Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

LinkSwarm for August 21, 2015

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Small LinkSwarm this time.

  • “Hillary Clinton is the contemporary poster child for special privileges for the rich and powerful.”
  • Latest Iran deal revelation: Iran gets to self-inspect their own nuclear site. But Kerry did get them to agree to pinky swear they’re telling the truth…
  • Obama and his party. “No president in modern times has presided over so disastrous a stretch for his party, at almost every level of politics.” Caveat the first: Although I think the phrase “there’s neither a Great Depression nor a criminal conspiracy in the White House to explain what has happened” is probably false on both counts. Caveat the second: Notice how the article carefully omits any mention of the specific Obama policies that have made his party so unpopular…
  • From back in June: Karl Rove lied about Ted Cruz. (Hat tip (tangentially): Perry vs. World, where Evan seems to have woken from his summer slumber…)
  • I really want to believe this Atlantic piece on how Russia is losing in Ukraine, but I just don’t. This one sentence has so much wrong with it I have trouble trusting the rest of the article: “Shale, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and renewables—three areas where Russia is extremely weak—are ascendant and are dramatically altering the market.” Shale’s a solid play if you’ve already tapped out more easily-extracted hydrocarbons (I doubt Russia has), LNG is a profitable byproduct if you’re already extracting oil, but at today’s market prices (which have sucked since 2009) it’s not worth pursuing on its own, and renewables? Hippie, please
  • Muslim beats wife in front of police, saying they can’t arrest him because she’s his property.
  • Slovakia to the EU: Screw you, we’re not taking any Muslim refugees. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Movement in Spain tries to erase Salvador Dali from history. You’ll get my Salvador Dali from me when you pry the melting clocks out of my burning hands!
  • Could Google rig the next election?
  • It’s a Goldman-Sachs world. We just live in it…
  • Three students at the “Homestead Job Corps” murder a fourth. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that program isn’t working…
  • Missed this from earlier in the year: Arkansas cops attempt to plant malware on a lawyer’s computer, fail miserably.
  • Joe Straus is backing Jeb Bush. I don’t imagine that this will come as a shock to anyone…
  • Seventh Planned Parenthood Video Drops

    Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

    Holy fark. If you thought the previous videos were difficult to watch, you might want to skip this one entirely.

    “She gave me the scissors and told me that I had to cut down the middle of the face.”

    While the baby was still alive.

    Top 10 Ashley Madison Pickup Lines

    Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

    It looks like hackers have dumped everything they stole from affair/scam/blackmail site Ashley Madison, which comes to a hefty 10 gigs of compressed data, including:

    user names, first and last names, and hashed passwords for 33 million accounts, partial credit card data, street names, and phone numbers for huge numbers of users, records documenting 9.6 million transactions, and 36 million email addresses. While much of the data is sure to correspond to anonymous burner accounts, it’s a likely bet many of them belong to real people who visited the site for clandestine encounters. For what it’s worth, more than 15,000 of the e-mail addresses are hosted by US government and military servers using the .gov and .mil top-level domains.

    The leak also includes PayPal accounts used by Ashley Madison executives, Windows domain credentials for employees, and a large number of proprietary internal documents. Also found: huge numbers of internal documents, memos, org charts, contracts, sales techniques, and more.

    Maybe Ashley Madison should close up shop now and save itself the trouble of waiting until the lawsuits force them into bankruptcy.

    In honor of their incredible incompetence, and the sleazy idiocy of their entire business model, here are the Top 10 Ashley Madison pickup lines recovered from the server:

    1. “Did you get those 27 dick pics I sent you?” — CarlosDanger@Hotmail.com

    2. “Do you need money? I can create all I need out of thin air!” — qe@federalreserve.gov
    3. “I’ve got this one weird trick that will totally rock your cooter!” — RagingStud@buzzfeed.com
    4. “Yeah, I’ve got to be willing to throw my body in the path of a bullet. My big, sweaty male body. Pretty hot, huh?” — ProtectAndSex@secretservice.gov
    5. “I’m into submission, saving the environment, and raising taxes.” — Loverboy@dnc.org
    6. “I’m into submission, saving the environment, and raising taxes.” — TotallyIndependent@mediamatters.org
    7. “You can have sex with me, or I can have your entire family liquidated. Your choice.” — SuperDuperStudMiffinVlad@kremlin.ru
    8. “Sure, Miss Wong, I’ll let you use my login!” — SecuritySupervisor@opm.gov.
    9. “Whip me like I’m an underperforming index fund!” — pumpanddump@goldmansachs.com
    10. “Hill will never know. She’s off in Dubai picking up a crate of money.” — SexySaxophone@clintonfoundation.org

    Turkey and the Islamic State: Enemies or Allies?

    Thursday, July 30th, 2015

    So Turkey has evidently started bombing the Islamic State, but also started bombing the Kurds, our allies against the Islamic State (and Turkey’s restive minority).

    But via Jihad Watch comes word that Turkey has secretly been doing deals with the Islamic State on the side as well.

    In November, a former ISIS member told Newsweek that the group was essentially given free rein by Turkey’s army.

    “ISIS commanders told us to fear nothing at all because there was full cooperation with the Turks,” the fighter said. “ISIS saw the Turkish army as its ally especially when it came to attacking the Kurds in Syria.”

    But as the alleged arrangements progressed, Turkey allowed the group to establish a major presence within the country — and created a huge problem for itself.

    “The longer this has persisted, the more difficult it has become for the Turks to crack down [on ISIS] because there is the risk of a counter strike, of blowback,” Jonathan Schanzer, a former counterterrorism analyst for the US Treasury Department, explained to Business Insider in November.

    “You have a lot of people now that are invested in the business of extremism in Turkey,” Schanzer added. “If you start to challenge that, it raises significant questions of whether” the militants, their benefactors, and other war profiteers would tolerate the crackdown.”

    “War Nerd” Gary Brecher says not to be fooled by the Islamic State strikes Turkey is actually going after the Kurds, linking to a regional source that claims the overwhelming majority of the airstrikes were against the Kurdish PKK, not the Islamic State.

    Says Brecher:

    Nobody much likes the Kurds, especially Erdogan’s AK party. In fact, the AKP hates the Kurds so much that this shared hobby of Kurd-killing has been the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the Turkish military and IS. IS fighters have always been able to move easily over the Turkish border, and there are persistent reports that Erdogan’s daughter herself is playing their Florence Nightingale, patching up those rapists’ boo-boos in one of the quasi-secret hospitals along the border.

    The AKP’s position is simple: They hate the Kurds, period. Islamic State also hates the Kurds. So Erdogan has to force himself to mouth even the slightest objection to IS, whereas the spittle really flies when he starts ranting against the Kurdish PKK/YPG.

    Given what we know of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government (they’re Islamist scumbags) and Turkey historically (they hate and fear the Kurds), Turkey bombing the Kurds while pretending to bomb the Islamic State seems the more likely scenario.

    Sad Puppies Redux (Or Why That Tor Boycott Won’t Work)

    Friday, June 19th, 2015

    There’s enough news on the Sad Puppies front that a lengthy follow-up post is called for.

    First, on May 11, Tor Books art director Irene Gallo stepped in it:

    There are two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies respectively, that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic. A noisy few but they’ve been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them and elect a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works on this year’s Hugo ballot.

    This post was so false, ill-tempered and venomous that Tor head Tom Doherty had to issue an apology.

    Eric Flint, a respectable far-lefty (and a guy who bought a story from me for Jim Baen’s Universe), had this to say:

    And applying the term [neo-nazi] to the Sad Puppies is simply slander, pure and simple. I have no objection to calling either Brad Torgersen or Larry Correia “right wing,” because they are—and say as much themselves. If you want to add the term “extreme” because it makes you feel better, so be it. For whatever it’s worth, coming from someone who has seen extreme right-wingers a lot more up-close and personally than I suspect Irene Gallo ever has, I think applying the adjective to either Brad Torgersen or Larry Correia is not accurate. If we can descend into the real world, for a moment, what both men are is political conservatives with a libertarian slant who are also devout Mormons. (I mention their religion simply because, as with most religious people, it does influence their political views at least to some degree.)

    But leaving aside the issue of “extreme,” suggesting that either of them is a “neo-nazi” or anything remotely close is just disgusting. And don’t anyone bother protesting that Gallo didn’t actually make that charge directly since she did, after all, distinguish between “extreme right wing” and “neo-nazi.”

    Yes, I know she did—with the clear intent of smearing the two together. This is the sort of rhetorical device that Theodore Beale loves to use also, when he insists he doesn’t “advocate” shooting girls in the head for wanting to get an education, he just points out that, empirically and scientifically speaking, it’s “rational” for the Taliban to do so.

    I’m not guessing at Gallo’s intent, either, as will become blindingly obvious when we move on to her second sentence. But before I do so it’s necessary to address the last part of her first sentence, which is either as dishonest as the first part or is just silly, I’m not sure which:

    “…that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy.”

    Huh? The last time I looked, nobody except possibly Theodore Beale (and even with him you’d really have to squint) is calling for the end of social justice in F&SF. In one way or another, at least half of the stories written in our field—including ones by Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia—are stories in which the fight for social justice figures prominently. To be sure, people can disagree over what social justice really is and isn’t and the best way to achieve it. But who in hell is actually calling for social justice to end?

    Once again, Gallo is employing sleazy rhetoric. The charge which can accurately be laid at the feet of the Sad Puppies is that they are calling for an end (or at least amelioration) of what they believe to be the dominating influence of what they call “social justice warriors” over who gets nominated for and wins the Hugo Award. But translating that into the statement that they are “calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy” is ridiculous. You could just as easily charge me with “calling for the end of straight white males” because I do in fact believe that straight white males have an undue amount of power and influence in our society.

    Snip.

    In what sense can Brad Torgersen or Larry Correia or any person identified with the Sad Puppies be called racist, sexist and homophobic, much less “unrepentantly” so?

    Words matter, damn it. If Irene Gallo has any citations that would substantiate her charges, let her make them public. And if she can’t—and I’ll make a prediction here: she can’t—then she needs to publicly retract the accusation and apologize to the people against whom she made it.

    Period. There is nothing to discuss here. Put up or shut up.

    Gallo did indeed eventually offer an apology on her Facebook page, but it seems to me that saying you “painted with too broad a brush” when calling a wide range of writers and science fiction fans “neo-Nazis” is far too weak contrition indeed.

    On the other hand, Sad Puppy and Tor author John C. Wright has accepted her apology, stating “The insult was pro forma, ergo a pro forma apology is sufficient.”

    Since then, a few people on Twitter have been calling for a boycott of Tor Books over the incident. About this I would just like to make a few points:

  • Though the editorial stuff does lean toward the SJW side, plenty of conservative authors are published by Tor.
  • An ad hoc, Twitter-organized boycott is deeply unlikely to work. Given the way book sales are tracked, it’s unlikely the financial effects of any boycott would stand out from sales figures more than background noise. Most SF readers probably aren’t even active on Twitter, and even fewer have been following every twist and turn of the Sad Puppy Saga.
  • Given that Tor is a very small part of the Bertelsmann Holtzbrinck [see below — LP] international conglomerate, chances are even less likely that that any boycott would be effective or even noticed.
  • Larry Correia has categorically stated that the Sad Puppies are not calling for any boycotts. He also notes, as he invariably does, “All I’m asking is that whatever you do, try to be as civil as possible in your disagreements.”
  • So put me down in the category of thinking a boycott is foolish, pointless and counterproductive.

    One big point on the Sad Puppies campaign: Most recent domestic Worldcons have topped out in the 4,000-6,000 members range. I recently bought a Supporting Membership in Sasquan, and my membership number was in the 9,000s. This tends to indicate that the Hugos have indeed become a test of strength in the culture wars. Science fiction fans who want to make a point would probably find it far more productive to pony up their $40 for a Supporting Membership and vote for the works they like than threatening boycotts.

    Breastaurants 1, Social Justice Warriors 0

    Sunday, May 24th, 2015

    Having no special post for remembering the fallen on Memorial Day up my sleeve this weekend, instead enjoy a small Twitter thread on the usual feminist assault on “Breastaurants” (Hooters, Twin Peaks, etc.):

    LinkSwarm for May 5, 2015

    Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

    Happy Cinco de Mayo! My efforts to move the LinkSwarm back to it’s usual Friday position by posting early have failed, so I’m trying to get it there by letting it drift back one day later each time…

  • “Canadian Partnership Shielded Identities of Donors to Clinton Foundation.” Just in case you missed that. Because trying to keep up with all the sleazy bribery angles of the Clinton Foundation is like trying to drink from the firehose…
  • Speaking of which:

  • “Hillary may want to talk about inequality, but is there any better example of a couple who gorged at the trough of Wall Street and foreign autocrats, chose not to follow the rules, never could stop chasing more and more money and (in Hillary Clinton’s case) went to extraordinary lengths to destroy “personal” e-mails that might have pulled back the curtain on all that?” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Hillary hires Scott Hogan, an organizer of the failed “Everytown” gun-grabber astroturf to run her “Grassroots” campaign. Hopefully he’ll bring Hillary the same outstanding success he brought to gun control…
  • Russian stooges in Ukraine: “Soviet terror famine? No, that was all just a big misunderstanding!” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Islamic State murders 600 more Yezidis. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • The Islamic State also claimed post facto credit for the Garland attack.
  • Speaking of which, here’s an interview with Bosch Fawstin, the winner of the Draw Mohammed contest. (Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.)
  • Emergency room visits up under ObamaCare.
  • Lefty lawyer Laurence Tribe calls Obama’s “force everyone to use green energy without congressional approval” plan unconstitutional. “After studying the only legal basis offered for the EPA’s proposed rule, I concluded that the agency is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority.”
  • Drug cartel violence heats up in Mexico: “Gunmen shot down a Mexican military helicopter Friday in the western state of Jalisco, killing three soldiers, and set fire to buses, blocked roads, and attacked banks and gas stations in a sharp escalation of violence against the government.” This is evidently the handiwork of the New Generation drug cartel.
  • Minimum wage hike hits San Francisco Comic Store.
  • When the Social Justice Warriors started attacking the company Protein World over their “Beach Ready” ad campaign, Protein World didn’t cave, they fought back. Result: They earned an additional $1 million in four days.
  • Not understanding that the Presidency is not an entry level job, and that the Republican field was already packed, Ben Carson joins the Presidential race.
  • Ditto Carly Fiorina, whose tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard was not an unqualified success, and whose 2010 California Senate race lost to Barbara Boxer by 16 points.
  • And evidently Mike Huckabee is going to run as well.
  • Texas Democrats are furious that a new ethics bill might keep them from scratching each other’s backs. (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • The Austin American Statesman is moving printing and packing operations to San Antonio and Houston, resulting in about a 100 jobs lost in Austin. Previously. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Social Justice Warriors can’t even win elections at UCLA.
  • Austin’s Highland Mall closed on April 30th.
  • Instead of Actual Content: Story Pipeline Deadlock Edition

    Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

    Right now in the Pipeline of Half-Completed Blog Posts, I have:

  • A post on the “Sad Puppies” Hugo Awards controversy
  • Another update on Greece (which supposedly runs out of money on Thursday)
  • Analysis of the Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal
  • Another Texas vs. California update
  • Unfortunately, today is going to be unusually busy, so instead of finishing those and offering up actual content, here are some Golden Retriever videos:

    LinkSwarm for April 6, 2015

    Monday, April 6th, 2015

    I might have an analysis of the the Iranian nuclear deal later, or I might now, depending on how my taxes are going…

  • UN Human Rights chief praises Islamic State for “diversity.” No, really, that happened. It’s not a parody from The Onion. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Professor finds that texts of Islam are, in fact, more violent than those of other religions.
  • The Columbia Journalism Review investigation of the Rolling Stone University of Virginia rape hoax story is out, and found massive problems with the reporting…
  • …many of which Ashe Schow highlights.
  • But despite the numerous journalistic problems with the piece, no one is getting fired. Lying to support the victimhood identity politics narrative means never having to lose your job…
  • Speaking of which: Fraternity brothers perpetrate vicious rape. Wait, did I say “perpetrate”? I meant “prevent.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Earlier: “Sorry I lead you on when I got drunk.” Later: “What I really meant was you raped me!”
  • The Obama Administration’s reckless engagement with Iran is probably the biggest reason Netanyahu won his surprise victory.
  • The Atlanta Federal Reserve forecast has cut Gross Domestic Product growth estimates in the first quarter from 2.3% to 0.0%. Unexpectedly!
  • Ted Cruz raises $4 million in 8 days. As the New York Times notes, the vast majority is from small donors and can be spent in the primary.
  • Being a liberal means never having to actually weigh evidence.
  • Muslim group kills Red Cross worker.
  • What town wanted: Statue of Lucille Ball. What town got: Statue of zombie lobotomized alcoholic Amelia Earhart.
  • George P. Bush Bans Comic Sans

    Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

    This is one of those rare April Fools jokes that works as both a joke as sound policy:

    In tandem with his plan to foster technological innovation at the Texas General Land Office, Commissioner George P. Bush today announced an agencywide ban on the use of the font Comic Sans in all agency documents and correspondence:

    “As land commissioner, I am committed to making the GLO a technological leader in state government. While this unrefined font is appropriate for early childhood instruction in our Texas schools, the use of Comic Sans is not befitting when conducting business on key matters concerning the state of Texas. Comic Sans has no place at an agency positioning itself as a technological pioneer.”

    And the tell a bit further down:

    “Current agencywide substitute font recommendations are Helvetica, Times New Roman, or even Arial,” Elam said. “Any of the standard ones really. Except Papyrus. It’s terribad.”

    Comic Sans+