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Sign “O” the Times

October 23rd, 2014 - 12:05 pm


Now that’s gotta hurt:

Unlike some Democratic Senate candidates, incumbent Mark Begich of Alaska is willing to say he voted for President Obama.

But he’s also found a way to distance himself from the president, who is unpopular in reddish Alaska.

“I did (vote for him), but that’s irrelevant,” Begich told the Washington Examiner. “The president’s not relevant. He’s gone in two years.”

I would just like to remind Alaska voters that if you like the Senator you have, you can keep him.

Preferably, right there in Alaska.

The Lowdown on the Liaoning

October 23rd, 2014 - 11:01 am


I’m gathering quite the collection of “don’t buy Russian” clippings. Here’s another one for the pile, as China experiences yet another big failure with their Russian-built baby aircraft carrier:

On at least one occasion during recent sea trials, Liaoning appeared to suffer a steam explosion which temporarily knocked out the carrier’s electrical power system. The failure, reported by Chinese media site, resulting from a leak in “the machine oven compartment to the water pipes.”

We’re only able to glimpse at the carrier’s engine problems, as we know very little about what’s inside the ship. This includes even what kind of engines Liaoning has.

The Chinese government also doesn’t like to admit to problems with its military hardware. When it does—and that’s never guaranteed—the admissions often come months or years after problems come up.

During the accident, hot water and steam began “spewing” out of the engine’s oven compartment, reported. One cabin became “instantly submerged in water vapor,” the report added.

The crew immediately evacuated the cabin, with one officer apparently pulling a sailor out by his collar to save him from the extremely hot steam. The carrier then lost power, but the crew “eventually restored power to ensure the smooth operation of the ship.”

A “mission kill” is when you damage an enemy ship enough to force it back to port without accomplishing its mission. What should we call it when a ship does it to itself? “Mission suicide” doesn’t quite sound right, does it?

Let’s just stick with calling it “don’t buy Russian.”

Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)

October 23rd, 2014 - 10:29 am


Here’s what I got from MoveOn this morning, along with the images above:

The dynamic new ad and voter contact campaign calls on women in Colorado and other states with crucial Senate races to exercise their powers as “Supervoters” at the ballot box this year, part of a major push by Political Action to turn out drop-off female voters to prevent a Republican takeover of the Senate.

Already, MoveOn members across the country have called more than 250,000 women in Colorado and 880,000 nationwide to boost turnout. This weekend, MoveOn members will call several hundred thousand more women in key states via Supervoter-themed phone banking.

The print and online ads feature MoveOn members from battleground states Colorado, Iowa, and North Carolina sharing why they’re voting on issues such as education funding and women’s access to health care and birth control. The movie-poster style print ads will run in the Sunday editions of The Denver Post, The Des Moines Register, and the Charlotte Observer, and online ads will appear in outlets visited by women including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Jezebel, Good Housekeeping,, Marie Claire, People, and Women’s Fitness.

The Sunday Denver Post ad features Colorado MoveOn member Angela Padilla.

The ads make the point that because control of the Senate will be determined by just a few states, voters in these states have tremendous power to determine our country’s direction. In short, they are Supervoters. Colorado has been called “ground zero” for turning out women voters in this year’s election and “the heart” of efforts to mobilize female voters, a point stressed by Hillary Clinton at a rally this week.

So, ladies — what would make you feel like a real Superwoman on election day?

You Can Pick Your Friends…

October 23rd, 2014 - 9:14 am


Gosh, everybody wants to make friends with Iran these days:

China wants to have closer military ties with Iran, the Chinese defence minister told the visiting head of the Iranian navy on Thursday, state media reported, reaffirming diplomatic links despite controversy over Iran’s nuclear plans.

Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan told Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari that the two armed forces have seen “good cooperation on mutual visits, personnel training and other fields in recent years,” China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

“Exchanges between the two navies have been fruitful and their warships have paid successful visits to each other,” it cited Chang as saying.

“Chang… stressed China is willing to work with Iran to further pragmatic cooperation and strengthen military-to-military ties.”

Which friendship do you think Tehran is more likely to honor — ours or China’s?

The End of Greatness?

October 23rd, 2014 - 8:32 am

Jeff Shesol in The New Yorker:

This is where we stand right now with President Obama. There are two years left in his tenure, but we are already in the process of writing him off. The Atlantic is calling him “our passé President”; at a rally in Maryland on Sunday, while Obama delivered a campaign speech, dozens of people drifted out of the auditorium. Yet he is still, of course, our President, and we still, on some level, expect heroics. Deep down, we don’t want Obama to appoint an “Ebola czar.” We want him to march into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, set some new protocols, and put this unpleasant business behind us. Instead, to quell our Ebola freak-out, Obama “hugged and kissed … a couple of the nurses” at a hospital in Atlanta, which, really, is an assignment Joe Biden could have taken.

The problem isn’t Barack Obama, or his performance in office, or even where the country stands today. The problem is in the expectations — the expectation that government can cure our ills, the expectation that the Right Great Man can make the giant government do all the things we have come to expect it to do.

There is of course room for good government and even the occasional great man to head it up. But a government as large and as intrusive as ours will find it nearly impossible to be great, or even merely good, when its mission is to force its once-sovereign citizens to fit other people’s notion of “good.”

Italy’s “Terminal Decline”

October 23rd, 2014 - 7:15 am

Monetary union has been a disaster for Italy:

The latest panic on global stock markets has reminded the world of the vulnerability of the euro, and this week pundits in the British press have been busy speculating about France’s possible collapse. Hardly anyone bothers to fret about Italy any more, even though last week its exchanges took the second biggest hit after Greece. Italy’s irreversible demise is a foregone conclusion. The country is just too much of a basket case even to think about.

Italy’s experience of the European monetary union has been particularly painful. The Italians sleepwalked into joining the euro with scarcely any serious debate, and were so keen to sign up that they accepted a throttlingly high exchange rate with the lira. The price of life’s essentials, such as cigarettes, coffee and wine, doubled overnight while wages remained static — though back then jobs were still easy to find and money easy to borrow. But when the great crash happened, Italy, as a prisoner of a monetary union without a political union, was unable to do anything much about it, and could not even resort to the traditional medicine of currency devaluation.

The only path to recovery permitted by Brussels and Berlin — that of austerity — has been counterproductive because it has only been skin-deep. If austerity is to stimulate growth, it must be done to the hilt, which inevitably involves terrible suffering and the risk of mass agitation. No Italian politician can stomach that.

Italy also has one of the lowest birthrates in low-birthrate Europe, so there’s little chance of the country growing its way out of its problems.

Then there’s this:

Anyone who works in the real private sector — the family businesses that have made Italy’s name around the world — is in a bad place. Italy has the heaviest ‘total tax’ burden on businesses in the world at 68 per cent, according to the Sole 24 Ore newspaper, followed by France on 66 per cent, compared with just 36 per cent in Britain. To start a business in Italy is to enter a Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare, and to keep it going is even worse.

A hundred years from now, who will make the prosciutto?

Send in the Clowns

October 23rd, 2014 - 6:11 am

That headline works on so many levels for today’s Trifecta.

Massive Airbag Recall Gets More Massive

October 23rd, 2014 - 5:02 am

The airbag situation is bad. The government bungling might be worse:

The U.S. auto safety agency today dramatically boosted, to at least 7.78 million, the number of U.S. vehicles previously recalled for faulty Takata air bags that the government now says pose an immediate threat to front-seat passengers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration, in what qualifies as very strong language for the agency, says it’s telling owners “with urgency” to get their recalled cars fixed at once as a matter “essential to personal safety.”

Adding to confusion over the warning, however, is a changing count of vehicles and owners in jeopardy. The Wednesday tally was a corrected count, down from 8.47 million that NHTSA’s total showed late yesterday. And that, in turn, had been an update of the 4.74 million units NHTSA cited overnight Tuesday.

We have one car that might be on this list, so we’re hoping to get a straight answer.

The Downside of Democracy

October 22nd, 2014 - 3:32 pm

Tunisia is the Arab Spring’s best outcome by far, and yet:

Tunisians have approved a new Constitution by a broad consensus, and a second free election is to take place this month. The country has the advantage of one of the Arab world’s most educated and cosmopolitan populations, numbering just 11 million, and it has some of the most alluring Mediterranean beaches.

But instead of sapping the appeal of militant extremism, the new freedom that came with the Arab Spring revolt has allowed militants to preach and recruit more openly than ever before. At the same time, many young Tunisians say that the new freedoms and elections have done little to improve their daily lives, create jobs or rein in a brutal police force that many here still refer to as “the ruler,” or, among ultraconservative Islamists, “the tyrant.”

Although Tunisia’s steps toward democracy have enabled young people to express their dissident views, impatience and skepticism have evidently led a disgruntled minority to embrace the Islamic State’s radically theocratic alternative.

Plenty of Russians still pine for Stalin and the USSR, too.

No Replacement for Displacement

October 22nd, 2014 - 2:36 pm


Rocky Mountain Jihad

October 22nd, 2014 - 1:49 pm


The first indication that something was wrong was a phone call from his daughter’s Denver area school to let Assad Ibrahim know that she had not come to class.

He dialed her cell. And she answered. But, officials say, she didn’t tell him that she was on her way to Syria to join ISIS.

She was just late for class, that’s all, Ibrahim’s daughter told him on Friday, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, which filed a runaway report.

The American girl of Sudanese descent also kept quiet about her two girlfriends, Americans of Somali descent, who were flying with her to Turkey by way of Germany.

Those two had told their father, Ali Farah, that they were going to the library.
But when Farah got home from work, a visitor came calling, according to the documents. Apparently, it was Ibrahim.

Farah should check to see if his daughters’ passports were missing, the visitor told him — just like his daughter’s passport was.

Sure enough, they were gone, along with $2,000 in cash.

German authorities put the girls on a flight back to the US, where they were greeted by the FBI.


Unless my eyes deceive me, the only states where President Obama is above water are Hawaii, California,Maryland, New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts. He’s underwater with likely voters by a minimum of ten points in the Senate battleground states of Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Louisiana.

This is the moment when the GOP needs its own Howard Dean. Not the Screaming Howard Dean of 2004, but the scheming Howard Dean who went on the chair the DNC. And I don’t use “scheming” as an epithet. Dean had the vision and the gumption to put into action his “50 State Strategy” for Democratic dominance. He didn’t care if Democrat candidates were pro-life or pro-gun, so long as they could get elected and vote D on the big issues. He helped a young presidential contender from Illinois dig deep into what were supposed to be reliably Red states, and win them.

The hyper-D major from 2009-2011 was in no small part due to Dean’s boldness. Dean didn’t care if his candidate were only good for just a couple of terms, or even only one — so long as they got enough votes for just long enough to push through a heap of legislation. And in 2007-08, Dean got his crisis and he didn’t let it go to waste. The results, such as they are, lie all around us.

Starting on November 4 and going through the following two election cycles, the party has a once-in-a-generation shot to pursue its own 50 State Strategy and undo much of the damage the Donks have done. But where is the GOP leader of similar vision and gumption? Where are the candidates willing to do whatever it takes to win? What happened to GOP voters who once understood that victory is more important than purity?

The national party seems willing to settle for winning a slender Senate majority and hanging on in the House — when so much more should be possible. And absolutely zero seems to have been put into play to stop the Hillary Juggernaut in 2016.

Where’s the boldness, the drive, the ambition?

It’s too late to hope for anything more in this cycle than for a GOP Senate able to mitigate some of the hurt coming our way before January 20, 2017. But after then, mitigation will no longer be enough — or even possible.

News You Can Use

October 22nd, 2014 - 11:27 am


Meanwhile, in Michigan:

olice arrested a 54-year-old man after he was allegedly seen wearing camouflage pants and a clown mask, shooting a gun at a can in the street.

Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputies said the man also was seen playing a trombone at one point, all the while as he stood in a garage.

The man, described as intoxicated, was arrested for a personal protection order violation. No one was hurt and the gun turned out to be a pellet gun.

Florida Man had better up his game.

Empty Chair Can’t Defend Empty Suit

October 22nd, 2014 - 10:23 am

WFB adds:

Amid accusations of corruption and insider deals, Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) declined an invitation from Time Warner Cable to take part in a debate with her Republican opponent on Capital Tonight. Hagan’s empty chair was visible throughout the debate. [Emphasis added. Because it's fun.]

You think that kind of thing might be an election killer in a race this close?

Required Viewing

October 22nd, 2014 - 9:14 am

I have serious qualms with the death penalty as a practical matter, but Governor Hickenlooper seems to have played politics with in this case — and that’s got to stop.

It Was My Understanding There Would Be No Math

October 22nd, 2014 - 8:24 am


There’s (almost) an app for that:

I’ve seen the future and it is math less and it is awesome and it is this PhotoMath app that solves math problems just by pointing your phone’s camera at them. It’s like a cross between a text reading camera, a supremely sophisticated calculator and well, the future. Point and solve and never do math again.

We’re all going to get a lot stupider after this thing comes out next year, aren’t we?

He Gave His Life for Tourism

October 22nd, 2014 - 7:18 am


Daily Mail reports that the image above is our best estimate of the true appearance of King Tut:

In the flesh, King Tut had buck teeth, a club foot and girlish hips, according to the most detailed examination ever of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh’s remains.

And rather than being a boy king with a love of chariot racing, Tut relied on walking sticks to get around during his rule in the 14th century BC, researchers said.

A ‘virtual autopsy’, composed of more than 2,000 computer scans, was carried out in tandem with a genetic analysis of Tutankhamun’s family, which supports evidence that his parents were brother and sister.

The scientists believe that this left him with physical impairments triggered by hormonal imbalances. And his family history could also have led to his premature death in his late teens.

On the plus side, he had a condo made of stone-a.

Sign “O” the Times

October 22nd, 2014 - 6:02 am


War on women, yo:

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

This is just one poll of course, so we can’t read too much into it — although the overall numbers are even worse, if perhaps not as shocking:

Among all adults, 38 percent say they’d like the Democrats to wind up in control of Congress, to 36 percent for the Republicans. But the GOP holds a significant lead among those most likely to cast ballots: 47 percent of these voters favor a Republican controlled-Congress, 39 percent a Democratic one. That’s a shift in the GOP’s favor since an AP-GfK poll in late September, when the two parties ran about evenly among likely voters.

Democrats don’t win ties, not in the midterms. Even a small edge for the GOP can result in big wins, as we saw from the polls leading up to 2010.

But what I find most interesting is how much voters seem to be preferring this GOP. The GOP in 2014 is not the party of Reagan. Hell, it’s not even the party of Gingrich. This is a party in turmoil, and yet the Democrats have been so soiled by President Obama’s non-performance that Americans are telling pollsters, “Hell yeah, we want the Republicans.”

Imagine what the Republicans could do at a time like this, if they spent less time alienating the grassroots and more effort winning over independents and vacillating Democrats.

On second thought, don’t — the contrast with reality is too depressing.

The Whittle Triple

October 22nd, 2014 - 5:09 am

Bill has the Trifecta Triple this week and… I’ll let him explain.

The End of the Tablet?

October 21st, 2014 - 2:45 pm


Apple’s results conference call on Monday revealed another record-breaking quarter with record-breaking iPhone and Mac sales, but iPad sales were down for the third straight quarter, and down Q2Q from a a year ago. Steve Jobs famously predicted that PCs were like trucks, tablets were like cars, and most people really only needed a car. Pros, he said, would keep using trucks for the heavy lifting, but the PC era was supposed to be over.

Microsoft can’t get anywhere with the Surface, and judging by app sales and web usage stats, the vast majority of el cheapo Android tablets go unused and unloved.

So is the tablet era over before it ever began?

Hard to say. iPad still generates huge profits, back to third behind Mac sales, with tens of millions sold each year. And the company is now taking a radical (for Apple) approach to the tablet market.

Previously, Apple sold only the new model of the full-size iPad, plus last year’s model at a discount and at a single memory tier. They then added the iPad mini to the lineup. A year later when the new iPad mini was introduced, the old model continued to sell, again at a discount and again at a single memory tier. That reduced shopping confusion for consumers and helped Apple keep their SKU count low. (“Steve hates SKUs,” I once joked.) Under the Old Regime, tablet prices started at $299 for last year’s iPad mini with minimal memory, and topped out at $929 for a maxed-out 128GB iPad Air.

Now things have changed. A lot.

The two-year-old original iPad mini is still for sale, now with two memory tiers to choose from, with the starting price reduced even further. Last year’s mini (with Retina Display) is also still on sale, at the usual $100 discount, and also with two memory tiers. The new iPad mini is at the usual price, and with the usual three memory tiers — but the top two tiers offer twice as much memory as before.

The iPad Air has gotten a similar treatment. Last year’s model? Two tiers, $100 off. This year’s model? Three tiers, with the top two tiers offering twice as much memory as before.

That’s a lot more choice than Apple usually offers in its consumer range.

The buy-in price for an iPad is now just $249 for a 16GB iPad mini. That’s $50 less than Apple has ever charged to let you into their ecosystem. But the top-end price for a new-generation 128GB iPad Air has dropped from $929 to $829. The product range has expanded from four two five, but the pricing scheme has both dropped and compressed. So prices are down, value is up, and the product range has increased. As a shareholder, I’m also pleased that Apple has managed to do all that in a way which should protect its enviable profit margins.

Is it enough to boost sales again, or at least forestall further declines?

That’s the Big Unanswerable, but Apple’s new strategy shows they are nowhere close to giving up on the product category they redefined from Microsoft’s original vision of “Windows-with-a-stylus” to “the touch computer for anybody.”

Great find from Daniel Halper:

“We are completely out of ideas,” reads the opening of an email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

After President Clinton emailed you this morning to ask for help, we really thought we would be in a better place.But we aren’t. The Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, and the other Republican outside groups are spending millions against us. It’s the biggest spending spree of any midterm election EVER. So big — it doesn’t even look like President Clinton’s email can dig us out of this hole.There is still time, though. Things are rough, but we’re not ready to accept defeat. If we can bring in 5O,OOO donations before tomorrow’s ad buy deadline, we can get back on track. Will you answer President Clinton’s call-to-action today?

Next the DCCC suggests a $5 donation.

I wouldn’t say they’re completely out of ideas, although “give me your money” is hardly a new idea.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

October 21st, 2014 - 12:33 pm


Unpopular law remains unpopular:

Why didn’t increasing insurance coverage for millions of people make the law more popular? One hypothesis: Most of the people who got coverage were always in the supporter camp, and those who oppose Obamacare are mostly people who don’t have much to gain from it (i.e., they already have coverage through employers or Medicare). And there are such places as Kentucky, where the law broadly succeeded yet remains unpopular with voters, including some who benefited from it.

That Means It’s Working™

More seriously, I need to reiterate a point I’ve made here a couple times before.

Despite both legally mandating and subsidizing insurance coverage, ♡bamaCare!!! enrolled only about 7 million of the nation’s 40-plus million who were previously uninsured — minus an unknown number who lost their plans due to ♡bamaCare!!!, then purchased ACA-approved plans on the exchanges. That’s a huge miss. The law did successfully expand Medicaid coverage to millions more, but all that accomplished was to increase the scope and expense of the welfare state. Medicaid expansion did nothing, zilch, nada to increase private coverage or to reduce expenses to the taxpayer.

That’s a lousy winner-to-loser ratio, which explains ♡bamaCare!!!’s lousy poll numbers.

A Low-Tech Lynching [UPDATED, BUMPED]

October 21st, 2014 - 12:10 pm


This flyer — including a well-known photo of an actual lynching — purports to say what will happen to President Obama in the Senate if Kay Hagan isn’t reelected to that oh-so-august body.

Distasteful? Yes.

A big fat lie? Certainly.

Will it drive Democrats to the polls? Very possibly.

Of those three points, only the last one counts. It’s vile and despicable, but these things work.

Republicans must remember this.

I’ve said for years that there’s only one safe way to drive in Colorado, home to some of the most poorly-trained drivers and some of the work conditions. What you’re about to read is far from failsafe, and it requires a high degree of concentration, but my method does work.

Constantly scan the traffic to keep your situational awareness elevated — even a momentary lapse could cost you a bent fender or a totaled car or worse. Quickly imagine the most bone-headedly stupid thing each car, motorcycle, pedestrian, or Subaru Outback* could possibly do. Form a contingency maneuver for each stupid thing they might do, sorted in a probability/danger matrix. Now just watch as some dumbass does exactly one of the dumbass things on your matrix. Adjust your driving accordingly.

In politics, Republicans face a very similar situation when dealing with Democrats. Scan every single Democrat around you, and in an election year you’d better check in on those “independent” groups with the nice-sounding names. If he or she is your opponent, hire someone, or several someones, to check on them 24/7. Actually, make that 25/8 — you can’t be too sure.

Now imagine the meanest, biggest, boldest, stupidest, most disgusting lie they might tell. Keep in mind that the lie doesn’t have to make sense. It just has to serve to elevate their voter turnout, suppress yours, or just muddy the waters. You must develop a preemptive plan for dealing with it, ready to go at a moment’s notice. Better yet, develop a preemptive plan which actually preempts their lies.

There’s just one problem.

Whatever you imagined, I’m sure you didn’t think up that lynching flyer — and that’s where Republicans, as adept and as able liars as any reputable politician, fall short. There are places most Republicans fear to tread, where Democrats rush in.

They play hardball. But as one wise man once said, punch them back twice as hard.


*I love Subarus. One of the most fun-to-drive cars I’ve ever owned was a then-new ’93 Impreza hatch. I’d zip up to Denver on I-25 doing 95MPH or better (this was before the traffic got too dense) the whole way, even through the twisties, thanks to all-wheel-drive and that nice little four-banger 1.8 boxer engine.

That said, most Subaru Outbacks are now purchased by the same Safety Nazis who used to buy all the Volvo 240 wagons and practically park them in the passing lane at a relentless 13MPH under the speed limit.

I love Subarus. I like wagons. But I can’t remember the last time I was behind a Subaru Outback wagon that wasn’t pissing me off.

(H/T to Longtime Sharp VodkaPundit Reader™ “Sigivald” for reminding me to do the Outback rant.)

Required Reading

October 21st, 2014 - 11:25 am

As the election approaches, share Quin Hillyer’s thoughts with your friends:

With repeated support from Senate Democrats, Obama has gutted American defenses and radically undermined our diplomatic standing. The “reset” with Russia lies in ruins in Crimea and Ukraine. Libya is a disaster area. A “jayvee team” beheads Western journalists and aid workers, lays waste to entire villages in Syria and Iraq, destroys Christian holy sites, and even threatens Baghdad. Al-Qaeda affiliates gain ground in numerous African and Gulf states. Afghanistan totters on the brink. Obama’s Middle East “peace process” resulted in a Hamas uprising. Huge majorities of Israelis feel abandoned by the current administration. Iran is closer than ever to deliverable nuclear weapons. China increasingly rattles its saber internationally while destroying decades of republican government in Hong Kong. Allied leaders are furious that we spied on them. South American nations are increasingly distant from the United States.

Nowhere — repeat, nowhere — do U.S. interests appear to be in stronger position now than when Obama took office.

Domestically, Obama’s managerial state has managed only to make life more unmanageable. Abroad, his bowing to foreign leaders has only bowed the “arc of history” in the wrong direction. And every single Senate Democrat has kowtowed, at every turn, to every one of his major actions.

RINOs are herd animals and can be led, but a Donk will always vote like an ass.

President Who?

October 21st, 2014 - 10:21 am


Thomas Lifson reports on a curious pandemic sweeping the nation — Obamanesia:

Buyer’s remorse for twice electing Barack Obama is taking hold. The first stage of grief is denial, after all, according to Kubler-Ross. USA Today has just conducted some revealing polls in six states with competitive Senate races:

Now USA TODAY/Suffolk University polls in a half-dozen states with key Senate races underscore just how much times and political fortunes have changed for the president. In five of the six states, the percentage of likely voters who say they voted for Obama in 2012 has dipped from the actual results.

Of those who say they did vote for him, as many as one in seven say they regret it.

But even more interesting than those honest people expressing regret are those less forthright people who simply don’t remember:

In 2012, Obama carried three of the states surveyed by USA TODAY and Suffolk University’s Political Research Center with more than 50% of the vote. But now just 47% of likely voters in Iowa, 46% in Colorado and 48% in Michigan say they voted for him.

Of the six states, only in Kansas did the percentage who remember voting for Obama match the actual election returns, at 38%. His standing slid 5 points in North Carolina and 2 in Arkansas.

Of course, it says something about our political class that I can only barely remember casting my votes in 2008 and 2012 for Bob Barr and Mitt Romney, respectively.

Trifecta Extra

October 21st, 2014 - 9:15 am


Things got weird.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Research

October 21st, 2014 - 8:10 am



The White House has halted research examining how diseases like influenza, MRSA, and SARS can be more easily transmitted among animals, citing safety concerns. The US will not fund any new research and is encouraging those with existing research to pause their experiments.

There were apparently biosafety “incidents” at federally-funded research centers. As a result, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, along with the Department of Health and Human Services, is launching “a deliberative process” to asses risks associated with this type of research.

In August, a CDC researcher contaminated samples while rushing to a meeting. And in June, the CDC left anthrax samples unlocked and used expired disinfectant on them. It’s not clear from the White House statement if these were the incidents being referred to. A call to Becky Fried, a spokeswoman for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy wasn’t immediately returned.

I question the timing.

Kurds Fleeing Kobani?

October 21st, 2014 - 6:02 am

I can’t verify the photo or the tweet but sure would appreciate any help doing so.

Officially Phishing Fishy Business

October 21st, 2014 - 5:05 am

Is China attempting to phish iCloud users’ passwords? And note that I said “China,” as in the government, and not “Chinese hackers.” That’s what GreatFire claims:

According to the report, the government is using the institutional firewall to redirect traffic directed at to a fake page that resembles the interface almost perfectly.

Like other phishing attacks, this page is pretending to be Apple’s portal but instead intercepts entered usernames and passwords for other means. Although some browsers in China are set up to warn users about these kind of man-in-the-middle attacks, many don’t and (assumedly) many citizens disregard the warnings as the site appears quite genuine otherwise.

If true, the implications for Apple vis-a-vis Chinese relations are huge.

To say the least. I can think of any number of reasons why a Chinese citizen would want to keep the content of his texts and the history of his browsing safe from Beijing’s prying eyes.

ISIL Making Big Push into Kurdistan

October 20th, 2014 - 3:15 pm

It’s been a god news/bad news day for the Kurds, who face multiple ISIL attacks far from Kobani:

The deadliest of the attacks targeted Mosul Dam, a hugely important location.

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

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

Another Kurdish military official, who asked not to be named for protocol and security reasons, said that despite the attacks, it would be difficult for ISIS to gain control of the dam because of the large numbers of Peshmerga forces in the area.

You might recall that ISIL took the dam last summer, but were pushed back by Peshmerga and Coalition air strikes. I fear they’ll blow the thing if they manage to take it a second time.