Not too long ago, Democrats were crediting the government shutdown with helping them recruit Pete Festersen to take on a Republican incumbent in Nebraska.
[DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve] Israel had previously said the shutdown would “widen the path” to taking back the majority, and it appears that new path is beginning to take shape as Democrats, motivated by polling showing Republicans taking a hit from the shutdown, step up to run.
Israel mentioned in particular Nebraska’s 2nd District, where Omaha City Councilman Pete Festersen just announced a challenge to Rep. Lee Terry (R) and cited the shutdown specifically as part of the reason he’s running.
“Like most people, my frustration has grown by the day over the last month, with the government shutdown and the brinkmanship on the debt ceiling,” he told the Omaha World-Herald. “Change is needed. And I felt it was my responsibility to be that change.”
Festersen evidently doesn’t feel that responsibility quite as accutely now. Well that, or he sees what Obamacare is doing to Democrats all over the place. Today, he dropped out of the race.
Democrat Pete Festersen is ending his campaign for Republican Lee Terry’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Omaha City Council president told The World-Herald on Monday that he’s been unable to balance his work, family and council responsibilities with the demands of a high-profile congressional race.
“It is the right time for moderate, practical-minded people to make a difference, but I’ve determined it’s not the right time for me or my young family to run for national office,” Festersen said.
He said he made the decision over the weekend, after having discussions with his family. It comes less than two months after Festersen announced he’d take on Terry in the 2014 election.
And a little over two months since Obamacare’s rollout started blowing holes in every Democrat candidacy across the country.
How many other Democrats between now and the primaries will decide to spend more time with their families? Hopefully, a lot.
Update: When I write that Obamacare is blowing holes in Democrat candidacies, this is what I mean.
At the National Journal, Alex Seitz-Wald writes that Barack Obama’s second term was well on track until Adam Lanza came along and killed a bunch of kids. Then it all went pear-shaped for the president.
The Connecticut massacre set in motion a cascade of events that led the White House to burn through its only real window to accomplish its goals. The month before the shooting, Obama had won a convincing reelection and a modest popular mandate. One major liberal wish-list entry, immigration reform, seemed not only within reach but almost inevitable.
Immigration was in an almost impossible bipartisan sweet spot: a singularly important policy goal for Democrats that could be a political boon for both parties. For Republicans, it was a way to fix a demographic problem revealed by the 2012 election. Still, they’d have to move quickly. The populist Right that had torpedoed immigration reform under George W. Bush seemed quieted by defeat, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long.
Then Lanza’s rampage altered the debate in Washington. Suddenly, priority No. 1 wasn’t immigration reform but gun control. The base that had just elected Obama was clamoring for background checks and magazine-clip restrictions, threatening to desert the president before his second inauguration. Many in Washington, including Connecticut’s Democratic senators, were convinced that the much-feared National Rifle Association had become a “paper tiger.” The gun lobby’s muscle hadn’t been truly tested in almost a decade, and NRA head Wayne LaPierre’s bizarre press conference days after the shooting seemed to confirm that the emperor had no clothes.
The piece may be equal parts revisionist history and trolling. It omits Obama’s own decisions and how they have impacted his second term to date.
Obama was coming into term two already damaged by Benghazi plus three years of Obamacare controversy, among other things. The media downplayed the one, helping him, and mostly dismissed concerns about the latter, again helping him. Immigration reform was very much alive, but also controversial, with the media again helping Obama by downplaying the economic and rule of law problems with rewarding millions of illegal aliens with legal status. In the absence of a useful massacre it’s not a given that immigration would have gotten through the House in the same form it got through the Senate. The GOP was reeling from 2012 and saw that it had some problems. But consensus hadn’t built up to the point that the Senate’s immigration bill was a lock to win in the House.
While Seitz-Wald wants to blame the massacre itself for distracting Obama, it’s worth looking at Obama’s actual response to the tragedy. It was obvious early on that he was going to use it for political reasons. It was obvious that anti-gun left thought they finally had their moment to start a successful round of attacks on the Second Amendment.
The two things that ended up in the final legislative proposals would have made no difference to stop the tragedy at Sandy Hook. The “universal background check” checked a box that the anti-gun left has wanted to check for years. Ditto for magazine limits. Lanza’s attack tactics ended up providing evidence that magazine limits wouldn’t have made any difference. He jungle-taped magazines together and, first-person shooter style, is reported to have dropped and swapped magazines are firing just a few rounds so that he would never be caught by police as his magazine emptied.
The fact that the two main proposals would not have stopped the killer fed to accurate perceptions that Sandy Hook was being used opportunistically to further an agenda that Obama had already wanted to work “under the radar.” His confusion or dishonesty over how the killer really operated reinforced beliefs that Obama does not know much about guns, beyond knowing that he doesn’t like them.
Obama’s own actions ended up creating a massive surge in gun and ammunition sales — shortages lasted for months, thanks to him, and millions more Americans decided to arm themselves. They correctly believed that if the left’s first legislative moves against gun rights succeeded, there would be more.
The year moves along, and then we arrive at the government shutdown and Obamacare’s disastrous rollout. If Sandy Hook had never happened, Obamacare would still have emerged, with its pathetically dysfunctional website, its sticker shock, its doc shock, the exposure of Obama’s “If you like your healthcare, you can keep your healthcare” lie, etc. Obama had set himself on a course for disaster by signing that law and then mismanaging its rollout so badly that the media couldn’t ignore it.
You can choose to blame Obama’s current predicament on Newtown if you want, but doing so ignores the fact that Barack Obama is a hyperpartisan president whose choices and poor management are sinking his second term.
More Edward Snowden documents have come out, and as usual, they paint a picture of a government that is simply spying on everyone, everywhere, all the time.
Stories carried Monday by The New York Times, the Guardian, and ProPublica said U.S. and U.K. spies have spent years trawling online games for terrorists or informants. The stories, based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, offer an unusual take on America’s world-spanning surveillance campaign, suggesting that even the fantasy worlds popular with children, teens, and escapists of all ages aren’t beyond the attention of the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ.
Virtual universes like “World of Warcraft” can be massively popular, drawing in millions of players who log months’ worth of real-world time competing with other players for online glory, virtual treasure, and magical loot. At its height, “World of Warcraft” boasted some 12 million paying subscribers, more than the population of Greece. Other virtual worlds, like Linden Labs’ “Second Life” or the various games hosted by Microsoft’s Xbox _ home to the popular science fiction-themed shoot-em-up “Halo” _ host millions more.
Spy agencies have long worried that such games serve as a good cover for terrorists or other evildoers who could use in-game messaging systems to swap information. In one of the documents cited Monday by media outlets, the NSA warned that the games could give intelligence targets a place to “hide in plain sight.”
So the suspiciously good 13-year-old who owns you at “League of Legends” isn’t the worst you have to worry about online? That sexy elven warrior you’ve been questing with isn’t just probably a guy. It may be a spy.
The companies involved swear that they had no knowledge that G-Men were all up in their online games. Microsoft says it’s going to see about locking the government out of X-Box Live.
I’m for NSA doing its thing when and where it’s warranted, but is there a single documented case of terrorists meeting up in “Second Life” to plot attacks? Or WoW or any other game space? And what kind of “virtual weapons training” can one really conduct in “Halo” or “Star Wars: The Old Republic?” One? Anywhere?
Obamacare’s apologists claim that the policy is working, it just needs better PR.
So, they plan all along then was to jack up insurance rates for millions after promising that our healthcare costs would go down?
Washington— Health care costs are expected to rise in 2014 for many workers, including those at one Royal Oak company, because of new, obscure federal fees and taxes imposed on insurers and employers.
Across the nation, the fees and taxes imposed next year through the Affordable Care Act will generate about $20 billion, based on Joint Committee on Taxation estimates, and could affect nearly 60 percent of Americans who receive insurance through their workplace.
It’s uncertain how many employees could pay the higher fees and taxes because employers are deciding whether to absorb the cost or pass along all or part of it. For example, Oakland County government decided to pick up the tab — more than $600,000 — for its workers. Macomb and Wayne county officials could not be reached about their plans.
That $600,000 probably means the company will hire fewer people.
The New York Times:
Until now, it was almost impossible for people using the federal health care website to see the deductible amounts, which consumers pay before coverage kicks in. But federal officials finally relented last week and added a “window shopping” feature that displays data on deductibles.
For policies offered in the federal exchange, as in many states, the annual deductible often tops $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a couple.
Insurers devised the new policies on the assumption that consumers would pick a plan based mainly on price, as reflected in the premium. But insurance plans with lower premiums generally have higher deductibles.
In El Paso, Tex., for example, for a husband and wife both age 35, one of the cheapest plans on the federal exchange, offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has a premium less than $300 a month, but the annual deductible is more than $12,000. For a 45-year-old couple seeking insurance on the federal exchange in Saginaw, Mich., a policy with a premium of $515 a month has a deductible of $10,000.
And many are getting higher premiums and higher deductibles. Basically, they’re being put on the same kind of plans that President Obama derides as “bad apples” when it suits him.
The FBI can turn on your webcam without you knowing anything.
The FBI has developed advanced surveillance techniques that give it the power to covertly activate Web cams to spy on unsuspecting computer owners.
Tech savvy G-men can remotely turn on cameras that transmit real-time images to investigators — without triggering the light that shows the camera is in use, according to The Washington Post.
The FBI can also burrow into a suspect’s computer and download files, photographs and stored e-mails.
And plant evidence to be used against you. Simple solution to thwart the camera spies: Electrical tape over the lens. That won’t prevent them from turning your mic on, or sneaking into your computer to plant files, or hacking your system if you’re reporting stories they don’t want reported, but it at least stops them taking pictures of you without your knowledge.
Don’t worry about this or any other government power being misused. The government only hires the best and brightest.
TSA agents in St. Louis, Missouri, disarmed Rooster Monkburn, a cowboy sock money, of his two-inch toy gun after a woman brought the stuffed monkey through security. Agents said that it posed a threat because it could be confused for a real gun, according to local reports.
“[The agent] said ‘this is a gun,’” said Phyllis May, recounting the experience to fly back to her home in Washington state. “I said no, it’s not a gun it’s a prop for my monkey.”
Maybe the agents just wanted to touch her monkey.
Once empowered, agents of the government never become egomaniacs who despise the Constitution and want to take away our rights.
And even if that were to happen, we’re still protected because we elect only the most honest and trustworthy to lead us.
In a press conference today, Newtown, CT First Selectman Patricka Llodra asked the media not to descend on the town and turn the first anniversary of the massacre of schoolchildren and teachers there into another media circus.
“Well, it’s not personal,” Llodra said. “But we truly are hoping we have provided enough opportunity with the print media and the TV media and particularly the local media to answer questions and give the media the story that I know that the world’s going to want to hear on the first anniversary. We’re hoping when you leave here today at 12:00 noon or whenever you leave our community, that you have what you need to satisfy your producers. So that when we say to you, ‘Please don’t come,’ I mean, please respect our need to be alone and to be quiet and have that personal time to continue on our journey of grief in a way that serves us.”
A mentally disturbed man committed the Newtown massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. He killed 27, including 20 children. It was the second-worst mass murder at an elementary school in U.S. history.
Apparently Vlad is jealous of Barack Obama. America’s president doesn’t have to make any moves to tighten his grip on anything, not when the majority of our media do his bidding voluntarily.
(Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin tightened his control over Russia’s media on Monday by dissolving the main state news agency and replacing it with an organization that is to promote Moscow’s image abroad.
The move to abolish RIA Novosti and create a news agency to be known as Rossiya Segodnya is the second in two weeks strengthening Putin’s hold on the media as he tries to reassert his authority after protests against his rule.
Most Russian media outlets are already loyal to Putin, and opponents get little air time, but the shake-up underlined their importance to Putin keeping power and the Kremlin’s concern about the president’s ratings and image.
That last paragraph sounds like MSNBC, where hosts devote entire shows to promoting a single Obama policy and where they go out of their way to ask the Lightworker “easy” questions. It also sounds like the New York Times. Most writers at Politico. ABC and NBC, both of which helped create and sell the race angle in the Martin-Zimmerman incident. CBS other than Sharyl Attkisson. Etc.
We think Putin’s actions can’t happen here, and they probably can’t, but not for lack of trying. President Obama is among several leading Democrats who openly attack Fox News. Some Democrats in Congress want to legislate a definition for journalism that would clamp down hard on bloggers and others who do journalism outside the left’s gated journalism community.
But for the First Amendment, it could happen here and already would have.
George Will wryly notes that our young president is benefiting from his lengthy spell of on-the-job training. Too bad the nation has to suffer through it.
“The education of this president is a protracted and often amusing process . . . as he continues to alight upon the obvious with a sense of profound and original discovery,” Will said.
“The president is saying, ‘the trouble with big government is it’s so darn big.’ And like a lot of other big organisms — dinosaurs spring to mind — it has a simple nervous system, it’s sclerotic, it’s governed by inertia, and it’s hard to move,” he said. “This from a man who’s devoted his life to increasing the power of government as an instrument of the redistribution of income because government is wiser than markets at that.”
Barack Obama claimed to be a different kind of politician who would reach across the aisle to work with others, and who didn’t care where good ideas came from. He promised, for instance, to go through the budget line-by-line and root out waste and fraud. He got around that promise by never having a budget at all.
If he actually was the man he claimed to be, he was probably the best placed president we have ever had to come into office and enact sweeping reforms to streamline government. He could have come in an leveraged his position on the Democrats’ far left to force reforms through Congress.
But he wasn’t that man. He is not a reformer. He is a Chicago thug politician who loves big government, hates opposition and believes government is the solution to all problems, and at the same time a weapon he can personally wield against those opponents he hates.
Even the education he claims he is getting now is not sinking it. If it were, he would abandon Obamacare and try a market approach to healthcare reform. He isn’t doing that. Because he still loves big government, and is also a stubborn, egotistical, dishonest man.
The Gallop Asian Bistro posted this note on Facebook on Saturday.
The Gallop Asian Bistro has taken seriously the allegations made by Ms. Dayna Morales, and those made against her. Despite news reports to the contrary, this is not a simple, straight-forward matter and we have conducted our own internal investigation. The results of that investigation are inconclusive as to exactly what happened between Ms. Morales and the customers that night. However, in light of the investigation and recent events, both Ms. Morales and Gallop Asian Bistro have made a joint decision that Ms. Morales will no longer continue her employment at our restaurant. We wish her well in the future.
Overall, this has been an unfortunate incident for Gallop Asian Bistro, our employees, and our customers. We are dedicated to providing excellent Asian cuisine and superior service. We have the utmost faith in our management and staff and we welcome the opportunity to serve our customers.
Morales made national news when she claimed to be a former Marine who had been subjected to an anti-gay nastygram on a receipt while working as a waitress at the bistro. Morales also accused the family of not leaving her a tip because she is gay. Donations poured into her PayPal account, and she claimed she was sending the donations to the Wounded Warriors project. The whole story was too good for many in the media to check.
Then it all started falling apart. The accused family came forward with strong evidence that they did leave a tip, and did not leave any note to Morales. Morales’ claim to be a former Marine turned out to omit the part where she dropped out of training. Wounded Warriors has no record of her donating to them.
Now, she’s out of a job. In Obama’s Obamacare economy.
MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry evidently exists to say ridiculous things. The same radical who declared that all children belong to the state said Sunday that “Obamacare” is the new “n-word.”
“Good morning, I’m Melissa Harris-Perry. I want to talk today about a controversial word,” the Tulane professor began Sunday’s show. “It’s a word that has been with us for years. And like it or not, it’s indelibly printed in the pages of American history. A word that was originally intended as a derogatory term, meant to shame, and divide, and demean. The word was conceived of by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man. To render him inferior, and unequal, and to diminish his accomplishments.”
Subtle! Why, it’s not predictable at all where this is going!
“President Obama has been labelled with this word by his opponents. And at first he rose above it, hoping that if he could just make a cause for what he’d achieved, his opponents would fail in making their label stick. But no matter how many successes that he had as president, he realized there were still many people for whom he’d never be anything more than that one disparaging word. A belief he knew was held not just by his political opponents, but also by a significant portion of the American electorate.
“And so he decided, if you can’t beat them, you’ve got to join them. And he embraced the word and made it his own, sending his opposition a message they weren’t expecting — ‘if that’s what you want me to be, I’ll be that.’ Y’all know the word that I’m talking about. ObamaCare. That’s right! I said it and I’m not ashamed and neither is President Obama. Because he knows that of all his victories over two terms in office, his legacy is ultimately going to be remembered for this one single word.
I mean, what do you call the president who rescues the U.S. auto industry? ObamaCare. What do you call the president who finally eliminates Osama bin Laden?”
With his bare hands, no less.
And so on.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that its investigation of the secretive Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has turned up an operation that — get this — targets brain-damaged people and uses them to set up storefront sting operations. Those storefront sting ops have turned out to be rogue ops full of sketchy, dangerous tactics and outcomes.
Concerns about planning and oversight of undercover operations date to at least the late 1990s when the ATF was part of the Treasury Department. Discussions were held by top officials not only from Treasury but from the Department of Justice and others in hopes of bringing ATF investigations in line with other federal agency standards.
“It was a source of frustration for everybody,” said Rory Little, a former longtime federal prosecutor who participated in the meetings.
Nearly 20 years later, many of the same problems exist.
Butbecause much of the agency’s work is done secretly, the public hasn’t known.
Problems with storefront stings surfaced publicly earlier this year when the Journal Sentinel followed up on a tip from a Milwaukee landlord that the ATF had damaged his building and left behind sensitive documents revealing details about undercover agents and their operation.
The newspaper’s investigation found the operation, dubbed Fearless Distributing, was marred by far more than the landlord knew. A machine gun and other weapons had been stolen from an agent’s car, the storefront was burglarized, agents arrested the wrong people and hired the brain-damaged man, who had an IQ of 54, to set up gun and drug deals.
The machine gun has not been recovered.
Members of Congress from both parties demanded answers, sparking an internal investigation by the ATF and a review by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General. Eight months later, the ATF has not released its findings and the Justice Department investigation is not complete.
We’ll only get anything out of DoJ if the problems go no higher than the agency itself. Or, if the administration can manage to come down on the ATF without jeopardizing its own Fast and Furious cover-up.
So, this will get buried.
Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) signed up for Obamacare today. It didn’t go well. Rep. Flores has posted a series of messages on Facebook describing rounds of errors, phone calls to technical support, and other frustrations while dealing with President Obama’s signature policy and the multi-million dollar web site built to impose it.
In his first message on the subject today, Flores writes: “Just finished trying to enroll in #Obamacare using @DCHealthLink (the Obamacare website for Members of Congress). It was an AWFUL experience–hours of time, dozens of errors (printed dozens of pages of error messages–will post soon), at this point I am still not sure I have coverage, I had to install new browser because they don’t like Microsoft Internet Explorer or Firefox (still got crash errors!), my total phone time on hold in excess of 4 hours, and total time online was in excess of 8 hours. Wait until I tell what you have to go through just to change your password–only bureaucrats could have designed something so awful that it is laughable!
“Why does #POTUS think this is good for America?!!” Flores asks rhetorically.
“POTUS recently said that he was not incompetent, but that government is incompetent, so why make America subject to bureaucrats?”
A few minutes later, Rep. Flores, a second-term congressman who spent his private sector career as an executive in the energy industry, posted another note. This one dealt with the financial impact of the Affordable Care Act.
“Under my new #Obamacare coverage (if I really have it), my premiums are substantially higher (over 50% higher) and my deductibles and out of pocket limits are over 30% higher! This only good thing is that out of the 112 plans available, I was able to get one of the 9 plans that does not cover killing unborn children.”
In his next missive, Flores highlighted Healthcare.gov’s cryptic error messages.
“My favorite @DCHealthLink #Obamacare message:
“Error 500–Internal Server Error
“From RFC 2068 Hypertext Transfer Protocol — HTTP/1.1:
“10.5.1 500 Internal Server Error
“The server encountered an unexpected condition which prevented it from fulfilling the request.”
The Brazos Valley congressman, who unseated longtime Democrat Rep. Chet Edwards during the 2010 wave that brought GOP control of the U.S. House of Representatives, adds that he still doesn’t even know if he really has health insurance after spending so many hours battling with Healthcare.gov.
Another leftist lets the mask slip. Jonathan Alter believes that violent criminals imprisoned for their crimes are political prisoners. He and Al Sharpton talked to themselves on MSNBC today. Sharpton asked Alter what America might learn from the example of Nelson Mandela.
Reasonable answers to this question include but are not limited to: Don’t abuse political power to punish your enemies; don’t hold on to political power forever; choose your wife or husband a bit more carefully; don’t seek to divide when unity serves the nation better.
Alter wants America to learn a different lesson. None of the above.
Alter said, “Well, today we’re hearing even very conservative senators and other figures talking about the spirit of forgiveness that he embodied in truth and reconciliation in South Africa. So my question tonight, Rev, is can we import that spirit of forgiveness and apply it to the hundreds of thousands of people incarcerated, who for the rest of their lives, you know, will be stigmatized by this? Could we figure out a way to forgive them, maybe expunge some of those records, release some prisoners who’ve been — with three strikes and you’re out, you have some people who have been there for so many years – ”
Mandela had engaged in violent objection to his government’s heinous policies. He was a political prisoner. Is Alter suggesting that every thug imprisoned on every “three strikes” count is the same as Mandela?
What a horrible and repulsive insult that is, to Mandela and his legacy.
Three strikes came about because liberal judges took to the habit of being too lenient on violent criminals. Three strikes ties their hands and puts violent criminals in jail. It’s not perfect, as no system is, but it’s no accident that violent crime has gone down during the years that a) gun rights has beaten gun control and b) more violent criminals have to remain in prison longer.
If Alter got his way, there would be hundreds of thousands of hardened criminals released on an innocent populace, and if their criminal records were expunged as Alter suggests, the system would lose those criminals. It’s a prescription for blood to run in America’s streets.
During the brouhaha that she stirred up claiming a family failed to tip her and left an anti-gay nastygram on her receipt, Dayna Morales claimed that she was donating money that nice folks were PayPal-ing to her to the Wounded Warriors project.
Morales, a 22-year-old former Marine, claimed last month that a family of four who racked up a $93.55 bill at the Gallop Asian Bistro in Branchburg, N.J., left her no tip, only a note saying they couldn’t leave any extra cash for her service because they “do not agree with your lifestyle.”
Morales quickly emailed the story to a gay advocacy website and later posted a photograph of the purported check on her Facebook page. The alleged incident made national headlines and resulted in thousands of dollars being donated to Morales, who said she would send all proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project. But a representative of the Florida-based charity could not confirm Morales had made any donations as of Wednesday, Bridgewater Patch reports.
A representative for the nonprofit group that caters to veterans returning from overseas checked for donations by Morales’ name and within the ZIP codes for Bridgewater, N.J., where she worked, and Bedminster, where Morales said she lives, and was unable to locate any correlating donations. The donations may have been made from a different ZIP code or by a third-party, the representative told the website.
Sure, that’s possible. It’s not likely, but it’s possible. There are reasons to doubt Morales’ veracity. Her “former Marine” schtick didn’t really pan out. Neither did her original claim — she’s being investigated. We probably already have a smear and a version of “stolen valor” in this story. We’ll see how the donations angle shakes out.
“If you like your healthcare, you can keep it.” Unless Democrats like Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) don’t like your healthcare. Then, you can’t keep it.
Cartwright made his remarks on MSNBC, the same network that would have you know that South Africa’s apartheid types were more patriotic than US Republicans.
Cartwright said, “I think you’re dealing in large part in semantics there, Thomas. Because a lot of those people, they did have policies that didn’t meet the minimum standards. That’s just not a theoretical discussion. There’s a reason you have minimum standards. There are people out there who have insurance that’s really, it’s an illusion of coverage. They have immense deductibles. They have annual and lifetime caps. There’s so many people out there with what I call phony insurance policies, and the fact that they’re going to lose those policies, sooner or later, I think is a good thing.”
So there you have it. Democrats will lie to you to gain power, and then use that power to make your personal decisions for you. And order you to like it.
The bra of the future won’t just hold, lift and separate. It will monitor emotions and moods and prevent its wearer from “emotional overeating,” according to the male engineers at Microsoft.
Alerts from the wearable technology would be constantly refined by user feedback, enabling the bra to improve its ability to read a specific person’s feelings, InformationWeek reported Thursday.
Microsoft researchers worked with the University of Rochester and Britain’s University of Southampton on the project, attempting to associate emotions with poor eating habits and to determine whether wearable devices can help reduce the resulting weight gains.
A wearable smart bra was chosen primarily because it allows sensors to be placed near the heart, the researchers said, but follow-up research is intended to yield more gender-neutral devices such as bracelets.
The toilet of the future will play doctor. And probably rat you out, if you didn’t listen to your smart bra.
[T]he Wellbeing Toilet aims to change habits, and push users into better posture.
It also analyzes your pee. “It’s what you’d get if you go to the doctor now, and you need to be checked for diabetes or kidney disease and they check things like the phosphates in the urine,” Sheard says. “In the U.K., many people with diabetes are diagnosed late, which adds billions of pounds a year in health costs.” By checking up on users, the toilet aims to help catch diseases earlier.
And email your local Obamacare Community Navigator. The article doesn’t say that. It doesn’t have to. Once the government grants itself the power to force you to buy products, and decides that it can track your position through your phone 24/4, it’s not too great a leap to keeping a database on your pee and poo. Big Bro will know more about you, through what you do in the loo.
One thing neither of the linked articles gets to is security. Where there’s “smart” technology and a signal being sent somewhere, there’s the potential for hacking. This is not some paranoid vision. “Smart” toilets have already been hacked in Japan.
By using an Android app called ‘My Satis’ over a Bluetooth connection, users can raise and lower the lid, operate a bidet function and flush the toilet.
While this might perhaps seem like a good idea, a pin for the Bluetooth app is set at ’0000′ and can therefore be used by anyone – even remotely.
Trustwave therefore believes that this could leave toilet users open to attacks by mischievous technophiles.
Ha ha. But just imagine what nerds who can’t work a clasp can do with smart bras.
The United States Men’s National Team has had a brilliant 2013. It won its World Cup qualifying group. It won the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Its world ranking kept rising and rising.
But the great year just ended on a decidedly down beat. FIFA held the draw for the 2014 World Cup today, and the United States finds itself in Group G with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. The latter have had a bad year, but they are America’s World Cup bogey team — Ghana eliminated the US from the 2010 and 2006 World Cups. The US is bringing a much stronger side this time, but it’s facing an extremely difficult group.
Germany brings world class firepower all over the pitch. Manuel Nauer is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world right now. Mesut Ozil is arguably the best playmaking midfielder in the world right now. Thomas Muller, Lukas Podolski, the Bender brothers, Marco Reus, Per Mertesacker (the Arsenal defender who sunk England at Wembley in their most recent friendly), Mat Hummels…this squad is quality from front to back. The only thing they might lack is an out-and-out striker, but with everyone else rotating around Ozil, they may not need one. At Arsenal he is proving that he can find anyone anywhere for an assist at any time.
Portugal is arguably weaker across the pitch than Germany, but they also bring probably the world’s best player this season — Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo. He proved in Portugal’s playoffs against Sweden that he can carry his team to victory all by himself. Portugal might be a one-man team, but when your one man is that man, you always have more than a chance of winning.
It’s not hard to see Germany winning this group with Portugal right behind them, leaving the Americans out in the Amazon heat. On the other hand, being an underdog isn’t a bad thing for a US used to playing second to Mexico in its region.
England fared slightly better. It drew Group D along with Uruguay, Costa Rica and Italy. Mercurial Uruguay won the World Cup on Brazilian soil decades ago, and brings the in-form striker Luis Suarez to lead the line. All he has done lately is score four spectacular goals for Liverpool versus Norwich in the Premiere League on Wednesday. Italy is a perennial world soccer power. Costa Rica managed to dismantle a tough US side on its home soil during the qualifying stages. England is capable of beating all of them if its best players are healthy and on their best games. Wayne Rooney, Jack Wilshere, Andros Townsend, Theo Walcott, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard…they don’t lack energy, experience, youth, or quality.
These are tough draws, especially in light of how the rehearsal draws went. In the mock-up, the US drew a very survivable group with Uruguay, Nigeria and Croatia. England’s rehearsal would probably have seen it through to the knockouts: The Three Lions drew 2010 winners Spain, along with Ivory Coast and South Korea. Spain and England should have coasted through that group.
Compounding the US draw problem is its venue problem. Each of its game sites are very long plane rides away from its home base in Sao Paulo. The logistics alone will be a nightmare for the US Men.
Begun, the Austin burger wars have.
So California-based In-N-Out Burger thinks it can invade Texas and push the indigenous and other national burger chains aside? Is that how it works?
World famous California hamburger chain In-N-Out Burger opened a new location in Round Rock Tuesday.
As the first location in Central Texas, the new In-N-Out will allow customers a much easier way to satisfy their addiction. Larry Sherwood said he’s been hooked on In-N-Out since his first bite in the 90s
”Now I don’t have to fly to L.A. or Dallas to get my In-N-Out fix,” he said.
Karen Brewster-Clanton moved here from California and said she’s been not-so-patiently waiting for In-N-Out ever since.
“I’ve been telling my job, my boss and everybody just, ‘Get ready – you’re going to taste the best burger in town,’” Brewster said.
I don’t know about that. It’s a grandiose claim. Can In-N-Out back it up?
The Austin area is home to some of the best local and national burger chains on the planet. We have everything that everyone else has, and which won’t be discussed here — McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, etc etc. They’re not part of the burger wars and don’t rate an honorable mention here. They exist.
But we also have Mighty Fine, which always lives up to their name. We have P. Terry’s. They’re both local. We have Braum’s with their combination ice creamery-grocery store-burger joint thing. Well, we don’t have them in Austin, but we have them in Texas. We need them in Austin. We have recent entrant Fire Oak Grill. We have Moonie’s Burger House. We have Hat Creeks, though I have to confess that I haven’t visited one of them yet. That situation will be rectified soon. We have Whataburgers everywhere, and Sonics, which are ubiquitous across Texas and stretch out to fortunate states beyond, but they’re not quite national. We have Five Guys with their beautifully messy burgers and their peanut-oil fries. We have the gourment-treated Smash Burger. And now we have In-N-Out. Let burger lovers rejoice!
I’m a burger veteran. I started enjoying Five Guys back when I lived in Baltimore. I sampled In-N-Out on a trip to PJ Media World Headquarters in Los Angeles a couple of years ago. It was the In-N-Out close to LAX, so no one can claim that I didn’t get the authentic In-N-Out experience. I did. Mighty Fine, P. Terry’s, I’ve had ‘em all. I have my opinions on all of them. I have opinions on really obscure local joints like Burger Bros in Towson, MD. Burger Bros flat out rocks, by the way. I’ve had burgers in Tokyo, on the Champs Elysee in Paris, on Guam, in Alaska, too many places to name. I might have had a burger in Baghdad.
This conflagration in Austin is going to be a major war. In-N-Out is coming into one of the most contested theaters of burger battle in the world. Austin is weird, but it’s not stupid. We have it all here. We know what we like. We know what passes muster and what doesn’t. You can’t sell a weak burger here on brand name alone. We won’t stand for it.
In-N-Out serves a high quality burger. Make no mistake about that. The bread is fresh, the meat is juicy, the vegetables are crisp, it all works. The fries are solid but, I have to be honest, I’ve had better fries. But I’ve also had worse.
I like the In-N-Out burger. I’m glad they’re here. Competition is healthy, even if what these competitors offer may not be. But are Californians right, that In-N-Out serves the best burger that beats all other burgers? The king of burgers?
Well, those Californians do know how to make a great burger. In-N-Out is worth the hype.
At this point, I can do one of several things. I could cop out and leave you with a cliffhanger. I could go nativist and declare that the Texas-based chain serves up the best burgers, because, Texas. Or I could just say what I really think.
In-N-Out is great and I’ll probably be there this weekend or soon enough to remind myself how good it is. It’s hard to beat a quality local burger act like Moonie’s or Mighty Fine. P. Terry’s should go national. There are days when you can’t get into the one downtown. They’re expanding out from Austin’s center and hopefully there will be one near you soon enough. But their burgers, while great, are a little small, to be honest. Whataburger is amazing and always freshens things up. Their green chile burger is unbelievable. They’ll add jalapenos to anything. Their spicy ketchup is the greatest invention since regular ketchup. Their habit-forming onion rings…well, now I’m getting hungry.
But the absolute best chain burger I’ve ever had has to be the East Coast entrant, Five Guys.
They’re bigger. They’re messier. They’re juicier. They’re nastier in the right ways. They have to wrap the things in foil to contain all the juices in there. They let you snack on peanuts while you’re waiting for your burger. The fresh cut fries at Five Guys are the best on earth. When you order fries, you get a big cup or paper bag full of them.
When you bite into a Five Guys burger, the heavy sandwich in your hands just oozes flavor and quality…and other stuff. This is not a drive-thru window burger. You can’t eat one without making a big mess of things. You can try eating one while you’re driving, but that would be a mistake. You’ll end up missing out on the sheer joy of eating the thing, and you’ll end up wearing quite a bit of it for the rest of the day.
Park the car. Walk in. Order one with fries. Have some peanuts. And then savor the best chain burger there is, with the best fries you can get anywhere.
Through the magic combination of Obamacare and the IRS, volunteer firefighters may be considered “employees,” and their volunteer fire departments may be forced to give them healthcare. Or pay penalties that would force them to shut down.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs has asked the Internal Revenue Service, which has partial oversight of the law, to clarify if current IRS treatment of volunteer firefighters as employees means their hose companies or towns must offer health insurance coverage or pay a penalty if they don’t.
The organization representing the fire chiefs has been working on the issue with the IRS and White House for months.
“It could be a huge deal,” said U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, Hazleton, who is seeking clarification from the IRS. “In Pennsylvania, 97 percent of fire departments are fully or mostly volunteer firefighters. It’s the fourth highest amount in the country.”
So far, the IRS hasn’t decided what to do.
Efforts to reach spokesmen for the IRS were unsuccessful.
One would think that since volunteer firefighters aren’t paid, usually belong to small fire departments that operate on a shoestring and don’t work more than 29 hours per week fighting fires, Obamacare wouldn’t touch them. But the IRS considers all volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel to be employees. So the IRS could well rule that they must be extended healthcare, or their fire departments face penalties. The IRS hasn’t decided if it’s going to continue that thinking applied to Obamacare.
If it does, then volunteer fire departments will face a world of hurt. They could go away, leaving rural communities vulnerable.
Volunteer firefighters are not employees. I have some passing experience with volunteer fire departments, since my father founded one in a small town when I was a kid. The firefighters all had full-time jobs or owned their own businesses. They didn’t work for the fire department and weren’t even close to full-time employees for the purpose of fighting fires. They might have fought a fire once a month in a busy time. They volunteered to fight fires, trained once in a while, and when there was a fire to fight in or near town, they were right there to fight it. While they weren’t the busiest fire department on earth, they were extremely important to the town — the largest nearby city was twenty miles and a crowded interstate away. Even closer, smaller cities were too far away to be much help if a grass or house fire threatened a neighborhood. Texas gets hot and dry in the summer. Even small grass fires can become a very big deal in a hurry. The town supported the department as much as it could, with a simple building and so forth, but the fire department depended on the volunteerism and donations to exist. It mainly obtained its gear and trucks through donations from larger nearby cities that had bought newer gear and trucks – they would donate the older stuff that still functioned to our town’s volunteer fire department.
Obamacare could destroy all this, leaving small and even some larger towns vulnerable to disasters. Given just how President Obama embodies that special combination of arrogance, stupidity, and totalitarianism, it might.
By the way, we’re not just talking about volunteer fire departments here. Many fire departments in larger cities accept volunteers, too. Obamacare may end that — having the effect of creating more distance between citizens and those who serve and protect us.
h/t Jim Geraghty
She’s rich, she’s famous, and she’s a total, blithering idiot. And we’re doomed.
Paris Hilton mistakes Martin Luther King for Nelson Mandela pic.twitter.com/cqJKaibXXF
— Deleted Tweets (@DeIetedTweets) December 5, 2013
Well, this report by WTNH TV says a lot.
Reporter Jeff Valin interviews Alesha Fuller. Fuller is among the fast food workers striking to get their pay raised to $15 per hour. Why $15? Why not $20? Or $30? The level they’re demanding is arbitrary.
Valin asks the single mom, “How much of a difference would it be to make $15 an hour for you?”
Fuller replies, “That would be a major difference. I will get a lot, a lot of things done that I really need done right now. And that $15 an hour, that would mean I would have to work a little less days instead of every day, all day.”
You mean, like the rest of us?
At this point, I’ll turn and deliver the Boring Guy’s Minimum Wage Anecdote. In my junior year of college I was working a minimum wage job at a radio station when Congress hiked the minimum wage. Like most small market stations, ours existed on a tight budget. When the minimum wage got hiked, I survived and got a tiny pay raise but management fired several staff. They just couldn’t afford to keep as many of us around. It wasn’t management’s fault. This happens every time the minimum wage gets hiked.
There wasn’t any less work to do, by the way. There were just fewer people around to do the work we still had to do. I ended up picking up a few more hours, not less.
Fuller might be shocked to find out which side of the firing line she’ll be on if her demands are met. But if those demands are met, there will be a firing line.
Former South African President and civil rights icon Nelson Mandela has died. He was 95.
Mandela opposed South Africa’s racist apartheid peacefully, then violently, and then spent 27 years imprisoned in South Africa’s most notorious prison. When he was released in February 1990 as the world’s most famous political prisoner, he was set on an inevitable path to the country’s presidency.
What was not inevitable was how Mandela behaved. He was one of the most trusted figures in South Africa, and around the world. He could have abused the trust and power he had earned by punishing his enemies. He could have used his imprisonment to grant himself a presidency for life.
Like George Washington, though, Mandela eschewed the chance to become a king and served only one term as president. No man is perfect, and Mandela had his flaws like anyone else, but he set an example for his successors, both to leave power, and to forgive when it would be easy and popular to pursue vengeance. Given the chance to either unite South Africa or divide it, he chose to unite it. He did not punish his enemies, however they might have deserved it. Mandela famously said that he opposed white domination, and then opposed black domination, in South Africa. And he was as good as his word on that. His choices undoubtedly saved lives and preserved a fragile nation.
It’s worth nothing that South Africa has had the most successful transition from colonialism to independence in Africa. Nelson Mandela’s choices go a long way to explaining why.
Earlier this week, yesterday I guess, the days sort of run together this deep into the week, a Harvard survey lit things up with evidence that young Americans are turning away from Barack Obama and don’t have much interest in Obamacare. Young voters were and remain key to Obama keeping his 51% coalition together. Just 29% of them intend to sign up for Obamacare, a small fraction of the young needed to make the law’s math get even close to working out.
Today there are two more polls showing Obama’s growing weaknesses with two more demographics he desperately needs.
Polling provided to National Journal by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that white women have soured considerably on the law, especially in the month since its botched rollout. The skepticism runs especially deep among blue-collar women, sometimes known as “waitress moms,” whose deeply pessimistic attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act should riddle Democratic candidates with anxiety.
Certainly, the law’s unpopularity gives Republicans a tool to counter the Democratic claim of a GOP “war on women”—something Republicans failed miserably at in 2012. But more significantly, it demonstrates that Democrats will have to fight just to retain core elements of their constituency. With 2014’s most important campaigns already lying in hostile territory like Alaska, Arkansas, and South Dakota, it’s a battle many of these candidates can ill afford.
Specifically, 40% of white women have a “very unfavorable” view of the law, which is a jump of 10 points over a month ago. We get to half when we add “somewhat unfavorable. Democrats usually do well with white women. Now the gender gap is closing.
Democrats must have a large slice of the Hispanic vote if they are to remain a viable national party. They can’t compete without taking a big majority of that fast-growing group. But Gallup says that Obama is rapidly losing ground with them, too. His job approval number among Hispanics has fallen 23%, from 75% to 52%, over the last year. Granted, he’s still at a bare majority, but the trend is decidedly against him. It explains why he is swinging so desperately from the Obamacare disaster to trying to ram an immigration bill through Congress. It’s one of the few cards, along with agitating to increase the minimum wage, that he has that might appeal to all three of these constituencies that he is losing. He’s holding a pair of two’s and junk, but it’s the hand he dealt himself, so he’ll play it and try to convince Republicans that he’s holding a full house.
Yeah, far too many Republicans will fall for his bluff.
The New York City Police Department is taking aim at owners of shotguns and rifles capable of holding more than five rounds, demanding such guns be surrendered, altered or taken out of the city.
The demand came in the form of some 500 letters mailed out to owners of registered long guns that are in violation of a 2010 city ordinance. The first option for the letter’s recipient is to, “Immediately surrender your Rifle and/or Shotgun to your local police precinct, and notify this office of the invoice number. The firearm may be sold or permanently removed from the City of New York thereafter.”
The notices, mailed Nov. 18, also give owners the options of demonstrating the gun has been moved out of NYPD jurisdiction or modified by a licensed gunsmith to comply with the law.
Although an NYPD spokeswoman told FoxNews.com the law has been on the books since 2010, critics say this year is the first time the notices were so widely dispersed. The notice was first reported on the website TheTruthAboutGuns.com.
This is exactly what gun owners who oppose registration fear. Once you’re on a government list, government can decide to use that list against you and demand that you hand over your private, personal property — despite the fact that the right to own said property is specifically guaranteed in the Constitution. This kind of action gives me pause even over having to obtain concealed carry permits. Such permits can amount to creating a de facto gun registry. While my present state government’s Republican leadership would never contemplate confiscation, what’s to say that some future leadership won’t have a different opinion if the state elects a Democrat?
Nothing. The plain language of the Constitution and basic right and wrong no longer matter to them. Democrats nationwide are already showing a) contempt for the Constitution; b) contempt for written statutes; c) allergy to truth; and d) shameless dishonesty. The Democrats’ likely nominee for governor here, Wendy Davis, is already on the record attempting to curb First and Second Amendment rights. She won’t win, but the vast majority of Democrats in Texas and nationwide agree with her on these issues.
New York is crossing a Rubicon. The police who are charged to serve and protect have become willing weapons against law-abiding citizens exercising their constitutional rights.
Just a hunch, but this probably won’t come up on Softball today. The Washington Post reports:
The White House acknowledged Thursday that President Obama lived with his uncle for a brief period in the 1980s while he was a student at Harvard Law School — after previously saying there was no record of the two having met.
“The president did stay with him for a brief period of time until his apartment was ready,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement. “After that, they saw each other once every few months, but after law school they fell out of touch. The president has not seen him in 20 years, has not spoken with him in 10. “
Soon enough, “brief period of time” will magically morph into a couple of years.
Onyango “Omar” Obama faced a deportation hearing earlier this week following a drunk-driving arrest. During the hearing, he said that the president had lived with him while he was a student at Harvard.
The Boston Globe reported in 2012, after Omar Obama’s arrest, that the White House said he had ”never met his famous nephew.” The White House now says it only told the Globe that there was no record of the two having met — not definitively that they hadn’t met.
Newsflash: Obama LIED. Like he does about everything else.
Obama’s relationship with his uncle is also news to scholars of the president, who also found no evidence that the two had met, according to a 2011 Washington Post report.
It would be nice to have lived in a world in which the media vetted previously obscure presidential candidates before they were elected. If such a world existed, I would very much like to live in it.
I’m sure you’re as shocked as I am to learn that MSNBC’s Chris Matthews plans to ask President Obama some “easier” questions tonight.
Matthews even telegraphs the specific thrust of the questions he will ask: “For example, voter suppressions efforts in 36 states by Republicans.”
By which he means voter ID laws, which are favored by 70% of Americans and which in Texas have proven not to suppress the vote at all. Facts don’t matter. “Voter suppression” is a Democrat dog whistle.
Barack Obama has to be the biggest coward ever to occupy the White House. His poll numbers are diving thanks to his own policy wrecks. He is intentionally hurting millions of Americans, and he lied to get himself into the position to be able to do that. He insists that as long as he is president, he will not change what he is doing no matter how many he hurts. He lies about Republicans not having healthcare plans — they do, and he knows it. Rather than admit any wrongdoing or change course an inch, he’s going to the left’s favorite trope, raise the minimum wage, and heading off to their comfort food network MSNBC to be interviewed in front of adoring college students by the network’s most notorious remaining fan of his (others having recently talked themselves out of jobs there).
Matthews, ever the shameless Democrat stooge, is providing nothing but a chance for Obama to engage in PR. It’s propaganda, straight, no chaser.
The show is called Hardball, Matthews. I guess that’s just an inside joke or something.
Hopefully this doesn’t impact you or anyone you know. But it might.
Hackers have stolen usernames and passwords for nearly two million accounts at Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and others, according to a report released this week.
The massive data breach was a result of keylogging software maliciously installed on an untold number of computers around the world, researchers at cybersecurity firmTrustwave said. The virus was capturing log-in credentials for key websites over the past month and sending those usernames and passwords to a server controlled by the hackers.
The hacking campaign started secretly collecting passwords on Oct. 21, and it might be ongoing: Although Trustwave discovered the Netherlands proxy server, Miller said there are several other similar servers they haven’t yet tracked down.
Security experts say the best way to defend yourself is to update your browsers. And don’t use 12345 as your password. Seriously. That’s embarrassing.
In which Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu has no choice but to support an awful policy that she cannot deny supporting.
The question came from WAFB TV. The answer comes from arrogance and dishonesty: “The Affordable Care Act, as I said, the bill itself, has very good concepts. And yes, I would support it again. But that doesn’t excuse the poor rollout of what should have happened. There should not have been a glitch in the software.”
The triumph of “concepts” — intentions — versus real world effects…
As has been written here and elsewhere a zillion times, Obamacare’s real problems aren’t tied to the website or its awful rollout. They’re tied to what the policy does and what it’s supposed to do. It’s supposed to fundamentally change the healthcare insurance industry, and it’s designed to force younger, healthier Americans to subsidize other people’s healthcare. It cannot work without causing widespread cancellations, rate hikes and pain, and forcing millions to pay more and get less. It was designed to restrict choice, and on the side, it was designed to divide Americans in ways that Democrats deem politically beneficial to themselves. Obamacare was built on bad ideas and sold with lies.
Landrieu sold her vote and provided the proverbial 60th vote that put Obamacare over the top. All of the Democrats in the Senate can be said to have provided that 60th vote. Because they did.
The honorable thing to do would be to admit that you got it wrong and vow to help get rid of it. But there isn’t an honorable Democrat left in Washington.
Mickey Kaus says that Obamacare needs a “doohickey” — a way for socially conscious millennials to show their friends that they’re good Obamacare citizens.
What the Affordable Care Act’s panicked marketers need, it seems, is some kind of badge, doohickey, ribbon, amulet or distinctive coloration that those who’ve bought overpriced Obamacare policies can display to tell their peers they’ve done the right thing. Wear a plexor in your lapel? A blue ribbon around your wrist? Dye your thumb red? Maybe kausfilesreaders have some ideas for what this viral welfare state MacGuffin might be. Please submit your designs and proposals to Mickey@dailycaller.com.
Just in the past week, we’ve learned of the White House Youth — a summit for Americans 18 to 35 at the White House, that was all about selling Obamacare.
We’ve had the results of the heinous “sing Obamacare’s praises” song and video contest. Ordinary Americans, competing for the government’s favor by praising a specific, partisan, unpopular government program.
So we have a burgeoning national youth movement organized by the government, and we have official hymns of that movement. Write a hymn and the government might grant you favor. It happened to Erin McDonald.
We also have any army of government-approved, but not vetted, acolytes spreading out across the nation, taking up citizens’ personal information in the drive to help them “navigate” Obamacare’s twisted legalese landscape.
If you do not obey Obamacare’s diktats, you face the wrath of the state. Some who have publicly criticized Obamacare are already facing the wrath of the state. The IRS is auditing them.
Now Kaus says we need a symbol, a doohickey — a badge to identify who is and isn’t a good Obamacare citizen now too?
At the risk of going all Godwin, haven’t we seen all this before?
Fine, you don’t like the obvious reference to the Third Reich. It’s creepy. I get that.
You know what’s even more creepy? What Obamacare’s supporters are suggesting and doing. It’s all very creepy.
Obamacare doesn’t need a badge. It’s needs to be abolished and it’s possible that its most ardent supporters need to be deprogrammed.
We have a significant problem on our hands. A constitutional law adjunct professor has gotten himself elected president. Like a hacker who knows where to find security holes in a computer system to exploit, this constitutional law professor knew exactly where the Constitution’s flaws are. He understood that a divided Congress is an ambitious president’s best friend, because a divided Congress will be unable to act against a president who steps outside his authority. When half of the divided Congress agrees with his actions because it views the ends as justifying the means, the president has license to break, violate, ignore and rewrite laws according to his whims. When he has a media that remains in love with him, he has sufficient air support to divide and destroy what remains of his opposition.
Georgetown law professor Jonathan Turley laid out the significance of the problem during House testimony this week.
REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R-VA): Professor Turley, the constitution, the system of separated powers is not simply about stopping one branch of government from usurping another. It’s about protecting the liberty of Americans from the dangers of concentrated government power. How does the president’s unilateral modification of act of Congress affect both the balance of power between the political branches and the liberty interests of the American people?
JONATHAN TURLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power in every single branch.
This Newtonian orbit that the three branches exist in is a delicate one but it is designed to prevent this type of concentration. There is two trends going on which should be of equal concern to all members of Congress. One is that we have had the radical expansion of presidential powers under both President Bush and President Obama. We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are quite large that issue regulations. The Supreme Court said recently that agencies could actually define their own or interpret their own jurisdiction.
Video at the link. During the same hearing, Cato legal expert Michael Cannon warned that Obama’s habit of ignoring and/or rewriting laws on the fly can lead America to a very dangerous place. If the government isn’t bound by the law, citizens may soon believe that neither are they.
Former AK Gov. Sarah Palin appeared on Fox and Friends this morning to respond to Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC. Bashir has been sharply criticized for making disgusting remarks about Palin. On November 15, he reacted to a benign comment from Palin by suggesting that someone should defecate in her mouth.
MSNBC did not fire him. Bashir came under some criticism initially, then more after MSNBC sacked host Alec Baldwin for making anti-gay comments, but took no action against Bashir. The network’s double standard was evident. Bashir was eventually put on paid leave, and then resigned yesterday.
Palin told Fox and Friends that she accepted his apology, but unprovoked attacks such as Bashir’s have become so common that they’re just “par for the course” now.
“Well, at this point I’m used to it,” Palin said. “That’s kind of a sad state of affairs to have to admit, that I am used to it. After five years of this kind of stuff, some of that kind of gets knocked out of you a little bit. So six years ago I probably would have been personally hurt by such an attack. Now no, I look at it as kind of par for the course and just again, hoping that that doesn’t make those who have not yet been under attack like that hesitate to get out there — hesitate and get throughout and try to change the world.”
Palin noted that she never heard from the leftwing National Organization of Women after Bashir’s premeditated, scripted attack on her. She also noted that NBC took no meaningful action against Bashir, and allowed him to resign rather than firing him. Palin said that if someone in the media launches a similar attack on someone else, she will be there “gloves off, heels on” to defend them.
He was a Texan, and said to be “Libya’s best friend.” The latter is a dangerous title to hold — the last American dubbed “Libya’s best friend” was Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Unknown assailants shot an American teacher to death as he was jogging on Thursday in Benghazi, a hospital official said, underlining persistently tenuous security in the eastern Libyan city where the U.S. ambassador was killed last year.
Fadyah al-Burghathi, spokeswoman for the Al-Galaa hospital, said the body of a man from Texas was brought to the hospital on Thursday with gunshot wounds. A security official said the American taught chemistry at the city’s International School, a Libyan-owned institute that follows an American curriculum.
No one has claimed responsibility for the teacher’s killing but suspicion is likely to fall on Islamic militants active in the city.
Rep. Paul Ryan might want to re-think his budget work with Sen. Patty Murray. The two are working on a bipartisan budget deal that would displace the sequester cuts with cuts from other parts of the budget, and the deal also includes “revenues.” That’s current Washingtonspeak for tax or fee hikes. One of those hikes would hurt the already ailing airline industry, and hand more money to one of the least popular and least effective government agencies, according to Pete Sepp.
A bipartisan agreement that addresses unsustainable entitlement programs, keeps spending in check, and simplifies our convoluted tax laws would certainly be welcome news. Unfortunately though, several media outlets are reporting that any such deal is likely to contain “revenue raisers,” among them major increases in the fees paid to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This is a terrible idea that should be denied permission to leave the proverbial gate, much less to take off.
Between 2007 and 2012, TSA’s budget has increased by 18 percent with its workforce also growing by 13 percent. Over the same period of time, the number of customers being screened decreased by 75 million people or roughly 11 percent. This budget boost cannot be justified when compared to the slowing demand for its services (not to mention the growing national debt, which now exceeds $17 trillion).
In addition, TSA already exacts a large financial toll on the private sector. Last year, as a way to underwrite a budget approaching $8 billion, the agency collected more than $2.3 billion in “security taxes” from airlines and their customers. This amount represents a 100 percent increase since the TSA’s inception in 2002, all in spite of air travel decreasing during the past six years.
What is Paul Ryan thinking? TSA should never have been created. The federal government does not need to confiscate more dollars, either via tax hikes or fee hikes as Ryan is proposing. It needs to rein in spending and bad, expensive laws like Obamacare need to be abolished. TSA would be an excellent place to start cutting, not a place to park and spend more of our money.
This disturbing video (h/t Naked DC) won the government’s “Let’s sing praises to Obamacare” video contest. You can watch it, but don’t blame me for the psychological after effects. The singer, Erin McDonald, used lots of chorus on her voice, making it sound a bit trippy. And the song feels more than a bit culty-creepy.
In her award-winning video, McDonald sings “Affordable Care Act — Don’t worry about the price tag.”
First, if the care is now affordable as the act claims, doesn’t that impact the price tag? Isn’t the price tag part of the point of the whole thing? I seem to remember a certain young president selling his plan by saying it would make healthcare more affordable. Did I dream that?
Second, Healthcare.gov cost hundreds of millions of dollars and didn’t work when it was launched and doesn’t work now. That’s a price tag worth worrying about, well, if you’re among the taxpayers who paid for it.
Millions of Americans are worrying about the price tag. Obamacare has forced about 5 million cancellations so far, and many of those who have gone onto Healthcare.gov to shop for a new plan have experienced sticker shock — more expensive plans, higher deductibles. Many others have just been slapped with higher prices to keep the insurance that they had. Obamacare’s price tag is forcing millions who did nothing wrong to pay more, in many cases a whole lot more, for their healthcare. Millions who haven’t experienced the Affordable Care Act’s impact on the price tag yet, will next year once the illegally delayed mandates start kicking in.
But not young Erin McDonald. She’s 26 and, according to National Journal, on Medicaid.
The Health and Human Services Department launched the Healthy Young America video contest in August, seeking to raise awareness about the new health-insurance options available to youth on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. More than 19 million Americans ages 18 to 34 are uninsured, according to HHS numbers. The contest received more than 100 submissions in its three categories: “You Are Not Invincible,” original song performance, and animation. McDonald received the $2,000 grand prize and a $3,000 prize for having the top song. McDonald, a resident of Chicago, signed up for Cook County’s Medicaid program. She has type 1 diabetes.
I’m sorry to hear about her diabetes, but, she’s 26, attractive, and getting her healthcare paid for by the rest of us. That’s why she doesn’t have to “worry about the price tag.” Everyone else is picking up her tab.
You’re welcome for the prize money, too.
h/t Rick Moran
Well, it’s not like there’s any danger of this stuff crossing the porous border into the US…
Tepojaco (Mexico) (AFP) – Mexican authorities scrambled Wednesday to find a truck containing “extremely dangerous” radioactive material used in medical treatment that was stolen by two gunmen two days ago, officials said.The white Volkswagen Worker truck was transporting a teletherapy device containing cobalt-60 when it was stolen Monday in the central Hidalgo state town of Tepojaco, near Mexico City, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Mexico’s National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards (CNSNS) told AFP the medical equipment contained 60 grams of cobalt-60, a quantity which experts say could be enough to build a “dirty bomb” if it fell in the wrong hands.
The news gets even better.
BREAKING: Mexican nuclear official say stolen container of radioactive material found empty.
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 4, 2013
So they found the container, just not the incredibly dangerous material that was in it.
The mind reels with the possibilities here. Were the gunmen members of a cartel, members of Hizballah, which is known to be operating in Mexico, or did they steal intending to sell the material to either one?
Whoever they were, they appear to have targeted the truck for the theft, so they knew what it was carrying.
Update: It has been found.
MORE: Mexican official says stolen radioactive material found near where truck transporting it was abandoned: http://t.co/dPWPuIndqT -SS
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 4, 2013