Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Das Cab

Germany rules against competition:
The ruling that the app violates the country’s Passenger Transportation Act applies nationwide, according to legal experts. The temporary ban remains in place until a full hearing takes place, and Uber could face a €250,000 (£198,000) fine per ride.

But Uber vowed to keep the app online regardless. “You cannot put the brakes on progress,” the company said. “Uber will continue its operations and will offer Uberpop ride-sharing services via its app throughout Germany.” It promised to appeal against the decision and would, if necessary, “exhaust all the legal possibilities”.

The case against Uber was brought by the Taxi Deutschland Servicegesellschaft company, which offers a rival app that links users to registered taxi drivers. The company argued that Uber was not operating a legitimate service because its drivers did not have the correct permits, were not properly insured, and were not subject to checks. German law allows drivers without a commercial licence to pick up passengers only if they charge no more than the operating cost of the trip.
Permits, please...

Sick System

The British government has discovered that arresting the parents of a sick child might not be such a good idea, after all:
Facing a significant backlash after their weekend arrest and extradition back to England, Brett and his wife, Naghmeh King, were informed on Tuesday that the U.K. would decline to charge them with neglect or kidnapping as a result of their attempt at seeking life-saving care for their son.

“I welcome the prosecution against Ashya King’s parents being dropped,” Prime Minster David Cameron wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “It’s important this little boy gets treatment and the love of his family.”

This is a grotesque tale, but it is also a familiar one. It was only King’s savvy attempt to turn his son’s struggles into an international cause célèbre that resulted in the ability to escape prosecution and draw the attention of the prime minister. Many more anonymous British care-seekers are not so lucky.
National Health, where everyone gets the same opportunity to wind up behind bars...

The Name Of The Game

The name stays?
red

Fat Facts

Fat can be good for you:
The notion that dietary fat is harmful, particularly saturated fat, arose decades ago from comparisons of disease rates among large national populations.

But more recent clinical studies in which individuals and their diets were assessed over time have produced a more complex picture. Some have provided strong evidence that people can sharply reduce their heart disease risk by eating fewer carbohydrates and more dietary fat, with the exception of trans fats. The new findings suggest that this strategy more effectively reduces body fat and also lowers overall weight.
Michelle Obama will not be pleased...

The Longest Pause

According to actual science, there has been no global warming for nearly two decades:
While the HadCRUT4 record clearly shows numerous pauses and dips amid the overall upward trend, the ending hiatus is of particular note because climate models project continuing warming over the period. Since 1990, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose from 354 ppm to just under 400 ppm, a 13% increase…

In the surface data we compute a hiatus length of 19 years, and in the lower tropospheric data we compute a hiatus length of 16 years in the UAH series and 26 years in the RSS series.
Global warming may be long since over, but the cult that promotes it goes on...

Lord Hugo

It's the Prayer of Chavez:
At an event in Caracas Monday, Maria Estrella Uribe said the Lord's Prayer, changing the words to dedicate it to Chavez, because they could not “leave without this spiritual commitment,” according to La Patilla.

“Our Chavez, who art in Heaven, in earth, in the sea and in us the delegates,” Uribe started in Spanish. “Hallowed be Thy name, Thy legacy come to us to take to the people … gives us today your light to that it guides us all days and lead us not into the temptation of capitalism, deliver us from evil, oligarchy and the crime of smuggling, for centuries of centuries. Amen.”
Thy propaganda is with me, forever and ever...

Looking For A Shutdown

For the last time, there is no shutdown coming:
Indeed, aside from a hollow threat from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and a terribly misconstrued quote from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., there is nothing to suggest that the Republican Party is actually conspiring to shut down the government.

And despite the fact that the question of whether Republicans are planning a shutdown has already been addressed by the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, revealing that the story is mostly nonsense, Democrats and a sympathetic media continue to play up the story, creating headlines about how the GOP is possibly going for a repeat of last year's failed – and unpopular – ploy to block President Obama's agenda.

But the fact of the matter is that even if York hadn't investigated the claim, it should be obvious that the GOP has no big plans to shut down the government. Why? Because unlike the 2013 shutdown, GOP lawmakers are not talking about bringing the government to a screeching halt.

It's that simple.
Which is probably why Democrats have such a hard time understanding it...

Fast Food Follies

Here we go again:
Kendall Fells, an organizing director for Fast Food Forward, said in an interview that workers in a couple of dozen cities were trained to peacefully engage in civil disobedience ahead of this week’s planned protests.

Fells declined to say what exactly is in store for the protests in around 150 U.S. cities. But workers involved in the movement recently cited sit-ins as an example of strategies they could use to intensify their push for higher pay and unionization. Past protests have targeted a couple of restaurants in each city.

The “Fight for $15” campaign is being backed by the Service Employees International Union and has gained national attention at a time when growing income disparities have become a hot political issue.
At least among professional protesters...

Robo-Spice

Who wants to buy a robot?
SoftBank also has received between 300 and 400 inquiries about Pepper from companies in finance, food service and education, Fumihide Tomizawa, chief executive officer of SoftBank Robotics, said yesterday. The 1.2 meter (4 foot) robot dances, makes jokes and estimates human emotions based on expressions. Pepper will go in sale in Japan in February for 198,000 yen ($1,900) while the company hasn’t set a U.S. price.

SoftBank, which paid $22 billion for control of Sprint last year, is investing in robotics as Japan seeks to double the value of domestic production to 2.41 trillion yen by 2020. SoftBank has developed an operating system that controls robots in the same way Google Inc.’s Android software runs smartphones, with the platform open to customization for use in construction, health care and entertainment industries.

“We will sell Pepper in the United States within a year after gathering information in Japan,” Tomizawa said. “I won’t be surprised if Pepper sales will be half to business and half to consumers.”
But will it come with Salt?

The Mattress Economy

Why is inflation so low? Hoarding:
The St. Louis Federal Reserve thinks it has the answer: A paper the central bank branch published this week blames the low level of money movement in large part on consumers and their "willingness to hoard money." The paper also cites the Fed's own policies as a reason for consumers' unwillingness to spend..
Though American consumers might dispute the notion that inflation has been low, the indicators the Fed follows show it to be running well below the target rate of 2 percent that would have to come before interest rates would get pushed higher.
Many may ask why they should encourage it...

Sharing The Instability

Another day, another potential crisis:
Just two months ago, many Pakistanis were hopeful that the country’s challenges were ebbing after Sharif rallied most political parties behind his decision to authorize military action against Islamist extremists and terrorists in the northwestern part of the country.

Yet, Sharif has never been able to improve his relationship with Khan, the leader of the populist Movement for Justice party.

Last year, Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N party routed Khan’s party in parliamentary elections, securing nearly three-fourths of the seats. Khan insists that hundreds of thousands of fraudulent ballots were cast in that election. In July, Qadri suddenly returned to Pakistan from Canada, where he also has citizenship, and said he was preparing a “people’s revolution” aimed at toppling Sharif because of his economic policies.
You can't have a coup without breaking a few heads...

Monday, September 01, 2014

Breaking The Bank

Is it time to get rid of the Export-Import Bank?
Supporters of Ex-Im claim that the bank doesn’t actually cost taxpayers any money, but Hensarling disagrees. Ex-Im uses “funny Washington” accounting, not true-value GAP accounting, which the CBO says would show that Ex-Im really does cost taxpayers. The real point, according to Hensarling, is that Ex-Im conducts political and ideological lending, not free-market lending. “Ultimately, this is about bureaucrats making decisions about credit allocations,” Hensarling said, “and not free people in a competitive marketplace. They do ideological lending,” Hensarling continued. “I mean, they’ve got a “green” quota. They have a no-coal policy. They have a sub-Sahara African lending mandate. … And then, there’s all the cronyism.” Since 98% of all exports are financed outside Ex-Im, the argument that closing Ex-Im will seriously damage the American economy isn’t serious, Hensarling argued.
Neither a borrower nor an ideological lender be...

There's A Boar In The Woods

And he glows in the dark:
Outside the hunting community, wild boar are seen as a menace by much of Germany society. Autobahns have to be closed when boar wander onto them, they sometimes enter towns and, in a famous case in 2010, a pack attacked a man in a wheelchair in Berlin.
But radioactive wild boars stir even darker fears.
They are believed to be a legacy of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, when a reactor at a nuclear power plant in then Soviet-ruled Ukraine exploded, releasing a massive quantity of radioactive particles into the atmosphere.
Even though Saxony lies some 700 miles from Chernobyl, wind and rain carried the radioactivity across western Europe, and soil contamination was found even further away, in France.
Wild boar are thought to be particularly affected because they root through the soil for food, and feed on mushrooms and underground truffles that store radiation. Many mushrooms from the affected areas are also believed to be unfit for human consumption.
Don't eat that boar; you don't know where its been...

Anger Campaign Management

Never let a riot go to waste:
N.A.A.C.P. leaders are creating a door-to-door voter registration effort with a jarring reminder as its theme: “Mike Brown Can’t Vote, but I Can.” Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, is working with others to hold a “candidate school” for people, including young black residents who say they want to serve on a city council or school board but need guidance on what a political campaign requires.

The attempt to galvanize voting comes against a backdrop of intense political struggles over the ballot in the state. In 2000, polls were kept open late in St. Louis because of long lines, and Republicans complained about possible voter fraud — one chapter in what would be a long battle over elections and voting.
Some things haven't changed...

Take Back That

How quickly they forget:
Vice President Joe Biden staked his claim to the labor vote by declaring that “it’s time to take back America” in order to ensure that the middle class gets an “equal share” of prosperity in the country.

“If we don’t, America’s in trouble,” Biden said in Detroit Monday.

Biden’s comments come shortly after Attorney General Eric Holder said that such language is racist.

“There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me [and] directed at the president,” Holder told ABC last month, per the Hill. “You know, people talking about taking their country back. . . . There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there’s a racial animus.”

And Obama agrees, or seemed to think so in 2011, according to U.S. News and World Report’s Ken Walsh.
So does this mean that Biden has become a Tea Partier?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mind Games

Are you ready for a mind meld?
The technology was developed as part of a collaboration between the University of Barcelona in Spain, Axilum Robotics in France, Harvard Medical School and Starlab Barcelona in Spain.

According to the researchers, this is the first time humans have sent a message ‘almost directly’ into each other’s brains.

‘We anticipate that computers in the not-so-distant future will interact directly with the human brain in a fluent manner, supporting both computer- and brain-to-brain communication routinely,’ they wrote.
Or you could just get married for the same result...

The Ice Stays

Whatever happened to the great arctic meltdown?
For years, many have been claiming that the Arctic is in an ‘irrevocable death spiral’, with imminent ice-free summers bound to trigger further disasters. These include gigantic releases of methane into the atmosphere from frozen Arctic deposits, and accelerated global warming caused by the fact that heat from the sun will no longer be reflected back by the ice into space.

Judith Curry, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said last night: ‘The Arctic sea ice spiral of death seems to have reversed.’

Those who just a few years ago were warning of ice-free summers by 2014 included US Secretary of State John Kerry, who made the same bogus prediction in 2009, while Mr Gore has repeated it numerous times – notably in a speech to world leaders at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009, in an effort to persuade them to agree a new emissions treaty.

Mr Gore – whose office yesterday failed to respond to a request for comment – insisted then: ‘There is a 75 per cent chance that the entire polar ice cap during some of the summer months could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.’
Can those who donated to him get their money back?

Safety Zone

New plan for the midterms: Keep Obama away from possible losing states:
The White House is putting the finishing touches on a post-Labor Day schedule that will send the president to states where he’s still popular, such as: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California, Obama officials and Democratic operatives said this week.

But in the red states that will determine control of the Senate, Obama will remain scarce. That means no personal campaign visits to states like Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana and North Carolina. He may do some targeted outreach through robocalls, digital ads and conference calls, but the campaign plan is clear: Stay away from candidates he’s already hurting.

Obama’s no-fly zone for certain Senate campaigns reflects the deep concern among Democrats about his drag on the national ticket. Obama can’t seem to get his poll numbers out of the low 40s, he’s struggled through an endless stream of foreign policy crises, and he’s the last person that many candidates want to be forced to defend on the campaign trail.
Lame ducks need not apply...

Tenured Tension

Jerry Brown wants teachers to be able to stick around:
The appeal was filed late Friday and argues that Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rulf Treu’s final ruling lacks detail and fails to provide the legal basis for his decision.

Treu issued the final ruling Thursday, after tentatively ruling in June that tenure protections for California teachers violate the state constitution, depriving some of the state's 6.2 million students of a quality education, specifically minorities and those from low-income families.

The lawsuit, Vergara v. California, was brought by Beatriz Vergara and eight other students who said they were saddled with teachers who let classrooms get out of control, came to school unprepared and in some cases told them they'd never make anything of themselves.

Teachers and their lawyers argue the laws protect teachers from getting fired on a whim. They also argue the system preserved academic freedom and helps attract talented teachers to a profession that doesn't pay well.
But what about the untalented, which seem to be in abundance?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Campfire Tips

The government-seriously-wants you to stay safe while...roasting marshmallows:
“First, let’s talk safety,” the article says. “Never start a campfire when there are fire restrictions in place. The restrictions are put in place for your safety and for the safety of others.”

It also warns that children should be given a stern talking-to before any of the “fun” begins.

“Some experts advocate a 10-foot rule between young children and a campfire,” it reads. “For more information about campfire safety, let Smokey Bear guide you.”

Finally, the article gets down to “marshmallow basics,” and starts by recommending the use of a roasting stick “of at least 30 inches.” That’s two and a half feet, or about half as long or more as the children roasting the marshmallows.

The article doesn’t recommend a maximum length for a roasting stick.
How about the length of a stick for hitting government "safety experts" over the head with?

Messy Media

Um, okay:
“And the truth of the matter is, is that the world has always been messy. In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through. The good news is that American leadership has never been more necessary, and there’s really no competition out there for the ideas and the values that can create the sort of order that we need in this world.”
But does he have a strategy for that?

No Riders

Hoboken doesn't like Uber:
Marcus Enriquez was actually thrown out of an Uber car by a Hoboken police officer. He said he was hailing an Uber outside of the Hoboken taxi stand when a cop knocked on the window, kicked him out of the car and ticketed the Uber driver.

“It was late on a Tuesday night, I was with my fiancé, we were coming back from band practice in Queens and we called an Uber car from over here in front of the Starbucks and we got in the car no problem, pulled to the end of the block and all of a sudden a Hoboken cop is knocking on the window, he said ‘everybody get out of the car' so we're like ‘what's going on are we being arrested? What's this about?' And the driver was like ‘I'm from Uber, I'm from Uber' and the cop was like, ‘yes I know get everybody out of the car, you guys are in an illegal cab',” he said.

According to Hoboken's municipal code regarding taxis, it is unlawful for a non-licensed taxicab to pick up passengers inside of Hoboken and fines can be as high as $1,000 or more.

Enriquez explained why Uber cars are more convenient than yellow-cabs.

“The Uber's don't have meters so you're not exactly sure how much it's going to be unless you've taken them before. With Uber you have your own car; it shows up, you get home, no problem. It's just a better service,” he said.
Which is probably why they're against it...

Responsibility Without Strategy

It's all about the job, or something:



But hey-Obama is a military genius, you know...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Who Killed My Cheese?

French cheese falls victim to bureaucracy:
...90% of the producers have either gone to the wall or are in the hands of the dairy giants. This is thanks to a mixture of draconian health measures in Brussels, designed to come down hard on raw milk products, and hostile buyouts by those who want to corner the market.

Unpasteurised milk, which gives a unique earth-and-fruit flavour, has been gradually marginalised on false public health pretexts after intense lobbying by the food processing industry, to the detriment of the consumer but the incalculable advantage of those producing cheese made with pasteurised milk. The latter will last up to a month on the supermarket shelf, while many made with raw milk – such as fresh goat’s cheese – are unlikely to be edible after more than 10 days.
The war for cheese is over, and unfortunately the French have lost...

Budget Breakers

Ordinary people do what Congress can't:
PR professional and creator Tom Carroll is testing the concept of politics reality TV with a lead-off “reality film” called “Big Bad Budget.” Carroll distributed it to public television stations over the summer, and hopes it'll be the first in a series.

He claims the show could “rewrite the rules of American politics” -- despite the fact that all the decisions would, of course, be hypothetical.

Here's the set-up: Carroll and his team took eight ordinary people from Albuquerque, N.M., and challenged them to balance the federal budget in a single weekend. The group, made up of four Republicans, three Democrats and one Democrat-leaning independent, was forced to fight it out until they came up with a way to solve Washington's biggest head-scratcher.

Spoiler alert: the group was able to balance the budget.
Washington is probably already too much like a reality show for them to try this in real life...

Rise Of The War Machines

Fear the killer robots:
Angela Kane, the UN’s high representative for disarmament, said governments should be more open about programmes to develop the technology and she favoured a pre-emptive ban before it was too late.

She said: “Any weapon of war is terrible, and if you can launch this without human intervention, I think it’s even worse. It compounds the problem and dehumanises it in a way.

“It becomes a faceless war and I think that’s really terrible and so to my mind I think it should be outlawed. The decision is really in the hands of the states who have the capability to develop them."
I for one welcome our Terminator overlords...

Life Of Illusion

Take the blue pill:
The holographic principle — a property of particle physics’ string theory — proposes that information about a region of space can be ascertained by the information on the surface that surrounds it — much like you can determine, say, currents in water by the eddies on the surface.

But does this actually mean that our universe is an optical illusion created by light diffraction? Fermilab has just switched on a machine that may help a team of researchers figure it out: the Holometer, the most sensitive instrument ever built to measure the quantum jitter of space.
Or we could just ask the white mice...

Taxes On The Job

How Obamacare taxes people out of the workforce:
Some liberals have argued that it’s a good thing that Obamacare reduces labor force participation: People shouldn’t be “locked” into jobs they hate because it’s the only way they can get health insurance. But CBO has never said that reducing job lock is the main way Obamacare reduces employment. It has consistently pointed out that the structure of Obamacare’s subsidies acts as an implicit tax on work, and thus causes people to work less.
If you do have a job, can you afford to keep it?

California Stealin'

Or, another reason why California is going down the tubes:
The California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) provides temporary cash assistance, welfare-to-work, and other services to eligible low-income families with children. This analysis examines the program’s benefit overpayment trends to determine how frequently beneficiaries and the program’s administration cause errors, as well as how costly those errors are.
While individual errors may seem insignificant, taken together, they prove costly to the system, taxpayers, and the thousands of additional cases they could have funded instead.
For the better part of a decade, just as unemployment was rising and more families sought benefits, California’s social services absorbed cuts as the state diverted limited funds elsewhere. We found that those deep budget cuts had very real unintended consequences: costly administrative errors and a systematic lack of oversight at CalWORKs.
Do you miss Arnold yet?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Maryland Mess

Maryland's Obamacare exchange is under investigation for possible fraud:
The exchange is now being revamped but Harris says there’s a growing federal investigation into the millions of taxpayer dollars already spent on the website.
He says the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General is issuing subpoenas for fraud.
“There were invoices literally for hundreds of dollars an hour in charges with no reason for the invoices, no specific work done and these were approved by the executive director,” Harris said.
A representative of the Inspector’s Office tells WJZ he can’t confirm any investigation. The office is non-political, independent, and looks into waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars.
Of which Obamacare offers more than enough to go around...

A Bear Of A Tale

A panda gets caught faking it:
Pandas thought to be pregnant receive 24-hour care, more food, and live in an air-conditioned single room.

Wu Kongju, who works at the centre, told Xinhua: “They also receive more buns, fruits and bamboo, so some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life.”

It is thought Ai Hin may have experienced a “phantom pregnancy”.
The Chinese news agency says that bears have been known to display signs of being pregnant after becoming aware of the preferential treatment.
Hell hath no fury like a panda scorned...

Enter The Thetans

Whatever works?
"The Way to Happiness" program was written by Scientology creator L. Ron Hubbard. A nonreligious moral code, it describes 21 different principles, including "Don't Be Promiscuous," "Be Temperate," and the always-hard-to-remember "Do Not Murder." Scientologist Monika Biddle introduced the council to the book during an Aug. 22 meeting, saying it could really curb the high rates of crime and poverty.

"The moral fiber of our community is so decayed it will take years" to change, Councilwoman Monica Galloway told MLive.com."We need to sow [values] into these children [because these] are things they are not getting."
This is what politicians in Flint actually believe...

Green End-Run

If you can't get a treaty, go around one:
Lawmakers in both parties on Capitol Hill say there is no chance that the currently gridlocked Senate will ratify a climate change treaty in the near future, especially in a political environment where many Republican lawmakers remain skeptical of the established science of human-caused global warming.

“There’s a strong understanding of the difficulties of the U.S. situation, and a willingness to work with the U.S. to get out of this impasse,” said Laurence Tubiana, the French ambassador for climate change to the United Nations. “There is an implicit understanding that this not require ratification by the Senate.”

American negotiators are instead homing in on a hybrid agreement — a proposal to blend legally binding conditions from an existing 1992 treaty with new voluntary pledges. The mix would create a deal that would update the treaty, and thus, negotiators say, not require a new vote of ratification.

Countries would be legally required to enact domestic climate change policies — but would voluntarily pledge to specific levels of emissions cuts and to channel money to poor countries to help them adapt to climate change. Countries might then be legally obligated to report their progress toward meeting those pledges at meetings held to identify those nations that did not meet their cuts.

“There’s some legal and political magic to this,” said Jake Schmidt, an expert in global climate negotiations with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. “They’re trying to move this as far as possible without having to reach the 67-vote threshold” in the Senate.
Constitution? What Constitution?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Define Irony

This is good:
A lawyer in the IRS ethics office is facing the possibility of being disbarred, according to records that accuse her of lying to a court-appointed board and hiding what she’d done with money from a settlement that was supposed to go to two medical providers who had treated her client.

The disciplinary arm of the D.C. Court of Appeals has recommended that Takisha McGee, a section manager in the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, lose her law license over the charge, which stems from a personal injury case she worked about a year before she joined the tax agency.
....

The case could pose a credibility issue for the IRS, whose professional conduct office is the watchdog charged with ensuring all tax professionals “adhere to professional standards and follow the law.”

Despite that duty, the office has dispatched Ms. McGee to lecture professionals about the importance of maintaining high ethical standards.
Or not...

Ghost Of The Machine

At The Times, the sounds of tech past:
To the surprise of Times journalists, a tall speaker on a stand has been erected in the newsroom to pump out typewriter sounds, to increase energy levels and help reporters to hit deadlines. The audio begins with the gentle patter of a single typewriter and slowly builds to a crescendo, with the keys of ranks of machines hammering down as the paper’s print edition is due to go to press.
....

Whether journalists on The Times feel a similar sense of nostalgia is unclear. George Brock, a former Times journalist, and professor of journalism at City University, London, said the sound was unlikely to rekindle memories among current staff.

“Typewriters disappeared from newsrooms in the late 1980s. There will be very few people there who remember the noise of massed bands of typewriters in the newsroom,” he said. “They will have to find out whether a crescendo of noise will make reporters work better or faster.”
Quality is another matter...

Here We Go Again

It's deja vu:
Another federal government-run website created under ObamaCare is suffering the same symptoms as the troubled federal health care exchange -- grappling with delays, data problems and other hiccups as the deadline to take it public nears.

At issue is a database known as the Open Payments website. It was created under the Affordable Care Act to shed light on the financial ties between doctors and pharmaceutical companies as well as device manufacturers.

The transparency initiative is supposed to include detailed information about drug payments made by doctors as well as the value of gifts and services given by drug makers. Such items can include everything from meals to swanky retreats.

The database project, though, is dealing with a minefield of technical problems and confusion over the data. The problems led the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to shut down what is currently a private site for 11 days earlier this month.
We're all stuck in the loop:

Print's Extinction Event

RIP, printed press:
Print newspapers are going to die; at this point they’re living off coupons, on the print side, and old people, on the readership side. Newspaper circulation has fallen only a little bit among readers older than 65, but it has started low and fallen lower among the under-35 demographic. It doesn’t seem reasonable at this point to believe that those folks will ever pick up the newspaper habit. So as the readers die, and the advertising fades, the newspapers, too, will die one by one. The magazines, which already look anorexic compared with their earlier ad-stuffed selves, will undoubtedly follow.
Egon was right:

Down Time

In his defense of President Obama's golf schedule, former White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton is forced to eat some crow:
I don’t remember, but I assume that I was one of the many Democrats who gleefully took shots at President George W. Bush for the time he spent at Crawford—and if so I regret it. Presidents are better for having time out of Washington, even better for time away with their families.

Whether you’re a partisan or a cynical reporter who has been making the same critique about presidential vacations for decades, I assume you probably agree that human beings function better when they get a little time away. I wouldn’t want my surgeon to be some woman who hasn’t had a break in 4 years.
The problem is, Obama's own break seems to have lasted almost that long...

Ramblin' Man

It's Harry Reid's greatest hits:

The Accidental War

Russia now says it was just a mistake:
"The soldiers really did participate in a patrol of a section of the Russian-Ukrainian border, crossed it by accident on an unmarked section, and as far as we understand showed no resistance to the armed forces of Ukraine when they were detained," a source in Russia's defence ministry told the RIA Novosti agency.
That might be possible, but unlikely:
More often, though, supposedly "accidental" incidents are the product of border disputes and political tensions. In 2010, the Internet was titillated by the story of how a mistake in Google Maps led Nicaraguan forces to move into a piece of land controlled by neighboring Costa Rica. But that detachment remained, and it took concerted regional diplomatic talks for the two countries to come to an agreement over the disputed territory.
Unfortunately, accidents by design are harder to manage...

Looking For Emails

They're there somewhere:
Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system.

We obviously disagree that disclosing the emails as required would be onerous, and plan to raise this new development with Judge Sullivan.
The dog didn't eat the homework, after all...

Repeat Climate Change Criminals

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology gets busted in a big lie:
Last year, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology made headlines in the liberal media by claiming that 2013 was Australia's hottest year on record. This prompted Australia's alarmist-in-chief Tim Flannery - an English literature graduate who later went on to earn his scientific credentials with a PhD in palaeontology, digging up ancient kangaroo bones - to observe that global warming in Australia was "like climate change on steroids."
But we now know, thanks to research by Australian scientist Jennifer Marohasy, that the hysteria this story generated was based on fabrications and lies.
Though the Bureau of Meteorology has insisted its data adjustments are "robust", it has been unable to come up with a credible explanation as to why it translated real-world data showing a cooling trend into homogenized data showing a warming trend.
She wrote:
“Repetition is a propaganda technique. The deletion of information from records, and the use of exaggeration and half-truths, are others. The Bureau of Meteorology uses all these techniques, while wilfully ignoring evidence that contradicts its own propaganda.’’
This is a global problem. Earlier this year, Breitbart reported that similarly dishonest adjustments had been made to temperature records by NASA and NOAA. Similarly implicated are the UK temperature records of the Met Office Hadley Centre and at Phil "Climategate" Jones's disgraced Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
The Ministry of Climate Change needs to keep its lies coordinated...

Pot Pop

Pot cola has arrived:
The drinks, called Legal, come in cherry, lemon and pomegranate flavours but are all infused with 10mg of liquid cannabis. The drinks cost around $10 (£6).

They are being marketed as a gentler alternative to smoking that could be attractive to those still wary about cannabis.

"It's much more approachable, as opposed to 'Hey, mom and dad, do you want a joint?'" said Adam Stites, the founder of Mirth Provisions.

But the Washington-based company has not forgotten its more traditional stoner market. The Lemon Ginger flavoured drink is presented with the tagline: "Couch, meet butt".

It promises the drink is "so ridiculously relaxing that you may find yourself becoming one with your furniture".
Don't couch potatoes do that already?

Ready Donor One

It's GOP, the game:
The game, called "Mission Majority," is programmed to look like an 8-bit-era video game and features an elephant named Giopi (sounds like "GOP") as a playable character. The player runs and jumps, collecting "keys" to Republican victory and vanquishing bad guys like "taxers" and "mudslingers." A successfully destroyed baddie emits an embarrassing audio clip from Democrats like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mark Pryor, and Bruce Braley.
But can you play as an establishment Republican or a Tea Party candidate?

None Of The Above, New York Edition

Why the New York Times has rejected Mario Cuomo:
The worst moment of all came when Mr. Cuomo blocked the progress of the independent commission he set up to investigate corruption after the panel began to look into issues that may have reflected badly on him and his political supporters. As The Times reported in July, Mr. Cuomo’s closest aides pushed back every time the commission began looking at the governor’s own questionable practices, including a committee set up to support his agenda, which became Albany’s biggest lobbying spender and did not disclose its donors. Now a United States attorney is pursuing the questions the commission raised, including the ones the governor wanted dropped.
That was bad form, Governor. Even Boss Tweed was at least an honest crook...