October 2015 Archives
Lee Smith describes how Clock Boy's father conned the world by playing on the American Left's racism.
Some have conjectured, perhaps wildly, that Ahmed's father is working on behalf of Islamist parties. Who knows? The reality is that the episode won him a meeting with major Islamist figures, like the prime minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu and the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir. In fact, Mohamed al-Hassan Mohamed wanted to challenge Bashir for the presidency in the 2010 elections, but the Butcher of Darfur, as the accused war criminal who has ruled Sudan since 1989 is popularly known, wouldn't have it. Did Mohamed's political aspirations set the clock-scam in motion? Well, now he's got personal contacts--and photographs!--with an impressive roster of world leaders. And his son is a role model--persecuted by racist Americans and welcomed back to the region by adoring fans. How is Bashir going to prevent a hero's father from running for office next time out? Surely, he's in line for a ministerial position--and the money that will follow as a consequence.
More from Paul Mirengoff about how the Mohameds duped President Obama.
Scroll down the list of honest trailers for anything that catches your eye.
A new brain-to-tablet interface that allows "locked-in" people to interact with the world sounds miraculous. The volunteers and scientists who are developing this technology deserve recognition and thanks.
The team's breakthrough moment came when they realized their point-and-click cursor system was similar to finger tapping on a touchscreen, something most of us do everyday.
We were going to design our own touchscreen hardware, but then realized the best ones were already on the market, laughed [ Dr. Paul ] Nuyujukian, so we went on Amazon instead and bought a Nexus 9 tablet.
The team took their existing setup and reworked it so that patient T6's brain waves could control where she tapped on the Nexus touchscreen. It was a surprisingly easy modification: the neuroprosthetic communicated with the tablet through existing Bluetooth protocols, and the system was up and running in less than a year.
"Basically the tablet recognized the prosthetic as a wireless Bluetooth mouse," explained Nuyujukian. We pointed her to a web browser app and told her to have fun.
In a series of short movie clips, the team demonstrated patient T6 Googling questions about gardening, taking full advantage of the autocompletion feature to speed up her research. T6 had no trouble navigating through tiny links and worked the standard QWERTY keyboard efficiently.
Andrew McCarthy lays out the timeline of Hillary's Benghazi lies. This woman should probably be in jail.
A State Department memo documents that on the very next day after her duplicitous public statement, Clinton informed Egypt's prime minister: "We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. . . . It was a planned attack -- not a protest."
That was just two days before Clinton, in cold-blooded disgrace, looked Charles Woods in the eye and said, "We are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of your son." That was at Andrews as they were receiving the body of Ty Woods, killed while saving American lives in the late hours of a terrorist siege during which his government made no effort to save American lives.
What's more, murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens didn't have Hillary's email address and couldn't request reinforcements while under attack. Maybe she would have known what was going on if she had been using the normal SecState methods of communication instead of a privately-run email server.
Clinton stammered a bit as she confessed this, realizing that she was contradicting her earlier characterization of Stevens as someone she knew and respected, the personal anecdotes that suggested a close relationship and her statement that she had personally asked him to take the job.
Clinton family retainers like Sidney Blumenthal, a notorious conspiracist who was barred from working in her State Department by the Obama administration, were able to reach her whenever they pleased -- but men and women on the front lines of dangerous places had to go through depressing, labyrinthine bureaucratic channels.
Stevens and his team requested more security for the doomed Benghazi compound 600 times. Clinton's response: Sorry, I didn't know. Nobody told me. Oops.
Why didn't anyone tell her? Because no one, outside a carefully handpicked circle of cronies and sycophants, could reach her. Her inner circle treated her the way courtiers treat a queen -- with comical levels of deference and jealous protection of their privilege. Nobody wants to bring Hillary bad news.
Megan McArdle notes that the present period of political chaos is the result of the removal of the various sticks and carrots that the party bosses used to wield to keep control. Americans highly favored the elimination of these tools -- rightly sensing that they were generally used to reinforce the existing power structures at the expense of the citizenry. Now that the tools are gone, the existing power structures are collapsing and things will look chaotic for a while.
Maybe we didn't anticipate the disruption when we removed the carrots and sticks, but this period of chaos will pass. Hopefully we'll end up with a more responsive government.
Meanwhile, we should also count the cost of some of those campaign reforms: They've helped sideline the political parties' establishment leadership, and helped create the current partisan gridlock that so many people lament. People keep asking why John Boehner can't control his caucus, even though the answer is obvious: He has neither carrots nor sticks with which to keep them in line. He can't use earmarks to give anything, and he can't take anything away, because parties no longer control either ballot access or fundraising the way they once did. What's left? Jawboning them about the good of the party, which he has tried, endlessly, with little success. At this point, both the Democratic and Republican parties look more like heritage brands than the powerful institutions they used to be.
One by one, we've stripped away the means that parties used to control their membership: replaced party bosses with primary elections, limited the ability of big donors to directly fund and influence campaigns, cracked down on earmarks and other pork-barrel policies, torn down the congressional institutional structures that used to let a few powerful politicians essentially control what bills made it to a vote. Each step was hailed as a progressive move toward a more flourishing democracy, and perhaps they were. But the more perfect our democracy gets, the more it seems to tend towards chaos. Witness the astonishing longevity of Trump as an electoral force.
Jim Webb dropped out of the Democrat primary a couple of days ago. As a conservative, it's easy to lament that the Other Party is so far out of whack that an honorable man like Webb can't attract much support.
However, don't forget that Senator Webb was the 60th vote required to break a filibuster and pass Obamacare. Webb's decision to run as a Democrat in 2006 was opportunistic, and his support for Obamacare was opportunistic. Now that his usefulness to the Democrats has passed, he shouldn't be surprised to be looking up at the underside of the bus.
Conceding that his "views on many issues are not compatible with the power structure and base of the Democratic Party," Webb, a U.S. senator from 2007 to 2013, left the race Tuesday.
Webb's differences with the party are not entirely about policy issues.
He's just too much of a traditional man to suit the tastes of today's Democrats.
Webb, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, served multiple tours in Vietnam where he took shrapnel, and was secretary of the Navy under President Reagan.
He was an honorable and decorated Marine who said during last week's Democratic debate that the enemy he was most proud of making was the "the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me, but he's not around right now to talk to."
Yep, it's finally here! Keep an eye out for a flying DeLorean.
Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, is the day to which Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox), Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and his dog, Einstein ("Freddie," according to IMDB), traveled through time from 1985 in the movie Back to the Future Part II.
We children of the 1970s and 1980s have anticipated this day for 30 years. Now, though, 2015 is a bust.
Back to the Future II promised weather control, but the best we've mustered is climate change. It promised power shoelaces, bionic implants, hoverboards and Mr. Fusion. We have none of that. I'm looking at you, scientists and engineers. What the heck have you been doing for the past three decades?
I'm a little disappointed, too. But the whole internet thing is pretty cool.
Interesting that almost all of the journalists covering Hillary's campaign are women. Do you think the composition of the press corps is affecting coverage? Hillary and the press corps don't.
The change seems to be a combination of more women doing political reporting in general, and many more being drawn to Clinton's potentially historic candidacy. It's made for an unusual atmosphere, with a female candidate sparring with a nearly all-female corps of reporters. It hasn't brought Clinton more positive coverage, according to those both inside the campaign and outside it. But reporters and press aides alike note that there's a different vibe nonetheless, punctuated by occasional expressions by the candidate herself of camaraderie for fellow pioneers.
But Hillary is intentionally reaching out to female reporters. Presumably she thinks their gender will affect their coverage.
Clinton has also chosen a disproportionate number of female reporters for her first extended interviews. ...
"I don't think that's by accident. It's by design and that's obviously a part of her campaign strategy," said NBC's Clinton embed, Monica Alba.
No one raises an eyebrow if mostly male journalists cover a candidate, so maybe there's nothing to see here.
I learned a new term today that I like: sortition. My spellchecker doesn't recognize the word. Basically, instead of elections, you just randomly select a few hundred citizens to join the legislature every few years. I like it. It would make graft a lot harder.
In governance, sortition (also known as allotment) is the selection of officers as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates.
In ancient Athenian democracy, sortition was the primary method for appointing political officials and its use was regarded as a principal characteristic of democracy.
Sortition is commonly used to select prospective jurors in common law-based legal systems and is sometimes used today in forming citizen groups with political advisory power (citizens' juries or citizens' assemblies).
A fantastic video that demonstrates some techniques for fighting in plate armor. The mobility of the combatants will surprise you.
It's hard to read this without laughing, but apparently Obama can denounce Iranian perfidy while still proclaiming their trustworthiness. How gullible is President Obama?
"In contrast to the repeated violations of the U.N. Security Council resolution that pertains to their ballistic missile activities, we've seen that Iran over the last couple of years has demonstrated a track record of abiding by the commitments that they made in the context of the nuclear talks," [White House press secretary Josh] Earnest said.
A professor in Texas has quit his job because he's afraid of his students exercising their civil rights.
A professor emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin very publicly quit earlier this month in response to a new state law that allows students to bring their handguns into all classrooms and offices -- including his 500-person introductory economics lectures. The professor, Daniel Hamermesh, has become a symbol for frustrated faculty nervous over the spreading of campus concealed-carry laws.
Gun rights are civil rights. As Glenn Reynolds notes:
I'm sure that many professors in the past were uncomfortable about having women, or blacks, or openly gay students in their classrooms, too. But happily, progress marches on and people's visceral fears and dislikes weren't allowed to rule.
This interview about Robot Hillary is by far the funniest, most humanizing thing I've ever hear from her.
HILLARY CLINTON: You guys are the first to realize that I'm really not even a human being. I was constructed in a garage in Palo Alto a very long time ago. People think that, you know, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, they created it. Oh no. I mean, a man whose name shall remain nameless created me in his garage.
ANOTHER ROUND: Are there more of you?
HILLARY CLINTON: I thought he threw away the plans, at least that's what he told me when he programmed me -- that there would be no more. I've seen more people that kind of don't sweat, and other things, that make me think maybe they are part of the new race that he created: the robot race.
ANOTHER ROUND: So there's a cyborg army is what you're saying.
HILLARY CLINTON: But you have to cut this, you can't tell anybody this. I don't want anybody to know this. This has been a secret until here we are in Davenport, Iowa, and I'm just spillin' my electronic guts to you.
I feel like this should be obvious by now, but "gun-free zones" endanger lives. If the goal is really to protect innocent people from criminals, we should eliminate "gun-free zones".
Every public mass shooting since 1950, except for two, has occurred in a gun-free zone. This shooting is no different.
The Umpqua Community College is a gun-free zone, as are the locations of many recent shootings: the Lafayette, La., theater; the Charleston, S.C., church; the military recruiting center in Tennessee.
Guns were outlawed at all these locations, and yet the killers ignored the bans. Plus, the shooters passed background checks -- as did the Oregon shooter, who passed several background checks in purchasing his firearms.
Russian President Putin once again creates facts on the ground while America dithers. Obama is a man of words, never action. The world knows his words mean nothing.
Act II. Tuesday, Sept. 29th, at the UN in New York. Obama continues appealing to the collective. He convenes a "Leaders' Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent extremism." In his opening remarks, he welcomes the "representatives from more than 100 nations, more than 20 multilateral institutions, some 120 civil society groups from around the world, and partners from the private sector." He reminds them that a year ago he gave them some homework: he challenged countries to return to the General Assembly this year "with concrete steps that we can take together." This year he is convinced that "what we have here today is the emergence of a global movement that is united by the mission of degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL." Together, he tells them, "we're pursuing a comprehensive strategy... ." He repeats his desire for a new leader in Syria, "an inclusive government... . This is going to be a complex process." Part way through the meeting Obama turns over the chair to Vice President Joe Biden.
Putin does not attend this summit at which scores of leaders are talking about the complex process. He has left the UN to return to Moscow.
Act III. Wednesday, Sept. 30. In the Middle East, Russia makes its move. In Baghdad a Russian general delivers a demarche to the U.S. embassy, informing the U.S. that Russian planes are about to begin air strikes in Syria. Russia's message is not one of cooperation with the U.S., nor is it seeking the permission of Tuesday's UN-conferencing multitude of envoys, civil society groups and so forth. Russia, which has been moving troops and military equipment into Syria, is asking U.S. war planes to get out of its way.
To put it more accurately, Russia is telling the U.S. -- not asking. In Syria, that same day, Russian war planes carry out strikes, not against ISIS, but against areas which The Wall Street Journal reports are "primarily held by rebel forces backed by the Central Intelligence Agency and allied spy services."