Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rule 5 Saturday - The Woman with Two Faces - Renee Zellweger

Old Renée Zellweger
News from Wombat-socho's "Live at Five: 10.23.14" that Renée Zellweger, has had plastic surgery to change her look entirely.  Lets see:
New Renée Zellweger: 









I kinda like the nose on the old Zellweger. It's a little button nose. A little distinctive. The new one is just sort of a boring, normal nose. It's not wrong (like some awful plastic surgery), its just a little more boring. But it makes her happy:
Old Renee

"I'm glad folks think I look different! I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows," Zellweger, 45, says of the attention she received after an appearance at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards in Beverly Hills on Monday.

Calling the conversation about her appearance "silly," she says she is choosing to address it because "it seems the folks who come digging around for some nefarious truth which doesn't exist won't get off my porch until I answer the door."

"My friends say that I look peaceful. I am healthy," Zellweger continues. "For a long time I wasn't doing such a good job with that. I took on a schedule that is not realistically sustainable and didn't allow for taking care of myself. Rather than stopping to recalibrate, I kept running until I was depleted and made bad choices about how to conceal the exhaustion. I was aware of the chaos and finally chose different things."
Seems a pretty radical change to feel good.

While I knew the name, I can't honestly say that I really knew anything about her before this, although according to Wikipedia she has dated/married a lot of well known men.

More old Zellwegger below the fold:


It Sure Was Nice Having Free Speech

The democrats on the FEC want to take it away: FEC Democrat pushes for controls on Internet political speech:
The FEC deadlocked in a crucial Internet campaign speech vote announced Friday, leaving online political blogging and videos free of many of the reporting requirements attached to broadcast ads — for now.

While all three GOP-backed members voted against restrictions, they were opposed by the three Democratic-backed members, including FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel, who said she will lead a push next year to try to come up with new rules government political speech on the Internet.

It would mark a major reversal for the commission, which for nearly a decade has protected the ability of individuals and interest groups to take to engage in a robust political conversation on the Internet without having to worry about registering with the government or keeping and reporting records of their expenses.

Ms. Ravel said she fears that in trying to keep the Internet open for bloggers, they’ve instead created a loophole for major political players to escape some scrutiny.
Can't have those wild eyed Tea Party patriots opposing democratic policies, now can we?

Friday, October 24, 2014

What is the Obama Admin Hiding in "Fast and Furious" Probe?

"Only" 15,662 documents.
Judicial Watch announced today that it received from the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) a “Vaughnindex” detailing records about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. The index was forced out of the Obama administration thanks to JW’s June 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and subsequentSeptember 2012 FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 1:12-cv-01510)). A federal court had ordered the production over the objections of the Obama Justice Department.
. . .
This is the first time that the Obama administration has provided a detailed listing of all records being withheld from Congress and the American people about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal. The 1307-page “draft” Vaughn index was emailed to Judicial Watch at 8:34 p.m. last night, a few hours before a federal court-ordered deadline. In its cover letter, the Department of Justice asserts that all of the responsive records described in the index are “subject to the assertion of executive privilege.”

The Vaughn index explains 15,662 documents. Typically, a Vaughn index must: (1) identify each record withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption. The Vaughn index arguably fails to provide all of this required information but does provide plenty of interesting information for a public kept in the dark for years about the Fast and Furious scandal.

Based on a preliminary review of the massive document, Judicial Watch can disclose that the Vaughn index reveals:
  • Numerous emails that detail Attorney General Holder’s direct involvement in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter.
  • President Obama has asserted executive privilege over nearly 20 email communications between Holder and his spouse Sharon Malone. The administration also claims that the records are also subject to withholding under the “deliberative process” exemption. This exemption ordinarily exempts from public disclosure records that could chill internal government deliberations.
  • Numerous entries detail DOJ’s communications (including those of Eric Holder) concerning the White House about Fast and Furious.
  • The scandal required the attention of virtually every top official of the DOJ and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Communications to and from the United States Ambassador to Mexico about the Fast and Furious matter are also described.
  • Many of the records are already publicly available such as letters from Congress, press clips, and typical agency communications. Ordinarily, these records would, in whole or part, be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Few of the records seem to even implicate presidential decision-making and advice that might be subject to President Obama’s broad and unprecedented executive privilege claim.
They're trying desperately hard to conceal that "fast and furious" was an fatally failed attempt to try to gin up support for Obama and the Holder Justice Departments attempts to curtail gun rights.

But imagine being the poor judge who has to sort through this all and decide what is being legitimately withheld, and that which is being concealed for political purposes.

Judge Lets IRS Off the Hook on Tea Party

Apparently it's completely legal to stall giving United States citizens the rights they are entitled to under the law and constitution, as long as you give them back before you get to the judge:
The IRS may have inadvertently figured out how to win its legal battles against aggrieved tea party groups: Give them what they wanted in the first place — tax-exempt status.

That was a major reason a Republican-appointed federal judge on Thursday threw out two lawsuits brought by more than 40 conservative groups seeking remedies for being singled out in the tea party targeting scandal, a victory for the IRS.

Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia dismissed almost all counts brought against the tax-collecting agency in two cases, ruling that both were essentially moot now that the IRS granted the groups their tax-exempt status that had been held up for years. Walton, a President George W. Bush-appointee, also said individual IRS officials could not be fined in their individual capacity for allowing such treatment because it could hurt future tax enforcement.
The ruling can and should be appealed. Somebody should pay the price for the deliberate political meddling.

A 10-year veteran IRS attorney has demanded a Congressional audit of the IRS to investigate the agency’s alleged role in allowing American corporations to illegally avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes at the same time the agency is cracking down on individuals and small businesses.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, IRS commissioner John A. Koskinen, and IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, Jane J. Kim, an attorney in the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel in New York, accused IRS executives of “deliberately” facilitating multi-billion dollar tax giveaways. The letter, dated October 19, will add further pressure on the agency, which is under fire for allegedly targeting conservative and Tea Party groups.

Kim, who has previously blown the whistle on “gross waste of government resources” in the IRS New York field offices [Senior IRS Lawyer Charges Chief Counsel's New York Office With Waste and Abuse], wrote in her new letter that senior IRS officials have “intentionally undermined the authority of the IRS Whistleblower Office” to avoid taking action “in cases involving billions in corporate taxes due.” The IRS also refuses to enforce laws for “large corporate taxpayers,” resulting in giveaways of further billions, despite applying the same laws with “draconian strictness to small business, the self-employed, and wage-earning individuals.” ...
They say sunlight is the best disinfectant. But acid kills germs too. It's time to reform the tax system and take the power out their abusive hands.

A Pretty Good Flight Safety Video

Those silly Kiwis again:



From the guys with the SI Swimsuit Edition Safety Video. The first swiped from Theo's, the second from memory.

Obama Rolls Snake Eyes on Ebola

A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea tested positive for the Ebola virus Thursday, becoming the city’s first diagnosed case.

The doctor, Craig Spencer, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center on Thursday and placed in isolation while health care workers spread out across the city to trace anyone he might have come into contact with in recent days. A further test will be conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the initial test.

While officials have said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and had been preparing for this moment for months, the first case highlighted the challenges surrounding containment of the virus, especially in a crowded metropolis.
Although monitoring his temperature, Dr. Spencer apparently did not limit his travel and contact with the public since his return, touching off a massive hunt for his possible contacts.
Even as the authorities worked to confirm that Mr. Spencer was infected with Ebola, it emerged that he traveled from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the subway on Wednesday night, when he went to a bowling alley, and then took a taxi home.

The next morning, he reported having a temperature of 103 degrees, raising questions about his health while he was out in public.

Dr. Spencer’s travel history and the timing of the onset of his symptoms led health officials to dispatch disease detectives, who “immediately began to actively trace all of the patient’s contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk,” according to a statement released by the department.

It was unclear if the city was trying to find people who might have come into contact with Dr. Spencer on the subway. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority directed all questions to the health department, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the issue.
Apparently denial is a river in Africa.

While professor Obama's prediction as to the likelihood of Ebola introduction to the US has now been falsified by events, mine from yesterday, is still in the running:
At this point I think the chances of further Ebola cases from Duncan's initial case are down to about 10%. Small, but not negligible. The chance of future infections from a similar occurrence seem pretty high, though, although a travel ban could lessen if not eliminate the threat. Heaven forbid that the virus become established south of our southern border, because, rationally, everyone in south of the Rio Grande would try to enter the US to get away from it, and to get treated if infected. We already know we can't even begin to stop that flux.