Google Ads Will Target Your Email Address

September 29th, 2015 - 3:45 pm
At least the new logo is friendly.

At least the new logo is friendly.

“Don’t be evil” is not the same thing as “Don’t be a pain in the butt.”

With that in mind, read the latest from Mountain View:

Online advertising giant Google will soon let marketers target ads to specific people using their email addresses when they use its search engine, Gmail or YouTube video platform.

Google’s Senior Vice President of Ads and Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy, announced the new Customer Match product in a blog post on Monday. The Wall Street Journal first reported Google’s plans for the feature in April.

The tool will enable marketers to target ads to their existing customers and potentially to tailor messaging to them based on their purchase histories or other information.

I don’t use Google anything anymore.

Friended by Mandate

September 29th, 2015 - 2:38 pm

Down Under, unfriending somebody can now be construed as bullying:

It’s tempting to unfriend people on social networks when you’re mad at them, but you may want to think twice about it when coworkers are involved… at least, in Australia. The country’s Fair Work Commission has determined that an administrator’s decision to unfriend a fellow employee on Facebook constituted evidence of bullying. While this wasn’t the only example (there was plenty of name-calling and purposeful neglect), it helped demonstrate the “lack of emotional maturity” involved with the harassment. As a result, the victim now has an order to stop the bullying, which triggered anxiety, depression and sleeping disorders.

More from Ars Technica:

According to the FWC’s decision, a Tasmanian woman named Rachael Roberts had received unfair and unkind treatment from supervisor Lisa Bird—along with her husband, agency owner James Bird—that went on for months. Beyond aggressive and even sexually suggestive comments and treatment, however, an incident in late January was the one that crossed a line enough for Roberts to file her complaint. On that occasion, Roberts was taken aside by Lisa Bird after she had lodged complaints about various, frequent workplace issues to the owner.

Roberts was allegedly scolded by Bird in person, including being described as “a naughty little schoolgirl running to the teacher,” and after that confrontation ended, Roberts checked her phone to see if any negative stories about the incident had been posted to Facebook. At that point, Roberts confirmed that she’d been unfriended by Lisa Bird—a fact that was corroborated by SMS messages almost immediately afterward between Roberts and James Bird.

It sounds like Roberts worked a lousy job for mean bosses — but this court decision is weird, wrong, and open up entirely new avenues for wasteful lawsuits from social justice types.

Which, come to think of it, might have been the whole point.

China’s First Homebrew Aircraft Carrier

September 29th, 2015 - 12:33 pm
China's Liaoning aircraft carrier was purchased from Russia as a training vessel, but may soon be getting a big half-sister. (Wikipedia commons)

China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier was purchased from Russia as a training vessel, but may soon be getting a big half-sister.
(Wikipedia commons)


Airbus Defence and Space imagery captured on 22 September suggests that the possible carrier is under construction in the dry dock associated with the refit and repair of Liaoning (CV16), the Soviet-era Kuznetsov-class carrier acquired from Ukraine that is now in People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) service.

The new hull, first noted under construction in imagery captured on 10 March, is in an advanced state of assembly.

IHS Jane’s first noted preparations for a new vessel’s assembly at the dry dock in Airbus Defence and Space imagery captured on 27 February. After the launch of a large commercial cargo vessel, the empty dry dock contained multiple support blocks used to provide a base for keel assembly. On 10 March, further imagery showed the initial stages of hull construction. At the time, the support layout suggested a hull of 150 to 170 m in length with a beam of about 30 m.

The hull assembly continued through the summer. Imagery from 22 September shows a lengthened aft section and expanded bow. The hull is currently assessed to have a length of about 240 m and a beam of about 35 m. The incomplete bow suggests a length of at least 270 m for the completed hull.

Those dimensions would make the ship a little bigger than Britain’s new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, probably around 75-80,000 tons. Lacking — at least for the foreseeable future — the need for longterm global deployment, China’s first indigenous carrier could use simpler diesel powerplants instead of nuclear propulsion.

Beijing has been serious and patient about gaining the experience needed to develop a powerful navy, so I’d be surprised if this hull wasn’t exactly what it seems to be.

What Do You Teach the Man Who Knows Everything?

September 29th, 2015 - 11:22 am
One of these men has given up on Karl Marx. (AP photo)

One of these men has given up on Karl Marx.
(AP photo)

Bret Stephens explains the lackadaisical foreign policy of our “unteachable President” in today’s Wall Street Journal:

Having declared our good intentions, why muck it up with the raw and compromising exercise of power? In Mr. Obama’s view, it isn’t the man in the arena who counts. It’s the speaker on the stage.

Finally, Mr. Obama believes history is going his way. “What? Me worry?” says the immortal Alfred E. Neuman, and that seems to be the president’s attitude toward Mr. Putin’s interventions in Syria (“doomed to fail”) and Ukraine (“not so smart”), to say nothing of his sang-froid when it comes to the rest of his foreign-policy debacles.

In this cheapened Hegelian world view, the U.S. can relax because History is on our side, and the arc of history bends toward justice. Why waste your energies to fulfill a destiny that is already inevitable? And why get in the way of your adversary’s certain doom?

I’ll add the one detail Stephens didn’t point out, although perhaps only because he was too kind to mention it — or maybe he didn’t want to be painted as a rightwing kook.

But this idea that history his a side, that history follows a predetermined arc… this worldview of President Obama is’t merely “cheapened Hegel.”

It’s an explicitly Marxist view of history, as Karl himself developed his theory of dialectical materialism directly from Hegel. Need more proof? In his UN speech yesterday, Obama boiled down Syria’s and Iran’s problems to a lack of jobs. Economics trumps all, and determines the course of history.

Obama himself is no Marxist — his own view on political power is that of a caudillo — but his economic thinking is undoubtedly Marxian.

This Marxian logic also explains half (the non-crony half) of his “fundamental transformation” of life here at home.

But he went to the finest schools — so what else would you expect?

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

September 29th, 2015 - 10:10 am
(AP photo)

(AP photo)

Problem: ♡bamaCare!!! is “a disaster.”


Trump said that as president he would make a deal with hospitals to take care of the poor at government expense, “But we’re going to save so much money on the other side.”

Most, however, will have a private plan in which they will be able to negotiate with more companies for lower prices. He did not say whether that would be done through allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state borders.

“They can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything,” Trump said.

I do believe we’ve heard this song before.

News You Can Use

September 29th, 2015 - 9:12 am

The raccoon could not be reached for comment.

The Finger Pointing Begins

September 29th, 2015 - 8:42 am
(AP photo)

(AP photo)

Hillary Clinton is now pointing the emailgate finger at her lawyers:

Hillary now admits that she never exercised any judgment to determine what constitutes a federal record. Instead, somewhat astonishingly, Hillary didn’t review a single e-mail to determine what she had to preserve and what she could delete. When asked by Todd whether she could say with 100 percent certainty that she didn’t delete anything that she was supposed to preserve, Mrs. Clinton responded: “All I can tell you is that when my attorneys conducted this exhaustive process, I [did] not participate. . . . I didn’t look at them.”

But the State Department is pointing the finger at Hillary:

The State Department has told Senate investigators that it didn’t provide Hillary Rodham Clinton’s lawyer with a secure-enough method to read now-highly classified material from her homebrew email server because it didn’t anticipate that the messages would be deemed so secret.

In July, State Department officials installed a safe at the office of attorney David Kendall after the government determined some of Clinton’s emails may have contained classified information. But it said last week the safe wasn’t suitable for so-called top secret, sensitive compartmented information, known as TS/SCI, which the government has said was found in some messages.

But former SecState Madeline Albright says the problem lies with State and their tricksy classification system:

The former secretary of state argued that Clinton, whom she has already endorsed for president in 2016, faced difficulties because “every agency has a somewhat different definition of what’s classified and under what circumstances and is it ex post facto classified.”

And Bill Clinton? Why, he blames Republicans. And maybe Barack Obama:

“I have never seen so much expended on so little,” Mr. Clinton said in a taped interview with Fareed Zakaria that is scheduled to be shown Sunday on CNN. The network released excerpts on Saturday afternoon.

“She said she was sorry that her personal email caused all this confusion,” Mr. Clinton said. “And she’d like to give the election back to the American people. I think it will be all right. But it’s obvious what happened.”

“This is just something that has been a regular feature of all of our presidential campaigns, except in 2008 for unique reasons,” Mr. Clinton said, without elaborating on why he believed that President Obama had not faced similar Republican-led efforts to derail his candidacy.

If Team Clinton ever had any message discipline on emailgate, that’s all over now. We’re in Goat Rodeo Country from here on out, and you know what messy good fun those can be.

Meanwhile Bernie Sanders is laughing his way towards the top of Democratic primary voter polls.

More at PJ Media:

Dowager Empress of Chappaqua’s Doomed Campaign On Last Legs

Required Reading

September 29th, 2015 - 7:21 am

Kurt Schlichter explains the difference between physical courage and moral courage, and why it takes the latter to put a stop to tribal pederasty in Afghanistan:

The problems with America’s military—which has now failed to win three wars in a row against backward fanatics whom the nineteenth-century Brits would have handily dispatched to hell in time for tea—are not merely budgetary. You can’t buy real leaders, leaders with strategic competence and moral courage. Aging equipment, while a problem, is nothing compared to the incompetence and moral cowardice of our military’s senior leaders.

Note the term “moral cowardice.” Many of these generals are decorated combat veterans who would gleefully charge an enemy machine-gun nest. But that physical courage in the face of the enemy does not translate into moral courage in the face of politicians and social justice warriors. It’s disheartening to see officers with Combat Infantryman badges and silver stars sheepishly nodding along with the lies of the coddled liberal elite.

There are fine generals—I served under many. But enough are not that the ranks are demoralized and the best and brightest future leaders are abandoning military careers, not because they don’t want to serve, but because they know it will be difficult to succeed unless they likewise abandon the principles that propelled them toward service in the first place.

Read the whole thing.

Biden Has Got to Jump In

September 29th, 2015 - 6:36 am
The stars are aligned. (AP photo)

The stars are aligned.
(AP photo)

There’s a Democratic frontrunner whose poll numbers are on a slow-motion nosedive — except for her negatives which have shot up like a junky on a street corner in be Blasio’s New York City.

The next in line for the nomination is a self-proclaimed Socialist so far to the left that he couldn’t join a party which plays host to the likes of Barbara Mikulski, Kirsten Gillibrand, or Al Franken.

Waiting in the wings is another leftwing Senator who could rob Bernie Sanders of his “progressive” base, while getting her needed seasoning by taking over the Veep’s job.

And now there’s this:

Joe Biden hasn’t yet announced his plans for a 2016 White House bid, but a new poll shows that he would enter the race as the most popular presidential candidate if he chose to toss his hat into the ring.

According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 40 percent of Americans have a positive impression of Biden, while 28 percent have a negative impression (+12).

That’s compared to fellow Democrats Bernie Sanders (+10) and Hillary Clinton (-8), and to top-tier GOP candidates Ben Carson (+8), Carly Fiorina (+7) and Donald Trump (-33).

Biden would also out-perform Clinton in hypothetical head-to-head general election matchups against top Republican presidential hopefuls.

CNN is even willing to keep a seat warm for him at the first debate:

Vice President Joe Biden will be invited to participate in the first Democratic presidential primary debate if he declares his intention to seek his party’s nomination as late as the day of the debate, eligibility criteria released Monday by CNN shows.

It’s time, Joe — RUN!

Martland Speaks

September 29th, 2015 - 5:28 am

Now that he’s been drummed out of the Army, former Green Beret Charles Martland is free to speak his mind — and he’s not shy about it, either.


“Kicking me out of the Army is morally wrong and the entire country knows it,” Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland said, in his first public statement on his case.

The detailed written statement, requested by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., was shared by the congressman’s office with Hunter, who has advocated on Martland’s behalf, intends to submit the statement to the House Armed Services Committee.

Martland’s case has received renewed attention amid recent press reports on the U.S. military’s handling of child abuse allegations involving Afghan allies. In his statement, Martland gives a blunt account of the September 2011 encounter with the “brutal child rapist,” local police commander Abdul Rahman. He acknowledges the confrontation, but suggests the commander exaggerated his injuries — and argues that the boy’s safety, as well as American lives, was at stake that day.

Martland said the Afghan Local Police had been “committing atrocities,” raising concerns that many locals viewed as “worse than the Taliban” — and if locals returned to the Taliban, attacks against U.S. forces would increase.

“While I understand that a military lawyer can say that I was legally wrong, we felt a moral obligation to act,” he said.

I’d love to see the next President reinstate Martland and reverse this abominable policy of protecting pederasts.

Thought for the Day

September 28th, 2015 - 4:44 pm

Bye-Bye, Jeb

September 28th, 2015 - 1:58 pm
Maybe he should have gone with a bigger exclamation mark. (AP photo)

Maybe he should have gone with a bigger exclamation mark.
(AP photo)


Jeb Bush is entering a critical phase of his Republican presidential campaign, with top donors warning that the former Florida governor needs to demonstrate growth in the polls over the next month or face serious defections among supporters.

The warnings, expressed by numerous senior GOP fund­raisers in recent days, come as Bush and an allied super PAC are in the early stages of an aggressive television ad campaign they say will help erase doubts about his viability.


By now, you surely know that Donald Trump is the least-liked Republican candidate for president. How could he not be, after months and months of coverage of how disliked he is? A new Fox News survey reveals that, thanks to opposition from Democrats, Trump is indeed viewed less favorably than any other candidate.

But if you look only at Republican respondents, that changes: Republicans view Jeb Bush even worse.

Among all voters, Trump is at negative-25 — that is, he is viewed 25 points more unfavorably than favorably. Bush is at -21. Among Republicans? Bush gets lower marks than anyone, at plus-1. Even Chris Christie is at +4.

The fundraisers have given a rusty candidate just four weeks to turn around the worst favorability ratings in the GOP field. Adding to Jeb’s chore is that he’s never generated much love with voters, and his only real strength is (was?) with the fundraisers.

Not gonna happen.

Say It with Me Now…

September 28th, 2015 - 12:22 pm


After seven years I guess nobody should be shocked that reports on the economy now go and put the “unexpectedly” right up top in the headline.

Anyway, here’s the story:

Contract signings to purchase previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly declined in August for just the second time this year, signaling residential real estate might have difficulty building on recent momentum.

An index of pending home sales decreased 1.4 percent after a 0.5 percent advance in July, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for the gauge to climb 0.4 percent.

A scant supply of homes for sale that’s keeping prices elevated is hampering demand. At the same time, historically low mortgage rates and steady employment gains should help underpin the market as the broader U.S. economy battles headwinds from dollar appreciation and slower overseas growth.

What’s so unexpected? The “cure” for the real estate bubble was to re-inflate home prices, and we’re supposed to be shocked that potential buyers are getting priced out of the market?

We should have learned this lesson during the Great Depression, back when all Smart Democrats™ (and not a few Smart Republicans™) thought that the way to cure poverty was to make everything — from commodities to labor — more expensive. And yet somehow laborers remained unemployed and the economy stayed in the tank until FDR died and took his ruinous economic beliefs with him.

And yet here we are again.

And again.

True Non-Crime

September 28th, 2015 - 11:37 am


A woman who disappeared 31 years ago in Germany and was registered dead after a man confessed to her murder, was found two weeks ago living in Dusseldorf, the International Business Times reported.

In 1984, Petra Pazsitka, a 24-year-old computer science student, failed to show up at her brother’s birthday celebration, setting off a massive police search. Pazsitka was living in student housing at the time in the German city of Braunschweig.

Detectives elicited help from a popular German crime show called “Aktenzeichen XY,” and later a suspect in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl confessed to killing Pazsitka, according to NBC News.

It seems Pazsitka went into hiding to get away from her family.

But the first thing I wondered was, How did police get a confession to a non-murder and who did the confessing? According to the NBC story linked above, the “guilty” man was the suspect in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl from the same area — but that still doesn’t explain how the police got a confession out of him for Pazsitka non-murder.

Required Reading

September 28th, 2015 - 10:47 am
Only the first? (AP photo)

Only the first?
(AP photo)

Ace on the Boehner resignation and the need to clean House:

The current idea, favored by the same folks who thought that Boehner was such an Indispensable Man are now agitating to put his loyal (???) lieutenant Kevin McCarthy into the position. Kevin McCarthy is, if it’s possible, a worse RINO than Boehner, and was by Boehner’s side as he punished critics and dissidents for daring to represent their constituents’ interests.

Mark Levin just described Kevin McCarthy as “just as bad as Eric Cantor and ten IQ points dumber.”

Under no circumstances should the Freedom Caucus permit McCarthy, Scalise, or Cathy McMorris Rogers — all the Boehner Warriors who have brought GOP morale to all-time lows — to serve in any leadership position. A purge is a purge. To permit any of this crew to profit from their disasters would show the GOP to be what many of us strongly suspect it is — basically, the Teachers Union for RINOs, an organization devoted to protecting its members jobs and not to serving its alleged constituents.

4. And on that point, note that if McCarthy, Scalise, and McMorris Rogers merely advance one step each in the leadership, then the only person to have paid any price here is Boehner; the rest of them will actually benefit from the Freedom Caucus forcing them out.

They should not benefit. We keep saying, of Obama, that failure ought to have consequences; how can this team be characterized as anything other than complete failures?

Are we rewarding Republican failures while claiming Obama should be held accountable for his own?

How does that work?

Read the whole thing — it’s required.

I’d add that perhaps Boehner didn’t deserve quite all the kicking around he’s gotten, but that his leadership certainly doesn’t fit the current mood of the grassroots GOP. The grassroots wants blood, and Boehner’s was as good a place to start the bloodletting as any, although perhaps only because his was most readily available.

This bloodlust also explains Donald Trumps “He fights!” appeal. He might be little more than an overaged and under-informed Mean Girl with bad hair and a worse tan, but he has drawn blood, or at least the appearance of having drawn blood, from the unloved and untrusted GOP establishment.

Over on the Senate side however, Mitch McConnell richly deserves everything he’s gotten and more, and it can only be hoped that his is the next scalp collected by the grassroots.

The Water Must Flow

September 28th, 2015 - 9:19 am
(Image courtesy Warner Bros.)

(Image courtesy Warner Bros.)

NASA teased us all weekend, and at last here’s the big reveal:

Liquid water runs down canyons and crater walls over the summer months on Mars, according to researchers who say the discovery raises the odds of the planet being home to some form of life.

The trickles leave long, dark stains on the Martian terrain that can reach hundreds of metres downhill in the warmer months, before they dry up in the autumn as surface temperatures drop.

Images taken from the Mars orbit show cliffs, and the steep walls of valleys and craters, streaked with summertime flows that in the most active spots combine to form intricate fan-like patterns.

Scientists are unsure where the water comes from, but it may rise up from underground ice or salty aquifers, or condense out of the thin Martian atmosphere.

“There is liquid water today on the surface of Mars,” Michael Meyer, the lead scientist on Nasa’s Mars exploration programme, told the Guardian. “Because of this, we suspect that it is at least possible to have a habitable environment today.”

Habitable for whom is the great unanswered question — us, the Chinese, or the Martians?

Assad Is Here to Stay

September 28th, 2015 - 8:20 am

Watch as another red line dissolves into thin air:

With its Syria policy in tatters and Europe alarmed at a tide of refugees, the Obama administration and its allies are contemplating a policy shift that once seemed unthinkable: A peace formula that would allow President Bashar Assad to remain in office, at least on an interim basis.

Assad’s future, and a possibly revamped U.S. strategy on Syria, are expected to be high on the agenda as the United Nations General Assembly meets Monday in New York and President Obama sits down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia appears to be doubling down on its support for Assad, bolstering military aid to Damascus just as the West is wavering on its insistence that Assad must go.

“Interim” in the same temporary way Putin annexed Crimea.

I’d also question Patrick McDonnell’s use of “Syria policy” in the lede. The Administration’s “policy” on Syria has been nonexistent where it hasn’t been inconsistent, and feckless where it hasn’t been nonexistent.

We haven’t had a policy on Syria since Obama backed away from his own red line on chemical weapons — just a series of half-measures to mask his retreat.

The only remaining question is what further concessions Putin will extract from Obama in exchange for pretending to agree that someday Assad will go.

Sign “O” the Times

September 28th, 2015 - 7:14 am
(Chart courtesy

(Chart courtesy

Commercial real estate looks like another bubble ready to pop:

Fitch rates Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities. So it warned: “CMBS cannot afford a repeat of the 2008-2009 experience.”

Commercial property prices in the US rose 1.1% in August from July, and 10.2% from a year ago, according to the Green Street Commercial Property Price Index (CPPI).

They have soared 95% from May 2009 and are now 19.3% higher than they’d been in September 2007, the peak of the crazy commercial property bubble that collapsed spectacularly during the Financial Crisis.

“While commercial real estate values have continued to move higher, the pace of appreciation has slowed compared to earlier in the year,” Green Street Advisors explained to soothe our nerves.

The chart shows how much smaller the prior bubble was than today’s monster. And it wasn’t a bubble either until after it had imploded, collapsing to 2004 levels and taking down CMBS bonds with it. Then the Fed reflated the whole thing to its current glorious state.

How many times can we ride this roller coaster?

Who Lost Iraq

September 28th, 2015 - 6:36 am
The lamest of ducks. (AP photo)

The lamest of ducks.
(AP photo)

There’s no question mark in the headline because there’s no question about it — Obama lost Iraq, and he lost it to Vladimir Putin and Ali Khamenei.

Iraq announced on Sunday that it had reached a deal with Russia to begin sharing “security and intelligence” information about ISIS, the Associated Press reported.

The announcement came amid reports that Russian, Syrian, and Iranian military advisers had begun building a coordination cell in Baghdad in an effort to bolster the Iranian-backed Shia militias fighting the Islamic State in northern Iraq.

As Russia builds up its military presence in Syria, its coordination with Iran in Baghdad raises questions about what role, if any, Russian president Vladimir Putin intends to take on in Iraq.

Raises questions? Really?

Toking Better Than Popping?

September 28th, 2015 - 5:37 am
In this Aug. 19, 2015, photo Canna Care employee Jill Van Winkle displays medicinal marijuana at the medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento, Calif. The likelihood that California voters will be asked to legalize recreational marijuana next year is prompting lawmakers to make a serious run at reining in the state's vast medical marijuana industry — a job they have deferred for nearly two decades. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

In this Aug. 19, 2015, photo Canna Care employee Jill Van Winkle displays medicinal marijuana at the medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento, Calif. The likelihood that California voters will be asked to legalize recreational marijuana next year is prompting lawmakers to make a serious run at reining in the state’s vast medical marijuana industry — a job they have deferred for nearly two decades. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Medical marijuana seems to be saving a few lives:

A new study shows something very interesting about the presence of medical marijuana and the abuse of opiate painkillers. States where medical marijuana is legal (on the state level) have seen a drop in opioid overdoses by 25 percent, leading supporters to point to it as yet another reason to end the prohibition of marijuana.

Colleen Barry is a health policy researcher at John Hopkins Bloomberg Shool of Public Health and the co-author of the study.

“The difference is quite striking,” she said.

In the study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers hypothesize that where medical marijuana is available, patients could be using the herb to treat their pain. This could result in a lower dosage of opiate based painkillers like Percocet, which in turn lowers the likelihood of addiction and deaths related to it.

The probable reason? It’s a lot harder to accidentally kill yourself on pot than it is on illegally obtained painkillers:

The Rand/UCI study found that there was no decline in the distribution of legal opioid painkillers in states with dispensaries. Thus, the researchers suggest that the reduction in painkiller abuse in these states comes less from patients switching their prescriptions, than from people who were taking illegally obtained opioids replacing the drugs with legal weed. In other words — the findings suggest that dispensaries may have saved the lives of some recreational pill-poppers, who quit hard drugs once they got a pot prescription.

Of course, legalized pot wouldn’t be quite so necessary is the FDA didn’t scare doctors into under prescribing pain medication, even for those who desperately need it.

Friday Night Videos

September 25th, 2015 - 10:01 pm

If you had the bad luck to see ABC’s ham-fisted and ill-conceived attempt at rebooting The Muppet Show as a latenight dramedy, then please allow me to provide the bleach your brain requires.

We loved The Muppet Show because it was zany, cheerful, and sweet in equal measure. Have we grown too jaded and ironic for that recipe? I hope not.

Thought for the Day

September 25th, 2015 - 4:07 pm

Gut Kveschton

September 25th, 2015 - 1:24 pm

Erik Kirschbaum asks whatever happened to German culture in America:

Indeed, aside from Oktoberfest, German culture has largely disappeared from the American landscape. What happened?

At the turn of the last century, Germans were the predominant ethnic group in the United States — some eight million people, out of a population of 76 million. New York City had one of the world’s largest German-speaking populations, trailing only Berlin and Vienna, with about a quarter of its 3.4 million people conversing auf Deutsch. Entire communities, spreading from northern Wisconsin to rural Texas, consisted almost exclusively of German immigrants and their children.

As they spread through the country, they founded church denominations, singing societies, even whole industries — pre-Prohibition brewing was dominated by Germans, whose names live on in brands like Pabst, Busch and Miller. Their numbers shaped the media — there were 488 German-language daily and weekly newspapers around 1900 keeping the language and culture alive — and politics: Midwestern German-Americans were a backbone of the early Republican Party.

Read the whole thing — it’s a fascinating piece.

My short answer to the question though is just one word: Assimilation.

We used to be quite good at it.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Lives

September 25th, 2015 - 12:06 pm
(Image courtesy Adweek)

(Image courtesy Adweek)

See something, swerve something:

Jumping behind the wheel in Argentina can sometimes be a dangerous experience. Because the country is striped with narrow two-lane roads, cars often pull into oncoming traffic hoping to overtake slower-moving trucks. This risky maneuver contributes to a shocking statistic: In Argentina, traffic accidents kill one person every hour.

Faced with this alarming reality, Samsung and its agency Leo Burnett Argentina set out on a bold mission to curtail the number of traffic-related deaths caused on those dangerous roads. Fusing Samsung’s technology with Leo Burnett’s creative prowess, the duo landed on Samsung trucks as the perfect vehicle, so to speak, for a campaign that had the potential to save lives as it showcased cutting-edge technology.

The resulting idea, heralded at the Cannes Lions as one of the world’s top creative efforts, has now also received the Gravity Award, the top honor in Adweek’s Project Isaac Awards honoring creative invention.



September 25th, 2015 - 10:51 am


Americans are “fed up” with politics, suspect the wealthy are getting an unfair edge, and think the country is going in the wrong direction, according to a new Bloomberg Politics poll that lays bare the depth and breadth of the discontents propelling outsider candidates in the Republican presidential field.

The survey shows that 72 percent of Americans think their country isn’t as great as it once was—a central theme of front-runner Donald Trump’s campaign. More than a third prefer a presidential candidate without experience in public office.


The United States, ranked second in worldwide economic freedom as recently as 2000, has plummeted to 16th, according to a new report of world economies.

The Fraser Institute’s annual report, Economic Freedom of the World, showed that the country’s drop started in 2010, the second year of the Obama administration.

There’s no pretending these results aren’t causally connected.

Krauts with Frickin’ Laser Beams

September 25th, 2015 - 9:34 am

HEL 2013

Germany’s Rheinmetall Defense Electronics has a powerful new turret-mounted laser gun:

The system, unveiled at the Defense and Security Equipment Industry Expo in London, features four high energy lasers mounted on turret, making it look like some kind of laser Gatling gun, Popular Mechanics reported.

The four 20 kilowatt lasers fire simultaneously, in a technique known as superimposition which combines them into a single powerful 80 kilowatt beam.

According to the company, using superimposition there’s not limit to the amount of energy that can be focused on a target — just add more lasers.

I would like to add more lasers, please.

Many more lasers.

Panic Time in Clintonland

September 25th, 2015 - 8:18 am
Ran his last winning campaign 19 years ago. (AP photo)

Ran his last winning campaign 19 years ago.
(AP photo)

“Bring back Bill,” is the worried cry among Democratic insiders.


Democratic fundraisers are urging Hillary Clinton to make Bill Clinton a bigger part of her presidential campaign, particularly when it comes to fundraising.

The donors, who have contributed some of the biggest checks to President Obama and the Democratic Party, are disappointed by the lack of face time, overall communication and gratitude from Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.

“Fundraising is not a natural strong suit for Hillary,” one top Democratic fundraiser bluntly said.

Hillary Clinton is “lacking a certain personal touch,” the person said. The source added that the former secretary of State “publicly, is a little stiff.”

This same thing happened in 2008, when Hillary’s campaign began to falter against Barack Obama’s masterful ground game.

Now it’s happening again — and yet the opposition is an aging socialist (other than Hillary, I mean) and an aging Veep who isn’t even running.

An Open Letter to Mitch McConnell

September 25th, 2015 - 7:42 am

Putin’s Not-So-Secret War VI

September 25th, 2015 - 7:01 am
 In this Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 file pool photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, meets with officers after military exercises at Donguz range in Orenburg region, Russia. With dozens of Russian combat jets and helicopter gunships lined up at an air base in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready for a big-time show at the United Nations General Assembly. Observers expect the Russian leader to call for stronger U.N.-sanctioned global action against the Islamic State group and possibly announce some military moves in his speech on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, file)

In this Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 file pool photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, meets with officers after military exercises at Donguz range in Orenburg region, Russia. With dozens of Russian combat jets and helicopter gunships lined up at an air base in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready for a big-time show at the United Nations General Assembly. Observers expect the Russian leader to call for stronger U.N.-sanctioned global action against the Islamic State group and possibly announce some military moves in his speech on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, file)

I got a chuckle out of the bit about the transponders, which reminded me about the old joke about plans for the first manned trip to the sun.

“But you’ll burn up!”

“We’ll land at night.”

Anyway, read what the Russians are up to now:

A U.S. official told CNN Thursday that Russian fighter jets turned off their transponders as they flew into Syria in an apparent attempt to avoid detection. The official said the fighters flew very close to a transport plane that had its transponder on and functioning.

U.S. satellites rapidly saw that the aircraft were there, according to the official.

The assessment over the weekend was that the fighter jets were on their way. The same official said the Russians have begun flying drones around the coastal city of Latakia.

With no ISIS fighters in the area, the move raises serious questions about the Russians’ intentions with their military buildup, which the U.S. has questioned the purpose of and watched with wariness.

I’m over it — it’s not “our” Middle East anymore. It will at least be interesting to see what the Russians do do with the place.

Fiorina and the Individual Mandate

September 25th, 2015 - 5:50 am
We hardly knew her. (AP photo)

We hardly knew her.
(AP photo)

This could be just the kind of thing to reverse those rising poll numbers with a GOP primary electorate which isn’t exactly thrilled with ♡bamaCare!!!:

Carly Fiorina, who has joined other leading Republican presidential candidates in denouncing Obamacare, once backed an individual mandate to buy health insurance that could put her at odds with others in the GOP.

During a panel discussion on CNN’s “Crossfire” in 2013 about the law with former CNN host Stephanie Cutter, Fiorina said she supports keeping the requirement that every American purchase health insurance.

That’s bad. Although it’s not as bad as it could be, as Allahpundit explains:

She wasn’t endorsing the ObamaCare mandate, her campaign spokesperson tells CNN, she was endorsing a mandate that would force everyone to carry cheaper, high-deductible catastrophic coverage. The point of ObamaCare is to force healthy young adults to buy elaborate plans they don’t really need, thus creating a rich new revenue stream that can help insurers cover expensive treatments for the sick and elderly. The point of Fiorina’s plan is to force people who have the means to pay a small premium to protect themselves from the cost of accidents and serious illnesses, so that the public isn’t stuck with the bill when some of those people inevitably end up in the ER. The cost and ambitions of the two programs are different.

What sticks in my craw however is that Fiorina was supporting any kind of mandate after the Supreme Court had ruled that mandates were unconstitutional. Of course, Chief Justice Roberts also ruled that the mandate was actually a tax, so maybe Fiorina is just in favor of taxing healthy people for being healthy.

Or something.

In any case, Fiorina has clearly failed to think this one through on constitutional or political grounds.