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A Russian Twerked-Up Perversion of Bees and Winnie The Pooh (Updated)

Apr 19, 2015 | 10:00 AM

April 19, 2015 - The video went viral, Russia went nuts, and official action has been taken. Someone might even go to prison. Why? Because the Credo dance school in Orenburg, Russia hijacked the beloved and innocent children's character Winnie the Pooh and put him in a pedophile-pleasing production of twerking teenage girls. The video, of an event held on January 31, was posted on April 12 by YouTuber "vitamen72" and immediately went viral and has caused an ongoing heated public debate in Russia.

"The....clip shows young female students of the 'Credo' dance school in Orenburg, Russia," reported Sputnik News on April 14, "performing a dance routine dubbed 'Bees and Winnie-the-Pooh' dressed in rather skimpy outfits. The routine, more commonly known as twerking, was viewed over 5 million times in less than three days, and was picked up by media outlets from Boston to Beijing."

As of April 19 at 9:40 AM (New York time), the video was watched nearly 19,845,959 times.
Update: Three hours later, 20,048,204 views.

"But the performance was deemed highly inappropriate by some Russian viewers," according to Sputnik News, "especially considering that the dancers appear to be rather young. Calls for public shaming have been flooding social media networks and blogs, with the authorities eventually getting involved and temporarily closing the school down. Others, meanwhile, have argued that none of the dancers were underage, as was originally speculated, and that twerking was a legitimate style of dance which received national recognition in the US back in the early 2000s."

Twerking is so sophisticated
It seems a bit unfair to blame decadent Americans for this decadent Russian behavior. Monkey see, monkey do. But this is serious business, so serious that the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation is investigating the twerking. (Russia's rough equivalent of the FBI.) Even the mayor of Orenburg is investigating, forming a committee to make sure that all of the artistic activities in town are, apparently, twerk-free.

A report by LifeNews illustrates just how seriously the Russian authorities are taking this twerking travesty (translation by Google):

"In the administration of Orenburg held a meeting to which were invited the leadership of dance schools and parents of girls who performed the controversial dance 'Bees and Winnie the Pooh.' - We have decided to establish the circumstances and the end of the test [Investigation Committee] suspend dance school - said Deputy Chief of Staff of Orenburg Valentin Snatenkova. Recall erotic dance 'Bees and Winnie the Pooh' 15-18-year-old girl was in front of their parents during the reporting concert dance studio 'Credo' in one of the recreation center of Orenburg. Investigation Committee of the Orenburg region started checking into the emergence of online video frank dance under 'indecent.' - In this video seen signs of Part 1 of Article 135 'indecent assault without violence a person under eighteen years of age, in respect of persons who are not attained the age of sixteen years ', - reported in the UK in the Orenburg region. - This article is punishable by 3 to 10 years." More at LifeNews.

A much safer bee hive
Note that the spokeswoman of the investigative committee in Orenburg, Angelika Linkova, says the offense could carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, according to The Daily Express (UK).

Twerking is basically grinding one's butt like a cat in heat. Sure, you can do synchronized butt grinding, but does that make it dance? Dunno, but it sure gives the news media a great excuse to show lots of tight female booty clenching, wiggling, bouncing and writhing. Like this one, for example, and this one. And also this one. Because let's be honest: This video is porn.

But wait, hold on..... This may all be way overblown, reports Global Voices. "Most people reacting to the Orenburg dancers seem to have made two mistakes: (1) they assumed the concert took place at a school talent show, and (2) they thought the participants were as young as 13. It turns out the video is from a January 31 event at the Credo dance studio (not a high school), and the girls onstage were no younger than 16. According to the woman who runs the dance school, all the underage dancers needed to get the approval of their parents in order to participate."

Also See:
Russian girls' 'twerking bees' video sparks criminal investigation at dance school - The Independent
Russian Girls Twerking in 'Patriotic' Costumes Cause Outrage - Moscow Times
Russian investigators probe viral teen 'twerking' video - Rappler
Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation - Official site
Investigative Committee of Russia - Wikipedia
10:00 AM | 0 comments | Read More

Evil Obama Brings Plague Of Bees On Helpless Children At White House

Apr 6, 2015 | 4:40 PM

Obama Summons Bees From Hell To Attack Kids
Obama, Satan Incarnate Himself
April 6, 2015 - Obama, Satan Incarnate Himself, summoned a plague of bees upon innocent children, then sadistically laughed and commanded the little ones to remain where they are even as they screamed for mercy. Obama referred to himself as "King of the Wild Things," and told his young victims that he was lonely.

Obama laughed maniacally as he performed his dark magic while reading a book to the children, which was his way of baiting the unsuspecting victims to his pagan egg roll at the White House today.

Upon opening a book of evil spells, a swarm of bees from Hell engulfed the children. "Bees are good!" Obama howled while the children were attacked.

After the bees dispersed, Obama charred all of the children with fire from his nostrils and then ate them as horrified reporters looked on. Watch the disturbing video:

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The Atlantic Wrongly Calls California Largest State

Mar 23, 2015 | 6:51 PM

March 21, 2015 - The Atlantic's editorial staff seems to be geographically challenged. The headline of a March 21 article is "The Economics of California's Drought," and has the unfortunate subhead of "What happens when the country's largest state runs low on water?" And there's the problem.

The article's author, Matt Schiavenza, might have meant to call California "the country's most populous state," but that's not what was written. Perhaps he meant to say, "the state with the country's largest population," but he didn't write that either.

Misleading subtitle in The Atlantic Wire
To be fair, headlines are often not written by the author but by an editor. Regardless of who writes them, headlines should not be vague, ambiguous or confusing.

In any case, the subtitle calls California "the country's largest state." Without qualifying that, by specifying population, it is misleading and unclear at best.

California has a lot more people than Texas and Alaska combined. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 Demographic Profile:

California had a population of 37,253,956 (ranked 1st).

Texas had a population of 25,145,561 (ranked 2nd).

Alaska had a population of 710,231 (ranked 47th).

But although California may have the biggest population of the 50 states, but in terms of geographic size it ranks third, behind Alaska and Texas. The U.S. Census Bureau says that the three largest states in 2008, by total area, were as follows:

Alaska had a total area of 664,988 sq. miles (ranked 1st)
Texas had a total area of 268,597 sq. miles (ranked 2nd)
California;had a total area of 163,694 sq. miles (ranked 3rd)

Alaska is waaaaay bigger than California
California was clearly a distant third in terms of size as recently as 2008. I strongly suspect that the total land areas of have not changed enough to have altered these states' size rankings. And to repeat myself, "largest state" and "largest population" are two very different things.

Of course, Schiavenza was writing about the water crisis in California, not about the size of the state. But he referred to another article with some probably-unintentional irony. "Earlier this month," he wrote, "the title of a Los Angeles Times op-ed published by Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a professor at UC Irvine, got right to the point: California would run out of water in a year. This headline—as Famiglietti himself pointed out—isn't exactly accurate."

Irony: Schiavenza's headline "isn't exactly accurate." And Schiavenza should know that LA Times op-ed was not "published by Jay Famiglietti." He wrote it. The LA Times published it.

Also See:
States Ranked by Size and Population
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Mom Says Ted Cruz Did Not Terrify Her Little Girl

Mar 16, 2015 | 8:03 PM

Ted Cruz, official photo
Ted Cruz is not Satan
March 16, 2015 - The leftwing blogosphere and minor media outlets are again portraying US Senator Ted Cruz as a mean and hateful person. He's not just mean, according to their narrative, but a cruel and sadistic man who terrifies young children.

Cruz spoke while standing before a casual audience at a free "chili and chat" event with the Strafford County Republican Committee in Barrington, New Hampshire yesterday. He said that "the world's on fire," a remark not meant literally but as a reference to the conflicts around the globe. It set off a firestorm of liberal idiocy.

That remark accidentally became a lighthearted moment in which Cruz showed tenderness toward a curious young child. But that moment has been twisted into something monstrous by crazed left wing bloggers. My favorite example of the leftist truth twisting is an innaccurate piece of garbage written by an attractive blond imbecile named Jessica K. Roy at New York Magazine:

Mommy, why is that mean man yelling at me? a 3-year-old named Julie Trant must have thought to herself on Sunday afternoon, when her parents brought her to a Ted Cruz speech in Barrington, New Hampshire. Forced to sit scarily close to the spittle-spewing angry monster posing as a junior senator from Texas, Julie was understandably confused and scared when Cruz told the crowd, "The whole world is on fire."

That paragraph is a steaming pile of untruth. To begin with, Cruz was not yelling at anybody when he said, "The Obama economy is a disaster, Obamacare is a train wreck and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind — the whole world is on fire." Off to his left, 3-yr. old Julie sat with her parents and listened attentively. Curious, Julie piped up and asked, "The world is on fire?"

Cruz turned toward them and responded, "The world is on fire, yes!" He emphasised the word "yes," but was not clearly not yelling. "Your world is on fire." This time, he emphasized the word "your," and smiled at the mom and daughter.

But Cruz was quick to comfort the youngster. He added, "But you know what? Your mommy’s here, and everyone’s here to make sure that the world you grow up in is even better." This was clearly meant to reassure the girl.

Julie was not "forced to sit scarily close" to Cruz. She was with her parents and naturally sat with them. Cruz stepped closer to respond to Julie, but at no point was he "spittle-spewing" or "angry." And, in fact, Julie's question indicates that she wanted Cruz to approach and give her an anwer.

Jessica Roy, Vapid Liar
(photo: Twitter)
Roy is not a clever liar, given that her article/hit piece included a video of the non-terrifying event, which clearly shows that Cruz was not acting the way she reported. (Did she even watch that video?)

Roy, pretending to be a real journalist, wrote that Cruz was "posing as a junior senator from Texas." Posing? Does Roy think that Ted Cruz is not really a senator? Does she doubt that he's actually from Texas? Roy (@JessicaKRoy) is a senior writer for NY Magazine, which doesn't say much for NY Mag. Roy, 27, has also worked for TIME, New York Observer and Fusion. Briefly.

Roy wrote that young Julie was "understandably confused and scared" by Cruz. But that's not true. Julie's mother, Michelle Trant, said so in an interview on WRKO Radio today.

Ted Cruz frightens a little girl, not
Three year old Julie, in her pink hoody, sits on her mom's lap.
Compare Roy's trash article to a well-written, balanced story about the Cruz "world on fire" flap at, where Sandra Sobieraj Westfall (@sswestfall) got the story about Cruz right.

Politico provided a partial transcript of what Michelle said on The Kuhner Report:

"There was no tears," Trant said, telling the show she told her daughter that "Ted Cruz is the one that will put this fire out. And then she then looked at him as a hero...."I’m telling you: She was quite happy,” Trant added. “She was like, ‘oh? you’re going to put that out? We’re good. We’re good here.’"

Roy ended her report with a complete fabrication. "That night," she wrote, "Julie made her mommy check to make sure no Ted Cruzes were hiding under her bed." More likely, Julie had happy dreams of her new hero Ted Cruz saving the world.

* * * * *

On another night, however, little Julie might ask her mother to check under the bed to make sure no Greenpeace militants were there. For while Ted Cruz certainly did not intend to frighten a 3-year old kid, the global warming climate change alarmists deliberately terrorize children.

Even NASA plays the scare-kids-for-algore act, not giving a damn about the nightmares suffered by uncountable 6-year old kids.

"For example," noted American Thinker in 2011, "from May 7 through May 14, kids the world over were to tramp in the 'iMatter March' to convince adults that the most pressing global issues are not bloody terrorist attacks, abject poverty, tyrannical socialism, or even kooky environmentalism, but rather the planet's real peril comes from climate change."

For Democrats and liberals, it's okay to tell kids that the world is about to literally overheat and kill all the cute animals, with the full intention of terrorizing them. But let Ted Cruz say that the world "is on fire," and mean it metaphorically, then immediately says reassuring words to a young child, well now, that's just evil.

Also See:
8:03 PM | 0 comments | Read More

Is Online Gambling Legal in the U.S.?

Mar 3, 2015 | 5:25 PM

Online gambling is huge.
If you're confused about the legalities of online gambling in the United States, you're not alone. Gambling online in the U.S. is actually legal, but the laws vary from state to state. In fact, the states cherish their right to regulate gaming within their own borders.

Trying to understand the many and varied rules and regulations, however, can be daunting and confusing, not to mention time consuming.

Search Google for "Is online gambling legal in the USA" and you'll get "About 1,610,000 results" related to the subject. Who's got time to sift through all of that? And even if you did, knowing that you're getting the right information is - pardon the pun - a gamble.

I was glad, therefore, to become aware of a website called UnitedStatesGamblingOnline that offers comprehensive legal online gambling information for United States players. UnitedStatesGamblingOnline provides tons of facts about legal online gambling in every state, details about the laws in those states, legal explanations of the various types of online gambling, gambling news and much more.

Gambling is immensely popular. Millions of Americans gamble legally in Nevada and New Jersey, where players lay down their bets on everything from professional sports games to … well, you name it.  Most states today operate lotteries and more and more cities are allowing casinos. Some states now even let you play their lotteries online.

So, with the timeless popularity of gambling, the fact that it's legal in some form or another in every state except Utah and Hawaii, and with the advent of the Internet, it stands to reason that online gambling should be wide open and completely legal.

I said in the beginning of this article that online gambling is legal in the U.S. But there have been some attempts at the federal level to make placing bets via your computer more difficult, causing some misconceptions about online gambling's legality that persists today.

Gambling has changed over the years
A law passed in 2006 had a chilling effect on the industry. The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) caused much confusion, and nine years later many people still think that the UIGEA 2006 bill made it illegal for US players to enjoy online gambling. However, that's not true.

The UIGEA "was put in place to regulate how online gambling transactions are processed, and was designed to protect players and their investment," says UnitedStatesGamblingOnline.

" The only real affect that the law had on players is that some gambling brands and payment methods chose not to jump through the regulatory hoops required by the legislation, and instead left the US market, hence slightly reducing selection for players in the United States." But today, notes the website, "there is a nice selection of legal online gambling sites that welcome US players."

Unfortunately, sports betting is different than, say, playing poker online. Currently, federal law is inconsistent. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), passed by Congress in 1992, restricts nearly all of the states from legalizing sports gambling. PASPA actually limits sports betting in the U.S. to four parts of the country: Oregon, Nevada, Montana and Delaware. The unfortunate effect of PASPA has been to keep ethical operations out of the business, while illegal sports gambling operations thrive. The Federal Wire Act also comes into play. The Department of Justice decided that it applies to sports betting, thereby making it illegal in the U.S. The 1961 law "specifically prohibits betting or gambling businesses from using a wire communication facility to transmit interstate or foreign bets, wagers and related information."

There is a current push by some governors and members of Congress to repeal PASPA and update the Federal Wire Act to take the Internet into account. This would bring online sports betting into the sunlight with other forms of online gambling that are already legal.  Sen. John McCain, for example, says that Nevada should not be the only state allowed to have legal sports betting.

Also See:
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John Kerry To Visit Paris, But He's In No Hurry

Jan 12, 2015 | 3:54 PM

Jane Hartley, US Ambassador to France
US Ambassador Jane Hartley
attended the Paris march
January 12, 2014 - The Cavalcade of Idiots, also known as The Obama Administration, can't help acting, well, idiotically. Embarrassed by their no-show at yesterday's million-plus anti-terror march in Paris, in a show of unity against Islamist terror, John Kerry will make a clumsy (and too-late) trip to make it look like the Administration cares about the recent victims of Islamist terror.

Nobody should be fooled by this act of insincerity. If they really cared, they would have sent someone. The US was officially represented at the march by Jane Hartley, our ambassador to France. But she was already there and she's not a national leader.

The fact that over 40 foreign dignitaries managed to gather in Paris on the same day, and with relatively short notice, is impressive. However, the so-called leader of the free world, the President of the United States, was conspicuously absent. Sure, Barack Obama's a busy guy. But it's safe to say that those heads of state also have a lot on their plates, yet they were able to rearrange their schedules to pay respect to the slain, show their defiance of terrorism, support free speech, and represent their own nations in a respectable manner.

That was too much to ask of Barack Obama, it seems. He couldn't even send a cabinet member to represent him - and the United States - at the solemn event. Not even Secretary of State John Kerry could be bothered to fly to Paris from India, where he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday to discuss stronger economic ties "and set the stage for President Obama’s visit" on January 26.

Kerry will travel to Paris, reports The Daily Mail (UK), "after the U.S. government was shamed for not joining a rally yesterday for victims of the French terror attacks attended by 40 world leaders and a million people." The Daily Mail report says that Kerry tried to explain the absence of a major US official by saying, "I really think that this is sort of quibbling a little bit in the sense that our Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was there and marched, our ambassador was there and marched, many people from the embassy were there and marched."

Kerry's lame response - that a handful of minor US officials attended the march - seems to demonstrate a lack of understanding of the importance of public relations. It might also indicate an actual disregard for the tragedy of the 17 deaths at the hands of Islamist gunmen last week.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney
Canada's Public Safety Minister
Steven Blaney attended the march
Image: CTV
Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris on Sunday, but he "skipped out early," as the Daily Mail notes in a story with this scorching headline: "America snubs historic Paris rally: Holder was there but skipped out early, Kerry was in India, Obama and Biden just stayed home." He met with European security and terror experts in Paris on Sunday, but Holder did not even go to the march, reports The Telegraph (UK).

Even more incredibly, Kerry won't go directly to Paris until later this week. He'll arrive there on Thursday after stopping in Bulgaria and Switzerland, and then only stay for a part of Friday.

But the US was not the only nation that failed to send a major leader to Paris. Canada's Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney was his nation's only representative at the march. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, pulled an Obama, but at least Harper takes a gutsier public stance against terrorists.

On Saturday, Blaney laid a wreath outside the offices of Charlie Hebdo, and met with RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) agents who are working with French security agencies there. On Sunday, Blaney attended an international terrorism meeting, which Eric Holder also attended. Unlike Holder, however, Blaney attended the unity rally march on Sunday.

Also See:
List of leaders who attended Paris rally Times of India
America betrays its values by not sending top U.S. officials to Paris unity rally Daily News
French Officials Defend Obama Amid Questions About Paris Rally Absence Christian Post
Why is Obama Unable to Call Terrorist Attacks Islamic Terrorism? The Blaze
Stephen Harper Is Right To Name The Enemy Toronto Sun
Charlie Hebdo attack: The Paris trap India Express
3:54 PM | 0 comments | Read More

Hoodie Emergency In Oklahoma, Fines and Prison

Jan 4, 2015 | 2:54 PM

Hooded and Intimidating:
Wearing this $3,480 mink coat could
get you arrested in Oklahoma.
January 4, 2015 - Oklahoma may soon clarify and strengthen an existing ban on wearing hoods in public. Violators could be fined from $50 to $500 for wearing a hoodie (a hooded sweatshirt), if one state senator has his way. As if that wasn't strange enough, he actually wants to declare an emergency to deal with hoodies.

The law is Senate Bill 13, and it's intended as an amendment to an existing law that already bans the wearing of hoods and other types of disguises while committing a crime. Oklahoma has had a partial ban on hoods since the early 1920s. According to Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR, the law was "originally drafted to help combat crimes from the Klu-Klux-Klan."

But now, State Senator Don Barrington, (Republican, District 31; bio), is sponsoring a bill that would almost completely ban hoodies in public if if passes in February this year. Barrinnton's bill is actually intended to amend "21 O.S. 2011, Section 1301, which relates to masks, hoods and disguises; modifying certain restrictions; and declaring an emergency."

Yes, it says "declaring an emergency."  We'll come back to that but first let's see what Barrington's bill says in Section 1.

It shall be unlawful for any person in this state:
A. To wear a mask, hood or covering, which conceals the identity of the wearer during the commission of a crime or for the purpose of coercion, intimidation or harassment; or

B. To intentionally conceal his or her identity in a public place by means of a robe, mask, or other disguise.

The problem with that, as pointed out by Daily Caller, "is that the immediately preceding paragraph in the existing law, titled 21 OS 1301, makes it illegal for anyone 'to wear a mask, hood or covering, which conceals the identity of the wearer during the commission of a crime' or for 'coercion, intimidation or harassment'."

Civil rights advocates, reports Daily Caller, "worry that the two clauses read together could give police the authority to arrest someone for wearing a simple hooded sweatshirt."

Allow us to point out another problem: Interpretation by cops. How will this law will be enforced by law enforcement officers? Even handedly among all age groups, races and sexes? Reality suggests that such would not be the case.

If a cop sees somebody wearing a hoodie sweathshirt or hooded parka, or a ski mask, scarf or other "covering," how in hell can he/she know -- as that person walks down the street or sits in a diner -- if their "purpose" is coercion, intimidation or harassment? To know that would require being able to know someone's intentions, and unless Oklahoma has perfected mind reading, that's not possible.

The law makes exceptions, of course: They include kids being kids on Halloween, people going to or from masquerade parties, protection from the weather, and to those participating in the parades or exhibitions of minstrel troupes, circuses, sporting groups, mascots or other amusements or dramatic shows. (There are more exceptions detailed in the proposed bill.)

As for the emergency declaration in Section 2 of Barrington's bill:
It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.

This is apparently such an urgent and widespread problem in Oklahoma that Barrington wants to declare an emergency and implement the law the moment it passes (if it passes) in February. Time's a wasting, you know, because even now someone might be wearing a ski mask as he tries to walk from the strip club to his car without being recognized by his neighbors. God forbid. The horror.

It's not OK: State Sen. Don Barrington
Barrington, chair of the Senate's Public Safety Committee, says that "The intent of Senate Bill 13 is to make businesses and public places safer by ensuring that people cannot conceal their identities for the purpose of crime or harassment," he says.

Really? Imagine this: A man wearing a hooded sweatshirt is in a restaurant. It's a cold day, and he keeps his "hoodie" over his head while eating. His meal is not satisfactory, however, and he complains firmly but civilly to his server. The server takes offense, calls the cops, and accuses the customer of harassment while hooded.

Punishment for violating the law would be "by a fine of not less than Fifty Dollars ($50.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not exceeding one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment."

Constitutional issues are unavoidable with laws pertaining to what we can and cannot wear. Think Progress reminds us that "CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin took on the issue when an Indiana mall banned the garment in March" of last year. Hostin said that a ban on hoodies "is about the pretext of being able to stop young African-American males,” she said. "Hoodie is code for ‘thug’ in many places and I think businesses shouldn’t be in the business of telling people what to wear. The Fourteenth Amendment protects us from this."

In theory, maybe, but 10 other states have similar bans on masks and head coverings, Fourteenth Amendment be damned.

Also See: State Codes Related To Wearing Masks
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North Korean Nuke Report (Updated)

Jan 1, 2015 | 9:30 PM

Kim Jong-un (ABC News)
Kim Jong-un (ABC News)
Updated January 1, 2015 - Disturbing videos (below) about North Korea's nuclear weapons and how it threatens to use them. An opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune today reminds us that the threat from North Korea should not be laughed off. Rather, it should be taken as deadly serious:

"While the world's attention focuses on North Korea's cyber war with Sony, the Hermit Kingdom is rapidly increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons material, with little real pushback from the United States," wrote Josh Rogin and Eli Lake for the Chicago Tribune. "North Korea is estimated to have 30 to 34 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium now, enough for around nine nuclear weapons, depending on the size of each bomb. Last year it conducted its third nuclear weapons test."

The Tribune opinion piece raises this disturbing question: "Why does a targeted cyber-hack draw a tougher response from Obama than the amassing of a small nuclear arsenal?" and notes that "The message that sends to Pyongyang is that it can threaten the entire region with nuclear weapons, just so long as it doesn't touch Hollywood."

The first video is from 2009 when Kim Jong-Il was still alive and in power. The second video below, from 2013, shows how his son Kim Jong-Un continues the madness. The third video here, from 2014, reports that "North Korea might have a nuclear weapon that's small enough to be placed on a missile." And that's no joke, as Lora Moftah points out in an excellent report at International Business Times. Moftah makes it very clear just why North Korea is a threat to be taken very seriously. As recent as August [2014], North Korea threatened to attack the U.S. with nuclear force in response to a joint military exercise with South Korea. The threat was preceded a few weeks earlier with a direct warning by Pyongyang that it would fire nuclear-armed rockets on the White House and the Pentagon." Really, no joke.

9:30 PM | 0 comments | Read More

Israel Wiped Off The Map, Literally

January 1, 2015 - A publisher in the U.K. has accomplished what Arab nations, Muslims and anti-Semites have dreamed of since 1948. They wiped Israel off the map.

HarperCollins omits Israel from its mapIsrael was left off a map published by Collins Bartholomew, a subsidiary of publishing giant HarperCollins. "The country is not labelled on the map - bought by English-speaking schools in the majority-Muslim Gulf, while Gaza and Jordan are clearly marked," notes The Daily Mail. The publisher is based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The atlas, distributed in English-speaking schools in the United Arab Emirates and neighboring countries, shows the West Bank next to Gaza but with Israel not labelled.

A report on December 31st by The Tablet, a weekly Catholic newspaper based in the UK, says that The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales "accused HarperCollins of harming peace efforts in the Middle East through its production of atlases that omit Israel from their maps. Collins Middle East Atlases, which are sold to English-speaking schools in the Muslim-majority Gulf, depict Jordan and Syria extending all the way to the Mediterranean Sea."

Incredibly, Collins Bartholomew actually admitted to The Tablet that they bowed to "local preferences" by omitting Israel. In a region filled with enemies who have vowed to years to destroy the Jewish nation, inclusion of Israel on the map would have been "unacceptable" to customers in region.

The Tablet also reported that "customs officers in one Gulf nation" would only allow school atlases "to reach their intended recipient only once Israel had been struck out by hand."

To put it simply, Collins Bartholomew willingly published an inaccurate map for school children just to satisfy the political demands of paying customers. For the publisher, apparently, reality is less important than profit. Customs officers in Third World countries seem to be editors emeritus for Collins Bartholomew.

The story immediately received big media attention. Busted, embarrassed and called out for their act of deliberate regional revisionism, parent company HarperCollins apologized on Facebook: Commenters on Facebook, however, were not buying the apology.

The apology is hollow. After all, had there not been an outcry over this, Collins Bartholomew would still be happily selling their fantasy maps sans Israel. And commenters on Facebook were not buying it:
  • "Did you actually think you could get away with such revisionism and that nobody would notice? I am certain you only regret that your reprehensible actions were exposed for what they are." 
  • "Apart from your appalling decision to facilitate racists, the fact remains the Rhodesia is Zimbabwe now, Ceylon is Sri Lanka and like it or not, Israel is the name of the country that you have deliberately ommited!"
  • "Would you have made a map for the Gulf states with Al-Andalus replacing Spain and Portugal? If they want imaginary maps, they should have to make their own."
  • "WOW, what a stupid decision. Enjoy the backlash!"
And the backlash has only just begun. One commenter provided the URL of HarperCollins authors as a list of "Books not to buy. Suggest authors move their trade elsewhere." A number of commenters are threatening to boycott of HarperCollins.

Whether or not you agree with a boycott, it seems clear now that anything - anything- published by HarperCollins or any of its subsidiaries must be questioned for accuracy - and honesty. Perhaps the best comment was made by Rick Moran in his post at American Thinker today: "The publisher had little choice - except to abandon a lucrative market or comply. I think there are some business decisions that may cost a company money, but allow it to hang on to its soul. This is one of those times."

Also See:
HarperCollins erases Israel from atlases Times of Israel
Sin of omission? HarperCollins leaves Israel off the map Al Bawaba
The Fake Map Of ‘Lost Palestinian Territory’ The Muslim Issue
UAE's Etihad Airways denies omitting Israel from in-flight map Haaretz
How Putin Manipulates Russians Using Revisionist History Forbes
Russia Propaganda Rises Again: Fake Maps Depict a Much Smaller Ukraine Daily Signal
11:15 AM | 0 comments | Read More

Drones Deliver Mail and Packages In France

Dec 30, 2014 | 4:34 PM

December 30, 2014 - When Benjamin Franklin was postmaster of Philadelphia in 1737 (way before he was an American revolutionary), he probably never imagined letters and packages being delivered in flying machines. "Air mail" is old news to us some 200 years later, and no longer considered special. In 2014, France's postal service LaPoste is testing mail delivery by six-propeller drones, which are unmanned flying robots.

Drone by GeoPost for package delivery in France
Six-propeller drone by GeoPost can deliver
or medicines to remote areas in France 
 "This week, LaPoste, France’s postal service, announced that its package-delivery subsidiary, GeoPost, had successfully completed initial tests of a service to deliver lightweight mail and packages via drone. The tests were conducted by CEEMA or the Centre d’√Čtudes et d’Essai pour Mod√®les Autonomes (the Center for Autonomous Model Testing and Studies), which is part of the company helping to build the drone." ~

That's cool, but only in concept. The average French citizen is still a long way from receiving mail via drone. VentureBeat notes that in recent tests, "the drone demonstrated it could reliably carry a package up to 2 kilograms in ranges up to 1.2 kilometers." But then again, this project is still very experimental and not intended to replace large-scale mail delivery-by-humans.

Robots in the sky may not soon be delivering packages to remote French villas. "The drone delivery possibilities are still be explored at this point," says  Slashgear, "but the idea behind it all is that rural and otherwise remote locations -- or regions temporarily blocked by things like flooding -- can have needed medical supplies and such delivered at faster rates than by vehicle."

Benjamin Franklin
Ben Franklin went
postal years ago
The French drone tests were conducted "in collaboration with the company Atechsys at La Poste's special test site in the Var, southern France, used a six-propeller drone able to carry loads of up to 16 inches by 12 inches by eight inches in size and weighing up to nine pounds in all weathers and terrains within a 12-mile radius," reports The Telegraph (UK).

For the near future, French drones will deliver mail only in rural areas. French law does not allow drones to fly over heavily populated areas.

French drone could deliver parcels to remote areas
French drone delivers parcels to remote areas
Limited though the drones may be, this is actually a great idea, even if the drones do not seem suited to replace human postal carriers on any large scale. But the real purpose, says The Telegraph, "is to be able to fly the drones in remote areas or places difficult to reach by car – up very steep roads, down hillsides and areas with few roads and over water." GeoPost says the mechanical mailmen can "reach isolated zones very rapidly," which would be valuable for "urgent medical needs or blood deliveries."

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has nightmarish budget problems, and unpaid robots delivering the mail might seem like an idea whose time has come. President Obama has said that the USPS should replace human mail carriers with drones or face being shut down.

“Postal Carriers in the United States bring home an hourly wage of $18.25 to $25.82 per hour,” Obama said at a conference in July. “These men and women bring home anywhere from $37,950.00 to $53,700.00 annually. It is no wonder the price of our postage is on a consistent increase.”

“Persons living in the United States today cannot afford to feed their families,” Obama continued. “While they are stuck working on minimum wage salaries. Why should the government be paying so much to mail carriers, when their neighbors cannot afford to eat?” He adds that he feels it is a waste for the Federal Government to be paying these workers this much money when a drone from WIT can do the same job and cost a lot less to operate."

Obama did not address the fact that humans replaced by drones would no longer be able to afford to feed their own families because their neighbors' welfare checks are being delivered by robots.

Also See:
France's La Poste develops drone to deliver parcels Telegraph (UK)
Obama Gives USPS Ultimatum To Deliver Mail By Drones Wyoming Institute of Technology 
FAA Poised To Miss Deadline For Drone Regulations Daily Caller
No Roads? There's a drone for that Andreas Raptopoulos
4:34 PM | 0 comments | Read More

North Korean Internet Outage Probably Caused By Hackers, Not US (Updated)

Dec 23, 2014 | 7:06 PM

December 23, 2014 - North Korea's internet was disrupted over the weekend, and finally went down completely on Monday. It came back online, but then it went down two more times. And tonight, reports Yonhap News Agency, "some major North Korean websites remained blocked Wednesday [Korea time] for the second straight day amid growing speculation over cyber warfare between Washington and Pyongyang. Since going down Monday evening, the website of the North's main propaganda organ, Uriminzokkiri, remained inaccessible as of early Wednesday."

North Korea's Kim Jong-un, digital dictator
UPDATE, 27 Dec 2014 - North Korea's Internet and 3G mobile network 'paralyzed,' according to Reuters: "Internet connectivity had not returned to normal as of 21:30 local time [Saturday night], Xinhua reported, citing reporters in the country that had confirmed the situation over fixed telephone systems. The report comes after the North Korean government called Obama a 'monkey' and blamed the United States for enduring instability in the country's internet infrastructure, after the U.S. blamed North Korea for hacking attack on Sony Studios."

But was it the work of the U.S. seeking revenge for the cyber attack on Sony Pictures? Some security experts "say the attack that temporarily knocked the isolated nation offline looks more like the work of hacker pranksters than a vengeful U.S. government," says

The network was not down very long (about 10 hours), which indicates that the outages were probably not the retaliation promised by President Obama as for the devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures on November 24.  Sure, it seems the outages are continuing, and it seems impressive that an entire nation's internet access was taken down. Right? Well, no, not really. Read on to find out why that's not true in the strange case of North Korea.

The FBI and Obama have blamed North Korea for penetrating Sony's computer system, stealing massive amounts of information, and then rendering the computers useless. Many in the info security business are skeptical of the accusations against North Korea, however, and some even say it might have been in inside job.

The mainstream assumption is that a film called "The Interview" pissed off North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un by - among other things - depicting him as a douchebag and dying in a fiery explosion. Some say that the depiction of Kim in the film could have caused damage to his prestige if any of his generals or other privileged persons were able to access it, say on a black market DVD or even on the Internet.

On December 19, Obama vowed that the U.S. would "respond proportionally" against North Korea. If the most recent outage/s was caused by an Obama-authorized cyber attack on North Korea's interwebs, then it's a lame response. It certainly was not a proportionate response, considering the enormous, yet to be fully determined, financial losses of Sony Pictures. After all, to simply cause a disruption of less than 24 hours to a very few elite North Koreans probably did not cause any great hardships or damage.

Poster for "The Interview"
I think most of us are wishing for Obama to order up the crippling of Pyongyang's power grid. That would not only deny the North Koreans access to the Internet (no power, no computers), it would also force the artificially privileged of the capital city to live in the same desperate poverty that the rest of the country suffers. A simple EMP blast in the sky over Pyongyang ought to do the trick. Of course, that would cause more public relations problems than it's probably worth.

"North Korea's circle of internet users is so small that the country has only 1,024 IP addresses for 25 million people," reports Vox, "whereas the US has billions of IP addresses for 316 million people. While it's impossible to infer a specific number of internet-connected devices from this, it is safe to say that the number is very, very small." Kim Jong-un's regime has turned Internet access into "something that exists almost purely to cement his government's rule and to reward himself."

"The internet in North Korea is not a public good, nor even a good that the public is aware of," notes Vox. " It is purely and solely used as a government tool, for serving such ends as propaganda and hacking, and as a luxury good for the elites who run the government." The biggest inconvenience that an Internet outage might cause for North Korea would be the inability of their professional hackers and propagandists to operate.

This could pose a threat to Kim Jong-un's prestige. Who cares if the peasants never hear of "The Interview?" Theoretically, the elites could stream the film via their unfiltered Internet access or obtain the film on DVD.

If the elite watch "The Interview," it could hurt Kim's prestige and damage respect for the little dictator. It wouldn't change things immediately, says Rand Corporation senior defense analyst Bruce Bennett, "but the elite in North Korea aren’t happy with Kim Jong Un." Bennett says Kim is "purging people right and left, in far extreme of what his father did. He’s inducing instability in the country…You never know what’s going to change things."

Dyn Research in March 2013 that "the four networks of North Korea are routed by a single Internet service provider, Star JV (AS 131279), which has two international Internet service providers: China Unicom (AS 4837) and Intelsat (AS 22351)."

Taking down North Korea's access to the Internet for a few hours would be an inconvenience for Pyongyang and Kim Jong-un. But it would not impart any proportional damage (relative to the Sony losses) unless it also fried all of the computers connected to it. (There are other computers in North Korea, such as in schools, but they are connected to the state-run intranet, not to the internet. And so headlines referring to "Massive North Korea Internet Outages" are amusing because there is nothing "massive" about Internet access in North Korea.)

Then again, taking it down for a prolonged period of time (a very, very long time measured in years) would cripple North Korea's hacking program, which they use as a substitute for their weak military. A 62-year old defector from North Korea told Aljazeera that there are five reasons why Pyongyang loves cyber warfare, which can all be summed up briefly this way: Cyber warfare can be highly effective, low risk and relatively inexpensive.

While this recent outage might be an attack [by the U.S.], Dyn Research notes that "it’s also consistent with more common causes, such as power problems. Point causes such as breaks in fiberoptic cables, or deliberate upstream provider disconnections, seem less likely because they don’t generate prolonged instability before a total failure. We can only guess. The data themselves don’t speak to motivations, or distinguish human factors from physical infrastructure problems."

It shouldn't be surprising to learn that North Korea has had Internet outages in the past, and they've been on the receiving end of cyber attacks too: Uriminzokkiri, for example, was hacked back in April, 2013. North Korea has blamed those past outages and attacks on the U.S. But they were more likely the symptoms of a lousy infrastructure. Or the actions of playful hackers.

Also See:
Did North Korea Hack Sony? Bruce W. Bennett, Rand
The Sony saga: 10 reasons why the FBI is wrong IT Pro Portal
Obama Vows a Response to Cyberattack on Sony New York Times
Were hackers behind North Korea outage? Politico
North Korea’s Internet Outage Is Probably Due To Pranksters,Not U.S. ‘Cyberwar’ Fusion
It's Alarmingly Easy To Take North Korea's Internet Offline Business Insider UK
How to bring North Korea to its cyber-knees Matthew Gault
How North Korea, one of the world's poorest countries, got so good at hacking Vox
7:06 PM | 0 comments | Read More


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