VodkaPundit
  
Get PJ Media on your Apple

VodkaPundit

Friday Night Videos

March 27th, 2015 - 10:07 pm

Is it possible to take an overproduced, over-orchestrated, and over-sung Barry Manilow disco number and turn it into pure awesome?

Yes. Yes it is.

All you have to do is strip the music down to its Caribbean essence, then subtract Manilow and add Liza Minelli at her timeless prime.

Oh, and you have to add Muppets, too.

Lots of lots of Muppets.

I hope this puts a smile on your face like it always does mine.

EXIT QUESTION: Do you think Ridley Scott consciously stole Liza’s look for Sean Young in Blade Runner, or was it just a happy accident?

Obama Snubs NATO Chief

March 27th, 2015 - 1:09 pm

Priorities:

President Barack Obama has yet to meet with the new head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and won’t see Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg this week, even though he is in Washington for three days. Stoltenberg’s office requested a meeting with Obama well in advance of the visit, but never heard anything from the White House, two sources close to the NATO chief told me.

The leaders of almost all the other 28 NATO member countries have made time for Stoltenberg since he took over the world’s largest military alliance in October. Stoltenberg, twice the prime minister of Norway, met Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa to discuss the threat of the Islamic State and the crisis in Ukraine, two issues near the top of Obama’s agenda.

In all fairness to the President, those NCAA games on ESPN aren’t going to watch themselves.

I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got

March 27th, 2015 - 12:39 pm

Strategery:

One senior Obama administration official described the difficulty of trying to develop a coherent strategy during a period of extreme tumult.

“We’re trying to beat ISIL — and there are complications,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We have a partner who is collapsing in Yemen and we’re trying to support that. And we’re trying to get a nuclear deal with Iran. Is this all part of some grand strategy? Unfortunately, the world gets a vote.”

If I had said something that incoherent, I’d have kept my name off the record, too. But really, you can’t blame some “senior” official for incoherence — because in this case incoherence starts at the top.

In any case, this story perfectly illustrates an Administration whose thinking doesn’t even rise to the level of amateur. Strategy isn’t something you come up with on the fly to deal with a deteriorating situation; strategy is your grand design — not the little details — for creating the situation you desire. Operations are how to put your strategy into practice, and tactics are the small-scale methods used in your operations.

Barack Obama was quoted saying, “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” And yet the Bestest Guy Ever at Everything somehow sits at the head of an Administration which doesn’t know the difference between strategy and tactics, then marvels when it can’t formulate a strategy for dealing with the chaos resulting from its failure to formulate a strategy.

Unless of course chaos is Obama’s grand design. In which case: Mission accomplished.

Zero G Cocktails

March 27th, 2015 - 12:07 pm

SPACE

I can’t remember who I need to tip my hat to, so let me just say thanks — and that if we ever meet in outer space, the first round is on me. Here’s why:

For the stylish space voyager, sucking liquids through a straw out of a foil bag is never going to cut it. But a new Kickstarter venture hopes to smarten things up by raising money to produce a zero-gravity-friendly martini glass.

Created under the Zero Gravity Cocktail Project, the glass is designed with a series of grooves that prevent the liquid inside from forming into a floating blob and instead guide it neatly towards the mouth.

“The glass is a stepping-stone to say that, Hey, this is possible, you can create these things for space,” Samuel Coniglio, COO of Cosmic Lifestyle Corp., the company designing the glass, says in a promotional video.

They’ve raised $2,707 of their $30,000 goal, and I’m giving some serious thought to kicking in a few bucks myself.

But the real genius, the real benefactor to mankind, will be the person who comes up with a martini glass you can hold at a crowded cocktail party without having to worry about the slightest elbow jostle sending its contents sloshing all over your hand.

C’mon, American entrepreneurs — get on that.

Required Reading

March 27th, 2015 - 11:33 am

David Harsanyi dissects the failure of climate change alarmism:

Since 1989, there’s been no significant change in the public’s concern level over global warming. To put this in perspective, note that the most expensive public-relations campaign in history—one that includes most governmental agencies, a long list of welfare-sucking corporations, the public school system, the universities, an infinite parade of celebrities, think tanks, well-funded environmental groups and an entire major political party—has, over the past 25 years or so, increased the number of Democrats who “worry greatly” about global warming by a mere four percentage points.

During this era, they’ve gone from gentle nudging to stern warnings, to fearmongering, to conflating the predictive abilities of scientists with science itself, to launching ugly campaigns to shame and shut down anyone who deviates from liberal orthodoxy—which includes not only the existence of anthropogenic global warming, but an entire ideological framework that supposedly “addresses” the problem.

And considering the absurd amount of media this crusade continues to garner, its ineffectiveness is doubly amazing.

Everybody bitches about the weather, but only vile progs want to mandate it.

Want an Apple Watch? Prepare to Wait

March 27th, 2015 - 10:20 am
(AP photo)

(AP photo)

When the Apple Watch drops on April 24, you’d better have an April 10 pre-order in already:

If you want to buy the Apple Watch model of your choice at an Apple Store at launch, you should consider pre-ordering online or through an Apple Store reservation, sources have told 9to5Mac. Due in part to the number of different models, Apple Watch inventory at many Apple Stores in the United States will be heavily constrained at launch, with priority given to reservations, meaning that Apple Watch availability for random walk-in purchases on day one will be noticeably tight.

As one source at a flagship Apple Store said, “we’re told to treat launch day as if there will be no walk-in stock.” That doesn’t necessarily mean there will be absolutely zero Apple Watch units to buy at launch if you don’t have a reservation, just that the specific Apple Watch variant a person wants will be far harder to come by at launch than some previous iPhone models.

I’ve window-shopped the stainless steel version with both the link and Milanese loop (drool) bracelets, but I’m definitely in wait-and-see mode on Cupertino’s new wearable device. Without having tried one on yet, I’m still pretty sure I’d like something thinner and perhaps with more health monitoring sensors. At this early date, Apple Watch 3 (or whatever they end up calling it two years from now) seems like the best bet.

Then again, those things are so pretty and smartly engineered that it’s a sure thing Melissa and I will end up at our local Apple Store sometime in May or June — you know, just to try on one or two models.

And I make no promises that the Amex will remain in my wallet the entire time.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

March 27th, 2015 - 9:12 am

r620-3e1448ed865adca14058cb333a990eb9

I forgot to blog anything about the Ted Cruz-applies-for-♡bamaCare!!! story, because it shouldn’t be news when a presidential candidate obeys the law — but such is the age in which we live that it is news.

Having said my piece on that, here’s this:

Obamacare isn’t enrolling enough middle-to-high income Americans to remain stable over the long term, according to a new analysis.

Over the past few weeks the Obama administration has taken a victory lap touting the 11.7 million enrollees in Obamacare’s health exchanges during the most recent open enrollment, beating administration estimates of 9 million.

However, 40 percent of the people who enrolled in healthcare.gov earn up to nearly $18,000 a year and another 25 percent earn nearly $30,000, according to an analysis from the research firm Avalere health.

On the other hand, only 8 percent of people who earn up to $44,000 a year signed up through healthcare.gov, which covers 37 states. Only 2 percent of enrollees earn $60,000 and above.

The poorer enrollees receive subsidies paid for by richer enrollees — who aren’t enrolling.

The evidence is becoming clear that ♡bamaCare!!! is less about providing insurance coverage than it is about creating an additional form of welfare dependency.

China Invades the South Atlantic

March 27th, 2015 - 8:20 am
(Photo courtesy Wikipedia Commons)

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia Commons)

Robert O’Brien reports:

I recently returned from Walvis Bay, Namibia, the country’s sole deep water port and former South Atlantic home to the Royal and South African Navies. Also in port were two of the three ships of the Royal Navy’s Atlantic Patrol Tasking South. A Daring-class Type 45 air warfare destroyer and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary small fleet tanker were both pier side. (The task force’s third ship, HMS Clyde, was presumably on station patrolling the Falklands.) While Walvis Bay enjoys a 138-year history with the Royal Navy, it could soon be home to a powerful Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy surface squadron.

In Jan. 2015, The Namibian reported the existence of a “confidential letter from Namibia’s ambassador to China, Ringo Abed, to Namibia’s foreign minister stat[ing] that ‘a [Chinese] delegation will visit Namibia … for discussions … on the way forward regarding plans for the proposed naval base in Walvis Bay’.” According to the letter, a Chinese delegation, including technical staff and naval architects, will meet with Namibian officials sometime after March 21, 2015 to discuss a field feasibility study for the base.

At this point I wouldn’t be surprised to read that China had taken up a 99-year lease on New Orleans.

Sign “O” the Times

March 27th, 2015 - 7:49 am

Would you believe a sort of catch-and-release program for microaggressors? Of course you would! And here’s Nick Gillespie with the latest in high-tech social warrior justice:

For the uninitiated, microaggressions are “are statements by a person from a privileged group that belittles or isolates a member of an unprivileged group, as it relates to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability and more.” The really innovative thing about microaggressions is that they are often meant in a spirit of inclusion by the speaker. For instance, depending on who’s speaking and who’s listening, complimeting someone on their hair, clothing, or whatever might count as a covert way of putting him in his place. “That’s a really fancy jacket” may really be code for WTF are you doing in clothes that are above your station?

But I’ll risk microaggressing you to note that the student government at Ithaca College in upstate New York has just passed a mind-blowing bill that will allow students to anonymously report offensive statements such as “Where are you really from?” and “You don’t look disabled.” The system will include “demographics” about the aggressor and the aggressee and tag location info too, according to one of the sponsors of the bill.

We’ve raised an entire generation of weak, mean, and overindulged “progressive” children — armed with the ability to ruin lives in an instant for imaginary offenses.

And I don’t know what to do about it.

The Fastest Hunk of Paper in the Galaxy

March 27th, 2015 - 6:43 am

FALCON

That Millennium Falcon looks good enough to have come straight out of George Lucas’s famous prop vault, but no:

So how did you spend the last four years of your life? No matter how you answer that question, it was a complete waste of time compared to Bernard Szukiel who spent four years creating this absolute masterpiece of a Millennium Falcon model using nothing but paper, glue, and more patience than any single human being has ever had to muster before.

To be completely accurate, only about 99 percent of the 38-inch long model is actually made using paper. There are also some plastic bits used for windows, yards and yards of fiber optics, LEDs, and electronics used to light the ship’s control panels inside—but the results are still just staggering. The attention to detail here rivals the models made by Industrial Light & Magic for the original Star Wars movies, except this is all paper. Paper!

As a former wannabe model builder, I sit here in awe of Szukiel’s work.

There are many more photos at the link, and if you have any appreciation at all for this kind of effort, they’ll take your breath away.

Let’s Make a Nuke Deal!

March 27th, 2015 - 5:06 am
Buh-bye, Israel. (AP photo)

Buh-bye, Israel.
(AP photo)

This deal is getting worse all the time:

The United States is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites, officials have told The Associated Press.

The trade-off would allow Iran to run several hundred of the devices at its Fordo facility, although the Iranians would not be allowed to do work that could lead to an atomic bomb and the site would be subject to international inspections, according to Western officials familiar with details of negotiations now underway. In return, Iran would be required to scale back the number of centrifuges it runs at its Natanz facility and accept other restrictions on nuclear-related work.

Let me see if I have this straight. We’re asking Iran to limit uranium enrichment at vulnerable above-ground facilities, and in exchange we’ll let them increase production deep inside hardened underground bunkers.

There might still be a few deniers out there, but for everyone else it’s impossible to conclude anything other than Obama wants Iran to possess nuclear weapons.

He wants it.

She Likes to Move It, Move It

March 26th, 2015 - 2:44 pm

You would too, if moving got you better than a quarter million in taxpayer dollars. Read:

The Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed Wednesday that it paid a senior manager $288,000 in “relocation payments” when it reassigned her from Washington last year to become director of the agency’s problem-riddled Philadelphia office.

The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs committee called the payment to Philadelphia Director Diana Rubens “outrageous.”

A department spokesman told the Philadelphia Inquirer that federal regulations allow the payment of certain relocation expenses, including the costs of house-hunting, moving, terminating leases, and a per diem rate for meals and temporary housing.

It’s good to be the queen.

Was the Bergdahl Swap Really Worth It?

March 26th, 2015 - 1:18 pm
(AP photo)

(AP photo)

Well:

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki defended the White House’s prisoner exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on Wednesday, just hours after the Army announced that it would charge him with desertion.

“Was it worth it? Absolutely,” she said on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” in an interview that will air Wednesday night.

“We have a commitment to our men and women serving overseas, or in our military, defending our national security every day, that we will do everything we can to bring them home, and that’s what we did in this case.”

I’m sympathetic to President Obama’s insistence that we bring all our men and women home, even the shitheels like Bowe Bergdahl. But before action can be taken, the question must be asked and answered: Would it be worth it?

In the case of Bergdahl, we have a convert to Islam who abandoned his post, deserted his country and his comrades, and got six of his fellow soldiers killed in the attempt to find him. In exchange for the chance to put this deserter up on capital charges, Obama illegally let go five top-level al Qaeda killers — and it is certain that they will kill again.

Was that worth it? No, not even close. Worse yet was the propaganda victory needlessly given to the Islamists to whom Bergdahl deserted, when Obama posed smiling, arm-in-arm with Bergdahl’s parents, assuring them that her had “made an ironclad commitment to bring our prisoners of war home.”

Only Bergdahl wasn’t a POW. He was a deserter who wandered into an enemy camp after taking up their religion. Obama treated him like a victim in need of protection. We can only hope Bergdahl finds the Uniform Code of Military Justice to be less accommodating.

“Wanted to destroy this plane.”

March 26th, 2015 - 12:14 pm

Good lord:

The co-pilot of Germanwings 9525 had sole control of the doomed flight that crashed into the French Alps early Tuesday and “wanted to destroy this plane,” a French prosecutor said Thursday.

The cockpit voice recorder, recovered on Wednesday from the rugged terrain north of Nice, appeared to show the pilot locked out of the cockpit and knocking on the door, first politely, then frantically in the moments before the jet, carrying 150 passengers and crew, began a rapid descent that killed all aboard.

The haunting thing is we will probably never know why.

(AP photo)

(AP photo)

And the time, naturally, is always 4:20.

The inevitable, as it is wont to do, has happened. That’s right, Willie Nelson is bringing out his own brand of weed and even opening the stores from which to buy it:

So what exactly is Willie’s Reserve?

Well, you know, Willie has spent a lifetime in support of cannabis, both the industrial hemp side and the marijuana side. He wants it to be something that’s reflective of his passion. Ultimately, it’s his. But it was developed by his family, and their focus on environmental and social issues, and in particular this crazy war on drugs, and trying to be a bright light amongst this trail as we’re trying to extract ourselves from the goo of prohibition.

Really he wants it, at the end of the day, to envelop what his personal morals and convictions are. So from the store itself to how they’ll work with suppliers and how things are operated, it’s going to be very reflective of Willie’s life.

In other words, it’ll get you all kinds of stoned.

Obama Sells Out Israel to Iran

March 26th, 2015 - 10:40 am

Our peevish, petulant, and impetuous president has struck again:

In a development that has largely been missed by mainstream media, the Pentagon early last month quietly declassified a Department of Defense top-secret document detailing Israel’s nuclear program, a highly covert topic that Israel has never formally announced to avoid a regional nuclear arms race, and which the US until now has respected by remaining silent.

But by publishing the declassified document from 1987, the US reportedly breached the silent agreement to keep quiet on Israel’s nuclear powers for the first time ever, detailing the nuclear program in great depth.

The timing of the revelation is highly suspect, given that it came as tensions spiraled out of control between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama ahead of Netanyahu’s March 3 address in Congress.

The timing of the disclosure puts to rest any notion that President Obama acted out of spite for Bibi Netanyahu’s election win last week — but this is still a sellout of Israel, and the reason for it is plain.

Bad as that is, it gets worse.

Pages: 1 2 | 110 Comments»

A Tale of Two Yemens

March 26th, 2015 - 9:28 am
yemen_3-26-15-1

Tanks seized recently by militiamen loyal to Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi take positions on Tuesday at the al-Anad air base in the southern province of Lahej, 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of Aden, Yemen. (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)

Here’s Politico’s Adam Baron, more or less parroting the Administration’s Pravda on the situation in Yemen:

The truth is far more complex, and the solution right now should be more along the lines of: Just stay out of it. While the chief combatants in the civil war are certainly playing the sectarian card to some degree, there is reason to think that Yemen will not necessarily become part of some regional sectarian conflict. Regardless of their foreign ties, both the Shiite Houthis and their Sunni opponents are deeply rooted in Yemen, and they are motivated primarily by local issues.

The main danger now is that the Western powers, Saudi Arabia or Egypt will overreact and seek to intervene, ostensibly to counter Iranian influence or to quash the efforts of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to gain territory. Yet foreign intervention could very well be the worst approach now—further regionalizing what is still a local fight, injecting a stronger sectarian tone into the conflict while threatening to push Yemen closer to implosion.

“It’s five PM; please don’t threaten to push me closer to cocktails.”

I trust you see where I’m going with this.

When Iranian-backed rebels have forced a country’s president to flee by boat, presumably because air travel is too dangerous or even impossible, it’s fair to say that the country has already imploded.

Now it is true that Yemen’s troubles are mostly local and deeply rooted — it was actually two countries as recently as 1990, and the marriage has never been a happy one. North Yemen was the southern tip of the old Ottoman Empire and its people are generally more religious, despite flirting with Arab nationalism in the ’60s and ’70s. South Yemen was a British protectorate before independence in the ’60s, and was secular enough to put the Communists in power. Even on its own, South Yemen wasn’t much of a country. In reality it wasn’t much more than the wealthy city of Aden lording it over poor hicks in the sticks.

So, yes, like pretty much all of the post-colonial Arab world, Yemen is several bags of hurt shoved together into a bigger bag of hurt.

But you know what? Libya’s troubles were mostly local, too, and now that country is also a playground for ISIS and al Qaeda — in no small part because we dealt Death from Above while strenuously avoiding Boots on the Ground. To varying degrees, that’s also been administration policy in Iraq and in Yemen, and both places imploded. Both countries are also now battlegrounds between Iran and ISIS — at a time when Obama requires Iran’s cooperation to put together a nuclear deal to seal his foreign policy legacy. If you think that’s nuts, it gets worse. The U.S. Air Force is now hitting targets in Tikrit to aid the Iranian-led Iraqi Shi’ite forces trying to retake that Sunni city, while our Sunni Saudi allies, using American intelligence aid, are launching air strikes against Iranian-led Shi’ite Houthi forces in Yemen.

What is the enemy of our enemy of our enemy, anyway? “You’re either with us or against us” seems so very long ago and far away.

Anyway, Baron’s point was supposed to be “foreign intervention in a local fight would be the worst course anyone could take.” But with U.S. forces fleeing, and Iranian and Saudi forces fighting over the corpse of what was once our ally, then “avoiding foreign intervention” is something of a moot point, yes? Trying to keep this fight local is akin to locking the barn door after the horse has been slaughtered and the barn set on fire.

Pages: 1 2 | 17 Comments»

Blue Light/White Light

March 26th, 2015 - 8:13 am
Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz

Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz

Engadget’s Nicole Lee got to spend some quality time riding in the Mercedes F 015 concept car:

The conceit behind the F 015 is this: What would a car look and feel like in a future where driving is no longer the sole purpose of having one? When you don’t need to keep your eyes on the road, what would you do differently? And when pedestrians can no longer make eye contact with drivers, how will they know when to cross the road? These questions are all central to the design and philosophy of the F 015, which is less about self-driving technology than it is a thought experiment on how autonomous driving will fit in our collective future.

Indeed, the demonstration vehicle in front of me isn’t even fully autonomous; it’s programmed only to go along a predetermined path on the Alameda runway. Still, the car isn’t without technological marvels. “You know KITT? With David Hasselhoff?” asks Klaus Millerferli, a researcher for Mercedes-Benz, a few minutes before our demonstration. “I’ll call it over like that.” Rather than using a Comlink watch to summon our ride, however, Millerferli takes out his iPhone and launches an app. He taps in the number of passengers — there are four of us — to tell the car how many doors to open, and then taps a button to beckon it over. As the car makes its way to us, Millerferli points out that the LEDs are blue, which indicates the car is in autonomous mode. If someone were behind the wheel manually driving the car, the light would be white.

Replace the three-pointed star with a Cadillac coat-of-arms, and you’d have Jerry Farnsworth’s car from Robert Heinlein’s Job: A Comedy of Justice.

Still, I’ll take the white light please.

Sign “O” the Times

March 26th, 2015 - 7:43 am

The city of Oakland has 33 automated license plate readers at various locations throughout town, and Ars Technica got a hold of those records:

In response to a public records request, we obtained the entire LPR dataset of the Oakland Police Department (OPD), including more than 4.6 million reads of over 1.1 million unique plates between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The dataset is likely one of the largest ever publicly released in the United States—perhaps in the world.

After analyzing this data with a custom-built visualization tool, Ars can definitively demonstrate the data’s revelatory potential. Anyone in possession of enough data can often—but not always—make educated guesses about a target’s home or workplace, particularly when someone’s movements are consistent (as with a regular commute).

Chilling.

Would someone please explain to me what the hell all that data has to do with “to serve and to protect?”

Dear Dr. Carson: You’re Not Helping

March 26th, 2015 - 6:06 am
CAUTION: Not a licensed psychiatrist. (AP Photo)

CAUTION: Not a licensed psychiatrist.
(AP Photo)

Oy:

Ben Carson says President Barack Obama is a psychopath.

His comment came in an exchange between the neurosurgeon who’s likely to mount a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and his chief adviser, Armstrong Williams, captured by a GQ reporter on the night of this year’s State of the Union address.

Williams had said Obama looked “elegant” that night.

And Carson responded: “Like most psychopaths. That’s why they’re successful. That’s the way they look. They all look great.”

Between this and his odd gay comments from a while back, I’m starting to wonder if Carson is a plant.

News You Can Use

March 26th, 2015 - 5:05 am

The Best Little Whorehouse in Deutschland

Longtime Sharp VodkaPundit Reader™ Tombstone tipped me off to an exciting new job opportunity coming to Germany: Brothel tester.

That’s right:

Website Kaufmich.com (which translates as “Buying Me”), a social media platform for prostitutes, clients, brothels and companies specializing in the sex industry, is seeking a university-educated man or woman to join the company’s “Quality Team,” Kaufmich.com told CNBC.

The website’s advert says that the candidate will have to test the service, cleanliness and compliance with safe sex practices in various brothels by taking a proactive approach to their work — that is, by having sex with various women.

The website’s product manager, Ben, who preferred not to give his surname, told CNBC via email that Kaufmich wanted “to establish a quality/rating systems for brothels.”

“Having a brothel in Germany is totally legal but so far there is not a quality system for them in place. We want to be the Tripadvisor for brothels.”

Maybe we should have something similar for lobbyists to rate political officeholders.

“That’s not funny!”

March 25th, 2015 - 2:49 pm

Or is it? Read:

A U.K. student feminism conference is asking attendees to refrain from clapping and use “jazz hands” instead so as to not trigger anxiety in others.

The National Union of Students (NUS) Women’s Campaign announced the clapping “ban” at the West Midlands conference on Twitter Tuesday, shortly after receiving a request from the Oxford University Women’s Campaign.

“@nuswomcam please can we ask people to stop clapping but do feminist jazz hands? it’s triggering some peoples’ anxiety. thank you!” Oxford representatives wrote.

Within five minutes, NUS tweeted: “Some delegates are requesting that we move to jazz hands rather than clapping, as it’s triggering anxiety. Please be mindful! #nuswomen15.”

This is a sensible precaution, and “feminist jazz hands” should be taken up by all supporters of progressive causes, and used extensively, even exclusively, at progressive political events such as the Democratic National Convention.

We’re all counting on you to set the proper example and not to generate any anxiety.

A Manchurian Candidate?

March 25th, 2015 - 1:01 pm
(AP photo)

(AP photo)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the only time a President of the United States has been photographed with his arms around the parents of an American soldier charged with desertion.

Jeb’s Secret Email!

March 25th, 2015 - 12:00 pm
(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

Deflect, deflect, deflect!” seems to be the order of the day from Camp Clinton:

As Florida governor, Jeb Bush used another, previously unreported email address, records show — the newest wrinkle in an evolving debate over public officials’ use of private email accounts.

When Bush released thousands of emails from his tenure as Florida’s governor as part of his preparations to run for president next year, he did so from the email account he shared openly, jeb@jeb.org.

Those emails also include references to another email address, jeb@gencom.net. Bush said through a spokeswoman that he was unaware of the account, although records showed that people wrote to him there more than 400 times between 1999 and 2004.

I’m sure I have orphaned emails — from AOL, from work, from services signed up for and then forgotten — which apiece have received a lot more than 100 emails a year. You probably do, too. The question is whether Bush illegally used email accounts and deleted emails relating to the people’s business. So far, there’s nothing but the “Everyone does it!” smokescreen. “It” in this case meaning “maintains a personal account.”

That stuff about illegally deleting 30,000 emails? Well, what’s a smokescreen for?

That said, I’d be happy — thrilled, even — if this ongoing scandal, defection, and smokescreen were to result in both Jeb and Hillary getting forced out of the race.

One Republican for one Democrat — seems fair, yes?

News You Can Use

March 25th, 2015 - 10:55 am

FLORIDA MAN

Florida Man strikes again:

Two Florida women outsmarted an alleged stalker by bringing him straight to a police station after a prolonged pursuit Sunday.

Jason Joseph Seeburger, 37, allegedly pulled his car up to a 24-year-old woman and stared at her as she stood outside her house in Plantation.

He parked his car and kept an eye on the woman for five minutes until a friend picked her up, the Sun Sentinel reported.

When the women drove away, Seeburger made a U-turn and followed them, according to an arrest report.

The woman tried tricking Seeburger, making arbitrary turns to see if he kept his creepy pursuit.

He stayed on them for about 20 minutes, driving right up to the car and shouting something they couldn’t hear.

At last, the women drove to the Sunrise police headquarters and walked inside to report the pest — as he sat in a parking spot and watched.

An officer realized Seeburger lived in Sunrise, and started heading toward his home, only to spot the man’s car on the way and pull him over.

Seeburger had his zipper and belt undone when he stepped out of his car, police said.

You know you’re not supposed to do that, right?

Plan B for the Democrats

March 25th, 2015 - 9:40 am
AP photo

AP photo

Don’t blame me for the headline — blame Bill Press. Here’s a little something for you from his latest column for The Hill:

It’s a huge mistake to treat the 2016 nomination as the coronation of Queen Hillary.

Clinton’s got a lock on the White House, her supporters rhapsodize, because she has more experience and a more powerful political machine than anyone else. But this is exactly what we were told in 2008.
Instead of gleefully climbing aboard the Hillary Express, Democratic leaders should be encouraging other Democrats to run in 2016 — not against Clinton, but for president.

Why? For one very simple reason: Democrats want to win.

If they really want to hold onto the White House in 2016, Democrats would be monumentally stupid to put all their eggs in any one candidate’s basket. There is, for starters, the possibility that Clinton might decide not to run. It seems unlikely, yes, but in case she does decline to jump in, is there a plan B?

The short answer is: Not really. You might recall a report from three weeks ago that Democrats are in a “panic” about what to do if Clinton were to choose not to run. They’re even starting to notice in Britain, where The Sunday Times’ Toby Harnden included the following in a fairly glowing piece on Democratic proto-contender Jim Webb:

Webb is careful not to criticize the former secretary of state by name but there is little doubt about the disdain he feels for everything she represents.

“This country is suffering from leadership fatigue,” he told The Sunday Times outside a Democratic party event in Columbia, South Carolina, a city that Union troops burnt to the ground in the American Civil War.

“People are looking for new ways to move forward with people they can trust. They really want to see a different approach.”

The Clintons, along with the Bushes, have been among those leaders. The recent furor over Clinton keeping a secret computer server and destroying 30,000 emails during her time as secretary of state reminded many voters of the bitter disputes of the 1990s and question marks about her honesty.

But the odds of avoiding a Queen Hillary coronation seem …long… after reading stories like this one:

On Monday evening, mainstream media reporters reportedly gave Hillary Clinton a standing ovation after she joked about her private email scandal and took no questions from the press–at an event honoring excellence in journalism.

According to a National Journal report, Clinton took no questions after her 20-minute speech in Washington, D.C., which prompted the Washington Post‘s Dan Balz, who won this year’s Robin Toner award for excellence in political reporting, to reportedly make Clinton an offer: “I am happy to yield my time back to you if you want to take some questions.” Time reported that “Clinton received a standing ovation” anyway “from the journalist-heavy crowd.”

If anyone is “Ready for Hillary” it would seem to be the members of our national media — perhaps eager to make up for the damage done to her 2008 campaign, when the MSM put its thumb firmly on Barack Obama’s side of the scale. By “thumb” I mean “media appendage the size of a ’60s Cadillac” and by “firmly” I mean “with enough force to create its own event horizon.”

It worked in 2008, because in Obama the media had a “reflective” candidate running on a laudable, if not entirely true, biography. If Obama’s accomplishments were thin, his ability to make himself loved and adored worked in perfect lockstep with the MSM’s own desires.

Clinton’s political biography can be a weary one, filled with scandals and other best-forgotten unpleasantness. Her accomplishments are difficult to detect, despite having been the First Lady of a state and a country, a Senator from a major state, and the nation’s Secretary of State.

She’s just not as easy a sell, so the “War on…” memes are being played harder and earlier than they were in 2012.

That more than the candidate herself is what we need to be ready for — because political memes are Plan B. And Plans A, C, D, E, and F, too.

The House of Democrats

March 25th, 2015 - 8:06 am
Coming to a District of Columbia near you. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

Coming to a District of Columbia near you.
(Wikipedia Commons photo)

I had originally intended to file this story under “Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day,” but there’s a deeper issue here which requires exploring. But first the details, as Senate Democrats are “begging” for yet another delay in implementing their president’s signature health coverage law:

A group of Democratic senators is urging the Obama administration to delay a key portion of Obamacare because the results could be “harmful and disruptive.”

In a letter exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller, Senate Democrats pleaded with Health and Human Services secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell to delay an Obamacare rule change that puts companies with 51 to 100 employees in the costlier “small group” market instead of the “large group” market. The rule change, which will result in higher premiums for many companies, goes into effect in 2016.

The letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, Chris Coons, Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Jon Tester and independent Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats.

The first thing that occurred to me was that eventually that law they voted for, that their president campaigned on, has to eventually take effect.

The second thing that occurred to me was, “Really? Why?”

The third thing that occurred to me was, if I may say so myself, brilliant.

Let me explain.

Democrats love passing laws — they live for that stuff. They don’t necessarily like all the unintended consequences of the laws they pass, but that’s OK, too. After all, bad old laws are a perfect excuse to pass bad new laws, and thus the Circle of Legislation continues ad infinitum, and endless delays, waivers and moratoriums mean never having to say you’re sorry.

All the trappings of power and none of the responsibilities? I say: Give them what they want.

Let’s amend the Constitution to establish a third branch of Congress — a House of Democrats. The House of Democrats can have as many members as Democrat voters are willing to send to Washington. Getting on the ballot for the House of Democrats is easy, as there is no minimum number of signatures required and none of them have to be valid. Any Democrat able to garner, say, 50,000 votes in their district, state, or across the country, will be awarded a seat in the House of Democrats. Cheating will not only be allowed, it will be encouraged, because Democrats love that, too.

We will construct a New Capitol Building just for the House of Democrats, ornate enough to make Louis XIV, the Sun King and builder of the Palace of Versailles, weep with envy. Salaries will be lavish with offices to match, and staffs will be huge — because Democrats love all that stuff as well.

Pages: 1 2 | 22 Comments»

Don’t Be Evil or Whatevs

March 25th, 2015 - 7:06 am

GOOGLE

Things that make you go hmmmm:

Google’s access to high-ranking Obama administration officials during a critical phase of the antitrust probe is one sign of the Internet giant’s reach in Washington. Since Mr. Obama took office, employees of the Mountain View, Calif., company have visited the White House for meetings with senior officials about 230 times, or an average of roughly once a week, according to the visitor logs reviewed by the Journal.

One top lobbyist at Google, Johanna Shelton, has had more than 60 meetings at the White House. In comparison, employees of rival Comcast Corp., also known as a force in Washington, have visited the White House a total of about 20 times since Mr. Obama took office.

“We think it is important to have a strong voice in the debate and help policy makers understand our business and the work we do to keep the Internet open, to build great products, and to fuel economic growth,” says Google spokeswoman Niki Christoff.

Jennifer Friedman, a White House spokeswoman, said the FTC “is an independent agency and we respect their independent decision-making.”

You should worry less about what Google might be getting from the Obama White House, than what the Obama White House might be getting from Google.

American Taliban

March 25th, 2015 - 6:03 am

And for once, that phrase has actual meaning — in the very unlikely event California attorney Matthew Gregory McLaughlin gets his way with a ballot initiative he’s just submitted called the Sodomite Suppression Act:

The proposal prevents anyone “who is a sodomite or who espouses sodomistic propaganda” from holding public office in California. Those found guilty of spreading propaganda would be fined $1 million and face up to 10 years in prison and a lifetime ban from the state of California.

It also calls for any person “who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

In California, any resident can submit a ballot proposal by paying a $200 fee and filling out the right paperwork.

McLaughlin needs to collect more than 350,000 signatures — which hardly seems likely — to get his initiative on the ballot. Then have it approved by California voters — which seems even less likely — and found constitutional by the state’s Supreme Court. Unlikelihoods on top of unlikelihoods wrapped up in improbabilities.

In other words, the Sodomite Suppression Act ain’t going anywhere — so why bother?

The internet doesn’t have much on McLaughlin, other than he graduated from the George Mason University School of Law, has been a member in good standing of the California Bar for 17 years, and practices law in Huntington Beach. A OS X Maps search for the address listed for his practice shows a small storefront next to a dry cleaners in the Newland Shopping Center strip mall anchored by an Albertson’s grocery store.

Clearly he is not a successful and powerful attorney with connections deep inside California politics.

McLaughlin has no website, no advertising, no personal photo, and no indication I can find of what kind of law he practices. “Better Call” Saul Goodman seems more reputable and less inscrutable.

So then.

Best as I can tell, McLaughlin can be one of two things. Maybe he’s a struggling attorney looking for publicity in the worst possible way in the worst possible state for that kind of publicity. Or, given that the 2012 “War on Women” has expanded into 2016 into LGBT and transgender issues, there seems like a greater-than-zero chance that McLaughlin is a part of a lefty “War on…” operation.

If the former is true, then ignore him and he’ll return shortly to obscurity. If the latter is the case, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether McLaughlin is running a false flag operation, or if he’s just being used.

But as we learned in 2012, be very wary of these “War on…” political memes — they can carry serious weight, even though on the surface they appear ridiculous.

Gone Fishin’

March 21st, 2015 - 9:05 am

ROCKIES

Off to the mountains for long weekend — back Wednesday.