Trend Micro peeps say they have discovered a security bug that miscreants can exploit to seemingly murder millions of Android smartphones.
A device will appear lifeless and unable to make calls, with a dead screen and no sound output, if an attack is successful, we’re told. All a victim has to do is visit a dodgy webpage, or run an app containing a malicious file. Rebooting the supposedly dead smartphone will revive it.
Google’s solution is to simply get over it, not browse untrusted websites on your phone, and avoid installing evil applications. A patch to fix the hole is on its way, we’re told.
The vulnerability stems from an integer overflow bug in Android’s media server service, which can be exploited by a malformed video file in a Matroska container. When Android tries to index the file, it crashes, bringing the rest of the operating system down with it.
That bit about avoiding dodgy websites and not installing bad apps is always good advice.
Still, now might be a good time to make sure your phone is upgradeable to the latest & greatest version of Android.
And you’ll applaud him for it.
On July 4, 2015, 22 year-old Lane Pittman decided to take his electric guitar and play the Star Spangled Banner on the street outside his friend’s house in Neptune Beach, near Jacksonville.
Pittman says that after a police officer asked him to stop, he asked if it was okay to play on the sidewalk, and was told that was okay. And play he did:
“I don’t think I ever played that song as good in my life as I did on that day. It felt right. It was an emotional roller coaster.”
The crowd topped 200 people, spilling onto the street around him:
Then Pittman was, to his surprise, arrested for breaching the peace.
Read the whole story, including Pittman being accused of having “white skin privilege.”
You can help with his legal fees by buying this t-shirt.
Get ready for another Marine amphibious assault ship with fricken stealth fighters on it:
Scheduled for launch in in July 2017 and with a tentative induction date set for December 18, the ship is specifically designed to accommodate Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, along a host of other aircraft such as MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, CH-53 Super Stallions, and UH-1Y Huey helicopters.
The USS Tripoli, called LHA 7 [Landing Helicopter Assault] 7, is being assembled at the Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Once finished, the ship will displace more than 44,000 tons–similar to the size of fixed-wing aircraft carriers in France and India. Measuring 844 feet long and 106 feet wide the ship, in fact, is a small aircraft carrier.
“The ship is optimized for aviation and capable of supporting current and future aircraft with additional aviation maintenance capability and increased fuel capacities. LHA[Landing Helicopter Assault] 6 will be a Flight I ship, reintroducing the well deck without sacrificing aviation capability,” the U.S. Navy’s website notes about the USS Tripoli’s sister ship, the USS America.
The Essex-class fleet aircraft carriers were the US Navy’s bread-and-butter warships versus the Imperial Japanese Navy, and we built a still-impressive two dozen of the things. The best (and biggest*) full-size carriers in regular use during the war, they displaced 33,000 tons — or one quarter less than the Marine Corps’ new baby carriers.
They also didn’t carry 1,600+ Marines on board, ready to fly Ospreys ashore and kick some behind.
We’re reached the sad state of economic affairs where we see 2.3% quarterly growth and want to shout, “Great news!”
So here’s the great news:
The rebound in April, May and June was largely expected, after a dismal performance in the first quarter of 2015.
Before the report on Thursday from the Commerce Department, analysts on Wall Street had been expecting to see a growth rate of about 2.5 percent for the second quarter.
“I think it’s an O.K. performance. Underlying growth is stable but not spectacular,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS, a research firm based in Lexington, Mass. “The economy is plodding along.”
While hardly exceptional by the standards of the 1990s or even compared with the 5 percent burst of growth in the summer of 2014, the pace of expansion is largely in line with the trajectory of the recovery, which began exactly six years ago.
“Recovery?” They keep using that word; I do not think it means what they think it means.
Hillary is starting to look weak in the general election:
Across nearly every key metric, from trustworthiness to caring about voters to leadership, Clinton has seen an erosion in public approval, as likely Republican rivals have erased her leads in the poll. Clinton has a net -11 favorability rating in the poll, with 40% of the American public viewing her positively and 51% negatively, with more than 50% of independents on the negative side.
If the election were held today, Clinton would be tied with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the poll—down from significant leads in a May 28 survey—but would top the current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
The trick with Trump of course is how to keep his voters while quietly showing him the door. He doesn’t have a realistic chance of winning the election (or even the nomination), but the eventual GOP nominee can’t win the general without Trump’s “Perot voters.”
The shades of 1992 are familiar, aren’t they?
It’s almost enough to make you wonder if Trump — not a Republican, not a conservative, generous giver to Democrats and liberal causes — identified a potent GOP wedge issue and entered the race for the sole purpose of exploiting it for the Clintons. Any money he spends now he can surely get back from sweetheart deals under Queen Hillary, because as you well know, that’s how the Clinton Machine operates.
I’m not usually the paranoid type, but I find myself looking over my shoulder this morning.
Longtime Sharp VodkaPundit Readers™ have long been aware of ♡bamaCare!!!’s punitive 40% tax on “Cadillac” plans, scheduled to phase in beginning in 2018. And as we get closer to that deadline, people are starting to shout about it — even union leaders:
Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union, on Tuesday afternoon joined labor and business interest groups as part of the Alliance to Fight the 40 aimed at dismantling Obamacare’s so-called Cadillac insurance tax. The “Cadillac” label applied by Obamacare defenders is inaccurate, according to the union bigwig. He referred to the tax as “despicable,” “regressive,” “unwise, unjust, and unfair” during a three-minute opening statement at an Alliance teleconference.
“This is not a tax on high end health plans. This tax will hit … middle and working class families,” he said. “This tax is a kick in the face to every hardworking, blue collar, and middle class family in the country.”
What O’Sullivan fails to recognize is that you can’t have big middle class entitlements without big middle class taxes, because that (as Willie Sutton is supposed to have said) is where the money is. Besides, the state-based exchanges can never be solvent unless tens of millions more Americans are corralled into them, which is precisely what this tax is designed to do, by taxing employer-based plans slowly out of existence.
At that point, your only choice will be which of the four overpriced “metal” plans you dislike the least.
Or — and this seems a bit more likely — the tax proves to be so unpopular that its repeal is signed into law by the next President. But then lacking enough unwilling customers, the exchanges go on permanent life support, hoovering up endless tax dollars to stay afloat.
That Democrat SOB in the White House and those Democrat SOBs from the previous Congress well and truly screwed us.
Thanks to Insty, you might have already caught Josh Blackman’s writeup of Laurence Tribe’s early Obama Administration agonies. Blackman called the sad story “a fascinating insight into how administration politics work,” and that’s certainly true enough.
But for me the real story is hidden in this one little detail:
Tribe envisioned himself as some sort of Rule-of-Law Czar to handle Guantanamo and other big issues.
Tribe was offered assurances of a high-level job. In 2009, he wrote a private letter to Obama suggesting a “newly created DOJ position dealing with the rule of law.” He seemed like an ideal candidate to sort out dilemmas like Guantánamo. “I thought that for me to be giving broader advice on constitutional issues would make sense,” Tribe says.
This position ostensibly would have been outside the normal DOJ hierarchy–Attorney General, Assistant Attorney General, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, etc. The “czar” position would have hovered over a lot of turfs–among both political appointees and civil servants. He would have had direct access to the President himself. [Emphasis added]
It should take your breath away to realize that even a good liberal like Tribe thinks our Department of Justice needs an in-house official to school it on the rule of law.
Here comes that bend in the cost curve — up, way up:
Growth in national health spending, which had dropped to historic lows in recent years, has snapped back and is set to continue at a faster pace over the next decade, federal actuaries said Tuesday.
The return to bigger growth is a result of expanded insurance coverage under the 2010 health law, a revived economy and crunchtime as Medicare’s baby-boom beneficiaries enter their 70s.
American spending on all health care grew 5.5% in 2014 from the previous year and will grow 5.3% this year, according to a report from actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published in the journal Health Affairs. In the years through 2024, spending growth is expected to average 5.8%, peaking at 6.3% in 2020.
That Means It’s Working™
Maybe, but the real kicker is in the last line:
His death, if confirmed, raises questions about who will lead the movement that allied with al Qaeda, fought a war with the U.S. and is now divided over whether to pursue an elusive peace deal with Afghanistan’s new government.
A Taliban spokesman wasn’t immediately reachable for comment on Wednesday, and it remains unclear when and how Mullah Omar apparently died. Voice of America reported that a Taliban spokesman had denied his death.
According to Afghan officials and people close to the Taliban, he has been dead for at least two years.
How about a new form of microwave propulsion which could get us to Mars in 70 days, which breaks the laws of physics as we know them, but works anyway?
As efficient as this type of propulsion may sound, it defies one of the fundamental concepts of physics – the conservation of momentum, which states that for something to be propelled forward, some kind of propellant needs to be pushed out in the opposite direction.
For that reason, the drive was widely laughed at and ignored when it was invented by English researcher Roger Shawyer in the early 2000s. But a few years later, a team of Chinese scientists decided to build their own version, and to everyone’s surprise, it actually worked. Then an American inventor did the same, and convinced NASA’s Eagleworks Laboratories, headed up by Harold ‘Sonny’ White, to test it.
The real excitement began when those Eagleworks researchers admitted back in March that, despite more than a year of trying to poke holes in the EM Drive, it just kept on working – even inside a vacuum. This debunked some of their most common theories about what might be causing the anomaly.
Now Martin Tajmar, a professor and chair for Space Systems at Dresden University of Technology in Germany, has played around with his own EM Drive, and has once again shown that it produces thrust – albeit for reasons he can’t explain.
Tajmar presented his results at the 2015 American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition in Florida on 27 July, and you can read his paper here. He has a long history of experimentally testing (and debunking) breakthrough propulsion systems, so his results are a pretty big deal for those looking for outside verification of the EM Drive.
To top it off, his system produced a similar amount of thrust as was originally predicted by Shawyer, which is several thousand times greater than a standard photon rocket.
A ten-week trip to Mars without the need for massive rocket engines changes everything.
Coming soon to an AC-130 gunship near you — fricken laser beams.
The USAF has retained some of its spare AC-130U “Spooky” gunships to be used as flying testbeds for emerging laser technologies. According to Lt. Gen, Bradley Heithold, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, the idea is that in the not so distant future not only will the new and ever evolving AC-130J Ghostrider be able to cook a single individual in a crowd from on high, or be able to disable vehicles with a high-powered laser, but it will also be able to disperse crowds via a powerful, non-lethal, “active denial system.
Such a system would use rapid bursts of microwave energy over a specific area, which makes individuals feel as if their skin is on fire, while at the same time having no long-lasting effects, if used correctly at least. Active denial systems, often referred to as “pain rays,” have been in development for well over a decade, and have even been tested in prisons here in the U.S., but such an evolved active denial capability would give one of the most deadly flying machines ever invented a true “less than lethal” option.
Is it asking too much for a laser beam powerful enough to melt Nazis? Let’s hope not.
But it isn’t all good news:
Once proven on the AC-130, an airborne active denial system could be deployed to other fixed-wing platforms, and domestic applications are not out of the question.
Let’s stop giving military-grade weapons — especially fricken laser beams — to local cops.
Keep the headline in mind as you read this:
According to a CNN/ORC poll released Monday, 95 percent of registered voters believe it very or extremely important for the presidential candidate elected in 2016 to be honest and trustworthy.
The enthusiasm for this characteristic is consistent across demographics, and significant majorities of both Democratic and Republican voters–95 percent and 97 percent, respectively–agree honesty is an important characteristic for the incoming commander-in-chief.
Assuming she wins the nomination, about half of those respondents will vote for Hillary Clinton.
People lie to pollsters.
Florida Man comments on an EPA proposal to mandate increased usage of biofuels:
“What the hell is wrong with the EPA, we have more oil available than ever and higher food prices due to Ethanol and you want to add more of that Ethanol junk????????” the Florida man wrote to the agency in publicly filed comments.
“Fuck You!” the man wrote in comments, first reported by Politico.
Florida Man is having a good day for a change.
Julie Kelly writes for National Review that the anti-GMO movement “was dealt a major blow last week” with passage of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which eliminates “the state-by-state labeling patchwork that would serve to confuse consumers, stigmatize GMO crops, and raise food costs.”
Culinary crusaders boiled over. Opponents of the bill referred to it as the DARK Act, Denying Americans the Right to Know. Organic-industry leaders, who would hugely profit from the scarlet letters of a GMO label on non-organic products, lobbied heavily against the bill. “We are disappointed but not surprised that the majority of House members have sided with large chemical and food companies to protect corporate interests,” said Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Organic and a major funder for various anti-GMO front groups. Celebrity chef and left-wing activist Tom Colicchio wrote that members of Congress were “actively trying to deny us the basic right to know what we are putting in our bodies.”
They also howled that Republicans were denying states’ rights, even though the bill will preempt a labeling law in only one state (Vermont, home to Democratic presidential candidate and ardent GM foe Bernie Sanders) while preventing a labyrinth of 50 different labeling requirements.
Did Congress overstep state powers with HR 1599? I’d argue that the law falls under Congress’ “weights and measures” clause. The market for food and produce is a national one, and has been for decades. Having a single measure for tomatoes grown in California and eaten in Vermont, and for ice cream made in Vermont and eaten in California, promotes trade amongst the several states and competition among producers. Or am I missing some state prerogative here?
As for Tom Colicchio, I respect the hell out of his cooking, but it’s obvious that he uses his celebrity status to use leftwing causes to appeal to his wealthier clientele.
The measured US temperature data from USHCN shows that the US is on a long-term cooling trend. But the reported temperatures from NOAA show a strong warming trend.
They accomplish this through a spectacular hockey stick of data tampering, which corrupts the US temperature trend by almost two degrees.
The biggest component of this fraud is making up data. Almost half of all reported US temperature data is now fake. They fill in missing rural data with urban data to create the appearance of non-existent US warming.
That’s Tony Heller, writing for RealClimateScience.com.
The lies never stop, do they?
First, the good news — Carly Fiorina might just win a spot at the first GOP debate:
The former Hewlett Packard CEO-turned-Republican candidate ranked seventh and eighth in the two most recent polls from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling and YouGov/Economist. She’s tied with other candidates in both but, if her current rise in the polls continues, Fiorina will make it into the top 10 — the metric Fox News is using to pare down the remarkably crowded Republican field. That means that at least seven candidates who are expected to run will be sitting out the party’s first debate.
Fox News will factor in the most recent five big national polls — and notably that wouldn’t include the above mentioned polls — when they decide on debate participants. If the cutoff was today, Fiorina wouldn’t make it on the stage: She scores second to last, according to NBC News’ calculation. However, the two new polls do signal rising momentum.
Fox should suspend their own rules and bring Fiorina in for a completely different reason: She’s electric. Nobody who watched her moribund 2010 Senate race would ever have predicted that, but Fiorina has come alive. She’s smart, tough, and most importantly, fast on the counterpunch. She’d liven up Fox’s debate stage and likely goose their ratings. Whatever you think of the politics of including Fiorina even if her poll numbers don’t rise high enough, it would make great business sense.
And now, for the even better news:
Phillip Bump explains:
Clinton’s favorability tends to swell when she’s not running for office and dip when she is. CNN, in partnership with ORC, released its own poll Sunday, which included a long-term track of Clinton’s favorability. If you look at it since 2006, when she was widely expected to be the 2008 Democratic nominee, to today, you can see that trend.
But notice, too, that her net favorability now is lower than at any point over the last 10 years. Why?
CNN also broke out Clinton’s favorability by demographic. She’s very, very popular among Democrats and very, very unpopular among Republicans. Among independents? Let’s say very unpopular — with only one “very” this time.
The net result is that Clinton will be forced to rely on minority voters to at least the degree Obama did, but lacking his ability to connect with and inspire them.
No matter how many times the story of collectivization gets told, it always ends the same:
Farmers and manufacturers who produce milk, pasta, oil, rice, sugar and flour have been told to supply between 30 per cent and 100 per cent of their products to the state stores. Shortages, rationing and queues outside supermarkets have become a way of life for Venezuelans, as their isolated country battles against rigid currency controls and a shortage of US dollars – making it difficult for Venezuelans to find imported goods.
Pablo Baraybar, president of the Venezuelan Food Industry Chamber, said that the order was illogical, and damaging to Venezuelan consumers.
“Taking products from the supermarkets and shops to hand them over to the state network doesn’t help in any way,” he said. “And problems like speculating will only get worse, because the foods will be concentrated precisely in the areas where the resellers go.
He pointed to statistics showing that two thirds of hoarders – or “bachaqueros”, giant ants, as they are nicknamed in Venezuela – buy their goods from the three state-owned chains, to resell at a profit.
“Consumers will be forced to spend more time in queues, given that the goods will be available in fewer stores.”
Nationalization is never for the benefit of its ostensible beneficiaries.
The link comes from Forbes’ Tim Worstall, who says that “Venezuela is now one harvest away from serious starvation.”
Turkey and the United States have agreed in general terms on a plan that envisions American warplanes, Syrian insurgents and Turkish forces working together to sweep Islamic State militants from a 60-mile-long strip of northern Syria along the Turkish border, American and Turkish officials say.
The plan would create what officials from both countries are calling an Islamic State-free zone controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents, which the Turks say could also be a “safe zone” for displaced Syrians.
Believe it or not, there once was an ISIS-free “safe zone” in Syria. It was called “Syria.” There used to be one in Iraq, too, known as “Iraq.” And one in Libya called “Libya.”
Of course, all those countries as we once understood them are gone now. ISIS has filled the military and moral vacuums left in the wake of American retreat and indecision. This is what the Obama Administration calls “not doing stupid shit.”
Still, it is nice to have Ankara back on our side, even if only out of desperation. We’ll see how long the Turks stick with us, and you’d be right to suspect that that will depend on whether the White House allows the Pentagon to implement a serious warplan.
You should also wonder about the wisdom of allowing Syrian insurgents in on establishing this safety zone. They seem more likely than not to be ISIS or terrorists by some other name — so it’s a safe bet they were included at Obama’s insistence.
There’s all kinds of pre-fail baked right into this plan.
“If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
-Ronald Wilson Reagan
What ♡bamaCare!!! takes with one hand, Washington promises to return with the other:
The Obama administration has made Memphis’ medical device manufacturers eligible for a federal program to train thousands of new employees, but, nationwide, the industry is laying people off because of a steep Obamacare tax.
One might wonder why the feds are spending perhaps as much as $1 billion — if you believe a press release from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis — for jobs that might not exist in the future.
Cohen’s press release also says the program, called the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership initiative, might add 45,000 new jobs to the medical device manufacturing industry in Memphis and nine surrounding counties.
Whatever the result in this particular case, in general the important thing is that the money and the decision-making power flow through Washington first, last, and always.
Our Ohio-class nuclear missile submarines are nearing the end of their service lives, and we still don’t have a replacement — or the money:
Ballistic missile submarines — nicknamed “boomers” — are the centerpiece of the nation’s nuclear deterrent. Moving stealthily undersea, they are considered the most survivable leg of the nuclear triad. By 2018, when the U.S. military adjusts to the terms of the New START treaty, submarines will carry about 70 percent of America’s deployed nuclear arsenal, according to Navy officials.
But the Ohio-class boats that carry the missiles will begin reaching the end of their service lives in 2027, with the final one scheduled to retire in 2040. The Navy hopes to start procuring the Ohio replacement in 2021, and ultimately buy 12 of them to replace the 14 Ohio-class ships.
But building a dozen SSBN(X)s will be enormously expensive. In a March report, the Government Accountability Office estimated the total cost of the Ohio replacement to be $96 billion. In December the Congressional Budget Office came up with an even higher estimate, putting the total price tag at $102 billion to $107 billion, depending on R&D expenditures.
The Navy is expected to spend about $10 billion over the next five years on development and advance procurement even before the first ship is built, according to the Pentagon’s future years defense program.
Navy officials have rejected suggestions that the service could build fewer than 12 Ohio replacements in order to save money.
$107 billion, spread out over a ten or 15 year construction program, is ten billion less than Washington spends every year on “Education, Training, Employment and Social Services.” You should also note that while the Constitution has zero to say about the federal government’s power to spend a dime on education or training or employment or social services, the Navy is explicitly authorized by Article I, Section 8.
It isn’t that we don’t have the money for new subs. We could even build them more cheaply than expected by sticking with the tried-and-true Virginia platform, and stretching it to accommodate a missile compartment. But we can’t scrape together the funds out of a nearly $4,000,000,000,000 to maintain our Navy, because Washington blows it all on a broken procurement system, middle-class welfare programs, and make-work for otherwise unemployable progressive functionaries who don’t care if the nation is defended so long as their nests are feathered.
Winning elections doesn’t seem to change anything, either — so now what?
Pardon my English, but for fuck’s sake:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said a speech by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Saturday vowing to defy American policies in the region despite a deal with world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program was “very disturbing”.
“I don’t know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that’s his policy,” he said in the interview with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television, parts of which the network quoted on Tuesday.
“But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it’s very disturbing, it’s very troubling,” he added.
In October of 1938, British PM Neville Chamberlain negotiated, he thought, in good faith with Adolph Hitler. Hitler got the Sudetenland, and Chamberlain got a promise from Hitler of no more territorial demands for Germany. Six months later, in March 1939, Hitler (along with Hungary) occupied and annexed the rest of Czechoslovakia.
Chamberlain knew he’d been chumped, and acted accordingly. He gave Britain’s guarantee to Poland and sped up Britain’s rearmament program. Chamberlain even attempted to bring the Soviets in on the Franco-British anti-Nazi alliance. Chamberlain manned up the best he could and tried what he could to box Hitler in.
When Hitler took the rest of Czechoslovakia, what Chamberlain did not do was mumble, “I don’t know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that’s his policy.”
And here’s the real kicker.
The Iranians have very publicly promised to continue their very public ass-raping of Obama and Kerry. And what will Obama and Kerry do? They will continue to push this shitty agreement through Congress, making fools of themselves and of us along the way. Oh, and then there’s the part where the public ass-raping is the cherry on top of the nuclear crap sandwich Israel is being forced to eat.
Hitler invaded Poland because he didn’t believe Chamberlain’s promise. I don’t care to think what Iran will try because Khamenei believes that Kerry enjoys the public ass-raping.