SHOCKING FOOTAGE: Moment of Arab terrorist ramming his car into bus stop then stabbing Israelis before being shot. pic.twitter.com/c4AAomN4xr
— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) October 13, 2015
I have two Trifectas to write & host today, three others to shoot, and a Democratic Presidential Debate drunkblog tonight (of course) — so blogging today will be light to nonexistent.
Come back to the PJM home page tonight at about 8:45PM Eastern/5:45PM Pacific for all the drunkbloggery goodness.
The Anti-UAV Defense System (Auds) works by covertly jamming a drone’s signal, making it unresponsive.
After this disruption, the operator is likely to retrieve the drone believing that it has malfunctioned.
The system joins a host of recently announced technologies which can blast larger drones out of the sky.
A drone flying in sensitive airspace can be detected by the Auds radar and then sighted via a camera equipped with thermal imaging capabilities so that it can be targeted visually.
Then, a high-powered radio signal can be focused on the drone – essentially overriding the connection to whoever is operating it.
There’s a major arms race going on, right out in the open and remarkably unremarked upon. And given how ubiquitous drones are becoming and how relatively cheap the technology is becoming, this arms race is moving fast — and will accelerate.
The directors of the Trump Ocean Club met July 28 on urgent business. They needed to fire Donald Trump.
The building’s residents and condo owners had invested in the namesake, a 70-story waterfront tower along Panama Bay, on the strength of Trump’s reputation. But during the four years that Trump Panama Condominium Management LLC had managed the property, Central America’s largest building, a team installed by the Trump family was accused of running up more than $2 million in unauthorized debts, paying its executives undisclosed bonuses and withholding basic financial information from owners, according to an Associated Press examination.
The Trumps had done all of this through fine-print chicanery, the board said. A clause in many residents’ purchase agreements prevented them from voting against the Trump company’s wishes. That allowed the Trumps to install their top employee as chairman and the residents’ representative on the board — even though the Trumps’ actual stake in the building’s residential area was merely a storage closet on the 15th floor.
If you were hoping to restore a little transparency and integrity to government…
The news from President Obama’s “right war” isn’t so good:
The Taliban insurgency has spread through more of Afghanistan than at any point since 2001, according to data compiled by the United Nations as well as interviews with numerous local officials in areas under threat.
In addition, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan over the past two weeks has evacuated four of its 13 provincial offices around the country — the most it has ever done for security reasons — according to local officials in the affected areas.
The data, compiled in early September — even before the latest surge in violence in northern Afghanistan — showed that United Nations security officials had already rated the threat level in about half of the country’s administrative districts as either “high” or “extreme,” more than at any time since the American invasion ousted the Taliban in 2001.
It would have been better to have exited Afghanistan shortly after installing the Northern Alliance in power — and to have exited via Tehran.
Salena Zito would like to remind you that there’s nothing new about the current chaos on Capitol Hill:
Between 1840 and the beginning of the Civil War, our nation and its political parties were so divided, so raucous, so driven by populist passions, that the House — the chamber in Washington that most reflects the temperament of the people — changed speakers every year.
Could you imagine the social-media exchange back then?
Nathaniel Banks won the House speakership in 1855, but only after fighting off 20 rivals, 133 ballots and two months of bickering.
Wouldn’t you just love to see the hashtag for that?
Read the whole thing — it’s delightful.
Hillary Clinton’s temper is nothing short of famous, and lately it’s been causing trouble behind the scenes as her poll numbers go deeper underwater. But all is not lost:
“We’re having some success in giving her some chill pills,” says a campaign adviser.
The goal is to channel her anger and make her focus on Republicans, not on her campaign aides and fellow Democrats.
“Hillary’s always at her most effective when her back is to the wall,” says one of her longtime political advisers. “After weeks of pounding and pummeling by the press, she’s mad as hell and isn’t going to take it any more.”
The plan is already in play. Over the past two weeks, she has slammed the Benghazi hearings as nothing more than a Republican-instigated political witch-hunt aimed at suppressing her poll numbers.
She’s bashed the Supreme Court and the National Rifle Association over the Second Amendment.
She’s thumbed her nose at President Obama by coming out against one of his major foreign-policy goals — the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
And with her approval, her opposition research team has been collecting dirt on Vice President Joe Biden, which Hillary’s camp is prepared to release to the media if Biden enters the nominating race following his family summit this weekend.
OK, great — Hillary is taking some chill pills and unleashing her fury at everyone from Barack Obama to the NRA.
But one question remains unanswered.
What is she for?
A group of men in south Florida have been trying as hard as they can to regenerate what was once taken from them — precisely “one-third of the erogenous tissue on the penile shaft” — by using various tugging devices (like something called the TLC Tugger) to stretch the penile skin the same way a gauge would stretch an earlobe. Except this sounds way worse.
We’ll pause here so that our more squeamish readers have a chance to click away.
Ready? Well then:
But regenerating an inch of skin is an almost superhuman feat. A foreskin can’t simply grow back like a lizard’s tail; it takes one to five years of grueling stretching and a slew of strange devices. It’s physically torturous and also isolating, because most men take on restoring without talking to loved ones or doctors. Many turn to online forums for guidance and support. And most quit before reaching their goal.
I try not to judge what people do with their sex lives, just so long as everybody is of the age of consent, and nobody is more inebriated than they mean to be.
But this… just… no.
On 60 Minutes last night, President Obama said the worries over Hillary’s email server had been “ginned up.”
But for now at least, the FBI seems to have a slightly less cavalier attitude about the whole affair:
Platte River Networks has already given the FBI the server Clinton maintained as secretary of state. Now, the small IT firm will hand over a separate device manufactured by a Connecticut-based company called Datto Inc.
“The data device is a simple device that sat next to the server,” Platte River spokesman Andy Boian told TheDC in a phone interview.
Platte River, which was contracted to work on Clinton’s email account in May 2013 and hired Datto shortly after, used a Datto SIRIS S2000 to provide a cloud-based virtual backup of Clinton’s physical server, which it housed in a New Jersey data center.
In all fairness to the former Secretary of State, who seems to be ignorant about tech issues, deleting stuff from the cloud is hard.
Terresa Monroe-Hamilton caught the most unbelievable part of President Obama’s 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft. She calls him “delusional,” and there’s little room to argue with that assessment — you simply must see the video to believe it, but here’s the transcript:
Steve Kroft: A year ago when we did this interview, there was some saber-rattling between the United States and Russia on the Ukrainian border. Now it’s also going on in Syria. You said a year ago that the United States– America leads. We’re the indispensable nation. Mr. Putin seems to be challenging that leadership.
President Barack Obama: In what way? Let– let’s think about this– let– let–
Steve Kroft: Well, he’s moved troops into Syria, for one. He’s got people on the ground. Two, the Russians are conducting military operations in the Middle East for the first time since World War II.
President Barack Obama: So that’s– so that’s —
Steve Kroft: bombing the people– that we are supporting.
President Barack Obama: So that’s leading, Steve?
Wrong Steve, I know — but yes, I’d call it leadership when our ostensible allies are getting killed and our ostensible president is getting sand kicked in his face. What Putin is doing might not be nice, but it is leadership.
To expand on this a bit, what is leadership? The essential function of leadership is nothing more than the ability to get people to follow you, whether by inspiration, persuasion, threats, or coercion. Obama’s definition, however, dismisses threats and coercion as “Not Leadership.” Putin can’t be leading, because he isn’t doing it the way Obama would do it.
Well — in a few weeks or months we’ll see which president still has the ability to get people in the Middle East to follow him.
With that in mind, let’s go to the truly delusion bit.
Quite by accident the other day I noticed that The Cars’ Heartbeat City was missing from my collection. The album’s three hit singles were in there, but somehow I’d never managed to buy a CD to replace my long-ago worn-out cassette.
Before clicking over to Amazon to correct that egregious oversight, I pulled up the band on Wikipedia to see what they’d been up to the last 20 or 25 years, and was saddened to learn that bassist Benjamin Orr had died of pancreatic cancer back in 2000. The surviving members got back together a few years ago to record their first new album since 1987, Move Like This. I’ve only previewed a few tracks on iTunes, but The Cars still sound like The Cars — this album has a very Summer of ’78 vibe, without sounding dated.
Well, at least it doesn’t sound dated to my aging ears.
Heartbeat City is still, I believe, their bestselling album, although I was a little surprised to learn that their bestselling single was “Drive,” which is far more languid that almost anything else they recorded. It’s a great tune, but very much in a One of These Things Is Not Like the Other kinda way.
But forget all that! What really made me feel old, reading old news about one of my favorite old bands, is that tonight’s cut, “You Might Think” was MTV’s very first Video of the Year, way back in 1984. Back then, in my sophomore year of high school, Video of the Year was a new and important thing.
Does anyone still honestly care about videos anymore? I think the reason we cared then was something more than just the novelty of promotional videos for popular music. What grabbed us back then is that almost all of these things were shot using absurdly primitive tech on absurdly small budgets. Those limitations — just like practical effects versus CGI — forced the bands and studios to heights of creativity we’d never seen before in short-format TV.
And you know what? Despite the primitive video effects, “You Might Think” is still one entertaining little video.
I had a crush on model Susan Gallagher back then, and watching this now — heh, I still do. She’s an absolute doll, and a great sport for taking on such a goofy job.
This doesn’t seem at all creepy:
The wireless carrier announced the shift via an update on its website, according to The Verge. Unlike most cookies, which originate from an individual site or group of sites, Verizon’s identifier tracks subscribers as they move around the Internet for the sake of the company’s Relevant Mobile Advertising and Verizon Selects ad programs.
The AOL Advertising Network has a presence on some 40 percent of websites, and affiliated parties could potentially build more detailed profiles of Verizon customers as a result. The carrier bought AOL in May.
You may opt out here.
I’m only posting this in order to explain why not to worry about it:
To their credit, shale drillers and operators in Texas and North Dakota have hung on for far longer than anyone expected after Opec launched its pre-emptive oil price war last November. However, a year of oil prices trading at an average of around $50 per barrel is finally succeeding in reversing the dramatic increases in US production that had been so troubling the Gulf’s oil-rich sheikhs.
Total US output has fallen by almost 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) since the end of the first quarter, with the biggest declines occurring recently as operators begin to crack under the financial pressure caused by Opec’s squeeze on prices. By next year, the US government expects output to decline to an average of 8.6m bpd, down from an average of 9.3m bpd in 2015.
It was only a couple of years ago that $70 crude was going to put US shale out of business, but our frackers are so damn good that they’ve brought their breakeven price down by nearly a third in a remarkably short period of time. Yes, there’s still a floor under fracking production, but more importantly the ceiling on Saudi prices is that much lower. Every time the Saudis try and raise prices above that ceiling, another Texas or North Dakota shale field will come back into production.
And the other thing to remember is that our shale isn’t going anywhere — it will just sit there underground, as our frackers wait for better market conditions or improved fracking techniques.
The Saudis can’t wait us out; they can only learn to make do with less.
Kevin Williamson explains why we’ll always have income inequality, and what happens when government tries to say otherwise:
The textbook American case of this happened when President Franklin “The Hyde Park Hammer” Roosevelt decided he was so smart that he knew what every American should be paid and what everything should cost, which he decided to enforce under color of law through federal controls on wages and prices. The Hammer actually wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and when he started threatening to throw newspaper editors in jail for giving their staffers raises, people kind of looked askance, and businesses started giving their best employees raises without giving them raises: company health insurance, the company car, the other “fringe benefits.” (When I was little, I thought this was “French benefits,” which turn out to be a lot more generous in reality and come with really good coffee.) This is, incidentally, why you are in the situation of getting your health insurance through your employer, whose incentives on that matter are very different from yours. (See cost-shifting, above.) The people with lots of market power, because their products or labor were more highly valued on the underlying hierarchy of real values, got paid more. It’s just that we had to waste a lot of resources figuring out a way to pay them more while creating an enormously destructive and deeply stupid health-insurance system, which we’re still trying to sort out.
A South Carolina man called 911 early this morning to complain that his girlfriend would not have sex with him, according to an arrest report.
When a cop responded to his Spartanburg residence, Patrick Doggett, 53, “stated he called 911 because his girlfriend, Ms. Faye Woodruff, would not give him any ass.”
Woodruff told police that Doggett had been drinking all day and “didn’t know where he was at.” She added that Doggett got into bed and wanted to have sex, but “she had her grandchild with her.”
So, Woodruff noted, Doggett “got up and then dialed 911.”
Doggett was arrested for public intoxication, but if you ask me the officers should have shown more mercy. If getting drunk because you aren’t getting any was a crime, I’d have spent half of the ’80s in prison.
Kevin Hulbert reports:
Today, Pakistan finds itself in a very complicated security situation where there is little differentiation among radical groups. Terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, are suddenly allied with al-Qaeda, while Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the Pakistan Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, and other assorted miscreants and non-state actors are intent on bringing down the elected government of Pakistan. While the Pakistan government dithered, the militancy in the country took firm hold.
But, aside from the very compelling terrorism issue, there is also an overlay of a troublesome and rapidly growing Pakistani nuclear program along with an unusual problem: Pakistan is not a rogue state that might go nuclear, but rather a nuclear state that might go rogue. Such a situation presents an almost endless stream of nightmare scenarios for U.S. policymakers.
Pakistan also has one of the highest birthrates in the world and a population paradigm that is exploding with young people entering the workforce. Into this maelstrom, there is a corrupt, faltering, and virtually bankrupt economy that, for the last 13 years, has limped by, largely financed by the hat trick of IMF “loans,” U.S. coalition support funds, and U.S. foreign aid. There is little hope for millions of young men entering the workforce every year.
I can’t think of a single instance where the United States, the West, the UN or any other organization has managed to rescue a failed state, or to prevent a deteriorating state from failing — certainly not one as large and as populous as Pakistan.
We need to have some serious (and needless to say, extremely quiet) talks with India on how to deal with Pakistan’s nukes if and when the worst comes to pass.
A Czech doctor, who works in a German hospital, is so disgusted and overwhelmed with the Muslim migrant invaders that she is threatening to leave the country and go back home to the Czech Republic. She explains, via an email letter (because the press is forbidden from reporting on this), how horrific the conditions are in these hospitals, with the Muslim invaders bringing diseases they weren’t even prepared to treat. But that’s just part of it. The superior attitudes of these Muslims and their belief that they should get everything for free is wreaking havoc everywhere, from the hospitals to the pharmacies.
The Right Scoop has the video, along with a quick & dirty transcription for you.
But you might want to hold off until well after breakfast.
What you are about to read is not a parody news item, it is in fact a real story written by Tim Mak & Nancy Youssef — two genuine journalists whom this blogger trusts for real news items about things which really happened.
The Russian airstrikes on Syria are a sign that U.S. policy is working, a senior State Department official told shocked Syrian-American advocates in a private meeting on Monday.
The “Russians wouldn’t have to help Assad if we didn’t weaken him,” U.S. special envoy for Syria Michael Ratney said, according to multiple participants in the meeting and contemporaneous notes. Russian intervention, he went on to say, is a sign of success for American policy on Syria.
The special envoy’s remarks come even as Russia began launching long-range cruise missiles into Syria from the Caspian Sea. It’s a move that Pentagon officials called an attempt to both emasculate the United States and support the Assad regime.
“This is Russia demonstrating on a global stage that it has a lot of reach,” one U.S. defense official explained. “And we are not responding.”
Rainey isn’t incompetent. He isn’t an amateur. He isn’t even out of his depth.
Sr. House official confirms @costareports report that Boehner is personally lobbying Ryan to run. Gowdy also urging Ryan to reconsider.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 8, 2015
Ryan really doesn’t want the job, but it’s got to be hard to tell the outgoing Speaker no — especially given the chaos on the Hill.
[Original post below]
Guy Benson explains the Republicans’ dilemma:
It’s a common refrain these days, but its undeniable truth bears repeating: Given the unchanged political dynamics within the fractured GOP caucus, who would want this job right now? The next Speaker will inevitably endure harsh criticism a relatively small group of dissatisfied conservatives, who often seem long on complaints but short on workable strategies. This faction’s intransigence has hamstrung party leaders repeatedly over the last five years; they’ve now collected two prized “establishment” scalps, yet appear to have no viable alternative in mind. The next Speaker will answer to dozens of moderate-leaning members intent on retaining swing district seats won over back-to-back midterm landslides. The next Speaker will also contend with an entrenched, very liberal, very disciplined Democratic minority — on whom he or she may occasionally be forced to rely for votes, thanks to the “hell no” hard-right flank’s tactics. (This phenomenon, incidentally, affords Democrats much more leverage than they’d otherwise have, allowing them to extract policy concessions as a price for their cooperation, making legislation less conservative). And the next Speaker will have to navigate all of these perilous crosscurrents with a string of unpleasant deadlines looming.
I still say give it to Trump.
Having more sex increases the odds of getting pregnant, according to “breakthrough” research conducted by Indiana University:
Women’s bodies respond to regular sexual activity by their immune system releasing more “Type 2 helper T cells” and immunoglobulins, or antibodies, as a preparation ahead of a possible pregnancy.
This means that having more sex results in a different kind of immune system for women, and one which makes them more fertile and likely to fall pregnant.
Tierney Lorenz, the lead author of the report and a visiting research scientist at the Kinsey Institute in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University, said in a press release that the research was a breakthrough.
Studies, what would we do without them?
Welcome to the Great US Debt Selloff of 2015:
Central banks around the world are selling U.S. government bonds at the fastest pace on record, the most dramatic shift in the $12.8 trillion Treasury market since the financial crisis.
Sales by China, Russia, Brazil and Taiwan are the latest sign of an emerging-markets slowdown that is threatening to spill over into the U.S. economy. Previously, all four were large purchasers of U.S. debt.
But fear not! There are still plenty of buyers for all that debt:
While central banks have been selling, a large swath of other buyers has stepped in, including U.S. and foreign firms. That buying, driven in large part by worries about the world’s economic outlook, has helped keep bond yields at low levels from a historical standpoint.
It’s cool. Central banks can’t run out of other people’s money.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has pulled out of the race for House Speaker, NBC News confirmed Thursday.
The California Republican had been considered the frontrunner to replace John Boehner after he surprisingly announced his resignation late last month.
Best guess is that McCarthy is trying to avoid a civil war on Capitol Hill — same as Boehner.
Good on both men. Now let’s see if we can get a better one as speaker.
UPDATE, via Jeff B.
I missed this one yesterday:
Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) wants to avoid the possibility of a member of the new House GOP leadership resigning from office because of a scandal.
In a letter to House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Jones asked that Republicans discuss urging candidates for leadership to drop out if they might one day embarrass the party because of past indiscretions.
“With all the voter distrust of Washington felt around the country, I’m asking that any candidate for Speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself, the Republican Conference, and the House of Representatives if they become public,” Jones wrote.
I take it back — the Civil War on Capitol Hill may be on already.
Sucks to be you, Hawaii:
HONOLULU (AP) – The state has approved rate hikes for members of Kaiser and the Hawaii Medical Service Association under Affordable Care Act plans.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that members of HMSA, the state’s largest health insurer, will see a 27 percent increase in rates, and Kaiser members will see a 34 percent increase starting next year.
That Means It’s Working™
Quinnipiac published some their first head-to-head matchup numbers in the vital swing states of Florida, Ohio, and… Pennsylvania?
Blue Pennsylvania? The GOP’s will-o-the-wisp for almost 30 years?
Note that Hillary Clinton loses to everybody but Trump. Rubio is the next-weakest GOP contender, and yet even he beats Clinton by better than the margin of cheating.
Biden on the other hand — and this really makes you wonder about the timing of the poll — beats everybody except Carson.
And it feels like rubbing it in to mention this, but even Bernie Sanders beats Trump. And he does so by a wider margin than Clinton does.
If PA is in play, it’s difficult to see the Democrats taking OH or FL — FL especially if there’s a Bush or a Rubio on the ticket. In that scenario, MN and WI might even be up for grabs, and Harry Reid’s NV machine doesn’t seem to be what it once was.
I’d like to see the RNC start hitting the PA burbs soon, and hitting them hard.