Best-Selling Authors Cause of Budget Crisis!

At least, that’s what President Obama thinks/wants us to think. No, really, I’m not making this up:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/07/11/obama_warns_best-selling_authors_youre_not_off_the_hook.html

“We weren’t balancing the budget off of middle-class families and working-class families. And we weren’t letting hedge fund managers or authors of best-selling books off the hook. That is a reasonable proposition.”

You gotta be kidding me. What fantasy world is this guy living in? Actually, I know the answer: the same one I was when I first got the bright idea of wanting to be a writer. Most authors, even the best-selling ones, make roughly the equivalent of minimum wage off of each book they write. The millionaires like Clancy and J. K. Rowling are the very rare exception to the rule. And how’s this for hypocracy: Obama is also a NYT Best Selling Author. I wonder if he paid his fair share, of if he’s part of the problem too? [/sarcasm]

IMO, this proves it: Obama’s lost it. He’s taken a swan dive off the high dive into the very deep end of the pool.

For a real best-selling author’s opinion on the matter: check out this post by NYT Best Selling Author Larry Correia. It’s very entertaining and an excellent read, but then again, Larry’s stuff always is. That’s why he’s an NYT Best Selling Author after all.

Cookie Monster Wants To Host SNL

Yes, before you say anything, this is a real audition tape, and no, I am not making this up.

Now I never really got into SNL, having been born at the twilight of the show’s heyday, but if Cookie Monster does wind up getting to host… heck yes I will watch. Think about it. It’d be hilarious!

There’s actually a Facebook group devoted to campaigning for CM. I’m not going to post the link here, but you can access it via YouTube. And yes, before you ask, I did join.

Big Brother is Watching Me

No, seriously, I think he is!

I was checking on the nest’s hit counts over on SiteMeter (it was pathetic, as usual) and decided just for kicks to see where my visitors hail from. I recognize most of the usual servers, but there was a new one that I’d never seen before: blm.gov.

Wait a second… .gov?

So I clicked on the entry for more details, and this is what I saw:

Yep, I got a visit from the US Government’s Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management. Could’ve just been a bored .gov bureaucrat randomly surfing the web, but note the exit page: I Still Remember, which was my 9/11 remembrance post. That strikes me as a little… I dunno… weird. What with all the controversy about the Ground Zero Mosque and everything (which reminds me, gotta do a post on that)… was just scoped out by the Feds? As a potential terrorist or whatever?

Oddly enough, I’m not frightened by that prospect. It’s actually kinda cool. It means I’m finally big enough in the blogosphere to get noticed!

FBI Goes After Wikipedia… Over It’s Seal?

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/web/08/03/fbi.seal.wikipedia/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn#fbid=V89JO6jNgvY

FBI to Wikipedia: Remove our seal

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) — The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has threatened Wikipedia with legal action if the online encyclopedia doesn’t remove the FBI’s seal from its site.

The seal is featured in an encyclopedia entry about the FBI.

Wikipedia isn’t backing down, however. The online encyclopedia — which is run by a nonprofit group and is edited by the public — sent a chiding letter to the FBI, explaining why, in its view, the FBI is off its legal rocker.

“In short, then, we are compelled as a matter of law and principle to deny your demand for removal of the FBI Seal from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons,” the Wikimedia Foundation’s general counsel, Mike Godwin, wrote in a letter to the FBI, which was posted online by the New York Times.

“We are in contact with outside counsel in this matter, and we are prepared to argue our view in court.”

The whimsically written letter from Wikipedia says the FBI’s reading of relevant law is both “idiosyncratic” and “more importantly, incorrect.” It also notes that the FBI’s seal appears on other websites, including in an online entry from Encyclopedia Britannica.

In a letter dated July 22, and also posted online by the Times, the FBI told Wikipedia it must remove the bureau’s seal because the FBI had not approved use of the image.

“The FBI has not authorized use of the FBI seal on Wikipedia,” the letter says. “The inclusion of a high quality graphic of the FBI seal on Wikipedia is particularly problematic, because it facilitates both deliberate and unwitting” copying and reprinting of the seal’s image.

The FBI’s deputy general counsel, David Larson, cities a particular law that says duplicating an official “insignia” is illegal without permission.

But Wikipedia strikes back on that point, saying the FBI redacted the most important part of that U.S. code, which defines an insignia as “any badge, identification card, or other insignia.”

“Badges and identification cards are physical manifestations that may be used by a possessor to invoke the authority of the federal government. An encyclopedia article is not,” Wikipedia’s letter says. “The use of the image on Wikipedia is not for the purpose of deception or falsely to represent anyone as an agent of the federal government.”

The Wikipedia letter also adds:

“Even if it could be proved that someone, somewhere, found a way to use a Wikipedia article illustration to facilitate a fraudulent representation, that would not render the illustration itself unlawful under the statute.”

It’s unclear if this tussle — which has already made its way into a Wikipedia entry on the FBI’s seal — will be taken to court. For now, the tech press is weighing in, often with amazement.

On the blog BoingBoing, Rob Beschizza writes that this is a no-win situation for the FBI.

“The part that’s hard to understand is why the FBI would seek to abuse the law in such petulant fashion,” he writes, “knowing that it will be subject to public ridicule for its actions.”

The magazine Vanity Fair posted the FBI’s seal on its website in a symbol of jest. And, as the blog Geekosystem says, an editor on the site aggregator Reddit jokes that maybe the FBI got Wikipedia confused with WikiLeaks — the site that’s been causing a stir lately over leaked war documents.

Cindy Cohn, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the New York Times, which first reported this story, that she found the whole ordeal to be “silly” and “troubling.”

What the frell? No, seriously, what the frell? We’ve got drug cartels operating with impunity on US soil and putting contracts out on public officials, two Senators being investigated on “ethics violations” (i.e. corruption), and foreign nationals conducting law-enforcement operations on US soil against US citizens, and this is what the FBI decides to devote its resources to? Are you fraking kidding me?!?!?

Not only is this a gross misappropriation of resources (not to mention taxpayers’ dollars), but it’s completely pointless! Wikipedia’s in the right here; the Feds don’t have a leg to stand on. The law only applies to individuals or organizations who attempt to impersonate the FBI… and somehow I don’t think Wikipedia’s gonna be knocking on doors and interrogating people any time soon.

Whatever moron in Washington decided that this was even worth more than a laughing-and-pointing episode should be smacked upside the head and then fired from the Agency, preferably immediately if not sooner.

*sigh* Your tax dollars at work, people.

Papieren Bitte!

Spotted in Washington, D.C.:

So in other words, civilians in D.C. can now be stopped by police with no probable cause and must produce identification and give officers a legitimate reason for being in the area. Don’t have ID or a “legitimate reason,” or don’t cooperate with the police? You go to jail. For “Refusing to cooperate with a police officer.”

Gee, anyone else reminded of a certain government of a certain European country during the 1930s and 1940s?

Remember, fellow Proles, they hate us because we are free.

US Land Off-Limits Part II

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/06/17/portion-arizona-wildlife-refuge-closed-safety-concerns/

Four years after federal officials quietly surrendered thousands of acres of America’s border to Mexican drug gangs and illegals, there still are “no plans to reopen” the taxpayer-owned national park lands.

Roughly 3,500 acres of taxpayer-funded government land in Arizona have been closed to U.S. citizens since 2006 due to safety concerns fueled by drug and human smuggling along the Mexican border, according to a statement posted on the website for the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

The section of land — about 3 percent of the 118,000-acre refuge — has been closed since Oct. 6, 2006, when “there was a marked increase in violence along the border due to human and drug trafficking,” according to the statement released Wednesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The closed area extends north from the international border for roughly three-quarters of a mile; a notice of the area’s closure has been posted on the refuge’s website since 2006. The remainder of the refuge remains open to the public for recreational activities.

“At this time there are no plans to reopen this southernmost 3/4-mile portion of the Refuge,” the statement continued. “However, since 2006 the Refuge has experienced a significant decline in violent activity in the area thanks to ongoing cooperation between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

In a statement to FoxNews.com on Thursday, the director of law enforcement for the Bureau of Land Management said the agency takes visitor and employee safety very seriously.

“We have posted these signs to inform visitors to this part of Southern Arizona of the ongoing public safety issues in this area,” William Woody said in a statement. “We are committed to working with everyone engaged with public land management to ensure that all visitors and users have a safe experience on our public lands.”

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told Fox News on Wednesday that violence against law enforcement officers and U.S. citizens has increased in the past four months, further underscoring the need to keep the area off-limits to Americans.

“It’s literally out of control,” Babeu said. “We stood with Senator McCain and literally demanded support for 3,000 soldiers to be deployed to Arizona to get this under control and finally secure our border with Mexico.”

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials have warned visitors in the area to beware of heavily armed drug smugglers and human traffickers. In a statement posted at the time of the closure, Mitch Ellis, manager of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, said conditions in the zone reached a point where public use of the area was not prudent.

“The [refuge] has been adversely affected by border-related activities,” Ellis’ statement read. “The international border with Mexico has also become increasingly violent. Assaults on law enforcement officers and violence against migrants have escalated. Violence on the Refuge associated with smugglers and border bandits has been well-documented.”

Security is also a top concern in other parcels of public land in Arizona.

Dennis Godfrey, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management’s Arizona office, said roughly a dozen signs were posted earlier this month along the Sonoran Desert National Monument advising that travel in the area is not recommended due to “active drug and human” smuggling.

“It is a corridor for smugglers of all types,” Godfrey said on Thursday.

The monument, which contains more than 487,000 acres of desert landscape, is roughly 35 miles southwest of Phoenix. Bureau of Land Management officials are encouraging travelers to use public lands north of Interstate 8, which runs from San Diego to Casa Grande, Ariz.

“Visitors may encounter armed criminals and smuggling vehicles travelling at a high rate of speed,” the signs read. “Stay away from trash, clothing, backpacks and abandoned vehicles.”

So not only has this area been de-facto surrendered to the cartels, but it turns out that said area was surrendered almost four years ago, and the government has no intentions of reclaiming it! Instead of securing our borders, which is their job, our politicians are too busy trying to bankrupt a private corporation as punishment for an industrial accident!

And here’s the money quote: the government is calling the situation a “public safety issue.” What a joke. This situation is way beyond public safety: this situation is a direct threat to the national security of the United States of America. We have armed foreign criminals violating our borders with impunity, killing and kidnapping American citizens at will. And our government has turned a blind eye to the situation, writing it off as a “public safety issue.” That is, when they’re not blaming its own citizens for causing the problem (see Obama’s an Calderone’s accusations that gun nuts like me are supplying the cartels with arms.)

When is Washington going to finally realize just how serious the situation in the Southwest is? What is it going to take? How many more people are going to have to be murdered by cartel enforcers? How much more land is going to be written off?

How many more Americans are going to have to die?

US Territory Closed Off… To American Citizens!!!!

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/06/16/closes-park-land-mexico-border-americans/

About 3,500 acres of southern Arizona have been closed off to U.S. citizens due to increased violence at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The closed off area includes part of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge that stretches along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told Fox News that violence against law enforcement officers and U.S. citizens has increased in the past four months, forcing officers on an 80 mile stretch of Arizona land north of the Mexico border off-limits to Americans.

The refuge had been adversely affected by the increase in drug smugglers, illegal activity and surveillance, which made it dangerous for Americans to visit.

“The situation in this zone has reached a point where continued public use of the area is not prudent,” said refuge manager Mitch Ellis.

“It’s literally out of control,” said Babeu. “We stood with Senator McCain and literally demanded support for 3,000 soldiers to be deployed to Arizona to get this under control and finally secure our border with Mexico. “

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials have warned visitors in Arizona to beware of heavily armed drug smugglers and human traffickers.

“We need support from the federal government. It’s their job to secure the border and they haven’t done it,” said Babeu. “In fact, President Obama suspended the construction of the fence and it’s just simply outrageous.”

Signs have been posted warning Americans not to cross into the closed off territory south of Interstate 8. Babeu said the signs are not enough – he said Arizona needs more resources to help scale back the violence caused by the drug cartels.

“We need action. It’s shameful that we, as the most powerful nation on Earth, … can’t even secure our own border and protect our own families.”

What the hell? US territory is too dangerous for US citizens to enter, so instead of securing said territory, the government is instead forbidding US citizens from entering it? It is the responsibility of the United States Government to secure our borders from invasion by foreigners. But instead, the government has essentially ceded this territory to Mexico and to the criminals who are taking it over. What kind of precedent does this set? Are we just going to continue to abandon our territory to the cartels as they expand further and further north. What will happen to Phoenix? It’s already the kidnapping capital of the country thanks to the cartels. If things get worse there, are we just going to write it off too?

This is unacceptable. No, this is beyond unacceptable.

Our government has failed us. There is no other way to put it. Washington has failed to protect this nation from a grave external threat, and we the people are now paying the price for it. I strongly encourage all of you to write to your elected representatives in Washington – all of them – and demand that they take action, serious action, to secure our southern border. I’m already in the process of writing my own letter; I’ll post that as soon as it’s finished.

God Help America.