Friday, August 21, 2015

Cruising the Web

More bad news for Hillary Clinton's pose that there is nothing wrong with her server and all this fuss is just the result of partisan attacks.
A federal judge said Thursday that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s unique email arrangement broke “government policy” and prodded the department to talk to the FBI to see what documents can be recovered from the computer server and flash drives used to store her emails.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan was surprised the State Department hadn’t even made that request, and poked at the administration’s claim that the FBI needed to be left alone to conduct its investigation. He gave them 30 days to figure out whether emails can be recovered.

“We wouldn’t be here today had this employee followed government policy,” the judge said, casting doubt on the claim by Mrs. Clinton that she did nothing wrong when she set up her own email server at her home in New York and used it for all of her government business, and only belatedly returned 30,000 emails to the department.

The administration agreed to have the State Department and FBI work together to see what documents could be recovered — suggesting that the government will have to try to reconstitute the emails Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer has asserted were expunged from the server.

And here is another reason to be cynical about how State Department has been investigating the Clinton email scandal.
State Department officials did nothing to protect Hillary Clinton's emails after a high-profile breach that exposed her personal email address in 2013.

A Romanian hacker named Marcel Lazar Lehel hacked into an account belonging to Sidney Blumenthal, an informal Clinton aide, in 2013 and sent several emails to reporters.

Gawker was among the outlets to publish the Blumenthal emails, several of which involved discussions with Clinton. The online news publication identified the former secretary of state's "" domain.

"It is most certainly not a governmental account," Gawker wrote in March 2013.

But despite the media attention, the State Department made no effort to secure Clinton's email server, according to a report by McClatchy.

The agency said it could not do anything to ensure the safety of Clinton's emails because the hack was directed at Blumenthal, who was not an employee of the State Department.

Security experts dismissed that rationale, with many insisting State officials could have taken action at the time to protect Clinton's server.
Think about that. They knew that hackers had gotten the emails of someone corresponding with Clinton and they didn't move to secure the server to see if her server had been hacked.

Sean Trende presents his analysis concluding that Hillary Clinton is still "the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic nomination." Probably so, but she does seem one headline away from a total collapse destroying her hopes.
There isn’t an Obama-like candidate out there this cycle. Instead, to defeat Clinton, a variety of candidates would have to break off different constituencies. So Bernie Sanders breaks off liberal voters, Joe Biden breaks off white working-class voters, then someone like Deval Patrick breaks off African-American voters. That could prevent her from winning the nomination.

The problem with this scenario is that neither Biden nor Patrick (or someone like him) is running. Sanders is doing surprisingly well with liberal whites, but he probably runs into a wall on Super Tuesday. If Biden gets in he could steal working-class whites from Clinton’s 2008 coalition, but her remaining coalition of non-white voters and urban/suburban women would probably be enough for her. Until a candidate demonstrates that he can break non-white voters out of Clinton’s coalition, she will probably win a war of attrition.

I do say “probably,” however. Remember that in 2008, African-American voters remained in Clinton’s camp until it was clear Obama was viable – she led by around 20 points in South Carolina in October 2007. If Clinton loses Iowa or New Hampshire, or both, it scrambles perceptions of her and upends the Democratic contests in ways that are really difficult for us to predict. But that’s just a caveat. For now, I think that absent an indictment, she remains the solid favorite for the nomination.
And it seems that Biden recognizes this and is just holding himself available as her understudy in case she totally implodes.

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David Harsanyi has some devastating questions for supporters of Planned Parenthood in light of the most recent video about how babies who survived the abortion were killed and dissected.
Question: Would you be okay with a government-subsidized company performing vivisections on a baby panda? You know, cutting one of those adorable things open, taking parts out of them while their hearts were still beating? What if we could make a few bucks while, maybe, sorta, using those organs for scientific study—even though several other methods are available to researchers? Is that acceptable?

....Question for the media: Do you believe there are two legitimate sides to the abortion debate? If so, should your theoretically unbiased editors and reporters be accepting awards from the best-funded and best-connected advocates for abortion in the country?

Planned Parenthood handed out its Maggie Awards for Media Excellence earlier this week (named after the xenophobe quackologist Margaret Sanger), honoring 16 journalists from mainstream outlets like Buzzfeed, Yahoo! Health and MSNBC, for their work shilling for the group. Color me skeptical, but does anyone believe a senior health editor who accepts this honor can be trusted to ask questions that matter about the groups she covers?

....If a baby is outside the womb, with lungs, a beating heart, and a functioning brain, is it alive? And if it is, is killing that baby morally wrong?

If not, do you support the unlimited right of women to dismember viable fetuses whenever they want for whatever reason they like? If so, what is the limit? Before 20 weeks? Before 30 weeks? A week before the delivery date? Before the umbilical cord is removed? When does the child deserve protection?

(The position of most elected Democrats, incidentally, is never.)

Do you believe it’s moral for a Planned Parenthood technician to cut through the face of a healthy fetus in order to harvest his organs? If so, do you believe taxpayers should be funding this practice?

What is the moral difference between killing a viable fetus and a five-day old child?

Do you believe that people who think it’s “kinda cool” to stop and start the heart of an ex-utero human should be investigated for potential criminality?

If there is no ethical problem with vivisecting a fetus in the cause of science, what would you say if your son or daughter wanted to become an abortionist?

How does the idea of “women’s health” comport with cutting open a healthy fetus just so you can harvest and sell her organs?

What’s more offensive to you: the term “anchor babies,” or hearing Planned Parenthood’s senior director for medical services talk about dismembered babies as though they were a la carte menu items?

Ah, Jeb is doing oppo research on Kasich. It's clear that they occupy the same ideological space as GOP old-timers who tick off many conservatives for selected positions they've taken and the self-righteous tone in how they defend their heresies. But they also both have conservative records that are quite estimable and they both come from key swing states. I can see a lot of people who might like Bush choosing to support Kasich instead just because of his last name.

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My students just read this article, "Politicians Don't Pander," about how politicians often don't actually tailor their actions to the polls. Instead they can choose to go ahead with actions or policy choices even when those choices are unpopular. The example that they use is the Republicans going ahead with the Clinton impeachment despite what polls said. When I asked students if they could think of more modern examples that hadn't taken place before they were born, they quickly mentioned Obamacare, the Iran deal, and shutting down the government. These are mostly 10th graders and they are quite sharp.

I keep thinking of this point as the Democrats seem sure to support this atrocious Iran deal. If they truly cared about the issue, they would refuse to endorse this deal. As IBD writes,
A side deal with the United Nations lets terrorist-supporting Iran inspect its own nuclear facilities. That revelation alone should kill the agreement, but Democrats just shrug their shoulders....

Elected lawmakers are supposed to vote based on the facts, not brush new facts aside because they contradict the party line. But that is exactly what leading liberal Democrats are doing.

On Wednesday, the Associated Press revealed a draft of one of the secret side deals between the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Tehran. It bars IAEA inspectors from Iran's Parchin nuclear site, where atomic weapons development is suspected, and lets Iran inspect the site itself.

It's kind of like having the Gestapo watch for human rights abuses at a concentration camp.

Before this, not even President Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry knew the contents of the side deals, never mind Congress; the agreements are between the international inspectors and Iran exclusively.

A Democrat looking out for the well-being of Americans should be concerned about his own party's president choosing to be willfully blind to key parts of the "peace" pact he's pushing on Congress.

Any responsible lawmaker would wonder what dangers are hidden in the other secret U.N.-Iran deals.

But in an AP interview, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi reaffirmed, "I truly believe in this agreement," and promised that House Democrats would vote to uphold an Obama veto if a congressional resolution opposing the nuclear deal passes next month.

"I feel very confident about it," Pelosi said. "We will sustain the veto." Two thirds of both houses are necessary to override Obama, which means that it would need a lot of Democrat defections.

AP has released what they claim is the text of the side deal between Iran and IAEA. It's hard to see how this does not mean exactly what critics claim it says.
Iran and the Agency agreed on the following sequential arrangement with regard to the Parchin issue:

1. Iran will provide to the Agency photos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.

2. Iran will provide to the Agency videos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.

3. Iran will provide to the Agency 7 environmental samples taken from points inside one building already identified by the Agency and agreed by Iran, and 2 points outside of the Parchin complex which would be agreed between Iran and the Agency.

4. The Agency will ensure the technical authenticity of the activities referred to in paragraphs 1-3 above. Activities will be carried out using Iran's authenticated equipment, consistent with technical specifications provided by the Agency, and the Agency's containers and seals.

George Will quite rightly excoriates the proposed Eisenhower Memorial designed by Frank Gehry.

The Manhattan Institute analyzes the record of the de Blasio administration on crime in New York City.
During the first 18 months of the de Blasio administration, murders and other forms of crime trended in opposite directions. At each six-month interval over the past one and a half years, total crime has been down. The murder rate, by contrast, has been slowly transitioning from being down (-10.5 percent, six months into 2014), to up (11 percent, six months into 2015).

Shooting incidents were up at each six-month interval since the Bloomberg administration left office.

The experience of low-income neighborhoods has been mixed. Some neighborhoods have experienced decreases in murders, shootings, and/or total crime. Others have seen virtually no relief from their high murder rates since the de Blasio administration took office.

The greatest demand for policing, measured in terms of 911 calls, continues to be found mostly in low-income neighborhoods.

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Brent Bozell has some fun remembering how liberals always whined about killing Big Bird whenever Republicans talked about cutting out money for public television.
The churning of market forces in television are once again forcing the question of why Americans are spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars a year on public broadcasting. On August 13, HBO announced it was buying all-new episodes of the iconic PBS show "Sesame Street," delaying their debut on PBS for nine months.

Decades of liberal mockery of Republicans for wanting to "kill Big Bird" just collapsed in an ugly pile. The show that was supposedly dedicated to poor kids in "underserved" communities was just sold to the highest-bidding paywall in Yuppie Land. Before that they were negotiating with Amazon and Netflix as well.

Conservatives have said it for decades: "Sesame Street" is a commercial property that could be shopped for big bucks. There never was a need for government funding. Both broadcast and cable networks would pay a pretty penny to get their hands on this program.

They knew it, too. But it was so much easier to stay at PBS and live off the generosity of the unsuspecting American taxpayer. And here's the most insulting fact: PBS refuses to release the financials showing exactly how much money Sesame Workshop has been raking in selling their merchandise. How many Americans know that "Sesame Street" comes from a privately owned company?

Yes, America. You paid to produce it. The hypocritical hucksters in this Sesame scam have milked the product for hundreds of millions of dollars in merchandising, while producing just 18 new episodes each year. Under HBO, this will almost double to 35....

HBO is not an innocent kiddie brand. It's infamous for extreme sex, violence and the most vicious baiting of traditional moral values (See Bill Maher.) Tim Winter of the Parents Television Council put it just right in The New York Times. "In order to watch original episodes of the most iconic children's program in television history, parents are now forced to fork over about $180 per year and subscribe to the most sexually explicit, most graphically violent television network in America. I can't imagine a greater juxtaposition in television than this."

For "Sesame Street," PBS is now just a dumping ground for reruns, which PBS will get for free. It should now be impossible for PBS stations and PBS brass to say tax dollars are essential to keep "Sesame Street" on the air. But if they're as cynical about money as the Sesame Workshop, they may keep trying that shameless pitch.
So what is the excuse now for funding public television? In this world of cable TV and internet viewing, the model for PBS is simply outdated.

Congratulations to the school where I teach that was just ranked #17 in the country and #1 in North Carolina in Newsweek's ranking of America's Top High Schools.