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Obama Administration’s perfect nominee for Commerce

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Charlie Martin

Seriously.  With today’s nomination of John E. Bryson, late of KKR — famous from the movie Barbarians at the Gate — we can say that the Obama Administration has managed to finally achieve perfection, the Acme, the ne plus ultra of Administration nominees.  At least, by Democrat standards.  Just consider his biography.

He started out, after graduating from Yale Law in 1970, by co-founding the National Resources Defense Council, which rapidly became a powerful environmental lobby.  While it claims to be both non-profit and non-partisan, NRDC developed a business model that has become the pattern for many similar groups.  Contributions and grants, including grants from the EPA itself, are used to fund lobbying and legal work, often resulting in settlements of suits against the EPA.  As we’ve reported before, these settlements allow NRDC and other plantiffs to recover their costs.  It’s really a very entrepreneurial model: a little seed money from the EPA, and they can then leverage that into larger and larger lawsuits, bigger and bigger grants — now, in normal business, someone who paid a lobbying firm to lobby against their interests would be questionable, but this is after all the EPA.

He left NRDC to become Chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board; he went on from there to be President of the California Public Utilities Commission.  So he’s got state-level regulatory experience. He then left Government Service to become…

… an employee of Edison International, then still known as Southern California Edison.  Yes, children, he left the Public Utilities Commission for one of the largest regulated companies under his watchful eye.  By 1990, he was Chairman and CEO of Edison International, a position he held until 31 July 2008.  He’s been a Director of Boeing since 1995, he’s a director of the Walt Disney Company (read ABC), and as mentioned above, he has until this announcement been a Senior Advisor to KKR, which more or less invented the leveraged-buyout private equity fund.

In other words, he’s

  • rich, like an awful lot of the people in Obama’s Cabinet
  • connected to the more radical environmental world, like Lisa Jackson at EPA — who will be working directly for him
  • well connected on Wall Street, where much of Obama’s campaign contributions came from
  • well connected in media
  • and closely tied to companies the Obama Administration is currently leaning on pursuing legal actions against — just like Bill Daly, the new Chief of Staff.

You see: the perfect Obama nominee.

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“Mac Defender” Security Update has been released.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Charlie Martin

The MacDefender attack — we’re arguing in the security community whether it’s really a trojan horse or a pure phishing attack, but it’s an attack anyway — has been giving us trouble over the long weekend, so I’m please to pass on word that the Mac OS/X Security Update has been released.  If you haven’t already had the Software Update show up on your Macs, then click the System menu (the Apple in top left) and pick Software Update.

Apple suggests that you can just let the update add to the list of “safe files”, but here’s my advice.  Uncheck the box that says “Open ‘safe files’ after download’ and then put a piece of duct tape over the check box so you don’t accidentally re-check it.  All someone has to do is beat the malware checker again and you’ll be in the same trouble.

And remember, in general

  • never run an installer unless you really intended to install a program
  • never give an application your credit card numbers directly.  If they’re reputable, they’ll connect you to PayPal or something similar to handle the actual purchase, or send you to a secure website.
  • never let a web page download a file unless you asked for it directly.

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Flashback: Guess who officiated at Weiner’s wedding?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Don’t all healthy marriages get commissioned by known serial cheaters?

Seriously, what couple in their right mind has Bill Clinton marry them?

Also read: Video: Weiner gets roasted by the press.

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Bill O’Reilly to the FBI: Tell us about your Weiner investigation by tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

I wasn’t aware that Fox News Channel hosts had ultimatum power over the FBI. But they are the most powerful name in news. This is from tonight’s O’Reilly Factor.

[Lis] Wiehl noted that she had attempted to reach FBI officials and get a comment on the record about the current state of their potential investigation, but they “would not confirm nor deny” anything. “They certainly can confirm,” O’Reilly countered repeatedly, until Wiehl modified her comment: “they did not confirm nor deny.” “That’s wrong,” an outraged O’Reilly replied. “We pay their salaries.”

Guilfoyle agreed with this sentiment, appearing both upset at the FBI’s silence and saying she was “highly skeptical” of Rep. Weiner’s claims of innocence, noting that hackers rarely let a victim regain control of their account immediately. “I want the FBI to tell the American public what they’re doing,” O’Reilly concluded after they group discussed potential legal action and O’Reilly admitted that he was looking at the story through a strictly legal, and not technological, perspective. Then he issued an ultimatum– until he tapes tomorrow’s show– for a straight answer. “With all due respect, Mr. Mueller, we’re going to want a statement from you.”

Just to wrap our minds around all this: A tweet of a link to a lewd pic now has the highest rated host in cable news calling out the head of the FBI. So, yeah, this story has gone mainstream.

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Texas Rep Gene Green supports Hispanic ghettos?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Howard Nemerov

Democratic Congressman Gene Green, along with Democratic Reps. Charlie Gonzalez of San Antonio, Silvestre Reyes of El Paso and Lloyd Doggett of Austin, have filed suit against the Texas legislature’s proposed Congressional redistricting. They seek “court-ordered creation of two Hispanic congressional districts in Harris County.”

Of course, should Hispanics desire “one of their own” to represent them in Congress, they’ll have to remain living in those districts. And as the districts become more and more Hispanic, they’ll eventually lose the ability to integrate into American society.

The Nazis kept the Jews under control in Warsaw. Useful things, those ghettos.

Democrats, aka the lawyers’ party, will use legal gambits like the Voting Rights Act to ensure their burgeoning new “victim” group receives racial preference so their ‘own’ represents them in Congress. This is to better enable Democrats to steer Hispanics down the road they forced upon Blacks following the Civil War, when the Democrats used the stick/carrot (White League terrorists/paternalism) to cajole freemen back into a state as close to slavery as possible.

The Democrats, just as racist as they were post-bellum, want to gain another captive voting bloc. They seek to isolate Hispanics by racial heritage in the new, politically correct ghetto system, convincing them to place the yoke on their own necks in exchange for handouts.

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Video: Weiner gets roasted by the press

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

CNN’s Dana Bash distinguishes herself with some particularly hard-hitting questions. Rep. Anthony Weiner, NY Democrat, distinguishes himself by not answering any of her questions, or anyone else’s questions.

This is, simply, the worst press conference since Bill Clinton’s infamous “that woman” press conference in 1998. Yes, it’s that bad. But Weiner, lacking the lip biting compelling insincerity of Bill Clinton, comes off even worse than the Clenis did back then.

This story has blown up in the mainstream media. Until Anthony Weiner decides to extend an actual answer rather than trying to provide little distractions in the manner of a backyard magician trying to pull one over on a bunch of five year olds, this story is not going away. Enjoy. (via R.S. McCain and Ace)

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House Republicans reject unconditional debt ceiling increase

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Howard Nemerov

After renewing the PATRIOT Act, I wouldn’t be surprised if you began to doubt all that wonderful GOP campaign rhetoric from last November.

Perhaps there’s hope: The House defeated “their own proposal for a $2.4 trillion increase in the nation’s debt limit Tuesday,” 318-97. Which means that even some Democrats voted no.

This signals their seriousness that they’ll only raise the federal debt ceiling if the bill includes $1 trillion in spending cuts…so they say right now.

Why raise the debt ceiling at all?

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Anthony’s Weiner makes New York Magazine

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Charlie Martin

RTWT here.

We won’t pretend to know the truth behind Weinergate — whether Weiner was the victim of a hacker or prankster or conservative conspiracy, or whether he was personally responsible for sending a college girl a photo of a man’s bulge over Twitter. But what’s clear is that Weiner is only inviting more suspicion on himself by the way he’s handling the attention. During an encounter with reporters earlier today, Weiner refused to answer any questions about the incident, including whether that was his own package in the photo, why he contacted a lawyer instead of law enforcement, and why he was following the college student on Twitter in the first place. Instead, he pointed reporters to his previous statements (which don’t actually address those questions) and expressed his desire to move on to more important business. ….

Evading questions, however, is a strategy most often utilized by people with something to hide, and will only further pique the media’s interest. Weiner either has something to hide, or he has no idea how the media operates.

(Question: Given his experience in Congress, what are the odds for option #2?)

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Weinergate: Now the Democrats Are circling the wagons (Update: Schumer gets on the edge of the circle)

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

The Democrats are taking oaths of fealty to Weiner’s veracity, one by one. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Rep. Steny Hoyer: I believe in Weiner.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, does not believe the Twitter story will hurt Mr. Weiner or the Party. “Somebody hacked into his Twitter account and projected material which can happen, I guess, to anybody, which was not generated by Mr. Weiner. It’s unfortunate. Mr. Weiner is pursuing the proper authorities to see if it can be determined who hacked into,” he said during a pen and pad session on Tuesday. “I understand that it’s (hacking into a Twitter account) is an illegal activity and the proper authorities ought to pursue it.”

Sure, except Weiner isn’t sticking by the hacker version, and isn’t calling for an investigation. Why?

Rep. Charlie “I write the tax code but don’t have to live by it, suckas!” Rangel: I believe in Weiner.

Rangel, who has been beset by scandalous charges in recent years, says that Weiner is likely the victim of a smear campaign. “It’s some kind of political game they’re playing,” he says. “I don’t know who did it, but that’s what they’re doing.”

A smear campaign? In an off year, to a Rep in a safe seat? On a Friday night in the midst of a holiday weekend? What’s the point?

Rep. Louise Slaughter: I, too, believe in Weiner.

“Why would he do a stupid thing like that?” Slaughter chuckles. “Anthony Weiner is as smart as a whip.”

Is she sure he did not snap that infamous photo? “I don’t doubt for a moment that it was not him,” she says.

Well then, since you’re so sure, why don’t you explain why he hasn’t denied that it’s him?

What we have here is a minor scandal that is now tainting the entire Democratic Party. Nice job keeping a lid on your twitter problem, Anthony.

Update: Now, this is funny.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said he doesn’t think his fellow New York Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner had anything to do with the picture of a man’s erect penis underneath gray boxer-briefs sent from Weiner’s official Twitter account Friday night.

“I don’t know the details,” Schumer said, according to the New York Daily News. “But I know him to be a person of integrity and I am virtually certain he had nothing to do with this.”

Virtually certain? Is that like virtual reality; i.e. not reality at all? And I do wonder why Chuckie is so much less certain than Louise Slaughter seems to be.

Also read: Video: Weiner gets roasted by the press.

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Buzz Ballad: That Weiner Wood

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Buzzsawmonkey

—apologies to the Beatles and “Norwegian Wood”

I wanted a girl, despite the fact I married be
I followed her online
Isn’t it good
That Weiner wood?

I sent her a picture intended as a private tweet
As soon as I realized ’twas public, I hit “delete”

Then, I filled and backed–when I was found out,
Claimed I was hacked
But, I lawyered up, and chose not to call
Enforcement at all

And now I’ll try to pass it all off as merely a joke
My sending a student a pic of my “chicken” unchoked

Since there’s no blue dress, I’m confident
I’ll live down this mess
And to new office aspire
Isn’t it good
That Weiner wood?

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Anthony’s Weiner top topic on Google Trends

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Charlie Martin

At time of post.

Here’s Google Trends; have a look now.

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Sampling the Pro-Bin Laden Rallies of Gaza

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Claudia Rosett

MEMRI brings us a sample of the recent grieving in Gaza for Osama: “America is the Enemy of Allah”… etc. All part of the lively scene which the UN General Assembly in September may try to transform into a newly created Hamas-Fatah Palestinian terrorist state. Sounds like the U.S. Treasury should have preemptive sanctions ready to roll.

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Since when does not having an opinion stop a blogger from blogging?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

I only ask that question in reference to this post over at Hot Air, where Ed writes that both he and Allah have stayed away from Weinergate because neither had any opinion about it. Huh? I don’t get that line of thinking. To be perfectly clear, I didn’t have a strong opinion on the story when I wrote our first Tatler post about Weinergate. It all seemed too coincidental, but it was reasonable to make allowances for the possibility that he’d been hacked. It does happen; I’ve been hacked once myself, but all the hacker did was send out spam emails to some of my contacts. They certainly didn’t try anything as elaborate as what Weiner initially alleged. And actually, I started writing the big timeline post as a way to get my own arms around the facts so I could figure out what seemed most likely to be true, and then to have one place to go to and return to, to get at the undisputed facts, as apart from the conspiracy theories and so forth. I wanted to get the timeline straight in my own mind, and help others do the same. I always thought that that was one of the things blogging is for: Investigate, test theories, get commenters and readers involved to bring their own views and expertise to bear. We’re not gatekeepers; bloggers are facilitators.

And by the way, if Weiner really was hacked (which, contra Ed’s post, Weiner is no longer claiming) this was a very sophisticated hack. I don’t mean in the way they hacked him, but what they did once they had hacked him. They didn’t just send out spam, as most hackers do. They apparently didn’t even hack his email, which would be the most useful thing for a spammer to hack. They hacked his Facebook and maybe twitter, according to Weiner’s second version of events, and sent out one message to one specific person in Weiner’s twitter follow list, and that one specific message was designed to look like it came from him as a private message to her. And they did this late on a Friday night on a holiday weekend, when few were likely to even see it. But with 45,000 followers it was reasonable to think that someone might see it, just not a whole lot of people. If this was a hack (which Weiner said on Friday, but isn’t saying now), it’s either one of the most devious political dirty tricks ever devised — in a non-election year, no less, and against a rep. in a safe seat — or it’s the work of some very sophisticated folks, possibly foreign and hostile intel, waging some type of cyber warfare against a sitting federal official. That kind of action, by the way, the Pentagon may now consider as an act of war against the US, with all the military implications that go along with that.

So in calling this a hack, which Weiner did as his very first public response on Friday night (but has backed off from since), Weiner inadvertently made this story a much bigger deal than the pic would imply. This was a legitimate story to pursue, from the start.

Update: Note to Nathan Goulding at NRO: Do your homework. The recipient of the photo was not a “random recipient in the internet.” She was one of only 91 people Weiner had taken the action of following. They already had a connection, based solely on that fact, a connection the enabled direct messaging. Not random. At all. And he had done a shout out to her time zone, on the opposite coast from him and his district, on Friday — and we know she saw that, because she retweeted it. Again, not random.

And where do you get the idea that politicians don’t do dumb things?

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“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Charlie Martin

Last image from the Mars rover Spirit.

NASA stopped trying to contact Spirit on 24 May 2011.

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Christopher Coates departs the Justice Department

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Christian Adams

Many will remember Christopher Coates, the former Voting Section Chief at the Department of Justice.  Coates was the brave fellow, while still working at the DOJ, who defied orders to ignore a subpoena issued by the United States Commission on Civil Rights and testified about the New Black Panthers voter intimidation dismissal.  Coates testified a few months after I quit my DOJ job and also testified.  I wrote about his testimony here:

Yet Americans have a new hero today. The extraordinary courage it took for Coates to risk his job, his career, even his safety to come forward and testify is extraordinary. Aspiring lawyers looking for a role model can find in Coates a noble reason to enter the profession.

After I testified about the hostility toward race neutral enforcement of voting laws, some deniers said they wanted to see more evidence, and with Coates, they got it. 

Today is Christopher Coates’ last day as a Justice Department attorney.  He had been shipped off to South Carolina to work in the U.S. Attorney’s office on a detail.  He recently learned that he would not have the option of staying in that position.  Eric Holder obviously didn’t name him employee of the year.  Thus ends a distinguished and award winning career of public service. 

Any Republican Presidential campaign looking for a top shelf election lawyer who doesn’t charge inflated rates would be well served by hiring this former Chief of the DOJ Voting Section to help navigate the minefields posed by an Obama-run Justice Department Voting Section in 2012.  During the 2008 election, Obama campaign lawyers badgered the Justice Department (and Coates) to adopt all manner of policies designed to benefit Obama.  In 2012 they won’t need to badger.  DOJ will only need to implement, and Coates will understand how to deal with the biased election machinery of DOJ better than anyone.

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Buzz Ballad: Let’s Do It!

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Buzzsawmonkey

Barney Frank justifies his using influence to get his boyfriend Herb Moses a job at Fannie Mae on the grounds that “everybody does it.”

Let’s Do It
—apologies to Cole Porter and “Let’s Do It”

Sneaks do it, sleaze do it
Frankly, congressional Barneys do it
Let’s do it
Let’s pull some strings

To avoid troublesome vets, do it
To be one of them that gets, do it
Let’s do it
Let’s pull some strings

If you want to pocket more, do it
And you’ll get a sinecure
If you’re lover’s a whore, do it
And you’ll make his job secure

Yes, that’s why fat cats do it
And connected Democrats do it
Let’s do it
Let’s pull some strings

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Weiner won’t deny that that’s him in the photo (Update: video added)

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Or, Weiner wimps out when directly asked a straightforward question.

Rep. Anthony Weiner refused to answer questions outside his Capitol Hill office about how a photo of an erect penis covered by boxer briefs ended up on his Twitter account over the weekend.

In a brief gaggle with reporters Tuesday, Weiner was asked directly if the photo was of him, but he refused to say.

“I’m not going to talk about this anymore,” the New York Democrat said. “I think if I was giving a speech to 45,000 people, and someone stood up and heckled in the back, I wouldn’t spend three days talking to him. I’m going to get back to the conversation I care about.”

An interesting number, 45,000. That’s the approximate number of followers Weiner has on twitter, and who therefore get his public tweets. But 91 is the more relevant number, since that’s how many tweeters Weiner followed at the time of the lewd tweet. 91 is the number he needs to be asked about, as in “How did a 21-year-old college student on the West Coast become one of the 91 people you followed?” And follow up from there.

But re-read that quote from Mr. Weiner. Did Weiner just accidentally acknowledge that the tweet really came from him? Why else talk about being heckled when giving a speech “to 45,000 people”? He has previously claimed that he didn’t send out the tweet at all. Now he’s shifting to being “heckled” when he is actually speaking (or in this case, tweeting). That’s a very interesting shift — from “hacked” to “prank” to being “heckled.” Or is Weiner likening the hacker to a heckler? One is a crime with national security implications; the other is just an annoyance. Big difference.

Keep not-answering the questions, Tony. Perhaps in the next one you’ll not-say that you not-do this sort of thing all the time.

Update: CNN posts video of Weiner’s gaggle. He does not present himself as an innocent Weiner wronged, at all. The “I’ve gotta get back to work” bit is right out of the Clinton/Lewinsky playbook.

Update: The “he accidentally tweeted the pic from his cell phone” theory gains more steam.

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Video: Democrat chair slams Republicans for wanting illegal immigration to be illegal

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

The Democrat chair in question is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz of Florida. She heads the DNC. And in the following clip, she actually slams Republicans for wanting to make illegal immigration a “crime.” Which, being illegal, it already is.

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“The Republican solutions that I’ve seen in the last few years is that we should just pack them all up and ship them back to their own countries, and in fact, that it should be a crime. We should arrest them all.”

DWS alleges several fun things in this clip. One, Democrats apparently don’t think that illegal immigration is illegal. Two, they seem content with maintaining an economy in which we have 9% unemployment while millions of people who are here illegally are taking some of the jobs Americans would otherwise fill. Three, they’re apparently content to have massive illegal immigration drive wages down. This is all in the aim of eventually legalizing and then naturalizing the millions of illegals, to create millions of new votes for what otherwise is a wounded political party bereft of any ideas beyond “Give the government more power.”

As for her contention that the Republicans believe in arresting all illegal immigrations and shipping them back to their countries of origin, the “round ‘em all up” approach hasn’t been the GOP’s position or anyone else’s. DWS is, to put it charitably, lying to the folks she’s addressing. There is no single Republican approach to illegal immigration (which is already illegal, and which usually begets other crimes such as identity theft), but to the extent that there is consensus, it emphasizes border security before dealing with the millions who are already here illegally. And attrition, via cutting off benefits to illegals, stopping the practices of sanctuary cities, and going after employers, undoubtedly rates higher in any broad list of methods for reversing the flow of illegals than any direct “round ‘em all up” approach.

Warner Todd Huston has much more on this over at RWN.

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Double dip: The housing market is still in terrible shape

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

I suppose the only good news in this is that one way or another, if you own a home now, you’re likely to keep it. Banks probably don’t want to own any more houses they can’t unload in a market where credit is tight, and demand is nonexistent.

After rebounding in 2009 and 2010, national home prices have sagged to another low in what housing experts are calling a “double dip.”

Falling for the eight consecutive month, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index reveals that home prices in major metro areas are back to mid-2002 levels, with no end to the declines in sight. The 20-city National Index dropped 4.2 percent in the first quarter after having fallen 3.6 percent in the final quarter of 2010. In Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas average home prices tumbled below January 2000 levels.

Daniel Martin, an economist with the Economist Intelligence Unit, said excess supply has persisted since the construction boom earlier last decade that culminated when home prices collapsed in 2006.

The Obama economy: Where you can afford to own less, and what you do own is worth less.

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Jobs is back on June 6!

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Roger L Simon

That’s Jobs as in Steve, not Jobs as in work. We all know the latter are stuck in the mud. But Steve Jobs is sucking it up, emerging from sick bay to appear at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6 to announce the company’s new iCloud service. Gentlemen (and ladies), start your iPads… and buy some stock!

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‘Loser pays’ is now Texas law

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

There is much angst in Austin as the 82nd legislative session ended Monday, only to be followed quickly by a special session thanks to a last-minute filibuster by a Democrat state senator. Hopefully, though, the session’s successes won’t get lost in the noise. One of those successes is the epic defeat of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, a millionaire trial lawyer group that once had the Texas legislature in a headlock, and is now unable to muster a single vote in the Texas Senate against the legislation it feared the most: loser pays.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized, “This Texas upgrade will build on reforms in 2003 and 2005 that have vastly improved the legal climate in what has not coincidentally become the country’s best state for job creation. Texas rewrote everything from class-action certification to product liability” — and I would add the state’s medical-malpractice reforms to that list.

No wonder the nation’s CEOs list Texas as the best state for business.

The success of ‘loser pays’ is destined to be viewed as a key victory for the Republican legislature over a group that once enjoyed almost limitless influence in the state: the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, which lobbied aggressively against the law. Prior to the reforms instituted in 2003 and 2005, Texas was an ambulance chaser’s paradise. Nowadays, even the $13 million the trial lawyers spent to defeat Perry and other pro-tort-reform Republicans in the 2010 election had little impact. In a stunning rebuke, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst stared down the trial lawyer lobby and shepherded the measure through to a 31–0 vote in the Senate.

More important than the defeat for the TTLA, is what the reform actually does: It makes it less legally perilous to operate a business in the state of Texas.

‘Loser pays’ reform will result in fewer frivolous lawsuits, lower litigation costs, and more expedient justice for legitimate claims. Just as important, the passage of loser pays is yet another example of how Texas has taken the national lead in job creation and the fostering of a strong business climate. Immediately following Perry’s earlier reforms, the number of physicians applying to practice rose by 60 percent, filling a increasing need across the state, according to the Journal. Likewise, by tossing off the threatening shroud of frivolous lawsuits, Texas is removing yet another barrier to small business expansion and job growth.

As a bonus, trial lawyers will also have less money to spend supporting Democrats next go round.

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So…when does a Weiner staffer get the axe?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

That’s where Weinergate is headed, right? Some Weiner staffer is going to take the fall, the main question is “When?”

Here’s why I think that’s where this is headed. On Friday night Rep. Anthony Weiner, New York Democrat, deletes the lewd tweet within minutes of it happening — and after about 3.5 hours of public silence — and declares that he has been “hacked.” Thiry-six hours later the recipient of the offending tweet puts out a statement refuting a bevy of accusations no one had actually made, and on Sunday Weiner (through his staff) calls the tweet a “prank” but brushes off questions regarding whether there has been any contact between Weiner and the woman. Thirty-six hours is plenty of time for Weiner and the tweet recipient to get their stories aligned via direct messages or some other means, should they have any reason or need to do that. And then there’s this, from Politico’s story Sunday:

Weiner’s office did not answer specific questions about the photograph, whether he has contacted authorities or the Seattle woman who received the photograph. He has said that his Facebook was hacked and if his Twitter had the same password, that too could be vulnerable.

Weiner isn’t even saying that his twitter account was hacked anymore. He is only suggesting that it could have been hacked. Well, duh. That’s true of every single twitter account on earth. This is a pretty significant shift from Friday, when Weiner claimed he’d been hacked and even saluted “Mr. Moriarty” for getting one over on him. That little salute also made Weiner the most incurious Sherlock Holmes ever, by the way: There is no active police investigation of the alleged hacking.

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Egypt’s Israel psychosis

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Roger L Simon

As seen in this video, Egypt – even, perhaps especially, its “revolutionaries” – appears to have a near psychotic fixation on Israel. It makes them blind and unable to progress. It’s as if the entire country has a mass inferiority complex.
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In case you missed it, below you can find the “genocide” in Gaza referred to above by the “great Egyptian humanitarian” in the video above.
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Heh: ‘We rate PolitiFact’s statement as half true’

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Josh Trevino does a nice job of turning PolitiFact’s methods of analysis back on themselves. The particular PolitiFact unit he is dealing with is the one based on Austin and run out of the Austin American-Statesman, known as PolitiFact Texas. I had a few episodes with them when I worked for the Texas GOP. They’re the only PolitiFact unit I’ve ever seen that can take a story, fail to refute a single fact in it, yet brand it “Pants on Fire.” They’re the only PolitiFact unit I’ve seen that can take a story, find it true by applying generally accepted standards of logic and analysis, then apply their own special brand of analysis to determine that some part of the story is false — when in reality, all of it is true.

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The Smithsonian outsources the Civil War to Singapore

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Myra Adams

Recently, while shopping at my local COSTCO, I noticed a glossy over-sized picture book of The Civil War by the Smithsonian Institution that commemorates the 150th anniversary of the start of that conflict.

Having a keen interest in the Civil War, I could not resist purchasing the book.

Once I started reading, I was stunned to discover that the book was bound and printed in Singapore, a nation as far away from Washington D.C. as you can possibly get and still be on the planet.

To think the Smithsonian Institution is outsourcing its Visual History of the Civil War to Singapore, is bizarre.  Does this mean that throughout the fruited plain from sea to shining sea, there is no bookbinder and printer that compares to those found in Singapore?

This is a sad commentary on the state of our nation’s manufacturing base.

Ironically, as the book beautifully documents, one of the reasons why the South lost the Civil War was because the North at that time had an overwhelming advantage in industrial and manufacturing capability.

The Smithsonian outsourcing a history book to Singapore,  is just a very small example of a much larger problem — that 150 years after the Civil War something has gone terribly wrong with our nation’s ability to “make things,” making us dependent on other nations to make things for us while the world becomes increasingly dangerous.

The United States still tops the list of the world’s top 10 industrial producers, but the trends are not encouraging. Even our intelligence community fears our manufacturing decline has extremely negative national security implications.

Which begs the question, in the 21st century is the United States slowly turning into the “Old South” while the “New North” is China, Germany, and Japan?

However, even if it was printed and bound in Singapore, I highly recommend this magnificent book The Civil War, A Visual History by that great American institution, the Smithsonian, on sale at that other great American institution COSTCO, where most of the durable goods and electronics are made in China.

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Turkey celebrates 558 years of illegal occupation of Constantinople

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 - by Patrick Poole

While Americans were celebrating Memorial Day and remembering those who had given their lives in defense of our freedoms, wanna-be EU member Turkey held a celebration of an entirely different variety – 558 years of their illegal occupation of the Christian capital city of Constantinople. The city (renamed by the Ottoman occupiers as Istanbul) was sacked by Sultan Mohammad II on May 29, 1453 in what is now known as the Byzantine nakba (or, catastrophe).

One eyewitness described the scene:

Nothing will ever equal the horror of this harrowing and terrible spectacle. People frightened by the shouting ran out of their houses and were cut down by the sword before they knew what was happening. And some were massacred in their houses where they tried to hide, and some in churches where they sought refuge. The enraged Turkish soldiers . . . gave no quarter. When they had massacred and there was no longer any resistance, they were intent on pillage and roamed through the town stealing, disrobing, pillaging, killing, raping, taking captive men, women, children, old men, young men, monks, priests, people of all sorts and conditions

The Kuwaiti News Agency noted this weekend’s celebration:

Thus, Istanbul saw today another glorious day with thousands of people who have their hearts throbbing with the city’s historic triumphal entry having flocked to Esmat Pasha Stadium in the nearby Kocaali city, while chanting the old songs of conquest which revived the feelings of thousands. These acts of remembrance revived the nostalgic feelings of thousands who recalled again Sultan Mohammad, the Conqueror, Sheikh Aq Shams Al-Din, Ulubatli Hassan, and Abu Ayoub Al-Ansari, may God be pleased with him, and so the joy turned into a gala with fireworks launched in the middle of the program and at its last. Then, a group of Istanbul’s youth have carried, amid calls of Allahu Akbar, stating Allah is the Greatest, as well as the military music a wooden ship signifying the ships which Mohammad II made his soldiers carry from the western coast of Bosphorus…

And who was behind this celebration of half a millenium of illegal occupation? The Turkish government.

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The Democrats’ 2012 Nightmare

Monday, May 30th, 2011 - by Charlie Martin

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Great medical discovery — the meniscus and the brain are connected

Monday, May 30th, 2011 - by Dan Miller

A stupendous Venezuelan medical discovery has been announced; this may be a result of the marvels of Cuban medicine as well.

The discovery of a previously unsuspected connection between the brain and the knee has reached us via no less an authority than Venezuela’s long suffering el Presidente Chávez, whose knee problems have caused verbal constipation. This will change medical science, certainly for the better.

For two to three weeks, the most loquacious President in the planet has been silent. But for his daily 140 character message in the novel medium called Twitter, whose authorship can not even be confirmed, there has been total silence from the All Mighty, even when given a brilliant chance to blast the big, bad enemy.

The cause of all this? The big guy has a knee ailment…

. . . .

But nobody says anything. The press is quiet. TV? Not even you know who mentions it. We don’t seem to have the right to know. It appears we could go until January 2013 without seeing the guy and reading tweets from him explaining how bad that pain is. So bad, that he can’t even sit on a chair in front of a desk, like he usually does any way, to let his mouth go.

Sure

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Weinergate: What we know (Update: Weiner hires a lawyer)

Monday, May 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

For MSM types who wish to start covering Weinergate accurately, or for readers just catching up, here’s a quick primer on the undisputed Weinergate facts.

On Friday night, New York Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner’s twitter feed sent 21-year-old college student Gennette Nicole Cordova, a Seattle resident, a tweet containing a link to a lewd photo of a man in his briefs. Weiner followed Cordova on twitter, and Cordova followed Weiner on twitter. At the time of the lewd tweet, Weiner had about 45,000 twitter followers but he followed just 91 people, and Cordova was among them. This two-way following relationship allows twitter users to send messages directly to one another without such messages going on either user’s public twitter feeds. Weiner deleted the tweet with the link to the photo four minutes after it went out on his public twitter feeds, and claimed he was hacked, blaming the lewd photo on the hacker. The link that appeared in Weiner’s public twitter feed led to the photo on Weiner’s yfrog account. The photo has also been removed.

Here is a rough Weinergate timeline. If you see errors or items that need clarification, hit me up in comments or email and I’ll correct or clarifiy anything that needs it.

1. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was very active on twitter on Friday, awaiting a financial disclosure from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a disclosure that Weiner intended to turn into a political attack on Thomas.

2. Weiner’s twitter feed goes silent for about 3 hours, 24 minutes Friday afternoon/evening, a time during which he is allegedly watching a hockey game. (Weiner’s spokesman later claimed that he had been tweeting about the hockey game during that time, a claim that has turned out to be false.)

3. Before Weiner’s public twitter feed went silent, he sent out the following tweet:

Heading to 30 Rock to chat with Rachel at 9. #Thats545InSeattleIThink
about 17 hours ago via TweetDeck

Some MSM accounts of the scandal, including the NYT, have omitted this tweet. It’s relevant because the recipient of the lewd photo lives in Seattle Bellingham, WA (same time zone as Seattle, and Seattle is where Cordova identified herself as being from in her original twitter feed). Weiner is a New York Democrat. Why did he tweet out a time hack to Seattle about a television appearance of his? For whom was this tweet intended?

TweetDeck may also be a useful clue, in that TweetDeck allows users to monitor multiple twitter streams, including their own and any mentions of themselves, public messages and private messages, at the same time. According to the tweet above, Weiner was using TweetDeck on Friday; he could have been managing his public tweets and mentions of himself in two columns while managing any number of private message conversations in other columns. He could also have quickly seen any tweets that he intended to send as private messages appear in his public stream, and any mentions of those tweets by others as well.

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An Israeli Response to J Street

Monday, May 30th, 2011 - by Roger L Simon

Daniel Gordis of the Shalem Center addressed the J Street Leadership Mission to Israel and Palestine. His remarks were brilliantly phrased and worth reading. (See especially his deconstruction of J Street rhetoric.) But it’s hard to believe that the ultra-liberal, peace-at-all-costs Jewish group could be listening. Their views are so reified and entrenched, they are not likely able even be able to hear the other side. Besides, they are liars. And liars, as we all know, live their lives in denial.

H/T: AM

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Super Quick Sports Wrap-up

Monday, May 30th, 2011 - by Tony Katz

In no particular order:

Jim Tressel resigns as the head football coach of Ohio State University.

Danica Patrick leads the Indy 500, then doesn’t.  Is NASCAR on the horizon?

UFC 130 – wicked boring for such outstanding sport!

Tony Romo got married.  No word on how this will help him win a playoff game.

You may now return to the important aspects of today – some great grilling and remembering those who have fallen in keeping us free, and keeping America the greatest nation on the face of the earth.

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This Memorial Day, be their hero

Monday, May 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Consider spending $24.99 on care packages for the troops during Troopathon IV. Click on the graphic for details.

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“Mac Defender”

Sunday, May 29th, 2011 - by Charlie Martin

We still seem to be having troubles with the so-called “Mac Defender” malware. We aren’t sure how it’s being delivered — I think, but am not certain, it’s being delivered through a trojan-horse advertisement — but the effect is that it redirects your browser to a site hosted by various machines in the Former Soviet Union, so instead of PJ Media content you get a page like the one below.

The "Mac Defender" malware page.

Like almost all examples of the rare Mac malware, this requires at least a little cooperation from your end before it will do anything dastardly to your machine. Apple will have a security update out for this soon, they promise. In the mean time, here’s what to do, drawn from the Apple article I linked:

Right now, if you use Safari as your browser, then open Preferences (Cmd-, or Safari/Preferences) and make sure that Open “safe” files after downloading is not checked, as shown below.

That will prevent the malicious page from actually installing anything on your machine.

If you get the malicious page:

  • don’t click the okay button.  No, your Mac doesn’t have a virus (yet) and it’s not scanning anything. Instead, close the window and quit the browser with Cmd-Q.  If it won’t let you, then force-quit the browser by
    • clicking the Apple in the top left corner of the screen to get the System menu, and pick “Force Quit” — or type Option-Cmd-Escape if you’d rather.
    • find the browser in the Force Quit window and click Safari (or whichever browser you are using.)  It will be highlighted like the next picture:

    • Click “Force quit” and that will kill the Safari session.

The good news is that mostly the malicious page will only try this rarely, and apparently only once on a machine.

Now, what to do if you didn’t do this?  If you were to click “Okay”, then the web site will download a file called “anti-malware.zip”, and if you had the Open “safe” files box checked, then it tries to go ahead and run an installer.

Don’t do it.  Go to your Downloads folder, find the file and drop it in the Trash, them empty the trash.

If you did let it install, don’t for God’s sake give it your credit card information.

Here’s what Apple recommends if you have somehow installed this malware:

How to remove this malware

If the malware has been installed, we recommend the following actions:

  • Do not provide your credit card information under any circumstances.
  • Use the Removal Steps below.

Removal steps

  • Move or close the Scan Window
  • Go to the Utilities folder in the Applications folder and launch Activity Monitor
  • Choose All Processes from the pop up menu in the upper right corner of the window
  • Under the Process Name column, look for the name of the app and click to select it; common app names include: MacDefender, MacSecurity or MacProtector
  • Click the Quit Process button in the upper left corner of the window and select Quit
  • Quit Activity Monitor application
  • Open the Applications folder
  • Locate the app ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector or other name
  • Drag to Trash, and empty Trash

Malware also installs a login item in your account in System Preferences. Removal of the login item is not necessary, but you can remove it by following the steps below.

  • Open System Preferences, select Accounts, then Login Items
  • Select the name of the app you removed in the steps above ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector
  • Click the minus button

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Weinergate: Two more coincidences?

Sunday, May 29th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Ace rounds up all of the Weinergate coincidences, to which I’ll add another two: It was just a coincidence that Rep. Anthoyn Weiner had spent much of Friday on twitter (where he could tweet publicly as well as direct message, of course) laying in wait for a supposed Clarence Thomas docu-dump; and it was a coincidence that Weiner happened to see the allegedly criminal tweet, and was able to delete the tweet in question within minutes of it going off into the wild, even though he allegedly had nothing to do with sending that tweet in the first place. He’s a regular Twitter Batman.

All just a stack of coincidences, to go along with the tweetee being one of just 91 people he followed, who had happened to tweet that he was her “boyfriend,” and he had just happened to do a time-shout to the city she just happened to live in and which is about 3,000 miles from his district. And it’s surely a coincidence that Weiner DM’d a porn star too. Hot diggety dog, but that’s a lot of very plausible and believable coincidences.

Or, Tony was multi-tasking on twitter as an impatient young man might, tweeting politics in public and something else in private, accidentally used @ when he should have used d, and then tried the “Hacked!” as a cover story.Very simple story, or hideously complex story. Which one makes more sense?

If you’re Huma Abedin, you’d at least ask about the DM to the porn star, no?

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Weinergate continued: now it’s high school girls!

Sunday, May 29th, 2011 - by Roger L Simon

Apparently college girls aren’t young enough for recently married Rep. Anthony Weiner. The Congress-creep liked to tweet high school girls too. Verum Serum has it all, noting that Politico is reporting that Weiner’s staff is not so far pursuing the putative of “hacking” of his Facebook and Twitter accounts. Gag me with a spoon.

I always wondered what that meaningless term “progressive” meant. I guess it’s really “horn dog.” Maybe someone should put saltpeter in that Morning Joe. Wasn’t this jerk trying to become mayor of New York? Well, I guess he’d be following in Spitzer footsteps. His own show on CNN will not be far behind. Maybe they can team him with Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

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