Thursday's HOT MIC

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"Comedy Central" tries to make a witty one; fails.

Finally some movement on the Obama unmasking scandal:

Anyone seen Jeff Sessions lately? Where's the attorney general on this?

The Shadow Brokers, like Smaug, appear to have stolen an NSA hoard of cybertreasures which the agency should have been disseminating instead of keeping back.  "The material was from autumn 2013, and seems to have been collected from an external NSA staging server, a machine that is owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the U.S., but with no connection to the agency. NSA hackers find obscure corners of the internet to hide the tools they need as they go about their work, and it seems the Shadow Brokers successfully hacked one of those caches."

US nav software has a heart attack when C-130 lands in at Dead Sea field below sea level.  "Flying below sea level is obviously a pretty rare occurrence for a plane in good working order, so it's perhaps unsurprising that the navigation systems stopped working."

U.S. troops are now firing 81mm mortars at ISIS in Mosul, an indication of how close they are to the fight.  Reports suggest the Pentagon has deliberately underplayed the role US fire support has played in the maneuver battle till now. "CJTF-OIR noted it did not count artillery support for Iraqi 'maneuver' operations as a 'strike' and therefore does not track how often it occurs or how much ammunition American forces have expended in this role."

Gems is where you find 'em. "Located some 80 miles along a snaking road northeast of Kabul via Bagram, the Panjshir Valley boasts stark mountainous terrain at the foot of the historic Hindu Kush range. Deep in these mountains, hopeful civilians with their home-crafted explosives attempt to blast their way into some money."  Geologists think Afghanistan may have up to a trillion dollars in mineral wealth.

But, but, but, Rick: What about President Hatch? Louise Mensch and her fellow nutters among the @neverTrumpumpkins assure me that Trump, Pence and Ryan are all Russian agents and will soon be in federal custody. Why, the Marshal of the Supreme Court told her so!



And here's the proof!

Utah is reporting that Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is seriously considering retirement after 6 terms. It is believed that Mitt Romney would be interested in running to replace him, but a recent report in Politico has Hatch saying Romney won't run for his seat.

He clearly is waiting out the field – by not announcing his intentions, by not actually starting a campaign – he is keeping other legitimate GOP candidates from announcing, or starting a campaign. Some prospective candidates are becoming impatient and a little irritated that Hatch hasn’t announced his plans.

UtahPolicy is hearing that Hatch will announce in the fall, perhaps as early as August, that he intends to retire and devote his efforts to the Hatch Foundation – which has discussed previously.

Hatch is now 83. He would be 84 during his 2018 re-election run, and be 90 if he served out another full six-year term.

Hatch is already the longest serving Republican senator in U.S. history, having won his first election in 1976 as a then-underdog candidate.

Hatch has held just about every important post in the Senate over the years, currently serving as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee and Senate pro tempore – meaning he is the fourth in line for the U.S. presidency in cases of death or resignations.

UtahPolicy has also been told that former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is serious about running for Hatch’s seat in 2018.

Romney and Hatch are close, and earlier this year Hatch told the media that he would consider not running again if someone “outstanding” were to seek his seat.

Many would say that Hatch has served far too long and has lost touch with his constituents. The Senator had a primary opponent in 2012 who tried to convince Republican voters of that idea, but Hatch still won 65% of the vote.

Hatch saying Romney won't run may just be more of the smokescreen he's throwing up to keep potential challengers guessing as to whether he will run again or not. But given that he's won his last 4 elections by 62% or more, if he wants another term, he can probably get it without too much trouble.

I knew a 4-mile beer pipeline would smoke Kruiser out.

I'm here. Sort of.