December 21, 2008

This Site is Not the Ace of Spades Site
— Ace

This is actually just a work-in-progress site.  It's half-done.  Right now it's not used, except as an emergency back-up when the main site goes down.

The actual site is at http://www.ace.mu.nu, or aceofspadeshq.com, which will redirect there.

If you're not seeing pictures on this site, it's because it's not really working yet.

If you've posted comments and no one seems to respond -- that's because most users can't see them.  Comments from the real site get posted here, but comments from here don't show up on the real site.

Basically, you should come to the real site.  It looks a little crappy right now and it breaks down a lot, but this one isn't quite ready yet.

Sorry.. should have put up this notice long ago.

Note from Pixy: Posts and comments automatically sync from the old site to this new site within 60 seconds, but some authors aren't set up on the new site, and will show up as Open Blogger.  We'll get those sorted out soon.

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April 18, 2014


— andy

Happy Friday, all.



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April 17, 2014

Overnight Open Thread (4-17-2014)– Not Sure Edition
— Maetenloch

10 Things 'Idiocracy' Predicted Would Happen, and Sadly Already Have

Garbage Avalanches

In the film, it is the "Great Garbage Avalanche of 2505" that frees our protagonists from their cryogenic sleep. This prediction that trash will eventually pile up to unmanageable amounts has started to come true in many parts of the world. Particularly, Guatemala is known for their regular landfill landslides, especially during rainy seasons. Sadly, this is the cause of many deaths per year there to those who make their living as trash miners.
Ads EVERYWHERE

This one was a fairly obvious dig on society as it already was when the movie came out, but it's gotten way worse since. You virtually can't go anywhere without being bombarded by advertisements, and it's only going to continue to get worse and more prevalent as technology advances. Think about it, when was the last time you watched a YouTube video, surfed the Internet in general, or even watched television for more than five minutes without some product being pushed in your face? Heck, even phone apps are loaded with them if you aren't specifically paying them not to.

Plus you have the ubiquitous cursing and general talking like a tard.

tarryltons

But the absolute proof that we're now in the late pre-Idiocracy era is the fact that this aired on America's Got Talent:

Ow My Balls Society!

more...

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Mark Steyn: The Long, Slow, Unremarked-Upon Death of Free Speech
— Ace

"This is the aging of the dawn of Aquarius."

I heard a lot of that kind of talk during my battles with the Canadian ‘human rights’ commissions a few years ago: of course, we all believe in free speech, but it’s a question of how you ‘strike the balance’, where you ‘draw the line’… which all sounds terribly reasonable and Canadian, and apparently Australian, too. But in reality the point of free speech is for the stuff that’s over the line, and strikingly unbalanced. If free speech is only for polite persons of mild temperament within government-policed parameters, it isn’t free at all. So screw that.

But I don’t really think that many people these days are genuinely interested in ‘striking the balance’; they’ve drawn the line and they’re increasingly unashamed about which side of it they stand. What all the above stories have in common, whether nominally about Israel, gay marriage, climate change, Islam, or even freedom of the press, is that one side has cheerfully swapped that apocryphal Voltaire quote about disagreeing with what you say but defending to the death your right to say it for the pithier Ring Lardner line: ‘“Shut up,” he explained.’

A generation ago, progressive opinion at least felt obliged to pay lip service to the Voltaire shtick. These days, nobody’s asking you to defend yourself to the death: a mildly supportive retweet would do. But even that’s further than most of those in the academy, the arts, the media are prepared to go. As Erin Ching, a student at 60-grand-a-year Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, put it in her college newspaper the other day: ‘What really bothered me is the whole idea that at a liberal arts college we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion.’ Yeah, who needs that? There speaks the voice of a generation: celebrate diversity by enforcing conformity.

I actually noticed this story on Twitchy, because a left-leaning comic, Patton Oswald, approvingly retweeted the link, stating he agreed with the general thrust, and for that blasphemy, was then set upon by the zealous inquisitors of the Holy Universal Unification Church of Shut Up.


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Hillary Clinton Will Soon Be Grandmother
— Ace

Chelsea Clinton announced her pregnancy.

The 16-week-old fetus has been signed to a six-figure deal to host a new MSNBC show.

Chelsea has reported it kicking, for which the unborn child has received a Walter Cronkite Excellence in Journalism award.

I didn't care about the "Chelsea is pregnant" storyline -- who can keep up with our useless princelings? -- until I saw the Drudge headline, "Grandma Hillary."

Does this help her or hurt her?

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Director Bryan Singer Sued for Allegedly Having Raped a 15-Year-Old Boy
— Ace

A lot of details claimed in this suit, and not just about the alleged drugging/sex.

But rather about a Hollywood culture that enables the abuse of children. I'll refer you to Variety for that.

X-Men: Days of Future Past” director Bryan Singer has been accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy in 1999 in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Hawaii federal court.

The plaintiff, Michael Egan, claims he was 15 years old when Singer forcibly sodomized him, among other allegations. Egan’s lawyers, led by Jeff Herman, allege that Singer provided him with drugs and alcohol and flew him to Hawaii on more than one occasion in 1999. His suit claims battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy by unreasonable intrusion, and it seeks unspecified damages.

Singer’s attorney, Marty Singer, called the lawsuit “absurd and defamatory.”

...

Herman is a sexual abuse attorney based in Boca Raton, Fla., who also represented the plaintiffs who accused Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of sexual abuse. He and Egan are scheduled to appear at a press conference on Thursday in Beverly Hills.

“Hollywood has a problem with the sexual exploitation of children,” Herman said in a statement. “This is the first of many cases I will be filing to give these victims a voice and to expose the issue.”

Well.

Speaking of Rape-Rape... Has Whoopi Goldberg finally found something she's qualified to do?

More: The Daily Mail reports more on the "boy parties."

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Oblahablah Open Thread
— Ace

Oblahblah's talking about... something or other.

Oh, he's doing a victory lap over the CBO's new estimated numbers that claim that Obamacare's unaffordable costs will be slightly lower.

Oh God, it's just a general defense of Oblahblahcare yet again, calling for us to "move on." Now he's talking about the "50 or so votes to repeal this law" (a debunked number, of course; see, he's lying) and how those votes could have been used to "create jobs" or something.

"The repeal debate is and should be over."


[Update - Andy]: A key takeaway from President TrollSoHard's prepared remarks lies:


Posted by: Ace at 10:42 AM | Comments (277)
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— Ace

I quoted the story as it was written some hours ago.

But they've changed it, without acknowledging the change.

WAS: Pushilin acknowledged the flyers were distributed by his organization but he disavowed their content, according to the web site Jews of Kiev, Ynet reported…

NOW IS: Pushilin acknowledged that fliers were distributed under his organization's name in Donetsk but denied any connection to them, Ynet reported in Hebrew.

This is a major change in reporting -- from Pushilin admitting his men to handing them out, to a mere acknowledgement that he's aware of leaftlets purporting to come from his organization.

They have gone from reporting he publicly admitted that his men were dropping these leaflets, to him denying that.

This is not just a minor change in wording. This reverses, completely, their reporting on a key point.

We do not criticize the media for getting things wrong-- everyone gets things wrong, especially in fast-moving stories, and especially in cases of relying upon a translation.

But this is a major change to the original reporting and must be acknowledged as such -- otherwise people (like me) will go on thinking USAToday's original report was correct.

We don't get mad that they get things wrong. That is understandable.

We get mad that they can't bring themselves to admit they've gotten something wrong, and forthrightly correct the record.

And I have to think this is borne of incompetence. Competent people do not fear corrections, because they know they're getting things 90% right, and that's all you can hope for in this world.

It's the incompetents who are fearful that their next screw-up may mean their heads.

So I have to assume that USAToday considers itself incompetent, and on thin ice as far as the accuracy of its reporting.

Thanks to Anon Y. Mouse, who spotted this and was persistent in alerting me about it.

Unrelated, But: In Taranto's column discussing the politicization of the Census Bureau -- which, as DrewMTips notes, is a "crazy rightwing conspiracy theory" proven true -- he has a funny thing at the end.

Grandfather Clause

"This is not your grandfather's NATO anymore."--Thomas Friedman, New York Times, March 30, 2003

"Friends, we are in the midst of an energy crisis--but this is not your grandfather's energy crisis."--Friedman, New York Times, Jan. 20, 2006

"Well, my general view is that this isn't your father's recession; it's your grandfather's recession."--former Enron adviser Paul Krugman, New York Times website, Feb. 13, 2009

"To appreciate the problem, you need to know that this isn't your father's recession. It's your grandfather's, or maybe even (as I'll explain) your great-great-grandfather's."--Krugman, New York Times, Feb. 20, 2009

"I've been saying for almost a decade now that what we have these days aren't your father's recessions, they're your grandfather's recessions."--Krugman, New York Times website, Jan. 17, 2011

"And this is the relevant history we should be looking at: this isn't your father's slump, it's your grandfather's slump."--Krugman, New York Times website, Sept. 19, 2011

"If Israelis want to escape that fate, it is very important that they understand that we're not your grandfather's America anymore."--Friedman, New York Times, Nov. 11, 2012

"This is not your grandfather's battlefield."--Friedman, New York Times, Feb. 2, 2014

"We're not dealing anymore with your grandfather's Israel, and they're not dealing anymore with your grandmother's America either."--Friedman, New York Times, April 16, 2014

This is not your grandfather's cliched hackery.

Posted by: Ace at 11:19 AM | Comments (165)
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Paul Krugman Gets Pwn3d Like a Loudmouth in a Woody Allen Movie
— Ace

There's a famous scene in Annie Hall when a blowhard idiot pontificates about Fellini and Marshall McLuhan. Woody Allen (or "Alvie Singer") becomes increasingly annoyed by the boor, until he at last pulls the actual Marshall McLuhan out from behind an obstruction.

Marshall McLuhan then tells the guy he's an idiot, and that he "know[s] nothing of my work."

Why am I telling about you this? It's on YouTube: more...

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Ron Paul Praises "Fantastic" Article on His Website Claiming 9/11 Was Perpetrated by the American Government
— Ace

Ron Paul offers his standard defense here, the same defense he's used with respect to, say, his frequent appearances on the Alex Jones show -- he's such a rootin'-tootin' fan of liberty that he does not wish to discriminate against anyone on the basis of their belief system. More speech, not less. More voices, not fewer.

Of course, Ron Paul does not publish criticisms of Ron Paul on his website, nor refutations of his own various claims; if he's published a "Three Cheers for the Fed!" piece, I don't know about it.

So I find his claim that these pieces just keep on making it onto his website and into his newsletters (sometimes above the signature "Ron Paul") merely because of a studious commitment to strong-form non-discrimination against view points to be false and phony.

Obviously he exerts some degree of personal choice and discretion when he chooses to publish crap like this. Obviously he thinks this article has something important to tell us all -- indeed, he claims that 99% of it is "fantastic."

Reason has reprinted almost one-third of the article, or, by their accounting, 30%.

If 99% of the piece was "fantastic," that means that somewhere around 96% of the below must be "fantastic" as well:

The most serious blow of all is the dawning realization everywhere that Washington's crackpot conspiracy theory of 9/11 is false. Large numbers of independent experts as well as more than one hundred first responders have contradicted every aspect of Washington's absurd conspiracy theory. No aware person believes that a few Saudi Arabians, who could not fly airplanes, operating without help from any intelligence agency, outwitted the entire National Security State, not only all 16 US intelligence agencies but also all intelligence agencies of NATO and Israel as well.

Nothing worked on 9/11....

For the first time in history low temperature, short-lived, fires on a few floors caused massive steel structures to weaken and collapse. For the first time in history 3 skyscrapers fell at essentially free fall acceleration without the benefit of controlled demolition removing resistance from below.

Two-thirds of Americans fell for this crackpot story. The left-wing fell for it, because they saw the story as the oppressed striking back at America's evil empire. The right-wing fell for the story, because they saw it as the demonized Muslims striking out at American goodness. President George W. Bush expressed the right-wing view very well: "They hate us for our freedom and democracy."

...

Italians were among the first to make video presentations challenging Washington's crackpot story of 9/11. The ultimate of this challenge is the 1 hour and 45 minute film, "Zero." You can watch it here. [You can google this Truther movie if you like -- ace.]

...

It is impossible for anyone who watches this film to believe one word of the official explanation of 9/11.

The conclusion is increasingly difficult to avoid that elements of the US government blew up three New York skyscrapers in order to destroy Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah and to launch the US on the neoconservatives agenda of US world hegemony.

Paul goes on to claim that anyone who finds fault with him for continuing to peddle batshit-crazy conspiracy theories which appeal to infirm and broken minds are guilty of "political correctness."

It's not political correctness.

I know a lot of people on the right really dig conspiracy theories (as well as people on the left), but for people who take a more sober view of events and intentionality, who don't view at as an action-packed thriller movie in which all significant historical events are hatched by a conveniently-detestable Black Hat Villain or Black Hat Organization working the levers and dials of History, this mode of thinking is crude, childish, and deranged.

Human beings are not particularly well-suited for thinking about abstraction. When humans talk about the quantum-level world, we describe in terms of "orbitals" and "spin," even though those things have nothing at all to do with quantum mechanics, and in fact are deeply misleading.

But we need to relate these imponderable abstractions to something that makes sense to us on a gut level, something that we have some tangible appreciation for.

Large events and impersonal social forces are often too big to wrap our minds around. They are largely abstract, and hard for us to process. Conspiracy thinking reduces large impersonal forces to something the average human can comprehend: Human intention, human villainy.

We all understand that some people are just wicked and cruel. And thus wicked, cruel events are most easily digested as originating from something comprehensible -- these Black Hat Villains planned this all.

When horrible things happen, we have emotional reactions, of course. But emotion is geared to be directed at other human beings.

In fact, even when we know exactly who committed a particularly distressing and large evil act -- as in the case of 9/11, or JFK's assassination -- some of us still find the need to postulate larger villainies behind it all.

More emotionally satisfying villainies.

That a great man (so the thinking goes) like John F. Kennedy could have been killed by a failure, a loser, a broken Communist weakling like Lee Harvey Oswald is too much to bear.

Thus, John F. Kennedy must have been murdered by the "dark chatter" of the rightwing in Dallas 1963.

Or even, as Oliver Stone's film suggests: President Lyndon Baines Johnson. After all, who has the power to kill one Warrior King but another Warrior King?

This isn't about political correctness-- it's about an aversion to thinking that frankly isn't "political" at all.

This sort of thinking is Shadow Politics. What it really is a psychological reaction to the incomprehensible and quasi-religious mythmaking.

It may appear political -- it's designed to -- but what it really is a deep psychological drive to make some kind of tangible sense out of a chaotic world that seems too big, and inventing mythic stories to explain it all, scarcely any different than early humans sitting around the campfire and positing that each night, a great dark serpent devoured the sun, and each morning he vomited it back up.

This isn't about political correctness, because it's not even about politics in the first place.

It's really just about deciding who is relatively sane, and whose judgment can be (to some extent) trusted, and who seems to be haunted by the Demons and Ghost-Snakes of 100,000 BC, and who seems, quite frankly, to be crazy.

It's Interesting That He Cites the Italians for Their Perspicacity... because that lets me talk about my favorite Italian word, furbo,, meaning full of cunning and slyness.

"Furbo" is very important in Italian culture. Even more than in our own.

Let's say, for example, I say I believe George Bush that Al Qaeda perpetrated 9/11.

The fact that I'm saying I believe him exposes me to several risks. What if he's lying? If he's lying to me, he's played me for a fool. I would have shown that my furbo is rather weak.

But what if I instantly claim he's lying, instead? Well, then I can never be accused of having had the wool pulled over my eyes by him. My furbo would be strong.

Now, most cultures, of course, respect skeptics and treat the guileless as amiable fools.

But in many cultures, you can only show so much furbo before you begin looking like a fool from the other direction. Not a fool because of what you believe; but a fool because of the incredibly long list of things you don't.

Italy, however, prizes furbo to the extent that it's pretty hard to be considered a fool based on your conspiracy-theorizing. Italy overvalues furbo, and undervalues skepticism about skepticism itself.

Italians pride themselves on their ability to offer a cynical conspiracy-theory counter-explanation for any event they witness. That guy just donated a million lira to an anti-hunger organization? Well, it's probably because he'll actually be selling them services and goods in their anti-hunger efforts. He'll wind up making out like a bandit, believe you me.

Furbo is king in Italy. And there's not nearly enough skepticism about these barely-considered conspiracy theories offered as alt-history explanations for everything. It's very hard to go too far with your furbo in Italy.

The more outrageous your conspiracy theory -- like, for example, that Amanda Knox killed her roommate because she was part of a Satanic cult that collected female genitals for use in summoning rituals -- the more furbo you're showing, and all the better.

I mean, sure there's no evidence against Knox and she appears innocent. But that's just what the Satan Cult would arrange, isn't it? If you believe her when she says "I'm not part of a Satanic cult killing women in ritual sex-orgies," you expose yourself to the risk of having her out-furbo you.

I mean, what if she's actually guilty? There's a one in a million chance of that, and we just can't take that risk.

Now in some quarters in America, furbo is also king. In Ron Paul's world, for example.

But we're not quite as enthusiastic about furbo in America, so the rest of us view this all as the babbling of silly clowns.

Posted by: Ace at 08:42 AM | Comments (383)
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Well: Leaflet Allegedly Dropped by Pro-Russian Forces Holding Eastern Ukraine Orders All Jews Over 16 Years Old to Register as Jews, Listing All of Their Property They Own
— Ace

Chilling, but at the moment this is very sketchy and unconfirmed.

A leaflet distributed in Donetsk, Ukraine calling for all Jews over 16 years old to register as Jews marred the Jewish community’s Passover festivities Monday (Passover eve), replacing them with feelings of concern.

The leaflet demanded the city’s Jews supply a detailed list of all the property they own, or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportion and see their assets confiscated.


However, we have yet no confirmation of this story, nor any admittance that the leaflets are real. The leaflets, after all, could be some kind of agent provocateur operation to discredit the pro-Russian insurgents.

But... I don't know about that. I hate to cast aspersions on a large population, but it's my understanding that Ukraine is fairly anti-semitic. So I don't know what the PR effect of a fake leafletting campaign would be.

Unless those distributing the leaflets think Jews Control The World and hence that any perceived threat to Ukraine's Jewry would result in NATO storming in to repel the Russian insurgents.

Which is its own issue.

Update: I needn't have been as skeptical as I was. They're real.

From USAToday:


The leaflets bore the name of Denis Pushilin, who identified himself as chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government,” and were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue and other areas, according to the report.

Pushilin acknowledged the flyers were distributed by his organization but he disavowed their content, according to the web site Jews of Kiev, Ynet reported…

So Pushilin says he doesn't agree with the order, but acknowledges his men are in fact ordering Jews to register.

Jesus wept.

Posted by: Ace at 07:38 AM | Comments (365)
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Obama's Deliberately Trolling the GOP
— Ace

Already mentioned by @theh2 (Andy) in the morning comments, and boy, I sure wish he'd mentioned it for the podcast -- great piece at Slate by John Dickerson, linked from Hot Air.

We've talked about the Buzzfeedification of politics but this would seem to mean that's now an actual strategy.

Obama Trolls the GOP

The refined cynicism of the president.

By John Dickerson


How do I get you to pay attention to this story? I could type out a balanced tale about an incremental change in White House spin and message control, relying on your discernment, patience, and kindness toward all the creatures of the Earth. Or, I could say that Barack Obama is a cynical and manipulative liar. The first approach would get a modest number of thoughtful readers, but they probably wouldn't stay on the page very long. The second would excite the emotions. Conservatives would approve. Liberals would denounce it and point out the exaggerations. My editor would smile because the controversy would attract more readers.

This is trolling. I've decided against it, but the White House has not. CBS's Major Garrett writes in National Journal about a new version of the “stray voltage” theory of communication in which the president purposefully overstates his case knowing that it will create controversy. Garrett describes it this way: “Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness.”


...

Under this approach, a president wants the fact-checkers to call him out (again and again) because that hubbub keeps the issue in the news, which is good for promoting the issue to the public. It is the political equivalent of “there is no such thing as bad publicity” or the quote attributed to Mae West (and others): “I don't care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.” The tactic represents one more step in the embrace of cynicism that has characterized President Obama's journey in office.

...

Facts, schmacts. As long as people are talking about an issue where my party has an advantage with voters, it’s good.

Major Garrett writes of this "stray voltage" tactic here.

The questioning of Obama's use of a Census Bureau statistic that the median wages of working women in America are 77 percent of median wages earned by men lasted almost all week. The story revved into mini-overdrive when the White House defensively swatted away criticism that salaries on Obama's watch—for which the American Enterprise Institute used the same median wages metric applied by the Census Bureau—showed that women in the president's employ earned 88 cents for every dollar earned by men.

All to the delight of a White House desperate to inject the issue into the political bloodstream and amplify otherwise doomed Senate Democratic efforts to make it easier for women to sue and win damages for workplace pay differences. The controversy that played out on front pages, social media, TV, and radio did just that.

This is the White House theory of "Stray Voltage." It is the brainchild of former White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe, whose methods loom large long after his departure. The theory goes like this: Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness....

A top White House adviser told me last week's pay gap dust up was a "perfect" example of stray voltage. This time it was premeditated.

Like the typical sort of blog-trolling, Obama is basically writing grabby, preposterous, eye-catching, false headlines. And as with the various outfits which practice trolling all day long, he doesn't expect to catch flack for his mangling of the facts for viral hits, because no one expects a Salon headline to be honest in the first place, and, increasingly, few expect honesty from a President, either.

So, in order to maximize viral shares, you just lie. You lie small, you lie big. You like outrageously, you lie entertainingly. This makes liberals link you in approval -- you're finally "getting tough" with the GOP -- and it makes conservatives link you to argue against you.

Whatever the reason, you're getting linked. Your claims, no matter how false, unfair, or ridiculous, are now the day's number one linked story.

Obama came into office as the world's first truly literary president, a rara avis (according to super-fan Christopher Buckley), and he goes out of office as a Gawker blog editor with a keen eye for search engine optimization and listicles.

Posted by: Ace at 06:38 AM | Comments (342)
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Top Headline Comments (4-17-2014)
— andy

President Bozo McUnpresidential and his halfwit sidekick Choppers are down with all the cool kids, yo!


(You should thank me for hiding the image)

This is a good piece that I was going to mention in last night's podcast recording but didn't have time for.


The Obama presidency is basically a gigantic Democrat Internet trolling operation. That explains so, so much, doesn't it?


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April 16, 2014

Overnight Open Thread (4-16-2014)
— Maetenloch

This is One Case Where I Actually Prefer the Cover

To the original even with the whole Pennywise thing going on. Supposedly the title to the song was inspired by this picture of George Brett (along with lots of teenage angst).

In the War on Standards Standards Actually Won a Round

In one case on whether employers can use background and credit checks in hiring. The courts rejected the EEOC's complaint.

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a challenge by the EEOC to the use of credit checks by Kaplan Higher Education Corporation. The very first sentence of the opinion, by Judge Ray Kethledge, calls out the EEOC for its hypocricy:
In this case, the EEOC sued the defendant for using the same type of background check that the EEOC itself uses.

The EEOC claimed that these kind of checks had a disproportionate effect on minorities and to prove it they brought in a crack team of "race detectives" to guess at applicants' race based on their drivers license picture.

The way the EEOC attempted to prove disparate impact is quite revealing and rather disconcerting. To evaluate the racial impact of a hiring policy, one must, of course, know the race of applicants. In this case, Kaplan did not record this information. Thus, the EEOC's "expert" had to eyeball copies of applicant driver's licenses and, in effect, guess the race. (The expert also had the names of applicants; though the EEOC insisted they weren't used to determine race, the Sixth Circuit seemed skeptical of that claim).

To guess the race of applicants from the photos on their licenses, the expert used a process called "race rating." He assembled a team of five race raters each of whom has experience in what the EEOC calls "multicultural, multiracial, treatment outcome research."

And the Court was having none of this.

The EEOC brought this case on the basis of a homemade methodology, crafted by a witness with no particular expertise to craft it, administered by persons with no particular expertise to administer it, tested by no one, and accepted only by the witness himself. The district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding [the expert's] testimony.

I almost expected the court to follow up with a Billy Madison judgment here.

more...

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Bloomberg "Reporter," Who By the Way Once Served as Head of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz' PAC, Headlines Story About Mike Pence's Possible Presidential Run By Noting He's a "Koch Favorite"
— Ace

Right in the headline.

Mike Pence, a Koch Favorite, Mulls 2016 Run for President

Here are some things that this "reporter," Jonathan Allen, deemed not worthy of a headline mention:

* That Pence is actually the current governor of Indiana. That seems sort of important.

* That he's a Republican. Bear in mind, the next election is an open-seat one, no incumbent. There will be challengers on both sides (well, one assumes Hillary will have challengers). So it's sort of important to note which nomination he's considering pursuing.

* That he's a former Congressman.

These are the various basis bits of biographical data which would usually occur to a reporter to include in a headline about a subject. Bear in mind, Mike Pence is not a household name; a headline would usually inform the reader about who the heck he is.

Well, Allen knows who he is, and he wants you to know: He's a "Koch favorite."

AllahPundit notes dryly:

If you’re wondering why this otherwise prosaic Bloomberg piece about Pence’s national future begins with a mention of the Koch brothers, it’s probably because the guy who wrote it worked for Paul Sarbanes and, briefly, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz before resuming his career as an impartial reporter.

During the early-going of the 2012 cycle, I myself pushed a Pence run, reasoning that he would be a party-uniting figure.

He still could be. And he's worked in both the federal system, as a Congressman, and currently holds the position of Chief Executive of a state. That's a solid resume.

And speaking of Jonathan Allen, The Federalist has an interesting piece about the tactics used in coercive kidnap-and-brainwashing operations, as in the case of Patty Hearst.

And, interestingly, the similar tactics employed in political agitation.

Below, the Asch conformity experiment, name-checked in the article.

This is why many of us believe the Democrat Party is not the real enemy; the Democrat Party is just the Customer Service Division of Worldwide Socialism, Inc.

The real enemies are institutions that push a socialist lie on the public, 24/7.
more...

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Selfless Crusader Against Income Inequality to Heroically Accept $225,000 Per Year from State-Funded Organization to Occasionally Give a Few Quotes About the Scourge of Income Inequality
— Ace

$225,000 would be quite a rate of pay for a part-time job.

But this isn't even a part-time job. Former Enron shill Paul Krugman is now taking another "big money call" to promote the City University of New York's Luxembourg Income Study Center.

$225,000 for nine months of work.

What will Krugman to do to earn his $25,000 per month? Almost nothing at all. He's expected to "play a modest role in our public events” and “contribute to the build-up” to the school's new “inequality initiative.”

I assume "playing a modest role in our public events" is similar to Paris Hilton's modest role in public nightclub openings -- show up, eat a few shrimp hors de oevures, chin-chin a champagne fluter or two, go home for the night, watch 30 Rock reruns at 1:00 am.

He is not required to teach students or interact with them at all. He will be expected to appear at one (1) seminar at year's end.

Krugman wrote back: “I admit that I had to read it several times to be clear ... it’s remarkably generous.”

Indeed. Remarkably "generous."

Or is it "generous"? Generosity is what comes out of your own wallet. But this cash bonanza doesn't come out of the pockets of the CUNY officials making this "generous" offer, of course; it comes out of students' hides.

Despite being lavishly subsidized by the state, CUNY has been escalating student tuitions from $4800 in 2011 to $6330 by 2015.

“I just can’t afford that amount. That’s the reason why I came here was because I can afford it. I heard it’s a credible school. And now it’s going up. I’m thinking of finding another school to go to,” Davis told CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez.

Perhaps Krugman, the $25,000 Per Month Not-Even-Part-Time Man, can invite Mr. Sanchez to his single annual seminar and explain to him the evils of income inequality.


Posted by: Ace at 12:13 PM | Comments (247)
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Megan McArdle on Obama's New Books-Cooking Census Insurance Question: "I ’m speechless. Shocked. Stunned. Horrified. Befuddled. Aghast, appalled, thunderstruck, perplexed, baffled, bewildered and dumbfounded."
— Ace

The census is changing the way they ask a question about being insured. The old way, they say, tended to overstate how many people were uninsured. (But note Obama was willing to rely on that overstated figure in making his case for the urgency of destroying the health care system.)

The new way is supposedly "more accurate" -- but will result in fewer people saying they're uninsured.

Coincidentally I'm so f***ing sure, these changes are implemented at the precise damn moment Obama wants to demonstrate a Big Impact of Obamacare.

Of course, he has cooked the books. Much of the change in the number of uninsured will come simply from the new way in which the question is asked, but he will imply or explicitly state (explicit lies are well within his wheelhouse) that the drop in uninsured is attributable to Obamacare.

Megan McArdle, to whom, as a economist/analyst, data are precious as diamonds, is shocked that Obama would decided to destroy any possibility of using census data to get an accurate analysis of the impact of Obamacare, but perhaps she shouldn't be all that shocked at all.

Indeed, she suspects as much:

But why, dear God, oh, why, would you change it in the one year in the entire history of the republic that it is most important for policy makers, researchers and voters to be able to compare the number of uninsured to those in prior years? The answers would seem to range from “total incompetence on the part of every level of this administration” to something worse.

Yes, that’s right, I said “every level.” Because guess who was involved in this decision, besides the wonks at Census?

The White House is always looking for evidence to show the benefits of the health law, which is an issue in many of this year’s midterm elections. The Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Council of Economic Advisers requested several of the new questions, and the White House Office of Management and Budget approved the new questionnaire. But the decision to make fundamental changes in the survey was driven by technical experts at the Census Bureau, and members of Congress have not focused on it or suggested political motives.

...


I find it completely and totally impossible to believe that this problem didn’t occur to anyone at Census, or in the White House. It would be like arguing that the George W. Bush administration might have inadvertently overlooked the possibility that when the U.S. invaded Iraq, there would be shooting. This is the biggest policy debate of the last 10 years, and these data are at the heart of that debate. It is implausible that everyone involved somehow failed to notice that they were making it much harder to know the effect of this law on the population it was supposed to serve. Especially because the administration seems to have had a ready excuse as soon as people reacted to the news.

Of course, the Administration's main salutatory innovations in economic and policy matters has been to change the method by which we measure the economy and impacts of specific policies.

We used to figure out a President's job creation number from, get this, subtracting jobs lost from jobs created, resulting in (whether positive or negative) net jobs created.

But Obama found that Old School Approach to not be accurate enough. He created a new category -- Jobs Saved.

And when "Jobs Saved" turned out to not be plentiful in and of themselves, he created a new category-- "Jobs Funded." He asked employers to note when even a single dollar of government stimulus money had gone to an an employee, whether or not that employee was ever in danger of being laid off. If a single dollar of money went to that employee, then the job was considered "funded" by the government.

But that still wasn't enough -- the Department of Energy created a new metric for measuring the economic impact of stimulus spending. People who politically supported boondoggle spending on, say, Solyndra, would be credited as having been "positively impacted" by the spending.

Sure, Solyndra cost the country money in exchange for no jobs, but think about all those people "positively impacted" by the spending! They felt good about spending money on a cronyist boondoggle; and you just can't put a price on making progressives' erogenous zones throb with the excitement of spending other people's money.

Is GDP not growing enough? Is Obama being weighed down by low GDP growth figures?

Not to worry-- There's An App For That (TM).

Much attention about today’s data release will focus on BEA’s new methodology for calculating GDP. This new methodology generally makes two large changes. First, it reclassifies some spending made by businesses as long-lived investment rather than current intermediate costs. This means that this reclassified spending now boosts measured GDP (which excludes intermediates costs, but does include investments).

Are too many businesses reporting that they're laying off workers at about the same time Obamacare is implemented? Don't sweat it -- just make businesses swear on their tax forms that firings were not due to Obamacare.

Consider what administration officials announcing the new exemption for medium-sized employers had to say about firms that might fire workers to get under the threshold and avoid hugely expensive new requirements of the law. Obama officials made clear in a press briefing that firms would not be allowed to lay off workers to get into the preferred class of those businesses with 50 to 99 employees. How will the feds know what employers were thinking when hiring and firing? Simple. Firms will be required to certify to the IRS – under penalty of perjury – that ObamaCare was not a motivating factor in their staffing decisions. To avoid ObamaCare costs you must swear that you are not trying to avoid ObamaCare costs. You can duck the law, but only if you promise not to say so.

Earlier in his term Obama wanted to reassure voters that he wasn't lenient on illegal immigration. And yet he was actually deporting fewer people than Bush or Clinton. How to assure them he was tough as nails on deportation, then?

Easy peasy -- change the way you calculate deportations. Just begin counting border interdictions (where you just stop someone at or near the border and send them back home) as "deportations" and suddenly you've doubled your "deportations."

Interdictions had never been before counted as "deportations." They were counted under a separate heading. So by changing the accounting method, "deportations" suddenly rise -- when in fact actual deportations have gone down. Way down.

And then, by simply changing your accounting method (without telling anyone about the change), you have gone from someone who's deporting fewer illegals to the Most Hardcore Hardass Deporter in History.

Of course, this then became a meme on the Open Borders left, with illegal immigrant advocates getting angry at Obama and calling him "The Deporter in Chief".... to which charge he now tells them, "Relax, I was just lying, fellas."

In Obama's first year in office, his administration deported 237,941 people. That number represents the traditional definition of a deportation: someone living their life in the U.S. when they encounter a law enforcement officer who has them shipped out of the country.

By last year, that number had fallen to 133,551. And of those, 71,938 had been previously convicted of at least one felony or several misdemeanors – the "criminal aliens" that the administration has targeted. That means of the 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the country, fewer than 70,000 who have led generally peaceful lives here were deported last year.

Yes, the Obama administration says it deports 400,000 people annually, recently passing the 2 million mark throughout the president's time in office. But the majority of those cases involve people caught by Border Patrol agents along the Southwest border and processed through Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In years past, those people would have been quickly shipped back to Mexico....

The backlash started last September, when seven undocumented immigrants handcuffed themselves to the gates of the White House to call on the president to halt deportations. More groups joined in the chorus, culminating in a March speech by Janet Murguía, the president of the National Council of La Raza, the country's largest and most well-financed immigration advocacy group. In it, she called Obama "deporter in chief."


That led to a White House meeting last month, when the president voiced his frustration with leaders of several immigration advocacy groups. In his time in office, Obama has stopped the work site immigration raids so frequent under Bush and created a program that has granted protected status to more than 500,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. He has stopped the deportation of relatives of military members, is considering extending work visas to spouses of foreigners working in the country and ordered a system-wide review of deportation practices to see how to conduct them "more humanely."

When Obama speaks to the Gringos, he touts the 400,000 figure.

When he speaks to Hispanics -- at a White House meeting, presumably behind closed doors -- he tells them he's not really deporting that many people.

A different lie for every constituency.

And in each case, the changes in accounting methodology prevent the whole point of accounting -- accountability.

There is never a good baseline upon which to judge Obama's performance, because at every turn he deliberately destroys the baseline measure.

Orwell noted that whoever controls the past, controls the future.

Obama seems to be an Apt Pupil.

Primary Season: Remember when Obama claimed that he was submitting a budget that would be "balanced" in its out-years (you know, those years a convenient decade away when all the real cuts would allegedly occur)?

He was questioned on this -- how could he say the budget was "balanced" when his own charts still showed $800 billion per year deficits?

Ah, you see, you misunderstood -- they only meant the primary budget would be balanced, the primary budget defined as the budget excluding the huge outlays to maintain debt service on already-accrued borrowing.

This is like saying "Well, the budget is balanced. And when I say 'budget,' I mean the budget, excluding Social Security payments."

Why would you exclude those? What possible justification is there to treat some expenditures as somehow not worthy of being counted?

But even by Obama's new accounting on what "balanced" means -- of course it even turned out that that was a lie.

Posted by: Ace at 10:53 AM | Comments (358)
Post contains 1809 words, total size 12 kb.

Public: Hey, Can We Get a Timetable for When You'll Be Releasing the Numbers for Actual Obamacare Sign-Ups?
Jay Carney: Nah, Bro

— Ace

Wheels are in motion, though, and the check is in the mail.

“I don't have a timetable for when that would happen,” he added.

Carney also noted that the timeline for releasing demographic information and details, such as who among the 7.5 million have paid their first month's insurance premium, is different than the timing for the administration's push to have the Senate confirm Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the next HHS secretary.


I Currently Have No Estimates

...as to whether my promise to not do That Thing in your mouth is still operative.

Oh shit. I've gone and done it.

M'bad.

Posted by: Ace at 10:14 AM | Comments (232)
Post contains 145 words, total size 1 kb.

What Happens When You Try to Open a Plane's Door at 30,000 Feet?
— Ace

Via Instapundit, this Popular Mechanics article notes a recent attempt at opening a pressurized cabin's door.

Nothing happened. The door can't be opened due to the pressure differential. The inside of the plane is pressurized, and the outside is low-pressure; basically you have a thousand pounds of pressure holding the door shut.

Popular Mechanics, however, gets vague about how this works. Airplane doors open outwards. The pressure inside a plane also pushes outwards.

So why does the pressure keep the plane's door shut, rather than giving a would-be door opener a terrific advantage in opening it? Why does pressure fight against a door-opener, rather than fighting for him?

The reason concerns the way that the door is engineered. Some just have locking mechanisms. I suppose those could be opened in flight.

But many are sealed shut by the cabin pressure itself.

These kind of doors are called plug doors, because, like a plug in a sink, they're meant to fill a hole and stay there, sucked into the hole by negative pressure.

Here now some things I learned from Wikipedia and generally scouring the Internet to answer this question, which has long bothered me. (My information is spotty and wholly based on reading so there may be some mistakes here, and I'd appreciate any corrections.)

The inside edge of a plug door is fatter than the outside edge, like a plug that tapers towards its front. The low pressure outside the door hole and the high pressure inside it pushes the plug door into its frame, preventing it from being pulled inwards.
more...

Posted by: Ace at 01:16 PM | Comments (234)
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