety." He did this to protect his own political safety.

Let us stop pretending to believe the most ridiculous lies of politicians. Let us start dealing forthrightly with one another.

Cuomo thought he should and could do this to spare him a potential three to five point drop in the polls. We should tell him that covering his soft political ass is not a mighty enough justification to start ordering American Citizens about as if they were conscripts in a third world army.

Meanwhile, weathermen, who are to Science what drummers are to rock bands, shriek a lot about every snowstorm and blizzard because these are the few times each year that women pay them any sort of attention.

Though some are of course still claiming they were So Right to be So Wrong.

However, Uccellini stressed erring on the side of caution and planning for the worst was "the right decision" given the potential for "extraordinary" snow totals.

You know, it probably just sounds like smart-alec sophomorism to claim that weather dweebs overstate the danger of bad weather in order to draw attention to themselves.

It may sound that way, but it's true.

People are strongly motivated, often unconsciously, sometimes quite consciously, by simple personal interest. All persons wish to acquire social capital. All people want to advance up the bricks of the giant social pyramid.

It may sound stupid to accuse professionals of using their credentials to accrue social capital, but it is actually far more stupid than to claim the opposite -- that a "professional," by virtue of his tinpot license, has somehow been elevated above and beyond human behavioral imperatives and can so now be trusted to act entirely without the taint of self interest, much like Angels or God.

All of these people "talk their own book" and only a fool credits them otherwise.

Posted by Ace at 04:20 PM Comments

Liberal Jonathan Chait Pens Microgressive Triggering Attack on "Political Correctness"

—Ace

Worth a read. I put "political correctness" in quotes in deference to Noah Rothman's observation that the militancy of what we're seeing now may transcend the notion of "political correctness" and simply become full-on Stalinist thought control or Orwellian newspeak.

Whatever term you use, it is bad and getting worse.

So much so that even liberals are getting angry about it -- and exhausted by it.

I'll pass over the long recapitulation of the various anti-speech sins the left is guilty of later, though they're worth reading about. I just assume you've read them or need little convincing on this point.

On to conclusions:



At a growing number of campuses, professors now attach “trigger warnings” to texts that may upset students, and there is a campaign to eradicate “microaggressions,” or small social slights that might cause searing trauma. These newly fashionable terms merely repackage a central tenet of the first p.c. movement: that people should be expected to treat even faintly unpleasant ideas or behaviors as full-scale offenses. Stanford recently canceled a performance of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson after protests by Native American students. UCLA students staged a sit-in to protest microaggressions such as when a professor corrected a student’s decision to spell the word indigenous with an uppercase I — one example of many "perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies." A theater group at Mount Holyoke College recently announced it would no longer put on The Vagina Monologues in part because the material excludes women without vaginas. These sorts of episodes now hardly even qualify as exceptional.

...

But it would be a mistake to categorize today’s p.c. culture as only an academic phenomenon. Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate. Two decades ago, the only communities where the left could exert such hegemonic control lay within academia, which gave it an influence on intellectual life far out of proportion to its numeric size. Today's political correctness flourishes most consequentially on social media, where it enjoys a frisson of cool and vast new cultural reach. And since social media is also now the milieu that hosts most political debate, the new p.c. has attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old.

...

In a short period of time, the p.c. movement has assumed a towering presence in the psychic space of politically active people in general and the left in particular. "All over social media, there dwell armies of unpaid but widely read commentators, ready to launch hashtag campaigns and circulate Change.org petitions in response to the slightest of identity-politics missteps," Rebecca Traister wrote recently in The New Republic.

Two and a half years ago, Hanna Rosin, a liberal journalist and longtime friend, wrote a book called The End of Men, which argued that a confluence of social and economic changes left women in a better position going forward than men, who were struggling to adapt to a new postindustrial order. Rosin, a self-identified feminist, has found herself unexpectedly assailed by feminist critics, who found her message of long-term female empowerment complacent and insufficiently concerned with the continuing reality of sexism. One Twitter hashtag, “#RIPpatriarchy,” became a label for critics to lampoon her thesis. Every new continuing demonstration of gender discrimination --a survey showing Americans still prefer male bosses; a person noticing a man on the subway occupying a seat and a half — would be tweeted out along with a mocking #RIPpatriarchy.

Let me stop right here and offer Chait, and Rosin, some constructive criticism. It is as this point that the typical Political Correctness Mob Enforcer will object and say, "But we're just using Our Speech to mock Rosin; how can it be 'anti-free-speech' to employ our own speech? In fact, you're 'anti-free-speech' person here by attempting to de-legitimize my free speech vis a vis Rosin."

Chait doesn't address this; he just leaves this argument hanging for the PC Enforcement Goons to deploy. (And they will; they always do.)

They're wrong, but it needs to be said why they're wrong.

The reason is this: There is a difference between Rosin's rational argument and the coordinated attacks of a mob.

Mobs do not "argue." They intimidate or humiliate (or both). Mobs do not engage in an enlightened, reasonable dialogue. They shout ritualized chants. Mobs are not interested in persuading someone of their wrongness of their claims; they only care about shutting the speaker up, whether he's changed his mind or not.

An argument from a single author (or group acting together to write a single paper) is an instrument of reason; a mob which selects a target and then attacks that target with wolf-pack like tactics is an instrument of emotion.

Human beings are in fact hard-wired, as an evolutionary matter, to cringe before the baying mob; and they are further hard-wired to feel empowered by being part of an angry, screaming mob.

So it's not quite true that joining up with a mob is "speech" just like any other speech. The "speech" of a mob is emotionally abusive and personally intimidating -- and it is hardwired into our brains to find it such, when directed at we ourselves.

On the other hand, we're also hard-wired to really enjoy leading a mob against someone. It feels good. There is no denying that; I've felt damned good everytime I've joined up with a mob.

And it is precisely because it Feels So Good to engage in coordinated mob cruelty that thoughtful people must resist the lure and call out mobs where they see them.

Hannah Rosin was not dissuaded from making further public arguments along these lines because she was convinced she had been wrong in offering them originally. She was dissuaded from speaking further because of the threat of continuing group coordinated emotional attacks against her.

Thus, the frequent objection to PC Tactics: that they are "exhausting." Well yes, but why? Many arguments and claims are wrong, but we don't say they're exhausting too often. (Tedious, perhaps; exhausting, more rarely.)

We say things are "exhausting" when the speaker (or mob of shouters) decides to bypass the cool route of reason to advance the case and instead resorts to the emotional levers of group hazing, ritual chanting, coordinate ostracism and humiliation, and the inherent intimidation of a coordinated and angry mob acting, as mobs are want to do, without any reason or restraint.

And that is the difference.

Now, the PC Mob types will reject this distinction because -- and listen closely here-- most of them are Stupid and Inarticulate; most of them are in fact incapable, on a mental or emotional level, of making an academic or at least essay-like case.

They are in fact low-thinkers. It is no accident that they favor the brutish, the primate-like, the animal-level sorts of "persuasions" of group hooting and feces-throwing. They favor this because this is what they are capable of, and no other.

Thus, in a very real sense, to insist on the standards of rational discourse with such people does in fact predjudice them; it is the same as insisting a horse walk on two legs to enter a race. It is the same as disqualifying them outright.

They sense this, and so they reject these calls to employ the classic techniques of reason and analysis in making their case. They know such grounds do not favor their brains. They know yelling and coordinating Social Shaming is the most they're capable of.

Nonetheless, though such rules may in fact disqualify a number of base-thinkers from public argumentation, they must be insisted on all the same. They always were insisted on -- at least before the last round of democratization struck upon the idea that equality must now mean that a man's stupidity and ignorance should never be held against him -- and to continue ignoring them simply permits the hostile, seething emotional Coordinated Yelling of mob "argument" into a realm of enlightened exchange which, definitionally, must exclude such persons (or such tactics, at least).

If you don't understand the actual problem -- that the "speech" of the mobbers and shouter-downers is qualitatively different from the actual speech of those who deal in cooler, more lucid streams of communication -- then you cannot actually define what it is these PC Goons are doing wrong. On a surface level, of course, they are right-- they are just "using speech themselves."

But it's a toxic sort of speech, loaded with dark emotion and actual hatred which is entirely antithetical to dispassionate analysis.

In fact, the PC Goons seem to understand this more than the liberal critics of PC thuggery. Chait turns to discussing a women writer's forum called "Binders Full of Women Writers," in which minority women can't seem to help but play their PC Victim Cards on the non-minority women.

And they're very upfront at the Age of Enlightened Discourse had its chance already, and that the new Age of Screaming Hate At Everyone should be given its chance:


On July 10, for instance, one member in Los Angeles started a conversation urging all participants to practice higher levels of racial awareness. "Without calling anyone out specifically, I'm going to note that if you're discussing a contentious thread, and shooting the breeze … take a look at the faces in the user icons in that discussion," she wrote. "Binders is pretty diverse, but if you’re not seeing many WOC/non-binary POC in your discussion, it’s quite possible that there are problematic assumptions being stated without being challenged.” ('POC' stands for 'people of color.' 'WOC' means 'women of color.' 'Non-binary' describes people who are either transgender or identify as a gender other than traditionally male or female.)

Jesus Christ, that was already exhausting and he hasn't gotten to the exhausting part yet.



Two members responded lightly, one suggesting that such 'call-outs' be addressed in private conversation and another joking that she was a 'gluten free Jewish WWC' -- or Woman Without Color. This set off more jokes and a vicious backlash. 'It seems appropriate to hijack my suggestion with jokes. I see,' the Los Angeles member replied. 'Apparently whatever WOC have to say is good for snark and jokes,' wrote another. Others continued: 'The level of belittling, derailing, crappy jokes, and all around insensitivity here is astounding and also makes me feel very unsafe in this Big Binder.' 'It is literally fucking insane. I am appalled and embarrassed.'

The suggestion that a call-out be communicated privately met with even deeper rage. A poet in Texas: 'I'm not about to private message folks who have problematic racist, transphobic, anti-immigrant, and/or sexist language.' The L.A. member: 'Because when POC speak on these conversations with snark and upset, we get Tone Argumented at [these people fly off with rage when you suggest that They need to "police their tone," by which I mean frothing hatred, a little better themselves -- ace], and I don't really want to deal with the potential harm to me and mine." ...A white Toronto member, sensing the group had dramatically underreacted, moved to rectify the situation: “'ESUS FUCK, LIKE SERIOUSLY FUCK, I SEE MORE WHITE BINDERS POLICING WOC AND DEMANDING TO BE EDUCATED/UNEDUCATED AS IF IT’S A FUCKING NOBLE MISSION RATHER THAN I DUNNO SPEND TIME SHUTTING DOWN AND SHITTING ON RACIST DOUCHE CANOE BEHAVIOUR; WHAT ARE YOU GAINING BY THIS? WHAT ARE YOU DETRACTING? YOU NEED SCREENCAPS OF BURNING CROSSES TO BELIEVE RACIST SHIT IS HAPPENING? THIS THREAD IS PAINFUL. HUGS TO ALL THE WOC DURING THIS THREAD"

Chait notes, rather obliquely, that the PC system has created what is essentially a Speaker Caste System with some speakers' being in higher castes, and thus more privileged (and thus willing to churn out ALL CAPS RAGE without expecting to be called on it (and in fact getting even more ALL CAPS RAGEY if they are called on it)), and others being in lower castes, and thus quite disadvantaged, and only really permitted to apologize and beg forgiveness whenever someone in a Higher Speaker Caste demands they do.

It should be pointed out that the "exhausting" behavior that he documents is caused by this caste system. Good behavior is not in everyone's personal interest; rather, it is in the group's best interest, but, as in many cases, it is personally best for an individual if he is free to break the group's rules of decorum while everyone else in the group is required to follow them.

Privileging certain speakers -- the more female, the more black or minority, the more gay or trans or other sexual ethnicity -- thereby empowers them to break the normal rules of social interaction as they may please, resorting to personal attacks and ALL CAPS RAGE at the drop of the hat.

And then of course there are plenty of opportunistic and crude white people who will claim to be Honorary Minorities and thus entitled to use such tactics as well.

This is exhausting. All similar behaviors are exhausting. When people exhibit such exhausting behaviors, we generally exclude them from further participation, because we just won't put up with that crap.

But we have many people who now believe that they are Privileged to belong to a Higher Speaker Caste and may employ any number of emotionally-angry and abusive tactics in what should be rather light conversation (all academic conversation is "light;" compare it to talking to you doctor about a surgery) that are forbidden to everyone else, and in fact have been forbidden for 3000 years of intellectual history.

It's time to reinstate those rules -- for all comers. Even for those who claim some minority status which puts them above your White Man's "rules" of civilized debate.

Posted by Ace at 02:08 PM Comments

NBCNews: Bowe Bergdahl, the Deserter, Will Face Charges of Desertion for Deserting His Unit

—Ace

So glad we gave up five important Al Qaeda terrorists to get Baby Bowe back.

The television network, citing senior defense officials, said the charges could come within a week.
Posted by Ace at 12:40 PM Comments

Blackmail: Openly Gay Legislator Threatens to Expose Colleagues' Extra-Marital Affairs if They Don't Vote Her Way on Gay Marriage

—Ace

Eesh.

Were she just some sort of moral crusader who ran on a platform of righteous values and then went around exposing all such incidents she definitively knew of, that would be one thing. But this is a fit of pique stemming from her disagreement with the policy positions of opponents. She is claiming to be aware of these alleged cases of married legislators having affairs, but she is willing to continue to hold her silence about the sins provided they shut their mouths and don’t speak out on issues where she disagrees with them. If she was such a moral crusader who felt this information was important to the public she should have already exposed them, regardless of party affiliation or sexual orientation. (Yes, gay people can be unfaithful too.) But that's not what she's doing. What’s going on here is known by a much more ugly word: extortion.

Yeah, people generally don't seem to understand what blackmail is. You're allowed to reveal someone's secrets -- there is no law against that. The media does that, of course, every day.

It becomes blackmail -- and criminal -- when you threaten to reveal secrets unless the target either takes an action you demand or refrains from taking an action you demand. The demand does not need to be for money (in most jurisdictions); obviously, a particularly nasty form of blackmail -- sexual blackmail -- demands not money but sexual favors.


Posted by Ace at 11:59 AM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Camille Pissarro, "Berneval Meadows, Morning" (1900)

Posted by rdbrewer at 10:35 AM Comments

Economics and Plato's Cave

—Monty

boorstin.jpgIf you had occasion to take a Philosophy 101 course in college, you may remember the allegory of Plato's cave. Plato meant it as a discussion of what "reality" is -- whether it is an absolute thing, and whether humans can experience "reality" in its totality or if we are limited only to what we can experience and measure. The idea is that what we can sense and measure is only a subset of a larger reality that we cannot perceive directly.

I've long thought that this allegory works quite well for economics in many ways, especially as it pertains to concepts of money and wealth.

Continue reading


Posted by Monty at 09:00 AM Comments

Morning Thread (1-27-2015)

—Andy

Snow day.

Posted by Andy at 06:39 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (1-26-2015)

—Maetenloch

40 Songs Ruined by American Classic Rock Radio

By playing them over and over and over again and then repeating the rotation every 6 hours or so.

Now I like all of these songs which is to say that I liked them the first few times I heard them and can still listen to them again on occasion and derive some small amount of pleasure from the experience.  But I judge how burned out I am on a song by my maximum tolerable repeat frequency for it i.e. how soon could I hear it again without getting annoyed/enraged.

For some songs I could hear them once a week in perpetuity because I  just love them so but others are only good once in a 4 month period or maybe once in a year.  And for some - well I could easily go three to seven years before hearing them again with no problem at all. But on the radio I'm pretty much guaranteed to hear at least once of these in any 36 hour period.

1. "More Than a Feeling" by Boston
In my humble opinion, the most overplayed classic rock song of all time. It's like there's a federal mandate that all classic rock stations play this song at least 19 times per day.

2. "Hotel California" by The Eagles
Full of meaning - of how the hippie ethic turned materialistic and sour.. Kind of like this song. Honestly, I think I loved this song at one time, but it's dead to me now.. Yet, no matter how many times I stab it with my steely knife, I just can't kill the beast.

3. "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey
What would happen if a renegade classic rock DJ actually decided to, instead of playing this song, play something by Uriah Heep, Kaleidoscope or The Pretty Things? Widespread panic in the streets.

9. "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
This song never gets old.. Then again, never say never. After the 752nd time around, it starts getting wearisome. The song references Neil Young, who happens to have a vast catalog of tunes worthy of classic rock radio, yet never get played. "Heart of Gold" on occasion, but his other billion songs don't have a chance.

40. "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard
I include this one last, because it's "newer". If you think your favorite song is safe because it came out after the early 80s, think again. On occasion, they'll incorporate latecomers. No song is safe.

George Will Explains How We've Become a Welfare Nation

The diabolical part of the progressive welfare agenda has been that once you get enough people on the government teat and accustomed to it, it then becomes politically impossible to ever get rid of the teat. It's even more diabolical when you can convince the people that it's not even really a welfare teat because they've already paid something into the program.

More than twice as many households receive "anti-poverty" benefits than receive Social Security or Medicare. Between 1983 and 2012, the population increased by almost 83 million - and people accepting means-tested benefits increased by 67 million. So, for every 100-person increase in the population there was an 80-person increase in the recipients of means-tested payments. Food stamp recipients increased from 19 million to 51 million - more than the combined populations of 24 states.

What has changed? Not the portion of the estimated population below the poverty line (15.2 percent in 1983; 15 percent in 2012). Rather, poverty programs have become untethered from the official designation of poverty: In 2012, more than half the recipients were not classified as poor but accepted being treated as needy. Expanding dependency requires erasing Americans' traditional distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor. This distinction was rooted in this nation's exceptional sense that poverty is not the unalterable accident of birth and is related to traditions of generosity arising from immigrant and settler experiences.

...Eberstadt believes that the entitlement state poses "character challenges" because it powerfully promotes certain habits, including habits of mind. These include corruption. Since 1970, Americans have become healthier, work has become less physically stressful, the workplace has become safer - and claims from Social Security Disability Insurance have increased almost sixfold. Such claims (including fraudulent ones) are gateways to a plethora of other payments.

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 10:02 PM Comments

The Prosecutor Who Was About to Deliver a Scathing Report Accusing Agentine President Kirchner of Covering up an Iranian Terrorist Attack Was Killed to Hurt Kirchner's Political Viability, Opines Kircher

—Ace

21 years ago, Argentina suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history when the AMIA building, a Jewish community center, was bombed.

It has long been believed that Iran was behind the bombing.

A prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, was about to deliver a report claiming that Iran was in fact behind the bombing, and that furthermore the current Argentine President had struck a deal with Iran to cover up their role in exchange for some payoffs in the form of oil.

That prosecutor turned up dead with a pointblank range shot from a .22 in the middle of his forehead.

"Suicide," the official investigators claimed.

"Murder," the entire rest of the nation whispered.

"A conspiracy to create a political headache for me," President Kirchner said.

She's a Hugo Chavez protege with, get this, a history of extra-legal action and poor-me conspiracy theories.

Kirchner wasted little time in branding the death a suicide Jan. 19. "What drives a person to commit such a terrible act?" she posted on her Facebook. Most everyone else called it murder. Nisman, after all, had just accused Kirchner of trying to whitewash his 10-year investigation into the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people.

Nisman had blamed Iran for the attack and last week charged Kirchner and some of her closest aides with obstructing his probe in order to smooth a deal to sell Argentine grain for Iranian oil. He was due to brief lawmakers on his 289-page complaint to the Supreme Court in a closed session of Congress on Monday. The complaint was made public Jan. 22.

Now Kirchner has flipped the narrative, spinning a dark tale of rogue spies and an anti-government cabal. Allegedly, these conspirators plotted to execute Nisman -- not to silence a dangerous critic, but to pin his murder on her. "Today I have no proof but I also have no doubts," she said in a sprawling statement posted Jan. 22 on her personal webpage. "Nisman didn't know and probably never would," she wrote. "They used him while he was alive and later needed him dead. It's that sad and terrible."

The turnabout caught Kirchner's palace handlers off guard. "This is totally disconcerting," an unnamed presidential aide told Clarin.

It gets worse.

Why kill Nisman after so many years?

Because, it is alleged, that among the Iranians who participated in the decision to bomb the AMIA buliding was none other than the current president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani.

An Argentine prosecutor who died mysteriously last week told a reporter prior to his death that he had evidence tying Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

The Washington Free Beacon first reported that Rouhani was part of the secretive Iranian government committee that approved the AMIA bombing, according to witness testimony included in a 500-page indictment written by the late Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was appointed to investigate the attack.

The bombing, which killed 85 and injured hundreds, is believed to have been authorized by Iran and carried out by its terror proxy Hezbollah. Nisman’s indictment implicated numerous high-profile Iranian officials in the attack and prompted Interpol to issue "red notices" for their arrests.

Kirchner now says Nisman was killed by a "rogue" government operative, which I take to mean "a government operative carrying out my will whom I now wish to deny."

And get this:


Interesting times, eh?

More: Some guy claims that Nisman asked him to deliver him a .22 handgun the night before he was killed.

Posted by Ace at 07:23 PM Comments

The New York Times, February, 2014: "The End of Snow?"

—Ace

The New York Times wrote about the snow-less future less than one year ago.

As the New York media freaks out over some Weather That Matters (in as much as it affects them), enjoy this panicky nonsense from last year.

OVER the next two weeks, hundreds of millions of people will watch Americans like Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin ski for gold on the downhill alpine course. Television crews will pan across epic vistas of the rugged Caucasus Mountains, draped with brilliant white ski slopes. What viewers might not see is the 16 million cubic feet of snow that was stored under insulated blankets last year to make sure those slopes remained white, or the hundreds of snow-making guns that have been running around the clock to keep them that way.

Officials canceled two Olympic test events last February in Sochi after several days of temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and a lack of snowfall had left ski trails bare and brown in spots. That situation led the climatologist Daniel Scott, a professor of global change and tourism at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, to analyze potential venues for future Winter Games. His thought was that with a rise in the average global temperature of more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit possible by 2100, there might not be that many snowy regions left in which to hold the Games. He concluded that of the 19 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics, as few as 10 might be cold enough by midcentury to host them again. By 2100, that number shrinks to 6.

The planet has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1800s, and as a result, snow is melting. In the last 47 years, a million square miles of spring snow cover has disappeared from the Northern Hemisphere. Europe has lost half of its Alpine glacial ice since the 1850s, and if climate change is not reined in, two-thirds of European ski resorts will be likely to close by 2100.

The same could happen in the United States, where in the Northeast, more than half of the 103 ski resorts may no longer be viable in 30 years because of warmer winters....

The facts are straightforward: The planet is getting hotter. Snow melts above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The Alps are warming two to three times faster than the worldwide average, possibly because of global circulation patterns. Since 1970, the rate of winter warming per decade in the United States has been triple the rate of the previous 75 years, with the strongest trends in the Northern regions of the country. Nine of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000, and this winter is already looking to be one of the driest on record -- with California at just 12 percent of its average snowpack in January, and the Pacific Northwest at around 50 percent.


...

It's easy to blame the big oil companies and the billions of dollars they spend on influencing the media and popular opinion. But the real reason is a lack of knowledge. I know, because I, too, was ignorant until I began researching the issue for a book on the future of snow.

Meanwhile, at Slate, their Weather Spastic is busy churning out these shrieky blurbs:


And then when you click you find out it means only this:

NWS in Boston is still stressing that this blizzard could permanently alter the geography of the Massachusetts coastline:

"This is a storm that could produce one or more new inlets along exposed east and northeast facing barrier beaches. We are especially concerned with the erosion potential for east facing shorelines along Plum Island, Orleans, Chatham and Nantucket."

Um, yes, storm water may erode barrier beaches, and may make some inlets through these sandbars.

Or, as the Weather Spastic put it: "Permanently alter the coast of New England."

See, either there's not going to be any snow and we should Spaz Out About It, or we're getting some snow and it may Destroy the Earth's Mantle.

Either way, you must pay attention to the shriekey, squealey Weather Spastics.

Either way you will pay them the honor of pretending they're important.


Posted by Ace at 06:08 PM Comments

Obama Surges in Popularity, With Only Half the County Now Hating His Guts

—Ace

I didn't want to do this story because Reasons but so AllahPundit took the bullet and typed it all up nice and neat so you can read it there.

I'll put up something better to stomp/bury this one soon.

Posted by Ace at 04:49 PM Comments

Michael Moore: When You Think About It, I'm the Real Hero, Not That Coward Chris Kyle

—Ace

Michael Moore, Conquerer of the Buffet.




What an ugly, viciously obese toad-like monster.

Mark Hemingway tries to understand the left's unreasoning hatred towards this movie. (Part of their unreasoning hatred towards pretty much everything, of course.)

Even American Sniper largely sidesteps the big political questions about the war on terror. The film is primarily about the heroism of soldiers who, thrust into battle by larger forces, do their best to protect each other and innocent Iraqis. Clint Eastwood, often described as one of the few prominent right-wingers in Hollywood, opposed the invasion of Iraq and questioned the invasion of Afghanistan.

Even so, the film's lack of left-wing politics has been treated in some quarters as an unpardonable sin. "The mere act of trying to make a typically Hollywoodian one-note fairy tale set in the middle of the insane moral morass that is/was the Iraq occupation is both dumber and more arrogant than anything George Bush or even Dick Cheney ever tried," wrote Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi. In other words, any account of Kyle's personal heroism is somehow invalid unless it is couched in an extraneous political context tarring the war he fought in as immoral.

While this criticism is myopic and unfair, it’s at least preferable to direct attacks on Kyle and service in Iraq. "My uncle [was] killed by [a] sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot [you] in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders [are] worse," tweeted left-wing documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.


...

The left has tried to avoid the anti-American stain it acquired in the Vietnam era by making sure to mouth platitudes about supporting the troops while criticizing the war. The reaction to American Sniper seems to suggest this pose is insincere. Either you’re rooting for Kyle and his fellow soldiers or you're rooting for AQI. There is no middle ground in American Sniper. The film simply asks audiences to consider the motivations of American soldiers on the ground in Iraq, and then asks whether or not these motivations make them heroic. This may be a difficult question for Michael Moore, but the film and its rapturous audiences answer it with a resounding yes.

Posted by Ace at 02:57 PM Comments

Shock: Obama, the Committed Income-Redistributionist (Though the Media Swore He Was No Such Thing!) Now Expressly Going After the Middle Class' Education Savings to Shower Money on His Constituents

—Ace

There are two kinds of people in the world.

Those who do the right thing, and those who don't.

Those who do the right thing don't need a lot of help from others because they're doing the right thing. They go to work, don't get hooked on drugs, stay married, save money.

Those who don't do the right thing need constant help.

The Wall Street Journal euphemizes Obama's plan to take money from the Middle Class to make it rain on his voters as new "challenges" faced by the middle class.

The Obama Presidency stands for nothing if not the proposition that those who do the right thing will be punished and harassed constantly so that those who will not do the right thing never have to face any consequences of their bad habits.

President Barack Obama's push to start taxing college-saving accounts, including the popular "529" accounts, would affect millions of Americans who are stashing money for their children’s education, stirring debate about how to structure federal student aid and how to define the middle class.

Remember, Obama branded his dishonest State of the Union as "Middle Class Economics." And he claimed to wish to make college more affordable for the "Middle Class."

Of course that means he'll make it less affordable for the Middle Class. Because he's a demagogic liar.

The proposal, which has sparked a public backlash but faces dim prospects in Congress, targets so-called 529 savings accounts that boomed after Congress passed the tax breaks starting in 2001. States have promoted the plans as a way for middle-class parents to combat escalating college costs.

...


Slightly over half of all the college-saving accounts are held by Americans making under $150,000 a year, according to a 2012 Government Accountability Office report. About 30% earned under $100,000 a year. There are about 12 million 529 accounts in total, according to the College Savings Plan Network, an industry group, while the average balance in a 529 account is about $21,000--enough to cover almost two years average tuition, room and board--minus aid--at a public four-year university.

Ryan Ellis, tax policy director for the conservative think tank Americans for Tax Reform, said the proposal violates an Obama campaign pledge to not raise taxes on middle-income Americans.

"This idea that this is an account for the preserve of the Huxtables out there that make $250,000 a year is kind of ridiculous," Mr. Ellis said. Many owners of 529 plans are young parents who take pride in saving money in advance for their children’s college education, he said. "You've made them look like chumps for saving whatever they’ve saved so far."

But isn't this the whole point? If you've worked to avoid needing the government's aid, You are essentially unpatriotic and an enemy of the state. By making yourself independent of government, you effectively oppose it.

Therefore, you should be made to feel like a chump for having attempted such insolence.

Instapundit writes that they're not just coming for your college savings, ">they're coming for your everything.

Bank robber Willie Sutton is said to have explained his career this way: "That's where the money is." Whether Sutton ever really said that, it's an aphorism that, according to Bloomberg's Megan McArdle, explains President Obama's plans to go after middle class assets like 529 college savings plans and home appreciation.

...

Likewise, Obama proposes to tax the appreciation on inherited homes...

Why would the White House even consider such a thing?

...

When a government is desperate for cash, it goes after the middle class, because that's where the money is....

The truth is, in our redistributionist system politicians make their careers mostly by taking money from one group of citizens that won't vote for them and giving it to another that will. If they run short of money from traditional sources, they'll look for new revenue wherever they can find it. And if that's the homes and savings of the middle class, then that's what they'll target.

A man named Joe the Plumber asked about Obama's redistributionist agenda seven years ago. No one in the media did. When Obama bragged that indeed he supported "sharing the wealth," the media went into overdrive to cover up for Obama, and to smear Joe the Plumber. (Obama wasn't vetted, by an everyday citizen asking a question sure was.)

Now Obama is explicitly calling for even more "share the wealth" policies at the expense of the Middle Class.

Where do we go to get that apology from the media?


Update: They're actually just trying to "reform" the tax code by making it "simpler."



See, it was too confusing before. So now they're going to take that confusing money out of your pocket.

Understand now?

Posted by Ace at 12:39 PM Comments

Reporter: Saudi King Abdullah "Couldn't Stand" Obama

—Ace

Sounds like my kind of guy.

NBC reporter Richard Engle shot down the various claims emanating from both DC and Riyadh that the two men were close friends:

"One of the big ironies here is that President Obama, in his statement, said how close he was to King Abdullah... King Abdullah did not like President Obama. In fact, a lot of people I know that are quite close to the late King Abdullah said that the king could not stand President Obama. This close personal bond between the president and the late Saudi leader, I think, is people being polite at a time of a national funeral."

Of course, our Cool Guy President also decided to upset India with his Nicorette-chewing, while in audience with India's PM.

"In an ungainly sight, cameras caught US President Brack Obama chewing gum during the Republic Day parade on Monday. In the picture captured by cameras and posted on Twitter by some users, Obama was spotted removing his chewing gum while PM Modi was seen trying to explain something to the US president," reports the Times of India.

This #SmartDiplomacy doesn't seem to be working. Maybe because the asshole authoring it isn't that smart.

Posted by Ace at 11:12 AM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


George Clausen, "Twilight Interior" (c. 1909)

Posted by rdbrewer at 10:26 AM Comments

The Triumphant Return of DOOM

—Monty

DOOOOM

Good morning, my groovy babies. Long time no smell! (Ah, the sweet sweet thrill of a fourth-grade burn. It makes life worth living.)

IBM may lay off as many as 100,000 employees this week. One hundred thousand. They're going to keep that one old janitor named Henry because he has a huge inventory of dirty jokes and is the life of any party, but everyone else (apparently) is going to get pinkslipped. Here's another take from Forbes.

We also have another entrant in the long-running "white racism is at the root of all evil" journalism genre. In this case, the story has to do with black homeowners being hit hard by the 2006-2007 real-estate meltdown.

What's that you say? Plenty of white, asian, and hispanic homeowners got burned in that debacle as well? You're saying that this piece is a repeat of every real-estate sob story for the past seven years, only wrapped up in a race-baiting shell? If this surprises you, you need to get out more.

Continue reading


Posted by Monty at 09:00 AM Comments



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Top Headlines
Communist Party USA Chairman Vows Cooperation With Democratic Party
They're not even trying to hide it anymore. H/t @Derekahunter, WBAL radio
[Weirddave]
Andrew Klavan, Truth Revolt: Attack of the But-Heads!
Video. Leftists and Islamists have something in common: big buts. [rdbrewer]

CNet: Bill Gates is worried about artificial intelligence too
Via Drudge. "Microsoft's co-founder joins a list of science and industry notables, including famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Internet innovator Elon Musk, in calling out the potential threat from machines that can think for themselves." Our intelligence has a million years of evolution behind it, plenty of time to work out a lot of issues. AI will start at the finish line, without the inhibitions on behavior we have. [rdbrewer]


Charles C.W. Cooke: Why Mike Huckabee’s Cornpone Politics Drives Me Crazy — And Will Never Work
Agreed, and I'm from the "grits and gravy" portion of the country, as he describes it. Raised in the city. I've had grits, like, maybe twice. I haven't had sex with a cow in over a year. So I find this appeal to stereotype more than a little annoying. Wait. I have to go holler "yeehaw" out the window... [rdbrewer]

GlobalPost: Here’s what moviegoers in Baghdad think of ‘American Sniper’
Spoiler alert: They don't sound like the prog speech police types over here. "'He was a hero and he went through difficult training,' Jalal explained, saying Chris Kyle was just serving his country, a universal duty for all men. 'Besides,' he shrugged, 'it’s just a movie, and I like war movies. If they are true or not, whatever!'" Via @DrewMTips. [rdbrewer]


Patrick Howley: ‘DO NOT DISCLOSE’: Obama Admin Tells Banks To Shut Up About Its Targeting of Consumers, Gun Dealers
"The Obama administration’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is threatening banks to be silent about the administration’s new programs supervising and investigating private bank account holders." [rdbrewer]
Draw and Strike: Attention Peasants: The Show Trials Have Been Cancelled Until further Notice!
"In his book, 'Vision of the Anointed: Social Policy As A Basis For Self- Congratulation', Professor Thomas Sowell discusses four stages of failure that necessarily follow when social 'experts' or 'activists' attempt to bring about changes in a group or culture...." [rdbrewer]


Watch Obama Refer to Himself 118 Times in Three [sic] Minutes [rdbrewer]

John Sexton, Breitbart: The Primitive Roots of Political Correctness
"Altruistic punishment, simply put, is the expression of negative emotions toward those who fail to cooperate with the group. It is a pressure tactic designed to whip people into line with the tribe and its goals." [rdbrewer]


Sean Davis: Language Policing Doesn’t Pervert Liberalism, It Is Liberalism
"Modern liberalism depends on the language police, and Jonathan Chait himself is Exhibit A." [rdbrewer]
Ben Shapiro, Truth Revolt: The First Amendment is Dead
Video. Because we have to walk on eggshells around people's feelings. [rdbrewer]

CBS Boston: Tom Brady Has A Cold
Teddy Bear the porcupine's prediction is starting to come into focus a little, huh? [rdbrewer]
National Sorority Organizations Order UVa Chapters to Stay Home While Fraternity Brothers Are Out Partying
In order to reduce the possibility of Fake Rape Allegations, I imagine... Note the local chapters are objecting to this absurd nannyism

Kevin D. Williamson: Liberals Seek PC Exemption
"[C]ontrary to Chait’s characterization, [political correctness] never went away. The difference is that it is now being used as a cudgel against white liberals such as Jonathan Chait..." [rdbrewer]


BBC: 'Super Saturn' with giant rings is first outside solar system
"'If we could replace Saturn's rings with the rings around J1407, they would be easily visible at night and be many times larger than the full moon....'" Added: More from Fox News. [rdbrewer]


Josh Kraushaar: Obama Is Setting Up Hillary Clinton to Fail
"The president's approval rating is inching up, but there's little public enthusiasm for his liberal agenda. That puts Clinton in an uncomfortable position." Don't forget: it's all about Obama. [rdbrewer]

Harry Enten, FiveThirtyEight: How Meteorologists Botched The Blizzard Of 2015
"Forecasters, including yours truly, decided to go all-in on one weather model: the European model (or Euro). And the Euro was way off. Other models had this storm pegged." [rdbrewer]


Neil Munro: Poll Shows Democrats Lose Swing Voters Over Amnesty
"Voters will side with the GOP if they fight President Obama’s effort to print work permits for millions of migrant workers, according to a new poll." [rdbrewer]

Robert Wargas, The Telegraph: How do identity politics work? A quick refresher course
From about a year ago. "Savage acts the way he does because he believes he is entitled to do so. He believes his status as a member of The Oppressed exempts him from the rules of common decency and politeness that his Bourgeois Oppressors follow." [rdbrewer]

Gabe: How Not to Fight Terrorism
"The Expatriate Terrorist Act before Congress is unconstitutional and unnecessary." [rdbrewer]


Gabe: Mike Huckabee Urges A Constitutional Crisis Over Marriage
"It is not the situation that, as Huckabee suggests, all three branches of federal government must first agree on what the law is for it to be the law of the land. It is even less the case that Congress and the president get to determine that the Constitution means something contrary to what the Supreme Court decides." [rdbrewer]


Robert Tracinski: Why Islam Is More Violent Than Christianity: An Atheist’s Guide
"But in today’s context, it’s absurd to equate Islam and Christianity. Pointing to the Spanish Inquisition tends to undermine the point rather than confirm it: if you have to look back three hundred years to find atrocities, it’s because there are so few of them today.... As an atheist, I have no god in this fight, so to speak." [rdbrewer]
Teddy Bear the porcupine predicts the Giants will win the Superbowl
And so far he's batting 1.000. [rdbrewer]


CJ Ciaramella: Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Introduced in Congress
"'The FAIR Act will ensure that government agencies no longer profit from taking the property of U.S. citizens without due process, while maintaining the ability of courts to order the surrender of proceeds of crime.'" [rdbrewer]

Discover Magazine: Wild dolphins exchange names when they meet at sea [rdbrewer]


American Glob: Early Photos of #Snowmageddon2015 [rdbrewer]
Dudes At the Sundance Film Festival All Look Pretty Dumb
They seem very excited to wear their cold-weather jackets... too excited
TruthRevolt: Pope Francis Wants to Cross Southern Border to Show ‘Brotherhood and Support for Immigrants’
"'To enter the United States from the border with Mexico would be a beautiful gesture of brotherhood and support for immigrants.'" Because we just can't have enough children riding "the death train" to America. Via commenter "Costanza Defense." [rdbrewer]


Boehner admits 'couple of stumbles' in GOP agenda
"In addition to the border bill, Republicans were forced to withdraw legislation that would have restricted abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy." Who could've guessed this kind of thing would keep happening? [rdbrewer]


Devlin Barrett: U.S. Spies on Millions of Drivers
"Many state and local law-enforcement agencies are accessing the database for a variety of investigations... putting a wealth of information in the hands of local officials who can track vehicles in real time on major roadways." [rdbrewer]


Maureen Mullarkey: Pope Francis Is A Leftist And Must Be Called Out
"Pope Francis has associated with revolutionaries and ideologies that destroy human life and living conditions. The right response is not silence." It's like the ostentation of the new rich, except it's not the conspicuous use of money; it's the vulgar, self-indulgent use of his authority. I don't need to hear what the Pope thinks about iPhones and climate, for example. One would think he has more important things to occupy his time. [rdbrewer]


Michael Barone: Are today's Millennials a new Victorian generation?
"The most obvious evidence of the Millennials’ virtuous behavior is the vast decline in violent crime in the last 25 years." [rdbrewer]


Obama Sends Political Team To Israel To Defeat Netanyahu (Funded By State Dept.)
"The group V15, which denies that its motto is ‘anyone but Bibi,’ is working with U.S. political strategist Jeremy Bird who worked on the Obama campaign to replace the Israeli government in March." [rdbrewer]


Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer: Bowe Bergdahl Has Been Charged With Desertion
"The Army came to this decision months ago, but the White House has been stonewalling...." More from Yid With Lid. [rdbrewer]
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Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
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