November 26, 2010

IRS Harassing Jewish Organization? (Ben)
— Open Blogger

Are you or have you ever been a supporter of Israel?

The IRS is looking into a group that calls itself Z Street, which was created to counter J Street. For those of you goyum not familiar with Jewish lobbying groups, J Street is the liberal jewish organization that has a less than stellar record of supporting Israel. Well, to counter this Z Street was created. It is a pro-Israel lobbying group. Not in that they are lobbying at the behest of Israel, just simply that they are pretty openly pro-Israel and would like Americans and our politicians to be so as well.

Well the IRS has sent a letter which asked:

“Does your organization support the existence of the land of Israel?” IRS agent Tracy Dornette wrote the organization, according to this week’s court filing, as part of its consideration of the organizations application for tax exempt status. “Describe your organization’s religious belief system toward the land of Israel.


Fair enough right? There are rules and guidelines to being tax exempt in America and it is the IRS's duty to make sure groups comply with those guidelines. However, it is Z Street's claim that I find disturbing.

Z Street claims that a different IRS agent reviewing its application for tax exempt status said the agency is “carefully scrutinizing organizations that are in any way connected with Israel” and that “a special unit” is determining whether its activities “contradict the Administration’s public policies.”

Z Street could be lying. It would probably be in their interest to do so. However, I find myself growing cynical with this administration, especially on its policies toward Israel.

What do you think? Am I too cynical, or do you also believe that the Obama administration would use the IRS to target lobbying groups who counter the Administration's foreign policy?

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Why Pay A Mortgage in California When You Can Just Squat? [CDR M]
— Open Blogger

Is Your New Neighbor A Squatter? Now California law allows an individual to acquire title to a property if they've fenced it, openly occupied it without permission and paid property taxes continuously for five years under a provision called adverse possession. However, to qualify for adverse possession, one would have to show good faith and I don't think that's the issue here. Is this just the tip of the iceberg for all those sitting, foreclosed homes and what should be done about it?

Heh. Even e-How has posted a guide on How to squat in Abandoned Property.

Update: Does this count towards politicians claiming higher home ownership?

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Europe imploding [Fritzworth]
— Open Blogger

Maggie Thatcher gets quoted a lot these days: "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." And even as the current administration tries to deny that reality, Europe is confronting it head-on:

Credit default swaps (CDS) measuring risk on German, French and Dutch bonds have surged over recent days, rising significantly above the levels of non-EMU states in Scandinavia.
"Germany cannot keep paying for bail-outs without going bankrupt itself," said Professor Wilhelm Hankel, of Frankfurt University. "This is frightening people. You cannot find a bank safe deposit box in Germany because every single one has already been taken and stuffed with gold and silver. It is like an underground Switzerland within our borders. People have terrible memories of 1948 and 1923 when they lost their savings."

Recognize that Germany is the most fiscally sound country in the EU -- if Germany gets shaky, all bets are off.

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November 25, 2010

Overnight Thread - Thanksgiving Edition
— Open Blogger

Sarah Palin's Thanksgiving Day Message

My fellow Americans in all 57 states, the time has changed for come. With our country founded more than 20 centuries ago, we have much to celebrate – from the FBI’s 100 days to the reforms that bring greater inefficiencies to our health care system. We know that countries like Europe are willing to stand with us in our fight to halt the rise of privacy, and Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s. And let’s face it, everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma and they end up taking up a hospital bed. It costs, when, if you, they just gave, you gave them treatment early, and they got some treatment, and ah, a breathalyzer, or an inhalator. I mean, not a breathalyzer, ah, I don’t know what the term is in Austrian for that…

Despite my occassional criticism of her this why I love Sarah. Let the press beat up on you a little then stuff it back in their faces.

more...

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Turkey Day at Casa de Cthulhu [cthulhu]
— Open Blogger

What would Thanksgiving be without a litany of disasters? There's something about the holidays – a particular alignment of the stars, perhaps – that makes them especially prone to oversights and errors in planning, preparation, execution, and presentation.

Here at Casa de Cthulhu, the gf and I are having a traditional meal – roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, spiced carrots, pumpkin pie. Our original target time for the feast was 4:00....which is now less than an hour away. True to form, we've already run into some difficulties.... more...

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The Plastered Disaster - A Short Story of Non-Fiction Fiction [Journolist]
— Open Blogger

Editor’s Note - This article was prepared by Acton Wrightway III and originally appeared in AOSHQ's Quarterly Duodenum Digest on January 13, 2010.

Mr. Wrightway has been traveling extensively the past several months and has been difficult to reach. We were able to talk with him briefly last week concerning the production status of the Simulcast Overlay System (SOS). Mr. Wrightway is quite pleased with the results of the pilot program and test market feed-back and believes the SOS will be available in the near term.

However, the marketing timeline for the system has been greatly reduced on account Mr. Obama will likely lose re-election. Despite the changes in the system’s marketing timeline, Mr. Wrightway is ever the optimist and is already working on a new venture – a board game that allows players to keep track of upcoming indictments of Team Obama. The working title of the game is, ‘Obama Democrata Indictorama.’

We have been told the game pieces number in the hundreds and that there is even a special Bill Clinton, ‘Is what it Is’ Joker card. No release date has been set but the President has been given a prototype in advance. When asked if he thought such a game would be awkward for the president, Mr. Wrightway noted the president is a mock-up specialist with an aptitude for games.

more...

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This Thanksgiving, take a moment to remember the troops [XBradTC]
— Open Blogger

Most of us are surrounded by friends and family this day. But for so many American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, this is another day separated from those they love. Let's take a moment and remember to give thanks to them for all they do.

The Army has long tried to make sure that troops deployed to war have at least a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.

Sometimes, it doesn't work out as well as we might all like...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 09:21 AM | Comments (26)
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Ace Location Update [CDR M]
— Open Blogger

I was literally shocked when watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade when lo and behold, there is our fearless ewok, Ace, right there on the screen! Way to spread the Thanksgiving Cheer!

more...

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Happy Thanksgiving [rdbrewer]
— Open Blogger

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NFL Football Thread-Thanksgiving Edition [CDR M]
— Open Blogger

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Just a reminder to get your picks in in the Moron Pick 'Em leagues at least 5 min prior to kickoff.

Today's games are:
12:30 EST Patriots vs Lions on CBS (Bellicheat win easy)
16:15 EST Saints vs Cowboys on FOX (Cowgirls lose easy)
20:20 EST Bengals vs Jets on NFL CH (Bungles should just go on strike)

Sorry DiT, gotta do it. The greatest Thanksgiving Day football play, evah. Now with bonus bonehead Super Bowl play.

more...

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Top Headline Comments 11-26-10 (Ben)
— Open Blogger

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

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November 24, 2010

TSA Gropes Menstruating Woman Because of Panty Liner [rdbrewer]
— Open Blogger

Good grief. It's astonishing that people are being treated this way in this country.

But what ultimately happened is that I was subjected to search so invasive that I was left crying and dealing with memories that I thought had been dealt with years ago of prior sexual assualts. Why? Because of my flannel panty-liner. These new scans are so horrible that if you are wearing something unusual (like a piece of cloth on your panties) then you will be subjected to a search where a woman repeatedly has to check your "groin" while another woman watches on (two in my case - they were training in a new girl - awesome). So please, please, tell the ladies not to wear their liners at the airport (I didn't even have an insert in).

She provides some biographical background:

I'm a strong, confident woman; I'm an Army vet (which is why those camo liners crack me up), I work full-time and go to graduate school full-time, I have a wonderful husband, and I don't take any nonsense from anyone. I don't dramatize, and I don't exaggerate. I'm trying to give you a sense of who I am so you won't think that this is a plea for attention, or a jumping on the bandwagon about the recent TSA proposed boycott.

Every time we hear one of these stories, John Pistole runs for the cameras and reassures us that this isn't what is supposed to happen; that no one should be treated in this fashion or made to cry; that it shouldn't be regarded as a common occurrence or used as the basis to judge the whole program or the TSA; that they listen and are always adjusting their policy, and that--most importantly to him--we all must put up with these "enhanced searches" to keep terrorists from bringing down airplanes. And then it happens again. Each time, he circles back around to tough-talking bluster with that asinine, barely-disguised "everyone's a perp" mentality.

Does John Pistole strike you as a little psycho at this point?


"We need to see your vagina clearly."

All women travelers should wear panty liners in protest. Link via BoingBoing.

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Overnight Open Thread: WTF Edition [CDR M]
— Open Blogger

Wazzup Moron Nation! CDR M back on the ONT BattleWatch! Hope you all are ready for the most magnificent eating day of the year and for those of you traveling, hope the TSA didn't manage to mishandle your stuff, so to speak! Without further ado, I present to you, the ONT:

The Screw You Nebula
Remember this picture?

more...

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Department of Justice Rocked by Investigation [rdbrewer]
— Open Blogger

The United States Commission on Civil Rights released findings today that were highly critical of the way the Department of Justice handled the voter intimidation case that was brought against members of the Black Panther Party.

Lack of cooperation:

The report says the DOJ's "lack of cooperation" raises questions about the government' decision to dismiss most charges against the anti-white fringe group who wore military clothing as they stood outside a polling place in a black Philadelphia neighborhood in November of 2008. The document says the department did not completely address "serious accusations" made by former DOJ staffer J. Christian Adams and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Coates, the former chief of the Civil Rights Division Voting Section, about opposition in the DOJ to taking up voting rights cases against minorities.

Cover-up:

The implications found within the 144 page report issued by the non-partisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding the investigations into the New Black Panther voter intimidation case from 2008 appears to strongly indicate a cover up initiated by figures within the Obama Department of Justice, and quite possibly the White House itself. Within the context of this cover up, are found accusations of intimidation and non compliance within the Department of Justice throughout the comprehensive investigation.

Institutional racism:

At the heart of the investigation are allegations the Department of Justice aggressively prevented some within its own department from fully and fairly investigating the Black Panther voter intimidation case filed shortly after the 2008 presidential election. Page 85 of the report indicates members of the Obama administration felt the DOJ should primarily focus on charges brought on behalf of minorities, not against them – in essence, an institutionally approved and promoted form of reverse racism. When some DOJ officials raised concerns over this, they were, according to the details of the report, subjected to intimidation and marginalization by their superiors within the Obama Justice Department.

Congressman Darrell Issa's House investigation will undoubtedly uncover more of the details, but there is no guarantee he will get all of them. There remains a problem with executive privilege, the power of the president and members of the executive branch that stems from constitutional separation of powers. In this case, executive privilege could be used to resist subpoenas and the coercion of testimony. In fact, this has been at the heart of the DOJ's lack of cooperation all along.

Perhaps a good argument for the reauthorization of the Independent Counsel Act. Here is the full report (PDF).

Question: How is it that the independent, bi-partisan Commission on Civil Rights released its report on the ultimate Friday news dump day?

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Memo To William F. Buckley, Jr. [Journolist]
— Open Blogger

Buckley 11239961.jpg

Dear Bill,

Happy Birthday.

We have had a rough patch here State side lo these past 22 months with the besting of America by the incorrigible voices of progressive liberalism; some call them democrats, but most now, bastards. And why not, I say.

For the progressive troika of politicos, talking heads to the intellectually stunted executive branch, have perfected their fevered goose-steps toward Government, Inc. USA. The Italian patron of fascism, Benito Mussolini himself would be proud of the troika’s hard left turn and the merging of state and corporate powers laced with the threat of congressional investigations and governmental retaliation.

America has been operating in a fog of late, not quite sure where to step but always reminded of the bellowing of the all powerful state run fog horn; the fog horn operator is America’s 22 month old president whose advancement from community organizer to half term U.S. Senator to President is what slick packaging and smoke and mirrors buys these days.

But alas, America has awakened - awakened to the shock and the horror of allowing itself to be duped by the talkers of smooth.

America is demanding the state stand down and release its grip. We had a midterm election a few weeks back and America spoke loudly and clearly. Power was taken away from the liberals and returned to the people with the election of 63 conservative republicans to congress along with 6 new conservative republican senators and over 600 conservative republicans elected to state and local office throughout the country.

As you can see Bill, we ain’t letting the bastards wear us down.

Oh, and tell Buchwald that the guy f/k/a Barry Soetoro is president, and was recently in India dodging coconuts and apparently Americans.

That’s all for now + requiescat in pace,

-J

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Midday Late Afternoon Early Evening Overnight Open Thread - "Make Money Now, Ask Me How" Edition [Rajiv Vindaloo]
— Open Blogger

Yeah, yeah, it's more like the Jay Leno Show's Lead-In of Death to the Overnight Open Thread at this point. Plus I delayed posting it because of the DeLay news (how meta!). I was at an early Thanksgiving family thing, sue me. Pretend you're in California. Unless you are in California, in which case I'm sure you'd rather pretend you were anywhere else.

Wicket Misses His Friend

The Furball Far, Far Away called, said he has a message. I'm not sure what it means; I'm just the middleman.

Meanwhile, If You'd Rather Interact with Slightly Less-Sentient Life Forms

I'm quite obviously on a late-70s/early-80s kick lately. If you've looked out the window any time in the last couple years, you ought to be, too.

Besides, you may need this information tomorrow if your turkey starts giving you any lip.

After the jump, how you could actually get cash this weekend just for reading this blog. Maybe. Conditions apply. But you're tempted now, aren't you? Click ... cliiiiiiiiiick!

(There's also actual political commentary inside, too. If you're into that sort of thing.) more...

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BREAKING: Tom DeLay Convicted Of Money Laundering
— DrewM

Thanksgiving came a day early for liberals.

DeLay was charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit money. He faces a possible sentence of 5-99 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine on the money laundering charge, and 2-20 years in prison and a possible $10,000 fine on the conspiracy charge.

Prosecutors earlier said they believe the DeLay case is the first such criminal charge ever filed over Texas’ century-old prohibition on corporate contributions in state political races.

Delay, a Republican who was nicknamed “The Hammer” because of his heavy-handed style, was accused of conspiring to funnel $190,000 of corporate money through the Republican National Committee, which sent $190,000 in campaign donations to seven GOP candidates for the Texas House.

State law prohibits corporations from giving donations to candidates directly or indirectly.

Sucks for DeLay but on the whole, it's kind of meh news. He's been out of office for a number of years and with the Republican wave this year and a new generation of leaders it just feels so old and from another era, mostly because it is.

Still, liberals will enjoy their moment and no one will care come Monday.

It'll be interesting to see how this all shakes out once the appeals are through.

Thanks to tmi3rd for the heads up.

Just a reminder...DeLay had the best mugshot ever.

delay mug.jpg

Added: In case you're mourning the fall of a great conservative leader, don't forget that in 2005 Delay said the federal government was small enough and the GOP was pretty much done cutting spending. Now, we'd all like to go back to the 'good old' days of only 300+ billion dollar deficits and 16 TRILLION in unfunded liabilities but that's only because of how insane things have gotten since then.

DeLay may have had a lot of good qualities as a Congressman but being a small government, cost cutting conservative wasn't one of them.

Posted by: DrewM at 01:07 PM | Comments (66)
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Hideous looking thing found on bottom of sea floor
— CAC

Take Hallucigenia

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Mate it with Opabinia

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And you get a multi-tentacled monstrosity: more...

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Wavermania: Obamacare Edition (Ben)
— Open Blogger

Barack Obama's healthcare bill was supposed to be the pinnacle of the Democratic Party's achievment in this new century. Finally, after decades of trying, a mandatory and centralized healthcare regime had become law. We could all breath a sigh of relief because after 234 years our unfair society was finally just.

Well, not quite. Richard Epstein over at Forbes has a great article on the unintended consequences of Obamacare and how the waivers have made a bad situation worse.

Please go read the whole thing.

One great point is how this will affect small businesses:

Economically, the high fixed costs of administrative compliance drive small firms to seek takeover by powerful larger firms whose deeper purses and better political contacts help them weather the storm.

I'm not telling anyone here anything they didn't know, but clearly this bill not only benefits Big Business, who has the extra cash laying around to comply with such laws, but the waiver system also gives them a competative advantage.

The only companies receiving waivers are those with lobbying power and political influence. Obamacare, like almost every other law passed by congress, continues to help the big and established companies at the expense of the small and start up companies. And these people wonder why unemployment is still hovering at 10%.

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Barney Frank (Team Unicorn) To GOP: Have Fun Confiscating the Skittles We Just Pooped Out to the American People [Dan Cleary]
— Open Blogger

Sounds like someone plans on sipping Slurpees for the next two years.

Via CNS News. Cross-posted.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 09:38 AM | Comments (84)
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