Bush was, by far, the best that I've seen him in his just-started presidential campaign. Gone was the somewhat-bumbling, uncertain speech-giver. (He did make a weird reference to campaign finance law and an odd joke about the weather in Miami, for what it's worth.) In its place was a politician of conviction who had total command of who he was and what he believed. CPAC is a win for Bush -- the first one in front of people who might actually vote in a Republican primary he's had.
Monday, March 2, 2015
What you're looking at here is a major breakthrough. The image reveals a property of light that has never been witnessed before by human eyes, though we've long known about it. But at last, thanks in an ingenious imaging experiment, we can now see how light behaves as a wave and a particle at the same time.
I guess there's nothing that says light can't look like that.
The Washington Post reported last week that the tax-exempt foundation run by Bill and Hillary Clinton accepted money from seven foreign governments while Hillary served as U.S. Secretary of State (it’s unclear how much foreign money the organization accepted while Hillary was a U.S. Senator). Super shady, right? It’s worse than that, though, because Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution actually bans foreign payola for U.S. officials.
The constitutional ban on foreign cash payments to U.S. officials is known as the Emoluments Clause and originated from Article VI of the Articles of Confederation. The purpose of the clause was to prevent foreign governments from buying influence in the U.S. by paying off U.S. government officials.
Seems like a good idea.
President Obama, seeking to explain his veto of a bill that would have leapfrogged the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline, in an interview with a North Dakota station repeated some false claims that had previously earned him Pinocchios. Yet he managed to make his statement even more misleading than before, suggesting the pipeline would have no benefit for American producers at all.
Vladimir Putin actually started, and ended, the inquiry while Boris’s body was still warm by calling the murder a “provocation,” the term of art for suggesting that the Russian president’s enemies are murdering one another to bring shame upon the shameless. He then brazenly sent his condolences to Boris’s mother, who had often warned her fearless son that his actions could get him killed in Putin’s Russia.
Hours after Boris’s death, news reports said that police were raiding his home and confiscating papers and computers. President Putin’s enemies are often victims and his victims are always suspects.
Eric Braverman Tried to Change the Clinton Foundation. Then He Quit. - Kenneth P. Vogel - POLITICO Magazine
The previously untold saga of Braverman’s brief, and occasionally fraught tenure trying to navigate the Clintons’ insular world highlights the challenges the family has faced trying to impose rigorous oversight onto a vast global foundation that relies on some of the same loyal mega-donors Hillary Clinton will need for the presidential run sources have said she is all but certain to launch later this year.
But it remains unclear which way Roberts will rule. The challengers argue that the plain English of a phrase in the law referring to marketplaces “established by the state” clearly prohibits subsidies from being disbursed on federally run exchanges not established by states.
The administration argues that is a nonsensical reading of one phrase that is contradicted by the rest of the law, which makes no mention of restricting subsidies only to some states.
My guess is Roberts will vote to uphold the law and so will Kennedy. Just sayin'. But I could be wrong and I hope I am.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
"He said he would reveal persuasive evidence of the involvement of Russian armed forces in Ukraine. Someone was very afraid of this ... They killed him," Poroshenko said in televised comments during a visit to the city of Vinnytsia.
Besides, Russia’s return to atavism is more disturbing to Westerners than any ISIS madness. At a deep, if unstated level, Muslims acting like barbarians has been part of our script for so long that it fails to stir our fears except when it comes close, as in Paris recently. The only thing that’s shocking is how the madmen are capturing it all on YouTube now. But Russians are Europeans of a sort, they look rather like us, but they certainly don’t think and act like us, and this is disconcerting to Europeans, and many Americans, at a level that cannot be easily expressed. The white caveman of progressive nightmares is back, and his name is Vladimir Putin.
Read the whole thing. This guy is good.
As the situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate, with the Russian military and its “rebel” minions never having honored the Minsk-brokered “ceasefire” for even an hour, something like low-grade panic is setting in among NATO capitals. Western elites have a tough time sizing up Putin and his agenda realistically, for reasons I’ve elaborated, and the situation seems not to be improving.
German has a delightfully cynical line, die Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt (hope dies last), that sums up much of the wishful thinking that currently holds sway in Berlin, Paris, and Washington, DC. As the reality that Putin knows he is at war against Ukraine, and may seek a wider war against NATO too, is a prospect so terrifying that thousands of Western diplomats and “foreign policy experts” would rather not ponder it, so they don’t.
A cherry manufacturing king committed suicide in a Brooklyn factory after his business was exposed Tuesday as a “Breaking Bad”-style drug den, sources said.
“Take care of my kids!” Arthur Mondella, 57, screamed to his sister after locking himself in a bathroom at the Dell’s Maraschino Cherries company.
The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden 'black site' | US news | The Guardian
“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Church told the Guardian on Friday. “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”
Here's what we learned: Bush has staying power, despite conservatives' suspicion that he's a closet moderate. Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, is hot — the new more-conservative hope to stop the Bush juggernaut. Sens. Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) could rise if Walker stumbles. Chris Christie looks like a spent force. And Rand Paul is still Rand Paul.
Just after midnight on Friday, Boris Nemtsov, a fifty-five-year-old Russian opposition politician, was gunned down as he walked across a bridge just outside the Kremlin walls. A car drove past, shots rang out, and Nemtsov was killed by four bullets to the back. His body lay on the sidewalk as police, journalists, and colleagues rushed to the scene. The last assassination in Moscow was that of Stanislav Markelov, a human-rights lawyer, who, along with the journalist Anastasia Baburova, was killed outside a subway stop in 2009. Before that, it was the renowned journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered in her apartment building in 2006. It had been six years since such people were shot dead in Moscow.
Friday, February 27, 2015
To the casual Washington observer, the path from partisan politics to theology might not be obvious, but it has nonetheless quietly become well trod. This past spring, former Mitt Romney adviser and longtime political operative Eric Fehrnstrom surprised colleagues by announcing he would pursue a master's in theological studies at Boston College. Like McCurry's degree, the credential Fehrnstrom is earning is academic—meaning that he isn't seeking to be ordained—and he continues to consult on political campaigns with the Shawmut Group. Over the summer, Matt Rhodes, a former spokesman for the House Budget Committee, left his position at the American Hotel & Lodging Association to follow a call to the seminary and ordained priesthood in the Episcopal Church.
Hopeful I guess.
As the frigid water and ice chunks poured into the open window, the pickup truck plummeted to the bottom of Lake Minnetonka and Ryan Neslund felt the surge of panic and fear.
“I was doomed,” said the 35-year-old paraplegic.
There is a God and He likes ice-fishing.
All galaxies are thought to have supermassive black holes at their center. These start out small—with masses equivalent to between 100 and 100,000 suns—and build up over time by consuming the gas, dust, and stars around them or by merging with other black holes to reach sizes measured in millions or billions of solar masses. Such binge eating usually takes billions of years, but a team of astronomers was stunned to discover what is, in galactic terms, a monstrous baby: a gigantic black hole of 12 billion solar masses in a barely newborn galaxy, just 875 million years after the big bang. The researchers report online in Nature today that they were scouring through several astronomical surveys looking for bright objects in the very early universe called quasars, galaxies that burn very bright because their central black holes are consuming material so fast. The monster they found (depicted in this artist’s impression) is roughly 3000 times the size of our Milky Way’s central black hole. To have grown to such a size in so short a time, it must have been munching matter at close to the maximum physically possible rate for most of its existence. Its large size and rate of consumption also makes it the brightest object in that distant era, and astronomers can use its bright light to study the composition of the early universe: how much of the original hydrogen and helium from the big bang had been forged into heavier elements in the furnaces of stars.
(Newser) – Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero said in 2013 that surgery to transplant a human head would be possible soon. Now he's set to announce a project to do just that, via a keynote lecture at the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons annual conference this June. He sees the procedure as being possible as soon as 2017 and believes it should be pursued as a means of saving people with, say, multi-organ cancer, reports New Scientist. But the obstacles loom so large—spinal cord fusion among them—that most surgeons the magazine contacted dismissed the proposal altogether. "There is no evidence that the connectivity of cord and brain would lead to useful sentient or motor function," a prominent surgeon said. But earlier this month, Canavero sketched out what he considers to be a viable procedure in Surgical Neurology International:
New body here I come. This is going to be so Awesome. Italy kinda gives me pause though.
“John Oliver absolutely helped turn the tide in the net-neutrality debate,” says Aram Sinnreich, professor at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information in New Brunswick, N.J. “The FCC got flooded with an unprecedented number of citizen contributions to the policy discussions afterwards, that probably wouldn’t have happened to that extent otherwise.”
That's just great. But this won't work with the courts.
Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)An American missionary in Nigeria has been kidnapped in what authorities call a "purely criminal" act.
There's a Baptist sect or branch or something called the "Anti-Mission Baptists." I don't know, I but I guess that as per Calvin, they think it's all pre-destined anyway, so missions are a waste of time. You don't want to think about that too carefully.
oday’s vote by a bitterly divided Federal Communications Commission that the Internet should be regulated as a public utility is the culmination of a decade-long battle by the Left. Using money from George Soros and liberal foundations that totaled at least $196 million, radical activists finally succeeded in ramming through “net neutrality,” or the idea that all data should be transmitted equally over the Internet. The final push involved unprecedented political pressure exerted by the Obama White House on FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, head of an ostensibly independent regulatory body.
It's up to the courts now.
Obama to ban bullets by executive action, threatens top-selling AR-15 rifle | WashingtonExaminer.com
As promised, President Obama is using executive actions to impose gun control on the nation, targeting the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 style semi-automatic, with a ban on one of the most-used AR bullets by sportsmen and target shooters.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this month revealed that it is proposing to put the ban on 5.56 mm ammo on a fast track, immediately driving up the price of the bullets and prompting retailers, including the huge outdoors company Cabela's, to urge sportsmen to urge Congress to stop the president.
The watchdog agency found the backed-up emails by consulting with IRS information-technology specialists, according to TIGTA Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Tim Camus.
“They were right where you would expect them to be,” he said at the rare late-night hearing, which lasted until about 10 p.m.
Bad enough. Then it got worse: News leaked Monday of the elements of a “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
He was lucky again on July 6, 2013. Thanks to various competing news stories (a plane crash in San Francisco, the Trayvon Martin shooting trial), Americans did not dwell on a fiery oil-train accident in Canada that killed 47. For if there’s one boom Mr. Obama can claim authorship of, it’s the oil-by-rail boom.
Mysterious East Coast flooding was caused by ‘unprecedented’ surge in sea level - The Washington Post
But global warming wasn’t the sole culprit. The study suggested a change in ocean currents coupled with persistent winds that pushed water into the region caused the spike — which may be the first of many. The seas are rising, Yin told The Post, but the ascent isn’t smooth or even. The mechanics of sea rise aren’t dissimilar to temperatures rising during spring. During some years, the weather gets warmer faster — but the general trend is upward.
As the cast of NBC’s long-running sitcom “Parks and Recreation” came together on-screen for a final hug last night, I started to cry in a way I haven’t since I was a child and my mother came to the last page of “These Happy Golden Years,” the final volume in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” series. One of the special things about television is the opportunity to live alongside your favorite characters season after season. And if you’re particularly lucky, a series can come along precisely at the moment when you need it, showing you the world and life as it can be.
Maybe this only happens to chicks. I guess I was pretty sad when The Wire was over and I did cry during the opening of the first LOTR movie. So yeah.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Attorney General Holder accuses Americans of being afraid to talk honestly about race relations, then uses his office to scapegoat police departments for black pathology. The conversation that Mr. Holder wants to have about race assumes facts not in evidence. It is also the wrong message to send to the young black men responsible for so much violent crime. These lawsuits make excuses for behavior that ought to be condemned and distract from a much more consequential debate about black cultural attitudes toward work, marriage, parenting and the rule of law. What ails these black communities are the Michael Browns, not the Darren Wilsons. And Mr. Holder’s war on cops won’t change that.
Exposure to UV light from the sun or from tanning beds can damage the DNA in melanocytes, the cells that make the melanin that gives skin its color. This damage is a major cause of skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. In the past, experts believed that melanin protected the skin by blocking harmful UV light. But there was also evidence from studies suggesting that melanin was associated with skin cell damage.
Everything you thought was good is bad.
Every so often, the fossil record shows, ecological disasters wipe large numbers of species off the face of Earth. These mass extinctions occur roughly every 26 million to 30 million years—about the same interval at which our solar system passes through the plane of the Milky Way. Putting two and two together, some researchers have proposed that clouds of dust and gas in the galactic plane might disrupt the orbits of far-flung comets and trigger planet-smacking collisions. A new study suggests an additional culprit may lie behind those times of woe: dark matter.
Scarier than global warming.
Now for the creepy aspects: There are cameras everywhere. In the casinos, obviously, but also on the streetlights, the walls and every overhang. When I asked the cab driver whether there was much crime on the Strip, he laughed and pointed to the cameras. “No crime,” he said. “No point. Cameras everywhere.”
It always struck me that there would be a lot of different sorts of places in a libertarian heaven -- places like Vegas and places like Ave Maria Town. You get to choose your poison.
The sluggish disintegration of a weak peace deal in Ukraine has come as nothing less than a blessing for President Obama. It has helped mask his administration's inability to determine the best response to the crisis, and to Russia.
But this respite will not last. Given the events on the ground, Obama will soon have to decide whether to send weapons and trainers to the Ukrainian government and risk turning what has been largely a border skirmish into a major conflict by proxy with serious implications for the United States, Europe, and American interests worldwide.
At least we know the decisions are in good hands. Kidding!
Monday, February 23, 2015
The Insiders: Why would anyone think Obama doesn’t love America? Plenty of reasons. - The Washington Post
And then there are the numerous odd incidents that cumulatively give us a picture of a president who doesn’t really care, including the disrespectful “latte salute”; the non sequitur of removing the bust of America’s great ally Winston Churchill from the White House; his embrace of the perpetually aggrieved Rev. Al Sharpton; right down to appointing a civil rights lawyer as secretary of labor even if he tends to look for grievances instead of helping to build up traditional businesses that put bread on the table for many Americans.
Maybe he's just not that into America.
I live in the liberal bubble of Park Slope, Brooklyn, where no yuppie would ever admit to wanting their kid to be anything in particular, other than happy. But more often than not, we define happiness as some variation on our own lives, or at least the lives of our expectations. If we went to college, we want our kids to go to college. If we like sports, we want our kids to like sports. If we vote Democrat, of course we want our kids to vote Democrat.
I’m gay. And I want my kid to be gay, too.
Meanwhile, Posner suggests that libertarians should be happy that there is an educational market at work here. Yet, not a single university has, for esxample, challenged the Department of Education’s new sexual assault guidelines, which are contrary to both what the law actually says and the policies most universities had adopted beforehand. This isn’t the product of competitive marketplace forces at work, but of diktat from the government, sufficiently intimidating to cow even the Harvards of the world.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
As she climbed out of the car 90 minutes before sunrise, Kate Matrosova could not have seen the top of Mount Washington, 5,000 feet above in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. It was 5 a.m., still dark and already overcast on the Sunday before Presidents’ Day.
The forecast was frightening, but it did not dissuade her: Matrosova was headed for the summit.
Read this by your cozy fire.
Much ink has been spilled over what Republicans must do if the Supreme Court decides, in the upcoming case of King v. Burwell, that the Affordable Care Act does not authorize the government to provide subsidies to people enrolled on federal healthcare exchanges. Such a decision would cripple ACA implementation, imperil health coverage for millions and, so the thinking goes, put pressure on state and congressional Republicans to save the subsidies and the statute.
But conventional wisdom has it backwards — as long as Democrats remain unwilling to consider ACA alternatives, they are the ones who face fallout from such a decision.
When Lenovo preinstalled Superfish adware on its laptops, it betrayed its customers and sold out their security. It did it for no good reason, and it may not even have known what it was doing. I’m not sure which is scarier. The various news reports of this catastrophe don’t quite convey the sheer horror and disbelief with which any technically minded person is now reacting to Lenovo’s screw-up. Security researcher Marc Rogers wrote that it’s “quite possibly the single worst thing I have seen a manufacturer do to its customer base. … I cannot overstate how evil this is.” He’s right. The Lenovo Superfish security hole is really, really bad.
All my personal home PCs are Lenovo I basically don't care. But that's just me. It's probably really bad.
This level of patent desperation would be sad if it weren’t being wielded by such despicable people. The political party that harbored massive numbers of 9/11 truthers – i.e., people who accused Bush of Cheney of being guilty of killing thousands of American people on purpose – does not get to lecture Republicans on confronting extremist rhetoric, not with a straight face. Especially not when the rhetoric in question isn’t “I think Obama killed thousands of Americans on purpose just so he could lead us into war,” but rather “I don’t think Obama was raised to love America as much as other people in this country were.” At least arguably, this statement might be damaging to Walker if he had made it himself, but the idea that it will be damaging to Walker that Giuliani said it, and that Walker didn’t condemn him forcefully enough, is an argument so facially laughable that only the truly desperate would attempt to peddle it.
I'm happy to say I don't know what flopsweat smells like. But the attacks on Walker do seem pretty desperate. It makes me think he might be the guy.
New York Times Reporter James Risen Accuses Attorney General Eric Holder of "Wrecking" the First Amendment - The Atlantic
Or not. Risen has launched a one-man crusade against Holder and the Obama administration. Risen escalated that this week with a series of angry tweets replying to a speech Holder gave the National Press Club, in which the reporter blasted the current White House as the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation and accused the attorney general of shredding the First Amendment.