December 30, 2009
— DrewM What's a Senator who just sold what passes for his soul to pass a bill people hate do when he's down over 30 points to a possible challenger do just under 3 years out from an election? Run an ad! Because people just love political ads.
Nelson will air a new TV ad in which he attempts to debunk opposition claims that the Senate legislation represents a government takeover, and he makes the case for health care reform.
"With all the distortions about health care reform, I want you to hear directly from me," the Democratic senator says in the ad.
Nelson, dressed in an open-necked shirt and sweater, speaks directly into the camera during the 30-second ad.
..."I listened to you and took a common-sense approach to improve the bill.
"Now it lowers costs for families and small business, protects Medicare, finally guarantees coverage for pre-existing conditions and reduces the defici
"And it's not run by the government.
"I'm convinced this is right for Nebraska," Nelson says.
From the same Rassumussen Poll linked above.
Just 17% of Nebraska voters approve of the deal their senator made on Medicaid in exchange for his vote in support of the plan. Overall, 64% oppose the health care legislation, including 53% who are Strongly Opposed. In Nebraska, opposition is even stronger than it is nationally.
I'm not a big fan of legislating or governing by polls but Nelson may want to take another listen to what his constituents are actually saying.
Related Enough: The Republican running for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat has a clever ad.
It's so clever that he may only get his ass kicked by 39% instead of 40%.
Via The Corner.
— Purple Avenger If true, this is scary, very scary, and will cost billions to resolve.
A German hacker claims to have cracked the encryption that protects most cellphone calls, potentially paving the way for others to eavesdrop on conversations.The security aspects are bad enough, but there's undoubtedly a crapload of gear out in the field that has this encryption burned into ROM's and otherwise not easily reconfigured methods.
The claim, if true, could pose a threat to many wireless carriers who have used essentially the same security on their networks for years...
That's one of the constant worries with embedded encryption tech -- if its easy for YOU to upgrade/change, then its also easier for someone else to do the same. A cheap mask programmed ROM is physically incapable of being altered remotely...which is a good thing...until the time comes that the code it contained exhibits a weakness. Now you gotta physically go out into the field and start swapping ROM's in gear...unless the ROM has been soldered down, in which case, now you're swapping whole boards out...which means you have to make new boards...distribute those boards, etc, etc.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It may just be BS and the German is hoaxing, but if he's not, telecom companies and their customers are going to get hit with some pretty big one-time expenses fairly soon.
— Ace Not a US-bound plane. But shouldn't this have sparked new urgency in screening?
A man tried to board a commercial airliner in Mogadishu last month carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe that could have caused an explosion in a case bearing chilling similarities to the terrorist plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The Somali man whose name has not yet been released was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops before the Nov. 13 Daallo Airlines flight took off. It had been scheduled to travel from Mogadishu to the northern Somali city of Hargeisa, then to Djibouti and Dubai. A Somali police spokesman, Abdulahi Hassan Barise, said the suspect is in Somali custody.
"We don't know whether he's linked with al-Qaida or other foreign organizations, but his actions were the acts of a terrorist. We caught him red-handed," said Barise.
A Nairobi-based diplomat said the incident in Somalia is similar to the attempted attack on the Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day in that the Somali man had a syringe, a bag of powdered chemicals and liquid tools similar to those used in the Detroit attack. The diplomat spoke on condition he not be identified because he isn't authorized to release the information.
Barigye Bahoku, the spokesman for the African Union military force in Mogadishu, said the chemicals from the Somali suspect could have caused an explosion that would have caused air decompression inside the plane. However, Bahoku said he doesn't believe an explosion would have brought the plane down.
A second international official familiar with the incident, also speaking on condition of anonymity because he isn't authorized to discuss the case, confirmed that the substances carried by the Somali passenger could have been used as an explosive device.
In the Detroit case, alleged attacker Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab hid explosive PETN in a condom or condom-like bag just below his torso when he traveled from Amsterdam to Detroit. Like the captured Somali, Abdulmutallab also had a syringe filled with liquid. The substances seized from the Somali passenger are being tested.
They're being tested now, a month later?
The November incident garnered little attention before the Dec. 25 attack aboard a flight on final approach to Detroit. U.S. officials have now learned of the Somali case and are hastening to investigate any possible links between it and the Detroit attack, though no officials would speak on the record about the probe.
I suppose it's possible this was kept from American intelligence, though I doubt it. When they say "U.S. officials have now learned" of this case, I am presuming they really mean "U.S. officials learned of this a month ago, but only now are they taking it seriously."
Thanks to Brother Bewapitis.
Hey...! Where the Hell Was I? For purposes of schtick, I was sleeping off a 24 hour Val-U-Rite bender on a bed of stuffed and sewn hobo bodies.
For real, I had a bad day and then got a bit sick.
Thanks for the birthday wishes! Has it been six years? Damn this blog is old and tired and busted.
Oh well, as they say, six is the new four.
— Purple Avenger That impish prankster global warming is already crushing state budgets with whopping bills for snow removal.
...Maryland's State Highway Administration has spent more than $27 million this year on snow removal, the bulk of that clearing away a massive pre-Christmas storm. But the agency's annual snow-removal budget is just $26 million...Of course there is a "sliver lining" to all this global warming. After we've embraced the suck and accepted our fate, and created the vast new network of dirt ox cart paths connecting our mud huts, global warming removal will no longer be necessary. Did the settlers on the plains living in sod houses have snow plows and paved roads? Of course not, and they got along just fine.
...Stacey Stegman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, said it costs Colorado $4.85 to send one snowplow one mile down one lane of highway. "It adds up," Ms. Stegman said. "We're tightening the belt."...
— Gabriel Malor 58% are opposed, with only 39% supporting the President's attempt to cripple America's healthcare system.
While several individual components of the plan are popular, reminding voters of whats included in the plan has virtually no impact on support for the overall legislation. This suggests that there are not major surprises in the legislation that will cause people to change their opinion of it.
The new figures include 19% who Strongly Favor the plan and 46% who Strongly Oppose it.
This poll is particularly useful as a snapshot of who these crazy folks are who want a healthcare bill no matter what's in it:
It is interesting to note that attitudes towards the plan vary sharply based upon what people see as the primary problem with health care today. Fifty-three percent (53%) say cost is the biggest problem while 23% cite the lack of universal coverage and 13% name the quality of care.
Among those who see the lack of universal coverage as the biggest problem, 86% favor the legislation.
However, among the majority who see cost as the biggest issue, 68% are opposed.
As for those who see the quality of care as the top issue, 87% are opposed to the plan before Congress.
The universal coverage folks are kidding themselves if they think an individual mandate will result in healthcare for every American. Many will continue to go without and there's little difference between foregoing treatment because you have no insurance and foregoing treatment because a government deathpanel won't let your insurer cover it.
— DrewM Above the post update:
Lots of unprotected cops standing next to the van now, so it seems like nothing dangerous.
On FNC right now.
There's a van that has been parked there for a day or two.
NASDAQ and other buildings evacuated.
FNC source says the van has fake plates that made it look like an official vehicle attached to a non-existent law enforcement agency, no other plates.
— Dave in Texas "One more week and my long nightmare is over"
-- Wade Phillips
Truman the Greek 136
Nam Grunt 132
Superfly TNT 132
Peoples Republic of Baltimore 132
Monkey Sleeping 131
Michael in MI 130
Paranoid Polly 129
The rest of us are duking it out somewhere between mediocre and total suckage.
I want to take a moment to thank Ben for pulling all these together each week, it's a total pain in the ass (I know), and it was darned decent of him to volunteer and do it. So thanks Ben!
I shall kill you last.
— Gabriel Malor These are the things we saw on live television during the past decade that made us stop and stare. Theyre not all good things and theyre not all bad. Theyre mostly things that made everyone watching think a collective WTF? and everyone who missed them race to YouTube to catch up.
One caveat: there are no deaths on this list. We all know the single most jaw-dropping television of the decade (and its a strong contender for most jaw-dropping television of all time), whether we consider the events of that morning to be one protracted moment or fill a list of moments from that day. I dont want it on my list. Similar moments I am omitting include events from the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War, the 2001 fatal crash of Dale Earnhardt in the Daytona 500, and Hurricane Katrina.
The magic of television is that many of us can experience the same thing at the same time. This feature is also the thing many highbrow misanthropes curmudgeonly curse about the platform. But that shared connection is an indelible part of our culture and youd have to have lived under a rock for the past ten years to have missed the things on my list.
10. Super Bowl XXXVIII Wardrobe Malfunction (2004)
This was a stupid event in a stupid half-time show, but a million mothers had to lunge to cover the eyes of their impressionable babies at the same moment. Whatever that thing Janet Jackson had on her funbag was, it was not fit for the most-watched television programming of the year. FOX got slammed with a $550,000 fine and all the networks trod lightly for a few years, lest the FCC decide to use a heavier hand. And if you doubt the impact this event had on America, NY Times wanker Frank Rich eventually blamed Jackson and Timberlake for the re-election of President Bush. Really.
9. Ms. South Carolina Answers a Question (2007)
I know she was under a lot of pressure, but the Miss Teen USA was not her first pageant. The question was why she thought a fifth of Americans are unable to locate the United States on a world map. Her answer made even dumb blondes cringe.
8. Red Sox break the Curse of the Bambino (2004)
Eighty-six years after the team traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees, the Red Sox came back from three games down to win the American League Championship (against the Yankees!) and then to sweep the Cardinals in the 100th World Series. It made Boston the first city to win the Super Bowl and the World Series in the same year since Pittsburgh in 1979.
7. Governor Mark Sanford and the Argentine Mistress (2009)
Sanfords June 24, 2009, press conference was his attempt to come clean after his Fathers Day abandonment of his wife and kids to see his South American honey. The problem is that he didnt just come clean, he decided to share his emotional journey from innocent friend to soul mate. If you listened real hard you could hear every political consultant in the countryand every person with a healthy interest in their sanityyell STOP TALKING at their televisions. Slu memorialized Sanfords TMI moment here.
6. Phelps Wins and Wins (2008 )
Michael Phelps qualified to swim in three team and five individual races in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. He won gold in all eight events, breaking the world record for gold medals won in a single Olympics. In his seventh race, he beat Serbian swimmer Milorad Čavić by 1/100 of a second, when Čavić apparently failed to press the wall forcefully enough to trigger the clock. This was jump-out-of-your seat television, especially the final race, a medley relay in which Phelps pulled the team up from behind to give them a half-second edge in the final split.
5. Whoopi Goldberg Knows it Wasnt Rape-Rape (2009)
Here is an FYI for any far-future alien archeologists who dig through the ruins of our civilization: with the exception of one very confused idiot we kept on television solely for the opportunity to laugh at her, Americans believed that having sex with a 14 year-old who has been drugged into unconsciousness is rape. We also believed that there is something seriously wrong with Whoopi Goldbergs mind-mind.
4. Giants Beat Patriots (2008 )
Its funny, the names are the same: Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Bill Belichick, but I seemed to care more almost two years ago. The Pats were ahead 14-10 when Manning moved the Giants 83 yards in under two minutes. He threw the game-winning pass with 35 seconds left on the clock. After the Patriots got the ball back, Brady went for the Hail Mary with 20 seconds to go, but it fell short. Belichick left the field before the clock hit zero.
3. The I Have a Scream Speech (2004)
It ended a presidential campaign and sent dogs racing to shield their abused ears. Howard Dean never was able to explain what possessed him to yell like a maniac while delivering his Iowa caucus concession speech on January 19, 2004. A third place finish shouldnt have ended his bid (McCain finished fourth in the Iowa caucuses in 2008 ), but the combination of the bulging vein in his forehead, his gritted teeth, and that scream snuffed his aspirations for the White House. YEEEAARGH!
2. Northeast Blackout (2003)
I realize that this selection suffers because a great many people actually involved in the event never got to see it on television. But I have never been as astounded at anything as I was by the sight of thousands of New Yorkers walking out of Manhattan. Many of those that stayed took part in what was probably the biggest block party ever. Indigo Girls went on to perform in Central Park, despite the power failure. As usual, most of the other affected areas were largely ignored on national television.
And the most jaw-dropping (non death-related) live television of the decade: more...
— DrewM Were Hoping he Changes his mind and tells about his training and any other plots he might know about.
Abdulmutallab remains in a Detroit area prison and, after initial debriefings by the FBI, has restricted his cooperation since securing a defense attorney, according to federal officials. Authorities are holding out hope that he will change his mind and cooperate with the probe, the officials said.
To our friends on the left who think this law enforcement model is the Awesome! when the next hit comes, the blood is on your hands too.
A U.S. intelligence official defended the agencys handling of the elliptical information, telling POLITICO: Abdulmutallabs father didnt say his son was a terrorist, let alone planning an attack. Not at all. Im not aware of some magic piece of intelligence that suddenly would have flagged this guy whose name nobody even had until November as a killer en route to America, let alone something that anybody withheld.
Magic piece of intelligence? What the hell do they need? A signed confession from the guy 6-8 weeks prior to his attempt to kill almost 300 people?
They had the fathers concerns, they knew he had gone to that terrorist hot spot of Yemen. He was also a former president of the Islamic Society at University College London. The alumni list of that position includes 3 others who have been arrested for terrorist activities. The Brits by the way had him on their Do Not Enter list. Do we not share this kind of information with our cousins across the pond? And if not, why not?
This seems like, I dont know, a whole hell of a lot of dots that draw a pretty clear picture.
Im not saying these dots are easy to connect but isnt that why these guys get the big bucks? Seriously, what has to happen to get the big scary CIA to say, hey, this chap isnt quite right?
8+ years after 9/11 and we still arent serious about this crap.
All us cobloggers chipped in and bought you this cake.
[DrewM.] This is the first post I ever read here at the HQ. I found the place through Allah's old site which, while I love the HQ, was the funniest thing ever on the internet back in 04/05 and maybe since.
It took me weeks, maybe months before I screwed up the courage to comment here, so if you are new to the site (and given the growth in the last year many are), don't be shy. Jump in. Hell, you might even become a co-blogger someday. That's when you'll know your life is a total waste.
[Gabe] Wait, you read posts here at the HQ? Really?
[Russ] Yeah, what Drew said. I've only been a coblogger here for about 30 months, and you can see why Ace gave me a set of keys here.
Natural talent for the written word? Not really necessary when you've got polaroids of Ace with a motel room full of goats in lingere. Not that the aforementioned pictures EXIST, mind you. At least not as far as you know.
[Dave] Lace wigs!!
— Gabriel Malor Like the child he is:
As Ive watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think if he has a low key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we wont be at war. He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we wont be at war. He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of 9/11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we wont be at war.
He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core al Qaeda trained terrorists still there, we wont be at war. He seems to think if he gets rid of the words, war on terror, we wont be at war. But we are at war and when President Obama pretends we arent, it makes us less safe. Why doesnt he want to admit were at war? It doesnt fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesnt fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency social transformationthe restructuring of American society. President Obamas first object and his highest responsibility must be to defend us against an enemy that knows we are at war.
Cheney is objecting to lawfare. The features that the Left wants so badly do not actually make the United States any safer. They do not help us defeat our enemies. At the most fundamental level Lefitsts take this approach because they want to pretend that we have no enemies.
— Gabriel Malor And yet I still get emails from people telling me how smart Dr. Paul is:
Second, as usual, his facts are wrong. He uncritically accepts Abdulmutallabs assertion that the bomb plot was retaliation for the U.S. airstrike on jihadi camps in Yemen. Not so: As Jake Tapper explained yesterday, this turd had already been mobilized and had even bought his Northwest ticket before we struck. Purely and simply, Americas Greatest Patriot is parroting propaganda cooked up by jihadist pieces of sh*t because it happens to fit his insane foreign policy agenda. Support him and his disciples at your peril.
With so many obvious warning signsdomestic policy incoherence, a foreign policy deathwish, his credulity when it comes to conspiracy theories about "international bankers" (*wink*), and his associations with racistswhy would anyone want anything to do with him? There are better candidates out there. Stop propping up the Republican's LaRouche.
Click over and read the whole thing. He's got video of Ben Stein smacking Herr Doktor down while Larry King chortles in the background about "two Republicans going at it." Wouldn't it be nice if Stein didn't have to correct Paul on national television?
— Dave in Texas Sort of an update to Maet's ONT.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands The Netherlands will immediately begin using full body scanners for flights heading to the United States to prevent future terrorist attacks like the foiled Christmas Day attempt.
Amsterdam's Schiphol has 15 body scanners, but their use has been limited because of privacy objections that they display the contours of the passenger's body. Neither the European Union nor the U.S. have approved the routine use of the scanners.
I'm guessing the EU and the U.S. won't object. Bad news for Derek Smalls.
— Gabriel Malor
December 29, 2009
— Open Blog Good evening morons. And welcome to the boringest night of the week.
Leaked: Dept of Homeland Security's Post Underwear Bomb Airplane Rules
Here's a leaked copy of the actual TSA new security procedures after the underwear bomber's failed attempt on Christmas. Basically flying is going to suck a lot more for a while: no internet, phones, live programming, GPSs, and no items at all in your lap or getting out of your seats during the last hour of flight. Of course these were all supposed to be kept secret so the terrorists couldn't adjust, but I guess that bird has flown.
Of course this will do nothing to keep another underwear bomb off the plane. Only air sniffers or body scanners have a chance of detecting these kind of bombs. So get used to virtual stripping to board planes in the future.
Update: According to this article all Canada to US flights now ban carry-on bags. On the plus side flight crews now have discretion on the 'last-hour' rules.
— Purple Avenger Yoo totally owns NYT interviewer Deborah Solomon.
OK, I may have made that last exchange up since it didn't appear in the official transcripts.
NYT: Were you close to George Bush?
Yoo: No, Ive never met him. I dont know Cheney either. I have not gone hunting with him, which is probably a good thing for me...
NYT: So youre saying you were just one notch above an intern, you and Monica Lewinsky?
Yoo: She was much closer to the president than I ever was...
NYT: I see various groups are protesting a decision by a California government lawyer to teach a course with you that starts on Jan. 12, claiming he is legitimizing your unethical behavior.
Yoo: At Berkeley, protesting is an everyday activity. I am used to it. I remind myself of West Berlin West Berlin surrounded by East Germany during the Cold War.
NYT: Are you saying the citizens of Berkeley are Communists, reminiscent of those on the dark side of the Iron Curtain?
Yoo: There are probably more Communists in Berkeley than any other town in America, but I think of them more as lovers of Birkenstocks than Marx...
NYT: Is there anything you regret?
Yoo: I regret agreeing to this interview. Its like shooting fish in a barrel. How could you ever think some biased classless hack scrunt interviewer from the NYT could ever think on their feet fast enough to keep up with me? Are you on drugs?
— DrewM Just on Special Report. No link yet.
Here's the CBS story*.
CBS News has learned that as early as August of 2009 the Central Intelligence Agency was picking up information on a person of interest dubbed "The Nigerian," suspected of meeting with "terrorist elements" in Yemen.
Sources tell CBS News "The Nigerian" has now turned out to be Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. But that connection was not made when Abudulmutallab's father went to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria three months later, on November 19, 2009. It was then he expressed deep concerns to a CIA officer about his son's ties to extremists in Yemen, a hotbed of al Qaeda activity.
In fact, CBS News has learned this information was not connected until after the attempted Christmas Day bombing.
Awesome job guys, awesome job.
I give The System a B+.
By the way, we're talking about August of '09, so obviously this is Bush's fault.
*I changed the link from CNN to CBS because the latter had a more complete story.
Related: This "lone extremist" was recruited and groomed in London.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, a former president of the Islamic Society at University College London, advertised speakers including political figures, human rights lawyers and former Guantánamo detainees.
One lecture, Jihad v Terrorism, was billed as a lecture on the Islamic position with respect to jihad.
Security sources are concerned that the picture emerging of Mr Abdulmutallabs undergraduate years suggests that he was recruited by al-Qaeda in London. Security sources said that Islamist radicalisation was rife on university campuses, especially in London, and that college authorities had a patchy record in facing up to the problem.
How's this pretending that terrorism and Islam have nothing to do with each other working out for us?
— DrewM Smart Diplomacy(TM), is there anything it can't do?
Iran is close to clinching a deal to clandestinely import 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan, according to an intelligence report obtained by the Associated Press on Tuesday. Diplomats said the assessment was heightening international concern about Tehran's nuclear activities.
Such a deal would be significant because Tehran appears to be running out of the material, which it needs to feed its uranium enrichment program.
The report was drawn up by a member nation of the International Atomic Energy Agency and provided to the AP on condition of that the country not be identified because of the confidential nature of the information.
...A Western diplomat from a member of the IAEA's 35-nation board said the report was causing concern among countries that have seen it and was generating intelligence chatter. The diplomat also requested anonymity for discussing intelligence information.
"Causing concern"? Boy, I can't wait til Iran fires off a nuke, we might even hear expressions of 'alarm'.
Obama's 'deadline' for progress with Iran is the New Year but he'll be on the golf course when that happens so don't think they'll be immediate action. Naturally they'll be a period of calm reflection and study which will lead to a process of consideration that can't be rushed and will take as long as it needs to in order to reach the right conclusions.
But just when you think all hope is lost there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Actually it's an onrushing train in the form of...John "Global Test" Kerry. He thinks he knows who the right man to work this all out is...him. Once he jets off to Tehran to chat up the Mullahs everything will fine.
We are so screwed.
h/t to Chris van Avery for the Iran uranium story.
— DrewM Above The Post Update:
MSNBC is running the audio. He's laying out the preliminary results of the investigations.
Says the report from the father about the bomber was not widely enough distributed. Well, thanks for clearing that up.
Says the 'system that has been in place for years' failed. See...it's Bush's fault the system failed.
Now saying nice things about security forces.
Doubles down on 'the system worked' after the attack meme. Bold and stupid. Says the system did fail before that.
Even if everything goes right, there's no guarantee things will work 100% of the time.
That was not worth interrupting his golfing for. He basically said, yeah we fucked up. Thing is, we knew that yesterday. His statement yesterday was just so out of touch and wishy-washy he had to come out and sound like an actual President a day later.
You know, at some point something is going to happen that doesn't allow for a second shot at it.
Lefties will love it (Hi Sully and CJ) because he's taking blame and responsibility (well putting it on the government). Thing is, why not yesterday when all of this was known? He thought he could just skate by playing defense lawyer yesterday. He could have and should have given this statement yesterday.
— Open Blog When you see as many movies as I do, you learn to avoid entire categories, either because you don't like them or because you're just flat out tired of 'em. For example, I skipped last year's "The Class" and "The History Boys", just because I'm tired of the whole Blackboard Jungle thing.
Even when I like a movie, if I'm acutely aware of the formula, it can be hard to really get into it. (I liked "The Last Samurai" but I couldn't keep from thinking "Oh, look, a white guy's gonna show the Japanese how to be better Japanese.")
Rarely, however, you end up missing something that approaches a well-worn storyline in a refreshing way, as I almost did with the new Great Expectations-ish The Blind Side.
In this movie, Michael Oher, a ginormous black orphan who has lucked into a place in a fancy Christian private school, ends up being adopted by Leigh Ann Tuohy (a MILFed-up Sandra Bullock). Over the next two hours, they change each others' lives.
You can understand my dread. "Based on a true story!" even.
In what constitutes a Thanksgiving miracleyeah, it's been out for a whilethis actually works. Why?
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