December 29, 2014

Overnight Open Thread (12-29-2014)
— Maetenloch

Quietly, the US and NATO End the War in Afghanistan

After 13 years of fighting.

With zero fanfare, a small flag-lowering ceremony was conducted in Kabul that marked the end of the war in Afghanistan.

As the military and political leadership continues to assure us that the Afghanistan army is up to the challenge of defending the country, the Taliban has continued to advance in several provinces while attacking targets of opportunity all across the country.
ISAF was set up after the U.S.-led invasion as an umbrella for the coalition of around 50 nations that provided troops and took responsibility for security across the country. It ends with 2,224 American soldiers killed, according to an Associated Press tally.

The mission, which was initially aimed at toppling the Taliban and rooting out al-Qaida following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, peaked at 140,000 troops in 2010. Obama ordered a surge to drive the insurgents out of strategically important regions, notably in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, where the Taliban had its capital from 1996 to 2001.

If the goal was to build Afghanistan into a viable secure nation-state, then the mission was a failure. But if the goal was to disrupt Islamic terror groups and keep them from establishing safe havens for training and preparations in Afghanistan, then it was a success. And whatever politicians have said over the years, I've always viewed the latter goal as the only real reason why we were in Afghanistan.


France Ends its 75% Tax Rate on the Rich

It turns out that the rich had the means to avoid paying the tax by just leaving France - along with their assets and businesses.

What Does It Take to Be a Driver in Obama's Motorcade?

Well pretty much nothing other than political connections and a valid license it turns out.

Ms. Tyson said in a telephone interview several weeks after she drove in the motorcade that she had received little instruction from the Secret Service about what to do in the event of a high-speed emergency. She assumed that she should just follow the car in front of her no matter what happened.

"Whatever I am," she said, "is good enough for them."

"Good enough for them" is apparently having a driver's license and a clean criminal record, and knowing someone at the White House.

A week before Mr. Obama arrived in San Francisco, a childhood friend of Ms. Tyson's from Cupertino, Calif., who now works at the White House, reached out to her to see if she was interested in driving.

"He just texted me and said, 'Do you want to volunteer as part of this and drive in the motorcade?' " Ms. Tyson said. "It was kind of sudden. I didn't even know the president was going to be in town."

Ms. Tyson said that her driving record was "pristine" and that she had "driven a pickup truck but not a van."



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Oppo Drop: Louisiana Congressman and New House Majority Whip Steve Scalise Spoke at Gathering Organized by David Duke in 2002
— Ace

Well okay then.

Scalise claims to not have known the group's background or ideology.

Although, you know, when a group is calling itself "Euro-American Unity," you should know. "Euro" and "European" and "European-American" are all buzzwords used by Duke and other white-rights folks.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the newly elected House majority whip, acknowledged Monday that he spoke at a gathering hosted by white nationalist leaders while serving as a state representative in 2002, thrusting a racial controversy into House Republican ranks days before the party assumes control of both congressional chambers.

The 48-year-old Scalise, who ascended to the House GOP’s third-ranking post earlier this year, confirmed through an adviser that he once appeared at a convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization.

That organization, founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, has been called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

"Beyond hosting a Web site,, and staging an occasional conference, EURO is a paper tiger, serving primarily as a vehicle to publicize Duke’s writing and sell his books," the SPLC writes on its Web site.

In a statement, Scalise’s spokesperson Moira Bagley emphasized that the then-state lawmaker was unaware at the time of the group's ideology and its association with racists and neo-Nazi activists.

On Twitter, people are Questioning the Timing -- Why now, of all times? It's well after the elections, including the late runoff for the Senate seat; why drop this damaging information now?

One of those guys suggests that it's Scalise's camp who dumped the information -- getting it out there when it's harmless to do so.

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Oh, Yes: Jeb Bush Rockets to Head of the Pack in New Poll
— Ace

Isn't this terrific? Jeb Bush is favored by 23% of Republicans.

There's some wrinkles here: A lot of Republicans don't know about Jeb Bush's various base-displeasing positions. But then, a lot of Republicans actually approve of those positions, too, or at least don't care, which may mean that Bush can win the nomination just by appealing to those liberal-ish Republicans, and, of course, by sucking up hundreds of millions in donor money.

In unrelated news, a candidate from the 2012 contest has just zoomed to first place in my own private poll.

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Obama Boots Wedding Off Venue He's Got the Golf Jones
— Ace

They'd been planning the wedding for months, obviously, but Obama decided to play golf on a whim and so had them relocated under serious time pressures.

The golf course, located on the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, is a regular stop for Obama when he's in the state, with the Ko’olau Mountains framing the front nine and majestic views of Pacific coastline spanning the back nine...

Still, anyone planning an event at the course when the president may be in town is warned about the potential for last-minute shuffling, said Naile Brennan, manager of K Bay Catering, which was handling logistics for the wedding....

So Obama came in to golf, and the wedding had to be re-located in a hurry.

President Privilege eventually called the bride -- after Bloomberg called him to let him know they were writing up his latest golf outrage.

What a guy.

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Addled Old Hippie Garry Trudeau Publishes New Comic Strip Which Indicates He Doesn't Know the UVa Rape Scandal Has Been Exposed as a Fabrication
— Ace

Up-to-the-minute smart takes with Garry Trudeau.

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Obama: Racial Tensions Are Now Coming Out in a "In a Way that is Probably Healthy "
— Ace

The community organizer just keeps organizin' his communities.

With racial issues and policing headlining the political conversation in America in the midst of nationwide protests and the murder of two police officers in New York, President Barack Obama said he believes the issue of race relations is surfacing "in a way that probably is healthy."


"I actually think that [the U.S. is] probably in its day-to-day interactions less racially divided," Obama said in an interview with NPR released Monday and recorded before his family vacation in Hawaii. "The issue of police and communities of color being mistrustful of each other is hardly new; that dates back a long time. It's just something that hasn't been talked about."

We talk about it every Riot Season.

Meanwhile, one of the Ferguson protesters raising issues in a way that's probably healthy turns out to be an arsonist.

Joshua Williams has been everywhere: protesting in Ferguson, Mo., Washington, D.C., and Cleveland, Ohio. Now, he is in St. Louis, where police have arrested him for arson.


Williams has been portrayed in the media as an innocent victim fighting back against authority; he has been held up as the quintessential Ferguson protestor, decrying police brutality as he is time and again brutalized by police. When Williams interrupted a Ferguson City Council meeting in September and the meeting descended into chaos, for example, the New York Times published a photo of his disruptive antics with a caption that said that he had only "posed a question to the City Council."


On the night after Christmas, St. Louis County Police arrested Williams on suspicion of arson in a separate incident. Williams was reportedly involved in the looting and burning of a QuikTrip convenience store on Christmas Eve in Berkeley, Mo., a St. Louis suburb approximately two miles away from Ferguson. The police did not immediately respond to NRO’s request for comment.


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Open Thread
— rdbrewer

Franz Bischoff, "Cleft-Born Trees, Monterey" (1924)

Posted by: rdbrewer at 05:42 AM | Comments (366)
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December 28, 2014

Overnight Open Thread (12-28-2014)
— Maetenloch

Quote of the Day I

"Angelina Jolie's entire family recently stepped out on the red carpet to support their mother's new movie, Unbroken. The couple's oldest biological child, who was assigned female at birth, joined brothers Maddox and Pax wearing sharp suits and short haircuts."

Quote of the Day II

"I think you miss one very important point. He has had Al Sharpton to the White House 80, 85 times. Often when he's talking about police issues he has Al Sharpton sitting next to him. Have a poster boy for hating the police, it's Al Sharpton. You make Al Sharpton a close adviser, you're going to turn the police in America against you. You're going to tell the police in America we don't understand you. I saw this man help cause riots in New York; I've heard his anti-police invective first-hand. To have a man who hasn't paid $4 million in taxes, have a man who's spent his career helping to create riots and phony stories about police, to have that man sitting next to you speaks volumes. You know, actions speak louder than words. You put Al Sharpton next to you, you just told everyone you're against the police."

-- Rudy Giuliani on Face the Nation

More: Why Al Sharpton Should be Fired From MSNBC - But Never Will Be and How Al Sharpton Became Obama's Go-To Man on Race

And Bookworm explains why Holding Sharpton et al. accountable for the killings of Ramos and Liu is not the same as the Left's freak-out over Palin's web site in 2011.

Quote of the Day III

Jomah, a 17-year-old Syrian who joined Islamic State last year, sat in a circle of trainees for a lesson in beheading, a course taught to boys as young as 8.

Teachers brought in three frightened Syrian soldiers, who were jeered and forced to their knees. "It was like learning to chop an onion," Jomah said. "You grab him by the forehead and then slowly slice across the neck."

A teacher asked for volunteers and said, "Those who behead the infidels will receive gifts from God," recalled Jomah, who didn't want his full name revealed. The youngest boys shot up their hands and several were chosen to participate. Afterward, the teachers ordered the students to pass around the severed heads.

-- From a story on the Danish city of Aarhus' cuddly attitude towards returning jihadis.

Quote of the Day IV

"I don't know that a crime has occurred, but a pile of trash in the middle of the street? The Washington Post is making a call over this?"

-- Ferguson Police Department's public relations officer in response to a report that someone ran over a Michael Brown 'memorial' in the street.

Quote of the Day  V

The B-movie studio American International Pictures (AIP) hired Miliius as a writer. His first script was a remake of the Dirty Dozen called The Devil's Eight (1969)-eight, because AIP couldn't afford 12 actors. Next George Hamilton asked him to script a biopic of daredevil Evel Kenievel (1971). The subject of compensation arose. What do you want? Hamilton asked. Milius answered: "I want girls, gold, and guns."

...It is the mid-1980s. There is a party at the house of screenwriter Paul Schrader. Milius, who wrote Dirty Harry and Apocalypse Now and directed Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn, is there when Pauline Kael arrives. Kael is the liberal New Yorker film critic. To her, a Milius film is only slightly better than a slime mold.

Milius has had some wine. He has an intermediary tell Kael that he would like a "conference" with her. A message comes back: Kael wants to know if Milius, who in meetings with executives was fond of displaying pistols, is armed.

"Tell her I'm not armed," Milius says. "But I myself am a weapon."

-- From a profile of John Milius by Matthew Continetti

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Biggest Bust [Y-not]
— Open Blogger

No, I'm not talking about CBD's Food Thread!

I mean this guy:


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Gun Thread (12-28-2014)
— andy

About that SIG AR pistol brace

Seems that story making the Internet rounds about the ATF's conflicting ruling based on use is pretty much wrong.

Robert’s article said that the ATF has “reversed” itself, and that’s not really true. This latest ruling is 100% consistent and in-line with everything else that has come before it. The entire reason we have the pistol brace and can use it in the manner to which we are accustomed is this idea of intent, and so long as the intent is to build a pistol when installing the brace there is no problem.

Gun Of The Week


(answer below) more...

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Food Thread: Healthy, Economical, and (hopefully) Tasty [CBD]
— Open Blogger

I'm not into New Years resolutions, but it just so happens, starting now, I'm gonna start eating better.

But I need to know what foods to buy...and how to prepare them. Plus, my inner-joo wants my improved diet to be economical. So let's trade tips.

For instance, beans. Great food but gassy and time-consuming to prepare. What else?

-- Slippery When Soothsayer

Ignoring the silliness of "...but gassy," which is a feature not a bug, here is everything you need to know about diet:

AOSHQ Food Pyramid2.png

Posted by: Open Blogger at 11:00 AM | Comments (227)
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Sunday Football Thread
— Dave in Texas

For you. For America.


Posted by: Dave in Texas at 08:01 AM | Comments (423)
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Early Poll Finds Bush Surge After Bush Pre-Announcement
— Gabriel Malor

Gah! Updated Poll (12:24pm): I was trying to use all of CNN's choices (plus Romney) and messed that up. New poll is now up. If you already voted, vote again.

Original post:

Early polling is not a predictor of who the Republican candidate will be or even which Republican candidates will run in the primary. Nor does it predict who will win the general election. That is not the purpose of early polling.

The purpose of early polling is to get a sense of where people's minds and money are at when the poll is taken. Yes, that includes name recognition, which is bizarrely dismissed as unimportant even though it factors quite a bit into who has the fundraising juice to make credible bids for the White House (more on this below).

Anyway, as of last week, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie were out ahead of the pack, at least for those names polled (notice anyone missing?):

There's a couple noteworthy things here.

First, it's no surprise to see the Bush surge since he just announced his intention to announce his intention to run for president, or something. As the only candidate sticking his hand out right now, except Sen. Paul maybe, he's bound to peel off some respondents.

Second, check out question 35 (pdf). The tendency of voters to emphasize electability will once again be a big factor in voter choices, which may explain why Bush and Christie are out ahead of more polarizing potential candidates. Although Bush and Christie remain public figures, they haven't exactly been rushing to get into the papers and onto the Sunday talk shows.

Third, the margin of error here is plus or minus 4.5 points, meaning the actual electorate is likely to have Bush out ahead and then every other named candidate in about the same spot. In other words, lest there be any confusion, no one is out yet (except Portman, who said he isn't running), although that is not to say they all have an even chance.

On that point, some of the named potential candidates have the fundraising chops to pull off a credible bid and some do not. The no question, top-tier candidates in the power-fundraiser category includes Bush and Christie, and also Gov. Perry, based on his 2012 take. (BTW, do you notice the commonality there?) Folks that struggled with fundraising in 2012, like Sen. Santorum, are not credible candidates from a fundraising standpoint. But then we've got unknown quantities like Gov. Walker and Sens. Cruz and Paul. All three have national profiles and all three are expected to run (assuming Paul can get his legal issues sorted). Once the race actually gets started and the public has a better idea of their attractiveness to donors, expect to see them get a heavy bounce from electability-minded voters.

Alright, I was planning to start running our AOSHQ straw poll posts again after the race gets started, but what the hell, let's see where people are today. more...

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 07:02 AM | Comments (293)
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Sunday Morning Book Thread 12-28-2014: Wring Out The Old [OregonMuse]
— Open Blogger

Strahav Library Prague 525.jpg
Strahav Library, Prague
Same Library As A Few Weeks Ago, But With Different Lighting

Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Kilts are OK, too. But not tutus.

When Seconds Count, Police Are Minutes Away

Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and Brooklyn, NY, has caused the police to come under greater scrutiny. And that's a good thing, all in all. But Law enforcement is a peculiar institution. We use our tax money to hire and train people to protect us from crime, but actually, they are not obligated to do so. Which, obviously, is kind of weird. If I pay someone to paint my house, I expect him to paint my house, and if he doesn't, I can take him to court. But you can't take the police to court if they fail to protect you. There have been been any number of lawsuits initiated by people whom law enforcement failed to protect, and these suits have always been denied. The position of the courts has always been that it is unreasonable to expect the police to be able to prevent each and every instance of each and every crime.

Which, actually, is not an unreasonable argument. The police aren't omniscient supermen (and, in fact, it would be rather scary if they were) so there's always going to be the possibility that they won't get there in time. That's the point of the book Dial 911 and Die: The Shocking Truth About the Police Protection Myth by Richard W. Stevens, published in 1999. This is a compendium of all the ways that law enforcement is not obligated to protect you.

This is from one of the reviews:

Do the police have the obligation to arrest someone who repeatedly violates a domestic violence protective order? No.

Can the police ignore an emergency call for assistance in order to do paperwork? Yes.

Do the police have the obligation to respond to a 911 call for help? No.

What if they promise that "help is on the way"? Do they then have an obligation to respond? Still no.

If the police witness a crime in progress, must they intervene to protect the innocent? No again.

The book documents all of these depressing instances with the relevant court cases. So, given all that, what should we do? What can we do? I would think that this should be enough to show even the most obtuse progressive the absurdity of gun control laws, and also the perniciousness of the "only the police should be allowed to have guns" argument, which you sometimes hear made by law enforcement officials.

So, this being the book thread, my answer takes the form of two other books: Thank God I Had a Gun: True Accounts of Self-Defense and of course Andrew Branca's The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen. Also, let's not forget the third edition of John Lott's classic More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws.

I mean, do they know the bind that gun control laws puts ordinary citizens in? The police don't have to protect us, and we're denied the means to protect ourselves. What then? A pointy stick? Longbows?

Skullduggery Up Near The Roof of the World

For those of you who like exotic locations, mystery writer Eliot (one 'l') Pattison kas a series featuring Shan Tao Yun, a former senior inspector in Beijing's Public Security Bureau, that take place in Tibet. The series started out in 1999 with The Skull Mantra. The latest, Soul of the Fire, is the eighth novel in the series.

Pattison is also the author of Original Death and Bone Rattler, both of which are set in colonial America. And at the other end of things, there's Ashes of the Earth, a post-apocalyptic America.


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Early Morning Thread 12/27/14: Strother Martin edition. [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger

Apologies for a content-free thread. The post-gun show report has some unfinished business, and the ham recipes I promised are not ready either, as I cannot read my wife's handwriting.

The communication failure is most certainly my own fault; her elegant script too beauteous for heathern * eyes such as mine to ken.

bad handwriting.jpg

* as we would say in "the Craig".**

** well honestly, as only one person would say, but it was so cute I had to steal it from her.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 01:30 AM | Comments (170)
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December 27, 2014

Late Night Bedspins [dri]
— Open Blogger

Greetings fellow hobo hunters. Welcome to the last Late Night Bedspins edition of 2014. As you may know, Late Night Bedspins is the occasional showcase of good music you may have overlooked or missed.

Tonight's band is called "Fitz and the Tantrums". I was going to feature them on a post a few years ago but figured they would become popular and would need no introduction to AoS Nation. Recently their music became featured in an advertising campaign for New Amsterdam Vodka. Please turn up the volume and enjoy. more...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 10:37 PM | Comments (48)
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Overnight Open Thread (27 Dec 2014)

According to Max Blumenthal: American sniper Chris Kyle was just a popular mass murderer.

Some of these tweets woule be bizarre even if Blumenthal was commenting from the point of view of having seen the film.

"I haven’t seen American Sniper, but correct me if I'm wrong: An occupier mows down faceless Iraqis but the real victim is his anguished soul," Blumenthal wrote smugly on his Twitter account. "[T]he whole film's appeal seems to derive from the latent racism that led America into Iraq."

OK, Max. I'll correct you because you're not only wrong, you are insanely wrong.

Those "faceless Iraqis" were trying to kill American soldiers. No doubt you would have devoutly wished them success in that endeavor, but the military takes a dim view of people trying to kill their men. Kyle's job was to kill them before they killed his fellow soldiers and countrymen. It was, after all, a war where the object is to kill more of the enemy than they kill of yours.

So I guess we'll be waiting a long time for Max to apply this same logic to the President who mows down faceless Iraqis, Syrians, Libyans, etc. with drones. more...

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Baseball Thread: The Winter Meetings/Start of The Off-season (BCochran)
— Open Blogger

People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.
-- Rogers Hornsby

Hello again, Horde.

So apparently you folks, or at least quite a few of you, enjoyed the World Series threads and asked for an occasional baseball thread through the offseason to keep us all up to date on what's happening. CBD was kind enough to encourage that idea. So here we go....

JYBA opening day 615-L.jpg

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Cool Ice Open Thread [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger

Ice is neat.


Posted by: Open Blogger at 09:38 AM | Comments (129)
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