Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Maybe you shouldn't read this.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." ~ Fourth Amendment to the Constitution
He built it. He knows.
We've known for awhiled that the NSA is collecting data on ordinary Americans. And that it shares what it learns with law enforcement agencies.

Now we learn from a whistleblower that the NSA is sharing data with the IRS. The IRS, as we know, has been caught going after the administration's political opponents.

This is not funny anymore. Maybe you shouldn't be reading this post. The government has the capacity to know you're reading it, and it has the willingness to share that information with an agency that can target you with an audit.

The whistleblower is William Binney. A 30-year veteran of the intelligence community before retiring from the NSA in 2001, Binney co-founded a unit on automating NSA signals intelligence and served as technical leader for NSA intelligence before his retirement. Binney is credited with helping to modernize the NSA’s worldwide eavesdropping network.

In an interview with a New York radio station, he said:
“For example,” Binney said in response to a question on how the NSA can use data and metadata to identify potential threats, “if you started to communicate with people involved in the tea party … and [the NSA] saw you were talking to somebody who was involved in setting up 501(c)3s, then they could alert the IRS to target you if you came in with a request.”
Here's how it works.
“First of all, the IRS has membership on the special operations division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and that was specifically set up to look into the NSA data to find criminal activity,” Binney said. “See, that’s the major point: It’s not NSA that’s using the data; it’s law enforcement. … They share the results with state and local law enforcement to arrest people, and they also use it in court to convict people.”
Now, if you hate the tea party, pay attention. Who will inhabit the White House next? If you really, really hate the tea party, remember that Dick Cheney was once vice president.

I've had enough

"I have never in my life encountered a religion as oppressive, cold, and stiff as Progressivism. I’ve never known a faith more eager to burn heretics at the stake. Even a fundamentalist Iranian Muslim would flinch if he came face to face with a western liberal’s rigid dogmatism. I imagine that even a Saudi Arabian Islamic cleric would take one look at how American left wingers react when anyone deviates ever so slightly from their established orthodoxy, and say to himself, “man, these people REALLY need to chill.”

"The Cult of Leftism has many tenets, and it demands full compliance with all of them, but nothing in its creed compares to the sanctity of their two great sacraments: child murder and sodomy. You must not question these, but tolerance alone will not be good enough. You must celebrate them, too. You must worship at their altar. You must sing hallelujah at the mention of their names. You must fight for a society where infanticide and gay sex are awarded a protected and privileged position. When a man decides to kill babies for a living, you must call him a ‘health care provider’ and a ‘healer.’ When a man decides to announce to the world that he enjoys sex with other men, you must call him a ‘hero’ and a ‘pioneer.’ You must quite literally give him awards for his courage."

Morning Rush:

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, July 23, 2014:

Science has an answer.
How do we get this natural beauty?

Sleeping in makes us more tired

Making up the law again

Don't let your car get hacked

About those food expiration dates

Ivy League schools are overrated

Our FAA gives Hamas some help

Reid's judges to earn their keep

Why millennials aren't having babies

How pickpockets trick your mind

Good investment advice

Elephants' amazing sense of smell

Making your child's school unsafe

We want this in the White House again?

How To: make a proper introduction

Today's Word: to become accustomed to

Lifeguard: Who am I to play God?

Is your police department playing NSA?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

If you want to be creative, don't break the chain

“Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.” 
~ Chuck Close, American painter and photographer

If you want to write, you have to write. There's no getting around it.

This is true of any creative endeavor. The Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote in 1878:
We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavouring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic. We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination. 
A few days ago I told you I was working every day without any real inspiration. Had I given way to my disinclination, undoubtedly I should have drifted into a long period of idleness. But my patience and faith did not fail me, and to-day I felt that inexplicable glow of inspiration of which I told you; thanks to which I know beforehand that whatever I write today will have power to make an impression, and to touch the hearts of those who hear it.
Jerry's Pop Tart joke.
If you won' take it from him, take it from Jerry Seinfeld. When he was starting out he realized that success meant good jokes, and good jokes meant writing good jokes.

So he got a big wall calendar with a whole year on one page and hung it in a prominent place. He also got a big red marker.

On each day that he wrote he put a big red X.
"After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain."
Here's Seinfeld on writing a joke about Pop Tarts. It's work, not inspiration.

The question facing the state

Border gang.
"As the number of failed states grows and disorder spreads, we will see vast floods of refugees, millions and tens of millions, all trying to get into one of the ever-smaller number of places that remain orderly. Those states, including our own, dare not admit them. Why? Because they will bring the behaviors they are fleeing with them. It was just this sort of immigration that brought down the Roman Empire. The barbarians (except perhaps the Vandals) were not invading Rome to destroy it; they were moving in, during the same sort of movement of whole peoples, Volkerwanderung, we now face, seeking the order Rome offered. But their numbers were so great they overwhelmed Rome. The Dark Ages began as a refugee crisis.

"Harsh, cruel measures, especially in blocking the flow of refugees, are what survival as a state will require. We need to send the kids home. The Italian Navy needs to be sinking the boats refugees are using to cross the Med, not helping them make it to Italian ports. Norway needs to send its Somalis back to Somalia (the Norwegian government had to print a brochure in Somali saying, “No, it’s not OK to rape Norwegian women who are out in public without a male relative.). To be or not to be, that is the question facing the state."

Morning Rush: Make your own shoes, and more

How to tie a quick release knot:

David Starr Jordan: mission

"The world stands aside to let anyone pass who knows where he is going."

Monday, July 21, 2014

I see bad people everywhere

Thugs prowl the earth, testing the resilience of civilization. What do we do with them?

The police in Clairton, Pa., beat a 17-year-old girl -- an honor roll student, cheerleader and lifeguard, with no prior record whatsoever -- because she was violating the town's new curfew. She was sent to the hospital.

What would you do with these officers?

The ISIS barbarians in Iraq left a row of decapitated soldiers and policemen on a Mosul street. In addition to mass beheadings, they destroyed ancient statues and burned Christian churches..

How would you confront them?

Vladimir Putin kills journalists who disagree, takes Crimea because he can, and sends missiles to rebels in Ukraine, who use them against a civilian airliner.

What would you say to him?

Hamas, classified as a terrorist by the United States and other Western nations, hides missiles in civilian neighborhoods so that it can fire them at civilians in Israel. It then plays the victim behind the civilian deaths it causes.

How would you approach these people?

Barack Hussein Obama uses the powers of government -- the IRS, the DOJ -- to intimidate and prosecute his political enemies. He blithely ignores the constitution. Like Putin, he dares anyone to do something.

What would you do?

There are thugs on the playground, and every now and then someone stands up to them. It's not easy to do.

Here's what they know about you

That's not all they know.
Travel overseas? Well, the spooks have your number.

Jonathan Ryan, an editor at ars technica, filed a Freedom of Information request to learn what the feds know about him whenever he enters or exits the country. In particular, he wanted his Passenger Name Records (PNR), data created by airlines, hotels, and cruise ships whenever travel is booked.

The 76 pages of data, covering 2005 through 2013, show that United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) retains massive amounts of data on us when we travel internationally. Ryan's own PNRs include not just every mailing address, e-mail, and phone number he's ever used; some of them also contain:
  • The IP address he used to buy the ticket
  • His credit card number (in full)
  • The language he used
  • Notes on his phone calls to airlines, even for something as minor as a seat change
PNRs can also include personal information about someone's travel, such as whether they request special meals (possibly revealing religion) or if they need special accommodations (possibly revealing a health condition). 

Travel sites like Travelocity also pass information to the federal government. 
In July 2007, I booked a flight on Travelocity on American Airlines from Oakland to Dallas Fort Worth to London Gatwick and back. The site recorded a huge amount of information on me: name, address, phone, e-mail address, credit card number (again, in the clear), what seats I asked for, the language I used on the site, whether I was traveling with anyone else (I wasn’t), whether any traveling companions were adults or children, and whether I preferred to be contacted by e-mail.
He learned that the more information the airlines choose to retain, the more of an opportunity the government has to build a profile on me. They have seat assignments and could probably search who is seated next to you for social network analysis. You have no way of knowing when you’re using this website which information they are storing.

Have a nice flight!

Morning Rush: Your appliances, free airport wife, and more

Here and there on the Web this Monday, July 21, 2014:

Subliminal message.
What your appliances are trying to tell you

Can one shot stop diabetes?

As delusional as Biden

How to get free airport wifi

Three retirement rules of thumb

What your skin says about your health

Long-term effects of teen drinking

Hello, I'm your new neighbor

Obama's immigration promise

How to start working out

Now the EPA is making up laws

Life among the barbarians

Today's Word: a person's name, esp. a nickname

John Kerry: In an exceptional America

How to escape a choke hold from behind:

Mother Teresa: others

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

It's Mister Science!

In today's episode, boys and girls, it's ... sea pigs!

Vespers: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

The Dixie Hummingbirds are an influential American gospel music group, spanning more than 80 years from the jubilee quartet style of the 1920s, through the "hard gospel" quartet style of Gospel's golden age in the 1940s and 1950s, to the eclectic pop-tinged songs of today.

Formed in 1928 in Greenville, South Carolina, by James B. Davis and his classmates, they sang in local churches until they finished school, then started touring throughout the South.

"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is a historic American Spiritual song. The earliest known recording was in 1909, by the Fisk Jubilee Singers of Fisk University. It is also the anthem of the England national Rugby Union team.

In 2002, the Library of Congress honored the song as one of 50 recordings chosen that year to be added to the National Recording Registry. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The song was written by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman in the old Indian Territory in what is now Choctaw County, near the County seat of Hugo, Oklahoma sometime before 1862. He was inspired by the Red River, which reminded him of the Jordan River and of the Prophet Elijah's being taken to heaven by a chariot (2 Kings 2:11). Many sources claim that this song and "Steal Away" (also composed by Willis) had lyrics that referred to the Underground Railroad, the freedom movement that helped blacks escape from Southern Slavery to the North and Canada.

Alexander Reid, a minister at the Old Spencer Academy, Choctaw boarding school, heard Willis singing these two songs and transcribed the words and melodies. He sent the music to the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. The Jubilee Singers popularized the songs during a tour of the United States and Europe.

How much exercise do you really need?

Researchers have found that those who exercised for just 15 minutes a day were 14 percent less likely to die in the follow-up period than those who were inactive, and had a life expectancy on average three years longer. 
There was good news on cancer, too—the statistics imply that one in every nine cancer deaths in the inactive group could have been avoided, leading the authors to concluded that those 15 minutes of moderate exercise a day were enough to reap significant health benefits. 
“It first looked to me that it was too good to be true,” says Chi Pang Wen at Taiwan’s National Health Research Institutes. Moreover, each additional 15 minutes a day brought added benefits, though Wen says it was the first 15 minutes that seemed to make the biggest difference.
This study looked at the physical activity levels of more than 400,000 Taiwanese people over eight years. Wen’s team has analyzed the data, independently taking into account different lifestyle factors such as smoking and drinking, and diabetes and hypertension. The health benefits were still there.

So if getting started is intimidating, it shouldn't be. This pretty much takes away the excuses.

Harvest time

From The Lectionary:

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

13:24 He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field;

13:25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away.

13:26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.

13:27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?'

13:28 He answered, 'An enemy has done this.' The slaves said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?'

13:29 But he replied, 'No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.

13:30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"

13:36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field."

13:37 He answered, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man;

13:38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one,

13:39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.

13:40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.

13:41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers,

13:42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

Walt Whitman: beauty

"A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books."

Friday, July 18, 2014

Casual Friday: Don't Stop

Just two working days til Monday!

"I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party." ~ Ron White

The day the plane went down

Barack Hussein Obama's timetable:
1130: MH17 shot down [an act of war killing 295 - 23 are US citizens]
1250: BHO motorcade stops at Burger Joint for lunch and photo op
1:01: Sat down to eat announcing; "I'm starving"
2:27: Press Statement: "It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy,"
2:28: Segue to speech on need to fix US infrastructure
2:33: Exit quotation: “Let’s build some bridges. Let’s build some roads.”
3:07: Tweet: @markknoller: AF-1 wheels up from Delaware.
Pres Obama en route to NYC for two Dem fundraisers.
Both closed to press coverage
BHO gives the crash 40 seconds, and then it's on to the jokes.

Then it was off to a burger joint.
Then to New York to found up more money.
Obama then attended a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the home of venture capitalist Deven Parekh on the Upper West Side, before heading east to the Fifth Avenue pad of philanthropists and conservationists Amy Goldman and Cary Fowler to address guests invited by the Democratic House Majority PAC.
Of course the day after Benghazi he flew to Las Vegas to collect some cash, so it must be okay.

This is truly odd behavior. You might get the idea that this guy is not the real president.

What we're now witnessing

"Progressives have always detested the founding and have long embraced the self-serving assumption  that the US is an illegitimate, colonialist nation built on stolen land and stolen labor. And Obama, steeped in this doctrinaire academic leftist cant, was nurtured and molded and in many ways created — as the moderate “pragmatist” and “post-racial” President — to be the left’s trojan horse, its Manchurian candidate. He is both figurehead and marionette for an ideology that has subsumed him and others who follow it with his same religious zeal. A servant posing as a king.

"What we’re witnessing now — with collaboration from the Supreme Court and many within the GOP longing for kickbacks from the US Chamber of commerce, whose push for amnesty is a repudiation of our laws, laws written and passed by the very politicians who now call us “nativists” and “racists” for wishing to see them enforced — is part of the logistical endgame. The left has sent out the message that our borders are open. And they are secreting anchor children into various parts of the country, knowing full well that by the time we’re able to stop them the electoral map will be forever changed, and the soft-socialist, bureaucratic, command-and-control regime they desire, run by elites who manage us subjects, will have the veneer of legitimacy once the ballot box is overwhelmed by those who are able to vote for other people’s money.

"The move to crush the middle class, which is what Alinsky, via Marx, advocated (that is, the bourgeois capitalism that comes with free market, self-interested enterprise and the mobility of wealth), is being systematically completed through executive fiat, bureaucratic legislation, currency manipulation, and the importation of government dependents with a low history of assimilation and a long history of straining resources and Balkanizing communities."

Morning Rush:

Here and there on the Web this Friday, July 18, 2014:

Boiling water really fast

Self control makes you happier

Should you go to college?

Eric Holder's scary DOJ

How should they treat the flu?

How pickpockets trick your mind

Parkinson's and the creativity pill

The summer American fell apart

Hillary's up to $275k per

Private planes are dangerous

Just making up laws again

NSA workers enjoy your nude photos

Use your nose when buy a house

A new attack on diabetes

To Do: Check your shoe size once a year

How To: Set up retirement investments

Today's Word: a recent convert, a novice

Study: Most of earth's oxygen used for complaining

How to fix a garden hose:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

They always pay the price

"Black Americans from Chicago to Baltimore are wondering aloud why Obama dedicates so much time and money to the flood of third world immigrants on the southern border, while impoverished people in our own country, living in the same squalid conditions, are ignored. Wealthy, upper class, Ivy League politicians can welcome these illegals with open arms because they are insulated from the economic and cultural destruction that is wrought. But the black communities in our inner cities aren’t fortunate to have the same cushion.

"Obama refuses to protect our border because illegals are voters, and as long as many minorities and immigrants continue under the delusion that the Democrat Party cares about them, the illegal voters will remain firmly in his camp, and he in theirs.

"On the issue of immigration, Obama can either do what benefits him politically, or what benefits the American people, particularly Americans in low income, predominantly black neighborhoods. Predictably, he chooses the former, and all people, but especially black people, are again paying the price.

"They always pay the price."

Morning Rush: Why women are unhappy, and more

Here and there on the Web this Thursday, July 17, 2014:

Don't go near the water.
Yikes! Monster from the deep!

Why are women unhappy?

Eliminate boring road trips forever 

What homebuyers should know

Alcohol isn't so good after all

Democrats like to kill babies

Why smart people are dumb patients

Life among the barbarians

Life among the one percent

Millennials are saving for retirement

Yet college grads don't understand money

Here's a real chief of state

Hackers could control your hotel room

Harry Reid: garden variety crook

How To: Iron a dress shirt

Today's Word: foresee, forewarn

Suicide bomber calls in sick with tummy ache

Why your brain is in your head:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Oh Hillary,here, I'll give you five bucks

Good point.
A few weeks ago Hillary Clinton came to Connecticut, where I live, and collected $251,000 to give a speech.

If I may speak for everyone, we are delighted to have Hil haul a quarter mil out of our bankrupt state.

The first thing we ordinary people would ask is: Is what anybody has to say worth $251,000? Who do you think is wise enough to be worth $251,000?

We ordinary people think this way because the median sales price of an existing home in the United States is $213,400. So for $251,000 you could buy a house outright and have some change left over to get yourself a nice Weber grill -- and some charcoal, too.

Especially considering that she's done this at seven other universities. You think she had something novel to say in Connecticut that she just happened to think of on her private plane ride here? Couldn't the University of Connecticut have just copied the transcript of another speech and handed it out? Or hooked up a television monitor?

Of course. So something else is going on.

What's going on is that a wealthy guy donated the $251,000 to the UConn Foundation, which handed the money over to Clinton.

Clinton says, why, I just gave it to my non-profit foundation.

So then it's okay.

Oh wait. The Clinton Foundation website lists the names and biographies of 19 staffers on its leadership team, of whom half acknowledge their political backgrounds. Even the New York Times noticed.

Let me spell it out: Hillary is laundering money through public universities to launch her presidential campaign.

Not to worry. The IRS is quite concerned about non-profits and political activity, so I'm sure it's on the case.

A belief in nothing

"Nihilism isn’t the absence of a belief. It is something subtly different: it is the belief in nothing. The most powerful weapon of terrorism is therefore the unyielding No. 'No I will not give up. No I will not tell the truth. No I will not play fair. No I will not spare children. No I will not stop even if you surrender to me; I will not cease even if you give me everything you have, up to and including your children’s lives. Nothing short of destroying me absolutely can make me stop. And therefore I will defeat you even if you kill me. Because I will make you pay the price in guilt for annihilating me.'"

Morning Rush: Awesome sunrays, a veggie factory, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, July 16, 2014:

Let there be light.
Those strange and awesome sunrays

Why you always get in the slowest line

Rotten eggs are good for you

This stuff is just really, really dark

What are they smoking in the White House?

And in the Senate?

What you need to know about timeshares

Behind our public pension scandals
Tough luck, Malthus.

Check out this indoor vegetable factory

Get the respect you deserve at work

Dems to illegals: Our doors are open

Why you should wake up earlier

And now another missing hard drive

How potholes happen

Disrupted sleep may be worse than no sleep

Why you don't fall off the world's largest water slide

Today's Word: a pet name, baby talk

Obama sends troops after illegals deny climate change

This 3D printed yarn can stop a knife:

John Foster Dulles: success

"The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year."