Friday, January 16, 2015

Flashbangs

It's ok to overuse them and hurt people with these because the victims are poor and black. [Link]
If there was ever a flashbang injury that might have warranted criminal charges against an officer, it would be the case of Bou Bou Phonesavanh, a 19-month-old baby who last May was nearly killed by a flashbang during a drug raid in Georgia. The case garnered national attention.
Bou Bou was sleeping in a portable playpen at the foot of his parents’ bed when the Habersham County Special Response Team broke down the door to the room and threw a flashbang. The grenade landed on a pillow next to Bou Bou’s face. The blast blew a hole in his chest, severed his nose, and tore apart his lips and mouth. The SWAT team was looking for the boy’s cousin, Wanis Thonetheva, who a day earlier had allegedly sold a bag of methamphetamine to a confidential informant on the property. But Thonetheva wasn’t there, and no drugs or weapons were found. Hours later, Thonetheva surrendered peacefully when officers knocked on the door at a nearby house where he was staying.
At the hospital, Bou Bou was placed in a medically induced coma for almost a month. He has had eight reconstructive surgeries, including skin grafts, and racked up $1.6 million of medical bills that his family cannot afford to pay. In the next few months, he will need surgery to remove black flashbang powder that embedded in his face, arms and chest before it gets infected. And because his skin grafts won’t grow as he grows, Bou Bou will need reconstructive surgery every two years for the next 20 years. His mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, said that she and her husband plan to donate their own skin for the future grafts. Bou Bou often wakes up in the middle of the night screaming and shaking and holding his mouth. “It almost seems like he’s remembering what happened,” said Alecia Phonesavanh, who has been unable to hold down a job since the accident because of the demands of caring for her son.
Of course there were no charges. This was done by cops.
Throwing a flashbang into a room sight unseen is negligent - unless you're a cop.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Enough disappointment to go around

Why was there no US presence in Paris? [Link]
I certainly understand the security concerns when it comes to sending President Barack Obama, though I can't imagine they're necessarily any greater than sending the lineup of other world leaders, especially in aggregate.
But I find it hard to believe that collectively President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Attorney General Eric Holder -- who was actually in France that day for a conference on counterterrorism -- just had no time in their schedules on Sunday. Holder had time to do the Sunday shows via satellite but not to show the world that he stood with the people of France?
There was higher-level Obama administration representation on this season's episodes of "The Good Wife" on CBS.
I get that the President visited the French Embassy in Washington and that Secretary of State John Kerry spoke in French, and I certainly understand that the American commitment to security in Europe rivals no other. But with all due respect, those are politicians spending money that they didn't earn and sending troops whom they don't know.
And this is not just a matter of the current occupant of the White House.
I find it hard to believe that Speaker of the House John Boehner and new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had more worthy pursuits on Sunday than standing side-by-side with our French brothers and sisters as they came together in an inspirational way.
After September 11, the first world leader to visit the United States was France's Jacques Chirac, though the most forceful conversation about France in Congress that I can recall came a few years later during debate over whether to invade Iraq and revolved around renaming pommes frites in the U.S. House cafeteria.
And I'm frankly floored that not one of the people who is contemplating running for president in 2016 has yet to even tweet on the subject of the momentous demonstration in Paris, much less attend France's biggest rally in the history of the republic.
I imagine that Hillary Clinton and her husband are kicking themselves for not hopping on a corporate jet to get here. Can you picture Hillary and Bill walking in the front row, arm-in-arm with Netanyahu and Hollande?
Chris Christie, Scott Walker and Paul Ryan attended the Green Bay-Dallas football game Sunday and at least one of them sent his potential rivals mischievous tweets as if they were contemplating running for president of Beta Theta Pi.
And Jeb? Mitt? Crickets.
Why? I hope it's not American arrogance, a belief that everyone should express shock when something bad happens to us but that our presence at an international rally is worth less than a ticket to the Green Bay game when the victims speak in accents we don't understand.

Now that's a tiny computer

A full Windows PC that connects to an HDMI port on a monitor. [Link]
This is the Intel Compute Stick, a humble HDMI dongle that houses a full desktop computer experience. It's not a particularly powerful one—you get a quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of solid state storage—but it does have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and both a full-size USB port and a microSD card slot for expandability. As long as you're not gaming and find yourself a decent couch controller, you could probably do quite a bit from this tiny PC! Here's the spec sheet.
More likely, it'll find a home in small businesses, schools, and the like who want to roll out super cheap computers to their employees, since all you need is this stick, an HDMI monitor and a couple peripherals to get things cranking. Remember when the tiniest PC was a nettop that hooked onto the back of your monitor? Now they come in dongle-form.
If you're feeling brave, you can actually already buy one of these tiny dongle-PCs from Chinese resellers, but it probably won't come with Windows on board. I'd wait for the official Intel version to arrive. The Wall Street Journal says it'll hit by the end of Q1, with a Linux version also available for $90. [Intel via WSJ]

Friday, January 09, 2015

Doesn't fit the narrative

Editing out inconvenient events. [Link]
So, imagine yourself as an NYT editor for a moment, if you can withstand the nausea. Why would you specifically take out the part about the Islamic terrorist proselytizing for Islam in the middle of the terrorist attack? Why delete this woman’s account of being threatened at gunpoint and being told to convert to Islam?
That’s easy. Because you’re one of America’s moral, ethical, and intellectual betters, and you don’t want it to be true. Your reporter hastily left that inconvenient truth in her story by accident, so you airbrushed it out, without any acknowledgment, to preserve the narrative. You turned it into, “Hey, maybe these guys aren’t so bad after all. They didn’t kill the women, right? Let’s not be too hasty.”
Because that’s your job.
The New York Times is garbage.
Update: In case you’re still confused…
Update: From Radio France Internationale, translated into English.
she_said_it


Europe Under Seige

What we believe. [Link]
We in the West believe that blasphemy is a right and not a crime. And we in the West believe that Jews (and everyone else, for that matter) should be allowed to remain alive and have museums. (I would note, for those who believe that recent anti-Semitic attacks in Europe were caused by specific actions of the Israeli government, that a) anti-Semites cause anti-Semitism, not Israel; and, b) the Brussels attack occurred in May, well before the summer war in Gaza.)
The Charlie Hebdo massacre seems to be the most direct attack on Western ideals by jihadists yet. I’ve seen arguments advancing the idea that 9/11 represents the purest expression of Islamist rage at a specific Western idea— capitalism, in that case—but satire and the right to blaspheme are directly responsible for modernity. In the words of Simon Schama, “Irreverence is the lifeblood of freedom.”
The French president, Francois Hollande, said earlier today that, “No barbaric act will ever extinguish freedom of the press.” This statement is, as Claire Berlinski has pointed out, self-falsifying. This barbaric act, she notes, literally extinguished the press. The most recent iteration of the Islamist terror campaign in Europe has focused on Jews and cartoonists, but it will not end with Jews and cartoonists, unless it is comprehensively defeated.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

The correct response

More speech, not less. [Link]
From Ross Douthat
If a large enough group of someones is willing to kill you for saying something, then it’s something that almost certainly needs to be said, because otherwise the violent have veto power over liberal civilization, and when that scenario obtains it isn’t really a liberal civilization any more. Again, liberalism doesn’t depend on everyone offending everyone else all the time, and it’s okay to prefer a society where offense for its own sake is limited rather than pervasive. But when offenses are policed by murder, that’s when we need more of them, not less, because the murderers cannot be allowed for a single moment to think that their strategy can succeed.In this sense, many of the Western voices criticizing the editors of Hebdo have had things exactly backward: Whether it’s theObama White House or Time Magazine in the past or the Financial Times and (God help us) the Catholic League today, they’ve criticized the paper for provoking violence by being needlessly offensive and “inflammatory” (Jay Carney’s phrase), when the reality is that it’s precisely the violence that justifies the inflammatory content.
Read the whole thing. Surprisingly, there are a number of readers who comment that this is the first time they’ve ever agreed with Douthat.
And in a bit of a disconnect, it’s ironic how Douthat’s piece is in the NYT but the paper has seemingly opted not to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoon.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

A stand for speech

Free speech must not be silenced. [Link]
Self-censoring out of fear means self-imposition of shari’a (Islamic law).
Self-censoring out of “respect” (actually just a euphemism for fear) means you are submitting to the terrorists’ worldview.
The way to overcome them in this instance is to overwhelm them with disrespect and mockery.
They can silence one magazine, but they can’t silence the entire Internet.
Every blogger, of every political stripe, be it left, right, and everywhere in between, needs to realize that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are the two keystones of your ideology, whatever it may be. You need to make a stand. You need to make these terrorists lose the ideological battle.
And the way to do that is to republish the Mohammed cartoons yourselves. Today. Right now.
Fill the world with images of Mohammed so that the terrorists realize they can never expunge them all.
But where to get the pictures? Easy.
The Mohammed Image Archive, which I have hosted at zombietime since the day of the original “Mohammed cartoon crisis” back in May of 2006, has not only a full collection of the original cartoons, but more importantly the largest collection of Mohammed imagery ever assembled in the history of the world.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Black Brunch

Because browbeating the people who already agree with you (brunch goes in Manhattan are pretty much guaranteed to be liberal) is how to make change happen. [Link]
Addressing staff and patrons, they shouted: 'Every 28 hours, a black person in America is killed by the police. These are our brothers and sisters. Today and every day, we honor their lives.'"
Twitter was busy with those for and against weighing in. [Link]




Thursday, December 18, 2014

Someone needs to look in the mirror

The author of It’s Okay To Hate Republicans. [Link]
A University of Michigan department chairwoman has published an article titled, “It’s Okay To Hate Republicans,” which will probably make all of her conservative students feel really comfortable and totally certain that they’re being graded fairly. 
“I hate Republicans,” communications department chairwoman and professor Susan J. Douglas boldly declares in the opening of the piece. “I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnellJohn BoehnerTed CruzDarrell Issa or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal ‘personhood.’”
She writes that although the fact that her “tendency is to blame the Republicans . . . may seem biased,” historical and psychological research back her up, and so it’s basically actually a fact that Republicans are bad!

Douglas said that in the 1970s she did work for a Republican, Rhode Island’s senate minority leader Fred Lippitt, but she hates them all now because Lippitt was a “brand of Republican” who no longer exists in that he was “fiscally conservative but progressive about women’s rights, racial justice and environmental preservation.” 
Republicans now, she writes, are focused on the “determined vilification” of others, and have “crafted a political identity that rests on a complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all.”
(Apparently, the irony of this accusation given the content of her own article was lost on her.)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Standing on the shoulders of giants

In this case, those shoulders are a little smaller, but no less impressive. [Link]
Margaret Hamilton earned her BA in math from Earlham College, but obviously learned about programming on the job—there was no other way. In the photo above, she is standing in front of the printouts of the code for the Apollo guidance system, a lot of which she wrote and which she oversaw.
She was all of 31 when the Apollo 11 lunar module landed on the moon, running her code. (Apollo 11 was able to land at all only because she designed the software robustly enough to handle buffer overflows and cycle-stealing.)
She’s now a tech CEO and won the ‘86 Lovelace Award and the NASA Exceptional Space Act Award.
The engineers weren’t all boys with crewcuts, short sleeve oxford shirts, and narrow black ties. That’s just a fairy tale they told for a while.
Her Wikipedia Entry.
At NASA Hamilton was responsible for helping pioneer the Apollo on-board guidance software required to navigate to/from and land on the moon, and its multiple variations used on numerous missions (including the subsequent Skylab).[1] She worked to gain hands-on experience during a time when computer science and software engineering courses or disciplines were non-existent.
In the process, she produced innovations in the fields of system design and software development, enterprise and process modelling, preventative systems design, development paradigm, formal systems (and software) modelling languages, system-oriented objects for systems modelling and development, automated life-cycle environments, methods for maximizing software reliability and reuse, domain analysis, correctness by built-in language properties, open-architecture techniques for robust systems, full life-cycle automation, quality assurance, seamless integration (including systems to software), distributed processing systems, error detection and recovery techniques, man/machine interface systems, operating systems, end-to-end testing techniques, and life-cycle management techniques.[1]
These in turn led her to develop concepts of asynchronous software, priority scheduling, and man-in-the-loop decision capability, which became the foundation for modern, ultra-reliable software design.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

How many of these can you justify? (And still sleep at night)

At what point do we say enough? [Link]
Links for anyone interested… I have many more pages of links to these stories of cops killing innocent unarmed people, and cops never get in trouble (at worst let go from the job)….
Cops murder Kelly Thomas, a gentle homeless man with schizophrenia, because they didn't want him sitting in that area and threatened to “f--- him up” before killing him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KU0Imk2Bstg
Cops shoot and kill a 7 year old girl who was asleep during a midnight home raid (while film crews were filming for TV): http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/11/aiyana-stanley-jones/#
Cop kills unarmed man holding baby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMDIK4bOpwk
Cop shoots and kills homeless Albuquerque man for no reason:http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/10/albuquerque-ordered-pay-6m-wrongful-death
Cop kills innocent, unarmed father in a stairwell because he claimed the stairwell was dark:http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/21/us/new-york-police-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t2
Cop’s record cleared for accidentally shooting boy in head: http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=44700
Cop shoots boy in chest when he answered the door, mistaking a Wii controller for a gun:http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/attorney-teen-was-shot-having-wii-controller-hand/ndSrL/
Cops unleash attack dog on innocent college kid already being restrained on ground by numerous officers, no punishment to officers: http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/02/us/police-beating-video/
Cops shoot and kill elderly man in his own garage at night while checking out the wrong address:http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/27/police-shoot-dead-grandfather-72-while-searching-the-wrong-home-for-burglar-blame-poor-lighting/
Cops lied to obtain a no-knock warrant and shot and killed a grandma in her own home, then planted drugs to cover up the crime: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Johnston_shooting
Cops shoot and wound man getting cigarettes from his own car at his own house for no reason at all:http://gawker.com/unarmed-man-shot-by-deputies-inside-his-own-car-outside-949237195
Cops kill man by compressing him while arresting him while he was distraught:http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/26/justice/oklahoma-arrest-death-video/index.html?hpt=hp_t2
Police shoot diabetic man after his wife called for medical help, they claim he picked up a knife:http://reason.com/blog/2013/10/07/woman-says-she-called-911-for-an-ambulan
Cops shoot man holding a toy gun in walmart with no warning and lied in their report.http://www.whio.com/news/news/crime-law/special-grand-jury-selected-john-crawford-case/nhRwM/
Covert officers assault girls for buying bottled water, cops thought it was alcohol:http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/07/02/198047492/felony-arrest-of-student-who-bought-water-riles-many-in-virginia
Cops kill man with garden hose using a shotgun and no warning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6S7LRrCru8
Florida man survives 13 shots by officers while sitting in his car: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/21/us/florida-shot-by-mistake/index.html
Cops almost shoot and kill a hospital-worker in her own home with a warrant for an entire apartment complex and screaming at her door: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20130718/COLUMNIST/130719612/2256/NEWS?p=1&tc=pg
Cops raiding small friendly poker games with militarized tactics, accidentally killing people-- dying man says “Why did you shoot me, I was reading a book.”:http://www.salon.com/2013/07/07/%E2%80%9Cwhy_did_you_shoot_me_i_was_reading_a_book_the_new_warrior_cop_is_out_of_control/
Cop beats handcuffed teen and is acquitted because video ‘should only be used to protect cops, not prosecute them.’ http://intellihub.com/2013/07/05/judge-finds-cop-not-guilty-of-assault-after-refusing-to-watch-video-of-assault/
Cop purposely holds onto door handle so he would have the right to shoot and kill a Sunday school teacher who was driving away from the cops. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BSPhC916GQM
Cop shoots man in back several times, then stands over him and shoots again to kill him—questionable whether the man actually was armed or not—conflicting evidence given. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=159PM7ZKcv0
Cop attacks random people in crowd and punches NY judge, judge shocked that cop not charged:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/judge-thomas-raffaele-attacker-charges_n_1822928.html
Edit: Whoa never got gold before, thank you very much, unfortunate that it is for such a sad post. Also, just to clarify, I don't seek these stories out, but they began to disturb me and so I just began pasting them in a document when I read them on the news. There are many more pages of links that also involve police corruption and abuse of various sorts. I only posted some links here because these mistakes and abuses have gotten out of control and few people seem to recognize it. Thank you.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Legislating through obscurity

Rube Goldberg laws doesn't cut it anymore. [Link]
the American system increasingly favors byzantine laws that do things in complicated, opaque ways rather than better, simpler, more transparent ways. We prefer 1,000 tax credits to a few direct subsidies, mandates rather than government provision, hidden costs rather than direct ones. Teles calls this "kludgeocracy," and not in an affectionate way.
A good argument can be made that Obama has gone further down this road than most, in part because he favored big technocratic bills that aimed to do a lot of everything that experts and the party base wanted done, rather than simpler and more targeted initiatives. But you need only look at the bizarre "donut hole" in Medicare Part D coverage created under President George W. Bush to dispel the notion that this is somehow unique to Obama's administration.
As I was discussing last week with one of my colleagues here at the University of Chicago's Institute for Politics, the fetish for opacity and complexity may have come back to bite Obama this election. Giant bills with a lot of moving parts were harder for critics to target with concerted attacks.  On the other hand, they were also really hard to sell on the campaign trail.  
To see what I mean, try this exercise: Name the five most important things about the stimulus. If my informal survey is any guide, then you probably stalled out after the $800 billion pricetag, and the federal highway money.  In fact, the stimulus did a lot of things, from providing funds to install electronic medical records in physician offices, to cutting payroll taxes. That was the problem: It did too many things for anyone to remember. What they remembered was the price tag, and the signs on the highway that heralded another hour stuck in traffic.
So too, with Obamacare.  They wanted a massive overhaul of the whole system, but they couldn't do that cleanly, so they jammed a bunch of complicated mechanisms into one sort-of-working bill.  You may like the goal of Obamacare, or you may not. Either way, you probably wouldn't choose this particular method of implementation, which is simultaneously less comprehensive, more expensive and more annoying than many other methods they could have chosen. Even its supporters don't really think of it as a second-best solution; more like eighth-best. This made it very difficult to communicate to people what Obamacare was going to do, and in fact many of the things they ended up communicating instead, like "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" turned out to be false. This probably didn't help Democrats in the midterm elections.
It also made the administration's job harder in the legal cases. Most notably, in the first round of lawsuits that ultimately reached the Supreme Court, the solicitor general attempted to argue that the individual mandate was like a tax, for legal purposes, but also not a tax. This got him some laughs from the bench, and some questions about why the people who wrote the law had repeatedly insisted that it wasn't a tax.  
This is a good lesson for Republicans, should they get back into the White House, and for Democrats, if they should earn another round: Keep It Simple, Stupid. The temptations of Rube Goldberg Policy should be shunned. It is bad policy, for one thing: vulnerable to breakdown, hard to fix and full of unintended consequences. But it isn't even good politics in the long run. You end up with a landmark bill that has to be pitched to voters in graphic novel format. Presumably, the next round of health-care policy making will have its own YA series, with the movies to star Jennifer Lawrence and Justin Bieber.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

A losing fight

President fighting for relevance after mid term elections. [Link]
The Republican capture of the Senate culminated a season of discontent for the president — and may yet open a period of even deeper frustration. Sagging in the polls and unwelcome in most competitive races across the country, Mr. Obama bristled as the last campaign that would influence his presidency played out while he sat largely on the sidelines. He privately complained that it should not be a judgment on him. “He doesn’t feel repudiated,” the aide said Tuesday night.
Of course not. That would require a level of self awareness that it is pretty obvious he doesn't have.

Remember what he said before the election:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fun Quiz

A quiz on military style police tactics. [Link]
Today's Quiz:
You should find this one more difficult than the previous quiz.
Police did not carry out an aggressive, military-style raid to accomplish which of the following purposes?
    (a) To find the source of a parody Twitter feed
    (b) To check a bar for underage drinkers
    (c) To recover a large number of overdue library books
    (d) To enforce copyright law against a DJ
    (e) To check whether barbers had valid barbering licenses
    (f) To apprehend Tibetan monks who overstayed their visas
    (g) They did that in all these cases
I think it is worth considering this one for a moment, so I'm going to put the answer and further discussion after the jump below.

If you find it slightly terrifying that they did this (and by "this," I mean used a SWAT team or a gang of officers using similar tactics) for any of those purposes, congratulations, you are sane. The answer is (c): to my knowledge, a SWAT team has never been used to recover overdue library books, but I think that example is no less ridiculous than the others. And inevery one of those other cases, police aggressively stormed the premises with guns drawn, wearing body armor and even masks, though they had no reason to think there would be any danger.
The Tibetan monks were here on a peace mission, for Christ's sake.
Well, not for Christ's sake, but you know what I mean.

The importance of text

Always bet on text. [Link]
At every step of communication technology, textual encoding comes first, everything else after. Because it's vastly cheaper on a symbol-by-symbol basis. You have a working optical telegraph network running in 1790 in France. You the better part of a century of electrical telegraphy, trans-oceanic cables and everything, before anyone bothers with trying to carry voice. You have decades of teleprinter and text-only computer networking, mail and news, chat and publishing, editing and diagnostics, before bandwidth gets cheap enough for images, voice and video. You have pagers, SMS, WAP, USSD and blackberries before iPhones. You haveTeletext and BBSs, netnews and gopher before the web. And today many of the best, and certainly the most efficient parts of the web remain text-centric. I can download all of wikipedia and carry it around on the average smartphone.

Monday, October 13, 2014

But at least there's a process

The TSA is NOT listening to your complaint. [Link]
Today I begin a series of posts that will use documents obtained from the TSA following a FOIA request. I asked for, and got, complaints sent to the agency in the last year by active duty military personnel or combat-wounded military veterans. To the TSA’s credit, I filed my request in August, and – very much to my surprise – got 216 pages of documents in early October. While the agency has fiercely resisted transparency, they got this one right. And the documents I received are pretty revealing.
First thing the documents tell us: when you complain to the TSA, you aren’t complaining to the TSA. Whether you call or use their website to write to them, your complaint is processed and answered by an employee of K4 Solutions, the TSA’s call center contractor. This form does not send information directly to the TSA. If you use it, you’re writing to a corporation. To be sure, the forms often indicate that the complaints have been sent on to TSA officials at the appropriate airport, but K4 Solutions is a layer of insulation. It is not TSA headquarters, and your complaints don’t go directly to TSA headquarters. The contractor controls the messages, and decides where and if to route them.
Second, news stories about TSA outrages always contain the obligatory statement from the TSA press office, and it’s always a meaningless jumble of lines read from a script: the TSA takes passenger safety very seriously and has multiple layers of security. The responses to TSA complaints are exactly the same. The K4 employee who reads or hears your complaint has a scripted set of available responses, and cuts and pastes a set of paragraphs to answer your call or letter. The amount of thought that goes into that cutting and pasting is, let’s put this charitably, negligible.


Dilbert.com

Thursday, October 02, 2014

When pigs fly

Or Hell freezes over. [Link]
It’s always arrogance that gets the powerful, in the end. Arrogance and pride.  Because here’s the situation – and I write this with an enormous grin of schadenfreude on my face from thinking about how progressive activists will react to what I’m about to write – it’s clear by now that George W Bush knows how to beat a terrorist insurgency, and Barack Obama does not.  Barack Obama’s previous Iraq policy was a miserable failure.  Barack Obama’s foreign policy staff was incompetent. The President himself demonstrated that, when it came to terrorists and figuring out why they hate us, Obama was fundamentally intellectually incurious and far too prone to episodes ofepistemic closure.  Do I need to keep using all those progressive antiwar sneers as handy flails, or has everybody gotten the point by now?
Excellent.  So, now that we’ve established Barack Obama’s past litany of failure, the question becomes: how can the man fix his mistakes? – Because it’d be swell if that happened, of course.  Well… Barack Obama could start out by going to his predecessor – that would be George W Bush – and asking for help. This would, of course, humiliate Obama’s supporters (and Obama himself); which is unfortunate.  For them.  But that’s not really anybody else’s problem.  The bottom line is that Barack Obama should maybe not regularly chat with GWB; but Obama should certainly have Bush (and probably Bill Clinton*) over on a semi-regular basis.  These guys have been where Obama is; they know the score.
And, hey: it’s even good politics.  After all: George W Bush polls rather better than Barack Obama does right now.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Say, Why Don’t Republicans Want President Obama To Be Killed?

Projection. They thought that way about Bush, and can't comprehend why Republicans don't reciprocate. [Link]
WELL, AFTER ALL THOSE YEARS OF BUSH ASSASSINATION-FANTASIES BY THE LEFT, YOU CAN SEE WHY THEY’D BE PUZZLED: New York Times: Say, Why Don’t Republicans Want President Obama To Be Killed? “Of course we want the president to be safe. Those who are surprised by this perhaps need to spend some more time with their ideological opponents, or — and this will be harder, I grant — spend a little more time examining what it is about their ideology that led them to conflate political opposition and violence in the first instance.”
Death of a President

Windows 10

Windows 9 disappeared after being operational for only 24 hours.

Which is the real story and which is the satire piece?

Microsoft skips 'too good' Windows 9, jumps to Windows 10
Details about Windows 9 are sketchy, but according to internal Microsoft communications obtained by InfoWorld, the OS was fast, intuitive, bug-free, and equally adept with both the Windows Desktop and Metro-style interfaces. "And who would've thought to put the Start button there?!? Genius!" marveled one engineer, though it's unclear where "there" is exactly.
Another engineer likened the OS to the Nintendo Entertainment System's Power Glove accessory, saying, "It's that good a melding of man and machine."
One email chain riffed extensively on how Windows 9 is like the sitcom "Seinfeld" in that it's "about nothing," but also because "there was that one episode where Kramer got the deli meat slicer, and he said he had cut slices of meat so thin, he couldn't even see them. Well, Windows 9 is so transparent, you won't even know it's there. Hell, I'm not even sure I used it!"
"Hey guys, if all this is true, then we can't release this [OS] to the public," one HR manager who had been CC'd on the emails declared. "We have to keep this internal and advertise it as a perk. You know: 'Come work for Microsoft, and you get to use Windows 9!'"
Surprise! Microsoft jumps to Windows 10
Microsoft just said no to 9. The follow-on to the current Windows 8 operating system will be known as Windows 10.
Originally codenamed Windows Threshold, the new operating system essentially does away with the dependency on the tiled "Metro" user interface that Microsoft had attempted to implement across its entire device line, from desktop PCs to Surface tablets and Windows Phone devices. In its place is a combination of the so-called live tiles, present in areas like the new Start Menu, and a more classic Windows experience that aims to please both touch and keyboard-and-mouse users.
Windows 10 is such a substantial leap, according to Microsoft's executive VP of operating systems, Terry Myerson, that the company decided it would be best to skip over Windows 9, the widely expected name for the next version.
"Windows 10 will run on the broadest amount of devices. A tailored experience for each device," Myerson said at a press event here Tuesday. "There will be one way to write a universal application, one store, one way for apps to be discovered purchased and updated across all of these devices."

Friday, September 26, 2014

FBI Director upset they can't break into your phone as easily

Perhaps if you (the government), hadn't spent all your credibility to snoop on people who are not suspected of a crime. Also, trying to play the terror card and the child card doesn't fool anyone anymore. [Link]
Apple said last week that it would no longer be technically feasible to unlock encrypted iPhones and iPads for law enforcement because the devices would no longer allow user passcodes to be bypassed. The move comes as tech companies struggle to manage public concerns in the aftermath of last year's leak of classified National Security Agency documents about government access to private user data.
On a privacy site for its new mobile operating system, iOS 8, Apple outlined new features and tips for users on how to manage their privacy. It also included an explanation of how Apple will respond to government information requests in the future.
"Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data," the company said. "So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."
Comey said that while he understood the need for privacy, government access to mobile devices may be needed in extreme circumstances, such as in the event of a terror attack.
"I like and believe very much that we should have to obtain a warrant from an independent judge to be able to take the content of anyone's closet or their smart phone," he said. "The notion that someone would market a closet that could never be opened -- even if it involves a case involving a child kidnapper and a court order -- to me does not make any sense."
Comey said FBI officials have had conversations with both Apple and Google about the marketing of their devices.
"Google is marketing their Android the same way: Buy our phone and law-enforcement, even with legal process, can never get access to it," he said.
"There will come a day -- well it comes every day in this business -- when it will matter a great, great deal to the lives of people of all kinds that we be able to with judicial authorization gain access to a kidnapper's or a terrorist or a criminal's device. I just want to make sure we have a good conversation in this country before that day comes. I'd hate to have people look at me and say, 'Well how come you can't save this kid,' 'how come you can't do this thing.'"
The director further expressed concern that public outcry over privacy in the wake of the NSA scandal may lead to unforeseen consequences.
"I get that the post-Snowden world has started an understandable pendulum swing," he said. "What I'm worried about is, this is an indication to us as a country and as a people that, boy, maybe that pendulum swung too far."
No, no it hasn't.
They really do not like this. Chicago Chief of Detectives claims the iPhone will now be the choice for pedophiles. [Link]

Now, the chief of detectives for Chicago's police department has issued an alarming statement on the effects of Apple's heightened encryption.
Speaking to the Washington Post, John J. Escalante said, "Apple will become the phone of choice for the pedophile. The average pedophile at this point is probably thinking, I’ve got to get an Apple phone."