May 30, 2011

Thank You Veterans [dri]
— Open Blogger

Watch video below: more...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 11:03 AM | Comments (33)
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The Death of Captain Waskow
— Dave in Texas

Captain Henry T. Waskow was killed in action in Italy, in December, 1943.

Ernie Pyle wrote these words about him, in his (perhaps) most memorable post from the war.

In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow of Belton, Texas.

His account goes on so sadly, but sweetly, to tell how much this young officer was admired, respected. Each man gving a different kind of farewell.

Ernie Pyle moved on to the Pacific after the war in Europe drew to a close. He was killed by a sniper on Ie Shima near Okinawa in April of 1945.

He wrote dispatches from the front lines, for millions of people back home. He gave them some idea of what their boys were doing, and going through. Beloved by so many and small wonder that.


Posted by: Dave in Texas at 08:59 AM | Comments (33)
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Open Blog
— Ace

If you want. I really need to get out of TwitterWeinerVille, population me, so I'ma gonna see the Hangover, which someone said wasn't so good, but movie critics are, what's the German word?, ignorant talentless tasteless buffoons.

Besides, I didn't think the Hangover 1 was all that either, so I don't have high expectations, and besides, I could lose myself forever in Bradley Cooper's diamond-blue eyes I just want to laugh at monkeys.

Posted by: Ace at 08:59 AM | Comments (89)
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Full Cached Version of Picture Recovered?
— Ace

Before linking this, I have to note that I have never heard of this guy before 72 hours ago.

As usual, that doesn't mean I don't believe him. But it does mean I have no history with him by which to judge credibility.

He says he's got the Exif metadata from the cached picture. The results are slightly, slightly bad for Weiner: the pic was taken by a Blackberry, which his other Yfrog pictures were also taken with.

But the data fails to note Blackberry model or time-stamp (not even sure why the time-stamp matters; anyone could have had this photo from months ago).

So it's not dispositive -- even the model of the Blackberry, I think a 9650 in Weiner's case, would not have really proved things beyond doubt because it's a popular cellphone/camera -- but it is yet another case where the evidence could turn towards the exculpatory side but fails to do so.

And this is all assuming this is the actual data recovered as it was originally presented, and that this analysis is accurate.

I do not know this type of stuff. I did my very first photoshop yesterday and I continue to be unable to even keep my phone in a charged state.

Doubts? Lee Stranahan, that liberal who usually says honest stuff about his own side, has been covering this case for Big Breitbart, and has tended to be pretty firmly on the "Wasn't a Hack" side of things.

But he says he doubts the picture would contain Exif information. I'm trying to find out why he doubts that now, and if he doubts it, if he believes it's faked.

Here are his problems: 1, that the information in question indicates the photo was taken hours later than it assumedly was. Corrected: He's saying the "last modified" stuff for the Exif is later than the picture was snapped. But see below.

2, that the phone's model number was present in Weiner's other photos but is now absent in this one.

3, Wrong resolution? He says other pictures were in a different resolution.

Let me say the obvious: If Stranahan has evidence of fakery, that is very, very good for Anthony Weiner. On the other hand, if this can be explained, it's not really good for him, but only slightly bad. Basing a case on the fact that a picture taken by a Blackberry is like a basing it on the suspect escaping in a Ford.

Eh: FilmLadd says the "modified" information on my avatar, for instance, shows today's date. When someone else opens the Exif of the photo, they get today's date. So Stranahan's point that the Exif shows a later date is irrelevant -- anytime you look at this stuff it gives you a "last modified" date of right now.


Posted by: Ace at 07:56 AM | Comments (177)
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"Randall" Of "Honey Badger" Fame Now Adding VO to Cartoons
— Ace

I never heard of this cartoon. Doesn't really matter though.

He's never going to top Honey Badger. It is sad to hit one's peak so early in one's career.

But still. more...

Posted by: Ace at 07:41 AM | Comments (36)
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The Comely Coed to the New York Daily News: Um, I Didn't Say That
— Ace

"Expressed my dissatisfaction to NYDN over their implication that I backed the hacking theory."

She did seem to say a little less than the media claimed.

Ah well, lesson 1 for our journalism student: When the media has a quote they're looking for to hook their story all together, they're either going to put that quote in your mouth ("Would you agree that...?") or they're just going to paraphrase you into saying it.

Either way, you will wind up saying that necessary quote.

Thanks to DrewM.

Posted by: Ace at 06:32 AM | Comments (227)
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It's Important To Remember This Memorial Day That Americans Didn't Just Die And Sacrifice In Iraq, They Won An Important Victory
— DrewM

Via Ben Domenech, Walter Russell Mead makes a very, very important point: Osama bin Laden had a vision for fighting America and the non-Muslim world and it died in Iraq.

But on this Memorial Day it is not enough to remember, and give thanks, that Osama’s dream died before he did and that the terror movement has been gravely wounded at its heart.

Because the dream didn’t just die.

It was killed.

And it was killed by coalition forces. They killed it by fighting harder and smarter than the enemy and they killed it by winning trust and building bridges better than the enemy. They did it because they were better, more honorable warriors and better, more honorable partners for peace. Mostly American and mostly Christian, the coalition forcers were more compassionate, more just, more protective of the poor and more respectful of Arab women than the crazed thugs who thought setting off bombs in the market was fulfilling God’s will.

We must continue to honor and thank the Arab allies and tribal leaders who made the choice for America in a dark and a difficult time. But especially on this Memorial Day we must honor and remember the American heroes who by their lives and by their deaths brought victory out of defeat, understanding out of hatred and gave both Muslims and non-Muslims a chance to get this whole thing right.

The story of America’s victory over terror in Mesopotamia needs to be told. In justice to those who sacrificed so much, and for the sake of those who may have to face similar dangers in the future, somebody needs to tell the real story of how, against all odds and in the face of unremitting skepticism and defeatism at home, our armed forces built a foundation for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.

Read the whole thing. It's worth it.

Posted by: DrewM at 06:23 AM | Comments (46)
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The World Will Little Note, Nor Long Remember What We Say Here
— Dave in Texas

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

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Posted by: Dave in Texas at 05:04 AM | Comments (68)
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The Last Full Measure of Devotion
— andy

I saw this FNS piece when it aired 5 years ago and make a point of watching it again every Memorial Day.

God bless our troops and the memory of the fallen.

Posted by: andy at 02:30 AM | Comments (66)
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May 29, 2011

Update: Number One "Suspect" In Hacking Says No Police Have Contacted Him In "Hacking" Case
— Ace

I call him the number one "suspect" because @patriotusa76, Dan Wolfe, is being named as the hacker in the left-wing media.

See the first comment at Gawker, for example. And most of the subsequent ones.

Where did they get this idea?

Inferentially, from two places, and synthesized together, at a third place:

1. Inferential bit: Anthony Weiner claims he was "#Hacked!," as he calls it, which is a cutesy way on Twitter to say something. Like #Jinx! So he's joking lightheartedly about this despicable and invasive hacking, an attempt to ruin his career and his marriage.

In any event, if you've been #Hacked!, there must be #Hacker! Right? Follows.

2. Inferential bit: The Comely Coed claims in her very-short-on-details NY Daily News piece that she was "harrassed:"

. When I checked one of the posts that I had been tagged in I saw that it was a picture that had supposedly been tweeted to me by Congressman Anthony Weiner.

The account that these tweets were sent from was familiar to me; this person had harassed me many times after the Congressman followed me on Twitter a month or so ago. Since I had dealt with this person and his cohorts before I assumed that the tweet and the picture were their latest attempts at defaming the Congressman and harassing his supporters.

Now, from what I gather, @patriotusa76 was in fact a persistent critic of Rep. Weiner. And because @patriotusa76 was frequently watching Weiner's account (and, apparently, some of those Weiner was himself following), he caught the dic-pic when it was sent.

Clarification: The lady in question objects that she did not imply @patriotusa76 was a hacker. This is true, and I hereby clarify. But while she didn't imply that he was the hacker, other people sure as hell inferred it -- see Gawker's comenters seizing on this connection.

It is true she didn't say anything about Wolfe being a hacker. But the left is looking for a patsy, and "harasser" easily enough slides into "hacker." Hell, they even contain many of the same letters.

3. Statement of "reasonable flag for suspicion:" But mostly, this idea came from Colby Hall, writing for Mediate. Hall is very very cautious to be fair to Rep. Weiner but becomes unfair in suggesting that @patriotusa76 might have been the one-moment-elite-the-next-moment-e-lame hacker:

Why We Should Be Suspicious Of These Allegations:

If this was in fact a hack, as Weiner claims, then it’s not unreasonable that the alleged hacker would do everything that he or she could do to make the individual look guilty, including retweeting the offending image, and then deleting it. Rep. Weiner is not just a progressive provocateur who has very few fans on the right, but he is also a very public figure with 45,000 Twitter followers. So it is perfectly reasonable to wonder why it would appear that his offending tweet was only retweeted once, by a Twitter user who goes by the handle @patriotusa76:

So who is this Twitter user that appeared to luck out and sent the only unique RT of Weiner’s image? The Twitter profile claims that he is an individual named Dan Wolfe, and his bio reads: “Conservative Reagan Republican. No Obamacare, socialism, sharia. Proud of the USA & Proud to be an American with NO apologies. No elitists need apply.”

Its not an exaggeration to say that Wolfe is somewhat obsessed with Weiner; a simple search reveals that, since April, he has mentioned Rep. Weiner 287 times via twitter. Also, skeptics might see that Wolfe and his Twitter clique have been building a narrative about Rep. Weiner’s followers for months, perhaps best evidenced by this tweet to an underage high school girl, who requested a follow from Weiner and got it:

So, a guy who has been building exactly this narrative for months turns out to be the one and only unique retweet of the picture in question? Just as Rep. Weiner’s cryptic hashtag about the Seattle time zone is reason to raise reasonable flag of suspicion, so too is this. Lest anyone think that Wolfe is somehow in cahoots with the Big Government report (and/or vice versa) Breitbart claims that Wolfe has refused to speak to him then adds “if he is involved in a conspiracy, then it is a very expensive one and a remarkably long narrative for this to pay off,” adding “that defies reason.”

Note that Colby feels far more confident in accusing Dan Wolfe of being a hacker than of accusing Weiner of sending a dic-pic to a girl who had a crush on him.

So, take those three together. Weiner alleges a hack. the Comely Coed says she's been "harassed." Colby Hall, looking for some damn reason to cast doubt on the indubitable, strongly implies that Dan Wolfe is a good suspect for the "hacker."

Now throughout this saga, Weiner has refused to say if police had been contacted. In fact, Colby Hall's piece even mentions this. So does Ben Smith's at Politico's. So does the Washington Post piece, if I recall correctly.

Weiner, for reasons unknown, refuses to say if he's contacted the police or FBI.

So people continue reporting they don't know if he's called the police.

Calling the police would be the move of an innocent man who was hacked.

Not calling the police would be the move of a guilty man who was making up a bullshit story about a hack to cover the fact he'd actually hit the public tweet channel on his dic-pic when he meant to send a DM.

And we don't know which it is.

Odd that Weiner won't just say which, eh?

Well, he doesn't have to say.

I spoke to the Accused on Twitter a half hour ago. Dan Wolfe himself. @patriotusa76, the man that Hall suggested was a possible suspect for the "hacker."

I asked a simple question:

Have you been contacted by any law enforcement officers or agents whatsoever?

His answer:

No one. Nada. I keep saying bring it on. I have nothing to hide. Not my IP nothing to hide at all.

No one from law enforcement contacted the number one suspect in the hacking case of the decade? No one? No one at all?

Not a single LEO?

No, Wolfe told me repeatedly. And then he went further. Here are his tweets, my Columbo-like questions omitted, as well as answer-beginnings to those questions:

I keep saying I would love an investigation because I know the outcome. It won't be me.


I hope he comes after me. Look up my IP. Nothing to hide here.

I'd voluntarily hand anything they want over. Check me and my IP. Anything. I did not post that tweet. Weiner did it.

It could be solved in minutes why is no one but me asking for authorities?

At this point I'm seriously wondering if I can call the authorities myself and ask for investigation.

Whatever it takes to get it started. Fine with me. I just want it investigated. Someone please?

So: What do we know?

We know the following: That Representative Anthony Weiner has not contacted law enforcement at all.

If law enforcement doesn't call the all-but-named "hacker" suspect, then law enforcement wasn't brought in at all.

What do we know further? We know that the media-types who have shyly dipped a toe into this lake have long hinted that it was quite telling whether Weiner contacted the police, or he didn't.

If he did contact him: Innocent and hacked.

If he didn't contact them: Guilty and not hacked.

He didn't contact them. Unless Dan Wolfe is lying, but has anyone bothered to ask Suspect A-1 in the "hacking case" if he got even a phone call from a LEO?

Does anyone have any evidence he's lying?

Does Weiner have evidence he's lying? Can he tell us which FBI agents are handling the case? Or which security men from Congressional IT? Or which Capitol Police?

Further, Wolfe isn't hard to find, and will cooperate, gladly, with such an investigation.

Should one ever occur. Which I don't think one will.

So Weiner, Comely Coed, Detective First Class Colby Hall:

Dan Wolfe wants an investigation by law enforcement.

Why doesn't Anthony Weiner oblige him? He maintains he was a victim of a serious cybercrime. And he's a Congressman with a security clearance -- this isn't a bullshit prank. Weiner is top-secret cleared.

Pranksters don't hack Congressmen; spies hack Congressmen. This is a bit more serious than #Hacked!

Why doesn't the Comely Coed oblige him? By her account, she, a girl who had just cracked the age of majority, had been sent, unsolicited and unaware, an obscene picture of an erect penis. This is generally considered illegal-- at least a smaller crime. So she too can call the cops.

Isn't it odd that Weiner and the Comely Coed are not calling the police, while the man the left has all-but-accused as being behind this is the only one who wants a police investigation?

I now turn the matter back over to you, Colby Hall.

Corrected: It's Dan Wolfe, not Gary Wolfe.

It's late-- 2am. #Thats545inSeattleIThink.

Okay, it's not. But you get the joke.

Oh: I asked Rep. Weiner 40 different times, in 40 slightly different ways, if he had contacted law enforcement, posting to his Twitter account.

Representative Weiner did not respond to questions in time for this article's publication.

I always wanted to say that.

Scrubbed: The Comely Coed expresses her desire to slip back into anonymity and while I can't quite do that, I can drop all mentions of her name. So she's back to The Comely Coed.


Corrected: Colby Hall objects to the statement that he "accused" anyone. Accused is a stronger word than warranted. I had intended to distinguish between inferential bits and his piece, which put the inferences together, but he's right, "accusation" overstates things by a ways. I have rewritten to quote him accurately: "reasonable flag for suspicion."

He also objects to the idea this "mostly" came to him, noting the Daily Kos says all sorts of ludicrous things here (they are currently working on the theory that Weiner was hacked, and also, that he wasn't hacked at all and Breitbart just photoshopped a picture). Yes, they do say that, and yes, the leftwing reads DKos more than a reporter.

But to me, he carries the weight, since he's a reporter. Anyway, noted and corrected.

Posted by: Ace at 08:58 PM | Comments (315)
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One Coin In The Fountain: Jonah Goldberg Breaks Establishment Embargo On WeinerGate
— Ace

Baby steps, baby steps.

Many people were off all weekend and aren't up to speed on this. We'll catch them up.

This is an especially propitious weekend to get "hacked," since it requires we keep the story percolating for a well-nigh eternal 72 hours, waiting for official DC to come back to work. Gee, those Hack3rz were all nice n' stuff yet again.

So it's no big deal if the establishment voices come late to the party; in fact, it probably works out better, as we'll need them to pick up the baton tomorrow through Tuesday.

more...

Posted by: Ace at 05:31 PM | Comments (379)
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Overnight Open Thread - Holiday Weekend Edition
— Maetenloch

Welcome to virtual Saturday. And don't forget that tomorrow is the official Infamous Memorial Day ONT memorial. Which I will no doubt regret having.

The Agony of Defeat

Morons of a certain age will well remember the Agony of Defeat guy during ABC's Wide World of Sports intro. Well here Lileks reminisces and does a little research: It turns out his name is Vinko Bogataj and his crash was from a 1970 skiing competition in West Germany.

Midway down the ramp for that jump, Bogataj realized that the conditions had made the ramp too fast. He attempted to lower his center of gravity and stop his jump, but instead lost his balance completely and rocketed out of control off the end of the ramp, tumbling and flipping wildly, and crashing through a light retaining fence near a crowd of stunned spectators before coming to a halt.
After he retired from skiing he became a coach, and a painter, and a forklift driver. And, thanks to the weekly viewing of his wipeout, a celebrity:
Meanwhile, having retired to his quiet, private life in Slovenia, Vinko Bogataj was unaware of his celebrity, and so was quite confused to be asked to attend the 20th anniversary celebration for Wide World of Sports in 1981. He was stunned when other, more famous athletes present, such as Muhammad Ali, asked him for his autograph

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Posted by: Maetenloch at 04:26 PM | Comments (731)
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The Comely Coed: I'm Not His Mistress (I Didn't Suspect You Were), We Never Met (I Didn't Say You Had), And I Am The Victim of a Prank (Yeah, Aren't We All?)
— Ace

Cybercrime.

Oh, she has a fuller statement.

She confirms Congressman Half-a-Boner did in fact follow her.

Wow, what are the odds.


Hack3rz

They can do anything.

Posted by: Ace at 03:24 PM | Comments (403)
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On Coincidence And Conspiracy
— Ace

It's a coincidence that among the mere 91 people Weiner followed, one seems to have just happened to be a busty coed with a crush on him, who called him her "boyfriend."

It's a coincidence that this Comely Coed wrote an article noting that Twitter was a great way to meet stars you liked, like, for example, Congressmen you might have a crush on, just for a fer instance. (I'm adding that example.)

It's a coincidence that he DM'd (private messaged) a porno actress.

It's a coincidence that a lot of the few people he followed (permitting him to private message them) happened to be young, cute girls. I could prove this, but I don't feel like it.

It's a coincidence that a guy who says he's the Comely Coed's boyfriend (a white guy, just to note who she's attracted to) just happens to have recently started following Mediate's Tommy Christopher, who the Comely Coed also started following, and the NY Daily News. Courtesy of Film Ladd.

It's a coincidence that Weiner has skinny legs, like the "model" the "hackers" used to show off the member of Congress.

It's a coincidence he time-chimed the Bosomy Undergrad's home town, and suggested the Maddow interview of him might make for a good "date night," and then deleted her long-standing FaceBook and Twitter accounts, as if she'd been caught doing something wrong.

And it's a conspiracy, a conspiracy of hackers who remain curiously unreported to the police, to make him look bad.

As Lee Stranahan asks: Would the most naive spouse believe this?

If not, why are reporters buying this crap? Did they pledge to "honor and obey" Anthony Weiner like his wife did?

Bonus: The third category is irony. Courtesy of MR MIKE.


Two video shout-outs. 1, Do you believe hackers can do anything, but oddly act like "nice hackers" and don't lock you out of your accounts when they're trying to scandalize you?

2, Do you believe in magic?

Do you believe in magic?
In a young girls heart
How the music can free her
whenever it starts


more...

Posted by: Ace at 01:36 PM | Comments (264)
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Washington Post Breaks Embargo, Spinning, But Noting the 545InSeattle Time-Chime
— Ace

They continue getting the timeline wrong.

They keep seeing that he tweeted about the Tivo eating his hockey game, in a tweet that comes closer to the top of the twit-feed.

But the tweet-feed is in reverse chronological order, duh. The Tivo/Hockey tweet came four minutes after the dic-pic, when Weiner had discovered he was "#Hacked!," as he claims, and when he really should have been on the phone with the police and the Congressional IT/security people about a serious electronic intrusion.

But instead of doing that, he decided to make a joke about all the malfunctions he was having with his electronics. #WhoCanISue?, he wanted to know, about Tivo eating his hockey game, rather than the more typical, "I have been hacked. Heads will roll for this. I am in contact with the FBI's director of cybercrime division as I type this."

But no, it's a joke, "touches" and "they can't stop with the Weiner jokes."

Here's a question: The Chesty Undergraduate receives a dic-pic, publicly, from a man she calls "my boyfriend," whom friends she has a "crush" on. She is on Twitter at the time.

Here's what I would expect her to write, if she weren't expecting this little package:

@repweiner LOL dude, what the hell is that? You trying to tell me something?!!

That is the reaction of someone surprised to see a dic-pic.

Instead, here is what she writes, publicly:

She writes nothing at all publicly. Just goes silent.

Why?

Because she was writing to him privately in a DM.

A few minutes later, when confronted about this by one of the conservatives who saw the dic-pic, she denies having seen it in the first place.

Really? Your boyfriend, whom you have a crush on, who just time-chimed to you, and suggested that watching Maddow and him at 545 Seattle time, saying it could be a good "friday night date, sorta," just sent you a dic-pic, publicly, when you were on Twitter...

...and you missed it?


Public Displays of Erection

Sometimes you just block them out.

Posted by: Ace at 11:58 AM | Comments (232)
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Mediaite Liberal Hack Spins For Weiner
— Ace

I originally posted this as a "good" article, in that it raised questions about Weiner's cover story.

In fact, Colby Hall spins desperately and stupidly to claim there are reasons to doubt, as he terms them, "the allegations."

He claims -- this is so stupid at first I thought this was a reason to doubt Weiner -- that a hacker would have wanted to get the information out widely, and because the information was only picked up on by a conservative critic who follows Weiner, that means... it was a hack?

What? The fact that a hacker would want this disseminated widely, and yet only one or two conservatives online at that time saw it (remember, this was only up for a minute or so), suggests it was a hack?

What?

How about this: Weiner has only a few conservative followers; his liberal followers would not retweet this; it was a holiday weekend Friday night; few people were actually online; and ergo only a few people saw the image, who would start retweeting it.

If, as Colby Hall stupidly spins, the hacker would have wanted this to go out to a wide audience -- Why didn't the hacker post it during more highly trafficked hours, and why didn't the hacker lock Weiner out by changing the passwords to ensure the picture would be up more than a few seconds?


Calling My Shot: Prediction:

Weiner will claim he doesn't want to trouble the FBI, or the national intelligence/security apparatus, which really should be interested in a hack of a top-secret-plus level clearance Congressman, and will pay a private firm he controls and he pays with his own money, to look into this matter.

48 hours later this firm will announce he was hacked, but beyond that, the trail goes cold. Fiddlesticks!!!


Posted by: Ace at 11:02 AM | Comments (118)
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Four G8 Nations Recommit Efforts to Kyoto Accord
— Dave in Texas

Did I say "recommit?" I meant "blow off."


DEAUVILLE, France: Russia, Japan and Canada told the G8 they would not join a second round of carbon cuts under the Kyoto Protocol at United Nations talks this year and the US reiterated it would remain outside the treaty, European diplomats have said.

What nation would willingly encumber their already hammered GDP with socialist re-engineering carbon cuts to preserve Kyoto?

Oh, that's right. None of em.

via Irishspy

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 09:43 AM | Comments (33)
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Re-Hacked: Weiner Mayoral Campaign Art Leaked
Update: Daily Mail (UK) Headline Expresses Suspicions About "Hacker" Claim, A Bold Stance Not Even Echoed In Our Conservative-Tilting Media

— Ace

Content warning for those of you who have avoided the picture.

Give the people what they want.

Daily Mail Is Slightly More Skeptical Than, Say, NRO: I hate busting chops on an important conservative media outlet but what exactly is NRO's problem? They have 800 people over there and 40 blogs. No one can do a ten minute post suggesting some questions that remain outstanding here?

Even in their goddamned "web briefing," apparently there's just no room to mention what is actually happening on the right side of the internet dial.

Anyway, here's the Daily Mail.

Honestly, all they do is report Weiner's claims (now falsified; it's not true he had "no ties" to the Udderlicious Undergraduate), but at least they inject some skepticism into the headline:

Congressman Anthony Weiner's fury as VERY risqué picture is tweeted from his account (but he swears it was a hack job)


Update: Mediaite has some "legitimate questions" about the "hack."

Kudos. Strong skepticism plus presentation of the suspicious circumstances.

Posted by: Ace at 09:09 AM | Comments (208)
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Obama-Themed Crossword Puzzle From Chemjeff
— Ace

You'd have to print this out and everything to do it, but it is Sunday, so why not.

Posted by: Ace at 08:33 AM | Comments (38)
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Romney: To Coin a Phrase, It's About the Economy, Stupid
— Gabriel Malor

Mitt Romney will "officially" roll out his campaign on Thursday by focusing it on what every political commentator has said, evar, about campaigns against incumbent presidents: "This election is going to be a referendum on the president and his handling of the economy."

Romney’s goal, according to advisers, is to keep his eyes on the bigger prize and to run his own race, not one dictated by the other GOP candidates or by the round-the-clock media culture. His hope is to convince Republican voters that, whatever flaws they may see in him, he is still the strongest candidate for the general election.

A series of interviews with Romney’s top advisers reinforced that message. “The economy is not just a talking point,” said campaign manager Matt Rhoades. “It’s the real deal. He [Obama] took his eye off the ball, doing all these other things. People are hurting out there. He’s the boss.”

With this stunning insight into presidential politics held firmly in the candidate's mind, Romney is going to stand out from . . . nobody.

Economy, economy, economy is a great message for the general election. But Romney isn't running in the general election yet. He's supposed to be telling us why he's better than the other Republican candidates who, BTW, will be repeating the same "it's the economy, stupid" line. So, where's the contrast? Sure, he thinks he's better on the economy than the other aspirants, but does anyone believe that Romney's reputed business judgment will be the first thing that comes to GOP primary voters' minds?

Oh, and lest you think the Romney team learned something from Huckabee's disgraceful Mormon-baiting in 2008, I'd worry:

Four years ago, he made a bid for social conservatives that took him off his core strength — economic issues. His advisers say that won’t happen this time. They believe he has no need to re-litigate social issues and say he has found his comfort zone with the economy and with a campaign of a different style and pace. He is, said several advisers, “less frantic.”

Now, there are no advisers actually quoted in the WaPo piece for the truly alarming pieces of that paragraph, so maybe this is getting a little gloss. If it's not, I've got to wonder if Romney's advisers slept through the flak Mitch Daniels got for his "social issues truce."

This whole Jedi mind trick --- if you just talk about the economy, everyone will only think about the economy --- is an awful idea. Guess what, champs, neither the other GOP campaigns, nor the Democrats and the MBM, are going to talk only about the economy.

RomneyCare will come up. As will Romney's occasional lapses with respect to socially conservative ideals. As will his unwavering support for ethanol subsidies a.k.a. federal price interventions. Romney can pretend that his position on these issues isn't going to motivate opposition from many GOP primary voters, but I bet he doesn't for very long.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 06:11 AM | Comments (224)
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