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Patrick Richardson

Patrick Richardson has been a journalist for almost 15 years and an inveterate geek all his life. He blogs regularly at www.otherwheregazette.com, which aims to be like another SF magazine, just not so serious.

A Few Thoughts on Peter Gleick and Journalism

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

The story circling the blogosphere this week is that libertarian think tank the Heartland Institute founded and partially funded by our own Koch brothers (they’re from Kansas, and Koch Industries is in Wichita) had revealed they were making stuff up in their fight against the cult of man-caused global warming.

As my friend and colleague Charlie Martin wrote earlier;

“Heartland Institute (insert Phantom of the Opera music, pictures of bats, and a reference to the Koch Brothers) ‘whistleblower’ had revealed ‘Heartland Institute’s budget, fundraising plan, its Climate Strategy for 2012 and sundry other documents (all attached) that prove all of the worst allegations that have been leveled against the organization.’”

There was only one problem — it would appear the one document which showed they were lying has been forged and the rest of the documents were stolen by a Huffington Post writer who is a longtime advocate for global warming.

Peter H. Gleick claims he’d been forwarded the strategy documents by an anonymous source and “in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name.”

Let’s be clear here. What he did is theft. Hidden camera investigations are always on ethically shaky ground, as journalists are not supposed to represent themselves as anything but who and what we are in order to gather information. Hidden camera investigations are only used when there is no other way to get the story and the story is of enough importance to override the questionable nature of the tactics.

There is no situation in which it is acceptable to commit fraud — and make no mistake, that’s what Gleick did — in order to get a story.
That’s aside from the federal charges and lawsuit sources tell me he’s facing for the forged document as well.

Here’s the thing. Whichever side of the global warming debate you’re on, you deserve to be able to trust the people reporting on it. Actually the biggest asset any journalist has is his credibility. It’s vital that our readers be able to trust us.

What Gleick did is to violate that trust. His credibility is destroyed.

It’s sad, really.

As journalists, we are not well liked or respected generally. As a group we have really done a job on our prestige in this country. No one really believes we can be trusted to tell the truth any more.

For someone who has always regarded this profession as a calling, it’s frustrating.

I was taught that we have an important responsibility — not just to inform the public, but to act as a final check on the government.

So many of my colleagues are acting as the propaganda arm of the current administration and are so often caught plagiarizing, or simply making stories up from whole cloth, it’s killing a profession I’ve long considered a noble way to spend your life.

My colleagues, please, remember your ethics, remember your responsibilities. It’s not too late to restore public trust and confidence in our calling — it will just take time.

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The Republican War on Women!

Monday, February 20th, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

The meme is now circling Facebook like Bill Clinton stalking an intern — the Republicans have declared war on women! Conservatives want to steal women’s ladyparts! All because conservatives don’t think the Catholic Church or any other “faith-based” organization should have to provide contraceptives or abortifacient drugs to women free of charge. Well free to them, and free to the liberals. They don’t really seem to comprehend that someone has to pay for it.

That being said, there’s now a counter meme circulating in the form of a few images such as this one:

Liberals of course never let the truth stand in the way of a good political club, in fact, that the club they’re beating their opponents with is a lie just seems to make them more inclined to use it. Here’s hoping Obama and his mouthpieces actually keep the pressure on on this issue as it’s starting to cost them a lot of support.

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The Genius of Matt Drudge

Monday, February 20th, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

We all know Matt Drudge is a genius. There are only two guys operating on his level in the business today, Drudge and our own Blogfather Glenn Reynolds. Case in point:

Not only does he show how bad gas prices are, but once again the first family is on vacation at our expense. Don’t try to tell me they are paying for everything but security out of their own pocket. The president’s salary comes out of your pocket and mine first.

Come November let’s see about giving him a permanent vacation, shall we?

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Once More the Funnies Get What the MSM Doesn’t

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

Pearls Before Swine is a wonderfully sarcastic, punny strip. It’s also more than a little hard to nail down. Stephen Pastis occasionally seems to be more than a little conservative, but one never quite knows. Certainly, as below, he loves to skewer stupidity and hypocrisy. As the Occutwits make noise (which is all they’re really good for) at CPAC and other events let us remember that they are railing against capitalism while sucking down double mocha venti hazelnut lattes and tweeting on their iPads.

pastis

h/t Seattle Pi

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Some Thoughts on the Death of the Last Living WWI Vet

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

The last known World War I veteran died Tuesday in London, England at the care home where she lived at the age of 110.

It’s a sad day when one of the most pivotal moments in history passes from living memory.

WWI, known at the time as the “Great War” and “The War to End all Wars,” was perhaps neither. Certainly it was not the last war, and it did little but set the stage for the still greater conflagration which was to engulf the world just a generation later.

It, was however, a turning point.

The nation-state, already on the rise, became ascendant, and it was the death-knell of monarchy in Europe as World War II would be the death-knell of empire world wide. It was a conflict which saw the first use of the airplane in combat and the invention of the tank and the rise of modern armored warfare, as well as the horrors of chemical weapons the world community wisely locked away.

World War I was, in many ways, the death of the world’s innocence. We realized, all too well, that everything was becoming interconnected. That what happened in one nation affected others.

The aftermath was the first attempt at a world government as well — the ill-fated League of Nations, which Woodrow Wilson, in about the only decent move of his presidency, wisely kept us out of. One only wishes Harry Truman had realized the dangers when he allowed us to join the League’s more dangerous cousin the United Nations.

WWI is, in many ways, a forgotten war. Swallowed by it’s larger sibling World War II and lost to the seething tensions of the Cold War, Korea and Viet Nam.

Still there are lessons to be learned from that conflict which ring true today.

We must remember, as we try to bring some sort of order to the chaos of Afghanistan that it is not enough to defeat an enemy. If you are not prepared to destroy him utterly, as we were not prepared to do in Germany in 1919, you must leave him his pride. If you do not, you create a more dangerous enemy in the future.

Wilson, in about the only other decent thing he did, argued strongly against the Versailles Treaty, knowing that the humbling of the proud German people would lead to trouble down the road.

And so it did. Adolf Hitler used the humiliation of Versailles to fan the nationalism which swept him to power. Indeed, he made French leaders sign their capitulation in the same rail car in which the Armistice had been signed decades before. And then blew it up.

The ultimate lesson of WWI seems to be “never do an enemy a small injury.”

As I’m reading reports coming out of Afghanistan these days, in particular by Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis which seem to indicate there is little to no progress in that country I fear that is exactly what we have done.

We may find that, as Viet Nam, we have won all the battles and yet lost the war. And in the process made ourselves a yet more dangerous enemy in a resurgent Taliban, which now knows we are not unbeatable. As this war between the West and radical Islam continues, this clash of civilizations, losing that aura of invincibility could be the most catastrophic loss of all.

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Holder Threatens Issa at Hearing

Friday, February 3rd, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

There were few surprises during yesterday’s Operation Fast and Furious Hearing. Attorney General Eric Holder repeatedly refused to give straight answers and called for more gun control as the Democrats on the Committee did there best to defend what may be the most incompetent man ever to sit in the AG’s office.

One interesting exchange came between House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa and Holder over wiretap applications which had been leaked to Issa’s investigators.

Holder got a bit worked up:

To the extent that those wiretap applications have been shared … If I find, if I find that someone in the United States Department of Justice has shared the contents of wiretap applications that is something that will have to be looked at … Anyone who reads or submits that information for people to look at does so at their peril.

Issa noted members of Congress were not subject to the court order which sealed the applications in question and not only that, but that whistle blowers were automatically protected.

Holder disagreed and appeared to be threatening Issa with criminal charges:

You act at your peril if you think that’s the truth.

It was a rough day overall for Holder, who was repeatedly savaged by Republican lawmakers incensed by Holder’s reaction to the failed operation which allowed at least 1,500 military-style weapons into the hands of the Mexican cartels — some reports have the number as high as 2,500 — and caused the deaths of hundreds of Mexican nationals and American Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Rep.  Ann Marie Buerkle, (R-NY), hammered Holder on the subject of being held accountable for the debacle:

I would suggest the president has been eerily quiet in coming to your defense (on Fast and Furious). How many more border ptrol agents would have had to die for you to take responsiblity?”

Holder sat silent for a moment, and according to sources in the hearing, several minority members told him not to answer, before attempting to defend his tenure as AG, he finished by saying:

That question, respectfully, is beneath a member of Congress.

Rep. Dan Burton, (R-Ind.) also blasted Holder for his refusal to turn over documents relating to the case, noting he was in Congress when Holder was Deputy AG under Janet Reno and the DoJ had been forced to hand over documents before:

You said … today there’s certain documents you will not give us because of the separation of powers. Now we’ve been down that road before and we got them. We had to threaten a contempt citation, but we got the documents. I think you’re hiding behind something that will not stand so you ought to give us the documents. The conclusion I come to is there’s something in there you don’t want us to see. I would urge the chair to move a contempt citation against you if you don’t give the documents to us.

Overall it was just not a good day for Holder who once again looked like a hands-off manager who doesn’t know what’s going on within his own department and doesn’t talk to other departments, either.

He had said to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), that he had not had explicit conversations about Fast and Furious with either Director of Homeland security Janet Napolitano or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton because “people don’t want to get dragged in front of Congress,” and that he’d only had passing conversations with the president on the subject about the fact of his testimony.

Chaffetz was … unimpressed:

1,500 weapons, 300 dead in Mexico, a dead United States Agent, we’ve had untold numbers of hearing and discussions and press reports and yet you have the people at the highest levels of the government saying “well we don’t talk to each other because our people don’t tell us information because we’ve got to remain ignorant because we’re going to have to testify and they don’t want to get involved. And at the same time you’re telling us they’re interfacing with the state department on a regular bases and the state department … is telling us it isn’t happening and Janet Napolitano is saying the very same things and Department of Homeland Security.

If we’re going to solve this problem, make sure it never happens again, we have to solve these challenges and I have no confidence that you’ve addressed it or offered anything to solve it.

Indeed 13 months after the allegations of gunwalking came to light, no one has lost their job at DoJ. Nor does it currently appear anyone will actually be held accountable. Of course the $25 million lawsuit Terry’s family is threatening may break something loose.

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Fisking A Facebook Meme

Friday, January 27th, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

A friend sent me something that was making the rounds of Facebook and asked me to take it apart, figured I’d give it a shot.

YOUR PRESIDENT: 1. Got Osama Bin Laden…check

Ayup, sure did, Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta had to drag him kicking and screaming, but he did get him. Well the SEALS got him, but he sure gave that order, which was way more gutsy than, you know, kicking down the door and giving Osama high velocity cranial lead poisoning. It was also Bush administration policies which led to the intelligence which found him.

2. Unemployment rate 8.5%…check.

Real unemployment rate closer to 11 percent and adding in those who are underemployed or who have simply given up, try about 20 percent.

3. 1.6 million jobs created with no GOP help…check

Reality is 3.5 million jobs lost under his presidency, he’s just cooking the numbers and not adjusting seasonally. Moreover, a lot of those jobs were in the public sector, which is a net drain on the economy.

4. 22 months of job and economic growth with no help…check

As Commentary Magazine points out, “The rate of economic growth under Obama has been only slightly higher than the 1930s, the decade of the Great Depression.”

5. Ended war in Iraq …check

Yup, he sure did. Of course the pullout schedule was created under Bush, and he said he’d do it on day one, but hey, he got it done. How long the government there will last now that we’re gone is an open question of course.

6. DADT repeal…check

Yup, did that too. Lot of the military ain’t real happy about it, but he don’t like them very much anyway, and most of them aren’t about to vote for him, so what does it matter to him?

7. Not one tax hike in 3 years….check

Not by his own choice, the Republicans had to practically hold him hostage to get him to keep the tax rates the same as they’d been for the previous 10 years and he tried to call it a cut.

8.Brought out of racism in the Gop…check

Yeah, ’cause we’re all racists even though a lot of us liked Herman Cain, and think that guy Bobby Jindal is pretty cool.

9.Still carry 80% of the black vote…check

Yup, he does, which doesn’t prove much. Once again from Commentary: “Black unemployment is at its highest level in 27 years, with black youth unemployment now closing in on 50 percent.” Why are ya’ll voting for this guy again? Oh, yeah right, hopenchange.

10.Same wife for 15 years …with no extra marital affairs…check

Most impressive, I’ll give him that. It’s better than Newt’s done. Oh wait, Mitt Romney’s been married for over 40 years.

11. Save auto industry and 1.5 million jobs.. check

Uh, he bought the auto industry from the stockholders, blackmailed Chrysler’s creditors into selling for pennies on the dollar, both GM and Chrysler went bankrupt anyway and then forced GM to put out overpriced electric cars that it turns out almost no one wants and which have a disconcerting tendency to catch on fire.

12. Assisted in ousting Khaddafi…check

Yup, after complaining we were involved in wars which didn’t serve the national interest, he poured millions of dollars we borrowed from China into bombing the kaftan off a guy who hadn’t been a threat to us since Reagan bombed the kaftan off him in the 1980s. We won’t discuss his replacement…

13.Only active President to receive Nobel Peace prize while in office…check

Yeah, not sure quite what he won that for, he hadn’t done anything yet. Which tells you everything you need to know about the Nobel Committee — if the award to Jimmy Carter hadn’t already. Anybody seen that killer rabbit?

14. Mortgage modification to prevent home owners from losing their home…check

Which hasn’t done a thing since no one can actually get the mortgage modifications.

15. STILL fighting for middle class families…check

If you call fighting for us leaving us in worse shape than we’ve ever been. It used to be the middle class was shrinking because more and more were moving into higher tax brackets. Now it’s shrinking because we’re all going broke.

16.Reform affordable healthcare…. check.

Yup, he sure did reform affordable health care to make it even more expensive.

Despite what the GOP would have you believe the President has been doing these things and more by himself. Obama 2012- Re-post to support!!!

I don’t know if I’d brag so much about all these things he’s done, and God help us if he does any more. Maybe we can get him to just play golf for the next year.

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Issa Fires Another Shot in Fast and Furious Battle

Thursday, January 26th, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

Bulldog Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Darrell Issa has repeatedly refused to let the Fast and Furious scandal drop. Last week he subpoenaed U.S. Attorney Patrick Cunningham, who decided to take the Fifth rather than testify. So scared of being dragged in front of Issa’s committee was he, his lawyer said he wouldn’t answer any questions but his name and title.

This is tacit admission there was criminal wrongdoing in the failed gun trafficking case which allowed thousands of weapons across the border into the hands of Mexican Cartels, and which has led hundreds of deaths on both sides of the border.

Comes around this week, and Issa is demanding Michael Morrissey, who worked directly under Cunningham testify. My guess is he’ll take the Fifth as well.

Read the release below:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa demanded in  letter to  Attorney General Holder that the Justice Department make Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office Assistant United States Attorney Michael Morrissey available to speak with Committee investigators about his role in and knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious.  His supervisor, Patrick Cunningham, has stated he will exercise his Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer any questions pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious – such an assertion is extremely rare and suggests possible criminal culpability on the part of a high ranking Justice Department official.  Morrissey, who reported directly to Cunningham’s  and was intimately involved with Operation Fast and Furious.

“Since August, the Department has identified Patrick Cunningham as the best person in the U.S. Attorney’s Office to provide information about Fast and Furious to the Committee,” Issa said in his letter to Holder.  “The Department has refused to make Michael Morrissey and Emory Hurley, both Assistant United States Attorneys supervised by Mr. Cunningham, available to speak with the Committee, citing a policy of not making “line attorneys” available for congressional scrutiny.  Mr. Morrissey, however, was Mr. Hurley’s direct supervisor, and an integral part of Fast and Furious.  Importantly, both Morrissey and Hurley are unique in their possession of key factual knowledge about Fast and Furious not readily available from any other source.”

The Chairman also reiterated that the Justice Department still has not complied with the subpoenas issued to date, including subpoenaed documents from Cunningham, Morrissey and Hurley.

Attorney General Eric Holder appears before the Oversight Committee on Operation Fast and Furious on February 2nd.  Learn more about Operation Fast and Furious at fastandfuriousinvestigation.com

Read the letter to Holder re: Cunningham here

Read the letter to Holder re: Morrissey here

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Potential Gunwalker Scapegoat To Plead the Fifth

Friday, January 20th, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

Yesterday I reported that Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform had issued a subpoena to force Patrick J. Cunningham, Chief of the Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona, to testify in front of his committee.

Today we get another press release from Issa’s committee: it turns out that Cunningham, whom they’ve been trying to get to testify since August, will be pleading the Fifth. Issa is understandably unamused:

The assertion of the Fifth Amendment by a senior Justice official is a significant indictment of the Department’s integrity in Operation Fast and Furious. The former head of the ATF has previously told the committee that the Justice Department is managing its response to Operation Fast and Furious in a manner designed to protect its political appointees.  This is the first time anyone has asserted their fifth amendment right in this investigation and heightens concerns that the Justice Department’s motivation for refusing to hand over subpoenaed materials is a desire to shield responsible officials from criminal charges and other embarrassment.

Coming a year after revelations about reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious were first brought to light, the assertion of the fifth amendment also raises questions about whether President Obama and Attorney General Holder have made a serious and adequate response to allegations raised by whistleblowers.  Did Attorney General Holder really not know a senior Justice Department official fears criminal prosecution or is this just another example of him hiding important facts?  The committee will continue to demand answers.

According to the release, this is an unusual step:

Cunningham’s response, made through his lawyer, to a subpoena issued by the committee is extremely rare. More alarming is how broad Cunningham intends to rely on the Fifth Amendment. His lawyer has informed the committee that the only information Cunningham would provide is his name and title at the Department of Justice.

Of course Cunningham says he wasn’t responsible for any of the tactics, which begs the question: why is he asserting the Fifth?

From the release:

The only legally valid reason for asserting the fifth amendment is fear that testimony could aid one’s own criminal prosecution. In his response to the Committee, Cunningham’s lawyer rejected assertions made by other senior Justice Department officials in Washington that his client held key responsibility for reckless tactics in Operation Fast and Furious and false information provided to Congress.

A friend mentioned to me yesterday he was afraid this scandal was fading into the woodwork before any answers could be found. I’d say it’s about to explode.

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Issa Fires Another Salvo in Gunwalker Battle

Thursday, January 19th, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

Congressman Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has fired another broadside at the administration in the ongoing battle to get to the bottom of the Operation Fast and Furious debacle today, according to a release from Issa spokeswoman Becca Watkins:

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) today announced the issuance of a subpoena to Patrick J. Cunningham, Chief of the Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. Mr. Cunningham’s repeated refusals to testify voluntarily have forced the Committee to use compulsory process.

“During the course of our investigation, the Committee has learned of the outsized role played by the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office – and you specifically – in approving the unacceptable tactics used in Fast and Furious,” Chairman Issa wrote to Cunningham in a letter informing him of the subpoena.  “Senior Justice Department officials have recently told the Committee that you relayed inaccurate and misleading information to the Department in preparation for its initial response to Congress.

“These officials told us that even after Congress began investigating Fast and Furious, you continued to insist that no unacceptable tactics were used.  In fact, documents obtained confidentially just last week appear to confirm that you remained steadfast in your belief that no unacceptable tactics were used, even after the Department’s initial response to the congressional inquiry.  Given that the Attorney General has labeled these tactics as unacceptable and Fast and Furious as ‘fundamentally flawed,’ this position is startling.

The subpoena requires Cunningham to appear on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 for a deposition.

Issa’s also fired off another one of his famous letters to Cunningham. According to the letter Cunningham suddenly canceled an interview with Issa’s committee without warning, forcing the subpoena.

It’ll be interesting to see if the man they’ve been trying to talk to since August will actually comply with the subpoena, given that the Holder Justice Department seems to feel it, and the administration, need only comply with the laws they like.

This just gets deeper and uglier the longer it goes on.

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Keystone Pipeline to be Nixed (Updated)

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

Fox News just said the decision from the Department of Energy on the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would take oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, will be “No.”

DoE says 60 days is not enough time to complete the environmental impact statements, and therefore the answer is no.

There’s no confirmation yet, but it’s unsurprising: why would the administration ever want to do anything to get us off Middle Eastern oil and create jobs?

Update (Bryan): Ed Henry tweets that the XL will be killed in an announcement this afternoon. If true, this will go down as one of the more foolish decisions this president has made. The science in support of the pipeline’s safety is solid. Nixing the pipeline forces Canada to look for another market for its oil, and China is more than happy to provide that market. The decision unnecessarily harms our relationship with our northern ally and sends the message that the United States still is not serious about reducing its dependency on unstable and hostile sources of the oil that we need to power our economy. The president would rather lose money on boondoggles like Solyndra than make a sound decision to expand our nation’s reliable sources of energy and create stable, high paying jobs.

Since I am criticizing the president, I suppose Andrew Sullivan and Newsweek will call me dumb. So be it. But this foolish president is on the verge of killing thousands of jobs in an election year, harming our relationship with an ally, while doing nothing about our dependence on unreliable sources of oil, all for no good reason.

Update (Bryan): Obama’s own jobs council is more sensible than the Department of Energy, arguing in its report that the US should adopt an “all-in” approach and should increase domestic drilling.

The report does not specifically mention the Keystone XL oil pipeline, but it endorses moving forward quickly with projects that “deliver electricity and fuel,” including pipelines.

“The Council recognizes the important safety and environmental concerns surrounding these types of projects, but now more than ever, the jobs and economic and energy security benefits of these energy projects require us to tackle the issues head-on and to expeditiously, though cautiously, move forward on projects that can support hundreds of thousands of jobs,” the report says.

The report retreats slightly from an interim report released in October that addressed the Keystone XL pipeline directly. The interim report appeared to offer cautious support for Keystone, calling on officials to “balance” environmental protections while realizing what it called the benefits of the pipeline.

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SOPA Appears to be DOA in the House

Monday, January 16th, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

Just got a press release from the office of Chairman Darrell Issa of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform which was set to take up a hearing on the so-called Stop Online Piracy Act (it wouldn’t, probably nothing can) on Wednesday. That hearing has been postponed indefinitely:

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today announced that a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, which was to examine the impact of Domain Name Service (DNS) and search engine blocking on the Internet, has been postponed following assurances that anti-piracy legislation will not move to the House floor this Congress without a consensus.

“While I remain concerned about Senate action on the Protect IP Act, I am confident that flawed legislation will not be taken up by this House.  Majority Leader Cantor has assured me that we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote, said Chairman Issa. The voice of the Internet community has been heard. Much more education for Members of Congress about the workings of the Internet is essential if anti-piracy legislation is to be workable and achieve broad appeal.

Earlier tonight, Chairman Smith announced that he will remove the DNS blocking provision from his legislation.  Although SOPA, despite the removal of this provision, is still a fundamentally flawed bill, I have decided that postponing the scheduled hearing on DNS blocking with technical experts is the best course of action at this time. Right now, the focus of protecting the Internet needs to be on the Senate where Majority Leader Reid has announced his intention to try to move similar legislation in less than two weeks.”

Chairman Issa intends to continue to push for Congress to heed the advice of Internet experts on anti-piracy legislation and to push for the consideration and passage of the bipartisan OPEN Act, which provides an alternative means for protecting intellectual property rights without undermining the structure and entrepreneurialism of the Internet.  Learn more about Rep. Issa and Sen. Ron Wyden’s alternative the OPEN Act at www.keepthewebopen.com.

SOPA is not really about protecting IP rights. It a naked power-grab which would give federal regulators the power to shut down any Web site which has any content which violates a copyright. Goodbye YouTube and, well, pretty much the entire Web from Twitter to Facebook. It ain’t over yet folks, Harry Reid is still pushing this nonsense. Keep the pressure on.

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Issa Schedules Hearing to Look Into Egregious SOPA Bill

Monday, January 9th, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

The so-called Stop Online Piracy Act which is wending its way through Congress is, by all accounts, a horrible bill. In the guise of combating online piracy (I won’t get into my opinions on the futility of that here), the bill would give the federal government the power to shut down pretty much any Web site it deems is facilitating piracy. It’s so bad that sites like Google and Twitter have threatened a blackout in protest.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is recommending amendments to the bill but is also planning on holding hearings on the bill on Jan. 18 (time yet to be determined).

The witnesses include:

Mr. Stewart Baker: Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Mr. Brad Burnham: Partner, Union Square Ventures, Mr. Daniel Kaminsky: Security Researcher and Fortune 500 Advisor,Mr. Michael Macleod-Ball: Chief of Staff/First Amendment Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union,Mr. Lanham Napier: Chief Executive Officer, Rackspace Hosting, Dr. Leonard Napolitano: Director, Center for Computer Sciences & Information Technology Sandia National Laboratories and Mr. Alexis Ohanian: Co-Founder, Reddit.com, and Web Entrepreneur.

It must be noted this bill could shut down the blogosphere and aggregators like Matt Drudge as well.

Contact your congressmen and senators and urge them to vote against this bill.

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Top 10 Gifts for Liberals This Season from The Looking Spoon

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

I’ve said it before and I’ll stay it again — Jared H. McAnderson is a wicked, wicked man…
liberal

H/T The Looking Spoon

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Taking the Red Pill

Monday, December 12th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

pill

The Matrix trilogy was sheer genius. I suspect Chris Muir is too.

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Separated at Birth?

Friday, December 9th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

grayson

Is it just me or does this guy look like Vincent D’Onofrio as Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket right before he shot R. Lee Ermy’s character?
pyle

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The Occupy Education Plan

Thursday, December 8th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

zits

Yup, that about covers the modern high school graduate’s idea of college.

h/t Seattle Pi

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Darrell Issa Hammers Holder and Obama

Thursday, December 8th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

Rep. Darrell Issa at today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing:

“I have no confidence in a president who has confidence in this Attorney General.”

That was perhaps the best line so far in the hearing, which just recessed for some votes. I’ll have a full story on this hearing later, but it’s worth laying out a few quick thoughts.

First, this whole thing is a circus side-show. I get the impression that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) would just as soon not be having this hearing at all. He refused to allow Attorney General Eric Holder to be sworn under oath, for instance.

The Democrats on the committee have been falling all over themselves to brown-nose Holder.  One, Rep. Howard Berman of California, went so far as to minimize Operation Fast and Furious, saying “We’ve heard a lot here, some of it quite unbelievably overblown.”

He said that not two minutes before making this unbelievably overblown claim:

“Every day thousands of guns are smuggled across the border.”

Seriously? Every day?

This is just one more example of the “90 percent lie” used to call for more gun control — which is what every Dem on the committee and Holder himself did, constantly claiming a need for congressional support of the long-gun reporting rule the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tried to implement in the four border states.

It’s time for Holder to go, but not until, as my colleague J. Christian Adams pointed out, we do something about the bureaucracy, which is the institutional leftist supporting cast of this corrupt attorney general.

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AG Holder not Sworn In Under Oath; Uses Opening Statement to Call for More Gun Control

Thursday, December 8th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

Attorney General Eric Holder is currently on the hot seat in front of the House Judiciary Committee about Operation Fast and Furious. He’s the only witness.

Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa asked that Holder be sworn under oath, and Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith refused, saying Holder received a letter reminding him of his responsibility to be truthful and was therefore “deemed” to be under oath. So what happened? Did Holder refuse to testify under oath? If he’s going to tell the truth why should it be an issue?

He used his opening statement to call for more gun control and try to deflect any and all blame from himself or the department.

He even went so far as to claim his department came forward to reveal Fast and Furious. Which is true enough, but the men who did have been retaliated against in major ways.

He also tried to deflect the blame for the death of Brian Terry, saying the death is being used to score political points.

He also said last weeks’ Friday docudump, which threw nearly 1,400 pages of documents at Congressional investigators, “belie the idea the operation originated” with upper management.

So they’re throwing the field agents under the bus, typical.

Holder isn’t under oath because he has been prevaricating from the beginning of his opening statement.

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Administration Nixes Over the Counter Morning After Pill

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

The Obama Administration and Health and Human Services Secretary, former (halleluiah!) Kansas Governor Kathleen Sibelius, have overruled the FDA and denied permission for the morning-after birth control pill “Plan-B” to be marketed over the counter, the Washington Post reports.

Otherwise the controversial pill would have been available without a prescription to anyone who wished to buy it — of whatever age.

In a statement, FDA Administrator Margaret A. Hamburg said she had decided the medication could be used safely by girls and women of all ages. But she added that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had rejected the move.

“I agree … there is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential,” Hamburg said.

Sibelius apparently either disagreed or was ordered to disagree, saying she didn’t believe the studies:
“conclusively establish” that it could be used safely by girls of all ages.
“About 10 percent of girls are physically capable of bearing children by 11.1 years of age. It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age,” Sebelius said. “If the application were approved, the product would be available, without prescription, for all girls of reproductive age.”

Predictably the pro abortion types came out of the wood work:

“We are outraged that this administration has let politics trump science,” said Kirsten Moore of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, a Washington-based advocacy group. “There is no rationale for this move. This is unprecedented as evidenced by the commissioner’s own letter. Unbelievable.”

Really? When have they ever let science trump politics? You mean like when they continue to push “green jobs” and “green energy” in order to combat the increasingly discredited theory of AGW?

Or maybe it was the Solyndra debacle, or any of a dozen others?

Look, this was a good move. Probably not for the reasons they made it, however. Having this pill available over the counter would have taken yet more control away from parents. It’s not hard to get this pill. If your daughter thinks she might need it, you can take her down to the doctor and get the pill — easy. But parents should have that ability and the government shouldn’t be taking it away from them by issuing an OTC approval which was just as politically motivated as the denial.

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Quote of the Day from Robert A. Heinlein

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority.
“Doctor Pinero” in Life-Line (1939)

Sound at all like the AGW wingnuts?

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The Funnies Show Us the Reality of Revolution

Monday, December 5th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

I’ve said it for years, Dilbert is real!

Dilbert.com

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Over at the Blaze, Adam Carolla’s Anti-Occupy Rant

Thursday, December 1st, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

Over at the Blaze they have this headline: Adam Carolla Breaks Down Occupy Movement: ‘F**king Self-Entitled Monsters’

I actually listened to Carolla’s rant on the Glenn Beck program this morning and it’s not only hilarious but it’s dead on the money.

Have a listen here. (Warning NSFW)

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Once Again the Funnies Get It …

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

Dilbert.com

Someone should point this out to the AGW nuts…

h/t Dilbert.com

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More on Anne McCaffrey…

Thursday, November 24th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

Over at Otherwhere Gazette, contributor David F. has a few musings on the loss of a legendary writer:

On Tuesday, 22 November 2011, the science fiction and fantasy world lost one of its brightest and longest-lasting stars. Anne McCaffrey succumbed to a stroke at the age of 85.

~snip~

In the second book, Pegasus In Flight, however, is where she really shows the lady inside. The main character is a young boy who’s been paralyzed by an accident. He discovers a new way to use his Talent by accident, which then becomes one of the primary uses of Talent for the rest of the series.

It’s this young disabled boy that really caught my interest in these books. Not many authors are willing to use a disabled protagonist, not even for a book or two. That Anne did it, and used him as the discoverer of the Talent that formed the basis for the Rowan books–which are set in a future where interplanetary travel is pretty much based on this Talent–says a lot about her, I think.

Read the rest here.

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Mad Mike Williamson’s New Book Proposal

Friday, November 18th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

Michael Z. Williamson, the author of the great Freehold series for Baen, also has a blog, called “Speaker to Morons.

Williamson has a sharp wit and biting sense of humor and a few thoughts on a new book proposal.

Mike: I have this awesome idea for a satirical story.

Publisher: Go on.

Mike: We’ll have a protest against capitalism and banks.

Publisher: It’s been done.

Mike: Yes, but this will be different. The protesters will protest capitalism, while wearing clothing made in sweatshops, AND, one of the sweatshop shirts from Honduras will bear the image of a communist who was shot for leading too many failed revolutions.

But there’s more. They’ll adopt as their emblem this it’s the image of a jihadist who tried to overthrow a parliamentary government to instill a religious dictatorship. The image is owned by Warner, a huge media conglomerate that earns $12 billion a year. They used it for a movie about a terrorist, and they get 30% of every sale of the mask to these protesters. Plus! It’s made in a sweatshop in China by dissident prison laborers on starvation rations, using potentially toxic chemicals.

Publisher: …um…

Mike: No, wait! This is satire, okay? Hippie drummers will show up at the protest, and the protesters will tax them on their tips to help fund the revolution. They’ll have a “consensus” on doing so, without asking the drummers—taxation without representation! And they’ll insist the drummers stop drumming because it’s annoying, but still want them to get tips!

Then, when they actually get donations, they’ll take them to one of the banks they’re protesting.

Also, in a survey, half of them will actually support taxpayer-funded bailouts of banks.

When violence happens, they’ll blame it on a “right wing conspiracy.” They’ll want people to believe conservatives and Christians are sending people in to have sex in public, defecate in public and smoke dope.

After it really gets rolling, they’ll get endorsement by the Communist AND Nazi Parties both.

They’ll also meet at Starbuck’s and drink overpriced coffee, and…

Publisher: Stop. Just stop. Satire works because it’s believable. This is just insane. Even Monty Python makes more sense than this.

Mike, stop bashing Python! The killer rabbit wasn’t satire, ask Jimmy Carter!

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You’re Gonna Hate the Way This Looks. We Guarantee It.

Thursday, November 10th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

I saw this on one of my LinkedIn discussions and just had to share. Apparently a conservative journalist name of Todd Kinsey out Oakland way spotted a sign in a Men’s Warehouse that, well, irritated him. He then returned the suit.

OWS

A friend of mine decided to let the Men’s Wearhouse know how he feels about their support of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. He returned a bag full of suits that he had purchased from them and captured the entire episode on video (see below).

As you can see from the photograph, the Men’s Wearhouse in Oakland, California decided to place a sign in their window showing their support for the OWS movement. According to an article by Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air.com, Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer is financial supporter of President Obama and the socialist Democratic National Committee.

This may come as a surprise to many since Zimmer is obviously a capitalist and has made a considerable fortune hawking suits and other assorted men’s apparel. In fact, the menswear mogul has a net worth close to a billion-dollars according to Celebrity Networth.com. Not too shabby in global recession.

I decided to dig a little deeper and found that in 2011 alone, Zimmer has contributed $22,900 to left-wing Democrats such as President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Dianne Feinstein according to Open Secrets.org.

Well George, I can tell you one thing, I won’t ever set foot in another one of your stores, I guarantee it!

Check out his site with accompanying video here.

I love the hypocrisy here as well. A capitalist billionaire who made his fortune supplying business apparel to other capitalists is now supporting a system which would literally cut his head off given half a chance. Basically, these guys are not just hypocrites but stupid as well. They’re riding the tiger and that never ends well for anyone but the tiger.

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Issa Continues to Hammer DoJ on Fast and Furious Lies

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

Chairman Darrell Issa of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has issued another one of his famous letters today, hammering Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Ronald Weich over false statements Weich allegedly made to Congress over the monumentally stupid Operation Fast and Furious.

According to a release from Issa’s office:

On February 4, 2011, Weich stated the following in letter to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) who had asked if allegations that officials had intentionally allowed criminals to guns had been “walked” in Operation Fast and Furious:

“ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”

Evidence gathered during the course of the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious has shown that this statement was untrue – ATF, in allowing guns to walk, did not make every effort to interdict them and prevent their transfer to Mexico. Evidence gathered in the investigation has also shown that senior Justice Department officials knew at the time Weich made his statement in February that it was untrue.

“Mr. Weich, as you are well aware, it is a crime to knowingly make false statements to Congress,” Chairman Issa writes in his letter to Weich. “As DOJ’s principal liaison to Congress, we rely on you to be straight with the facts. You have not been, and so your credibility on this issue has been seriously eroded. Whether it is the case that you were fed a lie and faithfully repeated it in a letter to Congress, or whether it is the case that you took the initiative to lie to Congress yourself, you are responsible for the contents of letters that bear your signature.”
Chairman Issa’s letter demands a complete list of individuals who helped prepare the February 4, 2011, letter to Senator Grassley as well as all documents relating to the preparation of that letter referring or relating to the development of DOJ’s response to Senator Grassley’s January 27, 2011 request for information.

Click here for a copy of Issa’s letter.

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Ahh, the Genius of Matt Drudge…

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

One more reason why Drudge is Drudge…

I don’t know if Cain did what they say he did. I do know that there’s a lot which does not add up here. If he did it he needs to get out, if not he needs to stay in and fight.

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Stephan Pastis for President

Monday, November 7th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

pearls

It’s a sad, sad day when a cartoonist has a better grasp of economics than the president.

h/t Seattle Pi

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Central Plains Rattled by Earthquake

Monday, November 7th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

So there I was last night, putting together a birthday gift for my two year old granddaughter when the house started shaking. Now I knew there’d been an earth quake early Saturday morning down in Oklahoma. (I live in Kansas just a few miles from the Oklahoma border.) But honestly I didn’t really realize what had just happened until after the mild shaking stopped. Then I just said “nifty,” and went back to putting together a plastic kitchen.

So then I see this on Fox News:

SPARKS, Okla. – Oklahoma residents more accustomed to tornadoes than earthquakes have been shaken by weekend temblors that cracked buildings, buckled a highway and rattled nerves. One quake late Saturday was the state’s strongest ever and jolted a college football stadium 50 miles away.
It was followed by 10 aftershocks by midmorning Sunday. But although homes and other buildings cracked and suffered minor damage, there were no reports of severe injuries or major devastation.

Saturday night’s earthquake jolted Oklahoma State University’s stadium shortly after the No. 3 Cowboys defeated No. 17 Kansas State.

Honestly I’m more upset about the loss to OSU than I am the earthquake. Besides, I’m sure the whole thing is either a Republican plot against the Anointed One, or all global warming’s fault.

If you think I’m kidding, wait and watch. There’s been an uptick in earthquakes in Oklahoma the last few years and I’d bet dollars to donuts some AGW wingnut will be on MSNBC this week “explaining” how climate change is causing cracked walls in the sooner state.

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BREAKING: Holder Agrees To Testify

Friday, October 28th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

Attorney General Holder has agreed to appear to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, as requested by Rep. Issa. Also, Rep. Cummings is requesting a hearing to call former ATF Director Melson to testify about Fast and Furious.

This is huge, it potentially means Holder is about to get thrown to the wolves, if so, it would be the first major figure from the administration to be so treated. Stay tuned to PJMedia for more information.

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PETA Moonbats Dive in Deep End … Again …

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

According to Fox News, PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, are suing SeaWorld for enslavement.

SAN DIEGO – A federal court is being asked to grant constitutional rights to five killer whales who perform at marine parks — an unprecedented and perhaps quixotic legal action that is nonetheless likely to stoke an ongoing, intense debate at America’s law schools over expansion of animal rights.

Seriously?

Do these idiots realize at all what they do to their own credibility every time they pull one of these stunts? Honestly, no one outside of Hollyweird or a few liberal moonbats on college campuses actually pays attention to anything PETA has to say in the first place. Worse, when there are real abuses (Michael Vick anyone?) their radical stands completely discredit them when they could actually accomplish something.

Even more annoying is that most of their stands are simply stupid. Much like the radical environmental lobby with whom they are closely allied they haven’t really thought through the consequences of their positions. For instance, if we all went vegan tomorrow, what would happen to all the beef and milk cattle? With no commercial reason to keep them alive why would farmers pay to feed them?

As usual with the moonbats, it’s not about logic it’s all about how they feel. By suing SeaWorld they get to feel self-righteous, without actually having to accomplish anything, which is all they or their ilk at the OWS protests actually want.

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Occupy Earth

Monday, October 24th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

occupy

I truly love Brewster Rockit. There are some great, truly subversive strips running out there these days like Brewster and “Pearls Before Swine.”

h/t Seattle Pi

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The 99 Percent

Friday, October 21st, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

 

Chris Muir hits it out of the park again at Day by Day.

Holder is lying through his teeth, last I heard that was a felony when you did it to Congress. Isn’t that enough to impeach him?

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