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Bond, James Bomb

TelegraphHorowitz, the writer of new Bond novel Trigger Mortis, said he had worked carefully to preserve Ian Fleming’s original character and ensuring his 1950s attitudes remained in tact.

But he has introduced a cast of new characters to point out the error of his chauvinistic ways, including messages about smoking causing cancer, women who give him a run for his money, and an “outspoken” gay friend.

In my childhood, I was a fan of the admittedly and deliberately masculine and borderline psychotic James Bond as penned by Ian Fleming and the similarly-scripted character placed in far more absurd situations on the silver screen. When Fleming passed, the authors who tried to carry his torch failed to hold my attention, but the movies did a reasonably enjoyable, if somewhat incoherent, job of keeping the flame alive. I was initially a fan of the reboot; Casino Royale was excellently amoral. Later movies did not live up to the initial promise, but remained entertaining, even as the actor's anti-gun BS dampened any enthusiasm I might have felt for the franchise.

But with the above, I think I'm done. A Bond tied down and nagged to death by a girlfriend (and remember, in-canon, the foundation for his inability to commit is the death of his wife!), surrounded by anti-smoking messages and friends nagging him about not being gay-friendly enough, is not a Bond that can express the things that fans want him to express so that they can, vicariously, share the experience through fantasy. Or to put it another way, a henpecked Bond is not a fun Bond.

When this stunning bit of social-justice-warrior entryism fails to keep fans who have followed the franchise for decades coming back to see and read the latest adventures of the pathetic pussy-whipped ex-icon, they'll probably claim the character was old, outdated, out of touch, and that modern people just aren't interested anymore.

2015-09-29 09:28:19.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Someone is wrong on the Internet

Darths and Droids Changing career paths has been a feature of roleplaying games ever since the days of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, with its mechanic for dual-classing. Essentially, you could begin your adventuring career as, say, a fighter, and then after gaining a few levels you could - if you had the requisite ability scores - switch to being a magic-user, or a thief, or whatever. The benefit is that you have the skills you learnt before switching, plus you pick up a bunch of new skills related to your newfound profession. The drawback is that you have to start again from scratch, learning the new skills at a low level.

Anyway, you can extend this sort of thing to any game you are playing. If someone is sick of being a pilot or a journalist or whatever, they don't need to retire and bring in a new character. You can simply have them switch career paths and start learning something new. It's realistic, and you get to muck about with someone at clueless newbie level in your current adventuring group!

twitchDual Classingtwitch. Multiclassing is something else and has been around since the red box.

2015-09-28 09:28:19.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Not really very shocking anymore...

The Post and CourierThe exhaustive report by the Senate Finance Committee found no evidence that the crackdown was directed by any outside authority. But Lois Lerner is reported to have expressed views hostile to conservatives and favorable to the Democratic Party and the labor movement.

The above is definitely underselling the case. We don't have any proof of involvement by the White House because:

1) Lois Lerner and about 20 of her closest friends and colleagues had their emails and other computer records deleted, scratched, shredded, recycled, degaussed, destroyed, and lost.

2) Lois Lerner twice pled the 5th amendment before Congress on this matter.

3) The White House is refusing to release records of requests for taxpayer information made under Presidential signature, though a judge has recently ordered this information to be released.

4) The FBI is sitting on its investigation. The DC DA has already declined to prosecute Lerner, which he announced on his last day before retiring.

5) The inspector generals normally responsible for investigating corruption have had their investigative authority castrated under Obama, to the point that they have sought legislation from Congress to remedy the restrictions.

2015-09-27 09:32:51.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Another absurd background check proposal

The FederalistThe legislative text of the proposed bill releases the criminal liability only if the seller “has taken reasonable steps to determine that the recipient is not legally barred from possessing firearms.” However, the most reasonable step available — conducting a background check via the same system used by FFLs — is not available to any private individuals.

Kaine’s gun control proposal is akin to an anti-speeding law that for some reason prohibited drivers from using speedometers to gauge their speeds.

These people seem to think that if they can write a clever enough bill, we won't notice what it does. The truth is, at this point we don't care what it does. We know they are lying, and we aren't going to trust any of them.

2015-09-26 09:32:51.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Boehner to resign in October

The HillHouse Speaker John Boehner told GOP lawmakers on Friday he will resign at the end of October, capping a tumultuous four-and-half-year reign in which he repeatedly clashed with unruly conservatives in his own party.

He's resigning because he knows he would lose a vote of confidence in the House soon, and it's better to fall on your own sword than be forced out. It's easier to sell your ability to lobby effectively if you leave voluntarily and put a good spin on it. And, of course, he's already been paid for whatever ends up in the continuing resolution we're going to get instead of a budget again this year, so he can't step down until that passes. (I wonder if the House Republicans have the balls to shut down the government until after Boehner steps down and negotiate then?)

And on another topic: "unruly conservatives"? That constitutes both a clear demonstration of biased reporting AND an admission the Boehner was not a conservative. In truth, he was at best a middle-of-the-road type who cared for little beyond maintaining his own power. And he's likely going to be replaced by someone in the same mold, who takes their marching orders from the same people.

This should be a chance for the party leadership to realign itself with their voters, but it's more likely they will simply move another pawn into his place and continue business as usual.

2015-09-25 23:47:53.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Why do people become terrorists?


2015-09-25 09:32:51.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Proof Hillary conspired to evade FOIA law

Sharyl AttkissonThe newly-released batch of Hillary Clinton emails provides further proof that Freedom of Information (FOI) law has been blatantly violated. The documents include material directly responsive to a FOI request I made back in 2012 after the Benghazi terrorist attacks on the U.S. compounds. However, the material was not produced at the time, as required by law. Once again, there appears to be nobody who holds government officials and agencies accountable for their routine violation of this law. So the infractions occur frequently and with impunity. If nobody polices our government officials and agencies–if they are above the law–then how does a lawful society function?

It doesn't; that's the point.

2015-09-24 09:32:51.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

The irony is strong in this one

George RR MartinI have seen some hopeful signs on that front in some of the Hugo round-ups I've read. Puppies and Puppy sympathizers using terms like Fan (with a capital), or trufan, or anti-Puppy, all of which I am fine with. I am not fine with CHORF, ASP, Puppy-kicker, Morlock, SJW, Social Justice Bully, and some of the other stupid, offensive labels that some Pups (please note, I said SOME) have repeatedly used for describe their opponents since this whole thing began. I am REALLY not fine with the loonies on the Puppy side who find even those insults too mild, and prefer to call us Marxists, Maoists, feminazis, Nazis, Christ-hating Sodomites, and the like. There have been some truly insane analogies coming from the kennels too -- comparisons to World War II, to the Nazi death camps, to ethnic cleansing. Guy, come on, cool down. WE ARE ARGUING ABOUT A LITERARY AWARD THAT BEGAN AS AN OLDSMOBILE HOOD ORNAMENT. Even getting voted below No Award is NOT the same as being put on a train to Auschwitz, and when you type shit like that, well...

He's talking about the Hugo awards puppy controversy, and he's simultaneously demonstrating an utter lack of self-awareness. Because I haven't seen any of the Puppies, sad or rabid, describing anyone as Nazis; however.

Mad Genius Club quoting Irene Gallo“Extreme right-wing to Neo-Nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies… they are unrepentantly racist, misogynist and homophobic. A noisy few but they’ve been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them and elect a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works on this year’s Hugo Ballot.”

That's the only time I'm aware of that accusations of Naziism have been thrown around, and note well that Gallo is in a position of some power and influence at a major publisher of science fiction and fantasy. While, no doubt, some random person on the internet who considers him or herself a puppy supporter can be found to have said similarly intemperate things, prominence does matter.

So, George, call out your own side rather than trying to lump the bad acts of your friends onto your enemies.

As for the other terms. I'm not going to play social justice warrior terminology games. Just not. I'll call them as I see them, and I will describe someone whose self-image involves fighting for social justice as a social justice warrior, and if they are bullying people in the process, I'll use that term. If they are a Maoist, a communist, a socialist, I will use those terms as well, and I will be the judge of whether they fit appropriately or not, because I won't submit to tone policing. I write what I think and to hell with being told to shut up.

Stop kicking puppies, George. It makes you look like a bully.

2015-09-23 09:32:51.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

No such thing as voter fraud?

PJ MediaThe Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) has put 141 counties on notice across the United States that they have more registered voters than people alive. PILF has sent 141 statutory notice letters to county election officials in 21 states. The letters are a prerequisite to bringing a lawsuit against those counties under Section 8 of the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

It would be very interesting to find out if any of those dead people voted after they died, and for which party.

2015-09-22 09:32:51.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Obama adds transgender care to health regulations

Gateway PunditThe Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a planned new regulation Thursday that will require health insurers participating in Obamacare to cover more health procedures sought by the transgendered.

Keep in mind what's going on here.

Rather than asking Congress to pass a law to provide government funding for transgender medical procedures, which the Constitution requires originate from Congress, Obama is doing things differently. He's having his HHS department issue regulations requiring insurance companies to add these measures to all of their policies -- measures needed by a tiny fraction of the population. So everyone with a medical insurance policy is going to pay for these procedures now, without any opportunity to decline or even vote through their representatives. They will pay in the price of their medical insurance going up, and they will pay again when those insurance companies come to the government to make up the money they are losing on Obamacare. (Yes, there is a provision in Obamacare allowing for "reimbursement" of financial risks).

I have nothing against people who are confused about their gender, but I think that the problem is that they are confused about their gender, not that they need expensive and publicly funded cosmetic surgery to make their physical body match their mental self-image. If they really feel they need that surgery, they can pay for it themselves; I have no objection to that.

I do object to being required to pay for such treatment, however indirectly, and I object to the end-run around appropriate Constitutional process.

2015-09-21 09:58:13.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Invasion, not immigration

Gateway PunditLa Raza–which endorsed Rubio’s signature legislation, the Senate Gang of Eight immigration bill–has advocated for a trio of policies that includes permanent toleration for illegal immigration, citizenship for illegal immigrants already residing in country, as well as substantial increases to the annual levels of immigration established by the federal government through green card allotments...

La Raza’s rebuke of Trump comes on the heels of a new census data report authored by the nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies. The report found that “immigrant households use welfare at significantly higher rates than native households,” with more than half of U.S. immigrants on welfare.

If the American economy was humming along at full employment, desperate for unskilled (but trainable) workers to manufacture goods, people who were willing to work hard to become Americans, then high levels of immigration would make sense. Historically, that has been the condition of America: lots of room, lots of economic growth, and little in the way of a safety net for people to relax in.

2015-09-20 09:58:13.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Lerner had third secret email account

Legal Insurrection“It is disturbing that the Obama administration’s explanations to a federal judge about Lois Lerner’s emails become inoperative after only one week. Last week, the court was told that that Lois Lerner had a second alias email account under the name “Toby Miles”. This week the court is told that the “Toby Miles” account isn’t a separate account but that that there still is a second Lerner account, address unrevealed, with IRS-related emails. This game of cat and mouse shows that both the Obama IRS and Justice Department continue with their contempt for Judge Sullivan’s orders that Ms. Lerner’s emails about this scandal be disclosed as the law requires.”

The interesting thing here is that the IRS is reporting each of these things like it is discovering them for the very first time. Yet Congress has been looking for Lerner emails for years now. Either the people providing those emails to Congress are entirely separate from (and not talking to) the people searching for Lerner emails via the Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit, or the IRS failed to discover these materials in prior searches.

Regardless, now that the IRS has learned it can destroy criminal evidence while that evidence is under Congressional subpoena without legal consequences, we can be pretty sure they will provide nothing damaging. Whether it exists or not.

2015-09-19 09:58:13.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Friendly fire ain't

CNN“There are a lot of donors out there who see it as much too dangerous, obviously, for the candidates, or their allied super PACs, to go after Trump,” said Reston. “So they’re looking to more establishment PACs to potentially take him down in post-Labor Day ads.”

There's no such thing as friendly fire. If someone is shooting at you, react appropriately. If they are buying attack ads against the person leading the Republican primary field because he is so popular they are afraid to have their candidates challenge him directly, consider the possibility that they are not your friends.

2015-09-18 09:58:13.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Privilege

Daily CallerIn his “Introduction to Multicultural Literature,” for example, professor John Streamas informs students in his syllabus that he expects white students who want “to do well in this class” to “reflect” their “grasp of history and social relations” by “deferring to the experiences of people of color.”

I'm glad we're clear on who has privilege in that particular classroom.

And I can't think of a better way to raise the racial consciousness of hundreds of college students proceeding through that man's classroom.

Not precisely in the intended manner, though, unless he's trying to create a new generation of racists.

Read the whole thing to see what racial epithets the professor thinks can be appropriately directed at the white underclass.

2015-09-17 09:58:13.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

The courts will not save us

Ars TechnicaThe first major judicial ruling slamming the NSA's bulk collection of phone records has been overturned. In 2013, US District Judge Richard Leon ruled the program was likely unconstitutional, but held off on shutting it down until an appeals court could weigh in.

That's finally happened, and the appeals ruling (PDF) shows the three-judge panel didn't see things the same way as Leon.

3-0 ruling, with opinions claiming that the government can regulate "what the citizen may know". Which is utter nonsense.

2015-09-16 09:58:13.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Good recommendations for improving the police

InstapunditSecond, if you really want to improve policing (1) abolish official immunity; (2) require insurance for all police; (3) give people a choice of who polices their neighborhoods. That won’t happen, though, because it’s bad for public employee unions and it doesn’t make for appealing slogans designed to drive black voter turnout in November of 2016.

I'll call out point 3 as the most important. Right now we have the illusion of choice; we can vote on local and state law enforcement officials, or the politicians who appoint them. But usually that's not a very granular system, so abuses at the state level can't be addressed locally, and even if you vote out the county sheriff, you're not voting out the local police -- you'll likely get a new sheriff and most of the old police with a new boss. The new boss will have similar self-interest to the old boss and will likely end up in similar policies, given the incentive structure.

If we could actually have competing bids for law enforcement services by different companies, changing the law enforcement service you hired would actually mean something. It might mean the difference between a polite knock on your door and a 3am SWAT raid that shoots your dog, grenades your kid, and sends you to prison based on planted evidence.

2015-09-15 09:58:13.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Crony Capitalism

Ars TechnicaAT&T has struck a deal with the US government to get nearly $428 million per year to bring 10Mbps Internet service to parts of rural America after protesting that it shouldn't have to provide speeds that fast.

The government takes the money and hands it out to favored corporations who won't do anything with it, subsidizing their pissant efforts in rural areas while also blocking competition from startups who might do better.

Mind you, I say that despite probably being one of the people who benefit from the spending.

2015-09-14 09:58:13.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

How the NSA fakes out the courts

Ars TechnicaIn order to obtain a copy of the NSA's main XKeyscore software, whose existence was first revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013, Germany's domestic intelligence agency agreed to hand over metadata of German citizens it spies on. According to documents seen by the German newspaper Die Zeit, after 18 months of negotiations the US and Germany signed an agreement that would allow the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamtes für Verfassungsschutz—BfV) to obtain a copy of the NSA's most important program, and to adopt it for the analysis of data gathered in Germany. This was a lower level of access compared to the non-US "Five Eyes" nations—the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand—which had direct access to the main XKeyscore system. In return for the software, the BfV would "to the maximum extent possible share all data relevant to NSA's mission."

In other words, NSA made a deal with German intelligence to provide software in return for access to data retrieved using that software. And I am pretty sure that software isn't being provided to Germany on a CD; instead, it sounds like they are adding German intelligence sources to the existing NSA installation. Meaning they have access to US data just like we get access to German data. And this is hardly news; the NSA has been making intelligence data deals with foreign governments for decades to get around constitutional limits on spying on Americans. Because if the NSA wants to spy on an American and for some reason a court objects (they never do, but hypothetically) the NSA can simply ask German intelligence to run their queries and share the results; German intelligence has different limitations.

They've been doing this all the way back to the Clinton administration.

2015-09-13 09:58:13.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Does free speech offend you?

2015-09-09 09:03:03.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Why we're losing liberty

2015-09-08 09:03:03.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Another private email address and hard drive crash

Wall Street Journal via TaxProfThe Lerner and North cases also highlight the Administration’s sloppy, or willfully obstructionist, approach to recordkeeping. Recall the crash of Ms. Lerner’s hard drive, and the IRS’s claim for months it had no backup of her work. Treasury’s Inspector General would later find some. Mr. North’s hard drive also crashed, and Pebble claims that key North emails and documents have gone missing from EPA’s official record.

Remember, it wasn't just Lerner's hard drive that crashed. Hers was simply the most central. About 20 of her coworkers also lost computer data in some form or another and were unable to provide it to Congress, including coworkers who visited the White House extensively while the targeting was going on.

The EPA has already had issues with its director, Lisa Jackson, having a separate email address under her dog's name and evading FOIA requests. Now we have another person at the EPA communicating with political groups privately, and the records have gone missing in a hard drive crash.

How credulous does this administration think we are?

2015-09-04 09:13:55.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

EPA now ignoring Congressional subpeonas on toxic waste spill

Gateway PunditThe EPA was subpoenaed on August 10th to provide documents by August 24th concerning the agency’s involvement in the Gold King Mine spill. The EPA ignored the Congressional subpoena. They have not turned over any documents.

The IRS has been doing this a lot lately, too. It's like they think they are above the law.

2015-09-03 09:13:55.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Hillary email server admin to plead 5th

Gateway PunditThe Washington Post reported Wednesday night that a former Hillary Clinton State Department staffer who reportedly set up her home brew server will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to testify to Congressional committees investigating Clinton’s home email system.

That's a very interesting stance for him to take. The thing is, normally setting up an email server wouldn't be at all criminal. In the narrative as we understand it, the criminal liability would attach to actually transferring the classified materials to the insecure location (ie, sending an email to an address on Hillary's server) or receiving such an email knowing the contents were classified.

Unless Hillary was emailing her server admin with classified information (unlikely, though as the admin he could probably access the emails on the server, something that strikes me as a likely grey area in the law of classified material), he wouldn't have liability just for setting it up.

He might be concerned about setting it up knowing Hillary intended to receive classified information on it. He might be concerned about wiping the server to delete evidence of wrongdoing or evade FOIA. He might also be concerned about conspiracy charges.

And he's probably looking to what happened to Lerner as an example of the treatment he will get. Since Hillary is on the outside now, I doubt he will get anything like that. However, given the potential exposure he has, I would expect a deal to get negotiated where he tells the FBI everything he knows, admits wiping the server, gets immunity for it, and what he tells the FBI doesn't help them much since he can't unwipe the server if he did it halfway competently.

Other than the massive implied corruption and embarrassment of a 5th amendment plea, I don't think we're going to advance the case against Hillary much here.

2015-09-03 01:00:09.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

A cure for no-hope zombie apocalypse fiction

McThagRealizing that it's a zombie apocalypse show also made me realize why I generally dislike zombie fiction. There's zero hope. While the main characters may solve the immediate problem, eventually sickness, injury or infirmity will eventually let the zombies get them and win. Real life is full enough of no-win scenarios that I don't want them in my fiction where I go to escape the no-win scenarios of my real life.

Are you going to let a 13-year-old girl with a teddy bear out-oorah! you, Marine?

2015-09-02 13:39:16.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

IRS can't hide White House tax records requests

Daily CallerWhite House emails to the IRS about individual tax returns cannot be exempted by the embattled agency under the Freedom of Information Act, a federal judge ruled Friday.

United States District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Section 6103 of the tax code does not justify the IRS from withholding from FOIA requesters by refusing to say whether the records exist. She ordered the IRS to respond properly to an FOIA request submitted by the non-profit watchdog group Cause of Action.

Good and bad news, here. The good news is, there likely are records of White House requests to the IRS for specific tax records. If there were none, the IRS would not be trying so hard to hide them. The bad news is, such requests may be legal; there is in fact a formal procedure for requesting them that is authorized by law. Whether that law is a good idea or not is a different matter, and if that authority was somehow abused for political targeting as seems likely, that would demonstrate a direct link to the White House and also potentially implicate the White House in any criminal activity that took place against those individuals.

Which is why we will find out, in a few minutes, that the IRS doesn't keep records of those requests. Oops.

2015-09-02 09:13:55.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments
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