VodkaPundit

VodkaPundit

Thought for the Day

August 27th, 2015 - 4:15 pm

JOEMENTUM!

August 27th, 2015 - 2:52 pm
Looking very presidential, my man. (AP photo)

Looking very presidential, my man.
(AP photo)

David Lightman has the latest on the Will He/Won’t He epic:

The vice president spoke to DNC members Wednesday in a 40-minute conference call. Asked about a presidential bid, Biden said he was trying to gauge “whether or not there is the emotional fuel at this time to run,” according to two people familiar with the call.

“If I were to announce to run, I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul, and right now, both are pretty well banged up,” CNN reported Biden as saying. Biden’s son, Beau, died earlier this year.

The conference call was arranged ostensibly so that Biden could discuss the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal. It also proved a reminder of his role as a key Obama lieutenant, and showcased his expertise on a complex national security issue.

I’m not being cynical — or at least not too cynical — when I remind you that “both are pretty well banged up” is exactly the kind of thing a candidate might say before entering a race, in order to make their decision seem more momentous or even heroic.

That said, Biden did lose his son to cancer, and I have no doubt, none, zero, that his heart and soul are hurting in terrible ways.

All that aside, I find myself in a very strange condition. My brain says there’s only a 20% chance Biden jumps in, but my guts would be shocked if he didn’t.

How about you — are you another sufferer of Brain-Gut Dichotomy?

Drone Killing Laser Gun

August 27th, 2015 - 2:04 pm
(Image courtesy Lucasfilm)

(Image courtesy Lucasfilm)

Not that it’s any big deal or anything, but Boeing just demonstrated a fricken laser gun capable of taking down drones:

Boeing on Wednesday demonstrated a two-kilowatt laser shooting at stationary targets and successfully igniting them. If the targets had been drones in flight, they would have gone down.

Boeing said the military has access to lasers with 10 kilowatts of power.

Laser systems could easily be used to destroy any UAV threats, and could be mounted at the edges of airports or forward operating bases, DeYoung said.

But wait — it gets better:

What’s more, the systems are becoming compact enough to be mounted onto a Jeep or truck for deployment down range.

I hope by “down range” they mean “mounted on the hood of Steve’s truck so he can clear the left lane all up and down I-25 until people finally get the damn message that those ‘Keep Right Except to Pass’ signs are there for a reason.”

Because that’s what “down range” means to me.

Apple Watch Bust — or Boom? [UPDATED]

August 27th, 2015 - 12:55 pm
What happens in Vegas... (Image courtesy of Apple)

What happens in Vegas…
(Image courtesy of Apple)

Wall Street analysts have by-and-large all declared the Apple Watch to be a flop (despite any hard sales data one way or the other), but Best Buy doesn’t seem to see it that way:

“Demand for Apple Watch has been so strong in the stores and online,” Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly told Wall Street analysts on a conference call. The retailer expects to be selling the device, which hit the market in June, at all of its 1,050 big-box stores by the end of September, he added. Initially, Best Buy had planned to have watches in 300 stores by the holiday season. (It started selling the watches in early August.) Apple did not provide specific sales numbers for the watch in its second-quarter earnings last month, but Best Buy’s comments provide more evidence of the device’s success.

It’s been a fool’s game to make any predictions about how well or how poorly Apple Watch is selling. Tim Cook said a year ago Apple wouldn’t be releasing sales figures for the device, or at least not yet. The stated reason is that wearables are a new product category, with a slew of SKUs, and that releasing hard sales numbers to the public — including competitors like Samsung — would give away a competitive advantage. So there’s a good reason for Apple to keep its product mix a closely-held secret. Or maybe the thing is a big flop and Cook doesn’t want to have to admit it. In the absence of sales figures it’s impossible to say.

Here in the Colorado exurbs I’ve only seen two others in the wild, and the only one I see regularly is the one on my wrist. Although I saw them all over in Las Vegas, typically the most expensive* stainless steel in Space Black model. But Vegas is Vegas, and you really shouldn’t make any generalization from what you see there.

In the absence of data then you can either trust the Wall Street analysts who don’t have any skin in the game, or take note of the big moves being made by the CEO who’s been performing a near-miraculous turnaround at the nation’s largest electronic retailer.

I’m still withholding judgement, but there’s no way to read Joly’s action as bad news for Apple.

UPDATE: It just now occurred to me to check Best Buy’s website to see exactly how they’re selling the Watch, and two things stand out. The first is that they aren’t selling any model more expensive than the $699 stainless steel with Milanese loop SKU. The second is that Best Buy is selling exactly at Apple’s MSRP.

So the discount retailer isn’t offering any discounts — another good sign for Apple.

(more…)

Asking the Wrong Question

August 27th, 2015 - 11:45 am
Chinese armor: Coming soon to a North Korean capital near you? (AP photo)

Chinese armor: Coming soon to a North Korean capital near you?
(AP photo)

The headline asks, “Why Did China Amass Tanks at the North Korean Border?” And here are some details from the story the major networks seem not to have noticed:

On Saturday, Chinese social media users began posting pictures of tanks and other military equipment moving through city streets. The photos were purportedly taken in Yanji, China, the capital of Yanbian prefecture in Jilin province, which lies along the China-Korea border.

Other Chinese social media users posted pictures of a train appearing to carry more military equipment – but those pictures were explained as showing military technology on its way to Beijing for the upcoming military parade. There was some confusion about this point, with some of the same pictures being identified by different sources as taken in or outside of Yanji and Beijing.

NK News, in its analysis of the images, said the photos represented “a mechanical unit at least the size of a brigade,” made up of “PTZ-89 tank destroyers (Type 89), a PGZ-95 self-propelled anti-aircraft guns (Type 95 SPAAA), and 155 mm self-propelled guns.” Kim Min-seok of the Korea Defense and Security Forum told NK News that there’s precedent of China sending additional units to the border region during times of increased tensions on the peninsula: “During the bombardment of Yeonpyeong in 2010 and after the purge of Jang Song Thaek in 2013, Chinese units were quickly sent to the area to prevent any unexpected surprises from the China-North Korea border.”

But the question isn’t why Beijing moved armored units to the Yalu River on Saturday morning. The question is why did North Korea perform an about face on Saturday night, and even issue an almost-unprecedented apology to South Korea?

And there’s your answer, in the form of “a mechanical unit at least the size of a brigade.”

It’s good to know that Kim Jung-un isn’t so crazy that Beijing can’t still jerk his chain when it needs jerking.

The Touch-Touch-Touch-Touchpad

August 27th, 2015 - 10:39 am
(Still image courtesy of Stensel)

(Still image courtesy of Stensel)

A pair of former Amazon tech workers have invented what might just be the future of touchpads:

Unlike most trackpads and touchscreens, the high-resolution Morph can sense any object, including its shape. Where other trackpads are meant for a few pressure points, the Morph can track up to 16 different points at a time — enough for all your fingers and a few of your friends’. It detects a nuanced range of pressure with its 20,000 sensors.

“We realized everybody who sees it wants to use it for something different,” said Zarraga.

Instead of focusing on one use case, the Silicon Valley company decided to tap the Maker craze and open it up. In addition to the overlays Sensel makes, anyone with a 3D printer can make their own surface. Rosenberg and Zarraga imagine a store where artists and other creatives can swap designs for their custom skins or sell finished versions. To get started, they worked with a DJ school in New York on a custom overlay for DJ controls.

During a demo, I played a ditty on the piano, painted and drummed while connected to a laptop. To show how sensitive the surface is, we placed a cup of coffee on top. The Sensel test application showed that it picked up the ring on the bottom of the cup. When the cup rocked, the Morph could detect the liquid sloshing around from side-to-side.

Amazing.

Their Kickstarter has already raised more than $200,000 out of their desired $60,000 to get the project running. But Apple or Samsung or some smart company ought to make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

August 27th, 2015 - 9:17 am

Another day, another ♡bamaCare!!! co-op goes under:

Nevada Health CO-OP, which launched in 2012 with two federal loans totaling $65.9 million, will shutter its operation and will not offer coverage for 2016. Coverage for all current plans will remain good until Dec. 31, and members will be able to sign up with other carriers for Jan. 1 coverage when open enrollment begins in November.

Co-op CEO Pam Egan said in a statement that a second year of high claims costs and limited growth projections for enrollment made it “clear” that the insurer would have a hard time providing “quality care at reasonable rates” in 2016.

“(Nevada Health CO-OP) is working responsibly and proactively with the Nevada Division of Insurance and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure that we meet all deadlines and fulfill obligations to our current members.”

As detailed last year by the Washington Examiner, Nevada Health CO-OP was essentially a front for local union interests who had provided support for the Obama campaign in 2008, and “pivotal” voter turnout for Senator Harry Reid’s successful reelection effort in 2010.

Follow the Money

August 27th, 2015 - 8:08 am


(In the spirit of the Summer of Covers)

WaPo buried the lede in this story ostensibly about Joe Biden:

There is growing unease among some of Obama’s biggest financial backers about the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state, providing an opening for the vice president. While Biden has not built his own fundraising network, he developed personal relationships with donors across the country as Obama’s running mate.

Many of them are still up for grabs. Of the 770 fundraisers who bundled checks for Obama’s 2012 reelection, just 52 have signed on so far as a “Hillblazer” bundler for Clinton or have hosted a fundraiser for her, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Top Democratic money players — many of whom requested anonymity to describe private conversations — said discussions among senior Obama fundraisers about Biden’s possible bid have taken a serious turn in the last few days. [Emphasis added]

I won’t trouble you with math this early in the day, but just a few months out from Iowa and Clinton has nailed down less than 15% of Obama’s big bundlers.

15%.

For the presumptive nominee who has yet to face any serious opposition.

So here’s a bit of wonderment for you.

What did those bundlers know last year which kept them from signing on with Camp Clinton? Because until the email story broke back in March, there was really nothing stopping Hillary from taking the brass ring — and the scandal didn’t really get legs until this summer. Clinton should have had far, far more of Obama’s bundlers nailed down before Christmas 2014, but all she could get was a lousy one in six.

Clinton couldn’t get Obama‘s bundlers, even when she was the sure thing, and there’s really only a handful of people, all at the highest levels of the Democratic party, who could make that happen.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Real Men Don’t Wear Shorts

August 27th, 2015 - 7:29 am
Still no.

Still no.

Rich Cromwell cheerfully explains the timeless reasons men never, ever wear shorts to work — although I’m a little upset he gave away one of our Ultimate Man Secrets: “The Better You Dress, The Worse You Can Behave.”

More:

But, despite those truths, here’s the thing: The office is neither the wild courts of Abdul-Jabbar’s day nor the awfulness of the modern airplane. Instead, it is a place in which dominance reigns supreme, assuming HR isn’t paying too much attention; a place where fortune favors the bold. It’s tempting to think that the bold man is the one who shows up in shorts and loafers. He is not. The bold man is the one who knows that there are myriad options at his disposal, from linen to seersucker to lighter-weight cottons. The bold man is the one who isn’t afraid to let them see him sweat. The bold man is the one who embraces being the center of attention not because of his slavish dedication to “comfort,” but because of his slavish dedication to decorum with a splash of swagger.

For this man is the one who can cause others to cower merely by his presence, for his ability to dress appropriately and ignore mild inconveniences such as the heat he endures between the car and the office door. He is the man who will be noticed not for the hand grenade he’s holding, ready to knee-cap his rivals in a rain of shrapnel, but for the tailoring of his pants, the details on his wingtips, and the pattern of his gingham shirt.

Shhhhh!

But do read the whole thing.

The Fridge Is Watching You

August 27th, 2015 - 6:33 am

Not really, or at least not yet — but hackers are working on it:

Security researchers have discovered a potential way to steal users’ Gmail credentials from a Samsung smart fridge.

Pen Test Partners discovered the MiTM (man-in-the-middle) vulnerability that facilitated the exploit during an IoT hacking challenge at the recent DEF CON hacking conference.

The hack was pulled off against the RF28HMELBSR smart fridge, part of Samsung’s line-up of Smart Home appliances which can be controlled via their Smart Home app. While the fridge implements SSL, it fails to validate SSL certificates, thereby enabling man-in-the-middle attacks against most connections.

The internet-connected device is designed to download Gmail Calendar information to an on-screen display. Security shortcomings mean that hackers who manage to jump on to the same network can potentially steal Google login credentials from their neighbours.

This MiTM attack is a potential exploit proven in the lab, rather than a real-world threat.

But beware the Internet of Things.

For all my love of gadgets and early adopter habits, I’ve been wary of installing any IoT appliances, devices, monitors, etc. It’s one thing for hackers to steal data off of your phone or add your computer to a botnet, but it’s quite another for them to gain physical control of your car, furnace, or baby monitor.

In this case, adopt later rather than earlier.

POSSIBLY RELATED: “11 smart gadgets which should have stayed dumb.”

What, you think I should have anted up to the Kickstarter for the smart cocktail shaker?

She belongs in jail, you know.

Thought for the Day

August 26th, 2015 - 4:47 pm

Perry’s Slow Fade Continues

August 26th, 2015 - 1:06 pm

Allahpundit details the defection of Rick Perry’s Iowa man, Sam Clovis, to the Trump campaign:

Perry’s campaign only raised $1 million in June. By comparison, notes CNN, Ted Cruz raised $1 million on his first day in the race. So why’d Clovis leave? Was it a money thing or a going-nowhere-in-the-polls thing? He told the Austin American-Statesman that it was more of a communication thing: “I had not heard from the campaign in quite some time and I assessed that they were making adjustments based on their situation and I was not part of that conversation. I had said I would hang in there with him early on but I never heard from them.” Hmmm. Clovis was their Iowa chairman; it seems … unlikely that they’d cut him out of their early-state planning for a few weeks. Meanwhile, he sure has sounded excited about Trumpmania lately in interviews with WaPo.

Allah adds that “At this rate, it’s hard to believe he won’t be the first mid-major candidate out of the race.”

Followed in short order, I imagine, by Jindal and Christie. Christie is just a bad fit for the national GOP, and Jindal is much like Perry in that he’s an articulate and successful governor who has somehow failed to connect with primary voters. Trump sucking the oxygen out of every room hasn’t helped.

Rand Paul should be on this list, but he has a hard core of supporters who, like his father, will be enough for him to keep the money machine and the organization growing for future efforts.

But as of right now, there’s Trump, the never-rans just described, and the remaining not-quite-rans who had better up their own games and quit playing Trump’s.

The Truth About China

August 26th, 2015 - 12:35 pm

StrategyPage details the frustration Chinese feel with their nominally Communist government — and it isn’t just the financial troubles in Shanghai. The rot goes deep, from Beijing’s corrupt bosses to the recent explosion in Tiajin:

This explosion was not supposed to happen. There were laws about storing so much explosive chemicals (and poisonous) in one place and so close to residential areas. The government ordered the arrest of the owners of the warehouse complex and local officials can expect to be prosecuted, and possibly executed, as well. This sort of thing has happened before. It has happened too many times before and is still happening with increasing frequency despite government assurances that it is aware of the problem and is dealing with it. The problem that is not discussed much is that China has never had a strong centralized government. In the past Chinese empires thrived because the imperial government was able to promptly deal with provinces that became too corrupt and unruly. Chinese see their government as unable to identify, arrest and replace corrupt local officials quickly enough. This failure is seen as a danger to every Chinese. It isn’t just the massive explosions in major cities but the growing air pollution, even in the capital, and less obvious but just as harmful water and food pollution. What good is all this new wealth if the government cannot keep people healthy enough to enjoy it?

China has grown rich. Shockingly so, given how poor the country was just three decades ago. But on a per capita basis China still has a long way to go to catch up to the West, and per capita is the basis Beijing must look at.

The reason is that every individual has basic needs — food, shelter, etc — which must be met before taxes can be collected. When taxes eat into the basics, revolution is going to eventually result, and that’s anathema to Beijing (or any government).

So in order for an ambitious government to finance little things like blue water navies or even clean air, there must be a middle and an upper class big and wealthy enough to pay for it all.

But China might be stuck in the middle income trap:

Chinese productivity growth has gone into reverse for the first time since the Cultural Revolution tore the country apart in the 1970s, according to a new study, highlighting the failure of recent reforms to set China on a sustainable development path.

That means that despite dramatic rises in the cost of labor, energy, credit and property, the average Chinese company has actually been getting less bang for its buck since the global financial crisis – a classic sign of the “middle income trap” that many other emerging economies such as Brazil or Malaysia have found themselves stuck in after promising starts.

“The findings strongly suggest that the over-building, the over-capacity and the ‘advance’ of the less efficient state into private sector markets have increasingly dragged on China’s growth,” wrote the report’s author, Harry Wu, senior advisor at the Conference Board China Center for Economics and Business.

China’s political troubles may be just beginning as the country tests the upper limits of “Market Leninism.”

What I Learned Today from Reading Twitter

August 26th, 2015 - 11:06 am
Pages: 1 2 3 4 | Comments»

Florida Man, phone home:

A Florida man broke into a high school in hopes of finding a phone to call his grandma, according to police in Port St. Lucie.

Aaron D. Richardson, 19, was charged Monday night after officials at Treasure Coast High School reported that someone had broken into a concession stand and busted a computer, WPTV reports.

Officers noticed a damaged fence near the school perimeter as well as the computer, which looked as it had been smashed with a fist or foot.

School surveillance videos also showed a man climbing the fence and driving a school-owned golf cart around campus, according to WPBF.com.

Maybe she was his flakka source.

Real American Heroes

August 26th, 2015 - 9:06 am

Shot Down

August 26th, 2015 - 8:03 am

I’ve watched the WDBJ shooting video, and it is as horrific as you can imagine even without any actual on-screen gore.

The senselessness of the murders of Alison Parker and Adam Ward is what strikes you. They were doing a morning news remote, a light piece at Bridgewater Plaza when a gunman appeared, fired what sounded like eight shots. Parker screamed and dropped to the ground. Ward didn’t scream, but dropped almost as quickly, catching a few frames of the shooter as he fell.

Why anyone would shoot these two…

The reasons for murdering people doing the morning news, it’s unimaginable. That’s what makes it so horrible.

More later, but right now I have to get the boys to school, and hope they don’t ask any difficult questions about why Dad is giving them such big hugs this morning.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

August 26th, 2015 - 7:27 am

The Cadillac Tax prepares to claim another scalp:

Obamacare’s looming “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health plans threatens to hit one in four U.S. employers when it takes effect in 2018 — and will impact 42 percent of all employers by a decade later, according to a new analysis.

And many of those employers will be subject to the heavy Obamacare tax because they offer popular health-care flexible spending accounts to workers, which, ironically, are designed to reduce the income tax burden to those employees.

As a result, the co-author of the analysis expects the health FSAs to start being phased out and “largely disappearing” over time by companies looking for reduce their exposure to the Cadillac tax.

FSAs allow consumers to make their own decisions about how best to spend their own money, with Washington providing a tax incentive to make smart decisions. Ideally, Washington would stay out of these matters entirely, but you and I both know that’s just not possible in the current (1933-???) political climate.

The problem then in today’s climate is that FSAs empower the consumer rather than the bureaucrat (of the government or semi-private variety), so it’s no surprise that ♡bamaCare!!! contains enough hidden landlines to ensure their eventual elimination.

That Means It’s Working™

Ouch.

Oh, Those Classified Emails

August 26th, 2015 - 6:02 am
WAT? (AP photo)

WAT?
(AP photo)

So exactly what was in those emails which Hillary Clinton swore were not classified, but then swore were not classified at the time they were sent or received, but then swore that at least they weren’t marked Classified when they were received? Let’s take a look:

Hillary Clinton’s classified emails contain discussions of conversations with foreign diplomats, issues with embassy security and relations with countries from Russia to China.

The broad range of information that was deemed classified by the State Department — just within the emails published by the agency to date —underscores concerns that sensitive material was routinely mishandled on Clinton’s private email server.

For example, Huma Abedin, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff, forwarded a summary of a high-level Sept. 2009 meeting to Clinton in which she detailed the “embassy security issues” that were discussed.

Nope, nothing to see here.

Move along.

Thought for the Day

August 25th, 2015 - 4:30 pm

No.

August 25th, 2015 - 12:20 pm

Just no.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

August 25th, 2015 - 11:05 am

Michigan is so flush with cash it can bribe people to pretend to stay healthy.

Kristina Ribali has the story:

Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program includes $50 Wal-Mart gift cards for Medicaid enrollees that “follow the doctor’s orders.”

It seems that although, “the state doesn’t itself purchase or give out any Wal-Mart gift cards, their cost is baked into the Medicaid managed care contracts.” In essence, the taxpayers of Michigan are paying for $50 Wal-Mart gift cards for people on Medicaid whether they know it or not.

And getting one of these gift cards is pretty easy.

Read the whole thing.

Bimbo Eruptions, Trump Style

August 25th, 2015 - 10:28 am

You stay classy, Donald.

Meanwhile, remember Trump’s assertion that he would win the Latino vote? About that:

A new Gallup poll released Monday evening found that 65 percent of Hispanic voters say they have an unfavorable view of Trump, compared with 14 percent who view him favorably— yielding him a net favorable score of -51, well below any other presidential candidate.

Trump’s low rating isn’t surprising given his remarks about Mexico in his June presidential announcement speech — saying the country intentionally sends criminals over the border. “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting,” the Republican presidential candidate said.

And yet somehow he doesn’t seem to be winning their support. Well, at least he didn’t call them bimbos.

It’s one thing for Twitter to allow politicians — public officials — to delete tweets just like any other user is able to. But now Twitter is going after sites of public record:

Twitter has shut down a network of sites dedicated to archiving deleted tweets from politicians around the world. The sites — collectively known as Politwoops — were overseen by the Open State Foundation (OSF), which reported that Twitter suspended their API access on Friday, August 21st. Twitter reportedly told the OSF that its decision was the result of “thoughtful internal deliberation and close consideration of a number of factors,” and that the social media site didn’t distinguish between politicians and regular users.

“Imagine how nerve-racking — terrifying, even — tweeting would be if it was immutable and irrevocable?” Twitter reportedly told the OSF. “No one user is more deserving of that ability than another. Indeed, deleting a tweet is an expression of the user’s voice.”

No wonder so many politicians are on Twitter — imagine if they got to edit their own appearances on the nightly news.

Clinton Can’t Clinch…

August 25th, 2015 - 8:21 am

…with women voters? Really?

Really:

Conventional wisdom has held that she would be virtually bullet-proof among a vast number of women who fervently want the first African-American president to be succeeded by the first female president. Just as important, Clinton has devoted much of her professional life to championing the causes of women and children.

In a country where women’s pay remains grossly unequal and big corporations are still horribly slow in appointing more women to boards, she is widely seen as the best hope for breaking up the old boys’ network.

Yet, in an odd political season, here is one of the greatest oddities: According to an array of national polls over the past month, many women voters have been drifting away from Hillary. In June, for example, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that 51% of white women voters who have at least a college degree had a favorable view of Hillary, while only 38% were negative.

The same poll a month later found those numbers reversed: 47% negative, 43% positive. Among all voters, her favorability now stands at the lowest point in 14 years, even lower than in her struggles in the 2008 campaign. She is the one hemorrhaging support, not Trump.

Forget the phony War on Women memes columnist Martha Pease hauled out here — they’re meaningless. Clinton’s weakness isn’t with women voters; it’s with voters.

Full stop.

Required Reading

August 25th, 2015 - 7:35 am

John Schindler — mentioned briefly here this morning on a related matter — explains why the White House is hanging Hillary out to dry:

When she held the top job at Foggy Bottom Condoleezza Rice had a state.gov unclassified email account. Which she used sparingly but did, on occasion, use. In fact, most top leaders in Washington, DC, use email sparingly, they’re simply very busy people. How Hillary found the time to send tens of thousands of emails when she was sitting in Foggy Bottom is another question that may prove interesting to the FBI.

But there is no debating that, by refusing to use state.gov emails at all at any time, Hillary was rejecting the precedent set by her predecessor (and used by her successor, John Kerry).

The prodigious Team Hillary lies must stop. With each new, flat-out lie, she is damaging her party and the country. It’s time to come clean and end this charade. There’s not much time left — the FBI will end its investigation eventually, and I doubt Clinton, Inc. will like what the Bureau finds.

That’s not to say that the FBI won’t bow to political pressure. But it’s easy to imagine more than one scenario where that pressure is used to force Hillary out in exchange for exoneration, rather than to protect her status as the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Jerks, Party of Eight

August 25th, 2015 - 6:12 am

VIOLIN

This story of a stiffed waitress has been making the rounds, and I can’t resist throwing in my 15%:

“Last night, I was stunned by this receipt that was left for me by a party of eight people,” Jones wrote. “I would have preferred a ‘$0′ tip than a ‘LOL’ tip, but as a waitress, bad tips and harsh notes are all part of the job. Even though they did wait an hour to eat, they remained satisfied with filled drinks and proper notice that the kitchen was a bit busier than normal. I’ve worked in the service industry for five years and I take pride in providing great service to my customers.”

Jones wrote that servers in New Jersey earn $2.50 an hour. For non-tipped workers in the Garden State, the minimum wage is $8.38.

“Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make,” she wrote. “I need tips to pay my bills. All waiters do. We spend an hour or more of our time befriending you, making you laugh, getting to know you, and making your dining experience the best it can be. We work hard, and we really do care.”

What jerks.

The waitstaff has zero control over what’s going on in the kitchen, and the kitchen is a place of rushed anarchy on a good night. When the kitchen gets backed up, it’s the waitstaff’s job to keep the drinks full and the customers informed — which is exactly what Jess Jones seems to have done for her eight-top. If anything, she should have been tipped a little extra for the additional time she had to spend trying to keep her diners happy.

The last time something like that happened to us, the kitchen was so far behind and the food was so screwed up that dinner was free — but Melissa and I still tipped the waiter 20% of what the bill would have been.

Please don’t be the jerk who stiffs the waitstaff for doing the best they can in a bad situation they didn’t create.

Pardon me?

Pardon me?

Good news for Hillary — she’s not the first high-ranking official to keep classified documents on a private server.

But Marc Thiessen has some bad news for her, too:

Former CIA director John Deutch was also found to have stored classified documents — including top-secret intelligence — on computers in his homes in Bethesda and Belmont, Mass., leading to an investigation by the CIA inspector general and a criminal investigation by the Justice Department. Deutch was stripped of his security clearance and ended up reaching a plea agreement admitting to his crimes — but was saved by a last-minute pardon from none other than . . . President Bill Clinton.

The parallels between the Deutch and Clinton cases suggest that come January 2017, instead of planning her presidential transition, Clinton may find herself lobbying for a last-minute pardon of her own.

I can’t recall President Obama saying one word about his former Secretary of State and her months-long legal and political troubles.

On the other hand…

Curiouser and curiouser.