Politics Pays [Too Damn Well]

“…we have Category A, comprising products and services that people willingly — eagerly — embrace, which provide better goods at better prices. (It doesn’t matter if you think that’s true; economic values are subjective, and consumers like what they like.) On the other hand, we have Category B, comprising products and services that cannot earn revenue on their own, and that pay their employees and executives inflated salaries out of money collected at gunpoint through the tax system. What is most perverse about this arrangement is that the firms in Category A are obliged to ask the parasites in Category B for permission to engage in commerce. In any rational society, something close to the reverse would be the case…”

via Politics Pays | National Review Online.

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Barbarians Continue to Murder Their Female Children.

Cultural traditions in many areas of Pakistan mean that killing a woman whose behavior is seen as immodest is widely accepted.
Immodest behavior that sparked recent killings included singing, looking out of the window or talking to a man who is not a relative. For a woman to marry a man of her own choice is considered an unacceptable insult by many families.

I’m sure the family were staunch Presbyterians.

<sigh>

via Pakistan family slits throats of young couple over love marriage – Yahoo News.

Common Core Tests: A Grading Curve Under Which Kids Guess Randomly and Still Pass

In practice, this meant that students could score 5 out of 24 on the multiple choice portion of the reading comprehension section and still pass the exam. That’s about the score you would expect to get from randomly filling in bubbles, write New York educators Carol Burris and John Murphy in The Washington Post:

Isn’t not educating our children, while pretending to do so, a form of child abuse?

via Common Core Tests: So Difficult, Bureaucrats Had to Implement a Curve Under Which Kids Can Guess Randomly and Still Pass – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

About That Creepy Biometric Database, FBI, We’d Like to Know a Bit More

Yesterday, 32 organizations from across the political spectrum, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and R Street Institute, asked Attorney General Eric Holder to explain just how the United States government plans to use the system it’s building and the data contained therein. Specifically, they want the federal government to perform a formal Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) to follow up on the last such report, done in 2008.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer.  ‘Move along Prole, nothing to see here and your little brain wouldn’t understand.’

via About That Creepy Biometric Database, FBI, We’d Like to Know a Bit More – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

All Your Device Belong to Us: Notorious Surveillance Contractor Tech Uncovered

“Our latest research has identified mobile modules that work on all well-known mobile platforms, including as Android and iOS” as well as Windows Mobile and BlackBerry, announced the Russian-based Kaspersky Lab on Tuesday. “These modules … translate into complete control over the environment in and near a victim’s computer.” Indeed, the governments who use Hacking Team technology can turn on a cellphone’s microphone, camera, and GPS unnoticed. They can also access people’s email, call history, chats, browsing history, among many other potentially incriminating data.

Double Not Good.

Update.

via ‘Complete Control’: Notorious Surveillance Contractor Tech Uncovered – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

Massachusetts SWAT teams claim they’re private corporations, immune from open records laws

Some of these LECs have also apparently incorporated as 501(c)(3) organizations. And it’s here that we run into problems. According to the ACLU, the LECs are claiming that the 501(c)(3) status means that they’re private corporations, not government agencies. And therefore, they say they’re immune from open records requests. Let’s be clear. These agencies oversee police activities. They employ cops who carry guns, wear badges, collect paychecks provided by taxpayers and have the power to detain, arrest, injure and kill. They operate SWAT teams, which conduct raids on private residences. And yet they say that because they’ve incorporated, they’re immune to Massachusetts open records laws.

‘Nothing to see here, move along pissant, before we arrest you for Public Mopery.’

Click forth and read all:

via Massachusetts SWAT teams claim they’re private corporations, immune from open records laws – The Washington Post.

“Every single VA senior executive received an evaluation of ‘fully successful’ or better over a 4-year period.”

Even though veterans were dying, and books were being cooked, every single VA senior executive received an evaluation of “fully successful” or better over a 4-year period. That’s right. Every single one. Over four years. At least 65% of them received bonuses (“performance awards“). All while veterans around the country were suffering and dying because of delayed care. The executives got these bonuses, in part, because they cooked the books, because the bonuses were more important to them than the veterans’ care.

Click forth and read all:

via “Every single VA senior executive received an evaluation of ‘fully successful’ or better over a 4-year period.” – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

KlearGear p0wned in Court for $306,750

Update to Previous post

By February 2009, Jennifer Palmer posted a review on RipoffReport.com lambasting the company and its poor customer service.
Over three years later, her husband John Palmer received an e-mail demanding that the review be deleted within 72 hours or that he pay $3,500, as he was in violation of the company’s “non-disparagement clause” of its terms of service. However, such a term did not appear in the Terms of Sale and Use that the Palmers had agreed to when they placed their order in 2008.
When the Palmers refused to pay or take down the review, KlearGear sent a collection agency to them for this money, which damaged their credit by August 2012.

I hope they can find the assests to recover.

via KlearGear must pay $306,750 to couple that left negative review | Ars Technica.

Not From The Onion: North Korea says Seth Rogen’s new movie is an ‘act of war’

“The act of making and screening such a movie that portrays an attack on our top leadership… is a most wanton act of terror and act of war, and is absolutely intolerable,” the spokesman said, adding that the US would face a “resolute and merciless response” if it fails to ban the film, which is slated for release later this year.

‘Don’t make the North Korea Peoples Minister of Big Hats angry.  You would not like him when he is angry.’

North Korea says Seth Rogen's new movie is an 'act of war' | The Verge

via North Korea says Seth Rogen’s new movie is an ‘act of war’ | The Verge.

A Bit of a Delimma: Terror Victims Seize Control of Iran’s Internet

“The families of the terror victims are fighting back and seizing Iranian assets worldwide, seeking compensation and a measure of justice,” she said. “While the U.S. and Europe are determined to end the sanctions and restore Iran’s economic strength, we are passionate that the world remember Iran’s sponsorship of these heinous crimes and that those who lost loved ones to Iranian terror have their court judgments paid in full.”

via Terror Victims Seize Control of Iran’s Internet | Washington Free Beacon.

On ‘Granny’ Running for President

There’s something that Democratic leaders don’t seem to understand about Hillary now versus Hillary in 2008 or 2000. We’re a country that overwhelmingly caters to the biases of the youngest voters – terrified of growing old, we’re always chasing after the whims of the young. And it is going to be difficult to do so with a candidate who is so “old”. This has nothing to do with her age, mind you: it’s that her cultural apex came over a decade ago. It’s not that she’s decrepit, it’s that she’s terribly uncool. Shepard Fairey can’t do anything with this that won’t come across as a nostalgic meme. It’d be like rebooting Friends or trying to bring back slap bracelets. If the Hillary of 2000 was Seinfeld, the Hillary of 2016 is the Seinfeld Super Bowl commercial.

via Chelsea Clinton Is The Perfect Millennial And That’s Why Hillary Could Lose.

We Live in Amazing Times: Paralysed man becomes first to use power of thought to move hand

Ian Burkhart was able to open and close his fist and even pick up a spoon during the first test of the chip, giving hope to millions of accident victims and stroke sufferers of a new bionic era of movement through thought.

No matter to all the bad news the ‘media’ feeds (if it bleeds, it leads) we are living in a age of wonders.

via Dawn of bionic age? Paralysed man becomes first to use power of thought to move hand – Telegraph.

Stossel: Media Loves Big Government

Combine all that with the news proverb “If it bleeds, it leads,” and you get some very misleading, scary reporting.
That’s why it’s good that there’s a new media organization called Retro Report that reveals media hype of the past.
It archives stories like the purported “crack babies” epidemic, Tawana Brawley’s being “attacked by six white men,” the rise of “super-predator” teenagers, and other disasters that didn’t happen—but did have big effects on public policy, as politicians rushed to fight the imaginary menaces.

via Media Loves Big Government – Reason.com.

Hurrah!!! Supreme Court Announces Major Victory for Cellphone Privacy

In closing, the chief justice of the United States offered a striking affirmation of the Fourth Amendment’s role in American life: “Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant.”

via Supreme Court Announces Major Victory for Cellphone Privacy – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

HaHaHa! Marion Barry: I never smoked crack

That’s a little sliver of time in my whole career. That ‘90s is over,” he said. “I want people to judge me by my entire life. Not that little sliver.

That’s novel.  So, Ted Bundy could have argued, ‘Look at the sum total of hours that I have lived.  When those ugly situations happened (and no one ever saw me do anything) it was only a few hours each time.  Don’t judge me by those little slivers.’

via Marion Barry: I never smoked crack – Washington Times.

The IRS Had a Contract With an Email Backup Company

The IRS had a contract with email backup service vendor Sonasoft starting in 2005, according to FedSpending.org, which lists the contract as being for “automatic data processing services.” Sonasoft’s motto is “email archiving done right,” and the company lists the IRS as a customer.
In 2009, Sonasoft even sent out a Tweet advertising its work for the IRS.

Well?  We’re waiting for answers.  Don’t hold your breath.

The IRS Had a Contract With an Email Backup Company – Hit & Run : Reason.com.